Are we getting overly-excited about spring training statistics yet? How about all the injuries? Brad Boxberger, Jered Weaver, Edwin EncarnaciA?n, and Bronson Arroyo are just some of the names listed. Have we gone so mad as to label a 14-year-old kid a clubhouse leader? Wait, that actually did happen? Uh oh.
What’s to Come for Jarrod Parker?
I’ll have more on Oakland’s pitcher later in the week, but how unlucky is Jarrod Parker? He’s had not one, but two Tommy John surgeries. He fractured the medial epichondral in his right elbow last season, then fractured it again just a couple weeks ago. Now he faces yet another elbow surgery April 1 in what has to be the cruelest of April Fool’s Day pranks. From an athlete’s perspective, at least.
Speculation indicates that it could be a third Tommy John procedure. Is there any coming back from that? To say it looks bleak for the 27-year-olda��ranked a Top-100 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus five years in a rowa��would be a massive understatement.
Sabathia’s Spot not set in Stone
He’s 35 years old and is a 15-year veteran of the majors, but he’s been pretty bad since 2013. How much C.C. Sabathia has left in the tank is unclear and according to manager Joe Girardi, he’s not guaranteed a spot in the rotation:
a�?We are going to take what we think are the five best, bottom line… If you don’t make the rotation, you are probably in the bullpen.a�?
It’s worth nothing that Sabathia is due $25 million this season. While it’s not ideal, at least in the Yankees case, it’s manageable. As for Sabathia, it’s been a painful and admittedly very sad fall from grace.
The six-time All-Star and former Cy Young winner has seen his career numbers crash and burn in recent years. According to Baseball Prospectus, Sabathia posted a Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) of 2.2 or higher every year from 2001 through 2012a��an average of 4.1 per season. In three years since, that average has been 0.3.
Throughout his career but especially in his prime, Sabathia was a workhorse. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see him break down now. At the rate he was going, it was unavoidable. That doesn’t make it better. His velocity continues to fall, he’s now consistently an injury risk, and he’s just not an effective pitcher anymore. Does he have an ounce or two of good baseball left?
Sunday Shout Out
Since last Sunday didn’t include one, here’s two of them to make up for it. First off, there’s Ben Diamond who puts out great content for BP-Bronxa��the Yankees branch of Baseball Prospectusa��as well as Baseball Essential.
Secondly there’s Emma Baccellieri, who’s done plenty of excellent work across various platforms including but not limited to: The Chronicle (Duke University), The Charlotte Observer, and Beyond the Box Score. Here’s her piece on Bartolo ColA?n, who as she notes, a�?…might outlive us all.a�?
So what are you waiting for?
Stay Together for the Kids
From the beginning, this story out of White Sox camp has been very strange.
During the middle of last week, 36-year-old Adam LaRochea��who struggled mightily last seasona��announced his retirement. At first, it wasn’t clear why. In the winter of 2014, the White Sox signed him to a two-year deal worth $25 million. Last season he slashed .207/.293/.340 with 12 home runs in what was easily the worst season of his career.
As the hours passed, more and more details surfaced. As we turn the page on a new week, the chatter continues. Reportedly, LaRoche decided to retire because the White Sox banned his son Drake from being in the clubhouse. Drake, who’s 14 years old, has gone to work with his dad for the majority of his life. As a form of protest, the White Sox thought abouta��but ultimately didn’t pull the trigger ona��boycotting a Cactus League game this past Wednesday. Is this already starting to sound very reasonable? Just wait.
Some players seemed to have a problem with Drake being there every day; others such as Chris Sale and Adam Eaton were miffed, however. For Sale it was more so that team president Kenny Williams handled the issue in the clubhouse, something he believed was manager Robin Ventura’s job. Things got heated, and Sale even went as far as to accuse Williams of telling them a a�?bold faced lie.a�? So it doesn’t get any weirder, right?
Oh, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Doing a radio show Saturday morning, Eatona��one of Drake’s most vocal supporters during this entire sagaa��had this to say:
a�?Drake was more than just a kid that came to the clubhouse… He did more for people than we did for him by having him there every day. It’s a difficult dynamic to understand, and that’s why there’s such a strong outreach for us. We lost a leader in Drake.a�?
Let’s take a step back here, chief. Not only is this possibly the strangest sports related story I think I’ve ever seen, the White Sox only won 76 games last season. How good of a leader could he have possibly been? Also, this is not the time for a distraction like this. Not in spring training. Hell, probably not even during winter meetings. This should have been taken care of immediately after their 2015 season ended. But here we are. And hey, he’s 14 years old, everyone! Can we all just settle down? At least the White Sox aren’t possibly leaving his name plate up in memory of him or something.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 19, 2016