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Pitcher Spotlight: The Real Alex Wood

I did not have high expectations for Alex Wood heading into this season. His early 2017 success was fueled by an uptick in velocity that dwindled through the year, he hadn’t eclipsed 153 innings since 2015, and the Dodgers are, ahem, interesting with their starting rotations. I didn’t expect the shiny new-out-of-the-box 2017 edition Alex Wood to be the real Alex Wood.

And as expected, Wood’s velocity has been dramatically low in 2018, boasting a 90mph sinker after last season’s 92mph average (and averaging 93mph in the opening months), but you wouldn’t have known it if you compared his numbers:

Alex Wood 2017 vs. 2018
Year ERA WHIP K-BB% Whiff % Fastball Velocity
2017 2.72 1.06 18.4% 11.7% 91.8mph
2018 3.32 1.02 18.3% 11.1% 89.9mph

I love this. The end result is the same, though Wood’s lower velocity should tell you that he can’t be holding the same approach for the same results. It’s not out of the question, but seeing his dip in heat has to make you believe there is something else going on under the hood.

And there is.
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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 554 – HanRam DFA’d

5/25/18

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 19, 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 SLEEPER19!

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Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles

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Prospect Stock Watch: Fairchild, Howard, Dunand, Abbott

With the 2018 amateur draft just around the corner, we’re going to take a look at some 2017 draftees to see how they’re doing in their first full year of pro ball.

Stuart Fairchild, CF, Reds: Looking back at Fairchild’s pre-draft reports, they continue to remain spot on. He was expected to go in the second round and that’s exactly where the Reds nabbed him. His bat was a bit of a question mark but he was known for a strong arm and excellent center-field defence. Cincinnati has gone easy with him so far and he opened 2018 in low-A ball — whereas most top college hitters are in high-A or better during their first year. Now, Fairchild is hitting well… but he should be doing just that based on his pedigree. The biggest knock against him so far has been the swing-and-miss tendencies that carried over from his collegiate career. It’s not terrible but he’s struck out 40 times in 43 games (Good for just shy of 23%). On the plus side, he offsets that with a healthy number of walks (12%) and I believe he’ll eventually start tapping into his raw power as he consistently hits the ball hard. He might never be a guy that hits for a high average, but Fairchild gets on base nonetheless and could eventually be a 20-20 threat if he generates more loft to his swing.

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Bullpen Report: May 25, 2018

On a day that featured only eight games on the schedule, the only real closer intrigue took place in Cincinnati. In the first Reds game that provided a save opportunity since Raisel Iglesias (biceps) went on the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday, it looked as if Amir Garrett was primed to record his first career save. The lefty relieved David Hernandez with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and a 5-2 lead against the Pirates. He proceeded to get the next four outs, three of which came by way of strikeout.

Having used only 16 pitches to get those outs, Jim Riggleman brought Garrett out for the ninth inning to finish the game. Corey Dickerson put the first blemish on Garrett’s afternoon, singling on an 0-2 pitch, but then he appeared to get back on track, striking Jose Osuna out on three pitches. Then, with one swing, Garrett’s campaign to get the save took a blow when Austin Meadows turned on a 95 mph fastball that caught the inside of the plate and pulled it for a two-run homer. With the Reds’ lead carved down to one run, Jared Hughes took over and got the final two outs, as well as the save.
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The Daily Grind: Faceball

Today’s blast from the past is brought to you by Benny Agbayani. Every broadcaster made sure you knew he is Hawaiian.

AGENDA

  1. TDG Invitational
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. Faceball

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Roto Riteup: May 25, 2018

The Roto Riteup hopes you stay nimble…..

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Sporer Report #6 – Zack’s UNGodley Start

Zack Godley enjoyed a surprise breakout season last year that the market bought into, making him a consistent top 35 starter in draft season. Once news of the humidor was finalized, he became even more appealing as we figured he’d be pitching half his games in an even better environment. After a thrashing at the hands of the Brewers on Wednesday (3.3 IP/6 ER), he’s up to 4.53 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 55.7 innings. Let’s take a look at the 28-year old righty through 10 starts and see what’s going on.

Usually we look immediately at velocity when a pitcher is struggling so let’s start there. It can be indicative of an injury, but even if it’s not signaling a health issue, it’s obviously better to have higher velocity in most cases. Godley’s is down across the board. His fastball velocity has dipped from 91.9 mph to 90.2 this year. There are also dips on all of his secondary pitches: -1.7 mph to 81.7 with the curveball, -1.1 to 88.8 with the cutter, and -2.6 to 81.4 with the change (though he barely used it last year and is using it even less this year at 5%).

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Minor & Estrada: Turnaround or Staying Down

Mike Minor

A few days back, I released my latest pERA grades and Minor was projected for 3.47 ERA while his actual ERA (5.59) is two runs higher and one run higher than his FIP (4.41) and xFIP (4.32). His SIERA is the lowest at 3.85. Which metric should be believed?

Starting with the lucky pitcher trio (BABIP, HR/FB, LOB%), not one stat sticks out though each one is above average.

BABIP: .324
LOB%: 68%
HR/FB: 12.9%

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Waiver Wire Week 8: 10 Widely Available SPs

Each week through the season, I’ll be looking at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 15% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) and pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.

It’s been another week of Fantasy Baseball, and the waiver wire has shifted. Let’s highlight my ten favorites, roughly ordered from top to bottom:

Zack Wheeler (New York Mets) – I know, I know, Wheeler is holding a 5.32 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP and it’s terrifying to consider him. But he also has a 66.6% LOB rate, 23.1% soft contact, and a 23.6% K rate that hint at better days. He’s fanned at least seven in four of his last five games and maybe, just maybe, this turns into something a bit more stable.

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Wild Windups: Do They Help?

Earlier this week, I found most of Tanaka’s struggles occur with men-on-base. What I didn’t know if these differences were predictive or due for regression. After diving into the numbers, struggles with men on base aren’t exactly predictive except for those with extreme windups.

The narrative concept behind this study is that a pitcher has a windup talent level and a throwing from the stretch talent level. I’ve always thought Daniel Mengden’s great windup would keep hitters off guard.

 

He loses all the deception from the stretch. My theory has been borne out with a career 4.99 FIP with runners on base and 3.42 FIP with the bases empty. Joey Lucchesi is another pitcher with a unique windup and he has a 3.40 FIP with no runners on base but it jumps to 5.14 with runners on. The windup advantage for these two pitchers is an obvious item to point to when explaining their stats.

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