Results tagged ‘ Sabermetrics ’

Dodgers Southpaws: Clayton Kershaw and Ted Lilly

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

The Dodgers are thriving this season, sitting alone in first place in the National League West.  A great deal of credit is certainly owed to Andre Ethier and NL MVP favorite Matt Kemp.  The two outfielders have been prolific run producers and Kemp is fresh off one of the most dominant months in recent history.

While offense is certainly important, it has been the team’s pitching that has let the leads stand.  While Chad Billingsley has returned to form this season and Chris Capuano has been a pleasant surprise, the key arms in the rotation have been southpaws Clayton Kershaw and Ted Lilly.

Kershaw and Lilly could not be more different.  Kershaw is a phenom, who at not even 25 years old is already a Cy Young winner and on the fast track to Cooperstown.  Lilly is a 36-year-old veteran hurling on his sixth Major League team.  While both left-handers have very different pasts, they are both a part of an important present for the Dodgers.

Kershaw was as good as it gets last season with 21 wins, 248 K’s, and a 2.23 ERA.  What’s even more promising is that he is on a better track this season.  Though six starts, Kershaw was just 2-3 with a 3.52 ERA and 15 walks a season ago.  This season, Kershaw remains a perfect 2-0, while his walks have been nearly cut in half and his ERA is just 2.63.

Aside from comparing Kershaw to his own personal milestones there are few other peers who have enjoyed his level of excellence.  Of course, his dominant stuff coming from a left-handed arm slot may remind some of Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.  Truth is, Kershaw is very different than Koufax.  Kershaw could end up having a far greater impact than Koufax.

Koufax was a late bloomer who did not hone his control until he was 25 years old.  He then went on to have six of the most impressive seasons in baseball history before an arm injury prematurely ended his career.  Kershaw has been pitching at a high level since he broke into the league in 2008.  Here’s a comparison of both Dodgers aces through 24 years old.

Year Record IP K BB ERA Games
Kershaw 49-28 754 779 286 2.86 124
Koufax 36-40 691.2 683 405 4.10 174

To put Kershaw’s early performance in even greater perspective, consider that while the 24-year old southpaw’s next win will be his 50th of his career, Ted Lilly, a two-time All-Star, had just five wins at the age of 25.  In many ways, Lilly is more similar to Koufax based on his late bloomer status.  Of course, Lilly never quite had the glory days of Koufax, but when you look at his career trends he does resemble a fine wine that gets better over time.

Age Games Record IP K ERA
20-25 42 5-7 152.1 151 5.73
26-30 143 54-51 783.2 648 4.38
30+ 161 69-52 1001 848 3.67

The Dodgers have a nice blend of young talent and proven veterans.  While the hope is that Kershaw will remain effective far longer than Koufax did and perhaps remain as relevant in his mid-30s as Lilly, what matters most for Dodgers fans is the present.  Right now, the two southpaws are as good as any tandem in baseball.

MLB Sluggers on the Rise: Eric Hosmer, Jay Bruce, and Paul Goldschmidt

 

BY ROB SHAW

Twitter: @RobShawSports

 

When it comes to sleepers fantasy managers are often looking for late round picks that could contribute throughout the season.  A more valuable sleeper is the talent who is already drafted in the middle rounds, but has the ability to reach superstar potential.  Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer happens to fit that mold of sleeper.

 

The 22-year-old talent was the third overall pick of the 2008 draft.  Last year he earned his first taste of Big League action and he found immediate success.  The Miami native did it all.  He blasted 19 home runs, swiped 11 bases, and offered a .293 average.

 

While Hosmer may be the Royals top young talent, he is not alone.  After several years of struggles, the Royals finally have the making of a top-notch lineup with veterans such as Billy Butler and Alex Gordon joined by Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, amongst others.

 

This season Hosmer should take another step forward and fantasy managers considering drafting Mark Texeira in the first or second rounds are better off scooping Hosmer in the fourth or fifth rounds.  He is more well-rounded than Texeira and could end up offering similar power production as well.  Hosmer is one of the top sleepers in baseball even if you have to draft him in the middle rounds.

 

The Reds already have one megastar in the form of Joey Votto, but there may be another in the lineup.  Jay Bruce actually had more buzz around him when he made his debut than Votto.  The 12th pick of the 2005 draft, Bruce has been in the Big Leagues since he was 21-years old.  While there have been some growing pains over the last few seasons, he has improved, and at 25-years old he should be closer to his prime this season.

 

Bruce has always possessed power.  He already has 100 career home runs before he even turned 25.  Last season was his first reaching the 30-home run plateau, as he slammed 32 round-trippers.  More impressive for his sabermetric fans, Bruce offered great patience at the plate with 71 walks, which made up for his .256 batting clip.

 

One of the streakiest hitters in the game, Bruce blasted 12 home runs with a .342 average in May, but then hit less than .240 in three of the next four months.  Fantasy managers are hoping that another year under his belt will lead to some maturity and consistency at the plate.  Bruce is one of the rare talents who can slam 40 home runs with a .280-plus average.  However, that’s just talk of potential, and when drafting you need to take more into account.

 

He’s already in his mid-20s, but Paul Goldschmidt could end up being a fantasy star as soon as this season.  An eighth round pick out of Texas State, Goldschmidt has been a pleasant surprise in the Diamondbacks farm system.

 

Goldschmidt’s power is legit, as he has slammed 73 round-trippers over the last two seasons.  He also has cut down on his strikeouts and increased his walks the last few seasons.  In his Big League debut, Goldschmidt slammed eight home runs in 48 games.  He also swiped four bases, which is a pleasant surprise for a slugger.

 

While sluggers often take some time to develop in the Big Leagues, Goldschmidt is expected to produce as soon as this season.  BloombergSports.com Front Office projects 30 home runs this season, which could land the Diamondbacks right back in the thick of the hunt for the Division Title.

(Vid) Behind the Numbers: How to Discuss Sabermetrics Without Alienating People

 

Hosts: Robert Shaw and Wayne Parillo

Behind the Numbers is a series of conversations and discussions with blog, sabermetric, and fantasy experts.

Watch the entire episode, or use the links below to jump to the exact point you want:

Guest: Steve Slowinski

Writer St Petersburg Times, librarian and contributor at Fangraphs.com, Editor-in-Chief DRaysBay, SB Nation Tampa Bay. Follow him at @steveslow

 

For the best fantasy baseball analysis and insight please visit BloombergSports.com

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MLB Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2006 to 2011

The Biggest Fantasy Surprises
BloombergSports.com

2010

Jose Bautista, 3B/OF, Blue Jays
2009: 54 R, 13 HR, 40 RBI, .235 AVG
2010: 109 R, 54 HR, 124 RBI, .260 AVG

Can’t saw we saw this coming. Although Bautista had a big final month to the 2009 season, no one could have predicted him to the top power bat in the Majors last season.

2009

Ben Zobrist, INF, Rays
2008: 32 R, 12 HR, 30 RBI, 3 SB, .253 AVG
2009: 91 R, 27 HR, 91 RBI, 17 SB, .297 AVG

A solid all-around talent, Zobrist may have peaked in 2009, as his numbers declined quite a bit in 2010.

2008

Ryan Ludwick, OF, Cardinals
2007: 42 R, 14 HR, 52 RBI, .267 AVG
2008: 104 R, 37 HR, 113 RBI, .299 AVG

It’s nice to hit next to Albert Pujols, but the good times did not last. Ludwick is now bound to long singles and pop outs at Petco Park.

2007

Fausto Carmona, SP, Indians
2006: 1-10, 58 K, 5.42 ERA, 1.59 WHIP
2007: 19-8, 137 K, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP

Quite a turnaround for the failed closer, Carmona ranks as the ace for Cleveland and one of the better pitchers in the game.

2006

Garrett Atkins
2005: 62 R, 13 HR, 89 RBI, .287 AVG
2006: 117 R, 29 HR, 120 RBI, .329 AVG

Atkins enjoyed Rocky-High Colorado, but when placed in Baltimore he wasn’t even a starter.

Who will it be this season?

Pedro Alvarez: A big-time slugger who can lead the Pirates back to respectability.

Adam Jones: Has the talent, but so far not the results.

JP Arencibia: The Blue Jays quickly traded Mike Napoli because they don’t want anyone to get in his way.

Kila Ka’aihue: A star in the Minors, can the power translate at the Big League level.

For the best fantasy baseball analysis and insight please visit BloombergSports.com

MLB Headlines: Braves Closers, Millwood to Indians, and Vladimir to Baltimore

Braves Likely to Split
Closing Duties: Kimbrel and Venters

Already some panic from fantasy managers before the season
has even commenced because Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez uttered the dreaded
words: “a closer’s platoon.”

 

The Braves seem to be loaded with talent on the hill and two
young hurlers coming off incredible 2010 performances are in position to pitch
the ninth inning.

 

First is Craig Kimbrel, who in 21 appearances surrendered
just one earned run, and a ******** 40 strikeouts.  He does walk a lot of batters, but if his
first look is any indicator of what’s to come, he could be even better than
Billy Wagner.  Right-handers hit just
.079 off him last season.

 

Then there is Jonny Venters, who struck out 93 batters in 83
innings.  A southpaw, lefties hit just
.198 against him.  So maybe not as
dominant as Kimbrel, but he is more proven with a full season under his
belt. 

 

Both players are worth drafting due to their great
peripheral numbers.  Kimbrel gets the
slight edge, but is also more risky.

 

Millwood to the
Indians?

Despite rumors that have the 36-year old signing with the
Yankees, Millwood is likely returning to Cleveland, where he posted a stellar
2.86 ERA in 2005.  Of course, since then
there have been struggles. 

 

Millwood has lost 10-plus games in six straight seasons and
last year hit a new low with a 4-16 record and 5.10 ERA. 

 

Millwood is very hittable and gives up a lot of home runs,
so a move out of the American League East is probably a good move for the
veteran hurler. 

 

Vladimir Guerrero
signs with the Orioles

One of the great hitters of his generation and a likely Hall
of Famer, the 36-year old Vladimir Guerrero is fresh off a monster year with 29
home runs, 115 RBI, and a .300 average for the Rangers.  The good news is that he was not just a
product of the ballpark, as 13 home runs and 52 RBI came on the road. 

 

Now that he will join the Orioles lineup, you should expect
a solid season with 20-plus home runs and a .280-plus average, but the
combination of another year under his belt and a less power-friendly confines
should keep expectations lower than a year ago. 

 

Guerrero enters the season just 73 hits shy of 2500 for his
career and 24 home runs shy of 450. 

For the best fantasy baseball analysis and insight please visit BloombergSports.com 

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