Another DnD update (you can thank Brett for this): Harshnag the Frost Giant (my character) adventured admirably last night, preventing the town of Waterdeep from being attacked by Hill Giants. He’s now resting in a cave deep under the “Spine of the World” mountain range.
And in other news, I’m expecting a text from Brett that says something along the lines of, “Okay, that’s enough of the DnD, though.” [Brett: I mean, I would never tell you what to write about, but … oh wait, that’s my job … I could actually just edit al of this out … ]
Here’s some news from around the league …
- Houston Astros pitching prospect Forrest Whitley (#9 overall prospect in baseball) has been suspended 50 games for violation of Minor League baseball’s drug program. There’s not a ton of information out there on the suspension, but the length of the suspension suggests it’s not a PED suspension. Whitley is reportedly remorseful and vows to learn from his mistake. Whitley is the second best pitching prospect in baseball (according to MLB Pipeline), behind only Shohei Ohtani, who’s really more of a Major Leaguer anyway. So this is basically baseball’s best pitching prospect getting a huge suspension possibly for a recreational drug (Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes, also a top pitching prospect, was previously suspended 50 games for marijuana).
- In 1994, White Sox grounds crewman Nevest Coleman was arrested for a rape and murder he did not commit. This past November – 23 years later – he was released after recently analyzed DNA evidence cleared him of the crime, and the White Sox are doing their part to make the transition easier, offering him his old job back on the spot. That is a *tiny* victory in an otherwise sad story, but I’m glad Coleman got at least that much. He also seems happy for the opportunity, so I hope he gets everything out of it he deserves.
- While some teams (Rangers, Angels) are gearing up for six-man rotations, either for part or all of the 2018 season, another team is planning for a four-man group. According to Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), the Rays are planning on using a four-man rotation for at least the first six weeks of the season, because they have enough off days (eight in a 38-day window) to keep everyone on fairly normal rest. Those starters will be Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jake Faria (Jake Odorizzi was just traded to the Twins). When a fifth starter is unavoidable, the Rays will bring up a spot starter, but otherwise, yeah, four-man rotation. Okay.
Announcing… The Ray Tank!
Our new blog will have behind-the-scenes stories, photos, and more.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) February 19, 2018
- According to Pedro Moura (The Athletic), Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood plans on pitching out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season, after having an epiphany while watching Stephen Strasburg do it. That’s all interesting and fun on its own, but it was the response on Twitter from the always hilarious Dan Haren (@ithrow88) that really made my day:
I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice https://t.co/13bDxVOzsF
— dan haren (@ithrow88) February 21, 2018
- LOL. And as if that wasn’t enough, Jered Weaver came in and dropped another hilarious tweet:
Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways
— Jered Weaver (@Weave1036) February 21, 2018
- In other funny Spring Training news, new Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen (still sounds weird to say), took Madison Bumgarner deep during the first live batting practice, and then …
McCutchen took Bumgarner deep during the first live BP session. Bumgarner started laughing and Posey kicked McCutchen out of batters box.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) February 20, 2018
Andrew McCutchen just blasted one off Madison Bumgarner to what I think is Paradise Valley. Buster Posey pushes him out of the box after. pic.twitter.com/wB7rGjA1ef
— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) February 20, 2018
- Say what you will about the Giants’ chances in 2018, but a team with McCutchen, Bumgarner, Posey, Brandon Crawford, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Hunter Pence, and Evan Longoria is going to be SO MUCH fun to watch. Those are a lotta big personalities.
- Earlier today, Brett wrote that all 30 MLB teams are planning on donning the caps of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball team (the location of the tragic shooting last week (and Anthony Rizzo’s alma mater)), and here’s an actual look at the hats themselves:
— MLB (@MLB) February 21, 2018
- At FanGraphs, Travis Sawchik correctly points out that MLB isn’t really addressing it’s pace-of-play problems with the new limitations on mound visits and reduction of commercial break time, because while those changes should shorten the game (relatively speaking), the pace will remain unaffected. But that debate aside, two of Sawchik’s facts really stood out to me. First, only FOUR of the 462 Major League pitchers to throw at least 30 innings last season recorded pitch paces at 20 seconds or less. Four. Four. Are you kidding me? And even if that doesn’t blow your mind, because you think baseball is fine the way it’s always been well then how about this: The average time between pitches jumped up by 0.6 seconds last season to a PITCHf/x era all-time high of 24.3 seconds! So … baseball isn’t even the same as it’s always been! It’s actually slower than it’s ever been. Good stuff.
- This is cool (I’m sure we’ll address it further as more details come out down the road):
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 21, 2018
- Also at FanGraphs, Rian Watt asks what the Cincinnati Reds’ plan is, given that Joey Votto is likely entering the twilight of his career (he still has more quality seasons left, but at 34, it just isn’t going to last forever). Needless to say, the Reds should have some money to throw around next winter, and a free agent class that could support a quick turnaround. Given how long they’ve gone without contending, the beginning of the end for Votto, the big free agent class, their available payroll space, and an improving farm system, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them spend a lot next offseason.
- At Baseball is Fun, I took a look at three of the memorable “dad-carrying-baby” catches in the stands. I know they’re generally pretty dangerous moves, but I just can’t not love them:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) February 21, 2018