Early Returns: Run Scoring Ticks Back Up

I’ve long been concerned about the state of run scoring in Major League Baseball. Run scoring has been on a decade-long downward trend, without any real indication that we’ve hit bottom. Well, that may have changed:

2015EarlyReturnsRuns

Early returns on 2015 have run scoring ticking upwards slightly. Scoring is still well below the historical average, but we’re now a tick above the disastrous 1960s levels. Good news.

What is going on? In part, strikeout rates have stabilized:

2015EarlyReturnsKRate

And power is ticking back up:

2015EarlyReturnsISO

MLB run scoring doesn’t vary all that much month-to-month, so there is no reason to believe this is seasonal. We also have a decent sample size at this point. I think this is real. Which is very good news for baseball.

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Flashback: May 21, 2010

Even though the game I’m about to tell you about was five years ago tonight, I had no recollection of it at all.

Getting old is fun!

Here are the facts:

  • It was the Friday night game of the Citi Field portion of the 2010 Subway Series.
  • The starters were Javier Vazquez and Hisanori Takahashi.
  • Vazquez lasted six innings, gave up only one hit, walked two and struck out six.
  • Takahashi also pitched six innings. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out five.
  • The scoring didn’t start until the starters left the game.
  • The Yankees scored their two runs in the top of the seventh against Elmer Dessens.
  • Nick Swisher started the inning with a single.
  • Francisco Cervelli reached base on a throwing error and advanced to second while Swisher advanced to third on the play.
  • Kevin Russo hit a double off Dessens that scored Swisher and Cervelli.
  • The Mets scored their only run in the ninth inning off Mariano Rivera.
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As Gardner and Ellsbury go, so go the Yanks (or: Crap, Ellsbury hit the DL)

One of my favorite things about this site and the staff here is the off-site chatter amongst all of us that takes place over the course of every day. We talk baseball. We loudly bemoan really bad, hackneyed, trite, ad hominem attacks on players by the MSM, and laugh about silly Twitter spats. We talk about non-work stuff and provide a measure of support for one another when life gets in the way of baseball/writing (we’re all mourning the loss of Stacey’s best buddy, her cat Jack, who had to be put to sleep last night). I haven’t written much in the last few years due to work, but I’m here in the background every day, reading everything we (and you) write. Fun stuff, really.

This morning, William asked/challenged the following: What’s the Yanks record when Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner get on base (H/BB/HBP) a combined 4 or more times in a game? That’s a fine question, William, particularly because we all know how good these two have been so far this year and we’re losing Ellsbury to the DL (did you know he’s in the midst of a $153M contract?!?

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Game 40: Giovaldi

Nate Eovaldi (3-1, 4.14 ERA) vs Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.25 ERA) in D.C. tonight. Bryce Harper is 8 for his last 11 with 2 HR, 6 RBI, and 6 Runs Scored over his last 3 games. That might be trouble.

Lineups
YANKEES NATIONALS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF Denard Span CF
Brett Gardner LF Ian Desmond SS
Chris Young RF Yunel Escobar 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B Bryce Harper RF
Brian McCann C Ryan Zimmerman 1B
Chase Headley 3B Wilson Ramos C
Jose Pirela 2B Danny Espinosa 2B
Stephen Drew SS Michael Taylor LF
Nate Eovaldi P Gio Gonzalez P
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Fun with charts?

There’s an obvious lack of enthusiasm we all seem to be sharing with nearly the entire infield (thanks for not being terrible, Mark Teixeira) after six weeks [looking squarely at you, Stephen Drew and Chase Headley, and of course, Didi Gregorius].

Earlier today, Brad, Matt, and Stacey pointed out the failings of Drew (here), Headley (here), and the rest (here) so that spurred me to go take a peek at the oWAR from Baseball-Reference.com for all American League players who have played at least 10 games this season at 3B/SS/2B. Below is the chart of all such players, with the Yanks’ starters (and Gregorio Petit for kicks) highlighted.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 New York Yankees infield (or at least 75% of it):

2015SS3B2BoWar

Now I’m no SABR-magician like Michael Kay thinks Stacey is, but just using the old fashioned eyeball test, this ain’t good.

I hold some irrational faith in Headley, as at least he’s manning 3B quite well.…

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Prospect Profile: Jacob Lindgren

jlindgrenJacob Stephen Lindgren
Born: March 12, 1993, Biloxi, Mississippi
Height: 5’11
Weight: 205
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Position: Relief Pitcher

Even though it has been a couple years since I consistently wrote prospect profiles, by and large the players on the upper level rosters are very familiar to me. Jacob Lindgren, a relief pitcher with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, would be one of the exceptions. Having been drafted out of Mississippi State by the Yankees in 2014, Lindgren has shot through the Yankees’ farm system and appears to be on the cusp of making his major league debut.

Lindgren was taken by the Yankees with their first pick of the 2014 draft, however, he was taken in the second round – the 55th overall pick. The southpaw began as a starter in college, taking Mississippi State to the College World Series, but in 2014 he started coming out of the bullpen. Quickly becoming one of the most dominant relievers in college baseball, Lindgren didn’t slow down after signing with the Yankees, making appearances with four Yankees minor league affiliates last year.…

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Thoughts after a bad series in Tampa (and a story about Michael Kay)

Let's get ready to rumble!

Let’s get ready to rumble!

I’m going to do this week’s installment of the random thoughts post slightly different. Instead of bullet points, I’m writing blurbs and/or sentences. And it’s not completely random. There’s a long story thrown in there.

Enjoy!

***

Okay, so that series should have and could have been better. If you start off two games with 2-0 leads, you should probably win both games. But the Yankees didn’t do that and now, not only did they lose three out of four to Tampa but poor Chase Whitley probably wrecked his elbow because he was trying to pitch through an injury. Kids, that is never a good idea.

The series was a sh*tshow.

I guess the only positive is that some guys in the bullp OH MY GOD ONE OF THOSE BUGS WITH A MILLION LEGS JUST RAN ACROSS THE FLOOR AS I WAS ADDING THIS PASSAGE. PLEASE SEND SOME HELP OR A BLOWTORCH.

Okay, it ran into the kitchen and I took that as my cue to run upstairs.…

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Flashback: May 14, 1996

Dwight Gooden threw a no-hitter 19 years ago today.

I attended that game with my dad and my brother and it was amazing to see something like that in person. It felt like watching a movie and almost didn’t seem real.

Leave your memories of the game in the comments, if you’re actually old enough to remember that night (ha ha).

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Jorge Posada Belatedly Declares Jorge Posada the 2003 MVP!

CBS Sports

CBS Sports

Did a steroid-addled pre-redemption Alex Rodriguez steal Jorge Posada‘s 2003 MVP award? Jorge said so, or at least implied it in a rambling tirade:

“The only thing that I can think is 2003. You know, I was close to the MVP. Didn’t happen. Alex won the MVP and, you know, I think second, either Carlos Delgado or David Ortiz, I don’t remember. But you know, I was almost there,” Posada said. “You know what could have happened if, you know it’s tough.”

All respect to Jorge, whom I still like a lot – but there’s no way he was the best in the league in 2003, with or without A-Rod’s pharmaceutical adventures.

Posada had a great 2003, his best year by WAR – 5.9, a level that’s usually not best-in-league, and was fifth among position players, but is as good as that of many MVPs. Posada’s offensive WAR was actually 0.4 better in 2007 than 2003, but the defensive WAR stats comport with what we all remember: by age 35, his defense had declined badly.…

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