- FanGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs -

Daily Notes: The PCL’s Very Earliest Top Performances

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

1. SCOUT Leaderboards for the Pacific Coast League
2. Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Barely Necessary Footage: A.J. Griffin’s Changeup, As Reference
4. Today’s Game Odds, Translated into Winning Percentages

SCOUT Leaderboards for the Pacific Coast League
Considered earlier: International League (April 10).

On Monday, in the Notes, we considered the earliest statistical returns from the majors, according to SCOUT. What follows is a very similar thing to that, except for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.

“What actually is SCOUT?” a reasonable person might ask — to which question the author has provided a (hopefully) reasonable answer here. In brief, however, it’s this: an attempt to use our knowledge of certain metrics, and at what sample sizes they become reliable, to measure run production/prevention in instances where small samples are all that’s available.

Below are those same leaderboards, as I say, for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.

SCOUT Leaderboard: Pacific Coast League Hitters (Overall)
Below is the current SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. SCOUT+ combines regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates in a FIP-like equation to produce a result not unlike wRC+, where 100 is league average (in this case, for all Pacific Coast League hitters) and above 100 is above average. xHR%, xBB%, and xK% stand for expected home run, walk, and strikeout rate, respectively.


Player Team Age PA HR BB K xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Scott Van Slyke Dodgers (AAA) 26 29 4 5 5 3.2% 10.4% 19.3% 118
Alex Liddi Mariners (AAA) 24 35 3 6 6 2.8% 10.7% 19.2% 114
Jamie Romak Cardinals (AAA) 27 29 3 4 5 2.9% 9.9% 19.3% 113
Mike Zunino Mariners (AAA) 22 29 4 2 7 3.2% 8.9% 20.6% 111
Alex Castellanos Dodgers (AAA) 26 29 1 5 2 2.2% 10.4% 17.3% 110
Matt Davidson Diamondbacks (AAA) 22 32 2 5 6 2.5% 10.3% 19.6% 109
Robbie Grossman Astros (AAA) 23 31 0 8 4 1.8% 11.8% 18.4% 108
Shane Peterson Athletics (AAA) 25 25 0 8 4 1.9% 12.1% 19.2% 108
Nolan Arenado Rockies (AAA) 22 18 2 1 2 2.6% 8.9% 18.7% 108
Travis D’Arnaud Mets (AAA) 24 23 0 7 3 1.9% 11.7% 18.7% 107

SCOUT Leaderboard: Pacific Coast League Hitters (Age 24 and Under)
Here are the top-10 batters of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League who might still, because of their age, be considered prospects — again, as determined by the methodology explained above.


Player Team Age PA HR BB K xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Alex Liddi Mariners (AAA) 24 35 3 6 6 2.8% 10.7% 19.2% 114
Mike Zunino Mariners (AAA) 22 29 4 2 7 3.2% 8.9% 20.6% 111
Matt Davidson Diamondbacks (AAA) 22 32 2 5 6 2.5% 10.3% 19.6% 109
Robbie Grossman Astros (AAA) 23 31 0 8 4 1.8% 11.8% 18.4% 108
Nolan Arenado Rockies (AAA) 22 18 2 1 2 2.6% 8.9% 18.7% 108
Travis D’Arnaud Mets (AAA) 24 23 0 7 3 1.9% 11.7% 18.7% 107
Wilmer Flores Mets (AAA) 21 28 0 5 1 1.9% 10.5% 16.8% 107
Hunter Morris Brewers (AAA) 24 28 1 5 6 2.2% 10.5% 20.1% 105
Che-Hsuan Lin Astros (AAA) 24 20 0 5 3 1.9% 10.8% 19.1% 104
Jimmy Paredes Astros (AAA) 24 28 1 2 3 2.2% 9.0% 18.1% 104

SCOUT Leaderboard: Pacific Coast League Pitchers (Overall)
Below is the current SCOUT pitching leaderboard for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. SCOUT- combines regressed strikeout and walk rates in a kwERA-like equation to produce a number not unlike ERA-, where 100 is league average (in this case, for all Pacific Coast League pitchers) and below 100 is better than average. xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively.


Player Team Age G GS IP TBF K BB xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Chris Heston Giants (AAA) 25 2 2 12.0 51 16 2 23.7% 8.8% 88
Will Smith Royals (AAA) 23 2 2 10.0 44 15 4 24.0% 9.3% 89
Josh Outman Rockies (AAA) 28 2 0 6.0 22 10 0 23.5% 8.9% 89
Brian Moran Mariners (AAA) 24 2 0 3.1 10 7 0 23.1% 9.1% 90
Danny Hultzen Mariners (AAA) 23 2 2 11.0 46 14 3 23.0% 9.0% 90
Jarred Cosart Astros (AAA) 23 2 2 9.0 35 12 5 23.2% 9.6% 92
Drew Pomeranz Rockies (AAA) 24 1 1 5.2 21 8 1 22.3% 9.1% 93
Mike Ekstrom Athletics (AAA) 29 2 0 3.1 14 7 2 22.6% 9.4% 93
John Gast Cardinals (AAA) 24 2 2 11.0 40 12 4 22.5% 9.3% 93
Tyler Thornburg Brewers (AAA) 24 2 2 10.0 40 12 4 22.5% 9.3% 93

SCOUT Leaderboard: Pacific Coast League Pitchers (Starters Only)
Here are the top-10 pitchers in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League who have made at least half of their appearances as starts — again, as determined by the methodology explained above.


Player Team Age G GS IP TBF K BB xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Chris Heston Giants (AAA) 25 2 2 12.0 51 16 2 23.7% 8.8% 88
Will Smith Royals (AAA) 23 2 2 10.0 44 15 4 24.0% 9.3% 89
Danny Hultzen Mariners (AAA) 23 2 2 11.0 46 14 3 23.0% 9.0% 90
Jarred Cosart Astros (AAA) 23 2 2 9.0 35 12 5 23.2% 9.6% 92
Drew Pomeranz Rockies (AAA) 24 1 1 5.2 21 8 1 22.3% 9.1% 93
John Gast Cardinals (AAA) 24 2 2 11.0 40 12 4 22.5% 9.3% 93
Tyler Thornburg Brewers (AAA) 24 2 2 10.0 40 12 4 22.5% 9.3% 93
Brad Hand Marlins (AAA) 23 2 2 10.0 40 12 5 22.5% 9.5% 93
Yusmeiro Petit Giants (AAA) 28 2 2 10.2 50 13 3 21.8% 9.0% 94
James Paxton Mariners (AAA) 24 1 1 4.0 18 6 0 21.4% 9.0% 95

Brief Notes
• Real-live Italian and also Mariners third-base prospect Alex Liddi has never posted a minor-league walk rate above 10% or strikeout rate below 20%. Reason suggests he won’t this season, either — but he is doing it right now, at least.

• Other Mariners prospect, catcher Mike Zunino finished near the top of the Low-A SCOUT batting leaderboard last season, before earning promotion directly to Double-A and hitting well there for 57 plate appearances. His plate discipline has been limited (2:7 BB:K) at Triple-A so far, but the four early home runs tie him for the league lead after a week of play.

• Mets infield prospect Wilmer Flores continues to be (a) entirely young for his levels and (b) the boss of the strike zone.

Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
Toronto at Detroit | 13:05 ET
“The Blue Jays and Tigers” would be an acceptable response, probably, to the question “Who do you think will win the AL East and Central this year, respectively?” It is, more or less, the answer FanGraphs writers gave collectively to a very similar question at the end of March. In this particular case, Toronto’s Josh Johnson (6.0 IP, 4.67 xFIP in his season debut) faces Detroit’s Doug Fister (5.0 IP, 5.03 xFIP).

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Toronto Radio.

Akron at Bowie | 19:05 ET
Akron and Bowie are the Double-A Eastern League affiliates of the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles, respectively. Starting for Bowie in this game is right-hander Kevin Gausman. Gausman, 22, was the fourth-overall pick by the Orioles in the 2012 draft out of LSU. He was ranked 15th among all prospects this preseason by our Marc Hulet. Here’s the line from Gausman’s season debut on Saturday: 4.0 IP, 22 TBF, 8 K, 0 BB, 1 HR, 8 H. Akron, for its part features notable middle-infield prospects Jose Ramirez and Ronny Rodriguez, both considered included on Hulet’s top-15 list for the Indians.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: MiLB.TV.

Oakland at Los Angeles AL | 22:05 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
A.J. Griffin faces Jason Vargas. Of note regarding Griffin: while his curveball is manifestly terrific, it was actually his changeup that was more valuable last season in terms of run prevention — both on a rate and cumulative basis. According to Brooks Baseball, Griffin threw the pitch 23% of the time to left-handed batters; just 1% of the time to right-handed ones.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Oakland Radio.

Barely Necessary Footage: A.J. Griffin’s Changeup, As Reference
Here’s, for the benefit of the reader, is the best changeup Griffin threw last year while also pitching in front of an above-average center-field camera:

Griff Swish CH Better

And here, because it exists, is a tighter shot of that same pitch:

Griff Swish CH Better SLOW

Today’s Game Odds, Translated into Winning Percentages
Note: the very proprietary and also critically acclaimed NERD game scores will become available again at the end of April/beginning of May.

Here — for purposes entirely of entertainment and not for gambling, which is a Scourge of Propriety — are all of today’s games with moneyline odds (from relatively “sharp” sportsbook Pinnacle Sports) translated into projected winning percentages (and adjusted to account for the vigorish).

Games are listed in Eastern Time, as the author has recently bothered to learn how to convert time zones in Excel. Game presented in order, first, of National League and then American League and, finally, then interleague play.

***Not included below (because no odds were available for them on Wednesday night) are the Cubs-Giants game at 14:20 ET, featuring Ryan Vogelsong and Scott Feldman, and also the Yankees-Indians one at 19:05 ET, featuring Phil Hughes and Zach McAllister.***


Game Teams Starters Line Win%
22:10 Los Angeles Dodgers Zack Greinke 1.63 60.2%
ET San Diego Padres Jason Marquis 2.46 39.8%
13:05 Toronto Blue Jays Josh Johnson 2.18 45.0%
ET Detroit Tigers Doug Fister 1.78 55.0%
19:10 Baltimore Orioles Chris Tillman 2.06 47.6%
ET Boston Red Sox Alfredo Aceves 1.87 52.4%
22:05 Oakland Athletics A.J. Griffin 2.19 44.8%
ET LAA Angels Jason Vargas 1.78 55.2%
22:10 Texas Rangers Justin Grimm 2.36 41.5%
ET Seattle Mariners Felix Hernandez 1.68 58.5%
19:05 Chicago White Sox Dylan Axelrod 2.43 40.4%
ET Washington Nationals Dan Haren 1.65 59.6%