NERDS AROUND TOWN

Nerds Around Town: Craft Beer, Free Games and HR 1327

ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

Hey Nerds!

Happy Thursday everybody. Let's finish off this week strong!

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

Continuing my reminder this week, Father's Day is this weekend and you should reach out to loved ones if you can and if you can't then reach out to those people around you, they'll be there for you if you tell them you need them. We've all been there. #NerdsUnite

THIS IS FOR REPRESENTATIVE VERONICA ESCOBAR

So yesterday I wrote about Jon Stewart's incredible speech on Capitol Hill to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties where only 5 members of the 14 member committee were present for his words. He was assured it wasn't intended as disrespect. Here's what I wrote about it…

"Jon Stewart's moment on Capitol Hill yesterday was beautiful and amazing and no one in congress saw it. Five of the 14 members of the House Judiciary subcommittee were there for the speech, the rest couldn't be bothered to listen to him speak up on behalf of 9/11 first responders. 9/11, remember "Never Forget", remember how patriotic everyone got? Remember how everyone hugs flags and respects soldiers and everything we all do is patriotic? How dare that quarterback take a knee! This is service, this is patriotism, there was no lower moment in recent American history and yet only 5 of the 14 members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee saw fit to be there today for the first responders. FIVE. That's a shame, Houston's Sheila Jackson Lee was one of the members who skipped as well as Veronica Escobar, Sylvia Garcia and Louie Gohmert all while representing Texas, that's a shame."

I received an e-mail about the blog, as I do a few times a week (it's why the e-mail address is in there, I like e-mails), from Elizabeth Lopez-Sandoval who said she's the Communications and Special Projects Director for Representative Veronica Escobar, this is the e-mail…

"Good morning Cory – Elizabeth from the office of Congresswoman Veronica Escobar here. Reaching out because you stated in your piece that Congresswoman Escobar was not present during yesterday House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Act.

Congresswoman Escobar was present during the first panel of the hearing and she is a proud co-sponsor of H.R. 1327, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Act.

Can you please correct your piece?

Thank you,

Elizabeth

--

Elizabeth Lopez-Sandoval

Communications and Special Projects Director

Office of Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16)

1505 Longworth House Office Building
Phone: (202) 225-4831
elizabeth.lopez-sandoval@mail.house.gov
www.escobar.house.gov"

So now that I feel like I've been fair, let me be annoyed. I was only talking about the panel in which Jon Stewart was speaking but that's fine. Rep. Escobar attended the first panel, saw that the First Responders were scheduled to speak later and decided to spend her time somewhere else. Is that a better distinction? Does that sound better? I don't think so, but there, it's corrected. Also as far as co-sponsoring the bill goes, there are 313 co-sponsors of the bill and she wasn't even part of the original 92 who co-sponsored it when it was introduced, she wasn't even the first Representative from Texas to jump on the bandwagon.

On an aside, who are the 122 other members of the House who didn't jump on that bandwagon? I don't know if I like them more or less for that, but it's bold none the less. Anyway after Jon Stewart's amazing speech, the media made the House look foolish all day Tuesday so yesterday the House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to send the bill to The House for a vote. If I remember my schoolhouse rock song "I'm just a bill" that means it needs a vote there and then if it passes, it would need to be voted on by the Senate and then signed by a certain President from NYC. Way to finally get the ball rolling guys, before anyone gets too excited, they should know this same bill existed last year in congress and never made it out of the House of Representatives, so let's not be too congratulatory of anyone.

BIG PLANS FOR THIS WEEKEND?

House of Blues has something pretty cool going on this Saturday, Local Brews and Local Grooves. It starts at 3pm and will feature 20 local craft breweries, 40 beers and 16 local bands and DJs. There's food as well, they sell a $10 admission package, a $25 admission package that comes with a wristband good for 5 samples of beer, food or sodas and a $35 package that comes with two wristbands. There's a crazy list of bands and breweries on the HOB's page which is linked: here.

ROLL THAT D20!

This Saturday is also FREE RPG Day, so swing by your local nerd store and see what they have going on. There's plenty of fun games to get into and all kinds of stores are doing all kinds of events, I know The Adventure Begins up in Conroe (proud sponsors of Nerd Thug Radio) have a whole day of events planned and I bet everyone else does too. So if you've ever been curious about RPGs or D&D or anything else, this is the day to try it out.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

So I'm going out on a limb here by running this blog today and I know that. I want to be clear about something as this happens though, while I am worried that maybe Sportsmap will fire me and cancel my work with them (which would really suck, I like it here guys, honestly) I feel like it's my job to say this. I'm not a journalist but I realize though that it's important to be accurate when speaking to the public and it's something I try to do every time I get in front of a microphone for my shows or when I write for here or for cyberpunks.com or anywhere else. We live in an era right now where everyone is trying to spin stuff and that isn't my intention and if there's ever someone who deserves our respect it's the people who lay it out for us on a daily basis to help make society better. That being said, I have spoken out about issues before in this blog and in other places when I think people overstep boundaries. I think the spokesperson for the Houston Police Officer's Union Joe Gamaldi regularly stirs the pot and hurts more than he helps (something I've said privately to my friends who are officers who then strongly disagree with me, and that's ok too). Overall I think it's important to be honest and fair and kind to people, but I didn't appreciate the unnecessary correction from Rep. Escobar's office yesterday because I think what she missed was really important and deserved her time, especially if she's representing Texans and I think her stating how proudly she co-sponsored this bill in particular was intended to sound like she's above criticism on this matter.

Also, if they do fire me then could some people buy some shirts from me? Or remember I'm a freelance writer for hire?

I'm going to jump out and wish you guys a great Thursday and remind everyone to be kind to each other and try a little harder to have a great day! I'm coming back Friday (hopefully!) and we'll be bringing more good times your way.

Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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Here's what the data tells us about Bregman. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Alex Bregman had a rough season in 2020 by his standards. He slashed .242/.350/.451 in 42 regular season games. His regular season included a trip to the 10-day IL for a hamstring strain he suffered in mid-August. His surface-level struggles continued in the postseason, where he slashed .220/.316/.300 in 13 games. However, that postseason sample size does include a tough luck game against the Tampa Bay Rays where he went 0-for-5 with five hard hit balls.

All-in-all, 2020 felt like a lost season for Bregman. He never really got going. He got off to a slow start, but he's always been a slow starter. Once he started to pick it up, he strained his hamstring, and he played poorly after returning from the hamstring strain. Then, he started to turn his batted ball quality around in the playoffs, but he hit into a lot of tough luck outs.

Hard Hit % - 33.6%

Barrel % - 3.9%

K% - 14.4%

BB% - 13.3%

Chase % - 18.1%

Bregman comes from the Michael Brantley school of hitters. He has elite plate discipline and elite bat-to-ball skills. This makes Bregman a fairly consistent hitter. That may sound odd considering his 2020 "struggles" but even an extended period of poor performance for him resulted in a .801 OPS and a 122 wRC+. If his valleys are still 22% better than the league average hitter, then that's a pretty reliable producer.

There aren't any alarming trends in Bregman's statistics. Yes, his K% was slightly up, his BB% is slightly down, but it isn't a massive difference in either category. His Chase % was up, but again, 18.1% is elite discipline. The biggest drop was in his Hard Hit%, where he fell from 38% to 33.6%. Even so, his average exit velocity only dropped .4 MPH, so there's not really a catastrophic trend here.

His .254 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) was low, but he's never put up really high BABIP numbers. In fact, his BABIP has gotten worse every year of his career, from .317 to .311 to .289 to .281 to .254. While his BABIP will likely spike back up next year, it isn't enough to be the difference between the 2019 and 2020 versions of himself. His xBA and xSLG weren't out of whack either. His .256 xBA isn't much better than his .240 AVG, and his .400 xSLG is actually worse than his .451 SLG.

Bregman is as forthcoming with his hitting mechanics, approach, and mental cues as any big leaguer out there. Here is what he had to say about his swing this year. This was a Zoom press conference with the media following the Astros game on September 25th against the Rangers.

Bregman says he wants to hit balls in the air to the pull side and on a line to the opposite field, but in reality, he was hitting flares to the opposite field and hitting them on the ground to the pull side.

The data mostly backs up that claim. In 2019, on balls hit to the pull side, Bregman had an average exit velocity of 90.7 MPH at an average launch angle of 16°, a 40% Hard Hit %, and a 16% HR%. Since Bregman has elite bat-to-ball skills, most of those metrics didn't change. In 2020, his average exit velocity was 90.6, essentially the same as 2019. His Hard Hit % was 42%, a touch better than in 2019. However, his average launch angle dipped from 16° to 11°, which contributed to his HR% dropping all the way to 9%. Bregman hit 47% of his pull side swings on the ground. In 2019, that number was 40%. He absolutely had less production to the pull side in 2020.

The data gets a little hazier going the opposite way when comparing 2019 to 2020, as Bregman actually performed slightly better to the opposite field in 2020 than 2019, but he also only had 20 batted balls to the opposite field all season. Considering the small sample size, it isn't worth diving too deep into the data.

He's right that most of the balls he hit that way were flares. He had an average exit velocity of 83.4 MPH with an average launch angle of 32°, but that's about the same as what he did in 2019. A lot of the statistical drop off comes from balls that were backspun rockets to the pull side in 2019 becoming top spinners or roll overs in 2020.

Bregman also performed horribly against breaking balls in 2020. He batted .150 with a .250 SLG against them in 2020. He had an 84 MPH Average Exit Velocity against them and whiffed 26.5% of the time against them.

It was a far cry from 2019, when he hit .265 with a .588 SLG, 87 MPH average exit velo, and whiffed 18% of the time.

Those numbers lend credence to his statement on his mechanics. It's tough for a hitter to have adjustability against breaking balls if he's blowing out his front side and pulling off of the baseball.

Bregman will spend the offseason working on these mechanical fixes and getting back to the hitter he used to be. If he's consistently hitting the ball in the air to the pull side next year, and he's performing better against breaking balls, then he should be right back in the mix for AL MVP.

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