What’s the first thing you do when you get a new spreadsheet? My answer; sort ascending, sort descending. That’s what I did on the 2021 pitching leaderboards. I looked at the plate discipline metrics for qualified pitchers and sorted the sheet by descending swinging-strike rate (SwStr%). The names I saw were not surprising. Corbin Burnes leads the group at 16.6%. He’s followed by Max Scherzer (15.9%) and Robbie Ray (15.5%). José Berríos is not in the top 30. In fact, when you sort the same list by ascending swinging-strike rate, he’s in the top 10, meaning he had one of the lowest swinging strike rates in the league (9.9% to be specific). The lowest swinging strike getters in the league this year were Adam Wainwright (8.1%), Chris Flexen 플렉센 (8.6%), and Dallas Keuchel (8.7%).
Read the rest of this entry »
This season I went add/drop crazy. I made 344 moves (adds/drops/trades). The next highest person in my league made 167. There were times when it was so incredibly uncomfortable to drop a quality player, releasing him to the waiver wire. When sharks are circling the boat, it’s not a good time to take a dip. However, as I’ve mentioned many times before, one of the leagues I care most about is a shallow 10-team, 5×5 roto league where turning and burning is almost a requirement, and turn and burn I did!
All season I was looking for indicators that would predict small clumps of player performance. xwOBA did a tremendous job of evaluating in-season talent. But, this offseason I will be looking for more ways to catch those small clusters of player performance that seem to elude me. When MLB The Show releases its monthly awards I’m usually like, “What? Really? How did I miss that?” To be fair, those players were usually rostered during that time, but it’s the ones that sneak onto the list that I’m trying to create a system for.
You remember sorting baseball cards, right? You sorted them on anything; career stats, teams, season, jersey color. You got your sticky fingers all over those glossy, fresh pieces of thin cardboard and you just sorted away. Let’s think of a clustering algorithm called k-means clustering as that 8-year-old card sorter, only with a set of instructions. “Hey kid, here’s a bunch of cards from the last month of the season, back in 2020. Rather than your typical stat-lines, these cards show each player’s change in batted-ball and plate discipline from the first half of the month to the second half of the month. Here, take a look at Randy Arozarena”:
NEW FEATURE ALERT! We have added an upgraded version of RosterResource’s Closer Depth Chart to FanGraphs. Read more about it here.
We will always include a link to the full Closer Depth Chart at the bottom of the Bullpen Report each day. It’s also accessible from the RosterResource drop-down menu and from any RosterResource page. Please let us know what you think.
The 2021 version of Bullpen Report includes five different sections, as well as the closer chart, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
The “RosterResource” link will take you to the corresponding team’s RosterResource depth chart, which will give you a better picture of the full bullpen and results of the previous six days (pitch count, save, hold, win, loss, blown save.)
Read the rest of this entry »
If you go to our 2021 Leaderboards, look at team relief pitcher stats, and sort by wins, you’ll see an interesting top five. The Rays, as you might have guessed, are holding the one spot by 10 wins at 56. They are followed by the Giants (46 wins), the Yankees (45 wins), and the Mets and Brewers (tied with 44 wins). If you’re like me and you’ve given up on your pitching ratios long, long ago, but are still fighting to win your league, you need wins and saves. Strikeouts are also welcome, too.
Back in April, I conducted an analysis that looked at which category made the most sense to punt in roto-category scoring leagues. The results proved (somewhat) the offensive category most conducive to that strategy is stolen bases. That’s easy.
But you punted already. The punting is done. That ball ain’t coming back. Now you need to win, win, win! Therefore, you need home runs. When taking the last 15 games of the season from qualified hitters from 2015 to 2019, and limiting the dataset to just the three categories: home runs, runs, and RBI, I get the following correlations:
Homeruns, late in the season, have the highest sum of correlation. When batters hit home runs in small samples, they’re bringing runners in and scoring runs themselves. No duh. Here are three players that are projected (as of 9/20/21) to hit three more home runs according to our Depth Charts Rest of Season Projections. Now, I know you deep-league players are going to scoff and turn your nose up at these players who have not been available since your draft, but let’s give some love to the churn and burn, shallow leaguers, trying to squeeze out a few more category tens.
C.J. Cron, Depth Charts ROS: 3 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R. ESPN Roster %: 70.9.
Mike Podhorzer’s recent article encourages you to stack up on Rockies hitters for good reason. Pod did not include Cron because he assumed he would be gobbled up by your league mates already. But he recently went 0-for-11 before a two-hit night in Washington followed by another 0-for-3 night. There are surely managers out there that have dropped Cron and are unaware of the fact that he will be hitting in Colorado for nine games, as pointed out by Podhorzer. At home, Cron has batted .315 and on the road, has batted .226. While he is slumping as of late, his second-half .283 average is improved from his first-half .254 and his ROS projections could add a few more needed digits to your totals.
Miguel Sanó, Depth Charts ROS: 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R. ESPN Roster %: 50.2.
Sano is one of those players, like Cron, that you may just be able to pick up on the wire because other managers have lost faith. But, recently Sano has been on a tear going 6-for-21 with two home runs, four RBI, and five runs. What is there left to say about Sano? He ranks 11th in savant’s Brls/PA% and fourth in average exit velocity. He’s going to hit the ball hard and hopefully, he puts it over the fence three more times as projected. Luckily, you can grab him on a hot streak and, hopefully, won’t have to suffer through too many hitless games the rest of the way.
Tyler O’Neill, Depth Charts ROS: 3 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R. ESPN Roster %: 71.8.
This season I have fallen in love with xwOBA and its in-season predictive power. Tyler O’Neill ranks 16th in xwOBA among minimum balls in play qualified hitters. His teammate Paul Goldschmidt is just above him at 15th and since August 15th the Cardinals rank 9th in wOBA. With an offense clicking, a man that looks like he could hit a ball to Greenland, and projections to further the narrative, O’Neill should be rostered on your team the rest of the way.
Here’s how Justin Mason put it in last Friday’s edition of The Sleeper and the Bust:
“This is one of the things people should really be thinking about, strategy-wise, the rest of the way…look for these opportunities where you can grab the follower in good matchups because as teams start to limit their guys…this is a time where you can really get some guys without going over any kind of starts limits.”
Do the top starting pitchers on contending teams pitch more innings as the season goes on and their team fights for a playoff spot? Do the top starting pitchers on teams that are likely to clinch a playoff spot pitch less innings as the season goes on, to save their arms for the playoffs? Unfortunately, these questions arose in my mind after I traded a big bat for a front-line starter on a team that is sure to make the playoffs right at my league’s trade deadline. Was that a mistake? Should we value hitters more than top starters on teams likely to clinch early? Is that too many questions for an opening paragraph?