Chapman is awesome and everything, but are the radar guns juiced?


We’ve all been impressed with the Aroldis Chapman show recently. That 103.9 reading the other night was boffo, and it actually made that 105 reading from Louisville — which I had doubted but am maybe coming around to believe — seem more plausible. Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein has a great point, though: we should be skeptical of the guns:

Radar guns are sensitive
pieces of equipment that need to be consistently calibrated, and that could be
the extent of the issue, but at the same time, there’s been so much good press
generated by Chapman’s velocity since the 105-mph reading, that conspiracy
theorists are starting to ask questions. Now that MLB doesn’t have juiced balls
or players anymore, are the radar guns juiced?

Goldstein’s comments aren’t mere contrarianism, mind you. His skepticism comes from the fact that a handful of other fireballers — including Neftali Feliz and Chris Sale — have recently had unprecedentedly hot readings as well and maybe — just maybe — some funny business is afoot.

Good catch by Kevin. For what it’s worth, I would have no trouble whatsoever featuring the people behind the ballpark radar guns putting their thumb on the scale, so to speak, in order to spark a few more oohs and ahhs from the crowd. And maybe — just maybe — a few extra ticket sales.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.