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Juris
252 comments | 189 total rating | 0.75 average rating
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Juris
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I recall 1984 when the Tigers started the season 35-5. (Ain't gonna happen again.) By that point, they had banked enough wins to safely play .500 ball the rest of the way to get to the playoffs (.500 would have left them with 96 wins). They did a little better than that, but not much! They didn't need to. Then they swept through the playoffs and WS. To take this totally out of context, a strong start in my line of work (academia) can get you to the regular roster (tenure), but you have to continue to play well to be rewarded with future promotions and salary increases. I saw plenty of faculty who essentially fell over the tenure line and spent the rest of their mediocre careers as an associate professor. Fortunately, baseball expects more, but has its own form of tenure for players who are above replacement and injury free. Back to the original point: a strong start helps a lot, but 9 games (or 6 years to tenure) doesn't make a season (or a career).

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Typo in title: Should be revolving, not revoling.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Yes, it's really hard on these old eyes to focus on the text.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

I recall reading this article when it first appeared as a regular column. I shouldn't be but am amazed by the layers of analysis in this single column.

Mar 31, 2012 8:33 AM on Defending Jeffrey
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 5

If it was my money, I wouldn't want McCourt as a partner for anything and I'm disappointed that he has a hold on property in Chavez Ravine. I always loved to go to games at Dodger Stadium but it would grate on me to still be paying parking fees to support that a$$hole.

 
Juris
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Comment rating: 0

Hey Steve, I'm surprised you left off the venerable Steve Bilko as a comparison. After all he played for the Cardinals and the Angels, too. Placed first in putouts at 1B in 1953, high range factor, high fielding% -- but also second (second highest) in errors. True, he didn't hit much for power, with 76 HR's over 10 MLB seasons. But as someone who grew up in Los Angeles in the 1950's rooting for the Hollywood Stars and LA Angels of the Pacific Coast League, Bilko was THE MAN. He didn't have any power in the majors, but in 1956 he won the PCL's Triple Crown with a .360 batting average, 55 home runs, and 164 RBIs.

 
Juris
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Here's a link to Lugo's interview: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=3905

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 2

One of the best non-statistical articles BP ever published was the one by Carlos Lugo on Juan Marichal. I hope that's somehow in the collection.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

And by Year 6, what's the betting on how much Sabathia will weigh? 400 pounds? If he truly wants to compete at a high level that many years he's got to have a weight plan.

Nov 02, 2011 7:00 AM on The Yankees Play Pickup
 
Juris
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Alburquerque was a lights-out reliever until he got hit in the head by a line drive during batting practice at the beginning of August. Since coming off the DL he's been so-so, with less velocity and less confidence. It was gutsy for Leyland to leave him in the previous game at a critical moment. But to have brought him back into yesterday's game would probably have done nobody any good, least of all the pitcher. I expect we'll see Alburquerque in one of the next two games, but I hope not in a truly critical situation -- more as an inning eater if the Tigers fall well behind or get well ahead. Next season, however, I look for him to regain what he had going earlier this season.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

Absolutely right. Related to this, the disdainful comment about getting beat by the 25th player shows how easy it is to get distracted by focusing on the "stars" on a team's roster. After all, why do teams have 25-man rosters? Because in any series, or any game, they might have to call on a player who is fresher or healthier or has other attributes that make sense in a particular game or situation (handedness, speed, etc., may matter). Getting beat by the opponent's "25th player" means one and only one thing: getting beat by the opponent's TEAM in a TEAM sport.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 7

You've hit the nail on the head with that comment. I think almost all of the coverage of the Tigers-Yankees series has been about what the Yankees did or failed to do. They won or they lost games; but so did the Tigers, who are treated more or less like the straight men in a Yankees comedy act. The Tigers are a pretty good team. At the end of the regular season they had better starting pitchers than the Yankees. They scored the 4th most runs of any team in the majors, so they knew how to score runs. Sure, they had plenty of weaknesses, but they showed an ability to win regularly in how they played the last several weeks of the season. So maybe they were taken too lightly, regarded too off-handedly as if they were the #10 contender coming into the arena against the #1. And maybe that's how the Yankees manager regarded them, too. With that approach, and that attitude, the Yankees got beat.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

I don't disagree with the first two comments about Yankee centrism. But hey I love Jay's stuff, so not complaining too much. However, I do think the Tigers deserve a bit more credit. They may not be "the Yankees" but they scored something like the 3rd or 4th most runs of any team in the major leagues this year. It was their pitching that was suspect during a good part of the year -- until the last two months of the season. I've watched a lot of Scherzer's games this year and yesterday's was by far his best game of the year. If he's got another game like that, and if Detroit wins the ALDS, this portends well for the Tigers in the next round. The big question now is whether the Tigers' #4 starter, Porcello, can step up as Scherzer has. If it's game 4 for the series win tomorrow, I'm putting my money on him.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

Just joining the chorus: this is a fabulous piece of research.

 
Juris
(1283)
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What caught my eye on this is that you now have the Tigers listed as 100% likely to win their division. But the Magic Number as of this morning is 6 versus the Indians and 5 versus the WhiteSox. Neither of those teams is mathematically eliminated from winning the division, though the probability of either one of them winning is very very small. I would therefore list the Tigers' chances as 99.9%. In any event, Go Tigers!

Sep 13, 2011 11:37 AM on
 
Juris
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To add to my point. If a team has been MATHEMATICALLY eliminated, sure it's OK to say 0.00%. But if a team hasn't yet eliminated all contenders MATHEMATICALLY, then it's post-season odds should be 99.9% or less -- not 100.0%.

Sep 13, 2011 10:26 AM on
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

I don't like your use of 100.0% odds when the Magic Number is still 1 or more. This is analogous to probabilities for T-tests that are sometimes reported as .000. We are all told in our stats training to interpret that as <.001 -- since there remains some finite chance that the difference is not significant. So please max out your odds at 99.9%. Isn't that good enough?

Sep 13, 2011 10:24 AM on
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

Colin, I've got another way to think about this. Why would fans go to a ball game? Maybe the drama or the criticality of the game to their home team's chances of getting to the playoffs isn't the most important factor. For sure, we know attendance is greater for teams that are contending, or that contended or reached the playoffs the previous year. But there are still reasons why people go to games even by noncontenders, especially if the quality of play is good and the management seems to care to put quality players on the field. I have in mind the research by demographers who calculate the "value of children," and who conclude that the cost is almost always greater than the expected return. Yet people do (deliberately) have children even with such a negative financial return. Attending a ballgame is expensive -- tickets, transport, parking, comestibles, souvinirs. And these days most games can be witnessed for a lot less money than it costs to actually go to the ballpark. This is one reason for the popularity of sports bars and cable subscriptions. Yet tens of millions of fans bear those costs of actually going to the ballpark. And some of us even take our adult children to games and pay for their $12 premium beers. I suggest that the fans' motivations for attending games fall into a number of categories, several of which have little relationship to the criticality of a game to their team's reaching the playoffs. I'll list some of these, not in any particular order of priority. 1. To entertain their kids or their family, buy some "peanuts and Cracker-Jack," catch some rays, "get away from it all." In short, for "recreation." 2. To participate in the public spectacle of "America's pastime." Join the crowd, their friends and neighbors in watching a ritual competition. Be part of a crowd, be sociable. 3. To see great play or players, perhaps records being made or storied heros coming to town, a pitching ace or league leading or record-making opposing player. 4. To reward or entertain clients or business colleagues. 5. To hang out with your buddies -- perhaps to get away from the family or the spouse and do a bit of carousing. 6. To slake your thirst for rivalry, to show your loyalty when a particular team comes to town to challenge your "home team," even if that team is not itself a contender or the game is not critical to the home team's record. Or, in some cases, to travel in order to show loyalty to your home team when it has an away game against a hated rival. You attend the game not just for recreation but to fight for your side against the enemy. In sum, sure we like to root for a winner. But there's plenty of reason for to choose to go to a game even to watch losing or "league average" play.

Sep 03, 2011 11:04 PM on Raising the Stakes
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 6

Great observation skills, story well told.

Aug 02, 2011 5:35 AM on The Error Face
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 0

Grandy is dandy. He did seem to be pretty unhappy in his last months with the Tigers. I'm glad to see his breakout. He and Matt Joyce are two Tigers that have done better after they left Detroit, in the latter case mainly just maturing and in the former case benefiting from really good coaching.

Jun 02, 2011 10:35 PM on Ain't it Grand(erson)?
 
Juris
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There are a lotta reasons why a batter doesn't want to widen the strike zone. By keeping it narrow, he's more likely to get a good pitch to hit IF the pitcher is trying to throw strikes.

May 28, 2011 5:06 AM on Sacrifice Walks
 
Juris
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"Be an RBI whore" could mean simply, "We've got a runner in scoring position. Don't just try to survive at the plate. If he throws you anything you can get a good swing on, hit the damn ball." The pitcher usually dictates the options. With a man on second and first base open, the pitcher is often going to be cautious. He'd rather walk a top hitter than give him anything good to hit. If it's not an intentional BB, however, an RBI whore (with his coach's encouragement) is going to try to get a swing at a pitch near the plate. He won't be simply content with a BB.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 2

Steven, you don't seem to realize that the Tribe has a hidden gem, a secret ingredient, a previously unknown known, that prior Cleveland teams did not have. What is this secret? Why it's "scientific baseball." And who is the purveyer of scientific baseball to this so-called tribe? You have forgotten about him already, apparently. But I bet you'd recognize him on sight. Keith Woolner. The Tribe's Manager of Baseball Research and Analytics. He knows more about VORP and "warp speed" than Commander Kirk and Spock. And this is likely to "transport" the Tribe to a new dimension.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

Hey Jay, this article deserves just a 4 word response. HOW ABOUT THOSE TIGERS!

Apr 25, 2011 12:12 PM on A Return to Normalcy
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

Ya know, when thinking about the Tigers I have come to the conclusion that they're perennially struggling to make AAAA players out of AAA players. Not the type of player that is going to help the team for as much as a whole season. They may have their day in the sun, and some stories to tell to their children and grandchildren -- and in the larger scheme of things a AAAA player ia marvelously talented when compared with . . . all of us fans! But once they've been given a shot, and they've found their AAA+1/2 level, their major league days are numbered.

Mar 23, 2011 6:16 PM on AL Moves
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Steve -- Growing up in L.A., I had occasion to see a lot of would be, eventually were, and has been major leaguers playing in the old PCL for the Hollywood Stars (Pittsburgh AAA affiliate) and L.A. Angels (Chicago Cubs AAA affiliate). Few were ballyhooed more than Dick Stuart, who came to the Stars after having hit (IIRC) 66 homeruns in A ball in the Western League. What we saw in Hollywood was that he certainly knew how to get UNDER the ball and he hit the highest damn flyball outs anybody ever saw at Gilmore Field. I know he went on to the majors and showed some power, no doubt helped by his "Fingers of Stone." But really he was a disappointment, and is perhaps worthy of consideration on your list.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

And 251', not ". Of course that was the era in which left-hand batter Wally Moon would slap high flyballs over the 41-foot high left field fence. He didn't hit a lot of them, but the L.A. Times came to using headlines each time referring to them as "Moon Shots."

Mar 05, 2011 1:59 PM on Duke Snider, 1926-2011
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

*sorry about the typo -- Snider, not Snyder....

Mar 05, 2011 1:56 PM on Duke Snider, 1926-2011
 
Juris
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I remember the Duke playing in the L.A. Coliseum in ca. 1958 or 1959. IIRC he was playing left field. And despite the short fence (251") the Duke made a play in which he lazily came in for a high flyball -- and dropped it, I mean it practically missed his glove. Unfortunately, this is the main impression I had of Snyder in action. Just didn't see the effort, the commitment. But perhaps, as you've noted, he was playing hurt at that time.

Mar 05, 2011 1:51 PM on Duke Snider, 1926-2011
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Nice summary. Are you related to Samantha Bee?!

Mar 05, 2011 9:01 AM on 2/28-3/4
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

I received a notice at the stroke of midnight last night that Barnes and Noble has shipped my BP2011 copy. I'm eager to get it.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

Preseason Locker Room Conversation, Sarasota FL, March 2, 2011 C: "Mine's bigger." M: "VORP's not everything, ya know. C: "Yeah but if ya got it, flaunt it, that's what I say." M: "Whatever rocks your boat I guess. I get turned on by a great slashline." C: "There ya go. But don't start bragging about your PECOTA. They effed up your comps, and you know it." M: "True enough, but being a PECOTA hero draws a lot of fans." C: "Sure. But your PECOTA makes you look overlarge -- like one of those male ballet dancers with his pants stuffed with a towel. We'll see soon enough what you've really got."

Feb 11, 2011 2:57 PM on Slash Lines
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Good comment. See my further explanation above, which is consistent with your explanation.

Feb 09, 2011 10:55 AM on They're Here!
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

So the "match" is determined by age, physical characteristics, position PLUS the (adjusted) "baseline performance" from the immediately previous 3 seasons of the given player and other players in the database. That is my understanding of the core method. How is the proximity between a player and his comparables actually calculated? I don't know the formula but the basic method is one of "nearest neighbor analysis." (See "nearest neighbor search" and "nearest neighbor analysis" in Wikipedia. Nate Silver uses a similar approach in some of his election forecasting, to take advantage of information from "neighboring" (most similar) states to help make election forecasts of particular states.)

Feb 09, 2011 10:45 AM on They're Here!
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

I should add that the comps are thus the "most comparable" of the larger subset of players from the same age cohort (in the 1950-2010 player database) who are most closely matched on a set of criteria includes information not just on performance (stat lines) but also such characteristics as position, handedness, and physical type (height and weight).

Feb 09, 2011 9:52 AM on They're Here!
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

@tb: If memory serves me correctly, the comps are always based on the player's age-cohort, so, for example, a given player's age 28 season's comps are always other players in THEIR age 28 seasons (not their prior or later careers). My inference about this is based on my understanding of how the projections are made -- by looking at the performance of the matching age-cohort of players in the database of all player-seasons from 1950 onward (adjusted in various ways).

Feb 09, 2011 9:43 AM on They're Here!
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 0

Every player is subject to a regression effect, even the best and the worst. Keep in mind that regression toward the mean works in both directions -- "unluckily bad" performance is usually followed by improved performance the following year; "luckily good" performance is usually followed by worse performance the following year. Take a look at this example from the BP archive: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1897

Feb 08, 2011 9:41 AM on They're Here!
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

If past is prologue, don't expect major fundamental improvements in the algorithms between now and the start of the season. But as Colin has already indicated, as the season approaches and lineups are set, the park adjustments are instituted, and anomalies in the data are discovered and corrected, the later PECOTAs, including especially those used in the Depth Charts and the PFM, will reflect the latest information. (That's the way it has been done for years.)

Feb 07, 2011 12:42 PM on They're Here!
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

Colin: there ya go, just as Nate did, attributing a persona to PECOTA. PECOTA "makes decisions." We look forward to what this new generation will do.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

This is excellently outstandingly wonderful. New talent, established talent. More coverage. I'm going to get so much more than I already paid for!

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Well the Marlins never made it to Charlotte -- yet. But the Democratic Party will make their national convention in Charlotte in 2012. What do the Democrats know that the Marlins -- or MLB -- don't know?

Feb 02, 2011 7:06 PM on Moving the Marlins
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 2

Another nice summary of the Tigers' seemingly always complicated situation. As for your (inadvertent) use of the term "doutful," I encourage you to locate the missing piece of the alphaet.

Dec 16, 2010 12:55 PM on Tiger Beat
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

I know you have plenty else to work on, but if you could do this kind of thing, it would be interesting to see you back-test it using, say, 2010 in-season games. Such a test, of course, would likely use the actual starting lineups from the games as opposed to the expected starting lineups -- so you should get more correct predictions from backtesting than from running a test looking forward to each game say, in the 2011 season. But it would be fascinating project.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

You know that famous like from "Casablanca" about gambling going on. Awful. Awful! But really has it occurred to y'all at BP that you could publish a morning line for every ballgame during the season, using the same type of information you're using for these playoff games? Expected runs scored, probability of a win. You might earn quite a few new subscribers if you did that.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

OHH!!! Now I see.

Oct 07, 2010 9:54 AM on LDS Day One Roundup
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

Agree completely. Some other BP alumni of note include David Cameron and Keith Law. Most writers first come to BP early in their careers, or more as an avocation (their devotion to baseball) than as a career line. I think BP can be as proud of its distinguished alumni as it is of its current lineup of writer-analysts.

Oct 02, 2010 8:24 AM on Fade To Black Album
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

No more late night emails from me reporting on some injury that I just saw on TV. I always appreciated your quick feedback and could count on your analysis. Happy trails to you, Will.

Sep 29, 2010 6:43 AM on Fade To Black Album
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Nate wrote 6 years ago that PECOTA didn't seem to "get" Ichiro. I hope you've figured out why. Here's the article: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=3497

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

It would be interesting to know how you scope out the production process now. And how much time you envision for each. Data collection. DT's of current player stats; historical player stats. Generation of baseline PECOTA numbers for the book. Does this still require STATA estimation, or is this integrated into a single large program, e.g., using R? Generation of depth-chart adjusted PECOTA numbers for spreadsheet. Requires depth charts, of course, which will be done when? Generation of charts, etc., for PECOTA cards. Question 1: In one communication last year, Dave referred to it taking days for Clay to process a full run -- but was that due to slow processor time or low capacity? Or was he having to take out his wrenches and fix the data during that stage? Question 2: What's your projected timetable for 2011 season data releases for internal use (BP201 authors) or for us consumers of the 2011 PECOTA's?

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Let history show that Christina was no doubt right about Galarraga. From tonight's near perfect game, we must conclude that he doesn't belong at all in the 5th slot.:} Seriously, I don't know if he belongs in any starting role, and beating up on the Indians doesn't prove a whole lot. But I feel sorry for that poor guy. He deserved that perfet game. And it would have meant 3 perfect games in the first third of the season. Nearly pretty damn amazing.

Jun 02, 2010 8:09 PM on Double Dealing
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

So far I think the Tigers have been a little bit lucky, because none of their starters has lit it up consistently. I haven't done the comparison but I would guess the starters have pitched fewer innings per win than most of the other ML division near-leaders. I'm not sure they have more than two effective starters even at this time (Verlander, Porcello (sort of), and, um ... Willis? Bonderman? Galarraga?). The top half of their batting order has been pretty good, especially since Boesch showed up. But Austin Jackson has shown a bit of a strain the last week or so, and will benefit from a couple of days off. And the bottom half of the lineup is execrable, well Inge has occasionally done damage but his main value is in the field. So any way they can work Guillen in to the lineup will help -- assuming he's fit and can hit.

May 17, 2010 6:57 PM on Changing their Stripes
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 2

Very interesting couple of articles, Matt. One thing I'd like to see, just for discussion's sake is a direct comparison of your MORP estimates against those under the old MORP and Fangraph's Dollar. Some summary stats for an identical list of players, and some correlational analysis. I think I understand what you're doing, including correcting for the selection bias in the old MORP, but some comparative analysis would be instructive. What if you regress your MORPS against the old ones as well as Dollar. What is the regression coefficient (slope: b), and what is the correlation coefficient (r)? Do the approaches systematically differ more at some ranges of WAR(P) than at others? Are there some marked outliers -- and if so is this due as much to the projected player performance (in Dollar vs. MORP) as to the method of valuation? Thanks a lot.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

I love this kind of data detective work. Bravo.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Fernand Braudel? What was his lifetime true average?

Apr 14, 2010 7:54 AM on Captive, O Captive!
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Bradford, I've loved your writing over on BasketballProspectus. Really glad to see you here. Terrific article.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 1

Very informative interview! And now I've added "buscĂłn" to my vocabulary.

Mar 29, 2010 9:57 AM on Mark Newman
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 3

Joe -- I would definitely favor the new (or at least newly written) over the old (or previously published). This doesn't prevent you from reworking prior articles, perhaps refreshing the context for them for new readers as well as old. I'm sure you've been thinking about different organizing principles or themes. One that might work would be "Seasons." Spring: when hope springs eternal, there are prospects, rookies, there is spring training, there are new contracts, there are projections, nobody has lost a game yet. (But maybe there's the WBC.) Summer: the game, the season, triumphs and failures, washouts and new discoveries. Fall: championships to be won and lost. Pennant races down to the wire. It ain't over til it's over. October (and sometimes November). Winter: hot stove, trades, retirements, new management, AND awards (HOF, Cy Young, etc.). I know this is simplistic but baseball is such a game of seasons that the mood and movements of the fans is vastly different over that time.

Mar 23, 2010 10:58 AM on Decisions, Decisions...
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 2

Thanks a lot, Clay. Now you need a massively parallel computer system that will allow you to run your R code in a few minutes rather than hours. We're setting one up that has 24 PC processors in a "cloud computing" network (sorry not available to outsiders). You may be able to get something that doesn't rely on just one box.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

I saw him play quite a few games, a few in person at Dodger Stadium. I can't add anything to your summary, except to say he was an exciting player to watch.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: -2

Nice, informative note in which we learn all about arb and the Nats. Thanks.

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

On 2-sport kids, even kids with dads who were in MLB may choose another sport. But I suspect having a Dad with such experience gives kid some perspective, an edge understanding what it means to be involved in any pro sport. One case that I know of is Jeff Petry, son of former Tigers pitcher Dan Petry. Jeff had to choose a couple of years ago whether to go with baseball or hockey. So now he's playing hockey (defense) for Michigan State University, but seems likely to leave after his junior year to play for the Edmonton Oilers.

Mar 16, 2010 7:34 PM on You Never Know
 
Juris
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@Joshua: another fascinating look at the process and the personal side of this. Your writing is very clear and direct -- exactly what's called for here. You're an agent -- so nobody should be surprised if you're also presenting your own credentials to your readers. In sum, don't pay too much attention to the critics here. These articles are quite golden.

Mar 16, 2010 1:25 PM on You Never Know
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

Not, of course, a book about baseball -- but instead about strategy in games.

 
Juris
(1283)
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It's also a maxim in (Nobel winner) Thomas Schelling's classic "The Strategy of Conflict."

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 0

That's the sequel.

Mar 15, 2010 10:39 AM on The Unsigned
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

I don't buy this. I think the main effort this year with PECOTA has been to translate the system to a new platform. PECOTA is very complex, probably more so than any other "systematic" forecaster that's out there. I'm going to lay out my impressions about what's been going on, reading between the lines of the reports we've received. Getting the various parts of the PECOTA system working on a new platform is very complicated. One could probably expect some differences in precision by integrating the estimates on one platform. Nate did some analysis (specifically the identification of comparable players) using a stats package and imported results from that to his Excel spreadsheets. So there could be some loss of information from using such a "disintegrated" system of equations and data management. However, contrary to the remarks by previous commenters here, there was no need to do split-half comparisons or find new data in order to determine whether the new PECOTA platform is achieving what the old PECOTA platform achieved. Instead, making sure that the new and the old are consistent with one another, using past years (e.g., 2007, 2008, 2009) and the same input data would be perfectly sufficient -- the best way to go in fact. (The purpose of this work was NOT to prove whether PECOTA did better than other forecasting systems -- but rather to get the existing PECOTA working on the new platform.) That said, as I mentioned in response to a query earlier, Nate made changes to PECOTA pretty much every year except perhaps 2009 (e.g., using GB/FB ratios, league adjustments, platoon splits, etc. -- none of which were in the original 2003 version). So replicating PECOTA estimates for earlier years could be a challenge -- requiring the programmers to REMOVE features that were in the 2009 version. That probably wouldn't be a reasonable expenditure of time. And I don't imagine that they actually tried to do this. For that practical reason I think it was perfectly reasonable to focus on first trying to replicate the 2009 Excel-generated PECOTA's on the new platform, and if that replication proved successful (as Dave's and Colin's entries suggest it was), then seeing whether the "2009 PECOTA" algorithm on the new platform worked well retroactively on the 2007 and 2008 estimates. Leaving aside the peculiar problems with the PFM -- which may not be integral to evaluating PECOTA (or any other systematic projections), then once Clay and others were convinced that their translated code on the new platform closely matched those that Nate obtained in 2009 and did AT LEAST as well for 2008 and 2007 (when Nate's formulas may have been different from what they were in 2009) they could address the PFM issues. These, unfortunately, proved to be more complicated than was anticipated. And introducing some changes to the system, such as in the multiyear forecasts, added further complications to producing the PECOTA cards and getting the PFM to work right. In addition, as Clay has noted here, unlike the PECOTA's generated in December (and publised in the annual book), the later ones get refined by taking more information into account about lineup changes, batting order, and playing time -- reflected in the depth charts. Users of PECOTA expect such information to be taken into account as it comes available up til opening day; and in its depth charts BP also tries to anticipate playing time for the entire season (including players not on the 25-man ML roster on opening day). BP subscribers know from experience that the post-January PECOTAs are therefore subject to change as the depth charts and batting orders are refined. Like everyone else -- including Clay, Dave, and the BP team -- I wish this would have been resolved before now. But I am happy to see them working through these issues as well as that checks of the system (which are at the top of this article) are favorable.

Mar 15, 2010 10:26 AM on PECOTA Update
 
Juris
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AFAIK there were some changes made in PECOTA every year, with the possible exception of 2009, e.g., in one year Nate added GB/FB information, in another he added platoon splits, in another league differences, etc.

Mar 13, 2010 3:16 AM on PECOTA Update
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

To illustrate why a relatively flat aging curve might not be wrong in many cases, but also why it is complicated to make multiyear projections, take a look at this article by Nate Silver: http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=7189.

Mar 12, 2010 10:09 PM on PECOTA Update
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 7

Not sure this is a valid criticism. I think the main thing BP has been trying to do with PECOTA this year is just to change the underlying technology from Excel to some other form of data base, while turning all of Nate's complicated macros into lines of code written in a totally different format. So it would be logical for them to see whether they come up with the 2009 PECOTAS that Nate developed, but this time using their new code. If they accurately "replicated" the 2009 PECOTAS using the new code, then they could feel reasonably confident that their translation from Excel to their new DB and code was a good one. We've seen some evidence, however, they they were also changing the formulas -- not just trying to replicate Nate's original code in a different system. For example, in this article Dave mentioned using a different way of making 10 year forecasts than Nate did -- which, however, led to a host of unanticipated problems. He also talks about sometimes using the weighted mean PECOTAs and sometimes the 50th percentile. In an earlier article Clay also talked about using a different, larger base of historical player data for purposes of identifying similar players. With so many moving parts, it's really hard to know what went wrong. But again, their looking at 2009 is a good thing to do.

Mar 12, 2010 9:40 PM on PECOTA Update
 
Juris
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Comment rating: -1

The RS-RA for the Marlins in 2009 is historical fact, and has nothing to do with projections. The translation of RS-RS into a Pythag estimate of wins dates to Bill James, with subsequent improvements by Davenport (Pythanenport) and then Patriot (in Pythagenpat). The formula is widely accepted by sabermetricians. The Marlins got 5 more wins than their RS-RA-based estimate. The conventional interpretation of such an outcome is "luck." Unless you can come up with an alternative explanation (such as the one that Russell considered as a possibility), you have a problem. But that analysis has nothing at all to do with PECOTA or anybody else's projections of how the Marlins would do in 2009. As for the RS-RA that the Marlins will have in 2010, well you can question the PECOTA-based projection for 2010 if you wish. And certainly there's a margin of error in those projections, as there is for any other projection. Perhaps the most constructive way for you to proceed is to see what the other forecasters have come up with for 2010 -- unless you want to do your own projections, which I am sure the world would welcome if they're an improvement over the currently available alternatives.

 
Juris
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"The Unsigned." I see a Clint Eastwood script in your future.

Mar 11, 2010 8:35 AM on The Unsigned
 
Juris
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I think he already did provide some important info, namely the RS-RA totals from last year and the BABIP from last year. These are both evidence that the Marlins were lucky to win as many games as they did. A better question is whether they improved themselves in ways that will produce more wins. As of now, they project to allow more runs than they score. That, too, suggests a downturn compared to last year.

 
Juris
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I think BP authors are capable of multitasking. A few of them are working hard on fixing PECOTA, but as you should be able to see many of them are analyzing baseball in its many aspects.

 
Juris
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We old-timers also remember that after Dodger Stadium first opened, it was discovered that they had installed hardly any drinking fountains. (This was a big news story at the time.) Although they later put some water fountains in, this history is very consistent with your comment here: don't give anything away that you can compel people to pay for.

Mar 05, 2010 7:38 PM on LA Story
 
Juris
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Shawn: the last time I was at Dodger stadium, on a very hot summer day, it seems that everybody in my family thought it was just fine to keep buying premium beers at $12 a pop. I spent a lot more money on beer than on tickets.

Mar 04, 2010 9:45 PM on LA Story
 
Juris
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I've watched a ton of games with Polanco playing 2nd. The stats may or may not show it, but he's lost a step in the last year or two. I have hard time believing he can play 3rd base at anything like the level he played 2nd with the Tigers. I wish him well but I would take the under on any forecast of his performance.

Mar 04, 2010 9:33 PM on NL East
 
Juris
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I love the quote about the contact lenses. Thank you.

Mar 04, 2010 9:24 PM on Braves-Pirates, 3/3
 
Juris
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Comment rating: -1

You should understand that the PECOTAs in the book are (a) the earliest version of several, and (b) not adjusted for lineups/depth charts, or, more generally, for later information about expected playing time at the major league level. The later versions of the PECOTA spreadsheets contain corrections for trades, lineup changes, and expected playing times. The PFM figures (and later spreadsheets) as well as the PECOTA cards thus take more information into account than the first release that is basically what's published in the book. This has always been the case: multiple iterations of the PECOTA estimates right up to opening day.

Mar 03, 2010 10:00 AM on The New Math
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 5

Good, informative article. Thanks! I imagine a lot of your activity has to do with the parents/families of potential signees or athletes you've already signed. I hope in a future column you might deal with that aspect -- helicopter parents.

Mar 02, 2010 8:56 AM on Crisis Management
 
Juris
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No. See his bio on Wikipedia.

Mar 01, 2010 2:39 PM on Planning the Miracle
 
Juris
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Excellent news. BP stats needed a full-time manager, and Clay is the man for that job.

Mar 01, 2010 1:15 PM on Planning the Miracle
 
Juris
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@tb: Given that PECOTA has an 8 year history, it was not unreasonable for the release to have been labeled a beta -- to the extent that the BP staff regarded the changes as largely technical rather than substantive. Unfortunately, there were more problems than they realized with the first release (which was amplified by the fact that it wasn't even labeled as a beta). But the use of the "beta" term was suggested here, from many of BP's readers. Now you can't turn around and beat BP over the head with a baseball bat because they followed our advice.

Mar 01, 2010 10:28 AM on The New Math
 
Juris
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@Dave: never mind. I'm not sure I saw the Index when I first checked out the cards last night. But I see it's there now.

Feb 27, 2010 2:03 PM on The Owners' Rep Speaks
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

No. In original design there were in principle between 20 and 50 comps per player. And to accomplish that they sometimes needed to relax criteria or collapse categories for individuals who were relatively "incomparable." One thing that seems to be missing from the cards is the overall Similarity Index, which was one way to assess whether the given individual had a good-fitting set of comps. @Dave: What happned to the Similarity Index or score?

Feb 27, 2010 1:59 PM on The Owners' Rep Speaks
 
Juris
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Jay: A lot of nit-picking on the name here but none of the criticisms is substantive that I see. TAV is as good as any alternative.

Feb 26, 2010 7:18 PM on Call it True Average
 
Juris
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I know this is 100% OT but I can't help but suggest that somebody needs to provide an "organizational health" index for the quality of the general management of each organization.... For sure, it might make some enemies for BP, but an assessment of GM team building strategies, trades and callups (roster changes), financial management, etc. -- perhaps in part as an extension of the TA -- would be interesting. Each area of performance could be "graded."

Feb 26, 2010 8:41 AM on Pittsburgh Pirates
 
Juris
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@Matt: Thanks for a strong and particular instructive article.

 
Juris
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That would require an extreme and extremely unlikely fluke. It's not as if there are just a few players in the comparable list. BABIP influence would likely balance out in the set of comparables taken together.

Feb 24, 2010 7:47 PM on An Experiment
 
Juris
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How much further UP can Mauer go? It's relative to his recent achievements.

Feb 24, 2010 7:20 AM on An Experiment
 
Juris
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Definitely this is good news. I think there has been some confusion the last few weeks about how much the difficulties come from the underlying PECOTA estimation process (e.g., using a broader set of comparables), how much from possible issues in getting the new code to run PECOTA's translated from Nate Silver's Excel files, and how much from the PFM. But when you guys get to a point where you're willing to say "this is it," we're going to be a lot happier. Besides, we have something very new to look forward to in the reformatted PECOTA cards. Thanks!

Feb 23, 2010 9:11 PM on An Experiment
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

Unfiltered posts are in the archive, but not indexed. In fact there's a lot that's in the archive that's not indexed in the search engine, because for some reason BP deletes the links to "former authors" from the search engine. They should include ALL articles in the search. I wrote to the new "editor" to point this problem out some months ago and got not even an acknowedgment in return. As far as publishing in Unfiltered vs. the main article space is concerned, I think a lot of non-subscribers read Unfiltered, and this wasn't a bad way to get the new result -- the correction -- out. But publishing a full article in future would be a good idea, laying out some of the comparisons again, including some that were made only in response to comments to the earlier articles.

Feb 23, 2010 10:50 AM on Barry's World
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 4

I agree with the importance of peer review. In the case of new metrics, or improvements on old ones, it's a good idea to post the articles "outside the pay wall" so as to maximize the transparency and feedback that you get -- including commentary on other websites that may involve non-subscribers to BP. Dan Fox's rollout of his baserunning metric was a good precedent to follow (though IIRC he didn't make every aspect of it open, and some of it was published simultaneousl on his own website, while the articles remained beyind the paywall on BP). I hope the development and discussion of the new defensive metric will also remain "open" on the BP site. There's a standard that is sometimes insisted upon in academia, and this is that researchers make "replication data sets" available to readers and critics. Making available the actual data set (not just a reference to the sources) upon which the metric was devised, or the hypothesis was tested, will open up the process even more.

Feb 23, 2010 10:39 AM on Barry's World
 
Juris
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Even you don't use a survival model as such, or aren't interested in a multistate model, you might use some form of regression model specified along these lines -- with the aim of isolating the effect of aging on career length, as well as age at first entry to the major leagues, controlling for performance and other factors: (1) You could model as your depvar the total number of career person months in the major leagues (TOTMLMOS) as a function of age at first callup, performance, position, phenotypical factors (body type, speed, handedness a la PECOTA), injury, interruptions (due to injury or demotions or war service, etc.), and performance (e.g., using Warp, or perhaps offensive value and defensive value variables separately). (2) Or you can model expected future major league months (FUTMLMOS), as a function of prior cumulative MLmos, age, performance (cumulative lifetime Warp, as above), injury, and interruptions. The functional forms of the predictors can take various forms, e.g., a nonlinear form for the age variable or you can test for whether there are critical breaks in the effect of age on future MLMOS, controlling for cumulative performance or the previous year’s performance or previous 3 year baseline.

 
Juris
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Another calculus with Damon, I think, was solving the lead-off hitter problem; and further adding a left-handed bat to the line-up. That could have a marginally positive effect on pitcher matchups, but I have no clue how to measure this effect.

Feb 22, 2010 2:18 PM on Junior Circuit Jumbling
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

I'm beginning to wonder whether modeling age directly is the most informative approach to understanding baseball careers. Specifically, why is AGE a dependent variable in your analysis rather than an INDPENDENT one? Suppose you set out to model the major league career (ML) as your DEPVAR (CareerMonths--CarMos), and then used Age as a factor in predicting CarMos, along with other predictors including performance indicators, mos. lost to injury, (for pitchers) total batters faced in career, position, teams played for, and some global factors (era played in, league played in, DH rule in place, etc.). It could also take certain "phenotypical" characteristics into account, including handedness, BMI, speed (analogous to the PECOTA model). I think this approach might be more consistent with how teams make decisions to promote/demote, renew contracts, and so forth. They may take age into consideration as a factor in their decisions, but age is just one of many factors that would thus contribute to the expected CarMos of a player, controlling for performance, injuries, and other Indepvars. This approach would also lend itself to applying an explicit survival model to careers. And it could even be extended to a multistate model, in which the states of a career begin from the first year a player is drafted or signed, and then changes "states" from unemployed to employed or back again, from minor league to major league or back again, to retired or died. Such multistate modeling is commonly used for certain kinds of changes in work status or health status, for example.

 
Juris
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You're almost in luck, Gluck. New PECOTA spreadsheet and new depth charts are up (2/20). I imagine more is coming.

Feb 21, 2010 2:49 PM on June 3-9
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

They showed that SIERA did better at predicting next-year performance than did any of the competing ERA-estimators (including ERA itself). What more do you want? Well of course we can watch the future, 2010 and beyond, but I think they did a good job demonstrating SIERA's promise.

Feb 19, 2010 2:07 PM on June 3-9
 
Juris
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The authors did present multiyear comfirming evidence about SIERA, in particular in their response to comments.

Feb 19, 2010 6:10 AM on June 3-9
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 3

My favorite glossary term begins with a malapropism: "QERA, or QuikERA, was described most verbosely by Nate Silver in this article...." Verbosely means wordy. Does the writer of this definition intend to say that Nate was wordy when he defined QERA?

Feb 18, 2010 1:54 PM on June 3-9
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 2

SIERA could have been explained and "tested" in two or three articles. The authors decided to roll it out in grandiose style (including grandiloquent writing). In the end, I'm convinced it's an improvement over FIP, as much for its logic as for its predictive ability. But rolling it out as if it were the greatest thing since sliced bread was over the top.

Feb 18, 2010 12:29 PM on June 3-9
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 3

What what what? People aren't gambling on baseball? I'm not talking about players gambling. You wouldn't literally be promoting gambling. But you would be helping fans stay in the game and the season by applying your own technology. Elsewhere some has suggested putting Win Probability in-game updates into the ap. Both of these would be really interesting to a lot of fans, whethey they are gamblers or not.

Feb 18, 2010 10:12 AM on June 3-9
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 0

Will, I made a suggestion that could be a part of an iPhone ap: BP Morningline. List all the day's games, SP's and "odds." List standings and the post-season odds (based on current odds report in your stats section). Then BP Unfiltered. Then Christina's TA. Then daily/weekly featured article.

Feb 18, 2010 9:53 AM on June 3-9
 
Juris
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Last line should have been "bettor" interest. Here's a BP product: BP Morning Line. Put out odds, just like Vegas does. On game outcomes, on how many innings the SP will go, on who will win a particular series, how many HR's a particular player will hit this month, this season, etc. If your metrics are so good, use them for this purpose. BP already puts out playoff odds -- as does ESPN. Put them in a front-page space every day, not buried in your Statistics section.

Feb 18, 2010 8:29 AM on June 3-9
 
Juris
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@Will: I think there's a reasonable analogy to the informational challenge of baseball fans and the average stock investor. Read the journals, blogs, and other media devoted to the stock market, investment strategies in general. There's a lot of confusing jargon. There's a mass of data out there "for free." But the average investor just wants an actionable answer to a few questions: Where should they put their money? What's the likely payoff for the alternatives? What's the comparative risk? To get those answers, how much about finance and economics do they need to know? I do know from personal experience that they get a whole lot of gobbledegook from the financial media, from people trying to sell things like e-trade, tdameritrade, etc, etc. And perhaps what the average investor learns in the end is that sooner or later he gets the short end of the stick and pays through the nose for bad advice, though occasionally benefits from riding a rising tide in the market. A long way of saying that I am sympathetic to your thought that what sabermetrics can do for baseball is provide better analysis for those involved in the game itself (players, managers, GM's, etc.), but in the end the 99.4% of fan interest is to enjoy the game, understanding the rules and strategies fairly well but not to a T. However, there is another group, much smaller than 99.4%, but still much more sizeable than the readership of the sabermetric sites like BP, Fangraphs, and Hardball Times. Sure, fantasy baseball players. But a much broader audience is sports bettors. Both the fantasy players and bettors are looking for an edge. And if they come to understand that this edge -- in predicting the outcomes of games, series, and seasons; or of player performance (harder to bet on) (baseball isn't jai alai) -- can be gotten from a more sophisticated analysis of data on performance -- then they will buy certain advanced metrics. I imagine they already do. But when you consider how much is laid down in office pools on March Madness, the SuperBowl, the World Series, there's potentially a much larger audience for metrics than just the narrow readership of sabermetric websites. So a question might be: how to draw on that fan interest -- the better interest -- to promote your product?

Feb 18, 2010 8:15 AM on June 3-9
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 2

Don't apologize too quickly! One hallmark of this paper is the high quality of the writing -- for a technical paper it is superbly well written. You are wearing your higher education well, Russell.

 
Juris
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Hooray. BP 2010 arrived today! I ordered it on January 6 from B&N. It was shipped on February 12.

Feb 16, 2010 11:11 AM on Interleague Time
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

This is sort of what I had in mind in a previous comment. In my own line of work, I see people expiring after 3 years, then after 7 years, because of the way probationary contracts and long-term contracts are written. And this system plays into when there are peaks or valleys in attrition rates. (To be honest, it's the way academic appointments typically go, with a probationary 3 year appointment, then consideration for tenure at 6-7 years. Those tend to be attrition points. Fortunately for baseball, there is no such thing as a tenure system! Still it's amazing sometimes to watch some players hang on for many years past peak productivity -- both in academia and baseball.)

 
Juris
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@Russell: this is an outstandingly compelling analysis. The only thing that I'm still not quite sure you've explained is whether the twin peaks is necessarily the product of a heterogeneous sample, or whether there is some external factor that induces the peaks. One possibility is the contract, free agency cycle -- or the tendency to write contracts in certain standard units. A high performance player may get a new multiyear (4-5 year) contract. A "survivor" may get a 1 or 2 year contract renewal. And so the outstanding player who has a strong quick start is, in effect, "guaranteed" a multiyear renewal. Another way to look at this also involves the idea of heterogeneity. In mortality models, we imagine an underlying (unmeasured) trait that distinguishes people by their innate "frailty." Those who are "frail" are going to get beaten down by events -- influenza or other diseases or injuries -- while those who are "strong" will survive these threats. To link my previous paragraph with this one, I would propose that the frail (injury prone, game missers) also are the ones who get one-year renewal contracts while the strong get multi-year contracts. There are some frailty models in actuarial and demographic (mortality) research that might be applicable here.

 
Juris
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Shmooville: I think the folks at BP have told you that their primary focus is on getting the core number right, and then generating the PECOTA cards, and with that you'll get Upside and Beta since they are standard features.

Feb 15, 2010 2:53 PM on June 4-5, 2002
 
Juris
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Thank you! That's a relief.

Feb 15, 2010 11:04 AM on June 4-5, 2002
 
Juris
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I saw Howard when he came up with the Dodgers. He couldn't move a lot but it's a wonder he didn't kill somebody with the balls he hit.

Feb 15, 2010 11:02 AM on Frank Howard
 
Juris
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If anybody has the book already, can they please look up the forecasts for these pitchers so we can see if the problem is baked into the book?

Feb 15, 2010 10:00 AM on June 4-5, 2002
 
Juris
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Thank you. Also note this is showing up in the weighted means spreadsheet itself, so it's not just a PFM problem.

Feb 15, 2010 9:57 AM on June 4-5, 2002
 
Juris
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Right -- tomorrow for that reason.

Feb 15, 2010 9:45 AM on Interleague Time
 
Juris
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My copy should arrive today -- based on tracker provided by B&N. Hooray!

Feb 15, 2010 9:03 AM on Interleague Time
 
Juris
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To elaborate just a bit. PECOTA was ridiculed last year for its wildly positive projection for Matt Wieters. That projection, however, relied completely on the translation of minor league performance stats -- which includes assessing the difficulty of competition in the minor league in question, among other things (not just how the player's stats looked by themseves.) Maybe Clay decided to apply a more conservative adjustment for minor league performance this year, so that the MLE that gets fed into PECOTA would come up as less promising than it would have last year. This is all just speculation on my part, of course, but it's important to acknowledge the sensitivity of PECOTA projections to the quality of the input data (both the players on the ML rosters who are being projected and the database of all player-seasons used to determine the most similar players or comparables that are essential for making PECOTA projections). I imagine that when Nate handed off PECOTA last Spring, it took a while to get all the parts working in the new software/hardware environment. I imagine that to test the new routines they first "replicated" last year's projections to see if they got the same projections that Nate got last year. If they did this, then it's unlikely that the inards of PECOTA are producing the problem that's been reported. Then again, based on other analyses we're seeing (as reported by Tango and others), last year's PECOTA's seemed fluky compared with previous years. So maybe simply replicating 2009 projections was itself a bit problematic. Until Clay explains this further we just don't know.

Feb 15, 2010 8:54 AM on June 4-5, 2002
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

Add to what you say the possibility that the translation of minor league stats into major league equivalents (MLE's) is an important step in the process. If you decide to downweight those MLE's for some reason, you drag down the expected performance of young ML players in particular -- since the projected 2010 (and beyond) performance on those on the ML roster is based on how their "comps" performed (or are estimated to have performed in the ML if they had been in the ML).

Feb 15, 2010 8:35 AM on June 4-5, 2002
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 2

Could be. But as I comment below, some of PECOTA's greatest misses in the past seem to have come from mistakes in the translation of minor league or international records, and in at least one year from the park factor that was used for a particular team (Montreal or Toronto -- can't recall). PECOTA's accuracy depends not just on the formula used (which hasn't changed a whole lot since 2003) but also on the adjustments to the input data for current and historical players (the latter being critical because PECOTA relies on choosing "comparables" in order to make projections).

Feb 14, 2010 11:49 AM on June 4-5, 2002
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

Thanks, Clay. IIRC, some years ago when Nate compared PECOTA projections with those of other systems, he found that it was especially on the pitcher projections that PECOTA outperformed the other systems. For this "historical" reason, I am skeptical about the idea that PECOTA may be systematically underestimating pither performance -- at least among the relatively more active pitchers (in terms of IP) that all the major projection systems tracked and thus served as the set of comparison cases. But your detective work, and the possibility of two types of selection bias: (a) unsuccessful pithers get benched or demoted more quickly; and (b) inclusion of more neophytes makes their projectsions a larger share of the overall PECOTA pitchers, but at the same time also makes PECOTA as a whole more sensitive to the DT's and MLE's. It's my impression that over the years PECOTA's largest "misses" at individual and team level has come not from the internal mechanism of the PECOTA system but from two external soureces: the MLE's sometimes being too optimistic or pessimistic (perhaps for player records from some minor leagues or international play); and park factors being wierd for some reason.

Feb 14, 2010 10:45 AM on June 4-5, 2002
 
Juris
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The "presumably" in your final sentence could be tested explicitly by looking at the "next year" predictions for these pitchers. While the article compares the average "same year" predictions for the different metrics, I'm not it shows us that Siera is significantly better in predicting the "next year" for these pitchers, given the previous year or "base years" (typically this involves a weighted average of previous three years).

Feb 12, 2010 2:50 PM on Part 5
 
Juris
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I can answer this, because the answer was given on a previous thread. The answer is No. At least not this year. In my opinion, it would be a little difficult to implement everything from Siera in PECOTA because PECOTA's system relies on matching a given player's baseline performance (last three years) with the set of all pitchers of the same age who played in the majors since 1946. But there are probably some insights to be gained in refiguring the baseline performance ERA (using SIERA instead) for the player of interest. Just my opinion.

Feb 11, 2010 11:36 AM on Part 4
 
Juris
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On that SIERA number I asked about, is it really ZERO point zero seven nine? Maybe it's ONE point zero seven nine?

Feb 11, 2010 11:13 AM on Part 4
 
Juris
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Agreed. This test of consistency is important. Thank you.

Feb 11, 2010 10:46 AM on Part 4
 
Juris
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To echo philly's last question, I'd like to see how consistently the different metrics work. Not just summed over 2003-8 or 2003-9 -- but for each same-year (single year) 2003-2009, and for each next-year 2003-2004 through 2008-2009. IOW, if I really want to rely in a particular indicator for 2010, is there any reason, for example, to prefer SIERA to FIP -- or do they each beat the other as often as not?

Feb 11, 2010 10:17 AM on Part 4
 
Juris
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This is a pretty good vindication of FIP as a same-year ERA estimator, and of SIERA as a next-year ERA estimator. (There must be a typo here: SIERA 0.079.) I would like to see a correlation matrix of each against all.

Feb 11, 2010 10:11 AM on Part 4
 
Juris
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--sorry for the typos....

Feb 11, 2010 7:50 AM on Part 3
 
Juris
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This may be an "irrelevant variable" from a statistical standpoint. It's theoretically (or logically) aproprite. But the coefficient isn't statistically significant. Howevever, it's inclusion doesn't distort the estimated effects of the other regression coefficients. In that case, it's often reasonable to do exactly what you're doing. I recall a nice old discussion of this in an econometrics book by Rao and Miller. The main "cost" of including this irrelevant variable is parsimony. While you are arguing for logical completeness (and keeping open the possibility that the term will matter when you extend the data set), it just makes your equation a bit busier than it needs to be.

Feb 11, 2010 7:49 AM on Part 3
 
Juris
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Trivium: Eldred's 1087 batters-faced year was 1993, not 1992.

Feb 10, 2010 6:18 PM on AL Moves
 
Juris
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Yes, PECOTA does have a FB/GB adjustment for pitchers. http://baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?mode=viewstat&stat=38

Feb 10, 2010 11:45 AM on Part 2
 
Juris
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It may be worth a brief mention that QERA was applied by Nate without any park adjustments. That's perhaps one reason why he regarded it as a short-hand toy.

Feb 10, 2010 11:31 AM on Part 3
 
Juris
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Why does the little box "definition" of QERA say that the "formula was described most verbosely by Nate Silver...."? Was this little popup intended as a criticism? Verbose means "wordy." Silver's description wasn't wordy. A simple edit will do here: "... formula was first described by Nate Silver...".

Feb 10, 2010 11:20 AM on Part 3
 
Juris
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Your last para is especially valuable, because it reminds us that these metrics can't cover every single contingency, and that while there is value in adding complexity to the measure there's also value in keeping it from being "overfitted" to every single contingency. In the end, the "residuals" such as those you mention will be instructive, but shouldn't necessarily lead to making the indicator itself even more complex.

Feb 09, 2010 9:00 PM on Part 2
 
Juris
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True about James, but he was genuinely impressed by McCracken's finding, whicn influenced James' own subsequent work. See the citations in the Wikipedia article about Voros McCracken.

Feb 09, 2010 8:38 PM on Part 2
 
Juris
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@Matt and Eric: interesting work. I think some of us would like to see a simple correlation matrix of SIERA against the other ERA estimators including FIP, QERA and ERA itself (!) based on cross-sectional (single season) data. Also a correlation matrix of the same estimators over time, i.e., interseasonal correlations for each indicator with itself and with the other estimators, e.g., 2008 and 2009 will do. Finally, some information about the correlations (intra- and interseasonal) for pitchers with different numbers of innings pitched (let's just say high (150+), medium (75-149), and low (<75) (or some such breakdown). If you can't put all of this into the article, perhaps you could offer it as a downloadable spreadsheet or table? Thanks for considering this.

Feb 08, 2010 12:55 PM on Part 1
 
Juris
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I really enjoyed this interview. Face's point about how they count "saves" now is important. It's just so much easier to get one now than it was then. But they don't count "wins" any different now, I don't think. That 18-1 season for a reliever remains the most amazing W-L record in baseball history, in my opinion.

Feb 08, 2010 6:58 AM on Elroy Face
 
Juris
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Excellent idea, but they'll never come to my town.

Feb 06, 2010 1:08 AM on 2002's Best Bargains
 
Juris
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In that case, with respect to what I suggested above about labeling of different versions, I would still stick with what I said above. Any PECOTA that you publish -- including weighted means spreadsheet -- prior to adjusting lineups and playing times should be Beta 1.0 or Beta 2.0. The first effort to build the lineups with playing times for purposes the Depth Charts and Player Forecast Manager should be based on V3.0 of PECOTA. The "Final Preseason PECOTA" spreadsheet, with Depth Charts and PFM as of opening day (3/31) should be labeled V4.0 and also "Final Preseason."

Jan 31, 2010 6:55 PM on May 30-June 1, 2002
 
Juris
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Publish it a few days later, but still call it Beta until it's been vetted by your readers. There never was a PECOTA released that didn't require some corrections. And given that historically you always had between 2 and 5 "preseason" PECOTA's it would help to have better nomenclature. For example, (1) "PECOTA 2010 Beta 1.0" for the very first release, then (2) "PECOTA 2010 Beta 2.0" for second release after feedback but before lineups/playing time are set. Then (3) PECOTA2010 V3 with Playing Time." Then (4) "PECOTA OPENING DAY" (the one you publish on 3/31). I've also noticed that some non-BP folks like to grab the very first PECOTAs, including the team projections, and then "stick" you with those when making comparisons across projection systems. I have always looked for what I've labelled "PECOTA OPENING DAY" because that's the Full Monty PECOTAS with your lineups, playing times, and other fixes.

Jan 31, 2010 10:50 AM on May 30-June 1, 2002
 
Juris
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I think a better way to put your last sentence is that "while it's possible to quantify defense there's a certain irreducible amount of noise or uncertainty in the data."

 
Juris
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You may be missing something important. This group of users/readers is so intensely interested in the projections, and so knowledgeable about what looks right or wrong about just about every player, that BP's posting of what's in essence a beta version is just fine. We all give the data a scan that no single creator of the data can do. This is a productive process, actually. Post the beta, get user feedback, correct the data, and move on. What was the delay? 1 day? Not bad at all.

Jan 29, 2010 7:51 PM on Wet Horsehide
 
Juris
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Thanks, Eric. How many of the messy things may already be baked into the book? Or are these mainly on things that are only in the on-line PECOTA?

Jan 29, 2010 3:15 PM on Wet Horsehide
 
Juris
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(1) Arms & Legs report = The AL's. (2) Arms, Legs, and Groins report = The ALGies. (3) Muscles, Bones, and Tendons report: the MBT's. (4) Aches and Pains report: the A&P's.

Jan 28, 2010 9:41 PM on Padre Problems
 
Juris
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This is great news. Knowing what all went into the PECOTA's it's very hard to believe it was all tied up in Excel macros. Is there any fundamental change in how the PECOTA's are calculated this year compared to 2009? That is, how the components are weighted, the similarity scores calculated, and so forth?

Jan 28, 2010 1:31 PM on May 28-29, 2002
 
Juris
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Good eye, Brian. Could he be related to BP founder Gary Huckabay?

Jan 25, 2010 2:58 PM on Analyzing RoboPitcher
 
Juris
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If you want to predict attendance in a given year, you should indeed take into account both this year's and last year's wins, and this year's and last year's championships (division, league, world). That is you get lagged effects of the previous years owing in part to the fact that season ticket sales in a given year are affected a lot by the previous year's performance.

 
Juris
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I know it's probably a minor point, but I'm just saying that if you can get the same otal tactual value (wins) for less overhead (indirect) cost while keeping another roster spot open by hiring one 4-win player rather than 2 2-win players you might get more wins/$ that way (when your $ represents both direct costs (salary and fringe benefits) and indirect costs (healthcare, training, travel, equipment, administration, legal, insurance, etc.).

 
Juris
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BTW/ what is the average maintenance cost of a player over a season? How much is spent on travel and lodging, meals, equipment and uniforms, medical care, training, and other administrative overhead including insurance?

 
Juris
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I think it could. What Matt is calling a market inefficiency could also be understood in some other way. For one, a buyer (GM) is, after all, only making a forecast of the player's performance. would conjecture that the greater the GM's forecast on the wins produced by a given player, the greater the tendency to let hope come into play. Given that any forecast has a probability distribution around it, when you move into acquiring a star player you may tend to envision next year's performance as coming at the high end of that distribution (perhaps by picking out the player's "best" performances in recent years rather than making a more conservative PECOTA-like projection). If you want to call such an "optimistic" projection inefficient, that's fine. But it still can lead empirically to "fairly valuing" slightly above replacement players and overvaluing the better players. Also keep in mind that roster spots are also scarce (limit to 25), and there are transaction and maintenance costs for players (health care, uniforms and equipment, travel, etc.); so if you can get the same number of wins from one player as you get from two, then your "costs" per win may be reduced by hiring one 4-win player rather than two 2-win players. There can also be efficiencies when you get a "utility" 2-win player rathern than two one-win one-position players.

 
Juris
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Matt: interesting article, but I have a question. If the effect of your predictor variable (say X) is specificied as a quadratic function (b0 + b1(X1) + b2(X^2), you do allow for the possible curvilinearity (parabolic) but without necessarily imposing empirically. This is true because if in fact the empirical relationship turns out to be strictly linear, then the coefficient b2 would be small and not statistically significant. In that case the linear coefficient (b1) would capture the effect of X on salary. I agree with Nate that it may be preferable to use the quadratic function as a theoretically more compelling function in this case that would not in fact cause any serious distortion in your MORP estimates if it turns out empirically to be a linear relationship. The cost in degrees in freedom is also negligible. My analogy is to the price that I paid per meal as a function of the number of stars that a restaurant gets in the Michelin guide. My experience in that case told me that while I might pay $50 for a meal in a 1-star restaurant, and $100 in a 2-star restaurant, it would cost me $200 in a three-star restaurant. The marginal pric of the additional star was a nonlinear function. (This based on a "45 days in Europe" tour some years ago. Your costs may be different!).

 
Juris
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Good setup to the problem, Matt. Will the "new MORP" be on this year's PECOTA cards, or is this still more of a work in progress?

 
Juris
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Christina, I agree completely with your interpretation of the Valverde signing -- it's a signal that the Tigers still think they're competitive. Also keep in mind that there is a tendency just to assume that the commitment to Ordonez, Willis, Bonderman, Inge and carry no value at all. Yes, they may be bad "values" relative to the contracts but there may be some real production.

Jan 16, 2010 12:02 PM on AL Catsup
 
Juris
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I gave $200 to Doctors without Borders. They're an efficient (low overhead) and on-the-spot organization. I also gave $50 to Partners in Health, which is also established in Haiti.

Jan 14, 2010 4:57 PM on A Not-So-Foul Ball
 
Juris
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It's not specific to curvilinear regression -- but is general to linear, categorical, logistic, multilevel or whatever type of regression you may be doing. Fundamentally, what AC is doing is descriptive -- estimating the functional relationship between age and (average) performance over a certain age range. If he had been estimating a survival function, based on all players who were on ML rosters at age 24, he'd still be constrained to those who are 24.0 at the start of the survival function. If he were really interested in what happens from earlier ages, say age 20 or 21, there are data out there to do that. He wouldn't need to use data from 24-35 year-olds. JC's not engaging in forecasting or projecting into the future or retrojecting into the past or to older or younger ages. He's describing a funcitonal relationship that he observes between two end points. (And as some have noted in the comments here, he's not necessarily describing the performance of all players who were in the ML at any time from age 24 to 35, but only a highly selected subset who survived the entire interval.) Sure, we know from typical survival analysis, for example, that the probability that somebody will reach age 60 is a lot higher if they've already reached age 50 than if they're still only age 20. But that's been established based on descriptive analysis of a much larger data set of those who were alive at age 20 and then survived or died between age 20 and 60, not one based only those who survived to age 50. True, at age 60 I may feel my chances of surviving to 80 are pretty good; but if I looked at a life-table based on observation of actual populations past and present, I'd be able to estimate that the odds are just about 50-50, not just "pretty good." As for your forecasts or conjectures or your concern about flesh-eating diseases, sure make them. Use good sense. Draw on experience. But that's not what JC is purporting to do when he's describing a relationship based on actual observations (data) within a specific age range. He's doing descriptive statistics about behavior within a specific age range. And the standard practice in that type of analysis not to extrapolate -- especially in this case since data beyond the 24-35 boundary actually exist.

 
Juris
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Here's what one of my old methods books tells me, in a section about extrapolation in curvilinear regression: "Extrapolation beyond the original range of X values is hazardous and should be avoided. In other words, one should not engage in predictions for values of the independent variable that are outside the range used in the study." (cf. Pedhauzer). My original comment above did not question whether the extrapolation is reasonable or likely to give a wrong answer in this case, but instead whether it's standard practice. It's not.

 
Juris
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In this connection, my impression is that PECOTA didn't impose a particular aging curve in its projections, and that this was one of it's possible advantages. By matching each player to the historical database of players of the same age with similar baseline performances (after adjustment for era and park effects), the same position, and similar phenotypical characteristics (handedness and bodytype), PECOTA identified a "forward looking" most likely performance path by relying on the "future" performance of the set of most similar players ("comparables") from the historical database. If I understand this correctly, PECOTA allowed for an unlimited variety of aging curves, and the probability distributions of the projections themselves were asymmetrical. While from the article that Colin cites it would appear that "on average" Nate accepted the idea of an age 26-27 average peak, the method of projections used by PECOTA didn't depend on whether or when there was such a peak. The historical performance of the comparables selected from the database of all player-seasons since 1946 provided a wide range of "futures" for making projections for each player. This method also implicitly allowed for the likelihood of injuries that beset the "comparables." (I don't know what it did if the comparables retired. Hence, I don't know how susceptible PECOTA might be to the type of selection effect that JC is being questioned about.) I think PECOTA's occasional larger mistakes had to do with two factors: inappropriate MLE's based on minor league data, and inappropriate park factors. These types of error were not intrinsic to the "similar players" method but rather to how the performance data were massaged. Thus, while I think this hunt for the right shape of the aging curve is worthwhile as an exercise, I'm not sure that looking for the "average" is as important as looking for the "variance" or different patterns of aging -- not just skill by skill, but for players of different "type" as PECOTA characterized them (by position, handedness, body type, speed).

 
Juris
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There's a good tool for calculating such confidence intervals, from Gary King's website: "CLARIFY: Software for Interpreting and Presenting Statistical Results by Michael Tomz, Jason Wittenberg, and Gary King; version: 2.1, 1/5/2003. This is a set of easy-to-use Stata macros that implement the techniques described in Gary King, Michael Tomz, and Jason Wittenberg's "Making the Most of Statistical Analyses: Improving Interpretation and Presentation". To install Clarify, type "net from http://gking.harvard.edu/clarify" at the Stata command line. The documentation [ HTML | PDF ] explains how to do this. We also provide a zip archive for users who want to install Clarify on a computer that is not connected to the internet. Winner of the Okidata Best Research Software Award. (All questions, bugs, requests: Clarify Listserv [Un-]Subscribe or Search archives). Also try -ssc install qsim- to install a wrapper, donated by Fred Wolfe, to automate Clarify's simulation of dummy variables." See http://gking.harvard.edu/stats.shtml

 
Juris
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It's still extrapolation to a tenth of a point for a value that's outside the range of your observations. Sure, it's likely in reality to be somewhere around there (since you're barely outside the range of your data) but as a general rule this isn't accepted practice. For all intents and purposes, your intercept is at 24.0 years of age. Anything less than 24.0 is out of bounds.

 
Juris
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Such extrapolation outide the range of the sample would be challenged by readers of any good journal.

 
Juris
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The damndest shaggy dog story I've read on BP! (Excellent work.)

Jan 09, 2010 9:02 AM on First-Base Horrors
 
Juris
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Now there's a test that could be conducted, maybe using Jay Jaffe's JAWS to predict which ballot a person got in on. I suspect that JAWS better predicts whether someone got in on 1st ballot vs. all later ballots than in predicting which ballot after the 1st ballot someone got in.

 
Juris
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@eighteen: To illustrate your first point, think how much different one more win would have meant to the Tigers, or one more loss to the Twins. Perhaps more than one more win for the Yankees, because getting over the hump and into the playoffs is such a significant factor in this year's revenue and next year's revenue.

Jan 07, 2010 1:43 PM on Low Risk, Any Reward?
 
Juris
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Last time I visited Cooperstown, I didn't see any distinction based on whether they were first ballot, second ballot, and so on. If you go to the website list, all the inductees are equal, differing only by year of induction. So it is, ultimately, a binary outcome -- you get in, you don't. Yes, some get in by the Veteran's Committee (and in summarizing a particular year's new entrants, the HOF website notes the number elected by the VC). But I don't think ultimately there's an asterisk on anybody. So perhaps short-term interest in how quickly, or on what ballot, somebody gets in really doesn't matter that much (even if it's fodder for hot-stove chatter). That all said said, Kniker's call for patience is reasonable. It ain't over til it's over. Even though it may take a looooong time.

 
Juris
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Eric: in reworking the replacement level application, have you considered the FAT (freely available talent) concept? http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4891

Jan 07, 2010 10:22 AM on Low Risk, Any Reward?
 
Juris
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Greetings and welcome to you, Jeff!

 
Juris
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@Jay: Soft and cuddly is good. But the distinction that I would make is illustrated by a comparison of "Baseball Between the Numbers" and "The Book." These two books came out at almost the same time. Guess which one had huge sales? IMO, this wasn't just because of the publisher (BBTN had Basic Books; "The Book" was self-published, a mistake from a marketing perspective). Rather it was because "The Book" took a formalized, logically interconnected, textbooky approach to presenting a system for evaluating baseball decision-making and performance; while BBTN identified a set of analytic "problems" that a far wider range of readers might find compelling. Each of the chapters of BBTN illustrated what sabermetrics could do to answer these key questions, but without reading at all like a textook. Now I should say that I enjoyed both of these books a lot, and read them from one cover to the next. But I had to read "The Book" like a textbook, starting at the beginning and progressing slowly to the later chapters; while I could read the chapters in BBTN in almost any order and still learn a whole lot about baseball analysis. I think what a lot of readers of "BP The Website" want is to be able to dabble, and learn and enjoy what they read; they aren't interested in reading scientific research or a textbook. They want the BBTN-type of articles, not "The Book." But many of the BP-com writers -- especially those with a strong statistical bent -- want to write to a standard that's akin to peer review. In fact, they think of their audience as not only including BP-com readers but also extending to the larger sabermetric-producer community, including statistically inclined college professor-types who aren't going to look kindly on an author taking shortcuts or making dubious assumptions. To satisfy such a "peer review oriented" community, they need to be aware of and cite research that has already been done, they need to be finicky about the details of their methods and the quality of their data, and they need to try to add value to the existing "science" -- not just write things that the average subscriber to BP.com will find interesting. I think the challenge to the stats-geek writers on BP.com is thus to find a way to satisfy both types of reader. The best stats-based writing on BP and other sabermetric sites is going to do just this. It has done so in the past, and several examples have been cited by me and others already in this comment section. Sometimes it means deliberately skipping over details (or offering the details as a downloaded appendix -- perhaps in spreadsheets, or formulas, or R code -- for the interested reader). But what it always should mean is that the goal of the author is to write a narrative -- to tell a story that readers will find novel and compelling, while advancing or using the science in order to do that.

 
Juris
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At this point, pb, you're just piling on. The message has been received here, and it will be up to the writers and their editors to make appropriate adjustments. I think Pizza Cutter gets the argument about the desirable relation between form/style and content. Earlier, I commended to him -- and to others -- the way that Dan Fox and Nate Silver presented a series of articles on some fairly technical subjects. Both of those authors understood the need for a compelling setup or problem statement, good execution (with graphics when possible), and applications (tests and illustrations), and conclusions and implications. Look at Nate's series of 3 or 4 articles on "Elo" and his 4 or 5 on media markets ("moving the Marlins"). Look at Dan's series on baserunning metrics and on Pitch f/x. To anyone seeking to write compelling sabermetric analysis for a "mixed" audience (BP's subscribers, for example), figure out what was compelling about the topics, the methods, the narrative, and the writing.

 
Juris
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I for one like an "academic journal" lite approach, one in which you fairly consider plausible alternative hypotheses or explanations, and in which you fairly consider the advantages and disadvantages of certain data. Be didactic without being pedantic. Frankly, I've seen this approach work well with only a couple of the BP authors. Take a good read of Dan Fox's series of articles about baserunning (read them in order) or about pitch f/x. We always learned something about how to think from his articles. The same is true of many of Nate Silver's articles. Take a look, for example, at his series of articles about media markets (leading up to the idea of where the Marlins might move). Again, read them in order. There are several other good examples in his writing. Both of these authors were excellent researchers and teachers, and both write very well.

 
Juris
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I don't buy this argument. It's sort of like saying "We already have many car models, why invent another one?" Well I'm sure my present car partakes 98% of the "carness" of the past, but the new 2% is fabulous. And it's the competition between car makers that brought this option to market. You can't ever settle for existing technology because frankly life itself changes, new information (and data and methods) comes available, new problems present themselves to engineer around.

 
Juris
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I'm with Colin and Eric here. As a social scientist who works very hard to account for an additional 5% of the variance in my explanatory models, I am very symathetic to the need for constant improvement in our measuring instruments as well as our statistical models. BP should always do its best to set the standard -- or at least meet existing industry standards -- in the sabermetrics industry. The new crew of writer-analysts is probably the largest and strongest addition to the BP staff in any year since its founding. I look forward to following both the process and the product of their work.

 
Juris
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I would surmise that QERA (QuikERA) came to be more widely used (at least on BP) than Nate ever intended. It's very name spoke of stat that Nate could calculate on the back of an envelope, so to speak (i.e., which in modern times means in 1 minute on a spreadsheet). So it's very appropriate that that stat be modernized, taking additional information into account and being more sensitive to context, even if it loses its back-of-an-envelope character. (For example, QERA made no park adjustments -- those didn't fit on the envelope.) The proof of SIERA, however, will be how it stacks up against other ERA estimators in common use, not QERA which is an easy target, so to speak.

 
Juris
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Christina's TA is the, um, quippiest and sassiest writing about baseball current event anywhere on the web. I'm really glad to see TA continuing and Christina being free at last from daily editorial responsibilities.

 
Juris
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Hey Joe, BP should retire your number (17) and then bring you back for an occasional "old-timers game." Seriously, you're still a young man (compared to me!), and I've got a feeling you're going to catch on with another team and we'll be able to enjoy your writing in another venue for many years to come.

 
Juris
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Yeah, he used to be a Scoresheet expert for BaseballHQ.

Dec 30, 2009 4:12 PM on All-Stars
 
Juris
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Don't be so sure about Silver.

Dec 28, 2009 5:27 PM on Rally Killers
 
Juris
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I think the Tigers could have received a 1. If they'd somehow managed to win 1 more critical game in the last week of the season, they'd have gone to the playoffs. Then with the added revenue and excitement they might have had a very different calculus in their off-season transactions.

Dec 28, 2009 10:14 AM on 2009 in Numbers
 
Juris
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This is another way to test whether there's a "Catcher's ERA" -- a hypothesis that has not found support in previous research by Woolner, among others. Brief summary here in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catcher%27s_ERA

Dec 20, 2009 3:18 PM on Will You Be My Mentor?
 
Juris
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In this connection, the length of the NBA season makes it hard to hype up the intensity of the crowd for many of the games, but the one impression I have when comparing games in recent years from those in the old days -- say at MSG, where I used to attend Knicks games in the heyday of Earl Monroe, Walt Frazier, et al -- is that everything is ear-splittingly loud these days, and court-side and time-outs have become a circus of dances and music. The announcer who in the old days would just matter-of-factly call out the name of the player who just scored ("Bradley," "deBusschere") now screams in heavily miked-up excitement, while players thump their chests, etc. Baseball isn't nearly so intense in tha way. Again my question is, is there something other than familiarity with the stadium/field that accounts for differences in HFA -- that perhaps enhances or deadens the effect? In particular, the stakes involved in a given game or the immediate and active engagement of the crowd.

Dec 16, 2009 3:04 PM on Home-Field Advantage
 
Juris
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I wonder if the difference in HFA between MLB and other sports isn't partly due to the number of games played, and further whether some of the "randomness" of baseball game predictions isn't also due to the same factor. Illustration in point: I took a young Brazilian kid to a baseball game a year or so ago, and he kept asking me questions like, "Why is everybody so quiet?" And "Why isn't the hitter running hard to first base?" I think part of the answer is that the guys play a whole lot of games every year, and both the fans and the players realize that it's a long season and they conserve their psychic and physical energy. But in a sport in which there are relative few matches, each game is more important players spend time preparing for each opponent and fans build up expectations (and tickets are harder to get) for the next game. In that situation, the potential "fan" part of the HFA may come more into play than in a typical regular-season baseball game. The above is a predicate for asking: Does the HFA differ between "important" games and "regular games," such as between playoff and regular season games, or if you apply some other definition of the importance of a given game -- e.g., the strength of the rivalry, standings, even-ness of the talent or records of the two teams, date in the season, or some other criterion? I would hypothesize that when games are critical and the fans in particular become very intense (one simple operational indicator: is it a sellout?), the crowd matters.

Dec 16, 2009 1:57 PM on Home-Field Advantage
 
Juris
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Sorry for typo -- I meant to write MiFi device -- mifi as in mine and fine.

Dec 12, 2009 7:06 AM on May 6-12
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

Christina: If the BP folks would spring for one of those new fangled WiFi devices, six of you could be working simultaneously using your very own communications link. I've got one (via Verizon), and it works really well. Just be aware that you can't leave it on constantly for 48 hours without running out of juice and your 5 GB per month. Great for taking on the road.

Dec 12, 2009 7:04 AM on May 6-12
 
Juris
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I watched a lot of Tigers games this year. Grandy did seem to have a less accurate throwing arm this year than last, perhaps because he was overthrowing on occasion. Also late in the season he made a couple of really strange plays with balls that were hit straight toward him but well over his head, in which he just seemed not to pick up the ball very well on balls he would have reached if he had his normal jump. So, I would have his eyes checked. These were extremely uncharacteristic play for Granderson to make. Also this past year, in contrast to the previous year, while he showed the same basic power stroke as before he didn't seem to run the bases as aggressively. Still, I'd love to have him on my team for what I think we'll see as increased power hitting as he ages.

Dec 08, 2009 9:58 PM on Three-Way Fun
 
Juris
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This is a nice analysis. However a general comment is in order about all of these kinds of calculations -- which I can express in a single word: uncertainty. Given the uncertainty about some of the assumptions (e.g., the probability that a given player will accept arbitration), instead of assuming a given figure (e.g., .25), you should put a bracket around the probability (say .20 to .30), and do the same with other critical variables. Then estimate whether the inequality that you have works under a range of assumptions about those probabilities -- the uncertainty -- including applying a range of expected WARP outcomes, reflecting the uncertainty about performance in future years. Maybe, under the range of assumptions, the inequality "solves" as positive only 51% of the time, 0 or negative 49% of the time. In that case, you can turn to looking at how risk averse a given GM might be, but you shouldn't judge the decision as irrational. Maybe large market teams can afford to be less risk averse. Maybe the position of hte player (starting pitcher, closer, catcher, etc.) makes teams more or less willing to take a chance. Maybe the previous year's W-L record affects the willingness to take risk. And so forth.

 
Juris
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How much to they pay?

 
Juris
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Hey Jay, don't be modest. This outcome may only appear to be the result of a set of specific events, plays, players, bounces, etc. As you wrote in NY Mag in late August, the Yankees' victory was already there in the "Secret Sauce." They had more of it than anybody else. http://nymag.com/guides/fallpreview/2009/sports/58501/

 
Juris
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Hey, the Secret Sauce sure worked for 2009! http://nymag.com/guides/fallpreview/2009/sports/58501/

Nov 05, 2009 2:35 PM on Secret Sauce
 
Juris
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Jay Jaffe had this all figured out more than 2 months ago. The Yankees had an abundance of Secret Sauce. Congratulations, Jay! http://nymag.com/guides/fallpreview/2009/sports/58501/

Nov 05, 2009 2:31 PM on SoDo Mojo, To Go
 
Juris
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I think he was still living on the West Coast then, so put it out of mind.

Oct 01, 2009 1:08 PM on Bitter Endings
 
Juris
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A bit too much of a "homer" there, Joe. You will be permitted to start rooting for the Yankees after the team and pitching matchups are settled.

Oct 01, 2009 12:33 PM on Bitter Endings
 
Juris
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The Tigers brought Pavano down to earth tonight. He looked tired, he pitched tired.

Sep 30, 2009 7:06 PM on Selection Bias
 
Juris
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We could use more studies like this.

Sep 21, 2009 5:53 AM on Limits
 
Juris
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As a Tigers fan, I like boring. Seriously, what they've done in the last couple of weeks that they hardly did all season is to hang on and come back in games in which they either lost the lead or had never led. So we're getting quite a lot of drama in the games, even as the Tigers have stretched their lead to 7 games.

Sep 07, 2009 5:48 AM on A Race Without Kicks?
 
Juris
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I think they should also rename the team "The San Andreas Faults." I agree with mmasnick -- that's not a bad location at all. And a lot of southbayers would more readily commute to SJ than to Oakland to see a game.

Sep 07, 2009 5:08 AM on Setting the Roster
 
Juris
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He's a Jacques of all trades.

 
Juris
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It's not so much a question of trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube. Rather, at this stage, it's that from a legal standpoint the government cannot use the "poisoned information" from their previous illegal data seizure to take any legal action against any player who was not one of the Balco 10.

 
Juris
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The newsletter never did much for me. Just one more of too many emails during the day.

 
Juris
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Interesting analysis. The biggest hole that I see is that it doesn't consider runners on base. Especially for free swingers, seeing one or two runners in scoring position and a 3-0 count may increase his temptation to swing away. OTOH, he may be more reluctant to swing if there were no runners on or only a runner on 1B (in that case because taking a walk puts a runner into scoring position). In addition, swinging away may depend on what inning it is, how many outs there are, what the score is. So, although you have a relatively small number of cases to deal with, you should do the full analysis of the potential risks and payoffs of swinging away, not just using a general wOBA calculation but one that takes the base-out situation into account as well as the inniner and score.

Aug 06, 2009 3:40 AM on Hack or Hold Up?
 
Juris
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I think Nate was aware that there were some types of players that PECOTA seemed ill-fit for. Or maybe certain individual players. Reading Ken's piece here brought to mind Nate's article from "several years ago": "The Unique Ichiro": http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=3497.

Aug 05, 2009 5:27 PM on PECOTA's Wild Pitches
 
Juris
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Comment rating: -1

Yeah, hs should have ehecked the PECOTAs before he did that.

 
Juris
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It would be much better if that blue bolded title read "Projected Remaining Playing Time in Season". This would appropriately imply from now til end of season. Also, unless this is continuously updated (i.e., on daily basis), it would be appropriate to label it "Projected Playing Time from {{Date}} to End of Season."

Jul 24, 2009 9:10 PM on Players
 
Juris
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Comment rating: -1

I watched Bonderman's start. While he was trying to pitch within himself, he grooved a lot of 88 mph fastballs over the heart of the plate. He never hit 90. One thing he may have going for him is that even though he seems to have been around for a long time he's still just 26 years old! But he may be not just physically impaired; by how he's something of a head case and a heart case. Are his head and heart in it to remake himself into an effective pitcher? I wish him the best, but I have my doubts.

Jun 13, 2009 9:07 AM on Not as Bad as You Think
 
Juris
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For one thing, he's the #1 at 3B and never called on to be a catcher any more. At least that's what the Tigers' teevee people say.

 
Juris
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Yeah, the Tigers are unsettled in a variety of ways, but on the whole their pitching has been good good while both Willis and Bonderman try to, in effect, "rehab" on the job. Their defense has also been solid. Their hitting is lagging recently. So why not hope for a spark from Thames (though his upside potential is at best going to be episodically good, not consistently good). But guess what, they lead the Central Division by 4 games. So they can let this play out a bit longer.

 
Juris
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Tiger Stadium will now join a long and distinguished list of buildings in "The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit": http://www.detroityes.com/home.htm

Jun 08, 2009 8:16 PM on Getting Positive
 
Juris
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Anybody want to do the Israel Baseball League? Please....?

 
Juris
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There was a press release but more information was posted on BDD's site than on BP. I found this link on Wikipedia's article on BP. http://baseballdigestdaily.com/blogs/2008/10/14/prospectus-entertainment-ventures-owner-of-baseball-prospectus-announces-acquisition-of-baseball-digest-daily-bdd/

May 12, 2009 11:26 AM on Game Two
 
Juris
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I suspect this is all part of a process that will work itself out over time. BDD does have its own audience and advertising. The big acquisition for BP was in hiring Hamrahi as CFO, and BDD kind of came along for the ride. JMO.

May 12, 2009 8:30 AM on Game Two
 
Juris
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In his earlier articles on this, including in BBTN, that's exactly what Nate argued: that the scrubs and marginal players had the greatest incentive to use PED's, and indeed the data that were available showed that such players predominated in the group who were caught and penalized.

May 08, 2009 4:38 PM on The Steroids Game
 
Juris
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I think y'all need to go back to Baseball Between the Numbers, to see why it's difficult to use statistics to prove the effects of PED's on performance. A basic problem is that there's huge season-to-season variation in performance for individual players, i.e., underlying noise in the data, difficulty determining true ability from manifest performance in a given year. For the same reason, without reliable data on usage there's no way to create a PED vs. non-PED statistical baseline for doing projections. This isn't a PECOTA problem, it's a general limitation of all statistical projection systems. Sure, we know of some cases where we have strong reason to expect use of PED's (read: the perps have confessed, or tests have been run). But the baseline variation in performance is still very large, even without PEDs.

May 08, 2009 7:20 AM on The Steroids Game
 
Juris
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The best teams generally only win about 60% of the time against the league. In that the leagues are fairly even from top to bottom. Consider the language of baseball vs. football. In football, if a bad team beats the best team even in a single game, it's an "upset." In baseball, if a bad team beats the best team, it's a "long season."

Apr 20, 2009 8:20 AM on We are Elo?
 
Juris
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Good move for the Tigers, though they eat a ton of money in Sheff's salary if it's all over for him. To get Josh Anderson, Tigers again gave away a "pitching future." Atlanta has profited from such trades with the Tigers in the past. But this does at least clear the air in Tigerland.

Mar 31, 2009 8:45 AM on AL MVP
 
Juris
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Definitely so. Nate has discussed this in past articles but I haven't tried to dig for them, but maybe you can find in the archive.

Mar 27, 2009 8:50 AM on Stress Tests
 
Juris
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One problem with doing this is that the method relies on a type of analysis that takes several characteristics into account simultaneously. In order to show the scenarios that Nate showed, he had to hold a lot of things constant that actually aren't constant. (Note how he had to make some realistic adjustment for weight because weight and height are correlated with one another and do not vary independently. And so do weight and age.)

Mar 26, 2009 3:05 PM on Stress Tests
 
Juris
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Come to think of it, both BP and 538.com could use a cartoonist. Any volunteers out there?

Mar 25, 2009 11:42 AM on Spring 2009
 
Juris
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You're right, of course, and that's why in BP's book "Baseball Between the Numbers" Nate Silver reconceptualized the metric to take into consideration how close a team was to the "sweet spot" in which spending a relatively few more bucks might produce a very substantial payoff by putting a team over the hump and into the playoffs.

Mar 10, 2009 6:46 PM on The Magic 15 Puzzle
 
Juris
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Comment rating: -1

What are you waiting for? Change your pw.

Mar 01, 2009 9:53 PM on Quality of Opposition
 
Juris
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And a followup article about the PFM here: http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4847

Feb 28, 2009 8:12 PM on Quality of Opposition
 
Juris
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This primer on the PFM from three years ago may be interesting to you as a starter. http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4793

Feb 28, 2009 7:36 PM on Quality of Opposition
 
Juris
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I think it would be reasonable for PECOTA to use \"trimmed means\" to reduce the occurrence of this seeming anomaly. A trimmed mean is when you shave off all cases at the top and bottom end of the distribution (say top 2.5% and bottom 2.5%).

 
Juris
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Comment rating: 2

Thanks very much, Clay. BTW/ have you calculated replacement level value for bathroom floor tiles?

Feb 28, 2009 11:52 AM on Quality of Opposition
 
Juris
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Comment rating: -1

I could be rong but if you look at the number in parenthesis on th left side of each post, you can get some idea of how long the person has been a BP subscriber. Take a look at mine -- I subscribed from the first year subs were required, so I have a low number. The first complaining poster on this thread has the number 47,270. Probably first subscribed last month or something like that. NOT a long-term subscriber.

Feb 26, 2009 9:20 PM on Record Watch
 
Juris
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Correct, the current year\'s comments have never been part of the PECOTA forecast. If you notice, they usually don\'t even refer to PECOTA stats. In past years, they\'re just added onto the PECOTA page of the website as an extra, mainly for historical background. I don\'t agree with the complaining here about those summaries. Yes they would be nice to have, but no they\'re not actually part of \"PECOTA.\"

Feb 25, 2009 3:21 PM on No-No
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

Here\'s Nate\'s assessent from 2005 about the prospects of Pujols and ARod overtaking Aaron. Kind of interesting to reflect back on the assumptions then. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4044

Feb 23, 2009 2:45 PM on Chasing Bonds
 
Juris
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(a) Nate, didn\'t you do a career HR projection for A-Rod a few years ago (was it on BP, ESPN, or SI)? Can you compare the actual HR producdtion to your projection then? (b) Also here\'s an interesting PECOTA exercise, which I suggested on last week\'s article by Steve Goldman, in response to a reader who wanted to look at \"average\" players: Here\'s another exercise that could be done that might yield similar results to what you\'re interested in: which player at each position shows up most frequently as a PECOTA comparable? Presumably those individual should be the most \"typical\" or average at their positions historically (in Nate\'s PECOTA database). Please consider this. Give us a \'Comparable All Stars, 2009\' (maybe top 3 to 5 at each position?).\" Presumably there would be a bit of a longevity bias -- longer-career \"average players\" have a greater chance to become comparable all-stars. But mediocre longevity deserves recognition!!!

Feb 23, 2009 10:20 AM on Chasing Bonds
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

That may be tricky to do since career lengths differ so much and PECOTA will pick up comparables from some players who had very short careers. However here\'s another exercise that could be done that might yield similar results to what you\'re interested in: which player at each position shows up most frequenly as a PECOTA comparable? Presumably those individual should be the most \"typical\" or average at their positions. Hey Nate -- could you give us just this article -- using the 2009 comparables? Give us a \"Comparable All Stars, 2009\" (maybe top 3 to 5 at each position?).

 
Juris
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Steve, your recounting the end of Stan Musial\'s career brings to my old mind the image of his well recognized narrow stance at the plate -- one of the icononic ones that we Little Leaguers emulated. Did any 40 or 41-year-olds in the pre-PED era ever have a better season than Musial\'s penultimate one? Ooops, just answered my own question: Teddy Ballgame carved out .316/.451/.645 in his final season at age 41 (113 games).

 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 2

THANK YOU. Does this mean you\'re also going to post an update to the weighted means spreadsheets?

Feb 18, 2009 12:45 PM on One Mystery Solved
 
Juris
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Getting the PECOTA cards up involves a lot of programming support by BP staff; my guess is Nate mainly supplies the input data, and then it takes a bit of work to implement.

Feb 17, 2009 8:54 AM on Reader Mail
 
Juris
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Comment rating: -1

Yeah also check out Wikipedia...

Feb 16, 2009 8:20 AM on Reader Mail
 
Juris
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Leyland is right to stay on an even keel. He\'s been a very successful manager with nothing to prove about himself. He\'s old. He\'s got enough money. But he still wants to win.

Feb 15, 2009 9:07 AM on Getting Warmer
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

Franken\'s projected 6-year WARP has been challenged by Norm Coleman, and so Nate can\'t certify it until the MN Supreme Court resolves the issue.

Feb 14, 2009 1:29 PM on Reader Mail
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 1

Regarding Matt Joyce, I would bet he\'s going to be a serious contributor to the Rays. He could also be a serious contributor to the Tigers. But the most major failing of the Tigers the last two years has been pitching. So they made a judicious trade that\'s likely to provide value to both teams\' 2009 prospects. That\'s what trades are all about. As a Tigers fan I\'m still going to be following Joyce and wish him the best, in part because he brought the Tigers a good pitcher!

 
Juris
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I\'m pretty sure PECOTA does not use post-season. But it does (since last year, at least) weight the second-half of the previous season a bit more heavily than the first half (something like 55-45 IIRC).

Feb 10, 2009 1:00 PM on August 12-14, 2001
 
Juris
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Bryan -- are you back with BP? Great to see you posting again.

Feb 05, 2009 1:33 PM on Let's Get Efficient!
 
Juris
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Right, there will be updated spreadsheets in due course, as well as the cards. And these will gradually pick up both team changes and roster changes more generally. And the later PECOTAs will also reflect adjustments based on updated depth charts, will still aren\'t up. Still, it\'s a good idea to call out omissions or errors, to help that correction and updating process.

Jan 31, 2009 2:21 PM on August 9-11, 2001
 
Juris
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That\'s about right -- mid-February -- based on previous years.

Jan 21, 2009 7:06 PM on Andy Pratt
 
Juris
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Olbermann is one of the smartest and wisest sports analysts around. It just happens that he also does political analysis and reporting. That\'s not a crime. I love his sardonic sense of humor, and I look forward to reading his chapter in BP2009.

Jan 21, 2009 7:01 PM on Andy Pratt
 
Juris
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Absolutely. Why not keep Pecota 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 cards \"up\"? That way current subscribers could check out the old \"cards\". Of course haveing the spreadsheets would also be good. I\'m sure you can work out the file space allocation.

Jan 06, 2009 7:19 PM on July 23-30
 
Juris
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At least the above is my understanding of the process. Also I should have said #1 and #2 are intertwined, and they require (a) data acquisition from multiple sources (e.g., for career stats on each player, some of whom were not in the beginning-of-season database), (b) data adjustment (e.g., for park effects in current season -- which may change midseason if player has been traded -- and for minor league/international league stats for career baseline data), and (c) judgments about the future (e.g., playing time, lineup position) before a new set of PECOTA values can be calculated. Then the results for individual pitchers and hitters must be normed against league totals, so that, say, runs allowed matches runs scored for the league. Maybe more of this could be automated than is true now, but I don\'t think it can ever just be a plug-in-the-data and run operation; plus the methodology changes a bit each season, such as last year when platoon effects were taken into account, and this year when presumably new defensive stats and a new WARP calculus is being introduced.

Jan 02, 2009 1:43 PM on July 23-30
 
Juris
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Assumption #1 is not true. (Assumption #2 is true.) PECOTA relies on a multistep procedure involving multiple programs, and in any case some massaging of the input data is needed including matching the individual cases (players) (since after all the individuals change, not just their performance; finding minor league or international league stats and adjusting them to major league equivalencies when needed; making positional and lineup order adjustments if appropriate; estimating likely playing time for the remainder of the season. So it\'s not easy to automate this.

Jan 02, 2009 1:22 PM on July 23-30
 
Juris
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I also liked Dan Fox\'s work a lot. One of the things that I valued was how he would develop new measures step by step, trial and error, and update them based on what he learned or as he incorporated more information, including from reader feedback. I\'m referring to his baserunning metric as well to the Pitch f/x analysis. BTW/ BP has at least three former numbers guys working for major league clubs (Fox, Woolner, and Click). How come you haven\'t run any Q&A\'s with them about how sabermetrics works in action?

Jan 01, 2009 10:19 PM on July 23-30
 
Juris
(1283)
Comment rating: 4

A plug for more \"BP history.\" (1) open up your archive to the public -- to nonsubscribers. Put a one-year \"moving window\" on your articles (as some professional journals do). Any article published more than 12 months ago should be \"free.\" Today, for example, anything published through December 2007 should be available. (2) Archive PECOTA, so that if someone wants to get, say, the 2005 PECOTA\'s (the spreadsheets, if not the \"cards\"), they would be available. Again, perhaps, open those up to nonsubscribers. (3) Consider having a feature \"From Our Archive\" in which you call up a past articl to your readers. And then open it up to comentary.

Jan 01, 2009 7:59 AM on July 23-30
 
Juris
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Comment rating: 0

Carlos: another fine interview. Now that BP has a comments section, I am also going to call to the attention of BP readers what I feel is one of the finest pieces of baseball biography (via a Q&A) that I\'ve ever seen. This is your interview with Juan Marichal from a few years ago (April 5 2005): http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=3905 Thank you for that article and all the others you\'ve contributed to BP over the years.

Dec 15, 2008 4:16 PM on Rico Carty
 
Juris
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Will, does \"being credentialed\" mean you have a better chance of being admitted to the press box? I know they give priority to the daily working press, but I suppose it matters to you as well if you\'re requesting press box access.

 
Juris
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I seriously doubt that had anything to do with it. The process of admitting blogs (and blog authors) to the BBWAA began a year ago. An BP was a logical addition to the club based on the growing breadth and depth of its coverage of all things baseball, increasing doing more \"reporting\" while maintaining analysis at its core. (But of course we\'re all happy Nate went \"out on a limb\" with the Rays prediction -- and moreoer that he was right.)

 
Juris
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Jay, how do Clay\'s changes play into PECOTA estimates -- since they, too, rely on a replacement level concept and defense in calculating valuation?

 
Juris
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Excellent news for BP and for baeball fans. Just don\'t get stodgy and exclusionary. Keep your edginess.

 
Juris
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The date of publication is listed as February 23rd on Amazon.com.

Dec 05, 2008 6:11 PM on Second Thoughts
 
Juris
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Watching this game was something like watching \"Groundhog Day.\" I kept falling asleep and then waking up with the same teams playing in the same ballpark but another run or two was scored, the pitchers had changed, and a different team was leading. Fortunately, I woke up just in time to see the last run score, and I quickly drifted off to sleep for the last time.

Oct 12, 2008 1:55 PM on Notes on ALCS Game Two
 
Juris
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Comment rating: -1

Nice summary. What else can I say but \"Go Dodgers!!!\"?

Oct 12, 2008 10:05 AM on NLCS Game Three
 
Juris
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Christina, I don\'t know about copyright issues, but would it be possible for BP to create a \"New York Sun\" archive on line here that we could access? Many of those articles have a strong analytic element and aren\'t bound by time.

 
Juris
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One other feature that would be helpful would be to have a \"preview\" stage for comments. That way we would be able double check our posts before actually submitting.

 
Juris
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I, too, was wondering what happened to that chapter, since it had been mentioned on BP by, I think, Steve Goldman -- and on that basis I also ordered a copy from Amazon. Then I figured, well this book will be re-released around this time of year with the new chapter in it. But nope. There\'s some fine fine stuff in that book. Too bad this chapter isn\'t in it.