Writer @ The Unbalanced (@ItheunbalancedI).
Rethinking Hitter's Counts, Continued
Last time around, I wrote about the general tendency of pitchers to throw more and more fastballs as they fell down in the count despite the fact that they can throw offspeed pitches for strikes nearly as often as they do fastballs. It's a case where pitchers often see better results throwing their offspeed pitches but there was a lot I couldn't address through xwOBA, Exit Velo, and pitch usage alone.
Is It Time to Rethink Hitter's Counts?
Hitters have always lived by the idea that they will try and work the count in their favor to not only get closer to a walk, but to force the pitcher to be more predictable. Limit the pitcher down to just throwing you a fastball, and give yourself a better chance at guessing correctly. Pitchers do not want to walk people and will throw their fastball much more predictably as they fall down in the count.
Ken Giles Is Losing It
If you're an Astros fan, odds are Ken Giles nearly put you into a coma or gave you a heart attack during Game 2 on Wednesday night. Regardless, everything worked out for Houston in the end, and the Astros came out on top of one of the greatest World Series games ever.
Justin Turner: Postseason Great
The Dodgers are going to the World Series for the first time since 1988. It's remarkable how potent their offense has been, or rather how good Justin Turner has been in the absence of Corey Seager in the NLCS. Yasiel Puig has frankly been just as good, and Kiké Hernandez put on a show for the ages, but Turner is continuing a stretch of postseason dominance that is rare.
Dusty Baker: Forever Cursed
The Nationals lost one of the most gut-wrenching games in recent playoff history (or at least it must feel that way). In what was becoming something to celebrate after another miraculous Michael A. Taylor homer was gutted by seeing Max Scherzer get beat by bloop singles. What was built up in that eighth inning rally was ripped away by Jose Lobaton getting his cleat awkwardly caught in first base leaving millimeters of space.
Surprise! Only Substantial Change Will Make Baseball Games Shorter
(Data via Baseball-Reference.com) Yes, baseball games are getting longer. What that means to a non-casual baseball fan like me is nothing, really. But, it matters to MLB and the people who call the shots because they think it will continue to hurt baseball's popularity in the future. The pace of play debate has been around for a few years now and MLB hasn't been afraid to experiment and implement different rules.
Let the Twins Be a Warning to Other Front Offices
The 2017 Minnesota Twins are going to the playoffs. The same Twins team that started to give up at the deadline, moving Jaime Garcia to the Yankees just five days after he was acquired. But they pulled through and came out on top of the mediocrity that was the AL Wild Card.
Ozzie Albies: Atlanta's Future at Second
(Stats as of 9/18) It's well-known that the Braves have been rebuilding for awhile and have accumulated the best farm system in baseball. Headlined by a wealth of arms and arguably the best prospect, Ronald Acuna, the Braves are on their way to unleashing their farm in the near future. But they already have their cornerstone second baseman of the future in Ozzie Albies.
Unbalanced Trade Deadline Series: Gerrit Cole
We are in full swing this trade season! After the relatively surprising bombshell that was the Jose Quintana trade, the relative price has been set on starting pitching (pssst, it’s pretty high). While there are a bevy of names being floated out there, few on the trading block carry as much value as Gerrit Cole.
Mike Trout: Pull Hitting Monster
Surprise! Mike Trout is still the best player in baseball. He’s missed a month due to injury and is still a strong candidate to comeback and win the AL MVP award in a year when Aaron Judge is mashing everything into orbit and Jose Altuve’s hitting is more unbelievable than the fact that Houston’s mascot Orbit is supposed to be an alien (how is this an alien?!!?). Trout’s line this year is .328/.450/.719 with a 17.1% BB% and 20.4% K%, good for a 203 wRC+ over 240 PA. Given, we are not dealing with a full season of Trout but we are already seeing multiple changes in Trout’s approach at the plate.
The Dodgers: Kings of Weak Contact
The Dodgers have been the best pitching staff in baseball this year. They lead the league in fWAR amongst starting and relief pitchers, and they’ve been rolling through teams. They do all the things you would expect an elite staff to do. They strike out a great deal of batters (25.4% K%) and don’t walk many, either (7.1% BB%), giving them the third best K-BB% in the league.