Joe Musgrove got here into the season seen by many as a breakout candidate, and it’s simple to see why. The 28-year-old Pirate-turned-Padre possesses plus stuff, and the change of surroundings — from Pittsburgh to his hometown of San Diego, no much less — portends extra success…. notably within the won-loss column. Musgrove went a paltry 1-5 with the N.L. Central cellar-dwellers in 2020, whereas his new membership is poised to win, per our projections, 94 video games within the present marketing campaign.
By and huge, the breakout has already occurred, and never solely as a result of the 6-foot-5, 235-pound right-hander hurled the 12 months’s first no-hitter on Friday evening. His 2020 peripherals have been these of a pitcher who’d turned the nook. With the caveat that it was a pandemic-shortened season, Mugrove set career-bests in ERA, FIP, and strikeout charge, and extra importantly, he did so with improved pitch profiles. Per StatCast, the spin and motion of his choices have been higher than they’d ever been.
I requested the righty about that in a spring-training Zoom session.
“I’m not likely an enormous analytical man; I’m not huge on the Rapsodo numbers,” responded Musgrove. “I take a look at that data extra as a benchmark. When I’ve actual sturdy outings, or I’ve actual poor outings, I take a look at the numbers to see the place they’re at once I’m good, or once I’m poor. However on no account am I going residence and saying, ‘I have to get 200 extra RPM on my curveball,’ or ‘I want to alter the spin axis on this pitch.’ I form of simply let our analytical guys coach me up just a little bit on that, and supply solutions the place they’ll.”
Musgrove didn’t add 200 RPMs to his curveball final 12 months, however he did see it enhance from 2,575 to 2,712, with added depth factoring to the equation. As for any solutions he’s acquired, throwing fewer fastballs is clearly a part of the plan. Musgrove lessened his heater utilization in 2020, and this 12 months it has decreased even additional. In Friday’s no-no, simply 15 of his 112 pitches have been categorised as fastballs. Sliders, cutters, and curveballs carried the day.
Circling again to my mid-March inquiries, the personable right-hander attributed the lion’s share of his enchancment to raised, and extra constant, mechanics.
“I really feel just like the change we noticed final 12 months was extra me simply having a very good really feel for my supply, and with the ability to repeat,” mentioned Musgrove. “I did change my arm-action on the finish of 2019. That was [from] watching guys like [Shane] Bieber and [Trevor] Bauer and [Lucas] Giolito, who have been just a little extra in keeping with their stuff within the zone than I used to be. It appeared like they have been in actually good positions with each pitch, and I’ve at all times had a very good means to look at anyone transfer, and have the ability to repeat that motion myself. I began doing that and noticed my numbers leap up, so I went into the offseason and actually tried to get extra environment friendly with the arm-path I used to be taking out of my glove. I feel the spin charges and the motion on the pitches is form of one thing that simply comes secondary from that.”
The numbers don’t lie. Together with his pitches each bit as crisp as they have been in his 2020 breakout, Musgrove has began the season with 15 scoreless innings (he has 31 straight stretching again to final season). Furthermore, he’s allowed simply three hits — none of them on Friday when he tossed the primary no-hitter in Padres’ franchise historical past. Benchmarks in thoughts, Musgrove is clearly on prime of his sport.
Alex Lange is on prime of the world. The 25-year-old right-hander obtained referred to as as much as the large leagues for the primary time yesterday when the Detroit Tigers put Julio Teheran on the Injured Listing with a shoulder pressure. With the membership in Cleveland as a member of the taxi squad, Lange acquired the information following Friday evening’s sport.
An analytic mindset has helped gas the previous LSU Tiger’s climb to the highest, however no much less necessary has been the nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic he introduced with him to spring coaching. His description of that diligence throughout yesterday’s Zoom name with reporters was gold.
“Simply persevering with to work and utilizing every single day to maintain going,” Lange mentioned of his preparation. “Chop wooden, carry water, every single day. Simply maintain doing all of your factor. Chop wooden, carry water every single day, irrespective of the scenario. That’s form of the mentality I took over the previous 12 months… controlling what I can management, proceed to do what I’m profitable with, and proceed to work at my craft.”
Acquired from the Cubs as a part of the July 2019 Nick Castellanos deal, Lange thrives due to a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball that he explained in nerdy detail right here at FanGraphs a month in the past. I reminded the righty — No. 11 on our Tigers Top Prospects list — of that dialog, and requested if he’d be the place he’s at the moment with out the assistance of pitching analytics.
“I don’t know, actually,” admitted Lange, whom Eric Longnhagen has mentioned “seems like a fire-breathing late-inning reliever. ”I do know it’s helped me develop. I do know I’ve gotten higher from it. I feel it’s a very, actually good instrument to assist guys be taught their stuff, and be taught what makes them profitable. As soon as you already know what you’re good at, and why you’re good at it, then it’s simpler to turn into extra profitable.”
The begin to his Tigers tenure couldn’t have gone a lot better. Lange got here out of the bullpen final evening and original a one-two-three inning, the final of the outs approaching his first profession Okay.
RANDOM HITTER-PITCHER MATCHUPS
Some hitters have monitor information of getting off to sluggish begins, not warming up till they’ve a couple of weeks — if not a full month — below their proverbial belts. Others are the polar reverse; for no matter motive, they tend to come back out like gangbusters, raking in April.
Are monitor information of that ilk in any manner predictive? And if that’s the case, would they affect how a supervisor places collectively his batting order? I not too long ago requested that query to Miami’s Don Mattingly.
“I’m undecided it’s predictive,” mentioned the Marlins’ supervisor. “With some guys it looks as if it takes just a little little bit of time to search out their groove, to form of get that rhythm of a season, their routines, to fall into place… Different guys you see come out and have nice begins, and also you look two weeks later they usually’re below .200. So I’m undecided. It hasn’t actually modified our order. I feel we all know who we now have. On the whole, we attempt to discover a mixture that’s swinging the bat good collectively, but it surely’s not like this man swings good in April so we’ll hit him on the prime of the order, however he struggles in July, so now rapidly he’s hitting in again. So we form of see what they seem like at that second in time, but additionally figuring out that their monitor information present you just a little one thing.
I requested Torey Lovullo the identical query.
“Every sport is unbiased of each other, and the sensation that every participant has, day-to-day, adjustments,” the Arizona Diamondbacks supervisor replied. “You’re proper that some guys have nice Aprils, however each from time to time you’ll see a sluggish starter have a very good April, too. So I don’t suppose you’ll be able to predict it. It will be great when you may, as a result of then you would undoubtedly modify your lineup.
“Now we have a method for that right here, with anticipated OPS, anticipated slug, and all that kind of stuff,” continued Lovullo. “Our guys work actually onerous to present me that data, and I’ll modify the lineups accordingly. However I really feel like we now have a very good group of gamers which might be going to have good and dangerous days. It’s onerous to maintain shuffling that round. It’s like attempting to get the proper shade on roulette each single time. It’s virtually not possible.”
EIGHT EARLY-APRIL NOTABLES
Cincinnati’s Tyler Naquin is 9 for 27 with 5 residence runs.
Colorado’s Ryan McMahon is 11 for 33 with 5 residence runs.
Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz is 11 for twenty-four with 4 residence runs.
Arizona’s Ketel Marte is 12 for 26 with two residence runs.
Toronto’s Rowdy Tellez is 0 for 21 with eight strikeouts.
Oakland’s Sean Murphy is 1 for 18 with 10 strikeouts.
Atlanta’s Cristian Pache is 2 for twenty-four with 10 strikeouts.
Minnesota’s Miguel Sanó is 3 for 30 with 15 strikeouts.
Which pitcher with no less than 50 selections has the very best successful share in Seattle Mariners franchise historical past?
The reply could be discovered beneath.
Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Tim Locastro set a serious league file on Saturday when he stole the twenty eighth base of his profession with out having been caught. The earlier file was held by Tim Raines, who was profitable on his first 27 stolen base makes an attempt. Locastro topped StatCast’s Sprint Speed Leaderboard final season.
Mike Carp has signed with the Excessive Level Rockers of the unbiased Atlantic League. A veteran of six big-league seasons with a 107 wRC+ in precisely 1,000 plate appearances, the 34-year-old first baseman final performed affiliated ball in 2015.
The Chicago Cubs have introduced plans to erect a statue of Ferguson Jenkins exterior Wrigley Area. The Chatham, Ontario native would be the fifth Cubs legend so honored, becoming a member of Ernie Banks, Harry Caray, Ron Santo and Billy Williams.
The Baltimore Orioles have promoted Adam Esselman to Supervisor, Baseball Communications. The Hamburg, Minnesota native has labored in AL East membership’s PR division since 2016.
Invoice Bryk, a longtime scout for the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, and extra not too long ago the Arizona Diamondbacks, died earlier this week at age 70. Honored with the George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award by the Skilled Baseball Scouts Basis in 2010, Bryk was not solely highly-respected, he was well-liked all through the business.
Ken Reitz, who performed eight of his 11 big-league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, died on March 31 at age 69. A Gold-Glove-winning third baseman in 1975, and a Nationwide League All-Star in 1980, Reitz had a .314 profession batting common within the month of April, and a .260 batting common general.
The reply to the quiz is Paul Abbott. The suitable-hander went 36-17 for the Mariners from 1998-2002, giving him a .679 successful share to go along with his 100 ERA+.
The overwhelming majority of gamers grew up rooting for a selected group, and whereas allegiances change when you signal an expert contract, the recollections stay. Listed here are two such snapshots.
JT Brubaker hails from Southwest Ohio, not removed from Cincinnati. For that motive, I anticipated the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander to inform me that he grew up rooting for the Reds. It seems I used to be improper.
“I really grew up a Crimson Sox fan,” Brubaker informed me on the finish of the 2021 season. “That’s as a result of I used to be in all probability extra of a player-follower than a group follower. I favored Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra. They have been enjoyable to look at. Jason Varitek was one other man I favored. Quite a lot of these guys have been enjoyable for me to look at, rising up.”
Tampa Bay infielder Mike Brosseau hails from Indiana and attended school in Michigan, however his rooting pursuits have been in Illinois. Extra particularly, they resided on Chicago’s North Facet.
“My dad was an enormous Cubs fan, and he instilled that in me,” Brosseau recounted throughout final 12 months’s postseason. “My favourite participant rising up… I used to be a Sammy Sosa fan. I used to be an enormous Mark Prior fan. Kerry Wood. The checklist goes on. Large Cubs fan on the whole once I was rising up.”
Shohei Ohtani beginning on the mound and batting second within the Los Angeles Angels lineup final Sunday dropped at thoughts an analogous, albeit unplanned, prevalence from Might 2009. Because of a lineup-card snafu, right-hander Andy Sonnanstine batted third for Tampa Bay in a sport in opposition to Cleveland. Not solely that, he had the final giggle. Together with going five-plus innings for the win, Sonnanstine swatted a run-scoring double. It wasn’t a whole fluke. The Kent State College product went 7 for twenty-four, and drew three walks, in his 5 seasons with the Rays.
Eduardo Núñez has signed with the CPBL’s Fubon Guardians. A veteran of 11 MLB seasons, the 33-year-old infielder spent final season within the New York Mets group.
Over in NPB, ORIX Buffaloes right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto has allowed 14 hits and two earned runs in three begins overlaying 23 innings. The 22-year-old has walked two and fanned 25.
Scott McGough has made 5 reduction appearances, and thrown 5 good innings with 4 strikeouts, for the Yakult Swallows. A Monroeville, Pennsylvania native, the 31-year-old right-hander pitched for the Miami Marlins in 2015.
In accordance with Lotte Marines supervisor Tadahito Iguchi, 19-year-old Roki Sasaki is “on monitor to begin someday round Japan’s Golden Week holidays from the tip of this month by the primary week of Might.” The highly-touted right-hander — Sasaki was clocked at 101 mph in highschool — made his skilled debut a month in the past however has but to make his NPB debut (per Tokyo-based scribe Jim Allen).
One other NPB replace from Allen is price sharing, albeit for cultural-educational, slightly than baseball-specific, causes: “[Seibu’s Aito] Takeda is registered below his given title, though he turned professional in 2016 as Aito Otaki, and extra doubtless than not modified it to his spouse’s household title when he obtained married, a typical apply when marrying right into a household with no sons.”
I purchased a pack of 2021 Topps this previous week, and in keeping with the blurb on the again of Andrew Benintendi’s card, he wears the No. 16 on the again of his uniform as a tribute to his father, who as soon as donned these digits at Wittenberg College. Benintendi — now a Kansas Metropolis Royal — was assigned No. 40 upon making his debut with the Boston Crimson Sox in 2016, however requested his favourite quantity from then-teammate Deven Marrero after the season.
In case you collected as a child — and like yours actually, nonetheless buy an occasional pack as an grownup — you already know that the stats on the again are solely a part of the enjoyable. The factoids are sometimes enjoyable as nicely.
Jimmie Foxx ranks among the many best gamers of all time. Enjoying (primarily) for the Philadelphia A’s and the Boston Crimson Sox from 1925-1945, “Double X” logged a 158 wRC+ and was price 101.8 WAR. In accordance with considered one of his contemporaries, he may very nicely have ended up doing his harm for the New York Yankees.
Interviewed for Norman Macht’s “They Played The Game: Memories from 47 Major Leaguers,” Billy Werber shared how Frank “Home Run” Baker — on the time operating a group within the Class-D Japanese Shore League — tried to persuade Yankees supervisor Miller Huggins to signal the 17-year-old Foxx. Huggins declined, so Baker approached A’s skipper Connie Mack with the identical spiel. As they are saying, the remaining is historical past.
LINKS YOU’LL LIKE
At Baseball Prospectus, Invoice Nowlin looked at what MLB umpires skilled through the pandemic of 2020.
Opening Day rosters included 45 gamers from draft rounds that now not exist. J.J. Cooper shared that reality, and associated data, at Baseball America.
USA As we speak’s Gabe Lacques wrote about how main leaguers who owe their careers to knowledge and science are paradoxically hesitant to embrace a vaccination that would save their season.
RANDOM FACTS AND STATS
Via Friday, three place gamers had a batting common of .667 or larger this season. Six pitchers had a batting common of .667 or larger.
The Colorado Rockies drafted, however didn’t signal, Chris Sale out of highschool in 2007. Sale opted to attend Florida Gulf Coast College and was subsequently drafted and signed by the Chicago White Sox in 2010.
Willie Mays slashed .309/.400/.595 with 98 residence runs in 383 profession video games in opposition to the Dodgers.
Ray Grimes holds the file for consecutive video games with no less than one RBI: 17 in 1922. A primary baseman for the Chicago Cubs from 1920-1924, and the Philadelphia Phillies in 1926, Grimes slashed .329/.413/.480 in 1,788 profession plate appearances.
In 1963, Crimson Sox first baseman Dick Stuart had 42 residence runs, a 126 wRC+, and a league-leading 316 complete bases. He additionally led the circuit with 24 GDP and was charged with 29 errors, essentially the most for a primary baseman previously century. Stuart’s nickname was “Dr. Strangeglove.”
In 1900, New York Giants right-hander Bill Carrick went 19-22 with a 3.53 ERA. He allowed 415 hits, and struck out 63 batters, in 341-and-two-thirds innings of labor. He was price 3.1 WAR.
On at the moment’s date in 2000, Ed Sprague homered twice to steer the San Diego Padres to a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sprague’s first blast tied the sport at two within the ninth, and his second was a Thirteenth-inning walk-off.
On at the moment’s date in 1993, Dave Nilsson caught Graeme Lloyd, making the Milwaukee Brewers duo the primary all-Australian battery big-league historical past. Nilsson is a Brisbane native, whereas Lloyd was born in Geelong.
Gamers born on at the moment’s date embrace Mike Kilkenny, who debuted with the Detroit Tigers in 1969 and went on to play for 4 groups over 5 big-league seasons. A southpaw from Bradford, Ontario, Kilkenny went 23-18 with a 4.43 ERA.
Additionally born on at the moment’s date was Spencer Pumpelly, who pitched in a single sport for the Washington Senators in 1925. A Yale College product, Pumpelly served up a gopher to St. Louis Browns second baseman Marty McManus in his lone inning of big-league motion.