Rob Neyer has noted on several occasions that baseball is penny wise and pound foolish, usually as it relates to paying and generally looking after minor leaguers. A big part of that is nutrition, which we hear about once a year or so when minor league meal allowances are reported. It’s not much money and the food it buys is pretty pathetic. Basically, any nutrition plan that all but explicitly calls for regular runs for the border is suspect.
There’s an interesting report from Zach Levine in the Houston Chronicle today about the consequences of such a lazy approach to feeding the prospects. The upshot: They lose weight and with it power as the season progresses.
Not that this is all baseball’s fault. I mean, we are dealing with boys between the ages of 18 and 22 and if there’s a demographic that makes poorer choices than boys that age I have yet to encounter it. Christ, even my son will eat an apple once in a while. You pull a bus full of broke minor leaguers into a Krystal’s parking lot and you got yourself a full-fledged natural disaster on your hands.
I realize that on any minor league team there are, like, four guys the organization really cares about with the rest constituting roster filler, but you’d think that baseball teams would want to pay closer attention to this stuff and make sure their investments aren’t eating chalupas and chili fries all the time.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.