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Author: Matt Musico

10 Unheralded MLB players off to great starts in 2019

By: Matt Musico | May 23, 2019 One of the great things about baseball is that in order for a team to succeed, there needs to be production from just about every player on the active roster — both the well-known and not-so-well-known guys. Mike Trout is a perfect example of this. He could end up being the best baseball player to ever play, but the Los Angeles Angels have only made the playoffs once since his first full season in 2012. Why is that? Well, the Angels have mostly been “Trout and all the other guys” for the...

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Shane Bieber's adjustments are yielding positive results

By: Matt Musico | May 20, 2019 Every game matters for the Cleveland Indians as they chase the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central. Starting pitcher Shane Bieber took it upon himself to give his squad a series victory over the Baltimore Orioles with an absolutely dominant outing on Sunday. The 23-year-old threw his first career complete-game shutout and struck out a career-high 15 hitters in the process. That performance led to some eye-popping statistics: That’s what you call a good day at the office. Although the young right-hander has already tossed 58.2 innings, this particular outing will...

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Six MLB players who must get their season back on track

By: Matt Musico | May 15, 2019 The 2019 MLB regular season is only about seven weeks old in what ends up being a six-month journey. But as Memorial Day approaches, the excuses of “Well, it’s early” and “Don’t worry, it’s just a small sample size” are no longer good enough. As Hall of Famer Yogi Berra would say, it’s starting to get late early for a number of big-league teams and players who have started slow. The following six players are coming off different kinds of 2018 performances — some where stellar and career-defining while others entered this...

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Michael Brantley has already paid off for the Astros

By: Matt Musico | May 14, 2019 There are good teams, and then there are teams who always seem to make the right decisions. Since the Houston Astros’ painful rebuilding process finished in time to win the 2017 World Series, they certainly fall into the latter category. The latest example is the organization’s acquisition of outfielder Michael Brantley this past winter. The former Cleveland Indian officially took his talents to Houston about a week before Christmas to the tune of two years and $32 million. Based on his early-season performance, it seems like he’s enjoying his new surroundings. Through...

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What's going on with Joey Votto?

By: Matt Musico | May 12, 2019 Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto has been among baseball’s best players — and most certainly among the game’s best first basemen — for most of his MLB career. As the veteran continues to accrue big-league experience, the never-ending question will be whether he can sustain some level of high performance through the end of his contract (which concludes after the 2023 campaign). The soon-to-be 36-year-old isn’t exactly silencing those questions to start this season, unfortunately. Through 160 plate appearances, the former NL MVP is slashing .206/.325/.338 with three home runs and...

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Hunter Pence now has this in common with Lou Gehrig

By: Matt Musico | May 10, 2019 Hunter Pence has experienced a nice MLB career, but he’s probably never heard his name mentioned in the same breath as Lou Gehrig. Until now, that is. The veteran outfielder’s last two years with the San Francisco Giants were painful to watch, and it wouldn’t have been surprising if his time in the big-league had come to an end following the conclusion of 2018. Instead of accepting defeat and hanging up his spikes sooner than he wanted, the 36-year-old played winter ball and revamped his swing. That led to a minor-league deal...

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Six MLB teams who have drastically changed their playoff odds

By: Matt Musico | May 8, 2019 Regardless of preseason expectations, just about every MLB club is fighting for a chance to punch a ticket to the playoffs. While the regular season hasn’t even reached Memorial Day yet, a handful of teams have already done a number on their 2019 playoff odds — both the good and the bad kind. Prior to Opening Day, we looked at eight different teams who entered the year with intriguing playoff odds. We’ve taken that data and put it up against current playoff odds to see who has taken the biggest climbs and...

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Kris Bryant is back to crushing baseballs

By: Matt Musico | May 6, 2019 About a month ago, the Chicago Cubs were sitting in last place in the super-competitive National League Central with a 1-6 record. They’ve gone 18-6 since then, with a 13-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday night to propel them into first place for the time being. The man who really put an exclamation point on that victory? That’d be Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who did this in the eighth inning: After being limited to 13 home runs and a .188 ISO in 457 plate appearances last season because of...

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The 10 worst MLB players so far in 2019

By: Matt Musico | May 2, 2019 A lot can happen in six months, which is why we try to not jump to conclusions about MLB player and team results with just one month in the books. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a good look at what transpired on the diamond, though. After spotlighting the best hitters and starting pitchers from March and April, 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 starting pitchers. It’s safe...

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The 10 best MLB players so far in 2019

By: Matt Musico | May 1, 2019 If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times — the MLB regular season is a marathon, not a sprint. A good start to the year guarantees players and teams nothing come September and October. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still welcome it with open arms, though. 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 possible. The following 10 players — five hitters and five starting pitchers — have managed to maximize their...

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Reynaldo Lopez's dominant start summed up in six tweets

By: Matt Musico | April 28, 2019 The start of Reynaldo Lopez‘s 2019 season hasn’t exactly been smooth, but none of that mattered on Sunday. Entering his start against the Detroit Tigers, the 25-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.46 ERA and 1.89 WHIP to go along with a 20.7% strikeout rate, 11.6% walk rate, and 2.49 home runs allowed per nine innings in 25.1 frames. His last two starts were a huge improvement over his first three, but Lopez’s -0.2 fWAR was tied with Jhoulys Chacin and Miles Mikolas for the second-worst mark in baseball among qualified starters. Although...

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Seven MLB pitchers experiencing a surge in strikeout rate

By: Matt Musico | April 25, 2019 While there is still plenty of baseball left in 2019, enough games have been played where we can start drawing certain conclusions. Moving forward, it’ll be up to the players themselves as to whether they can erase a slow start or sustain a fast one to prove those conclusions as right or wrong. One trend that starts to get noticed with about a month of the season in the books is changes in strikeout rate. Strikeouts are more prevalent today than they’ve ever been in today’s game, and there are a handful...

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This Christian Yelich statistic is pretty outrageous

By: Matt Musico | April 23, 2019 Clearly, being the reigning National League MVP isn’t enough for Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich. While there’s still about five months of baseball left before writers are tasked with voting for Senior Circuit’s best player, the 27-year-old is already making a case to win the award again. As he enters Tuesday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Yelich is slashing .337/.439/.820 with 13 home runs, 31 RBI, and 23 runs scored. That’s produced a 210 wRC+ and 2.0 fWAR through just 107 plate appearances. Among qualified NL hitters, only Cody Bellinger has...

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