Will Atlanta Miss McCann’s Defense?

Apr 4, 2014 by

McCannBrian McCann has undeniably been one of baseball’s best hitting catchers since arriving in the majors in 2005.  But his pitch-framing abilities—getting favorable calls from an umpire on balls and strikes—were perhaps the most underrated part of McCann’s tenure with the Braves. While we know his departure is going to cost Atlanta from an offensive perspective, do we know how much the absence of his pitch-framing skillset will cost the Braves in 2014? Can it be reliably quantified?

There’s been a lot of advancement in pitch-framing research over the last couple years, and it’s of course being evaluated within the industry. A lot of the guys with an excellent reputation for catching end up having pitch-framing stats that correlate with that perception, at least on some level.  The same is true for guys with poor reputations.  But you’ll still find some catchers that have surprising numbers that jump out at you, like McCann.  He’s never been known for his glove work and has a subpar reputation for throwing out would-be basestealers.

But according to Baseball Prospectus, over the last five seasons, McCann has actually led the majors in their pitch-framing metric.  A study cited by FanGraphs has McCann as the second best pitch-framer over the last three years, behind only Jonathan LuCroy.

Wrapping your head around the different ways these metrics are formulated isn’t an easy task.  A stat called Regressed Probabilistic Model (RPM) “works by calculating the combined probability (and associated run value) that each pitch will be called a strike; summing those probabilities (and run values) across opportunities; attributing those values to a player (catcher or pitcher); and regressing ‘career’ values to the mean.”  They’ve essentially told us that catchers appear to have a substantial impact on the success of their pitchers through their ability to gain extra strike calls from the umpire, which actually sounds pretty intuitive.

McCann will be replaced with some combination of Evan Gattis, Gerald Laird, rookie Christhian Bethancourt and maybe Ryan Doumit at catcher. Bethancourt has one of the best defensive reputations in the minor leagues, but there aren’t many advanced metrics available to judge minor league catchers.  Here’s how the others have fared across various defensive metrics in their careers, averaged over one full season:

FR/7000 DRS    RSB    RPP    CS%   
Brian McCann    +22.2 -2.6 +3.7 -0.6 24%
Evan Gattis +11.6 +3 +1 -0.9 50%
Gerald Laird -23.5 +1.5 -1.4 +0.4 35%
Ryan Doumit -35.5 -1.8 -1.7 -0.8 24%

 

Gattis actually comes out looking pretty good. One defensive season is hardly enough of a sample size, but it’s still strange to see the numbers painting him in a positive light when he has a horrible defensive reputation among many scouts.

Adding to the list of questions surrounding pitch-framing is quantifying just how much it effects the total value a catcher.  Should McCann’s WAR be substantially higher because of his pitch-framing stats? Right now, FanGraphs’ version of WAR (fWAR) doesn’t account for pitch-framing at all, as it only factors in arm strength/accuracy and pitch-blocking ability. Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR) attempts to account for pitch-framing through a vague catcher ERA defensive runs saved metric.

Which leads to a confusing result, because McCann’s fWAR has usually been higher than his rWAR over the last several years.  One would think it would be the other way around. Based on these numbers, the Braves aren’t likely to get as many favorable calls on balls and strikes next year as they have in the McCann era.  But could McCann’s excellent pitch-framing numbers be more of a product of Atlanta’s pitching staff than his framing skills?  Pitching staffs with better overall command and control should naturally generate better framing numbers, but that hasn’t been measured.  What we know for a fact, though, is Atlanta has ranked first in the majors in runs allowed and third in lowest walk rate allowed over the last two years.

Dismissing pitch-framing stats outright just because they beg so many questions would be ignorant.  At the same time, it’s hard to place too much faith in pitch-framing as a predictor of significant change from one year to the next when there’s a different guy behind the plate.  That’s the situation Atlanta will be faced with in 2014.  As a cost-conscious contending team, the Braves are going to miss Brian McCann, but perhaps it will be because of his bat way more than it will be because of his pitch-framing skills.

McCannPitchFrame

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Starting Rotation Analysis and Beachy’s Return

May 24, 2013 by

Mike MinorAfter a marquee offseason, expectations were reasonably high for the Braves entering this season. Most of the story lines surrounding the team were related to offense. Could Justin Upton realize his potential, or would he struggle hitting away from Arizona? How would the Braves cope without the grit of Martin Prado?  Could the team score enough runs despite having a ridiculous number of strikeouts?

None of those question marks really carried much weight to begin with. Not that fifty games is definitive, but from what we’ve seen, we can comfortably dismiss those particular narratives as non-issues, especially the strikeouts. The Braves are 5th in the NL in scoring– and have actually underperformed as a unit based on their underlying offensive performance.

The more glaring issue going into the season was the strength of the starting pitching.  Each member of the rotation has now completed at least eight turns against a wide ranging sample of competition — some miserable lineups, some decent ones and a few good ones, in all kinds of environments. Though it’s still a small sample, there’s more than enough out there that’s concerning. While brilliant at times, the rotation as a whole is a lot more average than many seem to realize.

A quick and dirty summary on each starter’s performance in 2013, and how it relates to Brandon Beachy’s upcoming return:

 

Tim Hudson

Hudson’s fastball fell to 89 mph last year, but has remained steady at that rate through each start. Of course, being 37-years-old, there’s always the worry that he could fall of a cliff. While Hudson has looked pretty bad, he doesn’t seem in danger of losing it completely. His strikeout rate (18.6%) is solid, but that’s never really been his bread and butter, and its actually higher that his career average (16.2%). The sinker ball specialist just isn’t getting the ball on the ground like he used to, and it’s resulted in a career-high flyball rate (28.2%). And 12% of those fly balls have left the yard, leading to his well below league-average 4.98 ERA, though his peripherals suggest he hasn’t been quite as bad as that. He’s been a lot more meh than good, pretty much. Hudson needs to improve his groundball/flyball ratio and provide bulk innings as the season goes on in order to remain valueable. But he hasn’t done much to merit high expectations. The opening day starter has put up the worst performance of any Braves starter thus far, but all the veteran presents means he isn’t going anywhere when Beachy comes back.

Paul Maholm

Since opening the year with 25.2 consecutive scoreless frames (and drawing praise from fellow lefty and Braves legend Tom Glavine), Maholm’s been beaten around here and there. All in all, his performance has resulted in a very good 3.55 FIP. Mahomie’s success may in large part be due to his expanded repertoire of pitches, as he’s added a cutter that’s led to a career-high 18.4% strikeout rate, though his walk rate (7.7%) has increased a bit as well. Maholm’s been league-average pitcher for most of his career, but he’s comfortably surpassed that label based on his performance the last year. The Braves have to be pleased with what they’ve seen so far, and can reasonably expect continued success for the rest of the year, but nothing Cy Young worthy. He’s a mainstay in the rotation until his contract runs out at the end of the season.

Kris Medlen

Perhaps the most disappointing of Atlanta’s pitchers (if you heavily weight expectations) has been Kris Medlen. Since he joined the rotation full time last year, Medlen was probably the best pitcher in the majors. His ERA this season still looks good (3.02), but his underlying performance has suggested he’s been much worse. What made Medlen so awesome last year was his 80 command, as he walked only 4.4% of hitters while striking them out at a 23.1% clip. Both of those have gone in the wrong direction this year (15.3% K rate, 8.8% BB rate), and he’s already given up 7 home runs (most of them with 2 strikes). Having Medlen return to form as a top of the rotation starter could be the difference in winning a division for the Braves. Some of the pitch selection has seemed strange this year (he’s throwing his changeup to lefties 8% less this year with 2 strikes), so maybe he and Evan Gattis didn’t get off to a great start. Medlen’s been throwing to Brian McCann since the Braves catcher returned from shoulder surgery, but hasn’t regained last year’s consistency. He’s just a lot more fun to watch when he’s 2012 Kris Medducks instead of what he’s shown in 2013. And he just might be a prime candidate to go back to the bullpen in a month.

Mike Minor

Minor, who led the Braves in innings pitched in 2012, has turned out to be the Atlanta’s ace thus far and one of the very best pitchers in the majors in 2013. While eight games can often lead to fluky results and aren’t very revealing (see Derek Lowe and his league-leading ERA on this date in 2012), he’s at least been able to carry over his success from the second half of last year.  It’s not crazy to call him a top of the rotation starter. He’s striking out 22.8% of hitters, best on the staff, but what’s eye-opening is his excellent walk rate (5.4%). Minor’s a flyball pitcher but has reduced his home run rate considerably, consistently getting ahead in the count while inducing weak contact. Maintaining his 2.78 ERA wouldn’t be surprising, and everything he’s done so far suggests he’s here to stay among the league’s better pitchers. There really hasn’t been a knock on his resume this year. Hard to make an argument against him being Staff Ace.

Julio Teheran

The Braves have to be extremely pleased with Teheran’s results this year, not to mention his performance and development. While he isn’t striking out hitters at the rate one might have expected (14.0%), he’s displayed amazing control and has limited his free passes to 4.2%. He’s gotten hit around here and there, but he’s also delivered a few gems, going deep into ballgames. Teheran’s use of his changeup, or lack thereof, has been a hot topic. We’ll see where it goes from here, but he’ll need to develop it to become a front of the rotation starter, which has always been seen as his ceiling. If he struggles in his next few starts, he’ll probably be the one to move to the bullpen if Beachy comes back in June. But he’s seemingly gotten better with each start, leaving the Braves with a tough decision to make.

 

Even with injuries to core members of the bullpen, the starting pitching, as a total unit, is the biggest weakness for Atlanta. And who knows, between now and mid-June, a lot can happen. Someone could develop a nagging injury, someone could blow out their elbow, Beachy could suffer a setback in rehab, Minor could hurt himself crushing weights, etc. But if every Braves starter maintains their health and performance thus far, who do you think should be sent to the bullpen? The Braves are stretching Beachy out in the minors, starting tonight in Gwinnett, and Frank Wren has stated that someone is going to have to be moved in the not too distant future. My gut tells me it’ll be Teheran, but the more I think about it, moving Medlen just might make more sense.

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How Local Revenue Sharing Can Affect Bottom Dwelling Teams

Mar 1, 2013 by

Revenue SharingThree of baseball’s worst teams last year — the Miami Marlins, Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians — are among the franchises that will be most aided by baseball’s revenue sharing system under the latest collective bargaining agreement.

From a pure on-the-field perspective, the Marlins and Astros have handled their offseason situations similarly. But you wouldn’t know it based on the narratives surrounding those teams.

The reaction on the Indians offseason, surprising and confusing at first glance, hasn’t been as polarizing.  But maybe Cleveland deserves a bit of extra credit for having the drive to spend a chunk of money coming their way through revenue sharing.

The background of revenue sharing, especially as it relates to how teams will actually manage their operating budget, is changing even more, as Wendy Thurm from FanGraphs explains.  All clubs equally share 34% of total net local revenue, made up from anything besides a central fund.  The central fund gets split equally, comprised of national TV contracts, licensed merchandise, MLB.tv, and more.

There’s also a supplemental plan that ends up rewarding a lot of the lower income generating teams, accounting for an additional 14% hike in net local revenue sharing.  The Yankees, for instance, pay a certain percentage into the pool based on how much money they earn.  It’s a sliding scale, so a “poor” team like Miami ends up receiving a sizable portion.

And that’s where part of the frustration directed towards the Marlins comes from.  They signed a bunch of pretty good players last offseason and one great player to add to a club that already had a decent amount of talent.  But their 2012 season bottomed out, as way too many things (injuries, players hitting the low end of their projections, Ozzie Guillen running his mouth) went wrong.  Miami finished in last place, then totally nuked their team (again), shedding just about any player making seven figures.  They head into 2013 as the favorites to be the NL’s worst club.  Yet the Marlins and owner Jeffrey Loria are going to make a lot of money, mostly because they’re barely spending any, but also because other teams are going to be deepening Miami’s pockets through local revenue sharing.

But that’s not where most of the actual fuel for negativity comes from.  That outrage is rooted in the hate for Loria and the way he’s generally operated business since he got into baseball.  Craig Calcaterra sums it up pretty nicely here, painting a picture of all the lies, corruption and overall disingenuity that makes up Jeffrey Loria. It’s hard to separate that from the actual baseball-rooted decisions the Marlins have made. Reality says the team wouldn’t have been able to compete with the Nationals and Braves.  And the return Miami received from offseason trades wasn’t that terrible even if they didn’t get back a future superstar. It’s a stretch to say the system in place could form the basis of a future contending team, but Mike Stanton (projected to be the best hitter in baseball this year by ZiPS) will surely be traded as soon as he hits the arbitration jackpot in a year or two, likely infusing the organization with major prospects.

But you can look at a team like the Houston Astros, who have blown up their team as well, and you just won’t see much hate directed their way.  Actually, most of what I’ve read has been overly complimentary of team’s strategy (in terms of the major league roster), which really isn’t all that different from the Marlins, history aside.  Houston didn’t have as high a payroll as Miami did, but the Astros did get rid of just about every single millionaire player.  Their system, like Miami’s, isn’t that top heavy, as they’re building a bulk of projectable serviceable players to come up in a few years. And like Miami, they are going to reap the benefits of local revenue sharing.  Houston has the added advantage of playing in one of the largest markets in baseball — if and when they do start winning, they’re going to be rolling in their own big bucks to go along with the boost they receive from other teams.

One of the reasons the Astros are getting credit is because they’re spending a good chunk of their money on drafting. They kind of have no choice though, as Houston had one of the worst drafting periods a franchise can imagine from 2005-2009. As Joe Sheehan writes:

The Astros just failed at an enormous aspect of team-building for five years …  Add up salaries, travel, bonuses and everything else, and the Astros basically set, what, $100 million on fire over five years? That’s why the 2012 Astros lost 107 games, and why the next two years will bring another 200 losses as a nearly-unwatchable team now takes on what might be the toughest division in baseball.

The Astros are hanging a white flag for at least the next three years. Playing in that division, full of perennial powerhouses and well-run franchises, has a ton to do with it.

The AL Central, however, is a much different story.  Its strongest team, Detroit, is top-heavy and an injury or two away from being vulnerable.  The rest of the division is a confusing clutter that will probably end up producing at least three subpar teams.  The Indians, with that as the backdrop, went out and committed $100+ million in new contracts to be competitive, and have more than a puncher’s chance at making the playoffs. If Michael Bourn, their prize offseason trophy, stays healthy and doesn’t fall off a cliff, the Indians are going to improve a lot.

The collective bargaining agreement, with its new rules for supplemental draft picks, to go along with local revenue sharing, laid out Cleveland’s vision — adding cash to their budget and lowering the market value on Bourn. Cleveland, unlike Houston, already had some major pieces they could build on, so the moves they made were more than justifiable.  The Astros got bonus points, at least from what I gather has been written on them, for infusing money into their farm system.  It would be nice to see Cleveland get more bonus points for putting their money on the major league field.

And if everything goes wrong for the Indians next year, there’s always a chance they could go full-on Marlins, blow up their core and “steal” a bigger piece of the revenue sharing pie.  As long as they’re prepared for the backlash, it’s all in the game.

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Catchers Are In A Separate Defensive World

Feb 6, 2013 by

Properly evaluating catcher defense has been among the more problematic areas in player assessment.  It’s been that way for a while, even as defensive metrics in general have advanced by leaps and bounds over the last decade or so.

Take a guy like Brian McCann, who is viewed as one of the very best hitting catchers in baseball since he was called up in 2005.  He often gets a bad rap for his defensive abilities, but do we really know if he’s that much worse than his peers?  And even if he is, to what degree does that affect his team’s ability to win games over the course of a full season?

The most commonly cited statistic for a catcher is the percentage of would-be basestealers they throw out. McCann has been below-average by the measure for all but one year of his career, standing at 24% while the league average is 27%.  But that doesn’t take into account the number of runners deterred from attempting a steal, which is based on more than just the strength and reputation of a catcher’s arm.  A pitcher’s stride, number of baserunners a team allows, game situation, etc. are all part of that equation as well.

But stolen base attempts have decreased pretty substantially since the 90′s.  As Christina Kahrl writes:

Last year, there was less than one stolen base attempt per game, at 0.9. Whatever impact McCann’s below-average throwing performance might have, it hasn’t encouraged opponents to run wild on the Braves: Opponents have averaged just 0.9 stolen base attempts per nine innings against McCann on his career, so if this is supposed to be a significant weakness in his game, they aren’t exploiting it.

Over the course of an entire season, McCann’s career rate would have him allow only four more runners to take an extra base over a league average catcher.  A couple runs, maybe.  It’s not completely negligible, but it’s far from significant.  So if McCann deserves to take some heat for his defense, it should be in other areas he controls.  That’s where things get tricky for a catcher.

While strides have been made in measuring the glove work of other positions (Ultimate Zone Rating, Defensive Runs Saved), those tools don’t really work for catchers.  Since 2008, Matt Klaasen has been tracking how catchers contain damage on loose balls around the plate.  McCann has actually been a plus defender in this category for his career (0.8).  FanGraphs has their own version of this (RPP), and McCann actually ranked fourth in the majors last year– ahead of Yadier Molina, regarded among the best defensive catchers in the game.

A lot of the same defenses (without the newer metrics) were made for Mike Piazza, especially those who thought he should be labeled as more than just the “best offensive catcher of all time”, like it was a knock on him (not as much as the bacne, though).  Essentially, his case as an average or even above-average catcher was made based on pitchers having a lower ERA when Piazza was behind the plate as opposed to other catchers on the team.  Hitters also had a comparably lower OPS when Piazza was catching.  But those measures carry some problems also– a catcher is usually playing behind a very different spread of pitchers.

I’m not trying to say Piazza or McCann are good overall defensive catchers.  I just don’t think they’re all that bad, even if they are below-average.  Scouting reports probably carry even more weight when detailing a catcher’s skills, partly a function of the uncertainty in assessment.  It’s just a lot easier to see the difference between, say, a good shortstop and a bad shortstop, as opposed to catchers.  And I don’t mean an “eye-test” or anything, just that their respectives impacts have different degrees of clarity. For now, anyway.

McCann

 

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Should Braves Make Upton Dreams A Reality?

Jan 18, 2013 by

Justin UptonWith each passing day of the baseball offseason, the Vegas odds for whether Arizona actually trades disgruntled outfielder Justin Upton shift a bit. That’s what it feels like anyway. One day you read that general manager Kevin Towers is “listening” to offers for Upton, the next he’s supposedly off the market.  It’s been back and forth like that for the better part of three months, sometimes with a rumor that’s just believable enough to suck fans in.

But when the Diamondbacks actually agreed to a trade with the Mariners last week (which Upton rejected), eyes opened wider across baseball. Especially for Braves fans like myself. Those “Justin is holding out for a trade to play with B.J.” whispers grew into substantiated chatter— and most now assume that Arizona is itching to deal Upton, having lost any leverage they may have had.

I’m not sure that’s the case, but this is a unique situation for a 25-year-old outfielder, especially one who has already complied 17.1 WAR in his major league career. Upton is under contract for the next three seasons at a total of $38M, surely a bargain even if Upton hits the lower end of his projections. You’d think most general managers would pounce at the opportunity to acquire him, if that opportunity truly presents itself.

It’s kind of perplexing really.  Why would a team that won 94 games as recently as two seasons ago feel like its future would be better served by trading a commodity like Upton? Even if he’s “unhappy”, it’s not like the guy has a reputation for killing a clubhouse.  And most teams aren’t that scared by his 2012 campaign, which saw a noticeable drop-off in production (.280/.355/.430).

But it’s not like that 2012 campaign—a good bet to be an outlier– was all that bad anyway.  The balls he hit in play didn’t drop as often as they normally should (not all his fault) and he still managed to get on base at a pretty good clip. From Keith Law:

“Upton’s skill set hasn’t changed — he still has outstanding bat speed with very quick wrists and strong forearms to allow him to drive the ball, and he worked the count as well in 2012 as he did the year before. He’s got a high-maintenance swing that’s probably going to always require work to keep it consistent, but the potential for seasons like 2011 or better, featuring power, OBP, and good right field defense, remains.”

That 2011 season was remarkable, as Upton ranked fourth in the National League with 6.4 WAR, finishing in the same spot for MVP balloting.  Which is mind boggling when you consider that a 22-year-old right fielder for a playoff team in 2012 finished 29th in the MVP vote despite racking up 6.6 WAR. Classic BBWAA shenanigans.

And speaking of that 2012 playoff team, does acquiring Upton make sense for Atlanta, considering the way the roster is currently constructed?  It’s a really tough question to answer for a team that’s situated the way the Braves are, all things considered.

Mark Smith at Capitol Avenue Club thoroughly explains what taking on Upton would mean for the Braves, with finances emphasized.  Essentially, it wouldn’t affect the team’s ability to sign their core young players to extensions, but would affect their ability to re-sign established veterans like Martin Prado and Brian McCann.

While the Braves would probably like to keep Prado for the foreseeable future, McCann isn’t likely to stay in Atlanta past this year, irrespective of the added cost of Upton.  More of that probably has to do with the price tag McCann will command, but a lot of it has do with Christian Bethancourt, the Braves best catching prospect.

So it seems like the Braves can fit Upton in their budget.  Does his skill set fit in with the team? That sounds like a pretty stupid question – of course every team would be better off with him, but there are many who suggest Upton’s benefitted far too greatly from playing at Chase Field, a consistent hitter’s park.

But most major leaguers play better at home than they do on the road—looking at a player’s road stats and assuming that’s what his true talent level is just isn’t fair. Upton’s road stats are a very meh .250/.325/.406 over his career.  But we can’t take that as face value, as Dave Cameron writes:

“Pretty much any west coast hitter is going to be at a disadvantage in road stats compared to an east coast hitter, due to the unbalanced schedule and the summer climate of the two sides of the U.S. The west coast is much cooler, much less humid, and is home to many of the most extreme pitchers parks in baseball … Whatever you do, though, don’t just look at a player’s road stats and assume that it’s a window into his real talent level, with the difference between his home and road stats being a mirage of the park he played in.”

The difference between Upton’s home and road hitting stats probably won’t be as pronounced should he play in Atlanta next year.  And as for his defense, sliding into the left field spot should be easy on him, playing with an above average center fielder in older brother B.J. Upton and the game’s best right fielder in Heyward.

Over the next three seasons, the Braves would be set up to have several cost-controlled position players, a high upside collective starting staff and one of the best bullpens in baseball.  All within a ~$100M payroll, which speaks volumes of the work of GM Frank Wren and Atlanta’s front office.

But with or without Upton, the Braves are going to be in a world of trouble in the not-too-distant future unless they hit the lottery on their draft picks.  While Atlanta is in the middle of the pack in payroll, as it stands right now, they’re going to be miles apart from the competition when television revenue for most teams will explode.  The Braves, as it’s well documented, have a horrendous long-term television contract for the next couple decades.

So maybe it’s just the time to strike a trade for Upton.  Is he going to be the ultimate difference-maker in punching Atlanta a ticket to the playoff crap-shoot?  Probably not, as they’re already set up to be a 90-ish win team.  But over the next three years, there might not be a better available player, upside considered, that gives the Braves a better chance.  And that chance might not exist for too much longer.

Upton Bros

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BBWAA Voting Hurts Defensive Stars

Jan 12, 2013 by

Kenny LoftonThe outrage over the non-election of any new member to the Hall of Fame is still dominating baseball’s headlines.  Most of the attention is focused on the under 40% vote Barry Bonds (one of baseball’s best two or three players, ever) and Roger Clemens (maybe one of baseball’s best two or three pitchers, ever) received due to PED allegations. Some of the attention is focused on how presumed-clean players like Craig Biggio are getting hurt just because they played under the cloud of the yet-to-be-defined “steroid era.”  But a storyline that’s being largely overlooked is how the voting trends significantly damage the chances of fringe players like Kenny Lofton and Andruw Jones to one day have their day in the Hall.

Lofton’s chances are actually more than damaged — he’s never going to be elected by the BBWAA because he garnered less than 5% of the vote, meaning he’s off the ballot forever.  There were actually great cases being made for his induction, but apparently they didn’t carry enough weight, evidenced by his extremely underwhelming showing by the electorate.

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A Reason Why It’s Still Early: Only One $100+ Million Team Is In First Place

May 28, 2012 by

Now that almost one-third of the 2012 baseball season is in the books, the standings shouldn’t look nearly as displaced as they did in April, right? But heading into June, I noticed something pretty quirky for this stage of the year– out of the nine teams with $100M+ payrolls, just one is in first place.

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Josh Beckett Likes His Off Days … And It Shouldn’t Really Matter

May 11, 2012 by

Josh BeckettOver the last week, Josh Beckett has dealt with an enormous amount of backlash from the media. About ninety-five percent of that has absolutely nothing to do with his pitching performance. Last Thursday Beckett went out on a golfing adventure during one of Boston’s off days … but missed his scheduled start two days later with lat muscle stiffness.

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Cole Hamels And That Old-School Prestigious Way Of Baseball

May 8, 2012 by

When Cole Hamels beaned Bryce Harper in the first inning of Sunday night’s game, he probably didn’t realize the media firestorm that was going to follow.

But after reading the postgame quotes– where Hamels oddly pours his heart out in describing the incident– it kind of sounds like he was looking for some attention:

“I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it. It’s something I grew up watching. That’s what happened. I’m just trying to continue the old baseball. Some people get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything. That’s the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players. It’s that old-school prestigious way of baseball.”

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Regular Season Games In May Can Be Pretty Awesome

May 3, 2012 by

A few visuals to help explain the madness that took place at Turner Field on Wednesday night:

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