Deconstructing seven baseball arguments that usually don't make sense.
In the wake of this year’s Hall of Fame voting season, and to help remove the bad taste left by some of the mind-numbingly bad arguments I’ve heard and read over the last few weeks for or against various HOF candidates, I thought it might be fun to open my very own Hall of Famously Bad Baseball Arguments. To do this, I need your help. I am hereby nominating you for membership in the BBWAA—Baseball Weak Argument Arbiters—and empowering you to nominate and vote for the baseball arguments that you find the most irritating and least convincing.
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Ken checks to see how many of his pre-season Over/Unders the readers called correctly and picks the most prescient BP reader.
Last spring in this space I introduced a contest entitled “Setting The Line,” wherein I selected two key players from each American League and National League team, set a benchmark for what their 2011 season might produce in a given metric, and invited participants to select whether each player would score Over or Under that line. Now that the season is over and we are into awards season, it’s time to announce a winner. By a landslide, the most prescient prognosticator this year was Matthew Kenerly, who ran down Rex Babiera in the home stretch by choosing the correct side of the line on 39 of 50 players. No one else had more than 37 correct, so Matthew showed himself to be head-and-shoulders above the crowd and has our permission to proclaim himself the wisest of all BP readers, a title I’m sure will earn him due deference during comments section discussions throughout the coming year. Less importantly, Matthew has won himself a free copy of Baseball Prospectus 2012 with as many author signatures as I can manage to round up this spring. Well done, Matthew.
How to start rooting for a contender in mid-season without compromising your principles.
It’s late August, and if the team you root for is already out of contention, you’re not alone. According to our Playoff Odds Report, only 12 teams currently have even a 5 percent chance of making the postseason, meaning that fully 60 percent of teams are realistically playing out the string with more than a month to go. If you follow one of those teams and are the sort of fan who finds that having a heart-felt rooting interest greatly adds to your baseball enjoyment, what are you to do with the rest of the season? My recommendation is to become a bandwagon jumper, or more specifically, an Ethical Bandwagon Jumper (EBJ).
Checking in on the pre-season over/unders to see who's exceeding or underperforming expectations halfway through the season.
Last spring in this space I introduced a contest entitled “Setting The Line,” wherein I selected two key players from each American League and National League team, set a benchmark for what their 2011 season might produce in a given metric, and invited participants to speculate about whether each player would score Over or Under that line. Now that we’ve reached an approximate midpoint to the season, I thought it worthwhile to take a look at where these players are compared to their set line and identify how well our readers have done at picking the over/under, both collectively and individually.
A trip through the annual unlocks Ken's inner muse.
Among the bells and whistles currently found on our player pages, by far my favorite section is the list of player comments taken from BP Annuals past. The cast of authors may change from year to year, but each season’s comments are equally well-written and educational, and when read chronologically, they often provide a tremendously entertaining overview of a player’s career—or at least how a player’s career has been perceived over time.
A lot of younger veterans are having huge starts to their years, but are the stat lines legit, or will they be turning back into pumpkins soon?
Last year around this time, I wrote a series of articles about the “All-Bounceback Team,” highlighting aging players who were off to such great starts that they had already provided more value than they had during the whole previous season, and predicting whether they could continue on at that level. In trying to put together a similar list this week, I noticed there are far more young veterans surpassing their recent performances than there were older veterans reclaiming their mojo. Thus, I’ve decided to use this year’s columns to identify whether these players’ performance so far points to a “Bounceback” for a veteran player, a “Breakthrough” for a young player who has never experienced much success, or is merely the “Balderdash” of small-sample success that’s doomed to erode.
Cranking up SportsFeed, we preview the 2031 season and the major issues in baseball.
Hi everybody! I’m Evan Mendes. Thanks for joining me here at SportsFeed for this casual-level, commute-sized on-board preview of the upcoming 2031 AL season. If you would like more in-depth analysis, just say keyword “Sabre” at any time and I’ll return in a second with a more appropriate presentation. If you are viewing this in 3DP projection or video, remember that your driver’s side console will automatically switch to audio-only when your vehicle exits autopilot mode or is no longer traveling on a limited-access highway. Sorry—it’s the law.
Does anything beat lucky number slevin when it comes to quality campaigns on the diamond?
For many of us, awaiting baseball’s Opening Day is like sitting in a movie theater marking time until the feature presentation begins. Here we are, popcorn in our laps and anticipation in our hearts, enduring that endless preview of coming attractions called “spring training.” Action unfolds in front of us, but it’s not real action, and though we may be tempted, even encouraged, to use these small-sample snippets to determine whether a team or a player is going to be worth our attention when the show begins, this isn’t our first rodeo. We may hear the voice of Don LaFontaine intone “In a world … where Jake Fox can hit .333/.345/.833 … hope springs eternal,” but experience tells us the quality of his season is less likely to be Citizen Kane than Throw Momma From The Train. Excepting a handful of roster battles and unfortunate injuries, spring training gives us precious little insight as to what kind of season we have in store.
Like many of you, I spent time this past weekend preparing for a fantasy draft or auction, typing lists of player names into spreadsheets, ranking them, and assembling a draft strategy. A large number of factors come into play when ranking players—age, long-term vs. short-term value, positional need, injury risk, ceiling vs. likelihood of meeting it, and whether the player is on a team you’re comfortable rooting for. However, there’s one final tiebreaker for me that can come into play: whether or not I like the player’s name. All else being equal, I’ll take the player whose moniker is more enjoyable for me to say, type, or think about.
Sorting out side bets for who does what in the Senior Circuit.
Last week, I unveiled a contest wherein readers could try to predict the performance of interesting players during the 2011 season by choosing whether they would perform above or below a given performance benchmark—in Vegas parlance, picking an “Over/Under.” The first installment listed two Over/Under lines for players on each team in the American League, generally players I think will be either key performers or interesting to follow in the upcoming season. Below you can find the two Over/Under lines I’ve set for each National League team.
It's time to take a tip from Vegas and predict the over/unders on AL player performances for 2011.
Around this time of year, our old friend Joe Sheehan was wont to write a column about value bets for the upcoming baseball season, looking at the Vegas betting lines for team records and trying to discern where statistical analysis could help a bettor find an edge against the house. It was always one of my more favorite pieces of the year, since I’ve always been interested in such things, and more to the point, I’ve always thought it would be fun to let loose my internal Ace Rothstein and determine where the line should be set.
Who could be the surprise player of 2011, and could he rival the Jays' breakout ballplayer of 2010?
Last week in this space, among my random wishes for the upcoming season, I mentioned my desire for there to be another Jose Bautista in 2011, i.e., another veteran player who suddenly and unexpectedly puts up a monster year. Virtually no one predicted that the Jose-Bot would suddenly go all George Foster on the American League, but anyone that could have would have had a huge advantage in their fantasy or sim leagues last year.