Fish Bites

Welcome to the 09/09/09 version of Fish Bites. Here are your links to start your day.

- First off, tonight’s game vs. the New York Mets. Ricky Nolasco takes the bump for the Marlins, while the Mets counter with Patrick Misch. In Ricky’s last seven starts, he’s been pretty dominant despite continuing his poor luck on balls in play. Despite a sterling 44/6 K/BB ratio, Ricky has posted a 5.34 ERA. He has allowed six home runs, and he did have one terrible start, but for the most part he’s pitched well, and I don’t expect that trend to stop.

- Chris Volstad is back from his stint in Triple-A, but Juan C. Rodriguez doesn’t know where he’s going to fit in. Chris says he worked on making his release point and mechanics consistent. I’d say he needs to keep the ball down in the zone, because his fastball isn’t the greatest and it’s obviously getting crushed.

- R.J. Anderson over at FanGraphs says that Kiko Calero is back. Kiko always was a decent-to-good reliever, but this year he’s been lights out thanks to the slider-fastball combination. I always wondered how that slider could be so effective, and perhaps in the offseason I’ll take a look at Kiko’s slider and see how it works. It is definitely adding value to his subpar fastball. Renyel Pinto could learn a thing or two about using a breaking ball to work his fastball.

- The Miami Herald says that Leo Nunez redeemed himself last night with a clean ninth inning. “Redeem” is too strong a word in this case; it’s more like he “did his job.” Maybe if we put a better pitcher in the same situation, we wouldn’t have to have guys “redeeming” themselves.

- Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post wonders if Chris Coghlan will be the latest Marlins Rookie of the Year. Rob Neyer asks the question as well. Ken Rosenthal definitely thinks so. I’m glad the Marlins rookie is getting so much publicity, and he really has turned it on big time in the second half. At the same time, Rosenthal keys in on a good point that may take the wings out of Coghlan’s campaign.

Advanced defensive metrics indicate that Coghlan is below-average in left.

UZR may have too small a sample size to be sure about that, but I think it’s fair to say that Coghlan hasn’t looked great in the outfield yet this season. And if you consider that with the fact that Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Andrew McCutchen has played about the same offensively (less OBP, more slugging, but around the same wOBA in the .360′s) and played a decent glove in a more premium position in center field, I’d say it would be unfair to give it to Coghlan because he happens to also be (somewhat) in a playoff race. I think it’s close, but McCutchen wins it in my opinion. Not that I wouldn’t love to see Coghlan get it. If we can just move him back into the infield.

- Over at FanGraphs again, Erik Manning is skeptical about San Diego Padres GM Kevin Towers’ judgment of the team next year. The big thing for me? An average hitter in Petco, according to FanGraphs’ park factor adjustments, is around .315 wOBA hitter. Yikes.

- Finally, in response to a recent chat on Baseball Prospectus, Colin Wyers checks on the accuracy of EqA vs. wOBA. The findings are basically what Tom Tango mentions: both stats are great run estimators, EqA is more accurate over time by a small amount, while wOBA is more tailored towards the current era. I think Christina Kahrl’s statement on the superiority of EqA was a bit overblown.

Topics: Andrew McCutchen, Chris Coghlan, Chris Volstad, Kiko Calero, Leo Nunez, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Ricky Nolasco, San Diego Padres

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  • BigBoynBroward

    hey michael……this UZR thing I believe has a long way to go, a very long way to go……Nick Johnson has been an absolutely atrocious first baseman as a Marlin right? I mean I’m talking “the eye test”……Well, how the hell is his UZR/150 only at -1.9??? This seems impossible, that he is only slightly below average….i love the guy’s hitting but he cannot field a foul popup on the first base side cleanly, among other things…..I still want the guy batting second so this is not an indictment on Johnson, rather I’m questioning the accuracy of this stat, and how it could be all over the place.

  • michaeljong

    BigBoy,

    You pose a question often asked of defensive metrics like UZR, plus/minus, and Total Zone Rating. You point out the pop up he dropped, but it’s easy to recall bad plays without recalling routine plays. Right now, looking at Johnson’s UZR in his time as a Marlin is too small a sample to make a judgment about it, like looking at his OBP and saying “well, that’s how good he’ll be in the future.” It just doesn’t suit that purpose. UZR tells us what he did so far, not what he’s going to do in the future; using UZR/150 after just 100 innings is not good.

    What we need to do, since UZR needs large samples, is either use a larger sample of play (two or three seasons’ worth) or average a bunch of different statistics, including Tango’s Fan Scouting Report. That way, you won’t just have the bias of one stat when you make a statement. Sure, numbers lie sometimes, but if they’re built right (and UZR is built by someone much smarter than me), they lie less than your eye and memory do.

    UZR is a fine stat, one of the best we have around in terms of coming up with defense. Would you say a player batting .400 in 150 AB’s is going to bat .400 in 500 AB’s? No, probably not. It’s the same with UZR, it’s measuring what happened, and it does a good job of it.

    Email me, I can toss you the links to MGL, UZR’s creator, talking about what it does and why samples like this aren’t enough for it. We can talk about it there.