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Timing in baseball is everything, it comes up again and again in different areas of the game. One area in which it is particularly important is the batting order, and which hitters come to the plate at various points in the game.
The effect of how the lineup is set has been well-documented, like here, here, and here, along with many other articles since then. But after the first inning or two, the order largely gets jumbled, and different players come to the plate at different points in the game with different leverages. With this in mind, which players have been the best this year at leading off an inning for their team(s)?
Continue reading The Best Players in Baseball to Lead Off Your Team’s Inning
Through August 13th, the Toronto Blue Jays’ rotation has performed at a high level, ranking 1st in innings pitched, 5th in groundball percentage, 3rd in GB/FB ratio, 4th in ERA, 12th in FIP, 9th in xFIP, and 5th in WAR. The collective of Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada, Aaron Sanchez, and J.A. Happ have even done this while posting league-average K% and BB% and laboring through innings (only the Reds and Orioles throw more than Toronto’s 17.1 pitches per inning). They also go after hitters at a league-average rate (i.e., they throw an average number of strikes), and yet they have the second lowest BABIP in the league at .273. What about Toronto’s rotation makes their results so special, when their peripherals seem so average? The short answer is their individual fastballs.
Continue reading The Blue Jays Quietly Have One of the League’s Best Rotations
The New York Yankees were far and away the busiest team at the August 1st trade deadline, and their decision to “sell” surprised many. As detailed here by MLBTradeRumors, the Yankees traded away 4 active players and a prospect, and received back 10 prospects, 2 major leaguers, and 2 players-to-be-named-later (PTBNL). While the Bronx Bombers are only 5.5 games back of the second wild card spot as of August 3, their decision to sell off aging players and retool for the future is a tried and true strategy that they hope will pay off.
Continue reading Analyzing the Yankees 2016 MLB Trade Deadline by Prospect Surplus Value