Daniel Palka of all people joined MLB Network’s MLB Central on Wednesday before a White Sox winner over Detroit, where he talked about his plus power while flashing his plus dry humor.
Given that Palka isn’t a household name, the show introduced him with this exit velocity graphic showing the strength of his contact:
And just like his plate appearances, he wasted no time engaging. He’s on from the first line:
Robert Flores: When you hear about those numbers, the exit velocities on the homers this season, and you’re right behind Giancarlo Stanton, what do you think?
Palka: I mean, it’s cool. I think our velocity reader must be off because I’m pretty sure I should be ahead of them.
Palka downright charms crew over his 10-minute appearance, which includes not conceding the lie about his McDonald’s All-American history. The whole thing is worth watching, especially his refusal to cede the McDonald’s All-American bit.
My favorite part is toward the end, when Lauren Shihadi asks which player he’s most jealous of. Palka says Jose Abreu, and when Mark DeRosa sets him up with another joke with, “He’s got the most cash,” Palka bypasses it and goes for earnesty.
“Not the cash. He’s a humble dude, and he’s a good leader. It’s everything you kinda aspire to be as a professional.”
So, unlike his plate appearances, he can gear down.
Ronald Acuña Jr. entered Wednesday’s game having started the last three games with a homer. Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Ureña noticed this, and drilled him in the elbow with his fastest-ever first pitch. Acuña had to leave the game, but X-rays were negative, so that’s good.
Still, the threat of losing one of baseball’s best stories to a completely unnecessary act of vigilante … it’s not even justice, because Acuña didn’t even violate a written or even unwritten rule along the way. He was just good.
So scratch “vigilante.” The threat of losing one of baseball’s best stories to a random act of violence that guys like Keith Hernandez suggest is baseball should cause some soul-searching. Let’s see what kind of suspensions come down.
The White Sox optioned Ryan LaMarre to Charlotte after Wednesday’s game, and so Garcia looks like he’s ready.
Sam Miller looks at the success of the position players who have survived as pitchers this season and posits that the hitters aren’t really interested in doing damage.
What we have observed from position players pitching is that if the hitters have real incentive to do damage, they can and will do an inhumane amount of damage. It might be hard to hit .400 off a tee, but it looks pretty close to attainable against the other team’s fourth outfielder.
If, that is, the hitter is trying. The evidence suggests that in most blowouts, hitters aren’t really trying. They’re certainly not drawing walks or working their way into hitter’s counts. They’re being decent human beings. They’re being kind.
Eno Sarris talks to Dee Gordon and Jonathan Lucroy about the opportunity for the stolen base to return to prominence. There’s a lot of good stuff in here about cat-and-mouse games. For instance, how the dugout controls the running game and how catchers set up to catch breaking balls:
Part of that might be the game within the game. If the potential base stealer knows that a butt in the air means a breaking ball and a chance at second, the catcher knows that too.
“I try to set up late,” Lucroy said of his attempts to disguise what’s coming. “If you set up early, and your butt raises up — and every single catcher does that, they get up. You can deke runners, though; you put your butt up in the air like a breaking ball is coming and then the heater comes.”
I can’t help but notice that this post went up after the Cubs traded for Royals designated pinch-runner Terrance Gore.