A little less than a year ago, the first installment of the Super Slugger saga was released. It was a silly little thing born of the lack of a valid and interesting article topic, what with Spring Training being all but expired and Opening Day so tantalizingly close, like the promise of the first day of vacation after a long school year. Classes are essentially over, the homework is all turned in, and now dreams of beaches and ballparks fill one's head.
With ballparks come ballplayers, and with ballplayers come
inane debates about unwritten rules and embarrassing steroid suspensions dingers. Where do dingers come from, you ask? Well, when a bat and a ball love each other very much...
Just kidding. As we all know, dingers come from Ben Revere.
We've discussed this before. Twice, in fact, and if fate (read: the editors) allows it, we'll discuss it many a time again in the future. [Editor's note: We won't.] But the kernel of truth at the center of all these baseball-fueled subjects, clauses and sentences is that Ben Revere is truly indeed a Super Slugger. Blessed is he who has come to the plate 2,660 times in his career and put the ball on the other side of the outfield wall on only four occasions. For he is the true Super Slugger, and he shall walk in the halls of baseball Valhalla like a king among gods.
What began once as a headfirst dive into the jaws of Steamer projection-fueled madness is now a study in black and white, and indeed in many other colors, of the marvelous phenomenon that is a Revere home run. It's only happened four times. Nolan Ryan threw more no-hitters than Revere has hit home runs. Ryan accounts for seven of the 294 no-hitters in MLB history. Revere accounts for four of the more than 9000 home runs hit since 2014.
The Steamer system looked into its virtual crystal ball and saw two more home runs for the coming year. That's down from the three it projected a year ago, but now that Revere is consistently hitting two every season, it makes sense. A pattern has emerged, or something resembling one. Therefore, we'll make some predictions, or something resembling predictions.
Home Run #1
So Steamer says that Revere will go yard twice. That means I must divine the time and place of those home runs, because, well, reasons. The first will occur on May 30th in Philadelphia. We know that Revere has hit it out in Philly before, and the weather will have warmed up enough by then that the ball will be flying further.
Edward Mujica, who came to camp with the Phillies as a non-roster invitee and made the team, enters the game in the sixth inning. The Philadelphia starter (let's say Brett Oberholtzer, as there's no real way of knowing who will be the man on the mound on a day that far into the future) only managed to go five innings, as he wasn't much of a strike-thrower and the Washington offense tagged him up for five runs. So, with the game slightly out of hand, Mujica takes the ball.
Mujica is projected to be worth precisely 0 WARP by PECOTA. His body of work over the last two seasons is valued at -0.5 WARP, so that's a step up. Ten of the 52 hits he surrendered in 2015 left the park. Here's where Mujica spotted his fastballs last year.
That's not completely atypical for relievers, but Mujica has been trending downward and has never had stellar strikeout rates. So when he pumps a 2-1 fastball down the middle of the plate, Revere puts a good hack into it and hits an absolute moonshot into the second row. The Nationals go on to lose the game when Jonathan Papelbon blows the save for old time's sake.
Home Run #2
There's this weird thing that's been happening for the past few years where everyone picks the Marlins to be a surprisingly good team despite the fact that A) they're run by total psychopaths, B) they lack depth, C) their two best players either have a habit of getting hurt or are coming off of Tommy John surgery. The Marlins are going to be bad. They aren't built for the long haul. There's a complete and utter absence of inspiring talent in the upper levels of their farm. Jose Fernandez can't pitch every day. Edwin Jackson is opening the year in the rotation. Edwin Jackson.
So some people are going to be positively mystified when the Marlins are on the outside looking in on on October 1st, the second-to-last day of the regular season. Of course, because the Phillies and Braves are going to be even worse, they'll be comfortably in third place when they play in Washington that day.
Innings eater Tom Koehler is on the mound. Koehler can provide length for his team, but unfortunately, he isn't all that good. His fastball was worth a staggering -12 runs last year according to FanGraphs' pitch value metric. After a long season of giving up home run after home run, Koehler will surrender one more.
Revere leads off the fifth inning against Koehler and jumps all over the first pitch he sees. However, it doesn't clear the fence. Cole Gillespie has gotten the start in right field that day. He takes a bad route to the ball, then misplays it off the wall and boots it into center. Revere uses his speed to accomplish what he's somehow never done before.
He knew he had a double off the bat. But when Gillespie boots the ball, Revere keeps running. And running. And running. All the way home. It's his first inside-the-park home run ever. The Steamer gods have been satisfied once more, and the Super Slugger reigns once more. All is well in Washington.
Well, the Nationals haven't made the playoffs. But all else is well. For the most part.