Open to all BP staff, Between the Numbers is about sabermetrics, performance analysis, baseball and data, and anything remotely referring to the subjects of statistical information, its applications and interpretation.
The Phillies intentionally walked Justin Morneau to put the go-ahead run into scoring position in the eleventh inning on Saturday. This corresponds with a belief that hitting against Danys Baez is more akin to a home run derby than hitting against an average pitcher.
I attended a wild ball game yesterday afternoon between the Phillies and Twins at Citizen’s Bank Park. The Twins emerged victorious by a score of 13-10 in eleven innings, with a number of shocking lead changes along the way. However, perhaps the most shocking thing to me in the game was the decision made in the eleventh inning when Charlie Manuel elected to have Danys Baez intentionally walk Justin Morneau with a runner on first base and one out, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. Jon Rauch was due to hit after Morneau, and with the bench depleted, the Twins had no choice but to let him bunt. The resulting sacrifice put two runners in scoring position with two out.
To actually believe that Morneau should not have been pitched to in that situation, Manuel must have some pretty strong beliefs about how good Justin Morneau is. Given that a walk or a single by Morneau is likely to be followed up by a sacrifice from Rauch that leaves the teams in the same situation as if the Phillies had intentionally walked him (second and third, two outs), the real question was what the odds were that Morneau would hit an RBI double or a home run compared to the odds that Baez would be able to retire him. Supposing for simplicity that Rauch is a sure third out if Baez can retire Morneau, the Phillies odds of winning the game would have improved from 50 to 64 percent in such a scenario. However, and RBI double followed by a Rauch out would give them only 17 percent chance, and a home run and a Rauch out would leave them with just a nine percent chance. Again, for simplicity, assuming that both are equally likely and even that catcher Joe Mauer would even score from first on any double, this means that Morneau getting an RBI extra-base hit would give the Phillies a 37 percent drop in their odds of winning compared to a 14 percent improvement if Morneau is retired.
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Even when the roof at Chase Field is closed, Arizona's batters ensure that the breeze keeps blowing.
The Diamondbacks may be buried in the NL West basement, but they can’t hold their middle-of-the-pack offense responsible. Arizona’s .262 team TAv ranks eighth in the NL; its .178 ISO leads the circuit, and its 9.9% walk rate trails only Atlanta’s. All that’s holding the D-backs back in the offense department is a 22.2% hit rate, which ranks thirteenth in the league. This isn’t a BABIP issue: the Diamondbacks rank fourth in the league in that category. Rather, the Snakes have simply been swinging and missing at a historic pace. Querying our database (which extends to 1954) for its team strikeout rate leaders gives me the following results:
Since the performance absolutely failed to cool down the hype, it seems there are some people looking to pour water on it on their own. One of the things you hear on occasion today is, "Well, it was just the Pirates."
Which players this season have been hits, without recording any?
What’s a baseball fan to do when The Day After Ubaldo coincides with Strasburg Eve? If you answered, “Watch and chat about the draft,” well, you can take that kind of attitude elsewhere, mister (or ma’am). As the baseball world passes the time until 7 PM Eastern, let’s explore a statistical oddity, and see what (if anything) we can uncover.
My buddy Craig Glaser tweeted an interesting factoid on Saturday: Brewers catcher George Kottaras is one of only three players with at least 75 PA this season to have more walks to his name than hits. The other two are somewhat more accomplished: Nick Johnson, and presumptive Hall of Famer Chipper Jones. Rather than devote my energies to a pursuit that might leave the world a better place than I found it, I decided to take a quick look into what makes these players tick. From 2000 to 2009, 28 players (in 35 player seasons, since some players were repeat offenders) managed to accumulate at least 75 PA in a single season while maintaining a higher walk total than hit total. Of those 28, 6 were pitchers, whom I’m removing from the sample on the grounds that they shouldn’t have been batting in the first place (yeah, I went there). That leaves us with the following 22 players (and 29 player seasons), whom I’m dubbing the Perambulator Posse:
Errors here, there, and everywhere, but are they all of them the same?
I've written before about why I dislike the error and its cousins, due to its subjective nature. But how much does it matter, especially over a long period of time? Is there a practical consequence to the subjectiveness of the error?
So here's what I did. I took a look at the rate of errors per balls fielded by infielders in all of a team's home games, including the visitors, from 2002 - 2009. I did the same for a team's road games. Each of those rates were then regressed to the mean, then the regressed home rate divided by the regressed road rate to produce park factors. Then I averaged all the one-year regressed park factors over the full time span, and here's what I got:
After my article on the Most Net Valuable Players, many readers were curious who the Least Net Valuable Players were. This blog post provides the answer.
After reading my article, "Most Net Valuable Player," a couple weeks ago, many readers were curious to see who the Least Net Valuable Players were. The players on the list are not particularly surprising, but the order is somewhat informative.
However, I realized as I did this that I had made a minor error in reporting the cost of draft pick compensation in my MORP articles, which changes one of the lists subtly for the Most Net Valuable Player article.
As Kevin notes elsewhere, Davis was regarded as a bust after a dreadful 2008 season. A first-round pick in 2007, Davis hit for a true average of just .246 in his pro debut season – and that is without translating. The Tav for the league is always .260, so he was a below average hitter for his league, even though he was a 21-year-old, college-seasoned hitter playing in short-season A ball. Translated, his TAv was just .168.
Chris Coghlan came oh so close to joining an elite secret society last season.
Chris Coghlan of the Florida Marlins burst onto the scene last year and put together a fantastic rookie season with the bat, compiling a .321/.390/.460 slash line in 504 PA en route to the NL Rookie of the Year award. Take a closer look at that slash-line, as Coghlan came within one-thousandth of a batting average point of finishing the year with a perfectly rounded slash line. There are no awards to commemorate such an achievement, but, c'mon, you know it would have been fun if he ended the season hitting .320/.390/.460. His numbers got me thinking -- how often does a rounded slash line occur? And, of the players in this hypothetical sample, have any achieved their "feat" in a significant number of trips to the dish?
Querying from 1974-2009, I found 1,227 batter-seasons with a rounded slash line, a sample accounting for approximately four percent of all seasons in the span. Not all 1,227 lines were created equally, however, as a pretty penny of the seasons belonged to players who hit, say, 1.000/1.000/2.000 in one plate appearance. Paring the list down to those who actually, you know, played the game, only 21 players rounded their lines while amassing 100 or more plate appearances. Of this group:
Before today, the American League Central looked like a two-horse race between the Twins and the Detroit Tigers. With Nathan out, it's hard to see the Twins contending. Nathan, who turned 35 in November, was once again slated to be the steady hand at the back of the Twins' bullpen. He's saved at least 36 games in each of the past six years, and has been as good as just about any other closer in baseball during that time.