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He’s baaaaaaaaack. April 11, 2018

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
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Yes, we’re talking about Hansel Robles.

Robles struggled through spring training; his statistics last y

ear were inconsistent at best. In a 7-5 season, he put up a 4.92 ERA with opponents slashing .226/.332/.418. Nevertheless, he had flashes of adequacy: in July, he went 2-0 in 6 games with a 1.35 ERA over 6 2/3 innings pitched, and although he was 1-4 with a blown save in August, he put up an acceptable 2.81 ERA with an opposing slash line of .135/.308/.192. For a guy with a .52 GB/FB ratio and a reputation as serving up homers, going a month and a half with only two home runs was quite an improvement.

In his small sample size this year, Hansel has shown a .22 GB/FB ratio – that is, the vast majority of the contact made results in fly balls, making him a liability within Citi Field. (Surprisingly, he had a .281 SLG against at home, compared with a .585 on the road – shocking considering Citi’s short fences.) Still, manager Mickey Callaway called him up when the team needed a reliever and has been using him somewhat regularly – Hansel is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five games so far.

Choosing Hansel’s appearances carefully seems crucial: the graph above shows Hansel’s OBP-against by batting order position, compared with the league’s. Gary Cohen last night noted that Callaway seems to be bringing Hansel in primarily against the bottom of the order, and in fact in 2018 he was significantly more effective against hitters hitting sixth or later than the National League average.


Why isn’t Robles the left-handed specialist? July 5, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Economics.
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"Alex Torres on April 23, 2015" by slgckgc on Flickr (Original version)UCinternational - Originally posted to Flickr as "Alex Torres"Cropped by UCinternational. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alex_Torres_on_April_23,_2015.jpg#/media/File:Alex_Torres_on_April_23,_2015.jpg

“Alex Torres on April 23, 2015” by slgckgc on Flickr, Cropped by UCinternational.

In yesterday’s post, I made reference to Terry Collins‘ maddening habit of treating Alex Torres as a left-handed specialist against all better evidence. In 17 of Torres’ 33 appearances, he’s faced three batters or fewer; those numbers are similar to bridge man Hansel Robles‘ 26 appearances, in which 15 appearances have faced three batters or fewer (each has faced a maximum of eight batters). Robles’ median appearance is a full inning pitched, whereas Torres’ median was 2/3 of an inning. 19 of Torres’ appearances have come in a clean inning, whereas Robles has come in 16 times to start an inning and twice more with one batter on but 0 outs. Overall, the two pitchers are being used in very similar ways, except for one major factor: Almost 48% of the batters Alex Torres has faced are left-handed, as opposed to a hair over 38% for Hansel Robles.

Against righties, Torres has a .297 OBP-against, compared to Robles’ .328, neither being much to write home about. (Closer Jeurys Familia allows a .225 OBP against right-handers and .254 against left-handers, and reliable eighth-inning dude Bobby Parnell carries .294 against righties and .222 against lefties, in a very limited sample this year.) But against lefties, Robles strictly dominates Torres. Robles has a .222 OBP allowed against right-handers, which is as good as Parnell and a smidge better than our closer. But Torres, who’s faced 59 lefties, more than anyone except Familia? Torres allows a monstrous .407 OBP when facing left-handers!


Four oh seven.

That’s the worst platoon split of any active Mets pitcher. Not only is Alex Torres not even better facing lefties than righties, he’s so bad that Alex Torres Against Left-Handers should be sent down to keep Alex Torres Against Right-Handers on the roster! If Left-Handers Against Alex Torres were a single player, they would rank #3 in OBP in the National League, ahead of Anthony Rizzo with .405.

Both Parnell and Robles are better against lefties than righties, but Parnell should be comfortable in his eighth-inning role. Why not bust out Robles against lefty-heavy lineups and see if he can keep up his difference? But for heaven’s sake, quit using Alex Torres against left-handers.