League Updates

Shortstops snapshots

Yesterday Jamie boldly claimed his shortstops (Tim Anderson and Bo Bichette) might be “the best SS” in the league.   It was a poignant moment, a moment of insight into a team owner’s pride in the accomplishments of his young players.

But was it true?  We will explore that question with our usual level of tender care for the feelings of our fellow owners.

Most of my observations will be in the comments on each team.  But let’s start by checking in on how the Big Three shortstops (plus two?) available in the FA draft are doing.

Here is a snapshot from Fangraphs of their production as of yesterday morning:

   

EFL Salary

Def

PA

AVE

OB%

SLG

fWAR

$/fWAR

CC

Trea Turner

11250

7.6

250

0.312

0.356

0.489

2.4

4688

OD

Carlos Correa

10750

8.6

250

0.288

0.372

0.502

2.3

4674

FH

Corey Seager

12250

8.0

169

0.265

0.361

0.422

0.7

17500

 —

Andrelton Simmons

 —

8.6

169

0.258

0.337

0.351

0.4

 —

HD

Jose Iglesias

3750

8.3

185

0.266

0.297

0.384

0.3

12500

                   

Corey Seager started the season super-hot, but has struggled with injury and inconsistent performance for the last several weeks.  This leaves Trea Turner and Carlos Correa in a dead heat: this morning Fangraphs has them both at 2.4, with Correa listed ahead of Turner.  

 

EFL Standings for 2021
EFL
TEAM WINS LOSSES PCT. GB RS RA
Old Detroit Wolverines 45 18 .717 372.0 233.5
Peshastin Pears 42 19 .689 2.2 299.2 200.6
Haviland Dragons 41 22 .656 3.8 288.4 211.1
Kaline Drive 41 22 .647 4.4 327.5 242.0
Flint Hill Tornadoes 40 23 .639 4.9 298.7 223.4
D.C. Balk 35 19 .652 5.5 280.6 206.6
Canberra Kangaroos 33 21 .603 8.1 300.1 245.7
Cottage Cheese 33 29 .534 11.6 336.5 325.2
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 31 30 .505 13.3 299.9 294.9
Portland Rosebuds 29 32 .467 15.6 306.4 328.3
Bellingham Cascades 28 33 .458 16.2 240.8 263.6
 
 
Old Detroit: W, 6 – 4.  (50 PA, .268, .380, .390; 2.3 ip, 1 er, 3.91 ERA).  I tried to discern for every EFL team which were their two primary shortstops.  Most of us have at least two solid shortstops.  Since SS is one of the hardest positions to fill, this bespeaks successful management on our part.  
 
Both of  Old Detroit’s shortstops had big roles in the Wolverines’ win yesterday.  Correa went 2 for 5 with a walk, while JP Crawford topped him with a 2 for 4 performance featuring a double and two walks.  They got equivalent help from Tommy Edman (who can also play ss) and James McCann (who can’t).  
 
Here is where Correa and Crawford stood as of yesterday morning:
 
    EFL Salary Def PA AVE OB% SLG fWAR $/fWAR
OD Carlos Correa 10750 8.6 250 0.288 0.372 0.502 2.3 4674
OD JP Crawford 1000 8.6 232 0.273 0.336 0.383 1.0 1000
 
Correa and Crawford had combined yesterday for 3.3 fWAR this season.   Today Correa is credited with 2.4 fWAR, and Crawford with 1.2 — in Crawford’s case at least, probably rounded up — giving them an “official” total fWAR of 3.6.  Ever since the W’s, out of desperation, put Crawford in the OH position in mid-May, he has been hitting about as well as Correa, which is why Crawford is still OHing part of the time despite Devers being our primary OH.
 
 
Peshastin: W, 8 – 3. (47 PA, .286, .362, .476;  2 ip, 0 er, 0.00 ERA).  The Pears proved they can do everything the Wolverines can do, and do it a little bit better.  They gained 0.2 games in the standings behind the outstanding hitting of Ozzie Albies (3 for 4 with a triple) and 2 for 5 with a double from both Victor Robles and … shortstop Jazz Chisholm! 
 
Jazz and Willi Castro are the Pears’ pair of shortstops: 
 
PP Jazz Chisholm 4000 7.3 153 0.268 0.333 0.471 1.1 3636
PP Willi Castro 500 7.4 188 0.224 0.289 0.359 -0.1 -5000
 
This does not put them in the same plane as Correa and Crawford, but this is partly due to interruptions in their big-league service. Both are young and exciting, putting Peshastin in the enviable position of being in the middle of a pennant race with two young (and soon to be even cheaper) promising players at this premium position. 
 
 
Haviland:  “L”, 5 – 3. (47 PA, .310, .383, .476;  no pitching)  The Dragons were saddled with a loss when they didn’t deserve one. In reality they only lost 0.1 games in the standings, having nearly as good a day as the Wolverines.  It’s hard to pick out which hitter was the most valuable to the Dragons yesterday.  Five candidates present themselves.  The  weakest candidate of the five is probably Joc Pederson (1 for 4 with a homer), then something like Alex Kirilloff (2 for 4 with a triple); Maikel Franco (2 for 3 with a double);  and Gio Urshela (2 for 3 with a walk. That leaves as my candidate for the most impactful of the Dragon hitters…
 
Shortstop Jose Iglesias! (2 for 3 with a double and a walk).  
 
Here are what I believe are the two main Dragon shortstops:
 
HD Jose Iglesias 3750 8.3 185 0.266 0.297 0.384 0.3 12500
HD Amed Rosario 1000 7.6 192 0.256 0.318 0.393 0.7 1429
 
Amed Rosario was a very highly-touted prospect,  now in his fourth year as a Dragon rookie.  He seems to have broken out in May, but was stuck on the Dragon’s AAA squad until June arrived.  
 
Iglesias is a two-time (at least) former Wolverine, one of my quiet  favorites. He probably had his career year last year, but there’s always hope for renewed outbursts of that kind of hitting with Iglesias.  But until Rosario reaches his full potential and/or Iglesias recovers his 2020 magic, they are not really challenging the Anderson/Bichette duo. 
 
 
 
Kaline: W, 7 – 5. (48 PA, .317, .396, .463;  2.3 ip, 1 er, 3.91 ERA).  Like the Pears, the Drive did everything the Wolverines did, just a little bit better, thereby gaining 0.1 games in the standings.  Akil Baddoo, Yuli Guerriel, and Aaron Judge all got two hits, including a double (and in Judge’s case, also a homer), but one can argue that the hitting star of the day in Kaline, because he cost the team zero outs while going 4 for 4, was…
 
… shortstop Willy Adames!  (How long can we keep this up, shortstops leading their teams offensively?)   
 
Unfortunately this has not been typical for Adames this season, at least before his recent trade to Milwaukee.  Nor for his Kaline backup at shortstop, Andres Gimenez:
 
KD Willy Adames 500 8.6 206 0.213 0.282 0.394 0.7 714
KD Andres Gimenez 4750 8.3 85 0.179 0.226 0.308 0.1 47500
 
Adames is still young, and Gimenez is even younger, and both have established themselves as good to very good defenders, so there is reason for optimism about the future at shortstop in Kaline.  But for now they are not in the race for best shortstops in the league. 
 
 
 
Flint Hill:  L,  2 – 5.  (47 PA, .182, .234, .295;  26.7 ip, 8 er, 2.70 ERA).  All the previous teams we updated had little to no pitching to distract us, but the Tornados didn’t get that memo.  While Nathan Eovaldi did not do so well (5.7 ip, 5 er),  fellow starters Sean Manaea, Yu Darvish, and Sach Eflin cleaned things up by combining 19 ip with only 3 more earned runs.  
 
Turning to the offense, the team’s offense was weighed down by the fact that half of their 12 hitters failed to get hits.  Of the six that did, four contributed more than a single single (including Paul Goldschmidt’s homer).  Just two Tornados reached base safely more than once…
 
shortstop Tim Anderson (1 for 3 with a walk and 2 stolen bases) and…
 
shortstop Bo Bichette (3 for 5).  
 
Here is how Anderson and Bichette stood yesterday morning: 
 
FH Bo Bichette 500 8.3 255 0.267 0.318 0.470 1.6 313
FH Tim Anderson 2000 7.6 208 0.301 0.337 0.434 1.6 1250
 
As of this morning, both of these excellent shortstops are credited with 1.7 fWAR, for a total of 3.4 fWar.
 
So now we have to parse Jamie’s claim, which we should now quote precisely:
 
“Tim Anderson and Bo Bichette, perhaps the best SS in the EFL…” 
 
There is an ambiguity here, created in part by his use of “SS” instead of “shortstop” or “shortstops.”  Was he saying one of them is the best SS in the EFL?  Or both of them are tied for best in the EFL?  Or that, put together, they are the best shortstop tandem in the EFL? 
 
I think it’s hard to argue that either Bichette or Anderson is, individually the best in the league.  Turner and Correa are out there, both doing better offensively, and Correa (at least) doing better defensively. 
 
But as a tandem, are they the best?  It’s certainly arguable. But at least according to fWAR, Correa and Crawford were ahead by 0.1 fWAR yesterday, and maybe 0.2 fWAR today.  And there may be other tandems we need to consider before we draw any conclusions.   
 
 
 
DC:  W, 9 – 5.  (36 PA, .286, .389, .571;  1 ip, 0 er, 0.00 ERA).   
We’re back to hardly any pitching, so we won’t be distracted from considering the Balkan hitters.  Here we have our first clear case where a shortstop is not the biggest contributor of the day, Pete Alonso’s 3 for 5 with a double and a homer.  The next two biggest contributors were 
 
… shortstop-rated Myles Straw (2 for 4 with a double) and…
… shortstop Xander Bogaerts (one for three with a homer). 
 
Myles Straw is rated as a shortstop and while Rob and I were dueling over him in the eflBay draft I was trying to snag him as my backup shortstop (this was before I had the brilliant idea of trying to get Correa).  But the Balk have never allocated Straw to the shortstop position this year, so I can’t count him (and his 0.8 fWAR) to that position.  Instead, here are the Balk’s pair of shortstops, as of yesterday:
 
    EFL Salary Def PA AVE OB% SLG fWAR $/fWAR
DC Xander Bogaerts 8500 7.4 242 0.320 0.38 0.532 2.8 3036
DC Adalberto Mondesi 3250 8.4 26 0.360 0.360 0.720 0.5 6500
 
 
Bogaerts was narrowly but clearly ahead of Turner and Correa yesterday.  Today Fangraphs shows his fWAR at 2.9, so he has maintained his 0.5 fWAR lead over Correa.  We’ll see about Turner when we get to Cottage.
 
As a pair, Bogaerts and Mondesi were narrowly ahead of Anderson and Bichette yesterday,  3.3 to 3.2, and tied with Correa and Crawford.  Bogaerts jumped 0.1 fWAR today, but Mondesi didn’t move, meaning their 3.4 fWAR total now slots them as a pair just behind Correa and Crawford (3.6) and tied with Anderson and Bichette (3.4) — although all these differences are too small to be statistically significant. 
 
(If we did count Straw rather than Mondesi, he would just barely break the Correa/Crawford camel’s back, pushing the Balkan pair to 3.7 fWAR. 
 
 
Canberra: W, 7 – 5.  (31 PA, .259, .355, .593;  22 ip, 9 er, 3.68 ERA).  Another team loading up on pitching, and doing pretty well at it.  In this case, three starters were all sort of ok (Mize: 6 ip, 3 er;  Flexen: ditto;  Odorizzi: 5 ip, 3 er) but three releivers relieved the situation by combining for 5 scoreless innings.  On the hitting side, primary Kangaroo shortstop Javier Baez did not play, leaving the heavy hitting to Alex Bregman (3 for 4 with two doubles and a homer) …
 
… who happens to be rated at shortstop (as an 8.0 defender)!
 
Since Bregman has never been allocated to 3b, and is (I think) unlikely to be, we can’t really use him as Baez’ wingman at shortstop.  I arbitrarily counted Mauricio Dubon as the second shortstop since he’s an 8.4 there (whereas only a 6.7 at 2b, where he is currently allocated 100%) and would, I beieve, be moved to ss if something ever happened to Baez.
 
    EFL Salary Def PA AVE OB% SLG fWAR $/fWAR
CK Javier Baez 8250 8.8 218 0.240 0.276 0.480 1.3 6346
CK Mauricio Dubon 500 8.4 138 0.233 0.268 0.372 -0.1 -5000
 
Fangraphs rates Dubon as slightly below replacement playing at second base.  Were he playing shortstop, his much better defense is likely to carry him at least a little way into positive fWAR territory.  
 
In case you were wondering, Bregman has  accumulated 1.9 fWAR at third base. I expect it would be a little higher if he were playing at short, which would make the Bregman/Baez tandem contenders for “the best SS in the EFL.” 
 
 
Cottage:  W 1, L 1; 9 – 9.  (34 PA, .267 .353 .333; 14.4 ip, 7 er, 4.28 ERA).  Everything the Kangaroos could do yesterday, the Cheese could do, only not quite as well.  They distracted us with mediocre pitching, althouhg in this case it’s only on average, since  newly acquired Jean Carlos Mejia sextuple chulked (2/3 of an inning, 4 earned runs) while Taijuan Walker cleaned up ( 7 ip, 1 er).  
 
As for shortstops, here we have a real letdown.  While Randy Arozarena was shelling all parts of the field going 3 for 5 with a triple, the vaunted Trea Turner was going 0 for 5 with a walk.  His partner at short, Marcus Semien, did only slightly better: a single in 5 AB.  
 
 
As of yesterday, this shortstop duo looked like this: 
 
 
    EFL Salary Def PA AVE OB% SLG fWAR $/fWAR
CC Trea Turner  11250 7.6 250 0.312 0.356 0.489 2.4 4688
CC Marcus Semien 5000 7.5 260 0.292 0.362 0.524 2.7 1852
 
That’s a combined 5.1 fWAR, blowing the competition away, with Semian and Turner ranking second and third on the individual shortstop fWAR list.  This morning, Turner and Semien are still 2.7 and 2.4,  Semien still second and Turner now tied for third. 
 
The only comfort to non-Cheese fans is this: Semien has been playing 90% of the time at second base for the Blue Jays, and 80% (according to current allocations) there for the Cheese.  So that 2.7 WAR is not really a shortstop fWAR. And he is, relatively, a better fielder at 2b, so his fWAR might not be higher if he were playing short.  But still, this is not enough to close the 1.5-ish fWAR gap between the Cheese shortstops and the other contenders.
 
 
 
 
Pittsburgh:  W, 1 – (-1).  (36 PA, .176, .200, .294;  12.7 ip, 4 er, 2.83 ERA).  Solid pitching, and plenty of it, overcame weak hitting so the Alleghenys could climb back over the .500 line and keep pace with the Wolverines. 
 
As to the Allegheny shortstops: 
 
    EFL Salary Def PA AVE OB% SLG fWAR $/fWAR
PA Dansby Swanson 2000 8.2 236 0.234 0.289 0.439 0.7 2857
PA Garrett Hampson 500 7.5 217 0.244 0.301 0.426 0.8 625
 
Hampson is counted as Swanson’s backup here, even though he’s entirely allocated to the outfield, Straw-style.  Between them, Swanson and Hampson make a pretty good shortstop.  One would think Dansby, at least, has some upside, since he’s still young and has a history of performing a little better. 
 
 
 
Portland:  L, 6 – 13.   (37 PA, .171, .216, .543;  15.7 ip, 16 er, 9.17 ERA). On the only truly terrible day so far for an EFL team yesterday, the hitters left out something while most of the pitchers stank.  The Rosebuds slid 0.7 games in the standings. 
 
The pitchers first.  Daniel Norris:  quadruple chulk (1 ip, 4 er).  Matt Harvey: simple chulk (3 ip, 7 er).  Matt Peacock: near-chulk (1.7 ip, 3 er).  Eric Lauer — not terrible  ( 4 ip, 2 er).  Tucker Davidson:  brilliant (6 ip, 0 er).  To sum up: well below replacement levels, with the further disadvantage of being written into the Rosebud’s record in indelible bytes.
 
Now the hitters:  two Rosebuds blasted two homers a piece yesterday:  Tyler O’Neill as part of a 3 for 4 day and…
 
… half-time shortstop Jorge Polanco (2 for 5).  The main shortstop, Corey Seager, did not play.  
 
Here are the two Portly shortstops as of yesterday: 
 
    EFL Salary Def PA AVE OB% SLG fWAR $/fWAR
PR Corey Seager 12250 8.0 169 0.265 0.361 0.422 0.7 17500
PR Jorge Polanco 6000 7.9 227 0.238 0.308 0.401 0.9 6667
 
I don’t know why Seager didn’t play yesterday.  Is he hurt?  Without him at full strength, and the ‘Buds using Polanco half time at 2b, the Portland shortstop position cannot compete with the elite ones in the EFL.   
 
 
 
Bellingham:  L, 2 – 8.  (32 PA, .115, .281, .154;  3.7 ip, 4 er, 9.73 ERA)  That pitching LOOKS even worse than Portland’s, except in this case it was a mercy that there was relatively little of it.  Still, when combined with anemic hitting, the result is still a solid loss, and a 1.0 game drop in the standings. 
 
I treated Kevin Newman and Hanser Alberto as the Cascades’ prime shortstops, giving this result as of this morning: 
 
    EFL Salary Def PA AVE OB% SLG fWAR $/fWAR
BC Kevin Newman 500 7.9 209 0.207 0.244 0.258 0 #DIV/0!
BC Hanser Alberto 2500 7.5 102 0.276 0.280 0.408 0.1 25000
 
But I now see that Ha-Seung Kim is the other player allocated at short, not Mr. Alberto.   Kim has produced 0.3 fWAR.  This is a clear area for possible improvement by the Cascades, a source of hope (I hope) in Bellingham. 
 
 
 
Combined MLB + EFL Standings for 2021
AL East
TEAM WINS LOSSES PCT. GB
Old Detroit Wolverines 45 18 .717
Flint Hill Tornadoes 40 23 .639 4.9
Tampa Bay Rays 39 24 .619 6.2
Boston Red Sox 37 25 .597 7.7
New York Yankees 33 29 .532 11.7
Toronto Blue Jays 31 28 .525 12.2
Baltimore Orioles 22 39 .361 22.2
NL East
TEAM WINS LOSSES PCT. GB
D.C. Balk 35 19 .652
Canberra Kangaroos 33 21 .603 2.7
New York Mets 30 24 .556 5.2
Atlanta Braves 29 30 .492 8.7
Philadelphia Phillies 29 31 .483 9.2
Washington Nationals 25 33 .431 12.2
Miami Marlins 26 35 .426 12.7
 
AL Central
TEAM WINS LOSSES PCT. GB
Chicago White Sox 37 24 .607
Cleveland Indians 32 27 .542 4
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 31 30 .505 6.2
Kansas City Royals 29 31 .483 7.5
Bellingham Cascades 28 33 .458 9
Detroit Tigers 25 36 .410 12
Minnesota Twins 24 37 .393 13
NL Central
TEAM WINS LOSSES PCT. GB
Chicago Cubs 35 27 .565
Milwaukee Brewers 34 27 .557 0.5
Cottage Cheese 33 29 .534 1.9
St. Louis Cardinals 32 30 .516 3
Cincinnati Reds 29 30 .492 4.5
Pittsburgh Pirates 23 37 .383 11
 
AL West
TEAM WINS LOSSES PCT. GB
Haviland Dragons 41 22 .656
Kaline Drive 41 22 .647 0.5
Oakland A’s 37 26 .587 4.3
Houston Astros 35 26 .574 5.3
Seattle Mariners 31 32 .492 10.3
Los Angeles Angels 30 32 .484 10.8
Texas Rangers 24 39 .381 17.3
NL West
TEAM WINS LOSSES PCT. GB
Peshastin Pears 42 19 .689
San Francisco Giants 38 23 .623 4
Los Angeles Dodgers 36 25 .590 6
San Diego Padres 37 27 .578 6.5
Portland Rosebuds 29 32 .467 13.5
Colorado Rockies 25 37 .403 17.5
Arizona Diamondbacks 20 43 .317 23
 
 

 

 

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