There's some serious skill involved in laying down successful bunts, believe it or not. Does an individual's style based on OBP-wOBA have anything to do with making a difference in an optimal batting order? How has Patrick Corbin changed to dominate this year? There's a ton of baseball being written about and some of the best pieces are collected below.
Previously on Beyond the Box Score
Much Ado About Bunting: The Art and Skill of Laying it Down by Lance Rinker | Beyond the Box Score
Lance conducts some excellent research on what factors into becoming a successful bunter, breaking up the field into different zones and distinguishing that speed isn't the only skill needed.
Lineup Styles, Part Two by Lee Trocinski | Beyond the Box Score
While OBP and SLG correlate almost equally to scoring, Lee dives in further, seeing if the individual hitters make any more of a difference.
Is Patrick Corbin Arizona's New Ace? by Mike Mulvenna | Beyond the Box Score
On Tuesday night, Patrick Corbin threw a complete game against the Rockies with 10 strikeouts and is now only behind Clayton Kershaw on the ERA leaderboard, somewhat surprising given his mediocre results in 107 innings last year. What has changed and is it sustainable?
Around the Sabersphere
Don't blame Mattingly: Blame the Dodgers by David Schoenfield | ESPN Sweetspot
The Dodgers are in last place in the NL West at 18-25 and people are looking for someone to blame. With the highest payroll in the MLB consisting of a ton of pricy veterans, Don Mattingly is apparently on the hot seat. David Schoenfield insists that he's not the one to blame, thinking people should be pointing at LA's front office.
Johnny Cueto’s Twist by Jeff Zimmerman | FanGraphs Baseball
Johnny Cueto's unique pitching mechanics involves twisting his midsection to deceive hitters at the plate. It seems to have been working for him considering he's posted two consecutive years with an ERA under 2.8. But he only completed a third of an inning in the postseason before exiting with an oblique injury. In 2013, he's already hit the disabled list with another oblique aggravation. Is it time for him to change his trademark mechanics?
Investigating Alex Sanabia’s Pitches by Dave Cameron | FanGraphs Baseball
Yesterday, Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia slobbered all over the ball after a Domonic Brown homerun and may have attracted the attention of the MLB. For now, nothing has come of it but some are wondering if Sanabia's spit had something to do with his uncharacteristically dominant performance against the Phillies last night. Dave Cameron concludes that there was nothing different about his pitch trajectories.
Around SB Nation
Move him up! Dusty Baker, Joey Votto and the Chamber of Secret Batting Orders by Steven Goldman | SBNation.com
Baker is a fine manager, but batting orders have never been a strength. Zack Cozart is hurting an already-damaged batting order, necessitating a change. Joey Votto has a .476 OBP and should be batting second.
Finding Stephen Strasburg's missing strikeouts by Grant Brisbee | Baseball Nation
Stephen Strasburg is striking out 23.3% of batters this year compared to 30.2% in 2012. Hitters aren't chasing his offspeed pitches like they used to but Grant believes Strasburg's strikeout rate will definitely bounce back over the season.
The Royals instant gratification crutch by Craig Brown | Royals Review
Craig has had enough of the excuses for the underperforming top prospects that have been given plenty of time to develop in Kansas City. They haven't had a single playoff appearance in the past 28 years and Dayton Moore has been the GM for the past seven. Ned Yost and the Royals executives continue to stress patience over instant gratification but when is enough, enough?
Outside the Sabersphere
Sean Penn in Talks for Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ by Germain Lussier | /Film
Paul Thomas Anderson's next film is going to be Inherent Vice, which will be sporting one helluva cast with Joaquin Phoenix, Bencio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Martin Short and possibly Sean Penn signing on. Phoenix's return to acting was incredible with his riveting performance in PTA's The Master and I'm extremely excited to see how his next film develops.