About last night:
The Indians fell 10-3 to Boston, meaning they've now lost 4 games in a row. They've fallen back into last place, but are also only 3.5 games out of first place. The AL Central is a very strange creature this season.
Other Tribe (or semi-Tribe) items:
Jordan Bastian's daily notes from Friday point out that Carlos Santana hasn't played catcher or third base since returning. Terry Francona says:
"I think we're a better defensive team that way. I think Carlos is probably a better first baseman than he is a third baseman."
Thus ends the Santana as Indians third baseman experiment???
For what it's worth, Carlos has made some very nice plays at first base this week, and he's the guy I'd most like to see there, given Nick Swisher's poor health and poor defense this year. I say Carlos at 1B, Lonnie Chisenhall at 3B, and Swisher at DH.
Jonah Keri looks at the BestCoolest MLB teams he's ever seen. A squad you're likely to remember fondly (unless you're not yet old enough for your brain to have stopped developing) cracks the top five. The piece also links to Keri's BestCoolest pitchers and hitters, both of which he wrote last year.
Jon at Dawgs By Nature (our Browns cousins) examines the "Win Tax" proposed by Ed Fitzgerald, a nominee for governor in Ohio (thanks to roar888 for bringing the article to my attention). Grandstanding? Legitimate way to incentivize Cleveland's three ownership groups put to put a winner on the field? Both?
MLB has released a name for the defensive data-capturing system it is beta testing in three stadiums this season: Statcast. FanGraphs has the two plays MLB released video for, catches by Yasiel Puig and Andrew McCutchen, so you can get a sense of how the system will work. Statcast has the potential to allow for a massive improvement in the way defense is measured (probably especially for outfielders), so if you care about how good players are, you should be very excited.
Also from FanGraphs: You should trust the projections. Data shows that if a player is projected as a very good hitter, than does very poorly for a month, from that point on, he will still probably be the very good hitter he was originally projected to be. In fact, even players who have three bad months tend to rebound to hitting the way they were originally expected to. Is there a player on the Indians who causes me to bring all this up??? Could be a guy who homered Friday night at Fenway.
A new study calls Phillies fan the biggest bandwagoners in baseball. The study, conducted by Emory Sports Marketing Analytics says Orioles fans "top" AL fan bases in this regard, while Indians fans rank 6th. The Yankees and Cardinals land at the other end of the list, meaning their interest is the least tied to winning, which in the case of New York does not seem right, and makes me wonder about the methodology. The study also includes a "price sensitivity" component, and Indians fans come in second on that list, behind only Diamondbacks fans.
Speaking of the Phillies, their GM Ruben Amaro (who's previously said he doesn't care about walks), doesn't seem to understand the difference between plate appearances and at bats. Gosh, it sure is hard to figure out how, despite all their spending over the last five years, the Phillies have gone from contender to one of the worst teams in baseball.
This week's off-topic topic
(Actually, it's sort of on-topic this week)
Topps is releasing a limited set of cards that will use sabermetric stats including wRC+, BABIP, and ISO, instead of the traditional stats that have been on the back of baseball cards since before your granddad was born (unless your granddad was born before cards existed). Jay Jaffe says this is cool (and I agree), but says it could be pulled off better (and I agree again).
What I'm wondering about is, what baseball cards mean/meant the most to you? This could be a brand preference, a special fondness for a particular year/era, or individual cards that you most treasured.
I started collecting in 1986, and so the cards that came out from then until 1990 or so are the ones that mattered to me. Topps and Donruss were (and are) my favorite brands. Like most collectors my age, I fell hard for Upper Deck when they came out, but looking at them now, they seem too sterile. Kirby Puckett was my favorite player (not an Indian, I know, but the life of a young Tribe fan in Chicago back then was a strange thing), and so the rookie card I paid $15 for at a card shop in Creston, Iowa was the most important card in my collection.