MLBits: DET-NYY Benches Clear, Conforto Goes Down, PIT Pushing for Kang, HR-Reliance, More

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MLBits: DET-NYY Benches Clear, Conforto Goes Down, PIT Pushing for Kang, HR-Reliance, More

Chicago Cubs

You mean it’s Friday, but I have to wait all the way until 6:05 PM for a Cubs game?!

Here’s some news from around the leauge to hold you over until game time …

  • Later in the game Dellin Betances threw at Tigers’ catcher James McCann … and hit him in the head. Betances claimed he wouldn’t throw at a guy in that situation, but given the entire day, it’s much tougher to buy. McCann was ultimately okay, but frankly, this is the most disgusting part of the whole thing. AT LEAST in a scrum both sides have somewhat of a fighting chance. What are you proving by throwing a 90+ MPH rock at someone’s head? And I certainly don’t care for the he wasn’t aiming for his head argument, because that’s precisely the problem: you don’t know what’s gonna happen when you let it go. Just play baseball.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

  • Conforto left the game with a dislocated shoulder after swinging threw a pitch in the bottom of the 5th inning. It looked scary and it looked painful. And unfortunately, an MRI revealed a tear in his shoulder so surgery may be necessary. “It turns your stomach,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Young player who’s having a tremendous year, really making a name for himself, to go down with an injury like that, it’s tough to watch.”
  • Conforto, just 24, was having a huge breakout season at the plate, slashing .279/.384/.555 with 27 home runs and a 145 wRC+. By WAR he was the 17th most valuable position player in baseball and the fourth best for anyone his age or younger (behind only Corey Seager, Bryce Harper, and Mookie Betts). I don’t love the Mets, but damn you gotta feel for their fans. This is just getting ridiculous.
  • Remember Pirates’ infielder Jung-Ho Kang? He’s still in South Korea after the US denied him a visa because of his three recent DUI offenses (including fleeing the scene after his most recent offense in Seoul last December). The Pirates are not on the hook for Kang’s salary right now, because of his presence on the restricted list, but they are actively trying to get him into the Dominican Winter League, which begins on October 20. If he can get into that league and eventually get a visa somehow, the Pirates think he could be in the mix for Spring Training 2018. We’ll see.
  • After going 52-39 in the first half of the season, the Rockies have gone just 16-19 in the second half and have even dropped down to the second Wild Card spot behind the Diamondbacks. And during that time, their closer, Greg Holland, has earned a 9.00 ERA with a 6.05 FIP. He’s also blown three saves and allowed 13 earned runs over 13.0 IP. Which, yikes (and you thought the Cubs’ had a bullpen problem). For now, Rockies’ manager Bud Black plans to stick with Holland in the ninth.
  • Through a series of extremely interesting graphs, Jeff Sullivan discovers that the league is more reliant on home runs for scoring than ever before (well, since 1950, when the data ends, at least). Indeed, right now, about 43% of all runs scored come from homers, which is the highest in MLB history … since 2016, which was also the highest … since 2015. Before the home run spike, that number was at 33% in 2014. As for individual teams, the Blue Jays are the most reliant on homers, while the Cubs are the 11th most. As Sullivan points out, this isn’t exactly a bad thing, but it does sorta dampen the “offense is back” narrative, because it’s not “offense,” exactly. It’s just homers. Really interesting stuff in this one.
  • Speaking of homers – the Cubs are heading to Philadelphia, and heads up, because they’ve got someone doing something special:

  • With that homer, Hoskins became the third player in MLB history to collect eight in his first 15 career games (Carlos Delgado and Trevor Story are the others). It took him 64 plate appearances, and here’s how long it took some of the young Cubs to hit their first eight:
    • 118 PAs – Ian Happ
    • 119 PAs Kyle Schwarber
    • 161 PAs Javier Baez
    • 213 PAs Willson Contreras
    • 246 PAs Kris Bryant
  • Also, OH YEAH, remember when Kris Bryant didn’t hit like any home runs when he first came to the Majors?
  • Brett is one of those hard-nosed baseball fans, obviously:

Today's pitchers can't even pitch through a hangnail.

Posted by Baseball Is Fun on Friday, August 25, 2017

  • And finally, it’s Players Weekend! Get ready to see some fun uniforms (and be happy the brawl in Detroit didn’t happen this weekend):

  • I know Kris Bryant is like the best (or whatever), but they shoulda went with “El Mago,” for the promo. After all, that’s the jersey we’re all going to get isn’t it?

Author: Michael Cerami

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