Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
OLDY MOLDY asks: Is the first half dominance explained by strength of schedule? The recent tail dive seemed to start prior to Stanton and Carpenter getting injured. Statistically, are many of us wrong in believing that they are regressing to the 2021 team?
I don’t think the strength of schedule is an acceptable answer, as the team has struggled against bottom feeders like the Reds as a part of this slide (even letting the Royals play a competitive four-game set in New York). The league may be a little stronger than it was earlier in the year, with Seattle rising to contender status and the O’s cementing themselves as Wild Card hopefuls, but honestly the way that this team has been playing of late would set them up for losses against many of the openly-tanking teams in the league as well.
There are many ways that we can note the sudden slide from elite juggernaut to an inept roster resembling last year’s team, but here’s one that we talked about in an earlier mailbag. On June 24th I talked about how incredible the defense had been in one of my answers and how it was part of the team’s major turnaround in the standings — the team had given up just eight unearned runs off of 27 errors in 70 games played. Since then, they’ve allowed 13 unearned runs and committed 25 errors in just 49 games, a significant spike for both categories. As I noted then, the Manfred runner has to be also considered since it is counted as an unearned run against the pitcher and highlighted that they’d only allowed the ghost runner to cross home plate three times to that point, but given the team’s recent run of blowing it in extras its safe to say that they’ve been getting beat there as well.
Ruff Trade asks: I see MLB has set the first game of the World Series for October 28. Will this absurdity push Manfred and Co. to shorten the regular season to 154 games or less? Clearly, the powers that be want more playoffs. Not too horrible if the best teams get a bye, but the endless regular season puts major physical stress on all players. Something should be done about this, no?
The lockout pushing the season back slightly is a factor here, but it does feel like the league will have a hard time going forward making the schedule work out if they want further playoff expansion (and they do). I’m a bit of a stickler on this issue, as it just feels odd for a sport to walk back the amount of games played in a year (both economically and considering how it would impact season and career records going forward), but if there was one that could make the case for it baseball would be it. We’ll see if the players could or even want to leverage that in future CBA talks with the owners, but a 154-game season is something that I don’t think will be discussed for a while still.
DONNIE GOGO asks: Will Gleyber be our second baseman next year? Is the window to max his trade value shut? I honestly am done with his baseball acumen and fundamental lapses. In five years, you should know what your strengths are.
Gleyber Torres is facing an intriguing crossroad this offseason. It’s clear that they were including his name in some of the deadline shopping, potentially even in a swap for Pablo López, but he’s on the roster for at least the end of this year. That could be resumed once the season is over, and Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe’s impending arrival might press the issue. This year began with some hope that Torres had figured things out and was back to being a solid contributor in the lineup, but his recent slump has been one of the notable factors in the offense being missing this month.
Considering he could have been traded a few years ago for Luis Castillo, I’d say that his trade value has indeed peaked some time ago. He could still be the main name in a significant swap, or he could prove that he belongs in the 2023 plans should be find his form again and end up doing damage in September and October. He’s a better player than he was in 2020-21, but he’s still somewhere between that and his elite 2019 showing. Only time will tell if he does enough to make the cut this time around.
Damn_yanks asks: It has to get better, right?
I sure hope so.