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Prospectus Hit List for August 10



by Matthew Kory

Hit List for August 9 Hit List for August 13
Hit List updates are published Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, starting April 2, 2014. Data presented here is based on games through the day prior to publication.
Teams are ordered based on Adjusted Hit List Factor, a computer generated number, and the author isn't responsible for the order of the teams.

Are the Mariners the next Orioles or are the Orioles the next Mariners?

RkTmWLW1W2W3HLFAHLFWin Div%Win WC%Playoff%1-Day7-Day
1

65

45

63.0

66.8

66.2

.593

.612

90.0%

9.5%

99.5%

0.3%

0.8%

Yu Darvish has struck out 26 percent of the hitters he's faced. So he's got that going for him. Now he just has to fix everyting else.
2

65

46

64.9

64.8

65.5

.586

.605

96.5%

2.8%

99.3%

0.6%

1.6%

A few months ago after a tough loss the Yankees were greeted in the locker room by the ghost of George Steinbrenner. After seeing the ghost, they went on a winning streak and all was forgotten. A few weeks ago the team was in a rut and the ghost showed up again, only this time he crashed into the pre-game deli table and his bed sheet fell off. Why Steinbrenner’s ghost was wearing a bed sheet nobody knows.
3

69

43

66.3

67.4

65.4

.598

.579

76.9%

21.9%

98.8%

1.1%

5.6%

Jordan Zimmermann's 11 strikeouts will awaken Spinal Tap fans across the country from eating pudding in their mother's basements. Oh, hi there! I didn't see you sleeping on the couch.
4

59

53

60.8

62.6

63.6

.549

.569

9.0%

59.0%

68.0%

-2.0%

-10.0%

Two days ago the Angels comment here read as follows: "Mike Trout." I'd now like to offer a counterpoint: Vernon Wells.
5

60

50

61.5

59.4

59.6

.547

.566

61.0%

20.8%

81.8%

3.2%

-2.5%

The White Sox were off yesterday, so your regularly scheduled Adam Dunn Struck Out Joke will not be seen today. Instead we'll be showing a hilarious episode of "Saved by the Bell."
6

61

51

66.5

66.9

64.5

.578

.558

15.9%

49.0%

64.9%

11.5%

13.8%

The Cardinals have scored 92 more runs than the Pirates, but it's tough to pin a team when the smoke and mirrors are so disorienting.
7

60

52

58.6

60.1

61.3

.536

.556

39.0%

32.2%

71.2%

-8.3%

12.7%

Prince Fielder may not be a real prince, but he can rule on a baseball from time to time. Like, hit it really hard. Not force it to do his gardening.
8

59

52

58.8

57.8

58.9

.528

.548

2.1%

34.2%

36.3%

5.4%

4.4%

Matt Moore’s stats (before last night): His first two months: 56 2/3 innings, 58 strikeouts, 28 walks, 4.76 ERA. His second two months: 56 innings, 58 strikeouts, 28 walks, 3.06 ERA. (Last night Moore threw six innings of one-run, six-strikeout, two-walk ball.)
9

55

58

59.5

61.1

61.6

.525

.545

0.8%

6.6%

7.4%

-0.8%

-9.2%

Felix Doubront likes pitching. Like a lot. We know because every time he starts a game he tries to throw as many pitches as he possibly can.
10

64

47

63.0

61.3

61.3

.562

.542

23.1%

59.0%

82.1%

0.3%

0.8%

Chipper Jones tweeted about a broken TV in his hotel room and a man showed up to repair it minutes later. Then he tweeted about a broken starting pitching staff.
11

60

51

59.1

55.9

56.7

.522

.542

1.0%

25.6%

26.6%

3.5%

-1.2%

Is Josh Reddick an MVP candidate? If you don't think his performance says so how about his mullet take you around the back of the pancake house and ask you again?
12

66

46

63.3

60.1

59.3

.555

.535

67.7%

22.4%

90.1%

-2.4%

-8.0%

I feel that if I told you, as I did yesterday, that Miguel Cairo started at first base again, it would be repetitive, and yet I still feel, based on my sense of urgency and fear, that it's totally necessary.
13

57

55

60.9

61.5

60.6

.536

.516

19.9%

1.5%

21.4%

4.6%

-11.0%

Two two-run homers later, Jason Kubel's .908 OPS looks pretty good. But you can't look at a guy's stats after a game like that. It's baseball's version of beer goggles.
14

63

48

59.1

57.8

56.1

.532

.512

16.4%

36.9%

53.3%

-8.4%

-6.5%

I haven't done the math but I'm pretty sure Andrew McCutchen has a thousand-game hitting streak.
15

61

51

59.1

59.0

58.2

.530

.510

56.9%

4.8%

61.7%

-5.6%

12.9%

The Giants are using Brad Penny in relief. Yes, that Brad Penny. But don't worry, Giants fans, they'll move him to shortstop soon enough.
16

53

58

55.4

53.6

54.0

.486

.506

0.0%

0.4%

0.4%

-0.2%

-0.6%

Henderson Alvarez is an overly generous parent on Halloween giving away far too may hits to the neighborhood kids and every start is Halloween.
17

60

52

57.5

55.3

55.0

.508

.488

23.2%

4.0%

27.2%

-0.7%

-3.7%

The Dodgers have outscored their opponents by 13 runs on the season. Fortunately, it doesn't take long to win games by 0.12 runs so Dodger fans get to see their team win and they get to beat the traffic home. Win win!
18

51

62

55.0

52.2

53.1

.467

.487

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

-0.1%

-0.2%

For those of you who don't think the Mariners can compete next year, Seattle has scored 22 fewer runs than the Orioles and allowed 62 fewer. Not that the Orioles are anyone's idea of strong planning, but still.
19

60

52

50.4

48.5

49.9

.466

.486

0.6%

8.8%

9.4%

-1.5%

5.9%

The Orioles called up Manny Machado who, in his first game, proceeded to go 2-for-4 with a triple. But it came against the Royals so it was kind of like getting called up to the majors only to play in Triple-A.
20

54

58

54.4

57.4

58.5

.501

.481

0.0%

0.4%

0.4%

-0.1%

-3.4%

R.A. Dickey (five-hit complete game, 10 strikeouts, no walks) has 166 strikeouts and 36 walks in 162 2/3 innings. How long before teams start knuckleball camps for failed prospects with decent arms?
21

52

60

46.2

51.3

51.6

.449

.469

0.0%

0.1%

0.1%

-0.1%

-1.7%

Ubaldo Jimenez got his good start of the month out of the way early so Indians fans won't have to burn precious hours of their lives waiting around for it.
22

49

62

48.6

50.4

50.5

.447

.467

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

After many discussions with industry insiders, I can report that the Twins' biggest problem is that they can't handle a market like Minnesota.
23

51

59

54.3

54.8

53.5

.485

.465

0.0%

0.1%

0.1%

-0.3%

-0.4%

The Brewers are fourth in OPS and 13th in ERA, but where they really fall short is on defense. They are 29th in Defensive Efficiency.
24

48

63

50.0

47.9

48.2

.437

.457

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Billy "Country Breakfast" Butler went 3-for-5, finishing a single short of the cycle. And so begins the great Silly Breakfast-Related Nickname-Fest of 2012.
25

50

61

51.5

54.2

54.0

.472

.452

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

-0.1%

Have the Phillies peaked? The four-year deal they're about to give to Juan Pierre thinks so.
26

49

64

50.4

51.0

49.3

.442

.422

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

The Padres have the lowest team batting average, .238, in the National League. OK, sure, but have you ever sat outside on a summer night in San Diego?
27

51

61

46.1

47.7

48.6

.432

.412

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

As the saying goes, sometimes the best deals you make are the ones you didn't make at all. Or, to adapt it for the Marlins, sometimes the best deals you make are none of the deals you just made.
28

44

66

45.6

42.9

43.5

.400

.381

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

The Cubs are just as good as any other team if you don't pay attention to talent level, on-field execution, farm-system quality, team uniform, team name, or team history.
29

40

69

43.8

42.4

42.9

.388

.369

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

During the franchise’s infancy, an unforeseen problem appeared: peanut vendors would overshoot their patrons, hitting unsuspecting people five rows back. It wasn’t until the peanuts were stored in a climate-controlled device that things started to work properly.
30

36

77

40.9

40.5

40.5

.349

.331

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

The Astros are still 0-11 in extra innings. Even if they won half of those they'd still be putrid, but still: 0-11!

Matthew Kory is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Matthew's other articles. You can contact Matthew by clicking here


9 comments have been left for this article.
Hendo

Not quite completely unrelated to today's epigrammatic question, there is no truth to the rumor that Bill Bavasi is trying to talk Walt Jocketty into a straight-up trade of Joey Votto for Erik Bedard.

Which is really too bad. It's going to be a long offseason, and there's no hockey in Cincinnati.

Aug 10, 2012 09:49 AM
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BP staff member Matt Kory

Ah, but there is hockey in Cincinnati! Check out the Cincinnati Cyclones. Any hockey is good hockey. And now back to your regularly scheduled Hit List...

Aug 10, 2012 11:55 AM
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CrashD

There you go again! The Mariners were the next Orioles when Adam Jones was still in Triple A and, for those of you not scoring at home, still a Mariners prospect/project.

Today on the Hit List I see that Detroit is #7 and 60-52, Tampa Bay #8 at 59-52, Boston #9 at 55-58, Toronto #16 at 53-58, and the Mariners (who, if memory serves correctly, the Orioles just swept) #18 at 51-62, and the aforementioned Orioles #19 at - wait for it - 60-52.

Groucho is one of the few (Yogi is another) who can never be overquoted, so I ask you, Matt and my fellow readers, Who you gonna believe? Hit List or your lyin' eyes?

I realize it has become an article of faith that run differential is a very good predictor of future performance - so good that it has its own shrine, right here, which hundreds if not thousands of us visit daily. And it is a good predictor - except on those rare occasions when it isn't. On those rare occasions we can all giggle about regression to the mean being right around the corner or ask, is there something more here?

Yeah, there is. If you take a randomly selected sample of the universe of all run differentials a a prespecified time T1 and you correlate those with actual won-loss records at a prespecified subsequent time T2 you will get a correlation between run differentials and won-loss record AND, if you push a couple of extra buttons on your calculator, a measure of that correlation, which is very likely to be less than 1.00000000000000.

That means that once in, oh, say, a billion times or so, run differential isn't going to be a perfect surrogate marker. On those rare occasions it is going to give fans of a lousy team the false impression that they are better than they actually are, while (life and Hit Lists being zero-sum games) simultaneously giving fans of a good team the false impression that they are worse than they actually are. This may be one of those times.

The more interesting question, but one for a future post, is whether there are consistent differences UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES between teams that overperform or underperform, and that's why we read, and occasionally comment on, Baseball Prospectus. Don't bet the ranch on a single parameter, guys, but otherwise, keep up the great work!

Aug 10, 2012 11:38 AM
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BP staff member Matt Kory

"I realize it has become an article of faith that run differential is a very good predictor of future performance"

Faith has nothing to do with it. The predictive value of run differential has been substantiated by numerous studies.

As for using a single parameter, the Hit List is more complicated than that. I suggest you read some of the work Jay Jaffe, this list's creator, has done on the topic. You can find a good summary article by hovering your cursor over the AHLF heading above and clicking that link, or by clicking cutting and pasting this URL:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9439

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Aug 10, 2012 11:53 AM
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tim270
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Run differential makes absolutely no claim whatsoever to predicative value. None. None at all.

It merely says what a teams record "should" be through x number of games, based on the amount of runs it has allowed and scored. It does not claim anything beyond that.

Aug 10, 2012 12:13 PM
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lmarighi

I'll give the simple answer to what I think was your question ("Why are the Orioles so low since they have more wins than teams ranked above them?"), which is that if we just want to see how teams rank based on real wins and losses (which some would argue is all that really counts), we can simply look at the standings.

Aug 12, 2012 15:41 PM
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tim270

The same Mariners who just dropped three straight to..... wait for it...... the Orioles?

Aug 10, 2012 11:42 AM
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Pluthero

The Astros should just be happy they had that many extra inning games.

Aug 10, 2012 14:38 PM
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CrashD

Matt, I am a HUGE Jay Jaffe fan (miss you, Jay!)and the only substantive difference that I can tell between us is how we analyze the fraction of an observed variance that cannot be attributed to an optimized set of exploratory variables. If I understand Jay's work correctly, he is a frequentist who deals with residual variance as if it were a normally distributed variable that in textbooks is called epsilon. However, there are a lot of statistics in baseball - the distribution of batting averages being just one example - that are not normally distributed, so I don't accept the hypothesis that residual variance in the baseball universe is normally distributed until proven otherwise, and would in fact argue the opposite, as I just did.

Are we bored yet? Truthfully?

This is BTW the basis of a truly remarkable proof I have discovered why Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame, but this margin is too small to contain it.

Back on point. The run differential, and its second order refinements, suggest that the Orioles should be doing worse than they are, and predict that they will do worse than they are at a foreseeable point in the future, and these equations have been so predicting since a time in the recent past that I'm at the moment too lazy to calculate.

But they're not - Eppur si muove, as Gallileo once said - and there may be a reason why they're not. If there is, I'd like to know what it is, and if I did I'd be writing about it and making the Big Bucks you sportswriters make.

When I look at the Orioles, I see an All Star centerfielder, catcher, and closer who are playing about to expectations, a good right fielder, shortstop, and setup man who are playing about to expectations, a bullpen a bit above replacement level, left field, third base, second base, and first base right at (de facto, if not statistically; this is Dan Duquette at work) at replacement level, erratic starting pitching, a manager a lot of people seem to respect as well as like, a GM with absolutely nothing to lose at this stage of his career, and an owner who may be a bit more of a realist than some people wish he were.

In short, a black hole, with not a single good explanatory variable on the event horizon. They live and die on their pitching right now. Duh. Anyone got a better idea?

Maybe it is just random variation, but it's a lot of random variation, and if it isn't just random, and if the non-random and reproducible in other settings difference between the Oriole's W(0) and W(n) can be captured in an equation, it would make the Hit List even more fun to watch, and read.

Aug 10, 2012 16:28 PM
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