First off, my latest player profile went up at Baseball Prospectus, this one featuring Bill Hall. Hall is a player I like a great deal, and I think he shows a lot of promise for the future. Even without a set position, he's an importance piece of the turnaround in Milwaukee.
Nate Silver finished up his two-part look at whether or not Jonathan Papelbon should remain as a closer or move to the rotation (Part 1 is here). As a Sox fan, it's an issue that I've considered a great deal. I was on the fence for most of the season, but the longer Papelbon has dominated out of the pen -- coupled with the ease that he seems to do so -- makes me think this is the place for him to stay. Of course, the relative lack of starting depth in the rotation might force a move there anyways, but if anyone noticed, Papelbon is one of 2 and a half useful relievers the Sox have, and they seem to be impossible to find.
On a somewhat-related note, when Theo Epstein initially left the Red Sox front office, I was hoping Kevin Towers would come to Boston, mostly due to his ability to inherently know how every reliever is going to do in the upcoming season. I don't really know how he does it, but the Pads pen is usually fantastic and made up of guys you don't expect to do well. Especially former Sox pitchers...
Mark Mulder is undergoing season-ending surgery, which is somewhat of a blessing for the Cardinals. First of all, he won't be pitching in the rotation with his injury come October. Secondly, they may be able to re-sign him at a discount due to his poor performance and injury troubles; that is, unless someone incredibly desperate steps up and pays him like it's 2003 or something.
I've had a good number of friends ask me what I think about Anibal Sanchez after he threw a no-hitter last night. The no-hitter doesn't upset me that much to be honest; I almost watched Ramon Ortiz throw one a few days ago, and the list of no-hitters I've witnessed include Bud Smith, Jose Jimenez and Derek Lowe, for a total of one league average or better pitcher tossing one. What does bother me is how highly I thought of Sanchez, and how I won't get to see him as a Red Sock...unless Loria trades him to Boston in 2010 or something.
I wrote this short piece on Sanchez after the Beckett trade, and my feelings haven't really changed. His low batting average allowed is a positive sign I think, since batters are hitting the ball weakly. He has a few plus pitches, which is a big deal. He's a flyball pitcher of sorts (43.3% of all batted-balls are flyballs this year) but many of those are infield flies (14.3%). His 4.37 FIP is not spectacular, but he is only 22-years old, and his strikeout rates have not translated to the major league level yet. He has no experience at Triple-A, but was very successful at Double-A in two separate stints, including this year with the Carolina Mudcats. Sanchez will need to strike batters out eventually in order to remain highly successful, but at the moment he is certainly holding his own.
I know this is very Red Sox oriented, but they are in the news a great deal as of late. Here's hoping the best for Jon Lester in the coming months; he spoke publicly about his condition for the first time since news was released.