Best of the Week: 8/11/2019 – 8/17/2019


This past week, Gleyber Torres became tied for the most home runs against a single team in one season when he hit his 13th home run against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. (It was also his third of the day against the O’s.) The record of 14 was set by Lou Gehrig against the Indians in 1936.

As one writer put it, “Gleyber Torres owns the Baltimore Orioles now.” The Ringer went so far as to investigation the question, “What if Gleyber Torres Played Only the Orioles?” (The answer: 117 home runs.) Here are a few of the reactions to this feat, not only to Torres, but to Orioles announcer Gary Thorne.

~ baseballrebecca

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Stat-urday, 8/17/2019


File:Anthony Santander 2018 (cropped).jpg

To research the multi-day post I wrote on Anthony Santander, I pieced together information from several difference statistical sources. Here’s where you can find that and other information on your favorite players:

Transactions: If you want to know when a player signed with a certain team, when they were on the DL, demoted, or promoted, you can find a nice, easy to read at the bottom of their player page on MLB.com. The Baseball Cube also has clear, easy-to-read information on transactions. For example, check out Santander’s transactions (and stats) from those two sites:

Days with the Team: This transactions lists rarely explain everything that happened. Sometimes, they can be recalled to the MLB team and sent back down all in one day. It’s helpful to know not only how many games they played while on a certain, but also the exact dates they were there. For example, with Anthony, he was with the O’s for the required 44-45 days in 2017, but he only got to play in 13 days. (Too bad Rule 5 doesn’t address days spent sitting on the bench.) The “Teams Played For” table near the bottom of a player’s page shows the exact dates a player was with a team, like this page for Santander:

Minor League Stats: A good place to find a players’ minor league stats is at milb.com – at least for current players and players recently called up. Baseball Reference also includes minor league and foreign league stats, if you toggle the tables to include them. Sometimes you can just google the players’ name and “foreign stats” or “minor league status” to more easily find them. These are the best sites I found for Anthony Santander’s non-MLB experience:

And here are Santader’s stats as reported by Baseball Reference (which they conveniently let you download into an Excel spreadsheet or .CSV file!):

Level G R H 2B 3B HR RBI BA
MLB (3 seasons) 96 38 86 19 2 9 39 0.263
Minors (8 seasons) 483 290 498 138 5 61 295 0.27
Foreign (2 seasons) 62 26 48 13 2 5 25 0.236
All Levels (8 Seasons) 659 362 647 174 10 76 374 0.265
 
AAA (2 seasons) 59 33 58 18 0 7 35 0.245
AA (2 seasons) 69 39 73 14 3 10 36 0.282
A+ (2 seasons) 129 90 147 42 0 20 95 0.291
A (3 seasons) 168 89 152 38 1 16 83 0.241
A- (2 seasons) 15 12 21 11 0 4 14 0.356

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

Dave Dravecky’s Disability


Dave Dravecky with the San Francisco Giants (photo courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com)

Yesterday, I pondered the meaning of the injured list. Speaking of being on the IL (or, perhaps DL, since this occurred 30 years ago), on this date in 1989, Dave Dravecky of the San Francisco Giants broke his arm when pitching to Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos. It was the last time Dravecky pitched in the Major Leagues.

The previous year, doctors had found a cancerous tumor in Dravecky’s pitching arm. In October 1988, he underwent surgery to remove the cancer; half of his deltoid muscle was removed and his humerus bone was frozen. Although he was advised not to pitch until the 1990 season, Dravecky wanted to return to baseball sooner. After rehabbing in the minors, he pitched in the majors for the first time since his surgery on August 10, 1989. He pitched eight innings and a 4-3 win over Cincinnati. His second start was against the Montreal Expos five days later. As he made that fateful pitch to Tim Raines, his humerus bone snapped and he fell to the ground. His arm broke a second time later that season as the Giants were celebrating winning the National League pennant.

In examining the x-rays of Dravecky’s arm, a doctor found a mass, which turned out to be malignant. Dravecky needed additional treatment and his career was over. He underwent additional surgeries, but his arm continued to deteriorate. In June 1991, he underwent another surgery – this time to amputate his left arm and shoulder.

Despite his disability, Dravecky was able to transition to a second career as a motivational speaker and author.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

DL to IL


Image result for disabled list wikiYou may have noted that earlier this week I referred to the “DL” or “disabled list” instead of the “IL” or “injured list.” I’ve found it particularly hard to make this change. Not only because the term is older than me, but in my mind “IL” stands for the International League. Needless to say, I’ve been struggling with this issue for months. One question I have is, how do we refer to pre-2019 instances of a player being on the “DL”? Do we change our language and use “IL,” even if that was not the term used prior to 2019? Also, what effect does this have on the concept of “temporary disability”? – which may or may not be a legal concept, depending on who you ask.

As most people know, MLB changed the name of the disabled list to the injured list for this season. An article on Boston.com noted that the term “disabled list” was first used by The New York Times in 1887. The length of time the list covered has changed over the years. For example, a 10-day disabled list was added in 1966, removed in 1984, but restored in 2017. The 60-day DL was added in 1990, replacing the 21- and 30-day lists. Right now, we have the 7-day IL (for concussions only), the 10-day DL, and the 60-day DL, though in in 2020, the 15-day injured list will return, replacing the current 10-day IL. Players can also be considered “day-to-day,” if their injury or illness is not severe.

According to ESPN.com, the name change was made at the suggestion of advocacy groups for the disabled, including the Link 20 Network.” The Boston.com article seems to imply that the name was proposed solely by the Link20 Network, noting that “Link20, a group of young activists sponsored by the Ruderman foundation, sent a letter to MLB in November raising the issue.” According to the article, the letter stated: “’Using the term ‘disabled list’ for players who are injured reinforces the belief that people with disabilities are injured and therefore are not able to participate or compete in any sports.’” The Los Angeles Times noted that this change was also in keeping with other professional sports leagues that uses terms like “injured reserve.”

I’m all for being inclusive and ensuring disability rights, and I agree that an injury is not the same as a disability. However, injuries can lead to disabilities, and even temporary “disabilities” can be severe enough to impact one’s “major life activities” (see below). Thus, I wonder if this name change was necessary. (I also wonder how other disability rights organizations feel about this issue. If this change was made primarily at the suggestion of one organization, it would have been helpful for MLB to have some additional information, rather than being influenced by just one side of the story (assuming there are other sides)). One argument is that it is important to not conflate injuries with disabilities. But isn’t it also important to highlight that fact that disabilities can happen to anyone? Not being an individual with a disability or an expert on the issue, I don’t have an answer for any of these things I’ve been wondering.

Image result for EEOCThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notes that in 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act was amended to expand the definition of disability “in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA…” In other words, the American with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA) sought to make it easier for individuals to seek protection under the law by allowing the term “disability” to be interpreted more broadly that it had been by the courts. Thus, for legal purposes, the ADAAA defines disability as:

  • a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (sometimes referred to in the regulations as an “actual disability”), or
  • a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limited a major life activity (a “record of” having a disability), or
  • when a covered entity takes an action prohibited by the ADA because of an actual or perceived impairment that is not both transitory and minor (“regarded as” having a disability).

While the law did not specifically discuss if or how temporary disabilities were covered, in 2014, the Fourth Circuit held that the ADAAA did, in fact, cover persons with temporary disabilities that are “severe.” While the issue may be far from decided, it leaves open the possibility that the types of injuries that substantially limit baseball players from performing their jobs may legally be considered “disabilities” even if they are temporary.

Ultimately, I’m happy to adopt whichever terminology is preferred by and most respectful of the disability community. I just want to be sure that the entire disability community has been consulted.

The larger issue here is that MLB keeps making changes, but it is unclear where these changes are coming from. Are they considering all sides in their decision-making? Or are they only listening to part of the story? Perhaps they are doing their due diligence, but it is not transparent to the fans.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

The Curious Case of Anthony Santander, Part 2


Anthony Santander (photo courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com)

Today we continue the story of Anthony Santander, outfielder with the Baltimore Orioles. I’ve been watching Santander’s progression since the O’s selected him in the Rule 5 draft on December 8, 2016. Wikipedia sums up a team’s responsibilities once they select a Rule 5 player: (1) the player must remain on the 25-man roster for the entire season following the draft—he may not be optioned/designated to the minors; and (2) the player must be active for at least 90 days (this is to prevent a team from drafting a player and keeping them on the DL; if they do spend time on the DL, the 90 days can be across separate seasons). Thus, once the Orioles selected Santander, they were required to keep him on the roster for an entire season.

This is how it all played out:

  • April 2, 2017: Orioles placed Santander on the 10-day DL with elbow inflammation, retroactive to March 30. (This was expected, as he’d had shoulder surgery after the 2016 season.)
  • June 14, 2017: Transferred from 10-day IL to 60-day DL
  • July 27, 2017: Sent to the AA Bowie Baysox for a rehab assignment (played in 15 games, where he hit .380 with 5 home runs and 14 RBI)
  • August 14, 2017: Sent to the A+ Frederick Keys for a rehab assignment (played in 1 game)
  • August 18, 2017: made his MLB debut with the Orioles (with the team 44 days, through September 30; played in 13 games)
  • March 31 – May 12, 2018: With the Orioles 43 days, appeared in 33 games
  • May 13, 2018: Optioned to the Bowie Baysox

So, yeah, sure, he was on the 25-man roster for the entire year, and he was “active” for almost 90 days (I count 87 – what am I missing?). (A 2018 article in Cleveland.com noted that he spent 45 days with the O’s in 2017, so he was required to spend 44 with the O’s in 2018, or he’d have to be returned to the Indians – but that’s only 89 days, so someone still doesn’t know how to count.) Anyway, when Santander was optioned to Bowie, I recall thinking at the time that (a) perhaps they hadn’t given him a fair change with Baltimore, and (b) why hadn’t he spent any time in triple-A? But mostly I was happy he was playing for my favorite team, because he seemed like he had potential.

In 54 games with Bowie in 2018, Santander batted .258 with 5 home runs and 22 RBI. However, on July 24, he was placed on the 7-day DL and in August went to short season-A Aberdeen for a 7-day rehab assignment and then to triple-A Norfolk for another rehab assignment until the end of the minor league season. He spent the off-season in the Venezuelan Winter League once again.

Santander started the 2019 season with the triple-A Norfolk Tides, where he was batting .296 with 8 home runs before he was called up to the Orioles on June 7. He immediately earned the Play of the Week Award for his home run-robbing double play on June 8th. Is he finally about to reach his potential and stay with the Major League club? Or are the Orioles poised to send him back down to Norfolk again? Let’s not forget he’s only 24 years old.

Fast forward to two Sunday’s ago when the 4,000 scouts from the U.K. saw the potential in Santander, just as I had back in 2018. So, has he been given a fair shake? Is he superstar material? Or will the O’s just trade him and break my heart like they always do?

~ baseballrebecca

 

Santander’s Teams and Stats Summary: 2017-Present

Year Team League Level From To Games Avg.
2017 Bowie Baysox Eastern League AA 7/27/2017 8/13/2017 15 .380
2017 Frederick Keys Carolina League A+ 8/14/2017 8/14/2017 1 .400
2017 Baltimore Orioles American League MLB 8/18/2017 9/30/2017 13 .267
2017 Salt River Rafters Arizona Fall League Fall 10/10/2017 11/14/2017 18 .208
2018 Baltimore Orioles American League MLB 3/31/2018 5/12/2018 33 .198
2018 Bowie Baysox Eastern League AA 5/14/2018 7/18/2018 54 .258
2018 Aberdeen IronBirds New York-Penn League A- 8/15/2018 8/22/2018 7 .286
2018 Norfolk Tides International League AAA 8/24/2018 9/3/2018 11 .182
2018 Tigres de Aragua Venezuelan Winter League FgW 10/13/2018 12/30/2018 53 .251
2019 Norfolk Tides International League AAA 4/4/2019 6/6/2019 50 .296
2019 Baltimore Orioles American League MLB 6/7/2019 Current 48 .259

Table adapted from:
https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=santan000ant

 

 

The Curious Case of Anthony Santander, Part 1


File:Anthony Santander 2018 (cropped).jpg

Anthony Santander, May 2018 (photo by Keith Allison, via Wikipedia)

In yesterday’s post, I declared the “Best of the Week” for last week to be Anthony Santander’s interactions with the fans in left field. I noted that it’s about time that Santander got some recognition. But who is Anthony Santander?

Santander was born in Margarita, Venezuela, on October 19, 1994. He is currently an outfielder with the Baltimore Orioles, but was originally signed by the Cleveland Indians. The Indians signed him to a minor league contract as an international free agent on July 2, 2011, when he was 16 years old. He received a signing bonus of $385,000, which was reported to be the 29th largest bonus of any international signing at the time. Since then, the ups and downs of his career have been somewhat dizzying.

On June 20, 2012, Santander began his professional career with the Arizona League Indians. (The AZL is a rookie-level league with teams playing at the spring training complexes in the Phoenix area; the MLB teams with affiliates in the AZL are: the Angels, A’s, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Giants, Brewers, Dodgers, Indians, Padres, Reds, White Sox, Mariners, Rangers, and Royals.) Santander hit .305 with 4 home runs and 43 RBI in 43 games in the AZL in 2012. After the 2012 season, the blog, Baseball Prospect Nation, noted that at age 17 Santander demonstrated “good natural hitting ability and advanced approach for his age.” The site also stated that he had “potential for average defense and likely below-average arm strength. Will have to hit a ton to have big-league value. Could be an above-average regular if offensive tools materialize to maximum extent. Boom or bust type.” The report concluded, “Likely 4-5 years away from being on the big-league radar.”

In 2013, Santander was assigned to the single-A Lake County Captains, where he played for the entire season, with the exception of a 7-day stint on the DL. He spent 2014 with Lake County as well, though he was placed on the “7-day DL” again in June for the reminder of the season. He began the 2015 season on the DL and then was assigned to the short-season A Mahoning Valley Scrappers on June 19. He was reassigned to the Lake County Captains on June 28, where he spent the remainder of the season.

After spending the MLB off-season in the Venezuelan Winter League (though only appearing in 9 games, Santander joined the single-A Lynchburg Hillcats for the 2016 season. Healthy and with just one team for the season, Santander batted .294 with 20 home runs and 95 RBI. Unfortunately, after the season ended, Santander had surgery on his right arm. Nonetheless, this did not deter the Baltimore Orioles from picking him up in the Rule 5 draft in December 2016.

So why is Santander’s case “curious” and why am I continuing it tomorrow in Part 2? Because there are so many unanswered questions: (a) why was Cleveland so eager to keep him, despite all the injuries, and why did they let him go in the 2016 Rule 5 draft?, (b) did he really get a fair shake with the Orioles?, (c) is his story similar to other international free agents or other players in general, (d) how will he ultimately fare in the major leagues, and (e) from a sociological perspective, what does this mean for the fans? We may not be able to answer all of these questions, but reviewing his career so far is quite interesting.

Stay tuned …

~ baseballrebecca

Santander’s Teams and Stats Summary: 2012-2016

Year Team League Level From To Games Avg.
2012 AZL Indians Arizona League Rookie 6/20/2012 8/26/2012 43 .305
2013 Lake County Captains Midwest League A 4/29/2013 7/19/2013 61 .242
2014 Lake County Captains Midwest League A 4/4/2014 6/5/2014 43 .184
2015 Mahoning Valley Scrappers New York-Penn League A- 6/19/2015 6/26/2015 8 .419
2015 Lake County Captains Midwest League A 6/28/2015 9/6/2015 64 .278
2015 Navegantes del Magallanes Venezuelan Winter League FgW 10/8/2015 10/25/2015 9 .100
2016 Lynchburg Hillcats Carolina League A+ 4/7/2016 9/4/2016 128 .290

Table adapted from: https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=santan000ant