Baseball, etc

In addition to writing for clients, I also write about baseball on a regular basis. I love the game, and how success in it can be explained in so many nuanced ways. I dive head-first into that success and nuance here, and want to contribute to and spur conversation about the game. Occasionally, I sprinkle in other thoughts. I hope you enjoy them all!

Yonny Chirinos Is Closing In On Being Awesome

Early season baseball is beautiful. It’s not that just that baseball is back. It’s that things get so weird so quickly. Take, for example, Mike Petriello pondering this: Lol, y’all. For the record, Owings is at .478 going into his game on Friday and Sanchez has worked his way to .088. So, yeah, just a few days later and things are still weird. But some things…some things that seem weird may not be weird. Yonny Chirinos might be one of those things. Chirinos has been on the fringe of interesting for some time. Last July, Carson Cistulli wrote about him…

Cesar Hernandez Swings Less, Hits More

Getting talked up as a second baseman can be hard. Jose Altuve, Brian Dozier, Daniel Murphy, and Jonathan Schoop occupy a lot of that conversation. Other, older guys like Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler are still kicking around. Whit Merrifield says hello from Nowhere, too. And then there’s Cesar Hernandez, who seems to get talked up most for how underrated he is. He’s one of only two holdovers on the Phillies since he came up in 2013 — the other is Luis Garcia — so even after this offseason of the team shedding some of that sluggish rebuild weight and…

I See You, Jake Arrieta

In the last week Ichiro, Tim Lincecum, Carlos Gonzalez, Jonathan Lucroy, Mike Moustakas, and Lance Lynn have all signed. On Sunday, Jake Arrieta joined them, agreeing to a three year, $75 million contract with the Phillies. That’s an average of a signing a day! Of Major Leaguers, to Major League contracts! The dominoes are certainly falling. Finally. Arrieta’s signing comes with curiosities. Or maybe more accurately, concerns. He has more than 1,100 professional innings on his arm. From 2014-16 he had a nasty-good run. Toward the end of it, and through 2017, his velo started to dip. Pitch Info tells…

Jonathan Lucroy Might Not Be Done

Let’s start off with a guessing game. Below are two players. Try to tell who they are. So, who are they? Maybe the title of this post helped you figure it out. They’re both Jonathan Lucroy. Player A is Lucroy in 2016, when he was worth more than four wins. Player B is him in 2017, when he was barely worth one win. But these two lines represent the same player in name only. In 2016 Lucroy was the most valuable catcher in the game. And then last year, he was the fourth-worst. Moving down the chart above, one could reasonably…

Power Relievers and a Third Pitch?

As spring hopes eternal so, too, do the annual Spring Training stories. Guys are in the best shape of their lives or feeling better than they have in years. Or futzing with new pitches. In fact, so many guys try new pitches that Jason Colette keeps an annual, running list of pitchers who are attempting to add to their arsenal.  Edwin Diaz is among those attempting to do that this year by adding a changeup to his very fast fastball and exceptionally mean slider. Mariners General Manager Jerry DiPoto says that so far the changeup is “pretty firm.” He also…

Edwin Diaz, Throw That Slider

Pitchers are fickle beings. Relief pitchers are really fickle beings. Edwin Diaz, for example, burst onto the scene in 2016. Jeff Sullivan detailed how he generated comical whiffs with both a 98 mile-an-hour fastball and a fwippy, drops-off-the-table slider. He also worked in the zone while doing it, which is pretty much the best combo you could ask for from a pitcher. But in 2017, Diaz essentially laid an egg. His Ks were down. His walks were up. He couldn’t stay in the zone nearly as much, so batters swung less. When they did bite, they hit him much harder…

Maybe the Brewers Are Stepping Up Because of Zach Davies?

Not entirely, no. Before acquiring Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain, the Brewers still had a host of other talent scattered throughout their lineup that made them interesting, if not necessarily intimidating. But Davies occupies a particular space that their more established players have surpassed and that their other younger players have yet to enter. He’s going into his third full season and has provided nearly six wins for the team, and his approach could make you believe he could keep doing that in the middle of the rotation. He’ll play 2018 at just 25 years old. Travis Sawchik detailed…