The Dynasty Guru’s Triple Play: Milwaukee Brewers!
Welcome to The Dynasty Guru’s Triple Play! This is a brand-new series where three very cool dynasty baseball nerds- Adam Lawler, Patrick Magnus, and Keaton O. DeRocher- bring to you a succinct analysis of a pitcher, a hitter and a prospect from each organization. We’ll be running this regularly until we cover all 30 teams!
Each team will be covered in alphabetical order. This article we’re covering the Milwaukee Brewers. And, while we here at The Dynasty Guru are primarily baseball obsessed, we’ll also be touching on some music we’ve enjoyed from each team’s home state. Enjoy, and leave us your question and comments below!
Brandon Woodruff, 24, RHP
Analysis by Patrick Magnus
The first thing I notice with my acute analyst eyes is that young Brandon Woodruff really enjoys high-fiving and fist bumping his teammates. Take a look at his gifs at the MLB Gif Library. Dude enjoys giving his teammates some love. While currently his high fives and fist bumps are fairly simplistic, I see the potential for some very creative and fun handshakes in this young man’s future.
Now that the most important analysis is out of the way, I suppose we can start to dig into some of the other details. All 6’2 225 lbs of Woodruff will be joining the Brewers rotation this year, and now we need to determine how much of an impact he can make on our dynasty teams.
The Wood Man throws three pitches, a fastball/sinker, slider, and change-up. The fastball is easily his most effective pitch. I have trouble calling it a sinker when I see him putting guys away throwing high heat. He averaged 94.7 MPH on the fastball last year but can get it up to 98 MPH in a pinch.
Here’s a look at his second best pitch, his slider. This time he makes Realmuto look REAL bad! The slider averaged 86.2 MPH in his stint last year. Here he is throwing it at 88 MPH.
Finally what many scouts label as his least impressive pitch: his changeup. This one to Dickerson looks pretty nasty to me. Look at the movement on the pitch. Woody averaged 85.2 MPH with the change.
So after getting the call, how did Woodruff deploy his arsenal?
The majority of his pitches were fastballs, which should not surprise anyone. I’d expect most rookies to rely on number one for their first cup of coffee. However, going forward Woodruff will have to improve the effectiveness and use of his changeup to be a useful fantasy pitcher. While that change up to Dickerson was nasty, it’s not working against hitters the third time through the order.
Woodruff or Woodrough?
Woodruff’s MLB Stats 2017
His fastball and slider are generating ground balls at an above-average rate. Something he’s done in the minors as well, as he generated 1.28 groundouts per air out (GO/AO) through his minor league career. He was above league average in first-pitch strikes, and from what I’ve seen of Woodruff he appears to have excellent control of his fastball. His ability to keep the ball on the ground likely contributed to his below league average HR/FB, and that fastball command has helped him limit his walks with his time in the majors and minors.
The Woodman is not going to let you have your cake and eat it too. While we can dream on that GB% climbing into the 50s, his K/9 is unlikely to get too much higher. I’d expect him to top out with something around 7. Still, a pitcher with 7 K/9, 3 BB/9, and a GB% around 50 is a good pitcher. My assumption is he’ll be streaky with some very dominant stretches but end up with an ERA near 3.7-3.9. I’d expect it to end near the four or above range in 2018.
In 2017 left-handed hitters beat up Woodruff to the tune of .345/.396/.476. That is bad. The question is: has this been a historical problem for the Woodsman?
While he hasn’t exactly dominated left-handed batters, they certainly haven’t been a problem for him in the minors. So there are a couple things we can take into account. The first being that we are dealing with an MLB debut and a small sample size of 43 Major League innings. Second, LHH put up a whopping .391 BABIP against Woody. That’s unlikely to continue considering the kind of contact lefties and righties made
One thing that is concerning though, is that the majority of the hits from LHH were not ground balls that squeaked through, but rather line drives to the opposite field.
Enough with Woodruff
Let’s put all the pieces of the Woodruff puzzle together. He’ll generate a large number of ground balls, strike out less than a batter per-nine, he’ll most likely produce a mid-to-high three’s ERA at his peak, and at least one analyst made it an entire write up without making any dick jokes. He’s a middle of the rotation starter, who possibly ends up in the bullpen if he can’t get his change-up to “click” or develop another pitch.
Woodruff is not really an exciting pitcher, as is the case for most starting pitchers in Milwaukee. Thanks to his lack of free passes, and potential for lots of ground balls, he’s unlikely to ever ruin your WHIP or ERA once he develops his third pitch. The road will be bumpy as he continues to work on his change-up, which means you should be able to acquire him on the cheap now, or later this year. If your dynasty staff needs a number three starting pitcher, there are much worse options.
Patrick’s Artist Selection
Justin Vernon is my hero in several ways. First, he’s smoked and made music with Kanye West. So that’s pretty much the greatest thing in the world. Next, he swings the sweetest, most sensitive tunes, and yet carries himself with such swag.
I’m dating myself a bit with this performance (is MySpace still a thing?), but it’s my favorite version of this song. Lyrics like “Go find another lover, to go and string along. For all your lies, you’re still extremely lovable” were particularly relatable when I myself was involved in a toxic relationship.
I’m all sensitivity and no swag.
He’s continued to produce a variety of great music including various side projects from Bon Iver. I am a huge fan, and I’d encourage you to explore his entire catalog if you haven’t already.
Travis Shaw, Age: 27, 1B/3B
Analysis by: Keaton O. DeRocher
Travis Shaw made his MLB debut with Boston in 2015 as a 25-year-old. He filled a corner infield spot on a last-place team and performed reasonably well for a rookie in his first cup of coffee. In 65 games he slashed .270/.327/.487, belted 16 home runs, knocked in 36 runs and added a decent walk rate of 7.3% and a strikeout rate of 23.0%. The unfortunate side of playing in Boston is that expectations are very high and patience is very low. Players are very seldom given a leash to adjust to the major leagues, a la Will Middlebrooks and the like that came before him.
In Shaw’s sophomore season in 2016 he put up two drastically different halves of the season. His first half he put up very similar numbers to 2015’s (.269/.332/.456, 9 homers and 48 runs batted in). In the second half, however, he fell off a cliff. His slashed dropped to .194/.259/.360 and his strikeout rate increased 3%. The severe dip in production and the aforementioned lack of patience in Boston lead Shaw to be traded to Milwaukee along with Mauricio Dubon for Tyler Thornburg. Most people felt that if given time to develop Shaw would have evolved into the middle of the order hitter he was touted to be, and in 2017 he did just that.
Who Shaw It Coming?
So what caused his significant drop in production in 2016? It’s easy to sit here now after a breakout 2017 and say “see I knew he was going to be good!” but did you really? At the time it seemed obvious Shaw had just gotten tired from his first full season in the majors. His spray percentages changed significantly from the first half to the second half and he got very pull happy.
|2016||1st Half||35.0 %||37.6 %||27.4 %||21.7 %||42.5 %||35.8 %|
|2016||2nd Half||47.2 %||27.2 %||25.6 %||22.4 %||48.8 %||28.8 %|
He also had a drastic drop in his hard-hit percentages as well. Not hitting the ball as hard, and when he did he was mostly only pulling it and his strikeout rate rose 3%? Sounds like a guy who just ran out of steam. Just to make sure we’re covering all our bases, let’s check in to see how pitchers approached Shaw to see if there was a big change form half to half that could have been the reason for the drop-off.
Nope, that’s pretty much the same. Pitchers attacked him low and away in the first half and low and away in the second half. So the question remains then: in 2017 would he have enough to succeed for a full season or would end up as a platoon corner infileder?
Shaw’s Shank Redemption
|2017||1st Half||42.4 %||31.0 %||26.6 %||16.6 %||45.9 %||37.6 %|
|2017||2nd Half||37.7 %||37.7 %||24.6 %||14.9 %||48.6 %||36.6 %|
My man! In his break out 2017, Shaw was able to carry his batted ball profile through the whole season in both the contact he made and his locations. On top of that he increased his walk rate for the third straight season (to 9.9%) and set a career low in strikeout percentage at 22.8%. WAIT THERE’S MORE!
|Season||Exit Velo||Launch Angle||Avg HR Dist|
There’s a reason they call him The Mayor Of Ding Dong City, and it’s that chart right there. Each of his three seasons in the majors, Shaw has had above average marks in exit velocity, launch angle and average home run distance. Travis Shaw is really good, and if you don’t have plans for May 28th yet, you do now because the Brewers are giving away this bad boy to all fans:
Yeah, that’s a Travis Shaw Mayor Of Ding Dong City Bobblehead. Moral of the story is, don’t bail on guys too soon because Shaw is legit and he’s one of the best dynasty corner infielders out there.
Keaton’s Artist Selection:
Josh Hader, Age: 23, P
Analysis by: Adam Lawler
“Who is the next Andrew Miller/Dellin Bentances/Archie Bradley?” It’s a question “industry experts” are often asked by the fantasy baseball following seeking out premiere arms. Arms that do not come at the cost of elite closers with names like Jansen, Kimbrel, and Chapman. Names that may provide the similar value when it comes to ratios and leagues with saves and holds.
I am not going to tell you Josh Hader is the next elite multi-inning setup guy. Nope. However, this gif will be glad to do that for me…
Josh Hader, Filthy Slider Movement. ? pic.twitter.com/23aiIyxJiC
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 22, 2018
The repertoire on the surface looks pretty standard: fastball, slider, change. However, just scratching the surface should give you insight on how tantalizing the offerings can be.
Consider the four-seam fastball, somewhere in the neighborhood of 95-97:
Consider the changeup. A pitch he reportedly worked on during the previous offseason, has a nice split in velocity band from the fastball, and will induce ground balls at an above-average rate:
But the prize jewel in Hader’s profile is the slider. What a glorious slider it is too!
(H/T Fangraphs chopping this gif up)
“Oh, but Adam, you’re just cherry-picking the choicest gifs for his slider. Does it really generate that many whiffs?” Yes. Yes, it does.
Still not convinced? Maybe you’re not a visual person. Maybe you need the hard, raw numbers. Fair enough- here are some 2017 numbers and comps to Hader.
Wow. These stats can speak a thousand words. Sure, one could quibble when observing the deserved run average (DRA). However, I think there is still room to grow when it comes to the K/9 rate. I might consider regression and the league figuring some of his patterns out, but I am more than confident in the stuff Hader provides to overcome any adjustments which could lead to a major regression.
So come and join the merry procession. We are still taking applications to join the Josh Hader Parade. The time to buy Hader is right now. Before he throws another pitch. Before the general masses start asking, “Who’s the next Josh Hader?”
Adam’s Artist Selection:
Gus Polinski and the Kenosha Kickers. Polka King of the Midwest? The Kenosha Kickers? No? That’s okay I thought you might have recognized– …Anyways I had a few hits a few years ago. That’s why I… Polka, Polka, Polka?(singing) Polka, polka, polka… No? Twin Lakes Polka… Domavougi Polka A.K.A. Kiss me polka…polka twist?
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Previously Covered Teams