AL Cy Young Award on tap today

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This should be a no-brainer.  The only reason — and it’s not a good reason — that anyone would not have Zack Greinke listed #1 on their ballot is because they don’t think his 16 wins for an awful team are worth the 19 wins CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander posted for good teams.

Such a vote would have to come despite Greinke’s better ERA and better ratios. Such a vote would also have to ignore the fact that Greinke had four starts in which he got no decisions despite allowing zero runs or one run. Indeed, overall, Greinke averaged seven innings and an ERA of 2.35 in his nine no-decisions. He’d easily have 20 wins — and probably more — if he played for even a merely crappy team instead of that train wreck in Kansas City.  The upshot:  if Greinke doesn’t win the Cy Young Award today, we’ll be witnessing one of the larger miscarriages of justice in postseason awards history.

Beyond Greinke I put them in this order:  Felix Hernandez (great season, but behind Greinke everywhere that matters), Roy Halladay (ditto, but behind Hernandez), Justin Verlander (ERA too high for serious consideration) and CC Sabathia (a win for CC would be to give the CY Young to the Yankees lineup).

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.