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Good morning baseball fans!
It’s time. Clayton Kershaw is back. Well, he will officially be back on Friday to make his first start since going down on June 26.
Carl Edwards Jr. went from being a 48th round pick to a key staple of the Cubs bullpen.
Edwards Jr.‘s fastball has gotten a swing and miss (or a foul tip) 13.29 percent of the time in 2016, a number that has been bested by only the fastballs of Zach Britton, Sean Doolittle, and Aroldis Chapman—all left-handed pitchers. The closest righty to him is Pedro Baez at 13.08 percent. On the rare occasion his fastball has been put in play—it’s only happened 39 times out of the 346 he’s thrown it—the average exit velocity is just 84.3 mph. That ranks second out of 409 pitchers who have had at least 10 fastballs put in play against them this season, trailing only CC Sabathia—another lefty—with an average of 84 mph. This makes Edwards Jr. the top right-handed pitcher in baseball in both swings and misses and exit velocity allowed by his fastball. What makes his the league’s best right-handed fastball?
At first glance, his average fastball velocity of 95.45 mph looks very good, but these days that isn’t even good enough to get Edwards Jr. into the top 60 among pitchers who have thrown at least 400 pitches this season, so it can’t only be his velocity. Another thing Edwards Jr. is great at is maximizing his six foot, three inch frame to extend toward the plate and make his fastball appear to be faster than it really is. His average perceived velocity—the speed at which the ball appears to be traveling to the hitter, based on the pitcher’s extension and release point—is 96.79 mph, which jumps him up all the way from 62nd to 17th on the fastball velocity leaderboard. It’s the third largest difference between actual and perceived velocity of a two- or four-seam fastball in the league (min. 100 fastballs thrown) and moves him firmly into the upper echelon of fastball velocity.
Here is a roundup of news from around the National League East.
The Brewers are stealing bases like it’s 1987 (which it’s not).
Because manager Craig Counsell doesn’t seem inclined to aggression on the bases, I wonder if new first-base coach Carlos Subero is urging these guys to run more often. Perhaps he’s better than his predecessor Mike Guerrero at noticing tells in pitchers’ deliveries, advising his base-runners on when to bolt, or both, leading to more trust from Counsell. Or perhaps it’s simpler than that: maybe Counsell is now armed with speedsters he didn’t have before. I’m not sure.
Whatever it is, this new arrangement is working. Among players with at least 100 PA Perez, Broxton, and Villar rank third, fourth, and fifth with +3.4, +3.3. and +3.1 weighted stolen-base runs, respectively. Combined, their team is second in baseball with +9 wSB runs.
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Today in Baseball History: In 1995, Cal Ripken, Jr. plays in his 2,131st consecutive game, surpassing Lou Gehrig’s 56 year record.