Michael Salfino

  • Hitting by the Numbers: Bad luck burying Valbuena

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Armed with Inside-Edge well-hit data, we’re branching out from our usual pitching analysis and tackling expected batting average in this debut of Hitting by the Numbers. The pitching analysis will return next week.

     Inside-Edge uses video scouts to track how often a hitter hits the ball well. Generally, well-hit average should correlate to batting average, meaning if you hit the ball well far more than most you should get more hits (about 70% of well-hit balls are hits) and thus a higher average.

     Of course, some players will not see this correlation. Luck is the biggest factor. But so is speed, the degree to which you strike out and how susceptible your spray chart makes you to shifts.

     The average hitter hits 115 points better than his well-hit rate. But of course, that’s assuming the hitter is also average in strikeouts, speed, batted-ball type, everything. Individual mileage, thus, will vary. 

     Let’s look at the other hitters who have a very small difference, relatively speaking, between their well-hit and actual batting averages. These stats are as of Thursday.

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Well hits and misses

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    Let’s look at well-hit data via the cross-checking of multiple video scouts of MLB stat provider, Inside-Edge, who actually watch every at bat. We’re focusing on pitchers’ rates of well-hit average allowed.

    These rates are as a percentage of at-bats. So they include strikeouts and homers. This makes the well-hit stat far better than line-drive percentage, which is only calculated based on balls in play. So if you strike out 10 guys, those count. With LD%, they don’t. So being absurd for the purposes of illustration, if you strike out 98 of 100 hitters but one hits a line drive, your LD% is 50%.This way, your well-hit average is .001, as it should be. 

    Let’s set the averages. MLB pitchers allow well-hit balls on 15.4% of at bats. I’ve also included Inside-Edge’s swing and miss rates as a percentage of strikes. All the sites seem to do variations of this. This DOES NOT count a first-strike foul ball though. You have to miss the pitch. And its not a percentage of pitches, either, it’s a percentage of strikes. So know the league average — 16% — and work from there.

  • Pitching by the Numbers: What have you done for me lately?

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    You never get a second chance to make a first impression. But this rule of relationship building can be a handicap in fantasy baseball. We wait so long for the season to begin that how our players perform during it can become the pole to which we tether our season-long perceptions.

    Of course, the first five weeks of the season is a significant sample. But we’ve now had five weeks since then. So let’s back out the first five weeks entirely and look only at the five weeks since, taking us from May 7 through Wednesday (June 10).

    I believe this is a far more important exercise with pitchers than with hitters. Pitchers are more prone to turning on a dime for reasons that we detailed before training camp even began. While you don’t want to chase a five-week sample with a hitter, necessarily, I do think it can be smart to do this with a starting pitcher. There’s just a lot more data with pitchers over five weeks than with hitters, in addition to pitchers having so many more ways to make seemingly small adjustments that can have very big results.

    Shelby Miller I do not believe in one bit. Trade him now to the guy who needs ERA and who won’t realize you’re actually hurting him. 

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Taking a swing at strikeouts

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 26 days ago

    Strikeout rates and swinging strike rates have generally stabilized, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t change. It merely means they are bettable.

    But assuming that they are stable can provide some predictive insight into a handful of pitchers who have greatly divergent rates of swinging strikes and strikeouts. It stands to reason that both of these rates should correlate. And since strikeouts are more rare events than swinging strikes, we would reasonably have a bias in favor of the guys who are much better in SS% than K%, and against the pitchers who are significantly lower in SS% than K%.

    Looking at our sample of all starters who qualify for the ERA title, meaning they’ve pitched at least one inning per team game, we see that these stats tend to track pretty nicely. The average K% of all these starters is 19.8% and the average swinging strike rate is 21.5%. Pretty close. So we’ll expect SS% to be about 2-3% points ahead of K%. Note these stats are current through Wednesday.

    Fiers is a (K-BB)/IP champ but should we believe the Ks? This model says, “No.” He’s earned about 54 Ks, not 69, which would lower his (K-BB)/IP to 0.61 from 0.87 — or to just okay from great.

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Special K relievers

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    We have enough of a sample now to look at relievers given that it takes only about 70 at bats for a pitcher’s K-rate to stabilize. The stat we’re interested in with them is primarily saves but also their ability to generate surplus Ks. My formula is keeping their K-rate at a solid 9.0 per nine innings (a winning number in innings-capped leagues) and giving the surplus Ks from that reliever to the rest of your staff.

    Basically now we have a closer ranking that includes this surplus strikeout statistic: Chapman, Miller, Robertson, Allen, Kimbrel, Tolleson, Grilli, Storen…..

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Harvey climbs the charts

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    We did our draft do-over at Roto Arcadeand were limited to two starting pitchers each. Let’s look at some of the pitchers whose value has changed the most since our Friends and Family draft back in March.

    1. Clayton Kershaw (1) 2. Max Scherzer (2) 3. Felix Hernandez (4) 4. Matt Harvey (11) 5. Johnny Cueto (14) 6. Corey Kluber (9) 7. Madison Bumgarner (7) 8. Chris Sale (6) 9. Gerrit Cole (15) 10. Zack Greinke (8) 11. Stephen Strasburg (3) 12. Jake Arrieta (20) 13. Sonny Gray (36) 14. David Price (5) 15. Jacob deGrom (19) 16. Cole Hamels (12) 17. Chris Archer (52) 18. * Danny Salazar (51) 19. * James Shields (18) 20. * Carlos Carrasco (23) 21. Jon Lester (13) 22. * Dallas Keuchel (64) 23. Michael Pineda (53) 24. Shelby Miller (77)

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Nelson an off-speed ace

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Let’s look at 2015 MLB play-by-play data to assess which pitchers have the best off-speed pitches according to the hitters — meaning they swing and miss at them the most.

    I firmly believe that it’s the fastball that’s the foundation for all successful pitching. If you can’t evade hard contact with that pitch you cannot get ahead of hitters and set up these secondary offerings. But once you have the count in your favor, and especially with two strikes, you need to finish hitters with pitches that wrinkle. 

    So this is a 2015 skills analysis. I have a high confidence level that these numbers are bettable, however injury always looms for hurlers and that’s typically going to impact these pitches the most. 

    All of these stats are current as of Wednesday, May 13.

    Nelson clearly has an out pitch. My numbers are generally down on him. But this is a big plus and suggests that he may be closer to dominance than his current stats indicate (8.0 Ks and 3.0 BBs/9). 

    Strop has closer stuff when you combine his curve with his 95 mph fastball. The good thing about curveballs is that they show the lowest platoon splits.

    Alright, let's move on to the slider:

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Getting ahead

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Last week we looked at pitchers’ ability to compete when behind in the count by getting outs anyway.   But the league average rate of outs on only 51% of these counts last year made it clear that Job 1 for starters is not falling behind in the first place.

    Remember one of the things we found last week with our “getting outs from behind in the count” stat is that the trailers were close to the league average. That meant that the leaders were hardly ever falling behind and the trailers were thus taking up the great majority of the “fall-behind” situations. And Scherzer was a trailer but we can see that not getting the outs at a good rate when behind didn’t matter so much for him because he was, more importantly, REALLY good at not falling behind.