Dr. D got his Ron Shandler BaseballHQ Forecaster in the post. This is going to heat up a cold news month by more than a degree or two. You can get your own copy at this site. If you spend money on only a few baseball things each year, this is one a' them.
It's not that HQ is right about everything, any more than (say) STEAMER is, but: HQ does what James did in the early days ...
(1) Break down player results by component skills, such as EYE, Contact %, expected PWR, etc ...
(2) And focus strongly on what the YEAR-TO-YEAR TRENDS ARE for these players.
In other words, it's one thing to note that Mike Leake's xFIP is different than it used to be. It's a completely different thing to --- > over-arc a player's batting EYE over his age 24-27 seasons and note that it is typical of an impending breakout. HQ allows you to spring-dive into your own analysis. Perfect red meat for the salivating SSI Denizen.
Also, HQ is of course a national site. There's no bias towards the Mariners - quite the reverse, in fact. You can confidently expect HQ to tilt UP on a 24-year-old St. Louis Cardinals player and that isn't quite the same expectation in Seattle. Also also, the book serves as a "reality check." Are we seeing things on Mike Zunino?! (Not at all. HQ-POTD on him up later.)
Very surprising to see that Shandler predicts (very feasible) stardom for Ryon Healy. The basics of his logic are:
1) Healy became an Oakland darling when he hit 13 homers after the ASB in 2016, and he hit a thunderous 19 more the first half of 2017. (His xPX, based on velo's, was a sky-high 154. Compare Nelson Cruz' 146 PX and 150 xPX; Cruz has led the majors in homers the last 4 years by +13 HR.)
2) Healy's CONTACT RATE went way up in the second half of 2017, as his power "collapsed" (to a weirdly low 65 PX). Shandler regards it as quite obvious that Healy's batting approach was to stop swinging for the fences and to "fix" a perceived batting average problem, even though there was no such AVG problem. Healy was hitting .276 in the first half.
3) Dr. D jumping in to interrupt here, inserting an HQ axiom: Healy is learning on the job, is 26-with-experience player, and "once you possess a skill you own it."
4) Simply doing no more than "recapturing" his 2017 first half would lead to: "UP: 35 HR." Which would make Healy a bankable MOTO hitter. That's the upside, but it's an upside that Healy just did over the calendar year July 2016-June 2017, and Shandler's got a lucrative $19 bid logged on Healy. Those other three March 1B's are beginning to fade a bit, neh?
We have used the facile paradigm that Healy is a LHP-basher, whereas Shandler correctly redirects us to the 26-with-experience paradigm. Oakland GM David Forst's words resonate here; it's the kind of thing you hear only once in a while from GM's and it's when they know they are trading production for production.
“Ryon’s been with us since he was drafted,” said GM David Forst, whose club selected Healy in the third round in 2013, “and brought a lot of excitement to the 2016 season when he started this wave of position players coming up. Seattle is getting a very good hitter.”
That's what you say when you deal Mitch Haniger and extras for Chris Archer. Tampa's getting a very good right fielder; you get it? If he contends for an MVP don't call us stupid. We knew.
Jerry Dipoto likes "post-hype sleepers," especially those who have shown production at AAA or higher. Zduriencik was into drafting; Dipoto is into post-22 hitters who have sabermetric slash lines, like Gamel and Haniger. It's another philosophy of his you've got to be glad about. It won't take many more Mitch Haniger heists to justify De Poet's confidence and approach, will it?
UND TAKE ZIS MIT YOU, Dept.
As if the above weren't enough to bring holiday cheer, here is a clever and enjoyable article by Dave Cameron on the Pagan-Healy trade. He visibly changes his position on the trade as his typing rolls along, which is amusing to watch ... and understandable to Dr. D, since he finds himself doing that too sometimes. :- )
At any rate, Dr. D doubts that he must explain to the Denizens what happens if --- > Ryon Healy pops 19 homers in each half this year. From the 9 hole, presumably.