Eddie Joost: 1916-2011

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Eddie Joost, an All-Star shortstop who starred for the Philadelphia A’s in the 1940s and 1950s, died yesterday at age 94.

Joost played 17 seasons in the majors but didn’t find consistent success until age 31, when he drew 100 or more walks in six consecutive seasons while posting a .391 on-base percentage with an average of 18 homers and 97 runs per year.

He’s a prime example of how focusing on batting average can significantly undersell a player’s value, as Joost’s excellent defense, strong power for a shortstop, and spectacular plate discipline more than made up for a lowly .239 career batting average.

Consider that Joost had six consecutive 100-walk seasons and the rest of the shortstops in the history of baseball have combined for 21 total 100-walk seasons. And from 1947-1952 he ranked tied for seventh with Yogi Berra among all American League players in Wins Above Replacement behind Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Phil Rizzuto, Vern Stephens, and Lou Boudreau.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.