Should we raise the pitcher's mound?

Leave a comment

The All-Star break is a good time to talk about stuff we normally don’t
have time to discuss because things like ballgames and transactions and
stuff get in the way. Things like this, which is an article advocating for a return to the pre-1968 pitchers’ mound:

If Major League Baseball is serious about trying to find ways to
escape the fallout of the steroid era, raising the pitching mound would
seem to be a no-brainer . . . It’s time to take another look. It’s time
to realize Gibson’s 1.12 was an exceptional year by an exceptional
pitcher. Those tiny ERAs? Evidence suggests they were more a mirage
than a trend — and hitters have been having far too much fun. It’s
time to give the pitchers a break. It’s time to restore at least part
of the real estate missing from the middle of baseball diamonds
everywhere. It’s time to Bring Back The Hill. Now.

I don’t believe that outrageous offense is as big a problem now as it
was a few years ago, but it strikes me that this could be a good idea
regardless of its direct effects on offense. I could totally see a
higher mound leading to fewer pitchers’ injuries as hurlers will be
able to generate a bit more velocity via gravity as opposed to muscle,
and could theoretically lower their arm slots a bit — thus reducing
shoulder strain — and still get a good angle of attack at a batter.

Just spitballin’ here.

Hey, that gives me another idea . . .

Yankees sign top two draft picks

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.

Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.

Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

Getty Images
3 Comments

The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.