Despite what everyone says, some early performances do make a difference.
Pretty much every article you’ve read between Opening Day and today has started with the caveat that there’s no point in drawing meaning from the statistics that are about to be presented, but then going ahead and presenting them anyway. In the end, the articles either draw a meaningless conclusion (they warned you at the beginning though) or waffle on what, if anything, any of their contents mean (nothing, they told you up top).
While I can only concur that the statistics that have been accrued since opening day (Salvador Perez has a 25 percent walk rate in six games, despite a career 4.5 percent walk rate) are at this point meaningless in a data sense, they are meaningful in that they matter to managers. I’m not going to draw any conclusions about a player’s evolving skillset or change in approach, so much as I am highlighting players who have either bought themselves or potentially cost themselves some rope, in the eyes of their manager. This has a very tangible effect in the fantasy world, especially in deeper leagues, where players who merely rack up at-bats are worth something.
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Every bloop, bleeder, and swinging bunt that has contributed toward the Braves setup man's .458 BABIP in 2012.
A few days ago, I got an email from someone who wanted to know why Jonny Venters isn’t dominating people like he did last year. He speculated that there’s something wrong with his stuff, or that his mechanics might be off.
I started formulating an answer even before I looked at the numbers. Well, it’s too small a sample to draw conclusions. Well, Venters was so good in 2011 that it’s unfair to expect a repeat performance. Well, he led the league in appearances last year, so maybe he’s feeling some fatigue.
A look back at the key moments of the game that led to Atlanta's elimination
Last week, we discussed the potential collapse of the Atlanta Braves in their attempt to hold on to the National League Wild Card. Well, on one of the greatest nights in baseball history, that potential collapse became a crippling reality for the Braves, as they lost a late-inning heartbreaker to their division rival Philadelphia Phillies. At the risk of picking at a wound that has almost assuredly not begun healing yet, let us take an episodic look through the lens of Win Probability Added and Win Expectancy (provided by Baseball-Reference) and see how the game progressed from the Braves being on the brink of a second straight playoff berth to heading home without a chance at the World Series.
3rd Inning: Dan Ugglahits a two-run home run, Braves lead 3-1
That home run was the single biggest play on the Braves' side of the docket on Wednesday evening, as it added 22 percent to their chances of winning the game according to WPA. Uggla's home run was fitting of the hitting performance he has put up since July; his batting line of .301/.386/.596 with 24 home runs since July 5 has far surpassed the other Braves batters. His 36 homers for the season represent a career-high total and a fifth straight year with over 30 home runs. Despite the atrocity that was the first half of the season, his magnificent second-half line brought his season back from the brink. After the end of June, it seemed almost a foregone conclusion that Uggla would end up an absolute disappointment in 2011, yet somehow he ended up with 2.3 WARP on the year, which stands as second on the team among position players. With his Wednesday night home run, it appeared that Uggla was going to once again have a hand in leading his team's offense to the postseason.
The tater trots for August 12: Dan Uggla sends Carlos Zambrano over the edge, Branyan's slow trot, Eric Thames' sprint.
It's been a surprisingly busy summer for me, with a lot more travel than I expected. This week, for example, work found me in the Chicago area for two days (and one baseball-less night), preventing me from doing the Tater Trot Tracker the last couple of days. I've caught up with the last few nights below, including a couple of brilliant celebrations from Brett Lawrie and Chris Young.
A look at the conflicting seasons of Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez.
Last night, the Atlanta Braves beat the Florida Marlins 6-2, completing a three-game sweep of the Fish. With both teams in close proximity, the story of two players who once shared a bond in Florida as one of the best offensive double-play combinations in baseball came to mind. One player, former Marlin and current Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, is redeeming himself with a 31-game hitting streak that has brought his season line from “atrocious” to “below average.” The other, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, missed his sixth straight game with a shoulder injury and has yet to decide whether he is healthy enough to play or should go on the disabled list.
Recent performance plays a strong role in how a player is perceived. The recent 30-game surge by Uggla has brought his season line right in line with Ramirez's.
The unexpected rising and thriving of the Marlins' second baseman
Dan Uggla has managed to follow up his surprising rookie campaign with a similarly successful 2007, contrary to what many analysts expected. Uggla did not escape a predictable dip in batting average and on-base percentage given his batted-ball data and relatively high BABIP, but he still has managed to remain at around the same level of production despite this thanks to a boost in his power.