Archive for March, 2013

Daily Lineup Information

On our live scoreboard page we now have each game’s lineup for the day. This information from now on should be available as soon as the teams announce their lineups each day, usually many hours before the game.


We’re also now using this same data to power the “Starter” field in FanGraphs: The Game, so you should know if a player is in the lineup much sooner than before.

If you think things are delayed, or there’s no lineup for a game where you think there should be, please let us know!

FanGraphs Audio: My 92-Year-Old Grandfather

Episode 318
The host’s 92-year-old grandfather, a guest on FanGraphs Audio when he was merely a 91-year-old grandfather, is the guest on this edition of FanGraphs Audio, as well. Discussed: how sugar is poison. And also: tips for everyone on accentuating your physical assets.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 34 min play time.)

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FanGraphs: The Game 2013!

Good news everyone! You can now make your picks in FanGraphs: The Game for the 2013 season!

For those of you who played last year, you will be able to change the team of any of your players up until you first spend money. So, if you want your players to be on new teams, I advise doing it before you make any picks. You can do this on the settings page.

In addition, your player will keep all of his stats from the 2012 season and continue on to year two of his career.

Lastly, if you had autopick set last year, it has now be unset. If you want to keep playing with autopick on, you will need to make your autopick selections again.

And for those of you who are rookies to FanGraphs: The Game…

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Bidding Farewell to Johan Santana

Johan Santana will go down as one of the game’s best pitchers. I say ‘go down’ because after the news yesterday that Santana has probably re-torn the anterior capsule in his left, or throwing shoulder. Will Carroll said this was about the worst news that Santana could have received. Given how lengthy Santana’s rehab was the first time, and given the fact that he is set to be a free agent at the end of this season, we may have seen the last of the lefty with one of the deadliest changeups in baseball history.

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Giants Wisely Lock Up Buster Posey Forever

If you hadn’t noticed, Major League teams have decided that the best way to use their current financial windfall is to keep their best players for essentially their entire careers. It wasn’t long ago that single team lifers like Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn were the outliers, but now, it is becoming unusual for an elite player to not sign a mega-contract with his original franchise. Just in the last few years, we’ve seen the following players commit to spending the great majority of their careers with just one Major League team:

Joe Mauer, Joey Votto, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria, Felix Hernandez, Matt Kemp, David Wright, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Yadier Molina, Ryan Zimmerman, Justin Verlander, Adam Wainwright, and now Buster Posey.

Maybe not all of these players will stay with their current teams for the duration of these contracts, and a few might end up going elsewhere after these deals expire to squeeze an extra year or two out of the end of their careers. These aren’t necessarily contracts “for life”, but they do cover enough of the prime years of the game’s best players that it ensures that their legacy will be forever tied to one franchise. This represents a significant shift for Major League Baseball since free agency began.

Great players still change teams, of course. Albert Pujols left the Cardinals. Prince Fielder left the Brewers. David Price is almost certainly going to leave the Rays. Robinson Cano might leave the Yankees, though I’ll believe that when I see it. It isn’t true that every great player now retires with the team that brought him to the Majors. But there’s no question that MLB teams are moving to make that the more common occurrence, and fewer stars are waiting to get to free agency before cashing in on massive paychecks.

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Justin Verlander Summits Money Mountain

For much of the offseason, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw were non-literally linked. All three have been among the most consistently outstanding starting pitchers in the world entire. All three were to enter 2013 two years away from free agency. So all three were to entertain thoughts of signing long-term contract extensions. Felix signed first, re-upping with the Mariners for the rest of days. Now, Friday, with the season just about upon us, Verlander has signed second, re-upping with the Tigers for several days himself.

Depending on how you think about things, Verlander has signed either a seven-year contract or a five-year contract. Verlander was already under contract for $20 million in each of the next two seasons, but upon the new agreement some of the language concerning those two seasons has changed. In any case, after Verlander makes $20 million a year for two years, he’ll make $28 million a year for five. The breakdown:

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2013 Prospect Sleepers: American League

The Major League Baseball off-season has been a busy one in terms of prospect coverage at FanGraphs. First came the Top 15 Prospects lists, then the overall Top 100 Prospects list, and now finally a breakdown of 30 interesting sleeper prospects for the coming year. We looked at one player for each of the National League teams earlier this week, and today we’re rolling out 15 more prospects – one for each of the American League clubs.
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Andrew McCutchen’s Controlled Aggression

Patience has been a big part of Andrew McCutchen’s game since his arrival in Pittsburgh in 2009. The two-time All-Star walked in at least 10 percent of his plate appearances in all four of his MLB seasons.

For McCutchen, consistency has come with patience. His first three seasons saw wOBAs of .363, .359 and .360 respectively. The jump from All-Star to MVP candidate came in 2012, as McCutchen hit .327/.400/.553 and set career highs in all three slash-line stats as well as ISO (.226), home runs (31) and RBI. And it also came with an added bit of aggression at the plate — controlled agression, but aggression nonetheless.

McCutchen set another career high in 2012: he swung at 45.2 percent of pitches, an increase from 40.9 percent in 2011 and 40.8 percent career. But it was controlled aggression: his zone swing rate went up six percent against just a two percent rise in out-of-zone rate, and according to Baseball Prospectus, most of the extra swings were on pitches over the middle third of the plate (see career and 2012 swing rates). More swings in this zone can only be a good thing; more swings means more contact, and McCutchen has a .640 slugging percentage on contact over the middle third of the plate.

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Letting and Not Letting Them Pull

Sam Miller wrote recently about how almost everything he writes serves to lead to a fun fact (or a “factoid”). Sam is one of my favorite writers, and one of my biggest ongoing influences, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m much the same way. Most of the time, I write about fun facts, and the words just dress the facts up. Sometimes they make the facts look nicer, and sometimes they just get in the way. Right now, they’re getting in the way. I just have some facts for you, and then I’ll shut up.

Not all balls in play are created equal. Of course, there are bunts, grounders, liners, and flies, and fliners too if you want to be obnoxious about it. But if you want to bucket balls in play differently, there are pulled balls, balls up the middle, and balls to the opposite field. These categorizations get less attention, but they can be pretty significant. How a guy’s balls in play are distributed can tell you something about how he’d fit in a certain park. And pulled balls tend to do a lot more damage than not-pulled balls. Intuitively, we know this to be true; looking at the numbers, we also know this to be true.

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2013 FanGraphs Staff Predictions

After last year’s rousing success that included tabbing Albert Pujols for AL MVP, Devin Mesoraco for Rookie of the Year, and Arizona as the National League champions, we’ve decided to make fools of ourselves again. Yes, predictions are basically worthless, even ours. Yes, they’re still kind of fun, and provide a useful reminder of what we all thought was true before the season started. So, here’s the FanGraphs Staff predicting 2013.

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