Thursday, 26 April 2012

Aero Bars

Lovely Lady #1 suggests, "Get the Aero Bar"

Lovely Lady #2 responds, "...but it tastes like soap!"

Lovely Lady #1 retorts, "It has all those air bubbles in it, so there's less calories."

Occasionally I overhear conversations and I smile. This was one of those moments.

Latin America: Cultural Hot Bed.

Regardless of subject, be it art, literature, or economics, I find myself perplexed by most references to the works of influential Latin Americans. Latin American names, you see, apparently coincide with the baseball portion of my brain. 

Without fail, any reference to Diego Rivera will illicit an impromptu scouting report: "Couldn't hit a change-up, but mashed the straight stuff. Got stuck in AA and never lived up to his potential"

Monday, 16 April 2012, Hrm.

I'm not really a Star Wars fan, but in Toronto, raising one's hand while forcefully lowering the other hand onto the head of a robot of the opposite sex signifies enjoyment whilst receiving a dirty gummer.

How this is the ultimate father-son experience is beyond me, but our boy C3PO looks to be having one hell of a time.

PS: I have Arizona (-1.5) parlayed with LAA (-1.5) and PHI (-1.5) for a pretty decent payout. Hopefully this turns out well. We'll see though.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Drabek on the Mound: Redux

Before Drabek's start, I posted words on the internet.

What I'd Like To See Today:
  1. Continued control over the change-up.
  1. Improved control on the sinker.
  1. Some whiffs on the bender which he only threw five times against the Red Sox
Let's go ahead and peg Drabek for 7IP, 3ER, 6K, 3BB. You'd take that, right?
I would say that Drabek outperformed my optimistic guestimate with his 7.1 IP, 2R, 1ER, 1BB, 6K performance.

Now, to the points:

The Drabek Change-Up:

Hot damn. Drabek threw eleven change-ups and didn't disappoint. It again had terrific sink to it and managed a swinging strike rate of just under 45%. Dirty.

The Drabek Two-Seamer:

I would say throwing 40 two-seamers and getting 27 strikes aint all that shabby. Toss in an average velocity of 93.7mph and it's pretty gosh-darn good. Drabek only managed three swing and misses on the sinker, but the pitch was incredibly effective for him.

The Drabek Breaking Pitch:

Drabek only threw fourteen breaking pitches, but managed strikes on eight of 'em. Of course, he only got whiffs on two of those fourteen pitches, but he really didn't to use the bender as an out-pitch.

All and all, a pretty impressive outing.  Here's some brooks' data to sort through:

Pitch Statistics
Pitch TypeAvg SpeedMax SpeedAvg H-BreakAvg V-BreakCountStrikes / %Swinging Strikes / %Linear WeightsTime to Plate
FF (FourSeam Fastball)93.4195.3-3.647.193421 / 61.76%1 / 2.94%1.64530.402
CH (Changeup)84.9986.8-6.801.19116 / 54.55%5 / 45.45%-0.16440.439
SL (Slider)80.6481.74.39-4.4495 / 55.56%2 / 22.22%-0.90090.463
CU (Curveball)80.4281.64.06-4.3153 / 60.00%0 / 0.00%-0.41570.465
FC (Cutter)90.9091.90.214.0941 / 25.00%0 / 0.00%-0.61740.408
FT (TwoSeam Fastball)93.7695.2-8.044.864027 / 67.50%3 / 7.50%-0.76510.401

Kevin Gregg: The Worst.

Kevin Gregg is the worst pitcher in the entire history of ball sports, including but of course not limited to, baseball.

Thanks, Buddy.

Old-Timey, New Timey.

Multitasking is something that my generation does remarkably well. Sure, old-timey housewives could manage a family while smoking, cleaning, and drinking copious amounts of red wine, but it's my generation that reigns supreme in the realm of multitasking.

The objects that we interact with are built for multitasking. My broom, specifically, acts not just as a sweeping tool, but also as an air guitar. It is currently functioning quite well as I've recently discovered Katy Perry. Also, my apartment is very dirty. I may be embracing Katy Perry's hit anthem Last Friday Night a little too much.

With that said, my television seems to be built as a single purpose device and is certainly unsuitable for baseball. Unsuitable at best! 

Baseball deserves nostalgia. Baseball deserve analysis. The television offers neither. Hint: Buck Martinez is stupid.

As such, I'll continue to crank the radio to the Fan 590 AM while viewing the Blue Jays pfx data via MLB Advanced Game Day. I'll do both these things while typing up a blog post and listening to Katy Perry's artistic masterpiece, Teenage Dream.

Over 99 million people watched this video on youtube before me and I sincerely hope that you were one of them.

Drabek On The Mound

So Kyle Drabek's set to take the mound against the O's later today and I'm cautiously optimistic. Drabek's currently sitting pretty with just a single earned run against in five and change innings, but the secondary statistics are still reason for concern.

Drabek's first start against the Red Sox was an intriguing one. Only righties were able to snag hits off him (Youkilis, Pedroia, Ross) and only lefties managed walks (Ortiz, Sweeney, Ellsbury.) Drabek finished up with a WHIP of 1.125, but the K:BB ratio of 1.33 wasn't exactly...ideal. With that said, Boston's fairly patient and Drabek showed some serious improvements.

First, he felt comfortable going to his change-up against lefties. He had pretty solid command and control over the pitch, and really only made one blunder. Against Boston's big lefties, I incorrectly assumed that Drabek would go cutter-heavy. Brooks Baseball listed two pitches as cutters, but you could probably argue for a handful more after viewing the pfx data. Drabek's change-up looked decidedly major-league level. There was added sink, further velocity separation, and quality arm-side run.

The only real issue Drabek had against the Sox was locating his sinker. The pitch had terrific velocity, sink and arm-side run, but was all over the zone. Drabek went to it about a quarter of the time, but almost 61% of the pitches went for balls. Against lefties, Drabek somehow managed to toss almost 70% of his two-seamers for balls. On the plus side, the Red Sox just couldn't do anything with the pitch when they swung. They'd miss it, foul it, or pound it into the dirt.

Now, for the phrase that you've heard a thousand of times:

Kyle Drabek needs to trust his stuff.

Drabek looks primed for a break-out sometime soon if he can just trust his stuff. He may never be the 8K-per-9 pitcher that everyone expected, but he's got the arsenal to be a very good player.

Baltimore's a righty-heavy squad so Drabek should fair well. Only Markakis, Davis and the switch-hitting Wieters will have the platoon advantage. If Drabek pitches a good game, we could see some solid strike-out numbers. If Drabek tries to get too fancy and makes mistakes, the Orioles certainly have the power in their bats to make him pay.

What I'd Like To See Today:

  1. Continued control over the change-up.
  2. Improved control on the sinker.
  3. Some whiffs on the bender which he only threw five times against the Red Sox
Let's go ahead and peg Drabek for 7IP, 3ER, 6K, 3BB. You'd take that, right?

Travis Snider. Again.

I will not dub Travis Snider a AAAA player. I just can't do it. Currently, he's the Jays best option for LF, and possibly even CF. Tell me if you've heard this one before, but Travis Snider's pummelling AAA pitching:

201224Las VegasPCLAAATOR83935815403150145.429.487.8001.2872810000
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/15/2012.

So Uh. Snider went 4-for-5 on Friday with a double and a grand-slam. Pretty okay.

As long as Snider can right the ship and not look awful against fastballs, he'll be fine. I have trouble attributing Snider's inconsistency and ineffectiveness against fastballs over the past two years to anything except a lingering injury. I understand his problems with sliders, but there's no reason why he should look so foolish against the high heat.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Henderson Alvarez: Opening Night

Alvarez still isn't striking batters out, but he was once again quite effective. The dip in velocity was to be expected, I suppose:


The pfx camera for this game was a bit whacky and gave Alvarez one hell of an arsenal.

Pitch TypeAvg SpeedMax SpeedAvg H-BreakAvg V-BreakCountStrikes / %Swinging Strikes / %Linear WeightsTime to Plate
FF (FourSeam Fastball)93.0196.5-6.16-3.083221 / 65.63%1 / 3.13%0.09180.397
CH (Changeup)84.6286.9-4.10-6.08138 / 61.54%0 / 0.00%-0.73180.435
SL (Slider)85.4589.42.77-3.361911 / 57.89%1 / 5.26%-0.57620.432
FC (Cutter)94.7595.4-1.530.3021 / 50.00%0 / 0.00%-0.01350.389
FT (TwoSeam Fastball)93.2495.9-9.07-4.352918 / 62.07%0 / 0.00%-0.44030.398

Those are some pretty heavy pitches, and should probably be adjusted about six-to-seven inches upwards on the vertical axis (this set doesnt include gravity).

Even still, Alvarez got quality movement. I was strangely surprised by his cutter last night, it's not a terrible pitch and gets pretty solid movement compared to his two-seamer. Definitely, the biggest problem is Alvarez's lack of swinging strikes: Two combined swinging strikes is a bit of a problem, even if you are getting tonnes of groundballs.

Furthermore, it is just one game, but it was nice to see Alvarez go to the slide-piece fairly often.

The fans also turned on the Blue Jays quick-fast. It's too be expected given that this is Maple Leaf country.

Revisiting The Nolascos

I'm back from the Jays home opener, although this'll certainly get posted tomorrow morning. Sergio Santos has blown two saves in a row, but his stuff is still filthy. The BB% will make this year very, very interesting.  Let's revisit my case of the Nolascos:

Ricky Nolasco: 8IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 6K, 0BB, 0.75 WHIP

Brandon Morrow: 7IP, 1H, 2R, 0ER, 3K, 3BB, 0.57 WHIP

Zack Greinke: 7IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 7K, 0BB, 0.57 WHIP

Chad Billingsley: 8.1IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 11K, 1BB, 0.48 WHIP

Matt Garza: 6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 5K, 1BB, 1.00 WHIP

Daniel Hudson: 6.2IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 4K, 2BB, 1.05 WHIP

Derek Holland: 6IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 5K, 3BB, 1.00 WHIP

James McDonald: 6IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 3K, 2BB, 1.00 WHIP

Josh Johnson: 6IP, 10H, 3R, 3ER, 4K, 2BB, 2.00 WHIP

Mike Minor: 5IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, 6K, 4BB, 2.00 WHIP

Josh Johnson and Mike Minor ruined a perfectly good first week. Boo-urns.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A Case of the Nolascos.

Yup, I've got 'em. There's no known cure for the Nolascos. Penicillin doesn't do a thing. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation or RICE just makes 'em worse. If you've been playing fantasy baseball more than five years, I bet you've got 'em too.

There are just some players out there that you cannot avoid. Every year, you pick 'em. They're like scabs that just won't heal.  If Doctor Gregory House (who's finally back to my internet tv tomorrow) were my doctor, his white board would read as follows:

Ricky Nolasco: Every year he posts a FIP in the 3.50 range, a walk rate under 2.00 batters per 9, and a half-decent K-Rate. Every freakin' year. Last year Nolasco posted a WHIP of 1.40 and I still can't avoid taking him in deeper leagues.

Brandon Morrow: Since joining the Blue Jays, he's struck out more than a batter per inning and posted back-to-back xFIPs of 3.50ish.

Zack Greinke: It's not a bad thing to have Greinke on your roster, but I've spent years assuming he's probably the best pitcher in the game. I was rewarded in 2009, but since then random chance has decided that another Cy Young award just isn't in his cards.

Chad Billingsley: Just when I thought he was on the verge of making the hump to 8.00 K/9 and lowering his BB/9 to under 3.00, 2011 happened and he sucked. It's not like that'll stop me from drafting him, though.

Matt Garza: Hrm. His playoff performances really made a name for him, but up until last year, he was routinely average. Finally his fastball-slider combination lived up to the hype and he had a pretty solid year.

Daniel Hudson: Hudson has actually looked pretty sharp and I think 2012 is the year he gets that K-Rate above 8-per-9 while maintaining a BB-Rate of under 2-per-9. Should make the jump from good to great this year.

Trevor Cahill / Brett Anderson: Cahill got traded and while the move out of Oakland will hurt, facing a pitcher rather than DH will certainly help. He's a ground-ball pitcher, but there's no reason why he shouldn't be able to get Ks with his slider, curve and change. They all have respectable whiff/swing rates. Could be in for a break-out year.  As for Anderson, he's hurt and hasn't been able to ever put it together. I love the former Oakland duo and maybe Anderson comes back strong. I've been stashing him on my DL in a handful of leagues.

Derek Holland: He broke out in last year's playoffs, but I fear he might be overvalued because of it. I still think that Holland's five pitch arsenal is one of the better ones in the game and his control is only going to get better.

James McDonald: Still Waiting. McDonald was awful to open the season and awful to close it, but everything in between was stellar. Remove his 7.66 ERA in March/April and his 4.95 ERA in Sept/Oct and you've got a pretty solid pitcher.

Josh Johnson: I'm sure you can guess why.

Mike Minor: I've got a feeling that he'll be a mainstay on this list. With Atlanta's current rotation he's already undervalued. Toss in Delgado, Teheran and Vizcaino and Minor will be overlooked for the next ten years.

A few more and then guys that'll probably be on this list next year: Jon Niese, Phil Hughes, Brian Matusz, Kyle Drabek, Nathan Eovaldi.

Yah, this basically accounts for the majority of my pitching staffs in almost every league that I'm in.

Brett Lawrie's April Fools Joke.

Upon reading this...
I was left contemplating what outcome would be more terrifying(ly awesome) for Blue Jays fans:

A) The 22-Year old Lawrie bridled with the responsibility of parenthood


B) The 22-Year old Lawrie playing for the Padres.


In the end, I decided that I would be okay with either. Brett would almost certainly post numerous irresponsible parent photos to twitter. If anyone's going to paint a Jose Bautista beard on a baby, it's going to be Brett Lawrie. If anyone's going to challenge their infant to a game of Edward 40-hands, it's going to be Lawrie. Plus, as an added bonus, we'd get to listen to Lawrie talk about how being a father forced him to mature overnight in an overtly sarcastic tone.

On the other hand, the only team with a farm system as deep as Toronto's is San Diego. It'd probably take Yonder Alonso, Rymer Liriano, Jedd Gyorko, and Robbie Erlin to get Brett Lawrie and Toronto would be absolutely posed for a run in 2014-2015. Oh yah, we'd get Jaff Decker too (because he's fat, coming off a sub-par year, and would make a solid DH.)