Mining the News (5/24/24)

American League

Astros

Hunter Brown has added a sinker.

On May 5, Brown reached a last resort. He had not thrown or thought about a sinker since starring at Wayne State University in 2019. Spring training is the time to test out anything, but even then, Brown never brought out his forgotten pitch.

In four appearances since introducing his sinker, Brown has lowered his ERA from 9.78 to 7.06. He has allowed nine earned runs across those 20 1/3 innings, stabilizing a season that threatened to spiral. His six innings of two-run ball Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels were the most encouraging example of what Brown can be.

“That’s the Hunter that we all know. He can be that type of pitcher. He’s got the stuff,” manager Joe Espada said. “That sinker was a game-changer — throwing that stuff in on their hands and setting up the four-seamer up, the breaking ball.”

Blue Jays

• If the team promotes Spencer Horwitz, he will be playing regularly, not sitting on the bench.

Elsewhere on the Bisons’ roster, Spencer Horwitz has a .451 on-base percentage. Horwitz is unlike Martinez in that he has already had a brief stint in the majors, and could seemingly take over the bench role occupied by Daniel Vogelbach, who hit his first home run of the season on a 3-for-4 Sunday but is still hitting .171 in 41 at-bats. But Atkins indicated that for now, the club prefers Horwitz to have regular playing time in Buffalo, where he is also gaining experience at second base, rather than playing only once or twice a week with Toronto.

“I just think it comes down to his impact playing once a week on our team versus his growth and development and continued improvement playing every day, and the opportunities to learn to play second and get into left field,” Atkins said.

Kevin Gausman says his early struggles were because he didn’t go on the IL.

Mariners

Mitch Garver and Mitch Haniger will see their playing time limited as the team takes advantage of platoons.

“We’re trying to give our team the best chance to win every night,” Servais said “It’s going to be a different lineup. It’s going to change here probably on a nightly basis.”

Specifically, against right-handed pitchers — like the Yanks’ Marcus Stroman on Monday — Servais will mix and match righty-hitting Mitch Garver (who was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day) and Mitch Haniger (who took Garver’s spot at designated hitter).

That tactic is an effort to start lefty-hitting Dominic Canzone and Luke Raley in those contests. Both wound up being key vessels in Monday’s comeback.

“So, we’ll play with that dynamic of those four guys here going forward, and that’s a good problem to have. Again, I know the right-handed bats, both Mitches, they want to pick it up. They want to get it going.”

Ty France might start getting platooned.

Seattle could also mix and match more frequently at first base, although that’s not on account of injury. Luke Raley got the start there against Corbin Burnes in yesterday’s series finale in Baltimore. That pushed Ty France to the bench and allowed Dominic Canzone to draw into left field. It was Raley’s fourth start of the season at first base, in addition to his 24 starts in the outfield.

Adam Jude of the Seattle Times writes that manager Scott Servais could more frequently pencil Raley in at first base against right-handed starters. That’d allow the M’s to get the lefty bats of Raley and Canzone into the lineup while cutting into France’s playing time. France, a 2022 All-Star, slumped to a roughly league average .250/.337/.366 line last season. He’s off to an even slower start in 2024, hitting .235/.285/.359 through his first 165 plate appearances.

Orioles

Anthony Santander has been playing through a bone bruise.

Anthony Santander has been battling a bruised left knee since Wednesday, when he collided with the outfield wall in pursuit of a Bo Bichette fly ball. After the Orioles had an off-day Thursday, Santander felt well enough to serve as the DH in Baltimore’s last two games, but didn’t play at all in today’s 6-3 win over the Mariners. Santander told MLB.com and other media that he is hoping one more day of rest will help calm the still-lingering soreness in his knee, and he described his knee as feeling “about 75 percent” when running, so some more DH duty might be in order.

Yankees

DJ LeMahieu is expected to come off the IL on Tuesday.

National League

Cardinals

Paul Goldschmidt thinks he found the cause and a solution to his hitting struggles.

But Goldschmidt’s early work was not a one-off thing. He reported to American Family Field five hours before the first pitch the following two games and worked extensively with hitting coaches Turner Ward and Brandon Allen on the field. Coming off the series, he felt he had at least identified the main problem in his swing, explaining it had become “too rotational, ” resulting in him “getting around the ball.”

One week later, it seems Goldschmidt also identified a solution.

In his best offensive week yet, Goldschmidt homered twice and slugged .548 with a .382 on-base percentage. The quality of at-bats is improving, helping to solidify a middle of the order that had been lacking for most of the early going.

Mets

• The team might consider adding David Peterson to the rotation next week.

But Houser also allowed six runs, bloating his ERA to 7.88 over 37 2/3 innings. Once already, the Mets have demoted him to the bullpen. If team officials want to, they can use Thursday’s off day to their advantage, skipping Houser’s next start and inserting David Peterson into the rotation as soon as Wednesday. On that plan, every starter would still receive an extra day of rest, and the Mets could proceed with a six-man rotation at least until their ensuing off days on June 6 and 7 (the lead-up to their London Series).

Rockies

Jordan Beck might have solved his struggles with fastballs.

The Rockies maintained belief in Beck’s hit tool as he struggled with the fastball during his first several games.

“But then they were throwing fastballs up in the zone by him. He was a tick late. But he made the adjustment to be on time — nothing else has changed.

“It takes certain guys a little bit of time to get used to being in the Majors, get away from the awe. They’ve got to throw the ball just across the plate in the Major Leagues just like in the Minor Leagues.”





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 twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Devlsh
20 days ago

Jordan Beck, 2 for his last 24 with a .083/.115/.167 slash line, might need to solve his problems with ALL major league pitching.