There are a lot of aspects of baseball in which the digital world has changed things for the better. The evolution of baseball statistics, first and foremost, has changed the game forever for the better. Instant replay allows umpires to get right calls that otherwise would have been wrong. But there are some negatives too, and one that is near and dear to my heart is the typed-out lineup card.
Just look at this abomination from Wednesday’s Brewers/Phillies game:
Now compare that to the Phillies’ lineup card for Friday night’s game against the Marlins:
It’s a thing of beauty.
And here’s a Brewers lineup card from last March:
You unsung heroes who turn lineup cards into art, keep doing what you do. There are some of us out there who appreciate it.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.