Moving the roundup to Fridays has worked out quite well, thank you. At least, it did until the D-backs made two trades on a Saturday that didn’t necessarily warrant their own posts. So since it’s been six days, allow me to refresh your memory:

Traded LHP Oliver Perez to Houston Astros for LHP Junior Garcia

Traded SS Cliff Pennington and cash to Toronto Blue Jays for SS Dawel Lugo

Neither of these moves are showstoppers, but both are solid little moves that were the result of a good approach, it seems to me. I’m guessing the D-backs shopped these players in advance of the trade deadline, held the line at a certain price, and found no takers. No problems with that. These moves are selling at the buyers’ desired prices, but it’s not like they jumped out and made these moves in early July; I think we can be really happy about the maneuvering here. Add another feather in the front office’s cap, along with the Mark Trumbo trade that brought Welington Castillo to town, which is paying out more and more by the day, as Jeff wrote yesterday.

Perez to the Astros is fun, in part because they’re cornering the market on “guys who got lefties out sometimes with the Diamondbacks,” adding him to LHP Tony Sipp, RHP Will Harris (who fit well versus LHH), and also LHP Joe Thatcher, who was re-signed by the Astros three days prior to the Perez trade after being designated for assignment and electing free agency. Fun times. When they picked up Sipp and Harris, those moves came off as “why not” kinds of things — the Astros weren’t necessarily close to contending, and short-term relief pieces would be the crown molding for a house still being renovated. At this point, though, considering how much brain power they seem to put into everything — see the Collin McHugh story as an example — do the Astros know something we don’t?

I’m not your guy to help you with Junior Garcia, but there’s probably some kind of story there — he hasn’t pitched much in organized ball, and this year, the Astros had kept his appearances/starts very short (3 innings, 42 pitches last time on Aug 5, 5 innings, 55 pitches on July 31, and no outing longer than 5 IP this year). Help yourself to some stats. He’s young, he has an arm, and some day we’ll learn more. Perez wasn’t going to do much to help the club this year, and he could still come back next year (I saw one such rumor, but I apologize, I can’t remember/find the source on that). Until we learn more about Junior Garcia (he’s not this guy), maybe we can just say: at least they didn’t get Senior Garcia.

As for the Pennington trade — good on them for cashing out and moving on. I threw out some thoughts on trading Penny in our trade deadline version of the roundup, and those still seem on point. There’s also this, more recent transaction:

Sent 3B Phil Gosselin on a rehab assignment to AZL D-backs

I’ll also defer on Dawel Lugo, who may have a similar ETA to Garcia (2019?) — he’s a little older, but has been slow to advance and may need more time than average for his bat to develop (although I’ll note decent numbers for extra base hits). As Jeff noted, the Blue Jays bounced him back to Low-A after moving him to High-A to start the season, so there are some blemishes on his record. He also doesn’t necessarily look like your typical shortstop, but again, why am I even still typing things right now? Here’s a video with some still images of Lugo panning and scrolling, with a narrator reading the scouting report (also, love that url).

More on both trades in a fresher format with fresher mouths in a podcast that isn’t but should be sponsored by Mentos:

Over the last 30 days, David Peralta is slashing .413/.440/.675, which is stats for “Ted Williams in a particularly good month.” I happened to see Adam McFadden mention Peralta in a piece today, and he pointed out that a .536 BABIP is not sustainable. It’s true. But if you’re reading this, you probably saw my case last week for how Jake Lamb‘s unusual collection of very hard hit balls warranted his high BABIP, even though his average batted ball speed was not spectacular.

We can run Peralta’s last month through the same wringer. We’re talking 40 tracked batted balls, so this is a bumpy ride, but:

Velo Bucket # – Peralta AVG – Peralta SLG – Peralta AVG – AZ SLG – AZ
105+ 16 0.813 1.375 0.765 1.512
100-104 7 0.714 1.857 0.765 1.209
95-99 5 0.6 1.2 0.395 0.643
90-94 4 0.25 0.25 0.29 0.409
85-89 3 0.667 0.667 0.244 0.3
80-84 0 0 0 0.165 0.186
75-79 1 0 0 0.225 0.244
70-74 1 0 0 0.225 0.235
65-69 1 1 1 0.294 0.309
-64 2 0.5 0.5 0.209 0.236

Lucky? Not really. Add or subtract one hit from the meager numbers here, and you’d be pretty much on target for the D-backs. The part that is TOTALLY (#*$@#&^ ABSURD is the NUMBER of hits in the top buckets. This graph shows the percentage of batted balls in each bucket for Peralta in the last month, and for the D-backs overall through the Lamb piece last week:

Peralta 30 day batted ball buckets

The red line bends up at the ends only because I cut off the buckets — the 105+ bucket is really 105-120 or so, etc. The bucket with the highest frequency of hits has been 95-99, which is also quite good. Not too many hitters can hit more than a few balls over 100 mph.

Over the last month, MOST OF PERALTA’S BATTED BALLS HAVE BEEN OVER 100 MPH!!!!! For the D-backs as a whole, the percentage of balls hit 100+ mph is just under 16%. For Peralta in the last month, 57.5%. Considering batting average on those balls has been around .765, that’s enormous.

I do really believe that this is where batted ball velo can tell us something about BABIP (well, really, batting average on batted balls rather than just the ones in play, as I’ve included home runs and BABIP doesn’t). If use Peralta’s frequencies for these buckets and the overall D-backs numbers for batting average for each of those buckets, I’d get an expected batting average on batted balls of: .565. That’s ridiculous. But suddenly his .536 BABIP over the last month (which, again, doesn’t include home runs) doesn’t look so outlandish, does it?

In other words, Peralta may be doing something unsustainable, sure. But don’t call him lucky. He’s earned every single one of those hits.

It’s partly a result of approach, as I wrote on Monday. He’s jumping all over 0-0 pitches (remember the home run off Matt Harvey?). The grand salami on Tuesday was also a smoked 0-0 pitch.

Happy Birthday, David! Keep being ridiculous!

To the links:

  • Really enjoyed this rundown of how the 2016 roster is shaping up by Jim McLennan over at Snake Pit, and if you’re looking for a thought exercise, work through it and see if and how it changes your perspective on some of the upcoming roster shenanigans, especially the longer-than-usual period in which the Active Roster is not restricted to 25 players. One offhanded note that wasn’t a tentpole of McLennan’s piece was about Nick Ahmed — he observed that sometimes Ahmed’s bat has been so lacking that he undoes some of the good done with his glove. That kind of question is hard with the numbers we use, since defense is keyed to average at the position and our offensive stats are usually position-independent, but I ran some of them. In total, the shortstop position has been responsible for -229.3 wRAA, or weighted Runs Above Average. One thirtieth of that is -7.64, which seems like a good baseline even though few players play every inning. Ahmed’s total is -12.3 wRAA, so he’s subtracting more than his fair share, at least compared to shortstops. McLennan is right that it’s come in stretches, as Ahmed’s month-to-month totals for the first four months were -6.0, 1.7, 1.0, and -6.7. Average defense for shortstop in both DRS and UZR is zero (by design), so if you believe Ahmed’s DRS (16) or UZR (9.1), Ahmed is still fairly ahead overall (even if you use UZR, -12.3 + 9.1 = -3.2 runs in value, ahead of the -7.64 average). But McLennnan’s point is that in stretches, the scales dip in the other direction. He’s definitely right. Just looking at it month to month, if Ahmed is the April/July guy, he’d be around -16.3 runs in value, short of -7.64. Maybe we have to deal with the bad to get the good, but the point is a strong one: Ahmed’s defense can’t carry his bat in all circumstances.
  • As Sean Hammond reported at the end of last week, it was Jamie Romak and lefty Keith Hessler who got the call when Pennington and Perez departed for more contending environs last weekend. As for Romak, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do; he was really killing it down at Reno, as we discussed last week. He’s kind of an uncomfortable complement to Phil Gosselin but also Aaron Hill, and yet for a team dripping with defense in its starting crew, if Romak has a bat that can travel, isn’t that the better backup? Pinch hitting is kind of a thing. We need to find two things out about Romak, though: 1) can he hit at this level, and 2) can he hit if given sporadic playing time. It’d be tough to prove both at once, and yet if he’s sporting a .300 average despite sporadic play at the end of the year, maybe we’ll be more willing to glean something from that than the playing time would indicate. If Gosselin is ready before the end of the month, we might have a bit of a traffic jam. Oh, and as for Hessler: cool, y’all. But Will Locante is already on the 40-man, toiling away at Double-A Mobile with a 4.50 ERA. That looks like reason enough to pass over him, maybe, but consider this: as of Saturday, his ERA was a healthier 3.74.
  • That Chris Owings walkoff on Sunday sure was strange — with the bases loaded and one out, the towering shot to left center got Owings to first and Goldy to home, but Lamb and Peralta never touched second or third. At, Zach Buchanan does a perfect job breaking down rule 5.08(b) and how it was interpreted (and how it could have been interpreted. #Lawyerball!
  • Speaking of thought exercises… we know Trevor Bauer wasn’t a fit for the Kirk Gibson / Kevin Towers D-backs, but after reading this piece from Eno Sarris at FanGraphs, what do you think? Is he still D-backs anti-matter, or would he actually fit perfectly on this more experimental team? You’re welcome. Hate mail can be sent to Jeff Wiser, c/o @OutfieldGrass24.
  • Congratulations to Randy Johnson on the retirement of #51. If you could tell five baseball stories to capture the game for eternity, wouldn’t he be one? We were spoiled. He belongs in the Hall like U2 belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall. Or…Rush?

2 Responses to Roundup: Perez, Pennington Trades; David Peralta’s BABIP; Nick Ahmed’s Offense in Light of Defense

  1. Ryan P. Morrison says:

    Missed this, up this afternoon from Matt Kory at FanGraphs:

    Just one game and look, but you’ll enjoy Matt, and he didn’t hit Swanson in the head with his camera phone so it’s all added value.

  2. Anonymous says:

    i call bologna sandwich on the Perez trade. This team is still in it, or at least capable of being spoilers. They should of kept Ollie, the Penny trade who cares. terrible trade of Ollie, this team is still pertinent, why trade a pertinent guy on the team.

    Next, they lost sundays game and the series by not starting Pollock. this is a good team, amazingly. why give the game away. also ruby deserves the best team behind now too, although I would of given castillo the day off even if he is his caddy because he’s become a major player on this team and day games during this important stretch are not great for catchers even if he did get the night before off.. Salty’s proved capable the last month behind and at the plate.

    and the lawyerball game was bush league by Price. there’s rules and detail, but that was bush league, but i get price’s/reds frustration/desperation.

    jake lamb is amazing defensively, and his batting eye is sensational, but geez that swing and his approach, I don’t know, but he’s right there with manny, arrenado, evan, beltre with the glove.

    dbacks in 2015, make a run!

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