Delayed Bullets again, but I reckon you don’t mind …
- Jeff Sullivan takes on the biggest Kris Bryant question at FanGraphs: what about all the swings and misses? The looming issue there, you should note, is not the same as strikeout rate, which can be elevated for a number of reasons. Bryant has an excellent batting eye, and, with the threat his bat poses, he has taken enough walks (and slugged at a high enough rate) to offset any strikeouts in the minors thus far. Instead, the concern here is strictly with the rate at which Bryant swings and misses individual pitches – he’s done so at an historically high rate in the upper minors (right up there with guys like Javier Baez, Brett Jackson and Mike Olt, for a few examples), and it’s a topic that has gone largely undiscussed when evaluating Bryant, outside of some stray side conversations in the comments. It’s worth reading Sullivan’s piece and reminding yourself of how detrimental contact struggles can be … but also note that no one is saying it’s a problem that (1) Bryant’s other abilities can’t outshine or (2) Bryant can’t improve upon. Generally, with huge power comes a lot of swing-and-miss. As long as the batting eye remains strong and the power impressive, I think we’re going to see that Bryant succeeds in a big way in the Majors. But there may be some adjusting along the way, even for a guy who is probably the best prospect in the game.
- Also: remember how Bryant’s manager at Iowa, Marty Pevey, mentioned a hole in Bryant’s swing that he’s still got to work on? Perhaps that ties into the swing-and-miss, and perhaps that really is something he can start to work out in Spring Training and a few weeks at Iowa.
- Joe Maddon has no preconceived lineup notions just yet, and we may see some creativity (CSN). Previously, we discussed the possibility that Maddon could bat the pitcher 8th.
- Mark Prior and Moises Alou, former teammates (and connected by a particular moment about which we will not speak right now), are now back together in the Padres’ organization.
- The folks at BP are working on a new pitch-framing model for evaluating catcher performance. It’s dense stuff, so it’s going to take a little time to digest, but one clear takeaway is that the extreme ends of the previous models may have been slightly too extreme. (But, make no mistake: great framers are still very valuable, and poor framers are still a drag.)
- META: The good news is that the FCC has gone full bore on strong Net Neutrality, but they’ve actually gone so far in that direction that the bad news is they’ll now face significant fights in courts and Congress.
- Did you miss the BNTV live stream last night featuring me AND Luke? If so, you can check it out here (and the insane 533 comments here):