Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wait, What?

Sometimes, you miss little subtle things in the numbers.  Time to find them and say "wait, what?  He's doing what?"

Freddie Freeman - Ranked Fifth in fWAR

For all of the talk, and there was a lot, that the man who lives by Hug Life was the fifth or sixth best option at first base in the National League and not close to being a worthwhile All-Star, Freeman is currently fifth among all players at his position in WAR at 2.5.  Now, there is a big difference between fourth and fifth as Edwin Encarnacion is a 3.5 WAR guy, but still, Freeman is the third best first baseman in the NL as his selection of an All-Star showed.  And remember, Freeman missed two weeks of game action with that oblique injury earlier this year.  Each player ahead of him has 10-14 games more than he does.

There is a difference of 9.5 UZR between 2nd Place and Andrelton Simmons

People need to accept something.  Simmons is heads-and-shoulders better than any shortstop defensively in the game.  Former Brave and all-around douchenozzle Yunel Escobar is second to Simmons in the same way Coneheads is the second best movie based on an SNL Sketch to Wayne's World.  Yeah, Esco is good and everything, but he's not even close to being an equal of Simmons.  He laps the field in RngR and in DRS, it's not even close.  Pedro Florimon is second to Simmons.  30-11.  Since the beginning of last year (and Simmons was still in Mississippi at that point), Simmons has almost a ten point difference over second place in all of baseball in UZR among shortstops.  And I had to lower the qualifier to 1000 innings just to include him.  J.J. Hardy, who is third in UZR, has over a thousand more innings and 11 less UZR. Remember Simmons current 30 DRS?  Among shortstops, only Brendan Ryan has over 30 UZR since the beginning of 2012.  If you see someone ask who the best shortstop in baseball is and you don't slap them for asking such a dumb question, you should run into a wall full speed.

One More Chris Johnson Tidbit - Fourth Among 3B in wOBA

No player has made me more wrong this season than Johnson.  My expectations for him were so low that I figured he would outproduce what I projected from him if by sheer averages.  He's done that and so very much more.  One more number that the King of BABIP has significantly outproduced what expectations could have suggested was wOBA, or Weighted On-Base Average.  There's a formula and shit for wOBA and you can read a primer on it here.  Suffice it to say, Miguel Cabrera leads all 3B (and all of baseball) with .471.  David Wright and Adrian Beltre trail significantly behind before Johnson takes up fourth place.  While he's not the slugger other third sackers are, he's still putting his name with the giants at his position.

8 MLB Hitters have at least 2 fWAR and a sub-.250 AVG - A Quarter Play in Atlanta

Of the 76 major league position players that qualify for the batting title and have at least 2 fWAR, only eight have a batting average under .250.  Batting average isn't a great number that analyzes offensive production, but it's an easy statistic that we learned in elementary school.  On the other hand, a super computer is needed to compute WAR.  Still, of those eight people that meet this strange pair of qualifiers, two are Atlanta Braves.  How can you be valued at 2 wins, but can't hit Jimmy Snuka's weight?  Simple - play wonderful defense.  Simmons (2.8 WAR, 17.7 UZR) and Jason Heyward (2 WAR, 10.3 UZR) show how it can be done.

Mike Minor and Julio Teheran = John Smoltz and Greg Maddux

No, they aren't cinches to make it to the Hall of Fame, but Minor and Teheran have a chance to do something as a pair of teammates that has only happened once in modern Braves history.  Ignoring pre-1900 statistics, only once in franchise history have a pair of qualified pitchers had a K/BB ratio of 4.0 or better in any given season.  That occurred in 1996 when Maddux had a K/BB of 6.14 and Smoltz had a K/BB of 5.02.  Right now, Minor has a 4.79 K/BB and Teheran is at 4.18.  In addition, this season, Minor ranks ninth and Teheran ranks 16th.

The Setup and Closer Combination for the Braves is Good

This just in: Atlanta has a pretty decent bullpen and it only gets more awesome in the late innings.  Craig Kimbrel ranks 11th in FIP, Jordan Walden 12th.  David Carpenter isn't that far behind, either.  28 different relievers have at least 1.0 WAR right now.  The Braves have two.  Only eight other clubs can claim that. Not bad for a pen that's been without 2/3's of O'Ventbrel for most of the season.

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