Welcome to ‘Marty’s Musings’, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the happenings in the baseball world. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the news and notes throughout the game, and highlighting this week’s key pitching matchups.
This week we take a look at the World Series numbers that defined the Nationals championship run, peak at the market for some specific free agent positions, and countdown to opening day.
News & Notes
5 - Elimination game survived by the Washington Nationals in this year’s playoffs, including two in the World Series. Washington managed to defeat the best pitchers in the game, including Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Josh Hader en route to the franchises first-ever championship.
8 ⅓ - Innings pitched in game six by World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, who was masterful in his defeat of Justin Verlander. Strasburg has fantastic postseason numbers, including a 1.46 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 55 ⅓ career postseason innings. Strasburg opted out of his remaining years with the Nats and is now a free agent.
83 - Percent of the Nationals’ postseason innings were thrown by their starters. Davey Martinez did an impeccable job calling on his starters to come out of the bullpen, but not burning them out to the point where they were not effective on their start-days. It was a marvelous story in an age where the relief-pitcher-revolving-door seemed to be the defining strategy to win the playoffs.
16.5 - Million dollar option that the Chicago Cubs picked up on Anthony Rizzo., a no-brainer for the Cubs, who acquired him as a prospect during their rebuild. Last season, Rizzo hit an excellent .293/.405/.520 with 27 home runs in 613 plate appearances
1 - Year $18.5 million extension for Yankees’ reliever Aroldis Chapman. The deal makes thin an already shallow relief market, with the likes of deadline darling (who didn’t go anywhere) Will Smith, World Series game seven loser Will Harris, and the one of the Nats’ only solid relievers, Daniel Hudson leading the pack as the best relief pitcher free agents.
12 - Year run for Neal Huntington is over as Pirates General Manager. The Pirates fired Huntington as their GM last week in a front-office shakeup. For a team that is constantly crying poor, Huntington did a decent job with limited available resources. The shakeup just adds to a tail-spinning franchise that has performed badly on the field, and been plagued by various off-the-field issues including a teammate brawl, and a very credible accusation one of their relievers is a sexual predator.
3 - Recent managerial hires including the Phillies inking Joe Girardi to be their next skipper, the Mets hiring former all-star Carlos Beltrán, and the Royals inexplicably hiring highly critiqued former Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny.
4:1 - The current odds for the Astros to win the 2020 World Series. Houston is entering the offseason as the betting favorite, with the Dodgers and Yankees just behind them at 5:1 odds.
143 - Days until Opening Day.
Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row, and a contributing writer for The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano