High-velocity fastball hitters; the Astros’ rotation; Rice/Parker/Foster; the league’s ball report
The Athletic | Eno Sarris ($): How do players hit high-velocity fastballs? There’s no clear link between age, nor is their a clear link to the ability to hit the opposite-field. Visual acuity might be one, and mechanics might be another. It seems it’s a rather complicated question with a lot of variables, as most baseball questions are.
FanGraphs | Travis Sawchik: As of today, the Astros have the best rotation in baseball history by ERA-. That likely changes, but it brings up a good point: their rotation is on overdrive, and even if they do regress, we’re seeing something largely unprecedented.
Bill James Online | Bill James: James tackles Dave Parker vs. Jim Rice and George Foster using Win Shares, Adjusted Win Shares, and a Superstar Score, and found that Parker came ahead of Rice and then ahead of Foster on the last score. He also found that while Rice and Foster had better non-peak seasons, Foster had a much stronger peak.
ESPN | AP: The league has concluded their ball study, and hoo boy, it’s a doozy. They claim that according to their investigation, the ball did not substantively change but that it is “aerodynamically different,” which translates to, “The ball is different, but we don’t know why.” They recommended doing testing and monitoring of balls moving forward, but this whole thing is a farce, because we have a host of evidence that the ball has physically changed, too.