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Cody Bellinger’s star is shining in Los Angeles. For now.

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Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger has burst onto the scene in his first eight games in the bigs. He’s 10 for his first 29 with two homers, a double and a triple. He’s walked three times and he’s driven in 5. Last night he was one of the Dodgers many offensive heroes, going 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, and three RBI. This after an age-20 minor league season in which he hit 26 homers in 117 games in Double-A and Triple-A, where the competition tends to be far older.

Even with that production, it’s hard for someone so young to make his mark on a veteran-laden major league club. As such, there’s a very good chance that the young outfielder’s days in the bigs are numbered. At least for now.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters last week that Bellinger would return to Triple-A Oklahoma City once Franklin Gutierrez recovered from his hamstring injury and Joc Pederson, who has a groin injury, came off the disabled list. Gutierrez is back (and homered last night). Pederson is due to be activated on Friday. That will likely leave no place for Bellinger, despite the fact that Roberts praised him effusively last night, saying that Bellinger has “done everything he can” to stick around in the majors. Such is the lot of a 21-year-old with options who plays for a contender.

There is one thing worth watching, however, which could give Bellinger a bit more time in the show: Adrian Gonzalez‘s forearm.

Gonzalez has been bothered by a sore forearm all year and he was held out of the starting lineup last night (he did pinch hit and hit an RBI single). There was speculation that he may sit again for tonight’s game against the Giants  If Gonzalez is fine, the Dodgers will likely send Bellinger back to Oklahoma City when Pederson is activated. But if he isn’t fine — and if the Dodgers, who have won seven of 10 want to give him some extra rest to ensure he’s good later in the season — they could DL Gonzalez and allow Bellinger to cover first base for ten more days.

Probably not likely. Gonzalez is not one who takes much time off nor does he seem to like to. And, obviously, no one wants a player to be injured, even to make room for another player. But when you get a ton of enjoyment from watching young stars shine, you try to construct scenarios that allow them to shine a little longer.

So, nothing personal, Adrian, but if you want to take a little break to get your strength back up, we’d all totally understand.

Astros exemplify the player-unfriendly bent of analytics

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Even as recently as a decade ago, Sabermetrics was a niche interest among baseball fans. As various concepts began to gain acceptance in the mainstream, players slowly began to accept them as well. Players like Brian Bannister and Zack Greinke were hailed as examples of a new breed of player — one who marries his athleticism with the utilization of analytics. This year, much was made of certain players’ data-driven adjustments, including Daniel Murphy and J.D. Martinez. Both had great seasons as a result of focusing more on hitting more fly balls instead of ground balls and line drives.

Statistics can clearly benefit players. They can also be used against them, and not just by opposing players. The Astros, who are in the World Series for the first time since 2005, are a great example of this. The Astros spent a few years rebuilding after a complete overhaul of the front office, which included bringing in analytically-fluent Jeff Luhnow as GM after the 2011 season. That overhaul instilled so much confidence that, in 2014, Sports Illustrated writer Ben Reiter predicted that the Astros would win the 2017 World Series. He’s only four Astros wins away from being proven correct.

The Astros’ front office, though, took advantage of its players at various times throughout the process. Their success is owed, in part, to exploiting its players. On Twitter, user @chicken__puppet chained a few tweets together exemplifying this:

At its core, analytics is about optimization: getting the most bang for your buck. If you read Moneyball, you know this. Wins Above Replacement (WAR) quickly became synonymous with the field and $/WAR was a natural next step. Sabermetrics defaulted to ownership’s perspective, so highly-paid players who performed poorly were scorned. Cheap players who performed well were lauded.

It is no mere coincidence that once most front offices installed analytics departments, teams stopped handing out so many outrageous contracts to free agent first baseman/DH types. Instead, teams focused on signing their young players to long-term contract extensions to buy out their arbitration years ahead of time, ostensibly saving ownership and the team boatloads of money. Teams began to pay close attention to service time as well. Service time determines when a player becomes eligible for arbitration and free agency, so teams that are able to finagle their players’ service time can potentially delay that player’s free agency by a year. The Cubs tried to do this with third baseman Kris Bryant in 2015, as Craig wrote about.

There is a very real ethical component to covering and being a fan of Major League Baseball, despite the common plea to separate sports from politics. The Astros and Cubs aren’t the only ones exploiting their players; the Angels, for example, made some odd personnel choices earlier this season that happened to allow them to avoid paying some players incentive bonuses. Every front office, in one way or another, games the system because the system is set up to benefit ownership first and players second. And if the likes of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa can be taken advantage of so freely and openly, what hope does anyone else have?

Fans have been conditioned to group players and owners together as one group of rich people. In reality, the player earning $30 million has more in common with the office worker making $35,000 a year than with team owners. When fans hear about Correa making $507,500 instead of $550,000, or about free agent who wants a nine-figure contract, they wonder why he had the nerve to ask for so much money in the first place. We praise players, like Cliff Lee, who “leave money on the table.” Both the player and that fan, by virtue of existing and participating in this system, are locked in an eternal battle with those who cut their paychecks. Regardless of salary differences, the player deserves to benefit from the fruits of his labor as much as the office worker. Part of being a baseball fan should also include rooting for the players’ financial success and not just the owners’.

Praising the Astros for being smart and savvy will only create more incentive for other front offices to mimic these unethical behaviors. The whole theme of the World Series shouldn’t be about smart, analytically-inclined teams reaching the summit; it should in part be about teams getting ahead with a multitude of exploitative practices against their players.