Daily Notes for March 30th

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

1. Select Televised Games
2. SCOUT Leaderboard: Spring Training Batters
3. Superfluous Video: Freddy Galvis Gets Three Hits

Select Televised Games
Today’s notable games available on MLB.TV.

Miami at Washington | 18:05 ET
Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has a .304 career on-base percentage, has produced one of the worst offensive performahnces of the spring (see batting laggardboards below), and yet has batted in the leadoff spot for at least each of the Nationals’ last seven games — and will likely do so for the foreseeable future. Does batting Desmond leadoff ultimately have a profound negative effect on run production? Probably not. But it appears to be symptomatic of a sort of devotion to baseball orthodoxy (in this case, the Baseball Law that the leadoff spot should be reserved for a fast, light-ish-hitting batter) that one imagines can’t help a team.

Philadelphia at New York | 19:05 ET
Freddy Galvis, the most likely candidate to play second base in Chase Utley‘s place for the Phils to start the season, has actually hit pretty well this spring, producing component stats in his 68 spring plate appearances that would (very) theoretically lead to a 103 wRC+. He’s probably not actually a league-average hitter (ZiPS, for example, has him posting a .290 wOBA), but he also is apparently a competent shortstop, meaning he could be a defensive plus at second. He’s been out for a couple of days after fouling a ball of his foot, but is due to return soon.

Texas at Colorado | 22:10 ET
Yu Darvish starts for Texas. Here’s his spring line so far: 9.0 IP, 10 K, 7 BB, 1 HR. Also, question: who will be the Rockies starting third baseman following the release of pre-spring favorite Casey Blake? Chris Nelson and Jordan Pacheco are the current favorites, it appears — and, via technology, you can watch them probably play in this game!

SCOUT Leaderboards: Spring Training Batters
Batting Leaderboard
SCOUT is a metric designed to assess performance in those instances — like with baseball’s various fall and winter leagues, for example, or spring training — where small samples are the rule. Presented on the same scale as wRC+, SCOUT+ uses regressed home-run rate, walk rate, and strikeout rate as its inputs. Because it uses metrics that become reliable rather quickly, SCOUT+ represents a more stable alternative to batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, etc. (Click here for more on SCOUT+.)

Name Org PA* HR% BB% K% xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Adam Dunn CWS 56 7.1% 23.2% 10.7% 3.6% 11.8% 14.7% 126
Freddie Freeman ATL 72 8.3% 8.3% 13.9% 4.1% 7.7% 15.6% 119
Ryan Raburn DET 43 14.0% 7.0% 16.3% 4.4% 7.3% 16.9% 119
Eric Hosmer KC 75 6.7% 10.7% 13.3% 3.7% 8.6% 15.2% 118
Shelley Duncan CLE 52 9.6% 13.5% 17.3% 4.0% 9.0% 17.2% 118
Albert Pujols LAA 54 7.4% 9.3% 7.4% 3.6% 7.9% 13.6% 118
Luke Hughes MIN 55 9.1% 7.3% 10.9% 3.9% 7.3% 14.8% 117
Dan Uggla ATL 62 9.7% 11.3% 21.0% 4.2% 8.6% 18.7% 117
Carlos Santana CLE 61 4.9% 9.8% 6.6% 3.2% 8.1% 12.8% 115
Daniel Descalso STL 63 1.6% 19.0% 7.9% 2.5% 11.0% 13.3% 115

Batting Laggardboard
Here’s the SCOUT+ laggardboard for spring-training batters:

Name Org PA* HR% BB% K% xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Brandon Wood COL 46 0.0% 0.0% 34.8% 2.3% 5.7% 22.5% 81
Bryan LaHair CHC 59 0.0% 1.7% 27.1% 2.2% 5.7% 21.0% 82
Danny Espinosa WSH 65 0.0% 7.7% 30.8% 2.2% 7.5% 23.0% 83
Matt Kemp LAD 53 3.8% 1.9% 39.6% 2.9% 5.9% 25.1% 84
Pedro Alvarez PIT 43 4.7% 2.3% 46.5% 3.0% 6.3% 25.5% 85
Dayan Viciedo CWS 51 0.0% 5.9% 31.4% 2.3% 7.0% 22.0% 85
Ian Desmond WSH 69 1.4% 2.9% 26.1% 2.5% 5.8% 21.2% 85
Mike Moustakas KC 61 1.6% 4.9% 31.1% 2.5% 6.6% 22.8% 85
Josh Hamilton TEX 50 0.0% 4.0% 28.0% 2.3% 6.5% 20.7% 86
Brent Lillibridge CWS 58 0.0% 6.9% 27.6% 2.2% 7.2% 21.2% 86


• The sample from which these leaderboards were taken includes the 270 spring batters with at least 40 at-bats as of Thursday evening.
• Because you’re the curious sort, you’ve likely found yourself wondering, at some point or another, what precisely is/was responsible for Adam Dunn’s miserable 2011 season, during which he posted one of the lowest walk rates of his career (15.1%), the highest strikeout rate (35.7%), and the lowest home-run rate — all of which led to a -2.9 WAR in 496 plate appearances. Whatever did happen is certainly not to be ignored when trying to project Dunn’s 2012. However, Dunn’s performance ought to provide some kind of optimism, too: Dunn has walked over twice as often as he’s struck out and shown power, too (4 in ca. 56 PAs).
• Regarding how Josh Hamilton and Matt Kemp are both on the laggardboard, a potentially relevant note: BABIP isn’t a component in SCOUT+ (because it needs so many PAs to become reliable), but it is a real batting skill — one that Hamilton and Kemp appear to possess. The former has a .338 BABIP in 2515 career plate appearances; the latter, a .352 BABIP in 3158 career plate appearances. In any case, spring performances for players like Hamilton and Kemp are probably less relevant towards the upcoming season than those of players like Alvarez, LaHair, and Viciedo, who are attempting to use the spring to solidify starting roles with their respective teams.

Superfluous Video: Freddy Galvis Gets Three Hits
This video, which probably features a Game of Thrones commerical before it, is (a) of Freddy Galvis getting three hits and (b) largely unnecessary.

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

7 Responses to “Daily Notes for March 30th”

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  1. jesse says:

    C. all of that above!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. NatsFan73 says:

    Ian Desmond is also a fan favorite and a “clubhouse leader”. Two more completely superfluous reasons to give a player an important role in the everyday line up.

    Steve Lombardozi’s been kicking tail in spring training so far though, so hopefully Davey Johnson is just given Desmond enough rope to hang himself and make an unpopular switch more palatable.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      Who exactly is Ian Desmond a fan favorite with, though? We all know he sucks.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • David says:

        I’m not sure what fans he’s talking about.

        Take a poll of Nats fans, and Desmond is universally hated.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • John C. says:

        Ian Desmond gets a lot more flack from the fans than Danny Espinosa does. But other than a hot start in September 2010 (that quickly cooled) and after a couple of decent months in early 2011, Espinosa has been at least as much of a liability as Desmond. Further, if you look at the “laggard” board, one of the few players that trails Desmond is … Espinosa. Espinosa’s whiff average this spring is .385!

        Lombardozzi and (by September) Rendon may be pushing someone out of the infield this year, but the pushee may not be Desmond.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. L.UZR says:

    A short fielder would lower Galvis’ BABIP by 0.667

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Big Jgke says:

    How is it possible that you didn’t include video or even make a mention of Anthony Gose stealing every base possible, including home, in a single inning, for a game winning run?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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