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Episode 4 of 40

(102) The Cleveland Pirates, Ascending White Sox, Good (but Kinda Stuck) Twins and More: Previewing the AL Central

Duration: 40:11
The AL Central is on the rise! The division is becoming one of baseball's most fascinating, and Pesach and Scott are here to tell you exactly what to look for as the 2021 season inches closer and closer. The White Sox might be a notch below the Twins according to projections, but don't be fooled; Ch
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The AL Central is on the rise! The division is becoming one of baseball's most fascinating, and Pesach and Scott are here to tell you exactly what to look for as the 2021 season inches closer and closer. The White Sox might be a notch below the Twins according to projections, but don't be fooled; Chicago is the real team to watch here. Not that the Twins are bad - they're really good - but they have a big problem. The Royals are creeping back toward temporary respectability (emphasis on temporary: this is the opposite of a youth movement), and the Tigers aren't there yet and won't be for a while (theirs is a youth movement - but who said the youths in question are any good?). As for Cleveland? At least the owners will make money. Of course, Pesach has a plan for the Indians and Pirates that would make everyone mad, which probably means that Rob Manfred will try it. Listen, share, and let us know what you think! Join the Baseball Rabbi team as a Patreon subscriber! Go to https://www.patreon.com/baseballrabbipodcast for bonus episodes, Baseball Rabbi merch, and more!
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one player. That's interesting to me. That I wanted to talk about briefly is Eddie Rosario. They picked him up. He was a free agent. Obviously. He was famous for playing those years on the Twins. He's not old. He came up quite young and had those nice years with the Twins and what I noticed with Eddie Rosario, that's what I wanted to share. I thought it was kind of interesting is where he is right now in his career. Like I said, although he was a free agent, he was already an everyday player like full time player at age 23. And he'll be playing his his age 29 season now and has been fairly consistent. His O. P. S has been just around 800 for four years running, Uh, and he's got a decent home run power, decent doubles power. He plays okay, defense and he's He's a playable, everyday player. His upside is maybe three wins. His downside is maybe 1.5 to 2. He's pretty consistent, but here's something that I noticed when I was looking a little deeper into what happened last year. He was a couple of tics worse than he'd been. So if you look at just O. P s, for example, he was down to 7 92 the first time in in four years that he was under 800. But here's something that I noticed. Looking into the numbers, I noticed that last year his exit velocity dropped three MPH to the lowest of his career. It had been 89.9 88 the year before that, and it was down to 86.9. That doesn't seem like a big deal. But then I kept looking further into his batted ball data, and what I found is that his opposite field percentage was the highest of his career. His up the middle percentage was was higher than the last two years before it, and his pull percentage was the lowest of his career. So I said, Okay, that's interesting. The exit velocity is down and he's setting the ball up the middle and the opposite way more. Is he having trouble with fastballs? Or he doesn't have the same bat speed because a lack of bat speed would produce two results. It would produce a result of hitting the ball the opposite way more, and it would also produce the result of having lower exit velocity. Those two things would seem to go together if he's lost a tick of bat speed. It occurred to me that maybe this would also show up in one other statistic, and that would be his lefty righty splits. So I I took a look at his lefty righty splits and let me explain why I thought that this was a suspicion I had before I checked it. I said He's a left handed batter and bat speed. The problem that players have with same sided pitchers is the ball coming upon them. It sort of comes at them quicker from the same side and therefore the same type of issue. The bat speed issue could affect his ability to hit same side of pictures. And here's what I found is very interesting for his career. His O. P s against left handers is 7 10 against right handers. It's 8 28 18, which is not an unusual split, meaning he's decent against lefties. He's playable and he's good against righties. That's kind of conventional split for a player who has who has a split. It makes sense. That makes sense. So in 2020 the same year that he had these other indicators in the batted ball data, my suspicion turned out to be 100% correct. His O P s against righties was 8 82 which is right in line with his career against right handers, in fact, maybe even a little bit better. His O. P s against lefties plummeted 25 36. He had no home left like 200 points, right? So I'm wondering if this was a 2020 glitch or if Eddie Rosario might be aging a little bit early. You know he's hitting that, you know, 29. 30. This is this. It's not even so early. A lot of players age around now, and the question is, has he lost a click on his bat speed? And is he going to be a problem against left handed batters? Now that said, this has nothing to do with his playing time. He is going to play every single day because the Indians, for I think the third or fourth year in a row, have decided to play without a major league outfield. I mean, other than him, they just this. This has been an ongoing story with the Indians for the last few years that they just don't play with an outfield. Eddie Rosario projects to a 1.7 war. Nobody else is over half a war, half a win above replacement in their outfield. I mean, this is just It's abysmal. It's been abysmal for years and years. I don't know what they think. The solution is probably a med. Rosario is going to be playing some outfield unless they decide to to play him at shortstop, where he's just horrendous and has been horrendous with the Mets. Although they picked up Andres Gimenez from the Mets, who also plays short, they probably play him, so I don't know what they're doing. They're the only plus side to this Indians team once again is their pitching staff. They still have an excellent front of the rotation. Bieber police second Savall have a lot of ups. I mean, Bieber is already an Ace Police Act, has that potential, But even without fulfilling that potential is a solid starter. Aaron Sovaldi has showed flashes of brilliance and is solid. They have some depth and youth Plutko, Mackenzie, Quantrill and the bullpen has some exciting arms. Even though they're not famous. I'm not gonna get into them. Their pitching staff is going to keep them afloat and keep them in a lot of games. I don't see where the offense is going to come from. That's my comment on the Indians. And again, I think Eddie Rosario is an interesting player to watch. He might be at a turning point in his career. Okay, before we move on to the next team pace, I'll have a quick question to ask you. No, I know that the Indians are trying to save money, but you're explaining now the upside of that pitching staff. The front three could be one of the best staffs in baseball, at least in theory, if they hadn't traded lender and the pitching staff comes through. This is a team that could literally have won the Central without too much problem. If things go the right way, I disagree. I just No, no. And that has to do with how good the Twins currently are and how good the White Sox currently are. This is not the A L Central of two or three years ago. Uh, this is not a division that's easy for the taking. We're talking about a power division now. Think about how we thought about the A L West and how we thought about, you know, divisions that have a power duo at the top. That's what the A. L. Central has become. We'll get into that with those other two teams, but I I don't think that same path to victory would have been there, especially with all of the staff, the riff raff, the quadruple A players who are filling out the lineup every day. It's just not gonna cut it anymore in the A L Central. I guess the one thing that I would say in response is that Linda Doren Ramirez are two of the very best players in baseball. Never mind in the L Central, you know. So it's a Renato and story. It doesn't. It doesn't help for what they need to accomplish. I mean, look, it's different than the Rockies. This is a team that plays great defense. It's a team that pitch as well. They will steal a bunch of games on pitching and defense and and scratching out a few runs. But this is going to be a team that that will go through periods of struggling to score runs, and if there's any hiccup in that starting rotation, that's the end of it. Let's move on to.
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