With baseball, of the fake variety, underway once again, there’s more MLB-wide stuff to discuss …
- A fantastic breakdown by Disciples of Uecker of each of the five projected rotations in the NL central by pitch effectiveness. As you might expect, the Cubs have a very average rotation using this method, slightly ahead of the Brewers and slightly behind the Pirates. The Reds and Cardinals, on the other hand, have many studs, with the Reds outclassing the Cardinals by a fair bit.
- Whoa: there was, in the 1960s, a semi-serious plan for the Padres’ new stadium to be on water, as in floating. Perhaps if the Cubs can’t get the Wrigley Field renovation underway at the present location, a cozy spot on Lake Michigan can be carved out.
- The Hardball Times digs deep on extreme defensive shifts (i.e., three players to one side of second base, including first or third baseman) to get player-by-player breakdowns of effectiveness against the shift. Unsurprisingly, Anthony Rizzo was among the most shifted-against players in baseball last year (his groundball issues last year were discussed here), and the shift was highly effective against him (.225 BABIP against shift, .273 BABIP against non-shift). It’s a reminder that not only must a player try to use all fields, if reasonably possible to do so while still making authoritative contact, but also that it’s important to have guys on base in front of you if you don’t want to face a shift all the time. (Interestingly, the Cubs were one of only a couple teams against whom the shift was, overall, ineffective. For the most part, shifting is very, very effective, and it was one of the things Dale Sveum absolutely got right. Here’s hoping Rick Renteria sticks with it.)
- He doesn’t have his mega-extension just yet (don’t do it, Mike!), but the Angels and Mike Trout agreed on a one-year deal for 2014 for $1 million. This is significant because, as a pre-arb player, he can be renewed at any price and the two sides don’t actually have to agree to a contract. That they did is probably a good sign for the extension (and, indeed, may confirm that an extension is coming – by agreeing to this one-year deal first, the Angels won’t have to count the AAV of the extension against payroll for 2014, which would have pushed them over the luxury tax cap). It’s also the biggest contract for a pre-arb, non-extended player in baseball history, topping Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard who were, at one time, just short of that.
- A little dog running in the sausage races in Milwaukee (dressed as a hot dog)? Yup, I’m on board.
- Have you seen the Josh Reddick catches yesterday? Setting aside the fact that it’s February. Setting aside the fact that both catches were on homers. And setting aside the fact that both came on would-be Michael Morse bombs. Even if you focus only on the incredible catches, themselves, they are crazy impressive. Especially the first one, which looks borderline video-edited: