Category Archives: Sabermetrics

The Casual Sabermetrician – First Half 2011 analysis

Welcome back to the Casual Sabermetrician.  It’s July, Summer is in full swing, and we’re at the half way point of the season.  We again look back on our pre-season exercise  and First Quarter Analysis of looking at tERA vs. ERA to find out which pitchers are pitching above their heads and which have been unlucky so far.  For fantasy purposes this translates to who we can sell high on and conversely who we might be able to buy low on.

Again, our method involves extracting tERA and ERA stats from Fangraphs into a spreadsheet and creating a formula to view tERA-ERA.  We can also look and see if the guys we looked at 7 weeks ago have regressed to the mean or not.
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Fantasy MLB Spot Starting: 06.17.11

Welcome back to Spot Starting.  We enter Inter League play this weekend so teams aren’t as familiar with the pitchers they face which is usually advantage to the pitcher.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fellow Dads out there.  It is my wish for you that you get to read your Sunday box scores in peace if just for one day.

For games on Saturday June 18th these selected pitchers might be had in your league (less than 50% owned in Yahoo! or ESPN) with percent owned Yahoo/ESPN, (team), and opponent:

Brian Matusz  47% /  51% (BAL) @ WAS

Edinson Volquez 41% / 38% (CIN) vs. TOR

Scott Baker 40% / 27% (MIN) vs. SD

Tim Stauffer 39% / 13% (SD) @ MIN

Matt Harrison 32% / 14% (TEX) @ ATL

Randy Wolf 27% / 28% (MIL) @ BOS

Carlos Carrasco 11% / 6% (CLE) vs. PIT

Paul Maholm 8% / 5% (PIT) @ CLE

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05.22.11 Box Score Breakdown: Fantasy MLB News and Notes

Interleague play always bring interesting games. Like the Mets being up 3-1 and ready to take the series from the Yanks and then giving up an 8-run inning to lose the game (and series).

Ugh…onto it…

4th and Home Player of the Day: James Shields – SHO, 3 H, 13:1…Big Game James continues to dominate. This start was just nasty!

The Bats:
Asdrubal Cabrera
– 5/5, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI…Wow. He now has 9 HR on the season (most in his career) and is looking to break all of his past single-season records. Yeah, I told you he was juicing.

Michael Brantley – 3/4, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB…Guy continues to produce, mostly since we talked about him on the Show of course.

Joey Votto – 2/4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI…Votto’s been absent for a bit from this piece, so it’s good to see him back. Batting .335 with 6 HR and 28 RBI.

Jay Bruce – 2/4, R, HR, RBI…If Jose Bautista did not exist, we’d be talking about Bruce. He has been ON FIRE. He’s now up to .271 with 11 HR and 27 RBI.

Alex Rodriguez – 4/5, R, RBI…Got the average back up to .284!

Curtis Granderson – 1/4, R, HR, RBI…Number 16. Unreal.

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05.19.11 Box Score Breakdown: Fantasy MLB News and Notes

Madison Bumgarner JUST missed a SHO. He’d be on your team if you read my “September Star Series…

Onto it…

4th and Home Player of the Day: Jason Giambi– 3/5, 3 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI…So he juiced before the game I assume?

The Bats:
Jay Bruce
– 3/4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI…Bruce is starting to heat up as he’s now batting .333 for the past week.

Justin Morneau – 3/5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI…Morneau with a nice night to help his disappointing season.

Trevor Plouffe – 1/5, R, HR, 3 RBI…Ok, ok. It’s about time I talk about the Rook. Through nine games he’s batting .286 with 2 HR and 8 RBI.

Howie Kendrick – 3/4, R, HR, RBI…Been quiet lately, but now hitting .322 with 7 HR and 18 RBI.

Allen Craig – 3/4, 2 R, HR, RBI…Holliday-esque in his start!

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The Casual Sabermetrician – First Quarter 2011 analysis

Welcome back to the Casual Sabermetrician.  It’s hard to believe, but after this weekend we’ll be at the Quarter poll of the season with all teams playing around 40 games and most (healthy) starting pitchers having made 8 starts out of their 32-33 for the year.  This affords us a great excuse to look back on our pre-season exercise of looking at tERA vs. ERA to find out which pitchers are pitching above their heads and which have been unlucky so far.  For fantasy purposes this translates to who we can sell high on and conversely who we might be able to buy low on.

Again, our method involves extracting tERA and ERA stats from Fangraphs into a spreadsheet and creating a formula to view tERA-ERA.  They already have this for ERA-FIP, I would imagine them adding ERA-xFIP and ERA-tERA in the near future as I believe these are a much more telling stat when evaluating who is do for regression.
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The Casual Sabermetrician – a look at SPs

Welcome to the Casual Sabermetrician.  If you are anything like me, you’re interested in advanced baseball statistics but all the formulas and your lack of an advanced degree in mathematics leave your head spinning.  The good news is, these Saber stats are always being tweaked and new ones are always being invented, so it’s not too late to get in on the ground floor on some and to use this knowledge to your advantage on Draft Day.  Let’s dig in.

Our first example will be to look at starting pitching.  In most, if not all leagues, hitters are valued over pitchers.  One major reason is that pitchers are much less consistent and harder to predict than hitters.  Why is this?   It’s simple, once bat meets ball a lot of what happens next is out of the pitcher’s control.  The statistics we have to address this are grouped under the heading DIPS (Defense Independent Pitching Statistics), these have been around since 1999 and were invented by Voros McCracken.  If this sounds familiar, it’s because you read about it in Moneyball.  Stats that have been used the past decade include Defense-Independent Component ERA (DICE) and the more widely used Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) invented by Tango TigerThe Hardball Times has their own version of FIP, but it is Tango Tiger’s that is used on most sites, most notably Fangraphs.

But the stat I want to look at more closely in this post is tERA – True Runs Allowed (also known as TRA).  This is a much newer stat invented by Graham MacAree of Stat Corner.  It seeks to improve upon FIP and xFIP (Expected FIP) by taking into account the performance of balls in play.

From Stat Corner:

The hope for tRA then was to construct a metric which takes into account every action a pitcher is responsible for and turns those numbers into runs and outs based around a highly logical and transparent mathematical framework.

For fantasy purposes – how can we use tERA to help us in our upcoming draft?  By looking at the delta between ERA and tERA and looking for outliers.  This is a simple exercise and you can do it at home.  On FanGraphs – go to Leaderboards for Pitchers and select Advanced.  Export this chart to Excel.  Open the file and add a column and call it ERA-tERA.  Create a formula to subtract the tERA column from ERA and then sort.  Let’s see what stands out…

The Unlucky:

Justin Masterson (0.89); Kyle Davies (0.88); Chris Narveson (0.78); James Shields (0.78); Jeremy Bonderman (0.72)

The Lucky:

Clay Bucholz (-1.59); Trevor Cahill (-1.04); Tim Hudson (-1.03); Rodrigo Lopez (-1.01); Jaime Garcia (-0.93)

Let’s analyze the above.  Masterson looks to regress to the mean more than most but is useful only in the deepest or AL only leagues with his extreme BB/9 rate.  Davies is in the same boat as Masterson.  Narveson is interesting and could be a good sleeper pick in deep leagues on an improved Brewers team that is all in this year, he is going undrafted in most mockdrafts.  Shields is where this list gets interesting.  Big Game James has struggled since his and the Rays breakout season in ’08.  Shields has suffered from a lot of bad luck the past 2 seasons including an unsightly .341 BABIP in ’10, but his peripherals are all good – his K/BB ranked 10th in the majors in 2010.  The Rays don’t look to be contenders, but look for Shields to improve in 2011.  His current ADP is 160 (43rd SP) so he could also come as a big time bargain in later rounds.  Bonderman – eh, he’s undraftable.  Another pitcher of note is Zach Greinke – his delta is (0.66) and moving to the aforementioned Brewers and the  NL, it’s easy to imagine Zach rekindling his ’09 mastery.   His ADP is 47 (8th SP) so you might want to reach to ensure you get him, but if he slips to the 4th or 5th round in your draft you better pounce.

Buchholz’s delta jumps way off the page at a whopping -1.59 runs.  His 2010 peripherals were below league average so he is due for a major dose of reality in 2011.  He is being drafted 91st (25th SP) ahead of guys like Roy Oswalt and Shawn Marcum – I want no part of Buchholz’s return to reality and neither do you – let the uninformed over pay for him.  Trevor Cahill is another good young SP who is due for a major regression – his incredible league lowest .236 BABIP is just not sustainable.  He’s being drafted right after Buchholz – pass.  Hudson’s low K/9 rate and .249 BABIP also signal a regression in ’11.  At ADP 140 (38th) he’s not quite as risky but look at picking up Shields instead.  Lopez is undraftable, Garcia’s high walk rate is cause for concern and his impressive rookie campaign will yield to the inevitable sophomore slump, he’s only worth a late round flyer in deep or NL leagues.

I hope this first installment of the Causal Sabermetrician was helpful, I’ll see you in the next episode where we’ll turn to the offense.