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

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Bobby Dalbec Boston Red Sox

Bobby Dalbec (3B) BOS - Jan. 17

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

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
Adeiny Hechavarria Atlanta Braves

Ain't recency bias a wonderful thing?

Especially for an Adeiny Hechaverria, who we've had a lot of time to learn who he is.

Last year at the end of April (114 PAs), Yandy Diaz had a WAR of 1.1 ... at the end of the season (347) it was 1.5 ...

Tied with Diaz at 1.1 WAR on May 1 last year?  Alex Bregman.

That said - hell yeah if I'm a team like the Braves whose making a serious run in 2020 I'd drop $1 mil on a Hechavarria.  Without even expecting lightning in a bottle to ever happen again.

Phil Ponebshek Texpope

I'm not sure what to make of WPA but anytime you find yourself on a list that includes Bregman, Rendon and Arenado...

Play Index Spotlight: Adeiny Hechavarria

Journeyman shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was released by the New York Mets August 14 and signed by the Braves two days later. He proceeded to provide a surprising boost for the Braves in the final stretch and apparently impressed them enough to stay on for another year. When you look at the final 39 games of the 2019 season, Hechavarria provided 1.7 Win Probability Added in just 70 plate appearances for the Braves. That's in the top 5 of WPA among all players in the final 39 games of the 2019 season:

Alex Bregman391681.2082.0  HOU
Anthony Rendon371671.0321.9  WSN
Starlin Castro39162.9731.7  MIA
Nolan Arenado341481.1601.7  COL
Adeiny Hechavarria24701.0391.7  ATL
Tommy Edman37160.9991.5  STL
Ji‑Man Choi34130.969  1.5   TBR
Nelson Cruz331481.0231.5  MIN
Alex Patton Alex
Mike Minor Texas Rangers

He's not a groundball pitcher and yet...

GIDP Induced

Ivan Nova 30

Mike Minor 23

GIDP Per Nine IP

(minimum 162 IP)

Ivan Nova 1.44

Brad Keller 1.20

Mike Minor 0.99

Alex Patton Alex
Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds

Batting second didn't help him but this didn't either.

Lowest RBI % - NL

(minimum 502 PA)

Lorenzo Cain .248

Adam Eaton .270

Joey Votto .271

Alex Patton Alex
Jesse Winker Cincinnati Reds

Shortest Avg Home Run - NL

(min 10 over the wall)

Jesse Winker 378

Tucker Barnhart 380

Matt Wieters 385

Kurt Suzuki 386

Tommy Edman 387 

-- Bill James Handbook

Alex Patton Alex
Drew Smyly San Francisco Giants

Signed a one-year deal with the Giants for $4 million.

I wonder who else was in the bidding?

Alex Patton Alex
Adeiny Hechavarria Atlanta Braves

Signed a one-year deal with the Braves for $1 million.

Playing in 84 games, he reached a career-high in round-trippers.

Alex Patton Alex
Amed Rosario New York Mets

His hard contact rate is up 10% over the last 2 years.....that's  a good sign.  He's got 2 things working against his having a breakout.....his GB rate will temper his HR total and Citi Field.....666 Home OPS(.621 career) vs .837 on the road(.792 career). 

van wilhoite LVW
Jose Altuve Houston Astros

"If true" being the active phrase here.  MLB says they investigated that precise claim and found no substantiation.

As I said before, the widespread vitriol against the Astros is a bit shocking to me.  I am qyite sure that as a kid, I hated the Yankees more, simply for the unfair financial advantage they had.  Maybe the haters just have better ways to get attention in 2020?

Geez, the Astros still have only ONE WS title in their existence.

Bob Elam Bob-in-TX
Carlos Beltran Houston Astros

They should hire Wally Backman to replace him

Mike Landau ML-

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