Joe vs. Ichiro: The plot thickens

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A couple weeks ago, with Joe Mauer set to debut atop the AL leaderboard
with a .389 batting average and Ichiro Suzuki hitting .360, I wrote that “it would be great to watch those two duke it out down the stretch to see who can capture their third batting title.”

Since then Mauer has slumped and Ichiro has kept chugging along, and yesterday they flip-flopped spots in the batting title race.
Ichiro leads the league at .363 with Mauer second at .358, and Jason
Bartlett is right there with them at .345 now that he has enough plate
appearances to qualify.

There are three lesssons to be learned here. One, be careful what you wish for. Two, maintaining a .390 batting average is really hard. And three, Ichiro is really good.

Who is the fastest sprinter in baseball?

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We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.

StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.

Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.

That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.

Here are the final All-Star voting results before the close of balloting

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All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.

Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AMERICAN LEAGUE