Some would accuse statistically-inclined baseball fans and (in particular) writers of sapping the joy out of the game. Quite often, though, that approach to America’s Pastime offers avenues for extending the exhilaration of the game as observed in real-time. Today’s offering from Craig Edwards of Fangraphs is one such example. In it, he examines — and endeavors to value — the bewitching effects Cubs star Javy Baez seemingly has on opposing defenders when he’s buzzing around the basepaths.
Here’s more from the game’s central divisions:
- There’s good news for the Indians on the progress of southpaw Andrew Miller, as Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports. The key reliever says he’s feeling good after a well-placed cortisone shot to his shoulder. That has given all involved some optimism that he’ll not only return late in the season, but will hit the ground running in time to prepare for the postseason. As Miller puts it: “I do feel it’s all in line right now and we’re getting ready to take off.” Of course, Miller’s showing the rest of the way will also be a major factor in deciding the outcome of his forthcoming trip onto the open market.
- A compelling postseason effort last year from Brandon Morrow was no doubt fresh on the collective mind of the Cubs organization when it signed him to be the team’s next closer. Though Morrow has been outstanding, he’s now dealing with arm issues and seemingly facing a tougher path back than Miller. As Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports, Morrow will attempt to throw from the mound on Sunday in a test that could make or break his hope to begin working toward a late-September return.
- While there aren’t any postseason implications involved, the Pirates are hoping to get two of their players back as well, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Whether or not that’ll come at the MLB level isn’t yet clear, but the Bucs say they want to find “some type of competition” to end the year for infielder Jung Ho Kang and righty Chad Kuhl. Both have missed lengthy stretches, Kang with a wrist injury that arose in the wake of a an even longer layoff due to a DUI conviction and Kuhl with arm troubles. As Brink notes, it seems Kang’s option will likely be declined regardless, but the club still stands to gain information that could help dictate whether it pursues a reunion (and, if so, at what price). As for Kuhl, team director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk says the organization “would like him to get up to game intensity, game speed, before the end of the season so he has a basic general health status on the forearm and the elbow” — that is, the two areas that have caused problems for him thus far.