DIGGING DATA: The Predictive Power of ISO

Our data guru Chip Bourne has been running some statistical regressions on different stats this offseason so that we can play around with the data. In our last article, we looked at whether a player’s wRC+ performance at one level is predictive of wRC+ performance at subsequent levels (it’s really not). Today, we are going to like at another statistic: Isolated Power (ISO).

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DIGGING DATA: Scouting and Statlines

A recent Twitter discussion we were in revolved around just how much weight an owner can put on Rookie or Short-Season statistical performances. Any scout will tell you that you cannot rely on stat lines to evaluate a player’s performance. There are many pitfalls in the stats. Small sample size mirages. Wide gaps in run-scoring environments, official scoring decisions, and even playing surfaces within leagues. And even bigger gaps in talent, especially in the Rookie leagues where teams can struggle to find competent pitchers and catchers to put on the field.

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Baseball Farm’s 2018 Farmhand Team of the Year

This month we ran a series of polls on our Twitter (@BaseballFarm) to have our fans select a farmhand at each position for our Farmhand Team of the Year. We first looked at a bunch of our proprietary stats and rankings, and then debated amongst ourselves to come up with four nominees at each position. From there, the fans took over, selecting the Farmhand that they thought had the most impressive year. Here is a recap of the results for each poll:

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2018 FARMHAND CROP: Jackson Kowar

KC’s other pitcher selected out of U of F, Kowar possesses a fringe-plus fastball/changeup combo that works together well. Needs the curveball to develop into a viable plus offering. Command and control are lagging so far in his professional debut, but workload (112.0 college innings this year) could be a factor. A risky profile, but the changeup is a real weapon.

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2018 FARMHAND CROP: Logan Gilbert

Mariners have loved Gilbert since his stellar 2017 Cape Cod League performance, but his fastball velocity was down a few ticks since then. Will need to sharpen and have more confidence in his secondary offerings as he moves up the ladder. Feel for pitching and repeatable mechanics give him a shot as a big-league rotation piece, but right now it’s hard to see Gilbert as more than a backend starter. However, if the velocity comes back and the secondaries improve, there is some upside.

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2018 FARMHAND CROP: Shane McClanahan

Fiery starter with a big time FB (touches 99) which he struggles to control. Looks like a boom-or-bust type of starter at this point in his career. Needs to improve command and both secondary offerings to have a shot to stick in the rotation. There is a wide variance of outcomes here. He could lock everything down, improve his secondaries, and have SP2 upside. Or, he could just be LOOGY who walks too many guys and gives up too many HRs. There are also health concerns with his delivery (despite the fact that he’s already underwent TJS). If you draft McClanahan, be prepared to take on risk.

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2018 FARMHAND CROP: Brady Singer

KC’s first-round pick out of UofF. He’s a big-time competitor with an attitude. Stock dropped on draft day, where he surprisingly slid down to #18 overall. 2S with lots of movement, SL with good break but inconsistent. Strange delivery, not smooth or fluid. Command isn’t there yet. Has trouble locating his stuff down in the zone. Use caution on draft day: the risk that he winds up in the bullpen is very real.

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