While the league as a whole barrels toward what could well be a rip-roaring trade deadline, and with news that the Calgary Pioneers acquired big fish Bobby Lynch, many Yellow Springs Fans were worried that the team had let them down—acquiring only Juan Guerrero and Adam Barnard—two arms whose time appeared to be well past their expiration date.
When coming to Yellow Springs, Guerrero was 4-9 with Vancouver, and had posted a 6.75 ERA in 90 innings. This following a 9-18, 5.13 effort last year. Barnard’s situation was worse, sitting 2-10, 6.96 after a 5.32 season, and having been put on waivers two weeks prior to the Nine’s deal.
If these were pre-deadline kinds of deals, the fans weren’t feeling it.
But baseball is a funny game, and somewhere along the way to the chocolate factory something happened that seems to have bent the baseball world in a different direction.
Since arriving in Yellow Springs, Guerrero is 3-1, with a 4.46 ERA and a new contract that will keep him with the team through 2040. And Barnard: holy hells, man, Adam Barnard is 5-1, with two saves and a 1.31 ERA. There’s some question that his $10M contract could be retained rather than just be dumped. Guerrero has slid into a shifting role as a starter, and Barnard is throwing mostly in long stints out of the bullpen.
So, yeah, you can feel justified in wondering just what the heck is going on here?
Yes, ladies and gents, the benefits of grabbing this kind of data seems to never end (* see note far below). If you haven't played with it, you're missing out on a great way to totally destroy several hours in front of your television set. In fact, in messing with this data today I've managed to convince myself that I could capture it in ways that would make a lot more interesting studies a lot easier to do. So there goes my next month.
Anyway, when we take a look at pitch data before and after Guerrero's trade, we find that he's is throwing strikes about 1.2% more often in a Yellow Springs uniform than he did when he was with the Vancouver outfit:
When we look at his batted ball data, however, things start to get interesting.
|Yellow Springs Nine||132||43.9%||15.2%||17.4%||1.5%|
|Yellow Springs Nine||18||69.0%||23||73.9%||20||30.0%||8.7%|
So, the final assessment is this: since coming to Yellow Springs, Juan Guerrero has thrown a few more strikes, gotten more ground balls, slightly better defense from his outfield, in addition to cutting his homer rate. It’s hard to expect the homer rate to stay steady—especially given the fact that Vancover’s stadium and Utopia field would predict otherwise, but the defensive change really should be steady, and we’re not sure what to think about his strike rate with the team.
Now let’s take a similar look at
But the water in Yellow Springs has something in it this year.
Looking under the hood, we see that, like Guerrero, Barnard, too, is throwing an extra few strikes:
|Yellow Springs Nine||486||37.2%||62.8%|
|Yellow Springs Nine||137||8.0%||1.5%||19.0%|
Well, let’s dig a little deeper…
Strikes come in four classifications: called, swinging, foul, and batted. Here’s what Adam Barnard was doing in Omaha vs. what he’s doing in Yellow Springs:
|Yellow Springs Nine||486||19.3%||9.3%||14.0%||20.2%|
Is this because of a change in him? Maybe. His role as a reliever allows him to pump the gas a bit more, though he’s throwing long innings. Or maybe he’s facing worse hitters? That could well be--though it would be tougher to tease that out of the ether of my data set, it could probably be done. Is it the manager or the influence of Alberto Sanchez as his pitching coach? Maybe it’s just luck. I dunno.
But the data is the data.
On that note, here’s one more view of Barnard’s change, and the fact that he’s suddenly missing bats. His strikeout bump is almost completely based on swinging strikes:
|Yellow Springs Nine||137||19.0%||3.6%||15.3%|
|Yellow Springs Nine||137||35.0%||13.9%||19.0%||0.7%|
And still there’s even more:
When we look at the defense being played behind Barnard now versus what was happening in Omaha, we see a quantum leap.
|Yellow Springs Nine||48||81.3%||26||80.8%||18||52.6%||3.8%|
So, the bottom line here is that Adam Barnard’s moment in time is something akin to a perfect storm, a total makeover. He’s suddenly missing bats, when he hits a bat the ball is almost always staying in the park, and the guys behind him are playing big-league defense.
How long will all this last?
But every YS9 fan in the world will take it while we can get it.