Kris Medlen

Kris Medlen expects to have another Tommy John surgery


There’s been no official announcement yet because he’s seeking a second opinion, but Braves right-hander Kris Medlen told reporters today that he expects to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery.

Medlen injured his elbow on a pitch Sunday and actually remained in the game for two more pitches, but eventually exited after bouncing a ball to the plate while clearly in pain. He’s already had one Tommy John surgery in his career, so Medlen admitted that staying in the game was mostly him being frustrated and in denial.

His injury–along with fellow Atlanta starters Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor also being hurt–is a big part of why the Braves signed Ervin Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million deal this morning. Medlen was one of the NL’s best starters in both 2012 and 2013, combining to throw 335 innings with a 2.47 ERA and 277/70 K/BB ratio after coming back from the first surgery. Going under the knife a second time would cost him all of 2014 and potentially part of 2015 as well.

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.