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Good morning baseball fans, and happy All-Star week to everybody! The festivities got started on Sunday with the Future’s Game.
Here is a trade deadline preview for the Cubs, a team that may make a move or two to push them past their current struggles.
Speaking of the trade deadline, Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs launched the 2016 version of his Trade Value series.
And then there are the guys who haven’t really lost value in terms of expected performance, but are simply moving down at the natural pace due to their march towards their more expensive years. Freeman is still a good player on a below-market contract, but he’s in the last of his super cheap years, and is set to make $17 million next season, so he’s not quite the bargain he was in past years. Panik remains a quality performer with a very interesting set of skills, but he’s used up one of his pre-arb years this year, so there’s less value to trade than there was last year; he now finds himself getting passed by a few of the elite young guys making their way up the ladder.
So those are the guys who won’t be coming back to the list after appearing last year. Tomorrow morning, we’ll cover the players who just missed the cut, and then we’ll publish #50 to #41 in the late-morning, kicking off the series in earnest. I hope you find this exercise as fun as I do, and enjoy a week of thinking about the trade value of guys who almost certainly won’t be traded.
Here is a roundup of news from around the American League Central.
Jake Lamb won’t be at the All-Star Game, but he certainly should be.
While it's difficult to account for confidence being a major factor in Lamb's change at the plate, his comments with Laurila allude to his desire to be a gap to gap hitter. His in-game on-field production is a player with one of the highest pull rates in the league, so perhaps it isn't unreasonable to think that Lamb's ability to realize his strength at the Major League level gave him the confidence necessary to play to that strength as much as possible via right field, irrespective of an overshift. Though we don't know if he will always beat the shift, a .380 wOBA speaks to how well he has been able to thus far, and is one of the reasons why he has safely been able to change his approach at the plate.
Although Lamb has modeled many of his adjustments after that of teammate A.J. Pollock, he has been able to far exceed any ‘Pollock 2.0’ labels. Not only has Pollock never pulled the ball at a rate like this, he was never able to exhume the power hitter Lamb has. Although, even without all of Lamb’s mechanical changes, maybe we could have seen this breakout last season if not for a foot injury in April that robbed him of a month and a half. Upon his return, he was never quite the same hitter, so seeing Lamb return to full health plays a crucial role, as well.
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Today in Baseball History: In 1914, Babe Ruth breaks in with the Red Sox, pitching in a victory. During his first major league at-bat, he strikes out.