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.
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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.
With pitchers and catchers just short weeks away, one man's list of things he'd like to see.
My local weather forecast is calling for somewhere between four and twenty inches of snow over the next few days — obviously the folks at Weather Central read Colin Wyers and remembered to display their error bars — but now that February is here, spring and baseball are just around the corner. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting in two weeks, and I’m counting down the days by preparing for my Strat league draft, and wondering if I should trust my home-grown formula that says playing Jack Cust in left field against right-handed starters is truly the right thing to do. The latest BP annual is set for publication this month, the PECOTAs are coming, and Joe Hamrahi’s invaluable Top Prospects Compilation is growing full. All will soon be right with the world.
Saturday won't just be SABR Day, so bend your brain to the task of these puzzles three, ere your weekend well-spent shall be.
This weekend in New York City, a strong contingent of BP staff members will be joining an even stronger contingent of baseball fans at Foley’s Pub in Manhattan to celebrate SABR Day. For those of you lucky enough to have a ticket you’re likely in for a treat, as it looks to be a wicked event to be followed by an even more wicked after-party.
Unveiling the new general manager aptitude test. Are you destined for front-office glory, or will you be left on the farm?
Several months ago in this space you may have seen the Baseball Skipper Aptitude Test (BSAT), a semi-tongue-in-cheek battery of questions designed to tease out the thought processes of managerial candidates and identify those who may be a little more forward-thinking. In response to that piece, I received a number of reader requests to develop a similar set of questions for general manager candidates, and the results can be found below for your enjoyment. Coming up with questions for GMs is a lot harder than it is for field managers, since the job of the GM is far more varied, far more important, and in most cases far less visible. Making it even harder is the fact that GMs as a group, at least to my untrained eyes, seem to be making fewer and fewer cringe-inducing decisions than they used to, reducing the number of obvious targets for gentle ribbing in the questions. I hope you enjoy them nonetheless.
Examining the answers of the Baseball Prospectus team when it comes to the Baseball Skipper Aptitude Test.
When last we met in this space, I shared with you the Baseball Skipper Aptitude Test (BSAT), a semi-tongue-in-cheek multiple-choice exam designed to help identify quality managerial candidates based on their approach to such things as lineups, bullpen usage, and in-game strategy. My purpose was primarily to entertain, but a number of readers have asked that we divulge the “correct” answers, or at least the answers to which most Baseball Prospectus authors would subscribe. To that end, earlier this week I took a quick poll to discover how our staff members would answer these questions, and you can find the results below. I’m not surprised to report that some of the questions provoked a wide array of responses, and given the pulsing intellect and contrarian nature of our authors, a fair number chose to occasionally go outside the menu with their answers. .
Unveiling the skipper aptitude test. How do you measure up?
Good afternoon, gentlemen—and lady! How cool is that?! I’d like to thank you all for coming in today to take our Baseball Skipper Aptitude Test. As you all know, we like to consider ourselves a forward-thinking organization, and we feel that having you take this short examination will give us more insight into the qualities you possess, your decision-making processes, and the opinions you have which might affect how you would perform in our organization. Since we’re a small-market club we could only afford to hire a professional proctor for one day, hence the rather unique decision to bring you all in at the same time to take this test.
My apologies for giving this piece a title more suited to a Sufjan Stevens song than a baseball article, but I’m a little bit hyper today. Like many of you, I’m struggling through this two-day break before the playoffs begin again on Friday night, featuring an ALCS showdown between the Texas Rangers, coming off their first playoff series victory in franchise history, and the New York Yankees, who’ve won 28 playoff series and nine world championships since the Senators/Rangers franchise came into existence in 1961. Over in the senior circuit, the Giants and Phillies tee it up on Saturday night with one of the more compelling pitching matchups of recent vintage: Tim Lincecum vs. Roy Halladay, who in their two playoff starts have combined for two complete games, one no-hitter, four baserunners allowed, 23 punchouts, and 48 instances of a broadcaster saying “that pitch just wasn’t fair.” I can’t wait, because this is going to be good—in fact, given how exciting (if sloppy) the playoffs have been so far, I’m more excited about them than I’ve been in years.