Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday a bit more bearable:
Ichiro’s contact and batted ball stats further the notion that his BABIP hasn’t been subject to bad luck. Keeping in mind that contact rate and line drive rate stabilize at 100 and 150 plate appearances respectively, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about Ichiro going forward. Remember, he’s had 145 plate appearances, so we can rely on his contact rate and just about trust his line drive rate thus far. Compared to last season, Ichiro is putting the bat on the ball 5.4% less often, while 3.6% below his lifetime percentage*. His line drive rate, while not officially stable yet but pretty close, stands 9.2% less than last year and 5% worse than his stateside career*. These discrepancies tell a clear story of a guy not being able to put good wood on the ball, a classic indication of age overcoming a once great hitter.
- According to the Hardball Times’ Brad Johnson, the Phillies brain trust should be prepared to “retool but not reboot.”
- After examining PitchF/X and Retrosheet data, Max Marchi of Baseball Prospectus presents the “career laurel as the cumulative king of [pitch] framing for the past quarter century” to Brad Ausmus, now a special assistant with the Padres. Ausmus also get kudos for having the single greatest season behind the plate (2000).
- Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated’s The Strike Zone explains why the Diamondbacks–Marlins game on Saturday night was so unusual:
Gerardo Parra hit the very first pitch of the game from the Marlins’ Tom Koehler, a 94 mph fastball that was up and over the inside half of the plate, into the Marlins’ bullpen for a leadoff home run. Another 234 pitches were thrown in the game by both teams over sixty-one plate appearances, but Parra’s home run was the only run-scoring play of the game.
According to Elias, the last time that happened — the only run of a game was scored on the first pitch — was nearly 50 years ago. It was September 2, 1963, when Reds’ rookie second baseman Pete Rose homered off the Mets’ Jay Hook to start the second game of a double-header at the Polo Grounds. Hook and the Reds’ Jim Maloney then proceeded to match zeroes for nine innings as the Reds won 1-0.
- ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reveals why Mets pitching prospect Zack Wheeler’s “Super 2″ status is keeping him from being promoted to the big-league club until later next month.
- Jason Grilli may be 36 years old but his strikeout rate is double what it was five years ago and more than five times what it was in 2005. Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs gives most of the credit to the closer’s slider, which since 2009, “has three and a half more inches of horizontal movement, and four and a half more inches of sink.”
- Watch Grilli’s teammate, Pedro Alvarez, deposit this pitch out of PNC Park and into the Allegheny River. According to Mark Townend of Big League Stew, Alvarez’s home run ball traveled 448 feet on the fly.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!