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.
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)
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.