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MLB Mailbag: Bryce Harper or Rockies? Does José Abreu want a trip?

As always, this is not complicated. You, the passionate reader, ask questions about baseball. I, a large child who makes a living writing and talking about this dumb sport, answer said questions, while trying to both inform and entertain you in the process. Make sense? Let’s dive in.Can you explain the Philadelphia vs. Colorado scrum? — BillFirst

MLB Mailbag: Bryce Harper or Rockies? Does José Abreu want a trip?

As all the time, this isn’t difficult. You, the passionate reader, ask questions on baseball. I, a big little one who makes a dwelling writing and speaking about this dumb sport, reply stated questions, whereas attempting to each inform and entertain you within the course of. 

Make sense? Let’s dive in.

Are you able to clarify the Philadelphia vs. Colorado scrum? — Invoice

First, the info.

Rockies pitcher Jake Bird threw a scoreless seventh inning towards the Phillies within the collection finale on Sunday afternoon. The primary out of the inning got here on a controversial play involving a double play flip at second that the Phillies weren’t permitted to problem as a result of plate umpire Ryan Wills stated they took too lengthy deliberating. As Hen retired Bryson Stott on a flyout to left for the third out, he turned towards the Phillies dugout and uttered some NSFW unrepeatables earlier than clapping his glove at his opponents. 

Bryce Harper, fragile surgically repaired elbow and all, took Hen’s habits as taunting, and hurried out of the dugout to confront the Rockies reliever. A bunch of typical baseball fake-fighting ensued: half-hearted pushing, a bunch of hold-me-backs, some come-at-mes and an entire lot of screaming. One locked-in lip-reader on Twitter deduced that at one level Harper screamed, “You are a loser f—ing group, each single one in every of you” towards the Rockies.

Now, the evaluation.

Please know that that is one in every of my favourite moments of the MLB season to this point. Listed below are three explanation why.

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1. Bryce Harper nonetheless has the hearth in him

Again in his Nationals days, Harper was thought-about a firebrand, a younger hothead who could not management his feelings. That is an oversimplified narrative, however there is not any doubt that Harper, now 30, has chilled out since signing his big-money cope with Philly. This was a pleasant dose of the previous Bryce, eyes a’bulging, mop of hair all over, anger in his soul. Made me really feel younger once more simply watching it.

2. That is Jake Hen now, ceaselessly

Jake Hen is a 27-year-old reliever in his second MLB season with Colorado. To date this yr, he has been fairly strong for the last-place Rockies. Sadly for Mr. Hen, that is his legacy: Man Who Chirped At Bryce Harper. What a mismatch, huh? Rockies man versus face of a baseballing technology. I do know who I obtained.

3. A loser group

Harper is greater than only a nice hitter, this man is aware of ball, watches ball, thinks about ball and talks about ball. Just a few weeks in the past, I used to be current when a Mariners reporter requested Harper about Jarred Kelenic and Harper cited specific mechanical changes a couple of participant he had (1) by no means met or interacted with (2) had 573 profession MLB at-bats and (3) performed in a special league 2,000 miles throughout the nation. He pays consideration.

So when Harper calls the Rockies a “loser group,” he’s not doing in order an insult, however relatively, as an announcement of reality. The sheer existence of the Colorado Rockies irks this Cooperstown-bound man. As a person irrationally devoted to the pursuit of excellence, it peeves Harper to the core that this purple and black monument of mediocrity is allowed to wallow in its averageness yr after yr after yr. And so, he shared his ideas. No notes.

What does José Abreu must do to begin really hitting?? Go on a month-long trip? Begin consuming breakfast for dinner? — Natalie

If I had been Abreu, I might merely get in a time machine and return to 2014, and even 2022. Should you’re studying this, that Abreu, who signed a three-year, $58.5 million cope with Houston over the winter, has been worse than a razor scooter to the shin. His OPS begins with a 5. He has zero house runs. He has, sadly, seemed like a 36-year-old first baseman.

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Chandler Rome of The Athletic recently wrote a story stuffed with anecdotes about how Abreu, regardless of his April struggles, needs to be within the lineup day by day and is working outrageously arduous to determine what’s fallacious. So sure, I do assume Abreu must go on trip. His shockingly unhealthy begin is not simply in regards to the growing older curve. Dude might use a psychological reset. I hear the Nice Smoky Mountains are simply great this time of yr.

How lengthy ought to Gunnar Henderson be allowed to battle earlier than he goes again to AAA for a reset? And the way lengthy ought to Jordan Westburg proceed to rake in AAA earlier than he goes to Baltimore? — Ray

Henderson, who was usually thought-about the game’s No. 1 prospect heading into this season, has had fairly a weird begin to 2023. He’s hardly swinging, significantly at pitches exterior the zone (good!). However when he affords at pitches within the zone, he is swinging and lacking a ton (unhealthy!). That second factor is not a demise sentence — Matt OlsonBrent Rooker, Randy Arozarena and Aaron Judge all swing and miss extra usually within the zone than Henderson — but it surely’s definitely not serving to the teenager’s sluggish begin.

I do not assume Henderson has something left to study at Triple-A. The one means he turns into a greater massive leaguer is by making changes towards big-league high quality pitching. And since Henderson is strolling a lot, his general offensive worth has a really excessive flooring, which is a part of why the Orioles are nonetheless penciling him into the lineup day by day.

Let’s discuss Westburg, who has a 1.021 OPS and 11 homers in Triple-A Norfolk. He ought to most likely already be up because the on a regular basis second baseman, however wily veteran Adam Frazier has performed simply sufficient to maintain his job with the reliable Ramón Urías on the IL … for now. Sooner or later the Orioles will push Frazier to the bench and ship Terrin Vavra to Triple-A and call-up Westburg. When? I will guess if not by the tip of this month then by the center of June.

Does a fielder HAVE TO put on a cap, or might they go on the market hat-less? Guidelines on what “uniform” means aren’t completely clear! & there are clearly exceptions which might be ignored/unenforced, like w pant size. — Jim

To the MLB rulebook! Listed below are just a few related passages.

3.03 (a) All gamers on a crew shall put on uniforms equivalent in shade, trim and elegance, and all gamers’ uniforms shall embrace minimal six-inch numbers on their backs.

3.03 (c) No participant whose uniform doesn’t conform to that of his teammates shall be permitted to take part in a recreation.

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Jim is appropriate that, regardless of the wording of those “baseball legal guidelines,” gamers do make alterations or supplementations to their uniforms for the aim of differentiating look. Examples embrace arm sleeves, eye-black, sock peak, even the curvedness of a hat brim, and so on, and so on.

Nevertheless, whereas hats usually are not particularly talked about within the rulebook, their inclusion might be implied by the phrase “uniform.” I emailed an MLB official about this with the topic line “A Dumb Query” they usually stated they assume that the hat could be a part of the uniform and that not carrying it might make a participant topic to self-discipline. 

However, that is not definitive sufficient for me, as a result of the wording is so obscure. It is price noting that in faculty {and professional} softball, there isn’t a customary headwear. Some gamers put on hats, some visors, some headbands, some don’t have anything on their heads in any respect. MLB ought to do that too. We’d like a trailblazing hero to go on the market hatless.

Jake Mintz, the louder half of @CespedesBBQ is a baseball author for FOX Sports activities. He performed faculty baseball, poorly at first, then very properly, very briefly. Jake lives in New York Metropolis the place he coaches Little League and rides his bike, typically on the identical time. Observe him on Twitter at @Jake_Mintz.

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