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Category Archives: ZW. December 2014

What to expect in 2015, according to Fangraphs (12.31.14)

Over at Fangraphs, most of the best publicly available projection systems are readily available for you to view, free of charge. Plus, in addition to the raw projections for each player, Fangraphs maintains a projected depth chart, which parses out the available playing time in a full season to the players most likely to receive it in the coming year.

There will always be players who exceed their projections in any given year (see the 2014 version of Michael Brantley) and there will always be players who fall well short of their projections (see the 2014 version of Jason Kipnis). But that does not mean the projections are useless.

Each projection system tells you the most likely thing to happen that year. Though a big part of the beauty of baseball is the unexpected — if the projection systems were perfect, then we wouldn’t bother playing the games — grounding your expectations in reality is wise.

So, as we celebrate the end of 2014 and look forward to the new year, just what does Fangraphs project for Cleveland in 2015?

Here is the link to Cleveland’s projection page. The current numbers only include Steamer projections, with the ZiPS projections still in the process of being released.

Starting Rotation

11.5 WAR, fourth in the majors

Only ranking behind the power rotations of the Dodgers, the Nationals, and the Mariners, Cleveland is projected to easily have one of the best rotations in all of baseball. It helps having the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner at the top of the rotation, but Cleveland’s starting pitching is more than just Corey Kluber.

Currently, Kluber is projected for a significant step back, only expected to put up 4.0 WAR. But Steamer sees Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar as above-average pitchers in 2015, as well as projecting Gavin Floyd (due to his injury history) and T.J. House (due to likely spending some time in the minors) for around half of a season of average pitching.

Plus, Steamer is not high on Trevor Bauer, seeing him as a roughly replacement-level player due to his struggles in the not-so-distant 2013. But if you believe 2013 was a year of adjustments for Bauer — essentially making the data flawed and useless — then the right-hander’s projection is quite low, giving Cleveland’s rotation plenty of upside.

The projections do not have any Cleveland pitcher projected for crazy stats, yet the team still ranks in the top-five with room to grow. As of right now, the rotation looks to be in good shape. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, December 31, 2014

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in ZW. December 2014

 

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Around the Farm: December 28, 2014 (12.29.14)

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 winter ball did yesterday:

Puerto Rican Winter League

  • Giovanni Soto (SP, Gigantes de Carolina): ND, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 6 SO. The rest of baseball may have opted against picking up Soto in the Rule 5 draft, but the left-hander continues to look good on the mound down in Puerto Rico (2.20 ERA, 9.0 SO/9, 3.0 BB/9 in 45.0 innings) and should get a major league chance at some point in the future. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, December 29, 2014

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in ZW. December 2014

 

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The WAR Room: Performance-based rankings, #70 – #61 (12.28.14)

Over the past three months, IBI rolled out the year-end rankings for every minor league affiliate in the Cleveland system. Next up, we will be running down the top-100 performers based on those WAR rankings, albeit with a slight twist.

Simply ranking each player based on the raw numbers would have some value, but not nearly as much as when the stats are adjusted for how old the prospect was compared to his minor league level. For example, older prospects like Anthony Gallas, who did well at 26 years old in High-A and Double-A, are downgraded, while younger prospects like Francisco Lindor, who did well at 20 years old Double-A and Triple-A, are upgraded (as if Lindor needed anymore help).

Naturally, if Gallas — or anyone else in his situation — continues to hit like he did in 2014, it will not matter that he was old for his level, and vice versa for young prospects. But overall, accounting for a player’s age relative to level is critically important for judging a prospect’s performance.

Before moving on to the honorable mentions of The WAR Room’s performance-based rankings, first some reminders on what these numbers are, their uses, and their limitations:

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).

Additionally, 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.

The 2014 year-end season in review for every affiliate is listed below:

And here are the previous editions of these rankings:

Now, on to the rankings:

#70: Giovanni Soto, LHP

Name Lvl Age IP ERA ERA- FIP FIP- K% K%+ BB% BB%+
Giovanni Soto AA 23 53.0 3.23 81 2.73 68 23.10% 121 5.70% 70

We have now reached the top-10 relievers in these rankings, with Soto sliding in here at #10. The left-hander bounced back after only throwing 8.2 innings in 2013 due to a shoulder injury to post a 3.23 ERA (81 ERA-) and 2.73 FIP (68 FIP-) in 53.0 Double-A innings, re-establishing himself as a potential major league relief option in the near future. At the very least, Soto looks like a LOOGY thanks to his devastating cutter, but the left-hander was also effective against right-handers in 2014. Soto’s 23.1 percent strikeout rate (121 K%+) and 5.7 percent walk rate (70 BB%+) were not enough to get picked in the Rule 5 draft earlier this month, but despite being passed over for rostering, another healthy, strong season could get the 23-year-old a major league shot in the coming years. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, December 28, 2014

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in ZW. December 2014

 

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The WAR Room: Performance-based rankings, #80 – #71 (12.21.14)

Over the past three months, IBI rolled out the year-end rankings for every minor league affiliate in the Cleveland system. Next up, we will be running down the top-100 performers based on those WAR rankings, albeit with a slight twist.

Simply ranking each player based on the raw numbers would have some value, but not nearly as much as when the stats are adjusted for how old the prospect was compared to his minor league level. For example, older prospects like Anthony Gallas, who did well at 26 years old in High-A and Double-A, are downgraded, while younger prospects like Francisco Lindor, who did well at 20 years old Double-A and Triple-A, are upgraded (as if Lindor needed anymore help).

Naturally, if Gallas — or anyone else in his situation — continues to hit like he did in 2014, it will not matter that he was old for his level, and vice versa for young prospects. But overall, accounting for a player’s age relative to level is critically important for judging a prospect’s performance.

Before moving on to the honorable mentions of The WAR Room’s performance-based rankings, first some reminders on what these numbers are, their uses, and their limitations:

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).

Additionally, 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.

The 2014 year-end season in review for every affiliate is listed below:

And here are the previous editions of these rankings:

Now, on to the rankings:

#80: Trevor Frank, RHP

Name Lvl Age IP ERA ERA- FIP FIP- K% K%+ BB% BB%+
Trevor Frank A 23 54.2 2.63 70 2.42 64 29.40% 140 4.30% 52

Though Frank does not come as a highly-touted draft prospect — he was selected in the eighth round of the 2013 draft as an underslot college senior sign — but the right-hander came out firing in his first full professional season. Though Frank was old as a 23-year-old in Low-A, the right-hander put up an impressive 29.4 percent strikeout rate (140 K%+) and an extremely low 4.3 percent walk rate (52 BB%+) in 54.2 innings, which was the largest difference in strikeout rate and walk rate in the entire system among relievers with significant innings. Frank will be making his High-A debut in his age-24 season next year — not a great indicator for his future — but the right-hander has done nothing but produce since being drafted. Until he stops getting outs, Frank is an arm to keep an eye on. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, December 21, 2014

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in ZW. December 2014

 

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Around the Farm: December 18, 2014 (12.19.14)

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 winter ball did yesterday:

Dominican Winter League

  • Audy Ciriaco (3B, Estrellas de Oriente): 2-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 SO. Though Ciriaco’s overall offseason does not stand out, Thursday’s game certainly did. The double was the 27-year-old’s first extra base hit since December 11 and the two hits represented his first multi-hit game since November 24. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, December 19, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in ZW. December 2014

 

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Around the Farm: December 17, 2014 (12.18.14)

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 winter ball did yesterday:

Puerto Rican Winter League

  • Giovanni Soto (SP, Gigantes de Carolina): ND, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO. Making his first appearance since going unselected in the Rule 5 draft last week, Soto struggled in this outing. It is only one start, however, and the left-hander still owns a 2.08 ERA and 31:10 SO:BB in 34.2 innings (and a 2.83 ERA and 20:6 SO:BB in 22.1 innings as a starter) on the offseason. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, December 18, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in ZW. December 2014

 

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The WAR Room: Performance-based rankings, #90 – #81 (12.14.14)

Over the past three months, IBI rolled out the year-end rankings for every minor league affiliate in the Cleveland system. Next up, we will be running down the top-100 performers based on those WAR rankings, albeit with a slight twist.

Simply ranking each player based on the raw numbers would have some value, but not nearly as much as when the stats are adjusted for how old the prospect was compared to his minor league level. For example, older prospects like Anthony Gallas, who did well at 26 years old in High-A and Double-A, are downgraded, while younger prospects like Francisco Lindor, who did well at 20 years old Double-A and Triple-A, are upgraded (as if Lindor needed anymore help).

Naturally, if Gallas — or anyone else in his situation — continues to hit like he did in 2014, it will not matter that he was old for his level, and vice versa for young prospects. But overall, accounting for a player’s age relative to level is critically important for judging a prospect’s performance.

Before moving on to the honorable mentions of The WAR Room’s performance-based rankings, first some reminders on what these numbers are, their uses, and their limitations:

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).

Additionally, 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.

The 2014 year-end season in review for every affiliate is listed below:

And here are the previous editions of these rankings:

Now, on to the rankings:

#90: Jared Robinson, RHP

Name Lvl Age IP ERA ERA- FIP FIP- K% K%+ BB% BB%+
Jared Robinson R 19 22.0 1.23 31 3.26 81 21.80% 95 8.10% 87

Cleveland’s 11th round pick in this past year’s draft, Robinson put up some really nice numbers in the Arizona League, headlined by his 1.23 ERA (31 ERA-). A good chunk of his value came from his .230 BABIP (73 BABIP+) and not allowing a home run in 22.0 innings, but the recently-turned 20-year-old still had a good debut without the BABIP and home run luck. Though he pitched out of the bullpen in his professional debut, it seems that the organization will at least give Robinson a chance to develop as a starter in the years ahead. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, December 14, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in ZW. December 2014

 

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