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  • Mazara and strep throat

    Mazara has had 104 plate appearances. His average and OBP are now within reach of his Texas numbers, but his power has completely vanished.

    Sox: .237/.317/.280
    Tex: .261/.320/.435

    His OPS+ is 67.

    The sample size is too big now for the lack of power to be a “slow start” or statistical fluke.

    Nomar and the Sox are sticking to the story that his early-season ailment was “strep throat”. To my knowledge, strep throat has never been blamed for debilitating an athlete for more than a month.

    If he really had covid-19, as many of us suspected, you’d think they’d say so to legitimize an expectation of “recovery”.

    Or he might have an undisclosed injury.

    Or — and here’s the scariest possibility — the swing changes he reportedly worked on with Menechino completely ruined his bat.

    I don’t know what’s going on, but I don’t take for granted that he will get any better this season.

  • #2
    Originally posted by A. Cavatica View Post
    Mazara has had 104 plate appearances. His average and OBP are now within reach of his Texas numbers, but his power has completely vanished.

    Sox: .237/.317/.280
    Tex: .261/.320/.435

    His OPS+ is 67.

    The sample size is too big now for the lack of power to be a “slow start” or statistical fluke.

    Nomar and the Sox are sticking to the story that his early-season ailment was “strep throat”. To my knowledge, strep throat has never been blamed for debilitating an athlete for more than a month.

    If he really had covid-19, as many of us suspected, you’d think they’d say so to legitimize an expectation of “recovery”.

    Or he might have an undisclosed injury.

    Or — and here’s the scariest possibility — the swing changes he reportedly worked on with Menechino completely ruined his bat.

    I don’t know what’s going on, but I don’t take for granted that he will get any better this season.
    Strep throat can have lasting complications in some people, including heart valve issues. It is not the benign disease as some would think.

    Honestly, I doubt strep throat would cause issues, the same doubt I would have if covid was to blame in a young healthy athlete, but it is not unheard of.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TomC727 View Post

      Strep throat can have lasting complications in some people, including heart valve issues. It is not the benign disease as some would think.

      Honestly, I doubt strep throat would cause issues, the same doubt I would have if covid was to blame in a young healthy athlete, but it is not unheard of.
      Strep may not be causing issues but the lost practice time before the season might be. Not sure why he hasn't shown much power yet, but hopefully it comes around.
      Riding Shotgun on the Sox Bandwagon since before there was an Internet...



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      • #4
        He's two months from this and had plenty of at bats with zero improvement. It's possible he has just regressed. It likely doesn't matter because he's gone next year anyway.

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        • #5
          Per the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...s/syc-20350338) untreated strep throat can cause complications. So it is possible that Nomar had an epically bad case and is now suffering from complications that don't keep him from playing, but just keep him from hitting the ball hard. But who would have an epically bad case of anything in the summer of 2020 and not get it checked out? Least of all a pro baseball player expecting the season to begin shortly, with access to excellent private medical care. I don't buy it. Sure, his preseason regimen was disrupted. But he's been playing for a long time now, long enough to accrue 100+ plate appearances. If he doesn't have nagging health issues, that rust should be long gone. And power should normalize before speed, stamina or other attributes. So I don't buy that either. I'd love to see a Sox beat reporter get to the bottom of this.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by A. Cavatica View Post
            Per the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...s/syc-20350338) untreated strep throat can cause complications. So it is possible that Nomar had an epically bad case and is now suffering from complications that don't keep him from playing, but just keep him from hitting the ball hard. But who would have an epically bad case of anything in the summer of 2020 and not get it checked out? Least of all a pro baseball player expecting the season to begin shortly, with access to excellent private medical care. I don't buy it. Sure, his preseason regimen was disrupted. But he's been playing for a long time now, long enough to accrue 100+ plate appearances. If he doesn't have nagging health issues, that rust should be long gone. And power should normalize before speed, stamina or other attributes. So I don't buy that either. I'd love to see a Sox beat reporter get to the bottom of this.
            This. On top of the "preseason regime" excuse...these are major league ballplayers. And this isn't a rookie. Rust is one thing. You can't fall of the face of the planet because you missed two weeks of training. It's time to call it.

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            • #7

              Was it my imagination or did he actually show signs of coming out of it a few games ago, (quicker bat, more energy) then fall back onto the usual sluggish bat and sluggish legs? That makes me think it is a physical issue. Or maybe he ran out of his favorite energy drink?

              Four Sox Gold Gloves in 1960.
              One position player Gold Glove in the last 21 years.

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              • #8
                No preseason to speak of, a week with kids in Schaumburg before you're thrown to the wolves who have been warmed up for a month. That's what Nomar went through.

                I just think he simply wasn't ready and went into defensive hitting mode as he lacked oil and confidence.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Krs1 View Post
                  I just think he simply wasn't ready and went into defensive hitting mode as he lacked oil and confidence.
                  I agree that he didn't look ready when he came back, and he could well have started in defensive hitting mode. It took a few weeks for his average and OBP to climb back to levels that resemble the rest of his career. You'd kind of expect some signs of power even in defensive hitting mode -- an occasional swing that produced a foul home run or a ball to the warning track -- and those have remained few and far between.

                  I suppose it could be a confidence thing, but why? He played four seasons in Texas and was hyped as their best young hitter for most of them. He hit a ball 505 feet last year. He's moving to a team where he doesn't have to carry the load.

                  I don't read sites that keep batted-ball data, but it would be interesting to know if his exit velocity is down, or his launch angle has changed, or his spray chart shows a new approach.
                  Last edited by A. Cavatica; 09-12-2020, 04:55 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by A. Cavatica View Post

                    I agree that he didn't look ready when he came back, and he could well have started in defensive hitting mode. It took a few weeks for his average and OBP to climb back to levels that resemble the rest of his career. You'd kind of expect some signs of power even in defensive hitting mode -- an occasional swing that produced a foul home run or a ball to the warning track -- and those have remained few and far between.

                    I suppose it could be a confidence thing, but why? He played four seasons in Texas and was hyped as their best young hitter for most of them. He hit a ball 505 feet last year. He's moving to a team where he doesn't have to carry the load.

                    I don't read sites that keep batted-ball data, but it would be interesting to know if his exit velocity is down, or his launch angle has changed, or his spray chart shows a new approach.
                    I went and looked hoping (expecting) his BABIP was down, but it's .367 (kind of terrifying that he can have that much success when he's making contact and still have such horrible stats.. His GB/FB ratio is 2.0 (3rd worst) so that's part of the problem, he's not elevating.

                    His defense is actually pretty good - better than the rest of his career, but no clue what's going on with his offense.
                    Riding Shotgun on the Sox Bandwagon since before there was an Internet...



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                    • #11
                      Rumblings elsewhere that he really had COVID but the team isn't disclosing it. Crazy conspiracy theory, right? And violation of MLB procedure too. So it's crazy, right?
                      Best reason Rick Hahn should be out of work? Statistics.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by berwyn View Post
                        Rumblings elsewhere that he really had COVID but the team isn't disclosing it. Crazy conspiracy theory, right? And violation of MLB procedure too. So it's crazy, right?
                        Maybe Mazara did have Covid, but the tests showed negative? We don't know what his test results have been. If Mazara was not diagnosed as having COVID, how can it be a conspiracy? Mazara was told by medical personnel that he had strep throat and that is what he reported to his employer. I'm presuming the he has been tested several times since returning to the team with no indication that he had contracted COVID. How is it a violation of MLB procedure when the decision to disclose PUBLICLY the identities of those who contract COVID is upto the individual.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by berwyn View Post
                          Rumblings elsewhere that he really had COVID but the team isn't disclosing it. Crazy conspiracy theory, right? And violation of MLB procedure too. So it's crazy, right?
                          Actually it is MLB policy that if a player doesn't not want to be mentioned publicly as having had COVID, the team cannot announce it. The team knows the truth, and that's all that matters.

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                          • #14
                            I went and looked up Mazara’s batted ball data on FanGraphs.
                            https://www.fangraphs.com/players/no...ts?position=OF

                            It looks to me like he’s hitting the ball harder than ever has, with a 53% hard hit ball percentage, above his career average of 38.9. His barrel percentage is 9.1%, down slightly from last year but well above his career 7.3. His average exit velocity is 91.2 mph, a career high. His maximum exit velocity so far is only 109.1, well below his average, but it only takes one blast to change that number.

                            His soft contact percentage is a career low by far (13.6%, career 19.6). His medium contact percentage is well above his career average and his hard contact is a bit above his average.

                            From those numbers it seems there’s no strength issue. He’s killing the ball. His BABIP as of today is .348, so he doesn’t seem unlucky either.

                            His launch angle is only 7 degrees, below his career 8.9, so he’s losing distance there. Plus he’s going to the opposite field more than he ever has (36.4%, career 28.1) and pulling less (33.3%, career 36.2). He’s going up the middle substantially less (30.3%, career 35.7).

                            It’s hard to square all of this data. It seems like his hard contact must be in the form of hard grounders to short or line drives to the corner outfielders, but he’s keeping the BABIP up with grounders that get through.

                            Because it’s not a strength issue, it feels like he has changed his approach deliberately, and it isn’t working. Menechino seemed to disclaim any blame for this recently with the “in between approaches” comments, but this does seem like something the hitting coach needs to solve.

                            (And not now, we can’t prioritize Mazara over wins.)

                            Last edited by A. Cavatica; 09-16-2020, 06:55 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by A. Cavatica View Post
                              I went and looked up Mazara’s batted ball data on FanGraphs.
                              https://www.fangraphs.com/players/no...ts?position=OF

                              It looks to me like he’s hitting the ball harder than ever has, with a 53% hard hit ball percentage, above his career average of 38.9. His barrel percentage is 9.1%, down slightly from last year but well above his career 7.3. His average exit velocity is 91.2 mph, a career high. His maximum exit velocity so far is only 109.1, well below his average, but it only takes one blast to change that number.

                              His soft contact percentage is a career low by far (13.6%, career 19.6). His medium contact percentage is well above his career average and his hard contact is a bit above his average.

                              From those numbers it seems there’s no strength issue. He’s killing the ball. His BABIP as of today is .348, so he doesn’t seem unlucky either.

                              His launch angle is only 7 degrees, below his career 8.9, so he’s losing distance there. Plus he’s going to the opposite field more than he ever has (36.4%, career 28.1) and pulling less (33.3%, career 36.2). He’s going up the middle substantially less (30.3%, career 35.7).

                              It’s hard to square all of this data. It seems like his hard contact must be in the form of hard grounders to short or line drives to the corner outfielders, but he’s keeping the BABIP up with grounders that get through.

                              Because it’s not a strength issue, it feels like he has changed his approach deliberately, and it isn’t working. Menechino seemed to disclaim any blame for this recently with the “in between approaches” comments, but this does seem like something the hitting coach needs to solve.

                              (And not now, we can’t prioritize Mazara over wins.)
                              Yes, the terrifying realization is that the Sox may have bought Mazara intending to fix him, and succeeded only in breaking him further.
                              "Hope...may be indulged in by those who have abundant resources...but those who stake their all upon the venture see it in its true colors only after they are ruined."
                              -- Thucydides

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