I don’t want to promise that it will be every evening before the games begin, but, in case you missed it, I’ve been throwing up a look at the day’s Spring Training-related activities at the end of the day this week. For example, here’s last evening’s Spring Training Miscellany.
- Jeff Sullivan pens a fun piece at FanGraphs, as he often does, and looks at the chances that the Phillies (projected to be awful) finish with more wins in 2016 than the Cubs (projected to be great). I was actually surprised at how large the chance is … though it’s still a tiny 0.8%. One thing I’d point out, though, that projections and this kind of statistical analysis can’t capture is that a team like the Cubs – good on paper, expected to be good – is going to push harder, longer into the season, even if the win total isn’t looking good on that particular day. On the flip side, a team like the Phillies is going to call it a season as soon as they possibly can, and start selling off further/doing things that don’t help add wins. If the Phillies are at .500 in late June, they’re still going to plan to sell. If the Cubs are 10 games under .500 in late June (unless everyone of note has suffered a season-ending injury), they’re not going to sell, and will probably try and add. So, then, the actual scenario that would have to play out for the Phillies to finish the year with a better record than the Cubs is probably much more rare than 0.8%.
- Being that the Cubs’ worst series by a mile last year came at home against a terrible Phillies team, which not only swept the Cubs, but mixed in a no-hitter in the process, I found the Sullivan article all the more enjoyable. The Phillies … they just kinda annoy me.
- The Rangers are doing an incredible promotion, offering free season tickets to anyone who can hit a home run in batting practice at Globe Life Park, which gave me an excuse to post GIFs of hilariously bad swings (including a cameo by former Cub Jonathan Herrera). With a wood bat, do you think you could take one out? How about at Wrigley with a little wind blowing out? If I’m being honest, if I *really* got ahold of one, I think I could probably … reach the outfield.
- The Rockies signed D.J. LeMahieu to a two-year, $7.8 million deal, buying out his first two years of arbitration. That’s notable in its own right (as we’ve discussed, these arb-level deals for positional players could wind up comps for the Cubs’ young players soon), but it’s also notable because it makes me wonder: how many people would have pegged LeMahieu to earn more money in the big leagues than Ian Stewart back in late 2011 when the Cubs’ new front office swapped the two (as well as Casey Weathers and Tyler Colvin, who was considered by many to be the main piece coming from the Cubs’ side at the time). I’m not asking who thought it was a good deal at the time, because that’s an entire other can of worms. I’m just saying it’s crazy that LeMahieu is going to wind up earning more than all the other guys in the deal combined, and Stewart was already arbitration-eligible when he was traded.
- The Cardinals are taking it slow with Carlos Martinez, who ended last season early after a shoulder issue. They still expect him to be ready by Opening Day, but he’s throwing fastballs only right now, and once he ramps those up, then he can mix back in the breaking stuff. Caution with a young arm is a good thing, though, if I were a Cardinals fan, I’d be nervous.
- Kyle Schwarber breaks car windshields in batting practice, and apparently A.J. Burnett used to break truck windows while warming up on the mound inside the stadium. Seriously, that’s a thing that happened.
- A fun read from Mike Petriello on baseball’s best bad ball hitters (starring, of course, Evan Gattis, who hits the ball wherever it is, and can also homer with one hand).
- If you missed it early this morning, it sounds like Dexter Fowler will soon sign with the Orioles on a not-too-terrible contract.
- I see that a Fergie Jenkins autographed baseball is on sale right now at Amazon.