Dodgers acquire Michael Young from the Phillies

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With an hour left in August, the Dodgers have acquired infielder Michael Young from the Phillies, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Young will be eligible for the post-season roster.

Rosenthal reports that the Phillies will receive 24-year-old left-handed Minor League pitcher Rob Rasmussen. He spent this season between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque, posting an aggregate 4.11 ERA with mediocre strikeout and walk rates. He was originally selected by the Marlins in the second round of the 2010 draft.

Young, who turns 37 years old in October, went 3-for-5 today against the Cubs, continuing a torrid stretch of hitting. It was his fifth multi-hit game in his last six games, including a 4-for-5 performance last night. Overall, he has been about average offensively, but his defense has made him one of the league’s least valuable players according to Baseball Reference.

Young is eligible for free agency after the season.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.