Nationals Baseball: Just to get it out there

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Just to get it out there

Please ignore Spring Training Stats.

Here's my warning from last yearAnd 2016And 2015

The Nats best hitter last year (with any appreciable at bats - sorry I. Sagdal whoever you are) was Jhonatan Solano. Then it was Bryce. Then Andrew Stevenson. Then Zimm. Then Brandon Snyder. Then Trea Turner.  No real pattern.

Worst hitter was Wieters, then Lobaton... we got something go... Dammit Lind was bad too.

What about pitching? Well Albers was good. So was Enny. But then so was Treinen and Roark was the best starter. Meanwhile Strasburg was the worst starter.

The correlations are weak, young ones. There are just too few at bats, against too few real major leaguers, in too few real conditions, to read anything from these things.  Since we can't help ourselves I tend to tell you to focus on crazy outliers (He's hitting .500! He's hitting .000!) or a big power surge.  But I'll be honest, those are real iffy as well.

The short of it is if you read stories telling you Wieters made adjustments, look at how he's doing! or Fedde is healthy, look at how he's doing!  just walk on by.  The beat guys gotta write something and this is what's there but it's close to meaningless. It's good these guys aren't hurt. Otherwise show me in the regular season.

16 comments:

Alan Wiecking said...

Victor Robles is hitting .400!

sirc said...

I feel like we can add April stats to the list of questionable results too. Plenty of guys surge and slump in April only to see that script flip for the next 5 months. Weiters and Rendon, for example, last season. It seems to happen every year.

Anonymous said...

TBF, Wieters swing DOES look different. It looks like he's actually trying to hit the ball now, as opposed to last year where he had that lackadaisical "let the bat do all the work" golf swing he had. Only time will tell if/when he falls back into last year's bad habits.

Dusty's Toothpick said...

@Alanwiecking and Harper --- If Victor Robles is in fact a .400 beast and Bryce, Eaton, and MAT are playing where they left off where does he end up?

W. Patterson said...

Heck, Spring Training is a chance for folks to leave the cold and watch their favorites, close-up, while wearing shorts. And I guess for the players to actually play against somebody other than the pitching machine or their workout buddies.

I didn't think anyone paid attention to ST stats.

Ethan Stone said...

Food for thought, there was a point late in last year's spring training at which Tim Tebow had better hitting stats than Ryan Zimmerman.

Ole PBN said...

On Wieters, I notice that too. In fact, I noticed it a lot last season in that his swing is vastly different from the right side of the plate. His LH swing and RHP is the one that caused us to bang our heads against the wall.

That's an interesting topic perhaps? If you are so terrible from one side of the plate, when is it advisable to give up on the switch-hitting gig? Not that Wieter's splits are that different, he is just plain bad all around, albeit "less-awful as a RH hitter. But I recall a similar issue with Espinosa in the past which is why I bring it up...

Josh Higham said...

Ole PBN, the great Domingo Ayala has something to say about the Espinosa/Weiters types. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9FlknVmhxA

Alan Wiecking said...

Dusty's Toothpick, I think it'd be hard for Robles to be on the major league roster when they go north--and I'm the biggest of Robles fans. Unless there's an injury or trade, he will be spending a couple of months at AAA playing every day. I expect he'll get a "you played great, you proved you belong, no go back down to the minors and get ready because soon we'll be calling you up to stay." I expect that his callup will be delayed until the Nats are sure he won't be sent back down.

PotomacFan said...

@Harper: really interesting point about the writers covering one player each day, and the story line is about how great they will be this year: Wieters has a new swing; Fedde feels great; Max will be better than the last two years; with more to come. Writers gotta write. And this is what sucks us in to the home team. But, hey, there's nothing wrong with any of this. Hope springs eternal. Everyone starts on Opening Day with the same record (although the Marlins may be an exception to that). The good news is that the Nats actually do have a lot of good, really good, and great players. Max, Strasburg, Harper and Rendon are all great. We are lucky to have them. Imagine the folks in San Diego reading about how great their team is going to be because they got Hosmer (for 8 long years).

KW said...

Because of the time he spent with the big club last season, Robles will need to stay in the minors until almost the All-Star break in order to "reset" his clock of team control years. So he's not going to be in DC until late June/early July unless there's an OF injury combined with an unexpectedly close race. They're not going to sacrifice an entire season of team control in seven years for a few weeks in June.

Robles has already made multiple base-running mistakes in games this spring. He still has things to work on. That's why he may go to AA, which is more of a teaching/learning environment than AAA.

Rob Evans said...

All the fancy stats are one of the things that I love about baseball. But, everyone knows the saying about lies, damn lies and statistics. So, I general ignore most statistics during the course of a season and especially during Spring Training. I may look at how a player is doing recently (in the regular season) to get a feel for how he's playing right now and then I will compare stats year over year. That's it. Comparing 10 game stretches to other 10 game stretches is kinda useless in my opinion. Also, I will take a really hot April from a player or a really hot any month for that matter. They will end up regressing to the mean, but those games count.

Nattydread said...

Harper, we get that the stats don't mean anything. Those of us that have been reading you for a few years don't need to hear it anymore. How about telling us what we SHOULD be watching. I'm sure the coaches and scouts aren't looking at the numbers, but they are watching. Give us a quick run down.

The fact that Wieters is 12lbs lighter is important, I think. The fact that Doolittle is using a new pitch more often, probably useful. Sure there's a lot of hyperbole, but Murphy DID reconstruct his approach to batting and it did make him a different player. Do you see these things in spring training?

BxJaycobb said...

Harper: I would disagree on very specific things. Namely,
(1) real body changes. If weiters is in fact slimmer, worth noticing. Won’t necesarily make him better, but it’s a real thing.
(2) velocity for pitchers. I would argue this is probably the biggest one I watch.
(3) if pitchers are throwing new pitches;
(4) power for hitters (even more accurate is exit velocity for hitters, if that is ever measured).
If somebody was throwing 90-91 last year and is now throwing 94-95, that’s a real thing unless gun is juiced. Fedde was hurt part of last year, so it’s encouraging to see his velocity back up. I’ll be watching to see if Sean Kelley’s velocity is any better (if maybe he was hurt and now he’s healthy). If some pitcher unveils a new weapon for the arsenal, worth noticing. If somebody like Trea or say Robles or some other non prototypical power hitter is hitting tons of pretty long homers and bombs at a crazy rate, yeah. That’s worth watching. But of course stuff like AVG and OPS and OBP and ERA and WHIP etc is dumb.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Bx that some of the things like velocity, break, pitch selection can matter. On the batting/fielding side, you can see if there are mechanical changes that could matter, foot speed, etc. Does anyone know if ST games get the same tracking tech as the regular season?

I can do without the constant spicy takes based on stats derived from small, meaningless samples. On the other hand, I enjoy the fun human interest stories the beat guys use to fill pages during ST. At some point in the season, someone will play well and I'll remember he's the guy with the vintage motorcycle collection (or some other trivia) and enjoy the game slightly more.

KW said...

Velocity from Fedde and Voth = good news. Velocity from Thor = insanity. Anyone who is red-lining to 100 in FEBRUARY is insane, particularly someone with a history of arm trouble.