Saturday, August 24, 2019

Newsletter Preview: "The King"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

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The Joe Sheehan Newsletter
Vol. 11, No. 71
August 24, 2019

Tonight in Seattle, a weary king will claim his throne, and his subjects will rise as one to honor him.

Felix Hernandez, who at 33 may be nearing the end of a memorable career, will come off the injured list to start for the Mariners. Hernandez hasn’t pitched since May 11, when a lat strain sent him to the IL with a 6.52 ERA. Subsequent problems with his throwing shoulder extended his absence, leaving him to make his return to the majors with just a few weeks left in the season and on his contract. It’s possible that Hernandez doesn’t have much left in his body, making tonight potentially one of his last starts, maybe even his last start, at T-Mobile Park.

It’s been an awful end for Hernandez, who was on a Hall of Fame path throughout his twenties. He won the AL Cy Young Award in 2010, leading the league in ERA and innings pitched, and had a pair of second-place finishes in 2009 and 2014. Hernandez, born in 1986 and making his MLB debut in 2005, will almost certainly be the last young pitcher handled the way he was. Hernandez threw 84 1/3 innings as a teenager, the most of any teen since Dwight Gooden. Teenagers since Hernandez have thrown a total of 116 innings. Draw the line at age 21, and Hernandez stands out even more.

Never Again (IP through age 21, pitchers born after Dwight Gooden)

                               IP
Felix Hernandez   2005-07    465.2
CC Sabathia       2001-02    390.1
Jeremy Bonderman  2003-04    346.0
Rick Porcello     2009-10    333.1
Zack Greinke      2004-05    328.0


Just two pitchers since Hernandez, Rick Porcello and Madison Bumgarner, have thrown even 300 innings through their age-21 seasons. Porcello looks like he’s on Hernandez’s path; Bumgarner carried huge workloads, counting the postseason, but is still effective at 30. In the same way that Roy Halladay was the last horse, with complete-game figures we’ll never see again, Hernandez was the last pony, the last young pitcher we’ll ever see ridden as hard as he was.

The numbers, and they are legion, don’t quite do Hernandez justice. At his best, he was as watchable as Pedro Martinez, a big kid on the mound, as happy to be playing as you were to be watching, never missing a start, never letting down those raucous Safeco Field crowds. Even when the Mariners were just Hernandez and Ichiro and 23 guys named “other,” they were incredibly watchable for having those two.

It was easy for Hernandez at first, the big kid pounding a two-seam fastball low in the zone and generating both big strikeout totals and big groundball totals. When he lost a few ticks off that fastball in the early 2010s, at the young age of 26, he adjusted by using his changeup and curve more, posting the highest swinging-strike rates of his career after the first velocity dip. It was this version of the King, on August 15, 2012, that made history:

“If you were going to design a perfect game, you might not end up exactly with Felix Hernandez on a getaway day at home in Safeco Field against the Rays, but your design would certainly get you to the interview stage. Take one of the best pitchers alive, one whose upside on any given day is matched only by that of Justin Verlander. Give him a start in a park that suppresses offense like the '85 Bears. Throw him out there against a team that is as poor at getting safe hits -- not just this year, but over a period of years -- as any team in baseball. Have that team playing on the road in a day game after a night game with its best hitter for average on the bench.

“When I think about what happened in Seattle yesterday, my takeaway won't be Hernandez's electric stuff and superb command, though. I mean, those are on display every fifth day for the pro-rated price of the MLB.tv package, and if you hadn't appreciated the greatness of Hernandez prior to yesterday, that's on you, not him. It didn't take 27 straight outs to validate what Felix Hernandez can do with a baseball to guys standing across the way with bats in their hands. No, what I'll remember is Hernandez's reaction when that final slider crossed the plate and etched his name in the stone tablets of history. There was no been-there coolness, no professional reserve, no just-doin'-my-job handshakes. Hernandez saw the strike call, pumped his fist and yelled, then raised his arms in triumph as his teammates -- without whom no pitcher has ever found his name on those tablets -- rushed to embrace him.

“Hernandez has never pitched in a postseason game, rarely even pitched in a critical game. He's been on national television terribly infrequently for a pitcher who might be the best one alive. He's spent his career working in a small market for mostly bad teams as guys like me talk about him not as a Mariner, but as a potential Yankee or Red Sox or Phillie. In that moment, though, he wasn't a repertoire or a strikeout rate or a contract; he was a 26-year-old having the best day of his career in the sunshine in front of his fans for his teammates.”

That was, that remains, the greatest moment of his career. As has been well covered, Felix Hernandez has never played in a postseason game, despite playing in an era in which it’s easier to make the playoffs than it’s ever been before. Hernandez was let down by his organization and his teammates for most of his career. In recent seasons, that relationship was reversed. Mariners teams desperate for starting pitching watched Hernandez, fighting the second big loss of velocity of his career, become first an innings guy and then a drag on the team. Since the start of the 2018 season, Hernandez has a 5.74 ERA in 194 1/3 innings, suffering the indignity of a demotion to the bullpen during last summer’s pennant race.

Maybe Hernandez isn’t done. It’s an age of miracles, and in that age I’m loath to write off anyone, especially one of the greatest pitchers I have ever seen. In this moment, though, with a ERA like a shaky credit score and the injuries mounting and the fastball fading, it feels like an end.

I recently watched a clip of Elvis Presley in 1969. The King of Rock ’n’ Roll had lost his crown, too many bad movies, too much bad music, far too little care for himself. He took the stage at the old International hotel in Las Vegas on a hot summer night a fallen monarch, the charts and the jukeboxes and the airwaves given over to artists influenced by him just as he’d been influenced by the black artists of the south.

On this night, though, there was no bad acting, no misbegotten pop songs, no what-might-have-been. Presley ripped through his hits to get to his new songs, including my personal favorite Elvis, “Suspicious Minds,” unknown in July 1969. He brought joy and soul and passion to the stage, taking the performance to a level only the greatest ones have.

Presley reclaimed his crown that night, and if his story would end tragically eight years later, it would not end without him reminding us of just who he was. The King.

I wish for that for our baseball King tonight. Let’s hope for one more moment under Seattle’s skies, roof open to a cool August evening, Cascades in the distance. Let’s hope for a diving sinker and a darting changeup and just enough fastball to make them both work. Let’s give the King’s Court reason after reason to wave their placards and cheer their ruler. Let’s hope this man can rise, one time, to a moment the way he did when he was young.

Tonight, we are all King Felix’s subjects.

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 23, 2019 -- "The Complicated Mets"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

"We talk a lot about what the industry leaders, teams like the Astros and Dodgers, do to put championship-caliber teams on the field. When it comes to player development, though, the Mets are right there with them. The Mets’ top seven players, by bWAR, have been Mets their entire MLB careers. Five were originally drafted or signed by the team, and two others, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, were acquired as prospects in 2012 and 2011, respectively. Steven Matz, just outside that group of seven, is a Mets draftee, as is Seth Lugo, the current closer. Nine of the Mets’ 12 one-win players are products, to some extent, of their player-development program."

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 21, 2019 -- "TOOTBLAN Talk"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

"I want to see Cody Bellinger hit bombs and Jacob deGrom steal souls just like the next guy. I also want to see Javier Baez snap tags, and Yasiel Puig cannon throws, and Byron Buxton on a dead sprint anywhere. It’s not because I was 12 in 1983. It’s because I like a lot of baseball in my baseball game. That’s the entire argument: We want more baseball in the baseball game."

Monday, August 19, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 19, 2019 -- "Thinking Inside the Box"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

"Gausman had already become a two-pitch pitcher in Atlanta, emphasizing his fastball and splitter and throwing just a small handful of sliders and changeups all year long. In four games out of the Reds’ bullpen, Gausman has a 2.57 ERA and has struck out 11 of the 27 batters he’s faced. His fastball velocity has jumped just a half a tick, from 94 to 94.5, but his real gain has come in attacking hitters, throwing 70% strikes out of the pen."

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 17, 2019 -- "The Cubs' Problem"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

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--

"Even conceding that, though, the numbers are horrifying. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s first Cubs draft was in 2012. Just four pitchers they’ve drafted have pitched even an inning for the Cubs, and in total, those pitchers have thrown 56 innings and allowed 30 runs. Rob Zastryzny is the 'success' of that group, with 34 2/3 career innings. The Cubs haven’t drafted a pitcher who has pitched for them in the majors since 2014 (James Norwood, 12 IP). "

Friday, August 16, 2019

Newsletter Preview, "Hot Trout"


This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

The Joe Sheehan Newsletter
Vol. 11, No. 56
July 18, 2019

Mike Trout is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when the Angels finish up a four-game series with the Astros. The best player in the world has missed three games with a calf strain suffered Sunday against the Mariners. The Halos are unlikely to catch the Astros under any circumstances -- they’re ten games behind the division leaders -- but any chance at a spot in the Wild Card game depends heavily on Trout playing just about every day down the stretch.

Trout’s injury paused his monster start to the second half, with homers in both of the Angels’ first two games out of the break. Trout is hitting .375/.488/1.188 in July with eight homers in 41 plate appearances, and more walks than strikeouts. The idea that we might be getting the kind of peak-peak performance from a player who could be the best who has ever played the game is tantalizing. Trout’s greatness has been about the breadth of his skills and the consistency of his play. Strangely, he’s rarely had the kind of run like, say, Christian Yelich did last year.

During Trout’s seven full seasons, there have been 15 halves in which a player had at least a 190 wRC+. Trout has two of them.

Going Ham (Best half-seasons, 2012-2018, min. 150 PA)

                        Hf    AVG   OBP   SLG  wRC+
Christian Yelich  2018   2   .367  .449  .770   220
Joey Votto        2015   2   .362  .535  .617   213
Bryce Harper      2015   1   .339  .464  .704   211
Mike Trout        2017   1   .337  .461  .742   207
Miguel Cabrera    2013   1   .365  .458  .674   207
Mike Trout        2018   2   .316  .472  .684   205
Edwin Encarnacion 2015   2   .336  .433  .700   202
Joey Votto        2016   2   .408  .490  .668   201
Buster Posey      2012   2   .385  .456  .646   200
Freddie Freeman   2017   1   .348  .456  .745   200
Mookie Betts      2018   1   .359  .448  .691   199
Aaron Judge       2017   1   .329  .448  .691   197
Chris Davis       2013   1   .315  .392  .717   195
Yasiel Puig       2013   1   .391  .422  .616   194
Justin Turner     2018   2   .356  .447  .619   190


(Thanks, FanGraphs.)

The best stretch of baseball Trout has ever played came to an end in Marlins Park's infield in 2017. That's when he dove into second on a steal and busted up his thumb, costing him six weeks and, likely as not, the 2017 AL MVP award. Last year, Trout nearly matched that performance down the stretch, but no one noticed because the Angels were, once again, irrelevant. Relative to his baseline, though, Trout has never gone off the way Yelich or Bryce Harper or Mookie Betts or Chris Davis has. At the seasonal level, he’s produced 7-10 WAR a year, a 170-190 wRC+. That kind of super-high floor is what makes him great, but selfishly, I want to see him lay waste to the league. I love Prince’s whole catalog*, but sometimes you just want to listen to “Purple Rain,” you know?

*Except “Batdance,” of course.

What might that look like? I have to switch to OPS+ to go back this far, but the point will stand.

The Usual Suspects (best halves, 1908-2019, min. 150 PA)

                        Hf    AVG   OBP   SLG  OPS+
Ted Williams      1957   2   .453  .594  .855   306
Babe Ruth         1920   2   .368  .552  .868   298
Ted Williams      1941   2   .406  .583  .790   292
Barry Bonds       2002   2   .404  .608  .825   280
Barry Bonds       2004   2   .355  .547  .908   280


Trout’s three-game second-half OPS+ is 354, which is meaningless but fun to type. Trout, of course, brings positional, baserunning, and defensive value that these players didn’t have, save perhaps for Babe Ruth at that point in his career.

The top 13 entries in these search results belong to the three players listed above. The best half by anyone outside of this group is Mike Schmidt, who hit .356/.495/.719 (251 OPS+)  in a very low run environment after the 1981 strike. Some other halves you might recall...Frank Thomas hit .383/.515/.795 in the first half of 1994...Hank Aaron had some big second halves late in his career, 1971 and 1973...Mark McGwire’s first half in 1996, Jim Thome’s second half in 2002...Yelich last year, of course.

Mike Trout is great no matter what he hits over a given week or month or half. As a fan, though, I would like to see him have the kind of stretch that helps define him for a larger sports world that still doesn’t seem to get just how great he is. High floors are valuable, but it’s breaking through the ceiling that gets people to look.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 15, 2019 -- "Radio Thoughts"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

"I’ve been vocal in my defense of the Red Sox, in thrall to their offense and willing to believe that the pitching will be just good enough. That’s in part staying true to my preseason picks, but it’s also just thinking they’re more talented than the Rays and A’s. The A’s not getting their pitching staff bolstered by internal options yet has soured me on their chances, while the Rays’ extensive pitching injuries have been a blow. The Sox are 7 1/2 out of the second wild card, so they have work to do. They have just four games left with the Rays, all on a trip to the Trop in the season’s last ten days. Their goal has to be to make those games relevant. That and three games with the Twins are their only remaining contests against the group of wild-card contenders. The Red Sox strike me as a team that hasn’t had their 11-of-12 moment yet; it’s coming."

Monday, August 12, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 12, 2019 -- "The AL Central"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

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"Jose Ramirez has gotten a lot of attention given his arc. The other big Indians comeback, less so. I was calling for Jason Kipnis to lose his job back in May, as he seemed to be continuing his three-year decline (.231/.306/.398 in 2017-18). Once one of my favorite players, Kipnis seemed a good example of the new player aging curve, sharply declining at 30 and washing out of the league by 33. From the day of the linked tweet, May 9, Kipnis has hit .276/.332/.451. That’s not setting the world on fire, but combined with Ramirez’s bounceback, it’s given the Indians two additional productive lineup spots they’ve desperately needed.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 10, 2019 -- "Third Third, Pt. 5 (final)"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

"There’s a subset of Yankees fans somehow frustrated with Brian Cashman, who signed all of the players mentioned in the first paragraph, because he didn’t do anything at the trade deadline. The Yankees have one of the best records in baseball despite playing half a waiver wire for months at a time, and somehow Cashman comes under fire for not bringing in one of the many #3 starters available at the deadline. Even without Severino and Betances, the Yankees have plenty of pitching depth, and no external starter available in July was a difference-maker. I might prefer three innings of Deivi Garcia in a best-of-five to five innings of Matthew Boyd or Mike Minor, even before you get into future seasons.

"Brian Cashman will go into the Hall of Fame some day, and he’ll go in part because he spent 20 years not making the moves everyone said he 'had' to make. He’ll go in part because he learned from the last shopping spree (just where is Jacoby Ellsbury?) that it wasn’t worth it. He’ll go because he built the internal team to find and develop the likes of Urshela and Voit. None of that changes even if the Yankees lose a short series to one of the next two teams on this list."

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 8, 2019 -- "Third Third, Pt. 4"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

"The Nationals go to Citi Field this weekend with a chance to step on the Mets’ necks. The Nats could put some distance between themselves, currently two games clear of the second wild-card slot, and the pack, while blunting the 'Mets momentum' stories. Whatever happens this weekend, though, the Nationals have the fourth-best team in the NL, arguably third-best, and should find themselves in no worse than the NL Wild Card Game in October, able to put one of the best pitchers in baseball on the mound in that contest. This is a dangerous team, probably the team not leading its division right now with the best chance to win the World Series."

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 6, 2019 -- "Third Third, Pt. 3"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

"The Mets haven’t played a good team since June 17, and they won’t see one until Friday, when the Nationals come to town in one of the biggest series remaining in the season. As fun as it's been picking on the White Sox and Pirates and Marlins, it’s this weekend, and the three weeks that follow, that will give us a sense of whether the Mets, who now have five above-average starting pitchers, can beat out the Nats, Cardinals, and Phillies for a wild-card slot. As soft as the schedule has been, that’s how tough it becomes: But for three games in Kansas City, the Mets play nothing but good teams from Friday until September 15."

Monday, August 5, 2019

Newsletter Preview, August 5, 2019 -- "Third Third, Pt. 2"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

 "Even slipping out of the wild-card race, the Padres are a must-watch down the stretch. Tatis Jr. isn’t just productive, he’s incredibly fun, kind of a SoCal Javier Baez with a stronger offensive skill set. Manuel Margot might be finding just enough bat-to-ball skills to support the rest of his game. Eric Hosmer even hit a fly ball yesterday! We’ll probably see Andy Green integrate Adrian Morejon and Cal Quantrill and maybe even Gore, even as he pulls back on Paddack, as the Padres balance development with workload management."

Newsletter Excerpt, August 2, 2019 -- "Third Third, Pt. 1"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

 "The Blue Jays are another large-market team that will be running an extremely low payroll in future seasons. Cot’s pegs them at $50 million next year, and unlike the White Sox, it’s hard to argue that they are ready to add high-end free agents. Rendon would be a pretty good fit, it’s just unlikely the Jays are ready to make Guerrero Jr. a designated hitter at 21. Rogers has written checks in the past -- the Jays invested $450 million in players from 2016-18 -- but you wonder, and Atkins’s words aren’t helping here, if they’d like to sit back and be profitable, even with a bad team, for a few years. This winter will be very interesting."

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, August 1, 2019 -- "Delayed Deadline Drama"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $39.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

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"No one acquisition guarantees a successful October. We’re in a stretch in which the eventual champion was helped in the playoffs by a midseason pickup, and fans wanting Felipe Vazquez or Robbie Ray or Mike Minor were quick to cite Verlander and Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto, all with rings earned after deadline deals. Baseball is harder than that, though, and even adding Greinke, even creating the best playoff rotation we’re going to see this year [nods respectfully to Los Angeles], the Astros haven’t guaranteed anything except that they’re better today than they were yesterday. That’s a good day’s work."