2020 Prospect Opportunities — Blue Jays

Today marks the beginning of a new series, 2020 Prospect Opportunities. One of the most important skills in a mono league is identifying current prospects who could benefit if the incumbent Major League starter falters. If you’ve played in a mono league before, or even in a non-shallow mixed league, you’ve experienced the bidding frenzy (in FAAB leagues) when a top prospect is recalled. Why bid half your budget and cross your fingers you’re the high man to win a prospect when he’s recalled, when you could instead preemptively pick up that same player several weeks earlier, or even draft him, for essentially free? The only way to accomplish this is to be familiar with the organization’s prospects and which current starters are most likely to fail in order to open up an opportunity for that prospect to be promoted.

So let’s go team-by-team and identify the weaker starters, both position players and starting pitchers, and then name potential prospect replacements, beginning with the Blue Jays. Note that I’m going to have a somewhat loose definition of “prospect”, as that label is going to be applied to any young player either in the minors or in the Majors, but expected to open in a reserve role. And of course, let’s assume the season gets underway at some point this year and ignore any potential rule changes and the possibility there’s no minor league season.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 812 –ADP Fallers

05/19/20

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NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS/INJURIES/RUMORS

  • 2020 Season Outlook

ADP FALLERS

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Jeff Zimmerman Fantasy Chat

3:00
Jeff Zimmerman: Good afternoon. Time to light this fire.

3:00
Harry: My 12 team H2H league is struggling to figure out a format that fits if there is a 12 week season. Any suggestions on how to play this one?

3:02
Jeff Zimmerman: If the rules allow, allow the same three (or four) teams face off. The number of games increases and the smack talking can still be enjoyed

3:02
Joe: Hi Jeff, have you ever seen a study done on height/weight of players and post-hype breakouts?  I wonder if CHW took a flyer on Mazara due to his great baseball body–6’4″/215.  In general I wonder why the NFL places a lot of value on combine metrics and height, weight, strength, etc, but baseball doesn’t seem to as much.  Maybe there’s an inefficiency to be had there.

3:03
Jeff Zimmerman: I haven’t seen a study done to that level.

3:05
Jeff Zimmerman: Being big isn’t going to help Mazara put the bat on the ball. He just doesn’t make the needed contact.

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Prospect Scouting & Stats — Pitcher K%

Yesterday, I identified and discussed the top eight prospect pitchers in SwStk%, which is the ultimate measure of a pitcher’s stuff. Of course, it’s not totally just about inducing whiffs, as there are other ways a pitcher could record a strikeout. So let’s now peruse the leaders in strikeout rate, sticking with those who posted a mark of at least 40% all all minor league levels in 2019. You’ll naturally see some overlap with yesterday’s SwStk% leaderboard, so while I’ll include them in the list, I won’t discuss them.

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Intentional Walk Decline: Let MLB Teams Do the Scouting

Fiddle Farts. I’ve been diving deep into my to-do list hoping for a study to verify nothing. This study was not a quick-and-easy one. I’m surprised how much can be gleaned from a small drop in a hitter’s intentional base-on-balls (IBB).

When examining intentional walks, it’s not like canoeing across a calm flat lake with no dangers. Instead, it’s more of a white water rafting with no rest or the end in sight.

Two types of hitters normally see a drop in intentional walks, great hitters on the decline and the eighth hitter in National League parks. Of the 776 intentional walks last season, 410 came from the third (104), fourth (123), and eighth (183) spots in the lineup. It’s a player pool of just the once best and now worst hitters in the league.
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Prospect Scouting & Stats — Pitcher SwStk%

We’re winding down our look at pitching prospect scouting and stats, so today, I’ll present to you the leaders in SwStk%. While I haven’t seen any research to support my opinion, I feel like minor league SwStk% is a better indicator of future MLB strikeout rate than minor league strikeout rate. That’s because the ability to generate whiffs seemingly translates to the Majors better than called and foul strikes, the latter two strike types being more difficult to achieve with better competition. Whereas a whiff is a sign of dominant stuff and more pitcher controlled. Perhaps I’m wrong though. Either way, let’s check out the best minor league whiff-inducers.

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Reviewing My OOTP Perfect Team Set

If you’ve been reading my Texas Red Bulls OOTP series, then you’re familiar with the Perfect Team mode. Every Thursday they release new content cards available in their packs and this week they let me curate the set! Kris Jardine is the content manager for Perfect Team so I sent him an insanely extensive list of players I’d be interested in and he pared it down to these 12.

Here are the 12 players and some insight into why I chose them:

Jose Ramirez 2016 – His breakout has been really fun to follow, and this season was the taste of it with a .312/.363/.462 line, 11 HR, 22 SB, and infield/outfield eligibility having played 3B and LF. This generated a really solid silver card that will be popular in tournaments and be a staple for teams in Rookie and Stone leagues. Strong contact, gap power, and ability to avoid strikeouts should play very well.

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Batted Ball Analysis: Goldy, Shaw, Moncada, & Santana

Earlier this week, I examined the batted data on four hitters and I’m diving into four more today. My goal is to see if their breakout or struggles stemmed from normal aging or swing or approach change. Sometimes the change is obvious and other times, it’s murky.

Currently, I’m using five StatCast data points per month:

  • Average Launch Angle
  • Average Exit Velocity
  • Max Exit Velocity
  • Hard Hit Launch Angle: The average launch angle for all batted balls hit over 98 mph.
  • Average Hard Hit Difference: The difference between the HHLA and the angle for the sub-98 mph hits. From yesterday’s research, hitters start to see a production decline at a 0 AHHD and it accelerates around -4.4 AHHD. Basically, the batter is trying to get too much loft and his batted balls are going for weak flyouts.

I’m plotting the best-fit curves using the LOWESS (LOcally WEighted Scatter-plot Smoother) method. The curves use the nearest data points to create a best-fit line. Additionally, I’ve weighted the curve by the monthly batted balls. These values are represented by the dot size in each graph.
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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 811 – A 1999 ReDraft

05/14/20

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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TOPICS

  • No WBC in 2021
  • 1999 Re-Draft

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Prospect Scouting & Stats — Pitcher FB “Tops”

Yesterday, I discussed the nine pitching prospects who regularly throw their fastball at the highest velocities in the minors. The pitchers’ fastballs on the list ranged from 99 to 101 MPH, and that is consistent velocity at the high end of their game range! But that’s now all THE BOARD gives us. We also have “Tops”, which is where the prospect pitcher’s fastball maxes out at. Perhaps he throws that hard just once a game, or every couple of games. But it’s fun to peruse the list of absolute hardest throwers. Obviously, there’s going to be quite a bit of overlap with yesterday’s list, so while I’ll include all pitchers that max at 100+ with an FV of at least 40+, I’ll only discuss those I haven’t discussed in previous prospect scouting & stats posts.

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