Chelsea Baker can strike your son out

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This is over a week old but I totally missed it. It’s ESPN’s E:60 story about the person who may be the best little league pitcher in the country:

She registered another perfect pitching record this year, 12-0, for her Little League team.

She threw her second perfect game — and predicted this one just hours before she did it.

Her
fastball hits the mid-60s, and she can send opponents to the bench in
tears, embarrassing them with a knuckleball she learned from former
major league knuckleball legend Joe Niekro.

Meet Chelsea Baker, a girl pitcher in a boys’ league.

The story is OK, the video that accompanies it is just wonderful. Except for the revelation that opponents’ parents taunt her for pitching in “a boy’s game” which, as the father of a girl who can do any damn thing she wants to, makes me want to commit heinous murder. But that aside . . .

Baker is 5’4″ and 117 pounds, so (a) she likely has a size advantage over a lot of her later-blooming competition; and (b) she may be done growing, but if the radar gun is accurate and she’s really throwing 65, she could totally play at higher levels as a knuckleballer.  All she’d probably need is a few more miles per hour for those get-me-over “fastballs” on days the knuckler isn’t fluttering, and that may be doable via training.

But even if that doesn’t pan out Baker’s is a great story.

(thanks to El Bonte for the heads up)

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.