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The last twenty comments in true blog fasion, with the links to their authors and the player commented upon.

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Aaron Nola Philadelphia Phillies

Fifth highest earner, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 1165

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 92.8

Avg Spin Rate: 2,117

Avg Exit Velocity: 87.1

First pitcher -- by earnings last year -- who's fastball velocity is below theMLB average (93.2).

Alex Patton Alex
Blake Treinen Oakland Athletics

8th most valuable pitcher, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 578

Pitch Type: Sinker

Avg Pitch Speed: 97.3

Avg Spin Rate: 2,371

Avg Exit Velocity: 87.2

First reliever on the list of highest earners. His sinker was was almost six mph faster than the average sinker (91.6). The exit velocity was more than one mph lower than the average (88.4).

I am writing this in November, before the Cy Young voting has been announced. He and Diaz would both be very high on my ballot, probably second and third behind Snell; in the cumulative wisdom of the baseball writers, neither is going to be in the top five.

What I can't decide is, which one is second?

Alex Patton Alex
Chris Sale Boston Red Sox

7th most valuable pitcher, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 983

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 95.3     

Avg Spin Rate: 2,357

Avg Exit Velocity: 85.2

More than ten mph difference between speed coming in and going out. Combine that with lots of grounders and... voila.

Alex Patton Alex
Starling Marte Pittsburgh Pirates

11th most valuable hitter, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast averages

HIP: 444

Avg Exit Velocity: 88.2

Avg HR Distance: 402

Avg Launch Angle: 9.0

A lor of homers for such an extreme ground ball hitter.

Alex Patton Alex
Edwin Diaz Seattle Mariners

10th most valuable pitcher, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 725

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 97.3

Avg Spin Rate: 2,340

Avg Exit Velocity: 87.8

Alex Patton Alex
Jacob deGrom New York Mets

Third most valuable pitcher, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 1374    

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 96.0

Avg Spin Rate: 2,362

Avg Exit Velocity: 86.3

Alex Patton Alex
Pat Corbin Washington Nationals

13th highest earner, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 1281

Pitch Type: Slider

Avg Pitch Speed: 81.7 

Avg Spin Rate: 2,389

Avg Exit Velocity: 88.3

Alex Patton Alex
Jose Ramirez Cleveland Indians

5th highest earner, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast averages

HIP: 

Avg Exit Velocity: 

Avg HR Distance:

Avg Launch Angle: 

Alex Patton Alex
Corey Kluber Cleveland Indians

Sixth most valuable pitcher, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 1006

Pitch Type: Sinker

Avg Pitch Speed: 92.0

Avg Spin Rate: 2,268

Avg Exit Velocity: 88.0

First pitcher on the list of top earners whose primary pitch is not a four-seam fastball. The sinker is a two seamer, presumably, and the MLB average for that last year was 91.6.

Alex Patton Alex
Luis Severino New York Yankees

17th most valuable pitcher, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 1587

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 97.6

Avg Spin Rate: 2,365

Avg Exit Velocity: 88.4

5.57 ERA Post All-Star.

Alex Patton Alex
Rick Porcello Boston Red Sox

Pitcher No. 22 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 920

Pitch Type: Two-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 89.8 

Avg Spin Rate: 89.8 (92.5 is average)

Avg Exit Velocity: 89.0 (88.4 is average)

Less than one mph difference between velocity and exit velocity. Great d in the outfield obviously helped him but the Red Sox infield was a big minus (according to Defensive Runs Saved).

Alex Patton Alex
J.D. Martinez Boston Red Sox

3rd highest earner, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast averages

HIP: 429

Avg Exit Velocity: 93.0

Avg HR Distance: 398

Avg Launch Angle: 10.6

Mookie Betts' homers went two feet further on average.

Alex Patton Alex
Max Scherzer Washington Nationals

Most valuable pitcher, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 1746

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 94.4

Avg Spin Rate: 2,486

Avg Exit Velocity: 86.4

Pennies better than Verlander, a dollar better than deGrom.

Alex Patton Alex
Jonny Venters Atlanta Braves

Lots of fastballs, few of them hard hit.

Alex Patton Alex
Jeremy Jeffress Milwaukee Brewers

Pitcher No. 26 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 372

Pitch Type: Knuckle Curve

Avg Pitch Speed: 81.2

Avg Spin Rate: 2,464

Avg Exit Velocity: 88.3

First pitcher on the list (of pitchers ranked by $5x5) whose primary pitch was not a four-seam fastball. A close to average knuckle curve at that, going by Statcast (MLB averages -- 80.9, 2,488, 88.4). 

Jeffress is only the fourth relief pitcher on the list (behind Treinen, Diaz and Kimbrel), although he of course ranks much higher in 4x4.

The XFL, drafting for 2019 in November at First Pitch Arizona, plays 5x5. 

Fifteen teams, nine pitchers.

Jeffress wasn't even taken.

Other notable free agents when it was all over: Brad Boxberger, Bud Norris, Shane Greene, Sergio Romo and (of course) Fernando Rodney.

Alex Patton Alex
Tony Cingrani Los Angeles Dodgers

Signed a one-year deal on Nov. 30 for $2.65 million. Will be a free agent next year.

FIP and SIERA -- not to mention K/9, K/W, BABIP and G/L/F -- say he had amazingly bad luck last season. 

Alex Patton Alex
Craig Kimbrel Boston Red Sox

19th highest earner, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed:  

Avg Spin Rate: 

Avg Exit Velocity: 

Statcast stats N/A, for some reason. Only three relievers crack the top 20 in 5x5.

Alex Patton Alex
Michael Fiers Oakland Athletics

SIERA pays some attention to BABIP, hence is lower than FIP. But both metrics say his ERA was lucky. Billy Beane must have agreed; Fiers was non-tendered in November.

Alex Patton Alex
Nolan Arenado Colorado Rockies

12th most valuable hitter, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast averages

HIP: 472    

Avg Exit Velocity: 89.9

Avg HR Distance: 408

Avg Launch Angle: 15.2

Slashed .248/.325/.447 on the road.

Alex Patton Alex
Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs

Hitter No. 35 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast averages

HIP: 493

Avg Exit Velocity: 90.1

Avg HR Distance: 404

Avg Launch Angle: 14.8

Put the ball in play 61 times on an 0-2 pitch and had 14 hits. Struck out, either swinging or looking, 19 times.

May not sound great, but I'm sure very few batters did as well. Maybe no one.

With the count full (71 times) he managed only six hits: four singles and two doubles.

So he was a wuss on the most critical count in baseball, right?

Yes, but an effective wuss. He shortened his swing and struck out 11 times. How many were backward K's? Can't say but it was more than a few: he drew ball four 25 times.

His slash stats on the 3-2 pitch: .133/.433/.178.

My kind of batter. 

Alex Patton Alex

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