Moneyball and Rob

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Rob Neyer has a good post up this morning. It’s his impressions of “Moneyball.” Not a review — he doesn’t presume he can tell us what to think about a movie — but his reflections.  And they’re well worth your time.

Why? Because, as Rob notes, he provided a bit of assistance to Michael Lewis as he wrote Moneyball back in 2002-03, so it’s neat for him to see stuff he had a hand in make its way to the big screen.  Sort of like when I watch an episode of “The Rockford Files.” It’s like they filmed my life, ya know?

But it’s mostly worth the read because of Rob’s reflections about how, if the stuff being portrayed in that film didn’t happen — Bill James, the sabermetric movement, etc. — Rob’s own career as a baseball writer wouldn’t have happened.  Which, in turn, has some residual relevance for me because, if Rob’s career — and kindness — didn’t happen, mine wouldn’t have either.

I’ve written about this before, but it’s the absolute truth. No one reads ShysterBall if Rob doesn’t link it back in 2007, no one at The Hardball Times gives ShysterBall a bigger platform in 2008 if no one reads ShysterBall, and NBC doesn’t offer me a job in 2009 if ShysterBall wasn’t at The Hardball Times. I don’t really write about statistics and I’d be shot by the sabermetrician’s royal guard if I claimed to be one of them, but the lineage of people working outside of the established system to make a place for themselves in or around the game is pretty straightforward.

Oh, one more reason to read Rob’s piece: he makes a reference to “Porky’s 4: The Oinks Have it.” The screenplay for which I figure I should begin working on this very day. Quick: does anyone have Dan Monahan’s phone number?

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.