Monday, May 25, 2015

Blog Kiosk: 5/25/2015 - Dodger Links - Ryu, Rally Banana's and AJ Ellis

I love how sometimes social media can do some good - instead of being the terrible one-headed monster it always seems to be.  Above is the veritable "Dancing Man," also known as Sean O'Brien, and he threw out the first pitch before yesterday's game.  Go here to learn a little bit about him.

The above pic is via the @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are some links to check out:
  • Via Harry Pavlidis at ESPN, "Measuring MLB's best game-callers."  It's always been tough finding a metric that appropriately values the defensive part of a catchers job.  Sure, there's "pitch-framing," but that's just one small part of what a field general is suppose to do.  Another skill, something I would argue is the most important, is "game-calling."  
Most experienced catchers will work closely with a starting pitcher in coming up with a game plan, and will be the principal person in charge of decided what pitches to throw at any time.  So, identifying those who are best at this is an important metric to develop.  Apparently, that metric has been found and it shows that AJ Ellis is the best "game-caller" in the league.
That Ellis is one of the best at this should not come as a surprise.  Dodger pitchers for years have been singing his graces. BTW, you can find out more about the methodology and math behind this new metric here and here.  Apparently, it's derived from their DRA metric.
4. The guide to the best game caller of them all: little-known 34-year-old Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis

A.J. Ellis, in a vacuum, is a below-average catcher. His career batting average is .240. His career OPS is .689. He's made 396 starts in eight seasons. The Dodgers, of course, know all this. But they also know that two of the game's best hurlers, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, absolutely love pitching to him. Why? Because Ellis is the best game caller in the business, and now we can actually prove it. His game-calling alone saved the Dodgers 38 runs from 2012 to 2014, though he gave back 19 of those runs with everything else he did behind the plate . Does it hurt to be Ellis? At times, perhaps. But at least now, when that ninth foul tip slaps his once-unheralded (but now-appreciated) inner thigh, it might not sting quite so much.
But Ryu, his left arm in a sling during a Dodger Stadium news conference, said he was always able to pitch with it and figured he'd be able to again after it flared up in Spring Training.

"I wanted to try to do it without surgery. That was my main intention," said the 28-year-old left-hander, who said he now intends to be healthy by next Spring Training, as doctors have indicated.
"I said, 'I'm on the bench, I've got to help my team somehow, we've got to come up with something,'" Hernandez said. "So I look around and the first thing I see is a banana and I said, 'This banana is going to be a rally banana.'"
Despite his objective struggles behind the plate, the Dodgers adored Thomas’ effort.

“Show me another guy who could do what he did today,” Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda told Littwin. “I’ve been in baseball nearly all my life, and I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m so grateful to him. He’s a great athlete, but more than that, he’s courageous.”

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