Friday, June 29, 2012

Nice win last night. The Dodgers without Kemp and without even Andre Ethier are really a pretty stagnant team. Chris Young looked great last night and is appearing to be a strong back end guy for us, let's take a quick look at his stats:

Year
IP
ERA
xFIP
k/9
bb/9
WHIP
2012
30
3.30
5.31
5.4
2.40
1.4
2011
24
1.88
4.73
8.25
4.13
0.96
Best year (2005)
164.2
4.26
4.37
7.49
2.46
1.26
Career
Avg of 89.4
3.72
4.68
7.44
3.51
1.21

Man, I kind of wish I hadn't done this. These numbers are not at all encouraging. I am willing to admit that maybe I am not a savvy enough analyst to explain his success based on these numbers because all I see here is a guy who is set blow up at any minute. While he has posted several low ERA's his xFIP is generally sky high, making it seem like he may been have the recipient of some good luck and some good fielding. His strikeout numbers are OK but his walk numbers are way to high and coupled together do not paint a pretty picture.

That being said, he a 5th starter for us. He hasn't given me reason to worry yet except for the injury woes, his stats scare me a bit but I will keep on believing until he gives me a reason not to.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Mets are currently one game under .500 in the month of June, arguably our toughest month on the schedule. Nothing would be a better sign of success than getting that record above .500 which would mean taking 3 of 4 to the NL leading Dodgers. A very possible scenario but it depends on which team shows up, the guys who clobbered the Cubs yesterday and blanked the O's and Rays or the schlubs who got embarassed by the Yankees and couldn't take a series off of bum ass Chicago. Let's see what we are up against.

Thursday night we take on former Met Chris Capuano and boy do I wish we had resigned him because he is great this year. Cappy was a wins leader for a few months and will be looking for his 10th win of the season tonight. He has an ERA under 3 right now but has never posted one under 4 over a season in his entire career. He also has a relatively low k/bb ration of 2.71. His HR/FB% is also unnaturally low this year at 9.9% (average of about 11-12) which could be a function of Dodger Stadium or could be luck in which case we should expect a regression and more home runs. It looks like to me like he is do a for a regression, his career numbers and average level component stats make it seem like his current run is unsustainable.

Next up is Aaron Harang, Harang is a player every fantasy manager will have on his team at one point: never good enough to keep, always good enough for a spot start, kinda like Bruce Chen. Harang is having a very Aaron Harangesque year with an ERA/xFIP of 3.81/4.56 and a k/9 (7.1) and bb/9 (4.0) that are way to close to each other to be comfortable,. This is the kind of guy we need to beat, he isn't very good but capable of flashes of brilliance that can beat a team who doesn't show up to play (like the Mets sometime don't).

Next up is Nathan Eovaldi, who sounds like a Renaissance painter and is playing his first full season with the Dodgers. His profile is actually similar to Harang is some ways: both have advanced stats that shine some truth on a misleading ERA, however with Eovaldi going in the positive direction having an ERA/xFIP of 4.04/3.71. They also have dangerously close k/9 and bb/9 but in Eovaldi's case, much much worse than Harang at 5.30/3.28.  The kid hasn't won a game all year, let's not be his first.

Finally on Sunday is NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. Clayton had our number last year, which you can read about , this year he is good but can be gotten to. He is 5-4 right now over sixteen starts and pitching to a 3.33 xFIP, his k/bb ratio is down this year (2011-4.59, 2012-3.81) and he is giving up more homers, 15 total last year, 11 already this tear. This is all to say that Kershaw is still an elite level pitcher and we shouldn't get too excited but he is beatable.

Offensively the good news is that Matt Kemp is hurt. The other two stars of the team have been Andre Ethier and A.J Ellis. Ethier is hitting .291/.357/.491 with  10 homers and 1 stolen bags. Ethier has always been a hot and cold player who the dodgers can't rely on the carry the team like Kemp could. Ethier is bound to regress and when he does, the Dodgers will feel it. Ellis is hitting .290/.417/.430 and playing Catcher. He hasn't played much before so it is hard to say if this is what he should be capable of playing above his level.

As a team the Dodgers are 43-33. They have scored 302 runs and given up 274 runs.







Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Remember the terrible team we all predicted we would have coming into this season? Well I think we just saw them play two games in Chicago. This has just been absolutely terrible the last few days, the Cubs were supposed to be our break from a tough June and now we are on the verge of getting swept, let's hope Niese can give us a stop today.

So the Mets need a closer? For a minute I was going to advocate for the Cubs own Carlos Marmol, despite the bad year he has been having. I will forever be biased based on his famed 2008 strat-o-matic card, IT WAS ALL STRIKEOUTS! Seriously 08 Marmol was one of the best strat players of all-time, I adored him. His stats do a make a case for a good closer: he has 76 career net saves (100 SV/24 BS) over 5 years as a closer. He has a career ERA/xFIP of  3.47/5.27 and and an amazing k/9 over 10, he also has an absolutely abysmal bb/9 over 6. In 2012 he has something I have never seen before, a k/9 and bb/9 that are both over 10! That's an accomplishment. At the ends of the day, the odds are not good that 2007 strat Marmol will somehow emerge and replace humorously bad 2012 Marmol.

Readers of the blog will know that I like to track who the best player in baseball is on a daily basis (according to fWAR) and I am proud to say D Wright has maintained his second place spot for a weeks now, consistently behind Joey Votto. The much hated Josh Hamilton has fallen hard, dropping out of the top 5 while Ryan Braun and Mike Trout have surged ahead, making strong moves for the top spot.


Monday, June 25, 2012

I remember the feeling I got with the mid 2000's Mets when Schoenweis or Heilman would come in and you essentially know you were going to lose the game, it was basically a gurantee. That's how I feel now when Miguel Batista comes into games. Robbie Cano's home run was just about the least suprising thing I have ever seen. The Mets need bullpen help ASAP, for now we get Justin Hampson

Hampson is 32 years old and came up as a Rockie, as of 2 years ago was pitching for the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. His numbers show some merit and some cause for concern.


ERA
FIP
k/bb
2012 AAA
1.79
3.25
2.73
Career
3.38
3.67
2

Overall both his career and current ERA have been pretty low but admittedly these are all based on pretty small sample sizes, he only has a total of 96 major league innings. His k/bb ratio is pretty low as he has never been a strike out guy, which is scary as a closer. At the end of the day, this move seems fairly meaningless. Justin Hampson is yet another journeyman reliever added to a stable of journeyman relievers. He might do OK for a little while, he might now but he is definitely not a long term solution to the Mets serious bullpen woes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Could this weekend be more exciting? The Mets are in second place, swept the Orioles and now come back for a weekend series against the hated Yankees who swept us two weeks ago , culminating in an epic Sunday night, prime time duel between R.A. Dickey, in the midst of an all time great pitching run, against Yankee ace CC Sabathia. You can't make up something this great. Let's see what we are up against:

Friday night we take on Andy Pettitte, who despite having been born in the Harding administration is pitching really well. His ERA currently sits at 2.77 and he is striking out about 8.5 batters per game. Frankly Andy Pettitte is one of those guys I think a lot of us wrote off but probably should not have. He has really never had a bad season so their is no reason to believe he can't keep pitching well until we see the evidence he can't.

Next up is Ivan Nova. Thankfully this should be an easier game for us. We have Young going who has been solid but he is still just getting started so I am not counting on him just yet. Nova has an ERA/xFIP of 4.32/3.88 with a k/9 of 7.70 and a bb/9 of 2.43. His numbers are pretty average to just above average all around. His career numbers and projections all show a guy who has an ERA/xFIP of around 4 and closer to 6 k/9 so I would estimate he will regress a little bit but ultimately be about the skill level he is at now.

Finally on Sunday we face Carsten Charles Sabathia who is having as good a year as usual with an ERA/xFIP of 3.55/3.18. and a k/9 over 9. He has been giving up a few home runs this year, 10 so far, which puts him on pace to top his previous season high of 20 (04,10). What can we say about CC? He is awesome, he is one of those players that does not look dominant when you watch but when you see his stats he is absolutely fantastic. He tends to give up early inning hits and runs but then settles in and pitches 8 or 9 innings of great baseball. The only thing we can hope for here is to score a few of those early runs and let Dickey blank the yanks as we know he can.

On the offensive side the star of the team is Robbie Cano, who is one of my favorite non-Mets but not this weekend. He is currently hitting .299/.365/.545 with 14 home runs. Robbie was off to a slow start but has since picked it up and is playing his regular, dominant game. I am sad to see that Jeter is still playing well and batting over .300. In my old age the intense hatred has cooled a bit that I once had for the Yankees but I will always hate Derek Jeter, seriosuly I hope Niese beams him tonight just to show him we mean business, Dock Ellis style.

As a team the Yankees are 41-27, they have scored runs 323 and given up 269 runs.






Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The biggest victims of the Dickey/Johan Spring dominance have surely been Dillon Gee and Jon Niese. The back end of the Mets rotation has been fantastic and has been a huge step up year for both players, unfortunately the new standard is that we expect no earned runs to be given up ever. As a whole the Mets starters have been fantasic, looks look at their stats and where they rank in the NL and in all baseball.



NL
MLB
IP
420.2
3rd
6th
ERA
3.51
3rd
3rd
xFIP
3.52
3rd
3rd
WHIP
1.21
2nd
3 way tie for 2nd
k/9
8.07
2nd
3rd
bb/9
2.57
5th
6th

The Mets are in the top 5 of every category amongst NL teams and in the top 6 of all baseball. Our four regular starters all have xFIP under 4 and are all striking out about 8 to 9 batters a game. This has the potential to be one of the better Mets rotations we have ever seen. Of course the second half of the pitching equation is not as strong, as we the Mets bullpen is pretty much at the bottom of the league in every category.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

As of right now R.A. Dickey leads in every pitching Triple Crown category, the tables below shows his numbers in comparison to his closest competition in the NL.


Wins
K
ERA
Dickey
11
103
2
Cain
9
100
2.34
Strasburg
8
100
2.45
Gonzalez
8
97
2.52
Greinke
7
95
3.1
Hamels
9
92
3.34

Last week he was tied for first in one category and third and fourth respectively in the other two, it took him one start to shoot to the lead in everything.  Dickey's 103 strike outs tops every season he pitched before the Mets and it's only June. If he keeps up the pace he will surpass his last two years K totals as well by the break. He is the odds on favor to be the starting pitcher for the NL in the all star game.

At the beginning of this year I wrote the Dickey Report highlighting where on every MLB club R.A. would pitch, I think at this point the answer would be he would be 1st in every rotation. He is a strikeout machine, throws very few balls, has a pitch no can get used to and is essentially immune to fatigue to and injury.

What more can I say about Dickey. It is getting to the point where I now except him to throw multiple no hitters this year. They say that it takes a lot of luck to throw a no no, now it takes a lot of luck to get a hit off Dickey. Watching R.A. pitch is something more than just watching a baseball game, it's art.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Which Mets are going to show up today? The team who got swept by the Yankees and Reds and can't score a run if you spotted them third base or the dominant squad that swept the Rays and Cardinals. It can be so frustrating watching these guys this year. Sometimes they seem like nothing can hold them back and no matter what they are going to come back and score 2 out runs. Days like yesterday they just look lack luster like no matter what they are going leave men on base. Thankfully we have two things going for us. One, we have Dickey going tonight who has been unstoppable lately. Two, the Orioles are due for their yearly collapse and descent into 5th place. Let's see what we are up against this week:

First up is Jake Arietta who is better than his ERA (5.89) makes him look. He has an xFIP of 3.57 and some pretty good component stats. His k/9 sits just above 8 and his bb/9 is 2.67.  He is having his best year yet but his career stats and projections suggest he won't keep it up. The wildcard being that he is young enough that his career stats and projections could not matter at all and he could just keep getting better.

Next up is Tommy Hunter, son of famous A's pitcher Catfish Hunter (no he's not, I made that up). The good and not made up news for Mets fans is that Tommy Hunter is a terrible pitcher. He currently has an ERA/xFIP of 5.58/4.82 and is striking out only 4.82 batters per 9 innings. His fWAR currently sits at negative .2. The Mets should have no problem beating this guy up.

On Wednesday we should see Brian Matusz. Brian, in addition to need another vowel in his name is also in need of some good starts. His ERA,FIP and xFIP are all floating dangerously close to 5. He throws an average amount of strike outs at 7.23/9 but is an absolute walk machine with a bb/9 of 4.18. Again this is the kind of guy the Mets need to beat.

On the offensive side the star of the team has been Adam Jones. He is leading the AL in WAR with a 3.7 and behind only Votto and Wright on the all MLB list. His numbers thus far have been absolutely amazing, he is currently hitting .311/.360/.583 with 18 homers and 9 stolen bases. I am looking forward to watching Dickey shut him down tonight. Former Met alert, look out for Endy Chavez and Ronny Paulino both now in the O's lineup.

As a team the Orioles are 39-27. They have scored 299 runs and given up 284 runs.




Friday, June 15, 2012

Yesterday one of my readers pointed out that R.A. Dickey was potentially on pace to win the pitching Triple Crown. Obviously it is early to be talking about something like this but I thought it was worth exploring. Let's see where Dickey stands in the Triple Crown categories right now:

Player
Wins
Dickey
10
Lynn
10
Hamels
9
multiple pitchers
8

Dickey is tied for the NL lead in Wins right now with the Cardinals Lance Lynn, a very unlikely contender to continue on that pace but then again, so is Dickey. Nipping right on his heels is Cole Hamels followed by a 5 way tie for fourth featuring some of the best pitchers in the league including Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and perfect game tossing Matt Cain. This is a tough category to predict as Wins are so influenced by non-pitching factors but if Dickey keeps up the level he has been at, the Wins should come.

Player
K
Strasburg
100
Cain
96
Hamels
92
Dickey
90
Gonzalez
89

Who ever thought we would be saying R.A. Dickey and strike out leader in the same sentence? Well we just might be. This is the category where the Dickster is farthest off but still very much in contention. He is behind only 10 K's and the way he has been pitching we can expect him to close the gap pretty quickly. For some context on the greatness of this feat: in 2010 Dickey had only 104 K's total, he is on pace to break that in his next two starts.

Player
ERA
Beachy
1.98
Cain
2.18
Dickey
2.20
Vogelsong
2.26
Dempster
2.31

This is one category I am very confident in. Ever since starting with the Mets Dickey has posted continually low ERA's and this season is no different. Brandon Beachy is running away with the category right now but his career numbers and projections do not suggest a player who is going to continue to have a sub 2 ERA or even a sub 2.5.

Finally let's take a look at one more indicator. Last year we had two pitching Triple Crown winners: Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander. Lets examine what their stats were on this date in 2011 in comparison to Dickey right now:

Player
Wins
K
ERA
Verlander
8
105
2.94
Kershaw
6
106
3.66
Dickey
10
90
2.20

At this time last year the two Triple Crown winners were behind Dickey in two categories. He has a slight lead in wins and fairly significant lead in ERA. Again he trails in strikeouts but remains within striking distance. These numbers pretty reliably show that R.A. Dickey is a contender for the NL Triple Crown. His biggest hurdle will be strike outs but recent games show he may have developed the K touch that will bring the crown home to Flushing.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

As far as I am concerned, R.A. Dickey threw a perfect game last night. Perfect games require a lot of skill and a certain amount of luck. R.A. was missing the luck part. A fielding error and a throwing error by Wright was the only reason he didn't see 27 up and 27 down. The pitching skill required between last night's 1 hitter and a perfect game is exactly zero, only external factors prevented R.A. from getting it.

I am having an absolute blast watching R.A. pitch. I have been a huge fan of his since his first start with the Mets and have been singing his praises ever since. He has gone from being a very good pitcher whose biggest flaw was a total lack of strikeouts to a lights out dominator who strikes out essentially everyone. This is a blog about stats but right now I don't need stats to express how good Dickey is. Just watching the man pitch is like watching an artists at work. The knuckleball shucks, jives and pirouettes past batters, it confounds and confuses them. Carlos Pena compared it to being on a rollercoaster.

All year I have been complaining that Dickey gets no fantasy respect, I drafted him an all my leagues with the last pick. As of 2 starts ago he was owned by just over 50% of teams, I am proud to report that he is now owned by 88% of yahoo owners. There is no better stat that displays the widespread realization of a fact Mets fans have known for three years, R.A. Dickey is an ace.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I originally titled this post "The Mets bullpen could be worse" but after doing the research I didn't feel as comfortable saying that. They definitely could be worse, they could be the Cubs. Let's take a look at some pitching stats and where they fall among the other teams:

WAR
0.2
25th worst
ERA
5.84
30th-worst in baseball
xFIP
4.28
28th worst
Saves
17
tied for 9th most
Blown Saves
13
1st-most in baseball
bb/9
4.06
8th best
k/9
8.32
15th
k/bb
2.05
5th best

As you can see this is not the most encouraging data. I think ERA and xFIP are unfair stats to use for relievers so I won't fault them much here but it is telling that they are near the bottom of the league in both categories. I think ratio of saves to blown saves and k/bb ratio are probably the two most important stats. Our SV:BS ratio is pretty poor. While we have recorded a decent amount of saves we have blown more than any other team. Any time that a team comes into a game in a save situation they should win that game statistically. That is 13 games that we should have in the W column which for the record would make us 46-16 and the best team in baseball by a mile. Now blowing no saves is clearly unrealistic, every team blows saves. The average number of blown saves for a team right now is 7.5. If the Mets were had just the average we would be 39-23, good for first place in the division and one of the best teams in baseball.

On a more hopeful note we have one of the better k/bb ratios in baseball with a 2.05. Our k/9 sits right in the middle and our bb/9 is in the top 10. This is a good sign. Our components stats are showing we are better than our outcome stats would have us believe. If the team can keep striking guys out and not walking batters we will start being more effective. We have already trimmed some of the fat by dropping Manny Acosta who was sporting an ERA over 10 and a war nearing negative 1 by the time he left. The take away here is that the Mets bullpen has been atrocious so far but brighter days are likely ahead.