Sunday, June 30, 2013

Free Agent Fantasy Team Update: Jason Grilli's Dominance

This time's Free Agent Fantasy Team Update contains a lot of roster moves, yet again.

I released J.C. Romero, who was on the MiLB DL and signed Randy Ruiz to take his place on the MiLB roster. I change Kevin Slowey's designation from SP to RP, as the Marlins have moved him to the bullpen. Roy Oswalt and Brian Bogusevic were promoted to the big league team, both get paid 234,240 dollars, unless something else is announced. Travis Ishikawa was promoted by the Orioles, but didn't play well and was quickly designated, so I just released him and won't take his numbers. Eric Chavez also goes to the big league team, coming off the DL. David Ross to the 7 day DL then the 60 day DL, so he goes to the inactive part of team and is a release candidate. Thomas Neal was optioned to minors so goes to minor league team, as does Melky Cabrera, who was placed on the 15 day DL. MLB team should be at 24. Hisanori Takahashi was traded from the Cubs to the Rockies, but will remain in AAA. It doesn't change his status on my team. I also signed Ben Francisco to fill out my minor league/inactive roster.

Since most teams have played about 81 games:

13.8 fWAR, 37.614 wins, 43.39 losses

14.2 bWAR, 38.014 wins, 42.99 losses

12.2 WARP, 38.12 wins, 42.88 losses

-.5 WAA, 40 wins, 41 losses

Yet again, WAA likes me the best, but I have now fallen below .500 according to all 4 metrics. WARP actually likes me more than the baseball reference WAR, which is a little strange considering WAA also comes from Baseball Reference (but I think comes from one of the biggest flaws in positional player WAR, as fielding and baserunning are weighed by average and the batting is weighed by replacement).

Jason Grilli was somewhat of an after thought signing for my team, just an attempt to use some extra money I had as a late signing and to make sure I had guaranteed bullpen depth. He has clearly been worth the money and has been one of the league's elite bullpen pitchers, proving that the good 2010-2011 seasons were no fluke. Grilli was a top prospect at the turn of the century, but he bounced around the league, with large inconsistencies.

For sake of comparison, let's look at Grilli's 2009 with the Rockies, where he was missing bats, but walking way too many hitters and had an ERA over 6, which even after a good 2008, ended his time as a member of the Rockies, as he was moved to the Rangers.

Here is Grilli so far in 2013:

He is a pure 2 pitch pitcher, and unless you believe the occasional changeup tag, this seems to be what he has been for virtually the whole Pitch F/X era (it seems that he used to throw a curve). This is a pretty dramatic change for their to be no real pitch usage changes. He has went from an arm side pitcher to a glove side pitcher, and is actually throwing the ball higher than he was before. Strangely, his average velocity of all pitches has stayed the same because he is throwing his fastball harder, yet his slider has lost velocity. Your guess is as good as mine as to how that it is possible.

There isn't a major release point change other than he is releasing the ball a little lower now, something that doesn't see to be unusual as a pitcher gets older. The location change, along with the fastball velocity uptick, seems to be why Grilli has improved. He isn't afraid to go high with the plus fastball and work on the other side of the plate.

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