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Erick Fedde Washington Nationals

Anyone else give up on him and cut him this week? Classic ... 

Howard Lynch LynchMob
Wander Franco Tampa Bay Rays

Who wouldn't want to be at PNC this weekend to watch the shortstops?

Rotoworld:

06.21: Wander Franco (quad) went 2-for-3 with a double and also played six innings at shortstop on Monday for the Rays' Florida Complex League affiliate. (Franco
will receive a day off on Tuesday to rest and recover before playing
shortstop for Triple-A Durham on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The
21-year-old franchise cornerstone, who is rehabbing from a right quad
strain, will be re-evaluated after that and could rejoin the Rays for
this weekend's series against a rapidly-improving Pirates' squad.)
Alex Patton Alex
Oneil Cruz Pittsburgh Pirates

Rotoworld:

06.21... In his first game since his callup, Oneil Cruz went
2-for-5 with a double and four RBI to lead the Pirates to a 12-1 win
over the Cubs on Monday.
Spin: If only the Pirates had carried
Cruz out of spring training, they'd surely be in first place right now.
Cruz showed his talent in all aspects tonight. He had the hardest-hit
ball of the season for a Pirate (112.9 mph), the highest sprint speed of
the season for a Pirate and the hardest throw by any MLB infielder --
Pirate or not -- in 2022 (96.7 mph). Cruz probably won't hit for average
as a rookie, but he'll be productive anyway and he's already made the
Pirates more interesting than they've been in years.

Alex Patton Alex
Jorge Alfaro San Diego Padres

Free Agent Watch: Week 11

Elijah Ackerman

Baseball Propectus

Jorge Alfaro, C/OF, Padres (Yahoo: 6%, ESPN: 3%)

Is Jorge Alfaro…finally figuring it out? He’s batting .280—his best since his 29 games in 2017—and has the highest OPS+ of his career (129). Though his strikeout rate remains around 32 percent, he is walking at a 5.5 percent mark, two points higher than last year.

The biggest difference in Alfaro’s batted balls from years past: fewer ground balls, more line drives and fly balls. His ground ball rate was 52 percent in 2019 and 57.1 percent last season, but it’s shriveled to 41.8% this season. His line drive rate (30.4 percent) and fly ball rate (25.3 percent) are both career bests, according to Statcast. His launch angle has skyrocketed from 1.8 degrees last year to 11.1 degrees this season. If Alfaro qualified, that 9.3 degree increase would rank third in the majors from 2021 to 2022. Catcher remains quite thin, even with some prospects coming up lately, and Alfaro is an intriguing, readily available option. 

Alex Patton Alex
Jon Berti Miami Marlins

Robert Ackerman's Free Agent Watch: Week 11 at BP:

Jon Berti, 2B/3B, Marlins (Yahoo: 54%, ESPN: 14%)

I love Jon Berti. He’s taken over the everyday third base job in Miami with Brian Anderson out and is excelling since the start of June. He has 14 stolen bases in 18 games this month, more than all but three teams, besides his own! Other than the Marlins, only the Rangers (20), Mariners (15), and Guardians (15) had more steals this month than Berti entering Monday. His 18 swipes are tied with Julio Rodríguez for most in the majors—and Berti’s reached that clip in 30 fewer games than the Seattle rookie.

Berti’s versatility means he will always be an option for the Marlins’ offense, which has struggled for much of the season. He’s batting leadoff more lately—six times in his last 17 games—and is a perfect sparkplug. It’s a small sample, but he’s slashing a healthy .306/.382/.469 with two home runs, nine stolen bases, and six RBI out of that spot this season.

The risk in adding Berti is that this stretch is his peak, and he will soon quiet down without reaching his zenith again. He’s never had more than 287 plate appearances in a season, despite playing for middling Marlins teams throughout his career. But playing in a low offense season gives Berti more upside. He doesn’t have to hit any home runs, so long has he continues to get on base, swipe some bags, and score a few runs.

Alex Patton Alex
Michael Harris Atlanta Braves

Elijah Ackerman's Free Agent Watch: Week 11 at BP is clearly for mixed leagues. That's okay. He delves deep into the Statcast stats to take the measure of new players and old players who are just playing like new.

I can only think that ESPN mixies are 12 teams, or is it ten?

Michael Harris II, OF, Atlanta (Yahoo: 55%, ESPN: 28%)

Since the start of June, Harris is batting .354/.382/.615 with 10 extra-base-hits, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored. His early call-up has thus far been worth it, and he is primed to stay in the Braves lineup for years to come.

His exit velocity is averaging about 89 mph this season, just a tick above league average. But his hard rate (46.7 percent) and barrel rate (10 percent) are both well above the majors altogether, evidence that his bat speed is playing well. He’s been really impressive against fastballs, batting .349 (15-43 AB) with a .605 SLG on heaters, and he’s held his own against breaking and off-speed pitches. He’s using the whole field, too, going up the middle more than half the time and going the other way at a rate around league average rate (25 percent). Harris isn’t quite a must add in redrafts, but he’s not far off, as he’s in an organization that knows how to nurture young talent that will season him properly.

Alex Patton Alex
Jesse Winker Seattle Mariners

Robert Arthur today at BP asks WHY IS BABIP SO LOW?

Offense has taken a dramatic tumble in the 2022 baseball season, driven first and foremost by a less aerodynamic baseball that’s pulled homers back from their 2019 heights. But a secondary trend that’s killing hits has little to do with the ball, even if it’s also decreasing scoring by hundreds of runs. This season, we’re on track for the lowest BABIP in about 30 years, though the forces driving that trend are somewhat mysterious.

At the moment, the league-wide BABIP stands at a paltry .288, which happens to be the lowest it’s been since 1992. BABIP was fairly steady through most of the 2010s, fluctuating within a few points of about .297 until three seasons ago, when it began to tumble. That year–the pandemic-shortened, chaotic 2020 campaign–BABIP fell six points, from .298 to .292. Such a massive decline commands attention, but given the various other complications that season–from a smaller sample size to missed spring training, between the throes of the pandemic and the rollout of new tracking–the precipitous falloff in hits went less noticed.

Yet it continued. The 2021 season featured the same .292 mark before falling to where it is today, which is surely enough combined batted balls to conclude that something is up. The mechanics of BABIP, which measures how often balls in play fall for base hits, dictate that either quality of contact has fallen off or defense has improved. (Weather is a very minor contributor to BABIP, but examining each year’s numbers through June shows the exact same pattern.)

We’re now three seasons into the no-longer-new Hawkeye system, which seems a quantum leap forward in measuring batted ball data. And in this relatively stable era of a highly accurate system, there’s no sign that exit velocity is significantly down or that launch angle has moved one direction or the other. Average exit velocity sits at 88.2, actually the highest number of the three-season Hawkeye stretch, while launch angle, at 12.3 degrees, is comfortably positioned between the 2020 and 2021 numbers.

In aggregate, then, there’s no reason to believe quality of contact has shifted significantly. But the averages don’t tell the whole story. Perhaps quality of contact has dropped off in the particular bands of launch angle and exit velocity that generate the most hits. There is some evidence for this theory: depending on the batted ball classifications you use, line drives are at their lowest level since perhaps 2011. This year, they make up only 20.2 percent of batted balls, down from 21.6 percent a couple of years ago. Considering liners routinely boast a BABIP of .600 or more, losing even one in a hundred batted balls from this category has the potential to drain many, many hits from the league.

That’s good evidence that the spectrum of contact has changed in the league. The trouble is, batted ball classifications are the subjective classification of two objective quantities, namely the launch angle and exit velocity of each batted ball. Stringers watching the game put a label on each hit off the bat, hoping to capture whether it’s a liner, fly ball, or grounder, and normally they do a good job. But in this case, curiously, the Statcast monitoring system doesn’t back the finding of a major decrease in line drives... Regardless of how you define them, the band of contact from about 10-25 degrees launch angle, with or without a velocity filter, doesn’t seem to have decreased to any major degree, the way the stringer’s deficit of line drives would suggest.

That leaves something of a mystery: considering multiple different batted ball classifications agree that there are fewer line drives this year, but the super-advanced camera tracking system doesn’t concur, we’re more or less back to square one.

There’s another possibility, of course, which is that defense has improved. I wrote in 2021 about how defenses have become so much better that they are now cleanly fielding thousands of outs each year that would have fallen for hits just a few years ago. This isn’t just about the infield shift, although the infield shift often gets most of the glory. According to previous analysis, optimizing where outfielders stand is probably at least as important on an aggregate offensive level.

But defense is much harder to study, because although the Hawkeye system does measure where players are standing and moving at all times, that data is not made available to the public...

But there’s no sign of a big change in where fielders stand this year, at least in terms of distance from home plate or the limited fielding alignment charts MLB produces. Which leaves us back at square one: wondering why a statistic that’s normally so stable on a league-wide level would decline so much (four full points) in the space of a single offseason. Was there a quantum leap forward in defense that swept the league all at once? If so, what could it have been? Or, is there some other force like improved pitching creating worse contact, maybe influencing batted ball spin–another metric Statcast collects, but doesn’t provide to the public. At the moment, with the data we have, there’s no clear sign of why the hits have disappeared.

Alex Patton Alex
Domingo German New York Yankees

Yankees

Domingo German is set for a rehab start on Wednesday.
Corey Sipkin
Alex Patton Alex
Aaron Judge New York Yankees

Continuing my post moments ago (from the Post) under Stanton...

Judge entered Monday with an MLB-high 25 homers, having hit 24 over a stretch of 47 games prior to the four-game “drought” he brought into Monday’s game against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Stanton did most of his damage in 2017 in the second half. Through 66 games, he had 17 homers compared to Judge’s 25 and it’s the grind of the season that will likely be a challenge to Judge — especially as he plays center field more than ever.

Asked the most difficult part of staying consistent in a season like the one Judge is having, Stanton paused and said, “I would say the overall wear and tear.

“Even when it’s going great and you’re playing well and you don’t have to go through the frustration of slumping, it’s still very taxing to be on base so many times, scoring so many times and always moving,’’ Stanton said. “And you’re out there every day, running in the outfield, running the bases and then you have to stay mentally prepared for every at-bat and not giving any away.”

Which gets harder as the year progresses...

“It’s been amazing to watch,’’ Stanton said. “He’s playing on the next level from where everywhere else is playing. … It’s entertaining watching the frustration of the best pitchers in the world trying to get this guy out.”

Alex Patton Alex
Giancarlo Stanton New York Yankees

I had it wrong in the Guide. I thought Stanton's monster season was before, not after, he signed his monster contract.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Giancarlo Stanton knows better than almost anyone what Aaron Judge is doing this season.

Five years ago, Stanton hit 59 homers in his NL MVP season with the Marlins.

He’d already signed his massive contract with Miami, so a new deal wasn’t what sparked the offensive onslaught.

And even with Judge headed to an arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Wednesday and perhaps free agency following the season, Stanton said that’s not behind what could be Judge’s finest season in the majors.

“He’s showing he’s motivated and he doesn’t need any extra motivation,’’ Stanton said. “I know this year he’s got plenty of it and every bit helps, but to do what he’s doing, it takes a mindset where you don’t need that added motivation.’’

Yankees
Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge
Getty Images

Instead, Stanton said it was a realization that he was in the midst of a special year in the prime of his career.

“For what we do, the window is very small for when you know you have the talent and capability of doing what he’s doing and you want to show it,’’ Stanton said. “When you’re career is over, there’s going to be so much failure and missed opportunities, you have to get your mind right when something like this is happening.’’ 

Alex Patton Alex
JT Brubaker Pittsburgh Pirates

Probably had too much to drink and got goaded into running out onto the field by all his irresponsible squirrel friends...

Gary Cruciani Megary
Tommy Edman St. Louis Cardinals

To which I should add he's earned $17 in both formats of our game.

Alex Patton Alex

MLB dWAR Leaders

dWAR
Tommy Edman 1.6
Jorge Mateo 1.5
Ke'Bryan Hayes 1.5
Andres Gimenez 1.3
Andrew Velazquez 1.2


Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals is unable to field a ground ball

Cardinals’ Super Utility Man Tommy Edman deserves a spot in the All-Star game — just not at a traditional position.
Getty Images
Alex Patton Alex
Jonathan Villar Chicago Cubs

I should have posted preceding (Brubaker threat) here.

Replying to
Squirrel has more range than Villar
Alex Patton Alex
JT Brubaker Pittsburgh Pirates

In the middle of a Pirates rally, no less. Home team went on to win 12-1.

Things got a little nutty at PNC Park on Monday night.

The game between the Chicago Cubs and host Pittsburgh Pirates was delayed in the bottom of the second inning when a squirrel made its way onto the field. 

The critter reportedly entered the field from the stands on the third-base side. Members of the grounds crew, equipped with nets, chased the squirrel across the warning track in a scene that deserved to be set to “Yakety Sax.” 

Eventually, the rodent exited the playing field via the bullpen gate, ending the minutes-long delay.

No word on if he picked up some peanuts and Cracker Jacks before leaving.

Alex Patton Alex
Joe Kelly Chicago White Sox

The Monkey this morning:

Chicago White Sox – After Kendall Graveman was brought in to face the 3-4-5 hitters in the 8th inning, Joe Kelly came on for the 9th. He made it interesting, allowing a two-run homer to Cavan Biggio, but then settled down to record the final two outs, netting his first save. It’s probable this was a matchup play — Graveman is clearly the best arm in this pen right now — but we’ll slap a committee tag on here in case they use him in his traditional fireman role rather than as an exclusive closer.

Updated hierarchy: *Graveman | Kelly | Ruiz.
* = closer-by-committee

Alex Patton Alex
Clay Holmes New York Yankees

Yeah I have him too in a CBS league. No win for Holmes there. I just don't understand why the scorer is able to pick who gets the win. It's not like the Yanks were ahead the whole game and the starter didn't go 5, and the scorer picks the most effective reliever. 

If someone sees an explanation of this, please share. 

Scott Shea SJS
Jarren Duran Boston Red Sox

Single, double, walk, two SB, two runs leading off against the Tigers. I think we can pencil him in now as the leadoff hitter tonight facing Beau Brieske.

Alex Patton Alex
Corbin Burnes Milwaukee Brewers
Tuesday, June 21View in browser
Stathead logo & link to Stathead.com home page
Andrew VaughnAndrew BenintendiJarren DuranCorbin BurnesGerrit Cole
Andrew VaughnAndrew BenintendiJarren DuranCorbin BurnesGerrit Cole

Jun 20, 2022 Top Performers

Pitchers:

Corbin Burnes (MIL): 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 10 K, 81 GmSc

Gerrit Cole (NYY): 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 12 K, 81 GmSc

Max Fried (ATL): 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 69 GmSc

Yu Darvish (SDP): 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 68 GmSc

Logan Webb (SFG): 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 68 GmSc

View All of Yesterday's Pitchers at Baseball-Reference.com

Alex Patton Alex

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