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Just was thinking about who the Jays might face in the playoffs and if being so right handed is a good or bad thing depending on opponent(s).


Rotations...* = LHP
NYY: Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia*, Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka, Adam Warren, Ivan Nova, Chris Capuano* (top 7 from most to fewest starts) Sabathia the only LHP who is a lock to be in their playoff rotation
Baltimore: Ubaldo Jimenez, Wei-Yin Chen*, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Kevin Gausman Again just the one LHP
KC: Edinson Volquez, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Young, Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy* yet again just one LHP
Houston: Dallas Keuchel*, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers, Scott Feldman, Scott Kazmir* - finally one with 2 LHP who would be used in playoffs.
LAA: C.J. Wilson*, Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago*, Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Heaney* = 3 LHP so ideal for the Jays

So all the contenders in the AL have 1 LHP in the rotation at least with the Angels and Astros having multiple.  Guess we have to hope the Jays face an AL West team in the playoffs.

The NL I won't go into details but leaders right now...
LA Dodgers: Kershaw  & Anderson are both LHP. Greinke is yikes.  All the rest of their pitchers with more than 2 starts are on the DL.
St Louis: just one LHP in the rotation but he has a sub 2 ERA
Pittsburgh: Liriano is the only lock for a playoff rotation on the Left side.Locke is also LH but odds are he wouldn't pitch in a World series vs the Jays.
Mets: Niese is the only LHP who is a lock for the playoffs
Washington: Gonzalez is their only LH starter.
SF: Bumgarner is their mandatory LHP in the rotation and he is as much of a lock as there is should they get to the WS.

So anyone the Jays would face in the playoffs would have at least one LHP start against the Jays unless they really, really, really wanted to avoid doing so.

Thus the strong RH lineup shouldn't be a disaster in the playoffs as anyone they face will throw at least one LH pitcher against the Jays (except perhaps in a one game playoff).  Meanwhile the Jays can cause headaches with a power LHP (Price) followed by a soft LHP (Buehrle) then a knuckleball (Dickey) and a solid RHP (Estrada).  No two alike at all.
Is a RH lineup a problem in the Playoffs? | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Intricated - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 12:41 AM EDT (#307703) #
A recent Fangraphs article on the subject goes into more (with fancy numbers and stuff). My takeaway is that the Blue Jays hit (very) well enough against RHP that your average/inferior opposing RHP is not going to be a problem to face.  It would be the elite RHPs (though KC's vaunted bullpen had some trouble), which granted will be seen more in the playoffs, but outside of the WC play-in, likely not exclusively.  Then again, elite RHPs ought to be tough for any lineup, whether they be 7th in baseball (and 3rd in AL) in wRC+ against righties or not.
Kasi - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 01:13 AM EDT (#307704) #
Yeah Cameron had a good article on it and I agree with him that Sabathia is no lock. He's a mediocre pitcher now at best. (Dickey is much better) We're about the fifth best team against RH pitchers so if we play a team like the Yankees our pitchers better show up since I doubt we would face many lefties.
Chuck - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 07:25 AM EDT (#307709) #
NYY: Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia*, Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka, Adam Warren, Ivan Nova, Chris Capuano*
Baltimore: Ubaldo Jimenez, Wei-Yin Chen*, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Kevin Gausman
KC: Edinson Volquez, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Young, Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy*
Houston: Dallas Keuchel*, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers, Scott Feldman, Scott Kazmir*
LAA: C.J. Wilson*, Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago*, Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Heaney*

I believe Capuano was released by the Yankees and that CJ Wilson is soon destined for season-ending surgery.

You forgot Cueto on the Royals. KC could avoid using Duffy if they really wanted to.

Baltimore would keep Chen away from the Jays. Hell, they sent him to the minors to skip a start earlier this season.

Mike Green - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#307717) #
Is a team with 5 very good right-handed pitchers a problem for the Blue Jays in the playoffs?  Yes.  A club's top 5 pitchers pitch a grossly disproportionate number of innings in the playoffs because of the off-days.  Still, this club now seems capable of winning its share of 4-3 games.  If Stroman is able to make it back, doubly so. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#307718) #
A minor digression into WAR and Ryan Goins.  When I looked at BBRef's Blue Jay page, it showed Ryan Goins' face as one of the club's WAR leaders.  So, I checked it out.  For his career, Goins has 559 PAs, a little less than a season, and 2.6 BBRef WAR.  By contrast, he is at -0.1 Fangraphs WAR.  That's a huge difference- between an above-average player and a replacement level player.  There are a couple of differences between the two systems- they set replacement level at different places and they use different defence metrics.  The second one seems to be the big deal with Goins.  Fangraphs uses UZR which has Goins as a modestly above average defensive second baseman (+7).  BBRef uses DRS which has him as better defensively than peak Dustin Pedroia (+18).  The safest thing is probably to take an average.  He ends up at about 1.5 WAR/150G, in other words a fine bench player. 

Strangely, I think that he might get better than that in the next couple of years.  Neither Tulowitzki nor Travis is likely to play 145 games in a season.  You can make a good case for each of them getting regular days off (particularly when the Jays face a RHP).  His batting eye has improved markedly this year, as has ability to foul off pitches.  He's a better hitter than he was and his BABIP remains low. 

Nigel - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#307720) #
Interesting that you wrote this about Goins this morning because I was thinking last night that he could be one of the more important Jays over the next 2-3 years. With his defense and being a LHB he's ideally suited for this team as the super sub middle infielder. If there's a 250/260 hitter in there he's a boarder line regular with that defense. BTW by the eye test he's closer to the high end of that range.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#307722) #
If there's a 250/260 hitter in there he's a boarder line regular with that defense. BTW by the eye test he's closer to the high end of that range

He might be at the higher end of the range; I do doubt that he is better than Pedroia at his best.  Perhaps they are comparable.  Incidentally, you might want a coffee (speaking as one who knows well).  It's borderline. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#307724) #
August 5 is a notable day for Blue Jay birthdays- Rick Bosetti, John Olerud, Eric Hinske, Bobby Kielty and John (way back) Wasdin were all born on this day.  All the young dudes...
Nigel - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#307726) #
I do need a coffee but that's an iPhone auto correct issue so the phone needs one too. I agree that he's probably not better than peak Pedroia but I can believe that he lives in that neighbourhood
hypobole - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#307727) #
Does anyone know how UZR actually derives the stats?

Let's say Pillar is shaded to right centre for a LH pull hitter, but the ball is sliced into the gap in left centre and ends up just out of his reach. If he had been playing straight away, he would/should have gotten to the ball. Does he get docked for supposedly positioning himself incorrectly?

Inside Edge does seem to work that way.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#307728) #
Oh yeah, the "smart"phone auto-correct!  "Borderline" is not exactly a ten dollar word.

At this point, Goins is also Donaldson's back-up (and might play a game or two at that position over the rest of the year).  Perhaps his development was one of the reasons behind the release of Valencia.  They still do need a 4th outfielder, however.


Mike Green - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#307730) #
UZR does not account for positioning.  Neither, I am pretty sure, does DRS.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#307733) #
Thanks, Mike.

A few takeaways. First, I'm positive teams' analysts do take positioning into account. So teams' numbers would be different, but more accurate.

Second, the article mentioned correct/incorrect positioning as being a function of player and coach. But teams with good command pitching staffs would also benefit correct positioning more than bad command staffs would (similar to pitch framing).

Third, the amount I've heard to more or less accurately assess a fielders ability per UZR is 3 years worth of data, Makes even more sense now.
John Northey - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#307737) #
That is why I listed names as I knew I'd do a few 'doh' moments there since I was going by total starts and doing a quick eyeball for other guys.  Cueto with the one start I missed.  CJ Wilson being on the DL for the rest of the year I forgot.

Chen being sent down I was going to add a note about but was distracted (single parent, multiple kids is my excuse).  Sabathia has the long term rep and the Yankees  are hard to predict as they keep having injuries and shuffles so by playoff time it might be the 4 guys who are healthy and hot who go and lord knows who that will be.

As far as rotations go the Jays actually look decent vs their possible playoff opponents now.  Our big 4 would be Price/Buehrle/Dickey/Estrada with no 2 alike or even close to alike.  All 4 are hot right now.  I suspect we'd see the 8 man pen in the playoffs with Hutch either in the pen or someone else filling in.  The pen would probalby be Osuna/Cecil/Hawkins/Lowe/Hendriks/Loup/Schultz with Tepera/Delabar fighting it out to replace Hutch.

Mike Green - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#307738) #
It's a big issue obviously.  If you've got a shift on and Josh Donaldson is playing in the shortstop position, and Lucas Duda hits what would ordinarily be a routine ground ball to third base that goes for a double, it makes no sense to dock Donaldson for that.  There is no question that the measurements are imperfect and come with a wider error bar than measurements of offensive ability.  It is a mistake though to confuse difficulty in measurement with lack of importance. 

Every once in a while, Statcast runs an analysis of an outfielder's route to the ball but it often doesn't contain all the information I want to know- time in the air and linear distance from OF's starting position to the ball.  It would be interesting to know what the median conversion rates are by location, time (to perhaps 100 ft from the plate) and two closest IFs relative position.  It would probably best be represented by a set of charts for each location and time.  I'd bet that the teams have something like this. 

John Northey - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#307745) #
I think you've hit on why defensive metrics are a nightmare Mike.  There are so many factors that are hard to account for.  If a manager shifts a player regularly then it screws things up royally vs the 'old days' when players would adjust themselves out there (thus making it a part of their skills).  Cal Rikpen was great at positioning himself so he could get to a ton of balls other shortstops couldn't get to.  Ozzie Smith was more in the middle of the zone and had crazy range to get to balls no one else could.  2 different approaches with similar results. 
Dewey - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#307778) #
Iím glad to see Goins get some love.  He seems most often to be scorned for his awful hitting of last season.  But the kid is good.  Heís our best fielder since Johnny Mac, IMO.  Heís superb around second base, very quick with the tag.  The guy knows what to do with the ball when he gets it.  His spin-around tag to get a runner at second recently was first-rate.  And yes, his hitting is coming along.  He canít hit with Travis, of course;  but I think heíll hit enough to be very valuable to the Jays for a while. He seems to have good diamond-smarts; has his head in the game more than most.   Agree with Mike about his likely role.  (No stats to offer; just the old unreliable eye-test.  Remember Yogiís wisdom:  you can learn a lot just by watching.)
hypobole - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#307781) #
Goins should also be cheap, compared to similar WAR players that derive most of their value from offence, unless arbitration makes changes in valuation. Bad for Goins, good for the club.
China fan - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#307782) #
"....Perhaps his development was one of the reasons behind the release of Valencia.  They still do need a 4th outfielder, however..."

Don't forget that Goins has played 20 innings in LF and RF this season, and Gibbons has promised to get him some further work in the outfield.  If there's a mid-game injury to Bautista or Revere, they could put Goins in the outfield and Kawasaki at 2B for the remainder of the game (although the Jays would obviously promote Pompey or Carrera if they need an outfielder for more than a couple of innings).
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, August 05 2015 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#307788) #
They still do need a 4th outfielder, however.

So far Ben Revere is answering that need, albeit inadvertently.
Is a RH lineup a problem in the Playoffs? | 20 comments | Create New Account
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