Archive for October, 2015

2015 World Series Game Four Live Weblog

7:49
Carson Cistulli: This is the World Series Game Four Live Weblog. Please don’t hesitate to begin saying whatever you’ve come here to say.

7:50
Carson Cistulli: Perhaps consider this: what the over/under on infield fly balls induced by Chris Young? That seems like a moderately interesting question to contemplate.

7:52
Comment From tz
5. Or, one per inning pitched

7:55
Comment From Mayor McCheese
12

7:55
Comment From Jenstrom
I’ll say 3. And aren’t we lucky to chat with sexy Carson Cistulli!

7:57
Neil Weinberg: The price is also being required to chat with Owen and me.

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Effectively Wild Episode 756: The Unwritten Rules of Syndergaard-Escobar

Ben and Sam do a quick bonus Saturday episode on Mets starter Noah Syndergaard’s first pitch of World Series Game 3.


The Best of FanGraphs: October 26-30, 2015

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, dark red for The Hardball Times, orange for TechGraphs and blue for Community Research.
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The Adjustment Noah Syndergaard Made

The first pitch Noah Syndergaard threw Friday night sent Alcides Escobar to the ground. Syndergaard didn’t give Escobar an opportunity to swing because the instinctive priority was for him to get his head out of the way, and Syndergaard didn’t bother trying to disguise his intent after the game. He owned up to it — he wanted to give the Royals a little fright. The Royals, in turn, were furious, as they’re allowed to be, but the rest of the game spun the narrative wheel, and it ultimately settled on “Syndergaard delivered a message.” In the end he pitched pretty well and the Mets emerged victorious, so Syndergaard gets the favorable press.

But for whatever it’s worth, if Syndergaard did succeed in intimidating his opponent, it didn’t look that way early on, when the brushback was most fresh. After Escobar got knocked down, the Royals scored a run in the first. They scored another two in the second. The immediate aftermath, for Syndergaard, was troublesome, and the national broadcast speculated that he’d only succeeded in waking the Royals up. It was only after Syndergaard turned his game around that the conversation grew more sunny. And as a part of that process, Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud made a change on the fly.

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Contract Crowdsourcing 2015-16: Day 15 of 15 (Part Two)

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the giant and large 2015-16 free-agent market.

Below are links to ballots for six of this year’s free agents, representing the second half of the reliever group — and the final collection of players available for balloting, providing the author hasn’t omitted an important player like usual.

Other Players: Brett Anderson / Nori Aoki / Alex Avila / Antonio Bastardo / Joe Blanton / Jonathan Broxton / Mark Buehrle / Marlon Byrd / Asdrubal Cabrera / Trevor Cahill / Yoenis Cespedes / Wei-Yin Chen / Bartolo Colon / Johnny Cueto / Chris Davis / Rajai Davis / Alejandro De Aza / Ian Desmond / R.A. Dickey / Stephen Drew / Marco Estrada / Doug Fister / Dexter Fowler / David Freese / Yovani Gallardo / Jaime Garcia / Alex Gordon / Zack Greinke / Jeremy Guthrie / J.A. Happ / Jason Heyward / Rich Hill / J.P. Howell / Tommy Hunter / Torii Hunter / Chris Iannetta / Hisashi Iwakuma / Austin Jackson / John Jaso / Kelly Johnson / Matt Joyce / Scott Kazmir / Howie Kendrick / Kyle Kendrick / Ian Kennedy / John Lackey / Mat Latos / Mike Leake / Tim Lincecum / Kyle Lohse / Justin Masterson / Justin Morneau / Brandon Morrow / Daniel Murphy / David Murphy / Mike Napoli / Dioner Navarro / Bud Norris / Gerardo Parra / Steve Pearce / Mike Pelfrey / David Price / Alexei Ramirez / Colby Rasmus / Alex Rios / Jimmy Rollins / Jeff Samardzija / Alfredo Simon / Geovany Soto / Denard Span / Justin Upton / Juan Uribe / Chase Utley / Will Venable / Shane Victorino / Matt Wieters / Chris Young the Outfielder / Chris Young the Pitcher / Jordan Zimmermann / Ben Zobrist.

***

Shawn Kelley (Profile)
Some relevant information regarding Kelley:

  • Has averaged 52 IP and 0.7 WAR over last three seasons.
  • Has averaged 0.9 WAR per 65 IP* over last three seasons.
  • Recorded a 0.9 WAR in 51.1 IP in 2015.
  • Is projected to record 0.7 WAR per 65 IP**.
  • Is entering his age-32 season.
  • Made $2.8M in 2015, as part of deal signed in January 2015.

*That is, a roughly average number of innings for a starting pitcher.
**Prorated version of 2016 Steamer projections available here.

Click here to estimate years and dollars for Kelley.

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2015 World Series Game Three Live Blog

7:53
Paul Swydan: OK, let’s do this. The Royals and the Mets are both wearing traditional uniforms, thank heavens. I’m going to get a beer and then we’ll get started. Hope you’ll join us all night!

7:57
Comment From Jon
Let’s go Mets! FAN… do do do

7:59
Paul Swydan: Looking at the poll results, it seems that people think that Syndergaard is going to pitch well and that the Mets are going to win. And that they have to win.

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Contract Crowdsourcing 2015-16: Day 15 of 15

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the giant and large 2015-16 free-agent market.

Below are links to ballots for six of this year’s free agents, the first half of the reliever we’ll consider here.

Other Players: Brett Anderson / Nori Aoki / Alex Avila / Mark Buehrle / Marlon Byrd / Asdrubal Cabrera / Yoenis Cespedes / Wei-Yin Chen / Bartolo Colon / Johnny Cueto / Chris Davis / Rajai Davis / Alejandro De Aza / Ian Desmond / R.A. Dickey / Stephen Drew / Marco Estrada / Doug Fister / Dexter Fowler / David Freese / Yovani Gallardo / Jaime Garcia / Alex Gordon / Zack Greinke / Jeremy Guthrie / J.A. Happ / Jason Heyward / Rich Hill / Torii Hunter / Chris Iannetta / Hisashi Iwakuma / Austin Jackson / John Jaso / Kelly Johnson / Matt Joyce / Scott Kazmir / Howie Kendrick / Kyle Kendrick / Ian Kennedy / John Lackey / Mat Latos / Mike Leake / Tim Lincecum / Kyle Lohse / Justin Masterson / Justin Morneau / Brandon Morrow / Daniel Murphy / David Murphy / Mike Napoli / Dioner Navarro / Bud Norris / Gerardo Parra / Steve Pearce / Mike Pelfrey / David Price / Alexei Ramirez / Colby Rasmus / Alex Rios / Jimmy Rollins / Jeff Samardzija / Alfredo Simon / Geovany Soto / Denard Span / Justin Upton / Juan Uribe / Chase Utley / Will Venable / Shane Victorino / Matt Wieters / Chris Young the Outfielder / Chris Young the Pitcher / Jordan Zimmermann / Ben Zobrist.

***

Antonio Bastardo (Profile)
Some relevant information regarding Bastardo:

  • Has averaged 54 IP and 0.7 WAR over last three seasons.
  • Has averaged 0.8 WAR per 65 IP* over last three seasons.
  • Recorded a 0.6 WAR in 57.1 IP in 2015.
  • Is projected to record 0.4 WAR per 65 IP**.
  • Is entering his age-30 season.
  • Made $3.1M in 2015, as part of deal signed in January 2015

*That is, a roughly average number of innings for a starting pitcher.
**Prorated version of 2016 Steamer projections available here.

Click here to estimate years and dollars for Bastardo.

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Effectively Wild Episode 755: The Soundtrack to Your World Series Weekend

Ben and Sam banter about the Market Diner, then discuss World Series strategy and answer listener emails.


Syndergaard-Ventura One of Best Young Matchups Ever

One year ago, at just 23 years old, Yordano Ventura became one of the youngest pitchers to start a World Series game in the last 30 years. The presence of a young starter in the World Series is not a completely rare phenomenon, naturally. Ventura, for his part, was the 64th pitcher in Series history to make a start before turning 24 years old, per Baseball Reference Play Index. Noah Syndergaard is set to be the 65th when the two face off this evening. Widening the criteria a little, one finds that 105 pitchers have made World Series starters before turning 25 years old. Ventura, now one year older, is set to be one of just 19 pitchers to make a start in two different World Series’ before turning 25, a list including Babe Ruth and, over the last 30 years including, only Madison Bumgarner and Steve Avery. Tonight’s encounter between Syndergaard and Ventura represents one of the better young pitching matchups in World Series history.

Over the last three decades, the only pitchers younger than the 2014 edition of Ventura to record a start in a World Series game were Avery, Bumgarner, Dwight Gooden, Livan Hernandez, Bret Saberhagen, Michael Wacha, and Jaret Wright. Noah Syndergaard, a few months younger than Ventura was last year, is set to join that list. The giant Mets right-hander has struck out 20 batters in 13 postseason innings thus far and looks to do what his counterparts could not as the Kansas City Royals have proven difficult to strike out.

While 105 pitchers under the age of 25 have made starts in the World Series, it’s quite rare to find two young hurlers pitted against each other. In the last 15 years, it has happened only twice: Madison Bumgarner against Tommy Hunter in 2010 and Cole Hamels against Scott Kazmir in 2008. In all of World Series history, there have only been 24 such matchups and only 19 if you remove repeat matchups in the same series. The chart below shows every World Series matchup sorted by average age.

World Series Matchups Featuring Pitchers Under 25
Year Player Age Player Age Average Age
10/23/1981 Dave Righetti 22.329 Fernando Valenzuela 20.356 21.343
10/22/1991 Scott Erickson 23.262 Steve Avery 21.191 22.227
10/26/1991 Scott Erickson 23.266 Steve Avery 21.195 22.231
10/22/1997 Tony Saunders 23.176 Jaret Wright 21.297 22.237
10/31/2010 Tommy Hunter 24.120 Madison Bumgarner 21.091 22.606
10/19/1986 Roger Clemens 24.076 Dwight Gooden 21.337 22.707
10/7/1950 Bob Miller 24.113 Whitey Ford 21.351 22.732
10/12/1914 Lefty Tyler 24.302 Bullet Joe Bush 21.319 22.811
10/8/1934 Schoolboy Rowe 24.270 Paul Dean 22.055 23.163
10/14/1969 Jim Palmer 23.364 Gary Gentry 23.008 23.186
10/11/1964 Ray Sadecki 23.290 Al Downing 23.105 23.198
10/30/2015 Yordano Ventura 24.149 Noah Syndergaard 22.256 23.203
9/29/1932 Lefty Gomez 23.308 Lon Warneke 23.185 23.247
10/10/1970 Jim Palmer 24.360 Gary Nolan 22.136 23.248
10/14/1970 Jim Palmer 24.364 Gary Nolan 22.140 23.252
10/8/1912 Jeff Tesreau 24.217 Smoky Joe Wood 22.349 23.283
10/11/1912 Jeff Tesreau 24.220 Smoky Joe Wood 22.352 23.286
10/15/1912 Jeff Tesreau 24.224 Smoky Joe Wood 22.356 23.290
10/11/1909 Ed Summers 24.310 Nick Maddox 22.336 23.323
10/21/1972 Gary Nolan 24.147 Vida Blue 23.085 23.616
10/3/1953 Whitey Ford 24.347 Billy Loes 23.294 23.821
10/9/1934 Dizzy Dean 24.266 Elden Auker 24.018 24.142
10/22/2008 Cole Hamels 24.300 Scott Kazmir 24.272 24.286
10/27/2008 Cole Hamels 24.305 Scott Kazmir 24.277 24.291
SOURCE: Baseball Reference

The encounter between Dave Righetti and Fernando Valenzuela back in 1981, when the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees, represents the youngest such matchup of all tim . Only two of the young-pitcher games have occurred in a Game Two: Jeff Tesrau’s Giants team defeated Boston’s Smokey Joe Wood in 1912 and Dizzy Dean’s St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Tigers’ Elden Auker in 1934. If the Mets and Royals get to a Game Seven and the rotation stays as is, Noah Syndergaard against Yordano Ventura would become just the third such matchup of all-time and the first in more than 80 years.

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JABO: These Royals Might Look Familiar

Let’s talk about contact. It’s what everybody else is doing, right? The Royals make a lot of it. They did all season, and they still are in the playoffs, even against Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. No team this season posted a lower strikeout rate; no team was even particularly close. Contact is the skill around which the Royals lineup is built.

Right around the end of the regular season, I wanted to try to put these Royals in some kind of historical context. I wanted to know how good they are at hitting the ball, relative to other teams over the past several decades, but it’s not as easy as just looking at the strikeouts because whiffs have increased over time, especially lately. You have to make adjustments, so I folded in yearly league averages and standard deviations. What I found: by the resulting measure, the Royals were baseball’s best contact-hitting team since at least 1950. I went back no further, because I didn’t see the point.

It’s interesting, that conclusion. 1950 was a long time ago, and an awful lot of baseball has happened ever since. Mickey Mantle hadn’t debuted yet; Dave Winfield hadn’t been born yet. So it’s notable to post the most extreme anything between 1950 and 2015. In taking the top spot, the Royals just barely edged out the runner-up. The team knocked into second place was the 2002 Angels.

Immediately, that catches your eye. The Royals are the best contact-hitting team in ages. Those Angels were the second-best contact-hitting team in ages, and they won the World Series. For Royals fans, that’s encouraging, probably, and from my standpoint, now that I think about it deeper, there are a ton of parallels between these two ballclubs, even beyond putting the ball in play. Those Angels might be the best historical comparison for what the Royals currently have going on.

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