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Very interesting stuff, great work guys. One of the questions that pop into my head are whether certain types of pitchers age better than others - Maddux is obviously an outlier, but can small tunnel pitchers (on average) stay effective later into their careers even as their raw stuff diminishes? If a pattern does show up, it could affect which pitchers get the 7-year contract and which do not.
+1000 for the Monkey's Paw reference
Fare thee well, Sam. You have a unique skill that combines keeping it informative with keeping it fun, and I've appreciated it all along the way. You have single-handedly made me riveted by every <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Mark+Reynolds">Mark Reynolds</a></span> at-bat that I've seen in the last 4 years.
I don't think the anti-trust exemption has much of anything to do with the labor market - none of the other major sports leagues have the exemption, but they all have player drafts, salary caps, and many of them even have rookie-contract salary maximums. These sports have monopoly power, and that is what allows them to set up constraints to the free market.
I'm not absolving MLBPA here - they could go to bat for minor league players if they wanted to (see what I did there?), but they have routinely put minor league players' needs on the back burner to get what they want elsewhere.
If anyone wants MLB to operate more like a free market, ironically this would require more government intervention not less. See: collusion. Personally, I think that would cause more problems than it solves.
Trevor, thank you for a thought provoking article.
I'd like to point out that I have a bit of an issue with the very premise of SChandler's comment (and therefore, indirectly, your response to it). The allocation of baseball talent is not a 'free market enterprise' to begin with. If it were a free market, aspiring players would be able to offer their services to all 30 teams. They cannot. Their labor rights are allocated exclusively to a single team via the draft.
Once a player is drafted, they have 4 years until they need to be added to the 40-man roster. Even after they reach the majors, another 6 years must pass before they qualify for true free agency (usually 7, because teams have figured out to keep players in the minors until June). So for most players, the first 10 years of their career have little to no resemblance to free market economics. And the careers of most players last 10 years or less.
I fully understand that there is a counter-argument to be made that some manipulation of the free market is necessary to make MLB work - it would be difficult to sustain a healthy league if the Yankees and Dodgers could allow other teams to pay for and develop players, only to sign them away for top-dollar once they were ready to produce in MLB.
So this, to me, is the real issue: MLB and MLBPA have already manipulated the free market to enhance competitive balance and maximize profits. And I think most people would agree that they have been quite effective on both those fronts. So as long as you're manipulating the free market anyway, why can't you allow that manipulation to also carve out some space for your entry-level workers?
Echoing Peter's comment, I look forward to reading any article when I see your name underneath the title.
Completely off topic, but last week I saw John Buccigross featured in commercial for Moe's Southwest Grill. I immediately thought of you, working the phones like Rick Peck in Tropic Thunder.
Can you take a minute to explain the DRA- values? I'm having trouble understanding why current league leaders have a DRA- hanging around 80 with <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DRA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DRA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DRA</span></a>'s in the neighborhood of 2.00, particularly when people with a DRA- of 100 have DRA's around 4.20. Seems like the leaders should have a DRA- closer to 45, not 80. Is there a regression implicit in those values that I'm not understanding?
I was a freshman in college when that damn Whitney Houston song was released on the world. It was inescapable. Radio stations played it non-stop. (Napster, Pandora, or Spotify weren't things yet, so people still listened to radio.) Every public gathering place was playing it over their <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PA</span></a> system. I descended into madness, at first finding it a little annoying, then frustrating, then grating, and eventually ready to pummel Kevin Costner so I could get to Whitney and tell her to stop loving me, enough is enough.
So thanks for the flashback to a cold and dark place, Mr. <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/author/rian_watt">Rian Watt</a>! After I finish typing this, I'm going to curl into the fetal position and drink a Zima. Bittersweet memories. That is all you have given to me.
I'm not sure if you are aware, but <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56609">Josh Reddick</a></span> has used "Careless Whisper" as his walkup music:
Check out the fans getting into it at the 1:28 mark. It's a treat.
And incidentally, "Careless Whisper" first appeared on the Wham! album Make It Big. Let's use this as a teaching moment to pay respect to the musical genius that is Andrew Ridgeley.
To me, the key phrase in your article was this one: "The right to manage has to do with the things that are not wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment..." Even if LaRoche were to argue that bringing his son to work was an established practice, I fail to see how that particular established practice is a condition that is relevant to the terms and conditions of his employment.
So it seems to me that this situation falls within that right to manage.
Per our friends at wikipedia: the earliest recorded use of the alliterative phrase making a mountain out of a molehill dates from 1548. The word for the animal involved was less than two hundred years old by then. Previous to that the mole had been known by its Old English name wand, which had slowly changed to 'want'. A molehill was known as a 'wantitump', a word that continued in dialect use for centuries more. The former name of want was then replaced by mold(e)warp (meaning earth-thrower), a shortened version of which (molle) began to appear in the later 14th century and the word molehill in the first half of the 15th century.
This makes me wish for Trout-in-Coors-Field statistics. Would everyone still feel the same way about him? "Yeah, he's good and all, but he only seems great because he hits .475/.610/.950 at home...."
I like the scanned baseball card of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Gary+Carter">Gary Carter</a></span>. Consider this one vote for making all future photos of players be a scan of one of their baseball cards.
I agree that MLBPA has generally done a poor job of looking out for the interests of non-superstar players. But instituting a salary floor, especially one as high as $150M, would require a massive increase in revenue sharing between teams. I think many owners would cringe more at providing more revenue to other owners than they would at providing it to players.
While not a new development, a large part of the issue from the player's perspective is that it takes MLB players 6 years of MLB service time before they reach free agency. Most players are in their late 20's or early 30's before they are paid a market rate for the first time.
If I were MLBPA, I'd push for free agency for players with 6 years service time OR when they reach 28 years of age. This would allow most players to hit free agency sooner, allow players to negotiate from more of a position of strength when they do hit free agency (I'm still in my prime!), and render moot any efforts to manipulate the service time of any player older than 22.
I very much doubt the owners would ever agree to it, but that is the tactic I'd take to extract concessions on QO's and service time manipulation.
To follow on GBSimons point about player salaries rising at a slower rate than overall revenue, the below link is some excellent background analysis from BP alum <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/author/matt_swartz">Matt Swartz</a>:
The other explanation is good, and thanks for it, but I like magic even better. Now I have a mental image of Jonathan standing in front of a mirror with a wand in his hand, conjuring statistics for the sole purpose of impressing Emma Watson.
Excellent explanation, thanks. One question that springs to mind about controlling the running game: how do you apportion blame/credit between the pitcher and the catcher? I'm not clear on it.
Agree. I was thinking he could go ahead and make three feeble swings at the intentional balls. But I like your gamesmanship idea better.
Excellent summary of what SkyNet is doing under the hood, thanks.
Thanks for diving into it gents. The regression explanation makes sense; helps me feel like I've got a better sense of what I'm looking at while I poke around the leaderboard.
Good information, and thank you, but my central query remains unanswered. Using 9.2 runs/win, Greinke's 23.41 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=RAA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('RAA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">RAA</span></a> equates to 2.54 WAA. Per Greinke's player card, he has accumulated 6.0 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a> in 172 innings.
Using these two win values, a league-average starting pitcher throwing 172 innings is worth 3.5 wins (6.0 - 2.5 = 3.5). So my question is: is a league-average starting pitcher worth 3.5 WARP with a month to go in the season?
Because Red Sox aside, no teams are paying league average starting pitchers a salary equivalent to a 4-win player.
I understand that, but using Greinke as the example again he's currently worth about 2.5 wins above average (if 10 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=RAA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('RAA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">RAA</span></a> = 1 win) and 6 wins above replacement. That is a 3.5 win gap between value above average and value above replacement, and implies that a league average starting pitcher is worth about 4 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a> over the course of a full season. Is that an accurate understanding?
I look forward to diving in. Let's start with a question. Per the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DRA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DRA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DRA</span></a> leaderboard this year, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31734">Zack Greinke</a></span> leads with 22.7 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=RAA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('RAA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">RAA</span></a>. If I use the rule of thumb that 10 runs = 1 win, that means he's somewhere around 2.5 wins above average.
When I look at his player card, he is sitting at 6.1 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a>. This implies that a league-average pitcher with his number of innings is worth 3.6 wins (6.1 - 2.5 = 3.6). Is that accurate, or does the 10 runs = 1 win rule of thumb not apply here?
But I can also see an excellent case for Bye Bye Bye from *N Sync. Before long Timberlake is showing up at your games, you're making commercials together, and it would annoy the sh*t out of Papelbon sitting over in the oppposing bullpen.
Personally, I'd go with the Theme from Shaft. And hopefully within a few weeks I'd have acquired the nickname "Shaft".
It would provide hours upon hours of talk radio indignation the first time an umpire blew a call and the 'hat camera' revealed that he wasn't looking at the play in question but instead checking out a squirrel running across shallow center field.
I consider it one of the great tragedies of my baseball life that I was never able to win the photo of Bud Selig.
Excellent article Alan. I always enjoy when you drop in with a guest post.
With respect to the curve balls of Player A and B, I would argue that Player B's relative lack of transverse spin is an indicator of a better curve, not a worse one. The entire point of a curve ball is to throw a pitch that behaves differently than a fastball and thereby upset a hitter's timing. Even though a 4-seam fastball's spin is almost entirely comprised of transverse spin, we are conditioned to visualize that pitch as "straight". It seems logical to me that a curve with a low ratio of transverse-to-total spin actually provides a greater measure of deception than a curve with a high ratio.
I'm surprised at how many people don't know their number. I have a face tattoo with mine.
Is it possible that adding age as a factor helps to strip out the effects of injury? It seems plausible that for the younger hitters seeing more fastballs, an underlying cause could be an injury (especially if it is a wrist injury!) affecting their bat speed, so the effect would disappear the next season when they are presumably healthy.
How many of these guys would be the #1 prospect in one of the weaker systems like Tigers/Angels? Six? Eight? Twenty-seven?
Really a fantastic piece of research. The chart alone conveys an enormous amount of information in an easy to digest format.
I am going to mourn your loss preemptively now, so when some MLB team poaches you I will already be on stage 3 of the grieving process.
I'm waiting for MLB to adopt something similar to the Climax Series from Japan's NPB (as an aside: Best. Name. Ever.)
For about the last 8-10 years, they have used a system where each league has a 3-team playoff. The team with the best record has a first round bye while the next two teams play a best-of-three. The winner of the first stage goes on to face the league's pennant winner in a best-of-seven. Except it is really a best-of-six because the pennant winner is spotted a one-win advantage. So the 2nd/3rd place team needs to win 4 of 6 to advance to the Japan Series.
If you assume that the team with the better record is a 60% favorite to win each game, the favorite would have an 82% chance of winning the series. Even if you assume the two teams were evenly matched with a 50/50 chance of winning each game, the team spotted the one-win advantage would be about a 65% favorite to win the series.
The team with better record gets rewarded, but the wild card still has a legitimate shot. I'm not sure exactly how this would look translated to MLB, but I like it in theory. And I'll even offer the first marketing slogan: "Play 162 to Earn 1".
Chapman. With a shout-out to Jake McGee, but it's hard to justify picking somebody other than the guy whose average velocity needs a third digit.
Then Betances and K-Rod. K-Rod gets the nod because unlike the others, I can't imagine how he could survive without that pitch.
Although I'm going to miss Parks writing around here, I am really enjoying the comments that his departure has generated. With the departure of a much-enjoyed writer like Jason, instead of being met with fear for what comes after, it seems to have been met with anticipation. Which I think is awesome, and it really is a testament to the organization that you have built.
And that 3rd paragraph? It listed 20 names. Wow.
This reminds me of the concept of pitching to the score, with "swing more or less often" taking the place of "throw more strikes even at the expense of giving up more hits". And as I recall the last research I saw on that subject showed no observable difference in ERA/FIP based on the score.
Is it possible, or even likely, that the batter outcomes are similar even if the player changes approach?
I'm partial to Pepper Brooks calling dodgeball games on ESPN 8 "The Ocho".
Instead of bowing to the strong desire to add a bad Yu pun to the pile, I'm going to leave the room just like Lisa Simpson did when she was pressured to use a catch phrase.
I'm not an expert, but to answer a couple of the questions that you posed: (1) In most cases the number has been informally negotiated before draft day, so it would be impossible to have the physical completed before settling on a dollar amount. These teams all know what each player's "number" is before they draft them.
(2) I'm pretty sure such an injury clause is not allowed under the CBA. The contract amount is and must be fully guaranteed. The only injury clause I'm aware of is the so-called "Lackey clause", but in that case no money was pulled back after he tore his UCL. It just added a cheap option year to the end of the contract so the team could get a discount on a future season in return for paying full fare for the season lost to injury.
I hadn't considered waging on the Home Run Derby before, but it actually sounds like a good idea to me. It may make a borderline unwatchable event watchable. I'll still have to make copious use of the mute button though.
Another factor that isn't specifically mentioned in Kapler's list is perception among teammates. Nobody wants a reputation as the guy who runs to the trainer every time they have an ouchie.
Any team trying to get players to be more proactive about reporting injuries is going to have to intervene on both individual and team-wide levels.
Is Correa's fringy speed a threat to move him off of SS, or is his baseball acumen enough to overcome the relative lack of foot speed?
Agreed. Foul bunts place the batter in pitcher's counts, so an accounting of only hits and outs will overstate the benefits to the hitter. I'm quite certain that hitters should be doing this more, but I can see where a terrible bunter would be better off not bothering with it.
It is not enough of an embarrassment to baseball for MLB to contribute so much as $0.01 from the central fund for either repairs to the existing stadium or funding for a new one. That's the embarrassment, in my opinion.
I'm more excited about this than I should be. There is something perversely entertaining about loudly cheering a 4-3 groundout from the 3rd baseman on your HM squad.
Awesome insight into the robot behind the curtain, thanks!
On top of all the other reasons to like Joe Maddon as a manager, he also uses the best one-liners as he is getting himself ejected.
Eric Sogard? That is the player example that you decided to use? Eric Sogard?
Fine, I'll just go search Mike Trout myself!
I read this article before reading Ben's (sorry Ben, I started at the top of the main page and worked my way down). Ben covers this topic very well.
Personally, I'm skeptical that the public will get to see much of these data. I know that MLB has a long and storied history of taking things of value and providing them for free as a public service, but something tells me that they will want to monetize this one.
One more thing: MLB is introducing a new tracking technology beginning with a limited rollout this year:
Fingers crossed that Pitch f/x is not eventually scrapped in favor of a tracking system that is not made public. It would be very unfortunate if MLB makes a series of decisions that result in analyses like this being impossible to underatke in the public domain.
Excellent work! Although I'm going to need to re-read this a time or two because I don't fully absorb the methodology yet.
I do find it heartening that several catcher studies have looked at this in a few different ways now, and the player lists for each study seems to have the same names keep popping up at the top and bottom.
It's too bad that Jeter didn't announce his retirement near the end of spring training so this could have posted on April 1.
I am laughing my ass off right now. Normally the Prospects Will Break Your Heart series are the most heavily-commented articles on BP. And then the Marlins come along and.......one question about their prospects! Congratulations Jeffrey Loria, you have managed to inspire apathy among some of the most hardcore baseball fans around.
Thank you Lewie for taking the time to respond.
And I should clarify that I don't doubt that racial bias plays a part in shaping public opinion of Bonds. The more interesting question to me is whether the available evidence points toward whites judging Bonds more harshly than Clemens, or non-whites judging Bonds less harshly than Clemens. jdeich describes well the question I was attempting to ask.
Based on ~40 percent support for Clemens, it looks to me like the answer is "depends on which poll result you look at". Which, given the unscientific nature of the polling, shouldn't surprise me.
I agree that the Roger Clemens parallel is crucial to interpreting the racial undertones here, which is why it was so disappointing that precise poll numbers were not included in the article in the same manner that the Bonds poll numbers were presented. It looks like we were commenting in parallel here, and my thoughts on the matter are a little ways down.
I still don't know what to think one way or the other, and part of the reason is because information that I think is critical to understanding the Bonds/Clemens dynamic was not included with the article.
After reading an article, it's usually pretty easy for me to decide whether or not I find the information presented to be compelling or not. I've stared at this one for another 10 minutes and I'm still not sure about this one.
Early on in the article, as poll data was being presented about Bonds (with the numerical poll results included, this is a key point), I was continuously wondering to myself "I wonder what similar polls say about Clemens". Sure enough, the third paragraph from the bottom discusses Clemens...but discusses the poll results in general terms without showing the numerical poll results. I can't help but be bothered by this.
As David touched on, I'm curious whether the poll results indicate that whites are disproportionately likely to single out Bonds because of his PED use, if non-whites are disproportionately likely to give Bonds a free pass, or a combination of the two. Without presenting the Clemens poll numbers, this question is unknowable to the reader.
Now maybe the exclusion of the numerical poll results in the Clemens discussion is unintentional. Maybe the results aren't important, beyond the general conclusion. But omitting them, while including the specific numbers for Bonds, makes the cynic in me wonder if the author is leading me to a conclusion instead of allowing me to draw my own.
Great article Joshua. Do you have an idea of roughly what percentage of career minor leaguers decide on their own to retire, and what percentage have retirement forced upon them because the phone stops ringing?
Great stuff Doug! With all due respect to Cy Young, I would prefer that the most outstanding pitcher of the season received the Big Train Award.
Yes, a bias toward 'don't disqualify anybody' or a bias toward 'disqualify everyone' are different things in my book.
If a voter wants to disqualify someone with actual links to PEDs, I'm not going to get too worked up about it. But if the HoF vote is being used to reward both excellence on the field and absence of PED taint, I think withholding that reward from a clean player is a far larger injustice than granting that reward to a suspected player. In my eyes, punishing the innocent is not a morally defensible mechanism for making certain that the guilty remain unrewarded.
How about "He played in an era where people cheated (which is every era, but I digress), so I am going to treat him the same as I would a known cheater. Even though I have no proof, anecdotal evidence, or reasonable or unreasonable suspicion that the player in question was actually a cheater."
Doug, thanks for the brilliant explanation (as usual) of what could be difficult-to-understand subject matter.
Regarding Tanaka, you've curbed my enthusiasm a bit. Somebody is going to give him a lot of years, seeing as how they have paid a $20 million upfront cost already. Would it be fair to say that without mechanical adjustments, he is at a high risk of significant v-loss down the line?
+1 for spelling Randolph like Gandalf.
I look forward to reading along. I think this is a great idea because (1) I too am a fan of Nate Silver's body of work, and (2) I am lazy. Sam Miller to the rescue with Cliff's Notes!
In the 8th, Leyland played matchups and I can't really fault him for that (although I do think that any Smyly appearance where he doesn't pitch to Ortiz is a suboptimal use of Smyly). The only pitching change that I can't really wrap my head around is Porcello opening the 9th. It is pretty clear that if Benoit got out of the 8th with the lead, he would have been on the mound in the 9th.
So why, with the game now tied, is Benoit either unavailable for the 9th, or the situation is no longer important enough to have your best reliever on the mound? Vexing.
Lots of consternation about the MLB headline. Everyone needs to relax.
I suspect many of you already know this, but that Raiders of the Lost Ark scene was originally supposed to be an intricate whip-vs-sword fight scene. Only problem was Harrison Ford got food poisoning the night before and just wasn't up for hours of filming of a physically demanding scene.
So he suggested to Speilberg, "how about I just shoot the guy", and they went with it. And it ends up being one of the most memorable scenes in the film.
I'm pretty sure that Aceathon works for the NSA.
Just to muddy the waters further, is Mathis doing Fernandez a disservice by basically abandoning the changeup?
The Marlins' postseason chances this year can best be described with this emoticon :( So maybe it would make more sense for the long term to mix in the changeup more often and have him get a feel for the pitch, even if that comes at the expense of his 2013 results.
I tried to come up with a cliche of my own, but I couldn't. I think that I was just trying too hard.
According to this article...
...it sounds like lack of hustle might be high on the list of makeup issues with DeShields.
Thanks Ben, very enjoyable! You've inspired me to try and come up with a few. Here goes:
- Ol' Country Buffet ads down the third base line in San Fran
- NoDoz ads around the home plate area at Target Field to avoid those embarrassing head drops when you're about to nod off (break this one out only on days that Doumit is behind the dish)
- Garmin ads down the left field line at Citizens Bank Park to help Delmon Young avoid taking circular routes to fly balls
And the poor guy had to track a pop up in the 6th inning of the first game of today's doubleheader. Priceless. I wanted to laugh, but my mom would tell me that it isn't polite because he is doing the best he can, and I have to listen because I live in her basement.
And then I read further down...sorry about my slightly pedantic nature.
You moved a decimal point. .005 is 0.5%, not 5%
Impressive! What an undertaking.
I wonder how much new research this opens up to you now that the data has been compiled. It would be interesting to see (for instance) how recovery times for injuries have changed over the course of the last 60 years.
I count four different jerseys in the Wallace montage. Just how many alternate jerseys does a team need? Maybe one of Sky's 32 questions should have been # of Astro jerseys vs. # of Astro wins.
Is there some advantage to be gained by looking for the mirror image of good clubhouse guys? If there is a quantifiable effect to be found for positive clubhouse influences, it is natural to conclude that there is also a quantifiable negative effect for moody jerks. And voila, the sample size just doubled. Perhaps start with Albert Belle and work from there.
I've also seen firsthand how one jerk on a team isn't pleasant, but it is manageable. But put two jerks on a team and they feed off each other and pretty soon your team is split into two factions. Perhaps another possibility is that you need two clubhouse guys - both Inge and Gomes are necessary, sort of like a baseball version of the Wonder Twins (space monkey optional).
I've wondered if Detroit could solve their 5th starter and closer debates with a single move by making Porcello the closer. If he only has to throw 15 pitches at a time, that 92 mph sinker becomes a 96 mph sinker, and I'm sure his breaking ball would play up accordingly too.
I think they ought to just leave him alone in the rotation, but if they are bound and determined to give the 5th slot to Smyly, then I think giving 9th innings to Porcello is better than anybody available on the free agent market or their other internal options.
Let's see here....ability to lift items up to 55 lbs. Check.
Reads, speaks, and comprehends English effectively. No problemo.
Ability to act according to the organizational values at all times. Dicey proposition at best.
Everything else? Nah.
I don't think that I am the droid they are looking for.
Outstanding segment Ben. I also really enjoyed the CrashJones non-caffeinated stream-of-consciousness. Good stuff all around.
I can see where you are coming from, but if they have little to no familiarity with baseball how would they have any idea which is the best argument? More HR = good, more errors = bad, and call it a day?
This is akin to having a dermatologist consulting on a hip surgery. Yeah, he's still a doctor, but that doesn't mean he is qualified to make decisions outside of his area of expertise.
"Hearings are held in front of three arbitrators, lawyers who usually have little baseball experience or background." Knowledge of baseball isn't a per-requisite for sitting on the panel? That is insane!
I took the under. Just missed.
I watched the videos before looking at the transcripts, to see if I could discern what was being said. It was hopeless. Even after reading the transcript, it was often two or three re-watchings to piece it together.
Evan, I am awestruck at your skill. How you can decipher what Clint Hurdle is saying while he is chomping on a wad of gum roughly the size of a watermelon is beyond me.
Although there is no way to quantify this, it is also entirely possible that the managers who guessed correctly most often were not actually guessing some of the time.
John, while I can quibble with individual decisions (still no Tim Raines? really?), I applaud your transparency. I appreciate that you publish both your list of players and your logic employed in deciding whether or not to vote for them.
How about Roger Dorn? Can I use Roger Dorn?
I find the last couple of paragraphs particularly interesting. I'd guess that the lifestyle of an MLB player isn't really conducive to a normal sleep schedule between the air travel, often late at night, and the need to be at peak concentration during the early evening hours instead of daylight hours like most of the rest of us.
Many players may not find it easy to sleep on a plane(even a charter one), and daylight encroaching through a hotel window may prevent light sleepers from staying in bed until noon. Matt Swartz' series on home-field advantage about three years ago showed that travel distance mattered. The Boston Celtics have hired a sleep consultant to counsel their players, so at least some teams recognize that their players need some help in this regard. It isn't hard to imagine that some players resort to Adderall because 8 hours of sleep isn't really that easy to come by.
I've noticed that through 5 teams and 50 players, only 16 of the players have been pitchers. Is that a function of these farm systems in particular, or more of a general philosophy about risk (I'm not going to use the acronym)?
I have a hard time getting worked up about articles like Albom's. As you mention, it's all been written before. Honestly, I would never even realize that so many articles like this are still written until I read a saber-leaning author cite the article and then refute the arguments.
One of the greatest gifts that sabermetrics has given me is the realization that someone who attacks the messenger because they can't refute the message is someone whose opinion has no valid basis. Instead of using the title "Why Mike Trout Matters", perhaps a more appropriate title would be "Why Mitch Albom Doesn't Matter".
This made me laugh.
Rafael Soriano for 3/30? I'm on board. Rafael Soriano for 4/60? Pass.
I know the 4/60 is probably floated out there as a negotiating tactic, but it is such an inflated number I don't even know how you can begin negotiating with him. Do you start with a counter offer of 2 years at the league minimum just so you can meet in the middle?
Fair enough. I thought it was funny though. Then again, I also laugh when old people fart.
McCarver was making a joke. He knew exactly who Joe Buck was referring to about and threw Barry Manilow's name in there. McCarver's mike was silent for the next 30 seconds as he laughed his ass off because Joe Buck "corrected" him. Don't feel bad, Joe Buck fell for it too.
Speaking as a Tigers fan, seeing Valverde wearing a different uniform was the highlight of my morning.
I think it is apparent where I stand on Derek's question regarding whether or not to resign Valverde for 2013.
+1, Ned Flanders quotation.
If Talk Like a Pirate day can become a meme, why can't we have a Talk Like Flanders day too?
....used to, of course. Stupid auto-correct.
Played two partial seasons when he was a teenager, then seven full seasons. Slash line of 353/421/522. Once cleared 200 hits in a season despite the season only being 130 games. Good for about 15-20 HR a season.
And 1,278 hits. I've often wondered if MLB would have some sort of ceremony if his combined hit total eclipsed Pete Rose. I still think he gets there, but it is looking like less of a sure thing than it used it.
That isn't what Principal Skinner has been calling her.
Although not a player, I think the most improbable comeback this year has been Dan Duquette.
He hasn't worked in a front office in ten years, he was about the 843rd guy the Orioles tried to hire before he decided to be the guy who said "yes", and one of the first things he did after getting the job was piss off South Korea. And yet, in his first season his formerly moribund franchise is tied with the Yankees for first place in mid-September.
Throw in the Red Sox imploding upon themselves for good measure, and Duquette has to be loving life these days.
Congratulations Kevin, you will be missed around here. I'll happy and bummed all at the same time, like Red after Andy busted out of Shawshank.
The positioning of Jaffe's thumb in that photo makes him look like a distant relative of Antonio Alfonseca.
Also echo what Tommy Fastball said. Ball/strike calls are far and away the heaviest influence that umpiring has on a ballgame, and I for one will welcome our strike-calling robot overlords.
No Cowboy Joe West in the list of ejections by umpire? That is a surprise.
Not sure where else to comment on this, but kudos to the BP staff for nailing the trade deadline coverage. Great information, timely information, and a spit-take inducing anecdote about a season-ticket holder calling a GM in a last-ditch effort to save his NL-only fantasy team. Good stuff all around.
This is a fantastic idea for a business. Where can I sign up for my Scarlett Johansson egraph that says "call me, maybe"?
I think the pit should be directly between third and home, with a narrow bridge running across the center like Durin's Bridge. Baserunners would have only one way to go, and opposing catchers can stand at one end of it yelling "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!"
What did Jose Reyes do to you? The Mets didn't even offer him a contract. What was he supposed to do, stay in Flushing for the league minimum?
Well, I was wrong. I thought that the pitcher would be still alive, only very badly burned and in quite a lot of pain.
Welcome back! Without getting into specifics, I'm curious as to how extensive was the raw data you had to work with as compared to what is publicly available. Is it a little more information? A lot more? A cornucopia? An orgy of data that would embarrass residents of Bangkok?
...and of course, now I notice the hyperlink that Ben included in his response. Enjoy my obliviousness, folks, I'll be here all week.
Public Service Announcement: for a more detailed explanation for why BP no longer publishes SIERA, see this article:
I think this is a common sentiment. I'm speculating, but I wonder if most people tolerate or enjoy doctoring baseballs, corking bats, etc., because there is an element of being clever to do these things without being caught. It is more of an "intellectual" kind of cheating, if you will.
PEDs, on the other hand, are more of a brute-force kind of cheating. Take steroids, get stronger, hit ball farther. It seems like a cheap shortcut by comparison.
Funny part is, I don't view it as a shortcut or different than scuffing a baseball. Users do not inject themselves with something, go to bed, and wake up with 10 lbs. of muscle. PEDs work because they allow athletes to train harder and longer, and recover quicker. Users are putting in more time in the gym, not less.
Mark McGwire spent countless hours in the offseason in the gym. Gaylord Perry spent 5 minutes before the game rubbing vasoline on his crotch. I can't understand why one form of cheating is celebrated (or at least tolerated), and the other is vilified. I lump them all together. If anything, the PED users are showing a greater dedication to succeeding using any means necessary.
I do so enjoy stories about the wholesome kind of cheating. Not that evil chemically enhanced stuff because guys who do that are a scourge on society and tens of millions of dollars must be spent prosecuting them.
What is bizarre is that both Donnelly and Peralta were caught pine-handed in interleague play. It would seem more likely that they would be caught by a division rival who is presumably more familiar with their opponent.
Because the sign-stealing wasn't brought to light until 50 years later. The best excuse for cheating is not getting caught and therefore not needing to make an excuse at all.
Adding to SaberTJ's comment, I agree that it is important to remember what the data can tell us and what it can't. Two more things that immediately come to mind are distance to home plate at release point and how well a pitcher hides the ball.
Indescribable sadness over Pena getting hit with the baseball? Seems more likely that Luke Scott just saw video of his beard on the jumbotron.
Also, I have developed a morbid curiosity to see Chris Sale spontaneously combust on the mound like he was a drummer from Spinal Tap.
Given that shoulder injuries are generally tougher to recover from than elbow injuries, are there any risk factors that you discuss in this article that are more likely to cause injury to the shoulder, or do the shoulder and elbow share the risk somewhat equally?
The Welington Castillo era begins! Whooooooooooooooooo!
Who is this Trout fellow? Has anybody else been called up this weekend?
Crap, did you have Mohamed El Sherbini on your fantasy team too? He's not going to be able to hit a decent rail shot for months.
John B. Wockenfuss: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckw7V7U2eMs
Bonus points for being able to read the entire 'Wockenfuss' on the back of his jersey when he took his stance.
The Tutor Russell Martin's Kid app would be helpful too:
I don't know if it will help saying this to you... some men in this world are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us... your father is one of them.
As an (un)official Johan Santana fan, I'm glad he is back on the mound and effective. Santana has never shown a large platoon split, owing to his changeup, so maybe that salt doesn't need to be used too liberally.
The real tragedy here, of course, is spending any part of opening day on Twitter.
Why do I feel like pouring out a 40 in honor of Matt Stairs?
you may be just sayin', but you do not have your facts straight at all. the "evidence" that vaccines contribute to autism has been debunked. vaccinations and autism are serious medical issues, and spreading misinformation is not helpful.
This is a perfectly reasonable point of view Dan, and you are correct that we don't "know" whether Jiminez drilled him on purpose....but I still feel reasonably certain that he did.
I just can't believe that he would have bounded off the mound as quickly as he did unless he was already primed for a confrontation. Even if Tulo had insulted his wife, his mother, and his dog, it would have taken him a moment to process the insult and get angry about it. He was halfway to home plate in no time flat.
I agree that the prohibition on linking to MLB.com content is bizarre. Does this mean that a player can't say "check out the 440-foot bomb I hit last night" and post a link to the video of the home run? That is a head-scratcher of a policy.
I do partially concede your point, but John Elway and Peyton Manning say hello.
The Cantina Band is my overwhelming favorite. I laughed so hard that I may have peed myself a little. You could even stick Greedo in there somewhere and he wouldn't look out of place.
Thanks for the PTSD flashback. Ah, Randy Smith, you rascal.
I also feel like Craig Paquette can build on his babip-fueled career year and justify that shiny new 2-year contract.
Knowing that Brandon McCarthy is saber-inclined does not make me a fan of Brandon McCarthy.
Saying things like "But at first, I just wanted to yell at people on the Internet." absolutely makes me a fan of Brandon McCarthy.
Nov. 2, 2011: "The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball announced that they have agreed today to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designed to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner, Frank McCourt."
If the owners are concerned that Moorad is or will be a penurious owner, wouldn't they be fools to vote for him under any circumstance? It isn't hard to imagine someone loosening the purse strings for 18 months, getting himself approved, then right back to pocketing profits.
Miguel Cabrera is going to give third base a try this year. Miguel Cabrera gained 60 pounds in the last three days. This can't possibly end well!
Not so fast there Joe. If there is one thing I've learned around here over the years, it is that Jaffe has a fantastic mustache. But if there are two things, it is that correlation does not equal causation. The current functionality of PFM does not provide sufficient evidence to determine whether or not derekdeg is in fact dumb.
(I kid, of course, Derek! Pecota release day always gets me all fired up.)
Agreed. Excel does have a workaround though. Insert a blank column to the right of the names, go to Data->Text to Columns, and check the 'space' button on the second menu screen. This will separate the first and last names into two separate columns.
IIRC, Jorge de la Rosa screws it up though. Best to add about 4 blank columns to the right of the names so there is space for the de, the la, and the Rosa.
That's because when I comment, I stick to the following themes:
1. Jeter plays terrible defense.
2. That Plaschke, he be crazy!
3. I like cake.
4. The comments rating system is un-American censorship! (Even though everyone can still read any "hidden" comment with a single mouse click, and most people seem to go out of their way to read those first.)
Maybe I should rethink that last one...
This is great and a little spooky too. I've got a couple of comments in there that were critical of others comments that I regret making (one douchy comment from me to amazinmess comes to mind, sorry about that one amazin!). Sometimes I miss the grand old days of the internet when you could download the entire collected works of Three Dog Night in total anonymity!
On the other hand, there are oodles of fun to be had here. I'm looking forward to checking how many times someone has used the word "Tango" in their comment to lend their comment more weight (sometimes quoting him properly and sometimes taking what he has previously written completely out of context).
Milton Bradley. While the rest of the world is still wondering why the Americans elected that guy who invented Yahtzee as their president, he will be getting results. "That Iranian dude said what?!? Get that mot*******er on the phone now!!"
Congratulations Mike, I've enjoyed your research and I'll miss it. I hope you enjoy poring through all the non-public hit f/x and field f/x data. Don't be afraid to let some of your research "accidentally" slip into the public domain!
Forgot to mention the part about "highest paid player was never really a good enough player to justify the contract he was given in the first place"
I am a Tigers fan. And while I'm looking forward to 2012, I find myself more focused on the sinking feeling that Astros 2011 = Tigers 2016. Bad boring team, no help coming from the farm system, highest paid player is a shell of his former self.
This signing looks like a classic example of sacrificing the future to improve the present, and while that approach does have merit sometimes, methinks this goes too far.
Looks like Dombrowski reads the comments section on Baseball Prospectus.....
Winner! The 'arbitary endpoints' argument has to be included. TADontAsk supplied the best comment received before noon on a Wednesday.
I like the fact that the NL and AL have different rules on the DH. I like the variety, and hope that MLB never chooses one or the other for both leagues.
And of course, I (inadvertently) write the last sentence in the second person, thereby implying that other people do this but I do not. I'm such an ass.
I love it! This has a better-than-average chance of becoming a meme.
I'm going to go home tonight, and when my wife asks me to fix the broken cabinet, I'm going to tell her that I might could do it. This could mayhap be a great idea!
Fantastic piece that is applicable to nearly every walk of life, not just baseball analysis. It seems to me that the people who tend to be most certain of the correctness of their statements are also the least-informed about the judgment they are making. After all, why educate yourself as to why an alternative viewpoint may have merit when your preconception is so obviously correct?
Will Quentin yield a draft pick in 2013? He's only had one season better than 2 wins, and that was 4 years ago. And now he is going to play the 2012 season at Death to Flying Things Park. With the new CBA in place next offseason, it seems unlikely that he'll get an offer that would place him in the top 125 paid players.
Doesn't anyone celebrate Festivus anymore?
Great piece of research Mike. I really appreciated the thoughtful evaluation of selection biases. As I was reading the article, I was thinking to myself "What about batter quality?" (oh, he addresses that in a minute) and "What about lineup position?" (oh, he addresses that too...)
Quick question that wasn't immediately clear to me: are foul balls included in your H+R total, or just plays with either a swing and miss or a ball in play?
My answer would be that signing Fielder would be the lowest-risk move they could make, but signing Darvish is potentially the highest reward. Given the current strength of their team, I think I'd have gone the low-risk route and signed Fielder.
Which makes me wonder just how much Boras is asking for; if Fielder is holding to a line somewhere around $200 million, I'd be going for Plan B also.
So, my answer would be Fielder, but if the demands are outrageous, then I can see why they went the Darvish route instead.
Prince Fielder at 6 years, $140 million
Yu Darvish at (say) 6 years, $110 million
CJ Wilson at 5 years, $77 million
Pop quiz for the BP community. Would you rather have:
The best part about this? I think you could have switched "speak" and "leak", and your sentence would have the same meaning.
I can't wait for the press conference. "I prayed on it, and I decided to leave the only team I've ever played for fresh off a World Series title. It wasn't for the extra $40 million. I don't really care about the $40 million. It was because God told me to."
The Red Sox placed him on waivers with 4 or 5 years to go on his contract and said to the entire league "here, take him". No one did. So yes, they did consider getting rid of him, even while he was still a productive hitter.
I'm not one of the rec.sport.baseball folks, but since at least 1998. It's been long enough that I honestly can't remember exactly when I first started reading BP. Actually, it may have been 1997, because I remember getting all cranked up that Pedro Martinez should win the Cy Young over Maddux or Neagle.
Anyway, random thought coming....Richard Bergstrom mentioned in a post a couple days ago about the exclusivity of content at BP right now. I'd like to point out that one of the things exclusive to BP is the comments section. I remember when the comments were first added, that I thought it would be a useless feature, because comments sections usually are.
But BP is different. I enjoy reading the comments because I do learn from them, be it about people discussing their favorite team in more detail than I could follow, debates about the merits of research articles, or diatrabes about the socialist-fascist nature of the comment rating system.
Since 1998 (or 1997, I really can't remember), BP has been like an oasis on the internet for me. Yes, for the baseball content, but also for the community. I feel like I could sit down at a bar and have a beer with Colin Wyers or KG, but also with dianagram or Richard Bergstrom or dodgerken.
So, please Richard, stick around. I would miss you around here. And I'd wager that you'd miss us too.
I'm going to check with my brother, who actually mentioned BABIP in a sentence a little while ago (he did so skeptically, and I nearly choked on a chicken bone nonetheless), and see if he would be interested in something like this.
I agree. I also can't wait for all the legal action in places like the Venezuela and the Dominican Republic to challenge this part of the CBA.
Presumably, Japan is unaffected, and the posting system will still apply there. Why is Japan treated differently?
I agree with you generally, but disagree on Leyland. Your 2011 Detroit Tigers lineup, listed in order from highest OBP to the lowest:
Jackson and his .317 batted leadoff all season (hey, he's fast!!), while Peralta and Avila populated 2 of the 3 spots at 6,7, and 8. All season.
Presumably, the manager of the year should go to the person who put his team in the best possible position to succeed. On lineup construction alone, Leyland shouldn't win the award.
Someone out in internet land is a huge Josh Collmenter fan.
Great work, Mike.
And Kudos to Sportvision for supplying the data. I understand they have a business to run, so I completely understand why Hit f/x is not publicly released. Hopefully a model like this could work where they provide back-data from previous years to the public.
Better to get to the party late than never get there at all. Even if Andrew Friedman already ate all the chips.
If Bell were a set-up man, teams might consider him overweight. But he is a closer, so his weight just makes him quirky.
Is the soundtrack available for purchase?
Is there a way I can +1 this comment twice, once for its spot-on analysis, and the other for using 'smurfed' as a verb?
I'm totally with this sentiment. I fell asleep on Game 6 after seven innings, thinking that a Royals-Astros interleague tilt in May would have provided a higher quality of play.
Then innings 8 through 11 happened. Whoops. I got all the terrible defense and none of the drama that night.
Two words: carrier pigeon.
Imagine all the broadcast gold from Buck and McCarver as TLR ties a note to one of the pigeon's legs. Does he want Motte to get loose? Is he ordering a rum and coke? Let's see if one of the cameras was able to zoom in and see what he was writing!!
Ogando was not a rookie in 2011. He was below the 50 IP threshold, which is why he shows up on the stat reports, but was on the MLB roster long enough in 2010 that he exceeded the service time requirement.
Everybody say it with me now....Comerica is not a pitcher's park. It would appear that Juan Gonzalez shaking his fist in anger at the distant left-field wall during the inaugural season has left a lasting impact on people's minds.
In the 11 years since they moved the bullpens to left field and brought that fence in 30 feet, the park factor from 2001-2011 has averaged 0.981. In the last 5 years, it has been:
2007 - 1.051
2008 - 1.072
2009 - 1.026
2010 - 0.981
2011 - 1.061
It is probably about as close to neutral as any park in the majors. It favors right-handed power since the fence came in, and the gaps are amenable to plenty of doubles and triples.
I say all this not to pick on you RJ (sorry if it is coming off like that). Because I've heard "Comerica is a pitcher's park" about 1,000 times in the last two weeks, and it's starting to become a bit of a crusade for me.
Done. That's at least one MVP vote for AJ Pierzynski.
Has Ivan Nova undergone any medical evaluation for the "mild right forearm strain". When he was removed from Game 5, I assumed that was Girardi's code for "I want to make this a bullpen game but don't want to have to explain myself to the media in case it goes badly." I haven't seen Nova sent to Birmingham yet, so I guess I'm still skeptical that there was really an injury.
Outstanding. I was wondering about Tim Welke's "usual" strike zone after last night's ALCS Game 1. Apparently the thimble was in use for one night only.
I think there is a big difference between the last game of the World Series and the last game of the ALDS, with potentially two more series to follow. If the Tigers were playing an NL club tonight instead of the Yankees, I betcha Verlander would be available.
I think the Avila's positioning was mainly due to the throw itself - he caught it just before it bounced a second time. If he lines up at home plate, the ball gets to him slower and he has to field an in-between hop.
Peralta? Yeah, not a good night. The one you refer to was a double-play ball, too.
The four decimal places, and the format in general, are a little tough on the eyes though. I think it would be helpful to overhaul the presentation format, and not just for this stat report.
As an example, when Jeff Euston's compensation data was added (another great addition!), once the ticker at the top of the page disappeared, it is a bear to try to find the information now.
I hate to use another website as an example (but Colin mentioned FanGraphs in the article so I think its OK), but a large part of the reason FanGraphs data is popular is because of the ease of navigation. Making custom reports is great, but I'd wager $1 that having easily navigable standard reports would result in more use.
I think RedsManRick really makes the key point here - by FIP, they were nearly equivalent this year, so the argument becomes how much credit/blame should they get for their BABIP. 0%? 100%? The truth, as usual, is probably somewhere in between.
I think the best argument for Sabathia is completely throwing out balls in play and judge them both solely on FIP. Personally, I think that argument goes too far. I do think Verlander generated a lot of weak contact this year, and I do think his skill as a pitcher took a step forward this year.
I agree that the difference between the two probably isn't as great as their ERA's would indicate. But, I do think there is still a sizable enough difference that the choice is clear.
Using your numbers listed above, Sabathia threw 52.3 more innings against over .500 teams....and allowed 36 more earned runs. That equates to a 6.19 ERA in those extra 52.3 innings.
I completely agree with Bill Johnson's comment. These numbers serve to strengthen the argument for Verlander, not Sabathia. (Not that the argument for Verlander needed strengthening.)
Most amazing story? Geoff has a wife that was willing to drive over 2,000 miles across the country to attend a hall of fame induction ceremony. And see a minor league baseball game on the way back. She is obviously a keeper.
The starting 3rd baseman is a vampire (why is he always out of the lineup on day games following night games anyway). And the mascot is actually a superhero, which is really convenient because the costume is a great disguise. This movie couldn't miss.
I'd like to echo the other commenters. Brilliant stuff.
The article actually makes me question whether or not I make the same mental adjustments while watching a game at home. If the catcher's head drops, am I more inclined to think the pitch was a ball? When I grumble about an umpire's strike zone, should I really have been grumbling about my home team's catcher all along?!?
Now I am questioning myself and having an existential crisis. Damn you, Mike Fast! I've seen too much!
The average MLB team plays about 14 extra-inning games per year (http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/5/21/2182516/have-we-been-seeing-less-extra-inning-games). Let's assume that a replacement-level mascot wins about 35% of their tie-breaker fights, and Anderson Silva wins about 95% of his - after all, the Phanatic is very crafty, and I hear that Detroit is going to replace their mascot with an actual Tiger. This would make Silva about an 8.5-win mascot. He should be getting paid A-Rod money.
Not sure why CRP's comment has left me obsessed for the last hour, but obviously it has.
I would like take this opportunity to introduce our new team mascot, Anderson Silva. In addition to his tie-breaking duties, he will also choke out random fans atop the home team dugout between innings.
I would reduce the length of time between half-innings by 30 seconds (one commercial), instantly making games 9 minutes quicker.
And I really would be commissioner for just one day because the owners would get together and give me the Fay Vincent treatment.
A team official of an MLB team claiming that his team is losing money is simply not a credible source.
Maybe it is true, maybe it isn't (the latter strikes me as more likely, especially assuming the Brewers make the playoffs and reap the associated revenue), but an MLB official telling a reporter that his team is losing money is less believable than Rafael Palmeiro at a congressional hearing.
Regarding the percentage of air balls in doubt, that actually seems about right to me. If we can take the sample of 155 air balls at face value, 11/155 is 7% of fly balls in doubt.
Let's take an excellent fielding CF (call him "Bourjos" for the purposes of this thought exercise), and assign him catches for all of the balls in doubt. Bourjos makes about 2.5 PO per 9 innings.
Now let's take a poor fielding CF (let's call him "Melky"), and give him no credit for the balls in doubt. Subtract 7% from 2.5, then Melky makes 2.3 PO per 9 innings. That is 29 extra catches from Bourjos over 162 games.
155 air balls is a relatively small sample (again using for 2.5 PO per 9 innings, that is about 60 games). Maybe the true percentage for balls in doubt is really 7%; maybe it is 8% or 9%. But 30 to 40 extra catches by an elite CF compared to a relatively poor CF sounds about right to me.
This is awesome. I don't know whether I am more impressed that (a) you were aware of the existence of this photo, or (b) that you were able to immediately recognize its relevance to a thread about champagne-swilling chickens.
I would LOVE to see a bunch of chickens pouring champagne over their heads! Can someone Photoshop this?
I can't believe Justin Timberlake -for- Kevin Federline did not make this list.
This is genius.
No one could possibly get upset with a person jumping onto the Frederick Keys bandwagon..."The Keys only win because their payroll is $800,000 every year!!"
No one is "censoring your views". People are objecting to your tone. And with good reason.
I would like to humbly nominate one of my most vivid childhood baseball memories, of a Tigers-Twins brawl from 1982 in which Tiger pitcher Dave Rozema delivered a flying karate kick. He missed. Badly. He tore up his knee, missed the rest of the season, and the next season he had to wear a knee brace roughly the size of Kansas.
The memory of the incident has been so enduring that a Tigers minor league affiliate actually had a "Dave Rozema Karate Kick Bobblehead Day" a couple of years ago to commemorate the incident. Sadly, I cannot find a video of it as it would appear MLBAM has been able to effectively scrub bootleg videos of the brawl from the internet.
However, Deadspin has a great article that describes the incident, as well as what a...what's the right word here....."character" that Dave Rozema was generally. If you are interested:
But dude, FRAA loves Linus. Have you seen Linus turn a 6-4-3 using his blanket as a slingshot to get a little extra heat on the throw to first? Poetry in motion.
Very enjoyable. Although I think Brandon Wood's grimace is because he looked up at the graphic in the top-left corner of the screen and saw that his team was behind 8-0.
I wonder if AA would have been able to absorb Teahen's salary to complete this trade had he not dumped Wells' contract this past offseason. That trade is the gift that keeps on giving. Tony Reagins is going to receive about 5 million Christmas cards this year with Ontario postmarks on them.
Then the police should be contacted immediately because someone has abducted Alex Anthopoulos.
I'm sure it isn't easy showing up to work every day and stay focused knowing that your supervisor hates you. I've got no idea how much of the friction there is self-inflicted, but it isn't surprising to me that given Rasmus' work environment that he would retreat to the safety of working with his dad.
Taking a page from Burr, I'd also like to post a set of my thoughts, without expectation that anyone needs to comment (or cares what I think).
1. Thanks to Richard Bergstrom for initiating a conversation that was informative and managed to be both passionate and respectful. He asked some questions that I think a lot of us had on our minds.
2. I agree with some of the other commenters here that the timing for the release of this article was poor. The timing served to link two events together (the decision for BP to discontinue their relationship with Matt Swartz and SIERA, and the decision for Fangraphs to pick them up) that didn’t need to be linked together.
3. Having stated number two, I found that Colin's analysis in the article was compelling, and my sabermetric man-crush on Colin continues unabated.
4. I always thought that a strength of SIERA was that it did not use a variable constant (I call it a "fudge factor") to adjust for run environment. Ideally, any run estimator does not need to be told what the run environment is; the run estimator should tell you. Now that SIERA v2 has a fudge factor, I find it less compelling. (Yes, I know that FIP uses one too, and it bothers me.)
5. As Colin mentions, if two of the coefficients in SIERA have switched their signs from v1 to v2, this calls into question whether the coefficients tell us anything real, or if they just force the hoped-for result to match the data. This also makes me find SIERA less compelling.
6. For me, FIP is most useful as a backward-looking barometer of what happened than a forward-looking estimator of future ERA. I know that Player X will never sustain that HR/FB percentage of 1.8 over the long term, but he did it this year, and that added real value to his team this year.
7. I look at ERA, FIP, xFIP, and SIERA myself trying to figure out who should replace Brett Anderson on my fantasy team, but I recognize that all of them need to come with a complementary shaker of salt. For predictive run estimators, it looks like the quest for the holy grail continues. And the quest is enjoyable to read about and discuss.
The article (at least what I'm reading, maybe it's been edited) stated that the weighting has been changed to avoid reducing the impact of 2009-2010, not achieve a reduction of impact. Would be clearer if it stated "that previously reduced" instead of "that reduced", but I think you and Ben are making the same point.
Diana, believe me when I tell you that none of the guys here want to make a joke about a 4 1/2 inch screw.
Seconded. There is something both shameful and gratifying in watching someone on your HACKING MASS team ground out feebly to the second baseman.
No worries amazin. And also for the record, I've noticed you are a fairly regular commenter, and I for one think your comments are on balance helpful in promoting a discussion.
In this instance, I thought you were stifling the discussion by being too insistent on a narrow range of possibilities for Pujols' recovery time (and what hasn't really been discussed yet is that we may all learn after a 3-for-35 week that he came back too soon).
I'm not innocent here - I can speak with certainty about things when I really shouldn't with the best of 'em. Something I'm working on, and thanks for indulging me in asking you to join me.
The Bertrand Russell quote (a personal favorite of mine) was a bit cryptic, so I will elaborate. Have you noticed that your posts that begin with "my opinion is..." or "my personal take is..." don't have minuses on the comments, but the ones that say "either it was broken or he's on HGH, and no one can convince me otherwise" have more minuses than a 3rd grade math class?
Your comments aren't getting minused because you brought up HGH. Your comments are getting minused because you are presenting an opinion and phrasing it as some sort of fact. You can believe the arm was never broken. You can believe that Pujols is on HGH. I really don't care. Just don't tell everyone else that those are the only two possibilities because you have decreed it to be so.
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
-- Bertrand Russell
My opinion is that stating that Young magically turned into Garza is the part of this conversation that is missing the point. How many other teams would have had the balls to trade their 1st overall pick after one season in the majors (and a guy universally seen at the time as a perennial .300 hitter in the making) for a 3rd starter?
Your statement about MoGreen being something of a wang, however, is spot-on.
Thanks for this Q&A session, I thought it was great.
I would like to take the other side of the argument with one statement you made regarding your hope that sabermetrics never catches on with mainstream. Personally, I would love for it to happen, although I recognize it never will.
Here's why: "sabermetric principles", for lack of a better phrase, have changed the way I think about not just baseball, but critical thinking in general. Throughout all walks of life, summary opinions are thrown about all the time with no evidence to back them up (just watch any programming relating to political news/opinion or the stock market).
My interest in sabermetrics has led me to personally make an effort to make arguments based on evidence and fact, not opinion. This applies to baseball...it also applies to nearly everything else. So I say, let sabermetrics spread like wildfire to the masses. Can't happen fast enough.
Sadly, my wife abhors shoe shopping (it's like watching the woman from The Princess and the Pea try to pick out a comfortable mattress), so I'm back to square one.
I was hoping that it had something to do with the bedtime stories and leashes that Tom referred to in his original post, but I guess those are just for the kid and the dog.
With respect Jay, I for one absolutely consider Paul O'Neill and early-career Kevin Youkilis (he's gotten much better) to have routinely behaved with a lack of class on the field. I dislike watching that self-aggrandizing I AM REALLY ANGRY RIGHT NOW bullsh*t just as much as watching someone preen after hitting a home run in a 10-1 ballgame.
Your larger point that one moment of indiscretion from Posada does not outweigh 15 years of being a solid teammate is well-taken.
If that is what Hughes has, that is a pretty grim set of comparables.
I'm a Tigers fan, and count me in the "rooting for D-Train" column. Not his fault that Dombrowski took a bad risk and handed him $30M.
Somewhere in the MLB offices in New York, an intern is cleaning coffee from a computer screen after Bud Selig read this article and did a spit-take.
I shall henceforth nickname Russ Ortiz "-7 degrees"
How could you forget
Charlie Sheen is still alive?
I CAN'T PROCESS IT!
The only two people that Frank McCourt is going to pay $300 million over the next 10 years are his divorce lawyer and his ex-wife.
"Over-educated? Is that even possible?"
Fo shizzle, Patrick. None other than the Doggfather himself taught me, "Study long, study wrong."
In a downloadable spreadsheet with a weighted mean forecast for each player.
What especially surprises me about Meche's decision is that there is an argument to be made that his shoulder problems are the direct result of how he was handled by his employers.
+1 to Trader Bob.
"Thor has a few things that we would like him to work on, improve his routes to fly balls, recognize the breaking ball, stuff like that. He's got a bright future and if he progresses like we expect, he should be with the big club by the summer."
Maybe Collins will bring a different temperament to the job than he did 10 years ago, but when he uses phrases like "my reign here", color me skeptical. I don't see this ending well.
I never really thought of it before, but now I find myself wishing that Lincecum and Greinke were in the same rotation. That would have been an awesome pairing - during the offseason, they could have even filmed a buddy-cop movie called "Smoke and Mirrors".
How about the Frank Thomas award for the player whose offensive suffered the most when playing DH instead of playing the field. I suspect Pat Burrell may be the lucky winner of the 2010 award.
Setting aside what the exact quote was, the Mets should care not at all about how the GM that they hire will be perceived. They should care about who will do the job best. Maybe that person is Alderson, maybe it isn't, but how he would be perceived shouldn't enter the equation.
I really think that for Colin's first article at BP, I should have been offered the choice between taking a red pill or a blue pill.
It's "her" not "him". (dianagramr, I got your back!)
Just wanted to say that I have really enjoyed the Reintroducing PECOTA series of articles on several levels, including the clarity about the system that the articles have provided, the discussion that the articles have spawned, and (not least) the amount of effort that has gone into revamping the system to make it better. I think most would agree that 2009 and 2010 were not exactly banner years for the system; these articles have restored my confidence that the 2011 PECOTAs will be what I've come to expect and enjoy. Great work Colin.
Sample size question: how many of a particular type of injury do you require before deciding that an observed difference in the statistics is significant?
Phrased another way, how does the system decide whether a third baseman that takes a grounder off the family jewels is or is not due for a breakout the following year?
Thanks. The apology was because I think my first comment came across as unappreciative of your work (which I think is brilliant, BTW).
The point I was trying to make is that I don't want to discourage marketing of advanced analysis. I get tired of explaining to every Tiger fan I know that Austin Jackson is more likely to hit .260 next year than hit .300 again. And have them look at me like I'm nuts.
So I get frustrated when I see any discord among the sabermetric community (real or imagined by me). Because I'd like to see everyone tugging on the same rope and getting the word out. My introduction to sabermetrics went a little something like Rob Neyer-->Baseball Prospectus-->Hardball Times-->Bill James (yes, he came 4th to me)-->Tom Tango-->Fangraphs. I had to get started somewhere, and for me it was ESPN.com in 1998.
If it takes a person reading the BP2010 annual for the first time another three years to realize that Chone, Pecota, and Marcel all tell a pretty similar story, that's OK with me - at least they are reading a part of the story and hopefully their curiosity is peaked to read further.
I guess I'm saying that even if the marketing is imperfect, at least the marketing is happening. I think in the long run it benefits the entire sabermetric community, not just BP. I view this as a good thing.
(And now I'll be quiet.)
Thanks for the explanation, the updates make perfect sense. Is play-by-play data for the minor leagues an issue? I'm wondering if projecting batting average for minor league players (and rookies) will essentially be done as before because PBP data isn't available.
Well, first off, let me say that I'm sorry for the snarky comment. I just can't resist an opportunity to quote Kenny Bania.
I guess that I am just bemused by the amount of invective that the "deadly accurate" marketing slogan has generated. The purpose of a marketing slogan is to generate interest in your product. The cover of the annual isn't designed to attract buyers from the sabermetric community, it's designed to generate interest from the public at large.
My sense is that others doing great analysis have landed on the "deadly accurate" thing as a slight on their work. If that is the case, I have to disagree. The slogan exists to promote BP's product (and it isn't like they were selling snake oil). I don't see any obligation to compare their product to completing products, or to even acknowledge that there are competing products.
I'm all for accountability, and I salute Colin's efforts in this regard. But .
I can see the conversation now:
Publisher: "How should we describe this PECOTA thingamajig of yours?"
Goldman: "Possibly Above-Average, and Possibly Below Marcel"
Publisher: "Nah, too long, it won't fit on the cover of the book. Anything else?"
Goldman: "Uh, how about deadly accurate?"
Publisher: "I like it! That's gold!"
I agree that the argument that Felix has faced lesser competition falls apart upon investigation. The leading run scoring team in the AL is the Yankees. Felix has started against them 3 times (and dominated them each time). Obviously, CC has started against the Yankees 0 times.
Would also pull in players hitting arbitration and approaching free agency, which defeats the purpose of showcasing the quality of the young (read: cost-controlled) talent in an organization.
Personally, I rather enjoy reading that my favorite team's 4-star prospect once birthed a gorilla in the Congo with The Most Interesting Man in the World.
I'll grant that it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I say keep 'em coming.
Unless that monument was commissioned over a year ago, I'm pretty sure George didn't have a whole lot to do with the size of it.
I'm not sure when it happened, but my opinion on Steinbrenner softened up over the years. Not sure if it was the Seinfeld parody, watching him finally back off and let Cashman do his job, or watching the Nuttings and the Lorias of MLB take revenue sharing money and stuff it in their pockets instead of improving their ballclub. Whatever it was, I'll remember him more for his passion for winning than I'll remember his passion for hiring and firing Billy Martin.
So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*
Well, Jose Rijo had five. I'd imagine that as long as there is an ample supply of cadaver tendons, there isn't a theoretical limit.
This article talks about multiple TJs: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2007-07-18-tommy-john_N.htm
(I'm not a Will Carroll, but I play one on the internet.)
Hawk Harrelson flies by that number in the 3rd inning.
I love this analogy.
Welcome back, Will? What's everyone talking about? And Strasburg is hurt? What??? Live under a rock for two weeks, and all hell breaks loose.
(Just kidding. Welcome back Will, you've been missed.)
As Shawn pointed out in the article, revenue sharing and public funding for stadiums are two separate issues. And if the revenue sharing allows the Pirates and Marlins to turn a profit disproportionate to their success, it isn't a big news story to me. I couldn't care much less about how the owners decide to pass money around amongst themselves.
Set aside revenue sharing altogether for a second. MLB distributes around $1.2B a year to the 30 teams. If MLB set aside 10-15% of that for a stadium fund, that would be $120-180M a year. Whenever a team wants a new stadium, they have to petition MLB for the stadium funds, not their local idiot politicians. Then eams have to kick in 25-50% of the funding themselves. A new stadium could be built every 3 years or so, entirely self-financed by MLB and their member clubs.
What bothers me isn't the revenue sharing, it's the public funding for stadiums. If nothing else comes of these financial statements being released, hopefully it will forever dispel the notion that teams need public financing of stadiums to "compete"...about 20 stadiums too late, but better late than never I guess.
I hesitate to wade into this with speculation, but here I go anyway I guess...I wonder if the ongoing radio silence is because whatever has been going on is as yet unresolved. For my part, I will just sit tight and worry until I hear something more definitive.
I'm of the opinion that Will is as irreplaceable in his own way as Nate Silver was in his. Will has developed an injury database and a network of contacts over the course of several years, and I don't believe that another writer could step in and provide the same quality of content.
I'd miss the hell out of his articles, and I'd also miss the personality he injected into them. At least the man isn't afraid to put an opinion out there, even when he knew he would probably catch sh*t for it on occasion. I'm hoping that the relationship isn't broken, and that the two parties can work this out.
Short of letting a hard-sloting system exist and play itself out for a few years, there is no way to present hard evidence that athletes would choose other sports, but we do have a few data points. Consider the signing bonuses that some athletes have received when they have had two-sport leverage...Drew Henson (whoops!), Jeff Samardzija (whoops again!), etc. If Samardzija wasn't given $10M, he's playing wide receiver right now.
You may say, so what, those two guys didn't pan out. Well, what if MLB missed out on the next Dave Winfield? Kenny Lofton? Tom Glavine? Jason Heyward, who would make a kick-ass tight end? Maybe you are right that a hard-slotting system would only push a handful of athletes to other sports, but it would be the most gifted athletes.
The Astros actually got more back than I thought they would, considering that Oswalt had a no-trade clause which undermined their negotiating leverage. Houston's largest mistakes were made long before today.
Great piece (again). Every time I see 'Colin Wyers' on the main page nowadays, I make a beeline for that article.
A commonly-referenced rule of thumb for the other defensive metrics out there is that three seasons worth of data are required before a person can start to draw some meaningful conclusions. As you stated in the article, estimates should improve over time using this approach. Would you consider three years to be a reasonable timeframe to start drawing meaningful conclusions?
And don't forget that Fred Wilpon lost a ton of cash to Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme.
It seems very likely that Wilpon would use profits from one of his businesses to make up for losses in another. That's what I do every time I lose $300 million.
Out of the 20 names mentioned in the article, 5 of them are in the Royals organization. Perhaps it is time to stop making fun of Dayton Moore.
Will Pedroia be put out to stud, or are they going to have to put him down?
I think the 24-hour news cycle contributes more to humorless, canned answers than anything else. People are a lot less inclined to provide an off-color answer to a question when they realize that any inappropriate comment can be plastered all over the internet, ESPN, and FSN within half an hour.
If I can take a stab at answering, the theory is that the main components of SIERA (K rate, BB rate, GB%) tend to stabilize quickly. I don't believe this was explicitly stated in Matt's Introducing SIERA series of articles, but it was at least mentioned in the comments:
Last post from, I promise...sorry to all who aren't interested. It would appear based on your posts that you have missed my point. If I was unclear because I was too concerned about being snarky, I apologize.
My point was not and is not to question how well you know SB1070. This ain't the forum. My point is that based on a two-line quotation provided without context, we cannot know how well-read Cesar Izturis is, and it is unfair of you to presume that you do.
I'm sure baseball players are all busy guys. But they do travel extensively for six months, and spend six weeks at spring training, and usually do these things without traveling with their family and the obligations that go with it. Sure, some of them probably play cards and play more rounds of golf in six weeks than I could hope to squeeze in over six years. But, some of them may actually read a newspaper once in a while too.
You state that you don't think it's an unreasonable assumption. I do. I find your statement that "the vast majority of people offer their opinions on subjects that they know very little about" to be exceedingly arrogant.
Immigration, health care, stats vs. scouts....the level of discourse over these and other issues will never improve if everyone assumes that anyone taking an opposing viewpoint just doesn't have any idea what they are talking about. If you consider this an attack, if my tone seems huffy, then I'm sorry, that isn't my intent. My intent is that we all make an effort to listen to each other once in a while.
I'm not going to wade into whether I think the law is good policy or not, but you are arguing that those three may be issuing an ill-informed opinion with no evidence to back it up....by issuing your own ill-informed opinion with no evidence to back it up.
While I appreciate the effort at math, two outfield umps would absolutely not cost fans an extra nickel per game. It would cost each team the $1,481.48 per game. Ticket prices are set to maximize revenue for the team, not to offset expenses.
I'd give the money to charity. I'm just obsessed with trying to win that framed photo of Bud Selig.
I'm speculating, but I would guess that given his high profile, the MLBPA might take up his cause and file a grievance if that happened. I believe he is a MLBPA member already because he signed a major league contract.
And if the MLBPA picked up the torch for Strasburg, it may open a pandora's box for every Weiters, McCutchen, or Hanson who decided that he's had enough of the minors and wanted to complain that his parent club was gaming his service time.
Lost a tiebreaker?!? So, essentially whether or not Adam Jones makes an extra $3 million this year came down to a coin flip? I am stunned that the Super Two rules work that way.
Another (admittedly minor) factor at work here is probably quality of competition. It's relatively easier to have a 7-for-12 streak going during a series against the Nationals, only to have the "hot hand" cool off because the Giants came into town and Lincecum-Cain-Sanchez are the scheduled starters. Can't for the life of me figure out why a 2-for-13 followed the hot streak.
The troops fighting don't get to make that decision. They just get to put their asses on the line every day.
I just want to know if Juan Pierre is OK.
+1 for the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog reference. I'm not even going to poop on the +1.
Pecota uses the last 3 years of a player's data when compiling a projection. Labeling a pitcher as a starter or a swing pitcher is not done by hand.
Dempster was a full-time reliever in 2007. Greinke was a part-time reliever in 2007. Hence, the "Swing" tag.
Just change one letter. THG = Team Health Gauge.
OK, so some people may associate that with tetrahydrogestrinone! You could even make repeated bad puns to healthy teams or players being in "the clear".
Hit f/x. As the data becomes available, be at the forefront of analysis. My impression is that these data will allow more detailed analysis of what makes a hitter successful, and should also greatly advance defensive metrics. I'd toss in an extra $10-20 a year.
What's the risk? Carlos Silva was already a sunk cost. If Bradley doesn't work out, the Mariners just cut him loose and they are no worse off than they were before the trade.
The most interesting facet to me is the Giants offer of $8 million. If the Giants submit $10 million, they could play the "Ryan Howard won ROY and MVP awards, and he only got $10 million" card. I can't help but feel that Sabean made a mistake with his number. If I were Lincecum, I'd let it go to the panel unless the Giants came up to at least $11.5.
$13.4. And he'll get it.
When I think of players who could single-handedly vault a team into contention, I will now think of...Jose Valverde.
I would find a series of articles or roundtable on the various defensive metrics interesting - where they obtain their data (BIS, gameday), how the data is interpreted, why the different metrics can occasionally diverge significantly, etc.
Or, just a preview of the coming of Hit f/x. When you expect it to be available, what you plan on doing with it, and how it has the potential to make all of the other metrics obsolete.
The issue isn't that people on this website don't have a sense of humor, the issue is that sarcasm is nearly impossible to project in a short typewritten comment.
For instance, if I said "Melvin Nieves was one hell of a ballplayer", you probably have no idea if I thought Melvin Nieves was great or if I'm joking. (For the record, I'm not joking...Melvin Nieves was awesome.)
Agree with MightyMoGreen above...while I do appreciate the passion and sincerity evident throughout this comment thread (seriously...I've been riveted, I think its been great), I feel its important to remember two things.
First, that Joe leaving BP and new authors/statisticians joining BP are not necessarily intertwined events. Just because they are both happening around the same time does not mean that one decision caused the other.
Second, we haven't seen the changes yet. Kevin has stated that he believes we'll be impressed. It may not be a very BP-like thing to say, but I for one am willing to take him at his word. He and others have earned that level of trust from me over the last 12 years.
Rather than just take KG's word for it though, for what it is worth to people, here is a post from Tom Tang
o on the recent additions to the BP lineup:
"I love PizzaCutter as much as a virtual saberist can love another virtual saberist. Colin is great and I knew that Jeff was a perfect match for someone (BPro, B-R, or Fangraphs), and Idol or no Idol, it was a given that both these guys would make it to BPro if that’s what either wanted. Tommy is great and is a cross of Neyer and Phil. Eric has been excellent wherever he was. This is about as good as a Tango-approved team that BPro could have brought on board." (http://www.insidethebook.com/, blog post Jan 4. 10:43 am)
Now, my impression of Tango is that he is unafraid to be critical of front offices, other saberists, farm animals, and little old ladies if he feels that the criticism is warranted. So for him to endorse the new authors means something to me.
Joe, best of luck in the future and thanks for many years of enjoyable reading. In reading through the previous comments, my sense is that many people here feel the same way that I do, which is that we're losing a bit more than a regular article about baseball, we're also going to miss the company of a friend that we've come to enjoy.
There's been a bit of chatter about people's subscriptions also. My two cents are that while I will miss Joe, that is no good reason to deprive myself of the writing of KG, CK, Will, Eric Seidman, and others. Thanks for the reminder about the subscription, mine is coming due soon. I'm renewing today.
Whoa! Your comment linked to a player named Randy Brown. I had no idea that I had a namesake who played in the majors.
Replacement level. I guess in this case, the stats match up with my wife's scouting report.
How about a chapter devoted to athletes from the 50s through the 80s that had careers altered or cut short by injury, and how modern techniques could have saved their careers? I thinking people like Gale Sayers, Billy Sims, Sandy Koufax (maybe), etc.
Derek Lowe got it.
Why do you even bother posting? Take this garbage back to talk radio where it belongs. Actually, it doesn't even belong there.
I'll admit to taking the message board here a bit more personally than I should. It is an oasis of well-thought out, reasoned arguments. You consistently lower the bar, and it frustrates me. Please, stop.
That's interesting, thanks for sharing it. I could have called into that radio show and taken each side of the argument - the intellectual fan in me knows it was a solid trade, but the emotional fan in me is crushed. I'm going to miss CG28 in a Tigers uniform.
My vote is for the Giants. Kung Fu Panda can play 1B, 3B, and a little catcher, and every other position player can be replaced.
Bill, I agree with everything you say...I just don't see how it changes the conclusion any. The Cardinals signed Carpenter to a 5-year contract, and 2 of the first 3 years have been lost to injury. While recognizing that the Cardinals may be willing to sign riskier players, I can't see how one healthy year out of three can be classified as the risk paying off in Carpenter's case.
I don't see how the Carpenter data point can be counted as a success, unless you start counting his data point at April 2009. And as Will made clear in the article, 3-year and 5-year averages are a factor.
How does Carpenter having the shoulder injury in the first place *enhance* the Cards' case to win this award? Getting a player back to form after an injury is great work. Keeping the injury from happening in the first place would be even better.
I forgot to mention: the train would also be an awesome place to hide your, uh, oregano.
To differentiate the awards from the BBWAA awards, how about renaming them?
Instead of the Cy Young, maybe call it the Walter Johnson. That way, Tim Lincecum just won his 2nd consecutive Big Train. You could even give him an actual train for the award.
Instead of MVP, let's use the obvious person to name it after: Wally Backman.
"...Loria would likely let him go in exchange for cash considerations." I laughed out loud when I read this. Remind me, were you talking about Fredi Gonzalez or Loria's firstborn son?
When the Cubs win? C'mon Richard, now you're just talking crazy.
(I kid! I kid!)
Thank you, Tank, for a well-reasoned post. I couldn't agree more.
I used to grouse about Yankees fans myself until I got to be good friends with one, and I got to appreciate how much the guy just liked baseball. It was like in American History X when Edward Norton's character made friends with a black guy and the scales fell from his eyes about appreciating an individual instead of vilifying and entire class of people.
No doubt there are Yankees fans who are insufferable jerks, but there are also great Yankees fans too. And guess what? The same statement applies to each and every one of the 29 other teams. I'd guess that even for the two Marlins fans, one is a nice guy and the other is a chump.
One of my favorite things about this website is that most of the writing and readers' posts are well-reasoned and respectful (not all, but really, an astoundingly high percentage for an internet-based medium). Calling an entire group of people a bunch of jerks is easy; getting to know and evaluate individuals within that group is harder. Don't take the easy way. Congrats, Yankees fans.
My recollection of the 2009 WS will be Joe Buck reading FOX programming promos in a disinterested monotone voice.
And Black Taco.
By win expectancy, Matsui was in fact the most valuable player (for either team) in the series by a fair margin (he had a cumulative +0.6, and ARod was next with around +0.33; Utley had +0.21).
You can debate the merits of win expectancy, especially because it doesn't consider defense so Matsui isn't penalized for DHing, but it is a data point in his favor.
Lyford, you beat me to it.
In addition to ERA considerations, I'll add that the cumulative playoff record of the Yankees and Astros during the years Pettitte was on their team is 78-51 (.605). The winning percentage with Pettitte on the bump? 23-15 (.605).
I'm willing to consider the concept that playoff performance matters somewhat to the HOF case, but if Pettitte is in, then Jimmy Key, El Duque, and David Wells are in too. Much as I'd love to hear Boomer's HOF speech, I don't think they merit election.
Thanks for the look under the hood. I enjoyed the insight on how the sausage was made.
99: I humbly submit that it was Pedro Martinez who got shafted for MVP, not Derek Jeter. Ditto for 2000.
I was wondering the same thing. It's not hard to envision a groundswell of support for giving Rivera a Lifetime Achievement Award. Heck, we've already seen Wakefield selected for the all-star team this year.
In fact, if a couple of prominent writers decide to pick up the Rivera-for-Cy-Young torch, I'd guess he'd be at worst a 2:1 underdog.
...and as we all know, nothing is more predictive of future performance than querying a pitcher's BABIP over a 9-day stretch in June. I love me some small time segments.
Look, BP is a great website for baseball content. Fangraphs is a great website for baseball content. There is no need to disparage one's efforts to elevate the other's.
Great article Kevin, I'm looking forward to the follow-on articles.
On a side note, although it wasn't meant to be a funny line, I laughed out loud when I read this: "the draft simply isn't fulfilling it's primary purpose, a balancing of talent." I got a vivid mental image of a certain Prospectus Today writer doing a spit-take when he read that line.
Next time someone wants to accuse BP writers of "group-think", please remember this line, and revert to accusing them of hating your favorite team!
Speaking as a Tigers fan...I think this is a very good move for the White Sox (and given the relative prices paid, I think it's a better move for them than the Peavy deal). Why the single-minded focus on only his 2009 stats? The guy has .280-.290 level EQAs the 3 years prior. He fills a void in centerfield and he's got a skill set that ages well.
What, exactly, do you suppose that GMs around the league are going to trade to the Mets for a guy with a $17MM a year contract and a chronic knee condition?
As a primer, this will help: http://www.insidethebook.com/woba.shtml
I would argue that FIP isn't "flawed" necessarily, just that it is more descriptive than prescriptive. Maybe Pitcher X has given up home runs on 3% of his fly balls in 2009, and in 2010 and beyond that won't last, but for the games already played in 2009 those lack of home runs allowed are real and do matter. FIP is a good statistic as long as everyone keeps in mind that it is a record of past pitcher performance rather than a prediction of future pitcher performance.
I like this suggestion as well.
FYI, these teams were ordered for this article according to Joe's preseason rankings, not necessarily where he currently ranks them. Check the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph for hyperlinks.
Hear, hear. In reading your previous article highlighting the first half UZR and +/- values at each position, I was struck by how wide a variance is still in the defensive metrics and how much more there is to learn.
It's nearly as enjoyable reading about the efforts being put into the data collection as I anticipate that it will be to see the results as they become available.
The mechanics are the same as previous weeks, you can vote for as many or as few as you like. Personally, I'm trying to commit to just voting for one, but I've been agonizing about it for awhile now and I'm no closer to deciding than I was an hour ago.
Read this article. If you want BP (or pretty much any other entity) to stick to their main "focus" and never evolve or grow, well, I guess I just don't know what to tell you.
Assuming the transcriber makes a faithful effort, I really don't buy the premise that he/she can introduce a bias in any substantial way. But for argument's sake, let's explore the studio space on that one for a moment.
First, I don't see why it is material whether or not the transcriber is on the payroll of BP. If the transcriber can exhibit bias, it can come from an internal transcriber just as easily as an external one.
Secondly, Richard has been here for seven weeks now. If "bias" has crept into the transcripts, I'd rather know what that person's biases are. Richard's opinions have been there for everyone to read. Personally, I have every confidence that Richard made a good-faith effort.
Thirdly, if anyone is concerned about the quality of the transcript, there is an audio clip there. I'm sure a near-universal majority of people will use the clips and not the transcript to make their decision.
...and Brian instantly morphs from BP Idol finalist to most insightful commenter.
Seconded on Brian's article idea. I think the contest has given all of us a general sense of each person's main strengths and interests, but I think it would add something to let them describe it in their own words.
I agree with Dr. Dave's comment that the article was a bit all over the place...but the thing is, I really enjoyed the hell out of it. In the hands of a less entertaining writer, the bouncing from topic to topic would be distracting, but Ken makes it an entertaining read.
And normally, I don't click through hyperlinked text too often, but I've learned that Ken's are often hilarious. As soon as I get to work tomorrow, I'm printing off that picture of Charles Nelson Riley and Richard Dawson and hanging it next to this picture: http://www.users.on.net/~mnelson/coleman_hasselhoff.jpg.
Thumbs up from me.
Young players get paid pennies on the dollar in part because the veteran players are just fine with the arrangement. Look no further than the NBA, whose union members pushed for a rookie salary cap.
I think your analogy is brilliant. I guess where we disagree is on the union's responsibility. You are damn right that I want a truck driver with a drinking problem to lose his job.
A union has a responsibility to protect all its members. By shielding non-performers (or PED users) from responsibility for their non-performance (or PED use), that person is allowed to continue hurting himself, his company, and his fellow employees. By protecting the one, and one who needs to be taken off the road immediately before he kills someone, the whole is weakened. I'd rather have the union members be strong as a whole than littered with non-performers.
Will, for basketball players, I believe the consensus is that the longer rehab time after microfracture surgery (12-15 months), the better chance of returning to form. What is the rehab time for baseball players, given the different required skill set?
For my part, it is not that I want you to stop commenting. Just not so much. My opinion is that the sheer volume of your comments has often detracted from advancing a conversation instead of promoting it. Relevant or insightful comments (from you and from others) sometimes simply get lost in the torrent of words. Let someone else get the last word in once in a while, and every little thing is gonna be all right.
I feel like a bit of a jackass already for acting like the BP Idol chatroom police this evening, so I'll be quiet now. Just my two cents.
any thought to adding an "Ignore User" interface to the comments? or as it would henceforth come to be known, the "Richard Bergstrom Button"?
"in the 2002 and 2003 seasons, 75 of the almost 700 pitchers who appeared in the majors were Tommy John surgery survivors."
What is this rate today? It seems that TJ surgery is less prevalent than it was 8-10 years ago. Are training techniques becoming more effective in preventing UCL injuries in the first place?
Ah, thanks for the flashback. I too enjoyed the days of the Fat P***y Toad.
Most surprising thing:
In the bleachers section of Tiger Stadium in 1993, I attended a game and there were 4 Toronto fans that had made the trip and were sitting together. Everyone was talking trash, and they were giving it back. One of the Toronto guys says that the Canadiens were cup champs, Blue Jays were WS champs, all the championships were in Canada.
So someone in the bleachers yells "Aren't the Canadiens in Quebec? They don't even want to be part of Canada!" At which point, several hundred people participate in a spontaneous chant of "Free Quebec Now!" in the bleachers. I'm still laughing to myself typing about it 15 years later.
Guilty pleasure player:
Melvin Nieves (and 2nd place isn't close). Between the 450-foot bombs, the 100 strikeouts between them, and the laser throws from the outfield into the fifth row behind 3rd base, I loved this guy. My dad even called me once to ask me if I saw that "my boy Melvin" just hit a home run.
Methinks you prove my point without intending to. MLB invests in the Dominican because there is a financial incentive for them to develop and acquire players. MLB is investing in the WBC and China to expand their viewership, and thereby expand their revenue base. They have a financial incentive to do these things.
I'm pretty sure most girls in the United States are already familiar with this "baseball" that we speak of. I've even seen some at the ballpark a couple of times. I'm sure if a woman were to reach the majors, it would certainly be a story of interest for awhile, and MLB would get a temporary bump in revenue. Ultimately, it wouldn't significantly effect the talent base of the game, and it wouldn't effect revenues.
One aspect to women playing baseball that I haven't seen anyone mention yet: finite financial resources.
I'd love to let everyone retire at 35 and collect social security for the next 50 years, but collectively we can't afford it. It's also financially prohibitive to get a baseball infrastructure for women off the ground.
Even the optimistic view of success seems to hope for women who could succeed as situational relief specialists or speedy fifth outfielders. It's unrealistic to ask various government entities or MLB clubs to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to establish a baseball infrastructure for women, when the potential return on investment just isn't there.
While I concede the point that wOBA and EqA essentially tell the same story, I think that using wOBA in this article serves as a distraction.
If I'm giving a presentation in Paris, I'm going to speak in French. Sure, English and French accomplish the same objective, and if I used English, most of my audience would still understand what I'm saying. However, if one is attempting to explain a concept to people, it's best explained in terms that are familiar to the audience.
Minor quibble though; strong effort.
I think you have to give the man credit for being ready when the opportunity presented itself. After playing every day for years and suddenly finding themselves playing once a week, I would imagine a lot of players wouldn't have themselves in proper game condition (mentally or physically). Pierre dialed it up to 11 from the first day of the suspension.
Three things I enjoyed about this article:
1) It was written by a Spartan. Woo-woo!
2) It made a reference to Derek Jeter. No introductory sabermetric article is complete without mentioning how it relates to Derek Jeter, just to stir the pot.
3) (and most important) It made me think. It provided a pretty convincing argument for a counter-intuitive concept; namely, that if a player wants to hit more home runs, he may be better served by trying to focus on hitting the ball in the air less often, not more.
A positive aspect to this article was that it went beyond merely describing a particular statistic, and produced data that explained why it "works" and why I should care about it.
I would have liked a bit of analysis regarding how good FIP does predicting ERA. (Maybe it in one of the links, but hey, I'm trying to catch up here.)
Obviously the Nolasco and Cain examples were intentionally chosen as extreme examples. However, a first-time reader may look at a pitcher's ERA of 7.78 and a FIP of 4.31 and think to themselves that maybe the disparity isn't the result of luck or bad defense, but merely the failure of the statistic to properly measure pitcher performance.
So, I thought the article would be helped by an analysis of the statistics ability to (in the aggregate) accurately describe and predict a pitcher's ERA. This could be as simple as average, standard deviation, etc. sort of statistics.
As soon as I hit 'send', I stop and think "I wonder if the Tigers are playing a day game today." Sure enough, they are, and Jackson threw 132 pitches. I'm sorry for not doing my due diligence before posting.
I will say that (1) this is a post about Peavy, and (2) Leyland's track record with protecting pitchers with the Tigers has been pretty good, so I'm willing to believe he knows what he's doing.
Is this an intentionally stupid comment meant solely to rile people up? Firstly, this is a post about Jake Peavy; there is no need to hijacking it to make random comments. Secondly, Jackson has made ONE START this year in excess of 105 pitches. I'm embarrassed for you.
Ha! But if you postpone sex, thereby attempting to both read baseball analysis and get some (the best possible outcome), do you trust your partner to still be primed for action after you are done reading your article? If you put her off, would she be less enthusiastic in the sack? Would she "deny" altogether?
It seems to me that the potential gain of reading the article is not worth the potential loss involved here. Particularly if we're talking about a Strasburg-like talent that has a 60-70 chest and scores 80 on the freaky scale.
Actually, Joe's stated position on the all-star game voting is that he prefers to select players who have been outstanding over a number of years, instead of voting for mediocre players who have had a hot April and May. So I'd wager that he is cool with the early balloting.
My own preference on all-star game voting is similar to Joe's, but my criteria is "which player would I rather have on my team going forward?"
It's also possible that Gonzalez was trying to "send a message" to his players by having the face of the franchise take one for the team on opening day. I'm not saying that this makes it OK or defensible; just pointing out that there may have been a non-strategic motive for the sac bunt.
He was more pitch inefficient last year; in 2007, he had 3.9BB/9IP and 17.5 pitches/IP. In 2008, those numbers were 4.15 and 18.0. I'm too lazy to check Pitch f/x data and try to glean whether this was the result of more pitches fouled off or if he was nibbling and missing the plate with fastballs, but in either case I can buy the argument that more sliders = less pitches.
Very interesting read. When you say is happens young, how young are we talking about? I'm still learning here, but it seems like there would be a tug-of-war between throwing enough and with sufficient effort to encourage the retorversion, but not so much as to cause injury. Are training methods available or under development to encourage retroversion while minimizing workload-related injuries?
PS - I don't have kids that I'm trying to turn into a meal-ticket. I'm just curious.
I am actually very curious to see whether the Pedro-as-closer experiment would work. In fact, I'm rooting for that scenario to play out. If he only has to go for 3 outs at a time, he may be able to pitch north of 90, and I think he would be very effective pitching at that velocity.
He probably would need his workload managed as carefully as Hoffman's has been (maybe 50 IP for the full season), but I think he'd give you 50 quality innings in high-leverage situations. I'd spend $5 million of some owner's money to find out if that would work.
I\'d argue that this thread isn\'t about the steroids, it\'s about the media\'s coverage of steroid use. And I find the media coverage to be sorely lacking.
Personally, if someone breaks into my house and steals my stereo, I\'m less interested in trying to find my stereo than I am with figuring out how they got into my house and preventing it from happening again. But other than Will\'s research, I\'ve seen little to nothing from any media outlet regarding the current state of the testing program - how the testing is trying to stay current, or how the PED manufacturers are trying to stay ahead.
But one can argue that the media should be attempting to identify players who have been using and hold them accountable. That\'s a reasonable goal. Only trouble is, that isn\'t happening either. In the last 10 days, all I\'ve seen is a litany of people trying to put their own spin on research done by one reporter, Selena Roberts. Coming on TV and trying to figure out how many times you can use the word \'tainted\' in a 5-minute segment isn\'t reporting, it\'s laziness.
Reporting is asking questions and doing research to provide answers to those questions. We\'re not seeing that in regard to the state of PED use and testing in 2009, and we\'re not seeing that in regard to identifying everyone who tested positive; instead, we\'re seeing a horde of people reacting to a single story that\'s already been broke by someone else.
Really? You didn\'t find the Dr. X2 article either educational or enlightening?
As I read it, Will\'s main point is that 104 people are on that list. 1 of them is being subjected to a public flogging, and 103 of them are (for now at least) being given a free pass. That is wrong.
I can appreciate your frustration with the particulars of the Florida situation (politicians grandstanding instead of debating the merits of policy in good faith? inconceivable?!)
However, your arguments for revitalization of the area are misguided. Nearly every economist not retained by MLB has repeated ad nauseam for 15 years that building a new stadium does not result in significant economic growth or job creation around the stadium. I can\'t recall the name of the economist, but one said if your goal was to increase growth in an area, you\'d be better off tossing $400 million out of a helicopter than building a stadium there.
Loria can\'t build a new stadium purely from his own money. I get that; I\'ll ignore for the moment that he wouldn\'t build the stadium himself even if he could afford it. But, MLB generates nearly $1B per year out of their national television contracts. If they set aside only 10 PERCENT of this money, MLB could build a new stadium every 5 years without any public funding. Loria should be leaning on Bud Selig for funding, not the taxpayers of the state of Florida.
One angle to this that bothers me...I don\'t believe for a second that A-Rod\'s name is the only one on that list of 104 names that SI has. This story has thus far been made about A-Rod, and only A-Rod.
I think that a part of the problem that people have had with the media\'s treatment of Barry Bonds is that he has been held to a different standard than dozens of other ballplayers who were doing the same thing that he was. Because that sells, don\'tchaknow. And from my perch, this looks like another unequal distribution of mob justice. Release all the names, get it all out there, or don\'t release any.
Will, thanks for the article and for once again being the most clear-headed and informative voice on the subject of PEDs.
My question is: does MLB retain their drug test samples or discard them immediately following analysis? I\'m curious whether athletes may be dissuaded from using SARMs by the threat of retroactive testing if a SARMs test becomes available in the future.
Losing Hendrickson to the pen was a devastating blow for this fantasy owner - I had him on my HACKING MASS team. He may just make my 2009 squad also.
Great! I\'ll go put a pot of coffee on, it\'s going to be a long night.
Christian Guzman 11th in projected VORP?!? No, not on the Nationals, in all of MLB! That makes projecting the 2008 Rays to be a 90-win team or the Wily Mo Pena projection from 3-4 years ago look like play-it-safe picks.
Any idea how heavily the 2008 performance is weighted compared to previous seasons (or if 2005-2007 are basically ignored)?
You guys shouldn\'t even be talking about baseball owners collecting transfer fees on players that they don\'t want to pay market rates. I think Jeffrey Loria just read your post and wet himself.
I don\'t agree with all of the opinions expressed in the interview, but I am compelled to point out that I was impressed with two of them.
First, his rationale behind voting for McGwire; it is unfair to brand him and a few others for a problem that was widespread and generally ignored for several years.
Second, his consistency in either voting for a player or not voting for a player. Even acknowledging that the electorate changes slightly from one year to the next, it never ceases to amaze me when a player picks up 20 or 30 votes from one year to the next. Are we evaluating players whose careers have been fixed for at least five years, or deciding what color to paint the living room? I can understand the occasional voter changing their mind on a player, but not 50% of the electorate over the course of 15 years.
All in all, I feel a lot more comfortable with Chaz Scoggins having a HOF vote than the 28 knuckleheads who didn\'t think that Rickey Henderson merited a vote.
Owner: Mike Ilitch
School: No college. In the marines after high school. Also played baseball in the minors.
Why: Made his money selling mediocre pizza to the masses (Little Caesars).
The owner of the Tigers prior to Ilitch was Tom Monaghan. Before Monaghan destroyed the Tigers minor league system, hired Bo Schembechler to run a baseball team, and fired Ernie Harwell, he also made his fortune selling mediocre pizza to the masses (Domino\'s). If I want to own this team some day, I better start selling some pizzas.
The DT cards have translated batting statistics, which allow comparison of players\' batting statistics adjusted for the era in which they played. I\'d recommend checking those out. For what it\'s worth, a comparison of Jim Rice\'s translated home run total to a few others, mostly contemporaries:
Babe Ruth: 1,037 (!)
Jose Canseco: 609
Dwight Evans: 508
George Foster: 499
Jim Rice: 482
Greg Luzinski: 438
Lance Johnson: 50
Speaking as a Tigers fan who isn\'t old enough to remember back past around 1980 (so admittedly, I can\'t remember Rice\'s best seasons), I always thought that Dewey was a better player than Jim Rice when I was growing up. The home run numbers seem to agree with my recollection, and they don\'t even factor in Evans\' superior OBP and defense.
I could not agree more with Harry\'s sentiment. The taxpayers of New York should in no way be asked to shoulder the burden of cost overruns. Or the original costs, for that matter.
It is shameful that city and state governments around this country have not forced MLB to set aside a portion of their nationwide revenues (TV, MLBAM, etc.) into a central stadium fund in return for any matching government-sponsored funding. Collectively, MLB\'s ownership has executed a brilliant divide-and-conquer strategy to extort taxpayer funds over the past 15 years.
I think the Tigers would be an interesting subject for GM for a Day. You\'ve got a veteran, flawed team with at least 3 holes to fill. You have limited flexibility due to a nearly barren farm system and you need to maintain or shed payroll. You\'ve also got a lineup that should score a lot of runs and you can erect a fence post at shortstop that would prevent more runs than Renteria did in 2008.
Do you burn the house down and rebuild? Or do you try to patch the holes take a crack at the Central in 2009?
Crap. Sorry about the formatting.
Because I apparently have way too much time on my hands....
As of buddaley\'s post at 17:22, the wisdom of the crowd breaks down as follows:
Average length of contract: 6.0 years
Average $ value of contract: $144 million
Average annual value: $24 million
Team No. Years Dollars AAV
Yankees 77 6.3 155.8 24.7
Dodgers 17 5.7 134.2 23.5
Giants 16 6.0 137.8 23.0
Brewers 14 4.9 117.7 24.2
Angels 9 5.7 136.4 24.1
Mets 5 5.8 140.0 24.1
Cubs 4 5.3 125.8 24.0
Tigers 3 7.3 154.0 21.0
Orioles 2 6.0 150.0 25.0
Indians 2 5.5 117.5 21.4
Astros 2 5.0 114.0 22.8
Rangers 1 7.0 210.0 30.0
No Team 1 7.0 153.5 21.9
Braves 1 7.0 150.0 21.4
Red Sox 1 7.0 150.0 21.4
Phils 1 5.0 125.0 25.0
Twins 1 6.0 123.5 20.6
Yomiuri 1 4.0 120.0 30.0
W. Sox 1 6.0 118.0 19.7
A\'s 1 6.0 117.0 19.5
Reds 1 6.0 75.0 12.5
So, the Yankees are far and away seen as the most likely destination, although they would be paying for the pleasure. The Brewers rank fourth, and if Sabathia lands there, apparently the home-town discount applies.
Speaking of home-town discounts, six of the 16 people selecting the Giants chose a dollar figure less than what Barry Zito received. That might be awkward in the clubhouse.
Twenty teams landed at least one vote, including my personal favorite, the Yomiuri Giants (konnichiwa!) but surprisingly, the Rays aren\'t among them. I guess no one thinks that they well use their 2008 playoff gate receipts to spring for the ideal mentor to David Price.
Dodgers, 6/144, 12/10
Having 6 (....or 7....or 8) major league ready starting pitchers isn\'t the worst idea in the world either. What would the Rays target as a return for either of them? Is Iwamura expected back at 2B? Not knowing what the trade market would line up with the Rays\' needs, my first inclination would be hang on to them both.
Who mentioned Fox? I didn\'t. And if the concept is to wait for good weather conditions to determine the champion, I guess Selig will just have to have \'em play the games next June.
Hey, I love badmouthing Selig as much as the next guy, and I don\'t mean to single you out, but all this Bud-bashing is getting a bit out of hand. An important point which seems lost here is that Selig and the umpires were also well aware that tonight and tomorrow aren\'t looking any better weather-wise.
I find it hard to fault them for taking a risk and trying to get the game in - the alternative was staring at a 3-day hiatus in the World Series. That alternative also effects matchups and gives the bullpens a rest (probably an edge to the Rays). That alternative also has a potential effect on \"fairness\" (I wonder who got a better night of sleep last night - Phillies players sleeping in their own bed or Rays players finding an alternate hotel in Delaware). That alternative also effects viewer interest; this matters for short-term economic AND long-term grow-the-game considerations. To brush these concerns aside is disingenuous. For the first four innings, the conditions were poor but playable.
As of this moment, the Phillies are in a position to win a tied game where they have one more half-inning available to them. Even if they lose...and lose Game 6...they get Hamels back in Game 7 on either 3 days or full rest after a 75-pitch outing. As a fan of baseball who has no particular rooting interest in either team, I fail to see how the Phillies are getting disadvantageed here.
Really? Selig made it rain? He\'s good.
Congratulations, you have identifed a pitching statistic in which Livan Hernandez rated in the top 10. I wouldn\'t have thought that possible.
\"Yesterday\'s win, however, was the end result of the years of incompetence that came before him, a showcase of the draft picks the Rays earned by being bad for so very, very long. Like patient investors, they\'ve finally realized the value of that talent in building a winning baseball team.\"
While giving you full points for your previously stated analysis that the primary goal of the draft is to suppress salaries for draftees, the above sentences also cast a bright light on the fact that the draft does also serve a useful purpose on the distribution of talent.
Certainly the issue is more complicated than draft = good or draft=bad, and the Rays ability to evaluate and develop talent is a major factor in their success. However, two things seem clear to me: (1) the Rays are the best MLB story of 2008, and (2) their story could not have been written without an amateur draft in its current (or similar) format.
I like it the way it is. (Perfectly acceptable argument.)