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

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Jonny Venters Atlanta Braves

Lots of fastballs, few of them hard hit.

Alex Patton Alex
Charlie Morton Houston Astros

Pitcher No. 21 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast Averages


Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed:

Avg Spin Rate:

Avg Exit Velocity:

Alex Patton Alex
Sean Doolittle Washington Nationals

Pitcher No. 37 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 548

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 93.8

Avg Spin Rate: 2,210

Avg Exit Velocity: 84.5

The average exit velo confirms the G/L/F data: hard to square up against, even with an average fastball and below-average spin rate. FIP 1.89. ERC 0.69. WAR 2.5. Fought for fiercely in the XFL draft in November.

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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
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
Felipe Vazquez Pittsburgh Pirates

Pitcher No. 33 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 783

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 98.0

Avg Spin Rate: 2,554 

Avg Exit Velocity: 89.2

Now there's a fastball.

Alex Patton Alex
Jose Berrios Minnesota Twins

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

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 1017

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 93.4

Avg Spin Rate: 2,213    

Avg Exit Velocity: 87.2

Won only three on the road (4.85 ERA) and three after the break (4.15 ERA). Joined the 200 K club by striking out nine in seven innings in his last start. More important (to him, I'm sure), he won the game to finish with a winning record.

Alex Patton Alex
Aroldis Chapman New York Yankees

Pitcher No. 38 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 606

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 98.7

Avg Spin Rate: 2,494 

Avg Exit Velocity: 88.8

The spin rate is impressive as well (MLB average: 2,263).

Alex Patton Alex
Trevor Williams Pittsburgh Pirates

Pitcher No. 39 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 1378

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 91.1

Avg Spin Rate: 2,172

Avg Exit Velocity: 86.7

Below-average velocity, below-average spin rate, below-average exit velocity.

It's the result that counts.

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
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
Ender Inciarte Atlanta Braves

Hitter No. 41 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast averages

HIP: 504

Avg Exit Velocity: 84.8

Avg HR Distance: 380

Avg Launch Angle: 10.8

Hit .302 Post All-Star but stopped running (5 SB).

Alex Patton Alex
Carlos Carrasco Cleveland Indians

16th most valuable pitcher, both leagues, in 5x5.

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 901

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 93.7

Avg Spin Rate: 2,353

Avg Exit Velocity: 89.7

Slightly faster than average fastball (93.7), slightly faster than average exit velocity (88.4). Spin rate well above average (2,263).

Alex Patton Alex
Zack Wheeler New York Mets

Pitcher No. 28 in $5x5 (both leagues).

2018 Statcast Averages

NP: 1239

Pitch Type: Four-seam FB

Avg Pitch Speed: 95.8

Avg Spin Rate: 2,309

Avg Exit Velocity: 86.1

He threw a lot of fastballs and it's obvious why: it went toward the batter very fast and went the other way, when it did, considerably slower.

Alex Patton Alex
C.C. Sabathia New York Yankees

To kick things off, key metrics have been culled from Fangraphs for all pitchers with 20+ IP. It helps to know the averages of the 530 pitchers who had 20 or more IP.

WAR avg = 0.8

ERA avg = 4.23

FIP avg = 4.20

SIERA avg = 4.03

FB avg = 56%

FBv avg = 92.8

HR/FB avg = 13%

Hard contact = 35%

CC relied on an assortment of pitches besides his below-average fastball last year and managed to limit the hard contact. Even so, both FIP and SIERA (Skills-Interactive ERA: formula upon request at Fangraphs) suggest his ERA was at least somewhat lucky.

Alex Patton Alex
Matt Chapman Oakland Athletics

We have archived the 2018 comments and are starting on 2019 two weeks early. For all hitters with 100+ AB last year I've pulled some key metrics from Fangraphs to kick things off.

First is the Fangraphs WAR, then the components that go into expressed as runs above replacement. We get a quick snapshot of the kind of player Chapman was in 2018. Then three different metrics to show the kind of hitter he was.

The average HR/FB for hitters who had at least 100 AB was 12%; Chapman was well above average.

The average Pull % was 41; Chapman was exactly average.

The average Hard-hit % was 35; Chapman was well above average.

Is there a correlation between Hard % and BABIP? You would think there would be. It's possible his high BABIP (the average for the 448 hitters with 100+ AB was .295) wasn't lucky.

What was Chapman's Soft % last year? For that you click on the link to Fangraphs. As I say, this is just a quick snapshot to help start discussions. 

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Dee Gordon Seattle Mariners
Fangraphs: WAR 0.0 Bat -16 Field -8 Run 4 HR/FB 4% Pull 33% Hard 20%
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Aaron Hicks New York Yankees
Fangraphs: WAR 4.9 Bat 19 Field 1 Run 7 HR/FB 19% Pull 45% Hard 40%
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Nick Markakis Atlanta Braves
Fangraphs: WAR 2.6 Bat 12 Field 1 Run -3 HR/FB 8% Pull 32% Hard 41%
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