Mining the News (10/19/22)

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

American League

Mariners

Cal Raleigh played through a torn ligament in his hand.

It didn’t seem to bother him much with September being his best month (.959 OPS).

Twins

• There are a ton of details in Aaron Gleeman’s recount of Derek Falvey’s final media session. Here are some highlights.

Jose Miranda will still be in the third-base mix.

“We want to keep third base in his mix, for sure,” Falvey said of Miranda. “We think he can play over there. It just worked out roster-wise that first is where he had to play a lot. I think our best team, our healthiest team, has Jose playing a lot of games at third, and some at first. But we want him to play both corners.”

Ryan Jeffers will split catching duties with someone.

Falvey made it clear the Twins plan to bring in a catcher to share time with Jeffers, rather than merely a backup, and noted his preference would be to find a left-handed hitter to form a quasi-platoon.

Kenta Maeda is supposed to be ready to go in Spring Training.

Next season is Maeda’s final year under team control, and Falvey made it clear the Twins expect him to be fully healthy for spring training.

Tyler Mahle finished the season pain-free.

[Mahle] had (rotator) cuff weakness toward the end of the year, dealing with the strain. But where he stands today, and how he finished, he threw a bullpen to finish the year, pain-free.

White Sox

Andrew Vaughn is expected to take over at first base and Oscar Colas will fight for an outfield job.

Letting José Abreu walk so that Vaughn can shift to first base figures to be divisive for the fan base and heartrending for the clubhouse. Oscar Colás’ projected 2023 arrival will add another capable outfielder and left-handed bat to the mix, but has a level of swing-and-miss where assuming immediate above-average impact would be rash.

AJ Pollock will likely be on the short side of a platoon.

Entering his age-35 season, Pollock has to be assumed to be the short side of a platoon going forward until he can prove otherwise.

National League

Cardinals

Adam Wainwright was not the same after a comebacker got him on August 28th.

However, that wasn’t actually the case, at least according to the man himself. Wainwright logged into Twitter yesterday, acknowledging that he didn’t perform up to his own standards down the stretch and attempting to offer an explanation. The way he tells it, he was hit on the knee by a comebacker in his August 28 start against Atlanta. This affected the length of his stride, which he didn’t notice for some time, leading to domino effects in his delivery. He believes that the issues were eventually fixed but that the season ended before he got a chance to get back into proper form.

Before the injury, he had a 3.11 ERA, 7.3 K/9, and 1.17 WHIP. After the injury, he was not as good with a 3.71 ERA, 6.7 K/9, and 1.28 WHIP.

Cubs

• Keith Law thinks Matt Mervis will have issues with fastballs.

[Matt Mervis is] very strong, but does not have great bat speed, and even in the pitching-light AFL his difficulty with velocity middle-in or just in showed up very quickly; when pitchers did come inside, even with just average fastballs, he couldn’t do anything beyond popping them up. I could see a role for him as a platoon 1B/DH, like Daniel Vogelbach, but not beyond that.

Diamondbacks

Josh Rojas will likely be used as a bench player.

Rojas is a productive hitter, but he’s not a great defender anywhere. Rather than pencil him in as an everyday third baseman, the D-Backs are likelier to continue to deploy him as a multi-positional option off the bench, living with poor defense at various positions to plug him into the lineup on a more or less everyday basis.

I’m a little surprised to read this with him posting a .739 OPS (108 wRC+) and having 2.7 WAR in 510 PA. The Diamondbacks have so many other problems other than Rojas going into next season.

Mets

Francisco Álvarez could catch and be the part-time designated hitter.

Álvarez strikes me a little differently. There could be a cleaner path to plate appearances, given the Mets’ struggles offensively at catcher and at right-handed designated hitter. Álvarez could help in both areas, get ample time while not rushing him defensively at catcher or giving him too much of a workload for a defense-first position and an area where he still needs improvement. Unless the Mets upgrade at DH, a strong case can be made for Álvarez receiving a legitimate shot to play early in 2023.

The added plate appearances from catching could be a big boost to his value.

• The Mets rotation could get gutted by free agency (deGrom, Carrasco, Walker), so David Peterson (3.83 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 10.7 K/9) looks to be a rotation option.

As one of the younger contributors on a veteran roster, David Peterson established himself as a capable rotation fill-in, producing a 3.86 ERA in 19 starts and even hitting 99 mph on the radar gun in the second half of the season. Peterson worked out of the bullpen down the stretch and in the playoffs, but he’s a prime candidate to begin next season as a regular rotation member.

Another option may be Tylor Megill (5.13 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 9.7 K/9) who made nine starts this past season.

Nationals

Nelson Cruz’s eye’s haven’t been right for over a year.

Cruz was tested this season by a left eye problem he estimates has been an issue for almost a year and a half and got worse in September. The inner corner of that eye is inflamed, limiting clear vision to his right eye. He initially thought he could counter it by adjusting his swing, but he ultimately decided to schedule surgery for Oct. 31 to remove the extra skin causing difficulty seeing. He expects to be cleared for baseball activities six to eight weeks later and get back to “100 percent.”

Cruz’s production has been tanking. I’m just not sure he’ll rebound to previous production levels even after the surgery.

Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr. had another wrist surgery and should be ready to play once his suspension is over.

Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. underwent a second wrist surgery last week, the team confirmed, a further repair of the fractured scaphoid bone in his left wrist.

Tatis is currently serving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance and is not with the team during the postseason. He underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder in August and — after an initial wrist surgery in March — he had a second repair last week.

The team still envisions the same timeline for Tatis — that he’ll be fully healthy for Spring Training. He will be able to participate in camp, but won’t be eligible to return for regular-season play until late April, with each game the Padres play in the postseason counting as a game served toward his suspension.

Pirates

David Bednar will not be a “closer” but used in high-leverage situations.

He’ll be a lock at the back end of the bullpen, although at the end of this season Shelton sidestepped a chance to label Bednar the closer in 2023. “We know (Bednar) is gonna pitch in high-leverage situations,” Shelton said. “To say it’s gonna be the ninth … it may be, but also, depending on what we acquire or how we do things …”

Bryse Wilson developed a splitter mid-season.

In the middle of the season, he developed a splitter. “I think the splitter’s going to be a pitch that can really change my career,” Wilson said. “It’s a pitch I can lean to in any count, and movement-wise it is so good that it doesn’t have to be perfectly executed every time.” His splits showed modest improvement from the first half to the second half of the season.

This pitch is a unicorn to figure out. No pitch classification system agrees on what it is with our game logs moving it from a change to a splitter. Here are the comps to the pitch (no splitter in Savant database) and none of them is a splitter.

The pitch’s results and its comps are an improvement over his other offerings. He still wasn’t great with a 4.39 ERA, 4.47 xFIP, 5.7 K/9, and 1.24 WHIP after introducing the pitch.





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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scotth855member
3 months ago

Law caught some flack for the Mervis comment on Cubs twitter. One tweet said this:

“The data would argue that [Mervis’] bat speed is FAR from an issue. In 63 Triple-A games against four seamers Mervis hit: .360/.461/.800 with 93% zone contact. Against FB 94 MPH and above: .323/.417/.452. He was actually one of the better fastball hitters in the upper Minors.”

So it’ll be interesting to see what happens if he gets called up in 2023…

E-Dub
3 months ago
Reply to  scotth855

The Cubs homers’ reaction in the Athletic comments was highly amusing. Surprising from such a normally level-headed and realistic fanbase.

Their stubbornness was surpassed only by Cardinals homers’ insistence that Jordan Walker is a plus runner.