Archive for June, 2013

Daily Notes: A Brief Review of Kyle Gibson’s Debut Start

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. A Brief Review of Kyle Gibson’s Debut Start
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

A Brief Review of Kyle Gibson’s Debut Start
Introduction
As noted in these pages of late, Twins right-handed prospect and 22nd-overall pick in the 2009 draft Kyle Gibson made his major-league debut on Saturday. What follows is a brief review of same.

Read the rest of this entry »


Daily Notes: Largely Concerning Two Notable Debuts

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Two Debuts of Note
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Two Debuts of Note
The Purpose of This Post
The purpose of this post is mostly to inform the readership that two pitchers are scheduled to make their major-league debuts today (Saturday) — namely, Washington right-hander Taylor Jordan (against the New York Nationals) and Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson (home against the Kansas Citiers).

Read the rest of this entry »


The Worst of the Best: The Week’s Wildest Swings

Oh, hello! I didn’t see you there. Well, welcome, to the second part of the 12th edition of The Worst Of The Best. Sorry for the mess. Here’s a link to the second part of the 11th edition, from last Friday. Now, many of you will have already read the earlier first part of the 12th edition, chronicling the wildest pitches. As such, you already know the punchline: this week’s wildest swing came on this week’s fifth-wildest pitch. So, there’s no more surprise there, but there is the satisfaction of finally seeing that overlap, as some people have yearned for. What’s next? The wildest swing on the fourth-wildest pitch? On the first-wildest pitch? More than one pitch/swing overlap? Complete, all-five overlap? We know it isn’t impossible; if one can be the same, five can be the same. It might just take forever. I think this would be good terms of a serious jail sentence. “You’re eligible for parole when the five wildest swings come at the five wildest pitches.” It might never happen. It might happen next Friday! Then there’s a murderer on the loose! Jail sentences should be more game-y.

Going to look at the five wildest swings, now, those being the swings at the pitches furthest from the center of the strike zone. Window: Friday, June 21 through Thursday, June 27. Once again, I went in intending to exclude hit-and-run swings, but I didn’t find any. I did exclude a few more check swings, and I hate them. I’ve already psyched myself out regarding how I’m going to write about the wildest swing, since I already did that in the post about the wildest pitches. This is not going to be easy. Maybe I’ll just write something short and stupid. The sooner I’m done, the sooner it’s my weekend! So long, suckers! I’m going to the woods!

Read the rest of this entry »


On Matt Garza’s Last Three Starts

The Cubs didn’t have hearty expectations entering the year, but coming on the heels of some nice acquisitions, it wasn’t inconceivable that they would hang around and make some noise in the pennant race. And in a just world, perhaps they would have. They have played better than their record all season, and in fact still carry just a -12 run differential into this weekend’s action. But contention seems far off at this point. The Pirates and Cardinals are tearing it up, and the Reds are drafting off them as they wait to make their move as well. With only one game separating them and the Brewers in last place, you can bet on the Cubs being sellers at the deadline. One of their chief assets will be Matt Garza, who has been fairly fantastic in his last three starts.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Worst of the Best: The Week’s Wildest Pitches

Hey there, people who hopefully aren’t the following baseball players, and welcome to the first part of the 12th edition of The Worst Of The Best. From last Friday, here’s the first part of the 11th edition. Meanwhile, here’s a link to all the posts in the series. Some time ago, I was given the advice to write as if the post were being read by the player or players I was writing about. The advice was invaluable, and I always try to keep it in mind, but the posts in this series are apparently my personal exception. It didn’t begin that way but now this series has a voice, and that voice can be mean. With luck, the players have no idea, or they have a sense of humor about themselves that I might have underestimated.

Following will be a top-five list of the week’s wildest pitches, the week spanning June 21 through June 27, and the wildest pitches being the pitches furthest from the center of the strike zone, according to PITCHf/x. Meaning we end up with a lot of breaking balls in the dirt, because I’m stubborn about my methodology. I was born this way. Lots of images are coming, and here are some pitches that just missed the list: Jhoulys Chacin to Ian Desmond on June 22, Jorge de la Rosa to Chris Marrero on June 23, and Jason Marquis to Ben Revere on June 25. Now let’s move on, because I’m excited. We’re encountering a season first. We’re going to see something we haven’t seen before.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Remarkable Marco Scutaro

Marco Scutaro made his Major League debut at age-26. It took him two years to get regular playing time, and at age-28, given his first real chance as a big leaguer, he hit .273/.297/.393, good for a 77 wRC+ and an exactly replacement level performance. Undeterred, the A’s stuck with him, and he eventually turned into something pretty close to a league average hitter. From 2005 to 2012 — his age-29 to age-36 seasons — Scutaro posted a 98 wRC+, which isn’t bad at all for a middle infielder. He wasn’t anything special, but through hard work, a no-tools non-prospect turned himself into an average player. That’s a pretty big accomplishment.

But that’s not the amazing thing about Marco Scutaro. Well, not the most amazing thing anyway. The real remarkable story here is how he’s just continuing to get better.

Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking Down the Futures Game Hitting Prospects

The rosters for the MLB Futures Game were announced on June 26. The top prospects from the United States will square off against the best young players from around the globe on July 14 during the all-star weekend. It’s difficult to make every fan happy but the roster choices were solid — especially given the restriction preventing an organization from having more than two representatives in the game.

Some of the biggest names that are MIA include Jameson Taillon of the Pirates, Gary Sanchez of the Yankees, Nick Castellanos of the Tigers, Javier Baez and Albert Almora of the Cubs, as well as Carlos Correa and Justin Singleton of the Astros. The biggest surprise additions to the rosters include Chen-Chang Lee of the Indians, Taylor Jordan of the Nationals, Jordan Lennerton of the Tigers, Yeison Asencio of the Padres, and Joey Terdoslavich of the Braves.

Read the rest of this entry »


Marc Hulet’s Prospects Chat – 6/28/13

12:21
Marc Hulet: sorry guys, we had some tech issues on this end and apparently you didn’t see my responses… can you please resubmitted your earlier questions…

12:21
Comment From Patrick
Maikel Franco is making quite an impression on Double-A ball. Has his stocked reached Sano’s level, and when does he debut in Philly?

12:22
Marc Hulet: I don’t think he’s reached Sano’s level but he’s quite an impressive prospect and his value is up by a significant amount… I would see him being ready to take over the Phillies’ third base job by mid to late 2014.

12:22
Comment From Mr. Wrestling IV
How about Brad Miller? Can we expect a .350 OBP in the majors?

12:23
Marc Hulet: A .350 OBP might be a little high but he swings a mean stick and the adjustments he’s made have really paid off from an offensive standpoint… It will be interesting to see how Franklin and Miller end up sharing the middle infield from a long-term perspective.

12:23
Comment From Timmy
What do you think of Byron Buxton? Too soon to call him the best player in the minor leagues?

Read the rest of this entry »


Pitcher Spotlight: Chris Sale

I’d like to introduce a new feature at FanGraphs: the pitcher spotlight.  While I will continue to try to highlight unique skills or aspects of the sport in other pieces, Major League Baseball is overflowing with quality pitching and interesting prospects worth addressing.  To cover a wider range of pitchers, these posts will be a regular but relatively brief look at a pitcher’s repertoire.

This week’s subject is 24-year-old Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, who is fresh off a dominating 13 strikeout performance in his last start.  Sale is a deceptive low arm-slot lefty who fully utilizes his quality four pitch mix, which includes a four seam fastball, two seam fastball, slider and changeup.  Here are those offerings in the usual composite graphic with footage stabilized and synchronized to provide a relative look at their movement and velocity.

Read the rest of this entry »


Daily Notes: Night of Precisely One-Thousand Rookie Starters

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Night of Precisely One-Thousand Rookie Starters
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Night of Precisely One-Thousand Rookie Starters
The Purpose of This Post
The purpose of this post is to alert the readership to how either exactly one-thousand or at least ten rookie pitchers are starting tonight for their respective teams.

Read the rest of this entry »


Q&A: Noah Syndergaard, Mets Pitching Prospect

Noah Syndergaard made his Double-A debut for the Binghamton Mets this past Sunday. In six innings against Erie, he allowed two runs on five hits, he walked one and fanned seven. How did the right-hander look? According to a scout who was at the game: “The kid is 20, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s pitching in New York next season. He‘s a horse.”

The 6-foot-6 prospect joined the Mets’ stable last December as part of the R.A. Dickey deal. Drafted 38th overall in 2010 out of Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas, Syndergaard (pronounced SIN-der-guard) came into this season rated the team’s No. 3 prospect, behind Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud. Prior to his promotion, he logged a 3.11 ERA in 12 starts for High-A St. Lucie.

Syndergaard discussed Sunday’s outing — as well as his repertoire and a recent mechanical adjustment — prior to Monday’s game in Portland, Maine.

Read the rest of this entry »


Effectively Wild Episode 234: Byron Buxton, Joe Mauer, and the Twins/Dylan Bundy, Tommy John Surgery, and PRP

Ben and Sam discuss three things about the Twins, then talk about Dylan Bundy and the PRP approach to treating partial UCL tears.


The Historically Dreadful Pittsburgh Pirates

Everyone agrees that there are good stories in baseball. When it comes to deciding what counts as a good story, though, there are as many definitions as there are people who care to have one. Yet as far as the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates are concerned, the majority are on the same page. The last time the Pirates finished at least .500 was 1992, and they were eliminated from the playoffs on October 14. Two days later, Bryce Harper was born. Now, the Pirates are tied with the Cardinals for the best record in baseball right around the midpoint, and though the Pirates might not be baseball’s best team, they’re well on their way to finishing .500 and then some. One of the keys to enjoying baseball is freshness, and the Pirates’ success feels fresh. They’re a fun team to support and an easy team to bandwagon.

However, while on the surface everything’s peaches, the team success has hidden a team weakness of historical significance. And this doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that Clint Barmes just can’t hit, even though, yeah, he can’t hit. There’s something the Pirates have done worse than anyone else. And I don’t just mean anyone else this season. I mean anyone else at least since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. There’s something at which the Pirates have been historically dreadful.

Read the rest of this entry »


Miguel Cabrera’s Best Season Yet

Last year, we were pro-Mike Trout. The AL MVP debate pitted the Triple Crown against overall performance, and we came down on the side of evaluating players by things other than batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Unfortunately, being pro-Mike Trout meant that we were perceived to be inherently anti-Miguel Cabrera. It’s not that we had anything against Cabrera, but he became the personification of The Other Side. In order to help explain why Trout was better, we had to point out where Cabrera was deficient relative to the guy we supported. It’s the nature of comparisons, but it’s not always fair to the guys being compared, especially when picking between multiple great players while trying to decide which one happened to be the greatest.

This post is not a comparison. This post is just about Miguel Cabrera, and appreciating how good he actually is, because as a follow-up to his Triple Crown season, Cabrera’s 2013 season is shaping up to be his best season yet, and one of the best offensive seasons in baseball history.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Most Obvious Trade That Needs To Happen

With the trade deadline a little more than a month away, we’re going to see a lot of rumors and speculation over the next few weeks, with reporters tying players to certain teams based on what they’ve heard from industry sources. This post is neither rumor nor speculation. No one in the game has suggested to me that this might happen. I have no inside information. I’m just pointing out a trade that, from an outside perspective, looks so glaringly obvious that it has to happen for the world to make sense.

The Oakland A’s need a second baseman. Well, maybe you could argue that they need a shortstop, because Jed Lowrie’s defense is pretty lousy at he’d be less harmful at 2B than SS, but Lowrie is still playing SS on a fairly regular basis, so technically, the A’s still need a second baseman. Preferably a second baseman who can hit. Eric Sogard is not a bad utility player to come off the bench, but he shouldn’t be playing regularly for a team in the midst of a pennant race. They should be able to do better.

So, let’s assume that the A’s are hunting for a second baseman, and not just a fill-in stop-gap type, but a guy who could make a real difference and push them over the hump as a legitimate World Series contender. But, because they’re the A’s and they’re constantly balancing current wins against maintaining enough assets for the future, they also need that impact player to come at something of a discount due to a diminished perception of his abilities. Basically, they need an impact player who people don’t think of as an impact player anymore.

They need Chase Utley.

Read the rest of this entry »


Eno Sarris Baseball Chat — 6/27/13

8:46
Eno Sarris: I’m sure my thumb will be fine in 15 minutes. *cuts thumb off* See you soon!

9:00
Eno Sarris: These are probably super easy, but lyrics of the day are injury-themed, appropriately:

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair

9:00
Comment From V
Just wanted to say thanks for doing this chat every week. It’s both highly informative and extremely fun at the same time.

9:00
Eno Sarris: AND I”M DOING IT IN PAIN

9:00
Comment From Richard III
My kingdom for a thumb.

9:00
Comment From JEB
pain in thumb whilst typing might be the biggest first world problem ever

Read the rest of this entry »


Raul Ibanez: Illustration of Principles

When you’re active on a site like FanGraphs, it’s easy to forget the majority of baseball fans don’t consume the game the way you do. Most people don’t know nearly so much about baseball analysis; most people don’t have the foggiest about UZR. More people, though, are writing about the game in an analytical fashion — meaning more people are being exposed to such analysis. Meaning more people are taking an interest in such analysis, and more or less are just getting started. It’s daunting, because there’s a lot of information out there, but contemporary baseball analysis comes with a handful of fairly basic principles. Principles that are easy to get accustomed to, and principles that can take you most of the way.

We could probably spend several hours coming up with the starter set of analytical principles with which one should be familiar. That’s even without getting too advanced. For pitchers, probably, one would begin with DIPS, or that would at least be near the start. But there are principles for hitters, too, and there’s something convenient about the 2013 version of Raul Ibanez. On Wednesday, Ibanez slugged his 18th home run of the season. In one year — in one half of one year — Ibanez by himself can teach three important lessons. Maybe more. But here are three of them.

Read the rest of this entry »


Daily Notes: Meeting of the Corey Kluber Society, At Last

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Meeting of the Corey Kluber Society, At Last
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Meeting of the Corey Kluber Society, At Last
The Purpose of This Post
The purpose of this post is to announce another meeting — in this case, at 7:05pm ET today (Thursday) — of the Corey Kluber Society.

Read the rest of this entry »


Zack Wheeler Is Tipping His Pitches

Apparently, Zack Wheeler is tipping his pitches, and it’s so obvious that the Mets manager Terry Collins got ten text messages on the subject during the game in Chicago on Tuesday. Is it obvious enough that we can tell?

Read the rest of this entry »


Effectively Wild Episode 233: Munenori Kawasaki and Clubhouse Chemistry/The Tigers, Strikeouts, and Defense

Ben and Sam talk about whether Kawasaki being sent to the minors tells us anything about chemistry, then discuss how much the Tigers’ defense hurts them.