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Daily Notes: Julio Teheran’s Spring Opposition, Examined

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

1. Entirely Relevant Preamble
2. Julio Teheran’s Spring Opposition, Examined
3. Mostly Unhelpful Video: Julio Teheran, Succeeding

Entirely Relevant Preamble
Among the entire surfeit of spring numbers considered in yesterday’s edition of the Notes, one such number suggested the possibility that Atlanta right-handed prospect Julio Teheran has produced the best performance of spring training so far. The data revealed that Teheran had struck out 25 (or ca. 32%) of the estimated 73 batters he’d faced during his five spring starts — a rate which, when regressed against spring averages, is the highest among all pitchers. While further inspection reveals that Teheran has, in fact, faced 74 batters (i.e. one more than originally suggested), the point still remains: relative to the amount of innings he’s thrown, Teheran has probably been the most effective of the spring’s pitchers.

What one wonders is this: “How is it that nearly everyone owns a car despite the enormous expense of buying one — not to mention the associated costs, like insurance, fuel, and maintenance?” After that, though, one wonders a second, more relevant thing — namely, “How strong has Teheran’s competition been this spring?”

To address that latter question in full is impossible. Insofar as some batters use spring training to experiment with mechanical adjustments or plate discipline, the “true talent” of those same batters in the moment during which they’re facing Teheran might diverge wildly from previously recorded levels.

That said, with the projections available here at the site, we do have some sense of the talent level of any player Teheran would be likely to face. It’s with that thought in mind that the author had the idea of documenting every batter Teheran had faced this spring, with a view to assaying the strength of those batters relative to major-league average — again, with all possible caveats regarding spring training and how hitters use their time there.

Julio Teheran’s Spring Opposition, Examined
Below is a table of every batter Julio Teheran has faced this spring. For each batter, there’s a record of the date on which Teheran faced him. For each batter is also included his projected walk rate, strikeout rate, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage for 2013 — all according to Steamer. Finally, at the bottom of the table, is an average (among all of the batters Teheran has faced) for each of the five projected metrics, the major-league average for all of those same metrics in 2012, and an index rating, where 100 is average and less than 100 is worse than average — including for strikeout rate, for which I’ve used the following equation, which retains the league average in the denominator: (1-((K%/AvgK%)-1))*100.

Note: the two pitchers included here (Jake Westbrook and Jon Niese) have no offensive projections. In lieu of that, I’ve simply reproduced here their respective career batting numbers.


Name Team Date BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
Starling Marte Pirates 24-Feb 5.1% 20.9% .277 .324 .438
Russell Martin Pirates 24-Feb 11.0% 17.4% .237 .329 .377
Andrew McCutchen Pirates 24-Feb 11.6% 17.9% .292 .378 .498
Pedro Alvarez Pirates 24-Feb 10.0% 28.5% .244 .322 .447
Neil Walker Pirates 24-Feb 8.6% 17.8% .274 .339 .431
Gaby Sanchez Pirates 24-Feb 9.8% 15.4% .258 .336 .411
Brandon Inge Pirates 24-Feb 8.6% 25.8% .222 .292 .365
Danny Espinosa Nationals 1-Mar 7.8% 26.0% .238 .310 .401
Steve Lombardozzi Nationals 1-Mar 6.1% 12.0% .265 .316 .373
Bryce Harper Nationals 1-Mar 9.6% 19.1% .263 .335 .457
Tyler Moore Nationals 1-Mar 6.2% 25.5% .241 .292 .440
Chad Tracy Nationals 1-Mar 7.0% 20.0% .248 .306 .424
Chris Marrero Nationals 1-Mar 7.0% 19.0% .255 .311 .385
Corey Brown Nationals 1-Mar 8.0% 28.0% .228 .294 .388
Sandy Leon Nationals 1-Mar 7.0% 18.0% .235 .296 .332
Eury Perez Nationals 1-Mar 3.0% 15.0% .266 .297 .338
Danny Espinosa Nationals 1-Mar 7.8% 26.0% .238 .310 .401
Austin Jackson Tigers 7-Mar 9.3% 23.0% .277 .348 .420
Brennan Boesch Tigers 7-Mar 6.9% 19.5% .258 .315 .419
Victor Martinez Tigers 7-Mar 8.9% 10.5% .294 .358 .459
Prince Fielder Tigers 7-Mar 14.3% 14.2% .292 .405 .525
Andy Dirks Tigers 7-Mar 6.6% 15.4% .273 .325 .425
Alex Avila Tigers 7-Mar 13.0% 22.5% .255 .355 .424
Jhonny Peralta Tigers 7-Mar 8.3% 17.1% .259 .322 .413
Don Kelly Tigers 7-Mar 8.0% 17.0% .244 .306 .366
Jeff Kobernus Tigers 7-Mar 4.0% 17.0% .248 .281 .327
Austin Jackson Tigers 7-Mar 9.3% 23.0% .277 .348 .420
Brennan Boesch Tigers 7-Mar 6.9% 19.5% .258 .315 .419
Victor Martinez Tigers 7-Mar 8.9% 10.5% .294 .358 .459
Prince Fielder Tigers 7-Mar 14.3% 14.2% .292 .405 .525
Andy Dirks Tigers 7-Mar 6.6% 15.4% .273 .325 .425
Alex Avila Tigers 7-Mar 13.0% 22.5% .255 .355 .424
Jhonny Peralta Tigers 7-Mar 8.3% 17.1% .259 .322 .413
Adron Chambers Cardinals 12-Mar 9.0% 20.0% .269 .339 .375
Daniel Descalso Cardinals 12-Mar 8.4% 16.8% .253 .321 .366
Allen Craig Cardinals 12-Mar 7.8% 17.1% .295 .353 .504
Ty Wigginton Cardinals 12-Mar 8.8% 20.5% .234 .308 .374
Oscar Taveras Cardinals 12-Mar 6.3% 11.9% .280 .328 .432
Tony Cruz Cardinals 12-Mar 6.0% 16.0% .244 .295 .362
Ronny Cedeno Cardinals 12-Mar 6.7% 20.0% .245 .301 .365
Stephen Piscotty Cardinals 12-Mar 4.0% 13.0% .216 .257 .303
Jake Westbrook Cardinals 12-Mar 5.5% 41.1% .119 .174 .178
Adron Chambers Cardinals 12-Mar 9.0% 20.0% .269 .339 .375
Daniel Descalso Cardinals 12-Mar 8.4% 16.8% .253 .321 .366
Allen Craig Cardinals 12-Mar 7.8% 17.1% .295 .353 .504
Ty Wigginton Cardinals 12-Mar 8.8% 20.5% .234 .308 .374
Oscar Taveras Cardinals 12-Mar 6.3% 11.9% .280 .328 .432
Tony Cruz Cardinals 12-Mar 6.0% 16.0% .244 .295 .362
Ronny Cedeno Cardinals 12-Mar 6.7% 20.0% .245 .301 .365
Stephen Piscotty Cardinals 12-Mar 4.0% 13.0% .216 .257 .303
Jake Westbrook Cardinals 12-Mar 5.5% 41.1% .119 .174 .178
Jordany Valdespin Mets 17-Mar 4.4% 17.5% .256 .294 .393
Collin Cowgill Mets 17-Mar 7.9% 18.2% .255 .316 .376
Ike Davis Mets 17-Mar 11.5% 22.3% .254 .343 .475
Marlon Byrd Mets 17-Mar 5.5% 17.6% .265 .315 .397
Zach Lutz Mets 17-Mar 9.0% 27.0% .234 .312 .389
Landon Powell Mets 17-Mar 10.0% 21.0% .222 .302 .340
Matt Den Dekker Mets 17-Mar 5.7% 27.4% .232 .281 .367
Ruben Tejada Mets 17-Mar 7.1% 13.2% .263 .324 .343
Jon Niese Mets 17-Mar 8.6% 41.1% .158 .238 .181
Jordany Valdespin Mets 17-Mar 4.4% 17.5% .256 .294 .393
Collin Cowgill Mets 17-Mar 7.9% 18.2% .255 .316 .376
Ike Davis Mets 17-Mar 11.5% 22.3% .254 .343 .475
Marlon Byrd Mets 17-Mar 5.5% 17.6% .265 .315 .397
Zach Lutz Mets 17-Mar 9.0% 27.0% .234 .312 .389
Landon Powell Mets 17-Mar 10.0% 21.0% .222 .302 .340
Matt Den Dekker Mets 17-Mar 5.7% 27.4% .232 .281 .367
Ruben Tejada Mets 17-Mar 7.1% 13.2% .263 .324 .343
Lucas Duda Mets 17-Mar 10.3% 21.6% .250 .335 .424
Jordany Valdespin Mets 17-Mar 4.4% 17.5% .256 .294 .393
Collin Cowgill Mets 17-Mar 7.9% 18.2% .255 .316 .376
Ike Davis Mets 17-Mar 11.5% 22.3% .254 .343 .475
Marlon Byrd Mets 17-Mar 5.5% 17.6% .265 .315 .397
Zach Lutz Mets 17-Mar 9.0% 27.0% .234 .312 .389
Average 7.9% 20.0% .250 .315 .393
MLB 2012 8.0% 19.8% .255 .319 .405
Index 99 99 98 99 97

Notes
• What we find here is that the batters Teheran has faced this spring are projected to slash .250/.315/.393 in 2013, with 7.9% and 20.0% walk and strikeout rates, respectively — i.e. not very different at all from the major-league average of .255/.319/.405 from 2012, with 8.0% and 19.8% walk and strikeout rates, respectively. On average, it appears as though Teheran’s opponents this season have been about 1% worse than league average.

• The group above has posted the following slash-line against Teheran this spring in 74 plate appearances: .104/.209/.194. And the following walk and strikeout rates, respectively: 8.1% and 33.8%.

• Given what we know about the samples required for certain metrics to become reliable, that slash-line figure isn’t entirely helpful, probably. Regressed using spring averages, however, we can get some sense of Teharan’s walk and strikeout rate against the above opponents to date — in this case, something like 8.1% and 25.8%, respectively.

• By way of reference, here are the spring averages so far for walk and strikeout rate, respectively: 8.2% and 18.0%.

• Is any of this predictive so far as the major-league season is concerned? I don’t know. The question asked towards the top of this post, however, regarded the strength of Julio Teheran’s competition so far this spring — strength of competition being frequently cited as one of the reasons why spring numbers ought to be handled delicately. In Julio Teheran’s case, he appears to have faced something similar to a major-league-average group of batters — and appears, also, to have dispatched of those same batters in an above-average way.

Mostly Unhelpful Video: Julio Teheran, Succeeding
Here’s mostly unhelpful footage of Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran striking out seven Mets in six innings in his most recent spring start: