On his latest podcast, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand chats with just-minted Reds GM Nick Krall, who took a grinder’s approach to getting into the game. The back story is an interesting listen and also provides some insight into Krall’s background with the Moneyball-era A’s. Of what he learned from Billy Beane, Krall says he was impressed by Beane’s scope of knowledge of players from outside the Oakland organization along with his certitude as to “what he wanted on his team.” From former Reds GM Walt Jocketty, Krall says he learned to exercise greater patience. (Krall describes himself as “a very impatient person” by nature.) It’s a worthwhile listen for fans who want to learn more about the most recent person to be named a major-league general manager.
Here’s more from the NL Central:
- Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at a few interesting subjects involving the Pirates. In particular, she dives into the question of fastball velocity in regard to closer Felipe Vazquez, whose slight loss of speed does not seem to represent much cause for concern — particularly since he has actually increased the spin rate on the offering. Though Vazquez only carries a 3.86 ERA on the year, it’s worth noting too that he has been hurt by a 58.3% strand rate. That said, while Vazquez is still getting loads of swinging strikes, his walk rate has gone backwards and he isn’t getting as many grounders as he has in years past. At this point, he hasn’t shown quite the level of dominance he did in 2017, but there’s not yet any reason to believe he won’t be a quality late-inning arm for the foreseeable future.
- The Brewers activated righty Chase Anderson from the DL to take the ball yesterday, optioning Freddy Peralta to open a roster spot. It’s certainly good news for Milwaukee that Anderson was able to bounce back quickly from illness; now, the 30-year-old will look go get back on track after a messy start to the year. He has managed a 3.86 ERA in 51 1/3 frames, but has showing worrying trends in his peripherals that have fielding-independent pitching metrics raising red flags (6.02 FIP; 5.36 xFIP; 5.16 SIERA). The brief respite for Anderson may not have been the worst thing for all involved. In addition to giving him a chance to get sorted, the team surely now feels like it has a better sense of Peralta’s potential to help at the MLB level in the near term. His second outing wasn’t quite as stirring as his first, to be sure, but Peralta impressed overall by allowing just four earned runs on four hits while recording 18 strikeouts against eight walks in 9 2/3 innings.
- Over at Fangraphs, there are a couple pieces well worth a read for fans of the division. Jeff Sullivan examines the curious case of Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks, the flamethrowing reliever who has thus far registered very few strikeouts. It’s a well-balanced take on the youngster, who certainly has exhibited a fascinating skill but still will need to make improvements to become a dominant MLB reliever. Speaking of fastballs, Jay Jaffe looks at the arsenal of Cubs starter Yu Darvish and his reasonably promising return from the DL. It’s a complicated picture, but well worth a look for anyone looking to gauge where things are headed for the high-priced hurler.