Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the D-backs have gone .500… in spring training games so far. That’s right, with six games in the rear view, the team has gone 3-3. Despite some rain difficulties over the weekend, Arizona has played more games than any other team as it gears up to head to Australia two weeks from today. And it’s now official: Patrick Corbin and Trevor Cahill will pitch the two regular season games at Sydney Cricket Grounds.
It’s just great to see some baseball. I don’t know about you, but I’ve enjoyed seeing Gerardo Parra’s new swing (now that I know the true motivation for it). Mark Trumbo’s walk in the opening game also seemed like a small victory, and seeing Trumbo dive for a catch in LF was at least entertaining, even if he looked like I do when I’m running to catch a bus over uneven, icy ground…
Off the field, we learned that Todd Glaesmann has retired from baseball, less than three months after joining the D-backs organization. The former third round pick was the Rays’ 2012 minor league player of the year, spending the 2013 season with AA Montgomery. After putting up a .240/.289/.378 line there, he was probably destined for more time at that level. Seems like a shame to see him go, but Glaesmann probably knows better than the rest of us about what the right decision is for him and his family.
Of course, Glaesmann came to the organization in the Holmberg/Bell trade as a player to be named later from Tampa Bay. At the time, GM Kevin Towers had said that the PTBNL would be the key player for the D-backs. Remembering that, at first I thought Towers would be eating some crow for the retirement news. But I suppose he’s still the key player — Justin Choate was, I think, a NP needed for the trade because otherwise David Holmberg couldn’t be sent to Cincinnati. There was no prospects return for the D-backs, really — the trade was just a sale of Holmberg.
For someone like me, though, the big news from the last week was the announcement by MLB Advanced Media. By opening day 2015, MLBAM will have installed a new tracking system at every ballpark in the majors. It will track every player’s position, and defensively, it will track “route efficiency” for fielders. It will give us hitting data much like the Pitchf/x data we know and love for pitching. It will produce 7 terabytes of data per game. I can’t wait to see the applications to baserunning, to compare our current statistics to the data we will have access to with the new system… it’s going to be outrageous. And we’re going to be able to answer some baseball questions that we just can’t touch right now.
For more information, check out this post at DRays Bay, which includes a video produced by MLBAM that shows the new system at work (it’s amazing). Also take a look at this conversation at Beyond the Box Score about some of the possible applications. And, as always, if you have some ideas or what to talk about it more — that’s what the comments are for (or Twitter!).
And now, the links:
- Whatever you do, go read Stuart Wallace’s piece on Cody Ross and the likely stresses his hip will contend with. Extremely interesting, especially in terms of Ross throwing lefthanded but batting from the right.
- In this notebook, AZ Central’s Nick Piecoro talks to Bronson Arroyo about shutting down the running game. Should be an interesting dynamic to watch, and I think we’ll have multiple opportunities to see it.
- From another Arroyo-centric notebook from Piecoro, a cool note via Wendy Thurm: the percentage of the D-backs payroll allotted to its highest-paid player (Aaron Hill) is the smallest of all 30 teams. Interesting. Also, easy to forget that Hill is the team’s highest-paid player…
- At Snake Pit, shibum78 did a nice overall look at the D-backs’ ZiPS projections, and just before spring training games started, Tyler Pollard wrote about a few big storylines to watch during the spring.
- At Venom Strikes, Thomas Lynch notes that Tuffy Gosewisch’s calf injury could set him back in the race for the backup catcher roster spot. After all the effort into extremely marginal upgrades this offseason, I’m shocked that we’re going to give some of that back every fifth day (or more) with what the team’s put together for backup options. Gosewisch would be great as a third catcher, a guy who stays at Reno but who gets called up a few times a year (for bumps and bruises, as well as true DL stints). The fact that a Gosewisch calf injury might make the D-backs’ opening day roster worse is kind of appalling.
- Also at Venom Strikes, Joseph Jacquez asks: Is Mark Trumbo Really a Defensive Liability? Short answer? Yes. Jacquez quotes Towers as saying the team wouldn’t have picked up Trumbo unless it thought he could handle himself in LF, but what does that mean? The FO may or may not be wrong, but the FO’s former reasoning certainly isn’t proof of anything other than their former reasoning. No, he won’t be winning a Gold Glove this year. I don’t think that Trumbo will be the worst LF in the majors this season (although that is possible), but let’s put this “he’ll be average” thing to bed. The idea that he’ll improve to the point of being better than 10-15 starting LF next season is a pretty huge leap that we can’t take for granted. If the “critics need to stop saying Mark Trumbo is a defensive liability” …why?
The Pool ShotEpisode 20 of The Pool Shot: The guys talk about Sam Miller's piece identifying the D-backs' "Moneyball" strategy and Dave Cameron's piece about why he also thinks the D-backs are different, before setting their preferred 25-man roster to start the season. In so doing, they make use of Twitter questions from @bgrosnick (upside or reliability for bench), @EdwardFShore (whether Archie Bradley is first in line if a starter struggles), and @IvoryTiger (whether Goldy's slow start is concerning). They also have a blast discussing a question from @Ascend_Descend about which pitcher and which "plus" pitch they would add to a D-backs pitcher's repertoire if they were omnipotent. Subscribe on iTunes!
- Daniel Hudson’s Very Best Fit
- Roundup: D-backs “Moneyball”; Could Hill Get Moved?
- Fireballs Shooting Out of Right Hand of Enrique Burgos
- Real D-backs Defensive Shifts, Really
- Andrew Chafin Leading Race to Be Only Real Bullpen Lefty
- Spring Notes from D-backs Minor League Camp
- Roundup: Roster in Focus; Tomas Contract Discussions; Six Man Rotation?
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FanGraphs Stats Glossary
Nick Piecoro Author Page
Cot's Baseball Contracts
BP Base Running Stats
Previously on The Pool Shot, the guys explained some of their favorite advanced stats. Hitting, including wRC+, HHAV and batted ball; pitching (38:00), including FIP, xFIP and SIERA; and baserunning and defense, including UBR, UZR and DRS (58:00).