What happens if one of the greatest pitchers ever is given one of the best offenses ever? It nearly happened.
Here’s the thing about pitcher wins: It’s not that they don’t have value in this sport. It’s that their value in this sport is limited to one very specific, very rare situation. That situation is not “what should we say about this Anthony Raunado performance, in one word or fewer?”, and it’s not “how do we decide who’s better, Fernando Abad or Christian Bergman.” But, then, the pitcher win shouldn’t aspire to be such a stat. The stat that exists to answer those questions lives the boring life of an accounting operations manager at a third-tier gas station franchise. The stat that exists to answer those questions lives steeped in the tepid banality of everyday. The pitcher win is limited and stunted and has a funny voice and it exists in case of just one scenario, and that scenario, if it happens, will be of the utmost importance. The pitcher win is basically Owen Meany.
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Making sense of why the Tigers didn't add a big-name arm to their bad bullpen this offseason.
Has there ever been a team that entered an offseason more obviously in need of bullpen improvements than the Tigers? They finished 13th in the AL in bullpen ERA, ahead of only the Astros and White Sox; 14th in WHIP, ahead of only the White Sox; and 28th in all of baseball in FRA, which is park- and league- and era- and luck-adjusted. Notably, they managed that while throwing the fewest innings in the American League, a reflection of their strong starting staff but also a boost to their overall relief numbers—if they’d had to scrounge up an additional hundred innings to match the Angels’ total, most of those extra 100 would have come from even worse options.
When I’m asked about a specific PECOTA projection that seems hard to swallow, or about the system in general, I usually point out that PECOTA has something awesome that many of us don’t: A long memory. It doesn’t overreact to the past week, or even the past two years. I do.
PECOTA likes a few pitchers quite a bit more than it did a year ago. What did those arms do to deserve better projections?
You know who had a really good year last year? Alfonso Alcantara. The guy obviously dedicated himself to the sport, got himself in great condition, learned a new trick or two, and/or was just darned focused like a great athlete should be. I have no idea who Alfonso Alcantara is.
Whose 2014 season, good or bad, had enough of an impact to drastically change how PECOTA views them?
Last year, around this time, I wrote an article here about the players who had most changed PECOTA’s mind in the previous year. The premise of said piece was that it takes extraordinary circumstances for PECOTA to acknowledge that the player had changed. Players don’t usually change much, at least in a year. People don’t usually change much. Last year, around this time, I wrote that article, and right now I’m writing that article, because I don’t usually change much.
Hank Aaron would be worth a billion dollars if he were playing today. What would he actually get?
The other day, as in not today, but any other day from the storage of prior human existence, Jeff Sullivan did a simple thing that turned out interesting: He took a bunch of guys like Giancarlo Stanton to see how much they would have been worth in the 13 years following their age-24 season. This was interesting for reasons having to do with Giancarlo Stanton’s outlook, which is why Jeff wrote it that day, but it was also interesting for sweet, sweet Fun Fact reasons. At the very, very top of the list was this:
Classifying the fans you'll see in the stands for the next three games of the World Series.
The following originally ran two years ago today. With two exceptions—the seventh word of the piece, and the section on the woman in the Marlins jersey who turned out to be a dude in a Marlins jersey, and who we now know much, much more about—it's just as true today, so we hope you'll enjoy it anew.
You will be spending the next two days with the AT&T crowd, so you might as well get to know who they are. While a stadium of 43,000 can hold countless types, the culture of the park can be pretty well summed up by just a few of them.
The commissioner's lasting legacy isn't randomness and meaningless. It's a more fair world.
For all the excitement of this postseason’s individual games, there is a fairly common sentiment out there that something sucks about a system so random that sub-par teams get to fluke their way to the World Series, thus stripping the season of its power to make sure the best teams are rewarded. Why play a long season and then reduce the championship to coin flips? Why continually expand postseason until every champ resembles Chris Moneymaker? Zachary Levine foretold this postseason in his epitaph for Bud Selig, written in August: