Drew Smyly’s Predecessors: A TPR Exclusive

When the Rays acquired Drew Smyly as the principal component in the David Price deal at the deadline of 2014 it looked like the team was getting a young horse that could immediately be plugged into the rotation for the next four plus years. It’s not very often that you can find someone that profiles as a two to three win pitcher with that much control, but David Price is kind of a big deal. An offseason finger injury delayed his spring training debut and when he finally did get on the field he ramped up too quickly leading to a shoulder issue. He would miss the first few weeks, but his debut saw the guy we all expected. Then after three starts the shoulder flared up again. Rays beat writer Mark Topkin’s “informed speculation” stated that the labrum was torn. It’s likely he would never pitch again. Yet here we are a few months later with Smyly on the mound and doing his best to keep this train on the tracks.

To read more you can pick up the thread at The Process Report.

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TPR Feature: Getting Brad Boxberger Back on the Beaten Path

As mentioned previously all of my work can now be found at The Process Report, but I will continue to post snippets here, as well. 

Brad Boxberger has not been the same lightning force that he was in 2014. Well, he hasn’t been that guy other than a brief stretch at the start of the season. Is there a way to fix what is going on? What exactly is going on? For those answers and more catch my take over at TPR. 

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Digging for Gold: The Boog Powell Story

(My work can now be found at The Process Report, but I will be linking here as well in order to keep myself organized. Expect a short intro here, but you can finish up over there. Tremendous thanks to those that have made this site a perusing point in your day over the last few years. Much thanks to Jason Collette for supporting Dock of the Rays over the years and for bringing me aboard at TPR.

-Jason Hanselman)

When you name your child Herschel Mack Powell IV you enter that infant into a lifetime of expectations that will never be met. Sure you might become the Assistant to the General Manager for the Southeast corridor for Publix Supermarkets, but your grandpappy Herschel Mack Powell Sr. WAS the General Manager for a prolific dry goods wholesaler back in HIS day. And he did it several years younger, too. These expectations can cripple the mental pscyhe of a weaker man, as your dad Herschel Powell III has had no issue reminding you for the last dozen Thanksgivings after the turkey gets put away and the Turkey comes out. Sometimes it’s just easier to do it another way.

Another man with similar expectations shook off the binding chains of his family name and after a trip to the mountains of the Far East he returned with a new identity known only to himself and his butler. Herschel Mack Powell IV realized that the only way that he could create his own identity was to forge out into the world under an alias. To create his own blazing path under the moniker Boog Powell so that someday he could return home with his head held high bearing the confidence of someone that has fulfilled the enormous expectations that the ambitious place upon themselves. Tune in next week to find out how he goes about sating this famished desire.

(To continue reading please head over to The Process Report…)

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Assessing the Hitters Over the First Half(ish)

If you read the site you know about the Matchup Tool that Ian Malinowski and I have created and refined. It’s a great way to get an idea of the outcome of any pitcher and any batter in any park. I like it. I’m proud of it. I’m going to be using it throughout this post. The idea is that we can create an idea of how a player should have batted (xwRC+) and then compare that with how the player actually did over the course of the season. Let’s go through this by plate appearance leaders:

Longira 7-21

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Estimated Surplus Value Heading Into 2015 Trade Deadline

It’s that time of year where people say really stupid and wrong things about players that are rumored to be on the trading block. To help you say less stupid things I have compiled what I think are the surplus values for Rays players based on 40% of the season being left and whatever is left on their contracts. I assume options will get picked up for the most part. Here’s a look at the individual players:

sp=sharing

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Second Half Expectations

Now that we are 55.6% of the way through the season we can start to talk about what it will be like to play in the second half. So far the Rays have played basically a .500 pace. Projections, Pythagorean record and BaseRuns all seem to think that that sounds like a fine idea and expect it to continue in the second half. The sportsbook I’m familiar with has us at +3500 or roughly 2.7% to win the World Series. Let’s pour one out for the season. This one goes out to the blue seats:

While, I think that’s a likely possibility there are other plausible scenarios where things finally start to break good for this team after a year and a half rife with visits from the four horseman. Makes me wonder why Joltin’ Joe Maddon never had Arn Anderson brought in for a pep talk. So enough of the chit chat and let’s break out the good stuff.

Below you will find the inputs and outputs for everyone likely to play in the second half that has at least some semblance of a track record in the show. You can see the projected overall wOBA, career numbers against each handedness and also the observed split with its regressed value. The regressed platoon split is then moved around the projection and park effects are manipulated so that we can have an idea of that batter or pitcher’s chances of success against an average pitcher or batter of each handedness. Let’s start with our batters versus the average right-handed pitcher:

Rays v RHP

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