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Umpires: Baseball’s Dilemma

I got to thinking about this after reading about the retirement of one of baseball’s most reviled and disliked umpires, Angel Hernandez, retiring after 31 years as a major league umpire. 31 years too late in my estimation. Hernandez has been criticized for years, and considered one of the worst.

He sued MLB for discrimination in 2017, claiming he wasn’t given postseason assignments because of his race, he is Cuban. He last worked a Championship series in 2016, yep, Dodgers-Cubs, and had not worked a World Series since 2005.

As someone who has watched this game since I was 7, and who turns 76 in two weeks, I cannot remember umpires being this bad, or this short tempered.

Of course back in the day, when I first really followed the game, the umpires seemed to have the players’ respect. You might not believe it, but the first African-American umpire did not join the majors until 1966. Emmet Ashford. He worked in the AL for only four years.

But I remember guys like Al Barlick. Barlick started umpiring in 1940, and he retired in 1971 after umpiring 4231 games in the National League. He is also one of the few umps in the Hall of Fame. Back in those days, umpires only umpired in one league. NL had it’s umps, and the AL had theirs.

NL umpires worked with an inside chest protector, and the AL umps worked with the old style outside protector. I was more familiar with the NL umpires since I followed the Dodgers.

I also remember Dusty Boggess. Boggess umpired over 2000 NL games and also worked four World Series and four All-Star games. He retired after the 1962 season. I also remember him because he is one of the few umpires who had a baseball card.

There were no replays to dispute their calls, no appeals and you did not argue balls and strikes ever. That was a no-no. They also seemed to control the game a lot better than most of the umpires you see today. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few very good umpires in the game, but in my mind, not enough.

One problem I see is that the strike zone for each is different instead of being defined by certain invisible lines. I remember when the strike zone was the shoulders to the knees. It has shrunk steadily over the years.

Catchers framing the ball has led to many pitches out of the zone being called strikes. It has also led to the calls by fans and players alike for an electric strike zone. Or better called, and ABS<automatic balls and strikes. Baseball is thinking about using the challenge system. But if anything, it will not be ready in 2025.

So, how does MLB fix this? I would think they could make a change in the rule book and set a standard strike zone Top of the letters on the uniform to say the top of the knee. You have the technology, use it to make the game better. If the ump hears a beep, the ball is in the zone. That would reduce so many bad calls when balls either clip the zone, or miss it entirely.

Another fix is get rid of the umpires who consistently blow calls. C B Bucknor would be high on that list, also get rid of umpires who consistently toss players for minor infractions. All of the umps need a refresher course on the rules. They should know the rule book better than most of them seem to. They get paid a lot of money, have a great pension plan and even get in season mini-vacations.

Teach them correct positioning. I have seen numerous calls blown because an ump was out of position to call the play. I have also seen managers waste their challenges on really close plays early in the game. Dodgers challenged J D Martinez safe call at second yesterday, and he obviously beat the throw by enough where it would not be overturned.

There are also several umpires who are overweight. I think this affects their ability to get into position for a call. I still remember John McSherry having a heart attack and dying on the field in Cincinnati on a hot day. They are at risk for heart problems. As much as the players need nutritional guidance, some umpires could also use it.

They have always given postseason assignments on merit.  They grade the umpires after every game, any umpire who is consistently making bad calls should not umpire in games that are that important to the teams. I remember in 2016 when LA was in the NLCS and the groans that were heard when we found out Angel Hernandez was on the crew. Fortunately, he did not make any real bad calls that went against the Dodgers.

I have learned to live with replay, and in many ways it has improved my enjoyment of the game. I do think that NY can do a faster job of making the decision on close plays and challenges.

Better trained umpires would help in getting the game back where it needs to be.

 

MiLB GAME SUMMARY REPORTS

 

OKC Baseball Club 13 – Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) 2

The OKC bats were kept at bay for the first three innings.  Nine up and nine down.  But the 4th started yet another onslaught.  OKC scored 13 runs in 5 of the next 6 innings.  OKC had 12 hits, and received 4 walks.  However, all four walks were to James Outman.  He struck out in the 1st inning when he was too anxious.  Isotope pitchers stayed completely away from James his next 4 PA.

Outman let his teammates batter 4 Isotope pitchers.

Six OKC pitchers stifled the Isotopes on 6 hits in a bullpen game.  Alec Gamboa started and went 2.2 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks.  The next four pitchers kept Albuquerque off the boards.  Hunter Stovall hit a 2 out solo HR off Ricky Vanasco.  There were 4 hits, no walks, and 12 strikeouts compiled by the 5 relief pitchers.

 

  • Drew Avans – 2-5, 1 run, 2 RBI, HR (4)

 

 

 

  • Kody Hoese – 2-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 2 doubles (11)

 

  • Trey Sweeney – 2-5, 3 runs, 5 RBI, 2 HR (9)

 

 

HR #1

 

HR #2

 

  • Ryan Ward – 2-5, 1 run,2 RBI, double (10)
  • Austin Gauthier – 2-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI
  • Andre Lipcius – 1-5. 1 run, 1 RBI, HR (14)

 

  • Chris Okey – 1-4, 1 RBI, triple (2)
  • James Outman – 0-1, 4 BB, 3 runs – 4-5 OBP

 

Box Score

 

 

Northwest Arkansas Naturals (KC) 6 – Tulsa Drillers 3

Hyun-il Choi continued his run between AAA and AA with a AA start that he would like to forget.  He allowed 5 runs (4 earned) off 6 hits in 4.0 IP, including a double and HR.

Down 3-0 in the 1st, Taylor Young hit a 1-out HR (4).  Tulsa scored a run in the 6th without the benefit of a hit.  Taylor Young was HBP, stole 2B and continued to 3rd on a throwing error.  Young scored on a ground out.

With one out in the 9th, Brandon Lewis and Lolo Sanchez both had singles.  Alex Freeland drew a BB to load the bases.  Lewis scored on a groundout, but had to settle for the one run.

Ryan Sublette and Sauryn Lao had good relief appearances.

The Drillers had 7 hits.

  • Brandon Lewis – 2-3, 1 BB, 1 run
  • HR – Taylor Young (4)
  • Double – Diego Cartaya (3)

 

Box Score

 

 

West Michigan Whitecaps 5 – Great Lakes Loons 4 – Game 1 – 7 Innings

This was not Peter Heubeck’s best outing, but he pushed through 4.0 IP.  He threw 76 pitches (45 strikes) in his 4.0 IP, so it was not his most efficient start.  He walked the first two batters he faced, although it sure looks like he had help from the plate umpire on the second walk.

 

 

 

1, 2, and probably 5 should have been strikes.

He got out of the first unscathed.  But in the 2nd, he walked the first batter and that was followed by a 2-run HR.

He allowed singles in each of his final 2.0 IP.

After a 1-out BB in the 1st, 12 straight Loons batters were retired.  In the 5th with 1 out, Sam Mongelli drew a BB and scored on a Jake Gelof double (4).  After a BB to Yunior Garcia, Jake Vogel singled home Gelof to tie it up.

Jose Rodriguez relieved Heubeck and allowed a pair of singles in the 5th, but no runs.  That was not the case in the 6th.  A one out walk started the trouble.  That was followed by a single and WP putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out.  Izaac Pacheco singled home both runners, and he scored on a Peyton Graham double.

The Loons went down quietly in the 7th to end game 1.

The Loons managed 2 singles and the one Gelof double.

 

Box Score

 

Lake Elsinore Storm (San Diego) 2 – Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 0

The Quakes dropped all 6 from Lake Elsinore and have now lost 9 out of 10.  The Quakes started the series 3 games ahead of the Storm in the California League South.  With the loss, the Quakes are now 3 games behind the Storm.

The Quakes had 8 singles in the shutout loss.

  • Jordan Thompson – 3-4, 1 BB
  • Josue De Paula – 2-4, 1 BB

 

Box Score

 

 

 

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Dionysus

Thanks for milb content

Jeff Dominique

Dodgers get Jared Jones and then Paul Skenes in Pittsburgh Games 1 and 2. LHSP Bailey Falter in Game 3.

It is lining up as RHSP Cody Poteet in NYY Game 1, RHSP Luis Gil in NYY Game 2, and LHSP Nestor Cortes in NYY Game 3.

Dave

Good topic Jeff, the umpires are big part of baseball at every level. I would add that the system should allow for the lowest ranked umps to be replaced with the highest ranked milb umps. I do not know how that system works but their contract probably has a lot to do with it There are no doubt some very good milb umps being blocked for lack of openings.

Badger

Thanks Bear. As you know, umpiring is something very important to me. I did a lot of it, from semi pro to Pony League. What I see is troubling to me. We have challenges now, and in my opinion the system works. ABS is next, and it will work too.

Every team has minor league players putting up numbers:

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders/minor-league?pos=all&level=0&lg=2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,14,12,13,15,16,17,18,30,32&stats=bat&qual=y&type=1&team=&season=2024&seasonEnd=2024&org=&ind=0&splitTeam=false&players=&sort=11,1

The question is always which players will make the next step.

Have to admit I don’t know those Yankee pitchers mentioned.

Oldbear48

Your welcome Badger. Some of those umps making watching games really frustrating. Especially when a bad call stops a rally. I have seen strike calls over the last three weeks that were just awful. Will Smith has been victimized by these several times. Cortes has been with the Yankees for 5 seasons. He was originally with the Orioles. He spent 19 with the Yankees, 20 with the Mariners, and then was traded back to New York. 27-15 with a 3.76 career ERA. 29 years old. He averages about a K an inning. 3-4 so far this year. Poteet has pitched in 2 games and is 2-0. He was originally with the Marlins. He also is 29. Gil right now is the Yankees ace. 7-1 1.99 ERA 79 K’s in 63.1 innings. 26 years old.

Badger

Yeah, I read a few stats on those guys. I don’t follow the Yankees and honestly I haven’t been checking league leaders as often as I usta did. The Times sports section isn’t what it once was.

The problem with umps, as I see it anyway, is inconsistency. A low strike this inning is a ball next inning. Is a pitch 4” off the outside corner a strike or a ball? I think batters have a better idea of what their strike zone is than an ump does. And as I pointed out the other day, the strike zone is over the plate, not where the catcher catches it. The way they all pull the glove back over the plate and get a call is embarrassing. Catchers have always tried that. It never worked with me. I used to tell them doing that lets me know they too knew it wasn’t a strike. ABS can’t get here soon enough.

Jeff Dominique

It was always “just be consistent”. Pitchers and batters can adapt when the calls are consistent. What bothers me is when the calls are so flagrant that it makes the batter swing at bad pitches.

I was upset when Miguel Vargas was called out on strikes last week. And I was glad for him at the same time. That pitch that was well above the zone and he was called out on was not even close. I am glad that he did not swing. You want hitters swinging at anything close with 2 strikes, but not a pitch that was that far up. If a batter swings at that pitch, he is asking to get nothing but fastballs up and out of the zone. He lost that battle, but if he stays away from that pitch, he can win the war.

Duke Not Snider

Right… I trust that Dodger brass credited Vargas with a quality AB there.
If it was a borderline pitch, then the batter should protect the plate and foul it off. But that one wasn’t close. Vargas got screwed.
It would be interesting to get a perspective on the Dodgers’ internal analysis of a players’ performances on both offense and defense..

Phil Jones

Nice read Bear, on umpires. I have become a strong advocate for ABS and not a challenge system. Get all the pitches called correctly and not just the ones challenged, but I think we will see the challenge system in 25.  
Inconstancy and each umpires individual interpretation of the strike zone are issues. I have talked to many umpires who all say consistency is paramount. But if a HPU is calling strikes all day on pitches 4 inches off the plate, you can’t adjust to that. The plate is 17 inches and not 25 because those pitches aren’t hittable.  
If the ABS system isn’t implemented soon I still content the little rectangle superimposed on the TV should be eliminated. It grades the umpire on information he doesn’t have. Before the box, most pitchers and umpires looked better.
As you mentioned, maybe umpires need additional training. Maybe they could get a refresher course at the Wendelstadt Umpire School. Hunter could be called upon to be a visual aid on how to be a totally horseshit HPU.
*I also don’t understand how “framing” influences the HPU. I believe the umpire is supposed to call where the ball crosses the plate and not where the catcher catches the ball.
*The conversation about bunting was resurrected here recently as it does periodically. Jeff, Bobby, Badger and I, all piped in with our desire to use the bunt more, both as a sacrifice to move runners in the right spots and for base hits. Yet we all know we’re not going to see a change as the Dodger organization prefers slug vs small ball. Maybe someday with a change in personnel and a change in attitude. I won’t hold my breath.  
Younger folks and some dads of players I coached disdained the idea of giving up an out and saw little value in bunting. I also have a best friend who won 4 high school state titles who bunted early and often, with anyone in the order. Come tournament time, when the butterflies were flying, he scored many times when the ball never left the infield. He also had a bunting station set up in practice with a coach present and a machine cranked up. Every kid had the fundamentals down and could be trusted to execute sacrifices at game speed. His teams bought in when they saw the benefits. They manufactured runs and won games against tough pitchers when they weren’t hitting.
Interestingly the same crowd who disdained the bunt and “giving up outs” had no problem with the contact play from 3rd where the runner was out at home by 15 feet.
*I actually seldom ever think about a bunt from the Dodgers, anymore. I’m actually startled when Doc puts it on, even with players who need to in order to help the club. I’ve stated before that Barnes needs to be the best bunter in the league. CT3, Kike too.
*While it’s not our style, I like teams who have broken the mold and have employed small ball, contact, base stealing and speed in the lineup. Speed never slumps.  
*I would love to see a mixture of slug and contact guys. I don’t agree that every guy needs to uppercut and try to launch the ball out of the yard. But it takes hitting coaches that are not married to one style.  
*Don’t laugh, but a number of hitting coaches and players could learn something about contact watching the Women’s College World Series. I think Badger played and/or umpired fast pitch and knows that more women are throwing 70+ mph pitches. The rubber is 43 feet from home plate and the pitchers hop forward releasing the pitch from 38 feet or so, at 70+. That’s a reaction time for a hitter at about .36 seconds. That’s equivalent to 100+ mph in baseball. Top quality pitchers are less dominant now than in previous years, as hitting mechanics have drastically improved. In 8 games at the WCWS, there were more hits, than strikeouts. 9.5 hits/game vs 9 K’s/game. These women load early, wait back and get very good hacks. What they do better than many baseball hitters is they get that front foot down early, in balance, and trust their hands. It’s like watching Nelson Cruz hit in his prime. It looks so simple with no wasted moves.  
No “Cody Bellinger Disease”. Cody has so much head movement and other shit going on while the pitch is in the air, that he’s tardy. Gavin Lux occasionally does it too and he has to swing from his ass to catch up to the pitch.  
If you have wasted movement, a long stride, late load and don’t get that front foot down, you get the “Linda Ronstadt Treatment” – the“Blew-by-You”
And the women have a bat angle that allows them to get on top of a rise ball. If you try to hit a riser with an uppercut, you’re done. There’s one contact point as the swing path doesn’t match the pitch path.
A level bat path to the ball, what an “old school” idea.
Check out Oklahoma’s Women’s Hitters and you’ll see what I mean.

Bumsrap

I generally don’t like to bunt with no outs and a runner on second. I like the bunt when the Dodgers struggle offensively which they do from time to time for a week at a time. I like the bunt when the third baseman is deep and set towards shortstop. I like the bunt from players like CT3 (KT3?), Barnes, and to a lesser extent, Lux and Muncy. When the Dodgers aren’t scoring there is no reason to keep flailing.

Managing is an art just as much as it is a science. It’s become more science than art.

Jeff Dominique

No reason to laugh about Women’s Softball. When my son retired he opened a hitting school in Reno. A couple of his better clients were high school softball players. He worked with them and got a rep for working with softball players to go away from the “slap” approach to full swings. He always hated that the girls/women were told they could not hit the ball hard enough to not be full swing. One of his clients went on to become an All American for University of Nevada at Reno. He had multiple clients get D-1 Baseball Scholarships and many went on to sign professional contracts.

He became the hitting coach for the University of Nevada Softball team and raised the team average 60 points in one year. He was getting a good rep for being a plus plus hitting coach in Women’s Softball. He had summer softball camps that were well attended. He knew the Oklahoma coaches, the Arizona coaches, the UCLA coaches…Unfortunately his stroke took him out of collegiate coaching.

I also watch Women’s Softball World Series because it is great competition. The women know how to swing it. They know how to be quick to the ball and keep the bat on a line path through the zone, and use their lower body to generate the necessary power.

Last edited 9 days ago by Jeff Dominique
Badger

I could talk all day with you guys about this stuff, but you’ve covered it all.

We won’t see a lot of bunts with our team, but we will see left handed bunts against us with Muncy at third. I could possibly see a a sacrifice from the #s 8&9 hitters with 1&2 coming up, which would make sense but with Vargas and Lux hitting there, no way. Those guys don’t practice bunts.

The Dodgers are pretty much all slug all the time and when it’s working it’s fun to watch. The sluggers make the big bucks and the Dodgers can afford sluggers so the model is not going to change anytime soon.

Bobby

I watched Juan Soto bunt yesterday to get on base vs the Padres.

Bunted down the 3b line and got on base ; the team scored. Common sense to me.

Bluto

Common sense because it worked?

Oldbear48

Thank you, Phil, I try to pick decent topics to discuss. I do not think the challenge system will be in place in 25. According to a statement a couple of weeks ago by Manfred, it will probably be 2026 before they can have it in place. As for bunting, it was good enough for Brett Butler, Juan Pierre, Maury Wills, Jim Gilliam and pitchers like Kershaw and Hershiser. It can be an affective offensive weapon. I think with the ghost runner on in extras, and the weak part of the lineup coming up, you should absolutely use it, especially on the road when scoring that first run can win a game for you. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing one of the big boppers leave the man at second base while swinging for the fences.

Duke Not Snider

Loved the fact that Juan Soto recently laid down a bunt because the defense was giving it to him.
Pretty sure Judge followed that with a HR.

Scott L

Trey Sweeney seems to have figured out how to hit. Do you think he could come up this year for a cup of coffee and contend for a roster spot next season?

Last edited 9 days ago by Scott L
Jeff Dominique

I think Sweeney will get his shot next year. He is Rule 5 eligible this year, along with Austin Gauthier. I cannot see how either will not be protected.

I always caution fans of MiLB players about their MiLB exploits. At 24, Trey Sweeney has 252 AAA PA, and is batting .252/.349/.450/.799. 9 HR, 12 doubles, and 2 triples.

At 21, another Dodger prospect in 232 PA hit .392/.478/.719/1.197, with 13 HR, 18 doubles, and 4 triples. I am sure most know that player to be Gavin Lux.

This last week for Sweeney was outstanding. In 30 PA, he hit .393/.433/1.143/1.576 with 6 HRs, 1 double, 1 triple, 14 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K. Now did something click for him, or did he take advantage of the EXTREME hitter friendly Albuquerque Istopes Stadium? I think he should get PCL Player of the Week for last week.

I remind those who have been anti Austin Barnes for several years and want Hunter Feduccia to be called up. Barnes was a better hitter in MiLB than Feduccia.

Barnes at 25/26 – 824 PA (AAA), .299/.383/.470/.853, 45 doubles, 7 triples, 21 HR, 31 SB, 6 CS.

Feduccia at 26/27 – 700 PA (AAA), .274/.373/.462/.825, 43 doubles, 5 triples, 20 HR, 1 SB, 1 CS.

MiLB hitting stats do not generally translate to the same success at MLB.

Bumsrap

I would imagine Kike’, Taylor, Lux, and maybe another hate it when Oklahoma plays in Albuquerque. It’s not a good time to look over their shoulders and see who might be catching up.

Bluto

News from Internet:

The great Keith Law had a chat:
Punk in Drublic: any updates to the profiles of Owen Cassie, Thayron Liranzo, or Cam Collier based on their 2024 season?

Keith Law: I think all 3 have been pretty much as expected so far, other than Liranzo hitting a little worse on BIP. Was hoping Caissie would cut down on the K’s with the benefit of ABS in AAA.

Chris: What kind of trade package would you be comfortable sending over for Luis Robert? Vs what would you be asking for if you were the white Sox?

Keith Law: They should ask for the Juan Soto deal (the first one, with Wood and Gore and Abrams). He’s got three years left after this one, including two club options, and that is worth a TON – he’s under control but you have the choice to walk away if something goes wrong.

Dr. Bob: People complain about the Dodgers pricing other teams out of competition. I understand that contracts like they gave to Ohtani and Yamamoto might not fit their budgets, but they could spend much less money to build scouting and player development systems like L.A. has. That’s how they get players like Andy Pages and Teoscar Hernandez.

Keith Law: That so few teams have maintained scouting, development, and R&D staffs like the Dodgers is baffling to me. We can all joke about Dodgers Devil Magic, but jesus it’s right there in front of you. They employ more people in those departments, and they have those departments working together as well as any organization in baseball. It’s not a secret. If you made me a GM or President of BB Ops, I would copy them. Like, print the org chart, change the names, rock and roll.

Justin: If you’re the White Sox, do you trade Robert, Fedde, Crochet, etc?

Keith Law: Yes. Anything that’s not nailed down.

Baseball America looks at the top DSL prospects ($$$):
https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/15-mlb-prospects-to-watch-in-the-dominican-summer-league/

Emil Morales, SS, Dodgers

Morales signed primarily because of his offensive upside and he has backed up the Dodgers’ belief in his bat so far with the way he has hit and hit for power in preseason games. 
Video here:

Keith Law also released his “in season” Top 50 prospects @TheAthletic ($$$$)
https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/5530418/2024/06/03/mlb-top-50-prospects-in-season-holliday/

DePaula #16
Ryan #45
Rushing #50

old beat reporter Bill Plunkett takes a look at Maddux Bruns for BA ($$$$)
https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/simple-adjustment-has-dodgers-maddux-bruns-on-track/

“It’s allowed him to access the zone with more consistency. So his pitches are presenting as strikes way more than they used to,” Brandon Gomes said. “His delivery is in a much better place.

“It’s never been a question of stuff. It’s always been about throwing the ball over the plate. He’s just in a really good place right now. I think he’s starting to understand how all of those things work together—that he doesn’t have to make things over-nasty, for lack of a better phrase.”

Since the Dodgers acquired Left handed reliever, Anthony Banda from #Guardians Banda hasn’t allowed a run in 6.2 IP. 

Banda recently creditedConnor McGuiness as having a huge impact on him: “He really knows how to communicate, he understands the craft…He’s a definitely the most incredible pitching coaches I’ve been around.”

Jim Bowden, turning in Bob Nightengale on a daily basis predicts (heh) some needs that will drive trades:
https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/5532397/2024/06/03/mlb-trade-deadline-tiers-buyers-sellers-needs/

This nonsensical take is:
Early trade deadline needs: The Dodgers will focus on upgrading the depth and quality of their bullpen while also looking to improve in the outfield.

Ben Clemens chat:
bringbackpologrounds: Dodgers shifting Betts to SS and the Yankees shifting Judge to CF reminds me of the Tigers shifting Cabrera to 3B in 2012. Do you think that experiment worked for the Tigers? How do you see it working for the Dodgers and Yankees down the road?

Ben Clemens: I do not think that one worked out for the Tigers, though I completely understand why they tried it. I think that these two are a bit different in that both Betts and Judge were plus defenders in right field, so it’s a matter of trying to move your good defender up to a tougher spot and see how they stick. Obviously RF->SS is wild, but the idea is just categorically different than taking a guy everyone thought was 1b only and throwing him at third. I think that for the Dodgers, they’ll slide Betts back to either second or right when their team construction ends up a bit more normal in a year or so and I think that the Yankees are going to end up parking Judge in a corner as he ages, it’s just easier on his body

SandyIsTheGreatest: Should the Dodgers trade Clayton Kershaw is he comes back and is healthy? They have enough pitching and Robert’s is doing his best work as manager.

Ben Clemens: Haha, this is a funny question but no…Like, in the real world they obviously aren’t, but in a perfect world where you can ignore that he’s Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, well, then you can ignore that Dave Roberts has a mental block around managing Kershaw. They have enough pitching for now, but they easily might not in a month

Mock Drafts:

Baseball America Mock Draft ($$)
https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/2024-mlb-mock-draft-3-0-updated-first-round-ahead-of-ncaa-tournament/

23. Dodgers — William Schmidt, RHP, Catholic HS, Baton Rouge, La.

ESPN Mock Draft ($$$$)
https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/40233926/2024-mlb-mock-draft-kiley-mcdaniel-first-pick-projection-guardians

Jurrangelo Cijntje, RHP/LHP, Mississippi State

Mayfield is tied here, as is Brecht, but Cijntje has been the college pitcher with the most helium over the past month…

Over at The Athletic the ludicrously fun Eno Sarris looks at 5 pitchers who have benefitted from a change in pitching arsenals:
($$$$)
https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/5530261/2024/05/31/fantasy-baseball-pitchers-changing-arsenals/

HINT: It’s about vertical movement:
his five best games by fastball ride have come in the past 30 days, and that hitters are only slugging .282 on the pitch this month.

Jaffe Chat
WinTwin0410: Jay, I usually ask about the Hall of Fame, but I’d like to shake it up a bit here and ask you who in baseball history have been your favorite bit player or playersIE, a guy who did something unusual (hero in one game or for a short time, for example, or perhaps got started super late) but otherwise was not at all distinguished? (Random examples: Mickey Hatcher, Tom Lawless, Jim Morris, Billy Taylor, Rudy Pemberton, Todd Haney, John Paciorek, etc.)

Jay Jaffe: Oh, Mickey Hatcher is a favorite on that level. My first time listening to Vin Scully coincided with Hatcher’s first major league home run on Agusust 10, 1979, which helped to back Don Sutton’s 50th career shutout, and then of course he came up huge in the 1988 World Series for the Dodgers as well.
As the name of my original blog (b. 2001) attests, I have a soft spot for futility infielders, with Luis Sojo, Lenn Sakata, and Melvin Mora coming to mind. Also the truly craptacular catcher, Tony Suck. I could go on…

Smiling Politely: Jay, after seeing Buehler start twice, I’m puzzled why he isn’t still in AAA if he’s openly admitting he’s forgotten how to do things like cover 1st on a ground ball and clearly does not have consistency with his mechanics. Any thoughts?

Jay Jaffe: His rehab stint ran the maximum amount of time required without another IL placement, and since it’s hard to simulate the extra adrenaline that comes with being in the majors the Dodgers are giving him a look. Beyond that I believe he has enough service time that he can’t be optioned without his consent, and I don’t think the Dodgers are to that level of concern yet.

Baseball America looks at the Dodgers INTL class ($$$)
https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/los-angeles-dodgers-2024-international-review/

This year’s big-ticket signing for the Dodgers was Emil Morales, a 17-year-old Dominican shortstop who got $1,897,500. He’s one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the 2024 international class. He continues to grow, now 6-foot-3, 190 pounds with a mix of contact and impact from the right side of the plate.

Sleeper Watch: Venezuelan center fielder Erny Orellana. 

Oldbear48

Sorry Dr Bob, Teoscar Hernandez was not developed by the Dodgers. They signed him as a free agent. The Dodgers so far, the last few years are much better at developing pitchers than they are position players. Robles is signing with the Mariners, White was outrighted to AAA by the Jays. Snell on the 15-day IL.

Last edited 9 days ago by Oldbear48
Bluto

This Phillies are quickly becoming a great team to root for:

https://x.com/NBCSPhilly/status/1797764740355117426

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