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Tommy Bennett
162 comments | 4 total rating | 0.02 average rating
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Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: -

This is terrific. Thanks.

May 26, 2016 3:02 PM on Let Ballparks Get Old
 
Tommy Bennett
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Comment rating: 0

Yes.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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http://www.murraychass.com/?p=2597

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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That's the point!

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Can I ask why?

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Yep, I'll be around when I can. And thanks for the kind words.

Jan 09, 2012 4:50 PM on What's to Come in 2012
 
Tommy Bennett
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A great one today, Sam.

Jan 09, 2012 7:21 AM on The Battered Batter
 
Tommy Bennett
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I don't disagree with anything you say, although I might tone down the excitement a little bit. But my reliance on the Top 11 list was only to demonstrate that they weren't big prospects, and that fact explains their anonymity.

Aug 10, 2011 8:01 AM on Anonymastros
 
Tommy Bennett
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Note also that our data vary slightly from that provided on other sites due to various differences in methodology.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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It was a big mistake.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I definitely was not surprised to see Cain's name on the list.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

For what it's worth, Weaver isn't an especially high velocity guy, though Fernandez threw pretty hard. It's funny that more of the tall guys are on the low IP list (Rauch, Young) though. I don't have a good explanation for it other than that they're all fly ball pitchers.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Tim Drew is the most forgotten member of the family.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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So is trading someone any number of years too early, right? It's a matter of degree.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Guilty as charged.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

While I agree it's bizarre, keep in mind it's his line only for the last week.

May 30, 2011 1:34 PM on AL: The Cream Rises
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Hard to predict the number exactly, but they sold 9,835 tickets on Friday after the call-up was announced. Total Friday attendance was 30,690.

May 07, 2011 10:55 AM on Get it While it's Hot
 
Tommy Bennett
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American League Hit List was posted yesterday.

May 03, 2011 8:11 AM on Where Were You
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Going from "El Buster" to "Hey Little Brother" made me smile.

May 03, 2011 8:10 AM on Where Were You
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Prince references in article titles!

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

And, as always, thanks for your good eye.

Apr 26, 2011 1:02 PM on Of Phils and Fish
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I admit I'm amused by this error despite the fact that I regret it.

Apr 26, 2011 1:02 PM on Of Phils and Fish
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Fair enough. I didn't mean that it would be the same two or three teams. I chose n=1000000 because it is a very large number.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Well I thought it was amusing.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

This is fixed now, and we are looking into what caused it. Thanks for your vigilance.

Apr 18, 2011 12:02 PM on Cleveland Rocks
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Had a quick technical difficulty. Thanks for alerting us.

Apr 18, 2011 7:16 AM on Cleveland Rocks
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Ah, good catch. Thanks.

Apr 15, 2011 6:59 AM on Relying on Relievers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

*persistent

Mar 29, 2011 12:04 PM on AL Pre-Season Hit List
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I think your reply relies on some slippage between common usages of the term "bias." In a statistical sense, we can talk about bias of some estimator as a persistant gap between the measured value and the predicted value. Certainly we would want to avoid this, but there would be no institutional reason to think we weren't doing our best to avoid it. But it sounds like (at times, and in your comparison to the #6org meme) you mean the more common sense of "bias," which is the idea that somehow your view of the world or your preferences will exert influence on your estimation. Here the suggestion might be that we like the A's so we (consciously or not) impart a boost that isn't warranted. Except I'm not sure how that second story would play out. PECOTA doesn't do anything like that, the depth charts processes are just attempts to estimate which players will get the most playing time, and the rest is just an algorithm. We certainly didn't choose to use Pythag or PECOTA because they favor the A's, so I'm a little confused by your comment.

Mar 29, 2011 12:03 PM on AL Pre-Season Hit List
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I think it's important to distinguish between those ranking systems that rely on pure judgment and discretion and those that restrict themselves to a consistent methodology. The rankings themselves are determined not by Jay or myself but by PECOTA and the depth chart processes (and later in the season, Pythag).

Mar 29, 2011 7:54 AM on AL Pre-Season Hit List
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Third, but with only one win separating three teams.

Mar 28, 2011 11:31 AM on AL Pre-Season Hit List
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Sorry folks, Cards and Reds got switched around in the uploading. Should be fixed now. Thanks to all for the good catch.

Feb 28, 2011 9:33 AM on Quantifying Hope
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I, too, look forward to seeing WarGames in spring training. WOPR has excellent OFP.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

In my 14 team mixed auction keeper league, he has gone for $70, $73, and $68 in the last three years. So I'm inclined to agree with you.

Feb 13, 2011 9:13 AM on Pujols Plays His Cards
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Indubitably.

Feb 11, 2011 3:59 PM on Slash Lines
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Buried in all this is the fact that the name of your new column is absolutely brilliant.

Feb 11, 2011 9:33 AM on Slash Lines
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Home run by Rafael Ramirez? I dunno, I'm not buying it . . .

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

For the rate version, the big outlier is Nick Hundley (-0.308), with Alex Gordon coming in second to last. For the counting version, it's a virtual tie between Torii Hunter (-8.5) and Adam LaRoche (-8.1). Nick Hundley comes in third there.

Feb 05, 2011 10:30 AM on Other Outliers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

It is just for 2010, thanks for clarifying. I'll have to look into the career question—it's certainly an interesting one.

Feb 05, 2011 9:15 AM on Other Outliers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Shaka, when the walls fell

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Thanks to the eagle eyes of a reader, I have altered the plot labels to reflect more accurately the values displayed.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

ID codes are unique alphanumeric strings that are attached to each player. Let's say you had a pitch f/x database and a PECOTA database and you wanted to combine the data, or otherwise cross-reference it in some way. You would need some variable in common for each player you wanted to link up. That's what ID codes allow you to do.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Great stuff, Jason. And a belated welcome!

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Welcome aboard, Mr. Turing Machine.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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A sincere congratulations on the new gig, Steven.

Jan 31, 2011 7:23 AM on Shirley a New Beginning
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I'd like to request BP-branded Set, perhaps with facial hair as one of the variables.

Jan 28, 2011 10:30 AM on National BPuzzle Day
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Sounds like a reasonable request to me! Reliever Chart Without Yankees Note: I only removed Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera, since Pedro Feliciano seems pretty well inside the main cluster.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Suffice it to say they have picked up their bags and carried them around the station to the other tracks.

Jan 12, 2011 4:28 PM on White Elephants
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

No problem. Their defensive efficiency last year was .713 (best in the majors), and their PADE was 1.27 (fourth overall). In 2009, their defensive efficiency was .683 (24th overall) and their PADE was -2.86 (second worst in the majors). Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Jan 12, 2011 6:04 AM on White Elephants
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I think there is a lot you could say about the Rangers, as there no doubt is a lot you could say about every team. I aimed to frame exactly one perspective--the one that I think is most relevant--and leave the rest for another day. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Nov 22, 2010 12:06 PM on Texas Rangers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I am sorry to learn that you were disappointed with the column. I work hard to provide an interesting perspective, and I hope I can convince to take a different view of my future pieces.

Nov 22, 2010 6:57 AM on Texas Rangers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Mike Napoli ... good defender ... nobody tell Scioscia!

Nov 10, 2010 7:43 AM on Glove checks
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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I actually think that the 2005 World Series was one of the most exciting in recent memory, for exactly the reasons you cite. Of course, all of these judgments are subjective.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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One plausible answer, I think, is that teams should be more willing to experiment with turning their relievers into starters. They are much more willing to make the opposite move despite the fact that the upside for the reliever-to-starter move is potentially much greater. But once we move to a level of generality where we're saying that there are better ways to build a rotation than through free agency, I question whether we're really learning anything new at all.

Oct 26, 2010 8:03 AM on Lessons from the Flags
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

As soon as Pablo Sandoval had a 10-pitch at bat I started wondering what was going on.

Oct 22, 2010 9:00 AM on NLCS Game Five
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

You are correct, and it's only odd in the context of all lefties.

Oct 22, 2010 8:59 AM on NLCS Game Five
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I'd note Halladay's failure to run out a bunt attempt.

Oct 22, 2010 8:59 AM on NLCS Game Five
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I think you're right they need to fill third base from without. The problem is that there just aren't very many options. Oddly enough, if the Tigers end up failing to work out an extension with Jhonny Peralta, he could find himself back in Cleveland. His option is unlikely to be exercised by Detroit and he could sign for somewhere in the $5-6MM range. Other than that, though, I don't know what you do other than give Chisenhall a shot in spring training or try to work a trade. The dearth of free agent infielders will be pretty severe this offseason.

Oct 21, 2010 5:55 PM on Cleveland Indians
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Thanks for catching that

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

/cue theme music

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Thanks for catching that. It should be fixed now, and I regret the error.

Sep 21, 2010 8:55 PM on The Great NL West race
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Fascinating. Thanks!

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

The last time the Blue Jays were in the playoffs, Mariah Carey was also at #1, this time with "Dreamlover." However, it is true that she had no hip-hop duet on that particular song. The last time the Pirates were in the playoffs, the #1 was the Boyz II Men hit "End of the Road." Just sayin'.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

It's a kernel density plot, so the sum of the area under the curve equals one. That means, for example, that as a rough estimate you could look at the percentage of the area that is to the left of a certain value and get an idea of how likely it was to be no higher than that value.

Aug 19, 2010 6:05 PM on Mariano Rivera, Outlier
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Thank you for catching this error, which I regret.

Aug 17, 2010 11:58 AM on Mariano Rivera, Outlier
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I agree that pitchF/X is helpful in analyzing Rivera. I would direct your attention to the link shared by Mike Fast above.

Aug 17, 2010 8:58 AM on Mariano Rivera, Outlier
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I am sorry you found the analysis sloppy. I work hard to create engaging and interesting stories, and it sounds like I haven't done a good job at that for you today. I hope to reassure that any sloppiness you perceive is not for a lack of effort. However, I do want to make some points about your particular criticisms. I will assume that you are wondering why I didn't create density charts for HR/FB and BABIP, since I did reference each in my article. The data are certainly available to make analogous charts for those stats. I chose not to do so for two related but distinct reasons. The first is that those stats have been fetishized as measures of pitcher "luck" in a way that I generally, and this column in particular, hope to undermine. That is to say, I take the point of this story to be about how, despite our best efforts to correct for certain trends in populations, we often cannot accurately postdict performance for all players in a season (and that this is particularly true for players at the extremes). If I were to use HR/FB and BABIP, we'd essentially be doing the sort of thing I am disclaiming. The second reason is that I think "chart fatigue" is real, so I try to limit the number of data dumps in my articles. That means editing with an eye toward visualizations that tell the story I am relating. HR/9 and H/9 do that well, because each measure ties up several skills. Some of those skills lots of pitchers have, some of them only a few pitchers have, and one or two of them are possessed by crazy outliers like Rivera. To drive this point home, I wanted to choose metrics for my visualization that captured all of those skills, and HR/9 and H/9 both do that. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Aug 17, 2010 8:54 AM on Mariano Rivera, Outlier
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Yeah, it technically depends on how you classify the three game series against the Blue Jays that geographically took place in Philadelphia but was nominally a home series for the Blue Jays (because the G20 was taking place in Toronto). Either way, it's 29/51 at home from here on out.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I was remiss not to mention Mark Belanger, who was also superlative.

Aug 04, 2010 1:52 PM on By Land, Sea, and Air
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Here's a thought about Blair. He played the majority of his career for the Orioles at a time when they were, quite simply, the best defensive team in baseball. From 1965-76, Blair was the starting CF. The Orioles PADE ranks in those years, chronologically: 1,1,1,1,1,2,2,1,2,3,2,8. Unfortunately, Blair never really played a full season with any other team. But he played in outfields with guys who weren't really known for their defensive mastery. The only other slick defender on those teams was Brooks Robinson (who is probably the best defensive third baseman of all time). Is that enough to rank them so high for so long? As near as I can tell, it's the best stretch any team has ever had in PADE (which only extends back so far as 1954). For what it's worth, Mays' Giants were routinely middle of the pack, defensively.

Aug 04, 2010 1:44 PM on By Land, Sea, and Air
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Yes, that should be "... who have hit worse in Coors Field ..." Thanks for the catch.

Aug 03, 2010 6:00 AM on Rockpiling On
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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I've written in the past about what it would take to pry the best contract in baseball away from one of the smartest teams in baseball, and I agree the price would be very, very high.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Well, you can state the minimum amount included within a given number of standard deviations of the mean using Chebyshev's inequality. It has the benefit of applying even to non-normal distributions. However, it's pretty conservative and usually is an underestimate so is of limited useful value.

Jul 28, 2010 9:13 PM on Looking Farther Afield
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Those percentages are true if and only if the distribution of error is normal.

Jul 28, 2010 2:29 PM on Looking Farther Afield
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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But come on! 5 no-hitters! Two (three!) perfect games! Isn't it obvious?!?!

Jul 27, 2010 12:44 PM on If July Were April
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Just wanted to note that you've used one of my all-time favorite Simpsons quotes. Excellently done.

Jul 15, 2010 11:10 AM on Business Casual
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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I am still curious why you think Secret Sauce says Cliff Lee wouldn't be helpful in a playoff series.

Jul 15, 2010 11:08 AM on Resetting The Races
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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I am not sure I understand the argument. If the evidence is that four Hall of Famers had middling playoff success, then I am calling foul. If the argument comes from Secret Sauce, then you have to look at normalized strikeout rate (one of the three Secret Sauce components), which Liriano and Lee have in spades. Since the relevant comparison is the team's top three or four starters, the strikeout rates for the top few guys is exactly what a team putting together an October staff ought to be concerned about.

Jul 06, 2010 9:09 AM on AL Central Pitching
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I don't think it's a true in all circumstances. Plenty of teams can succeed without an ace, but I just don't think the White Sox, with their other weaknesses, are one of them.

Jul 06, 2010 9:06 AM on AL Central Pitching
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Oh, sorry--batting average on contact. It's like BABIP but counts home runs as "in play."

Jul 06, 2010 9:04 AM on AL Central Pitching
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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That's true but he has allowed only two home runs despite a reasonable number of fly balls. His BACON has been friendlier overall than his BABIP.

Jul 06, 2010 8:39 AM on AL Central Pitching
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Beware post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Jun 15, 2010 8:51 AM on In the Red
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Sort of. The closest I could find was actually a combined 10-inning no hitter (Francisco Cordova pitched the first nine innings and Ricardo Rincon pitched the 10th), and then Mark Smith hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the tenth. Here's the box score. I bet that would have been a fun one to be at.

Jun 09, 2010 1:44 PM on Perfection
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I see what you mean, Tom. It's an interesting question, really, and one that I think comes down to your choice of models. As I hoped to make clear in this piece, it's hard modeling something complex like a perfect game, and a lot of your answer is going to depend on your model. I offered a rather simple model, with plenty of assumptions that aren't particularly rigorous. So while I agree the denominator I used (the sum of all starters innings) is probably artificially low, I'm not sure round up every partial inning is the best way to do it either. The reason is because many pitchers are taken out earlier if they have previously given up a hit, walk or run in the game than they would be if they had a perfect game intact. That means that it's not always the case that fractional innings aren't completed due to failing to be perfect. Something in between would probably best capture the truth.

Jun 09, 2010 1:36 PM on Perfection
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

The MLBPA is a union of only ML players, and does not include players who have not yet been drafted nor those who are yet to be called up except insofar as they may eventually become Major Leaguers. Given that money spent on the draft does not necessarily go to players who will be big leaguers but money spent on free agents necessarily does, I think it makes a reasonable amount of sense.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I wrote previously about the Rangers excellent speed here.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Well played but I wouldn't part with Blitzen Trapper even if it meant Overbay--the draft pick compensation alone would be worth more.

May 11, 2010 1:47 PM on The No-Hit Teams
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I think this is the correct answer but I don't think it is so because Saunders going to tear the cover off the ball. If no one else is, though, might as well let the kid play.

May 11, 2010 8:32 AM on The No-Hit Teams
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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It's not that there aren't good reasons why the narratives are different (and I think your diagnosis is spot on), it's just that we're supposedly talking about the same game. Nevertheless, we do in fact get very different stories from each. I'm not criticizing anybody here, I'm just pointing out the very different mode in each.

May 04, 2010 2:08 PM on Game Stories
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

That is really amazing. Thanks.

May 04, 2010 2:02 PM on Game Stories
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Well played.

May 02, 2010 8:25 AM on Against the Fence
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Well, it may be true for other pitchers, or for pitchers in the aggregate, but it doesn't seem to be true of Lincecum's fastballs.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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There is basically no correlation between speed and horizontal movement on a per-pitch basis, which is pretty interesting I think. I must admit I'm not sure exactly what that means.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I did not take the absolute value before calculating the standard deviations. The averages without taking absolute values are: 2007: -2.0 2008: -0.8 2009: -3.4 The standard deviations for the speeds are: 2007: 1.9 2008: 1.6 2009: 1.5 So in fact the standard deviation on the speed has been declining. I will check on the correlation.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I, for one, am a big fan of Bob's Baseball Blog.

Apr 13, 2010 7:44 AM on Trading Evan Longoria
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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I'm with you even though it's only my third favorite Yes album.

Apr 07, 2010 8:59 AM on Closers To The Edge
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Yes, you are correct. I regret the error.

Apr 06, 2010 10:15 AM on Closers To The Edge
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Fair enough, dynasty was my own word.

Apr 06, 2010 5:54 AM on Against the Fence
 
Tommy Bennett
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The follow up, after Scully asks O'Malley for clarification, is: "Look at those box seats. They're the most expensive. But they're on the ground. What did it take to build them? Now look at that last row on the upper deck. Look at how much steel and concrete and engineering it took to build that."

Apr 06, 2010 5:54 AM on Against the Fence
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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I'm not sure I understand what your objection is. Pitchers make up roughly 50% of roster space. They take up 50% of DL time. How would you normalize it?

Apr 02, 2010 11:30 AM on Against the Fence
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Well played.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Consider the extension kicks in around the time most players peak, the Twins are sort of doing this in effect. You might want a steeper slope at the end, but I think it's the right idea here.

Mar 23, 2010 9:08 PM on Mauer Present Value
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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They did not play professionally, but I believe they have cricket experience from childhood

Mar 22, 2010 6:11 PM on Against the Fence
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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I wouldn't have counted him as the closer, but he ranked 30th overall on the list (which includes closers). That means he just missed this list.

Mar 02, 2010 3:20 PM on Best Non-Closers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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His 4.09 SIERA basically disqualified him.

Mar 02, 2010 2:16 PM on Best Non-Closers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Moylan didn't do TERRIBLY by this metric last year, but his SIERA (3.66) wasn't great and his WXRL/LEV actually ranked still lower among his peers.

Mar 02, 2010 11:53 AM on Best Non-Closers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Robertson is hurt by his low WXRL, but he's a good bet going forward, provided he limits the walks.

Mar 02, 2010 11:52 AM on Best Non-Closers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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*Romo and Masset, that should be.

Mar 02, 2010 11:48 AM on Best Non-Closers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
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Yeah, Hughes would actually qualify for this if I included both starter innings and reliever innings. But he loses out in WXRL when you look at just the reliever innings, so he slipped past Romo in my methodology. If he were a reliever for a full year, he might very well qualify.

Mar 02, 2010 11:47 AM on Best Non-Closers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Yep, that's a typo! Thanks for the good catch.

Mar 02, 2010 11:32 AM on Best Non-Closers
 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Just to be clear, I defined the fifth and sixth starters differently than the traditional definitions. If that makes you distrust my conclusions, fair enough. But I only looked at number of games started. That's why I listed Mitre and Wang.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

I'm sorry to hear you are disappointed. I do my best to provide an interesting perspective, and it sounds like I've failed you this time. I'll work hard to win your readership in the future.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Yep, good catch! Colorado must have slipped off my spreadsheet at some point in the transition. I regret the error.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

 
Tommy Bennett
(15654)
Comment rating: 0

Right. The point of the exercise isn't to claim that Cliff Lee is a fifth starter. It's to show much much turbulence there is in a major league staff, which suggests that even sixth starters get plenty of starts.

 
Tommy Bennett
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This is a legitimate concern, and it's one that I considered. However, I must dispute your assertion that I set up the analysis so as to make the conclusion "self-evident" and "misleading." I think that's an unfair characterization that was uncalled for. To the degree you are suggesting I am being disingenuous, I must deny the charge. Allow me to present the argument slightly differently. Look from the standpoint of the ostensible sixth starter. By design, he is the sixth best starter on the team. That means, assuming he can stay healthy, he should get at least the sixth most starts on the team. Even though my data only looked at who received the 5th and 6th most starts, it still demonstrates by implication that guys who enter the season as the 5th starter and stay healthy will often end up with more starts than that. The exact same logic applies to the guy who "loses" the spring training battle, and implies that sixth starters are nearly guaranteed to join the rotation for a considerable amount of time at some later point in the season. The win consequences are a separate matter not considered here. The best practice (somewhat trivially) is always to give playing time to players in decreasing order of value. Plenty of things are going to affect that, but what you call a guy ought not to. I don't think focusing on the nomenclature is particularly helpful, nor would focusing on who is the starter who pitched most often on Tuesdays be. The simple point I intended to demonstrate is that the sixth starter can anticipate significant playing time despite the fact that he lost the battle.

 
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I think you can include Pena. The big problem with Pena's game is his on base ability. His career OBP is .355, which is what he put up last year. His EqA was lower than Longoria's and Longoria only projects to improve with time. It's not that I don't think Pena is a very good player, I just don't think the "superstar" label quite fits him.

Feb 18, 2010 10:33 AM on AL East
 
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I'm sorry that you are not surprised.

Feb 18, 2010 10:29 AM on AL East
 
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My Hot Stove U article discussed this topic, if that helps.

 
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Most above average players are projected to post seasons worse than they had the season before. That's the nature of regression to the mean. But what is surprising is how little they are projected to regress as compared to their seasons last year.

Feb 17, 2010 10:35 AM on AL East
 
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The Red Sox are still going to score plenty of runs. But if there's a clear reason to think they might not win the toughest division in baseball, it's that they might not score ENOUGH. That's all.

Feb 17, 2010 10:33 AM on AL East
 
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That's true, but the point is that Thomas' edge in home runs is greater than his overall edge on Martinez. More of Thomas' value was tied up in the home runs, so perhaps this helps to explain why he gets greater recognition.

Feb 16, 2010 1:36 PM on Thomas and Glavine
 
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I do think Martinez and Thomas are comparable because of the SHAPE of their performance if not the magnitude of it. And because of that, I'm sympathetic to your point that there's a kind of echo chamber around Edgar's Hall chances. But I think he's a good test case, since he's right on the razor's edge for me in terms of his desert.

Feb 16, 2010 10:46 AM on Thomas and Glavine
 
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I don't think there's any doubt that Thomas was the better hitter. I'm just not sure the difference in their performance won't be overstated by their receptions post-retirement.

Feb 16, 2010 10:34 AM on Thomas and Glavine
 
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Tommy John is one name I considered, but things get pretty messy there at the end of his career and I didn't want to muddy the comparison. Also I think you'd have more disagreement about whether John deserves to be in the Hall.

Feb 16, 2010 10:19 AM on Thomas and Glavine
 
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While I don't think a pure WARP3 comparison is completely useless, I think it confuses the issue. Thomas' considerable margin in that category is primarily a result of his longevity. For example, Martinez had 10 4+ WARP3 seasons, whereas Thomas had only 9. I don't think peak value is the only metric to consider, either, but I think it's closer than you appear to be willing to admit.

Feb 16, 2010 9:51 AM on Thomas and Glavine
 
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Hey, it worked for Ryan Franklin.

 
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Everybody Wang Wrong tonight! Everybody have fun tonight!

Feb 11, 2010 4:27 PM on Notes on a Monitor
 
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I think you're right that he's in charge of the answer in large part, in that what will be determinative is Mauer, not any other player. But not all of it is within his control. If his knees degrade to the point that he simply can't take the daily punishment, there's very little doubt in my mind that he would be forced to first base or designated hitter. Injury is always a risk, and Mauer has not been immune thus far in his career.

Feb 09, 2010 11:48 AM on Catching conundrum
 
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"What I really object to is the idea that a 100% success rate demonstrates that Utley and the Phillies left something on the table or that a 70% rate demonstrates a well-optimized team because it simply doesn't." I'm not sure if I was unclear or if you misread the article, but exactly the opposite of the claim you ascribe to me is the thesis of this article.

 
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I'm not sure the two aren't reconcilable in this context (as you seem to be alluding with the invocation of the Crusoe fallacy). Consider that, even if the relevant costs and benefits are situation-specific and depend on the choices of the rational opponent, it is still possible to rank all possible stolen base opportunities by perceived likelihood of success (weighted by the payoffs and costs). As long as that is the case, we can still identify a threshold beyond which it would be inadvisable to steal. Individual actors may be mistaken in identifying where the threshold is located, and in cases near the threshold a mixed strategy will still be optimal, but the other team can only do so much to deter base running and in most cases their attempts to do so are patent (pitcher repeatedly throwing over, predominantly fastball pitch selection, etc.).

 
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This is worth noting. Certainly the marginal benefit is not static, and depends not only on the possibility of an IBB but also on the count, inning, number of outs, handedness of the batter, shape of batter's offensive production, location of other base runners (especially on third base) and fielding ability of the fielder who will field a throw from the catcher.

 
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You are correct. I regret the error.

 
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I don't think this is a fair characterization. However, if you were given that impression, I apologize.

 
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This is an extremely good point.

Feb 02, 2010 11:32 AM on Arbitration Negotiations
 
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Addressing the second point first--that was a mistake in the original article. Thanks for catching it! It should be that 100% is the player figure and 0% is the team figure. The Priest-Klein hypothesis, which was originally developed to describe legal cases that proceed all the way to trial, basically tells us that we can't learn anything about the likelihood of one party or another to win based merely on the fact that it did in fact proceed all the way to trial. In the baseball arbitration context, the question is whether cases that proceed all the way to arbitration tend to favor (on the merits) players or teams. Because there are so few data points each year for this, it's a tough hypothesis to test. Nevertheless, my presumption is that the Priest-Klein hypothesis would apply, and that players and teams win arb. cases at about equal rates.

Feb 02, 2010 11:31 AM on Arbitration Negotiations
 
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Yeah, it is interesting. Last year, the Blue Jays signed relievers Brian Tallet and Shawn Camp to deals at about the 20% mark. I'm not sure why this was the case, and you're right the sample size is too small. I bet there's something to it, though.

Feb 02, 2010 11:27 AM on Arbitration Negotiations
 
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It's a very good question. For the purposes of the data above, I ignored multiyear deals. Strictly speaking, this is only a good assumption if we think that these players would have signed close to the midpoint also, but that may not be the case. Players who sign long-term deals tend to be a better group overall. Some of it is the very tricky problem of recreating a hypothetical. I'm inclined to say that they would probably still sign near the midpoint, but what do you think?

Feb 02, 2010 11:25 AM on Arbitration Negotiations
 
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I think you make a good point, but I'm not using LOESS for anything other than to capture the pattern of what happened. You're right that if I were to use the fit line for some grand project it would be silly, but the main idea was to give some indication of the course of a pitcher's season. For example, the LOESS line shows very clearly the trajectory of Chad Billingsley's season (which would also show up in a linear regression), but it also gives some indication that Sabathia did in fact pitch a little better as the season wore on (which linear regression would not show as clearly).

Jan 31, 2010 7:59 AM on Visual Consistency
 
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I would probably characterize it as "simple" rather than "simplistic," but I hear your concerns. Thank you for the feedback.

Jan 28, 2010 10:54 AM on Visual Consistency
 
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Now I really want a 1927 Freddie Fitzsimmons jersey.

Jan 25, 2010 2:09 PM on Analyzing RoboPitcher
 
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I think this is a reasonable enough suggestion, but I also think transition roles mid-season is one thing that actually may increase his likelihood of injury, which might defeat the point.

Jan 21, 2010 6:49 PM on Seeing Red
 
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To be clear, if my job is expertise with regard to prospects, I think we're all in trouble. However, you raise a very interesting point that implicates two remaining difficulties in accessing information, even in the Internet age. First, minor league information across the board is inferior to what's available on the major leagues. Part of this is a simple question of demand, but part of it is the fact that, at minor league stadiums, teams can exert more control and protect their information more closely. The second difficulty is how widely distributed the information is--minor league stadiums tend to be in smaller cities with less news presence. On this second point I think there is some cause for optimism, since all observers can share their opinions online. It is by no means a perfect substitute for a scout with a radar gun, but we can learn a lot from aggregated fan data. The rise of YouTube and other video websites may make the diagnosis of minor league injuries by the experts possible even if they weren't there.

Jan 13, 2010 1:23 PM on Stories Big and Small
 
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I think that's an important point, and certainly worth taking into consideration. However, Spahn didn't really make it to the majors until after he returned from the war, and it's very difficult to say how good he would have been for those three lost seasons. He almost certainly would've been pitching in the big leagues, and his development would likely have been accelerated somewhat, but I'm not sure it would have affected his peak.

Jan 12, 2010 7:48 PM on Stories Big and Small
 
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That was a fun event. Jim Caple had a collection of Louisville sluggers, IIRC.

Jan 12, 2010 3:14 PM on May 20-22, 2002
 
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We are all Fair Witnesses.

Jan 12, 2010 12:26 PM on Stories Big and Small
 
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Yes, you are right I should have included Spahn. Not that this is particularly a knock against him (and of course he was a great pitcher), but much of Spahn's value came from his longevity more than his dominance. I'd take RJ's peak over Spahn's peak, for sure.

Jan 12, 2010 11:32 AM on Stories Big and Small
 
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Yes, this is allowed and encouraged.

Jan 09, 2010 2:48 PM on Ken Cloude
 
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You are right that taxes matter, but that doesn't affect the amount the team actually has to pay. So if the Mets were hoping that by back-loading the contract, they would actually be paying Bay less than the Red Sox were offering, taxes don't move the needle. However, from Bay's perspective, you are correct (although we may want to consider the differential in sponsorships playing in New York). (By the way, does anyone know the exact top tax brackets in Boston and New York?) The same is true of the discount rates, because there are actually two different rates: that for Bay and that for the Mets. It's important to keep these separate. For Bay, his discount rate should be similar in New York and Boston. For the teams, however, the discount rates may well be different. On a separate note, I think the "liquidity" concerns are pretty minor, since most of these ownership groups could easily borrow money at a pretty good rate, effectively discounting in the same manner the future cash. However, your points are well-taken, particularly from Bay's perspective.

Jan 05, 2010 7:03 PM on Check-Dodging or Not?
 
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You're right, it's possible. I didn't include such contract structures because they would not be as clear in the visualization. However, here's an example: 2010: 8MM 2011: 10MM 2012: 10MM 2013: 10MM 2014: 10MM 2015: 18MM Even with a 7% discount rate, that deal is still worth more in present value (54.7MM) and the Red Sox offer (54.4MM).

Dec 31, 2009 11:18 AM on Check-Dodging or Not?
 
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Yes, all of this is completely correct. I assumed fixed values for the sake of simplicity in elucidating the framework. As I refine the model I will certainly take a more Bayesian approach.

 
Tommy Bennett
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The way the CBA is written, you are correct. (See Art. XX(B)(3)). However, as you have suspected it is extremely rare to see a salary reduction less than that, since the arbitration process is all-or-nothing.

 
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The 80% limit on salary decline at arbitration limits teams in some cases. The economy plays a role because the comps at arbitration are historical. Teams are also leery of being in a position where other teams know they have to make a deal (like when Placido Polanco unexpectedly accepted from the Phils and they only got Ugueth Urbina and Ramon Martinez from the Tigers). Foregoing draft picks is also less visible. Teams tend not to get trashed on talk radio for losing a supplemental draft pick. But these things add up to actual wins in the aggregate.

 
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I think the likelihood that Soriano or Gonzalez accept arbitration is close to zero. There are plenty of teams looking for relief help and they are the top guys on the market. Offering arbitration to them ought to be a great call, especially since they are both Type A.

 
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I think most of these players are going to want multiyear deals, and they'll probably get them in such a weak market. Maybe they accept, but the worst that happens is a one year financial commitment. The possibility of two top 50 draft picks has to be sufficient inducement to offer even a risky case like Tejada arbitration. I think Wade probably re-signs Tejada anyway, in fact.

Nov 23, 2009 1:14 PM on Help Up the Middle
 
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When Polanco surprised Ed Wade in Philly, he did so when the plan was to install Utley, so he essentially became a $5M backup. In Detroit, there is no immediate replacement and I'm not sure Polanco wouldn't be worth what he would make in arbitration. He's been making around $5M a year, and given his age he probably wouldn't get a huge raise. He would probably get more money (or at least more years) on the open market. If I'm Dombrowski, and I don't purport to know his thinking, I offer him arbitration in a heartbeat.

Nov 23, 2009 1:11 PM on Help Up the Middle
 
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Er, my mistake. That should be 22.3% chance.

Oct 07, 2009 5:15 PM on What We Can Learn
 
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34.5% for the Twins' victory, I should say.

Oct 07, 2009 5:11 PM on What We Can Learn
 
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If you do a log5 formula using the Twins (.509) and Yankees (.616) third-order winning percentages from the regular season, you find that the Yanks have a 60.7% chance of winning any one game. That implies a 34.5% chance of victory in the series. You might say the Twins are weaker because Baker can't start twice, but I'm not sure it's enough to knock them down very far.

Oct 07, 2009 5:10 PM on What We Can Learn
 
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They don't have worse than a 30% chance, which is better than "no chance," I would think.

Oct 07, 2009 4:23 PM on What We Can Learn
 
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When you report the home field advantage in terms of a percent figure, are you reporting the percentage point difference in the win percentages or the percentage by which the home team's win percentage exceeds the away team's?