Yes, Calvin Pickering, Carlos Baerga and Nick Esasky showed up for the Fenway bash

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There was no keeping up with all 216 players to show up on the Fenway Park field for the 100th anniversary celebration today. Fortunately, the Boston Globe has a list of all those in attendance.

Among the one-and-done Red Sox there were Carlos Baerga, Mark Whiten, Nick Esasky, Calvin Pickering, Sean Casey, Luis Alicea (I guess it only seemed like he was there for five years of mediocrity), Anastacio Martinez, Nick Green, James Lofton (no, that wasn’t Kenny), Kevin Jarvis, Wayne Gomes, Billy Jo Robidoux, Scott Schoeneweis and Dave Valle (.158 in 76 AB for the ’94 Red Sox).

There were plenty of notable absences, too. We knew Curt Schilling wasn’t coming, and Roger Clemens probably has some other things on his mind. But Wade Boggs couldn’t make it. Semi-active major leaguers Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon weren’t there (Manny’s suspension might not have permitted him to be on the field anyway). Trot Nixon reportedly was attending his son’s Little League game. Yankees employees John Flaherty, Tony Pena and David Cone apparently weren’t willing to put on Red Sox uniforms. Dave Roberts had coaching obligations with the Padres.

Some other former Red Sox missing: Fred Lynn, Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks, Bill Mueller, John Valentin, Troy O’Leary, Doug Mirabelli, Orlando Cabrera, Mark Bellhorn, Marty Barrett, Rickey Henderson, J.D. Drew, Bob Stanley and Rich Garces.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.