Yu Da Man, Brrrrrrring Out Your Bats, Matt Chapman

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Brrrrrrrrrring Out Your Bats…. It’s cold out, we know. We get it. (We think MLB should start on Tax Day and contain a few day/night doubleheaders throughout the season, but we’ll put our soapbox away – for now).  If you’ve watched virtually any baseball broadcast this season, you’ve heard about how hard it is for pitchers to get a grip, or to find natural moisture (we said moisture, not technically “moist” so leave us alone) on the baseball.  Umpires even let the pitchers blow on their hands.  Snowflakes.  No, literally – snowflakes!!

But so far in 2018 we are seeing a decided advantage for the pitchers. Take a look:

Year Avg. BABIP ERA K/9 HR/9
2018 .237 .287 3.86 8.81 1.00
2017 .255 .300 4.36 8.25 1.26
2016 .255 .300 4.19 8.03 1.16
2015 .254 .299 3.96 7.71 1.01
2014 .251 .298 3.74 7.70 0.86

We get that it’s hard to hit in cold weather. We get that we’ve had a few long extra inning games. We get that there’s a humidor in Arizona. We get that Shohei Ohtani now exists. And we get that Mickey Callaway has sprinkled magic dust on the Mets bullpen, but those numbers are low for major league hitters.

We showed all seasons back to 2014 because 2014 is a bad word in the MLB offices because pitchers were just too good and fans love the long ball and we may or may not have juiced the baseballs in 2015….

Big Mac has a theory about 2018.  Well, it’s a hypothesis and we’re turning it into a theory.  You’ll have to wait until later in the week until we can prove it.  Or at least manipulate numbers to make it look like proof!  But we think we might know something and we’ll make our case later this week.

(In the biz, that’s what we call a teaser…)

Yu Da Man … Okay Shohei the man, but for the sake of puns, and discussing the Cubs ace, Yu Da Man. Darvish struggled in his first start against the Marlins, surrendering five runs in four-and-a-third inning and striking out four hitters.  In his next start against the Brewers (hey, they’re better than the Marlins!) Darvish fanned nine and gave up a run in six innings. He received a no-decision in both starts.

But we have made the decision that Yu, we mean he, is back. You heard it here first. Unless you have a friend who’s a Cub fan.

Darvish’s second start was far more positive, beyond the results. His fastball and slider – his favorite two pitches by a wide margin – saw increased velocity in Milwaukee, but we also saw Darvish sprinkle in his curveball and change-up, which he did not include in start number one.

Overall his fastball velocity is about even with last year, but he’s gained speed on all his other pitches  and as you can tell below, has reached career-high speeds this season already. The Cubs are among the leading sabermetrically-inclined teams, so we’re confident he will pitch smarter in 2018, but his early returns have us excited.


Today, @BatFlipCrazy takes a look at Matt Chapman and why he might surprise in 2018:

Beyond Matt Chapman’s .462 BABIP (.387 xBABIP), some encouraging signs exist that his early season performance is more than good luck. He’s shown elite plate discipline (16.2% swing rate at pitches outside the zone, good for seventh in MLB), his contact has improved (+6% contact, -4% swinging strike rate) and it hasn’t cost him hard contact (51.7% and +16%). It’s still early, but he’s shown a knack in his early career for continuous improvement. A low batting average with his power may not be a forgone conclusion.


A milkman has 2 empty jugs: a 5-gallon jug and a 3-gallon jug. How can he measure exactly one gallon without wasting any milk?

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Because bad jokes fuel our world.

Did you hear that Arnold Schwarzenegger will star in a movie about classical music?

He’ll be Bach.



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