The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 694 – Talking SMART with Glenn Colton

5/23/19

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Bullpen Report: May 23, 2019

Wade Davis went on the IL yesterday with an oblique strain. Thankfully the injury is not considered to be too severe but in his place for saves will be Scott Oberg. Oberg has been an effective set up man this year with a 1.77 ERA but under the hood tells a different story with a 4.70/4.91/5.31 FIP/xFIP/SIERA. Oberg has thrown 20.1 innings and only has 13 strikeouts with 11 walks. His SwStr% suggests a few more whiffs may be coming but the overall profile looks like someone who might get a few saves but hurt your ratios. Behind him is Carlos Estevez and Bryan Shaw. Shaw has the “experience” but he’s carrying a 5.70 ERA this year with Estevez looking like the most promising option of the three but Oberg will be getting the first crack at saves. Estevez has a 3.27 ERA and solid peripherals with a fantastic 15.6% SwStr% and 29 strikeouts against 8 walks in 22 innings. It’s tough to trust a reliever in Colorado that isn’t getting saves but Oberg might not have a long leash if he struggles so I would keep an eye out for Estevez as well.

Shawn Kelley has been off of the IL for two days and he’s closed two doors in that time, getting another save last night against the Mariners, striking out a pair for his 4th save this year. Jose Leclerc’s return to saves is likely imminent but until then Kelley should see the save chances. Regarding Leclerc, he’s been so up and down but in his last four appearances he has 5.1 innings pitched with 11 strikeouts and no walks and a 19.7% SwStr%. Leclerc’s velocity has been fine all year but he was struggling with missing bats and his control, if the last few outings show anything he might be back to where he was. He will likely never be a control artist but if he’s getting whiffs again he should provide solid value here on out, assuming he takes over the closer’s chair soon.

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The Daily Grind: DFS At Noon

Today’s main slate runs at 12:10pm ET on most sites. So, uh, get to it.

Also, there will be no Daily Grind tomorrow or next Monday. I will be out on vacation.

AGENDA

  1. TDG Invitational
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. A Thorne In The Orioles Side

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He’s Hit How Many Homers?!

Home runs are up across the land and since 2002, the league average HR/FB rate has hit a new high, rising above 14% for the first time and above the previous high set just two years ago. Related, the league AB/HR has fallen to a new low, also beating out 2017. Batters are now homering once every 25.9 at-bats. It hasn’t all been the same top guys just hitting more. There have also been a slew of new home run kings so far this season. Let’s identify them and discuss.

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Roto Riteup: May 23, 2019

“If you fall I will catch you I’ll be waiting”

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Assessing Some SP Stragglers

As we wind down the second month of the season, stat lines are beginning to take shape and we certainly feel like we know more about how the season will unfold. There are definitely some things happening early on that you can put some weight into, but we still have four months left in the season, too, meaning a lot will still change.

Through May last year, Zack Wheeler had a 5.40 ERA, Luis Castillo was at 5.49, Jameson Taillon was at 4.53, and Masahiro Tanaka was at 4.62. German Marquez was at 4.21, but that would balloon to 5.53 five starts later and of course we know that from there, he absolutely went off. Afterthoughts like Mike Minor, Danny Duffy, Mike Fiers, Derek Holland, Lance Lynn and even Alex Cobb all had ERAs north of 5.00 and were left for dead through May before finding extended periods of fantasy relevance throughout the summer. Minor was downright all-formats viable from June on.

Let’s look at some of the biggest strugglers through two months and discuss what the future might have in store for them.

(in descending order by ERA)

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Fixing xFIP, Pt. 2: SP/RP Splits

Last week, I recommended an improvement for expected fielding independent pitching (xFIP) without dismantling the original FIP framework upon which it was built. FIP describes the relationship between ERA and strikeouts, walks, and home runs allowed; xFIP does the same but attempts to remove the luck component from home runs by multiplying the number of fly balls a pitcher allows by the league-average rate of home runs to fly balls (HR/FB) — the rationale being HR/FB is notoriously fickle to project year to year.

The recommendation: change HR/FB to include line drives (LDs) and exclude infield fly balls (IFFBs, aka pop-ups). It’s worth noting our dark overlord David Appelman once explained how removing pop-ups from aggregate fly balls insignificantly affects xFIP. Additionally, less than 1% of line drives result in home runs. The recommendation, then, seems like the merging of two separate but equally fruitless endeavors, given the facts.

Yet changing the HR/FB component in xFIP to be “HR/(oFB + LD)” substantially improved the metric’s correlation with same-year ERA. Adjusted r2, which measure the strength of relationship from 0 to 1, increased from 0.42 to 0.55 using Statcast data (0.44 to 0.53 using FanGraphs data). I hypothesize that, when added to fly balls, line drives (despite resulting in very few home runs) give a more holistic indication of the average contact quality and launch angle a pitcher allows.

Today’s recommendation: account for start/relief splits.

Although I thought of this independently, the idea itself is far from an original one. Read the rest of this entry »


Bullpen Report: May 22, 2019

The ground ball has been Luke Jackson’s best friend this season, and on Tuesday night it was his worst enemy. Jackson is one of only two qualified relievers to have a ground ball rate above 70 percent (Zack Britton is the other), and that had helped him to compile a 2.31 ERA with six saves heading into the Braves’ series in San Francisco. He was called on to protect a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday night, and he began predictably enough by getting Evan Longoria to hit into a groundout. Then Brandon Crawford stung a line drive for a single, but Jackson struck out Steven Duggar to get on the cusp of his seventh save.

That’s when the parade of ground ball singles began. Kevin Pillar and Pablo Sandoval both got base hits on grounders that had xBAs of .250 and .090, respectively. Pillar’s single scored Crawford, and then both Pillar and pinch-runner Mac Williamson scored on a Joe Panik grounder that just eluded the outstretched glove of Ozzie Albies, giving the Giants a walk-off win.
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The Daily Grind: Non-DFS News

In rather exciting non-DFS news, amateur prospect Carter Stewart has opted to sign with a Japanese team for $7MM rather deal with the shenanigans of the MLB draft system. Stewart was selected eighth overall by the Braves last summer. He was prepared to sign a slot-value contract before the Braves pulled a bait-and-switch. Stewart lost an ensuing grievance.

AGENDA

  1. TDG Invitational
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. As Expected

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Shed Long & Luis Rengifo: Deep League Wire

Last week was seemingly historic for the number of prospects we opened our FAAB wallets for, but that doesn’t mean there’s no one left to fill your deep league roster holes. Another day means more injuries, and these two could benefit.

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