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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 899

post #26941 of 73441
Originally Posted by Jor-El View Post
Originally Posted by trueprada View Post

Twice tonight. His first and last AB. This was something off of Broadway.

Dude really made an account right now to hate on Jeter? :rollin

post #26942 of 73441
waits for... "but he still got to hit the ball"
srsly, he should not play the remaining gms. this is hollywood ending
post #26943 of 73441

I know a lot of people have been against this whole Jeter farewell tour.....


But tonight was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.  Without getting all emotional, what happened tonight at Yankee stadium is not only a prime example of what makes baseball the best sport on earth, but just a reminder of why we watch sports in general.  The stories that are told on the field.....The raw emotion that we experience on a day to day basis.....Just incredible.


I'm not even a Yankee fan, but with Mariano being taken out by Pettite and Jeter last year, and what happened tonight.....I experienced all sorts of feels.


Hats off to Derek Jeter.  And hats off to the game we all love.



post #26944 of 73441
#2 smokin.giffrown.gif
post #26945 of 73441

Jeter with that last at bat :Nthat

post #26946 of 73441

still can't believe we won't have Jeter out there on the diamond :( 


Dallas Cowboys. Boston Red Sox. Los Angeles Lakers. Anaheim Ducks.





Hilary Duff




Dallas Cowboys. Boston Red Sox. Los Angeles Lakers. Anaheim Ducks.





Hilary Duff



post #26947 of 73441

If Derek Jeter gets 3 more hits this year, he'll have 18 150-hit seasons, tying an MLB record held by Rose, Speaker & Cobb.

post #26948 of 73441




post #26949 of 73441

Pretty special moment. Not a Yankee fan but always respected Jeter. Whether or not you believe he is as great as people claim, it doesn't really matter. That was special. 

Fire & Blood
Fire & Blood
post #26950 of 73441

My ***** up there really made an account to say that though. :rollin:rollin:{


Bunch of Buzz Killingtons and Debbie Downers in here. :lol


Couldn't care less if it was grooved or not. That **** was perfect either way.


El Capitan. :hat

…Veni, Vidi, Vici...


…Veni, Vidi, Vici...

post #26951 of 73441
no way that pitch was grooved. people just poking fun after the ASG scandal laugh.gif

regardless of whether or not you like him, that clip gives you chills. fitting way to say goodbye to yankee fans. trying to imagine what it'd be like playing the same position for the same team for all these years and going out to your spot at SS one last time after winning the game to say bye to the crowd. pretty nuts.
Boston Bruins | New England Patriots | Boston Red Sox | Georgetown Hoyas | Michigan Wolverines |
Arsenal FC | Huevos Rancheros Hockey | USMNT
Boston Bruins | New England Patriots | Boston Red Sox | Georgetown Hoyas | Michigan Wolverines |
Arsenal FC | Huevos Rancheros Hockey | USMNT
post #26952 of 73441
The hate in here sick.gif
post #26953 of 73441

his hit in the first was given......pitcher couldn't even keep a straight face


same w/ the 9th...


the error was on purpose......any other day that throw was going to first base



It is what it is and I'm glad he had his moment but don't play dumb like this **** was organic. Michael Jordan final shot >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



even though jordan came back years later 

post #26954 of 73441
We've seen the last of Derek in at SS tonight. He said he will play in some capacity up in Boston out of respect to the fans, so obviously either DH or pinch-hit.

My favorite athlete of all time is on his way out. So damn bittersweet. Derek Jeter, my captain... baseballs captain pimp.gif
New York Yankees | New York Jets
New York Yankees | New York Jets
post #26955 of 73441
Originally Posted by Mr Marcus View Post

his hit in the first was given......pitcher couldn't even keep a straight face

same w/ the 9th...

the error was on purpose......any other day that throw was going to first base

It is what it is and I'm glad he had his moment but don't play dumb like this **** was organic. Michael Jordan final shot >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

You're better than this
post #26956 of 73441
The Captain. F'ing Jeter. Enjoy the HOF. Baseball is awesome

From Smith to Friedman, we know what's up

Official Member of the Steeler Nation

From Smith to Friedman, we know what's up

Official Member of the Steeler Nation
post #26957 of 73441
Originally Posted by dmxfury View Post

The Captain. F'ing Jeter. Enjoy the HOF. Baseball is awesome


post #26958 of 73441

post #26959 of 73441

I'm sorry but that last pitch bottom of the 9th was fat like BP status.


Straight up 85 mph fast ball belt high. :rollin


I love Jeter, my dad woulda died for the Yankees but tonight's shenanigans were obvious. 

post #26960 of 73441
Originally Posted by trueprada View Post

Jeter still smashin the DirecTV girl? Thought he moved on already. :lol

post #26961 of 73441
I change my stance. While it was manufactured it was a cool send off pimp.gif
post #26962 of 73441
Thread Starter 
I'll try to not make it Yankee centered this morning.

Sponsored Post: The Core Four Dynasty.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Last night, Derek Jeter played his final game at Yankee Stadium, and his career will come to a close this Sunday in Boston, putting an official end to the era of the Yankees Core Four: Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada have already sailed off into the metaphorical sunset. And certainly, this particular Yankee dynasty will go down as the premier team of their time.

Over the last 20 years, since those four debuted together in 1995, the Yankees have won 1,897 games, and have a chance to push that to 1,900 total wins with a strong finish this weekend. This mark is easily the best of any team during the Core Four’s reign, 63 wins ahead of the second place Braves and more than 100 wins. This is the group that returned the Yankees to their historical place atop baseball’s landscape, and re-established the franchise’s legacy for a new generation.

And what a legacy it is. This isn’t the Yankees first 20 year stretch of dominance, of course, and the end of the Core Four era allows us to look back at some of the other dominant runs the Yankees have had throughout their history.

Of course, any story about the Yankees history has to start with the Babe Ruth era. After posting just one winning season in the eight years prior to acquiring Ruth from the Red Sox, the team won more games than they lost in 14 of the 15 years Ruth wore the pinstripes. Before acquiring Ruth, the franchise had never reached the World Series; they did it seven times during his time with the team, including their first four championships. During the Ruth era, the Yankees won 61 percent of their games, and dominated baseball in a way that it hadn’t been dominated before.

Of course, things didn’t exactly fall apart when he left, either. With Lou Gehrig around to keep the torch lit, the Yankees won four consecutive World Series titles from 1936-1939, putting an emphatic cap on the two decades of the Ruth/Gehrig combination. From Ruth’s Yankee debut in 1920 to Gehrig’s forced retirement in 1939, the Yankees went 1,903-1,156, good for a remarkable .622 winning percentage. And, of course, the eight World Series championships. The Ruth/Gehrig Yankees were baseball’s first true dynasty, and perhaps remain the most famous dynasty in baseball history.

But if we’re judging Yankee dynasties on their regular season record, the Ruth/Gehrig era teams actually don’t sit atop the pile for the best two-decade run the franchise has ever seen. That belongs to the run of teams that began with the first Gehrig-only championship in 1936. From that point through 1955 — when a center fielder named Mickey Mantle was beginning to blossom into one of the game’s true legends — the Yankees went 1,927-1,142, good for a .628 winning percentage.

They reached the World Series 14 times in those 20 years, and they won 12 of those 14 appearances. Even their down years during this stretch were incredible; in 1954, they went 103-51, but missed the playoffs because the Cleveland Indians won 111 games, setting the American League record for wins in a season. That’s what it took to keep the Yankees out of the World Series in those days; win more games than anyone ever has before.

From that peak in 1955, the team’s rolling 20 year winning percentage began a slow, steady decline, and the team went through some relatively lean years in the 1970s and 1980s; from 1965 to 1984, the team won just three World Series titles in 30 years. One championship every 10 years might be cause for celebration in another city, but compared to the standards that had been set with Ruth’s arrival in New York, it simply wasn’t what Yankee fans had come to expect.

But the Core Four put the franchise back on track. Beginning with their arrival in 1995 through this season, here are the rolling 20 year winning percentages for the Yankees:

Playing in the modern baseball landscape doesn’t allow for quite so much dominance as the sport used to allow — more teams, more playoff spots, free agency, and tools like the luxury tax have made the game far more balanced — but the Jeter-led Yankees restored the Yankees as baseball’s premier franchise, and created a dynasty that will be remembered as one of baseball’s best.

Derek Jeter: Not Just a Good Hitter for a Shortstop.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Derek Jeter‘s final game at Yankee Stadium ended like a Disney movie. That’s not an insult; moments like this are one of the reasons why we love baseball.
You don’t have to like Jeter or the Yankees to enjoy that moment. There is perhaps no better way for Jeter to leave Yankee Stadium than with a game-winning, opposite-field single.

As his career comes to a close, nearly everyone who covers baseball has weighed in on Jeter’s legacy, and unfortunately, part of that legacy is his status as a poster boy for disagreements between the traditional media and the statistically inclined crowd, especially regarding his defensive value. Jeter’s poor ratings at shortstop have made him the subject of numerous articles on defensive performance, and that has created the perception that Jeter has been a poor defender; a notion which Jeff did a nice job of debunking earlier this year.

But that’s not the only misconception I heard fairly regularly about Jeter. Perhaps because his career spanned the era where nearly ever team had a shortstop who could hit 30 home runs, even Jeter’s offensive value has been called into question, and more than once, I’ve had people ask me if Jeter was even really a great hitter; would we hold him in the same high esteem if he had (perhaps rightfully) been moved to an easier defensive position earlier in his career?

The answer should be yes, absolutely. Jeter doesn’t need to be compared to shortstops to be recognized as one of the best offensive performers of all time.

Let’s just start with the easiest way to look at this. In the history of baseball, 955 players have had careers spanning at least 5,000 plate appearances, and Jeter has more offensive runs above average than all but 89 of them. At 350 offensive runs above average — and remember, OFF is using the average hitter as a baseline with no regard to position — Jeter is actually a few runs ahead of David Ortiz (347 offensive runs above average) on the all-time leaderboard, and a significant chunk of baseball observers think Ortiz has earned a spot in the Hall of Fame despite being the ultimate defensive liability.

Of course, the primary driver of their respective rankings is playing time, as Jeter has nearly 4,000 more plate appearances than Ortiz. On a per plate appearance basis, Jeter isn’t Big Papi, but even if we even out playing time, Jeter still ranks ahead of some of the more notable sluggers of our time. For instance:

Player OFF/600
Sammy Sosa 18.4
Derek Jeter 16.7
Adam Dunn 15.5
Ryan Howard 15.3
Sosa hit 600 homers in his career, Dunn might get to 500, and while Howard has declined fairly rapidly, he was a legitimate force as a cleanup hitter for the better part of a decade. And Jeter has been their offensive equivalent, only he’s done it for 50 to 100 percent more plate appearances. Adam Dunn isn’t an all-time great player, of course, but if he had a 20 year career while performing at his career averages, would anyone question whether he was really a productive hitter?

Or, maybe you’d prefer to look at guys who did end up in the Hall of Fame, almost entirely because of what they did at the plate? For instance, there’s Dave Winfield (19.7 OFF/600), Eddie Murray (19.2), and Paul Molitor (18.2) just ahead of Jeter, with Robin Yount (10.1) a good deal below. Molitor is perhaps the best example, as he and Jeter had almost the same career on offense.

Derek Jeter 12593 9% 15% 0.130 0.350 0.309 0.377 0.439 0.360 119 43.6
Paul Molitor 12167 9% 10% 0.142 0.326 0.306 0.369 0.448 0.361 122 46.6
Molitor was elected to the Hall of Fame on his first try, receiving 85 percent of the vote in the process, despite the fact that he spent nearly half of his career as a designated hitter. Molitor’s career is Jeter’s offense mixed with almost no defensive value, and he was an unquestioned Hall of Famer.

Jeter wasn’t Ted Williams, but he also wasn’t just an okay hitter who stands out because of his positional peers. We shouldn’t just see Jeter as a great hitter for a shortstop, but a great hitter period.

The Week and Year in Pitcher Triples.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Maybe, when you were younger, you observed a pitcher triple in the wild. These days they’re mostly found in captivity, and they spend a lot of time sleeping and they don’t like to breed.

Looking over the history of baseball, two trends emerge, related to one another. Pitcher triples are going away. Relative to a century ago, a pitcher triple now is almost ten times less likely. It’s half as likely as it was in the 70s and 80s. Pitchers, overall, are getting worse at hitting, relative to the rest of the league, because pitchers are more specialized than ever. They’re also taking fewer chances on the basepaths, as measured by the ratio of doubles to triples. Some of that last bit could additionally be explained by recent emphasis on defense and differently-aligned ballparks, but it’s clear that pitchers are getting worse, and they’re getting more conservative. So it’s not like anyone should expect a pitcher-triple rebound.

Let’s bring this back to current events. Through last season, the lowest pitcher-triple total in a year was three, first achieved in 1991, and achieved again in 2010. Last year, there were ten pitcher triples, the highest total since 2005. And this year? As of Friday, September 19, there had been zero pitcher triples. As of dinner time on the west coast on Saturday, September 20, there had been zero pitcher triples. There have since been three pitcher triples. All of the year’s pitcher triples have come in the last five days, off the bats of Andrew Cashner, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw. Arrieta and Kershaw both delivered on Wednesday. Let us reflect, as humans do.

Andrew Cashner pitcher triple

Date: September 20
Against: Yusmeiro Petit
Location: Petco Park
Time: 11.4 seconds
How It Happened

A triple is better than a double, but one of the things about triples is that, in order for them to exist, they often need for the ball to be hit worse. What Cashner actually hit was a fairly ordinary groundball. This, then, was all about placement, as he spotted the grounder just down the left-field line. You’ll note it’s pretty uncommon for someone to triple to left field, because third base is basically a border stop on the way into left field, but as the baseball rolled into the corner, Gregor Blanco was anticipating a bounce that didn’t happen. So he paused before resuming his pursuit, and that gave Cashner the necessary extra fraction of time. The play wasn’t close, and Cashner got himself within 90 feet of scoring with one out.

How He Ran

Cashner was booking it the whole time. The Padres, like every other baseball team, employ a third-base coach. Cashner either forgot, or didn’t care, or was feuding.

How He Reacted

Wait, no, that’s the creepy screenshot. Here’s the right screenshot.

Cashner celebrated emphatically when he arrived, and he didn’t deviate much from his intense and terrifying game face. But as shown here, he did almost smirk, and he awkwardly pointed double pistols to the dugout, like real hitters do. A lot of teams have little hand signals they flash to one another when they deliver a big hit. Cashner is seemingly aware of them, but doesn’t really practice them, because, you know.


About that 11.4 seconds — I timed randomly-selected recent triples by Jorge Soler and Norichika Aoki at 11.8 seconds. Despite the beard, Cashner’s an athlete, and that’s why he’s been used by the Padres as a pinch-runner four times since last season. A year ago he stole two bases, which is an extremely uncommon feat for any pitcher in this day and age. Since last year Cashner has also been used by the Padres twice as a pinch-hitter. That’s a bit more troubling. On account of this being the Padres, after Cashner’s one-out triple above, he didn’t score.

Jake Arrieta pitcher triple

Date: September 24
Against: John Lackey
Location: Wrigley Field
Time: 12.2 seconds
How It Happened

Not only do we have a pitcher triple — we have a pitcher triple in an 0-and-2 count. Lackey didn’t even really miss his target, but Arrieta protected and threw his hands at the ball, and he laced a liner to right-center that split the outfielders. The Cardinals didn’t do anything fundamentally wrong, but Oscar Taveras doesn’t run that well and he took a suboptimal angle, and the ball rested right up against the wall, which gave Arrieta the time he needed. I don’t know why Arrieta kept going, since there were two outs and he’s a pitcher for Pete’s sake, but he beat the close relay.

How He Ran

Arrieta, obviously, made it to third safely, and any human, obviously, needs some time to accelerate, but Arrieta wasn’t exactly sprinting out of the box, and he probably didn’t realize he had a shot at a triple until he was something like halfway down to first. If he’d been going the whole time, maybe he would’ve been safe by a greater margin, but if he’d been going the whole time, maybe he would’ve pulled his hamstring, so the ends can justify the means for all I care.

How He Reacted

People who aren’t used to sprinting get winded after sprinting. A good way to disguise that is to pretend to fix something on your shoe. Arrieta could’ve elected to be fired up, because he drove home a pair of runners against a division rival. On the other hand, he’s a Cub in September, so what is he really playing for?


Arrieta’s two-out, two-run triple broke a scoreless tie. It followed an intentional walk of Logan Watkins, who I swear I’ve never heard of before. By Win Probability Added, it was the fifth-biggest hit by a pitcher all season long, and pretty close to being second. In the brief glimpse we get of John Lackey in the video highlight, he isn’t swearing.

Clayton Kershaw pitcher triple

Date: September 24
Against: Tim Hudson
Location: Dodger Stadium
Time: 12.5 seconds
(Skip ahead to 0:39)

How It Happened

Cashner’s triple was an example of a triple that had to be hit less hard than another hit. Kershaw’s triple is an example of a triple that had to be hit more hard than another hit. Kershaw essentially hit a single up the middle. It’s recorded on FanGraphs as a line drive, but it’s recorded on Baseball-Reference as a groundball. It looks like a single you’ve seen a million times, but then everything’s different, owing to the speed of the ball off the bat, and to the alignment of the outfielders. The first time the ball bounced, it was off the infield dirt, to the side of second base. A few seconds later the ball reached the outfield fence, because the Giants had left a ton of space vacant, not expecting Kershaw to put the ball where he did. It really couldn’t have been placed any better, and wouldn’t you know it, but for the second time in less than a week, Gregor Blanco was retrieving a baseball hit by a pitcher who was getting an easy triple. For the second time in less than a week, Pablo Sandoval was manning third base when a pitcher reached it more or less unchallenged. It was a groundball, stand-up triple, hit up the middle, off the dirt.

How He Ran

Never a doubt in Kershaw’s mind. He didn’t look at the third-base coach, but he didn’t have to, because he was fully aware of what the baseball was doing out there between the outfielders. You can see Kershaw push off as he’s rounding second base, to really try to gun it. As with Arrieta’s triple, this one came with two outs, so maybe it wasn’t worth the injury risk, but it’s not like Kershaw is some delicate vase, and people run all the time without getting hurt. Remember the last time you went running? You sure didn’t get hurt! Unless you did. Probably at least one of you did, but many more than one of you have run recently, and few of you are big-league caliber athletes.

How He Reacted

Kershaw was winded, and he didn’t try to hide it. For a guy so well known for his intense, unwavering focus on game days, it’s rare to see Kershaw break character, yet he couldn’t help but smile when he saw his own teammates freaking out nearby. It wasn’t a big toothy grin, and Kershaw didn’t hold it for long, and he certainly didn’t try to show up his opponent, but for a few moments during a game in which he was playing, Clayton Kershaw didn’t look like he could kill you in cold blood, and so there were a few reasons this was out of the ordinary.


This season there have been three pitcher triples, and Clayton Kershaw has one of them. This season there have been two pitcher stolen bases, and Clayton Kershaw has one of them. Anthony Bass had a triple and a steal in 2012, but then you have to go back to Orlando Hernandez in 2006, so this isn’t an ordinary thing. Kershaw is also the greatest starting pitcher on the planet, so it’s not really fair for him to have positive offensive WAR. But if Clayton Kershaw were fair, he wouldn’t be Clayton Kershaw.

How Hitters Are Trying To Beat Clayton Kershaw.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball, and I’m not even going to waste your time backing that up with evidence. It’s true. You know this to be true. We’ll accept that and move on. There’s no shortage of reasons why Kershaw is so good, but a pretty good shorthand is that there are four things a pitcher can do that are of the utmost importance, and he’s great at all of them. He gets strikeouts (first in K%), limits walks (seventh in BB%), avoids the longball (third in HR/9), and keeps the ball on the ground (14th in GB%). If you can do all that, the rest of it doesn’t really matter.

It helps, of course, that has three dominant pitches. His fastball ranks second in baseball in our pitch values. His slider is the best. His curveball is fifth-best. This is completely unfair, and that’s part of the reason his walk rates are so low. Since he’s got three pitches that are basically unhittable, he has little reason to nibble around the corners. Only three pitchers have a higher Zone%; only three pitchers have a higher first-pitch strike percentage. (Unsurprisingly, Phil Hughes leads both lists.)

No one’s found a way to beat him, not reliably, anyway; in his 27 starts this year, only once did he allow more than three earned runs. But it doesn’t mean hitters aren’t constantly trying to figure out how, because “simply waiting until he retires in 12 years or so” seems like it might take some time. So they’re doing something that may seem counter-intuitive: They’re swinging as soon as they can. After years and years of being told “be patient, work the count, get into the bullpen,” — not a terrible thought, since the Dodgers bullpen beyond Kenley Jansen & J.P. Howell is more than a little problematic — hitters are abandoning patience and are simply trying to attack Kershaw early.

That’s been true for the last few years, but especially so this year:

That data was all culled from Baseball Savant, and it’s also useful to know where that places Kershaw among his MLB peers:

2010: 6.489% (98th)
2011: 8.042% (16th)
2012: 7.783% (31st)
2013: 8.313% (10th)
2014: 11.131% (most)

In the nearly-completed season of 2014, no pitcher in baseball has had more first-pitch swings against him. Hughes is second, as you’d expect, because this necessarily requires a pitcher who is throwing strikes, so you’re never going to see an Edinson Volquez high on a list like this. Maybe you’d think that a hitter knows he has little chance to do anything productive against Kershaw, and would rather spare himself the pain and just get back to the bench as quickly as possible. That’s probably not true, but I wouldn’t entirely rule it out.

Some of this is about Kershaw, but a lot of it isn’t. Dave Cameron has written a few times about how after years of the “work the count” approach being the rage, we’ve probably reached the point of diminishing returns. Hitters should swing more often at the first pitch, because if the pitcher thinks you’re just going to allow him that first-pitch strike, then that over-the-plate 0-0 offering might be the most hittable pitch you’re going to see.

Over the last few years, the first-pitch take has all but lost its advantage over the first-pitch swing, and an overly passive approach to attacking hittable 0-0 pitches could be part of the culprit.

Being selective shouldn’t be equated with standing there watching a centered, elevated fastball get called for strike one, but maybe major-league hitters have indeed become a little too willing to take a good first pitch, only to strike out before ever seeing another meatball again.

In the chart above, you can see that the trend is maybe, ever-so-slightly, starting to turn in the other direction, but since it’s by such a small amount — less than one percentage point increase in the last five seasons — it’s difficult to say anything meaningful about whether that’s true. The point is, even if it’s not happening yet, there’s ample reason to support the idea that the trend of patience has gone too far, and that hitters should swing earlier.

From 2011-13, when Kershaw had moved past his “I am a very, very good pitcher” stage of 2009-10 and into his “I will destroy everyone in my sight” phase that we’re currently enjoying, he’d generated a small amount of extra first-pitch swings, generally in the one percent range. Since he was usually throwing more first-pitch strikes than the league average, that makes sense. But this year, that number skyrocketed, and he’s now getting four percent more first-pitch swings.

So why the change? Maybe it’s not that complicated. It’s because if you’re getting down in the count and he gets to throw that curveball or slider at you, you’re doomed. As catcher A.J. Ellis told the Los Angeles Times in July, part of what’s made Kershaw’s 2014 so impressive, even compared to the multiple Cy Young years he’s had, is the consistency on both of those breaking pitches, which, again, are both in the top five in baseball:

But from his view behind home plate, catcher A.J. Ellis said he has noticed a change.

“The biggest thing for me has been the consistency of the breaking balls,” Ellis said. “Usually, he’ll have his ‘A’ slider but maybe his ‘C’ or ‘D’ curveball or vice versa, where the slider’s not working but the curveball is. During this run, he’s had an ‘A’ curveball and an ‘A’ slider this entire time. They’re both just electric strikeout pitches, which is why I think you’re seeing him have strikeout totals that have been unmatched in his career. He gets to two strikes, he could go either way.”

We have Brooks, so we can see how doomed:

Kershaw, 2014, With two strikes
Pitch Type Count AB K BB 1B 2B 3B HR BAA SLG ISO
Fourseam 273 111 58 11 13 1 1 1 0.144 0.198 0.054
Slider 332 159 103 7 8 4 1 2 0.094 0.170 0.076
Curve 225 109 72 1 8 2 1 1 0.110 0.174 0.064
There’s just nothing good that comes from that. Don’t let Clayton Kershaw get two strikes on you. Just don’t. Don’t do it. Total, hitters have a .117/.159/.180 line when down two strikes to Kershaw, regardless of how many balls. It doesn’t end well, so you can see why they’d want to avoid it so badly.

I’m not going to show you every single ball/strike combination here — you can easily find that at Brooks or B-ref, and it’s not like there’s a time where Kershaw is ever really vulnerable – but since the point is first pitches, let’s show the 0-0 results, and something interesting happens there:

Kershaw, 2014, 0-0 count
Pitch Type Count AB K BB 1B 2B 3B HR BAA SLG ISO
Fourseam 613 94 0 0 19 7 1 2 0.309 0.468 0.160
Sinker 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000
Change 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1.000 4.000 3.000
Slider 92 10 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.100 0.100 0.000
Curve 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000
Obviously, even the great Kershaw isn’t getting any strikeouts on the first pitch, so ignore that column. What’s interesting is that despite the fact that he’s been steadily decreasing his fastball usage overall in favor of his elite slider, the first pitch of a plate appearance is overwhelmingly going to be a fastball — 85% this year, in fact.

So if you’re a hitter, you know three things about Kershaw:

1) He’s very likely to throw you a fastball on the first pitch
2) More often than not, that pitch is going to be in the strike zone
3) Heaven help you if you get behind in the count and have to face that slider or curve

With those items in mind, it makes a lot of sense to swing early against Kershaw, because that first-pitch fastball might just be the best prayer you have, and you can see in that last chart that hitters have had at least some amount of success when trying that approach.

It’s a good plan, for good reasons, and we can see that more hitters than ever are trying it. But does it matter? Only if you can make it matter. Looking at the ultimate outcome of plate appearances against Kershaw this year, hitters who swung at the first pitch have a .532 OPS. Hitters who didn’t have a .516 OPS, which isn’t much of a difference. Since they have a .761 OPS when the 0-0 pitch is the only pitch of the plate appearance — which really isn’t so bad — that means that the ones who have tried and failed to jump on the first pitch aren’t any better off than the ones who watched. And, of course, giving Kershaw quick, low-pitch plate appearances allows him a better opportunity to stay in the game, so that you’re still stuck with him in the late innings rather than getting to feast on Jamey Wright or Chris Perez or Brandon League or whichever other non-Jansen/Howell member of the soft Dodger bullpen would be in there.

Ultimately, there’s a lot of good reason to try to attack Kershaw early, and some small evidence that it works. Of course, it’s all easier said than done. Even if you want to argue that Kershaw’s fastball is merely his third-best pitch, it’s still one of the absolute best in the major leagues. Even when he’s not great, he’s great. It’s just not fair.

Mariners’ Scouting Director Tom McNamara on Alex Jackson and High School Picks.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
With the sixth-overall pick of this year’s amateur draft, the Seattle Mariners selected 18-year-old Alex Jackson out of Rancho Bernardo [CA] High School. Their second selection, which came 74th-overall, was 18-year-old Gareth Morgan out of North Toronto Collegiate [high school] in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Tom McNamara, as one would expect, is bullish on both. The Mariners’ director of amateur scouting went the collegiate route with the club’s top pick in four of his first five drafts – Taijuan Walker, in 2010, was the exception – but he couldn’t pass up Jackson’s potential. Ditto Morgan’s, despite McNamara’s admission that the Canadian outfielder is a relatively unpolished project.

Jackson was also drafted as an outfielder, but it wasn’t his primary position in high school. The 6-foot-2, 215-lb. slugger was a catcher, but Seattle appears to be set behind the plate for a good long while with 2012 first-round pick Mike Zunino. And while McNamara didn’t say it so many words, he seemingly suggested Jackson could be in the big leagues sooner than some might think.


McNamara on scouting Alex Jackson: “We saw him for three years. It’s not like we just stumbled across him this spring. He played for the Area Code team in California — Long Beach. We saw him at the Under Armour All-Star, at Wrigley. We saw him at the Perfect Game All-Star at Petco Park. We were tracking him for a few years.

“The scout responsible for signing him was Gary Patchett. Our West Coast supervisor is Jeremy Booth. Our national crosscheckers are Butch Baccala and Mark Lummus. Other guys on our staff saw him as he traveled across the country. I saw him.

“These guys all play on a summer team, and also break off and play in showcases with the best players. We’re seeing high school hitters face the best high school pitchers for the following year, and with wood bats. Those are things you’re not going to see in the spring most of the time. We saw at Alex as an advanced high school player. I’ve had other teams tell me they had Alex No. 1 on their list.”
On scouting Gareth Morgan: “Our second-round pick hasn’t played the baseball Alex has. He’s got a lot of playing ahead of him, but he did play in some showcases. We saw him in Florida and in the Dominican. He’s not as advanced as Alex, but we like his top end.

“Our comfort level with Alex was really high, because we saw him face so many good pitchers with a wood bat in his hands. We saw him consistently hit top-notch pitching. Gareth hasn’t played that type of baseball all year round, but each year he started to play more and more. The raw tools and the physical frame are something we were interested in.

“There’s a lot less risk in a player like Alex than there is a player like Gareth. Gareth is about tomorrow. Alex is more about today – he just needs at bats and to get used to the pro lifestyle. Alex is more polished, while Gareth has the top end.”

On assigning comps: “The worst thing in the world is to [publicly] put a tag on a young player, especially a high school guy. We do it internally, because you want to create a picture. There were a variety of comps [for Jackson]. We weren’t all stuck on one comp player. What I tell our guys is to just be in the neighborhood with a comp. Try to get a close enough body resemblance to a big-leaguer.

“Each player is different. These are guys we might be comparing someone else to someday. I’m starting to read reports of, ‘This guy is a lot like Seager’ or “This guy is a lot like Ackley’ or ‘This guy is a lot like Zunino.’ But our comps usually aren’t guys in our own system. I tell our guys ‘Major League players – Don’t compare an amateur player to a minor-league player.’ Outside of that, the door is wide open. You can tell the age of your scouts, too. We have some guys who will comp to players from the late 1970s and early 1980s.”

“When you write a report on an amateur player, you’re trying to paint a picture for the person who is reading it. ‘OK, this is what I visualize.’ What is he, and what can he be? I also tell guys, ‘Like players.’ I don’t need to hear what a guy can’t do. Tell me what they can do. That’s pretty much our motto.”

On defense and can’t dos: “This is a tough game. There are a lot of can’t dos out there, but a lefty with a curveball can go a long way. A catcher that can play defense may not be able to hit, but he can still get here on his defense. A shortstop and a center fielder who can play defense can get here.

“I was an area scout for the Mariners when Lou Piniella was the manager. He’d come in and speak at our meetings. One thing he said was, ‘Athletic guys who can play defense, we’ll teach them how to hit.’ I’d never heard that before. You also have your natural hitters, guys who were just born to hit. They hit at age 8, they’ve hit ever since, and they’re going to hit.

“When we saw Mike Zunino in high school, we thought his catching was ahead of his hitting. When he went to college, his hitting was ahead of his catching. Now, as a Major League player, you see that he’s a front-line catcher and that his better days are ahead of him with the bat. But a good catch-and-throw guy who can call a good game is hard to find. They help you win games.”

On Jackson’s position and character: “[Jackson] was a catcher in high school, and a pretty good one, but we think he profiles better in right field. He’s a big kid, but he runs pretty well and has a big arm. The arm and athleticism work in right field.

“Your body physically changes when you catch – you get stronger and thicker in your lower half. It’s probably easier for him, at 18, to learn to be a good right fielder than it would have been had he gone to college and caught for three years. The fact that we announced him as a right fielder tells you what we were thinking, and where we see him in the big leagues down the road. We feel this helps his longevity and helps preserve his bat. We really like his bat.

“He loves to play. That’s big when you’re on Field 7 in Peoria [Arizona] and it’s 107 degrees. He’s obviously a high-profile kid, but I think I’ve actually seen his enthusiasm for the game grow since he signed. He wants to advance, but he knows he has to work hard. Sometimes you get 17- 18- 19-year-old kids down at your complex and they’re going through the motions. This guy takes it real serious. He likes to get after it.”

On drafting players out of high school: “I get asked all the time, ‘Do you take a high school player or a college player?’ You take the guy you think is the best player. There are going to be years where you take five college guys in a row.

“I’ve heard that [we prefer college guys], but we took Taijuan Walker in 2010 with our first pick. We took Nick Franklin in 2009 with our second first-round pick. We took Edwin Diaz, Tyler Pike. We’ve taken high school guys over the years, it’s a matter of who is higher on your draft board at the time. I had an old scout tell me once, ‘College players can get to the big leagues quicker, but when they get to the big leagues, what are they?’

“Sometimes the right high school player can become an impact player. When I was in Milwaukee, we took Prince Fielder. We believed in his bat and he became an impact player. He also got there in about three-and-a-half years. The advanced high school guys are getting to the big leagues quicker than they did, 10, 15, 20 years ago. I think a lot of that is all the baseball they play in the summer, and all the advanced workout programs they do.”

Scouting Yasmany Tomas.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Yasmany Tomas, LF

Hit: 40/45+, Game Power: 50/60, Raw Power: 65/65, Speed: 45/45+, Field: 45/50, Arm: 45/45+

Upside: .275/.350/.480 with 25-30 homers, fringy defense & baserunning value in left field

Note: The “upside” line is basically a 75 percentile projection as explained here, while the tool grades are a 50 percentile projection. See the scale here to convert the hit/power tool grades into production.

Tomas is the latest Cuban defector to hit the market: he should be declared a free agent shortly and is holding private workouts in the Dominican this week after a big open workout for over 100 scouts from all 30 clubs on Sunday at the Giants Dominican complex. The above video is from last summer when the Cuban national team faced college Team USA in Durham, North Carolina. The Cuban team had a lot of trouble making contact against a loaded USA pitching staff (five pitchers from the staff went in the first round last June) and Tomas in particular struggled, going 3-for-19 with 3 singles, 1 walk and 8 punch outs over the 5 game set. Tomas was in bad shape and looked lost at the plate at times when I saw him, but he has shown big league ability in other international tournaments and as a professional in Cuba.

The carrying tool here is raw power, which draws anywhere from 60 to 70 grades on the 20-80 scale from scouts, but the question mark is how much he will hit. Tomas has a short bat path for a power hitter and quick hands that move through the zone quickly. The tools are here for at least an average hitter, but Tomas’ plate discipline has been questioned and he can sometimes sell out for pull power in games (here’s video of a particularly long homer in the WBC). Some scouts think it’s more of a 40-45 bat (.240 to .250 average) that may keep Tomas from getting to all of his raw power in games, while others see a soon-to-be-24-year-old with the tools to hit and think the hot streak of Cuban hitters in the big leagues will continue with him.

Some recent Cuban defectors, like recently signed Red Sox CF Rusney Castillo, have completely changed their body between defecting from Cuba and being declared a free agent. Tomas has lost some weight but is still a big kid, at about 6’1/230. He turned in an average run time in the 60 yard dash at his workout Sunday, but his speed plays more fringy to below average in games and his fringy to below average arm makes him a left field fit. Some scouts said they’ve seen Tomas’ arm be solid-average at times in the past, so there’s a chance he could work in right field as well.

The consensus is that as a prospect Tomas ranks behind White Sox 1B Jose Abreu, who got six years and $68 million before the season, as Tomas is a riskier bat with less of a track record and a little less raw power. Many scouts prefer Castillo, who got seven years and $72.5 million last month, as Castillo is a plus-plus runner that can play an up-the-middle position and is a little better bet to hit for some scouts, as well. That said, Abreu and Castillo were both signed for their age-27 seasons while Tomas will be 24 next year and should be big league ready at some point in 2015. Scouts on the low-end for Tomas mention Dayan Viciedo as a comparable while more scouts think Yoenis Cespedes is a better offensive comparison, though Cespedes is quicker-twitch athlete with more speed and defense value.

With that scouting report and comparables, the rumors that Tomas may get $100 million or more seem crazy, but there are some market conditions to keep in mind:

1. Each successive Cuban hitter that signs a big deal keeps meeting or beating expectations: Yasiel Puig, Jorge Soler, Cespedes and Abreu
2. Tomas is offering his peak years in a 6-7 year deal (to cover his 6 control seasons and possibly some minor league time)
3. Power is always in demand on the free agent market.
4. Draft pick compensation is not involved.

Taking those points into consideration, we’re looking at age 24 through 29 or 30 for a hitter that carries some risk but generally projects as a solid 2-win player with upside to become a 3-win player. With wins being valued at $6 million or more, discounts for performance risk and a long-term deal with premiums for no draft pick compensation and age means that $10-15 million per year is a reasonable expectation for a winning bid. I specify winning bid because a number of clubs, due to payroll constraints or differing evaluations (very common for Cuban players), have Tomas as a roughly $50 million value for the expected 6-7 year deal.

With Tomas’ age and the recent Cuban hitter hot streak pushing some teams to be a little more aggressive than usual, I could definitely see the price ending up around $100 million. There were rumors circulating at the workout on Sunday in the Dominican that Tomas already has a $90 million offer in hand and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that were true.

There’s a number of clubs that have been mentioned in the mix for Tomas and I would expect the winning bid to be a 7-year deal for $10-15 million per season, which would give a range of $70 million to $105 million. The list of interested clubs is still muddled, but the Giants and Phillies are seen as the favorites with the Rangers, Yankees, Tigers and Mets all expected to be in the mix.

Jimmy Rollins on Yoga, Change, and Lineup Protection.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Sometimes, you talk with a guy and there isn’t a great narrative that ties it all together. That’s what happened when I talked to Jimmy Rollins before a game with the Athletics this month. Sure, the general question was how he’s been able to stay fresh and relevant and productive through the latter part of his career. How he’s known what to change and what not to change. But Rollins has enough character to leave it alone and let him speak in his own words.

Eno Sarris: I noticed that last year you had 666 plate appearances.

Jimmy Rollins: Did I? Wow.

Eno Sarris: That explains everything!

Jimmy Rollins: I thought it was me! That’s crazy.

Sarris: A couple of things I wanted to talk about. You use that axe bat.

Rollins. I have. I don’t, but I have.

Sarris: Oh you don’t use it any more. From what I know, that was developed partially because of hamate bone issues? Did you have issues with that?

Rollins: No. I knew one of the guys that was trying to develop it, so I was able to give them some feedback. I used it in spring training two years ago, 2012 spring training I would say. I used it, but it was strange when I first used it. It’s not a round bat with a knob. It’s literally made like an axe. So the first thing you think is “how the heck am I going to swing this like a baseball bat,” it made no sense. The first time I used it, there’s a 3-2 pitch, and Shane Victorino was standing behind me, yelling “SWING!” Because he could see that I was like a little kid shaking –

Sarris: What do I do with this?

Rollins: The pitch hit the glove and I didn’t swing and I was like “____.” It’s a completely different experience. I used it a couple times in the season in 2012, got a good pitch and hit a home run with it. But after a while, it was just too much going on in my mind. That’s something you need a lot of time to get used to, it’s not traditional, it’s an alternative.

Sarris: Are you a guy that holds the bat off the bottom of the knob?

Rollins: I think I do sometimes. The better I feel, the more towards the end of the bat I get. If I’m feeling unsure, I pretty much stay on top of that because I want to get the complete bat control. If I’m good, I don’t worry about bat control as much, and I want to feel like I can get as much whip as possible.

Sarris: Get as much extension as you can. I did a little bit of research that linked holding off the end of the bat to hamate problems.

Rollins: That’s why you see guys with flared knob, it’s just flared so there’s no ledge or ridge to dig in. The axe is a little bit more than that. That’s part of it, you don’t have to worry about it digging in, but it’s shaped like an axe. It makes it so that you swing down like an axe. And that isn’t really a baseball swing.

It’s weird. I’ve used it, and I’ve had success with it, but mentally… every time I used it I was most concerned with getting the right grip on the bat. You see guys, they rotate the bat when they are up. Even just a quarter click. On that bat, it’s a big deal. You have to set your hands, and once they are set, they are set. And that’s the part that’s hard. That’s the difference between a bat and an axe — with the axe, there’s one part, the blade, but with a bat, it’s round. You can use any part of the bat to hit. I don’t want to change my swing.

Sarris: It’s interesting that you’ve tried this. So far in this career, you’ve tried a new thing. And it seems to go along with other things you’ve done. You have a crazy yoga/pilates regimen? You’re willing to do different things to stay on the field.

Rollins: A former teammate of mine, Marlon Anderson, when he got older — he was probably four or five years older than me — after he’d traveled around and picked up different things from different teams, as people do, he was like, “Dude, you ever try… yoga?” And I was like pssh, no, my wife does it, sure. I was more into trying pilates, because you have to work on form and there are weights around at least.

With yoga, it’s just laying, move left, move right, looks easy. But then I finally tried it, and I was like ‘that was a lot harder than I thought.’ On top of that, I understood what the body moves were for. I wasn’t executing the moves right by any means, but after a while, I only watched other people as a reference because you have to get so in tuned with yourself, and your breathing, that you just push through the movements. At the end, you feel like you worked out, but your body feels rejuvenated.

Sarris: I like it. Do you think there’s something that yoga has done for your ligaments and health in general?

Rollins: Flexibility. That’s the thing about baseball: You hit. You run. You sit. You do a lot of sitting. You get tight. So you know some little moves, some stretches. Before the game, on the field, you do some light-weight stretching, you know, some yoga out there. And I have to explain, to the people who don’t know (‘That dude’s a clown!’) that I’m just getting myself loose. You start learning how to breathe through things. You can feel your body getting out of alignment. You do. Because you become in tune with everything that’s going on.

Sarris: And if you’re too left or too right, you start compensating.

Rollins: Exactly. And one compensation leads to another, to another because our body is all in this axis like this. Unfortunately because of my injury, I’ve had to learn about that the other way too. There are reasons why I got into yoga — the longevity, the stretching — but your body is working its way through your normal changing patterns, and if you have a bad pattern, you can change that. You know, you breathe and get yourself back on track. Until you do it, you’re just like ‘pssh what.’

Sarris: These are things you’ve tried that are different. But how different of a player are you from season to season? How much does your approach change? I ask this because this is the best walk rate of your career.

Rollins: I know, right? I don’t know, I guess. Obviously, the object is to be on base as much as possible. If they walk me, that’s great. But I’m not a guy that’s trying to walk. If they walk me, I’ll take the walk. But being 5′ 7″ and hitting in front of Chase [Utley] especially in his heyday, Ryan [Howard] in his heyday, what are they going to do? They just going to joke around with me and then pitch to them with runners on? No. So I knew that.

Working the count is not taking pitches. Taking strike one, strike two, that’s not working the count.

Sarris: No! That’s bad!

Rollins: It’s horrible. So if you’re outside of baseball, you might say ‘at least you got five pitches.’ Yeah, but I could have hit one of those. The best thing for me is to be on base, not to work the count. It’s always a fine balance, especially batting at the top of the lineup, but if they walk [me], fine, they walk me. You learn more about how they’re trying to pitch you. And you can make adjustments.

In the sabermetric world, those shifts and everything. And there are no more fastball counts. Everyone’s throwing a cutter. So it changes constantly. Maybe they aren’t throwing maybe as many strikes with those cutters as the traditional four-seam, two-seam fastballs. So all that contributes to me walking more, I’m sure. There’s no formula I can tell you why.

Sarris: It’s funny that you mention who’s behind you. Because lineup protection is a big thing. The numbers pretty much say it doesn’t exist. But I think you hit on why it might not show. Because there’s two things going on. One is, I don’t want to pitch to the guy behind you, so I’m going to pitch to you. So you might see something to hit in the zone. But the other is, I’m not going to walk you — I want to get you out. I might attack you really aggressively.

Rollins: Nothing’s going to be pure. There’s always going to be arguments in both dimensions. It’s not a pure yes or no thing. If you’ve been around, and you’ve seen the game, you can’t argue the fact that the guy behind you, if he’s a good hitter, if he’s a bad hitter, it’s going to dictate what you see. If he’s bad, you think I’m giving in to you? Here, hit this. If you get on, and there’s two outs, I can get him out. Or, ‘Whoo, oh yeah, I see that guy.’ Then they do everything they can to get you out. It’s like saying I saw eight pitches.

Sarris: But how good were those pitches? How nasty?

Rollins: And why did I see those pitches?

Sarris: Thanks so much for talking to me, very interesting stuff. So… what do you think happened last year?

Rollins: Last year? You’re talking numbers? That is a wonderful question. As soon as I actually looked at the numbers, I was like ‘damn!’ You play baseball, you pay attention to the team’s win-loss record, what can you do to help, coaching young guys, who you’re playing tonight. I mean, I knew what they were, but my focus wasn’t, by any means, that. After the season it was like ‘How could I only have six home runs?’ It was just one of those things.

Sarris: You couldn’t have even told me that during the season?

Rollins: Nope. There was some stuff coming into the next year, like ‘Do I still have it?’ And then in spring training I hit six home runs.

Sarris: As much as you hit all year last year!

Rollins: But I don’t know.

Sarris: But there wasn’t anything like you changed your swing plane.

Rollins: Well I didn’t have a good swing. But why? Especially for power? Everyone tries changes, but 99% of the time, you’re going to back to what you’ve done. Your body reverts back. Your brain starts going ‘this is not right, this is not right, this is not you.’ And you’re trying to fight it.

Sarris: Best thing you can do is just learn your body and do the best you can I guess, as you’ve said.

Rollins: That’s right.
post #26963 of 73441


Edited by trueprada - 9/26/14 at 8:29am
post #26964 of 73441
The O's are out there trying to secure home field advantage. No way they're grooving pitches to Jeets just to let him ride off into the sunset.
post #26965 of 73441

post #26966 of 73441

i can't believed i missed the game....smh

post #26967 of 73441
Love the yankees and their history but I have 0 respeft for Jeter and the way he played the game.

But let's change the subject. When do they announce the start times for the Division series?
post #26968 of 73441
Why do you have zero respect for Jeter and the way he played the game?
post #26969 of 73441
I respect jeter but this whole farewell tour was too much. I thought Costas was going to cream his pants after his 1st at bat laugh.gif
post #26970 of 73441
Originally Posted by erupt107th View Post

Love the yankees and their history but I have 0 respeft for Jeter and the way he played the game.

But let's change the subject. When do they announce the start times for the Division series?

I don't know how you can make that comment and than say "let's change the subject" laugh.gif
PSN: Aiinatural
Go Hawks, Mariners, Ducks
PSN: Aiinatural
Go Hawks, Mariners, Ducks
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