I think it’s something that probably had to happen, Yelich said. The name of the game is to win, and we just didn’t get it done as a group there. Derek was my favorite player growing up. I had a lot of respect for him, and I still have a lot of respect for him.
Another American name to watch is Nathan Chen, making his first Olympics at 18 years old. He’ll be trying to bounce back after a nervy performance in the team short program, and has the natural talent to make a serious medal run. Seventeen-year-old Vincent Zhou will also be making his Olympic debut here.
The top medal contenders feature Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu and Canadian Patrick Chan, who won gold and silver in Sochi, respectively. Javier Fernandez of Spain, Yan Han of China, Shoma Uno of Japan (the winner in team short program), and Denis Ten of Kazakhstan (the Sochi bronze medalist) are the other big names to watch in what should be a fiercely competitive event.
Recapturing some of the lost spin on his fastball is one way, as our internal pitch-tracking tool had him generating more than 400 fewer rpm with it last season than he did in 2013, which could explain how right-handed hitters teed off on it (.332/.385/.522 rates against the fastball alone). Otherwise, Corbin really only needs better luck on batted balls, as his .329 BABIP and 11.2 home run/fly ball rate were both easily greater than his career numbers in those categories.
Clearly it’s because I’m in love with the guy, as this is the third consecutive year (and fourth in the past five) that Gausman has made my list. What can I say, skills are skills. Perhaps this is a poor approach, ид la Lego Batman tossing countless Batarangs and then saying first try! when he hits. But here’s the thing: I’ve learned all too often that when a player’s underlying skills suggest burgeoning greatness, it’s a terrible idea to bail on him simply because you’ve been burned in the past (see: Adrian Beltre, 2004).