The Saber's Edge: Looking Back - Part II

The Saber's Edge: Looking Back - Part II

This article is part of our The Saber's Edge series.

Last week, I went over a few of my early 2015 season calls. I always like being critical on myself after the smoke has cleared for the season. It is a perfect time to see what worked and what didn't for me 2015. Well, let me go over some more of my advice.

The Perfect Time to Panic

In this article, I looked at four hitters who were struggling early and when to look for in a turn around

Andrew McCutchen

In my opinion he is hurt and his owners will probably have to ride out the injury depending on their other outfield options. As for when he may turn around his season, I would look for two factors. First, monitor to see if he starts to attempt some stolen bases. This will mean he thinks his knee is better, which then means the knee is probably better. Second, monitor his ISO value on this page and look for an upward turn in the graph.

Well, his power did return and he hit 23 home runs after hitting 25 in 2014. The stolen bases never materialized with four of his 11 coming in the season's last month.  His success rate wasn't that good at 69%. The 28-year-old may be done running and we may be to the point of only expecting 8-10 SB a season from him.

Edwin Encarnacion

I would look at a couple of items to see if he may finally turn it around. He needs to

Last week, I went over a few of my early 2015 season calls. I always like being critical on myself after the smoke has cleared for the season. It is a perfect time to see what worked and what didn't for me 2015. Well, let me go over some more of my advice.

The Perfect Time to Panic

In this article, I looked at four hitters who were struggling early and when to look for in a turn around

Andrew McCutchen

In my opinion he is hurt and his owners will probably have to ride out the injury depending on their other outfield options. As for when he may turn around his season, I would look for two factors. First, monitor to see if he starts to attempt some stolen bases. This will mean he thinks his knee is better, which then means the knee is probably better. Second, monitor his ISO value on this page and look for an upward turn in the graph.

Well, his power did return and he hit 23 home runs after hitting 25 in 2014. The stolen bases never materialized with four of his 11 coming in the season's last month.  His success rate wasn't that good at 69%. The 28-year-old may be done running and we may be to the point of only expecting 8-10 SB a season from him.

Edwin Encarnacion

I would look at a couple of items to see if he may finally turn it around. He needs to start making more contact and FanGraphs has a nice setting which allows you to look at his past couple of weeks of data (77% Contact%).  Additionally, look at is ISO and K% graphs to see if they are trending in the right direction.

He struggled until the end of May but eventually turned it on. He even posted a insane .512 ISO is August.

Victor Martinez

I would look at sitting Martinez right now. Anyone should be better. I would sit him until he hits a legitimate home run.

Besides a four game stretch in mid-July when he hit three homers in four games, he was basically unplayable all season.

Carlos Gonzalez

With just one or two good games, he could really turn around his season. I might consider him a buy low candidate right now.  While he is never going to produce at an MVP type level, he could see a nice increase with a little regression.

Well, his two home runs at the time turned into 38 more. He had a sneaky good season.

Getting Lucky

In this article, I looked at pitchers who were likely to see their ERA improve because of an abnormally high left on base percentages and/or batting average on balls in player.

Players I expected to improve their ERA at the time of the article and then their rest of season value.


All three improved and by at least one whole ERA point.

Now, here are the pitchers I expected to get worse.


Well, all three got worse, but somehow Greinke was able to keep his ERA under two.

By the Numbers

I went looking for some sell high and low candidates using wOBA and K%-BB%

Kyle Gibson

He put up better strikeout and walk numbers in 2014 and posted a 4.47 ERA, not the 2.61 he posting so far this season. His 83% LOB% is the reason for the good production since his career value is 70%. I would sell any share I have to get any value possible.

First half ERA: 2.85

Second half ERA: 5.22

He needed to show more of an improvement in his core stats to justify the low ERA he had at the time.

Jason Hammel

The one ticking time bomb for Hammels is the summer, especially the hot days at Wrigley with the wind blowing out. He has been home run prone in the past (1.1 career mark), and throwing more four-seamers isn't going to help to limit home runs.It will be interesting to see if he can keep up this level of production as the season goes on.

Hammel wasn't able to keep the home runs down, especially at Wrigley.

Split: HR/9


  • Home: 1.6
  • Away: 0.9
  • Apr: 1.1
  • May: 0.8
  • June: 0.8
  • Jul: 1.6
  • Aug: 2.3
  • Sep: 1.3

Hammels just couldn't get away from his previous home run nature.

Stephen Vogt

Vogt has sold out to pull the ball and it is working for the 30-year-old. His production could really fall off if his power drops even a little bit.

Vogt just fell apart in the second half with almost everything going wrong. Hard hit rate down. Pull rate down. HR/FB% cut in half. Less walks, more strikeouts.

Second-Half Pitching Predictions

In this article, I look at how much of a pitcher's worth should be based on their in season numbers and how much on their previous season values.  I found that the split is near 50/50. Here are the pitchers I put a rest-of-season K%-BB% value on and the actual value.


  • Chris Archer: 24% 1H K%-BB%, 19% projected 2H K%-BB%, actual 2H K%-BB%: 18%
  • Phil Hughes; 12% 1H K%-BB%, 15.5K% projected 2H K%-BB%, actual 2H K%-BB%: 12%
  • Garrett Richards: 10% 1H K%-BB%, 13% projected 2H K%-BB%, actual 2H K%-BB%: 13%
  • Stephen Strasburg: 16% 1H K%-BB%, 19% projected 2H K%-BB%, actual 2H K%-BB%: 34%

About perfect distribution of expected results. Hughes stayed at his first half values, the Richards and Archer projections were dead on and Strasburg decided to blow past his 2014 value to an insane 34% K%-BB%.

Batter Up

I examined some hitters who were seeing their batting average take a huge swing because of an extreme BABIP. Here is how three I examined in detail performed in the second half.


Like I stated in the article, don't fall for hitters with a greater than .400 BABIP like Santana had in 2014.

Power and Age

I looked at how and when older hitters' power declines. Here are a couple of my comments.

Albert Pujols

I just don't see the improvement that Pujols has made this season. Compare is '13 and '15 seasons. His '13 has same or better numbers besides the final HR/FB rate. I just don't buy the high home rate. I don't think he will fall off in the season's second half, but regress down to the 12- to 14-percent level from his previous few seasons.

Pujols's power tanked in the second half with his ISO dropping to .188 and his HR/FB dropping to 13.9%

David Ortiz

The 39-year-old is the epitome of consistency, at least with his power. His one output which has really taken a hit the past few seasons is his batting average. It has fallen from .318 to .309 to .263 to .243 the past few seasons. The main reason for the decline has been the number of infield shifts teams have used against him, which at this point is pretty much all the time.

In the second half, Ortiz increased his ISO and HR/FB%. This man never seems to age.

Well, that is it for now. I am going to take a small break, but will be back with a  few offseason articles. The first one or two articles will look into how predictive hitter stats are when facing ground ball and fly ball pitchers. Let me know if there are any other in-depth topics I can look at in the off season.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Zimmerman
Zimmerman writes analytics-focused baseball and football articles for RotoWire. He is a three-time FSWA award winner, including the Football Writer of the Year and Best Football Print Article awards in 2016. The 2017 Tout Wars Mixed Auction champion and 2016 Tout Wars Head-to-Head champ, Zimmerman also contributes to FanGraphs.com, BaseballHQ and Baseball America.
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