Articles By Paul Martin:

Baseball Chatter 02/19

Dellin Betances wanted $5 million, and the Yankees were willing to pay him $3 million. It went to arbitration and Betances lost. What happens next is the good part…

Yankees president Randy Levine then decided to hold a press conference to let everyone know that Betances’ Betances’ agents at Excel Sports Management were trying to use Betances to “change the marketplace” for setup relievers by rewarding them with salaries suited for closers. Levine added that would be like him claiming “I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut.”

Ah, but you are an astronaut Mr. Levine:

Levine claiming that Betances asking price of $5 million “had no basis in reality,” leaves almost no chance of Betances pursuing a new contract with the Yankees. In fact, I see a trade coming…

So then, Rick Shapiro, a senior union executive tells Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:

“For the president of the Yankees to say the things he said is totally unprecedented in salary-arbitration history, an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.

“The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.

Francisco Liriano has worked on adjusting his release point to match what he’d done during his most successful years in Pittsburgh

Lonnie Chisenhall is slated to platoon with Brandon Guyer in right field this season,

Tyson Ross probably won’t be on a mound until mid-March

Glen Perkins threw a second bullpen session yesterday, but could still open the year on the disabled list. This recent surgery along with a decline in stuff and effectiveness could prevent him from seeing save opportunities this season.

The trade rumors centering around Andrew McCutchen were “more smoke than fire,” according to general manager Neal Huntington.

Justin Smoak manning first base and Steve Pearce handling left field on an everyday basis would be the “best-case scenario” for the Blue Jays this year, according to general manager Ross Atkins

David Peralta was in for a big season in 2016 before lower-back pains and a nagging wrist injury that limited him to 88 games, his lowest career total. Regression also showed in a .251 batting average, more than .060 points down from the previous season.

Clay Buchholz is 23-28 with a 4.60 ERA in 83 games over the past three seasons. He went 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA after being demoted from the starting rotation for carrying a 6.35 ERA into the final weekend of May. Perhaps moving to the National League, exchanging his navy cap for a red one and getting outfitted in red pinstripes for the first time will be the right recipe for Buchholz to become a consistent big league starter again. OR NOT

Terry Francona will stay with Cody Allen as closer. Andrew Miller will continue to be his troubleshooter. It’s a formula that worked well last season down the stretch and in the postseason. “I do like the idea of Cody finishing games and Andrew facing the meat of the order,” said Francona.

Jon Singleton is in major league spring training as a non-roster invitee. Under the terms of the five-year extension signed in June 2014, He will make $2 million this season no matter where he plays.

THE EFFECTOR

Ryan Madson doesn’t know if he will close or if manager Bob Melvin will hand Casilla the ball in the ninth inning. Melvin doesn’t know either. Or if it will be Casilla. And Madson is OK with it, no matter how it goes.

“Some of the biggest leverage situations are in the eighth inning, the seventh inning. And I enjoy pitching in the big leverage situations because that’s a rush. When you’ve pitched in 500 games, you want that fun rush feeling.”

The only other major-league pitcher known to have had the same injury (stress reaction in his right scapula) as Michael Wacha was Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy

Adrian Beltre suffered a calf strain. It shouldn’t affect his Opening Day status, but he may have to skip out on the World Baseball Classic.

Toronto Manager John Gibbons says Devon Travis has a chance to be one of the best hitters in all of Major League Baseball.

Yoan Moncada‘s son is only two years old, but he’s bat flipping like he’s 10 times that age.

  • New Jersey governor Chris Christie had some things to say about the Phillies. The team’s twitter account didn’t let it slide.

 

 

 

Baseball Chatter 02/18

Spring Watch:

The Cubs are only asking Kyle Schwarber to catch once or twice a week this spring, so it is unclear how much they plan to use him behind the dish during the season. Maddon suggested 20 games as catcher might be possible

Jon Gray went  7-2 at Coors Field, with a 4.30 ERA, 94 strikeouts and only 18 walks in 83⅔ innings.

JD Martinez struggled in right field with a career-high six errors. He  was ranked dead last in runs saved per game for right fielders (minus-22), a number that was twice as bad as the second to worst right fielder, according to The Fielding Bible and listed in the Bill James Handbook.

Eric Thames in Korea:

  • 79 runs batted in,.
  • 450 on-base percentage 
  • 64 stolen bases

Jarrod Parker has a huge edge Mac Williamson because he’s out of minor league options, but Bruce Bochy says the competition is wide open. Parker is a lefty and Williamson is a righty but they won’t platoon. Listen:

Cesar Hernandez was only successful on 56 percent of his steal attempts. It was the fifth worst rate in franchise history among players that attempted to steal at least 15 times.

Baseball Chatter 02/17

Chester Cuthbert will compete for the Royals starting second base job with Whit Merrifield, Christian Colon, and Raul Mondesi. Cuthbert did a good job filling in at third base when Mike Moustakas got injured, but Moustakas is back and Cuthbert is out of minor league options.

Jharel Cotton is ready for his first full season of major league play, looking to continue the success he had over his first five big league starts in 2016. He had a 2.15 ERA and 0.82 WHIP.

Alex Meyer reworked his delivery over the offseason, speeding up his windup while keeping his shoulder closed before he releases his pitches. Like many tall hurlers, the 6-foot-10 right-hander has struggled to sustain a consistent delivery and stay healthy. He had a 4.57 ERA in five starts, 21.2 innings. He struck out 24 24 but walked 13.

Max Scherzer will not commit to being ready for Opening Day. He dropped out of pitching in the WBC because of a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger.

Hyun-Jin Ryu‘s was throwing in the 84-86 mph range during his last bullpen session

Joey Gallo will have a chance to get in the Rangers’ left field mix, but will most likely open the year at Triple-A, playing third base, first base and left field

Jurickson Profar appears poised to start in left field against right-handed pitching this season

Cesar Hernandez looks to steal 30-40 bases this year and reported to Phillies camp with an added 15 pounds of muscle. Hernandez successfully stole 17 of 30 attempts last season. His .294 average will likely regress some , but that 10.6 percent walk rate shows he has the tools to build on his ability to swipe bags

Vincent Velasquez is working on his curveball this spring, Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Velasquez threw his two fastballs 64.2 percent of the time, per Fangraphs, though it was less productive because his changeup failed to complement the heat. Fangraphs (9.9 percent) and PITCHf/x (13.6) differ on how often he used his curveball, likely because some sliders and hooks often look too similar to identify properly.

Joe Ross plans on focusing on the development of his changeup this spring, The Washington Post reports. “That’s probably the biggest thing I’m going to work on throughout the spring,” Ross said Tuesday He threw the pitch 8.8 percent of the time last year, and it was more effective than it had been in 2015, but it’s still far from a reliable pitch for Ross. An improved change should help him against left-handed hitters, who slashed .313/.385/.439 against him last season

Nationals manager Dusty Baker doesn’t yet know who his closer will be in 2017, but he won’t be using a committee approach to the ninth inning, writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. The second-year Nats skipper flatly said that he doesn’t like the committee approach Shawn Kelley ,Koda Glover,Blake Treinen and Joe Nathan are candidates

Phils Manager Pete Mackanin did acknowledge that both Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos have “shown closer’s stuff,” but he stressed that Gomez is the current closer. The 29-year-old Gomez carried a 2.97 ERA into the 2016 season’s final month before being shelled for 17 earned runs in his final eight innings.

The Mets don’t consider it a setback, as Zach Wheeler’s initial physical revealed his elbow to be in seemingly fine condition. Rather, the current belief is that Wheeler’s mild discomfort comes from scar tissue and won’t be a longstanding issue.

The Blue Jays have agreed to a deal with right-hander Mat Latos, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter).

The Rays’ interest in free-agent catcher Matt Wieters is serious enough that they’ve made a formal offer, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. However, the team’s offer is “likely for one year” and would be less lucrative than whatever figure Wieters and agent Scott Boras are still hoping to find in free agency

Wil Myers is targeting a 40-homer, 40-steal season in 2017, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Unless Tyler Glasnow pitches lights-out during spring training, he’ll likely begin 2017 with Triple-A Indianapolis. “He’s got to go out and compete, and show some improvements,” manager Clint Hurdle told Pirates Prospects Glasnow is working on two pitches that he rarely threw in 2016, including a changeup and a two-seam fastball. He’s also shortening his stride in an effort improve upon his command

Archie Bradley went 8-9 with a 5.34 ERA in 141 2/3 innings last season, but four of his last seven were quality starts, including a career high 11 strikeouts against the Padres in the season finale.

Attn Dynasty Leagures

A “minor spike” in workload from Carl Edwards Jr. 60 combined appearances (61⅓ innings) between Triple-A and the majors could wind up with a significant setup role this season and possibly the closer’s job in the next year or two

David Dahl and Gerardo Parra will compete for the starting left field job during camp.

  • Dahl made a strong impression last season as a rookie, hitting .315 with seven home runs in 63 games (222 at-bats).
  • Parra, slowed by an ankle injury, had a disappointing season after signing a three-year, $27.5 million contract. He hit .253 with a .271 on-base percentage, both career lows, and drew only nine walks in 381 at-bats. Last year, Parra wasn’t at the top of his game.

Yankees prospects:

  • Clint Frazier is likely a corner outfielder if he gets to the majors.
  • Jorge Mateo is a middle infielder who might be converted to center field, but hasn’t played higher than Single-A.
  • Dustin Fowler hasn’t played a game above Double-A

Aaron Altherr is possibly the best defensive Phillies player and has a chance to secure an opening-day spot as their starting right fielder. Altherr had his best minor-league numbers of his career in 2015 and finished off the season by showing some bursts of power (11 doubles and five home runs) and speed (four triples and six stolen bases) in 39 big-league games. He later faltered as his wrist injury was still a problem

Jeanmar Gomez‘s lack of strikeout stuff means he is more reliant on his defense for outs, and less able to pitch his own way out of trouble. It also means he is reliant on baseball’s maddening odds.

In his last 19 appearances, his ratios remained largely the same as they were in his first 51

  • ground ball ratio, which was actually better in that end-of-the-season stretch 1.21, compared with 1.13
  • Nearly the same`percentage of balls in play, the difference being:
    • 44.1 percent of them went for hits in his last 19 appearances, including eight for extra bases, in 72 total at-bats
    • In his first 51 games, just 28.6 percent of his balls in play resulted in hits, with 13 going for extra bases, in 198 total at-bats

Andrew McCutchen has never played in right field during his professional career. He started 1,175 games in center.

Starling Marte‘s 580 games in the majors, Marte played 338 of total 580 major league games in right field

Gregory Polanco, who debuted in 2014, appeared in 338 games in right. He played in 37 games in left field and seven in center.

All three outfielders will play in the World Baseball Classic, which means they won’t have much time together in Pirates camp to adjust to their new roles.

Luke Weaver, 23, was 1-4 with a 5.70 ERA over 36 1/3 innings in the majors last season. He’s likely to start the season at Class AAA Memphis if Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Leake, Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha remain healthy and effective.

Weaver allowed 11.4 hits per nine innings in the majors, 3.3 hits more per nine innings than he averaged in the minors. After averaging 0.3 home runs allowed per nine innings in the minors, he gave up 1.7 homers per nine innings in the majors. He issued three walks per nine innings, almost twice as many as his 1.6 walks per nine innings in the minors.

 

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Baseball Chatter 02/16 Part 2

There will not be an innings limit for Aaron Sanchez in 2017

Javier Baez was so valuable at second base that he owned the starting job for the Cubs all 17 postseason games last fall.

Mets Pitching

Mets manager Terry Collins told Travis d’Arnaud that the team wants him to play about 100 games this seaso

Michael Wacha 2016:

  • Significant increase in BABIP, from .272 to .334
  • Strand rate was down by six percent at  64.7
  • 3.21 ERA in 353 IP from 2013-15

The Nats signed Adam Lind to a  one year contract with option for second year.

Eduardo Rodriguez was cleared for his first pen session of the spring after suffering a minor knee injury in winter ball action and threw 40 pitches without any setbacks

A’s other potential closers

Lance McCullers has adopted a more compact arm action designed to alleviate the stress on his arm

Indians manager Terry Francona said he is not sure whether Carlos Santana or Edwin Encarnacion will be the primary first baseman this season.

Michael Brantley won’t play in Cleveland’s early spring training games but he still hopes to be ready for Opening Day

Tyson Ross is throwing from 100 feet every day, but is still unclear when he will return to the mound, He is gaining back strength after thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October. There’s no timetable at this point

Clayton Kershaw said Wednesday that he has “no worries or concerns” about last year’s back injury He decided not to pitch in the WBC.

Drew Hutchison will compete against Steven Brault, Trevor Williams and Tyler Glasnow for the No. 5 spot in the Pirates rotation

 

Brewers Bullpen 2016:

  • 3.61 ERA ranked sixth in the National League.
  • 46 Saves out of 69 opportunities.
  • 13 Relievers used
  • Only three relievers in baseball pitched more innings than Carlos Torres‘ 82 1/3
Baseball Chatter 02/16

Ozzie Albies is recovering well from the surgery he had to repair the fractured olecranon bone at the tip of his right elbow in September. He has still not been cleared to do full hitting and throwing but he has been hitting light toss balls and making progress on throwing program.

Rockies pitchers committed 23 errors last season, third most in the major leagues. New manager Bud Black vows to make improved fielding a priority for his pitchers.

Opponents stole 100 bases against the Rockies a season ago and were thrown out just 31 times. (23.7 caught-stealing percentage) They ranked 20th in the major leagues. This was not all on the catchers as some pitchers lack awareness and slow delivery also played a role.

 

Another example of ‘The Effector’

Astros manager A.J. Hinch reiterated Tuesday he reserves the right to deploy his closer earlier than the ninth inning if the situation calls for it.A game’s highest-leverage moment often occurs before the ninth inning, a notion managers have acted on more and more in recent seasons. Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona‘s non-traditional usage of Andrew Miller in last year’s postseason is the most notable example.

The Dodgers spent the most money on free agents this offseason – approximately $200 million. But nearly all of that money was spent to keep last year’s team together, including $194 million committed to Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, Rich Hill and, surprisingly, Chase Utley.

Brewers Pitching in 2016:

0  Complete games

15  Most Quality starts = Zach Davies,

16  Most Losses in NL = Jimmy Nelson

2.92  ERA over his last 10 = Wily Peralta

14-6   = Junior Guerra  

Mets Jay Bruce will receive a look at first base in spring training, as Terry Collins attempts to find at-bats for all his outfielders and establish an insurance policy on Lucas Duda.

Braves new SunTrust Park will be a relatively neutral stadium for pitchers and hitters.

Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco might have to wait until after they finish playing in the World Baseball Classic to start getting acclimated to their new outfield positions.

Clint Hurdle said McCutchen will bat third again this season.

Last year, McCutchen hit:

  • .268/.349/.450 in 60 games in the number three spot
  • .237/.317/.402 in 61 games in the number two spot.

Mini Thor

  • Auction Tip….If you overpay for a key player, adjust by knowing cheaper comps for lesser player of importance
  • Saying “I like this player” means little without saying why.
  • Most teams use more than five starters, Find a #6 on a good team for your reserves
  • Intentional Walks take 40 seconds
  • Brandon Belt – .394 OBP% likely to bat second and more SB’s
  • You should now be formulating various teams and referring to benchmarks
  • Your last draft pick should be a player you wont regret dropping
  • Zack Greinke accounts for nearly half (46.7%) of the Diamondbacks $72.8 million payroll in 2017
  • Pitching is key but it doesn’t have to be Clayton Kershaw. I am targeting three starters in the first five rounds
  • Banning laptops from drafts is ridiculous. You should still make lists though
  • No More Arguments over Thought of the day. I will have my own thought of the day
  • A thought a day keeps the doctor away

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