The Bill Chuck Files of December 15, 2019

Each Sunday, in remembrance of my friend Nick Cafardo, I post “the Bill Chuck Files” (named by Nick in his Sunday Baseball Notes column)

Leading Off

The Cubs need a better leadoff batter next season. In 2019, no team had a lower team batting average from the number one slot than the Cubs who hit just .212. The Cubs leadoff batters scored 99 runs, 25th in the majors. Mariners leadoff batters only scored 88 times, the fewest in the majors. The Twins leadoff batters stole only one base, the fewest in franchise history.

Congrats to Ted Simmons

Only five players have hit at least 240 homers, walked at least 800 times, and struck out fewer than 700 times. Ted is one of them

Player HR SO BB From To PA AB RBI BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
Stan Musial 475 696 1599 1941 1963 12718 10972 1951 .331 .417 .559 .976 STL
Johnny Mize 359 524 856 1936 1953 7370 6443 1337 .312 .397 .562 .959 STL-NYG-NYY
Rogers Hornsby 301 679 1038 1915 1937 9480 8173 1584 .358 .434 .577 1.010 STL-NYG-BSN-CHC-SLB
Ted Simmons 248 694 855 1968 1988 9685 8680 1389 .285 .348 .437 .785 STL-MIL-ATL
Goose Goslin 248 585 949 1921 1938 9829 8656 1612 .316 .387 .500 .887 WSH-SLB-DET

Measure Twice and Cut Once

Maybe Gerrit Cole skills lasts longer than five years, maybe they don’t. It makes very little difference. The Yankees are a team that did not reach the WS in the decade and reached the LCS just four times. Isn’t the Cole deal what you want ownership to do? The Angels, despite the greatest player of our lifetimes, did not even reach the LCS. Last season, the Yankees starters had a 4.51 ERA, 15th in the majors. Sure they overpaid, but they made the deal they needed to make. I think of overpaying like wrapping a holiday present: if you cut a piece of wrapping paper that is too small for the gift, you have an unwrapped gift and a piece of wrapping paper that you can’t use, so you need another bigger piece of wrapping paper to compensate. The Yankees decided to measure twice and cut once.

Yoenis Cespedes meet Aaron Boone

Yoenis Cespedes’ salary for 2019 was cut in half and his pay for 2020 significantly reduced as part of a settlement of a grievance with the Mets. If you are looking for a precedent, you might consider this:

On January 16, 2004, while playing basketball, Yankees’ third baseman Aaron Boone tore his ACL. The Yanks were none too pleased. As Tyler Kepner wrote at the time, “Boone said it typically takes four to six months to recover from the kind of surgery he will have, a schedule that points to an August comeback. By then, though, he may not be with the Yankees. Because Boone voided the guarantee on his contract by injuring himself playing basketball, the Yankees can release him and owe less than $1 million of his $5.75 million salary.” Kepner also pointed out this little factoid in another article about Boone’s travails, “Starter Mike Mussina is the only Yankee contractually allowed to play basketball, and he has restrictions. Mussina is allowed to play for only a three-week period before Jan. 1, and only on the indoor court at his home in Montoursville, Pa.”

Jeopardy Answer:

This free-agent just signed a new contract:

Year GS IP HR ERA WHIP
2014 31 204.2 18 3.43 1.231
2015 28 172.0 25 4.92 1.360
2016 33 223.0 23 3.15 1.009
2017 33 203.1 38 4.65 1.397
2018 33 191.1 27 4.28 1.176
2019 32 174.1 31 5.52 1.394

In 2018, Reed Hastings CEO of Netflix made $36,080,417, about the same money that Gerrit Cole will make per season with the Yankees) and while I liked The Irishman, I’ll take Cole over Hastings when facing the Astrisks.

2019 Starters vs. AL East – ERA Leaders

(min 4 starts and 25.0 IP)

Starters v AL East GS QS IP H BB K HR ERA FIP WHIP IP/G P
Mike Minor 6 4 45.2 39 10 39 4 1.77 3.43 1.07 7.2 681
Marcus Stroman 6 4 33.2 36 14 32 1 1.87 2.95 1.49 5.2 603
Tyler Glasnow 8 3 40.2 27 10 50 3 2.43 2.45 0.91 5.0 608
Matthew Boyd 6 4 36.1 24 13 46 3 2.48 2.83 1.02 6.0 566
Justin Verlander 7 5 46.1 32 7 59 4 2.53 2.50 0.84 6.2 739
Gerrit Cole 6 4 37.2 28 7 61 4 2.63 2.07 0.93 6.1 624
Wade Miley 7 3 37.1 34 15 35 5 2.65 4.29 1.31 5.1 653
Lance Lynn 7 4 44.1 32 17 51 4 2.84 3.24 1.11 6.1 736
Yusei Kikuchi 5 4 32.2 22 10 20 5 3.03 4.90 0.98 6.2 477
Shane Bieber 9 6 56.0 41 10 81 7 3.05 2.54 0.91 6.1 864

After starting with an 0-2 count

There were 815 homers hit this season after a batter started with an 0-2 count, Nelson Cruz led them all with 11 homers. Chris Paddack led all pitchers allowing eight homers. Mike Leake, Caleb Smith and Gerrit Cole each allowed seven. One of baseball’s most famous homers was hit after the pitcher started 0-2, do you remember which one?

Verlander after starting with an 0-2 count

Justin Verlander, who allowed four homers, led all pitchers facing 250 batters who he started with an 0-2 count. Gerrit Cole was second with 233 and Madison Bumgarner was third with 223. Batters hit .126 against Cole, .120 against Mad Bum, and an amazing .106 against Verlander, who struck out 152 of the 250 (60.8 percent) and had an OPS of .307. Dennis Eckersley started 0-2 on Kirk Gibson before Gibby hit his walkoff in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Speed Kills Goldy

If I’m the Cardinals, I’m looking for bats, not just because the team finished 10th in the NL scoring 764 runs and hit .245 11th in the NL had an OPS of .737 also 11th in the NL. But because one of the bats that they seem content with, star Paul Goldschmidt, is having an increasingly difficult time with fastballs. he is trending in a very bad direction.

Goldschmidt on pitches 94+ mph 2015-2019

PA AB R H XBH HR RBI BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
2019 151 140 22 21 9 6 19 9 53 .150 .199 .300 .499
2018 137 122 18 31 11 5 13 14 36 .254 .336 .426 .762
2017 154 127 25 40 24 10 34 20 40 .315 .422 .669 1.091
2016 123 108 12 31 12 5 16 12 30 .287 .350 .491 .840
2015 123 106 17 26 9 3 13 15 29 .245 .341 .387 .728

As more relievers throw nothing but heat, the more Goldy struggles. In 2016, Paul hit .279 against relievers; in 2017, he hit .258; in 2018, he hit only .197; and last season, he only hit .134.

Colome & Mo

Alex Colome debuted in 2013 making three starts for the Tampa Bay Rays. Colome didn’t become a full-time reliever until 2016 when he earned 37 saves for the Rays. The next season, he led the league with 47 saves. Colome had only a total of 24 saves over the next three seasons before he bounced back to total 30 for the White Sox last season. Colome finished the 2010-2019 decade with 126 saves. 2019 HOF inductee Mariano Rivera finished off his career in 2013, racking up 44 saves, after only five saves in his 2012 injury season. Rivera finished his 10-Teens decade with 126 saves…just like Colome.

Batting Second

The Angels and the Twins led all teams with 48 homers from the number two slot in the batting order. The Tigers only had 13 homers from batters batting second, none more than Nicholas Castellanos who hit four. Lou Whitaker holds the team record with the 20 homers he hit batting second in 1991. Whitaker hit 18 homers batting second in 1992 and Alan Trammell also hit 18 in 1986.

J.G. Taylor Spink

Nick Cafardo is the J.G Taylor Spink Award Winner

Nick joins an impressive list of Boston Globe writers to win the Spink Award: Dan Shaughnessy (2016), Larry Whiteside (2008), Peter Gammons (2004), Tim Murnane (1978) and Harold Kaese (1976). Other Spink Award winners include Ring Lardner (1963), Grantland Rice (1966), Damon Runyon (1967), Fred Lieb (1972), Shirley Povich (1975), Red Smith (1976), Jim Murray (1987), Wendell Smith (1993), Roger Angell (2014), Claire Smith (2017) and Jayson Stark (2019). Bill Francis of the Hall of Fame wrote an outstanding article about Nick.

Jeopardy Question:

Who is the new New York Mets pitcher Rick Porcello?