The 30: Red-Hot Rangers Rocket Up Power Rankings

Published June 21, 2016

You can find all sorts of reasons to explain home field advantage in baseball: A forgiving marine layer, rabid fan support, umpire bias, dumb luck.

This week’s featured teams all own some of the biggest home/road splits in the game. The Reds will keep a close eye on Great American Ball Park’s impact on their rising young starting pitchers.

Mike Trout May Be the Best Player in MLB, but the Angels’ Future May Be the Worst

Published June 17, 2016

From 2012 through 2015, Mike Trout was the best player in baseball.

There are those that would argue that Bryce Harper might’ve now caught up with or even surpassed him for that title. Or that upstarts like Manny Machado might be getting close. Whatever the case, Trout certainly warrants a place on the Mount Rushmore of active ballplayers, a toolbelt terror who helps his team in too many ways to count.

Four Baseball Icons Share Their Stories of Struggles at Negro Leagues Museum Event

Published June 14, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The crowd had gathered at the Gem Theater in Kansas City to watch four of the greatest players in baseball history talk about their careers. But for Andre Dawson, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Oliva and Tim Raines, Saturday night’s Hall of Game ceremony offered both a chance to be honored and to honor others.

The 30: Defense Saves (or Sinks) in This Week’s MLB Power Rankings

Published June 13, 2016

Pitch framing, route efficiency, Defensive Runs Saved (by shifts and otherwise): Never in baseball history have we been better able to quantify the impact of a team’s ball-catching ability.

Yet despite all these detailed metrics and teams’ keen awareness of them, vast gaps in defensive performance have dramatically influenced this year’s standings.

Behind Jason Groome’s Journey from Phenom to Red Sox First-Round Pick

Published June 10, 2016

SECAUCUS, N.J. — Baseball America projected him to go third overall, to the Atlanta Braves. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him as the second-best talent on the board. And tapped him to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft, going to a Phillies team that plays its home games one hour from his front door.

Measuring Madison Bumgarner Up Against History’s Best Hitting Pitchers

Published June 7, 2016

You can, without much difficulty, portray the study of numbers as a heartless pursuit, one that seeks to take the magic out of baseball and turn it into something cold and unfeeling. But those of us who follow and crunch stats for a living see the exact opposite. To us, numbers can accentuate the action on the field.

The 30: Injury Bug Biting Hard in This Week’s MLB Power Rankings

Published June 6, 2016

You hear it every summer. A probing reporter asks the manager how his team’s frequent trips to the disabled list have affected the roster. Every team has injuries, the skipper will reply without missing a beat; we can’t use them as an excuse.

While there’s certainly truth and honor in not using injuries as a crutch, it’s also true that some teams get hit harder than others, leaving those clubs searching for answers.

One Unconventional Move Sparked the Astros’ Surge, But There’s Still Work to Do

Published June 2, 2016

The Astros hit their lowest point of the season on May 22. That day, their in-state rivals from Arlington walloped them 9-2. The Rangers’ blowout win completed a three-game sweep for Texas, one that saw Houston score just four runs all series. Add a series-ending loss to the White Sox just before that, and the Astros had dropped four in a row.