News from around the league …
- Back in 2004, the Montreal Expos left Canada and became the Washington Nationals. That may not have been the last taste of MLB for the province, though. According to this this report by Chris Cwik, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre will be meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred at the end of May to discuss bringing baseball back to Montreal. It’s not clear if any sort of proposal would focus on relocation or expansion, but it doesn’t sound like either is happening any time soon. Manfred has addressed Montreal in the past, saying that the city needs to show it can provide an adequate stadium before MLB will discuss a return.
- In this fun comparison to Aroldis Chapman’s fastball, Jeff Sullivan writes about just how freakish Giancarlo Stanton’s exit velocity has been in the batters’ box. Much like Chapman leads all of baseball in highest pitch velocity, Stanton is first, second and fourth in batted ball exit velocity. If you want to see someone do terrible things to a baseball, check out Sullivan’s article. Stanton is very unique.
- By now, most people have gotten on board with defensive shifts. Usually, if a team is pitching against a pull-happy slugger, they’ll throw an additional infielder to his side of the plate. The Kia Tigers of KBO (the professional Korean baseball league), though, aligned a defensive shift that would even make Dale Sveum shake his head. The Tigers put their third basemen behind the catcher, to prevent against a passed ball/wild pitch. The move is illegal (in KBO and MLB), so we didn’t get to see it play out, but Baseball Prospectus did the math, and it’s not as crazy of a move as you might think.
- Another week, another pitcher is getting surgery. This time, Dodgers Hyun-Jin Ryu is headed for a shoulder operation that could end his entire season. Shoulder operations are especially risky for pitchers and it sounds like doctors aren’t certain what they’ll find when they get in there. Ryu, 28, has a 3.17 ERA (2.97 FIP) over his first two years in MLB; the Dodgers (24-15) will miss him this year, and may dip into the pitching market at some point.
- Jayson Werth is headed to the disabled list after being hit on the wrist by a pitch on Friday. Like shoulders for a pitcher, wrists can be especially troubling for hitters (remember Derrek Lee?), so Werth might not be himself for a while. The Cubs play the Nationals this Monday; Werth will not be in the lineup.
- Speaking of the Nationals, in the midst of his insane hot streak, Bryce Harper got the early boot last night for questionable reasons:
Here's the long version of Harper talking about getting ejected by Marvin Hudson. pic.twitter.com/vki9omxWo1
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) May 21, 2015
- Grant Brisbee wonders whether the Reds should roll the dice once last time in 2015 or tear everything down and begin a serious rebuild. The choice, according to Brisbee, is based on how much you believe in the veterans (Votto, Phillips, Cueto, Chapman) versus the potential return you can receive for them and others. While the Reds (18-22) share a record with the Pirates, I don’t foresee that pace continuing. The Reds are looking up at the Pirates, Cubs and Cardinals in their own division, alone, in terms of expectations and talent. A rebuild is likely just one poor stretch away.
- There are a few topics in baseball that always seem to ruffle some feathers. The existence of lineup protection is one of them. On the one hand, the data indicates that there is little to no correlation between performance and lineup protection. On the other hand, we have anecdotal evidence to the contrary. At FanGraphs, David Laurila took on the task of determining how unanimous the anecdotal evidence actually is. Interviewing six pitchers, four hitters and two managers, Laurila gets some pretty surprising answers (I only count three responses that indicate a definitive belief in the existence of lineup protection).
- I love the minor leagues for so much more than the players they produce:
— Cut4 (@Cut4) May 19, 2015
- Astros’ pitcher Lance McCullers tried to have a little fun with his wardrobe this week:
— Brian McTaggart ⚾️ (@brianmctaggart) May 19, 2015
- And MLB responded by declaring that no fun shall be had!
Lance McCullers was told by MLB he will not be able to wear the Batman cleats. Fun while they lasted.
— Julia Morales (@JuliaMoralesRS) May 19, 2015