Friday, December 1, 2023
HomeFootball NewsAttaboys and Get ‘Em Subsequent Occasions: Reviewing My Preseason Predictions

Attaboys and Get ‘Em Subsequent Occasions: Reviewing My Preseason Predictions

Riley Greene
Detroit Free Press

I’ll stage with you, FanGraphs reader: I can’t think about that FanGraphs evaluation is strictly what you’re most serious about proper now, baseball-wise. The thrilling issues happening are the video games on the sector as they occur. These playoff races are superb. The schedule units up with an exquisite mixture of both-teams-in video games and rivals taking part in spoiler. In that context, I can’t think about that many individuals are dying to examine Tommy Kahnle’s changeup-heavy arsenal, simply to choose on a random article I just lately wrote.

That’s by no means stopped me from writing about no matter random factor caught my eye, however I believed I’d benefit from a gradual week (once more, simply in my form of baseball evaluation, not in precise baseball) to go over some predictions I made earlier than the season. I wish to look again alone work for a number of causes — not simply to take pleasure in successes, however that’s actually a part of it. It’s additionally helpful to speak course of and separate unhealthy outcomes from unhealthy ex-ante choices, although to be trustworthy, that’s actually onerous, so I’m not sure I’ll get it proper right this moment.

I’ve named the column after one in all my favourite bizarre sports activities issues. I all the time knew this, however I’ve seen it extra since I began taking part in in a leisure softball league. After you come back to the dugout, there’s a fairly good probability somebody will slap your butt with their glove. It doesn’t matter what you probably did, there’s all the time a purpose to. Did you rating a run or make an awesome defensive play? It usually comes with an “attaboy” or “strategy to go.” Did you make an out or embarrass your self within the area? “Get ‘em subsequent time” is almost assured. The butt slap? That’s a relentless. The phrases that go together with it? They’re versatile. With out additional ado, let’s work out whether or not my hypothetical dugout ought to be congratulating or consoling me.

Hitter Breakouts
I wrote a mini-article about 4 gamers I cherished for 2023 after a panel dialogue on the SABR Analytics Convention. You’ve most likely heard me wax poetic in regards to the first participant on that record: Lars Nootbaar. I don’t assume this was a very daring declare; as I discussed in that article, he actually broke out in 2022, and I used to be principally simply speculating that the issues he did properly final yr would proceed into 2023.

Whether or not you’d rating this as one in my column comes right down to how you are feeling about merely repeating final season. Nootbaar posted principally the identical wOBA and wRC+ as final yr, however with extra BABIP and fewer energy. His energy nonetheless seems good, to be clear; whether or not you’re serious about Statcast numbers or simply the attention check, it seems about the identical as final yr, simply with much less house run luck. He posted the third-best batting line amongst Cardinals with cheap taking part in time and racked up the second-most WAR regardless of lacking a handful of video games all year long.

I can’t give myself a lot credit score for saying {that a} factor that was already happening would preserve occurring. However to the extent that one of many abilities in making breakout picks is discovering breakouts after they’ve occurred and glitzing it as much as make the choose really feel extra enjoyable, I believe I did a wonderful job right here.

My different hitter breakout in that article was Riley Greene, and he’s a extra fascinating case. I believed his strikeout price was certain to enhance, even when he didn’t change his strategy on the plate, and possibly even when he began swinging and lacking extra. Hey, what have you learnt: his swinging-strike price elevated by greater than two proportion factors, and but his strikeout price declined marginally.

The hellacious energy he displayed within the minors was one more reason to guess on Greene, and that additionally performed out. He completely clubbed the ball this yr and deserved higher energy output than he obtained at the same time as he elevated his ISO by 50 factors. Certain, he had his justifiable share of batted ball luck when it got here to hitting for common, and he had Tommy John surgical procedure that ended his season prematurely, however the thesis that Greene would strike out much less and do extra harm on contact even with out significant modifications was just about spot on.

Pitcher Breakouts
These ones weren’t so good! In that very same mini-article, I highlighted two pitchers: Taylor Rogers and Tyler Anderson. I’ll begin with Rogers, who was primarily in that article as a result of I wanted 4 names to speak about and solely had three I actually appreciated. My thesis there was that he had a excessive ground as a strong lefty-killing reliever, and that if he developed a cutter, he would possibly flip into the most effective total relievers within the sport.

That didn’t occur. Rogers remains to be the identical sinker/slider pitcher he’s all the time been, and he walked extra batters than ever earlier than in his profession this yr. Of explicit fear, he walked 10.9% of opposing lefties; I can tolerate excessive stroll charges from platoon specialists so long as they’re strolling the robust matchups, however he misplaced winnable battles too usually.

If there’s a lesson right here, it’s not betting on a pitcher to give you a brand new pitch. I don’t really feel notably unhealthy about pondering Rogers had a excessive ground; his stroll price ballooned and he nonetheless posted a 3.71 FIP and three.33 ERA. However a breakout implies one thing thrilling, and he doesn’t actually match that invoice, so this one looks as if a miss, although not a very damaging one.

Anderson was quite a bit worse than I anticipated. He, too, had critical command points; his 10.2% stroll price was greater than double final yr’s mark. I hypothesized that his new drop-down sinker would assist him deal with same-handed hitters, a wierd downside for a junkballing lefty, so in fact he obtained completely tattooed by lefties this yr, and that sinker gave the impression to be a part of the issue.

The factor that made me serious about Anderson within the first place was his arm slot change towards lefties, and he doubled down on it this yr. He added a slider from that decrease arm slot, although he didn’t use it notably usually. His largest problem was that he couldn’t command pitches from that low launch level very properly; he walked 14.3% of opposing lefties, a fully terrible mark, and that goes a good distance in direction of explaining his grotesque platoon splits towards them.

I’m nonetheless serious about specializing in pitchers who can break up the handedness battle in two and develop completely different arsenals for every, however I believe it’s sensible to be respectful of how necessary an excellent growth and training employees is for such a tough strategy. Anderson prospered with the Dodgers and has up to now floundered with the Angels. Assuming I’m smarter than the Dodgers, that I noticed one thing distinctive that they missed, is clearly foolish. Betting on consistency from a pitcher who had beforehand made a profession out of inconsistency can be a head scratcher. I’m principally proud of the concept of betting on somebody who made large modifications, however I most likely ought to have spent extra time fascinated about the dangers that include these modifications.

Unheralded Prospects
I’ve been trying to establish sleeper hitters for a number of years as a part of our prospect protection, however as I discussed in that writeup this yr, the method is getting tougher over time. This yr, the wheels actually fell off. I highlighted Angel Martinez, Osleivis Basabe, Gabriel Martinez, Esteury Ruiz, Yeiner Fernandez, and Jhonkensy Noel. Of that group, solely Fernandez had what I’d think about a profitable offensive season, although Basabe no less than reached the majors on the sooner aspect of his timeline to salvage just a little little bit of my dignity. This isn’t what you’d wish to see for a listing of wRC+’s of hitters I recognized as fascinating:

Nonetheless Sleeping

Hitter Age Stage wRC+
Angel Martinez 21 AA/AAA 91
Osleivis Basabe 22 AAA/MLB 91
Gabriel Martinez 20 A+ 82
Esteury Ruiz 24 AAA/MLB 90
Yeiner Fernandez 20 A+ 111
Johnkensy Noel 21 AAA 77

I’d wish to inform you that that is simply an instance of excellent course of and unhealthy consequence, however I don’t assume it’s. The large shortcoming of the methodology I’m utilizing — principally combing by earlier minor league knowledge for skillsets most correlated with eventual main league success — is that it doesn’t incorporate new knowledge. It’s not precisely simple to search out, however you will get Statcast-style knowledge for loads of minor leaguers at this level, and it provides a helpful new dimension of research.

Ten years in the past, the subset of fellows that didn’t appear like conventional energy hitters, posted strong minor league numbers, and weren’t prime 100 prospects contained a mix of true slap hitters and little guys who crushed the ball or barreled it up with nice frequency. Lately, everybody has gotten higher at figuring out that second group as a result of we now have higher knowledge. That makes for antagonistic choice; the fellows with good minor league numbers and good batted ball knowledge are simply capital-D dudes. They aren’t flying beneath the radar anymore. Noel was the one hitter on my record who doesn’t match into that “weak batted ball class,” however his dangers are extra of the “yeah however can he hit” selection anyway.

Put merely, I don’t assume that the form of sorting I’m doing is enough to establish unnoticed prospects with excessive upsides anymore, as a result of the form of guys that this may need captured 15 years in the past are actually getting seen. Analysis has simply gotten higher, and if I wish to discover good hitters that conventional evaluators are lacking, I’ll must get higher, too. I’m unsure there’s a straightforward “repair” to the methodology, however I’m excited to strive some new concepts this offseason. Which of them? I couldn’t probably say till I’ve spent extra time making an attempt. However that is the preseason prediction I’m least proud of, and I hope to have one thing higher instead sooner fairly than later.

Playoff Groups and Awards
I’ve already talked an honest quantity about my predictions due to one oddball: I picked the Orioles to win the AL East in our employees predictions. That one labored out fairly properly, I’d say. The overall predictions had been as follows:

Preseason Predictions by League

I additionally predicted a World Collection of Dodgers over Astros — boring! I’m going to finish up doing fairly properly within the AL and fairly poorly within the NL, although I believe that lots of people obtained bamboozled within the Senior Circuit. Everybody on employees predicted that the Padres would make the playoffs, and nearly everybody had the Cardinals too.

I believe that the lesson I’m going to remove from these is to stay with my technique, which is to principally choose the most probably groups but additionally attempt to put up a number of undervalued choices. I didn’t assume the Orioles had been the most probably group to win the AL East, however I did assume that they stood an honest probability of constructing the playoffs, and in addition that nobody would choose them. I like that juxtaposition, and I picked the Dodgers to win the NL West for the same purpose, consider it or not. Solely three of 27 prognosticators had them profitable the division, and I believed it was near a 50/50 shot.

I’m probably not positive how you can assess the thought course of behind these predictions looking back, apart from to say that if you wish to stand out on workout routines like this, it’s a good suggestion to hunt a number of undervalued choices. You’ll be able to’t simply go rogue on each single choose, and leaning into the Giants as an alternative of the Diamondbacks as my unlikely group within the NL didn’t pan out, however I wish to think about the train as a bracket-picking contest, and it’s onerous to win if you happen to simply go all chalk. Sprinkling in a number of 10% probabilities that the remainder of the pickers are weighing as 0% probabilities is a enjoyable manner to try this.

To be trustworthy, I don’t have quite a bit to say about my awards picks. I didn’t put as a lot time into these as I did into the playoff groups. I principally went chalk with Cy Younger and Rookie of the Yr choices, after which picked MVPs based mostly on which groups I believed would have viable contenders on nice groups. If the Astros and Mets had delivered large seasons, I believe Alvarez and Lindor would have been on the coronary heart of them quite a lot of the time.

Thanks for studying by this largely self-centered train. I believe there’s one thing to be discovered from trying again on previous predictions, to carry myself accountable if nothing else. I knew quite a lot of the conclusions earlier than writing this text, however I nonetheless discovered extra about what I dislike about my sleeper hitter methodology, in addition to what I do like about a number of different predictions I made. Hopefully once I write one thing comparable for subsequent yr, I’m 5% higher on the train on account of doing this right this moment. All in all, I believe I’d award myself an attaboy, although with some clear get ‘em subsequent instances within the combine.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments