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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 9/6/18

Changing pitcher evaluation; the low-key great second-half Rays; four teams in a tight race

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Kiley McDaniel: When evaluating pitching prospects, you look at stuff over command, usually. Pitchers can pick up the latter, and very rarely the former. But what if that skewed evaluation such that top prospect lists (for pitching) have all of the future aces, but also a ton of washouts? That’s because a lot of these pitchers have great stuff that low minors hitters could never hit, but struggle with upper minors and big league hitters who can both sit on the hanging curve and hit the blazing fastball. Adjusting rankings down a touch would likely more accurately represent their win value, and how they can be overrated when you obsess over stuff. But... don’t expect soft-tossers on list anytime soon.

Baseball Prospectus | Rob Mains ($): The Rays are one of only five teams to win at least 60% of their games since June 30th, which is utterly remarkable. It’s on the backs of The Opener, Blake Snell, contact hitting, and a healthier and reliable pitching staff. Maybe The Opener is a fluke, or maybe this is going to catch on.

The Athletic | Eno Sarris ($): The Rockies, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Phillies all find themselves in tight playoff races... who will prevail? The NL West teams have a tough schedule, and the Cardinals have had a weak pen, but the real odd men out are probably Philly, with the lowest odds of any in the group.