Welcome back everybody, Lineouts! took a day off but is back in time for this weekend edition. Many things happened over Thursday and Friday so I tried to cover as many of the great articles that were published those days. Today, I have Dave Cameron's support for one of Ruben Amaro's decisions (finally), what could hold the Tigers and Braves back from a deep post-season run and how are the Mets so good at base running? Enjoy!
MLB Hot Topics
Five great storylines we can go back to by Jayson Stark -- ESPN
Jayson gives us his five storylines that we should be looking out for with the season almost coming down the final stretch. He gives us MVP race debate, Ichiro's 4,000th hit, the story of the Pirates, division races, and players chasing history. Personally, I'm excited for the Pirates. I mean, how can you not be for a team who has been so bad for so long -- but now has a chance to overcome all of that in one season?
Under-the-radar standouts by Jerry Crasnick -- ESPN
Crasnick takes a look here at players who are considerable bargains to their teams due to their contracts and output on the field. Players such as James Loney, Marlon Byrd, Ryan Raburn, and Nate McLouth show up on this list, and deservingly so. Players like these always fascinate me because they outplay their contracts by so much, but don't get paid nearly as much as they should for that output, although it could just be one luck-driven season.
Streaking Braves and Tigers well on their way to playoffs, but what could trip them up? by Jay Jaffe -- Sports Illustrated
Jay shows us what could possibly trip up these two streaking teams up in the near future and hurt a deep run in the playoffs. For the Braves he brings up their starting pitching, where they just received Brandon Beachy back from the DL a couple weeks ago. While Julio Teheran has been pitching lights out, his innings might be a concern. Jaffe also brings up the lack of experience all five starters have right now in the regular season, which might hurt them if they are looking for a deep October run. Then the Tigers' biggest issue -- of course -- is the bullpen, which everyone knew was going to be a big question mark all season. I think the longer the starters go if they do make the playoffs, the further the Tigers will go in the post-season.
The Sabermetrics Community
In Support of a Ruben Amaro Transaction by Dave Cameron -- FanGraphs
You might be shocked that this article isn't about the poor job Ruben Amaro has done for the Phillies over the last couple of years, Dave Cameron actually commends him on the deal he just got done with Chase Utley. He shows us how if Utley only plays in 100 games he still is more productive than some guys who play in 150 games.
What’s the big deal about Jake Peavy? by Chad Dotson -- The Hardball Times
Dotson gives the Red Sox fans who are concerned with Jake Peavy pitching in Fenway Park a reason for optimism in the short term. Peavy has turned into an extreme fly ball pitcher due to velocity drop due to injury and age, but Fenway and U.S. Cellular field have similar park factors. Also, Peavy still has a high K/9 rate and a very low BB/9 rate, which will also help the Red Sox in the short term this season.
Overthinking It: How the Mets Got Great (at Taking the Extra Base) by Ben Lindbergh -- Baseball Prospectus
The Mets might not be a good baseball team, but they sure do know how to take an extra base. The Mets currently are have twice as much BRR than the next team. BRR -- base running runs -- combines all the factors that go into base running. Mets personnel give credit to Tom Goodwin, who in his career was an excellent base runner, and has translated it over into coaching.
Holliday and the Cardinals’ Post-Pujols Plan by Matt Klaassen -- Fan Graphs
Matt Klaassen revisits the article he wrote when the Cardinals first signed Holliday to his monster contract, which he pointed out it would be unlikely that the Cardinals would be able to re-sign Albert Pujols. Since 2011, Holliday has outhit Pujols, and really has made the Cardinals executives look quite smart by letting Pujols walk. Holliday's performance isn't the only one notable that has helped the Cardinals fill the hole of Pujols over the last couple of years, players such as Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, etc. Many people wonder if the Cardinals knew that Pujols would decline so quickly, or if they knew that they had enough talent in their farm system to cover the loss of Pujols.
New at SBNation MLB
Rangers find their Nelson Cruz replacement in Alex Rios by Marc Normandin -- SB Nation
The Rangers officially acquired Alex Rios Friday for either a PTBNL or cash. Normandin takes a look at Rios's numbers and splits from U.S. Cellular field and his lefty/righty splits, and comes to a conclusion that Rios could do the trick in filling the hole for the Rangers due to suspended right fielder Nelson Cruz.
What's the best team in baseball? by Grant Brisbee -- Baseball Nation
Grant breaks down the top teams in baseball as to why they should be considered the best team in the MLB. He gives different perspectives for different teams on what they've done well all year long, but at the end like a lot of people would do, he believes the Tigers are the most complete team in baseball right now.
White Sox will reshape, not rebuild, according to GM by Connor Moylan -- SB Nation
Rick Hahn is very optimistic about the White Sox near future, instead of calling it a rebuild, he's calling it a "reshape." One of the reasons why he is feeling this way is because he believes his starting pitching is good enough to win in the short term.
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All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.
More from Beyond the Box Score:
- Alex Rios traded to the Rangers: Why did each team make this move?
- Dueling southpaws: Patrick Corbin and Wade Miley
- Grading the best tools in the major leagues
- Strikeout pitch sequences, by location
- Chase Utley Extension: Something everyone wants