Today’s edition of Offseason Notes contains this vital information:
Re-Introducing SCOUT Leaderboards
Regarding What Is SCOUT
SCOUT is an attempt to derive some sort of meaning from the rather small samples (of plate appearances) that occur in the various fall and winter leagues.
Regarding What Is SCOUT, More Specifically
More specifically, with SCOUT we utilize Russell Carleton’s (a.k.a. Pizza Cutter’s) often referenced, now archived posts (summarized here) on the reliability of sample sizes in baseball. In that post we learn that, while on-base and slugging percentage don’t become reliable until 500 plate appearances, there are some rate stats — like batter strikeout and home-run rate and pitcher strikeout and walk rate — that both (a) become reliable in fewer PAs and (b) perhaps correlate more closely to one or the other of a player’s “tools.”
Regarding What Is SCOUT, Calculating It
To calculate SCOUT, what I’ve done (as I did last year) is to find the regressed strikeout and home-run rates (xK% and xHR%) for all the qualified batters in the AFL. Then, for each player, I’ve found the z-score (that is, standard deviations from the mean) in xK% and xHR%, and averaged them (i.e. the z-scores) together. SCOUT is the result of that. (And SCOUT for pitchers is all that same stuff, but for strikeout and walk rate per nine innings, instead.)
In 54 plate appearances so far, outfielder Robbie Grossman has hit three homers and struck out just five times — and though walk totals become reliable at a much greater plate-appearance threshold, it’s still notable that Grossman (a) has six of those and (b) had roughly equal walk and strikeout rates this season as a 21-year-old at High-A Bradenton. I don’t know for sure that contact rate is a skill upon which one can improve, but Grossman makes a case for such a thing. Here are his strikeout rates over the last three seasons (starting with 2009): 30.7%, 21.0%, 18.0%. Also, here are his strikeout-walk differentials over those same three seasons: 16.7%, 9.3%, 1.1%.
SCOUT Pitching Leaderboard
Same verse, very similar to the first.
Right-hander Kevin Munson struck out exactly 30% of the batters he faced this season as a 22-year-old at High-A Visalia. Unforunately, he also walked 18.5% of them. (That, if you’re curious, looks like this in terms of nine-inning rate stats: 12.69 K/9 and 7.81 BB/9.) In any case, Munson’s AFL has been notable so far in that, through five innings, he has 10 strikeouts and zero walks. Munson is noted for having an excellent slider — some examples of which you can see in this video: