David Bednar was an unproven San Diego Padres pitcher when he was first featured right here at FanGraphs in March 2020. The burly right-hander had made simply 13 big-league appearances, all within the earlier season when he’d allowed eight runs in 11 innings of undistinguished work. A Thirty fifth-round draft choose 4 years prior, he’d been frivolously thought to be a prospect.
Quick forwarding to in the present day, Bednar is without doubt one of the most dominant closers within the recreation. Now pitching for his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, the hard-throwing hurler is coming off of an All-Star season the place he logged 39 saves, a 2.00 ERA, and a 2.53 FIP. Since being acquired in a three-deal in January 2021, he boasts a 2.25 ERA and a 2.56 FIP, in addition to a hefty 31.2% strikeout price.
How has the 6-foot-1, 250-pound reliever developed since we first spoke? I requested him that query when the Bucs visited Wrigley Subject in late September.
“I’m capable of command all three of my pitches within the zone higher,” stated Bednar. “I even have a greater thought of the place my misses are. One other huge factor is having the boldness to belief my stuff within the zone. I do know it sounds redundant, however I’m simply competing within the zone. After I assault guys and preserve all of my lanes the identical, good issues occur.”
Bednar feels that his uncooked stuff is far the identical as what it was earlier than his breakthrough. Together with the aforementioned strides, how he sequences has gone a good distance towards his success. A former teammate performed an enormous function.
“A man I form of modeled my recreation on is Kirby Yates, how he works and the way he will get guys out,” defined Bednar. “He instructions the highest and backside of the zone, and performs his cut up off that. I attempt to combine all three collectively — my heater, breaking ball, and cut up — and simply go after guys. Mainly, I step on the gasoline and assault.”
His success speaks for itself, and that’s simply the way in which he likes it. Bragging isn’t Bednar’s factor. Requested if he deserves extra nationwide consideration than he will get, the common-or-garden hurler replied that he’s “simply pleased to be on the market.” He credited his Pirates teammates for “grinding out video games” and giving him alternatives to shut them out — which he’s been doing with aplomb. As for whether or not he thinks he’d obtain extra accolades if he pitched in a much bigger market… let’s simply say he’s pleased the place he’s at.
“Would I get extra accolades? Beats me,” Bednar stated. “I simply know that I really like Pittsburgh.”
RANDOM HITTER-PITCHER MATCHUPS
Pickles Dillhoefer went 5 for six in opposition to Sweetbread Bailey.
Bob Bailey went 0 for 20 in opposition to Dock Ellis.
Milt Cuyler went 0 for 15 in opposition to Tim Leary.
Kiki Cuyler went 20 for 56 in opposition to Heinie Meine.
Heinie Groh went 20 for 55 in opposition to Claude Hendrix.
Hitter-pitcher matchups, whereas enjoyable, clearly should be taken with a grain of salt. That’s very true when the pattern sizes are small, with the above mano a mano Pickles-Sweetbread serving as a superb instance. Given extra alternatives, Abraham Lincoln Bailey may very nicely have fared higher in opposition to William Martin Dillhoefer. Which brings us to Jorge Polanco, who earlier this week was traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Seattle Mariners.
Jorge Polanco is a mixed 9 for 11 with two doubles, a triple, and 4 dwelling runs versus Logan S. Allen and Nick Pivetta. Conversely, he’s 0-for-19 with 5 strikeouts (and no walks) versus Cal Quantrill.
Do these numbers imply a lot? No, however they’re attention-grabbing. To me, anyway.
Richard Lovelady would embrace being on a profitable workforce, and he’ll hopefully get that chance within the upcoming season. Earlier this week, the 28-year-old left-handed reliever inked a free-agent contract with the Chicago Cubs, a membership which went 83-79 final yr and guarantees to be higher in 2024. They’ll actually log extra Ws than Lovelady’s earlier employers, these being the Kansas Metropolis Royals (103 losses in his 2019 rookie season) and the Oakland Athletics, who’re coming off a an much more abysmal marketing campaign.
He practically performed on a powerhouse final yr. Lovelady was bought by the Atlanta Braves from the Royals on the finish of March, solely to be placed on waivers and claimed by the A’s. As an alternative of seeing motion with a workforce that received 104 video games, he spent the season with one which received simply 50 occasions and have been on the dropping finish 112 occasions.
Halfway via the season, I broached that topic with the erstwhile Kennesaw State College Owl. His response was measured and matter-of-fact.
“You’re nonetheless on an expert baseball workforce,” Lovelady stated with a shrug. “We clearly don’t have as many wins as they do, however they’re probably not doing something totally different than we’re. We’re going to the ballpark the identical. We’re placing on a uniform the identical. We’re doing the hitting and pitching we’re paid to do. It’s simply that it’s a must to execute, they usually’re executing.”
The lefty’s response was related after I introduced up how the Royals groups he was with all completed with dropping ledgers.
“I’ve been on loads of groups like that in my skilled profession,” acknowledged Lovelady, who has made 73 big-league appearances and has a 5.26 ERA over 65 innings. “I’ve been on groups that haven’t carried out to their expectations, however you may’t get caught up in that stuff. It’s important to do what you may to maintain the tradition of the clubhouse the identical. It’s important to preserve everyone motivated towards one objective, and that’s to win each single day.”
The Cubs actually received’t try this in 2024, however once more, they are going to virtually assuredly win extra typically than Lovelady’s earlier golf equipment did. If all goes as deliberate, he’ll expertise one thing he missed out on when the Braves bid him adieu — taking the mound for a winner.
Which participant has been charged with probably the most errors on the shortstop place within the divisional period (1969 onward)? A touch: he performed his whole profession within the Nationwide League.
The reply might be discovered under.
Larry Rothschild has been employed as a pitching guide by the unbiased Frontier League’sWindy Metropolis ThunderBolts, who’re managed by former Chicago White Sox nearer Bobby Jenks. The 69-year-old Rothschild pitched for the Detroit Tigers in 1981 and 1982 earlier than occurring to handle the Tampa Bay Devils and function a pitching coach for 5 big-league groups, most lately the San Diego Padres in 2020 and 2021.
The Miami Marlins are hiring Sam Mondry-Cohen to the function of Vice President, Participant Personnel (per @CraigMish). Beforehand an assistant GM with the Washington Nationals and an analytics coordinator with the Chicago White Sox, Mondry-Cohen was featured right here at FanGraphs in January 2020.
The Tampa Bay Rays will formally induct Dave Wills into the workforce’s Corridor of Fame on April 14. A radio broadcaster with the Rays for 19 seasons, Wills died unexpectedly final March at age 58.
The 2024 SABR Analytics Convention will embody a State of the Baseball Biomechanics Trade Panel comprising Arnel Aguinaldo (Level Loma Nazarene College), Adam Nebel (Auburn College), Mike Sonne (Chicago Cubs), and Ethan Stewart (Oakland Athletics). Extra data on the convention, which will likely be held in Phoenix from March 8-10, might be discovered right here.
Don Lassetter, an outfielder who appeared in 4 video games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1957, died on January twenty second at age 90. The Newman, Georgia native logged two big-league hits, the primary of them a triple off of Chicago Cubs rookie right-hander Dick Drott, who went 15-11 that yr (and henceforth 12-35 over six extra seasons).
The reply to the quiz is Garry Templeton, who was charged with 384 errors as a shortstop from 1976-1991. Dave Concepcion has the second-most errors, with 311.
A number of notes on Jimy Williams, who died earlier this week at age 80.
Previous to managing the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Pink Sox, and Houston Astros, the Santa Monica native performed eight skilled seasons, the second of which noticed him get a cup of espresso with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1966. The primary of his 12 big-league plate appearances was notable, as was his third. Williams fanned as a pinch-hitter in opposition to Sandy Koufax in his MLB debut, and never lengthy thereafter he hit a run-scoring single off of Juan Marichal.
Williams performed with the Montreal Expos’ Triple-A affiliate in 1970, a season that noticed the membership start in Buffalo solely to maneuver to Manitoba a month and a half later. Burdened by abysmal attendance and antiquated amenities close to the Niagara River, the Bisons migrated northwest and have become the Winnipeg Whips. Williams’s teammates that yr included Mike Marshall, who 4 years later would make a single-season document 106 pitching appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 1992, this between his first two managerial stints, Williams was the third base coach who waved Sid Bream dwelling for the profitable run because the Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in NLCS Sport 7.
Carlos Santana’s signing with Minnesota — the 37-year-old switch-hitting first baseman reportedly agreed to a one-year deal on Friday — doesn’t qualify as huge information, however that doesn’t imply he received’t make a huge impact on a Twins workforce seeking to repeat as AL Central champions. Together with veteran management, Santana will convey with him a bat that has produced 301 dwelling runs and a 116 wRC+, in addition to strong defensive abilities. Furthermore, he’ll convey an unmatched degree of reliability. Since debuting with Cleveland in 2010, Santana has performed in 1930 video games, probably the most of any participant in baseball (the common-or-garden slugger addressed his sturdiness right here at Sunday Notes this previous April). With a possible red-flag caveat that final yr’s 10.5% stroll price was a profession low, and his .318 OBP was 38 factors under his profession common, Santana seems to be a shrewd addition.
The Caribbean Collection obtained underway on Thursday, and with three days’ price of video games accomplished, Venezuela is one in all two undefeated groups. The Ozzie Guillen-led squad beat the Dominican Republic 3-1 on Thursday— Yasiel Puig homered — and yesterday they edged previous Curaçao 4-2. Panama is the opposite workforce to begin with a pair of wins. Iván Herrera had three hits, together with a house run, in a 7-3 conquest of Curaçao on Friday. Yesterday’s win was extra dramatic. Down by a pair to Mexico going into the underside of the ninth, Panama plated three runs to win 4-3. Johnny Santos, who’d homered earlier, walked it off with a two-out triple.
The Australian Baseball League championship collection started on Friday with the Perth Warmth strolling off the Adelaide Giants in 13 innings courtesy of a Carlos Sanchez two-bagger, the 19-year-old Cincinnati Reds prospect plating 21-year-old Tampa Bay Rays prospect Raudelis Martinez for a 4-3 Warmth win. Adelaide then rallied to win Sport 2 by a rating of 6-3, a fifth-inning two-run homer by Quincy Latimore, who was celebrating his Thirty fifth birthday, giving them a lead they didn’t relinquish.That introduced us to a deciding Sport 3 wherein…
…Adelaide captured its second straight ABL title, which is formally generally known as the Clayton Protect. Briley Knight — a 24-year-old Perth native who performed collegiately stateside on the College of Portland — delivered the massive blow, stroking a tie-breaking two-run double within the eighth inning to offer the Warmth a 3-1 win. Former Minnesota Twins prospect Todd Van Steensel earned the save and was named tourney MVP.
A random obscure former participant snapshot:
Chuck Churn had a profession document of 3-2 whereas showing in 25 video games for 3 groups from 1957-1959. Born Charles Nottingham Churn in Bridgetown, Virginia on February 1, 1930, the right-hander was credited with the second of his three wins on September 11, 1959 when the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied for a pair of runs within the ninth inning to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates by a rating of 5-4. The dropping pitcher was Elroy Face, who fell to 17-1.
Mookie Betts has far outpaced J.D. Martinez in fWAR since debuting in 2014, accumulating 58.5 whereas his erstwhile teammate has logged simply 28.7 over the 10-year span. That stated, the next statistical comparability is eye-opening:
Betts: 1,265 video games, 2,656 whole bases, .294 BA, .381 wOBA, 140 wRC+.
Martinez: 1,270 video games, 2,648 whole bases, .293 BA .380 wOBA, 140 wRC+.
There may be little query that Betts has been the superior participant — velocity and protection matter — however once more, an eye-opening comp. Whereas they differ as hitters, in some respects they’ve barely differed in any respect.
LINKS YOU’LL LIKE
At The Japan Occasions, Jason Coskrey wrote about how NPB pitchers are embracing Driveline’s data-driven coaching packages.
Who’re the all-time finest Philadelphia Phillies? Scott Youngson shared his opinion on that topic at Pitcher Checklist.
Ought to the Pittsburgh Pirates think about promoting their souls for a possible pennant by signing Trevor Bauer and/or Julio Urias? John Perrotto contemplated that query at Pittsburgh Baseball Now.
Andscape’s Justice B. Hill wrote about how the stolen (and later discovered destroyed) Jackie Robinson statue in Kansas Metropolis leaves the baseball group questioning why.
MLB.com’s Elizabeth Muratore wrote about 5 achieved Black girls in baseball comprising a panel on the Jackie Robinson Museum late final month.
RANDOM FACTS AND STATS
The Atlanta Braves scored 53.5% of their runs through the lengthy ball final season, the very best share within the majors. The Cleveland Guardians scored 30.9% of their runs through the lengthy ball, the bottom share within the majors.
Nick Sandlin had a .193 BABIP-against final yr, the bottom amongst pitchers to throw a minimum of 50 innings. Dylan Floro had a .401 BABIP-against, the very best amongst pitchers to throw a minimum of 50 innings.
Tyler Wells had a .200 BABIP-against final yr, the bottom amongst pitchers to throw a minimum of 100 innings. David Peterson had a .370 BABIP-against, the very best amongst pitchers to throw a minimum of 100 innings.
Bob Stanley was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of a New Hampshire highschool in 1973, however didn’t signal. “Steamer” subsequently signed with the Pink Sox after being chosen within the January section of the 1974 draft and went on to pitch in 637 video games — probably the most in franchise historical past — over 13 Boston seasons.
Mickey Mantle had 33 plate appearances within the 1960 World Collection and put simply six balls into play for outs. The Commerce Comet had 10 hits (together with three dwelling runs), eight walks, and 9 strikeouts.
The New York Yankees bought the contracts of Hugh Excessive and Wally Pipp from the Detroit Tigers on in the present day’s date in 1915. Pipp, who had damaged into professional ball as a catcher with the Southern Michigan League’s Kalamazoo Celery Pickers, proceeded to spend 10 seasons because the Yankees’ common first baseman earlier than being displaced by Lou Gehrig.
The Boston Pink Sox claimed Bronson Arroyo off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on in the present day’s date in 2003. Arroyo not solely went on to log 139 of his 148 big-league wins, he celebrated a World Collection title with the Pink Sox in 2004.
Gamers born on in the present day’s date embody Dennis Konuszewski, a right-handed pitcher whose big-league profession comprised one look for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1995. The College of Michigan product allowed 4 of the 5 Houston Astros batters he confronted to achieve, these per a stroll, a pop-fly single, and two ground-ball singles via the five-six gap. His profession ERA is an unfortunate 54.00.
Additionally born on in the present day’s date was Jack Perrin, an outfielder whose profession comprised 4 video games and 13 plate appearances for the Boston Pink Sox in 1921. A local of Escanaba, Michigan (the identical metropolis yours really was born in), Perrin logged all three of his big-league hits in a July double-header at Detroit’s Navin Subject. He went on to play in six video games for the Nationwide Soccer League’s Hartford Blues in 1926, kicking a subject objective and three extra-points.
The Union Affiliation’s St. Louis Maroons went 94-19 in 1884. Buttercup Dickerson, Sleeper Sullivan, and Orator Shafer all performed for the Maroons, as did Fred “Positive Shot” Dunlap, who slashed .412/.448/.621. Per his B-Ref bio web page, Dunlap’s loss of life in 1902, at age, 43 was attributed to “Tubercular Distended Rectum.”