Clubhouse chemistry still plays an important role in making a winner, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Multiple players — in rather thoughtful and interesting quotes — tell Nightengale that it is unwise to reject that factor as having causative effect simply because it can’t presently be measured. Indeed, while some adages have been questioned, the ever-changing capacity to measure and value various components of the game has in some cases validated “traditional” viewpoints (as in the case of catcher framing). And it’s not hard to imagine how a positive work environment could help boost play over a long season under often-stressful conditions. Of course, valuing that impact remains a highly inexact science, and it is difficult to separate out true “chemistry” from the generally positive aura of a club that happens to be winning games (due to whatever combination of talent and luck it may have enjoyed). Regardless of one’s feelings on the subject, the piece provides good fodder for thought.
For more reading on the topic, I highly recommend a 2013 piece by Sam Miller for ESPN, which goes into outstanding depth on the opportunities and limitations in this arena. Here are few more notes from around the league:
- Baseball America’s Ben Badler looks in at the latest on the developing market for Cuban talent. There’s too much to summarize here, but Badler includes updates on several of the players who are preparing to sign with major league teams as well as the latest developments and intrigue on those still in Cuba.
- We are in the midst of a historic season for Rule 5 prospects, writes BA’s J.J. Cooper. As he notes, with just days to go until rosters expand, it appears that a remarkable ten of fourteen picks from last winter will be kept by their new teams. Even better, several players — Odubel Herrera and Delino DeShields Jr. chief among them — have been real big league contributors.
- This season, like every other, has featured apparent breakouts from numerous players, only some of which will prove sustainable. In an Insider piece, ESPN.com’s Keith Law lists the nine men who are most likely to build off their big 2015 campaigns. Two of the names on the list — Shelby Miller of the Braves and Nathan Eovaldi of the Yankees — were acquired in offseason trades in hopes that they could regain upward trajectories.