When Is It Okay To Worry About Triston Casas: An Attempt at the Reverse Jinx

koufax32

He'll cry if he wants to...
SoSH Member
Dec 8, 2006
9,106
Duval

Ferm Sheller

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2007
20,649
Barrel % is 7.9%. The book seems to be to throw him breaking balls, which he’s seeing in 37.5% of pitches.

But, his babip is only .158.


I deliberately started this in order to give us something to laugh about when he’s mashing the rest of the season. Until that happens, should we be worried?
He's from Florida. I'm hoping it's a cold weather thing.
 

Ferm Sheller

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2007
20,649
I just watched Freaks and Geeks for the first time (thanks to some chatter in one of the sub-forums). Casas wasn't even alive when it aired -- not even a zygote. Gonna give him some more time...
 

bosox188

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 11, 2008
3,017
Marlborough, MA
I don't remember the exact percentile numbers, and I don't see an obvious way to carve out time periods on the Statcast page. But I've been keeping an eye on it and I know that a week or so ago the chase and barrel rates were notably worse than they are now, so they're trending the right way. His average exit velocity isn't too terrible either. The high chase rate in his first couple weeks was highly uncharacteristic of him. He's been walking a lot in the past week so he's going to start seeing some good fastballs to hit and he's going to start squaring them up eventually. We'll have to see if it takes more time for him to hit breaking pitches but as long as he keeps laying off them when they're out of the zone he can get by on that.

I thought one of the larger concerns with him going into the year might be launch angle issues. He wasn't lifting balls too often in his ~100 PAs last season and his numbers never quite showed an elite level of game power in his journey through the minors, good but not great. Vlad Jr. struggled with the launch angle thing his first couple years in the majors, and Jordan Walker's also going through it right now. But the good news is, Casas is showing a much better launch angle so far (15 degrees, up from 2 degrees last season), so hopefully once he does start connecting with some balls he'll be doing so for power.
 
Last edited:

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
24,419
Miami (oh, Miami!)
Barrel % is 7.9%. The book seems to be to throw him breaking balls, which he’s seeing in 37.5% of pitches.

But, his babip is only .158.


I deliberately started this in order to give us something to laugh about when he’s mashing the rest of the season. Until that happens, should we be worried?

Stats from baseball savant:
https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/triston-casas-671213?stats=statcast-r-hitting-mlb
Take a closer look at those savant numbers - specifically run values by pitch type. Man I love baseballsavant! Yet I wish you could sort pitch type by handedness - as is, we're considering just the very specific pitch types without regard to handedness.

Anyway, in 2022, Casas got a higher percentage of fastballs/changeups, which is where his power showed. He was weakest against the slider. This year, it's almost a total over-compensation. He's gotten a higher percentage of sliders, which he's absolutely crushing. But he's fallen off the table against fastballs/changeups.

Now let's look at handedness: Casas has always, at every level, had a strong split in his favor v. RHP.

If you sort pitch tracking by handedness, he's gotten most of his success against fastballs this year out of LHP. In fact, he's been far more successful at hitting LHP fastballs in 2023 than 2022, which in turn has left him (overall) far more successful against LHP than RHP. (Hitting RHP is his natural/historical area of his strength.) But against RHP, his spread is odd. At the ML level he's hit "breaking balls" (of all types) most effectively in 2022 and 2023. But in 2022 he also hit FBs. . .just not as well. What's weird is he's seeing less fastballs from RHP this year - yet he's almost completely ineffective against those fastballs.


I realize a lot of this is noise generated by SSS, pitcher sequencing, and batter approach, as opposed to say "an absolute ability/inability to handle a pitch of X speed or Y shape." It's just interesting to see those factors mesh in such a way that suggests he's neutralized one of his greatest 2022 weaknesses in a way that leaves him vulnerable to everything else.

This kind of reversal also immediately suggests a coaching issue to me. Either he's been given a shitty philosophy foregrounding something that seems to work against LHP and little else, or he's done it on his own and the coaching staff is failing to get him to play to his historical strengths. (The second seems far less likely.) But whatever's going on, it's producing penny-wise and pound-foolish results.
 

Fishy1

Head Mason
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2006
6,094
FWIW, (SSS and classification issues abound) his LD% is very good according to BREF: 27.5% (Fangraphs has him at 22.5%). He's hitting way fewer groundballs than last year to compensate. Nonetheless his BABIP, as has been noted, is hysterically low.

EV is 89.3, which is also good (only Devers, Turner, Verdugo, and Duran (97!!!) are better right now). SO% is 6% higher than last year at 30%.
 

chrisfont9

Member
SoSH Member
Probably worth noting that he played all of 81 games at AAA and 77 at AA, roughly a season's worth above A-ball, and he's 23. So while his advanced approach to controlling the strike zone got him moved up fast and makes him a high-floor prospect, he is just still very young and a bit raw. They probably can afford to have him learn on the job for a while, if his confidence can handle it. But if he's hitting the ball hard at a fair rate by August I'll be thrilled.
 

The_Dali

New Member
Jul 2, 2021
141
I understand the metrics, but the eyeball test shows a guy who is actively looking to walk and not swing.
 

Fishy1

Head Mason
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2006
6,094
I understand the metrics, but the eyeball test shows a guy who is actively looking to walk and not swing.
I'm not sure you do understand the metrics, given what you've asserted. Let's remember the problem of other minds before we start claiming knowledge of other's motivations/intentions based on "the eyeball test," which has got to be the phrase I want most for there to be a moratorium on in this forum (e.g., I'm not sure how the "eyeball test" would give you an inside track on a hitter's motivations...)

Let's also remember we do NOT need the eyeball test to answer questions like this. We have objective data on this stuff.

According to fangraphs plate discipline info, his % of swings on pitches in the zone is almost exactly the same as Justin Turner and Connor Wong, and slightly higher than Yoshida. It's 10% HIGHER than Verdugo, who I've traditionally thought of as a swing-first-ask-questions-later kind of hitter.

In fact, the data contradicts your point entirely. He's swinging at 25% of pitches outside of the zone, up 10% on last year -- if anything he's seemed more eager to swing this year than last. And 26% on pitches outside of the zone is again about the same as Yoshida and Turner, two very patient hitters.

Put that together, what do you have: a guy who's swing at pitches in the zone as well as two very famously patient hitters who've hit for average their entire careers, and who is swinging at pitches outside of the zone at an excellent rate.

As others have pointed out in the thread, Casass' issue is that his batting average on balls in play is very low and that he's chasing more pitches than he has in the past. Whether that's luck or poor contact (the data doesn't seem to support that) is yet to be seen. But I will tell you this: I actually love that he's continued to look to get on base despite his struggles to get the ball to drop in. He's getting on base at a .400 clip in his last 7 games, which has in part set up guys like Duran and Verdugo, who are hot right now.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
12,280
I imagine the perception of him looking for a walk may be based on the idea (true or not) that he’s been caught looking on a lot of full counts, or so it seems.

The fact that Casas has a way above average LD rate but well below average Hard Hit % is interesting, any idea of what to make of that?
 

sezwho

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
1,993
Isle of Plum
Probably worth noting that he played all of 81 games at AAA and 77 at AA, roughly a season's worth above A-ball, and he's 23. So while his advanced approach to controlling the strike zone got him moved up fast and makes him a high-floor prospect, he is just still very young and a bit raw. They probably can afford to have him learn on the job for a while, if his confidence can handle it. But if he's hitting the ball hard at a fair rate by August I'll be thrilled.
A worthy gut check. He’s such a big dude, and with a such an advanced plate approach, that it’s easy to forget how little experience he’s actually had with the highest level of pitching, and much development still lies ahead. Hopefully : )
 

Jimbodandy

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2006
11,497
around the way
FWIW, (SSS and classification issues abound) his LD% is very good according to BREF: 27.5% (Fangraphs has him at 22.5%). He's hitting way fewer groundballs than last year to compensate. Nonetheless his BABIP, as has been noted, is hysterically low.

EV is 89.3,
which is also good (only Devers, Turner, Verdugo, and Duran (97!!!) are better right now). SO% is 6% higher than last year at 30%.
The bolded indicate a guy about whom we should not worry. He's hitting the ball hard at people.
 

Fishy1

Head Mason
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2006
6,094
I imagine the perception of him looking for a walk may be based on the idea (true or not) that he’s been caught looking on a lot of full counts, or so it seems.

The fact that Casas has a way above average LD rate but well below average Hard Hit % is interesting, any idea of what to make of that?
A good question, and maybe a reflection of sloppy reporting on line drives. I'm not sure how they're calculated: I would imagine it would be velocity/angle, but it may just be eyeballed by some poor schmuck watching the game.
 

TomRicardo

rusty cohlebone
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2006
20,667
Row 14
Probably worth noting that he played all of 81 games at AAA and 77 at AA, roughly a season's worth above A-ball, and he's 23. So while his advanced approach to controlling the strike zone got him moved up fast and makes him a high-floor prospect, he is just still very young and a bit raw. They probably can afford to have him learn on the job for a while, if his confidence can handle it. But if he's hitting the ball hard at a fair rate by August I'll be thrilled.
It would be absolutely insane to take him off 1B for any reason besides injury this season. Right now his BABIP is a lot lower than you expect, and while his K is high, it is not unreasonably so especially with his walk rate.
 

Fishy1

Head Mason
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2006
6,094
It would be absolutely insane to take him off 1B for any reason besides injury this season. Right now his BABIP is a lot lower than you expect, and while his K is high, it is not unreasonably so especially with his walk rate.
Yeah, and I think the K% will come down some.

His BB% so far is also definitely elite. Even if he hits a flat .200 with this BB% he'll still get on base ~35% of the time.
 

themactavish

New Member
Aug 4, 2010
75
St. Cloud, MN
I wonder if the following seems so to anyone else. Casas often seems really jumpy in the box to me, like he's about to swing at everything, and then must suddenly engage in last-moment contortions not to swing, along with following the ball into the catcher's mitt, like he's trying to see exactly where the pitch lands. Maybe it's just a case of being anxious to pull the trigger on every pitch, but to my eye, he's no picture of relaxed concentration. To be honest, he kinda makes me nervous watching him in the box.
 

effectivelywild

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
466
15 full counts so far this season. 7 walks, 7 strikeouts (3 looking).
So, SSS caveats and all, that is a swing rate of 4/15 (26.7%) on full counts, yes? That seems pretty low, which likely plays into any impression that he is "looking to walk". I tried (and failed) to find the league overall swing rate in a full count---I did find out in this article that in 2018 the swing rate was 72%. My search also came up with some articles that have suggested that some teams---especially the sabermetrically inclined---have recommended less aggression on full counts, especially on borderline pitches due to the increase in soft contact even if you do make contact. So while Casas swing rate does seem pretty low, 7 walks out of 15 plate appearances is pretty solid production. If he isn't being thrown obvious strikes, I think the smart approach is to keep the bat on the shoulders.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
20,873
Maine
So, SSS caveats and all, that is a swing rate of 4/15 (26.7%) on full counts, yes? That seems pretty low, which likely plays into any impression that he is "looking to walk". I tried (and failed) to find the league overall swing rate in a full count---I did find out in this article that in 2018 the swing rate was 72%. My search also came up with some articles that have suggested that some teams---especially the sabermetrically inclined---have recommended less aggression on full counts, especially on borderline pitches due to the increase in soft contact even if you do make contact. So while Casas swing rate does seem pretty low, 7 walks out of 15 plate appearances is pretty solid production. If he isn't being thrown obvious strikes, I think the smart approach is to keep the bat on the shoulders.
What that 4/15 doesn't take into account is pitches fouled off in a 3-2 count. I don't know of a source to find that information other than going back through every at bat. It could be that he's being overly selective/non-aggressive, or it could be he's fouling off close pitches and only gets called out looking at pitches on the edges of the strike zone that he judged as balls.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
12,280
In his career he’s had 37 plate appearances with a full count. He’s 1-21 with 16 bb and 15 k’s. Which is good for a crazy 048/460/191 line. I don’t know if he’s looking for a walk but those numbers suggest a problem with his approach.
 

simplicio

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2012
5,158
So, SSS caveats and all, that is a swing rate of 4/15 (26.7%) on full counts, yes? That seems pretty low, which likely plays into any impression that he is "looking to walk". I tried (and failed) to find the league overall swing rate in a full count---I did find out in this article that in 2018 the swing rate was 72%. My search also came up with some articles that have suggested that some teams---especially the sabermetrically inclined---have recommended less aggression on full counts, especially on borderline pitches due to the increase in soft contact even if you do make contact. So while Casas swing rate does seem pretty low, 7 walks out of 15 plate appearances is pretty solid production. If he isn't being thrown obvious strikes, I think the smart approach is to keep the bat on the shoulders.
He just swung at practically 15 pitches in a single at bat last week.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
20,873
Maine
In his career he’s had 37 plate appearances with a full count. He’s 1-21 with 16 bb and 15 k’s. Which is good for a crazy 048/460/191 line. I don’t know if he’s looking for a walk but those numbers suggest a problem with his approach.
Does it though?

Last year, the entire league hit .183/.454/.322 with a full count (1174 BB, 1050 K). With 37 plate appearances, that's like two more hits and he's right in line with the average.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
18,187
In his career he’s had 37 plate appearances with a full count. He’s 1-21 with 16 bb and 15 k’s. Which is good for a crazy 048/460/191 line. I don’t know if he’s looking for a walk but those numbers suggest a problem with his approach.
Seems OK for someone in his position as a rookie trying to get untracked at the plate.
 

catomatic

thinks gen turgidson is super mean!!!
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
3,414
Park Slope, Brooklyn
I wonder if the following seems so to anyone else. Casas often seems really jumpy in the box to me, like he's about to swing at everything, and then must suddenly engage in last-moment contortions not to swing, along with following the ball into the catcher's mitt, like he's trying to see exactly where the pitch lands. Maybe it's just a case of being anxious to pull the trigger on every pitch, but to my eye, he's no picture of relaxed concentration. To be honest, he kinda makes me nervous watching him in the box.
This, in short, is a hitting philosophy.
My son played travel from 7-12 and from years 10-12 we had a former minor league catcher as a FT member of our parent coaching staff. His entire mental approach in the box was summed up as; “Yes, Yes, Yes, No.” In other words, you’re up there poised to swing, loading, taking your jab step, the whole nine yards on every single pitch. Only after making the last second determination that it wasn’t your pitch (below the zone/above the hands) did you hold up on your decision to offer at the pitch.

This is an adaptive approach to Travel Circuit umpires who generally reward the kids who are swinging and developing the hit tool rather than the would-be Wade Boggsian types keen to show the world their advanced plate discipline.

Yes, Yes, Yes, No has the added benefit of discomfiting the pitcher, as well.

Casas is likely coming from this tradition, and it’s worked for him thus far
 

Apisith

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 19, 2007
3,216
Bangkok
I don’t want to focus on just one at-bat, but the K in the 9th was bad and fits with the current trend of swinging too much at stuff outside the zone. He expanded the zone far too much against off speed stuff like he’s done all season. If his swing rates were similar to last year, he would be doing better. I don’t think he’s going up there looking to walk, the statistics say he’s swinging too much for his own good and the at-bat in the 9th was a key example.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
27,087
Newton
I haven’t seen a ton of games yet but isn’t this maybe expected given that he didn’t get the audition last year due to the ankle injury? This is really his first cup of coffee in the majors.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Moderator
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
71,135
I haven’t seen a ton of games yet but isn’t this maybe expected given that he didn’t get the audition last year due to the ankle injury? This is really his first cup of coffee in the majors.
He had 95 PAs for BOS down the stretch last year, that's something.

First basemen sometimes don't fully develop until their late twenties, Carlos Pena is the famous example. Casas is still just 23.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
37,330
Hingham, MA
I haven’t seen a ton of games yet but isn’t this maybe expected given that he didn’t get the audition last year due to the ankle injury? This is really his first cup of coffee in the majors.
Depends what your definition of cup of coffee is I guess - he played all of September and had almost 100 PAs.

Edit beaten by JA by seconds
 

SouthernBoSox

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 23, 2005
12,105
I don’t want to focus on just one at-bat, but the K in the 9th was bad and fits with the current trend of swinging too much at stuff outside the zone. He expanded the zone far too much against off speed stuff like he’s done all season. If his swing rates were similar to last year, he would be doing better. I don’t think he’s going up there looking to walk, the statistics say he’s swinging too much for his own good and the at-bat in the 9th was a key example.
I mean this really needs context. Cano has pitched 7 innings and he hasn’t allowed a base runner. No walks - no hits.

The pitches Casas swung over were upper percentile turbo change ups that would be challenging for any left handed hitter in baseball.

Sometimes players on the other team need to be given some credit.
 

Mantush

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2014
445
Also - Casas had already been burned earlier in the game by a very bad strike zone. I imagine that had something to do with his approach in that final at bat. He wasn't going to get any favors from the ump. Might as well try and make contact before you get rung up on ball 5 again.
 

ookami7m

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
5,678
Mobile, AL
Everyone got burned with a bad strike zone last night - makes it hard to make good swing decisions: (Looking at the chart it sure feels like it was worse than this in real time)
[63951
 
Last edited:

jezza1918

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,672
South Dartmouth, MA
Feels like worrying at all about a 23 year old prospect who had all of 800 PA's between AA/AAA is premature. Just for fun I looked up my first favorite 1b prospect for the red sox (big Mo obvs), and he had about 50% PAs in AA/AAA (including 907 in Pawtucket - Casas has 359). Looking up Mo's 1992 splits (the first year he started up in boston) and he hit .204 in april in 62 PAs with a .702 OPS, and then .125 in May in 24 PAs with a .542 OPS in May before I think he was sent down for a bit?
Anyway, TLDR my answer to the thread question is - Ill worry a little bit in the last 1/3 of this season if he doesn't show improvement/adjustments. And then I'll worry a fair bit more midway through 2024 if he's still really struggling. Related question - does anyone know an easy way to look up the success rate of prospects who topped out around top 25 in baseball (in 2022 Casas was Baseball Americas #19, MLB #16, and this year was his highest Baseball Prospectus at #35).
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2022
1,201
For what it's worth, I'm no more concerned about Casas than I was going into the year, and if anything, I'm ever so slightly more optimistic based on how he's started out.

All I mean by that is his numbers in the minors against LHP were not great, at any level. His OBP was fine, but he wasn't getting much beyond that against same handed pitching. So far this season (miniscule sample size, to be sure) he's maintained a high OBP and displayed a little bit of power with a home run (for reference last season in 61g and 105PA against LHP at the AAA level, he didn't hit a single home run).

More importantly, they're playing him against LHP and not banishing him to a career platoon role in his age 23 season. I'll admit, I was concerned that would happen to give at bats to Bobby Dablec, and I'm pleased that isn't the case.
 

Daniel_Son

Member
SoSH Member
May 25, 2021
1,729
San Diego
As long as he maintains an elite BB%, I'm not super concerned. Per Statcast, he's in the top 8% of the league on that front. Teams are throwing him more breaking pitches this year (35.6% v. 29.1% last year) and he hasn't made the necessary adjustments yet. We're also only 80 PAs into the season. I'd bet on him coming around.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 11, 2007
6,425
I dunno.... 100% not worried. Casas has some high expectations and I think there will be just a game sometime in May when it clicks- his timing, his swing, his eye, everything... and then, LASERSHOW.
Pedroia had a horrible start but really similar peripheral numbers as Casas with I think quite a lot of question marks about his ability to stick around due to his teeny weeny sized self. Casas is going to be a monster and will help Raffy anchor the lineup over the next 8-10 years.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 2, 2006
10,782
NJ
Look at Julio Rodriguez last year. Horrible April, and he seemed to do OK after ;)

Different prospect of course but still
 

shaggydog2000

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 5, 2007
11,563
I remember Pedroia's early struggles. Francona left him in there and we all know how that worked out.
He was basically done with baseball at 33 due to knee injuries? Are you saying Casas is going to have knee injuries in about a decade?
 

Jason Bae

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 23, 2021
638
NJ
I remember Pedroia's early struggles. Francona left him in there and we all know how that worked out.
Not to mention Bogaerts (84 OPS+ in 2014; had a .460 OPS from June-August, rebounded in September with an .806 OPS) and Devers (94 OPS+) didn't exactly set the world on fire in their first full seasons.
 

Benj4ever

New Member
Nov 21, 2022
363
I wonder if the following seems so to anyone else. Casas often seems really jumpy in the box to me, like he's about to swing at everything, and then must suddenly engage in last-moment contortions not to swing, along with following the ball into the catcher's mitt, like he's trying to see exactly where the pitch lands. Maybe it's just a case of being anxious to pull the trigger on every pitch, but to my eye, he's no picture of relaxed concentration. To be honest, he kinda makes me nervous watching him in the box.
Agreed. He's struggling, so he's pressing at the plate. And he's fouling off pitches he should be barreling, which just reinforces his lack of self-confidence. Once he starts hitting he should be fine.
 

8slim

has trust issues
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
24,901
Unreal America
To the question posed at the start of this thread... it's fine to worry any time. However, it's not fine to overreact to those worries.

I'm not thrilled that Casas's output this season has been pretty terrible. It sounds like there are peripheral numbers that suggest he may turn it around as the sample gets larger. But in terms of what he's actually done to contribute to the team, it's hasn't been all that good.

That being said, he should still be the 1B starter for the entire season. Even if his output doesn't improve at all from now 'til September. We gotta find out what we have in him.