# Offseason Notes for October 17th

Some things are only made clear via arrows and sine curves.

Today’s edition of Offseason Notes contains this vital information:

Regarding What Is SCOUT
SCOUT is an attempt to derive some sort of meaning from the rather small samples (of plate appearances) that occur in the various fall and winter leagues.

Regarding What Is SCOUT, More Specifically
More specifically, with SCOUT we utilize Russell Carleton’s (a.k.a. Pizza Cutter’s) often referenced, now archived posts (summarized here) on the reliability of sample sizes in baseball. In that post we learn that, while on-base and slugging percentage don’t become reliable until 500 plate appearances, there are some rate stats — like batter strikeout and home-run rate and pitcher strikeout and walk rate — that both (a) become reliable in fewer PAs and (b) perhaps correlate more closely to one or the other of a player’s “tools.”

Regarding What Is SCOUT, Calculating It
To calculate SCOUT, what I’ve done (as I did last year) is to find the regressed strikeout and home-run rates (xK% and xHR%) for all the qualified batters in the AFL. Then, for each player, I’ve found the z-score (that is, standard deviations from the mean) in xK% and xHR%, and averaged them (i.e. the z-scores) together. SCOUT is the result of that. (And SCOUT for pitchers is all that same stuff, but for strikeout and walk rate per nine innings, instead.)

Here is the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Arizona Fall League. (Click here for more on SCOUT.)

Name Org SCOUT Kz xK% HRz xHR% PA AVG OBP SLG BABIP
Ro. Grossman PIT 0.34 0.49 15.6% 0.18 3.0% 54 .354 .426 .604 .350
Jedd Gyorko SD 0.21 0.17 18.0% 0.26 3.3% 25 .391 .440 .783 .353
Al. Castellanos LAN 0.19 0.14 18.2% 0.23 3.2% 34 .379 .471 .828 .381
Nolan Arenado COL 0.18 0.45 15.9% -0.10 2.2% 36 .343 .351 .429 .364
Wilfredo Tovar NYN 0.17 0.42 16.1% -0.08 2.2% 29 .269 .345 .385 .280
Brian Dozier MIN 0.14 0.27 17.2% 0.01 2.5% 36 .353 .395 .500 .379
Kody Hinze HOU 0.13 0.13 18.3% 0.14 2.9% 28 .391 .500 .696 .412
Logan Schafer MIL 0.13 0.25 17.4% 0.02 2.5% 35 .273 .333 .424 .286
Josh Vitters CHN 0.12 0.14 18.2% 0.11 2.8% 39 .405 .425 .649 .448
Corban Joseph NYA 0.12 0.22 17.6% 0.02 2.5% 33 .200 .273 .367 .200

Note
In 54 plate appearances so far, outfielder Robbie Grossman has hit three homers and struck out just five times — and though walk totals become reliable at a much greater plate-appearance threshold, it’s still notable that Grossman (a) has six of those and (b) had roughly equal walk and strikeout rates this season as a 21-year-old at High-A Bradenton. I don’t know for sure that contact rate is a skill upon which one can improve, but Grossman makes a case for such a thing. Here are his strikeout rates over the last three seasons (starting with 2009): 30.7%, 21.0%, 18.0%. Also, here are his strikeout-walk differentials over those same three seasons: 16.7%, 9.3%, 1.1%.

Same verse, very similar to the first.

Name Org SCOUT K9z xK9 K9 BB9z xBB9 BB9 G GS IP BF
Kevin Munson ARI 0.20 0.35 9.3 18.0 0.04 3.6 0.0 5 0 5.0 20
Bradley Boxberger CIN 0.18 0.37 9.4 17.5 -0.02 3.8 5.2 4 0 5.2 23
Stephen Fife LAN 0.14 0.30 9.1 13.5 -0.01 3.8 4.4 2 2 6.2 31
Josh Wall LAN 0.14 0.24 8.9 13.5 0.03 3.6 1.8 5 0 5.1 25
Jacob Petricka CHA 0.14 0.27 9.0 14.4 0.00 3.7 3.6 4 0 5.0 24
Chris Carpenter CHN 0.13 0.23 8.8 14.3 0.02 3.7 1.7 4 0 5.2 21
Bryan Woodall ARI 0.12 0.18 8.6 12.0 0.06 3.6 0.0 4 0 6.0 25
Andrew Carignan OAK 0.11 0.22 8.8 16.6 -0.01 3.7 4.4 4 0 4.1 14
Steve Johnson BAL 0.10 0.18 8.7 12.0 0.01 3.7 3.0 2 2 6.0 26
Forrest Snow SEA 0.07 0.12 8.4 11.4 0.03 3.6 1.5 3 1 6.1 20

Note
Right-hander Kevin Munson struck out exactly 30% of the batters he faced this season as a 22-year-old at High-A Visalia. Unforunately, he also walked 18.5% of them. (That, if you’re curious, looks like this in terms of nine-inning rate stats: 12.69 K/9 and 7.81 BB/9.) In any case, Munson’s AFL has been notable so far in that, through five innings, he has 10 strikeouts and zero walks. Munson is noted for having an excellent slider — some examples of which you can see in this video:

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