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…

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…

Following Up On Jimmy Nelson

The All-Star Break brings a chance to reflect on what’s happened so far this season. For me, that means going back to examine a series of offseason pieces on various players. It’s fun to see what I might have been right or wrong about. One such piece was about the struggles of Jimmy Nelson in 2016. In short, there were too many walks, not enough strikeouts, and too much disappointment. Specifically, I said that if Nelson “was your probable starter it was probable you’d sigh.” But I also cited Nelson’s propensity to adjust through his career and made two suggestions…

Wednesday Whittling: In Luke Cage I Hope to See…

Marvel’s Luke Cage is just three and a half weeks away. I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the last few days. I’ve only seen one preview and I intend to keep it that way, and I’ve got some hopes for it, too. I’m basing them off Luke Cage Noir by Mike Benson, Adam Glass, and Shawn Martinbrough. Style: With so much about noir revolving around style, it’s as much an action as it is a descriptor. In the comic, I knew exactly what they were going for. I want the same for the Netflix show – I want…