LATEST STORIES FROM FANGRAPHS

Lance McCullers Curveballs and Tandems the Astros to World Series

The Astros are going to the World Series for a number of reasons. Saturday night marked the culmination of a lengthy, creative, bottoming-out rebuild gone right, a rebuild so extreme it had earned the club the “Disastros” moniker. NO one is laughing now. The Astros are going to the World Series because of the accumulation of hirings, signings, draft decisions, development and...
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6 hours ago  |  Discuss

2017 ALCS Game 7 Live Blog

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14 hours ago  |  Discuss

The Best of FanGraphs: October 16-20

Each week, we publish north of 100 posts on our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research. MONDAYJoe Maddon Had a Bad Night, by Dave Cameron Joe Maddon actually had a pretty bad series...
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21 hours ago  |  Discuss

Mapping Out 27 Outs for A.J. Hinch

Astros, Yankees, Game 7. This should be fun. This has been a pretty terrific ALCS already, and with a winner-take-all contest to decide it tonight, this could end up being one of the best league championship series we’ve seen in a while. For the Yankees, the plan seems pretty obvious. CC Sabathia is going to start the game, and given how he’s pitched so far this postseason, Joe...
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1 day ago  |  Discuss

Effectively Wild Episode 1126: Homers, Homers, Everywhere

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the home run’s postseason supremacy, Clayton Kershaw’s performance in NLCS Game 5 and the Dodgers’ World Series outlook, the Cubs’ upcoming offseason and long-term future, and the significance of the Tigers’ Ron Gardenhire hiring. Audio intro: Pernice Brothers, "Subject Drop"Audio outro: Lurleen Lumpkin, "Bagged Me a Homer"  (Please...
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1 day ago  |  Discuss

Contract Crowdsourcing 2017-18: Ballot 3 of 15

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2016-17 free-agent market. Below are links to ballots for five of this year’s free agents, including a number of...
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1 day ago  |  Discuss

Keuchel, Verlander, and Facing These Yankees Twice

If we know anything about Dallas Keuchel it’s that he possesses some of the best command in the game. No starting pitcher more often targets and hits the lower third of the zone — and the borderline, 50-50 area at the bottom of the zone — according to Baseball Savant’s pitch data. Keuchel located 29.4% of his total pitches in these zones this season, tops among MLB starting pitchers...
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1 day ago  |  Discuss

(Mostly) East Valley Instructional League Notes

Periodically, I’ll be posting notes from in-person observations at Fall Instructional League and Arizona Fall League play. Each are essentially the scouting calendar’s dessert course, both in their timing and sometimes dubious value. I take bad fall looks with a large grain of salt as players are sometimes fatigued, disinterested, put in difficult situations purposefully so that...
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1 day ago  |  Discuss

Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 10/20/17

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When Bullpenning Goes Wrong

Playoff baseball has changed in recent years. Where managers might have once employed tactics very similar to those used in the regular season, that has increasingly not been the case. In 2011, for example, Tony LaRussa used his bullpen just as often as he did his starting pitchers en route to a championship for the St. Louis Cardinals. A few years later, the Royals shortened games...
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1 day ago  |  Discuss

The Yankees’ Air-Ball and Home-Field Advantages

The return of Greg Bird allowed the Yankees to address a weakness internally.(Photo: Keith Allison) No one is lifting and launching like the Yankees this postseason. More specifically, no one is lifting and launching like the Yankees at their home park, where the club is 6-0 this postseason after enjoying a sizable home-field advantage during the regular season (51-30), as well...
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1 day ago  |  Discuss

The Cubs Already Need to Retool

Is Javier Baez part of the core? Or a means to acquiring pitching depth?(Photo: Arturo Pardavila III) A year ago, the Cubs were baseball’s most dominant team, first putting up 103 regular-season wins and then capping the achievement with their first World Series win in 108 years. (So I was told a few times along the way.) The question wasn’t whether the 2016 Cubs were the best...
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1 day ago  |  Discuss

Effectively Wild Episode 1125: Effectively Arrieta

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Jake Arrieta’s effective wildness (and free agency), the Astros’ offensive struggles, and Yu Darvish’s bases-loaded walk, then answer listener emails about sequencing wins in the playoffs, a Dodgers fun fact, postseason managerial specialists, why hitters telegraph taking all the way, whether hitters can read fielders to tell which pitch...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

Clayton Kershaw Has Brought His Experiment Back

A few hours from now, Clayton Kershaw will take the ball in Chicago, hoping to help the Dodgers move on to the World Series. Even though the Dodgers lost last night, being able to turn now to Kershaw makes everything better, as he still deserves the benefit of the doubt, any recent struggles aside. Now, I want to take only a couple minutes of your time. Kershaw has already started...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

Dallas Keuchel Executed, the Yankees Executed Better

Dallas Keuchel didn’t overwhelm the Yankees like usual on Wednesday. Rather than continuing his career domination of the New York nine — which includes 14 scoreless innings in the postseason and a 1.09 ERA in eight starts overall — he did what Joe Girardi said before the game he rarely does: lay an egg. Keuchel was chased in the fifth, having surrendered seven hits and four runs...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

Can Jose Quintana Save the Cubs?

The Cubs staved off elimination last night through the might of Javier Baez, retaining the hope of becoming the first back-to-back World Series winner since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees. As a reward for their survival, they get to face the best pitcher of this generation in Clayton Kershaw, who has a chance to exorcise some postseason demons of his own with a decisive putaway performance...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

This Is the Postseason of the Home Run

Yesterday was a good day for the Yankees and the Cubs. The Yankees moved to the brink of making the World Series, while the Cubs managed to avoid NLCS elimination. From a less team-oriented perspective, yesterday was also a good day for the home run. In Chicago, Willson Contreras started the scoring with a long solo shot. Javier Baez hit two solo dingers of his own, while the Dodgers...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

Contract Crowdsourcing 2017-18: Ballot 2 of 15

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2016-17 free-agent market. Below are links to ballots for five of this year’s free agents, all of them first basemen...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

Are We Watching Pitchers Hurt Themselves in the Playoffs?

The postseason game is changing around us. Starting pitchers are being asked to go harder for shorter periods of time, allowing teams to begin playing matchups with the bullpen as early as the third inning. And while strategically sound in most cases, this trend has emerged without a major change in how we think about rest and schedules in the postseason. As much as we might love...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

The Fastball Is Back This Postseason

Last October gave us the postseason of the curveball — of the breaking ball, in general. The Indians, among others, navigated their way through the playoffs with an increasing reliance on breaking pitches. A combination of Andrew Miller’s slider and Corey Kluber’s breaking-ball combination nearly delivered a World Series title for Cleveland. These playoffs have been different, however...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

What’s Wrong With Houston’s Offense?

Last night, behind seven brilliant innings of work from Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees blanked the Astros 5-0 to take a 3-2 lead in the ALCS. After that shutout, Houson has now scored just nine runs in the first five games of this series, and they are hitting an anemic .147/.234/.213 so far in the ALCS. This isn’t what anyone expected from a club that produced baseball’s best batting...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 10/18/17

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3 days ago  |  Discuss

These Are the Most Talented Playoff Teams of the Wild-Card Era

It’s been apparent from the beginning that these playoffs have included some awfully talented teams. Travis wrote a couple weeks ago about the possible arrival of the era of the super-team, and I examined the landscape myself at the start of the month, when I did my best to rate all 10 of the playoff teams based on their numbers and their expected playing times. We’re watching a...
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3 days ago  |  Discuss

Chris Taylor Is a Product of His Environment

Of all the unlikely breakout stars of 2017, Chris Taylor is a candidate for the honor of unlikeliest. The infielder/outfielder continues to be a force, homering and tripling in the Dodgers’ Game 3 NLCS victory on Tuesday night to push the Cubs to the brink of elimination. Taylor entered the season as a wiry, inconspicuous, 6-foot-1, 200-pound, 26-year-old utility man. Over parts...
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3 days ago  |  Discuss

Yu Darvish Drew a Four-Pitch RBI Walk

The Cubs didn’t lose to the Dodgers last night because Carl Edwards Jr. walked Yu Darvish with the bases loaded. The Cubs aren’t on the verge of getting swept by the Dodgers in the NLCS because Carl Edwards Jr. walked Yu Darvish with the bases loaded. The Cubs are losing because their series OBP is .202, while the Dodgers are up at .360. They’re losing because their series SLG is...
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3 days ago  |  Discuss
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