The dead ball to breakout predictions to prospect profiles.
Baseball Prospectus: I’ve been talking about how the ball is dead again because, well … it kinda is.
Through about two weeks so far this season, it appears we are on track for a high-drag, and thus low-homer, year. That dovetails nicely with other studies on the topic that are finding home run rates quite reduced, even adjusting for the weather, as well as other investigations of the baseball and home run rates by two researchers helping MLB study the topic, Alan Nathan and Jim Albert. In raw (non-weather-adjusted) terms, we are seeing the lowest rate of balls leaving the park since 2014, though that will creep up as the summer brings warmer, less dense air for the smashed baseballs to travel through.
Whether MLB are still using multiple balls is undetermined, but I wouldn’t put anything past them.
True Blue LA: Joe Davis is calling the World Series and is predictably thrilled about it. He’s a great choice and I have confidence he’ll do well, though hopefully the national broadcast producers let him do his own thing.
Dodger Thoughts: Clayton Kershaw‘s perfect game attempt was a while ago now, but Jon Weisman wrote an eternally relevant post about appreciating the moments that did happen rather than wasting time being pissed about what could’ve happened, basically.
FanGraphs: Gavin Lux named by Dan Szymborski as a breakout hitting candidate. Going well so far.
FanGraphs: Brusdar Graterol named by Dan as a breakout pitching candidate. Also going well so far.
The Athletic: Zach Buchanan with a wonderful profile of Diego Cartaya, which provides insight on the top prospect’s upbringing and work ethic, as well as a bit on the player development of the Dodgers.
That’s because, though Cartaya exudes natural talent and has the best player development group in the game behind him, he also possesses something else vital to becoming a star. He has the drive. “There’s no magic pill to become a major leaguer. It’s going to take time and it’s going to take a lot of work,” said former Dodgers catching coordinator Ryan Sienko. “Part of what makes Diego so good is he’s willing to put all of that in.”
What about Cartaya’s performance, though, can be traced directly to Dodgers player development? Magicians don’t reveal the secrets behind their tricks, but there are a couple things that stand out about how Los Angeles handles its young catchers. One relates directly to teaching the finer points of catching, especially game-calling. That’s an area of the sport that is difficult to quantify, but the Dodgers stress it early and just as often as they do more technical aspects like receiving and blocking. Cartaya mentioned the Dodgers had fostered his familiarity with TruMedia, the analytics software used by many teams. The same was true for Ruiz at that point in his development.
Given their track record, it’s hard not to get hyped when the Dodgers themselves so clearly believe in him.
The Athletic: Buchanan also profiled top prospect Andy Pages, which was a pleasant surprise for how unique it was, as a lot of the article revolved around how Pages is one of the best MLB The Show players in the world.
At the time he played Acheronti, Pages was ranked in the top five for the 2021 version of the video game. The 2022 edition was released two weeks ago, and Pages’ ranking in it falls somewhere between 10th and 50th in the world, depending on how often he’s playing on any given day. And that’s not often, he admits. Due to the demands of the season, he plays maybe one hour a day. It’s during the offseason when he shoots up the leaderboards. Then, it can become a full-time job, taking up “seven or eight hours” a day, Pages said through interpreter Jesse Guffey.
Now in favor of using MLB The Show like trial by combat for the outcome of games.