February 26th

Nolan Arenado – Extension

I hope you enjoyed today’s special cookie! It is news like that that really keep us reeled into loving baseball. Arenado is the face of the Rockies, and to some, the face of baseball. Also, it has now surfaced that there should be a correction to my special cookie: Arenado’s extension was 8 years and $255MM; not $260 as in the special cookie.

Miles Mikolas – Extension

Right hander Miles Mikolas has an agreed to a 4 year, $68MM deal that starts after this year is completed, bringing the Cardinals team control to 5 more years. Mikolas has an interesting past. After four seasons in the minors, he broke into the big leagues with the Padres in 2012, but was sub replacement over 32 IP. In 2014 he was with the Rangers, but again, did not perform to the level he would have liked to.

In 2018, he was spectacular for the Cardinals. Turnings in a 3.07 FIP over 200 and two thirds innings, culminating in 4.3 WAR. Since Mikolas has impeccable control, the Cardinals are thinking that his control will not change.

Matt Weiters – Minor League Contract

“The Cardinals have agreed to a minor-league deal with veteran catcher Matt Wieters, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). Salary terms are not yet known.

While he held out in hopes of securing a MLB commitment, the 32-year-old Wieters will settle instead for a chance to serve as a backup to Yadier Molina. The competition is fairly limited. Francisco Pena seemingly held the edge at the outset of camp after re-joining the organization on a minors pact. Joe Hudson is the only other backstop in camp with MLB experience.” Jeff Todd, MLBTR

Sonny Gray – Scratched from Start

Reds right-hander Sonny Gray, who was scratched from his spring debut due to some elbow stiffness, is expected to throw a bullpen session Thursday, writes MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The team’s most notable offseason addition to the rotation, Gray will also throw from flat ground at a distance of 120 feet today, per the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay (Twitter link). Manager David Bell told Feinsand that Gray was initially concerned about the elbow discomfort but is in vastly better spirits and has felt improvement each day since being scratched.

Logan Forsythe – Minor League Deal

Veteran infielder has entered into a minor league pact with the Rangers. Forsythe has spent parts of 9 seasons in the league, culminating in a .309 wOBA and 9.5 WAR.

Stat of the Day – Range Factor (RF)

Range Factor is determined by dividing the sum of a fielder’s putouts and assists by his total number of defensive games played. More recently, Range Factor per nine innings has evolved as the more prevalent statistic because it addresses the discrepancies between a player who plays one inning in a given game and a player who plays the full game.

There are flaws with Range Factor — namely that the circumstances for fielders can vary greatly. With ground-ball pitchers on the mound, for example, an infielder is bound to receive more opportunities to boost his Range Factor. The advent of defensive shifts has affected Range Factor further. For instance, a third baseman who is used frequently in shifts will likely have a higher Range Factor than one who isn’t — even though defensive positioning is generally determined by the manager or bench coach.

Still, Range Factor answers a pivotal question that went long unanswered when fielding percentage was used as the primary evaluative defensive metric: How many plays can a given fielder make? Or, put more simply, how much range does a fielder have?

Origin: Noted sabermetrician Bill James coined Range Factor as a means of assessing a player’s defensive capabilities outside the realm of his fielding percentage. As many now agree, fielding percentage often produces a deeply flawed number, but at the time of James’ invention of Range Factor, fielding percentage was the primary evaluative metric for defenders.

TLDR: Range Factor is a better way to evaluate defense than fielding percentage.

Stat of the Day curtesy by MLB.com

Header Photo curtesy by The Denver Channel

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