We are on the cusp of yet another World Series. We are also nearing free agency for a guy like Corey Seager, and the potential labor issues are closing in on us as well. Starting pitchers working in relief, overpaid pitchers and video games, as well as Bela Lugosi, make an appearance today.
WORLD SERIES NOTES
The Braves an Astros are set to fire up the 2021 World Series, and here is a note from Jayson Stark that really pops. The Braves went 111 games this season before they had a winning record on the season. That’s 20 games deeper into the season than any other Series qualifier before which is pretty amazing. The Braves have gone 43-21 since August 1st, a pace that would equate to 109 victories in a 162-game season.
Kyle Tucker has four homers and 15 RBI in just 10 games this postseason. Haven’t heard his name mentioned much despite the strong run production.
Eddie Rosario won the NLCS MVP as he pushed his playoff OPS up to 1.313 this season, this after the .903 mark he posted for the Braves in the regular season. To think, the Twins just let him go for nothing and the Indians dumped him at the trade deadline.
We are working on some history in MLB as well…
A FEW BATS
Rafael Devers had a forearm issue throughout the playoffs that was causing him great discomfort when he swung and missed at a pitch. We can all breath a sigh of relief though as it appears that imaging showed that there was nothing structurally wrong.
Corey Seager is a free agent. Does he want to remain with the Dodgers?
Seager posted a .915 OPS in 2021, this after a .943 mark in 2020. Overall, he owns an .870 career mark which is well above the career .812 mark of Xander Bogaerts, and right in line with the .894 mark that Xander has posted the last four seasons. Seager is gonna get paid a ton and the Dodgers could certainly afford him, but it will be interesting to see where he ends up as his return to the Dodgers could impact the long-term chances of the Dodgers retaining Trea Turner who has one year left on his contract before free agency. Would Turner sign a long-term deal to stay at second base? Does he want to return to shortstop? Did he enjoy his time in LA etc.? It was only 12 games, but he’s gotta have a sour taste in his mouth after how the season ended given that he hit a mere .216 with a .500 OPS in the playoffs after his phenomenal regular season.
Speaking of bats…
I know, but I had to.
STARTING PITCHER UPDATES
Patrick Corbin was a mess virtually all season long for the Nationals, and really, there isn’t much lurking in the dark to suggest that his outlook for 2022 is positive at all. But, he’s getting paid a gazillion dollars so he will be part of the National’s rotation to start the year. Here are the contract details.
$23 million in 2022
$24 million in 2023
$35 million ($10 million deferred) in 2024
Here’s a breakdown of what might possibly be done to salvage something moving forward. As the article notes, he did have a quality start in 4-of-5 outings to end the year, though that doesn’t change his dreadful fantasy outlook at all.
Everything appears to be OK with Jordan Hicks.
Lance McCullers is done for the playoffs with a forearm issue. The team is still saying that it is merely a muscular issue, but given all the physical maladies he’s dealt with over the years, this late season shutdown casts a shadow over what was a successful 2021 campaign for the righty.
STARTERS WORKING IN RELIEF
I’ve been on the ‘what the hell are teams doing’ with their pitching staff train for about 18 months now. You’ve seen me do podcasts, articles, chats, radio shows, social media on the topic. I’ve continued that line of thought here in the postseason as teams continue to roll out their starting pitchers to throw a random relief inning here and there. Andy McCullough wrote an article on this very topic, and here are some of his thoughts from the piece, and he started the 2014 Royals thinking they had discovered the next isotopic element with the idea of deploying Yordano Ventura, a starting pitcher, out of the bullpen. Andy goes back and talks about the 2011 Rangers, the 2013 Red Sox and the 2014 Giants as teams that also deployed starters in relief in the playoffs.
Let’s move ahead to 2021.
Max Scherzer, Julio Urias, Nathan Eovaldi were all used out of the bullpen. Urias, who led baseball with 20 victories, started twice but he also relieved twice. He had a 5.40 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP and a loss. Further, Scherzer ended up with dead arm, don’t know how much the relief outing played into that or not, but he ended up going 4.1 innings in his last start before having to skip his final turn in the rotation. You can read more about it in the article I linked to, but you know what I think, and if you don’t, here it is one more time. Why do one thing for 162 games and six months… only to change it in the playoffs? There’s just too much damn spreadsheet baseball infiltrating the game right now.
Major League Baseball work stoppage almost certain on Dec. 2… that’s the headline of a recent AP report, and it is extremely disheartening. The article mentions a bunch of topics such as – a salary cap, a salary floor, free agency at 29.5 years of age etc. The article also notes that with free agency officially set to begin six days after the end of the World Series, teams are stuck in limbo not knowing what they can, or should, be spending with the labor uncertainty. It is all rather ominous at this point.
A HAPPY MEMORY
On April Fool’s Day, 2020, I wrote an article about the best Baseball Video Games & Players. If you missed it, or even if you read it at the time, it’s a nice diversion to look over the list again.