Delmon Young “accepting his walks, not expanding his strike zone”

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File this under stuff that makes predicting playoff baseball a fool’s errand. Because Joe Maddon gave the quote in the headline in Marc Topkin’s article noting Delmon Young’s contribution to the Rays since joining the team in August.

And your first impulse is to mock. But then you go look and realize that since joining the Rays Young has walked six times in 70 plate appearances, or once every 11.6 plate appearances. For his career he’s walked once every 28.3 plate appearances.

No, that doesn’t mean he’s a changed man. It’s 70 freaking plate appearances, and we know what best explains that. But it does go to show you that the relatively small number of plate appearances any guy gets in the playoffs mean very, very little. Which, in turn, makes the playoffs really exciting and makes predicting their outcome a somewhat insane and impossible endeavor.

The smart money has Delmon Young swinging at the first pitch in a bad moment. But the fact that he could, quite conceivably, work an eight pitch walk to load the bases for Sean Rodriguez or James Loney or something in the ninth inning of an elimination game is kinda awesome. It’s baseball without the long view that the regular season causes us to usually take.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.