Tag Archives: darvish

The Morning Edition (June 18, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

From Last Night:

  • Johnson and De La Rosa both go 7 scoreless, but the Jays score late to win
  • The Nats tie it in the 9th, but Brown walks off for the Phils
  • The Royals get 2 late runs to beat the Indians 2-1
  • 5 good innings for Miller, who leaves with an injury

What I’m Watching Today:

  • The Matt Harveys come to ATL (1p Eastern)
  • Cliff Lee faces the Nationals (7p Eastern)
  • Zack Wheeler makes him MLB debut in game two of a DH (7p Eastern)
  • Parker and Darvish in Arlington (8p Eastern)
  • Sharky and Wainwright in St. Louis (8p Eastern)
  • Bonderman! (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Can the Mets make tomorrow Groundhog Day?

It’s been a tough season for Mets fans, but they should have fun tomorrow. They have ace and Cy Young contender Matt Harvey opening the day, but top prospect Zack Wheeler will make his debut in the night cap. Harvey has already showed himself to be a star, but if Wheeler can be as good as advertised, this could be quite the 1-2 punch for the next 6 seasons. I bet the Giants wish they still had him. Wheeler’s strikeout rate in the minor leagues has been great, but he’ll need to dampen the walks a bit to succeed in the big leagues. Luckily for him, he gets the strikeout prone Braves in his debut.

The Morning Edition (April 26, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • Valbuena homers in the 9th to lift the Cubs over the Marlins 4-3
  • Buehrle continues to struggle, allows 3 HR to the Yankees in 5-3 loss
  • Harper and Espinosa power Gio to a win over the Reds
  • Buchholz K’s 10 Astros enroute to a 7-2 victory

What I’m Watching Today:

  • After a terrible first start, Scott Kazmir takes another shot on the comeback trail against the Royals (8p Eastern)
  • Chen and Milone face off as last year’s Cinderella’s meet in Oakland (10p Eastern)
  • Lincecum looks to stay on track against hard throwing Cashner and the Padres (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

As I often do in the space below the Morning Edition, I’d like to highlight a weird early season set of statistics. Most would tend to consider wRC+ the best catch-all offensive metric, and as I sort the 2013 leaderboard by said metric a variety of names expected and unexpected rise to the top. The player who ranks 11th as I write this (11:21pm April 25) is Braves 3rd basemen Chris Johnson with 176 wRC+. I’m not going to make the case that this makes Johnson an MVP candidate or anything silly like that, but I would like to point out that he is, by out best single number, one of the best dozen hitters in baseball over the first four weeks. What makes that so interesting is that he is doing so while walking a preposterously small amount, just 3% of the time. Usually when someone is near the top of the leaderboards this early, we talk about negative regression to the mean, but Johnson’s walk rate is so low it can only regress upward. Don’t get me wrong, the dude doesn’t walk, but he’s never walked less than 4% of the time in the major leagues, so that should get marginally better, or at least not worse. The next player on the list who walks less than Johnson is JP Arencibia, who is 44th ranked. Johnson’s line looks like this: .397/.424/.556. He has the same wRC+ as Prince Fielder who has walked 17% of the time while hitting for more power! How is this so? Well Johnson is hitting .397, which is very high and very BABIP driven (.460). He is a high BABIP guy (career .353), but that should come down to some degree and he’ll settle in closer to his career mark of 104 wRC+, which is nothing at which to sneeze. Now if only he could play defense (career UZR -34.9 in 365 games).

Yu Darvish and the Most Incredible .GIF

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

This site is devoted primarily to the Detroit Tigers and secondarily to baseball as a whole, and this post will concern the latter. It will be very short and direct.

A gentleman in the comments section of  the Rangers blog Lone Star Ball created this masterpiece that features Yu Darvish throwing each of his pitches at one time. The creator is Drew Shepherd and he has done superb work. Go watch it.

The Morning Edition (April 4, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Matt Joyce walks-off in an 8-7 win over the Orioles
  • Joey Votto, not to be outdone, hits a walk-off single not ten minutes later in a 5-4 win over the Halos
  • Ervin Santana allows 3 HR in his Royals debut, loses to the White Sox
  • Matt Harvey tosses 7 1-hit innings and fans 10 Padres in an 8-4 win
  • Halladay strikes out 9, walks 3, and allows 5 runs in 3 1/3 innings in a loss to the Braves

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Cliff Lee and Kris Medlen face off in Atlanta in the only premier pitching matchup of the day (7p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Which #3/4 starters will give their teams a boost in the first week?

The early season is a great time for hilarious quirks of small sample sizes. Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that yesterday I was abuzz about Yu Darvish’s -0.27 FIP. In other words, FIP thinks his strikeout rate, walk rate, homerun rate, and IFFB rate should yield outcomes that literally take runs away from the opposing team. That is quite impressive. Another sample size issue I’m tracking is which player is the first past 1.0 WAR. As I write this, Darvish’s 0.6 is the closest, but on average we wouldn’t expect to see it happen until we were about 10-20 games into the season. I think my money will be on Harper. Much of what happened last night can be encapsulated in the lines above, but yesterday was the first day in which all 30 teams were in action and the benefits of that were reaped by those of us watching around 10pm. I really missed watching MLB Network go back and forth as so many games went down to the wire. Man, baseball is great and I’m never sleeping again.

The Morning Edition (April 3, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

From Last Night:

  • Yu Darvish nearly twirls the 24th perfect game in MLB history in his first start of the season in Houston.
  • Robinson Cano fired Scott Boras and hired Jay-Z to be his agent. That was not my attempt at humor, but rather something that actually occurred. This should be a sign that Cano plans to stay in New York.
  • Arencibia struggled to handle Dickey’s knuckleball in a 4-1 loss to the Tribe.
  • The Orioles exploded for 5 in the 7th to beat the Rays 7-4. Price gave up 2 runs in 6 innings.

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Halladay makes his season debut against the Braves (7p Eastern)
  • Matt Harvey looks to pick up where last season ended against the Padres (7p Eastern)
  • Lincecum and Beckett duel in a battle of pitchers in need of a bounce back season (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • How will the pitchers coming off bad seasons and injuries fare as the open the season?

The big story last night was obviously Yu Darvish who flirted with perfection in Houston against the Astros. He struck out 14 in 8 2/3 innings and didn’t allow a baserunner until there were two outs in the 9th. The Rangers ace looked dominant even if it was against the league’s worst team. His pitch count was elevated early on due to the numerous strikeouts, but he increased his efficiency in the middle innings to temper the worry about a potential pitch count meets perfect game quandary. Bowa and Ripkin on MLB Tonight said they wouldn’t let him go more than 105 in his first start, but Padres fan and host Matt Vasgersian reminded them that some teams fans have never seen a no-hitter and those shouldn’t be cast aside lightly. It was a fun night staying up with Darvish and his quest, even if it ultimately came up short. We’ve only seen 23 perfect games in MLB history and it’s always great to follow along with one, but it’s actually even rarer to see some lose it to the final batter. Darvish becomes just the 11th pitcher to lose a perfect game to the 27th batter. He was masterful and clearly in midseason form in what made for the most exciting game of the young season (Take that Kershaw!). Man, I can’t wait to see Verlander face the Astros. It’s good to have baseball back.

The Morning Edition (April 2, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

From Last Night:

  • Bryce Harper backed a great performance from Stephen Strasburg with 2 HR
  • Clayton Kershaw twirled a CGSO and homered
  • Justin Upton homered in his Braves debut
  • The Brewers and Angels both won in extras

What I’m Watching Today:

  • David Price begins his Cy Young defense against the O’s in Tampa (3p Eastern)
  • The new look Blue Jays begin their season behind R.A. Dickey (7p Eastern)
  • Darvish looks to help the Rangers against the undefeated Astros (8p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • What will Hyun-Jin Ryu’s debut look like in LA? (10p Eastern)

It was an exciting Opening Day and today’s abbreviated schedule looks to pact a slightly less forceful punch despite some exciting talent toeing the rubber. I’ll have my eye on the Blue Jays, especially to see if they can get off on the right foot. Check back each and every morning for musings from around the league. As the season gets a little further along, this will become a place for more analysis and debate.

The Nine Best American League Starting Pitchers for 2013

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

The previous eight weekends have featured lists of The Nine best players at each of the main field positions for the 2013 MLB season. You can access these lists here all season long and I will provide status reports of these lists as we proceed through 2013.

There will be no list for relief pitchers because there are so many of them and their range of performance is so small that making a list isn’t very interesting. There will also be no DH list because there just aren’t enough full time DHs to make it worthwhile. Only 15 teams can have a DH and some of them employ platoons. Picking 9 DHs out of like 13 guys seems silly.

But starting pitching is a place of great interest and I struggled to decide how to break it down. With more than 150 players receiving starts in a given season on the hill versus a number closer to 30 for the field positions, I’ve decided to break it in half. I thought about lefties and righties, but decided American League and National League would be more fun.

Here, without more nonsense, are The Nine best American League starting pitchers for 2013 according to SABR Toothed Tigers. The list is difficult to make because there are many excellent candidates, so as always, don’t get too worked up about it.

9. Max Scherzer (Tigers)
Scherzer will turn 29 during the upcoming season, which will be the fifth full one of his career. The strikeouts shot up last season and he kept his walk rate below 3.00 per 9 for a second straight season. He had some arm issues late in the season, but pitched well enough in the playoffs to make us think the winter off was enough to reset his aching body. He’s a flyball and strikeout pitcher, which will work well with the Tigers defense and last season was his most complete effort in the sense that he didn’t go through long stretches of poor performance. I still wonder if he can repeat his delivery and keep his awkward mechanics in line, but if he can continue on the path he started last year, he has a shot to be a force in the AL.

8. R.A. Dickey (Blue Jays)
Dickey is coming off two and a half very good seasons and an NL Cy Young. We can’t worry too much about his age given his knuckleballing ways, but we should worry that he’s moving to a less pitchers’ friendly Rogers Centre and slightly better AL East. Dickey won’t do quite as well under those conditions, but we can control for those context type factors. I don’t think he’ll be a Cy Young again, but his ability to make the ball dance should be enough to keep him on this list for another season.

7. C.C. Sabathia (Yankees)
Sabathia showed signs of aging in 2012 for the first time after 11 above average to great seasons leading up to it. He’s still a workhorse with great control and hasn’t had an ERA above 3.38 since 2005, with much of that time spend in the tough AL East. CC is probably making his final appearance on this list for his career, but he will remain one of the best pitchers in the AL for 2013.

6. Doug Fister (Tigers)
Fister had a higher WAR than all but 12 AL pitchers last season, despite only making 26 starts due to a nagging oblique injury during the first half of the season. Had he pitched at the same rate over 34 starts as he did over 26, he would have easily been a top nine pitcher last season. There is no reason to think anything but injuries would stand in his way. The strikeout rate is on the way up and his control has been excellent in a Tigers uniform. He’s only 29 and could easily be poised for another fine season. He also happens to be my favorite pitcher to watch. His mix of modesty and control with great fastball movement makes for excellent viewing. He’s also super tall. That’s fun too.

5. David Price (Rays)
The reigning Cy Young winner in the AL is fifth on this list, not because I don’t like him, but because I like his opponents more. Price has three straight 4.0+WAR seasons and is right in the middle of his prime. All signs point to another great year from Price, but I think he’ll be just shy of Cy Young conversation in 2013.

4. Matt Moore (Rays)
So when I previewed the AL East, I said Moore would be the Cy Young of the division. In doing so, I also decided he would be a better pitcher than his teammate David Price. Perhaps that was foolish, but I’m bullish on Moore and think people overlook him. He was a top three prospect entering last season and had made an excellent late season cameo in 2011. A year of control issues later, and everyone seems to be looking past him. I’m not. Moore is not yet 24 and has a lot of developing left to do. He throws gas from the left side with two solid offspeed pitches. He was a solid #3 starter in his first big league season. I don’t see any reason to think he can’t make the leap to #1 a year after he was the best prospect in the league.

3. Yu Darvish (Rangers)
Darvish tied Price last season for third in the AL in WAR and should still be on his way up. The strikeout rate was superb and if he can limit the walks at all, he’ll be an elite starter. After a year in the states, he should be poised for a better season because he won’t be adjusting to life in America and can focus solely on pitching. The stuff is great and his first year of results matched that.

2. Felix Hernandez (Mariners)
Felix is about to turn 27 and already has 38.3 career WAR and four straight 230 IP + seasons. The velocity ticking down is the only thing to worry about with the game’s richest pitcher, but he’s shown the ability to be effective at all speeds and is coming off one of his best seasons as a pro. He’s an ace and a stud and any word you can think of to describe a top pitcher. The only thing he isn’t is number one on this list.

A photo from directly above the author's desk.

A photo from directly above the author’s desk.

1. Justin Verlander (Tigers)
I’m not sure what needs to be said about Verlander. His first three seasons were very good and his last four have been phenomenal. He has a ROY, Cy Young, MVP, and has never missed a start in seven seasons. He’s entering his age thirty season as the game’s best and more reliable starting pitching. With four above average to elite pitches, the two time no-hitter thrower is every hitter’s worst nightmare.

How would you rank the AL’s arms? Sound off. Check back next weekend for the NL list.

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