Archive for November, 2017

FanGraphs Audio: Results of the Over/Under Game with Dave Cameron

Episode 788
Back in February, managing editor Dave Cameron consented to participate, with the host of FanGraphs Audio, in a series of 10 over/under wagers regarding the 2017 season. With that 2017 season now complete, both host and guest review those wagers to determine who’s the best at baseball.

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

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Audio after the jump. (Approximately 57 min play time.)

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Oakland Has Drawn Two Dots to Connect

It was easy enough to understand the Ryon Healy trade on its own. Healy is a good hitter but not a great hitter, and he doesn’t come with much defensive value. The A’s wanted to free up the DH spot so they could move Khris Davis out of the outfield. Emilio Pagan is a talented young reliever, and the A’s organization also picked up a 17-year-old prospect. Pretty normal value exchange, even if it’s fairly uncommon to see division rivals swap so many team-control years. Different needs were met.

Now the A’s have also signed free-agent reliever Yusmeiro Petit. It’s a modest two-year deal with a third-year club option, and the deal was announced later Wednesday. Taken on its own, again, it’s unremarkable. The A’s have said they wanted bullpen help, and now they’ve added bullpen help. Petit just had a very good season. Simple. The kind of move you forget about two days later.

But I’d like to quickly connect the dots. There are two dots. Perhaps they’re meant to be unconnected. I’m going to read into this anyway. What does it mean that the A’s have picked up both Pagan and Petit? The two have a specific similarity.

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Why the Diamondbacks Might Have Their Answer

There are two ways of looking at this. One, the offseason has been so slow that this is a full-length article devoted to a Diamondbacks trade for Brad Boxberger. Baseball needs to get going. Under ordinary circumstances, this might not get much attention at all. Two, thanks to the baseball offseason being so slow, this trade can get the attention it deserves. Every major-league trade is interesting, because every major-league player is talented. And Boxberger in particular could answer the Diamondbacks’ biggest problem.

Both angles have some truth to them. If things were moving faster, this might not be written as it is. But I’m still glad to be able to shed some light on what the Diamondbacks might be thinking. So: the trade!

Diamondbacks get:

  • Brad Boxberger

Rays get:

For the Rays, it’s a matter of cashing in a player running out of team control. You know how they operate. For the Diamondbacks, it’s about trying to upgrade on the cheap. As you don’t need to be told, there’s no such thing as a truly reliable reliever. Everyone comes with a certain amount of risk and unpredictability. Boxberger might be more unreliable than average. Still, the promise is legitimate.

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MLB’s Middle Class Has a Free-Agency Problem

The middle class is embattled in America. Wages have stagnated. As a result, the percentage of people residing in the middle tier of income has declined over the past 40 years.

Baseball isn’t exempt from this problem. While even those players receiving just the minimum salary wouldn’t be classified as “middle earners,” context matters in this case. And in the context of baseball’s wages, the middle class is shrinking, too.

There are common obstacles facing baseball’s player pool and workers at large: a willingness among owners to pay a premium for top talent but an effort to replace other areas of the labor force with cheaper alternatives. Efficiency is king.

The ice-cold stove at the beginning of the present offseason, this period of little activity, is perhaps related and of interest.

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Eno Sarris Baseball Chat — 11/30/17

Eno Sarris: dedicated to Giancarlo Stanton, this is how much I got on his contract

Xolo: Please tell me why signing Hosmer isn’t a terrible idea for the Padres.

Eno Sarris: Can’t imagine why it *would* be a good idea.

Hannah Hochevar: At this point I’d be sad if the O’s resign Chris Tillman but also sad if they don’t resign Chris Tillman. What’s a fan to do?

Eno Sarris: Be sad, I guess.

CubFan: With the Cubs saying they are willing to use Ohtani in the OF as well as pitching how much have they improved their chances of landing him?

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Which Team Can Keep Shohei Ohtani the Healthiest?

When Travis Sawchick asked you which question was most important on Shohei Ohtani‘s questionnaire, you answered overwhelmingly that the team capable of keeping him healthy — or of convincing Ohtani that they’d keep him healthy — would win out. Travis went on to use a metric, Roster Resource’s “Roster Effect” rating, to get a sense of which team that might be. The Brewers, Cubs, Pirates, and Tigers performed best by that measure.

Of course, that’s just one way of answering the question. Health is a tough thing to nail down. To figure out which team is capable of keeping Ohtani the healthiest, it’s worth considering the possible implications of health in baseball. Roster Effect, for example, considers the quality of the player and seems to be asking: which rosters were affected the most by poor health? That’s one way of approaching it. Let’s try a few others and see who comes out on top.

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Top 22 Prospects: Chicago Cubs

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the Chicago Cubs farm system. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from my own observations. The KATOH (stats-only) statistical projections, probable-outcome graphs, and (further down) Mahalanobis comps have been provided by Chris Mitchell. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of my prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

Cubs Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Aramis Ademan 19 A SS 2020 50
2 Adbert Alzolay 22 AA RHP 2019 50
3 Jose Albertos 19 A- RHP 2020 45
4 Oscar De La Cruz 22 A+ RHP 2019 45
5 Brendon Little 21 A- LHP 2020 45
6 Alex Lange 22 A- RHP 2020 45
7 Victor Caratini 24 MLB C/1B 2018 40
8 DJ Wilson 21 A OF 2020 40
9 Miguel Amaya 18 A- C 2022 40
10 Alec Mills 25 MLB RHP 2018 40
11 Jeremiah Estrada 19 R RHP 2021 40
12 Thomas Hatch 23 A+ RHP 2019 40
13 Nelson Velazquez 18 R OF 2021 40
14 Brailyn Marquez 18 R LHP 2021 40
15 Cory Abbott 22 A- RHP 2019 40
16 Wladimir Gallindo 21 A 3B 2020 40
17 Dillon Maples 25 MLB RHP 2018 40
18 Jose Paulino 21 A LHP 2019 40
19 Jason Vosler 24 AA 3B 2019 40
20 Mark Zagunis 24 MLB OF 2018 40
21 Bryan Hudson 20 A LHP 2022 40
22 Eddy Julio Martinez 22 A+ OF 2019 40

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic
Age 18 Height 5’11 Weight 160 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/55 40/45 30/45 55/50 45/55 55/55

Far too advanced for the AZL, Ademan made his U.S. debut in the Northwest League with Eugene. He hit .286/.365/.466 there, played great defense, and earned a promotion to the Midwest League for the final month of the season. He turned 19 a week and a half after South Bend finished their year.

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Effectively Wild Episode 1143: Giancarlohtani


Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter, as always, about Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton, as well as the slow start to the offseason and baseball takeaways from news about basketball and football. Then they look for players who performed better in team losses, talk about two twins, and answer listener emails about the most valuable memo writer, robot bloggers, Stanton’s opt-out clause, two Ohtani hypotheticals, Mike Trout’s defensive position and spot in the batting order, Steve Matz’s future and starter-reliever conversions, Aaron Judge’s maximum contact rate, the best team superpower, and more, before wrapping up with a brief aside about Bitcoin.

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Don’t Trade Jackie Bradley for Jose Abreu

If there’s been one fairly easy prognostication this winter, it’s that the Red Sox are going to sign one of the expensive free agent hitters available in this class. Dave Dombrowski has historically not been shy about spending big to upgrade his roster, and has also shown a propensity for building rosters around power. The Red Sox ranked 27th in home runs last year. This is probably not something he wants to repeat.

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Mike Moustakas Is the Former Royal You Want

The other day, FanGraphs alum and stalwart Mike Petriello looked at possible fits for Mike Moustakas. This author agrees with many of the potential landing spots.

Petriello boiled down the list to nine teams that could use Moustakas:


Due either to payroll considerations (the Pirates) or their projected finish in 2018 (the Braves, Phillies, and Royals), a number of the clubs here might appear to be unlikely candidates to court Moustakas, although I argued on Monday that at least one of those teams ought to consider signing Moustakas.

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