The title is pretty clear, so in no particular order…
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating because two of this weekend’s games are on national TV so it’ll surely come up again: Despite what you hear, Mookie Betts is NOT a great defensive outfielder. Frankly, he’s at a minimum, the 3rd best outfielder on the field this weekend – Tauchman and Judge have been clearly better this season by all accounts (Statcast, Fangrpahs, and Baseball-Reference) and an argument could be made Gardner is better as well. This doesn’t mean he isn’t good – he is. But he’s not the Willie Mays of right field as most of the national media would have you believe.
Lessons on randomness in baseball, part 238:
At the end of May, I wrote about how Christian Vazquez was having a great season to that point and queried if it were some coaching or philosophical change that led to the drastic improvement in offense or if it was just random luck in a small sample size.
Uh, it was the latter…
On May 30th Vazquez had an OBP/SLG line of .340/.500 and a wRC+ of 114. Since then it’s been .298/.457 with an 87 wRC+. Ouch.
Key point: As I noted at the time, his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was .330, which was significantly higher than his career average. Since then it’s been .293, almost exactly what his career BABIP is.
BABIP is a useful guide to helping determine if a player’s unusual performance – good or bad – is due to randomness. Sometimes flares fall, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes ground balls have eyes, sometimes they don’t.
Reminder: There is way more randomness and luck in baseball than most of us would like to admit.
Speaking of catchers:
Among MLB catchers with a minimum of 25 throws, Gary Sanchez’ pop time is 3rd best. Just a friendly reminder to everyone who told me last year that Romine should play more than Sanchez*. And incidentally, Kyle Higashioka’s is slightly better than Sanchez’, but he doesn’t have enough throws to qualify. But hey, at least Higashioka is helping Scranton out, right Cashman? (*And don’t @ me about blocking pitches in the dirt – even though Romine is better at that, his crap throwing makes their defense a wash.)
I may gamble…
I’m not a gambling man, but the betting line on tonight’s game has the win probability at 51% for the Yankees and 49% for Boston. The Red Sox will be batting against Domingo German. The Yankees will be batting against a guy who was released by Milwaukee because he was awful. Just sayin…
Speaking of gambling…
If you went to Vegas in March and took “Boston will be within 16 games of the 1st place Yankees on September 6th”, you lost. Man, baseball is crazy…
Did I miss something? Let me know.
Did you miss my article on Fangraphs/The Hardball Times? If so, check it out HERE.
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