- Neftali and Dat Changeup! I won’t bother to get into the analytics of it (besides, Robbie Griffin (no, not that Robert Griffin) did a far better job of that at Sbnation.com than I’m capable of doing). but Neftali Feliz with a changeup that’s not only a show-me pitch, but a flat-out weapon; that’s a pitching Terminator right there.
- Yu and Dat Recovery! Yeah, Darvish's first inning was terribad. His second was pretty bad. But then he settled, and then he got into a groove and turned in a decent day's work. I respect that more than just walking out and dominating (although, if given the choice, I'd prefer him just dominating). Consider this tweet from Baseball Prospectus writer and scout Jason Parks: "This inning could be the best thing for Darvish's development. Failure and response to failure is the backbone of baseball."
Major leaguers are going to find a way to beat anyone. Readjusting and responding- that's the sign of a player that will be successful long-term.
- Joe Nathan has been very good this year- as long as he didn’t pitch the night before. In two appearances with rest, Nathan hasn't allowed a baserunner. In the two appearances after pitching the day before, he's allowed 5 hits and 4 runs to score.
For his career, working two days straight hasn't been a problem; in fact, his career tOPS+ (a metric that compares how a player has done in any given situation to his total career norm) for pitching on zero days rest is 60 - where 100 is average (and the lower, the better). In terms of days between appearances, that's his lowest tOPS+. Which is weird. Which also means that Nathan is probably going to be ok, long term, and it's wise not to jump to conclusions based off of one Alex Rios homer and one bad inning.
- Mike Adams has been absolutely filthy. He's thrown 51 pitches, and 12 of those have been called balls. Those 51 pitches have resulted in 12 outs. On average, each batter sees one pitch from Adams outside the strike zone- if you round up. Just like with Nathan's bad performances, we shouldn't get carried away with Adams' excellence, though.
- A prospect you may not know but all of us should keep an eye on is Ryan Strausborger (no relation to Stephen Strasburg, who you know, and also who does not have the same last name). See how many times you raise an eyebrow over the next sentence: Strausborger is a right-handed hitting outfielder who’s generally considered a plus defender at all three OF spots, is a plus runner, and absolutely torches left-handed pitching. Personally, when I wrote that, I raised an eyebrow twice, both eyebrows three times, and by the end had raised both hands, shoulder high, with thumbs extended skywards.
Strausborger is what would happen if you took David Murphy and Craig Gentry, and put them at opposite ends of the Large Haldron Collider, then ran them into each other at nearly the speed of light*. Over his two full seasons in the minors, Strausborger has carried a 439 OBP when the pitcher throws the ball at him with his left hand. Only five qualified major leaguers carried a higher OBP vs LHP last year.
The bad news is Strausborger is 24, so he probably doesn't have a lot more room to grow; that said, he could possibly be ready to help the big league club in a limited capacity later on this summer. He's not going to have the star-level ceiling of a prospect like Jordan Akins or Nomar Mazara, but he's a good bet to develop into a useful major league player, and his skillset could fill a glaring need on the Rangers.
*- Come to think of it, Gentry pretty much runs at the speed of light anyway, so really you only have to shoot Murphy out of the LHC, at Gentry running at full speed. That’s significantly less funny as a visual, though. Plus, it seems mean to Murphy.
- For all the talk about the pitching, it's worth noting that the Rangers are currently 15th in the major leagues in team OBP and 10th in team BA -- and 23rd in team walk rate. They're leading the AL in home runs, but it would be nice if those home runs were more of the 2- and 3-run variety than solo.
- Elvis' home run, though, you guys- that was the best. Just the best.
- Colby Lewis is tied for second in the league in total strikeouts, and only one starter can boast a better K/BB ratio right now than Colby's 15:1.
Joseph Ursery doesn't really have much of an understanding of how the Large Haldron Collider works, but he's got that twitter thing figured out pretty good. Want proof? Go over to @thejoeursery and click the follow button and you'll receive proof.