Uh, yea so this is beyond sweet.
Baseball Prospectus provides us with some detailed scout-speak on Andrew McCutchen:
Left-handed pitchers have a tough task against McCutchen, who isn’t fooled by anything but the best off-speed pitches. He looks for pitches out over the plate, so it is possible to sneak a fastball by him on the inside, but it would require a plus fastball and is a risky approach. The best way for LHPs to attack McCutchen is with soft stuff down and away; if the pitches are in the strike zone, he will still try to pull them through the left side. He barrels the ball up well even while trying to pull pitches on the outer half, but if they are down in the strike zone, the damage is typically limited to singles. Shifting three infielders to the left side can help combat the amount of balls that make it through the infield.
Right-handed pitchers can use more of the entire strike zone, but staying low and away is still the key. Because of his quick hands, he is susceptible to good off-speed pitches and good breaking pitches, especially on the outer half. He crushes fastballs, however, especially once he gets ahead in the count. Even when a pitcher falls behind, he still must attack with breaking pitches, despite the risk of walking him.
Regardless of handedness, the key to McCutchen is to stay low and away and make him pull pitches he doesn’t want to pull. As evidenced by Chart A below, McCutchen’s power comes when he gets his hands extended on pitches up in the zone. He does a better job than most of hitting those balls hard enough to get them through the infield, but at least that keeps the ball in the park
I went on to find similar reports on Joey Votto, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Phillips, and other key offensive players who made the postseason. I know what I’m doing tonight.
My buddy M.J. Lloyd and I were talking one day about some of our favorite baseball writers. He tossed out a name about one of the guys who was ‘the next big thing’ in his mind, Sam Miller formerly of the OC Register Angels blog. I am starting to become a believer.
Miller produced one of my favorite posts of the year thus far at Baseball Prospectus yesterday. It’s called ‘Pebble Hunting’ and it details Bryce Harper’s toughest at-bats. Miller takes us through five at-bats that Harper has had against the five pitchers with the highest K-rates: Aroldis Chapman, Jason Grilli, Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, and Johnny Venters.
It’s all about young power vs. power match-ups. Miller gets creative with gifs and screen shots and all the fixings. Please check it out.
I love stuff like this. Seeing where we’ve come from and how far we’ve come.
Baseball Prospectus reminds us of a nice little project that Pepper Hastings, the senior editor of Beckett Baseball Monthly; set out to complete. Pepper wanted to obtain a working pay phone number for each of the 26 stadiums in Major League Baseball.
This wreaks of the same kind of classic retro workflows without automation like the score-keeping of fantasy baseball leagues (I still know of one guy who does it that way for traditions sake) and All-Star voting being done solely on the paper ballots that were handed out at the ballpark.
I miss early 90′s baseball, and the innocence we all had back then. There are times when I wish we didn’t have the convenience of a few taps of our smartphones to know a guy’s complete stat line for the night, how many fastballs he threw, and every team’s score in the league for the evening.
It reminds me of the days of missing box scores because my parents didn’t get the paper except on the weekends. If my grandma didn’t save the daily sports page, I would have to catch up on what Eric Davis and Barry Larkin did on certain nights in a two week old edition of Baseball Weekly.
Yet, for some reason I want to go back to the payphone era.
It’s a proud day for us here at Diamond Hoggers because our buddy M.J. Lloyd (co-host of The Baseball Show Podcast) and editor of Off-Base Percentage and Halo Hangout made his debut over at Baseball Prospectus.
M.J. brings it strong, writing about The Pitfalls of Prospect Worship; something that we can relate to pretty easily.
Prospects are like new car smell. They’re exciting and intoxicating. They make it seem like your favorite team is about to turn the corner.
From there, M.J. brings it strong. If you’ve got a few minutes today, head over to BP and read his debut post. Way to go “MTD”. We look forward to more of it’s type.
Today for the first time ever I paid for a subscription to the online Baseball Prospectus. And I’ll admit, Will Carroll sold me perfectly on twitter; I wanted to read about Jay Bruce’s oblique/abdominal injury. And today’s Under the Knife column got me to dole out the $4.95 (that’s a grilled chicken breast at Wholefoods!) for the month’s worth of baseball reading.
And needless to say, Carroll writes about a lot of injuries around the game and gives what I assume is an estimated return date for said player. He is an excellent baseball writer and his credentials speak for himself. But confirmed for me was nothing I didn’t already have the tools to confirm myself about this Bruce injury (and I won’t spoil the fun for any of you non-subscribers).
Now I’ve got a month to read BP and see if anything interesting pops up that makes me want to sign up for another month.
Hey, at least I can use it as a tax write-off if I don’t get too lazy to do so.
Baseball Prospectus on Jay Bruce: “He’s just a baby and he hit 22 home runs in an off year,” a scout said. “Imagine what he’s going to do when he’s healthy. This kid has tremendous power and he’s already advanced enough that he hits them out to all fields because he knows how to turn on inside pitches and he is strong enough to go the other way with balls on the outer half of the plate. What we’ve seen of him is strictly the tip of the iceberg. PECOTA also feels Bruce is ready to bust out, projecting him to hit .275/.342/.520 with 32 home runs in 620 plate appearances.” [Fantasy Alpha]
Baseball Prospectus’s Chris Buckley on Aroldis Chapman: “Our Latin American scouting director [Tony Arias] is Cuban-American and he talked to a number of people from Cuba. We did as much research on Aroldis as we could, as I’m sure that other teams did, and nothing came back to us that was anywhere near a red flag. I just spent the last day and a half with him, and he’s an impressive young man. I mean, he’s shy. He doesn’t speak English, but we knew that because we met with him before all of this came together. He’s very impressive.” [Baseball Prospectus]
Long-time season ticket holders of the New York Yankees have the screws put to them by the organization after many years of allegiance and loyalty. These guys find themselves paying the same steep prices that they have every year to obtain a season ticket package but are now some 60-feet further from the action, complete with an obstructed view. [Baseball Prospectus]
Q & A with Kevin Goldstein, esteemed author for Baseball Prospectus. [Baseball Time in Arlington]
Are you a bleacher bum? Are you a big league stat head? Well you can pre-order Baseball Prospectus 2009 right now, and while it won’t be available in time to go under your holiday tree, it will be in your hands by February 16, 2009. Now, why are we shilling for a book that has not contacted us about any type of sponsorship/partnership deals? Well one day last winter we sat down at the local bookstore and instead of reading fantasy magazines we read Baseball Prospectus 2008. It was pretty accurate and pretty interesting. It’s like a scout’s guide for the upcoming year. It previews organization’s down the pipeline. If you feel like you’re lacking on your team’s prospect info, then you should give it a whirl. Wives who need baseball gifts for their husbands? This might be your answer. Basically, we think its that interesting of a work. [Amazon]
I went to Barnes & Noble the other night and enjoyed some of the freebie’s that it allowed me. Their top 100 Prospects for 2008 have been made public, with Wonder Kid Jay Bruce being ranked #1 overall in baseball and Homer Bailey at #9.
I read what BP had to say about Jay Bruce, and I’ll paraphrase here:
They began comparing Bruce to Larry Walker. They started to talk in terms of his enormous potential and mentioned his very strong leadership skills. Basically, Bruce checks out perfectly in this area and figures to be a clubhouse leader before he’s of age. He’s a mature kid who will lead with his play but won’t be afraid to step in and lead by saying something.
They then talk about his skills and how he rates out on the 75 point point scale by scouts. Bruce’s bat is rated out at a 60, his speed at a 55, his arm at 60, his power at 65, and his fielding at 55 but 60 if he is in right field and not in center. They go onto talk about how if he plays center for the long term, he will not be able to put on the body build needed to produce the numbers that a power hitter of his potential would.
Overall I’d reccomend this read to the die-hards out there, as they talk about the best young prospects in baseball in some depth and outline team lineups in 2010.