Friend of HardballTalk Jonah Keri has a book coming out about the Tampa Bay Rays soon. It’s called “The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First.” I’ve seen parts of it and what I’ve seen is excellent.
Though it won’t be available to the general public for a little while — you can pre-order here — you too can see parts of it now, as Jonah has a free preview up, including Mark Cuban’s foreword and the prologue. I haven’t read the foreward yet. I kind of hope Cuban goes nuts on Jonah like he’s a ref or something and then offers a passive-aggressive endorsement of the book like he does to the NBA on his blog. That would be cool.
I don’t give a ton of plugs out around here, but this is a worthy one. Jonah is an excellent writer and I think it’s a book that’s really going to advance our understanding of how baseball teams — particularly low-revenue baseball teams — go about their business. So please, check it out.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.