Friday, July 29, 2011

Leaderboard (7/29): Outside Swing Percentage

A look at outside swing percentage by National League teams through July 28, according to FanGraphs:

1. Rockies: 28.2%
2. Cardinals: 28.3
3. Mets: 28.9
4. Reds: 29.3
5. Braves: 30.2
6. Padres: 30.3
7. Phillies: 30.5
8. Brewers: 30.5
9. Diamondbacks: 30.8
10. Nationals: 30.9

Braves O-Swing% by Month:
March/April: 28.8
May: 29.8
June: 31
July: 31.5

Braves Zone Contact% by Month:
March/April: 87.7
May: 89.2
June: 85.5
July: 85.4

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Leaderboard (7/26): Bullpen Depth By fWAR

Below is the Top 5 bullpens according to fWAR. The "Total" is the total fWAR of relievers not including the "closer" and "setup man," which is essentially the entire bullpen aside from the top two fWAR numbers. The "Average" is the average fWAR of those relievers. The "Difference" is the difference in fWAR between the total of the"closer" and "setup man" and the total of the rest.

These are rough numbers meant for entertainment more than anything, but they can provide some sort of evidence of bullpen depth. Obviously, the higher the "Total," the deeper the pen. Also, note that I included all relief innings, meaning leverage and reliever role were not accounted for in the total.

Total: 1
Average: 0.1
Difference: 3.7

Total: 1.4
Average: 0.09
Difference: 1.6

Red Sox
Total: 1.6
Average: 0.1
Difference: 1.1

Total: 1.9
Average: 0.3
Difference: 0.2

White Sox
Total: 1.9
Average: 0.2
Difference: 0

This tells us what we already know: the Braves need right-handed relief. The difference in fWAR between Craig Kimbrel + Jonny Venters and the rest of the bullpen is enormous.

Something else that's not that surprising is the difference between the "closer" + "setup man" and the rest of the bullpen gets smaller as the bullpen fWAR gets smaller, as well as the total. The top two relievers in the higher-ranked pens have fWAR's that catapult their entire bullpens to the top of the list (Kimbrel/Venters, Rivera/Robertson). The better they are, the more they're used, the higher the potential fWAR.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Deadline Rumors: B.J. Upton

Friday night was fun on the Twitterverse as the Rays caused mayhem with their pullings of B.J. Upton and Desmond Jennings. Unfortunately for all those who waited for the news, including me, it was nothing more than just a call up for Jennings and demotion for Reid Brignac.

For now, anyway. Tampa Bay is rostering a ton of outfielders at the moment, and Upton has since been all over the Internet regarding trade rumors, so one might think he could be leaving the Rays soon. The Braves are automatically linked based on their needs, and while I don't know of their actual level of interest or if they've inquired, there's no doubt he has been considered by the front office.

Should the Braves target Upton? Yes. He's controlled through 2012, which makes giving up a prospect more bearable, and they will have to dip into the higher tier like Carlos Beltran would cost. Upton provides solid defense and athleticism in center field and on the basepaths; he has a career walk rate of 11.1% and is at 10.3% this season; and he has an above-average bat for the position.

Upton's .232 BA and .312 OBP isn't very attractive, but a .275 BABIP and zone contact percentage above his career average is a sign he could find some more holes in the final two months. That regression seems to already be kicking in, as he has posted a .269/.329/.418 line in July, including six multi-hit games. I would expect more of the same in August and September.

If the Braves are giving up a higher-tiered prospect at the deadline, I would be much more accepting if the return is in an Atlanta uniform for more than two months. Upton can provide a much-needed bat in center field down the stretch and in 2012.