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The last twenty comments in true blog fasion, with the links to their authors and the player commented upon.

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Carlos Beltran Houston Astros

The whole sign stealing accusation saga in a mean girls video

Kent Ostby Seadogs
Jasiah Dixon Pittsburgh Pirates

Thanks much, Alex. If the league played for money you would be compensated, but it doesnt. 

carter carter GypsySoul
J.D. Martinez Boston Red Sox

The Guide:

DAVITT PAN: Statcast says EV in 2019: 91.9
(2018:93.0). Barrels: 12% (16%). xSlg: 579
(.621). Hard-hit: 47% (52%). Someone will go to
$30, but it seems reachy for a 32-year-old with
back problems.

ZOLA PICK: Being overly penalized for a
seemingly down year. Hard to get RBI when
the guys in front of you knocked in over 100
each.





Alex Patton Alex
Ketel Marte Arizona Diamondbacks

The Guide:

ZOLA PAN: After driving the Marte bandwagon
for years, fearful the power spike was mostly
the funky ball. That said, latent speed initially
drawing me to Marte is still capable of emerg-
ing. 

Alex Patton Alex
Nick Markakis Atlanta Braves

The Guide:

At 36 and with 14 seasons under his belt,
Markakis has become more of a supporting
performer than headliner. He still does many
things well: make good contact, play strong
defense and produce with runners in scoring
position. He’s also been exceptionally durable
outside of last year when a fractured wrist cost
him nearly two months. For all of the value he
carries for Atlanta, however, Markakis doesn’t
excel in any area statistically, leaving him as a
fantasy afterthought. 

Alex Patton Alex
Nick Madrigal Chicago White Sox

The Guide:

Fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft, he’sgot
terrific speed and hit tool that has the potential
for league leading batting averages. On the
other hand, he’s short and slim and has had
some problems staying on the field in recent
years. Though he held up through three levels
last summer. He’ll return to Triple-A to start
the season, where last year his 3.7 percent
strikeout and 9.7 walk rate were eyeopening.

TRACHTMAN PICK: The most polished MLB
arrival since Dustin Pedroia? He’s also much
faster. Madrigal’s fantasy impact this year will
be huge if the White Sox let him hit near the top
of the order.


WINICK PICK: When you strike out at an
astoundingly low rate of 3% and you steal
bases (35), you’re worthy of attention. When
you play excellent defense at 2B and your team
just waived its incumbent 2B, you demand
attention. 





Alex Patton Alex
Jed Lowrie New York Mets

The Guide:

He missed most of the season with injuries
to all the parts of his legs that have names,
then had seven at bats in nine games with no
hits primarily pinch hitting to end the season.
He had a career year in 2018, but that seems
a long time ago now. He’s under contract for
2020 and was healthy at season’s end, so as-
sume health and don’t assume he’ll bounce
back to 2018 levels of production. 

Alex Patton Alex
Carlos Beltran Houston Astros

Jere Longman argues -- weakly, I think -- for opening up the video floodgates.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/18/sports/sign-stealing.html

Predictably (I still read boxscores in newspapers and get the print version of Baseball America), I vote for turning off all devices before the first pitch of every game and keeping them off until the last pitch. If the video team sees something that needs to be reviewed, they call the manager who is standing in the dugout next to something called a telephone. From the time he picks up the receiver, he has ten seconds to make up his mind.

If batters really need to look at their iPads when a reliever comes in -- if they really think they need to -- they can go into the locker room and do that.

But not in the dugout.

Alex Patton Alex
Casey Sadler Chicago Cubs

Casey Sadler (P) CHI-N - Jan. 17

https://www.rotowire.com/baseball/player.php?id=736703

Sadler was traded from the Dodgers to the Cubs on Friday in exchange for minor-league infielder Clayton Daniel, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: Sadler was shipped from the Rays to the Dodgers at the trade deadline and had a 2.33 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 20:8 K:BB across 27 innings for Los Angeles, so it's not a surprise he drew interest after being designated for assignment Wednesday. The veteran right-hander could secure a middle relief role out of the bullpen with a strong spring training. 

Alex Patton Alex
Jordan Hicks St. Louis Cardinals

Jordan Hicks (P) STL - Jan. 17

https://www.rotowire.com/baseball/player.php?id=736701

Hicks (elbow) began a throwing program Jan. 6 and is progressing well in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, Derek Shore of TheCardinalNation.com reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: Hicks underwent Tommy John urgery in late June, so the beginning of a throwing program is a major step in his recovery. The 23-year-old will continue building up his arm strength in the coming months, with a return to throwing off the mound being his next major recovery benchmark. Hicks could make a return at some point this year, but it likely would only be for the tail end of the season. 

Alex Patton Alex
Bobby Dalbec Boston Red Sox

Bobby Dalbec (3B) BOS - Jan. 17

https://www.rotowire.com/baseball/player.php?id=736697

Dalbec is entering spring training with the goal of making Boston's Opening Day roster, Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: At first inspection, it looks like Dalbec could use more seasoning at Triple-A Pawtucket, but the Red Sox have an open slot at first base. He entered the organization as a third baseman but split time at both corner infield positions in 2019. Michael Chavis (oblique) is the current frontrunner, while the team could add an established first baseman. The 6-foot-4, 234-pound Dalbec, who was added to the 40-man roster during the offseason, slashed .239/.356/.460 with 27 home runs, 19 doubles, two triples and 73 RBI combined in 105 games at Double-A Portland and 30 games at Pawtucket. Seven of those 27 homers came in 123 plate appearances for the PawSox. 

Alex Patton Alex
Michael Chavis Boston Red Sox

Michael Chavis (2B) BOS - Jan. 17

https://www.rotowire.com/baseball/player.php?id=736698

Chavis (oblique) said he feels good and is pleased with where his swing is at as he prepares for spring training, Stephen Hewitt of the Boston Herald reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: Chavis was in town to accept the Red Sox's rookie of the year award from the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. In 2019, the 24-year-old infielder split most of his time between second base and first base, two positions without a current full-time starter in place. It's likely he sees time at each position, and he should see an increase in plate appearances in 2020. 

Alex Patton Alex
Noah Syndergaard New York Mets
Jesse Winker Cincinnati Reds

3 of the 5 are Catchers. 

van wilhoite LVW
Hans Crouse Texas Rangers

It's crazy they think Odor will remain in the lineup that far down the road.  Even though he earns pretty well at our game, he's a much worse actual baseball player.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed

Always fun to put BA's predictions into a sealed envelope. The Rangers four years from now...

Here's how we project their lineup in 2023, with their 2023 age in parentheses.

Catcher: Sam Huff (25)
First Base: Ronald Guzman (28)
Second Base: Rougned Odor (29)
Third Base: Josh Jung (25)
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus (34)
Left Field: Nick Solak (28)
Center Field: Leody Taveras (25)
Right Field: Joey Gallo (29)
Designated Hitter: Willie Calhoun (28)

No. 1 Starter: Mike Minor (35)
No. 2 Starter: 
Hans Crouse (24)
No. 3 Starter: Joe Palumbo (28)
No. 4 Starter: Ronny Henriquez (23)
No. 5 Starter: Kolby Allard (25)
Closer: Demarcus Evans (26)

Alex Patton Alex
Sam Huff Texas Rangers

If he was any relation, BA would certainly say.

  1. 2. Sam Huff | C
    Sam Huff
    Born: Jan 14, 1998 
    Bats: R Throws: R 
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 230 
    Drafted: HS--Phoenix, 2016 (7th round). 
    Signed By: Josh Simpson. 

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: High 
    Tool Grades: Hit: 40. Power: 70. Run: 40. Fielding: 45. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: Huff raised his profile in 2019, stamped with an MVP trophy from the Futures Game. The Rangers had him repeat low Class A Hickory to open the year, but he hit 15 home runs in his first 30 games to earn a bump to high Class A Down East, where he continued to show a power stroke.

    Scouting Report: Huff is a tall, physical catcher with two loud tools between his power and arm strength. It’s 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale, with Huff having the strength, bat speed and leverage in his swing to drive the ball out to any part of the park. He has the raw power to hit 30-plus homers if everything clicks, but he’s susceptible to chasing off the plate and has trouble covering the inner third. As a result, he doesn’t walk much and his strikeout rate is high. Where Huff made significant strides in 2019 was behind the plate. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, he’s a big man for a catcher, but he frames pitches well and improved his footwork and blocking. He did an outstanding job of shutting down the running game with his plus arm, throwing out 48 percent of basestealers.

    The Future: Now that Huff looks like a true catcher, there’s less demand on his bat, though he will still need to improve his plate discipline. He heads to Double-A Frisco in 2020.
Alex Patton Alex
Carlos Beltran Houston Astros

The boxscore courtesy of BP (there's even mention of Wally Backman):

You have seen what this looks like if you’ve spent any time online today; the white-noisy rush of one garbage-heavy wave crashing to shore after another might have been audible even if you hadn’t. Slow-motion videos of José Altuve clutching his jersey while rounding the bases after a game-winning homer were circulated and parsed online. A photo of Josh Reddick doing a postgame interview was given the squiggly red circle treatment around what was either tape securing a wire to his chest or a piece of celebratory confetti; Reddick’s wife Jett heatedly insisted it was the latter and signed off with #youallareidiots. A Twitter account purporting to be Beltrán’s niece perfunctorily apologized to her tio, tweeted the details of what it said was a previously unrevealed Astros cheating methodology, then deleted the tweets and then the whole account. It was shortly revealed not to have been Beltrán’s niece at all; Gary Sheffield’s son later posited that it was instead the anonymized account of a former Astros player. Mark Teixeira said Beltrán should be fired for his role in the scheme and Carlos Gomez said Teixeira was a sucker for saying it. Jessica Mendoza, an ESPN analyst who also has a vaguely proscribed consulting job with the Mets, suggested on the radio that the real tragedy of the metastasizing cheating scandal was all the snitching-ass snitches who started it, then tried to clarify it in a statement that mostly just restated the original with more of a Be That How It May tone. This is before we even get to the inevitable Bob Nightengale column. So: not great, really.

Alex Patton Alex
Randal Grichuk Toronto Blue Jays

RBI % (explained under Nelson Cruz) is not kind to Grichuk.

"The major league leader in runs NOT driven in was Randal Grichuk of Toroto, who drove in 80 runs but had an RBI percentage of .308. He missed 179.5 opportunities -- the highest total in the major leagues."

The average RBI % all hitters with 150 AB last year was .326. Grichuk was reasonably close to that but he had far more than the average number of opportunities.

Alex Patton Alex
Nelson Cruz Minnesota Twins

Top RBI %, both leagues (min. 150 AB)

Nelson Cruz .486

Mike Trout .472

Will Smith .467

Mitch Garver .464

Christian Yelich .463

RBI % is a metric that Bill James rolled out 11 years ago and hasn't caught on.

"Players are charged with missed opportunities whenever they make an out without driving in a run."

All opportunities are not created equal. 

Full-fledged opportunity (1.00): runner left at third with two out.

Big opportunity (.70): runner left on third with  two out or runner left on second.

Small opportunity (.40): runner left on first.

Very small opportunity: no runner on; the only one you can drive in is yourself.

Clearly, to rank at the top of this list of all hitters in both leagues with at least 150 AB, Nellie had to come through with runners on and runners in scoring position, and he did.

In 205 AB with runners on, he slashed .341/.441/.634

In 106 AB with runners in scoring position, he cut down on his swing: .368/.478/.575.

Alex Patton Alex

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