Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.
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
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+.)
Here’s the SCOUT+ laggardboard for spring-training batters:
• 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.