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!

Two Reasons Mookie Betts Has Been Less Awesome

Mookie Betts was incredible in 2016. As the third best player in the Majors, he posted a 7.9 fWAR. But this year has been different. His .261/.341/.434 triple slash line is a far cry from the one he posted last season of .318/.363/.534. His 101 wRC+ tells us he’s producing runs at a rate that is barely above league average, while also revealing a lot of his value has come from his defense. And yet, he’s still on pace for about 4.5 fWAR, which still makes him one of the game’s top assets. He continues to be awesome, but a…

Rhys Hoskins Is Particularly Exciting in the Context of the Current Phillies

Rhys Hoskins is getting a lot of digi-ink recently. You may have read about him being only the third player ever to have 8 dingers in his first 15 games. Or maybe the first player to have 19 RBI in those same games. Or how he’s walking nearly as much as he’s striking out. Or how he’s doing it with a BABIP flirting with the Mendoza line. Or how he’s done it all despite having only 64 plate appearances and after starting out 0-for-12. All these things are worth talking about. None of those reasons acknowledge Hoskins in the context…

Aaron Nola, Charlie Morton, and World Series Aspirations

Last night brought another Astros game and another win for the club. On the hill and pitching pretty darn well was Charlie Morton, whose career has been as compelling for his talent as his injuries. He went 6.1 innings and gave up a single run on three hits with four walks and nine strikeouts. If you do a quick search, you’ll see a lot of comparisons of Morton to Roy Halladay, and, depending on the year, a lot of bad jokes about how such a comparison is crazy. But it’s really just about their size and motion to the plate….

wOBA Flippers and the Playoff Charge

Early on in a season, we get to talk about eye-popping numbers that players put up. We warn of sample sizes, though, and almost crave stability. We wait impatiently for the season to steady itself and almost breathe a sigh of relief when it happens — when we can start to buy into what an individual is doing. But as the season wades on and we move toward the postseason, the biggest stories often come from singular moments. And while we can’t predict who, exactly, will define his team’s season with a single play, we might be able to take…

What The Phillies Need For Pat Neshek

The Phillies are in a unique position this trade deadline. Young talent they’re leaning on, like Maikel Franco and Vince Velasquez, haven’t supported them. Veterans they brought in to stabilize the roster and perhaps become trade chips for this very moment have faltered, too, leaving them to fall without grace to baseball’s basement. And then there’s Pat Neshek, journeyman side-armer. He offers one of the brightest glimmers of hope they have. Not only do they need to trade him – he was recently ranked the 3rd most valuable trade chip by MLB Trade Rumors – but it can’t be for…

Following Up On Jose Quintana

We’re onto another day without baseball as the All-Star Break comes to an end, and I’ve got another update on an offseason piece. As happenstance would have it this time around, it’s on the recently traded Jose Quintana. Back in December I wrote about Quintana’s rather distinct excellence, while also finding that there might yet be another way for him to improve: throw more front-door two-seamers. He’d gotten nearly 60% strikes when doing it in 2016. The front-door two-seamer is a thing of beauty. It’s crafty and layered. It can freeze a hitter or generate weak contact. It’s a pitch…