April 17th


Arodys Vizcaino – Injury

Braves closer Vizcaino underwent season ending shoulder surgery yesterday. The surgery was to clean up and remove scar tissue in his shoulder. The Braves’ bullpen has already had some other guys down on the IL such as Tuesday’s move to sending Venters to the IL, Winkler has been optioned, O’Day still has no timetable for return so the Braves’ bullpen is really not looking too hot. The first thing to think about is a Kimbrel return to Atlanta but that has been shot down already as unlikely. 


Nick Pivetta – Demoted

The Phillies announced that starter Nick Pivetta has been sent down to AAA. While he seemed to be a budding star last year pitching to a 3.7 FIP over 164 innings, he has struggled mightily this year thus far. Allowing the most hits and earned runs in the bigs in 2019, Pivetta has earned himself a trip to AAA for the time being. With the NL East in a four team race, the Phils need every bit they can get, and Pivetta hasn’t given them a reason to keep him there. 


Matt Moore – Injury Update

While previously reported that Moore would be returning from his knee surgery after only 6-8 weeks, the club told reporters yesterday that he will be out for the rest of the season. This came as such a surprise because many other players repairing only a meniscus tear would be back around the original timeframe. Might be reason to question if there was a setback, or a problem happened during the procedure. 


Notes 

  • Harrison Bader lands on the IL with a hamstring strain, only the minimum time is anticipated 
  • Marco Estrada has hit the 10 day IL with a lumbar back strain, he is known to have back issues



PITCH OF THE DAY

Nick Pivetta just making former MVP Jose Altuve look silly



Business of Baseball – Player Option

Definition

A player option is an optional year at the end of a contract that can be applied at the player’s discretion. In such cases, the player has the right to exercise his option and lock in that optional salary as a guaranteed sum or reject the option in favor of testing free agency.

Examples

Following the 2014 season, right-hander Dan Haren exercised a $10 million player option on his contract to remain with the Dodgers (although he was ultimately traded to the Marlins prior to the ’15 season). Conversely, Royals outfielder Alex Gordon declined a $14 million player option following the ’15 season and tested the free-agent market in search of a larger contract. He went on to re-sign with the Royals on a four-year, $72 million deal.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitcherList

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Talking Chop

April 15th


Shohei Ohtani –  Nearing Return

After a successful Tommy John surgery, two way phenom Ohtani is nearing his return to a major league lineup. He had a successful checkup yesterday, clearing him to begin swinging a bat. Once that starts, he will advance quickly. The Angels really need him back in the lineup as they have had Trout out of the lineup lately, and Justin Upton is still recovering. 


David Robertson – Injury

Closer David Robertson is the latest to hit the IL yesterday. He is suffering from soreness in his pitching elbow, which is no small thing. This is very well the first thing before a chain of lots of very bad things: most notably, Tommy John surgery. Robertson is in his first year of a two year contract worth $23MM. 


Francisco Lindor – Starting Rehab

Superstar Fransisco Lindor is heading to AAA Columbus to begin some rehab games. Obviously the Indians offense, and defense, has taken a hit without Lindor, but it has just been quite abysmal. Lindor will help, of course, but he can’t pick up all the slack. Kipnis has returned to the lineup as well, hopefully these two players can bring the offense back up if the Indians are looking to keep the AL Central crown. 


Notes

  • RHP Mike Folty of the Braves is set to only make one more rehab start before joining the big league rotation, the Braves really need it
  • Chris Iannetta to the IL with a strained lat, Rockies select Drew Butera from AAA
  • Jonny Venters hits the IL with a strained calf
  • Tyler Skaggs has landed on the IL with a left ankle sprain

PITCH OF THE DAY

I love seeing Darvish back on here, the Cubs desperately needed him back, and now he is pitching great again. Just look at this slider: unhittable ⬆️



Business of Baseball – No-trade Clause

Definition

A no-trade clause is a contractual clause that allows players to veto trades to certain teams. No-trade clauses are often worked into contract extensions and free-agent contracts as a perk for the players signing such deals.

Some contracts include partial no-trade clauses, which allow a player to block trades to a specified list of teams. In the case of a partial no-trade clause, the player that agrees to such a clause will sometimes be allowed to update on a yearly basis the teams to which he cannot be traded without his consent. In other instances, teams will concede to a full no-trade clause that allows the player in question to block a trade to all 29 other teams.

Beyond that, a player that has accumulated 10 years of Major League service time and has spent the past five consecutive seasons of that service time with one team gains the right — termed 10-and-5 rights — to veto a trade to any team.

Examples

Per the terms of his contract extension signed in 2011 — which spans the 2016-20 seasons — Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was given the ability to block trades to 23 of the 29 other Major League teams. On the other end of the spectrum, Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco agreed to a very limited no-trade protection as part of his four-year, $49 million contract with Minnesota. As of December 2015, Nolasco was reportedly able to veto trades to just three teams.

The Reds’ Brandon Phillips reportedly invoked his 10-and-5 rights two separate times between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, blocking trades that would have sent him to the D-backs and to the Nationals.

The Nationals had interest in trading for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon in July 2015, but Papelbon had a no-trade provision in his contract that allowed him to block a deal to 17 clubs — including Washington. Papelbon also had a vesting option for 2016 in his contract with Philadelphia that would be exercised if he finished 48 games. As a means of enticing the right-hander to waive the no-trade clause, the Nationals offered to exercise that vesting option in advance, and Papelbon agreed to a slightly reduced rate of $11 million as a compromise. With those roadblocks worked out, the Nationals traded Minor League right-hander Nick Pivetta to the Phillies in exchange for Papelbon to complete the deal.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of ESPN.com

April 6th


Boston Red Sox – History

After winning the World Series in dominating fashion in 2018, the 2019 squad has now tied for their worst start in franchise history. Starting off this season at 2-8, I’m not too sure anyone could have foreseen it. It is rather surprising because of how they got better (on paper) since last year’s squad, this has really now gotten out of hand. Both the Mariners and Diamondbacks figure to be in the bottom half of the standings by the end of the year and they haven’t faced a team projected to be in the playoff picture. While the offense has been relatively good, the Red Sox have allowed 72 runs comparatively to the Rays which have allowed 19. 


Carl Edwards Jr. – Demoted

In a surprising turn of events, Edwards has been sent down to AAA Iowa. Since 2016 Edwards has been a staple in the Cubs’ pen and has been among the best relievers in the game since then. With an ERA below 3 in the last two years, he has really taken a quick regression in the first several games in 2019. In an inning and two thirds, he has already allowed 2 homers, and 5 walks meaning 6 earned runs culminating in a 32.40 ERA.


Notes 

  • Phillies Tommy Hunter is shut down indefinitely after he received a PRP injection in his pitching arm
  • Tiger’s Matt Moore has been placed on the IL with a sprained right knee
  • Rockie’s Ryan McMahon placed on IL after an elbow strain

PITCH OF THE DAY

Adam Ottovino Incredible slider



Business of Baseball – Free Agency

Definition

Players become free agents upon reaching six years of Major League service time or when they are released from their organization prior to reaching six years of service time. A free agent is eligible to sign with any club for any terms to which the two parties can agree. If a player with fewer than six years of service time signs with a club, he remains under the control of that club until reaching the requisite service time to reach free agency — even if the contract he signed does not cover the remaining years until that point.

Examples

Jason Heyward made his Major League debut on Opening Day in 2010 and never returned to the Minor Leagues. He reached six years of Major League service time at the completion of the 2015 season, at which point he became eligible for free agency. Heyward went on to sign an eight-year contract with the Cubs.

Tony Sipp was released by the Padres in May 2014 when he had between four and five years of Major League service time. The left-hander subsequently signed a guaranteed Major League contract with the Astros that ran through the end of the ’14 campaign. Because he finished the season with less than six years of Major League service time, Sipp was eligible for salary arbitration as opposed to free agency. Sipp qualified as a free agent following the 2015 season and re-signed with the Astros on a three-year deal.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of

March 25th


Francisco Lindor – Ownership Status

During an interview with Zack Meisel of the Athletic (subscription link) Zack met with Indians Owner Paul Dolan. Zack asked Dolan some pretty interesting questions, but the question that got the most interesting answer was one referring to Star Shortstop Francisco Lindor. Zack asked him about whether or not there are plans to spend some big money, referring to the Machado, Harper, and Trout deals, on Lindor, and his quote was “enjoy him and then we’ll see what happens.” Dolan then said that they will be spending $300 MM deals once other teams are spending one BILLION dollar deals. That right there is not what it should be like folks.


Lucas Duda – Signed

After taking his opt out from the Twins last week, Duda has now signed with the KC Royals. Kansas City has told him that he will make the opening day roster, who he was with for the first half of 2018. Duda hit .242/.310/.413 with the same club last year before he was traded to the Braves. 


Notes

  • Andrew Romine resigns with Phillies, to avoid paying him a $100K bonus to keep him in the minors
  • Orioles select contract of Jesus Sucre; Announce Trumbo and Cobb will be placed on IL
  • Devin Mesoraco might not make the Met’s opening day roster, and will retire if not in the bigs. Mets sign Rene Rivera to take his place
  • John Axfora resigns with the Blue Jays. This time a minor league pact, he will be recovering from injury and still has hopes to make the club once recovered



Business of Baseball – 40 man Roster

The 40-man roster includes a combination of players on the 25-man roster, the 7- and 10-day injured lists, the bereavement/family medical emergency list and the paternity leave list, as well as some Minor Leaguers.

In order for a club to add a player to the 25-man roster, the player must be on the 40-man roster. If a club with a full 40-man roster wishes to promote a Minor League player that is not on the 40-man roster, it must first remove a player from the 40-man roster — either by designating a player’s contract for assignment, trading a player, releasing a player or transferring a player to the 60-day injured list.

A player who is on the 40-man roster but does not open the season on the 25-man roster must be optioned to the Minor Leagues. Only one Minor League option is used per season, regardless of how many times a player is optioned to and from the Minors over the course of a given season. Players typically have three option years, although a fourth may be granted in certain cases (usually due to injuries). Out-of-options players must be designated for assignment — which removes them from the 40-man roster — and passed through outright waivers before being eligible to be sent to the Minors.

The 40-man roster is also an important distinction in the offseason, as players who are on the 40-man roster are protected from being selected by another organization in the annual Rule 5 Draft, held each year in December at the Winter Meetings.


Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of

March 21st


Ichiro Suzuki – Announces Retirement

In a Mariners press release, Ichiro released this statement: 

I have achieved so many of my dreams in baseball, both in my career in Japan and, since 2001, in Major League Baseball. I am honored to end my big league career where it started, with Seattle, and think it is fitting that my last games as a professional were played in my home country of Japan. I want to thank not only the Mariners, but the Yankees and Marlins, for the opportunity to play in MLB, and I want to thank the fans in both the U.S. and Japan for all the support they have always given me.

There is not many words that can describe just how important Ichiro has been to this game. Just looking at his numbers in the MLB, he is a sure hall of famer. Add in the 6 years he played in the NPB in Japan, and he has the most hits ever. Just a glance at his baseball reference page, he was not only a perennial all star, but always in the race for MVP. After winning MVP in his rookie season, he AVERAGED 13th in MVP voting over his first 10 years; also being an All Star and Gold Glover in each of those 10 years. 


Paul Goldschmidt – Extension

Wow, this has been quite the extension season the past two weeks or so. This time, it will be the newly acquired Paul Goldschmidt with the Cardinals. 5 years and $130MM sounds about right for a 1B who has been an all star almost every year since he got to the bigs. I would rate Goldy and Arenado two of the most underrated performers in the game. Last offseason the Red Sox signed JD Martinez who is a little better hitter, but a worse fielder for 5/$110MM. This deal will not include any opt outs, but JD’s did given the dollar differences. Goldy’s deal with the Cardinals does have full no trade protection, so any deal moving him would require his permission. 


Blake Snell – Extension

Yes, another extension. After being disappointed with such a pitiful raise since winning (only) the Cy Young award in 2018; Blake Snell has come to terms with the Rays on a 5-year, $50 MM deal with several incentives and bonuses depending on his placement in the Cy Young race. This buys out all his arbitration years, and one free agent year. It looks like he will become a free agent in his age 30 season. Primed for another big payday if he continues this pitching dominance. 


Corey Knebel – Injury

Today it was reported that Brewers RP Corey Knebel has a tear in his UCL. UCL injuries scream Tommy John, but apparently the aren’t sure if it is bad enough for that. This is probably why they have entered into the Kimbrel market. If Kimbrel has lowered his ask to only one year, it would only make perfect sense for the Brewers to fill the void from Jeffress and Knebel starting the year on the IL. 


Sandy Leon – Trade Rumors

Marly Rivera of ESPN reports that the Red Sox are “actively shopping” catcher Sandy Leon. We have known since the beginning of ST that the Sox’s plan was to only carry two catchers this year. Last offseason they hashed out a multi year extension with starter Christian Vazquez, and so the battle really came down between Blake Swihart and Leon. Leon has never hit well, while when given ABs Swihart has a near average batting line. It has been clear to me that Swihart should be given the ABs when his average potential is clearly better, and has some defensive versatility: playing 1B, 2B, 3B and some OF. Sandy Leon is well regarded as a terrific defender and is heralded for handling a pitching staff. Those intangibles can only take you so far, as we are seeing here. 


Connor Joe – Traded

Today the Giants and Reds paired up to make a trade: Connor Joe will be going to the Giants, and the righty Jordan Johnson and cash will be going back to the Reds. To make room on the 40-man, Drew Ferguson will be DFA’d. In yesterday’s cookie, I talked about how Ferguson was part of the outfield logjam of guys trying to make it. It seemed like the Giants saw that logjam and turned it into a utility infielder.


Notes

  • Brad Miller Opts out of his minor league pact with the Dodgers
  • Braves Outright Sam Freeman
  • Phillies release Drew Butera, Andrew Romine
  • Hunter Pence has made Rangers’ roster




Stat of the Day – LEAD

Lead Distance represents the distance between the base and the baserunner’s center of mass as the pitcher makes his first movement — either to home or to the base on a pickoff attempt.

Lead Distance might be the most overlooked aspect of stealing bases. Certain baserunners — those who can react quickest to a pitcher’s move — take leads that are longer than an average player. In doing so, the distance between the base stealer and the base he is trying to swipe is cut down.

Sure, Maximum Speed, Acceleration, a catcher’s Pop Time and a pitcher’s delivery all have a major impact on stolen bases, too. But on a bang-bang play, the runner’s initial Lead Distance can sometimes make all the difference. (The same can hold true even when the runner is not attempting to steal, but rather when there is a close play at the next base after the ball is put in play.)


Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Photo Curtesy of 500ish Words

March 6


Jose Leclerc – Extension

In what some could say the steal of the offseason, the Rangers have extended closer Jose Leclerc to a four year deal. The four year pact will only be worth $14.75MM, and the Rangers have two option years of $6MM in 2023 and $6.25MM in 2024. This contract is the definition of “team friendly.” Leclerc had a breakout season in 2018 having a minuscule 1.56 ERA (1.9 FIP) over 57.2 IP. If he can keep that up, it could be the deal of the century: Kimbrel (who had almost double the ERA in 2018,  but has the history) is reportedly asking for more than that per year, but admittedly has the history behind him.

Steven Wright – Suspended for PEDs

Red Sox knuckleballer has been suspended 80 games, without pay, for testing positive for a growth hormone (GHRP-2). While in his press conference today, he bluntly told the media that he did not knowingly take it; once he heard of the failed test, he appealed it. He then went on to say that he does not have any evidence that he did not take it. Wright had be rehabbing from a knee surgery that limited him to only 53 innings in 2018. Wright has had some great numbers while in Boston. In 2016, Wright had a 3.33 ERA as a starter and some where talking about him starting the All-Star game.

Bryce Harper – Potential Tampering

[Bryce Harper just launched his tenure as the Phillies’ biggest star, but he’s already considering how to use his gravitational pull to the team’s advantage. In an interview yesterday with Philadelphia SportsRadio 94WIP, Harper made clear he intends to help the Phils land another big fish in free agency:

“If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy.”

That comment was sufficient to spur the Angels to raise the matter with Major League Baseball, Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times reports. The league has been in touch with both teams and is looking into the matter, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (Twitter link). Unsurprisingly, “significant discipline” is not anticipated.] – Jeff Todd, MLBTR

CC Sabathia – Not Ready

Yankee manager Aaron Boone told the media today that CC Sabathia will not be ready for the start of the season. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com had this quote:

“He had his second ’pen that went well [on Wednesday],” Boone said of Sabathia, who got a late start to Spring Training following offseason knee surgery and an angioplasty. “I certainly don’t expect him for the start of the season. It may be a couple of weeks in, if everything keeps going according to plan.”




Stat of the Day – Game Score

[Game Score measures a pitcher’s performance in any given game started. Introduced by Bill James in the 1980s and updated by fellow sabermetrician Tom Tango in 2014, Game Score is presented as a figure between 0-100 — except for extreme outliers — and usually falls between 40-70.

A Game Score of 50 is considered “average,” while a Game Score of 40 is deemed to be “replacement level.” Game Scores in the 80s and 90s are widely regarded as impressive, and scores of at least 100 are exceptionally rare. Using Tango’s formula, which is the version displayed on MLB.com, only nine of the 4,858 games started in 2015 resulted in Game Scores of 100-plus.

A Game Score is derived by factoring the quality (based on runs, hits, HR, walks, strikeouts) and quantity (innings) of a starting pitcher’s performance] – MLB.com

TLDR: Game score is a great way to have a quick glance at a starter’s performance to see how well he did. Using it: 40 is not great, 70 is a great start.

Stat of the Day curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Sportsnet

February 28th

Bryce Harper – Signed

Okay guys I promise. This is the last time i’ll post about him. Maybe, just until he does something really cool. Jeff Passan of ESPN has tweeted that the Phillies owner’s private jet has been seen back in Vegas, his guess is to shuttle him to his physical to make it official.

13 years…. $330 million…. wow.

Clay Buchholz – Signed

The Toronto Blue Jays has come to an agreement with right hander Clay Buchholz. After spending parts of 2018 with the Diamondbacks, he posted great (3.47 FIP, 2.01 ERA) numbers, but as always: he got hurt. The Diamondbacks had to shut him down mid September for a “flexor mass strain.” Buchholz can be a great pitcher no deniably, but the question is always if he can stay on the field.

Bud Norris – Signed

The Blue Jays have been busy today: signing two starters. The Jays have also signed veteran righty Bud Norris. After being a starter most of his career, in 2018 the Cardinals used him a a closer most the time. Having a sub 4 FIP, earned him another chance. While it is a minor league deal, if he makes the team he has $3MM with $1.25 in incentives.




Stat of the Day – LIPS

[Late-inning pressure situations are defined as any at-bat in the seventh inning or later where the batter’s team trails by three runs or fewer, is tied or is ahead by only one run. If the bases are loaded and the batting team trails by four runs, this also counts as a late-inning pressure situation.

There is much debate among people within baseball regarding “clutchness” and how to determine whether certain hitters or pitchers are clutch. LIPS is one way of doing so, although it can be highly unreliable because the sample sizes are often small, and because not all late-inning pressure situations are equal when it comes to determining how clutch a player is.

LIPS was developed by the Elias Sports Bureau in 1985 in an attempt to answer the question, “Do clutch hitters exist?”] – MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy by SI.com

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

February 23rd

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Craig Kimbrel – Rumor

There have been some contradicting rumors surrounding Kimbrel today. At first there was a tweet by Jim Bowden of The Athletic that stated that Kimbrel’s price was not coming down and that he might consider sitting out a year to get that deal. Just two hours after that tweet came out, Ken Rosenthal of the same company said that he had talked to David Meter (Kimbrel’s agent) and the rumor of him potentially sitting out a year is “utterly false”. Kimbrel has yet to sign a deal and spring training games have already begun.

 

Bryce Harper – Update

According to several Jon Heyman tweets, Harper had meetings with two teams on Saturday, but apparently they got somewhere with the Phillies. Sources say that they will be finalizing a 10-year deal with him on Monday. With Spring Training games already started, I’m sure they want Bryce to get to know his new teammates soon.

 

Hanley Ramirez – Minor League Deal

The Indians have agreed to a minor league deal, pending a physical, with free-agent first baseman Hanley Ramirez, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Cleveland’s the first team for the 35-year-old Ramirez since Boston unceremoniously released him last June 1. Ramirez drew little reported interest after the Red Sox cut ties with him, owing to back-to-back seasons of subpar production at the plate and an inability to add value in the field or on the base paths. Formerly a superstar with the Marlins and a quality player with the Dodgers, Ramirez combined to hit a meager .245/.318/.421 (91 wRC+) with 29 home runs and minus-0.7 fWAR in 748 plate appearances from 2017-18.

 

Jose Martinez – Signed for 2 Years

Jose Martinez is used to being the odd man out in St. Louis, where his inability to play defense has limited his starting opportunities with the Cardinals. Despite effectively serving as a walking trade rumor for most of the last seven months, Martinez remains with the Cardinals — and on Saturday he received a pay bump after agreeing to a two-year deal worth more than $3 million” – CBS Sports

 

 

Jose Iglesias – Minor League Deal

Jose Iglesias has joined the Reds on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He could earn $2.5MM if he makes the roster, plus another $1MM based on games played!

“Iglesias, 29, is one of the game’s premier defenders at shortstop and actually had an improved year at the plate in 2018, hitting .269/.310/.389 in 464 plate appearances — good for both a 90 OPS+ and wRC+ (essentially indicating that his bat was about 10 percent worse than that of a league-average hitter after adjusting for his home park and league). For a player with his defensive prowess, that level of offense is more than acceptable, which is why both Fangraphs (2.5) and Baseball-Reference (2.2) both felt that Iglesias was worth more than two wins above replacement last season.” – Steve Adams, MLBTR

 

Kaleb Cowart – Re Claimed by Angels

“The Angels have claimed RHP/IF/OF Kaleb Cowart from the Tigers, per a team release. The 26-year-old Cowart has spent his entire playing career with Los Angeles, but was claimed by both the Mariners and the Tigers earlier this offseason. Right-hander J.C. Ramirez has been placed on the 60-day DL to make room for Cowart on the 40-man roster.

The former first-rounder has worked all over the diamond in his four big-league stints with Los Angeles, appearing at 3B, 2B, SS, 1B, and LF in 2018 alone. Now, like Seattle and Detroit before it, the club has plans to try him as a two-way player.” – Ty Bradley, MLBTR

 

MLB Trade Rumors Minor Roundup: Click HERE


 

Stat of the Day – UZR

UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is an advanced defensive metric that uses play-by-play data recorded by Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) to estimate each fielder’s defensive contribution in theoretical runs above or below an average fielder at his position in that player’s league and year. Thus, a SS with a UZR of zero is exactly average as compared to a SS in the same year and in the same league. If his UZR is plus, he is above average, and if it is minus, he is below average.

It is similar to offensive linear weights, where each event is assigned a number of runs, or fraction of a run, which is equal to the average value of that event as compared to a generic PA, generally for that year and for that league. With UZR and offensive linear weights a player gets credit for the theoretical value of an event (for UZR, those events are turning a batted ball into an out, allowing a batted ball to drop for a hit, making an error – or a fielder’s choice – that allows the batter to reach base, or making an error that allows a base runner to advance one or more bases) rather than what actually transpired during or subsequent to that event, in terms of any scoring on that play, base runner advances, etc., and regardless of the score or inning of the game.

 

Stat of the Day Curtesy by FanGraphs

Header Photo Curtesy by NBC Sports

February 22nd

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Clayton Kershaw – Shut Down Indefinitely (Arm)

“The Dodgers have shut down star hurler Clayton Kershaw indefinitely, manager Dave Roberts tells Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. The venerable southpaw is dealing with an unspecified health issue that Roberts would describe only as an “arm kind of thing.” Initial signals from the organization are that there’s nothing to worry about at this point. Kershaw says he’s “just going to take a few days right now” and adds that he expects to resume throwing in short order, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County-Register tweets.

In Roberts’s view, too, this is just an early pause “to just kind of step away, give him a couple days.” That said, he acknowledged that he “can’t say right now” just when Kershaw will be ready to ramp back up.” – Jeff Todd, MLBTR

Bryce Harper – (Kinda) Update

Yes, we know this Bryce Harper stuff is getting old. It is for the writers as well; but until he decides, its kinda our job to keep you informed.

A private jet was spotted in Las Vegas today. But not just any private jet, this one had a giant P on the back of it, with a little curl to the end of each line. This jet carried the owner of the Phillies. Jon Heyman then confirmed there was a meeting between the Harper family, Scott Boras, and the Phillies Owner John Middleton. Heyman in later tweets mentioned that the Phillies while still holding a strong position to land Harper, might not be the frontrunner everyone had thought.

Rule Changes – Spring Training Pitch Clock

“Major League Baseball has formally announced the implementation of a 20-second pitch clock to be tested during Spring Training games. Jeff Passan of ESPN reportedminutes prior to the announcement that it’d be made today. Per the league’s announcement, there has been no decision made regarding the potential implementation of the pitch clock during the upcoming regular season, though Passan tweeted that there is a “very real possibility” of that happening.

Early in Spring Training, as players adjust to the latest pace-of-play tactic put in place by commissioner Rob Manfred, there will not be any ball or strike penalties for pitch-clock violations. By the second week of games, umpires will begin to issue warnings, and eventually, umps “will be instructed to begin assessing ball-strike penalties for violations.”’ – Steve Adams, MLBTR

Ervin Santana – Minor League Deal

“Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.

He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.” – Ashley Verela, Yahoo! Sports

 


 

Stat of the Day – DRS

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) is a defensive statistic calculated by The Fielding Bible, an organization run by John Dewan, that rates individual players as above or below average on defense. Much like UZR, players are measured in “runs” above or below average, and Baseball Info Solutions data is used as an input. Since DRS is measured in runs, it can be compared easily with a player’s offensive contributions (wRAA or similar statistics).

Why DRS?

This isn’t the right place to debate DRS versus another similar metric, but you should use a metric like DRS or UZR because it is a better representation of defensive value than something like fielding percentage. Even your eyes aren’t going to do a great job measuring defensive performance because you simply can’t watch and remember enough plays a year to have a good sense of exactly how well a player stacks up against the competition. You might be able to judge a single play better than the metrics (although that’s debatable), but your ability to recall every play and compare them is limited. Run value defensive stats like DRS provide you with the best estimate of defensive value currently available  and allow you to estimate how much a player’s defense has helped his team win.

TLDR: Measures someone’s defense in the quantity of runs they have saved over the course of the season. 10 runs is the common rule of thumb for 1 win. 

 

Header Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Stat of the day curtesy by FanGraphs

February 20th

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Bryce Harper – Free Agent Update

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Phillies’ “total focus” is on Harper, with other free agents a second thought. They are still being cautious, as they don’t want to outbid themselves, thus overpaying. The Giants are said to only looking for a shorter (than 10 years) deal. Also MLB.com has written an article stating that the nationals are NOT willing to go near the 10 year $300MM that Machado got. That is a curious statement because there were multiple reports stating that thats about the offer that the Nationals gave him at the beginning of the offseason. Not sure what has changed, but maybe thats the money they gave to Patrick Corbin.

 

Josh Harrison – Signed with Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have signed veteran utility man Josh Harrison to a one year, $2MM deal with an additional $1MM in incentives. Harrison has experience playing both corner outfield spots, and the defensive metrics really favor him at 2B and 3B. His bat has had some good and bad seasons, but his base running stats have always been stellar. A solid pickup for the Tigers, who could be using this signing for a possible flip at the deadline since they aren’t looking too great to contend in the AL Central.

 

Tyler Clippard – Minor League Deal

Tyler Clippard was once one of the prime late inning relievers. Now after some bumps in the road, he is now accepting a minor league deal. Even has recently as 2014 he had a FIP of 2.75, he used to be right near closer territory for the Nationals. Right then the year after his FIP skyrocketed to 4.28. It has not been smooth sailing for the righty since, as the Indians will be the 8th organization in 6 years (Athletics, Mets, Diamondbacks, Yankees, White Sox, Astros, and now Indians). Yikes.

 

Trevor Plouffe – Minor League Deal

With Machado gone elsewhere, veteran 3B Trevor Plouffe has agreed to a minor league deal with the Phillies today, where he hopes to take the reins of the 3B spot. Currently the Phillies have Maikel Franco slotted to start the season there, but Plouffe and his veteran presence have a shot at making the team. With both Franco

 


 

Stat of the Day – Catch Probability

Catch Probability represents the likelihood that a batted ball to the outfield will be caught, based on four important pieces of information tracked by Statcast. 1. How far did the fielder have to go? 2. How much time did he have to get there. 3. What direction did he need to go in? 4. Was proximity to the wall a factor?

Accordingly, each tracked batted ball to the outfield is assigned an expected Catch Probability percentage — relative to comparable catch opportunities in the Statcast era — based on distance needed and opportunity time. The more time a fielder has to react to a ball and the less distance needed to reach it, the higher the Catch Probability.

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Distance needed is used instead of distance covered, which measures the ground a fielder covers from the point the ball is struck to the time the play is made, to prevent fielders from receiving additional credit for taking longer-than-necessary routes to the ball. Meanwhile, opportunity time is calculated from the point the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand (rather than when the batter makes contact) to credit instances in which a fielder adjusts his position based on where the catcher sets up or what type of pitch is called.

There have been two updates to Catch Probability since it’s release. In May 2017: it Accounted for going back on the ball, and in 2018 it started accounting for difficulty of getting near the wall.

TLDR: A lazy fly ball and a sinking liner can both be outs; while one is exponentially harder to catch. Catch Probability puts a number on it. 

 

Stat of the Day Curtesy of BaseballSavant.com and MLB.com

Header Photo Credit Curtesy by SI.com