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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 7/18/18

The worst called ball; our modern Puerto Rican stars; the evolution of Willson Contreras; possibly the very best Red Sox squad

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Gatorade All-Star Workout Day Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

FanGraphs | Jeff Sullivan: At the halfway point we look at the worst called ball of the season so far, and it was Dylan Covey against Jedd Gyorko, as Covey threw a pitch just 3.2 inches from the middle of the zone that was called a ball.

Baseball Prospectus | Matthew Trueblood: If all six of the Puerto Rican All Stars play in the All Star Game (penned beforehand), then it would be the first time in 17 years that many players represented the island in the summer classic. And while that group was much older, consisting of Bernie Williams, Edgar Martinez, Roberto Alomar and Jorge Posada, for example, this one features younger and more dynamic stars like Francisco Lindor and Jose Berrios. But they also deal with many more challenges than they did back then. Coupling crippling austerity, declining population, and a disastrous hurricane, a focus on these players will hopefully open peoples’ eyes to the daily struggles of the people of Puerto Rico.

The Athletic | Sahadev Sharma ($): Willson Contreras is an offensive force for the Cubs, but his framing leaves a lot to be desired. That’s why he’s working with catching coach Mike Borzello to improve, and a successful development into a better framer and defender would make him, easily, the best catcher in the National League as Buster Posey’s decline continues.

The Ringer | Zach Kram: 1912 had Tris Speaker and Smoky Wood, and 2018 features Chris Sale and Mookie Betts. This 2018 Red Sox may be the best team in the franchise’s history since they opened Fenway Park, a time so long ago even Babe Ruth had not played there yet. They have a long way to go, but they could be well on their way to 110+ wins this year.