Fangraphs is having themselves a little bit of a Billy party this week. Over at Fox Sports, Fangraphs writer Jeff Sullivan anoints Billy Hamilton as a legitimate center fielder, citing his improving hitting and his outstanding defense so far. Brad Johnson also weighs in on Hamilton’s season so far from more of a fantasy perspective for Rotographs. There’s a bit of damning with faint praise going on here – the gist of the article is "We all thought he would be terrible but he isn’t" – but Johnson makes an interesting point about Hamilton’s plate discipline and how many walks he should be taking. Worth a look even if you’re not a fantasy player.
The Era of the Pitcher continues unabated, as Clayton Kershaw turned in an absolutely dominant no hitter that was just one Hanley Ramirez error away from being a perfect game. Given that it was Kershaw, and it was Los Angeles, and it was a legitimately outstanding performance, even among the subset of no-hitters thrown, much has been written about the historic accomplishment. But the best way to appreciate it is to watch Kershaw in action, so here’s all the outs in the game. And if that seven and a half minute video is too long for you, here’s all fifteen strikeouts overlaid into one GIF. It’s mesmerizing.
As pitching continues to dominate baseball, Anthony Castrovince wonders if this year’s trade deadline moves will be focused more on the increasingly rare impact bat. Something to keep an eye on going forward, because if the Reds wind up as buyers, that’s what they will need, and if they end up as sellers, they really don’t have any bats to give up. The good news for the Reds, though, is that the they have the pitching to compete (last night notwithstanding) and, as Ben Nicholson-Smith notes for Sportsnet, it’s largely home grown and looks to continue to stay that way given the Reds’ recent draft priorities. This is key for a mid-market team given the cost of pitching on the free agent market and via trades.
For those interested in the economics of baseball, Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal has a look at how the current rules governing baseball have led to a level of parity that seemed unthinkable not too long ago. As Costa notes, the downside is the absence of dynasties and juggernauts, but as MLB’s ratings continue to rise, not many people seem to mind.
Joseph Lichterman of Harvard’s Nieman Journalsim Lab has an interesting article about how sports journalists have acclimated to the internet. Their conclusion is that they have done so slowly and unwillingly, if at all. I think we as Reds fans are lucky to be served by John Fay and C. Trent Rosecrans, both of whom have embraced Twitter and the internet in general in a way that it sounds like many of their colleagues have not.
Finally, this was mentioned in one of our own comment threads yesterday, but it’s too good not to bring further attention to. It seems that Brandon Phillips got heckled in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night (shocking, I know), but he took the abuse with good humor and even presented the fan with an awesome personalized ball (starting off with "Dear Drunk Guy") and posed for a picture with him. Good stuff, BP.
Hat tip to Cuetotally Amazing for finding this one.