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08-29

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35

Prospectus Feature: Roast A Parks
by
BP Staff

02-28

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Prospectus Feature: The Downfall of Denny McLain
by
Mark Armour

02-28

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Prospectus Feature: The Eddie Award
by
Jeff Bower

02-26

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Prospectus Feature: 2003 IHOF Veterans Committee Results
by
Neal Traven

02-26

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Prospectus Feature: The Injury Nexus: A Look at Pitcher Injuries
by
Nate Silver and Will Carroll

02-21

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Prospectus Feature: PECOTA At Altitude: A Review of Major League Hitters in Colorado
by
Nate Silver

02-20

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Prospectus Feature: Touring the Minors: The Pacific Coast League
by
Keith Scherer

02-19

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Prospectus Feature: Where Does the Money Go?: Taking a Look at Major League Payrolls
by
Doug Pappas

02-18

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Prospectus Feature: Could Relegation Work?
by
Derek Zumsteg

02-11

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Prospectus Feature: The Yankees' Seven-Man Rotation
by
Nate Silver

02-06

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Prospectus Feature: Playing the Armchair Arbitrator
by
Nate Silver

01-31

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0

Prospectus Feature: Top 40 Prospects Roundtable
by
Baseball Prospectus

01-28

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0

Prospectus Feature: Expanding the Playoffs: Drawing Guidance from the NBA
by
Jeff Bower

01-28

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0

Prospectus Feature: Expanding the Playoffs
by
Jeff Bower

01-24

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0

Prospectus Feature: That's the Chicago Way
by
Keith Scherer

01-23

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0

Prospectus Feature: Breaking Out
by
Nate Silver

01-22

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0

Prospectus Feature: The Midsummer Classic: Making it More Than Just an Exhibition Game
by
Doug Pappas

01-21

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Prospectus Feature: The Appearance of Misconduct: A Conspiracy Theory Worth Considering
by
Tim Walker

01-17

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Prospectus Feature: Baseball Prospectus Radio
by
Will Carroll

01-14

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0

Prospectus Feature: The 1987 Free Agent Market
by
Nate Silver

01-14

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0

Prospectus Feature: A Brief History of the Veterans Committee
by
Neal Traven

12-12

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0

Prospectus Feature: Freely Available Talent
by
Dayn Perry

12-09

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0

Prospectus Feature: 2002 STATLG-L Internet Hall of Fame
by
Neal Traven

12-04

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0

Prospectus Feature: The Forty Million Dollar Question: Building the 2003 Expos (Part Two)
by
Scot Hughes

11-26

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0

Prospectus Feature: 2002 HACKING MASS Results: All Players, By Position
by
Baseball Prospectus

11-26

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Prospectus Feature: 2002 HACKING MASS Results: All Players, By Name
by
Baseball Prospectus

11-26

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0

Prospectus Feature: 2002 HACKING MASS Results: All Players, By ESPN
by
Baseball Prospectus

11-22

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Prospectus Feature: The Forty Million Dollar Question: Building the 2003 Expos (Part One)
by
Scot Hughes

11-07

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0

Prospectus Feature: The Arizona Fall League
by
Jonah Keri

10-31

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Prospectus Feature: Evaluating the Dowd Report
by
Derek Zumsteg

10-28

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0

Prospectus Feature: Player Cards
by
Clay Davenport

10-11

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0

Prospectus Feature: The Curse of The Budbino
by
Jeff Angus

10-10

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0

Prospectus Feature: Breaking Balls: A Stroll Through the Mailbag
by
Derek Zumsteg

08-23

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Prospectus Feature: Touring the Minors: Organizational Overview: Los Angeles Dodgers
by
Keith Scherer

08-08

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0

Prospectus Feature: Breaking Balls: Unbalanced
by
Derek Zumsteg

08-07

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0

Prospectus Feature: Touring the Minors: Organizational Overview of the St. Louis Cardinals
by
Keith Scherer

06-21

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0

Prospectus Feature: Baseball's Brave New World
by
Gary Gillette

06-12

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0

Prospectus Feature: Touring the Minors: Goin' Through Mobile
by
Keith Scherer

06-05

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0

Prospectus Feature: Draft 2001: The First Round
by
Joe Sheehan

06-05

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Prospectus Feature: Sifting Through the Discount Bin
by
Jonah Keri

05-24

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0

Prospectus Feature: 6-4-3: Rounding the Bases
by
Gary Huckabay

05-24

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0

Prospectus Feature: The Daily Prospectus: Heading Out
by
Joe Sheehan

05-23

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0

Prospectus Feature: Jose Canseco and the Keltner List
by
Ryan Wilkins

05-23

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0

Prospectus Feature: The Daily Prospectus: The Trade
by
Joe Sheehan

05-22

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0

Prospectus Feature: Analyzing PAP (Part Two)
by
Keith Woolner

05-22

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0

Prospectus Feature: The Daily Prospectus: AL Outfielders
by
Joe Sheehan

05-21

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0

Prospectus Feature: Analyzing PAP (Part One)
by
Keith Woolner

05-21

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Prospectus Feature: Box Work: Rally Killers
by
Keith Scherer

05-21

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Prospectus Feature: The Daily Prospectus: All-Stars
by
Joe Sheehan

05-20

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Prospectus Feature: The Daily Prospectus: Saturday Night
by
Joe Sheehan

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>

Although the specifics haven't been laid out for public consumption, it is widely assumed that four teams would be added to the post-season mix, raising the number of participants from eight to 12.

Major League Baseball's recent decision to base home-field advantage in the World Series on the outcome of the All-Star Game runs contrary to the way Commissioner Bud Selig normally operates. Spurred by last year's All-Star debacle in Milwaukee, the entire process - from concept to approval - took only six months, and failed to employ even one sub-committee of analysts to explore the issue. More typical of Selig's decision-making process is his announcement of the newly-formed special task force for "The Commissioner's Initiative: Major League Baseball in the 21st Century."

One of the issues the new task force will supposedly investigate is whether or not to expand the playoffs. It's not a particularly new idea - Selig himself quietly broached the subject last October. Although the specifics haven't been laid out for public consumption, it is widely assumed that four teams would be added to the post-season mix, raising the number of participants from eight to 12.

If approved, the accelerated pace at which MLB is adding playoff teams will continue. For 66 seasons (1903 through 1968), both leagues were division-less and the pennant winners advanced directly to the World Series. In 1969, professional baseball celebrated its 100th birthday by adding four expansion franchises. Each league was split into two divisions, with the four divisional winners playing into October. A quarter century later - perhaps encouraged by his Brewers' participation in MLB's unplanned eight-team bash in 1981 - Selig further subdivided the leagues into three divisions and presented baseball fans with the Wild Card. Just nine seasons after expanding the playoffs to include eight teams, and less than a year after deferring industry contraction, he is now considering a 12-team post-season format.

Those who want to include more teams in the post-season share a widespread belief that fans stop turning out at the ballpark when their local heroes aren't involved in a playoff race. Many organizations favor the notion of letting more teams into the playoffs for that reason alone. However, is their perception accurate?

Studying the effects of a single action on attendance is challenging simply because so many factors can influence a team's attendance: marketing, position in the community, performance, the comings and goings of players, popularity of the sport, and new playing facilities, to name a few. Furthermore, using previous MLB attendance data doesn't seem appropriate in this case, since by expanding the playoffs to 12 teams, baseball would be entering new territory for the sport. Though a significant number of fans despise the Wild Card, since its inception Wild Card teams have a 94-68 regular season record on average. Were the playoffs to expand further though, some of the beneficiaries would be little more than .500 ball clubs. The attendance effects of such mediocre teams consistently reaching the post-season won't show up in baseball's existing historical record.

To try and analyze the issue, I decided to see what happened to attendance in the National Basketball Association when it expanded its playoffs by four teams (from 12 to 16) prior to the 1983-84 season. In addition to adding the same number of playoff teams as baseball might, NBA attendance figures from that time have the added benefit of not being tainted by work stoppages or brief surges caused by a wave of newly extorted arenas. As a result, those effects don't have to be accounted for in the analysis. Though consumer choices and behavior have changed substantially in the past 20 years, we should still get some indication as to what MLB can expect from its fans if and when it chooses to allow more teams into its post-season dance.

Read the full article...

Major League Baseball's recent decision to base home-field advantage in the World Series on the outcome of the All-Star Game runs contrary to the way Commissioner Bud Selig normally operates. Spurred by last year's All-Star debacle in Milwaukee, the entire process - from concept to approval - took only six months, and failed to employ even one sub-committee of analysts to explore the issue. More typical of Selig's decision-making process is his announcement of the newly-formed special task force for "The Commissioner's Initiative: Major League Baseball in the 21st Century."

Major League Baseball's recent decision to base home-field advantage in the World Series on the outcome of the All-Star Game runs contrary to the way Commissioner Bud Selig normally operates. Spurred by last year's All-Star debacle in Milwaukee, the entire process - from concept to approval - took only six months, and failed to employ even one sub-committee of analysts to explore the issue. More typical of Selig's decision-making process is his announcement of the newly-formed special task force for "The Commissioner's Initiative: Major League Baseball in the 21st Century."

One of the issues the new task force will supposedly investigate is whether or not to expand the playoffs. It's not a particularly new idea - Selig himself quietly broached the subject last October. Although the specifics haven't been laid out for public consumption, it is widely assumed that four teams would be added to the post-season mix, raising the number of participants from eight to 12.

If approved, the accelerated pace at which MLB is adding playoff teams will continue. For 66 seasons (1903 through 1968), both leagues were division-less and the pennant winners advanced directly to the World Series. In 1969, professional baseball celebrated its 100th birthday by adding four expansion franchises. Each league was split into two divisions, with the four divisional winners playing into October. A quarter century later - perhaps encouraged by his Brewers' participation in MLB's unplanned eight-team bash in 1981 - Selig further subdivided the leagues into three divisions and presented baseball fans with the Wild Card. Just nine seasons after expanding the playoffs to include eight teams, and less than a year after deferring industry contraction, he is now considering a 12-team post-season format.

Those who want to include more teams in the post-season share a widespread belief that fans stop turning out at the ballpark when their local heroes aren't involved in a playoff race. Many organizations favor the notion of letting more teams into the playoffs for that reason alone. However, is their perception accurate?

Studying the effects of a single action on attendance is challenging simply because so many factors can influence a team's attendance: marketing, position in the community, performance, the comings and goings of players, popularity of the sport, and new playing facilities, to name a few. Furthermore, using previous MLB attendance data doesn't seem appropriate in this case, since by expanding the playoffs to 12 teams, baseball would be entering new territory for the sport. Though a significant number of fans despise the Wild Card, since its inception Wild Card teams have a 94-68 regular season record on average. Were the playoffs to expand further though, some of the beneficiaries would be little more than .500 ball clubs. The attendance effects of such mediocre teams consistently reaching the post-season won't show up in baseball's existing historical record.

To try and analyze the issue, I decided to see what happened to attendance in the National Basketball Association when it expanded its playoffs by four teams (from 12 to 16) prior to the 1983-84 season. In addition to adding the same number of playoff teams as baseball might, NBA attendance figures from that time have the added benefit of not being tainted by work stoppages or brief surges caused by a wave of newly extorted arenas. As a result, those effects don't have to be accounted for in the analysis. Though consumer choices and behavior have changed substantially in the past 20 years, we should still get some indication as to what MLB can expect from its fans if and when it chooses to allow more teams into its post-season dance.

Read the full article...

The Anaheim Angels finished the 2001 season 41 games out of first place, so you would be forgiven if their World Series victory last fall surprised you. It surprised all of us. All of us except Phil Rogers, that is. He saw it coming.

The Anaheim Angels finished the 2001 season 41 games out of first place, so you would be forgiven if their World Series victory last fall surprised you. It surprised all of us. All of us except Phil Rogers, that is. He saw it coming.

He saw it coming even though last spring the Angels brought back their 2001 club nearly intact--their most significant off-season pickups were two ordinary starting pitchers, Kevin Appier and Aaron Sele.

He saw it coming even when the Angels went 6-12 against their division rivals in April, after going 17-41 against them in 2001.

He saw it coming, but he didn't have the stones to call it. Instead, he pegged them for third in the West and he has been kicking himself for the last six months because of it.

According to Rogers, "It is a very good thing to go into a season with a stable of established starting pitchers coming off workhorse seasons." Such a good thing, in fact, that you can accurately predict the postseason by finding the teams that start the year with at least three starting pitchers who threw at least 190 innings in 30 or more starts the previous season. From among those teams a world champion will surely emerge.

If you have never heard of this theory and think he pulled it out of his ass, you can be forgiven for that, too. I asked around and no one at BP had heard of it. When discussing the theory Rogers sometimes uses the journalistic "we" ("we would argue that"), but it's not as if he has a corps of colleagues at his side. As best I can tell, it's all his and he made it up to support a presupposition.

Read the full article...

In an article that appeared last week on ESPN.com, Peter Gammons provided a list of 20 players whom respondants to an informal straw poll described as candidates for a breakout season. The list, derived from a survey of major league executives, included a mix of pitchers and hitters, five-tool talents and makeup guys, united only in their ability to tease hibernating fantasy leaguers into dreams of greener days ahead. If one needs any reminder that lists like these are little more than a grownup's version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, it's worth reviewing a similar list that Gammons produced last year.

In an article that appeared last week on ESPN.com, Peter Gammons provided a list of 20 players whom respondants to an informal straw poll described as candidates for a breakout season. The list, derived from a survey of major league executives, included a mix of pitchers and hitters, five-tool talents and makeup guys, united only in their ability to tease hibernating fantasy leaguers into dreams of greener days ahead.

If one needs any reminder that lists like these are little more than a grownup's version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, it's worth reviewing a similar list that Gammons produced last year. That list includes roughly equal representation of the good (Alfonso Soriano and Derek Lowe), the bad (J.D. Drew), and the ugly (Juan Uribe), as well as four players whose performances were so impressive that they made repeat appearances on this year's list.

Now, none of this is meant to be a knock on Gammons, or the lists he has compiled. Everybody likes to talk about breakout candidates this time of year, ourselves included (Eddie Yarnall, anyone?). Having formerly moonlighted as a daily team correspondent for another baseball website, I can attest to the fact that virtually every player provides at least some excuse each winter for gushing commentary, delusions of grandeur, or other forms of irrational exuberance.

As it happens, however, we're unrolling a new forecasting system at BP this year--one that is also preoccupied with the question of breakout candidates. The PECOTA system--short for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm--seeks to identify potential breakouts by comparing a player against a database of his historical peers. In so doing, it comes up with an objective estimate of the probability that a player will display marked improvement in the upcoming season (defined as an increase of at least 20% in his Equivalent Runs per plate appearance, or a decrease of at least 20% in his PERA, relative to a weighted average of his previous three years of performance). We refer to this estimate as a player's Breakout score. Readers interested in a more extensive treatment of the PECOTA system will find it in this year's book, and in the PECOTA glossary provided here.

One brief caveat: the PECOTA system is new technology. That doesn't mean that we stole it from the Raelians, or that we haven’t tested it thoroughly. But sometimes PECOTA provides us with definitive and unexpected answers, and we need to work backwards to try and explain why they came about. That's a bastardization of the scientific method, and I'll ask that you'll excuse me as I run through the hitters on Gammons' list.

Rank on Gammons List, Player, PECOTA Breakout Score

Read the full article...

Last week, Major League Baseball's owners unanimously approved Commissioner Bud Selig's proposal to give the league that wins the All-Star Game home field advantage in the World Series.

Last week, Major League Baseball's owners unanimously approved Commissioner Bud Selig's proposal to give the league that wins the All-Star Game home field advantage in the World Series. In the official release announcing the vote, Selig proclaimed, "This change is designed to re-energize and give greater meaning to the All-Star Game."

This wasn't a problem before 1997. Until then, the All-Star Game had plenty of meaning. It was the only time before the World Series when AL and NL players competed against one another. However, in yet another Selig-era obsession with the short-term "fix," the owners not only wore out the novelty of interleague play in short order, but took the bloom off their own midsummer showcase by scheduling all those interleague games within three weeks of the All-Star Game. MLB's antitrust exemption might protect the league from a lot of things, but it doesn't protect it from the Law of Unintended Consequences.

The move will surely be applauded by Fox, which has TV rights to the next three All-Star Games. And MLB's current proposal could improve the quality of the game, especially if players from contending teams appreciate the impact of a win.

Still, the move has been met with considerable skepticism from the players. As NL player representative Tom Glavine told the New York Times: "It's an exhibition game. That's how it's approached. What other games do we play where we have the starting pitchers wearing microphones? If you want to do that, it's going to be hard for players to have the mentality that this is a win-at-all-cost game." As the MLBPA must approve the proposed change before it takes effect, Glavine's comments suggest that the issue is far from resolved.

Home field advantage in the World Series has never been more important. Consider:

Read the full article...

Jonah Keri has ably analyzed the Colon trade and its ridiculousness for the Expos. I want to focus on the deal as an indicator of the shadiness and shame implied by the league's ownership of the Expos.

Jonah Keri has ably analyzed the Colon trade and its ridiculousness for the Expos. I want to focus on the deal as an indicator of the shadiness and shame implied by the league's ownership of the Expos.

First, some background. For better and for worse, Major League Baseball is a legal cartel. As such, it may be thought of as a sort of open, friendly conspiracy (it conspires to keep any competing league from offering top-level baseball in North America). Nothing wrong with that in itself -- we happily put up with cartels in most of our major sports, and in other areas of life as well. And as long as I the consumer understand the arrangement, benefit from it, and have some kind of recourse to get out from under it, what's the problem? No one makes me spend money on MLB or the NFL. If I have a beef with one of these cartels, I can always boycott their sponsors, or push for new laws to rein them in, or just go to Longhorn games instead. So far, so good.

But for their own long-term health, sports leagues must convince their consumers that they field a fair product, or else the entire attraction of honest competition is ruined. By this token, baseball's fans must be able to believe that MLB holds itself in check by various means, whether in the structure of the amateur draft, or in a player's arbitration calendar, or in the rules of the waiver wire. These rules (and many others) allow for open explanations of events: The Red Sox signed Johnny Damon fair and square under the free agency rules; the Yankees got stuck with Jose Canseco's contract because the Rays really were looking to unload him via waivers; there's only so long the Expos can hold onto Vlad Guerrero thanks to his free-agency calendar. And so on.

Whether we like an individual piece of news or not, we have reason to believe that matters were handled out in the open. The league's internal rules are made even more potent in this regard since they're monitored by a powerful player's union and, at least in theory, by an independent press.

Onto the problem at hand. The very nature of the league's ownership of the Expos raises the specter of misconduct - of a violation of consumers' trust - because it subverts this system of checks. Because the league now controls the Expos' players, this specter extends not just to Expos fans, but to fans of other teams (like the Red Sox), and to followers of the league as a whole.

Protestations of innocence from Selig & Co. are irrelevant. Maybe the Commissioner does have firewalls in place such that he holds no sway on the Expos' day-to-day operations. It doesn't matter. Again, it is the very nature of the arrangement that opens the way for back-channel, conspiratorial explanations for events. Indeed, given the current arrangement, it actually becomes logical to entertain such notions.

Read the full article...

Serious Baseball Analysis Hits the Airwaves

The authors of Baseball Prospectus are proud to bring you BPR - Baseball Prospectus Radio. In the vast wasteland of sports radio, baseball talk is limited to a few minutes interspersed with basketball and football. BPR will be one solid hour of the most intelligent baseball conversation available. Hosted by Will Carroll, we'll have great guests, great analysis, and conversations with baseball writers, team executives, players, and the BP authors. The show launches in late February with six preseason divisional preview shows.

Who can you look forward to hearing? Our first show had Peter Gammons of ESPN and Stan Conte, the trainer of the San Francisco Giants. While this show isn't intended for air - no commercials, you know - you can win a copy in our first BPR contest. Click on this link and give us your best slogan for the show. The winner gets an autographed copy of the first show and the chance to ask the first BPR Mailbag question.

In coming weeks, we'll hear from

Read the full article...

Flash back to January 1987. Walk Like an Egyptian is at the top of the pop charts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has coasted past 2,000. John Elway has broken Cleveland's heart for the very first time. And in baseball, the free agents are getting utterly and completely shafted.

In an article that appeared on Baseball Prospectus recently, I concluded that, in spite of an across-the-board decrease in player salaries, the winter's market has done a very efficient job of equating free agent salaries with performance. Players are being paid less, but more so than in the recent past, they're being paid in proportion to what they're worth. I went on to suggest that this constitutes compelling evidence that ownership is not colluding to restrict the market:

Read the full article...

Almost from the day it opened, the Baseball Hall of Fame has had some form of a Veterans Committee to supplement the player selections voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. In fact, Cy Young, who finished sixth behind the first five inductees, also received the fourth-highest 1936 vote total from the Old-Timers Committee.

Almost from the day it opened, the Baseball Hall of Fame has had some form of a Veterans Committee to supplement the player selections voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. In fact, Cy Young, who finished sixth behind the first five inductees, also received the fourth-highest 1936 vote total from the Old-Timers Committee. That Committee was supposed to choose five 19th-century players for the initial HOF class, but couldn't achieve consensus in support of anyone. A year after the Old-Timers Committee's failure in 1936, a newly constituted six-man Centennial Commission - including Commissioner Landis and the presidents of both leagues - elected five pioneer/executives and managers, one of whom (Connie Mack) was still active and would remain so for another 13 years.

Over the years, the title of the group has changed, as has its composition, as has its charge, as has the quality of its choices for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. As Bill James details in The Politics of Glory (1994), while the BBWAA could elect only Rogers Hornsby between 1939 and 1947, the Committee on Old-Timers picked Judge Landis immediately after his death in 1944, then chose 10 men the next year and 11 more the year after that. That immense crowd included such (un)worthies as Roger Bresnahan, Tommy McCarthy, and the trifecta of Tinker-Evers-Chance.

The Veterans Committee began to take its now-familiar form in 1953. At first it had 11 members, split between baseball executives and media leaders. Both league presidents were there, as was J.G. Taylor Spink of The Sporting News. Detroit GM Charlie Gehringer was the only Hall of Famer on the first VC, though Branch Rickey, then running the Pirates, would be elected some years later. Those two were the only former players on the Veterans Committee in 1953. Over the succeeding decades, the Committee's size and composition fluctuated. In its most recent form, there were 15 members. Among them were several high-profile Hall of Famers, distinguished longtime baseball writers and broadcasters, and retired executives.

Meeting in secret, voting only face-to-face, not revealing vote totals or even the identities of the men under consideration, the Veterans Committee came to resemble a College of Cardinals - the ones in the Vatican, not those in Busch. One almost expected to see puffs of white smoke rising from the chimneys of Cooperstown as their selections were announced. There were, it has been reported, intrigues, alliances, and domineering personalities on the Veterans Committee over the years that would have impressed a Borgia or a Medici. Frankie Frisch invited many of his Giant and Cardinal teammates into the Hall of Fame in the 1970s. The Veterans Committee enshrined the likes of Lloyd Waner, Harry Hooper, and Rick Ferrell.

More recently, Ted Williams held sway over the VC, pushing hard for teammates like Dom DiMaggio while opposing the selection of Bill Mazeroski. It's telling that Williams was recovering from open-heart surgery and unable to attend the VC meeting when Maz was chosen in 2001, and perhaps equally telling that DiMaggio isn't on this year's Veterans Committee ballot. Finally, there's the story (probably apocryphal) of Yogi Berra calling Phil Rizzuto to inform the Scooter of his election in 1994 and exulting "We got you in!"

The new Veterans Committee

Read the full article...

The notion of "freely available talent" is something of a Sabermetric piety. Savvy waiver claims and judicious use of the Rule 5 draft are two sources, but it's mostly by trawling through the minor-league free agents each year that many organizations fill their holes at the highest level.

The notion of "freely available talent" is something of a Sabermetric piety. Savvy waiver claims and judicious use of the Rule 5 draft are two sources, but it's mostly by trawling through the minor-league free agents each year that many organizations fill their holes at the highest level. Nominally, the idea is to find players above the replacement level who have a skill or two that, deployed properly, can help the team or at the very least flesh out the triple-A roster and provide some insurance. Only rarely do teams divine a long-term contributor, but useful players are out there nonetheless.

This year's collection of six-year minor-league free agents isn't particularly striking one way or the other. But as a laboratory for the freely-available theorem, it's worth asking: What kind of team can we put together using only minor-league FAs? Not a very good one, since the idea of using these players is to paper over isolated weaknesses and not field an entire team. But this will provide a glimpse of what's out there and who's making use of this source of talent. Here are the best of the 546 players that are or were at one time available this winter.

Read the full article...

Cast your vote for this year's Hall of Fame class.

Welcome to the 2002 edition of the STATLG-L Internet Hall of Fame! As listowner of STATLG-L, the "Baseball (and lesser sports) discussion list", I've been running an online Hall of Fame vote since 1991. For the first eight years, it operated strictly through our email list. This is now the fourth year we've been doing this here on the Baseball Prospectus website ... I suppose we must be "regulars" in the BP rotation by this time.

As far as I can tell, this is still the only public-access Hall of Fame balloting found anywhere. While members of the Baseball Writers Association of America use little more than their fading memories and baseball-card stats to make their choices, we BP readers can look at the candidates from the perspective of EqA, RARP, SNWL, TPR, and the like. This year, Win Shares has added still another form of analytic ammunition to our collection of weapons. With all this information at our disposal, we can do a far better job of sorting through the candidates than those besotted BBWAA members, can't we?

Or can we? During our existence, the STATLG-L voters have produced results that are often quite congruent with those of the writers. For example, we were no better advocates for Ron Santo than were the writers. Here is a year-to-year comparison between the real BBWAA results and those of the STATLG-L voters (note that "year" refers to the time of voting, not the induction ceremony):

Year BBWAA result STATLG-L result 1991 Tom Seaver Tom Seaver Rollie Fingers Rollie Fingers 1992 Reggie Jackson Reggie Jackson 1993 Steve Carlton Steve Carlton 1994 Mike Schmidt Mike Schmidt 1995 (none) Phil Niekro 1996 Phil Niekro Phil Niekro 1997 Don Sutton (none) 1998 Nolan Ryan George Brett George Brett Nolan Ryan Robin Yount Robin Yount Carlton Fisk 1999 Carlton Fisk (none) Tony Perez 2000 Dave Winfield Dave Winfield Kirby Puckett 2001 Ozzie Smith Ozzie Smith Gary Carter

The STATLG-L Hall of Fame vote operates using rules as close to those of the BBWAA as I can make them. The rules are straightforward - choose the players you feel belong in the Hall of Fame from the same candidates who have been put before the BBWAA. You can vote for any number up to ten, including zero. If you can submit a blank ballot, it will count toward the denominator. You can't write in the name of anyone who doesn't appear on the official ballot ... fans of Mariano Duncan, Greg Gagne, Kevin Gross, Mark Gubicza, Ron Karkovice, Joe Orsulak, Jody Reed, Don Slaught, or John Smiley should send their protests and petitions to BBWAA Screening Committee, not me or BP.

When the voting ends, right around the end of the year, any player whose name appears on at least 75% of all submitted ballots is "elected." Voting ends Friday, January 3, 2003, and the results will be announced on January 6, the day before the Hall of Fame announces the real results.

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Scot Hughes analyzes the rest of Montreal's roster, which will probably be filled with players who are not yet arbitration-eligible.

Part One

The rest of the roster will probably be filled with players who are not yet arbitration-eligible. Taking into account the increase in minimum salary and the players available to the Expos, the other 14 spots will be filled with guys like Tomo Ohka, Scott Stewart, T.J. Tucker, Brad Wilkerson, Jose Macias, Brian Schneider, Endy Chavez, Jim Brower and possibly an inexpensive veteran or two (like Andres Galarraga, Troy O'Leary and Wil Cordero in 2002). Figure an average salary of $0.5M or so for each of the remaining 14 roster spots, and that's $7M more, for a total of $56M.

So Minaya has a likely budget of $40M, and a projected payroll of $56M or so. What does he do?

Minaya has to cut about $16M in payroll. There are some salaries on the roster that could be cut without hurting the on-field product all that much. Unfortunately, Fernando Tatis is the biggest albatross on the Expos payroll, but I think his $6M is basically untradeable, at least not without the Expos paying a big chunk of his salary or accepting an equally bad contract in return. But we'll give Minaya the benefit of the doubt, and assume he can unload Tatis and half of his contract (but doesn't acquire anything of value in return). $3M in savings.

The Expos also have reasonably good depth in terms of candidates for the back end of the rotation and the bullpen (Sun Woo Kim, Zach Day, Matt Blank, Dickey Gonzalez, Dan Smith, Britt Reames, etc). Given that, it makes sense that they showed Masato Yoshii the door, and they'll probably do the same with Matt Herges. $4M more in savings.

At this point, the easy, relatively painless cuts are gone, and Minaya still has to clear $9M in payroll. He's got 2 options at this point:

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