August 2018 Chicago White Sox Prospects

This year’s Chicago White Sox is lined with some heavy studs, but they are still lacking in depth. This said, you might be interested to know the top prospects you can find in the team.

1. Dylan Cease

This young right-hander hasn’t reached the Majors yet. However, you can see that he has gotten stronger and stronger as the year progresses. With his improvements, he has been promoted from double A to triple A. He definitely looks like he’s ready for the big leagues. What has he to offer? He has the fastball and curve. He can strike out 140 batters in 112.1 innings.

2. Eloy Jimenez

At 21, Jimenez is able to hit the ball hard and generate lots of line drives. He can also get aggressive at the plate and make lots of contact. Observing his play, you’ll see that he has a high and sustainable BABIP. With his ability to slug at least 30 homers, he might be ready to play at the big league next year.

3. Michael Kopech

Like Cease and Jimenex, Kopech is a triple A. Known as the flame thrower, he can hit triple digits and currently sits in the upper 90s. As he struggles with his control, he can make hitters uncomfortable in the batter’s box. In a nutshell, he’s a wipeout slider. He struck out 152 batters in 113.1 innings. However, he also had 60 free passes. With his big and strong frame, the potential is clearly visible.

4. Luis Robert

There are many issues with Robert. First of all, he has always struggled with his health. His numbers in inflated by BABIP and are very unsustainable. On the other hand, he has produced several outstanding offensive numbers that can get him to the big league next year.

5. Dane Dunning

You might not notice him especially when he’s with Kopech and Cease. He’s often overlooked. However, he does have a firm fastball and can hit the mid 90s. His control and ability to avoid the long ball are also notable. You can see his potential to be a mid-rotation starter and innings-eater. Currently though, he’s recovering from an injury.

This is a short list of Chicago White Sox prospects. You can also easily add Nick Madrigal, Alec Hansen, Zach Collins, Blake Rutherford, and Luis Alexander Basabe to it. Their standing might greatly change in the coming year.

Regression Toward the Mean: What It Is

If you’ve ever read several articles about fantasy baseball analysis, then chances are you’ve met the phrase “regression toward the mean.” This is often interchangeably used with the phrase “player BABIP bound to regress.” Do you know what it means?

Batting Average on Balls in Play

In baseball statistics, BABIP or batting average on balls in play is used to measure how many of the batter’s balls which come in play has gone for hits. It can also measure how many balls which come in play against the pitcher has gone for hits with the exclusion of home runs.

The BABIP average in the major league is .300. Different factors may influence a player’s BABIP, so it can be lower or higher than this.

How Is This Related to Regression Toward the Mean?

Let’s take 100 baseball hitters for example and say that 50 of them has a BABIP greater than .300 and the other 50 has a BABIP lower than .300. The former players may have benefitted from good luck while the latter suffers from bad luck. Why?

Statistically speaking, there’s a 3-in-10 chance that a player can get a hit of .300 BABIP. Even in the group of 50 with high BABIP, you can still expect BABIP to be .300 in the next season. The same can be said with the group of 50 with low BABIP. This is what “regression toward the mean” means.

In other words, regression toward the mean refers to the phenomenon where a variable that’s extreme on the first measurement (high or low BABIP) tends to be closer on average (.300) during the second measurement. Likewise, if the measurement is extreme on the second measurement, it may be closer to the average on the first measurement.

Regression is applicable on both overperforming and underperforming players. In both cases, you can expect their BABIP to regress toward the mean on the second or third year, if not on the first.

It’s Not a Natural Law

Regression toward the mean does not necessarily imply that those who were lucky in the first season will experience bad luck in the next. What you can expect is that they’re bound to cool off and move towards their average.

You must know that regression toward the mean is not a natural law. It’s simply a statistical tendency. Sometimes, it will take a long time before it happens.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Prospects

It’s an error not to familiarize yourself with the top prospects in fantasy baseball. The list changes almost every month. However, they rarely change so much that you see someone new on the list every time. According to this year’s Prospect Scorecard, here’s the top fantasy prospects in 2018:

1. Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani is one of the best young players in fantasy baseball now. Yes, his value can fluctuate rapidly, but he remains to be the best prospect in the game.

2. Eloy Jimenez

Though he suffered from injuries in the beginning of 2018, his value remains steady. So far, experts see nothing to worry about Jimenez. In fact, it’s expected that he’ll make the CHW debut soon.

3. Ronald Acuna

Compared to Ohtani, Acuna has had a slow start. However, with his stats, he can be wearing the Braves uniform in no time. He remains in the 1A lists and is highly noted for his speed.

4. Kyle Tucker

Tucker has started great in the AAA. His offensive skills have made him a fan favorite. He also has a stronger MiLB track record compared to other players.

5. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

At age 19, Guerrero debuted in the AA. His BABIP records of .361, .419, and .639 makes him one of the best fantasy prospects in the minor.

6. Gleyber Torres

This player started hot, and the media absolutely loves him. In fact, news has been spreading about his incoming debut in the NYY.

7. Michael Kopech

Kopech is at the level of Buehler and Whitley when it comes to top tier pitching prospects. Like Jimenez, he may be wearing the CHW uniform soon.

8. Walker Buehler

Since his draft, Buehler has held his value steady. Although his time in the big league has yet to be decided, experts have high hopes for him.

9. Fernando Tatis Jr.

Unlike other players in the list, Tatis started slow. However, the potential is clearly visible. You might want to put your bet on him while he remains under the radar.

10. Victor Robles

Robles has luckily dodged a potential elbow injury that could ruin a career. Currently, he holds a great value in the roto leagues.

The Trade deadline season can be both exciting and stressful. It’s always better to keep an eye on the top players, so you’ll know exactly where to put your cards when the time comes.

Understanding Concepts: DIPS and FIP

Statistics is the foundation of a good fantasy baseball experience. This said, you must know your way around basic concepts such as defense-independent pitching statistics (DIPS) and fielding independent pitching (FIP).

Defense-Independent Pitching Statistics

Voros McCracken, a baseball sabermetrician, has pioneered a new type of baseball statistics in the 1990s. His article on Pitching and Defense began the separation of the pitching stats from the defensive stats. Defense-independent pitching statistics (DIPS) answers that question: Can you measure the efficacy of the pitcher with stats that only pitchers can control?

McCraken believes that fluctuations in BABIP and ERA are influenced by luck and defense, which are both out of the pitcher’s control. Thus, they can’t help in calculation the value of the player.

DIPS, on the other hand, takes into account the home runs, hit batters, strikeouts, walks, fly ball percentage, line drive percentage, and ground ball percentage. Using all these stats in which the pitcher has total control over, you can get a clearer picture of their true ability as a pitcher.

Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP)

You might argue that luck is also involve in home runs, so it shouldn’t be included in the DIPS. While it’s true that it involves luck, the pitcher’s skill is also factor in it. There are pitchers that give up on home runs, and there are those who prevent them. So how do measure actual pitching skill?

Another baseball sabermetrician in the name of Tom M. Tango has developed the Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). It is a DIPS stat which is based on the Earned Run Average (ERA) but only focuses on the HRs, SOs, and BBs. It’s an easy stat that you can use. Its calculation is as follows:

FIP= (13*HR + 3*BB – 2*K)/IP + C; where C is the league-average FIP (3.20)

How to Apply DIPS and FIP

DIPS and FIP are used as the main basis of the pitcher’s value. They are not to be a catch-all replacement for ERA and BABIP, however. Their purpose is not to dismiss hits and other contact plays. They are only to break these into components that pitchers have control over.

Though FIP has a more predictive future performance compared to ERA, it is not the law. There are pitchers who can outperform their FIP over a long career. You can only use FIP projections in making smarter decisions and lining up better players.