Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, February 27, 2024 -- "The New Rules, Reprised: The Pitch Clock"

 

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Why did it work? I was wrong about the players. I expected far more resistance from the players to the new rule set, to being rushed, and it never happened. Oh, there were occasional complaints, but by and large, the players, and especially the pitchers, just...played faster. Why they couldn’t have done it without the clock remains a mystery, but there is little question that putting them on the clock sped them up in a way that shaved close to a half-hour off game times.
 
The pitch clock worked. The games were shorter and fans were happy about it. The players accepted the change, and the ones who objected were...handled. I was wrong. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, February 26, 2024 -- "The New Rules, Reprised: Defensive Positioning"

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The shift is an effect, not a cause. The cause is pitchers are witches, and everything about the modern game begins with that point. Mandating that teams play bad defense because you don’t want to address the pitcher issue is an embarrassment to the game’s leadership and a disservice to the fans.

 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, February 25, 2024 -- "Cody Bellinger Signs"

 

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Just noodling on one potential lineup...

Ian Happ LF
Christopher Morel DH
Cody Bellinger CF
Seiya Suzuki RF
Michael Busch 1B
Dansby Swanson SS
Nico Hoerner 2B
Yan Gomes C
Nick Madrigal 3B


That puts Tauchman on the bench, and likely PCA and Davis in Triple-A. You can season to taste, but that looks like the nine men who will start for the Cubs on Opening Day. Throw in the homegrown pitching depth that will lengthen the staff, and the Cubs look like the NL Central favorite.
 
 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, February 22, 2024 -- "Broken Senga Piece"

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"The uncertainty as to when Senga might return makes it hard to predict exactly what the cost to the Mets will be. Senga is projected as a three-win contributor by Steamer and ZiPS, a little less than that by PECOTA. If he is healthy in three weeks and on the CitiField mound in May, he’ll retain most of those projections. The specific injury, though, makes it hard to be optimistic. Kyle Wright suffered a capsule injury and went from winning 21 games to pretty much losing two years of his career. Brandon Woodruff will miss all of 2024 following anterior capsule surgery."
 
 

 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, February 21, 2024 -- "Most Interesting Camps"

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"It’s a fascinating camp beyond the frustration over their inaction. The Red Sox have some very exciting outfield prospects in Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela. Were Alex Cora to play those two with Jarren Duran, the Sox would have one of the best defensive outfields in baseball. Tyler O’Neill complicates that alignment, of course. In the infield, Trevor Story might be playing for his career after two seasons lost to injury. Vaughn Grissom, acquired for Chris Sale, takes over at second base. Neither member of that keystone combination is guaranteed to be a viable option; they combined for 0.1 bWAR last year."
 

 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, February 20, 2024 -- "Catching Up"

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After two weeks of position-player rankings in the Newsletter that didn't lend themselves to excerpts, we're back with a more conventional Newsletter, and excerpt, today.

To get once-a-week free editions of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, email freesheehannewsletter@gmail.com.
 
Today's excerpt:
 
"Rendon’s remarks made him baseball’s main character for the day, which made me think about the conundrum players face when talking to the media. We want them to be honest, but perhaps not too honest. There are 1200 players on 40-man rosters, and I guarantee you Rendon isn’t the only one who sees playing baseball as a job and not much more. Many players, most even, do love the game, but baseball is no different than any other career in that sometimes, you end up doing it because it’s what you’re good at and it’s where you can make the most money."
 
 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, February 6, 2024 -- "Royal Witt Cheddar"

 

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"Even if you just consider it a 7/148 contract, it’s a very good one for the team. They get the meat of Witt’s career, his next seven seasons through age 30, for less than market value. They get to hold a press conference this week and point to Witt and say, 'Royals fans, you can get invested in this guy. Buy the jerseys. Come to the park. Tell your kids. (p.s. Vote to give us money.)' They’ve bought a level of credibility that all the Hunter Renfroes and Adam Fraziers weren’t going to provide. "
 
 

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, February 4, 2024 -- "The White Sox"

 

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"In four decades, Reinsdorf has rarely invested in the team. They did run some top-five payrolls in the wake of the 2005 title, but over the last decade, the White Sox have had more bottom-ten payrolls (four) than top-ten (one). Cot’s has them 23rd for 2024, and more than 10% of that money is going to Andrew Benintendi on what is both a) an overpay and 2) the biggest free-agent deal in franchise history. Reinsdorf’s unwillingness to act like the steward of a $2 billion asset that received a large public subsidy, and instead run his team like the Middle-Class Pirates, is the biggest reason the Sox are in this mess."
 
 

Friday, February 2, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, February 2, 2024 -- "Brewers/Orioles Trade"

 

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.

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"The era of big tanking is over, mostly because MLB reduced the benefits of being very bad. What we’re seeing now, though, is something harder to get a grip on, something more insidious. Good teams, teams with reasonable chances to win a division, are valuing future wins more than present wins. The Brewers didn’t have to trade Corbin Burnes. They did anyway."
 
 

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, January 31, 2024 -- "Rogers Centre"

 

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"I wonder whether the smaller outfield was a factor here; with the fences in the gaps moved in from seven to 16 feet, outfielders had less ground to cover, and were perhaps better able to steal hits. It’s hard to separate this, however, from the Jays’ personnel improvements; they added Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho specifically to, well, steal hits. One year of games just isn’t enough to tease out whether it was the park or the players."
 
 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, January 30, 2024 -- "Transactions Catchup"

 

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"There were 11 position players 31 and older, in all of baseball, who were worth at least three bWAR last year. There were 14 in 2022, 21 in 2021, 12 in 2019. The extent to which baseball has become a twentysomethings’ game cannot be exaggerated. All of these contracts I’ve been picking at, Hoskins and Hunter Renfroe and Jeimer Candelario and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez...all of them have in common betting on players in their thirties in a league where above-average players in their thirties are going extinct. It’s why I keep questioning Matt Chapman’s value, too."

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, January 25, 2024 -- "The Disappearing Starter"

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You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $79.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

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"The last couple of years, just two pitchers under 24 have thrown even 150 innings in the pros. Those 16 pitchers on BP’s Top 101 averaged 92 1/3 innings last year. The group from ten years ago, even with those teenagers on it, averaged 114. MLB teams, really the entire business, took the lesson of Pitcher Abuse Points -- stop overworking your youngest arms -- and overlearned it. They’re now trapped in a cycle where they just pitch everyone less, and pitchers still get hurt, so they pitch them less, and they still get hurt, and now the top prospects in baseball are working less than Jeff Bezos’s hair stylist...and they still get hurt."
 
 

 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, January 23, 2024 -- "The Voting"

 

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"Looking ahead, you’ll have 1,237 ballot slots open up next year (Beltre, Helton, Mauer, Sheffield, one-and-dones), and just one obvious Hall of Famer coming on in Ichiro. CC Sabathia, who will have strong support, also becomes eligible. Felix Hernandez seems like someone who sticks around for a few years, maybe Dustin Pedroia as well. By and large, though, it will be a good year for holdovers to pick up votes from those voters who look to fill out their ballots."
 
 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, January 22, 2024 -- "The Giants"

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.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $79.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

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"Farhan Zaidi has gone into the last two winters with a good plan. When he hasn’t been able to execute that plan, though, he’s driven off the road, squandering money on the worst kinds of free-agent signings and trades. The Giants have lost ground, not just to the Dodgers, but to the Diamondbacks. This is a critical year for them, as if they don’t succeed, they may face both a front-office overhaul and the need to start over around Webb, Luciano, Harrison, and the rest of a pitching-heavy farm system."

 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, January 19, 2024 -- "AL West and NL West Reset"

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.

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"One thing that keeps surprising me is how many teams have simply taken the winter off. The Astros have added one major leaguer -- backup catcher Victor Caratini -- and a handful of fringe arms to fill out their Triple-A staff (former National and Dodger Wander Suero might be the highlight here). They haven’t lost too much, either; Martin Maldonado was gone once Dusty Baker retired, while Michael Brantley also retired after just 57 PA last year and Hector Neris is testing free agency after a 1.71 ERA/3.83 FIP season."
 
 

 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, January 16, 2023 -- "The Snellinger Principle"

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"The Snellinger Principle is related to this idea. It says:

"If giving a player a huge contract would have been ridiculous a year ago, it’s probably still ridiculous now. "
 
 

 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, January 9, 2023 -- "Cards Hire Chaim Bloom"

 

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.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $79.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

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"While I can’t blame Blake for the Cardinals’ pitching in 2023, I can conclude that being an MLB team’s pitching coach is a difficult position from which to also rebuild an organization’s overall approach. In hiring Bloom, the Cardinals are backfilling behind Blake with an eye towards eventually having an organization that builds modern pitchers, and an MLB pitching coach sympatico with that approach. As was the case for Bloom in Boston, it’s important to manage expectations. The Cardinals signed Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn this winter; they’re not going to lead the league in strikeouts or Pitching Ninja GIFs for a while."