When I was digging through the Cubs Spring Stats yesterday, I stumbled upon a fun little statistical nugget from the Cactus League:
So this is fun: Through 15.0 Cactus League innings this spring, Kyle Hendricks has 21 Ks and 0 walks. pic.twitter.com/hTxRHhwywW
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) March 20, 2018
Twenty-one strike outs, no walks. Now *that* is one impressive start to the Spring, right? Well, it is, but I think I can do you one better – only this time, we’ll need to enlist the help of the greatest active player in baseball: Mike Trout.
- Thanks to the Orange Country Register, I’ve become aware that Trout has not struck out this entire Spring. Through 44 plate appearances, he’s yet to strike out. According to The OC Register, that’s the longest streak in baseball, and a full 16 plate appearances better than the Royals’ Humberto Arteaga, who’s got a 28 PA streak of his own brewing. For some additional context, the longest Trout has ever gone without a strikeout in the regular season is also 28 plate appearances (2017), so this is new territory for him. Pretty cool. I’d love to see him go the entire spring without a strikeout, but he’s got some time to cover yet (no game today, though).
- Good news out of Los Angeles for the Dodgers: Justin Turner’s broken wrist will apparently not require surgery. He’ll wear a brace for a few days, and then begin some range-of-motion exercises. He’ll still start the season on the disabled list – and, let’s be clear, could still experience lasting effects – but it appears, with respect to the amount of time he’ll actually be out of action, he might’ve just gotten some good news.
- A little update on the deal Alex Cobb got from the Orioles:
Sources: With the deferred money factored in, the present-day value of Alex Cobb's contract with the Orioles is $47 million.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 21, 2018
- With deferrals baked in, the value of Cobb’s $57 million deal with the Orioles is actually a bit closer to $47 million. Which, if you recall, isn’t much more than what the Cubs offered back in November for three years. But even if that actual value isn’t quite what we thought it was, $47 million is not a bad take at this point in this offseason. Good for Cobb.
- According to manager Mike Matheny, the Cardinals “don’t have a closer.” Ideally, Matheny believes, they’d love to slap that title on someone, but as of now, it’s probably going to be more of a closer-by-committee. At least, that’s what it sounds like: “But right now we’ve got a bunch of guys who can do that. Over time we’ll figure it out. We have a bunch of guys who can pitch any inning.” Despite their confidence, the Cardinals would probably be best served by going out and paying Greg Holland, the last remaining big-time free agent. Outside of it making sense, however, there hasn’t been much concrete connection between the two lately. So, it’ll be Luke Gregerson, or Dominic Leone, or Tyler Lyons, or whoever, I guess.
- If you’re going to click on just one of these links today, make it Ben Reiter’s behind the scenes look at how Giancarlo Stanton wound up with the Yankees. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read, complete with PLENTY of candor from Stanton, himself. The interplay between him and the new front office is particularly entertaining – “This is not going to go how you guys think it will go,” Stanton said to Derek Jeter when the Marlins tried to give him an ultimatum – but it’s all really good stuff. I love when we get to peek behind the curtain a bit and see the thought process of front offices.
- Oh, and by the way, it sounds like Stanton would’ve really loved to come to the Cubs, too. Though it’s worth pointing out, that he and the late Jose Fernadez hoped to one day play on the Yankees together. Joel Sherman has more on that and some of the other Yankees’ plans this offseason (including the pursuit of Yu Darvish) at the New York Post.
- At FanGraphs, Craig Edwards lists the teams with the most dead money on the books for 2018 (i.e. money being paid to other teams, for one reason or another (players who are released, compensation for trades, etc.)) and you’ll be happy to know the Cubs have none. The Red Sox take the top spot (thanks to Rusney Castillo and Pablo Sandoval), the Dodgers follow, and the Padres, surprisingly, are ranked third. Worse for San Diego, they have the largest portion of dead money as a percentage of their overall payroll (22.1%). That’s bad.
- Manny Machado is happy to be back at shortstop this season, and it’s not just because he’s entering his walk year, and figures to earn one of the biggest contracts in baseball history next winter. Instead, Machado misses the extra action and ability to lead as the team’s shortstop. Fortunately, the scouts agree that he looks good there, so he should be in store for a big payday (though, obviously hitting like he does and playing passable shortstop will earn him some extra bucks).
- Craig Calcaterra thinks “The Marlins are using Jose Fernandez’s death to head off criticism of their teardown,” but I’ll let you read for yourself and form your own opinion on that one.
- Here’s some fun: Dan Vogelbach is the best hitter in Mariners camp this spring. Through 45 at-bats, he’s slashed a ridiculous .400/.518/.867 with five homers, six doubles, and more walks (10) than strikeouts (9). And although he always had immense offensive potential within him, some mechanical changes (lowering his lands to increase his launch angle) may help explain the explosion. For all his raw power in the Cubs’ system, he never really translated it to a lot of dingers. Good for him, hopefully he does well – the Cubs are getting PLENTY of use out of Mike Montgomery and have no place for Vogelbach, so I genuinely wish him the best.
- Though that does remind me of all the offensive potential the Cubs have traded away over the years: Vogelbach, Jorge Soler, Jeimer Candelario, Isaac Paredes, Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres ….
- Looks like former Cub Brett Anderson is catching on somewhere:
I’ve just learned that Brett Anderson is signing a minor-league deal with the A’s. It’s not official yet.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 20, 2018
- The thoughtful and intelligent Chris Archer has some questions (and concerns) about the Rays’ plans to use a psuedo-four-man rotation this summer and how that line of thinking might affect the game going forward.
- And finally, this is just too much to handle. I know it’s supposed to be bad on purpose … but only to an extent. If you’re looking for a chuckle:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 21, 2018