Rob Dibble tells Stephen Strasburg to "suck it up"

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Don’t act so surprised. We all knew this was coming. During an appearance on Sirius XM’s MLB Network Radio this afternoon, Rob Dibble essentially called out Stephen Strasburg for being a wimp.

I didn’t hear it as it happened, but Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post was nice enough to transcribe it all for us. I recommend you read the whole thing for the full context of Dibble’s remarks, but here’s just a taste.

“Ok, you throw a pitch, it bothers your arm, and you immediately call out the manager and the trainer? Suck it up, kid. This is your profession. You chose to be a baseball player. You can’t have the cavalry come in and save your butt every time you feel a little stiff shoulder, sore elbow.”

He continued:

“What Mike Rizzo and Jim Riggleman do, that’s totally different,” Dibble said. “They have to think of the long-term ramifications of what they’re doing right now with this kid’s career. As far as this kid? Stop crying, go out there and pitch. Period.”

“This is the major leagues. This is not college any more. You’re not on scholarship. You’re being paid to do the job and guys depend on you, and I think it’s unfortunate that the Nationals and the team are in a situation here where this kid now, he feels any kind of arm pain, he’s gonna call you out? That’s scary to me.”

“You give these guys $15 million bucks, please,” he said. “Get your butt out there and play every fifth day.”

Yes, this from a guy, who as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post points out, never threw more than 99 innings in a season. Between the minors and majors this season, Strasburg has thrown 123 innings.

The funny part about this whole thing is that I’m watching the MASN broadcast of the Nats-Cubs game right now and Dibble hasn’t said one harsh word in regards to Strasburg. Of course, he was already on thin ice for the knuckle-dragging comments he recently made about some women “talking” behind home plate, so his restraint is almost certainly calculated.

Frankly, I couldn’t be any happier that he continues to put his foot in his mouth, whether on MASN or Sirius XM. Living in the D.C. area, I’m forced to watch him anytime I want to watch a Nationals game. Call me an eternal optimist, but hopefully a few more moronic comments will eventually put him out of a job. At this rate, he’s probably due by the ninth inning tonight.   

A scout thinks the Astros strike out too much. The Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball.

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Great moments in scouting. MLB.com’s Richard Justice spoke to an unnamed scout about the Astros, currently holding the American League’s best record at 76-47. The scout said that the Astros strike out too much and it will catch up with them. Justice pointed out that the Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball. The scout responded, “I don’t believe that.”

Justice, of course, is correct. The average major league team has struck out 1,006 times entering Sunday’s action. The Astros have by far the lowest total at 827, followed by the Indians at 881 and the Pirates at 882.

This scout doesn’t represent all scouts, but this is one of the major problems that advocates of statistics were trying to highlight before Sabermetrics became popular a decade ago. It’s a pattern. Person believes thing. Person either cherry-picks evidence to defend belief or is shown evidence that belief is not factually true and ignores it. Person refuses to change belief, using one of many excuses.

The other problem this highlights is the fallacy of “the eye test,” which is shorthand for treating a scout’s observations as sacrosanct due to his or her experience and knowledge of the game. In this case, the scout ignored easily accessed information, went with his gut, and turned out to be completely wrong. Furthermore, if “the eye test” were legit, the scout would’ve known that, for example, Yulieski Gurriel and Jose Altuve hardly ever strike out (11.1 and 12.4 percent strikeout rates, respectively). In fact, no one on the Astros’ roster (min. 230 PA) has a strikeout rate above 21 percent; the league average is 21.5 percent.

This isn’t to impugn the practice of scouting as a whole. There are a lot of things scouts can tell you about a player that data cannot and that has value. But for easily-researched claims like “the Astros strike out too much,” there’s no reason to trust a scout over the stats.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.