Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4.8 Random Sampling

The Random Sampling of games i'm keeping an eye on:

All numbers, stats, etc. listed found on baseball-reference.com

Diamondbacks vs. Giants

If this was a video game, i'm sure the Diamondbacks would have pushed the reset button this season, but they can't. So far their best hitter by OPS+ has been Mark Trumbo who has a 214 OPS+ so far. While his power has been proven to be very legitimate this year and could lead the league in homers, there's no way he's hitting .314 the rest of the way. I'd give it a 5% chance he's their best hitter at year end.

The Giants have first place for now (though the conventional wisdom is that gets relinquished to the mighty Dodgers at some point even though the Giants just took two of three in LA last weekend). The Giants best hitter so far has been Angel Pagan who has a 202 OPS+. While I think he'll have a good season, if he's their best offensive player by year end, something probably went wrong and there's 2% chance he's their best hitter at years end.

Blue Jays vs. Astros

The Blue Jays are off to a 3-4 start for what its worth. Their best hitter so far with a 236 OPS+ is Adam Lind. So far, he's been able to build off the momentum of a strong spring and strong 2013. I'd give him a 25% chance that he's their best hitter at the end of the season.

The Astros are also 3-4 (and like the Blue Jays have a 2-5 pythagorean record) though i'm pretty sure that's an over achievement in itself. Their best hitter so far is Dexter Fowler who has a 342 OPS+. On most teams, I don't think Fowler would end the season as the team's best hitter but this is the Astros wer'e talking about so i'm giving it a 50% chance.

Mets vs. Braves

The Mets were not expected to contend and they have done little to change that assertion so far. Their best hitter so far is Juan Lagares. This is our classic case of fun with small sample sizes (a bigger sample size shows that he had a .727 OPS in the minor leagues). The chances of him being their best hitter at years end is <1%.

The Braves (despite all their injuries) are doing good so far (though they'll need to score more than 2.5 runs per game going forward). Their best hitter so far is Freddie Freeman who comes in at a 281 OPS+. The chance of him being their best hitter at years end is 80%.

Marlins vs. Nationals

Due to a good first week form the Marlins, tonight's game will determine who will be in first place when we wake up tomorrow. One thing that has been a surprise is that Casey McGehee has a 205 OPS+ which has even topped Giancarlo Stanton's first week. The chances of this holding up all season is <1% but he still could have himself a very solid season similar to what he did for the Brewers in 2009 & 2010.

The Nationals best hitter so far is Adam LaRoche who has himself a 188 OPS+ which breaks the stereotype of terrible first half/awesome second half.. Even if this is a career year, there's still <10% chance he ends the season as their best hitter.

Angels vs. Mariners

The Angels are at 3-4 though their Pythagorean record says it should be reversed. Their best hitter so far is Josh Hamilton who has a 304 OPS+. While it is encouraging that Hamilton has this season started on the right foot, chances of him being their best hitter at season end is <5% which can mostly be attributed to his name not being Mike Trout.

The Mariners are 4-2 and the early results indicate that their off-season spending spree is paying off. Their best hitter so far has been Robinson Cano who is getting paid a lot of money to be the best. The chance of him being the best hitter at year end is 90%.

Indians vs. Padres

The Indians seem to struggle to avoid getting rained out and have their second double header to play tomorrow. So far, their best hitter has been Lonnie Chisenhall. This may be the year he displays some of the promise that he showed in the minors but at best has a 15% chance to be his teams best player.

The Padres are over achieving (sadly) based on their Pythagorean record and their best hitter so far has been Seth Smith. When your best hitter is basically a platoon player, that's not a good sign and i'd give it less than a 10% chance that he's their best hitter at year end.

Royals vs. Rays

The Royals best hitter so far has been Salvador Perez. Maybe he does take another step forward. Still, there are other hitters with higher ceiling and I give it a 40% chance that he is their best hitter at year's end.

The Rays best hitter so far has been Matthew Joyce. While he has been an above average hitter the last few years, he has a less then 1% chance to be the best Rays hitter at years end, mainly because his name is not Evan Longoria.

Brewers vs. Phillies

One week into the season, i'm happy with how the Brewers are looking. Before opening day, my feeling was on a scale of 1-10 on contending, the Brewers were about a 3. I've inched that up to a 4 (i'm encouraged by the strong starting pitching, the weekend sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway but there are still some lingering concerns that need to sort themselves out if they're going to contend such as Ryan Braun's thumb injury, Jim Henderson's struggles and making sure Jean Segura just had a bad day and his Saturday is not a sign of future struggles).

That being said, their best hitter over the first week was Jonathan Lucroy. While he is continuing to improve, i'd give him a 25% chance of being their best hitter at season end.

The Phillies best hitter so far has been Chase Utley. I'm giving him a 60% chance of him being their best hitter at season end, i'd go higher but it's far from guaranteed that he won't get injured and miss significant time.