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 Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Most Improved Hitters So Far, Per Steamer
As the reader will know, we carry a tidy collection of projection systems here at the site — of which two now, Steamer and ZiPS, are updated daily with constantly changing rest-of-season and overall total projections. Together, the two systems provide important data for our new Standings tool. Another use is to see which players’ season performances to date have most altered their rest-of-season projections.

This week, in the Notes, we’ll be considering those hitters and pitchers whose projections have most improved. Below are the most improved hitters, according to Steamer — where “most improved” is defined as “greatest increase in wOBA projection.”

Note: any player either (a) with fewer than 150 projected rest-of-season plate appearances or (b) 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): 306 PA, .257/.324/.432 (.286 BABIP), .329 wOBA, 107 wRC+
Notes: Most of Donaldson’s improvement so far seems to have come from an increase in projected BABIP. After entering the season with a .272 figure in 328 major-league plate appearances — and only a ca. .300 BABIP in the offense-heavy Pacific Coast League — he currently has a .336 so far this season through 159 plate appearances.

4. Didi Gregorius, SS, Arizona
Steamer (Pre): 215 PA, .255/.296/.365 (.285 BABIP), .288 wOBA, 72 wRC+
Steamer (RoS): 165 PA, .262/.303/.381 (.290 BABIP), .298 wOBA, 77 wRC+
Notes: Gregorious showed some but not much power as a minor leaguer, perhaps putting forth his best performance last season, with six home runs in 202 plate appearance with Triple-A Louisville. He’s already hit five now, though, in fewer than 100 plate appearances between Arizona’s Triple-A and major-league clubs. That, and an improving BABIP projection, appear to be the basis for his 10-point improvement in wOBA.

3. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington
Steamer (Pre): 668 PA, .263/.335/.457 (.296 BABIP), .342 wOBA, 114 wRC+
Steamer (RoS): 516 PA, .268/.342/.479 (.296 BABIP), .353 wOBA, 119 wRC+
Notes: Relative to his rookie season, Harper has so far (a) increased his walk rate by nearly four percentage points, (b) reduced his strikeout rate by three points, and (c) almost precisely doubled his home-run rate.

2. Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee
Steamer (Pre): 464 PA, .247/.300/.404 (.292 BABIP), .305 wOBA, 89 wRC+
Steamer (RoS): 364 PA, .260/.310/.431 (.304 BABIP), .321 wOBA, 97 wRC+
Notes: Regarded for the majority of his career as a glove-first outfielder with offensive upside, Gomez began realizing some of that upside last season, hitting 19 home runs in 452 plate appearances. He’s begun 2013 not only with an even slightly improved home-run rate (4.2% to 4.5%), but also with a .435 BABIP. Steamer thinks it’s probable that there are real gains in Gomez’s batted-ball profile. Hence, the 16-point improvement overall.

1. Jean Segura, SS, Milwaukee
Steamer (Pre): 428 PA, .267/.314/.375 (.299 BABIP), .299 wOBA, 85 wRC+
Steamer (RoS): 335 PA, .277/.323/.403 (.307 BABIP), .315 wOBA, 93 wRC+
Notes: The Brewers currently find themselves in fourth place in the NL Central — and, given the projections, that’s where they’re most likely to end up. To date, though, they’ve rostered the leagues two most improved hitters — Gomez (above) and Segura. Originally projected to hit just five home runs in 428 plate appearances, Segura — who’s hit six of them 143 PAs — is projected to hit six more home runs in 335 plate appearances.

Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
New York AL at Cleveland | 12:05 ET
New York AL at Cleveland | Game Two
Somewhat surprisingly, Cleveland continues to have outproduced every offense in baseball (120 wRC+), and features a park-adjusted home-run rate better than two standard deviations above league average. Thing to note about the second game: left-hander Vidal Nuno starts it for the Yankees, his first major-league start. He was excellent (23.1 IP, 30.6% K, 2.4% BB) at Triple-A, although has succeeded more on pitchability than stuff.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Cleveland Radio.

New York NL at St. Louis | 19:05 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Jeremy Hefner faces Lance Lynn,” is a true comment one can make about this game.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: New York NL Television.

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 5.6.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
David Phelps* NYA 7 5 7 10 6 CLE Justin Masterson 12:05
Vidal Nuno* NYA 9 5 8 10 8 CLE Trevor Bauer* Gm 2
Marco Estrada MIL 6 7 7 8 8 PIT A.J. Burnett 19:05
Jeremy Hefner NYN 3 7 5 1 7 STL Lance Lynn 19:05
Bud Norris HOU 2 5 6 8 10 DET Anibal Sanchez 19:08
Juan Nicasio COL 3 6 4 4 5 CHN Travis Wood 20:05
Hector Santiago* CHA 7 0 4 4 3 MIN Pedro Hernandez* 20:10
Mike Minor ATL 6 8 6 4 5 AZ Wade Miley 21:40
Luis Mendoza KC 2 7 4 4 4 LAA Joe Blanton 22:05
Justin Grimm TEX 6 4 5 6 4 OAK A.J. Griffin 22:05
Jor. Zimmermann WAS 8 3 6 3 5 LAN Josh Beckett 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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