Exploring Old Man Pitcher Dingers

tim-hudson-giants-springtraining-throwing-bullpen
(Photo from AP)

Being old is hard. I can’t tell you that from personal experience, I’m only 20 years old, but I’ve heard from people older than myself that being old can suck. You feel tired all the time, your body starts to deteriorate, and your mind must cope with the psychological tsunami of your past mistakes and the emotional hurricane that is your impending death.

It’s also harder to do things when you are old. Driving gets harder, working out gets harder, sex gets harder… or so I’ve heard. Another thing that is hard to do when you are old is hit home runs. It’s even harder to hit home runs if your job is not to hit home runs. Actually, it’s almost impossible to hit home runs in general. Most of history’s greatest figures, legends as Nelson Mandela, Joan of Arc, and Courtney Cox, have never hit home runs.

Last night Tim Hudson overcame barriers of age and ability to become the 37th pitcher over the age of 40 to homer in a MLB game.

Like Joan of Arc, Tim Hudson is not known for his home run hitting ability. Before last night Hudson had hit only one home run since 2003. But in one shining moment that put father time in his place, Hudson took a straight, 92 MPH fastball from Chase Anderson over the left field fence for an over-the-fence-ball.

Here are some fun stats about old pitcher home runs:

  • Hudson became the first pitcher over the age of 40 to dinger since Woody Williams did it in 2007.
  • Hudson also became the second oldest Giants pitcher to homer. The oldest? A 41-year old STEVE CARLTON hit one out in 1986, his only season in San Francisco.
  • Since the addition of the DH in 1973, only eight pitchers over 40 have homered. Only Gaylord Perry did it twice. The rest of the names are your traditional old man hurlers: Woody Williams, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Jim Kaat, Nolan Ryan, and Danny Darwin. (full disclosure: I had no idea who Danny Darwin was. Like I mentioned before, I’m 20).

 

Lets Talk About Warren Spahn

The pitcher over 40 with the most homers? That would be Braves legend Warren Spahn. After his 40th birthday Spahn dingered an astonishing nine times over his last four seasons.

Spahns elderly power outburst didn’t come out of nowhere. He finished his career with a total of 35 home runs, more than Ozzie Smith.

Those nine post-40 homers puts Spahn 51st amongst all players for the most homers over 40. That’s the same number as B.J. Surhoff, one more than Dave Parker,nine more than Joan of Arc, and three more than Pete Rose. Pete Rose! Pete Rose played until he was 67!

Huzzah to old baseball players!

Huzzah to the pitcher hitting!

Huzzah to Tim Hudson and Warren Spahn!

Huzzah to Joan of Arc, bad baseball player!

 

(All stats courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index)

 

Advertisements

How Low Can Yo Go

Mets_Late_823_t650(Photo via AP)

Yoenis Cespedes is really really good at baseball. If you are reading this post, that’s most likely something you already know. At this point, it’s probably fair to say he’s established himself as a top 10 outfielder in all of baseball. It’s also fair to say that Yoenis is not the best player in baseball. In my opinion, he’s definitely the most entertaining, but he’s almost certainly not “the best.”

It’s really hard to be the best at any one thing. Kevin Durant is unfathomably talented at basketball, yet he is not the best. The dude who always finishes second to Usain Bolt is quite possibly one of the best athletes in the world. And even Avril Lavigne, who to her credit has had an incredibly successful career, still comes up short when compared to the grace and brilliance of Kelly Clarkson.

So while it’s understandable that Yoenis isn’t the best at all of the baseball, it is worth pointing out and consequently celebrating that he is the best at one particular aspect of the game. No, I’m not talking about his insanely strong arm (Aaron Hicks probably has the best arm, like I said it’s hard to be the best), and I’m not talking about his workout abilities (though Yoenis is the best at this as well). This season at least, Yoenis has been the best in all of baseball at hitting the low pitch.

Traditionally, most power hitters like the ball up in the zone. It’s easier to elevate and get loft on a pitch that’s up in the zone. Think Brian Dozier, Albert Pujols, Bryce Harper. These dudes succeed by getting their barrel under pitches and driving the ball out. Not everyone is like this of course, there’s the whole group of power guys who like the ball down. Think Anthony Rizzo, Carlos Gonzalez, and most strikingly, Yoenis.

If you are a proponent of traditional stats (which is fine by me, just don’t expect to ever run a baseball team) you’ll be happy to know that Yoenis leads all hitters in extra base hits on low pitches with 42. He also leads all hitters in total hits on low with 105, ten more than the next guy. Now you know how to explain how Yoenis is good at hitting the low pitch to your grandfather, who is most likely a Mets fan because 90% of all American grandfathers are Mets fans. In his day, they didn’t need stuff wRC+ and VORP, just beer. Just beer and greenies and a cigarette. That’s what the past was like kids…

For those of you with a bit more statistical acumen, get a load of this next bit. Exit velocity is a pretty good way to gage a player’s overall hitting ability. As a general rule, if you hit the ball hard good things will happen. This season Yoenis has hit the ball hard, and good things have happened. If you hit the ball hard, maybe you too can get traded to the Mets one day.

Here’s how good Yoenis has been at crushing the low pitch. The dude leads all players in MLB on balls low pitches with an exit velo over 100 MPH. He’s done that 89 times, 12 more than second place Mike Trout. Here’s a heat map of all of the balls Yoenis has hit with an exit velocity over 100.

Yoenis Cespedes

No that’s not a cat scan, that’s a .883 OPS.

Yoenis’ success at hitting the low ball has translated well to his life off the field as well. Last offseason Yoenis picked up golf for the first time and began to play regularly. He now plays on almost every single off day and recently shot a 74. A 74! Hello PGA Pro-Am. Like I said, the dude likes the ball low.

 

(As usual, all dope statistics found on baseballsavant.com)

 

ALEX RODRIGUEZ FAN FICTION

We were recording our weekly podcast segment with Lana earlier tonight and we started talking about if there were any A-Rod fan clubs. A Lana Berry google search and some internet tunneling later we found the greatest thing of all time.

This is a link to an A-Rod fan page written by someone named Angel that contains unreal “fun facts” about Alex like…Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.36.55 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eventually we stumbled into some of Angel’s other works and we found the holy grail: A-Rod, Jeter, and Nomar fan fiction. You can tell it was written around 2003 because people are still paging each other instead of texting. The A-Rod ones are the best, but they’re all amazing. Here are some of the highlights:

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.34.38 PM

 

WHAT IS MORGAN FREEMAN DOING HERE

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.40.52 PMOf course A-Rod talks to his “sex organs”

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.44.25 PM

I WANT TO SMACK HIM THERE

Just read the whole thing people. Read it and love it.

2015 CFBBQ Road Trip

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gentlemen. Opening Day is right around the corner as the major and minor league seasons are set to start spectacularly soon. That means that the two of us will soon be embarking on our third annual CFBBQ SUMMER ROAD TRIP. *applause track* *balloons fall from ceiling* Two years ago, during the 2013 season we drove from our houses in DC to the Field of Dreams in Iowa and made our way back through Chicago and the Midwest League. Last year, we drove from DC to Texas and back, hitting up the Southern, South Atlantic, and Texas Leagues in the process. This year we decided to go even bigger, even further, and even longer.

On our first road trip, Jordan and I joked about one day doing a trip from Petco Park in San Diego to Safeco Field in Seattle. We laughed it off as a pipe dream; no way would we ever have the skills, smarts, or organization skills to pull that off. Well, we still don’t have any of those things, but we’re doing it anyway.

Just like last year, we’ll be writing all about the trip over at Baseball Prospectus. The plan is to put up a post a day chronicling our adventures. There’s a good chance we’ll set up some sort of meet up in at least one of the cities we come to. We love talking baseball and we hope to get the chance to do that with some of you guys.

San Diego to Seattle (All Times PT):

Thursday, May 21st: Chicago Cubs @ San Diego Padres – 6:10 PM

Friday, May 22nd: Visalia Rawhide (ARI) @ Lake Elsinore Storm (SD) – 6:00 PM

Saturday, May 23rd: San Diego Padres @ Los Angeles Dodgers – 7:10 PM

Sunday, May 24th: Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) @ Lancaster Jethawks (HOU) – 2:00 PM

Monday, May 25th: High Desert Mavericks (TEX) @ Bakersfield Blaze (SEA) – 12:00 PM

Tuesday, May 26th: Colorado Springs Sky Sox @ Las Vegas 51’s – 7:05

Wednesday, May 27th: Maybe Lake Elsinore Storm (SD) @ Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) – 3:05 PM but for sure San Jose Giants (SF) @ High Desert Mavericks (SEA) 6:35 PM

Thursday, May 28th: Detroit Tigers @ Anaheim Angels – 7:05

Friday, May 29th: Bakersfield Blaze @ Visalia Rawhide – 7:05

Saturday, May 30th: Lake Elsinore @ Stockton (OAK) – 7:00 PM

Sunday, May 31st: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics – 1:05 PM

Monday, June 1st: Pittsburgh Pirates @ San Fransisco Giants – 7:05 PM

Tuesday, June 2nd: Pittsburg Mettle @ Sonoma Stompers – 6:05

Wednesday, June 3rd: Driving day

Thursday, June 4th: Tampa Bay Rays @ Seattle Mariners – 7:10

Friday, June 5th: New Orleans Zephyrs @ Tacoma Rainiers – 7:05

Saturday, June 6th: Tampa Bay Rays @ Seattle Mariners – 7:10 (CespedesBBQ/Lookout Landing event prior to game)

Sunday, June 7th: Tampa Bay Rays @ Seattle Mariners – 1:10

2015 CFBBQ Season Previews: San Francisco Giants

Click here to see our other 2015 team previews!

Projected Lineup

CF: Anal Pidgin

LF: Norway Checker Hay Yo Key

C: Puss Tarp Hussy

1B: Brown Down Bout

RF: Underpants

2B: Shop Hand Ink

3B: KCMG

SS: Bland Haunt Rockford

SP:  Maidstone Butt Corner

SP: Timid Son

SP: Make Gang

SP: Jacob Eevee

SP: Dim Lint Scone

Off-season Haiku

Even year champions!

Bumgarner is famous now

The Panda left you.

Farthest Home Run of 2014

Michael Morse off Tyler Chatwood – 458 feet

How many teams’ farthest home runs of 2014 have been to the opposite field? Still Coors, tho.
Shortest Home Run of 2014

Brandon Belt off Bartolo Colon – 337 feet

The fact that they had time to change the camera angle before the ball landed shows how much hangtime this hilarious dinger had.
Best Names in the Farm System

  • RHP Mike Broadway
  • RHP Austin Fleet
  • LHP Braulio Lara
  • C Myles Schroder
  • C Eliezer Zambrano
  • 3B Reegie Corona
  • 2B Skyler Stromsmoe
  • 3B Kelby Tomlinson
  • LHP Keurin Feliz
  • RHP Nick Vander Tuig
  • SS Ydwin Villegas
  • OF Chuckie Jones
  • RHP Keury Mella
  • LHP Andrew Leenhouts
  • 3B Ryder Jones
  • 1B Skyler Ewing
  • SS Travious Relaford
  • OF Joneshway Fargas
  • OF Shilo McCall
  • RHP Rayan Hernandez
  • RHP Rodolfo Martinez
  • RHP Kendry Melo
  • RHP Nolan Riggs
  • C Kleiber Rivas
  • 2B Christian Lichtenthaler
  • LHP Deiyerbert Bolivar
  • RHP Jonathan Loaisiga
  • RHP Olbis Parra
  • LHP Prebito Reyes
  • RHP Reymi Rodriguez
  • RHP Raffi Vizcaino
  • RHP Weilly Yan
  • RHP Eduin Villa
  • C Mecky Coronado
  • C Alilzon Rodriguez
  • 3B Hengerber Medina
  • OF Stanly German
  • OF Yendrys Gonzalez
  • DH Raiby Barias

Three Bold Predictions

  • Knowing that no matter what they have no chance to win the World Series this year but that they will most certainly win it next year, the Giants trade away all their good players for prospects, cash, and Barry Bonds bobbleheads.
  • After injuries to Pence, Belt, and Casey McGehee, the Giants resign a 50-year old Bonds to play 1B. Bonds slashes .248/.489/.567.
  • Joe Panik does just that.

2015 CFBBQ Season Previews: Minnesota Twins

mauer wow

Click here to see our other 2015 team previews!

Projected Lineup

CF: Dance East Bandana

2B: Brain Toaster

1B: Gnome Hour

DH: Kin Dries Per Gas

RF: Toe Re-owner

3B: Trevor Plouffe

LF: Ass Waldorf Arse Here

C: Skirts Whose Hookah

SS: Dead Hardo Sex Crowbar

SP: Phyllis

SP: Swervings Antena

SP: Rink He Note Lasso

SP: Dom Alone

SP: Kale Gimp Son

Off-season Haiku

Full disclosure here…

I’ve absolutely no clue.

Right! They got Ervin!

Farthest Home Run of 2014

Oswaldo Arcia off Andre Rienzo – 468 feet

This video begins with spectacular camera work quickly followed by not-so-spectacular camera work. It’s too bad we can’t see this ball off the bat, but my god did he clear the entire section of seats in right? Oswaldo ain’t messin’ around.
Shortest Home Run of 2014

Oswaldo Arcia off Mike Foltynewicz – 338 feet

That’s what you get for being the tiniest bit late on a 98 MPH fastball low and away: a home run!

Best Names in the Farm System

  • RHP Mark Hamburger
  • SS Argenis Diaz
  • 3B Heiker Meneses
  • OF Mike Kvasnicka
  • RHP D.J. Baxendale
  • RHP Nick Burdi
  • RHP Tim Shibuya
  • 3B Niko Goodrum
  • LHP Mat Batts
  • C Alex Swim
  • SS Engelb Vielma
  • OF Tanner English
  • LHP Cameron Booser
  • RHP J.T. Chargois
  • RHP C.K. Irby
  • RHP Keaton Steele
  • C Brett Doe
  • 2B Will Hurt
  • LHP Onas Farfan
  • RHP Onesimo Hernandez
  • RHP Wilfredy Liranzo
  • RHP Callan Pearce
  • RHP Matz Schutte
  • LHP Michael Theofanopoulos
  • LHP Reyson Zoquiel
  • C Jarrard Poteete
  • C Rainis Silva
  • SS Zaino Henriquez
  • 3B Ruar Verkerk
  • OF Dubal Baez
  • OF Zach Granite
  • OF Amaurys Minier
  • RHP Robener Cabrera
  • RHP Brusdar Graterol
  • RHP Ramses Herrera
  • LHP Jadison Jimenez
  • RHP Johan Quezada
  • LHP Fredderi Soto
  • RHP Huascar Ynoa
  • C Darling Cuesto
  • OF Jet Hernandez

Three Bold Predictions

  • The Twins force center fielder Aaron Hicks to legally change his name to Byron Buxton-Minus-the-Hit-Tool-and-Other-Important-Baseball-Skills-Hicks in order to draw fan interest until the real Byron Buxton is ready to contribute.
  • Taking their affinity for soft-tossing, low-strikeout pitchers to the extreme, the Twins begin signing D3 relievers that top out around 80. Jake starts 25 games for the Twins before his arm falls off in August. He finishes the season with more Tommy John surgeries than strikeouts.
  • Torii Hunter tries to rob a homer, but used to the dimensions of the Metrodome he finds the underratedly enormous right field wall at Target Field rather difficult to jump to the top of. He could use some help.