Getting to Know the MLB 2019 Rule 5 Draft Pool

Yesterday marked the first day of the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) Winter Meetings, a time for folks in the industry, along with those aspiring to break in, to meet up and discuss trends in the game, network, and of course talk about baseball. With executives from all the front offices in such close proximity, it is usually a time of high activity for off season transactions, both between organizations as well as free agents signings, which is always exciting. The four day event is capped off with the Rule 5 draft (here is a link to the Wikipedia page as well for those wanting to learn more). To sum it up briefly: Teams with space on their 40 man rosters have a chance to pick up unprotected, draft eligible players from other organizations that must be on the 26 man roster for all of 2020 to be kept by the new team. It is the MLB’s attempt to balance the talent found in team farm systems. This year the draft will take place on Thursday, December 12th. There are over 600 players eligible for the draft this year so if you are interested in getting to know that player pool, please keep on reading.

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A Look at Marcus Semien and BB%+K% Change

Since I did not own him on any of my fantasy teams in 2019, I was not aware of the incredible season Marcus Semien was having until it was almost over. His WAR of 7.6 was a career high and good for 5th best in the MLB. Almost two weeks ago Grey, the lead writer of Razzball.com, posted the recap of the top 20 SS of 2019. In standard 5×5 leagues, the Razzball player rater had Semien as the sixth best shortstop for fantasy this season. In past years, it might not mean much, but this year there were a lot of productive players at the position so ranking sixth was no small feat. In his recap of Semien’s season, Grey provided an interesting tidbit I will quote below: “His Ks dropped from 18.6% to 13.7% and walks went up from 8.7% to 11.6%. Ready for some wonky math? Great! Almost 5% down on Ks and 3% up on walks, so that’s 8% total difference. I wonder what the highest percentage difference is for a player in 2019 who had at least 2500 previous major league at-bats. I have to think Semien’s close to the best, or edging near.” Normally when writers pose these type of questions, I think about answering them, but never do. However, that day I decided to do just that on my lunch break. This article details my journey to answering this question. Did I successfully complete it? Was Grey right? Keep reading to find out. How about that for a cliff hanger?

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MLB Players with More Walks than Strikeouts: 2019

Today I am going to cover some of the players who accomplished the rare feat of finishing the 2019 MLB season with a Walk to Strikeout Ratio (BB/K) greater than or equal to 1. If you have read my blog before, you know this has been the primary reoccurring theme of my blog. If you have not (I assume that is most of you), welcome! I have written about this topic previously on the 2018 season, the 2017 season, and even created a Tableau dashboard to cover the history of this feat in all MLB seasons. I became fascinated with this topic when I started writing online back in the beginning of 2018 as the way the modern game is going, there has been less of an emphasis on plate discipline. The goal of this series of articles is to shine a spotlight on those players that standout out in this area. Let’s get to it!

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A Quick IV Thoughts: 10/1/19

Back in June, I wrote what I hoped would be the first in a series of weekly posts aimed to encourage me to write and share more of my thoughts, which I titled aptly titled A Quick IV Thoughts. I linked that post above and it goes over the details of what I am trying to accomplish with this series. Alas , I had not written anything for that series until today. Nonetheless, it is back. Today there is no theme to this post, just some thoughts I feel like sharing. Let’s get to it!

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IV Thoughts On: The James Paxton Trade

Usually upon hearing about a major MLB transaction (trade, free agent signing, etc), I have a habit of doing the following: 1) read the notification of the the transaction on my phone, 2) check Twitter for all of the details of the transaction, 3) go to /r/baseball and read the comments there on the transaction, 4a) go to Fangraphs and read the reaction piece to come on the transaction, 4b) look at the stats for the player(s) involved in transaction, 5) go about my life until the next transaction of interest occurs. Today I decided to do something different. When I got notice that a James Paxton trade occurred, I decided to only do step 1, skip to step 4b, and write a piece with my own reaction to the trade. 

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MLB Players with More Walks than Strikeouts: 2018

I have already written about the players with walk to strikeout ratios (BB/K) greater than or equal to 1.00 for 2017  and relatively (depending on your definition of the word) recently created a dashboard showing the MLB history of this feat so I guess it only make sense for me to write a post about who has joined this club following the 2018 season. I really did not intend for this to be a primary topic I would be covering on this blog, but I feel like it is my job at this point to continue to keep you updated on this subject. I really do not want to let all six (approximate guess) of my readers down. That said, I do find the topic interesting (or else I would not be doing this) as players with great plate discipline are a rare occurrence in today’s game and it might help me uncover some underrated players in my  deeper fantasy leagues. The following post will highlight all the qualified batters who have been added as well as address the unqualified batters added who I deem interesting enough to write about.

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MLB Players Who Walk More Than They Strikeout

While I was finishing up my first article for this blog, I knew that I would be writing a follow up piece on the subject. I also knew that there were many different ways I could do it, yet I was unsure of the best way to do it. Should I look back at the past five seasons and write about that in comparison to 2017? The past ten? Should I turn this into three pieces? What would the right cutoff be? When trying to solve a problem, sometimes I overthink what needs to be done as I try to come up with optimal solution right from the start. While this may not sound like a bad thing, it is certainly a hindrance to getting things accomplished as it prevents me from even starting the task at hand. I have only recently become aware of this problem and I am trying to break that habit. Launching this blog without a fully fleshed out plan was one such way I am doing that, but enough about that topic. Let us get to the content!

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Setting the Stage: Opening Day 2018

It is finally here! It feels like just a week ago that I was watching the Astros celebrate their 2017 World Series victory over the Dodgers. Finally, meaningful baseball will be played and the fantasy season can begin. No more speculating what will happen as we can finally watch the season unfold before our own eyes. All the hope we had in the offseason for our favorite teams will begin to fade with each passing day (looking at your Mets). It seems like every author who writes about baseball provides their predictions for the upcoming season. With this post, it looks like I can officially put myself into that group of people. In addition, I will cover the fantasy leagues I will be competing in this year as I will be referencing them on occasion.  I only had the idea for this post yesterday so no record projections by me. I am just going off of my gut . Let’s begin.

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The Effect of the Diamondbacks’ Humidor on Paul Goldschmidt

Since the beginning of last year when the Arizona Diamondbacks announced they would be introducing a humidor at their home park, Chase Field, there has been a lot of speculation as to how this would affect baseball being played. There is an expected reduction in overall offense as a result, but the question is just how much of a reduction. For those not familiar with the term, a humidor is a device that is used to control the humidity of the objects inside. Usually they are used to store cigars, but in this case this one will be used for Major League baseballs. The specific requirements for the Chase humidor will be 50% humidity at 75 degree Fahrenheit. Alan Nathan, a baseball physicist, took a look at this and in an article for The Hardball Times concluded that there would be a 25-50% reduction in home runs at Chase Field. This is definitely a substantial percentage and with news of the humidor being installed officially for the start of the 2018 season, the fantasy community has be fading Diamondback hitters and talking up Diamondback pitchers. I have been wondering for sometime if this was an extreme reaction to this news and if there was a good way to determine this. Up until recently, I was not sure, until I read an article that gave me an idea for this totally not scientific method feature below.

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