Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 3/25/13
Table of Contents Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes. 1. How 2012′s Spring Pitching Leaders Fared 2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Spring Training (Overall) 3. SCOUT Leaderboards: Spring Training (Rookies) How 2012′s Spring Pitching Leaders Fared Already atop last Friday’s edition of the SCOUT pitching leaderboards, Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran produced Saturday what is likely his best line of the spring: 6.0 IP, 21 TBF, 10 K, 3 BB, 0 HR, 0 H. He continues to possess the spring’s highest regressed strikeout rate — and, with ca. 100 batters faced, is about two-thirds of the way to the point at which strikeout rates have typically become reliable at the major-league level*. *Which is a different thing, of course, than when they become reliable at spring training, a consideration whose depths remain (understandably) unplumbed. “What does that mean for Julio Teheran, 2013 Braves Starter?” is a question a reader might ask. Allow the author to answer that question only in part — in this case, by considering how the top-10 pitchers from last spring’s final SCOUT leaderboard (about which you can read more below) fared in the 2012 regular season. Here they are, in order of finish. SCOUT- represents each pitcher’s spring performance from 2012. Everything to the right of that is from the 2012 regular season. Name Team SCOUT- —— G GS IP TBF K% BB% GB% BABIP ERA- FIP- xFIP- WAR Zack Greinke – 72 —— 34 34 212.1 868 23.0% 6.2% 49.2% .306 88 79 80 5.1 Francisco Liriano – 73 —— 34 28 156.2 693 24.1% 12.6% 43.8% .300 128 103 100 1.8 Roy Halladay Phillies 78 —— 25 25 156.1 646 20.4% 5.6% 44.7% .301 114 94 92 2.5 Chris Capuano Dodgers 83 —— 33 33 198.1 817 19.8% 6.6% 40.3% .284 99 106 102 2.1 Cory Luebke Padres 83 —— 5 5 31.0 130 17.7% 6.2% 47.9% .276 72 78 100 0.7 Yu Darvish Rangers 83 —— 29 29 191.1 816 27.1% 10.9% 46.2% .295 89 74 85 5.1 James Shields Rays 85 —— 33 33 227.2 944 23.6% 6.1% 52.3% .292 90 88 78 4.3 Justin Verlander Tigers 85 —— 33 33 238.1 956 25.0% 6.3% 42.3% .273 64 70 80 6.8 Luis Marte Tigers 85 —— 13 0 22.1 93 20.4% 9.7% 30.2% .250 68 121 120 -0.1 Luke Hochevar Royals 85 —— 32 32 185.1 800 18.0% 7.6% 43.3% .315 139 112 105 1.5 Average   81 —— 27 25 162.0 676 21.9% 7.8% 44.0% .289 95 93 94 3.0 This is hardly conclusive, of course. Perhaps later in the week, if he possesses sufficient internal resources, the author will consider not only the spring pitching laggards from last season, but also pitchers from both categories (leaders and laggards) from other spring-training seasons. In any case, here are three observations relevant to the table above: • The spring pitching leaderboards (moreso than the hitting ones, it would seem) are populated by a number of conspicuously talented players. Last year, it was Zack Greinke and Roy Halladay and Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander. This spring so far (which one can see below), it’s Stephen Strasburg and Matt Harvey and Clayton Kershaw. • That is likely the case for two reasons — both of which involve striking batters out. First of all, strikeouts are a vital ingredient in run prevention. Second of all, strikeout rates tend to become reliable in relatively small sample sizes — somewhere between 125 or 150 batters faced, about. Again, spring numbers might have different reliability thresholds. Still, the point remains: good pitchers are generally recording strikeouts. • All of this is likely good news for Julio Teheran’s prospects this season. He’s missing lots of bats, which is something he hasn’t done a lot of before — not against major-league competition, at least. He’s struck out over a third of the nearly 100 batters he’s faced. Precedent (from last year’s leaderboards, at least) suggests that some of that skill carries over the regular season. SCOUT Leaderboards: Spring Training (Overall) SCOUT Leaderboard: Spring Hitters Below is the current SCOUT batting leaderboard for spring training. SCOUT+ combines regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates in a FIP-like equation to produce a result not unlike wRC+, where 100 is league average (in this case, for all spring hitters) and above 100 is above average. xHR%, xBB%, and xK% stand for expected home run, walk, and strikeout rate, respectively. Player Team Pos PA HR BB K xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+ Domonic Brown PHI COF 80 7 6 10 4.3% 7.9% 15.1% 125 Jose Bautista TOR RF 55 5 8 7 3.9% 9.9% 16.1% 123 Ryan Raburn CLE UT 47 4 8 4 3.6% 10.2% 15.1% 123 Freddie Freeman ATL 1B 70 7 3 8 4.4% 6.8% 15.0% 123 Christian Yelich MIA LF 51 5 6 7 3.9% 9.0% 16.6% 120 Paul Konerko CWS 1B 56 5 4 5 3.9% 7.8% 14.6% 120 Steve Pearce BAL COR 40 5 4 5 4.0% 8.5% 16.6% 120 Lonnie Chisenhall CLE 3B 52 4 7 6 3.6% 9.5% 15.8% 119 Miguel Cabrera DET 3B 45 4 4 3 3.6% 8.3% 14.6% 118 Gaby Sanchez PIT CIF 40 4 4 3 3.7% 8.5% 15.2% 118 SCOUT Leaderboard: Spring Pitchers Below is the current SCOUT leaderboard for spring training. SCOUT- combines regressed strikeout and walk rates in a kwERA-like equation to produce a number not unlike ERA-, where 100 is league average (in this case, for all spring pitchers) and below 100 is better than average. xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively. Player Team G GS IP TBF K BB xK% xBB% SCOUT- Julio Teheran ATL 6 6 26.0 95 35 9 30.0% 8.3% 71 Stephen Strasburg WSH 6 6 25.1 108 31 7 25.8% 7.8% 80 Matt Harvey NYM 5 5 18.1 73 24 4 25.3% 7.7% 81 Alex Cobb TB 6 6 25.2 99 28 5 24.9% 7.5% 82 Clayton Kershaw LAD 6 6 25.0 106 28 7 24.0% 7.8% 85 J.J. Hoover CIN 7 0 8.0 34 14 1 23.4% 7.8% 86 Donnie Joseph KC 9 0 9.0 34 14 2 23.4% 7.9% 87 Michael Wacha STL 5 0 11.2 44 15 1 22.9% 7.6% 87 Raul Valdes PHI 7 1 14.1 57 17 1 22.6% 7.4% 87 Greg Burke NYM 9 0 10.1 40 14 0 22.7% 7.5% 87 SCOUT Leaderboards: Spring Training (Rookies) SCOUT Leaderboard: Spring Rookie Hitters Below is a table of the the top-five spring hitters per SCOUT who are also rookie eligible. “Rank” stands for each player’s rank among Marc Hulet’s organizational top-15 list for the relevant organization. Player Team Pos Rank PA HR BB K xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+ Christian Yelich MIA LF 2 51 5 6 7 3.9% 9.0% 16.6% 120 Khris Davis MIL LF N/A 51 6 4 10 4.3% 8.0% 18.6% 117 Conor Gillaspie CWS 3B N/A 47 2 7 2 3.0% 9.7% 13.7% 116 Brandon Laird HOU CIF N/A 53 5 4 9 3.9% 8.0% 17.7% 115 Brandon Barnes HOU OF N/A 38 4 1 3 3.7% 7.1% 15.5% 114 SCOUT Leaderboard: Spring Rookie Pitchers Below is a table of the the top-five spring pitchers per SCOUT who are also rookie eligible. “Rank” stands for each player’s rank among Marc Hulet’s organizational top-15 list for the relevant organization. Player Team Rank G GS IP TBF K BB xK% xBB% SCOUT- Julio Teheran ATL 1 6 6 26.0 95 35 9 30.0% 8.3% 71 J.J. Hoover CIN 7 7 0 8.0 34 14 1 23.4% 7.8% 86 Donnie Joseph KC N/A 9 0 9.0 34 14 2 23.4% 7.9% 87 Michael Wacha STL 2 5 0 11.2 44 15 1 22.9% 7.6% 87 Allen Webster BOS 4 4 0 11.0 43 14 1 22.3% 7.6% 89
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