Some things to talk about while you read a great interview with Sig Mejdal over at FanGraphs...
1) Astros acquiring all the sinkerballers?
There's been a trend developing with this new front office, and it involves the sinker. The latest evidence that the new front office may be targeting pitchers who put the heavy on the ball?
Peacock has mainly thrown a four-seam fastball, changeup and curveball during his career. He’s working on his two-seamer this spring, and it paid off with the bases loaded in the second inning. He induced Freddy Galvis’ inning-ending fielder’s choice grounder to second to escape unscathed.
"I made my pitch and (Jose) Altuve made the play," he said. "That’s all I can ask for."
The article above doesn't specifically say the Astros asked Peacock to start throwing a sinker. He said he picked it up from some advice from friends. However, it totally fits the pattern of player acquisition for the rotation that Houston's been on.
Is this an inefficiency Houston is trying to exploit or just a way Luhnow and Co. want to build this team? If we start at Point A, saying the Astros wanted to acquire a bunch of sinkerballers, then put all the deals last year into that context, doesn't the move for Matt Dominguez make a ton of sense? Doesn't the signing of Carlos Pena also make sense?
The Astros are trying to build a super-strong infield defense behind their sinker brigade. That's also why the new emphasis on the shift means more. This is a team that's been building up to having the best infield defense in baseball with a pitching staff tailored to putting the ball on the ground.
It's why I said a while back that Jarred Cosart may be the poster boy for this new front office. The plan isn't finished yet, however, as the Astros still need to get stronger at short. But, as the evidence continues to pile up, this has gone from a possibility to an actual trend, hasn't it?
2) Thoughts on cuts
Brooks covered this quite well this weekend, but the Astros made their first round of cuts on Sunday. The next set is scheduled for Wednesday, and should include players added to the 40-man roster this winter, as that will be the first opportunity to send them down.
Were there any surprises on the list? Nope. There was a chance that Sam Demel could have made it, but with his sinker needing time to start sinking again, it was more likely he'd start out in Triple-A and be that extra bullpen arm Houston can call up in a pinch due to injuries.
Marc Krauss getting bounced from the outfield competition is surprising on the surface, but shouldn't be. I think there's a bit more to it than what Brooks said, that Krauss was getting his cup of coffee taste of the big leagues. Krauss was probably in the mix with everyone else for that outfield spot before the Jed Lowrie trade.
However, once Houston got Chris Carter back in the trade and installed him in left field, Krauss basically fell out of the competition in all but name only.
Any predictions on the next cuts? Anyone who may be shaking out at making a surprise run at the roster?
3) Gold Gloves take a SABR step forward
If you care about post-season award and are kinda sad that the Gold Gloves had caveats thrown in front of them since advanced metrics became more common, this is great news. Apparently, Rawlings and SABR are partnering to improve the Gold Glove award process.
As part of the multi-year collaboration beginning with the 2013 season, SABR will develop an expanded statistical resource guide that will accompany the Rawlings Gold Glove Award ballots sent to managers and coaches each year. In addition, SABR will immediately establish a new Fielding Research Committee tasked to develop a proprietary new defensive analytic called the SABR Defensive Index™, or SDI™. The SDI will serve as an "apples-to-apples" metric to help determine the best defensive players in baseball exclusively for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award selection processes. The collaboration also installs SABR as the presenting sponsor of the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award.
As Jeff Sullivan breaks down on FanGraphs, this newly created defensive stat should be pretty good. And, the award will now consist of some percentage of said metric and actual voting, which takes away some of the subjectivity that usually wrecks things like this.
Defense is still hard to quantify, but putting a bunch of smart people to the task of coming up with better ways of measuring it? That can't hurt.
Will this change how you view the Gold Gloves? Do you prefer the Fielding Bible awards now?