NERDS AROUND TOWN

Nerds Around Town: Next Iron Man, Jason Bourne TV show and big Batman news

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 and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

Hey Nerds!

Welcome to Wednesday, I hope things are going great for everybody and today's the day you crush your week.

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

AICF and Mark Clayton Scholarship Golf Tournament, it's one part golf tournament and one part scholarship fund. I mean, it feels self explanatory. #NerdsUnite

TREADSTONE

USA Network occasionally has some great television projects so I usually pay attention when they announce or roll out something. Well this one fell under my radar somehow but it sounds fascinating. It's in development and it's called Treadstone. If that sounds familiar, it's the name of the program that created Jason Bourne in that movie franchise. So this sounds great, the idea of a show about the program making super soldiers/assassins is fascinating, there's so much you could do with a show like this. Everything from government intrigue to amnesic soldiers, to rogue agents and regulatory agencies, the stories and the drama write themselves. I'm very hopeful for the show and I'd love to see where it goes and when it comes out. This one is now officially on the watch list.

THE BIG CHANGE

All indications is that Tom King, the current writer of Batman who has been on an epic run telling a massive Batman arc for what was originally going to be around 100 issues. Allegedly, his big finale has had to be pre-approved by Warner Bros and not just the typical DC comics editorial approvals. They moved it to it's own mini series, presumably to give it more pomp and opportunity but we'll see I suppose. I'm curious what the change actually will be. I think it's going to be Batman and The Catwoman actually getting married and becoming a permanent duo. Part of the whole story has been about who is Bruce Wayne and who is Batman, and I think Bruce finding happiness at one time meant the death of Batman. Now Tom King has put Batman in a place where it doesn't. We'll see if I'm crazy or not.

THE ENDORSEMENT OF IRON MAN

Robert Downey Jr did something interesting the other day, he was at a media event of some kind and he expressed interest in having Riri Williams introduced into the Marvel Universe to fill the boots of the now deceased Tony Stark. This is the kind of endorsement and support a character like Ironheart needs to make it into the MCU, having the proud film papa (RDJ) of Marvel films saying that what the world needs in the empty shoes of Tony Stark is Riri Williams. I would love this so much. She's a great character in her own right, and she has such opportunity in the films for growth and is a solid young character that could really grow into her own franchise.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

Marvel's been making these great little docu-minis about the big important moments in the history of the X Men and I am freaking stoked for these things. They are awesome and they sort of tell these stories perfectly and set up this big X Men story that is starting next month. I think it's going to be huge, Hickman has been telling these massive crazy stories for a little while and I am so pumped to see where it all goes next. This thing feels MASSIVE, I can't wait for next month!

I'm going to jump out and wish you guys a great Wednesday and remind everyone to be kind to each other and try a little harder to have a great day! I'm coming back Thursday 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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