O’s might be open to trading Chris Tillman this winter

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Chris Tillman was a second-round pick of the Mariners back in the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. He posted intriguing strikeout numbers at a few different levels of Single-A between 2006-2007 before being dealt in an offseason trade to the Orioles in 2008.

That’s when his profile really began rising.

Tillman registered a 3.18 ERA and 154/65 K/BB ratio across 135 2/3 innings for the O’s Triple-A affiliate in 2008, and was rated 22nd on Baseball America‘s Top 100 prospect rankings heading into the 2009 season. In July of 2009, he made his major league debut against the Royals to a good degree of hype.

But it’s been mostly downhill since then for Tillman, and now Roch Kubatko of MASN is hearing that Baltimore “would be willing to” trade the young righty this offseason if they’re able to find interest.

The 6-foot-5 Tillman posted a 5.52 ERA and 46/25 K/BB ratio in 62 innings this year in the majors and a 5.87 ERA over 53 2/3 innings in 2010. Even on an O’s roster that is short on reliable starting arms, he’s a longshot to land a spot in the 2012 Opening Day rotation. So rather than asking the 23-year-old to transition into a reliever, thus stunting his long-term potential, the O’s might go ahead and try to find him a new team.

Astros fan logs trash can bangs from 2017

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A fascinating and no doubt time consuming research project was released this morning. An Astros fan by the name of Tony Adams went through every Astros home game in the 2017 season and logged trash can bangs. Which, as you know, was the mechanism via which Astros players in the clubhouse signaled to hitters which pitch was coming.

Adams listened to every pitch from the Astros’ 2017 home games and made a note of any banging noise he could detect. There were 20 home games for which he did not have access to video. There were three “home” games which took place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida due to the team being displaced by hurricane Harvey and for which, obviously, the Astros’ camera setup from Minute Maid Park would not have been applicable.

Adams logged over 8,200 pitches and found banging before over 1,100 of those pitches. He graphed which players got the most bangs during their at batsMarwin Gonzalez got the most, with bangs coming before 147 of 776 pitches seen, followed by George Springer, who got bangs on 139 of 933. José Altuve had the least among regulars, with only 24 bangs in 866 pitches. One gets the sense that, perhaps, he felt that the banging would interfere with his normal pitch recognition process or something. Either way it’s worth noting that a lack of banging was also signal. Specifically, for a fastball. As such, Astros hitters were helped on a much higher percentage of pitches than what is depicted in the graphs themselves.

Adams reminds us that Commissioner Manfred’s report stated that the Astros also used hand-clapping, whistling, and yelling early in the season before settling on trash can banging. Those things were impossible to detect simply by watching video. As it is, Adams’ graphs of bangs-per-game shows that the can-banging plan dramatically ramped-up on May 28.

It’s hard to say anything definitive about the scope and effectiveness of the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme based on this study alone. Adams may or may not have been hearing everything and, as he notes, there may have been a lot more pitches relayed thought means other than trash can banging than we know. Alternatively it’s possible that Adams was marking some sounds as bangs that were not, in fact, Astros players sending signals to the batter. It’s probably an inexact science.

Still, this is an impressive undertaking that no doubt took a ton of time. And it at least begins to provide a glimpse into the Astros’ sign-stealing operation.