Notes from the First Third of the Baseball Season

I know, I know.  We’re now actually at the two-thirds point into the season.  But you may still find interesting these notes from the first two months.  I’ll have some middle-third notes before too long.

2015 could be The Year of the DL.  A record number of players, 112, were on the Disabled List at the start of the season.  It hasn’t slowed down a whole lot since then.

In 2014 pitchers were dominating the game.  It looks like they are again.  Last year there were 13 shutouts in the first 101 major league games.  This year there were 14 shutouts in the first 46 games.  This trend makes good hitting a valuable commodity.

Kris Bryant, the Chicago Cubs rookie 3Ber, is quickly becoming one of my favorite players.  He seems very even-keeled and quite personable.  He’s having fun playing the game.  And he’s very quickly very good.

Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant watches his RBI single during the fifth inning of an MLB baseball game against the San Diego Padres Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Chicago. Bryant's single was his first major league hit. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Kris Bryant has fun playing the game of baseball. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

In 2013, as a junior at the University of San Diego, Bryant hit 31 HRs.  That was the most home runs hit by a college player since the NCAA switched to a BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution, a standard for measuring the “trampoline effect” of the barrel of a baseball bat on a ball) composite bat (utilizing a reinforced carbon fiber polymer) in 2011, and more than 223 of 296 Division I teams that year.  Bryant won the 2013 Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy, both awarded to the top collegiate player, was a Louisville Slugger First Team All-American and was also named the Baseball America College Player of the Year.  In 2014 he was the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year.

Kris Bryant was called up to the Cubs on April 17.

At the April 21 game with the Cincinnati Reds at the Milwaukee Brewers, the teams combined for seven homers, including five by the Reds.  It was the fourth time in major league history that two teams combined for three grand slams, and the first time since the NY Yankees hit three grand slams against the Oakland As on Aug. 25, 2011.

On May 30 the Los Angeles Dodgers optioned outfielder Chris Heisey to Triple-A Oklahoma City.  Heisey had to that point gotten one hit in nine at-bats with five walks in three stints with the Dodgers. That created a very unusual .111/.429/.111 line (Batting Ave./On-Base Percentage/Slugging Pct.).

Some notes from April and May of the 2015 baseball season.  More to follow.

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