Chase Utley: One of the Best Ever

If you are reading this, there is a remarkably decent chance that you are a somewhat invested baseball fan. As a baseball fan, you probably ...

Nolan Arenado will hit 94 Home Runs

From what I have seen in the Rockies inter-squad summer camp games, Nolan Arenado might just be the second coming of Christ. I swear he is hitting like 2 home runs per game or something insane like that. I don't know if he made some adjustments in the offseason, if Coors is feeling super friendly at the moment, or if something else is going on. All I know is that Nolan has been on absolute fire recently. Here's where the numbers get involved.

If he hits 2 home runs per game, and plays 60 games, he will hit 120 home runs. Pretty easy math, right? To pass Barry Bonds, he will have to hit 73 home runs, or 1.21 home runs per game. Some analytic nerds might say "Nooooo you can't just hit over a home run per game" but they are empirically wrong. Here is why:

Here is a video of Nolan Arenado hitting a home run against the Giants last year. According to ZiPS projections, Arenado will have around 4.26 plate appearances per game. If Nolan hits a home run every single time he is up to bat, he will hit 4.26 home runs per game. 4.26 is a lot greater than 1.21, as it would end up being around 256 home runs in the season.

Of course I am joking. This is very misleading. Obviously Nolan isn't going to hit 256 home runs. After all, ZiPS only projects him to play 56 of his team's 60 games. In a world where he played only 56 games, he would slug just 238 home runs. That is still 4.26 home runs per game, but just 238 home runs over the season. Fortunately, Barry Bonds only hit 73. Nolan has some room for error, but he now needs to hit over 1.3 home runs per game to keep up. We also need to add some more adjustments. 

Here is a video of Nolan hitting a double off of former Dodger and now Blue Jay Hyun-Jin Ryu. Unfortunately, this will sometimes occur. Nolan got a bit on top of this one, a rare mistake, and it ended up just being a double. Over a long season, Nolan might get a little tired. Because of this, I will pencil him in at 20% of his at bats ending up as doubles off the wall. I know this might undersell Nolan's skill a bit, but I am trying to be as unbiased as possible. As a result of this adjustment, Nolan is now only projected to hit 3.4 home runs per game. 

What about robbed home runs? I doubt that Nolan would hit a fly ball weak enough to be robbed, but it might happen. After adjusting for robbed home runs, Nolan is now projected for just 3.35 home runs per game, but that is still quite a lot. Even for a guy like Arenado, slugging 188 home runs in a season would take a lot of effort and energy. Nolan is a very motivated guy, but he isn't perfect. Here's how to fix that: A common practice in the analytical community in reaction to a potential outlier is to simply just divide the potential outlier by 2. It doesn't really matter what the context is, but always just divide by 2. This is very important. When we divide by two, we get around 1.68 home runs per game. This is closer to our number of 1.3 and it is a very reasonable projected outcome. Over a 56 game stretch, 1.68 home runs per game will amount to 94 home runs, 21 more than what Barry Bonds hit in 2001. That is the final projection, there are no other adjustments to be made, so you should expect around 94 home runs from Nolan Arenado this season.

Attempting to fix xwOBA

xwOBA is an interesting but flawed stat. It takes the exit veto and launch angle of each batted ball and assigns an estimated wOBA to the specific outcome. It then takes the xwOBA on contact, or xwOBACON, and fully factors K% and BB% to create the actual xwOBA. It is pretty good, but there is a general flaw in creating such a broad stat based purely on two inputs. Other factors, like sprint speed and launch direction, are not included in the calculation but will effect the actual outcomes on the baseball field. Unfortunately, Baseball Savant makes it impossible to find launch direction but that's not the point of this post anyways. 

Home runs are a true outcome, just like K% and BB%. The correlation to future success on home runs are just as stable as BB%, but it is not treated as a true outcome in xwOBA. I decided to change that. I took xwOBACON on balls that were not home runs, normalized it to fit the actual league average so things would not be inflated, and then factored in BB%, K%, and HR% using the basic wOBA values. This makes more sense in terms of a descriptive purpose, and I haven't tested things out but it is likely a lot more predictive as well. It still probably lags behind the incredible predictive powers of DRC+, but it is likely better than xwOBA. 

Nolan Arenado went from a 0.344 xwOBA to a 0.385 xwOBA. Alex Bregman went from 0.378 to 0.418. Matt Chapman fell from 0.360 to 0.354. Cody Bellinger went from 0.429 to a very impressive 0.460, just a tick behind Mike Trout, who also heavily improved to 0.461. I do want to acknowledge that it this stat definitely overrates the value of good players by a smidgen. The league average is still 0.314, but there is more variation between players than what there should be.

To normalize the xwOBA I just plugged in the new xwOBA into an equation which puts it on the same scale as the original xwOBA. The rankings and percentiles did not change, but the values did. Then I went and used a different equation factoring sprint speed into the xwOBAcon that I had. For example, Mike Trout dropped from 0.461 to 0.430, but the sprint speed adjustment brought up up to 0.433, and he still ranked first in the league. Jeff Mathis jumped from 0.191 to 0.216, still the worst in the league, but a higher value. Bregman and Arenado, who I mentioned previously, fell down to .397 and .369 respectively, but Bregman remained in the 98th percentile and Arenado in the 93rd percentile.  You can find the full results for 2019 here-> here <- . 

Penis Buttler Analysis Part 1

Welcome to part 1 of my Penis Buttler analysis blogs. While the name makes it sound like the title of a porn company, it is actually just an instagram meme page that produces epic ironic content. Go follow him  @penls_buttler on Instagram. Now let's take a look at his most recent post.

The top image contains a picture of Family Guy main character Peter Griffin on the phone. There is already a layer of irony in the sense that Peter is always epic. It's combined with the additional irony about the original meme "Hello Cringe Department" which was epic in its time. That idea is pretty washed up at this point, so he put a twist on it. He replaced "cringe" with "frozen in terror" which was a very solid choice. Frozen in terror has no previous ironic connotation, but now it does. When Peter is implied to have said something, its tone and deeper meaning change. This whole situation sets up the bottom slide quite well.

I am pretty sure it is a picture of disgraced YouTuber Shane Dawson with a general red tint. I am not sure what Shane Dawson does on YouTube, but I am under the impression that it is some pretty fucked up stuff based on how others talk about him. He is recently in some hot water for another weird video that I know nothing about, so the red tint surrounding the picture fits the context very well and throws in some solid comedy. However, it subverts the scandal surrounding Dawson by completely ignoring the situation. Instead of acknowledging his issues, the text simply reads "100,000 bees are coming right at me" and that is just simply epic. Even if you didn't know who Shane Dawson was, it would still be quite funny and that's why it works so well. Similar to the ironic humor in Family Guy cutaway gags that make pop culture references from the 2000s that I do not understand. 

A weird picture of Shane Dawson in a red tint is being assaulted by 100,000 bees. That is already pretty funny. Combine that with Peter phoning up the "Frozen in Terror Department" and this post makes for absolute comedy cold. Most of his posts are great, but this is still one of his better ones.

MLB Standings Predictions: American League

Tampa Bay Rays: 35-25
The Rays are pretty good and I don't want the Yankees to win the division or make the playoffs at all. It's interesting how Tampa Bay seems to be investing in outfield defense (Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot) while already having Kevin Kiermaier, who is arguably the best defensive outfielder in the league. Their pitching is incredibly deep, and maybe we will see Wander Franco play, who is probably the best prospect since Trout and Harper came up. 

New York Yankees: 32-28
The Yankees are good but I do not want them to do well. Aaron Judge is the second best power hitter in baseball and takes a ton of walks, although he doesn't put enough balls in play which hinders his overall production. Despite that he is still probably like a 4-5 win player at worst and I do not like that. Gleyber Torres also has a ton of home run potential, and could breakout this season. Gerrit Cole is the best pitcher in baseball but the rest of their rotation is not as high in quality. They make up for that with an absolutely absurd bullpen, but I'm just hoping that they get a bit unlucky.

Toronto Blue Jays: 31-29
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wasn't as impressive as he could have been last year, but I'm hoping that he breaks out this year. Bo Bichette has a lower ceiling but also a lot higher of a floor, and overall the Blue Jays squad is pretty good. Their pitching and outfield need work, but I am pretty confident in their future outlook. As far as 2021 and beyond goes, they might just be the team to beat in the MLB.

Boston Red Sox: 29-31
The Red Sox aren't bad, but their outlook on this season is not inspiring. Despite the Mookie trade, I expected them to contend for a wild card spot. That changed when Chris Sale was sidelined for the year with an injury. The loss of Sale puts their pitching in a really bad spot, and they probably do not have enough depth to compete. With that being said, their offense is still elite and Rafael Devers has the potential to become a superstar.

Baltimore Orioles: 20-40
The Orioles somehow went from a playoff team in 2016 to one of the worst teams ever in 2018-2019. Not much has changed this year, and they are still a few years away from even having a competitive farm system, much less a competitive Major League Team.

Minnesota Twins: 42-18
I do not think the Twins are as good as my predicted record, but I am really high on them this year. They already won 101 games last year, but this years' team is more talented. Josh Donaldson was an incredible signing, as he is probably their best player. Guys like Kepler, Buxton, Sano, Arraez, and Polanco all have great high floor potential, and some pitching luck could allow them to win 42. At the same time, they could easily underachieve and win less than 30.

Cleveland REDACTED: 32-28
Francisco Lindor might be my favorite player in the MLB. He and Jose Ramirez are one of the best duos in the MLB, but the rest of the Indians roster isn't great. It's not particularly bad, and they could do pretty well, but it's not great. I am very high on prospect Nolan Jones, who has an astonishing 80 scouting grade in terms of pitch selection. He has a very good analytical skillset, and is very similar to a younger Josh Donaldson. 

Chicago White Sox: 32-28
White Sox fans can be irritating, but they support a team that should be pretty good this year. While Yoan Moncada had some unsustainable luck with balls in play this year, he is still an incredible talent and projects really well. The same can't exactly be said for Mr Tim Anderson, who is very fun to watch but does not have as productive of a skillset. Nick Madrigal is a unicorn, as his minor league strikeout rate hovers around just 3%. He has a low ceiling but a very high floor, not just as a prospect but just as a player in a given game. Lucas Giolito is one of the most underrated pitchers in the league as well. 

Kansas City Royals: 25-35
The top of the Royals lineup is actually pretty good, but their offensive depth and pitching is very poor. I am just hoping that Adalberto Mondesi and Jorge Soler transform into superstars. The Royals are still pretty far away from contention.

Detroit Tigers: 18-42
The Tigers were a pretty good team a few years ago, but they were very old and failed in their attempt to cultivate good young talent. Now their farm system isn't as bad, but their major league team is incredibly depressing. I don't think Spencer Torkelson is supposed to play this year, but his elite power potential should be exciting for Tigers fans.

Houston Astros: 45-15
I am really hoping that this happens.

Los Angeles Angels: 34-26
If Mike Trout opts out of the season, this is obviously subject to change. With that being said, a lineup with Trout, Anthony Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, and maybe Jo Adell (?) is incredibly dangerous. They need their pitching to perform well this year, but if that works out then they should be good. 

Oakland Athletics: 31-29
The A's are good but they are weird. I'm not sure if their pitching approach will work out in this small sample. 

Texas Rangers: 28-32
Their top 3 of their rotation is as good as any in baseball, but the rest of the team is a mess. Joey Gallo is great, but they do not have much outside of him. I'm not quite sure why they haven't traded Minor and Lynn, although it didn't make much sense to do so after acquiring Corey Kluber. Weird team.

Seattle Mariners: 26-34
Like the Royals, the top of their lineup is actually pretty good. Their run prevention is very poor, both in their pitching staff and defensively, but they have good potential. A lot of their arms are coming up soon and guys like Jarred Kelenic and Evan White have a lot of upside. 


The Yankees, Indians, and White Sox will have a three-way in this scenario. The Yankees beat the White Sox, then they host the Indians and loose. The Indians go to Houston and lose. The Twins beat the Rays, but then they lose to the Astros. People will cry as the Astros make yet another World Series. I'm not even an Astros fan, but their detractors are so obnoxious. They won't be as good as last year talent wise though.