Author Archive

Quick Looks: Lamet & Mejia

Dinelson Lamet (Padres)

Note: The camera angle was a little off, so my takes on his horizontal breaks may be off also.
The 24-year-old righty throws out of a high 3/4 arm slot. He’s a maximum effort guy and at times falls off to the mound’s first base side.

  • Fastball (4-seam): 95-98 mph and straight. For such a basic pitch, it is not even near the strike zone at times and he threw too many away. I’ve read several souces the pitch breaks late break but I could never see it.

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Velocity Decliners: Bundy, Triggs, & Kennedy

Note: I am using velocities from BrooksBaseball.net which has corrected their values from the 2016 to 2017 transition.

 

Dylan Bundy -2.5 mph (2016 FBv: 94.8mph, 2017 FBv: 92.3 mph)

Bundy’s decline is being obscured by the fact he relieved in 2016. Owners can see the 2017 drop and chalk it up to the normal velocity difference between starting and relieving. After removing the 2016 relieving values, his velocity is still down 2.5 mph.

For reference, here are his 2016 stats as a starter all of his 2017 ones.

Dylan Bundy’s Stats While Starting
Season ERA FIP xFIP K% SwStr%
2016 4.52 5.25 4.45 23.5% 10.8%
2017 2.92 3.95 4.69 17.9% 9.8%

Bundy’s approach and results are almost a textbook example of fastball velocity loss. The swinging strike rate on his fastball has dropped from 8.2% to 4.8% and therefore his strikeout rate dropped. Bundy realized his fastball isn’t the same, dropped its usage (61% to 50%) and relied on breaking pitches more.

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Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Alford, Pitching Staffs, & Sage Advice

On Friday the Blue Jays called up Anthony Alford. The move surprised me since he struggled in 2016 with a 29% K% in High-A. He was doing better in Double-A this season (17K%, .393 wOBA) but I figured he would follow a progressive advancement with a Tripe-A stint.

Here’s a quick dive into what we know about his possible production. First here are his available prospect grades.

Scouting Grades for Anthony Alford
Source Year Batting Power (Raw/Game) Speed Defense Arm
FanGraphs 2017 40 60/50 70 55 40
MLB 2017 50 50 70 60 45
MLB 2016 60 45 70 60 45
MLB 2015 60 45 70 60 55
BA 2017 60 50 60 55 40
BA 2016 60 45 70 60 40

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Minors To Majors: Hitter Grades & Minor League Results

I’ve made it almost a month since I made the following declaration on investigating prospect Hit grades:

I am going to stay away from more Hit tool predictions until I have collected every one of MLB.com’s prospect grades from 2013 and 2014, not just the top 100. I probably will not be able to compare many to their major league stats but I can with Triple-A.

I broke my position after collecting MLB.com’s 2013 grades. I ventured forward without the 2014 grades. With this larger and more diverse dataset, I compared the hitters’ grades to their batting average, home runs, and stolen bases in both AA and AAA.

Trying to better understand the Hit tool stems from finding it doesn’t contain any predictive power. When looking at players with different grades, major leaguers ended up posting similar batting averages. I concluded two issues were causing the production to level out.

First, hitters needed a talent and/or production baseline to get into the majors. Some hitters with below average grades were under-graded and produced up to the MLB baseline. Additionally, “better” hitters were over-graded but still had just enough talent to make the majors. This talent convergence tends to average out the grades.

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What To Do When Free Agent Talent Equals Roster Talent

Earlier this week, I recommended Zack Godley in all leagues. A little while later, I got the following tweet

It’s a tough call and one I face in my own home league where everyone is not 100% invested in their team. Just because a player should be owned, he may not be a fit on a team. Here’s how owners should operate when the situation arises.

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Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Godley, Zimmer, & Happ

Quick Look: Zack Godley

I’ve had my eye on Godley since spring training when his velocity climbed up a couple ticks. It has stayed up and so has his production. The following is a take on the 27-year-old’s most recent start.

I’m stuck using Arizona’s bad camera angle since all his starts have been at home so far this season. Sorry, it’s far from the best view.

• Sinker(Fastball): 90 to 93 mph with release-side run with some late sink. It’s kind of a unique pitch with all the ground balls and limited sink. It won’t get many swings-and-misses (3% on the season) because of the limited break.

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2017 Home-To-First Times

Last week, I analyzed the 2016 home-to-first times for hitters. With the background information out of the way, I’ll examine at the 2017 speed data to find who’s running the faster and slowest, who’s changed the most since 2016, and how home-to-first times compare to Bill James’s speed score.

With all the Statcast batted ball data getting analyzed, I continue examining the home-to-first times. Fantasy owners may believe speed is mainly used to determine stolen base threats. It’s more than that.

It’s an input to many other fantasy related factors which can help explain a player’s age-related decline. Faster players will beat out a few extra ground balls for hits thereby raising their batting average and on-base percentage. Speed allows a player to score more once on base. It can add to a hitter’s power profile. Also, speed can help keep a player maintain their fielding range at a premium defensive position instead of moving to a statue-like position (e.g. first base). Finally, a drop in running speed may point to an injured player.

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Quick Looks: Ramirez & Clevinger

In my AL-only league, I needed to fill in a couple pitching slots with James Paxton and Corey Kluber on the DL (and Berrios still in the minors). With almost no time for research (8 pm Sunday deadline), I bought both JC Ramirez and Mike Clevinger on a whim. Here’s what I ended up with.

JC Ramirez

Ramirez was exclusively a reliever in the majors until his last five starts. While his 3.74 ERA is not ideal, he has an 8.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. I went back and watched his start on April 19th against the Astros (great camera angle). Here’s what I saw.

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Minors to the Majors: Home-to-First Time Analysis

Finally. I’ve always wondered why home-to-first times weren’t publicly available. It seems like every other stat is tracked but not the information every scout is tracking. Now I’ve got my hands on the data to analyze. It’s still not publicly available yet but after quite a bit of nagging, I was able to convince MLBAM to let me have the 2016 season data. Here’s my initial breakdown.

I needed to get the data in a useable format with an idea of the hitter’s top speed. Every hitter doesn’t go all out to first base on every play. I wanted just the top times. The problem with just using the best times was many were bunts. Historically, home-to-first times are calculated from contact on a normal swing to when the batter touches first base. Here is an example with Mike Trout.

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Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Beltran, Keirmaier, & Gray

Tout Wars Outfield

I knew coming into the season, my Tout Wars outfield would not be the strongest. Usually, I wait on outfielders until they become great values which happen around the $15 mark. The only outfielder I send more than $15 on was Jose Ramirez and he is now at second base with Logan Forsythe on the DL. I need to start four these five with Bellinger taking the other outfield slot.

Tout Wars Outfield Options
Name Cost G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG ISO BABIP
Kevin Kiermaier $12 33 139 1 15 6 5 10.1% 25.2% 0.205 0.297 0.270 0.066 0.279
Kole Calhoun $8 32 138 4 17 11 0 8.0% 19.6% 0.248 0.319 0.384 0.136 0.287
Carlos Beltran $1 30 121 2 12 10 0 2.5% 24.8% 0.243 0.273 0.357 0.113 0.310
Jayson Werth R 27 110 5 18 10 3 11.8% 27.3% 0.292 0.382 0.479 0.188 0.377
Steven Souza Jr. R 31 136 4 14 19 0 13.2% 27.9% 0.284 0.385 0.457 0.172 0.392

Beltran is easily the odd man out. The 40-year-old had a decent 2016 season with 29 home runs and a .295 AVG (.337 OBP). This year his ability to make contact is gone dropping from 83% to a career low 74%. The lack of contact has driven his K% to 25% (first time over 20%) and his BB% down to 2.5%.

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