Cleveland baseball items:
- Catcher Yan Gomes has been honored as the Indians' recipient of the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award. Rawlings' Gold Gloves are the best known defensive award in baseball, and are given to one player at each position in each league. Wilson instead honors one player on each team. You can find a complete list of winners here.
- The Indians are Cleveland' longest-lasting and most-beloved baseball team, but years before the franchise existed, baseball was being played in and around the city. Perhaps the most significant team from the 1800s was the Forest City Baseball Club, also known as the Forest Citys, which was organized in 1865. If Yo Daddy Wags has time, I'm sure he'll drop some fantastic knowledge about the club into the comments. In the meantime, you can find a picture of the team (circa ~1880) here.
Hot stove season is heating up nicely. SB Nation has you covered for the latest rumors, reports, and transactions from around the league. The latest includes a rival suitor for Tim Hudson, a rumored target of the Indians.
Kurt Mensching has a tremendous (and beautiful looking) appraisal of Jim Leyland's time as Tigers manager. They're the enemy and all, but it's a really well-done piece, and worth reading no matter your rooting interests.
Byron Buxton (left shoulder) and Miguel Sano (right elbow), two of baseball's most highly-rated prospects, have both been shut down in offseason ball (Arizona Fall League and Dominican Winter League, respectively). Neither injury is necessarily serious, but it's still brutal news for the Twins and their fans, as those are the team's top two prospects.
FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan has one of the highest outputs of any baseball writer I can think of, but he never lets quantity get in the way of quality. Case in point, two great posts from him on Friday:
- How strong an impact on BABIP does pitch location have? It stands to reason that pitchers who are allowing contact on pitches over the plate are likely getting hit harder than those who get contact on pitches out of the zone.
- Not all strike zones are created equal. Pitch-framing can lead to pitches outside the zone being called strikes, and/or pitches in the zone being called as balls. Here's a look at which pitches around baseball gained and lost the most strikes in 2013. Joe Smith showed some of the strong improvement in baseball, perhaps due to throwing less frequently to Carlos Santana (a notoriously poor framer).
Until 2005 (when a computer took over) the Major League Baseball schedule was put together each season by a husband and wife team named Henry and Holly Stevenson. ESPN's 30 for 30 series gives a great 12-minute look at the couple.