It’s a random-take Tuesday around here. A few thoughts, yes on baseball, for your reading interest.
Will this become a regular thing here? Even I don't know that answer, but random-take Tuesday has a nice ring to it. Of course, we don't need a special day to express opinions around here. But I digress.
The playoff format is fine: Just because the Los Angeles Dodgers got upset in the MLB playoffs doesn’t mean we need to make any changes to the playoff format.
Play better. Win more.
The Dodgers had to wait five days to play San Diego as the wild-card round was being played out. They then won just one of four games. Was the layoff an issue for the LAD? Well, the Houston Astros, who won five fewer games than the Dodgers this year, had the same layoff and then went out and went 3-0 against Seattle. No problems for them with the layoff.
By the way, the Dodgers won the first game of that San Diego series. Was the layoff the real problem, shouldn’t they have been getting better as they knocked off more and more rust in later games?
No excuses here. If you want to move the wild card round from one to three games, you need this layoff. No way around it. No reason to further extend the playoffs by adding games to earlier rounds beyond what we have now. It’s fine as it is. Most years the winningest team in MLB does not win the World Series. Is this suddenly surprising people?
Last year, the Atlanta Braves won just 88 games and then won the World Series. They had a four-day layoff before they played in the 2021 NL Division Series. They still won. This year with 101 wins, they lost in the NL Division Series.
Too bad for the Dodgers. They were dominant all season and had the largest payroll in the sport. They have numerous advantages and had a great regular-season. Then they laid an egg.
Play better. Win more.
This is good for the Orioles however: Yes, it is. They won 83 games in 2022 and will likely need a few more, but just a few, to make it to the postseason next year. So, the message is, if they can get just a few more wins, they could get to the playoffs and next year be where the Phillies and Padres are now. Get in the tournament and anything can happen and often does.
Sure, the Orioles want to build a team that can win the AL East and compete with the other four teams and even beat them. One that doesn't just narrowly get in. They got a lot closer this year. But winning the division doesn’t guarantee anything. You can narrowly get in and get deep into October.
The Dodgers had a plus 334 run differential this year and are now making tee times. The Phillies were plus 62 and San Diego was plus 45. The Braves, as mentioned, were an 88-win WS champ last year. This year either the 87-win Phillies or 89-win Padres will play in the World Series. The Orioles won 83 games.
A new stat from Statcast: We need a new one? Really?
Not really but arm strength, via velocity readings for fielders, can now be found among Statcast data. Among the O's that got rated, here is the rundown for 11 ranked O's players in top mph:
91.8 - Austin Hays
89.4 - Ryan McKenna
88.4 - Gunnar Henderson
86.9 - Jorge Mateo
86.8 - Anthony Santander
85.9 - Cedric Mullins
85.0 - Rougned Odor
82.0 - Ramon Urias
80.8 - Tyler Nevin
75.7 - Trey Mancini
73.4 - Ryan Mountcastle
Hays registered the single-fastest throw by anyone on this list that got tracked via Statcast at 100.6 mph. Next was McKenna at 96.3 and Mullins with one throw at 95.2.
Among all players that saw time at second, short and/or third this year, Henderson rated No. 14 on the list and Mateo was No. 24. Those included players with a minimum of 100 tracked throws. Christopher Morel of the Cub was first at 96.1.
Catchers have a separate ranking and Adley Rutschman rated tied for 11th in pop time (time from the mitt to second base) at 1.93 seconds and tied for seventh in velocity at 86.3 mph and that list is here.