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Daily Notes: A Surfeit of Spring Numbers, One Might Say

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Three Brief Introductory Notes
2. Table: Updated Spring Run-Environment Numbers
3. SCOUT Leaderboards: Spring Training (Overall)
4. SCOUT Leaderboards: Spring Training (Rookies)
5. Mostly Unhelpful Video: Christian Yelich, Homering

Three Brief Introductory Notes
Here are three introductory notes:

1. It’s entirely possible that a reader might say regarding what follows — owing to the panoply of stats therein — might say that there is a surfeit of spring numbers to be found here. Whether the author himself would do so is doubtful — largely, that is, because he finds the alliteration between surfeit and spring unappealing. However, that is manifestly an expression of his own personal bias and is certainly not the case for everyone.

2. Of note regarding the SCOUT leaderboards to follow is this: the author has included in those leaderboards — besides the expected rates for hitters and pitchers — he has also included the raw totals for walks, strikeouts, and (where applicable) home runs. Why he (i.e. the author) has neglected to do so before now is absolutely not a mystery: the author lacks sense, is the reason.

3. The author recently made a loathsome semantic point regarding spring stats — and, specifically, to what degree it makes sense to call them “meaningless.” Said point applies to the following.

Table: Updated Spring Run-Environment Numbers
Nearly three weeks ago, we considered in these Notes the early returns on this year’s spring-training run environments — both relative to last year’s spring-training run environments, and also to the 2012 regular major-league season’s run environments, as well.

What follows is a table of all those same values — now current as of Monday afternoon and followed by some brief observations regarding same.


League PA AB AVG OBP SLG BABIP HR% BB% K% R/G
Spring 2013 26019 23365 .276 .340 .437 .317 2.6% 8.2% 18.0% 5.2
Spring 2012 36619 32904 .270 .333 .422 .313 2.4% 7.8% 18.1% 4.8
Florida 2013 12959 11615 .266 .333 .415 .307 2.4% 8.4% 18.3% 4.9
Florida 2012 18002 16162 .261 .325 .401 .302 2.2% 7.9% 18.1% 4.5
Arizona 2013 13060 11750 .285 .347 .458 .326 2.7% 8.0% 17.8% 5.5
Arizona 2012 18617 16742 .279 .340 .442 .323 2.5% 7.7% 18.2% 5.1
MLB 2012 184179 165251 .255 .319 .405 .290 2.7% 8.0% 19.8% 4.3

Notes
• Despite rising temperatures, the Cactus League has seen run-scoring drop from 6.1 runs per game at the end of February to the 5.5 per-game mark we see here. The decrease in scoring appears due to a drop in on-base percentage, exclusively. While the .285 batting average here is almost identical to the .286 mark from late February and the .458 slugging percentage is actually higher than the .452 mark from before, the on-base percentage in Arizona has actually dropped from .359 to .347 over the last two-plus weeks.

• While the Grapefruit League has also sustained a league-wide drop in on-base percentage over that same timeframe (from .345 to .333), the drops in batting average (.276 to .266) and slugging percentage (.430 to .415) have been roughly commensurate.

• All told, about 0.4 more runs per game (or ca. 8%) are being scored this spring than last — with a little more than a week left in spring training. “Does this signify a likely, if small, increase in scoring during the regular season?” is the precise sort of question a competent person might be able answer.

SCOUT Leaderboards: Spring Training (Overall)
SCOUT Leaderboard: Spring Hitters
Below is the current SCOUT batting leaderboard for spring training. SCOUT+ combines regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates in a FIP-like equation to produce a result not unlike wRC+, where 100 is league average (in this case, for all spring hitters) and above 100 is above average. xHR%, xBB%, and xK% stand for expected home run, walk, and strikeout rate, respectively.


Player Team Pos PA HR BB K xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Ryan Raburn CLE 2B 40 4 7 4 3.6% 10.2% 16.2% 122
Domonic Brown PHI RF 66 5 6 7 3.7% 8.6% 15.0% 121
Christian Yelich MIA CF 48 5 6 7 3.9% 9.4% 17.2% 120
Paul Konerko CWS 1B 41 5 2 3 3.9% 7.7% 15.4% 120
Josh Reddick OAK RF 36 3 5 1 3.3% 9.4% 14.7% 119
Michael Morse SEA LF 39 6 4 10 4.3% 8.7% 20.3% 117
Gaby Sanchez PIT 1B 35 4 3 3 3.7% 8.4% 16.1% 117
Jose Bautista TOR RF 42 3 7 5 3.3% 10.1% 16.6% 116
Ryan Flaherty BAL 2B 36 3 5 3 3.3% 9.4% 16.0% 116
Freddie Freeman ATL 1B 58 5 3 7 3.8% 7.4% 16.0% 116

SCOUT Leaderboard: Spring Pitchers
Below is the current SCOUT leaderboard for spring training. SCOUT- combines regressed strikeout and walk rates in a kwERA-like equation to produce a number not unlike ERA-, where 100 is league average (in this case, for all spring pitchers) and below 100 is better than average. xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively.


Player Team G GS IP TBF K BB xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Julio Teheran ATL 5 5 20.0 73 25 6 25.8% 8.1% 80
Matt Harvey NYM 5 5 18.1 73 24 4 25.1% 7.7% 81
Stephen Strasburg WSH 5 5 19.1 84 26 6 25.2% 7.9% 81
Alex Cobb TB 5 5 19.1 74 23 2 24.3% 7.4% 82
Donnie Joseph KC 7 0 7.0 24 12 0 22.9% 7.7% 86
Michael Wacha STL 5 0 11.2 43 15 1 22.7% 7.6% 87
Raul Valdes PHI 6 1 13.1 53 16 1 22.2% 7.5% 87
Ervin Santana KC 3 3 9.0 34 13 1 22.4% 7.8% 88
Rick Porcello DET 5 5 18.0 68 18 0 21.7% 7.1% 88
Josh Johnson TOR 4 2 10.2 36 13 0 22.2% 7.5% 88

SCOUT Leaderboards: Spring Training (Rookies)
SCOUT Leaderboard: Spring Rookie Hitters
Below is a table of the the top-five spring hitters per SCOUT who are also rookie eligible. “Rank” stands for each player’s rank among Marc Hulet’s organizational top-15 list for the relevant organization.


Player Team Pos Rank PA HR BB K xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Christian Yelich MIA CF 2 48 5 6 7 3.9% 9.4% 17.2% 120
Khris Davis MIL LF N/A 39 5 3 8 4.0% 8.2% 19.0% 114
Nolan Arenado COL 3B 1 29 4 0 2 3.7% 7.2% 16.2% 114
Conor Gillaspie CWS 3B N/A 38 2 5 2 3.0% 9.3% 15.1% 113
Barrett Barnes HOU CF 10 26 3 1 2 3.4% 7.8% 16.6% 111

SCOUT Leaderboard: Spring Rookie Pitchers
Below is a table of the the top-five spring pitchers per SCOUT who are also rookie eligible. “Rank” stands for each player’s rank among Marc Hulet’s organizational top-15 list for the relevant organization.


Player Team Rank G GS IP TBF K BB xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Julio Teheran ATL 1 5 5 20.0 73 25 6 25.8% 8.1% 80
Donnie Joseph KC N/A 7 0 7.0 24 12 0 22.9% 7.7% 86
Michael Wacha STL 2 5 0 11.2 43 15 1 22.7% 7.6% 87
Allen Webster BOS 4 4 0 11.0 43 14 1 22.0% 7.6% 88
Michael Olmsted MIL N/A 9 0 8.2 37 14 5 22.7% 8.4% 88

Mostly Unhelpful Video: Christian Yelich, Homering
Miami Marlins outfield prospect Christian Yelich, 21, has homered in over 10% of his spring plate appearances — or, roughly four times the league average so far in the Grapefruit League.