The 2013 baseball season has gotten off to a rollicking start. From Yu Darvish’s near-perfect game to the exciting emergence of young players like New York Mets’ pitcher Matt Harvey, there has been a lot of good stuff for fans to digest. For all the fun baseball provides, the game also sometimes has a darker side. This week seemed to have ongoing negativity popping up around baseball. Hopefully these moments represent the worst the season will experience and fans can get back to enjoying some great action. (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.
We are more than halfway through the month of April and most teams have already played double-digit games. This is not a big sample size but there have been some surprises in the beginning of this long season, from the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-1 start to the St. Louis Cardinals scoring the most runs in the game despite the face of the franchise and future hall-of-famer Albert Pujols leaving for the Los Angeles Angels.
And, to our surprise, there have been some major overachievers and some major underachievers, including the aforementioned Albert Pujols who has yet to hit a homerun and is hitting only .268/.318/.366 through his first 44 plate appearances outside of St. Louis red. Here are a few of the statistical surprises so far this season:
The “No Walk” club includes some surprising names as well as some you might expect to see (min 30 PAs) with three Texas Rangers appearing on the list: (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols, Andrew McCutchen, Brent Morel, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, Gaby Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Ian Kinsler, Jesus Montero, Josh Hamilton, Justin Upton, Mark Teixeira, Matt Kemp, Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Yoenis Cespedes | 2 Comments »
I am finalizing my 2012 prediction series by revealing my NL West 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, NL East Predictions, and NL Central Predictions and we, as a staff, revealed some of our overall MLB predictions. Enjoy. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Aaron Harang, Arizona Diamondbacks, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Chris Capuano, Clayton Kershaw, Clayton Richard, Colorado Rockies, Daniel Hudson, Dee Gordon, Dustin Moseley, Emmanuel Burriss, Guillermo Moscoso, Huston Street, Jamie Moyer, Jason Kubel, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Saunders, Juan Nicasio, Justin Upton, Ken Dixon, Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers, Madison Bumgarner, Mark Kotsay, Matt Cain, Matt Kemp, Melky Cabrera, Michael Cuddyer, Paul Goldschmidt, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Tim Stauffer, Troy Tulowitzki, Willie Bloomquist | 2 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 »
The other week I posted my American League regular season awards and today I present you with my National League Awards.
Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel
My NL rookie of the year candidates list was dominated by Braves players; Kimbrel, Brandon Beachy, and Freddie Freeman. My other candidates were Vance Worley and Danny Espinosa. I am not the biggest fan of the save statistic but it is hard not to give Kimbrel the award after what he accomplished this year. Kimbrel picked up a very impressive 46 saves, setting the all time rookie record. The 46 saves were also tied for first amongst closers in the NL. He led all relievers in WAR (3.2) and had the second best K/9 in the NL (14.84). He also had a very impressive 2.10 ERA and an NL leading 1.52 FIP. Not only was he one of the best rookies in the NL, but possibly the best closer as well.
Most Valuable Player: Matt Kemp
This award was very close for me between Kemp and Ryan Braun. Kemp gets the edge though and he really had an impressive year. He led the National League in WAR with 8.7, which was 0.9 wins better than the second place Braun. Kemp’s stats almost earned him a triple crown but he fell short. His .324 AVG was third best in the National League. He had 39 homeruns and 129 RBI which both led the NL. He had 40 stolen bases and just missed a 40-40 season. He had a .399 OBP, .586 SLG, and .262 ISO which were all amongst the best in the league. Kemp has a fantastic year and is very deserving of the National League MVP award.
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
This award was even harder for me to pick than the NL MVP but I’m giving Kershaw the very very slight edge over Roy Halladay. Kershaw was second in the NL in war (6.8). He led the league in both K/9 (9.57) and ERA (2.35) and was also tied for the most wins with 21. He was third in the league in innings pitched (233.1) and tied for first in quality starts with 25. Kershaw really shut hitters down as he had the lowest BAA in the NL with .207. The young lefty was fantastic this year and should have many more years like this to come.
Here how my Awards compare to Jonathan’s:
|MVP||Matt Kemp||Matt Kemp|
|Cy Young||Roy Halladay||Clayton Kershaw|
|ROY||Craig Kimbrel||Craig Kimbrel|
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Brandon Beachy, Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel, Cy Young Award, Danny Espinosa, Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp, MVP, Rookie of the Year, Roy Halladay, Ryan Braun, Vance Worley | Leave a Comment »
The BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) have tallied up their votes and it was unanimous in the National League and close in the American League. Matt Kemp was the unanimous winner and Jose Bautista beat out Jacoby Ellsbury by a mere 25 points.
Check out the press release after the jump.
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 »
I think we sometimes mistake the meaning of what a 5-tool player is. At first glance, we want to call guys like Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun 5-tool players because of their offensive stats. We see a high average, 30 homeruns and 30 stolen bases, and pure athletes. We seem to forget that the 5-tools include defense, though. I am guilty of assuming athletes like Kemp and Braun are 5-tool talents based on their stats and pure ability but defense is more than running fast on open ground and, sadly, Kemp and Braun have not excelled on the defensive side of the ball.
While players like Kemp and Braun may posses extremely high ratings in four areas they are still one tool short of being a legit 5-tool player. A 5-tool player is one who excels at hitting for average, hitting for power, base running skills and speed, throwing ability, and fielding abilities. 5-tool talents are rare and, oddly enough, most people can point to the Boston Red Sox and find three in Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carl Crawford (pre-2011), but I want to focus on the overlooked 5-tool talents that have proven it in the stats this season.
Alex Gordon has always had the talent but never put it all together in one season, until now. He is currently hitting .303/.377/.501 with 22 homeruns and 17 stolen bases. He looks to posses the first three skills we always look at. His base running (BSR, which does not include stolen bases) is a +4.3 and his UZR is a +5.8. Gordon is not only an overlooked 5-tool player but a great down-ballot MVP candidate and has been worth +6.3 fWAR and +6.0 rWAR.
It is hard to believe that Justin Upton just turned 24 in late August when you look at the career totals he has already put up. When you think of a typical 5-tool talent and the last name Upton most would say that brother B.J. Upton is the 5-tool talent. That may be true in terms of talent but Bossman Junior has only put together one season worthy of being called a 5-tool talent. Justin Upton, on the other hand, is putting up his 2nd 5-tool season with a .294/.375/.542 line with 31 homeruns and 21 stolen bases. Oh, the kid can run the bases and play defense too. He has a +3.7 Bsr and +10.1 UZR. His overall performance will keep him and his +6.9 fWAR in NL MVP talks all postseason.
Shane Victorino may not posses the power that Kemp or Braun do but that does not mean he has none. He has been hampered by injured but that has not stopped him from posting a .288/.365/.505 line with 17 homeruns and 19 stolen bases in under 550 plate appearances. His +3.9 Bsr and +5.7 UZR give you a true look at a player who possesses all five tools.
This is not to say that 4-tool players are less valuable than 5-tool players. That simply is not true. This is just to show how rare a 5-tool player is and how rare it is for them to actually display all five tools on the field in a given year and how some of the players who are doing this are overlooked.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: 5-Tools, Alex Gordon, Andrew McCutchen, Ben Zobrist, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Ryan Roberts, Shane Victorino, Troy Tulowitzki | 1 Comment »