Sunday, June 24, 2018

Baseball Previews and Free Statis Pro Baseball Game to Manage Teams For Fun

Click here to read my six baseball breakdowns of the AL East, NL East and NL Central (already posted) and the AL Central, AL West and NL West (coming soon). Will Shohei Ohtani and Clayton Kershaw recover 100 percent and lead both Los Angeles teams to catch-up and make the playoffs?

Further breakdowns include the new Statis Pro player cards that indicate behind Ohtani, the New York Yankees have the second, third and 10th best new players this season (click here for top 20 and actual player cards). You can also click to see the best fielders and how they save runs, and even play the Statis Pro Board game for free to match-up these current or past teams here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cubs Wish List - Elite Pitcher to Replace Arrieta and Hold Off Improved Brewers in NL Central

If the Chicago Cubs pick up an elite starting pitcher or two to make up for losing Jake Arrieta, they could have the final piece to a return to the World Series two years after winning it all. The Cubs line-up is by far the best in the division, but the Milwaukee Brewers improved in the offseason and are good enough at everything else to contend, and the St. Louis Cardinals pitching gives them a chance if they can pull off trade or two.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a prototype average across-the-board, while the Cincinnati Reds are unfortunately weak in all aspects and unfortunately could part with one superstar.

Explanation of Ratings: We start by rating each team on a base 20 scale, with a 10-point scale for batting, 5-point scale for starting pitching, 3-point scale for relief pitching and 2-point scale for fielding. This was done by reviewing personnel and results to date and playing simulated games through Statis-Pro baseball (free version here), weighing pitching and batting stats by the team's home ballpark, reviewing which fielders on each team were nominated for a gold glove either of the past two seasons and evaluating all new players. We then assess the new players acquired and present the weaknesses that might be addressed by the July trade deadline. 

Chicago (15.0 of 20) - While the three elite teams all appear to be in the AL in the Yankees, Astros and Red Sox, the Cubs are strong in all four areas that they could contend and match up pretty closely if they make the World Series. If the Cubs can get another top starter or two like Tyson Ross (SD) or Chris Archer (TB), they could truly be a contender.    

Batters (6.9 of 10) - The Cubs stayed pat with a strong line-up.    

Starters (3.6 of 5) - With the loss of Jake Arrieta to the Phillies, the Cubs might need to add Tyson Ross (SD) or Chris Archer (TB) before the trade deadline to truly have the elite rotation to potentially go all the way.  - The gamble assuming Tyler Chatwood would pitch well making the move from the altitude of Colorado to Wrigley, and the rotation is solid but not quite elite. If Yu Darvish comes back strong once off DL it will help as well.           

Relievers (2.0 of 3) - Adding Steve Cishek from Tampa Bay was a big addition to a pen that already included Brandon Morrow and can certainly shut an opponent down for at least a couple of innings.

Fielding (1.8 of 2) - Contender for the best fielders in baseball with Jason Heyward in RF, and Anthony Rizzo (1b), Ben Zobrist (2b) and Addison Russell (ss) all gold glove nominees.

Milwaukee (13.3 of 20) - On paper, the Brewers made substantial moves to improve the line-up, starting pitchers and relievers - and the great defensive improvement in the outfield helps make them a legit playoff contender. They may still need to add a battery like Cole Hamels and Jonathan Lucroy to beat out the Cubs in the end, but they are right there.

Batters (4.2 of 10) - The additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich give the Brewers a strong first five hitters - through the line-up is still not as deep as other playoff contenders.     
Starters (4.5 of 5) - The pickup of Jhoulys Chacin rounds out what could be a fantastic starting rotation.           

Relievers (3.0 of 3) - The pickup of Albers from the Nationals was expected to make a great pen even stronger, but it's been the pickup of Jeremy Jeffres added to the already great pen that - if healthy and living up to its potential -  could make it the best in the majors.              Fielding 1.0 of 2. In addition to their great bats, the additions of Gold Glove nominees  Cain and Yelich transform the Brewers from a poor to a solid fielding team.

St. Louis (11.8 of 20) - The Cardinals are certainly solid, but with an average lineup and above average pitching and fielding, they still do not look like they have the overall talent to beat out the Cubs or even the Brewers.  

Batters (5.0 of 10) - The Cardinals appeared to be a bit below average until they won the rest of the Marlins' sweepstake by signing one of the top hitters in the game last year in Marcell Ozuna.      
Starters (2.1 of 3) - A solid rotation left in place.   Relievers (2.1 of 3) - Greg Holland coming from the Rockies seemed like a good bet but has not panned out yet - but this bullpen was and is still loaded.

Fielding (1.1 of 2) - The Marlins Marcell Ozuna is not only a huge addition in the line-up but adds another Gold Glove nominee in the outfield to join perhaps the most dominant defender in the game - catcher Yadier Molina.

Pittsburgh (9.7 of 20) - The Pirates are almost exactly average across-the-board, from their starting pitching to their pen, to their batters. The only spot they are below average is in the field, and that is partly because a great glove at third base is on the bench a good bit due to a great new bat.

Batters (5.1 of 10) - The big addition to the lineup is slugging third baseman Colin Moran, who along with former Tampa Bay outfielder Corey Dickerson makes the line-up above average.     
Starters (2.5 of 5) - The addition of Astro Joe Musgrove as a starter helps the rotation just a bit to make them almost exactly average.

(Relievers 1.5 of 3) - The addition of Kyle Click from the Giants is a nice addition but still leaves the pen just average overall.      

Fielding (0.6 of 2) - The only problem with Molin hitting so well is that he puts Gold Glove nominee David Freese on the bench for most games, leaving Starling Marte (LF) as the only nominee on the field.

Cincinnati (5.1 of 20) -  Scooter Gennett is providing a third big bat, but if he is traded away then the Reds could finish at the bottom as they are weak throughout except for strong fielding and one nice addition in the bullpen.  Batters (2.9 of 10) - If Scooter Gennett is traded it will take the Reds down to just a couple of big bats and not a lot of punch in many spots.         

Starters (1.2 of 5) Picking up Matt Harvey after his rough season with the Mets may be working out and Anthony James DeSclafani looks like an adequate starter - but the rotation is still a big weakness even prior to assuming Harvey is traded.          

Relievers (0.8 of 3) - Jared Hughes was a great pickup from the Brewers, but beyond him, the pen is suspect despite a couple of players having decent starts.    
Fielding (1.8 of 2) - For all their weaknesses, the Reds may have the best defense in baseball with 4 Gold Glove nominees in C Tucker Barnhart, 1b Joey Votto, LF Adam Duvall, and of course the amazing cf Billy Hamilton for whom contenders must be considering offers.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The 81 Clutch Defensive Players based on recent Gold Glove nominations

One part of the Statis-Pro game that was dated was the reliance merely on double plays to determine if a player was a clutch defensive player. While modern stats measure defensive Wins Above Replacement figures, on fielding I still rely on the gold glove votes by managers and coaches to determine which players get the highest mark - the Clutch Defense 4 that allows for diving catches that can save games.

The following is the scale I use:

CD1 (the lowest Clutch Defense Rating) is given to any player with a negative Rdrs/year (see Standard Fielding for the player at

CD2 (average Clutch Defense Rating) is given to any player with at least a 0 Rdrs/year rating.

CD3 (good Clutch Defense Rating) is given to any Pitcher or Catcher with at least a 5 Rdrs/yr, any infielder with at least a 7.5 Rdrs/yr rating, and any outfielder with at least a 10 Rdrs/yr rating.

CD4 (excellent Clutch Defense Rating) is given to any player who was nominated for a gold glove in the last two years (all 81 such players are listed by team below). If a player nominated, disregard the Rdrs/yr rating as this means the coaches and managers from the league view the player as one of the best 3 in his league at his position. The only other time I award a CD4 is if a new player, who has not yet had a chance to be voted on as a gold glove nominee, registers a Rdrs/yr rating of twice what they need to be a CD 3 (so 10 for C/P, 15 for Infielders and 20 for outfielders).

The CD1 player can never try for a clutch play in the game, but the following are the results for the other players when a Clutch Defense opportunity occurs with men on base, and below that are the 81 CD4 gold glove nominees.

CD1 = no play madeCD Clutch DefenseChance for Great Play
Infielders resultCD2 on cardCD3 or 4 on Card but NOT on list belowOn Gold Glove list below (treated as CD4)
Line out, lead runner doubled off base11 to 2111 to 4211 to 56
Grounder, lead runner thrown out22 to 3243 to 5557 to 78
No action, return to normal play33 to 8856 to 8881 to 88
Outfielders onlyCD2 on cardCD3 or 4 on Card but NOT on list belowOn Gold Glove list below (treated as CD4)
Line out in gap, lead runner doubled off base11 to 2111 to 4211 to 56
Line out, runners get back safely22 to 3243 to 5557 to 78
No action, return to normal play33 to 8856 to 8881 to 88
Catchers OnlyCD2 on cardCD3 or 4 on Card but NOT on list belowOn Gold Glove list below (treated as CD4)
Diving catch of pop up, lead runner doubled off base11 to 3211 to 5511 to 78
No Action33 to 8856 to 8881 to 88

TEAMGold Glove Nominee 2017 or 18Position

ArizonaPaul GoldschmidtFirst Base
ArizonaZack GreinkePitcher
AtlantaEnder InciarteCenter Field
AtlantaNick MarkakisRight Field
BaltimoreAlex CobbPitcher
BaltimoreChris DavisFirst Base
BaltimoreColby RasmusLeft Field
BaltimoreManny MachadoThird Base
BostonChris SalePitcher
BostonDustin PedroiaSecond Base
BostonJackie Bradley Jr.Center Field
BostonMitch MorelandFirst Base
BostonMookie BettsRight Field
Chicago CubsAddison RussellShortstop
Chicago CubsAnthony RizzoFirst Base
Chicago CubsBen ZobristSecond Base
Chicago CubsJason HeywardRight Field
CincinnatiAdam DuvallLeft Field
CincinnatiBilly HamiltonCenter Field
CincinnatiJoey VottoFirst Base
CincinnatiTucker BarnhartCatcher
ClevelandFrancisco LindorShortstop
ClevelandJose RamirezThird Base
ClevelandYan GomesCatcher
ColoradoCarlos GonzalezRight Field
ColoradoDJ LeMahieuSecond Base
ColoradoGerardo ParraLeft Field
ColoradoNolan ArenadoThird Base
DetroitIan KinslerSecond Base
DetroitJames McCannCatcher
DetroitJose IglesiasShortstop
Free AgentR.A. DickeyPitcher
HoustonDallas KeuchelPitcher
HoustonGeorge SpringerRight Field
HoustonJustin VerlanderPitcher
Kansas CityAlex GordonLeft Field
Kansas CitySalvador PerezCatcher
LA AngelsAndrelton SimmonsShortstop
LA AngelsJustin UptonLeft Field
LA AngelsKole CalhounRight Field
LA AngelsMartin MaldonadoCatcher
LA DodgersCorey SeagerShortstop
LA DodgersJustin TurnerThird Base
LA DodgersYasiel PuigRight Field
MilwaukeeChristian YelichLeft Field
MilwaukeeLorenzo CainCenter Field
MilwaukeeZach DaviesPitcher
MinnesotaBrian DozierSecond Base
MinnesotaByron BuxtonCenter Field
NY YankeesAaron JudgeRight Field
NY YankeesBrett GardnerLeft Field
NY YankeesGiancarlo StantonRight Field
OaklandJonathan LucroyCatcher
PhiladelphiaCarlos SantanaFirst Base
PhiladelphiaJake ArrietaPitcher
PhiladelphiaOdubel HerreraCenter Field
PittsburghDavid FreeseThird Base
PittsburghStarling MarteLeft Field
San DiegoEric HosmerFirst Base
San DiegoFreddy GalvisShortstop
San DiegoWil MyersFirst Base
San FranciscoBrandon CrawfordShortstop
San FranciscoBuster PoseyCatcher
San FranciscoEvan LongoriaThird Base
San FranciscoJoe PanikSecond Base

Jean Segura
Dee Gordon
Second Base
Second Base
SeattleKyle SeagerThird Base
SeattleRobinson CanoSecond Base
St. LouisAdam WainwrightPitcher
St. LouisMarcell OzunaLeft Field
St. LouisYadier MolinaCatcher
Tampa BayKevin KiermaierCenter Field
TexasAdrian BeltreThird Base
TexasCarlos PerezCatcher
TexasElvis AndrusShortstop
TorontoKevin PillarCenter Field
TorontoMarcus StromanPitcher
WashingtonAdam EatonRight Field
WashingtonAnthony RendonThird Base
WashingtonMichael TaylorCenter Field

Friday, June 15, 2018

Ohtani, then Yankees Produce Best New Cards for Statis Pro Game

If you want to get the 2017 Statis Pro player cards on EBay below are free copies of the cards for new players who did not bat at least 50 times or pitch 20 innings last year. The following are the top 20 new players based on these cards;

1) Ohtani, P-DH LA Angels; 2) Torres, 2b NY Yankees; 3) Austin, 1b NY Yankees; 4) Kittredge, P Tampa Bay;5) Fowler, OF Oakland; 6) Moran, 3b Pittsburgh; 7) Villanueva, 3b San Diego; 8) Murphy, C Arizona; 9) Field, OF Tampa Bay; 10) Andujar, 3b NY Yankees; 12) Vogelback, 1b Seattle; 13) Jimenez, P Detroit. 14-20 (tie between 7 excellent short relievers) Arizona (Hirona), Atlanta (Carle and Winkler), Chicago Cubs (Dominiguez), Chicago White Sox (Fry), San Diego (Cimber) and San Francisco (Moronta).

Below we show the cards of all new players getting substantial playing time, based on the projections for their entire season. The formulas to calculate the batting, pitching and fielding will be maintained on this link.

We list the average batting card in the first row, on which a batter hits a home run if a Random Number is between 27-32 - actually four of 64 numbers since the numbers range from 11-88 on a base 8 system (no 9s or 0s). Ohtani for the Angels (34-38), and two Yankees (Torres 28-35 and Austin 24-32) have the best home run range.

Ohtani ranks 1st overall, because he is also the best pitcher on the new players, while Torres comes in second because his Speed rating (SP: A on a scale of AA-E) is an advantage over Austin.

While Ohtani most of the pitchers in the top 20 have a PB of 2-8, meaning they are in the top 15% of all pitchers based on ERA, Tampa Bay's Kittredge ranks 5th overall with a PB2-7 (meaning top 45% of all pitchers) but actually more valuable because he is a starting pitcher which typically has just a PB2-6 so he well above average for a starter and can face many more batters than the PB2-8 relievers in the leaders list who can usually only pitch an inning or so. (the best 5% of all pitchers have a PB of 2-9, while the worst have a PB of 2-5, and this number is used on a card flip or dice roll adding up to 2 to 12 to determine if the pitcher stays "in control" or leaves it outside the range to the hitter faced has a chance to drive the ball).

The A's Fowler comes in 5th even though his bat (28-33) is just above average and not quite as good as the batters behind him. This is because he is one of only a couple of players in baseball with a Speed (SP) AA, meaning he swipes bases at will. He is also one of the select players with a Clutch Defense (CD) of 4 (CD1 is below average, CD2 is average and CD3 is good, but CD4 is a player typically considered for a gold glove).

The other fielding component for all players is their Error (E) rating from E0 (which means they never make an error) to E10 (meaning they make an error at least 1 out of every 10 times a ball is hit to them.

With that as a basic explanation, below are the cards in the following order:
1. Sample pitching cards
2. Pitching cards for players on NL teams
3. Pitching cards for players on AL teams
4. Average batting cards
5. Batting cards for players on NL teams
6. Batting cards for players on AL teams