Author Archive

Introducing the FanGraphs Book Club

It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you without a strong book to read to.

Hi, everybody. Opening up this tab really put a smile on my face today. To be honest, I was a bit surprised my login still worked. I would have figured Appelman would have quietly flixed that glitch. He didn’t though, so here I am!

Back in January, when I stepped away from the site, I expressed my desire to form the FanGraphs Book Club. Many of you seemed highly receptive to that idea. In the spirit of saving you a click, here’s what I said:

I should also note that I’m not leaving completely, hence the “For Now” in the title. I titled it as such because David Appelman has graciously agreed to let me start the FanGraphs Book Club. We won’t begin right away — I need to get the store open first — but hopefully around the start of the regular season, I will be back, with the goal of hosting a chat once every four-to-six weeks, on a particular baseball book that we’ll choose together. The idea is that we’ll pick a new baseball book ahead of time, and that book will be available for purchase through my store — in person and online — at a discounted rate. Hopefully, we can have a lot of fun with it, the same way we always have had in the FanGraphs After Dark chats.

OK, so the “around the start of the regular season” part didn’t quite work out. Turns out there’s a lot of work involved with running a bookstore — who knew!?!?! — but I’m ready now. I think. Let’s just pretend I am, OK? Deal? Deal.

Read the rest of this entry »


Farewell for Now

For the past seven years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of writing for FanGraphs and its associated blogs, RotoGraphs, NotGraphs, and The Hardball Times. For the seven years prior to that, I had the honor and privilege of working for the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club. That’s a pretty neat coincidence. Looking back at the beginning of my adult life, I also spent seven years prior to joining the Rockies either in college or working a series of short-term jobs in order to build up a career. Triple sevens.

So, it seems like every seven years — or, as I’m approaching that seventh year — I look for a new challenge. This time around has been no different. Leaving the best job you’ve ever had is certainly not an easy thing to do, but for the second time, I’m about to do so. I am bidding FanGraphs and THT (mostly) farewell, as I take on what will most assuredly be my greatest challenge to date — opening up an independent bookstore.

Around this time last year, word began to spread that the bookstore in my town, Acton, Mass., was going to be closing. That was hard to fathom, since it had been in business for over 20 years. As I spoke with friends and neighbors around town, the feeling was the same: “Where do we buy books now?” And so my wheels started turning.

The result, barring last-minute hiccups, will be The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, which I hope to open at some point in March.

The store’s website is but a humble splash page at the moment. Once it’s set up, though, you will be able to purchase books from it online.

While I’m excited for my new (ad)venture, leaving FanGraphs and THT is going to be incredibly bittersweet. Looking at the Blog Roll recently, I realized I’ve worked with nearly every person on it. The relationships I’ve formed with my colleagues past and present, and with you, the readers, are something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

First and foremost, I have to thank David Appelman, not only for approving my initial hire as a writer, but then also agreeing to let me typeset The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2013 and, after that, agreeing to let me help lead THT’s transition to its current iteration and take over as managing editor. In between and after, he has trusted me with jobs like planning company trips, designing/ordering t-shirts, and managing interns. These were jobs that I was not always qualified to perform. I will miss working with him very, very much.

I’ll also desperately miss working with the editing team at THT — Joe Distelheim, Jason Linden, Dustin Nosler, and Greg Simons. Each one of them has stood by the site through thick and thin, and each one has bailed me out of plenty of jams.

Though I haven’t worked with her as long, Michelle Jay has become an invaluable person in my work life. Whatever the task at hand, I know that Michelle will get it done quickly, competently, and with a smile.

Of course, there’s all the people who I work with on the FanGraphs side: Carson Cistulli, Sean Dolinar, David Laurila, Eric Longenhagen, Chris Mitchell, Eno Sarris, Travis Sawchick, Jeff Sullivan, and Jeff Zimmerman chief among them. There’s also the people who I work with to produce stuff behind the scenes: Mary Craig, Mina Dunn, Jen Mac Ramos, Sarah Wexler, and intern Bailey Winston. There are countless others who I do and/or have worked with at FanGraphs and THT. I started building a list of a few particular people, but that list started to snowball, so I’ll simply thank Dave Studeman for trusting me to succeed him at THT. I’ve really had the pleasure and privilege of working with a tremendous amount of tremendously talented people.

Finally, there’s Dave Cameron. That Dave hired me in the first place is a bit breathtaking, knowing my credentials at the time and the credentials that would be subsequently required to write for the site. Objectively speaking, Dave never should have hired me. That he didn’t fire me once he did hire me is just as breathtaking. As he has reminded me, when he hired me, I claimed I would write for the site on a daily basis. I never did that. In fact, I think three original pieces per week (not counting chats) was probably my high-water mark, and for most of my tenure it was two or fewer. I owe Dave a great deal for not only hiring me, but for sticking with me as well.

Before this piece gets too sappy, I should note that my successor is a lot better at all this than me, so FanGraphs and THT are definitely not going to feel a pinch from my departure.

I should also note that I’m not leaving completely, hence the “For Now” in the title. I titled it as such because David Appelman has graciously agreed to let me start the FanGraphs Book Club. We won’t begin right away — I need to get the store open first — but hopefully around the start of the regular season, I will be back, with the goal of hosting a chat once every four-to-six weeks, on a particular baseball book that we’ll choose together. The idea is that we’ll pick a new baseball book ahead of time, and that book will be available for purchase through my store — in person and online — at a discounted rate. Hopefully, we can have a lot of fun with it, the same way we always have had in the FanGraphs After Dark chats.

I could keep writing this post forever. FanGraphs will always feel like home to me. But in the interest of (relative) brevity, I’ll stop here. Thanks as always, for reading and interacting with my work — it means everything to me. See you in a few months.


The Best of FanGraphs: December 18-22, 2017

Each week, we publish in the neighborhood of 75 articles across our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research.
Read the rest of this entry »


FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 12/19/17

10:28
Paul Swydan:

Did you enjoy the baseball parts of 2017?

Absolutely (63.8% | 145 votes)
 
Sure (30.3% | 69 votes)
 
Meh (4.4% | 10 votes)
 
Not really (0.4% | 1 vote)
 
Definitely not! (0.8% | 2 votes)
 

Total Votes: 227
10:32
Paul Swydan:

Which team that won between 70-79 games last season do you think is most likely to be better than .500 in 2018?

Toronto (10.8% | 27 votes)
 
Baltimore (0% | 0 votes)
 
Seattle (30.4% | 76 votes)
 
Texas (10.0% | 25 votes)
 
Oakland (16.8% | 42 votes)
 
Miami (1.2% | 3 votes)
 
Atlanta (4.8% | 12 votes)
 
NY Mets (17.6% | 44 votes)
 
Pittsburgh (5.2% | 13 votes)
 
San Diego (3.2% | 8 votes)
 

Total Votes: 250
7:24
Paul Swydan:

If you saw “The Last Jedi” already, where does it rank among the 9 Star Wars films for you? (Eps 1-8 + Rogue One)

Best Ever! I loved it! (2.9% | 5 votes)
 
2nd (2.9% | 5 votes)
 
3rd (7.6% | 13 votes)
 
4th (6.5% | 11 votes)
 
5th (10.0% | 17 votes)
 
6th (2.9% | 5 votes)
 
7th (1.7% | 3 votes)
 
8th (1.1% | 2 votes)
 
Dead last, I hated it. (2.3% | 4 votes)
 
I haven’t seen it yet (61.5% | 104 votes)
 

Total Votes: 169
9:03
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:03
Jeff Zimmerman: Hi

9:03
Paul Swydan: You people need to get out more!

Read the rest of this entry »


A Manny Machado Trade Would Be Historic

Manny Machado possesses a rare combination of youth and talent. (Photo: Keith Allison)

The Orioles have seemingly come to their senses about their place on the win curve and, as such, are open to trading Manny Machado. On the other hand, it’s been nearly a week since that news broke, and we haven’t heard many concrete trade offers out for Baltimore’s All-Star infielder. Perhaps the news was overblown. Perhaps not. One thing we can say with certainty is that, if Machado were traded, it would be fairly historic.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Best of FanGraphs: December 11-15, 2017

Each week, we publish in the neighborhood of 75 articles across our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research.
Read the rest of this entry »


A’s and Cardinals Execute Win-Win Trade

Stephen Piscotty didn’t have the best 2017 season.
(Photo: Keith Allison)

The St. Louis Cardinals have had a busy couple of days. One outfielder came in, another left. The latter move sent Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland A’s in exchange for two middle-infield prospects, Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock. The trade was made partly to accommodate Piscotty, whose mother has ALS, but the deal does help St. Louis. Likewise, it fills a need for Oakland.

Let’s start with Piscotty. Coming off a 2.8 WAR season in 2016, Piscotty looked to be building a solid profile in St. Louis. Clearly the Cardinals thought so, as they signed him to a six-year, $33.5 million contract that included a $2 million bonus. By the second week of the 2017 season, he was hitting cleanup.

Things didn’t go that smoothly all year though. Piscotty missed 15 days in May due to a strained hamstring. In mid-July, he landed back on the DL with a strained right groin. They recalled him on Aug. 1 from that injury but then optioned him to the minors on Aug. 7, only to reverse course and bring him back to the majors on Aug. 20. In his stint in the minors after he was demoted, he hit .313/.421/.781 in Triple-A, suggesting that he didn’t really need to be demoted in the first place. We’ll chalk that up to a bit of Mike Matheny Logic. Expecting a player fresh off the DL to hit like normal is shortsighted at best. Amusingly, in his last plate appearance before he was demoted, Piscotty hit a pinch-hit double.

Here’s his lines, split around his DL stints.

Stephen Piscotty, 2017 Splits
From To PA H BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
4/2 5/4 98 19 16.3% 18.4% 0.139 0.283 0.241 0.378 0.380 0.339 109
5/20 7/14 175 35 11.4% 21.1% 0.133 0.279 0.233 0.331 0.367 0.308 89
8/1 8/6 18 3 5.6% 22.2% 0.059 0.231 0.176 0.222 0.235 0.204 21
8/20 9/30 110 23 13.6% 25.5% 0.137 0.313 0.242 0.345 0.379 0.314 92

The biggest takeaway here is that he never really had a big sample to his season. The second takeaway, for me, is that he was doing just fine before he hurt his hamstring. It looks as though injuries more or less ruined his season, with a dash of Matheny Logic costing him two weeks in August.

One thing that we can say for sure is that he was pressing in the middle of his three big stints. Let’s take a look at another table:

Stephen Piscotty, 2017 Splits
From To O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact% Zone% Pace
4/2 5/4 27.2% 62.0% 42.3% 62.3% 84.0% 76.1% 43.3% 22.8
5/20 7/14 29.8% 71.6% 49.7% 61.7% 83.3% 76.5% 47.7% 25.4
8/20 9/30 29.6% 58.0% 43.2% 55.4% 89.9% 77.5% 47.7% 23.8
2017 Season 30.2% 65.9% 47.0% 60.5% 85.5% 77.0% 47.1% 24.7

As you can see in this table, Piscotty was swinging at a much higher rate when he came back from his hamstring injury, but he wasn’t making contact at a higher rate. When he finally got healthy toward the end of the season, though, he was able to go back to swinging less, and he made slightly more contact. He also swung at far fewer pitches out of the zone. That’s a promising development.

Whether he can repeat the swing improvements is a matter that will play out in Oakland. On the left coast, he’ll switch from right field to left field but become a valuable cog in their outfield no matter the corner in which he plays.

Oakland A’s, 2018 Corner Outfielders Projections
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Stephen Piscotty 532 0.253 0.337 0.420 0.327 3.2 -1.6 0.4 1.5
Matt Joyce   413 0.240 0.347 0.431 0.336 5.7 0.0 -3.9 1.2
Chad Pinder   469 0.244 0.292 0.403 0.298 -8.8 -0.9 0.1 0.2
Dustin Fowler   119 0.253 0.289 0.408 0.296 -2.4 -0.1 -0.3 0.0
Min. 50 PA

Of the four players we see getting significant time in an Oakland outfield corner, Piscotty projects to be the second-best hitter (by wOBA) and the best player overall. And this projection is probably a little conservative. If healthy, Piscotty could easily it. Given the way his 2017 season unfolded, I’m willing to throw out his replacement-level performance and be a little optimistic.

Over in St. Louis, Munoz and Schrock have their fans. Both were among Eric’s top 24 A’s prospects last spring. Munoz made Chris’s midseason KATOH top-100 list this past year. And Schrock was a fixture on Carson’s Fringe Five list last season. At the time of his last Fringe Five appearance in August, he was the yearly leader, and he would eventually finish the season third on the Fringe Five leaderboard.

All of this is to say that Munoz, a shortstop, and Schrock, a second baseman, weren’t throw-ins. They could potentially be valuable players. That is furthered by the dearth of middle-infield talent in the St. Louis farm system. Eric selected the Cardinals for one of his first top-prospects pieces this offseason. Here’s how the talent broke down:

St. Louis Cardinals Top 23 Prospects Positional Breakdown
Position 1-10 11-23
RHP 4 6
C 2 0
OF 4 4
SS 0 2
LHP 0 1

There are two shortstops but no second basemen, and one of the shortstops is a 40 future value (FV) player who hasn’t yet reached A-ball. Munoz, meanwhile, ascended to Triple-A last season, and Schrock should be ready for Triple-A this season. Schrock actually projects to post a 87 wRC+ in the majors this year, which puts him in league with utility infielder Greg Garcia. Neither Munoz nor Schrock is likely to crack the Opening Day roster, but they should provide good depth for the Cardinals, who always seem to manage to turn average prospects into solid major leaguers. Oakland, meanwhile, still has plenty of middle infielders on the farm and in the Show. Top prospect Franklin Barreto is ready for major-league duty but may not actually get it to start the season, for instance.

This is a win-win deal. The Cardinals had too many good outfielders and too few good middle infielders. The A’s had too many good middle infielders and too few good outfielders. And as an added bonus, Stephen Piscotty — who will probably be fine if he can he avoid last season’s leg injuries — gets to be closer to his ailing mother. It’s hard not to like this trade from all angles.


Jeff Samardzija Would Make the Rich Yankees Richer

Last season, the New York Yankees had a top-10 rotation bothby FIP-based WAR and RA9-WAR. They were really good. This offseason, CC Sabathia and Jaime Garcia have left as free agents, and Michael Pineda won’t be around after undergoing Tommy John surgery. But Sonny Gray will have a full season with the club, and top prospects Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield have reached the upper minors, making them ready for in-season call-ups.

All of this is to say, the Yankees will have a good rotation even if they do nothing else this offseason. Right now on the FanGraphs depth charts, the club is projected to have the 10th-best starting rotation in the majors. That’s pretty good, especially when you combine it with a top-notch bullpen, strong offense, and above-average defense.

Nevertheless, the Yankees have an opportunity to get richer.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Orioles May Have a Good Reason for Not Pursuing Ohtani

The Baltimore Orioles were unlikely to sign Shohei Ohtani. He seems to have had little interest in teams east of the Mississippi — the Chicago Cubs represented the lone exception in that respect — and there was probably little that Peter Angelos, Dan Duquette, and Co. could have done to change that. Still, they had to try, right? That was the opinion held by 27 of the league’s 30 teams, at least. The Orioles weren’t one of them, though.

What was the Orioles’ logic for not pursuing the two-way star? Perhaps not what you’d think.

Huh. That is certainly interesting. While an organization might have (justifiably) felt as though they had little chance with Ohtani, this doesn’t appear to be Baltimore’s main reason for having abstained from courting him. The team’s objections appear to be founded on a greater underlying issue.
Read the rest of this entry »


The Best of FanGraphs: December 4-8, 2017

Each week, we publish in the neighborhood of 75 articles across our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research.
Read the rest of this entry »


FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 12/5/17

5:49
Paul Swydan:

Which of Paul’s most listened to artists (according to Spotify) this year do you like best?

Kendrick Lamar (29.4% | 41 votes)
 
The Alchemist (2.1% | 3 votes)
 
Nas (9.3% | 13 votes)
 
Mobb Deep (3.5% | 5 votes)
 
Wu-Tang Clan (16.5% | 23 votes)
 
I like them all equally! (2.1% | 3 votes)
 
I don’t like any of these musical acts. (36.6% | 51 votes)
 

Total Votes: 139
5:52
Paul Swydan:

Which of Paul’s 9 most listened to songs of 2017 (according to Spotify) do you like best?

Your Wildest Dreams – The Moody Blues (9.8% | 12 votes)
 
Let’s Groove – Earth, Wind & Fire (13.1% | 16 votes)
 
Capt. Underpants Theme Song – Weird Al (7.3% | 9 votes)
 
Everything She Wants – Wham! (3.2% | 4 votes)
 
Saturday – Nathan Willett of Cold War Kids (0.8% | 1 vote)
 
I’m The One – DJ Khaled f/ Bieber, Chance, Lil’ Wayne (12.2% | 15 votes)
 
While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Regina Spektor (13.1% | 16 votes)
 
All Night – Big Boi (4.0% | 5 votes)
 
(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty – KC & The Sunshine Band (11.4% | 14 votes)
 
I don’t like any of these songs! (24.5% | 30 votes)
 

Total Votes: 122
5:58
Paul Swydan:

Do you think the Mikolas signing makes the Cardinals rotation deep enough to trade away a starting pitcher?

Absolutely (3.8% | 6 votes)
 
I think so (17.8% | 28 votes)
 
Meh (36.3% | 57 votes)
 
I don’t think so (30.5% | 48 votes)
 
Definitely not (11.4% | 18 votes)
 

Total Votes: 157
9:02
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:02
Austin: Thoughts on Drew Pomeranz for 2018?

9:02
Jeff Zimmerman: Hi

Read the rest of this entry »


White Sox Beef Up at Catcher

Welington Castillo is no stranger to home runs.
(Photo: Keith Allison)

It’s been a veritable desert for baseball transactions this offseason, and there may not be an oasis on the horizon, as teams dance on the line between spending efficiency and collusion. But we’re starting to get metaphorical trickles of water here and there. One came over the weekend, as catcher Welington Castillo agreed to sign with the White Sox.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Best of FanGraphs: November 20-December 1, 2017

Each week, we publish in the neighborhood of 75 articles across our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research.
Read the rest of this entry »


FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 11/28/17

7:11
Paul Swydan:

Which player acquisition do you care most about?

Giancarlo Stanton (6.9% | 11 votes)
 
Shohei Ohtani (59.4% | 94 votes)
 
Both equally! (11.3% | 18 votes)
 
Neither, I just want them to move so other stuff starts happening!!!!!!! (22.1% | 35 votes)
 

Total Votes: 158
7:13
Paul Swydan:

What is your favorite Star Wars movie?

Episode I: The Phanton Menace (3.8% | 6 votes)
 
Episode II: Attack of the Clones (1.9% | 3 votes)
 
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (4.4% | 7 votes)
 
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (5.1% | 8 votes)
 
Episode IV: A New Hope (12.1% | 19 votes)
 
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (30.7% | 48 votes)
 
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (15.3% | 24 votes)
 
Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2.5% | 4 votes)
 
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (even tho I haven’t seen it yet!) (3.2% | 5 votes)
 
NONE, STAR WARS IS TRASH! (20.5% | 32 votes)
 

Total Votes: 156
9:00
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:01
Paul Swydan: Just me tonight. Jeff is out of pocket.

9:01
MattyB: Does Keynan Middleton have a reasonable shot at taking over the Angels’ closer role during the 2018 season?

9:02
Paul Swydan: His chances probably depend on 1) can he cure his home run problems? and 2) Who gets hurt in front of him. But certainly not impossible.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Hall of Fame Isn’t Worth Our Time

We love debating which baseball players deserve to be designated as the “best of all time.” In the last year alone, I personally have written about Larry Walker’s case to be regarded as one of them, as well as Andruw Jones’s. Over at The Hardball Times, we publish a piece that explores this notion seemingly every month, sometimes more. Two years ago, we devoted a whole week to the matter. In almost every case, these debates revolve around a player’s credentials for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. But now, more than ever, the institution is unworthy of that authority.

I’m not suggesting everyone should cease attempting to identify baseball’s top players or most influential figures. History is important. I just don’t think that the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum should be the focus of this attention or serve as the arbiter of these decisions. One thing that struck me repeatedly while reading Jay Jaffe’s book, The Cooperstown Casebook, earlier this year is just how relentlessly the Hall of Fame has failed at the task of electing the best players to its institution.

Read the rest of this entry »


FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 11/21/17

10:26
Paul Swydan:

Do you eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

Yes (77.8% | 137 votes)
 
No (10.7% | 19 votes)
 
Sometimes (11.3% | 20 votes)
 

Total Votes: 176
10:29
Paul Swydan:

What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Green bean casserole (6.3% | 11 votes)
 
Cranberry sauce (4.6% | 8 votes)
 
Stuffing (29.6% | 51 votes)
 
Mashed potatoes (27.9% | 48 votes)
 
Mac and cheese (5.8% | 10 votes)
 
Brussel sprouts (2.3% | 4 votes)
 
Carrots (1.1% | 2 votes)
 
Sweet potatoes (11.0% | 19 votes)
 
Rolls (6.9% | 12 votes)
 
Something else! (say in comments) (4.0% | 7 votes)
 

Total Votes: 172
10:30
Paul Swydan:

What’s your favorite kind of Thanksgiving pie?

Pumpkin pie (39.1% | 65 votes)
 
Pecan pie (21.0% | 35 votes)
 
Apple pie (24.6% | 41 votes)
 
Blueberry pie (3.6% | 6 votes)
 
Another kind of hot fruit pie (4.8% | 8 votes)
 
Other (say in comments) (6.6% | 11 votes)
 

Total Votes: 166
9:01
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody! FYI you’re all underrating pecan pie!

9:01
hscer: There’s more than one kind of “cranberry sauce” y’know!

9:01
Paul Swydan: Ah touche.

Read the rest of this entry »


What Should the Rays Do?

The Tampa Bay Rays are a fascinating case study this offseason. They’re not bad, but it’s been a while since they were contenders. They haven’t finished with a winning record in any of the past four seasons, and as things stand right now, they aren’t projected as a 2018 playoff team either. Our depth charts currently peg them for having the 16th-best WAR in the majors, and the ninth-best in the American League. There isn’t a lot of separation between the Rays at 16th and the Diamondbacks at 10th, but by that same token, they’re not that far from the Orioles at 18th overall, either.

With some upgrades, the Rays could conceivably push a little closer to the top of the list and put themselves more firmly into the Wild Card mix. But as Craig noted on Friday, the Rays have already committed to a more expensive roster in 2018 than they did in 2017. As such, they may not have any money to spend in free agency. In fact, they may have to jettison some salaries. Who would they jettison, exactly? Let’s take a look:

Tampa Bay Rays, $5+ Million Salaries, 2018
Player 2018 Salary ($M) 2017 WAR Proj. 2018 WAR
Evan Longoria $13.6 2.5 3.0
Wilson Ramos $8.5 0.4 2.0
Jake Odorizzi $6.5 0.1 0.9
Corey Dickerson $6.4 2.6 1.1
Chris Archer $6.4 4.6 4.4
Kevin Kiermaier $5.6 3.0 3.8
Alex Colome $5.5 1.2 0.7
Adeiny Hechavarria $5.0 1.3 0.7
Highlighted = Projected arbitration salary from MLB Trade Rumors
Projected WAR via FanGraphs depth charts

So the Rays have eight players who are expected to make $5 million or more next season, either as part of their current contract or through arbitration (estimates of which have been provided by Matt Swartz). Brad Miller is projected to make $4.4 million in arbitration, which is also noteworthy.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Best of FanGraphs: November 13-17, 2017

Each week, we publish in the neighborhood of 75 articles across our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research.
Read the rest of this entry »


FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 11/14/17

7:38
Paul Swydan:

In which sport that plays a decent number of games do you think it’s the hardest to win 10+ games in a row?

MLB (46.5% | 68 votes)
 
NBA (9.5% | 14 votes)
 
NHL (26.7% | 39 votes)
 
Pro soccer (MLS/EPL/etc.) (17.1% | 25 votes)
 

Total Votes: 146
7:40
Paul Swydan:

Which of Dave Cameron’s top 10 free agents would you *least* like your team to sign?

Yu Darvish (1.8% | 3 votes)
 
J.D. Martinez (1.2% | 2 votes)
 
Jake Arrieta (17.1% | 28 votes)
 
Carlos Santana (3.6% | 6 votes)
 
Eric Hosmer (45.3% | 74 votes)
 
Lorenzo Cain (4.9% | 8 votes)
 
Wade Davis (3.0% | 5 votes)
 
Mike Moustakas (10.4% | 17 votes)
 
Zack Cozart (11.0% | 18 votes)
 
Alex Cobb (1.2% | 2 votes)
 

Total Votes: 163
4:29
Paul Swydan:

Which of Paul’s 10 players he’s excited to watch are *you* most excited to watch in 2018?

Rafael Devers (26.5% | 42 votes)
 
Gio Gonzalez (1.2% | 2 votes)
 
Dellin Betances (12.0% | 19 votes)
 
Nomar Mazara (10.7% | 17 votes)
 
Jon Gray (12.0% | 19 votes)
 
Jose Berrios (18.9% | 30 votes)
 
Dee Gordon (1.8% | 3 votes)
 
Mike Zunino (5.0% | 8 votes)
 
Lorenzo Cain (3.1% | 5 votes)
 
David Wright (8.2% | 13 votes)
 

Total Votes: 158
9:02
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:03
Beni and the Betts: Being a Red Sox fan, I can’t say I’m too upset with this, but it seems like Judge is being slighted in the MVP race, no? He leads Altuve in most relevant categories (both old fashioned and sabermetric) and yet most writers are acting like Altuve is a no doubter.  What say you?

9:04
Paul Swydan: I don’t think either of them are no doubters, but I would agree that the media narrative has landed on Altuve’s side. We’ll see Thursday I guess. I honestly don’t care either way.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ten Players I’m Excited to Watch in 2018

We’re currently in the midst of a lull in the baseball calendar. The offseason has officially arrived and yet the Hot Stove hasn’t really been lit yet. I suppose I could get excited for Awards season, but the painfully slow roll out and the heated arguments wear me down fairly quickly.

So, instead, I try to make my own baseball entertainment. For me, one exercise is simply to look over the league and attempt to identify the players about whom I’m most excited for next season. Not superstars, necessarily: everyone is always excited to watch the game’s brightest lights. And not prospects who haven’t yet reached the Show, either. I’m not really qualified to talk about those players in a meaningful way, so I’ll leave those players to Eric (and Chris) and all the scouts out there.

Outside of those groups, though, there are still hundreds of players from which to choose. I’ll be excited to watch more than these 10, of course, but in surveying the league, these are ones who caught my eye. Note that this isn’t in any particular order. I’m equally excited about all 10. Perhaps you’ll agree with me, perhaps not. Feel free to conduct your own exercise and let me know who your 10 players are in the comments.

Rafael Devers

The new Red Sox third baseman enjoyed a meteoric debut month, swatting his way to a 224 wRC+ in his July call-up. That covered just 27 plate appearances, though, and as we moved into August and September, he cooled off significantly. He hit safely from his second game (July 26) through his eighth game (August 4). At that point, he was hitting .389/.463/.694, for a 205 wRC+. From August 5 through the end of the regular season, though, he hit .263/.312/.441, for a 92 wRC+. Doom and gloom, right? Not entirely, no, because in Boston’s abbreviated playoff run, he was one of the few bright spots, slashing .364/.429/.909. He slugged two homers — one off of Francisco Liriano and one off of Ken Giles. The latter was of the inside-the-park variety, but it was impressive nonetheless:

So, it’s hard to know what to expect from young Devers. Andrew Benintendi was similarly hyped coming into last campaign and was decidedly mediocre for large swaths of the season. Will that be Devers’ fate too? And what of his fielding? He made seven throwing errors and seven fielding errors in his short time in Boston. If the Red Sox acquire a legit first baseman this winter (or a legit DH and move Hanley Ramirez to first) and it turns out that Devers can’t hack at it at third, the Red Sox will have a conundrum to solve.

Read the rest of this entry »