One Night Only! (Debut City Edition)

Tonight’s edition of One Night Only is a little bit really caliente.

(Games listed in order of likely awesomness. NERD scores in parentheses.)

New York Nationals (3) at Washington (6) | 7:05pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Mets: Dillon Gee (N/A)
157.1 IP, 9.21 K/9, 2.29 B/9, .339 BABIP, 3.96 FIP (Triple-A)

Nationals: Yunesky Maya (N/A)
Only Triple-A Start (8/27): 4.2 IP, 20 TBF, 6 K, 3 BB.

Pop Quiz
Q. What can make a September game between the lowly Nats and depressing Mets palatable — nay, even exciting?
A. Two starters, each making their respective Major League debuts, is what.

Who This Dillon Gee Character Is
Short Answer: A Crafty Righty.

The Slightly Longer Answer: Gee is described in Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook as having “fringe-average stuff” with a fastball sitting at 88-90 mph and topping at 92 mph. That was before a labrum tear last season — an injury he opted to treat with rehab and not surgery. This year, Gee has been excellent, posting about seven more strikeouts than walks per nine innings.Basically, he’s having his best pro year at the highest level in which he’s pitched — which, that’s not common.

The concern for Gee, obviously, is the same for other guys with his profile (i.e. more pitchability than stuff) — namely, how his numbers translate to the majors. Is he David Hernandez? Or is he, you know, Shaun Marcum? Tune in to find out!

Another (Smarter) Country Heard From
Rob Castellano (a) has an awesome surname and (b) writes about the minor leagues for Amazin’ Avenue.

Those are the two main reasons I asked him this question via email: “In re Dillon Gee: He has that crazy K rate (and K/BB rate), but is there any indication that his stuff is different from before last year’s labrum injury?”

That’s also why he was able to give me this totally legitimate-sounding answer:

Having watched quite a few of his starts at Buffalo in addition to speaking with people from the team at various points throughout the season, his stuff is pretty much identical to what it looked like before the injury. Pretty surprising considering that based on a couple of old articles by Will Carroll, in the majority of cases the rehab-only route for major arm injuries typically subtracts a couple ticks off the fastball at the very least and at most completely sabotages any and all command, which would be devastating for Gee as he makes his bones off his pinpoint control (see: the stellar K-rates you mentioned).

Who This Yunesky Maya Character Is
Short Answer: A Cuban Defector.

The Slightly Longer Answer: The 29-year-old Maya signed a four-year, $8 million contract with Washington this summer after defecting from Cuba last September. According to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN’s La Esquina blog (Insider only), Maya threw for scouts in the Dominican last December. Arangure Jr writes that “In addition to [an 88-92 mph] fastball and two-seamer, Maya threw a slider, curveball and changeup. Additionally, Maya occasionally throws a splitter.”

Maya is another reason to like the direction in which the Nats are headed. Obviously, the injury to Stephen Straburg is problematic, but Maya and Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation — along with Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa in the infield and the looming arrival of Bryce Harper — well, at least there are some pieces about which to be optimistic.

Cincinnati (7) at Colorado (6) | 8:40pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Reds: Johnny Cueto (6)
158.1 IP, 6.48 K/9, 2.73 BB/9, .287 BABIP, 41.1% GB, 8.4% HR/FB, 4.37 xFIP

Rockies: Jhoulys Chacin (7)
107.1 IP, 9.39 K/9, 4.19 BB/9, .293 BABIP, 46.6% GB, 9.0% HR/FB, 3.74 xFIP

The Reds and the Playoffs
Cincinnati’s playoff odds, per Baseball Prospectus: ca. 98%.

The Rockies and the Playoffs
Colorado’s playoff odds, per Baseball Prospectus: ca, 15%.

Aroldis Chapman’s To-Do List
I’m not at liberty to say how or from whom I acquired it, but I have in my hands a document that will certainly be of interest to the readership. The document in question? A to-do list written in the hand of Aroldis Chapman.

I don’t know the exact date of the document’s composition, but my guess is that it’s from last week some time.

Here it is (translated from the Spanish by Jorge Luis Borges):

1. Throw a baseball at, like, 103 mph.

2. Also, throw slider that’s nigh impossible for other humans to hit.

3. Use above offerings to post swinging-strike rate close to 20%.

4. Laundry.

5. Inspire awe-induced sighs at baseball stadia across the United States.

Compelling, indeed.

Also Playing
These games are very likely playing at some kind of sporty channel near you.

pNERD = Pitcher NERD
Game = Time and Average NERD for Game
* = Estimated NERD

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Do the Padres really have a tNERD of 10?


Is there any chance for adjusting tNerd to be based on recent performance, rather than season performance? There seem to be some flaws that appear when you look at the whole season for data. For example, the Padres have lost 9 of their last 10 games (outscored 46 – 22).

The last 2 weeks have been unkind to the Padres over that stretch, as they have posted a team slash line of .223/.280/.329, only stolen 5 bases in 9 attempts, and have 9 home runs. Their pitching has a slash line against of .255/.328/.433 and have given up 15 home runs, though they do have a good K/BB ratio of 2.65 over those same last 2 weeks. Meanwhile, some poor tNerd teams (Orioles 7-3, Astros 6-4, and Phillies 7-3) seem to be playing better, more interesting baseball at first glance.

Certainly the Phillies’ playoff aspirations should include a bump in their tNerd. The fact that they have several exciting stars (Oswalt, Halladay, Rollins, etc.) should seemingly give them a bump as well. I also think that recent opposition (Milwaukee, Colorado, Florida) should be taken into consideration as well. I’m no Phillies fan, but a tNerd of 3 seems absurdly low for a perennial playoff contender.

The Orioles are my team of choice and I know that their season up until August was an exercise in futility. With a month of strong play against some good opposition (Angels, White Sox, Rays, Rangers, Red Sox) and a winning record, it seems that their tNerd should improve. Their young players are posting better numbers than they had all season and that should be a consideration.

I’m not saying that your tNerd scores are wrong from a whole season perspective. I simply think that they should be based on more recent events. Perhaps a time-frame of the last 30 days should be used to give a snapshot of who is most interesting right now. The same could be said for pitchers. Maybe only use their last 5 outings for current weight. Watching a player struggle and flounder on the mound isn’t fun, but watching a young player turn it around and hold the Yankees to 3 runs over 6 innings at Yankee Stadium is certainly entertaining.


I’m not sure why my reply went to you. That was meant for Carson. Sorry.


Cool. Thanks for explaining the methodology for the Phillies a bit more. I look forward to reading what your research reveals about recent performance.

As for the Padres, I thought Matt Klaassen noted that their bats were actually above average on the season once park adjustments were accounted for – (though their pitching and fielding has definitely been fantastic on the year). Now that I look at the linear run weights as they currently stand, it does look like they’ve fallen back below average (by 4.1 runs), but still not a badly hitting team as they are 2nd best in the NL West and 7th in the NL overall.