I had missed this until now, but there was a record set last night! Jacoby Ellsbury broke Pete Rose’s all-time record for reaching base via catcher’s interference.
He broke the mark with this 30th catcher’s interference in the fourth inning of last night’s Yankees-Rays game after his bat came in contact with Wilson Ramos‘ mitt. This comes a year after he set a single-season record in 2016, with 12 catcher’s interferences. He shattered that old record in fact, which had stood at eight. He shattered Rose’s record too, when you think about it. It took Ellsbury 5,308 plate appearances to do it 30 times. It took Rose 15,890 plate appearances to do it 29 times.
All of which strongly suggests that Ellsbury does this on purpose, drawing catcher’s inteferences the way some basketball players have a knack for drawing fouls. Opposing players certainly think so. Check this out from last year, when he set the single season record:
Ellsbury is not the player he once was, but he still as a special skill, and I guess that’s not nothing.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.