HBT Weekend Wrapup

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Craig is on vacation all week so you’ll see a bigger helping of posts from the less familiar names around here.  It’s like a parent has left town, and has left us access to a stocked fridge and liquor cabinet.  We intend to have a good time.  Bonfire!

Here is your weekend wrap-up:

  • Cubs manager Lou Piniella retired suddenly on Sunday afternoon to be with his ailing mother.  He enjoyed a good amount of success in Chicago, leading the club to two division championships in four years, but ‘Sweet Lou’ will leave behind a fifth-place team.
  • We should all know more about his immediate future when the MRI results are examined on Monday afternoon, but it appears that Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg avoided major injury on Saturday night.  He has been diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon in his forearm and was able to play catch on Sunday morning.
  • Brewers setup man LaTroy Hawkins has opted to undergo exploratory surgery on his shoulder and is likely to miss the rest of the season.  Here’s a quick lesson for bad teams with major holes: Don’t spend big money on middle relief.
  • Angels rookie outfielder Peter Bourjos is going to be a great defender in this league for a long time, and now he’s beginning to do some things right at the plate.  With those powers combined…

And with that, we’re off…

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