Author Archive

Looking Into Brandon Nimmo’s Slow Start

Brandon Nimmo broke out for the New York Mets in 2018, emerging as one of their core hitters. He featured an excellent combination of power and plate discipline that led him to a .263/.404/.483 slash line and a 149 wRC+, a mark that ranked among the best in all of baseball. In getting to that point, Nimmo developed a more pull-heavy approach at the plate, which led to more hard contact and ultimately more power. Nimmo also featured a high .351 BABIP in 2018, which most would expect to come back down to a more reasonable number because of his tendency to pull ground balls into a shifted infield.

Very few, however, would have expected Nimmo to struggle like he has to start the 2019 season. To this point, Nimmo has put up a .200/.344/.323 slash line, good for a 93 wRC+ in 161 plate appearances, and injury concerns continue to linger. Nimmo’s struggles are playing a big part in the overall difficulties of the Mets lineup, and coaches have offered suggestions to Nimmo that might snap him out of it:

nimmo_1

Nimmo disagrees with Callaway, and so do I. Nimmo is one of the more patient hitters in the game, and he likes to wait for a pitch he can do damage with. The problem has been that he isn’t doing damage on those pitches like last year, so I wanted to find out what it is about Nimmo’s profile that could potentially be causing such a slow start. Read the rest of this entry »


Getting Joe Musgrove to the Next Level

Joe Musgrove was a pretty ordinary pitcher in 2018, with a 103 ERA- and an 89 FIP- according to FanGraphs. He once again battled through injuries on the way to a career-high 115.1 innings, and he had more woes to deal with in the offseason by undergoing abdomen surgery. He doesn’t particularly stand out in Pittsburgh’s rotation, as he doesn’t have the track record or high transaction cost of Chris Archer, he doesn’t have the easy-to-root-for, feel-good story of cancer survivor Jameson Taillon, and he doesn’t have the intriguing out-of-nowhere 2018 performance of Trevor Williams. He is rather ordinary among starting pitchers. Even when I ran a query of starters with similar 2018 statistics, I got back a list of some good-but-perhaps-underwhelming hurlers. Look here:

musgrove comps 1

Nothing against these pitchers (especially Miles Mikolas, who had a good but perhaps unsustainable 2018 when looking at xFIP and SIERA, which he at least parlayed into a big contract extension), but these aren’t names that come to mind first when you think of the top pitchers in the league, and Garrett Richards isn’t usually on the mound to move up into that category in the first place.

This isn’t a great endorsement for Musgrove, so why am I interested in him? I drafted Musgrove in both of my fantasy baseball drafts earlier this month, prioritizing him over the other names in the above table. I did this based on the work of Nick Pollack, founder of the great website Pitcher List and contributor to FanGraphs, who has talked up Musgrove for awhile now. On the now- famous Top 100 Starting Pitcher Rankings featured on Pitcher List, Musgrove ranks 44th, ahead of the previously mentioned Archer (54), Alex Wood (69), Marco Gonzales (77), and other notable pitchers such as Cole Hamels (47), Jon Lester (48), and Dallas Keuchel (73). There must be an explanation for this. Read the rest of this entry »


A Closer Look at Luke Voit

When PECOTA projections were released at Baseball Prospectus in February, I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who was surprised to see Luke Voit projected to be a top-25 hitter in the entire sport this season. We all know what Voit did in the final month or so of the 2018 campaign, and when you look back on it, there were always going to be questions of whether it was repeatable or whether he was going to go down the same path as famed Yankee flash-in-the-pan Shane Spencer.

I think there can be a comfortable medium between one-hit wonder and top-25 hitter in baseball, so I decided to do a deep dive into Voit’s batted ball profile. I then compared him to his peers based on both his profile as well as his walk and strikeout rates to find some comparable hitters and try to answer whether a top-25 projection for Voit is realistic, too high, or too low.

To do this, I took the batted ball leaderboards from FanGraphs and imported them into R. I then looked at Voit’s batted ball profile from the minor leagues, considered by Yankees officials to be part of the reason why they wanted to acquire him. I calculated his minor league averages in Ground Ball%, Line Drive%, Fly Ball%, Pull%, Center%, and Opposite%, which can be found in the table below:

voit_minors

Note: I only looked at minor league seasons in which he had more than 100 plate appearances. Read the rest of this entry »