Chucking a fastball hard is a thrill. Throwing it fast enough that major league hitters can’t put lumber on it is exhilarating. Throwing it 106 mph is epic. Depending on which reading, i.e. radar gun, you believe, Aroldis Chapman tossed a pitch at 106 mph earlier this week. However, another reading at the game said the pitch came in at 105 while another had the pitch at 102.4. How is is that the pitch was recorded at three different velocities? Jeff Passan has a fascinating article about the pitch and how mph marks are recorded in Chapman’s 106-mph Fastball Was Likely Bogus.
Jed Lowrie is the hot add in all circles, and who could be blamed for wanting to add the Red Sox infielder who is hitting an amazing .457 with nine RBI and eight runs scored through 12 games. Here’s what I have to say about Lowrie.
(1) You had better add Lowrie immediately if you are going to make the move. If we assume he hits .300 in 500 at-bats this season that means he is going to hit .288 the rest of the way (134 for 465). Each day you wait, that average will likely fall – that is unless you think he has a legitimate shot to bat better than .300 this year.
(2) Lowrie is a fine hitter, but make sure you don’t overvalue his recent work. I know he has hit .316 with 11 homers since the start of last season, but are you really thinking he is going to be able to keep up a .315, 30 homer pace? You really think he is the next Alex Rodriguez at shortstop? Don’t forget that he his slash line was .235/.313/.423 over his first 349 at-bats with the Red Sox.
(3) Lowrie is clearly white hot and deserves to be starting, but will he be able to hold off Marco Scutaro all year? It’s not like the Red Sox don’t have the money to pay a guy $5 million to come off the bench, but Scutaro has been a very solid hitter the past two years who has produced an average 5×5 line of .279-12-58-96-10. Are the Sox going to give up on him completely after just three weeks? I kind of doubt that.
Brandon Wood was designated for assignment on Tuesday meaning that his tenure as an Angel might finally be over. At one point named the #3 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America (2006), Wood has been an unmitigated disaster in the big leagues. In 464 career at-bats he has hit .168 with 11 homers, 33 RBI, a .197 OBP and a .455 OPS. How historically pitiful is that effort? Amongst players who have had 475 plate appearances in their careers while primarily playing third base, Wood has the second worst average ever (.169), the worst OBP (.198) and the second worst OPS (.458)… in the history of the game. How a guy who owns a .284/.352/.536 line in more than 750 minor league games, and one who had one of the greatest minor league seasons in recent memory in 2005 (.321-43-116-110 in just 134 games) has been unable to do anything in the big leagues is one of the greatest mysterious of the 21st century. Maybe Wood lost his game in the woods while he was searching for Bigfoot.
I know it has nothing to do with baseball, but as an unabashed San Jose Sharks I just have to mention it. Did you see that the Sharks came back in Game 3 against the Kings from a 4-0 deficit to win 6-5 in OT? That effort was just the fourth in the history of the NHL playoffs in which a team was able to overcome a four goal deficit to win. If you get a chance to see the game on reply jump all over it. The one word I keep using to describe it – amazing.
By Ray Flowers