Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 3/20/13
Table of Contents Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes. 1. Entirely Relevant Preamble 2. Julio Teheran’s Spring Opposition, Examined 3. Mostly Unhelpful Video: Julio Teheran, Succeeding Entirely Relevant Preamble Among the entire surfeit of spring numbers considered in yesterday’s edition of the Notes, one such number suggested the possibility that Atlanta right-handed prospect Julio Teheran has produced the best performance of spring training so far. The data revealed that Teheran had struck out 25 (or ca. 32%) of the estimated 73 batters he’d faced during his five spring starts — a rate which, when regressed against spring averages, is the highest among all pitchers. While further inspection reveals that Teheran has, in fact, faced 74 batters (i.e. one more than originally suggested), the point still remains: relative to the amount of innings he’s thrown, Teheran has probably been the most effective of the spring’s pitchers. What one wonders is this: “How is it that nearly everyone owns a car despite the enormous expense of buying one — not to mention the associated costs, like insurance, fuel, and maintenance?” After that, though, one wonders a second, more relevant thing — namely, “How strong has Teheran’s competition been this spring?” To address that latter question in full is impossible. Insofar as some batters use spring training to experiment with mechanical adjustments or plate discipline, the “true talent” of those same batters in the moment during which they’re facing Teheran might diverge wildly from previously recorded levels. That said, with the projections available here at the site, we do have some sense of the talent level of any player Teheran would be likely to face. It’s with that thought in mind that the author had the idea of documenting every batter Teheran had faced this spring, with a view to assaying the strength of those batters relative to major-league average — again, with all possible caveats regarding spring training and how hitters use their time there. Julio Teheran’s Spring Opposition, Examined Below is a table of every batter Julio Teheran has faced this spring. For each batter, there’s a record of the date on which Teheran faced him. For each batter is also included his projected walk rate, strikeout rate, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage for 2013 — all according to Steamer. Finally, at the bottom of the table, is an average (among all of the batters Teheran has faced) for each of the five projected metrics, the major-league average for all of those same metrics in 2012, and an index rating, where 100 is average and less than 100 is worse than average — including for strikeout rate, for which I’ve used the following equation, which retains the league average in the denominator: (1-((K%/AvgK%)-1))*100. Note: the two pitchers included here (Jake Westbrook and Jon Niese) have no offensive projections. In lieu of that, I’ve simply reproduced here their respective career batting numbers. Name Team Date BB% K% AVG OBP SLG Starling Marte Pirates 24-Feb 5.1% 20.9% .277 .324 .438 Russell Martin Pirates 24-Feb 11.0% 17.4% .237 .329 .377 Andrew McCutchen Pirates 24-Feb 11.6% 17.9% .292 .378 .498 Pedro Alvarez Pirates 24-Feb 10.0% 28.5% .244 .322 .447 Neil Walker Pirates 24-Feb 8.6% 17.8% .274 .339 .431 Gaby Sanchez Pirates 24-Feb 9.8% 15.4% .258 .336 .411 Brandon Inge Pirates 24-Feb 8.6% 25.8% .222 .292 .365 Danny Espinosa Nationals 1-Mar 7.8% 26.0% .238 .310 .401 Steve Lombardozzi Nationals 1-Mar 6.1% 12.0% .265 .316 .373 Bryce Harper Nationals 1-Mar 9.6% 19.1% .263 .335 .457 Tyler Moore Nationals 1-Mar 6.2% 25.5% .241 .292 .440 Chad Tracy Nationals 1-Mar 7.0% 20.0% .248 .306 .424 Chris Marrero Nationals 1-Mar 7.0% 19.0% .255 .311 .385 Corey Brown Nationals 1-Mar 8.0% 28.0% .228 .294 .388 Sandy Leon Nationals 1-Mar 7.0% 18.0% .235 .296 .332 Eury Perez Nationals 1-Mar 3.0% 15.0% .266 .297 .338 Danny Espinosa Nationals 1-Mar 7.8% 26.0% .238 .310 .401 Austin Jackson Tigers 7-Mar 9.3% 23.0% .277 .348 .420 Brennan Boesch Tigers 7-Mar 6.9% 19.5% .258 .315 .419 Victor Martinez Tigers 7-Mar 8.9% 10.5% .294 .358 .459 Prince Fielder Tigers 7-Mar 14.3% 14.2% .292 .405 .525 Andy Dirks Tigers 7-Mar 6.6% 15.4% .273 .325 .425 Alex Avila Tigers 7-Mar 13.0% 22.5% .255 .355 .424 Jhonny Peralta Tigers 7-Mar 8.3% 17.1% .259 .322 .413 Don Kelly Tigers 7-Mar 8.0% 17.0% .244 .306 .366 Jeff Kobernus Tigers 7-Mar 4.0% 17.0% .248 .281 .327 Austin Jackson Tigers 7-Mar 9.3% 23.0% .277 .348 .420 Brennan Boesch Tigers 7-Mar 6.9% 19.5% .258 .315 .419 Victor Martinez Tigers 7-Mar 8.9% 10.5% .294 .358 .459 Prince Fielder Tigers 7-Mar 14.3% 14.2% .292 .405 .525 Andy Dirks Tigers 7-Mar 6.6% 15.4% .273 .325 .425 Alex Avila Tigers 7-Mar 13.0% 22.5% .255 .355 .424 Jhonny Peralta Tigers 7-Mar 8.3% 17.1% .259 .322 .413 Adron Chambers Cardinals 12-Mar 9.0% 20.0% .269 .339 .375 Daniel Descalso Cardinals 12-Mar 8.4% 16.8% .253 .321 .366 Allen Craig Cardinals 12-Mar 7.8% 17.1% .295 .353 .504 Ty Wigginton Cardinals 12-Mar 8.8% 20.5% .234 .308 .374 Oscar Taveras Cardinals 12-Mar 6.3% 11.9% .280 .328 .432 Tony Cruz Cardinals 12-Mar 6.0% 16.0% .244 .295 .362 Ronny Cedeno Cardinals 12-Mar 6.7% 20.0% .245 .301 .365 Stephen Piscotty Cardinals 12-Mar 4.0% 13.0% .216 .257 .303 Jake Westbrook Cardinals 12-Mar 5.5% 41.1% .119 .174 .178 Adron Chambers Cardinals 12-Mar 9.0% 20.0% .269 .339 .375 Daniel Descalso Cardinals 12-Mar 8.4% 16.8% .253 .321 .366 Allen Craig Cardinals 12-Mar 7.8% 17.1% .295 .353 .504 Ty Wigginton Cardinals 12-Mar 8.8% 20.5% .234 .308 .374 Oscar Taveras Cardinals 12-Mar 6.3% 11.9% .280 .328 .432 Tony Cruz Cardinals 12-Mar 6.0% 16.0% .244 .295 .362 Ronny Cedeno Cardinals 12-Mar 6.7% 20.0% .245 .301 .365 Stephen Piscotty Cardinals 12-Mar 4.0% 13.0% .216 .257 .303 Jake Westbrook Cardinals 12-Mar 5.5% 41.1% .119 .174 .178 Jordany Valdespin Mets 17-Mar 4.4% 17.5% .256 .294 .393 Collin Cowgill Mets 17-Mar 7.9% 18.2% .255 .316 .376 Ike Davis Mets 17-Mar 11.5% 22.3% .254 .343 .475 Marlon Byrd Mets 17-Mar 5.5% 17.6% .265 .315 .397 Zach Lutz Mets 17-Mar 9.0% 27.0% .234 .312 .389 Landon Powell Mets 17-Mar 10.0% 21.0% .222 .302 .340 Matt Den Dekker Mets 17-Mar 5.7% 27.4% .232 .281 .367 Ruben Tejada Mets 17-Mar 7.1% 13.2% .263 .324 .343 Jon Niese Mets 17-Mar 8.6% 41.1% .158 .238 .181 Jordany Valdespin Mets 17-Mar 4.4% 17.5% .256 .294 .393 Collin Cowgill Mets 17-Mar 7.9% 18.2% .255 .316 .376 Ike Davis Mets 17-Mar 11.5% 22.3% .254 .343 .475 Marlon Byrd Mets 17-Mar 5.5% 17.6% .265 .315 .397 Zach Lutz Mets 17-Mar 9.0% 27.0% .234 .312 .389 Landon Powell Mets 17-Mar 10.0% 21.0% .222 .302 .340 Matt Den Dekker Mets 17-Mar 5.7% 27.4% .232 .281 .367 Ruben Tejada Mets 17-Mar 7.1% 13.2% .263 .324 .343 Lucas Duda Mets 17-Mar 10.3% 21.6% .250 .335 .424 Jordany Valdespin Mets 17-Mar 4.4% 17.5% .256 .294 .393 Collin Cowgill Mets 17-Mar 7.9% 18.2% .255 .316 .376 Ike Davis Mets 17-Mar 11.5% 22.3% .254 .343 .475 Marlon Byrd Mets 17-Mar 5.5% 17.6% .265 .315 .397 Zach Lutz Mets 17-Mar 9.0% 27.0% .234 .312 .389 Average – – 7.9% 20.0% .250 .315 .393 MLB 2012 – – 8.0% 19.8% .255 .319 .405 Index – – 99 99 98 99 97 Notes • What we find here is that the batters Teheran has faced this spring are projected to slash .250/.315/.393 in 2013, with 7.9% and 20.0% walk and strikeout rates, respectively — i.e. not very different at all from the major-league average of .255/.319/.405 from 2012, with 8.0% and 19.8% walk and strikeout rates, respectively. On average, it appears as though Teheran’s opponents this season have been about 1% worse than league average. • The group above has posted the following slash-line against Teheran this spring in 74 plate appearances: .104/.209/.194. And the following walk and strikeout rates, respectively: 8.1% and 33.8%. • Given what we know about the samples required for certain metrics to become reliable, that slash-line figure isn’t entirely helpful, probably. Regressed using spring averages, however, we can get some sense of Teharan’s walk and strikeout rate against the above opponents to date — in this case, something like 8.1% and 25.8%, respectively. • By way of reference, here are the spring averages so far for walk and strikeout rate, respectively: 8.2% and 18.0%. • Is any of this predictive so far as the major-league season is concerned? I don’t know. The question asked towards the top of this post, however, regarded the strength of Julio Teheran’s competition so far this spring — strength of competition being frequently cited as one of the reasons why spring numbers ought to be handled delicately. In Julio Teheran’s case, he appears to have faced something similar to a major-league-average group of batters — and appears, also, to have dispatched of those same batters in an above-average way. Mostly Unhelpful Video: Julio Teheran, Succeeding Here’s mostly unhelpful footage of Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran striking out seven Mets in six innings in his most recent spring start: Your browser does not support iframes.
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