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Monday, July 27, 2015

Twins take page from visiting Pirates, embrace geek squad - TwinCities.com

OK, what’s the next big thing?

The ultimate lesson from “Big Data Baseball” seems to be one the Twins have already learned.

“The biggest thing for me was (the Pirates) getting players to buy in and how they did it,” Perkins said, “and not saying, ‘These guys are nerds that have never played the game.’ I think that’s the worst thing you can say about those guys. There’s always a benefit to outside influence. They see the game in a different way than we see the game.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 27, 2015 at 07:11 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, twins

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Before Beane

The origin story of AVM Systems, the little-known company that jump-started sabermetrics and made Moneyball possible

ReggieThomasLives Posted: July 26, 2015 at 02:10 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Saturday, July 25, 2015

SABR Defensive Index: July 12, 2015 | SABR

Kevin Kiermaier is a really good outfielder. Has he really been this good?

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2015 at 11:07 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, sabermetrics

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Change: Collin McHugh and Bad Fastballs | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

Nice analysis from Eno Harris.

For how often he throws his breaking balls, McHugh is still getting excellent whiffs on those pitches. But don’t let that blind you to the fact that his fastball is not very good. With every tick he loses on the pitch, the more likely he is to give up home runs on it. He’s been hiding the pitch since he got in the league, but there’s not really any place to hide the fastball further when you’re throwing it less than anybody else in baseball not named R.A. Dickey.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2015 at 09:00 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: collin mchugh, sabermetrics

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Robinson Cano more production fewer grounders | MLB.com

Baseball is a game of adjustments.

That’s the kind of solid contact that ought to lead to production, but confoundingly for Cano, it didn’t. But over the past 30 days, Cano has looked like the star we saw in New York. You might expect that he has been hitting the ball harder, and indeed he has. But perhaps just as important, Cano has changed his average launch angle. That is, he’s stopped pounding the ball into the ground, or pumping out low and easily-caught liners, and managed some elevation behind those hard-hit balls.

April 6 through June 19
.245/.284/.337   2 home runs
Average exit velocity: 88.74 mph
Average launch angle: 6.79 degrees

June 20 through July 20
.280/.318/.540   7 home runs
Average exit velocity: 91.54 mph
Average launch angle: 9.14 degrees

What’s “launch angle,” you ask? It sounds complicated, but it’s not. It’s simply measuring the angle that the ball comes off the bat. A negative exit angle means a grounder or a very low liner; a positive one is higher in the air. A launch angle of zero degrees would be directly back at the spot where the pitcher released the ball.
That’s important because for the first few months, Cano was hitting grounders like he’d never done before, which is part of why that solid contact wasn’t leading to extra-base hits. Excessive grounders may work well for low-power speed demons like Billy Hamilton or Dee Gordon, but for Cano, it just meant that he was depriving himself of his highest-value hits. Let’s go back to that same date range, this time showing his splits between liners, grounders, and fly balls.

April 6 through June 19
Line drive %: 23.6
Grounder %: 52.8
Fly ball %: 23.6

June 20 through July 20
Line drive %: 23.5
Grounder %: 43.2
Fly ball %: 33.3

As you can see, the line-drive rate didn’t change, but Cano has dropped 10 percentage points from his ground-ball rate and put that toward his fly-ball rate, confirming what launch angle is showing. Since Cano is hitting just .182 on grounders, this look suits him much better.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2015 at 02:57 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, robinson cano, sabermetrics, statcast

Saturday, July 18, 2015

2015 Trade Value: The Top 10 | FanGraphs Baseball

David Cameron’s #1 player is Mike Trout.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 18, 2015 at 08:54 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, trade value

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Statcast Storylines Feature Aroldis Chapman | MLB.com

WE NEED MORE DATA!!!! GIVE US THE FIELDING DATA!!!

Jim Furtado Posted: July 16, 2015 at 08:34 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Zack Greinke highlights a crop of MLB aces who rely on baseball’s advanced stats | For The Win

Chris Sale is not like the others.

In addition to his pitching, Greinke is known for his exhaustive understanding of and interest in the sport, up to and including preparing pre-draft scouting reports on potential picks. And in a New York Times feature during his 2009 campaign, Greinke explained that he pitched to keep his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) as low as possible. By that number, which estimates a pitcher’s value based on his walk, strikeout and home-run rates, Greinke was indeed better in 2009 than he had been in 2015: A 2.33 FIP then vs. a 2.65 mark now.


2015 Trade Value: #30 to #21

I was going to wait until Cameron finished his list, but today is a pretty slow news day.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 15, 2015 at 10:32 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Friday, July 10, 2015

Quick pitch: How the most inventive team in baseball is at it again - Yahoo Sports

I would think if you were going to try and limit your starters’ innings in this way, you’d move to a four-man rotation.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 10, 2015 at 09:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpen usage, rays, sabermetrics

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Infield Hits by Speed Score | Articles | Bill James Online

Jose Iglesias is an infield hit machine.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 09, 2015 at 06:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Monday, July 06, 2015

Fewer walks and bunts, more shifts among midseason trends - MLB

Walks are down and shifts are up!

New commissioner Rob Manfred took plenty of heat when, in a January interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravech, he claimed he was open to the idea of restricting defensive shifts.
Number of shifts, MLBYear No. of shifts
2010 2,464
2011 2,357
2012 4,577
2013 8,180
2014 13,298
2015 18,698 (prorated)

Manfred essentially walked those comments back, and with good reason, considering the use of shifts shows no sign of letting up. According to Baseball Info Solutions, teams have used the shift 9,495 times through the July 4 holiday weekend. A prorated total of 18,698 would represent a 40 percent increase over 2014.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 06, 2015 at 10:24 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Catcher framing revisited - Beyond the Box Score

OK, so now Russell Martin is one of the worst pitch framers?

Jim Furtado Posted: July 06, 2015 at 07:34 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch framing, russell martin, sabermetrics

Friday, July 03, 2015

Blind Resumes: A Fascinating Keuchel Comp

Some interesting player comparisons.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 03, 2015 at 09:06 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tyson Ross on His Walk Rate | FanGraphs Baseball

Interesting.

Yeah, Ross noticed that. “Hitters are just a little more patient with me. The slider maybe isn’t as enticing for guys to chase, or maybe they’re just more aware of it, and they’re just trying to lay off it, and I find myself behind in counts more.”

The difference here is bigger. Ross has lost around 35 swings on pitches outside of the zone this year. And, given his out-of-zone contact rate, that means he’s lost 24 strikes. Turn 24 strikes into balls, and you’ll see some more walks. In fact, turn these “new balls” into six walks, and add it to the two new walks above from the first-pitch strike game, and remove those eight walks from his line, and his walk rate this year would be 3.53 per nine, which is in line with his career number (3.69) and his rest of season projection from ZiPs (3.52).

Jim Furtado Posted: June 26, 2015 at 04:36 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: padres, sabermetrics, tyson ross

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Video: Statcast and its hidden value | MLB.com

Some good stuff from Mike Petriello. Watch this.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 25, 2015 at 06:27 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb now, sabermetrics, statscast

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Analytics at heart of Cards’ success, federal probe : Sports

A history of the Cardinals’ Baseball Development department

Jim Furtado Posted: June 21, 2015 at 10:31 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, sabermetrics

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Estimating Pitcher Release Point Distance with PITCHf/x: Home and Away Splits – The Hardball Times

Not exactly great reading. It makes me pine for fielding related research.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 16, 2015 at 09:17 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pitchfx, sabermetrics

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kenny: The end of FIP as we know it

Professor Jon Heyman comments: “We’re going to have to sit shiva.”

What McCracken found became the foundation for how we would understand pitching. There is a wild variance in the batted ball. Defense and luck are huge components in run prevention. What was known as the “peripherals,” the strikeouts and walks, would’ve been better known as the “essentials.” For the past 14 years, you could reliably find out how good an outing was by looking at a pitcher’s strikeouts and walks.

This breakthrough, as recent as it is, now seems to be blowing up. Extremes in strikeouts and walks are throwing it all off.

I began to notice one strange start after another. Check out this list:

      Brandon McCarthy: 10 strikeouts and 0 walks ... 5 runs.
      C.J. Wilson: 8 strikeouts and 0 walks ... 6 runs.
      Noah Syndergaard: 10 strikeouts and 0 walks ... 7 runs.
      Anibal Sanchez: 9 strikeouts and 0 walks ... 5 runs.

This is NOT supposed to happen. Ten strikeouts and no walks is what Cliff Lee is supposed to be doing, when Cliff Lee is throwing a shutout.

I began to look at how often this was happening. How many times has a pitcher had at least eight strikeouts and one walk or less, while also giving up five runs or more? In 2012, it happened only 12 times. In 2013, it was up to 17. Last year, it went up to 20.

In only about two months of the 2015 season, it has already happened 17 times. Meaning, in 2015, we are going to double or triple the amount of outings where a pitcher is dominant with his strikeouts and walks but is also getting hammered.

It’s also happening at the top end—not just the second-tier strikeout artists—to some of the best pitchers in the game. In just over 80 innings, Clayton Kershaw has 101 strikeouts and only 19 walks. That’s sensational, right? Wrong. He has a 3.36 ERA. After being No. 1 for four straight years, he’s now 40th among qualifiers. To illustrate it another way, Kershaw is currently seventh in FIP, but 40th in ERA. His ERA and his “expected ERA,” which is what FIP should be, are not matching up.

What about Corey Kluber? He has 91 innings, with 109 strikeouts and just 17 walks. Incredible numbers. Yet, his ERA is 3.53. Kluber is third in FIP, but 46th in ERA.

JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2015 at 05:58 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: fip, sabermetrics, strikeouts, three true outcomes, walks

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The anatomy of a bad-ball hitter - Beyond the Box Score

Some hitters have better skills at putting the bat on the ball. Who knew?

Jim Furtado Posted: June 10, 2015 at 01:21 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Simon: Q&A with Max Scherzer

But does having eyes of different colors remain a market inefficiency?

Simon: “Two things have become much more popular lately: pitch framing and defensive shifts. What are your approaches with regard to each of those?”

Scherzer: “Framing is there. Certain catchers get more calls than others, but the pitcher has to put the ball in the right spot to let the catcher do that. It’s more parts catcher, but there is a pitcher part to that, especially if you want to work the outside edges and down and give the catcher a pitch he can [frame]. [The more you’re] able to execute the pitch in the vicinity of where his glove is, the easier it is for him to frame.

“With defensive shifts: You see how they’re implemented, and it’s not just a mad scientist doing this. It’s a real fact that if you shift, you can prevent more hits. Sometimes, it’s a matter of moving your whole infield around to get to the point of it being a positive.

“I put all that on the coaches. The coaches do a phenomenal job of doing their research to try to figure out if they want to shift and who they want to shift against so that they feel comfortable.

“I don’t worry about infield shifts at all—you play where you’re gonna play. I’m just gonna pitch my game.”

JE (Jason) Posted: June 09, 2015 at 11:39 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: defensive shifts, max scherzer, nationals, pitch framing, sabermetrics

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Adjusting offensive positional expectations - Beyond the Box Score

How much of the change is due to a shift in philosophy? It makes sense for teams to look for more defense at shortstop and catcher when offense drops.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2015 at 09:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

New York Mets’ six-man rotation about protecting arms, young and old - Mets Blog - ESPN

Of course, they don’t even know if it will be effective.

“It’s not without precedent. That’s the significant thing,” said John Thorn, the official historian for Major League Baseball. “In baseball, almost everything has precedent. Even when we went from a one-man rotation to a two, or from a two to a three, it was from the worry of overuse and the shrinking number of off-days. That has been a constant since the 1870s.

“The Mets are different in that it’s a ‘prophylactic’ use of the six-man rotation. They are trying to avoid burnout of an older guy like Colon. They are trying to take the innings limit that they’ve placed on Matt Harvey and stretch it out to the end, just in case they’re still in contention. So I think this use of the six-man rotation reflects a measure of planning rather than an emergency situation.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 03, 2015 at 09:18 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, sabermetrics, six man rotations

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Have relievers really gotten better? | FOX Sports

If relievers are truly getting better, maybe a team won’t need so many of them. How about a couple less relievers and a few more quality pinch-hitting options?

Now that we know that teams have better bullpens at their disposal than they used to, what’€™s the counter-move? One that’s been suggested is that hitters should stop being so patient and just attack what the starter gives them. In fact, there’€™s evidence that one reason for the recent rise in strikeouts is that hitters are being too patient. If the batter comes up saying, “€œI won’€™t swing until you throw me a strike,”€ the pitcher is likely to say, “€œOK, here”€ and we end up in an 0-1 count. If bullpens really are getting better, maybe it’€™s worth it to go after the No. 4 starter and make sure that it’€™s already 7-2 by the fifth inning so that the All-Star bullpen doesn’€™t matter.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 02, 2015 at 01:41 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpens, pitching, sabermetrics, trends

Is the Red Sox’ defense really that bad? - The Boston Globe

Hanley is the only real issue with the Red Sox defense. He has been brutal in left. Pedroia has been as good as he ever has been. Xander Bogaerts has noticeably improved at shortstop. Sandoval has been O.K. at third. I have no complaints about the rest of the team.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 02, 2015 at 06:41 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, red sox, sabermetrics

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