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Nolan Arenado and the case of the made-up statistic

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Rockies news and links for Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Nolan Arenado endorses potential new defensive stat | DNVR ($)

How does Nolan feel about the idea of forced errors? Well, if you read the headline, you already know he endorses this idea.

Drew Creasman suggests that there is a fundamental difference between the following situations:

  1. Trea Turner hits the ball, and it goes through Daniel Murphy’s legs. E3.
  2. Trea Turner hits the ball, and Trevor Story makes a ridiculous stop somewhere in shallow left field, but his throw hits off Daniel Murphy’s glove, and Turner takes second. E6.

Both of these situations result in errors. But in the first situation, Daniel Murphy was just a bad fielder. In the second situation, Turner’s speed may have caused Trevor to rush his throw, thus forcing an error.

OK, fine, I guess. When you watch really good players on an everyday basis, you realize that there’s a vast difference between a Trevor Story throwing error and a Daniel Murphy fielding error. But I’m a little fuzzy on how exactly we’d determine something was a forced error. Is it based on whether the runner is fast or the ball is hit hard? And who gets to decide what’s considered “fast” or “hard”? (And are we still doing “phrasing”?)

Here’s what I propose: We implement the Arenado Rule, which says that if Nolan cannot make a play, that play cannot be made. Then we can simply rate all other plays on the Arenado-meter. This seems like a perfectly unbiased way of determining the best fielders.

Ryan McMahon talks future, breakout season | Rox Pile

Ryan McMahon had a breakout season this year in the sense that he broke out of the minor leagues. I’m not sure his numbers are worthy of calling this season a breakout, though: .250/.329/.450, 24 home runs, 81 RBI. He also struck out 29.7% of the time, which is a lot, especially considering his struggles with fastballs.

On the plus side, he also made a lot of errors (16 of them).

Sarcasm aside, while the numbers aren’t great, they’re not bad either, especially for McMahon’s first full season in the majors. And while he made a lot of errors, he also made a lot of great plays at second. Bud Black still sees a lot of upside, and honestly, I’m inclined to agree.

Rockies’ Ryan McMahon flashed promise; next step is consistency | Denver Post ($)

Apparently I didn’t get the memo that on Monday/Tuesday, we talk about Ryan McMahon. So I’m a day late to that party. Sorry about that.

When will Rockies develop their own 1B? | MLB.com

A lot of teams do this thing where they get good hitters and then have them play first base. Obviously the Rockies have done it two years in a row, but other teams do it too: Joc Pederson, Yuli Gurriel and Ryan Zimmerman are all examples of this. So it’s definitely a strategy that exists.

I don’t love this strategy for the Rockies, though. Can you imagine how good Nolan, Story and McMahon would be if they had someone like Paul Goldschmidt or Freddie Freeman at first?

My favorite part of this mailbag is when Thomas Harding suggests that instead of signing Daniel Murphy, the Rockies could have traded for Carlos Santana (the baseball player, not the guitarist) or Edwin Encarnacion to play first base. Because they would definitely have been defensive upgrades.

ESPN considers blowing up Sunday night booth around Alex Rodriguez | New York Post

If this headline had ended after “booth,” I would have totally been on board. But it kept going.

A-Rod talks in sound bites and gives us nonsense about odd-run leads versus even-run leads. He talks over his colleagues and belittles their opinions. If Sunday Night Baseball needs a makeover (it does), it should start by getting rid of A-Rod, not everyone else.

Talks are underway to implement opioid testing in Major League Baseball this offseason | The Athletic ($)

In the words of George Washington, “Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond? Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?”

We’ve all been affected by substance abuse, addiction and mental health issues. And maybe we don’t like to think about it, but the truth is that baseball is a physically and mentally exhausting sport that keeps players away from their support systems for large portions of the year. Yes, players make a lot of money, but they’re under a ton of pressure to perform every single day, and they’re held to extremely high standards, both on and off the field. MLB needs to make sure its players have the resources to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

Is testing for opioids the answer? I don’t know. It definitely isn’t if a positive test results in anything other than help for the player. And it won’t help anyone if the results are ignored like reports of Tyler Skaggs’ addiction may have been. But it may be a start.

Or it least it may be the start of a conversation.