Author Archive

The Cleveland Defense Is A Different Kind Of Problem Now

One year ago today, I wrote an article right here called  “The Indians Are Missing The Easy Ones,” which looked into just how awful the Cleveland defense had looked to that point. Though it included all the usual “it’s still early in the season” caveats, the simple fact was that the Indians had done little to help what had been (and would be) a fantastic young pitching staff with repeated miscues in the field, flaws that seemed obvious even in mid-April. (It was also a great excuse to have an article full of blooper GIFs. This is going to come up again.)

As it turned out, it wasn’t just a small sample size problem. The Indians went on to have the worst DRS in baseball at a shocking -75, and as Jeff Sullivan ably noted in August, the defensive gap alone was a huge component of what set the Indians apart from the Royals. If you buy into the idea that 10 runs equal a win, then DRS saw a difference of 11 wins between the two clubs on defense alone. Even if you don’t completely accept that full value as an accurate accounting, it’s pretty clear that poor fielding was a huge detriment to the 2014 Indians, and that’s a big deal considering that they missed the wild card by just three games.

So! Now it’s 2015. With somewhat of an inflexible roster, management was limited in the moves they could make, so while things look similar, they aren’t identical. The Carlos Santana third base experiment is long over. Asdrubal Cabrera‘s adventures at shortstop are now Tampa Bay’s problem, with Jose Ramirez presenting a far superior defensive option. Yan Gomes‘ second half looked a lot better than his first half. Nick Swisher‘s achy knees haven’t yet appeared in a game. Tyler Holt showed defensive value as a backup outfielder late in the year. Jason Kipnis swore he was healthier after oblique and hamstring issues helped to tornado his 2014 season.

Story after story after story came up about the team’s focus on it this winter. This was never going to be a good defense, not with so much of the same cast and crew, but maybe enough had changed to think, okay, maybe this won’t be so bad. So how’s that going? Read the rest of this entry »

Milwaukee’s Untimely Collapse

Avert your eyes, Milwaukee Brewers fans. I apologize in advance for how painful this may be.

When the Brewers woke up on Monday morning, they were merely a bad baseball team, off to a 2-10 start, the worst in 47 years of Pilots/Brewers baseball. When they went to bed on Monday night, they were still a bad baseball team, off to a 2-11 start, one of just two teams with fewer than four wins. In between, second baseman Scooter Gennett joined the “stupidly weird injury” club, slicing his hand open in the shower. In between, star catcher Jonathan Lucroy left Monday’s 6-1 loss to Cincinnati early with what was revealed to be a fractured toe, one that manager Ron Roenicke could apparently hear happening.

So there’s terrible baseball, and then there’s this, in which a team that had just about no margin for error has gotten off to what’s basically the worst possible start imaginable. You can’t make the playoffs in April, but you sure can miss them. That’s a saying that exists or it’s one I’m either making up or poorly paraphrasing, but now it’s on the Internet, and therefore it’s true. Welcome to the 2015 Milwaukee Brewers, a team that just saw its season implode before it really began. Read the rest of this entry »

Billy Hamilton’s Reverse Lineup Protection

You’d think that here in 2015, alongside our flying hoverboards and pill-based meals, we’d have finally eradicated the myth of “lineup protection.” The idea that having a dangerous hitter on deck would give the pitcher incentive to challenge the current batter with hittable pitches lest he walk him and put a man on for the better hitter may make sense in theory, but in practice it’s been proven wrong in an endless stream of studies, dating back to at least 1985.

But as I’ve watched the first week of games, it keeps coming up on broadcasts, seemingly endlessly. It’s not worth worrying about whether a great hitter has someone dangerous behind him — that hasn’t stopped Andrew McCutchen or Giancarlo Stanton or Robinson Cano in recent years — and it’s not worth worrying about whether the hitters in front of those great hitters get more hittable pitches. It’s been definitively proven that either there’s no effect at all or, if there is one, it’s so imperceptibly small and clouded by other variables that there’s no meaningful gain to be had from it.

It’s certainly not my intention today to give you yet another study on why lineup protection is terribly overrated in the traditional sense. What’s more interesting today is that we’re seeing, at least in one case in the early going, a different kind of lineup protection. Read the rest of this entry »

The Reinvention Of Mat Latos Isn’t Off To A Good Start

You already know what I’m going to say — this early in the year, we don’t really care about results so much as we care about what goes into those results. Maybe that’s a new pitch, or a new batting stance, or our first look at a guy trying to come back from an injury. Sometimes, though, you can’t help but start with the results. In Mat Latos‘ Miami debut, there were certainly results:


So that’s pretty bad, and generally you’d let it go by as just one of those things, in the same way that no one really thinks that Cole Hamels‘ lousy first start means anything more than a very good pitcher having a very bad day. But like with the interest in seeing what kind of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka would be, there’s interest in Latos. After several good seasons, his 2014 was ruined by left knee surgery and right elbow soreness, after which the Reds flipped him to to a Miami team that plans on contending for a decent enough pitching prospect in Anthony DeSclafani and minor league catcher Chad Wallach‘s intriguing offensive profile. Read the rest of this entry »

The Reds Actually Chose Kevin Gregg Over Aroldis Chapman

It’s far too early to put serious weight on just about anything (save for injuries, or growing concern about those injuries) you see in the first 36 hours of a baseball season. It’s far too early to do much of anything other than say, “hey, baseball’s back, isn’t that great?” I mean, Buddy Carlyle and Chris Hatcher are on pace for 162 saves. The Red Sox are on pace for 810 homers. Probably not going to happen. Could happen. Won’t happen.

So we know not to look at the in-season numbers for at least a few weeks, lest we forget what Charlie Blackmon and Dee Gordon did last April as compared to the rest of the season. But it’s not like we’re simply not going to talk about baseball until then, and it’s not like there aren’t takeaways we can make from what we’re seeing right now. Like this one, for example: Seemingly years after most smart baseball team gave up on the save rule, why are we still seeing managers risk victories in service of it? Read the rest of this entry »

2015 Positional Power Rankings: Starting Rotations (#16-30)

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.


As we get into the back half of the starting rotations, that chart would look a whole lot better for the teams on the right side if you chose to willfully ignore that there’s 15 teams better than them not even shown here. This is where the pitching’s going to get a little dark. I’m tempted to just go with “it doesn’t matter, they’re all going to get hurt anyway and one day we’ll all be dead,” but that seems a little too bleak. Still, it’s sort of how you feel relying on any pitcher these days. Right? No? Just me? Okay, fine. Read the rest of this entry »

Trying To Optimize The Rockies Rotation For Coors Field

A few weeks back, I wrote about Jorge de la Rosa’s remarkable mastery of Coors Field, a fact made all the more interesting by the reality that he’s struggled badly pretty much everywhere else. One of the comments on that piece put forth a pretty fascinating idea:

The Rockies need to break the straitjacket of the five-man rotation on a fixed schedule. Rather, they need to platoon their starters to some degree. Split them into ‘pitch mainly at Coors’ and ‘pitch mainly on the road’.

Could that possibly work? Should it? I’ve been thinking about it ever since then, during which time two things have happened. First, Jeff Sullivan wrote a very similar piece about Jered Weaver and the Angels, causing me to mostly table this. But then second, the Rockies announced that the vastly inferior Kyle Kendrick would start on Opening Day, opening the door to “worst Opening Day starter ever” articles, and that they’d push de la Rosa all the way to the fourth game of the season… which just so happens to be the home opener.

Are they actually trying to put this into motion? It’s true that de la Rosa is battling a groin injury this spring and probably could use as many extra days as the team can give him, but it’s also clear that they want him on the mound at home whenever possible. It might be just as clear that Kendrick, who always seemed an odd fit for the Rockies, would be best served setting foot in the state of Colorado as few times as possible. Maybe this isn’t just about de la Rosa’s odd skill; maybe he’s just the starting point. Let’s put forward a plan to optimize the Rockies’ rotation. Read the rest of this entry »

2015 Positional Power Rankings: Catcher

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.

As we kick off the 2015 Positional Power Rankings with catchers, let’s start with a chart of the projected WAR totals, and…


…and good lord, Giants and Diamondbacks, for two entirely different reasons.

Immediately obvious: Buster Posey isn’t just the best catcher in baseball, he’s the best by a considerable amount. Also equally obvious: It’s going to be a really, really long season in Arizona. In between, you’ve got some pretty clear tiers of 4-6 teams apiece, and that’s far more important than the actual rankings themselves. After the Giants, the next 10 teams break down easily into two blocks, and then beyond that, starting with the Mets at No. 12, there’s a soft decline from “acceptable” to “poor” to, well, the Diamondbacks.

Remember, please, that there’s just not a lot of meaning in tenths of a point of WAR, so while (for example) we have the Mets and Rays separated by nine spots, they’re only 0.4 WAR from one another. Remember, also, that our WAR formula doesn’t currently account for pitch framing, which has been pretty well acknowledged here and elsewhere as being a real thing that exists. You’ll just need to mentally account for additions (or demerits) for those catchers well-known to be valued (or avoided) based on that skill. Read the rest of this entry »

Tony Cingrani, Now In A Position To Succeed

Tony Cingrani is going to the Reds bullpen, having already been ruled out of the Cincinnati starting competition. If that’s a surprise, it’s only because after they shed Alfredo Simon and Mat Latos over the winter, the team might now actually start the season with one (or both!) of Paul Maholm and Jason Marquis in the rotation. As Dave Cameron laid out yesterday, that’s absolutely no way for a team on the fringes of contention to be operating.

Cingrani isn’t pleased about it, but let’s be honest and admit that he seemed like a future reliever from the day he set foot in the big leagues. In a short cameo at the end of 2012, he threw 90% fastballs. In 104.1 innings in 2013, he threw 81% fastballs, trying desperately to find a useable second pitch. Last year, he got that down to 73%, but he also missed a considerable portion of the season with a shoulder injury, not pitching at all after June 19.

Or, put another way: Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Time To Fix Baseball’s Broken Service Time System

Kris Bryant is almost universally hailed as the best prospect in baseball, and for what absolute little spring stats count for, he’s got a 1.561 OPS in spring training. He destroyed Triple-A in a half season of play in 2014, just like he did at every level since he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2013, putting up a 194 (!) wRC+ in 860 minor league plate appearances. The Cubs traded incumbent third baseman Luis Valbuena to Houston this winter in an obvious move to make room for Bryant, even if they won’t admit it.

Bryant is unquestionably ready for the big leagues — all four of our projection systems have him for between a 129-132 wRC+ — and yet, there’s almost no chance that he’ll actually be on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. Enjoy Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella for the first two weeks, Cubs fans. This is so, so dumb. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Returns On The Yasmany Tomas Third Base Experiment

Read an article about Yasmany Tomas from before he signed with the Diamondbacks, and most of them will say something along the same lines about his profile. The power was thought to be real, maybe a 70 on the 20-80 scale; the contact skills might be uncertain; and while the arm could potentially be a plus, it was far from certain where he he’d fit on the defensive map.

That’s evident, really, in just how those reports described his position. In September, Kiley McDaniel listed him as a left fielder. In October, Baseball America’s Ben Badler said that he “had the defensive attributes to fit in either corner spot.” After Tomas signed with Arizona, Keith Law also talked about him as a corner outfielder. Dave Cameron even noted that “some teams felt that he profiled more as a DH.” Other than a few tossed-off occasional mentions that he’d played some small amount of first and third earlier in his youth — 30 games at third in 2008, primarily —  just about no one expected him to be an infielder.

Except for the Diamondbacks, that is. Due in part to their own evaluations of him, in part due to a crowded outfield, and in part due to a third base situation unstable enough that longtime second baseman Aaron Hill played his first games since 2005 at the position last year, Arizona almost immediately announced that they’d like Tomas to play third base.

It’s March 11, so we’re not going to pretend that we’ve seen enough of Tomas to make a determination as to whether he can handle the position or not. But we haven’t seen nothing, either, and considering where he came from, it’s the first time most of us are able to see real actual game video of him. Considering how the Diamondbacks are set up, where he ends up is going to have a ripple effect on the rest of the lineup. Read the rest of this entry »

Jorge De La Rosa, The King Of Coors Field

Last July, Rockies owner Dick Monfort earned some well-deserved ridicule by indicating that his team wouldn’t consider trading 33-year-old free-agent-to-be Jorge De La Rosa, despite the fact that Colorado was well on its way to a 96-loss season and De La Rosa is, all things considered, pretty mediocre and not even that durable. The owner’s money quote: de la Rosa “has won our last three,” without noting that the three wins had required 21 Colorado games to attain. According to a Peter Gammons report, Monfort killed a potential deal that would have sent De La Rosa to Baltimore for Eduardo Rodriguez, who was instead swapped to Boston for Andrew Miller and has impressed so much since that he ranked No. 23 overall on Kiley McDaniel’s recent Top 200 Prospects list.

While Rockies fans cringe at that thought and pray that Gammons’ information was incorrect, the Rockies instead gave De La Rosa two more years and $25 million in September. Considering that the team’s major additions this winter were minor pieces like Daniel Descalso, Kyle Kendrick, John Axford, Nick Hundley, and David Hale, it’s looking like another season of praying that this is the year that Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez stay healthy at the same time, while hoping that young arms Jon Gray and Eddie Butler can contribute.

While it’s difficult to see a scenario where the Rockies break through this year, it’s perhaps even more difficult to see De La Rosa still being around to contribute to the next good Colorado team. But while Monfort’s direction and baseball sense may have been misguided, he’s not wrong about one thing: “he pitches great here,” and in a sport where finding any pitcher who can be anything other than awful in Coors Field has proven terribly difficult, maybe that’s not such a meaningless thing to have.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Lincecum’s Last Best Chance

What you probably already know is that next winter’s free agent starting pitching crop has the potential to be historic, not only due to the amount of talent currently unsigned beyond 2015 but for the hundreds of millions of dollars they’ll surely command. With the obvious caveat that extensions for some of these guys are possible before they hit the market, just bask in the names entering the final years of their contracts.

There’s David Price, and Jeff Samardzija, and Johnny Cueto. Over there, you’ve got Rick Porcello and Mark Buehrle and Doug Fister. Next to them, Jordan Zimmermann and Yovani Gallardo and Scott Kazmir. Say hi, Mike Leake and Hisashi Iwakuma and Mat Latos, and also Justin Masterson and Kyle Lohse. There’s Bud Norris and Ian Kennedy and Wei-Yin Chen out there as well, to say nothing of the near-certainty that Zack Greinke exercises that opt-out.

It’s a simply stunning collection of names, and it’s going to make the July trading season fascinating, as well as provide Philadelphia even more incentive to move Cole Hamels while they can. Lefties, righties, young, old, flamethrowers, junkballers, whatever you want in a pitcher, you’ll be able to find it on the menu.

Oh, and there’s also Tim Lincecum. Hi, Tim Lincecum. Read the rest of this entry »

The Aging, Youthful Blue Jays Rotation

Don’t screw this up, Marco Estrada. Just don’t.

That’s not how you’d expect an article about a team that’s clearly trying to contend in 2015 would start, and you’ll understand why it does a little later on. There’s only ever been one article focusing on Estrada on the front page of FanGraphs, and that came back in 2012. This isn’t going to be another. I promise. This is maybe going to be about the fun mark the Blue Jays could potentially set if Estrada never makes a start for them this season, and what that might mean for the playoff dreams. Read the rest of this entry »

The Death Of Head-First Sliding, Hopefully

Last week, Nick Punto informed the Diamondbacks that he’d be taking the year off, deciding not to report to camp even though he had signed a minor league contract with the club earlier this winter. Though he claimed he wasn’t retiring, Punto is 37 and just put up a 73 wRC+ for Oakland, so it’s easy to imagine that his career is over. Despite his small stature and non-existent power, Punto managed to turn a solid glove, positional versatility, and a good eye (career 10.4% walk rate) into a career that spanned parts of 14 seasons.

He found himself as the tongue-in-cheek face of one of the most shocking transactions in baseball history — 2012’s “Nick Punto trade,” which you might remember more for including Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and a quarter-billion dollars worth of contracts — and carved himself a niche as baseball’s foremost jersey-shredding expert. As far as careers go, you could do a lot worse than all that, not to mention the approximately $23 million he made during his playing days.

Wait! Don’t go anywhere. This isn’t going to be a full Nick Punto career retrospective. I swear. What this is going to be is a hope, a prayer, that Punto’s probable departure from the game takes along with it one of baseball’s most frustrating blights, the thing that he might be known for above all else: the head-first slide, particularly into first base.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jason Heyward Is Looking For Power

Despite all the gains advanced stats have made in gaining public acceptance over the years, there’s always going to be some cases that seem inexplicable to one side or the other. Jason Heyward is generally a good example of that, because if you still rely on traditional stats, you see a right fielder who hit .271 with 11 homers and 58 RBI and consider him a disappointment. If you believe in defensive metrics and understand the effects of age and the current offensive environment, you see a star who just put up a 5 WAR season at age 24 and could command a $200 million contract in free agency next winter.

One thing isn’t really disputable, however: Heyward hasn’t really delivered on the offensive promise he showed by putting up a 134 wRC+ at 20 in his rookie season of 2010. It was one of the finest age-20 seasons in baseball dating back to 1900, and everyone on the list ahead of him — with the exception of Dick Hoblitzel, who had his career cut short by World War I — ended up becoming either an inner-circle Hall of Famer or is a more recent player well on his way there.

Heyward followed up that smashing debut with a disappointing 96 wRC+ in 2011, due in part to a right shoulder injury, then put up three straight seasons in the 110-121 wRC+ range. While that all sounds similar, how he’s made it there hasn’t been. Heyward’s power has decreased — homers down from 27 to 14 to 11, slugging percentage down from .479 to .427 to .384 — while his on-base skills have improved, going from .335 to .349 to .351. It’s still valuable, it’s just a different kind of valuable, and not what we might have expected a few years ago.

So maybe this is what Heyward is now, and maybe that’s just fine. But to listen to Heyward himself, he seems to think he knows where the power has gone, and how he can get it back. Here’s two different bits from a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story on Sunday morning: Read the rest of this entry »

The Dodgers And The Cubans That Haven’t Worked Out

Each year, it seems, there’s a hot new Cuban making an impact in the big leagues. In 2011, we got our first full season of Aroldis Chapman. In 2012, it was Yoenis Cespedes in Oakland. The next year, Jose Fernandez and Yasiel Puig finished 1-2 for the NL Rookie of the Year. In 2014, Jose Abreu won the AL version for the White Sox, while the Red Sox and Cubs got brief late looks at Rusney Castillo and Jorge Soler, respectively. This winter, we’ve already seen the Diamondbacks pick up Yoan Lopez and Yasmany Tomas, and we’re currently waiting to see just how mind-blowing the bonuses Yoan Moncada and Hector Olivera (among others) will wring out of rich, talent-hungry teams.

Cubans in baseball aren’t exactly a new phenomenon, of course. According to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, 185 Cuban-born players have taken at least one plate appearance since the start of the 20th century. That includes some very well-known names like Luis Tiant, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco, and Tony Perez, as well as more recent non-elite starter types including Adeiny Hechavarria, Yunel Escobar, Yasmani Grandal, and Yonder Alonso. And also, Yuniesky Betancourt!

Much has been written, here and elsewhere, about the reasons why. Baseball keeps restricting access to spend on young, non-union talent. Cuba’s evolving political situation has made it something of an untapped pipeline. The consistent recent jackpots on these largely unknown Cuban players – remember, when Puig was signed, the reaction was largely, “wait, who?” – have made teams more willing to jump into the market, and the prices, it seem, keep going up.

That will be the trend until one of these players busts, that is, and that’s generally been the feeling around these investments. They keep working, so why not? Which is fine, except that we’ve already seen two relatively expensive Cuban imports well on their way down that “this isn’t going to work” path, and I’m not talking about Dayan Viciedo or Yunesky Maya.  I’m talking about Dodger infielders Alex Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarrena, who combined to receive $53 million from the team last winter, and who currently couldn’t possibly find themselves less in the team’s plans. Read the rest of this entry »

The Tigers Aren’t The Phillies Just Yet

We often hear the Cardinals being described as one of the best organizations in baseball for their ability to consistently put a winning product on the field, and that’s a reputation that they’ve earned though consistent excellence. It never seems that the Tigers get talked about in quite the same way, but perhaps that’s unfair. In the nine seasons since and including 2006, when the two met in the World Series, the Tigers have won 790 games. The Cardinals have won 789. The Tigers have made five playoff trips and suffered one losing season; the Cardinals have made six playoff trips and suffered one losing season.

If there’s a difference, maybe it’s that the Cardinals have two rings in that span while the Tigers haven’t yet made it to the top, or maybe we just perceive them differently because the Tigers were absolutely dreadful for most of the two decades preceding their recent run. But the real difference is that the Cardinals seem to continually reinforce themselves from a deep and talented farm system, while the Tigers have continually made win-now moves to add more talent around their iconic duo of Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.

Needless to say, that’s a considerable difference in team-building philosophies, and it’s not a cycle that can last forever. We’re already seeing cracks in the core due to injuries and aging, and we haven’t seen a lot of coming from within to help support that. That’s not to say the Tigers are done, of course; they’ve won four division titles in a row, and they may very well win a fifth in 2015, even though their offseason was more than a little uneven (more on that in a minute). But more and more you start to wonder how long the window remains open, and while that’s not an unfair question — I asked this same question back in late 2013, after the Tigers lost to the Red Sox in the ALCS — what I want to know is, what happens here when the window closes? Read the rest of this entry »

Rick Porcello’s Upcoming Enormous Payday

The other night on Twitter, I put out one of those early-February thoughts that can’t really be properly explained in a mere 140 characters: Rick Porcello is going to make more than $100 million next year, and people are going to freak out about that.

Needless to say, I received some interesting replies to that, because the second part’s pretty easy to understand. Porcello’s generally seen as a decent enough pitcher, but one who doesn’t miss bats or prevent runs like his peripherals say that he should, and he’s usually not been among the top three pitchers on his own team. (That he’s been teammates with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Price, Anibal Sanchez, and Doug Fister generally gets left out of that last point.)

James Shields, who has had something like seven seasons better than Porcello’s best, just very recently couldn’t get to $80 million. Porcello’s going to top that? Well, okay then. I guess I need to back this up. Let’s run through this and see if it’s crazy. Spoiler alert: It might be crazy.

Read the rest of this entry »

James Shields Can’t Solve The Biggest Padres Problem

Last week, I had the pleasure of being present at a panel of baseball people talking about 2015’s big stories, and one of the questions was, “are the Padres contenders?” Some said yes. Others said no. Most of the discussion centered on the rebuilt outfield of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, and Wil Myers, mainly about how that could possibly come together on defense. Now, we’re hearing about how they may yet be the team that comes away with James Shields, who would inject some stability into what is a talented-but-fragile rotation.

Jeff will have more on that signing later, but obviously: Shields will help! Adding him makes for a rotation front four of Shields, Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, and Tyson Ross, which is potentially pretty impressive. More innings from Shields means fewer that you need to rely upon from Odrisamer Despaigne, Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow, and that’s a good thing. Signing Shields and trading for Cole Hamels would help! Lots of things, likely and less so, would help. Here’s what I had wanted to ask that panel, though, especially those who believe that the reworked Padres are now contenders: How many people can actually name all four Padres starting infielders?

Obviously there’s a bit of hyperbole there, but the point is that this isn’t a question you want to be asking about a team that wants to be included in the October conversation. If you didn’t follow the team closely, would you be able to come up with Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Alexi Amarista, and Will Middlebrooks off the top of your head? Because this group, despite returning only one player who took more than 50% of the plate appearances at the same position last season, doesn’t look good. It’s actually a considerable issue, if you look at Steamer’s 2015 projections combined with our curated depth chart playing time inputs:

Read the rest of this entry »