The Rays pulled off what might end up being their biggest move of the trading season when they promoted David Price from Durham and then watched him pitch like a Cy Young award winner. After the game Price said that was "probably the best I felt on a baseball field, maybe in my entire life, honestly."
You can read Erik's recap here, and we'll break down his start more later today, but a spoiler: Price's pitches looked pretty normal for him, and quite a bit better than they'd looked before his time on the disabled list. He was so efficient that he completed seven innings in only 70 pitches and found himself up 5-0, so we don't really know how long his leash is right now, but the velocity was there.
Other Rays related links:
- Jason Hanselman at Dock of the Rays has broken down the Rays' starting pitchers at the halfway point by pitch usage and run values per pitch, all in attractive graphs. It's a ton of data, well presented, so give it a look.
- Alex Kienholz of Beyond the Box Score breaks down the American League MVP race, and decides in favor of Evan Longoria.
- The Orioles pulled off the first major trade of the season by sending Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop, and international signing money to the Cubs in exchange for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger. Arrieta and Strop both have some upside, but they also both have had crippling control problems. Feldman will stabilize their rotation. Orioles fans seem happy, and Dave Cameron of FanGraphs likes Feldman, and likes the move.
- The Blue Jays have DFA'd Chien-Ming Wang. If you're wondering if the Rays should put in a claim, the answer is no. I'm not sure if this is a case of the mighty having fallen, or of the mighty not really having been very good in the first place.
- Jeff Moore has an piece over at The Hardball Times describing what each minor league level is like. It's a good read about a system that can be pretty confusing.
- Joe Posnanski, with some help from Tom Tango, has a fun write up about what he calls "Brilliant Reader Replacement Level." Here's the basic idea. Replacement level, as it's usually defined, accurately reflects the type of player most teams have stashed away as triple-A depth, or can trade for with limited investment. In that sense, it's a good way of calculating value (WAR). But it's not the way fans calculate value. If you give fans a slate of retired pitchers and ask them to rank them, they'll do so based on how they feel about high-performance seasons and longevity. From these rankings, it's possible to calculate where replacement level is in a fan's brain, which is quite a bit higher than in the real world.