On the pitches the best pitcher in baseball has thrown, by one way of measuring it, the worst--and why they didn't hurt him.
An English teacher once gave us a writing assignment: Describe the taste of the best chocolate you ever had, to somebody who has never had chocolate. Without the self-referential crutch (“It tastes like chocolate, but, like, really chocolaty”), how do you convey what makes chocolate good?
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A sketch of the missing bunts for us to put on our Missing Bunts fliers.
Here’s a very brief history of the sacrifice bunt: From around 1960 through around 1981, teams bunted around .45 times per game. There was such a powerful instinct guiding managers to this number that even the introduction of the DH didn’t budge it. In 1982, sacrifices dropped under .4/game for the first time, but hung in around .38 or so until the end of the century. Since then, bunts have been steadily dropping, at the rate of just under one-hundredth of a bunt per game per year. Put another way, a decline of around 3 percent per game per year. Last year, there were .25 bunts per game.
How many simulations does it take for the Rockies to win 106 games, or the Dodgers to lose 121?
If PECOTA were a sentient Baseball Prospectus reader, I bet it would mostly ignore our projected team win totals. Putting a single number on a team’s upcoming season is antithetical to what PECOTA tries to do. It doesn’t actually see the Royals as a 75-win team, or the Cubs as a 94-win team; it sees them both as collections of players who are individually more likely to do some things than others, and who are collectively more likely to do some things than others. If forced—and, really, if you think about how many steps it takes us to get from Omar Infante’s individual projections to a one-number team projection for the Royals, “forced” might be exactly the word you’d use—PECOTA will give you a most likely number for the team. But that specific number is not that likely, and it's not what PECOTA wants you to take away from this.
As we prepare to release the 2016 PECOTA projections, a look at one projection that many will not like.
Sometime today, or thereabouts, we expect to release all 2016 PECOTA projections. As part of that, there is a Royals team projection. And as part of that, there will be rolling of eyes, because, surprise, it is not a very optimistic projection. So in anticipation of the full PECOTA release...
It’s easy to underestimate how important baseball’s collective bargaining agreement is. I know how easy, because I’ve been doing it for years without even trying. The CBA has been mostly defined in my mind as “not a strike, yay.”
Have all of the years of screaming about his insistence on playing Jeff Mathis been for naught?
You’ve heard the joke about McGregor the Barbuilder and the one goat, I assume. Mike Scioscia’s one goat is Jeff Mathis. It’s been years since Jeff Mathis was under his aegis, and it’s still the first thing I think of when somebody asks me about Scioscia. A few days ago, Jeff Long asked me how well Scioscia manages his bullpen. I thought for a moment. “Well, he started Jeff Mathis over Mike Nap…”
Good morning, and thank you all for being here today. We are extremely excited to introduce this man sitting beside me today, and to bring him—and his beautiful wife—into our organization. It has been a long and arduous past four years—disastrous, even—but that’s how baseball goes sometimes. It’s a game of failure. You can fail seven out of 10 times and still be Felipe Paulino. Today, though, marks a new direction and a new era for this organization.
(Note: All real quotes from real press conferences:)