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!

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…

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…