FanGraphs | Jeff Sullivan: When we think of the Opener, we think of the Rays, but other teams have employed it as well: the Blue Jays, Twins, Dodgers, and Athletics have all used an Opener, and the rate of starts with fewer than 40 pitches has increased three times, and two times even excluding the Rays. Just for the record, and I’ll say it forever: the Rays didn’t create the Opener.... WE DID.
Baseball Prospectus | Matthew Trueblood ($): The sinker is dying, and sliders are replacing them. That doesn’t mean the pitch is dead, of course, but it means that sinkers, like cutters, are reserved for older pitchers who need a diversified fastball, and the four-seam/curve/slider combination is going to be an exclusive one for younger flamethrowers, at least for now.
Tangotiger Blog | Tom Tango: “...the only time a pitcher led is league in ERA and W and NOT win the Cy Young was in 1984 (Mike Boddicker),” Tango recently tweeted last year, and that was broken by Max Scherzer, who won the award even though those were in Clayton Kershaw’s favor. The same could happen this year with Justin Verlander and Blake Snell, where Snell has a lower ERA and more wins than Verlander, but the field may be leaning towards him or even Chris Sale, who has missed significant time but has impeccable rate stats. Sale could win the Cy Young without even qualifying for the ERA title.
ESPN Insider | Keith Law ($): Mea culpas are rare but good in sports media, and thankfully Law has the humility to look at prospects he whiffed on. I won’t reveal all but named here are at least Harrison Bader, Matt Chapman, and Rougned Odor.