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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The Crop Rotation – Brusdar Graterol and Matt Manning

So far, all my prospect writeups have focused on position players hailing them all as potential Phenoms.
Today I’m going to try my hand at evaluating pitchers. As many do in fantasy, I buy into the adage of
there is no such thing as a pitching prospect (shorted to TINSTAAPP, still a mouthful but wouldn’t call
people in the fantasy baseball community creative, so we might have to outsource for a better name).
Instead of spending an entire article on one pitching prospect and most likely looking like an idiot when
he doesn’t turn out. I’m going to hedge my bets a bit and highlight 2 of my personal favorites when it
comes to young arms. This way I double my chances of picking a successful pitcher down the line.

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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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The Next Phenom – Vidal Brujan

Always searching for the Next Phenom, I have set my sights on yet another talented Tampa Bay middle infielder. 20-year-old Vidal Brujan is next on my plate as I determine whether he is capable of holding the mantle as the Next Phenom. Brujan was signed as an international free agent back in 2014 and made his professional debut in 2015 at 18 years old. He is currently in A+ ball and is performing so well that he caught the eyes of my readers and has been recommended to me multiple times, so I decided to check him out. Sufficed to say I’m impressed with the player who currently ranks 8th in our Seasonal Hitters Statistical Rankings this season (you can see them here.)

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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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