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"Even the days of the full-time designated hitter have seem to have come and gone."
Seem to whom? There have always been a few teams that did not come up with a dedicated DH during the year. This year seemed normal to me.
Boston, Detroit, Kansas City, and Los Angeles had unquestionably full time dedicated DHs (Ortiz, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Victor+Martinez">Victor Martinez</a></span>, Morales, and Pujols). We can overlook games played in National League cities.
Seattle's <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Nelson+Cruz">Nelson Cruz</a></span> played a little more outfield than that, but not 1 game on the field since August 16.
You have to include Texas as having a dedicated DH all year. After <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31366">Prince Fielder</a></span> retired, the Rangers traded for <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1358">Carlos Beltran</a></span> who took over the role.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59016">Avisail Garcia</a></span> was the regular DH in Chicago until they signed <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31760">Justin Morneau</a></span> - who was 100% dedicated.
Cleveland had <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Carlos+Santana">Carlos Santana</a></span> as their regular DH all year, but switched with <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31606">Mike Napoli</a></span> at first-base on occasion.
A-Rod was the Yankees' DH when able most of the season - until they called up <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Gary+Sanchez">Gary Sanchez</a></span> and moved <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45449">Brian McCann</a></span> there in a C/DH sharing role much like Cleveland's use of Santana and Napoli. If there is a trend, it may be that.
Encarnacion was Toronto's every day DH in the first half of the season except when they platooned Smoak at first-base. After allowing Bautista to DH while recovering from his injuries, Smoak never regained his job, and DH became a Saunders/Upton platoon.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59218">Pedro Alvarez</a></span> was pretty much a regular DH all year in Baltimore - at least, against right-handers.
I would draw the line about here. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67758">Evan Gattis</a></span> was the regular DH almost all year in Houston, but more so than Alvarez left plenty of games for others to rest and recover while getting their at bats.
Along with maybe/maybe not Houston, that leaves only the three last place teams without dedicated DHs, although for a solid couple of months <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45396">Billy Butler</a></span> fulfilled that role in Oakland.
Thank you for this interesting and thought provoking article.
Can you talk about <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=55951">Sandy Leon</a></span> in this section?
Sincerely, bravo. And a big thank you, too.
A tangental bit I found interesting is your view of the most well-known records. No doubt everyone has been exposed to different hype. The levels of awe observed over records during this baby-boomer's baseball fanhood would rank:
<span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> in a season
Longest hitting streak
Longest games played streak
Most wins in a season since the 1930s
<span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a> in a [modern] season
Stolen bases in a season
Stolen bases in a career
RBIs in a season
No-hitters in a career
Strikeouts in a career
Saves in a season
Consecutive shutout innings
Strikeouts in a game
Homers in a game
Strikeouts in a [modern] season
"modern" is 20th or 21st century
Well, sure, it would be nice to know what sort of streak a reliever is having, at least, as much as a starter or a hitter. The whole world is built around the most easily attainable and disseminated statistics - so, reliever streaks get less attention. That's not to say they are more significant than other longer term measurements, but the same can be said of hitting streaks and no hitters. It is just adding context to the performance - which is always a good thing.
It would make more sense if a rebuilding team (do only expansion teams build?) used this trading chip to acquire a high ceiling / less attainable floor type player, if they had the choice. You have nothing to build on, if you don't have a few stars.
Yeah, the dropped third strike gives a team a chance to capitalize on a serendipitous rule. Just as in the case above - they had a fun way to win. Those batters too busy sulking about their strikeout to remember to charge to first base will not be rewarded, while those knowing their job well and focusing enough to execute are sometimes rewarded. Well, that's the best I can come up with.
Very cool. I'm glad I came across this.
Wow. Mind boggling. I took the trouble to write a little analysis of some data that Sam prepared when I noticed it 6 weeks afterwards - and within hours someone took the trouble to ding me - with no explanation, of course.
Thanks. I just noticed your reply. To my eyes, it doesn't show any significant overcompensation, but does back up my guess that it makes up for it. Everything looks pretty much as a normal flucuation close a steady level hitting below league average. Yes, this year is showing something at the very high end of that, but in a smaller sample size. Let's look again at the end of the year.
The one significant dip relative to the league was in 1969 - the biggest expansion year. That could be explained by a lack of bench depth that season.
Yeah, not only has their best player has been Desmond, their second best has <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1275">Colby Lewis</a></span>. On the other hand, their worse player has been <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17023">Cecil Fielder</a></span>. Who could have predicted all that? And who can say with any cofidence what's going to happen the rest of the way?
Despite the disappointing conclusion (for you, Sam), it was the exploration that I enjoyed. Thanks for sharing.
Why don't the Rangers move Odor to first and play Profar at second?
I thought all of these pitches should have been strikes except Tulo's - although admitedly these close pitches with lots of movement viewed in choppy two dimensional framing. However, I would imagine in real life, it would be even harder to call these pitches - too fast and too much to observe for my brain to fully process.
Nonetheless, I'd like to know what the comparitive batting stats are for pinch hitters in the past and now: <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a>, OPS+ (or their TAV equivelents if you insist), and <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>. We could decide how meaningful it is. Sure, you had more players available for pinch hitting in earlier decades digging deeper into the talent pool, but you had more players who specialized in pinch hitting. Now, you have to have a bench with less specialized talents. If anything, I'd bet that overcompensates for the deeper reach.
This good article on bunting has as a bonus a graph that proves the quality of the players keeps getting better and better. The graph showing that pitchers (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/u/images2/unnamedben.png) are hitting worse and worse does this. Pitchers are hired for their ability to pitch - not hit, so the only explanation for this decline is that hitting has become an ever more special skill. This graph further supports this theory by flattening out during and shortly after the expansion years.
I'm a little confused, but, yeah, I certainly think Correa is more valuable than either Springer or Altuve even if you add all those other players on top - at least, in a team building situation. A contender would need some players.
Every baseball fan of a certain age knows that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Ernie+Banks">Ernie Banks</a></span> was a superstar for his first 7 seasons of nearly <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59432">Mike Trout</a></span> proportions - and he never made it to a post season in his entire career. He averaged 7.1 brWAR those seasons - the last four averaged 8.5. Trout averaged 9.3 is his four, so far.
Throughout Banks' career, the Cubs were clawless until 1967 - in time for Banks' last two decent seasons. Those were the last two years of 10 team leagues with no divisions. If the Cubs were in the Cardinals division, they still wouldn't have won, because St. Louis was the strongest team in the league both years.
So, the Tigers technically would have won only 84 games last year even with Trout, but they probably would have kept Price, Cespedes, and Soria and made it to the play-offs anyway.
Cool. I've always wanted to know the relative lattitudes of the Major League cities!
I can answer that. Lawrie was drafted by the <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=MIL" target="blank">Milwaukee Brewers</a></span> organization in June of 2008, then traded to the Blue Jays folks in December 2010 about 8 months before the Canadian native reached the Majors.
What I can't answer is how <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60219">Brian Dozier</a></span> rates above <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45464">Dustin Pedroia</a></span>. Is Pedroia hurt? Looking at Steamer projections, his OPOPS (Ox2 + S) is about the same as <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31789">Robinson Cano</a></span>'s and he's almost a year younger and has a much much better range. Frankly, Cano, Zobrist, and Pedroia are all very close and deserve to be in the same echelon. Altuve is about equally good now and is far less likely to suddenly drop off the aging cliff. Odor may well join that echelon this year and have a long future ahead of him. Or, the Rangers move him to the outfield and let the better second-baseman Profar (defensively) take over - something's gotta give.
Dozier? Geesh, his projections are <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45438">Ian Kinsler</a></span>'s without the outstanding range.
Not that I am complaining, no, I thank you for this. I was just wondering why my projections are so different from yours.
I thank you for the analysis. I hope you are right as I own him and plan to keep him on both my Scoresheet teams.
However, I do worry that it is not simply a matter of throwing more fastballs. It could be having the right coach to give Happ the right confidence and to keep him from, perhaps, doing more subtle bad habits. Hopefully he has some good rapport with Toronto already and can help them look after himself.
Well, Happ is moving away from the team that made him so successful to a hitter's park in the DH league. My fantasy impact arrow is pointing downward.
Right. Pretty much all the balls called on Harvery through the first 8 innings were close calls. The balls on Swing-at-anything-close Cain were way off. Harvey had come off his game. He needed to come out THEN.
Detroit is looking for a GM, I'd love for them to get him. I don't know how AA would feel about living in Detroit after his life so far in the great cities of Montreal and Toronto. I say that as Torontonian (native New Yorker married to a Montrealer) with roots in Detroit and see it having a modest comeback. He works so hard, though, it may not be much of a factor. Detroit does have nice suburbs and it is only a four hour drive to T.O.
Anyway, I've always felt Anthopoulos was an excellent GM despite many of his moves not working out as hoped. Hard luck, but finally things went his way this summer.
Best of all has been the strength of Toronto's farm system. How much credit for that goes to AA, I don't know. It might mean that the Blue Jays still have the most important front office talent in house. That might be true and Anthopoulos might take the best of that talent with him.
Of course, he doesn't have a job yet. How nice of him to leave right away giving up his 5 year offer without knowing if he will even find another GM job. He might not be in a position to take anyone with him.
It's so nice to have the joy of Sam's writing back.
Now, if only BP would get their injury report and record keeping back on track, we'd have an indespensible website again. Does anyone know of an alternative for injury history and diagnosis besides clicking back through Rotoworld News on individual players?
It is amazing what we conclude with hindsight, though. Baseball, which is must simpler than most things in life, is nonetheless full of possibilities. Once, we see the path that it took, we go, "oh, yeah, of course, that happened". If anyone has come up with a method of sorting through endless possibilities and can predict the future, let me know - and be sure it wasn't 90% random luck.
Predictions are tough - and Russell may be beating himself up unnecessarily - based on the small sample size of this one set of predictions. For example, the Astros - yes, they had some excellent prospects, but the Twins had even better ones and, although, they also surprised, they didn't leap frog as high as Houston. Just think back a decade ago to the Angels who had the top farm system - or just a couply years ago to Texas. Most of those top prospect didn't help that much.
By the way, this was fun for a change.
The Baseball Prospectus brand to me stood for both leading edge insights and being the most fun. Both of those are now just memories - especially the fun factor. All your insights and fun might now in the podcasts, but I would need to retrain my life to listen to those.
You seem to be drowning in attempts to address the Fantasy baseball interest. I play Scoresheet baseball. Heck, I was Scoresheetwiz. I wish I could be helpful in explaining why your fantasy coverage is all so boring (to me, at least.) Perhaps, the fun of fantasy is interpreting real life and applying it to your fantasy game. You all are just stating the obvious - I so rarely see anything insightful, I've stopped reading it. Perhaps, it is too difficult to please all fantasy baseball fans as everyone has a different level of expertise at it. You seem to be going after the lowest levels. BP used to aspire to the highest levels.
In terms of regulars in the line-up, both the Blue Jays and Mets were more groggy than the Royals. Barney was the only one close to being a regular in the Blue Jays line-up given that he started the clinching game. However, Tulo was well enough to play the next day and did with Goins returning to second..
Where is the link to explain what DRA- ?
Would the person who boo-ed this response, please, explain why.
I don't know if you want my opinion or not - I'm not a professional writer or scout, just some guy who reads this site and wins his fantasy leagues more often than anyone I've ever heard of:
Chisenhall is not the hitter, the other two are, but appears poised to embark on a career as a corner position substitute.
Shaffer's BABiP in AAA is about his norm, if not less, so his increased production appears real. It might not translate to the Majors, but one good year in the Majors practicly isn't any less likely to carry on, anyway, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. Defensively, he is a corner infielder, but if Longoria remains healthy, he's not going to play third-base.
Montero is a well known stud who apparently needed a head and body adjustment - which he seemingly has had. I think he is the best bet for the future - assuming all you need is a DH/1B. For the remainder of 2015, however, Montero's only a platoon player vs. lefties. Shaffer will get more at bats, so, for the short run, he is your best bet.
Won't Colabello now be sharing the 1B/DH spot that isn't Encarnacion with Smoak and Navarro - such that they'd all be losing some of those at bats? (I know Valencia & Carrerra were the usual left-fielders last week, but as evidenced from your list - it has been in constant flex with Colabello getting the plurality of at bats from there.)
Ian - could you please post some of the observations made in the podcasts that you are proudest of?
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=David+Price">David Price</a></span>!!!? Don't you mean <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47160">Clay Buchholz</a></span>?
Baseball's Kids are All Right was misleading - presenting a graph that only goes as far back as just where the steroids era began to boom. Weighted Runs Created, sure, shows the proportion of runs created by young players has increased - but that doesn't show they are hitting better (or "raking") compared to earlier generations of young players. Plus, a couple of years is not a trend or a new phenomena, it might just be a glitch. Anyway, as some of the commenters eluded to, the steroids era allowed an extrordinary number of hitters have a super-extroridanary post 30 years old career. The report only just confirms that we have returned to normal.
Could someone, please, post the keener highlights from these podcasts?
Yeah, it is stretching use of the word a bit, but we are nearing the half way point and the Twins are 40-35 ahead of the mighty Tigers. I keep waiting for them to sink back to the bottom of the standings where they belong. When a team overachieves under a new manager this long, the manager deservedly gets a lot of credit.
Oh my gosh, so sorry: That service where we get e-mails about players on our fantasy teams appears in my mail box with all the previous ones below it. For some reason this was the first one I saw and thought it was recent. Apple mail had it marked as unread.
Since Brantley has broken out, his <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BB</span></a>% has been up, his K% has been down, his Isolated Power has been up. There's no question he is a vastly improved hitter. He doesn't get hurt as often as Posey or Jacoby. He's a lot younger than Beltre and significantly younger than Braun, Ramirez, and Cano. Perhaps, they were about equal hitters going into the season, but from their declines so far, Brantley looks like a better bet going forward (as a hitter - not necessarily for his position.) Likewise, for his position <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45945">Ian Desmond</a></span> compares, but as a htter, he's never been very close to what Brantley was last year and is so far this year - and that was only one season remotely close.
jfranco77 - any chance you are THE <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70">Julio Franco</a></span> - one the most age defying players ever? I read somewhere he/you? ate eight eggs every morning and other interesting routines - a total fitness fanatic. I recall <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=28363">Nolan Ryan</a></span> kept his career going beyond belief in much part due to his fitness regimines.
I would love to see an aticle on what players have done to extend their careers - and the degree those efforts have succeeded. Then, BP could follow that up with intel on what active players are doing. I realize that is not an easy task, but it would be monumental.
It was well written.
I remember him for the '89 play-offs against the Blue Jays where he pretty much won the game for the A's a different way each victory. That took only five games. I don't remember the details, but he hit .400, with 7 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BB</span></a> and a hit batsman with only 15 at bats (.609 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a>). Slugging? an even 1,000: two singles, a double, a triple, and 2 homers. Base stealing? Of course, 8 steals and never caught!
You got it. I'm happy to let fans have a choice of a DH league or a pitcher bats league.
How much do coaches get paid these days? Not that we should be completely motivated by income, but if Ricky was careful with his stash, I'm sure he doesn't need the work.
I've wondered about this. Are players less and less motivated to remain in the game after their playing days?
Is there a rule here against having more than one player behind the home plate area? Could a third-baseman play in foul territory at all?
Wow. I don't understand humans - why they like have rally killing pitchers bat in the Major Leagues. Boring. It's almost as bad as the extra long comercial breaks games have between innnings and the unnecessarily long breaks (for more commercials?) during a pitching change.
More strategy when pitchers bat? No, there is less strategy. You have more options with real batters - and you have an extra decision to make about who starts where and where to put them in the batting order. I think that outweighs decisions about pinch hitting and the double switch.
Finally, I don't like having pitchers come out of the game unless they are ready to come out.
I guess liking the DH or not is like religion and politics. You have faith in your view no matter the evidence.
It could be swinging back that way, now, thanks for your response. I had been reading that slowed bat movement through the strike zone like the high average types of the 1960s and 70a are extinct. Scouts look for bat speed and hence we have more and more strikeouts and more players with 15-25 homers (20-40 during the steroids era).
Yeah, well, performing better in high leverage occasions - which could include all post season play - may be a matter of luck, but the results in those contests do matter a great deal. I don't think it satisfying to dismiss it all.
You have to admit that it is dismissed out of convenience - it is challenging to compare post season stats with regular season stats, so they are left out entirely. If we take the trouble to program them appropriately, why wouldn't we want computers to compute post season play about twice as important per batter (whatever is appropriate) than regular season play? Counting it at all is better than completely ignoring it.
Is there any <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=FIP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('FIP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">FIP</span></a> or xFIP nuance to <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>? i.e. is a home run wieghted precisely as more valuable than a single in DRA as it is in reality on the average - without considering that the ball may have just dropped in? is the assumption that a pitcher with a higher BABiP really probably is pitching worse than a pitcher with a lower one?
"[<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70950">Bradley Zimmer</a></span>] should produce heavy doubles numbers, however, giving him enough pop to potentially play every day."
The high average / low power hitters are out of fashion, but couldn't he be a <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Pete+Rose">Pete Rose</a></span> - <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=29332">Rusty Staub</a></span> - <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=27488">Lou Piniella</a></span> - <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1263">Rusty Greer</a></span> level of hitter? Paul O'Neil?
Warning: extremely tangental comment: For assessing greatness, it is apparent that WAR has a major flaw. Being ridiculously good has a greater impact than the linear values calculated by either version of WAR. It needs to be exponential. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=24606">Sandy Koufax</a></span> is a perfect example that illustrates this. By WAR, he's a questionable Hall of Famer, yet for several years, he was the most dominant pitcher ever. He elevated a very pedestrian team to two World Championships and a third pennant. No question, if he were healthy for all of '62, the Dodgers would have had even more to brag about. His career was short and took awhile to really take off, but it is hard to see how a long careeer like a <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=27356">Gaylord Perry</a></span> really adds up more than a Sandy Koufax's five year explosion.
Certainly one part of the equation that WAR leaves out is the ultimate goal of baseball. Is it merely winning games or is winning championships nearly as important? Some folks (not me) think champinships are more important. You can't pick your teammates, but arguably a player with a 10 win WAR impact that vastly increases a team's chances of a post season by more than 10 times a player with a 1 win WAR. Think about it: which team is going to have a better shot at post season glory: a team that fills 10 roster spots with 1 win players, or a team with a 10 win player and takes it's chances at finding above 0 win players at the other 9 spots?
Perhaps, I'm an old coot, but this doesn't do it for me. A regular scoresheet doesn't take up much more room than this - gives more details of how each inning developed, is much more instrinsicly easier to follow, and allows you to see what each individual did. That's what we use to recall a game - a boxscore is mainly for seeing how individuals did and this doesn't address that at all.
Good stuff. To me, this is far more interesting and relevant than the development of obscure minor leaguers several levels away from the Majors. And I enjoyed the personal touch at the beginning.
Why should we believe this declaration - other than the points made in this article?
I was going to write something somewhat personal and interesting and profound - about how intelligent people can possibly enjoy watching ANY baseball game, but I'm sick of getting minused for the effort I put into my comments. Anyway, the answer is here. Thank you, Sam, for these giggles.
Breezy prose and meaty content - as usual. Thanks, Sam.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57967">Aaron Hicks</a></span> to the minors in favor of a Schafer / Robinson platoon - could someone explain that for me, please?
Do 37 lofty early spring training plate appearances really earn a starting gig to a player whose 305 <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> in AAA last year left him under .700 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a> (.242 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=TAv" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('TAv'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">TAv</span></a>) - especially to a suspect fielder? Perhaps, but it's not obvious to me, not when the competition is younger, a better fielder, and hit better (.761/.251) for the same team in more PA last year. Johnson's results are a small sample size against pitchers just beginning to prep for a new season. Weigh it with that in mind.
The flaw I think you have with that control group is going by "average" ranking rather than "last" ranking or "third" ranking or "Xth" ranking. The third ranking is the scout's view based the third year of evidence since reaching the rankings. If one player trended up to the same ranking as another player trended down to that ranking, they will have different averages. However, that's the fair comparison, because that is what we are measuring - the scout's rankings. When judging players, we don't compare players based on their average ranking, just their most recent.
I'm not a statistician, but shouldn't there be a control group here? How does a guy ranked in the 80s and 90s who has experienced a decline in his ranking compare to same aged & experienced players who have maintained their ranking or recently moved into the top 100? There is a bias in just comparing players moving up or down the rankings, because it is more likely the player moving up will have a higher ranking at that end point than someone moving down. We don't care about the starting points, because at that point in time we can't know if the player is going to move up or down.
Yeah. More of this, please.
Yeah, that's about right. If you have room to draft a lefty and a righty reliever who are eligible to start, you can be comfortable with 7 (not counting those reliever-starters). However, if you have a couple of injury prone starters or a couple guys who could be sent down if they struggle, then you still need, at least, 8.
Some teams have soft keeper rules - which could explain why a team would drop Altuve.
However, I am concerned as to how it handles leagues that haven't sent in their protection lists, leagues that have started drafting already, and cross-overs.
It needs to ignore leagues that are not down to their protection list yet or have completed their drafts. Perhaps, they should eliminate leagues with over 20 players per team.
Secondly, the percentages for players who crossed over should be measured against the leagues they left not the leagues they are in now. Otherwise you are just looking at leagues that have started drafting already or have special opposite league keeper rules - which some do. . . or you are looking at leagues with a guy such as Scherzer who has crossed back over - and thus give a misleading stat.
This is interesting, thank you, but needs these couple of tweeks.
Yeah, sadly like the Phillies, the Tigers are one of the teams least up on sabermetrics - now called analytics. With Price a free agent next year, this is probably their last chance for a long time.
I forgot to mention Avisail Garcia among those above.
Re: beer4paws comment about only World Championships mattering - how sad. With 30 teams, the chances are a baseball fan who considers a World Series appearance a failure if they don't win it will have a lifetime of failure. The Yankees and other rich market teams will win more than their share, while mid and small market teams will be lucky to win 1 in 90. Even so, some will win many (St. Louis, for example), which means most will not.
I consider it a lot of fun to have my teams in contention. Winning trophies is just a plus.
They always seem to find some guys who defy the projections of Sickels, Baseball America, Kevin Goldstein, Jason Parks, etc. Where did Drew Smyley come from? Eugenio Sauarez? Devon Travis? Willy Adames? Jonathan Crawford? Corey Knebel? Jake Thompson? Not all these guys are going to pan out, but they've gone from low expectations to high expectations in the Tigers' system. Charlie Furbush and lesser guys bought Doug Fister. There are plenty of Jose Alvarez types who shoot up the system from out of nowhere. Yes, they're all gone and at the moment, the Tigers have nothing to offer, but by mid-season it is a pretty safe bet they will.
When I saw Eric Hill listed at no. 100 this year, I figured the spot was used to keep the fans happy of a team that had no other propsects in the top 100.
Anderson has the greater chance of getting moved off shortstop and having the shorter career, so the edge goes to Lindor.
Yes, to some degree they should. Or, not. Personally, it would be more satisfying to me if they did to a little degree. We are all different. The BBWAA has the priveldge of deciding - not you or me.
All-star selections should consider recent previous seasons to a large degree. It is annoying to see players get the honor for a hot couple months at the start of a season.
I traded Chris Carter for Verlander, Greg, in one of my leagues. No controversay there, but, I have to drop five of Tillman, Kazmir, Hughes, Porcello, Pomeranz, Greg Holland, Andrew Miller, and Jurickson Profar in order to keep him.
It is a most frustraing league. Before I got around to seeing how to sell off my excess talent, one obviously slick talking manager named Eric traded highly questionable cross-over Trumbo for a PROTECTION SLOT AND AN R28, and Cliff Lee. Then with another manager he upgraded from Kinsler to CANO, from Choo to BRANTLEY, from ostensibly from Carlos Santana to Kyle Saeger, and from his likely weak R40 to other manager's likely great R40, plus two other pick upgrades all for a protection slot, Jose Quintana, a couple of B prospects (Hunter Dozier and Delino DeShields), and some very questionable protects: David Robertson (maybe), Jake Petricka (huh?), and Michael Tayler (obviously an extremely deluded White Sox fan).
Now, I can't find a taker for my 14th - 19th guys. . . not a lowly pick. Two managers won't even answer my e-mails and my 18th guy would be in their top 5.
Sorry. We can vent here, right?
No, never mind about DJ Boston. I mixed him up with Daryl Boston who eventually did have a long-ish mediocre career in the Majors after his AAA all-star years.
Others from '94:
Seattle had Alex Rodriguez, but not much else.
The Yankees had Derek Jeter along with Andy Pettitte, Sterling Hitchcock, and Russ Davis making them one of the strongest. They had some interesting flops, too: no. 4 Ruben Rivera would move up to no. 1, but his career never got rolling. Brien Taylor had just torn his shoulder in a bar fight, which downgraded him to no. 2 behind Jeter.
Jim Edmunds just made the Angels' list at no. 10. Garrett Anderson was the only other guy with much significance.
At a quick glance, the Giants were probably the worse, unless I am overlooking someone. No. 1 Salomon Torres became a fine reliever long after he was released. No. 4 Chris Singleton was a useful outfielder for a couple of years. No. 7. Bill Vanlandingham was a good starter for about a year. No. 10 Lou Pote had a decent year as a reliever - also after he was releaased. The rest in order were J.R. Phillips, Steve Soderstrom, Calvin Murray, Marcus Jensen (a back-up catcher for a few years), Rikkert Faneyte, and Joe Rosselli.
Baseball America praised the Braves' system even more than the Indians - and it was rich:
1. Chipper Jones
2. Ryan Klesko
3. Terrell Wade
4. Javy Lopez
5. Glen Williams
6. Mike Kelly
7. Jamie Arnold
8. Damon Hollins
9. Andre King
10. Jamie Howard
Here's the interesting thing. The Toronto Blue Jays were coming off back-to-back championships. Baseball America did not praise their system as highly as Cleveland's or Atlanta's, but Baseball Weekly did put them right up there. It turned out to be better than Cleveland's - almost as strong as Atlanta's and the Yankees'. Those two teams dominated their divisions for another decade and a half. However, Toronto is the only team that hasn't made the play-offs since 1994!
1. Alex Gonzalez
2. Carlos Delgado
3. Jose Silva
4. Shawn Green
5. D.J. Boston (AAAA all-star)
6. Paul Spoljaric
7. Angel Martinez (bust)
8. Adam Meinershagen (bust)
9. Shannon Stewart
10. Lee Daniels (bust)
According to Baseball America, their top 10 were:
1. Manny Ramirez
2. Julian Tavarez
3. Albie Lopez
4. John Carter (not me)
5. Chad Ogea
6. Daron Kirkreit
7. Casey Whitten
8. Paul Shuey
9. Herbert Perry
10. Omar Ramirez
My favourite track on this album is "Meeting Across the River" - absolutely haunting and original - rich with the subtle feelings described by Lewie. It is silly, perhaps, to pick a favourite. "Jungleland" is great and more dynamic, of course. The well known "Born to Run" is inspiring, but "Meeting . . ." deserves a shout out here.
Very good non-obvious points - and I agree with them all, Ian. For the record, though, I wasn't saying Vargas is as protectable as Perez. I do concede a borderline keeper doesn't merit the same youth boost as a no-doubt keeper (although, I'm not sure any A.L. catcher qualifies as such - on a very strong team). But, I am saying that close-to-the-borderline protects do deserve a reasonable youth boost - perhaps, a little more than you are giving Vargas. They have a greater potential to take a big step forward. Likewise, I would downgrade LaRoche because he is old enough to take a step backwards - putting Vargas, LaRoche, and Morrison all in the same echelon. I'd put Smoak it that pot as well, if we knew he was going to play. As of now, Smoak is battling Navarro for playing time. I'm expecting Navarro to be traded near the end of spring training for whatever the Jays perceive to be their biggest need: rp, sp, of, 2b, or dh-1b if they don't like Smoak or Barton, etc.
Thanks for this.
Chris Carter will be listed as a first-baseman. Depending on his fielding range, he should in the Napoli-LaRouche-Mauer-Vargas echelon.
You gave Salvador Perez a good boost for his youth. Is Vargas's potential more limited?
1. By comparison to Mariano Rivera, didn't Mo throw over 96% cutters?
2. Does throwing so many fastballs a good thing or a bad thing for the health of the arm and shoulder? (or neither, of course) I'd like to see a study of whether high % fastball pitchers have had more or fewer arm problems.
OK. An interesting take on a great album.
We are all wired a bit differently picking up on different things in music. Multiply that by our different life experiences, then multiply that by the music that we have experienced and the order and conditions in which we've experienced it - and we'll all have incredibly different opinions regarding our favorites albums despite the universality of music.
Here are my top 10 rock albums in chronological order (by "top" I mean the records that have given me the most pleasure over the years):
The Beatles: The Beatles (white album)
The Beatles: Abbey Road
Led Zeppelin: (untitled 4th album aka ZOSO)
Yes: Close to the Edge
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon
Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy (released same month as DSotM)
Radiohead: The Bends
Radiohead: OK Computer
Keane: Hopes and Fears
Woops, that's only 9 - all Brits - and no room quite for the Who, Genesis, Roxy Music, the Cure, Coldplay or those Irish lads U2. They've all been great. Other Beatles, Zeppelin, & especially Yes records were close, too. My favorite American LP (not including Miles Davis's Kind of Blue or the Broadway cast version of West Side Story) is probably whatever I last listened to between:
Crosby, Stills, & Nash
Spirit: 12 Dreams of Dr. Scardonicus
Allman Brothers: Eat a Peach (or possibly Live at Filmore East)
Talking Heads: Remain in Light (if I'm in a dancing mood)
Lenny Kravitz: Mama Said
Dandy Warhols: 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia
Springsteen's Born to Run and Tunnel of Love are close to this bunch. Ben Folds' Whatever and Ever Amen - and Rockin' the Suburbs are also close. Might I mention Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, War, Loggins & Mussina, Eagles, and Steely Dan are also high on my lists. I don't know where to stop.
Still, no female singers mentioned here. North Americans Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Heart were '70s favorites of mine. Sade and Everything But the Girl were '80s favourites - more Brits there. The '90s were great years for females from all over:
kd lang: Ingenue
Bjork: Debut (less a great album than a representation of a great artist)
Joan Osborne: Relish
Massive Attack: Mezzanine
And two "world music" classics: The Gypsy Kings and The Bueno Vista Social Club. Does Paulo Conti count here? Try I Primi Tempi.
This all doesn't even touch my current favourite genre: baroque.
It's been challenging to keep up in recent years. What are your favourites?
What does a - mean here? It is a simple correction of someone's misunderstanding. We should let others go on with their misconceptions? You are just trying to irrritate me?
Minusing my other comments: look at their %$ing projections - they aren't that far apart. I don't claim to be always right, but I'm right often enough that I don't deserve such disrespect. If you disagree, have the courage to say why. If you don't like my writing, have the courage to point out why.
It is fair to expect the level of discussion here to be better than the vast majority of other sites. It would be great to have a good debate about these catchers or whatever. You can't argue with a -. It could mean anything, which makes it frustratingly useless.
No. It requires 20 games from the previous season to qualify at the start of a season. It takes 10 games to qualify within the current season.
Brian, Martin's BABiP was .070 higher than it was the year before and .114 higher than it was the year before that. That ,400 OBP is due for a huge regression. I agree with these top three rankings, except I would, at least, put Martin is the same echelon as Perez and Gomes. Their ages make the fine differences, but the rest of your arguement has merit. Like all A.L. catchers, Perez's long term value might not be worth hanging onto - making Martin and Gomez's current values the better picks. I still prefer the younger guys, however, because they have a better chance of going to a new level.
Gomes is, perhaps, a special case. I wonder if the presumptive lack of great baseball in Brazil meant that he was an underdeveloped talent who will continue to get better and better with all this Major League training. To think we Torontonians gave him away with Mike Aviles for .... Esmil Rogers. Acgk!
This difference in projectable value among all these A.L. catchers is very small - including the guys left off the list. The same is true of A.L. shortstops. It is probably a good year to protect your top relievers over these guys.
So, developing specifically left-handers is a team skill? "Oh, you're a right-hander. Sorry, we can't help you."
Initially, the Simon for Suarez & Crawford trade depressed me. Detroit gave up their best trading chips for that!? Then, I read about the Cespedes/Porcello trade and realized they desparately needed another starter. Now, I'm in the optimist camp. I'm hoping Simon's second half return to pumpkin was because he is not used to pitching 190 innings. I'm hoping he'll be better adapted this year, IF his health holds out - for one more year.
Can we discuss Drew Pomeranz here? Is he not still realistically considered a potential future star and a no-brainer for the 5th spot? My guess about his demotion in the latter part of the season was to not wear him out. Enlighten me, please.
Yeah, all around it was Dombrowski's annus horriblus.
Let's hope he's back on track this winter, but as a Torontonian I can tell you I had given up on Anthony Gose. He's still young, but he hasn't progessed at all in the last three years - when he should have been improving the most! I'm hoping they can do for him at least a little of what they seem to have done for JD Martinez, but that is pure dreamcasting.
And, I don't see the other ex-Blue Jay Rajah Davis as an every day outfielder either.
Isn't "control" the one thing a pitcher is most apt to improve as he matures? Is that your only basis for being so low on Sanchez? Look at the careers of Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson - their control was far worse than Sanchez's at the same age or experience.
Good/interesting points. But, while it is hard to criticize Dombrowski - after all he's done for us, etc. - the trading away of Fister for so little is still the head scratcher of the year. I guess, we have to be patient and see how Robbie Ray pans out.
It is interesting how Detroit and Oakland geared up so for the play-offs - it seemed to backfire. Then within a week after Price and Lester trades, BP's own Russel Carleton shows us that starting pitching aces seemingly haven't helped teams at all in recent post seasons. I think that study stopped short of the Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson and Kurt Schiling show in 2001 (or Viola & Blyleven in '87 . . . or Koufax & Drysdale in '63 . . .)
The thing that was so disturbing about the Juan Gonzalez trade (as a Tigers fan) was that it was so antithetical to the Tigers' history. As I recall they were the last team to sign a highly sought after free agent - and even that one: Darrel Evans - wasn't on anyone's A list. The Tigers always seemed to be a rah-rah likeable bunch, who eschewed troublesome stars from other teams. This trade sliced off that point of pride.
I agree the genre is pretty weak, but not that weak! You're the first person I've heard of who didn't like Bull Durham. Did you ever see A League of their Own? That is probably my favorite.
Thanks. With the Blue Jays trading Adam Lind and having no obvious replacement, I was wondering if Alex Anthopoulos had some slick strategy we should know about.
I am rooting for Alex Anthopoulos to succeed. Like my wife, he is a native Montrealer and like me he has a Scoresheet baseball playing background. Each of his moves has made so much sense.Yet, so far - and he's had five full seasons plus and things don't look any different than they did under Gord Ash or J.P. Ricciardi. Unlike the Royals and Orioles and possibly every other team, the Blue Jays seem stuck in Fivehundredland ever since their back to back championships 22 years ago.
Up until now, I've assumed he knows what he's doing - and I'm sure he knows way way way more than I do (who averages 100 wins/year with my mature Scoresheet teams). And . . . five years of GMing is still a small sample size, when success depends on just a few players developing into stars and/or a few trades really panning out well.
So, I am at the point where I am beginning to question what he is doing. My first reaction was, "wow, Lind looks like a far more irreplaceable bat than what Estrada provides on the mound - especially since the Jays seem to have an endless supply of talent coming up there". But looking more closely, Estrada could be an underrated gem - a star with better handling and Lind might well be an inconsistent bat-only guy coming off a lucky couple of years.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out. This is what I love about baseball - far more than watching the games.
You have a point, but when your pitcher is getting batters out so easily, it may not be all that much strain on his arm. If you take him out, anything can happen. I still have nightmares from the 2013 ALCS, when Boston would blast away at Detroit's relievers after Verlander, Scherzer, and Sanchez pitched gems to get them into the eighth or ninth innings.
I plussed him even though I disagree with his assertion. Why kill the discussion with a "boo"? He may have just been making a technical argument.
You can measure "best" in many ways: look at runs vs. runs against. Measure the difficulty of their opponents. Take a look at their 3 year record, etc. As fans we are entitled to look at it any way we want.
The rules are what they are, though. Offically the "best" is who wins the World Series. The wild card teams have an extra obstacle towards achieving that, so the system is reasonably fair. If a team can play to win the division, then they can play to reach a wild card slot.
The Braves have been possibly the most consistently successful franchise (considering budget) of the last 25 years. One inclanation is to annoit heroes for that success (Cox and Schuerholz), but no doubt there have been many contributers. How much involvement do Cox and Schuerholz still have and whoever else majorly contributed to this success?
Luke Hochevar "mediocre" as a starter? At five seasons of 78 ERA+, that's worse than mediocre in the strict sense of the word. He had to be one of the worse starters to have so many starts of his era.
I'd point out that Guthrie for Sanchez (7.15 ERA since the trade) worked out nicely. The Norichika Aoki deal was very smart, too. Although, Will Smith has been effective for the Brewers, the Royals don't need him with their great bullpen.
All in all, this was a timely good article.
Is it OK to make a public criticism? Sorry, I don't think this article was up to BP standards. It may be hard to judge how spectacular a play is, but from the highlights I've seen, these would make up an average week. The writing didn't make up for the hum drum content. Worse of all was the torturous ad in front of most of the gifs: same ad for each one, boring, and couldn't be bypassed. Time wasted.
On the postive side, the most impressive catch may be the one by the LSU reserve outfielder. That was interesting.
Jeff reveals some closer nuances I never knew after 25 years of playing and presenting myself as a Scoresheet expert for 15. He clarifies to a much greater degree of when a closer comes in tie games and why a closer might only come in the 9th instead of the 8th as listed and the situation demands.
Re: Jeff enjoying line-up changes more than drafts. I'm one of those folks, too, at least, I used to be, although, I really do enjoy the web drafts in the one league that's been together for ages and we kibbitz and critique as it goes. One of the main reasons I started playing Scoresheet is that I was always revising in my head (and on pieces of paper) just what the ideal Tigers or Blue Jays line-up should be. It was frustrating being at the complete mercy of Sparky Anderson and Cito Gaston, who could be a bit old fashioned (or let's say "boring") in their line-up strategies. Scoresheet gives us the power to do things the way we think they should be done. (Besides that, line-up making is a fun little mathematical puzzle - even if we know one line-up or another doesn't make a big difference.)
Have a nice winter, guys.
- John www.scoresheetwiz.com Carter
Please, continue this feature next year.
OK, sabermaticians, many of us have decried Washington's strategic moves, but has anyone checked to see if his ill advised moves had the same failure rate as expected? Perhaps, he sensed somlething about each of those particular circumstances that might have lent to a greater success rate than normal?
I wonder where Ontario's Intercounty Baseball League fits in with these independent leagues. At one point about a decade ago they had three then recent ex-Blue Jays: Paul Spoljaric and both Butler brothers. They were among the best players on the team, but there was another guy with more power than either Butler. Spoljaric was probably the best pitcher in the league. I was a little surprised he didn't get another chance in affiliated ball.
Has Moya improved his BB:K over the course of his AA tutelage?
If two prospects - or equally young aged major leaguers - are equally good, but one has improved quite a bit more over the previous 3 or 4 years, are the odds better that he will have the more productive career? Has this been seriously studied?
How unprecedented is it for a player with such a poor BB:K to become a solid player? Carlos Gomez is doing very well, but it did take awhile.
What I would like to see from the Monday Morning report or some other weekly or every-other-weekly (bi-?) report is a focus on prospect that may have taken a step up in their game. It is nice to know if someone is unexpectedly struggling, but catching the up-and-comers - the next Mookie Betts, for example, before my fantasy league mates do is what I imagine many of us are after. Perhaps, there aren't enough prospects who take a surprisingly big step forward in a week to merit such a feature, but I do want to know about it when it happens. I appreciate these things creep up and are hard to identify and, perhaps, that's what your weekly report and your daily reports try to do, but I find them overwhelming. Too much information for me. One good game doesn't mean much, though, I know you are very aware of that and try to warn us and give us the appropriate perspective. I hope I explained myself well enough. Thanks for listening.
OK, we'll save individual regressions for true talent tests.
However, I don't see a big difference between how we measure hitters beyond the three true outcomes and using zone factors that cover the whole field for fielders.There is probably just as much luck involved. If anything there is more subjectivity in what is a hit as it could be judged as an error. A regression factor is therefor equally applicable.
Ciao, Jason. I wish you very well, but wonder how long you can resist entertaining the internet world with your special writing talents.
You are the one writer here who has shared quite a bit of your personal life beyond just musical tastes. . . much less so in the past year - and I miss those forays. I am curious if you are with a new wife or you are back with your partner of many years? Not expecting an answer . . . of course, this is very personal, but would love to hear more about it.
1. We need a regression factor only when we are assessing how good a player is not how good he has been. If he has saved X runs - that has happened, but it doesn't mean he is really that good. Probably at that point in time Alex Gordon had saved and produced the most runs, but it doesn't mean he is a better player or even necessarily a better defensive outfielder than Trout.
2. Shouldn't the regression factor be individualized for each player? For example, it makes sense to me that rookies should have a very large regression factor towards the league mean - or the historical league mean for rookies - which might be more generous than the league mean, because players lose range as they age. We don't know if a rookie's defense is reliably as good as the runs he has saved so far in the season. However, the later in the season, the less we need to regress the rookie as he has a larger sample size to establish a defensive ability. Instead of regressing towards a league mean, a veteran should be regressed towards his own normal defensive prowess - with an aging factor to it - as we do with batting projections.
3. Come to think of it, this is how we should consider players when voting for all-star teams, post season awards, or single season fantasy teams: something that is a mix of what they've done - both offensively and defensively - and what we would project from them - in order to get the most accurate view of how good they really are.
I have confirmed that, indeed, if Pomeranz (or anyone else listed as a starter) only relieves the last four weeks of the season, Scoresheet uses him in your pen with an EI of 1 and a Rank against either sided batters of 5.
Thanks, Ian. Both those ideas are well worth considering. Likely I will take a chance on Pomeranz, except if he doesn't have a start, what happens to his innings? Scoresheet doesn't allow us to list the 4th starter as a reliever as I thought they used to. My understanding is that he would be the 5th reliever from both sides. Is that right?
An interesting sociological observation served with some good laughs ("poor Buster Posey out there fighting tyranny all by himself").
Growing up in the 60s, we kept a litter bag in the car and installed seat belts.
How many ways are there to spell your name, Jared Weiss? I know of a Jarrod Washburn and a Jered Weaver. Where does that name come from? When did it become a name?
OK, a Scoresheet play-off question: with Cliff Lee down, Kazmir becomes my no. 2 starter and Shields becomes my no.3 with, yikes, C.J. Wilson as my no. 4 guy. I could go with Bud Norris or take a chance that Drew Pomeranz returns to Oakland's rotation, but we don't have any lead days in September to see.
My thoughts are about having Shields as a no. 3. Should I trade for someone better? I can't find a taker for Lee. I loathe to trade picks and really good prospects for play-off pushes. I've seen it backfire so often.
I'm also wondering if getting cute by putting Shields in the no. 2 spot is really helpful towards the strategy that the series is likely to go 7 games and I'd rather have Kazmir or King Felix pitching that game. I think that would be a mistake. A series could end in the 6th game, while Shields might have had a better chance in the 7th game. Luck balancing in accumulative, so just as it is worth putting your best hitters at the top of you order not just for the advantage of getting them extra at bats, but adding to the expected run value right away, it works the same with pitchers. I'm sticking with 1. Felix, 2. Kazmir, 3. Shields, 4. ??? What do you all think?
Well, I guess I should go back to the sources, but since you brought it up here and there's probably not much discussion going on there: how do they separate Tony LaRussa's success from Dave Duncan's or Leo Mazzone's from Bobby Cox's? Based on the success Duncan has had without LaRussa and the success Cox had without Mazzone - and the lack of success Mazzone had without Cox (granted, all small Ns), it seems that, if anything, they are crediting the wrong guy in both those cases.
I would be very surprised if the Rangers didn't bounce back with a contender next year. However, it seems to me that their success over the last couple decades has been directly related to the degree of Nolan Ryan's involvement with the team.
Incredible. I wonder if the Major League teams will be making use of this - or they already have their in-house versions, if they believe in its value.
Domingo Santana - what should we believe: 4 years of hitting well above average, while being a much younger than average at every level of the minors - or 13 at bats of utter futility in the Majors?
Hmm. It looks like when Lawrie comes back, he'll still be the second-baseman. Was he any good there? His fielding stats don't look terrible.
I'd say Joe went slowly down hill after he left the Yankees broadcast booth at some point in the '60s, I guess. He was my favourite at that point, although, I was young and not as discerning. He'd come up with an interesting or fun observation now and then during his NBC days, but he had neither the insight of, say, Tony Kubek, nor the infectious enthusiasm of Curt Gowdy.
Kubek is another guy who got worse the more years he was in the booth. With the Blue Jays, he became increasingly bitter.
Then there are the current depth charts, which I find very useful: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc_week/
This has nothing to do with this new toy's functionality, but a question about how the values were arrived at. Just checking out my favourite team of this "rest of season" depth chart, I see J.D. Martinez is not listed as the primary starter in either left or right and has a projected rest of season value of something likely under 0.1 WAR. Hmm. I know it is a mistake to believe in small sample sized hot streaks, but he's been on fire all year so far. At this point, we gotta expect a bit more than that from him. That sure looks more like a last year's PECOTA not a rest-of-season PECOTA.
Nice appropriate ditty - unknown to me (or forgotten) - from the greatest master of ditties.
I wish you well at Grantland - and hope making Sam the editor won't take away too much from his own outstanding pieces.
I looked there first, but couldn't find it - must have been logged out.
So, J & J took Bogaert & Profar ahead of Price, Scherzer, and Verlander . . . and also Braxton. That was December, I guess just before the consensus of scouts put Braxton on a rocket ship to number 1?
I don't mean to be mean. They were generous and brave to participate in the first place - and we benefit from their doing so. My first two picks this winter weren't so hot either. I'm just trying to make some interesting points here.
I hate to sound like a second-guesser. I missed the Mock Draft discussion. I just wasn't prepared that early to pretend I had a clue who they should be drafting.
As for Joe & Jay's Bogaert pick in the first round, well, it's understandable, but something of an example of how some Scoresheet managers overthink matters. Yes, shortstops were a weak lot this year, but unless it was predicted Bogaert was going to be a stud right away, it is better to draft someone who would be more predictably outstanding for his position: Anibal Sanchez, for example, with the 23rd pick out of two leagues, I'm sure someone even more reliably outstanding was available. It doesn't matter who is the best or how high they rank, it just matters how much better he is.
Perhaps, Bogaert was the most outstanding player available - it is too hard to tell who was taken, because they drafted using the previous year's numbers, while Scoresheet since "updated" that draft page using this year's player/number list. So, obviously the first pick wasn't Markakis, it must have been Trout. No. 2 couldn't have been Spence - no doubt McCutchen. No. 3 was an NL pitcher. It could have been Wainwright, but the number is 1001, which must have been Kershaw who was just behind R.A. Dickey in innings in 2012.
Was Eugenio Suarez considered a prospect? About where would he rank?
How close were Domingo Santana and Gabriel Guerrero to making this list?
Pertinent thoughts about those players?
If I am allowed to ask about more specific prospects, they would be: Sean Newcomb, Casey Gillespie, Bradley Zimmer, Jake Thompson, Tyler Geoddel, and Luis Sardinas.
Is Maxwell really that bad or is he a victim of small sample size and infrequent use? Perhaps, he just isn't good at infrequent use. They couldn't give him more of Jarrod Dyson's at bats? The right-handed batting Maxwell surely makes a better platoon partner for LHB Dyson than LHB Ibanez. I know Maxwell was abysmal against RHP so far, but as I note: SSS. Can a 42 year old (Ibanez) even cover an outfield spot adequately? Perhaps, the intention is to make him the DH against RHP instead of Butler. If that is the case, than that portion of the transaction will be a disaster.
No doubt it is arrogant of me to second guess a Major League organization, but KC is one of the last teams to come out of the dark ages - and I do have some credentials.
How can I grow up and move on from baseball, when there are geniuses like Sam Miller holding me captive?
Did MGL or anyone look at BABiP? If the player has a pretty normal BABiP or worse and he's hitting way over his expected level, then I'd guess he's going to significantly beat his projection the rest of the year. That's mainly why I bet on Jose Bautista in 2010 and Edwin Encarnacion in 2012 - and am betting on Eugenio Suarez - but not Danny Santana right now.
Thumbs up thanks.
An interesting start, but it doesn't seem to me to be a large enough sample size to draw any accurate occlusions. Even that the better Major Leaguers produce more Major League prodigies makes sense to me, but considering how much harder it must have been to find offspring of the lesser players, I'm still a tad skeptical.
I'm thinking Sam could have spun an even more interesting article about his process on this project.
Note to trigger happy minus voters: please, provide a reason why you don't like this comment.
It is interesting that a scout sees him that way. Personally, I'd trust his actual MLB strikeout rate of the his last four seasons (8.9) over one scout saying his arm isn't so special.
Although, Samardziga's K rate and velocity are down this year, his GB% is up and his HR/9 and BB% have improved, too. Perhaps, what that scout is trying to point out is that this year Samardziga is relying more on his guile relative to his pitch action - or, perhaps, it is just the scout's way of saying he is not really a 1.68 ERA pitcher.
No doubt many slumps are tiny hard-to-detect flaws or changes in one's swing such as this.
I went to the NorCal site and tried to make sense of the transactions.
Going all the way back to October 2012, he traded Shin-Soo Choo and Eric Aybar for Chris Archer, R13, and R26.
Not much activity until all of March was a tornado of trades with picks flying all over the place including several for no player at all (three way trades?) However, best as I can follow, the net result was a one man loss in picks & players for JRM.
Finally during the second week of April he trades for Chris Davis losing two picks and trades away Edwin Encarnacion gaining four picks. Note jumping on the small sample size that was Davis's first amazing week last year.
In May, John netted three more picks and one player. He traded Matt Harrison for Joquin Benoit, R25, and A-Rod, who was a surprise that he even played to some. Then traded Justin Masterson for platoon-able Mark Reynolds and two more picks.
In June he trades a couple of picks for three players: a couple of doomy relievers and J.J. Hardy. Huh? How'd he pull that off? His next deal gives up a couple of winter picks for Adam Dunn and four late supplemental picks. Nice. (I love late supplemental picks.)
In July, JRM gets one more LSP for a winter pick as well as Koji Uehara for Micahael Brantley. Very nice.
August: mostly trades future picks (or pick down-grades) for platoon players and relievers - as well as trades younger players for older. His net gain is about five players. His final trade on Sept. 1 is a pick downgrade from 26 to 32 for Glen Perkins and some guy named Mariano Rivera.
At that point he should have had 44 + 17 = yes, 61 players. How did he do it? He makes many trades and tries to get picks - particularly supplemental picks thrown in. Apparently, he sells his deals as a player down-grade and gets their undervalued picks thrown in to help even things out. He also likes trading pick down-grades to get a pile of serviceable players - especially late in the year when they are much more valuable to him than his out-of-the running trading partner. That's an active manager!
That was an excellent chat with JRM. It was fun to finally put a voice to his written comments. Thanks, guys, thanks, John.
More to the point, he had some interesting insights. Most of them, I have had leanings towards myself - just not nearly as gung-ho as JRM is with them. (He is obviously fearless about his convictions.) I even include fastball speed in my shorthanded notes on every pitcher along with strikeout %, K:BB, projected ERA, projected innings, injury notes, and GB%, but I generally only gave it a fair amount of consideration when choosing relievers. He has me wondering if it is as important as K% when considering a starter's potential. How about a link to his study?
Where I am resisting JRM's ways are with his aggressive pick for patch and bullpen of doom trades. He makes sense, but in my experience, often the players on your team who weren't meeting their expectations finally do in September, while those who are traded for in August because they were exceeding expectations, end up normalizing in September. I understand those April-August stats count 60%, but I'm still hurting from having a 107 game winning team last year with no holes and my own bullpen of doom - and still losing the championship to a team that was much hotter than mine last September. And just for the fun of it, I really don't like missing out on picks at any time during the winter.
How JRM manages to go from missing his first 8 picks to ending up with 60 (+26 over league average) players is really impressive. Thanks, Ben, for trying to get out of him how he does that.
Fun and interesting. Next up: the Incumbency Kings - who has been holding down his position for the same team the longest? (I have a list of the all-time Incumbency Kings.)
I found it strange to see the Rangers center-field on this list. My impression is their outfield has been very stable. They had Hamilton, Murphy, and Cruz together for five years ('08-'12) including Gentry for the latter two. They've always just thrown someone else or two into the mix, so that no one owned a particular outfield position for very long.
er, six. You probably need six short relievers. Only a very strong rotation can get away with just five relievers.
It makes it more important to have 8 actual starters. That's the way I'm playing it. I drafted 9 starters on both of my teams with 1 on each team expected to come off the D.L. (Harrison) or get called up soon (Duffy?) and each with Drew Pomeranz, who I am optimistically expecting to get called up about mid season.
Depending on how many prospects you have, you might not have room for a 6th and 7th short reliever. That's OK. There will be plenty more coming along during the supplementals - if you actually need them. But, I wouldn't go with fewer than five including your closer.
There are some very good Scoresheet players out there who use a very high number for relievers in hopes that it ensures the pitcher getting rocked keeps pitching until he runs out of innings and won't ruin another game. I am not one of those - I pretty much agree with these guys. If I have a full pen and don't have to stretch every inning out of my guys, I use 1.5 for my set-up men and top middle relievers. If it is that low, you can still win the game. Sure, they might come back in another game, but they might do that anyway, even if your hook is high. There could be a chance that they'll come back and be great because you hooked them early after they gave up a run, and ERA matching will now be very nice to them. There's also the possibility that you won't even need him again.
Of course, this would work the first week if you don't have any good relievers eligible as starters - and still would be a bit of an advantageous trick to get the best possible pitcher most often in that case. In fact, there used to be more relievers eligible as starters. The better of these were generally much better than the 6th and 7th starters, you would otherwise use. Now, at least in the American League, you are generally stuck with your reserve starters for those first three innings. So, putting them on your farm is probably a sneakily good idea - especially if you don't have a lefty and a righty to take advantage of a platooning line-up from the more advantageous side.
No, it will use the pitcher with the most innings year-to-date. Otherwise you could cheat the system getting the pitcher with usually the best outing. Scoresheet has been around a long time. They don't have such an obvious loop-hole.
I wrote this awhile ago. It should all hold up, though: http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id48.html
It's at: www.scoresheetwiz.com
So, Collins is not in the running to be the left-fielder until Dirks comes back?
I have long advocated keeping a reliever or two who qualifies as a starter. Over the years, there have been fewer and fewer pitchers of that type. Whether it is because Scoresheet's Barton brothers have been stricter about it or the Major League pitchers have more tightly defined roles (or both) is besides the point. This year the American League is down to one really good 100% healthy such reliever - and he plays for San Diego: Alex Torres. You have Torres ranked 63rd, which makes sense strictly as a reliever. But, with starter status, he was drafted as a top 15 reliever (top 7 in the A.L.) in both of my leagues - round 19. I am wondering if that is worth bumping Torres that far up. Perhaps, these teams plan on using him as a 5th starter and use their real 5th starter as a mop up man.
Sorry, I'm not getting why you are shouting nonsense.
I guess humour is a very personal thing.
I disagree with you again, my friend. I was laughing to the end - although, my favourites were the Jose Molina gifs. Make sure you drop some vitamin D in your breakfast beverage.
That's a bit strong. It would be nice to have some explanation for the players who differ the most from their Major League projections. At it is, I suppose you could use this as a tie-breaker when you are stuck trying to decide between two players. I have some faith that Ian, Ben, and Jarred as very knowledgable and thorough.
Side note to fellow Tigers fan: Victor Martinez is their DH. Nelson Cruz is now a DH. That's not a good fit. I would have preferred getting Curtis Granderson back for left field - or right if Dirks can manage to re-adjust to Major League pitchers and Torii Hunter plays his age.
I do agree their depth everywhere is frighteningly thin, but if all the regulars are healthy to the end, we remain contenders for a championship. Yes, that's a very big "if" and most teams have some "ifs" that would lead to the same conclusion.
Hey, guys, thanks. I appreciate that ranking so many outfielders with such a slight difference in expected future Scoresheet value is a tough task and that just because a guy is 30 names higher, doesn't mean he is a heck of a lot better.
That said, I am curious about a couple of names - just in case you know something we don't know:
Why is Alejandro De Aza down there with the fourth outfielders and the lesser third of his platoon Dayan Viciedo listed in the cut-bubble above them?
Why are post season bench-ees Matt Joyce and David Nava still considered keepers, while Andy Dirks is not?
Also, why are Kelly Johnson, Steve Lombardozzi. and Ben Zobrist listed among the outfielders? Are they ranked here as if they aren't eligible at other positions and have separate rankings elsewhere?
Although I have huge respect for Tango and know how careful he is with his studies, the method you describe, I believe, is flawed - don't know if Tango corrected for it, but skimming the article I didn't find one. The longer an infielder plays behind a pitcher the better he's able to guess where a batter is going to hit a ball given a particular pitch.
All the serious studies I've seen give a range peak at more like 22 or 23.
Another terrific article, by the way. Thanks, Sam.
With Alex Rodriguez out for the season, I thought it would be fun to compare him to all the best A.L. prospects of his era and his cohort stars and took a stab at measuring his excellence - that is his impact on our A.L. Scoresheet League. I am breaking it down into web friendly 6 parts starting today and continuing for a week: www.scoresheetwiz.com
I hope this isn't against some rule. It is applicable here and it is a free site with no advertising.
Thank you. That's a fair criticism. I should have worded that part differently acknowledging his claim to having his axes covered.
Why am I being minussed for asking these questions?
Very interesting revelation - as long as your not saying this because you are disgruntled. How was Amaro chosen? Was it foreseeable that he might be undoing the strengths of the scouting department?
Except the Blue Jays have a hole (Ryan Goins?) at second-base. I don't think the Yankees are any more of a contender than Toronto. That entire division is wide open to all 7 teams.
Interesting . . . could be on to something, but my instinct tells me we need a fair bit more data to be conclusive.
But then, Jason Parks and Baseball America could be reading this and make bolder adjustments next year. . . How would we know?
Anyway, for those of us who don't blindly go by prospect rankings, this was a useful article. Thanks.
Is Vilar going to be a greater offensive force (or rather less of an offence liability) than Iglesias?
Sometimes a glove wizard finds a way to become a fair hitter. Look at Dave Concepcion, Omar Vizquel, and even Ozzie Smith - they all improved immensely with the bat. Even Mark Belanger had a couple of not awful years with his stick.
Well, not counting The Godfather.
Entertaining analysis on Reed Johnson, A.J.
Perhaps, it is time to do some agent analysis. Who is the agent enabling Morales' off-market self worth? Are there some agents who have a significantly better record of getting the best deals for their players . . . or bad advice?
Is it possible Jed Lowrie has learned to stay healthy or did he just have one freakishly healthy year (for him)? . . . or did he just have a freakishly unhealthy career so far?
Roughed Odor doesn't cost a protection slot - just a low round draft pick. Is he really just borderline worth keeping around at that cost?
That my comment is rating just a -1 is bewildering. You would rather not know that Derek Jeter belongs on that list of all-time homeys? This makes me feel so lonely, it is depressing.
OK. That's fine. We could get even more nuanced. Frankly, I would bet more people consider the town where they lived during high school more their "home town" than the place where they happened to be born. I certainly do myself.
However, I was using birth town because that's where this little project started. I ruled out Ken Boyer, because the Kansas City Athletics were around during his prime years as a baseball player.
I love the home state chart. Although, it would be even cooler, if it were more nuanced. Bonds and Gynn were born in the L.A. area not San Diego’s. Boyer’s Liberty is closer to Kansas City then St. Louis. However, there may be some hitters who were born out of state, but still in their team's range of fans. I found two - maybe 1½:
Roger Connor born in Waterbury, Connecticut (about the mid point between New York and Boston) put up 52.6 rWAR for the 19th century N.Y. Giants plus another 6 rWAR for the New York franchise in the Players League in 1890.
Derek Jeter born in Pequonnock, NJ has 71.6 rWAR, so far. That puts him sixth on the list. It would take him a couple of more very good years to pass Pete Rose.
Berkman, then, would be in the top 10, except that Waco is closer to Dallas than Houston - so, not.
It was reported in the Toronto Star by Richard Griffen that Stephen Drew has OKed the possibility of playing second base. That would be a nice upgrade over Ryan Goins, yes?
Indeed the Jays are looking for another starter - and Burnett is, indeed, in the running with Jimenez and possibly Santana or Arroyo. However, from what I've read - Drew Hutchison is looking very strong. I would think he's a slight cut above j.A. Happ.
So, Eddie Rosario has been playing center lately and that has coincided with a recovered bat. Does that move him up or down or remain the same?
It seems to me a Steinbrennerish thing to make Cano "an example" - you don't dare try to cash in on Yankee loyalism. They like their lifetime stars, but they don't want to pay for that loyalty.
Stanky Maneuvers are entertaining at first, but one would get tired of it after awhile. It does seem childish - like when I used to base coach and yell "I got it!" on pop-ups to the infield.
I didn't think the Astros' season was so disgraceful. It is far less depressing than being lousy and not building for the future. Fans need to appreciate the value of patience.
Welcome back, Ken - haven't seen you around here for awhile.
Hi, Ben. It's me: scoresheetwiz (www.scoresheetwiz.com).
I have Avila and Gomes on my longtime AL Robinson team and Gomes, Norris, Jaso, and D'Arnaud on my side team. I can't sell a catcher in either league. Avila's downward trending is scary, but isn't the fact that he is still just turning 27 and has had an MVP vote getting season make him a better bet than Gomes, who has come out of nowhere and only been a regular for a month or two? He's certainly not going to sustain that .345 BABiP. And Gomes is already a half a year older than Avila.
It is another tough choice between Gomes and Norris. Right now, Gomes seems to have more power, but for how much longer? I'm leaning towards throwing Norris back in the pot with a guess that he might be a tad easier to redraft. Also, D'Arnaud is a keeper thanks to his rookie eligibility. By the time Norris is better than Gomes, I might prefer D'Arnaud, anyway. Norris's .301 BABiP is much higher than anything he's hit above the low A level, so he's not going to sustain his .345 OBA either.
So, to be clear about my questions: 1) Is Avila's downward trend likely to continue or is it more likely he will regress towards his career norm or even better? 2) How much is Norris likely to improve this year and next? When does he pass Gomes, if ever?
I beg for intelligent discussion, rather than just negging. OK, they do have Robbie Ray - who did pitch some in AA last year. The stats say he isn't nearly ready yet, but Dave Dombrowski has earned my respect - although every GM is wrong sometimes. VerHagen? He, too, just started AA for 60 innings, except he has never had a strikeout rate greater than 6.00/9 - and doesn't have impressive command that might make that workable. Perhaps, he is the greatest ground ball freak ever, but otherwise, I don't see statistically how he'll ever make it.
The scary thing is what is their fall back plan if Smyly can't handle the work load or anyone else in that vaulted rotation goes down? They don't have any starter in the high minors who looks promising.
From Wikipedia: "In 2008, McCann released a charity wine (The McCann Merlot) with 100% of his proceeds supporting the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, an organization dedicated to raising funds to support pediatric cancer research and treatments."
All thoughtful opinions are welcome as far as I'm concerned, so speak for yourself. I sense you were trying to be funny, perhaps, but that is hard to detect. Anyway, dinging is even worse. Why not engage in reasoned argument?
I happen to like Parks' odd departures into story telling. They don't have to be funny or directly analytical to be entertaining to us baseball stat junkies - just interesting and hopefully thought provoking.
That's basically what I figured, thanks.
My theory is that everybody listens to their own genre of music these days. My 21 year old son, for example, prefers to listen to blues these days, but also likes prog-rock and "good" rap. He did know that lyric.
I listen to a broad range of music and try to keep up with current artists, but listen to very little rap or teen-age pop. I know who Kanye West is, but wouldn't recognize his music despite having a good ear for that sort of thing. I am turned off by most of the little bit of rapping I get exposed to here in Canada as a . . . yikes, I recent turned 59. Some of the background soundscapes are great, but I'd rather hear soul stirring melodies and harmonies than monotone brags about life in the ghetto.
Well, it did grab my attention, but I don't get it. With so many of us branching into our own specialized interests on the internet and cable/satellite options, it is harder and harder to have common cultural references.
Very interesting and informative, thanks.
I'm wondering how the number of red flags Tanaka has (and their severity) compares to most established starting MLB pitchers? Are there any pitchers with perfect mechanics?
"hobo squatters in beard": excellent!
"A-Rod and B-Rob": good one.
I think it would be a greater problem of not having the young talent to trade for good veterans when they become available. But even greater than that, would be the problem of not having good long term players to build around. It is impossible to build completely around free agents. The vast majority of them don't have many productive years left to give.
Actually, I'm curious about what happened to Montgomery as well. He appears to have regressed.
I loved the article: fun, insightful with lots of excellent links (except there should have been a link to the article on the Aoki trade).
Thank you for the explanation. However, I still don't see the point of Behemoth's comment. Of course, if Montero still stinks in AAA while Smoak and the newly hired bad fielding hitters are decent in the Majors, Montero deserves to stay where he is.
I made my initial comment because Montero wasn't even mentioned except as part of the fantasy analysis, yet, he is the elephant in the room. (Pardon the cliche - and bows to the fabulous words of Sam Miller.) Montero has already blown away AAA - twice (2010 and 2011). Now that he is another year removed from his injury, he needs another few months of regular Major League at bats to prove he's a better hitter than Morrison, Hart, Ackley, and Smoak. The Mariners could use another impact player, which they are more likely to find in Montero than those other guys.
The write-up on the Doug Fister trade mentioned how incredibly far Dave Dombrowski is above the other GMs in net trading for talent. It was as a counterargument regarding the head scratching meagre return for Fister. DetroitDale pointed out not every trade Dombrowski has made has been gold - some have backfired (e.g. Renteria for Jurrgens).
I wish to pile on that warning because a) even though he's been the GM for 12 years now, it still isn't a large N. Every GM makes his share of bummers just as every hitter sometimes strikes out. It is only a marginal gain of superior scouting and trading that makes the best GM the best. b) Anyone who has a string of successes frequently suffers from hubris - especially in something like trying to outfox other GMs. No?
Well, I sure hope for the best and this is just my pessimism talking.
Well, five of you plussed Behemoth- how would you know if Montero can hit better than them or not?
OK, so if Jesus Montero finds his bat, he's blocked! Interesting.
love "scrappy" with a silent "s".
Re fantasy impact: Wouldn;'t the Angels have played Calhoun anyway? Either Trumbo or Calhoun would have been the DH over Grant Green or whoever they are going to play now, no?
Sorry, I'm so thick, but I haven't the faintest idea why this was minused.
What I think happened is that the Tigers just recently found out Dirks was playing all year with his knee still hampering him and that they expect him to rebound and be a decent outfielder again. So, they stopped pursuing Choo figuring Dirks might be worth another shot and just found the perfect platoon partner for him.
P.S. In comparing these players, I almost forgot what is most critically important to Yankees :post season performance. Robinson Cano has not fared so well when you combine all of his post seasons, but he hasn’t been terrible. None of the top five greatest Yankee second-basemen outperformed their career OPS. That is not particularly surprising considering under those circumstances, they were always facing well above average opponents. The player who by far hit the best in the post season relative to league average OPS (using Michael Bain’s A Graphical History of Baseball) was Joe Gordon. However, he only played in five World Series as a Yankee. Tony Lazzeri played in six and fared just slightly worse in a stronger hitting environment. They fared significantly better than the other three. Gil McDougald played in the World Series during 8 of this 10 years with the Yankees hitting .689 OPS. Willie Randolf played in 9 post season series - three of them for the championship and hit slightly less than McDougald under a slightly tougher run scoring environment. Cano hit slightly better than Randolf during his 11 post season series of which only one was for the championship. The run scoring during his tenure was up there with Lazzeri’s as the highest. All in all the argument for Gordon being the greatest Yankee second-baseman gets bumped up even more, if you just compare these players purely against their contemporaries. Considering that his time as a Yankee was before baseball started to integrate, then you have to acknowledge his skill level probably wasn’t even close to Cano’s.
It is time to assess Robinson Cano's place among the all-time greatest Yankee second-basemen. Even though he has cut his time with them short, he has a good case to be ranked no. 1. Only Tony Lazzeri and Willie Randolf accumulated more WAR (using B-Ref.) during their careers as Yankees, but they took more years to top what Cano produced so far. Cano's 9 year career WAR is 45.2.
Lazzeri's best consecutive 9 years comes to 41.1, but played three more years to come in at 48.3.
Randolf covered the keystone for 13 years, but his best consecutive nine comes to 39.0. However, he was impactful for those additional four seasons bringing his career Yankees total to 53.8. Arguably, Randolf should still be considered no. 1.
Another candidate is Joe Gordon. In his first six years as a Yankee second-baseman, he accumulated 35.6 WAR. At age 29 and 30, he took two years off to fight in WW II. Project what he would have done those two years and add it to what he did the year he returned, he might be ahead of Cano. Gordon continued as a 5.0 WAR/year his next two years in Cleveland.
Gil McDougald was another outstanding Yankee second baseman, but comes in 5th place. He was more of a Tony Phillips type utility star.
If you consider that today's Major Leaguers are obviously bigger, faster, stronger, and better trained than the pros of the past, then Cano is obviously the best ever.
Here are the rest of the multi-year Yankee second-basemen chronologically (with some overlap due to war and positional switches) preceded by their WAR-f as Yankees in consecutive positive contribution:
14.1 Jimmy Williams
3.2 Frank LaPorte
1.6 Luke Boone
13.1 Del Pratt (in only 3 years)
12.6 Aaron Ward
48.3 Tony Lazzeri
37.6 Joe Gordon
25.7 Snuffy Stirnweiss (in only 5 years)
7.2 Jerry Coleman
6.3 Billy Martin
40.6 Gil McDougald
9.1 Bobby Richardson (and that took 10 years)
5.5 Horace Clarke (even worse - took 8)
2.0 Sandy Alomar (father of Sandy, Jr. and Robbie)
53.8 Willie Randolf
9.9 Steve Sax
5.0 Pat Kelly
7.4 Chuck Knoblauch
5.4 Alfonso Soriano (not counting his return to them as an outfielder)
45.2 Robinson Cano
If you want more contributions like this from me, please vote a plus.
I have to strongly disagree with you, my fine fellow Tigers follower. By my estimates anyway, Cano figured OPS around .880 if he stayed in Yankee Stadium Nouveau - and that's with a good .350 OBP. The marginal second-baseman - let's pick a good one for argument sake - Kelly Johnson is expected to be a .700 OPSer - only .310 OPS. Compare that to McCann's expected OPS of .780 to, say, Francesco Cervelli of .650 expectations, Cano wins by .050 OPS. It is more than that considering Cano plays every day, while catchers can't. Compare these marginal contributions defensively the gap between Cano's value and McCann's widens significantly further.
Perhaps, with all the unknowns, the Astros are onto a new strategy: try hard with what you can get, then see where you are near the end of July. Surely, they can find a buyer for Fowler and Feldman then, if they still . . . you know what.
In my opinion, of course, for "following" a sport, nothing comes close to baseball, but for sitting and watching a regular season game on TV, Premeir League blows away the 4 major North American sports. I find it mesmerizing. The action rarely stops. A goal could come any moment the ball comes close. The athleticism is beautiful. Baseball, basketball, and football have endless play stoppages that strain my tiny patience. Hockey has fewer and is a faster paced game, but you can't see the player's faces and the camera misses much of the significant action with the players who are not near the puck. On the wider camera angles you can't see the puck.
Yes, I prefer the dramatic build up of almost scoring prevalent in soccer/football than the bang bang - he either makes the shot or he doesn't of basketball. Baseball and football score higher on dramatic build up than basketball, but each build up generally takes too long. Baseball teams get 9 drawn out possessions; football teams average, what, 12?
Thanks for some good literature.
Moving Gardner over to left for Ellsbury reminds me of when the Yankees moved the reining gold glove winning shortstop Alex Rodriguez to third base to respect the all mighty Jeter.
You guys must have fun thinking this stuff up. That's what fantasy baseball is for - so we can make up our own trades.
What a lexicon of Boston stars signing as free agents with their richer rivals in the Bronx: Luis Tiant, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon, Kevin Youkilis, and, now, Jacoby Ellsbury. What Red Sox stars since free agency began haven’t signed with the Yankees? Three cheers for Yaz, a native Long Islander, who remained loyal to the Bay Staters to the north. Pudge Fisk only changed the color of his Sox. Neither of the ’73-’74 rookie OF stars (Evans, Rice, and Lynn) played for New York, nor did Ellis Burks who came along near the end of Dewey’s career. Were Bruce Hurst, Mike Greenwell, or Trot Nixon stars? They never played for New York. Mo Vaughn and John Valentin - teammates in college - both ended up as free agents in New York - but with the Mets - and they are both New York metropolitan area native sons. Dominican Pedro Martinez also left to play in Queens, although Dominican Manny Ramirez never played for either New York team - and he grew up in Manhattan. Nomar is not Dominican, he is Californian (of Mexican descent) - and he never played for New York. Tek and Wake - like Yaz, Rice, and Dewey before them - retired in their Red Sox uniforms.
It seems Dombrowski was focused on trading a pitcher - and took the best offer on the table before he had to commit to Nathan. It is surprising that is the best he could up with (couldn't he get some cash out of the deal?) - not that we know more than he does - it's just surprising to us - at least, I sure hope that is the case and not an unfortunate flourish of hubris.
It was an unforgettable movie. Between that and The Graduate, no wonder I never had much career ambition (but still ended up with a richly well rounded life).
They still have a few eating contests these days. They don't compare to dance marathons by scale, but they are also gross, unhealthy, and a bad bet for the contestants.
At least reality show contestants are better remunerated, but I would hate to be so intimately exposed or pressed into contrived situations in which I would have to act deceitfully, etc.
Rather than ding this guy, how about explaining why you disagree with him?
Your biggest sins here, godfather, a) your generalization about statheads. We don't all think alike - and the ones I know care far less about situational hitting than conventional fans. It comprises too small samples. However, perhaps, that was your point - it wasn't clear and was, in my opinion, contradictory. That is your other major sin: you aren't clear about what point you are making, at least, I can't confidently parse it.
Step 5 has been done before: I recall Ron Fairly of the mid '60s Dodgers coming in from right-field to face bunters. One time in particular was sort of amusing as the team was having trouble trying to get his attention which was directed towards someone in the stands. Fairly was an 1B-OF.
Yeah, Samardiga stinks. He only misses bats. Although, his K:BB ratio has been 3.21 and 2.74 as a starter. His ground ball rates were 44.6% and 48.2%, so he's well above average there, too, but . . . he only throws a 2 seamer, a 4 seamer, a slider, a splitter, and a cut fastball. Oh, and he only had 33 starts and 215 innings. Real men give 35 starts and 300 innings like a few did in the '60s and '70s. So, please, do encourage your GM to trade him to my GM here in Toronto, so you can try finding a decent pitcher.
That doesn't make sense to me. First, Kinsler shouldn't be hurt much at all by moving to Comerica. Baseball Prospectus's Bret Sayre said as much today: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22280. Second, Fielder would decline in Detroit as much as Texas. At least, they are getting some number of wins better at second base than the below replacement level Herman Perez. (Omar Infante is a free agent.) As the article explains, Castellanos is a very good prospect to put in at third and shifting Miggy to first is an additional improvement.
Texas is losing Nelson Cruz to free agency and David Murphy has already signed with Cleveland. Their alternative is Chris McGuiness - also a negative WAR guy. Instead they get to play the grandly heralded Jurickson Profar.
(Kinsler + Castellanos + improved defense) > (Fielder + Herman Perez)
(Fielder + Profar) > (Kinsler + McGuiness)
That is big a win-win.
I love the wisdom dispensed in the last paragraph - if only I was brave enough to get into short selling.
casejud: did you total how many 19 years olds played in the Carolina League since 1990? What was your cut off year (no sense in checking on 19 years olds who played there the last couple years as they still haven't fully matured yet)?
Thank you, casejud.
Neither Jhonny Peralta nor David Bell ever made a Baseball America Top 100 list.
Granted, making the high A level by 19 is endorsement enough. They deserve inclusion - just pointing out a difference as casejud did with his notes about their defensive value.
It is particularly surprising that Bell had so much improvement in him. You would expect a 3rd generation Major Leaguer, whose father was respected enough to even have several managerial gigs, would be quite advanced for his ceiling by 19. Perhaps, he was, but still found ways to continue improving. (Uh, was he caught using steroids?)
OK, I get it: Hawkins is only 19 and just played his first full professional season. It's not that big of a deal that he failed the high A level. However, I am still curious about the the precedents. Who else was a highly touted hitting prospect that failed the high A level at that age? If there are many, how many of them went on to have a solid career in the Majors?
Thanks. Although, it is hard to see how Iglesias only gets a half a win for his defense that includes a positional adjustment. FanGraphs gives him 0.7 wins without it and 4.1 wins with it.
The voting may not have been so close, but their WAR values were - I think. Myers still wins under FanGraphs 2.4 to 1.8, but in B-Ref, Myers had an oWAR of 2.2 and a dWAR of -0.7. By my arithmetic, that adds up to 1.7, but for some reason I wish someone could explain to me, B-Ref shows 2.0 as his total WAR. Even weirder with Iglesias, his oWAR shows 1.6 with Boston and 0.3 with Detroit. This matches his WAR ignoring his 0.3 dWAR with Boston and 0.2 dWAR with Detroit. It should all add up to 2.4 give or take a rounding error.
I've been wondering about this for a long time. Thank you, Russell, for tackling it.
There must be a long gory reason you didn't include pitchers with fewer than 20 innings and hitters with fewer than 100 PA (which are not balanced cut offs - more like 20 ing. / 50 PA - no?) Why have cut-offs at all? Call-ups to replace injured players are necessary, although, September call-ups, perhaps, are not.
Yes, I think we all want to hear more about Montero: what went wrong; is it fixable; is he now just a DH; etc.
By the way, I particularly like the Factors on the Farm section, so we know who might be of help in the coming year.
Yes, it is an interesting chart that I'd like to see explored. I'm sure much of the rise in age from the first 50 years comes from fewer and fewer player-managers. Then, with much fluctuation, it flattens. Then, what caused the significant rise in older managers during the steroids era? Were managers taking supplements to keep their brains smarter? Were they taking better care of their health? Did teams realize a good manager is hard to find and they improve with experience, so the best ones were kept longer or were quickly rehired?
Excellent job. Well laid out and the predictions are well thought out. (I even had the same thoughts about the Pierzynski prediction - he doesn't fit their defensive catcher norm, but the Rays don't get stuck in an ideologically rut - they will grab value in whatever form it comes in.)
My only teensy-weensy wonderment is how Nelson Cruz is ranked above Carlos Beltran? Does a 37 year old slide down hill that much faster than a 32 year old? Is it not the case that Beltran is better defensively, gets on base more often, gets injured less often, and is, at least, Cruz's equal in power - especially considering the aid Cruz gets playing in Arlington?
It is nice to see this coming out already, thanks.
Re: 1968: Lolich was not considered the ace of the Tigers. That was Denny McLain. Lolich was their very good no. 2 starter - and he pitched on two days' rest to beat the mightily dominate Gibson in game 7.
Right. That's how I see it. Middlebrooks tried to trip him as Craig was trying to step over him. It is a natural instinct to try to do that coming from these very competitive athletes. I think that's what I would have attempted as well - not taking the time to consider this is televised with about 5 slow motion cameras on the play. It is possible that Middlebrooks was trying to get out of the way, then changed his mind and decided to lay low, but not probable.
The Red Sox lost both of their games with ill considered throws to third base.
It looks like Mujica slowed down to avoid running into the first-baseman. What's the rule on that? Should Mujica have kept running full speed and crashed into him? Obviously, he didn't want to injure himself (or the first-baseman). Should he have run along the side of the base and argued that he couldn't touch the base because the first-baseman was in the way - and leave it up to the ump to decide if he would have reached it in time?
After Matt Bush was selected, the Tigers chose Justin Verlander.
Isn't BP co-founder Gary Huckabay still working for the Cardinals? Congrats to him!
Thanks. The next post season cliche I'd like to see tested is the one about previous success in the post season. Do players who outplayed their normal playing level in the post season have a greater chance of continuing to do so than other players?
With both teams at full strength, they are very close. While the normally indestructible Miggy Cabrera is still looking exploitable due to his injuries and the normally ailing Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz looking strong, I see Boston as a strong favorite. Are we Tigers fans just being defensively pessimistic or objectively realistic?
Sam Miller: pure treasure.
You were too hard of a marker on yourself regarding Yu. He did have way more strikeouts than anyone else. A-.
This bit about Mathis catcher ERA is one of the most interesting finds this year. How related is it to pitch framing?
Right. Miguel Cabrera's health has me very worried. I'm not sure Jose Igelsias is 100% either. And, as pointed out, it is a big unknown whether Jhonny Peralta is sharp of bat swing and fleet of flyball judgement.
- a Tigers fan from afar
Hidden Ball Trick: I thought that was heavenly frowned upon in the Majors. If Helton was a rookie or close to it, would he have been beaned on his next at bat?
Thanks. This is the sort of thing I'd like to see more of: surging players and sinking players.
Fabulous. Thanks for the perspective.
very interesting, thanks
Right. This is what we (if I may speak for us) want to know. Not just who is hot that we may not have noticed, but whether that hotness is sustainable. Thanks.
A negative for what? a misspelling (ben for been)? If it is too long for your liking, don't read it. If you just get off on dinging everything I write, I've stopped caring. Karma will catch up with you.
It seems for a decade or two the Orioles were notorious for producing top notch pitching prospects who never panned out. (Before Tillman, Matusz, Patton, Zach Britton, and Jake Arrieta there was Radhames Liz, Brandon Erbe, Adam Loewen, and Hayden Penn. At least they did nicely with Erik Bedard, while Sidney Ponson was a decent innings eater some years, but Matt Riley, Rocky Coppinger, and Jimmy Haynes were famous flops.) Now, they can count Chris Tillman a success. We will see about Dylan Bundy and Zach Britton. They deserve credit for making something nice out of Miguel Gonzalez. They got the best out of Jason Hammel last year. Those pitching turnarounds came under Showalter.
At the same time, the bullpen became one of their strongest assets. Jimmy Johnson has been there a long time, but converting Matusz and Patton to the pen has ben a success. Darren O'Day was a fine pick-up (before Duquette) as was Tommy Hunter who came with Chris Davis in exchange for Koji Uehara - another successful pre-Duquette purchase.
The junk traded for J.J. Hardy AND Brendon Harris three years ago? Two minor leaguers who are still struggling to be Major Leaguers - and may be out of chances. Obviously that was a salary dump. Neither prospect was highly touted or drafted in the top 10 rounds.
I recall the trade that brought Adam Jones to Baltimore was lauded here at BP as a nice haul for the questionably durable Erik Bedard. I forgot Chris Tillman was part of that haul along with George Sherrill and two prospects who have never really contributed (Kameron Mickolio ad Tony Butler).
The major difference is Wieters was an outstanding minor league catcher defensively as is Lindor at shortstop. Sanchez has his struggles behind the plate and might not last there. Other differences: One year of age between Lindor and Sanchez at the same level is a big deal actually - and Lindor is batting .802 OPS in AA, while Sanchez is struggling at .724 - a stat you conveniently ignore. Wieters came right out of university to the professional ranks and overwhelmed those A+ and AA pitchers to the tune of .355/.445/.600. Wieters was a young 22 year old - he was 21 until that May 21st. Sanchez is an old 20. He'll be 21 in three months, so the difference is a half a year. This is Sanchez's fourth year as a pro after spending a year and a half in the South Atlantic, then a full season plus in the Florida State League. I wouldn't write him off, his K rate has gone down - but unfortunately so has his isolated power. His walk rate has improved in AA and I hear his defense is improving, too - that's good, but he's not comparable to Lindor now or Wieters when he was at the same level.
The point of the Lindor comment is thus, I think: there is nothing disappointing about him. If you look at his hitting stats, which we all can do, he improved his hitting a tick after his promotion to high A, then kept right on hitting just as nicely in AA - and he's only 19. He makes this list, because he, perhaps, hasn't had as much ink as the other even faster progressing elite shortstop prospects namely: Bogaerts, Correa, Reed, and going back to early in the season: Profar and the non-elite Iglesias. So, he deserves to be mentioned somewhere. This was Jason's way of paying tribute to him - by pointing out he has nothing to seriously criticize about him. I thought it was fun and clever. Thanks.
I do love this feature. Why do we spend so much time on prospects or the best of the best, when failure and decline is just as interesting? Isn't it?
My brain has shut down for the night. What is "SSS"?
It make the most sense to me, if Leyland used Castellanos as a late in the game pinch hitter for Iglesias (or Santiago if he is fill ing in for anyone). I don't think they want to disturb team chemistry by taking away at bats from Dirks or Tuiasosopo. Perhaps, moving Victor Martinez to catch some games is a little more plausible, but note that he has only caught 2 games all year.
It's OK, I think I like it better because it doesn't have a P in it which confuses me sometimes with OPS and because there is contention as to whether it is a percentage or an average. For that reason - and because it is easier to see immediately that it is an addition of two averages, I prefer O+S to OPS, but I failed to get people to go along with that.
Thanks, Zach. I know in effect you discuss each prospect's meaningful progress, but taking up space with a day's accomplishment misappropriates some of the focus. If a player has been hot for a week or a couple of weeks or even a month, there is a greater chance it might be indicating some growth. One hot game can be very misleading. Is there a chance there will a switch to a more meaningful lead in set of stats?
Ah, never mind - it has nothing to do with predictability of the individual batters just the predictability of the runs resulting from their hitting.
It is surprising a rookie - Puig - has a low uncertainty. It makes sense that Werth's is low compared to upstart bats such as Saeger's and Donaldson's, but Puig? I haven't had time yet to read the main article. I guess the explanation is in there?
Thanks for the work, but what is ONB?
I liked that ref's added touch, but then I like touchdown dances, etc. The distractions that do annoy me generally come from the stadiums such as intrusive advertising.
Also, it would be nice to speed things up between innings, pitching changes, and pitches. It would be nice if they could speed up the review process. Perhaps, there could be a video judge who can instantly see the replays and know right away if a bad call was made - or as soon as he has a quick discussion with an umpire about it during an appeal. As it is now in football, and even on baseball's home run calls, it is very frustrating to see the obvious and wait an excruciating three minutes or so for the powers at hand to make it official.
One problem with having umpires announce these situations is that the present ones were not hired for their public speaking ability. Otherwise, I don't see this as hurting the game at all.
Bravo. It's a great time to be alive seeing all this.
I'm wondering if Ozzie Smith was this amazing.
Thanks - nice touch to include the names.
I also noticed an overall dip in expansion years. That makes sense as expansion teams - especially of the '60s are behind in setting up their farms systems and drafting talent - while relying on cast-offs from other teams.
I enjoyed the contrasting levels of excitement by the announcers.
As someone who has won his Scoresheet Championships consistently over nearly a quarter century, I'd say the most important thing is to be diligent about keeping up on the news and making changes when necessary. Be persistent - solve that hole, if it is really a hole, and do so without making a new one.
The other thing is to not get too bogged down in nuances and details. Always keep in my the most important basics of looking for young position players and strikeout pitchers.
Another way of seeing my point of view: do you want your all-stars to be the hottest vs. the hottest or the best vs. the best?
Thanks. Sure, SOME consideration should be given to what players do in the first months of the season. I will admit that I am probably not giving Donaldson enouh credit as I hadn't noticed his turn around had been going as long as it has. My point is that the trend lately has. been towards awarding early season wonders over a slow starting superstar. I'd rather have the superstar - as long as he is still in his prime.
"As it is": where is the rule written as to what exactly we are to base our selections on?
It is too early to say who was the best for the 2013 season. We ought to honor the players who are the best in the game right now. Do you believe Josh Donaldson is better than Evan Longoria? If you really think so, then fine. Nobody has a better Scoresheet record over 20+ years than I do and I would laugh at that notion. I think if PECOTA were to be run right now, it would agree with me.
Well, it is not the WHOLE season. Why have this big honor over just who got off to the best start of the season? Why not honor the players you would want for the whole season?
OK, after the 2nd or third all-star wish suggestion. I calmed down and enjoyed this light hearted piece for what it is. However. It is my all-star game pet peeve that three month wonders such as Josh Donaldson often do get selected.
Bravo. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Major League team hire Russell next.
Q. Are these sorts of tests subject to more wildly varying results by the same subject on different occasions than, say, an aptitude test or almost any physical test? I think some days I am in a rut and can't think creatively or with strong "self correction", while other days I am more open minded and clear.
What other plausible explanation is there for why batters don't swing at those close-to-the-zone pitches from non-pitchers besides Ted Williams'? I guess his imprint is in the Orthodox Book on Hitting that is required studying when you sign with a Major League organization.
Good fun. Bravo to Sam Miller for sharing Aguirre the Wrath of God. What a movie (although, that ending was the best part) - I always wondered if it didn't have a greater influence on Apocalypse Now! than Heart of Darkness.
Ah, very cool about loading a list. I could have cut and pasted my Scoresheet ranking list for the supplemental draft just passed. Next month.
"If not, maybe they can pry Jose Bautista loose from the last-place Blue Jays" - That's not going to happen.
Yes, I agree. BP should hire me to write blurbs like this (so I can justify to my wife the time I spend on baseball) and they can stick it wherever they want. That would also give me the clout hopefully to call Ruben Amaro and ask him why he let Grilli go.
Jason Grilli - suddenly an elite reliever at 36? Isn't there a story in there?
As a 20 year old first round draft pick by the Giants in '97, Jason Grilli’s future must have looked very shiny. He was the principle prospect they traded to the Marlins for Livan Hernandez in the summer of '99. Over the next 2 1/2 seasons the Marlins gave him 6 starts in the Majors. Then after one AAA start in 2002, he required Tommy John surgery. The White Sox took a chance on him as Rule V guy in 2003 with the Marlins allowing the White Sox to stash him in the minors. When he was finally promoted towards the end of the season, he looked black and blue with a 7.40 ERA. That winter after turning 27, Grilli was given his outright release.
Desperate for pitching, Detroit took him on, converted him to relief, where he fared decently for three seasons. However, Grilli's performance was getting a little worse each season, so after a month in his fourth as a Tiger, he was traded to Colorado in what looks like a salary dump. The prospect they received in return Zach Simmons did not have impressive stats and never reached the majors.
Grilli had his best season yet in Colorado, but struggled his second year. With a 6.05 ERA on June 9th at the age of 31, Texas merely purchased him from Colorado. They bought a 4.78 ERA for the remainder of his season there. Cleveland bought him as a free agent for 2010, but missed the entire season due to knee surgery. The Phillies signed Grilli for 2011. He pitched quite well for their AAA team in Lehigh Valley, but he was released anyway in mid season.
That’s when the Pirates scooped him up. Grilli pitched well enough the remainder of the year that he became their primary set-up man for 2012. He pitched so well as the set-up man (58.2 Ing., 90 K, 22 BB, 2.91 ERA, although 7 HR, which is indicative of his low GB%: 30.7), he was promoted to closer for this year. Last year’s closer Joel Hanrahan was sent to Boston in a 6 player trade.
Grilli is throwing as hard as ever (93.6 m.p.h. average fastball speed). He has dropped the curveball he used to throw in Detroit and almost exclusively sticks to his slider as his off speed pitch since joining the Pirates. He currently leads the league in saves and sports a 0.94 ERA. That comes with an amazing 47 strikeouts in his 28.2 innings and only 3 walks and NO homers so far. Yes, that’s very shiny, indeed.
How does this group compare to the top 25s of recent years?
These are useful observations, thank you, but I suggest a different scenario in Detroit: the Tigers will give a chance to Nick Castellanos to take over Dirk's spot before they make Tuiasosopo a full timer. They might even move him to DH to platoon with Victor Martinez and let Avisail Garcia play full time in the outfield (when Austin Jackson returns), before they'd give Tui that job.
Lots of laughs.
If anyone is still reading this and wants to read some more trading etiquette suggestions, an article in Scoresheetwiz (http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id63.html) reiterates much of this and has a few more good rules. At the end is a link to an interesting discussion about retracting offers (http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id111.html.)
Yeah, I'm thinking of getting a cell phone just for this.
Very through good advice - I've been playing in fantasy leagues for 24 years.
In addition to RSVP ASAP, let you colleagues know if you are going to be away (assuming you can do it securely without adding to the chances of getting your house robbed.)
Also: do not make a trade suggestion that is not a genuine offer without clearly stating it as such. There was one manager who on a couple occasions asked me (probably not the exact words), "would you trade So-and-so for What's-his-face?" I'd give it my thorough investigation, get back to him with a "Yes" both times, and he says, "oh, that wasn't a firm offer, I don't want to do it". That is incredibly annoying - and I felt like an idiot that he got me twice on it.
Very cool, thanks.
For those who weren't convinced statistically that pitch framing exists, these gifs of Molina surely must quell those skeptics.
Thanks - particularly for showing the minor league alternatives as appropriate.
Hopefully this convinces Cashman's detractors that his success was not just about money.
Any words on Chris Leroux? It doesn't seem like he was given enough of a chance. Is he refusing his minor league assignment?
Any word on Chris Leroux? It doesn't seem as though he's been given a solid chance.
Wow, terrific report.
That's incredible: making a trade over a text message. I don't doubt you, because I did it with someone in a league I just joined who was doing it by text. (I had to get my wife to send and receive the messages, because I don't even own a cell phone.) Would you make a trade without researching the players involved first with the latest reports and stats on them here, in FanGraphs, and in Rotoworld? Wow, I guess I'm an old foggie - I can't do things I care about on the fly like that.
Here is some advice I gave for Scoresheet managers 10 years ago, but it all* still holds up as sound advice: http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id66.html
*There is no Scoresheet Canada anymore, but the advice remains the same.
Cool and useful.
Serious question: Has there been a team that has relied on such oldsters since WW II or ever? Do include Jeter, ARod, and Teix as they are important parts of the team.
I didn't understand your point about multi-sport stars. Are you saying that deters from their baseball skills because: a) it takes away from their baseball training; b) it develops skills that take away from their baseball abilities; c)multi-sport athletes inherently lack the finer specific skills necessary to be Major League baseball stars; d) I missed your point entirely.
Major Leaguers Dave DeBusschere and Danny Ainge became basketball stars. (Not saying they needed to be included, just thought they should be mentioned somewhere, if just here). Chuck Connors became a TV star.
Did Wesley Snipes take steroids for his role? Uh, talk about dedicated actors.
Negative no explanation dingers be dammed.
I'm trying to imagine the implications of this. So, you're saying it is way too much of a leap to say a pitcher's tendency to have a more consistent BABiP or one more consistently above or below average happens in swings of 150-250 balls put in play does not imply that his overall effectiveness would be more likely to swing over the coarse of the same interval? Would that be worth looking into next?
Secondly, I'm trying to speculate how this happens. You mentioned the change of seasons as a metaphor, but taking it more directly I thought the notion of cold weather pitchers vs. warm weather pitchers is overstated if existent at all. . . the same for early season pitchers vs. late season pitchers (or is that another issue to be studied?) Are pitchers streaky - do they have grooves then get sloppy after so many appearances, then take the same number of outings to get back on track? Again, I'm getting ahead of the scope of your study, but I'm looking for ways to apply it.
One technical question, do you know if a pitcher's BABiP overall improves at the same rate as it degrades?
Proof no. 1 seems to imply that a pitcher's last 50 to 85 innings approximately (figuring roughly H - HR = K + DP + CS + outfield assists) is a better indicator of his current ability than his last 250 innings.
Yes, I like this format and brevity. As long as the thoroughness is maintained. Will John Perrotto's and others' scouty stuff appear in the Notes and Rumours?
Thanks again for your latest epic chat, JP.
I would like to see more about make-up and whatever tools players have that we can't see in their stats.
True, it would depend on the numbers. What if there are more free agents than there are teams looking for free agents - at least of a particular type? There are always a couple of guys each March still looking for a contract. It's like musical chairs. However, those are typically players at the end of their long career not guys who are just entering their free agency years - at least that's my impression.
I've always wondered/assumed there was a disproportion of Bretts and Ryans in the Majors.
" . . . a player who knows he’ll be one of the only prominent free agents in a market starved for free agents will require more money to sign an extension" Wouldn't that only be true if the market for that type of player didn't shrink in proportion with the market of players similar to that type? With more extensions, not only will there be fewer free agents, but fewer teams needing free agents.
What is ADP?
Your top two examples of turn-arounds Moore & Kile were both turned around with the help of Duncan & LaRussa.
Gosh, with Addison Reed and "nice depth in the lower minors", there musn't be much separation between #7 (Kyle Zimmer and the Royals?) and no. 25 Oakland.
Good report, Ben, thanks.
1. I wouldn't be so sure the Dodgers wouldn't have had Ramirez play some third base, anyway. He might be called upon to play there during the season, no?
2. That's very nice of you to seemingly care more what some greedy owner wants than what you would like to see.
Another way that this factoid is misleading is that its talking about while Zito is in the game. Four runs while the starting pitcher is STILL IN THE GAME is a lot. We just see the "four runs" and think of that as average support. Considering that and the "or more" add-on that we tend to overlook, this is double the way we see $1.99 and just think of it as a buck.
Since, most players come from California, Texas, and Florida, I guess Central and Northern would have to be just one team.
I am so with you on the "lets have fun" aspect of the Dominican's style. I'm for end zone dances, too. Come on, this is supposed to be fun. It's not being mean to the other team, which would be bad sportsmanship. It's just celebrating your own accomplishments without saving it all for the end of the game - which might not even result in a victory.
Heck, players play better when they are having fun, so long as they don't lose their focus of having too much fun.
Frankly, I enjoy the WBC more than a regular season MLB game. It's more fun to see players grouped by their own nations rather than somewhat by whichever North American city happened to draft them. Plus, each game means more.
Perhaps, the U.S. would be more inspired if they were divided quarters: Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern. Perhaps, they should split the Japanese team in half as well.
Thanks for the insight.
I would have Zobrist and Kinsler switch tiers in almost any fantasy format or real life. Who cares what I think? For what it's worth, I'd match my year after year Scoresheet League success against anyone's.
Thanks, Zach. My idea would be to see something tied to the Injury Beta on the Player Card. That was a nice step in this direction. It needs now a link or some indication of expected recovery time and what percentage of a pitcher's ability (established before his injury) that will most likely be recovered. If it is unknown, it should give the ranges of potential outcomes, the best guess, and the chances of that guess being essentially the right one. I know that's a lot of work, but I'd certainly pay more for BP to have that.
On Pineda in particular, I thought I read somewhere that the Yankees were expecting a mid season return. I forget that often team reports are extremely optimistic. Living in Toronto, I kept hearing the last four years how Dustin McGowan was going to come back. I guess we can stop waiting.
Please, show yourself, whoever is dinging me - and explain. I'm using my real name - as boring as that is compared to Hoot Stromboli or hotstatrat as I used years earlier. I'm doing my best to only make insightful sincere comments that I feel are worth sharing. What is your problem with almost with everything I write?
Wow. That's the sort of very significant info, I wish we subscribers had better access to. Isn't injury intelligence just as important as prospect scouting? Do we need to ask you about specific players? Do labrum surgeries have the worse success rate? Is each case far more different from others as compared to Tommy John surgeries that are usually very similar and therefor more routine?
It was Whitey Herzog that I recall doing it back then.
Excellent meaty article! Thanks, Ben.
Another one of Bill James's current theories, if I recall correctly, is that four man and three man rotations might work better than rotations we have today. They just don't need to go as deep into the game.
I'm not sure exactly what he has in mind, but we know pitchers do better in shorter outings. Perhaps, the future is a staff of 3 four inning men, 7 two inning men, and 2 alternating one inning closers. A typical game would be a 4-2-2-1 affair with the 7th 2 inning guy on standby for emergencies or extra innings. (Perhaps, he ought to be a versatile any situation guy.) Sadly, that still doesn't leave room for an old fashioned bench - just the bare bones ones of today.
Another reason I don't see multiple platoons, pinch hitters, pinch runners, and defensive subs making a comeback is that teams pull guys back and forth from the minors much more often than they used to. Although, those rules can be more easily changed than limiting the number of relief appearances in an inning or whatever. (That is a rule I could get behind, however, as those pitching changes are tedious - especially when you get another commercial break with them.)
There may be questions about Sale's mechanics in regards to his long term health, but he does have the White Sox' organization going for him, which, as far as I know, is still considered among the top in keeping their pitchers healthy.
Just wanna say, "really good article & follow-up" plus "congratulations - and the best of good fortune for the two of you".
I agree that would be interesting. It seems that was an historically great year for high caliber rookies.
Please, keep this discussion going . . .
We all tend to rationalize our existence - where we live, what we do, who we love, etc. as being ideal. We are basically building the illusion that we are winners.
Many of those reasons stated as to why baseball is so great are very poetic. Some, such as your reasons, Sam, are more tangible than others. Yet, I wonder if you made the decision to be so deeply involved with baseball consciously for those reasons stated - or you are just looking back and seeing the benefits.
Speaking for my own obsession with baseball, it seems like an addictive habit. When I am analyzing the world of baseball, I feel a certain bliss that I am seeing something clearly out of this overwhelmingly complicated world. Later I rationalize that it was OK to have spent that time on it, because I am keeping my mind sharp and am learning to better analyze real life through my exchange of ideas regarding baseball - etc.
But its all right - that is I think its not too bad . . .
Normally, I just read American League stuff, but since Sam's A.L. version was so entertaining and interesting, I gave this a try. It did not disappoint.
So, when are the Yankees and Mariners going to undo their Montero/Pineda trade? Of course, they'll not do that, but it seems like a good fit, doesn't it?
Thanks, Russell. This is the sort of thing us BP readers have been hungry for.
Did you look into height? It has long been a rule of thumb that shorter pitchers burn out faster than taller guys, who might take longer to develop. Of course, burning out and getting injured are slightly different things. I'm not sure how telling plugging in height to this study would prove anything about career length, but it might be another variable worth testing for injury.
What would also be really interesting would be to compare pitchers who throw various types of pitches. With pitchers all throwing various percentage of pitches and various sources claiming different pitch type data, I realize that could get very messy. You'd be the man to sort it out, though, I do trust.
"For $97 million in extra payroll, the Brewers got (to date) 62.5 more wins, in an era in which wins cost (on average) just around $4 million apiece."
Interesting. How much does it cost to produce a scouting/farm system that produces an extra 62 1/2 wins compared to a really bad system (replacement level farm system?)?
Brain Matusz was a the talk of the spring just a couple years ago. What are the chances he gets back that wickedness?
With huge respect to the Jasons here and I appreciate all the hard work and lifetime of experience and serious consideration, if I'm starting a Scoresheet team, I would draft Matt Moore before Jeremy Hellickson. In fact, I'd bet on Moore having a better year in 2013. In fact, if given the chance and not passed by Archer, I'd even rather have Alex Cobb than Hellickson - and I do like Hellickson. I just love these other Rays pitchers even more. That organization is going to get the best out of them.
Every team has a volume of failures. I am pretty well still sold on the notion that the Rays do the best at identifying and developing their pitchers - not just prospects - look at the success they create in their bullpen over and over. As a (Simulation/Fantasy League)Scoresheet player and a damn good one, I think this is more valuable to know than having the best projections in the business - because they tend to fail to take the organizations into account.
Oakland does great with their pitchers, too.
Texas used to be the worse. Now, I'd rank them third. They turned around about when Nolan Ryan came in and to my understanding made the pitching prospects work harder - less babying. Perhaps, there is something to that.
That's why a mix and match might be best. Pitch Albuquerque when he's rested. Go with Dotel, Benoit, or Coke when he aint. I'd like to see some evidence Rondon has Major League command before I'd even use him in a critical situation.
Deem me entertained, thank you.
Brandon Guyer - what's wrong with him?
Last year, Detroit started off with Ryan Raburn at second-base giving them an all fat & slow infield - probably the fattest Major League infield of all-time.
"Sure enough, Marc Normandin thinks Overbay's future with the Red Sox is on the bench as Mike Napoli insurance, thus dislocating Mauro Gomez—whose right-handedness is a disadvantage in this case . . ."
I need more convincing. Boston could also use a platoon-mate for Ortiz - and Ortiz bats lefty. At this point Gomez is a much better hitter than Overbay - and he can play third-base giving the bench more flexibility - a very needed asset with 4 man benches.
Frankly, I don't think it is working. I live in Toronto and I hardly know anyone who gets excited about it. Meanwhile the '72 Summit Series against the Soviets, which did have all the best players, is - and I'm not exaggerating - the most revered event in Canadian history.
Thanks. It is a timely article.
It sure looks like both Alomar brothers benefited when they were reunited on the 1999 Indians.
What is it the control to these examples? Do all players achieve precisely their projections on the aggregate? Did you check for brothers who were reunited but one or the other did not play due to being released or injured?
At the time Melky Cabrera was signed by the Blue Jays, I was perplexed at how cheaply they got him. He was the MVP of the first half of the season, for gosh sakes, and I think he signed for the same or less as the ancient Torii Hunter. Now, I wonder if there were rumours about his involvement in the Anti-Aging clinic that the Blue Jays just didn't know about or risked would not come to light.
I think this is the best idea - an extended all-star break. It could even replace the all-star game as far as I'm concerned. It certainly think it would be more interesting. I really don't feel the A.L. vs. N.L. rivalry anymore. It doesn't really exist. They could shorten the tournament and lengthen the break just enough to make it fit. This would greatly liven up the mid-season and hopefully teams would be more willing to let their players participate, so they don't get rusty.
First four paragraphs: no apology necessary - indeed, it was a fascinating anecdote showing the extent of steroid use so far back.
Betancourt: I love how you put "SS" in quotes. Here is an interesting report on this in FanGraphs: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/yuniesky-betancourt-and-the-worst-trend-in-baseball/
which was brought to my attention through Tango's new blog site: http://www.tangotiger.com/index.php
That oldie doesn't get played up here in Toronto. I don't recall hearing in the last 30 years - since I moved here.
They have a 30% Canadian content law up here, so those who listen to the "classic rock" station can't go three songs without hearing Rush, Guess Who, BTO, Neil Young, The Band, Steppenwolf, or numerous unknowable lessor Canadian entities. Sadly, we are rarely treated to Cream, Allman Brothers, Greatful Dead, Spirit, Marvin Gaye, etc. They do love their Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix, at least, but you have to live in Montreal to hear prime Yes or early Genesis often enough.
Well that hole (Fuld) has been solved with Kelly Johnson. I commented about it in Jason Martinez's blog on A.L. East impact rookies. Myers will later take over for whoever gets hurt or stinks badly between Johnson, James Loney, or Luke Scott.
By the way, if this trade never went through, I'd be shocked if Fuld played center over Jennings.
Well, the Rays just filled that big month-or-two hole while waiting for Myers to get past super two territory. Kelly Johnson frees Ben Zobrist to man the outfield. Now the Rays have the Jays' old keystone combo: Escobar and Johnson. Both underachieved last year. That really takes the pressure off of Myers through action and not just Maddon's words. So, now Myers can fill in later in May for whoever is the biggest flop (or least success) between Johnson, Loney, or Scott.
Thanks. That's reassuring to know.
4. continued - another one you sometimes here: "after a pitcher has had three full seasons with a Major League workload - he is past his injury nexus". How true is that?
1. At this site, Will Carroll used to designate position players who switch positions as more likely to incur an injury. Has anyone done a rigorous study to back that theory?
2. Are BP writers ever aloud to debunk work done earlier at BP?
3. More specifically about this study and Chris Sale, how do reliever to starter conversions fare compared to pitchers with a similar workload? Do mid season conversions do better or worse than off season conversions?
4. Following up on Shaun P.'s question no. 2 - I appreciate the need to do more research to get more specific, but in the aggregate: WHAT, if anything, DO WE KNOW? Do pitchers under 25 get hurt more than pitchers over 25? What are the healthiest ages for a pitcher? Do young pitchers who pitch deep into the post season have a worse-than-expected history of injury? . . .What types of pitch repertoires are most hurtful? least hurtful? (There must be a reason screwball pitchers have become extinct.) . . . Following up your own question - and something I've been wondering for over 43 years - ever since I heard on television Whitey Ford (who was shorter than average) speculate (and completely nail) that Denny McLain - who was on his way to his second consecutive Cy Young Award - might not have a long career because he was shorter than average - do shorter pitchers get hurt more (or not last as long) as taller pitchers?
So, what will be Tampa Bay's outfield set-up assuming Will Myers spends his April in Durham?
Favorite favorite-son of Cleveland: Henry Mancini ("Pink Panther", "Peter Gunn", "Moonriver", etc.)
If you like the Cleveland Fellers, how about the Cleveland Swishers?
There is no argument that these places must have had a past that justified their nicknames and that those nicknames are now amusingly outdated. To defend your 50 year time frame, however, you must consider that vast suburbs of New York extended across much of northern New Jersey well before 50 years ago, while Philadelphia's suburbs possibly go back even further. Then there is the Princeton area in-between - also long ago de-farmed. Princetonians consider themselves locals to both N.Y. and Philly, so northern New Jersey is all one big suburb. The coast, of course, has long been a well settled resort area. The Monopoly game based on Atlantic City is, what, 80 years old? Sure, the 'burbs have extended even further since then, but New Jersey was already better known for its huge suburban area 50 years ago than practically anything else. Although, they do grow excellent corn.
I was born in New Jersey 58 years ago. It had many super highways running through it then (or as early as I can remember - as a precocious map studying 4 or 5 year old). The Newark area was one big stink pot. The New Jersey Turnpike brought you through vast stretches of swampland. However, my sister lived near Morristown from 1981-2011. Northern New Jersey did and still does have an even larger areas of grassy suburbs of New York and Philadelphia on rolling hills. For all I know, that's how it got its nickname. It's just that we don't associate the state with gardens.
As for Cleveland, I'm not an expert, but I can't believe they've had much foresting there for 100 years. From what I've seen, Ohio looks pretty much like New Jersey. Akron = Newark. Columbus = Morristown. Who thinks of forests when they think of Cleveland?
That's more of a stretch of the imagination than the fact that New Jersey is the Garden State.
I think "Spiders" would turn off the multitude of Cleveland's arachnophobes. There are reasons that name did not endure.
By the way the oldest continuous team name in baseball is "Philadelphia Phillies" - leaving the Quakers logo behind in 1890. Surprisingly, the American League "Detroit Tigers" have the next oldest - and the oldest franchise that never had any sort of name change. That's what they have been called since their arrival in the Western League of 1894 - before that league became the American League in 1900 (and promptly considered a Major League in 1901). You could argue that the "Pittsburg Pirates" of 1891-1911 becoming the "Pittsburgh Pirates" in 1912 was not really a name change. That still makes "Pirates" the fourth oldest continuous nickname, behind "Giants" of 1885 and the "Phillies" and "Dodgers" of 1890. The "Cincinnati Reds" were also shortened from "Red Stockings" in 1890, but were known as the "Redlegs" from 1954-1958.
The Cleveland Indians joined the Western League as the Grand Rapids Hustlers the same year as the Tigers: 1894. That was when Ban Johnson took over the league. When that league became the American League the Hustlers moved to Cleveland and became the Blues. I like that, but it wasn't a musical term in 1900. The Blues is now better associated with Chicago or Memphis. Team nicknames were much more informal at the turn of the century - something generally sportswriters used out of convenience. Baseball-Reference lists them as the Cleveland Bronchos in 1902, then the Cleveland Naps from 1903 to 1914. As that was so due to their star Napolean Lejoie, that brings us back to the Cleveland Fellers - or maybe the Cleveland Asdrubals? Drubys? (again: Doobies), Carlos Santanas? (again: Rock 'N Rollers), Cabs?
The Cleveland Spiders were a National League team that died in 1899.
That's a good one, seriously.
And by "Dobies", I'm thinking "Doobies".
What if we were more politically correct:
Cleveland Erie - confusing
Cleveland Iroquois - doesn't flow
Cleveland Native Americans - long and boring
Cleveland Cuyahogas? - that has a nice ring, but Cuyahoga just means crooked river.
What if we went with something Cleveland is known for:
Cleveland Rock 'N Rollers? - long and aiding competition
Cleveland Burning Rivers?
How about something baseball related:
Those don't work. What else?
Cleveland Great Lakers? - better than those basketballers
Cleveland Standard Oils?
How about putting the name up to the highest bidder:
Cleveland Primus Capitals?
I guess we have to go to animals or sock colors. The problem is there that all the good ones are used already. Remember that Tampa Bay couldn't use "Sting Rays" because some school had rights to it. But wait? Who has "Bats"? They must have bats flying around Cleveland at night, we have plenty of them down lake here in Toronto. It's about time a baseball team called itself the Bats!
It is duly noted that this is not a fair comparison, but most teams did have a full time DH for most of the season. Here are the combined stats of the regulars who played most of their games at DH (Billy Butler, Adam Dunn, Edwin Encarnacion, Jonny Gomes, Travis Hafner, Kendrys Morales, David Ortiz, Luke Scott, and Delmon Young) in BA/OBA/Slg.: .267/.350/.488. None of those DHs had stats very close to that. Dunn and Gomes had OBAs in the .370s. Hafner's Slugging was only .438 and his Batting Average was only .228. Morales had a .467 Slugging, but only a .320 OBA. However, considering that the part time DHs would certainly have dragged the average down considerably, Kendrys Morales is probably a better than average DH not a worse than average DH, but resembles the average most closely: .273/.320/.467.
Could it be that Molina was merely hampered by a sore elbow last year? How did he manage to strike out so many batters in 2011 (while walking so few)?
Thanks for the encore.
. . . Mark? Nick? Dan?
Jason - how high are you on Brent Morel? Does he turn it around and take over thirdbase by mid May? Is his back problem going to hold him back?
This is all interesting information that bodes well for Porcello, thank you, but let's keep in mind that the most important stat regarding potential is strikeout rate. Porcello has just now worked his K% up to 13.7 - a K/9 of 5.5. Drew Smyly is at 22.6/8.5. Their velocities are about the same. Durability is underrated, I suppose, as a skill - although, it is difficult to really know if you have it. I can understand Detroit's willingness to part with Porcello.
This goes to show what professionals these men are who reach the Major League level.
Just a technical note: you said: "On average, the first ball thrown by our six pitchers missed the strike zone by 2.31 feet . . .". Yet the diagram indicates that first ball was 2.31 feet away from the center. Home plate is 17 inches, so based on the charts, the first balls were 1.6 feet out of the strike zone. That still stretches my credulity. I'd have an easier time believing those numbers if they were average "inches out of the strike zone".
How does anybody have time to play a mixed league? In an AL/NL only, you only have to be an expert on one league. I don't play roto type baseball, but I guess the answer is that mixed leagues do not go as deeply. However, that depends on how many managers there are, no? So, if you have the time to be an expert on both leagues, then a deep mixed league would have more managers to trade with.
Well done, Dan.
Earl Weaver was my favorite baseball broadcaster ever. He was the color man for one or two post seasons. He didn't speak much, but when he did, he was enlightening - in a clear nonchalant manner. How refreshing.
Please, no worries about correcting me. Thanks - now I know (I have trouble with small print).
You might be right, but obviously the Mariners thought Bay can still hit or they wouldn't have signed him to a Major League contract. Today's rosters do not have room for mere pinch hitters - let alone two them, if it is:
It may end up this way, but the Mariners must have been dissatisfied with Smoak and Saunders, or they wouldn't have picked up Morales, Bay, and Ibanez in the first place. They can send them back to the minors, can't they? And, recall them when the geriatric gang goes to the infirmary or the old folks home.
Zumino is their no. 1 prospect (Parks says no. 2, but Baseball America says no. 1). Zumino is better defensively, so long term Montero is a DH. It would still be a bit surprising to see Zumino the starting catcher in April and their choices for backing Montero are dismal. Hence, I am expecting them to sign someone like Torreabla or Shoppach. It doesn't look like they were keen on Kotteras.
I was wondering why Kottaras didn't end up with the Mariners when this trade settled, but take a look at Mike Zumino. He had no problem with 57 PA of AA pitching after his promotion. I know it generally takes longer to develop catchers, but he's on a rocket ship to the Majors. They don't have any other Major League worthy backstop to back-up Montero. If they give Zumino the job, I would think that sends Saunders to the bench - which means to make up for Morse and Ibanez/Bay, Gutierrez will have to cover the entire outfield.
Who is the angry dude with all the negatives? J Sherman made a good interesting point about Jaso. My question about PECOTA is a very good question. That, perhaps, I could have looked up the answer is not the point. Part of the reason for asking is to stir up the idea that it should be something PECOTA considers - and if it isn't, it is something that we should be sure to do ourselves when we consider a Mariner pitching projection.
Well, not that bad - they still have Ryan and Gutierrez. . . dock their pitchers a two-tenths of a run? Who sits between Bay, Ibanez, or Saunders? Is Morse the DH or one of the other guys? How bad is Jesus Montero going to be?
Does PECOTA take into account that a team may have completely transformed itself from a very good defensive team to a very bad one? Or, should we add a half a run or so to every Seattle pitcher's projection?
Thanks, Ben. It will be interesting to see what stats are used in the main stream 10 or 20 years from now.
By the way, I do agree TB's DH situation is a hole for a contending team. Do they really have that much confidence in 32 year old Ryan Roberts? This team is getting by with very little depth. I like Alex Torres for a 6th starter, but there's not much else to like beyond the regulars, is there? Yet, I have enormous respect for this organization's ability to turn prospects into gold. This will be an interesting battle between the Rays and the Jays.
Good point about the park adjustment. OPS+ does that, too. I know that even if TAV was not adjusted for the park, league, etc., it is more accurate than OPS. What I'm not sure about is whether OPS+ also adjusts for the discrepancy between the significance of OBA and Slg. If TAV is just as accurate as wOBA, I actually prefer the concept of modeling it after BA rather than OBA. What's that point of the latter?
Who copied who, then fudged it up a little to make a claim towards superiority? FanGraphs likes to do that, but bless them, they've really put BP and other sites on their toes and have been a great contribution to our baseball stat enjoyment.
.280/.320/.500 is better than .300/.350/.400 parks and leagues being equal because 1.8*(.350-.320) < (.500-.400), but I get your point. My point is that if it were a .300/.350/.425 vs. .280/.300/.500, you might get a more correct answer using TAV, but who cares? The real answer is that they are very close and it would depend on your team needs or other factors depending on why you were comparing the two players. Seeing the OBA and the Slugging gives you more info which might be helpful. It certainly is more interesting. With just two numbers instead of one, you get a much better picture of the player you are discussing.
As far as having it all boil down to one stat - sure - I don't know about you, but there just aren't many circumstances where I would rather know a player's TAV instead of his OBA/Slg along with how many plate appearances that included. For projecting or assessing quality, you want to know all of that plus their age and injury history. For comparing who had the better career or season, you would want to look at their WAR and other metrics. I was overly harsh about TAV, but I feel BP has been forcing it a bit too strongly on us.
As a writer, I don't want to have to look it up, when I can easily see a player's OBA and Slugging. If I want to cut down on the number of numbers, I'd give the OPS or OPS+. More people would have a better idea of what I'm talking about and it is less time consuming for me. I'll take that at the expense of a little accuracy. Only if a TAV level of accuracy was critical to my point, would I consider using it.
What I liked about this article, however, is that he didn't use the BP dictated stat of choice: TAV. Nice try, guys, but it is time to drop that stat. It just isn't catching on. (It took me a few years to stop using O+S instead of OPS, but I've given up.) If you want to lead people away from Batting Average to better stats, the triple slash is fine. In fact, I like seeing both a player's OBA (or is it OBP? - again, I hope not, because percentage means per 100 not per 1000) and a player's Slugging Average. It says so much more than one stat, they are readily available, and anyone who passed 5th grade math can easily figure them out from their component data.
I'm sorry, but I fail to see how this analysis holds up to Baseball Prospectus standards.
For starters, Jeff Keppinger is a much bigger hole than Tyler Flowers. Keppinger will be 33 this April and a career .337/.396 O/S hitter. He is an old below average 3B - a desperate fill in. Why should we expect him to maintain his 2012 career year at his age? Flowers, in the meantime hit .390/.500 in the International League during his last stint there of 270 plate appearances. Those stats were helped by a high BABiP as much as a low BABiP hurt his Major League stats that balance of that season. PECOTA isn't out yet, but Bill James Info Systems projects .338 /.453 for Flowers. That makes him offensively a YOUNG ABOVE AVERAGE catcher - certainly not a void.
Secondly, having a void at DH is not a void. Many teams prefer to use the DH to rest regulars who need a rest and, perhaps, keep their bench players from getting rusty. If a team is play-off bound and still could use a potent bat in that spot, nothing is easier to acquire late in the season than a DH. The Yankees have even stated this is essentially how they intend to use the DH spot this year. Besides that, either Russ Canzler or Ronnier Mustelier probably wouldn't be the worse DH in the league. The Indians are in a major rebuild and rightly do not intend to waste their resources on filling the most extreme old player's end of the defensive spectrum. Perhaps, Matt LaPorta will learn to hit and come up and fill that spot, anyway.
I won't discuss the Braves, because I don't follow the N.L. as closely as the A.L.
Will Myers is certainly no void. He is probably a superior player to B.J. Upton - since Desmond Jennings nicely slips over to center-field. The Rays might keep Myers in the minors for a month or two in order to delay the arbitration clock and take the pressure off of him, but he is solidly their left-fielder.
As for the Yankees' catching, I do agree that neither Romine nor Sanchez look ready to fill that hole. Every year I expect a major Yankees downfall, but they have managed to defy gravity. I wouldn't bet on that continuing this year - and their impending down period might last until the Steinbrenners sell the team.
Right - despite the MVP and four close votes during his Angels era, he played much better especially defensively as an Expo. B-Ref WAR count: 32.9 to 20.9.
This was supposed to go at the bottom - unrelated to sroney's comment, but it became permanently placed here because I started to write the comment below before sending this one. I even backed completely out of the article, but it still took me here.
The Veterans Committee changes drastically from time to time. I wouldn't be completely surprised to see Bobby Grich voted in some day - who knows when.
I would be much more surprised to see Pujols go in representing the Angels.
Potpouri of comments:
As with most all Sam Miller columns: a total delight.
Vada Pinson: I grew up saying "PIN-son", but I'm wondering now if it was actually "PIN-SONE"?
New rule: when discussing Jack Morris's credentials, one may not mention his ERA or ERA+ without mentioning his innings totals during that time.
Alex Rodriguez's top two seasons (2000 & 1996) were as a Mariner. His yearly average Mariners WARP after he established himself as a Major Leaguer was 7.5 (using B-Ref WAR). As a Yankee, it's been 5.5. Even if you just look at his first five Yankee years - his best and a comparable number of years as a Seattle regular: 7.3. He did have a couple of great years as a Yankee, but his peak included more years as a shortstop than as a thirdbaseman/Yankee. His three years with the Rangers each were each 8+ in WARP. In total WAR, A-Rod was 62.3 as a superstar shortstop compared to 49.8, so far, in New York. Going in as a Mariner would best represent Rodriguez's greatness. However, Cooperstown is in New York state - there would be an economic incentive to put a Yankees cap on him.
May Morris, Trammell, and Whitaker all go in the same year by the veterans committee!
I agree the 10 player limit had no effect this year. Jack Morris's qualifications generated polarizing view points. I can't imagine some voters were so on the fence about him, that he would have been their 11th pick.
With another big cache of players coming on the ballot next year, however, some big names are going to be blown away. That is players who were better than a large percentage of the players already in the Hall, will not get enough support to stay on the ballot another year. There are, at least, 10 of those guys on the ballot already.
On a side point, as a Tigers fan, I'm actually hoping Trammell and Morris don't make it as BBWAA inductees unless Whitaker gets in the same year by the Veterans committee.
Wow. Thanks. I wonder if MLB teams get such a thorough report when they are considering trading for a guy or signing him as a free agent. All that's missing is a make-up report - which is something that, if done candidly, might be impossible in a public medium (not regarding specifically Felix Hernandez, but any player).
another thoroughly entertaining and instructive article, thanks.
Well, I agree. I can understand Ben's desire to share his connection, so I'll give him a pass. But, bordering on bad taste is a fair description. I'm sure his family would not be cheered up by reading about his fantasy value.
I'll buy that. Also: Toronto is predominantly a hockey town, but the NHL strike might also turn some of those hockey fans into baseball fans.
If you look at them on an individual basis, though, there is usually a demonstratively peak season followed by a plateau that generally sustains itself for sometimes 6 years, then declines. Once these geezers drop below about the 80 ERA+ mark, they have to retire.
Let me just point out that many of us Torontonians outside the media still prefer to call the Rogers Centre the Skydome. However, a more appropriate description would be the Crypt of Doom. It is not inspirational when the loudest cheers are over a simple advertisement involving an electronic horse race. The Buffalo Bills hate it when they play here - no home field advantage at all, even though their city is just over the border two hours away.
There was excitement over the Blue Jays and in the Skydome during their back-to-back championships of '92 and '93. As I recall it started when during an interview Toronto's DH Dave Winfield pleaded for more noise from the fans. He used the word "synergy". The word got around and the fans responded. Winfield was absolutely right. We had more fun with a stadium full of healthy folks clapping, stomping, and screaming our heads off, while the team played to their max going all the way to the championships.
Fun article, but don't forget Nate Robertson - a very significant contributor to the 2006 team.
First, I doubt even that package would have bought Verlander, Felix, Price, Kershaw, or Cueto to name five.
Second, although, R.A. Dickey is a knuckleball pitcher, he is 38. I'm not sure how comparable he is to other outstanding knuckleball starters. Dig a Pony makes an interesting point about his pitching motion, but Dickey has no ACL to wear out. He is a completely unique pitcher. But for what it is worth: Tim Wakefield had a career year at 35. He was only slightly above average after that until his age 43 season. Tom Candiotti had his career year at 31 and started pitching below average at 38. Charlie Hough never had a career year as a starter. He became a starter at 34 and was above average through 40, then carried on another five years as an average pitcher. Joe Niekro had a career year at age 37. He was slightly below average the next four years before getting even worse. Big brother Phil had several career years: at ages 28, 30, 35 (the best of his best), and 39. He was a little above average for the next 6 years, then just under average another two. Finally in his last year at age 48 playing for four different teams, he was pretty well useless to each of them.
If that means much, I'd expect about 6 more years of above average pitching, but probably not any more Cy Young type seasons.
Yes, an interesting look at base-stealing, thanks, but I must have misread the premise. Didn't Mike Trout steal 49 out of 54 bases last year? My calculator says that is 91%.
What's the scouting rap on Andy Parrino? He certainly looks like an upgrade over Rosales or Sogard from a hitting standpoint, no?
One thing that hasn't been said (that I've noticed - or, perhaps, it is too obvious) - is that what this trade is really all about for the Blue Jays: Jose Bautista. Superstudly hitters like him don't come around very often. When they do, it is time to build a winner around him - especially if you have the money and the minor league talent available for selling. Bautista is 32 now - who knows how many studly years he has left. That makes Dickey, Reyes, Buehrle, etc. good fits.
Dan W: OK, but Dickey has certainly kicked it up another echelon going from a 15% K% to 25% - without an increase in walks. His K/BB has gone from just two and a half, which is quite good for a knuckleballer to 4.24, which is probably unprecedented for a knuckleball starter. The best I could find among the Niekro brothers, Hough, Candiotti, or Wakefield was 3.39: Niekro in 1969. Wakefield's career K/BB was/is 1.79. Joe Niekro's was worse. I admit that I am warming up to this deal now - as a Torontonian.
SC & Nathan: Some fair points about the pitchers, although, I still think it would be better for the Jays to improve themselves at secondbase, for example, than to block their young potential starters from reaching the rotation. And Happ isn't crummy.
However, I remain un-budged about the catching situation. J.P. Arencibia snuck into Baseball America's Top 50 (no. 43) after his age 22 break out season in AA. His next season at AAA was a disappointment and he fell out of the Top 100. Travis D'Amaud's defense has always been more highly regarded than Arencibia's and was in the Top 100 after his age 21 season. After his break-out at age 22, he was no. 36, then moved UP to #17 after his continued success in AAA. At the Major League level, J.P. has shown he can hit them out now and then, but his On-Base Average was only .275 down from .282 the year before. His defense is among the worse. It is not unreasonable to expect much more than that from Travis D'Amaud.
Sure. Teams tinker with the grass - depending on the infielders, baserunners, and bunters. It's an accepted strategy. Unless there is a rule against it, you can't call it cheating. Some might call it unsportsmanlike, but I think negative behaviour sorts of things like spiking or badmouthing someone falls under that category. I'd be more inclined to call it "competitive spirit".
Alex Anthopoulos is no wimp, anyway. I would not have the guts to go this "all in". Does he play poker?
Nobody feels the Blue Jays are overdoing it? They've left no room for a pitching prospect to be promoted to the starting rotation - and they are still rich in that department. Syndergaard might have been that guy. They are now weaker behind the plate - by both having an inferior back-up to Arencibia and by trading away D'Amaud who will soon be, if not already is the better starter - on his way likely to being much better.
Sure, knuckleballers age well, but they often have relapses after their breakout season. That happened to last two highly successful ones: Wakefield and Candiotti. Charlie Hough was an established fine reliever, but struggled during his transition to starter. Phil Niekro - I'm sure the Jays would be very happy with his career (or Candiotti's)- but he did have a few off years including year 3 after his break out season. His brother Joe didn't rely on the knuckleball as much, but was consistently good once he mastered it.
concise and instructive, thanks
Show me how the Royals overpaid for two years of Shields and X years of Davis. Detroit traded their 2nd best prospect Jacob Turner for a 1/2 a year of Anibal Sanchez.
Agreed. It's not like Detroit is dominant with a 37 year old rightfielder, a question mark 5th starter, no 6th starter on the horizon, an old and slowing slow middle infield which doesn't compliment their slowest of the slow corner infielders - and their focus now is on a "closer". Plus, with two wild card entries, we are going to have lots of Oaklands and Baltimores slipping into he post season.
As Shields' owner, I'm relieved he wasn't traded to the N.L. Yeah, this was a great trade for you. Every player, except Shields, is going to where he will likely be more productive.
I'm with Hawktrap. The Royals are a team with a very weak record for turning their top prospects into quality players. How long did it take Gordon and Butler to get really good? What starting pitchers have they developed up to their full potential since Zack Greinke? They had more than their share of early picks and good picks according to the prospect experts. Considering they got two outstanding pitchers for (my estimates) an A-, B, former A- now C+?, and a C prospect, that's a good return.
From Tampa Bay's standpoint, it will probably work out for them in the long run, but this would have been a good year for them to go for it all. I don't see New York or Boston winning 95 games this year, probably not even 90. Is Toronto now the divisional favorite?
Um, it's time to place the Astros in the American League.
How would you prevent draftees from going back to college, if they didn't like the winning bid/bonus? Would they have a lifetime ban from baseball?
I can't wait for the Pirates to play the Blue Jays in the World Series and have the all-Canadian battery of Chris Leroux and Russel Martin face Canada's team in a crucial situation. Perhaps, Canadian Brett Lawrie will be the decisive batter.
While Russel was born in Greater Toronto Area, but grew up in Montreal, Leroux was born in Montreal, but grew up in the GTA.
This is a question for Colin - assuming he has the greater expertise on the Red Sox and/or Dodgers.
Jason, what's so magical about 6'3" pitchers? My impression is that if everything else is the same, the taller the pitcher the longer he will take to fully harness his command, but the greater potential down the road. Is that wrong?
So, Jerry Sands doesn't make the 25-and-under top 10, so conceivably Middlebrooks could be the firstbaseman of the future with Bogaerts at third and Inglesias at shortstop.
Although, Sands is no longer a rookie, he is still a prospect in that he hasn't established himself yet. He is certainly better than what he's produced so far in the majors, right? I would love to see your "potential" and a "year ahead" report on Sands.
What was the protest supposed to be about? Did it take place? The link was not very informative.
Yes, you certainly deserve credit for getting him in his break-out season this winter. I'm only trying to take credit for figuring that his first half excellence would continue - not that you disagreed - he didn't come cheaply, but it was certainly a helpful pick-up for me, if not for both of us.
In general, I prefer hearing about a player's OBA and Slugging to some more perfect catch-all stat. It gives us a better understanding of his capabilities. WAR is more relevant for all-star selections, but if watching a game or choosing a player for my Scoresheet team, I'd like to see that broken down into OBA, Slg., and defense - with further info breakdowns as relevant to the situation. One dictated overall stat: boring.
Coke sure looked great in the post season. That may well have been a blip, but sometimes pitchers suddenly improve even at age 30.
Man, the comedic talent here at this baseball site is unbelievable. Thanks.
Not sure if you are just joking, but you may have just made an enemy of yourself to a lot of readers. I play Scoresheet Baseball, because I can make my own line-up and not be as frustrated by my team's manager placing his best base-stealer and a low OBP guy in front of the league's best home run hitter (Detroit).
I am proof that it doesn't take fancy math skills to do really well in fantasy baseball. I do use one or two projection systems as a base, but then apply my own common sense. Pitchers with high strikeout totals and a season of past success (with three seasons: even better) are good bets. To know if a batter is having a lucky couple of months or has really improved, you not only look at his BABiP, but look for something that might have caused an improvement - such as a new team getting a guy's career back on track (Aaron Hill in Arizona), or a new approach that has worked for similar batters (Edwin Encarnacion a la Jose Bautista).
Oh, come on, are you serious? You didn't enjoy this article? Doesn't enjoyment of it make it valid? Aren't Francoeur and M. Young's inclusions (as well as D. Young's well deserving inclusion) in the comments make this legitimate in the end even under your definition?
From the dings, I know should let you have the last word right here, but I would rather continue. You only live once and I can't let this conversation die without explaining my love for the "sentimental" McCartney further.
Yes, it is subjective, but I get so much love out of "Mother Nature's Son" that makes me smile every time. The words are nearly haiku. The rhythm has a touch of syncopation to it and the melody mixes wistfulness and defiance, then ends with Paul's effortlessly joyful scat.
You hear sentimentality. I don't doubt it's there, but that would spoil the song if I focused on it.
The same could be said of "Martha, My Dear". You are much more of a wordsmith than I, Jason, so it is natural for you to dwell on the sentimentality of words, if that's a problem with them. This song is about a dog, actually, so . . . that may explain things. For me, the melodies of "Martha, My Dear" overpower my brain from looking for things to criticize about the lyrics or sweetness of voice. McCartney sets the bar by echoing his rag time rhythm, then leaps into the more majestic "Hold your head up, you silly girl, see what you've duh-ah-un." Nobody does it better.
Yep, another great album. The masses might know at least one song from it ("Teardrop") as the theme to the television show House.
The White Album is certainly one of my all-time favorite albums - up there with Yes's Close to the Edge, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin's unnamed fourth album and Houses of the Holy, and, perhaps, Radiohead's The Bends and OK Computer, well, along with a good recording of Vivaldi's Quattro Stagioni and Dvorak's Symph. #9 (New World). I'd probably throw in the original Broadway cast recording of West Side Story, but we all have our peculiarities.
Hence, I am surprised to see many of my favorite White Album songs missing at the expense of, for example, the worse song on the album: " . . . Bungalow Bill". For humor and musicality, it pales next to "Honey Pie" and "Pggies". "Mother Nature's Son" is the most egregious omission - not that I'm miffed or anything - this is fun to discuss. One of the most beautiful songs ever "Mother Nature's Son" was my favorite lullaby to sing to my kids. "Good Night" was, of course, written as a lullaby and it is beautifully done. (My son's favorite was my version of Harry Nilsson's "Remember"). "Martha, My Dear" is under-ratedly brilliant - when did Paul McCartney have time to master rag time piano playing? I agree "Yer Blues" is a must - another fine example of Beatles musicianship. "Long, Long, Long" holds up after hearing it a couple hundred times. I would love to have a version of Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti distilled down to one album - and you can leave off "Kashmir". You can get rid of the carnival calls and vaudevillian fill surrounding the great tracks on Pink Floyd's The Wall to make that one all-time great album, but I wouldn't touch The Beatles self named album. I am in the camp that cherishes "Revolution No. 9" as a mini masterpiece.
So, just to make sure I am not misunderstanding this point, not only do young pitchers get hurt more often than pitchers in their prime, but that same tendency applies to position players?
Interesting point - as is the one a little further above about traumatic injuries being randomly distributed and unavoidable compared to stress related injuries. Thanks.
Right, I get that, but, perhaps, these impossible to measure "injuries" could be acknowledged separately, if known.
Yeah, as a Tigers fan living in Toronto, I was shocked the Jays got the seemingly better player for a whopping $10,000,000.00 less over just two years. Mainly, though, I was shocked at how much Detroit put down for Torii.
The only justification for this is that Detroit expects Hunter to be one hell of a positive influence in the club house. They must figure he is on the Ichiro/Jeter/Ibanez/Julio Franco age defying fitness program. They must figure he's going to teach that program to Austin Jackson - and, perhaps, inspire Prince Fielder to get in better shape. And, they figure he's the missing ingredient that will keep the team winning right through the post season's last pitch!
Negatives? Com'mon, people, have a sense of humour!
Ricky Romero had a lost season - even though he pitched. It appears it may have had to do with bone chips. Too bad there isn't some way you can work these unreported and/or playing-while-hurt injuries into your system - especially if these guys such as Romero have a surgery right after the season.
In 1991, after contending for the championship since 1983, Pat Gillick and the Blue Jays began searching for the "right chemistry". They found it with guys like Joe Carter who kept his teammates happy and loose and Dave Winfield who challenged the fans to bring some "synergy" to the stadium. It appears to have worked with back-to-back championships. Carter may be overrated as a player on the field, but I'm not convinced his contributions otherwise didn't make up enough to disqualify him as an historically overrated player.
Apparently, it is not such an outlandish opinion. From John Perrotto today: Front-office types' views:
Marlins: "Like everyone else, I'm not a very big fan of Jeffrey Loria, but I have a hard time, strictly from a baseball standpoint, having a problem with tearing apart a 93-loss team. I don't think they were going to be any better next season, so why not try something different?
Why the minuses? Does this have to do with providing an inside scoop without naming names? He is a family friend I wish to protect. Is there something about my observation regarding the trade itself that is incorrect or illogical? Are teams not allowed to have rebuilding phases just because they have a new stadium? I'd love to pile on the hate towards Loria - and I do with my scoop about his farm system, but I don't fault him for this particular deal.
Why blame a losing team without good prospects for the next season to sell off all their bloated contracts they can for as many promising young players they can? Marisnick, Nicolino, Hechavarria, and even the social ignoramus Escobar have some promise.
What the Marlins need to do, however, is put that money into player development. I talked to a pitcher breaking through in another organization who came through the Marlins' system. They gave him almost no instruction or guidance at all compared to his new club.
They've already announced that they are seeking a veteran manager. I'd put my money on Jim Tracy or Ken Macha over Joe Torre, who is much older and probably just as soon prefer to stay retired.
Canadian taxes aren't that much higher, are they? As a dual citizen, I don't get double taxed, but I do pay whatever the highest rate would be between the countries - and I might lose a break because of it. Perhaps, in these high priced ballplayer income brackets, there might be some double taxing.
I'm not advocating for or against stars, but that argument only points out the invalidity of comparing 5 star prospects across organizations - not 2, 3, or 4 star prospects.
I am wondering why you, John, chose to go with one right-handed starter and one left-handed starter instead of any other arbitrary distinction - such as top American born starter and top Asian born starter? I know the lefty/righty thing is how it has usually been done in the past, but that never made sense to me. Why not have an All-Major League team of the five best starters, the top closer and the top set-up man?
Fascinating. I hope you continue this analysis with Francis and Sanchez and some of the other pairings.
Some interesting ideas here, Russell. I wonder if the inspirational advantages of a hierarchical bullpen for these competitive athletes are offset a little by the good feeling comradeship of a bullpen by committee? Apparently not that much. However, looking over the history of championship teams it is amazing how often a team will have a peak year simply because virtually their entire bullpen is having a good year. The joy spreads around.
. . . but honestly, it's not a big deal. In fact, I actually prefer the format as you have it, because I can easily find what I need to know about each prospect. I feel confident I can make whatever overall value translations I need for my purposes better myself.
I agree with the readers that the star rating system was useful for comparing prospects across organizations. It was giving us something that Baseball America wasn't. I can see that it is hard work, though, and not your thing, Jason. I'm OK with your giving us what you can and not wasting your time on translating all of this information into a single simple star rating.
What might be useful, though, and actually easier for you despite the added output is to give two ratings: 1. floor rating; 2. ceiling rating (which you already do with the "Overall Future Potential").
Very interesting and well put together.
Thanks. I loved this - and I loved the 2005 quote. Was that a Christina?
Thanks. What I was trying to say was that, besides the highest ceiling prospects I am very interested in all of the prospects who are doing well in the higher levels of the minors. I want to know how likely those guys will continue to succeed in the Majors - the nearly ready bunch. I promise not to be shy about asking for them (although, I don't twit, I e-mail), but I was hoping you and the BP folks can help us keep tabs on them in a well organized fashion - perhaps, a could-be-ready alert? (Joe Hamrahi never answers my e-mails, by the way, so I don't know if that is a useful route.)
That does make sense - and thanks for the update on Castellanos's progress. Anyway, it is better to have the problem of too much talent than not enough.
I predict a huge Indian uprising next year (apologies for the lame politically incorrect pun) thanks to Terry Francona taking over. I am one who believes an outstanding manager can have as much impact as a superstar.
Another Tigers thought: Austin Jackson's speed is wasted batting in front of Cabrera and Fielder, isn't it - regardless of who is batting second. I'd rather he use his doubles, triples, and stolen bases in front of guys like Infante and Avila where their many singles can drive in far more runs. Ideally Miggy would be batting second behind whoever gets on base the most, but Leyland and the boys would never do anything so nontraditional.
They started the year with what must have been the fattest infield of all-time: from third to first: Cabrera, Peralta, Ryan Raburn, and Fielder.
That last sentence could be misleading. Please, substitute "regardless of whether" for "whether or not".
I'm making this a separate comment because I know it is going to get dinged mercilessly. One quibble about your glossary: "First-division" - Any play-off team "could" get away with having a below average player in their line-up. Is Gregor Blanco a first-division player? I don't think that's what you meant. I assume you meant a "typical" starter on a first-division team - an above average starter. A 6?
Hmmm. I wish you great success with this, Jason. I'm a fan.
I'm not mourning the loss of the star ratings, but I do want to know about prospects who may lack high ceilings but have a good chance of success in the Majors. There seems to be some disagreement in the scouting and sabermetric worlds about how closely minor league success with the proper league/park adjustments applied translate into Major League success. If a guy with AAA success is going to cut it or not - I want to know the odds - whether or not he has the potential to become an all-star.
Don't forget Avisail Garcia is only 21 and that Nick Castellanos was moved to the outfield. They might not need another corner outfielder. Andy Dirks isn't exactly a hole out there. I wouldn't complain if they upgraded, but I wouldn't blow big bucks on a long term deal corner outfielder.
The most annoying thing about the Fox-cast is that they would only show the player's post season stats as if these professionals become different creatures in October and their regular season stats were meaningless.
I hope I'm wrong, but I expect to see Prince Fielder on this list in a couple years.
Very nice, Colin.
Passan's calling Fister and Sanchez no. 3 and 4 starters is a great example of twisting near facts (arguably they are better than Scherzer) to create a bogus narrative. Fister and Sanchez would be no. 1 starters on most teams as indeed Sanchez was for Miami.
George Steinbrenner is dead, but according to one high up front office Yankee recently, they are still trying to live up to his "anything less than the championship is failure" credo. I find that attitude repulsive - and feel sorry for all the Yankee fans who share it. There won't be much joy for them - and from the look of the current Yankees - there is some truth in Passan's overall point if you take a longer view in that the Yankees are a very old team without much in the way of minor league talent on the way to revitalize themselves - it will likely be a long time before their next championship.
I've been anticipating the Yankees collapse for several years now - and they keep defying that. Perhaps, the moment has finally come. Give Detroit credit for squelching Robinson Cano - the Yankees only excellent position player. After him, they have a pretty good 32 year old center-fielder (who Detroit has also kept in check), and a bunch of average Joes half of which are former stars now in their late 30s or 40. I like their top three starters - I think Hughes will be very good going forward. Their fourth starter is another ancient relic. Their bullpen is excellent, but that is a vaporous entity to rely on. Baseball teams around the league have never been so even.
If I were Girardi, I'd shake Rodriguez out of his slump AND add a potent bat in the line-up by playing ARod at shorstop, while letting Ibanez DH.
- er, a steal or a double . . .
It would make the most sense to put Alex Avila in the no. 2 spot. He has a very good OBA. He could drive home Austin Jackson after a steal or SB, and it is a great spot for one of the slower guys batting in front of Cabrera and Fielder. Why waste speed in front of all those home runs? Delmon Young should hit better than he did this year. Keeping him in the 5th spot with Avila in the 2 hole, Dirks batting 6th followed by Peralta then Berry gives you a perfect R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R line-up.
Right. My take is that the only persons who considered Joe Girardi a jerk was his bosses. Charley Finely famously fired Dick Williams after a championship for playing Mike Andrews after Finley asked Williams not to. Whitey Herzog was fired from the Royals after 3 division titles and a 2nd place finish, because Mrs. Kaufmann thought he was crude. As you sort of said, it is really only being a jerk in the minds of the ownership is what counts against you.
Where do we post our predictions?
I'm going with Cinci and Detroit.
Hey, this Jason IS fun, too, but I didn't get no. 5 "the list". Those guys all hit many home runs - were they the home run leaders? walk leaders?
Another all-time strikeout leader unlike the others: Dave Nicholson did not have an impressive career either. His career batting average was .212 with a high of .246 and three seasons below .200. He had a 54 game look at age 20 and was up for good at 22. He was a three true outcomes kind of guy, with an emphasis on the strikeouts. Wikipedia mentions that he was the easiest strikeout in Major League history. Just as he was starting to be a decent platoon player for a team that appreciated his walks and homers, it seems he was injured. He last year was at age 27.
Even though I am an old Tigers fan, I didn't know that about Jake Wood either - because by the time I was aware of the all-time strikeout leader, it was Dave Nicholson. Wood regressed his second year, then the Tigers essentially traded stars Jim Bunning and Rocky Colavito for a bunch of mediocrities like Don Demeter, Jerry Lumpe, and Dave Wickersham. Wood was mediocre, but I think they would have been better off giving Gates Brown and Wood another chance while keeping Colavito and Bunning. Brown and Wood were younger than their replacements - but their skin color was much darker. Instead Brown and Wood were mostly pinch hitters the rest of their careers.
I enjoyed The New Yorker article. It was a nice breezy read - and I felt I knew Joe Girardi much better after reading it.
Thanks for this critical take on it. Your specific comment about Talese's comment that the Yankees "only" won two out of five games in their Division Series is a good catch. However, I don't know if I necessarily want to read an author's opinion on every controversial move a famous person makes. Skipping over them all is another matter. The bland hero worshiping tone of the peace? - well, like with everything else you take the good and avoid as much as possible the bad that goes with it. In a prosy piece like that, they are inseparable, but I found the good far outweighed the cloying. It was a worthwhile read.
Dr. Carleton: I don’t quite see how your 2010 write-up shows that players who debut early "peak a little later". It did show that among players who are still in the Majors after age 31 – the earlier starters of that group tend to have later peaks. However, among those who bow out of the Majors before then – the earlier debuts tended to peak earlier. Don’t those two groups pretty well flatten the aggregate findings among all players?
Oops. This was meant to be a general comment not a reply to navared.
In my fantasies as a sportswriter - this is exactly what I would aim for - bringing players to life in ways well beyond their baseball skills and stats - with facts not bull, and with the charm of Sam Miller.
Yes, well that SHOULD HAVE BEEN a far far greater thing than keeping Inge in the line-up. Cabrera held up his end - and allows Detroit to use Victor Martinez as the DH next year. Young would have otherwise been the leftfielder, so, it really allowed Andy Dirks in the line-up instead of Inge, which is clearly a positive.
And one more thing: Cabrera busted his ass to make himself a useful third-baseman in order to accommodate Fielder. He has been playing it better than he did in his distant youthful past. That's significant value. No, I wouldn't be upset at all, if Miggy gets the award.
Sentimentally, I wouldn't mind Cabrera winning the MVP award. The man has been sooo close, but missing it year after year. This is Trout's first season. Give him something to work towards next year. Normally, I regard the MVP award ought to be based on the season in question alone, whereas I think fans are nuts who think that all-star berths should be based solely on the first couple months of the season. If you apply the "who is the best player" test to Cabrera and Trout as one should for all-star berths, you might justly conclude Cabrera deserves the award. Trout needs another season to prove he is such a productive superstar. This isn't as outlandish a contest as George Bell vs. Alan Trammell or Juan Gonzalez vs. Alex Rodriguez MVP votes that have gone so wrong in the past.
Right. Under these circumstances - where teams are tied for first, but both are assured of a wild card spot - you have mad e a good case that they do not push their ace out there on short rest for the division title play-off and just let him pitch the wild card play-off, if not the opening game of the Division Series if they happen to win the division title play-off. However, as for resting starting position players, I strongly doubt the benefit is worth the cost of increasing your chances of having to play an extra elimination game - unless it is night game for the division title followed the next afternoon by the wild card play-off, in which case you might rest your catcher.
Relievers under this scenario would probably be treated as they would for a clinching play-off game, but not a 7th game of a series.
He doesn't look like a home run hitter - not like Miguel Cabrera. He doesn't play a home run hitter's position traditionally. He had a substantial career until recently as a guy who one would not think of as a home run hitter - although he did set some sort of modern record for hitting triples.
It's probably good that he doesn't consider himself one - in that it is better to not feel too much pressure to hit one. There is probably a little added pressure on every Yankee, anyway.
Good points, Mike. I share you skepticism regarding staleness of a really good manager. Perhaps, they think the Angels and Tigers would be so reactive is due to how their own team reacted to a couple of bad months in 2011. Personally, as a Tigers fan living in Blue Jays land, I would happily let Leyland or Farrell (its been discussed) go to the Red Sox as long as they hire Terry Francona to take their place.
Bob Hoskins' pitching was my favorite part of Hook.
Why not give McClendon credit for getting good seasons in 2011 out of Boesch, Reburn, Peralta, and Avila in the first place. They were never supposed to be that good. Ditto for Jackson, Dirks, Berry, and Laird this year. Most importantly, Miggy and Prince have been fine since coming to the Tigers and facing A.L. pitchers.
There are some terrifically useful scouting reports this week, thanks.
If the Nationals delayed Strasbourg's pitching until later in the season and the Nationals fell short of the post season - then he wouldn't have been worked enough.
How much have scouts studied this issue of conditioning an athlete - a young athlete with a history of TJ surgery for a long career? There seems to be plenty of strong opinions about this, but I've haven't heard any that have convinced me the Nationals aren't being sensible. Perhaps, they are being overly cautious. Who knows? Every athlete is different. However, they should be lauded for erring on the side of saving a guy's career rather than exploiting it.
I think the Cabrera move to third was a success. It was Delmon Young's lack of willingness to DH and resulting horrible output from that spot that was a failure. Injuries to Broesch and Dirks didn't help either, nor did Ryan Raburn's horrible season. Proof will be that Detroit continues with it after Victor Martinez returns.
Good points - and almost the entire team of Blue Jays have been hurt, too.
Good point. Even as recently as mid July this year, every team in the A.L. East was over .500.
I'm thinking, before we lose anyone else to ESPN or wherever, let's quietly sing our praises to Joe Hamrahi or whoever the editor of the day is. Oh, wait. Perhaps, it is the aspiration for greater audiences (and monetary compensation) that inspires the likes of Sam and Jason, etc. to give us such fine content. Never mind. Thanks for the excellent article.
You are so fun and astute, Sam. I think Goldstein can be replaced by a few scout/writers as it appears to be the plan. However, providing relevant baseball content with as much humour as Jason and you do, is special.
If your nominated table narrative is correct, then it seems Colorado just needs to replace their 5th starter with a high quality set-up man.
Some teams (perhaps, all?) abuse the disabled the list. Some D.L. injuries are made up to help with roster manipulation. I have heard this directly from the parents of a marginal major leaguer, who has been used this way.
Congratulations. I appreciated that you were never complacent with your work - no matter how adored. You kept giving us more than expected of your regular work while always sharpening your analysis, then additionally gave us wonderful bonuses. Thank you.
Don't forget Dallas McPherson.
Good one, Geoff: interesting and instructive.
I think this was an important article. I am surprised there are so few comments.
It seems obvious, but rarely noted. Great teams may have great bullpens, but dynasties are built with sturdier building blocks.
I would like to see this explored a little deeper, in fact. I always thought relievers appeared to be so unpredictable, because we were looking at the wrong thing: ERA. If we looked at expected ERAs based on K:W and GB% with a little added K, and HR/FB tossed in at the appropriate levels that relievers would be as stable commodities as other players.
Let's have a study, BP. Do relievers get hurt more than players at other positions? Are they more inconsistent if you look at data that doesn't swing so wildly with small sample sizes?
How so, Sharky? Or is it rude of me to ask that since you were addressing Maury?
OK - greatest ever by far in contract dollars, but what about perceived talent (that is how good were the players thought to be at the time of the trade)? This one may well be a winner there, too, but it is more difficult to measure. Just to start the discussion, I'll nominate three additional trades to weigh against the Gonzalez, Beckett, & Crawford deal, the Lonborg, Conigliaro, & Harper deal, and the Kell, Trout, and Dropo deal:
Dec. 4, 2007: Miguel Cabrera & Dontrelle Willis from Florida to Detroit for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop, Mike Rabelo, and Dallas Trahern
Nov. 29, 1971: Joe Morgan, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo, Denis Menke, and Ed Armbrister from Houston to Cincinnati for Lee May, Tommy Helms, and Jimmy Stewart
Oct. 9, 1970: Joe Coleman, Aurelio Rodriguez, Ed Brinkman, and Jim Hannan from Washington (now Texas) to Detroit for Denny McLain, Elliott Maddox, Norm McRae, and Don Wert (love typing that last name).
Any chance Dylan Bundy is ready for a pennant race? If so, talent-wise, do you think his tender young arm handle it?
So, what is a CU? CUrveball, CUtter, or Change-Up?
Surprising comment on the Twins - although I'm not sure what was meant by it. I always thought Ron Gardenhire was an outstanding manager. For many years he has managed to get more wins out of his players than we expected. If that front office person is just saying that anytime a team loses so many games the manager generally gets the ax, OK, so, perhaps, the Twins recognize they needed to change the way they draft and develop talent. If that baseball executive is saying that the Twins aren't even executing the fundamentals properly, that's another story that points an arrow directly at Gardenshire.
P.S. Darryl Strawberry was in the mix for outfield and DH as well most of the year (while Ledee & Spencer were in the minors), but missed the post-season because I think at that time he was diagnosed with cancer.
Shane Spencer hit 8 homers in 38 AB in September of 1998 his rookie season producing slash stats of .421/.476/1.105 or an OPS of 1.581. He had been up for several short stays during the year, but had a 1.321 OPS in 73 PA showing going into the play-offs. He was battling Chad Curtis and Tim deserves-to-be-in-the-Hall-of-Fame Raines for playing time with Ricky Ledee the leftfielder against righthanders and Chili Davis the usual DH. Spencer didn't actually have an impact on the pennant race as the Yankees won 114 and led their division by 22. That's probably the major reason he was left off this list. He didn't help the Yankees win the World Championship, either. They swept the two series he was decent in, but Spencer had only a single in 10 at bats in the League Championship which the Yankees needed 6 games to win. The rest of Spencer's career produced .257/.322/.408 and 39 home runs over 6 seasons.
Hilarious comments, thanks.
I enjoyed this. It is refreshing to read 9 slightly different writing styles on the same subject.
The comment " . . . Angels won their first, and only, World Series title on the back of Rodriguez's electric arm and some timely hitting" is a little unfair to Troy Glaus who batted .385 and hit 3 home runs in the World Series and earned the Series MVP. He was on fire the entire post season.
That the Angels flew to the championship on 20 year old K-Rod's back - even with the wings of Glaus who just turned 26 - makes a nice story though when you compare them to the upstate Giants they defeated. The average age of San Francisco's starting eight was 34 (Santiago, Snow, Kent, Aurilla, Bell, Bonds, Lofton, & Sanders). The youngest member of their entire pitching staff was 27 (allegedly) - Livan Hernandez - and he was already pitching like an oldster. Their lowest ERAs came from Robb Nen (32) and Tim Worrell (35).
Knowing when to call up a guy and whether to send him back down during a stretch of failure is a tricky business. Not only does it depend on who is around at the Major League level, it seems to be one of those things that is always second guessed. And, I'm sure there is no formula that applies to all young players. Everyone has a different make-up. Still, I'd like to see a good study on this issue.
If it is so obvious that Sano is not going to be a Major League thirdbaseman, why aren't the Twins trying him somewhere else? (This is a sincere question - not an indictment of Kevin's observation, which I appreciate. I am wondering if he thinks the Twins are being unrealistic or there might be some other reason the Twins haven't moved him to rightfield or firstbase, yet. Wouldn't the extra experience be helpful?)
What are the odds that a player's CERA can be so consistently lower than his team-mate's CERA and that not be a real asset (even if it doesn't show up in his framing and passed ball data) - one that certainly would be worth an extra million dollars per season?
Agreed. There are plenty of players who were just as rushed as Snider and have done fine, there are players who were sent back down to the minors and returned much better players, and there are many players who were kept in the Majors for several years, but still never reached their perceived potential. Are there any good studies out there that say what is the best way to handle a good hitting prospect? No doubt it is an individual thing.
1. I always think of Mike Mussina as the pitcher with the greatest repertoire of the last 25 years. How does Greinke's palate of pitches compare?
2. (This is getting off the subject, so I am not expecting an answer - just opening it up to whoever has some thoughts on this:) What are the odds Greinke has another 2009 type season left in him, or due to injury, is he incapable of that kind of dominance ever again?
Thanks. Good fun.
Some of my fondest memories of Little League were running Maury-Wills-ian while the pitcher or anyone else wasn't paying attention - and I was slow footed (perhaps, especially because I was so slow). Shame on that whiny coach.
Another reason non-contending teams don't trade all of their veteran seemingly overpaid players is that some guys are a good example to the younger guys coming up. You can't just rely on the coaches and manager to show how dedicated one has to be to make the best of their talent in the Majors. Juan Pierre might very well fit that mold, for example.
Yes, but (not sure if this is helping or hurting your point) the Cardinals were a much better team than their 83 wins would indicate. They had won 100 games or more the previous two seasons. It could be they were starting to get old or playing hurt during the season, but, perhaps, aided by the extra days off, were able to rise to the occasion in October.
Not so fast. I would be surprised if even the A's thought those trades on the whole would pay off this quickly. Did they know Cahill, Bailey, and Sweeney would get hurt?
I suppose that is the generally accepted answer. However, those stories of the indignity of a star player getting moved to another position are probably blown out of proportion by beat writers trying to make a story. Derek Jeter is a professional. Perhaps, though, Torre felt it would play better on the teams' psyche because the new guy (Alex Rodriguez) was not disrupting the smooth operation of the existing dynasty.
Perhaps, Torre saw something in A-Rod that indicated he would be more likely to rapidly decline in range than Jeter. You gotta give Jeter credit that his game has deteriorated remarkably more slowly all around than Rodriguez's - or any of his contemporary shortstops'.
I just wish someone would honestly tell us. Perhaps, someone has already. What does Torre say in his biography (not that he would likely be 100% honest while A-Rod and Jeter are still playing)?
I meant, "NEVER understood why Jeter played SS over A-Rod".
I am surprised that a 10 time Gold Glove winner Andruw Jones has to DH, while a much older outfielder Raul Ibanez, who has been a below average outfielder his entire career (right?), plays in the outfield instead. Has Jones's defensive skills declined that much compared to Ibanez's or is there some other mysterious Yankee reason why Ibanez is out there? (I understood why Jeter played short over A-Rod.) Now the Yankees acquire an outfielder whose top remaining skill is his defense - just so Jones doesn't have to go out there.
Somewhat off topic, but a request - as you've offered to take: it seems some teams are better at developing certain types of players than others. To know which teams do best at what is as important as knowing a prospect's potential in the first place. . . or is it? How do we know when a team is having such a significant rate of success that it is better to bet on their prospects than another team's equally touted prospects?
Uh, Magglio Ordonez
Facts that must be mentioned: Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago were the Tiger's DP combo for part of the 2003 119 game losing team and reserve infielders for part of the 2006 American League Champion team. Since Santiago was traded in 2004 (with Juan Gonzalez for Carlos Guillen, thankfully), this is the 2nd time the two utility middle infielders have been reunited.
Infante is Venezuelan (as is Miguel Cabrera and the sluggers who surrounded him last year: Victor Martinez and Miguel Ordonez). Santiago is Dominican (as is Jhonny Peralta and five-sevenths of the bullpen: Valverde, Benoit, Dotel, Villarreal, and Marte). Only the lefties in the pen (Coke and Below) are American.
As a Tigers' fan, I love this trade. But then, it seems whenever they make what seems to be an outstanding trade, the team performs much worse than expected. The Tigers flopped after acquiring the supposed 1000 run offense in 2008. They dropped to 74-88 - fifth place in the pussycat division. (Miguel Cabrera was fine, Edgar Renteria and Gary Sheffield were not. The team as a whole got old or whatever and sank.) Detroit got off to a very slow start this year - even offensively after acquiring Fielder and filling another gaping hole by moving Cabrera to third.) How about that Jerod Washburn deal? Detroit was in first place trying to fight off Minnesota. Washburn was having one of his best years ever: 2.64 ERA over 20 starts. For Detroit he produced a 7.33 ERA and they lost the division. Washburn's career was over. Fortunately, the prospects the Tigers gave the Mariners for him didn't pan out either: Mauricio Robles and Luke French.
Then last year, I thought Detroit gave way too much for Doug Fister - and that looks untrue, now. Fister insured Detroit's division mastery and probably got them past the mighty Yankees into the ALCS. We'll see what Charlie Furbush, Francisco Martinez, Casper Wells, and Chance Ruffin do. Even with the current deal going as expected, I'd be surprised if they can get past the Rangers in the play-offs.
Arrgh: Smyly Villarreal
Yeah, I'd agree the Tigers have developed slightly more than their share of non-prospect pitchers into half-way decent Major League pitchers. Look at Charlie Furbush, Drew Smyley, Brayan Villareal, and Duane Below to name a bunch currently having good to excellent years. Their record on top notch pitching prospects used to be horrendous, but Verlander alone turned that record around. No teams succeeds with them all and Verlander has surpassed his lofty expectations. Zumaya pitched brilliantly until his arm fell off. Yes, Andrew Miller was a bust - and so might be Jacob Turner, Casey Crosby, and Andy Oliver. Rick Porcello has been passable - but he is still young and may yet prove worthy of his hype.
Jeremy Bonderman was a first round Oakland draftee pitching for high A Modesto when he came to the Tigers' organization in a Jeff Weaver trade. The next year he was a regular in their rotation, but did have some struggles. Then, he was pretty solid his next two seasons (near league average - no injuries). In his fourth year, he produced that 4.08 ERA (still in the steroids era: 111 OPS+) with 214 innings that led to a league championship and a 3.10 post season ERA. That is a success by my reckoning. That he was still only 23 and his career went rapidly downhill afterwards was the disappointing thing about Bonderman.
Oops. I always get that mixed up. It's Lofton not Loften. Hmmm. we should think of two wheels - two "o"s - for speedy Lofton.
Wow. I love all this honesty creeping into sports "journalism". This dialogue was part of a Simers column, so I have to give Simers some credit for showing what a fool he is. Only he probably doesn't think that's what he's doing. It seems more that he is trying to point out that it is Scioscia who is the fool for not going along with the sports cliche he wanted to write about.
All Simers did with his Marcus Thames article is show what an awful person he himself can be. He wasn't asking Thames a question he was in any position to answer. A player doesn't decide when he plays. Simers was just hurling an insult at him. Put that together with this Scioscia interview and you have to suspect it is Simers who is the head case not the likes of career greats Kevin Brown and Kenny Loften (11 years with the Indians alone) - or an overachiever such as F.P. Santangelo.
Thanks for your bravery, Sam, in slyly pointing out the ineptitude of another sportswriter. I know their are professional and legal reasons for shying away from that. (In a way, Bill James took on the entire sports journalism industry a few decades ago.)
It used to be sportscasters never disagreed with each other no matter how ridiculous the statement might be. That is one of the things that drives me so crazy about watching baseball on television, that I can rarely bring myself to do it.
A few weeks ago Tango Tiger linked from his blog on air broadcast where Mark Cuban pointed out the typically shoddy basketball analysis from one of his hosts. It provoked a heated exchange, while Cuban kept his cool (if that makes sense). How refreshing! You guys who automatically ding me don't deserve this, but you can find the clip from this link: http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/search/results/87ae085e4be2c72deaf16e5537db961d/
I don't like seeing too many videos going at once. I got as far as the third home run, then started feeling nauseated. So, I just skipped down here to say so.
I wonder if the respondents who focused on the pitch did better than those who focused on the batter's approach to the pitch - among those who did one or the other.
At 52 % - given the number of respondents, I am not totally convinced our answers weren't essentially random, however - or around 2 % better than random.
All based on which batter looked in most control of his swing:
Fun. Checking back I seem to agree mostly with MHaywood, followed by either Rick Lopez or Johannsen. I don't expect to be very good at this as I don't watch much baseball - that's not my thing. There are a bunch who went mostly with L among the first 4 or 5 and R among the last 4. Otherwise, we are all over the place.
plus (checking A.L. only):
Colby Lewis (it sounds backwards, but it needs to be Louis)
The Tigers have two players whose last name is an adjective if switched with the first name: Delmon Young and Duane Below.
Perhaps: just as with Clayton Kershaw's curveball, there has never been such a fantastic pitch, with Sam Miller's reports here, there has never been such fun reporting.
Thanks for the excellent analysis.
Do teams/scouts keep track of how well prospects are hitting secondary pitches in the minors AND majors? Perhaps, that is what the Rangers picked up on that the Mariners didn't know.
It is quite unsatisfying to me to see All-star berths selected by who had the best first 3 months of the current season rather than simply which guys are the best.
Justin Smoak has surely whiffed his way to this list - and is someone you must have a stock load (whatever that is) of insight to share.
A treat: not an airline snack, nor a slice of carrot, but a delicious homemade cookie.
Top notch, Kevin.
a) You might be exaggerating the differences in public perceptions of these players. b) Everybody should be judged individually if you are going to do any judging at all. Honesty and treating the public with respect are virtues, too.
1. What combination of Snider's difficulties in the Majors something psychiatric, something about his physical limitations, or an unlucky small sample size?
2. The Jays have some holes in their rotation. Help there is generally a few years away, I presume. But, they do have an awesome catcher and shortstop in the minors who are just about ready - as might be Snider. How is AA going to play this?
As an expansion draftee Eric Young fits in with the tradition of many other successful managers who were expansion picks: Gil Hodges, Roger Craig, Dom Zimmer, Buck Rogers, Lou Piniella, Jim Fregosi, Cito Gaston, Eric Wedge, and Joe Girardi.
Here is an interesting four part article on expansion picks from Bill James Online:
Re: Delino DeShields: It's weird that a Major Leaguer's son would be on an All-Gap team given he must have had top notch training all his life.
What about a stat lover's guy like Hank Blalock? Although, I guess you are looking for guys who still have a chance to pan out such as Dominic Brown and Brian Matusz.
I wish you the best, Jason, with the next chapters in your life. Thank you for sharing your grief in your special way.
In another matter, your referring to Lindor as not likely an all-star struck me as improbable, so I looked up all the top 50 prospects (Baseball America) who were position players and were within a year of Lindor's age for 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, and 1994. There were only 11 such players. Seven of them, indeed, became all-stars: Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Jose Reyes, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Andruw Jones, and A-Rod. "Franchise players" better describes 6 of those 7 than "all-stars". One of the non-all-stars might make an all-star game, yet: Kelly Johnson. Another occasionally has a good year, but is struggling to stay in the Majors: Casey Kotchman. Another is still active at 33, but has never been more than a fill-in for someone injured: Darnell McDonald. And there is Ben Davis, who similarly never panned out as a solid starter. This isn't meant to be proof or a criticism, just a fact finding mission.
That was actually a charming story of getting Otis Nixon to re-enact that bunt.
You made an interesting point on Ka'aihue - and it might very well be correct, but it is not quite fair to make based on two months of .693 OPS. Luke Scott, Ben Zobrist, Carlos Pena, Carlos Santana, Delmon Young, Eric Hosmer, Torii Hunter, Justin Smoak, and Dustin Ackley are all at .710 OPS or less - just running down the A.L. regulars who have played all season so far. Albert Pujols is at .713. I'm not sure the Royals even gave Ka'aihue two consecutive months of regular at bats during his tenure there.
31. . . only three big leaguers:
And, who the heck remembers two of them: Mike Sember or Tom Dodd?
Corey - no date on the Longoria comment - do we have to hold out until July now?
What is the intention of disqualifying a player for compensation if he is offered only a Minor League contract? I didn't read how they intend to plug up that loophole, but if the player's old team offered him a top 125 player salary, it seems pointless to deny them compensation if he signs with another organization no matter what the type of contract.
OK, the Tribe is speaking. I am a weirdo who has no understanding of the typical Baseball Prospectus reader. I have no clue what you and your five folks who agree with you are suggesting. But that's fine, at least, wilymo is getting some high fives for his efforts. I have no problem with that. I just don't understand his point. My name might not be Hoot, that was just for everyone's amusement. Is your name really wilymo? Why is that a better name to use? All I wrote was sincere and straightforward. Someone else brought up the subject of minusing, so I tried one last time to explain why I find it so distasteful. I don't know, I guess people prefer snark.
My take: In the 50-60 years between Honus Wagner and Robin Yount, shortstops were small low impact guys. Ripken and A-Rod and a bunch since have been the exceptions. We may have reached another lull for such high impact shortstops. Remember, these prospects are rated on upside. That doesn't mean there won't be outstanding shortstops coming along or that even one or two of those deemed too big for the position won't be able to handle it - with impact. However, it could well be that the next generation of Hall of Famers won't include any Hall of Famers.
Some people minus because they don't like your name. Some ding you, because you have written more than your fair share of comments. Some imbue in their mind what your tone is - no matter how toneless you have written your comment - and ding you for such a disagreeable tone (see above). Yes, some give a minus, if they disagree with your comment, but, of course, that doesn't explain why they disagree. Once, in a while, someone does write a comment that is offensive. Of course, dinging that doesn't explain to the writer why what they wrote is offensive. However, in the latter two cases a minus is a reasonable way to add a vote when your opinion on the matter is already expressed - although the same thing can be accomplished more precisely by plussing the comment that best expressed your opinion. There are many other reasons people ding comments that some of us take the time and care to add to the discussion. Perhaps, clicking that minus gives some of us a feeling of power or control that makes us feel better. In this forum, I find it inarticulate and rude.
Has anyone done such a study where they took all pitchers who had Tommy John surgery between the ages of 26 and 30, and compared how they pitched the two full seasons before the surgery, and how they pitched the first two full seasons after the 18 - 24 month recovery from the surgery?
Alexander Cartwright? That myth has been torn down as well - by various sources - and, I would say, officially. John Thorn is now the official historian of the Major Leagues and his recent book "Baseball in the Garden of Eden" shows Cartwright had little to do it.
The game evolved from Britain's cricket and rounders. Various parts of the U.S. and Canada had their own versions. The New York version, which, for example, did not allow runners to be put out by having the ball thrown at them, became the version that was eventually adapted by the rest of the continent. Cartwright may have written those "Knickerbocker" rules physically, but other members of his club such as Doc Adams, William Wheaton, and William Tucker, were much more the team leaders and the driving forces behind regulated baseball. If you want to credit Cartwright, you'd have to, at least, credit the entire Knickerbocker Athletic Club.
Is that 100% so? Two players (no one specifically mentioned above) are the same age. Player A has moved up the minors one league at a time since high school. Player B is a college kid who struggled somewhat his first month as a pro. Yet, in his second month he has been on a tear and now has identical stats on the identical team as player A, who has been more consistent. Assuming scouts liked their tools and make-up equally, would you like these two players equally?
Regarding Syndergaard & Bundy: is this something new: breaking in pitching prospects with a month or two of 3 inning outings before progressing to four innings and so on? What do you think of this approach?
I missed the essay on why combining the league stats is preferable - other than the wonky way players who get traded from one league to the other get treated. Still the vast majority of games are played in one league or the other, so separation of the league leaders makes some sense. They have separate context and therefor should be looked at differently.
Combining the stats would also destroy a baseball tradition - not that that is a big sin, but I don't think it is something to do without a good reason.
I am wondering, what control does baseball have over the way stats are reported by the media? Can't ESPN or you or Baseball-Reference report the stats any way they want?
In a vaguely related question, is there any reason reporters can't still call the Rogers Centre "The Skydome" and Progressive Field "The Jake"?
Thank you for your input.
All I'm asking, no begging, is to use words instead of minuses. What is it about my comments that seems to irritate more people than it delights? Perhaps, I shouldn't let it bother me, but it does. Yet, I won't stop, because baseball analysis is one of my biggest expertise and the level of discussion here suits me best - expect for those dang wordless dings.
Ooops. "There are . . ."
There is by far more years of tutorship for the average drafted baseball player than for the other major sports. Therefor the average draftee is much further away from the finished product. Therefor it is much more difficult to predict who is going to develop as hoped - there is much more to develop.
Exactly. I enjoyed this article, thanks, but this is a valid criticism. I'm glad to see the plusses outweigh the dingers on this comment. Why does that never happen to me when I make a valid criticism?
That was in 1988.
Bruce Sutter: "the first fireman used like a 21st-century closer". Woh! When he was a star, he averaged 100 innings a year. What closer does that this century? I don't know one way or the other, but most folks credit Tony LaRussa's treatment of Dennis Eckersley as the first closer to be used almost only for a 9th inning lead.
I hope there is such a thing as karma and whoever is dinging this explains why they are dinging.
Uh, That's Ken Hubbs.
Oh, right. We did. Sort of.
Mickey Cochrane's beaning may have led to the Athletics' experiment with polo helmets, but Roger Bresnahan was working on a crude form of head protection after he was beaned in 1908. However, it was the Tony Conigliaro beaning that finally led to widespread use of the batting helmet, which was eventually made mandatory in 1971.
"He was only the third player to win a second MVP award (after Rogers Hornsby and Jimmie Foxx)." That is pretty meaningless considering that the award wasn't allowed to be given more than once to a player in the award's early years.
We'll have to do another article on the most promising dead: Adenhart, Lyman Bostock, Ken Bubbs, etc.
Psst. Lakeland is High-A (see first line).
Avasail Garcia is giving me hope as a prospect thin Tigers fan - a team which did come up with Boesch, Avila, Raburn, Casper Wells, Jack Hannahan and a few others from out of the blue. When a team frequently comes up with players who outperform the consensus of respectable prospect projections (either batters or pitchers or both) how much of that is due to:
a) some organizations are better at developing talent and that organizational strength is not generally taken into account by the "online scouts"
b) some organizations know something Baseball America, Sickels, yourself, etc. do not about who is going to develop.
c) some organizations are just on a lucky streak and that these tendencies will even out over time.
d) something else, namely _____ [fill in the blank].
I can't read this with all that distracting video. When two endlessly looping videos are happening less than a page's length apart there is no scrolling to avoid then. Someone suggested a work around, I think it was saving it as a PDF, but no right click option allowed me to do that. Any help out there?
Ben, is there some reason you can't make those videos we can start or stop ourselves?
I was wondering the same thing. Perhaps, the answer is that they really ought to be playing Delmon there and they know it.
I just want to say thanks for this. I don't want the Ten Pack taken for granted.
It's great to get a scouting report on Major Leaguer. I see the attraction for getting reports on prospects who haven't "made it" yet, but I would be just as interested in hearing about Major Leaguers who haven't reached their peaks, yet.
Lawrie made a bone-head play the other day - tried & failed to steal home while down two runs, the bases loaded, and Jose Bautista up.
The Angels certainly rallied.
Please, forgive me. I wish I could take this back and make it a private comment.
Why TAV against? Sure, we all know it is just a rate stat and has the glaring deficiency of not measuring how many innings a pitcher can handle. That would be OK, if it measured something significant. What about a pitching metric that takes out lucky and unlucky fluctuations in BABIP and measures a pitchers K rate, BB rate, GB%, and whatever other significant skill based stats exist out there?
Come on, some of your articles are great, Ben, right up there with anyone's, but this seems beneath BP. To Joe and everyone running BP these days, let's keep up quality and ease up on the quantity, please.
If the animated pictures were spread out more so that we could scroll the page until they are off the screen - that would help. That would be less trouble than saving it as a PDF file.
This was quite fun, Ben, but is there some way we can just click on the pictures to activate them - and then they stop unless we click on it again. I find moving objects very distracting we I am trying to read.
Collateral Damage: I think this is all fine as long as the entries in the individual player cards are kept up to date.
Now it is showing up all the time including the Home page. I'm sick of it already. Thumbs down.
Gary Sanchez: you mean "entire 2011 season".
Thanks. This was an interesting and useful article.
Well, it is a slightly interesting/amusing picture. I don't mind such ads, if they have some artistic merit, do not make noise, do not slow down the computer, do not flash or twirl or otherwise obnoxiously distract us, and are not repeated too often.
My guess is that the dog drugging was not random - just some sicko who didn't like Becky and/or her dog.
I wonder how many other teams had this many players from the years the Expos existed who were still active last year. My guess would be very few.
Are we completely back to the old aging curve now that we have presumably screened steroids out of the picture? It doesn't seem so. I expected both the Yankees and Angels to collapse last year. Only the Angels did, but not to the extent that I thought they would. Omar Vizquel is still a useful middle infielder at 44. Jamie Moyer can still pitch at the Major League level at 49. Every year Baseball knows more and more about nutrition and exercise that will prolong an athlete's peak performance.
"Imagine Travis d'Arnaud and Anthony Gose on the 2013 Phillies?"
You wouldn't have traded that for the current Roy Halladay, while they've been worthy of him?
Kevin, I'd be interested in the developing players who raised the most eyebrows way high on their foreheads during this pre-season.
I was just wondering about duplicate baseball names now with Fausto Carmona exposed as another Roberto Hernandez.
Where does Colin say the BIP rate is increasing? His graph shows that it is decreasing.
This is a well thought out layout. Thanks, Kevin.
Sorry, I tried to pick a name that is fun. Hoot Evers was a player on my favorite team (Detroit Tigers) and Stromboli is a romantic island in Italy - and my wife is Italian - and I like the sound of "strom-bow-lee". I can't change my name for another 8 months (aprox.) Why do you ding my name? I try my best to write only worthwhile comments.
Please, explain why this comment was dinged.
Very interesting. Lots to think about - and some changes in MLB to look forward to, I expect fairly soon.
I am asking for that and for Cabrera to not get hurt. How "slightly" is this move going to going to increase his chances of injury? And, by the way, wasn't it Will Carroll who discovered this relationship between position change and injuries?
Some consider this a major reason for the increase in strikeouts.
Also, bats keep getting thinner - designed for more power, but smaller contact area.
Yup, good piece. Welcome back, Christina. Please, stay awhile.
Oh, Dear. I made a critical remark about an official BP article. Therefor, no explanation necessary: I must be wrong.
I appreciated this analysis, thanks.
Furthermore, Hickman's career year came in his age 33 season - his 9th year in the Majors. His second best year came at age 35.
Phil Regan in 1968 was almost as good:
25 saves (led league both years)
pitched 135 innings as compared to 117 in '66
17th in the voting for MVP
The Dodgers traded him to the Cubs on April 23 that year with Jim Hickman for Jim Ellis and Ted Savage. That was the 2nd time Regan was traded and the 2nd time the team acquiring him gained a Cadillac for a Chevy (in '60s parlance). Detroit traded him to the Dodgers before the '66 season for a utility back-up infielder Dick Tracewski (career WAR after the trade: 0.1). Jim Hickman could have made this list himself. He finished 8th in MVP voting in 1970 (.315/.419/.582), but never was close to being an all-star game or receiving an MVP vote in any other year, although did have a good year as a platoon player in 1970. For Hickman and Regan, the Dodgers received Ted Savage who produced a negative WAR for the Dodgers, was traded two more times before his career year in 1970 with Milwaukee: a 2.2 WAR as compared to Hickman's 5.0 that year. Jim Ellis (no relation to Doc) never pitched for the Dodgers. He pitched in two more Major League games the rest of his career.
You needed to tweak you formula. Who were the players with the greatest seasons above their career WARP - or above their 2nd greatest season - in total, not percentage? With career average WARPS outside of their career year under 1.5?
Perhaps, I missed it, but the most obvious attribute a reliever would have that corresponds to success in a conversion to starter would be the number of effective pitches he can throw, no? Was that tested for correlation to conversion success or is that too difficult to define?
"I think it’s reasonable to expect Josh Willingham to outproduce Michael Cuddyer’s 2011 and Ryan Doumit to best Jason Kubel’s . . ."
I don't. The projections I've looked at indicate that the word "approximate" would be accurate, not "outproduce".
Just one example of David Laurila's consistently interesting interviews. You don't always read them, because they weren't of groundbreaking importance, but they were always good reads.
I don't know anyone who does better sports interviews in print than David Laurila.
Let's check into Micher's story about Finley wanting him back as their first DH. At first glance at his stats, it sure looked as though Mincher was finished in '72: .216/.363/.335 for the year: .148/.281/.167 during his final stint in Oakland. If it were today, Finley might have offered him a minor league spring training invitation. But, maybe not. Actually, 1972 was an incredible pitcher's year - not like 1968, but Mincher's .698 OPS for the season was still 12% above the league average - park adjusted. Deron Johnson, who became the A's first regular DH hit .737 - but the same 112 OPS+. Only a Don Mincher 112 OPS+ is better than a Deron Johnson OPS+, because Mincher's was based more on his OBA - he made fewer outs for all his run production.
Back then, however, not many people paid much attention to OBA. OPS wasn't even heard of. As I recall, even the GMs of that era paid more attention to Batting Average, home runs, and RBI, than On-Base Average. Perhaps, Charlie O. Finley's garish personality blinded folks to the fact that he was well ahead of his time.
Orange baseballs, please.
The love of famous people may be a deeply ingrained part of human nature. Name dropping is a cheap way to get people's attention - another symptom of famephilia. I am aware of this, yet I am not any more immune from the lure of a famous person nor am I any less willing to invoke a brag about my connection to one, than most people.
At least there is a logical rationale to name drop. A famous name is really a word that we can share. When you say "Yu Darvish" - a vastly growing mulititude of people immediately have an image and back-story that connects to that name. That makes it a very powerful word/name - one that makes using it a more interesting conversation.
Jason just vastly enriched and nuanced our vision of that word, so that when people say or write "Yu Darvish" in the future (and they will over and over), we have a richer vivid picture to go with than word/name. For that, than you, Professor.
Yeah, the whole culture of autograph collecting is whacky to me, and, therefor, would find it quite annoying, if I were famous. However, from fame often comes a certain amount of riches. I'm sure baseball teams make a ton of money, because people like to witness the "best" baseball players in the world - which is a from of hero worshiping like autographing seeking. They likely feed each other. Baseball teams are very motivated to keep the culture of autograph seeking alive.
Mickey, good writing comes in many forms. Jason is more of a David Foster Wallace than an Ernest Hemingway, if you need an accepted great writer to compare him with. I just go by my own personal response, just as I'm sure you are going by yours. To each their own taste - no need to look for a defect in how someone could enjoy something you don't. But, for what it's worth, I don't drink sports drinks and I've been around many more decades than you are supposing.
Give it try!
Good luck with your endeavours, Steve. I will greatly miss you here. Loved you historical pieces and thought your A.L. Central reports this week with Ben were even more entertaining than Jason's A.L. West reports! Way to leave with us wanting so much more!
It is baseball content - just a very artistic rendering of baseball content. Spring training is part of baseball - as many fans make their pilgrimage to motels in Arizona and Florida. Players, coaches, baseball execs, and of course, scouts must go there, too. Not everyone stays in a cheap motel, but for many it is a part of the experience, whether they focus on it or not. Since, it is such a part of it, Jason has turned what is normally a very mundane thoughtless portion of the spring training journey into a hilariously entertaining and thoughtful part of the journey. That is art.
Does Joey Votto consider his home town Cincinnati over Toronto?
1. Recent prospect coming back to haunt? Jair Jurrjens.
2. What hitting prospects? They've hardly had any - and the best they've had could take a walk if offered. Brennan Boesch is an overachiever never touted as a solid prospect. You can say the same of Casper Wells and Ryan Raburn.
Alex Avila was a middling prospect, but his plate discipline is pretty good. Scott Sizemore's walk rate was pretty normal. Jeff Larish's BB/9 was more above average than Wilkin Ramirez's was below average. Mike Holliman and Matt Joyce: more or less normal... same with Brent Clevlen and and their one really good hitting prospect in the last five years: Cameron Maybin. How far back do you want to go?
3. Pitching injuries? Nah. I haven't done a careful study, but I'm pretty on top of it and I'd say they aren't bad at all. Check out Cleveland, Baltimore, Toronto a couple years ago, Oakland last year. Boston has been brutal compared to Detroit and I'd say L.A. of Anaheim has been significantly harder hit. Even Minnesota seems to have been worse.
Once again, this was lots of fun.
Let's have a list of the current market inefficiencies:
1. good relievers who never got to be closers
2. relievers who should be starters
3. ground ball pitchers
4. adept fielding infielders
5. fat slugging infielders
- Hoot (aka Scoesheetwiz / John Carter)(www.scoresheetwiz.com)
I'm OK with larger market cities having a little advantage. That's more fans getting to enjoy more success. If a weak market can't support a team, let's find a market that can. That said, I would be resistant to letting some well established baseball small markets die just due to a passing era of hard times. I would hate to lose Cinci, Cleveland, or Pittsburgh - or even Baltimore. Minnesota deserves to stay, too.
Is it possible that whoever received the samples at the lab and tested them made a mistake - or deliberately fudged it?
Did Braun's team not make this claim, because the breach of custody, etc. seemed to be an easier out?
Now, that I've finished reading this (the challenge to find a good song from 1986 was too irresistible to do anything but drop what I was reading and find one - then real life beckoned), I quite enjoyed the format and execution. Thanks.
I enjoyed the informality of this.
Either my memory is going, or they never played "Press" in Toronto (with a 30% Canadian content law, we miss a lot), or that is about the most forgettable song ever - and I love Paul. Perhaps, all three of the above are true.
Here are some songs from 1986 that resonated with me:
"You Can Call Me Al" - Paul Simon
"Back in the High Life" - Steve Winwood
"Don't Get Me Wrong" - Pretenders
"Rat in the Kitchen" - UB40
several songs from Peter Gabriel's So: "Red Rain", "In Your Eyes", and "Don't Give Up" (although, I didn't like "Sledgehammer" or "Big Time" much). It was a weak year. The Police, Clash, and Roxy Music had broken up. Old favorites Yes and Talking Heads should have. U2, Dire Straits, INXS, The Cure, Tears for Fears, and Sade just didn't release anything that year. Paul Simon's Graceland was loved by my sister and millions of other people, but except the one song mentioned above, I didn't like it much. XTC released a disappointing album except for the first track, which would decidedly be my favorite song from 1986:
"Summer's Cauldron" - XTC
. . . because Longoria and Braun were not free agents when they signed those contracts. Not only must they otherwise accept whatever the club would give them at first, and take only market rates for their experience and accomplishments for the next three years, but they were bidding with just one team - one teams where they will be tied to for their first six years establishing their fanhood and families in the community - not the foolhardiest of the 30 teams.
Yes, I agree.
Baseball executives would not like to see these amounts very high - in case something like this actually happens. Perhaps, some of them deliberately deflated the layouts they would offer and don't want to say that is the reason.
Right. Teams squander their profits on free agents. If all players were free agents - majors and minors, that wouldn't happen to the few who make it to free agency. Well, theoretically.
It is not up to Braun specifically to come up with a plausible reason how his sample was tainted or switched. He is not an expert on that. He is only an expert on what he has put in his body. It is enough that the sample wasn't handled properly. As he stated, he doesn't want to make any false accusations, because he knows what that feels like.
Pitching to contact might help preserve the life in these tender young arms. After a few years of pitching, they will probably just naturally have more command and therefor be more ready to start painting the corners.
New intel on Eddie Rosario? - who jumps from a two star prospect on the Twins (not making their top 11) to number 87 overall
OK, I've been happily with my wife for 28 years. If I asked her to name a Major League baseball player, she'd say "I don't want to play that game." If pressed, she might relent and come up with Christopher Leroux - her best friend's nephew. (He does come from a very nice family, by the way.)
It is hard for me to say why some Coen Brothers movies don't work for me, while some do, but it has something to do with being able to loose myself in the movie. Usually, their films are just a little too staged over-the-top or something, I just take as light entertainment but not that enthralled feeling I get with a good movie. Fargo did work for me, but Raising Arizona didn't. Miller's Crossing, The Hudsucker Proxy, and No Country for Old Men were the others that did work their magic.
On behalf of all of us: thanks!
This is very nice, but will there be one for American League job battles?
Kevin, could Margaret be thinking of Randy Johnson?
Just came across this, I think you, Derek, handled this perfectly. It was a fair comment to make the way you made it.
You should blame yourself for thinking anyone's prospect rankings will be as accurate you evidently expect them to be. Show us Blogger X and whoever else has consistently had more accurate rankings. Explain how KG could be more accurate.
Keep in mind that the differences between prospects gets less and less the further down the list you go. Like just about all talent distributions you are looking at a bell curve - and this being a selection of the most promising baseball prospects in the world - the far end of a bell curve. So, a drop from 38 to 108 is probably much less than a drop from 8 to 38.
Hey, Richard, perhaps part of the problem is that you are trying too hard to like Jason's humor pieces - sort of the way the way a movie is usually disappointing when people or reviewers over-hype it and it doesn't match your expectations. Relax. Close your eyes and think back to this past World Series: Coming in relief for the Rangers: the Amish-friendly Jebediah Feldman. (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15378)
With all due respect to PeterBNYC - I have no beef with his expression of his opinion, I didn't see Jason's article as a tantrum - quite the opposite: it was a very sophisticated way of expressing the lack of worthy prospects in the White Sox's system.
I also don't understand Peter's logic for feeling entitled to a discount. Jason's "Prospects Will Break Your Heart" is a new feature - a welcome additional take on something that is continuously and thoroughly already provided for in BP by Kevin Goldstein. What's to refund, if it is a bonus to begin with?
What Jason provides more than any other BP writer or any other sports writer anywhere that I know of, is his keen humor. However, not everyone has the same sense of humor, but the nice thing about reading is that you can skip over what you don't want to read. There: problem solved.
The parks helps, but not THAT much. These aren't just marginal successes. The talent and moola shelled out for a good chunk of these pitchers testifies that their success is not all due to a park effect. Going back, Tim Hudson and Dan Haren sustained their excellence outside of Oakland.
Thanks as usual for the insider snippets. We do have to take what these guys say with some critical judgments.
- One scout doesn't seem to have noticed that teams don't carry 5 outfielders anymore - and usually the 4th (at least in the A.L.) is a speedy type who can cover centerfield if needed.
- By all evidence, the anti-Beane scout is way off when it comes to developing pitchers. In fact, Oakland seems to be the best team in the A.L. at turning mid level pitching prospects into highly effective pitchers: Moscoso, Gio G., Braden, Bailey, Ziegler, Breslow, Wuertz - and that's just recently. They didn't fail with better pitching prospects Anderson and Cahill and they turned Brandon McCarthy into the solid starter that other teams failed to do.
Yes, please, why are we so sure Nestor Molina is Sam Militello II and not Daniel Hudson II?
Cool. Where in Italy are you?
Wow, after Trout, what a sad group of 25 and under - including the mismatch of having their two best young players both outstanding centerfielders.
The Angels used to be known as an organization that was one of the best at developing pitchers. Now I'm not so sure. Could there be a problem in the organization that so many good pitching prospects aren't finding any control (Reckling, Chatwood, Pena) or is that just a coincidence?
Thanks, Steven, although that makes sense if it refers to the bag itself as gdragon1977 suggests. Perhaps, I used to hear it as "and covering the keystone for the Yankees will be Bobby Richardson and Tony Kubek".
That could have been why I liked it back then - a good starter beer that didn't look like one for a naive kid from Connecticut.
I wonder why. The only Pennsylvania (keystone state) beer I know of is Rolling Rock, which I haven't had in decades, but was considered a cut well above Schlitz and Bud when I was first getting acquainted with beer.
I was shocked to read it in Bill James this week and now I am reading it here. Growing up in the '60s & early '70s, I thought "keystone" referred to secondbase AND shortstop. Am I having a false memory or has its meaning slid over to the one side of the bag?
Actually, not "roughly guessed", I did look at their WAR values when they were Tigers.
Well, if you don't like Heart, by similarity and omission from your list, I infer that you don't even like U2. They produced their greatest masterpiece in 1987: The Joshua Tree that included "Where the Streets Have No Name", "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", and "With or Without You". Not all of those songs were loud proclamations, Try "Running to Stand Still".
I do like Heart. It is a matter of taste, of course, but if I could turn you on to them, I would beg you to give "Nada One" a listening.
Another group that had similar tight perfectionism and over-the-top dramatics that graced or disgraced Heart depending on your taste was INXS - and they had what was their biggest album in '87: Kick, which included "Need You Tonight", "Devil Inside" and "Never Tear Us Apart".
Speaking of Bruce Springsteen, he came up with one of his best albums '87. (That is in my opinion, not most people's apparently.) Made during his brief marriage to his first wife, it includes "Tougher than the Rest", "One Step Up" and the title track, "Tunnel of Love".
Sting was newly a solo artist in '87 and produced his oft covered "Fragile".
An even more impressive debut solo record came from The Band's Robbie Robertson with the help of U2 producer Daniel Lanois. You have probably heard "Somewhere Down the Lazy River" and you should hear "Fallen Angel".
Finally, I am a fool for 1987's The Trio, which was Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmy Lou Harris. The best song from that project was "Farther Along", unless you count "Behind My Blue Tears" which . . . I don't know when that came out.
Roughly guessed at third string all-time Tigers:
c Ivan Rodriguez (unless you count Mickey Tettleton, who played about as much 1B and DH as C or Rudy York who played more 1B than C. Mickey Cochrane gave the Tigers two of his great playing years.) (behind Bill Freehan and Lance Parrrish)
1b Miguel Cabrera (after Greenberg and Cash)
2b Dick McAuliffe (one of the most underrated players in history - no. 3 after Gehringer and Whitaker.)
ss Carlos Guillen (after Trammell and Billy Rogell)
3b Ray Boone (following George Kell and Travis Fryman)
OF Willie Horton, Kirk Gibson, & either Granderson or Jim Northrup depending on whether Northrup qualifies enough as a centerfielder. (Ty Cobb and Chet Lemon were the top two CFs. Sam Crawford, Al Kaline, Harry Heilmann, and Bobby Veach rate astronomically as corner outfielders.)
SP: Going with the historical average four man rotation:
Hooks Dauss, George Mullin, Virgil Trucks, and Schoolboy Rowe. (The top eight would be Hal Newhauser, Tommy Bridges, Mickey Lolich, Dizzy Trout, Jack Morris, Frank Lary, Jim Bunning, and Wild Bill Donovan.)
That's a heck of a team probably closer to the Yankees' 4th team than their 3rd, however. Willie Hernandez or Aurelio Lopez would close out after John Hiller and Mike Henneman would be taken for the top two teams.
Knowing how baseball fans love statistics, why doesn't baseball smarten up and insist on giving the public more accurate numbers?
They could always trade Fielder - or Cabrera - or Martinez after this year and just pay the added part of his salary the other team doesn't want to pay. Just as with a free agent, they can trade to the highest bidder. I'm not sure how much of a discount an opt out possibility from Fielder would cost. Is he playing for Detroit, because he just loves it there? What are the chances he could waggle an even greater contract next year? It seems like a decent gamble, although, I hope they know something I don't know about Fielder's conditioning regimen.
Last I heard, the Tigers were planning to platoon Raburn with Santiago at secondbase. That leaves the choice between having Cabrera at third and, perhaps, Andy Dirks in left with Delmon Young as the DH or having a platoon of Don Kelly and Brandon Inge at third and Delmon Young in leftfield. The latter could well be just as bad defensively as the former and weaker offensively, so I'm hoping Cabrera can still play a passable third base.
I feel your pain, but what would you want them to do? Their answer at third base Nick Castellanos is hopefully only another year away. Their new hole at DH is also hopefully just a year away in a Victor Martinez recovery. Their hole in the rotation is, perhaps, a half year away, but Jacob Turner is not subject to a predictable formula. It is expensive to buy free agents and it is even more expensive to buy them only for one year - unless they get someone who will be grateful to sign with any team, which is presumably their plan.
And, I would presume such a player unlike Carlos Pena to have some outfield skills, because Delmon Young does not possess many of those.
As for the hole at secondbase, there was no secondbaseman on the free agent market. They could have spent millions on Jose Reyes, if he was willing to play for Detroit, but that would have meant moving Jhonny Peralta to seocond base, where he likely would have been unhappy and ineffective, if he was suitable for that position in the first place.
Have some faith. That trade for Doug Fister, which so many of us here thought was a terrible trade at the time (including myself and the BP staff who commented on it), turned out great so far.
The real problem is that Detroit's farm is so bare, they have nobody to trade to fix any of these holes without creating a new one.
Collin Cowgill bats righty and can play centerfield. Why wouldn't the Athletics platoon him in rightfield with Smith and in center with Crisp?
Never mind. It is a '69 card - must remind me of an earlier style. From wikipedia:
The picture on Aurelio Rodriguez's 1969 Topps baseball card is actually a photo of Angels' batboy Leonard Garcia.
There have been three players in major league history named Aurelio (two of whom played for the Detroit Tigers), and all three were killed in car accidents between the ages of 44 and 53. See also Aurelio López and Aurelio Monteagudo.
That's very weird, because that does look like a '65 or '66 baseball card. The style looks familiar and I'm sure I was no longer collecting in 1967. Rodriguez was purchased as an 18 year old from a team in the Mexican League in August of 1966. I didn't think they made new issues of cards that late in the season. He didn't reach the Angels until September of 1967, so the earliest card on him I would suppose would be 1968, when he still qualified as a rookie. Even then, at least in the mid 60s, rookies didn't get their own cards - they were usually two to a card, in which case his first solo card would have been 1969.
Great list, but, yeah, I'd go with Eight Men Out and Major League over Field of Dreams of the ones I've seen here. The W.P. Kinella story was nicely told with excellent cinematography - and I can dig a good drama, but I just found this story sappy in many ways. Top 10 Sports movies of all time? Here is my personal list from a few years ago: http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id102.html
I remember a Mazeroski baseball preview magazine about 25 years ago showing how scouts scouted the mental attributes about baseball players almost as much as his physical attributes. I suppose the mental ones were more difficult to accurately measure, but I wonder if some teams have studied those analyses and come up with a more accurate mental profile of the type of player who will thrive in the Major Leagues. I wonder if there is background information available to a BP analyst who could construct, at least, a rudimentary profile of a successful candidate beyond his build and baseball skills. For example, we all believe having a steely desire to succeed is important, but what accurate indications are there that we can look for to know if a player actually has it?
A very entertaining and relevant article, thanks.
I really don't miss His Ugliness Old Man Steinbrenner. I like to think we have evolved well beyond his way of thinking, although to hear what's been going on in politics, radio opinion shows, rallies, etc. over the last few years indicates otherwise. If Steinbrenner influenced some baseball fans to be more like him, that was a bad thing.
Of course, the Al Campanis interview displayed another example of backward out-of-touch thinking, but I'd say it had a positive result. We all became more sensitive about what we say. Perhaps, too much so. Many of us became more aware of false prejudices. And - although, that is beside my point and doesn't excuse what he said, Campanis was somewhat misunderstood by his comment in the first place. He had African-American friends and didn't mean that none of them could acquire those necessities.
I got Callaspo, remembering he was traded to the Royals, but forgetting he had been traded back.
I thought of Macier Izturis, but couldn't remember Figgins. I'm a baby boomer, OK?
I thought of Hubie Brooks, when I was trying to remember Spike Owen. Brooks was a DH-1B by the time he played for the Angels.
I knew they had a decent thirdbaseman with a boring name in the early 90s, but couldn't come up with "Jack Howell".
Remembering the stints Lansford, McMullen, and Rodriguez had with the Angels did come to me because of the big trades they were involved in. After one excellent year with the Senators following the McMullen trade and his promising beginning with the Halos, the young Rodriguez was included with Joe Coleman and Ed Brinkman for Denny McLain, Elliot Maddox and a couple throw-ins. Lansford was involved in traded for Rick Burleson and Tony Armas (Sr.).
At the risk of sounding like a boring old coot, trades were more fun and more frequent when they were about shoring up weaknesses or invigorating changes of scenery than about dumping salaries for prospects. That's more of an observation than a complaint, because I play Scoresheet Baseball where we can make trades without contract worries. (Let me know if you are interested in giving it a try.)
As a baby boomer, Paul Schaal was the first name that came to my mind.
As a control, I tried coming up with 10 New Washington Senators or Texas Rangers - their expansion team twin and found it about equally difficult. Yet, that has been one of that franchise's most solid positions: McMullen-Rodriguez-Howell-Harrah-Bell-Buechele-Palmer-Lamb-Blalock-Young-Beltre. Don Zimmer's last two seasons were there. Does anyone remember Ramon Vazquez? I am embarrassed to say that I didn't, yet he was their thirdbaseman for two years recently in-between Hank Blalock and Michael Young.
personal to Richard B.: Could you, please, obtain my e-mail address from rawagman and contact me directly?
For some reason I'm still chuckling over Ezequiel Feldman.
Woops, I see Jay wrote that comment previous to mine, so my first paragraph is directed at him and the second is directed at Ben, with CCs to all the readers especially the ones who commented on the commenting on Scott's politics.
What is it about Camden Yards that might have made Luke Scott such a homey? Perhaps, it is just the positive roar of the crowd or whatever it is that gives players some home field advantage outside of where they typically hit the ball.
On Scott's politics, I thought you were neither mocking nor giving it undue attention - just the right amount of fair analysis that it warranted in sticking to the merits of his contract and his potential benefit to the Rays.
It sounds more like that is when he does his jogging, but I didn't hear the interview.
Ya-hoo! RAWagman is in our league. I've e-mailed him.
Jan. 24: player lists come out
Feb. 3: keeper lists will be due
Feb. 12: draft begins - 7 rounds taking a few days
We'll draft more in early March, then again 3 weeks later.
I don't think there will be a problem if you sign up any time before the keeper lists are due - but the sooner the better. That would give you more time to make trades beforehand and it would put an end to my pursuit of recruiting Geddy Lee for our league.
I know this is a long shot, because I dimly recall that you are not interested in fantasy leagues, Richard, but the best of them is Scoresheet Baseball (http://www.scoresheet.com/). For only $79 you get a game where you make batting line-ups, set-up your rotation, bullpen, and bench of the players you drafted or traded for. A computer plays out a 162 game schedule over the season using the actual stats of your players adjusted by your opponent's players - and, if you wish, you can view those results batter by batter or all in one scoresheet. One team in our league is looking for a new owner - a team with Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, and Daniel Hudson in an A.L. only league, where you can keep 13 veterans (including 2 who may have crossed over to the N.L.) and unlimited prospects from one season to the next. The guys in our league are all very nice, good humored, and pretty darn smart. We all happen to live in Canada, because there used to be a Scoresheet Canada, but the league is now open to anyone. Two of us are actually U.S. ex-pats. The league is going into its 21st year and I have kept track of pages of records and send periodic e-mails pointing out interesting developments in our league. The drafts are conducted by web and it is beautifully convenient no matter how busy you are. There are three drafts of 7 or 8 players during the winter/early spring and 5 more of two players each during the season. Are you game to give it a try?
Yes, I did make that point - or rather was trying to the very first time I brought it up, but obviously not clearly enough: "It may be too hard to explain . . ."
OK, we disagree on what is evidence. My definition is a bit broader than yours.
There you go again taking my point and putting it in an inappropriate context. I'm not speculating about a terrorist, although, if anyone goes to a flight school and without a reasonable explanation isn't interested in learning how to land a plane, perhaps, we should be more alarmed and try to deduce what they might be thinking. Perhaps, the physique of Jeff Bagwell is damning enough to voters who have studied the effects of steroids + intense baseball training to exclude him from the Hall of Fame for a few years. I am not claiming that, however. I was just speculating on what a sportswriter who I very much care about might have been thinking, but not willing to say. And I wasn't advocating that any action should be taken against him. I was just trying to have a thoughtful discussion on Hall of Fame voting.
Thank you, Richard, I like your comments - and I think you liked my comments from my previous BP name, which I changed because I believe that I must have irritated somebody so much that all my comments were getting automatically dinged. Well, there I go again speculating on what somebody else is thinking without much evidence. However, I haven't been getting my comments dinged nearly as much since I changed my name. I will agree with your last sentence under some circumstances, but I don't believe it is unwise in all cases.
I had some evidence. Perhaps, not very good evidence, but the thought didn't come from nothing. My house insurance goes up if I write from home as a professional writer. Journalists in particular, as I understand, do have to worry about slander. I have heard of newspapers getting sued and losing (although, I know they usually win) for slander, even though they were later proven to be correct. (I can't remember the specific example.) My point was that the fear of a suit over not the vote, but the written justification of the vote, might have been the reason John didn't want to worry about who did what concerning PEDs. You made a good case that this was not likely something that he would have worried about. Fine. I'll take your word on it for I am not a libel expert. However, there is nothing wrong with speculating what someone else might have been thinking as long as it is understood that it is just speculation.
Jeez, it was just a thought to try to justify John's vote for Palmeiro. OK, you are probably right that John wasn't worried about slander. We'll just take his reasoning at face value then, which is sadly faulty.
No, not putting guys in the Hall of Fame is correctable - not putting guys in the Hall of Fame is the punishment for alleged PED use just as putting people in jail is the punishmet for their crime.
Well, there might be a lawsuit case if a writer refused to because of his suspecting a player's steroid use. I don't know; writers have to be very careful about making unsubstantiated claims, don't they? The question is how much substantiation do they need to make an in or out judgement on the Hall of Fame.
Another question is weighing how much a player should be penalized for PED use. Ideally voters should look at all the various shades of gray: how far did he go with it? how much did it help him? how strong is the evidence against him? how immoral was it in the context of his time, the sacrifices they were expected to make for their craft, and what players could have been expected to know? I actually do think players taking speed in the 60s and 70s should have been dinged to a degree. Heavy steroid use should probably be dinged to a greater degree, but I'd still probably vote for A-Rod, Clemens, and Barry Bonds to eventually go in. Palmeiro - I'm not so sure.
There is a difference between taking someone's life and either jailing them or keeping them out of the Hall of Fame. Both of the latter are correctable to some degree.
Look, I understand the evidence one way or another may or may not be particularly strong. The problem, perhaps, is - and I don't blame John - HoF voters have to fear law suits from players excluded based on flimsy evidence. It may too hard to explain why a player is excluded when he may obviously otherwise deserve a spot without mentioning the PED issue.
No. That's saying it is better to let all the criminals out of jail, because there might be some free people out there who committed a crime.
" I vote with the assumption that everyone who played in the Steroids Era might have done something illegal. "
With all due respect for your excellent reporting, clear directly writing style, and your candor, that is a sad cop-out. Sorry, but if you have the privilege of voting on the Hall of Fame members, it is your duty to obtain as much understanding as possible on who cheated how significantly and vote accordingly. Even if it ends up being fairly speculative, you have to vote on the best information available. That is much more fair than painting all steroids era players with the same fat black brush.
Good points made about Rodney, thanks.
As far as Coco Crisp's hair: wouldn't that have a significant drag on his running ability? Seriously, if not wind resistance trying to pass through all those hairs, what about the distance of his cap from his face allowing the bill to catch more wind? I don't want to encourage ballplayers to look alike any more than they already do, but I would question his dedication to being the best player he can be - as opposed to looking cool.
That was an entertaining article on cagey/outright lying GMs.
Agreed that Sam Miller is an excellent addition. Jason Parks has been outrageously hilarious at times and insightful, too. Rob McQuown made some excellent improvements to the Team Tracker.
All those Rotisserie oriented articles do not bother me. I just skip them - although, I would read Scoresheet articles if you had them. (You had a couple.)
What does Randolf mean by "negativity of commenters"? I appreciate it when commenters add to the discussion even if it is taken as a criticism of the original article. Of course, we don't expect each article to cover every aspect of the issue presented. If someone feels inspired to add some points or some humor, I find it rude to boo them with dings, whether I agree with their point or not. Some readers do write rude comments, however, and those do deserve the gong.
You can't count on the same number of all-time great pitchers in each decade. I think the '90s bunch (Rocket, Unit, Pedro, Maddux) was possibly the greatest cluster ever. Was it? The teens (Christy-Alexander-Big Train)and the '70s (Seaver-Carlton-Perry-Palmer-Jenkins-Reuschel) were particularly strong decades. The 1980s were sandwiched in-between two of the best and paled by comparison. How do they compare to the '20s, '30s, '40s, and '50s?
Point taken. Yet, somehow that is unsatisfactory. We want to reward the good guys. The leaves us with speculation, which, of course, can be totally unfair - but overall probably more accurate.
Most of us do not have any vested interest in who gets into the Hall of Fame. To us it is a framework for comparing the best players throughout the ages. So, I would prefer to see how the new candidates compare to the ones in the Hall and the ones, at least, in recent memory of comparable greatness who didn't make the cut. I don't expect a full paragraph, but would like to keep them remembered with a stat line or a comment.
1. JAWS and the BBWAA aren't everyone. 2. Nothing in baseball is particularly important in life. If people choose to examine the merits of borderline Hall of Famers and down ballet MVPers, that isn't any less worthy than watching a game or most baseball debates.
The Sweeney-Reddick portion of the trade is comparable in value, except for their service time. Sweeney has been up for almost four full seasons. Reddick has been up for parts of three seasons adding up to about 1 full season. Their defense is close. What Reddick has over Sweeney in power is more than made up for in on base average. The advantage of Reddick is that he is two years younger and therefor has a greater chance of improving. So, this trade is that cash savings and slightly greater potential along with all that those two prospects bring the Athletics for Bailey. It is a calculated gamble on the health of the veterans involved and the fate of those two prospects that is appropriate for both teams.
Lou Whitaker was one and done - I think he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I don't think I'm the only one who thinks John Olerud deserves as much consideration as Palmeiro and McGriff who are being discussed in this piece. However, with his loss of eligibility I can see why you left him out. Nonetheless, by some metrics, it is a travesty he is out of the BBWAA voting already. Thanks for providing his scores.
I also wonder how much confidence we can place in your defensive metric. Is our data from those years so accurate that we can attribute such a large variance in run production?
Some day, if we can have accurate assessment of the affects of verboten drugs on Palmeiro and McGwire's careers and wish to penalize them accordingly, we might look back and see Olerud or McGriff has the best firstbasemen of their time - after Bagwell - if he was clean.
It would have been more to my liking if the other prominent Hall of Fame eligible firstbasemen were included: John Olerud, Don Mattingly ...
Who's going to be the DH? Damon isn't signed. Would Joyce DH over Guyer?
Who has up-to-date Depth Charts? I suppose MLB.com is the closest to being current as I can find, but they don't list Canzler or Guyer. Are they on the 40 man roster? Besides, the drop down team selector within each team's depth chart in MLB.com doesn't work, so you have to click back to the Player Search page. Rotoworld is somewhat current. They list Damon and Kotchman, and no Canzler or Guyer either. The nice thing is that they have all the teams in one league on the same page.
I don't mind you expressing your view - even though I strongly disagree with you and you are getting completely whopped in the argument here - and, yet, you don't give up. However, I do object when you start denying historical facts without obviously any knowledge on the subject.
He certainly struggled. The questions are:
1) Will he learn more playing in the minors or the majors?
2) Can they squeeze a year of non-MLB service time towards arbitration eligibility, etc.?
3) How long will it be before he is a greater asset than Wells, Abreu, or Bourjos? By all accounts Trout appears to be a fast learner and that won't be much time at all. The Angels are not as patient as the Rays and will likely want to play Trout as soon as he is clearly a superior option.
Jeez. Can't you enjoy the incredible success you are having, Philly fan? I wonder when was the last time a team won a World Series, then continued to IMPROVE their regular season W-L record each year for the next three seasons! In fact, I wonder if that has ever happened.
Yeah, it looks like Sam is now a regular here - not just a special guest writer. Three cheers!
Thankfully - cool cliques haven't existed in my life since high school. So say I - a long ago loud floater who's coolness bloomed a bit later in life. In fact, I think social maturity was the key ingredient towards coolness level back in the day.
Ew. For once something was dinged into hiding that I wish I hadn't read.
Hmmm. Idea: Let's have a War adjusted WARP just for fun. What is a reasonable guess as to how Greenberg, DiMaggio, Teddy Ballgame, Willie Mays, and Whitey Ford (etc.) would rank among the greatest, if they hadn't hadn't taken time out to fight for their country?
Considering that baseball athletes generally get a little bigger, faster, stronger, and more knowledgeable every year, your comment is quite safely true.
Hank Greenberg - how is he not on the opening list? Did he miss too many games during the war years to rate? Surely, firstbase was his primary position.
Yes, there was some interesting general information here, thank you, but a few lazy comments I could quibble about. I will point out one: the greatest diluting of the cliche "superstar" I've heard yet. R. A. Dickey?
Don't cry. He'll be fine. No, he won't hit, but he won't get enough at bats to hurt much. There's got to be something Scioscia liked about him. He's probably a good addition to the clubhouse. Seriously. Chemistry can help, at least, for a season. After that Travis D'Arnaud will be ready to share the catching role with Arencibia.
Did any of these pitchers pitch in the minors during the base year - and were those pitches counted?
Oops. That was meant as a reply to onlyatad. If you start a reply, then click somewhere else (such as to check the spelling of "Sheehan"), then return - the reply looks in tact, but is apparently placed at the bottom of the page instead of where you were originally replying.
I don't think we need to narrow BP to what you think of as "rational analysis". We are free to read whichever articles we want. The parallel between falling in love with a narcissist and signing Manny may be flawed, I don't know, but I thought this was a stimulating and heartfelt read. Joe Sheehan used to do this sort of thing here and he was greatly missed we he left. Steve just stepped into that void and hit a home run. (Sorry for the mixed metaphor.)
At first glance, I thought the return on investment based on their "Before" stats is dang good. With these relievers landing big contracts generally based on their peaks, you would expect more significant regression. However, just looking at the return on dollar value, it isn't so great. Many of these contracts were likely based on a fabulous year immediately proceeding the big contract and the lack of reliability which would have been better reflected in their three year "Before" stats was overlooked.
It is a bit unfair to analyze the Giants and not mention their best position player Buster Posey, who had a .296 TAv in 2010 his most recent healthy season.
Interesting points. However, I think robot improved strike umpiring would improve the game. I'm willing to trade the boringness of that for the frustration of random unfairness that comes from imperfect strike zone umpiring.
However, we would still need a head umpire to keep the pace of the game in check.
Rather than boring old alphabetical, how about the number of years that franchise has been in its host metropolitan area? Ties go to the team that last changed its official team name the longest ago. Hmm, that would still leave some ties. Well that would be: Cubs, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philly, (tie: White Sox & Detroit), Boston, Cleveland, Yankees, Baltimore, (tie: Dodgers & Giants), Minni, Angels, Mets, Houston, Braves, Oakland, (tie: Kansas City & San Diego), Milwaukee, Texas, (tie: Seattle & Toronto), Colorado, Marlins, Arizona, Tampa Bay, and Nationals.
Doing it by altitude would be pleasing, too.
This may be an over simplification, but both the Rangers and Mets improved quite a bit during Valentine's tenure over the years leading up to his hiring. Neither Gil Hodges, Jim Lemon, Whitey Herzog (not given much of a chance), Billy Martin, Don Zimmer, or Doug Rader were able to elevate the Rangers as Valentine did. It wasn't until nearly 20 years later Ron Washington was able to do better. Valentine is the Mets' 3rd or 4th most successful manager depending on whether you rank him above or below Willie Randolf. Davey Johnson and Gil Hodges did better. Valentine did better than Joe Torre, Art Howe, Jeff Torborg, and Yogi Berra to name the most prominent former Mets managers.
You can buy veterans, but they don't always perform up to expectations. Choosing the right players for the right roles may be more important than employing the right strategy at the right moment, but keeping the players inspired and focused to play their best could be the most important role for a manager. That could be Valentine's strength.
And, there is the argument over whether a pitcher's overall contributions to winning games should count as much as a position player's in the MVP award voting. Personally, I am in the camp that says the awards are whatever we want them to be and that we shouldn't get hung up on what they are called. Since for the Cy Young Award, there is no corresponding Honus Wagner Award for the best position player, we can make the MVP award just that - or lean towards that unless the pitcher just blows away all position players in value.
. . . and all-star game selections
Personally, I prefer the '90 - '11 Oriole on their cap, which was a retro salute to their uniforms before the late 60s. The 1966 Champion team had the ornithological correct bird on their cap, but the Weaver teams a few years later had the cartoon bird. The original bird is less goofy than the cartoon bird, but if you are an Orioles fan in the mood to look goofy, then the cartoon Oriole is fine. The Blue Jays did the same thing this year returning from their newer sleek tasteful action Blue Jay to the goofy 1980s & 90s Blue Jay.
Both cartoon birds are a) appealing to a younger audience? b) appealing to rappers who like a goofier look? c) a nostalgic salute to those teams' best years (Orioles '69-'83 & Blue Jays '85 - '93). Thank goodness I am a Tigers fan (who never lived in Detroit - I grew up in the New York area.) Detroit has never gone to a goofy cartoon Tiger on their caps.
So, are the abilities to make adjustments, be consistent, and make steady progress in command things that you can look for in a prospect? If Feliz had better command and consistency, he'd be already be an ace, wouldn't he? Isn't that how aces develop? They don't start off with those things, then develop their "stuff"; it is always the other way around - or is it more complicated than that?
Thanks, although, I get the intention, I'm not following the logic - even though it sounds simple and straightforward: "Free agents who sign minor-leaguer contracts who are not added to opening day roster or are unconditionally released five days prior to the start of the season will receive a $100,000 retention bonus and the right to elect free agency June 1."
So, if a player is unconditionally released 6 days before the start, then is signed by another team two days later and he makes that other team's opening day roster: he gets $100,000 and June 1 free agency, right? because he is still released 5 days before the start. It states "or" so if either condition exists he gets the benefits. No team would likely want to sign him under those circumstances, because they would lose him in two months.
However, if he is released 4 days before the start of the season, signs with another team, and makes their opening day roster, he gets nothing. That would motivate teams to hold him until 4 days before the start, to lessen the chance that they will have to pay that 100G. Again, that is the opposite of the intention of this clause. It would make a bit more sense if it was "released within 5 days prior . . ."
But still, I can't see how the June 1 free agency helps at all, if the player is released. I could see that applying to the player who didn't make the opening day roster and was sent back to the minors, but that could work against the player: a) presumably, he would only get a contract for up to June and could be cut off after that; b) fewer teams will be willing to sign a struggling veteran under these conditions.
I could see the 100 grand retention for players cut within 5 days of the season's start - to tide them over until they find a new team to play for - like a severance package.
However, I do not see how teams and players benefit from both things happening if either condition applies.
Yes, while this is good for us fans if the savings from signing bonuses and Latin American player development translate into cheaper prices and keep more jobs in our economies, it is a blow to financial security of many baseball prospects, the personal freedom for the star prospect, and to the economies of those developing Latin American nations. This may also dampen the ever evolving quality of baseball playing to a small degree.
It will be interesting to see if it all plays out as planned, who will be the first agent to find a loop hole in the new agreement, etc.
Has anybody said they think this might backfire? Perhaps, this will be construed as collusion.