MLBits: Lucroy Out, Strike Zone Shrinkage, Velocity and Arm Injuries, Stanton Power, More

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MLBits: Lucroy Out, Strike Zone Shrinkage, Velocity and Arm Injuries, Stanton Power, More

MLB News and Rumors

mlb logo featureWhile you’re taking in today’s game, some items from around baseball to get you through the commercials …

  • Bad news for the Brewers, who found out that star catcher Jonathon Lucroy is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a broken toe, after taking a foul ball of his foot Monday night in Milwaukee (Adam McCalvy). The Brewers (2-13) have already had a rough go at it in the early going, and losing their best overall player will certainly not help. Through Monday’s contest against the Reds, Lucroy was batting just .156/.235/.200, but has been worth over 13 WAR the last three years combined (and that doesn’t include framing skills). The Cubs are scheduled to play the Brewers six times between now and May 10.
  • If you missed it, Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price dropped 77 F-bombs in a media rant (about the media) on Monday. Price was set off when reporter C. Trent Rosecrans asked about Devin Mesoraco’s availability off the bench that evening against the Cardinals – information Price did not want to reveal to his opponents. On Tuesday, Rosecrans wrote about his experience, during and after the rant, here. Frankly, it’s hard to disagree with Rosecrans. I’d offer my opinion, but Rosecrans nails it with a money quote: “My job, whether Price agrees with it or not, is to provide accurate and timely information about the Reds to you, the fans. It’s not to help the Reds win, it’s so that the fans of the team are better informed.” I suggest you check out Rosecrans’ story. He is actually pretty fair to Price, and provides an interesting, thoughtful read.
  • From 2009-2014, the strike zone grew from 435 sq. inches to 475 sw. inches. The early returns from 2015, though, tell a different story. Tuesday at FanGraphs, Jon Roegele compared the 2015 strike zone to the first month of 2014 and notes that it has actually shrunk, overall, to 457 sq. inches (this doesn’t include last night’s Cub game, though, which would obviously bring it to well over 1000 sq. inches). Further, it seems that the bottom of the strike zone is actually expanding.
  • Jeff Zimmerman takes a deep look into the relationship between velocity and pitcher arm injuries at the Hardball Times. One interesting take away among many: Zimmerman refutes the theory that a sudden spike in velocity portends a coming arm injury, something folks have pointed to anecdotally. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. A jump in velocity typically represents a healthier pitcher overall.
  • After a late/hard slide into Alcides Escobar on Friday night, the Athletics’ Brett Lawrie was plunked by Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura on Saturday. On Sunday, Lawrie was targeted again, this time with a 100-mph fastball (near his head) from Kelvin Herrera. According to Jane Lee, Herrera has received a five game suspension (which he is appealing) and an undisclosed fine, while Ventura has received an undisclosed fine. In my opinion, the duo got off easy, for a pretty dangerous, thoughtless act – Herrera especially. I think getting revenge is a dangerous, childish response, regardless of “tradition” and sticking up for a teammate. After seeing what Giancarlo Stanton went through last year, for example, I’m not sure how anyone can justify doing that to someone on purpose.
  • StatCast – a program that broadcasts baseball games with live, advanced statistics – made its debut on Tuesday night during the Cardinals/Nationals game, to mixed reviews. StatCast is a cool idea, but it apparently has some problems to work out. Essentially, fans found the extra data to be cool, but the graphics and videos to be a bit too distracting. Also, there needs to be more context for the numbers if they’re to be useful or even interesting.
  • As heralded as Kris Bryant’s opposite field power is, there is one guy that easily matches it: Giancarlo Stanton. Check out this drive to deep right-center field that actually makes it into the Marlins’ bullpen, a feat the announcer claims never to have seen in the ballpark’s young history:

  • After the Cub’s late inning heroics Tuesday, I switched over to the Cardinals/Nationals game in time to watch the Cardinals get walked off on, one of my all-time favorite events. The National’s Yunel Escobar hit a home run in the 10th inning (off former Cub, and mustache enthusiast, Carlos Villanueva) the Cardinals lost and, for a brief moment, all was right in the world. 
  • Have you ever wondered about the origin of each MLB team’s nickname? Scott Allen of Mental Floss looks into the history and background of all 30 MLB teams and makes you a smarter person. Full disclosure, the Cubs story isn’t the most exciting one.
  • While I did make it in time to see the Cardinals lose in extra innings, Tuesday night, I was also in time to see Cardinal’s Centerfielder, John Jay, make a diving catch in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, to stop Jason Werth from winning the game. That was a pretty nice play, credit where credit is due, but this one isn’t:

  • Jay doesn’t come anywhere near this ball. A diving play is fun to see, and I’m sure fans enjoy the effort, but you have to have some chance to catch it, if you’re going to try.


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.