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Logan Forsythe and Breakout Seasons

You’re forgiven if the name Logan Forsythe doesn’t jump out at you. Prior to this season, he had been a journeyman infielder who, in four seasons, had never started more than 75 games, never had more than 350 PA, and had never batted .275 or slugged .400. And, there are lots of Logan Forsythes in the majors; he’s just one of 125 active players (excluding pitchers) who, prior to this season, had career totals of 500 to 1500 PA with OPS+ below 100 and less than 5 WAR.

So, why am I writing about Forsythe? You’ll find out after the break.

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COG Round 100 Results: Campy Lights COG Lamp

In the COG’s century ballot, voters took a shine to Dodger great Roy Campanella. The HOF catcher was the foundation of the Dodgers’ perennial pennant-winning teams of the 1950s, earning MVP honors 3 times in 5 seasons. Campanella was a much-heralded star in the Negro Leagues before reaching the majors at age 26, one season after Jackie Robinson‘s historic debut. Campanella’s late start and the horrific automobile accident that ended his playing days combined to limit his career statistical totals. But, for his 10 major league seasons, Campanella had no peer among NL catchers, compiling a career peak as impressive as any catcher before or since.

More on Campanella after the jump.

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Quiz – Modern Day Moundsmen (stumped)

The pitchers in this quiz share the distinction of a certain game feat that only they have achieved since 1914. What is the unusual pitching accomplishment of which only these players can boast?

  1. Felix Hernandez
  2. Jose Fernandez
  3. Jose DeLeon
  4. Jake Peavy
  5. Pedro Martinez
  6. Javier Vazquez
  7. Rick Porcello
  8. Marco Estrada

It appears I have a stumper here. Admittedly, it was a tough one. The answer is that, since 1914, in successive starts against the same opponent, only these pitchers have, in each game, pitched 8 or more innings but not a complete game, and allowed zero runs on 3 hits or less. Those mini-streaks are after the break.

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Strikeouts, Walks and Scoring: 1960s Redux?

While much attention has focused on the inexorable increase in strikeouts, the accompanying decline in walk rate seems to have slid under the radar. Half-way into this season, strikeouts remain at or near historical highs but walks continue to slide, down almost a full walk per team per game from the levels of 2000. In fact, if you look at the chart below, you’ll see that the trend of increasing strikeouts and declining walks that we’ve seen over the past 15 years is something last seen about 50 years ago.

Walks-Strikeouts 1946-2015

After the jump, more on similarities between the game today and a half century ago.

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COG Round 99 Results: Dazzy dazzles voters

Voters took a chance on Charles Arthur “Dazzy” Vance, but it was a very safe bet. Vance’s blistering fastball bedazzled National League batters in the 1920s and early 1930s, earning the right-hander a first ballot victory in the 99th round of COG balloting. Vance compiled over 2000 strikeouts and almost 200 wins after the age of 30, both pre-expansion live ball era records and marks more impressive for having been preceded by almost no major league experience. Among 345 retired pitchers like Vance with 25 to 50 IP in 15 or fewer games thru age 30, Vance easily leads in career Wins and Strikeouts, far ahead of the second place career marks of 185 strikeouts by Marlin Stuart and 25 wins for Ed Holley and Bob Spade.

More on Vance after the jump.

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Redemption Round #9

This Circle of Greats (COG) vote is not to induct anyone into the Circle, but only to select three players who will be restored back to the main ballot after having been previously dropped from eligibility. This ninth “redemption round” (we’ve been holding such redemption rounds interspersed among the regular voting rounds every tenth voting round or so) gives voters a chance to reconsider past candidates who have previously fallen off the regular induction ballots.

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COG Round 98 Results: Killer fills resume with COG pick

After remaining on the COG ballot for almost a year, Harmon Killebrew supporters made a late voting charge for a come-from-behind win for their man in the 98th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats. The long-time Twins star belted 573 career home runs, not least because (as he candidly admitted after his career) that was his objective each and every time he went to the plate. That singular purpose translated into 14 consecutive 100 game seasons with 130 OPS+, the longest such streak of seasons in the AL.

More on Killebrew after the jump.

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