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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 5/3/19

Shortstops are mashing; the Astros’ approach to pitching in front of the shift; Lords of the Realm

MLB: Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Ben Clemens: So far, this has been the best hitting season for shortstops in baseball history. Even though people usually associate that with, say, 2002, this has nothing to do with individual talents, this has to do with the position completely changing to be almost entirely tall, strong athletes, not their shorter, lighter ancestors.

Baseball Prospectus | Matthew Trueblood ($): The Astros have accomplished a difficult feat: they have avoided the usual pitching side-effects of shifting; namely, walking more batters. They’ve done that by attacking the inside part of the zone, not by accomplishing a mental game, and it has utilized effectively by the likes of Justin Verlander and Ryan Pressly.

The Ringer | Ben Lindbergh: Before this current labor strife there was the last one in 1994, and that was predicted by the seminal book, Lords of the Realm, which detailed how the collusion era began in response to the rise of free agency, and how its characterization predicted the same trend in the squashing of free agency in 2018-19.