Where have you gone, past velocity? Should we be concerned your arm will break? Hey, hey, hey.
In the last episode of Raising Aces, we followed up with the big velocity gainers and losers from last season to investigate any trends, for better or worse. We found that the velocity changes over time reflected George Carlin's view of people in general: a few winners but a whole lot of losers.
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Some 2016 predictions that may surprise you. And some that probably won't.
As the countdown to Opening Day trickles ever-so-close to the holiday to top all holidays, the Baseballholic in me is compelled to predict what will happen in the 2016 baseball season. Most of the predictions will turn out to be wrong, which is a tribute to the volatility inherent in a sport that we spend way too much time trying to predict (not that it will stop me from trying). We release our BP staff predictions for the season on Monday, and those who want a sneak peak can tune into the latest Baseballholics podcast to see who I have tabbed for this year's awards and division winners.
Last time, the Two Trains put under the microscope were a pair of pitchers who are relatively new to the league, but this week we turn our attention to a couple of veterans who are finishing out their 20s as top-20 options in fantasy drafts. One of today's pitchers has been in high demand on the fantasy market for over a decade, while the other is a relatively new arrival to the scene, but both players have taken home the ultimate hardware.
What would happen if several hitters and pitchers of interest faced each other for full seasons?
As we talked about on Monday, Mike Trout has hit Felix Hernandez very well. After his first-inning home run on Opening Day, Trout is now hitting .441/.447/.794 in 38 plate appearances against Hernandez since being called up to the majors for good in April 2012. The question for the day, then, is this: How well should Mike Trout do against Felix Hernandez?
Trout faces Felix on Opening Day. How has Hernandez attacked Trout, and how has Trout hit him so hard?
In 2011, when Mike Trout made his major-league debut, it was at home against the Seattle Mariners. In the final game of the series he had to face Felix Hernandez, and it didn’t go well. Twice he got ahead in the count but tapped back to the pitcher on 2-1 sliders. In his only other at-bat that day, he struck out looking on three consecutive pitches.
Doug's attachment to arms shines through as he nabs David Price and Felix Hernandez to anchor his dream Roto staff.
I tend to go with something resembling the stars-and-scrubs approach, mostly because I think that it's possible to identify “scrubs” who will be productive. It's no secret that I have an attachment to arms, and I always make a point to secure a pair of aces in my fantasy leagues, whether draft or auction.
The knock against pitchers is that they always get hurt, which tends to depress their value, and the injury-risk makes it all the more important to have two top-end guys at the top of my fantasy rotation—if one gets hurt then my season is not necessarily down the drain, because ace no. 2 can carry the weight. So my staff is top-heavy, after which it's time to go dumpster-diving, and I take great joy each fantasy season in identifying the cheap pitchers who will ascend to the next level. Oh, and sucks to closers—they are way too volatile to trust in a league where rosters are locked on Opening Day, so I'll just go ahead and aim for victories in the counting stats of Ks and Ws while sacrificing saves. My calculator says that two 15s and a 1 supersede the worth of a sixth-place finish in three categories, and the draft-and-lock setup changes the game in this case.
David Wright and Jay Bruce anchor Alex's ideal Roto offense, while Felix Hernandez and Madison Bumgarner do the heavy lifting on the mound.
On Friday, Mike Gianella released his latest mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:
Do pitchers target a tough opponent's weakness, or stick with their own strength?
Every hitter has a hole. Barry Bonds, during spring training, had given an interview with ESPN in which he as much as said, "if you make your pitch, you can get me out." The issue wasn't whether a hitter had a weakness, but where it was. Every pitcher in the big leagues knew that Giambi's hole was waist-high, on the inside corner of the plate. It was about the size of a pint of milk, two baseballs in height and one baseball in width. Which raised an obvious question: why don't the pitchers just aim for the milk pint? — Moneyball, Chapter 7, "Giambi's Hole."
There seem to actually be two points in that paragraph, and they contradict each other. "Every pitcher in the big leagues" was saying that Giambi had a weakness, and that if you could throw him kryptonite it would get him out. But Bonds seemed to be saying something else: "If you make your pitch, you can get me out." Your pitch.