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Reading Room: Don Cooper developing disciples

Plus: Bo Jackson drops into White Sox spring training, Matt Lindstrom is still sore, and more talk about the future of analytics

This is Bo Jackson, not Don Cooper.
This is Bo Jackson, not Don Cooper.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday morning, we looked at Felipe Paulino's new cutter, and how it might be the start of a beautiful relationship with Don Cooper.

If you want to believe that Paulino might be the next Esteban Loaiza, the Cooper profile at Sports on Earth won't do anything to dissuade you.

Emma Span talked to Paulino, Cooper and others around Camelback Ranch, and it sure seems like everybody's buying into everything all around. Since we recently heard Cooper give his mission statement to Chuck Garfien, the quotes from the pitchers are more novel (although it's not like you shouldn't read what Cooper said).

For a couple tastes, here's Paulino:

"As soon as I signed here, in November," says Paulino, "I got a few friends who called me, like Freddy Garcia, who played here, told me about Cooper, told me good things -- that he's a great pitching coach and I'm in good hands. I'm in good hands, so just follow this guy. And I'm going to." [...]

"It's like I say, it's better you respect the old people," says Paulino, using a phrase that would sound a little less blunt in his native Spanish. "Because they know what's going on in this business."

And here's Chris Sale:

"Different people have different keys," says Opening Day starter Chris Sale (who does not throw a cutter, or at least not yet). "For me, it's about working from back to front -- [Cooper] says 'stay in the hallway' -- you know, you don't want to get too left or right, you want all your momentum starting back here and going straight to the catcher. Also hand positioning, arm angle, staying tall, that kind of stuff, getting over your front side, those are just my keys for how I pitch. The crazy thing is he's got 20 guys that he has keys for."

And there's more where that came from. It's a great article, although it's a shame that Jose Quintana took a little bit of a shine off it on the same day.

Christian Marrero Reading Room

Bo Jackson is hanging out at White Sox spring training this week, and on his first day, he was surprised to learn that he's still highly relevant. Marcus Semien, who was a shade under four months old when Jackson injured his hip in a playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals, didn't need to be briefed:

"I really look up to him, and my dad looks up to him," said Semien, whose father played college football. "It's great. I want to impress him. I know he's one of the most talented football and baseball players. He did things a lot of us can't do. I'm just trying to show him what I have, and see what he thinks."

More importantly, it turns out that I beat Bo to knowing something. Regarding Avisail Garcia:

Me at SoxFest: "He's not quite the tallest or biggest guy on the team, but he's the only one who looked like a speed-rushing defensive end."

Bo on Tuesday: "Getting to know the big kid, Garcia, he looks more like an NFL defensive end than a right fielder."

Matt Lindstrom pushed back his game-action debut thanks to a left oblique that's still giving him problems, though he's loath to call it a setback. This is something to keep in mind as Gordon Beckham tries to return from his own ribcage problems in time for Opening Day.

Either the turf at U.S. Cellular Field needs to be thawed in a hurry, or Roger Bossard is setting up his own hero storyline.

Matt Davidson's numbers are on the rise, up to .258/.303/.484 after a slow start. But he's focusing more on the process, and getting his swing started in particular:

"It’s like Paulie said: You see so many pitches a year, how many of those can you be on time for?’’ ­Davidson said. "My downfall is I’ve been hot and cold where I’m not on time when I go in bad streaks. I don’t have problems with my mechanics or swing plane, but my timing has been messed up where it affects my mechanics.

"I finally convinced myself that was the only thing I had going wrong. If you’re not on time, the mechanics don’t matter.’’

Ben Lindbergh came back from the SABR Analytics Conference with some questions about where analysis -- and the game itself -- may be heading. BIOf/x is the new tracking technology, supplementing current products with body analysis. For instance, PITCHf/x will tell you about release point, but BIOf/x would try to tell you how the ball got there -- stride, arm and shoulder angles, arm slot, etc. And it'd also do the same for hitters and their swing paths.

There's more than play tracking, though. The conference pondered plenty of questions about injuries, and Brandon McCarthy and Brian Bannister added to the running conversation about bullpen roles:

Both pitchers on the panel agreed that bullpens would benefit from more fluid roles, but they warned that the way things work now is too deeply ingrained for an open-minded manager to make a change on his own. According to McCarthy, a team that wanted to take advantage of an inefficiency in reliever usage would have to adjust its philosophy at every level of the organization. As it is, relievers are assigned to specific roles even at the lower levels of the minors, before it’s clear who has closer potential and whose ceiling is a setup role. If a team taught bullpen flexibility from the start, there would be no culture shock at the major-league level, except for players imported from more traditional organizations. And those players, at least, would know exactly what to expect.

Joe Posnanski dives deep into the history of the Cleveland Indians brand, which is most interesting for brief biography (and the documented media mistreatment) of Lou Sockalexis. The kind of crap that Jim Thorpe received for being Native American? Sockalexis had it worse.

For those who wish Robin Ventura and the White Sox would air their grievances in public ... here's why they don't.