Long Beach, CA: 78°/60°, cloudy | Vol 1, Issue 4
By Daniel R Epstein
- The White Sox have agreed to terms with 19-year-old Cuban amateur free agent Luis Robert. Many consider the 19-year-old outfielder to be the best international prospect not named Shohei Otani. As mentioned on Effectively Wild #1026, one scout glowingly proclaimed him to be “the best player on the planet, and that’s no exaggeration.” Our hosts expressed some skepticism, as Robert slashed .286/.319/.397 in 16 games last year at the mid-level Can-Am independent league.
- Kevin Pillar was suspended two games for using an anti-gay slur towards the Braves’ Jason Motte. Kelvin Brumm provided a fan’s perspective for BttP.
- Braves star 1B Freddie Freeman has a fractured wrist and will be out of action for about two months. Atlanta has acquired living, breathing baseball players James Loney and Matt Adams to fill the void.
- Doug Fister is now an Angel, but will likely spend a few weeks in the minors before helping the big league club.
- The Yankees retired Derek Jeter’s #2 on Mother’s Day, even though he is not a mother.
A very incomplete list of good baseball writing:
- Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer wrote about Mike Trout somehow actually becoming even better.
- Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs looked into the Twins and plate discipline.
- Sam Miller of ESPN gives a State of the Bullpens Address.
- Chuck Wasserstrom of MLBTR look at the 1992 expansion draft part 1, part 2, part 3.
- Matt Trueblood of Baseball Prospectus reviewed the Rockies’ starting pitching.
- Craig Edwards of FanGraphs searches for meaning amongst Statcast data.
By Seth Moland-Kovash
Series To Watch:
- Minnesota (22-18) at Baltimore (25-17) Monday to Wednesday: Two surprising winning teams. The AL Central leading Miguel Sanos head to Baltimore to face the Chris Davises who are 1/2 game back of New York in the AL East.
- Cleveland (23-19) and Cincinnati (20-23) in a home-and-home Monday to Thursday: The Battle for Ohio. During the last Battle for Ohio, @OldHossRadbourn held off 10,000 Johnny Rebs by himself, so we’ll see if this matchup can hold a candle.
- Chicago Wrigleyvillers (22-20) at Los Angeles Brooklynites (26-19): Two teams predicted before the season began to dominate the National League. Both trail surprising teams in their own divisions but still bring a lot to this matchup. Specifically, two very large media markets.
Notable Pitching Matchups:
- Monday, 7:05p ET: KCR (Jason Vargas, 5-2, 2.03 ERA) at NYY (Michael Pineda, 4-2, 3.42 ERA). Our own Darius Austin tried examining Vargas’ remarkable season, but later that same day, he was shelled by the Yankees and saw his ERA double. We’ll attribute that to NY reading the article beforehand.
- Tuesday, 7:05p ET: MIN (Ervin Santana, 6-2, 2.07 ERA) at BAL (Dylan Bundy, 5-2, 2.97 ERA). Two starters who have been very good coming off a bad outing each. Can they course-correct? At Camden? Probably not.
By Rob Mains
This entry lists the best and worst for the past 30 days of the 2017 regular season, through games of Sunday, May 21. Here is an explanation of this weekly feature.
Comment of the week: The top three National League home run hitters over the past 30 days hit a total of 27 homers. They hit a combined total of 24 home runs all of last year. For the full list of stats, click here.
American League Team W-L 1. Houston 17-10 2. Texas 17-11 3. New York 15-10 4. Minnesota 14-10 5. Los Angeles 16-12 Batting Average 1. Hosmer, KC .375 2. Trout, LA .365 3. Dickerson, TB .364 4. Sano, Min .354 5. Judge, NY .352 On Base Plus Slugging 1. Trout, LA 1.343 2. Judge, NY 1.224 3. Sano, Min 1.094 4. Cruz, Sea 1.087 5. Gardner, NY 1.074 Home Runs 1. Judge, NY 10 2. Alonso, Oak 9 Cruz, Sea 9 Trout, LA 9 5. Five with 8 ERA 1. McCullers, Hou 2.08 2. Quintana, Chi 2.38 3. Stroman, Tor 2.43 4. Cashner, Tex 2.48 5. Keuchel, Hou 2.52 FIP 1. Sale, Bos 1.93 2. Quintana, Chi 2.54 3. Hahn, Oak 2.57 4. Duffy, KC 2.61 5. Rodriguez, Bos 2.64
National League Team W-L 1. Los Angeles 18- 8 2. St. Louis 15- 9 3. Milwaukee 16-10 4. Colorado 17-11 5. Ari, Was 15-12 Batting Average 1. Turner, LA .391 2. Posey, SF .370 3. Blackmon, Col .365 4. Bryant, Chi .360 5. Kemp, Atl .355 On Base Plus Slugging 1. Bryant, Chi 1.203 2. Votto, Cin 1.138 3. Goldschmidt, Ari 1.127 4. Freeman, Atl 1.106 5. Zimmerman, Was 1.097 Home Runs 1. Bellinger, LA 9 Bour, Mia 9 Schebler, Cin 9 4. Six with 8 ERA 1. Wood, LA 1.23 2. Cole, Pit 1.59 3. Hendricks, Chi 1.82 4. Kershaw, LA 1.83 5. Martinez, SL 2.31 FIP 1. Wood, LA 1.16 2. Samardzija, SF 2.23 3. Cole, Pit 2.51 4. Wacha, SL 2.75 5. Kershaw, LA 2.95
Nick’s Nice Piece of Hitting
By Nick Strangis
In Major League Baseball, we regularly see 450-foot home runs or heart-pounding extra base hits. This column will feature neither of those plays. With a hat tip to Leigh Ellis’ Very Solid Play of The Night, this column will feature “nice pieces of hitting,” such as fouling off four pitches with an 0-2 count in order to hit the next pitch for a single or beating the shift with a double down the third base line.
This week’s edition belongs to Cardinal rookie Magneuris Sierra. On Wednesday night, facing reigning AL CY Young winner Rick Porcello, Sierra hit this 0-1 curve ball into left center field on a shallow line drive to score Yadier Molina.
When you’re a 21-year-old light-hitting speedy outfielder, you can bet pitchers will try to challenge you. Sierra, called up from high-A to fill the Cardinals’ injury plagued outfield, looked for a pitch to hit and put just enough on this ball to send it into the no-man zone in shallow left center. The hit extended Sierra’s hitting streak to 7 games and he finished his stint in the majors hitting .367/.406/.367 in 32 trips to the plate.
The Lineup Card: Street Fighter II
By Ken Maeda
Continuing our series of thought experiments in which we take a random set of things and shoehorn them into a baseball lineup/defensive alignment. Today, it’s the classic set of characters from the 1991 arcade game, Street Fighter II.
It’s not clear who they’d be playing — Team Marvel or Team SNK perhaps? Presumably they would all insist on playing in a best-of-3 series.
- LF: Chun-Li
- 2B: Ken
- SS: Ryu
- RF: Guile
- 1B: Zangief
- 3B: Blanka
- CF: Dhalsim
- C: E Honda
- P: Sagat/Vega/Balrog
Closer: M Bison
To keep things simple, all of the bosses were penciled in as pitchers. Bison–the final boss–naturally would be the closer, though his presence probably wouldn’t help clubhouse chemistry. Vega’s wall-climbing would make sense for CF, but his lanky build also works on the mound. Yes, Dhalsim could probably play the entire field alone. And I won’t get into whether Blanka and Honda’s projectile moves would make them more suitable as top-of-the-order guys.
For Effectively Wild listeners, SFII was referenced at least a couple times on the show. Guile’s Theme (which goes with everything) played the first time a song was used for an intro, rather than a sound effect or clip. Much later during a discussion of Aroldis Chapman’s unique somersault celebration, Sam expressed a desire to see a pitcher do a Guile flash kick instead.
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