A closer needs to shut the door, not open them

In a clutch situation, a closer need to shut the door, not allow the opponent to open and then run through them. The latter is what happened in yesterday’s Mets-Pirates game.

Photo by Filip Kominik on Unsplash

The victim: Edwin Diaz.

Let’s start by looking at his ERA as the season has progressed:
– April: 2.00
– May: 3.97
– June: 2.38
– July: 12.60

Over the past 30 days, his performance based on his ERA has been on the decline.
– Last 30 days: 8.38
– Last 15 days: 12.60
– Last 7 days: 27.00

In particular this season, Diaz’s performance in away games has been worse than in home games.
– Home ERA: 2.45
– Away ERA: 6.75

In home games, his record is 3-1; whereas, in away games it is 0-3. Similarly, in day games, his record is 3-1; whereas, in night games it is 0-3.

Even more surprising are his slash lines for right- and left-handed batters.
– Against right-handed batters: .275/.351/.362
– Against left-handed batters: .175/.303/.222

Diaz is at his best on two-strike counts.
– 0-2: .200 (BA)
– 1-2: .065
– 2-2: .200
– 3-2: .077

With regard to the effectiveness of his pitches, the run value when he throws his slider is -6; whereas, against his fastball it is +6. Run value reveals a pitch’s impact. The lower the value, the better.

Further, when he throws the slider, batters are hitting .180 with a .213 SLG, but when he throws his four-seamer, batters are hitting .268 with a .366 SLG. Those are the only two pitches Diaz has thrown this season with 63.1% of them four-seamers and 36.9% sliders.

Based on the above data, Diaz is at his best when he does not fall behind in the count, throws more sliders than four-seamers, faces left-handed batters, and pitches in home day games.

The data in this post is from espn.com and baseballsavant.com

Mets best and worst hitters in July so far

Through July 11, five Mets batters who have been in the batters box for at least 50 pitches have hit at least .300 led by Jeff McNeil, who is hitting .367. Just missing the cutoff is Dominic Smith, who has the highest SLG (.595).

Four Mets hitters are below the Mendoza line. Tied for the lowest batting average at .143 are Michael Conforto and Jonathan Villar, and though Villar’s faced fewer than half as many pitches as Conforto his SLG is more than double Conforto’s (.571 vs. .250).

The luckiest batter is Luis Guillorme, whose BA is 94 points higher than his xBA; whereas, the unluckiest batter is Pete Alonso. His BA is 69 points lower than his xBA.

Batting stats of Mets who have been at the plate for at least 50 pitches thru July 11

Source: Baseball Savant

Conforto’s bad luck with fastballs

This season Michael Conforto has played only 51 games because of a right hamstring injury; however, in those games he has hit only .195 with an an SLG of .277 and an OBP of .342. His primary problem has been to get on base when the pitch is a fastball.

Against fastballs his batting average is .145. However, his xBA is 97 points higher, so Lady Luck has not been on Conforto’s side. Further, when he has put the fastball in play, which he has done 59 times, he has hit only four doubles and no home runs, resulting in an SLG of .193, 97 points lower than the xSLG of .385.

Against breaking balls and off-speed pitches he has had better luck, hitting .250 (xBA = .247).

Before this season, never hit less than .267 against fastballs, a pitch against which in 2020 he hit .327.

Conforto’s career stats against fastballs

Source: Baseball Savant

New Statcast leaderboard hits a grand slam

The latest feature added to Baseball Savant focuses on one of baseball’s most exciting plays: the home run. However, its creator, Daren Willman, tweeted, “Not all home runs are created equal.”

The leaderboard’s startup screen shows all those batters in 2020 who hit at least one long ball that would have been a home run in at least one of Major League Baseball’s 30 ballparks.

On August 9, before any of the day’s games have been played, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is Major League Baseball’s home run leader with eight. In the Home Runs Leaderboard, if you click anywhere on a player’s row except on his name, details on all his homers in the season you choose will appear, each homer listed on a separate row.

Click on Judge’s row. Below his name should beS a table showing those ballparks where each long ball that Judge hit on the given date will be a homer. For example, on August 8 in Tampa Bay, the first long ball that Judge hit (against Sean Gilmartin) would have been a four-bagger in every ballpark, but the second long ball he hit (against Nick Anderson) would have been a homer in only 18 parks — video.

Therefore, for a long ball to qualify for (be included in) the Home Runs Leaderboard it must have been able to be a home run in at least one MLB stadium even if it was not a homer in the ballpark in which it was hit. Those batted balls are labelled as “Doubters,” “Mostly Gone,” or “No Doubters.”

  • If a batted ball would be a homer in fewer than 8 ballparks, it is a “doubter.”
  • If it would be a homer in 8 to 29 parks, it is “mostly gone.”
  • If would be a home run in every stadium, it is a “no doubter.”

That is why if you sum those three columns (“Doubters,” “Mostly Gone,” “No Doubters”) the total could be less than what is in the “Actual HR” column, which is the total number of homers the player hit, as occurs with Fernando Tatis Jr.’s numbers. He had six actual homers, but one “doubter,” three “mostly gone,” and six “no doubters.”

Finally, home run data is available for batters, pitchers, and teams for both 2019 and 2020.

Here is a sample of the kinds of questions that Savant’s Home Runs Leaderboard can answer.

Which player’s has the most “could-be” homers that could only be a home run in one stadium?

Which Mets’ player has hit the most actual and “almost” homers so far in 2020? Notice that one of Davis’ “homers” was a non-homer. I label that one a “Could Be” homer.

Who has hit the most “no doubt” home runs this season?

In 2020, which pitcher have given up the most “no doubters?”

The Home Runs Leaderboard is a great resource with eye-catching visuals for statistically-minded baseball fans. One thing that could make it even better is if you could get team data by both division and league. For example, now if I select “Mets” and “Pitchers,” I only get the results for the qualifying Mets pitchers.