Author Archive

Mike Clevinger Heads to San Diego

The Padres are trying to set the trade deadline record for most players traded and have acquired perhaps the most valuable one available in Mike Clevinger. In the past, like as recent as last season, a move for a starting pitcher to the National League would be a boon, as he would no longer have to face the DH most of the time, except for when playing an interleague game in an AL park. The introduction of the universal DH this year removes that performance boost, so now we can easily compare apples to apples. So let’s take a look at the 2019 park factors and compare the Indians and Padres home parks to find out if Clevinger’s value changes at all solely based on his new home park.

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Barrels Per Fly Ball Plus Line Drive Rate Laggards

On Thursday, I listed and discussed some of the leaders in barrels per fly ball plus line drive rate (B/FBLD). Today, let’s check out the other end of the stick — those hitters bringing up the rear of the B/FBLD rankings. Once again, I arbitrarily chose at least 20 FB+LD as the minimum to qualify for the list. We’re going to identify those at 5% and below and discuss the interesting names that might be surprising to find.

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Barrels Per Fly Ball Plus Line Drive Rate Leaders

I think by now, we’re all familiar with the Statcast metric barrels. If not, Statcast defines it as thus:

The Barrel classification is assigned to batted-ball events whose comparable hit types (in terms of exit velocity and launch angle) have led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage since Statcast was implemented Major League wide in 2015.

To be Barreled, a batted ball requires an exit velocity of at least 98 mph. At that speed, balls struck with a launch angle between 26-30 degrees always garner Barreled classification. For every mph over 98, the range of launch angles expands.

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Bottom 20 Starting Pitcher SIERA Laggards

Yesterday, I listed and discussed the top 20 starting pitcher SIERA leaders. Since the entire season represents a small sample size, you should be far more inclined to focus on a pitcher’s SIERA, driven by his underlying skills, than the ratios that actually count in your fantasy leagues, ERA and WHIP. The underlying metrics fueling SIERA stabilize far quicker and account for skills pitchers have more control over. It therefore makes for a significantly better rest of season projection, even though SIERA is meant to be backwards looking, not forward looking. With that said, let’s check in on the bottom 20 pitchers in SIERA and discuss the interesting names. As a reminder, just because a pitcher finds his name here doesn’t mean you should drop him or trade him away, as the pitcher could improve his skills, pushing his SIERA down into more attractive territory.

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Top 20 Starting Pitcher SIERA Leaders

Even though we are about halfway through the season, the league leader in innings pitched sits at just 40.2 innings. That’s far too small a sample size to find much meaning in traditional surface statistics such as ERA and WHIP (plus LD%, HR/FB, BABIP, etc). The results that feed into ERA take significantly longer to stabilize, so it makes more sense to focus on the underlying skills that pitchers have more control over. Luckily, we have a metric that takes all those underlying skills, throws them into a blender, and spits out a skills-based ERA. Of course, I’m describing SIERA, and it’s what I exclusively look at early in the season to forecast future performance, as it’s far better than ERA itself. So with that said, let’s take a gander at the top 20 qualified starting pitchers in SIERA and discuss any surprises.

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The Big Kevin Gausman Breakout Has Arrived

With a mid-to-high 90s fastball that has touched as high as 101 MPH and an elite splitter that has generated a SwStk% over 20% every season of his career, a lot has been expected of Kevin Gausman. You figured that with a two-pitch foundation like that, he would be racking up the strikeouts and rank as one of the better pitchers in baseball on an annual basis. And while he’s posted a couple of seasons of sub-4.00 ERAs, the underlying skills just haven’t been super impressive, and he sports a career ERA of 4.31. That’s perfectly serviceable, especially in a hitter friendly home park for most of his career in the American League. Sure enough, his career ERA- stands at an almost perfectly league average 101. So he’s been fine, but not what fantasy owners hoped for.

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Max EV Laggards — 8/20/20

Yesterday, I identified and discussed the hitting leaders in Max Exit Velocity (MEV). While acknowledging that MEV doesn’t tell the entire story you want it to, it’s always a positive to see a higher MEV versus a lower one. Today, let’s check in on the laggards. Naturally, a lot of these are obvious, so I’ll discuss the interesting names.

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Max EV Leaders — 8/19/20

Let’s continue perusing our new Statcast leaderboards by checking in on the Max EV (MEV) leaders. This metric is fairly simple to understand — it’s the maximum exit velocity the hitter has recorded on a batted ball this season. Just like I shared when discussing HardHit%, there are caveats for this metric. We don’t know what batted ball type the MEV was achieved. The hope is that it’s a fly ball, so the metric could hint at a batter’s HR/FB rate potential, but that isn’t necessarily the case. We also don’t know how out of character the MEV — is the batter consistently hitting balls nearly as hard, or is this particular EV a clear outlier with the rest of his EV values? Anyhow, clearly all else being equal, hitting the ball harder is better. So with all those caveats and questions out of the way, let’s check out the leaders and discuss the interesting names.

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The Bottom 17 Batter HardHit% Laggards — 8/18/20

Yesterday, I shared and discussed the top 10 hitters in Statcast’s HardHit%, a metric now available right here on FanGraphs. Once again, a breakdown of HardHit% (HH%) by batted ball type would be ideal, so this is not a complete analysis. But an overall HH% tells us most of what we want to know, even if it could deceive here and there. So let’s check in on the bottom group in HH%. I want to highlight the surprises, the hitters you would expect to rank much better, and will ignore the guys we expect to be near the bottom.

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The Top 10 Batter HardHit% Leaders — 8/17/20

Statcast metrics have arrived! So let’s dive right in, starting with the HardHit% (HH%) leaders. As per Statcast, a batter’s hard hit rate is the percentage of batted balls that were hit at 95 MPH or more. While this data would be even more useful if broken up by batted ball type (we care far more about hard hit fly balls than hard hit pop-ups or grounders), the metric still gets us most of the way there. So let’s check out the top 10 leaders and see if we find any surprises.

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