Cole’s Law, Money Players, and Rich Hill’s Velocity

 

Knowledge Drop — April 15, 2018 – Ted Williams Edition

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*Ted Williams was the all-time leader in WAR for (regular) number nines. (Rogers Hornsby wore #9 for one year and edged out Williams for WAR, 127 to 123….). In 2017, Marwin Gonzalez led #9s with 4.31 WAR and so far in 2018, DJ LeMahieu leads with 1.0 WAR.

THE LATEST KNOWLEDGE – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW

A (Brad) Penny Saved Is…. Well a bench pitcher at best… Today we fondly remember Brad Penny. Penny, whom you might remember played from 2000 until (technically) 2015 when he pitched 135 innings in the White Sox minors but was never called up. The White Sox. They didn’t call him up. Yeah.

Anyway, Penny taunted Fantasy baseball owners. He was a two-time All Star. He won 16 games in 2006 and 2007 and was a career 121-101 pitcher. He totalled 26.1 Wins Above Replacement in his career, which is semi-ironic since I remember him mostly as a replacement pitcher. He twice pitched 200+ innings in a season and exceed 170 IP seven times. His best strikeout season was 2006 when he whiffed just 7.1 hitters per nine.

Brad Penny was Rick Porcello before Rick Porcello (121-99, 4.23 career ERA to Penny’s 121-101, 4.29)

We only remember him today because it’s TAX DAY!!! Actually your taxes are due on Tuesday, because today the 15th is a Sunday and tomorrow is Patriot’s Day in Boston or National Hangnail Day. So we searched for tax-related names.

No player in MLB history was ever named Tax, or any name including the letters t-a-x in succession. We thought there would have been an old-timey ambidextrous shortstop named Taxi Mulrooney who played for the 1891 Seattle Foghorns and got his nickname because he sucked so bad that he always rode his teammates taxi to victory. But then we checked and the taxi was not “invented” until 1897 (so says Wikipedia). So instead of players named Tax or Revenue we went for the money names. How does Penny’s 26.1 WAR rank among “Money Players”

Name Years WAR
Brad Penny 2000-2015 26.1
Kevin Cash 2002-2010 -2.4
Norm Cash 1958-1974 54.6
Andrew Cashner 2010-present 9.1
Ben Dollar* 2008-2009 0

Don Money 1968-1983 32
Doug Nickle 2000-2002 -0.3
Derek Aucoin 1996 0.0
Toots Coyne 1914 0.0

*Dollar was a minor league pitcher, so he WAS the replacement

No surprise that Norm Cash, your grandfather’s favorite player at some point, is our all time “money player” with 54.6 career WAR. But – come on – Toots Coyne? How great is THAT name. Poor Coyne was Moonlight Graham. He appeared in just one game, September 28, 1914, got to the plate twice and struck out twice. We’re not even sure he swung the bat.

The 19 year old played 4 innings at 3B and threw out the runner in his only chance. Coyne died at the age of 44 and is buried in his hometown of St. Louis. We don’t care what you say, Toots Coyne was money. And if he got a third at-bat that day, we might have referred to Babe Ruth as a poor man’s Toots Coyne.

Anyway, get your taxes in by Tuesday if you haven’t already.

Cole’s Law … As if the Astros needed to get better, they’ve not only added an ace, but a potential Cy Young winner in 2018. Gerrit Cole fanned a career-high 14 hitters in seven innings Friday night against the Rangers. Despite surrendering a pair of solo home runs, Cole was brilliant and has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball thus far.

Cole in 2018: 21 IP, 3 ER (1.29 ERA), 36K, 4 BB. He’s won just one game, but we believe the won-lost record has more to do with a pitcher’s teammates (lineup and bullpen) than his performance.

It’s too early to say Cole will maintain his dominance for most of the season. But as we like to do, we’ll take a look at his approach thus far. First, look at his approach versus right- and left-handed batters from Friday night’s game. These charts are from the catcher’s perspective and the right handed batters are first:

Cole v righties
cole v lefties

Here’s what we see:
• Cole’s approach to lefties; four-seam fastballs up in the zone and knuckle curves below the belt.;
• Right-handed hitters get a steady diet of four-seam fastballs.
• 63 percent of pitches to righties are four-seamers; only 39 percent of offerings to lefties were that pitch
• 32 percent of pitches to lefties were the knuckle-curve; Cole only tossed one to a right-handed foe;
• 15 of the 16 swinging strikes were against left-handed hitters. Cole appears to be pitching to contact to righties and is whiffing lefties with regularity.

Again, this was a 14K start, which will be among his best all season. We’ll monitor Cole and his approach for the next few starts to see if he repeats this patterns or mixes it up.

A THOUSAND WORDS

Like Big Mac, @BatFlipCrazy is obsessed with skill stats. He tirelessly examines trends to predict future output. Follow him on Twitter and read more in-depth data analysis at batflipcrazy.com. Today instead of his signature graphics, we look at A Thousand Characters — some of his latest Tweets:

I am not into Rich Hill being down a tick today (88.4 from 89.3 last week) and only getting 6 SwStr from 96 pitches, including 1 on 38 curveballs. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a DL stint in his near future.
MLB AVG on balls hit 100+ MPH > 0° is .675. Current leaders & AVG on these batted balls:

Gallo 15 (.400)
Abreu 15 (.600)
Betts 13 (.769)
Moustakas 13 (.769)
Upton 13 (.833)
Jo. Martinez 13 (.615)
Trout 12 (.667)
Ozuna 12 (.583)
LeMahieu 12 (.833)#FantasyBaseball #Statcast

Most batted balls 19-39° (HR launch angles) & 95+ MPH:

Carlos Santana 10
Albies 9
Kipnis 9
Lowrie 9
Betts 9
Gregorius 8
Trout 8
13 tied at 7

RIDDLE ME THIS

In a contest, four fruits (an apple, a banana, an orange, and a pear) have been placed in four closed boxes (one fruit per box). People may guess which fruit is in which box. 123 people participate in the contest. When the boxes are opened, it turns out that 43 people have guessed none of the fruits correctly, 39 people have guessed one fruit correctly, and 31 people have guessed two fruits correctly.

The Question: How many people have guessed three fruits correctly, and how many people have guessed four fruits correctly?

The first reader to email the correct guess will win an additional free month’s subscription – a whopping $4 value!!! Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com

Congrats to Osasu Osayimwen, who in addition to sharpening my editing and proof-reading skills, knew the advice the wise man gave. He had the men race each others’ horses and the man who won the race won the inheritance because his actual horse lost the race. Dr. Osayimwen wins a free month Knowledge Drop for his logic. Well done!

DAD JOKE OF THE DAY:

Because bad jokes fuel our world.

What do they call Miley Cyrus in Europe?

Kilometry Cyprus

Got a Bad/Dad joke for a future issue of the Knowledge Drop? Email us at BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com or hit us up on Twitter @BigMacFantasy.

Knowledge Next Drops Tuesday, April 17 — The Real Tax Day

Know More, Win More
Tom McFeeley and the Big Mac Fantasy Sports Team

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