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The Baseball Roundup (6/5/15)

June 5, 2015

Tony: 

Matt Harvey led the Mets past Arizona 6 – 2. Both runs were surrendered via the long ball. He pitched 7 innings and struck out 9. Jeurys Familia got the 5 out save. This ends a 3 game losing streak for the Mets. One of the homers Batman gave up was to Paul Goldschmidt – it was his 16th. We love Paul, and I believe I have him in a board bet, so I was pleased to see this…

It was a great day for MY BOYS on the mound. Michael Wacha also went 7. He gave up 1 run and struck out 5 while walking none. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 7 – 1. In the third, Jhonny Peralta and Mark Reynolds had RBI singles for the Cardinals. I can’t shake the fact that the previous sentence could have been from an Indians boxscore a couple years ago… Kolton Wong was 2/4 with 2 RBI. I guess he is really good, eh?

Perhaps the Dodgers need to move Joc Pederson out of the lead-off spot. 14 of Pederson’s 17 homeruns have come with no runners on base. That’s the most in baseball.

The Reds beat the Phillies 6 – 4. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side for a save. Todd Frazier was 1/4. Former Indians Brandon Phillips and Ben Revere were 2/5 and 3/4, respectively.

Aroldis was so good last year that we are starting to see articles examining why he is struggling. Dude has a 2.22 ERA, has 41 Ks in 24 innings, and is holding opposing batters to a .220 AVG. Of course, he isn’t as good as last year. Partially because last year was insane. Partially because his location is off right now. He has already walked 15 batters, more than half the total of walks he surrendered all last season (24). Following table is not pretty:

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 1.54.26 PM

The Nationals finally activated Anthony Rendon! He spent time manning both second and third while going 2/4. Good times are on the horizon for Tony (and Rendon, and likely, the Nationals). Despite Rendon’s return, the Nationals lost 2 – 1 to the Cubs. Jake Arrieta got the win and Gio Gonzalez took the loss. With those two going it’s not surprising that I don’t get to report much about offense. Bryce Harper, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant were a combined 3/10 with 1 RBI.

Finally, the Tribe beat the Royals 6 – 2. MY BOY Lorenzo Cain flashed some rare power, roping a 2 run homer. Cain’s homer was his first since May 2, a span of 91 at-bats. Bauer didn’t have much control, walking 4 batters and striking out 5. Still, it was enough. He has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts, getting to the seventh in each of them. The game was delayed with one out in the bottom of the eighth as lightning and heavy rain rolled into the area. The umpires waited 44 minutes before calling Cleveland’s sixth win in eight games. Kipnis was 1/4 and even got me a stolen base.

Yesterday you brought up that Lance Lynn threw 117 fastballs (out of 118 pitches) the other night. Like you said, that count includes 3 – 4 different pitches: 4 seemers, 2 seemers, cutters, and sinkers. So, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Often people won’t include cutters with fastballs because they work as an off speed pitch. This is far more common than you would think.

I remember it being a story in 2010, with David Price. Against the Red Sox, he threw 110 fastballs and 11 breaking balls. I looked up the frequency with which he threw each pitch in 2010 on Brooks Baseball – he was throwing a fastball (4 seemer or sinker) 75% of the time.

There is evidence that guys can succeed in the bigs with only 2 pitches. And, I think within that list, many of them are hucking fastballs A LOT. Chris Archer also comes to mind.

Speaking of two pitches… In his 11 strikeout game on Wednesday, that was Lance McCullers M.O. McCullers relied almost exclusively on a fastball-curve combo (61 of the former, 37 of the latter), mixing in just nine changeups.

At 21 years and 244 days, McCullers became the youngest pitcher with a complete game featuring a double-digit strikeout total since Kerry Wood’s 20-K masterpiece on May 6, 1998; Wood was 20 years and 324 days. McCullers does have the distinction of doing so earlier in his major league career (fourth start) than Wood (fifth). Only five pitchers have recorded 10/0 games earlier in their careers, with one repeating the feat, and one matching McCullers:

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 8.29.31 PM

 

Albert Chen recently released an article that really celebrates young Lance… Workouts are fantastic.

He is 21 years old, 6’2″, 205 pounds, and can throw a baseball 100 miles per hour…

A few days a week, McCullers—who worked with Chinea through high school and reunited with him this winter after a rough 2014 season in the minors—pushed 4,000-pound cars in a parking lot, between 100 to 150 meters in distance, for lower body work. Days ended with McCullers standing over a tree trunk and swinging an ax 400 times into the wood, alternating horizontal and vertical swings with 30 reps, an exercise to maximize the shoulder’s structural rotation.

Note, he was the 41st pick in 2012 (a part of general manger Jeff Luhnow’s first draft class).

He has been working out with pitching coach Orlando Chinea, who specializes in Cubans(!) and also trains recent Marlins rookie of the year Jose Fernandez.

I’m not ready to call Eduardo Rodriguez for for Andrew Miller a steal yet. Andrew Miller is one of the best closers in the game right now, has been nasty for a while now, and is only getting better:

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 8.16.50 PM

Eduardo Perez looked great in his first two starts, but so did Mike Bolsinger… Let’s give this kid a couple years before we call this a “steal.”

Looks like the Cubs have another big hitting prospect coming down the pipe: Kyle Schwarber. Terrible name.

You like Lackey over Lester? Deal. Bet is who is higher on the Yahoo! player rater at the end of the season? Add it to the board. Also, make the board you keep promising to make and post…

Kevin:

Kip looks good.  And like seeing the Tribe round in to form.  It almost makes up for last night’s devastating loss . Things are looking up in Cleveland sports.

Paul Goldschmidt is a legit MVP candidate, and again, a guy that may be underrated, despite being repeatedly mentioned as such. I got to thinking, in regards to the pitching stats, which pitchers relied most on one or two pitches, specifically starters?  Tim Wakefield threw knuckleballs 85 percent of the time on his career.  What about non-knucklers?  Aroldis threw 82 percent fastballs, not at all surprising.  The fastball leader for this season??? FAT BART! He’s still winging 85.5 percent fastballs.  Second is the aforementioned Lance Lynn.  I don’t know what any of this means, but is is weirdly interesting, and something I will investigate further.

Rangers won in the 11th 2-1 over the White Sox.  Shin Shoo Choo hit the winning RBI single.  Gallo was walked once, singled, and 2K’s.  How many times will he strikeout this year?  That might be my favorite story to watch on the season. He’s currently on pace for 222.  That would be one behind the major league record set by Mark Reynolds and would tie him in second with Adam Dunn.  Granted he’s already missed about 50 games, which would make it way more impressive.  I will be posting daily K watches on him, until he slows his role. Given Choo’s game winner, I think it would be fun to have a former Indians All-Star team.  I also suspect it would be a really, really good team.  Add that to your to-do list.

The Athletics took down the Tigers 7-5.  Oakland has now won 6 of 7, and Detroit has lost seven in a row.  Oakland is still in last place in the American League, so the optimism is certainly restrained.    The Tigers look so good on paper, with solid batting averages, and big names, but sit just one game over .500.  Do they come back to be the really good team we would expect?

Pitcher’s duel in Houston.  Keuchel had his shortest start of the season, and it was still excellent.  6 innings, 2 runs.  Wei-Yin Chen continues to be lights out for the Orioles.  Adam Jones hit a homerun, and the O’s pulled it out 3-2.  I have to think any team facing Houston in a close game is frightened in the later innings.

Twins keep winning, this time taking down the Red Sox 8-4.  Twins legend Joe Mauer dropped a bunt in the bottom of the 9th, and the throw was mishandled by Kung-Fu Panda, his second error of the game.  It makes me feel younger to be seeing the Twins play well, led by Tori Hunter and Joe Mauer.  They should resign Johan Santana and we can all pretend it’s the mid-2000’s.  Is Panda overrated?  Could him leaving have been a lose lose?  It doesn’t seem to be helping Boston, and San Fran could sure have used his bat at different moments this season.

As for the board, emailed you a draft, make sure it looks right.  Also, we can publish the Red Carpet Hollywood Awards tomorrow, in lieu of a Roundup, as I will likely be taken with this party all day.  Sadly a short roundup from me today, as you covered a lot of my talking points, and it was a smaller slate of games.

Out

Tony:

I’ll finish with a couple things.

The A’s called up SWITCH pitcher Pat Venditte! That’s exciting stuff – can’t wait to see this guy. Venditte uses a special six-fingered glove and typically throws left-handed to left-handed batters and right-handed to right-handed batters. Against switch hitters, Venditte must declare which hand he will pitch with. He throws with more velocity from the right side. Venditte pitched in 17 games for the Triple A Nashville Sounds this season, recording a 1.36 ERA and 0.970 WHIP in 33 innings.

Draft is almost here.

Second-base prospects are both scarce and rarely successful, so it makes sense that scouting directors tend to pass over them. Second basemen are commonly on the small side, with low offensive ceilings, and there’s usually little upside in a middling hitter who lacks the ability to handle a more demanding position at the amateur level.

They are the fielding position that tends to bust the most:

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 8.14.50 PM

A recent article on Just a Bit Outside talks suggests that second basemen and their “low ceiling” are being short changed: “It isn’t so clear that the “low ceiling” label is as accurate as is often portrayed, and perhaps that guy getting stuck with a utility player label has a better chance of turning into an All-Star than he’ll be given credit for.” Of course, the ceiling of the second baseman he lists is considerably lower than the ceiling on guys at other positions – specifically outfield and the corners. I think he misses the point. The fact that there are good second basemen, and that someone at second base becomes an all star, doesn’t mean they are being under-drafted…

My favorite part of the article? When he includes Jason Kipnis and Dustin Pedroia – a former centerfielder and shortstop… That’s exactly the point: guys playing second are typically passed over for better guys playing elsewhere that can be moved to second.

Want to know who has done really well in the draft? The Tribe!

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 8.15.03 PMOf course, that list doesn’t show which farm system the guy came up in. For example, Tribe gets credit here for drafting Chris Archer, even though they didn’t really develop him. Still, glass is half full!

I told you at the beginning of the season Panda was overrated. Nothing about this surprises me.

 

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