Busy Monday to have an opinion, and that’s not even just around baseball. As usual, there’s a lot going on in the world, and there’s plenty to talk about. On the baseball side of things, a few items have caught my attention.
Even though the SIERA metric doesn’t seem to be as widespread as something like FIP and wOBA (much less fWAR or rWAR), that’s not going to stop people from trying to predict the game better. If someone can better predict what will happen, our opinions should be better informed on a particular player, in this case, pitchers. Here is the much anticipated formula you were hoping for when calculating xSIERA:
SIERA = constant – 15.518*(SO/PA) + 9.146*((SO/PA)^2) + 8.648*(BB/PA) + 27.252*((BB/PA)^2) – 2.298*(netGB/PA) –/+4.920*((netGB/PA)^2) – 4.036*(SO/PA)*(BB/PA) + 5.155*(SO/PA)*(netGB/PA) + 4.546*(BB/PA)*(netGB/PA) + .367*(IP as SP)/(IP total)
*netGB = GB – FB
**The -/+ term is determined based on whether or not GB >= FB. If it is, you would use the minus sign, otherwise if FB > GB, use the plus sign.
You can read more about xSIERA here.
Just because I don’t use SIERA doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its uses. Looking at xSIERA, I do like how it focuses on walks, strikeouts, groundouts, and innings pitched, so there’s got to be some value to it. This will probably motivate me to look at SIERA more, maybe by the end of the day I’ll like what I see. I shouldn’t have to rely on the public to determine what’s best, but I should also work understand the pros and cons of a stat before I toss it out.
Chris Davis and PEDs
A player starts hitting homers, he’s on the juice. Melky Cabrera started doing well? The pitchforks won. Jose Bautista makes an adjustment? Steroids. Edwin Encarnacion starts going nuts? He’s on the juice. Mike Trout? Gotta be PEDs. Miguel Cabrera? Well, he won the Triple Crown so he’s good. Chris Davis though, the guy who’s always had power, and it being just a matter of him putting it together. Well, he’s putting it together, and at age 27 he’s doing alright for himself. At 31 homers, he could do some exciting things in 2013.
Maybe the pitchforks are right this time. However, I like to imagine they’re not, because well, how much do you like the Debbie Downer every time something great happens it’s because there’s a malicious backstory to it? Opinions are welcome, but the same opinion put on repeat of “CHEATING” is like using that Jobs, Hope, Cash, Bacon joke over and over again.
Matt Harvey is a great pitcher for the New York Mets. People are in awe of his skill every time he pitches. Zack Wheeler was a very highly hyped pitcher who is new to the big leagues. I told my friend to stock him on his reserve list in his dynasty league because I was like “WHEELER!” But apparently that dream has died:
verdict is in, & wheeler is no harvey. at the very least, it’s time to stop the comparisons. http://t.co/3nbfj1c5H1
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) June 30, 2013
This is saying “After three starts in the big leagues, we have decided the careers of these two pitchers,” and gosh dang that is ridiculous. Maybe it’s easy when you’re comparing someone who looks like a fifth outfielder versus an All Star, but comparing two pitchers that have high ceilings and saying it’s over? Lazy work. An interesting quote about Wheeler though:
But when [the Giants] traded him, not everyone in the smart Giants hierarchy was convinced Wheeler would be a starter. Some thought so, but others weren’t so sure. A few envisioned him as a reliever. That’s why they dealt him. That, and Alderson wouldn’t take anyone else.
I think this is the first we’ve heard about it and so that makes it interesting to hear that Wheeler’s future was in the pen for some of the front office. Either way, it’s probably still a little early to pour down on Wheeler and call it a game. Three starts, for crying out loud.
Zack Wheeler has finally been called up to the bigs, and he’s been climbing up the “Top Prospects” ladder for the last four years, all the way being up in the top eleven in 2013, and being the Mets top prospect coming into this year. Wheeler, of course, was the arm used to acquire Carlos Beltran by the Giants in 2011. While the Giants could very well use him now, their flag in 2012 should ease the pain of watching a top prospect get his chance to shine while the Giants are being forced to wait for theirs.
The scouting report on Wheeler from Baseball Prospectus coming into the season:
GOOD fastball, above average curveball, and a good slider and change. Let’s see what Wheeler showcased on Tuesday night in his effort against the NL East leading Atlanta Braves in the second game of their doubleheader.
Lot of balls from Zack in the game, especially early on, which could have been due to a combination of nerves and throwing the ball.
And, there’s your first career MLB strikeout, and Jason Heyward gets the honor of being the first victim.
Thanks for playing, Brian McCann.
Chris Johnson whiffing on 95.
Paul Maholm probably a little mismatched.
Probably don’t wanna throw it too much in that location.
He actually started out Justin Upton with a slider low two straight at bats. Gives you some insight into their scouting report on him.
A much better reception than the first slider, he’ll get that call from other umpires.
And there’s Dan Uggla helping Wheeler record Zack’s seventh strikeout of the night.
Despite the five walks in 102 pitches for Wheeler, I thought this was a pretty good debut. It wasn’t Strasburg, but it was pretty dang good. As I was saying on twitter, I’m rooting for the former Baby Giant, and I want him to do well. This was a great first step, and here’s to Zack on a great career with the Mets and then the Giants when he signed with them because he secretly misses all of us.
The regular season begins
this Sunday tomorrow at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out. Let us preview the postseason, where the best team doesn’t always win due to the randomness of how the short series will go. It’s a first team to eleven wins once the DS begins, and normally the team that catches fire tends to do the celebrating. Also in my analysis, the team that scores more runs tend to win games. I’ll start with who I have going into the playoffs, then the predictions of the resulting postseason series. After that, I’ll go into regular season awards.
NL Playoff Seeding
1. Washington Nationals
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Atlanta Braves
5. San Francisco Giants
Wild-Card Play-in Game
Atlanta beats San Francisco
Atlanta beats Washington
Cincinnati beats Los Angeles
Cincinnati beats Atlanta
AL Playoff Seeding
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Toronto Blue Jays
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. Texas Rangers
Wild-Card Play-in Game
Tampa Bay beats Texas
Detroit beats Tampa Bay
Toronto beats LA of A
Detroit beats Toronto
World Series (game will be in AL Park when AL wins ASG)
Detroit beats Cincinnati
Don’t worry Tiger fans, I’m sure my predictions won’t be correct!
Regular Season Awards
I will go into who the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year for both leagues will be. These will also probably be wrong.
AL MVP — Mike Trout
Asking me if I’m mad, bro? Nah, not mad, but let’s say Mike Trout does even 80% of what he did in 2012 in 2013, and his team gets to the playoffs, the voters are going to give him his “redemption,” and feel good that “see, we don’t hate advanced stats,” as we roll our collective eyes together. Sophomore slump? Maybe a little, but the only thing that will stop this fish is if he gets hurt playing the game.
NL MVP — Justin Upton
They say a change of scenery can do wonders for a player, and how about playing with an organization that wants you? I’d say that’s a good start. I think Upton will have a career year, players like Braun and Posey will regress a little, and Upton will find his team in the playoffs. Justin Upton may not have the best year of everybody, but I think he gets the award.
AL Cy Young — Justin Verlander
Kind of like Trout, he’s only going to get stopped by an injury. He should continue to rack up the pitcher wins, satisfying the old school, and his team will make the playoffs all with lots of money, and lots of strikeouts. Probably not many multi-homer against games though. Verlander is just excellent.
NL Cy Young — Clayton Kershaw
Dickey was a great story in 2012, but I still side with the overall metrics a bit on Kershaw, believing he got snubbed by just a little bit, nothing too controversial. Kershaw, like Verlander, will be getting plenty of pitcher wins behind a boosted offense, and he’s still really, really good. Oh, and his team will be going to the playoffs so that equals instant votes.
AL Rookie of the Year — Jackie Bradley Jr.
Shot up the prospect lists in 2012 into 2013, and is projected to start with the team. For the kid, the defense will be getting peoples attention, while the stick may not be able to do anything super special, it’ll be enough. Lots of names for both RoY awards, JBJ just happens to be my guess right now.
NL Rookie of the Year — Zack Wheeler
Wheeler will not come up until June and he’ll still get the award. Dominating the minors, and yes, I understand the pain he’s going to cause Giants fans, but the kid is good, and will be going after his opposition from the get-go with heat and curveballs and breaking balls and strikeouts.
Let’s hear what your predictions are! Pretty much anything goes before the season gets going.
From Baseball Prospectus’ Mets Top Ten Prospects:
Just can’t help it. And now my face is all bruised up. I’ll just blame my cats again.
Right? If you write about baseball, or you think you can right about baseballs (lulz), chances are you can make predictions or give a take on the second half of the season that has/hasn’t been said before, or provide first-half analysis, but do it in a different way from other people.
I use Excel spreadsheets:
Boom. How you like these apples? You may have seen something like this in a Fansided post I did last month, and now it’s updated. Spent all night updating it, so I hope you appreciate the work. If you don’t, well take in the numbers that are important here: the Giants are 20-20 against teams with a .500 record or better (despite their most recent 9-10 stretch versus winning teams) and have 30/76 (~40%) of their remaining games against those teams including 12 against the Dodgers, who may or may not look the same the next time we see them. I have a hard time seeing top Dodger prospect Zach Lee making it through this season without being traded. As long as the Dodgers don’t win it all, this could be a season we look back on and kind of point and laugh at them much in the same way people do at the Giants for that deal last year involving a different Zack. In both scenarios though, the deal needs/needed to be done to acquire an impact player, and I don’t know how impact of a guy they can get in this market. The most important number may be that they have 13 games against the Rockies, who are hopelessly lost right now. The next most outside of the NL West are the 7 against the Braves, and the 6 against the Jose Altuves.
Despite being one game under .500, the DBacks are 4 back of the Dodgers, and 3.5 behind the Giants, so for now we will consider them being in the hunt and not giving up on Justin Upton, which is another issue in of itself. The Dodgers, though they have swept the Cardinals, have 8 left against them, and still have to finish their season series with the Nationals, Pirates, Reds, Braves, and the Mets (Giants are done with two of those guys, DBacks, are done with the Braves). The Dodgers, despite starting very well against winning competition, have regressed to one game over, but have one win up on the Giants at the moment. The Diamondbacks in terms of their schedule have more games against over .500 teams to finish the season largely in part to the Giants, Dodgers, and Reds, but have struggled overall against such foes going 19-26, which hopefully is a number that only gets worse (for them).
Unimportant observation: Did you notice the summed up records of opponents that are below .500 for the Giants and Dodgers were exactly the same? How ’bout that.
Key part of the schedule: Friday, September 7th through Monday, September 24th. Here’s why:
Giants face: vs. Dodgers (3), @Rockies (3), @DBacks (3), vs. Rockies (4), vs. Padres (3)
Dodgers face: @Giants (3), @DBacks (2), vs. Cardinals (4), @Nationals (3), @Cincinnati (3)
DBacks face: @Padres (3), vs. Dodgers (2), vs. Giants (3), vs. Padres (3), vs. Rockies (4)
Notice a difference in the degree of difficulty the Giants and DBacks face versus what the Dodgers have to go through? Shoot, the DBacks barely have to travel during that stretch, and the Giants go as far as Colorado while the Dodgers get to go to the other side of the States. This could make the end of the season an interesting one for the NL West.
And now, for the part that anyone can do (and will probably be wrong): The prediction.
Thursday, July 12th
Dodgers 47-40 —
Giants 46-40 0.5
Dbacks 42-43 4.0
Thursday, October 4th
Giants 90-72 —
Dodgers 88-74 2.0
DBacks 87-75 3.0
This means the Giants have to win 58% of the games left. Should be doable, especially if the starters (I’m thinking of specifically two of them) can give the team a chance to win. It’s a long season, and I may be a bit optimistic, but we’ll hope for the best (for us and only us).