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Episode 228 – Above The Ubaldo Level
The latest episode of “Field of Streams” is live!
In this episode, Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin discuss Ubaldo Jimenez day, Dylan being confused on Jonathan Lucroy’s splits, a match made in DFS heaven, Matt specifically hating the game (not the player) when it comes to J.B. Shuck, saying bad things about Andrew Albers and hoping his family doesn’t listen to the show, Nick Buss being named by an alien, and Matt’s developing facial hair.
It hasn’t exactly been an easy season for fans of East Bay baseball. Facing a rotation eviscerated by injuries and trades and clubhouse chemistry, once impervious to losing, lost, there hasn’t been much for A’s fans to gloat over. Not that expectations were all that high to begin with, but this? The best that can be said about 2016 is that at least the front office made a firm commitment to its youth as soon as it became obvious that meaningful baseball would not be played in the Coliseum at the same time meaningless football would be. And for that fantasy managers and particularly those digging for championships in deep leagues, should be thankful.
Back in mid-June, I discussed a handful of hitters who had hit a shocking number of home runs at that point in the season. Since it was fun, and you no doubt enjoyed it, let’s do it again. Obviously, there are more surprises than just this short list, so feel free to use the comments to, ya know, comment on such lads.
Here are five of the biggest surprises, all of whom I chose for different reasons. I included some relevant metrics from 2016 and compared them to their 2015 rates so we have a better idea of what’s fueling the home run surge.
Chad Kuhl: Quick Look
The 23-year-old righty has been getting some love because of his improved second half when he has posted a 2.37 ERA with 11.3% K%-BB% and a 50% GB%.
I will start with his 2016 MLB.com grades of:
His grades weren’t this high until this year. Most places saw him as a low-level bullpen arm.
Year(publication): Overall grade
2016 (BA): 40
2015 (BA): 45
2015 (MLB): 45
Brian Dozier is a streaky hitter. We know this to be true, much like the world is round, or the sun rises in the east. In the last two seasons, he’s pushed the boundaries of what I thought ‘streaky’ could entail. About halfway through the 2015 campaign, Dozier’s production fell off a cliff. Check out his slash lines by month:
The batting average dropped down around the Mendoza line, while his power evaporated by the month. The really scary thing was the way Dozier began 2016:
Some interesting injuries to go over this week….some new things, but also a few updates on older injuries. Many of you are either just starting your league playoffs or it’s coming soon, so the most recent news is going to be of value. That being said, let’s get into what I have seen for the MASH report. If you’ve read this for the past couple of weeks, you know that I try to be responsive to the “Comments” section. If there’s someone specific you feel I missed, please jump in. I never want to over-promise/under-deliver, but I will make every effort to get to your question.
Andrew Benintendi, the Red Sox’ rookie phenom, definitely dodged a bullet with “only” a knee sprain, according to manager John Farrell. It is interesting to note that he says there’s no “structural damage” but it is a ligament sprain. But if they are saying he could still return, then that tells me it’s a minor (grade 1) sprain…remember that time you “rolled” your ankle trying to cross that dude over on the court? You hurt real bad for a while but then you were better? Yeah, something like that.
Episode 227 – It’s About To Get Weird
The latest episode of “Field of Streams” is live!
In this episode, Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin discuss Matt’s poor carpentry, Gary Sanchez’s ridiculous hot streak, Sandy Leon’s eventual correction, Dylan digging himself into a phrasing hole, Carlos Martinez’s favorable matchup, looking back at the 1992 VMA’s, Kevin Kiermaier’s unfortunate accident, nobody having a strong opinion on The Black Crowes, and the early ages of the internet and paying for phone calls.
I’m always reluctant to discuss a player whom we have recently featured at FanGraphs. Indeed, Rylan Edwards noted that, unlike swimming, Keon Broxton is not boring. Jeff Sullivan also recently covered Keon Broxton, ushering everyone on board his respective bandwagon (Broxton’s, not Sullivan’s). It’s a good feature, and its biggest takeaway is the following: Keon Broxton is hitting the ball pretty damn hard.
Broxton has slipped a bit — he no longer holds the top spot, ceding it to Nelson Cruz, Giancarlo Stanton, and some kid named Gary Sanchez. Stanton hasn’t played in two-plus weeks, so it stands to reason that Broxton’s exit velocity has slipped in the last week. That’s fine. As is, it’s still elite.
Except, woah, the strikeouts. Right? That’s alarming. It’s not so alarming that it’s a dealbreaker. Sullivan even brought up the idea of Broxton being a center-fielding Chris Carter. For a team like the Milwaukee Brewers, that would work just fine.
It’s the composition of the strikeouts — in other words, the way Broxton gets to those strikeouts — that kind of blows my mind.