Catching up on a few Dodgers-related stories from the last few days ...
Jake Mailhot at FanGraphs said the Dodgers addition of David Peralta added clarity to the outfield. “Simply looking through the new additions, it’s pretty obvious the Dodgers were looking to add a left-handed batter to platoon with Chris Taylor and/or Trayce Thompson,” Mailhot wrote. “Jason Heyward, Bradley Zimmer, and Steven Duggar all fit that bill, though Peralta definitely seems like a better option than any of those three.”
We focused Tuesday on the team standings portion of the PECOTA projections at Baseball Prospectus. But those are built on individual player projections, and Trayce Thompson was among a group of notable players projected to decline, following up a 107 DRC+ last year with an 85 DRC+ projection for 2023. Thompson was one of six players further analyzed by Craig Goldstein at BP.
“Unlike many others on this list, Thompson has no problem elevating, and his damage on contact is massive—a 92 mph average exit velocity is premium, and pairing it with a 16 degree launch angle will lead to many homers … when he connects,” Goldstein wrote. “But he’s walking the tightrope on viability between strikeouts and power, and PECOTA is forecasting a stumble.”
Along with the new pitch timer going into effect this season is a rule limiting pickoff moves, or pitcher disengagements from the rubber. Hannah Keyser at Yahoo Sports looked at how coaches and players are planning to adapt to the new rules.
Media rights update
The potential looming bankruptcy of Diamond Sports Group, the company that runs 19 Bally Sports regional networks, took another step toward that fate Wednesday by skipping $140 million in interest payments, starting a 30-day window that could accelerate a sea change for how baseball is televised.
It could potentially lead to Major League Baseball taking over production of games for the 14 MLB teams that broadcast on Bally Sports.
If Bally doesn't pay up, Manfred said, MLB clubs will terminate contracts. MLB would produce games, using MLB Network technology, and would try to arrange for cable and satellite distributors to air them.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) February 15, 2023
“We are prepared no matter what happens with respect to Diamond to make sure the games are available to fans in their local markets,” MLB coommissioner Rob Manfred said at spring training media day in Phoenix, per Jay Cohen at Associated Press. “We think it will be both linear in the traditional cable bundle and digitally on our own platforms, but that remains to be seen.”