These aren’t major moves, but they’re the kind of day-to-day things that keep baseball teams up and running: the Marlins have named a new Special Assistant to the President of Baseball Operations, a new Vice President of Scouting and a new Vice President of Player Development. They are, respectively, Jim Fleming, Stan Meek and Marty Scott.
Fleming and Meek are longtime Marlins front office types simply changing jobs. Scott spent the last three years as the manager of the Lincoln Saltdogs of the Independent American Association, and before that spent 34 years working in baseball, most notably as the Rangers Director of Player Development from 1985-1994.
Uber-Marlins fans may have some insight as to the where and the why of these moves. Some more insight can be gained from Larry Beinfest’s blog post. Upshot: the Marlins just want to get a bit better in the draft, scouting, etc.
My takeaway: while the Marlins’ ownership is a hot mess, Florida has long had some pretty darn competent men manning the baseball operations side of things. These are the people who have so often squeezed more out of their roster and payroll than anyone thought they could. One may presume that this kind of rejiggering of jobs that most people don’t pay any attention to contributes to that sort of thing.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.