Some things to talk about while Jeff Bagwell breaks all our collective hearts...
1) Well wishes for Tony D
Good news on all accounts in OKC this week. RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco will be returning to the club Tuesday night after undergoing successful treatment for cancer.
DeFrancesco underwent treatment for six weeks at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, according to the team's press release.
"I’m feeling great," DeFrancesco said. "The treatments went well and the doctors are optimistic for a full recovery. I’m ready to go and very anxious to get back in the dugout. That’s where I want to be. I’m looking forward to seeing the players and staff."
Very glad to hear this news. He's a very well-regarded minor league manager who took one for the club when he jumped in for Brad Mills in 2012. Hope he continues to remain cancer-free and can be with the RedHawks for the rest of the season.
2) Analytics working?
This is what I think. Analytics can tell us plenty about baseball on a macro, team-building scale.
This is what I know. Ken Rosenthal says the Astros analytics people were huge parts of getting Collin McHugh. That the scouts saw him as a long-man at best (much like the Mets and Rockies probably also saw him), but that Houston's analytics team liked him so much, they convinced Luhnow to add him.
This is what I can prove. McHugh scrapped his two-seam fastball in favor of a four-seamer. This creates a pitch tunnel, where his fastball and curve look the same, until the curve falls off the plate. That makes both pitches play up, giving us a reason for McHugh's uptick in performance more than the ephemeral Luck Dragons.
This is what I think. Home/road splits between Coors Field and Minute Maid Park are overblown.
This is what I know. Fowler has hit .317/.404/.537 at home and .221/.362/.232 on the road this season.
This is what I can prove. These numbers are entirely in line with his stats from Coors Field. As in, his home/road splits right now are almost identical to what they were in 2013. No Coors Effect to be found.
I don't want to make any grander statements than these. I don't want to reflect upon the Astros GM's job security or the job that he's done with the major league roster, lest I be branded as always supporting him irrationally.
I just want to point out that two moves, both predicated on analytics and advanced statistics are working out very well for the Astros.
They're both working.
3) Selig's replacement
In Jeff Passan's great column this week, he discusses some inner workings of the Bud Selig succession plan. Turns out, Selig's not able to force a team to move to ano...er, force owners to accept his hand-picked choice as new commissioner.
Jerry Reinsdorf is fighting him.
Reinsdorf has somewhere between 12 and 14 votes in his pocket at any given time, and he is deploying them in an effort to block Selig from delivering the commissionership to Manfred without so much as a discussion, sources familiar with ownership politics believe. That plan, as the New York Times outlined, failed, as did Reinsdorf's counter that would have implemented a three-man cabal atop the sport – including him.
Some fascinating stuff going on behind the scenes here. What's scary, though, is Passan's final suggestion that the owerns would rather Selig come back than pick someone else.
We just thought we were rid of him. Turns out, Selig is Michael Myers. He doesn't go away.