Archive for the ‘Joey Votto’ Category

MLB: Cincinnati Reds-Workout

Their lineup is top-heavy, but fearsome. Their rotation at worst reliable and at best dominant. With Aroldis Chapman at the back, the bullpen puts up good numbers in its own right.

Claiming the Cincinnati Reds are a good baseball club is barely necessary – three playoff appearances and three 90-win seasons in four years does all the heavy lifting. Despite this recent success, 2014 is the dawn of a new era in the Queen City. A new manager, a new outlook and a roster in transition suggest strange things are afoot at the Great American Ballpark.

Anytime a club changes managers they can expect (or hope for) a new culture. Dusty Baker is among the most iconoclastic managers in baseball, so parting ways with a larger than life skipper, and bringing aboard just about anybody else will usher in a new experience in the clubhouse. Beyond Baker’s unmistakable thumbprint, the Reds face question marks around the diamond for the first time in years.

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MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals

Opportunity isn’t a given. When a baseball player signs a contract, there is no language that ensures the player will be given ample opportunity to succeed and work through struggles. It’s why the option system exists, so teams are free to churn players at the end of the roster, looking to catch lightning in a bottle.

Mathematically, this makes little sense, of course. Chasing small samples with more small samples does not give you a larger, more reliable sample. Roster churn for the sake of “finding something that works” is an exercise in randomness, albeit one that occasionally pays off.

Despite the proliferation of sabermetric analysis in baseball, teams and players still mostly operate in inefficient ways. Decision making will never be perfectly rational in baseball, owing to tradition, moving statistical targets and, perhaps most importantly, psychology.

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Arizona Diamondbacks

I know what you’re thinking – who on earth is Kevin Siegrist? The Cardinals rookie reliever is hardly a household name. Not many 41st round draft picks are. As a testament to the Cardinals incredible scouting and player development model, they plucked Siegrist out of Palm Beach Community College in Wellington, Florida in the 2008 draft and, lo and behold, have themselves a fireballing left-handed reliever some five years later.

Siegrist slowly climbed the minor league ladder, starting from short-season rookie ball all the way to the big leagues in 2013, where the 6’5″ fireballer finds himself logging important innings for the best team in baseball.

Last night, Siegrist checked in for the Cardinals with his team clinging to a 3-1 lead. Manager Mike Matheny presented his young hurler with a very tall task – get through the top of the Reds vaunted lineup. Kevin Siegrist was certainly up to the task.

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Seattle Mariners v Minnesota Twins

Sometimes you end up in an entirely different place than you started.

To wit. I was reading about the strike zone, and how it’s shifted for lefty hitters. Jon Roegele over at Beyond the Boxscore did some heavy thinking about how the lefty strike zone works when it comes to balls and strikes, and it’s worth a read.

But the decision to swing or not was not what got me thinking. Instead, I was thinking how unfair it is. How unfair it is that a left-handed hitter is asked to go cover further out past the outside edge of the plate than his right-handed coworkers. They should form a union and complain! Equal zones for equal people. Down with the right-handed-normative machine! These posters practically write themselves.

In any case, this is the zone the players have now, and this is the zone they battle with day to day. And so, it occurred to me, it’s more important for a left-hander to be able to cover the outside part of the plate than a right-hander! They are asked to do more out there. It’s a natural addendum to the problem.

Answering this question took me to the very edge of my ability to query databases and manipulate numbers. That’s sort of sad, considering the question is fairly easy perhaps, but it is what it is. After culling the list of all players with less than 60 balls to the outfield (that got rid of all pitchers), reducing their pull and push numbers to percentages, sorting, averaging and presto: RESULTS!

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joey votto agency

MLB Trade Rumors is an indispensable resource for just about any baseball fan. Unlike other rumor-based sites, it plays the role of aggregator to a tee. Former editor Ben Nicholson-Smith recently left MLB TR but they roll on, still bringing the latest and greatest in trade talk to plugged-in baseball fans.

MLBTR doesn’t just process the news, they create tons of their own content on a regular basis. In this respect, it is an oasis in the internet churn desert.

Not content to just take over the world of page views, it appears Tim Dierkes and MLBTR are moving on up in the world – following in the footsteps of Jay Z to become player agents. The (fan-sourced) contracts section on Joey Votto’s Fangraphs player page lists MLBTR founder Tim Dierkes and former editor Ben “Benny Fresh” Nicholson-Smith as Joey Votto‘s agent and agency on his current $200 million contract. Even at 4%, that’s a nice chunk of change!

I don’t think Votto’s actual agent Dan Lozano needs to sweat, as this appears to be just a simple data entry error. But still! Watching MLBTR grow and expand, I wouldn’t put this past them in the not-so-distant future.

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds

Brandon Phillips is a very good baseball player and has been for a long time. There is no way to proceed on this topic without first making that statement clear. He is a very good hitter and defender with the flare for the dramatic and/or spectacular.

Brandon Phillips is not the best player on the Cincinnati Reds. He isn’t now and I don’t know that he has ever been during his tenure in the Queen City. Maybe in 2007 but that was a bad team so what does it matter?

Brandon Phillips is a very good player currently playing on a very, very good team. Only one team in baseball has more wins than the Cincinnati Reds, which makes the columnists looking for talking points seem even more pathetic.

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Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who Buster Olney noted last week, only guesses on pitches up until 2 strikes, looked to guess right on this two strike hanger from Rangers starter Yu Darvish, and took it right out of the ballpark.

You can read more on how Votto is on another level from Drew here.