Are the Boston Red Sox finally beginning to come back down to Earth? The Kansas City Royals and the Colorado Rockies still have winning records, and has Manny Machado become the best young star in baseball, ahead of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper?
Previously on Beyond the Box Score
Changing the Way We Look at Offense, Part 5: SMASH - By Ken Woolums - Beyond the Box Score
If Ken isn't already on his way to working for a Major League Baseball team by now then he's awfully close as he further develops his Well-Hit-Ball metric.
BtBS Podcast #55: Pitching Backwards - With Blake Murphy and Bryan Grosnick - Beyond the Box Score
Blake and Bryan put together another great show and if you haven't listened to it yet then you really, really should. They have a really interesting discussion on whether losing Bryce Harper or Stephen Stasburg would hurt the Nats more. Tough question but I think it would be Harper. Now all they have to do to really make the show the greatest ever is talk about how Manny Machado is likely to have the greatest career between Harper and Trout.
Let's Shake Up The Playoffs - By Ben Horrow - Beyond the Box Score
I would love to shake up the playoffs. I don't mind the idea of crowning the two teams with the best regular season records as pennant winners and then having a separate distinction of World Series Champion. I also don't mind a round-robin type of format that they use in the WBC. But that's just me, and Ben takes us through a couple of different options.
A Deeper Look At Plate Discipline - By Lee Trocinski - Beyond the Box Score
Lee tackles a subject that was "analyzed" by Tom Verducci regarding hitters being too passive and seeing more pitches actually hurting hitters and offense. Lee does a good job of running through the data he compiled to refute those claims by Verducci.
Slow Down, You Don't Want to Miss Anything - By Ben Horrow - Beyond the Box Score
Ben takes a look at the pitchers that don't throw a fastball in the mid-90's and tries to dissect what makes them so successful throwing fastballs that routinely top out around 87 or 88 mph.
Around the Sabersphere
Buchholz, Morris and a Brief History of Spitball Accusations | By Jack Moore | FanGraphs Baseball
Jack takes a look at the controversy surrounding the success of Boston Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz and the history of the spitter, and other such illegal pitches.
Baseball Prospectus | By John Perrotto | On the Beat: Minnesota Mediocrity
John takes a look at the Minnesota Twins and how mediocre they are this season, so far. I've always considered myself a Twins fan for the simple reason that they have a history of doing things the right way. Granted, they've drafted poorly over the past few seasons but they seem to be getting on track here this past year. Either way, I do wonder how long Ron Gardenhire has before the organization decides they need someone new seeing as how the team is coming off of a 66 and 69 win season the past two years.
Orioles Q&A w/ Matthew Pouliot, NBC Sports | By Chris Stoner | Baltimore Sports and LifeBaltimore Sports and Life
Chris from Baltimore Sports and Life did a good job of interviewing Matt regarding the Orioles. I'd also like to point out that I contribute to BSL on our weekly Orioles podcast "Bird Talk" and contribute as a writer occasionally, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
Around SB Nation
Roy Halladay injury: Phillies starter likely headed to disabled list - By Connor Moylan - MLB Daily Dish
Many have wondered whether Roy Halladay was done, kaput, done as a major league caliber starting pitcher. Now we get word that he's been dealing with a sore shoulder and is going to be visiting Dr. Lewis Yocum the question becomes how long till he returns. Perhaps the better question is this: depending on what news Halladay receives, will he want to return at his age if he faces surgery and a lengthy recovery time?
Hall of Fame scores big with scouts - By Rob Neyer - Baseball Nation
Finally the scouts are getting their due by the Baseball Hall of Fame and Rob Neyer does an excellent job, as usual, and I couldn't be happier for the scouts that have worked so hard over the history of the game. I'm into sabermetrics and some fans seem to believe that there's this big fight between scouts and "numbers" people who live in their mothers' basements. That couldn't be further from the truth because in order to truly understand players and the game you need a good mix of both. I'm glad that scouts are finally being recognized for their contributions to the game because without them we may have never had players such as Mike Trout, Mike Piazza, and even Albert Pujols.