• Fanduel: MAR-CO (gonzales) MAR-CO (gonzales)

    Posted 9 hours ago

    On a day when there’s Clayton Kershaw and a lot of two’s priced as Aces, hunting for value is our favorite past-time. Enter Marco Gonzales ($7,700).  You may remember him from such hits as a 3-0 April with a 2.14 ERA.  Since then he’s hit a rough patch, but he did go 3-1 with a 3.54 ERA in July, including 6.0 innings with no walks, one earned run, and eight K’s against a Detroit team that still had Nick Castellanos on July 27th.  He went 6+ innings against the Rays his last time out, with nine K’s and two earnies, but he left after being hit on the leg with a comebacker.  He should be good to go today, but just in case you could more than throw a dart at Kyle Gibson against the sneakily struggling Brewers offense for a similar value play.  Now on to the picks.

    New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well, be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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  • Sabermetrics news: Gleyber Torres wishes he could only play the Orioles

    Posted 10 hours ago

    Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    José Altuve’s back on track; the positives of JD Martinez opting out; if Gleyber only played the Orioles

    FanGraphs | Craig Edwards: José Altuve has been dealing with knee problems that have derailed him, but it seems he’s back on track in the second half. The biggest indicator seems to be his chase rate, which was significantly lower when his knee mobility was limited.

    Baseball Prospectus | Ben Carsley ($): The Red Sox are oddly caught in between retooling and going all-in, as they have money coming off the books and quite a few positions that need long-term solutions. This could mean that JD Martinez opting out would be beneficial, allowing them to avoid the luxury tax threshold and allowing them to possibly nab a starter, infielder, reliever, and/or more.

    The Ringer | Zach Kram: Gleyber Torres has 13 home runs, and a 282 wRC+, against the Orioles this season, a remarkable feat that if extrapolated over a full season, would tally 117 home runs and a 1.512 OPS.

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  • FanDuel: Rub Some Morton Salt In The Wound

    Posted 13 hours ago

    Welcome to the Friday FanDuel writeup! We’re starting the weekend off with a full 15-game slate and there’s one pitcher that stands about the rest for me – Charlie Morton ($11,300). Somewhere out there Kate Upton’s reading this calling Morton a fake-stud – ala when she called Rick Porcello a fake-Cy Young – but hear me out, Kate. It really seems unfair (especially to a Phillies fan who only got four starts of studly Morton in 2016) that Charlie’s having a career-best season in terms of strikeout rate (30.5%) and walk rate (7.1%). The icing on the cake for Morton is the matchup against the Tigers. For the year, the Tigers have the second-worst wOBA against right-handed pitchers and the third-highest strikeout rate at 26.1%. Let’s take a look at the rest of today’s slate.

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  • Getting Ahead in H2H, Week 20: What’s Happ-ening On The Waiver Wire?

    Posted 14 hours ago

    It’s only appropriate to start with the man this article Happ-ens to be named after. In his 16 games since being called up by the Cubs, Ian Happ (OF/3B, 9.8% owned in ESPN) has slashed .300/.391/.650. He has recorded 4 homers and 2 doubles while scoring 9 runs and knocking in 11. Perhaps most importantly, Happ has struck out just 10 times through his 46 PA. That comes out to a 21.7% K rate, so the “just” may seem a little generous. Which it is. But when you consider he struck out in 36.1% of his 462 PA last season, the 21.7% seems much more bearable.

    Time will tell if his strikeouts will creep back up as he records more at-bats, but Happ is someone worth taking a shot on. Though he has always been known for striking out at a high rate, he also has continued to walk at a very healthy rate. His 13% walk rate is right in line with his 12.5% mark, and he gets a slight boost in OBP leagues. Though a limited sample size and impossible to remain so high, Happ’s .350 ISO, .425 wOBA, and 164 wRC+ are certainly encouraging. He hits in one of baseball’s best lineups, so there should be plenty of opportunities to generate runs for Happ. He could be a great addition to fantasy squads looking to add a bat down the stretch.

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  • Here Are Some Recent Prospect Movers

    Posted 15 hours ago

    We have a sizable collection of players to talk about this week because the two of us have been busy wrapping up our summer looks at the 2020 Draft class over the last couple weeks. This equates to every prospect added to or moved on THE BOARD since the Trade Deadline.

    Top 100 Changes
    We had two players enter the 50 FV tier in Diamondbacks SS Geraldo Perdomo and Padres C Luis Campusano. Perdomo is in the “Advanced Baseball Skills” player bucket with players like Vidal Brujan, Brayan Rocchio and Xavier Edwards. He’s added visible power since first arriving in the States and had as many walks as strikeouts at Low-A before he was promoted to the Cal League, which has been Campusano’s stomping ground all summer. He’s still not a great catcher but he does have an impact arm, big power, and he’s a good enough athlete that we’re optimistic he’ll both catch and make the necessary adjustments to get to his power in games down the line.

    We also moved a D-back and a Padre down in RHP Taylor Widener and 1B Tirso Ornelas. Widener has been very homer prone at Triple-A a year after leading the minors in K’s. His fastball has natural cut rather than ride and while we still like him as a rotation piece, there’s a chance he continues to be very susceptible to the long ball. Ornelas has dealt with injury and swing issues.

    On Aristides Aquino
    Aristides Aquino was a 50 FV on the 2017 Reds list; at the time, he was a traditional right field profile with big power undermined by the strikeout issues that would eventually cause his performance to tank so badly that he became a minor league free agent. A swing change visually similar to the one Justin Turner made before his breakout (Reds hitting coach Turner Ward comes from the Dodgers) is evident here, so we’re cautiously optimistic Aquino will be a productive role player, but we don’t think he’ll keep up a star’s pace.

    Other Notable Adds
    Several tooled-up center fielders were added recently. Giants DSL CF Luis Matos is another young San Francisco outfield prospect with big bat speed and a chance to play a premium position. Phillies CF Johan Rojas has a rough swing but he’s a 70 runner with power and is performing in the Penn League at age 19. Both of them are 40+ FV players now. Twins CF Willie Joe Garry Jr. and Oakland CF Marcus Smith are two recent draftees from less talent-dense locations who are performing at their respective affiliates. Garry has power potential but has swing and miss risk while Smith has natural feel to hit, which is why we’re a little higher on Smith right now, though Garry’s pop gives him a bit more upside.

    Singling out Pantuso
    Oakland RHP Alex Pantuso was a senior sign out of Slippery Rock in the 2018 draft’s 31st round. He’s nearly 24 and was in the AZL a week ago, but he might be pitching at the back of a big league bullpen within a year. After sitting 90-93 in college, Pantuso now has late-inning stuff and will touch 98 with a plus slider. He was recently promoted to Vermont.

    Aristides Aquino, RF, CIN, 45
    Luis Matos, CF, SFG, 40+
    Johan Rojas, CF, PHI, 40+
    Marcus Smith, CF, OAK, 40
    Mason Martin, 1B, PIT, 40
    Cody Morris, RHP, CLE, 40
    Jerar Encarnacion, RF, MIA, 40
    Riley Adams, C, TOR, 40
    Fabian Pertuz, 3B, CHC, 40
    Jack Herman, RF, PIT, 35+
    Spencer Steer, 2B, MIN, 35+
    Austin Shenton, 3B, SEA, 35+
    Jose De La Cruz, RF, DET, 35+
    Willie Joe Garry Jr., CF, MIN, 35+
    Thad Ward, RHP, BOS, 35+
    Breidy Encarnacion, RHP, MIA, 35+
    Devin Mann, 2B, LAD, 35+
    Levi Kelly, RHP, ARI, 35+
    Eduardo Vaughan, CF, BOS, 35+
    Kyle Finnegan, RHP, OAK, 35+
    Alex Pantuso, RHP, OAK, 35+
    Isaac Mattson, RHP, LAA, 35+
    Yunior Perez, RHP, CHC, 35+

    Martin, Jerar Encarnacion, Adams, Steer, Shenton, and Mann all have strength-driven power and are performing. Morris, Ward, Finnegan, and Mattson all project as contributors on the bottom third of a staff, probably on that major league/Triple-A taxi squad early on. Pertuz and Herman are righty bats with power projection. Herman’s comes from his wiry frame, while Pertuz’s comes from his swing, which lets him lift stuff at the top of the zone.

    Moved Up
    Geraldo Perdomo, SS, ARI, 45 to 50
    Luis Campusano, C, SDP, 45 to 50
    Shane McClanahan, LHP, TBR, 45 to 45+
    Tarik Skubal, LHP, DET, 40 to 45
    Kolby Allard, LHP, TEX, 40 to 40+
    Hector Yan, LHP, LAA, 35+ to 40
    Sadrac Franco, RHP, LAA 35+ to 40

    McClanahan has pitched with the kind of stuff he had at his college best, when he seemed like a top-five possibility. Skubal is throwing about 66% fastballs, which would be at the very high end of what we currently see from starters, but it’s an impact pitch. His changeup might be, too, but the breaking stuff — a curve and slider — are just okay. Allard’s velo is up a bit. Franco has power stuff and Yan has kind of a lefty Freddy Peralta vibe.

    Moved Down
    Taylor Widener, RHP, ARI, 50 to 45+
    Tirso Ornelas, LF, SDP, 50 to 45+
    Lucius Fox, SS, TBR, 45+ to 45
    Franklin Perez, RHP, DET, 45+ to 45
    Seuly Matias, RF, KCR, 45+ to 40+
    Alvin Guzman, CF, ARI, 45 to 40+

    We decided Fox’s lack of power will likely prevent him from performing like a true average regular. Perez has been hurt most of the year, again. Matias had hand surgery and is out for the year. Eric got a bad report on Guzman’s bat from the DSL.

    Luis Urías, 2B, SDP, 55
    Josh Naylor, 1B, SDP, 50
    Peter Lambert, RHP, COL, 50
    Jordan Yamamoto, RHP, MIA, 40
    Tommy Edman, 2B, STL, 40
    Matt Beaty, 1B, LAD, 40

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  • Effectively Wild Episode 1418: Clutch, Clayton, Mickey, and More

    Posted 16 hours ago

    Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about Bryce Harper’s clutchness and how he’s perceived by fans, Clayton Kershaw’s resurgence, and Mickey Callaway’s comments about analytics, then answer listener emails about the same player batting twice and playing two positions, whether Byron Buxton’s defense has hidden value, career WAR vs. career counting stats, whether players could call balls and strikes better than umpires, and the umpire replacement level in the age of computer-called strike zones, plus Stat Blasts about pitchers whom Mike Trout has faced only once and the Cubs’ extreme home/road split, and a postscript about the Angels’ historic .500-ness and how hitter aging curves have changed.

    Audio intro: Courtney Barnett, "Crippling Self-Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence"
    Audio outro: Dave Mason, "We Just Disagree"

    Link to Sam on Harper
    Link to Craig on Harper
    Link to Ben Clemens on Kershaw
    Link to Callaway’s comments
    Link to story on the Metrodome’s ventilation system
    Link to Chuck Klosterman basketball story
    Link to player eyesight story
    Link to Ben on young hitters
    Link to order The MVP Machine

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     Email Us: podcast@fangraphs.com

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  • Luzardo-Manaea Rising Like a Buy Phoenix

    Posted 17 hours ago

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    The title refers to Lisztomania by Phoenix, which led me down a rabbit hole of Wikipedia that I have to share with you. Lisztomania was a frenzy over composer Franz Liszt, the original Justin Bieber. This is especially hilarious from Wikipedia, “Lisztomania was considered by some a genuine contagious medical condition and critics recommended measures to immunize the public,” and not considered the same as Beatlemania, which was used to mean a craze; Lisztomania caused actual craziness. Will Luzardo-Manaea cause women to rip their brooches from their bosoms and throw them at passing horse-drawn carriages in Oakland? Well, let’s let Tupac tell you about Oaktown, “Out on bail, fresh out of jail, California dreamin’, soon as I step on the scene, I’m hearin’ brooches screamin’.”  Screamin’ instead of whizzin’ by for the rhyme, obviously. Sean Manaea and Jesus Luzardo should be back with the team within ten days and now’s the time to stash them. For thousands of years, Samoans were a persecuted people, due to their big bones. One Samoan, Fa’a’la’a’la’la’la told one reporter, “If you ordered a flank steak, and got a thick ribeye, you’d be elated,” then Fa’a’la’a’la’la’la got choked up, “But if you order a five-foot, six-inch man and get a 485-pound man wearing a grass skirt, they make fun of you.” Manaea, the one skinny Samoan in the world, doesn’t have this problem. He has control, not just appetite control.  He could have an under-2 BB/9, which should limit damage, just like his home park. I’m stashing him everywhere. Luzardo is a bit more of an upside gamble. He also has pinpoint control, and can strike out a ton of guys. There’s little to not like about Luzardo, except how he might be deployed in September and does he get enough starts to matter. Plus, roofies, those darn things. I’m stashing Luzardo too, but I’m not throwing brooches at him. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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  • Bryce Harper’s Walkoff Grand Slam and Clutch Play

    Posted 19 hours ago

    Last night, the Cubs entered the bottom the ninth inning with a 5-1 lead and a 98.3% chance of winning the game according to our Play Logs. After recording the first out, the win probability moved up to 99.4%, but after an error, three singles, and a hit batter, the Cubs’ lead was cut to 5-3 and Bryce Harper stepped up to the plate against Derek Holland with the bases loaded, and the Phillies’ win expectancy had moved up to 32.3%. Then it moved up to 100% when this happened:

    As far as pitches go, it wasn’t necessarily a bad one. There have been over 500 pitches this season of at least 94 mph in a left-on-left matchup where the pitcher hit the inside corner or further inside. Only 35 such pitches resulted in base hits, with a .276 BABIP and .143 ISO. There were only four homers on pitches like that, and after last night, Harper has two of them, with another coming in June off Max Fried.

    Harper’s homer last night took a long time to land.

    For those Statcast aficionados out there, Harper hit the ball 113 mph with a launch angle of 40 degrees. There have only been 15 homers hit this season with an exit velocity of 110 mph or more with a launch angle of 35 degrees or more. Of those high-launch-angle swings, Harper’s homer was the hardest hit of the season. He seemed pretty pleased with himself.

    The Win Expectancy Chart for the game looked like this:

    Harper’s teammates also seemed to understand the importance of the chart.

    With that one swing, Harper added 0.67 to his WPA on the season. While his 122 wRC+ is a good-not-great 45th out of 146 qualified batters, his WPA, which measures the direct results on the game that his hits and outs have impacted, ranks third.

    Win Probability Added Leaders in 2019
    Name Team wRC+ WPA
    Christian Yelich Brewers 173 5.92
    Mike Trout Angels 186 5.12
    Bryce Harper Phillies 122 5.07
    Cody Bellinger Dodgers 172 4.95
    Freddie Freeman Braves 149 4.94
    Ronald Acuña Jr. Braves 135 4.25
    Michael Brantley Astros 147 4.07
    Xander Bogaerts Red Sox 142 4.05
    Max Muncy Dodgers 133 4.05
    Juan Soto Nationals 142 3.75

    Harper has sequenced his positive contributions in enough big moments that his overall batting line doesn’t reflect the contributions his hits have made to the Phillies’ wins and losses. It’s made a major difference for the team this season as they have allowed 19 more runs than they’ve scored, and their BaseRuns record, which takes sequencing out, is 55-66, eight games worse than their actual record of 63-58, which puts them just a game out of the wild card race.

    The Phillies and Harper don’t have any particular skill when it comes these “clutch” hits. Harper’s 176 wRC+ in high-leverage situations ranks ninth among hitters with at least 40 PA in those situations. Harper has the skills necessary to put up a 176 wRC+ in all situations, but it just so happens he’s bunched up that level of play in big spots. He is very much an outlier this season when we compare wRC+ and WPA.

    We have a Clutch stat at FanGraphs which essentially measures a hitter’s performance in important situations versus his normal production. Harper is far and away the leader this season.

    Clutch Leaders in 2019
    Name Team wRC+ WPA Clutch
    Bryce Harper Phillies 122 5.07 2
    Michael Brantley Astros 147 4.07 1.46
    Paul Goldschmidt Cardinals 106 3.06 1.45
    Alex Gordon Royals 94 1.53 1.42
    Jean Segura Phillies 96 2.28 1.37
    Mookie Betts Red Sox 126 3.5 1.18
    Xander Bogaerts Red Sox 142 4.05 1.17
    David Peralta D-backs 105 1.61 1.12
    Marwin Gonzalez Twins 93 0.83 1.08
    José Iglesias Reds 87 0.98 1.05
    David Fletcher Angels 101 1.33 1.04

    This likely isn’t a measure of Harper’s particular skills to perform better in important situations. If he could perform better in clutch situations, it would behoove him to play like that all of the time. In addition, Harper’s career clutch score is 0.63, which means he was negative entering the season and he’s right around all other players. To further demonstrate the lack of clutch ability — or at least the lack of clutch ability once a player has made it through years of training and playing pressure-packed games as an amateur and in the minors and has put together a decently long pro career — the graph below shows all players since 1974 with at least 3,000 plate appearances with their offensive runs above average, i.e. their normal offensive production, and their WPA.

    Nearly everybody’s numbers end up mirroring themselves. Maybe there’s some guys’ type of game that can produce incremental positive Clutch scores over a long period of time, like the situational hitting of Tony Gwynn or Pete Rose that produces singles might be worth a handful of runs per year over a career, but those are very extreme cases. That doesn’t mean Harper’s season isn’t very unusual. The scatter plot below shows every qualified season since 1974 with a player’s Clutch score and their wRC+.

    The giant blob should suggest that there’s not a correlation between good hitting and “Clutch” hitting at the major league level. That we can sort of make out where Harper’s season is in that giant blob indicates the season is a bit of an outlier. Out of around 6,500 qualified seasons, Harper’s clutch score as it stands today ranks 90th. Of the 90 players, Harper is currently one of only 32 players with a wRC+ of at least 120.

    Good Hitters and Clutch Seasons
    Name Season Team wRC+ Clutch WPA
    Albert Pujols 2006 Cardinals 174 3.26 9.62
    Todd Helton 2000 Rockies 162 2.22 8.87
    David Ortiz 2005 Red Sox 157 3.31 8.66
    Tony Gwynn 1997 Padres 153 2.03 7.12
    Larry Walker 2002 Rockies 150 2.09 5.93
    Bernie Williams 2002 Yankees 146 2.08 5.43
    Eddie Murray 1985 Orioles 145 2.89 6.36
    Tony Gwynn 1984 Padres 144 3.13 7.39
    George Brett 1976 Royals 144 2.76 5.14
    Vladimir Guerrero 2007 Angels 143 2.55 6.12
    Ryan Howard 2009 Phillies 139 2.77 6.29
    Ellis Burks 2002 Indians 139 2.23 4.26
    Derek Jeter 2006 Yankees 138 2.33 6.09
    Rusty Staub 1976 Tigers 135 2.58 5.65
    Alan Trammell 1988 Tigers 134 2.38 4.8
    Dwayne Murphy 1981 Athletics 132 2.14 4.62
    Darren Daulton 1993 Phillies 132 2.01 5.08
    Carlos Santana 2013 Indians 132 2 4.2
    Mike Hargrove 1979 – – – 131 2.18 4.21
    Miguel Tejada 2002 Athletics 129 2.87 5.04
    Mark Grace 1993 Cubs 129 2.58 5.54
    Rickey Henderson 1988 Yankees 127 2.86 6.76
    Tony Gwynn 1988 Padres 127 2.83 5.16
    Josh Hamilton 2011 Rangers 127 2.2 4.95
    Eric Hosmer 2015 Royals 124 2.33 3.87
    Bruce Bochte 1980 Mariners 123 2.43 4.14
    Jason Giambi 1997 Athletics 123 2.37 2.63
    Bryce Harper 2019 Phillies 122 2 5.07
    Mark Grace 1999 Cubs 121 2.18 4.81
    Mark Loretta 2003 Padres 121 2.11 3.8
    Ray Knight 1986 Mets 120 2.5 4.23
    Alex Gordon 2014 Royals 120 2.18 2.85

    At the moment, Harper’s 5.07 WPA is the 231st-highest total since 1974. For comparison’s sake, the 231st-ranked wRC+ during that same time was 157 of Edgar Martinez in 2001. That’s the kind of production the Phillies have received from Harper in terms of results even though Harper hasn’t actually played that well. If Harper were to continue his torrid WPA pace and end up with 6.76 WPA on the season, that would be the 46th-highest mark of the last 46 seasons. The 46th-highest wRC+ during that time belongs to Mike Trout’s 2013 season, when he put up a 176 wRC+.

    By results, the Phillies have received an MVP-level performance from Harper right there with Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger. He hasn’t actually been that good because of all the outs, and his performances in important situations can’t be projected into the future, but in terms of the Phillies’ season, last night showed why some hits matter more than others. If the Phillies do make the playoffs, Bryce Harper’s combination of immense talent plus some good fortune in big moments will be a big reason why they play in October.

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