Offseason Notes for November 1st

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League

Assorted Headlines
It’s Official: Mets’ Citi Field to Shrink
The Mets front office has announced Monday that the outfield walls of Citi Field will be altered before the 2012 season, Andrew Keh of the New York Times reports. You can see the new specifications by following the link, but the most notable change seems to be the placement of a new eight-foot wall in front of the 16-foot wall in left field. While, as the article notes, the move should aid the Mets’ power hitters, all signs point to the Mets’ opponents having the same exact advantage.

Fielding Bible Awards Announced
A panel of nerd judges — including not just names like Bill James and Rob Neyer, but also the actual people to whom those names belong — has produced this year’s edition of the Fielding Bible Awards. Your winners, quickly, going around the diamond: Mark Buehrle, Matt Wieters, Albert Pujols, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Beltre, Troy Tulowitzki, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, and Justin Upton. Rumor has it that a drunk Joe Posnanski considered voting for Rafael Palmeiro at every position, but that he reconsidered the decision the next morning in the style of the Persians, of whom Herodotus wrote:

It is… their general practice to deliberate upon affairs of weight when they are drunk; and then on the morrow, when they are sober, the decision to which they came the night before is put before them by the master of the house in which it was made; and if it is then approved of, they act on it; if not, they set it aside. Sometimes, however, they are sober at their first deliberation, but in this case they always reconsider the matter under the influence of wine.

Official Elias Rankings Released
The official Elias free-agent rankings have been released and are now available at MLB Trade Rumors. The only difference between the actual rankings and the ones reverse-engineered by Eddie Bajek are Kelly Johnson (Type A, not B) and Joel Zumaya (Not Ranked).

SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League
Batting Leaderboard
Here is the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Venezuelan Winter League (VWL). SCOUT represents an attempt to derive something meaningful from small samples and is the average of a player’s standard deviations from the VWL mean in three important (and regressed) stats: walk rate, strikeout rate, and home-run rate. (Click here for more on SCOUT.)

Name Org PA xBB% xK% xHR% BBz Kz HRz SCOUT
Luis Rodriguez SEA 42 12.8% 14.6% 1.7% 0.36 0.59 -0.13 0.28
Kole Calhoun LAA 66 13.1% 17.7% 2.6% 0.40 0.12 0.26 0.26
Gregor Blanco WAS 69 14.4% 18.6% 2.2% 0.61 -0.03 0.10 0.23
Alexi Amarista LAA 72 11.2% 14.9% 1.8% 0.11 0.55 -0.07 0.20
Seth Bynum WAS 58 12.0% 18.0% 2.6% 0.23 0.07 0.28 0.20
Luis Maza ITA* 58 13.5% 16.7% 1.6% 0.47 0.28 -0.18 0.19
Bryan LaHair CHN 60 11.9% 21.1% 3.6% 0.21 -0.40 0.74 0.18
Darwin Perez LAA 47 11.6% 15.4% 1.7% 0.16 0.48 -0.14 0.17
Luis Jimenez SEA 67 10.5% 18.9% 3.2% 0.00 -0.06 0.57 0.17
Jose Altuve HOU 52 9.8% 14.7% 2.0% -0.12 0.58 -0.01 0.15

As you can see, there’s currently little separation among the VWL batting leaders. Eight of the 10 players on the present list appeared on last Thursday’s list, as well. Gone are Met minor leaguer Josh Satin and Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain. New to the list are Seattle’s Luis Rodriguez and also Luis Maza, who played in the Italian League this year.

Pitching Leaderboard
For pitchers, SCOUT is the average of a player’s standard deviations from the VWL mean in (regressed) strikeout and walk rate.

Name Org G GS IP BF xK% xBB% Kz BBz SCOUT
Dylan Owen NYN 5 3 18.2 74 24.5% 8.5% 0.84 0.15 0.50
Alex Herrera MEX 4 4 23.2 97 21.8% 8.6% 0.48 0.12 0.30
Josh Wilkie WAS 8 0 8.2 32 21.6% 8.6% 0.46 0.12 0.29
Jarrett Grube SEA 2 2 11.0 41 21.8% 8.8% 0.48 0.07 0.28
Josh Schmidt NYA 3 3 16.2 66 22.1% 9.2% 0.53 0.00 0.27
Kendy Batista IND 10 0 10.0 38 21.5% 9.1% 0.44 0.02 0.23
Frank Mata FLA 4 0 6.2 28 21.4% 9.1% 0.43 0.02 0.23
Joe Bisenius CHA 3 3 14.2 58 21.8% 9.3% 0.48 -0.03 0.23
Sergio Perez HOU 4 4 16.1 69 22.4% 9.7% 0.56 -0.11 0.23
Deunte Heath CHA 4 4 17.1 76 21.5% 9.2% 0.45 0.00 0.23

Met farmhand, 25-year-old right-hander Dylan Owen topped last Thursday’s SCOUT pitching leaderboard — but with nowhere near the authority as he does the present iteration. In the meantime, he’s made one excellent start, pitching 5.2 innings, during which he struck out seven and walked none — while recording eight of his nine batted-ball outs on the ground. Per StatCorner, his minor-league ground-ball rates have generally hovered in the mid-30s — nor has be been particularly adept at inducing Ks. Clearly, the VWL is different than the minor or majors leagues; just as clearly, Owen has separated himself rather conspicuously so far from the rest of the league’s pitchers.

Image courtesy New York Times.

We hoped you liked reading Offseason Notes for November 1st by Carson Cistulli!

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Love your quote from Herodotus about the Persians. No wonder the Greeks were always beating them.

Justin Bailey
Justin Bailey