15-year-old right-hander Osiel Rodriguez may be the top international pitching prospect in the 2018 class, Ben Badler of Baseball America writes. The young Cuban pitcher threw 96 MPH at the Nations Baseball Showcase this past Thursday, striking out three of the five hitters he faced while retiring the other two on ground balls. Rodriguez threw 13 of his 17 pitches for strikes at the showcase. Badler notes that Rodriguez led Cuba’s 15U league with a 0.39 ERA across 69 innings in 2016 while striking out 127 hitters. He is eligible to sign beginning on July 2nd of 2018 and will certainly garner heavy attention from MLB teams.
Some other items across MLB…
- In another piece at Baseball America, Tim Newcomb sheds some light on the work of Ryan Smith (product manager for Wilson baseball gloves) to continually evolve the “colors, patterns, lengths, designs or features” of gloves. The trends are defined mostly by the needs of MLB’s top players. “There is no way we could be as good as we are if we didn’t have pros so in tune with their glove working on their craft daily and giving us feedback,” Smith says. The piece mentions Todd Frazier, Dustin Pedroia and Ivan Rodriguez as players who have had particular influence on Wilson’s products.
- Framing data is flooding baseball, Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs opines. The standard deviation between framing runs accrued by MLB teams has declined significantly over the past ten seasons, as Sullivan shows us. Also in his piece are graphs depicting called strikes above average; graphs which show that year-to-year relationships are disintegrating. “A good framer in 2016 was still likely to look like a good framer in 2017, but that couldn’t be said with very much confidence. The data is getting increasingly random,” Sullivan writes. The piece is fascinating for anyone interested in advanced defensive statistics and baseball trends.
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