James McCann joins club BSOHL
It’s the time of year where the internet is full of stories about players who have trained hard in the offseason, recovered from injuries, and are now reportedly in the best shape of their lives. You can add catcher James McCann to that club. After admitting to spending a good chunk of last year hobbled by a lower body injury McCann is apparently tuned up and ready to go for 2017.
Cabrera has a shot at the triple crown for the decade
Until approximately 36 hours ago, I had no idea the triple crown as measured over a 10-year period was a thing, but the Reddit baseball community has informed me otherwise. Albert Pujols claimed the honor from 2000-2009 and as it stands coming into 2017, first baseman Miguel Cabrera is the only one with a real shot at it for the 2010-2019 stretch. Over the past six seasons he has a .330 average, and 800 RBI, both good for first place. The only category he trails in is home runs with 237, 12 behind the leader, Jose Bautista. Cabrera is a sorcerer of offensive production who, in my humble opinion, will continue to crush baseballs while the man who follows everyone on twitter will toil away in Toronto watching his power and productivity disappear faster than a plate of poutine at 2:00 a.m. Cabrera is a stone-cold lock.
J.D. Martinez is pretty good
FanGraphs has been working through some detailed rankings and analysis in the nerdy sort of way that FanGraphs is wont to do, and they recently put out the 2016 hitter contact quality report for right fielders. Guess who sits atop that list? None other than right fielder J.D. Martinez. There are some interesting numbers in there — like his pop up percentage of 1.5 — but the most interesting thing to me is the little snippet from the author, Tony Blengino where he says J.D. has “very quietly” become a “borderline elite bat.”
Very quietly. That’s an interesting way to put it. I would say not so quietly for those of us who have watched him play in Detroit for the past few years. I’m gonna miss J.D. when they inevitably deal him at the trade deadline for pitching prospects we’ve never heard of.
Get your nerd on
Speaking of writing nerdy things certain to make stat heads swoon, the SABR analytics conference has announced the finalists for the 2017 SABR Analytics Research Award. You can find the nominated works here. Cast your vote for your favorite! There’s some great stuff in there, and we’re lucky to live in a day and age where people are doing the kind of work required to put information like this at our fingertips. Support them if you can. I’ll let Jonah Keri give you the pitch.
More broadly, please support publications and writers who use brains and hard work to write smart stuff...in sports, politics, everywhere.— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) January 27, 2017
Today in baseball history
On this day in 1958 Commissioner Ford Frick announces that players and coaches will vote on all star game members following a case of ballot stuffing that put eight Cincinatti Reds on the team the previous year. This miraculous stroke of sane judgement lasted until 1970 when fans were once again given the vote, and in 2016 Kansas City Royals fans happened. Maybe someday we’ll learn.
We all have that one sibling
Pitcher Justin Verlander is a suave man. He likes fast cars, nice clothes, and is engaged to woman who is an absolute smoke show. Then there’s his bother Ben, who you can see below wearing goofy goggles, fending off imaginary zombies, and looking mostly silly, all in a blacklit box (h/t Catherine Slonksnis). In his defense, I can’t imagine anyone being able to play a virtual reality game without looking foolish. Except, maybe, Justin Verlander.
If you have a few spare minutes
Detroit native Carmen Fanzone explains how he cultivated his love of music while playing professional baseball. Speaking of music, Barry Zito is finding some success as a singer-songwriter. Brandon Moss signs with the Royals, making them better?