Knowledge Drop June 24, 2018 – Dave Parker Edition* (#39)
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*It’s flat out shocking that in his 19-year career, Dave Parker had only 40.11 WAR. The man was a beast: .290 career average, 339 HR, 1,493 RBI, 154 SB. He was a 7-time All-Star, the 1978 MVP and a downright scary hitter. The best #39 we ever saw.
TOP KNOWLEDGE — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
END THE KYLE GIBSON EXPERIMENT — NOW!!
Is there any more “meh” name in baseball than Kyle Gibson? At his best he’s an inning eating option, poised to go 13-12. He’s not blessed with a plus fastball and he walks too many hitters. Gibson owns a 50 percent ground ball rate which should always keep him in the Fantasy conversation, since ground ball pitchers are more likely than not to stay closer to average than to get completely blown up over a full season.
But this year, something funny has happened – he’s boosted his strikeout rate. He is fanning almost two more batters per nine innings in 2018 – 8.73 versus 6.89 last season. His ERA is a tidy 3.25. His swinging strike rate is a respectable 11 percent, against his 9.7 percent career average. Kyle Gibson is having a solid 2018 campaign.
Run the opposite way.
Kyle Gibson is about to be Kyle Gibson again and in fact he’s already started.
Let’s look at his month-by-month numbers (which you should highlight in your trade talks):
Now, the important numbers:
Ks down, BBs up, a 94 percent strand rate (94 percent!!!) and FIP and xFIP both over 4.00. He’s pitching terribly but getting very, very lucky. One more set:
These batted ball figures tell us a few things: Gibson is a ground ball pitcher, so while his numbers will get worse and very soon, they won’t crater. But we see here in his “best” month of June, hitters are jumping on him, pulling the ball more and hitting it harder than any month so far.
For Gibson, it has been the story of two seasons: Not only 2018 vs. 2017 but June 2018 versus the start of the season. It is very rare to see a pitcher “break out” while all the underlying stats scream “abort!”
Gibson’s velocity is up about 1.5 – 2.0 mph on most of his pitches over the last couple of seasons. He’ll never be Chris Sale, though he’s shown this season he can be an 8.0+ K/9 pitcher. But given that he puts the ball in play a lot and generally walks too many hitters, Gibson is always dancing on the hot coals.
Let’s look at Gibson’s trends when it comes to inducing whiffs, because we think these visuals will tell you what you need to know; that if you’re a Gibson owner you should be afraid, very afraid.
First look at the swinging strike percentages against his pitches last year and this year. He had success fooling hitters with his slider, changeup and curveball in 2017’s second half and started strong with those pitches in 2018.
But he hasn’t been fooling anyone in June, but has enjoyed great results. That will not last.
Another way to display the same trends is to look at his swinging strike rates overall. Below is his rolling swinging strike rate since 2014. He done well to increase it through his career until the middle of last year. After his rebound, he has not missed many bats this month.
Please don’t take all these visuals to mean we think Kyle Gibson is a bum. He’s a pretty steady average pitcher who won’t hurt you in the strikeout categories but might raise your WHIP. We think he’s a 3.80 – 4.10 ERA hurler who has fared remarkably better than that of late. It’s possible his recent trends improve, as you can see on the graphs that they often do and he could remain a sub-3.50 option, but we’d bet the other way.
If you own Kyle Gibson, sell him to a team that needs starters and fill a hole on your own team. He is about to regress to the mean, and that could mean bad things for your championship hopes.
A THOUSAND WORDS
Today @BatFlipCrazy checks in on Travis Shaw:
His o-swing is down so far, so I expect some improvement, but probably not 13%. Maybe 11% when all is said and done (just a guess)? He’s got some great trends going (FB% & contact % up, hard % rebounding), I expect a nice little run here soon.
RIDDLE ME THIS
Julie’s dad had five daughters: June, July, August and September. What was the name of the fifth one?
Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com
Thursday’s Riddle: Why did a man born in November celebrate his birthday in the summer?
Benjamin Hinckley correctly guessed that the man lived in the southern hemisphere.
DAD JOKE OF THE DAY
What did the plumber say to the singer?
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