MLBits: Nationals Owner Passes Away, Jeter Joins Fox, NL Central Injuries, Stars and Scrubs, More

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MLBits: Nationals Owner Passes Away, Jeter Joins Fox, NL Central Injuries, Stars and Scrubs, More

Chicago Cubs

Some of the latest from around baseball with Spring Training just around the corner …

Washington Nationals Owner Passes Away

At the age of 97, Ted Lerner has died:

The Lerner Family bought the Washington Nationals back in 2006, and the patriarch of the family, Ted, had been involved with the organization ever since. Ted’s son Mark took over the managing principal owner role in 2018.

Derek Jeter Joining Fox Sports

I wonder if Alex Rodriguez will move over to the left for his new teammate-again Derek Jeter:

We’ll see if Jeter, who definitely has charisma generally, has the right vibe for TV work. ARod, when he’s not in the booth!, has been very good on Fox Sports. I tend to think this is just fine. Let it play out.

NL Central Injuries

Milwaukee Brewers lefty Aaron Ashby, formerly the club’s top prospect and having already signed a multi-year extension, is going to be behind in Spring Training due to shoulder fatigue:

This is not an entirely uncommon issue as guys start to ramp up their throwing programs, and it isn’t always a harbinger of doom. The Brewers can afford to play it very cautious, too, assuming at least five of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Eric Lauer, Wade Miley, and Adrian Houser are health for the Opening Day rotation.

Elsewhere in the Central among former top prospects, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel is going through it again. This time, it’s a broken toe from September that didn’t heal right, required surgery in November, and has had him in a walking boot for most of the offseason.

Senzel, now 27, was a top ten prospect in the game in 2019 when he made his big league debut. Since then, however, he has missed loads of time, has had to move off the infield to the outfield, has rated mixed to poor in the outfield, and has hit just .240/.303/.360/74 wRC+ in the big leagues. Although the initial reporting on the foot is that it may not impact his availability to start the regular season on time, it’s going to put another cloud over a career that seemed so promising four years ago. Now, I wonder if Senzel is a non-tender candidate if he doesn’t perform this year for the Reds.

Don’t Give Playing Time to Bad Players – That’s Just Science

The stars and scrubs model can still work, I think, but you have to have a couple more stars and far fewer scrubs than the Angels have had the last few years:

So, it isn’t an earth-shattering revelation that the teams that had the few plate appearances taken by terrible players were, in the aggregate, good. But Petriello is right that, for the Angels – unlike all the teams around them – they had some SUPERSTAR players, which was clearly still not enough.

The Cubs being middle of the pack there is a modest surprise, and is arguably encouraging, given how many individual spots the Cubs may have upgraded this offseason.

Oh, also? Wow on Milwaukee. Consider that their pitching staff is their biggest strength, and yet despite that, and despite giving almost no PAs to sub-replacement players, they still missed the playoffs. I suppose that’s the counterargument or something: having a ton of slightly-above-replacement players is also kinda bad.

Odds and Ends

  • OK, but this one is actually science:
  • A great read at FanGraphs on middle-middle fastballs. Who throws ’em and gets whiffs, who swings at ’em and whiffs a lot. Here’s a surprise on the latter category: some of the best fastball hitters in the game like Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt are ALSO some of the whiffiest hitters on middle-middle fastballs. How does that make sense? Because these guys are so good at RECOGNIZING middle-middle fastballs that they know when to really crank up their swing for power. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it means you whiff, because that’s how that kind of swing works.
  • More than you ever wanted to know about the radar gun:
  • Aaron Nola is going to get PAID:
  • I presume we will see more of these around MLB over the next couple weeks. A hamstring tweak has Nestor Cortes out of the World Baseball Classic:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.