🚨 ALERT COOKIE🚨 – March 14th


major deal – rule changes

A BIG DEVELOPMENT HAPPENED TOAY: Jeff Passan of ESPN announced several changes to the game we love. In a rare mid-CBA agreement, MLB and the Players Union came to the agreement that three majors things will happen: 3-batter minimum, single trade deadline, and changes to All-Star weekend including bonuses to the winner of the HR Derby.

Steve Adams from MLB Trade Rumors gave a great concise update to what is happening now, and in 2020:

Effective Immediately

  • There will be no trades after July 31. August trade waivers have been eliminated, though players can still be placed on and claimed from outright waivers, as they would throughout the rest of the year.
  • All-Star voting will still be conducted by fans online, but the top three players at each position, in each league, will now participate in an All-Star Election Day. The top three vote-getters at each position, in each league, (top six in the case of outfielders) will receive bonus payments.
  • The Home Run Derby will now come with $2.5MM of prize money, including a $1MM prize for the winner.
  • The maximum number of mound visits per game will be reduced from six to five.
  • Commercial breaks between innings are reduced to two minutes in length for all games.
  • The MLB and MLBPA will form a “Joint Committee” to discuss further issues and rule changes.

Effective Beginning in 2020

  • The standard roster size in regular season games and postseason games will increase from 25 to 26 players. Beginning on Sept. 1, roster size will expand further to a 28-player maximum (as opposed to the current 40). A maximum number of pitchers will be designated by the Joint Committee. (Passan reported that the league has proposed no more than half a team’s players can be pitchers.)
  • Position players are only eligible to pitch in extra innings or when a team is leading or trailing by seven or more runs. Certain position players may be designated as “two-way players,” but to be eligible, they’ll need to have accrued at least 20 innings pitched and started 20 games as a position player/designated hitter in the current season or the preceding season (including at least three trips to the plate in each of those lineup appearances).
  • A pitcher must face at least three batters per appearance unless he is removed due to injury or the half-inning in which he is pitching ends before three batters have come to the plate.
  • The minimum length of stay for pitchers who are optioned to the minors or placed on the injured list will increase from 10 days to 15 days. This change is still “subject to input” from the newly formed Joint Committee.

Michael Fulmer – Injury

After last fall’s surgery to repair his knee, today Manager Ron Gardenhire announced that they will be shutting Fulmer down to revamp his lower half mechanics. He had drastically lower velocity so far this spring, so it’s apparent that the Tigers see something different, or new in his mechanics which could be surgery aftermath, or that is just now exaggerated after his knee getting repaired.


Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – sent down

Today the Blue Jays officially sent down top prospect and phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to minor league camp. While it was expected that he would not begin the year in the majors, due to service time issues; because of his oblique injury, it is a bit sooner than anticipated.




Stat of the Day – Pop Time (POP)

On steal or pickoff attempts by a catcher, Pop Time represents the time elapsed from the moment the pitch hits the catcher’s mitt to the moment the intended fielder is projected to receive his throw at the center of the base.

When a throw’s flight path ends in front of or beyond the base’s midpoint, Statcast accounts for the thrown ball’s speed and projects how long the throw would have taken to reach the center of the intended base.

Pop Time is a combination of a catcher’s footwork (getting into throwing position), Exchange (glove to release), and Arm Strength (velocity of throw). Pop Time is a much better assessment of a catcher’s ability to throw out baserunners than the strength of his arm alone. A catcher with a great arm isn’t going to throw out many baserunners if it takes him a while to transfer the ball to his throwing hand and then release the throw.

A catcher with a good Pop Time doesn’t always throw out baserunners, however. A large part of his success is dependent upon the runner’s speed, the throw’s accuracy and the pitcher’s delivery length. But with a quick Pop Time and an accurate throw, a catcher is doing what he can to stop the opposing running game.

Below are the five best average pop times to second base on stolen-base attempts (min. 15 SB attempts at 2B) from the 2017 season. The MLB average in 2017 was 2.01 seconds.

TLDR: Pop time measures how fast the catcher received, and then got the ball to the intended receiver. Anything below 2 seconds is above average, and anything below 1.9 seconds is considered elite.


Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Cubs Insider

March 5th


Luis SEverino – Injury

This morning, Yankee’s skipper Aaron Boone told reporters that ace Severino had some discomfort in his throwing shoulder, and he would be missing his spring training start. He went in for an MRI to check everything, and it was found that he did indeed have inflammation. He will be waiting two week until he throws again. Assuming that he would have made another opening day start, this really makes it difficult to make that start.


Rule Changes – Update

“Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have spent the winter negotiating over rules changes while publicly bickering over the operation of the player market. The sides now appear to be nearing agreement on a package of new rules, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link), though it’s not likely to address the broader concerns.

According to Rosenthal, a new deal may only be a day or two away from completion. It’s not clear just what’ll be covered by the pact, though we’ve known of the areas under consideration for the past week or so. From a hot stove perspective, the application of a single trade deadline and roster size modifications (26-man roster with two extra openings in September) appear to be the most important possible tweaks under contemplation.” – Jeff Todd, MLBTR


Cameron Maybin – Arrested

San Francisco Giants outfielder Cameron Maybin was arrested early Friday morning in Scottsdale, Arizona, for two DUI offenses — driving while impaired and driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more. Tests on the scene determined that Maybin’s BAC was .127.

“We are aware of and monitoring the situation,” the Giants said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We do not have any further comment at this time.” – ESPN


Gio Gonzalez – Rumors

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez had at least been discussed “by some Yankees people” even before the team learned of Luis Severino’s rotator cuff inflammation earlier today, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Similarly, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Yankees do like Gonzalez and may inquire with agent Scott Boras about the lefty’s current asking price.

With Severino and CC Sabathia both unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, the Yankees’ rotation depth isn’t quite as strong as it once appeared. Of course, neither Severino nor Sabathia is expected to miss significant time, and the Yankees have quite a few other options on hand to fill in on a short-term basis; Domingo German, Luis Cessa, Chance Adams and Jonathan Loaisiga are all on the 40-man roster and all saw some experience at the MLB level last season. – Steve Adams, MLBTR

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Miguel Sano – Injury

“Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will not be prepared for Opening Day and could miss the first month of the season, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told reporters including Phil Miller of the Star Tribune (via Twitter) and Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (Twitter link).

A cut on Sano’s foot has kept him out of action throughout camp. That injury, sustained during a celebration of a Dominican Winter League title, required a second debridement procedure to clean up the wound.

Clearly, this is not how the organization expected things to proceed when Sano showed up to camp in noticeably excellent shape. The hope then was that the cut would heal up quickly, allowing him to get back to work in search of redemption following a miserable 2018 season.” – Jeff Todd, MLBTR

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Stat of the day – Leverage index

Created by Tom Tango, Leverage Index measures the importance of a particular event by quantifying the extent to which win probability could change on said event, with 1.0 representing a neutral situation.

For instance, if a team trailing by three runs had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth inning, the ensuing plate appearance would register an LI above 1.0. This is because the outcome of the game could dramatically change on that one plate appearance. Conversely, if a team trailing by four runs has a man on first with one out in the top of the ninth inning, the ensuing plate appearance would register an LI below 1.0.

Why it’s useful

LI can be used to more easily pinpoint the pivotal moments in a particular game and determine how often players face high-leverage situations.

TLDR: Leverage Index is a great way to see how a certain moment in a game is where someone who is “clutch” would come through. If there is an LI of say 7 or more you would say “the game is on the line.”

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Pinstripe Alley

February 27th

Rule Changes – Update

Commissioner Rob Manfred ponders his possible negotiating tactics

ESPN’s Jeff Passon reports that the league has pushed its plans for a pitch clock back until 2022 as a negotiating tactic to try to implement some other changes that have a much easier path to getting approved through the Players’ Union.

Major League Baseball is prepared to scuttle the implementation of a pitch clock until at least 2022 as part of a wide-ranging proposal to the MLB Players Association that would include the ability to implement a three-batter-minimum rule for pitchers and roster-size changes in 2020, sources familiar with the plan told ESPN.

Jeff Passon

Bryce Harper – Update

Several teams have now entered the mix more heavily as of late: Dodgers and Giants are among those. The Giants have been meeting with Bryce Harper for a potential 10 year deal, and while the salary that is being discussed has not yet leaked, several sources close to action are reporting that it is of record breaking size (Record being $325MM)

Peter Moylan – Retiring

[Veteran reliever Peter Moylan has opted to retire from Major League Baseball at the age of 40, he tells David O’Brien of The Athletic (subscription required). The Australian-born hurler isn’t entirely walking away from the game, as he’ll pitch for a professional team in Italy this summer and hopes to pitch for the Australian Olympic baseball team, O’Brien adds.

Moylan details his decision in the lengthy interview, revealing that although the calendar is about to flip to March, he simply never received an offer this winter. Despite the fact that Moylan believes he’s still capable of competing at the game’s top level, he also insists that there’s no bitterness or anger with regard to how the offseason played out. â€śThe game is trending younger,” said the veteran righty. â€śI’m certainly not that. It’s time for me to let the kids play, so I’m done.”] – Steve Adams, MLBTR


Stat of the Day – DER

Defensive Efficiency Ratio is a statistic used to evaluate team defense by finding out the rate of times batters reach base on balls put in play. Basically, for every ball hit into the field of play, how likely is the defense to convert that into an out?

The formula for Defensive Efficiency Ratio is: 1 – ((H + ROE – HR) / (PA – BB – SO – HBP – HR)).

Defensive efficiency is a very good tool for assessing team defense, but it has its flaws. For instance, a team whose pitchers allow a high frequency of hard-hit balls will most likely have a lower DER because those balls are more likely to wind up as hits. There is also nothing in the equation that factors in luck or the ease of a team’s defensive chances. But over a large enough sample size, this concern is mitigated.

TLDR: This is an upgraded fielding percentage but used for entire teams.

 

Stat of the Day curtesy of MLB.com

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 12th

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Photo Credit – LA Times

MAJOR NEWS

Sergio Romo

The Marlins have signed Sergio Romo to a one year deal worth at least $2.5MM, with other incentives on top of that. Romo had a decent year in 2018 posting a 4.04 FIP who was also “The Opener” several times with the Rays. While he could compete for the closer role for the fish, the aging Romo has some competition with Drew Steckenrider and flamethrower Tayron Guerrero.

NEWEST RUMORS

Bryce Harper

Harper is reportedly not even considering short term deals. I personally was thinking that Harper was confident enough in himself to take a pillow contract and get somewhere in a 1 year $40-50 range and gamble on himself until next year. In the devils advocate you could say “well what’s going to change next year”? And you would probably be right. Apparently thats what Bryce himself is thinking.

STAT OF THE DAY

FIP

Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) measures what a player’s ERA would look like over a given period of time if the pitcher were to have experienced league average results on balls in play and league average timing. Back in the early 2000s, research by Voros McCracken revealed that the amount of balls that fall in for hits against pitchers do not correlate well across seasons. In other words, pitchers have little control over balls in play and assuming short-term fluctuations in BABIP are attributable to the pitcher is likely incorrect. McCracken outlined a better way to assess a pitcher’s talent level by looking at results a pitcher can control directly: strikeouts, walks, hit by pitches, and home runs.

FIP is a measurement of a pitcher’s performance that strips out the role of defense, luck, and sequencing, making it a more stable indicator of how a pitcher actually performed over a given period of time than a runs allowed based statistic that would be highly dependent on the quality of defense played behind him, for example. Certain pitchers have shown an ability to consistently post lower ERAs than their FIP suggests, but overall FIP captures most pitchers’ true performance quite well. – Fangraphs

TLDR: Pitchers don’t have control on balls in play. FIP measures what a pitcher can control

MINOR NEWS

Jorge Posada

The Marlins are “expected” to hire long-time MLB catcher Jorge Posada as a special adviser to the club’s baseball operations department, according to Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). Posada’s precise duties aren’t yet known. Posada obviously has deep ties with Marlins CEO Derek Jeter. The pair starred together for years with the Yankees, forming half of the legendary “core four” that helped lead the New York organization to five World Series titles. –MLBTR

Gerardo Parra

Gerardo Parra, who played the previous three seasons for the division rival Rockies, is signing a minor league deal with the organization, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area. The deal was first reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Parra will be in big league camp. Parra, 31, has played all three outfield spots in the majors and adds depth to a young group. The Giants have openings in right and left, with Steven Duggar on track to start in center. – Alex Pavlovic NBC Sports

Jose Lopez

The Giants announced Tuesday that they’ve claimed right-hander Jose Lopez off waivers from the Reds. In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, San Francisco designated left-hander Josh Osich for assignment. Cincinnati had designated the 25-year-old Lopez for assignment Monday after signing Zach Duke.

February 8th

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Photo Credit – Let’s Go Tribe

TOP NEWS:

Francisco Lindor

All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indianswill likely miss the start of the season with a strained right calf. Lindor, one of baseball’s best all-around players, sustained the injury recently while working out in Orlando, Florida. He was checked Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr. Mark Schickendantz, who confirmed a moderate sprain. – ESPN

Rule Changes

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said today at the owners’ meetings that the league is not interested in considering certain union-proposed changes in advance of the 2019 season, as Ronald Blum of the AP reports. In particular, Manfred indicated he is not open to the introduction of the designated hitter to the National League.It emerged recently that MLB and the MLB Players Association were exchanging proposals on a variety of significant potential rules changes. – MLBTR

MINOR NEWS

Daniel Hudson

The Angels have added a former Dodgers reliever to their bullpen with less than a week to go before pitchers and catchers are due to report to Arizona for spring training. Daniel Hudson agreed to a minor league contract with the team on Friday, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Times. If he makes the team, Hudson would earn $1.5 million next season, according to the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. – LA Times

Adam Rosales

The Twins have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran infielder Adam Rosales, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The Hilliard Sports Management client has a $1MM base salary on the contract and another $250K worth of incentives available to him. He can also opt out of the deal on March 19 if he hasn’t been added to the MLB roster. Rosales spent the 2018 season with the division-rival Indians, playing the bulk of the year with their Triple-A affiliate in Columbus, where he hit .239/.313/.445.  An 11-year veteran, Rosales is a career .226/.291/.365 hitter with at least 580 innings of experience at all four infield positions and a brief bit of work in left field as well. – MLBTR

Matt Joyce

Free-agent outfielder Matt Joyce announced this morning, via Twitter, that he’s agreed to sign with the Indians. Joyce’s contract comes with a $1.25MM base salary if he makes the roster, and he can earn an additional $500K based on his number of plate appearances, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). The 34-year-old Joyce will join Cleveland in search of a rebound campaign after struggling through a down season with the A’s in 2018. Last year, in the second season of a two-year deal worth $10MM, Joyce hit just .208/.322/.353 with seven home runs and nine doubles in 246 plate appearances across 83 games. Back troubles hampered him along the way, as he spent nearly two months of the summer on the disabled list due to a lumbar strain. – MLBTR