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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 260

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10 top prospects I would call up now.
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Even with the minor league season ending, the education of some top prospects will continue. Whether their big league club is in the pennant race or looking toward next year, the opportunity to learn at the big league level exists -- if they get called up. Of course, due to concerns about roster limits, service time and starting arbitration and free-agent clocks, some of these clubs won't promote the players even though they deserve it. But considering the years these 10 players have had this season, as well as the impact they could have on their teams, it's time to bring them up.

Billy Hamilton, SS
Hamilton broke Vince Coleman’s pro baseball record of 145 stolen bases in a single season last week. He’s got 149 and counting between high Class A and Double-A. Despite that, the Reds are leaning away from bringing up Hamilton due to roster and service-time issues. And even if he is brought up, he probably won’t get a chance to play much in the final month of the season with the Reds in the heat of a pennant race. However, a call-up prior to Aug. 31 is important so that he is postseason eligible.

Hamilton can fly but unlike many one-dimensional speedsters, he can swing the bat in order to get on base, too. He displays tremendous bat speed and sweet spot contact. He has hit over .300 with an on-base percentage over .400 at both his minor league stops this year. In the field, Hamilton has tremendous range and a solid glove, but his arm rates as a below-average tool.

There remains a question in the industry if he’ll be able to make the throw from deep in the hole, but the Reds are not ready to give up on him playing shortstop. With Brandon Phillips entrenched at second base and signed through 2017, the Reds have to move Hamilton to the outfield if he can't stay at short. So they will give him every chance to stick.

If the Reds do call up Hamilton before Aug. 31, he would be an amazing weapon off the bench for manager Dusty Baker. Imagine a playoff game tied 2-2 in the ninth inning and Baker uses Hamilton as a pinch runner. He could have impact like Dave Roberts did in the 2004 ALCS, forcing pitchers to throw over to first, pitch out, hold the ball, not throw off-speed pitches. Hamilton could be a game-changing disruption in the postseason. However, it sounds more and more like the Reds though will not promote him.

Wil Myers, OF
Myers emerged as the dominant middle-of-the-lineup hitter in the minor leagues this season, but the Royals resisted the temptation to bring Myers up to the big leagues. However, there is nothing more for Myers to prove against minor league pitching. Consider his gaudy numbers between Double-A and Triple-A, where he hit a combined .309, with 35 home runs and 102 RBIs.

Myers’ best position will be right field, but that is currently manned by veteran Jeff Francoeur, who is in the second year of a three-year, $16 million contract. However, his .287 on-base percentage and 11 home runs has not made it easy for Royals general manager Dayton Moore to trade Francoeur and open up the position for Myers.

Nevertheless, the time has come for Myers to continue his development and spend the last five weeks of the season facing major league pitching. Doing so will offer Myers a head start on 2013, when he will be a legitimate AL Rookie of the Year candidate and a force in the middle of the Royals’ lineup.

Dylan Bundy, RHP
The Orioles remain in the race for both the division crown and an AL wild-card berth, so there is no reason they shouldn’t take advantage of using Bundy, one of the game’s best pitching prospects. Bundy is 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA at three different minor league stops, punching out an impressive 113 men in just 98 1/3 innings pitched. He uses a dominating 93-96 mph fastball in all four quadrants of the strike zone, and his command in the zone has improved. He continues to learn how to take off or add velocity to his curveball; his changeup has been solid. Bundy’s stuff is so dominant, it’s a no-brainer.

Jake Odorizzi, RHP
The Royals’ biggest need is an improvement in the starting rotation, and their failure to call up Odorizzi has been puzzling. Odorizzi is 14-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 24 games between Double-A and Triple-A. Over his past 10 starts he’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in all but one. And in the past three starts he’s pitched at least seven innings, yielding just three earned runs and 10 hits combined. The 22-year-old is not a top-of-the-rotation ace, but he eventually should develop into a solid No. 3-type starter, and it's time for him to get his feet wet.

Danny Hultzen, LHP
Hultzen dominated the Double-A Southern League, posting a 1.19 ERA in 13 starts, yielding just 38 hits in 75 1/3 innings and striking out 79. His promotion to Triple-A wasn’t an instant success. However, working on strict pitching counts and innings limits Hultzen has really started to put it together.

In five of his past seven starts, he’s given up one earned run or fewer. And in his last outing against Reno on Aug. 19, he threw five innings of no-hit baseball. Hultzen's fastball has been 89-93 and he has a tremendous changeup and solid slider with which he can paint on either side of the plate.

Jedd Gyorko, 3B
The Padres listened to offers for Chase Headley at the trade deadline as they prepared to pave an opening for Gyorko at third base. However, the Padres decided to hold on to Headley, who has rewarded them by having a career year. It's possible Headley or Gyorko could switch positions, which would allow the Padres to keep both. Gyorko, who is hitting .319 in Triple-A with 27 home runs, possesses a line-drive stroke that should work well at Petco Park and give the Padres another solid bat in their lineup. Like Myers, he has nothing else to prove in the minor leagues so it’s important he gets to see major league pitching in the final month of the season. However, the Padres are leaning toward not bringing him up in the final month because they have 40-man roster issues and Gyorko doesn't necessarily have to be added this year.

Oscar Taveras, RF
There might not be a spot in the starting lineup for Taveras right now, but his bat will make someone move aside before long. Taveras, 20, is hitting .318 in Double-A with 34 doubles, seven triples and 21 home runs. With Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Jon Jay, the Cardinals' outfield is full, but bringing up Taveras will help his development and give the Cardinals another power bat off the bench. Taveras could play a significant role if the Cardinals make it back to the World Series by giving them flexibility to rotate the DH position. Taveras also gives them important depth just in case they have an injury. Taveras can beat you with the bat, speed, glove or arm and is a definite player to watch.

Kolten Wong, 2B
Wong is the best second baseman in the Cardinals' organization, and that includes big leaguers Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso. Wong has good footwork around the bag and transitions really well with ball, glove and throwing motion. He has above-average range to both sides and is solid in all aspects of his defense. At the plate, he possesses a line-drive stroke with surprising power. He has slightly above-average speed and knows how to use it. The 21-year-old Wong is hitting .290 with 22 doubles and 21 steals, and would be an upgrade at second base if manager Mike Matheny gives him a shot.

Jonathan Singleton, 1B
Acquired in the 2011 Hunter Pence trade, the 20-year-old Singleton has a chance to make this one of the better trades of former GM Ed Wade’s run in Houston. Singleton already is in Double-A, boasting a .390 OBP with 26 doubles, 19 home runs and 76 RBIs. His raw power is quickly translating into game power. A September call-up should expedite his development and possibly have him ready to make the Astros’ major league team out of spring training next year.

Jurickson Profar, SS
There is no room for Profar to play for the Rangers this September. However, to keep both Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus well rested for the postseason, bringing up Profar could pick up Kinsler and Andrus at least once a week. Profar is the game’s best middle infield prospect, he's having a special year at Double-A and probably will play a full season at Triple-A next year. It also would behoove the Rangers to have him up and playing just in case of an injury to a middle infielder, in which case Profar would have likely gotten the call anyway. A September call-up would help his development because there’s nothing like learning at the major league level during a pennant race.

AL teams best positioned for October.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
We have arrived at that time of year when six-month projections no longer matter, and when, in one week, a journeyman call-up like Nate McLouth can impact a pennant race more than MVP candidates. Baseball is a summer-long game, but the last bricks of legacies are placed day by day, inning by inning, which is how Howard Ehmke and Al Weis became legends, and how the weakest lineup in World Series history stunned the baseball world in 1988.

There are no super teams now, and all the contenders have needs and holes that they try to plug game to game.

Brett Anderson opened spring training on the disabled list, recovering from Tommy John surgery, and now he is arguably the most important player in the American League wild-card race. When this spring started, Lew Ford hadn't played in the big leagues in five years, Nate McLouth was trying to win a job with the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Monday, Ford and McLouth hit home runs in the midst of a pennant chase that could be decided by one or two big swings.

"McLouth and Ford are great stories," Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter texted late Monday night in response to a question. "They love to play and don't take a single day in the major leagues for granted."

The stretch drive has started with every team seeking solutions. Here's a look at what needs to happen for each current AL contender to make the postseason.

Oakland Athletics: With the Athletics stunningly hanging in the playoff chase, they lost Bartolo Colon -- their most reliable starting pitcher this season -- to a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. But the timing was somewhat fortuitous, because Brandon McCarthy had just made his way back from the disabled list and because Anderson had just finished his last minor league rehabilitation outing.

Now Anderson is rested, and in two starts he has been spectacular. The left-hander flirted with a no-hitter into the fifth inning Monday, dominating the Cleveland Indians for seven innings with an array of fastballs and breaking balls, changing speeds. In two starts, he's allowed just six hits, two walks and one run in 14 innings.

Anderson is the son of a college baseball coach and grew up as a field rat, playing catch and shagging fly balls, and all those hours tossing the ball might be paying off now in his recovery. Regaining command is the greatest challenge for any pitcher coming back from a major injury, but Oakland catcher Derek Norris said over the phone Monday night that Anderson already has really great feel for his pitches. "All of them," he said. "Not just two or three."

Anderson is among the fastest-working pitchers in the sport, returning to the rubber quickly between pitches like Mark Buehrle. Because Anderson's command is already so good, Norris really can choose from the whole menu in any part of the count as he decides which pitch to signal. At times the Cleveland hitters appeared caught in what they looked for, and most of the time, the Indians beat the ball into the dirt. Anderson threw a first-pitch strike to 12 of the hitters he faced, and those hitters went 0-for-12.

The Athletics rank 25th in the majors in runs scored, and although Josh Reddick seems to be reviving from a slump -- he hit his 26th homer Monday -- offensive production will continue to be a struggle. But Oakland has some of the best pitching in the majors right now, ranking third in the AL in ERA since the All-Star break. The continued health and success of Anderson and McCarthy may be the most important barometers for the Athletics as they try to pull out an improbable playoff berth.

Travis Blackley will step into Oakland's rotation Wednesday. Anderson was outstanding, Susan Slusser writes.

Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles' success continues to make no sense, defying all the calculations on which almost all teams build their teams now. Their win on Monday was their 13th consecutive in a game decided by one run, and if you don't necessarily agree with how crazy that is, try flipping a quarter and seeing how long it takes to come up one side or the other 13 straight times.

Ford, 36, started at designated hitter, and in the second inning, he hit his first major league homer since July 29, 2007, 1,857 days ago. With the Orioles trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, the left-handed-hitting McLouth came to bat with a runner at first against reliever Brett Myers, bearing a batting average less than .200.

But at this moment, this was a good matchup for McLouth because of history: In 15 previous at-bats against Myers, he had six hits and three homers, the best power he had generated against any individual pitcher in the majors. Monday night, McLouth swung and blasted a two-run homer, and the Orioles, with their negative run differential and their pitching questions, had picked up their 70th win this season in the same way they have all year, with little pieces of help from all parts of their organization.

Orioles GM Dan Duquette explained in an e-mail how Baltimore wound up with Ford and McLouth. "We drafted Lew Ford with the Red Sox in 1999 and I traded him to the Twins," Duquette wrote. "He was recommended to acquire this year from the Long Island Ducks by Mike Boulanger, who had him in the minors with the Red Sox ... [Boulanger] is currently our minor league hitting coordinator.

"McLouth was recommended by [special assistant to the GM] Lee Thomas this winter when the Pirates signed him, and again when he was released [by the Pirates], because Endy Chavez and Nolan Reimold were both on the DL."

These Orioles are really good at staying in the moment, Showalter says.

The same question about the Orioles remains: Can they get enough pitching to hang on and make the postseason?

Chicago White Sox: Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper have done extraordinary work this year steering the Chicago rotation through a gauntlet of injuries and injury restrictions, and with Gavin Floyd out indefinitely, more juggling is needed. Jake Peavy will get the ball on Friday. How the White Sox can manage their health through September will determine their chances of holding off Detroit in the AL Central.

New York Yankees: It's all about how healthy they are because of their aging roster. Injuries have been a major concern, and now, with the Yankees' lead in the AL East down to 3½ games, Mark Teixeira is out with a calf problem. If the Yankees can keep CC Sabathia -- who recently spent time on the disabled list -- and others on the field, they should be able to win their division.

After the Yankees' latest loss, Rafael Soriano bolted the clubhouse.

Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte are making progress.

From ESPN Stats & Information: The Yankees are just 22-21 since the All-Star break and have seen their lead in the AL East dwindle from 7 games down to 3½. One of the reasons they have struggled is their collective decline on pitches on the inner half. Here's a look at some Yankees' batting averages this season on inside pitches (before ASB/since ASB):

Robinson Cano: .331/.267
Raul Ibanez: .294/.105
Alex Rodriguez: .287/.208
Curtis Granderson: .206/.139
Andruw Jones: .200/.115

Los Angeles Angels: Dan Haren is simply not the same pitcher he has been in the past, which means that every start made by Jered Weaver and Zack Greinke -- the healthiest and most reliable members of the Angels' rotation -- are of utmost importance down the stretch. The Angels probably can't afford any poor starts from those two in the final month of the season if they are going to erase their 4½-game wild-card deficit.

Detroit Tigers: They have two MVP candidates in Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson, and Justin Verlander has a real shot at his second consecutive Cy Young Award. The Tigers' successes and failures this year have seemingly been determined by the complementary parts of the team -- the hitters behind Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the No. 4 and No. 5 starters, the setup men. This is why Delmon Young's recent burst of offense is so crucial and why Max Scherzer and Doug Fister could be the most pivotal performers for Detroit.

Tampa Bay Rays: They have the best ERA in the majors since the All-Star break. Because there is so little margin for error, given the erratic offense, the excellent pitching must continue; it must be efficient. Tampa Bay is not suited for slugfests and won't get to the postseason without superior performance from its arms.

Texas Rangers: They have the best record in the league and appear to be in a strong position to make the postseason. Barring a rash of injuries or an extended run of poor luck, Texas should be able to hold off the A's and win the AL West.


• Casey Kelly was outstanding in his debut for the San Diego Padres, who continue to play really well. Kelly's father was in the stands for the game, Bill Center writes.

• As Joey Votto nears his return to the lineup, Paul Daugherty writes that the question for the Cincinnati Reds is: What should they do with Todd Frazier?

• Felix Hernandez might have moved into the lead for the AL Cy Young Award with his latest outing. As you watch him pitch these days, it feels like he's totally locked in, with the carrot of this award right in front of him.

Hernandez's current MLB rankings:
ERA: first (2.43)
WHIP: third (1.03)
Innings: first (196.2)
Strikeouts: third (184)
Opponents' OPS: third (.579)

From ESPN Stats & Info, how Felix won Monday:

A. Hernandez recorded a career-high 18 ground-ball outs. His final nine outs of the game came on ground balls.
B. Nine ground-ball outs came on his fastballs, four on his changeup, three on his curveball and two on his slider. It's his first start this season in which he got at least two ground-ball outs on all four of his pitches.
C. Hernandez pounded the strike zone with his fastball. He threw 40 of his 53 fastballs (76 percent) for strikes, his highest percentage in the past four seasons. All but three of his strikes with his fastball came on pitches in the zone.

• Justin Verlander is still the best this year, writes John Lowe, but wins have eluded him.

• Small adjustments have paid off in a big way for Chris Sale.

• David Price was knocked around on Monday in the Rays' loss.

• Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay weighed in on the Stephen Strasburg debate. From Bob Brookover's story:

Doc's free advice to Strasburg and the Nationals?

"I think the work you do in between the starts is more important," Halladay said. "You learn over time how much you need to throw in between your starts and what you need to do during the winter, and that to me is the big difference. It's not how many innings you throw. It's about once I get up there in innings in the second half, do I need to throw a 50-pitch bullpen every time or can I get away with doing less and save myself? Over the years, you learn what works best for you."

Halladay admitted that if he were wearing Strasburg's cleats, he'd be campaigning on a daily basis to continue.

"Oh, yeah, absolutely," he said. "And I'm sure he is."

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Pirates cut pitcher Erik Bedard.

2. The New York Mets are hoping for a late power surge from Lucas Duda.

3. The Yankees should push Alex Rodriguez on the Los Angeles Dodgers, writes Joel Sherman.

4. The Orioles optioned Jake Arrieta to Triple-A to make room for Joe Saunders.

5. The Boston Red Sox should be careful about re-signing David Ortiz, writes Steve Buckley.

6. Skip Schumaker is OK with his role.

Dings and dents

1. Neil Walker was a late scratch.

2. Jose Bautista went to see a doctor.

3. Mike Napoli likely will be activated in September.

4. Rays shortstop Sean Rodriguez broke his hand punching a locker, he says.

5. Franklin Gutierrez was activated.

6. Dallas Braden had more shoulder surgery, Joe Stiglich writes.

By The Numbers
From ESPN Stats & Info

1: Times in his career Derek Jeter has hit a game-tying homer in the ninth inning or later, after doing so in Monday's loss to the Blue Jays.
5: Shutouts for Felix Hernandez this season, a Mariners franchise record for a single season.
13: The Orioles have won their past 13 games that have been decided by one run, setting a franchise record for most consecutive wins in games decided by one run.
36: The Orioles have hit 36 homers this season in the eighth inning or later, the most in the majors. Nate McLouth did it again on Monday, which was just his second homer in 54 games this season.

AL West notes

• Adrian Beltre is ridiculously hot at the plate.

• An Angels duo could make history.

AL Central notes

• The Indians were shut down in front of a lot of empty seats, writes Paul Hoynes.

• Walks really hurt the White Sox, Mark Gonzales writes.

• Liam Hendriks was a hard-luck loser.

AL East notes

• I watched a lot of the Royals-Red Sox game Monday, and Daisuke Matsuzaka really had some life to his fastball.

• Colby Rasmus and the Toronto Blue Jays pulled out a nice win, Richard Griffin writes.

NL East notes

• Jayson Werth feels like the Washington Nationals are ahead of schedule.

• The Atlanta Braves were completely shut down.

NL Central notes

• The Pirates have fallen to three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals after their latest loss, writes Michael Sanserino.

• Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals waited out a win. Matt Holliday won't win the NL MVP, in all likelihood, but he should be somewhere in the top 10.

• Bronson Arroyo gave a nice lift to the Reds.

• A position player was summoned to the mound by the Chicago Cubs.

• The Milwaukee Brewers blew up the ninth inning.

• The Houston Astros will monitor the innings of their young pitchers.

NL West notes

• Marco Scutaro has been a great pickup for the San Francisco Giants.

• The Dodgers' new offense was shut down, and Josh Beckett gave up a really long home run with his second pitch. He can be who he wants to be with the Dodgers, writes T.J. Simers.

• The Arizona Diamondbacks are hanging on the edge of the race, and they lost again. They are shuffling their roster in the midst of a pennant race.

• Jeff Francis and Tyler Colvin shined for the Colorado Rockies.

Early top-30 ranking for 2013 draft.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The 2013 draft class is shaping up to be the weakest in years, thanks largely to the end of a long run of strong groups of high school arms. The strengths of this upcoming class right now are college pitching, especially the kind of second-tier arms who typically go in the middle to back of the first round, and high school catching, although several of those kids are committed to major Division I programs and might be tough signs.

Having spent the summer scouting the top players for next year's draft, I figured this would be a good time to give you a preliminary ranking. So here's a very early look at the top 30 prospects in the class, starting with one you all probably know quite well.

1. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Drafted eighth overall by Pittsburgh in June, Appel chose not to sign with the Pirates, who offered $3.8 million, instead returning to Stanford to try to reach the College World Series for the first time in his career as a Cardinal. Even maintaining his level of performance would return him to consideration for the top pick, but if Appel can get more say in his pitch calling -- avoiding bench-called nonsense like six consecutive changeups to guys who can't hit his fastball -- he can still improve his stock as a senior.

2. Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas Up to 96 with a power slider, Stanek has raised his arm slot slightly and profiles better as a starter now than he did out of high school, but needs to show he can pitch more off his fastball rather than relying on that tremendous breaking ball to miss bats.

3. Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
A top prospect since his junior year in high school, Wilson has gotten much bigger since heading to Palo Alto, and started to pull the ball more in the second half of this spring, carrying that power over to the Cape Cod League before an oblique strain ended his season. A full season of power and getting on base with solid defense in the outfield should have him in top-five consideration.

4. Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
Manaea came out of nowhere this summer, sitting 91-96 on the Cape like he was playing catch, with an above-average slider, although his arm slot's a little low and he pronates pretty late, which can put a little extra stress on the arm over time.

5. Austin Meadows, CF, Grayson (Ga.) HS
The best tools package among high school position players, Meadows has bat speed, above-average raw power, plus speed, and has a shot to play center field, although he'll still profile in a corner. It's a weak class of prep bats, but Meadows is one of the few who'd be a first-round talent in any year.

6. Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
I had Bryant ranked as a late first-round prospect out of high school but a high price tag dropped him to the 18th round and sent him to the Toreros, where he has mashed for two years. His swing is a little long and he may end up at first base, but he's among the top raw power guys among college bats.

7. Jonathan Crawford, RHP, Florida
Crawford's delivery is a little funky but 93-95 touching 98 with a plus slider will get you noticed, especially if you play for a premium program like Florida.

8. Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X (Houston)
Stewart is committed to Texas A&M to play quarterback but should never set foot on campus, not with a 92-95 mph fastball that has touched 97 and feel for both a slider and changeup.

9. Trey Ball, OF/LHP, New Castle (Ind.) HS
Ball's a lean, projectable, high-upside athlete who looks more promising with the bat, showing a solid left-handed swing and above-average speed as well as a plus arm from the outfield; he's 88-91 off the mound and could add velocity as he fills out.

10. Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville (Ga.) HS
Frazier has the best bat speed among high school hitters in this class and developing power, but less chance to stay in center than Meadows, his Georgia neighbor.

11. Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss
The polished right-hander led SEC underclassmen in strikeouts this spring with above-average fasbtall/breaking ball combo.

12. Trevor Williams, RHP, Arizona State
Williams will take over Friday nights from Brady Rogers in Tempe, working with a mid-90s fastball, but needs to show he can miss more bats.

13. A.J. Vanegas, RHP, Stanford
One of several wild-card college arms in this year's draft, Vanegas has shown mid-90s velocity in relief and should work with an above-average fastball as a starter along with a good delivery and the ability to spin a curveball.

14. Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (Tampa)
Mercado's one of the few true shortstops in this draft class, which is very weak up the middle, and has an excellent chance to be an above-average to plus defender there, with the bat speed for contact but not power.

15. Justin Williams, OF/3B, Terrebonne HS (Houma, La.)
Williams has raw power, winning the home run derbies at both the Perfect Game and Under Armour All-American games in August, with good bat speed and wrist strength, but is otherwise raw as a hitter and on defense.

16. Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga
He's a command three-pitch lefty who's also an outstanding athlete and can field his position and swing the bat well, just lacking that one knockout pitch or the big fastball that might make him a top-10 candidate.

17. Ryan Eades, RHP, LSU
Eades had a strong freshman year and summer on the Cape in 2011, but struggled with command this spring and took the summer off; he's got a high slot and a solid-average fastball but needs to locate better to succeed.

18. Ian Clarkin, LHP, James Madison HS (San Diego)
He's the hardest-throwing prep lefty in the class and sat 90-93 much of the summer. He needs to improve his command and get more velocity on the curveball, which has good shape but was 69-72 at the Perfect Game All-American Game in August.

19. Andy McGuire, IF, James Madison HS (Oakton, Va.)
I really like this Texas commit's swing, from setup to hip rotation to follow-through, with good balance to let him drive the ball to all fields; he plays shortstop now but will have to move to second or third.

20. Colin Moran, IF, North Carolina
Moran, who currently plays third base, can hit for average, but if he has to move to first base, which is a possibility, his bat may not profile as more than average there.

21. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (San Marcos, Calif.)
An advanced high school lefty with a solid-average fastball, long but fairly easy delivery, and solid rotation on a two-plane curveball that generates a lot of swings and misses at this level.

22. Brett Morales, RHP, King HS (Tampa)
He was mostly 89-93 this summer with more in the tank, good spin on a curveball, and some feel for the change, although command is spotty and he comes across his body towards the plate.

23. Matt McPhearson, CF, Riverdale Baptist HS (Columbia, Md.)
McPhearson is raw at the plate but has shown he can work the count, with bat speed and the potential for plus defense in center.

24. Jonathan Denney, C, Yukon (Okla.) HS
In a deep class for high school catchers, Denney stood out this summer for his ability to consistently square up the baseball, including a long home run at the Area Code Games, where it's difficult for hitters of any age to get the ball over the fence.

25. A.J. Puk, LHP, Washington HS (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
No Iowa high schooler has ever gone in the first round, which isn't surprising since schools there play over the summer, but Puk has the size, athleticism, and arm strength -- up to 92 at the Area Code Games with a promising mid-70s curveball -- to end that drought.

26. Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State
Judge hit the radar with two bombs off Appel in a game this spring, but only hit two more homers the rest of the season. He's 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, athletic and strong, but that size needs to translate into power during his junior year.

27. Karsten Whitson, RHP, Florida
The ninth overall pick by the Padres in 2010 (and fourth on my draft board), Whitson changed his bonus demands after the draft and ended up attending Florida, where various injuries contributed to a poor sophomore year, including diminished velocity. He needs to get healthy and back to 92-96 if he wants to return to the top 10.

28. Dustin Driver, RHP, Wenatchee (Wash.) HS
Driver has a solid-average fastball now and should pitch better than that in the spring, coming from a high arm slot with a good changeup but below-average curveball.

29. Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing (Minn.) HS
Boldt's an athletic centerfielder who can run and has great hand acceleration at the plate, although his swing is pretty linear and is geared for contact but not power.

30. Phil Ervin, OF, Samford
Ervin was the Cape Cod League MVP this year, hitting for average and surprising power while getting on base at a good clip; he's just 5-11 and doesn't offer any projection, but his swing is pretty sound and the power is legit.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Hamilton to Boston?
PM ETJosh Hamilton | Rangers Recommend0Comments0EmailThe Boston Red Sox, now that they have cleared the contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, have the financial flexibility to make a play for any free agent they desire. Could that include Josh Hamilton, the biggest name on this winter's market?

General manager Ben Cherington, reports, would not rule it out saying the club "has to look at anything," and adds that with all the offense being sent to the Dodgers "we have to find a way to replace that offense."

Hamilton's first choice is going to be to remain in Texas, but it's a two-way street and cost is absolutely going to come into play for the Rangers and Hamilton -- and any other club interested in Hamilton.

He's a bit of a health risk, has some non-baseball concerns that clubs will have to consider and National League clubs may stay away from him altogether, considering the fact that they don't have the DH spot to help keep Hamilton fresh and in the lineup.

If Hamilton were to sign with the Red Sox, the club could say goodbye to Cody Ross, or re-up with him, too, and go with a Ross-Hamilton and Jacoby Ellsbury trio, with Ryan Kalish as the fourth outfielder.

I have to wonder if David Ortiz's future wouldn't be tied to the Sox's potential interest in Hamilton, too, both in terms of payroll and having the designated hitter role available.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Boston Red Sox, Cody Ross, David Ortiz, Texas Rangers, Josh Hamilton
Winter trade candidates
PM ETFuture Trade Candidates Recommend1Comments4EmailWhile several names rumored to be on the trade block this summer that didn't get moved may again be shopped this offseason, there are likely to be new names surfacing once the 2012 season is over and clubs look to reshape their rosters.

Denard Span, Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham, Josh Johnson, Matt Garza and Justin Upton could again be available, but so could Kansas City's Billy Butler, as the Royals search for impact starting pitching, as well as Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo and Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury, two names that were mentioned but talks reportedly did not go very far in either instance.

Both Choo and Ellsbury will be a free agents after 2013, while Butler is signed through 2014 with a club option for 2015. The Royals could entertain offers for Gordon rather than Butler, especially if rivals hold out for a more valuable player -- Gordon can play the field well while Butler is relegated to DH duties -- in return for pitching. Prospect Wil Myers could replace Gordon in the field and eventually as a productive bat, if not right away.

Hunter Pence, who was traded to the Giants last month, could be on the move again as his 2013 salary figures to be north of $13 million via arbitration.

Jed Lowrie could also be shopped over the winter, as could fellow shortstop Yunel Escobar, Arizona outfielder Gerardo Parra. A player such as Upton, Butler, Gordon or Baltimore's J.J. Hardy, could be candidates for trade next summer if things fall just right, including health, performance and the development of players behind them.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Upton, Jed Lowrie, Gerardo Parra, J.J. Hardy
Sox want Ross back
PM ETCody Ross | Red Sox Recommend0Comments1EmailBoston Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross is on the club's wish list for 2013 -- they've even told the player that already -- but it's not likely to be easy to retain his services.

Not only is Ross near the top of the free agent class for outfielders -- and for hitters overall -- but his stock went up when Melky Cabrera was suspended for failing a drug test and he's having a career year.

Ross seems more than amenable to returning to Boston and is expected to seek a three-year contract. The Sox, having dealt Carl Crawford, have a need in the outfield, especially considering the pending free agency of Jacoby Ellsbury -- after the 2013 season -- so expect the club to either keep Ross or add a 2-3 year fix in the outfield over the offseason.

Ross could also be a fit for clubs such as the Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Boston Red Sox, Cody Ross
Interest in Bedard?
PM ETErik Bedard | Pirates Recommend0Comments0EmailThe Pittsburgh Pirates released lefty Erik Bedard Tuesday, tweets Dejan Kovacecvic, sending the veteran to the free agent heap and opening up a rotation spot for right-hander Kevin Correia.

Bedard has struggled mightily the past two months, producing just three quality outings since June 20. Whether or not there is interest in the veteran after poor performances to that extent remains to be seen.

Bedard, however, has always seemed to be a pitcher that needed more rest than the typical starter, so perhaps a little time off could rejuvenate him for a few key outings for a contender in September.

He's also tough on left-handed batters, so perhaps a club such as the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees or Washington Nationals shows interest in him in a specialist role. There's no guaranteed cash attached, so money is not a concern for clubs interested in Bedard for the remainder of 2012.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Erik Bedard
Rondon on rehab
PM ETCleveland Indians Recommend0Comments0EmailWhile it's too late for the Cleveland Indians in 2012, the club needs pitching for next year and may get some production out of their farm system, as injured right-hander Hector Rondon works his way back from multiple elbow surgeries.

He's made two short appearances thus far and will head to Triple-A Columbus to continue his rehab. The 24-year-old has a chance to make an impact for the Tribe in 2013.

Rondon was a solid prospect prior to the injuries and if he returns to form could settle into a mid-rotation role. If he has to move to the bullpen down the line, his fastball could play up enough to forecast a late-inning arm.

It's not out of the question that Rondon could make his big-league debut in September, barring any setbacks.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Cleveland Indians
Mota's impact on SF 'pen
PM ETSan Francisco Giants Recommend0Comments0EmailThe San Francisco Giants appear set to add Guillermo Mota to their bullpen this week, judging by the right-hander's own text to's Enrique Rojas: "In flight, to Houston.
Mota was suspended in May for 100 games for failing a second banned substance test, but is eligible to return soon.

The Giants begin a 3-game set in Houston Tuesday, so it appears the club's plan is to use Mota in that series.

While Sergio Romo,, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla figure to continue to get the save chances, Mota could pitch his way into that mix and could certainly be used late in games right from the get-go. His presence, if he's back to form, gives skipper Bruce Bochy another reliable option, and his arm is fresh to boot.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Guillermo Mota, San Francisco Giants
A test for Pettitte
PM ETAndy Pettitte | Yankees Recommend3Comments4EmailAndy Pettitte is aiming for a September return from the disabled list, and it could not happen soon enough for the New York Yankees, who need as many pitching options as possible after another ineffective start by Ivan Nova Tuesday night against the White Sox.

Pettitte, sidelined since late June with a fractured ankle but on the mend, isn't ruling out another stint with the Yankees in 2013, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

"As of this moment right now, I want to pitch more right now than I did when I first came to the big leagues," says Pettitte, who was 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA in nine starts before his injury.

It remains to be seen exactly how the 40-year-old Pettitte would fit into the Yankees plans for next season. Given his age and history of injuries, the Yankees might view him only as a back-of-rotation guy.

As for 2012, Pettitte is set to throw off flat ground Tuesday, a steo in the right direction if he's to return for October.

- Doug Mittler and Jason A. Churchill
Tags:New York Yankees, Andy Pettitte
Matsuzaka suitors
AM ETDaisuke Matsuzaka | Red Sox Recommend0Comments2EmailThe Boston Red Sox have placed Daisuke Matsuzaka on trade waivers, tweets ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, and the right-hander is coming off his best start since returning from Tommy John surgery.

A club such as the Los Angeles Dodgers or Washington Nationals could show strong interest, as could the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles or Detroit Tigers.

The Dodgers, Rangers, Orioles and Tigers simply need more starting pitching while the Nationals could use Matsuzaka to help fill the void soon left by Stephen Strasburg once he's shut down for the year.

Dice-K is a free agent at season's end and owed a fraction of the $10 million he's earning this season. He also has a full no-trade clause that may be a factor with some interested clubs.

One dark horse suitor could be the Reds, so keep an eye out for them.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox, Stephen Strasburg, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals
Oswalt on the block?
AM ETRoy Oswalt | Rangers Recommend0Comments0EmailRoy Oswalt nearly signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers before agreeing to a 1-year contract with the Texas Rangers earlier this season. The Dodgers could again be a possibility for the veteran, as he's cleared waivers, reports's Ken Rosenthal.

Oswalt has struggled in the rotation but shown signs of effectiveness in relief and could greatly benefit from heading back to the National League and playing his home games in a more pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Other clubs that could show interest in Oswalt before the August 31 deadline include the Orioles, Giants, Nationals, Cardinals, Pirates, Tigers and Reds.'s T.R. Sullivan reports Tuesda that the Rangers are actually discussing Oswalt with other clubs and are in search of a utility infielder.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Roy Oswalt, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds
Chances Vargas, Millwood are dealt
AM ETSeattle Mariners Recommend1Comments0EmailThe Seattle Mariners have placed lefty Jason Vargas and right-hander Kevin Millwood on waivers, tweets Ken Rosenthal of

Vargas is arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason and could earn more than $7 million for 2013. Millwood is slated for free agency.

The Mariners don't appear to be all that inclined to deal either pitcher, however, despite being nine games back in the Wildcard chase and 14 games behind the AL West division leading Texas Rangers.

The M's have an outside shot to get to .500 on the year and trading either veteran starter only hinders those chances. The club has had a strong second half and may view wins as crucial as a contender might considering how few they have amassed over the past few seasons.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Seattle Mariners, Kevin Millwood, Jason Vargas
Dodgers eye starting pitching
AM ETLos Angeles Dodgers Recommend1Comments0EmailEven having acquired right-hander Josh Beckett in this week's blockbuster for the ages, the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to search for starting pitching, tweets ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Olney mentions left-hander Mark Buehrle as one possibility and notes that once again money is not a concern for the boys in blue.

Other possibilities include Edinson Volquez of the San Diego Padres, James Shields of the Tampa Bay Rays and perhaps even Dan Haren of the Angels.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:San Diego Padres, Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Mark Buehrle
Kershaw's future with LAD
AM ETClayton Kershaw | Dodgers Recommend1Comments1EmailLos Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw is slated for free agency following the 2014 campaign after signing a two-year deal to avoid arbitration prior to this season. The timing may be right, however, for something long-term, something he says he's always open to discussing.

Considering Kershaw's age, production and his status as a pending free agent, the defending Cy Young winner is likely in line to exceed Cole Hamels' recent deal and perhaps even CC Sabatahia's record for pitchers, which stands at seven years and $161 million.

There's no urgency to get anything done this winter, but over the course of the next year or so the two sides are likely to get serious about a long-term solution.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Los Angeles Dodgers, Cole Hamels, CC Sabathia, Clayton Kershaw
Impact of Berkman's return
AM ETLance Berkman | Cardinals Recommend1Comments0EmailLance Berkman may be nearing a return from the disabled list -- he's rehabbing in Triple-A Memphis -- but Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets that the veteran still is laboring to run, suggesting perhaps Berkman isn't as ready as the team hoped.

Berkman (knee) is also batting just .111 in three games for the Redbirds, suggesting he may need more time to get back close to 100 percent.

The 36-year-old is contemplating retirement at season's end, which may push him to return sooner than later. Once he's activated, the Cardinals will have to make some tough decisions on when he plays, especially with Allen Craig needing to remain in the lineup regularly.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:St. Louis Cardinals, Allen Craig, Lance Berkman
Lawrie still not ready
AM ETBrett Lawrie | Blue Jays Recommend1Comments0EmailThe Toronto Blue Jays should get infielder Brett Lawrie back before the end of the month as he's nearing a rehab assignment, but there is no timetable yet as there has been a lack of improvement with his injured right oblique, writes Gregor Chisolm of

It appears Lawrie could remain out at least until rosters expand September 1, which means no roster move will be necessary once he's activated. The oblique injury is generally one with which clubs tend to be cautious, so the second-year big leaguer may be out another week or two, if not longer.

Lawrie is expected to need some rehab games to prepare. but the minor league season ends later this week. In that case, some simulated game situations will have to do, unless Lawrie joins the Jays' Advanced-A club during their playoff run.

- Jason A. Churchill

Eric Karabell
Lawrie still a value

"Lawrie keeps getting discussed as one of fantasy's bigger disappointments, since he was a top-50 pick on draft day and isn't among the top 50 on the Player Rater, or even the top 10 third basemen, but things could be much worse. Lawrie is on pace for 13 home runs, 18 stolen bases and 83 runs scored, and there's nothing wrong with a .282 batting average. Lawrie remains a top-50 candidate for 2013 and beyond, so don't deal him for less than value in keeper formats."
Tags:Brett Lawrie, Adeiny Hechavarria, Yan Gomes, Toronto Blue Jays
Extension for Fowler?
AM ETDexter Fowler | Rockies Recommend1Comments0EmailColorado Rockies centerfielder Dexter Fowler has changed agents, going from Scott Boras to Casey Close, and may now be more likely to get a contract extension.

As Troy Renck writes, Boras much prefers his clients to hold out until they qualify for free agency, with very few exceptions, though one of those is Fowler's teammate, Carlos Gonzalez.

Fowler will be arbitration eligible for the second time this coming offseason, and could be eligible two more times before free agency hits, thanks to his Super Two status a year ago. He's earning $2.35 million this season and has performed well, suggesting a rather large arbitration salary number.

Perhaps a four-year deal is in order, which would buy out all of his remaining arbitration years, plus one free agent year. Something longer than that is certainly not out of the question, either.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies, Dexter Fowler
Moore's workload
AM ETMatt Moore | Rays Recommend1Comments3EmailWith all the talk surrounding Stephen Strasburg's innings limit, and to a lesser extent Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox, too, one other arm to consider in the same light is Tampa's Matt Moore.

Moore is quickly approaching his career-high in innings, set a year ago at 164 1/3 innings. It doesn't appear as if the regular season will be any kind of a problem -- there are about five weeks remaining, which may give Moore eight more starts and roughly 50 innings -- but the Rays could head into the postseason with a workload concern for the left-hander.

If Moore gets to the 180-185 innings range before October, he may not be considered for starts in the playoffs. The Rays, in that scenario, are likely go to David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. But the Rays are considering the idea of juggling the rotation a bit to get Moore (as well as Alex Cobb) some extra rest to keep them fresh down the stretch.

One factor to remember is that the club will get some help from Jeff Niemann, who is on the disabled list but expected back by September. Skipper Joe Maddon says Niemann is now ready to return.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays, Alex Cobb
Who may get the call?
AM ETSeptember Call-up Candidates Recommend1Comments0EmailJason A. Churchill

Major League Baseball's 30 clubs can each expand their rosters as of September 1, and they all do just that to different extents. Among the call-ups will be several impact prospects, such as the Padres' decision to call on right-hander Casey Kelly to make his debut Monday.

Trevor Bauer, RHP -- Arizona Diamondbacks
Bauer has been tremendous in his past two outings, issuing just two bases on balls and striking out 21 over 16 frames, and at home in Reno, no less, where the ball travels like it's attached to a Saturn rocket.

Bauer's stuff plays in the big leagues but his control and command still need work. That said, he's likely get the nod for some innings in September as workload does not appear to be a concern at this stage.

The D-backs just dealt Joe Saunders, presumably clearing space for lefty Tyler Skaggs to remain in the rotation, but to get Bauer a few starts Patrick Corbin could be moved to the bullpen or the club could go with six starters a couple times through.

Julio Teheran, RHP -- Atlanta Braves
Teheran still has the electric arm but has not found a consistent third offering and has frequent bouts with control problems. He has pounded the zone consistently since the the calendar turned to August, however, compiling a 25-4 K/BB ratio in five starts, and was lights out in his most recent start over the weekend.

If the Braves do call on the 21-year-old, it's likely to be as a relief option, partly due to workload concerns but also because the Braves are pretty much set in their starting rotation.

Teheran could be a reliever long term, though, and his stuff could play up well in shorter stints. If the club uses him next month and he performs well, a role change for the future could be in order, but at the very least he can help the bullpen stay fresh as the Braves chase a playoff berth.

Wil Myers, OF -- Kansas City Royals
Myers has done all a club can ask of a young hitter; he's produced at the two highest levels of the minors, done so consistently, versus righties and lefties alike, and has now battled through a bit of a slump.

After a stretch where he saw a steady diet of sliders and curveballs down and away that resulted in a lot of punch outs, Myers has responded to bat .294/.405/.412 with just eight strikeouts in his past 10 games, and has just 21 whiffs in August in 25 games played.

The Royals have nothing to lose, so expect Myers to get some at-bats in September, and don't be surprised if he never sees the minors again.

Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg, RHP -- Milwaukee Brewers
Peralta may profile best as a reliever, but has good stuff and misses bats despite well below average control, and along with Thornburg serves as the club's top MLB-ready option in the pitching department.

Thornburg, too, may be best suited for the bullpen, but both right-handers could see some time next month, though Peralta may be nearing his innings limit and has one start left for Triple-A Nashville.

The Brewers, if they summon either or both arms, are likely to use them as starters, getting their feet wet in the most valuable possible role for the future. And with Zack Greinke and Randy Wolf gone, and Shaun Marcum hurt and slated for free agency, the Brewers sorely need pitching.
post #7772 of 73445
Originally Posted by JesusShuttlesworth34 View Post

Originally Posted by RaWEx5 View Post

I don't mind watching games on ESPN. Watching them on TBS is boring, though. Once the playoffs start, it doesn't matter because I am watching games at a bar intoxicated. laugh.gif
That's if the Giants are playing.

Guess you will be drinking Odouls then.

Orioles' fans take shots now? eek.gif

New world.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #7773 of 73445
Originally Posted by RaWEx5 View Post

Orioles' fans take shots now? eek.gif
New world.

laugh.gif didn't know they had fans
post #7774 of 73445
Originally Posted by JumpmanFromDaBay View Post

laugh.gif didn't know they had fans

womp womp

*there are like 5 of us here on NT LOL.
post #7775 of 73445
Thread Starter 
5? I just remember you and JS roll.gif
post #7776 of 73445
Easy easy now. We haven't even had bars to show our games for the last 15 years. Let us enjoy meaningful baseball in August.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #7777 of 73445
King Felix won the AL CY Young tonight

post #7778 of 73445
Originally Posted by Stringer Bell 32 View Post

King Felix won the AL CY Young tonight

post #7779 of 73445
Votto to return on Saturday.pimp.gif
post #7780 of 73445
After Kershaw nobody scares me in that Dodger rotation
post #7781 of 73445
Nats losing 5 in a row and Stras with his worst start ever. Panic mode will set in if they lose tomorrow.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #7782 of 73445
Originally Posted by JesusShuttlesworth34 View Post

Nats losing 5 in a row and Stras with his worst start ever. Panic mode will set in if they lose tomorrow.
And the collapse begins
post #7783 of 73445
Thread Starter 
I still think Price/Verlander/Sale/Felix are all pretty close for Cy Young. Weaver though laugh.gif that low ERA will win some voters, I'm sure.


jcrasnick Jerry Crasnick
Amazingly, the #Indians (13,413) outdrew the #Orioles (12,841) Tuesday night.
32 minutes ago

post #7784 of 73445
Thread Starter 
Some new and exciting steps in pitcher evaluations. BTW if you guys ever wanted to know more about how these new stats are calculated, just head to and go to the glossary. Extremely helpful.

Introducing Fielding Dependent Pitching.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
A few minutes ago, David Appelman announced the launch of several new stats here on the site, and since they hit on a topic of frequent discussion, I wanted to go into a bit more depth on our thought process behind their creation and what we see as their role in the evaluation of pitching.

Over the years, FanGraphs hasn’t been shy about promoting the concept of DIPS, which showed that most of the variance in a pitcher’s abilities can be viewed through the prism of walks, strikeouts, and home runs. We often cite a pitcher’s FIP — Fielding Independent Pitching, if you’re into proper names – when talking about his performance, and for most Major League pitchers, FIP works really well as an evaluator of their contribution to run prevention.

However, because FIP only focuses on walks, strikeouts, and home runs, it does not include all aspects of run prevention. Specifically, it takes no stance on two aspects of the game that do have a significant impact on a pitcher’s total number of runs allowed – the results of batted balls that are not home runs and the effects of sequencing of the various events. Because the spread in talent among Major League pitchers is not as large in these areas as the spread is in the components of FIP, ignoring these two areas doesn’t have a drastic result on the evaluation of most pitchers. However, there is certainly a subset of Major League pitchers who do accumulate (or fritter away) value through their performance in these two categories.

So, today, we’re introducing a set of metrics designed to help quantify the affects of run prevention that are not so easily isolated as the result of a pitcher’s actions. Because these metrics essentially serve to capture the value that FIP does not, we’re calling the sum of these metrics Fielding Dependent Pitching.

The idea for FDP was to quantify the remaining aspects of run prevention that are not measured by walks, strikeouts, and home runs. With a FIP-based WAR, we have a metric that tells us how many wins a pitcher added through success in those three key areas. What we did not have was a metric that gave us the wins added through either hit prevention or runner stranding. With FDP, we wanted to be able to break down the remaining aspects into those two categories, so that we could identify exactly where a team’s run prevention — with a specific pitcher on the mound — was coming from.

To do that, we simply worked backwards. First, we calculated the total WAR that a pitcher would receive credit for if he was only evaluated by his runs allowed, and we assumed that he had 100 percent responsibility for every variable that influenced run scoring. That stat is now on the site, and is called “RA9-Wins”. If you do not want to consider any impact of fielding on run prevention, and solely want to evaluate a pitcher by what actually happened when he was pitching (accounting for park and league adjustments, at least), then this is the metric for you,

However, for those of you who want to look at a pitcher’s contribution to run prevention in a more detailed way, we are also adding the two components of FDP to give you a better view of just how a pitcher is going about preventing runs.

To do this, we decided to calculate the linear weight value of singles and doubles — the difference between a double and a triple is almost certainly not the result of the pitcher, and thus the value of advancing that extra base was not included — on balls in play the same way that we calculate the value of walks, strikeouts, and home runs, so that we could quantify the wins added or lost that can be credited to a pitcher’s results on balls in play. Regardless of how you want to apportion the credit for those results, it is helpful to know what the value of those turning those hits into outs (or vice versa) actually is. Just as with WAR, these numbers are park adjusted and then converted into a number of wins added. These are on the site as BIP-wins, and can be thought of as the amount of wins a pitcher saved through his hit prevention, or lack thereof in many cases.

Once we knew the win value of a pitcher’s hit prevention, the remainder of his FDP could essentially be described as runner stranding. Now, this is not one particular skill, as there are many ways to skin this cat, but represents the value added through various skills that all essentially lead to the same result – not allowing baserunners to cross home plate. Some pitchers achieve this through effective control of the running game, picking off runners and refusing to let them advance through stolen bases. Other pitchers do this by simply altering the way they pitch with men on base, increasing the amount of only-semi-harmful walks they allow in order to reduce the amount of very-harmful home runs they allow. And still others simply seem to excel (or fail) at pitching out of the stretch relative to their peers, and demonstrating significant differences in their performance with the bases empty and with men on base.

No matter how they get there, however, the result can be measured by taking the remainder of a pitcher’s FDP that is not measured by his context-neutral hit prevention. This is called LOB-wins on the site, and serves as the value of wins added through all the miscellaneous ways a pitcher can strand runners.

BIP-wins and LOB-wins can be thought of as the components of Fielding Dependent Pitching, and represent the part of keeping runs off the board that aren’t measured by FIP. By definition, the sum of a pitcher’s FIP-wins and FDP-wins will equal his RA9-wins, so you can essentially see total run prevention through this basic formula:


So, that’s the somewhat boring explanation part of the introduction. Now, let’s get to the fun stuff and actually play with the data.

In the last 10 years, here are the top five and bottom pitchers in total FDP.

Johan Santana: +11.4 wins
Tim Hudson: +10.9 wins
Ryan Franklin: +10.4 wins
Matt Cain: +9.2 wins
Jered Weaver: +9.2 wins

Derek Lowe: -10.0 wins
Mark Hendrickson: -8.5 wins
Ricky Nolasco: -8.3 wins
Jeremy Bonderman: -8.2 wins
Sidney Ponson: -7.1 wins

These names are probably familiar to you if you’ve had any kind of discussion about the validity of FIP in the last few years. The four big names in the top five are the most often cited as pitchers who FIP underrates, and FDP shows just how large the gap is between their FIP-wins and their RA9-wins. Meanwhile, the guys on the bottom of the list are notorious underachievers, each of whom has been derided for failing to live up to their expected potential. As you can see, FDP returns the results you might expect if you were to look at the biggest FIP outliers of the last decade.

However, this is also an example of why breaking FDP down into BIP-wins and LOB-wins is useful, as we can present this same list, just showing where those wins added or lost came from.

Pitcher BIP-wins LOB-wins
Johan Santana 10.7 0.7
Tim Hudson 8.3 2.6
Ryan Franklin 5.0 5.4
Matt Cain 11.1 (1.9)
Jered Weaver 7.5 1.6

Santana and Cain’s extra value has all come entirely through hit prevention. Santana’s stranded just about as many runners as you’d expect from a low-FIP/low-BABIP pitcher, while Cain has actually stranded fewer runners than you’d expect based on his context-neutral stats. Hudson and Weaver both accumulated value in both areas, but got the majority of their value through hit prevention, while Franklin actually got more of his value through runner stranding, though his RA9 is also significant impacted by hit prevention.

And now for the laggards:

Pitcher BIP-wins LOB-wins
Derek Lowe (4.9) (5.2)
Mark Hendrickson (4.6) (3.9)
Ricky Nolasco (4.1) (4.2)
Jeremy Bonderman (3.1) (5.0)
Sidney Ponosn (6.9) (0.2)

Here, we see a more even split, with all five pitchers being negative in both areas. However, my suspicion is that being bad at both hit prevention and runner stranding is necessary to show up on an FDP leaderboard, because pitchers who truly awful at one or the other are likely weeded out before they ever make the Major Leagues, or at least spend significant time pitching for a big league club. That’s why the tails are higher at the positive end of the spectrum, as those pitchers success is keeping them in the big leagues longer and giving them more opportunities, while those who fail spectacularly at one of the two aspects of FDP simply don’t last long enough to show up on a list of most value lost over a ten year period.

Things get more fun if we look at even larger periods of time, however. If we expand the filters to cover the last 50 years, we find examples of guys where FDP tells quite an interesting story. For instance, Jim Palmer — with his career 2.86 ERA and 3.50 FIP — accumulated an incredible +27.8 wins through hit prevention and +15.5 wins through runner stranding. His +43.2 FDP-wins are, by far, the most of any pitcher in the modern era. Perhaps the most recent example of a similar type of pitcher is Tom Glavine, and he’s at +26.1 FDP-wins. Palmer is the biggest FIP outlier in the part of baseball history that at least resembles the game that is played today.

However, he’s not the leader in either BIP-wins or LOB-wins over the last 50 years. The pitcher who got the most value from hit prevention? Charlie Hough, which shouldn’t be surprising given the research that has been done on knuckleballers as the strongest exception to the DIPS theory.

Perhaps most interestingly, however, is the career of Nolan Ryan, who demonstrates how the two aspects of FDP don’t really go hand-in-hand in many cases. Ryan posted a career FIP- of 84 and a .265 BABIP, which should have resulted in dominating results that made him among the best run preventers in baseball. It didn’t, though, because Nolan Ryan was atrocious at stranding runners (relative to his own established levels, anyway), posting -30.1 LOB-wins over his career. Certainly, that is inflated to some degree simply through longevity, but there is no mistaking the fact that Ryan consistently posted higher ERAs than FIPs, even though his BABIP was also below average.

While Ryan is strange in the magnitude of his inability to prevent runners from scoring, he is representative of the lack of correlation between the two components of FDP. The correlation of BIP-wins and LOB-wins (scaled to IP, so as to account for differences in innings pitched) for all pitchers with at least 50 IP in 2012 is -0.008. In other words, there is no correlation. Of the top 10 pitchers in BIP-wins this year, only three (Jason Vargas, Kyle Lohse, and Ryan Dempster) also have positive LOB-wins. Clayton Kershaw is essentially acting as the current-day Nolan Ryan, and has been so ineffective stranding runners that it nearly cancels out all the value added through hit prevention, so that his FIP and ERA nearly match despite the fact that he has a .256 BABIP.

This lack of correlation holds up over longer periods of time, too, so this isn’t a sample size issue. The components of FDP are measuring two things that are quite different, and very few pitchers stray from the norm in both. In fact, those longer periods of time actually show just how effective FIP is as a measurement of pitching skill. In looking at all 3,951 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings in the majors since 1963, the correlation between the FIP-based WAR and RA9-wins is .96. For most pitchers with long careers, a WAR based on FIP and a WAR based on runs allowed is going to bring you to the same conclusion.

However, most pitchers is not all pitchers, and for pitchers like Jim Palmer — or, nowadays, pitchers like Jered Weaver, Tim Hudson, and Matt Cain — FDP helps us put a number on the mental adjustment we’ve been making to help compensate for the fact that FIP does not measure a part of run prevention that they have contributed to in a meaningful way.

Through adding FDP-wins (and its components, BIP-wins and LOB-wins) and RA-9 wins to the site, we hope that we’re now presenting a more comprehensive picture of how runs are saved when a pitcher is on the mound. It is still definitively true that runs are mostly saved by limiting walks and home runs and keeping batters from making contact, but FDP fills in the gap between FIP and runs allowed, and gives us a clearer picture of the impact of various performances in the things that aren’t captured in FIP.

In a subsequent post — this one is already over 2,100 words, straining the limits of the word introduction — that will be up in a few hours, we’ll discuss the role that FDP will play in our pitcher WAR and how we hope the addition of these new metrics will help us better reflect the value that different types of pitchers produce. I’m also hosting my regularly scheduled noon chat today, and will make it FDP-centric, answering as many questions about these stats as you guys are interested in asking.

For now, though, we hope you enjoy the new tools that are now available, and enjoy perusing the leaderboards and learning new and interesting things that you may not have known before, like how Nolan Ryan was a really good pitcher, but could have been so much better had he performed well with men on base.

New Pitcher Value Stats.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Value (WAR) section for pitchers has been updated to help further break out a pitcher’s value. These stats are now available in the leaderboards and player pages.

We’ve added the following stats:

RA9-Wins – Wins above replacement calculated with RA9. This is both park adjusted and league adjusted.

BIP-Wins – Wins above average based on BABIP. This is both park and league adjusted.

LOB-Wins – Sequencing (and miscellaneous) wins above average calculated as RA9-Wins – WAR – BIP-Wins.

FDP-Wins (Fielder Dependent Wins) – This is the full difference between RA9Wins and WAR, or BIPWins + LOBWins.

WAR – Wins Above Replacement remains unchanged.

Dave Cameron will have two posts with more details about these new stats at 9:00am and 11:00am and will be answering questions during his 12:00pm chat.

The full formula for BIP-Wins is:

((((H-HR)*(w1B * p1B + w2B * pxBH) ) / (TBF – HR – BB – HBP – SO)) – lgwBABIP) * (TBF – HR – BB – HBP – SO) / PF / RtW

p1B = percentage of singles that are not home runs
pxBH = percentage of doubles and triples that are not home runs
w1B = linear weight value of a single
w2B = linear weight value of a double
RtW = runs to wins converter
PF = park factor
lgwBABIP = league average: ((H-HR)*(w1B * p1B + w2B * pxBH)) / (TBF – HR – BB – HBP – SO)

Erik Bedard Walks the Plank.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Erik Bedard is exactly the sort of pitcher a team signs to a one-year contract, and last December, the Pirates signed Bedard to a one-year contract worth $4.5 million. At the time, I’m guessing the Pirates figured they probably wouldn’t still have Bedard come September. He’d be an interesting wild card for a Pirates team with an outside shot, but more likely he’d either get hurt or traded to a contender. You don’t sign Erik Bedard because you’re making big plans around Erik Bedard.

The calendar is just about to turn, and, sure enough, the Pirates no longer have Erik Bedard. Viewed that way, this has played out about as expected. But Bedard isn’t known to be hurt, nor has he been traded away to a contender. Rather, the Pirates simply released Bedard outright, citing inconsistency and under-performance. The thinking with Bedard has long been that he’ll be effective as long as he’s healthy. He’s been healthy, and lately, he’s been ineffective.

Here’s what Clint Hurdle had to say on the matter:

At the end of the day, the inconsistency wasn’t getting us where we wanted to go.

A very simple summation of the problems, but then, “at the end of the day” implies that a very simple summation is going to follow. What the Pirates say publicly isn’t necessarily how the Pirates feel in private, so this Bedard decision could have more layers to it than phyllo dough, but we’re here to tackle only what’s known, and what’s known is that Bedard has generated poor results and just got dropped by a team in contention.

Anything written about Bedard will mention his hot start and subsequent slump. Bedard’s started 24 games this season, and we can very conveniently split them into two groups of 12. Through Bedard’s first dozen starts, he posted a 3.59 ERA with a 4-6 record. A pitcher’s won/loss record just got cited on FanGraphs. Over Bedard’s last dozen starts, he posted a 6.43 ERA with a 3-8 record. Bedard leads the major leagues in losses, which has been partly his fault, and that surely hasn’t helped his perception at all.

So, all right, what we’re interested in now are two things. First, there’s the matter of what Erik Bedard is, and whether he’s really been pitching poorly. Secondly, there’s the matter of who’s going to take his place in the Pirates’ rotation, since the Pirates are still thinking about the playoffs. The Pirates must feel confidently about what they’ve done, since this move could have significant consequences.

Let’s look at those two groups of a dozen starts, shall we?

BEDARD Strike% Contact% FIP GB% K% BB% HR/FB%
First 12 63% 81% 3.52 42% 23% 10% 8%
Next 12 64% 81% 4.61 44% 20% 11% 14%

Without question, Bedard has been pitching worse. But it probably doesn’t surprise you that he hasn’t been pitching as poorly as his elevated ERA would suggest, and just about all of this can be explained by that last column on the far right. Bedard’s shown no drop-off in strikes, contact, or grounders. But where he allowed five dingers the first dozen times out, he’s allowed nine dingers over the last dozen times out. Dingers are runs, and runs are bad, for pitchers.

Is there anything there? Maybe Bedard’s getting tired? If Bedard’s feeling fatigued, it’s not readily evident in the PITCHf/x. His pitch velocities have remained more or less unchanged, and while Bedard’s lost some mustard from a year ago, that was missing in the early part of this season, when he was having more success, so it doesn’t seem like the thing to blame.

Working against Bedard is that he isn’t a pitcher who can just be evaluated by rates. Rates deliberately ignore counting stats like plate appearances and innings, and Bedard isn’t a guy who works deep. Just five times has he reached 100 pitches, and just once has he exceeded 110. Each plate appearance of Bedard’s is a chore. When Erik Bedard is starting, you know that someone else is going to finish, and you know that other guys are probably going to pitch before the finisher.

So Bedard’s gotten worse from last season, and in-game stamina isn’t one of his strengths. Of late, he’s been allowing too many runs. But there’s compelling reason to believe that Bedard wouldn’t keep on allowing so many runs, and it’s not like he’s lost the ability to dominate. Four outings ago, he was outstanding. Two outings before that, he was outstanding. Overall, Bedard’s got a lower FIP than Mark Buehrle and a lower xFIP than Tim Hudson, and the overall numbers are meaningful.

Now we have to think about how the Pirates intend to replace Bedard going forward. After all, these moves don’t happen in isolation. Might the Pirates have a real talent up their sleeve? That depends on your talent evaluation of Kevin Correia. In truth, the Pirates are still working out how this is going to go behind their front four, but the obvious choices seem to be Correia and Jeff Locke. The in-contention Pirates have given up on Erik Bedard in favor of Kevin Correia or Jeff Locke.

Correia is as known as anybody. If it’s consistency that Clint Hurdle and the Pirates are worried about, then Kevin Correia can very consistently be himself. He’s a low-strikeout, low-walk, decent-groundball starting pitcher with a career ERA, FIP, and xFIP in the mid-4s. It’s not out of the question that Correia could generate Bedard-like results while generating other, very un-Bedard-like results. You might end up with the same innings and runs, but the feeling might be different watching Correia than it would be with Bedard.

And Locke’s a lefty who’s been perfectly serviceable with triple-A Indianapolis. He’s got three pitches, none of which are explosive or unhittable, but he’s building a minor-league track record of encouraging ratios and he has the sort of polish that could allow for a pretty smooth transition. There are worse starting pitchers than Jeff Locke in the major leagues right now, for as much or as little as that means.

You hear that the Pirates released Erik Bedard and you raise your eyebrows. You associate Bedard with a lot of talent in your head, and a lot of that talent’s still in there, even after all the injuries. Bedard’s 2012 season numbers are just fine for a back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, even with the limited stamina. Where this starts to make a little more sense is in considering what Bedard has done lately, and in considering that he hasn’t reached 130 innings since 2007. The Pirates strongly believe that the struggling Erik Bedard they saw lately was more like the real Erik Bedard than the effective Erik Bedard they saw early on. If that’s true, then Correia or Locke should do just fine as replacements, as Bedard wasn’t going to be much help. But if that isn’t true, and if this is simpler than it seems, then the Pirates just cut ties with a high-strikeout starter because he fell into a slump of results.

The Pirates have no choice but to move forward and hope they made the right call. And Bedard has no choice but to move forward and hope that they didn’t. Now Erik Bedard is out there, available and ready for another roll of the dice.

Orioles Throw Spaghetti, End Up With Randy Wolf.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
While the Orioles bullpen has continued to keep them in the playoff race, the Orioles rotation has been a bit of a patchwork job all year long, and so today, they’ve reportedly signed a new patch named Randy Wolf.

While you can perhaps make a case for a change-of-scenery helping give players a fresh start, it’s hard to imagine Wolf is going to be anything besides a bad pitcher in the AL East, however. Here are Wolf’s numbers relative to league average from each of the last three seasons.

2010: 105 ERA-/122 FIP-/118 xFIP-
2011: 98 ERA-/113 FIP-/116 xFIP-
2012: 145 ERA-/122 FIP-/113 xFIP-

As is often the case, Wolf’s results have jummped around a bit despite his overall profile not changing much, as his walk rate, strikeout rate, and groundball rate are all pretty close to his career norms this year. However, after a couple of years of outperforming his peripherals due to hits on balls in play and runner stranding, he’s now gone the other way this year, getting victimized by those two variables.

For his career, Wolf has been slightly above average in both hit prevention and runner stranding, so there’s more reason to believe that he has (or had) some ability to outperform his FIP. However, that ability simply moved him from being meh to being okay, and at age 35, he seems to be closer to the meh end of the spectrum. His decline in strikeout rate tells a lot of the story.

The Orioles aren’t exactly flush with pitching depth, and since the Brewers released him, the Orioles are only responsible for the pro-rated league minimum for the remainder of the year. Giving Wolf a roster spot in September in the hopes that he finds some of his previous ball in play voodoo isn’t a terrible gamble for roughly $80,000, but Wolf’s performance trends and the move to the AL East suggest this probably isn’t going to work very well.

It’s basically the cheapest possible solution on the market, but in this case, the Orioles probably will get what they paid for.

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Ken Rosenthal:
Source: Twins place star catcher Joe Mauer on waivers
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Thread Starter 
Dodgers gonna suck up that contract too?
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Thread Starter 
As I've said before, only when a star gets hurt does this come up...

MLB must eliminate danger at the dish.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
After enough hitters were nailed in the head during the first century of baseball, the batters started wearing helmets, because everybody realized that getting drilled by pitches is not a good way to stay on the field and get paid.

In the name of safety, most outfield walls have been padded. Nets have been placed in front of dugouts to protect bystanders from foul balls. Base coaches started wearing protection after the death of Mike Coolbaugh. Rules on how baserunners can slide into second and third base have been enforced to protect the fielders. Pitchers are having their innings and pitch counts limited to improve their chances for long-term health and productivity.

And inevitably, there will be rules made to reduce collisions between baserunners and catchers, because it's a senseless outlier in baseball's risk/reward equation. Until then, however, the play will stupidly be allowed to go on, perhaps until someone gets seriously hurt -- an ignominy that Yadier Molina narrowly avoided Tuesday night while trying to save one essentially meaningless run in one game in the midst of career that should encompass thousands of runs and games.

On Tuesday night in Colorado, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp ran full speed into the fence in left-center field -- like a NASCAR driver hitting a wall flush -- nose-first, with almost all of the impact of the collision dissipating through Kemp's body. He was taken for further examination on his jaw.

Kemp undoubtedly was saved from some impact of the play by the padding on the wall, and the Dodgers will go to him and remind him that it makes no sense for a player in whom they have $160 million invested to mash head-on into fences. He is their most valuable player, maybe the best player in the National League, and an important asset to Major League Baseball.

The same conversation should be had with Molina, who is arguably the Cardinals' most important player and maybe the best defensive catcher of his generation. In the spring, St. Louis signed Molina to a $75 million deal, for all that he does in running and leading the pitching staff, for all of his improvement as a hitter. The St. Louis Cardinals chose to build around Molina.

But on a Tuesday night in August, Molina was at home plate prepared to take a throw from right field and then block home plate, with the Pirates' Josh Harrison barreling down the third base line. Because within most organizations, this is what catchers are expected to do. The Oakland Athletics have told their catchers to not do this, and similarly, the San Francisco Giants have instructed Buster Posey to stay out of harm's way, after his left ankle was shattered last year on a collision at the plate.

But generally, catchers are treated something like crash-test dummies without regard to their physical well-being and their long-term ability to earn money. In essence, they are told: Plant yourself in front of that small piece of earth and get blasted by that 200-pound athlete running full speed with a 30-yard head start.

Never mind that hitters now wear helmets, and outfielders are instructed to avoid fences, and young pitchers are shut down to save their arms. The Old School still believes catchers should place themselves to a physical jeopardy that nobody else on the field is subjected. The tools of ignorance, for sure.

Last year, Harrison was involved in a similar play at home plate. He was running home and had the same choice that a lot of runners have -- slide into a catcher wearing a full set of gear or attempt to run over the catcher. Harrison opted to slide, and he got buried and got hurt.

When a baserunner slides into a fully armored catcher, it's a complete mismatch; they will tell you that it's a great way to get injured.

So through the years, a lot of baserunners have gotten more aggressive, and they have a similar motive as the catchers. Just as the catcher wants to block the plate to cut off a run, the baserunner's mindset is to score -- and when the catcher stands in front of home plate, there are really only two options for a runner, who must make his decision in a split second. This time, Harrison decided to blast the catcher, in an attempt to jar the ball loose, and when Molina turned with his head down, focused on the ball, and lowered his body slightly to naturally brace himself for a collision, his head and neck were vulnerable.

From Rob Biertempfel's story:

"When I was about (30 feet) from the plate, I saw him slide his feet back," Harrison said. "The whole plate was blocked; there was no way to slide around him. My only chance was to go through him."

Trying to dislodge the ball, Harrison ran into Molina at full speed. As he turned his body slightly, Harrison's left arm came up and slammed into Molina's jaw. Molina, who outweighs Harrison by 35 pounds, hung onto the ball for the out.

"I really don't like being involved in those plays, because (catchers) are the ones with all the padding," Harrison said.

For a moment, neither player moved. Harrison eventually got to his feet and went to the dugout. Molina stayed on his knees and was attended to by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and a trainer.

"I never saw (Harrison) coming," Molina said. "I was concentrating on catching the ball. Hopefully, it was a clean play. I haven't seen a replay, so I'll have to wait and see."

Molina was helped off the field, and not surprisingly, the Cardinals were upset at seeing a team leader injured; two at-bats later, Jake Westbrook threw a fastball at Harrison's legs. Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Rod Barajas appeared to scream profanities at the St. Louis dugout, yelling that it was a clean play, and Chris Carpenter yelled back.

Here's the problem: Barajas is right. Within the current rules, the play was absolutely acceptable. Molina chose to block the plate, and Harrison opted to run him over. For one run in one game in the middle of a long season, a game that ended with a final score of 9-0. But even if the play had come in the bottom of the ninth inning and was to decide the outcome, it still would've made no sense.

During the last decade, the National Football League changed rules to protect players who are prone to be in a defenseless position -- quarterbacks, receivers, etc. -- and as Giants manager and former catcher Bruce Bochy said last year after Posey was hurt, there is no athlete put in a more defenseless position than catchers. Harrison had run full-speed in a straight line, unimpeded, before driving his shoulder into the head of Molina, who, because he was trying to field the ball, had no true sense of where the runner was.

It's an exciting play to watch for a lot of fans. But it's a really, really dumb play that baseball needs to evolve beyond.

Molina is listed as day-to-day, as Rick Hummel writes.

After Kemp went down, the Dodgers fell hard, as Chris Capuano got hit around by the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers have now dropped three straight games.

Pedro Alvarez put on a big-time show of power, hitting two monster home runs, including the longest homer ever hit by a Pirate at PNC Park.


• The Orioles' success is amazing and crazy and ridiculous all at once, and on Tuesday, they beat Chris Sale, who lasted only four innings. Chris Tillman, who simplified his delivery, shut down the Chicago White Sox.

It's now at the point where it would be a surprise if the Orioles don't recall Dylan Bundy to help down the stretch, writes Dan Connolly.

But the fans are not coming out to Camden Yards, and Peter Schmuck wonders why.

It's pretty simple: During a period of 14 seasons, the Orioles' organization changed the habits of a rabid fan base and gave them reason to find alternatives. That won't change overnight -- something that the Houston Astros should understand.

• Houston lost again and is 40-89.

• The Giants pulled out a comeback win, and along the way Pablo Sandoval assisted Brandon Crawford on the coolest catch of the year (if not necessarily the best); John Shea has more.

• Kris Medlen is on a serious roll: His scoreless streak has reached 28 1/3 innings after his latest outing.

From ESPN Stats and Info, how he won:

A) Medlen threw 24 changeups, 19 for strikes. The Padres missed on eight of 16 swings against Medlen's changeup and struck out four times on it. Twenty of Medlen's 24 changeups (83 percent) were down in the zone or below it.
B) Fifty-four percent of Medlen's fastballs were in the lower third of the zone or below, his highest percentage in a start in his career. The Padres struck out four times against Medlen's fastball.
C) Medlen went to eight two-ball counts but threw only one pitch all night out of a three-ball count. Twenty-one of his 22 pitches in two-ball counts were strikes.

• It has not been a good week for AL Cy Young candidates. Sale was hit hard by the Orioles, and Justin Verlander was slammed by the Kansas City Royals. Verlander's ERA fell from 2.50 to 2.80, as Lynn Henning writes.

Felix Hernandez is threatening to run away and hide with this Cy Young Award, writes Geoff Baker.

• Joey Votto played five innings.

• Today, my own unofficial NL Cy Young ballot would be: 1. Johnny Cueto, who is 17-6 after his latest victory. 2. Craig Kimbrel. 3. Aroldis Chapman.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Dodgers continue to look hard for pitching at a time when Daisuke Matsuzaka and Shaun Marcum have become part of the waiver wire.

2. The Pirates cut Erik Bedard and will go with internal options.

3. Ken Kendrick thinks the Arizona Diamondbacks made the right moves.

4. Dylan Axelrod, added to the White Sox rotation, is looking for a repeat performance, as Mark Gonzales writes.

5. The Chicago Cubs finalized their deal with Starlin Castro.

6. Terry Ryan appears committed to leading the Minnesota Twins out of the mess they are in, writes Jim Souhan.

7. Roy Oswalt became one of many players who have cleared waivers; it's not clear why anyone would want to trade for him at this point.

By The Numbers
From ESPN Stats and Info

4: 1-0 losses for the Rays this month, the most by a team in a calendar month since the 1969 Astros, also in August.
8: Earned runs allowed by Justin Verlander, matching a career high.
9: Hits allowed by Stephen Strasburg Tuesday, all against his fastball.
17: Consecutive starts by Kris Medlen won by the Braves from 2010-2012, the longest streak since the 2005 Cardinals won 17 straight Chris Carpenter starts.

Dings and dents

1. Bruce Chen suffered an ankle injury.

2. Some Indians are coming back from surgery.

3. A.J. Griffin will be back soon, as mentioned within this Susan Slusser notebook. The Oakland Athletics have a surplus of starters, and Oakland's intention is to mix and match its starting pitchers, according to the various strengths and weaknesses of the team they are playing.

4. Troy Tulowitzki's return to the big leagues is in a holding pattern.

5. Jose Bautista is going to have surgery.

6. This is not a surprise: Franklin Morales is hurt.

7. Matt Joyce felt a grabbing pain in his forearm.

AL West notes

• The Athletics' pitching domination continues.

• The Seattle Mariners continue to climb toward .500, as old friend Pat Borzi writes.

• The Los Angeles Angels rallied for a badly needed victory, and Mike Trout piled up more numbers.

• Ron Washington was really happy with the work of Yu Darvish.

AL Central notes

• The Indians were shut out again.

• The Twins were punchless against the Mariners.

AL East notes

• The New York Yankees won with small ball. Right now, every victory for the Yankees seems like it buys time, as the team waits for the reinforcements to arrive. Andy Pettitte is making progress, as Roger Rubin writes. Alex Rodriguez took batting practice.

• The Tampa Bay Rays were shut down; that's four straight losses for Tampa Bay, as Marc Topkin writes.

• Alfredo Aceves melted down again.

NL West notes

• The San Diego Padres had no answers against Kris Medlen, and their winning streak ended.

• Arizona is evaporating in the last weeks of the season: That's five straight losses and counting.

• The Rockies have picked themselves off the mat in recent weeks, with a lot of help from Wilin Rosario.

NL Central notes

• Darwin Barney tied a record.

• The Milwaukee Brewers flexed their muscles and continue to crawl toward .500.

From Elias Sports Bureau: Ryan Braun hit his 25th double Tuesday. He's had 25-plus doubles in each of his six MLB seasons. The list of players in history who have had at least 25 homers and 25 doubles in each of their first six MLB seasons: Braun, Mark Teixeira, Albert Pujols, Frank Robinson, Joe DiMaggio.

NL East notes

• The Nationals' losing streak has reached five; Stephen Strasburg was shelled.

• For one night, the New York Mets erupted, as Andrew Keh writes.

• The Philadelphia Phillies lost, but they've been playing well, writes Ryan Lawrence.

• The Marlins teed off.

FDP and Pitcher WAR.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
This morning, we rolled out several new pitching metrics, and I outlined their uses in an overly long introductory post. If you haven’t read those posts, go do so now, as they essentially set the table for this post.

As we noted this morning, our goal in introducing Fielding Dependent Pitching is to help quantify some of the missing aspects of run prevention that are not captured in Fielding Independent Pitching. However, you also have undoubtedly noted that we have not changed how we are calculating pitcher WAR, and FDP is not included in those calculations.

I promise that this is not because we are stubborn and refuse to admit that pitchers have some control over hits on balls in play. In actuality, the decision to leave FDP out of pitcher WAR for now was actually a difficult one, and was not our original intention when we developed FDP. The genesis of creating metrics to measure the wins added on balls in play and runner stranding was an effort to improve the way we calculate WAR, and we planned on modifying WAR to account for both FIP and FDP. Trust me, we don’t like some of the weird-looking results that a FIP-based pitcher WAR produces any more than you do.

However, when it came to actually modifying the formula, we came to the same crossroads that caused us to choose a FIP-based WAR when we created our initial implementation several years ago, and that was a trade-off between being more comprehensive at the cost of making an arbitrary decision about the level of defensive support a pitcher received. For whatever flaws FIP-based WAR has, it is strikingly good at being transparent in exactly what it is measuring and not measuring, and making no claims beyond what it knows it can support with data. Because walks, strikeouts, and home runs only really involve two parties — or three, if you count the umpire — it is easy to assign full responsibility for the outcome of these events to the pitcher. FIP knows what each of these events are worth, and judges a pitcher solely on the things that we can say were the direct result of their actions.

When you introduce balls in play into the equation, those blacks and whites become very gray. How much of a pitcher’s BABIP is he responsible for, and how much is the result of his defenders? We honestly don’t know.

And so, in not knowing, any decision we made now to add some portion of FDP into pitcher WAR would have required an arbitrary decision. In reality, the things that make up FDP are messy, acting more like football or basketball plays with multiple variables interacting together, and much less like the kinds of baseball plays that make it fairly easy to say “this guy did that, and he deserves this much credit for it.” Even if we decided that a pitcher should get half credit for his BABIP — my initial position, in the interest of full disclosure — what do we do with strand rates that are highly affected by BABIP distributions?

For instance, let’s look at Jordan Zimmermann‘s line this season. His 2.63 ERA is nearly a full run better than his 3.43 FIP, and while his .280 BABIP is a little below the league average, only +0.6 wins of his FDP come from BIP-wins. Most of the difference between his ERA and his FIP have come from runner stranding.

Bases Empty: .280/.324/.420, .323 wOBA
Men On Base: .192/.240/.305, .241 wOBA
RISP: .154/.201/.225, .180 wOBA

If those splits were the result of a drastic improvement in his FIP, we would probably want to give Zimmerman nearly all of the credit for his LOB-wins. After all, pitching better with men on base is clearly more valuable than melting down and letting everyone score, and a pitcher should be rewarded for his ability to buckle down under pressure.

However, we can’t say that the results are completely due to Zimmerman buckling down in those situations.

Bases Empty: 3.59 FIP, .330 BABIP
Men On Base: 3.27 FIP, .215 BABIP
RISP: 2.61 FIP, .185 BABIP

Yes, he’s pitched better with men on base, but his rate of hits on balls in play is the primary driving force behind his strand rate. What amount of credit should Zimmerman get for these results? Should he get more or less credit than Johnny Cueto, who has also posted an extremely high strand rate, but has done it without significant BABIP splits?

I think we could probably all come up with a number that we could justify for each pitcher, and maybe all those numbers would even be pretty similar, but I have yet to see a methodology that would make that pick anything other than arbitrary. Our strong hope is that a methodology will be discovered soon, and advances in our understanding of how to split credit between pitchers and fielders will give us a systematic way to incorporate some percentage of FDP into pitcher WAR.

What that percentage should be, I don’t think we really know yet, and rather than impose our best guess onto the calculations and hope that we’re in the ballpark of reality, we’ve decided to keep WAR transparent about what it is and is not measuring, and display all of the various components of FDP so that you can can make whatever adjustments you feel are warranted. Essentially, we have decided that it is better to provide you with as much information as possible in a way that is free of our personal opinions on what percentage of hit prevention is pitching or fielding.

Our decision to leave FDP out of WAR means that it is not comprehensive in measuring all aspects of run prevention, but we think it is better — for now — to leave it based solely on FIP until more research produces a consensus, systematic way to reward pitchers for some aspect of FDP that does not require us to simply pick an arbitrary number and force it upon you. And, hopefully, by displaying all these components separately, we’re providing tools that could be useful in researching the various aspects of run prevention, and may even aid in the creation of a logical way to give pitcher’s credit for some portion their FDP in WAR.

Our hope is that pitcher WAR will not always face these same hurdles, but we feel like it is better to be up front about what kinds of compromises would have to be made in order to attempt to be more thorough than it is to simply force decisions that couldn’t be defended on an empirical level. For now, I’d encourage you to look at pitcher WAR as a baseline for what we know a pitcher was responsible for, and then make your own decisions about how much you want to adjust for each aspect of FDP. Personally, I’m likely to give more credit to LOB-wins than BIP-wins, but I don’t believe I have enough data to defend a challenge of that opinion. So, for now, WAR is still based on FIP, but we’ve attempted to give you the tools to make rational adjustments where you see fit.

If you want to simply evaluate a pitcher on his runs allowed, you can now do that on FanGraphs. If you want to blend FIP and Runs Allowed evenly, simply cut FDP by half and add it to his current WAR. If you want to give more credit for runner stranding and less for hit prevention, you now have a better starting place than you did yesterday. Our hope is that these tools empower you to be more comprehensive in your own evaluation of a pitcher, however you deem it best to do that.

post #7788 of 73445
Nationals went on a 5 game skid early before they went on a mean winning streak, how they react this month down the stretch will prove if they are contenders or pretenders. The Pirates have faded, but the Orioles keep finding ways to win close ball games.

The O's have something like a -50 run differential and still have a winning record. They are great in one run games.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #7789 of 73445
Thread Starter 
Something like 57-0 when leading after 7 I read.
post #7790 of 73445
Originally Posted by RyGuy45 View Post

Ken Rosenthal:

laugh.gif Dammit. Stupid Twins and fragile Mauer. mean.gif
post #7791 of 73445
Originally Posted by JesusShuttlesworth34 View Post

Nationals went on a 5 game skid early before they went on a mean winning streak, how they react this month down the stretch will prove if they are contenders or pretenders. The Pirates have faded, but the Orioles keep finding ways to win close ball games.

The O's have something like a -50 run differential and still have a winning record. They are great in one run games.

Jim Johnson has been money.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #7792 of 73445
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

Something like 57-0 when leading after 7 I read.

Yeah man, it's absurd. I think having a good quality Coach in baseball goes a long way. Buck did his thing in Arizona and he has been huge here in Baltimore.

I don't think people realize how awful the O's have been the last 15 years.....only team more pathetic in that time frame has been the Royals pretty much.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #7793 of 73445
Originally Posted by wildKYcat View Post

Votto to return on Saturday.pimp.gif



Dusty better make sure that Frazier is still playing daily.

post #7794 of 73445
BP will go back to lead off, put Frazier in right, Bruce in center, sit Stubbs... and continue to spell Rolen with Frazier?

I think what Frazier has done in Votto's absence will possibly help in the ROY voting... maybe wishful thinking, tho.

tired of people ripping Dusty's lineups on twitter... best record in baseball and the team has played even better without the one of the best players in the game... gimme a break. he should be up there for COY. Madson going down seems like a blessing in disguise at this point.
post #7795 of 73445
Thread Starter 
Yea he's still horrific when it comes to lineups laugh.gif he keeps the low on base guys at the top of the lineup and will still keep Votto and Bruce separate which never made any sense sticking Phillips or Rolen at clean up. All of the **** Dusty gets his whole managing career is pretty much on point IMO.

IMO it's pretty simple, Rolen's gotta stay on the bench except the days Frazier spells someone on the OF. But then again, that's why you have Heisey.
post #7796 of 73445
Jay Bruce can play CF still? laugh.gif
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #7797 of 73445
if i had to gripe about it, you're right, it would be not having Votto and Bruce back to back... given that Votto has hit over .300 off lefties for his career, and I believe Bruce has more home runs off lefties than anyone since he's been in the league (don't quote me on that.) but other than that, what more do people want? laugh.gif

Dusty's track record in September is tremendous and players love him. I'm one of those who thinks the lineup is one of the most overrated aspects of a manager anyways. we end the season with 3 at home vs. Pitt and 3 in STL. need to put them away in the next few weeks.

Bruce is an above average outfielder... while Stubbs is great in center, what else you gonna do? i hate him.
post #7798 of 73445
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #7799 of 73445
I know the winner of the wild card game gets to play the first two games at home. Does that also go for the team with the 3rd best record among division winners?

Friday October 5, 2012
All times Eastern. Subject to change.

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable MLB.TV Tickets
AL Wild Card AL Wild Card TBD TBD TBD Buy
NL Wild Card NL Wild Card TBD TBD TBD Buy

Saturday October 6, 2012
All times Eastern. Subject to change.

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable MLB.TV Tickets
AL Division winner #2 AL Division winner #3 TBD TBD TBD Buy
NL Division winner #2 NL Division winner #3 TBD TBD TBD Buy

Sunday October 7, 2012
All times Eastern. Subject to change.

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable MLB.TV Tickets
AL Division winner #1 AL Wild Card TBD TBD TBD Buy
AL Division winner #2 AL Division winner #3 TBD TBD TBD Buy
NL Division winner #1 NL Wild Card TBD TBD TBD Buy
NL Division winner #2 NL Division winner #3 TBD TBD TBD Buy
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #7800 of 73445
Not sure if I like the one game wild card playoff or not, concept is cool....but if the loser of that game is the higher seeded wild card, I can see their fans getting heated.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
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