CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Overthinking It 

Search Overthinking It

All Blogs (including podcasts)

Active Columns

Authors

Article Types

Archives

07-11

comment icon

56

Overthinking It: Forever Changes
by
Ben Lindbergh

07-02

comment icon

2

Overthinking It: June in Catcher Framing
by
Ben Lindbergh

07-01

comment icon

10

Overthinking It: The Nationals' Non-Problem
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-27

comment icon

37

Overthinking It: The BP Staff Tries to Trade, and Trade for, David Price
by
Ben Lindbergh and Baseball Prospectus

06-25

comment icon

5

Overthinking It: Does Bill James' Game Score Still Work?
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-23

comment icon

18

Overthinking It: Josh Byrnes Breaks Streak; Padres Face Uncertain Future
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-19

comment icon

12

Overthinking It: The Players PECOTA Has Missed
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-17

comment icon

4

Overthinking It: Why That Stanton Homer Broke Your Brain
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-13

comment icon

1

Overthinking It: The Season of Super-Parity
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-11

comment icon

10

Overthinking It: The OTHER Way We Could Move the Mound
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-04

comment icon

2

Overthinking It: May in Catcher Framing
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-30

comment icon

3

Overthinking It: This Week in Bunting to Beat the Shift, 5/30
by
Ben Lindbergh and Chris Mosch

05-28

comment icon

7

Overthinking It: Defining Positions in the Age of the Shift
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-23

comment icon

15

Overthinking It: The 12-Second Rule and the Boring-ization of Baseball
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-23

comment icon

9

Overthinking It: How to Prevent Future Prince Fielders
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-19

comment icon

6

Overthinking It: The Way in Which the A's Are Still Old-School
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-15

comment icon

3

Overthinking It: Have Tommy John Surgery, Sign Long-Term Contract?
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-08

comment icon

10

Overthinking It: The Masters of the Manufactured Run
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-07

comment icon

13

Overthinking It: Catcher Framing: The Season So Far
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-02

comment icon

14

Overthinking It: This Week in Bunting to Beat the Shift, 5/2
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-29

comment icon

4

Overthinking It: Three National Leaguers in the News
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-25

comment icon

8

Overthinking It: Matt Moore, Ivan Nova, and the Injury Zone
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-24

comment icon

3

Overthinking It: The Obligatory Article About Aaron Harang
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-23

comment icon

7

Overthinking It: Pujols Rewrites the Script
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-17

comment icon

16

Overthinking It: Lessons We Learned Yesterday
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-16

comment icon

25

Overthinking It: Does Baseball Have a Pace Problem?
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-10

comment icon

6

Overthinking It: Knuckleballers of the PITCHf/x Era: A Complete Taxonomy
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-09

comment icon

11

Overthinking It: The Minor League Leaders Who Haven't Made It
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-04

comment icon

14

Overthinking It: Is Dexter Fowler Tough Enough to Play for Your Team?
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-01

comment icon

13

Overthinking It: Takeaways from Opening Day
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-20

comment icon

2

Overthinking It: Farewell to Free Agency?
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-18

comment icon

16

Overthinking It: The Big Questions from the 2014 SABR Analytics Conference
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-06

comment icon

3

Overthinking It: The 10 Phases of Phil Hughes, Compulsive Pitch Tinkerer
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-03

comment icon

19

Overthinking It: Takeaways From Our First Look at the Future
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-27

comment icon

19

Overthinking It: Why Every Team Needs Kendrys Morales
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-20

comment icon

2

Overthinking It: Last Season in Selective Aggression
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-18

comment icon

28

Overthinking It: Quantifying Cano's Lack of Hustle
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-12

comment icon

15

Overthinking It: Where the Remaining Free Agents Would Matter the Most
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-04

comment icon

18

Overthinking It: Parsing the PECOTAs
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-03

comment icon

5

Overthinking It: Searching for Switch-Hitters Who Shouldn't Switch-Hit
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-29

comment icon

23

Overthinking It: Polling the Industry: Masahiro Tanaka in 2014
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-24

comment icon

28

Overthinking It: Internet Commenters Try to Trade for David Price
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-23

comment icon

20

Overthinking It: Several Stray Thoughts About the Masahiro Tanaka Signing
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-16

comment icon

3

Overthinking It: How the Braves Can Keep a Good Thing Going
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-14

comment icon

5

Overthinking It: Will the 2014 Yankees Have the Oldest Offense Ever?
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-10

comment icon

6

Overthinking It: The Trouble with Forecasting Chemistry
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-08

comment icon

9

Overthinking It: What Scouts Said About 2014's Top Cooperstown Candidates
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-06

comment icon

2

Overthinking It: Testing the Predictive Powers of 2013 Teams
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-20

comment icon

3

Overthinking It: Baseball's New Kind of Coach
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-12

comment icon

15

Overthinking It: Picking an Appropriate Cardinals Shortstop
by
Ben Lindbergh

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

February 18, 2014 11:47 am

Overthinking It: Quantifying Cano's Lack of Hustle

28

Ben Lindbergh

What did Robinson Cano's reluctance to run hard cost the Yankees? And did his strategy make sense?

You’d think that Yankees fans, who are used to seeing their team sign other cities’ superstars, would be upset about losing a homegrown second baseman who’s coming off four straight five-win seasons. But based on a winter’s worth of conversation—and as a New Yorker who writes about baseball, I’ve had a lot of conversations about Cano—most of them don't sound too broken up about it. Partly that’s because spending hundreds of millions on other free agents eases the sting. Partly it’s because the Mariners gave Cano so many years and so much money. But another part of the reason—and I really believe this—is that Cano was known for not really running to first. If Cano couldn’t be bothered to bleed for every base hit while he was here, Yankees fans seem to say, then why would we miss him?

That familiar refrain resurfaced on Monday, when the Daily News’ John Harper published a piece on Cano with some critical quotes from Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. To be fair, Long’s comments were partially based on being mindful of public perception—since Cano’s reluctance to run harder bothered the fans, Long suggests, he would’ve been wise to appease them. But Long also makes clear that he couldn’t condone Cano’s lollygagging or swallow his explanations of why he wanted to run at less than maximum speed:

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Which teams' glass slippers best fit the six still-unsigned top-50 free agents?

It was new and exciting in November, mundane in December, and comforting and familiar in January. But by mid-February, speculating about likely landing spots for attractive free agents is as tired as publicly celebrating the Beatles.*

Granted, the alternative would be talking about the sort of stuff that otherwise occupies us early in spring training: what players look like; what players look like from afar; what players might look like from afar, if we could see them; what players look like upside-down; meaningless quotes about team chemistry. There’s only so much we can do to combat the boring until real baseball begins.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

February 4, 2014 10:22 am

Overthinking It: Parsing the PECOTAs

18

Ben Lindbergh

A PECOTA projection companion piece.

The PECOTA projections are here, which means that many of you will spend the day exploring the weighted-means spreadsheet and the Depth Charts in search of surprises and confirmations that it’s okay to crush on the players whose performance you’ve been awaiting all winter. That’s exactly what we do when PECOTA’s keepers deliver the first file to the staff; we just have a head start.

We’ll be offering plenty of PECOTA-related content between now and Opening Day, but today, a quick tour is in order. Here’s a look at a few of the most fascinating projections I’ve seen so far, followed by a look at the players projected to improve or decline most dramatically relative to 2013, the closest comparables for recently retired players, and a summary of the weakest projected positions on 2014 contenders.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

Are some switch-hitters costing themselves by not sticking to one side of the plate?

Every so often, someone asks me whether there are any switch-hitters who are making a mistake by batting from both sides, or whether a particular hitter would be better off picking and sticking to one side of the plate. There are two reasons, I think, why the question comes up even though there have been BP pieces about it before, and despite the fact very few players have ever stopped switch-hitting after making the majors.

The first is that switch-hitting is inherently interesting to those of us who can barely button a button with our non-dominant hand. Hitting baseballs thrown by big-league pitchers, we’re told, is one of the toughest tasks in sports. Switch-hitters can do it not only from the side of the plate where we look at least a little coordinated, but also from the side where we look like Hunter Pence. There are mutants in the X-Mansion with less impressive powers (like Longneck).

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

How do industry insiders (and BP readers) view Tanaka relative to other right-handed starters?

In December of 2011, shortly after the Rangers submitted a winning $51.7 bid for exclusive rights to talk to Yu Darvish, then-BP prospect writer Kevin Goldstein surveyed 10 industry insiders to see how good they thought Darvish was going to be. Instead of asking for physical comps or statistical projections, Kevin stacked Darvish up against a selection of five other right-handed starters and asked for each insider’s one-on-one pitcher preference. In retrospect, some of the responses seem silly—three people took Ian Kennedy over Darvish—but the consensus wasn’t far from the mark: Darvish, the insiders said, would be worse than Justin Verlander, roughly as good as Zack Greinke, better than Matt Garza and Kennedy, and much better than Ricky Nolasco. Sounds about right.

Last week, the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka, the best Japanese starter to cross the Pacific since Darvish, to a seven year, $155 million deal (plus posting fee, luxury tax, and the priced-in expense of the opt-out clause) that will make him one of baseball’s 10 highest-paid players in 2014. The next question, naturally, is, “How good is the guy they just got?”

Read the full article...

What the partisan parts of the internet think Tampa Bay's ace is worth.

Last winter, baseball fans were convinced that the Marlins would trade Giancarlo Stanton. More specifically, baseball fans were convinced that the Marlins would trade Stanton to them, and were happy to speculate about how that might happen. I wanted to know what they thought it would take to get him, so I poked around Twitter and forums and comment sections until I'd collected a Stanton trade proposal for each of the 29 teams. This was the takeaway:

Read the full article...

Tying up the Tanaka loose ends.

R.J. Anderson wrote the rapid response to the news that Masahiro Tanaka had agreed to a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees. That's where you’ll find all the juicy details on the player and the contract, which you should want to take a look at. This is where you’ll find a few other thoughts that crossed my mind as I digested the signing, as laid out below.

The $189 million mark, in memoriam
December 4, 2011. That’s the day when we first heard, via the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, that the Yankees were determined to keep their 2014 payroll below $189 million, which they blew by in adding Tanaka. This is how long ago that was: Mike Trout’s career OPS was .672, and Alex Rodriguez and Randy Levine were still penpals. Granted, Steinbrenner never technically guaranteed that the team’s payroll would sink below the luxury tax threshold, but he came close, saying, “I’m looking at it as a goal, but my goals are normally considered a requirement.”


The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

January 16, 2014 8:17 am

Overthinking It: How the Braves Can Keep a Good Thing Going

3

Ben Lindbergh

We just want to say three words to the Braves: "service time" and "extensions."

When it comes to building baseball teams, it’s generally good to be young, but bad to be the youngest. A young team tends to have fewer players who’ll get hurt or head downhill, which bodes well, all else being equal. But fielding an especially high percentage of young players is often a sign that a team plans to throw in the towel short term, making do with league minimum instead of ponying up for performance.

This is more true on offense than it is on the mound, because pitchers tend to arrive in the majors roughly as good as they’re going to get. Of the 10 clubs projected to have the youngest pitching staffs this season, six made the playoffs in 2013, and seven were winning teams. Of the 10 clubs projected to have the youngest batters, only two are coming off playoff appearances. Which is why it stood out, as I researched the potentially historically old Yankees, that the Atlanta Braves bucked that trend. Here are the teams with the five lowest projected average team batting ages for 2014, based on our depth charts:

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

And why a team of old position players can be a pretty big problem.

You have to hand it to the Yankees. Fresh off a 2013 season in which they fielded baseball’s oldest collection of position players—and, in perhaps not entirely unrelated news, either led the league or ranked second in games and salary lost to injury and percentage of payroll lost—they’ve spent the offseason growing even grayer.

2013 Yankees Age and Injuries (MLB rank in parentheses)

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

Think your team has a great clubhouse culture? That's what they all say.

We’re 27 days away from the first pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. We’re also 27 days away from the first reporters reporting,* which means we’re no more than 28 days away from reading quotes about team chemistry.

Chemistry is confusing, and not just for those of us who haven’t played professional sports. Even among players, opinions on its value fall along a wide spectrum from “essential” to “superfluous.” On one extreme, you have Eric Hinske, who believes that one can’t win without chemistry (and whose presence was, conveniently enough, perceived to promote it):

Read the full article...

The hits and misses scouts made on future Hall of Fame-caliber players.

“Scouting is hard,” exhibit no. 887: even Hall-of-Fame talent is tough to identify. The median draft position of the 14 players on my make-believe Hall of Fame ballot—excluding Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker, who were signed as amateur free agents—was 28.5. This is a cohort that includes some of the most talented players of the past few decades, including a few with strong cases in the “best ever” argument. But even though almost all of them turned out to be the best in their draft class—unless, like Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, multiple members were selected in the same year—collectively, they lasted until the tail end of the first round. None of them was picked higher than sixth overall (Barry Bonds). Mike Piazza was pick no. 1,390. Some scout, somewhere, might have seen a future Cooperstown candidate in each of these players, but that wasn’t the industry consensus.

We don’t know what every scout said about every player, but we do know what some scouts said about some players, thanks to Diamond Mines, the Hall of Fame’s archive of declassified scouting reports. For each of the 14 players I mock-voted for, I looked up the earliest Diamond Mines scouting report available to see whether there was any hint of a Hall-of-Famer-to-be. “You Won’t Believe What These 14 Scouting Reports Said,” is what I would have titled this article if I were better at being click bait.

Read the full article...

Reviewing the many predictions teams and players made about themselves last season.

Hot Stove season is slowing, which means it’s almost time for team executives and players to start telling you how good they’re going to be in 2014. There are many reasons for teams and players to predict success: to sell tickets, to avoid 0.0 Nielsen ratings, to motivate themselves and their teammates. Most of the time, predicting success makes more sense than saying “We suck.”

We know that media members make many regrettable predictions: that the 2013 Red Sox would be boring, that Mike Trout wouldn’t be worth taking early in a fantasy draft, that the Angels and Blue Jays would win the West and the East. But anything a team might tell you is equally suspect. So just like last year, I’ve trawled the internet for predictions that teams and players made about themselves before the start of last season. The only condition was that there weren’t conditions—if we stay healthy, if we play up to our capabilities, etc. Only unqualified forecasts of future events could be counted—the stronger and more specific, the better.

Read the full article...

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>