Twins place Sam Fuld on the concussion disabled list

6 Comments

Sam Fuld has been playing since crashing into the outfield wall last Friday, but this morning he woke up with a severe headache and the Twins have placed him on the seven-day concussion disabled list.

Fuld has been starting in center field for the Twins because the normal starter, Aaron Hicks, was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list last week. And in addition to Hicks and now Fuld the Twins have also used the concussion DL for Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Trevor Plouffe, and Wilkin Ramirez within the past year. And before that Justin Morneau’s career was nearly ruined by a concussion.

As for who’ll play center field for the Twins now … well, today it’s Eduardo Escobar, a career-long infielder with zero center field experience who looked terrible in left field yesterday and misplayed a ball that probably cost Minnesota a game. Eduardo Nunez is another option, but he’s also a career-long infielder. And to think, not so long ago the Twins felt they had so much organizational center field depth that they traded Denard Span and Ben Revere in the same offseason.

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

Getty Images
8 Comments

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.