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HumpLinks: Spring is for Follies

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Daniel Nava was probably out there in left field completely baffled by his Spring batting success, playing his slash line over and over in his head, thus losing count of the outs.

Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

ScoreKeeper's Challenge: Ok, boys and girls, your task today is to whip out your scorekeeping books and document this double play. The correct answer is below...........

Have a bucket full of Can't-Count-to-Three-Links:

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Everywhere in Baseball

Spring Miracles: Just one game after Turks Teeth pointed out that Mike Trout had yet to strike out this Spring, Mike Trout struck out. So it's time to redirect the Magic K Ball. Daniel Nava has 13 hits in 21 at-bats and Johnny Giavotella has 9 hits in 28 at-bats. And neither player has a strikeout this Spring...........

Cron-ology: Are you a fan of C.J. Cron? Don't get your hopes up. He may be one of the Big 5 stories of the season, but for all the wrong reasons...........

On the Cheap: Sometimes things just add up in a way that makes me wonder. David Freese was signed by the Pirates for far below value. And pretty much nobody wanted Mr. Clutch all winter long. He might get the last laugh by having a solid year for a rising team that is now positioned for the playoffs again. But the part that makes me wonder is that this outcome suggests that had anyone around here suggested trading Freese for anything of value last year they would have been laughed away at the idea of sending off a player of real value (forget for the moment that we had nothing with which to replace Freese). What would actually been the outcome is that Dipoto/Stoneman wouldn't have found anybody willing to send back a bucket of balls...........

Meet The Future: We hear way too often about how reluctant players are to engage statistical performance data. And we hear most often from managers who are outspoken in their attitudes downplaying analytical approaches to strategic and tactical planning. And then, of course, there's Lyle Spencer and his CERA. What we don't hear enough of are the players who are active in their engagement towards knowledge and information as a means to boost their career success. So it's brilliantly refreshing to read the tale of Pittsburgh's Cole Figueroa. He studies physics and not only consumes data, he taught himself to code so that he could create his own data sets and answer his own questions. He also has a pretty good take on what might have been Jerry Dipoto's greatest weakness when in Anaheim: "People in general, it's easy for them to say ‘I'm not good at math. And if someone tries to feed you something you don't understand, you put up that wall. ... Tampa does a good job of ... giving players (manageable data) to consume." Even if Dipoto did not do a bad job of managing communications of data to the dugout, he certainly didn't do a good job. And Cole Figueroa, as a recipient of that kind of information, is a refreshingly engaging and highly qualified person to render that observation..........

Numbers Game: And Figueroa is right there in the middle of where all the action is behind the scenes in baseball. The ways that teams are investing in data gathering, data mining, and analytics is only growing at an accelerated pace. On a personal professional level I am thrilled because they have to store all that data someplace and that keeps me employed. ESPN dives into the recent SABR Conference and comes back with nuggets. Things such as using exit velocity to establish that Mike Trout is truly injured. Or that by properly position Andrelton Simmons this year, the Angels might realize and even better defender than the Braves enjoyed last year (when they did not position him correctly). Or doing brain scans on hitters in the batters box to measure how well they can pick up the pitch thrown.............

Prospecting: This is how it's going to be. Our farm system gets blistered for years for its poor quality and poor quantity. But the coaches and players ignore that, do the work, and start to make strides and hit the Big leagues anyway. A few more years go by and the players start to reach their contract year. At that point, all the talent evaluation bloggers who once dismissed these kids, will start forecasting how important it will be for various teams to line up and make a run at these same players. And nobody will remember that said blogger once made a name for himself by predicting that player to be worthless...........

Denial: Jered Weaver sounds like a young man lost in disbelief. His fastball velocity is plummeting and he considers it "relatively small and incremental". He believes that all he needs to do is keep doing what he has always done and what used to happen will suddenly start happening again. And he is getting frustrated that nobody seems to believe that theory. "I’ll be back. You can quote me on that shit. If you give me the ball, I’ll (expletive) pitch. Doctor Weaver is the one who’s going to take it from here on out." Rage, rage against the dying of the light, Weave...........

Seedy: What Astros players aren't telling reporter Julia Morales is that those sunflower seeds they are dumping on her head while she reports her segment...were used............

Update: Yesterday I had some fun with the Marlins filing a grievance over being shitted on by their division rivals, the Nationals, as it pertains to how much they have to pay ex-GM, ex-manager Dan Jennings to work against them. Decision over. Marlins lose. I couldn't be happier...........

2016 World Champs!: We did it! It's only March but we have topped all of baseball and wear the crown already. We (or, well, more accurately Arte) are the owners of the most dead money on the payroll among all MLB teams this year. Hey, it shows we're trying. And I wouldn't have had any problem at all with Arte choosing to disregard the dead weight of the Josh Hamilton contract except that he then chose not to ignore the impact of his pissiness on the team payroll when it came time to exploit one of the best Free Agent market matchups the Angels have had in years............

Ancient: Wow. This couple has been together long enough to be MY parents. 1954 and Johnny Pesky was still playing baseball...in Detroit!..........

Goosed: Rich Gossage is on a roll. Reporters must be running each other over in their efforts to get a recorder in front of Gossage so that he will say yet another stupid thing. And Gossage does not disappoint. I especially like how he hates Jose Bautista flipping his bat into the stratosphere after homering in one of the most dramatic at-bats of the year...BUT....he is all for a manager running out onto the field and making a jackass out of himself arguing with an umpire any time the manager feels like it. Yeah, no hypocrisy right there...........

Unclear on the Concept: Pittsburgh shortstop Jung Ho Kang found himself the subject of media rumors that he was dating one of the most beautiful women in Japan. Where most human males would look favorably on getting that much street cred, even mistakenly, Kang finds some reason to take offense. Remarkably, he is thinking of suing for libel. That's not the way a dude ups his game, Kang...........

Chased Away: I guess we won't get the chance to see how Chase Utley and Ruben Tejada and the New York fans all handle things when the Dodgers roll into Citi Field after all. Utley make have broken Tejada's leg last October, but the Mets are breaking off Tejada's entire baseball career with the Mets even before the next regular season game kicks off...........

ScoreKeeper's Challenge Answer: The correct answer to today's scorekeeping challenge on the Daniel Nava bonehead-to-double-play is...9-LBIRSWCEA-U-1-3. That would be left fielder to Little Boy In Red Shirt Who Commits Error Anywhere to Umpire to Pitcher to First Base..............


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