The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 779 – Outfield Preview Pt. 2

02/12/20

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live. Support the show by subscribing to Fangraphs! With a standard $20 membership, you help maintain and improve our database of stats and graphs as well as our staff of 8 full-time employees and over 50 contributors. The premium ad-free membership at $50 year supports site growth and also includes faster load speeds and better site performance. You can also support monthly for just $3.

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2020 OUTFIELD PREVIEW Pt. 2

A little of everything… (1:30)

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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.”

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Is Gavin Lux Safe?

This is really a two-pronged question – will he perform and when will the Dodgers allow him to play in the majors? In neither case is the answer entirely clear.

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2020 Forecast — Hitter BABIP Surgers

Two years ago, I introduced you to the latest iteration of my hitterxBABIP equation, this time incorporating the effects of defensive shifts. Let’s find out which fantasy relevant hitters most underperformed their xBABIP marks in 2019, suggesting the potential for dramatic upside in 2020…if the hitter maintains those underlying skills.

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A Closer Look: Minnesota Twins

OK, it’s time to start getting these going as I’ve fallen behind a bit due to an unexpectedly busy offseason.

OTHER TEAMS:

3 QUESTIONS

Can Jake Odorizzi repeat his success?

Odorizzi was a standout pitcher in his second year with the Twins, posting a 3.51 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 159 innings. He even made the All-Star team. In his debut with the Twins back in 2018, he had a 4.49 ERA and the Twins likely realized one key issue with the right-hander: he couldn’t go deep into games. His OPS was .627 the first time through, .659 the second time, and then soared to 1.159 the third time.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 2-11-2020

We chatted!

3:59
Brad Johnson: Let’s start this ball rolling

4:00
Brad Johnson: For those who missed all my twitter promoting, check out Juiced Balls episode 3 with Dan Szymborski. Now on Spotify, Apple, and Anchor.

4:01
Matt: Is there a way to determine if punting a category is smart/viable beyond just some back of the envelope guessing? I play in a 13-team 6×6 roto (+OBP and QS) with seven dedicated SP slots (and 3 dedicated RP), so well over 100 SPs are rostered at all times. Since I’m definitely hammering SP early, and there are two extra categories, does it make sense to punt steals? I feel like I could grab a lot of pitching early and still put together a great AVG/HR/OBP lineup by eschewing any steals guys.

4:01
Brad Johnson: If I understand the intention of your question, no. Not ahead of time.

4:03
Brad Johnson: Punting a category usually should be a matter of circumstance. For instance, you missed various runs of closers and would rather go with elite non-closers than Joe Jimenez and Mychal Givens types.

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It’s True, It’s True, It’s Finally True! Mookie Betts Officially Switches Coasts

In what turned out to be quite soap operatic, the Red Sox and Dodgers finally complete a trade…though not exactly the original one that was tentatively accepted last week, which also included the Twins. The biggest name to move is of course Mookie Betts, who makes what was already an excellent Dodgers offense into one that is now laughably good. But for those who have already spent a first round pick on Betts, plan to keep him, or are wondering how to adjust his value after the move, the big question now is how might the switch in home park affect his performance. Let’s consult the park factors (2018) and find out!

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 778 – Outfield Preview Pt. 1

02/10/20

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live. Support the show by subscribing to Fangraphs! With a standard $20 membership, you help maintain and improve our database of stats and graphs as well as our staff of 8 full-time employees and over 50 contributors. The premium ad-free membership at $50 year supports site growth and also includes faster load speeds and better site performance. You can also support monthly for just $3.

Follow us on Twitter

NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS/INJURIES/RUMORS

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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?
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Towards A Better Way To Rank Players

It’s not a secret – I hate rankings. I’ve been writing this post once a winter since 2014. I’m pleased to finally see a few others in the industry publicly eschewing the rankings-based mentality. My quest against rankings is finally gaining some momentum. So, contrarian that I am, let’s work on making rankings actually, uh, work.

There are many reasons why traditional attempts at rankings are broken. The biggest is simply this – they’re one size fits all. Running a team is about managing categories. Rankings aggregate all that information ordinally in perhaps the least useful way conceivable. Attempts to use tiers scarcely help matters, especially since the location of those tiers often has more to do with name recognition than expected output.

A projection-based rankings system isn’t sufficiently novel, but it does at least take us a step in the right direction. And it’s what we’ll use for today’s thought experiment as we try to take a second step along the path towards relevance.

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