Daily Notes: Top Performers of the 2009 WBC, Curiously

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

1. Top Performers of the 2009 WBC, Curiously
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: 2009 World Baseball Classic
3. Illustrative Video: Cuba’s Frederich Cepeda

Top Performers of the 2009 WBC, Curiously
Because both (a) a very persistent reader has requested it and (b) the author must produce content anyway lest he be fired completely from his job, what follows is a pair of SCOUT leaderboards for the 2009 iteration of the World Baseball Classic.

“What is a SCOUT leaderboard?” a reasonable person might ask. For hitters (for whom it’s denoted as SCOUT+), it’s this: a metric that 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 2009 WBC hitters) and above 100 is above average. xHR%, xBB%, and xK% stand for expected home run, walk, and strikeout rate, respectively.

For pitchers (for whom it’s denoted as SCOUT-), it’s this: a metric that 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 2009 WBC pitchers) and below 100 is better than average. xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively.

Both metrics rely heavily on work done by Russell Carleton (a.k.a. Pizza Cutter) in determining the various sample thresholds of reliability for a number of commonly used stats — and are useful in cases where sample sizes are on the small side, as with a tournament like the World Baseball Classic, for example.

SCOUT Leaderboards: 2009 World Baseball Classic
SCOUT Leaderboard: 2009 WBC Hitters
Below is the SCOUT batting leaderboard for 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Player Team Pos PA xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Taekyun Kim KOR IF 37 3.6% 13.0% 15.9% 119
Kevin Youkilis USA 3B 28 3.7% 12.5% 17.0% 116
Carlos Delgado PUR 1B 23 3.4% 13.2% 17.6% 114
Frederich Cepeda CUB OF 26 3.7% 10.6% 15.9% 113
Jose Lopez VEN 2B 27 3.4% 11.0% 15.1% 111
Adam Dunn USA LF 32 3.6% 13.7% 21.1% 111
Karim Garcia MEX OF 20 3.8% 10.4% 17.3% 110
Ramon Hernandez VEN C 21 3.4% 10.8% 16.5% 109
Willy Taveras DOM CF 13 2.8% 13.3% 16.8% 109
Carlos Guillen VEN 3B 31 3.7% 9.8% 16.6% 108

• South Korean first baseman Tae-Kyun Kim (or, Kim Tae-Kyun by Korean naming convention) was the top hitter of the 2009 Classic by the questionable measure used here, hitting three home runs and posting an 8:3 walk-to-strikeout ratio in (what appears to be) 37 plate appearances. After leaving the Korean domestic league for Japan in 2009, the 30-year-old Kim appears to have returned to Korea in 2012. He made just six plate appearances in this year’s competition.

• Cuban outfielder Frederich Cepeda, who places fourth here, also makes an appearance on the most recent SCOUT hitting leaderboard for the 2013 Classic. In 2009, Cepeda (who turns 33 in April) posted a 2:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio in ca. 26 plate appearances, while also hitting three home runs. As of Monday morning (which might not include Cuba’s final game, against the Netherlands), Cepeda had recorded a 5:2 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 21 plate appearances during the present tournament, while adding a home run.

• Dominican outfielder Willy Taveras — decidedly not known for his patience as a major leaguer — finished with a 6:0 walk-to-strikeout ratio in just three games and ca. 13 plate appearances in 2009, it appears.

SCOUT Leaderboard: 2009 WBC Pitchers
Below is the SCOUT pitching leaderboard for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Player Team G GS IP TBF xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Yu Darvish JPN 5 2 13.0 52 24.9% 10.7% 82
Ubaldo Jimenez DOM 1 1 4.0 14 22.7% 10.3% 86
Hyun Wook Jong KOR 5 0 10.1 40 21.6% 10.0% 88
Francisco Rodriguez VEN 5 0 5.2 21 20.5% 10.5% 92
Norge Vera CUB 2 2 10.2 40 20.3% 10.3% 93
Ian Snell PUR 2 2 8.0 35 20.2% 10.4% 93
Felix Hernandez VEN 2 1 8.2 37 20.7% 10.9% 93
Sukmin Yoon KOR 4 2 16.0 62 19.0% 9.6% 94
Masahiro Tanaka JPN 4 0 2.1 10 19.8% 10.4% 94
Carlos Vasquez VEN 6 0 4.2 17 19.7% 10.2% 94

• It won’t surprise anyone to learn that Yu Darvish was the top pitcher of the 2009 Classic. The Japanese right-hander, who posted a 5.1 and 3.8 FIP and RA/9 WAR, respectively, in his major-league debut season, made two starts and five total appearances in 2009, recording a 20:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in just 13.0 innings.

• The Dominican Republic didn’t make it out of first-round play in 2009, but this was decidedly not the fault of Ubaldo Jimenez, who struck out 10 of 14 batters he faced in the Dominican’s second loss to the Netherlands. This was right before Jimenez posted consecutive seasons of 5.0-plus wins, compiling the seventh-best FIP WAR and fourth-best RA/9 WAR between 2009-10.

• Korean right-hander Hyun-Wook Jong, now 34, appears to have spent his entire professional career to date with the Samsung Lions of the Korean domestic league until signing a four-year deal with the LG Twins (also of the KBO) this offseason. He worked out of the bullpen exclusively for the Korean side in 2009, posting a 13:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 10.1 innings over five appearances.

Illustrative Video: Cuba’s Frederich Cepeda
Cuban outfielder Frederich Cepeda is the only player to appear on the SCOUT hitting leaderboard both for the 2009 Classic and also so far in the 2013 one.

Here’s footage of him hitting a very impressive home run against Chinese Taipei. Note that this is a player who’s struck out in just three of his (likely) 47 total plate appearances over the last two WBC tournaments.

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