Author Archive

Reviewing Eno Sarris’ Bold Predictions

I usually get three or four of these Bold Predictions right every year, and I’ve grown comfortable with that level of success. Any more and they aren’t bold enough, any less, and they’re useless. That said, wait till you see number one. It’s a doozy. It’s *so* wrong that it should probably invalidate all my hits. It’s *so* wrong that I’m questioning why any of you are here right now. It’s *so* wrong I want to throw crap.

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The Change: The Final Streams

Congratulations on playing meaningful (fake) baseball this late into the season! At this point, your nerves, eyes, and pitching staff are shot, and you’re plugging leaks with sieves. Or maybe I’m just projecting.

Either way, maybe you’ll find this guide to the rest of the week’s streamers useful. If you’re in a redraft roto, I suggest using up your innings by Friday. The best prospect pitchers probably don’t have the innings to step in and pitch five or six on the weekend, the veterans will get some rest, and you’ll be left with some unsavory matchups, in large part, if you wait for Saturday and Sunday to blow out the rest of your innings.

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The Change: Mid-Week Pitching Streamers

Most of you that are still paying attention are scanning the pitching wire daily, looking for any help in your last matchup, your last two weeks of life in your roto league. So why make things complicated. Here’s a daily matchup / streaming calendar that just might help. Every day over the rest of the work week, with a shallow, mixed, and deep league option I like.

Good luck!

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The Change: A Guide to Peaceful, Easy Streaming

We did a little work on streaming last week, in an effort to find you some stolen bases. But stolen bases are just one of the few things we’re all trying to cobble together here in the final month. You might be in a head-to-head league, looking to add one counting stat or another in your playoffs, or in a roto league where you’re furiously fighting for a category. Either way, you need power, speed, relief stats or spot starts, and either way, the context is key.

This is the guide for those that find themselves in that situation but don’t have the time to get granular. All you have to do is look at the team your potential player is facing, and you’ll know enough to make a decent move. Hopefully it won’t let you down — you’re already standing on the ground.

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The Change: Finding Pitching on the Fringes

September baseball is the last call of the fantasy baseball saloon, and we’re all desperately scanning the room looking for that last great chance at glory. More often than not — especially if your ERA and WHIP are tanked and all you need is quality — we’re looking down that list of probable starters, looking for a pitcher worth picking up. Even better, a pitcher we could pick up and actually keep for his last few starts, something to keep us from blinking through the beer goggles of desperation again tomorrow.

Let’s take a look at some of the lesser-owned pitchers and see if any of them separate themselves.

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The Change: Scrounging for Steals (Updated)

[Sorry! I read the tables wrong! I’ve updated this piece to be more… correct. I read the tables wrong the first time. Thanks for your patience.]

When it comes to the stolen base, it’s not immediately obvious who’s to blame for one.

Is it the pitcher, with his slow time to home base? That would make sense for Noah Syndergaard, who may be as bad at holding on runners as he is at pitching well.

Is it the catcher, who has had his pop times and throwing arm measured throughout his time in the game? We make a big deal about big arms like the one Gary Sanchez used to throw 88 miles per hour and nab Julio Borbon this week.

Could it be all on the baserunner? Billy Hamilton has stolen bases against the best batteries, and was recorded running 22 miles per hour this week.

And should we ignore the fielder? Some middle infielders are adept at the swipe tag, others whiff on the runner or let the ball bounce by.

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The Change: Mailbag Time!

Listeners of the podcast should be well familiar with this format. Paul Sporer and I try to come up with a few salient points about each player to help you make your decisions. So This week I thought I’d help as many of you as I possibly could with one article. So let’s take three (okay six) hitters and three pitchers from the twitter mailbag and have us some fun.

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The Change: Secretly Bad Fastballs

In the past, while looking for pitchers with multiple plus secondary pitches, I’ve run into a type of pitcher that can struggle despite having good offspeed weapons: the bad fastball guy. Chase Whitley, John Lamb, David Hale, and Nick Tropeano could all be put into this bucket, even if their stories are not yet done being written.

If your primary weapon isn’t great, you really have to go full Matt Shoemaker and start throwing you secondary pitches more often than your fastball, and even then you’re not guaranteed success. Look at Nathan Eovaldi, who did go the Shoemaker route once he found that splitter that he likes, and yet… he’s just about the same as he’s ever been, more or less.

What the heck? He’s got a really big fastball. But it’s lesser, for a few reasons. Let’s try to get at one of the ways it’s less than it should be today — perceived velocity.

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Noncompetitive Pitches and Jeurys Familia

Talk to any pitcher about command, and you might be surprised how imprecise they feel they can be. “I have command to one part of the zone, low and away,” said Javier Lopez. “Almost everyone has better command to one side of the plate or the other,” said Zack Greinke. Even Corey Kluber, who has great command of his breaking ball, said that he only aims his breaking ball for the beginning of the break, and then is at the whim of the actual break he gets for where the ball ends up. When Ben Lindbergh asked PITCHf/x how far the glove moves from target to ball on the average pitcher, they told him the glove moves 13 inches. When I asked for leaders on 3-0 counts, it was Dallas Keuchel… with a nine inch average.

So command is a general thing. And yet… there is such a thing as the useless pitch, the pitch with so little command that it serves no purpose. Pitches 2.5 feet from the center of the strike zone are balls 97% of the time. They very rarely get swings, and unless the pitch is behind the batter, they can’t serve much of a purpose if they don’t entice the hitter at all. The idea of the noncompetitive pitch was first mentioned by Jessica Mendoza and then statified by August Fagerstrom.

I ran correlations between non-competitive pitch percentage and walk rate (r2 = .085), strikeout-minus-walk rate (no significance), and soft hit rate (no significance), so at best, it’s a casually interesting way to try to quantify that elusive skill we call command. Let’s see what the leaderboards can tell us about this year’s best and worst at avoiding the noncompetitive pitch.

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The Change: Max Kepler and Statcast Power Comps

When Max Kepler hit three home runs on Monday, we could have just lauded him with a “Gut gemacht” and “Bravo!” and a slap on the ass. But we fantasy few need to know if he’s going to keep out-producing his power projections like he has been. So we jump into the deeper stats to try and tell how sustainable this power is.

We could easily take Andrew Perpetua’s xStats approach and bucket all balls in play, look at what results certain exit velocities and launch angles have had in those buckets, and apply those buckets to Kepler’s results. Then we’d know that Kepler has an expected slugging percentage of .369 based on his launch angles and exit velocities. We could say “entschuldigung,” apologize, and be on our way.

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