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.
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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.
Some off-beat statistical milestones are within reach in the season's finals days.
With four days left in baseball’s marathon season, most eyes will be focused on the two matchups which have a direct bearing on the playoffs: the Padres/Giants pitching festival in San Francisco, and the Phillies/Braves set in Atlanta. Nonetheless, there are 13 other series to be played before we can close the books on the 2010 regular season. Often these late-season contests spark little interest outside of those with game tickets, family members on the team, or the need for a few more Joakim Soria saves to clinch their fantasy baseball championship. To add a little spice to these contests while our early-season heroes play out the string or prep for the postseason, I’ve decided to share with you a few slightly off-beat statistical milestones that could be met in the next few days. None of these numbers are as sexy as .400 or 61*, but they may help you appreciate a few of the more unexpected or unreported achievements of the 2010 season.
Has Carlos Zambrano really been a "whole new pitcher" since returning to the Cubs?
Tuesday night in front of a full house at Wrigley Field, Carlos Zambrano successfully stared down the San Francisco Giants in a game the visitors desperately needed to win to maintain their wafer-thin divisional lead. While the Giants eventually scored a critical 1-0 victory, the fault didn’t lie with Zambrano, who managed to shut them out on three hits over six innings, and whose eight strikeouts gave him 1,431 for his career—one behind Charlie Root for second place on the all-time Cubs K-list.
The offensive-dependent Brewers and defensive-dependent Mariners are on the verge of becoming baseball's Light Brigades.
When I was younger, I used to play a board game called “Circus Maximus” which simulated chariot racing. At the start of the game you would have four points to assign to four categories: team speed, team endurance, chariot size, and driver skill, all of which would help your chariot in different ways at different times of the race. Any combination could win, depending on how the race unfolded, but the game required you to choose up front the factors at which your team would excel. The challenge was to follow your strengths and avoid race situations that exposed your weaknesses.