Saturday, June 30, 2012

Aaron Hill Rides the Bi-cycle

Please excuse the lame wordplay title (wordplay is fun!) and listen to this piece of truth: Aaron Hill made history last night. If your first questions is, "Tim, who the hell is Aaron Hill?", you can join most MLB fans in being duly surprised that a random role player is getting so much press. What is more surprising is that Mr. Hill has now hit for the cycle in two games in the same calender month. How rare is this? The only other player to do so hit two cycles in the same week in 1883. He is also only the second player since 1900 to hit two cycles in the same season (Babe Herman in 1931 for those of you keeping score at home). How rare is the cycle? If he hits one more IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER he will be tied for the most all time. Ludicrous.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Taking a look at Trevor Bauer and Andrew Cashner's Starts

Yesterday highly touted prospect Trevor Bauer made his major league debut. He was the number three pick in last year's draft and has been flying through the Arizona Diamondback's farm system ever since. He wasn't the only pitcher joining a rotation though. San Diego Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner also got the call to the majors yet nobody paid any attention to him. Dave Cameron took a look at both pitchers in this article yesterday. I was curious to see how both fared so let's take a look.

Top 100 Right Now: Summary

Well, at least we got this done by the All-Star Break...  Looking back on the list, there are already a ton of mistakes, but that's how these go.  Here is the full list:

1Evan Longoria35Kevin Youkilis68Brett Gardner
2Troy Tulowitzki36Cole Hamels69Jonathan Papelbon
3Joey Votto37Jon Lester70John Axford
4Miguel Cabrera38Giancarlo Stanton71Desmond Jennings
5Roy Halladay39Tim Lincecum72Doug Fister
6Justin Verlander40Matt Cain73Chase Utley
7Jose Bautista41Jered Weaver74Chris Carpenter
8Albert Pujols42Brandon Phillips75Alex Gordon
9Dustin Pedroia43Carlos Gonzalez76Yadier Molina
10Matt Kemp44Shane Victorino77Mat Latos
11Cliff Lee45Joe Mauer78Howie Kendrick
12Adrian Gonzalez46Brett Lawrie79Jay Bruce
13Ryan Braun47Alex Rodriguez80Joel Hanrahan
14Robinson Cano48Matt Wieters81Anibal Sanchez
15CC Sabathia49Hunter Pence82Matt Garza
16Felix Hernandez50Hanley Ramirez83Buster Posey
17Justin Upton51Adam Wainwright84Alexei Ramirez
18Clayton Kershaw52Mike Napoli85Gavin Floyd
19Ben Zobrist53Madison Bumgarner86David Wright
20Ryan Zimmerman54James Shields87John Danks
21Andrew McCutchen55Mariano Rivera88Carlos Beltran
22Matt Holliday56David Price89Josh Beckett
23Ian Kinsler57Jose Reyes90Corey Hart
24Dan Haren58C.J. Wilson91Yunel Escobar
25Adrian Beltre59Yovani Gallardo92Ubaldo Jimenez
26Prince Fielder60Carlos Santana93Lance Berkman
27Curtis Granderson61Craig Kimbrel94Miguel Montero
28Zack Greinke62Rickie Weeks95Jayson Werth
29Pablo Sandoval63Mark Teixeira96B.J. Upton
30Josh Hamilton64Matt Moore97Nelson Cruz
31Stephen Strasburg65Sean Marshall98Nick Swisher
32Brian McCann66Justin Masterson99Gio Gonzalez
33Josh Johnson67Daniel HudsonT100Jordan Zimmermann
34Jacoby EllsburyT100Michael Bourn

Here is the team breakdown:

ARI - 3HOU - 0PHI - 7
ATL - 3KCR - 1PIT - 2
BAL - 1LAA - 5SDP - 0
BOS - 5LAD - 2SEA - 1
CHC - 1MIA - 5SFG - 5
CHW - 4MIL - 6STL - 6
CIN - 5MIN - 1TBR - 7
CLE - 3NYM - 1TEX - 5
COL - 2NYY - 8TOR - 3
DET - 4OAK - 0WSN - 5

Here is the position breakdown:

C - 8LF - 6
1B - 6CF - 8
2B - 8RF - 10
SS - 5SP - 35
3B - 9RP - 6

Here is the age breakdown:

22 - 330 - 8
23 - 231 - 12
24 - 432 - 4
25 - 633 - 5
26 - 935 - 2
27 - 736 - 2
28 - 2037 - 1
29 - 1542 - 1

I will leave it to you to find interesting tidbits among the tables.  Feel free to comment on any missed or horribly-placed player, along with any trend you see in teams, positions, and ages.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jason Heyward, Back to His Old Self

Depending on where you stood, Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward was either the number one or two prospect heading into the 2010 season. He made the opening day roster and impressed right out of the gate. His 5.1 WAR for that season rank in the top 15 all-time for a season by a 20 year old. In no time the lofty comparisons arose, most notably by former Braves Manager Bobby Cox. Cox said that Heyward reminded him of Braves all-time great, Hank Aaron. That was a lofty comparison, but if anyone could live up to it, it was Heyward. After a great rookie year, Heyward struggled though but appears to be back this season. Let's take a look at Heyward's journey the past couple seasons and how he returned back to dominance.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Poll: Who Would You Pick to Start Your Franchise?

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Top 100 Right Now: #5-1

We have finally hit the end, showing the Top 5 players in the game.  You can find the explanation and origin of our list here.  After this post, there will be one last wrap-up post, showing how many players are on each team, position, and age.  As a (not-so) quick refresher, here are 100-6:

Mike Trout, MVP Candidate?

Los Angeles Angels phenom, Mike Trout, is off to an outstanding start to the season. Many knew that Trout's future was bright and that he could potentially be the best player in baseball. I don't know if people that he'd get started so soon though. Trout is still only 20 years old and doesn't turn 21 until August but based on his results so far he should be right in the thick of things when it comes to voting for the American League MVP award.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Kevin Youkilis Sent to the Chicago White Sox

Yesterday the seemingly inevitable happened. The Boston Red Sox finally parted ways with 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis after a flurry of rumors. In return the Red Sox received pitcher Zach Steweart and utility player Brent Lillibridge from the Chicago White Sox. Youkilis was struggling mightily for the Red Sox and Will Middlebrooks is ready to take over third base. On the flip side, the Chicago White Sox were in desperate need of a third baseman. Brent Morel was terrible and the Orlando Hudson experiment didn't work out at all. It's possible that a change of scenery is all that Youkilis needed.

A PITCHf/x Look at Gio Gonzalez

After being acquired from the Washington Nationals, lefty Gio Gonzalez has been off to the best start of his career. Before this year Gonzalez was a solid pitcher and in 2010 he began to take off. During that time he has posted fWARs of 3.2 and 3.5 respectively. His FIP during those times was 3.78 and 3.64 which is considered above average. This year it's a whole new story, he currently has 3.1 WAR to go with an excellent, yet highly unsustainable 2.07 FIP. His 2.97 xFIP and SIERA are identical, so even if Gonzalez runs into some regression he should still remain dominant. What's the cause for the sudden change? More after the jump.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Facebook Page

After much discussion, a new Facebook page for Saber Analysis is up and running! Please go there and 'Like' the page so you can get easy access to site updates, news, and blog posts. This will be another resource we will utilize to reach our readers and the general public. As always, comments and concerns are appreciated. Feel free to reach out to us on the FB page (, on Twitter (@SabrAnalysis), email (, in the comments section, or to any of the writers individually. Thank you for your continued support during this time of big change and growth!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bryce Harper's Place in History

It's no secret that Washington Nationals phenom, Bryce Harper, is having a phenomenal rookie season and is easily on his way to Rookie of the Year honors.. If you remember, Lee wrote a great piece about Harper and his future prospects. When looking at other seasons by 19 year olds though, I was wondering where Bryce Harper stacks up. Obviously there have been other post regarding the topic, like this by FanGraph's Dave Cameron but I wanted to see for myself.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

R.A Dickey: Knuckling Down to Success

R.A. Dickey is quite the esoteric baseball player. He throws a knuckleball. He has hiked Kilimanjaro. Even more odd, he did so for charity. He is a Star Wars nerd. He names his bats after objects from Lord of the Rings, Beowulf, and other epics. He is leading the league in strikeouts.

Wait, what? I am sure most of us knew the odd (or rather, AWESOME) stories about his adventuring and use of his English Lit degree, but I was shocked to find out he is co-leading the MLB in strikeouts with Justin Verlander. Several bloggers have covered the reasons beyond his success so far, but I want to delve into the question of sustainability. Put another way, should he be seriously considered as one of the best in baseball, or is he due for a major correction? Is there an impending negative regression? 

Prospect Watch: Oswaldo Arcia

It's no secret that the Minnesota Twins are struggling at the big league level, but they do have some nice players in the minor leagues. One of those players is young outfielder, Oswaldo Arcia. Since joining the team's rookie team in 2009 he has consistently put up good numbers. The club was so impressed with his performance in high A ball this season that they just announced that he will be joining the AA club.

Top 100 Right Now: #10-6

Continuing our countdown of the top 100 players in the majors, we hit numbers 10 through 6 today. You can find the explanation and origin of our list here. Since we are only doing five players a post, we will be going even further in-depth. Alex will talk about the player's past, while I will find comps for each player, trying to show how he projects in the future. As a quick refresher, here are 100-11:

Monday, June 18, 2012

What's Going on With the Tigers?

When the Detroit Tigers signed 1B, Prince Fielder, to a 9 year-$214 many expected the Tigers to easily win the American League Central division and be a sure lock for the playoffs and a good bet to make the World Series. On the contrary, the Tigers already had 1B Miguel Cabrera, and some people, including Fangraphs' Dave Cameron thought that the Tigers could have done a better job spending their money. After about one-third of the season the Tigers season hasn't been going as planned, they are currently 32-34 and are 3.5 games back from first. What exactly is the cause of the Tigers' early season struggles? More after the jump!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Quick Reminders

If you haven't already follow the Twitter page for the blog and if there's any type of post you want us to tackle send an e-mail to!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cliff Lee and the Problem of Wins

With dominant performances last night by Matt Cain (perfect game and whatnot) and R.A Dickey (America's favorite knuckleballer/adventurist) it seems a little pointless to discuss other pitchers. That being said, it seems as though everyone in the baseball blog-sphere has written about the perfect game. Again and again and again (my personal favorite) and again. Instead of not doing his awesome performance justice, I will instead focus my post on Cliff Lee in the lens of Wins as a stat.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Zack Greinke Will Get Paid

Milwaukee Brewers ace Zack Greinke is off to another phenomenal start to the season. He also becomes a free agent during the off-season, and if he continues to dominate then he will be inline for a huge payday. There's a couple of questions that I hope to answer along the way. Who will sign him and how much will they be willing to commit in the process?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Should the Twins look into a Josh Willingham Trade?

After a disappointing 2011 season the Minnesota Twins are off to another slow start. As of late they have improved but it's unlikely they make any real playoff push. In an effort to increase offensive production they went out and signed outfielder, Josh Willingham, to a 3 year-$21 million dollar contract. So far it's been a huge success, through the 55 games that he's played in he has accumulated 2.3 WAR. As summer sets upon us and as the All Star break nears it brings a question. Should the Twins consider moving one of their best players in hopes of building for the future?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Chris Sale: A Study in Role Transition

If you knew the name 'Chris Sale' before this year, you either were a huge White Sox fan, or you really knew your left-handed relievers. Sale was far from a big name, but he was a dominant reliever for his first two years in the majors. In limited action, he posted FIPs of 2.74 and 3.12, good for an FIP- of 63 and 75, both of which are very respectable numbers for a reliever. He is only 23 years old, and was the White Sox 1st pick in the 2010 draft (13th overall). Even as early as late 2011, it was announced that Sale would be moved into the starting rotation. We have seen this plot-line before, have we not? Daniel Bard, Neftali Feliz, and Joba Chamberlin (wherever he ends up) are only three examples of pitchers who have tried to make the transition. As we know, the results have been mixed, and for Bard and Feliz, it is too early to know if it is a good or bad idea. What about Sale?

Top 100 Right Now: #15-11

Continuing our countdown of the top 100 players in the majors, we hit numbers 15 through 11 today. You can find the explanation and origin of our list here. Since we are only doing five players a post, we will be going even further in-depth. Alex will talk about the player's past, while I will find comps for each player, trying to show how he projects in the future. As a quick refresher, here are 100-16:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

HOF Watch: Johan Santana

On Saturday Johan Santana became the first New York Mets pitcher to throw a no-hitter. It wasn't pretty, but it was a no-hitter nonetheless. For more analysis check out Tim's article. Since then myself and a couple of buddies have been discussion Santana's chance at making the hall of fame.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Prospect Watch: Wil Myers

Last season the Kansas City Royals had a number of players graduate from their farm system. They include Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Danny Duffy. There's a good chance that they add to that list sometime this year when outfielder Wil Myers gets the call to the big leagues.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mets Finally Get No-No

Yesterday evening, my Twitter feed exploded with the news that Johan Santana had done a first in the history of the Mets organization. The event? Everyone was in awe of Mr. Santana and his no-hit gem. It is amazing to think about other pitchers who have played for the Mets but did not get a no-no. To wit: Nolan Ryan (owner of 7 no-hitters) played for the Mets but did not get his first until he left for the Angels. Tom Seaver threw several one-hitters. Doc Gooden was dominant in his day, but never went 9 innings with 0 hits. Johan is in rare company, and alone in his entire organization. Not bad work!

But how does this compare to other no-hitters? As per Baseball-Reference, there have been 178 regular season no-hitters thrown since 1918 (the first year individual game data is available). Interestingly, aside from poor Ken Johnson in 1964, all no-hitters ended in a win. I highly doubt you want a break down all 178 games, so how about we look at the no-hitters from 2010 to the present?

The past few years have been largely dominated by pitching. In that regard, I feel much more comfortable comparing no-hitters from the past 3 years than to one during the power era of the '90s- early 2000s. With that critera, B-Ref gave me a query of 11 games. This is excluding Roy Halladay's no-hitter in the playoffs that was, honestly, other-worldly. The pitchers, in chronological order: 2010-- Ubaldo Jimenez, Dallas Braden (perfect game), Roy Halladay (perfect game), Edwin Jackson, Matt Garza. 2011-- Francisco Liriano, Justin Verlander, Ervin Santana. 2012-- Phil Humber (perfect game), Jered Weaver, Johan Santana. Aside from a couple of random names, this is a list of very good players. How did Santana (Johan) do?