...I called flyball pull rate and flyball velocity. So we are hunting for the same concept. I'm trying to find the statistic you could use to track the back leg, other than barrels directly. Basically, I want to know how often a player pulls it in the air with high velocity.
PITCHER BATTER MATCHUPS
Here are the backgrounds. At BJOL there was an interesting statement last week, "All managers should always ignore all such data." I hae me do'ots, but in this case nobody has seen anybody much yet. Which favors the pitchers, whatever they tell you.
Key thing for Miranda is always those two or three warning-track balls, and the 3rd time through the lineup. See what approach he uses after they're used to his sneaky fastball and his change on the same tunnel.
Interesting little riddle for us as sabes that Matty posted. Why isn't Trevor Plouffe doing better? (Keep in mind that if Edwin Diaz' component skills match --- > Lee Smith, Dennis Eckersley, Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman and Joe Shlabotnik, that is considered a 'Best. Case. Outcome.' Comp groups always have scrubeenies.)
But Dr. D's first proposal here is that we check Plouffe's "back leg specials." He doesn't hit many homers. All those other guys, they get their pitch, they pull it 400 feet in the air and she's gone. Plouffe gets his pitch and lines one into the gap. Granted, Nelson Cruz might only have +2 MPH over some other guy on launch velocity but it's 102, 82, 102, 82, not 90 90 90. Tony Blengino was also baffled at (say) Boomstick's ability to "pull the ball in the air selectively." It's not rocket science. These guys are setting themselves up to hit homers. //
Secondly, Haniger is finding his sea legs. These are his FIRST at-bats as he orients himself. Haniger is also going to hit scads of homers.
Thirdly, I disilike Z% - OOZ%. Much better to use EYE and much better to consider total pitch-stalking, as Matt noted with his P/PA. It's one thing to fan 140 times and walk 80; it's another thing to fan 70 times and walk 40. Notice how different Z% / OOZ% would be from Z-O.
But yeah. That is one WHALE of a comp group for Haniger.
SUB-PLOTS OF THE WEEK
1 Motter continuing to load up and back-leg one or two balls per game, a la Brian Dozier
2 Ben Gamel's OBP skills threatening a semi-Gardner half season
3 Guillermo Heredia continuing to fly under the radar on the field, if not in the weight room
This guy's fastball was literally 82 MPH in the first inning and yet -- hilariously -- he found a way to make them swing willow switches at gnats. He did this by throwing a blizzard of 78 MPH sliders and 77 MPH shuutos into the low part of the strike zone. (Well, the cutter would go onto the black.) Then he'd "hump up" and throw 84-86 and it looked fast, like Moyer's used to look kinda fast.
Brooks has him using a Mike Marshall 33-33-33 split, only 28 fastballs of any kind. You want to make yourself useful, Gentle Denizen :- ) search the almanacs for the most-similar starting pitcher (since 1980) to this approach.
Don't forget it was a lockdown performance. Per Shandler Quality Starts it was bascially a 5/5. Hey, we SAID that Hisashi Iwakuma was going to be a very, VERY clever smoke-and-mirrors huckster once he got to that point. It's a legitimate question whether he (uniquely) can figure out a way to cobble himself some 5 IP, 2 ER outings from this kind of stuff.
It takes a whale of a lot of guts to solve a fastball problem by throwing no fastballs. HEH! But it earns Iwakuma a stock upgrade on SSI: "hold."
It struck me recently, one of my favorite things about Heredia is how he carries himself. Cuban players come from a baseball culture full of flare, and personally I really like that. I was a huge fan of Puig for quite a while based more on watchability than on talent (which of course was in no short supply). But Heredia... he's a few degrees off the norm, and I love it. He's got the Cuban equivalent of a Blue Collar, keep your head down and do your job mentality. Which of course is still exponentially more energetic and flashy than, say, Dustin "Clinton" Ackley, which is what makes it so great. A baseball rat with swagger... haven't had one of those since Nick Franklin (oof, bad comp, he's flamed out pretty hard since he left us). I blinkin' like it.
His career will probably live or die with his ability to translate that weight training into enough extra ISO, but as long as he's on the field I'm gonna enjoy watching him go about his business about as much as anyone on the team.
Hey Doc, do I get some credit for staying on the Good Ship Hisashi while it started leaking velocity and all the rats (no offense intended) started scurrying for shore? I had him at "Hold" right after his disaster start, and it's good to know I'm not defending that hill alone anymore.
cuz I agree with every word of that on Heredia too. Flair = awesome, complacency = not, slight chip on the shoulder = even better. The Cespedes angle more than the Betancourt.
so what is next for Iwakuma?
Honestly, Kuma's got a much higher baseball IQ than I could ever dream of. Trying to predict him is a little foolish: if hitters can't do it, why would I be able to?
Pitching backwards, hiding the fastball (now his worst pitch) as much as possible is the only step I could have seen coming. From here, I imagine the slider and change-curve become more important, since they can poach strikes and still function with less velo. The curve especially seems to play up now that it's down around 67, although I imagine 1 in 30 or so will get hit about 500ft. Apart from that, it's all just pitchability baby. I'll be interested to see if the ladder fastball still works with consistency anymore.
He's throwing only 41.5% FB's this season. His career number is 49.1%. 45.7%, last season, was his previous career low.
Over his career his average fastball velocity has gone like this: 90.3, 89.5, 88.9, 88.4, 87.8, 85.4. Like clockwork, he was losing half a mile per hour per season (or thereabouts) until this season and its 2.4 MPH drop.
His arm is a noodly apendage (for you Flying Spaghetti Monster fans).
But his brain is needle sharp.
Fangraphs says he's throwing 30% sliders for the season. Although I think a bunch of cutters bleed into that slider column.
Re: Stalking pitches.
Almost every AB has seen a first pitch fastball to Gamel. Being the patient newby, he takes them.
I am going to be looking for the Edgar Effect tonight. I'm hoping he swings for the fences on one of those first heaters. Will see if Edgar coached him up a bit.
Fine to go John Olerud but Oley knew what to do about pitchers taking liberties.
couldn't agree more that he needs one or two extra base hits to teach them to keep the fingers out of the doggie's mouth. Coming up in the next few games?
Gamels fourth inning single was on a first pitch fastball. I recall Goldschmidt commenting about that exact adjustment having happened at the time.
so that's good
I think. Either way, he was cheating...just as he should have been.
Like you genius types right above, the value of being able to work the count cannot be overstated. But can it also become a sacred cow, so to speak? As if you shouldn't swing at first pitches? Swinging at fastballs early in the count might be the only ones a hitter sees. I think Matt Holliday with the Rockies (and it is snowing here today) batted over .400 with power when swinging at first pitch fastballs in his years at Mile High.
I like it!
I may be in error but I think I saw a "humped up" 88 MPH pitch that was a cutter from him in one of his last 2 innings. I was viewing on either mlb.com gameday or ESPN's gameday thing.
Early report on Gamel is he looks more confident than last year.
I have starting calling Haniger-Segura-Motter the new BIG3 vs Cano, Cruz, Seager the old big 3.
One oversight is how Heredia continues to state his case that maybe I should go with BIG4 or (Four Squared) 4^2.
3-4 weeks on both Haniger's grade 2 oblique strain, and Felix's bursitis is good news considering the alternatives.
Cishek back for May! Simmons is throwing in extended ST Late may.
Heredia's Going to get a really nice chance to show what he can do, considering he's the number two centerfielder also .
I think we can safely say that Heredia is a fulltime OF in the bigs. Last season, in AA-AAA he was something like .300-.395-.395, give or take a point or two. He had a BB-K numbers of 48 and 47. And then he was a .250-.349-.315 MLBer.
We all agree that he's bulked up some and that he's hitting the ball harder this season, which his .310-.341-.476 line bears witness, too. Notice the declining BBs and the increased Slg. I'm betting that pitchers were challenging him more and he's hurting them more as a result. The Slg. % won't stay at .476, but the BB rate will increase as we go forward.
For his brief career, he's a .269-.347-.366, hitter, with all indications being that the Avg. and OBP are numbers that will continue or increase. The Slg. will certainly creep up over the season, as his muscle-fueled pop increases last year's paltry number. If he gets it to .385, then he's essentially Austin Jackson: Career .272-.332-.397. I think that's Heredia's baseline.
Interestingly, as we stand right now, both Heredia and Jackson have career 100 OPS+ numbers, according to B-R. Heredia also brings a very functional or better CF glove, just like Jackson.
I'm pretty sure all of us would take Heredia going forward over Leonys Martin. I would take Gamel over Martin, in a New York minute.
When Haniger returns, it is possible (if Heredia and Gamel are .280-.340-.390 guys) that Dyson finds himself as a specialty player, once again. Gamel's turning on that FB showed me something last night. I had speculated that Edgar might whisper, "Stalk the fastball" in his ear and I think he did. Brooks has Gamel as exceptionally patient on FB's seen, sometimes you have to load up on them. He lined out to the 1B in the 9th, but I didn't see that AB, so I do not know if it was on a FB.
And kudos to El Miranda-e. He struggled with the FB early, but found his game and was dang tough. Start to start, he will bounce around some, but over the long haul, he's a more than decent #4 with upside. No worries.
Seriously, the momentum on this team is great! And we just lost two absolutely key players, thankfully for the mid-range rather than the long (focused on this year for now).
It all just seems too good to be true. Heredia stepping up to this degree with Dyson on his heels, Motter maintaining his surprising start, Kuma and Gallardo taking a step back from the brink while Miranda does his best impression of Ol' Reliable. (Kuma as Moyer 2.0? Sheesh...)
I love this season. It has the feeling that Something is going to be Different. Now just get the guys all healhy at once, please - and keep them there! I'm still curious what our midseason acquisitions are going to add.
Scribner to the DL and Boog Powell gets the call up. Welcome to the bigs, Booger.
Powell's .261-.424-.326 Tacoma line isn't that impresive. Neither is his career AAA .708. Well the BB's are nice. But Tyler Smith, at .303-.378-.379, and IF verstility, or Mike Freeman make more sense, don't they....??? Although Smith necessitates a 40-Man move.
With Motter and Valencia able to play the OF, where does Powell play? When does he play? I can't see him bumping Heredia or Gamel out of the lineup and Dyson's "strength" is vs. RHP, so Powell isn't much of a platoon partner there. Gamel, Heredia and Dyson are all + defenders, too.
Hmmmmm.....??? Interesting, huh?
Powerll being up is probably a placeholder/pinch runner type deal with Motter being restricted to the IF until we get O'Malley healthy
...that they did this for a short term until Cruz is healthy. He can't even DH right now, apparently, so they're DH'ing Vogelbach/Valencia and playing Motter at first until he's back
Thanks Matt. That makes sense. Except that Freeman would make more sense. But I get it now.
Cruz in the lineup today. Valencia at 1B vs the RHP.. C'mon...give Vogs some consistent time. Motter gets the rest today.
Hopefully Boogs' arrival means the end of the Dyson fulltime experiment. Heredia's .800+ OPS makes Dyson's extra bit of defense so unimpressive.
His most valuable role to the team would be pinch runner late in close games, then defensive sub. Getting to pick and choose the spots where you need a stolen base is exactly how I'd use my 25th roster spot (which is where Dyson fits in, imo).
Sincere question, how many defensive plays will Dyson make that Heredia won't? Follow up: How many defensive plays would it take to make up for the gap between Dyson's 70 wRC+ compared to Heredia's 135?
From where I'm sitting, the answer is: a lot. Especially if you still used Dyson as a late inning runner/defensive replacement.
The Royals aren't idiots, they knew where Dyson fit in. Dipoto getting cute with making career platooners into everyday players has failed miserably. As soon as Valencia went back to not being "the guy", he started to hit.
Dyson has value, I just don't believe the delta between his defense and the other outfielders defense+added offense is enough to justify a starting spot and I hope Boogs arrival is the beginning of the end of this (failed) experiment.
Dyson was playing while Heredia sat. You still see that in the SSS stats everyone is talking about as if they're on stone tablets. Dyson had a .158 BABIP during his opening 24 PA. He's only had 57 PA since then to normalize but the .286 BABIP (career .310 BTW) has helped him to a .339 OBP since and 7 stolen bases. He's also had at least 5 XBH hit HARD that were snagged by great defensive plays. Heredia (who I love, but these are the facts) only has 1 more XBH in 13 less PA (57 to 44- ignoring the opening week team-wide funk). The difference on offense is not as stark as people are making it.
I do love Heredia but Dyson is not chopped liver and was only part of the problem during the first week. In fact he's 9th on the team in OPS so let's teach him 1b instead. Too bad we won't have any OF that hit this year, eh? 6 of the 7 OF capable players on the team are among the top 9 OPS on the team. Only Valencia is not.
"Only 1 more xbh in 13 less PA..."
That's 1 more extra base hit in 30% less plate appearances. Kind of a big deal.
I said that right after "He's also had at least 5 XBH hit HARD that were snagged by great defensive plays." Could easily have swung the opposite way is what I was getting at, then we're talking about Dyson slugging or Heredia not slugging enough.
Statistically, percentage wise they are far apart but when it's a sum difference of 1 or 2 that's miniscule. Which happens with small sample sizes every time. Slight good or bad luck makes a big difference because +1 or -1 changes the rate much quicker
To get off the schnide v Salazar and with homer #1 this year. Yeah dingers, more homers are good!