Author Archive

Mining the News (2/12/20)

This series is moving weekly. Just too much to keep up with to go any longer than that.

• While Orlando Arcia will start the season as the Brewers shortstop, the team plans on Luis Urias taking over the role once healthy.

Luis Urías vs. Orlando Arcia for Opening Day shortstop duties was supposed to be Milwaukee’s marquee battle when Spring Training gets underway Wednesday. That changed after Urías underwent surgery Jan. 28 for a broken hamate bone in his left hand, a procedure expected to sideline him from games for eight weeks.

With Opening Day set for March 26 against the Cubs at Miller Park, and Urías certain to need some exhibition games to get ready for Major League competition, it’s unlikely he will be active to start the season. So, Arcia will get a head start on what was expected to be an intriguing matchup of young players with much to prove.

“We’re certainly going to give Urías every shot to prove he can play shortstop for us,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said in January, before the ill-timed setback. “That’s why we traded for him.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Are Early Round Steals Safe?

I got a simple request for a study, are good players (i.e early draft picks) more reliable for steals than worse hitters (picked later in drafts). Through my work with The Process, I’ve found around a .650 OPS to be the production level where players start heading to the bench/minors/waiver wire. The person remained persistent and asked for an expanded look so here it is.

One of the first items to understand is that any comparison of recent projected versus the actual stolen bases will be negative. From 2010 to 2019 (extent of my historic projections), stolen bases are down from 2959 to 2280 or a drop of 23%. And for this analysis, we are concentrating just on high stolen base guys. Here are the players projected for 20+ steals and those that reached that number in the past ten seasons.

Number of Hitters Projected For and Reached 20 Stolen Bases
Season Projected Actual
2010 46 35
2011 35 50
2012 38 48
2013 18 40
2014 28 39
2015 22 30
2016 19 28
2017 20 29
2018 19 28
2019 19 21

The number of hitters projected for 20+ steals has been cut in half over the time frame. In a fifteen team league, a team is going to get one, maybe two hitters projected for and actually reaching 20 steals. So when aiming for steals, which players should be targeted?
Read the rest of this entry »


Refining Projections: Hampson, Cueto, Odor, & Folty

I’m like everyone else out there, grinding away from every little nugget to gain an edge. The following players I’ve heard something intriguing about during various podcasts or discussion. While I should trust the analysts, I don’t. I prefer to verify what they said and see if I’ll need to adjust my projections.

The Rockies Garrett Hampson reworked his swing in the second half of last season.

Hampson was a late-round darling in the previous draft season for those hoping to get some late steals. He did nothing until September when he went off with a .903 OPS and nine steals. Several people mentioned a swing change and a quick search later, I found out about the toe tap.

“I was thinking of way too much mechanically in the box this year,” Hampson said. “What (the toe tap) has allowed me to do is just be way more in rhythm with the pitcher and (get) started, and my hands and everything else are natural from there. I don’t think about what my hands are doing. There’s a lot of things that weren’t synching up with my leg kick, and now they seem to synch up more naturally.”

Beginning with that Aug. 25 game, Hampson has hit .344 (21-for-61) with a .397 on-base percentage and a .905 OPS in 22 games (16 starts). His 19 percent strikeout rate during this span is a marked improvement from earlier. And Hampson has two homers, six RBI, 10 runs scored – he scored 23 runs in his previous 74 games – and six stolen bases without being caught during this stretch. Indeed, with 11 stolen bases in 14 attempts, Hampson is the sixth Rockies rookie with at least 10 steals in a single season and the first since Eric Young Jr., in 2010.

So what did the top tap change in his profile Here is his season divided up into three sections with his demotion on May 12th is the first division and the August 25th game mentioned in the article being the second. Try to find a smoking gun.

Read the rest of this entry »


Mining The News (2/5/20)

During the offseason, I caught up on the news every couple of weeks. The news is picking up so I’m going to have to now go weekly. This article is too long but I didn’t want to cut anything useful. Sorry for the length and I try to keep them shorter.

Teoscar Hernández will start the season with full-time at-bats.

Even though he’s managed to improve there in each of his three seasons with the Jays, it seems likely Hernández’s ceiling as an outfielder will never be higher than below average. Still, his big second half of 2019 (142 wRC+), and the fact that his platoon splits were even over that span (144 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, 141 against right-handers), means that he should be playing every day — at least until he proves that was a mirage. In a perfect world, he’d do so at DH, but that would force one of Alford or Shaw to the bench against right-handers, which isn’t ideal.

Mitch Haniger will be out six to eight weeks because of hernia surgery.

“He’s gone through his surgery and we think it was successful,” Dipoto said. “We’re just fingers crossed. We have no expectation on his timeline until we actually see him live [at Spring Training]. We’re not going to push him. Mitch will return at his own pace. Whether that is some time around Opening Day or sometime around the middle of the season, I have no idea. We’re going to see where it takes us.”

Haniger was expected to miss at least 6-8 weeks after feeling an issue in his core muscles while ramping up his hitting program two weeks ago in Menlo Park, Calif.

Dipoto indicated at that time that Haniger almost certainly would still be sidelined at the start of the regular season in late March, but he was less specific on Tuesday as the team edges closer to the start of Spring Training.

Read the rest of this entry »


Managers on the Run: Baker, Girardi, Maddon, & Kapler

Early this offseason, I determined that Mike Matheny doesn’t hate stolen bases, but could be a boost to the Royals stolen bases. At the time, I noted to check on Joe Maddon’s tendencies but never got to it. Then, my podcast mate, Rob Silver, basically begged me to run the same analysis for Dusty Baker. After that, one of my other team owners brought up Joe Girardi and Gabe Kapler. I was done talking to people before every manager needs to be analyzed on their stolen base tendencies. The following are the numbers on the four and the results were a little surprising.

To examine the managers’ tendencies, I compared how the baserunner’s tendencies changed with or without the manager in question. There were three groups of hitters to examine

  1. The hitters who were on the manager’s team and then on a different one that same season.
  2. Hitters who were on a different team the season before or after a season on the manager’s team.
  3. The hitters who were on the manager’s team the season before or after his tenure started and ended.

Also, I combined all the values for an overall rate.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ranking Five Tier 2 Starting Pitchers

Depending on league type and tendencies, there is a group of five pitchers who I have a problem differentiating their value. They are Chris Sale, Mike Clevinger, Jack Flaherty, Stephen Strasburg, and Shane Bieber. While the ideal spot would be to take the last of this group, not every owner will have that option. There will be instances where if an owner passes on one of this group, none will make it back to their next pick. I needed to dig in a bit to differentiate them.

The first elephants in the room to deal with are Walker Buehler and Blake Snell. I went through the following analysis and Beuhler came out a bit ahead of the ground and Snell a bit behind. I completely understand if someone wants to include them. All these pitchers are close but currently, they are easier for me to rank. I’m sure someone can’t wait to write a small essay in the comments on why I’m wrong. I can’t wait to ignore it.
Read the rest of this entry »


The Who? Volume 1

I’ve completed two 15-team, 50-player draft-and-hold leagues and started two more. While I feel I have a decent understanding of the player pool, after pick 500 I’m unfamiliar with many of the players being drafted. This series will rectify that for me and hopefully other owners can find it useful.

To find the names, I just started working my way down the NFBC ADP list until I said “Who?” As I found out diving into the players, I don’t know may of the young prospects. And backup catchers. And middle relievers. Besides the who players

James Karinchak
CLE
P
476 ADP

I missed those five great major league innings at the season’s end. While he’s always been able to strikeout about 1.5 batters per inning, his walk rate hovers around 6.0 BB/9. There is a chance he could close but I think he needs Brad Hand and Nick Wittgren to get hurt and/or suck. And also probably Oliver Perez and Emmanuel Clase. I’m going to pass.

Read the rest of this entry »


Lingering Effects of Elbow & Shoulder for Pitchers

I don’t know for sure where I read or heard it, but an analyst mentioned they would never go near Luis Severino this season in drafts because of last season’s major shoulder injury. This claim is something I can investigate on the surface to see if anything sticks. Besides the numbers for shoulder injuries, I included the pitchers with elbow injuries.

For the analysis, I took the players who were on the IL for a shoulder or elbow injury in year one and then compared their next season projection and results. I had matching data going back to 2010 but didn’t use 2018 IL data because for some reason I didn’t clean up the last year’s data. Read the rest of this entry »


Mining the News (1/23/20)

• Here is a loaded Tweet:

Starting with Turner, I think this gives him a bump in value. His Run-RBI mix will be closer to 1:1. Additionally, I compared all hitters projected for 30+ steals and how often they attempted steals from the first and third lineup spots in the same season. The drop was between one and two stolen bases. It’s a change but nothing to get too worked up about. The like 50 extra RBIs is a much bigger deal.

Also, with Starlin Castro at second and Carter Kieboom at third, Asdrúbal Cabrera’s fantasy value tanks.
Read the rest of this entry »


Foreign Player Evaluations & Projections

Since I’m starting drafts, I decided I needed projections for seven of the players signing from Asia, either new to the MLB or returning. I could just pull a ranking out of my ass, but I figured I should at least start with a projection before inserting my own biases. For the following projections, I averaged the ZiPS and Clay Davenport projections and then add my own playing time adjustment.

Pitchers

Pierce Johnson
From the NRB
Signed with the Padres

2020 Projections for Pierce Johnson
Projection IP G GS W K SV ERA WHIP
ZiPS 57.3 60 0 3 64 0 3.77 1.26
Davenport 59.7 54 0 3 76 2 3.32 1.18
Average 60.0 59 0 3 72 1 3.55 1.22
My Playing Time Adjustment 50.0 49 0 3 60 1 3.55 1.22

Read the rest of this entry »