In the wake of the sign-stealing scandal that has enveloped the Astros and become perhaps the biggest story of the offseason, Astros fan Tony Adams decided to analyze the data from the 2017 season in perhaps the more straight-forward way possible — Adams listened for any loud banging sounds (i.e. someone hitting a trash can) during every opponents’ pitch thrown during Astros home games in 2017. The whistling, clapping, and vocal signals the Astros allegedly also used to alert batters weren’t chronicled, as such sounds are harder to detect amidst the usual sounds of the ballpark.
After breaking down the 58 Houston home games that had available video, Adams made his work public at SignStealingScandal.com, with intriguing results. The banging sounds were almost non-existent for the first two months of the season before spiking during a May 28 game against Baltimore (an 8-4 Astros win) and then staying at a noticeably high level for most of the remaining games over the following four months. More data is available on a game-by-game basis, and on a player-by-player basis.
More from around the baseball world…
- Will Venable interviewed for the Astros’ managerial vacancy earlier this month and for the Cubs’ and Giants’ jobs earlier this offseason, though he appears to be stepping out of the managerial race for the time being. MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that Venable will remain as the Cubs’ third base coach and thus won’t be a candidate to fill the sport’s last remaining managerial opening with the Red Sox.
- After undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-2018, Brent Suter returned to the Brewers in a relief role in September and looked tremendous, allowing just a single earned run in 18 1/3 innings (for a tiny 0.49 ERA). While the Brewers generally like to be as flexible as possible with their pitchers’ assignments, GM David Stearns told reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that he thinks Suter will continue to work as a reliever in 2020. “We’ll make sure Brent lengthens out so that he can cover multiple innings and accentuate his versatility. It’s keeping someone in a role where they’ve demonstrated they can be successful,” Stearns said. Suter pitched mostly as a reliever in his 2016 rookie season but started 32 of 42 appearances in 2017-18, though rarely pitching too deep into games. A soft-contact specialist whose fastball averaged only 87.5mph last season, Suter provides quite a contrast paired alongside with Milwaukee’s other multi-inning relief ace, the hard-throwing strikeout machine Josh Hader.
- Korean outfielder Jae-Hwan Kim did not draw sufficient interest from MLB teams this winter to make a move across the Pacific, but he’s determined to try again after the 2020 campaign, Jee-ho Yoo of Yonhap News reports. “If I do well this year, I’ll take another shot at the majors,” Kim said. The outfielder had a monster run with the Doosan Bears from 2016-18, averaging nearly 40 homers per season and topping the 1.000 OPS plateau in all three years. In 2019, however, Kim dropped back to a .283/.362/.434 slash and 15 dingers last year, which he said isn’t just a reflection of the suppressed KBO offensive environment. Kim is hoping to iron out his swing in 2020 and turn in a convincing season before offering his services again to big league clubs.