Sunday Notes: Perkins & Varvaro, Travis in Toronto, Dozier Ducks, much more

Glen Perkins and Anthony Varvaro have reverse splits – specifically with regard to allowing runners — for distinctly different reasons. The Twins southpaw attributes his to spatial relationships. The Red Sox righty points to a swinging gate.

Before we get to their thoughts on the subject, let’s look at the numbers.

Last season, left-handed batters hit .284/.324/.448 against Perkins, while right-handed batters hit .249/.278/.422. Two years ago, lefties hit .236/.271/.273, righties .183/.251/.317.

Right-handed batters were .274/.341/.376 against Varvaro in 2013, while left-handed batters hit .207/.267/.281. Last season, righties hit .273/.314/.406, lefties .198/.284/.481.

Varvaro, who was acquired by Boston from the Braves in December, has been queried about his reverse splits countless times. He doesn’t have a definitive answer – at least not a comprehensive one – but he does have theories. Read the rest of this entry »


FanGraphs Audio: Craig Robinson, Live from Mexico City

Episode 542
Craig Robinson is a native of Lincoln, England; resident of Mexico City; author of Flip Flop Fly Ball, a book of infographics on the topic of baseball; and, most importantly, owner-operator of the URL CraigRobinson.com. He’s also the guest on this edition of FanGraphs Audio, recorded at La Bipo, a cantina in the Coyoacán district of Mexico City.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 57 min play time.)

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Play

The Best of FanGraphs: March 23-27, 2015

Each week, we publish north of 100 posts on our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times, orange for TechGraphs and blue for Community Research.
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Delightful Thing: UNC Junior Trent Thornton’s Delivery

North Carolina’s series at home this weekend against Miami is notable insofar as it features a number of players — UNC right-hander Benton Moss and Miami third baseman David Thompson, among others — a number of players who’ve produced the best (maybe) predictive stats within the ACC.

Largely owing to a high walk rate, UNC closer Trent Thornton has produced only pretty good numbers within that same conference. What he has done, though, is exhibit some considerable proficiency in the art of human movement — which may or may not be accurately referred to as kinaesthetics.

Here, by way of illustration, is Thornton delivering a pitch during last Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech (in which he struck out five of the nine batters he faced):

Thornton 1

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Notable Weekend College Series Based on the Performances

Yesterday, the author published a post claiming to include the top players by (maybe) predictive stats from college baseball’s most competitive conferences.

What follows are the three weekend series likely to feature the greatest number of players whose names appeared within that post. KATOH+ and KATOH- are index metrics based on those (maybe) predictive stats and designed for batters and pitchers, respectively. In each case, 100 is average, while above 100 is better for batters and below 100 is better for pitchers. Read more about the author’s questionable methodology here.

***

Miami at North Carolina
Who It Features
Definitely probably UNC senior right-hander Benton Moss (21.2 IP, 72 KATOH-) on Sunday. Moss missed some time with arm trouble, but returned this past Sunday and was once again excellent, producting an 8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio against 25 batters over 8.0 innings (box). He’s scheduled to start the Sunday. Among Miami hitters, junior center fielder Ricky Eusebio (113 PA, 116 KATOH+), senior catcher Garrett Kennedy (81 PA, 120 KATOH+), and junior third baseman David Thompson (116 PA, 147 KATOH+) all rank among the ACC’s top-20 batters.

When It’s On (ET)
Friday at 6:30pm
Saturday at 3:00pm
Sunday at 12:00pm

How to Watch It
Watch ESPN (link).

***

Ole Miss at Arkansas
Who It Features
The top starter currently in the SEC, Ole Miss sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett (35.0 IP, 79 KATOH-). Bramlett was actually averaging a strikeout per inning as a freshman in 2013, working both in a starting and relief capacity, before tearing his labrum. He sat out the 2014 season and has made a formidable return. He’s schedule to start Friday’s game. Arkansas, meanwhile, features two of the conference’s top-15 hitters: sophomore center fielder Andrew Benintendi (106 PA, 128 KATOH+) and junior third baseman Bobby Werne (98 PA, 120 KATOH+).

When It’s On (ET)
Friday at 7:00pm
Saturday at 3:00pm

How to Watch It
SEC Network or SEC Network Plus on Watch ESPN (link).

***

UCLA at Washington State
Who It Features
Two UCLA right handers, junior James Kaprielian (38.0 IP, 79 KATOH-) and freshman Griffin Canning (35.0 IP, 76 KATOH-), who make starts on Friday and Sunday, respectively. They’re fifth and third, respectively, among Pac-12 pitchers at the moment. UCLA also features two of the conference’s top-10 hitters: senior third baseman Chris Keck (103 PA, 131 KATOH+) and junior shortstop Kevin Kramer (110 PA, 127 KATOH+).

When It’s On (ET)
Friday at 9:00pm
Saturday at 5:00pm
Sunday at 3:00pm

How to Watch It
Washington State’s live video feed (link).


The Last Expo Standing: Poll Results

Yesterday I examined all seven viable candidates who could one day hold the title of the last ex-Expo playing in the Major Leagues. What I found remarkable about this “race” is that there really is not an obvious favorite when it comes to who will outlast the others. With the possible exceptions of Luis Ayala and Jon Rauch, neither of whom appeared in the majors in 2014, there also isn’t an obvious dud in the group: each player has had such long journeyman careers, with so many ups and downs, it’s hard to tell what confluence of events and old age will actually knock these men out of the majors for good.

The voting separated the players into three tiers. In the first tier we had Ayala and Rauch, each receiving about 2% of the total vote. I would be encouraged by this result, if I were Ayala and Rauch: this means that dozens of FanGraphs readers believe they will in fact claw their way back to the Majors despite their recent series of roster cuts. I consider this the equivalent of a write-in candidate earning 2% of a vote for political office, which would be quite an uncommon display of public support indeed.

In the second tier we have Bruce Chen, Endy Chavez, and Scott Downs, each receiving about 6-10% of the vote. I believe the tie that binds these players is age: Chen would be entering his age-38 season, Chavez his age-37, and Downs his age-39. I do find it interesting that Chavez’s guaranteed contract for 2015 did not elevate him above Chen and Downs, who were both informed in recent days by the Cleveland Indians that they would not make the team’s Opening Day roster.

No matter: in the final tier, way ahead of the pack, we have Maicer Izturis and Bartolo Colon. At the time of this writing — about lunchtime on Friday, Pacific Standard Time — Izturis has the lead, 37% to 32%.

Despite easily being the oldest player on the list, Colon — entering his age-42 season — nonetheless seems as impervious to the effects of time better than any player since Jamie Moyer. I interpret his robust vote tally as the readers of FanGraphs saying: “What, really, is the difference between the lovably rotund Colon pitching in the big leagues (and earning Cy Young votes) at age 40, and pitching in the big leagues at age 47?”

And in the lead we have Izturis, who leads perhaps because he is comfortably in his mid-thirties instead of his late-thirties. Perhaps also in Izturis’ favor: he spent years as a utility man for the annual playoff entrant Los Angeles Angels — meaning that he rarely got over 100 starts a year, and perhaps has comparatively little wear-and-tear for a long-time veteran.

Where does my vote go? Um, I really don’t know.

While I understand why Izturis is in the lead, and am tempted to vote for him as well, his abilities as a major leaguer have fallen off quite dramatically and abruptly in his mid-thirties — an age when the rest of these dudes really seem to come alive. It remains to be seen if Izturis’ terrible tenure with the Blue Jays is just a blip on the way to his grandfatherly veteran-hood, or whether it’s all over at the end of 2015, his last year on a guaranteed deal.

Because of his established track record of sticking around the Majors despite below-replacement performance (and on some pretty great teams recently, at that) — not to mention that he has already survived a year-long hiatus from the majors in 2010 — I am inclined to vote for Chavez.

That said, I also would not be surprised if Chavez plays his last game before any of the other six players. This will no doubt be a thrilling race to keep an eye on in the coming months and years.


The Top-Five Cleveland Prospects by Projected WAR

Yesterday, Kiley McDaniel published his consummately researched and demonstrably authoritative prospect list for the Cleveland. What follows is a different exercise than that, one much smaller in scope and designed to identify not Cleveland’s top overall prospects but rather the rookie-eligible players in the Cleveland system who are most ready to produce wins at the major-league level in 2015 (regardless of whether they’re likely to receive the opportunity to do so). No attempt has been made, in other words, to account for future value.

Below are the top-five prospects in the Cleveland system by projected WAR. To assemble this brief list, what I’ve done is to locate the Steamer 600 projections for all the prospects to whom McDaniel assessed a Future Value grade of 40 or greater. Hitters’ numbers are normalized to 550 plate appearances; starting pitchers’, to 150 innings — i.e. the playing-time thresholds at which a league-average player would produce a 2.0 WAR. Catcher projections are prorated to 415 plate appearances to account for their reduced playing time.

Note that, in many cases, defensive value has been calculated entirely by positional adjustment based on the relevant player’s minor-league defensive starts — which is to say, there has been no attempt to account for the runs a player is likely to save in the field. As a result, players with an impressive offensive profile relative to their position are sometimes perhaps overvalued — that is, in such cases where their actual defensive skills are sub-par.

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Thanks for Nothing: 2014’s Worst Hitting Performances in a Win

My previous investigation of 2014’s best hitting and pitching performances in a loss was motivated by years of wondering what the vibe/conversation/protocol is in a professional locker room after such an extreme, heart-wrenching performance.

Contributing an excellent performance in a loss is far from the only for emotional dissonance to work its way into the clubhouse. Like: what about players who perform very badly on a given day — but on days when their team manages to pull a victory out of the rubble? Baseball orthodoxy declares that players who perform exceptionally in a loss must still mumble about how it was all for not, what with that L in the standings. The player who performs dreadfully in a win, though: he can’t really take any satisfaction about the W his teammates put together, right? But: surely there is some relief in everybody being in a good mood and perhaps being willing to overlook a golden sombrero.

Here are 2014’s five worst individual hitting performances in a win, as listed by WPA. The key to appearing on this list is to get lots of plate appearances in leverage-laden extra innings, and then to make a mess of all of those plate appearances. Magnificently, a player who is renowned for adding some WPA for his team in the most crucial of moments is responsible for two of these five performances. The list:

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All The Positional Power Rankings Thus Far

This morning, we wrapped up our look at the guys who play the field in our Positional Power Rankings series; we’ll be tackling the pitching staffs next week. But for those of you interested in playing catchup or going back over the posts, I’ve collected them all in one handy place here; you’ll still always be able to reference all of the posts in the category, but I figured I’d make them a little bit easier to find here.

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JABO: Bryce Harper, Ultimate Post-Hype Sleeper

I came across a stat the other day that took me by surprise. Someone on Twitter was defending Starlin Castro, and made the point that he’s already amassed 1,000 hits before his 25th birthday. I thought to myself, “Surely, that can’t be true. Surely, Starlin Castro isn’t already one-third of the way to a milestone that all but guarantees one’s place in the Hall of Fame.” Turns out, it’s not entirely true, but this is:

846 hits! Not bad, Starlin Castro. Especially considering it was around this time just a year ago when many were leaving Castro for dead after he put up one of the worst offensive seasons by a shortstop in recent history. In hindsight, that notion seems like quite the overreaction, given that Castro followed up the dreadful year with the best offensive season of his career and has re-cemented himself as the young, exciting Cubs shortstop of both the present and future.

But Castro’s case got me wondering: do we, as a community, take young talent for granted? Are we too quick to write off young players as one-hit wonders who burst onto the scene and then struggle — even if those struggles last for a full season or more? Seems to have been the case with Castro. Surely, I thought, there are others like him.

Naturally, my attention then turned to Bryce Harper.

Read the rest on Just a Bit Outside.


On Brady Aiken, the Astros, and Our Lack of Knowledge

Yesterday, 2014’s top overall draft pick Brady Aiken announced that he had undergone Tommy John Surgery, leaving him as a bit of a lottery ticket for this upcoming draft. Aiken, however, made sure to emphasize that he doesn’t regret walking away from the Astros final $5 million offer on the day of the signing deadline.

Since last summer, a lot of people have wondered how I could have turned down a multi-million-dollar signing bonus after being picked first in the draft. Now, I know they’ll probably be wondering about it again. I can honestly say I don’t regret not signing. It was a very difficult decision, but it also was an informed decision based on circumstances only a few people know the truth about. My family and I planned for all the possible outcomes. We weighed the pros and cons, talked with friends and mentors and doctors whose opinions we value and discussed it over a number of family dinners. This wasn’t a decision we made lightly.

The money wasn’t the only factor to consider. I wanted to play somewhere I felt comfortable, with a support system I felt would lay the groundwork for a successful and long career. Making sure I had that in place was worth the frustration of not being able to get on with my career sooner.

My family was smart, and we accounted for all of the possible risks. Having gone through this process, I really encourage other players to take the time to be fully educated about what they are getting into and to plan for the unexpected. Having a solid plan helped me through the ups and downs. Even now, I know I made the decision that made the most sense for my future.

The second paragraph is the latest in a long list of complaints Aiken and his representatives — primarily Casey Close — have lobbed at the Astros. It is not news that the negotiations between the Astros and Aiken’s camp were contentious, and as Mike Petriello wrote after it all fell apart, both sides came out of it looking poorly. And while yesterday’s news certainly seems to validate the Astros medical concerns about the risk potential of Aiken’s elbow, I have to mostly agree with Evan Drellich that using this news to proclaim that the Astros were right and Aiken’s camp were wrong is drawing a conclusion without sufficient evidence to support it. Let’s just quote Drellich’s piece:

What did the Astros believe?

There appears to be a public assumption that the Astros’ stance was that Aiken would fall apart, that they wanted nothing to do with him.

The situation wasn’t nearly that black and white. In simple terms, the team had to weigh the value of signing Aiken vs. the value of receiving the second overall pick in 2015. (Baseball Prospectus had an in-depth piece on the negotiation logic.)

The fact that the Astros offered Aiken $5 million on the final day of negotiations, above the minimum $3.1 million they had to offer him to be compensated with the second overall draft pick this year, is important. If the team were so sure Aiken’s health would fail, why would they raise the offer?

(An interesting but impossible to prove counter argument would be that the Astros reacted to public opinion in raising the offer, against their better judgment.)

“Basically, we tried to engage the other side, Casey Close three times today,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said July 18, right after an afternoon deadline passed. “Made three increasing offers and never received a counter, really they just never engaged, for whatever reason there was no interest. There just didn’t appear interest to sign on their side.

“Very disappointed. I think this is a player we wanted obviously we took him 1-1. You know we would have liked to have signed him and (Jacob) Nix and (Mac) Marshall, all three of ‘em. But you can’t do that without the other side wanting to be a part of it, so we move on.

“We made that offer a while back, the 40 percent offer. But we came up from that three times without ever receiving a counter.”

The fact that the Astros made multiple offers to Aiken is a point in favor of the fact that Aiken had some value even with the medical concerns, but we also have to remember that the Aiken negotiations weren’t being held in a vacuum; the Astros needed Aiken to sign in order to have enough money to sign Jacob Nix and Mac Marshall. They weren’t just making offers based on Aiken’s own personal risk/reward, but on the total value of being able to sign Aiken, Nix, and Marshall while staying within their bonus pool allotment. If they put a high enough value on Nix and Marshall, it could have been a net positive to pay Aiken even if they were 100% convinced that he was going to need Tommy John surgery and wouldn’t have been worth his own bonus, so long as it left them enough money to sign two other players who they thought they were getting value on.

Of course, we can’t know if the Astros were actually 100% certain that he would need this surgery. It’s almost impossible to be sure of anything in life, and while Aiken’s ligament did tear last week, the fact that something happens does not prove that it was an inevitability. We can add this data point to the list of things we know and say it’s now more likely that the Astros correctly analyzed his risk profile than it was before he blew out his arm, but this doesn’t prove that they got it right. It suggests it, to some slightly larger degree than previously known, but just as you don’t want to judge a decision by its outcome on the baseball field, so too should we not assume that the Astros definitely had this figured out just because Aiken’s elbow did eventually give out.

And that’s the problem with drawing conclusions from our perspective; there are just too many things we can’t know about this entire situation. Something clearly happened between Jeff Luhnow (or one of his employees) and Casey Close that rubbed both of them the wrong way, but what it was and who was to blame is something that we have no real evidence of. We could build a speculative case against the Astros based on the fact that this isn’t the only time they’ve had some issues with negotiating contracts with players, but even if the Astros somehow screwed up the Ryan Vogelsong deal, that doesn’t prove they were definitively to blame in the Brady Aiken situation.

We can guess at things. We can attempt to decide which side’s version of self-serving comments we put more credibility into, and maybe even be comfortable with our speculation about which side was more likely at fault in all of this.

But the reality is that it’s all just uneducated guessing. The real evidence, the kind of stuff that would allow us to form opinions that are worth anything, is not public and almost certainly never will be. So we’re just left with just enough information to be dangerous. There is enough out there to give us a false sense of certainty that we can have a real opinion on what probably happened, but not enough to really support a strong opinion either way. The amount of information we have about this situation is the equivalent of knowing a batter’s batting average with runners on base in Wednesday afternoon games.

While it’s tempting to say that this news proves the Astros were in the right all along, I don’t think we can actually say that with any confidence. We just don’t know enough. All we can really say is that something went down, we don’t know who is to blame, and the whole situation sucked for everyone involved.


Steven Souza: The 26-year-old Rookie

Steven Souza destroyed Triple-A pitching last season. In 96 games with Triple-A Syracuse, the outfielder hit a gaudy .350/.432/.590, and and kicked in 26 steals for good measure. All told, his offensive exploits generated a wRC+ of 180, which was the highest of any player with even 100 plate appearances in Triple-A last year.

With that showing, Souza made it clear that he was ready for a new challenge. However, as a member of the Washington Nationals organization, he was blocked by incumbent starters Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Denard Span. Additionally, he was competing with Michael Taylor — another hotshot outfield prospect who made a mockery of the minor leagues last season.

Souza’s path to the majors became a lot more clear last December when the Nationals dealt him to the Tampa Bay Rays in the deal that sent Wil Myers to the San Diego Padres. As a Ray, Souza’s only real competition is Brandon Guyer, David DeJesus and Mikie Mahtook. Clearly, the Rays are placing a lot of faith in their rookie right fielder.

Souza isn’t your typical rookie. Most prospects who are projected to have significant big league impacts are in their early 20’s. Souza, on the other hand, will celebrate his 26th birthday in April. Believe it or not, Jason Heyward, Giancarlo Stanton, Starlin Castro and Freddie Freeman — who feel like they’ve been around forever — are all younger than Souza. Still, despite his age, Souza’s gotten a fair amount of hype in prospect circles this winter. Baseball America, John Sickels and our very own Kiley McDaniel each placed him in their respective top 100 lists.

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Paul Sporer Baseball Chat — 3/27/15

12:02
Paul Sporer: Hey y’all, we’ll get going soon! I know there are a number of drafts coming up this weekend, so I’ll be here for quite a while taking your questions today!
12:03
Comment From Jon
Who do you like more for this year and forever Shane Greene or Chase Anderson in a deep dynasty league?
12:04
Comment From Baseball Lover ATX
Cant wait!
12:04
Paul Sporer: Probably Greene, but it’s really close between those two.
12:04
Comment From neal
more WAR in 2015: Bartolo Colon, or Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, and Brandon Phillips combined?
12:04
Paul Sporer: Hahaha, that’s a great question. Gimme Sizemore & Phillips (I’m not expecting anything from Lee).

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Designated Hitter

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

Last week, Craig Edwards detailed the death of the long man. Another position that has been dying a slow death is the designated hitter as we know it. Many teams just rotate people through the spot these days. Last season, American League teams started an average of 10.9 players at designated hitter. Just six of the 15 teams were in the single digits, and only the Tigers started fewer than five DHs. Enough of the eulogy, let’s get to 2015:

DH

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The Nuttiest Pitches: Changeups

Sometimes, in the middle of a larger research project, you run into random things that make you sit up straight. Like this one: in 2011, Chance Ruffin threw a changeup that registered 20 inches of arm-side run and ten inches of drop. Wut?

We don’t have video of 2011 — I wish I’d spied this before the calendar turned, because we only go back to 2012 now — but we do have some video. And it’s Friday, so let’s just take a look at some of the nuttiest changeups thrown by righties in the last three years.

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2015 Positional Power Rankings: Center Field

What do we have here? For an explanation of this series, please read this introductory post. As noted in that introduction, the data below is a hybrid projection of the ZIPS and Steamer systems, with playing time determined through depth charts created by our team of authors. The rankings are based on aggregate projected WAR for each team at a given position.

Yes, we know WAR is imperfect and there is more to player value than is wrapped up in that single projection, but for the purposes of talking about a team’s strengths and weaknesses, it is a useful tool. Also, the author writing this post did not move your team down ten spots in order to make you angry. We don’t hate your team. I promise.

If you are interested in learning about every Major League Baseball team’s center field situation entering 2015, you have clicked your way on the internet to the right spot. Here is a graph using the FanGraphs Depth Charts ranking every team’s center field WAR as we start the season.

2015-Center-Field-Positional-WAR

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The Top College Players by (Maybe) Predictive Stats

What follows does not constitute the most rigorous of statistical analyses. Rather, it’s designed to serve as a nearly responsible shorthand for people who, like the author, have considerably more enthusiasm for than actual knowledge of the collegiate game — a shorthand means, that is, towards detecting which players have produced the most excellent performances of the college season.

As in other editions of this same thing, what I’ve done is utilize principles recently introduced by Chris Mitchell on forecasting future major-league performance with minor-league stats.

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The Last Expo Standing

The Washington Nationals — who once earned exactly 59 wins in consecutive seasons (2008-09) and who are presently one of baseball’s most-feared, most-bankrolled teams — are entering their eleventh season playing their home games in America’s capital. That means it’s been more than a decade since the Montreal Expos played their final season in Canada, in front of an average of about 9,000 fans a game. A decade is basically a few generations in baseball-time — Ben Sheets and Jim Edmonds were Top-10 in WAR during the Expos’ last year — and so we are inching ever closer to a sad milestone for nostalgic Quebecers: some time very soon, the Major Leagues will be down to their very last ex-Expo.

At the moment, there are only five ex-Expos who are currently under contract with Major League teams, and also two ex-Expos who appeared in the Majors in 2013 who have not officially announced their retirements, and are conceivably candidates for Scott Kazmir-ian comebacks. Let’s meet our seven remaining ex-Expos, listed in alphabetical order. (Note: I am excluding players who were drafted by the Expos but who never actually appeared in a Montreal uniform, for no other reason than that list includes Ian Desmond, and safe money is that Desmond’s career will last significantly longer than any of the players we are about to meet.)

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JABO: In Defense of Brandon Phillips

“If you don’t get on base, then you suck. That’s basically what they’re saying.” So said Brandon Phillips to USA Today Sports on Tuesday, in a vehement defense of the way that he plays baseball. And to be sure, there are plenty of people who have said this (more or less). I cut my sabermetric teeth on Gary Huckabay and Joe Sheehan proclaiming that “OBP is life. Life is OBP.” But there are plenty of ways to skin a cat, and not focusing on on-base percentage has worked out just fine for Phillips. In fact, it’s worked out better for him than most players in baseball history.

In the FanGraphs glossary entry for on-base percentage, the rule of thumb for an average OBP is listed as .320. With a .319 career OBP, Phillips is basically right at that average mark. And that is a touch unfair to him. During his time in Cleveland, before he put it all together, he logged a paltry .246 OBP in 462 plate appearances. In his time in Cincy, his OBP has been .325, just a shade over average. He has had an OBP above league average in three of his nine seasons in Cincy. Last season, when he posted a paltry .306 OBP — his worst in his nine years in Cincy — it was still better than the average National League second baseman. Of the 11 NL second basemen who compiled at least 400 PA last season, Emilio Bonifacio, Kolten Wong, Aaron Hill and Jedd Gyorko all posted worse OBP’s than did Phillips. In other words, while Phillips isn’t the OBP messiah, he’s far from a pariah.

In fact, among his average or worse OBP peer group, Phillips is a top-20 player all time:

Most Valuable Players by WAR, .319 Career OBP or less
Player PA OBP WAR
Matt Williams 7,595 0.317 44.8
Willie Davis 9,822 0.311 43.5
Lance Parrish 7,797 0.313 43.4
Devon White 8,080 0.319 41.8
Alfonso Soriano 8,395 0.319 39.7
Hal Chase 7,939 0.319 39.1
Gary Gaetti 9,817 0.308 39.0
Tim Wallach 8,908 0.316 37.6
Lee May 8,219 0.313 35.7
Bert Campaneris 9,625 0.311 32.5
Frank White 8,468 0.293 31.0
Bob Boone 8,148 0.315 30.4
Benito Santiago 7,516 0.307 28.7
Ezra Sutton 5,536 0.316 28.2
Terry Pendleton 7,637 0.316 28.2
John Ward 8,084 0.314 28.1
Rick Dempsey 5,407 0.319 27.8
Brandon Phillips 6,154 0.319 27.1
J.J. Hardy 5,166 0.312 26.7
Marquis Grissom 8,959 0.318 26.4

Read the rest on Just a Bit Outside.


Evaluating the Prospects: Cleveland Indians

Evaluating the Prospects: Rangers, Rockies, D’Backs, Twins, Astros, Cubs, Reds, Phillies, Rays, Mets, Padres, Marlins, Nationals, Red Sox, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Braves, Athletics, AngelsDodgersBlue JaysTigersCardinalsBrewers & Indians

Top 200 Prospects Content Index

Scouting Explained: Introduction, Hitting Pt 1 Pt 2 Pt 3 Pt 4 Pt 5 Pt 6

Amateur Coverage: 2015 Draft Rankings2015 July 2 Top Prospects

The Indians are deep. I list 50 prospects below and their 27 and under list is among the deepest in the game, along with a surprising amount of recently-emerging high-end talent. That’s good scouting and it’s come from big league moves, trades, the draft and international signings: one team exec said this is the deepest they’ve been on the farm since 2005. The Tribe’s last five first round picks are prospects 1-4 and 6 on this list, with the 5th prospect a 1st rounder they acquired from another club. After Lindor there isn’t an elite prospect, but there’s plenty of upside types in the top half of the list that could make the jump this year.

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