MLBits: Early-Season Narratives, DH, Moving the Mound, Trout's Historic Start, More

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MLBits: Early-Season Narratives, DH, Moving the Mound, Trout’s Historic Start, More

Chicago Cubs

The bachelor party was great. Austin is fun. Everyone made it home. And there will be no further comment on the weekend.

Here’s some news from around the league …

  • I know this is technically good news, but it’s still a bummer for Cueto and the Giants:

  • As we discussed last time (when the injury first popped up), Cueto has had a brilliant start to the season (0.84 ERA, 2.78 FIP) and I generally think he’s a fun player, so it stinks that his season will be interrupted and potentially thrown off track. Also, the Giants have seemed to have some pretty terrible luck in recent years.
  • Although I don’t necessarily agree with every point raised in Joel Sherman’s latest on expanding the designated hitter to the National League, I do find his “small ball is dead” argument particularly compelling against “purists” who like the NL-style of play better. Also, Jacob deGrom just hyper-extended his elbow swinging a bat and will miss a month. He had a 1.87 ERA, a 32.0% strikeout rate, and a .204 batting average against, but now, he’ll have nothing for a month because he has to be a hitter, unlike pitchers in the AL.
  • Buster Olney recently reported that the number of fastballs thrown at 98+ MPH has nearly tripled in the last four years, and Rany Jazayerli had an interesting solution to the extent you want to see more balls in play:

  • It’s hard for me to know *exactly* what the result of this would be, but IF someone laid out the expected results of such a move (and they were in line with the objective), this sure does seem to be a way to improve the game without changing it too drastically. But again, let’s see what the expected results are, AND really pin down what the precise goal is. That all has to line up pretty perfectly for it to be worth it.
  • I don’t know *much* about NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, but what I do know is that his answers to these questions about improving the fan experience are so amazing … and frustrating, because it’s not something baseball has yet mastered:

  • You should read all of his questions and answers, but the best part is he likened the league’s lax regulations on fans sharing highlights on social media to free snacks … which then entice the fan to return for the full meal (live games). There is no substitution for live game action, and highlights help get a fan’s appetite ready. There are many reasons the NBA has so many more younger fans – some of it’s just the nature of the sport, but that isn’t the entire explanation.
  • Yadier Molina was injured over the weekend and will miss at least a month of action because of it. But at FanGraphs, Craig Edwards asserts that his injury is more painful for him than it is the Cardinals – and that’s not a joke about the nature of the injury. From my position, there’s no doubt that Molina was great once upon a time, but it’s pretty weird to say he’s still the same player. And with Carson Kelly taking over in the meantime, I think they’ll be more than just fine. Which, well, doesn’t help the Cubs.
  • Pirates pitcher Steven Brault has had 32 plate appearances in his Major League career and he has yet to strike out. He’s no Jake Arrieta or Madison Bumgarner at the dish, but that’s a crazy contact streak for anyone, let alone a pitcher and Jeff Sullivan has every detail and important distinction on it at FanGraphs.
  • Great news on White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar:

  • Craig Calcaterra seems pretty surprised that teams would have any interest in trading for recently DFA’d Mets pitcher Matt Harvey (as opposed to signing for a prorated version of the Major League him once he passes through waivers in seven days), but, I mean is it really that hard to believe? OF COURSE, he’s a huge project, that’s why he was DFA’d, but he’s also a lottery ticket with a huge upside. The Cubs gave Drew Smyly two years and $10M as a lottery ticket, and they do it with an injured/formerly great or highly touted pitcher seemingly every year. Obviously, there are huge differences between Smyly and Harvey, but I really don’t think it’s that crazy for a team to pay what’s left of his $5.6M deal this season to keep him away from someone else. ESPECIALLY a rebuilding team well under the luxury tax threshold who could find a diamond in the rough for now and the future or even spin him off at the deadline, themselves (if he figures some things out as either a starter or reliever). Then again, we’ll see if it actually plays out this way, or if the Mets are just spinning.
  • Eloy Jimenez has a six-game *multi*-hit streak in which he’s slashing .481/.500/.852. Dylan Cease has a 1.95 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 14 walks in 32.1 IP. And that’s about enough on this topic.

  • Usually, players talk about playing well to prove scouts wrong. In Shohei Ohtani’s case, well, he wants to prove them right!

  • Roses are red, it’s really a shame, you should never be …

  • And I have to say, I think that sort of chase – in 2018, especially – would be *really* fun to watch. It’s not as easy to track as Giancarlo Stanton’s chase for 61 homers, I suppose, but it would be cool to have a new “greatest season ever.” Also, yes, this start could easily become one of the headers in the “early season narratives” post next season.

Author: Michael Cerami

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