Tag Archives: Jeremy Bonderman

2011 MLB Spring Training Review: Week of February 27th

SPRING TRAINING QUICK HITS

There is still talk of Francisco Liriano being dealt to the Yankees within the next two weeks. Still not sure how this makes sense for Minnesota, but they’re not exactly doing anything to dispel the reports…Fausto Carmona has rightfully been named the Indians’ 2011 Opening Day starter, this after winning 13 games last year with a 3.77 ERA…Destined for the bullpen, Aroldis Chapman continues to electrify starting off the spring with 4K in 2 IP. And he’s also walked three…Just when it appeared time to worry about Domonic Brown‘s spring struggles, we now get to worry an additional 4-6 weeks as he fractured his hamate bone. Remember Ryan Zimmerman fractured the same one and it sapped his power for some time. Ben Francisco now has a great opportunity to do something with this opportunity…

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American League Central Previews- Tigers

Today’s Focus: Detroit Tigers

The additions of Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit are huge. They also have a guy named Miguel Cabrera who will see more strikes with VMart hitting behind him. Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer will be the best 1-2 starters in the A.L. Central. Their bullpen is a strength with Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit, Daniel Schlereth, Joel Zumaya and Brad Thomas. Is this enough for the Tigers to compete in 2011?

Brad Penny is a good add for the back-end of the rotation. The only dilemma I see is Brad Penny and Rick Porcello are both ground ball pitchers. This will have a negative affect on the Tigers leaky infield defense. Carlos Guillen has lost his range and Jhonny Peralta never had any. Miguel has never been a great defender.

As for the lineup, you have about five guys who should be penciled in at DH and most of team is right-handed. What happens when the injury-prone Brandon Inge goes down? Do you move the injury-prone Carlos Guillen to 3rd? Carlos Guillen may not be back until May. Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes will platoon at 2B until he returns.

Notable Losses: Armando Galarraga, Johnny Damon, Gerald Laird, Jeremy Bonderman

Notable Pick Ups: Brad Penny, Victor Martinez, Joaquin Benoit

This team seems to have too many aging veterans and injury concerns for my liking. Expect them to finish 3rd in the Central again finishing behind the White Sox and Twins.

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.