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Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?

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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#41

Posted: January 04, 2019, 7:51 AM Post
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Pretty much every guy who posters were worried would regress from their solid 2017 numbers did exactly that - Arcia, Shaw, Santana, Pina, Sogard, Davies, Knebel and Anderson. The team was missing it's #1 pitcher, Nelson, all season. The hope that Villar would rebound from his poor 2017 and solidify 2B failed miserably.

This team still managed to win 10 more games than they did in 2017. Some of the biggest arguments here during the last offseason revolved around whether the Brewers were actual contenders, or if 2017 was smoke and mirrors, and they were looking at a poor season in 2018. As it turned out, 2017 was decidedly NOT smoke and mirrors. We have a legit World Series contender who is not losing many consequential pieces and has a core of players (other than Braun) who are arguably in their physical prime. Last year I disagreed with the pessimism, but I could at least understand it. I can't this year.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#42

Posted: January 04, 2019, 8:01 AM Post
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jerichoholicninja said:
At this point, Ben Gamel and Claudio are the only additions the team has made that will likely impact the major league roster. We've lost our best SP and a starting infielder and replaced neither, and last year relied on Yelich and a bullpen full of guys playing out of their minds. If the season started today I could see this being a .500 team.

I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, I'm just pointing out Stearns hasn't gotten to work yet, so I can't blame anyone for looking at the current roster and not seeing many wins there.


Our best starting pitcher? Who are you referring to? Gonzalez? He was only with the club for what..2 months? Or maybe Miley? Maybe, but I really don't think there was a clear "best starter" for the Brewers last year. Also, both of those guys are still FAs and could still sign with the Brewers.

I'm also guessing you are referring to Moustakas as the lost starting infielder. Again, he was only one of our starting infielders for a fraction of the year and he is also still a FA.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#43

Posted: January 04, 2019, 9:27 AM Post
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turborickey said:
SRB said:
That projection seems fairly ridiculous, but I do think it is fair for Brewers fans to hedge their 2019 expectations a bit given the team's current weaknesses on paper. The projection system means very little, but so does simply saying "we did well in 2018 so what is going to change?"

Projection systems have given up on Arcia (hopefully they are wrong), and our current starting 2B is probably Perez. Aguilar is a risk to plummet back to earth and Pina at his best his below average. That means our entire infield except Shaw (who has his platoon issues) could be bad. Meanwhile the rotation has obvious faults.


Man, you just bummed me out...

All true though, which is pretty scary. We haven't done a thing yet to address the weaknesses that you mention.

We caught lightning in a bottle with Miley and Chacin last year, can that even happen again?


Sure. One or more of Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta, Nelson will most likely crush projections.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#44

Posted: January 04, 2019, 9:41 AM Post
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turborickey said:
SRB said:
That projection seems fairly ridiculous, but I do think it is fair for Brewers fans to hedge their 2019 expectations a bit given the team's current weaknesses on paper. The projection system means very little, but so does simply saying "we did well in 2018 so what is going to change?"

Projection systems have given up on Arcia (hopefully they are wrong), and our current starting 2B is probably Perez. Aguilar is a risk to plummet back to earth and Pina at his best his below average. That means our entire infield except Shaw (who has his platoon issues) could be bad. Meanwhile the rotation has obvious faults.


Man, you just bummed me out...

All true though, which is pretty scary. We haven't done a thing yet to address the weaknesses that you mention.

We caught lightning in a bottle with Miley and Chacin last year, can that even happen again?


Wade Miley only made 16 starts and threw 80 innings for the Brewers, while missing large chunks of the year in a couple DL stints. He was solid when he was out there, but it's still a pretty small sample. Pus, there's still a strong possibility that the Brewers' replacement for Wade Miley will be .... Wade Miley. Only healthy for a longer stretch this time. He seemed to enjoy his time with the Brewers last year, and there hasn't been much out there regarding interest in him. I kind of get the feeling that the Brewers are going to make an offer to Kuechel, and if that doesn't work out, Miley is the fallback to get a lefty in the rotation.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#45

Posted: January 04, 2019, 12:18 PM Post
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FVBrewerFan said:
turborickey said:
Man, you just bummed me out...

All true though, which is pretty scary. We haven't done a thing yet to address the weaknesses that you mention.

We caught lightning in a bottle with Miley and Chacin last year, can that even happen again?


Sure. One or more of Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta, Nelson will most likely crush projections.


As well as the fact that the Brewers defensive positioning and effective use of shifts can get better than expected results from a lot of pitchers. It's likely more responsible for their pitching numbers than any other factor including pitching coach. We know how passionate CC is about being able to utilize shifts. It's because he knows the Brewers have a leg up on most of the league in that regard. I'm not saying it's as simple as plugging in any pitcher and they'll put up strong numbers because their pitches that are put in play will find defenders, but in a way it is.

To refresh everyone, the Brewers defense saved 96 runs last year. The Phillies defense saved (gave away) -132 runs last year. That's a 228 run difference due to defense. A drastic swing like that can change a team ERA by 1-1.5 runs. Other teams whose defensive positioning made their pitchers look worse than they were last year: Balt -104, Tor -96, NYM -84, CHW -60

Bottom line, no guarantees of that repeat level of success, but if the Brewers advanced scouting is effective at defensive positioning again in 2019, they can make just about any new face look better than they might be elsewhere.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#46

Posted: January 04, 2019, 12:33 PM Post
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Location: New Berlin, WI
I'm not sure the shift alone will account for that big of a swing. We did have very strong defenders at most positions for most of the year. We only did the goal line package of trash defense with Schoop and Shaw a couple times, and the defense was notably worse based on the eye test. And our outfield defense was excellent all year at all positions, while your example the Phillies had pretty bad defenders out there...including Hoskins who is a small step above putting Aguilar in LF. Outfield shifting isn't nearly as big a thing as infield shifting, that's moreso just having good defenders.

I completely agree that we shift better than most teams, but the shift alone definitely isn't going to change a 3.5 ERA pitcher into a 5 ERA pitcher. Maybe having plus defenders at most positions in addition to shifting better than most teams could swing an ERA close to that much, but I'm not fully convinced of that.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#47

Posted: January 04, 2019, 12:43 PM Post
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To refresh everyone, the Brewers defense saved 96 runs last year. The Phillies defense saved (gave away) -132 runs last year. That's a 228 run difference due to defense. A drastic swing like that can change a team ERA by 1-1.5 runs. Other teams whose defensive positioning made their pitchers look worse than they were last year: Balt -104, Tor -96, NYM -84, CHW -60

While I agree with your general point, I completely don't believe the magnitude. You are quoting a metric with no proven link to reality. Just as the first estimates at pitch framing estimated the value of an above average framer to Bobby Bonds in his prime, DRS is far way from being accurate to reality (it may be accurate across teams, but it may be 3-4x over estimating runs). I might be wrong, but I would expect there to be a broader separation of FIP and ERA for pitchers with a high DRS team and I'm not seeing it or at least to the magnitude we would expect if the defense really saved 96 runs. I do believe there is a benefit to the shifts/schemes that the Brewers employ, I just want to see some more data that DRS does get it "right" as far as the magnitude.

And speaking of the Phillies, wasn't Kapler going to do out of the box things on defense like moving OF to different positions depending on the batter, etc. Well it's pretty clear that whatever he was implementing likely failed on an epic scale.

JosephC said:
Stearns probably had no interest in getting a C because the Brewers need a C. It makes much more sense to trade for 3B when it's not needed, and then move the other 3B to 2B, then trade for a 2B, but since the 3B is now at 2B, then the new 2B goes to SS


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#48

Posted: January 04, 2019, 1:32 PM Post
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And speaking of the Phillies, wasn't Kapler going to do out of the box things on defense like moving OF to different positions depending on the batter, etc. Well it's pretty clear that whatever he was implementing likely failed on an epic scale.

you can get as far out of the box and innovative as possible, but you still need players who can catch and throw the ball to be good defensively - that was the Phillies problem much moreso than bad shifting and positioning.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#49

Posted: January 04, 2019, 4:53 PM Post
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KeithStone53151 said:
...And our outfield defense was excellent all year at all positions...


Except when Thanmes was out there. Total nightmare.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#50

Posted: January 04, 2019, 5:08 PM Post
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Thames only played OF for 259 innings last year & registered a +1 rating from both DRS & UZR, for whatever that is or isn't worth.

A total nightmare (among OFs with similarly limited playing time) would have been someone like Charlie Tilson (-9 DRS/-3.4 UZR in 287 innings), Billy McKinney (-4 DRS/-3.5 UZR in 270 innings), Preston Tucker (-5 DRS/-3.2 UZR in 270 innings) or Chris Young (-6 DRS/-4.3 UZR in 294 innings).

Maybe it is just small sample noise or maybe the Brewers are really onto something with regards to OF positioning, but the only players to record a negative DRS or UZR in the Brewers OF this season were Sogard/Orf & they both only played 2 innings out there. The other nine players that saw time in the OF were all positive in both DRS & UZR.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#51

Posted: January 04, 2019, 5:40 PM Post
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I watch almost every game, and according to the eye test, Thames was a complete and total nightmare in the outfield.

There is no possible chance that I am the only one that noticed this.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#52

Posted: January 04, 2019, 5:53 PM Post
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Of course it's completely variable. And like I said there's no guarantee the Brewers defense will be as well placed in 2019. But people wonder how Wade Miley comes in and posts a 2.57 ERA and if a different name could achieve such a drastic improvement. Well, there's your illustration of how. New pitcher X could benefit dramatically pitching here just as Chacin and Miley did if the Brewers can repeat their significant advantage and performance in defensive runs saved. And a guy like Miley could sign in a place like Phil, Balt, or NYM, where their DRS numbers are ugly annually, be just as sharp on the mound in 2019, and yet see his ERA soar.

If someone wants hope of unearthing another bargain priced free agent gem, that's the path.


Last edited by True Blue Brew Crew on January 04, 2019, 8:38 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#53

Posted: January 04, 2019, 6:00 PM Post
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I'll add that you can safely bet good money that Stearns and his team are looking at pitchers who would have seen the greatest benefit of having their defenders better positioned behind them. I can't offer proof of the use of the technology, but I can imagine a grunt (or group of grunts) charting free agent pitchers and where their batted balls in play would have fared with the Brewers defensive positioning for the corresponding batter. See whose grounders and fly balls that were hits last year would have been reduced most based on where the Brewers defenders would have been. It's a lot of work charting and then entering the data but that's why teams continue to beef up their analytical departments.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#54

Posted: January 04, 2019, 6:14 PM Post
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turborickey said:
I watch almost every game, and according to the eye test, Thames was a complete and total nightmare in the outfield.

There is no possible chance that I am the only one that noticed this.


While I agree defensive metrics not very accurate in general and even less so in small samples I think the eye test is also very suspect. It comes with preconceived ideas that is hard to filter out. If you think the guy is going to suck to begin with you are far more likely to remember the bad than the good. The same holds true the other way around. It's just human nature.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#55

Posted: January 04, 2019, 9:41 PM Post
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Thurston Fluff said:
turborickey said:
I watch almost every game, and according to the eye test, Thames was a complete and total nightmare in the outfield.

There is no possible chance that I am the only one that noticed this.


While I agree defensive metrics not very accurate in general and even less so in small samples I think the eye test is also very suspect. It comes with preconceived ideas that is hard to filter out. If you think the guy is going to suck to begin with you are far more likely to remember the bad than the good. The same holds true the other way around. It's just human nature.


I like Thames, I had no preconceived notions, just saw that he was horrible in the outfield last season. I now have those ideas in my head, but it came from watching him play bad outfield. lol


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#56

Posted: January 04, 2019, 11:42 PM Post
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Location: New Berlin, WI
turborickey said:
KeithStone53151 said:
...And our outfield defense was excellent all year at all positions...


Except when Thanmes was out there. Total nightmare.


I admittedly forgot that he was out there. Yelich, braun, and cain obviously spent the most time out there. But you see my general point. Of roughly 4300 innings of outfield play in 2018, undoubtedly elite defenders played 1400 innings. Another 2300 innings from guys that fall between solid and above average. The last 600+ innings are santana and thames. For the most part, we had really good defenders out there. Broxton, cain, Phillips are elite. Yelich, braun, perez, Granderson are solid or better. You could actually argue that santana is borderline average, but that's up for debate.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#57

Posted: January 06, 2019, 10:37 PM Post
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I have not looked too closely at stats in the last couple years but generally pitching was not well projected. Relief pitching in particular was hard to project. There seems to be a large shift to strong bullpens that is difficult to project in systems as are relief pitchers year to year because of sample sizes.

Fan is short for fanatic.
I blame Wang.


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#58

Posted: January 08, 2019, 6:22 PM Post
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Caesars came out with their win totals today (first I’ve seen from any casino/book for the year), has our Over/Under at 83.5.


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Online  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#59

Posted: January 08, 2019, 8:33 PM Post
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CrewFanBrewMan69 said:
Caesars came out with their win totals today (first I’ve seen from any casino/book for the year), has our Over/Under at 83.5.

Which it looks like is tied with the Mets for the 6th highest over/under in the NL, behind the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, Cardinals, and Braves...

Image


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Offline  Re: Is Fangraphs a reliable website? Project 2019 Brewers to finish last?
#60

Posted: January 08, 2019, 10:11 PM Post
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For the NL, some of these "feel" low but it's shaping up to be a competitive league so we could see a lot of teams clustered between 78-88 wins.


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