9-News: 39.064 – What’s Going On, or Why are Barnard and Guerrero Good Now?

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9-News: 39.064 – What’s Going On, or Why are Barnard and Guerrero Good Now?

Post by RonCo » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:46 am

Is it the Coaching? Is it the AIr? Is it Just the Stuff They Put in Their Hair?
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?


To understand what's going on with Juan Guerrero, we went to some of the core stats we can pull out of the results script, starting with something simple: balls and strikes.

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:

Yellow Springs44634.365.7
That's not really a lot of extra strikes: five or six more over his 446 pitches in Yellow Springs than could have been expected in Vancouver. It has, though, translated into his strikeout rates (12.8% of batters faced in Vancouver vs. 13.6% in Yellow Springs) as maybe 1 extra strikeout. So, yes, he’s throwing a few more strikes, which is nice, and good. But I can’t see that as the big mind bender. His walk rate has also not budged an inch, steady at 5.3% of batters faced.

When we look at his batted ball data, however, things start to get interesting.

Vancouver Mounties39939.8%13.0%24.3%4.8%
Yellow Springs Nine13243.9%15.2%17.4%1.5%
In Yellow Springs, Juan Guerrero has increased his ground ball production by 4 percent, and—probably more important—cut his home run rate in three. I say "probably more important" because (1) it’s obvious that a pitcher reducing his HRA is a very good thing, but that when we look at the defense that’s been played behind him, he’s also getting a benefit from his increase in GB, and the outfield defense being played behind him.

Juan GuerreroGBGBOut%FBFBOut%LDLDOut%HR/FB
Vancouver Mounties4969.2%9759.8%5244.2%19.6%
Yellow Springs Nine1869.0%2373.9%2030.0%8.7%
The Nine infield isn’t doing much more than the Mountie infield did, but its out rate on GB is getting executed more often. In addition, while this small sample includes more line drives being his off Guerrero (effectively three additional hits), fly balls are being converted to outs more often—resulting in maybe four less hits. Given that the Nine infield defense is registering as massively better than the Mountie infield, I can argue that Guerrero has NOT received the full benefit he should have so far from pitching in front of a better set of gloves--or, put another way, perhaps his turn around should have been even bigger.

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


While Guerrero’s improvement with the Nine has been merely noticeable, Barnard’s has been stratospheric. The kind of dime-turn that makes people either jump off buildings or jump for glee, depending on which side of fandom you’re on. I mean, anyone who says they could have predicted this is off his rocker. Yes, Barnard was considered a top of the rotation pitcher at one point of his life, but that was a few years ago. In today's world, he was literally a sim away from being released when the Hawks traded him away merely to get a guy they could release for half the cost.

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:

Adam BarnardPitches%Ball%Strike
Omaha Hawks137638.4%61.6%
Yellow Springs Nine48637.2%62.8%
Unlike Guerrero, though, Barnard is turning those few strikes into something more. His strikeout rate has jumped from 10% to 19%:

Adam BarnardBFBB%HP%K%
Omaha Hawks3886.2%2.3%10.3%
Yellow Springs Nine1378.0%1.5%19.0%
This is what is known in the business as “a big deal.” Ten percent more Ks means about 14 guys on the pines who would have put the ball into play. So, what gives? How can four more strikes translate into 14 more strikeouts? Something fishy? Umpire payola, maybe?

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:

Adam BarnardPitchesCalled%Swing%Foul%Batted%
Omaha Hawks137615.6%6.9%16.3%22.8%
Yellow Springs Nine48619.3%9.3%14.0%20.2%
The bottom line here is that Adam Barnard is suddenly missing bats. His Called strikes are up about 4% and his Swinging strikes about 3%. Foul balls and batted balls are each down 2-3%. Looking at it this way says Barnard is putting an extra 5-6% of his strikes directly into the count, which makes sense then that his strike out rate would take a pretty good jump.

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:

Adam BenardBFK%KL%KS%
Omaha Hawks38810.3%3.9%6.4%
Yellow Springs Nine13719.0%3.6%15.3%
Of course, in Benard’s case, there’s even more.

Omaha Hawks38842.0%15.2%20.6%4.4%
Yellow Springs Nine13735.0%13.9%19.0%0.7%
Given that Barnard is striking out a lot more batters, it’s not overly surprising that his batted ball rate per Batter Faced numbers are down for every type of batted ball. His infield has seen 7% fewer grounders, and his outfield a 1-2% reduction in their work load. But, again, like with Guerrero, we see the HR rate has dropped, and by an even bigger total than Guerrero. Adam Barnard’s HR rate has been cut by 6 times. Yes, it’s a low sample size, but let’s take a moment to realize that Barnard is no longer in the little league field that is Omaha’s Hawk Park--so that says a reduction should be expected. That’s fine, of course. But an 84% cut in homers allowed is a big deal. Add that to a 10% increase in strikeouts, and you get to the point where you can begin to understand the magnitude of the makeover that has been Adam Barnard.

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.

Omaha Hawks16366.9%8065.0%8935.6%21.3%
Yellow Springs Nine4881.3%2680.8%1852.6%3.8%
YS9 infielders and outfielders are turning both Grounders and Flyballs into outs 15% more often than Omaha’s defenders did. Line drives, too, are falling into gloves even more often (17%). And, yes, some of that is because fly balls that stay in the park are considerably more catchable than those that do not.

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?

Who knows?

But every YS9 fan in the world will take it while we can get it.
Off Topic
* I have to note here that I have no idea how much any of this actually makes a difference in the game--nor really do I think that data like strike-rates and whatnot actually affect final results. My guess is that it's backward. Still, the study is fun, and the fact that the information holds a certain cohesion--that it feels like baseball--makes me happy.
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Re: 9-News: 39.064 – What’s Going On, or Why are Barnard and Guerrero Good Now?

Post by crobillard » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:31 pm

YS9 pays off the umps

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Re: 9-News: 39.064 – What’s Going On, or Why are Barnard and Guerrero Good Now?

Post by niles08 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:42 pm

Omaha residents are on suicide watch.

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