I’m already looking ahead to next season’s draft in many of my leagues — uhh, because I have the titles locked up, yeah, that’s it! — so of course, I’m taking a gander at the best value picks heading into 2016. I’m a big proponent of the power of a platoon split player being beneficial, particularly in deep leagues, and I’m a sucker for prospects. When those worlds collide I’m apt to do proverbial back-flips, and thus enter Michael Conforto. The 22-year-old had never faced Triple-A pitching, but the Mets called him up to the big leagues in late July anyway. Since being promoted from Double-A, he and big trade acquisition Yoenis Cespedes have torched opposing pitchers.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Perhaps it’s my inner Gob Bluth, but with just a week’s worth of games to be played, this truly is the final days of the season. Already the Royals, Blue Jays, Cubs, Pirates and Cardinals have wrapped up a piece of the postseason, yet four of those five teams are still jostling for position with only the Royals able to rest some of their players without fear of slipping to the Wild Card games. Today’s Ambulance Report will first focus on the teams in the postseason.Please, blog, may I have some more?
To say Greg Holland has struggled lately would be a stretch. Mostly because the “qualifier” lately implies only for the past few weeks or so, when in reality Holland has posted below average numbers all season. While he has just five blown saves on the year compared to 32 saves, a lot of his numbers have trended in the wrong direction. Bullpen arms tend to be pretty fungible, SAGNOF after all, but the question isn’t if Holland has struggled, but why? Even more concerning than the worst ERA/FIP/xFIP and SIERA (other than his 2010 campaign) of his career is his walk and strikeout rates. Sure, Holland’s .319 BABIP this season is worse than his .301 career average, and as mentioned his 5.23 BB/9 is the worst of his career, but those seem to be symptoms of a bigger issue. Like most pitchers, the first thing I look at when someone is struggled is the average fastball velocity.Please, blog, may I have some more?
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
It was the age of 60-day DL moves,
It was the age of activations and promotions,
It was the epoch of balancing playing time options,
It was the epoch of dropping part-time players
Unless you’re playing in a head-to-head league, moving your ratio stats ahead of the other teams is tough with only two weeks remaining. With that in mind, this week’s version of the injury report is all about next year’s possibilities.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Chris Davis currently leads the big leagues with 42 home runs. His .263/.358/.562 triple slash heading into Monday’s game equates to a 148 wRC+ and .389 wOBA, both ranking in the top-10 of qualified hitters. So why am I down on the left-handed hitting masher? Davis is doing his usual dominant performance against right-handed pitchers, however this season he’s crushing southpaws too. It’s a new development and is worth checking out, even in the limited context of a single season platoon split.
The table below displays Davis’ numbers against left-handers from 2008 through 2014 compared to this season. Admittedly the sample size difference is significant, but the table highlights how much better he’s been this year than in previous seasons.Please, blog, may I have some more?
A scant three weeks remaining in the regular season, an injury or stint on the disabled list now tends to stick the proverbial fork in someone’s season. In addition to the normal injury reports, a slew of pitchers and hitters returned to active rosters today. Just call me Professor Farnsworth because “Good news, everyone!” we have a lot of players to discuss.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Even before accounting for Jackie Bradley Jr.’s 4-for-4 game on Monday — including a double and a home run — his post All-Star break numbers are enough to impress Mike Trout. Bradley has posted a blistering .336/.410/.692 line, good for a .458 wOBA and 194 wRC+. Those numbers rank third and fourth best in baseball since the break, minimum 100 plate appearances. Bradley was shuffled a bit between Triple-A and the majors, but a mix of trades and injuries gave him an opportunity in late July, and he hasn’t looked back. For the sake of calculation, all numbers here are post ASB and do no include his big game yesterday.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Since last week’s Ambulance Report the Los Angeles Dodgers have suffered a pair of injuries. If there is a silver lining to them, it’s that the team went and called up Corey Seager. Given his lofty prospect pedigree — he’s unarguably a top-25 guy, mostly top-10 prospect — and the potential for playing time down the stretch as the Dodgers rest some of their other players, it’s time to pick up Seager if he’s still free in your league.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Let’s talk Jorge Soler. The 23-year-old Cuban transplant is currently on the 15-day disabled list — potentially for the remainder of the season — due to a left oblique strain, however even before hitting the shelf his average says he wasn’t hitting the ball. Owner of a modest (read: disappointing) .265/.323/.385 line with seven home runs in 378 plate appearances is surprisingly low, especially considering his .368 BABIP. For the sake of clarity, when referencing “among hitters” in this post, it means players with at least 350 PAs this season, Soler’s .368 BABIP rates ninth highest. Since 1994, aka the Wild Card era, 223 players have posted a .360 BABIP in a a season with at least 350 PAs. Soler’s batting average is the worst of those players, with Jack Cust’s .378 BABIP and .272 AVG in 2010 being the second lowest. As any good baseball nerd will know, BABIP alone often fails to paint the full picture. I opted to go with a mix of Baseball Heatmaps (BH) and Baseball Savant (BS) in order to get differing views of Soler’s batted ball information.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Back in my physical prime — not like that means much — I ran cross country, among other sports. As is the case with almost any distance running, you would pace yourself somewhat until the last 200-300ish meters or so, then you’d sprint for the “kick” this meaning pretty much a dead sprint to the finish line. Similarly, the saying “the baseball season isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon” may be well and true in the April and May, but with five weeks remaining, it’s time for the kick, sometimes meaning you need to kick injured players to the curb.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Left-handed hitters are always going to be popular given their tendency to hold the larger “half” of a platoon’s playing time situation, but as we enter the final five weeks of the season — or in DFS — production of any type is worth employing. While most of these names aren’t flashy, all of these players have something to offer in terms of counting or rate stats for hitting southpaws. The ownership rates (not the availability) are listed after each player for the three major fantasy sites. To add an arbitrary filter to things, we’re looking at 50 plate appearance minimums, with numbers excluding Monday’s games.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I must say, I don’t believe in curses, hexes, jinxes or whatever you may call it, but this season is rapidly descending into a Euripides level of despair for me. As I look at my various rosters being struck with injuries and my place in the standings perpetually falling, I’m already looking ahead to next season. With another round of injuries comes another round of drinks. Misery loves company, right?
Jeremy Hellickson, D-Backs: A strained left hamstring forced the club to shelve Hellickson for a time, as the right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to August 19. The 28-year-old has had an up an down season, and I’ve been bamboozled by his strong 10.6 percent swinging strike rate not translating to a better strikeout rate. His SwStr% is tied for 25th out of 88 qualified starters, however his 7.47 K/9 ranks 38th and 19.1 percent K% comes in at 50th. I’ve been holding out hope Hellboy could get his K-rate to match his whiffs, but for now we’ll have to wait at least until the first week of September to see him back in action.Please, blog, may I have some more?