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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Around the Farm: November 19, 2014 (11.20.14)

Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Here is the rundown of what Cleveland players in fall and winter ball did yesterday:

Dominican Winter League

  • Audy Ciriaco (3B, Estrellas de Oriente): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO. Ciriaco’s time in the Dominican had not gone well up to this point, but the recently-resigned 27-year-old got going in this game. Though Ciriaco is not a true major league option, his flexibility on defense and decent pop in his bat — as evidenced Wednesday — make him a valuable player to have stashed in Triple-A. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 20, 2014

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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Why a Nick Swisher trade will not actually benefit Cleveland (11.19.14)

Nick Swisher is a big name going around the hot stove lately, with reports out that Cleveland could be looking to move the soon-to-be 34-year-old in a bad contract-for-bad contract swap.

But while many seem ready to move on from Swisher, such a trade may be premature.

There is no denying the 2014 version of Swisher was one of the worst regular players in baseball. Following a decent 2013 season, everything fell apart for Swisher.

The bat plummeted, with Swisher going from a 128 wRC+ in 2012 to a 115 wRC+ in 2013 to a 75 wRC+ in 2014. Consistency at the plate was the name of the game for Swisher, yet last year, he was significantly below-average for the first time in his career and fell well short of 20 home runs — only hitting eight — after achieving that feat every full season he had been in the majors.

His defense regressed as well, as Swisher went from rating out decently at first base to being easily below-average and contributing in a large way to Cleveland’s much-maligned defense. A team can live with poor defense if a player is raking at the plate — or bad hitting if he is lights-out in the field — but in 2014, Swisher was doing neither.

In addition to the on-the-field problems, Swisher injured his knees, both of which required surgery. The injuries limited Swisher to 401 plate appearances, the first time he had dropped below 600 since 2008 (when he had 588). Prior to 2014, Swisher was essentially a lock for 600 plate appearances; now that is not guaranteed.

All together, this adds up to a player whose numbers were pretty bad, who now has very real injury issues, and is almost certainly on the downside of his career entering his age-34 season.

When a team signs a player to a long-term deal, the assumption is there will be value in the first few years before the contract turns into an albatross on the back end. In Swisher’s case, things took a turn for the worst in year two.

With two years and $30 million still to go, assuming his $14 million option for 2017 does not vest (it probably will not given it would take Swisher surpassing 550 plate appearances in 2016 and passing an end-of-season physical — something your organization likely would not let happen — but it is still technically in play), Swisher’s deal is not one helping Cleveland. But while removing Swisher from the books would be nice, practically, that’s a hard thing to do. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 19, 2014

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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The WAR Room: 2014 AZL pitchers season in review (11.16.14)

The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. With the minor league seasons at an end, we continue bringing you seasons in review, with today’s featuring the 2014 Arizona League pitchers.

The list of previous season in reviews are below:

Of course, it is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. A pitcher who is old for his level using that experience to succeed against young, inexperienced hitters must be taken with a grain of salt; the same goes when looking at these WAR totals.

But it is a useful tool to put each player’s performance into context and look at where they sit in regard to the rest of the league.

For reference on how I computed WAR, a reminder on the problems inherent in the stats, and everything else you need to know, click here. For a refresher on WAR and what it is, click here.

As a reminder, a 0.0 WAR per 162 games is replacement level — otherwise known as the kind of performance an average player from the level below could offer — a 2.0 WAR per 162 games is average, and a 5.0 WAR per 162 games is All-Star level.

Also note that pitchers have FIP-based WAR — which is based on peripherals like strikeouts, walks, home runs, etc. — and RA-based WAR — which is based on runs allowed.

One more thing, all “+” stats are averaged at 100. Anything over 100, like 110, is higher and means that player is 10 percent better than the league average. Anything under 100, like 90, is lower and means that player is 10 percent worse than the league average. In the case of any “-” stats — when lower is better, like with ERA — a 90 ERA- means that player is 10 percent better than the league average.

Today we begin our look at the Arizona League team with the pitchers before moving to the hitters next week. Keep in mind that for the short season leagues, the projection of each player features heavily into the equation, not just the raw stats. For the full stats, go ahead and click here.

Though the stats are of lesser quality for draft picks in their draft year, left-hander Justus Sheffield’s 4.79 ERA (119 ERA-) and -0.1 RA-based WAR in 20.2 innings is still a little disappointing. Luckily for Sheffield and the organization, however, the 2014 first round pick’s peripherals were much better, with his 2.68 FIP (67 FIP-) and 0.6 FIP-based WAR foreshadowing what should be a bright future for the 18-year-old. Much of Sheffield’s high ERA is wrapped up in his .436 BABIP (139 BABIP+) — a figure that will definitely fall in time — and the left-hander’s impressive 30.9 percent strikeout rate (135 K%+) is a much more important stat for him going forward. The 9.6 percent walk rate (103 BB%+) could use a little work, but as long as Sheffield keeps striking batters out, that walk rate will play going forward. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 16, 2014

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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Around the Farm: November 13, 2014 (11.14.14)

Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Here is the rundown of what Cleveland players in fall and winter ball did yesterday:

Puerto Rican Winter League

  • Roberto Perez (C, Indios de Mayaguez): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SO. A day after showing off the skill that has always made him an intriguing offensive player — drawing four walks in one game — Perez shows off his newfound power here. In time, we will find out how much of this power spike is fluky and a part of the ebbs and flows of baseball, but as of right now, it appears Cleveland has found yet another strong defensive catcher with real pop in his bat. The combination of Yan Gomes and Perez should lock down the catching position for Cleveland for years to come. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 14, 2014

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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Around the Farm: November 12, 2014 (11.13.14)

Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Here is the rundown of what Cleveland players in fall and winter ball did yesterday:

Venezuelan Winter League

Giovanny Urshela (3B, Aguilas del Zulia): 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI. You cannot stop Urshela; you can only hope to contain him. After a few down games and days off about a week ago, Urshela has come out firing on all cylinders again and finished a double shy of the cycle. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 13, 2014

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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The WAR Room: 2014 Scrappers hitters season in review (11.9.14)

The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. With the minor league seasons at an end, we continue bringing you seasons in review, with today’s featuring the 2014 Mahoning Valley Scrappers pitchers.

The list of previous season in reviews are below:

Of course, it is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. A pitcher who is old for his level using that experience to succeed against young, inexperienced hitters must be taken with a grain of salt; the same goes when looking at these WAR totals.

But it is a useful tool to put each player’s performance into context and look at where they sit in regard to the rest of the league.

For reference on how I computed WAR, a reminder on the problems inherent in the stats, and everything else you need to know, click here. For a refresher on WAR and what it is, click here.

As a reminder, a 0.0 WAR per 162 games is replacement level — otherwise known as the kind of performance an average player from the level below could offer — a 2.0 WAR per 162 games is average, and a 5.0 WAR per 162 games is All-Star level.

Also, the lack of good defensive metrics for the minor leagues means we have to adjust for a range of defensive abilities. To account for this, I will give you each player’s WAR with a qualifier: either poor-defense WAR for a poor defender (-10 runs below-average per 162 games), average-defense WAR for an average defender (0 runs per 162 games), or great-defense WAR for a great defender (10 runs above-average per 162 games).

One more thing, all “+” stats are averaged at 100. Anything over 100, like 110, is higher and means that player is 10 percent better than the league average. Anything under 100, like 90, is lower and means that player is 10 percent worse than the league average. In the case of any “-” stats — when lower is better, like with ERA — a 90 ERA- means that player is 10 percent better than the league average.

Today we begin our look at the Mahoning Valley Scrappers with the pitchers before moving to the hitters next week. Keep in mind that for the short season leagues, the projection of each player features heavily into the equation, not just the raw stats. For the full stats, go ahead and click here.

Catcher Francisco Mejia’s first action above the Arizona Rookie League did not go perfectly, yet on a strictly on-the-field basis, the catcher turned in a very impressive performance in his age-18 season. Even accounting for how raw Mejia is behind the plate, he put up 1.2 poor-defense WAR in 66 games, a still above-average rate thanks to his bat. Mejia showed an ability to make solid contact, posting a .125 isolated power (118 ISO+), while also putting the ball in play. He does not walk all that much, but thanks to a 17.2 percent strikeout rate (86 K%+), Mejia is already playing quite well. Considering much of Mejia’s value is wrapped up in his projection, seeing him put up nice numbers this young is very encouraging. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 9, 2014

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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Around the Farm: November 6, 2014 (11.7.14)

Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Here is the rundown of what Cleveland players in fall and winter ball did yesterday:

Venezuelan Winter League

  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Aguilas del Zulia): 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. Power is one of the things that has been missing for Moncrief this offseason, but the right fielder had it here, improving his isolated power to .111 and his OPS to .760 in 15 games. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 7, 2014

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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