PECOTA thinks Wieters is the best player in the American League. Oh, MLEs.
More than you wanted to know about ground balls and shifts.
The Tufts group looked at left handed batters from 2002 to 2008. From this group, they looked at the probability of hitting a ground ball out as opposed to a ground ball hit. They also looked at when a shift is implemented on a player. What they found that is interesting is that how much a left handed batter pulls a grounder is not the most significant variable in determining if a shift is called. Instead, it is based on homeruns per flyball and groundball to flyball ratio. Why? Managers shift their infield in order to take advantage of big bodied power hitters grounding toward the first base side. The batter is slow enough that the second baseman in shallow right can still make the throw. This study suggests that managers may be implementing a right field shift without contemplating if a batter even pulls his grounders. Leaves one thinking that even with respect to the limited value of a shift, it is being squandered.
A few days late, but good Division I strength scores.
The Hardball Times published a Sackman piece of the relative strength of different conferences in Division I baseball. Here is a cherry picked Orioles-style top six:
1. 0.648 Atlantic Coast Conference (Matt Wieters)
4. 0.631 Big 12 Conference (Rick Zagone)
8. 0.539 West Coast Conference (Brian Matusz)
12. 0.513 Big Ten Conference (Kyle Hudson)
16. 0.488 Mountain West (Jake Arrieta)
29. 0.334 Independent (Oliver Drake)
Finally, BtBS did what I squirrelled away and forgot.
Throwing side arm did not work for Brian Burres at all.
15 at bats
1 called strike
1 swinging strike
3 foul balls
1 ground out
1 home run