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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Pirates picked up a former Yankee and he’s excelling with them. It’s only four starts so let’s not get too crazy, but I think a lot of us were eager to see what – if anything – Ivan Nova would do with Pittsburgh. Not only was he going to be under the tutelage of Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, but he’d also be going from Yankee Stadium to PNC Park for his home games, a colossal shift for a pitcher with a 1.3 HR/9 rate since 2012 including a horrific 1.8 this year with the Yankees.
On the heels of a complete game against Houston, Nova has a 3.20 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with Pittsburgh in 25.3 innings. His K/9 rate is actually down half a strikeout to 6.4, but his walks have tumbled so much that his strikeout percentage is the same 18% he had with the Yankees. Nova has generally been a better-than-average walk suppressor, but with Pittsburgh he’s on a new level. He’s currently walking just 1% of the batters he’s faced as a Pirate. And that ghastly home run rate is down to 0.7 HR/9. The only time he’s ever been lower was when he had a 0.6 in 2013, unsurprisingly his best season ever.
This isn’t Nova’s first good four or five start run this year. He closed May with a 3.41 ERA in five starts and he opened July with a 2.66 through four starts. So we shouldn’t just assume he’s gone to Pittsburgh and become the next J.A. Happ or something. He could just be having a nice run, something he’s done many times before. The sharp drops in homers and walks have me intrigued, though. Let’s see if there are discernable differences early on. Obviously, league and park change alone will account for some improvement, so we’re looking beyond that to his approach against righties and lefties.
I’m going to do something a little different today and step away from fantasy analysis and try to leave you with something that is simple, very practical, and hopefully helpful. With a shout out to my fellow commissioners out there, I’d like to give you a template for creating a fantasy league charter.
I’ve been playing fantasy baseball for 20 years now and I’ve had the honor of commissioning for most of that time too. It can be a fun job but for those that have done it you know that it can also be a little rough sometimes. No one enjoys stepping into the middle of heated league debates, trade meltdowns, or finding replacement owners, but if you’ve commissioned a league in the past odds are you’ve dealt with a few issues here and there. While there’s no way to foresee or avoid every issue that can derail a fantasy league (and since there’s no substitute for having great owners as your foundation), a rock solid league charter can go a long way in setting both the tone and direction of your league long term. In my opinion, it’s a must-have.
Episode 226 – Live With The Return Of Alex Chamberlain
In this live broadcast, Dylan Higgins and Brad Johnson are joined by Alex Chamberlain in a live recording to discuss the Portland summer, Matt Moore’s near no-hitter, Jason Kipnis joking with Rougned Odor, tons of options at first base in a hitter-friendly day, Didi Gregorius’ emergence, A.J. Pollock’s return, David Phelps’ viability, Ivan Nova’s resurgence with Pittsburgh, still not being able to get over Tanner Roark’s epic outing against the Twins, and The Daily Grind Invitational.
The following is an experiment. I wanted to see if hitter exit velocity (EV) drops and by how much when a batter players through an injury. I am not sure before starting it where it would head and after a small stab at the data, I seemed to end up with more questions than answers.
The following may sound like a scientific study and in many ways, it is one. I am trying to take a theory and find a solution. Let me start with the theory.
First, injured players perform worse while playing through injury. I have tackled this idea as I looked back at the players’ stats the season before, of, and after the injury.
Talking to several hitters, they say they know when something is bugging them. They just can’t get hit the ball as hard as when they are healthy. Instead of trying to figure out if a player’s slump is from bad luck or injury, we have StatCast’s exit velocity to help us see if they are hitting the ball as hard.
Today’s Prospect Stock Watch looks at an underrated Yankees prospect, a top draft pick from 2015 and a hard-throwing, triple-A reliever.
Miguel Andujar | 3B | Yankees
Value: Rising (Underrated)
The Yankees system is loaded with talent thanks to some recent trades, as well as heavy investments in the international market. Andujar — a 2011 signee for $750,000 — gets kind of overlooked but he has the makings of a solid big leaguer. His best tool is a rocket arm that should allow him to stick at third base even if his range is just average. The 21-year-old also has above-average raw power even though he has yet to tap into it consistently in game situations (11 homers, 22 doubles in 119 games in ’16). Andujar doesn’t walk a ton but he’ll take some pitches and he strikes out less than the typical slugging prospect (just 62 Ks in 459 at-bats). He also a decent hitter and could produce a .250-.270 average in his prime.
When you try to leave work 15 minutes early on a Friday but run into your boss on the way out:
Just kidding, you’re out of here on time today, no problem. Happy Friday.
The Arizona Diamondbacks plan to give both Daniel Hudson and Randall Delgado a chance in late-inning/closing situations. Neither have been great to date — they share an identical 4.20 FIP and just about the same K-BB% (10.7% K-BB% for Hudson, 10% for Delgado) — but Hudson owns the superior ground ball rate at 42.3% and induces more soft contact (23.6% Soft%) than Delgado (17.6% Soft%). And while both of the aforementioned right-handers post better numbers against opposing right-handed hitters, Delgado has been slightly better in terms of FIP (3.10 to Hudson’s 3.79) while Hudson has been better against left-handed hitters (4.70 FIP to Delgado’s 6.03). Situation in Arizona is still red, but if I had to grab one of the duo it would be Hudson. Late note: Arizona has Jake Barrett on the hill in the top of the eighth, down a pair of runs to Atlanta.
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