Sam McDowell gets an interesting answer from Matt Quatraro on his bullpen decisions Thursday.
But there was an extra layer to it Thursday, and this one in the sense that not all those right-handed stats are created equal.
“You know, guys coming off the bench tend to play down a little bit,” Quatraro added. That’s backed by the data. In the American League last season, pinch-hitters totaled an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .628. That’s compared to an OPS of .702 in all other spots.
So either the Royals get Garrett against a lefty, or they get him against pinch-hitters. Either way, the data shifts in their favor. In other words, it’s the role that makes the most sense for Garrett — even if it didn’t completely work out on the first try. These are a gambles. All playing the best odds, not the perfect odds.
David Lesky at Inside the Crown reacts to the Richard Lovelady trade.
I do think it was interesting that he was sent to the Braves and they chose to keep him in AAA while they’re currently rostering Michael Tonkin, who last pitched in the big leagues (and poorly) in 2017 and Kirby Yates, who has thrown 7.1 innings since the end of the 2019 season. I think the Royals could have kept Lovelady and moved on from someone else. I know Collin Snider had a great spring, but come on. Jonathan Heasley got lit up and has never really shown anything to me. I also don’t think it’s a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. I’m more bummed than anything that we didn’t get to see Lovelady have the success that he should have with the Royals and I really hope he finds it in Atlanta.
Craig Brown at Into the Fountains wrote about that shift the Royals employed.
The no-shift rule gave us one of the more unique moments of the afternoon when Joey Gallo yanked a ground ball between first and second to be fielded by MJ Melendez, who was playing an extremely shallow right field in something of an outfield shift. Gallo, who became the poster child for the ban the shift movement, often saw an alignment with an infielder positioned in short right field. The rules this year say the infielders have to be on the dirt, but outfielders can play anywhere.
Melendez couldn’t field the ball cleanly. That’s the difference right there. An infielder makes that play. An outfielder not used to fielding a ground ball with the purpose of throwing to first to get an out…maybe not so much.
Jesse Newell writes about the first Opening Day for Royals broadcaster Jake Eisenberg.
“It was an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for this chance, and it was pretty powerful — pretty powerful,” Eisenberg said following the Twins’ 2-0 victory over the Royals on Thursday. “I won’t forget today. I won’t forget that moment hopefully for as long as I live.”
The Giants sign catcher Gary Sanchez to a minor league deal.
Rockies pitcher Daniel Bard goes on the Injured List with anxiety.
The Pirates are negotiating a long-term deal with an opt out with Bryan Reynolds.
The Mariners acquire infielder Nick Solak from the Reds.
Opening Day saw faster games and more stolen bases.
The Astros get their championship rings.
Baltimore is trying to implement “The Oriole Way”.
Which players will be most impacted by the new MLB rules?
MLB is investigating an incident between Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon and an Athletics fan.
Michael Baumann at Fangraphs writes about the new labor deal with minor leaguers.
KU’s Gradey Dick is headed to the NBA.
Iowa and LSU will play for the NCAA women’s basketball championship.
Microplastics are messing with the biomes of seabirds.
John Wick’s most memorable fights, ranked.
Your song of the day is Survivor with High On You.