Roberto Osuna – So Good, So Young

The youngest player in the AL this season is Toronto’s setup reliever Roberto Osuna, born in Mexico on Feb 7, 1995. While the 20 year-old is young in years, this is his 5th season as a professional (though he has been used quite sparingly in the minors with just 128.2 IP in four minor league campaigns). Why am I writing about a rookie relief pitcher not even halfway into the season? Well, there’s this:

2015 20 TOR 1 2 .333 2.12 31 0 8 1 34.0 1 10 40 185 2.11 0.912 5.6 0.3 2.6 10.6 4.00
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 6/23/2015.

Those numbers will attract attention on any pitcher’s resume, never mind for a 20 year-old rookie. More on Osuna after the jump.

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COG Round 97 Results: Heilmann is safe at home

Among a number of meanings for the German word “heil” is safe. Thus, Tiger great Harry Heilmann is safe at home in the COG, after a first ballot election to the Circle of Greats. Heilmann debuted with Detroit in 1914 and established himself as a solid and consistent contributor. But, his true star caliber only became evident with the advent of the live ball era in the 1920s. Heilmann’s .380 BA over 7 seasons (1921-27) was the top figure in the AL, a full 16 points higher than teammate Ty Cobb and 21 points better than a certain Yankee outfielder who was last week’s COG honoree.

More on Heilmann after the jump.

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Quiz – Precocious Pitchers (solved)

The players in this quiz share a particular pitching accomplishment that no others have achieved since 1914. What is it?

  1. Don Sutton
  2. Gary Nolan
  3. Lowell Palmer
  4. Bert Blyleven
  5. Lynn McGlothen
  6. John Candelaria
  7. Al Leiter
  8. Bill Pulsipher
  9. Dontrelle Willis
  10. Noah Syndergaard

Congratulations to Dr. Doom! He identified that only these pitchers started each of the first 7 games of their careers before their 23rd birthdays while pitching 40 innings with 40 hits allowed and 40 strikeouts. More on the 40/40/40 group after the jump.

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The Curious Career of A.J. Burnett

Barring injury, A.J. Burnett will later this year join an elite group of only 7 pitchers with career totals of 2500 IP, 2500 strikeouts, a 2.0 SO/BB ratio, and more strikeouts than hits allowed. But, that’s where the similarity ends as all the pitchers in that group have more than 60 WAR and 35 WAA while Burnett is only half-way to that WAR threshold and has only 20% of that WAA. Sort of the Alfonso Soriano of pitchers, if you will.

More on Burnett’s curious career after the jump.

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COG Round 96 Results: Sultan swats competition

In a no-doubt vote, Babe Ruth far outdistanced all competitors to earn induction to the Circle of Greats with the highest ballot share yet recorded. Ruth achieved mythical stature in baseball and as a cultural icon to a degree that none before or since have approached. Ruth’s impact on the game was immense and permanent, ushering in the live ball era with feats of power hitting never before imagined.

More on Ruth after the jump.

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COG Round 95 Results: Voters say Hurrah for Rajah

Rogers Hornsby wins election to the Circle of Greats in the 95th round of COG balloting. In his first ballot appearance, Hornsby was the clear favorite among a host of creditable holdover candidates. Hornsby made an immediate impact in his 1916 rookie season with 4.9 WAR and 151 OPS+, totals for a rookie third baseman that have since been matched only by Dick Allen. Hornsby then moved to shortstop, posting 4.0 oWAR and 2.0 dWAR in consecutive seasons. Quiz: who is the only player since with those oWAR and dWAR totals in his first two seasons at shortstop?

More on Hornsby after the jump.

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Pivotal Pitches

I was watching a game on TV last week during which the commentator related a conversation he had had with a catcher who had played for Mike Scoscia. The catcher indicated that Scoscia placed tremendous emphasis on the 1-1 pitch as the key pitch of an AB because of the difference between facing an opposing batter with a 1-2 count rather than a 2-1 count. So, I thought to myself “I wonder if Scoscia is right?” and decided to find out.

What follows, then, is an analysis of pitch count data available through I learned a few things that surprised me. Maybe you will too.

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