Daily Notes: Most Improved Hitters So Far, Per Steamer

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

1. Most Improved Hitters So Far, Per Steamer
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Most Improved Hitters So Far, Per Steamer
In May, the author examined those hitters and pitchers whose projections had most improved, up till that point, according to the Steamer and ZiPS systems. This week, in the Notes, we’ll revisit that effort.

In this edition: the league’s most improved hitters, according to Steamer — where “most improved” is defined as “greatest increase in wOBA projection.”*

Note: only players with both a preseason and rest-of-season projection have been considered. Other note: any player absent currently from a major-league roster has been omitted from consideration.

5. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland
Steamer (Pre): 403 PA, .250/.315/.421 (.279 BABIP), .319 wOBA, 103 wRC+
Steamer (RoS): 166 PA, .264/.336/.441 (.294 BABIP), .340 wOBA, 117 wRC+
Notes: Despite hitting quite poorly in the first half of 2012, Donaldson produced a slash-line of .290/.356/.489 (.323 BABIP) and 136 wRC+ over 194 plate appearances in the second half. The third baseman has improved slighly even upon that in 2013 and is projected to post end-of-season WAR totals of 5.8 and 5.9 by ZiPS and Steamer, respectively.

4. Kole Calhoun, OF, Los Angeles AL
Steamer (Pre): 100 PA, .257/.320/.410 (.298 BABIP), .317 wOBA, 103 wRC+
Steamer (RoS): 44 PA, .271/.337/.441 (.304 BABIP), .339 wOBA, 118 wRC+
Notes: After slashing .354/.431/.617 (.371 BABIP) in 274 plate appearances with Triple-A Salt Lake City — and recording a 32:32 walk-to-strikeout ratio over that same interval — Calhoun was promoted to the majors at the end of July and has played a considerable amount of right field in the meantime.

3. Chris Colabello, OF, Minnesota
Steamer (Pre): 100 PA, .254/.311/.414 (.289 BABIP), .314 wOBA, 97 wRC+
Steamer (RoS): 170 PA, .263/.330/.448 (.312 BABIP), .338 wOBA, 113 wRC+
Notes: After seven seasons in the Can-Am League, and an eighth (2012) with Minnesota Double-A affiliate New Britain, the 29-year-old Colabello made his major-league debut this season in May. Steamer’s optimism regarding Colabello clearly weights his excellent minor-league numbers more heavily than those he’s posted with the Twins, where he’s recorded just a 88 wRC+ (.265 BABIP).

2. Christian Yelich, OF, Miami
Steamer (Pre): 100 PA, .238/.290/.342 (.286 BABIP), .278 wOBA, 71 wRC+
Steamer (RoS): 113 PA, .253/.310/.383 (.312 BABIP), .305 wOBA, 91 wRC+
Notes: Yelich began the season as one of the top prospects in the Miami system, but also with absolutely no experience above the High-A level. After hitting .280/.365/.518 (.346 BABIP) in 222 plate appearances with Double-A Jacksonville in the Southern League, Yelich was promoted in July and appears, presently, to be the Marlins’ starting left fielder.

1. Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore
Steamer (Pre): 489 PA, .265/.324/.488 (.325 BABIP), .346 wOBA, 116 wRC+
Steamer (RoS): 172 PA, .273/.340/.539 (.328 BABIP), .373 wOBA, 135 wRC+
Notes: Davis’s BABIP projection has increased by only three points since the preseason — the lowest amount of all hitters on this list. What’s changed most significantly is the projected home-run rate. It was 5.1% in the preseason, is 6.4% presently.

*Except in cases, such as Matt Tuiasosopo‘s, where the present rest-of-season wOBA projection is for a different park than the preseason one. Moving from the Mets to Tigers, for example, Tuiasosopo’s wOBA projection has increased 28 points; his wRC+ projection, just 11 points.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Detroit at Chicago AL | 20:10 ET
Max Scherzer (158.1 IP, 74 xFIP-, 4.8) faces Hector Santiago (112.2 IP, 106 xFIP-, 1.3 WAR). The former is quite excellent.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Detroit Radio.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.9.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Jason Vargas LAA 3 7 5 2 7 NYA CC Sabathia 19:05
M. Bumgarner SF 8 5 7 3 7 WAS Gio Gonzalez 19:05
Ryan Dempster BOS 3 8 5 6 5 TOR Todd Redmond 19:07
Ethan Martin* PHI 6 1 6 8 6 ATL Kris Medlen 19:10
Erasmo Ramirez SEA 6 4 6 10 4 TB Chris Archer 19:10
Homer Bailey CIN 10 3 8 5 8 CHN Jeff Samardzija 20:05
Marco Estrada MIL 6 4 4 3 2 TEX Alexi Ogando 20:05
Zach McAllister CLE 3 7 4 3 3 MIN Samuel Deduno 20:10
Max Scherzer DET 10 8 7 2 5 CHA Hector Santiago 20:10
Jose Fernandez MIA 10 1 6 7 3 KC Bruce Chen 20:10
Charlie Morton PIT 7 7 7 3 9 STL A. Wainwright 20:15
Eric Stults SD 4 6 5 7 4 COL Jeff Manship* 20:40
Miguel Gonzalez BAL 3 9 6 3 8 AZ Randall Delgado 21:40
Jordan Lyles HOU 5 4 5 6 4 OAK Bartolo Colon 22:05
Matt Harvey NYN 10 6 8 3 7 LAN Hyun-Jin Ryu 22:10

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

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The projection systems still don’t like Chris Davis much; they see him as a 3-3.5 WAR player. I wonder whether this is just something caused by the simplicity of the daily updated projections and he will look differently come the 2014 preseason projections.


Sorry, that was my first time trying to embed hyperlinks. The point still stands.

This was what I was trying to type:
Coming from an O’s fan, Davis is Ryan Howard without the walks. He’s a poor fielder (15th out of 19 first basemen in UZR/150) whose numbers are inflated by playing in one of the more hitter-friendly parks in baseball. His average is high this year because of an ungodly, and pretty damn fluky, power surge, and his plate discipline, which was improved early on, has been in freefall recently. His season last year (120 wRC+) is closer to his true talent level. That’s why he’s a 3-WAR player–at best.