Non-Feared Players - Perhaps these players aren’t the least feared hitters. After all, Bryce Harper and Adam Jones are offensive forces. Yet, the following players did not receive an intentional walk last season: (more…)
On January 27, 2013, I had the pleasure of hosting and taking part in the first annual MLBDirt.com Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft. First things first, I want to thank Jonathan Mitchell, William Tasker, Daniel Marino, Charlie Nehl, Mike Schwartze, Wayne Bretsky, Ray Guilfoyle, Mike Hilbig, Mark Kaplan, Jeff Furtah, and Alex Kantecki for taking part in the draft. We had a mix of MLBDirt.com writers and six well respected Fantasy Baseball writers. All of these men are recommended follows on Twitter and I will give you their contact information at the end of the article. One thing that makes Fantasy Baseball fun is the different opinions you can get. These guys all have great insight and baseball knowledge.
Without any further adieu, here is the 2013 MLBDirt Mock Draft Results. Please feel free to comment and engage in discussion!
ROUND 1 (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Fantasy | Tagged: Albert Pujols, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Carlos Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw, Fantasy, Joey Votto, Justin Verlander, Matt Kemp, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Mock Draft, Robinson Cano, Roto, Ryan Braun | Leave a Comment »
Major League Baseball announced the 2012 All-Star selections two days ago and as always, there are good choices and then there are bad choices. Just like last year, Jonathan and I have decided to share our own selections for the All-Star teams. Over the next week we will reveal our All-Atar position starters in each league, as well as the All-Star pitchers for each league. We will be doing posts separately but I will get things going with my National League All-Star position starters. Enjoy.
I am continuing my 2012 prediction series by revealing my NL Central standings and adding a few positive and negative predictions for each team. In case you missed it, I have already revealed my AL East Predictions, AL Central Predictions, AL West Predictions, and NL East Predictions and we, as a staff, revealed some of our overall MLB predictions. Enjoy. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Fantasy | Tagged: Alex Gonzalez, Alex Presley, Alfonso Soriano, Andrew McCutchen, Brandon Phillips, Bronson Arroyo, Bryan LaHair, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Lee, Cesar Izturis, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Darwin Barney, David Freese, Devin Mesoraco, Erik Bedard, Houston Astros, Ian Stewart, J.A. Happ, Jaime Garcia, Jeff Karstens, Jeff Samardzija, Joel Hanrahan, Joey Votto, Jon Jay, Jordan Lyles, Jordan Schafer, Kyle Lohse, Livan Hernandez, Marco Estrada, Matt Carpenter, Matt Downs, Milwaukee Brewers, Neil Walker, Nyjer Morgan, Pittsburgh Pirates, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Sean Marshall, St. Louis Cardinals, Starling Marte, Wandy Rodriguez | 1 Comment »
The Cincinnati Reds have had a questionable off-season. First came the lopsided deal. The Reds dealt prospects Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger; along with veteran/injury-prone starter Edinson Volquez for the San Diego Padres ace Mat Latos. For most of the baseball world, the trade was a wonder. It’s one of those deals where you’ll look back 5 years and wonder what the Reds were thinking. The Reds better hope their current core stay together. Who knows if first basemen Joey Votto will resign? Can Devin Mesoraco repeat his success at the major league level?
But now I am scratching my head a little more. On Wednesday, the Reds announced the signing of the former New York Yankees first-round pick Andrew Brackman to a 1-year Major League contract. Let me repeat this, the Reds signed Brackman, a 6’10” flame thrower, with a combined 5.11 ERA since being drafted out of North Carolina St. in 2007. What is even more mind-boggling is the fact that general manager Walt Jocketty signed Brackman to a major league contract. But hey, I don’t sit behind the desk.
However, I view this signing as a win/win situation for the Reds. Brackman, a Cincinnati native, could fit into the vacant closer situation, incase the Reds do not bring back Francisco Cordero. The details of the contract have not been released. I can’t see the deal being worth anything expensive. Maybe Brackman can find himself as a starting pitcher again?
Today, possibly the biggest trade of the offseason thus far has gone down. The Padres traded 24 year old, Mat Latos to the Reds for quite the haul of players. The Padres will be receiving Yonder Alonso, Edison Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Broxberger. The Reds receive a potential ace in Latos and the Padres really cashed in. I like the deal for both sides.
For the Reds, Latos bolsters an already solid rotation. He joins Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey. That rotation along with the big bats of Votto and Bruce should be very competitive in the NL central this year. Latos is still very young and already has two full years under his belt. He has a career ERA of 3.37 and a K/9 of 8.7. He has looked great but what worries me is that he is moving from the canyon of Petco Park to the hitter friendly stadium of the Great American Ballpark. I don’t think it should have a huge effect but it is something to watch for. Another very attractable part of Latos is that he is not arbitration eligible until the end of 2012 so the Reds should have him under team control for quite a few years to come.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Brad Boxberger, Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds, Devin Mesoraco, Edison Volquez, Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Prospects, San Diego Padres, Trades, Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso | 7 Comments »
This is all Jonathan Mitchell’s fault. His fabulous post on the nastiest pitches in baseball has now spawned not just one post from the Fan, but now two. The exercise in question is looking at Fangraphs‘ data for pitch value as a perimeter for judging the best pitchers overall for 2011 and for the past three years. Today, we’re going to look at the same pitch values, but this time from a batting perspective. The idea is this: If you add up the pitch value scores for each batter with a minimum number of plate appearances and then sort the total, it should give you a list of the best pure hitters in baseball. It’s a different approach than WAR or wOBA or even OPS+ and it may not mean anything. But it’s fun, so anything fun is worth doing, right?
Here’s how these numbers were accumulated: This author went to Fangraphs and then to their Leaders link. Once at the leaders page, the Pitch Value tab was clicked. On that page, using the wonderful tools available to us, two criteria were plugged in. In the first one, we stayed with 2011 and made 400 the minimum plate appearances. Then Fangraphs’ generous Export Data link was clicked which provided a spreadsheet for our use here. A new set of criteria was then added for the past three years (2009 – 2011) with a minimum of 1000 plate appearances. And that data was exported as well.
Once the spreadsheets were on this author’s laptop, in a new column a sum function was used to get a total of all the pitch types to give us a total value above average. What these numbers mean is a calculation by Fangraphs of how many runs above average each hitter was against different pitch types. There are some weird numbers in there. For example, Maicir Izturis was the second best in baseball in 2011 against the slider but couldn’t hit just about anything else. Alfonso Soriano was among the top in hitting a fastball but gave up all those runs against the slider. Our top hitters in general hit everything well or hit at least a few pitches well enough to compile big numbers.
Without further ado, here are the top ten pure hitters in baseball for 2011 for combined runs above average:
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, Jacoby Ellsbury, Joey Votto, Jose Bautista, Kevin Youkilis, Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Napoli, Paul Konerko, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun | 4 Comments »
Picking the National League MVP was almost as difficult as picking the American League MVP.
It came down to a fight between two main candidates whose stats were similar in most areas.
With that said, here is my ballot for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance NL Stan Musial MVP award:
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Andrew McCutchen, BBA, Brandon Phillips, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Joey Votto, Jose Reyes, Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Mike Stanton, MVP, Pablo Sandoval, Prince Fielder, Roy Halladay, Ryan Braun, Shane Victorino, Stan Musial, Stan Musial Award, Troy Tulowitzki | Leave a Comment »
In the midst of what is shaping out to be a career year for Milwaukee Brewer star Ryan Braun there has been little talk of him and the season he is currently having. Well, that stops here. His season is among the best in the entire league and the best he has had in his career, and that is saying a lot.
This is a 27 year old that has already won a Rookie of the Year award, led the league in Slugging percentage, finished 3rd in MVP voting, started his career with three straight 30 homerun seasons, hit .300+ in three of his first four seasons, and has slugged .500+ in each of his four seasons coming into this year. Yet, he is having his best season to date.
Braun is currently hitting .333/.403/.592 with a wOBA of .436, a wRC+ of 181, and a career high 6.1 fWAR. He also has a career best walk rate of 10.1% and career best strikeout rate of only 14.7%. The patience and contact rates also result in a career best 20.5% line-drive rate and a career low 5.8% pop-up rate. Simply put he is hitting the ball harder than just about anyone in the game.
Braun’s .592 slugging percentage leads the National League by 22 points, his .436 wOBA leads by 11 points, and his wRC+ leads by 12 points. All huge margins for the 2nd place hitters to overcome in one month unless Braun goes into a 30 day slump.
Braun is only 3 points behind Jose Reyes in average, and ranks 3rd in on-base percentage only 4 points behind teammate Prince Fielder but is a distant 36 points behind NL fWAR leader Joey Votto who is also having a ridiculously underappreciated season. Keeping the Braun praise going, he ranks 6th in the NL in base running (Bsr does not include stolen bases) with +3.6 and is tied for 6th with 31 stolen bases. His 6.1 fWAR ranks 6th and his 6.7 rWAR ranks 2nd in the NL. The major difference is that his UZR is well below average but his dWAR has him slightly above average.
What, you want more praise? He ranks 2nd in doubles with 35, 9th in triples with 5, 6th in times on base with 211, and 2nd in extra-base hits with 65. The only pitch he has had negative value on is the knuckle ball (-0.9 wKN) and he has faced it in less than 1% of his at-bats. The man hits any and all pitches.
Braun’s defense may very well keep him from a top-3 finish in MVP voting and it may be the reason most people have not realized his offensive dominance on the National League this year. The stats speak for themselves and if MVP was given solely based on offensive value then Braun would likely be the recipient of the MVP award.
What a difference a year makes, eh? Last year, the Reds and the Padres were the toasts of the town as their improbable resurgences propelled them to unparalleled story lines. Joey Votto was at the top of those story lines as he made a run at MVP and overtook the great Albert Pujols to win that title. Flash forward to this season and the Padres have sunk to oblivion, the Reds haven’t been a factor in the National League Central and Joey Votto has disappeared from view. Votto has become invisible.
Which is a real shame as Votto is having another wonderful season. Justin Upton and Troy Tulowitski have correctly been on most writers’ minds for MVP and you have a smattering of talk of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp in those conversations. But Votto is right behind the leaders in fWAR this season and some of his statistics are even better than last year. Has the Reds’ season put him that far out of the limelight?
Let’s look at Votto’s season. He is currently batting .320 and if he maintains that batting average, it will be the third straight year with a BA above .320. Do most people realize that? This writer would bet not. His on base percentage is the highest of his career at an incredible .434. That on base percentage leads the National League by a wide margin over Prince Fielder’s .416. Whenever talking about OBP, you have to look at the intentional walks. Votto has had his share with ten. But Fielder has been intentionally walked twenty-one times!
Votto’s slugging percentage is down from last year’s amazing .600 tally in that statistic. But how many teams would love to have a guy slugging Votto’s current .531? Due mostly to the difference in slugging percentage, Votto’s OPS is 59 points lower than last year. But golly, his OPS is a robust .965! You would think a player performing at that level would get some ink somewhere.
Votto is currently first in on base percentage, third in batting average, twelfth in slugging, second in wOBA, second in wRC+ and fifth in WAR among all National League Players. Although the fielding statistics indicate that Votto is having an outstanding year in the field, the burgeoning fielding stats of Justin Upton and Troy Tulowitski are the chief reasons those two rate above Votto in WAR.
Power wise, Votto is behind last year. He started slowly in the home run department. He only hit thirteen in the first half but has already hit eight in the second half. Votto’s second half OPS stands at 1.021, right behind last year’s ending total of 1.025. And just so nobody can say that Votto benefits from playing in a cozy hitting ballpark, Votto’s OPS is much higher on the road this season.
Joey Votto is having another outstanding season. By the time the season is over, his value earned could be just as high as last year. He is easily among the best players in his league and playing at a position that includes a lot of mashers (first base), Votto is the current chief among those mashers. This writer still thinks the defense of a first baseman is highly underrated and Votto is one of the best there too.
The Reds are dead in the NL Central after winning the thing last year. They sit at a -6 in their Pythagorean win-loss record compared to their actual record. They have been a dysfunctional outfit led by a questionable manager. As such, they have been absent from most nationally televised broadcasts. All of that is a factor into why Joey Votto’s season has gone by so quietly. But the guy is a stud and one of the best players in the game.