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Author: Matt Musico

Juan Soto has found himself in uncharted waters

By: Matt Musico | July 16, 2018 All the way back in April, outfielder Juan Soto was just like any other prospect. Sure, he was viewed as one of the Washington Nationals’ top minor leaguers, but he was still just a 19-year-old gearing up for his first experience in High-A ball. Fast-forward just a few months to the big league All-Star break, and it’s safe to assume he’s accomplishing things even he didn’t expect. After posting a ridiculous .790 slugging percentage and 242 wRC+ through 73 plate appearances in High-A, Soto was moved up to Double-A. He wasn’t quite...

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Chris Sale's ability to rack up strikeouts is absurd

By: Matt Musico | July 12, 2018 It’s pretty safe to assume the Boston Red Sox are happy they did what was necessary to acquire left-handed pitcher Chris Sale prior to 2017. All the dude does is strike people out. After posting career highs in strikeout rate (36.2%), strikeouts per nine innings (12.93), and overall strikeouts in a year (308) last season, the southpaw is up to more of the same in 2018. His most recent start took place at home against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night, and he was his usual dominant self. In a winning effort,...

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Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez love copying each other

By: Matt Musico | July 11, 2018 Among all MLB teams currently holding a playoff spot heading into Wednesday’s action, the Cleveland Indians hold the worst record with a mark of 49-41. They appear all but assured of another trip to October, though, thanks to an incredibly weak American League Central. After all, it’s hard to envision them not making the playoffs since they’ve built up an 8.5-game lead and are the only squad in their division with a record above .500. The bullpen has been a glaring weakness for a team that’s thrived on elite pitching, but the...

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Clayton Kershaw has completely owned the San Diego Padres recently

By: Matt Musico | July 10, 2018 There are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw straight-up owning the San Diego Padres. The left-handed hurler faced the Padres at Petco Park on Monday, and it didn’t go well for the home team. Kershaw exited the contest after allowing just 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 5 in 6 shutout innings of work. If this sounds like a normal occurrence — especially recently — that’s because it has been. Here’s a quick glance at what he’s done against San Diego...

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Can the Philadelphia Phillies keep this weird trend going in 2018?

By: Matt Musico | July 5, 2018 The National League East division looks a helluva lot different right now than anyone would’ve expected back on Opening Day. Although the Washington Nationals needed more than a month to get themselves over .500, they began charging up the standings toward the surprising Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. The last month has been harsh on them, though. Entering action on Thursday, here’s how the performance of Philly, Atlanta, and Washington compared to one another. Since June 9Phillies 15-7Braves 12-9Nationals 5-17 — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 5, 2018 This dominant stretch has manager...

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Keon Broxton could teach a class on robbing home runs when it counts most

By: Matt Musico | July 4, 2018 Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton has had his ups and downs at the plate as a big leaguer. He’s proven to be awfully good at robbing game-altering home runs, though. Too many outfielders for too few spots on Milwaukee’s 25-man roster actually landed Broxton in Triple-A to start the season. He slashed .263/.336/.431 with 9 homers, 35 RBI, and 24 stolen bases in 295 plate appearances before getting recalled to the bigs. And that only happened because Lorenzo Cain was placed on the 10-day disabled list. He’s played every day since...

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Edwin Diaz has basically been automatic for the Seattle Mariners

By: Matt Musico | July 4, 2018 The Seattle Mariners have been surprising quite a few people so far this season. Entering action on July 4th, they’re just 0.5 games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the American League West off the strength of a 55-31 record. How have they been able to manage this, especially with second baseman Robinson Cano currently serving a suspension? Well, we’ve previously touched on their ability to win one-run games, which certainly helps. One of the keys to that level of success in close contests, though, is a strong bullpen. According to fWAR,...

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Los Angeles Dodgers pursuing both Manny Machado and Michael Fulmer (Report)

By: Matt Musico | July 3, 2018 It’s that time of the year, you guys. Not too long ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers looked like they were in big trouble. As recently as May 16th, they owned a disappointing 16-26 record and were dead-last in the National League West with an 8.5-game gap between them and first place. Things have changed quite a bit over the last month and a half, though. Entering action on Tuesday, manager Dave Roberts‘ club is just 1.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place off the strength of a 45-39 record. Now...

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The 10 worst MLB players in June

By: Matt Musico | July 3, 2018 A lot can happen over the course of an MLB regular season. That’s why we try to resist prematurely jumping to conclusions with regard to player and team performance. But now that we’re more than halfway though the regular season, we can start putting more weight behind the numbers we have at our disposal. After spotlighting the best hitters and starting pitchers from June, we’re doing the same for those guys on the opposite end of the spectrum. Once again, we’re going to rank hitter performances by wRC+, while Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA) will be used for the...

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The 10 best MLB players in June

By: Matt Musico | July 1, 2018 While the All-Star Game is still a couple weeks away in the nation’s capital, having three months of games now in the rear-view mirror tells us we’re smack in the middle of the MLB regular season. Baseball is a game defined by peaks and valleys, with the goal always being to maximize the peaks while minimizing the valleys as much as humanly possible. Plenty had an opportunity to make an impact during the month of June, but some took more advantage of it than others. The following 10 players — five hitters and...

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Here's what Nick Markakis and Hank Aaron have in common

By: Matt Musico | June 27, 2018 When asked about current MLB players that share similarities with Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, there are a few that likely come to mind. One that absolutely doesn’t is Atlanta Braves outfielder, Nick Markakis. Thanks to a tremendous start to his 2018 season for a club that’s surprisingly in playoff contention, that’s no longer true. The calendar hasn’t even flipped to July yet, but Markakis has already collected 102 hits and 50 RBI for Atlanta. The last time a Braves player accomplished this feat was, well, Hammer himself. Everything he’s accomplished thus...

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J.D. Martinez is doing exactly what the Boston Red Sox were hoping he'd do

By: Matt Musico | June 27, 2018 Although it took way too long to actually come to fruition, the Boston Red Sox had a sincere interest in slugger J.D. Martinez throughout the winter for one main reason: all of the dingers. In the organization’s first campaign without David Ortiz, Boston struggled with generating power, ranking last in the American League with 168 homers. It was already an issue that needed improvement, but the need became even greater once the New York Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton. Martinez’s 2017 campaign was limited to just 489 plate appearances, but he still managed to slug...

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Matt Carpenter has been crushing the ball at a ridiculous pace lately

By: Matt Musico | June 26, 2018 There were some clear reasons as to why St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter had struggled so mightily to start the 2018 season, but it was still confusing. How could that possibly be, you ask? Well, despite his general lack of contact and abnormally low swing rate (even for him), he was still making incredible contact when his bat actually connected with an incoming pitch. With a 39.5% hard-hit rate, 29.3% ground-ball rate, and .178 BABIP through his first 140 plate appearances (35 games), one had to imagine that positive regression was...

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Six impending MLB free agents that need to get back on track

By: Matt Musico | June 26, 2018 Reaching free agency can still be an exciting time in an MLB player’s career, last winter be damned. Being in a position to lock down a multi-year (and multi-million dollar) contract with a team you want to play for is something nearly everyone dreams about, regardless of the profession. As we continue inching closer to the All-Star break, the unofficial halfway point of the season is literally right around the corner. This means that for certain impending free agents, getting back on track prior to the offseason is of the utmost importance....

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Odubel Herrera just entered a pretty exclusive club

By: Matt Musico | June 23, 2018 The Philadelphia Phillies have surprised quite a few by jumping out to a 41-33 record to start the 2018 regular season. Their current plan has been working much better than expected, as they enter Sunday’s action just 1.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. One of the big reasons behind this surprising performance is Odubel Herrera, who seems to be experiencing a true breakout season at the plate. Through 306 plate appearances, the young outfielder is slashing .304/.357/.500 with 13 home runs, 43 RBI, and...

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Corey Kluber has been on another level for awhile now

By: Matt Musico | June 22, 2018 Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber has been locked in on the mound for so long that nobody ever actually remembers his struggles at the start of last season. Over the first month of play — which spanned 37.1 innings and six starts — he had stumbled out to a 5.06 ERA, 17.7% strikeout-to-walk rate, and 1.69 homers allowed per nine innings. Matters got worse upon the calendar flipping to May, as he hit the disabled list with a back strain that kept him out of commission until June 1st, 2017. Then,...

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Tyler Chatwood is walking an insane number of hitters

By: Matt Musico | June 20, 2018 The Chicago Cubs made an early splash last offseason by signing right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood to a three-year, $38 million deal. On the surface, this looked like a steal by Theo Epstein’s front office. After all, this was a hurler that had spent virtually his entire big-league career in Colorado, and apparently had shown potential to be the next Charlie Morton. Despite being an intriguing commodity in free agency, he also had plenty to prove in the way of harnessing his control. Nearly three months into his tenure with the Cubs, he’s...

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Glebyer Torres continues adding to his outrageous power surge

By: Matt Musico | June 20, 2018 At 48-22 heading into Wednesday’s action, the New York Yankees are easily one of baseball’s best teams. They’re also doing what many expected after acquiring Giancarlo Stanton over the winter. However, there’s no doubt they wouldn’t be where they currently are in the standings without the play of rookie second baseman, Gleyber Torres. Among Yankees position players with at least 190 plate appearances, only Aaron Judge has a better wRC+ (157) than Torres (145). The 21-year-old has shown no signs of his age or inexperience en route to slashing .291/.346/.566 to start his...

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The Baltimore Orioles' disappointing season can be summed up in two tweets

By: Matt Musico | June 19, 2018 Although the Baltimore Orioles entertained the idea of trading shortstop Manny Machado this past winter, they still entered the 2018 season with hopes of contending. Needless to say, the complete opposite has happened so far. Manger Buck Showalter‘s club won their 20th game of the year Sunday, making them the league’s final squad to reach that particular number. There are plenty of ways to explain what’s gone wrong in Baltimore, but let’s use a couple tweets that help put in perspective just how much they’ve struggled. The Orioles enter Tuesday’s action with...

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The Colorado Rockies' bullpen is downright awful

By: Matt Musico | June 18, 2018 The Colorado Rockies focused a lot on improving their bullpen over the winter. One has to wonder what the front office is thinking about those investments right about now. Between re-signing Jake McGee and signing Wade Davis and Bryan Shaw, Colorado invested a total of $106 million in bolstering their relief corps. The rationale behind it all made sense, but things haven’t worked out thus far. This lack of production hasn’t been limited to these three hurlers, though — it’s spreading throughout the bullpen like an epidemic. That’s a lot of runs...

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