Fun Players Right Now: Nos. 25-16
All right, let’s continue with our fun players series by offering up a list of the 25 most fun players in baseball RIGHT NOW. I do love how MLB Network puts that “RIGHT NOW” thing after pretty much everything.
Who is the best pitcher in baseball RIGHT NOW?
OK, that’s fine for when I asked you the question. But what about … RIGHT NOW?
“Oh, right now? Well, it’s Sandy Alcantara.”
Correct. And … how about RIGHT NOW?
I put this fun player list together by combining three methods.
Tom Tango’s “Funs Created’ formula, which I’ve talked about at some length.
My own formula adjustments that have no basis in math or logic but do allow me to include pitchers in the list.
You will ask: What is miscellaneous? And it’s a fair question. But I’m not answering it because there is no answer. Miscellaneous is just random stuff I’m feeling as I put together the list. Like I might think, “Is Randy Arozarena a cool name? Of course it is. It’s an awesome name. I’m adding 10 points to his fun number.”
Or I might think, “How much fun does the letter O add to the overall fun of Edwin O Díaz?” I mean, it’s inarguable that the “O” adds SO much fun, right? It gives his name this wonderfully comical Irish quality; let’s put Edwin O' Díaz on a box of Lucky Charms and have him throwing the heart-shaped marshmallows at 101 mph …
I hope you can appreciate how seriously I’m taking this task. We’ll split this up into three essays — today we’re doing 25-16, then we’ll do 15-6 and finally we’ll do the top five. Would love for you to come along for the ride. This is the sort of silly thing we do here all the time at JoeBlogs. In fact, I’m planning RIGHT NOW a massive April baseball project that I think you’ll like. Anyway, here’s the subscribe button:
OK, let’s have some fun!
No. 25: Edwin O Díaz, Mets
Yes, of course, I wish there were fewer strikeouts in baseball. But I’ve also been on a lifelong quest to see a pitcher have twice as many strikeouts as innings pitched. I believe that I first thought about this in 1992 when Rob Dibble struck out 110 batters in 70 innings. This was utterly mind-blowing to me.
Well, everything about Dibble was kind of mind-blowing. He was this behemoth who threw 100 mph back when that seemed like an impossible thing. He was also a loose cannon in every sense of the term. He busted his eardrum at a Megadeth concert. He once angrily threw the ball as far as he could into the stands, hitting a woman some 400 feet away. He also once got into a fight with his manager, Lou Piniella.
Anyway, at the time he seemed the end of the reliever evolution, not the beginning — none of us knew that a couple of decades later there would be many Rob Dibbles roaming the earth. But the point is, he was the first person to put it in my mind that someday a reliever could average two strikeouts per inning.
It hasn’t happened yet. Aroldis Chapman came super close in 2014 (106 strikeouts in 54 innings).
And Edwin O Díaz came super close last year, striking out 118 batters in 62 innings. He might have done it except for weird outings in Miami, St. Louis and San Francisco — the only three times he did not strike out anybody.
Díaz throws two pitches — a fastball that he will throw at 100-plus mph about 11 percent of the time, and a slider that batters whiff on 55 percent of the time they swing. He’s an absurdity; the O in his name stands for the chance batters have against him.