Friday, April 19, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, April 19, 2024 -- "Time Comes For Everyone"

 

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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The flip side of that is older position players are being chased out of a sport that moves too quickly for them. Last year, 12.6% of plate appearances were taken by players 33 and older. Ten years ago, and noting that pitchers were taking some of these, the figure was 16%. Twenty years ago, it was 21%. Before you start yelling at me about steroids, note that in 1983, forty years ago, it was also 21%.
 
 

Monday, April 15, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, April 15, 2024 -- "Fun With Numbers: Roster Resources"

 

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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Running at this from a different direction...from 2017 through 2019, 17 teams won at least 95 games in a season, and of those, nine used fewer than 50 players. From 2021 through 2023, 14 teams won at least 95 games, and just one (the 2022 Astros) used fewer than 50 players.

What we could be seeing is a change in how teams run up player counts. For most of baseball history, you went into the season with your guys and stuck with them until injury or poor performance or a sell-off forced you to change. If you didn’t have to deviate much, if you didn’t have to go off script, it showed up in your win-loss record.
 
 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, April 11, 2024 -- "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.

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

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I wonder if the problem isn’t Judge, but his context. Judge is seeing fewer strikes than he ever has, and fewer first-pitch strikes. Opposing pitchers seem to have decided that they’ll take their chances with Giancarlo Stanton, who has hit .202/.286/.442 the last two seasons. Stanton has been better than that so far this year, .256/.289/.605, albeit with a 36% strikeout rate, but that line isn’t going to change pitchers’ minds.

Protection, as popularly known, is a myth. Hitters do not perform better based on the quality of the batter behind them in the lineup. What is real, though, is weak protection: If the gap between two hitters is wide enough, the first batter will see an uptick in his walk rate. Aaron Judge leads the AL in walks drawn and is top-25 in fewest strikes seen among all qualified hitters. Put all this together, and I wonder if Judge -- whose swing/take decisions are a mess right now -- is struggling to adjust to not seeing enough hittable pitches.

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, April 9, 2024 -- "The Demon, Running Wild"

 

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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There is no clean or easy solution. Pitcher injury rate is related to the strikeout problem, but the solutions that could best address the strikeout problem -- rostering fewer pitchers and moving the mound back -- do nothing to change the incentive structure and could possibly put pitchers at more risk. Even if you could modify the game played at the MLB level, it would take decades for those changes to affect behaviors in scouting, in player development, in amateur ball. It took us 40 years to get here. It may take 40 to get back.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, April 5, 2024 -- "More A's Nonsense"

 

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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This is now on Rob Manfred. Manfred wants to get the expansion process started before he leaves office in January 2029, and he remains trapped by his commitment to get the A’s and Rays’ situations settled before doing so. Manfred is willing to allow all manner of nonsense from John Fisher so long as it allows him to say the A’s situation is settled and now the league can consider expansion.

It’s not settled, though, and Manfred’s insistence on backing Fisher’s plays because they get him closer to expansion isn’t working. The A’s are moving further from stability with each bad deal Fisher makes, and there’s no end to them in sight.
 
 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, April 2, 2024 -- "NL Lineups"

 

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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Reds: Injuries are affecting player usage in a way that seems to simplify David Bell’s choices. Will Benson is playing every day, batting second against righties, ninth against lefties. Jonathan India, who was supposed to become a utility player, is moving between the only two positions he’s ever played: second base and DH. Bell is doing some complex platooning with India, Nick Martini and Santiago Espinal; and with Jake Fraley and Stuart Fairchild. Bell has done a good job making lemonade.
 
 

Monday, April 1, 2024

Newsletter Excerpt, April 1, 2024 -- "AL Lineups"

 

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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Guardians: Andres Gimenez batted second against the two righties, sixth and seventh against the lefties. David Fry didn’t play against the righties, then batted fourth and fifth against the lefties. Stephen Vogt, at least through four games, has Bo Naylor and Austin Hedges in a platoon behind the plate, Will Brennan and Ramon Laureano in a platoon in right field. If we learned nothing else about Vogt this weekend, it’s that he looks like a platoon manager. I like it.

Tyler Freeman seems to be first choice in center for the moment, starting three games. Estevan Florial served as the DH twice, batting eighth. I have a thesis that states if your DH is batting that low in the lineup, you’ve picked the wrong DH.