Just about now, baseball (and fantasy baseball in particular) starts losing fans to football and fantasy football. Even after I swore the sport off, I’ll be watching Niner games and am in a fantasy football league with my fellow baseball writers at RotoWorld. It’s easy enough that it made for my second-ranked fantasy sport this week on my Saves and Steals tiers. Once a week! That’s it. There’s tons of thinking about it, sure, but only once a week do you get results.
But baseball is still my first love. Check out this thing about Dan Duquette and the Orioles not liking the cutter. At first, I thought, this is ridiculous, why would you ban a perfectly fine pitch. But then I waded into the topic further and found that there’s a general acceptance around baseball that the cutter can be a bad pitch to teach youngsters. And even further, it seems that of the two types of cutters — one is more about grip, and has a fastball release, and one is more about release and is sometimes called a baby slider — one can be more damaging than the other. And, from the way the Orioles talk about ‘getting around the side of the ball,’ it looks like the team is more concerned with the more damaging version. I just found this one topic, played out over two weeks, to be a fascinating thing.
I always find knuckleballs and R.A. Dickey fascinating, so I took some numbers to the myth that knuckleballers are more prone to the home run. Doesn’t look like it.
As I think about where my son is headed, I wonder what would happen if he was offered a lump sum from a major league team as a high schooler. So I tried to think about it out loud, and I figure that it’s the seventh round (when the bonuses fall below $200,000) where it becomes more obvious that college is a better choice.
In fantasy news, I wrote about the popup and new research that once again shows that inducing infield fly balls is not a bankable skill. I think that makes sense intuitively — the infield popup is the result of being a hair more under the ball than you should be, and making that happen repeatedly would be very difficult. As the season gets short — just over a month left — my posts at RotoGraphs become very pointed. This week, I talked about Yu Darvish and his remaining starts, and also about streaming for steals, which can work when you’re only doing it for four weeks. And then I wrote a bit about the closer platoon in San Francisco, which should work wonders, actually. Even if it’s unsettling for people.
Oh, if you’re bored in the bullpen, here are a few ideas.