Knowledge Drop April 19, 2018 — #11 the “Bagar Lartinez” Edition*
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*Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez wore #11 for 17 and 18 seasons, respectively. They earned 70.44 and 68.43 WAR in their careers. (Larkin wore #15 for the first two years of his career). Greats Carl Hubbell and Luis Aparicio also famously donned the #11.
TOP KNOWLEDGE – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW
Flipping Hill … First things first. Shout-out to BatFlipCrazy. In Sunday’s Knowledge Drop, he shared this: “I am not into Rich Hill being down a tick today (88.4 from 89.3 last week) and only getting 6 SwStr from 96 pitches, including 1 on 38 curveballs. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a DL stint in his near future.”
The near future arrived yesterday when Hill was placed on the 10-day DL for a split fingernail. See, this is the type of knowledge you should come to expect from the entire Big Mac team. Hill is expected to be ready to pitch immediately when he comes off the DL, but if you found another starter based on BFC’s observation, you’re a step closer to a championship.
Freeman watch … Freddie Freeman was hit on his left wrist – the same one he injured last season – in last night’s Braves game. He immediately headed for the clubhouse, but there’s been no word on the extent of the injury thus far. In the short term, get him to your bench for a couple of days, but do assess your 1B/Corner Infield depth to accommodate a long DL stint from Freeman. Wrist injuries are always troublesome, even if a player returns quickly. It will be a situation to watch for some time.
Slump Breakers in Queens? … Ryan Zimmerman launched two homeruns against the Mets last night, and seems to be emerging from his early-season slump. In the same game, Yoenis Cedpedes claimed a grand-slam to help the Mets salvage a game versus the Nationals. His own slump might be ending as well. Play both Zimmerman and Cespedes with confidence, or perhaps trade for them if you think you can still get them on the cheap based on their recent struggles. But we expect big weekends from both.
AA for Eloy … White Sox top prospect Eloy Jimenez will make his season debut today for Double-A Birmingham. Jimenez was relegated to extended spring training with a pectoral injury. Last season Jimenez had success at AA ball, with a slash line of .353/.397/.559 in 18 games. He promises to provide the big club power and average and is expected to be called up some time this season.
Going Tann-ing … Check to see if Tanner Roark is available in your league. He shouldn’t be, but he’s a “steady average” pitcher who eats innings and strikes out enough guys to roster. Roark can be a bit wild and he will have a few starts that make you want to hide your eyes, but he’s a 3.50-3.90 ERA lock who Ks about eight per nine and he was in command last night – 7 innings and 2 runs. You’ll take that all day. So, for depth’s sake, add Roark to your bench at least.
THE LOW FACTOR
Not as in high/low, but more like Charlie Lau. Your MLB RBI leader is none other than Jed Lowrie. He’s hitting .346 with 6 HR, 21 RBI and 11 runs. He’ll obviously slow that pace, but we think the only thing that will keep him from a solid season is injury.
Last season he increased his walk rate and lowered his strikeout rate and, like everyone else, increased his fly ball rates. But his low swinging strike rate of 7.9 percent illustrates his understanding of the strike zone. His 2018 season is of course a bit fluky, as he swings at as many pitches out of the zone, but is making less contact on those swings (thankfully), but his contact rate within the strike zone is 95 percent (career 89.5 percent). So his overall Swinging Strike rate is down to 6.7 so far and if he can lay off the pitches out of the zone he will have a very strong season.
Nobody is confusing Jed Lowrie for Mike Trout. But the truth is that two months of Jed Lowrie plus two months of a great player in June/July and a strong finish from a third player – THAT can equal Mike Trout. Lowrie will cool to a shiver at some point and then it’s next man up.
But in the mean time we like what we see. He’s producing power at the same time that his ground ball output is actually up. Lowrie has not sacrificed much plate discipline in his quest for more fly balls. The below chart is a bit boring but shows gradual gains in some categories.
We obviously don’t like contact out of the strike zone – we can’t all be Vlad Guerrero – so we’re always happy to see that (O-Contact) fall a bit. But we like the aggressiveness within the strike zone that we are seeing (Z-Swing%) from a good, not great, contact hitter.
A THOUSAND WORDS
Today, @BatFlipCrazy looks at some skills of Yoan Moncada of the rebuilding Chicago White Sox. He notes: “Patience and contact are different skills and only one, ultimately, helps AVG (swinging at the right pitches obviously should help make more contact). Looks like the trend is in the right direction.”
RIDDLE ME THIS
Four people arrive at a river with a narrow bridge that can only hold two people at a time. It’s nighttime and they have one torch that has to be used when crossing the bridge. Person A can cross the bridge in one minute, B in two minutes, C in five minutes, and D in eight minutes. When two people cross the bridge together, they must move at the slower person’s pace. Can they all get across the bridge in 15 minutes or less? If so, how?
The first reader to email the correct guess will win an additional free month’s subscription – a whopping $4 value!!! Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com
DAD JOKE OF THE DAY
Because bad jokes fuel our world.
Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?
Because they’re so good at it.
Got a Bad/Dad joke for a future issue of the Knowledge Drop? Email us at BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com or hit us up on Twitter @BigMacFantasy.
WHAT WE ARE READING
One of the highlights of 2018 will be a documentary film on the life of Mr. Rogers, due out this summer. It seems like the perfect time for Mr. Rogers to re-introduce himself to us; we can still learn so much about life from this man.
We just read a 20-year-old profile on Mr. Rogers from Esquire magazine and we highly recommend it.
Knowledge Next Drops Sunday, April 21.
You Know More. Now Go Win More.