There’s a pretty good chance you haven’t are aware of Ryan Noda. That may even be the case if you follow the team that took him in the 15 th round of the 2017 draft. Playing in a Toronto Blue Jays system that boasts numerous top-shelf potentials, Noda is anything but a notable name.
Expect that to change if he continues to do what he’s been doing. In 803 professional sheet appearances, the 22 -year-old University of Cincinnati product is lashing — drum roll, please — a nifty. 293/.451 /. 515.
Oh, that OBP.
Here’s a merriment comp: In his first professional season, Kevin Youkilis had a. 504 OBP in 276 plate appearings. In his first professional season, Noda had a. 507 OBP in 276 plateful looks. Both former UC Bearcats were on-base machines in the second largest year as well, reaching base at. 436 and. 421 clips respectively.
When I talked to Noda this past summer, he described himself as “patient, yet aggressive at the same time.”
The latter is carrying so much better fruit as the former. Shaking from the left side, the 22 -year-old first baseman-outfielder propelled 20 baseballs over fencings this season for the Low-A Lansing Lugnuts. Concurring with an increased emphasis on attacking the baseball, nine of those home run came in the month of August.
“He culminated up connecting really well with( hitting coach-and-four) Matty Young and used a more aggressive approach towards the latter half of the season, ” clarified Blue Jays farm director Gil Kim. “When he’s on, he’s in a small group of hitters who impact the ball as hard-boiled as he does. He’s a good athlete who is selective at the plate.”
Which brings us back to The Greek God of Walks.
“When I was at Cincinnati, Kevin Youkilis came to a got a couple of our the procedures and we’d pick his brain, ” said Noda, who posted a 20.7% go rate against Midwest League pitching. “Not swaying at strikes you don’t want is one of the things I picked up on. I’ve watched some video on him, too. He was one of best available selective-aggressive guys out there. When he got his tone, he was able to do some shattering with it.”
Which delivers us back to what Kim said about Noda’s ability to impact the baseball. A month before being be prepared by the Reds, the 6-foot-3, 225 -pound up-and-comer became the second Bearcat to make a home run onto the roof of Fifth Third Arena. While he professes to being “a gap-to-gap guy, ” he probably profiles as more of a bopper.
That said, his shaking isn’t of the stereotypical launch-angle variety.
“I’d say I’m more even-plane than anything, ” Noda clarified. “I pretty much take my natural swinging; the one from when I was little. I haven’t actually messed with it too much. There are things “youre going to” tweak as you go higher, but the overall concept of your swaying is going to stay the same.
“Short and compact is crucial. You want to be short and compact, and bide through the projectile. I think that’s every hitter’s goal with every shake they take. If I do that, and bide selective, things tend to go pretty well.”
Things have indeed been starting quite well for the aborigine of Volo, Illinois, which brings us to a closing comp. Noda was reasonable to be referred to a poor-man’s Joey Votto.
“I watch Votto a ton, ” Noda informed me. “My two-strike approach came from him — the choke up, kind of widening out, and if I do get a pitcher’s pitch, foul it off and wait until he makes a mistake. His approach is a big reason he throws up the numbers he does each year. It’s why he is who he is. I can’t compare myself to him — I’m not close to being in his class — but I can say this: I model my play after Joey Votto.”
Many of you will recall the Lars Anderson Discovers Australia serial that moved here at FanGraphs earlier in the year. Ditto the Lars Anderson Discovers Japan series that ran in 2017. If “youre reading” many of the installments, you are able to recall that the former big-leaguer is a co-owner of San Francisco-based Birdman Bats. That delivered Anderson to the Winter Meetings, where he filled me on his no-longer-playing-baseball status.
“I’ve said that it was my last year for the last four or five years old, but now it truly does feel like I’ve mashed enough juice out of the orange, ” said Anderson, who is currently hanging his hat in Sydney. “I’ve attained a lot of what I wanted to do as much as is playing baseball abroad and suffering other cultures. Now my focus is on this business, stirring music, and writing. On a bigger magnitude, I’m trying to figure out how I fit into the world. I’m are seeking to transition into post-baseball life as gracefully as possible.”
Anderson’s Birdman peers — Ryan Kalish among other issues — were with him in Las Vegas. Quaffing an afternoon beverage, I learned that one of their clients swingings a caffeinated bat.
“Hunter Pence is well known in the San Francisco coffee scene, ” Anderson explained. “He asked us to build him something he would like, so given to understand that he’s an infamous coffee devotee, we decided to scrub his bats with coffee grounds.”
Birdman’s Cody Silveria elaborated, telling me that scrubbing am a member of the bat-making process, and coffee hues are within MLB regulations. As he put it, “We put two and two together and were like,’ Hey, they’re is fine with that coloring, that is why we should caffeinate Pence’s bats! ”
Other Birdman customers opt their at-bats inebriated.
“We’d talked about doing different ground flavors, so we did wine — California’s finest cabernet, straight out of Sonoma, ” said Silveria. “We like to bring some artistry to baseball bats. Players in today’s game want some uniqueness. They want to be different, and we can help them with that.”
RANDOM HITTER-PITCHER MATCHUP
The San Francisco Giants claiming Mike Gerber off waivers from the Detroit Tigers didn’t precisely cause a big rippling when the news transgressed on Monday. It was, as stated by a San Jose Mercury News subheadline, “the first add-on of the Farhan Zaidi era, ” but again, barely a rippling for Bay Area baseball fans.
Who is Mike Gerber? When I wrote about him in a June 2015 Notes article, he was an unheralded, senior-sign 15 th-round select tearing up the Midwest League. This past season he was a 26 -year-old rookie outfielder get his feet wet with an uninspiring 18 -game big-league cameo. In between, he took babe steps toward the big time, inching up the minor-league ladder until until the call-up eventually came.
Mechanically, Gerber is much the same as when we spoke three years ago. This past August he told me that his “front foot is more open, ” but for “the worlds largest” portion his adjustments have been small-scale enough that “fans probably wouldn’t notice on TV.”( If you happened to watch the Miss USA pageant in 2015, you heard his then-fiancee, and now spouse, rival as Miss Wyoming .)
As for his own aspirations, Gerber has already vanquishes the odds by simply inducing it to the big leagues. Sticking is likely to be the next challenge — his profile is that of a AAAA player — but he amply intends to do his best. Furthermore, he’ll do so with the right attitude.
“You run your entire life to get here, and when you ultimately do, you need to enjoy it, ” Gerber told me. “You need to play hard and have fun. As long as you do that, whatever happens happens, and you’re fine with it.”
Longevity is a big reason Harold Baines and Lee Smith will be going into the Hall of Fame courtesy of the Today’s Game Era Committee. Baines played in 2,830 games over 22 big-league seasons, while Smith pitched in 1,022 plays over 18. Ultimately, both were able to augment good-but-not-great rate stats with impressive counting stats.
I asked Joe Torre how much longevity things when assessing a player’s career.
“They both played for a very long time, and when they felt they couldn’t assistance anybody they walked away, ” the Hall of Fame manager answered. “To me, that’s important. Harold Baines was one of those players who showed up for run every day. If it wasn’t for the work stoppages, he may have had 3,000 makes. And the increasing numbers of RBIs is up there in the stratosphere. When you get 1,600 -plus RBIs, that’s a big number.”
He’s unlikely to receive much supporting formerly he’s on the Hall of Fame ballot, but Edwin Encarnacion has put up some pretty impressive amounts over his 14 -year career. The slugging corner infielder/ designated hitter grades third among active musicians with 380 home runs, and his 764 moves driven in over the last seven seasons is the most in video games. Encarnacion, who became a Seattle Mariner on Thursday, has a vocation adjusted OPS of 124.
Not inevitably brand-new news, but the written press box in Toronto’s Rogers Centre will be relocated to left field beginning next season. According to Sportsnet Canada’s Shi Davidi, the Blue Jays will now have “the most-distantly-located press box in baseball.” Premium seating will reside the space high-pitched above home plate.
The BBWAA has selected Rob Biertempfel( Pittsburgh chapter) as their new chairman, supplanting Clark Spencer, whose term has expired. Paul Sullivan( Chicago chapter) is the new vice president.
Josh Rawich is this year’s win of the Robert O. Fishel Award for public relations excellence in Major League Baseball. Rawich is the senior vice president of the information contained & communications technologies for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Griffin Roberts, whom the St. Louis Cardinals drafted 43 rd overall this year out of Wake Forest University, has been suspended for 50 plays after experimenting positive for a drug of abuse. It was the 22 -year-old right-hander’s second breaches of minor league baseball’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Oakland A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Tony Conigliaro Award, which honors an MLB player “who has overcome adversity through the attributes of heart, finding, and courage.” Piscotty’s mother, Gretchen, was diagnosed with ALS in 2017 and passed away on May 6, 2018.
The Orioles are now beginning putting together a coaching faculty now that they’ve hired Brandon Hyde as their brand-new administrator. On Wednesday, I asked Baltimore general manager Mike Elias how much say Hyde will have in the coaching hires.
“More than I will have, ” Elias claimed. “That’s probably the best way for me to phrase it. It’s hard for it not to have it be a collaborative exertion. We all bring our networks together — I think that improves the outcome — but I’m going to look to yield to his preferences, first and foremost.”
Isiah Kiner-Falefa was a Swiss Army Knife for the Rangers this year. The 23 -year-old rookie appeared in 46 plays as a third baseman, 35 as a catcher, 20 as a second baseman, and two as a shortstop. I requested new Texas manager Chris Woodward if we can expect more of the same in 2019.
“I’d say he’ll definitely catch, ” said Woodward, who invested the past three seasons as the Dodgers third base tutor. “Catcher is probably one of our bigger priorities with him. We want to get him behind the plate a lot.”
Following up, I questioned the former utility infielder if that necessitated Kiner-Falefa would no longer continue to move around the diamond.
“We’re going to have to address that as we go, ” Woodward told me. “But we absolutely want to stir him a viable catcher option.”
Addressing the differences in ages, Adam Ottavino opined on a recent Statcast podcast that he “would strike Babe Ruth out every time.” When that was brought up to Bud Black in his Winter Meetings media session, the Colorado Rockies manager neither agreed nor disagreed with the free agent reliever. He did say — tongue presumably in cheek — that “Babe was pretty good down and in.”
Wanting to join in on the merriment, I requested Black if he was speaking in general terms, or pertaining simply to his own match-ups against Ruth.
“I formerly threw a pretty good slider down and away to Babe that he had a pretty good shaking on, ” deadpanned Black, who delivered his first big-league pitch 46 years after Ruth retired. “He was a tough out for me. For “the worlds largest” component I felt somewhat comfy against left-handed hitters, but Babe was always a challenge.”
LINKS YOU’LL LIKE
Peter Gammons paid homage to Jayson Stark — this year’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award recipient — at The Athletic.
Newsday’s David Lennon simply put a check mark next to three identifies on his Dorm of Fame ballot this year, and he explained why in this column.
SBNation’s Grant Brisbee wrote about how gambling to benefit from intimidate baseball, and why it doesn’t anymore.
Tim Neverett is out as member states of the Red Sox broadcast team amid speculation that the club’s flagship station “wants to drop the concept of a conventional radio baseball broadcast to stir the call of the game tone more like a talk show.” Chad Finn addressed the laughably absurd mind at The Boston Globe.
RANDOM FACTS AND STAT
Exactly half of the 38 outlook musicians in Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame are outfielders. The committee is seven first basemen, four third basemen, three shortstops, three catchers, and two second basemen.( per @JballAllen)
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America was offered the Hank Aaron Award by MLB when it was introduced in 1999. The BBWAA turned it down, as they felt it would conflict with MVP Award voting.( per BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell .)
Orlando Cepeda had 379 home runs, a 133 adjusted OPS, and 50.2 WAR. Norm Cash had 377 home run, a 139 adjusted OPS, and 52 WAR. Both were first basemen who played from 1958 -1 974. Cepeda is in the Hall of Fame. Cash received 1.8% of the assistance provided on his one year on the ballot.
In his 2012 Triple Crown season, Miguel Cabrera also contributed the American League in total footings, slugging, OPS, operates generated, and wOBA. He was second in wRC+ and fourth in OBP and WPA.
Blake Snell made a mixed eight starts against the Astros, Indians, and Red Sox this year. He went 7-0 with a 1.19 Period against the three divide winners.
Five pitchers attended Bowling Green University and went on to play 10 or more years in the big league. All of them — Johnny Antonelli, Doug Bair, Orel Hershiser, Grant Jackson, and Roger McDowell — won a World Series.
In 1928, St. Louis Browns outfielder Heinie Manush batted. 378 and conducted the American Leagues with 241 slams. He struck out 14 times.
Abraham Harding Richardson — his nickname was “Old True Blue” — had 152 RBIs for the Boston Reds in 1890.
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