Archive for August, 2014

NERD Game Scores for Sunday, August 31, 2014

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by viscount of the internet Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (and on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game. Read more about the components of and formulae for NERD scores here.

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Most Highly Rated Game
Milwaukee at San Francisco | 16:05 ET
Kyle Lohse (165.2 IP, 109 xFIP-, 1.7 WAR) faces Madison Bumgarner (185.0 IP, 78 xFIP-, 3.5 WAR). While the Giants have won the first two games of their series against the Brewers, the Dodgers have lost their first two games in San Diego. The result: a net gain of over 10 percentage points for San Francisco to their chances of winning the division — a gain which is perhaps most effectively depicted by the GIF below featuring the standings and playoff odds for all NL West clubs both from two days ago and then also this morning. (Click to enlarge instantly.)

Giants Giants

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: San Francisco Radio or Television.

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Sunday Notes: Olson’s Pop, Porter, McClendon, Carter, Dahl, Beimel Revival

Matt Olson epitomizes power and patience. The 20-year-old Oakland Athletics prospect leads the California League in home runs (36) and walks (116). Playing first base for the Stockton Ports, he has a .260/.403/.540 slash line going into the final two days of the minor league season.

Olson has fanned 136 times, but he projects as more than an all-or-nothing slugger. Drafted 47th overall in 2012 out of a Georgia high school, Olson has a smooth left-handed stroke and an advanced approach for someone yet to take his first legal drink. The former Parkview prep acknowledges his pop, but temperance is his M.O.

In the opinion of Stockton manager Ryan Christenson, Olson “is a very patient hitter” and “has done a better job of refining his strike zone and isn’t missing his pitch when he’s getting it, which is why his power numbers have spiked.” The young longball specialist isn’t letting his moon shots go to his head.

“I don’t look at myself as a power hitter, but I’m going to get that label because of the power numbers,” said Olson. “I have that capability, but I’m just trying to put up good ABs and if I get a pitch in my zone, I put a good swing on it. I’m not necessarily set on one specific pitch, but I’m also not up there whaling at everything.”

Christenson was Olson’s manager in low-A Beloit last year, where the youngster hit .225 and finished second in the Midwest League in home runs (23) and strikeouts (148). This season Christensen is seeing a player who is a year older and wiser, and doing a better job handling the inside fastball. According to scouts, Olson has struggled when busted inside. Read the rest of this entry »


FanGraphs Audio: Dayn Perry Plumbs Myriad Depths

Episode 477
Dayn Perry is a contributor to CBS Sports’ Eye on Baseball and the author of three books — one of them not very miserable. He’s also the guest on this edition of FanGraphs Audio — during which episode Perry engages both in figurative and actual plumbing.

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 53 min play time.)

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NERD Game Scores: An Evening with Mike Fiers

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by viscount of the internet Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (and on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game. Read more about the components of and formulae for NERD scores here.

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Most Highly Rated Game
Milwaukee at San Francisco | 21:05 ET
Mike Fiers (35.0 IP, 78 xFIP-, 0.9 WAR) faces Jake Peavy (163.2 IP, 111 xFIP-, 1.3 WAR). Since his early August promotion back to the majors, Fiers has been excellent over four starts, recording the second-highest strikeout rate (33.3%), third-lowest park-adjusted xFIP (63 xFIP-), and second-lowest park-adjusted ERA (32 ERA-) among the league’s 116 qualified starters in August. He is, for example, the sort of pitcher a club with the fourth-best odds of qualifying for an NLDS might want starting against the club with the fifth-best odds of doing that.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: San Francisco Radio or Television.

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The Best of FanGraphs: August 25 – August 29, 2014

Each week, we publish north of 100 posts on our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, purple for NotGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research.
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De Leon and Beras: Extreme Youth in the Rangers System

When our other prospect writers submit scouting reports, I will provide a short background and industry consensus tool grades. There are two reasons for this: 1) giving context to account for the writer seeing a bad outing (never threw his changeup, coming back from injury, etc.) and 2) not making him go on about the player’s background or speculate about what may have happened in other outings.

The writer still grades the tools based on what they saw, I’m just letting the reader know what he would’ve seen in many other games from this season, particularly with young players that may be fatigued late in the season. The grades are presented as present/future on the 20-80 scouting scale and very shortly I’ll publish a series going into more depth explaining these grades. -Kiley

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Different Process, Same Results for Andrelton Simmons

“With his defense, he doesn’t need to do much at the plate” is a common refrain heard in regards to the best defensive players in the game. Elite players at premium positions get a lot of rope, so valuable is their glove work. Especially at key, up-the-middle positions, the offensive bar is set so low that any contribution from the game’s best defenders can be considered a bonus.

In 2013, Andrelton Simmons was among the most productive players in baseball, thanks to his beyond-superlative defense. To the surprise of many, Simmons also slugged 17 home runs, offsetting his struggles to get on base to produce a nearly-league average season. His 91 wRC+ surpassed the average shortstop last season, which is a recipe for a successful season. If you hit better than most of the peers while definitely fielding better than most of your peers, you’re doing something right.

As 2014 began, Simmons and the Braves were clearly not content with his production levels and vowed to change him, to bring his swing under control and make him a more complete hitter. In June, Braves hitting coach Greg Walker explained to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it was a matter of identity for Simmons, one he needed to adjust. “You’ve got to make a decision on what type hitter you want to be. Do you want to be low-average guy, a power guy, and deal with a lot of failure?”

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Alex Gordon, UZR, and Bad Left Field Defense

Since Alex Gordon moved into first place in position player WAR (although he’s now second again), quite a bit of back-and-forth discussion has occurred on if he is this season’s best position player. Most of the talk revolves around how much stock  should people put into defensive statistics. Our own Dave Cameron has already taken a stab at the subject earlier in the week. Alex Gordon is getting close to two wins of value from his defense, a considerable jump from his previous seasons. After looking at the inputs used for UZR, it is not Alex Gordon’s performance going to new levels, but the lack of talented defenders in left field making him seem better.

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Nicholas Minnix Baseball Chat – 8/29/14

11:39
Nicholas Minnix: Hello, folks! Hope you’re doing well. I’ll be with you at the top of the hour.

12:01
Comment From Tom
Votto droppable in an eight-team league?

12:01
Nicholas Minnix: Yes. But you waited this long! 😀

12:02
Comment From Vic
Does Syndergaard deserve some Sept starts?

12:02
Nicholas Minnix: Deserve is a heavy word. Don’t think it’d hurt to give him one or two.

12:03
Comment From Guest
You ok with starting Peavey and Lackey this weekend?

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NERD Game Scores for Friday, August 29, 2014

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by viscount of the internet Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (and on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game. Read more about the components of and formulae for NERD scores here.

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Most Highly Rated Game
Milwaukee at San Francisco | 22:15 ET
Wily Peralta (162.0 IP, 99 xFIP-, 0.7 WAR) faces Ryan Vogelsong (150.0 IP, 108 xFIP-, 1.1 WAR). Despite a 1.5-game lead over the latter, Milwaukee currently possesses almost the exact precise chance of winning the NL Central as St. Louis, featuring odds of 44.5% (according to the methodology used by FanGraphs) against the Cardinals’ figure of 44.3%. The Giants, meanwhile, are among a small group of clubs whose odds of making the divisional series continue to hover around 50%. Not grounds for Highest Possible Drama, the aforementioned circumstances, but at least Reasonably High Drama.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: San Francisco Radio or Television.

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