Allow me to offer you a tip – totally self-serving, sure, but it’s a good tip nonetheless: if you’ve grown weary of seeing too many political posts on Facebook from your friends and family, consider marking some of the pages you like (for example, Bleacher Nation) as “See First”. That way, you’ll see more things in your feed from the pages you like, rather than solely whatever Facebook decides to show you. To do it, you go to the page you like, you click on the button that says “Following,” and instead of leaving the “Default” box checked on “In Your News Feed,” you select “See First.” Boom. More stuff in your feed from that page. My experience on Facebook has improved since I did this with a few select pages.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to “See First,” just go to that page, interact with some posts (like, comment, share), and then do it again when you see a post from that page pop up in your news feed. That teaches Facebook more about what you want to see. Otherwise, it assumes you want to see more of your aunt’s rantings, since you always argue with her.
- MLB.com writers for each club are offering a player who could surprise this year, and the Cubs’ player, via Carrie Muskat, is center fielder Albert Almora. Given how established – and locked in – so much of the rest of the roster is, that seems like a pretty good suggestion to me. Almora, right now, is expected to split time in center field with Jon Jay, as the Cubs ease the 22-year-old into a more regular role. If Almora’s glove is elite, no one will be surprised. If the bat comes through the way it did in limited exposure last year (.277/.308/.455, 101 wRC+ in 117 PAs), I think that would be fantastic. It would also probably qualify as a pleasant surprise – not because Almora doesn’t have the ability to be a league average (or better) hitter in time, but because we know that he’ll still have some adjusting to do against big league pitching, especially when he’s not platoon-protected. A little more selective aggression (and the resulting power and BABIP increase, and incidental walk increase) is primarily what we will want to see from Almora in 2017, and will probably have to precede a real “surprise” breakout. Long-term, I remain very bullish on Almora. That said, no one should be expecting Almora to break out at the plate in 2017. He still has time to develop.
- Jayson Stark reported earlier this week that MLB has submitted to the MLBPA a proposal to do away with intentional walk pitches and also (much more notably, in my opinion) to raise the bottom of the strike zone. In response, Stark’s colleague at ESPN has an even more radical suggestion:
With all due respect to a man I have much respect for. These are band aids. The biggest, best and most radical change is to a 7 inning game. https://t.co/1umMjakwf0
— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) February 8, 2017
- Radical, to say the very least.
- A seven-inning game would certainly shave a ton of time off of the total game length, and maybe make it more consumable for the average fan … but at what cost? I’m someone who is pretty aggressively in favor of pace of play and length of game changes in order to help extend the life of baseball well into the coming generations of fans, but this goes too far for me. For one thing, while it reduces the length of games, it won’t do so on a one-to-one basis – pitching changes will just be crunched up forward in the game, yielding as many pitching changes as we’re used to (maybe even more in-inning changes, since managers have fewer innings to get out of their pitchers (and can thus even more aggressively match up)). For another thing, it does nothing to address pace of play, which is distinct from the length of game issue. For still another thing, it would so fundamentally and unpredictably change the way the game is played, that it makes even a progressive fan like me nervous. And for a final thing, baseball is already a sport that is so random that it requires HUGE samples to mete out true talent from fluke variation. Taking away two innings per game makes the outcome of those games all the more subject to fluke, rather than true talent.
- World Baseball Classic rosters will be announced this evening. Presently, the only Cub expected to be on a final roster is Javy Baez, on Team Puerto Rico.
- Speaking of Puerto Rico, the winter league’s champion Criollos de Caguas took home the Caribbean Series title (the league winners from each of Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Mexico play in the tournament). Cubs minor league pitcher Miguel Mejia was on the winning roster, and threw two scoreless innings in the championship game.
- Updating yesterday’s Rizzo-offers-support post – the young fan who was injured is now at home!
- It’s now UNDER a week:
- Philadelphia sports fans are known as among the most involved fans, and Michael found a video of them busting out a college-basketball-style impersonation of then-Braves closer Craig Kimbrel when he was on the mound. It’s hilarious, it’s gotta be distracting (but still feels good-natured), and I wonder why more fans don’t do these kinds of things. Is it just that, as baseball fans, we figure we’re more sophisticated than that or something?
- A robust DeWALT tool set is a deal of the day at Amazon today.
- Sometimes I chip in as a writer over at our sister Bears site, The Ten-Yard Line. Yesterday, I wrote about a whole bunch of the latest mock drafts, and the quarterbacks the Bears might target in the first or middle rounds.
- It was a busy day around here yesterday, so some sub-bullets, in case you missed anything:
- The day kicked off with some MLBits, including a report that the pitch clock is likely not coming to MLB any time soon.
- Among the Bullets, I wondered about how to best pair a catcher with Jon Lester this year.
- I bumped a post on Michael Jordan’s impressive baseball career (no, seriously) in honor of the anniversary of the day he signed with the White Sox.
- Anthony Rizzo did something to help out a young fan in a terrible situation, but the update is great.
- A deep dive on new Cubs lefty Brett Anderson, in case you’re wondering why folks get excited about the healthy version.
- Kyle Schwarber is a beast, and is working in the outfield (video).
- Jason McLeod is not saying Eddie Butler is the next Jake Arrieta. He’s not even not-not saying it. But, well, the name did come up.
- The PECOTA projections came out, and the Cubs are way up in the NL Central, while the Cardinals are 10 games below .500(?).
- And Michael closed things down with a Lukewarm Stove, including some bits on former friends.