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2024 Guardians Spring Training Thread

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What if Arias does well and is a vast improvement over Rosario from last year, AND Roccio absolutely rakes at triple A
Well, I guess you could try and trade Rocchio. The problem is SS is a very deep position in MiLB. Almost every team has a good SS prospect.
If Arias is a good MLB SS, then the Guards infield is set until JRam moves to DH.
 
I've posted Gabe's highlights before, but never really said anything about it. Here is his HR's of 2023. The HRs alone aren't what catches my eye. Look where he hits them, how hard he hits them and who he hits them off of. These are indicaters that are overlooked IMO and the reasoning behind my belief in his ability. If he just ambushed shit pitchers then I'd be less inclined to pull for his continued opportunity.
Very impressive home runs - every one of them. His power is extraordinary.

#1 and #7 were change-ups from lefties at 81 and 84 mph. He hit both of them well over the centerfield wall.

#9 and #10 were both 91 mph cutters in the middle of the zone that he hit over the right field wall. #6 was a slider on the inside corner just above the knees that he hit a mile to left center.

#2 and #3 were 94-95 fastballs that he hit to right and right center. #4 and #5 were fastballs on the inside corner that he hit to left center. #4 was 97 mph right on the inside corner and it looked like he didn't get the barrel to the ball but it still cleared the wall in left-center easily.

#8 was a 95 fastball middle of the plate at the top of the zone that he put into the center field trees.

Arias always went with the pitch. Fastballs inside were pulled. Fastballs down the midde were hit to center, right-center, or right. The two change-ups in the middle or outside corner were hit to center; the one on the inside corner went to left. His home runs came on pitches ranging from 81 to 97 mph and the location ranged from close to the right field foul pole to straightaway left. He didn't pull any home runs down the left field line.

It's not like he needed a certain pitch in a certain location. Kwan, for example, needs something on the inside corner and all his home runs were just inside the right field foul pole. Arias reminds me of Franmil in that he's so strong he doesn't need to pull the ball to take it out and, in fact, he tends to wait as long as possible before pulling the trigger. Seven of his 10 homers were from center field to the right field pole.

You never see an outfielder leaping for an Arias home run. They take three steps and stop.

This kid has a load of potential if he can just get more balls in the air. The fact that he is a very good defender at a premium defensive position just makes him more intriguing.

Arias reminds me of Yandy Diaz, another right-handed hitting infielder with amazing power that hits mostly up the middle and oppo and keeps the ball on the ground. Yandy's career ground ball percentage is 52.6%. Arias was at 52.3% last year. Yandy's average exit velocity is 91.7 with a max of 114.5. Last year Arias' exit velo was 91.1 with a max of 114.4. Identical.

Yandy averaged just 50 games per year his first four seasons and did not become an every day player until he was 29. His hard hit percentage for his career is 46.6%. Last year Statcast had Arias at 46.3%. These guys are identical at the dish; the only difference is Yandy came up for the first time at age 25.

Yandy's pull/middle/oppo percentages are 31/38/30 while Arias last year was 33/39/28. Yandy's career line drive percentage is 18.8%; last year Gabe was at 18.3%. Yandy hits a home run every 35 at-bats; Gabe every 33 last year. These guys are clones, except Arias plays short while Yandy played 3rd before switching to 1st.

Yandy's career barrel percentage is 6.7% while Gabe was at 9.9% last year. Hmmm...

The difference is that Arias' BABIP last year was .290 while Yandy's career average is .326. Last year it was .367. It appears Arias was unlucky last year. He ranked 1st on the Guardians in both average exit velocity and hard hit percentage, but his BABIP ranked 6th out of 11 players with over 180 PA's. He should have been first in BABIP, especially since he sprays the ball all over the field.

He sure looks like a Yandy clone to me. With the same hard hit percentage, ground ball percentage, line drive percentage, average and max exit velos, and spray numbers their overall numbers should be the same. Yandy is a career .290 hitter with a wRC+ of 132.

The biggest difference is Yandy's career strikeout percentage is just 14.9% while Arias struck out 32.8% of the time last year. Last year Gabe swung at 34% of pitches outside the strike zone; Yandy's career average is 22.6%.

If Arias can develop Yandy's plate discipline and cut down on the K's there appears to be no reason why he can't have the same career, only starting four years earlier and playing much better defense at a much more critical position.

After last year Arias was 23 and had 402 career plate appearances. Yandy did not get his 402nd PA until he was 27, so Gabe is way ahead of him.

Even if Arias' batted ball profile does not change one iota he has an excellent chance to be the next Yandy Diaz, assuming he can reduce his chase percentage from 34% to 22% and bring his numbers against lefties up to where they are now against righties.
 
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Yeah, Yandy and Arias are twins, just that one has a double plus hit tool and approach and the other double minus. Other than that, they're the same, lol

Arias does have position surplus on Yandy though.
 
The biggest difference is Yandy's career strikeout percentage is just 14.9% while Arias struck out 32.8% of the time last year. Last year Gabe swung at 34% of pitches outside the strike zone; Yandy's career average is 22.6%.

If Arias can develop Yandy's plate discipline and cut down on the K's there appears to be no reason why he can't have the same career, only starting four years earlier and playing much better defense at a much more critical position.
Serious question - what examples do we have in Cleveland in the last two decades of players significantly improving plate discipline/strikeout rate/walk rate at the major league level?
 
Serious question - what examples do we have in Cleveland in the last two decades of players significantly improving plate discipline/strikeout rate/walk rate at the major league level?
If we’re talking significantly elevating contact rate, and significantly reducing swinging strike percentage and K’s than George Springer (Houston) is the only player I know that conquered that challenge.

Long, long odds of conquering those issues at MLB level.
 
Serious question - what examples do we have in Cleveland in the last two decades of players significantly improving plate discipline/strikeout rate/walk rate at the major league level?
Josh Naylor's major league strikeout percentages:

2019 22.9%
2020 11.5% (only 104 AB's)
2021 18.0%
2022 16.1%
2023 13.7%

His wRC+ has gone from 90 to 128 since 2019. However, he's swinging at more pitches outside the zone than ever, but his strikeouts continue to fall. Doesn't make sense.
 
If we’re talking significantly elevating contact rate, and significantly reducing swinging strike percentage and K’s than George Springer (Houston) is the only player I know that conquered that challenge.

Long, long odds of conquering those issues at MLB level.
Admittedly I am going on gut here but this would have to be weighted to see the overall benefits/results. A walk gained is worth 1.5 to 2 times a strikeout gained. Chase rate is really only worth .75 in the equation. There are plenty of hitters that go for it almost before the pitch is thrown with 0 to 1 strikes but have the ability to get selective thereafter. My point is the ability to spoil pitches and have the discipline to take a walk is one of the keys to a good to great hitter. They'll still strikeout but when the pitcher knows they have to be perfect to get them it leads to mistakes.

All this to say they don't have to be superstars to show a marked improvement at the heart of the question.
 
Very impressive home runs - every one of them. His power is extraordinary.

#1 and #7 were change-ups from lefties at 81 and 84 mph. He hit both of them well over the centerfield wall.

#9 and #10 were both 91 mph cutters in the middle of the zone that he hit over the right field wall. #6 was a slider on the inside corner just above the knees that he hit a mile to left center.

#2 and #3 were 94-95 fastballs that he hit to right and right center. #4 and #5 were fastballs on the inside corner that he hit to left center. #4 was 97 mph right on the inside corner and it looked like he didn't get the barrel to the ball but it still cleared the wall in left-center easily.

#8 was a 95 fastball middle of the plate at the top of the zone that he put into the center field trees.

Arias always went with the pitch. Fastballs inside were pulled. Fastballs down the midde were hit to center, right-center, or right. The two change-ups in the middle or outside corner were hit to center; the one on the inside corner went to left. His home runs came on pitches ranging from 81 to 97 mph and the location ranged from close to the right field foul pole to straightaway left. He didn't pull any home runs down the left field line.

It's not like he needed a certain pitch in a certain location. Kwan, for example, needs something on the inside corner and all his home runs were just inside the right field foul pole. Arias reminds me of Franmil in that he's so strong he doesn't need to pull the ball to take it out and, in fact, he tends to wait as long as possible before pulling the trigger. Seven of his 10 homers were from center field to the right field pole.

You never see an outfielder leaping for an Arias home run. They take three steps and stop.

This kid has a load of potential if he can just get more balls in the air. The fact that he is a very good defender at a premium defensive position just makes him more intriguing.

Arias reminds me of Yandy Diaz, another right-handed hitting infielder with amazing power that hits mostly up the middle and oppo and keeps the ball on the ground. Yandy's career ground ball percentage is 52.6%. Arias was at 52.3% last year. Yandy's average exit velocity is 91.7 with a max of 114.5. Last year Arias' exit velo was 91.1 with a max of 114.4. Identical.

Yandy averaged just 50 games per year his first four seasons and did not become an every day player until he was 29. His hard hit percentage for his career is 46.6%. Last year Statcast had Arias at 46.3%. These guys are identical at the dish; the only difference is Yandy came up for the first time at age 25.

Yandy's pull/middle/oppo percentages are 31/38/30 while Arias last year was 33/39/28. Yandy's career line drive percentage is 18.8%; last year Gabe was at 18.3%. Yandy hits a home run every 35 at-bats; Gabe every 33 last year. These guys are clones, except Arias plays short while Yandy played 3rd before switching to 1st.

Yandy's career barrel percentage is 6.7% while Gabe was at 9.9% last year. Hmmm...

The difference is that Arias' BABIP last year was .290 while Yandy's career average is .326. Last year it was .367. It appears Arias was unlucky last year. He ranked 1st on the Guardians in both average exit velocity and hard hit percentage, but his BABIP ranked 6th out of 11 players with over 180 PA's. He should have been first in BABIP, especially since he sprays the ball all over the field.

He sure looks like a Yandy clone to me. With the same hard hit percentage, ground ball percentage, line drive percentage, average and max exit velos, and spray numbers their overall numbers should be the same. Yandy is a career .290 hitter with a wRC+ of 132.

The biggest difference is Yandy's career strikeout percentage is just 14.9% while Arias struck out 32.8% of the time last year. Last year Gabe swung at 34% of pitches outside the strike zone; Yandy's career average is 22.6%.

If Arias can develop Yandy's plate discipline and cut down on the K's there appears to be no reason why he can't have the same career, only starting four years earlier and playing much better defense at a much more critical position.

After last year Arias was 23 and had 402 career plate appearances. Yandy did not get his 402nd PA until he was 27, so Gabe is way ahead of him.

Even if Arias' batted ball profile does not change one iota he has an excellent chance to be the next Yandy Diaz, assuming he can reduce his chase percentage from 34% to 22% and bring his numbers against lefties up to where they are now against righties.
Here's the thing with Arias. He has been extremely young at every minor league stop and he's still only 23(24 on the 27th). He impacts the ball so well that even marginal improvements in pitch recognition and contact rate will cause a significant spike in his offensive production. So for me anyway, the arguement is if Arias can continue to develop? At the age of 23 I'd say his development is not even close to being complete and he is already an asset defensively. This is not a claim to certainty by any means, but I do suggest that it is very likely that you'll see Arias improve as a hitter and with his power that is a scary thought. Also, I don't see his struggles against LHP to continue at the same level as last season so I'm willing to give him a mulligan and his line against RHP was pretty damn good so we'll see.

At this point, how Arias strikes the ball is similar to Yandy as you pointed out. However, the frequency in which they do so is not and that's where Arias needs to get better.
 
Serious question - what examples do we have in Cleveland in the last two decades of players significantly improving plate discipline/strikeout rate/walk rate at the major league level?
I think that Arias' line against RHP is a better indicator of what type of hitter he actually is and that was 275/332/459/791 which isn't too shabby for a 23 yr old at the highest level. Now, consider a slight improvement in LA and how that could/would change the results. His BABIP numbers would normalize and his EV sends more balls to the wall and into the seats. A slight increase in LA probably changes his line against RHP to 285/340/500/900. You'd be looking at an excellent, GG caliber SS that could give you 30+ 2B and 25-35 HR over the course of a full season.

The counter to that suggestion is that he fails to improve. To that I ask what is the chances of a 23 yr old, extremely talented player not getting better?

Rocchio is a damn fine prospect/player in his own right, but he is not capable of doing the things that Arias can potentially do. Therefore you have to see Arias through to failure or success.
 
If we’re talking significantly elevating contact rate, and significantly reducing swinging strike percentage and K’s than George Springer (Houston) is the only player I know that conquered that challenge.

Long, long odds of conquering those issues at MLB level.
What about marginally improving LA? How does that potentially change the results for a guy like Arias? SO%, unless ridiculously high, is not a good indicator of the lack of production.
 
What about marginally improving LA? How does that potentially change the results for a guy like Arias?
Arias' ground ball percentage last year was over 52%. His hard hit percentage was 46%. A "marginally improved launch angle" turns those hard ground balls into hard line drives and his line drives into home runs.

It also turns his home runs into fly outs, but since his home run percentage last year was 3.2%, his ground ball percentage was 52%, and his line drive percentage was 18%, I'll take a better launch angle any day.

Here's an amazing number - Arias' average LA last year was 3.7 degrees, which was by far the lowest on team. Next lowest was Amed at 8.3. Everybody else was over 9.1.

Who was the highest? Bo Naylor at 21.0 degrees. His barrel percentage was 3rd highest. This kid is going to hit a lot of home runs. He was only 23 and a rookie last year, but his expected slugging percentage was .473, second only to Jose's .478.

Bo already has the launch angle down. In the second half of the season he hit a home run every 14.7 at-bats. If he does that this year and gets 400 AB's he'll hit 27 home runs. I don't think a lot of people understand what we have in this kid. He's still four years away from his prime.

And how about his big brother? Here are Josh's launch angles since he broke into the majors:

2019 4.5 degrees
2020 7.8
2021 9.0
2022 10.3
2023 12.3

Slowly but surely Josh has been figuring out how to get more balls in the air. His slugging percentage has gone from .403 in 2019 to .489 last year. His K-rate has dropped from 22.9% to 13.7% and he hit .308 last year, mostly due to hitting lefties for a .299 BA. Josh is still only 26. He could be huge for the next six years or so.

The Naylor brothers are on the verge of becoming a really big story, IMO. They spent the off-season not in Canada but working out every day in Arizona with little brother Myles. I think these guys are primed to have huge seasons if they can stay healthy.
 
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