- I’m relatively new to the luxurious bounty of MLB.tv. I picked it up halfway through last season when they made a great offer for Father’s Day and I didn’t protest when they auto-renewed it this year. It really comes in handy when you are feeding the baby every night around 11:30. The west coast games are still ballin’ and the great treasures of the earth reveal themselves.
You might have heard about this Shohei Ohtani fella. He is the baby-faced daidarabotchi that pitches like a Cy Young and mashes like a Silver Slugger and creates life and meaning and joy with his breath. He came to MLB this season from his native Japan with the kind of fanfare than normally is reserved for the crowned heads of Europe. The hype was impossible for him to justify. But where once was void he created.
Then the cruel machinery of entropy ground his elbow in its gears. The word is that his sore elbow will require Tommy John surgery to repair it and we have likely seen the last of him for about 20 calendar months.
“Everything I’m hearing is that the reality is, he probably will need Tommy John surgery,” @pedrogomezESPN reports grim news for Shohei Ohtani and @Angels just now on @sportscenter. “The earliest we might see him, should he have TJ surgery, would be the 2020 season.”— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) June 11, 2018
Boys and girls, listen closely to what I’m about to say: never love anything. The old line about “to have loved and lost” is a trap.
- Speaking of deities walking among us, the slippery jinn Billy Hamilton is considering abandoning switch-hitting. Perhaps unexpectedly, it is his native right-handed swing that is on the chopping block. For his career, he has hit substantially worse from the right side, hitting .248/.309/.329 as a lefty and just .229/.265/.332. Neither of those is great, but perhaps if he was to focus on just hitting from the left side he could make noticeable improvements.
He hasn’t been switch-hitting for all that long really, just picking it up as a recent draftee in 2009. But at this point, I think it is totally reasonable to say that a change cannot be a bad idea. He certainly can’t hit much worse as a lefty against left-handed pitching, so why the hell not.
I’m nearly certain at this point that the issue with Billy Hamilton is one of rigorous over-coaching. This line from the article is really telling:
“When I come up to bat, you hear things,” Hamilton said on Sunday morning. “You just have to let it get out of your head. That’s the main part about me slumping. It’s not hands, not my stance, I’m just thinking about, ‘Oh man, I have to get a hit here. I’ve got to do this.’ All you really have to do is just go up there, relax and just have a good at-bat. Good at-bats [will] get you to the point where you want to be at. That’s where I’ve got to start at today.”
Now, I think it is easy to read that as him hearing the pressure from the fanbase, the mouth-breathing troglodytes sitting down the first base line and loudly furrowing their brows at him. But I’d wager that the voices he’s really focused on here are the ones in his head, the voices of the dozen or so people in the Reds’ employ who have been tasked with Fixing Billy Hamilton. That pressure is real and I think it’s killing him. More than anything, he needs to relax (look at me, now I’m the one with the One Weird Trick to Fix Billy Hamilton) and maybe giving up switch-hitting can help to that end.
- I’ve been a vocal proponent for the “No Roles” pitching staff for a good long while, so it’s really heartening to see anyone in the organization, much less the actual damn field manager, bringing it up and not explicitly dismissing it. Now, I don’t expect any actual anything to come of this right now, but considering just how much baseball has changed on the pitching front in the last decade or two this kind thing looks close to inevitable.
- Late last week the Reds inked fourth-round pick Mike Siani to a significantly over-slot deal. His slot value was about $500k, but the kid earned himself a handsome $2 million. But with the complicated draft bonus structure now in place, that means they are going to have to try to save money on their other selections made in the first ten rounds. $1.5 million is a hell of a lot of money to pare off from these other kids, so it’ll be interesting to see how they work this out. I don’t expect Jonathan “The Raj” India to sign for much lower than his slot, so they are going to have to make it up elsewhere.
- FanGraphs released their post-draft prospect rankings and the Reds are represented well. Nick Senzel and Hunter Greene are both holding steady, but Taylor Trammell and Shed Long have made significant jumps northward on the list since the last release. India makes the list as well, along with Jose Siri.
- Ol’ Leatherbritches runs down a list of possible trade targets ($$) heading up to the deadline this year and as you might have guessed the Reds are represented well here, too. He thinks it is absolutely necessary that the Reds flip Raisel Iglesias for some good pitching prospects.