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Third Strike Looking Glass

Baseball writings from the hat of mhatter106

Off the Top of My Hat: PeñaMania Edition

Assorted musings on Jeremy Pena’s defense, Justin Verlander and James Click’s legacies, the rapid ascension of Houston in the AL, and a belief that if I just keep saying "PeñaMania" enough, it will catch on.

Off the Top of My Hat: Fenway Park - A Ballpark for People Who Like Baseball

Hatter takes a trip to the majors’ oldest ballpark Fenway Park to see the Red Sox take on the Athletics

Lessons From a Baseball Fan’s Adventures in Wrigleyville

An Astros fan makes her first trip to Wrigley to watch two old division rivals, the Cubs and Cardinals, square off.

The Lucky and the Strong: Astros Starting Pitching is Exceeding Expectations

Astros starting pitching has performed better than advanced pitching stats would indicate. Much of this may be luck, but fortune favors the prepared mind.

Should Yordan Alvarez Play Any Left Field?

By all accounts, Yordan Alvarez’ glove is terrible. But his bat is so good that if Alvarez’s knees can take it, it shouldn’t kill the Astros to put him in left field every once in awhile.

Bunting the Runner Over in Extras

The math tells us that bunting is counterproductive. But with the new extra-innings rule starting each frame with a runner on second, is there a role for bunting again in major league baseball?

Off the Top of my Hat: Opening Weekend Edition

The price of a single Verlander start, 3 game series, the misdirected fury towards a waste receptacle and a lot of other things you didn’t ask about.

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Catcher Skill Spectrum Scores

A collection of articles by mhatter106 evaluating major league catchers by specific skills: hitting, baserunning, framing, throwing and blocking.

wILDCARD: The Baseball Metric for a Diseased MLB Season

Dominating an MLB season is usually about which teams can create the most runs, prevent the most runs and thus win more games. But if winning the 2020 MLB Season really just comes down to which team can get the fewest cases of coronavirus, we’re going to need a new set of sabermetrics. mhatter106 has you covered.

So Whatever Happened to the Mariners-Angels Game in The Naked Gun?

After someone tries to assassinate the queen, it’s probably time to call it an afternoon. So what happened to the game after that? This is the most I’ll ever care about the outcome of a Mariners-Angels game.

Off the Top of My Hat: Astros Dream Draft Edition

Pitchers that dress like Care Bears and a draft policy of "Best Player Whose Last Name Starts with B Available" provide the blueprint for Hatter’s own personal Space Force.

What Astros Fans Need, Altuve Provides

When you think of the Houston Astros, you think of José Altuve. That’s a good thing. That is why he is the #1 Astro.

Off the Top of My Hat - Christmas Music Edition

For those on the nice list, you are treated to mhatter106’s opinions on baseball and Christmas music. Unless you don’t like the opinions, in which case you are subjected to them for being on the naughty list.

Out of the Frame: The Effect of an Electronic Strike Zone on Catching

With the electronic strike zone coming to the minors in 2020, it is only a matter of time before its eventual implementation in the majors. When the robots arrive, catchers face a change in job description.

Garver, Grandal, Realmuto Top the 2019 Catcher Skills Spectrum Scores

Backed by a strong offensive season, Robinson Chirinos registered as the number 6 overall catcher in mhatter106’s weighted overall catcher skills spectrum scores.

The Curious Case of Kyle Tucker’s 131st At-Bat

You never forget your 131st, and by that I mean Kyle Tucker’s career 131st at-bat that ended his 2019 season, making him ineligible for the 2020 Rookie of the Year award. Let’s examine that final at-bat where innocence was lost.

Remember the Ride, Not the Destination

The 2019 Houston Astros were more than just Game 7 of the World Series.

No, Aroldis Chapman Shouldn’t Have Walked Jose Altuve to Pitch to Jake Marisnick

With the poor-hitting Jake Marisnick on deck, many are second-guessing New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s decision to have Aroldis Chapman pitch to 3-time batting champion Jose Altuve, instead of walking him. But it was the right call.

The Only Thing More Incredible than Yordan Alvarez’ Third Deck Home Run Was That It Wasn’t Longer

The Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez launched a home run into the third deck of Minute Maid Park, normally home only to white-winged doves and rock pigeons trapped when the roof closes. So this is what it feels like when doves cry.

Strikebreakers: Inside the Houston Astros’ League Low Strikeout Rate

The Houston Astros’ best-in-the-majors strikeout rate is helping drive its powerful offense, but not in the way you might think.

Houston Astros Reacquire Martin Maldonado, But Why?

History repeats itself as the Houston Astros trade for Martin Maldonado again, this time from the Cubs. But is he really an upgrade?

The Houston Astros are Ready to Move on from Max Stassi, and That Would be a Mistake

Jeff Luhnow is looking for a new catcher, which may spell the end of Max Stassi’s time with the Houston Astros.

2016 - 2019 Catcher Skills Spectrum Scores

A follow-up or appendix to the original article "Deconstructing the Catcher: Valuating the Five Tools of the Backstop". Here are all the skill spectrums scores and weight overall scores for catches since 2016.

Deconstructing the Catcher: Valuating the Five Tools of the Backstop

Batting, Baserunning, Pitch Framing, Throwing out Baserunners, and Blocking Pitches. Each of these are important skills for a catcher, but some of them are more impactful than others.

Focused From the Start: Yordan Alvarez Begins His MLB Career at Designated Hitter

With a crowded and productive Houston Astros outfield, Yordan Alvarez made his major league debut as the designated hitter. Spending a rookie season at DH is uncommon, but not without precedent. We examine the concept and history of major league rookie seasons at designated hitter.

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Matt Canterino: Rice’s Friday Night Special

As Matt Canterino is drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the second round of the 2019 MLB Draft, mhatter106 shares memories with Twinkietown of watching the Rice University pitcher dominate CUSA hitters.

Flipping the Switch: Examining the Value and Decline of Switch Hitting

The Houston Astros project to have their first season in 50 years without a switch hitter plate appearance. Switch hitting is on the decline league-wide. We take a look inside the numbers to determine how much benefit there is to switch hitting, and if it is worth the extra time and effort.

Homecoming: Roberto Osuna Returns to Mexico a Tarnished Star

Roberto Osuna is the best Mexican baseball player in the majors today, but off the field issues and controversies prevent his return to Mexico from being the coronation it could have been.

The Prince and the Pauper: The Differing Fortunes of Robinson Chirinos and Max Stassi

Astros catchers Robinson Chirinos and Max Stassi have had wildly diverging starts to their season. On closer inspection though, the two have not been all that different.

Is It Time to Call Up Yordan Alvarez?

Yordan Alvarez is destroying PCL pitching, and calls to have him join the big club are growing louder.

After Six Years in the AL, The Astros Are Still Learning How to Use the Designated Hitter

It’s been six years since they joined the AL, and the Astros still have not been able to get production from the designated hitter the way their AL competitors have, until now.

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The Silent Art of Catcher Framing: How Max Stassi Quietly Became the League's Most Valuable Catcher


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