Matt Harvey

April leaders: MLB’s best after one month

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Focusing only on the positive, here are a handful of April top 10s for your perusal.

Players by OPS

1. Carlos Santana (Indians): 1.198
2. Chris Davis (Orioles): 1.171
3. Bryce Harper (Nationals): 1.150
4. Justin Upton (Braves): 1.136
5. Travis Hafner (Yankees): 1.104
6. Dexter Fowler (Rockies): 1.032
7. Carlos Gomez (Brewers): 1.031
8. Shin-Soo Choo (Reds): 1.031
9. Wilin Rosario (Rockies): 1.023
10. Mark Reynolds (Indians): 1.019

– Hafner is actually one plate appearance short of being a “qualified” leader, but I’m tossing him on here anyway. Prince Fielder, at 1.009, is the only other player in the 1.000 OPS club at the moment.

Players by rWAR (Baseball-Reference)

1. Matt Harvey (Mets): 2.1
2. Carlos Gomez (Brewers): 2.0
3. Clay Buchholz (Red Sox): 2.0
4. Justin Upton (Braves): 1.9
5. Justin Verlander (Tigers): 1.9
6. Ian Kinsler (Rangers): 1.9
7. Dexter Fowler (Rockies): 1.9
8. Anibal Sanchez (Tigers): 1.9
9. Starling Marte (Pirates): 1.8
10. Jean Segura (Brewers): 1.8

– On a tear of late, Gomez rates as the NL’s seventh most valuable hitter and second most valuable fielder, according to rWAR. Still, that doesn’t overcome Harvey’s league-best 0.818 WHIP and 4.7 H/9 IP.

Players by fWAR (Fangraphs)

1. Adam Wainwright (Cardinals): 2.1
2. Dexter Fowler (Rockies): 1.9
3. Justin Upton (Braves): 1.9
4. Yu Darvish (Rangers): 1.8
5. Carlos Gomez (Brewers): 1.7
6. Anibal Sanchez (Tigers): 1.7
7. Justin Verlander (Tigers): 1.6
8. Chris Davis (Orioles): 1.6
9. Shin-Soo Choo (Reds): 1.5
10. Jean Segura (Brewers): 1.5

– fWAR, on the other hand, isn’t so fond of Harvey’s unsustainable hit rate. It places him seventh among SPs so far. The Tigers claim three of the top five spots on their pitching list, with Max Scherzer trailing Sanchez and Verlander.

Pitchers by ERA

1. Jake Westbrook (Cardinals): 0.98
2. Matt Moore (Rays): 1.13
3. Clay Buchholz (Red Sox): 1.19
4. Anibal Sanchez (Tigers): 1.34
5. Madison Bumgarner (Giants): 1.55
6. Matt Harvey (Mets): 1.56
7. Hisashi Iwakuma (Mariners): 1.67
8. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers): 1.73
9. Mat Latos (Reds): 1.83
9. Justin Verlander (Tigers): 1.83

– With just as many walks as strikeouts this year, Westbrook is merely fWAR’s 65th ranked pitcher, despite the sub-1.00 ERA. He’s also hurt by the fact that he made only four starts in April, throwing 27 2/3 innings. Everyone in the top 50 made five or six starts.

Teams by winning percentage

1. Red Sox: .692 (18-8)
2. Braves: .654 (17-9)
2. Rangers: .654 (17-9)
4. Yankees: .615 (16-10)
5. Tigers: .600 (15-10)
6. Orioles: .593 (16-11)
6. Rockies: .593 (16-11)
8. Royals: .583 (14-10)
9. Cardinals: .577 (15-11)
10. Athletics: .571 (16-12)

– There are seven AL teams in the top 10, but those are the only seven AL teams over .480 for the season. NL teams take all of the spots from No. 11-17 here.

Teams by run differential

1. Red Sox: +38 (18-8)
2. Rangers: +32 (17-9)
3. Braves: +31 (17-9)
4. Tigers: +27 (15-10)
5. Orioles: +26 (16-11)
6. Rockies: +25 (16-11)
7. Cardinals: +24 (15-11)
8. Reds: +24 (15-13)
9. Athletics: +21 (16-12)
10. Diamondbacks: +16 (15-12)

– In a major surprise, the A’s lead the majors with 158 runs scored, 17 more than the Rockies and 20 more than the Orioles. They’re 27th in runs allowed, however. The Red Sox are fourth in runs scored with 135 and fifth in runs allowed with 97. The Braves have allowed the fewest runs (83).

MRI reveals minor right ankle sprain for Cubs’ Kris Bryant

Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant warms up before Game 3 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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CHICAGO (AP) An MRI has confirmed that Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs has a minor right ankle sprain.

The 2015 NL Rookie of the Year wasn’t in the lineup Friday against the Atlanta Braves, but manager Joe Maddon said he might be available off the bench late in the game.

Bryant was injured running the bases in the third inning Thursday of Chicago’s 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. He was replaced in left field two innings later.

The Cubs avoided putting another starter on the disabled list. Catcher Miguel Montero was placed on the 15-day DL on Thursday with a sore back. Chicago lost slugger Kyle Schwarber for the season when he tore two knee ligaments three weeks ago in Arizona.

Yasiel Puig welcomes Jared Goff to Los Angeles

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig smiles as he warms up throwing the baseball during a spring training baseball workout Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Jared Goff, the University of California Quarterback, was selected by the Los Angeles Rams as the first overall pick of last night’s draft. Not a bad thing to happen, to the man. He’s going to be rich! He’s going to be even more famous! He’s going to be the face of the NFL’s move back into the nation’s second largest city!

The only problem is that he’s not always been a fan of all things Los Angeles. For example, three years ago he took issue with Yasiel Puig for reasons that I’m guessing everyone has forgotten:

But no worries. Puig has both forgotten and forgiven. He even sent out a warm welcome to the new Angelino this afternoon:

#PuigYourFriend has to the best hashtag in the history of Twitter.

 

Someone stole a 14-foot tall Kansas City Royals Player

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Not a real one. If there was a real 14-foot tall baseball player we would’ve heard more about him, I presume. Also, since he’s 14-feet tall and only weighs 150 pounds, he’d probably be in the hospital hooked up to IVs and things because that’s just not healthy.

This is a fake one — a 3D figure — for use on a billboard in Kansas City off of I-435. Thieves came in the night and took him off the sign on Wednesday night. This morning, however, he was found:

And he is home:

Kansas City’s long, little-over-a-day nightmare is over.

(h/t to SB Nation who has a lot more on this)

People are getting hysterical over Dee Gordon’s positive test

FILE - This April 3, 1972 file photo shows Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, talking to reporters in New York. Miller, the union leader who created free agency for baseball players and revolutionized professional sports with multimillion dollar contracts, died Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 in New York. He was 95. (AP Photo/File)
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A dude testing positive for PEDs and getting suspended for 80 games should, actually, be taken as a sign that the system, however imperfect, still largely works. But the world of baseball can’t stop to acknowledge that. No, this is apparently a crisis. A crisis so dire that decades of labor developments apparently need to be scuttled.

That’s the message I’m getting from some folks in baseball media, anyway. Take this for example:

There’s a LOT going on there. For one thing, a casual dismissal of just how massively significant the concept of the guaranteed contract is in baseball. Marvin Miller is always cited as the man who brought the players free agency, but free agency would not have been valuable at all if teams could just void contracts. Just look at how the NFL and its phony salary numbers work. Miller and the MLBPA worked insanely hard to put that system in place and it’s insanely valuable to union membership. It’s not hyperbole to say that any movement on the part of the union to compromise the notion of guaranteed contracts would represent a complete and total repudiation of decades of its own work, and suggesting that it do so because we still get 5-7 PED suspensions a year is preposterous.

Then look at the word “option” there. Abraham wouldn’t have contracts be automatically voided. He’d only have them be voided at the option of an owner. This would give teams tremendous power to get out of bad deals and would give them no risk with respect to PED guys who happen to be on team friendly deals. If contracts were automatically void, underpaid players like Madison Bumgarner would have MASSIVE incentives to use PEDs. If they were merely voidable at the whim of the owner, the owners would have incentives with respect to drug testing other than making the game a clean one.

Finally, note how Abraham puts this all on the MLBPA. He’s not alone in this, as Buster Olney has been tweeting and writing all morning about what the union should and should not be doing to solve this problem. Obviously the union has a huge role as its players are the ones taking drugs, but to suggest that the union be the police force here and that it’s wholly incumbent upon it to solve this problem is silly.

For one thing, as I noted earlier today, a union’s purpose is to protect its members, not police them. To demand that they police them, to the point of undercutting some of their most important protections due to a disciplinary matter, is to turn the concept of a union on its head.

For another thing, as we learned throughout the height of the PED Era, ownership is not totally innocent when it comes to the permeation of PEDs in the game. The people who run baseball play a huge role in shaping the incentive structure of the game which causes some players to cheat. They are thus just as invested in and in just as good a position to help solve the problem at hand as the players are. They cannot, as these reporters would have them, sit back and demand that the MLBPA disembowel itself in order to eliminate PEDs from the game. It has to be a joint effort. Indeed, the drug rules in baseball have the word “JOINT” in the very title. It ain’t a Cheech and Chong reference, I can tell you that.

All of this reveals a certain hysteria that has always permeated the PED discussion in baseball coming to the fore once again. While they once ruled the game, PEDs are a relatively small problem now, comparatively speaking (note: neither Abraham nor Olney bother to establish that they’re actually a big problem or that things are getting worse; they merely assert it and assume it). A problem which, like drugs and cheating in every other walk of life, cannot be wholly eliminated and should not be ignored, but which can be and generally is effectively managed.

Yet here we are with two of the more influential voices in the game — and many others I’ve seen already today but didn’t bother to link here — pushing the panic button and demanding the ridiculous with no basis whatsoever. What is it about this subject, in this sport only, of course, that makes people lose their frickin’ minds?