In some ways it’s hard to account for the right-hander’s success. His fastball barely touches 90 mph, and his breaking balls aren’t exactly electric. At first glance, he looks like a pitcher who is doomed for regression. His FIP in 2016 was a full run higher than his ERA, 3.24 and 2.13 respectively. His BABIP of .250 was twenty points lower than his career average of .273, benefitting from a historically good Cubs defense. Kyle Hendricks may very well regress toward his relatively-high-but-still-very-good FIP, and maybe it’s more likely that he will, but that doesn’t mean that he must.
Read the rest at BP Wrigleyville.
Now, I want to be clear on one thing: Robin Ventura is not a good manager.
Ventura has a history of making some dubious decisions during games including not walking the bases loaded with runners on second and third with less than two out in the bottom of a ninth inning or later game, leaving his starters in too long, and starting Avisail Garcia. He’ll end his tenure with the White Sox with four consecutive losing seasons, the first Sox manager to do so, and a record of 375-435, good for a .463 winning percentage.
But Ventura doesn’t deserve all of the blame for the White Sox failings.
Read the rest at Beyond the Box Score.
After a great 2015 season which saw Joe Panik make the All-Star team, the Giants’ second baseman and former first-round pick has had a relatively dismal year at the plate in 2016. Last season he hit .312/.378/.455 with a modest 136 wRC+, and this year he hit .239/.315/.379 with a below average 89 wRC+. Before the season started, projection systems expected him to regress slightly as Panik benefited from a high .330 BABIP in 2015 but not to this level.
Still, the Yankees would have taken him for Andrew Miller. Panik has been a valuable player posting a 2.1 fWAR mostly because of his defense, so this hasn’t been a lost season by any means. He is recovering from a back injury that sidelined him for the last few months of 2015 and a concussion that put him on the DL just before this year’s All-Star break so that would explain some of his troubles, but perhaps not all of it. Has something changed about his approach, or is he merely unlucky?
Read the rest at Beyond the Box Score
Tuesday, December 6th, I’ll be reading from a new story at Columbia College Chicago with poets, Bhanu Kapil and Tony Trigilio. Details for the event can found here.
Bhanu Kapil currently teaches at Naropa University and Godard College. Her cross-genre writing includes The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers and Humanimal: A Project for Future Children.
Tony Trigilio’s most recent collection of poetry is Inside the Walls of My Own House: The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood), Book 2. He teaches poetry at Columbia College Chicago.
The reading is closing out Columbia’s fantastic Fall reading series which has included T. Geronimo Johnson and will feature Charles Johnson, Ross Gay, Hoa Nguyen among others.