Baseball is a unique sport because we can project accurately without ever watching a game.
There are no unquantifiable Matthew Dellavedova dives to the floor or Le’Veon Bell stiff arms. Everything in baseball can be measured, recorded and boiled down into statistics. While standard stats like batting average and ERA have a lot of flaws, advanced stats like wOBA, BABIP and xFIP tell a broader story. When those numbers get outside of career norms, we have trades to make.
Dee marks the spot
Dee Gordon is always going to have a high Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) because he’s so fast. But this year’s .421 mark is out of control. Starling Marte led the league with a .373 mark last year and Gordon has never finished a season above .350. A regression is coming, meaning Gordon will be making more outs when he puts the ball in play and therefore will have less chances to steal bases. Sell him high.
Cashing in at Petco
Padres starter Andrew Cashner is 2-8 with a 4.05 ERA, but the advanced stats tell a different story. Cashner’s 15.1 percent home run on fly ball rate is way above his 10.3 career mark, a number that will come down – especially with more starts at Petco Park. He has been hit with a .346 BAPIP, ninth-worst in the league, meaning batters happened to be hitting it where the defenders aren’t. And Cashner’s xFIP, a metric that essentially measures what a pitcher’s ERA would be if he had league-average luck, is a very good 3.38.
The real deal
You think you’ve struck gold with guys like Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock but aren’t quite sure. After examining the advanced stats, you’ll know not to sell. Pederson ranks 11th and Pollock is 27th in wOBA, a catch-all metric that removes some of the flaws in batting average and on-base percentage. Both Pederson and Pollock are also within sustainable BABIP norms. Ride these young studs out through the season.
NFL OTA Risers
1. Ryan Mathews, RB, Eagles – Philly plans to give DeMarco Murray (coming off 497 touches) far more breathers than the Cowboys did.
2. Joseph Randle, RB, Cowboys – Darren McFadden (hamstring) and Ryan Williams (knee) are already hobbling around.
3. Niles Paul, TE, Redskins – Jordan Reed has gone under the knife again, leaving the intriguing Paul as the no-doubt starter.
Dolphins rookie DeVante Parker missed Louisville’s first seven games last season with a broken foot. After experiencing more soreness during OTAs, he underwent surgery again – this time to replace a small screw with a bigger one. It means Kenny Stills is the favorite to open the year as the primary outside receiver, with Greg Jennings coming on in three-wide sets. Parker should be close to 100 percent by October, but he’ll be behind in a crowded receiving corps.