Durrelliott - News Source For Teenagers



MLB to investigate clubhouse incident involving Astros executive

Major League Baseball says it will look into allegations that Houston Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman shouted at female reporters regarding the club’s acquisition of closer Roberto Osuna following Game 6 of the ALCS on Saturday.

According to Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated, Taubman turned to three female reporters in the clubhouse and yelled six times, “Thank god we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!”

The Astros traded for Osuna during the 2018 campaign while he was serving a 75-game ban for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.

The team called Apstein’s report “misleading” and “completely irresponsible,” but two other reporters corroborated the story.

“Domestic violence is extraordinarily serious and everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior – whether intentional or not – that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence,” the league said Tuesday in a statement.

“We became aware of this incident through the Sports Illustrated article. The Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated’s characterization of the incident. MLB will interview those involved before commenting further.”

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America also released a statement Tuesday calling for the Astros to publicly apologize to Apstein for initially discrediting her reporting.

“The Astros’ initial denial of the incident reported by SI was an unethical and intentional fabrication, designed to discredit our members and all journalists,” BBWAA president Rob Biertempfel said. “The BBWAA is encouraged by MLB’s decision to investigate this matter and will fully cooperate. We expect that appropriate disciplinary measures will be handed out and made public.

“Also, a public apology to the media outlets involved – particularly Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated, and the BBWAA – should be forthcoming.”

Taubman apologized Tuesday for his actions, but said his comments were “misinterpreted.”

“This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed,” Taubman said in a statement. “In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate. My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue.

“Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”

Astros owner Jim Crane also commented on the situation.

“The Astros continue to be committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence,” Crane said in the same release. “We not only ensure mandatory training annually for all of our employees, we have also created an important partnership with the Texas Council on Family Violence, and have raised over $300,000 through our initiatives to help various agencies providing important support for this cause. We fully support MLB and baseball’s stance and values regarding domestic violence.”

Astros manager AJ Hinch discussed the incident in front of reporters before Game 1.

“I’m very disappointed for a lot of reasons,” the manager said of Taubman’s comments, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. “It’s unfortunate. It’s uncalled for … We all need to be better across the board in the industry.”

Source link

read more

MLB to look into claims against Astros executive Brandon Taubman

HOUSTON — Major League Baseball said in a statement Tuesday that the league will interview relevant parties regarding allegations published Monday night in a Sports Illustrated article.

According to the report by SI’s Stephanie Apstein, during the celebration in the Houston Astros‘ clubhouse after the team’s 6-4 win over the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the ALCS on Saturday, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters — including one wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet — and repeatedly yelled, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!”

Last season, Astros closer Roberto Osuna, 24, served a 75-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. Osuna, while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, was charged in May 2018 with domestic assault; the charge was later withdrawn when the woman he is alleged to have assaulted made it clear she would not travel from Mexico to Toronto to testify.

The SI report Monday was corroborated by multiple witnesses present in the clubhouse at the time.

MLB declined to comment directly on the allegations, instead saying in a statement Tuesday, “Domestic violence is extraordinarily serious and everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior — whether intentional or not — that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence. We became aware of this incident through the Sports Illustrated article. The Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated’s characterization of the incident. MLB will interview those involved before commenting further.”

In a statement released Monday after the SI report was published, the club claimed the report was “misleading and completely irresponsible,” adding, “Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time. His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else — they were also not directed toward any specific reporters.”

On Tuesday, Taubman apologized for his behavior via a statement released by the team but maintained that his comments were misinterpreted.

“This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed,” Taubman said. “In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate. My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”

Source link

read more

Report: Matheny remains strong favorite for Royals’ managerial job

Mike Matheny may not have to look outside of Missouri for his next major-league managing position.

The former St. Louis Cardinals skipper remains the strong favorite to become the next bench boss of the Kansas City Royals, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Matheny has been a special adviser for player development with the Royals since last November.

However, the club’s new ownership group reportedly wants a full interview process and is continuing to talk to other candidates. Kansas City interviewed former major-league catcher Vance Wilson twice this week, Sherman added.

The New York Mets contacted Matheny at the beginning of their ongoing managerial search, but he indicated to them that he wanted to concentrate on the Royals’ opening, according to Sherman.

The 49-year-old Matheny oversaw the Cardinals for six-and-a-half seasons before being fired during the 2018 campaign. He posted a 591-474 record and led St. Louis to a World Series berth in 2013 before losing to the Boston Red Sox.

Kansas City is looking for a new manager after Ned Yost retired at the end of the 2019 regular season. Under Yost’s guidance, the team made back-to-back trips to the Fall Classic in 2014 and 2015, winning a championship in the latter year.

Source link

read more

Jose Altuve’s homer lifts Astros past Yankees to win AL pennant

HOUSTON — There were moments early in the American League Championship Series when it felt like the Houston Astros were one play away from stumbling into a serious hole against the New York Yankees. But the final moment belonged to Jose Altuve, and the Astros are AL champions.

Altuve blasted a two-run, walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, igniting a raucous crowd and sending Houston to the World Series for the third time in franchise history and second time in three years. The Astros won 6-4, clinching the pennant in six games.

Altuve said the homer was probably his best career moment to date, but he wouldn’t take credit for the win.

“I have to say No. 1 because we’re going to the World Series,” Altuve said. “But we’re not going to the World Series because of me. We’re going to the World Series because of everybody inside of the clubhouse.”

It was not easy.

With the Astros two outs from the flag, Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu battled closer Roberto Osuna for 10 pitches before finally lofting a high-arching fly ball that just cleared the right-field fence. It was a two-run shot, and it knotted the score at four. As it turned out, LeMahieu was only setting the table for Altuve’s heroics.

The game marked the first time in postseason history that a team hit a game-tying or go-ahead home run in the top of an inning, then allowed a game-ending homer in the bottom of the inning. It made for a whirlwind of emotions, but when you have Altuve on your side, managing those emotions is a bit easier.

“I was sitting on the stairs, and I looked at [Michael Brantley] after the 2-0 pitch and said, ‘Jose is gonna win it for us,'” Astros outfielder Josh Reddick said. “He’s the glue to this team. He holds us all together and gets us going.”

The clincher fueled a sellout crowd at Minute Main Park under the roof on an autumn night in Texas.

The pregame whistles and train toots and towel waves had barely subsided when, after a snappy 1-2-3 first inning for Houston opener Brad Peacock, Yuli Gurriel lined a three-run homer into the Crawford Boxes in left field.

The quick start left the Yankees scrambling to catch up all night in what turned out to be a futile effort to save their campaign. Finally, LeMahieu’s great at-bat brought New York even — at least for a few minutes.

For Altuve, the storybook finish provides another shining bullet point on a career résumé that already seems stacked enough to eventually land him in the Hall of Fame. If it takes one Hall of Famer to know another one, count Astros great Craig Biggio as a believer.

“The greatest thing about Jose is Jose,” Biggio said amid the celebration on the field after the game. “He’s just a great human being. He gets in the heat of the moment and rises to the occasion. He’s an incredible player.”

The Astros capped their third straight 100-win season with another AL title, and in doing so, they ensured that the Yankees go without a pennant in the 2010s, marking their first decade without a league title since before they acquired Babe Ruth in 1920.

Instead, it’s Houston that might someday be remembered as the team of the decade that’s coming to a close. For that to happen, the Astros need to take one more step, and they are well aware that they have unfinished business.

“We’re not done yet,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “This series could have gone either way. The last series could have gone either way. We knew we had built a team to win. Now we get a chance to prove it.”

Houston defeated the Yankees in the ALCS for the second time in three seasons. The Astros also knocked New York out of the postseason for the third time in five years — something no other team has done to the Bronx Bombers.

As for those moments of vulnerability: Initially in the series, the Yankees seemed poised to knock off the top-seeded Astros. They routed Houston 7-0 in Game 1. In Game 2, the teams battled in a grueling, 4-hour, 49-minute affair that finally ended when Carlos Correa homered on the first pitch of the 11th inning. The Astros never trailed in the series again. The Yankees missed their opportunity, which might have been the theme of the series for them.

“It’s the biggest thing I look back on is that we left eight or nine in this game on base,” Yankees slugger Aaron Judge said after his team was eliminated. “Even throughout the whole series, we left a lot of guys on base and had a lot of missed opportunities.”

After 107 regular-season wins, the Astros ended up where the consensus figured them to be — at least, the consensus of baseball pundits and the betting markets. Their path was rocky at times — the five-game AL Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, the early struggles against New York — but that’s how October baseball goes. Now, Houston is positioned to stake claim to the dynastic throne the Yankees have occupied so often in baseball’s history.

“We said all along our goal was to win multiple championships,” Luhnow said. “We’re not there yet. We’ve won one. We’re going back to another. Hopefully, we’ll get that done.”

With the pennant secured, the Astros will open the World Series on Tuesday at home against the well-rested Washington Nationals. Washington completed its four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals on Oct. 15, the night Houston and New York played Game 3 of their six-game tussle. The Nationals are making their World Series debut.

Game 1 of the Fall Classic should be a premium pitching matchup: Houston figures to send Gerrit Cole to the mound, now that he won’t have to start Game 7 against the Yankees on Sunday.

Of course, he was pleased about it. When asked if this was the happiest he had ever been to not make a start, Cole leaned back and issued an emphatic, “Yes!”

The Nationals likely will counter with Max Scherzer, making the Series opener the first of a series of high-profile pitching confrontations.

“It’s incredible,” said Astros starter Justin Verlander, who is lined up to start Game 2, likely against Washington’s Stephen Strasburg. “I keep saying incredible, but it really is. The Nationals have a great rotation, have a great four starters. I like our rotation as well. It should be a great series.”

The starting pitching will be the initial dominant storyline of the World Series, but ironically, the Astros clinched the pennant on a night when both managers went to a bullpen day in lieu of a traditional starter. Peacock opened for Houston, giving up one run in 1⅔ innings. Meanwhile, Chad Green threw the first inning for New York and gave up Gurriel’s home run. The Yankees fell to 12-6 in opener games, including the postseason, and Houston won one for the first time in three tries.

The strategy smacked of 2019 baseball. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, the most recent postseason game in which neither starting pitcher threw at least two innings was Game 4 of the 1999 ALDS between the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians.

That the Astros won a bullpen game against a Yankees team with one of the most feared relief staffs in baseball is hardly a surprise. That’s the Astros: They win in ways old and new and in ways big and small.

“It was fun,” Luhnow said. “It was a fun baseball game for a lot of reasons. I don’t know how many pitchers we used in total, but it meant that the managers had to be really wise about when to take their pitchers out. This game could have gone either way, but we had Altuve, and they didn’t. That ended up being the difference.”

Now things are about to get as big as they get in baseball: the World Series. This time, it’s between a team trying to secure its place atop the mountain and another trying to ascend to that peak for the first time. The bad news for the Nationals is that the moments of vulnerability for the Astros might already have passed.

Source link

read more

Who has the edge? Nationals-Astros position-by-position comparison

The 115th edition of the World Series gets underway Tuesday when the Houston Astros host the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of the Fall Classic. So, how do these teams stack up against each other? Jonah Birenbaum, the Score’s senior MLB writer, breaks it down by position.

Hitting and defense


The addition of Martin Maldonado at the trade deadline quietly afforded Houston one of the game’s better catching tandems; only seven teams received more WAR from their catchers over the final two months of the season. Robinson Chirinos, Houston’s primary catcher, inconspicuously outhit the likes of J.T. Realmuto, Wilson Ramos, and Buster Posey in 2019, finishing fifth at his position (minimum 400 plate appearances) with a 113 wRC+ mark. Maldonado, a former Gold Glove winner, ranked among the game’s top defensive backstops despite starting roughly once every three games. It’s worth noting, however, that neither Astros catcher was an above-average pitch-framer this season, according to Baseball Savant.

The Nationals didn’t receive nearly as much value from their catchers as Houston did this season. Washington distributed playing time almost evenly between its two veterans: Kurt Suzuki, who was an above-average hitter for a third straight season in 2019 but can’t really frame pitches or throw out base-stealers (10% caught-stealing rate), and Yan Gomes, a decent but not elite defender who owns a .683 OPS (77 wRC+) since 2015. Edge: Astros

First base

Yuli Gurriel finally broke out following a pair of middling seasons, setting career bests in OBP (.343), slugging percentage (.541), OPS+ (126), and home runs (31) in 2019. The 35-year-old’s October numbers (.541 OPS) belie how well he’s been swinging the bat. Ryan Zimmerman, as it happens, is in the totally opposite boat. The Nationals’ longest-tenured player has followed up a dismal, injury-shortened regular season – he managed an 89 wRC+ and 0.1 WAR in 52 games – with a surprisingly productive October, hitting .290/.313/.484 in nine games (seven starts). Don’t let recency bias convince you he’s still an impact hitter, though. Edge: Astros

Second base

Two years removed from earning American League MVP honors, Jose Altuve, the diminutive patriarch of Houston’s dynasty, remains a bona fide monster – in case you weren’t sure after his ALCS-clinching homer. His defensive skills have waned somewhat over the last couple of years and he’s not the base-stealing threat he used to be, but Altuve remains the best-hitting second baseman in the majors and set a new career high with 31 home runs this year while putting up a .903 OPS.

Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Howie Kendrick‘s season with Washington was also marked by career highs. The 36-year-old established new personal bests in virtually every offensive category, including batting average (.344), slugging percentage (.572), and OPS+ (142). Like Altuve, Kendrick went off in the league championship series, doubling his way to a 1.014 OPS and MVP honors. He’s good. But Altuve is Altuve. Edge: Astros

Third base

Only Mike Trout accrued more WAR in 2019 than Alex Bregman, the cocksure 25-year-old who smashed 41 homers, finished third in the majors in wRC+ (168), and was the only qualified hitter to walk more often than he struck out. Bregman was just 3-for-18 (.143) in the ALCS – and still managed a .423 OBP in six games.

Anthony Rendon is a superstar in his own right, too, quietly managing a .953 OPS (145 wRC+) over the last three seasons while providing more WAR than every player in the majors except Trout, Mookie Betts, and Christian Yelich. All he’s done this postseason is hit .375/.465/.594, and he carries an eight-game hitting streak into Game 1. Edge: Even.


A litany of injuries limited Carlos Correa to just 75 games this season, but the former AL Rookie of the Year looked like the stud he is when healthy, finishing fourth among shortstops (minimum 300 plate appearances) in OPS (.926) and second in isolated power (.289). Between the rocket throws, preternatural range, and that opposite-field, walk-off homer in Game 2 of the ALCS, his ridiculous complement of tools has been on full display in October.

The Nationals’ Trea Turner doesn’t have Correa’s thunder at the plate, and his glovework this year was particularly poor based on defensive runs saved. But he’s a solid leadoff hitter (career .348 OBP; 110 OPS+) with game-changing speed and ranks third in the majors with 157 stolen bases over the last four seasons. Edge: Astros.


Two of this season’s top 15 position players by WAR reside in the Astros’ outfield. George Springer, now a three-time All-Star, set new career highs in virtually every offensive category this year while also playing plus defense. Houston’s biggest offseason addition, Michael Brantley, paid major dividends, hitting .311/.372/.503 as Marwin Gonzalez’s replacement in left field. Josh Reddick, the Astros’ worst outfielder, managed more defensive runs saved than all but two other right fielders in 2019 while putting up close to league-average offense.

Harry How / Getty Images

Though multiple metrics peg the Nationals’ outfield as the defensively superior unit, it doesn’t quite compare to Houston’s. Yes, Juan Soto, the 20-year-old left fielder with a .937 OPS through his first two big-league seasons, is already a superstar. But neither center fielder Victor Robles (2.5 WAR; 91 wRC+) nor right fielder Adam Eaton (2.3 WAR; 107 wRC+) is close to as good as Houston’s second-best outfielder. Edge: Astros

Designated hitter

After slashing an impressive .313/.412/.655 in 87 games as a rookie following his June promotion, Yordan Alvarez went AWOL in the ALCS. He went 1-for-22 with 12 strikeouts against the Yankees, yet as painful as it was to watch him, his brutal championship series amounted to one bad week. Anyone can have a bad week at the plate, and his series-long slump doesn’t change the fact that Alvarez was MLB’s best hitter in 2019 not named Mike Trout (minimum 300 PAs). Alvarez has hit at every level at which he’s played, and the 22-year-old remains the Astros’ best DH option by a mile.

It’s not clear who will serve as the Nationals’ designated hitter in Games 1 and 2 (and potentially Games 6 and 7); they can go in several different directions. Matt Adams could DH, for instance, with Zimmerman playing first base and Kendrick playing second. Alternatively, Zimmerman or Kendrick could DH, with the other playing first and either Brian Dozier or Asdrubal Cabrera playing second. There are other possibilities, too. But no matter who the Nationals slide into their lineup at Minute Maid Park, he won’t be as good as Alvarez. Edge: Astros


With the exception of Maldonado and barring injury, the Astros’ reserve players will remain glued to the bench for virtually the entire World Series. Jake Marisnick might get some late-inning pinch-running opportunities, too, but if Kyle Tucker or Aledmys Diaz get into a game, it’ll be out of necessity or to conserve a starter’s energy in a blowout. There’s simply no scenario in which either player offers an upgrade over any regular he’d conceivably replace. Manager AJ Hinch can essentially set his lineup each day and take a nap until the seventh inning when it’s time to get someone loose in the bullpen.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez, on the other hand, will be far more active in seeking out opportunities for his bench to pinch hit or platoon. Martinez has some useful players on his bench in Dozier, Adams, Cabrera, and Michael A. Taylor, and, more importantly, the starting lineup simply isn’t set-it-and-forget-it good. Edge: Nationals



Look, each team has three legitimate aces. Combined, the Astros and Nationals boast six of the top 13 starters of 2019. Sussing out who has the edge is a fool’s errand. Is Gerrit Cole better than Max Scherzer? Maybe. Maybe not. No one really knows. Nor can it be said with any degree of certainty that Justin Verlander is better than Stephen Strasburg. The same goes for Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin. It remains to be seen if either club uses a fourth starter; the Astros could opt for a bullpen game in Game 4, while the Nationals might be more inclined – depending on the series score – to use Scherzer on short rest rather than start Anibal Sanchez. Regardless, we may never again see a World Series with as many appointment-viewing pitching matchups. Edge: Even

Icon Sportswire / Getty Images


Even if Ryan Pressly‘s wonky knee precludes him from contributing in the World Series, the Astros’ relief corps is still in good shape thanks to the triumvirate of Will Harris, Joe Smith, and Roberto Osuna. The trio has dominated all year and boasts a combined 1.93 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in 18 2/3 innings this postseason. If Pressly is unable to pitch, Josh James, the erratic right-hander with triple-digit velocity, will be heavily leaned on, too. The other members of Houston’s bullpen are mostly irrelevant. Owing largely to the strength of the rotation, no Astros pitcher beyond the aforementioned five hurlers made more than one relief appearance in the ALCS.

As maligned as the Nationals’ bullpen was coming into the postseason, the relative dearth of trustworthy options hasn’t been a problem in October. That’s mostly because Martinez has simply refused to entrust high-leverage situations to any reliever besides Sean Doolittle or Daniel Hudson, choosing instead to have one of his top three starters try to bail Washington out. The formula has worked so far, largely thanks to the fact the Nationals haven’t had many high-leverage, late-inning scenarios. But Washington’s thin bullpen is liable to get exposed against a ridiculously deep and disciplined Houston lineup, one that won’t necessarily allow Scherzer, Strasburg, or Corbin to work deep into games. Edge: Astros

Jonah Birenbaum is theScore’s senior MLB writer. He steams a good ham. You can find him on Twitter @birenball.

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Source link

read more

Ranking all 50 players in the Astros-Nationals World Series

The 50 players on these two World Series rosters will be tested over the next seven games, they will be examined in minute detail, and the things they do will influence everything we remember about them for the rest of their careers and beyond.

But this is where they stand today: Here is your guide to all 50 players we anticipate will be on the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals in the 2019 World Series, organized by how prominently each should figure into his team’s hopes and plans.

1. Max Scherzer, SP, Nationals

In his five years with the Nationals, Scherzer has thrown the most innings in baseball, has the second-best ERA by any starter, has the third-best FIP of any starter and has the most WAR (FanGraphs or Baseball Reference model) of any starter. The first half of his 30s — ages 30 to 34 — rank sixth in the history of the game by B-Ref’s WAR. He just turned 35, but he’s arguably as good as he has ever been: His league-leading FIP this season was a career best, his strikeout rate — which has climbed six years in a row — was a career high, and the 43rd pitch he threw in the NL wild-card game was his fastest fastball since 2015.

2. Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros

One downside to extreme patience — and Bregman, with the lowest chase rate in the majors this year, has that — is that taking a lot of pitches can put the batter behind in a lot of counts. That’s no matter to Bregman: He hit .304/.393/.611 after falling behind 0-1 in the count, the 16th-best post-0-1 OPS this century (and he had the 19th-best post-0-2 OPS), which is part of why he’s one of the two-to-four best players in the majors right now.

3. Gerrit Cole, SP, Astros

In the three months since the All-Star break, the very worst back-to-back starts Cole threw were probably Aug. 28 and Sept. 2, when he did this: 12 2/3 innings, 28 strikeouts, three walks and a 3.55 ERA, with both starts coming against playoff teams and both ending in Astros victories. In fact, the nine playoff teams faced Cole 11 times this year, and they hit .150/.218/.288 with 109 strikeouts in 75 innings, good for a 1.67 ERA for Cole and a 10-1 record for the Astros.

4. Justin Verlander, SP, Astros

In his entire career as a Tiger — a career that might have been good enough to get him into the Hall of Fame, a career that included four seasons leading the league in strikeouts — Verlander had seven starts in which he got more than 20 swinging strikes. As an Astro just this season, he had 10 such starts, plus one more in ALCS Game 5. His strikeout rate in the second half was the third-highest in major league history.

5. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals

The slick-fielding, power-hitting, strikeout-avoiding, universal-respect-garnering Rendon, according to Baseball-Reference, has five nicknames, but four are just variants of his name said in a hurry, while the fifth is nearly perfect: Tony Two Bags. That tag would be all the way perfect — he has led the NL in doubles the past two seasons, with aesthetically perfect totals of 44 each year — except he has to share it with the unworthy Mitch “Mitchy Two Bags” Moreland, who neither possesses the correctly alliterative first name nor boasts the dominant, well-rounded game that allows Rendon’s doubles proficiency to be emphasized as a stylistic flourish rather than as a backhanded compliment.

6. Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals

Strasburg, once the most famous pitching prospect in history, has been in Scherzer’s shadow for the past five years, but this is the second season in the past three in which he has so dominated the second half and the postseason that we start to wonder whether this is it, when he emerges as the best pitcher in baseball. In this moment, rooting for Strasburg is almost a historical imperative: He’s still a slight underdog to make the Hall of Fame, and this incredible thing he has been doing in the postseason — a 1.10 ERA, 57 K’s and five walks in 41 career innings — is both pushing those chances upward and giving us that very rare gift — a baseball thing we’ll be able to tell our grandchildren about decades from now.

7. George Springer, CF, Astros

This was a pretty good year for Springer: He added sprint speed (according to Statcast), had his best year on defense, conquered right-handed pitching for the first time, set career highs in homers and slugging (along with half the league, to be fair), and might have snuck atop some MVP ballots had he not missed most of June. I don’t know if his greatness is in danger of getting lost among all the other great Astros’ greatness, but he’s 23rd all time in championship win probability added (cWPA), directly behind Reggie Jackson and David Ortiz.

8. Juan Soto, LF, Nationals

No hitter in baseball combines discipline on pitches outside the strike zone with assertiveness on pitches inside the strike zone like Soto, whose first two seasons are so uncharacteristic of his age that finding a suitable 20-year-old comp requires going back to … I don’t know, Bob Dylan or Mary Shelley or Ted Williams. While anybody can flip a bat after a home run or pump a fist after striking out the side, Soto alone celebrates incremental gains in count leverage, following every taken ball with what has become known as The Soto Shuffle.

9. Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros

Two years can change a player — especially second basemen, who traditionally age early, quickly and miserably — and across the 2019 season, Altuve was roughly half the player he was in 2017, when he led the league in stolen bases (this year he had six) and challenged .350 (this year he challenged .300 and lost) and won the MVP award. But Altuve’s second half this season (.325/.373/.622) was MVP-worthy, and he leads all hitters in total bases this postseason — more than the next two Astros combined — so what sort of pessimist would be here complaining about fewer stolen bases?

10. Carlos Correa, SS, Astros

Correa is 10th among all active players in WAR per game, but three injury-shortened seasons have kept him from finishing an unmistakable MVP-level season. He’s the strongest shortstop in the game, with a Tulowitzki-esque arm and a home run rate that led all major league shortstops this year and that only Alex Rodriguez (four times), Ernie Banks (three times) and Trevor Story (once) ever topped.

11. Patrick Corbin, SP, Nationals

It isn’t just that Corbin is the only third starter in baseball who is better than the Astros’ third starter, Zack Greinke. It’s also that he’s better than probably 26 teams’ No. 2 starters and at least 20 — maybe as many as 25 — teams’ aces. Among starters, his slider gets the highest whiff rate, though it’s a little misleading to call it “a” pitch: Corbin can shape it different ways, and in just the postseason, he has thrown it as hard as 86 mph and as slowly as 78, which helps him get away with throwing it almost half the time without batters ever getting comfortable with it.

12. Zack Greinke, SP, Astros

This version of Greinke doesn’t throw very hard and doesn’t get many strikeouts, but he does two things very well: He avoids homers (ninth-best HR/9 in baseball), and he avoids walks (third-best BB/9). When he’s ahead in counts, he ranks 52nd out of 61 qualifying pitchers in strike rate, as he cautiously works around the edges to prevent any unnecessary hittable pitches. When he’s behind in counts, he ranks first in strike rate to avoid free passes.

13. Michael Brantley, LF, Astros

Players older than 30 collectively had their worst year in a half-century, but the 32-year-old Brantley was one exception, producing his best season since 2014. He’s an extreme contact hitter — only David Fletcher whiffed less on pitches in the zone — and he usually pulls the ball, but this year he did uncharacteristic damage when he didn’t, batting better than .400 and slugging almost .600 when he hit to the opposite field.

14. Yordan Alvarez, DH, Astros

Three weeks ago, Alvarez would have been higher on this list, but the worst-timed slump — he’s 225th out of 226 postseason participants this year in championship win probability added — has knocked him from fifth to seventh in the Astros’ lineup and from wherever he would have been on this list to right here. In the regular season, he was the second-best rookie hitter in history, behind only Shoeless Joe Jackson, so this slump (at least one strikeout in every game played, huge spikes in chase and whiff percentages) is truly shocking, though it’s slightly less so once we realize that Alvarez’s quality of pitchers faced in the regular season was fourth-lowest in baseball.

15. Trea Turner, SS, Nationals

Turner is the fastest player in these playoffs — and the second-fastest in the majors this year, by Statcast’s sprint speed — but he has become fairly conservative with his speed, attempting fewer stolen bases, fewer “extra” bases as a baserunner and only one bunt this season. That isn’t to say his speed isn’t a big advantage: He had the majors’ third-highest batting average and second-highest slugging percentage on ground balls this year, which made him a better hitter by OPS+ than 36 players who outhomered him.

16. Victor Robles, CF, Nationals

Robles is like his teammate Trea Turner, except not quite as fast, not quite as strong, not quite as disciplined on pitches out of the zone, not quite as good at making contact and not quite as efficient on the bases. Yet he might actually be the better player, thanks to one signature skill: running down hard-to-run-down fly balls. Robles led the league in outs above average, a Statcast-derived defensive metric for outfielders, and he should win a Gold Glove this year, an accomplishment all the more impressive for how many goofs the rookie made during a choppy, anomalous April.

17. Roberto Osuna, RH RP, Astros

Osuna, at 24 years old, has already been around forever — he’s eighth among all active pitchers in both saves and postseason relief appearances — and, like all veteran pitchers, he keeps tinkering, relying more often on a power changeup this year and reaching a new career high for fastball velocity. The Astros used him conservatively in the regular season — he entered the eighth inning for a save only once (and blew it) — but that was probably to protect him for this month. He has already seen three eighth innings this October, and he threw as many as three innings in a game last postseason.

18. Robinson Chirinos, C, Astros

Chirinos is a below-average thrower and a below-average framer, but the Astros threw the fewest wild pitches in the American League this year, and Chirinos — who rates as the second-best blocker in the game, according to Baseball Prospectus’ advanced measures — was a big reason for that. He has 13 career WAR, and they’ve all come since he turned 30. For a catcher who is only four months younger than Brian McCann, Chirinos looks shockingly fresh.

19. Will Harris, RH RP, Astros

The Astros got Will Harris on waivers just after he turned 30, and since then, he has the third-best ERA in the majors. He’s a two-pitch pitcher — cutter and curve — who doesn’t have the mean scowl of a closer or the snapping velocity of a closer, but he has most likely been better over the past half-decade than your favorite team’s closer(s).

20. Howie Kendrick, 1B, Nationals

Kendrick is obviously not Christian Yelich, but like Yelich, he was a ground ball hitter, an other-way hitter and a singles hitter who unlocked something in his swing relatively deep into his career, improved his contact across the board and began to mash like an MVP. Kendrick hasn’t hit quite as well or for as long as Yelich, but his .344/.395/.572 line this year included the 12th-best OPS in the majors, and for the third year in a row, he set a career-best line against right-handed pitching. That’s an incredible late-career bloom for a player who, two years ago, was nothing but a pinch hitter on the Nationals’ postseason roster.

21. Yuli Gurriel, 1B, Astros

Among those few hitters who manage to carry a reverse split deep into a career, Gurriel is one of the most extreme cases: Of the 150 right-handed batters with the most playing time the past four years, Gurriel is the 36th-best at hitting righties and just the 91st-best at hitting lefties. He’s a dead-pull hitter who manages to pull even more balls at home, where the short left field helped him slug .615 in Houston this year.

22. Ryan Pressly, RH RP, Astros

Pressly missed most of September and hasn’t really regained his spot in the Astros’ pecking order — he still hasn’t pitched a full inning this postseason and has been most recently called into games in the third, the fifth and the 11th — but he’s still one of the 10 or 20 best relievers in baseball. He throws twice as many breaking balls as fastballs, even in three-ball counts.

23. Sean Doolittle, LH RP, Nationals

Doolittle’s apparent simplicity is part of what makes him such a joy to watch: Like the Dodgers’ more famous relief ace, Kenley Jansen, Doolittle mostly throws one pitch (a “rising” fastball, in Doolittle’s case), he mostly throws it for strikes (the fourth-highest strike rate in baseball this year), and over an eight-year career, hitters haven’t figured out how to square him up. His season stats this season were torpedoed by two bad weeks in August — following heavy usage in July and preceding a stint on the DL — but his seven effective weeks since include both very encouraging signs (opponents hitting just .132/.164/.264 against him) and worrisome ones (an uncharacteristically low strikeout rate and fewer swinging strikes in October).

24. Anibal Sanchez, SP, Nationals

Sanchez intentionally walked 10 batters this year — the most by a pitcher since 2010 — which tells you something about him at this point in his career: He’s an evader, a pitcher who is content to fall behind in the count or even put a man on to avoid throwing a juiced baseball through the swing plane of a good major league hitter. Sanchez’s zone rate overall has been dropping — from 52% in 2017 to 46% this year — but in exchange, he has induced the league’s fourth-lowest average exit velocity and 11th-lowest batting average on balls in play the past two years.

25. Adam Eaton, RF, Nationals

Eaton was injured for most of his first two seasons in Washington, and like Rip Van Winkle, he returned to a very different world: His .792 OPS and 15 homers are far less impressive in this run-scoring environment than they were when he put up nearly identical numbers for the White Sox in 2015 and 2016. He might be the best two-strike fouler in the game, though.

26. Daniel Hudson, RH RP, Nationals

Three years ago, after the long climb back from Tommy John surgery, Daniel Hudson had a 1.55 ERA in mid-June for Arizona, and he was on the cusp of taking over as the Diamondbacks’ closer and/or on the cusp of being traded to a playoff contender when disaster hit: Hudson had one of the worst months in major league history, allowing 28 runs in eight innings, and just like that, it was two steps forward and about 15 steps back. As such, it’s extremely satisfying to see him now, in 2019, as the co-closer on a World Series team — and not just its closer but its savior, as this bullpen was one of the worst bullpens in history before Hudson arrived at the trade deadline and began to settle it down.

27. Joe Smith, RH RP, Astros

Smith is a side-arming veteran who mows down right-handers and avoids barrels, having allowed as many home runs in his 13-year career as Justin Verlander has allowed in one-and-a-half seasons as an Astro. Smith threw only one-third of an inning for Houston last October, and this regular season, he was at best sixth in Houston’s bullpen order, but he has climbed into high-leverage late innings with a strong postseason.

28. Brian Dozier, 2B, Nationals

Two years ago, Dozier was an MVP candidate, and now he has started exactly one of Washington’s 10 playoff games, but that isn’t to deny that he still has his merits, such as the ability to punish left-handers (against whom he hit .280/.375/.525 this year) or score himself with one swing (only 10 second basemen homered more frequently than he did this season). He had a strange reinvention in the second half as an ultra-disciplined contact hitter, walking nearly as often (28 times) as he struck out (31) but shedding exit velocity and homering once in his final 20 games.

29. Josh James, RH RP, Astros

October hasn’t been quite the showcase I’d hoped it might be for James, whose changeup was the second-most whiff-inducing in the majors and whose slider was fourth. He’s just too wild to really count on — four walks in five postseason innings, with more than a third of his pitches coming from behind in the count — even if he is capable of coming in and punching out Edwin Encarnacion, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez in a perfect outing, as he did in the first game of the ALCS.

30. Tanner Rainey, RH RP, Nationals

Rainey’s most recent four outings — 3 2/3 innings across the LDS and LCS — mark only the third time all season that he has gone that long without issuing a walk, excellent timing for a bullpen that was in desperate need of a third good reliever to get to Hudson and Doolittle. Rainey is a strikeout monster who tops 100 with his fastball, has the league’s whiffiest slider, walks almost a batter per inning, gets crushed when he’s behind in the count and might be the most important unknown — one way or the other — in this World Series.

31. Jose Urquidy, Swingman, Astros

As a starter at three levels this year — including 41 late-season innings with the Astros — Urquidy struck out 11 batters per nine innings and six batters for every walk, but the world rarely trusts short right-handers with average-or-worse velocity. The Astros trust him enough to make him the long man in their postseason bullpen games but, thus far, not enough to let him start one.

32. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Nationals

It’s easy to write off Zimmerman as old and busted, based on his sub-replacement 2019 season, but if you expand your view — for instance, he has hit .284/.345/.520 the past three years — or zoom in to the strong September that followed his injury-marred summer, you can see plenty of reasons besides nostalgia (Natstalgia?) for Davey Martinez to have given him so much playing time this October. Zimmerman is still in the 90th percentile for exit velocity, and he has become such a pull hitter that it’ll be interesting to see whether he and the Crawford Boxes get romantic.

33. Aledmys Diaz, UT, Astros

The Astros traded for Diaz to replace super-utility guy Marwin Gonzalez last winter, and besides starting games at all four infield positions and in the outfield, Diaz took a big leap forward with his plate discipline this season. He doubled his walk rate while cutting his strikeout rate, but he remains crowded out of the Astros’ lineup and has been limited to seven pinch-hitting appearances in this postseason.

34. Yan Gomes, C, Nationals

Gomes hit .261/.400/.478 against left-handed pitching this year, which is a real bummer since Houston might not give a single inning to a left-handed pitcher in this series. Gomes hit well in the second half, he has World Series experience, he’s a solid if unspectacular defender, and for what it’s worth, Washington’s pitchers were a little bit better with him behind the plate this year.

35. Kurt Suzuki, C, Nationals

Suzuki hit .343/.375/.582 against left-handed pitching this year, which is a real bummer since Houston might not give a single inning to a left-handed pitcher in this series. Suzuki is a below-average framer, a below-average thrower and a below-average blocker, so Washington will have to decide whether his above-average bat still plays in this series or whether a 1-for-20 October is enough to tilt the bulk of playing time to Gomes.

36. Josh Reddick, RF, Astros

Source link

read more

Astros won’t make roster decisions until Pressly’s status is clear

The Houston Astros expect Ryan Pressly will be available for the World Series, but manager AJ Hinch is waiting to finalize the team’s official roster until he’s certain of the reliever’s status.

“The health of Ryan Pressly is going to be key in those (roster) decisions,” Hinch said Monday, according to ASAP Sports. “He’s going to do some things on the field today. Hopefully get off the mound. He’s feeling better. We anticipate him being available and ready to go. But until we clear him as active, we’re going to have to hold off on our roster.”

Pressly got a one-pitch out for the final out of the third inning during Game 6 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees. After fielding the ball, Pressly appeared to injure his knee, retreated to the dugout, and did not come back out for the fourth inning.

The right-hander was later diagnosed with knee discomfort, which Pressly said was caused by scar tissue from his regular-season knee injury coming off. He missed the end of August and most of September after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

“We won’t announce anything until tomorrow anyways,” Hinch said. “There could be a change or two based on health or based on matchup.”

Chris Devenski is among the candidates to replace Pressly if need be. Alternatively, the Astros could decide to carry more bench bats and opt to roster both Kyle Tucker and Myles Straw.

Source link

read more

Astros pick Justin Verlander to start Game 2 of World Series; Zack Greinke for Game 3

HOUSTON — Justin Verlander will follow Gerrit Cole and start Game 2 of the World Series for Houston against Washington on Wednesday.

Zack Greinke will start for the Astros on Friday when the Series resumes at Nationals Park.

“Greinke gets to hit. That’s going to be fun for him,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said Monday.

Greinke has a .225 career batting average with nine homers, including three this season for Arizona before he was traded to Houston on July 31.

Houston plans a bullpen game for Game 4 on Saturday.

Source link

read more

Astros dispute report of executive’s Osuna-related outburst at female reporters

The Houston Astros are disputing a report from Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated that Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman shouted at female reporters regarding the team’s acquisition of closer Roberto Osuna following Saturday’s ALCS win.

According to Apstein, Taubman turned to three female reporters in the Astros’ clubhouse and yelled “Thank god we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!”

He did this six times, Apstein reports.

Houston acquired Osuna in a July 2018 trade with the Toronto Blue Jays while the closer was serving a suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.

The Astros declined Apstein’s original request for comment and did not make Taubman available for an interview. They issued a statement Monday night shortly after the story was published.

“The story posted by Sports Illustrated is misleading and completely irresponsible,” read the statement, obtained by Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. “An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time.

“His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else – they were also not directed toward any specific reporters.

“We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated’s attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist.”

Two reporters took to Twitter to corroborate Apstein’s report:

Osuna, 24, was arrested and charged with one count of assault in Toronto in May 2018 while still a member of the Blue Jays. After the alleged victim returned to Mexico and refused to testify against him, the charge was dropped in exchange for Osuna’s agreement to a peace bond that contained several conditions. Major League Baseball suspended Osuna for 75 games.

Taubman joined the Astros in 2013 and was promoted to his current role earlier this year. He previously served as the team’s senior director of baseball operations.

His reported outburst occurred shortly after Osuna allowed a game-tying home run in Game 6 of the ALCS.

Source link

read more

Astros deny intent of assistant GM’s support of Roberto Osuna

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros issued a statement late Monday denying a Sports Illustrated report regarding the behavior of a team executive in the aftermath of the club’s pennant-clinching win in the American League Championship Series on Saturday.

According to the report, during the postgame celebration in the Houston clubhouse after the Astros’ 6-4 win over the New York Yankees, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters — including one wearing a purple, domestic violence-awareness bracelet — and repeatedly yelled, “Thank god we got Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!”

Last season, Houston closer Roberto Osuna, 24, served a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. Osuna, then a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, was charged in May 2018 with domestic assault, however the charge was later withdrawn when the woman he is alleged to have assaulted made it clear she would not travel from Mexico to Toronto to testify.

Osuna agreed to a peace bond, which required him to not contact the woman and to continue counseling.

He was acquired by the Astros shortly before the end of that suspension.

This season, Osuna led the AL with 38 saves, but he blew a two-run lead in the Astros’ series-clinching win, giving up a two-run homer to New York’s DJ LeMahieu in the ninth inning. Houston won in the bottom of the inning off a Jose Altuve home run.

The Astros statement read, “The story posted by Sports Illustrated is misleading and completely irresponsible. An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time. His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else — they were also not directed toward any specific reporters. We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated’s attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist.”

Taubman was promoted to assistant GM by the Astros late last season. He was worked for the club since 2013.

Source link

read more
1 2 3 22
Page 1 of 22
Durrelliott - News Source For Teenagers