Ahead of MJ Melendez’s debut, Alec Lewis at The Athletic wrote about Merv’s path to getting the call, including working with Mike Tosar:
Tosar often begins with the hitter’s eyes. If they are in the correct position to see the baseball early, then the body is typically in the correct position. Notably, Melendez could only see the pitcher with part of his right eye.
“His whole body was closed out,” Tosar said. “Even his feet. His upper body was turned, which makes you do a couple different things: You’re going to get to the fastball later; you’re going to be late on fastballs. And if you do get to a fastball early, you’re going to be hooking balls.”
To eliminate that, Tosar suggested Melendez open his stance and shorten his leg kick. The goal? Minimize the movement. Melendez hit with Tosar about five times a week that offseason. One day, Tosar offered a cue in the form of one word.
“I’m going to give you the word,” he told Melendez, “and I want you to translate it into your swing.”
The word? Space.
We interrupt this Rumblings with an excuse to watch Bobby Witt, Jr. hit a home run basically off the ground:
Anne Rogers wrote a bit about minor league catcher Kale Emshoff being “one to watch” in her newsletter, as well as a note about Emshoff’s clothing brand:
“The reason behind Seams — it’s a brand that is built on the fact that everyone and everything has seams,” Emshoff said, reading through the motto he wrote when launching the line. “We all have different ‘seams’ that hold us together. Much like a baseball, these seams make us who we are and who we strive to be. … I built Seams to encourage others to show their seams by remembering where you come from and what makes you, you.”
Emshoff shaped that idea from his own past. He injured his elbow in the fall of 2018 during scout day and missed all of 2019 after having Tommy John surgery. He returned in the spring of 2020, hit .417 with seven homers in 17 games this spring, going deep in five of his last seven games before the season ended early. The shortened Draft hurt players like Emshoff the most, given that he could have been selected in the top 10 rounds. Instead, he was dubbed by multiple outlets as one of the top free agents on the first day of post-Draft activity, when teams could contact undrafted players about signing.
How common is an MLB starting pitcher with a K/9 as low as Zack Greinke’s right now? Not very, writes Joe Posnanski, and is he maybe doing his season this way on purpose?
Darin Watson highlights a 2003 Ken Harvey homer as one of the 50 greatest moments at Kauffman.
And now we will take a moment to watch MJ Melendez’s first MLB hit, as well:
Old friend Eric Hosmer is hitting like his hair is on fire.
Some AL Central news: Twins 1B Miguel Sanó needs knee surgery for a torn meniscus.
Joey Votto has been placed on the COVID IL.
Elsewhere in Joey Votto news, responded to a FanGraphs article wondering if he’s cooked:
The Angels optioned Jo Adell.
Here’s a neat tool for book readers that sorts books by location. So you can find books set in your favorite city!
I hadn’t realized Rhea Seehorn directed this week’s Better Call Saul until reading this recap from Alan Sepinwall.
Have you read the Vanity Fair two-part story about the Grey’s Anatomy writer who (allegedly) faked a rare cancer and then used that to advance her writing career? Here’s Part One and Part Two, or a synopsis if you’d prefer.
SOTD: this massively joyful moment from Coachella, Harry Styles and Shania Twain doing “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”