MLBits: Gomez, Fielder, ARod, Ridiculous Plays, Mistake Differentials, Exit Velocity, More

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MLBits: Gomez, Fielder, ARod, Ridiculous Plays, Mistake Differentials, Exit Velocity, More

Chicago Cubs

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Let’s check in on some news from around the league ….

  • Back in 2013, Calos Gomez was worth 7.4 WAR (according to FanGraphs), after pairing excellent defense with a .284/.338/.506 slash line. The only four position players more valuable (by WAR) than Gomez that year were Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Donaldson, and Miguel Cabrera. So … he was pretty good. Unfortunately, Gomez’s production has been in a tailspin ever since. After another nice year in 2014 (5.7 WAR), he posted just 2.6 WAR in 2015 and has been in the red this entire season (-0.4 WAR heading into today). After missing some time with a hamstring injury in 2015 and spending more than a month on the DL with a rib cage injury this season, the Astros recently designated Gomez for assignment – a swift, unexpected decline.
  • Now, the Astros have 10 days to trade, waive, or release Gomez, and he’ll certainly wind up somewhere. Among the most interested parties, you’ll find the one visiting Wrigley right now: the St. Louis Cardinals. Apparently, according to Mark Saxon (ESPN), the Cardinals are intrigued by Gomez’s ability to play center field (although, even that has been far from a strength this year), and are currently looking into Gomez. With the news that Matt Holliday will miss some time with a broken thumb, picking up an outfielder – any outfielder – might make some sense. Of course, it’s never that simple. Saxon is also reporting that the Cardinals might be outbid by the Mets, who are said to be “open” to reacquiring him. Something to keep an eye out for.
  • On Wednesday, the Rangers’ designated hitter and first baseman, Prince Fielder, announced that he “can’t play Major League Baseball anymore,” after undergoing neck fusion surgery in late July (his second season-ending neck surgery in the past three years). Fielder, a long-time Milwaukee Brewer, is quite familiar to Cubs fans and I can’t say I’m not bummed that he’s done – especially considering how it’s happening. To clarify, Fielder is not retiring from baseball, he’s been deemed medically unfit to play. In other words, this isn’t a personal decision of his, it’s something the doctors are telling him is no longer possible. That’s a heck of a bummer. Of course, because he’s not retiring, he’ll still collect the $24 million/year until 2020 – I’m guessing he’d prefer to earn it on the field. The Rangers are on the hook for $9 million/season, the Tigers will pay $6 million/season, and insurance covers the rest. After hitting .305/.378/.463 in 2015, Fielder was slashing just .212/.292/.334 in 2016. He was a pretty fun player to watch. I’ll definitely miss him.

Prince fielder

  • At, Tom Tango has an excellent, quick look into expected wOBA production of hitters based entirely on exit velocity (as well as a very succinct explanation of estimating what might have happened and predicting what could happen). The turning point, it would appear, is 88 MPH – that is when the serious damage starts to kick in. Most exit velocities below 88 MPH result in a similar expected wOBA, while each MPH faster exponentially increases the expected production of a hitter. Really great read.
  • Alex Rodriguez’s days with the Yankees may be numbered, but his time in baseball may not yet be through. According to Jon Heyman, Today’s Knuckleball, the Miami Marlins have had internal talks about acquiring Rodriguez. And while it’s a fun thought (and even something the Marlins would totally do), there isn’t much evidence to suggest it’ll actually happen. Rodriguez’s final game with the Yankees is today, and any team that hopes to get him on their playoff roster will have to grab him before September 1, so we’ll likely know the final answer very soon.
  • Interested in another way the 2016 Chicago Cubs stand out completely above the rest? Check out the following graphic of their fundamental play:

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami