- FanGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs -

Daily Notes: A Not Unhelpful WBC Status Update

Table of Contents
Today’s edition of the Daily Notes has no table of contents, it appears.

A Not Unhelpful WBC Status Update
Pools A and B of this year’s edition of the World Baseball Classic began this past weekend in Japan and Taiwan, respectively. As noted in a semi-adequate preview of the Classic, many of the first games took place at a time when Americans are either (a) asleep or (b) engaged in some manner of illegal activity or, strangely, (c) both.

In any case, what follows is a record of what took place over Classic’s first weekend of play.

Standings
In the first round, each team plays the other three teams in its pool once. The two teams with the highest winning percentages advance to Round Two. A series of tie-breaking rules exist which the author has no interest in reading even at all.

Here are the first-round standings as of this morning — including the Korea-Australia game that started at 5:30 AM (ET) — copy-and-pasted illicitly from ESPN, but then formatted to suggest nothing of the sort.

First, for Pool A:


Pool A W L PCT GB RS RA DIFF
Japan 2 0 1.000 10 5 5
Cuba 2 0 1.000 17 2 15
China 0 2 .000 2 2 17 -15
Brazil 0 2 .000 2 5 10 -5

And then for Pool B:


Pool B W L PCT GB RS RA DIFF
Chinese Taipei 2 0 1.000 12 4 8
Netherlands 1 1 .500 1 8 8 0
Korea 1 1 .500 1 6 5 1
Australia 0 2 .000 2 1 10 -9

Stats
Here is a slightly absurd, but not entirely usesless, leaderboard of the top-10 hitting performances of the World Baseball Classic so far (including Monday’s early games). SCOUT+ an offensive measure calculated with regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates, where 100 is average and above 100 is above average. (Click here for more on what is SCOUT.)


Player Team Pos PA xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Yongkyu Lee KOR OF 9 0.9% 11.9% 18.0% 107
Takashi Toritani JPN IF 5 0.9% 11.6% 18.5% 105
Cheng-Min Peng TAI 1B 8 1.2% 10.4% 18.8% 105
Alexei Bell CUB OF 8 1.2% 10.4% 18.8% 105
Stefan Welch AUS 3B 7 1.2% 10.5% 19.0% 105
Jose Abreu CUB IF 8 1.2% 9.9% 18.2% 105
Andruw Jones NED RF 8 0.9% 11.4% 18.8% 104
Guillermo Heredia CUB OF 10 0.9% 10.8% 17.9% 104
Dae Ho Lee KOR 1B 9 0.9% 10.9% 18.0% 104
Hisayoshi Chono JPN LF 8 0.9% 10.9% 18.2% 104

And here are the top-10 pitching performances thus far — in this case by SCOUT-, a metric calculated with regressed strikeout and walk rates where 100 is average and below 100 is above average.


Player Team G GS IP TBF xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Danny Betancourt CUB 1 1 4.2 16 22.3% 9.7% 86
Raciel Iglesias CUB 1 0 3.0 10 21.1% 9.6% 90
Seunghwan Oh KOR 2 0 1.2 5 21.1% 9.7% 91
Ismel Jimenez CUB 1 1 4.2 18 20.7% 9.5% 91
Kenta Maeda JPN 1 1 5.0 17 20.9% 9.7% 92
Hirokazu Sawamura JPN 1 0 1.0 3 20.6% 9.7% 93
Tadashi Settsu JPN 1 0 3.0 11 20.3% 9.6% 94
Tetsuya Yamaguchi JPN 1 0 1.0 5 20.4% 9.7% 94
Seung Song KOR 1 1 4.0 16 20.3% 9.9% 95
Hung-Wen Chen TAI 2 0 2.0 7 20.1% 9.8% 96

Action Footage: Danny Betancourt
Cuban right-hander Danny Betancourt struck out eight of the 16 Chinese batters he faced on Monday — including, at one point, six in a row — while walking just one and allowing just a single hit. The 31-year-old appears to have posted a 29:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Cuban domestic league this season, which — given the numbers for the country’s other top pitchers — is probably better relative to league than it would be in the majors.

From what footage was available to the author, Betancourt’s fastball seemed to top out at ca. 87 mph. He did however feature command of multiple offspeed pitches, all of which are on display in this video:

And clearly the most amusing of which is this curve, at 0 mph:

Betancourt SLOW CU

Schedule
The Classic is available on MLB Network — and streaming online for customers of Bright House, DIRECTV, and Time Warner Cable

Here are the games scheduled between now and tomorrow morning (ET):
11:30 PM Australia vs. Netherlands
03:00 AM Brazil vs. China
06:30 AM Taipei vs. Korea