Some Hitters to Start Worrying About

(Note: The 2014 numbers below do not include yesterday’s performances.)

It’s still April, and the sample sizes are still small, so it’s important not to overreact to early season performances, both positive and negative. Still, we have passed the eighth pole, and it’s not too early to peel back a layer or two of batted-ball data and identify a few players whose early season slumps may be about to cross the line toward becoming somewhat significant trends possibly indicative of a change in true talent level.

A search for poor offensive performers should begin at or near the bottom of the wOBA rankings, but a number of those guys reside there due largely to unusually low line drive rates that are likely to regress at least somewhat as the season continues to unfold. Other players are off to slow starts because they have been looked upon unkindly by the BABIP gods in the early going. We’re not focusing on those guys – we’re looking for players with poor fundamentals, whose batted-ball profiles, K or BB rates, or some combination thereof suggestion potentially significant issues that need to be addressed. Here are a few guys in both leagues that you just might want to start worrying about.

Brett Lawrie – Lawrie is currently sitting next to last in the AL in wOBA (.223), with an incredibly low line drive rate (5.2%) that ranks last among qualifiers in both leagues. He has managed to combine that extremely low liner rate with an extremely high IFFB% of 24.0%, tied for sixth highest in the AL. It’s been a dizzying plunge for Lawrie after his brilliant .293-.373-.580 debut in 2011. After hitting nine homers in 150 at-bats in 2011, he hit just 22 in 978 at-bats over the next two seasons. What happened to his plate appearance outcome frequency percentile ranks over that time?


Lawrie PCT K PCT BB PCT POP PCT FLY PCT LD PCT GB
2012 37 27 46 19 18 84
2013 33 34 54 15 41 80

The six major plate appearance outcome frequencies are expressed in percentile rank form above. Lawrie’s main issue in 2012-13 was a fairly extreme ground ball tendency (84 and 80 percentile ranks). This had not been the case in his 2011 debut, which is not listed above due to the small sample size. That year, Lawrie racked up fly balls at a rate that would have netted him a 90+ percentile rank over a full season. His hard fly ball rate plunged, his weak ground ball rate surged, and his overall average batted ball authority and exit angle both declined sharply. The good news – Lawrie is hitting the ball in the air more than in the past two seasons. The bad – his K and BB rates are still not good enough to accommodate a mediocre batted-ball profile that has too much going on at the extreme high (popups) and low (ground ball) ends of the spectrum.

Raul Ibanez – This is what the end of a career looks like. In 2013, Ibanez sold out on all levels to harvest every last kernel of pull power production possible – a look at his plate appearance outcome frequency percentile ranks below show that he struck out and popped up at rates well beyond career norms to create the fly balls necessary to do so. What is not seen below is his extreme pull tendency, which created a massive hole on the outer half of the plate to be exploited by pitchers.


Ibanez PCT K PCT BB PCT POP PCT FLY PCT LD PCT GB
2008 50 57 68 59 59 32
2009 82 63 41 77 11 53
2010 56 74 39 51 43 58
2011 60 20 53 48 17 66
2012 35 53 82 39 49 46
2013 89 59 93 89 44 3

So far in 2014, Ibanez has a .237 wOBA despite a 23.1% HR/FB rate. He is struggling to hit the ball in the air with any degree of consistency – his ground ball percentage of 56.8% ranks 9th among AL qualifiers, and is way out of whack with recent career norms. Toss in his typically poor K and BB rates, and it’s a bad scene. Ibanez wrung out every last bit of remaining offensive usefulness in the first half of 2013, and left behind a legacy of overly aggressive pull-happiness to the young players he was brought in to mentor in Seattle.

Billy Butler – Here’s an interesting one. Let’s jump right into his plate appearance outcome frequency data, a very interesting snapshot of a unique offensive portfolio.


Butler PCT K PCT BB PCT POP PCT FLY PCT LD PCT GB
2008 24 33 25 57 8 84
2009 44 50 18 46 51 74
2010 15 71 23 26 63 76
2011 33 72 17 61 53 60
2012 39 47 13 31 73 75
2013 33 90 23 9 57 89

Butler rode a strong K/BB ratio and a consistently high line drive rate (above average in each of the last five seasons) to a productive run in Kansas City despite a steady decline in his fly ball rate and a corresponding steady increase in his ground ball rate. As long as he was crushing a solid percentage of the relatively few fly balls he hit, he remained very productive. This ended in 2013, however, when his hard fly ball rate plunged, and he became roughly a league average hitter on fly balls. This is a no-no for a plodding ground-ball hitter with no complementary skills. Only Derek Jeter and Elvis Andrus have hit fewer fly balls among AL qualifiers, and they have slightly different skill sets than Butler, to put it mildly. This may be a harbinger of the premature decline phase often faced by a relatively unathletic, bat-only player.

Abraham Almonte – This one is all about strikeout and walk rates. Especially strikeout rates. Entering Wednesday’s play, Almonte was tied with Justin Upton for the MLB strikeout lead with 31, and his 34.4% K rate ranked behind only Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus in the AL and Mark Reynolds, Upton and Ian Desmond in the NL. The obvious difference between those guys and Almonte is the superior power possessed by the others. They trade contact for power, with varying degrees of success. Almonte’s batted-ball mix to date is fairly ordinary, with no red flags, but no real upside either. There simply isn’t enough contact, or enough power to justify this level of contact. This hasn’t stopped him from playing every inning of every game to date, with 100% of his plate appearances out of the leadoff slot. If this is allowed to continue, records will be broken, and I don’t mean that in a positive way.

Allen Craig – Craig has basically been the NL version of Billy Butler to date. Here are his plate appearance outcome frequency percentile ranks for his first two seasons as a regular.


Craig PCT K PCT BB PCT POP PCT FLY PCT LD PCT GB
2012 45 37 41 83 16 50
2013 53 39 20 36 97 49

Low K and popup rates for an authoritative hitter, a massive liner rate in 2013, and a fairly neutral fly ball/ground ball tendency. That hasn’t been the case thus far in 2014 – Craig’s 66.1% grounder rate is third in the NL behind Jean Segura (see below) and Ben Revere, and let’s just say that Craig can’t quite run with those two. His September 2013 foot injury may be a factor here, as may his position switch from first base to the outfield. Feet are a big deal for hitters, especially power guys, and feet take a greater pounding in the outfield than at first base. If Allen Craig can’t use his lower half to elevate the baseball, goodbye power numbers, at least temporarily.

– Jean Segura – Segura has had a terrible batted-ball profile since his arrival in the majors, and 2014 has been no different – his 75.0% ground ball rate ranks first in MLB, and isn’t that far out of whack with his 2013 plate appearance outcome frequency percentile ranks.


Segura PCT K PCT BB PCT POP PCT FLY PCT LD PCT GB
2013 20 7 26 4 24 96

Segura rarely hits the ball hard, even on the ground, and his line drive rates have consistently been quite low throughout his brief major league career. He does have a couple of significant factors working in his favor, however – his low-K, low-popup combo means that he gives away very few free outs, and his top-of-the-charts speed allows him to outperform his expected production on batted balls by a substantial margin. In 2013, Segura posted an actual .276-.286 line on ground balls, as opposed to an expected .206-.216 line based on speed/angle off of the bat. That’s 73% more production than expected on grounders. He also outperforms expected production on liners and fly balls, largely because of his ability to stretch singles into doubles and doubles into triples. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this speed premium will decline over time, and the strength he is likely to add over time won’t do him much good if he is unable to hit the ball in the air with any degree of consistency. Also worrisome is his ongoing inability or unwillingness to draw a walk. Very quietly, Segura has been a near replacement-level offensive player over his last few hundred at-bats, and needs to make some adjustments.

Kolten Wong – Another worrisome combination here. Wong too struggles to get the ball into the air – his 64.8% grounder rate ranks 4th in the NL, but the ball too often stays in the infield when he does elevate it, as evidenced by his 25.0% IFFB%, which is tied or 2nd highest among NL qualifiers. Wong’s offensive game lacked bells and whistles, even in the minors – he has always relied on minimizing negative events, like K’s and popups, rather than maximizing positive ones. Thus far, his MLB K rate has been quite good, and his BB rate low but acceptable. His batted-ball mix to date, however, suggests that he would in a best-case scenario hit for a rather empty .260-.270 average at the major league level.

Curtis Granderson – The Mets probably should have seen this one coming. Below are Granderson’s plate appearance outcome frequency percentile ranks from 2008-12.


Granderson PCT K PCT BB PCT POP PCT FLY PCT LD PCT GB
2008 67 76 71 75 35 25
2009 73 65 95 89 45 4
2010 81 68 63 96 49 9
2011 92 92 72 98 15 3
2012 95 85 85 97 60 2

2013 was more of the same, albeit in an injury-shortened sample. He strikes out a ton, hits a bunch of popups, never hits the ball on the ground, and generally doesn’t hit many line drives. He draws plenty of walks, and has always derived an exceedingly high percentage of his offensive value from home runs. As the years have passed, he has become more and more pull-oriented, and the odds of him hitting even a couple of homers to the opposite field over the course of a season have grown quite long. Only a very select group of players consistently hit the ball as high in the air on average as does Granderson. Then he moves from:

Yankee Stadium – 2013 RCF fly ball park factor = 202.9 (2nd) – 2013 RF fly ball park factor = 136.2 (5th) to
Citi Field – 2013 RCF fly ball park factor = 92.7 (17th) – 2013 RF fly ball park factor = 69.7 (27th)

These park factors are based on my calculations using granular batted-ball data. Citi Field helped break Ike Davis and it might do the same to Granderson. He does very little offensively at this stage besides hit fly balls to the pull side, not a good thing in his new home.

Some Other Guys to Watch – These players are also showing weakness in one or more fundamentals in the early going, but the situation has yet to reach the truly worrisome stage. Robinson Cano has very quietly developed a strong ground ball tendency in recent years (ground ball percentile ranks ranging from 67 to 78 in five of the last six years), but this year’s 59.7% grounder rate is even more extreme. For now, expect his line drive rate to positive regress toward the stratospheric region (88 to 92 percentile ranks in each of the last four seasons) that drives his offensive game. Prince Fielder‘s batted-ball authority levels dropped from the elite level in 2012 to merely a bit above average in 2013, and there hasn’t been a bounce-back yet this season. His K and BB rates are very strong, but his grounder rate is way up in 2014 – as with Butler, we may be witnessing a premature decline from a bad-body, bat-only player.

Brad Miller appears to be engulfed in the team-wide offensive malaise sweeping through the Mariner clubhouse. Player after player has abandoned the approach that allowed them to graduate from the Seattle farm system, becoming overly aggressive in a single-minded pursuit of pull-side power at the major league level. Miller’s walk rate has cratered, and he has become one of the most pull-oriented hitters in the game. His K and grounder rates are up, though he should see some positive regression in his line drive rate.

Ian Desmond’s 30/4 K/BB ratio is becoming a cause for concern. Though his poor line drive rate (9.6%) should positively regress before long, it should be noted that he did post low line drive percentile ranks ranging from 27 to 34 from 2010-12 before a surge to 86 in 2013. And finally, Starling Marte‘s poor K/BB ratio was the only blemish on a sterling first full major league season in 2013, but the K rate has shot even higher this season. His speed allows his ground ball tendency to play up, but he simply lacks the juice to be a productive player with a 32.3% K rate.



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uwdjm
Member
uwdjm
2 years 3 months ago

What is the value in using Percentiles in things like these rates? Wouldn’t it be more valuable to state the relative trend in a given player, not to the rest of the league, especially since we’re focusing on slow starts in 2014? Not trying to argue, I just don’t understand. Thanks

nd
Guest
nd
2 years 3 months ago

Agreed. I liked the use of batted ball data, but the lack of results based stats for comparison was tough also. Good article, but the presentation was a little bit confusing.

Balk
Guest
Balk
2 years 2 months ago

League-wide stats have been very stable the past few years. I disagree. Showing percentiles puts the numbers in context. You’re seeing two data sets at once: the individual trend and the relationship to the rest of the league (which with large sample sizes would follow the normal curve very closely). It’s more information this way. Which is better.

Urban Shocker
Guest
Urban Shocker
2 years 2 months ago

More information is not by definition better, and in fact can lead to overconfidence in a model, given said model’s potential resistance to falsifiability. Here the data for 2014 is presented in a rate format, which is then contrasted with 2013 & earlier data. This comparison data is presented in a percentile rank format, which sows confusion and weakens the conclusions drawn by the author.

Put another way, we are awash in articles that make an introductory caveat about SSS, and then proceed to infer wildly from stats that we all know don’t stabilize for another month.
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/dont-trust-stats-this-week/

Jake
Guest
Jake
2 years 2 months ago

You’re right, fangraphs should just be on hiatus for the first two months of the season.

evo34
Member
evo34
2 years 2 months ago

There should be no articles looking at IFFB% at this point of the season, or even at the end of single season for that matter. At this point, a single IFFB will massively change the player’s percentage. Why is author trying to draw conclusions from 1 or 2 balls in play?

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
2 years 2 months ago

The post may well use 2014 rate stats because, slim as the totals are, 2014 percentile stats would be simply absurd. But I concur with the overall criticism: Using individual rate stats as one sample and comparing them to league normalized percentile standings for prior seasons is methodologically faulty. This is true even if the conclusion is sound, which I think most of the player remarks actually are; I see nothing to disagree with in the 2014 player assesments.

Comparison of non-comparables gives a ‘statistical patina’ to snapshopts which looks ‘number like’ but isn’t really. In that sense, the approach is deceptive however unintentially so. I would FAR rather hear Tony’s opinons and insights without the ‘number like’ bunting which in itself simply can’t be relied on. The conclusions may be the same. Misuse of statistical data doesn’t improve them, however.

cs3
Member
cs3
2 years 2 months ago

I just thought it was very confusing trying to decipher the percentiles numeral alongside the rate %, often in the same sentence.

elopezuvm05
Guest
elopezuvm05
2 years 2 months ago

percentiles more clearly shows performance deterioration relative to league wide performance. take strikeout rates for example. They’ve been increasing significantly across the league, but granderson’s increased at a much higher rate. Thus he’s gone from middle of the pack in ’08 to just among the worse in the league. percentiles allow you to see this without having to compare percent changes in strikeout rates for granderson vs. the league.

stonepie
Member
stonepie
2 years 3 months ago

cano’s GB% has sat around 45% for several years and april has always been his worst month statically iirc.

JimNYC
Guest
JimNYC
2 years 3 months ago

Historically, he’s always gotten MUCH better as the season progresses; with the exception of, I think, just one year, he’s always been a slow starter.

Dustin
Guest
Dustin
2 years 3 months ago

This is excellent, per usual.

Grimace
Guest
Grimace
2 years 3 months ago

And of course both Butler and Craig are on my fantasy team.

e
Guest
e
2 years 3 months ago

Worst day ever.

Passive Voice
Guest
Passive Voice
2 years 2 months ago

You mean “I drafted both Butler and Craig.” They did not magically appear on your team.

Yoda
Guest
Yoda
2 years 2 months ago

Care not, do I, for this needless criticism.

Excessively Complex Nested Grammar Correction Loop
Guest
Excessively Complex Nested Grammar Correction Loop
2 years 2 months ago

That which you complain about is not passive voice.

I WIN THE INTERNET!

MSpitz
Member
MSpitz
2 years 3 months ago

Lawrie got off to a terrible start, but it seems like he might be turning it around a little. As stated, he’s hitting more fly balls than in the past 2 years, and he’s showing some serious home run power when he does. His K/BB ratio has never been that bad, and the line drive % should regress positively a bit, so as long as he doesn’t go back to driving every ball into the ground, I think he’ll be ok.

MSpitz
Member
MSpitz
2 years 3 months ago

Also OMG he has 18 RBIs he’s such a productive hitter what do you mean bad start?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 3 months ago

I must be imagining things. Did you just use RBI as a basis for gauging how a hitter is doing? You really believe a guy hitting .165/.221/.354 doesn’t fall under the category of having a bad start just because he has 18 RBI?

MSpitz
Member
MSpitz
2 years 2 months ago

The only thing you’re imagining is that I was actually serious about that…

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

thank goodness…thought I wandered over to the Foxsports site by accident.

dragnalus
Guest
dragnalus
2 years 2 months ago

the excessive exclamtion points & question marks are a pretty clear indication of sarcasm, bud

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

ok…I get it…thanks again.

Daniel W
Guest
Daniel W
2 years 2 months ago

*whooooosh*

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhh
Guest
Duuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhh
2 years 2 months ago

Haha HE JUST DOESN’T GET IT!!

joser
Guest
joser
2 years 2 months ago

Of the many sites that need this, Fangraphs is one of the ones that needs it the most.

karcotte
Member
2 years 2 months ago

Maybe next time don’t be in such a rush to prove you are smarter than a random person on the internet?

Rob
Guest
Rob
2 years 2 months ago

Which is also what the guy he was responding to was doing

triple_r
Member
2 years 2 months ago

Neil S
Guest
Neil S
2 years 2 months ago

Yeah, Lawrie’s wRC+ over the past ten games is around 150. Tiny sample,sure, but so were the ten absolutely awful games that preceded it.

descender
Member
descender
2 years 3 months ago

“we have passed the eighth pole”

What pole?

Tk
Guest
Tk
2 years 3 months ago

I must have missed the first seven.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 3 months ago

Always thought this meant “entering the home stretch”. I would have applied it to numbers in August. The eighth pole is the pole prior the last 1/8 of a mile on a horse racing track.

Tom B
Guest
Tom B
2 years 3 months ago

Maybe he meant the first pole? :p

Carl
Guest
Carl
2 years 3 months ago

Horse racing term. Mile track, the pole 1/8 of the way is called the 8th pole (short for 1/8th). In baseball 162 * 1/8 is about 20 games.

SKob
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

Okay, who’s right? The guy who say the 8th pole is at the last 1/8 mile or the guy who says it’s at the first 1/8th mile? Google says…. 1/8 before the finish! Ruh Roh!

John Elway
Member
2 years 2 months ago

Time for a Gallop Poll about the 8th pole??

Just neighing.

Fredward
Guest
Fredward
2 years 2 months ago

Hot Karl! I have a pole for you big boy!

Metsox
Member
Member
Metsox
2 years 3 months ago

I can’t believe Moustakas isn’t featured. Must be because we should take his poor hitting for granted at this point.

Ruben Amaro Junior
Guest
Ruben Amaro Junior
2 years 3 months ago

I’ve done the numbers, and Ibanez is on pace for 116 RBI’s. Some MVP’s have gotten less than that.

End of a career my ass! I’d gladly take him back.

Umpire Weekend
Guest
Umpire Weekend
2 years 3 months ago

Yep, I get 116 RBIs too.

RAJ, you can work an abacus like nobody else.

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

RBIs, really?

Chris
Guest
Chris
2 years 2 months ago

(Check his log-in name)

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

ah

Cappy73
Guest
Cappy73
2 years 2 months ago

Jimmer you are a genius

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

I consider myself extremely intelligent, though maybe genius is to much, at least in this field. Thank you nonetheless.

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

I don’t know who wrote that last post, but it was not me. It is obvious though, that my sarcasm antenna isn’t working today cause man I missed on two big time.

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

It was me

Westside guy
Member
Member
Westside guy
2 years 2 months ago

FanGraphs should probably check that a non-logged-in user that fills in their name manually isn’t using the name of an existing registered user.

I would hate to get rid of the posts by Ruben Amaro Junior or Jack Zduriencik; but poor Jimmer has suffered enough.

Alex
Guest
Alex
2 years 2 months ago

Jimmer, how are you so bad at understanding jokes? You’re like 0/3 on this article alone

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

yeah, it hasn’t been my best day at all when trying to figure out what is and isn’t a joke. In somewhat defense, I spend way more time talking to people (mostly on MLB dot com, who actually believe that RBIs are a great way to judge batters, errors are great way to judge defense and wins/losses is a good way to judge pitching. Sometimes those comments just suck me in because they drive me crazy.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 2 months ago

Hey even Teddy Ballgame went 0-for-3 once or twice. Jimmer is going to come back STRONG tomorrow. 4-hit game coming.

(I can only assume followed by a dallience with Marilyn Monroe.)

Westside guy
Member
Member
Westside guy
2 years 2 months ago

A “dalliance with Marilyn Monroe” doesn’t have quite the same appeal it did, say, fifty-plus years ago…

Noah Baron
Guest
Noah Baron
2 years 2 months ago

Dude you’re having a rough day

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

Hi, I’m an asshole.

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

Hi, I’m not really Jimmer

NK
Guest
NK
2 years 3 months ago

Awesome piece. Any insight about guys going the other way, who are very close to becoming legit and/or breakouts?

Z S
Guest
Z S
2 years 3 months ago

Allen Craig’s first 9 games: .088/.135/.088, wOBA .111, wRC+ -40
Allen Craig’s last 12 games: .261/.320/.391, wOBA .317, wRC+ 103

I’m not saying his line from the last 12 games is phenomenal, but his overall stats are weighed downed by the terribleness of his first several games. and as someone who watches nearly every single cardinals game, i can anecdotally offer that he’s looked a lot better over the last few weeks. i wouldn’t start worrying about him yet.

Emcee Peepants
Guest
Emcee Peepants
2 years 3 months ago

I was about to post something similar. For his career, Mar/April wRC+ of 65 and wOBA of .263. His lows for any other month are 123 and .349. Looks like he is a slow starter or warm weather guy. I’m still holding out hope for a turn-around.

fjrobinson44
Member
fjrobinson44
2 years 3 months ago

That .391 SLG is a bit worrisome

Menthol
Member
Member
Menthol
2 years 3 months ago

I’m worried about both of the guys on the corners of my fantasy infield, Sandoval and Encarnacion. Was kind of shocked that neither appeared in this article. Maybe there’s hope.

Z S
Guest
Z S
2 years 3 months ago

Ha, they make up the corners of my team as well. For almost a month straight I’ve been reading their stats in the morning and audibly groaning.

Menthol
Member
Member
Menthol
2 years 2 months ago

Hey Pablo, way to impress in your walk year!

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 2 months ago

EVERY YEAR is a walk year for Pablo. (I mean, it’s never going to be a sprint year or even a light jog year.)

Max
Member
Max
2 years 3 months ago

Wondering if there is a pitcher’s version of this article on the horizon?

jim
Guest
jim
2 years 3 months ago

Tony, any thoughts on what Charlie Blackmon has been doing?

atoms
Guest
atoms
2 years 2 months ago

He’s been hitting really really well.

LG
Guest
LG
2 years 2 months ago

Gosh you’re clever

Dylan
Guest
Dylan
2 years 3 months ago

Regardless of what anyone thinks about Jhonny Peralta’s contract, it’s pretty ridiculous that the Mets probably could have signed him for the same money instead of Granderson, who didn’t fill a position of need (the Mets are actually fairly deep in the OF) and has about as bad of a profile as possible for Citi Field.

Underwood4000
Guest
Underwood4000
2 years 2 months ago

And on the flip side, was the market really so bad for Granderson that he had to chain himself to a career-killing stadium? [The answer might be yes, but … ]

Bobby
Guest
Bobby
2 years 2 months ago

Seriously? The Mets OF is fairly deep?

Go Nats
Guest
Go Nats
2 years 2 months ago

Sure few teams have as many 4th outfielders as the Mets!

Chris Berman
Guest
Chris Berman
2 years 2 months ago

And cold too!

Bobby
Guest
Bobby
2 years 2 months ago

And how are the Cards liking Peralta’s contribution to date? 0.2 WAR so far. For comparison, Tejada at -0.5.

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
2 years 2 months ago

If they signed Peralta, Mets fans would be crucifying him for hitting .150 with essentially the same obp as Granderson. I think your post would have made much more sense if he was actually performing well.

jim
Guest
jim
2 years 2 months ago

because peralta totally hasn’t been terrible, himself

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 3 months ago

As a Twins fan and a Mauer fan, I’m a little surprised I didn’t see him mentioned…though I imagine it’s because he has enough history to show we don’t need to worry about him. Still his K rate is a little troubling.

Hurtlockertwo
Guest
Hurtlockertwo
2 years 2 months ago

And Mike Trout is now 6th in WAR, just to show what a fluke the last two season were. What a bum.

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

I know you’re joking, but Fangraphs says he’s tied for first in WAR.

Hurtlockertwo
Guest
Hurtlockertwo
2 years 2 months ago

Baseball Reference WAR

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
2 years 2 months ago

and that’s fine…but we are on Fangraphs…

Charlie Blackmon
Guest
Charlie Blackmon
2 years 2 months ago

Tied for first????

Only within rounding error, fyi…

Serious question
Guest
Serious question
2 years 2 months ago

What is the point of using a non-linear weights system to evaluate players’ offense when such a system exists?

Kid 8
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

Peralta over Granderson?

Mets didnt need an OF?

Nice hindsight, after we see Lagares hit for 8 days and Nieuwenhuis shed his absolute stiffedness.

Ytust me – Curtis is NEEDED at Citi Field.

Brian
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

No… still no. Look at Granderson’s swinging strike percentage over the last four years too:

http://thereadzone.com/2014/04/15/morning-mets-notes-wheeler-ascending-granderson-fading/

Brett Lawrie
Guest
Brett Lawrie
2 years 2 months ago

Clearly you did not see me play last night. By the way, that was my 5th homer in the last 9 games that I have played. Slow start? I’m just starting to heat up, dude. Watch out or you might get burned….

Brett's overbearing papa
Guest
Brett's overbearing papa
2 years 2 months ago

That’s right. He is pretty clearly the best hitter in the majors. If you can’t see that and sign him to a lucrative long-term deal, AA, please trade him.

Rogers centre's redbull supply
Guest
Rogers centre's redbull supply
2 years 2 months ago

Im running low bro… The next re-up isnt until june better hit up rob ford for some crack

LHPSU
Guest
LHPSU
2 years 2 months ago

Desmond struggling in the field too. Potential injury?

emdash
Guest
emdash
2 years 2 months ago

I don’t know if it’s possible to call it a trend over just two seasons, but he did the same thing last year in April – poor hitting and painful to watch fielding. He turned it around after that, so it’s possible he’s just someone who struggles to start the year.

Fred
Guest
Fred
2 years 2 months ago

So, PizzaCutter’s work on this very site from a few years ago no longer applies? We can start worrying about things like K%, LD%, K/BB rates, etc. when most guys have barely 90-100 PAs?

Apparently it’s ok to throw out all the statistical rigor that Fangraphs tries to pretend it has, if an article author just says “I know it’s April and so small sample sizes” as the first sentence.

Seriously, there’s some articles going up here lately that would get downvoted to hell and back if their basic premise were put into an average comment.

No, we can’t “start worrying about” anyone, 24 games into the regular season. Try this article again in a month. And even then, for most players and most stats, it’s early.

Emcee Peepants
Guest
Emcee Peepants
2 years 2 months ago

Then what the hell are they supposed to write about at this point in the season?

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 2 months ago

You heard Fred. No articles for two months. Time to take a vacay, all the writers can go play with their dogs, scramble up active volcanoes, and try craft beer to their heart’s content. Will be back in June (but even then, it may still be too early per Freddie).

sarcasmftw
Guest
sarcasmftw
2 years 2 months ago

I don’t think PizzaCutter ever intended his article to mean ‘only after X PAs/ABs/innings can we refer to this stat’. Every data point from a season adds predictive power. For instance, 10 PAs still has predictive power for, say, LD%, it just has less predictive power than 20, and that has still less power than 100. Right now we are limited to relatively small sample sizes, but that doesn’t mean that those samples are useless; rather that they are to be sprinkled liberally with uncertainty.

joser
Guest
joser
2 years 2 months ago

Moreover we can (and probably should) look at data from the previous season, properly regressed. Things can change over the offseason, but (injuries and surgeries and such aside) usually not radically. Even all the talk of “changing mechanics” in pitching or hitting is usually just that — or becomes that as a player falls back into old habits.

evo34
Member
evo34
2 years 2 months ago

Rightly said, Fred. This guy, Blengino, doesn’t appear to have a handle on the diff. between description and prediction. Are FG writers paid by the article?

The prodigious Jeff Sullivan
Guest
The prodigious Jeff Sullivan
2 years 2 months ago

God I hope so…

sarcasmftw
Guest
sarcasmftw
2 years 2 months ago

Yes, jesus, what’s with all this free content that we are getting for free. I want less of it! As others have noted, no articles until all stats have stabilized to an arbitrary level of predictive accuracy (R2=.5).

Kyle
Guest
Kyle
2 years 2 months ago

Someone I would like to nominate is Joe Mauer. His 26% K rate is nothing short of frightening for a guy who historically has been around 10%. I wonder if he is still suffering from the effects of that season ending concussion last season.

Jacks
Guest
Jacks
2 years 2 months ago

Is you slumping slugger likely to rebound? Take a look at their GB% and their Pitch F/X O-Swing% and O-Contact%. If those are elevated above career norms, chances are the hitter is simply slumping, chasing pitches out of the zone and rolling them over for easy GB outs.

Fielder’s O-Swing% is 20% above career norms. He had a down year last year, but still only swung at 30% of pitches outside the zone. So far, he’s swinging at 37%. And he’s making contact with those bad pitches 67% of the time vs career average of 62%. There’s your reason for his 20% surge in GB%.

His plate discipline will likely improve and he’ll likely wind up with numbers more in line with his career averages.

jwise224
Member
2 years 2 months ago

A quick note on Segura: the guy has gone to the opposite field an inordinate amount of time in his brief career. In a recent study I did at Beyond the Box Score, he was far-and-away the least likely player to pull the ball of qualified hitters(http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/4/8/5561254/is-the-infield-shift-ruining-baseball). While it’s great to see him try to stay up the middle and go the other way, one has to wonder if he can survive this type of profile when coupled with the extreme GB tendencies. He’s definitely a unique case.

Bret
Guest
Bret
2 years 2 months ago

what about Gyorko?

ML
Guest
ML
2 years 2 months ago

Justin Upton has been a mess.

Brian
Guest
Brian
2 years 2 months ago

The guy with the .403 wOBA?

ML
Guest
ML
2 years 2 months ago

Lol…wOBA

Nah dude. The one striking out in 36% of his pa’s. 17% sw str %

I can read too!

Brian Cashman
Guest
Brian Cashman
2 years 2 months ago

Just got off the pone with Alex Anthopoulos, he offered Lawrie and his dazzling RBI total for Pineda.
Its a done deal, i´ll send Pineda on the next flight over, just as soon as he comes out of the bathroom. Jeter says he saw him go in with a Hustler magazine, some tissues, and a jar of pine tar. Might be awhile…

Sorry No
Guest
Sorry No
2 years 2 months ago

Not a funny as you think it was.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 2 months ago

Sweet, no Matt Kemp.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
2 years 2 months ago

Lawrie has been hitting some dingers lately and has his highest ISO since his rookie year. might be starting to snap out of it.

Jackson
Guest
Jackson
2 years 2 months ago

Allow me to vent here.

The Mets did a terrible job this off-season with their free agent signings. What else is new ? They needed a right-fielder and the guy they should have signed was Shin Soo Choo. Give him 7 years 140 million. He would have come with a built in discount. It wouldn’t have cost the Mets half that much, maybe nothing at all.

I used to work in Flushing. There is more than a large Korean community in Flushing. There is a Korean population walking distance from Citi Field. I know Korean people well. I am friends with dozens of Korean people and I can tell you this – Korean people like to live well and have a good time. They are not cheap. They spend their money. A Korean taxi is a Lexus.

Bringing the best Korean hitter of all time to Citi Field would have brought these people to the stadium in droves. They would sit in the same sections and bring an electricity to a dead stadium. Old time Met fans sitting at home would come to the park to be near it and at worse see pretty girls.

The Mets could have had this for 20m a year less what they would make from the attendance spike and jersey sales. Instead this year they’re paying 32m to Granderson 15, C. Young 7 and Colon 10 none of whom they should have signed.

As usual, the Mets have no foresight. No vision. The Wilpon’s are a joke. Next to them Alderson is the smartest guy in the room but so what. My cat is smarter than the Wilpons. The Mets dropped the ball again.

Adam
Guest
Adam
2 years 2 months ago

Well said. Any Yankee fan could have told you the downward slope for Granderson was steep.

Johnston
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

True. Even if your cat was dead.

Noah Baron
Guest
Noah Baron
2 years 2 months ago

Chris Young was still a really smart signing. I agree with you about the Choo revenue spike, but as GM Alderson’s job is to try to get the best players, not the players who sell the most tickets. I’d still rather have Granderson at $60 Million than Choo at $140 Million without the extra revenue, just because Choo is a god-awful defender. Granderson will rebound. Even the article really didn’t show this “huge” decline. He is striking out a little bit more, but other than that his BB rate has remained constant and he has been fine for a while without hitting ground balls. He walks so much that if he hits .230 that is enough to make the contract a win for the Mets, because of his good corner defense, his OBP, and his power. With regards to Colon I would have preferred them to sign Kazmir but Colon should be respectable as well. I certainly didn’t think this was a “terrible” offseason.

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 2 months ago

You mean Chris Young, he of the -0.1 WAR? He of the consistant downward trend since 2011, low BABIP high K profile? Because the only good thing about the Chris Young signing is it was cheap.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 2 months ago

Cheap AND short! (One-year deal I believe.)

Gosh those near 30/30 seasons seem so, so far away now…

sarcasmftw
Guest
sarcasmftw
2 years 2 months ago

Well hey, if you’re going to fail, best to fail cheaply (Ryan Howard says hello).

Noah Baron
Guest
Noah Baron
2 years 2 months ago

The worst thing about this offseason was not that they signed Granderson and Colon at market value and C Young as a huge bargain. The worst thing about the offseason is the fact that their payroll is still only $80 Million and Stephen Drew is still a free agent asking for practically nothing. Not to mention the Mets would only be forfeiting a third round pick. Just sign him already, and have him platoon with Tejada. Together they would be a 3.5 WAR shortstop.

everdiso
Member
everdiso
2 years 2 months ago

Brett Lawrie

GMS 1-12: 47pa, 6.3bb%, 21.3k%, .091babip, .091/.149/.159/.308
GMS 13-21: 39pa, 5.1bb%, 18.0k%, .200babip, .257/.308/.600/.908

Babip’s still messing with him but he’s getting there.

Willie Mays Hays
Guest
Willie Mays Hays
2 years 2 months ago

Just traded Allen Craig for Wily Peralta and $4. I recently picked up Dayan Viciedo off waivers as well.

I think Craig would be lucky to get to 15 homeruns 90 RBI.. And I really think Dayan Viciedo is going to take a step forward in a good lineup and great hitters ballpark. Also, I think Wily Peralta is breaking out this year.

I know it’s really risky, but I feel really good about the move. Thoughts please?

Mattingly's Sideburns
Guest
Mattingly's Sideburns
2 years 2 months ago

Brett Lawrie is the type of player that makes me want to forget everything I’ve read on fangraphs. maybe he really is a clutch player, maybe his batted ball profile doesn’t mean so much for him… Then logic wins.

willsmith888
Member
willsmith888
2 years 2 months ago

According to Pitch F/X data, Butler has seen more Sliders & Two-Seamers this year, than any other time in his career. Same goes with the number of First Pitch Strikes he’s getting. Could his struggles be tied to a change in pitching tactics used against him? How much is pitching contributing to his stupid ground ball rate and equally stupid batting average & power? If it does, then I’d be more willing to bank on him adjusting & improving. If it doesn’t, then maybe he just isn’t aging well. :P

Ron
Guest
Ron
2 years 2 months ago

Would anyone trade Freeman and J.Upton for Cargo and Harper?

Frank Wren
Guest
Frank Wren
2 years 2 months ago

Rizzo needs to get Cargo first. Till then, no comment

Ron
Guest
Ron
2 years 2 months ago

Not sure what you mean here…

guy
Guest
guy
2 years 2 months ago

Easily the least valuable article I have read in a few years. You really can make the numbers say whatever you want, but this guy wants us to see all the numbers that really dont matter right now or ever. Man this horrible article even has links on MSN. No valuable info, nothing worth reading, so lets tattoo it all over the web!

LG
Guest
LG
2 years 2 months ago

And yet here you are, reading it.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 2 months ago

Which one of the guys listed is your favorite player, sport?

Excessively Complex Nested Grammar Correction Loop
Guest
Excessively Complex Nested Grammar Correction Loop
2 years 2 months ago

This may be the least productive FG comment thread ever. We’ve got tons of useless sarcasm, unfunny jokes, people not getting those unfunny jokes and then being skewered for not getting them, grammar corrections upon grammar corrections, complaints about small sample size (WHEN LITERALLY ALL WE HAVE IS A SMALL SAMPLE), complaints about the complaints, and a discussion of Chris Young’s contract.

evo34
Member
evo34
2 years 2 months ago

The issue is that this author has consistently taken BIP percentages for a few weeks of games and inferred absurd conclusions from them. There is nothing wrong with calling him out on it. If you do not have sufficient data, don’t make conclusions. It’s a basic principle of good science.

Joebrady
Guest
Joebrady
2 years 2 months ago

1-The article opens with ‘SSS and don’t overreact’.

2-You completely overlook the value of trends before they become facts etched in cement. If you wait until a player is definitively compromised, you’ve lost all chance of trading the guy. If Cano is still hitting like this in August, you’ve lost a ton of value.

3-Stats are only useful in combination with other stats. If you see absolutely nothing to worry about with Cano, for example, then fine. If you were worried that Safeco and a weak lineup in front and behind him, might have led you to overvaluing him, then this is just one more piece of confirmation data.

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