November 2008

2008 Season JAM ratings preview: Who are the pitchers who are the best at getting out of a jam?


JAM rated pitchers can dominate non Clutch Hitting rated batters with runners in scoring position and 2 out and in close and late situations in DYNASTY League Baseball.  They also are the kryptonite to otherwise terrorizing Clutch hitters by neutralizing their Clutch hitting ability.

Pitchers in DYNASTY League Baseball are awarded a JAM situation rating based on their performance primarily with RSP/2 and in Close and late situations with RSP/2 weighted more heavily. 

I asked Dennis Martinez in our previous interview why he pitched so well in JAM situations and the answer seems to be in part being able to bear down in those situations.  Great pitchers with great stuff more often than not perform exceptionally well in jam situations. 

NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum is a great example. 
Lincecum.jpgLincecum has made a meteoric rise to best pitcher in the NL.  I love watching this guy pitch.  Lincecum is a fast working pitcher who absolutely attacks the batter with a blazing fastball.  In RSP/2 situations, Lincecum allowed a BA and SLG of .200/.311.

Lincecum: JAM

After having a mediocre year in 2007 and failing to get a JAM rating, Mariano Rivera came back with a vengeance in 2008.  Rivera had a 1.40 ERA for the Yankees and a dominating RSP/2  BA/SLG of .045/.045.  Your eyes are OK and it isn’t a typo: .045

Rivera: JAM

This years biggest surprise at not getting a JAM? AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee.  Lee had a tremendous season, but not in JAM situations where his RSP/2 BA/SLG was .289/.382.  What Lee did do well was keeping lead off runners off base and was awarded an off situation rating (off ratings awarded to pitchers who rarely walk the lead off batter).

Here is a guy I hate to see pitching vs. either of my favorite teams the Cardinals and Brewers.  My lasting memory of Roy Oswalt was during Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS.  Albert Pujols had just launched a Brad Lidge pitch onto the railroad tracks at Minute Maid Field in Game 5 to save the Cardinals season and send the series back to old Busch Stadium. Oswalt faced off vs. Mark Mulder as I watched from my center field bleacher seat.  The momentum was all with the Cardinals as Cardinal fans were sky high and Astro fans were deflated. Everyone hoped this would not be the last game at Busch Stadium, but Oswalt ended the Cardinals season and Busch Stadium in a completely dominating performance.
RoyOswalt.jpg 

Oswalt was as tough as ever in 2008 with RSP/2 BA/SLG of .189/.243.

Oswalt: JAM

The Red Sox pitching staff, even without the injured Curt Schilling who perennially is as tough in JAM situations as any pitcher, still came through exceedingly well in the JAM situation awards.

Lead by “Dice K” Matsuzaka, the Red Sox staff has four JAM rated pitchers for 2008.  Daisuke Matsuzaka blew away hitters with RSP/2 with a BA/SLG of .153/.222.  Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett and emerging lefty ace Jon Lester join Matsuzaka for Baseball’s most dominating pitching staff in JAM situations.

DiceKMatsuzaka2.jpgMatsuzaka: JAM

Beckett: JAM

Lester: JAM

Papelbon: JAM

Smashing the All-Time single season saves record held by Bobby Thigpen in 1990, Francisco Rodriguez recorded an amazing 62 saves in 2008.  In both Close and late .194/.264 and RSP/2 situations .208/.292, K-Rod excelled at getting out of jams.  

48 batters stepped to the plate with RSP/2 and 20 of them went down in smoke to K-Rod.
frodriguez.jpg 

 

2008 Season Fielding ratings preview: Who deserved Gold Gloves and who didn’t?


With the 2008 AL and NL Gold Glove ratings being awarded here are a few highlights from the 2008 season DYNASTY League Baseball fielding ratings that have been awarded.

One of the more challenging fielding ratings to rate is a players Range rating.  No one statistic can accurately rate a player’s fielding range. So how are Range ratings determined in DYNASTY League Baseball?

DYNASTY League Baseball uses a players Zone rating and his Range factor to determine where the player grades out on a historical scale.  From there, the grade is cross-checked with input from major league scouts, beat writers, broadcasters and even players and managers.  In 2008, more use is being made of John Dewan’s +/- fielding ratings as another source to check against.

OK, now onto the good stuff…

Albert Pujols.  We all know he is the best hitter in Baseball.  Do you know how great a fielder Albert Pujols is?  Here is how Pujols ranked in +/- the last three years among first basemen:

Year   Rank
2006   1

2007   1

2008   2

Pujols1b.jpgPujols zone rating in 2008?

.935 which ranks first among all regular first basemen.

Want more?  Pujols Range factor at 1b was 10.64, again easily ranking first among all first basemen.  Range factor at 1b can be misleading, but the fact that Pujols ranks so high in +/-, Zone rating and Range factor gives him a clean sweep.

Amazing.

Pujols not only has great range, but also rarely makes an an error fielding at a .996 clip with only 6 errors.

The NL Gold Glove first base award went to Adrian Gonzalez (B+ / 85), but the greatest hitter in Baseball is also the greatest fielding first baseman.

Pujols 1b: A+ / 85

St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Derrick Goold has a great blog on “Adding to St. Louis Cardinals’ golden history of Gloves” that includes the All-Time Gold Glove team leaders.

The Phillies and Rays were two of the best defensive teams in Baseball in 2008 so it is no surprise that both teams ended up in the World Series.  Emerging as one of the prime fielding second basemen in Baseball is Chad Utley.  Utley’s 5.18 Range factor and .844 Zone rating were both excellent.  What stands out even more is Utley’s +47 +/- rating which ranked 1st among all second basemen by a wide margin (Mark Ellis +26 2nd).

ChaseUtleycatch.jpg

Utley  2b: A / 75 

One overlooked defensive outfielder is the Orioles Jay Payton.  Payton put up outstanding to excellent Range factors in both LF (2.96) and CF (3.14) and also has a good arm allowing only 11 extra bases in 40 opportunites to advance (.275) in LF and (.432) in CF.    


JayPaytoncatch.jpg
Look at some of the fan expressions as Jay Payton makes a great leaping catch at the wall. 


Payton scored +6 with his +/- rating.

OK, the guy has Range, but does he commit a lot of errors a la Arizona’s Justin Upton (5 Error rating on a scale of 100)? Zero errors.  A pristine perfect 1.000 fielding .pct earned Payton a 100 Error rating.

Payton lf: A / 100 / -1

           cf: A / 100 / -1

Thankfully the Gold glove voters did not award the AL Gold Glove to Derek Jeter who once again had one of the worst Range factors (4.05) in Baseball.  You saw how great Pujols was at first base. Now compare Jeters +/- rankings the last three years among regular shortstops to Pujols:

 

Year   Rank

2006   34

2007   34

2008   31

What Jeter did do well in 2008, was to make the plays hit to him as his .979 Fielding .pct earned him an 80 Error rating.

Jeter  ss: D / 80

Player who has not received a Gold Gold yet and most deserves it?

Yadier Molina finally broke through in 2008 with a Gold Glove even though he had better defensive years previously.

                       Range  Error  Throw  Passed Ball  Handling   
Yadier Molina   A+ /     40 /    -1 /      B /               A

crawford_carlcatch.jpg
Carl Crawford has been one of the premier defensive left fielders in Baseball for years in the anonymity of what has been Tampa Bay Rays Baseball.  In 2008, Crawford lead regular LF in Range (2.28), Zone rating (.909) and +/- (+23).  We have been watching or for many fans not watching one of the great defensive left fielders not only among current players, but of All-Time. 

Crawford  lf:  A+ / 70 / 0

 

 Who has Baseball’s best OF throwing arm?

It may well be Rick Ankiel. 
ankiel.arm.jpg
The Pitcher turned Outfielder was featured in two amazing ESPN web gems throwing out a runner at 3rd from the warning track.  Ankiel ranked 3rd best among CF in preventing runner advancement (.468) and the only question with his rifle arm is if it ranks with Roberto Clemente (-4 with that rating being reserved for the best of All-Time).  

Rick Ankiel -3 Throwing arm (scale of -4 best of All-Time to +4 horrible) 

Even though Brandon Inge has been moved all over the field defensively he still continues to amaze at third base even in a part-time role.  In 51 games at third, Inge made only one error.

Inge  3b: A+ / 100

Among AL regulars at third base, Adrian Beltre had an excellent defensive season ranking first in Zone rating (.844) and +/- (+32).

Beltre 3b: A / 80  

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