Zack Greinke: Stathead

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Not only did Zack Greinke claim a victory for statheads everywhere by winning the AL Cy Young yesterday despite only 16 wins, afterward he outed himself as a believer in sabermetrics thanks to stathead teammate Brian Bannister:

I’m also a follower … of sabermetric stuff and going into details of stats about what you can control. That’s pretty much how I pitch, to try to keep my FIP as low as possible.

FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, which is a stat that you’ll see me and the rest of the Circling the Bases crew quoting in this space frequently. It attempts to separate pitching from defense by focusing on the things that a pitcher can specifically control: strikeouts, walks, and homers.
Bannister explained that not only has Greinke become a believer in the value of FIP and similar stats, he’s actually used them to improve his pitching:

He’s extremely bright, and he’s really picked up on using all the information out there to make his game better. He’s always had the talent. His confidence level, which is extremely high, combined with his knowledge of the numbers behind the game now, definitely makes him one of the best pitchers in the world. David DeJesus had our best zone ratings, so a lot of times, Zack would pitch for a fly ball at our park instead of a ground ball, just because the zone rating was better in our outfield and it was a big park.

Max Scherzer of the Diamondbacks has previously talked about his interest in sabermetrics and modern baseball analysis, so the statheads are building a pretty nice rotation with Greinke, Scherzer, and Bannister. Something to think about the next time you see someone dismiss the impact and value of sabermetrics. We’re not all non-athletes who live in our parents’ basements. Some of us win Cy Young awards, marry ex-Cowboys cheerleaders, and live … well, somewhere in Kansas City.

Major League Baseball reveals their special event uniforms for 2018


Major League Baseball will once again celebrate various holidays and special occasions with special uniforms this season. The special caps and unis for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are largely in keeping with past practice. There’s a fairly notable change for Mother’s and Father’s Day, however, as what were once pink and blue accents are now full-blown pink and blue caps.

On Jackie Robinson Day — April 15 — players will, as always, be wearing number 42. New this year will be patches on the jerseys and caps. Like so:

Here is what the Mother’s Day caps will look like:

And for Dad:

Here’s Memorial Day. Like last year, the stars represent the five branches of the U.S. military. There will be camo jerseys, like you’ve seen before, to match:


The Blue Jays’ caps will feature four clusters for the four branches of the Canadian military:

Here’s the Fourth of July which will, again, be paired with stars and stripes-themed jerseys:

And check out the inside of the bill:


Fun fact: the Fourth of July is the day the signing of the Declaration of Independence was signed. It has little if anything to do with the Constitution, from which “We The People” is taken, which was ratified on June 21, 1788. But don’t stop MLB, they’re on a roll.

The Blue Jays cap, again, differs, with the logo being a gold maple leaf and the inside of the bill simply saying “Canada”:

As always, proceeds from the sale of this merch will go to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Susan G. Komen, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.

As as also long been the case, Major League Baseball will do nothing for Labor Day, much to my annual annoyance.