Cubs closer Carlos Marmol piling up strikeouts at historic rate

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Carlos Marmol picked up his 16th save of the season last night by striking out five of the seven batters he faced, giving him an amazing 77 strikeouts in 40.2 innings on the year. To put that in some context, consider that Nick Blackburn, John Lannan, and Brad Bergesen have combined for 78 strikeouts this season … in 234 innings.
Not only is 77 strikeouts in 40.2 innings by far the best rate of Marmol’s career–which is saying something given that he’s had double-digit strikeouts per nine innings in each of the past three years–it would be the highest strikeout rate in baseball history among pitchers with at least 50 innings in a season.
Here’s how Marmol would fit into the current leaderboard:

                    YEAR      SO/9
CARLOS MARMOL       2010     17.04
Eric Gagne          2003     14.98
Billy Wagner        1999     14.95
Brad Lidge          2004     14.93
Armando Benitez     1999     14.77
Billy Wagner        1998     14.55
Billy Wagner        1997     14.38

No pitcher in baseball history has ever managed to crack 15 strikeouts per nine innings, yet Marmol is currently at 17.04. Amazing.

Rockies acquire Zac Rosscup from Cubs

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The Rockies announced a minor swap of relief pitchers on Monday evening. The Cubs sent lefty Zac Rosscup to the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Matt Carasiti.

Rosscup, 29, was designated for assignment by the Cubs last Thursday. He spent only two-thirds of an inning in the majors this year and has a 5.32 career ERA across 47 1/3 innings. Rosscup has spent most of the season with Triple-A Iowa, posting a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.

Carasiti, 25, spent 15 2/3 innings in the majors last year, putting up an ugly 9.19 ERA. With Triple-A Albuquerque this season, he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 43/13 K/BB ratio in 30 1/3 innings.

U.S. Court of Appeals affirms ruling that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law

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The Associated Press reported that on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court ruling which holds that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law, just like the major leagues.

In 2015, four minor leaguers sued Major League Baseball, alleging that MLB violated antitrust laws with its hiring and employment policies. They accused MLB of “restrain[ing] horizontal competition between and among” franchises and “artificially and illegally depressing” the salaries of minor league players.

The U.S. Court of Appeals said the players failed to state an antitrust claim, as the Curt Flood Act of 1998 exempted Minor League Baseball explicitly from antitrust laws.

This case is separate from the Aaron Senne case in which Major League Baseball is accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. That case was recertified as a class action lawsuit in March. In December, Major League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC), which came months after two members of Congress sought to change language in the FLSA so that minor league players could continue to be paid substandard wages.