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  1. 2018 MLB Draft Prospects

    I caught this in the Kiley McDaniel chat and thought it was interesting: 12:40 shortyduwwop: How had Connor Scott looked so far this spring? He seems to have better run and throw tools than former teammate, Kyle Tucker, but how do his hit and power tools compare? 12:41 Kiley McDaniel: Saw him yesterday. He’s not getting past pick 15. It’s Kyle Tucker with 70 speed and maybe a little less power. And he’s 90-93 on the mound. I’ll post a video on twitter after we’re done here. The teams that were heavy at that game were all in the top 15. My understanding was that in the preseason, the hit tool was considered solid (future 50-grade) but not great, but perhaps that quote from McDaniel is an indication that it has improved? It it has, Scott starts to look really impressive as he’s got excellent speed (70-grade) and he’s got a projectable frame at 6 foot 4, 185 lbs, and that could mean that there’s some untapped power potential yet to come! Power/Speed combos with a good chance to hit are always intriguing from a fantasy perspective! He’s a guy to monitor coming out of the HS ranks imo
  2. 2018 MLB Draft Prospects

    From this week’s Kiley McDaniel Chat: 1:03 Nick: Do you have a 2018 draft crush? 1:04 Kiley McDaniel: No one in this draft class can top your mom Kiley is a savage haha
  3. 2018 MLB Draft Prospects

    I have updated the Google Sheets document that I shared with you guys in the opening post of this thread. For 2018 stats, click the "2018" tab at the bottom left of the page. I have added 2018 stats to date for every player and added a bunch of names that have been brought up in this thread by @NYR Fan 116894 Here is the document: The document only has college-level players at this time because I feel HS stats are super circumstantial because of the variance in quality of competition. Anyway, I hope this document is helpful in comparing some of the biggest names in college baseball that are eligible for the upcoming MLB draft. Note that I plan to update this document with updated stats about every 3-4 weeks. If anyone has any more names they feel I should add, let me know and I will do so!
  4. Carlos Martinez 2018 Outlook

    Carlos Martinez seems to be the SP consistently ranked among the top 20 with the least amount of buzz. I’m kind of curious why? He’s a 26-year-old guy just entering his prime, and coming off a year where he posted a 3.64 ERA with a 9.53 K/9, 3.12 BB/9, and a super elevated from career norm 1.19 HR/9 in a career-high 205 innings. It should be noted that his 9.53 K/9 was a career best, and his 3.12 BB/9 was his 2nd best after his 28.1 inning MLB debut sample back in 2013 where he came out the bullpen except for 1 start. So in theory, you could make the argument he took some steps forward in 2017 despite the rise in ERA from 3.04 in 2016. He was able to maintain his groundball tendencies with a 51.3% mark. In fact, Martinez was one of just 6 SPs in 2017 that pitched at least 110 innings pitched that averaged at least a K per inning and had a groundball rate of at least 50%+. The others on that list are Lance McCullers, Zack Godley, Charlie Morton, Luis Severino, and Jimmy Nelson. That combination of K’s plus GB’s help him produce quality numbers in FIP and xFIP with a 3.91 and 3.63 marks respectively in 2017. This shows that his skills are legitimate, and if he gets that HR/9 rate back down (0.65 in 2015, 0.69 in 2016), you can expect that his FIP, xFIP, and ERA will all go down with it. Let’s take a look under the hood and see why C-Mart had troubles with the long-ball in 2017 and what it means for him in 2018. Martinez has a 4 pitch mix, and it starts with his sinker. He threw it about 29% of the time last year and it averaged 95.2 MPH which is very fast for a sinker. It is effective at its job, it gets lots of groundballs with a 60.7% mark last year (down from 68.5% in 2016) but fails to miss many bats with just a 5.7% swinging-strike rate. Despite adding slightly more movement both horizontally and vertically compared to 2016, it curiously got hit around last year as opposing batters hit .346/.404/.486 against it compared to .262/.349/.387 in 2016. It seems the lack of success with the sinker could be a case of bad luck to me for a few reasons. 1st is that the HR/FB rate of the pitch in 2017 was 8.3% which is perfectly reasonable and actually way better than his 27.3% mark with the pitch in 2016. This tells me his home run problems don’t stem from his Sinker. 2nd, his BAPIP on the pitch skyrocketed to .353 last year which was a career worst by far (For reference he posted a .243 BAPIP on the sinker in 2016) and that can likely be attributed to a sudden increase in line-drive rate with the pitch last year. If he can reduce that line-drive rate, I think the Sinker effectiveness bounces back. Even with the jump in success against the Sinker last year, it was a positive valued pitch for Martinez and was worth 2 runs above-average. Next up is the Fastball which he threw about 27% of the time and averaged a blazingly fast 96.8 MPH. He held hitters to a .245/.309/.403 despite a rather pedestrian 6.5% swinging strike rate. It generated groundballs at an okay-ish rate (45.5%), but gave up more HRs last year compared to 2016 (8 HRs last year with an 18.6 HR/FB% versus 4 HRs in 2016 with a 7.8 HR/FB%). He did throw it in the zone more though with a 56.3% mark which was 2.1% better than 2016. Martinez did not have his best fastball last season, but still, the pitch was worth 1.6 runs above-average which ranked 46th best in the majors among those with at least 110 innings pitched. Next up is the Slider which is his best pitch and it is one of the better Sliders in all of baseball. Check out this movement: He threw it more often in 2017 (up about 3%), roughly 27% of the time and it averaged 85.5 MPH. Opponents hit just .143/.223/.298 against the pitch last year which is incredible! It misses bats at a well above-average rate with a 17% swinging-strike rate, leading to a fantastic 47.8% strikeout rate. Interesting to note though, the pitch saw a sudden Fly-ball spike in 2017, going from 25% in 2015, to 33% in 2016, to 42.1% in 2017. This led to the pitch leaving the ballpark at a much much higher rate in 2017 and I think this is where the HR problems came from. He gave up 11 HRs with this Slider last year…he gave up 1 with it in 2016 and 1 in 2015. That’s a massive increase and so I looked for some movement change on the pitch and here’s what I found. He lost about 2/3rds of an inch of glove side run (so the pitch is moving less away from righties). More importantly, he also lost over an inch of vertical movement downwards on the pitch meaning it was flatter in 2017. It’s definitely concerning, but ultimately this is still the best pitch in his arsenal and one of the best pitches in the league. Overall it was worth 13.2 runs above-average and that ranked as the 9th best slider in baseball among those with at least 110 innings pitched, ahead of names like Carlos Carrasco, Jacob DeGrom, and Chris Sale. Last up is the changeup and threw it about 16% of the time and it averaged 88.12 MPH. I really think this pitch has a ton of potential, it gets tons of ground-balls (56.6 GB%), it gets lots of swings and misses (17.3% Swinging-strike rate), and it held opponents to just a .212 average against. The problem is that he’s struggled to locate it consistently throughout his career. Last year, he posted just a 33.7% Zone rate with the pitch, and that is way down from 46.1% in 2016, but he posted a 30.8% mark in 2015. Now he can function utilizing the pitch with a low zone rate because he often uses it as an out pitch that falls out the bottom of the zone. The ability to throw it for a strike would really help make him less predictable in early counts. If he can just bring the changeup to an even average value, he will take a big step forward IMO. Overall the pitch was worth -3.7 runs above-average in 2017. Let’s take a look at Martinez’s plate discipline numbers: - Martinez’s Swinging-Strike% was 10.5%. Among all pitchers who pitched at least 110 innings, that ranked in a tie for 46th best in baseball with Johnny Cueto and ranked ahead of names like Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman, and Gerrit Cole - Martinez’s overall contact rate was 77.2%. Among all pitchers who pitched at least 110 innings, that ranked in a tie for 44th best in the majors with Ariel Miranda and Tyler Chatwood. That was ahead of names like Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Marcus Stroman. - Martinez's Zone-Contact rate was 89.1% among all pitchers who pitched at least 110 innings, that ranked in a tie for 58th best in baseball with Alex Wood and Rick Porcello. That ranked ahead of names like Madison Bumgarner, Sonny Gray, Jake Arrieta, and Jose Berrios. - Martinez's out-of-zone Contact rate was 58.1%. Among all pitchers who pitched at least 110 innings, that ranked in a tie for 27th best in baseball with German Marquez and was ahead of names like Jacob DeGrom, Jimmy Nelson, and Aaron Nola. As you can see, Martinez is solid but unspectacular in terms of plate discipline numbers, and that sort of represents what Martinez. I view him as a fairly safe SP because of the above-average but not elite missing bats skills, but he makes up for that with a groundball lean which helps him gets outs at an above-average rate. I think there is some upside with him for 2018, there is a pretty good chance the Slider limits HRs again and that perhaps the Sinker will receive better BAPIP luck. He needs to improve his command, particularly with the changeup and I think if he does, he makes a push towards the top 10 SPs. There is news this spring that he is incorporating a cutter in the repertoire, and I think that’s really encouraging. Research that I have found suggests the Cutter is easily controllable because it’s not a high movement pitch, but it carries the power neutralizing effects of more movement heavy pitches. Cutters also can be thrown against hitters of the opposite handedness, negating platoon advantages. The potential problem with adding a cutter is there is evidence that suggests that throwing a cutter hurts the effectiveness of the next pitch if it's a fastball or curveball. So pitch sequencing will be critical in adding this new pitch for Martinez, but I think that will be managed effectively by the Cardinals with Yadier Molina behind the plate. Overall, adding another pitch I think could really help Martinez, he needs another consistent option and this could be the solution! Overall for 2018, I will predict 14 Wins with a 3.28 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, 210 K’s in 202 innings pitched.
  5. Tyreque Reed 1B TEX

    Thanks for bringing him up! He does look like a worthwhile guy to monitor because the numbers are undeniable, but at this point, I think it's a little too early to fully get the hype train started. He played in the AZL last year which along with the GCL, is the lowest rung of the North American minor-league system, and it's typically where HS draftees, teenage international amateurs, and very late round college/JUCO guys play. So coming out of the draft as a top 10 round JUCO product at 20-year-old, he was given a slightly easier assignment. Now he did dominate the league in his professional debut, posting a pretty ridiculous .350/.455/.617 line with 5 HRs and 3 SBs in just 145 PAs. That line was supported by a 15.2% walk rate and a 17.9% K rate, and a 19.4% swinging-strike rate. Overall, he posted a 183 wRC+ which was the 2nd best in the league among those that had at least 100 PAs. Couple more things I wanted to mention that stood out in his profile, 1st is that he posted a ridiculously high 27.2% line-drive rate, and 2nd is that he also posted a ridiculously high 49.5% opposite field contact rate. The opposite field contact is interesting as that's not typical for a guy that has a power profile (he's listed at 6 foot 2, 260 lbs so his build suggests a power profile), but it should help him produce a plus BAPIP and therefore average going forward if it is a real approach rather than being late on professional pitching. Overall, interesting tout but like mentioned above by @I like baseball, I think it's a little early to add him and board the hype train. I personally would like to see him produce at full-season ball before jumping in on him. He's a guy to monitor at this point.
  6. Jason Kipnis 2018 Outlook

    Perhaps there’s some ownership fatigue with Jason Kipnis, but he’s very quietly changed as a hitter and bought into the fly-ball revolution and perhaps there’s some value to be had with him at his current price (NFBC ADP of 257). He’s coming off a year in which he slashed a poor .232/.291/.414 with 12 HRs and 6 SBs in just 373 PAs. That line was supported by a 7.5% walk rate and a 19% K rate which are both reasonable. The problem was a career-low .256 BAPIP and you could make the argument that some of that may be a result of the injury woes he had in 2017. Let’s take a deeper look and see what Kipnis looks like under the hood. Looking at his batted ball data, the first thing that jumps out is that he posted a career-high 44.1% fly-ball rate, and he’s considerably increased his fly-ball rate the last two years, going from a career-low rate of 28.1% back in 2015, to 37.4% in 2016, to 44.1% last year. That loft angle change has led to decline in ground-balls as he did post a career-low 36.3% mark last year, and that likely explains some of the BAPIP decline as fly-balls are the most likely form of contact to be turned into an out compared to Ground-balls and Line-drives. He also set a career-low in line-drive rate last year with a 19.6% mark and that also explains some of his BAPIP decline. If his Line-drive rate bounces back in 2018 back up to the range of his career 23.6% mark, and he finds some better BAPIP luck, I think he’s capable of bringing the average back to the .260ish+ range. I believe in that because his contact rate (80.1%) has remained very solid despite the launch angle change, and he uses the whole field well with a nice distribution of contact (39.7 Pull%, 33.1 Cent%, 27.2 Oppo%) which should help him avoid hitting into the shift reasonably. Looking at his quality of contact, Kipnis posted a 30.1% Hard Contact rate which was a major decline from 35.7% in 2016. You have to wonder how much of that is injury related, especially because he posted a career-worst 22.1% Soft Contact rate (his career rate is 15%). Going back to the Hard contact rate, Kipnis has a history of bouncing around in terms of this metric, starting his career with back to back 27% marks, jumping to 35.1% in 2013, and then posting a career low in 2014 with a 26.6% mark, then a 30.6% mark in 2015, and then a career-high 35.7% mark in 2016. His career average 30.8%. Not really sure how it’s possible to project confidently what he will be able to do in 2018, but early reports out of camp are he’s healthy and hitting the ball well (leading all of Spring Training hitters at the time of writing in HRs with 6 in 20 ABs). His 30.1% Hard Contact rate last year ranked in a tie for 212th best in baseball with Russell Martin and Orlando Arcia, and ranked ahead of names like Eric Hosmer, Starlin Castro, and Jose Altuve. That Hard Contact rate was supported by a below-average 86.2 MPH avg exit velocity (MLB average is 87.32). But he did post an 89.1 MPH avg exit velocity in 2016 which shows he has it in him to sting the ball at an above-average rate. If he can return to that 89.1 MPH range or close to it, with his improved launch angle, I think he has the potential to hit 25-30 HRs if he can stay healthy. Let’s take a look at Jason Kipnis’ plate discipline metrics from last year: His out-of-zone swing% was 29.3% MLB average is 30% His zone swing % was 63.9% MLB average is 65% His overall swing % was 45.8% MLB average is 46% His out-of-zone contact % was 63.1% MLB average is 66% His zone contact% was 88.6% MLB average is 87% His overall contact rate was 80.1% MLB average is 80% His % of pitches seen inside the strike-zone was 47.6% MLB average is 45% His swinging-strike% was 9.1% MLB average is 9.5% As you can see, Kipnis looks very solid under the hood! He’s slightly more patient than average, particularly in the zone, perhaps his selectivity should help him find pitches he can drive out of the ballpark more often in 2018. He makes excellent contact in the zone which is really encouraging, especially because he saw more pitches in the strike zone than the average hitter (perhaps because pitchers were unafraid of him while he was recovering from multiple injury woes last year?), and it should be noted that his zone% last year was a career-high by a fair amount (career average rate of 45.9%). His swinging-strike rate was slightly above-average too which shows he rarely gets fooled at the plate. Overall, there’s a lot to like about Kipnis and his plate discipline numbers! Speed wise, I think we are well past the days of him stealing 20+ bags, but he’s a year removed from going 15 for 18 and he was 6 for 8 last year while dealing with injuries so he’s still pretty efficient. I think if he’s healthy in 2018, you could safely project around double digits in terms of SBs with the upside of 15ish. Overall, I’m buying Kipnis this year as a bounce-back candidate! If he can stay healthy, there are gains that he’s made at the plate that he’s yet to maximize because of health issues that he suffered through last season. He seems to be another guy to have bought into the fly-ball revolution and has in the past shown the ability to hit the ball hard at an above-average rate, and that gives him some above-average power potential, especially at 2B. He’s changed his launch angle while maintaining a good contact rate, and he shows good plate discipline skills to tap into his skills consistently. He also can still run at a pretty good rate, and is currently projected to hit 2nd in a very solid Indians lineup behind Francisco Lindor and ahead of Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion. He looks healthy in Spring Training so far and has been hitting the ball well. I think he could make for a great value pick towards the end of standard 12 team league drafts (NFBC ADP of 257). For 2018, I’m going to project .266/.331 with 23 HRs and 9 SBs.
  7. Matt Harvey 2018 Outlook

    I'm in the camp that with how late Harvey is going in drafts this year, that he's worth a flier in the hopes he takes steps forward towards the pitcher that he once was. Now I have little to no expectation he can be what he once was, but I don't think he's completely done as a pitcher. First, returning from thoracic outlet syndrome, it is expected that command would be the most negatively affected. In theory, the further away he moves from that, the more likely he is to consistently find his mechanics again. Let's quickly take a look at his stuff: His fastball has lost a lot of velocity over the years, going from around 96-97 MPH on average in 2013 and 2015 to just under 94 in 2017. He's also gradually lost control of it, with his zone rate declining a bit each year. As such, it got rocked in 2017, with opposing hitters posting a .330/.426/.587 against it with a .257 ISO. It failed to miss bats with a 5% swinging strike rate and also gave up lots of airborne contact (23.9% line-drive rate and 36.2% fly-ball rate). That’s scary considering he threw it about 58% of the time. It was worth a hilariously low -15.7 runs above-average Back when Harvey was a dominant pitcher, this slider was his best strikeout pitch, and even in 2017, it was still his best strikeout pitch, but on a much smaller scale. He threw it about 22% of the time and it averaged 88.62 MPH. A difference that I can see between then and now has been a loss in velocity. It used to average around 90-91 MPH, and in 2017 it averaged about 88-89 MPH. To compensate for that, he's added a good bit of vertical movement to it, and it generated a solid but unspectacular 10.9% whiff rate. It did generate weak contact with opposing hitters having just a .228/.271/.418 line against it, though he was prone to making mistakes with it, as they also had a .190 ISO against it. Next up is the Changeup which he threw about 12% of the time and it averaged 86.3 MPH. Harvey's change has always had above-average horizontal movement, but he added even more movement to it in 2017. The result was okay as opposing batters hit .241/.328/.370 against it. On the downside, it had a really high line-drive rate which is concerning as that is the worst form of contact in terms of likelihood of being turned into an out. It does have a decent swinging strike rate of 11.8% and overall it was the closest to being a plus valued pitch among his repertoire as it was worth -0.2 runs above-average. Last up is the Curveball which he threw about 7% of the time and averaged 80.9 MPH. This used to be one of Harvey's best strikeout pitches, but in 2017, it lost a lot of its effectiveness. In 2016 opposing batters hit .222/.276/.370 against the pitch, in 2017 they hit .370/.433/.556 against the pitch. So what happened? It lost about a half an inch of drop and a little over an inch of horizontal movement. It's also gotten progressively slower over the years, from an average of 85 MPH in 2015 to 83 MPH in 2016 to 81 MPH in 2017. He's also lost a lot of his control on it, throwing it in the zone just 36.2% of the time, though it did still generate a 44.6% chase rate along with a 12.9% swinging-strike rate. Overall the pitch was worth -2.8 runs above-average. There still is potential in the repertoire because he has 3 secondary pitches that generate double-digit whiff rates, plus a fastball that may be slower than before but is still plenty fast at 94. The problem is control which needs to improve, and the other big thing to me is that his secondary pitches run too close in velocity meaning there’s not enough speed variation. He’s a guy to monitor in Spring Training and early in the season to see how he’s throwing. Again, at his current price which is essentially free, he’s worth a flier in deeper leagues in the hopes he takes steps forward. If he does, his name brand will make him valuable, if he doesn't then he's droppable.
  8. Luke Weaver 2018 Outlook

    Luke Weaver is coming off of a 2017 season where he was really good in the majors, posting a 3.88 ERA with a 10.74 K/9, 2.54 BB/9, and 1.04 HR/9 in 60.1 innings with 10 starts and 13 appearances. Add in a very solid 49.4% ground-ball rate and a slightly elevated .335 BAPIP, and it’s easy to understand why his 3.17 FIP and 2.93 xFIP were so strong and better than his actual ERA. This late-season sample has fueled a lot of hype for Weaver this year and so I wanted to talk about his repertoire to explain why I have some slight hesitations buying into the hype completely. Let’s start with the fastball, it’s a good one that he throws about 60% of the time and averages 93 MPH. Weaver has long shown good command of the pitch, and he attacked the zone heavily with his heater last year. His 62.3% zone rate was seven percent higher than his 2016 MLB debut sample. The results included a higher 9.1% swinging strike rate which is above-average for a fastball and opposing batters only hit .263 against the pitch despite a .368 BAPIP. It generates a decent amount of groundballs (40.3%) but it also gave up a lot of line-drive contact with a 36.1% mark. Overall, it was worth 2.6 runs above-average which is pretty impressive considering how small the sample is. I know he didn’t reach the threshold, but among pitchers with at least 110 innings, that would have ranked 46th best in the majors just ahead of Carlos Martinez and Jeff Samardzija. Next up is the Changeup which is his best pitch, and it’s a really good one! He throws it about 25% of the time and it averages 84.3 MPH. Last year, Weaver did a much better job of locating his changeup in the zone (Zone% up 7.5%). The results included nearly double the ground ball rate (60.7%), and an above-average 13.4% swinging strike rate, which both contributed to a .200/.264/.250 line against the pitch. Overall it was worth an incredible 5.6 runs above-average which would have been a top 20 changeup among those with at least 110 innings pitched had he qualified. This will continue to be his top secondary weapon again in 2018. Next up is the Curveball which he throws about 12% of the time and it averages 79.7 MPH. Weaver's command improved on all his secondary pitches, particularly with his curveball which saw a 20% increase in the zone. Unfortunately, hitters only swung and missed a well-below average 5% of the time. It does get a reasonable about of ground-balls with a 45.5% mark, and perhaps that was a big part in limiting the damage against the pitch to a .269 average against. Overall though, he will need to miss more bats with this pitch if he wants to improve its value as it was worth -1.5 runs above average. Last up is his Cutter which he mixes in about 2% of the time, and it averages 88.3 MPH. Super small sample as he only threw 27 of them last year, but it’s another poorly rated pitch for him. Last year it was only hacked at 37% of the time. Of the six times it was put in play, five went for hits which led to a .833 batting average against with the pitch. Overall it was worth -2.8 runs above-average. Weaver will likely limit this pitch again next season. Let’s take a look at Weaver’s plate discipline metrics: - Weaver’s Swinging-Strike% was 9.6%. Had he qualified, among all pitchers who pitched at least 110 innings, that ranked in a tie for 65th best in baseball with Michael Wacha and ranked ahead of names like Jose Berrios, Michael Fulmer, and Trevor Bauer. - Weaver’s overall contact rate was 79.2%. Had he qualified, among all pitchers who pitched at least 110 innings, that ranked 63rd best in the majors with Cole Hamels and Erasmo Ramirez. That was ahead of names like Jose Berrios, Gerrit Cole, and Jose Quintana. - Weaver's Zone-Contact rate was 84% Had he qualified, among all pitchers who pitched at least 110 innings, that ranked in a tie for 28th best in baseball with Ian Kennedy, ahead of names like Aaron Nola, Stephen Strasburg, and Carlos Carrasco. - Weaver's out-of-zone Contact rate was 67.4%. Had he qualified, among all pitchers who pitched at least 110 innings, that ranked in a tie for 77th best in baseball with Cole Hamels and was ahead of names like Jameson Taillon, Jeff Samardzija, and Gio Gonzalez As you can see, Weaver’s plate discipline metrics show that his skills represent more of top 60 SP rather than a top 30 SP that he’s being drafted as this year. His Zone-contact rate is intriguing, but overall you can see that he struggles to miss bats consistently, and that is backed by my analysis above on his repertoire. He’s essentially a 2 pitch pitcher at the moment with a good fastball and changeup (that’s supports his scouting reports from his prospect days), but his lack of a quality 3rd weapon limits him in my eyes. I’m not suggesting that he won’t be a force in 2018 and in the future, but I think there’s some risk that he may not miss enough bats to return good value at his current ADP (NFBC ADP of 111). I really like how well he manages contact (25.9% Hard Contact rate which would have been the 2nd best mark in baseball among those with at least 110 innings pitched behind Dallas Keuchel), and I think the Cardinals will put him in a good position to succeed throwing to Yadier Molina and if there’s development with a 3rd pitch, I think he’s a stud.
  9. Prospects 365 Top 200 Prospects

    Another top prospect list is out! This is a deeper one and it includes a blurb on each player.
  10. Jon Gray 2018 Outlook

    Feels kind of weird to say because he pitches for the Rockies, but I’m in on Jon Gray for 2018 and think he’s pretty underrated. He’s coming off a year where he put up 3.67 ERA with a 9.14 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, and a 0.82 HR/9. Those are very solid rate stats, and those along with an inflated .336 BAPIP (Coors Field doesn’t help), you can see why his FIP and xFIP were so strong at 3.18 and 3.45 respectively. Let’s take a look at his arsenal of pitches! It starts with the Fastball which he throws about 56% of the time and averages 96 MPH. That makes him one of the hardest throwing SPs in the game. The pitch even has slightly above-average movement, but unfortunately, those traits didn’t lead to any issues for batters making contact with the pitch. It struggled to generate whiffs with just a 4.2% swinging-strike rate and got hit to the tune of .335/.390/.522. On the positive side, it did generate a strong ground-ball rate of 49.2% so there is a chance with some better batted ball luck that the numbers for this pitch improve. Overall it was worth -3 runs above-average which ranked 75th best in the majors among those with at least 110 innings pitched. Next up is the Slider which is Gray’s best pitch and it’s really good! He throws it about 28% of the time and it averages 89.7 MPH. It gets good whiffs (16.7% swinging-strike rate) thanks in part to a 40.3% chase rate. It also gets lots of groundballs (50.6%). The pitch also posted a respectable 11.1% HR/FB, limiting opponents to a .167 average and .076 ISO. Overall it was worth 9.6 runs above-average which ranked 18th best in the majors among those with at least 110 innings pitched. Next up is the Curveball which I think really is the difference maker as he took a step forward with it in 2017. He throws it about 14% of the time and it averages 80.1 MPH. Despite mediocre movement on the pitch (not sure how much but some of that is Coors Field related), it produced results! Opposing batters only hit .185/.200/.241 against the pitch, and he actually didn’t give up a single home run with it last year. Now, I’m not sure how sustainable that is as it is the pitch with the highest line-drive and fly-ball rate in his repertoire (32.3% and 32.3% respectively), but it does miss bats at a pretty good rate of 12.1% and it’s two years in a row now that it’s gotten results. Overall it was worth 1.9 runs above-average which ranked tied for 43rd best in the majors with Jake Arrieta among those with at least 110 innings pitched. Last up is the Changeup which he throws very infrequently at 1.42% of the time and it averages 86.7 MPH. Despite a lack of drop, the pitch was great at getting whiffs (well above-average 18.2% swinging-strike rate), with a 55.6% contact rate. It didn't allow any home runs in a very small sample (threw it just 22 times in 2017) but did give up a .375 average against it when opponents did make contact. Overall, it was worth -1.3 runs above average. As you can see, Gray has a pretty solid 4 pitch mix, with 3 breaking ball/off-speed offerings that generate whiffs and a ridiculously hard fastball that has potential despite mediocre results. Interestingly, some of Gray’s plate discipline metrics backed up in 2017, and I think the reasoning is two-fold…one is he threw his slider less in 2017 and threw his fastball more. The 2nd part is his Slider got a lot fewer whiffs in 2017 (24.5% swinging-strike rate in 2016 on the slider which is ridiculous) despite actually having more movement. So I think it’s somewhat of an anomaly on the slider as he’s got a career 21.5% swinging-strike rate on it, and perhaps we see the Slider become one of the better whiff inducing pitches in baseball again in 2018. Overall there is a lot to like under the hood, he’s got tons of swing and miss stuff and his improved control showed with a career-best walk rate. If it weren’t for Coors Field, I think you would be looking at a guaranteed top 20 SP, and that represents his upside but Coors Field brings his floor closer to league average plus hurts his durability (it’s more difficult to rest and recover at altitude). I think there’s a decent chance Gray posts a low 3’s ERA with over a K an inning and a mid 1.2’s WHIP on a decent Rockies team that should give him plenty of run support. There’s not many SPs going as late as him that offer his upside. I’m buying at his ADP (NFBC ADP of 164) and hoping he can stay healthy!
  11. Rafael Devers 2018 Outlook

    I understand your points, and you are valid in saying that it’s a small sample size, but the reality is that it’s what we have to work with. Yes, I do think Devers improves, but I stand by my data and logic that says he may be a risk at his current ADP. The plate discipline numbers suggest he was fairly lucky to post a .284 batting average, and the .341 BAPIP pretty much confirms it, especially with Devers propensity to hit the ball on the ground (49.1% ground-ball rate in the majors) which should get turned into outs often with Devers lack of speed. He’s going to have to post a pretty high HR/FB rate to be a true power force with his current launch angle (8.09, MLB average is 11.83), and there is a pretty good chance that he can because he does hit the ball hard (88.7 MPH avg exit velocity, MLB average is 87.32) and he should grow into more power at some point too. The ability to hit lefties is something I’m not questioning as a whole as he did post pretty solid numbers in the minors (.282/.370/.423 at AA in 2017 and .278/.355/.371 at A+ in 2016) but it did come with fairly limited power. That makes his .400/.474/.600 line at the major league level with a 29.8 K% and a .581 BAPIP seem unsustainable. I think these are red flags in his profile that aren’t baked into his current price. I’m not the only one who thinks so either, here is his player profile on Fangraphs: I just think there are better values out there, his current ADP (NFBC ADP of 121) means that you are buying him at a price where you need him to take a pretty big step forward to return good value. Can he do so, absolutely, but that data I’ve talked about in this thread shows that he has a ways to go yet. He's being taken ahead of a guy like Mike Moustakas (NFBC ADP of 125) who just hit .272 with 38 HRs, last year (arguably should hit for a pretty comparable average but for more power than Devers) among others and I think that is a little rich for me. Eugenio Suarez is going at an ADP of 192, and he should provide pretty similar numbers with perhaps a little less in batting average, but comes at a much cheaper cost. Look, I still believe in Devers as a player, liked him as a prospect, and think he's a future stud. Perhaps this year though, if you're thinking about a 3B around the 121 mark or later in a draft, that perhaps there are better values and bets in terms of floor and ceiling.
  12. Zack Godley 2018 Outlook

    For reference, to find that info on Fangraphs you simply go to a player page and then click the "splits" tab towards the top, and then once you are on that page you click "pitch type splits" which is where the info for velocity and batted ball and plate discipline for each pitch can be found. Alternatively, you can use Brooks Baseball for this info too, and they have even more stuff you can get into.
  13. Matt Chapman 2018 Outlook

    Matt Chapman is a guy I think is being slept on in this year in fantasy, and he’s currently one of my favorite late round power bats. I consider him the discount version of Joey Gallo (NFBC ADP of 114) as you can grab Chapman 170 picks later (NFBC ADP of 284) and get pretty darn similar production. Chapman made his major league debut last year, playing in 84 games and slashing .234/.313/.472 with 14 HRs. That line was supported by a 28.2% K rate and a 9.8% BB rate and came with a reasonable .290 BAPIP. All told he was slightly above-average at the plate with a 108 wRC+, pretty solid for an MLB debut! If you add in his AAA numbers in which he hit .257/.348/.589 with 16 HRs and 5 SBs in 204 PAs, that’s a 31 HR, 5 SB season and that represents the sort of upside he can provide your fantasy team in 2018. Let’s dig a little deeper! Looking at his batted ball data, it’s very clear why he hits for so much power, it’s because he hits a ton of flyballs with a 50.5% mark last year in the majors and a 50.4% mark in AAA. Note the consistency, that’s 50% of his contact being flyballs…the only guys with higher marks among qualified hitters in the majors last year were Joey Gallo, Kyle Seager, and Matt Carpenter. That really helps him make the most of his raw power, and he’s gotten to it lots as a minor leaguer, hitting 36 HRs in 2016, and 23 in 2015 in just 304 Abs. Speaking of power, Chapman posted a very solid 36% Hard Contact rate which ranked in a tie for 86th best in the majors among those with at least 300 PAs with Yonder Alonso, Jason Castro, and surprisingly Adeiny Hechavarria. That 36% ranked ahead of names like Mookie Betts, Daniel Murphy, Kyle Seager, Bryce Harper, and Kris Bryant. That hard contact rate is supported by a well above-average 89.9 MPH average exit velocity (MLB average is 87.32 MPH) which ranked in a tie for 35th best in the majors with Joe Mauer, Joc Pederson, and Franchy Cordero. It ranked ahead names like Corey Seager, Freddie Freeman, and Cody Bellinger. Chapman has very legit pop, and I think there’s 40 HR upside in his bat, but 30-35 is a more safe projection for 2018. Couple more things I want to mention, Chapman is far less pull oriented when compared to other 3-true-outcome hitters (34.5% Pull, 38.5% Cent, 27% Oppo) and that in theory should help him maintain a slightly higher BAPIP compared to them as it makes him tougher to defend against using the shift. His 13.9% HR/FB rate in the minors was far lower than what he’s posted in the minors in recent years, as he’s ranged between 20.5% and 27.6% at every stop between 2015 and 2017. So in theory, there is a good chance he gets to his power even more at the major league level than he did last year. Let’s take a look at Chapman’s plate discipline numbers: His out-of-zone swing% was 26.6% MLB average is 30% His zone swing % was 61.9% MLB average is 65% His overall swing % was 42.7% MLB average is 46% His out-of-zone contact % was 56.2% MLB average is 66% His zone contact% was 81.8% MLB average is 87% His overall contact rate was 73.2% MLB average is 80% His % of pitches seen inside the strike-zone was 45.7% MLB average is 45% His swinging-strike% was 11.5% MLB average is 9.5% As you can see, Chapman is a very patient hitter, laying off pitches at a higher rate than average both inside and outside the zone. That’s good as it drives his strong walk rates, and because his contact rate on pitches outside the zone is roughly 10% worse than league average. His ability to make contact inside the zone is a fair bit below-average too, but it’s far from brutal by any means, especially compared to other 3-true-outcome guys like Joey Gallo and Miguel Sano. The Swinging-strike rate is what I’m most encouraged by, it’s worse than average but again not so much that he’s being overmatched or anything, in fact, it’s a lot better than a lot of similar type hitters like Gallo (19.2%), Sano (18.3%), Aaron Judge (13.1%), and even J.D. Martinez (14.6%). Chapman is a guy I’m buying everywhere, he’s like a less extreme Joey Gallo which is a good thing, and he’s going off the board way later making a terrific value IMO. His Defence at 3rd is incredible, and that should keep him in the lineup even if he struggles at all for a stretch. I just don’t see the downside of him at his current price (NFBC ADP of 284), and he has the upside of a .240 hitter with 30+ HRs with good counting stats.
  14. 2018 MLB Draft Prospects

    Stumbled across this and thought it was an interesting breakdown of Nick Madrigal's swing. Madrigal has received a lot of hype as the best college bat in the upcoming draft and at this time, that would make him one of the more intriguing names for us fantasy players. This breakdown put a damper on my power projection on him a little. The breakdown of the swing starts at 3:40 in the video. Here it is: