Ryan Zimmerman has been the Nationals’ primary No. 3 hitter for several years now, but manager Davey Johnson said yesterday that he’s leaning strongly toward moving Bryce Harper into the third spot this season because “he’s a tough out, he doesn’t swing at bad pitches, and he uses the whole field.”
He’s also still just 20 years old and hitters that young simply don’t hit third very often. In fact, in the entire history of baseball only one 20-year-old hitter has started more than 100 games batting third: Hall of Famer Al Kaline for the Tigers in 1955. He hit .340 that year and finished runner-up to Yogi Berra for AL MVP.
In addition to Kaline the only other 20-year-olds to start more than 80 games as No. 3 hitters are Arky Vaughan for the Pirates in 1932, Cesar Cedeno for the Astros in 1971, and Ken Griffey Jr. for the Mariners in 1990. Harper would be the fifth all time, assuming Johnson sticks with his plan for at least half the season.
The Yankees just released a statement saying that Yankee Stadium will be undergoing “enhancements” this offseason. The enhancements include:
- The Sunrun Kids Clubhouse, which is basically one of those “kids run around and climb on crap play areas” not unlike those you see in the middle of shopping malls. Except, of course, it’s baseball-themed. Parents of little ones will likely appreciate that. People without kids will likely watch from afar, horrified, and will check their bags for hand sanitizer before getting anywhere near it. As someone who has been on both sides of that interaction, it’s all good. It’s how it should be for all involved;
- The MasterCard Batter’s Eye Deck which is, not surprisingly, an outdoor gathering space/bar in center field near the batter’s eye;
- Bullpen landings which are gathering spaces/bars near the bullpens;
- The AT&T Sports Lounge at Section 134 on the Field Level. It’s a bar with big screen TVs showing the game that is going on just outside the bar; and
- Budweiser Party Decks at Sections 311 and 328. Which are hopefully explanatory.
Artist’s renderings here.
The park will lose around 2,000 seats to make space for these additions, but will likely make up for that and then some with added revenue from all of the Yankees fans partying on. In decks.
No surprise here: the Cubs have just named Jon Lester their Game 1 World Series starter.
Lester has allowed two earned runs in 21 innings over three starts this postseason and was the co-MVP in the NLCS. Lester will face off against Indians ace Corey Kluber.
On the season Lester went 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA and notched 197 Ks against 52 walks in 202.2 innings.