Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable:
- Less than two months after suffering a cracked skull on a batted ball, Aroldis Chapman returned to the Reds’ bullpen. According to Christina Kahrl of ESPN’s SweetSpot, it wasn’t a moment too soon.
- Grantland’s Michael Baumann appreciates the uniqueness of power-hitting second baseman Brian Dozier.
- Via Deadspin’s Timothy Burke: Yu Darvish once again came within one out of throwing a no-hitter, but even more wild was the subsequent on-air food fight at MLB Network’s studios:
The Rangers’ official scoring decision of an error — charged to Texas right fielder Alex Rios — sparked a contentious debate on MLB Network, which was simulcasting the game. Emmy-winner Harold Reynolds approached berserk levels as he tried to reason with Mitch Williams, as Reynolds asserted Rougned Odor’s starting position (playing in an extreme shift against David Ortiz) made the play non-routine, while Williams insisted Rios’s failure to call off Odor constituted an error of communication, and thus a “legal” error.
Reynolds wasn’t right, either — he insisted that because the ball never touched a glove, the decision was “garbage.” By the letter of baseball’s rules, sure — it’s an error. But by convention, official scorers almost never assign an error unless a fielder makes a physical mistake in the fielding process (which generally means the fielder touches the ball).
The premise of the argument is legitimate. The way these MLB Network broadcasters go about it, though, is embarrassing. Harold Reynolds, at one point, states the scoring decision is “the worst ruling in Major League Baseball history.”
- Other than luck, “what other factors play into batting average on balls in play?” Jeff Wiser of Beyond the Boxscore searches for the answers.
- Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports on Gregory Polanco’s spurning the Pirates’ offer of a long-term contract and how his decision pretty much ensures that the club’s top position-player prospect won’t get called up to the bigs until June.
- As of early last week, Derek Jeter was having a hard time handling the fastball in 2014, and other teams, particularly the Rays, are responding accordingly. Michael Eder of It’s About the Money, Stupid has the details.
- William Juliano of The Captain’s Blog theorizes that the Yankees’ pitching-staff woes may be a consequence of the team’s excessive usage of defensive shifts.
- According to Sports on Earth’s Matthew Kory, fans of AL East teams might want to remember the name Mookie Betts. The 5′9″, 156-pound infielder in the Red Sox farm system is tearing up Double-A ball (.392/.449/.600, as of Sunday morning) and might just see action with the parent club when rosters expand in September.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!