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While this is not why I subscribe to BP, I am glad you used the forum it gives you for this piece. It was wonderfully thought out and superbly written. Well done, young man, well done.
This gets a lot trickier when Quality Starts is a category.
Very interesting column with a lot of info. As someone who has watched baseball since the 1950s, let me take you back in time.
First, let's address the sci-fi aspect of this,which is, after all, the premise. If the only thing players took back was their bodies, if they knew nothing about the way baseball is played today, then there would be serious problems for them.
I have no idea how good the hitters would be. It would probably depend on exactly where they went back to. If they went back to the 90s, they'd be fine, although I'm not sure whether they would be swinging with the same abandon they swing now, and definitely wouldn't have the severe uppercuts they do now. Hell, go back to 2014 and they would be different - see <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Daniel+Murphy">Daniel Murphy</a></span> about that. The real problem is when you go back to the 50s, 60s, and 70s. They might land with their bodies, but they would have trouble maintaining them without the equipment they use for their workouts. If they went back to the 50s, they would think lifting weights was bad for you. In addition, their hitting styles are different, as they tend to generate power with their upper body strength, so they would have to adapt. They also would lose bat speed, as they would be using bats that weighed 36 or 38 ounces, rather than the 31-32 they use now. They would also have to adapt their hitting styles to different strike zones. I have no idea how they would perform.
The pitchers, on the other hand, would have a ball. Those who throw 90-92 on a regular basis would find themselves power pitchers. Those who threw 95+ would be studs. Imagine a 95+ MPH pitcher throwing to strike zone which extended to the letters or even armpits. Imagine the popups generated by 160 lb. middle infielders. They would be dominant.
Which brings me to the non-scifi portion of this - defense. The <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BABIP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BABIP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BABIP</span></a> chart, based on your commentary, indicates players used to be better defensively. They were not. Now I'm not saying those same player playing now wouldn't have been excellent defenders - <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=25673">Bill Mazeroski</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=28104">Brooks Robinson</a></span>, Wes Pakrker, and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=25672">Willie Mays</a></span> would have been great fielders in any generation. But if you go back to the 50s and 60s, the equipment was worse, the fields were worse, so the defense was not better. Playing with smaller gloves where you had to catch the ball in the pocket to catch it cleanly clearly limited fielders range. In the 70s, many were playing on artificial turf, which gave truer bounces but also limited everyone's range. So why was the BABIP lower then and higher now? There are multiple reasons.
1- ballpark design - lots of foul ground in those ballparks. The old ones were built that way, the 70s multi-purpose parks were forced to have it. Look at the A's home field as an example. It doesn't take many foul outs to have a significant effect on BABIP.
2- higher strike zone - this combines with the foul territory, causing more pop flies both fair and foul. Not a lot of skill added.
3- contact hitting - this goes back to the little infielders with no power. A lot of easy outs against good pitchers.
The increase in the 70s was a combination of a changed, lower, strike zone and artificial turf. The increase starting in the 90s was a combination of better living through chemistry and bigger, stronger men swinging harder. In the 21st century, we've cut foul territory down as far as we could without letting box seat holders shake hands with the first base coach. When the hitters do make contact, the exit velocity is much higher.
Good information in this, I really liked it.
As a Met fan, I feel and share your pain. As I live in L.A., I can also see it. At least your mascot isn't giving fans the finger.
As someone who owns Villar and really needs him to be someone you should trade for, I sure hope you're right about his future value. But there are two strong arguments against you - first, he's already been dropped from first to seventh in the lineup, a substantial drop in his value. Second, he is a terrible player visually - he strikes out an inordinate amount, is a terrible fielder, and not a good baserunner, despite his speed and <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SB</span></a>. Those are the kind of attributes which can cause you to lose your job the second the team struggles. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57552">Eric Sogard</a></span> has gone crazy the last few weeks and is now batting leadoff. I consider Villar losing his job to be a real possibility.
You understand this is about fantasy baseball, right? Very few leagues give anything for defense.
I love this. Please track this on a regular basis, like the first of each month. It would be interesting to see how the median changes, assuming it does.
I would contend that if fielders are playing deeper because they think it's more important to cut off doubles and triples, they have it backwards. In an era of increased <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> and strikeouts, the difference between a single and a double decreases. Increased strikeouts decrease the likelihood of runners being advanced from second to third and third to home via outs. I would contend the proper strategy is to prevent baserunners, so the inevitable HR only scores one run, not two.
I think they're playing deeper because more hitters are hitting the ball deeper. There will be more defensive adjustments coming as more and more hitters try and uppercut everything they can. The game is changing rapidly.
On Seattle: you had to see the last effort by Diaz to fully grasp how unusable he had become. He faced five batters, going to 3-2 on all five. He got one out anf walked the other four, not coming close to the strike zone on the last three. Combine that with his 3 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> allowed in his previous 6 appearances and you can't keep putting him out there. I say this as someone who has him in my AL league. He really looked like he was falling apart.
As for his (hopefully temporary)replacement, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=16969">Jerry DiPoto</a></span> suggested it would be Pazos. He said that the day after <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=55725">Steve Cishek</a></span> blew the save in the ninth.Since they haven't had a save opportunity since then, I have no idea who they'll use, but Diaz is now as likely as anyone.
On San Diego: Maurer was looking great until the last three games 2.1 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=IP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('IP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">IP</span></a>, 6 runs. I can't believe he's still the closer (I own him, so I hope he is), but like the Seattle situation, SD hasn't needed one since his most recent implosion. The good sign is that he hasn't been used in a different role.
Given his new launch angle and home park, I think an upside of 25+ <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> is well within reach.
So let's see if I got this right: Urena is a slow, non-athletic thirdbaseman, without <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> power, and average bat speed specializing in weak contact. Be still my heart.
Sigh. We can't have anything nice.
There are a couple of a things that aren't being talked about in the excitement (?) of saving 40 seconds of playing time. Say what you will about intentional walks being pro forma, they actually are a baseball event which happens - that is, a pitcher throws four pitches, the hitter takes four pitches (almost always), and the umpire calls them balls. If the pitcher never throws a pitch, will he be charged with a walk? Will the hitter be given credit for a walk? That is a logical absurdity. In what way is that different than "defensive indifference" negating a stolen base.
Even more significant is the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=LOOGY" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('LOOGY'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">LOOGY</span></a> situation, where the pitcher comes in to face a lefty, there's a pinch hitter, he walks him, then the pitcher is removed. Again, he threw four balls to the PH, so he did face a batter. But if he doesn't throw a pitch, did he face a batter? Because if he hasn't, he can't be taken out.
I am envisioning this absurd sequence:
Pitcher takes the long walk from the bullpen. Pitcher throws eight warmup pitches. Manager sends up a pinch-hitter (in the NL, this could also include a trip to home plate by the manager to explain a double-switch). Manager goes back to the dugout and the other manager makes a gesture. The umpire then sends the batter to first base. The other manager then goes to the mound and removes the pitcher, who leaves the mound, tips his hat to the crowd, and probably gets credit for a hold, depending on which definition is used.
Sports at its finest.
This is a terrible idea. Besides changing the nature of the game, it isn't even fair. If you use the player who made the last out the previous inning as the runner, one team could end up with their catcher on second, the other with a very fast runner. If the score is tied going to the bottom of the tenth, the leadoff hitter would be an automatic walk, as it is a lot more likely that you can prevent the runner reaching third with one out.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17912">Jack Morris</a></span> had The Moment. The Moment is a big thing, because it separates the very good pitcher or player from the other very good pitcher or player.Why A and not B? A won game 7 of a World Series with a 1-0 shutout, B didn't. Sometimes A had that one fantastic season in an other wise very good career and B just had the very good career.
In Freehan's case, everything worked against him. He was in an era with a ton of great offensive players and even they were hurt by the era. If you go outside the era, .262/.340/.412 with 706 runs and 758 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=RBI" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('RBI'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">RBI</span></a> doesn't exactly scream Hall of Famer. Maybe if he had won that MVP award the year he finished second behind McLain - hard to beat a 31 game winner. Or the year he finished behind Yaz and Killebrew. But he didn't. And going 2-24 in the 1968 World Series didn't either - the writers remember that stuff.
I would have no problem with his being in the Hall - along with others who have gotten no support at all, a couple of them Tigers middle infielders. Maybe the key is to not play your whole career in Detroit.
They don't sell out because they're bad. They don't come out to see Trout because as valuable as the skill is, nobody goes to a ball game to watch the best player draw a walk. The margin by which he is leading the league in <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a> is Votto-esque, but no one is paying money to watch that.
Fans don't go to games or watch them on TV and tell the neighbors "You see the game last night? Trout went 1 for 3 with a walk and scored on a double" It doesn't diminish his greatness, but it makes it harder to appreciate on a day to day basis.
Since I assume the premise of this exercise is predicting who will be elected to the Hall of Fame and not who should be elected to the Hall of Fame, I can say with no fear of contradiction that Yadier will be in the Hall within three elections of his eligibility, while Martin will be the subject of a great deal of anguished discussion regarding his value as a pitch framer as he gets 15% of the votes.
"Fame" is a large part of being in the Hall of Fame and Yadier is very famous, while Martin is far less so. For catchers and closers, being part of championships is very important. Maybe there will be a whole new generation of voters who won't pay any attention to things like Gold Gloves, All-Star games, and being a key component of consistent winning teams, but I don't think that will be coming all that soon.
And he's a left-handed hitting OF, so he fits perfectly with the Mets endless collection of them.
The Mets were asked about DFA'ing de Aza after the bunt fiasco and said "we're not considering it at this time". Part of the problem with dumping de Aza is the Mets have no one to bring up. They just sent down Conforto, Kelly, and Plawecki, leaving just <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Eric+Campbell">Eric Campbell</a></span> on our 40 man roster and we're not that desperate. I suspect that as soon as Reyes gets through three games in CF without looking like a clown, that de Aza will be released.
Thanks for the added research. There are a couple of points I have to make right off the top. Notice that there is a relationship between strikeout rate and GB/FB pitcher value. The two years where FB pitchers did better were 1955 and 1975, the years with the lowest K rates. K rates jumped up over 30% in 1965, the glory years for pure power pitchers, then after the rule changes and the addition of the DH, they dropped down again in 1975.
Which brings us to the universe of pitchers used for the analysis. You were much more inclusive, but that changed the study. In limiting himself to the top 200 pitchers in <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BFP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BFP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BFP</span></a>, two things happened which, I believe, effects the study. Pitchers who pitched in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, faced more batters than pitchers do now (although some of that might be balanced by longer careers now). This might well have created a list which contains more pitchers from the era where FB pitchers were more effective, especially the top ones. Then you have the nature of the types of pitchers themselves. Mediocre FB pitchers don't last as long - they end up playing Home Run Derby the second they lose a mile or two from their fast ball. Mediocre <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=GB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('GB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">GB</span></a> pitchers can hang around, if they're lucky, they get to pitch in front of a great defense, making them look better. Mediocre GB pitchers tend to look unlucky when they allow four runs - "damn, if only the SS had gotten to that bouncer up the middle, he gets out of that inning". Fly ball pitchers give up ringing doubles off the wall and get the results of their worst pitches measured by lasers and reported in distance traveled and exit velocity.
The question is whether the nature of the modern game, where even GB pitchers are expected to strike out 6 or 7 batters per 9, makes GB pitchers better than FB pitchers. It may well be the case.
Veteran leadership aside, I cannot think of a less valuable addition to the Mets roster than <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Kelly+Johnson">Kelly Johnson</a></span>. They have a desperate need for a righthanded bat, in particular an OF/1B type. Johnson is a poor defensive everything, who might have a dead cat bounce left, but is unlikely to be more productive than Ty Kelly. Unless there is a miracle cure for Lagares' thumb, the Nets have no righthanded hitting OF and they need two of them. A bizarre acquisition.
I own him in one league and I think that stretch may not be as bad as you think. I'll try him against LAA because if he can get Pujols to hit the ball on the ground, which is doable, that lineup is pitchable. As for the Mets, they aren't exactly sockin' the ball, even if they do hit them over the wall with some regularity. Lefties neutralize Granderson and Conforto (probably eliminating one of them), and if Wright is still out, his <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a> and <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> are replaced by essentially nothing. The Giants are now without <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45465">Hunter Pence</a></span>, which is a nice bonus for a lefty.
On the other hand, why the hell are the Pirates going to Colorado again? Isn't once enough for their pitchers?
I'm with you. A 20 year old SS with a .240 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ISO" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ISO'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ISO</span></a> in AA is mighty impressive. Combine that with a .400 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a> and I find it hard to not project him as at least a major league regular. This is still Baseball Prospectus, so stats should matter a little. I think an explanation of why we should be ignoring Adames production is in order.
Excellent article. For nearly forty years we have searched for the magic bullets which will enable us to see what others can't. We have used all manner of analytics to "prove" things and to give those with the knowledge to have an edge, whether in front offices or in fantasy. But we keep running into the "is this enough data to make a judgement, or just small sample size variation?" problem. And we keep running into the problem that the very performance variables we use are themselves very small. That difference between 18% and 21% may look big, but it is only 3 swinging strikes in 100 pitches. If your next start is in Coors Field, that 3% can shrink really fast. Sometimes, "I don't know" is the right answer.
A bad call at home plate.
I'll guess that the number of players with an "amazing" hit tool who fail to make the show is approximately zero. There's always room for a big bat.
The emphasis on what a player can do rather than what he can't do was discussed by Bill James some forty years ago. In his discussion, he talked about that philosophy being one of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=82629">Earl Weaver</a></span>'s big strengths. It is also a key part of "<span class="bookdef"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0393324818/baseballpro07-20/ref=nosim/" target="blank">Moneyball</a></span>", with an emphasis on how a focus on players weaknesses results in their strengths being undervalued.
The question of a five year deal for Cespedes with him being a CF at the start really depends on whether there will be a point to move him to a corner. In the Mets case, RF will be open in the third year of the contract, so the last three years wouldn't be that big a defensive drag. This depends on whether you think the horrible defensive metrics in CF are really accurate. I must say, until he got injured, his performance in CF looked adequate to me. As a Met fan, I am far more worried about the damage our IF will do defensively next year, than our OF.
I would assume because it's harder to find enough OF than enough 1B. Even if you leave out Ortiz and Sano, the 12th 1B is Belt, leaving the likes of Zimmerman, Duda, Morales, Teixeira, Santana, and Moreland for CI purposes. It's a lot harder to find 60 OF, so I would guess he's more likely to be used as an OF.
I'm a little confused. I went to look up a player, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57850">Wilmer Flores</a></span>, to check how he fares relative to other SS. I looked him up at SS and found his numbers, 1.2 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=FRAA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('FRAA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">FRAA</span></a> - but this isn't broken out into SS and 2B, it's just his total FRAA. Will this be broken out at some point?
Also, on his player card, under the Standard heading, his FRAA is 0.2, compared to 1.2 under Advanced, yet his <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a> is 2.2 in both cases.
While it might be useful analytically to think of not buying players likely to be traded during the season, as Trumbo and Tulo were, I'm not sure how your overall analysis is helped by just using their NL stats to judge their earnings. Besides the fact that some leagues let you keep the players even if traded to the other league during the season ( a good idea, IMO), shouldn't this exercise be about the difference between cost and production for the players involved? Even if Tulo's AL stats weren't usable by his owners, the production itself did occur. Put another way, if I bid $20 for a player and he earned $15 in the NL, then earned $10 in the AL, I was hurt by my league rules, not by ineffective bidding.
This is potentially very interesting. I've enjoyed your stuff all year, Jeff, as it makes me think, which, while occasionally painful, is often useful.
A quick thought is that this sounds like it hearkens back to <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=28006">Branch Rickey</a></span> and Cardinal/Dodger way to play baseball. One thing we have seen over the last few years is that there are various ways to play championship baseball and that it is useful if you know how you are planning to do it. The Royals, the Giants, the Mets, the Cubs, and the Astros, all have different styles and strengths and will all be challenged to sustain them in the face of free agency. I remember the Angels of the early years of the century, a team much like the Royals, who slowly but surely lost their way while trying to get better.
That may be part of it, but why with two out in the 5th with a six run lead? I think he wanted Price to get the win, to break his six game losing streak in the playoffs. Gibbons is just old school enough to think that matters, as opposed to the crappy job Price ultimately did in relief. There was no reason to take Dickey out at that point and every reason to leave him in - he had waited a long time for that chance and may never have another. I thought it was both a pointless move and an obnoxious one.
There was nothing wrong with Murphy's throw, except in the eyes of the umpire in NY and, apparently, you. Tejada caught it in rhythm, made his normal move to the bag, preserved his health (in theory) by not stepping on the bag, then whirled to try and complete the double play. At which point, clear of the bag, he was crashed into by a thug, who started his rolling block (it wasn't a slide), after he passed the bag,
I think you have the strategy wrong. The Nats will absolutely claim Upton, since if the D-Backs let him go, they will happily stick him in LF. Obviously, that won't happen, but they would be the only team that could negotiate any deal with them, so they could make an offer and if the D-Backs say no, they can shrug their shoulders and move on.
The same is true of the Orioles, even more so. No way they let a team above them get a shot.
AS I see it, the spectacular weakness of the Mets lineup is actually making it harder for them to bring up Conforto. They don't want this inexperienced minor leaguer, who, at his best profiles as a #6 or maybe #5 hitter, being called up as the savior for the Mets offensive problems and find himself batting cleanup on a team battling for a playoff spot. That's an awful lot of pressure to put on a kid. If d'Arnaud were healthy (one of the most common phrases Mets fans get to type), he could bat cleanup and Conforto could be put in the six hole, where his probably small, yet significant, improvement to our offense would be fine.
239 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PA</span></a> at AA, 2 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>, 0 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SB</span></a> - no power, no useful speed - sounds like he'll fit right in when he gets to Flushing. Sigh.
Clearly the low moment of its existence.
They weren't the whole site.
This whole idea is a little worse than a waste of space, since it takes the place of real articles on the subject. I read BP for information, if I want satire, I'll go to The Onion, which has the advantage of being funny.
Ummm...I'm sorta curious what we thought <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=49341">Yunel Escobar</a></span> was "going to to be all these years"?
Exactly which Mets prospects have been overblown? Surely not the pitchers, as they all seem to be as advertised, except for DeGrom, who has been better. All of the Mets hitting prospects have been downplayed - deservedly so. Were Lagares and Flores supposed to be something special offensively? I don't think so. Most catchers take a little longer to develop offensively, so d'Arnaud needed a few hundred <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=AB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('AB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">AB</span></a> before he became what he was supposed to be.
I don't think most Met fans think Conforto is gonna go all <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68520">Kris Bryant</a></span> on the league. That's not the question. The question is whether he is ready to be better than Cuddyer. And when Nimmo actually plays for a month or two without getting hurt, all he has to be is an improvement on Lagares, which is a mighty low bar to hurdle.
Last month, the Mets three best hitters by <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a> (min 50 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PA</span></a>) were Granderson (.914), Lagares (.677) and Tejada (.628) - Conforto doesn't have to walk on water, just not sink like a stone.
The Mets do not stink. I would not trade our prospective 2016-17 rotation (Harvey, DeGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, and Matz) for anybody's. And I still have hope that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=69012">Dilson Herrera</a></span> will be a serious plus at 2B. I just found it odd that there is this collection of sort of okay guys stacked up at that position, seemingly lacking real upside, yet not useless.
The Mets specialty seems to be having guys you can't "pencil in as the SS of the future". I mean, the official SS of the future, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=103203">Amed Rosario</a></span>, is years away, but along with Cecchini, there's <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Matt+Reynolds">Matt Reynolds</a></span> in AAA, and, of course, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57850">Wilmer Flores</a></span>, the current SS. All three of them are the same in the sense that there's no carrying tool - not great defensively with uncertain offensive impact. Flores can hit <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>, so that's something - but is it enough?
That made me sit up. I mean, that's sort of scary if his offense is his carrying skill.
To paraphrase Dean Wormer: "Son, fat and lackadaisical is no way to go through the minor leagues"
I can't dispute the premise with the author :)
I was just misled by this: "fantasy owners want to know where the power is. For a guy with 23 home runs a year ago, owners are panicking a bit that he only has four in early 2015"
I'm not an owner, but I just don't see why his current <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> total would induce panic.
I'm having trouble with the premise of this article. He's got the same BA as the last two years and he's on pace to hit 20 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>. Since he's also on pace to hit 50 doubles, there seems to be nothing wrong with his hitting at all, with logic telling me that some of those extra doubles (his career high is 33) will turn into HR. For fantasy purposes, he's also on pace for career highs in runs (125) and <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=RBI" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('RBI'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">RBI</span></a> (80).
Now if you want to downgrade him for something for fantasy purposes, it's in his speed. He stole 14 of 21 two years ago and 21 of 28 last year, He's only attempted 2 thus far this year, which could be indicative of a tighter leash on him. Given that he only stole 6 bases after July 1st last year, this could be a skill he is losing.
This call up smells to me like "he's on our 40 man roster, his development is unimportant to us, he's organizational fodder now, so he can sit on our bench to practice for his future". He's been up for two days and has sat behind <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=48789">Jordan Schafer</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=51653">Eduardo Escobar</a></span> (!).
Park adjustments are a seasonal concept. If a pitcher pitches in Colorado on a snowy day in April, his park effect is inherently different from the park effect of someone pitching on a sunny day in July. In Wrigley, the park changes from day to day all year, based on the wind direction. I suspect there is some correlation between temperature and wind direction there, but I'm not certain and it may not be a possible to find the daily wind direction in Wrigley.
Funny, in that I think the Mets biggest problem is 2B. Even if Murphy returns to his BA-centric offensive self, he's still a disaster with the glove. Unfortunately, at this moment, Murphy's bat is not about to improve anyone's lineup.
He's been horrendous thus far and he's facing Toronto next, which certainly doesn't figure to right the ship. After that, his first problem will be holding on to his rotation spot. So I would say it's speculative in the extreme.But since I own him in an AL league, I wish you all the luck in the world.
The weirdest stat from this game (other than the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> next to Camp's name), belonged to <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Howard+Johnson">Howard Johnson</a></span>. He pinch hit for <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Rafael+Santana">Rafael Santana</a></span> in the ninth inning, stayed in to play SS and ended up scoring four runs.
Surely not going to disagree with the 7/4/85 game, but on May 17, 1979, the Phillies and Cubs played maybe the wildest game of all time.
In the top of the first, the Phils scored seven runs. Cubs starter <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=24754">Dennis Lamp</a></span> pitched 1/3 of an inning, allowing 6 runs on 6 hits. In the bottom of the first, the Cubs scored six runs. Both teams rested in the second, then the Phils scored eight runs in the third. That's a 6,7, and 8 run inning, all in the first five half innings. In the fourth, the Phils went for two, and took a 17-6 lead. The Cubs scored three in the bottom half to make it 17-9. Th ePhillies scored four in the top of the 5th, to make it 21-9. The Cubs came back with a TD in the bottom half to make it 21-16. The Phils rested in the sixth, but the Cubs added a FG in the bottom to make it 21-19. By this point, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=24438">Dave Kingman</a></span> had already hit three <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>. Three different Cub pitchers had allowed 6 or more runs.
The Phils scored a run in the seventh to make it 22-19. The Cubs came back with three in the eighth to tie it. Then, in the tenth, in a hall of fame matchup, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=28563">Mike Schmidt</a></span> hit a HR off <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=29619">Bruce Sutter</a></span> to win it.
After the season, WGN reran the game, but added a 2 run HR by <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Ernie+Banks">Ernie Banks</a></span> to win the game for the Cubs, 24-23. Hey hey, Cubs Win!
The more roster slots the more pitchers, the more pitching changes and progressively less offense.
The Mets broadcasters are responding to the ridiculous Mets roster. They have stupidly chosen to carry 13 pitchers, which is totally unnecessary. Part of this problem is caused by keeping a rule 5 pick, although he is probably usable. They are carry several pitchers capable of pitching multiple innings (<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=69637">Rafael Montero</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Carlos+Torres">Carlos Torres</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=16850">Buddy Carlyle</a></span>) yet still have 13 friggin' pitchers, the backup catcher, the light-hitting middle infielder, and two platoon OF. They desperately need another bat and I am terrible frustrated that we have this stupid roster. We should be contending this year but we won't with this bench.
I thought Harvey's command was off the first few innings, but then he found it. Of course, the Harper ABs were just amazing - Bryce was helpless against him. If I were <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Matt+Williams">Matt Williams</a></span>, I would be very tempted to bench Harper against Harvey, as he obviously has trouble seeing his release.
Or you could limit the pitching staff to 12, so teams only carry 2 LOOGYs.
You guys do know that there are more than one team in NY and Chicago, right? As a Met fan, I sort of feel pissed on by BP Bronx. It's one thing to appeal to Red Sox nation and all that, but splitting up two cities seems like an intentional slap in the face to an awful lot of fans. I've been a paying customer at this site since you started charging and I am not happy about this.
I agree. I'm here for the content, not video and flashy graphics. If you want to make a change, enable me to go back to previous days content chronologically. Now if something doesn't fit on the front page, it's effectively hidden.
I don't understand this. How many teams are in this league? Where are these prices coming from? As has been noted previously, Betts and Price seem too low from any auction I've been in.
This has nothing to do with Bryant and everything to do with Boras. He doesn't believe in signing long term extensions. The Cubs know this, which is why that extra year of control is so important. Bryant will almost surely make more money with Boras as his agent, but this is the price he pays - two weeks in lovely Iowa.
What an incredible thing to say. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59432">Mike Trout</a></span> wouldn't have a free market without the MLBPA. Before the union existed players had no free market once they signed their first contract. Even after the union was formed, they were still locked into the same team until Marvin Miller (helped by a legal decision) got them free agency. It took numerous fights by the union in order for the free agency they have today, one with no limits and no compensation, to exist. The MLBPA is not only the strongest union in sports (by a mile), but is probably the strongest union in America.
I fear for Alcantara's immediate future. Joe Maddon is fixated on him becoming <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45495">Ben Zobrist</a></span>, but Zobrist wasn't Zobrist until he was 27 - he didn't get to the majors until he was 25. Alcantara is a 22 year-old who clearly needs to work on his approach and I contend you can't do that playing 3 times a week and bouncing from position to position. Add batting 8th in an NL lineup to the mix (which really takes away from his utility as a base stealer) and you have a recipe for disaster. I say this as someone who owns him in a dynasty league. I don't think he's being moderately undervalued in redraft leagues - he's a late-game flyer.
Closing is good, setup bad.
Managers rule saves.
First, Jeff, I want to thank you for your interesting work on fantasy baseball. All of your pieces are thought-provoking and while I would just as soon my fellow league members whom I know frequent this site spend less time thinking, it is always useful to have a refresher course in analyzing bidding strategy.
In the end, not just with closers, but with all positions, auction bidding comes down to Moneyball. Not the Moneyball which is widely misunderstood, but the Moneyball Michael Lewis wrote about: the taking advantage of market inefficiencies to maximize a limited budget. In fantasy baseball, we all have a limited budget, and how we choose to spend it is the most important thing we can do. Player assessment and stat projections are both easy and often frustratingly pointless. Judging the market in an auction is very difficult, yet if you get it right, ultimately determinative.
Closers often cause interesting market variation. As you point out, there is often a situation where almost all the owners entered the draft bound and determined to not spend more than X dollars on a closer. This results in two outcomes - first, someone gets a closer early in the draft for a reasonable price, only to find out that he paid top dollar; this causes much moaning on behalf of the early winner. The moaning is sometimes joined by people who kept closers at what turns out to be above market rates. The other result is that the prices of closers end up close to each other, because that turns out to be the going rate. Because of this, people waiting for bargains off the existing market don't get them and end up punting saves altogether.
Keep up the good work, Jeff.
I still love Stryker Trahan, prospect or not, because the name sounds like it's straight out of the Universal Baseball Association.
I don't buy into Pecota's WHIP projection on Kennedy. He's thrown 590 innings over the last three years with WHIPs of 1.30, 1.40, and 1.29. That's a pretty huge sample. I would be very surprised if his WHIP was under 1.25, let alone under 1.20. Combine that with the, to put it politely, subpar, defensive OF and catching, and a far more likely result is in the 1.30 range.
My bad. Marwin Gonzalez will just have to wait. Jonathan Villar will just have to wait even harder.
This is a list of 42 SS with one thing in common: none of them will be playing for the Houston Astros in 2015.
Let me play devil's advocate for a second. If the shift is a routine play, it changes the defensive value of secondbasemen (and, to a lesser degree, shortstops). Far less range becomes needed for 2B and SS and that increases the pool of IF for the poorer teams.
On a personal level, I would just as soon the shift was outlawed. It doesn't look like baseball to me with three guys on the right side of the field. It doesn't feel right to me when a hitter pulls the ball through what has traditionally been the hole, only to have a 2B out in RF make the play. I know all things are relative, but watching batting averages drop looks crappy - it looked crappy in the 60s, too, which hurt attendance. Ultimately, the negative impact on offense will be bad for the game.
As for the rule itself, it would be easy to write and enforce. When the pitch is delivered there must be two fielders on either side of 2B. A violation of this is a fielder's balk and the batter has a free swing.
It is worse than alternating. The leagues have different rules and the loss of the DH for four games matters to the AL, while having to find a DH for the road games probably has a lesser effect for NL teams. At least alternating years is fair.
I think that even with the $29 vs. $30 threshold you established (and that kind of precision in projection is optimistic), Rendon should be bumped up to five star land because of the versatility he gives you. Whether it's in a draft or during the season, the eligibility at a second key position has to be worth a dollar.
Interesting point of view. What if a writer has the attitude that there are too many people in the Hall now, most of whom are in because people spend too much time comparing players not in to players already in. This writer believes that Hall should be for the elite, that we have forgotten about the "Fame" part of the name and are busy trying to discover the marginally deserving. To him, five minutes is all it should take. You look at the list and if someone doesn't jump out at you as a Hall of Famer, he probably isn't. He may be a really good player, but not a Hall of Famer. And sometimes you might miss someone the first time around, but you can always check back on Schilling or Mussina and vote for them another time.
The variable is obvious - 303 wins to 219 wins. That's pretty massive. We can reject that as a meaningful stat all we want, but it is indicative of a much much longer career, as are the nearly 200 more starts and 1700 more strikeouts. Johnson had 5 Cy Young's to Pedro's 3.
It's sort of comparing Tom Seaver and Sandy Koufax.
Mariano hits it first and there's no excuse in not voting for him, either. Unless you don't think relievers should be in the HoF. I guess the argument against St. Derek is that he was a crappy defensive SS and that is the most important part of the job description - certainly for a Hall of Famer.
You have to be named on 75% of ballots mailed in.
Regarding Tulo, there are three stages of making a trade -
1- Team A wants player X and Team B is willing to deal him (or B wants to deal him and A is interested)
2- Team A and Team B agree on what X is worth.
3- Team A has the assets Team B wants which equal that value.
Usually, the hangup is 3. But in this case, there are problems everywhere. In the first part, ownership is reluctant to trade the face of the franchise, as watching Tulo finish in the top five of MVP balloting while you lose 95 games is not good PR. In the second part, there is no player whose value is harder to assess than one who doesn't play. Tulo has played 47, 122, and 91 games the last three years. He is coming back from off-season hip surgery - it's one thing if your grandmother is coming off of hip surgery, it's quite another if your SS is. If you can't agree on 2, then 3 is impossible, and even if you do, then the problem is that the return has to not just convince those in the room but ownership as well. This seems damn near impossible.
The best time to trade Tulo would be in June, when he has played two months and proved himself to still be the All-Star level player he has been, while the Rockies are 20-35. Then you can convince ownership you have to do something. Of course, that can go bad by either Tulo not being able to play SS the way he used to (grandma couldn't go to her left at all after her surgery), or the Rockies not sucking, making the deal harder to make.
And what would the Mets get in return in that deal? The Mets wouldn't mind dumping Colon's salary, but they aren't dealing Murphy without getting something in return. I'll assume these deals mean the ChiSox aren't trading Alexei Ramirez, whom the Mets would love to have.
I hated The Natural because they not only changed the ending of the book, but in doing it, lost the whole point of the book.
But then, I still haven't gotten over Shoeless Joe Jackson batting right-handed in Field of Dreams - which was a pretty bad movie itself, until the last twenty minutes, where it becomes one of the great male tear-jerkers of all time.
My grandfather loved Joe E. Brown - "We're goin' to the World Serious"
While you analyzed the daily advantage of the "partial rest" advantage, you didn't analyze the seasonal effect of playing 140 games in the field plus 15 at DH vs. 155 in the field. I would be interested in knowing whether there is a positive effect overall to the occasional partial day off. Does it improve one's seasonal performance? Does it avoid the "Ripken effect", where the wear and tear of everyday play hurts you in August and September? Does it diminish the risk of injury by enabling key players to stay in the lineup when not 100% because they don't have to play the field? Some of these aren't really quantifiable - injuries that either didn't happen or are irrelevant to the activity are tricky to deal with. Still, there are multiple reasons why the ability to rest a regular while not also losing a high end bat could be useful.
Obviously, if you have David Ortiz, none of this is meaningful, but there are very few of his ilk.
Another thing that would interest me is the overall batting performance as DHs for these "irregular" DHs. Are their DH numbers worse than their numbers when in the field? What percentage of them are better or worse as DHs? That also has a part in the discussion.
Is Brandon Nimmo the next Nick Markakis?
This is news to me too. Where was it?
Don't make an ash of yourself.
I think the assumption has been that Thor takes deGrom's slot when Jake reaches his IP limit. But if Montero is back to being Montero, not the guy we saw earlier, who completely lacked command or control, the Mets will want to see him in the majors again. I have a feeling once deGrom hits is limit, the Mets may go to a 6-man rotation, which would enable Wheeler to pitch through the whole year and give them a chance at looking at both kids. Of course, all this involves Gee and Niese still being healthy at the end of the year, always a dicey proposition.
So you're saying his downside is .290 with 35 SB, while his upside is, let's say, .310 with 55+ SB (although he will exceed the BA this year). No one is untradeable, but unless I was being offered someone nobody would offer (Stanton, Cabrera, McCutcheon, Trout), I would say no. The three hardest things to find are a big time HR hitter, an elite base stealer, and someone likely to hit in the vicinity of .300. He does two of those things, making him either very valuable (downside) or monstrously valuable (this year). There are 3 players in MLB this season who are on pace to hit .290 and steal 35 bases (Altuve,Dee Gordon, Ben Revere). If you are in an only league, Altuve is not only the lone AL player on pace to do that (and he is doing a lot more than that),there are only two AL players currently hitting .280 who are on pace for 25 steals - Brett Gardner and Alexei Ramirez, with three more, Ellsbury, Alcides Escobar, and Jose Reyes, just off that pace. I think you're seriously underestimating his value.
I'm from the Xander Bogaerts should be sent down school. I was enrolled a few weeks ago, in fact, because he looks like hell up there. He may show an occasional flash, but he's not the same hitter he was in May. He swings at bad pitches, takes good pitches, and needs to rebuild his confidence. There's no sin in being sent down - hell, Mike Trout was sent down - and once he gets comfortable, you bring him back and stick him in the lineup every day. It worked for Travis d'Arnaud, who looked just as crappy prior to his Vegas vacation.
Alcantara won't be a sub - Alcantara will either be their regular 2B or regular CF. Eventually, I suspect Baez will be at 3B with Bryant in RF with Almora and Soler in the other OF slots and Alcantara back at 2B. Of course, this doesn't account for the Russell/Castro situation, but I suspect a trade solves that.
This is great. Now I just have to remember this stuff is available and where to find it.
Colby Lewis is still on the DL and I think should be on this list, perhaps partnered with Niese, like the Walker/Bradley pairing.
Villar is someone I may be keeping at $10 (18 team mixed)and I'm not sure whether he's worth it. Yes, he'll steal bases, but batting 9th on Houston, he'll be below average in R and RBI, hurt you in BA, and contribute a small amount in HR. The SB are nice, but combine a lot of outs with a lot of errors, and there's no assurance he'll be able to hold onto the job. Any thoughts on this, Ben?
Well done. The steady stream of info has been great, gathering it in one organized place - excellent.
I agree and would add that his added 3B eligibility could come in very handy over the course of a long season.
It yields much power
But large bids carry great risk
Age comes to us all
Stryker Trahan is an all-time great name, straight out of the Universal Baseball Association. I will be rooting for him to reach the majors, based on that alone.
I think you may be underrating Farquhar. The Seattle announcers talked about the pitching coach convincing him to be more confident in his stuff and it sure looks like the light went on for this guy. Starting 7/25, about a week before he got the closer's job, he put together the following line over 29 appearances:
31.1-16-7-6-11-43. That's a 1.72 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, holding hitters to a .150/.229/.187 slash - with 0 HR. It's a relatively small sample size, but it sure looks like a closer to me.
The problem with Sanchez offensively (I can't speak to his defense) is the disappearance of his power. Had he hit another 2 or 3 HR in AA, combined with an improved K/BB rate, I don't think there would be any problems. He just stopped hitting HR. Now we can say this is due to moving up to AA, but he stopped in July, where he hit .205 with 3 DBL and 1 HR in the FSL. The Yankees decided to move him up at that point (did they think he was bored?) and he sort of improved offensively, except for the lack of power. So the question is: where did his power go?
And he'll be right most of the time, since there will be someone in the clubhouse watching the broadcast who will alert him to what happened. Which raises the next question: exactly how long will the manager have to challenge the call?
As a (very) long-time Met fan, when I saw d'Arnaud's name in the header of this article, I was more than a little nervous. Reading the report on him I was more than a little excited. Please let this be true - and please let him stay healthy.
As a Met fan, your Montero evaluation raises concerns (although I have a feeling that he may end up spending his career in a different uniform). There are two potential problems for pitchers with questionable mechanics - increased injury risk and difficulty with command and control. As for the former, all pitchers have a pretty high injury risk and your description didn't seem to imply undue stress in his delivery which would increase it. If I am wrong, please correct me.
As for the second part, his command and control in the minors has been exemplary - you can't put together that K/W ration in the upper minors without it. It's not like he's a soft-tosser who is outwitting kids and will automatically fail as he goes up.
Let's go back to the origins of BP and get a little analytic. How many pitchers have the kind of success (sub 3 ERA, 5:1 K:W ratio) Montero has and then fail in the majors? What is the success to failure rate of all such pitchers? Then let's look at the deliveries of said pitchers and see if there is a link to inefficient deliveries lessening the likelihood of success. It seems to me that the flaws in a pitcher's delivery should start to cause him problems in AA. But if a pitcher's command and control produce high-end results in the upper minors, then I would contend, absent heightened injury risk, that they aren't really a problem in fact, but only in theory.
I find the end of the description most interesting. You compare his release to Clayton Kershaw's, pointing out how rare it is to have success with that. Now I'm not saying he is Kershaw (almost no one is), but is it possible that if a pitcher can maintain velocity and command out of a release which should limit both, then that release is, to borrow an old computer phrase, less of a bug and more of a feature? It seems to me that an oddly timed release combined with velocity would greatly disadvantage a hitter.
Thanks for the article and hanging in through my long response.
Just a few of my TV observations, focusing a tad on my Mets of the future.
Noah Syndegaard: Big boy. Not a beanpole 6'6, but fully grown. My favorite moment happened with the first batter, whom he put away with a 96 MPH FB up in the zone. That's good ol' country hardball, son, and it plays real nice in the big city. I also like that Matt Harvey is mentoring him.
Rafael Montero: First two hitters were quick soft outs. Then George Springer showed one of his five tools by turning on a pitch and launching it up and away. It was 20 feet foul, but well up in the upper deck. Montero's reaction: fastball, up and in. Rick Sutcliffe's reaction: orgasmic. Springer's reaction: reached for the next pitch and popped up to 2B. Well played, Rafael.
Arismendy A.: Speedy little infielders who turn on an inside pitch and take it into the upper deck down the line bring out my O-face.
Austin Hedges: Threw a seed to 2B to get Bogaerts. Hot damn that was a throw. Unfortunately, it robbed me of seeing how Syndegaard was going to try and put away Sano with two strikes on him.
I'm curious about Yelich vs. Marisnick. If Yelich is limited to LF, and only has average power, and, since he's limited to LF, I assume he doesn't have great speed, is he really a better prospect that Marisnick? Is it that Marisnick's hit tool is dicey enough to give him a much higher likelihood of failing at the top level, or is there just a much higher offensive upside with Yelich? Defensive limitations would seem to be a big negative, especially relative a CF type.
Currently in the majors.
I don't know, it seems pretty fantastic to me. :)
Sure, it's really awful for a team to have a bad draft, but it requires a special level of ineptitude to do what the Mets did in the early 70s. In the 1970 and 1971 draft classes combined, the Mets produced four major leaguers with a combined WAR of 1.9. Bruce Boisclair and his 1.0 WAR in 917 MLB AB was the only one from 1970, while Rick Baldwin, a pitcher who had a 1.3 WAR in 103 games, was the stud of the three 1971 draftees. Number 1 choice Rich Puig had 10 hitless AB in the show (-0.4 WAR), while Mark DeJohn went 4-21 for 0.0 WAR. That's it. For the record, this was preceded by the 1969 draft which produced a total of 1.4 WAR, but did produce Buzz Capra, whose 6.8 WAR were quite useful. In 1972, they drafted Craig Swan, who produced a relatively astronomical 12.7 WAR. There were five other major leaguers from that class, with a combined WAR of -1.2, with a high of 0.6.
To summarize - over a three year period (1970-72) the Mets drafted only three players with a career WAR of 1.0 or greater and just one with a WAR over 1.3.
In the period between 1965 and 1973, the Mets had nine first round draft choices, many of them quite high. Only four of these choices made it to the majors, and only two (Tim Foli and Jon Matlack) appeared in more than four major league games or produced positive WAR. Good thing they lucked into Tom Seaver.
Sorry, Mike,this is not all that useful. What use is it to compare April performance to all players? At his worst, Aramis Ramirez is better than Brendon Ryan at his best. The question is: does Aramis start slowly compared to Aramis Ramirez?
One of the most notorious of slow starters is someone not even on your list - Mark Teixeira. He has an April OPS approximately 160 points lower than the rest of the season. Now he isn't terrible in April on the whole, but he isn't Mark Teixeira, so if you own him, you shouldn't worry if he has a relatively slow start. The same is true of Ramirez, only it often extends through May - he's a warm weather hitter, better times will come.
As for LaRoche, well, not quite the Easter Bunny. What he is is a player who is very consistent from year to year, but radically inconsistent within seasons. More often than not, this is manifested in horrendous starts. Despite those three good Aprils, he has a career BA of .212 in April, with an OPS approximately 150 points lower than the rest of the season. Armed with that knowledge, smart LaRoche owners know to be patient, that these starts happen. But perhaps his owner in your league wasn't that knowledgeable, purchasing LaRoche just based on his terrific 2012. It is quite possible you could have bought low, knowing that .136/.213/.259 triple slash line for him was just one of those Aprils he has had in the past and rebounded from. By the way, you went back five years, but in 2008 he hit .163 in April, and in 2007 he hit .133.
They probably didn't know where the ballpark was. Why should they be different?
Regarding the dreams for Marisnick, I wonder whether he is about to be blocked in Miami, weird as it sounds. They will have Stanton, Ozuna, and Yelich in the OF by the end of the season. I guess it's possible that Ozuna won't be able to hang on to a job and that they'll opt for the superior defense of Marisnick, but do you see him beating out someone, or is he just going to sit around waiting for the inevitable Stanton trade?
"Balls and strikes will be called where they go across the plate and how the catcher catches.”
If it is possible to call a strike based on where it crossed the plate, then why does it matter how the catcher ends up catching it? It's already a strike based on where it crossed, isn't it?
Of course, umpires are human, and they are influenced by how a catcher catches the ball on those pitches which are close. It would be nice if they weren't, but they are. He's saying it nicely, with an emphasis on how catchers are catching the ball "correctly", so as to take the onus off the umpire, but I'm not buying it.
If Yelich isn't able to play CF because of his arm, where is he going to play for the Marlins? With Ozuna in RF, that sort of leaves him fighting with Stanton in LF, and that seems like a fight he can't win.
It was Jason Parks, who likes to say Texas any time he can.
Your description of Eddie Rosario as a future first -division 2B interests me. Does this mean that the doubts about his ability to stay at 2B have disappeared?
I saw him pitch in spring training against the Mets -which is a lot like AAA. His curve looks like it could be a nasty strikeout pitch, at least it was that day.
Well done, Matt - this induced significant chuckling with occasional bursts of laughter.
Thanks for the replies on this subject, Zach. I think we all realize the amount of time and effort that go into these reports, and be assured, we do appreciate it.
Please adapt :)
I understand your preferences, but I look at this first thing every day and every day I am struck by how many of these things are of virtually no use to me. Low A ball guys like Reed, Sanchez, and Smith are not interesting to me; they aren't doing anything special and they are a long way from being anything. I am a major league baseball fan and am more interested in guys who are likely to have an impact on MLB this year, or, in the case of Gose, less likely to than previously thought, which is an interesting story as well.
I don't want to discourage you from pointing out emerging players of note at whatever level,and surely we want to hear about top 101 guys who are struggling, wherever that might be. But updating us on notable performances by high-level prospects should be a part of this.
Even more important, because he needed operating cash, McCourt had signed a sweetheart TV deal with FOX, which was the worst sin he committed. When a major market team undersells its TV rights, that reverberates in the offices of MLB.
Wonderful piece, Doug. We had a conversation about this very topic last Saturday at Dodger Stadium, so it's nice to see the video and the specific analysis of the old-time windups we talked about.
A few thoughts:
1)Given the lessening of the effect of the momentum-driven long stride with the lowering of the mound, is this style of release simply not applicable to modern pitchers, or would it still help, if not as much as in the sixties?
2)I seem to recall Nolan Ryan having a significant windup/release in the 1970s. I could be wrong, but I'd like to see his action compared to the sixties guys.
3)There aren't a lot of complete game films from 50 years ago, but there are some World Series films out there, notably involving Gibson vs. the Yankees and Tigers. I would be interested in your analysis of Gibson's motion with the bases empty vs. men on. I would ask about Koufax, but there weren't enough men on in Game 7 of 1965 to really tell anything.
Good meeting you last week and keep up the good work.
Don't you mean Steve Blass Disease? Blass could just have easily been on this list, looking like he was at ace status, including excellent post season pitching, then - kablooey.
+1 on both of them - Tony C is truly one of the great tragedies of baseball.
I suspect that the reason for the decrease in swings at 2-0 and 3-0 pitches is the decline in pitchers throwing fast balls on those counts. Hitters looking for a 3-0 pitch to hammer are rarely looking for a breaking ball on the outside half.
You might think that, but last night I was at the BP get together at Dodger Stadium and Ned Colletti felt the need to open the discussion with a vigorous defense of the importance of scouting, assuring us that numbers weren't the be all and end all for player decisions. He was clearly assuming we didn't think it was important at all. He also clearly hasn't read this site recently (if ever) and was, IMO, really condescending in the whole segment of the discussion. For the record, Ned treats it as 52% scouting and 48% statistical evidence.
I was watching the Angels and when Trout got on in front of Pujols, my first thought was that this is the upside of his batting second - he can steal in front of Pujols and prevent Albert from grounding into 40 DPs this year. He never made a move and Pujols grounded into a DP. The next time this happened, Trout stayed anchored to first and Pujols made a routine out, leaving him there. As soon as Hamitlon stepped in, Trout got runnerish, trying to steal twice (both fouled off by Hamilton), even though it took away the hole from a left-handed batter. It's a small sample size, but for whatever reason, it does appear that Trout's not running in front of Pujols. It could be that Scoscia fears the IBB which would follow the successful steal (especially with Hamilton being cold), or that Pujols doesn't like people running while he's up - some hitters are like that.
None of this explains the wider trend, of course.
This was actually a key component of the defensive spectrum, as Bill James introduced it. He posited that good organizations tended to stockpile talent on the SS-2B-CF side of the spectrum, while poor ones had a disproportionate number of 1B-LF types. When I read that, I was blown away, as I had never thought about it that way. The key is that a SS can move down the spectrum and still play a key defensive position, while someone at the other end rarely goes up the spectrum.
Of course, that was written in the mid-70s, the relatively early days of both the draft and the DH. The DH then was the province of the elderly and the infirm, but as things have developed, it has become a place for an extra bat, especially a corner type. This has been a big advantage for AL teams, as they don't have to worry about where those extra corner guys will play.
That he is the leader in HBP tells you that he should be used to being hit by pitches, since he obviously can't get out of the way. I'll admit that I haven't seen enough of him over the years to know whether he dives into pitches or is just clumsy.
Others who led the league in HBP, Don Baylor, Craig Biggio, et al, never felt the need to charge the mound with intent to injure someone. No one should ever charge the mound - it is an intentional act of violence and doesn't belong in baseball. The commissioner needs to make an example of him to stop this nonsense.
This has been described in at least one place as a "brawl". In another as "Zack Greinke breaks collarbone in brawl", as if this was some sort of fight that broke out. It was not. What it was, in legal terms, was assault with the attempt to inflict bodily harm - an attempt which was successful. Greinke did not attempt to fight back, he tried to curl into a position to protect his pitching arm, which didn't prevent the thug from breaking his left collarbone.
It was not an instantaneous reaction - if any sixty foot dash could ever be unintentional - it was an intentional attempt to injure Greinke. Quentin dropped his bat, took two steps, stopped, then decided to assault a man about fifty pounds lighter than him. That is a criminal act and should be charged as one. The Dodgers should sue Quentin for $10 million, which will be the approximate value they have lost in Greinke's services by Quentin's actions. Quentin has no defense for that.
If I were commissioner, I would suspend him indefinitely and bar him from all major league stadiums, pending a conference with the MLBPA - which also represents Greinke. Can you imagine the reaction of Dodger fans when that punk shows up in Los Angeles next week?
I expect none of this to happen. I expect Quentin to get a slap on the wrist of a brief suspension, followed by umpires warning any pitcher who throws a pitch with six inches of his body, which will actually help the thug. Baseball needs to stop this and stop it now, If there was a real commissioner, he would do it.
Derek Norris just did it, too.
Good work, Chris. First hand reports are always nice to read.
The mediocrity is always grayer on the other side of the waiver wire.
Interesting thing: Trout went for 40 in the AL league but 43 in the mixed - I guess shock and awe worked.
Nakajima? Really? How many times are people going to go down the toilet with Japanese middle infielders before they realize they aren't good?
Eckersley was a very good starter, especially early in his career. He finished 4th and 5th in WAR, leading the league among pitchers. He had ERA+ of 144, 139, and 149. The problem is it's a little hard to figure out how big an effect drinking had on his performance after that. His relief career came after he was sober, it's hard to know whether he might have also been a Hall of Fame starter had he stopped drinking at 26 instead of 32.
I'm not sure Ramirez would have been diving for a ball in a meaningless game, but I know he wouldn't have been doing it as a third baseman, because the Dodgers were very upset that he would be playing 3B in the WBC.
If I'm a major league owner, none of my stars plays for anyone but me; I'm the one paying them.
While it was nice that you guys went back to Mantle for power, and it surely doesn't seem like a bad choice, there seems to be a, shall we say, Ruthian question it brings up. Mantle over the Babe, really?
Funny, Williams wasn't the first name that came to mind to me. Williams had the edge in power, and eye (and why isn't that a category?), but if Gwynn is exemplar of Hit Tool, then I wonder what it is that he did better than Musial and DiMaggio?
Sorry, Joe, I didn't mean to hijack your topic. It's just that you raised the subject and presented me with numbers in a format which immediately led me to questions which couldn't really wait, as the numbers are sitting there and will probably not be presented in the future.
It's been over 40 years since I took a college math course and I freely admit that when confronted with a series of formulas and equations, my eyes glaze over. But before I dive in to any series laying bare the entrails of WARP, I still want answers to my questions.
You see, Rob answered my first question with a very logical construct, TTO goes up, pitcher impact, as stated on PWARP as a percentage of total WARP, increases. Makes absolute sense. Unfortunately, the numbers don't support it, they are the equivalent of dropping a rock and having it float skyward. Now I would wonder why something like that happened, especially if I was in the rock-dropping business. I expect your numbers people asked and answered that question and I would like to hear it. If they don't have an explanation, then I have little interest in seeing the layers peeled away, I don't want to cook with that onion.
Similarly, the second question seems like an obvious one. An 8% drop in WARP one year followed by a 6% rise the next - if I was involved in the analysis of that metric, my first question would be why did this happen. There may be a simple answer, one for each year. I just want to hear it, because there is another question which should follow that one - what is the effect of this drop/rebound? Was there an 8% drop in WARP across the board? Or was some class or group of WARP scores changed more than others? This goes to the heart of the reliability of the metric itself.
I need answers.
Okay. Before I can use WARP and refer to it like it's a meaningful metric, I need to have some confidence in it. I need to be able to understand how numbers are arrived at which are counter-intuitive.
So let's take a look at 2002 and 2011. Between 2002 and 2011, run scoring declined approximately 7%. At the same time, strikeouts increased 10% and HR declined 10% - both increasing the TTO positives for the pitchers, as did the decline in walks, also 7%. You said in your previous post that the more TTO, the more PWARP increases as a percentage of total WARP. Yet despite these changes in TTO, all in the pitchers favor, the percentage of PWARP dropped from 37.4% of total WARP to 32.8%. How did this happen?
Also what caused the 8% drop in total WARP in 2011 and the subsequent 6% increase in 2012? Was it a great year in the Pacific Coast League?
I'm just trying to figure out what the chart is. I see a drop in WARP between 2010 and 2011 of about 8%, with a little over 6% being recovered in 2012. Is this significant drop due to the "typo", as you put it? Was the 2012 "correction" due to your fixing the "mistake"? Or are these the numbers that are the end result of all the efforts you've made to get things where they should be? If these are the "correct" numbers, then what causes that kind of severe drop in a relative statistic, followed by a significant return in the other direction? Even if there is a drop in offense, the relative WARP should be fairly stable, unless the numbers inherently differ between higher and lower scoring eras. A year-to-year variance like that in the quality of replacement player seems quite odd, if that was the case.
Okay, so fielding WARP is relative to pitching WARP. (As an aside, note that if you mouse over PWARP you get "Wins above replacement level as a BATTER" - really)
The question then is,if we break BWARP into its components, does batting WARP = pitching WARP + fielding WARP?
If it doesn't, what causes the variance between offense and defense? Is there more or less BWARP based on increased (or decreased) offense, or vice versa? Just trying to pin things down here.
What percentage of BWARP is hitting and what percentage is fielding? Is this a fixed percentage or does it change from season to season?
Logic tells me that since offense and defense play an equal part in scoring, the fielding component should be half the difference between BWARP and PWARP, but there may be reasons why that isn't true, so I am curious as to the numbers here.
Bill Nicholson led the NL in HR and RBI in 1943 and 1944. He also led the league is strikeouts in 1947, which is why he was known as Swish. It is safe to say that no future players will be given that nickname.
It's 1957 and my father takes me to my first baseball game. We go to Brooklyn,where the Cincinnati Redlegs are in town for a twinight double header. There I saw Ted Kluszewski in person (and in color, since on TV everything was sort of gray) for the first time - it was awesome. I had never seen a human being with arms like that, the bat seemed like a tooth pick in his hands. The Redlegs (as they were known in that era, so people wouldn't think they were communists)wore the vest-type jerseys. Big Klu wore his without a shirt underneath, making his arms and shoulders look even more impressive.
Klu in 1954 - .326/.497/.642 167 OPS+, 141 RBI - he hit 49 HR and struck out 35 times, one of three times in his career he hit at least 35 HR with fewer K than HR.
I don't think so. Palmaeiro won a popularity poll which he shouldn't have even qualified for; Soriano is based on statistical evidence, which carries a degree of objectivity.
Soraiano was the leader in those two statistical measures,that is just a fact. The question is how worthwhile a fact that is, which depends on how much faith you have in those respective statistics as a measure of defensive value.
By the way, the system in these comments needs fixing, Just because bluesman98's comment received a certain number of negative votes it was grayed out. Given that it was only a -4, that seems extreme to me, but worse, since it started the thread, graying it out took this whole thread with it. That is asinine, as this is a fairly interesting discussion. I voted bluesman back up, in an attempt to restore the thread. Please fix this.
Bingo. If just one of these two methodologies said that Soriano was the best LF, I would have just thought it was some bizarre systemic anomaly and ignored it. But when both of them say it I have wonder what caused this to happen - I mean Alfonso Soriano...really? The problem is that I can't see the numbers, I can't see if there is a flaw they have in common, or if they are really meaningful. I just have to trust that these things work. I don't trust FRAA, so I am dubious that their inclusion in the Gold Glove (or Platinum Glove, whatever that is) voting will be useful.
That was my exact thought when I saw the little TM next to it. How can you trademark an acronym which already has historical significance?
These kids today, am I right, Chomsky?
In a world in which CF was covered by the great Curt Flood, the graceful Andruw Jones, the dynamic Devon White,the superb Amos Otis and Paul Blair, and where 2/3 of the Earth is covered by water and the rest by Gary Maddox, the correct answer to this question is still Willie Mays. But these guys never saw him, so how can they know?
I would give you a +1 but for some reason I can't do that.
I freely admit that in discussing players I never use WAR because I can't defend it. There was an article here the other day about "replacement level" where the definition was hard to pin down from paragraph to paragraph.
These numbers are for single league auctions. If you click on the NL Only tab, you'll see these adjusted prices (or AL Only, for those guys). Now whether it makes a lot of sense for a player to be a $16 player in a single league while being only $2 in a mixed (Eaton) or $13 and $1 (Venable) is a subject worthy of some discussion.
I'll make you guys a bet: you take John Danks and his post-op rotator cuff and I'll take Tommy Milone and his home park and we'll see who does better.
For the record, I'll take Milone over Maholm, Nova,and Floyd too.
I remember them all too well. The '62 Mets were legendary, but they were unlucky - they were really a 50 win team, just like the 1963 collection.
The 1963 Mets contained two of the worst players to ever play a significant number of games in a season. Al Moran, the SS that year, was last in fielding pct. among those who played 100 games - he played in 116. Despite only playing in 116 games, he was second errors with 27, and defense was his strong suit - he was only slightly below average. His triple slash line - .193/.274/.230 left him with an OPS+ of 47 (note the ISO of .037). And yet, he wasn't our worst player; that was the legendary Choo Choo Coleman. Choo Choo only started 66 games at C, and totaled just 613 innings, yet managed to commit 15 errors and get charged with 11 passed balls. He wasn't bad at throwing out runners - I have to be fair. Offensively - accent on offensive, here - over 277 PA, he put up a rate of .178/.264/.215 - yes, another ISO of .037. His OPS+ was a dazzling 40. He hit 3 HR in his 277 PA, but had 0 doubles and 0 triples - I assume the doubles were some sort of record.
Sorry, there were two teams from before 1985. No way to edit the first post.
Free Matt Adams!
The description of Betancourt as having a "five o'clock offensive profile" furrowed my brow a bit, then I thought, is this saying he can only hit during batting practice? If it is, it's a sort of cool put down.
Where are the 1962-63 Mets? The 1962 version was next to last in runs scored, spectacularly last in runs allowed (15% more than the ninth-place team), next to last in DEF (non-adjusted, I assume), and were a laughably bad baserunning team - literally, as the anecdotes abounded (Marv Throneberry) and had a 55% SB success rate. The 1963 team was actually worse, again next-to-last behind the Astros in runs, 20% behind the nearest team in runs allowed,last in DEF, with an astonishing 210 errors. As for baserunning, while not as legendary as the '62 team, they managed to steal 41 bases while getting caught 52 times for a spectacular 44% success rate.
It's a little hard to believe that there are no teams from the 1950s or 1960s on this list and only one team from before 1985. Is there a systemic bias involved here?
Simple answer: hell yes. You know your league better than anyone, so the question is whether injured pitchers get bid higher than than that. I wouldn't bid $11 on a pitcher coming back from surgery who was going to miss the majority of the season. If someone is crazy enough to bid more than that on him, then console yourself by the fact that you will regularly be taking his money.
The 1928 Yankees had 9 - some in bit parts, but they were on the team. Gehrig, Lazzeri, Combs, Ruth, Durocher, Dickey, Hoyt, Pennock, and Stan Coveleski.
The most impressive collection of Hall of Famers belongs to the 1928 A's: Cochrane, Foxx, Simmons, Cobb, Speaker, Eddie Collins, and Grove. That's seven "inner circle" Hall of Famers. A signed baseball from that team would be awesome.
It can't just be major leaguers, because the sample size of bench players based on just their primary position is much too small. So I would think minor leaguers must be in the equation. Which means that the formula includes translating minor league offensive and defensive numbers into major league equivalents and using minor league park factors to correct for biases, which makes the numbers a tad less precise than one might think.
Uh-oh. You found a hole in the system.
Logic tells us the replacement level would be lower - it would have to be, since a number of the previous season's "replacements" were now regulars, or in the major leagues. But something else happens in expansion seasons - the best players and pitchers take advantage of the watered down league. Watching the 1962 Mets against quality pitchers was truly sad (not for the pitchers, of course). So better players are having better seasons because they're facing replacement level players, then their WARP increases more because the replacements also got weaker.
The reverse of this should have happened between 1947 and 1960, where integration added a steadily increasing stream of quality players to the mix. Players who were regulars were pushed to the bench or the minors, which improves the level of replacement player, while at the same time pitchers had to deal with Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, while hitters had to face Don Newcombe.
Maybe WAR/WARP/whatever accounts for this in some way. I'd be curios as to how.
Sorry, forgot Breaking Balls was already taken in these parts.
Warning Track Power
Major League Popup
Thank you for this. Always nice to be able to check up on my players.
There were always Jewish baseball players. The first professional player was a Jew, Lipman Pike. Benny Kauff, "The Jewish Ty Cobb", was a two-time Federal League batting champion. But Greenberg was at a whole different level - a star who, to Jews, demonstrated that they were capable of being big and strong and dominant in America's national pastime. That was huge, especially in an era where anti-semitism and stereotypes were commonplace. - and in Europe, deadly.
As for Jackie Robinson, in spring training in 1947, Greenberg sought him out to talk to him about what it was like for him. Even though it was worse for Jackie, Hank could tell him what it was like to be a star and have epithets (and baseballs) thrown at him with regularity on the field. Robinson always gave Greenberg a lot of credit for doing that, because Robinson had no one who could tell him what it was like at that level, who had been through it day after day as not just a ballplayer, but as a "representative" of a people.
amazin - players who get on base and score are also run producers - remember that Reyes guy?
Do you have any evidence that speed players age worse than power hitters through their early 30s? Because I believe that is not true - in fact, I think it is the opposite of true. And you don't have to go far for examples, as the two highest-paid outfielders on our payroll, Jason Bay (off the cliff at 31) and Bobby Bonilla (35), will do just fine.
Here's how I see this - the pros may differ:
1) In order to have any VORP, you have to get to the majors. Most ML teams carry 12 pitchers, which is 48% of their roster. So that's not out of line.
2)If anything, there should be more pitching prospects, because there will be a higher rate of attrition among pitchers, whether through catastrophic injury or just completely losing it.
3) It is easier to find pitching prospects because of the nature of prospects. The flaws in a hitting prospect - lack of power, speed, selectivity, positional value - are not easy to overlook. You can project some added power, but if someone can't run or field, there is little to no reason to expect improvement, so they get downgraded. But if a pitcher has quality stuff, you can project better command, you can hope he masters a breaking ball or changeup, and if not, he could still end up in the pen. It's just easier to wishcast pitchers.
4) Because of 3 above, the list is unbalanced. 14 of the top 21 are hitters, 25 of the top 40 are hitters. But after that, it swings to pitchers, because it's easier to see the route to the majors if they add something.
I think the Kyle Lohse thing has him very nervous.
I totally disagree. This team has no CF and no leadoff hitter, with neither on the horizon. We will be fielding an OF likely to start zero major league caliber players. They are neither adequate offensively or defensively.
I have been a Met fan for over 50 years. I am used to periods of ineptitude. I am used to rooting for the Mess (as you put it) or the Mutts, or whatever other clever play on their name someone wishes to coin. But in an era when 1/3 of the teams make the playoffs, for a team in NY to not compete for years at a team because the owners have no business owning a team, is a disgrace. Met fans should be organizing a boycott, in order to force the Wilpon scum out. But no, they whine, they complain, and they accept a franchise clearly not dedicated to competing. We will be trotting young and promising pitchers out there the next couple of years; pitchers who will get little run support and less defensive support from their OF.
Michael Bourn would have solved multiple problems for this team - filling the leadoff role, giving us speed, and giving us quality defense in CF. Losing him to the Cleveland Friggin' Indians is an embarrassment and a slap in the face to Mets fans.
Even as a Met fan dating back forever, this made me LOL.
A small suggestion: when you make changes to values, could you indicate them by using an up or down arrow, so they can easily be spotted. This could have the added bonus of encouraging discussion on the changes among the group.
If someone told me Russell Martin was going to be playing SS behind me, my shoulder would hurt too.
That's interesting, 4X4 with K's and without WHIP. Without going too deeply, I think you may be overvaluing closers a bit, as they hurt you in two categories, help you in one, and in ERA, they can help you some, but one or two bad innings and that goes away.
Well, the A's have plans. Who am I to argue with Billy Beane over the likelihood of Nakajima being their every day SS? Beane clearly went after him with that intent. Donaldson had a fine second half at 3B last year, and their plan is for Sizemore (also a 3B) to return to 2B, with Weeks and Green lurking. If Weeks remembers how to hit, or if Green demonstrates an ability to play 2B, that gives them multiple options at 2B and 3B (Donaldson, Sizemore, Weeks/Green), meaning they don't need Lowrie there.
Frankly, Lowrie has one offensive strength - he hits LHP, with power. His real calling is to platoon with a LH hitting IF. Unfortunately, Donaldson, Sizemore, and Nakajima bat righty. Which, if things go well for the A's, leaves him to platoon at 1B.
Personally, I think he's going to be their regular SS until he breaks down, or they realize it's a bad idea, whichever comes first. Until I see a Japanese League SS become an effective ML SS, I'll believe it ain't happening. But who am I to disagree with Billy Beane?
Glad I could be of service. As I said at the beginning, I didn't want to get in a debate about how much a specific player is worth, or who's better - your expert opinion is as good as mine. (And yes, after a combined 40 seasons in NL,AL,and mixed keeper auction leagues, I consider myself an expert.)
As I also said, the parameters you use for these values make them of little direct use to me, but I always like to check these things out to see if I missed something - I call it the "really??" effect. In this case it caused me to check out Castro again, to see if I was wrong about his performance. Had you valued Desmond at $12 in the NL, I just would have moved on, thinking we had different opinions. It was the significant variance between the two versions that caused me to jump in and it seems it got you to take another look at the players, which is valuable to you and your readers. As I own Ian in both my leagues from last year, and will be keeping him, I am perfectly happy with the readers of this site getting better info on him. :)
Whether I would be that willing to "correct" a player I will be targeting, well,that's another story - I assume some of my league mates read this stuff.
Isn't Jed Lowrie the obvious platoon partner for Moss?
While I have some difficulty wrapping my mind around the concept of Desmond, the best offensive SS in baseball last year, even with some regression, being in hailing distance of replacement level, that's your opinion and you're surely entitled to it. The questionable thing is the degree of change between the leagues relative to Castro. Based on the post, you may have made a mistake with Castro, as he was not only not "dinged" in mixed vs. NL, but has a higher price in mixed ($31) compared to only ($30).
Rolling dice...sigh. The many hours I spent doing that in my youth...and adulthood. I am convinced that much of my passion for baseball came from my first APBA set in 1960. SOM came later. I mean, I had All-Star Baseball with the spinner, but that didn't have all the players (although it did have old-timers). But when I saw the APBA ad on the back of Baseball Digest and sent away for it, it led me to keeping stats, analyzing stats,and thinking about players in a whole different way.
Thanks for the work, Mike. This sort of thing requires significant time and effort. It's of no use to me, as I'm in keeper leagues and their sizes don't correlate with your setup, but I do find the numbers interesting.
I do have a question regarding SS (although I guess this could pop up other places as well). In the Mixed values, you list Castro at 31, Rollins at 10,and Desmond at 9. In the NL the numbers shift radically to 30-22-22. To my thinking, the 35% premium in the NL for Castro's BA and youth makes some sense. but I can't account for the huge difference between them in the Mixed - I mean, Desmond was significantly better than Castro last year, so even if you feel the BA and some of the power isn't sustainable, that seems like a lot. I'd like to hear your reasoning on that one.
Fair enough. But in all honesty, I did cheat a bit on those comparables. In baseball terms, Machado was 19 last year. Since his birthday was only five days from the cutoff, since all his AB occurred after his 20th birthday, and since there were no useful comparables at 19, I compared him to 20 year-olds. Foxx and Mathews were 9 months older than him, Horner and ARod were 11 - that's a big difference at that age, just ask Mike Trout. Interestingly, ARod had 149 PA at 19, in almost an exact age parallel to Machado, hitting .232 and slugging .403 (.171 ISO).
My post was part of thread started by huztlers, who said Machado's performance was "nothing special"; Jason pointed out, rightly, that just playing in the majors at 20 is special, and I pointed out that, historically speaking, his performance was special. I'll stand by that. As a bonus, he did this while switching positions at the major league level. I'm not saying he's going to be ARod or Mathews, or even a run of the mill Hall of Famer - way too early to say that. Just that he's demonstrated, at the highest level, rare talents.
He wasn't just playing as a 20 year old (and in a baseball sense, he was technically a 19 year old, as his birthday was 7/6/92), he was hitting the ball hard as a 20 year old. He slugged .445 with a .183 ISO. The only other 20 year old third basemen with at least 200 PA to have a .445 SLG were Jimmie Foxx, Bob Horner, and Eddie Matthews (Rogers Hornsby was at .444). They were also the only 3B to have an ISO over .160. If you want to expand the list to include shortstops, you can add ARod to the list.
People have to stop looking at 19 and 20 year-olds like they're the same as 22 and 23 year-olds. They're not.
The NL OF was particularly stacked defensively in that era. When your CFs are Mays, Virdon, Flood, Pinson, Davis, and Aaron, with a little Ashburn and Bobby Del Greco thrown in for good measure, it's not only tough to be an All-Star, or win a Gold Glove, but very hard to do well in FRAA or any other relative measure. Someone has to be "below average", which, in the context of that year, is accurate. But when you start looking back and see that the fifth best CF in that group has a negative FRAA (which I assume he does), you get the wrong impression as to the defensive value which all of these guys had.
There were a number of those cards, useful for flipping, scaling, or putting in the spokes of your bicycle. Along with Monbouquette, I remember SS Jose Valdivielso, Tigers IF Reno Bertoia ("Reno was born in Italy", the back of the card informed me), and Tigers 1B Gail Harris, whose name was always good for junior high school giggle, as leading disappointments following the traditional cracking of the hard pink gum.
Right there with you, Bill. I'll toss out some more Sox pitchers from that era for you - Frank Sullivan, Tom Brewer, and, of course, Dick Radatz.
The real question here for the Phillies is what is this guy? Between PHI and LHV last year, he hit ten HR in 450 PA. He hit four in September (along with a .210 BA), but that could be random, not a sign of anything. He went 4-10 in SB in LHV, leading to the reddest of red lights in PHI - so his speed isn't a notable asset either. Since he's a corner outfielder, he has to display some kind of strength statistically, or he's just a future bench guy.
If I'm the Phillies, I'd much rather stick Darrin Ruf out there every day, just to see what he would do. He's only one year older than Brown.
As I recall, this was said of Dwight Gooden, .ca 1986. "learning to pitch" for a strikeout stud often equals "losing his stuff".
That said, Hernandez' K rate is increasing year-to-year, so I take the speed gun results and any inferences drawn from them with a shaker full of salt.
The odds are that somewhere during this contract, Felix will be injured. These odds would apply to pretty much every pitcher ever. I see no evidence that he is more or less likely to get injured than anyone.
I'm opposed to interrupting the season for it and I bet most fans would be.
One correction to this: Gio Gonzalez was not "fingered" for buying any banned substance. I read the article and while the alleged diary listed in detail the drugs used by those named, Gio was the only player without a steroid or HGH shipment. I'm not saying that I know he didn't get one, but that to date, there has been no reference (let alone evidence) that he received any.
I've always found that one of the beauties of baseball is the complete lack of jingoism involved. I know, it's called the "World Series" when it only has US teams, but Americans don't root for players because they're Americans. Red Sox fans root against Derek Jeter and for Big Papi. As a Met fan, I really didn't know what country Jose Reyes came from and didn't care, so long as he wore a Mets uniform.
I don't need baseball to become like soccer. My rooting interest in the WBC is for Mets players to stay in camp with the team and for my fantasy players to do the same. I also know that winning a baseball tournament where pitchers have strict pitch limits has no meaning at all. If other countries care about this, good for them.
I agree with everything you say except...the early PECOTAs were pretty much useless. Playing time was weird, W-L records for pitchers didn't make sense, estimates seemed nearly worthless - all in all, I'd rather the numbers be more meaningful than appear early.
I always thought that by a slight mispronunciation of his last name, Jason "Potato" Kubel would have been an all time great nickname.
I believe it was Rabbi Gamliel who said, "Judge not a man by what he cannot do but by what he can, for all G-d's children have their strengths and their weaknesses. It matters little that a man cannot catch a minyan coming out of shul on Yom Kippur, if he has an .824 OPS against lefties and the manager has the wisdom to platoon him."
Could be a key to their future, in that they have room to grow in their attendance, and Kate Upton would surely inspire a significant amount of growth.
Bryce Harper "fizzled" in the second half? He had a bad month (August), followed by a great month (September) - pre all-star game OPS: .825, post ASG: .809.
What's really interesting is how many variations there are in leagues, just among the small group of leagues referred to in this thread. Given that,it makes the concept of dollar values and ADP very hard to pin down.
I'm in 2 (or three, depending on how you define the second) money keeper leagues. Both are auction leagues with traditional 23 man rosters. The mixed league, which has been in existence over 20 years, contains 18 teams. Along with the 23 man roster compiled through the auction and keepers, there is an up-to 17 man reserve roster, which contains anyone, major leaguers, minor leaguers, Japanese players, college players, anyone - I drafted Justin Upton when he was in high school. You keep non-major leaguers as $5 reserves until they use up their rookie eligibility in the majors. This all works pretty great. Just deep enough so we draft guys who play, as well as having people available to be picked up. The reserve draft order is based on where you finished the previous season, giving people a reason to keep paying attention. It also enables draft choices to be used in trades.
My other league is unique. Only nine owners, but each of us has an AL and an NL team. Top three in each league get paid, along with the top two combined. Only ten reserves, make the decisions there tougher and FAAB bidding exciting. If a player is traded out of a league, you keep him in the league he started in, then you can keep him in the other league the next season.
I guess there are those who find the decision over which guys getting 200 AB can be useful as an important part of fantasy baseball. I freely admit that I don't. I like having a budget to allocate in an auction and having some useful reserves to replace injured players - and there are more and more DL stints every season. Given that both of my leagues date back to the last century with remarkable stability, what we do seems to be working.
I believe PEDs help good major league hitters become better ones and help excellent major league hitters become scary. I didn't need tests to make me suspicious of Bonds and Sosa -- hell, neither of them failed a test. There are markers which lead us to juicers - changed body type, sudden performance spikes out of line with a normal career arc. Ryan Braun does not have those markers. He has had a remarkably consistent career. This leads us to two choices:
1) Braun has systemically used PEDs since he first arrived in professional baseball, and still is. He managed to avoid getting caught until 2011, and when he got away with it, went right back to using, since his 2012 season was one of his best.
2) Something went wrong with the system. Maybe a false positive, maybe tampering with his sample - who knows? Someone in the system cared enough about screwing Braun to reveal the results of a confidential test, maybe that person did more.
My opinion is that 2 is more likely than 1, based on the lack of non-testing evidence of cheating. Your mileage may vary.
I say the probability is underwhelming - no change in body type or performance traceable to any point in time.
As for his being "guilty" - to continue the legal parallel, there was sufficient evidence to charge him with the "crime", based on the drug test evidence. The arbitrator is part of the process, no player is suspended until the process is finished. The evidence was thrown out, therefore he was guilty of nothing. What Braun was was the only player to ever have been announced to have failed a test prior to the completion of the process. If I was Ryan Braun, I would have been very inclined to sue MLB for slander, since the unprecedented release of drug test results, in violation of the contract between MLB and the MLBPA, caused grievous harm to his reputation. He chose not to, in an attempt to put this behind him. Maybe he was right - I don't know the answer.
Great names in here. Speaking of names -
Why can't Fausto Carmona continue to be known as Fausto Carmona? He wouldn't be the first professional athlete to use a name other than his birth name. Fausto Carmona is a lovely name, unique, rolling trippingly off the tongue, while Roberto Hernandez is both generic and confusing.
As for Urbina, well, like the old song goes, "we're gonna Ugie, Ugie, Ugie, til we just can't Ugie no more" -- not sure any team is ready to Ugie-down with Mr. Urbina.
This was probably an easy sell. Let's write the scenario, shall we?
Boras: If you had Soriano last year, you would have been in the World Series. And you will be in the NLDS this year and if it's game one and you go into the ninth inning with a one run lead, who would you rather send out there, Drew Storen or Rafael Soriano? If you have to use Storen and it's a repeat of last year..well, you can buy something nice with money you saved, but it won't be a pennant.
Lerner looks at Rizzo. Rizzo shrugs.
Rizzo: It's your money.
Lerner: Yep. Make this happen.
For all of Mariano's greatness, what makes him the best reliever ever, no questions asked, is his spectacular greatness in the postseason. That's where the pressure is highest. That's why Billy Wagner, for all his career numbers, wasn't a really great pitcher. Now Soriano doesn't have that much closer experience in the postseason, but he has gone through two pennant races and been pretty effective in October. When you're as rich as Lerner, there's no need to be cheap. He can't take it with him.
Additionally, Clippard actually is more effective vs. lefties, both last season and over his career.
He was not "found guilty" of anything. He was alleged to have tested positive, but the end result of the process was that there was no provable guilt.
Two things are worth noting here. First, the real story is that we know about the test result. Manny Ramirez went through all of spring training and the start of the season while appealing his suspension and no one heard about it. Melky Cabrera was the MVP of the All-Star Game while appealing his suspension and no one heard about it. Someone in MLBs testing program leaked Braun's test result to the press before the appeals process. No one seems interested in finding out who did it or why. We have no idea how many players have had positive tests and had them overturned through the appeals/arbitration process. Those are the rules as agreed to contractually.
Second, have you ever had a traffic ticket overturned in court because of a "technicality", like the cop not showing up? I know I have and my insurance company didn't make me prove I didn't actually go through the Stop sign, as I was charged with having done. When Ryan Braun and his attorney went to the arbitrator, the first thing they did was try and get the evidence thrown out, based on mishandling and the contractual violation which occurred. The arbitrator agreed and the case was over. Neither you nor I know whether Braun and his attorney had a line of attack on the evidence itself which would have won. Yet there seems to be an assumption of guilt here, even though there is nothing in his body type or his career arc which indicates the use of PEDs. A little fairness would be nice.
I don't think you can overstate the value of that flexibility. He gives you power, some speed, and makes your draft so much easier. Don't underestimate the value during the season, either - it enables you to make trades and FA pickups at several positions because he can be shifted around. He also plays 150+ games every year.
I would believe that if I had heard anyone linked to Bourn or Lohse (or Soriano). It's not like people are only willing to offer them 2 or 3 years and Boras is insisting on 5. No one seems to be offering Bourn anything, which is incredible.
I think that there was a psychological barrier to voting for Bonds and Clemens this time. I think a lot of voters thought that putting them in on the first ballot would be acting as if nothing at all happened, in effect, a stamp of approval on their activities. I fully expect them both to get in next time. I think Biggio was caught up in the general attitude toward hitters in the steroid era and he'll get in next time. I expect Greg Maddux to get in too, as the ultimate slap in the face to Clemens.
Not really - if he couldn't play without getting hurt it gives him intrinsically less value. He avoided all the wear and tear which comes from playing the field, including reduced chance of injury.
So Edgar Martinez gets credit for being unable to play a position? I don't think it is unreasonable to think that Frank Thomas could have hit just as much without his often difficult efforts at playing 1B.
Edgar Martinez spending the overwhelming majority of his career as a DH is in no way a positive.
Stryker Trahan is one of the best sports names I have ever heard. Works in almost any sport, baseball, golf, MMA, soccer, tennis. Awesome.
(on the other hand, not such a good name for a nuclear physicist or philosophy porfessor - just sayin')
None of these guys was Neftali Feliz. Very few were high-end prospects coming up. Kim had developed into a Kimbrell-esque closer, but the circumstances of his becoming a starter were totally different than Feliz. He became a starter because of his post-season implosions - both he and the D-backs were afraid of him being their closer. He was never a full time starter in the minors. Feliz was a full time starter in the minors and his relief career figured to be a brief stop.
His starting career was a small sample size to be sure, but I see no reason to believe he doesn't have the same likelihood of returning as a successful starter as any other young, successful pitcher who has TJ surgery.
On Hamilton vs. Cespedes - when one player hit 43 HR and drove in 128, while the other hit 23 HR and drove in 82, and their respective OBP's were .354 and .356, the choice of Cespedes over Hamilton would be treated with general derision by most people. Unless they change the name of the award to Silver Offensive Performance Based on Contextual Production, this was an easy one.
And for those starved for a winner, the NHL has provided scant sustenance the last few decades.
That all makes sense. As I understand it, the reason the slider is so effective (Ted Williams felt it changed the game) is that it looks like a fastball to a hitter. So ideally, the closer your slider's speed is to your fastball, the harder it would be to react to and the break would result in your swinging and missing, hence, more strikeouts. The downside is what happens when it doesn't break - it them becomes a straight, 88 MPH fastball, and we know what happens to those - which explains the HR. There is probably a sweet spot in terms of difference in FB/SL speed, where the pitch is hard to read, but still disrupts the hitter's timing.
As a Met fan, I can assure you that when Jose Reyes is going well, things will be lively in whatever building he's playing in. Few players can fire up the crowd like Jose.
I was shocked by that comment. A "talent evaluator" actually said that?
He is an extreme fly ball pitcher, but so is Jered Weaver, and he seems to enjoy pitching in Anaheim a great deal. Their new OF of Bourjos, Trout, and Hamilton is where fly balls go to die, and that has to be a very comforting feeling for a pitcher like him.
I knew it was a joke, but I felt the need to defend it - which apparently you didn't need, since you think it made sense from both sides.
As for the Paul non-trade - if I was the Lakers or Hornets, I would have sued Stern and attempted to get an injunction against him for his unprecedented move. He didn't stop the Celtics sweetheart deal with Kevin McHale to get Kevin Garnett, but he screwed the Lakers. And they wouldn't have been outrageously loaded, they would have had Kobe, Paul, and sometimes Bynum - and that's it.
I'm with you, but I assure you, they will be trading Dickey for less than he's worth.
Apparently, negotiations with TOR have hit a snag because Dickey won't negotiate an extension with them.
We are rumored to be talking with the Orioles and Rangers, as well. Let's see - Nolan Reimold and Zack Britton? Jonathan Schoop and Jake Arrieta? Martin Perez and Craig Gentry? A lot depends on Dickey's willingness to helpful and sign an extension with someone else - and he may be in no mood to be helpful to the Mets.
First, this is a great opportunity for grandstanding, and both parties love to do that. They can get the least popular entities in America - cable companies - testifying about their rates.
And don't assume that the cable and satellite companies are opposed to this. The negotiations between TWC and Dish and Direct TV over the Time Warner Sports channel wasn't pleasant. You can bet that they would all like a situation where the assorted sports networks are negotiated on their own, without the rest of the conglomerate programming held hostage. They would love to put sports programming on separate tiers -- all of it.
"It's not my money"
I live in Los Angeles, so it IS my money. My cable TV bill is going up steadily as the rights for sports telecasts goes through the roof. I resent the hell out of it. At least I'm a baseball fan, so I watch these overpriced networks. For non-sports fans, cable pricing is a flat-out ripoff. At some point Congress will get involved, forcing some form of a la carte pricing - which will take more of my money.
End of rant.
I agree completely.
I am also completely convinced that the Mets will trade Dickey. Their first offer to him was, for want of a better term, Reyesian. Offering an extension to the reigning NL Cy Young winner of under ten million a year? That's an insult. Then, to make it look like they were trying, they upped it to S10 mil a year for two years, which got the predictable pissed-off reaction from the very reasonable Dickey. Gose and Arecibia, at least cosmetically, fill two major holes for the Mets and will be presented that way. Now JP Ricciardi may stop this - I believe he drafted both of them and he may look at Gose and see a major mistake. If he says to them that Gose will be a joke, in effect, the poor man's Jordan Schaefer, then that could stop it.
I also believe that this Met organization is not in the business of winning. I have rooted for the Mets for 51 years, and I find this management as disgraceful as any we have had. I have come to the (optimistic) conclusion that all of this is heading for the Wilpons selling the team in 2014. They are just waiting for the Santana and Bay contracts to come off the books and if Dickey is gone, their payroll for next year would be well under $50 million. Since they have made it clear they won't sign any free agents for more than two years, they can sell the team as having no obligations beyond 2014, save for face-of-the-franchise David Wright, and maybe Niese. I hope I am right, because if I'm not, then there is no reason to believe they'll ever be good.
Since Bud Selig is commissioner, not David Stern, nothing would be rejected.
I should point out that these suggestions are more predictive in nature than an attempt to get something which is equal in value. I consider the Mets side of all three of these to be less than wonderful - although the Richards one has some potential upside.
Not sure which one caused your Stern reference. If it's the last, note that I didn't include Richards there, just a generic pitcher. Getting rid of an unhappy Wells from their bench and saving $5 mil would probably be considered a plus by the Angels, while adding a second OF would only leave the Mets one short of the ML requirement. Wells is unlikely to be good, but if the Mets can manage a decent half-season out of him, he would be flippable.
The Toronto deal involves two players the Jays don't need, but whom the Mets can portray as solutions to major problems -- a speedy lead-off hitter who plays CF and a power-hitting catcher. Most of us may not buy this, as their OBPs would lead us to believe there's no there there, but make no mistake, the Mets want to trade Dickey and I will be surprised if he's still a Met on Christmas.
I like this article. Something to file away for the Spring - a complete lusting of managers SB tendencies, which could be very useful in assessing values.
More realistic RA Dickey trades:
Anthony Gose andd JP Arencibia for RA
In light of the Hamilton signing:
Peter Bourjos and Garrett Richards for RA
Bourjos, a pitcher, and Vernon Wells (+ the money to pay all but $5 mil of his contract) for Dickey and something resembling an OF (which is all the Mets have)
eliyahu: In a general sense, he can't answer that question. He doesn't have enough information. Is it a mixed league or NL? Are the other top SS likely to be kept? What are your alternatives? How do people bid in your league?
I have played over 40 seasons of auction keeper leagues and without specific information, I couldn't answer it.
There is a systemic way to look at this problem.
1) If you were at the auction and got Desmond for 15, would you be happy? If the answer is no, you probably shouldn't keep him.
2) How likely is it that he'll go for more than 15 in the auction? You need to know the market you'll be bidding in. Nobody outside your league can accurately predict the inflation rate in a keeper league. They don't know who else is being kept or how others bid. When I have tricky keeper decisions, I check around the league to see if there is going to be positional or statistical scarcity. In this case, if the other top SS are obvious keepers, the price of Desmond just went up, because he'll be at the top of everyone's list. Are all the top base stealers gone? Do you have enough SB? If base stealers will be hard to come by, Desmond just became more valuable to you and anyone else who needs SB.
3) Are you making a choice between him and someone else? Then you have to compare the relative value using everything in #2.
At the end of the day, a player's value is his value to you in the context of your league and your roster. If you have Jose Reyes and Mike Trout, a player who steals 20 bases has less marginal value than he would have if you didn't have them.
For the record. I have Desmond in both my NL league and my mixed league - both of which I won last year - and I will be keeping him at 16 in the NL and 11 in the mixed. Those of us in auction leagues are often neglected in columns because generic values are tricky. I hope this helped you.
Geoff: Suffice it to say that as a Met fan, I feel your thinly-disguised pain.
At least you claim to be happy in the direction your team's organization is headed, which is more than I can say.
The big question is, will you be able to see the wonders of Marquis, Buck, et al on your TV this year?
What was overrated, the 1.56 ERA or the 0.91 WHIP? He wasn't the best fantasy pitcher because of the counting stats, with only 120 K and 10 W, he wasn't as valuable as a Dickey, but the value of that ERA and WHIP over 138 IP can't be overstated.
I wouldn't think of him as among baseballs elite for next year, but for this year in fantasy - the numbers are all that matter.
You can say it doesn't matter, but the batting title, which is how it is referred to, has historical significance, and is marked with black type in every baseball encyclopedia.
There are rules for who qualifies for batting titles, as well as other leaderships based on percentages (SLG, OBP, ERA, etc.) and based on those rules, Cabrera will qualify. Now we are changing the rules, rules, might I add, which were changed because it made no logical sense the other way, in midstream, and for one player. This isn't as bad as taking away wins from Penn State teams because of something which had nothing to with them, but it is revisionist history.
And, unlikely as it seems, what happens if the Giants get rained out of a game in their last home series and it doesn't get made up? Then, after all the jabbering about how Melky isn't going to qualify, lo and behold, he WILL qualify. Or will they change the rules again?
While some might prefer the 1930s, the 1970s is probably the best decade for movies. Just a partial list:
The Godfather II
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
A Clockwork Orange
Dog Day Afternoon
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Saturday Night Fever
Days of Heaven
Day For Night
And some damn fine porn: The Devil in Miss Jones
So yes, there were some movies worth watching. Repeatedly, in many cases.
Remember when the Cards didn't have a farm system, just Shelby Miller and "eh"? Now they have serious bats like Oscar Taveras and Matt Adams, both ready, and both completely blocked. Someone should try and trade for Adams with a SS of some kind involved.
Until Ortiz got hurt, this team was over .500 and I have no idea how. As you point out, their OF gave new meaning to the word patchwork. Pedroia, a key offensive player last year, was doing nothing when he wasn't hurt. Youkilis was awful. Their #1 starter has an ERA over 5, their #2 starter is, to put it kindly, not good, their #3 starter was an abomination and then got hurt, and their closer was gone - and yet they were still over .500. Bobby V may get fired, but what he was doing with this team in the AL East was a friggin' miracle.
Maybe he's just tired from carrying a team on his back and having them drop out of the race. He took a day off and promptly hit 2 homers. It's the kind of cheap innuendo that demeans both the quoted and the quoter.
Great series, Jason. Well written, well researched, non-dogmatic analysis. I look forward to more of these.
I also enjoy your willingness, even enthusiasm, to engage in a dialogue with posters, which is quite rare and highly appreciated by all of us. Kudos.
I'll join the chorus on this one, I'd like to know how it happened. Of course, I have little faith in any defensive metric, so DRS "breaking", if it did, doesn't concern me that much, except that it holds other, perhaps more valid metrics (mostly offense) up to ridicule by the unwashed. BP has a defensive metric in which players defensive value is increased or diminished based on the OFFENSIVE ability of those who play their position, which makes no sense at all. And if Darwin Barney's numbers are off the chart, what does that make the numbers on Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez BP cards, which show Mattinginly as having negative defensive value in 1985 and '86, and Hernandez being negative in 1987 and 1988. Barney's numbers can't be sillier than those.
Not if they win the pennant.
Let me try to solve the A's 3B problem:
Trade Dan Straily, Sean Doolittle, and Fautino De Los Santos to the NY Mets for Daniel Murphy, Jon Rauch, Tim Byrdak, and whatever money it takes to pay off Rauch.
There is no team whose next two weeks will be more interesting than the A's. Straily is ready, but who does he replace in the rotation? Parker, Milone, Blackley, and Griffin have been excellent, so even subtracting Colon leaves them with one slot, with McCarthy, Anderson, and Braden all waiting in the wings, about to start rehab assignments.
Assuming they are also buyers, they need help on the left side of the IF, is a pitcher for Yunel Escobar a move? Todd Frazier? It ain't easy to find bats out there.
Will Venable dreads
The long trip home to PETCO
Where hits go to die.
This all comes from Bud Selig's desperate need for baseball to be more like other sports and have this major international competition vibe. I've always felt that one of the best things about baseball was its lack of nationalism, that baseball fans didn't care where a player came from as long as he played for my team.
Which will be the best thing for his pitchers, as his handling of young pitchers makes Dusty Baker look good.
Divorce American League Style - lovely reference. I assume that includes a Designated Quitter.
Royals are playing Hosmer in RF in interleague play to get Butler in the lineup. But it also will give them a look at Francoeur in CF and if that isn't too painful, that could let them open up RF for Myers.
As a sabermetrician, I would be remiss if I didn't mention a book remarkably few people have read -- "The Second Baseball Abstract" by Bill James. I found this book in an ad in a table top gaming newsletter - Bill had crated a free game to be included with all copies -- and I sent away for it. Many of you were not born yet and can't imagine an era where the public never saw home-road or lefty-righty splits. Bill got them by the simple act of sending a letter to teams asking for them. If that was all that was there it would have been special, but the writing was terrific. This book introduced the concepts of Park Factors, Range Factors, and contained the original Defensive Spectrum, a concept which astonished me when I read it.
The influence that book, and the more popular ones which followed it, had on my life, and, if I may say it,the lives of all of us who frequent this site, can't be understated.
I think I'm going to dig it out of the closet this weekend and read it again.
Three works of fiction that I think deserve mention:
1) "The Great American Novel", by Philip Roth -- The story of the downtrodden Rupert Mundys, a team forced to play all its games on the road during WWII because the owner sold their stadium as scrap metal. Told by a sportswriter named Word Smith, this is a wonderful book. Not a month goes by where I don't recall the triumphant bus ride of the Mundys returning from their annual exhibition game against the local insane asylum.
2) "The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Proprietor", by Robert Coover -- This story of an accountant who created not just a complex tabletop baseball game, but an entire league and players to populate it, is a brilliant work. For those of us who grew up with APBA and Strat-O-Matic, rolling dice over and over again, this book is special indeed. The league's existence comes from Waugh, and Waugh's existence revolves around the league.
3) "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant", by Douglas Wallop. -- This is way out of print, and nowhere near the level of the other two, but it is the source for "Damn Yankees" which gave us the classic literary character of Joe Hardy. I mention it here because of a moment not included in the musical versions. Near the end of the book, Lola tells Joe Hardy not to trust the Devil, as he will never let the Senators win the pennant. When Joe asks why he wouldn't, Lola says "because he's a Yankee fan - who else do you think the Devil would root for?"
I'm not sure this is the best time to grab Milone. He has had a severe home/road split and is headed for a three-week stretch with no home starts, culminating with starts at Arizona and Colorado.
Is Kevin Millwood not eligible for this list? His last four starts (27 IP, 0.67 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 20 K, 3 Wins) are pretty fantastic, especially when you look at the minefield he threw through to get those numbers - @COL, @NYY, TEX, @TEX.
Why is it harder than ever to find legitimate SS in the draft? Are people getting too big to play SS? Will there be a time when grounders to the left side routinely go bouncing into the OF?
In light of this, I want to assure the NY Mets that if they use their sixth round draft choice ($445K slot) on me, they can save $400K for use in signing, other, more talented, athletes. In addition, I will help with statistical analysis and they won't have to pay for a uniform.
This clearly peaked at calling Harrelson a "shitehawk:.
The accent was rather inconsistent and surely there must be something better than sabermetricians in their lexicon - like "bleedin' brilliant number shitesters".
I thought you were advertising for shortstops.
It could certainly start with replacing the middle-aged mediocrities in the middle IF, with the likes of Gyorko and Amarista. If there's a LF somewhere, there ain't much blocking him.
Apparently their new familiarity with Clete has bred contempt - he was DFA'ed today.
Unfortunately, not the only thing Tim kept in his back pocket.
They'd better hire the extra cops before they eliminate reserved seats.
How was eliminating the Bonus Rule going to make players play for the love of the game, rather than money? The rule was designed to eliminate bonuses, since if you gave a bonus of over $4,000, the kid had to stay in the majors for two years.
And the word is "hawking" not hocking - although cigarettes have been known to cause the latter.
It was bad enough to have a lineup without Morse. A lineup without Morse and Zimmerman was too much to bear. So they're hoping for a miracle, which is what Harper being a middle of the lineup hitter would certainly be. He is 19 years old. Here is a quiz: name all the 19 year-olds who have had a triple slash line of .270/10/60 - which is hardly the stuff of a cleanup hitter. Here's the list: Mel Ott.
Now I cheated a little by choosing 60 RBI, since Tony Conigliaro only drove in 52 with his incredible 24 HR at 19. But the fact remains that only 5 players in history had as many 10 HR at age 19 - Conigliario 24, Ott 18, Griffey Jr. 16, Mantle 13, and Kranepool (yes, Kranepool) 10. Yount, Kaline, and Staub had over 500 AB at 19 and didn't do it. ARod hit 5 in 142 AB, but with a line of .232/.264/.408. Jimmy Foxx hit just 3 in 130 AB.
To some extent, a 19 year-old in the major leagues is like a talking dog - it's not what he says so much as the ability to say anything.
And they've also "banked" seven games against the Padres and three against the Pirates. Winning 9 of 10 is good, but it's a lot like holding serve in tennis.
The first question is whether this season's numbers are meaningful. If we say they aren't, that the sample size is too small, then the data becomes a bit more consistent.
Let's look at the pre-2012 data and let me postulate two things: 1) the increased use of shifts, both IF and OF has a significant effect on who makes plays and 2) that effect is reinforced by pitchers pitching to the shift, which includes a greater willingness to come inside to hitters in general because of the decline in HR.
If we look at the 2011 numbers for RH, we see an increase in plays for the SS at the expense of the corner IF. This makes perfect sense, as the 3B is pushed further toward the line and if the pitcher is pitching inside more, there is less likelihood of the ball going to wherever the 1B is. As for the OF, the strange number is 2010 in LF, which is way out of line with recent history. LF seems to be returning to earlier levels.
Against LH we see 2B getting more plays at the expense of the left side of the IF, which makes sense. The 1B has less ground to cover since balls hit to hi right are easily handled by the 2B, who is out in RF. In the OF, leaving 2012 out, the RF is taking balls from the CF, which makes sense if the LF is in left center and the pitcher is pitching inside more. Those crappy flies to left center now belong to the LF, while the CF has less area of responsibility. Again, we may not be talking about a huge number of plays here.
Now research could be used to verify or disprove this theory. Pitch f/x could be used to see if more inside pitches have been thrown the last few years. More importantly, these numbers should be run for the teams that are more aggressive with shifts (TB and Milwakee, say) vs. those who rarely do, to see if there is a difference, both in how pitchers attack hitters and whether they have a different out distribution than the less-frequent shifters.
Your point on Robinson is well taken, I'm not sure Joe wouldn't agree with you - for what that's worth. I would probably still stick with Joe, but there is surely a case to be made.
It's nice to see Mantle get a call, although I strongly disagree with your preference.
There is a reason why 3B became a much stronger offensive position after WWII. Although this is starting to change, traditionally, managers have managed the game they played. The pre-WWII managers played in the dead ball era, where, because the bunt was so important to the game - and by extension, fielding bunts was equally important - 3B was thought of as primarily a defensive position. Pie Traynor was in a different world offensively from other 3B which is why he was considered the best with spectacular unanimity. Even the Yankee dynasty just had Joe Dugan and Red Rolfe, who were hardly impressive offensive forces, but were considered top shelf. Once managers showed up who had played in the lively ball era, where people stood around waiting for HR, rather than bunting guys over, they found hitters for that position.
Except that there has to be some way to balance their eras. I am confident that Schmidt would have hit more HR playing in current ballparks, let alone using the, shall we say, "nutritional supplements" which aided ARod's numbers and others of his era.
This is great. Wonderful idea, fine execution.
Elijah Dukes doesn't deserve any.
Well, I actually remember the 1950s, and what I remember is that Opening Day took place in Washington,with the President throwing out the first ball. Starting in 1962, the NL got in on the act, with the Reds hosting the "traditional" opener, in honor of their being the first team. So having two ODs isn't all that new.
I would not object to an Opening Night game preceding Opening Day. However, it should always feature the defending World Champion raising the banner and giving out the rings in front of their home crowd. That is an event for the local fans and would link the seasons for everyone. What is disgusting about the Selig era is that he considers it more important to show off a new ballpark than truly honor the Cardinals.
As for the light schedule on Friday - I go back to the point where there would have been no games Friday, since baseball didn't play on Good Friday (on the rare years when it showed up late enough to be during the season).
Not sure about AAA, but it didn't help UCLA any in the PAC12. And the Ruppert Mundys really struggled during WWII.
If the home run call for Giancarlo Stanton does not include the word "arrivederci", I will be very disappointed. "Giancarlo connects...there it goes...arrivederci!"
It buys a spectacular amount of good will. He is the only member of this group with a connection to LA. There are very few people who unite the city, McCourt and Magic are two of them -- everyone hated McCourt and everyone loves Magic.
You're right that the product matters most, but in all honesty, McCourt had a fairly successful product until the divorce mess. Still, people hated him and didn't trust anything he did. If Magic asks people to be patient, they will be - Magic is a winner and fighter and there is trust there.
Absolutely right. This is a horrible thing for those of us in Los Angeles. It means prices at Dodger Stadium are going to go up, including the already obscene parking rates. It means prices for cable TV are going to go up, as we have to pay for whatever channel wins the bidding. That part will affect sports fans and non-sports fans alike.
And for those of you who aren't in Los Angeles - you're next.
I guess Korea is as far away as Scott Proctor can get from Joe Torre.
I believe that's MINUS 31 cent Brandon Belt.
Which is a flaw in this piece. The only reason RF is considered more difficult for defensive spectrum purposes is that it requires an extra skill - throwing - which for these purposes isn't really relevant. If you have the physical agility to play one corner you can play the other.
Hidden in one of those charts is Steve Chilcott, the worst number one draft choice ever, whose very name still makes long-time Mets fans a little nauseous.
The parking lot thing could prove important in the end. I have spoken to a number of people who want McCourt gone completely and have said they won't go to Dodger Stadium if McCourt still owns the parking lots. This is where the inherent good will in LA which comes from being Magic Johnson helps. If a NY hedge fund billionaire buys the team and McCourt is still involved, even tangentially, the press and public will not be as happy as MLB would like them.
Because Selig isn't letting an independent owner like Cuban into the club. The first requirement for being an owner is a willingness to kiss Selig's ass.
However you're planning on weighting the composite, I suggest weighting Dobber at zero. Any list which leaves Profar, Sano, D'Arnaud,and Lindor out of the top 100 lacks any sort of credibility.
This is a very good question and I'd like to see the answer.
It's not just the summer heat - I was a season ticket holder at Dodger Stadium for 18 years and I can tell you that few stadiums have more drastic differences than Dodger Stadium does based on the environment. It is a serious pitcher's park at night, but in day games, especially summer day games, the ball flies out of it. And night games in August have little in common with night games in April,although that is typical of most parks.
Dodger Stadiums' configuration has changed a couple of time, most recently a few years ago when home plate was moved out quite a bit to enable the McCourt scum to stuff in a few more expensive seats.
I differ in only one thing from this excellent post - Braun is not accused of using steroids or any other PED. He is accused of having an unusually (and, according to WADA, illegally) high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, caused by use of synthetic testosterone. The ratio could be caused by use of steroids, but he has not tested positive for that.
I would contend that the Palmeiro leak was somewhat gratuitous, as it happened after the suspension was announced. The Braun leak was malicious in that if, for whatever reason MLB had chosen to not suspend him, or if the arbitrator had found the test itself to be dubious, Braun still would have been labeled a cheater who merely got away with it because he was too big to suspend. This leak is far worse than the others.
There is no evidence that he used PEDs. His sample had an extraordinarily high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, apparently caused by a synthetic testosterone. This result was not repeatable to any degree a month later, nor was there any previous evidence of this in two earlier tests that season. I do not know how unlikely this is, but this is not proof of use of a PED.
Chris Shelton, April 2006
Gordy Coleman, 1961
Of course, we can't really come up with answer until we know whether this is a brief flash in the pan or someone launching a star career.
As a Met fan since their inception who now lives in LA, I perceive the hatred as different. Met fans hate the Wilpons because they love owning the Mets more than they, and we, love the Mets. If they sold the team to Mike Repole tomorrow (please, God), we wouldn't hate them at all. They built a nice ballpark, started a TV network, positioned the team for a fine future under an owner with the liquidity to spend what is needed to win. They screwed up their own finances and we are paying for it.
Dodger fans hate McCourt - period. They want to kill the bastard for everything he represents. He and his wife looted the team, charged ridiculous fees for parking, tarted up a beautiful ballpark like it was an aging hooker, cut security to save money, making the place unsafe, and destroyed as much tradition as he could. If he ever shows his face at Dodger Stadium, he'll need bodyguards.
I am trying to understand something here and failing miserably. The positional adjustment is based on "a rolling average of offensive production by the hitters at each position" and said positional adjustment is subtracted from a player's fielding runs to get his defensive value. So a player's DEFENSIVE value is affected by the OFFENSIVE abilities of players at his position. Say what? And because of this, an average defensive 1B has LESS defensive value than a DH who may well be utterly incapable of playing 1B at all. And everybody accepts this like it makes sense. Holy crap.
Sort of like Mitt Romney being afraid of being fired.
But we also know he wouldn't have done it for us, don't we? I will be glad to not have to look at him. Of course, like most Mets fans, I expect to spend most of next season (or two) not looking at any of them.
Also, if Burnett has a good half season in either of the next two years, there are always people out there who need pitchers.
20? I'm old enough to remember the previous 20 years, but I know that 1994 shows up somewhere in the last 20 years.
To be fair, according to what I have read, they offered Reyes 5 years, $80 mil - clearly not enough. That was evident last July when they didn't move him, mostly in fear of the fans setting fire to their nice new ballpark.
The Wilpons are not making money from the Mets, they are losing money. They were highly leveraged when they purchased the team, borrowed to build the stadium and to start SNY (their one profit center). Their debt service is immense. Their numbers worked based on having a contending team in a new ballpark on their own network, but when the team didn't contend, it all fell apart. Now it will get worse, but they will furiously cut salary and hope that SNY ratings don't collapse to the point where they can't sell the ads. Their own lack of liquidity makes it all worse. They should sell the team to Mike Repole, who would buy it in a minute, but Fred won't sell little Jeffy's toys.
Because money spent 8 years from now costs less than money spent now.
Also, it enables the GM to have more money to use to buy other players to create the kind of early success which could keep him employed to see the last few years of said contract.
Not to mention the possibility of The Rapture effectively voiding the last few years of the contract.
See - lots of reasons.
Right with you there, amazin, right with you.
That's all fine, but the "player has to be there the whole season to get compensation when he leaves" part will really hurt them. In the past, when dumping an unsignable veteran, the small market team had the advantage of the receiving team knowing they could get one or two high draft choices when they didn't resign the acquisition. This made them much more willing to trade multiple prospects, because they were able to, at least partially, replace them. Those trades will certainly get a much smaller yield in the future.
John has a 17% takeout from wagers on the Cubs, just like at Belmont.
Underlying this very interesting point is the question of whether the managers at the end of that list - Piniella and Leyland - are special, or whether the era in which they are managing is highly conducive to experienced managers who bounce from franchise to franchise ending up in the playoffs. Given a random assortment of teams - and Leyland has managed some very good and some very bad, how many times should a manager get in the playoffs in 20 seasons? Given that 8 of 30 teams get in the playoffs, one might say 5 or 6 would be par for the course in 20 years. Let us posit that he is a good manager, since he has been given the opportunity to manage for 20 years. But his accomplishments are a lot like a player who hung around to compile 2500 hits and a decent number of HR, with good enough defense. A fine player, but short of the Hall of Fame. Like Steve Finley, Vada Pinson, and Al Oliver as players, Leyland has been a fine manager, but IMO, a little short of the Hall of Fame.
I assume you meant "wouldn't be surprised" -- I think they have made a decision about the danger of a teardown, that being the complete disappearance of the fan base, disastrous attendance and SNY ratings which result in a loss of advertisers.
Only if there isn't a quality alternative available. He's 30 now and there's no reason to think he's going to improve. If this is just an off season and he reverts back to the 2010 version, he's a useful player, but I think he's best suited as a fourth OF.
I completely endorse everything you said here.
If I was in charge of the Mets situation, I would have told them to wear the first responders hats on the field and if anyone protested it, come off the field, change the hats, and on national TV call out the person responsible for it.
I'm a Met fan since their birth, here's my take on this:
1B- Davis - not as good as 2011 numbers, but the power is real, he gets on base, and fields well.
2B- Ruben Tejada - the best defensive 2B and at the age of 21, has developed a solid OB skill, which should only improve as he develops a little more pop. His lack of speed limits his upside, but he could be a solid #2 hitter.
SS- Reyes - as amazingmess pointed out, he's a risk, but without him, we have no leadoff hitter, and teams without leadoff hitters don't score. Without him the team has no upside.
LF- Bay - because we're paying him a lot of money
CF- Charlie Sheen - winning, baby.
RF- Duda - the best development of the season, he has a .299 TAv and I expect that to improve next year. This guy can hit.
C- Thole? - not exciting, but he seems to have improved a bit defensively and isn't an offensive sinkhole.
P-Santana (I hope I hope I hope), Dickey, Gee, Niese - I expect the Mets to non-tender Pelfrey, as he's no good and you can get no good cheaper than he's about to be. We may resign Capuano as a placeholder.
Bullpen - Parnell will start as closer and suck at it. I have no idea who will do everything else.
CF is a major problem. Can Neiuwenhuis do it? Pagan has demonstrated he's not an every day player. Here's my bold suggestion: David Wright. Stunningly overrated at 3B, he has the speed to play CF, he has a good arm, he could well be the answer to the problem. It has the added bonus of giving us a place to play Daniel Murphy, so what we lose in defense, we get back in offense.
I think he's hurt. They delayed a start a couple of days because of soreness in his forearm and he's lost all command of his fastball. I'm getting the same feeling watching him I did with Roy Oswalt, who also couldn't keep his fast ball down. Now Chacin doesn't have back problems. but he just can't get the fastball in the zone, or even consistently close enough to get hitters to swing at it. I hope I'm wrong, but I own him in two leagues and I'm getting very nervous.
They've also built their offense around run prevention.
Perhaps there's an immense defensive difference between the two corner OF, but Dayan Viciedo is putting up similar offensive numbers to Bryce Brentz, #38, only he's doing it in AAA not A+. They're both 22, so where is Dayan, and why isn't he ahead of Brentz?
You should have mentioned Fukudome's incredible ability to hit in April. He is truly Mr. April, with incredible career numbers of .338/.448/.507/.955. He also played one game in March, going 3-3 with a walk, double, and HR.
I couldn't find it, so one more time, a visit to ESPN.com turns out to be a waste of my time.
The most interesting comment was Wilpon's comment about Wright - "a very good player...not a superstar". He said nothing derogatory about Reyes, just said he wasn't getting Crawford money because of his injury history, which may well be true. I wouldn't be shocked if the Mets try and move Wright, who could bring them a bigger haul than Reyes. They might prefer their 3B future in the minors - assuming Flores goes there, as well as others. But mostly, the fact that Wright is both better than Reyes and signed for the next two years makes him a much more valuable trade chip.
I understand making Mike Pelfrey available. I don't understand thinking you can get something for him.
I first read Bill James' work in 1976, the second edition of the Baseball Abstract. I had never seen home/road or lefty/righty splits before. The defensive spectrum was an amazing concept - not just what it is often reduced to, which is a list of positions in reverse order of offensive productivity. Because you can move players from the left end of the spectrum (SS, 2B, CF) to the right end (RF, LF, 1B) but can rarely move them in the other direction. Good organizations tend to pile up players at the left end, bad ones at the right end. I talked with him a number of times about the various Abstracts, which ultimately led to my working with STATS, INC. for a couple of years.
To those of you who have followed in the sabermetric revolution, the dark ages which he ended are inconceivable. No one (except maybe Branch Rickey) thought of OBP as the most important offensive stat until he showed it to us, nobody even knew what isolated power was.
One major way in which James differs from Gelman and his colleagues is the question of precision. In rigorous academic statistical analysis, a lack of precision is sloppy. But when dealing with a sport where bloopers become hits and line drives outs, where the difference between an error and a hit is who the official scorer is, precision is not as important. What is important is significance - the difference between 91.8 runs created and 92 is meaningless, between 82 and 92 matters. When it comes to fielding statistics - what matters and what doesn't is nearly impossible to determine, and, with more and more shifts taking place in the infield, becoming harder.
The difference in opinion on the lineup question is the realization that the difference between a .360 OBP and a .340 is about two times on base a month. Obviously a hitter with a .290 OBP shouldn't be batting first - or anywhere, really - but that isn't the question.
Bill is now in the belly of the beast and is limited in what he can say at times, but the principles he laid out still work. And the change he made in how people look at the game and those who have and do play it has been invaluable.
There are significant differences between the Mets and Dodgers. The Mets have been mismanaged in the baseball sense, which Selig addressed long-term by giving them Alderson and company. The Dodgers have been mismanaged in the economic sense, and as baseball's flagship team in Los Angeles (the Mets are not that in NY, in case you haven't noticed), this is troubling to Selig. Not having a director of security, then having someone nearly killed in the parking lot, is a disaster. A 40% drop in season ticket sales is horrifying. Then there is the incestuous relationship with Fox, which sold McCourt a team he couldn't afford in the first place, lending him money to make a payroll, then trying to lend him more with the Dodgers' TV rights as collateral. The Mets have maximized their economic base by financing a new stadium and creating their own TV network, while the Dodgers have trashed their stadium and have tried to mortgage their TV rights to get up-front money to settle McCoourt's personal debts. That is why Bud moved on the Dodgers and why he doesn't have to do something similar with the Mets.
How about to the Reds for Yonder Alonso, Mesoraco/Grandal, and a major league pitcher (Wood/Bailey/Leake)? If it's Alonso and Mesoraco, that's two immediate regulars and with Ackley, they start to resemble a major league team. I'm not advocating for the move, but it's not as ridiculous as it seems.
And what if the Yankees decide to go all in and offer Montero, Banuelos, and Betances? Would that be a stupid deal to take?
I would say it's unlikely to happen, but not impossible.
So, basically, the first week doesn't matter all that much unless it does. Do I have that right?
The problem, of course, with LRS, was best demonstrated in the LRS scandal of 2029, when Chico Escuela III, due a $100,000 bonus for an improved LRS, purposely mispositioned himself at SS so that he would have farther to go to make routine plays. Who can forget his teammate, Solly "Sinkerball" Schwartz, threatening to kick Chico's butt if he didn't pay attention to the bluetooth directions from the defensive positioner in the pressbox? Commissioner Frank McCourt had to rule that the owner didn't owe Escuela his bonus, but instead owed it to baseball itself, and that the Commissioner's office would put it to good use.
I think they figure we can flip our own coins.
Nice piece. While modern roster composition seems to mitigate against this sort of thing, really modern management, where you shuttle the back end of your staff between the bigs and AAA on a weekly basis actually makes it easier. There is a value to a veteran bat off the bench, especially if he owns a glove of some sort, however rusty it may be.
Let me try this without using JAWS
Since Burr started at 1894, so will I.
1894-1897: Hoss Radbourne - A legend, the first 19th century pitcher in the Hall of Fame.
1897-98: Held open, baseball in mourning for the untimely passing of Old Hoss.
1898-1910: Amos Rusie - Winner of the pitching triple crown in 1894, one of the few pitchers who had no trouble adapting to the new pitching distance. Had to "retire" after 1898 season due to a loss of hearing from being hit in the head with a line drive. John McGraw traded him to the Reds after the 1900 season and Rusie tried a brief (three game) comeback in '01 - bad trade for the Reds.
1911-1916: Cy Young
1917-1925: Christy Mathewson - he was in the first class of Hall of Famers, not Young. He was the guy the Reds traded for Amos Rusie - really bad trade. (They had taken him from a Giant farm team in the Rule 5 draft, so I assume McGraw was threatening to kill someone if they didn't give him back).
1926-1927: Cy Young - making him the Grover Cleveland of this list
1928-1946: Walter Johnson
1947-1975: Lefty Grove - nobody was that big a fan of Walsh, and the game had changed so old Cy wasn't getting it back. This isn't the kind of thing that changes hands unless it's obvious, like Matty or Johnson. I'm confident that Bob Feller would have pointed out that he was better. Sabermetrics made Grove's numbers look even more impressive, but in recent years, some of us have downgraded him a little.
1976-???: Feller or Spahn - Feller wouldn't have complained about Spahnie, since he fought and was wounded in WWII. But this is where we hit the problem with this particular question.
What does it mean to be the best living pitcher? The most career accomplishments? The pitcher with the highest sustained peak? Or is it the guy you would give the ball to for game seven, if you could? I am confident that if there was no definition given that a vote in 1976 would have been won by Sandy Koufax. He was the best pitcher I ever saw - and God knows I love Tom Seaver. One of them is currently the best living pitcher. My guess is Tom would vote for Sandy.
You're right. It's a silly question. :)
Of course, once you eliminate box scores, and visual evidence, there isn't much proof of anything. I didn't get to see Willie play every day, I was robbed of that privilege by Horace Stoneham, but I can tell you that what I saw was good. There is a unanimity about his defensive ability which seems to go beyond "anecdotal evidence". He played in an era and league of great CF - Ashburn, Pinson, Virdon, and Flood -- and no one questioned who the best was.
According to Willie (and to my knowledge,no one has denied the truth of this), in his San Francisco years, he positioned not only himself, but the rest of the fielders. That's probably worth something.
Yes, hope springs eternal for us Mets fans -- although the news of Luis Hernandez as the starting 2B makes any optimism very difficult. I had hope that Young and Capuano could hold things to gether for a nice chunk of the year, but with Beltran still limping (I have him for $4 in a keeper league and will be passing on retaining him), and a gaping hole at 2B...well, it's gonna be a long year.
You had Harang last year and there is still air available for your balloon? For the record, I wish I had spent just $9 on Harang last year. And he didn't blow his arm out in the 14th, he blew it out two days later when Dusty decided that the 5 inning relief appearance didn't constitute a reason to push back his start.
Sandoval : wasn't it the 40 lbs that led to 2010? just askin'
Capuano: as a Met fan - from your keyboard to God's ears
McDonald: sounds reasonable
Harang: My fellow BPers - if there is one thing to take away from this post, do not acquire this man. Before you pick him based on Petco, check out his home/road splits the last four years. Hear me now and thank me later -- this way madness lies. (This does not apply if you are in either of my leagues).
Iannetta: He hit under .200, isn't hitting a lick in ST, and is a notoriously slow starter. If there is a way to screw him, it will be found. That said, I may keep him in one of my leagues.
Pena: What is the next number in this sequence: .247, .227,.196? If you think it's a number that won't kill your BA, I wish you luck.
McCarthy: for $1 - why not
Capps: classic closer-in-waiting, maybe even a back-door one with him being traded at some point.
Berkman: Berkman + OF = injury waiting to happen
Kila: good upside
Those seven points of OPS+ are more than made up for on the basepaths - so Albert isn't better offensively, either.
You messed up by asking one question in paragraph 3: who would people of 1925 have picked? then answering who you would have picked. I can't differ with your choices, as they're personal. Whether Williams was better than Dimaggio is tricky, the same with Williams vs. Musial.
As for the first question, what people at the time would have said, I can only go back to the 1960s with personal knowledge. I can tell you that there was a debate in their own time whether Cobb was better than Speaker, who had a big edge defensively.
In 1961, Musial was considered better than Williams - and it wasn't really close. I am guessing that if there was a vote in 1961, it would have broken down by whether you saw DiMaggio at his peak or not. I don't think that would have changed in 1968, since Mantle finished his career in a terrible hitting era and his numbers were superficially weak. You have to understand sabermetrics to know that he was still good in his 30s. The minute Mays retires it's him.
Doing it without regard to retirement (my opinion) - it's an early battle between Wagner and Matty, Wagner takes over, Cobb takes it in the teens, Ruth after 1921. On Ruth's death, I think you have to go to DiMaggio (or maybe Feller), who has established his greatness far more than Musial or Williams. Before they can take it away, Mantle probably grabs it in 1958 and hangs on until 1962, when Willie establishes his reign.
Now if you're talking a public vote, I think Cobb holds it for a long time, into the 30s, when it was obvious the game was different. As late as 1928, there are magazines arguing that Ruth ruined the game. The rest is probably the same.
The pitchers in this chart are projected to go 87-61. Considering that the team is projected to go 80-82, those missing guys must really suck.
Let me join with Rally Killer here. I understand that by statistical measurements, Pecota is the best of the systems. I understand that regression to the mean is very real. But the only was I can describe the numbers in these charts is useless. This is part of the Fantasy area, so I assume it is supposed to be of some use to those of us in roto leagues. I understand that Carl Crawford is third among LF in WARP - who cares? WARP is based on the counting stats generated by Pecota and adjusted by the mavens at BP - it is based on the flawed numbers which are already here. WARP is useful when you have real numbers, meaningless in a fantasy context and fairly meaningless as a short-term prediction.
It has already been pointed out how few players are expected to score or drive in 100 runs in the NL. That is ridiculous. The statistical accuracy of Pecota seems to be based on getting close to which players are going to score/drive in 60-70 runs and hit 12-15 HR. But in this context, it isn't useful.
I expect the depth charts to take into account playing time, ball park, league, schedule, and surely, position in the batting order. But there are some things which are just absurd. Speaking of absurd, let's look at the Mets. Jose Reyes, Mets leadoff hitter, speed intact (42 SB), is projected for .333/.403 in 601 PA. Ike Davis, speed limited, batting 6th, is projected for .333/.404 in 650. Reyes is projected to score 71 runs, one for every 8.46 PA. Davis is 77 runs, one for every 8.44. But that's okay, because Jose drives in 65, one every 9.25 to 70 for Ike, one every 9.29.
I'm guessing there's stuff like this everywhere. These counting numbers make no sense, contextually and historically. Useless.
I always thought there was an interesting movie in Orlando Cepeda. The son of a famous player in Puerto Rico, a celebrated rookie in SF - being loved by the fans more than Mays because he was their first SF star. Early stardom, then the arrival of McCovey, the trade to StL and the MVP. The injuries limiting his career and then the post career story is a great second act, with the arrest, humiliation, imprisonment. The third act is redemption and the Hall of Fame.
There is no evidence that a seven game playoff series is more likely to result in the "better" team winning than a five game series. None. Go back over the history of the World Series starting after WWII and you will see how seven game series results are as random as anything.
What another seven game series will do is make the playoffs feel interminable, with more teams waiting around for their next opponent's series to end.
A better idea would be a three-game first round - at the higher seeded team (the one with the best record)- followed by a five-game LCS and a seven game World Series. It increases the importance of every game and moves faster.
And just to make the high-end pennant races mean something (looking at you, AL East), have two wild card teams meet for a one game play-in.
Kaz Matsui, with less power and less health - in Japan, at least. Are we supposed to be excited by this?
Steve Chilcott -- Mets took him first, instead of Reggie Jackson. I say "instead of" because every other team had Reggie #1 on their board.
The bloodlines are part of what got people excited early, the bloodlines are part of what makes Justin Upton owners nervous now - those of us who own him in fantasy leagues, and the D-Backs as well. Given that the D-Backs also own a somewhat disappointing Drew, their tempered enthusiasm for the younger Upton seems merited. The same genes that gave him a world of talent may have given him an injury-prone body. Still, he ain't chopped liver and they ain't giving him away.
The problem the Mets are going to have with him is that if he has a really good year - Robotey's line surely in the realm of possibility if coupled with decent defense -- he becomes extremely expensive. What is he with that? Try the poor man's Carl Crawford -- adjusting for park and position, not even that far off. Do you think he won't ask for 7/130? Given the lack of SS out there, is that unlikely to be met somewhere?
Frankly, I'm not sure what the Mets are rooting for, other than a miraculous pennant run. They'll have the money to sign him, with his, Ollie's, Beltran's, and Castillo's money off the books.
The alternatives will be overpay to avoid a gaping offensive hole at SS, or go defensive with Tejada and try to spend the money on a top pitcher or OF. A lot will depend on Bay's season, what kind of pitching staff they have this year, Ike Davis' development, what 2B looks like in the future -- lots of moving parts here.
It doesn't matter what position Mays was playing in 1951. Mays, three months younger than Decker, was playing in the major leagues at age 20 after hitting .477 with a 1.323 OPS in AAA, while Decker was putting up a .950 OPS in the California League. These are not comparable hitters.
It would seem to me that the comparables should start with players who did the same thing at the same level, not with players who were regulars in the major leagues.
Decker spent his entire age 20 season in A ball. Mays spent a month in AAA, hitting .477 (yes, .477), with a 1.323 OPS, turning 20 in May, then spent the rest of his age 20 season in the NL. This is hardly comparable.
I know I'm cherry-picking here, but since Jhoulys Chacin is my cherry in a couple of leagues, I just have to pick him.
Chacin 4.93/1.51/ 6.7 K/9 -- really? In approximately the same number of IP, PECOTA has Radhames Liz at 4.78/1.48/7.5
Surely there is a mistake somewhere here. Jhoulys is also worse than Boof Bonser and Philip Humber. To put it kindly, this seems a little off to me.
Now other than Ubaldo at 4.02/1.39, and two relievers (Street and Betancourt), all Rockies pitchers are projected to be some variation on horrible. Is PECOTA predicting a broken humidor?
And I feel foolish for optimistically suggesting it's existence.
I'd still like to know if there are consistent under/over pitchers though.
Interesting stuff. What I would like to know is whether there are pitchers who consistently under/over perform the various metrics. If so, is there a common thread among them?
Whether these metrics are intended as predictive or not, they will be used that way, whether to analyze trades, signings, or for fantasy purposes. In order to effectively analyze a pitcher's future value, it is necessary to know if there is reason to believe or doubt the numbers in his specific case.
Nice collection of announcements, impressive indeed.
Now as for the editing part...
Your new column is named The BP DAILY Broadside -- and run three times a week? Planning on long weekends? :)
I disagree with the wild card wish. I like the one-game idea because it makes finishing first mean something. I am tired of tight races between the best teams in the league coming down to the last weekend and having both teams not care because they are both making the playoffs. No one cares at all about the home field advantage, as is demonstrated by who pitches and plays the last two games. But if the loser had to play a one game series for their life,facing Jon Lester and the Red So, you'd see Price and Sabathia starting the last weekend and the race would matter again.
And please don't make the first series seven games - the playoffs are interminable now, with low ratings to demonstrate how little people want to see them.
The concept of one large league with the top four sounds good, but the reason baseball went to divisions in the first place was that teams at the bottom of a big league have an even tougher merchandising situation than teams who are last in a six-team division. A franchise wandering around between 11th and 16th for few years would be really depressing, even if they were no further from winning than a team in fourth in a six-team division.
The Angels announcers were fond of referring to Scot Shields as rubber-armed. Unfortunately, those known as rubber-armed usually end up referred to as dead-armed.
Nicely written, and it now holds the record for the quickest irrelevant article. Time to break out the Ballpark in Arlington graphic for Napoli's fly balls.
It's not just Spitgate. Anybody who watched him play for the Mets has trouble thinking of him as a Hall of Famer. He was more than just awful, he just didn't care out there. I have been a Met fan for nearly half a century and I have never hated a player more than Roberto Alomar (yes, I remember Benitez, Ollie Perez, and Bonilla). I can only imagine how White Sox fans feel about him, since they traded for him twice to help in pennant races and he was an abomination both times.
It's also curious how easily teams were willing to let him go, even after he was a key part of their winning. I'm not saying he didn't have a Hall of Fame career -- the numbers don't lie and he certainly was great. I am just saying that I can understand why the voters were less than enthusiastic about him the first time he showed up.
It's interesting that you mentioned Stephen Drew, since I think bloodlines may well play a part in this. The shoulder injury for Justin Upton echoes BJs problems and BJ has never (one October not withstanding) been as great as he seemed about to be. Justin is a good distance from being a really good defensive OF, and if the bat stagnates, much as BJs has, then what is he? He may be better offensively than his brother, but worse defensively, leaving him less than a stud player. The Drew family was never as good as people expected them to be (although still pretty good), and the Uptons may be following their path. BJ had a shoulder injury and muscle pulls, Justin muscle pulls and a shoulder injury. BJ has some "hustle" problems and fights with teammates, Justin has some "hustle" problems and seems clueless on the bases -- if his teammates cared, he might have fought with them too.
Yes, trading him could backfire badly, but maybe cashing in on his potential before he becomes damaged goods is the best move.
My favorite euphemistic curse words were from a halfway decent comedy, Johnny Dangerously, which preserved a PG-13 rating by never actually using objectionable language. One character, an old mobster, gives this speech:
I would like to direct this to the distinguished members of the panel: You lousy cork-soakers. You have violated my farging rights. Dis somanumbatching country was founded so that the liberties of common patriotic citizens like me could not be taken away by a bunch of fargin iceholes... like yourselves.
It's 25 years later, but I still think "fargin icehole" when I come in contact with someone worthy of the epithet.
Up until the mid-80s, the Cy Young plaque read "Awarded to the Most Valuable Pitcher", it was then changed to "Most Outstanding" which may well have helped Felix.
Beyond that, Felix was helped by an oddity in that it was hard to tell who his real competition was. When I thought about it, as important as David Price was to the TB pitching staff, he had fewer wins and IP than Sabathia, who provided the same glue to the Yankees staff. So in the end, Hernandez was the default choice, based on all sorts of metrics, as well as IP and K. This might have been different had Sabathia won 18 instead of 21 -- there is a difference in the pressure of pitching in a pennant race (no matter how irrelevant the ultimate outcome has been made by the playoff system). And Christina, it's interesting that you mentioned Jon Lester instead of Clay Buchholz, whose numbers certainly had an impact on Lester's support -- and vice versa.
Thank you for your service and I agree wholeheartedly. Personally, I believe that giving an Irving Berlin song the featured, mid-game, on air, slot diminishes the importance of the actual national anthem, which isn't on television and often isn't even heard by fans at the game.
Some fans do, some don't. This is about Bud Selig's football envy -- you can't have too much patriotism.
I'll echo swrights - this is lame. The Mets organization is reduced to Lucas Duda and stuff everyone knows (Mejia coming, Martinez hurt). No discussion of Nieuwenhuis' strengths/weaknesses or the progress of their IF prospects or the lack of same by their pitchers. This is way beneath you, Kevin.
Read the comments on John Perotto's Wednesday On The Beat.
There are people who love Bud Selig outside of Milwaukee?? I assume John is referring to MLB owners.
Playing Thole and Davis is not a "mixed-message" for the Mets -- they're the best players they have at those positions. Playing Tejada is merely a result of Castillo's horrid defense costing the Mets a game or two in a span of a week.
The Mets should fire Minaya, but he has two more years on his contract and when an organization is unwilling to eat the contract of a completely useless pitcher, I have trouble believing they'll eat Omar's money.
The reason the Padres attendance isn't up despite their good season is that they were awful last year and expected to be that way again. The single best predictor of seasonal attendance is how a team did the year before; that is what spurs advance ticket sales. Historically, surprise contenders draw better in September.
Welcome back, Will - you've been missed.
As for Latos - the Padres have to try and win now, so their focus should be on what would help them do that, which may also involve some extra rest for Latos, so he can be effective in October. The Verducci Effect is clearly meaningful, but did not come from a burning bush -- some pitchers survive it very well. And others have a bad season, then bounce back. Winning a championship for the Padres is why they have Mat Latos and it isn't an every year thing.
Yeah, almost anyone could do it who had the medical knowledge, the database, the access to professionals in the field, and the contacts inside baseball. Which is why no one else is doing it.
Comparing Will to Buster Olney is a complete joke. Olney has no specialized knowledge and his contacts probably giggle after they give him misinformation. My rule of thumb on Olney is that if he breaks a story, it's wrong -- and I'm rarely disappointed.
I don't consider Will's knowledge and contacts a "shtick", which is why I am posting here. Hopefully, he and BP can work out whatever differences they have and he will come back. I think it's important for all of us who care to raise our voices now, while it still may not be too late.
I must say, I'm with Brian. I enjoy Christina, Steve Goldman, and other stuff, but I pay for Will Carroll and Kevin Goldstein, and I'm not sure Kevin's stuff is worth that much on its own.
I had the same reaction - please please let some sportswriter refer to him as Sliding Billy
As a Met fan and Yankee hater, that was a wonderful article. What makes the Yankees special is their resolute respect for history and tradition, which the treatment of Sheppard and Layton was a large part of. They never worried about not appealing to 16 year olds, the game didn't have to come to them, they would come to the game. Would that other franchises had that respect.
The San Diego chicken was not the first mascot, Mr. Met was. I'm not saying he was as funny or creative, but he was first, back in 1963. If I remember correctly, the Mets also had a dog, who ran around the bases -- which the Mets of that era did very little of. If the dog could have caught a popup, he could have started in the OF.
While I would be willing to schlep to Anaheim for a BPPF, I would prefer something in the LA area -- as opposed to Arte Moreno's theoretical LA area.
Also, as irrelevant as it may sound, Sunday the 11th is the World Cup final, so the 10th might be a better choice -- why force folks to choose if it isn't necessary?
The simple answer is, no, he's not. Manny Ramirez was, to put it very kindly, a poor LF for the Red Sox. But if Manny was as bad a defender as David Ortiz, they couldn't have played both of them. Manny's marginal defensive adequacy enabled the Red Sox to use Ortiz' bat. The defensive value of a DH is at best equal to the worst defender on the team -- eliminate middle infielders and catchers if you want -- and any system which gives them more credit than that is flat out wrong. Add in the increased likelihood of injury which exists for players who have to play the field and the bar for a DH making the Hall should be exceptionally high. To my mind, Martinez doesn't make it over, Frank Thomas does.
Ian Kinsler has 12 SB the last two months, not 0, which, combined with 10 HR, 33 runs, and 24 RBI, makes him incredibly valuable even if he keeps hitting .205 the rest of the season. Of course, if he doesn't play at all, like last year, he's worthless.
He has all the tools in the world, but in five decades of watching baseball, I have never seen a player with worse baseball instincts. The lack of instincts show at bat, where he flails at anything, on the bases, where he hasn't a clue, and especially in the field, where despite speed and a great arm, he has proven an inept RF, a bad CF, and is about to work on being a below average LF.
When the Nats got rid of him, they didn't refer to character issues, but to his lack of baseball smarts. Writers have, for whatever reason, assumed it was some sort of personality deficiency. In reality, it was how horrible it was to watch him play the game on a daily basis.
The problem is that MLB doesn't care about the integrity of the game. Bud Selig is simply afraid of the umpires union and will do nothing to offend them. Every other sport grades its officials and gives the best ones prime playoff assignments -- baseball does nothing of the kind. Every other sport shows replays of close calls and controversial plays in stadiums, but in baseball, if a scoreboard operator shows a replay which is even remotely close, the crew chief will stop the game and excoriate him -- it's an insult to fans who pay the inflated ticket prices that they can't see what fans at home and in other sports see routinely.
A few weeks ago, Dan Iassogna blew at least four calls at first base, which should be next to impossible to do. C.V. Bucknor and Angel Hernandez are borderline incompetent. Yet baseball does nothing about it -- no veteran umpire ever gets fired for incompetence. It's amazing anyone is even trying to become a major league umpire, since jobs never open up. The low point comes with abysmal work of Tim McClellan, whose incredibly slow ball/strike calls actually get in the way of the enjoyment of the game. They are designed to call attention to Tim McClellan, even if they annoy the fans, the players, and sometimes even get in the way of the game itself, since catchers and baserunners don't know whether a pitch was ball four, strike three,ending the AB, or something else. Of course, McClellan made the incompetent/corrupt call on Matt Holliday touching home plate in a playoff game, one which helped determine who would make the postseason -- and the Lords of Baseball said nothing and did nothing. They just don't care and the umps know it. That is why umpiring is deteriorating and it won't stop until the press goes after Selig and Company for their inept stewardship of the game.
Sammy was implicated by his own body and his own words.
When Sammy showed up for the 2004 season both his body and his hitting ability had shrunk dramatically. So dramatically that Sammy even corked his bat to get back his missing bat speed.
In the Congressional hearings, the three sluggers took different attacks in their testimony. McGwire, knowing there was no good which could come from his telling all about his use of PEDs, decided to focus on the future and not talk about the past. Palmiero went for the \"lie with indignation\" method -- which worked great until it blew up in his face. Sammy took a third route, when he said, through his lawyer, \"I never injected any illegal drugs\". The clear implication of that careful phrasing, rather than the absolute \"I never used\" or \"I never took\", was that he had indeed used oral steroids and that his lawyer knew it.
The problem with this is that in other eras, such as the 1930s in the AL, statistics were inflated across the entire league. The problem with the steroid era is that there were players who were helped by the use of steroids and others who didn\'t use them. How do we compare Frank Thomas records to his contemporaries, assuming he was clean? We don\'t know who did use and who didn\'t. How many MVP Awards did Barry Bonds steal? Should those who finished second behind him get the award, like those who finished second behind Olympic cheaters would? Since we don\'t know who did the drugs, we can\'t compare players to their peers, let alone to any other historical group. That BP has consistently downplayed the importance of the added strength gained through steroid usage is a joke. I can only assume this has something to do with how much damage the unknown nature of the raw data of this era does to statistical analysis of the players involved. Before they talk about others sticking their heads in the sand, they might want to check where theirs have been.