In the wake of Brandon McCarthy’s scary-as-all-get-out injury on that comebacker last year, we heard a lot about padded caps for pitchers. Major League Baseball was certainly interested and conducted tests on some. But they didn’t pass muster so, as William Weinbaum of ESPN.com reports, the league is passing for now.
McCarthy himself tested the caps and said, unequivocally, that they’re no good as far as feel and functionality. Which is really going to be the key to such caps being used anyway. Pitching mechanics are sensitive enough. Having a hat that feels weird is certain to throw many pitchers off.
Maybe it happens eventually, but it’s back to the drawing board for the equipment makers.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.