The New-look Phillies Plan On Stealing All Your Strikes

You’ve probably heard of how pitchers and catchers can steal strikes from expert control and framing. Some guys are just so good at painting the edges that they get those calls, plus the benefit of the doubt on the ones that push a little further outside. Think Zack Greinke, or Aaron Nola, or Kyle Hendricks for pitchers. On the catching side, the names are less heralded, but think Yasmani Grandal, Jeff Mathis, or Max Stassi. They all deliver or receive the ball with such veracity that it’s almost magical to witness as a viewer, and probably infuriating as a hitter….

The NL East Is Doing Something Brazen: Actively Trying To Get Better Than Their Competition

By now, you’ve likely heard of what’s going on in the NL East. At the very least, you’ve probably heard that Bryce Harper has chosen to play for the Phillies. Harper is the latest, boldest addition yet by an NL East team this offseason. With the likes of Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel still on the market, he might not be the last. In the words of Hall of Fame WWE broadcaster Jim Ross, the division is shaping up to be a real slobberknocker. The NL East is one of only two divisions in all of baseball that is currently…

Could Having Acquired Tommy Pham Signal A New Norm In The Rays’ Player Acquisition?

The Tampa Bay Rays are a true curiosity. When they debuted in 1998, they were baptized by fire in the AL East, finishing with a 63-99 record and dead last in the division. The only team worse than them in all of baseball was the Marlins, who were in the back half of their first infamous World Series tear-down. The baptism seemed to continue for the next decade, as Tampa Bay continued to finish last, save for 2004, where they finished in fourth with grace. Then something happened in 2008. They turned good! And they’ve stayed that way more often…

A Peak Into The Astros’ Secret Sauce for Pitching

The Franklin Institute is a science and research museum located in Philadelphia, PA. Among its many draws are a giant heart you can walk through, the SportsZone where you can sprint the 40-yard dash and compare your time to professional athletes, and a Changing Earth exhibit made entirely of sustainable materials that focuses on the ways the planet has transformed over time. Through all of that, plus rotating feature exhibits, it’s easy to lose sight of a tried and true experiment: The Ruler Drop Test. If you never performed the experiment in middle school, the Ruler Drop Test is exactly…

When Conventional Wisdom Holds A Player Back: A Thought Experiment

We’ve made it this far. Sometimes, that’s misleading. It’s easy to give ourselves credit, but it’s also a fact that can lock us into a certain mindset: “We’ve been having success with this approach, so let’s keep using this approach.” These are the kinds of thoughts that breed conventional wisdom, ones that seem to make so much sense that we don’t need to think twice about them, so we don’t. Intentional or not, baseball is the same way sometimes. Say the speedy guy is up to bat. He slaps it to the opposite field and generates some offense with his…

Fast, For A Catcher: Analyzing a Quickly Moving Backstop Market

Have you ever had a baseball game on in the background in the dead of summer as you quietly go about your day, and then catch an absolute gem from a broadcaster that stops and makes you laugh? “He got down the line in a hurry…he’s pretty fast, for a catcher.” It’s possibly the game’s greatest backhanded compliment; an ode of sorts to the frequently lumbering yeoman who not only endure the dog days of August but who do so, willingly, wearing additional gear and sitting in an awkward squat for hours. A single sentence about their baserunning abilities —…

The Unique Strengths and Shortcomings of The Padres Pitching Development

Imagine, if you can, being a top-10 performer in your field. And not only are you top-10 now, or in the last year. You’ve been top-10 for a decade. High five! Now, imagine that another member of your team is not. Imagine that they’re not even above average or just average. Imagine that they’re almost the absolute worst in your field. And not just recently…but have been for as long as you’ve been good. What we really just contemplated was the dichotomy of the San Diego Padres pitching staff from 2009 through 2018. The team’s relief corps has been the…