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June 21, 2013

BP Unfiltered

The Longest Plate Appearance of the Week, 6/21

A 14-pitch battle between two players whose identities are revealed within.

Longest Plate Appearance of the Week, 6/13-6/19
June 19, Rockies at Blue Jays
Neil Wagner vs. D.J. LeMahieu, 14 pitches (one short of 2013 record)

Length: 5:30
Mound visits: 1
LeMahieu’s longest previous plate appearance: 10 pitches
Previous longest plate appearance vs. Wagner: 11 pitches
2013 League-average P/PA: 3.84
LeMahieu P/PA: 3.76
Danks P/PA against: 4.58
Previous match-up history: None

Every Thursday I run a query on the BP database that returns the longest plate appearances of the previous week, and in the 0.411 seconds it takes to finish, I hope that the names at the top of the results list will be big ones (because you might want to read about them) or intriguing ones (because I might want to write about them). This week, the names at the top of the list were Neil Wagner and D.J. LeMahieu. Okay! Not exactly how I would’ve wanted that to go, but I’m doing the damn thing anyway.

You might be wondering who or what a Neil Wagner is. I know I am! Wagner is a 29-year-old, right-handed career reliever about whom we wrote this in Baseball Prospectus 2013: “Neil Wagner is a prospect because he packs some serious heat and strikes guys out, but he’s still looking for a second pitch.” He’s not literally looking for a second pitch—he has a slider, which he’s thrown about a quarter of the time in his 10 1/3 innings this season. (He’s also thrown 10 changeups, according to Brooks Baseball.) The implication of that sentence is that the slider isn’t very good, although it seems to work against Triple-A hitters—Wagner struck out 32 of them in 20 1/3 innings at Buffalo this season. But in the majors this season (small sample), Wagner’s slider has a 22.2 percent whiff/swing rate, which, for reference, is half the whiff/swing rate of Clayton Kershaw’s slider.

The “packs serious heat” part is true: Wagner’s average four-seamer has averaged 96.3 mph. But because of the second-pitch problem, Wagner seems to have trouble finishing hitters off. He threw 4.26 pitches per plate appearance in Triple-A, and that rate has risen since his promotion.

LeMahieu is a 24-year-old utility infielder type who’s been playing base with Josh Rutledge filling in for the injured Troy Tulowitzki at short. He’s a high-BABIP type who hits a ton of grounders and beats out infield hits, but has little power.

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Fantasy Beat

Weekly #streameroftheday Update

Bret takes a look through this past week's streamer picks and looks at where he went right (and wrong).

For those of you unfamiliar with the #streameroftheday process, I recommend one starting pitcher per day who is owned in fewer than 10% of leagues (lower than your typical standards) and post it on Twitter at @dynastyguru. And this Friday post is where I stand in front of the firing squad, fully accountable for these recommendations. I ran a longer introduction in my first post of the season, explaining why my ownership limit is much lower than most others out there, but essentially it's to be helpful in deeper mixed leagues. If you want to read the whole thing, the link is here. With the pleasantries out of the way, let's jump into the action.

Here were the details for the last seven days:

Date Pitcher Opp IP ER H BB K Dec
6/14/13 Shaun Marcum CHC 5 2/3 6 7 1 4 Loss
6/15/13 Scott Kazmir WSH 2 2/3 5 4 4 2 ND
6/16/13 Hector Santiago HOU 5 1/3 3 5 4 8 Loss
6/17/13 Dillon Gee ATL 8 1/3 2 5 1 6 Loss
6/18/13 Andrew Cashner SF 6 2/3 3 10 1 6 ND
6/19/13 Chris Capuano NYY 6 0 3 0 4 Win
6/20/13 John Danks MIN 5 6 12 0 2 Loss

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BP Daily Podcast

Effectively Wild Episode 229: Derek Jeter, Yasiel Puig, and the All-Star Game/The Royals and Blaming the Ballpark

Ben and Sam talk about a pair of All-Star candidates, then discuss Royals GM Dayton Moore's comments about Kauffman Stadium suppressing walks.


Ben and Sam talk about a pair of All-Star candidates, then discuss Royals GM Dayton Moore's comments about Kauffman Stadium suppressing walks.

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BP Unfiltered

Hot Prospect Video: Ronald Guzman

Jason catches up with the most polished Rangers prospect at Single-A Hickory.

When Rangers prospect Ronald Guzman joined the Single-A Hickory Crawdads late last month, he immediately became the most polished hitter in a lineup that includes five of the organization’s top 10 prospects. A 6-foot-5 first baseman with a mature lefty swing and solid approach, Guzman ranked no. 9 in the Texas system entering this season.

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June 20, 2013

BP Daily Podcast

Effectively Wild Episode 228: Matt Harvey and Clubhouse Hazing/Albert Pujols at Present/Underrated Slash Line Stars

Ben and Sam discuss Matt Harvey's response to hazing, Albert Pujols' recent resurgence, and players we're underrating because of the run environment.


Ben and Sam discuss Matt Harvey's response to hazing, Albert Pujols' recent resurgence, and players we're underrating because of the run environment.

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BP Fantasy Podcast

Episode 49 is Live

Episode 49 of the Towers of Power Fantasy Hours is live. 2 hours and 35 minutes of fantasy baseball chatter to help you get your teams to the promise land.

If an embedded player does not appear above this line, please refresh your page

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June 19, 2013

BP Unfiltered

Blind BABIP Results: You Suck

All of you, and me. We all suck.

When we did the Blind BABIP test for Jake Peavy last year, we were collectively sliiiiightly better than random guesses. So slight that it was hard to pat ourselves on the back, but better all the same. When we did the Blind BABIP test for Jose Iglesias, we were quite a bit worse than random guesses. On average, each of you got 4.45 answers correct out of 10. It's one thing to say baseball is hard to crack. It's another to say that baseball is actively misleading us, and yet that's the case. Given more information, we do a worse job of figuring out what is going on than if we had no information.

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BP Unfiltered

Zack Wheeler and First-Start Jitters

Do rookie starters struggle to find the strike zone in their first career starts?

Zack Wheeler’s big-league debut on Tuesday night went well. He held the Braves scoreless over six innings, allowing four hits, striking out seven batters, and showing impressive stuff. The only cause for complaint was that he walked five.

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