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!

Debut Review: Josh James Is The Next Ascendant Astro

Consider this: there is a prospect who starts the season in Double-A. He shoves, and is promoted to Triple-A. He shoves there, too. Naturally. He totals 171 strikeouts across both levels in just 114.1 innings with easy mid-to-high 90s heat and a sharp, horizontal slider. He’s bound to catch some eyes around the game, right? Except if your Big League club happens to be the Astros, who have spent the majority of the season in first place, and largely because of an historic rotation. In that case, you might not be catching many eyes at all, because the team that…

Minor League Notebook: Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio

Below is a quick write-up on observations about Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio from 8/19, when their New Hampshire Fisher Cats faced the Trenton Thunder. Each had five at-bats. Bichette played second base, while Biggio played first. In addition, there’s a transcript of my game notes after the write-up. Neither player had an electrifying night. Their performances didn’t resemble what makes their scouting reports glow. Rather, what they demonstrated were skills that could keep them in the Majors when they’re not filling the box score or even slumping. Bichette and Biggio each demonstrated three things that stuck out: an ability…

Patrick Corbin’s Monster 2018 Is Also Historic

If you’ve been following baseball at all the last few years, you know that velocity has become extremely important. It seems like everyone throws gas. Per Statcast, a whopping 427 Major League pitchers have thrown at least one pitch at 95 mph or harder this season. Nearly 40% of those pitchers have done it 100 times or more. Five years ago, the number of pitchers who threw 95 or harder was only 394. That means that basically every team in the league has added a guy who can dial it up to 95 or better over the course of only…

David Price Has Leveled Out And Leveled Up

David Price has started 24 games this year. Per FanGraphs, he’s been worth 2.2 wins above replacement in those games. But in his last five starts alone, he’s been worth exactly half of that total. He’s been so good recently that Boston media asked him after his most recent start, in which he went seven innings, struck out eight, and only allowed two runs against Tampa Bay, what he had changed. The exchange was direct. Specifically, Price was asked what he’s done to catch fire. He responded saying that he “made adjustments,” and, when the initial question was followed up…

Eugenio Suarez Has Optimized His Brain, Results Have Followed

Last season, Eugenio Suarez was a pretty good Major Leaguer — 17% better than his peers, by measure of the runs he created. He was far better at home than he was on the road, as you may expect for a slugger who plays half their games in Great American Ball Park, but overall he had turned into a dude with Cincinnati in his third full year there. 2018 has been a different, even better story since jump street, though. Suarez has morphed again, this time into arguably the best hitting regular third baseman and the eighth best hitter in…

George Springer Isn’t Quite Seeing What He Wants

Look up and down the Houston Astros roster and it’s difficult to imagine them getting any better. They’re on pace to win 105 games, which is four more than even last year. But it’s possible. Though their pitching staff is the best in the league and maybe one of the best ever, their offense has been more middling. And it may start at the top with George Springer. So far Springer has registered 1.6 fWAR and a 113 wRC+ in 97 games. While being 13% better than league average is pretty good, it’s not quite what you’d expect from him….

Acquiring Manny Machado Is Imperative For The Phillies

We’re two weeks out from the trade deadline. It may be quiet for most of baseball, given the state of the Haves and Have-nots shaping a less traditional mid-season urgency than in the past. Most of the AL playoff picture appears to be nearly set, at least to many observers. Meanwhile, the NL is up for grabs. As of July 14, the Phillies hold the biggest divisional lead at just 1.5 games over Atlanta, while the Dodgers have only a half game lead over the DBacks and the Cubs are in a dead heat with the Brewers. Manny Machado is…