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Friday, September 11, 2020

Fernando Tatis Jr. and MLB’s 100 most entertaining players

No, it’s obviously still Tatis. There’s no suspense here. There is nobody in the same ballpark—baseball term—as Tatis, who hits all the major marks of watchability:

He’s constantly on the screen, in a sport that usually makes it hard to focus on a single player: He plays shortstop; he often leads off in the Padres’ lineup; he’s always on base, and when he is, he’s a brilliant and aggressive baserunner. As a defender, he manages to find his way into the screen on practically every play; in that broadcast where he was mic’d up, Eric Karros suggested Tatis’ manager might actually prefer Tatis hustle less, to preserve his health. And as a hitter, his stats feel as if they matter, since he’s involved in about seven different races to lead the league in significant offensive categories.

He’s young—21—and he’s historically significant, with the second-highest WAR per game through age 21 in history. (Only Mike Trout is higher.) He’s a plausible long-shot threat to someday challenge the career home run record, if you want to get really wild really quickly. If you want to be calmer about it, then he’s about to win the NL home run title, he leads the league in RBIs (while, again, often batting leadoff), and in this short season he’s actually still got an outside shot at the Triple Crown.

He’s simply stronger and faster than everybody else, in a way that’s quickly visible to any viewer with hardly any context. He’s the 10th-fastest runner in baseball, by Statcast’s sprint speed, and the second-strongest hitter, by Statcast’s average exit velocity. He has one of the best throwing arms in baseball.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 09:45 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fernando tatis, jr.

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   1. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: September 11, 2020 at 11:44 AM (#5975749)
Obviously a subjective list and all, but there's absolutely nothing entertaining about Jason Heyward. He's the definition of boring - his RF defense is good, but he rarely makes a "oh ####\" awesome play; even his really good plays are fairly pedestrian in a way that belies how good he is. He's just prepared and in the right spots.

On the offensive side, same thing. Well, outside of this year, without the actual production. He's brutal to watch hit, even when doing well (which has been extremely rare in his Cubs tenure).
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 11, 2020 at 12:43 PM (#5975757)
I'm not entirely sure there are 100 baseball players today that you could legitimately describe as "not relief pitchers," let alone "entertaining."
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 11, 2020 at 12:46 PM (#5975758)
79. Joey Votto, Reds
78. Pete Alonso, Mets
77. Rafael Devers, Red Sox
76. Andrelton Simmons, Angels
75. Yoan Moncada, White Sox
74. Brandon Belt, Giants
73. Byron Buxton, Twins
72. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Seriously? Brandon Belt?
   4. JRVJ Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:36 PM (#5975776)
I'm going to hijack this thread, but BRef has Trout at -1.1. dWAR, which seems absolutely mad.

Does anybody have an idea of what's going on, other than the usual "it's only 45 games"?

Jo Addell /RF) is at -0.5 dWAR and Justin Upton (LF) is at -0.4 dWAR, so the only thing I can think of is that the Angels have terrible defensive positioning.
   5. DCA Posted: September 11, 2020 at 02:12 PM (#5975786)
Or the pitchers are getting smacked around, and the excess BABIP is being blamed on the fielders since it's hard to allocate credit (5.15 team ERA, 4.30 team FIP).
   6. JRVJ Posted: September 11, 2020 at 02:23 PM (#5975790)
5, good point.
   7. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 11, 2020 at 02:40 PM (#5975795)
Yeah, he's on pace for -48 Rfield over a full season. Which sounds... not believable. Adam Dunn never quite managed that. (Although he did get to -43!)

And while I find the idea of trying to rank baseball players by how entertaining they are kind of gross, Tatis is a lot of fun.
   8. Rally Posted: September 11, 2020 at 02:58 PM (#5975804)
Most defensive metrics are blunt instruments, and will show some weird outliers now and then. Doesn't mean DRS is wrong.

But in the last few years a metric actually has been developed that does not have so much measurement error in it.

Statcast outs above average

Trout rates as average on that. He's fine, it's DRS that is wrong. Adell looks just as bad by OAA. We saw him turn a flyout into a homer (or 4 base error), so yeah, it's deserved. He's got the tools to be a decent OF but needs a lot of practice.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2020 at 06:31 PM (#5975838)
I hope Trout's not dropping the baby!!

#2: Interesting point in its way. Upon a time, some relievers would have been considered quite "entertaining" -- whether it was the Mad Hungarian or early Bruce Sutter absolutely baffling hitters or Finger's mustache or Gossage's mustache and fastball to the recent entry music of doom. Today the closers seem as bland as the openers. Is there any closer (or other reliever) out there that's "entertaining."
   10. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2020 at 06:33 PM (#5975839)
Trout rates as average on that.

Nerd point: statcast compares to the average OF. The average CF is better than the average OF so this would still put Trout a bit below average for a CF. Still, for so few games and given statcast seems to show a much tighter range of outcomes, that's probably no more than 1-2 outs.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2020 at 06:47 PM (#5975844)
FWIW ... Trout is barely even pretending to steal this year with just 2 attempts in 40 games. That's even less often than last year. He also has two other poor DRS years and a not particularly impressive career DRS or dWAR even before this year. If memory serves, that +19 in his RoY year was heavily influence by stealing something like 3-4 HRs that year which is largely a random event. He's not Mays defensively and it seems likely to me that he'll be in a corner in his 30s. Time to trade him to the Cubs for payroll relief! (Don't panic, the Cubs will pretend not to be able to afford him.)

That said, his Rbase and Rdp are still standard Trout. His RoE is way down though relative to his early 20s ... holy crap, his G/F ratio is down to 1/3!! He's going 1st to 3rd less often the last few years (teeny samples) but the other baserunning events seem pretty consistent. His IF single rate looks to be down "substantially" the last year+ (of trivial importance but a speed indicator).

So I'm guessing he has lost a step or two. Not an old Ken Griffey in CF number of steps though.
   12. Jay Seaver Posted: September 11, 2020 at 07:01 PM (#5975845)
Is there any closer (or other reliever) out there that's "entertaining."

Pat Venditte is on the Marlins (or at least their IL), but is he considered entertaining or just a curiosity?

As a Red Sox fan, Alex Verdugo seems pretty low here - he's not as good as the guy he replaced in any category, but he's enthusiastic, aggressive on the basis, has some pop, and has more outfield assists than some teams. Maybe you ding him some on that scale for the baggage he carries from his time in the minors, but he's entertaining on the field.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 11, 2020 at 07:15 PM (#5975847)
I suppose some people used to find Kimbrel’s schtick entertaining back when he was good. Now fans of the Cubs’ opponents probably think he’s quite entertaining.
   14. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 11, 2020 at 07:54 PM (#5975855)
Trout seems to have bulked up quite a bit. I could see a dude carrying around more than a few extra pounds not wanting to run and slide quite so much. It wouldn't surprise me if he turns into a stationary slugger as he gets older.

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