DJ LeMahieu Is Going to Look Familiar

Late last week, free-agent infielder DJ LeMahieu signed for two years and $24 million. LeMahieu is going into his age-30 season, and not that long ago, I wrote about his offensive upside. Given where we are in the information era — and the player-development era — I find LeMahieu intriguing, and so I’m a fan of the terms. I think he can be a lot more valuable than this, although to his agent’s credit, he’s also a member of baseball’s veteran middle class, so it’s good to lock down a multi-year contract at all.

The one thing that’s somewhat surprising is that LeMahieu didn’t sign with, say, the Brewers. He signed with the Yankees. The Yankees already had a player at LeMahieu’s primary position, just as the Mets already had a player (two of them, in fact) at Jed Lowrie’s primary position. So, just like with Lowrie, LeMahieu is expected to move around the diamond. It makes it all the more difficult to fit Manny Machado with the Yankees. It also makes you wonder at least a little bit about Miguel Andujar’s future as the Yankees’ third baseman. In LeMahieu, the Yankees signed a talented player, but it raises new questions. It also re-raises old ones.

For the next few minutes, though, let’s forget all of that. Let’s forget about how the Yankees’ infield all works together. Let’s forget about Machado, and Andujar, and Troy Tulowitzki. Let’s just talk about DJ LeMahieu’s hitting. Does he remind you of anyone?

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Getting Mike Mussina to 75 Percent

Editor’s Note: As we approach the January 22 Hall of Fame announcement, we’ll be featuring a few pieces from Anthony Calamis and Adam Dore, members of Ryan Thibodaux’s excellent team that tracks public Hall of Fame ballot. This is the first such piece. Be sure to check out the ballot tracker, which is an indispensable tool for any Hall of Fame enthusiast.

In case you have somehow missed any of Jay Jaffe’s excellent coverage over the last month, December is the time of the year when Hall of Fame ballots get mailed out. More than 400 BBWAA members comprise the voting body tasked with electing players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

I’m part of a four-person ballot-tracking team led by Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) that finds every public ballot, records the percentage of votes for each candidate, and tracks which players have been added to or dropped from a voter’s ballot from one year to the next, assuming they were public in both years. Right now, there are 172 ballots in the Tracker.

This year in particular, a few intriguing trends have emerged as ballots have been made public. I chose to explore Mike Mussina’s candidacy and what needs to happen over the next nine days for him to share the stage next July with likely inductees such as Mariano Rivera.

Before diving into the particulars, here is a table showing the current results in the Tracker:

2019 BBWAA HOF Vote (172 Ballots Returned)
Candidate Votes Percentage
Mariano Rivera 172 100.0%
Roy Halladay 162 94.2%
Edgar Martinez 155 90.1%
Mike Mussina 140 81.4%
Curt Schilling 127 73.8%
Roger Clemens 126 73.3%
Barry Bonds 125 72.7%
Larry Walker 113 65.7%
Omar Vizquel 62 36.0%
Fred McGriff 61 35.5%
Manny Ramirez 45 26.2%
Scott Rolen 36 20.9%
Todd Helton 35 20.3%
Billy Wagner 26 15.1%
Sammy Sosa 23 13.4%
Gary Sheffield 23 13.4%
Jeff Kent 22 12.8%
Andruw Jones 14 8.1%
Andy Pettitte 12 7.0%
Michael Young 3 1.7%
Lance Berkman 2 1.2%
Roy Oswalt 2 1.2%
Miguel Tejada 2 1.2%
SOURCE: Ryan Thibodaux’s 2019 Baseball HOF Tracker

Three of the candidates have had their boxes checked on over 90% of known ballots. All the others are below the required 75% for election, leaving Mussina as the most interesting bubble candidate this year. In the 2018 voting, Mussina received votes on 268 of the possible 422 ballots cast, good for 63.5%, 11.5% (or 49 votes) shy of election; Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman all surpassed 75%.

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The Angels and Anaheim Made a Short-Term Deal

In October, we talked about the Angels opting out of their stadium lease with the city of Anaheim. At the time, the move required that the team vacate the venue at the close of the 2019 season. Given the rapidly approaching deadline and acrimony between the parties, I speculated then that the most likely outcome would be a short-term deal.

So where does that leave the Angels and Anaheim? Most observers think these two parties need each other, and I tend to agree. . . . The Angels need a baseball stadium, and Anaheim doesn’t want to lose its tenant, even if the team has been a pain in its butt. At the same time, however, we’re already seeing trial balloons floated about moves to Portland or Las Vegas, and neither side is moving with any urgency at this point (though that could and probably will change down the road). I think the safe bet is a short-term, five- or ten-year lease with another opt-out, enough for the two sides to have a brief cooling-off period.

As it turns out, the two sides did end up reaching a short-term agreement, but it was for a far shorter length of time than most observers, including myself, anticipated.

The Angels and the city of Anaheim are expected to agree to a one-year extension of the team’s lease at Angel Stadium, which would keep the team in Anaheim through the 2020 season.

The Anaheim City Council is expected to consider the extension at its meeting Tuesday. Harry Sidhu, the city’s new mayor, plans to introduce the proposal after meeting last week with Angels owner Arte Moreno.

So why the short-term pact? For one thing, both sides are reportedly planning to use the extension to give some breathing room to further negotiations. Alden Gonzalez wrote for ESPN that the team and city have already begun a dialogue.

New Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, sworn in last month, met with Angels owner Arte Moreno last week, and both sides decided that more time would be beneficial.

“We realized a one-year extension will give us adequate time to work collaboratively on a long-term relationship,” Moreno said in a statement.

“From that meeting, it is clear the team’s priority is to stay in Anaheim, if we can work out a deal that benefits our residents, the city and the team,” Sindhu said in his statement. “We need a plan to make that happen, and we need time to make that happen.”

On the surface, this seems entirely reasonable. A deadline at the end of 2019 would make it difficult for extension talks to be productive given the proverbial sword of Damocles hanging over the parties. Still optimism for a deal seems to revolve around the city’s newfound willingness to discuss either a new stadium, or significant renovations to the existing structure, a proposition the city earlier considered a non-starter.

While neither side has commented in recent months on specifics of what they hope a new lease might include, city spokesman Mike Lyster said, “We’re going to look at everything from rehabbing the stadium all the way to building a new stadium.”

But for the team, there’s a catch. While the city is now willing to discuss the concept of a new ballpark, the city is not at all willing to finance such a venture. Instead, the city is proposing an arrangement like the one the Anaheim Ducks tentatively made for their venue, the Honda Center, late last year.

The broad terms of the deal were approved unanimously by the Anaheim City Council at the Oct. 23 meeting and call for the city to sell three Honda Center parking lots, plus a lot across the street, at fair market value to Anaheim Arena Management (AAM), which could be developed into homes, office and commercial space. The vote gives city staff a framework to negotiate the final terms of the deal for later approval by the city council.

The Ducks, who have been based in Anaheim the past 25 years, would sign onto another 25-year commitment with Anaheim after their current agreement ends in June 2023. Anaheim Arena Management, which currently operates and maintains the Honda Center, would continue operating the facility until 2048.

Such a deal would be an elegant solution to the current impasse, changing what the Angels consider to be a “toxic” atmosphere for local businesses into a private-public partnership. At the same time, it’s far from a sure bet; for one thing, a deal like this, while addressing the team’s location concerns, wouldn’t provide the upgraded facility the team desires. And worse, the Ducks’ deal did cut into what the Angels wanted as part of their own mixed-use complex.

[Anaheim] Councilman Stephen Faessel, who otherwise called the proposal a “great deal,” questioned why the deal includes the sale of a parking lot across from the Honda Center by ARTIC without a formal bidding process where other developers could also bid for the property.

“ARTIC is not that far from Angel Stadium, and now we’re likely going to have to negotiate a deal with the Angels, how do we know the Angels won’t give us a better deal?” Faessel said.

City spokesman Mike Lyster later clarified the city is not considering selling the ARTIC lot, but may lease it to the Honda Center.

So despite how the deal has been framed – as a way for the two sides to buy time to reach a more long-lasting arrangement – this extension is no guarantee that an agreement will, in fact, be reached. And most interestingly, the one-year extension keeps open the possibility that the team could consider a jump outside of California – particularly given the recent development that Portland may be ready for a major league team as soon as 2022.


2019 ZiPS Projections – Texas Rangers

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for more than half a decade. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Texas Rangers.

Batters

Perhaps the biggest disappointment in last year’s projections (and in 2018, really) was the several steps taken backward by Willie Calhoun. Originally, it was believed he would only be in the minors temporarily to beat up minor league pitchers while some service time shenanigans resolved themselves. Problem was, Calhoun never really earned a callup, struggling to hit Triple-A pitchers and only besting an .800 OPS in a single month of the season, a July that was driven by a .364 batting average. The Rangers brought him up when there was obvious playing time for him, but hitting .222/.269/.333 in 108 plate appearances was hardly a strong push for a full-time job. Even ignoring the cameo role in the majors, Calhoun’s power was mostly gone in the minors, which is not good. To be a decent starting left fielder in the majors, you have to be a batting average/on-base percentage deity or be a legitimate all-world talent on defense. Calhoun is neither. I wouldn’t write him off yet, but I’m very worried.

I’m a little surprised that Texas either couldn’t or wouldn’t close a deal with another team for Shin-Soo Choo, a player whose presence required a losing Rangers team to carry a significant salary after Choo turned in a solid little year and had some trade value. Choo is quickly approaching age 40, and until Nomar Mazara actually turns his impressive raw power into actual counting numbers, Joey Gallo is the only really dependable Rangers hitter. Gallo is what he is, and will likely always have an abysmal batting average. He’s fortunate to not have been born 30 years earlier.

One projection that intrigues me is Christian Lopes’, who was a third-tier prospect for the Blue Jays a very long time ago with a fairly mature approach at the plate coming out of high school. It never really manifested itself in the stats, however, and the knock was that he didn’t have a standout tool otherwise. But he’s made great strides the last couple years and has gotten to the point where he may be a pretty interesting role player, with Texas using him at a lot of positions in the minors.

Pitchers

You can see the skinny rebuild in progress in the Rangers’ rotation. You have a number of OK-ish starters (excluding Yohander Mendez, who ZiPS hates with the fire of a thousand suns), probably none of whom will be part of the next good Rangers team. Drew Smyly, Edinson Volquez, and Shelby Miller are essentially reclamation projects, and at three years and $30 million, Lance Lynn may be the last of the quintet “out” of Texas (Mike Minor is there, too), but if the recovery in his peripherals in 2018 isn’t a fluke, Texas may get a real prospect for him.

ZiPS is a believer in Jose Leclerc at the front of the bullpen, and sees the rest of the group as a fairly boring but quite adequate relief corps, which is fine with the Rangers not seriously contending yet.

Bench and Prospects

One of the most interesting Rangers projections is that of Brock Burke, a former Rays third-rounder who the Rays brought around very slowly out of high school. 2018 was the year in which everything clicked, with Burke seeing a 30% bump in his strikeout rate while also being promoted, striking out almost 12 batters a game for Montgomery. ZiPS doesn’t give him a huge ceiling, but is surprisingly confident in Burke being a mid-rotation starter despite only him only having limited playing time in Double-A.

One pedantic note for 2019: for the WAR graphic, I’m using FanGraphs’ depth chart playing time, not the playing time ZiPS spits out, so there will be occasional differences in WAR totals.

Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Depth charts constructed by way of those listed here at site.

Batters – Counting Stats
Player B Age PO G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Joey Gallo L 25 LF 142 436 85 93 19 3 40 84 78 202 7 2
Adrian Beltre R 40 3B 101 369 40 98 18 1 12 55 30 76 1 0
Elvis Andrus R 30 SS 132 511 69 139 29 4 10 54 37 81 13 7
Rougned Odor L 25 2B 148 551 82 137 28 4 24 77 38 141 13 10
Shin-Soo Choo L 36 DH 123 464 71 116 21 1 17 55 68 129 6 2
Nomar Mazara L 24 RF 144 536 65 140 25 3 23 88 46 129 1 1
Christian Lopes R 26 2B 120 434 55 111 23 2 9 45 46 85 12 5
Patrick Wisdom R 27 3B 125 418 56 96 21 2 16 60 37 145 8 3
Nolan Fontana L 28 SS 92 299 40 62 15 2 6 29 50 99 6 3
Tommy Joseph R 27 1B 117 411 52 107 23 0 21 69 26 99 0 0
Willie Calhoun L 24 LF 145 545 71 146 31 2 22 74 37 81 3 1
Ronald Guzman L 24 1B 131 454 56 112 20 3 15 58 39 127 2 1
Danny Santana B 28 CF 103 324 43 79 18 4 10 40 15 89 12 6
Chase d’Arnaud R 32 2B 106 340 44 82 15 3 9 39 29 90 13 4
Delino DeShields R 26 CF 118 380 66 90 16 3 4 26 48 104 25 7
Andy Ibanez R 26 3B 122 466 53 116 22 2 11 46 32 82 4 5
Carlos Perez R 28 C 76 250 27 58 14 1 7 32 17 52 2 1
Jett Bandy R 29 C 82 263 30 58 14 0 9 32 14 61 2 0
Isiah Kiner-Falefa R 24 C 122 441 50 111 20 2 4 35 34 81 9 6
Anderson Tejeda L 21 SS 125 476 59 109 19 4 15 54 36 171 8 6
Jack Reinheimer R 26 SS 114 417 49 98 16 2 5 34 35 104 14 6
Hunter Cole R 26 RF 107 404 47 96 19 3 13 48 31 128 2 3
Ryan Rua R 29 LF 89 247 32 54 9 1 9 26 17 88 6 1
Leody Taveras B 20 CF 138 551 61 132 18 6 8 43 41 121 15 12
Jeff Mathis R 36 C 56 166 13 32 7 1 2 15 14 58 0 0
Tony Sanchez R 31 C 67 233 27 54 11 1 5 25 20 64 1 1
Josh Morgan R 23 C 95 363 39 87 16 2 4 29 23 64 2 1
Jose Trevino R 26 C 89 347 35 76 13 1 6 31 14 58 1 2
Charles Leblanc R 23 2B 126 464 52 110 21 3 9 45 38 121 5 3
Carlos Tocci R 23 CF 130 382 40 98 14 6 1 28 23 93 4 7
Nick Noonan L 30 SS 89 304 30 69 14 1 4 28 16 80 2 2
Jose Cardona R 25 CF 111 425 47 101 15 1 8 35 26 82 11 9
Cliff Pennington B 35 SS 91 234 24 48 8 1 2 16 25 67 2 1
Scott Heineman R 26 RF 118 479 59 118 22 3 11 46 34 128 12 8
Michael De Leon R 22 SS 140 515 46 124 21 1 4 37 18 80 2 2
Destin Hood R 29 RF 108 384 44 86 18 2 14 48 24 130 5 3
Yonny Hernandez B 21 SS 116 390 46 86 13 2 2 26 48 95 31 16
Eliezer Alvarez B 24 LF 108 408 50 92 20 4 9 41 34 141 20 5
Eli White R 25 2B 122 484 55 113 24 4 6 40 40 146 10 6
Yanio Perez R 23 1B 96 365 39 84 12 1 8 32 25 105 2 1
Michael O’Neill R 27 CF 122 439 46 92 19 2 10 39 29 157 18 6
Preston Beck L 28 1B 109 404 43 92 17 3 7 37 29 104 2 3
Correlle Prime R 25 1B 86 292 27 56 11 1 6 23 17 129 3 4

Batters – Rate Stats
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Joey Gallo .213 .343 .546 127 .333 .273 6.5 -7 2.2 Adam Dunn
Adrian Beltre .266 .324 .417 92 .152 .306 5.0 6 1.5 Mike Lowell
Elvis Andrus .272 .322 .403 88 .131 .307 4.8 -2 1.2 Marco Scutaro
Rougned Odor .249 .307 .445 93 .196 .293 4.8 -2 1.2 Steve Buechele
Shin-Soo Choo .250 .355 .409 100 .159 .311 5.3 0 1.1 Bill White
Nomar Mazara .261 .323 .448 99 .187 .305 5.3 -1 1.0 Adam Lind
Christian Lopes .256 .330 .380 86 .124 .300 4.6 -1 0.8 Tim Dulin
Patrick Wisdom .230 .297 .404 81 .175 .311 4.3 3 0.8 Jim Chamblee
Nolan Fontana .207 .322 .331 72 .124 .289 3.6 1 0.5 Lauro Felix
Tommy Joseph .260 .309 .470 100 .209 .296 5.3 -3 0.4 Nate Gold
Willie Calhoun .268 .317 .453 99 .185 .281 5.3 -7 0.4 Mike Greenwell
Ronald Guzman .247 .314 .403 86 .156 .311 4.5 4 0.4 Juan Tejeda
Danny Santana .244 .279 .417 79 .173 .307 4.1 1 0.3 Randy Kutcher
Chase d’Arnaud .241 .306 .382 79 .141 .303 4.3 -2 0.2 Royce Clayton
Delino DeShields .237 .325 .326 72 .089 .316 4.1 -1 0.2 Deron McCue
Andy Ibanez .249 .300 .376 75 .127 .282 3.9 1 0.2 Pete Rose Jr.
Carlos Perez .232 .281 .380 71 .148 .267 3.8 0 0.2 Jim Horner
Jett Bandy .221 .283 .376 71 .156 .254 3.8 -1 0.1 Scott Servais
Isiah Kiner-Falefa .252 .315 .333 71 .082 .301 3.7 -4 0.0 Rafael Pujols
Anderson Tejeda .229 .284 .380 72 .151 .324 3.7 -2 0.0 Bert Pena
Jack Reinheimer .235 .296 .319 62 .084 .302 3.4 2 -0.1 Drew Meyer
Hunter Cole .238 .293 .396 78 .158 .316 4.0 3 -0.1 Mike Diaz
Ryan Rua .219 .276 .372 68 .154 .300 3.7 3 -0.1 Cory Aldridge
Leody Taveras .240 .292 .338 64 .098 .294 3.3 6 -0.2 Julio Peguero
Jeff Mathis .193 .258 .283 42 .090 .283 2.4 4 -0.2 Frank Charles
Tony Sanchez .232 .298 .352 70 .120 .299 3.6 -4 -0.3 Mike DiFelice
Josh Morgan .240 .291 .328 62 .088 .281 3.4 -2 -0.3 Chad Strickland
Jose Trevino .219 .250 .314 47 .095 .247 2.6 6 -0.4 Rogelio Arias
Charles Leblanc .237 .295 .353 69 .116 .302 3.7 -2 -0.4 Brad Harman
Carlos Tocci .257 .306 .332 68 .076 .337 3.4 0 -0.4 Darren Lewis
Nick Noonan .227 .266 .319 53 .092 .295 2.9 1 -0.6 Kevin Baez
Jose Cardona .238 .285 .334 62 .096 .278 3.2 1 -0.6 Joey Aragon
Cliff Pennington .205 .281 .274 47 .068 .279 2.6 0 -0.6 Rabbit Warstler
Scott Heineman .246 .305 .374 77 .127 .315 4.0 -2 -0.6 Mike Berger
Michael De Leon .241 .268 .309 51 .068 .278 2.9 6 -0.7 Mario Diaz
Destin Hood .224 .271 .391 70 .167 .300 3.6 0 -0.7 Scott Wade
Yonny Hernandez .221 .312 .279 57 .059 .287 3.0 -4 -0.8 Nick Punto
Eliezer Alvarez .225 .290 .360 69 .135 .322 3.9 -3 -0.8 Thomas Howard
Eli White .233 .298 .337 66 .103 .322 3.5 -5 -0.9 Caonabo Cosme
Yanio Perez .230 .286 .334 62 .104 .302 3.4 0 -1.2 Jason Restko
Michael O’Neill .210 .266 .330 55 .121 .301 3.1 -7 -1.6 Jamie Sykes
Preston Beck .228 .283 .337 62 .109 .290 3.2 -3 -1.7 Greg Creek
Correlle Prime .192 .240 .298 40 .106 .318 2.2 2 -1.7 Eli Tintor

Pitchers – Counting Stats
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Lance Lynn R 32 10 9 4.50 28 27 146.0 154 73 19 65 126
Mike Minor L 31 9 8 4.49 24 24 132.3 133 66 20 37 108
Jose Leclerc R 25 4 2 3.13 61 0 63.3 45 22 3 39 85
Brock Burke L 22 8 7 4.77 25 23 128.3 143 68 16 54 99
Martin Perez L 28 8 7 4.76 26 22 128.7 146 68 14 46 77
Drew Smyly L 30 6 5 4.73 20 20 99.0 105 52 19 32 97
Jesse Chavez R 35 4 2 3.99 57 0 76.7 76 34 11 20 71
Brett Martin L 24 6 6 4.92 26 15 89.7 99 49 10 39 66
Yovani Gallardo R 33 8 8 5.22 26 24 122.3 139 71 16 54 77
Adrian Sampson R 27 7 7 5.12 32 21 128.3 155 73 21 26 74
Shelby Miller R 28 6 6 5.08 17 16 83.3 92 47 13 31 70
Chris Martin R 33 3 2 3.74 44 0 43.3 46 18 4 11 35
Tony Barnette R 35 2 1 3.59 38 0 42.7 41 17 3 13 39
Phillips Valdez R 27 6 6 5.08 29 18 111.7 129 63 14 47 73
Matt Bush R 33 3 2 3.83 44 0 44.7 42 19 5 18 43
Doug Fister R 35 6 6 5.00 17 15 86.3 98 48 13 29 56
Clayton Blackburn R 26 5 5 5.03 18 16 87.7 103 49 13 26 58
Kyle Bird L 26 3 3 4.72 45 4 68.7 72 36 8 35 57
Jeffrey Springs L 26 5 5 4.98 44 6 86.7 87 48 15 42 92
Deolis Guerra R 30 3 2 4.31 42 2 54.3 55 26 8 16 50
Jeanmar Gomez R 31 4 3 4.32 54 0 58.3 64 28 6 20 42
Ariel Jurado R 23 8 10 5.57 28 25 145.3 183 90 23 38 65
Edinson Volquez R 35 4 4 5.14 12 12 63.0 70 36 8 32 44
Luke Farrell R 28 6 6 5.34 29 16 91.0 99 54 16 46 81
Nick Gardewine R 25 2 2 4.08 30 0 35.3 34 16 3 15 33
Taylor Hearn L 24 5 6 5.37 23 23 107.3 113 64 18 57 98
Drew Hutchison R 28 6 7 5.52 26 19 109.3 124 67 19 47 85
Joe Palumbo L 24 3 3 5.14 12 11 49.0 54 28 8 20 36
Jonathan Hernandez R 22 7 8 5.57 22 22 103.3 113 64 15 62 83
Michael Tonkin R 29 2 2 4.62 43 0 50.7 52 26 8 20 52
Ricardo Rodriguez R 26 3 3 4.87 45 2 57.3 62 31 8 20 46
Ronald Herrera R 24 5 6 5.42 17 17 91.3 110 55 13 36 46
Connor Sadzeck R 27 3 3 4.74 57 0 49.3 48 26 5 31 47
Tim Dillard R 35 3 3 4.78 25 2 43.3 47 23 5 21 29
Jordan Romano R 26 4 6 5.38 14 14 68.0 71 41 11 32 52
Wei-Chieh Huang R 25 4 5 5.14 38 2 70.0 71 40 11 38 68
Eddie Butler R 28 5 6 5.49 30 14 95.0 114 58 14 38 52
Miguel Del Pozo L 26 3 3 4.97 34 0 41.7 45 23 4 22 32
C.D. Pelham L 24 2 2 5.17 54 0 55.7 57 32 5 39 45
Chris Rowley R 28 7 9 5.85 26 20 120.0 143 78 22 50 72
Wes Benjamin L 25 5 7 6.00 20 19 87.0 106 58 18 34 58
Richelson Pena R 25 6 8 5.96 23 18 108.7 135 72 24 30 65
Jack Leathersich L 28 1 2 5.34 38 0 32.0 28 19 3 31 37
Adam Parks R 26 3 3 5.48 34 0 46.0 51 28 9 19 39
Zac Curtis L 26 3 3 5.28 56 0 59.7 59 35 9 40 60
Tim Lincecum R 35 1 2 5.55 24 0 24.3 27 15 4 15 19
Adam Loewen L 35 3 3 5.40 42 0 45.0 41 27 5 40 47
Kevin Jepsen R 34 2 2 5.81 36 0 31.0 33 20 6 16 23
Chris Tillman R 31 6 8 6.12 22 21 100.0 118 68 17 50 59
Brandon Mann L 35 3 4 5.80 36 3 54.3 59 35 9 32 41
Austin Bibens-Dirkx R 34 5 6 6.16 25 16 99.3 120 68 23 34 69
Ariel Hernandez R 27 3 4 5.74 47 0 53.3 51 34 5 56 50
Rafael Montero R 28 5 7 6.04 26 17 98.3 117 66 18 55 79
Locke St. John L 26 4 5 5.93 37 0 54.7 60 36 12 28 49
Collin Wiles R 25 6 8 6.31 21 20 107.0 135 75 26 28 65
Yohander Mendez L 24 6 9 6.63 30 26 130.3 158 96 33 55 92
Yoel Espinal R 26 3 5 7.29 42 2 54.3 59 44 12 55 52

Pitchers – Rate Stats
Player TBF K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA+ ERA- FIP WAR No. 1 Comp
Lance Lynn 652 7.77 4.01 1.17 .310 100 100 4.57 1.8 Bill Singer
Mike Minor 561 7.35 2.52 1.36 .288 100 100 4.41 1.7 Jarrod Washburn
Jose Leclerc 273 12.08 5.54 0.43 .294 148 67 3.07 1.6 Jose Valverde
Brock Burke 580 6.94 3.79 1.12 .315 97 103 4.68 1.5 Jake Chapman
Martin Perez 570 5.39 3.22 0.98 .307 98 103 4.51 1.5 Jim O’Toole
Drew Smyly 429 8.82 2.91 1.73 .308 98 102 4.72 1.2 Cliff Lee
Jesse Chavez 322 8.33 2.35 1.29 .297 116 86 3.98 1.0 Terry Leach
Brett Martin 405 6.62 3.91 1.00 .312 94 106 4.60 0.9 Josh Shortslef
Yovani Gallardo 552 5.66 3.97 1.18 .305 89 113 4.96 0.9 Spec Shea
Adrian Sampson 562 5.19 1.82 1.47 .309 88 114 4.90 0.8 John Doherty
Shelby Miller 369 7.56 3.35 1.40 .312 91 109 4.69 0.7 Jay Tibbs
Chris Martin 186 7.27 2.28 0.83 .313 124 81 3.63 0.7 Bobby Tiefenauer
Tony Barnette 181 8.23 2.74 0.63 .306 129 77 3.29 0.7 Barney Schultz
Phillips Valdez 509 5.88 3.79 1.13 .313 89 113 4.92 0.7 Bill Swift
Matt Bush 193 8.66 3.63 1.01 .296 121 83 4.02 0.7 Jim Hughes
Doug Fister 384 5.84 3.02 1.36 .302 90 111 4.99 0.6 Freddie Fitzsimmons
Clayton Blackburn 389 5.95 2.67 1.33 .313 89 112 4.78 0.6 Lary Sorensen
Kyle Bird 312 7.47 4.59 1.05 .308 98 102 4.71 0.6 Pete Cappadona
Jeffrey Springs 388 9.55 4.36 1.56 .308 93 107 4.90 0.5 J.C. Romero
Deolis Guerra 232 8.28 2.65 1.33 .301 104 96 4.22 0.5 Jay Tessmer
Jeanmar Gomez 256 6.48 3.09 0.93 .312 104 96 4.18 0.5 Frank Linzy
Ariel Jurado 650 4.03 2.35 1.42 .309 83 120 5.22 0.5 Bill King
Edinson Volquez 288 6.29 4.57 1.14 .307 90 111 5.02 0.5 Tommy Byrne
Luke Farrell 416 8.01 4.55 1.58 .310 87 115 5.34 0.5 Mike Buddie
Nick Gardewine 155 8.41 3.82 0.76 .304 114 88 3.83 0.4 Mike Hansen
Taylor Hearn 490 8.22 4.78 1.51 .305 84 119 5.26 0.4 Phil Dumatrait
Drew Hutchison 498 7.00 3.87 1.56 .309 84 119 5.34 0.4 Kevin Hodges
Joe Palumbo 220 6.61 3.67 1.47 .301 90 111 5.21 0.4 Kason Gabbard
Jonathan Hernandez 483 7.23 5.40 1.31 .309 83 120 5.40 0.4 Ben Hendrickson
Michael Tonkin 223 9.24 3.55 1.42 .312 100 100 4.45 0.3 Mark Small
Ricardo Rodriguez 253 7.22 3.14 1.26 .307 95 105 4.56 0.3 Robert Tenenini
Ronald Herrera 417 4.53 3.55 1.28 .306 83 121 5.34 0.3 Joe Coleman
Connor Sadzeck 227 8.57 5.66 0.91 .305 98 102 4.63 0.3 Joe Hudson
Tim Dillard 197 6.02 4.36 1.04 .300 94 106 4.90 0.3 Hal White
Jordan Romano 309 6.88 4.24 1.46 .290 82 122 5.44 0.2 Ken Pumphrey
Wei-Chieh Huang 318 8.74 4.89 1.41 .305 90 111 5.05 0.2 Marc Pisciotta
Eddie Butler 433 4.93 3.60 1.33 .308 82 122 5.30 0.1 Marino Pieretti
Miguel Del Pozo 192 6.91 4.75 0.86 .313 90 111 4.66 0.1 Brian Adams
C.D. Pelham 263 7.28 6.31 0.81 .306 90 112 5.02 0.1 Mike Venafro
Chris Rowley 550 5.40 3.75 1.65 .303 79 126 5.76 0.1 Dana Kiecker
Wes Benjamin 399 6.00 3.52 1.86 .310 77 129 5.85 -0.1 Jason Cromer
Richelson Pena 488 5.38 2.48 1.99 .306 78 129 5.82 -0.1 Ryan Cox
Jack Leathersich 155 10.41 8.72 0.84 .305 84 119 5.15 -0.1 Mike Kinnunen
Adam Parks 208 7.63 3.72 1.76 .304 85 118 5.43 -0.1 Brian Wolfe
Zac Curtis 279 9.05 6.03 1.36 .303 85 117 5.36 -0.1 Scott Wiggins
Tim Lincecum 114 7.03 5.55 1.48 .307 81 123 5.70 -0.1 Jerry Johnson
Adam Loewen 216 9.40 8.00 1.00 .298 83 120 5.37 -0.1 Marshall Bridges
Kevin Jepsen 140 6.68 4.65 1.74 .284 80 125 5.73 -0.2 Ray Moore
Chris Tillman 464 5.31 4.50 1.53 .302 76 132 5.80 -0.2 Dick Fowler
Brandon Mann 254 6.79 5.30 1.49 .298 78 129 5.78 -0.3 Johnny Klippstein
Austin Bibens-Dirkx 450 6.25 3.08 2.08 .305 75 133 5.98 -0.3 Jared Fernandez
Ariel Hernandez 266 8.44 9.45 0.84 .303 78 128 5.81 -0.3 Hal Reniff
Rafael Montero 464 7.23 5.03 1.65 .321 74 134 5.72 -0.3 Ben Ford
Locke St. John 251 8.07 4.61 1.98 .302 78 128 5.91 -0.4 Chad Miles
Collin Wiles 481 5.47 2.36 2.19 .306 74 136 6.05 -0.4 John Gardner
Yohander Mendez 601 6.35 3.80 2.28 .302 70 143 6.46 -1.0 Doug Lindsey
Yoel Espinal 277 8.61 9.11 1.99 .305 64 157 7.36 -1.1 Earl Sanders

Disclaimer: ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors — many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2019. ZiPS is projecting equivalent production — a .240 ZiPS projection may end up being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example. Whether or not a player will play is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams, unless I have made a mistake. This is very possible, as a lot of minor-league signings go generally unreported in the offseason.

ZiPS’ projections are based on the American League having a 4.29 ERA and the National League having a 4.15 ERA.

Players who are expected to be out due to injury are still projected. More information is always better than less information, and a computer isn’t the tool that should project the injury status of, for example, a pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery.

Both hitters and pitchers are ranked by projected zWAR — which is to say, WAR values as calculated by me, Dan Szymborski, whose surname is spelled with a z. WAR values might differ slightly from those which appear in full release of ZiPS. Finally, I will advise anyone against — and might karate chop anyone guilty of — merely adding up WAR totals on a depth chart to produce projected team WAR.


Job Posting: Sports Info Solutions Video Internships

Please note this posting contains two positions.

Company Background:

Former Sports Info Solutions interns have risen rapidly through major league front offices after getting their start watching two to three games per day at SIS. In the words of one former intern and current Vice President of Baseball Operations, “My summer at [BIS] was the best baseball experience of my life.” Major league teams frequently come to us for recommendations when they need to fill a position within their organization, and SIS’ top interns each year routinely land team internships and/or full-time jobs.

SIS takes pride in making their internships great development opportunities for those looking to get their start in baseball. In addition to gaining invaluable experience watching thousands of players across different levels, they offer introductory classes that cover writing scouting reports and using the database management language, SQL. We also provide insight and advice from previous SIS interns who have branched out into a variety of areas in the sports industry.

Position: 2019 Minor League Video Editing Internship

Location: Coplay, PA

Description:
Sports Info Solutions is looking for highly motivated individuals with a desire to work in the baseball industry. In a new position for the 2019 season, SIS is looking for Minor League Video Editors, who will watch and clip video from Minor League games while validating the accuracy of pitch by pitch information. The end result of each Video Editor’s work will allow professional teams and other SIS clients to conduct advanced player and team analysis, specifically relating to advanced scouting and player development. Video Editors will have the opportunity to watch thousands of players across multiple levels of Minor League baseball, while also learning the ins and outs of the baseball statistics industry.

Responsibilities:

  • During overnight shifts, edit video from minor league games, properly marking in and out points for each pitch, ensuring all meaningful action is captured
  • Validate the accuracy of minor league pitch-by-pitch data
  • Assist with the production of the 2020 Bill James Handbook
  • Provide administrative support to the full-time staff

Time Frame:

  • The start date for this position is March 11th, 2019. This position will run through the end of the minor league season, with the last day of employment being Monday, September 2nd, 2019 (Labor Day).
  • This position will require relocation to Coplay, Pennsylvania; working remotely is not an option at this time.

Compensation:
A starting hourly rate of $8.00 and/or college course credit will be offered.

To Apply:
Click here to apply for the 2019 Minor League Video Editing Internship.

Position: 2019 Baseball Video Scouting Internship

Location: Coplay, PA

Description:
Sports Info Solutions is looking for highly motivated individuals with a desire to work in the baseball industry. Video Scouts will have a chance to make an immediate impression on the company. Each Video Scout will be collecting data that is directly used by SIS clients (including major league teams) for advance scouting and evaluation purposes. Not only will the Video Scouts become more familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of hundreds of amateur and professional players, but they will also learn the ins and outs of the baseball statistics industry.

Responsibilities:

  • Score and pitch chart MLB, MiLB and amateur games using specialized computer software
  • Check the accuracy and validity of data
  • Prepare and analyze statistical data for delivery to customers
  • Assist with the production of the 2020 Bill James Handbook
  • Provide administrative support to the full-time staff

Time Frame:
SIS offers two unique start dates for this position. The first begins February 4th, 2019. It will last for a period of four to five months into early June, with the possibility of extending further based on company workload and the Video Scout’s performance. The second begins on March 6th, 2019. This will last five to six months into early September, again with a possibility of extending longer.

Compensation:

  • A starting hourly rate of $7.75 and/or college course credit will be offered.
  • Each Video Scout will also be eligible for regular raises based on performance.
  • There will also be opportunities to sign up to work overtime to earn extra income (opportunities will depend on work levels throughout the year).

To Apply:
Click here to apply for the 2019 Baseball Video Scout position.

The content in this posting was created and provided solely by Sports Info Solutions.


Job Posting: Tampa Bay Research and Development Intern

Position: Research and Development Intern

Location: St. Petersburg, FL

Description:
The Tampa Bay Rays are in search of their next Research and Development Intern. Their R&D group helps shape their Baseball Operations decision-making processes through the analysis and interpretation of data. They are seeking those with a passion for baseball and a desire to contribute through mathematics, data analysis and computation. Their next intern will be an intellectual contributor who can work both individually and collaboratively, come up with interesting research questions to explore, find ways to answer those questions with the data at their disposal, communicate the results of their research, and work to apply their research outcomes to improve how the Rays organization operates. The Rays want to work with people who care about being a good teammate, want to make a positive impact on their organization, have an innovative spirit, and will explore new ways to make the Rays better. Does this describe you?

Responsibilities:

  • Develop strong skills in statistical modeling and quantitative analysis of a variety of data sources, for the purpose of player evaluation, player development and strategic decision-making
  • Learn methods for communicating complex research findings to a variety of Baseball Operations audiences
  • Design research inquiries with the potential to yield immediately actionable findings within the Rays organization
  • Work collaboratively with and assist other members of the department with your areas of expertise
  • Collect in-game data to support operational needs of the department
  • Ad hoc research and analysis in support of general Baseball Operations tasks

Qualifications:

  • A solid foundation in mathematics, physics, statistics, computer science, engineering and/or related fields
  • Advanced computational skills
  • Experience with R, Python, and/or Stan preferred
  • Experience solving complex problems
  • Creativity to discover new avenues of research

To Apply:
To apply, please visit this site and complete the online application.

This position is paid.

The content in this posting was created and provided solely by the Tampa Bay Rays.


Sunday Notes: Can the Astros’ Secret Sauce Spice Up Orioles’ Pitching?

Pitchers in the Astros organization were K-happy this past season. Thanks to a bevy of power arms and analytics-based attack plans, each of Houston’s full-season minor league affiliates led its respective league in strikeouts. So did their short-season and, most notably, their big-league club.

Given that he’d spent the last six seasons as a high-ranking member of Houston’s front office, I asked Mike Elias if that’s something that could maybe be replicated in Baltimore.

“We’re very much hoping to replicate even a semblance of that success here,” answered the Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager. “The fact that we have (Assistant GM, Analytics) Sig Mejdal here, and Chris Holt, who was our assistant pitching coordinator in Houston, makes me feel really good about our chances of doing so. There is a little bit of a secret sauce behind that. I’m not going to explain it fully, but we had a great program there. We took a lot of time developing it, and we want to get it in place here as well.”

Hoping to glean at least a little insight into the secret sauce’s ingredients, I suggested that both draft and player development strategies are involved in the process. Read the rest of this entry »


Russell Martin Fetches Two Fringe Prospects

In a trade that sent Russell Martin back to Los Angeles, the Blue Jays acquired two interesting, but drastically different, prospects in teenage second baseman Ronny Brito and Double-A righty Andrew Sopko.

Sopko is the more likely of the two to wear a major league uniform, as his skills are constantly desired among teams seeking to build starting pitching depth at Double and Triple-A in the event of big league injuries. He’s an efficient strike-thrower with spot starter’s stuff; a fastball that resides in the 88-92 range, an average changeup that flashes above, and a slurvy breaking ball with enough depth that it will be an issue for hitters who struggle to square up break.

Pitchers with this kind of stuff are typically found at the very back of the rotation or waiting to pick up a start due to injury. The frequency with which pitchers get hurt makes teams’ 6th-8th starters very important, as they may have to make meaningful starts at some point during the year. Sopko projects to be a very competent version of this.

Brito is more boom or bust. After dealing with injury and struggling badly throughout his first full pro season, Brito had a monster year in the offense-friendly Pioneer League, slashing .288/.352/.489 with 11 homers in 53 games at age 19.

While the dizzying elevations of the Pioneer League drastically inflate offensive performance, Brito does have legitimate, above-average raw power, and he’s capable of hitting balls out to all fields, even as a teenager, something not typical of middle infield prospects.

What eyeball scouts are skeptical of, though, is Brito’s bat. He’s free-swinging and prone to the strike out. His swing has gone through several iterations — a leg kick was implemented and then uninstalled for a while last fall, for one — and all of this mechanical variability makes it harder to evaluate Brito as a hitter. But a lack of plate discipline makes Brito’s contact profile high risk, even if there’s natural feel for contact here once his swing gets dialed in.

He has a chance to stay at second base, but he hasn’t really improved there since signing, and some scouts think his defense has actively gone backwards as his frame has thickened. His body is also pretty much maxed out, so he’s not likely to grow into much more power as he ages, though he already has enough to profile at any infield spot provided he becomes a competent defender and takes better at-bats. If that stuff comes, Brito will be an everyday player, but scout-to-scout optimism for improvement is highly variable.


Effectively Wild Episode 1321: You Are the Boss of Me

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Willians Astudillo being plunked in reprisal for his home-run pimp, the surprisingly small contract of Yasmani Grandal and the state of the Brewers and the NL Central, Jed Lowrie and the Mets’ positional logjam, DJ LeMahieu joining the Yankees and the ramifications for Manny Machado, the latest in teams trying to lure Machado by recruiting Machado mentors, the Dodgers signing Russell Martin, the latest on A’s first-rounder Kyler Murray, and a real-life analogue to a listener hypothetical about running the bases clockwise. Then (26:47) they bring on FanGraphs founder and overlord David Appelman to discuss his history at AOL and the site’s origin story, how he could have ended up building a database for a team, his philosophy of acquiring and providing data, gambling and baseball, balancing the site’s stats and writing, the secret to making a stats site work well, losing writers to teams, whether he wants the site to be acquired, the state of public baseball analysis, what’s on the horizon for FanGraphs, the future of sports media, and more.

Audio intro: Bob Dylan, "Lord Protect My Child"
Audio interstitial: Arkells, "Oh! The Boss is Coming"
Audio outro: Paul Simon, "When Numbers Get Serious"

Link to Astudillo buzzing and beaning
Link to weird Willians hit
Link to Jeff’s Grandal post
Link to Jeff’s Nelson post
Link to Murray interview episode

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The Dodgers Have a New Old Catcher

Because the Dodgers have two of the best young catching prospects in baseball, we knew they didn’t necessarily need a long-term solution behind the plate. But because the Dodgers lost Yasmani Grandal to free agency — and, ultimately, the Brewers — we knew they needed at least short-term help, to pair with Austin Barnes. One name that was frequently connected to Los Angeles was Francisco Cervelli, who the Pirates have considered moving. The Dodgers have gone in another direction, bringing back a familiar face, albeit a face that’s displaying more wrinkles.

Dodgers get:

Blue Jays get:

Martin was available. Martin was obviously available. He’s almost 36 years old, and the Blue Jays like Danny Jansen. They also have Luke Maile, Reese McGuire, and, if he still deserves to be included, Max Pentecost. Martin was out of room to play in Toronto, so the team looked to shed some of his $20-million final-year salary. I don’t think that much of the salary is being shed here at all, but then, any savings count. The Jays are out from underneath at least a little bit of money. And the Dodgers have their veteran stopgap.

Read the rest of this entry »