Examining a few players who might pique your interest in deep leagues.
I'm not gonna write you an introduction. I'm the Sarah Bareilles of Baseball Prospectus.
Odds are you're aware that Rafael Montero is now a member of the Mets rotation, and odds are he's already been gobbled up even in deep leagues. But Montero isn't the only new member of New York's starting five—deGrom also got the call this week thanks to an injury to Dillon Gee, and while he certainly lacks Montero's upside, he can also be had at just a fraction of the cost.
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Remember that piece back in December about Coco Crisp's tendency to steal bases before the pitcher begins to comes home with the pitch? Last night another Athletics outfielder, Chris Young, paid homage against Joe Blanton. Here are some visuals. First Young when he starts to run compared to Blanton:
The Blue Jays acquire the owner of baseball's most impressive active streak.
It makes some sense that after a season in which they were burned by an injury stack to their starters, the Blue Jays would trade for a pitcher whose most serious injury through 12-plus seasons is a minor flesh wound inflicted by a mayonnaise jar. Meet Mark Buehrle's injury history (click to expand):
How much does pitching on a downhill plane affect a pitcher's ability to get ground balls?
Here we are in the middle of the Information Age, with access to more data than the human mind can possibly process, and yet the dissemination of baseball information has been muted by a language barrier. Baseball fans are becoming increasingly savvy about the nuances of the game, with sophisticated analytical tools at their disposal, but access to the dynamics of play on the field is often clouded by a filter of scout-speak. If we were playing poker, then the dealer would need to remind the scouts in seats eight and nine of the “English only at the table” rule in order to prevent them from trading secrets that fly under the radar of other players.
There are dozens of entries in the pitching section of the scout-speak dictionary, from “command” and “control” to “arm action.” One of these buzzwords is “downhill plane,” a term that refers to pitch trajectory that has a steep slope on its approach toward the hitter. It seems to follow that pitchers who possess a high release point would induce a higher rate of ground balls. The logic behind the idea is simple enough, as anyone who has thrown a tennis ball against a wall can attest, but the statistical evidence paints a different picture.
James Loney hasn't exactly set Hollywood ablaze with his hitting prowess; can he still cash in on his mediocrity?
For reasons I don't entirely comprehend, James Loney has been on my mind of late. His skill set is unusual for a first baseman, and although some players have parlayed similar skills into a successful big-league career, such players are few and far between.
In last week's light-hearted preview of the NL West, I quipped that Loney should star in a show called “Being Doug Mientkiewicz.” Marginally amusing one-liners aside, the truth is that Loney is a better hitter than Mientkiewicz, though this is hardly cause for celebration among Dodgers fans. Set the bar low enough and everything looks good.
Pegging BP's favorites in both leagues, both in the standings and for the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.