Ken Giles to the minors; first pitch fastballs to pinch hitters; Aaron Nola’s development; projecting the home run derby
FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: Ken Giles was sent down to Triple-A, and even though his peripherals have looked good, his outcomes have not been. This is because he has struggled in non-save situations for some reason, and his slider has show less movement and depth since 2016.
Baseball Prospectus | Rob Mains ($): Why do pitchers throw pinch hitters a first-pitch fastball when they should know hitters are expecting it? Mains put this theory to the test, and found that that is correct; pinch hitters are better off if they make contact on a first-pitch fastball, and worse off if they get a first pitch off-speed and then have a longer plate appearance.
Banished to the Pen | Alexander Haynes: Aaron Nola is not only great, but he is evolving. Since debuting in the big leagues he has added deception and a nasty changeup to go from just a solid debut to one of the best pitchers in baseball.
ESPN Insider | Dan Szymborski ($): Let’s get ZiPS projections for the home run derby! I won’t spoil who wins because of the paywall, but let’s say that our very big boys, Kyle Schwarber, Jesus Aguilar, and Max Muncy are all in the mix.