Going Deep 7/28: Using Statcast Data to Scrutinize Hot Hitters

July 28, 2016 | Going Deep

Batting Average on Balls in Play, Walk Rate, Swinging Strike rate. In the days of yore these were gold standard stats to look at when evaluating a hitters performance. Oh for the simpler times of 2014. At this point if you're unaware of the analytical impact of Statcast you're falling behind the curve. Exit Velocity has become the latest buzzword in baseball and we're at the nascent moment for its relevance to fantasy analysis. Eno Sarris and Andrew Perpetua have been incorporating Statcast into their work over at Fangraphs in exciting ways which you can read about here and here. It’s only a matter of time before the major projection systems like Steamer roll out improved models incorporating the latest batted ball data in their yearly forecasts. 

So how do we look at this stuff as fantasy players? How can we use this data to our advantage. If you're a subscriber at BaseballHQ maybe you saw Patrick Davitt's piece on this very same dilemma (can’t link. paywall.). Despite the seemingly "new-fangledness" of all this data there are some touchstones for us. Base hits dramatically increase on balls with an EV (Exit Velocity) greater than or equal to 95 MPH. But, as Davitt and Sarris have pointed out, that's not the entire piece of the pie here. 

Patience or Panic 7/28 - Upton, Bautista, McCutchen

July 28, 2016 | Patience or Panic

Ben Palmer here and after analyzing the waiver wire options in Monday's "Hit It or Quit It" articles, I'll be tackling the other side of the coin with "Patience or Panic" where I will take a look at some of the widely-owned players who are struggling and tell you whether you should be patient with them, or start panicking. Let's dive in. 

Justin Upton - .236/.290/.392, 11 HR, 45 R, 41 RBIs, 6 SB

If you had told me that, at some point this year, we’d be wondering if Melvin Upton Jr. was better than his brother, I would’ve laughed at you. Like a lot. I mean, just uproarious laughter. But here we are, Melvin has been playing really well, and Justin has been struggling hard, and a lot of Justin’s owners are panicking, and rightfully so.

I want to believe in Justin Upton, I really do, he’s had such success in the past, and he’s still only 28, but the stats just do not look good this year. He’s a career .269 hitter, yet he’s only batting .236, that’s not the Justin Upton we know. Well, the Justin Upton we know is no more, at least right now.

The Hold-Up 7/28: Ranking The Top 60 Relievers For Holds Every Thursday

July 28, 2016 | The Hold Up

It’s Thursday and that means Justin Perri is here ranking the best setup men in the league on The Hold Up. The following rankings are meant to give you some help on how to evaluate relief pitchers that do not finish games for their team. The beauty and craziness of a holds league is that a hold can be just as important as the save, but everyone knows who the closer is. With holds you can find an unowned and solid reliever who can really help your squad win a matchup.

Holds can be difficult to predict, so these rankings focus mostly on the raw potential seen in a relief pitcher to get a hold opportunity along with their ability to not leave you with a blown save or a loss based on what has been happening thus far this year. Some things to always consider are strikeout/groundball/flyball ratios, as you do not want to mess with the BABIP gods if you do not have to, but also your specific team needs based on your league.

Feel free to leave your questions and angry remarks in the comments section below. Let me know if you feel someone should be lower or higher on the list, I’ll be sure to take what you say into consideration. Give me a follow on twitter @Just_In_Relief for all things concerning bullpens and who knows what else fantasy baseball related. Now, let’s see what the rankings look like this week. 

Tier 1

1. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

2. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles) 

3. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

4. Fernando Rodney (Miami Marlins)

5. Addison Reed (New York Mets)

Luis Perdomo's Fastball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Wednesday's Games

July 28, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

Luis Perdomo’s Fastball – The rookie right-hander earned back-to-back wins in his last two starts. It’s no wonder he’s winning lately, since he’s throwing some serious stuff around like this Fastball that works its way in on Josh Donaldson(Thanks to @PitchMechanics and Redditors crimsontideftw24 and JanitorOfSanDiego for the tips!)

The Merit of Gerrit

July 28, 2016 | SP Roundup

I throw a lot of shade at Gerrit Cole as I call him the King of Really Good. I still stand by that after he tossed 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks against the Mariners yesterday. Yeah, I know that this isn't Really Good, it's Really Baller. And look, I want Cole to propel himself to a comfortable spot in the Top 15, maybe even Top 10. That would be fantastic. But I just don't buy that he'll be this productive in future starts and remember, he still hasn't had an outing about 7 Ks all season. That's in 15 starts! There's also his 3.8% HR/FB rate that is as sustainable as an economy based on endless growth, which makes you wonder if his 3.92 xFIP will come into play in the near future. But hey, this is a season of so many unappealing starters disappointing left and right and Cole is a guy that is holding steady despite not giving you ace performances errr day. I don't call him a King for nothing.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

On The Corner Podcast: Episode 5

July 27, 2016 | On The Corner Podcast

The latest episode of the Pitcher List Podcast "On The Corner" is live! Join Nick Pollack and Alex Fast for Episode #5 as they talk about everything inside the pitching world of Fantasy Baseball.

Thanks to the awesome Spencer Snyder for the fantastic theme music!

Here are the timestamps for Episode 5:

Buy & Sell 7/27: Identifying Which Trending Hitters You Want To Own

July 27, 2016 | Buy/Sell

Every Wednesday, Dapinder joins Pitcher List to outline the best position player buys and sells of the week.  He'll outline the hitters to trust in your lineups and who to shop while their price is high. Make sure to stay ahead of the curve and use the market to your advantage.

BUY 

David Dahl (OF, Colorado Rockies) – Dahl has been promoted to the Rockies. He comes with the advantage of playing in Coors Field! Dahl is a power and speed threat 24 HR and 39 steals over his past two seasons in AA and AAA. He should get some playing time in the near future with Parra out. If the Rockies do trade an outfielder, Dahl will benefit from playing time the most.

Chris Archer's Slider + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Tuesday's Games

July 27, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

Chris Archer’s Slider – The Rays starter took another yet loss Tuesday, but the truth is that much of his record can be attributed to a lack of run support. He doesn’t need any help, however, when it comes to racking up K’s, like he did here against Andrew Toles with a 90-mph hard slider with ridiculous movement.

On The Skaggs

July 27, 2016 | SP Roundup

After striking out 26 batters in two AAA starts, it was hard not to get excited for Tyler Skaggsreturn to the majors yesterday and he gave owners an excellent 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks line. Clearly I have to be all aboard this train after this kind of performance, right? Ehhhh not so much. Well, obviously I'm owning him in all 12 teamers and maybe some deep 10 teamers, but I wasn't super impressed during this 2016 debut of Skaggs. His Fastball is coming in around 91/92 mph (hit around 95 mph in the earlier innings due to adrenaline before slipping near 90 mph in the later innings) and it relied on excellent command down in the zone to get hitters out. The Changeup needs a good amount of work, though his deuce looks ready to rack up a handful of strikeouts here and there. The way I see it, Skaggs doesn't have enough movement or zip on his heater to avoid clunkers if his command isn't impeccable like it was yesterday, while he doesn't have a proper go-to secondary pitch to earn him strikes when hitters are locked in on his heater. That Changeup just isn't good enough yet. It gives me a bit of worry, and while I'm still going after him, I've already reserved a lovely seat on the bench for him in his next start against Boston.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Closing Time 7/26: Ranking The Top 45 Closers Every Tuesday

July 26, 2016 | Closing Time

Welcome to Closing Time! A weekly check in on everything saves related, Closing Time is where all the closers and speculative options are broken down into tiers based on skill, competition/opportunity/job security, and injury risk. Accompanied by who is most likely to assume the closer role in the event of a change in the hierarchy. It's a mixture of short and long term value with more focus placed on the rest of the season.

Share your questions and critiques in the comments, I’ll be sure to respond. Follow me on twitter @Just_In_Relief for occasional notes on bullpen happenings through a fantasy lens. Let’s get to it.

TIER 1

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers) - Joe Blanton

2. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets) - Addison Reed

3. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles) - Brad Brach

4. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees) - Dellin Betances

5. Wade Davis (Kansas City Royals) - Kelvin Herrera

6. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins) - Fernando Rodney

Drew Pomeranz's Curveball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Monday's Games

July 26, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

Drew Pomeranz’s Curveball – The Dirty Cheerleader looked much more comfortable in his second start for the Red Sox. His infamous Curveball was on point, inducing whiffs like this swing-and-miss from Ian Kinsler all day long.

GIF Breakdown: Analyzing Dylan Bundy in 12 HD GIFs

July 26, 2016 | GIF Breakdown

Since being drafted fourth overall back in 2011 by the Baltimore Orioles, right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy has had quite the rocky road to the majors. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013 at the age of 20 and has dealt with additional elbow and shoulder tightness during his recovery. Bundy totaled just 65 innings over the last two seasons combined while the organization made sure not to push him beyond a comfortable limit while he built up arm strength. Now at the age of 23, Bundy has been promoted back into the Orioles starting rotation in a season where he can contribute to a winning team and a possible division title. The young righty had the best start of his young career last week against the A.L. Central leading Cleveland Indians, so let’s break down Dylan Bundy’s July 22nd with 12 HD GIFs.

But before we do that, let’s take a quick look at his strikezone plot from the outing:

A Piece Of Jake

July 26, 2016 | SP Roundup

It's about time that we had a serious talk about Jake Arrieta who let owners down tonight with a 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. It's not like he's doing poorly this year - a 2.76 ERA with FIP/xFIP getting his back, a 9.54 K/9 and a 1.08 WHIP - but there are signs of concern here and there. The biggest is that he's not throwing his glorious Slutter nearly as much, favoring his Sinker a ton more than normal. The breaking pitch is getting fewer whiffs, coming in near two mph slower than last season, and not getting the same aggressive break that it used to. The numbers actually look similar to when he was going through "fatigue" last year during the playoffs, and there is a part of me that questions if last year's effort stretched him out too far. I wouldn't do anything rash because of it, but I wonder if he'll ever be that studly of pitcher ever again.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

The List 7/25: Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday

July 25, 2016 | The List

Every week, I will be releasing "The List" where I rank the current value of the Top 100 pitchers in fantasy baseball for the rest of the season. Use these rankings to help understand what to expect from pitchers for the rest of 2016, and as a tool to gauge trade value in your fantasy leagues.

Let's see how the SP landscape has changed since last week:

Hit It Or Quit It 7/25: Naquin, Hamilton, Gyorko

July 25, 2016 | Hit It Or Quit It

Welcome to Hit It Or Quit It, a weekly column where Ben Palmer takes a look at five of the most added players in fantasy baseball and tell you whether or not what they’re doing is likely to continue. In other words, should you buy (hit it) or sell (quit it)? Note: my rulings are generally for 10-team standard leagues.

Let’s dive in:

Tyler Naquin - .322/.383/.628, 12 HR, 32 R, 29 RBI, 3 SB

Holy crap has Tyler Naquin been destroying the ball. I mean really killing the ball, all you have to do is look at his ISO of .306 to see that, that’s some Barry Bonds-like power. And that’s exactly why I’m approaching Naquin with a lot of caution.

People have been picking up Naquin in droves, and it makes sense, considering he’s been hitting .329 with seven home runs over the last month (three of those home runs came in the last week). But there are a lot of red flags in his stats, most notably that .306 ISO and his .423 BABIP.

I don’t care who you are, the likelihood that you’re ending the year with an ISO above .300 is small at best. Last year, only two players did, and they were Bryce Harper (.319) and Chris Davis (.300), and Naquin is neither of those players. He’s also got a K-rate 29.6%, a HR/FB of 30.8%, and along with that incredibly elevated BABIP, it’s easy to see he’s been the benefit of some major luck.

THE LIST

Rank Change Player
1 Max Scherzer
2 Madison Bumgarner
3 Stephen Strasburg
4 Jose Fernandez
5 Jake Arrieta
6 Noah Syndergaard
7 Chris Sale
8 Jacob DeGrom
9 Carlos Carrasco
10 Johnny Cueto
11 Clayton Kershaw
12 Corey Kluber
13 Justin Verlander
14 Yu Darvish
15 Zack Greinke
16 Steven Matz
17 Gerrit Cole
18 Danny Salazar
19 David Price
20 Jon Lester
21 Drew Pomeranz
22 Rich Hill
23 Masahiro Tanaka
24 Kyle Hendricks
25 Aaron Nola
26 Carlos Martinez
27 Matt Shoemaker
28 Cole Hamels
29 Jose Quintana
30 Felix Hernandez
31 Danny Duffy
32 Adam Wainwright
33 Kenta Maeda
34 Lance McCullers
35 Michael Fulmer
36 John Lackey
37 Anthony DeSclafani
38 James Paxton
39 Steven Wright
40 Aaron Sanchez
41 Vincent Velasquez
42 Jerad Eickhoff
43 Rick Porcello
44 Chris Archer
45 Marco Estrada
46 Bud Norris
47 Jason Hammel
48 Kevin Gausman
49 Taijuan Walker
50 Dallas Keuchel
51 Jameson Taillon
52 Julio Teheran
53 Joe Ross
54 Tanner Roark
55 Blake Snell
56 Chris Tillman
57 Mike Leake
58 Michael Pineda
59 Jeff Samardzija
60 Scott Kazmir
61 Trevor Bauer
62 Junior Guerra
63 J.A. Happ
64 Brandon McCarthy
65 Josh Tomlin
66 Zach Davies
67 Marcus Stroman
68 Carlos Rodon
69 Jon Gray
70 Sonny Gray
71 Collin McHugh
72 Hisashi Iwakuma
73 Ian Kennedy
74 Drew Smyly
75 Mike Foltynewicz
76 Jake Odorizzi
77 Jose Berrios
78 Adam Conley
79 Tyler Skaggs
80 Michael Wacha
81 Zach Eflin
82 Sean Manaea
83 Dylan Bundy
84 Andrew Cashner
85 Eduardo Rodriguez
86 Zack Wheeler
87 Robbie Ray
88 Tyson Ross
89 Nathan Eovaldi
90 Jordan Zimmermann
91 Doug Fister
92 Ivan Nova
93 Bartolo Colon
94 Matt Moore
95 Gio Gonzalez
96 Jeremy Hellickson
97 Cody Reed
98 Yordano Ventura
99 Matt Boyd
100 Jimmy Nelson