The Royals have the speed, the Giants have the skipper, and both teams have momentum in an unlikely World Series matchup.
On July 28th, the Giants were four games behind the Dodgers, the Royals were five behind the Tigers, and PECOTA put their combined odds of winning the World Series at 4 percent. Neither was a preseason favorite to win the division, neither won the division, neither won 90 games, neither has an MVP candidate or a Cy Young candidate. Neither team's manager will win manager of the year, and neither will be the favorite to win a division going into next year's season. They are a combined 16-2 against the postseason gantlet, and PECOTA puts their combined odds of winning the World Series at 100 percent.
The commissioner's lasting legacy isn't randomness and meaningless. It's a more fair world.
For all the excitement of this postseason’s individual games, there is a fairly common sentiment out there that something sucks about a system so random that sub-par teams get to fluke their way to the World Series, thus stripping the season of its power to make sure the best teams are rewarded. Why play a long season and then reduce the championship to coin flips? Why continually expand postseason until every champ resembles Chris Moneymaker? Zachary Levine foretold this postseason in his epitaph for Bud Selig, written in August:
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including D.J. Peterson and Tyler Glasnow.
Friday, October 17th
D.J. Peterson, 1B, Mariners (Surprise, AFL): 1-4, R, HR. I mentioned this in a chat when a reader asked me about Peterson’s future, but sometimes these developmental decisions are quite complicated and sometimes they are remarkably simple. Many scouts believed that Peterson was destined for first base as soon as he was drafted; others thought he had a chance to stick at third. Regardless of where he falls on that spectrum, he’s probably destined for first base just out of the Mariners’ necessity, and he’s seeing some time at the new position this fall. He’s not going to unseat Kyle Seager, but Peterson is going to be an everyday bat and won’t need too much more time in the minors. His bat won’t play as well at first base, but whose does? It still projects to be a better option than the pu pu platter the Mariners trotted there this year.
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In the second of a two-part series, Mike reviews how his senior-circuit bid value recommendations fared.
Last week, I took a look back at how my outlier predictions did for American League players in 2014. This week, I will take a look at the National League.
What you will find below is a complete list of players where my bid limit was $3 higher or lower than the average expert league price in the CBS, LABR, and Tout Wars NL-only auctions. In addition, based on a reader suggestion rather than simply “grade” how well my predictions did in retrospect, I will attempt to explain why each specific bid limit was particularly aggressive or timid.
The young lefty has ascended through the Royals system in just a few months and now finds himself being used in high-leverage situations during a World Series run. But is his future as a starter or in the pen?
Notes on prospects who stood out in the desert, including Greg Bird and Patrick Kivlehan.
Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees (Scottsdale): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. The key to Bird’s success is finding the right balance point between being patient and being passive. He has a tremendous eye at the plate, but there are times when he lets hittable pitches go by instead of trying to do damage, which I noted earlier in the year after seeing him in the Florida State League. As he learns to attack more of these pitches without expanding the strike zone and swinging at pitchers’ pitches, however, he has the potential to do enough damage to be an everyday first baseman, as the power is legitimate and the ball comes off his bat with ease.
Patrick Kivlehan, 1B, Mariners (Surprise): 2-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB. Kivlehan is a late-bloomer in the baseball world after playing more football while at Rutgers, but he offers plus right-handed power, a desired commodity in the game today. The Mariners have had him at third base, but he’s destined for first base where he’s playing this fall. It’s going to be all about the power for Kivlehan, and just how much of it will play in games against better competition. He could be a guy who hits his ceiling at Triple-A, but if the power continues to show, he’ll get his chances.
The former first-rounder plugged the Giants' hole at the keystone, but can he do the same for your fantasy squad?
A first-round pick of the Giants back in 2011, Panik quietly hit his way up through the minors, landing a spot on the MLB roster halfway through the 2014 season. Once viewed as a shortstop, he’s settled in as a second baseman for San Francisco, and with Brandon Crawford firmly entrenched at short, Panik figures to stay at the keystone for the foreseeable future.
Panik’s rough 2013 campaign in Double-A tempered what was already pretty lukewarm enthusiasm about his future, but he answered his critics in a big way in 2014, both in Triple-A and in the majors. Once viewed as a surefire utility infielder, Panik now seems like he may at least be a second-division starter, and the Giants probably think there’s even more here.
Poaching is a big part of the agent business. Some especially sting and never stop.
What a postseason. What a year. I have one client playing on a postseason team, so that has been quite exciting to follow. Only one of my clients has ever won a ring before—Darren Ford. Such a strange concept to me. Ford has won one but Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, and Barry Bonds didn’t. It’s a huge honor and a numbing experience.
A first attempt at measuring how much different pitchers pitch to the situation--and the questions it raises.
A few weeks ago I wrote about James Shields’ success with runners in scoring position, specifically noting how it coincided (causation or not) to a change in the righty’s approach. This led down a deep, dark rabbit hole in which the BP research staff helped me compile a more exhaustive list of how pitchers changed their tendencies in these situations. The full data set includes the absolute changes in pitch selection in several different count situations (first pitch, pitcher ahead, count even, batter ahead, etc.); for this particular post, though, I’ll focus on just one of these subcategories: first pitches.