Thursday, September 10, 2009

NL Outfielders, The Indians Re-Building and Lots More

posted by Jon Williams
I'm going to be posting more frequently from now until the end of the season. The posts may be short and heavy on links but they should be of interest for fantasy leaguers in all types of situations.

Will Outfielders Be Scarce in NL-Only Leagues in 2010?
A reader recently commented that the NL outfielder is too deep to select an outfielder like Matt Kemp with the number 1 pick. He went on to say that he would prefer to take Albert Pujols or Hanley Ramirez with his first pick, then take an OFer like Matt Holliday with his 2nd pick. I am not so sure I agree. I think the NL outfield is more scarce than people think.

The Indians' Re-Building Project
Without breaking any new ground, the Indians have employed all of the available paths in their attempts to add talent back into the organization, enjoying great success in trading their veterans for prospects (netting the likes of Sizemore, Cabrera, Choo, Hafner, LaPorta, Lee, Valbuena, Shoppach, Brantley and even further down, the likes of Carlos Santana in this still-continuing process), moderate success in the International market (signing players like Victor, Peralta, Carmona, and Rafael Perez), and establishing a spotty record at best in FA endeavors (Millwood, Pavano, and Howry…but Jason Johnson, The Looch, Masa, etc., etc.). The draft however, remains the great frustration in the formula as the Indians, with a stated reliance on the development of players to fill holes internally, have continued to significantly augment the organizational talent more productively by trading their veterans for other teams’ prospects, with the great majority of the current Indians’ stable of talent coming to the club via that route.

SB Nation Gets a Facelift
The homepage is looking spiffy but the various team blogs are still sporting that cookie-cutter look that I hate about most blog networks.

WHYGAVS Looks at Which Pirates They Were Wrong About

This year, four immediate players come to mind.

  1. Nyjer Morgan
  2. Garrett Jones
  3. Zach Duke
  4. Andy LaRoche
Why Gordon Beckham Is Not the Rookie of the Year
There hasn’t been much to dislike about Gordon Beckham’s rookie campaign with the White Sox. He’s sprayed the ball all over the field to a tune of a .808 OPS. His defense has improved with every game he’s played at third base. His at-bat music is awesome. And he plays the game with a confident cockiness that you don’t see from many seasoned veterans.

Who Has the Stuff?
Two components determine how nasty a pitcher’s stuff truly is: velocity and movement. We’ve had radar guns to track the league’s hardest throwers for some time (that would be Joel Zumaya, of course) But now, with the help of pitchf/x data and a local regression technique picked up from Dave Allen, we can come pretty close to quantifying a pitcher’s stuff. We can assign every single pitch an expected run value given its physical characteristics—be it velocity, movement, location, release point, or any other data point given by the pitchf/x data. For the purposes of measuring expected run value based on stuff (StuffRV), I used velocity, horizontal movement, and vertical movement as my three independent variables, and restricted my sample to only righties who released the ball from at least five feet off the ground, with a minimum of 1,000 pitches over the last three years.

Name StuffRV
A.J. Burnett -46
Felix Hernandez -31
Zack Greinke -26
Edwin Jackson -26
Ubaldo Jimenez -26
Chad Billingsley -23
Brian Wilson -22
Brandon Morrow -21
Roy Halladay -21
Matt Garza -20
Dave Bush 15
Jeff Suppan 17
Braden Looper 19
Livan Hernandez 20
Greg Maddux 23


Who the Hell is Carlos Rosa?
I had never heard of Carlos Rosa before conducting this analysis, but now, from a sample of just 50 pitches, I can’t stop wondering why he’s not in the Majors. Great stuff. Decent control. The only evident knocks against him are his 2-8 Win-Loss record in AAA and 4.56 ERA. Maybe Dayton Moore knows something I don’t, or perhaps Rosa brought it just for his brief appearance in the Majors, or it’s possible GMDM is undervaluing a young talent who can get Major League hitters out. Actually, all three of these scenarios have probably taken place.

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