Daily Notes | The Using Peripheral Stats Edition

I was reading a Jayson Stark story on ESPN last week about 5 teams in baseball that were shocking, either good or bad. Story can be read here. In any case, aside from going over my beloved Mets, he mentions the Tigers, and how much of a disappointment they have been this year. He specifically says (in regards to their awful defense and injury problems):

“…it certainly doesn’t explain why their closer, that thrill-a-minute Jose Valverde, could have had zero blown saves, a 2.24 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP last year — and now has three blown saves, a 4.24 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP this year.” 

And he is right, the defense and injuries have nothing to do with Valverde’s regression. It has everything to do with he just wasn’t that good. In preseason a lot of fantasy writers were calling out for Valverde to regress, and not just a little. How did we figure this out? Peripheral stats…

Stark is absolutely correct that on the surface, Valverde had a sparkling season in 2011, at least according to the end results. But looking deeper at the numbers he was pitching over his head.

His K’s had dropped from the prior year. His LOB% was the second best of his career. His  ERA was a half run or better than his FIP, xFIP, SIERA and tERA. He threw his 2nd best ground ball percentage of his career, and when opponents did get the ball in the air off him, his HR/FB ratio was a 6.4%… league average is usually around 10%. I mean, could we honestly expect a pitcher whose xFIP was 4.01 in his best season (for arguements sake, 2007 and 2008 were pretty good too), to not take a step back to where he is now? And to be honest, despite that 4.24 ERA (at the time that article was written, it’s 3.91 now) he is still getting lucky, registering an xFIP of 5.45(!) and SIERA of 4.78.

Anyway, we were able to use those other numbers to illustrate why we didn’t think Valverde would be as good again this year as he was last year. Heck, I had him ranked 20th among relievers on my preseason ranks. With all due respect Mr. Stark, this might not be as shocking as it seems.

  • Mike Trout is really good. And I knew that before he got called up. And I picked him up before he got the call. Then I dropped him to capitalize on a Nolan Reimold hot streak. Reimold hits the DL, Trout is claimed off waivers and stashed by another owner. Stupid you say? Yes. Very stupid, however, in my defense, this was the 2nd year I have been in this specific keeper league, and last year, I was the only manager who picked up and stashed a prospect. The only one. I thought I was safe. I was wrong. Last night Trout was 2-for-5 with 2 more runs. He is batting .350 on the year and I am on the verge of making a VERY IRRATIONAL trade just to get him back because I’m hoping it will ease the pain of my past mistake. I’m not exaggerating when I say I think about that move every day. It haunts me. We preach patience in fantasy baseball. Lesson learned. 
  • On a good note, I traded away Josh Hamilton for Joey Votto and Roy Halladay. Sure Halladay is hurt, but Votto is amazing. Sure he had an 0-4 last night, but he is batting .465 over the last 14 days. His HR stroke isn’t quite what is has been prior, but it’s coming around and his 1.107 OPS (major league leader) is supported by his 26 doubles (also major league lead). He is still batting .355 on the year. it makes me happy to see all that, until I see that in the last 14 days, Mike Trout is 2nd in AVG with a .451 mark and 10th in OPS at 1.158. Sigh.
  • Sticking to players I like and own, Jason Kipnis is good (3 run shot and a steal last night, #6 on the Yahoo! player rater), Brett Lawrie picked up his 5th HR of the year batting lead off, and Austin Jackson had a 3 run HR in his 2nd game back from the DL.
  • I picked up Padres 2B/3B Logan Forsythe for my MI spot this week in Blog Wars. He’s batting .346 with a HR, 2 runs, 4 RBI and a steal in 7 games since getting called up. He’s getting regular playing time and has a hot bat. Let’s see where he takes me.
  • Wil Myers, who is mashing minor league pitching to the tune of 21 HR’s across AA and AAA this season was rumored to be called up after this round of interleague play, but in an article today in the Kansass City Star, Royals GM Dayton Moore said that Myers is more likely to get called up early next year. Bummer, but maybe it’s GM gamesmanship? Stay tuned…
Pitching Matchups

E. Jackson @ Morrow - Aside from Wang, Jackson looks like the weak link on the Nat’s staff, but I would like to point out 5 of his last 6 games have been quality starts including his last 4 straight. 

Beckett @ Johnson

Nova @ DelgadoNova was great last time out, but need I remind you he gave up 18 runs in his previous 4 starts combined? 5runs, 5 runs, 3, runs, 5 runs. I like Delgado, but after seeing the Yankee’s light up the Mets pitching (believe it or not, we have good starting pitching), I’m benching him here. 

Richards @ Capuano – So his last two starts have been his worst of the year. Is he regressing or was he just throwing in very hitter friendly parks? He’s back in So Cal, and I think the humid air is what he needs to get back on track.