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Crooked Numbers 

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02-02

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Crooked Numbers: You Stay Classy, San Diego
by
James Click

01-12

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Crooked Numbers: More Hilbert Questions
by
James Click

01-05

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Crooked Numbers: Double Play Thursday
by
James Click

12-29

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Crooked Numbers: The Numbers You Saw
by
James Click

12-22

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Crooked Numbers: Value Over Replacement Column
by
James Click

12-15

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Crooked Numbers: Deviation from Standards
by
James Click

12-01

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Crooked Numbers: Plop Plop Fizz Fizz
by
James Click

11-17

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Crooked Numbers: What Were They Thinking?
by
James Click

11-10

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Crooked Numbers: Today's Oxymoron Is Free Agents
by
James Click

11-03

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Crooked Numbers: Homeland Defense
by
James Click

10-27

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Crooked Numbers: Taking Advantage
by
James Click

10-19

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Crooked Numbers: An Appreciation
by
James Click

10-13

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Crooked Numbers: In Need of Relief
by
James Click

10-06

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Crooked Numbers: Crappy Odds
by
James Click

09-29

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Crooked Numbers: Still Not Clutch
by
James Click

09-22

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Crooked Numbers: Popping the Clutch
by
James Click

09-16

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Crooked Numbers: No Team without M-E
by
James Click

09-08

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Crooked Numbers: The Bull in the Pen
by
James Click

09-01

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Crooked Numbers: In Reverse
by
James Click

08-25

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Crooked Numbers: Going Streaking
by
James Click

08-18

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Crooked Numbers: Royal Flush
by
James Click

08-12

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Crooked Numbers: The A's Take Over
by
James Click

08-11

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Crooked Numbers: Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200
by
James Click

08-04

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Crooked Numbers: Objects at Rest
by
James Click

07-28

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Crooked Numbers: Stopped Short
by
James Click

07-21

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Crooked Numbers: There's no 'D' In Cincinnati
by
James Click

07-14

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Crooked Numbers: Subroutines
by
James Click

07-07

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Crooked Numbers: Un-Stars
by
James Click

06-30

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Crooked Numbers: Left Wing Conspiracy
by
James Click

06-23

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Crooked Numbers: Seeing Red
by
James Click

06-16

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Crooked Numbers: The Bronx Defense
by
James Click

06-10

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Crooked Numbers: Protons:Electrons::Swinging:Looking
by
James Click

06-02

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Crooked Numbers: Eight Is Enough
by
James Click

05-26

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Crooked Numbers: Saving for Another Day
by
James Click

05-19

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Crooked Numbers: Getting Bigger All the Time
by
James Click

05-12

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Crooked Numbers: Are 'Roids the Reason
by
James Click

05-05

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Crooked Numbers: Do Not Pass Go
by
James Click

04-28

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Crooked Numbers: The Ivy is Always Greener...
by
James Click

04-21

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Crooked Numbers: April Fools
by
James Click

04-14

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Crooked Numbers: Sizing Up Small Sample Size
by
James Click

04-07

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Crooked Numbers: On the Run
by
James Click

03-31

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Crooked Numbers: Neither Snow Nor Sleet...
by
James Click

03-24

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Crooked Numbers: Whiff or Whiff-Out You
by
James Click

03-17

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Crooked Numbers: Wild Wild West
by
James Click

03-10

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Crooked Numbers: The Only Constant Is Change
by
James Click

03-03

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Crooked Numbers: The Morning After
by
James Click

02-24

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Crooked Numbers: More on the Lineup
by
James Click

02-17

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Crooked Numbers: Playing With the Lineup
by
James Click

02-10

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Crooked Numbers: More Time in the Park
by
James Click

02-03

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Crooked Numbers: Park Effects on Pitcher Types
by
James Click

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After a few years in the fold, one of our own moves on.

Almost exactly a year ago, I acquired pictures of Joe Sheehan in compromising situations and BP launched Crooked Numbers, proving that while simultaneity usually only implies causality, sometimes there's just no doubt. Over this past year, I've tried to put baseball's conventional wisdom to the test, but more often it's been you the readers who have put me to the test. Your comments, questions, and critiques have made me a better writer and a better analyst; it's clear that without that growth, I would not have been presented with the opportunities that have recently come my way.

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January 12, 2006 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: More Hilbert Questions

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James Click

Spinning off of Keith Woolner's work, James Click proffers more questions for analysts to answer in 2006.

Whenever I hit that wall, I pick up my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2000. In that edition of BP (and reproduced here in 2004), Keith Woolner outlined some of the key questions left unanswered with regards to baseball research. Some are questions of amazing complexity, such as #13: Assessing the "coachability" of players and #19: Optimizing the competitive ecology of the game. Others have been researched since the article's original publication: catcher defense, the relationship between wins and dollars, the value of draft picks, and game-theoretic frameworks. But there are still many great questions left unanswered.

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January 5, 2006 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Double Play Thursday

0

James Click

James looks at two unanswered--and unrelated--questions in today's 2-for-1 special.

Part 1:

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December 29, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: The Numbers You Saw

0

James Click

James recaps the 2005 season by revisiting some of his predictions from the Spring.

  • 715, 756: "Bonds will spend most if not all of the season on the DL instead of looking to become on the second player to put serious distance between himself and the number 700." In the first season of his career in which Barry Bonds failed to play at least 100 games, he managed to add just five home runs to his total. While it seems so easy to hand him the record--disregarding the media-generated morality standpoint and focusing instead on sheer inevitability--injuries are part of the game. It would be easy to run the same blurb about Bonds in next year's look ahead.
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    December 22, 2005 12:00 am

    Crooked Numbers: Value Over Replacement Column

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    James Click

    James discusses the curious practice of teams acquiring what they already have, and wonders about the notion of Replacement Value in the process.

    When judging the value of these acquisitions, it's very easy to fall back on metrics like VORP or WARP to estimate how much a player will add to a team in terms of runs or wins. Then, by comparing those totals to estimated economic incentives for making the playoffs and the increased revenue of more wins, an estimate of the player's economic value can be made as well. For example, those of you who are subscribers to Sports Illustrated may have noticed that Daniel G. Habib called upon PECOTA to estimate the value of the players signed to some of the more recent contracts this winter. Though it was not published, PECOTA's estimate for Burnett was $8.3 million per year for a five year deal. By that number, the Blue Jays appear to have overpaid by $2.7 million per season.

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    December 15, 2005 12:00 am

    Crooked Numbers: Deviation from Standards

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    James Click

    James adjusts the way we present information to see if there's anything useful to be learned.

    One of the main points is that we're all working with a learned scale of context. If you're Clay Davenport and you're developing EqA, you can take advantage of it by mapping the scale of your metric to the construct that all baseball fans find familiar. Or, if you're perhaps pushing OPS as the next best offensive metric, you just have to talk about it enough and show OBP+SLG enough that people start to develop that scale. I would argue that they haven't. For example, how good is an .800 OPS? League average? All-star level?

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    December 1, 2005 12:00 am

    Crooked Numbers: Plop Plop Fizz Fizz

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    James Click

    James takes a look at the crazy offseason market for relievers to see if there's anything we can learn about reliever consistency.

    Putting aside the dollar values on these contracts for a moment, it's important to consider just how consistent and predictable reliever performances are. There are a multitude of factors that routinely influence reliever performance more than that of starting pitchers or batters; primarily those are small sample size and the prevailing usage patterns of modern bullpens. The sample size issue is obvious--most relievers top out around 60 or 70 innings, roughly 1/3 of a typical starting pitcher's innings--but the way modern bullpens are managed (bringing in relievers in the middle of innings, for example) often means that a reliever's performance, as measured by ERA, is as much a reflection of those pitching before and after him than his own contributions. Whereas starters often get to work into and out of their own jams, relievers don't have that luxury.

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    November 17, 2005 12:00 am

    Crooked Numbers: What Were They Thinking?

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    James Click

    A look at some of the more unjustified uses of MVP votes in recent memory.

    Down there at the bottom of the NL ballot, we see the names of Scott Eyre and Jose Reyes, indicating that two writers felt that those two players were the 10th most valuable players in the NL last year. Let's put aside Jayson Stark's comments that defense is both intangible and of less value than leadership--the conclusion being that when a player is in the field, saying "Hey batter, hey batter, swing batter" is more important than actually fielding the ball--and instead focus on the fact that Reyes finished the year with a .300 OBP (10th worst in the NL among players with at least 450 PA), but clearly got a vote because of his 60 SBs. Eyre was actually seventh among NL RPs in WXRL, but picked up zero saves on the season. On one hand, we have the classic overrated player and on the other, one who's actually impressively underrated. Neither of them deserves a vote for MVP, but it raises interesting questions about the criteria used by the BBWAA.

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    November 10, 2005 12:00 am

    Crooked Numbers: Today's Oxymoron Is Free Agents

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    James Click

    James looks back at last winter's free agents to see what he can learn about this winter's relative scarcity of quality players.

    That's all well and good, but we all know that's not how the baseball market works. There is a long list of reasons why teams choose to rearm even with terrible markets facing them. The competition may be entering a downward phase, new ownership may need to make a good impression on the fan base to keep ticket sales up, or--in the manner of budgets in any business--teams with money may spend it just to justify having it available again next year. As such, prognosticators are already proclaiming financial doom for teams investing heavily in pitchers with injury histories, aging outfielders, or a slow-footed first baseman coming off a career year.

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    November 3, 2005 12:00 am

    Crooked Numbers: Homeland Defense

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    James Click

    James takes a look at the year-end Park Adjusted Defensive Efficiency numbers and discovers a new reason for home field advantage.

    Because I've been lazy and haven't turned Park Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (PADE) into a regular stat report yet, I was recently running the end of season numbers for a few readers and fellow authors who were curious how things shook out. Before we get going any further, here they are. PADE is expressed as a percentage, so a PADE of 1.00 means the team turned 1% more balls in play into outs than a league average defense given their park.

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    October 27, 2005 12:00 am

    Crooked Numbers: Taking Advantage

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    James Click

    James takes a look at the myth that certain hitters only do well against bad pitchers.

    One of the few differences--other than wins and losses--between the Astros and the White Sox in the World Series is that the Astros pitching talent tends to be concentrated in their best pitchers. There's been no shortage of coverage of the performance of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Roy Oswalt, but additionally the Astros' bullpen leans heavily on Brad Lidge, Chad Qualls, and Dan Wheeler before dropping off steeply into the depths. By contrast, the White Sox show little difference between their top four starters, and the drop to Brandon McCarthy or Orlando Hernandez is slight. While the raw difference between Cliff Politte and Dustin Hermanson or Neal Cotts is large, that's mostly because of Politte's ridiculous season. As displayed Tuesday night, the White Sox's pen can continue to roll out quality relievers long after Houston is forced to call in the likes of Ezequiel Astacio.

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    October 19, 2005 12:00 am

    Crooked Numbers: An Appreciation

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    James Click

    James, a Bay Area native, honors the late, great Bill King.

    New York had Mel Allen and Red Barber. In Los Angeles, it's Vin Scully. In St. Louis, Jack Buck was the voice of the Cardinals.

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