There’s an idea out there that a pitcher who works faster pitches better. He gets more strikes called and his defense doesn’t go to sleep on him. The idea is that guys who plod along, in contrast, struggle to get borderline calls and generally labor. Work fast, throw strikes, baby.
But is it true? Or is this a situation in which we really just remember good fast workers like Greg Maddux who would’ve been threading the needle anyway and slow, plodding guys who struggle? Alternatively — or in addition? — is it just that we find fast work from a pitcher more aesthetically pleasing than slow work and thus assume that faster pitching means more effective pitching?
Those are some complicated questions, but Ben Lindbergh is a smart guy and yesterday he tackled them over at The Ringer. The results, as is often the case when the questions are complicated, are less than clear cut, but as with most things baseball-related, the journey is interesting even if things turn out a bit muddled.
Oh, and Ben works fast too, so there’s that.
At the end of January, the Nationals signed relievers Joe Nathan and Matt Albers. Today the Nationals have released Joe Nathan and Matt Albers.
Nathan, 42, pitched in just ten games last year, totaling only six and a third innings, between the Giants and the Cubs. He missed the entire 2015 season except for one third of an inning on Opening Day. Albers pitched in 58 games for the White Sox last year, posting an unsightly 6.31 ERA He pitched wonderfully in 30 games in 2015 however.
This spring Nathan and Albers pitched in more games than any other Nats relievers. Twelve for Nathan, ten for Albers. And they pitched well, with Nathan giving up five earned runs and Albers none. Apparently, however, there just isn’t room on the roster for those two.
This could be the end of the line for Nathan, a 16-year veteran with 377 career saves.
The substance of the report is not shocking. Francisco Lindor is one of baseball’s brightest young stars and the Cleveland Indians would, no doubt, wish to lock him up for an extended period of time. The surprising part is the guy who reported that, yes, the Indians are working to get Lindor a seven-year extension.
That guy: six-year-old Brody Chernoff, son of Indians general manager Mike Chernoff. Brody was invited into the team’s broadcast booth during the ninth inning of their game against the Chicago White Sox. Indians announcer Tom Hamilton asked, no doubt jokingly, if his working on anything interesting. Brody:
“He’s trying to get, um, Lindor to play for seven more years,”
Again, not shocking. It would’ve been way worse if Brody had said “Dad’s working on a three-way deal that’ll send Naquin to an NL team in order to affect a three-way trade that’ll land us Verlander without having to deal directly with a divisional rival.” But I imagine Dad still would’ve preferred he not mention that.