Author Archive

Mining the News (12/1/20)

• Pitcher Kohei Arihara (NPB) will join shortstop Ha-Seong Kim (KBO) as the top international free agents.

The news on Kim has been known for a while but the Arihara news will be interesting for any team needing pitching (i.e. all teams). The 28-year-old Arihara had his best season in 2019 with a 2.46 ERA, 0.919 WHIP, and 8.8 K/9. All the stats were a little worse in 2020. The Davenport translation on his 2020 season is a 5.09 ERA and 5.9 K/9. Not the best numbers so maybe he’ll end up as a long reliever.

• The KBO’s Sung-Bum Na (OF/DH) has been posted and MLB teams have 30 days to negotiate a signing.

Na has been an above-average hitter in KBO since his second year in the league and a star-level performer for much of that time. In 4140 career plate appearances since debuting as a 23-year-old, he’s batted .317/.384/.542 with 179 home runs, 244 doubles and 25 triples.

He moved to right field for the 2015 campaign, and that’s been his primary defensive home since, although he’s still logged some occasional time in center — most recently in 2019 when he started 18 games there. However, Na’s 2019 season was cut short by a severe knee injury that resulted in him being placed on a stretcher and taken off the field in an ambulance, as he told ESPN’s Marly Rivera earlier this year. He underwent surgery and spent seven months rehabbing from that procedure.

Na doesn’t seem like a priority add with the defensive limitations and he is coming off a major knee injury. Quite a few major leaguers fit the desciption as a broken down slugger.
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Fantasy Baseball Chat With Jeff Zimmerman

11:04
Big Joey: Max Fried a top 15 SP in 2021?

11:05
Jeff Zimmerman: He’s not for me. The strikeout drop is alarming. If he repeats 2020, he’s a bad version of Kyle Hendricks.

11:06
Jeff Zimmerman: Expect for the 2.25 ERA. I expect it to jump up at least a run, possibly two.

11:06
Big Joey: Would you be shocked if Gleyber Torres puts up a .280  40  100/100 season in 2021?

11:07
Jeff Zimmerman: For sure. I’m not a fan at his price and I think the 2019 HR’s will be a huge outlier.

11:08
Jeff Zimmerman: The AVG is would be a career high but reach able. The Runs and RBIs are expected if he stays on the field.

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Late-Round Evaluations: Rodon, Bailey, Hamels, and the C’s

I’m going to continue my attention on fringe starters. They are the players who once the season starts, managers are going to have to make a quick decision on adding or dropping. These pitchers will be in play all season. I’m using NFBC’s ADP and starting at the bottom and selecting any starter drafted by half the teams. Here is an evaluation of the eight more starters (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

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Late-Round Evaluations: Margevicius, Chatwood, Plutko, Marquez, & more

I’m going to continue my attention on fringe starters. They are the players who once the season starts, managers are going to have to make a quick decision on adding or dropping. These pitchers will be in play all season. I decided to not pull the pitchers out of thin air but moved from the #EarlyMock’s ADP to NFBC’s ADP. I’m still starting at the bottom and selecting any pitcher drafted by half the teams. Here is an evaluation of the seven more starters (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

#321: Nick Margevicius

His stats scream matchup streamer as a 4.50+ pitcher. There are not any standout tools, but he did see his strikeout rate increase (6.6 K/9 to 7.8 K/9) that followed a fastball velocity jump (88.3 mph to 90.0 mph). The jump is a little deceptive since he lost all the gains as the season progressed.


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Fantasy Baseball Chat With Jeff Zimmerman

11:03
Jeff Zimmerman: Hello

11:05
Jeff Zimmerman: It’s finally nice to get a bit of free agent move with Ray and Smyly signing deals

11:06
S: Do you know how projection systems are handling the shortened season? I imagine they have to be using some cross validation techniques but can’t seem to find anything speaking specifically to this point.

11:07
Jeff Zimmerman: Most weigh each season by PA and a of total. For example, it might be 50% previous, 30% two years back and 20% from three years.

11:09
Jeff Zimmerman: For a normal three seasons, it might by 40 HR, 20 HR, 20 HR with 600 PA’s for a projection of 30 HR.

11:11
Jeff Zimmerman: Now assume 13 HR (200 PA) and the 20 for the other two season (600 PA). The projection is weighted to the 20’s and would be not be all the way to 30 this time.

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Mining the News (11/11/20)

General

• Many hitters might wait to sign until the National League has said yes or no on the designated hitter.

Ozuna, who turns 30 on Thursday, is not strictly a DH. His agent, Melvin Roman, is marketing him as a left fielder who started 21 games in the outfield last season and was fully recovered from the shoulder surgery he underwent in October 2018. Braves coaches say Ozuna worked hard to strengthen his arm in his one season with the club, throwing every other day during summer training camp. With continued work, they believe his throwing can be average, his play in the outfield serviceable.

A rival executive was less convinced, saying, “He is a DH. If I was his agent, I’m not doing anything until I know the rules. I might have 30 suitors. Or I might have 15.” An agent for another free-agent position player agreed, saying, “If there were certainty with the DH, I believe everyone’s market would be enhanced.”

In a year with so many unknowns, early drafters might have to wait to find out who is playing where and what role they will play. It’ll be interesting to see how far unsigned players drop in ADP as the season gets closer to the March drafts.

• Jerry Dipoto believes the Mariners and other teams will only allow their pitchers to throw 170 innings next season.

“The one thing I’m certain of, is that the innings totals for our youngest starting pitchers — there’s only so far we’re going to be willing to go with them in 2021 as a result of this year’s short schedule,” he said. “And I think that makes us like 29 other teams in the industry. We’re not going to run starting pitchers out there for 170 innings next year. We’ll build them up more carefully.”

The reports on projected innings will be all over the place with Dylan Bundy planning on taking on a full workload. I think the assumption needs to start around Dipoto’s number (even though he’s not Bundy’s GM) and as reports come in, projections can be individually adjusted.
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Fantasy Baseball Chat With Jeff Zimmerman

11:00
wes: What to do with Stanton in a keep-5 no penalties 12-teamer? Last four years of keeping him: one MVP and three ostensible zeroes. Still a Top-60 keeper?

11:01
Jeff Zimmerman: It really comes down to the other keeper options. I think he’s a borderline top-60 player so others could have moved up.

11:02
First Runner Up: Hello, I’m the guy who traded Gallen and Kyle Lewis for Clevinger in dynasty last February. Clearly I stink at ‘consolidation’ trades. Any indicators I should look toward to avoid these mistakes again?

11:03
Jeff Zimmerman: I don’t think it was a bad process trade. You were getting the best player and it there was no guarantee that Lewis would stick in the majors. I wouldn’t move off the strategy.

11:04
Jesse: Who do you think could be a lights out fantasy relevant middle reliever in 2021? Kinda like Williams and Karinchiak were this year

11:04
Jeff Zimmerman: I wrote about how to target them here: https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/how-to-target-middle-relievers/

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Late-Round Evaluations: Quintana, Minor, Hill, Peralta, & Morejon

I’m going to continue my attention on fringe starters. They are the players who once the season starts, managers are going to have to make a quick decision on adding or dropping. These pitchers will be in play all season. I decided to not pull the pitchers out of thin air but use dthe ADP from the #EarlyMocks to find them. I started at the bottom and selected any pitcher added by two or more teams (and no auto drafts). Here is an evaluation of the next five starters (Part 1, Part 2).

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Late-Round Evaluations: Kremer, Webb, Richards, & Stripling

I’m going to continue my attention on pitchers who will be on the fringes of rostering. They are the players who once the season starts, managers are going to have to make a quick decision on adding or dropping. These players will be in play all season. It’s time to learn about a few options beginning with starting pitchers.

I decided to not pull the pitchers out of thin air but use the ADP from the #EarlyMocks to find them. I started at the bottom and selected any pitcher added by two or more teams (and no auto drafts). Here is an evaluation of next four starters (Part 1).

#508 Logan Webb

I don’t understand the pick of Webb. During last year’s draft, he was the new toy with some strikeouts (8.4 K/9) and a decent groundball rate (49%). The hope was that his .333 BABIP would normalize and his 5.22 ERA and 1.46 WHIP would drop.

They didn’t and both increased. Additionally, his WHIP was further hurt by the fact he raised his walk rate from 3.2 BB/9 to 4.0 BB/9. I dug deeper and didn’t find anything to justify having him on the radar.
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Behind in the Count and High Fastball Rates

I’ve started my 2020 draft prep (i.e. writing player previews) and thought I had all the information I needed. I was missing some useful pitcher information, a pitcher’s high fastball rate and how often they are behind in the count. The two measures aren’t publicly available, but they are useful to help see why a pitcher’s overall profile is off. I’m going to rehash each stat and go over some leaders and laggards.

Ahead and Behind in the Count

Being ahead or behind in the count means more than strikeouts and walks. In the original research article at BaseballHQ ($$), I found that pitchers who are consistently ahead in the count limit hard contact. The theory goes that if ahead in the count, all a pitcher’s pitches are can be thrown. If behind, the pitcher may only have one or two pitches he can throw over the plate for strikes and the batter can wait and crush them.

First, I found being ahead or behind is sticky from season to season (i.e. predictable). It has about the same year-to-year correlation as strikeouts and groundballs. The key threshold I found was being ahead 50% of the time more than being behind. On average, these pitchers post a lower than average home run rate and have an ERA lower than their FIP and xFIP. For those pitchers constantly behind, their production drop doesn’t warrant any action.
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