Every once in a while I get a question about the reason d’etre for this site — why? I don’t write a ton of personal stuff here, and even the beer stuff is starting to get funneled towards BeerGraphs — which should launch any week now.
The answer is not sexy. I started this site for my family. They aren’t into twitter, they don’t facebook that much, and I didn’t want to send them emails all the time. So I wrap up my writing here as often as I can, and that’s why, so there.
But the hope is also that as I get paid better to do the writing I do, I can write a little bit less, and start writing some extra stuff here. So it won’t always be a wrap-up site.
For now, let’s wrap some shit up.
I’ve been going to the ballpark now for a couple of weeks, and access is great. Talking to the players produces stories with great velocity, and adding stats to their responses ‘fills them out’ in a way I like. I talked to Sean Doolittle about making one pitch work for him, and I was able to compare his release points to other pitchers’ release points, and also find a ‘pitch’ comp for him. I talked to the Mets hitting coach about Lucas Duda, and he pointed me to some changes Duda made to his pre-pitch movement. That was tough to back up with stats, but I did find some pictures that seemed to back the coach. This week, I talked to Rockies’ pitcher Jhoulys Chacin on ground balls and his curve ball, and one thing he said was definitely backed up by the numbers. And then Brandon Crawford told me part of his excellence on defense was because he was comfortable with his starting pitchers, who he’d been behind his whole career. And the numbers added some spice to that assertion, too.
Speaking of the Giants, I broke down Buster Posey vs Derek Jeter just for fun. Not because I’m a huge Jeter fan boy, but because they were both young stars that found success immediately and became cornerstones at important defensive positions up the middle. The post allowed me to talk about catcher defense, catcher aging, and a lot of different interesting issues.
I hope I don’t get in trouble uttering the words ‘fantasy baseball’ around the players. I did with Dexter Fowler and he was cool about it. We’ll see how it goes the next time that slips out of my mouth.
I had some fun with images too, this week, as we actually have some baseball to capture. Jose Fernandez is the hot young pitcher in Florida, and some have questioned his changeup, his third pitch. Well, this is his third pitch. It looks great. Chris Tillman threw a curveball — his second pitch — and it meant a lot to me today for some reason.
Over at Getting Blanked, I found the prospects that people can’t agree on last week, and then this week I summed up the closer research again, because some advancement has been made. Turn out, velocity and strikeouts are the best harbingers of closer changes.
Oh and Jon Miller and K&K talked FanGraphs on the KNBR wrapup! Awesome sauce.