Jeff Passan

  • Like
  • Follow
Author

Jeff Passan is an award-winning columnist who has covered baseball since 2004. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • 10 Degrees: The scary trend Matt Harvey and other aces are facing

    The number of frontline starters who have lost a significant amount of fastball velocity compared to the first month-plus of last season is startling. This isn’t just a few stragglers. It’s a half-dozen of the game’s best pitchers and a handful more in the next tier. It’s Cy Young winners and superheroes and $200 million men and royalty.

    Matt Harvey (AP Photo)Matt Harvey (AP Photo)No great unifying explanation seems to exist. Some are hard throwers who aren’t throwing as hard. Some have considerable mileage on their arms. Some are showing the vagaries of age. One, actually, is purposely not throwing as hard. Not all velo dips are the same, though all do raise eyebrows at a time when pitches zoom in faster than ever.

    A year-over-year drop in April doesn’t necessarily portend doom. Pitchers can find their stuff in a snap. (See: Mat Latos, whose fastball averaged 91.4 mph in his last start after sitting at 89.3 mph for all of April.) The fear, of course, is that when fastball velo goes, it’s often for a permanent vacation. And

    Read More »from 10 Degrees: The scary trend Matt Harvey and other aces are facing
  • Source: Angels ace Garrett Richards expected to undergo Tommy John surgery

    Garrett Richards has a 2.34 ERA in six starts this season. (AP)Garrett Richards has a 2.34 ERA in six starts this season. (AP)Los Angeles Angels ace Garrett Richards has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is expected to need Tommy John surgery, a source with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sports.

    The 27-year-old Richards, one of the hardest-throwing starters in the major leagues, would miss the remainder of the season and not return until the middle of 2017 should he undergo the procedure.

    The tear was found Thursday, when the Angels scratched Richards from his scheduled Friday start citing dehydration and fatigue.

    Richards, who hadn’t been feeling significant pain in his elbow, is the latest Angels pitcher to suffer from arm problems.  Left-hander Andrew Heaney is on the disabled list with what’s been called a strained flexor muscle, though multiple sources told Yahoo Sports he has a damaged UCL as well and is rehabbing with hopes of avoiding Tommy John. Left-hander C.J. Wilson also is on the disabled list with shoulder issues.

    The emergence of Richards into a frontline starter

    Read More »from Source: Angels ace Garrett Richards expected to undergo Tommy John surgery
  • Exclusive: Tim Lincecum speaks publicly for first time since 2015

    For more than eight months, as the pain in his left hip faded and the old feeling he hadn’t felt in years returned, Tim Lincecum turned into more of an enigma than he’d ever been. General managers wondered how he looked. Scouts gossiped about how they’d heard from their best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend that they saw Lincecum at the 31 Flavors and his fastball wasn’t even hitting 85 mph. All the while, not a word from Lincecum. After years of confounding baseball as to how he coaxed such brilliance out of a body that looked incapable of harnessing it, now Lincecum was keeping them on edge with his silence.

    Tim Lincecum (AP Photo)Tim Lincecum (AP Photo)“Private is the way I live my life and have tried to,” Lincecum told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday in his first public comments since the 2015 season ended. “It helps me feel comfortable. It’s kind of like a scientist going to work on something in his garage and not unveiling it until he’s ready to. That’s kind of what it feels like.”

    Finally, he’s ready. Tim

    Read More »from Exclusive: Tim Lincecum speaks publicly for first time since 2015
  • Tim Lincecum on his return, his struggles and mindset going forward

    For more than eight months, as the pain in his left hip faded and the old feeling he hadn’t felt in years returned, Tim Lincecum turned into more of an enigma than he’d ever been. General managers wondered how he looked. Scouts gossiped about how they’d heard from their best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend that they saw Lincecum at the 31 Flavors and his fastball wasn’t even hitting 85 mph. All the while, not a word from Lincecum. After years of confounding baseball as to how he coaxed such brilliance out of a body that looked incapable of harnessing it, now Lincecum was keeping them on edge with his silence.

    “Private is the way I live my life and have tried to,” Lincecum told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday in his first public comments since the 2015 season ended. “It helps me feel comfortable. It’s kind of like a scientist going to work on something in his garage and not unveiling it until he’s ready to. That’s kind of what it feels like.”

    Finally, he’s ready. Tim

    Read More »from Tim Lincecum on his return, his struggles and mindset going forward
  • Sources: Baseball close to canceling Puerto Rico trip because of Zika concerns

    About 100 scouts and executives descended upon Puerto Rico this week to watch high school shortstop Delvin Perez, a possible top-five pick in the June draft. One of the officials texted a picture of bug spray with 30 percent DEET, accompanied by a two-word caption: “I’m prepared.”

    The fear of Zika virus, palpable as ever in the aftermath of the Center for Disease Control report this week that linked a death in Puerto Rico to the mosquito-borne illness, is not scaring away all of baseball. It has, however, pushed the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins, scheduled in San Juan on May 30-31, to the brink of cancellation, multiple sources familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports.

    Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico (AP)Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico (AP)Players from the Pirates and Marlins banded together in recent days to let Major League Baseball know they want to move the two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium to Miami instead, sources said, a view shared by some club officials and staff members as well. Despite the widespread

    Read More »from Sources: Baseball close to canceling Puerto Rico trip because of Zika concerns
  • Sources: Dodgers pitcher suspended 80 games for PEDs

    Josh Ravin (AP Photo)Josh Ravin (AP Photo)Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Josh Ravin was suspended 80 games on Monday for using a banned substance, sources told Yahoo Sports, and is the sixth major leaguer to face discipline for performance-enhancing drugs this season.

    Ravin, who is on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster but has spent the year on the disabled list after breaking his non-throwing left arm in a car accident during spring training, tested positive for a banned peptide, according to sources.

    His suspension comes on the heels of 80-game bans for National League batting champion Dee Gordon and Toronto Blue Jays slugger Chris Colabello. Cleveland center fielder Abraham Almonte and Philadelphia reliever Daniel Stumpf were hit with 80-game suspensions before that, and New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia received a lifetime ban in February for a third positive test.

    Ravin, 28, debuted with the Dodgers last season after a decade in the minor leagues. In 9 1/3 innings, he posted a 6.75 ERA and struck out 12. The 6-foot-4,

    Read More »from Sources: Dodgers pitcher suspended 80 games for PEDs
  • 10 Degrees: Is a juiced ball causing MLB's large home run spike?

    At the risk of sounding like someone who believes in chemtrails and listens to Infowars religiously, I have a confession to make: More and more I’m convinced that juiced balls are causing a home run spike throughout baseball.

    Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story are 1-2 in the NL home run race. (AP Photo)Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story are 1-2 in the NL home run race. (AP Photo)I am far from the only one. It’s hitters and pitchers and coaches and executives and even rational, cogent analysts who cannot find a reasonable explanation for the spike in home runs dating back to last August. The HR/FB rate – the percentage of fly balls that end up over the fence – spiked over the season’s final two months, and it has continued this April.

    With 11.8 percent of fly balls leaving the yard in the season’s first month, it marked the highest April rate since the league started tracking the data in 2002. The number mirrored those of August (12.2 percent) and September (12.3 percent), which Hardball Times analyst Jon Roegele noticed after not even a month. Roegele studied it and came to an impasse.

    “I couldn't find anything to describe that amount of

    Read More »from 10 Degrees: Is a juiced ball causing MLB's large home run spike?
  • The sad case of Dee Gordon, another unlikely PED user for MLB

    In person, Dee Gordon is desperately skinny, the sort of person for whom you'd love to buy a large pizza just to see how much of it he could polish off. It's a taut leanness, certainly, muscled up as much as someone whose stunt double would be made of pipe cleaners can be, but nobody ever would accuse Gordon of looking like a professional athlete. He was always the baseball player whom the uniform looked like it wanted to swallow whole.

    There was a safeness about him, one furthered with a bright smile flashed liberally, though by now it should be evident that neither the pearliness of a man's teeth nor the composition of his body reveal what's inside of it. In the case of Gordon, it was two types of synthetic testosterone. Not even the safest bets are immune from the drug testing of Major League Baseball and the 80-game suspensions that accompany the ones that come up positive.

    Dee Gordon is in the first season of a five-year, $50 million contract. (Getty Images)Dee Gordon is in the first season of a five-year, $50 million contract. (Getty Images)And so here baseball is again, same place it's been for a quarter-century, its stars doping, Bud Selig's

    Read More »from The sad case of Dee Gordon, another unlikely PED user for MLB
  • Miami's Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PEDs

    Defending National League batting champion Dee Gordon was suspended 80 games early Friday morning after he tested positive for two types of performance-enhancing drugs, Major League Baseball announced in disciplining the Miami Marlins’ second baseman.

    Dee Gordon (Getty Images)Dee Gordon (Getty Images)Gordon, a two-time All-Star who in the offseason signed a five-year, $50 million contract extension after hitting .333, was found to have taken exogenous Testosterone and Clostebol, a modified form of testosterone.

    The 28-year-old Gordon, one of the slightest players in the game at 5-foot-11 and 171 pounds, thrived in Miami after his trade there last season from Los Angeles and won a stolen base title in addition to his batting crown. Gordon, the son of former major league pitcher Tom Gordon, was hitting .267/.283/.344 with six stolen bases and his typically solid defense for the Marlins, who inched back to within a game of .500 on Thursday night.

    Gordon’s suspension is the second surprising one within a week after Toronto’s Chris

    Read More »from Miami's Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PEDs
  • How Jordan Zimmermann is helping make Strasburg and Harvey a ton of money

    Jordan Zimmermann finally gave up a run Monday, the first he deigned to allow this season. His earned-run average skyrocketed to 0.35. No pitcher this century has finished April with a better mark. Zimmermann and the Detroit Tigers weren't the only ones celebrating.

    Jordan Zimmermann is 4-0 with a 0.35 ERA this season. (Getty Images)Jordan Zimmermann is 4-0 with a 0.35 ERA this season. (Getty Images)Across baseball, executives are watching the 29-year-old with a keen eye. He is just one player, just one arm, but Zimmermann is, in many ways, the standard bearer for the return from Tommy John surgery into the class of the ultra-rich. Zimmermann smashed the nine-figure threshold for ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction survivors this offseason when he signed a five-year, $110 million deal with the Tigers. And with Stephen Strasburg, Yu Darvish, Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez primed to hit free agency over the next three seasons, some teams' willingness to pony up big money will depend on the success of Zimmermann.

    It shouldn't be that simple, of course, a single arm, unique in every way, charting the course for a

    Read More »from How Jordan Zimmermann is helping make Strasburg and Harvey a ton of money

Pagination

(2,028 Stories)