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Early Season Surprise starts

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Early Season Surprise starts

Postby Saltydog » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:22 pm

From SBNation. FWIW.

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Some notes on individual players on each one of these teams:

Nationals
The obvious here is that the Nationals are ready to take the NL East now! Their team FIP, 2.27 is by far, the best in the MLB. (Gio Gonzalez: 1.51 in 23 IP, Stephen Strasburg: 1.74 in 25 IP). Gio is yielding a low 0.228 BABIP.

White Sox
2nd in the AL in FIP at 3.39 they also seem lucky so far with a 0.256 BABIP. Going into Thursday evening, Phillip Humber has a FIP of 1.30 in 14 IP and Jake Peavy, who apparently took a trip in the Delorean, has a 2.07 FIP in 28 IP. Their team WHIP of 1.05 is 1st in the AL, but they may come back to earth soon.

Athletics
Continuing on their pattern of great young pitching, there's a youngin' and an old timer dominating in WHIP (Tommy Milone: 0.85 WHIP in 27 IP and Bartolo Colon: 0.93 WHIP in 34 IP. In the AL, they're 3rd in the AL in both BABIP (0.260) and WHIP (1.17).

Dodgers
Of course Clayton Kershaw remains the Dodgers badass (1.03 WHIP, 1.74 FIP in 22 IP), but Ted Lilly has been a solid piece of their rotation (0.85 WHIP, 3.15 FIP in 20 IP). Chad Billingsley has been pretty amazing too with a 0.93 WHIP in 23 IP.

Orioles
Jason Hammel so far, proves to have been a good acquisition with a 1.00 WHIP and 2.40 FIP in 26 IP. Jake Arrieta has been a bright spot as well with 1.09 WHIP and 3.23 FIP in 24 IP.

Mets
Is Johan Santana back? A 1.22 WHIP and 1.57 FIP in 18 IP sure looks good.

A note on team wRC+. aside from the Yankees and Rangers, most of the teams mentioned are around league average, which leads me to believe that this wasn't the best to measure team offense. The Nationals are on the lower end of the list with a 85 wRC+ (10th in NL) and A's with a 65 wRC+ (14th in AL), so it's safe to say, especially with the A's, that their pitching is keeping them in games.


Nationals FIP 8-o
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Re: Early Season Surprise starts

Postby Ender » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:22 pm

Nats xFIP is only 3.18 which is much more reasonable(still outstanding obviously) and it shows in their 2.6 HR/FB% which is probably the flukiest team stat in baseball so far this season. Their xW/L is 12-7 which is also a lot more reasonable given the stats they have put out. But lets be honest here, this fast start is partially about being an improved team but a whole lot about facing the Cubs, Padres and Astros plus a cold Marlins and Red teams. At this point in a season a teams record is going to be most heavily influenced by how good the teams they have faced are. Same can be said for the Dodgers fast start, they have faced pretty terrible competition so far.
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Re: Early Season Surprise starts

Postby Gags Sports » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:07 pm

Ender wrote:Nats xFIP is only 3.18 which is much more reasonable(still outstanding obviously) and it shows in their 2.6 HR/FB% which is probably the flukiest team stat in baseball so far this season. Their xW/L is 12-7 which is also a lot more reasonable given the stats they have put out. But lets be honest here, this fast start is partially about being an improved team but a whole lot about facing the Cubs, Padres and Astros plus a cold Marlins and Red teams. At this point in a season a teams record is going to be most heavily influenced by how good the teams they have faced are. Same can be said for the Dodgers fast start, they have faced pretty terrible competition so far.


100% agree here. I expect a quick regression for both these teams (LAD & WAS).

The Dodgers have played Pitt, SD, Hou, Milw and Atl. Their record breaks down as follows.

Combined vs. Pitt/SD/Hou: 11-2
Combined vs. Milw/Atl: 2-4

They have done a great job handling the worst teams in the NL, but have struggled against the only two good teams they have faced so far.

The Nationals have played ChC, NYM, Hou, SD, Cinn and Mia. Their record is pretty consistent against all teams - losing one game in every series except the rain shortened Mia series. But so far they have played four series against the four teams with the worst records season-to-date (ChC, Hou, SD and Mia). Only Miami figures to be a safe bet to improve out of that group.

Once Matt Kemp returns to our solar system, I think the Dodgers are in for a greater fall than the Nationals. That's just my opinion though.
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Re: Early Season Surprise starts

Postby Ender » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:01 pm

I mean obviously putting up a good record against bad competition is a big part of making the playoffs so not going to write it off completely. The Brewers 96 win season last year was built on the backs of the Cubs, Astros and Pirates.
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Re: Early Season Surprise starts

Postby RedHopeful » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:58 pm

Ender wrote:Nats xFIP is only 3.18 which is much more reasonable(still outstanding obviously) and it shows in their 2.6 HR/FB% which is probably the flukiest team stat in baseball so far this season. Their xW/L is 12-7 which is also a lot more reasonable given the stats they have put out. But lets be honest here, this fast start is partially about being an improved team but a whole lot about facing the Cubs, Padres and Astros plus a cold Marlins and Red teams. At this point in a season a teams record is going to be most heavily influenced by how good the teams they have faced are. Same can be said for the Dodgers fast start, they have faced pretty terrible competition so far.

We'll know by seasons end just how flukey some of these teams currently are, but I'm a big believer in confidence. With the majority of professionals, it's a fine line between producing v. not producing. Most have the tools, otherwise, they wouldn't be in the show so just a good start and or having some confidence can carry players/teams through the course of a season.
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Re: Early Season Surprise starts

Postby Ender » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:27 pm

I kind of feel the opposite. They wouldn't make it to the majors if they didn't have confidence. I think it is about talent and consistency and when you play weaker teams that edge in talent means everything.
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Re: Early Season Surprise starts

Postby RedHopeful » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:02 pm

Ender wrote:I kind of feel the opposite. They wouldn't make it to the majors if they didn't have confidence. I think it is about talent and consistency and when you play weaker teams that edge in talent means everything.

I'm just curious Ender, do/did you ever play any competitive sports? Looking back at my limited experiences, I clearly remember how well I performed when I/the team had a good mental approach - even if playing against more talented competition.
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Re: Early Season Surprise starts

Postby Skin Blues » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:50 pm

Did you feel really good about yourself when you beat the worst team in the league? Or did you get complacent because you didn't have to try as hard?

Beating up on crappy teams is all well and good, but it doesn't mean you're any more likely to carry that success on against good teams.
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Re: Early Season Surprise starts

Postby Element » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:44 pm

Gags Sports wrote:
Ender wrote:Nats xFIP is only 3.18 which is much more reasonable(still outstanding obviously) and it shows in their 2.6 HR/FB% which is probably the flukiest team stat in baseball so far this season. Their xW/L is 12-7 which is also a lot more reasonable given the stats they have put out. But lets be honest here, this fast start is partially about being an improved team but a whole lot about facing the Cubs, Padres and Astros plus a cold Marlins and Red teams. At this point in a season a teams record is going to be most heavily influenced by how good the teams they have faced are. Same can be said for the Dodgers fast start, they have faced pretty terrible competition so far.


100% agree here. I expect a quick regression for both these teams (LAD & WAS).

The Dodgers have played Pitt, SD, Hou, Milw and Atl. Their record breaks down as follows.

Combined vs. Pitt/SD/Hou: 11-2
Combined vs. Milw/Atl: 2-4

They have done a great job handling the worst teams in the NL, but have struggled against the only two good teams they have faced so far.

The Nationals have played ChC, NYM, Hou, SD, Cinn and Mia. Their record is pretty consistent against all teams - losing one game in every series except the rain shortened Mia series. But so far they have played four series against the four teams with the worst records season-to-date (ChC, Hou, SD and Mia). Only Miami figures to be a safe bet to improve out of that group.

Once Matt Kemp returns to our solar system, I think the Dodgers are in for a greater fall than the Nationals. That's just my opinion though.


I just want to add that 4 of the 6 Dodger losses (all vs ATL & MIL) happened in the bottom of the 9th (or later) as well. So even when they did lose to the better teams, it was still a very close game. Bring on some divisional games!
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