A big and exciting moment for Raul Mondesi Jr. turned into 12 minutes of the worst experience baseball could offer. Let's slow it down a little.
On Wednesday, the Angels played the Royals. I should note that I did not watch this game live. The Angels aren’t very good, and the Royals aren’t very good. These are two sub-.500 teams, and one of them was on the way to being even sub-.500ier, so I did other things with my evening. But then I came across this tweet from Grant Brisbee:
The promotions of Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier highlight this week's news and notes.
The ball keeps rolling the realm of minor league transactions as the Indians promote two future stars, and the Mets try to manage injuries in their crop of talent. Mixed in are some overlooked prospects who’ve earned the nod after proving themselves. Let’s get to it!
The Mets ad-lib a loss, Dee Gordon says sorry, and Aroldis Chapman pitches for a new team.
The Thursday Takeaway Jeurys Familia was not going to close on Thursday. Terry Collinssaid so the night before—no caveats or conditional statements, no probably won’t or isn’t expected to, just a straightforwardly simple declarative. Familia wasn’t going to close, and Addison Reed was. And that made sense, seeing as how Familia had pitched on two straight days, the second of which resulted in two runs that earned him his first blown save since May. Familia wasn’t going to close.
For two decades, innings-per-start has been relatively stable across major-league baseball. Not this year.
Last month, Sam Miller argued in favor of changing the minimum innings qualification for the ERA title from 162 to 130 innings pitched. The reason is that starting pitchers today make fewer starts and pitch fewer innings per start than their counterparts decades ago. In 1969, the first year of divisional play, there were 79 pitchers who qualified for the ERA title, or 3.3 per team. Last year, the number of ERA qualifiers was almost identical, 78, but with 30 teams, the number of qualifiers per team was just 2.6. Sam’s proposal would have given us 3.5 per team.
This being Baseball Prospectus, Sam’s column did not elicit howls of outraged commenters complaining that modern starting pitchers are soft, pitching ever-fewer innings and relying on their bullpen to bail them out. There are two reasons we don’t see much of that here. First, I think most of us agree with Sam when he wrote:
…[P]itchers today throw fewer starts and fewer innings per start, but they throw more pitches in each inning, because evolving strategies (on offense and defense) require them to; and they throw with more effort on each individual pitch, because evolving strategies ask them to.
How to identify the players you should seek in your upcoming fantasy barters.
Earlier this week our wonderful fantasy staff put together their Second-Half Buys. I, absent such fullness of wonder, did not participate, and for that, I apologize. To make up for this, my plan is to help us try to develop some tools for finding our own second-half buys, our own trade targets.
This skill, finding trade targets, is incredibly important, obviously, but it is likely even more important in today’s (fantasy baseball) game. Why is it more important today than it was ten years ago? Because, as we have said many times, the internet has made it difficult to differentiate via information asymmetry. Put differently, as soon as we posted our staff’s “second-half buys,” those players likely became more difficult to acquire—either their acquisition price in trade or FAAB went up or someone looked to scoop them from the free agent pool. This does not hold true for every player or recommendation (some fantasy baseball participants do not read fantasy analysis and some only read some sites), but it holds true for more players than you, or at least I, originally thought. Why? Because these recommendations are not random strokes of genius. We, as a fantasy baseball analysis community, largely follow the same twitter accounts, read the same articles, and are thus likely to write-up and analyze the same player because those players are most likely to be top of mind. This is not a criticism, it is just how our brains work, and I point it out in order to highlight the increased importance of finding trade targets outside of and in addition to recommendations from fantasy baseball experts. Moreover, the more players we can target, the more we can shop around for the best price. Lastly, not everyone wants to put in the effort, so those willing to do so can often get better than expected deals.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Luiz Gohara, Luke Weaver, Aristides Aquino, and Ismael Guillon.
Prospect of the Day: Luiz Gohara,LHP, Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 6 IP, 4 H, R/ER, BB, 10 K.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was in Arizona, bouncing around from game to game on the back fields, following every rumor we heard to try to be in the right place, at the right time, to see Gohara throw in his first spring after signing with the Mariners. It was like we were chasing a ghost. Some of our crew caught him in limited action that spring, and it was easy to see the raw talent. That talent is obvious at this point, particularly when he turns in outings like this. There’s still a lot of development remaining, but the Mariners appear on track to make good on their investment in Gohara.
Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
Welcome to the starting pitcher planner, where every Friday I’ll be taking a look at the pitchers slated for two turns in the upcoming week. The hope is that the planner can help guide lineup and FAAB decisions that need to be made over the weekend. Of course, my information isn’t perfect and I don’t have a crystal ball. Rain, injuries, and teams reshuffling between when I write and Monday’s first pitch will definitely happen. If new information comes to light after we publish, I’ll try to tackle it in the comments. Feel free to beat me to it if you have any info, and I’ll be glad to offer my opinion there if you want it.
Let’s get some ground rules out the way before getting started. The pitchers will be split by league and then by category. Here are some general thoughts about the categories: