I hate shaving, and I also hate having a beard. So that’s kind of a rock and a hard place situation.
- I already loved Chris Coghlan for the way he reinvented his offensive game over the past two years to emerge as quietly, consistently excellent bat. But then I listened to this incredible podcast he did with Mike Petriello, and now I’m over the moon. The extent to which he took a good long hard look at his career, and what things he needed to change and improve to get back on track after his injuries and a lack of playing time looked like it was going to derail him (don’t forget: he had to sign a minor league deal with the Cubs before the 2014 season). He studied the statistics, he studied what teams were valuing, he studied what truly contributes the most to helping teams win, and then he went to work in a very focused, specific way. Coghlan really gets the relationship between statistics and baseball performance, and how it can be a positive thing for players, helping them improve (he even notes how believing more in slugging percentage, rather than batting average, allowed him to improve at the plate by focusing on pitches he could drive, and taking more pitches he couldn’t). You must listen to it. It’s so good.
- One portion to focus on is how much better Coghlan was defensively in left field in 2015 than in 2014 by the defensive metrics, which Coghlan does believe was reflective of actual improvement in his game. Normally, if we saw a swing like we did from 2014 to 2015 in the metrics (Coghlan rated as anywhere from slightly below average to well below average in 2014, and then bumped up to slightly above average to well above average in 2015), we would chalk it up to a small sample from which we cannot take too much. But Coghlan says he learned after that 2014, by studying the numbers and hearing from those in the industry – and his GM, Jed Hoyer – that there were things he needed to improve. So he did.
- Matt Szczur, whom you may recall did an incredible thing for a stranger several years ago, ran a camp for kids back home this offseason and is also raising funds. Szczur will be competing for a bench job with the Cubs in Spring Training, and it’ll be hard not to root for him, because he’s a very good dude. Also, not entirely relatedly: check out that middle video. Dude is RIPPED.
- A real article that exists in 2016: “Royals are one of the worst AL teams to win World Series since 2000” … because their batting average was lower than other teams in past seasons. (UPDATE: And now the article has been yanked, because obviously. Cached version here.)
- MLB Pipeline’s top outfield prospect list is out, and no Cubs – Billy McKinney and Albert Almora would have been the candidates – made the cut. No shame in it, though, because it’s an impressive group.
- Did you see the video of the 88-year-old Rockies fan charging the mound at fantasy camp last year because he took one high and tight? It’s awesome, and you can see it here if you didn’t … plus, he’s going again this year. Gonna kick some ass, I reckon.
- Also at Baseball is Fun, MVP Josh Donaldson is playing a viking on TV. Seriously.
- Like I mentioned in an earlier Bullets, I was looking for a good ‘Star Wars’ book for my kids, and I found it – only eight bucks, too. Just got it two days ago, we’ve already read it multiple times, and The Little Girl insisted on bringing it to school today to show her friends/teachers. Score one for dad.
- Also a good dad:
Being a dad is the most important position I play. if I don’t do this well,no other thing I do really matters pic.twitter.com/TgDKdG1Vfa
— Dexter Fowler (@DexterFowler) January 29, 2016