December 11, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category News .
11/14/2013: Let’s discuss the THT Annualby Dave Studeman
12/11/2013: Alone on the pedestal, Part 2by Jason Linden
12/11/2013: The Applegate factorby Shane Tourtellotte
12/10/2013: All about the latest Bill James Handbookby Dave Studeman
12/10/2013: Though night may fall, play ball!by Frank Jackson
12/10/2013: Roy Halladay retiresby Jeff Moore
12/09/2013: Leverage Index by inningby Dave Studeman
12/09/2013: How far are the Mariners from relevancy?by Brad Johnson
12/09/2013: Prince Halby Chris Jaffe
12/09/2013: Three underrated acquisitionsby Pat Andriola
12/06/2013: Cooperstown Confidential: Ed Charles and 42by Bruce Markusen
12/06/2013: The Athletics get busyby Brad Johnson
12/06/2013: Getting to know Ryan Haniganby Chad Dotson
12/04/2013: Cataloging the non-tendered playersby Brad Johnson
12/04/2013: Alone on the pedestalby Jason Linden
12/03/2013: Mascot fight!by Greg Simons
12/03/2013: Why is a sinker “heavy?”by David Kagan
12/03/2013: The role of fall leaguesby Jeff Moore
12/02/2013: Nationals make great deal for Fisterby Matt Filippi
12/02/2013: The Twins go holiday shopping, but to what end?by Brad Johnson
12/02/2013: The end of the benchby Chris Jaffe
11/29/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Danny Waltonby Bruce Markusen
11/29/2013: The best rookies of the ‘30sby Chad Dotson
11/27/2013: Towards an award prediction systemby Shane Tourtellotte
11/26/2013: MLB’s coffers are overflowingby Greg Simons
11/26/2013: The role of prospects in tradesby Jeff Moore
11/25/2013: Stepping up to the plateby Frank Jackson
11/25/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about player birthdaysby Chris Jaffe
11/22/2013: The end of the road for Chris Carpenterby Chad Dotson
11/21/2013: All the news that’s fit to inventby Azure Texan
11/20/2013: Marcus Stroman, the mythbusting machineby Kyle Boddy
11/20/2013: Welcome to the birthplace of… someone elseby Jason Linden
11/19/2013: 2013 THT awards reviewby Greg Simons
11/18/2013: THT Fantasy has moved to Rotographsby Dave Studeman
11/18/2013: Atlanta gets burned againby Frank Jackson
11/18/2013: The 2014 Hall of Fame VC ballotby Chris Jaffe
11/18/2013: Must See MLB.TV 2013by Dave Studeman
11/15/2013: The best rookies of the ‘40sby Chad Dotson
11/15/2013: Card Corner: Wayne Granger: 1973 Toppsby Bruce Markusen
11/14/2013: 10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski tradeby Chris Jaffe
11/14/2013: The Screwball: The face of championship baseballby Azure Texan
11/14/2013: Player-A-Day: Casey Fienby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Player-A-Day: Tim Lincecumby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Pitcher performance after batting successby Shane Tourtellotte
11/13/2013: 25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letterby Chris Jaffe
11/13/2013: Houston hoodoo ‘62by Frank Jackson
11/12/2013: It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014by Dave Studeman
11/12/2013: Player-A-Day: Joe Mauerby Brad Johnson
11/11/2013: Fastball velocity by game stateby Jon Roegele
11/11/2013: The rise of the middle-aged managerby Chris Jaffe
11/08/2013: Player-A-Day: Josmil Pintoby Brad Johnson
11/08/2013: Hall monitor: The case for Andruw Jonesby Chad Dotson
11/07/2013: Big leaguers, bit partsby Azure Texan
11/07/2013: Player-A-Day: Nathan Eovaldiby Brad Johnson
11/06/2013: If he’d only gotten another shotby Jason Linden
11/06/2013: Player-A-Day: David DeJesusby Brad Johnson
11/05/2013: Player-A-Day: David Ortizby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Dariel Abreuby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: The Boston (Braves) Marathon of 1928by Frank Jackson
11/04/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about birthdays in 2013by Chris Jaffe
11/01/2013: Taking the close pitch with two strikesby James Gentile
11/01/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Don Baylorby Bruce Markusen
11/01/2013: The best rookies of the ‘50sby Chad Dotson
10/31/2013: The Screwball: Celebrate good times, come on!by Azure Texan
10/31/2013: Player-A-Day: Leonys Martinby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Player-A-Day: Jon Lesterby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Forecasting the major 2013 awardsby Shane Tourtellotte
10/30/2013: The effect of seeing pitchesby Jon Roegele
10/29/2013: Putting the knock on pitching changesby Joe Distelheim
10/29/2013: Player-A-Day: Ryan Howardby Brad Johnson
10/29/2013: Losing momentum in the sixth gameby Dave Studeman
10/29/2013: Previewing the fall Stars gameby Jeff Moore
10/28/2013: Player-A-Day: Travis Woodby Brad Johnson
10/28/2013: Marquis Grissom: Mr. October Jr.by Frank Jackson
10/25/2013: The blackballing of Dick Dietzby Bruce Markusen
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Xander Bogaertsby Brad Johnson
10/24/2013: The Screwball: Put it in neutral?by Azure Texan
10/24/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘00sby Richard Barbieri
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Michael Wachaby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: Earn money watching baseballby Dave Studeman
10/23/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Iglesiasby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: 20th anniversary: The Joe Carter gameby Chris Jaffe
10/23/2013: Giants take a risk with Lincecum’s two-year dealby Matt Filippi
10/23/2013: BOB: Nolan Ryan retires…for nowby Brian Borawski
10/22/2013: Where does David Price fit?by Jeff Moore
10/22/2013: Survey says?!?!?by Greg Simons
10/22/2013: ALCS post-mortem: The Fielder playby Shane Tourtellotte
10/21/2013: The best rivalries of 2013by Chris Jaffe
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October 10, 2013
Brent Strom hired as Astros’ pitching coachBrent Strom, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals, has been hired as the Houston Astros big league pitching coach. I first heard the story through the SB Nation blog The Crawfish Boxes, where there's a great bunch of comments about the hiring.
A poster questioned whether Strom was a good pitching coach (in an inquisitive—not derisive—tone), and I responded with:
First and foremost, he is open-minded and seeks knowledge from tons and tons of domains. He is not “above” anyone—he has attended many pitching seminars run by people who were previously unknown (Ron Wolforth, Paul Nyman, etc) and now routinely speaks and assists at these camps/seminars, passing on his vast knowledge. Aside from playing professional baseball (a credential that I don’t put a lot of weight on), he is a crazy student of the game and one who highly values work ethic, experimentation, and pushing the envelope.
Here are Strom and I sharing a stage at the Ultimate Pitchers' Bootcamp in 2012 in Houston.
Trevor Bauer, Fred Corral, Kyle Boddy, Doug White, Ken Knutson, Brent Strom, Ron Wolforth (rear), Eric Binder
I stand by what I said over at The Crawfish Boxes—Strom is an outstanding hire, one who has a lot of knowledge but also a tireless approach to understanding the game. The results he's had in St. Louis (alongside the partnership with former co-workers in Jeff Luhnow and Sig Mejdal) should give any Astros fan increased hope and optimism for the future.
With Strom reuniting with the usual suspects—along with former colleagues Craig Bjornson and Doug White—I would be absolutely thrilled if I was an Astros fan, knowing that the development of the young pitching talent in the organization is under the command of one incredibly hard-working, intelligent, and open-minded man.
Posted by: Kyle Boddy
January 20, 2013
The greatest Cardinal is goneFor Cardinals fans of the past 15 years, the greatest player they've ever witnessed wearing the birds-on-a-bat jersey obviously is Albert Pujols. For fans such as me who grew up watching Whitey Herzog's runnin' Redbirds, it was Ozzie Smith. A generation before that, it was Bob Gibson or Lou Brock.
But the greatest St. Louis Cardinal of all time undoubtedly was Stan "The Man" Musial, who passed away Saturday at the age of 92.
Musial was the definition of what it means to be a Cardinal, the epitome of striving for success in that classic Midwestern manner. For the Simons family, our Cardinals fandom goes back at least to the beginning of Musial's career, as it and my father's early life matched up quite nicely.
Dad was born in the spring of 1940, and the next season Musial made his major league debut. At that time, no one knew what to expect from either of them, my dad because he was just learning to walk, Musial because he was fresh-faced, 20-year-old kid with all of 239 plate appearances in Double-A.
By the time my father turned nine years old, "The Man" had earned three Most Valuable Player awards and a trio of batting titles. While Musial would win another four batting championships, he could muster "only" four more second-place finishes among his 18 seasons of receiving MVP votes.
Dad was too young to appreciate the three World Series titles the Cardinals brought home by the time he'd started first grade, but he had another 17 seasons to follow the greatness of Musial. Consistently, relentlessly, Musial portrayed excellence year after year, batting well over .300, walking a bunch, striking out very little, and clobbering plenty of pitches over the walls of Sportsman's Park.
When Musial's career was complete, he had compiled a .331/.417/.559 BA/OBP/SLG line with 3,630 hits (an NL record at the time), 475 homers, 1,951 RBI, 1,949 runs scored and 24 All-Star Game appearances (thanks to a stretch of seasons with two games a year). His strikeout-to-walk numbers were an astounding 696-to-1,599, his OPS was 976 (13th best all-time), and his OPS+ stood at 159 (15th best all-time).
When Musial's career was complete, my dad's childhood had officially ended, as he married my mom in the summer of 1963, Musial's final campaign. I don't think she knew it at the time, but my mom was being indoctrinated into the Simons family Cardinals fan club. Lucky her.
One of the greatest attributes of Musial's career was his balance, his consistently. See those RBI and runs scored totals up above—1,951 and 1,949, respectively? Put those on a scale, and it will hardly sway one way or another. And then there's his home and away hit totals of exactly 1,815 each. Recalling those near-perfect pairings reminded me again of my parents, matched together so well that they'll be celebrating 50 years of marriage this summer.
It might seem odd that a player's passing immediately brings to my mind thoughts of my family, but the Cardinals are ingrained in us, part of the ebb and flow of our everyday lives. A large majority of the conversations my dad and I have touch on the Redbirds at least briefly. I was granted full membership in the club before I was even born, and I'm forever grateful for it.
My family has loved the Cardinals for over seven decades, and Stan Musial was the ideal representation of a Cardinals player all that time. There is no one to take his place, but we all have the memories to cherish.
I called home last night to ask my dad if he ever saw Musial play in person, but he was asleep, so I'll have to check again today. I did speak to my mom, and she told me they did see Musial in spring training a few years ago, and he was ambling around the field, chatting with players and waving to the fans. Another great memory, another delighted fan.
The enduring images of Stan Musial are of him rapping a solid hit, playing his harmonica, thanking the fans. Whatever mental picture you have when Stan "The Man" Musial comes to mind, it's almost certainly a pleasant one.
For "baseball's perfect warrior ... baseball's perfect knight," his enduring legacy will be one of consistently bringing unwavering commitment to the field and joy to the fans, day after day after day. That's true for my parents, many other family members, and millions of Cardinals fans everywhere.
Thanks for the memories, Stan Musial. You are, and always will be, "The Man."
Posted by: Greg Simons
October 23, 2012
A few playoff nuggets
— How have the Tigers and Giants fared against each other in previous postseason encounters? Actually, they've never faced one another in the playoffs. Heading into the League Championship Series, this was the only one of the four potential World Series match-ups that never had happened before.
The Yankees and (New York and San Francisco) Giants have met seven times (1921, '22, '23, '36, '37, '51, '62), with the Bronx Bombers holding a 5-2 advantage. The Cardinals and Yankees have faced off five times (1926, '28, '42, 43, '64), with St. Louis winning three titles. The Cardinals and Tigers have squared off three times (1934, '68, 2006), with the Cards emerging victorious twice.
— Could we be watching both Most Valuable Players in this year's Fall Classic? Buster Posey seems to be the favorite in the National League, while Miguel Cabrera has a strong shot in the American League if those nerdy stats geeks focus just on the numbers.
You know, the Triple Crown, which contains one category (home runs) of obvious value, another (batting average) that is worthwhile in limited situations, and a third (RBI) that has as much to do with the guys hitting in front of a player as with that player's actually ability.
— The Giants are the second team in history to win three do-or-die games twice is a single postseason, joining the 1985 Royals. Kansas City came back from 3-1 deficits against Toronto in the ALCS and St. Louis in the World Series. As we just witnessed, San Francisco overcame a 2-0 hole in this year's best-of-five NLDS against Cincinnati and rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS.
— In its four League Championship Series wins, San Francisco outscored St. Louis, 27-2. The Cardinals and Yankees combined to score eight runs in their eight LCS losses, with New York looking like a relative powerhouse by plating six runners.
— The Redbirds are the first team to lose four playoff series after having a three-games-to-one lead. They also were the first, and still only, team to lose in three such scenarios. In addition to this season and the '85 World Series mentioned above, St. Louis dropped the 1968 championship to Detroit and the '96 NLCS to Atlanta.
— Boston is the only team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit three times, including the remarkable comeback from a 3-0 hole versus New York in the 2004 ALCS. The Red Sox also rallied against the Angels in the '86 American League Championship Series and the Indians in the 2007 ALCS.
The Royals the Pirates have achieved this feat twice each. KC's triumphs were mentioned above, while Pittsburgh defeated the Washington Senators in the 1925 World Series and Baltimore in the '79 Fall Classic.
Posted by: Greg Simons
April 16, 2012
Enough with the blowhard managersBobby Valentine, being Bobby Valentine, spouted off about Kevin Youkilis' game prep to the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham:
I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.
Anyone expecting him not to say things like this doesn't understand Valentine's M.O. He's bombastic, confrontational and publicity-seeking. In other words, he's Boston's version of Ozzie Guillen. You know Guillen, the guy who recently said he loves and respects Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
I get that these two managers enjoy stirring the pot. They love to be the center of attention. They prefer to call our their players in the media instead of addressing their issues face-to-face in the privacy of the clubhouse. What I don't get is why, at least regarding that last point.
Sure, generating controversy boosts their notoriety and helps land them broadcast gigs when they're not in the dugout. That's smart (if annoying) business, helping set them up professionally and financially when their managerial schticks finally wear out their welcome.
But embarrassing their players in public, as Valentine just did and Guillen often did in Chicago, serves only to create a divide between themselves and their players. Who wants to listen to a manager who questions your integrity in public? Who wants to play for a manager who doesn't have your back?
I know these antics bring attention to a team, and as the old saying goes, there's no such thing as bad publicity. And plenty of people seem to revel in these controversies. But it seems the negative impact of this behavior in the clubhouse—and by extension, the playing field— would outweigh the positive impact of a few more ears and eyeballs focused on the team.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I wish Valentine and Guillen would just shut up.
Posted by: Greg Simons
March 28, 2012
Extremely early awards votingSure, it's only one game (Mariners 3-1 over the A's in 11 in Tokyo), but a few players already have set themselves apart from the competition, establishing themselves are early front-runners for the American League MVP and Cy Young awards. Here's a look at the candidates and their credentials.
1. Dustin Ackley is slugging 1.000 and on pace for 162 homers, the same number of stolen bases, 324 RBI, and an equal number of runs scored. Naturally, all of those would be major league records. He had the game-winning RBI in Wednesday's contest, too, so he has the clutchiness factor working for him.
2. Ackley's 324-hit pace would shatter the current record. However, Ichiro Suzuki is looking to protect his status as the record holder in that category by getting off on a 648-hit pace, nearly 400 base knocks over the current record of 262 safties. Also, Ichiro's .800 batting average would make Ted Williams' .406 mark look pathetic in comparison.
3. A distant third, Cliff Pennington is batting .400 with a stolen base. Hey, someone has to get those third-place votes.
If you prefer to put one of the pitchers below in the MVP discussion, that's completely understandable. For now, I'm keeping the hitters and hurlers separate.
AL Cy Young
1. He didn't get the Opening Day win, but a low win total didn't stop Felix Hernandez from bringing home the hardware a couple of seasons ago. His eight-inning, six-strikeout, one-run, five-hit, no-walk performance enabled the Mariners to stay in the game long enough for Ackley to execute his heroics. And Hernandez's 1.13 ERA would be just off Bob Gibson's 1968 record of 1.12.
2. Brandon McCarthy did his best to keep pace with King Felix, but he managed to twirl only seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball. He also didn't walk anyone (nor did any other pitcher on either staff), but his mere three punchouts hint at a lack of dominance that could weaken his case as the season progresses.
3. Brandon League preserved the M's win, throwing a shutout frame in the 11th inning, whiffing two batters while allowing one hit. Sure, saves are overrated, but League's peripheral numbers show he's more than just an accumulator.
Posted by: Greg Simons
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