Some of the interesting stories/articles/humor from around baseball this week …
- A trade! A trade! No, it’s not particularly sexy, but it’s something: the Diamondbacks snagged formerly-decent starter Lucas Harrell from the Astros for a PTBNL or cash. Such is the depth of their woe.
- The Washington Nationals will be without Bryce Harper for a couple months after he injured his UCL – the one in his thumb – sliding headfirst into third base. It’s the same injury that sidelined Josh Hamilton, though he had slid into first.
- Writing for FiveThirtyEight, Jonah Keri (with Neil Paine) digs into whether it’s better to construct your roster with stars and scrubs, or a thorough balance. Although he tends to say the research was inconclusive, it does look to me like there’s a slight edge for the stars and scrubs roster, which is what I would have expected. Elite players are disproportionately valuable because they are consolidated within one body and roster spot – that is to say, one 4.0 WAR player is worth a hell of a lot more than two 2.0 WAR players.
- Russell Carlton at BP discusses pitcher injuries and predictors, finding that innings pitched – rather than batters faced – offers some of the best predictive power (it’s all relative, of course, because these are human beings with different bodies). Allowing pitchers to go over 120 pitches in a single outing is also still one of the best predictors of future injury, but Carlton’s study suggests we should be keeping a closer eye on total innings than we have been. (The Cubs, by the way, have for years been extremely cautious with young pitchers’ innings totals. Looks like there was good reason for that.)
- Speaking of pitcher protection, the Diamondbacks just announced that top pitching prospect Archie Bradley is headed to the disabled list with a “mild flexor strain in his right elbow.” Sometimes these things really are just minor strains that get better with a few weeks rest. Sometimes they are a precursor to a more serious elbow problem. No one is safe, man.
- Felix Pie is doing some interesting things while playing in Korea. Calling time to tell your pitcher to throw strikes? Sure. Why not. You’re Felix Effing Pie.
- Hollywood has acquired the rights to Yasiel Puig’s life story, because obviously.
- Grant Brisbee is so damn funny when he writes about baseball absurdity. Like these vintage baseball photos.
- Jimmy Fallon does it again, this time with Robinson Cano as his living, breathing prop. Planning on booing Cano, New Yorkers? Why not start now … and then be hilariously startled: