The fourth installment of a five-part series on the pressing questions confronting each team in 2013.
In the week leading up to Opening Day, we're asking and answering three questions about each team in a five-part series ordered by descending Playoff Pct from the Playoff Odds Report. Today, we continue with a look at the group of six teams with the second-worst odds of winning at least a Wild Card. As a reminder, you can find links to our preview podcasts for each team here.
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The latest batch of PITCHf/x newcomers features a Dodgers minor leaguer and two members of the Dutch national team.
Another week of spring training and World Baseball Classic play means another batch of new arms. There isn't much left in terms of hot prospects, so we'll cast a wide net and do what we can. What have we got? One mid-grade prospect, one non-prospect, and one blast from the prospect past.
Rob Rasmussen, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Our first arm is the most prospect-y of the group, but he's not a premium talent. A Marlins draft pick out of UCLA, Rasmussen moved out of the animal kingdom when he was traded to the Astros (minor-league assignments excluded). A second trade sent him to the Dodgers, the club that drafted him out of high school in 2007.
Harry uses PITCHf/x data from recent WBC games to evaluate five pitchers' arsenals.
The World Baseball Classic produces a lot of things: a good dose of drama, a mix of middling and world-class play, and PITCHf/x data on guys we haven't seen before and may never see again. We'll play the scouting notes match-up game once again, leaning on Jason Parks and his team as much as possible, as well as on player comments from the 2013 annual and an interview from the BP archives.
Team Italy brought us Matt Torraand Pat Venditte, the ambidextrous Yankees prospect who, because of shoulder surgery, is currently only pitching with one arm. Brewers Prospect Hiram Burgos was entrusted with big innings for Puerto Rico. And the Puerto Rican national team also featured highly touted Twins prospect Jose Berrios. We'll round out this week’s group with another Brewer, Michael Olmsted, who appeared in a non-WBC game against the Rangers.
The 2012 World Champions stopped by the Royals' facility in Surprise last week, providing our first PITCHf/x view of four prospects' stuff.
The defending World Series champions visited Surprise, Arizona and matched up against the Royals on March 2, in an early-spring contest that marked our first PITCHf/x look at a small group of Giants prospects.
The influx of new arms has slowed, with a mere handful of recent debuts after the early set of nearly two-dozen. Breaking with the theme, this article’s focus will not be limited to the most noteworthy prospects; the Giants brought out four new arms, and we’ll extend a warm embrace to each of them.
Our own director of data analysis discusses the past and present of the PITCHf/x, HITf/x and FIELDf/x technology and how it can lead to future breakthroughs.
Our own Harry Pavlidis, Baseball Prospectus’ director of data analysis, has been among the most groundbreaking voices when it comes to using the PITCHf/x, HITf/x and FIELDf/x data that Sportvision tracks in major-league and minor-league parks.
A look at three top 10-pitching prospects who recently made their PITCHf/x debuts in Arizona.
Spring has sprung. The new baseball year brings fresh hope and excitement to fans everywhere. And, as spring training play begins, it also brings some pitchers to Surprise and Peoria, Arizona, two Cactus League towns with PITCHf/x installations.
The Royals and the Rangers share the facility in Surprise, while the Padres and the Mariners create cross-league harmony in Peoria. This arrangement provides a near-daily flow of data from at least one of the parks. All four host teams and their visiting foes are using plenty of pitchers in these early games. We'll take that as an opportunity to review some new arms.
Can the league's hardest thrower transition successfully to a rotation role?
Two weeks ago, we examined the progress of Johnny Cueto, whose development from raw talent to well-rounded pitcher has rightfully brought high expectations. Today, we turn our attention to another widely acclaimed Reds pitcher: Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman is one of the most enticing figures in baseball today. Most fans got their first impression of the flamethrowing lefty in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, when, in a rare dud for the Cuban national team, he failed to escape the third inning of an outing against the eventual champion, Japan.
A look at what the Brewers' rotation options offer from a stuff (and beer) perspective.
I like the old cliché, “You go as far as your starting pitching takes you.” It's best to have about seven to nine arms handy to get through the season, because pitchers often get hurt or fail to meet expectations.
Brewers fans may recall a recent season where they barely used six starters. Then, of course, there's last year, when they needed 11. Somewhere in between is normal. For the 2013 Brewers, the question is not if they will go deep into their rotation, but when. And as the summer nears, manager Ron Roenicke will be handing the ball to quite a few young arms.
Improved maturity and command have been crucial to Johnny Cueto's recent success.
Johnny Cueto spent last season atop the NL Central champion Cincinnati Reds rotation, the culmination of a gradual evolution from erratic bat-missing fly-baller to consistent pitch-to-contact groundball-getter. Not every thrower-to-pitcher transition happens so smoothly, as even the best power-pitching prospects often fail to realize their full potential. But the Reds shepherded Cueto through his maturation process with a nice mix of praise and push, and their patience is being thoroughly rewarded.
Cueto broke camp in 2008 as an undersized righty with a big arm, making his mark early on by painting the corners with an “explosive” fastball. With "clean and loose" arm action and “unbelievable command," Cueto successfully attacked hitters with the hard stuff, amid lingering questions about his secondary offerings.
Our new normalization option lets you compare hitters and pitchers to players of the same handedness.
First, thanks for your enormous level of support and feedback for our new Hitter and Pitcher Profiles. Because of your suggestions, we increased the number of sortable statistics to 19, added several new color schemes, changed some of the layout, and added several new multi-sort options. Your feedback makes building new and great tools easier, so thanks!
We want to announce a new option on our tools and briefly describe how it works. This option is “normalization,” which allows you to compare a pitcher or hitter to other similar pitchers or hitters. It works only for a few of the 19 sorts right now—it will work for all of them eventually—but we think that the most instructive sort is “frequency,” so we’ll describe it using that and let you play around with it. We’ve already done some limited “beta testing” of this new feature via Twitter, and people found it really fun and informative, so we’re excited to announce it on Baseball Prospectus. (As an aside, Harry and I often beta new features late at night on Twitter, so you can come follow us and be part of the creative process if you want.)