My latest article at The Hardball Times unveils my new batting statistic: Batted-Ball Run Value (BBRV). The metric runs exit velocity, launch angle, and more variables through a generalized boosted regression model to generate outcome probabilities, which can be converted into wOBA values. I find that BBRV is more predictive than any competing metrics currently out there, including MLBAM’s xwOBA.
For The Hardball Times today, I took my annual look at the workloads of the top college pitchers available in tonight’s draft. The evaluation considered both pitch counts and rest stints, and featured a more rigorous process to estimate missing pitch counts.
The standout workload belongs to Logan Gilbert, the Stetson ace who threw at least 122 pitches in three of his 14 regular-season starts this year. Even with the heavy use, the righty has a lot going for him as a pitcher and was selected by the Mariners with the 14th overall pick tonight.
Today at The Hardball Times, I wrote about pitch-tracking differences between PITCHf/x and Statcast. I found that Statcast’s radar is worse at tracking vertical movement and vertical location, but has similar ability for horizontal movement and horizontal location. And velocities are more accurate since Trackman’s out-of-the-hand readings replaced PITCHf/x’s 50-foot recordings. In addition to the general takeaways, there are interesting differences from park to park. You can read more here.
Over at The Ringer, Ben Lindbergh put together a really good look at whether the “tanking” phenomenon is bad for baseball. In actuality, not all that much has changed even as the narrative around losing has been reshaped. As part of Ben’s case, he pointed to updated numbers for the Hope and Faith Index, a measure of competitive balance that I introduced in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2017. My research shows that the average deficit has continued its downward trend, even as we entered an apparent “super team” era.
On Friday, my latest post for FanGraphs covered the detrimental changes to Yoenis Cespedes’ launch angle. The analysis recommends a more appropriate center angle for Cespedes and reveals that his swing plane wasn’t optimal in 2015 and 2016.
Pitch Smart’s college-age guidelines have changed, so for InstaGraphs, I updated the violation benchmarks I found last August.
At FanGraphs today, I investigated the culture of pitcher overuse at UCLA. By several measures, Bruins pitchers are worked harder than their NCAA peers. You can read more here.