Tag Archives: blue jays

The Morning Edition (August 5, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Holland brilliant in Rangers win over the A’s
  • Burnett goes the distance as the Pirates top the Rockies
  • The Cardinals punish the Reds, 15-2
  • Blue Jays get two late to beat the Angels
  • Doubront out guns McCarthy in the latter’s return
  • KC and Cleveland keeping winning, gain no ground

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Finally, an end to BioGenesis?
  • Minor duels Strasburg as the Nats try to get back in it (7p Eastern)
  • Greinke and Wainwright clash (7p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Is Mike Trout really going to do this again?

The answer is already yes. After leading MLB with 10.0 WAR last season, he’s already put up 7.1 WAR this year. He’s having a better offensive season than last year and is adding more overall value even though his defensive numbers have taken a bit of a slide. He remains one of the best baserunners in the game and is doing all of this from a premium position on the field. In the last 365 days, Mike Trout leads baseball with 10.2 WAR, meaning he has essentially been consistently playing at a 10 WAR clip for almost two years. Only Met Ott has more WAR through age 21. This is getting scary.

The Morning Edition (July 11, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Wheeler great, Cain awful in a big Mets win
  • Another great start for Turner in Miami
  • The Angels unload on the Cubs, get a good start from Wilson
  • Lee gives up four solo homeruns in a loss to the Nationals
  • Toronto tops Cleveland after a wild 9th
  • Nova and the Yanks handle the Royals easily
  • Twins and Rays play deep into the night, Zobrist walks off

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Sale and Sanchez in Detroit (1p Eastern)
  • Zimmermann goes against the Phils (7p Eastern)
  • Bumgarner (underrated) and Marquis (overrated) face off in Petco (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • How should we pick the ASG starter?

There’s been some debate, as there always is regarding ASG stuff, as to who should start for each side. Harvey is the frontrunner in the NL because he is having one of the best seasons and the game is at his home park. It’s not a lock that he should start on merit, but he’s in the conversation and the hometown thing probably pushes him over. I think it’s safe to say Harvey, Wainwright, and Kershaw are the contenders, but depending on what stats you like, you can make a case that any of them are the best starter so far. But should it be about the best starter so far this season? Should it be about the best starter for the last calendar year? The biggest star? The guy who we judge to be the best, because the game does count? It’s not a clear formula. For what it’s worth, Wainwright is schedule to pitch Sunday so he’s probably out. Kershaw and Harvey are both “stop what you’re doing and watch guys” who are having elite years and are top 10 guys since the last ASG. If you’re asking for six outs, they can both get them with the best of them. Is there really a way to separate who should get the start if we don’t have a fixed definition. If Kershaw was far and away having a better season, it might be different, but they’re pretty even, so it just makes sense to go with Harvey…I think. Kershaw’s about to get $200 million. Harvey could have that in his future, but he has more work to do. Let’s go with Harvey.

The Morning Edition (June 20, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Bruce ties it in the 9th and Phillips wins it in the 13th as the Reds beat the Bucs 2-1
  • Myers drives in his first two to lead the Rays over the Sox
  • Medlen shuts down the Mets
  • Papelbon allows the Nats to tie it in the 9th, Suzuki delivers a GS in the 11th
  • Yanks and Dodgers split a DH

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Oswalt returns to the bigs with the Rockies against Zimmermann (7p Eastern)
  • Moore and Pettitte at Yankees stadium (7p Eastern)
  • Felix Hernandez faces the Angels (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • After 8 straight wins, are the Blue Jays getting back in this?

I’m doubtful despite the hot streak. Despite 8 straight wins, they are still 7.5 games back of first place and 4.5 back of the second wild card. That isn’t a number too big to overcome, but the problem is how many teams are between them and their goal. To make up the terrible start, they would have to outplay at least two other teams the rest of the way plus the distance they are already back. I’m not sure they are good enough. Fangraphs’ own standings projection is equally skeptical of the Jays, figuring them for 82 wins. New English D has them at 83 wins, and I feel pretty good about that. One week in June isn’t enough to convince me the first 10 weeks didn’t happen.

The Morning Edition (June 17, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Strasburg erratic, but decent in loss against Kluber’s 8 IP, 8K
  • Nieuwenhuis walks off on Marmol, lifts Mets
  • Blanks homers late to back Richard and the Padres to their 6th straight win
  • Iwakuma struggles as Colon rolls, A’s win 10-2
  • The Angels get 5 in the 9th, but Pujols Ks with the tying run on 2nd to lose to the Yanks

  • 3 HR lift Wang and the Jays over the Rangers
  • Astros sweep the White Sox
  • Greinke struggles in first start since brawl, falls to Pirates and Cole
  • Lester Ks 8, walks 0 despite giving up 5 ER in 5 innings

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Shelby “Must-Watch” Miller faces the Cubs (7p Eastern)
  • Liriano faces Leake for NL Central glory (7p Eastern)
  • Turner and Corbin in the desert (930p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • What should we think of the Padres?

I ranked the Padres 22nd coming into the season and 26th and 27th entering May and June in the New English D power rankings, but here they come in the standings with 6 straight wins and the team above .500 to 35-34 and just 2 back in the West. I was bullish on them coming into the season, but the pitching was pretty bad and I sort of gave up. They’re dead last in WAR (-1.9) and in the bottom 3 in park adjusted ERA, FIP, and xFIP. And they haven’t really gotten better in the last few weeks despite going 17-12 over their last 19. They’re surprisingly 5th in position player WAR, but you can’t compete at the big league level with pitching that bad.

The Morning Edition (May 27, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Iwakuma sharp as the Mariners walk off in 13
  • Neither Kershaw or Miller dazzle, but the Cards win 5-3
  • Corbin beats the Padres
  • Colon dominates the Astros
  • Cobb shuts down the Yanks as his Rays get to CC
  • Strasburg beats the Phils with a brilliant outing
  • Ellsbury walks off on the Tribe
  • The Jays beat the O’s in a crazy 9th

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Wainwright comes to KC to battle with Shields (2p Eastern)
  • Fernandez and Ordorizzi face off in a Florida prospect affair (3p Eastern)
  • Tyler Skaggs makes his season debut against the Rangers (330p Eastern)
  • Greinke faces Wilson in an LA battle (8p Eastern)
  • Darvish faces the Dbacks in Game 2 of a DH (930p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • How does you team look on Memorial Day?

Every Wednesday at New English D, we roll out our weekly Dynamic Standings Projection update, but it’s a conventional rule of thumb for many to take stock of their team on Memorial Day. Generally, at this point you have a general sense of the team’s strengths and weaknesses and the statistical data is starting to provide some meaningful indication of how your team is going to do going forward. I’ll defer you to our weekly updates, which you can find by clicking the link, to see exactly how we think every team will finish, but I’ll offer a couple quick thoughts about MLB so far in 2013:

  1. I undersold the Red Sox – I liked their offseason moves, I just didn’t think Lester and Buchholz would recover like they did. Contenders.
  2. I told you the Royals were vastly overrated by the national media – Their pitching is now average, but their offense is terrible. Pretenders.
  3. Cleveland is decent, but not great – My initial prediction for the Tribe is a little light because I made it before they added the very good Michael Bourn, but they still aren’t a team with long term staying power. They’re playing at their best, which means there is nowhere to go but down. Borderline.
  4. I told you the Rangers would be great – They don’t miss Hamilton and Napoli at all. Contenders.
  5. The Angels will hit, but they don’t have the arms – The team will play better, but their rotation weaknesses are too big to overcome. Borderline.
  6. The Pirates are right on the cusp – I said they’d finish over .500, and I think they just might. But they don’t have the talent to make a playoff run with St. Louis and Cincinnati. Pretenders.
  7. I did not give the Diamondbacks enough credit – I got caught up in bashing their weird offseason and didn’t appreciate the talent they do have. Contenders.
  8. The Rockies aren’t a good team, but they’re better than I gave them credit for – The offense can carry the horrible staff enough to finish near .500. Pretenders.
  9. The national media doesn’t get why the Dodgers are losing, but I do – They took on everyone’s overpaid players and aren’t getting enough from Kemp. People focused on the price tag and not the product. The Dodgers have a lot of players who have their best years behind them. They bough names, not production. They’re better than this, but not good enough to make the playoffs. Borderline.

The Morning Edition (May 19, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Jordan Zimmermann gives up 1 ER in 8 innings…and loses…to the Padres
  • Gattis and Simmons go back to back to back Medlen in his duel with Capuano
  • Parra hits a leadoff homer and then McCarthy delivers a CGSO as the Dbacks beat the Fish 1-0
  • Tampa Bay gets 6 runs in the 9th to beat the Orioles 10-6
  • The Indians win on a walk off fielder’s choice (what?!)

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Felix faces Masterson in Cleveland (1p Eastern)
  • Dickey and CC try to regain Cy Young creds (1p Eastern)
  • Matt Moore looks to complete the sweep in Baltimore (130p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Are McCarthy’s peripherals finally lining up with the results?

I made a comment on Twitter last night that Carlos Gomez was impressively leading the league in WAR (2.7) and was 9th in the league in wRC+ (170) despite just a 3.9% walk rate. Since I wrote that, those numbers have fluctuated just a bit, but the idea holds up. So I was curious, who had the best low walk season in the last ten years? Since 2004, the best qualifying seasons for players who walked 5.0% of the time or less are:

5. Freddy Sanchez 2006 – 4.9% BB, 4.5 WAR

4. Brandon Phillips 2007 – 4.7% BB, 4.7 WAR

3. Carl Crawford 2005 – 3.9% BB, 4.8 WAR

2. Ichiro 2009 – 4.7% BB, 5.1 WAR

1. Adrian Beltre 2011 – 4.8% BB, 5.3 WAR

Each of those seasons feature a strong defensive effort and low K%, but if you’re curious the best <5% BB season since 2004 with a negative UZR belongs to Adam Jones (2012) who walked 4.8% of the time and posted a 4.4 WAR (7th overall). Also, apparently walking didn’t used to be as cool as it is today, because I then queried a search back to 1980 and Beltre’s 2011 season turned up to be 15th in the last 34 years. Kirby Puckett’s 1988 reigns with 3.9% BB and 7.1 WAR. I’m serious. He hit .356/.375/.545. That’s crazy. Puckett’s 1988 is the best <5.0% BB season, not just since 1980, but also since 1932.

The Morning Edition (May 18, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Upton slams the Braves past the Dodgers
  • Goldschmidt’s 2 bombs back Cahill’s 8 inning gem
  • Kuroda blanks the Jays over 8, wins 5-0
  • Hellickson gives up 8 runs in 7.2 innings…and gets a win in a 12-10 affair over the O’s
  • Kipnis walks off in extras over the M’s
  • Phillies bullpen tries to spoil a nice outing by Lee, but the offense bails them out against the Reds
  • Harvey twirls 7.2 strong innings and drives in the winning run against the Cubs

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Quietly strong Zach McAllister faces the Mariners in an attempt to pad his stats (1p Eastern)
  • Burnett gets the Astros at home, watch for Ks (7p Eastern)
  • McCarthy looks to follow his strong outing against the Marlins 7p Eastern)
  • Zimmermann faces the Padres at Petco (830p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • How do people still take pitcher wins seriously after Hellickson gave up 8 runs and still earned one on Friday?

If I gave you 5 guesses as to who baseball’s best hitter is so far (as of 11:21pm Friday night), would you get it? Miguel Cabrera might be your guess and that’s close, but he’s percentage points behind the leader. Maybe Upton? Or Longoria? Or Choo? All good guesses, but it’s actually Paul Goldschmidt. The Dbacks slugging first baseman has a nice season and a half to his name in the big leagues, but he’s taken a step forward so far this season. His plate discipline is improving and his power is better, while also buoyed by a little good luck. Right now his 185 wRC+ is a fraction of a point ahead of Cabrera and his .338/.421/.656 line is a thing of beauty.

The Morning Edition (May 15, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • Bailey goes the distances, punches out 10 Marlins in 6-2 win
  • McCutchen walks off in 12
  • Kershaw dominates the Nationals, but comes one out shy of the CGSO
  • Felix outduels CC, but the Mariners bullpen gives it back as they lose to the Yanks

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Lester draws Price at the Trop (7p Eastern)
  • Shelby Miller faces the Mets (8p Eastern)
  • Greinke returns to action (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Will Greinke be on his game after missing a month?

I miss Brandon Inge and he is Mr. Utility this year. Entering Tuesday, he has played 2.1 innings at 1B, 58.2 innings at 2B, 18 innings at 3B, and 13 innings in RF. Tuesday, he played SS. That appearance at short now completes his collection of positions in his MLB career. Brandon Inge has done everything but pitch at the MLB level (which he did in college). Love that guy. He’s also hitting .273/.304/.318 in 47 PA as I write this. That’s nothing special, but it’s a very nice utility player. I’ll always be rooting for him.

The Morning Edition (May 12, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • Wainwright nearly no-hits the Rockies, settles for a CGSO
  • The bullpen nearly blows Darvish’s W in Houston
  • Longoria bails out Hellickson with a walk off HR against the Padres
  • Stasburg allows 4 unearned runs, but loses anyway to the Cubs
  • Buehrle outduels Buchholz as Lind’s HR saves the day

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Matt Harvey against the Pirates (1p Eastern)
  • Kuroda and Santana match up in KC (2p Eastern)
  • Wilson and Sale try to buoy struggling teams on Sunday Night Baseball (8p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Cardinals or Tigers staff, which is better?

If you evaluate the above question by WAR, it’s the Tiger easily. They’re first in baseball at 9.5 (11p Eastern Saturday), more than 2 WAR ahead of second place. The Cardinals are 5th, a full four wins back. Yet the Cards ERA is a sparkling 2.92 while the Tigers are at 3.45. If you look at FIP, the Tigers are ahead 2.58 to 3.06. This is a good lesson in run prevention and expected run prevention. The Tigers out pitch the Cardinals in two of three areas in which the pitcher has control; strikeouts and homeruns. What’s funny is that the Cardinals don’t have a much better defense. It appears that they are getting a little better sequencing than the Tigers right now. Additionally, the Tigers starters have 7.5 to the Cardinals 5.6 WAR – so the Cardinals are weighed down by a terrible bullpen. They are 1 and 2 in SP WAR and 3 and 27th in reliever WAR. It’s a fun debate however you wish to slice it and I wouldn’t mind having either starting staff, though I’m partial to the Tigers.

The Morning Edition (May 11, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Jon Lester delivers a 1 hit CGSO as the Sox beat the Jays 5-0
  • Alex Cobb strikes out 13 Padres in 4.2 inning, including 4 in one inning…an inning in which he allowed a run on 2 SB and a balk…and fails to pitch deep enough to win
  • Miller is brilliant again against the Rockies, retiring 27 straight after allowing a leadoff hit (CG, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13K)

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Buchholz welcomes the Blue Jays to Fenway (130p Eastern)
  • Wainwright gets a challenge from the Rockies (2p Eastern)
  • Strasburg gets the Cubs offense (4p Eastern)
  • Darvish faces the Astros (7p Eastern)
  • Cliff Lee starts in the desert (8p Eastern)

The Big Question:

Often in this space, I highlight a player who is performing well. Today, who is performing poorly? On the pitching side of things, the winner is Mark Buehrle who owns a -0.5 WAR and 7.02 ERA and 6.34 FIP. His strikeout and walk rates are about on par with career norms, but he’s getting fewer groundballs and allowing an insane amount of homeruns. The homerun rate will regress, but a low strikeout control type guy like Buehrle has a pretty small margin for error and his number can balloon quickly. The league’s worst position player, just barely, is Jeff Keppinger who is worth -1.0 WAR and boasts and impressive .195/.191/.212 line in 27 games, good for a -3 wRC+. This means a couple things. First, he’s taken zero walks, so his sacrifice flies make his OBP lower than his batting average and he is 103% worse at the plate right now than league average. Just to give you an entire of what that indicates, the worst offensive season since WWII belongs to Billy Hunter and his 29 wRC+ for the St. Louis Browns. Not that he won’t pick up a little, but if Keppinger keeps this up, (he’ll get benched) he’ll have the worst season relative to league average by 32% since 1946. Impressive.

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