• The Prospect Stock Watch: Rooker, Cody, Atkinson
    by Marc Hulet - 8/18 -  0
    Today’s Prospect Stock Watch takes a look at a breakout 2017 draftee, a fast-rising starter who’s leaving the controversy of a failed physical behind him, and an undrafted pitcher who has become one of the top strikeout pitchers in the minors.
  • There's Nothing Wrong With Jake Lamb
    by Randy Holt - 8/16 -  3
    How long did you think you were going to get away with this column not being devoted to Jake Lamb in a given week? Regardless, as I listened to the hyperbolic Arizona sports radio throughout this week, Lamb represented a focal point.
  • Roto Riteup
    The most roto-relevant news of the previous day, recapped in a concise format for your morning coffee.
  • Bullpen Report
    Detailed daily updates and charts on every bullpen in the Major Leagues to help you manage your saves and holds.
  • Prospect Coverage
    Our prospect team mines the minors for top prospects and useful pieces alike.
  • MASH Report
    Award-winning in-depth injury report with analysis from Jeff Zimmerman.
  • The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast
    Eno Sarris, Paul Sporer, and Jason Collette lead the RotoGraphs staff in a regular fantasy podcast.
  • Daily Fantasy Strategy
    The RotoGraphs team discusses daily fantasy strategy and then makes picks for the day.
  • Ottoneu Strategy
    Strategy for the year-round FanGraphs Fantasy game.
  • Top 50 Fantasy Prospects
    Marc Hulet adjusts (and updates) his prospect list for fantasy purposes.
  • Field of Streams
    A contest to see who can make the better picks: streaming pitcher and hitter choices for every day of the season in a podcast hosted by Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin.
C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

Pitchers Improving their Expected Results

If you’ve followed baseball over the course of of the past few seasons, you’ve probably noticed the new data available to us with the advent of Statcast. This has led to the development of new metrics to measure player performance, with xwOBA being one of the most notable. If you’re familiar with xwOBA, you have likely seen it used to examine the quality of contact made or induced by hitters or pitchers. Today, I want to look at the pitcher side of things. While it is generally accepted that some pitchers are better at inducing weak contact than others, to this point, the baseball community is still working through the best ways to process the implications of the relatively new data available to us.  As Craig Edwards wrote yesterday on the main site, there isn’t a strong relationship between weak contact year to year.

Acknowledging all of this, Today I want to look at pitchers who have recently improved the quality of contact they have allowed. There are a couple assumptions to acknowledge here (included at the bottom of the following table). First, I am only looking at pitchers with over 1000 pitches in 2017 before the All-Star Game. Additionally, I am only including pitchers who have thrown 500 pitches since the All-Star Game. My intent with this is to try to get a better look at starting pitchers, who have made more than a couple of starts, and remove relief pitchers. I have also limited the group to players who’s post All-Star Game expected wOBA is less than the sample average at the time of the break (this works out to be around .315, for reference). The last stipulation I have included is that I am only showing pitchers who have seen an improvement of .010 or greater in their expected results (10 points or greater). The reason for this is simple, I would rather show 25 results than 45.

As a mea culpa, we are looking at arbitrary endpoints and small samples. I acknowledge this. Certainly to bet in favor of every pitcher on this list based off of 500+ good pitches since the break would be folly, and I don’t recommend doing so. However, I would consider this a good starting point for pitchers to examine. Maybe this tips you off to the recent success of Trevor Williams or Gio Gonzalez, or affirms your belief in Gerrit Cole if you were considering selling. I guess what I am saying is, I don’t know how you will use this information, but personally, I would consider this a sampling of pitchers who may be worth your attention.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Daily Grind: The Other Sweet Erv

Invitationalists should note the words of section five.

AGENDA

  1. Sweet Erv 2.0
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. TDG Invitational Returns!

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Field of Streams: Episode 289 – The “Hold My Beer” White Sox

Episode 289 – The “Hold My Beer” White Sox

The latest episode of “Field of Streams” is live!

In this episode, Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin discuss Jose Urena being just okay, streaming against the Giants, Rhys Hoskins, Kolten Wong being good again, Dominic Smith, Luis Castillo’s success, Alejandro De Aza’s return to MLB, Doug Fister still starting for Boston, Mallex Smith not running lately, Hawk Harrelson and Carl Yastrzemski, and Matt’s first softball game of the new season.

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The Prospect Stock Watch: Rooker, Cody, Atkinson

Today’s Prospect Stock Watch takes a look at a breakout 2017 draftee, a fast-rising starter who’s leaving the controversy of a failed physical behind him, and an undrafted pitcher who has become one of the top strikeout pitchers in the minors.

Brent Rooker, OF, Twins: I don’t typically write about same-season draft picks in the Prospect Stock Watch because first-year (half-season) stats often don’t mean much after long amateur seasons. Rooker, though, deserves some ink. Selected 35th overall out of Mississippi State University, this outfielder has defied his scouting reports and is quickly proving that his outstanding junior season in college was not a fluke. He has some swing-and-miss to his game (50 Ks in 51 games) but he also has some of the best useable power in the low minors; he’s slugged 13 homers so far. Along with the power, he’s also shown a willingness to take a walk. Rooker opened his pro career in advanced-rookie ball but, after 22 games, was pushed all the way up to high-A ball where he’s continued to hit well with an .826 OPS. The first-year pro may return to high-A ball to open up the 2018 season but it may not take long for him to experience double-A. He has middle-of-the-order potential for the Twins.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 488 – Jeff Zimmerman on Breakout Metrics

8/17/17

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

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Pros & Cons: Jose Berrios

Jose Berrios was a heralded prospect coming up through the minors for the Minnesota Twins. The big expectations were unmet a year ago as he struggled mightily through his MLB debut. He managed just a paltry 5% K-BB rate en route to an 8.02 ERA and 1.87 WHIP in 58.3 innings of work. He admits to not being as mentally prepared as possible for the big leagues, something that plagues countless rookies and even many veterans over the course of the season. Pitching can be as mentally grinding as it is physically.

The heartening aspect of Berrios’ 2016 season is that he continued to excel in the minors. In 111.3 innings, he posted a 21% K-BB, 2.51 ERA, and 0.99 WHIP, finding consistent success even as he shuttled between Rochester and Minnesota (three stops in each). His success in the minors kept expectations high for the 23-year old right-hander. He didn’t break camp with the club, instead logging six strong starts at Triple-A Rochester (20% K-BB, 1.13 ERA, 0.81 WHIP in 39.7 IP) before his May 13th season debut.

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Adjusting Exit Velocity For Pitch Speed And Location

The relationship between batter exit velocity and league exit velocity is not fully understood. There are many factors to exit velocity that a batter controls. Some of these are physical, such as bat speed and swing path. Others are more psychological, such as pitch selection. However, the batter certainly does not control everything. Pitch speed, for example, is a big factor. There are also environmental effects, like temperature and humidity.

I have been working on this problem with Eno Saris for some time now, bouncing ideas, building small projects, and examining the results. Some of it has been fruitful, others have fallen flat, but each time I feel like I’m getting closer to an answer, and along the way I have accidentally bumped into useful nuggets. Today I want to share one of those nuggets with you. I call it adjusted Exit Velocity, and it is the result of combining and comparing batter exit velocity, league exit velocity, pitch location, and pitch speed.

Yesterday, Eno Saris wrote a bit about our findings, which I suggest reading. Today I wish to explain the methodology, delve a bit into the findings, and conclude with how it may be useful to you going forward. Read the rest of this entry »


Yasiel Puig Entices Yet Again

Over the last two weeks, the hitter walk rate leaderboard features some usual suspects. Joey Votto is first at 31.7 percent. Mike Trout is third at 25.9 percent. But sandwiched between them is Yasiel Puig at 27.3 percent. 27.3 percent! This is the same player who finished the 2016 season with a 6.5 percent walk rate over 368 plate appearances. This is the same player who swung at this pitch:

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The Daily Grind: Good Story Bro

Let me tell you a story…

AGENDA

  1. Good Story Bro
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. TDG Invitational Returns!

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Danny Salazar is Back

I wasn’t a fan of Danny Salazar heading into the season. In fact, I foolishly made the bold prediction that Jaime Garcia would outearn him. HA! It wasn’t due to doubts about the quality of his stuff, obviously. It was concerns about the health of his arm paired with a walk rate that spiked in 2016. And I was right to question his health, though last year it was his elbow which worried me, this time he landed on the DL for his shoulder. And before hitting the DL, his ERA swelled to 5.40. But after missing over a month and a half, Salazar has returned to make five starts and has absolutely dominated like a completely new man. Or maybe just the man we always dreamed he could be.

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