Mets reliever Carlos Torres had some weird things to say about Yasiel Puig

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Mets reliever Carlos Torres joined Casey Stern of Inside Pitch on MLB Network Radio today and he had some weird things to say about Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

You can listen to part of the interview below, but Stern tweeted out some of the highlights of the conversation:

I believe that Torres is referring to this game-saving catch from Heyward, which was actually from last season. And it was a tremendous play. Still, Torres obviously disagrees with his own manager, Terry Collins, who said that Puig’s play on Thursday night was the second-best catch he had ever seen. Either way, it’s a weird thing to criticize. Both were great.

Where Torres really loses me is this idea that the media is making him out to be better than he is. Last I checked, Puig is batting .343/.438/.614 in 43 games this season. Sure, he’ll always be a lightening rod for attention, both positively and negatively, but he doesn’t need the media’s help to let people know that he’s damn good at baseball.

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.