My latest for The Athletic crunches the numbers on the 15 hitters to make the move from Nippon Professional Baseball to the major leagues without prior experience in a western-hemisphere league and uses them to make projections, and set expectations, for what Shohei Ohtani’s performance at the plate in 2018. As you’ll see, I discovered a surprising consistency in the manner in which those hitters’ production translated to MLB. It will be interesting to see if Ohtani’s performance follows suit this season.
Monthly Archives: March 2018
I somehow managed to get a Detroit Wolverines reference in the last two pieces I’ve had published. This one concerns the late-career returns of Hall of Fame-caliber players to the teams with which they formerly starred. I compiled a list of 53 such players stretching back to the 1893 Giants and found that such reunions aren’t always as depressing as you might think. However, at 44, Ichiro Suzuki is among the oldest of all of them.
This was something I had wanted to do for a long time, and the Tigers’ recent uniform changes gave me an excuse, and The Hardball Times actually paid me to do it. It’s a definitive history of the many (many) iterations of the Detroit Tigers’ Old English D, both the D’s on their jerseys and, more crucially, because previous to this there were no thorough resources for it, the D’s on their caps. It covers every Old English D in franchise history dating back to 1896, and includes at least a thumbnail image of each, nearly all of them taken from photographs of actual Tigers players in uniform.
Tigers fans and baseball historians may want to bookmark this one. Given how frequently the D has changed, this piece can be used to date photographs of Tigers players. It can also be used to expose just how inaccurate the Tigers’ caps in the Cooperstown Collection series by both New Era and American Needle are (though there are a few American Needle caps that get my stamp of approval available via Detroit Athletic Co.). If that sounds like a very specific pet peeve to you, you might want to avoid asking me about their St. Louis Browns caps. Unfortunately, I’m unlikely to get an excuse (or a paycheck) to do a history of the St. Louis Browns’ various cap logos.
My latest for The Athletic looks at Manny Machado’s move to shortstop for his walk year, the impact it could have on the Orioles’ wins and losses this season, and the impact it could have on Machado’s potentially record-breaking free agency in the fall.
In the latest episode of The Infinite Inning podcast, after introductory tales about a nineteenth-century pitcher who took the wrong train and a real-life Cookie monster, Steven Goldman and I get serious about gun control, service time manipulation, expanded rosters, four-man rotations, bench depth, retirement decisions, the Yankees, Angels, Pete Rose, Joe Mauer, Lucas Duda, and more in a wide-ranging conversation that necessitates two breaks and a Blazing Saddles clip. Enjoy!
The Twins came into the offseason with a clear need for pitching and a stated desire to go big in the pursuit of it. As we move into March, the Twins have added five arms (six if you include Rule 5 pick Tyler Kinley, a 27-year-old righty reliever out of the Marlins’ system who struggled in Double-A last year), but have they done enough to fend off the Angels and return to the Wild Card Game? My latest for The Athletic digs in to find the answer.