Essential Baseball Writing from Around the Web

Baseball is about to head into its third weekend and analysis seems like it’s at an all time high. The crew at Off Base takes in a fair share of nerdy baseball talk from around the web, so in this weekly column we will spotlight some of our favorite pieces. This time around, we look at the challenges of finding starters, the surprising youth of Toronto’s staff, a quickly fallen fantasy star and a future hall of famer who may retire sooner rather than later:

1) Alex Remington at The Hardball Times looks at the Colorado Rockies’ franchise-long quest to find starting pitching:

“In the past three decades, however, probably no team has had a more difficult time filling a position than the Colorado Rockies have with their starting rotation. In 16 of their 22 seasons, Rockies pitchers have been last or second-to-last in the National League in runs allowed per game. From the time it was built, their home park has been a pitchers’ nightmare: the walls are really deep, so there’s a ton of ground to cover; the air is thinner, so the ball encounters less air resistance, meaning that breaking balls don’t break as much and batted balls travel farther; and because the air has less oxygen, pitchers tire more easily.”

2) While hitting is on the decline, pitching hasn’t gotten any younger. Except, as Zachary Levine’s piece for Just a Bit Outside points out, if you are the Toronto Blue Jays:

“There was a time – before 21-year-olds Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez were born, well before 20-year-olds Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna came into being and even before the birth of the Toronto Blue Jays franchise that keeps all four pitchers on the major league staff – when what they were doing wouldn’t have been considered all that unusual.” 

3) Rotographs’ Michael Barr discusses how Masahiro Tanaka’s new repertoire affects his fantasy value:

“There might not be a takeaway here other than the fact that we’ve actually seen this Tanaka before, because he was using a very similar repertoire after the first couple of months of the 2014 season, and he wasn’t throwing appreciably harder. That might not get you excited about his prospects for however many innings his elbow gives us in 2015, but if you’re an owner, I’d hold and probably expect better results. If you’re a vulture, or you aspire to be one, his first two outings might represent an opportunity to pounce if you’re looking for some version of bottled lightning. It’s not likely Tanaka is ever as dominant as he was in 2014 and he might only give you 100 more innings, but if he can somehow mimic his effectiveness from June and July last season, he ought to be pretty solid before the partial tear becomes complete.”

4) For those tracking milestones, Sports Illustrated’s Jay Jaffe wonders how much higher Albert Pujols will climb:

“How much further can Pujols climb in terms of milestones? To date, the 35-year-old slugger has 2,523 hits to go with his 522 homers, with a contract that runs through 2021, giving him nearly seven years remaining. He may not stick around that long; in February, Pujols suggested that if his daughter Sophia, now nine years old, qualifies for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, he might retire to follow her journey. That would seem to be a longshot given that current Olympic gymnastics rules require girls to be 16 years old to compete, and that Sophia would only be 14 at that point, but it does suggest he may not stick around to collect every last nickel.”

Featured Image: Via Newslocker

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