Archive for Head to Head

Which Pitchers Are Throwing More Changeups?

We looked at pitcher mixes over the last month in order to see who’s made the biggest changes to their arsenals. First up were the pitchers that had gone to the slider more often.

Now let’s look at the pitchers that are throwing more changeups over the last month than they did earlier in the season. The changeup has none of the negative health ramifications of the slider, so in this case the question is: sure, you’re throwing it more, but is it a good pitch? And, also, why they might have made the change.

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Bullpen Report: August 21, 2014

Just a couple of notes on this rather sluggish Thursday.

Kevin Quackenbush notched his first career save Wednesday evening in Chavez Ravine as the Friars clipped the Dodgers, 4-1. The Padres’ rookie reliever tossed a clean ninth-inning on 15 pitches (12 strikes), surrendering just one hit to seal the deal for the away squad. News out of San Diego today suggests that Quackenbush could see more save chances this season if current closer Joaquin Benoit’s shoulder continues to act up. And more importantly, Quackenbush could end up being the closer next season should the Padres move him “before the end of this month or in the offseason.” Moving the 37-year-old Benoit and anointing the 25-year-old righty the ninth-inning man would get the Padres off the hook for the former’s $8M salary next season, which seems like a realistic possibility for Friars. Quackenbush is 2-2 with a save and seven holds this season. He owns a 2.29 ERA (2.65 FIP) with a 15.6% K-BB% in 42 trips to the bump.
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RotoGraphs Audio: The Sleeper and the Bust 08/21/2014

Episode 157

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is now live!

Eno Sarris and Nicholas Minnix discuss Avisail Garcia, Rusney Castillo, Gerrit Cole, Jason Hammel, the Los Angeles Angels’ options to replace Gerrit Richards, Jesse Hahn, the Chicago Cubs’ options in place of Edwin Jackson, Kevin Quackenbush, Justin Verlander, and Jacob deGrom.

As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions so that we may answer them on our next episode. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pitcher Over/Under Performers

I wanted to highlight Pitcher over and under performers. Naturally, Mike Podhorzer has already done that and more concisely and eloquently than I ever could. In conjunction to what he did (ERA vs. SIERA within this year), I wanted to look at pitchers’ skills and luck relative to last year.

By “skills” I mean K%-BB%, combined Contact% and SwStr%, GB/FB and IFFB%. These columns are in green.

By “luck” I mean BABIP, LOB% and HR/FB. These are in some emotional shade of red.

I took all the 2014 vs. 2013 differentials and z-scored them. I summed them up and presented them under column 3 (“SKILL”) and column 4 (“LUCK”). In short, these are not their skill and luck scores for 2014, but their change relative to 2013…in relation to how much everyone else from this list changed (50 IP qualifier).

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MASH Report (8/21/14)

Like Monday, a really light on material today. Tomorrow, I promise to have a bunch of PAIN, SLOW, HURT and Zone% reports for consumption.

Daniel Hudson is making some minor league rehab starts and is throwing his fastball around 93 mph.

His velocity has returned to pre-surgery levels. Arnsberg says Hudson has routinely pitched in the 93 mph range, even hitting 95 mph on consecutive pitches.

The velocity is close to his pre-TJS days. Stayed tuned to see if he can get back to his 2009 to 2010 production levels.

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Still Curious about Jarred Cosart

We have been asked about Jarred Cosart once or twice for the podcast, and I have fielded a question or two about him in chats. At the time Eno addressed him on the podcast, he basically called Cossart a hurler about whom he’d have trouble becoming excited, because command and control have so persistently been problems for the right-hander. I have harbored some fascination with the right-hander for a few years, but I couldn’t really disagree.

I’ve become a tad more interested, again, now that he’s back with a Senior Circuit organization. Cosart’s “stuff” just intrigues me, as it does many; otherwise, he wouldn’t have been at least somewhat well-regarded by multiple organizations at one time or another. The issues he’s had with command threaten to be of the career-long variety because they’re rooted in that stuff. But I wonder a little about how crazy the stuff might be, perhaps unlike any others’ stuff, and if that isn’t the beauty of Cosart. It’s a catch-22, with insanity the only likely outcome, surely.

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Carl Crawford Still Has Some Wheels

Carl Crawford has stolen a base in each of his last four games and in five of his last six. I have had a few too many false starts in assuming Crawford was back to the player he was in Tampa Bay since he left for Boston and both his health and his production abruptly left him. However, this is the first time since I accepted that Crawford would never return to his former self that I questioned whether Crawford might still be as fast as he ever was.

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Three Velocity Decliners To Be Concerned About

We know that fastball velocity tends to increase as the season progresses. We all generally panic in April when our favorite sleeper’s velocity is down a mile per hour from last year, but usually by the end of the month, his velocity has returned and you’re able to sleep well at night again. But when we see a downtrend in velocity during the season, it’s a troubling sign. And the velocity charts on these three pitchers are concerning.

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I’m Buying Low On Allen Craig

After being traded, changing leagues and posting his worst major league season of his career, a reasonable person may ask why on earth I’d be buying Allen Craig. His current .237/.291/.348 equates to a brutal 81 wRC+ and he’s still on the disabled list to boot. We can address the DL issue first, as the Boston Red Sox may activate him as soon as Friday. With that out of the way, on to the (potentially over the top) optimism!

The 30-year-old first baseman/outfielder’s rate stats are clearly way off, however many of his peripherals appear to be in line with his career averages.

   K%    BB%    Swing%    Contact%    SwStr%    BABIP    GB%
2014 6.5% 19.4% 46.3% 84.1% 7.2% .281 56.3%
Career 7% 18.3% 45.6% 82.8% 7.7% .330 46.6%

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Relative Waiver Wire: Mookie Betts, Abraham Almonte

2B/SS/OF Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

Ownership: CBS 25% | Yahoo! 8% | ESPN 1.3%

The BoSox have called up Betts for the third time in 2014. This time, seriously, says the team’s official site, he’ll have a regular job. Apparently, a defined role wasn’t part of the deal the first time or two the club summoned their top-10 prospect.

OK, it’s a little less cynical than that. And there’s nothing in Betts’ major league, 52-plate appearance sample to suggest that the right-handed hitter won’t be as good as his minor league numbers seem to indicate. That .250/.294/.375 slash line shouldn’t discourage you. If anything, the swinging-strike rate (3.3%) and strikeout rate (11.5%) would be rather encouraging.

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