Author Archive

The Best of FanGraphs: February 20-24, 2017

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 and blue for Community Research.
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Kyle Schwarber and Hefty Leadoff Hitters

Yesterday, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon made some headlines by claiming he was considering making Kyle Schwarber his leadoff hitter this season. Mostly, that this was a big headline reflects the fact that this is one of the slowest times in the baseball calendar — players have been at camp for awhile now, yet games are just beginning, and in many cases the best players haven’t suited up yet. It’s a slow time. Still, it’s an interesting idea. The first thought that came to my mind was, would Kyle Schwarber be the heaviest leadoff hitter of all-time?
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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 2/21/17

4:53
Paul Swydan:

What’s your favorite Disney animation movie of this decade?

Tangled (8.2% | 16 votes)
 
Wreck-It-Ralph (23.5% | 46 votes)
 
Frozen (24.1% | 47 votes)
 
Big Hero 6 (16.4% | 32 votes)
 
Zootopia (21.5% | 42 votes)
 
Moana (6.1% | 12 votes)
 

Total Votes: 195
4:58
Paul Swydan:

What market do you think is the best for MLB to expand to?

Charlotte (14.6% | 42 votes)
 
Las Vegas (9.0% | 26 votes)
 
Brooklyn/NY/NJ (8.0% | 23 votes)
 
Montreal (46.1% | 132 votes)
 
San Antonio (5.9% | 17 votes)
 
Mexico City (5.9% | 17 votes)
 
San Juan (2.4% | 7 votes)
 
Santo Domingo (0.3% | 1 vote)
 
Other US market (7.3% | 21 votes)
 
Other foreign market (0% | 0 votes)
 

Total Votes: 286
6:35
Paul Swydan:

How many years would you sign Eric Hosmer for when he reaches free agency?

1-3 (39.9% | 103 votes)
 
4-6 (25.5% | 66 votes)
 
7-9 (1.5% | 4 votes)
 
10!!! (2.3% | 6 votes)
 
I wouldn’t touch him with a 10-foot clown pole (30.6% | 79 votes)
 

Total Votes: 258
9:00
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:00
Jeff Zimmerman: Hello

9:00
Cody: I have the second pick in a H2H with R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP along with ERA, SV, K/9, WHIP, and QS as categories. Trout is going first – as somewhat of a beginner to fantasy baseball, who you would recommend taking second overall? Kershaw, Bryant, Betts, etc..

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The Best of FanGraphs: February 13-17, 2017

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 and blue for Community Research.
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Is It Time to Worry About Ian Kinsler?

The 2016 season was a great one, statistically, for Ian Kinsler. By WAR, wRC+ and wOBA, it was (at least) one of the best three seasons of his career — a career that should garner a modicum of Hall of Fame debate when he retires. But in looking at his Steamer projection for this season, I started to wonder — is this the season we should start to worry about Ian Kinsler?

What immediately stands out in Kinsler’s Steamer projection is a drop in wOBA and WAR. Steamer forecasts him for just a .320 wOBA. It would be the second-worst mark of Kinsler’s soon-to-be 12-year career, and only by one point (he posted a .319 wOBA in 2014, his first year in Detroit). Steamer calls for Kinsler to produce 2.8 WAR. While that would represent a good year for most second basemen, it would be the second-worst mark in 10 seasons for Kinsler (who posted 2.6 WAR in 2013). Simply put, Kinsler is generally a lot better than those numbers.

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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 2/14/17

3:29
Paul Swydan:

What is your favorite Simpsons Valentine’s Day episode

Season 4 – “I Love Lisa” (Choo-Choo-Choose Me) (69.1% | 94 votes)
 
Season 10 – “I’m With Cupid” (Elton John) (15.4% | 21 votes)
 
Other (15.4% | 21 votes)
 

Total Votes: 136
3:30
Paul Swydan:

Is the Alex Reyes news a death blow for the Cardinals’ playoff hopes?

Definitely (6.2% | 16 votes)
 
Probably (31.3% | 80 votes)
 
Maybe (28.6% | 73 votes)
 
Probably not (25.4% | 65 votes)
 
Definitely not (6.6% | 17 votes)
 
Who’s Alex Reyes? (1.5% | 4 votes)
 

Total Votes: 255
3:32
Paul Swydan:

Who should start the majority of the games at catcher for the Cubs this season?

Victor Caratini (1.1% | 3 votes)
 
Willson Contreras (89.2% | 225 votes)
 
Miguel Montero (5.9% | 15 votes)
 
Kyle Schwarber (3.5% | 9 votes)
 

Total Votes: 252
3:34
Paul Swydan:

What preseason event is most exciting to you?

Truck Day (1.1% | 3 votes)
 
Pitchers and catchers reporting (10.1% | 26 votes)
 
First intra-team scrimmage (0.3% | 1 vote)
 
First Spring Training game (33.7% | 86 votes)
 
Your fantasy baseball draft (52.5% | 134 votes)
 
Other? (1.9% | 5 votes)
 

Total Votes: 255
9:00
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:01
Paul Swydan: Flying solo tonight, because Jeff and his wife still do Valentine’s Day, the poor guy.

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The Best of FanGraphs: February 6-10, 2017

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 and blue for Community Research.
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Josh Donaldson’s Last Four Seasons, In Context

If you come to this site, or are something more than just a casual baseball fan, you likely know that Josh Donaldson is pretty great at this whole baseball thing. With four straight top-10 American League Most Valuable Player Award finishes, and one actual MVP Award in his trophy case, this should seem pretty straightforward. And yet, relative to how good he is, I feel he’s still a little underappreciated. So in that spirit, I wanted to dig in a little on just how good he is. The answer is that he’s been historically great.

Let’s start, as we often do, with a table.

WAR Leaders, Ages 27-30, 1871-2016
Rank Name Years Hit Pit Tot
1 Ted Williams 1946-1949 40.6 40.6
2 Babe Ruth 1922-1925 37.5 37.5
3 Stan Musial 1948-1951 35.4 35.4
4 Carl Yastrzemski 1967-1970 35.0 35.0
5 Rogers Hornsby 1923-1926 35.0 35.0
6 Ty Cobb 1914-1917 34.4 34.4
7 Pete Alexander 1914-1917 0.9 33.3 34.2
8 Wade Boggs 1985-1988 34.1 34.1
9 Lou Gehrig 1930-1933 34.0 34.0
10 Pedro Martinez 1999-2002 -0.1 33.9 33.8
11 Willie Mays 1958-1961 33.8 33.8
12 Barry Bonds 1992-1995 33.8 33.8
13 Walter Johnson 1915-1918 3.3 30.3 33.6
14 Christy Mathewson 1908-1911 1.6 32.0 33.6
15 Guy Hecker 1883-1886 7.5 25.8 33.3
16 Sandy Koufax 1963-1966 -1.0 34.3 33.3
17 Honus Wagner 1901-1904 32.4 0.1 32.5
18 Joe Morgan 1971-1974 32.2 32.2
19 Hank Aaron 1961-1964 32.2 32.2
20 Albert Pujols 2007-2010 31.7 31.7
21 Chase Utley 2006-2009 31.3 31.3
22 Mike Schmidt 1977-1980 31.1 31.1
23 Charley Radbourn 1882-1885 3.7 27.4 31.1
24 Greg Maddux 1993-1996 0.1 30.7 30.8
25 Josh Donaldson 2013-2016 30.5 30.5
26 Mickey Mantle 1959-1962 29.9 29.9
27 Ed Walsh 1908-1911 1.1 28.6 29.7
28 Ernie Banks 1958-1961 29.5 29.5
29 Eddie Collins 1914-1917 29.3 29.3
30 Fergie Jenkins 1970-1973 1.1 28.1 29.2

Donaldson didn’t become a regular in the majors until his age-27 season. That was back in 2013, four seasons ago. Since then, he has been one of the best players of all-time for his age. Look at him right there, nestled between Greg Maddux and Mickey Mantle. What?

Before we get to the players who appear on this table, though, let me give you a quick sampling of the players who aren’t on it: Jeff Bagwell, Miguel Cabrera, Steve Carlton, Lefty Grove, Eddie Mathews, Mike Piazza, Cal Ripken, Alex Rodriguez, Tom Seaver, Duke Snider, Tris Speaker, and Cy Young, just to name a few. When was the last time you thought of Donaldson as superior to A-Rod? Obviously, I’m not saying that Donaldson’s career is better. In the time he’s been a regular, however, he been nearly as good as possible.

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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 2/7/17

3:31
Paul Swydan:

Which recent contract do you think will work out the best?

Yankees sign Chris Carter (17.8% | 51 votes)
 
Rangers sign Mike Napoli (16.0% | 46 votes)
 
Cleveland signs Boone Logan (15.3% | 44 votes)
 
Blue Jays sign Joe Smith (1.3% | 4 votes)
 
Dodgers sign Sergio Romo (14.6% | 42 votes)
 
Royals sign Jason Hammel (16.7% | 48 votes)
 
All of them will be marvelous! (5.2% | 15 votes)
 
All of them will be horrible (1.0% | 3 votes)
 
Meh (11.5% | 33 votes)
 

Total Votes: 286
3:32
Paul Swydan:

What would you do about intentional walks?

Nothing (73.3% | 195 votes)
 
Go with Manfred’s proposal (24.4% | 65 votes)
 
Something else? (2.2% | 6 votes)
 

Total Votes: 266
3:35
Paul Swydan:

What was your favorite season of “Lost” ???

One (16.3% | 45 votes)
 
Two (5.4% | 15 votes)
 
Three (4.0% | 11 votes)
 
Four (1.0% | 3 votes)
 
Five (0.3% | 1 vote)
 
Six (0.3% | 1 vote)
 
I never watched “Lost” (55.6% | 153 votes)
 
Don’t make me choose! (4.3% | 12 votes)
 
None of them, “Lost” was terrible (12.3% | 34 votes)
 

Total Votes: 275
9:01
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:01
Paul Swydan: Jeff might be a few minutes late.

9:01
anonymous: Isn’t run prevention (defense) more valuable than run production (offense) when available in equal amounts? Because you’re saving wear and tear on your pitchers…?

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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 1/31/17

4:22
Paul Swydan:

What was your favorite new Netflix show of 2016?

Stranger Things (55.4% | 117 votes)
 
The Get Down (0.9% | 2 votes)
 
Luke Cage (6.1% | 13 votes)
 
The Crown (7.1% | 15 votes)
 
The OA (1.4% | 3 votes)
 
Other (6.6% | 14 votes)
 
I don’t have/watch Netflix (20.3% | 43 votes)
 
Don’t make me choose! (1.8% | 4 votes)
 

Total Votes: 211
4:26
Paul Swydan:

Which team currently pegged for 74-79 wins in our Expected Standings do you think is most likely to make the playoffs?

Orioles (22.1% | 56 votes)
 
Rockies (49.0% | 124 votes)
 
Dbacks (3.5% | 9 votes)
 
A’s (3.1% | 8 votes)
 
Royals (7.1% | 18 votes)
 
Twins (0.7% | 2 votes)
 
Braves (3.1% | 8 votes)
 
None of them (10.6% | 27 votes)
 
More than one of them (0.3% | 1 vote)
 

Total Votes: 253
4:28
Paul Swydan:

Which of the following center fielders has Mike Trout NOT already passed on the career WAR leaderboard?

Kirby Puckett (16.8% | 39 votes)
 
Bernie Williams (19.8% | 46 votes)
 
Hack Wilson (14.6% | 34 votes)
 
Johnny Damon (9.4% | 22 votes)
 
Torii Hunter (15.9% | 37 votes)
 
Mike Cameron (23.2% | 54 votes)
 

Total Votes: 232
9:00
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:01
+ison Russell: Hendricks in the 14th; Giolito in the 23rd; Mazara in the 26th (26 rounds, rd picked is the cost to keep). Pick 2.

9:01
Paul Swydan: Hendricks and Mazara

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The Best of FanGraphs: January 23-27, 2017

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 and blue for Community Research.
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Is Grant Dayton an Elite Reliever?

Two weeks ago, when I was examining the New York Yankees, I noted that they were the only American League team to feature multiple relievers projected by our depth charts (which are powered by Steamer for now) to record at least 1.5 WAR in 2017. Only seven AL pitchers cleared that mark overall. Looking over at the National League, we find that even fewer pitchers hit that mark, though there is still a single team with two of them: the Los Angeles Dodgers.

One, as you can probably guess, is Kenley Jansen. The other, though, might come as a surprise. It’s Grant Dayton. Unless you’re a big Dodgers fan, the first time you probably met Dayton was in last year’s National League Division Series, when he coughed up the two runs, prompting LA manager Dave Roberts to call on Jansen in the seventh inning — and to bring Clayton Kershaw into the game in the ninth to close things out. So, in a certain sense, perhaps we should thank Dayton. If he escapes that seventh inning unscathed, we might not have been treated to Kershaw vs. Daniel Murphy with a runner in scoring position and the season on the line.

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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 1/24/17

4:25
Paul Swydan:

What is your strongest opinion on the TB-LA trade?

Friedman is just plundering his old team (1.5% | 4 votes)
 
TB did well to get De Leon (50.7% | 134 votes)
 
Boy do the Twins have egg on their face (38.6% | 102 votes)
 
Something else (9.0% | 24 votes)
 

Total Votes: 264
4:28
Paul Swydan:

What do you think is Andruw Jones’ biggest legacy in baseball?

His playing career (37.1% | 75 votes)
 
How he has inspired kids in Curacao/Aruba to play baseball (15.8% | 32 votes)
 
Hard to choose, they’re both pretty great (47.0% | 95 votes)
 

Total Votes: 202
4:29
Paul Swydan:

Will you be watching the World Baseball Classic?

Hell yes! (19.3% | 46 votes)
 
Probably (32.3% | 77 votes)
 
Meh (19.3% | 46 votes)
 
Probably not (18.9% | 45 votes)
 
Definitely not (7.9% | 19 votes)
 
What’s the World Baseball Classic? (2.1% | 5 votes)
 

Total Votes: 238
4:33
Paul Swydan:

Which movie would get your vote for Best Picture?

Arrival (13.0% | 29 votes)
 
Fences (1.7% | 4 votes)
 
Hacksaw Ridge (6.2% | 14 votes)
 
Hell or High Water (4.4% | 10 votes)
 
Hidden Figures (2.6% | 6 votes)
 
La La Land (11.6% | 26 votes)
 
Lion (1.3% | 3 votes)
 
Manchester By The Sea (4.9% | 11 votes)
 
Moonlight (5.3% | 12 votes)
 
Who cares what a group of 80-year-old men think? (48.4% | 108 votes)
 

Total Votes: 223
9:00
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:01
Dave in London: Love your chats Paul! Have you seen any studies on the success or failure of unusually tall hitters (6’5″ or taller)? As an example, I’ve heard some analysts say that pitchers will prey on Judge because of his huge strike zone — do you agree?

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The Best of FanGraphs: January 16-20, 2017

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 and blue for Community Research.
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In Defense of Andruw Jones’ Hall of Fame Credentials

We tend to form memories poorly. In middle school, my band teacher was fond of telling us that if you only played two parts of the song correctly, to make it the beginning and the end, because most people wouldn’t remember anything else.

So it may be with Andruw Jones. If you pressed most people on what they remember most about Jones, there’s a decent chance that they’d recall him as the 19-year-old who homered twice in the 1996 World Series and also as a really fat guy who was terrible in his 30s. In between those two endpoints, though, he had a Hall of Fame career.

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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 1/17/17

3:12
Paul Swydan:

Did you really think Jose Bautista would need to sign a one-year contract?

Yeah he’s super old (25.3% | 48 votes)
 
I hadn’t really thought about it (18.5% | 35 votes)
 
No he’s a star this whole thing is weird (28.5% | 54 votes)
 
Technically the options could make it longer (27.5% | 52 votes)
 

Total Votes: 189
3:16
Paul Swydan:

Which player w < 25% on BBHoF Tracker most deserves to be elected to the HoF?

Jeff Kent (4.9% | 11 votes)
 
Fred McGriff (8.5% | 19 votes)
 
Jorge Posada (3.6% | 8 votes)
 
Manny Ramirez (32.5% | 72 votes)
 
Gary Sheffield (8.1% | 18 votes)
 
Sammy Sosa (4.5% | 10 votes)
 
Billy Wagner (4.0% | 9 votes)
 
Larry Walker (33.4% | 74 votes)
 

Total Votes: 221
3:28
Paul Swydan:

Who was your favorite Avenger from “The Avengers” movie? (2012)

Iron Man (22.7% | 46 votes)
 
Captain America (6.9% | 14 votes)
 
The Hulk (16.8% | 34 votes)
 
Thor (6.4% | 13 votes)
 
Black Widow (8.4% | 17 votes)
 
Hawkeye (3.9% | 8 votes)
 
I didn’t see that movie (29.7% | 60 votes)
 
How can I choose? (4.9% | 10 votes)
 

Total Votes: 202
9:01
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:01
Guest: If The Avengers were a baseball team, who would play where, what would their WAR be?

9:01
Paul Swydan: Oh my gosh, I’ve thought about writing this up before.

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The Best of FanGraphs: January 9-13, 2017

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 and blue for Community Research.
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Don’t Sleep on the Yankees

The New York Yankees are supposedly rebuilding — and, in a sense, it’s true. They didn’t make the playoffs last season, and they haven’t seen the American League Division Series since 2012. They started the winter by trading the guy who had been their starting catcher for the past three seasons. Those are all some traits that might be representative of a team in transition.

On the other hand, they haven’t dropped below .500 in forever. You have to go back to 1992 to find the last time the Yankees failed to break even. They’ve never been the bad team that one now commonly associates with a tear-down effort. Also, they’ve spent some money in free agency this offseason, on Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday. These aren’t the types of players/deals — closers, short-term deals for aging superstar — that teams who are far from contention typically sign/make.

So who are the Yankees? If you had to pick between pretender and contender, you’d have to land on the latter. Let’s take a look at the potential starting lineup. As always, the venerable Mike Axisa has done much of the legwork for us. In his recent piece on how the Yankees may split Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury in the lineup, here was his best guess as to how the Yankees’ lineup will shake out this season.

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 2B Starlin Castro
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. DH Matt Holliday
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  7. 1B Gregory Bird
  8. RF Aaron Judge
  9. 3B Chase Headley

Not bad, right? Let’s take a look at the projected wOBAs for all of the AL teams, according to our current depth charts.

2017 AL Projected Team wOBA
Team wOBA
Red Sox 0.333
Astros 0.329
Indians 0.328
Rangers 0.327
Tigers 0.325
Orioles 0.324
Yankees 0.322
Blue Jays 0.320
Twins 0.319
Angels 0.318
Mariners 0.317
Athletics 0.313
Royals 0.312
Rays 0.310
White Sox 0.309
SOURCE: FanGraphs Depth Charts

The Yankees are in the middle of the pack, but there are a few caveats here. First, the projections may be conservative on Bird and Sanchez, which is understandable in both cases. Certainly, we shouldn’t expect Sanchez to repeat his blistering .425 wOBA from last season, but the .348 wOBA for which he’s pegged for seems like it could be a little conservative. The early returns from our FANS projections seem to agree, pegging him for a .355 wOBA.

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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 1/10/17

6:04
Paul Swydan:

In what month will Jose Bautista sign?

January (21.8% | 40 votes)
 
February (51.3% | 94 votes)
 
March (17.4% | 32 votes)
 
April (2.1% | 4 votes)
 
May (0% | 0 votes)
 
June (0.5% | 1 vote)
 
Never? (6.5% | 12 votes)
 

Total Votes: 183
6:05
Paul Swydan:

What is your favorite season of “Archer” ???

Season 1 (34.0% | 31 votes)
 
Season 2 (16.4% | 15 votes)
 
Season 3 (16.4% | 15 votes)
 
Season 4 (9.8% | 9 votes)
 
Season 5 (Archer Vice) (14.2% | 13 votes)
 
Season 6 (4.3% | 4 votes)
 
Season 7 (Figgis Agency) (4.3% | 4 votes)
 

Total Votes: 91
9:01
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:01
Hank: Do you see the Angels signing a reliever? If so who? A low cost veteran?Setup Guy?Lefty?

9:02
Paul Swydan: They probably need to sign one of all of those types of people.

9:02
Los: As a Pats fan, are you completely overlooking the Texans and are you rooting for the Steelers or Chiefs?

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The Best of FanGraphs: January 3-6, 2017

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 and blue for Community Research.
Read the rest of this entry »