Things sure seem to be exciting in the NBA right now. I’m not a close follower, but it’s been hard to miss if you’re into the world of sports at all – and that’s especially true if you’ve been patiently waiting for some big MLB news to break …
- Although he’s 35, and things can always go sideways for even the most accomplished pitcher at that age, every little additional bit I hear about his last two years make me feel more confident that he’s a good bet for success in 2019. Hamels tells Cubs.com that the mechanical change that he started to implement before coming to the Cubs at midseason last year was not quite fully-formed until after he came to the Cubs, at which point it became a “drastic change” that even left him sore because it was so much work. The idea was to get him more closed off on his delivery, creating a little crossfire, and making him feel “normal.” As we all saw, that led to a velocity spike on his fastball, and much great effectiveness with his nasty changeup.
- Of particular note, Hamels dealt with an oblique injury in 2017, which got his mechanics all out of whack. Maybe it’s just one of those facile explanations that makes you feel better, but Hamels pitched poorly pretty much *only* while he was getting his mechanics back on track after that injury. Outside of it, on either end, he was still quite good. He wasn’t quite as good overall as he looked in his first five or so insane starts with the Cubs, but even accounting for a rough patch in September thanks to the long ball, he posted a 2.36 ERA and 3.42 FIP with the Cubs over 12 starts. Even if the FIP is more reflective of his performance, I think you’d gladly take a 3.42 ERA this coming season out of Hamels, given his ability to give you 6+ innings in each start. And if he’s even better than that, cool.
- Steamer projects a 3.96 ERA, for what it’s worth. By picking up his $20 million option, the Cubs clearly signaled they internally project him to be quite a bit better than that.
- The Cubs have already been connected to a top Venezuelan catching prospect for the 2019 IFA class, which opens up on July 2:
Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies, Rangers and other clubs expected to sign some of the top 2019 international prospects for July 2.
More names, reports and videos at BA:https://t.co/faeKfr7vQj
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) February 6, 2019
- Jayson Stark offers more details on the negotiations between the players and the league on rules changes:
The pitching distance has been 60 feet, 6 inches since 1893. That could change!
MLB has proposed a committee to study moving back the mound or lowering it. Meanwhile, the union has signaled it's open to dramatic changes
Latest on the pace-of-action talks https://t.co/QBIJAQzd6w
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) February 7, 2019
- It still feels like 2019 is more likely to feature smaller changes and evaluations for possible future changes, rather than a whole bunch of really dramatic rules changes implemented in the next few weeks. That’s fine by me – I’m pretty darn progressive on rules changes in MLB, but even I would have concerns about moving too much too fast, and the problems that can arise.
- Tons of deals right now on Amazon devices.
- Cubs players are here to help:
Need love advice? On the fence about your next tattoo? Looking for puppy names?
The #Cubs are here to help.
Reply with your quandary and ball players could share their advice in an upcoming video. pic.twitter.com/FpOl3tCNT3
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) February 7, 2019