The Cardinals take a close one, James Shields carves up his old team, and more action from Monday, plus what to watch today.
The Monday Takeaway
At 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Matt Adams screams “slugger.” So when his ISO stood at .149 at the end of May, right around those of speedsters Brett Gardner and Desmond Jennings, something didn’t seem quite right.
How can we tell which hitters will have long careers?
In last week’s article, I extended my approach of survival modelling to examine what the early career success of a pitcher can tell us about his long-term survival in MLB. Despite the inherent randomness of the pitching profession in the age of Tommy John surgery, I discovered that by far the best predictor of a long career was the age at which a player debuted in MLB. Besides debut age, the abilities to rack up strikeouts and avoid walks meant the most for a pitcher’s long-term career outlook.
I turn the same method now to position players. Position players have different risks from pitchers, and a different set of career arcs. Position players are less likely to be hur, and more able to continue their career in the face of injury by moving down the defensive spectrum. What’s more, whereas a pitcher contributes the vast majority of his value from his pitching, a position player might be great in several different ways: by hitting, by fielding, or even (to a lesser extent) by baserunning.
How would the first round of the 2010 draft go down with the benefit of hindsight?
It's been just over four years since the 2010 draft, and we've gotten a good look at how that crop of highly touted amateurs has has performed in the pros. To see how much perceptions of those players have changed, we decided to do the draft over again, just as we did with the 2013 draft, the 2012 draft, and the 2011 draft. We assigned 32 picks to BP authors and re-drafted from scratch, selecting only from the pool of players who were drafted and signed in 2010 and ignoring team need. Here's how the first-round redraft shook out.
1:1 Washington Nationals Actual Selection:Bryce Harper, OF Draft Position Change: None Explanation: I think there is a real case for Chris Sale at no. 1 (and I imagine there'd be one for Harvey if he wasn't hurt), but I have to stick with the chalk here. I remain firmly in the camp that sees Harper as an emerging superstar. His start hasn't been as fast as Mike Trout's, but holding anyone to that kind of standard is absolutely insane. The numbers Harper has put up at these ages are also historic, just not as monstrous. —Paul Sporer
Is J.P. buying the Cleveland outfielder's breakout?
With the summer trading season in full swing, the letters “PTBNL” are about to become quite familiar. However, while many trade deadline deals include that mysterious Player To Be Named Later, recent history has taught baseball fans to disregard any such player, as they usually turn out to be inconsequential.
A look at the upcoming AL-vs-NL and NL-vs-AL matchups, and how they might affect teams' lineups.
Please note that in the “DH” column, the player listed is the player that has been added or removed from the lineup, not necessarily the player in the DH slot. For example, if the Phillies move Dominic Brown to DH and put Tony Gwynn Jr. in the OF, then I will list Gwynn Jr. in the “DH” column because he is the player that is gaining at-bats.
Is Mike Trout suffering from a lack of respect? Or is the batter behind him overrated?
Here’s a story about Mike Trout and intentional walks: During his junior year, in the state playoffs, the opposing Cherry Hill East manager got so spooked by Trout’s batting practice display that he intentionally walked him to lead off the game; then again in his second at-bat, with a runner on first; and once more in his third at-bat, with the bases loaded.
Surveying the ninth-inning situations around the league.
Tampa Bay Rays
This can be a difficult article to write. Speculating on saves is a tricky thing, one that requires following a lot of beat writers and trying to find trends written into stat lines. The closer job is a serious one, and it’s not like managers pick the closer for completely arbitrary reasons that have little to do with logic and are more holistic in nature. I mean there’s no way someone would pick a closer based on aura, right?
The top prospect in baseball hasn't changed, but plenty else has since our preseason top 100.
With as many eyes as we can possibly put on the prize, we seek to provide the prospect temperature of the given moment, as we take to the fields night after night armed with our stopwatches, radar guns, and in my case, thermometers. As in previous top 50 updates, we will not be including prospects recently promoted to the majors, nor will we be including prospects recently selected in the amateur draft (further explanation provided below the Top 50 courtesy of Nick Faleris). This is a list of the top prospects currently in the minors, and we use a scouting-heavy approach to support the work, either in the form of our own eyewitness accounts or via our industry sources, although in most cases the rankings are indicative of the blissful marriage between the two.
A look at the moves sellers might make and the fantasy impact they'd have.
Unless you are in a very shallow mixed league, chances are excellent that the major league non-waiver trade deadline will have an impact on your fantasy league. Even if you don’t play fantasy baseball, the deadline is a fun time if you are a baseball fan, but ever since I started playing fantasy baseball, I feel like I pay extra attention to the rumor mill.
What I have compiled for our readers this week is a helpful, at-a-glance, one article look at the potential trade market this month, particularly from the viewpoint of players who might be on the move. Since this is a fantasy article, I will focus on fantasy impact, but if you are a non-fantasy player and a Baseball Prospectus reader, I hope that this article proves useful to you as well.