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Suggestion: how about publishing a prospect guide as well (a la Baseball America's prospect guide)?
Exception to Rule IV: you can root for the Red Sox if they play the Yankees or the Phillies.
Exception to Rule III: you can root for the Yankees if they play the Phillies. Always.
Wally Backman's ejection from this minor league game ranks pretty high on my list, in part, because he's wearing a mic the whole time.
I'll second the Dan Bern recommendation, especially Gambling with My Love ("Pete Rose looks terrible...Giamitti looks worse"). But also, check out Dan Bern's "73":
"If Barry bonds is really taking something
To make him hit more homers than before
They gotta throw him out of the game, sir
They gotta throw him out the door
"Then burn the porn films with all the girls with implants
Burn the poetry by men who took lithium as boys
Your erection compliments of Levitra
Is hereby rendered null and soft and void..."
Glad to see this stuff is up and running.
Do you plan to put the 10-year UPSIDE figures in the PFM? The "question" I believe UPSIDE best answers is this: what is the potential quantitative value of a prospect in relation to other prospects? This is a measurement that is virtually unique to Baseball Prospectus. In my eyes, it's the greatest feature BP has to offer. It's what distinguishes it from Baseball America, Fangraphs, etc. But with just one-year figures available for comparable purposes, UPSIDE loses its applicability to prospects.
Moreover, is BP able to guarantee that these figures (in whatever form) will be rolled out about a month and a half sooner next year? As many people have already noted, they are practically worthless for fantasy players, having been issued at such a late date.
My subscription expires in a couple weeks and I'm thinking seriously about not resubscribing for the first time in three or four years.
how about them Buccos! Baby steps, baby steps...
I had him on my keeper fantasy team for probably six or seven years before I finally dropped him last year. Nonetheless, I wish nothing but the best for him now.
thanks for the update. I hate to complain because I know (1) how awesome all this is and (2) how much work you put into it. But this is the third year in a row that the player cards (and for my purposes, upside) are rolled out too late as far as fantasy baseball purposes. I was under the impression that the mistakes that had been made in the past had been corrected and this year would be different. Did something go wrong again that resulted in such a late arrival? Or should we expect upside figures to be released this late every year? Because honestly, if the latter is the case I don't think I will resubscribe for next year. BP offers a lot of other things, but as someone in a 100% keeper league where we only draft prospects, upside is invaluable.
Something to consider, perhaps: What I'd like to see on BP is a page I can go to that will always tell me every single guy in baseball who's injured (organized, perhaps, by team), the nature of his injury, and when you expect him to return. In other words, this would be a continually updated page, but it would include new injuries as well as old ones. ESPN used to have something like this but I'm pretty sure they took it down a season or two ago.
Thanks, Ben. Sorry if my previous message was a bit rude. The truth is, nobody delivers a better product than BP; otherwise, I wouldn't be so eager to get it.
After last year's PECOTA debacle, I was given a free subscription, which hasn't expired yet.
this is the third year in a row that BP has failed to deliver their top-notch quality product in a timely manner.
Agreed. Without upside, keeper league drafters are in the dark. I was told by customer service a couple days ago that it would be ready "soon, soon, soon."
As an Orioles fan, I'll take anything I can get to improve the team. But I'm sad that they're no longer at the Ft. Lauderdale Stadium. I loved that place. Not only did the Ft. Lauderdale location enable you to get a cheap hotel near the beach (I paid $29/night one spring training seven years ago) but the old stadium had tremendous charm. It was like a high school baseball field and the greatest part was that the GA seats were right beyond the dugout, just an arm's reach from the bullpen. I've only been to a handful of Spring Training facilities (Port St. Lucie and Jupiter are the only others that come to mind) but Ft. Lauderdale stadium was by far the best place to see baseball.
Nate f'in Silver! So nice to see your byline here again!
I'll make an official request through the link you provide, but my absolute favorite column ever in the history of Baseball Prospectus is the Lies, Damned Lies... column that you used to do. I particularly miss the statistical analysis you did on prospects. While Kevin Goldstein is, indeed, golden, a quantitative analysis of prospects is missing from this site.
At the very least, we need UPSIDE again. But some commentary and some comparative analysis between the qualitative and quantitative analysis of prospects would be awesome. I believe there was a column or two that you wrote which weighed the benefits of each approach and explained how and when UPSIDE was useful in predicting prospects. Perhaps you could run that one again?
It will be great when the upside numbers are released. I always appreciate comparing the qualitative assessment of prospects found here with the quantitative evaluations inherent to upside. When will upside be ready anyway?
Nevertheless, thanks for putting this together, Kevin.
I hate to say this because I respect the hell out of all the BP writers, but this is an endemic problem that has been with the company ever since Nate Silver left. And it's not just discrepancies between the book and the online content. If this year is anything like the last two years (but especially last year), there will be several rounds of PECOTA rollouts, each with egregious and systemic errors and each with proclamations that "this one" is the right one. Meanwhile, we not only don't have absolutely essential categories like UPSIDE, but no one (not customer service nor any of the writers) are even commenting on this egregious absence. I still firmly believe in PECOTA in theory but if BP can't get their stuff together in a timely manner (read: within the next several days) I don't see any reason to renew my subscription. And I hate saying that because I feel like when PECOTA is working it's the best fantasy tool out there.
any chance that UPSIDE will be ready sometime soon?
Thanks for this. How about an update on the status of UPSIDE?
I need to schedule my fantasy draft and I depend on UPSIDE for my keeper league picks.
Any chance UPSIDE will be ready soon?
any idea when upside will arrive?
The Orioles above .500! Woo-hoo!
Thanks, Colin. Any ballpark ETA?
Awesome. But where is "upside?" Believe it or not, THIS is the reason I subscribe to Baseball Prospectus.
I second the Pittsburgh recommendation.
so I was going to do a bunch of work on my two-hour flight tomorrow but I think I just found something else to do...
or maybe it has something to do with the fracking plans of the natural gas industry? All over Pittsburgh, we have signs that read, "Don't Frack with Pittsburgh!" in protest to their plans to drill into the Marcellus Shale.
what, did Dustin Ackley not play? Or is he human again?
I loved this World Series. It's always more enjoyable for me to watch any World Series that doesn't include the Yankees or Phillies (or Red Sox as well, for that matter).
But I think in general, the World Series means far less now than it did before the Wild Card was instituted. Now it's much easier for a team that was not the best team of 2010 to still win the World Series. The World Series determines the best (and luckiest) team involved in the postseason during that particular time frame, not the best team of the season.
I'd like to see baseball (fans) distinguish between the Regular Season Champion and the World Series Champion. To me, those are two separate entities and, I believe, the Regular Season Champion should be much more highly regarded.
This would be similar to English soccer, where you have the Premier League (regular season) champion plus the FA Cup Champion. The English fans can do math and therefore easily regard the regular season championship as a much more difficult and worthwhile result than the FA Cup tournament. We need to do the same with baseball.
I loved these stories. What a great idea!
Mine: 1983. My parents were getting divorced and it was a really hard time for all of us but the Orioles winning the World Series was like this island in the sky that we all retreated to amidst the family troubles. I'll always remember until the day I die that soft line drive floating into Cal Ripken's glove. I was only 7 at the time, but boy, was I thrilled! Little did I know then that things were only going to get better at home but much worse with the Orioles...
Bud Selig might be a nice guy, but does he have any credibility left to speak authoritatively about baseball, regardless of his position? I think not.
PECOTA week! Awesome. Let me take this opportunity to request a 2011 feature where PECOTA projections of prospects are analyzed, critiqued, and compared with Kevin Goldstein's projections. Pretty please?
I realize this isn't your department, so I'll address this to the larger BP staff: I'd like to see statistical analyses of prospects and then explicit discussions of some of the discrepancies between the qualitative (this is your department, KG) and quantitative predictions. Nate Silver used to do this every year but stats-based prospect projects, while an integral part of PECOTA, seem to have been forgotten here.
Has anyone looked into the irregularity of this year's home/away records? I think I counted 20 of the 30 MLB teams having a +.500 home record and many of those teams on the losing end, including the Pirates, are very close to .500 at home. I know that historically teams tend to do a bit better at home, but the numbers seem extraordinary this year. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks something is up.
I don't think it's just about a Japanese player's talent. It's about using that player as a gateway into a new market. Sad but true.
Ok, so Chipper matches up pretty well on the field against Eddie Murray and Pete Rose. But clearly, Murray tops them both in the sideburns category.
Nice, thanks Kevin. How about a profile like this next year for the top 10 or 20 prospects? Put it in a book and I'll buy it.
I've always considered the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry similar to the Democrats vs. the Republicans. I don't like either of them but I often feel compelled to take a side.
anyone want to add Matt Wieters to this list?
Yes, wins are quite important.
As an Orioles fan, I take a little comfort in knowing that the Tigers went to the World Series just three years after their miserable 2003 campaign.
On a related note, I'd like to read a scouting analysis on why Matt Wieters isn't performing well at all this year (much less homering in every at bat).
Jay, forgive me if you already offered an explanation on this, but why no all-MLB hit list anymore and just AL-only and NL-only? I like seeing how the teams in both leagues stack up to one another.
Your "scouts' take on various MLB players" is one of my favorite features of Baseball Prospectus. Any chance that you can make this a more extensive and regular feature?
yes, nudity is definitely more entertaining at least.
Really? I could have sworn he reached over from the first row, but I stand corrected upon your word (I can't bring myself to watch that episode again).
This video illustrates that there is clearly an art to entering the playing surface as a fan and to dealing with such intrusions as players or security. See Morgana, the Kissing Bandit, at number 6. Nolan Ryan should have been given an award for his taser-free embrace of the woman.
This is awesome, Eric. Maybe it's the old school Orioles fan in me, but I've always liked Greg Zaun (nephew of Rick Dempsey).
does anyone remember in the 1980s when some woman (I think it was the same woman each time) used to run on to various major league fields and kiss star players? I remember seeing her do it to Cal Ripken early in his career. She definitely wasn't tased.
Then there was the guy who parachuted onto the Shea Stadium playing surface during the 1986 World Series. I think I remember hearing all the Mets players chipped in to bail the guy out of jail.
I think we should all run out on the field at Citizens Bank Park. After all, we the taxpayers paid for it. It's our field and we should be able to use it, not just pay exorbitant amounts of money just to look at it.
the guy who stabbed Monica Seles never went out on the court. Should we tase everyone in the stands too? After all, Monica Seles...
Any news on the Nelson Cruz injury???
(I kid, I kid...)
the new player cards do that but instead of one click of the mouse, you'd have to make dozens upon dozens of clicks to get the same information that could be available on one comprehensive page.
Don't get me wrong, your column is super useful; I'm just trying to think of ways it could be streamlined for everyone.
Will, thanks as always.
A suggestion: one way to cut down (and perhaps cut out) all of the "what about _____'s injury?" questions would be to set up a permanent and comprehensive page on BP that lists and describes all injuries, estimated return times, and the date of the last update you've made to this list. Every time you have new information, you could a/emend the list accordingly. I think this would not only cut down your work, but also be more useful to the readers, as it would serve as a reliable one-stop resource for all things injury-related. ESPN used to have a page like this but I can't seem to find it anymore.
great idea, John. I'm a newspaper junkie myself.
This is awesome, David. I love these little inside-views of baseball.
I appreciate this review and I don't doubt for a second the integrity of Marc Normandin, but I think it's a bit problematic to review a game that buys advertising space on Baseball Prospectus. There at least needs to be a disclaimer somewhere in the review.
with all due respect and reverence to Jackie Robinson, I wish the baseball world would do more to honor the actual first player to break the color barrier: Moses Fleetwood Walker
Thanks Christina. I'd be interested to read a BP column on the Mets-Cardinals 20-inning marathon on Saturday, particularly the desperate managerial moves. Was it just me or was it a bit absurd that LaRussa used position players to pitch but not his closer? I can hear Joe Sheehan screaming at his tv right now!
thanks John. Do you ever see Zumaya being used as a closer? Or, as he was used in the minors, a starter?
Strangely, I'm both a Mets and Pirates fan and believe me, it's much harder being a Mets fan. The Pirates don't let you down; they don't disappoint; they don't surprise you; they're just bad from start to finish. The Mets give you hope; they play with you; they make you believe; they get you excited; then they stab you in the heart.
thanks for this. It makes me even more excited for Opening Day.
I have that feeling right now that I get when I'm at a concert, already in my seats, just waiting for the lights to go down.
Let's play ball!
See the 1890 Players' League, a league in which the best players in baseball partially owned their own teams. It should have, and would have, lasted a lot longer had Albert Spalding not duped them into thinking that his far inferior National League was making more money that year.
the upside numbers still seem high on the whole. With the old system, if you had anything above 100, you were considered a noteworthy prospect. Now it seems like nearly every prospect has not just 100, but 200 or more. If you're using a new system, that's fine. But I'd like to know how it translates.
Also, to reiterate what some others say, I love the new format. It's a great idea to link to every mention of the player's name and the graphics look good.
One very minor point that only very slightly bugs me: why not have a link on each PECOTA card to the BP home page? As it is now (and always has been), you have to go back to the PECOTA home page before you go back to the BP home page.
thanks for including me on this. I'll try to take a closer look at things later in the day but my first observation is that if a player has a last name toward the end of the alphabet they don't seem to appear on the index (whether searched by position or team).
thanks for the update. Can you give us an assessment on the current UPSIDE numbers? Are you confident that these are right now? More right? Still skewed? Thanks.
this is really interesting. Thanks Matt.
Nate Silver used to do this with prospects. He'd compare the Baseball America prospects with those hyped by PECOTA, exploring particularly the players that one and not the other system thought predicted would be good. It was very interesting and he wasn't afraid to concede that PECOTA has its limitations.
thanks for the update and for explaining the problems and the processes by which you are seeking to solve those problems.
Nevertheless (and I say this with all due respect), I think you should be offering some sort of refund to all of us. I can't speak for anyone else, but 90% of the reason I subscribe to BP is for PECOTA stats to prepare for my fantasy draft. In particular, I'm most interested in UPSIDE, as I am drafting almost exclusively prospects in a 100% keeper league. I pay $40 for a year's subscription so that I can have access to these statistical tools for basically one to two months of the year. I tried to delay the start of my draft further and further in hopes that PECOTA would be fixed before we started making picks, but the other guys in my league understandably wouldn't wait any longer. So while I will still enjoy reading the columns for the rest of the year, I feel like I just wasted $40 (or, to be fair, about $36) on this subscription.
I suggest a partial refund and/or an extension of our subscriptions.
this is great news. I already renewed, but I imagine you might have just saved a bunch of other renewed subscriptions.
I'd like to hear, "we've called Nate Silver, and though he is very busy, he has agreed to step in and fix the problems sometime this week." Nate used to wrestle with PECOTA data as if he were smarter than the system itself (oh wait, he was, and is...).
thanks, Dave. I appreciate it.
I could be wrong, but I imagine that a very significant portion of Baseball Prospectus' customers subscribe in part because they want to use BP for their fantasy baseball team.
I'm not sure that the people at BP fully realize this.
I say this not just as a criticism, but also as a suggestion: BP offers statistical and analytical tools (the Player Forecast Manger, most prominently, PECOTA in general, and upside in particular for prospects) that are, in my opinion, significantly better than anything else out there.
The problem, however, is that these tools are useless for many fantasy drafts if they are not ready to go by mid February. And given the number of errors and problems to all of these tools this year, I'm honestly not sure if I can rely on them for fantasy purposes. I hate that, because I love BP when it's working. As someone who drafts almost exclusively prospects in my 100% keeper league, I feel that I have an advantage over the other guys in my league who have yet to discover BP or at least its hidden gem called Upside. Nate Silver used to put out an annual series on prospects, using Upside (and at one point WARP as well) to statistically analyze prospects. He openly compared the use of Upside to the more qualitative evaluations, which was very helpful to see Upside's weakenesses as well as strengths. But now we not only have to use an autopilot (i.e., upside in the PFM) to do these analyses, but we can't even rely on the validity of that autopilot.
All I'm saying to BP is, with all due respect: understand your market, take advantage of the tools you have at your disposal, and deliver a less clunky product.
thanks for the update and for addressing many of our concerns.
Can we expect a correction to hitters' upside within the next couple of days as well? As a couple people have pointed out already, these numbers (and the rankings) seem way off. Unlike all the qualitative evaluations of prospects, UPSIDE allows us to quantitatively compare prospects not just within the same year but between years as well. This is lost with these new inflated numbers.
the UPSIDE numbers, at least for hitters, still seem way off.
MLB.tv was just a hair short of a disaster last year. Their HD/enhanced version rarely ever worked for an entire game. In fact, I can't remember watching a single game when it worked for nine innings. Every few innings or so, your picture would either completely freeze or it would jump back into standard mode, which was usually a half inning ahead of the enhanced version. I have a fast new computer and an otherwise flawless internet connection. I'd *strongly* discourage anyone from buying this until they can prove they have their stuff together (something they never were able to do last year). The customer service was, at best, clueless. Everyone else I know who had this last year ran into the same problems.
I'm actually scared to death that other guys in my fantasy baseball league will discover Baseball Prospectus. I hide this site like it was the greatest jewel in the world.
I'm pretty happy with what I get. PECTOA is the reason I subscribe, particularly for the prospect predictions.
But if you added better fantasy baseball tools, such as ones that would statistically analyze the value of trades within your particular league (set up, for instance, by the user plugging in all the rosters and categories of his league), I'd pay about $5 extra for that.
In other words, based on everyone's PECOTA projections, and my strengths and weaknesses relative to the other teams in my fantasy baseball league, how many points exactly should I stand to gain or lose by trading, say, Tim Lincecum for Alex Rodriguez?
Or as Dan Bern said:
"If Barry bonds is really taking something
To make him hit more homers than before
They gotta throw him out of the game, sir
They gotta throw him out the door
"Then burn the porn films with all the girls with implants
Burn the poetry by men who took lithium as boys
Your erection compliments of Levitra
Is hereby rendered null and soft and void
"Then rip the contact lenses from your eyes, sir
You’re not really supposed to see naturally that well
No more flu shots or antibiotics
You’re supposed to still be sick my friend..."
Actually, my real guess is $15.875 million
One dollar! (Do I win if everyone else overbid?)
This is related to someone else's earlier question, but more specifically, does MLB have a policy on dealing with (or preventing) players' concussions? If not, should they? Why or why not?
I flagged my own post for moderation by accident. Sorry about that...
While we're on the subject of George Will, I think it's worthwhile to revisit this classic skit from Saturday Night Live:
(though in fairness, I think you could make the same joke with a BP-style baseball game show, or in the style of the Onion: http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/stat_minded_player)
Even as annoying as George Will on baseball is, I'd much rather hear him talk about baseball than politics.
An addendum to #1: enforce MLB rule 6.08 b (2) whereby players are not awarded first base if they make no attempt to get out of the way of a pitch. Turning your body so that a fleshier, rather than a bonier, part of your body gets hit does not constitute an attempt to get out of the way.
Agreed on the ridiculous absence of players and the inflated value of George F. Will, but to his credit Will did coin one of my favorite baseball quotations ever, which is directly relevant to the composition of this committee:
"America's pastime is one place where Marx's labor theory of value makes much sense. The players are the central, indispensable ingredients in the creation of considerable wealth. This year fans will buy about 56 million tickets to major league games (perhaps 4 million in Toronto). Not one fan will pay, or tune in to the broadcasts now earning baseball more than a half a billion a year, to see an owner" (Bunts, 1999, p. 205).
Thanks TGisriel. That makes sense now.
As an Orioles fan, I like the idea of having Millwood in the rotation--he's aging but still solid. And to the extent that these things matter, he should be a great influence on the younger pitchers on the club. Aside from the money, the Orioles don't seem to be losing anything here.
Are the Orioles paying Millwood $8 million after you factor in the extra $3 million Texas sent along with him or before you factor that in? It's not clear to me.
especially for someone who has his summers off, this would be a dream job. If only it were available in Pittsburgh...
I was wondering about those votes as well. They could have been mistakes--someone thinking that they were giving "ten points" to the best player, nine to second best, eight to the third, etc.
For the record: that wasn't me! But with a voting pool as relatively large as this one was, there's a chance that a handful of people could have read the ballot incorrectly.
I agree. I've come just about full-circle on the Yankees. I used to hate them with an unhealthy passion. It was mostly triggered by Roger Clemens throwing a broken bat at Mike Piazza, but I hated the players, the front office, the fans, the broadcasters. Now I think I only hate the broadcasters, and really only the one male radio broadcaster (his name escapes me) and the non-player tv broadcaster (can't remember his name either).
But in any case, I think we have to remember that baseball is entertainment. And good entertainment--at least that which has storylines, plots, characters, drama, tragedy, and resolution--isn't usually about "fairness" or parity. Good entertainment often, in fact, has a villain. And I think it's fun to have one team that plays the role of the villain by dominating the sport. Because of the Yankees' dominance, it makes it that much sweeter for Phillies fans, Rays fans, Tigers fans, Red Sox fans, Cardinals' fans etc. when their team overcomes the Yankees. I'll never forget watching Kenny Rogers pour champagne on a police officer's head at Comerica Park while celebrating the Tigers' defeat of the Yankees in the 2006 ALCS. That celebration was as sweet as it was in large part because of who they beat.
We all know the Yankees are going to be contenders every year. The Red Sox, Angels, Phillies, Cardinals, and Dodgers probably will as well. But we don't know who the other postseason teams will be, nor do we ever know for sure that the Yankees will win it all.
I say: the Yankees, in all their "evilness," are good for baseball.
And Willie McGee
And box seats for $9.50
And Vin Scully on nationally televised broadcasts
Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken! (And World Series crowns for the Orioles and the Mets!)
very well put. Thanks.
As a Mets fan, I say, thank you Yankees.
That was the play of the postseason so far, as far as I am concerned. I'm sure we'll get a column from Joe Sheehan at some point this afternoon explaining why, actually, it wasn't that great of a play, :) but it was thrilling, heads-up, classic-in-the-making baseball.
Funny thing is, I had just watched the highlights from the 1982 World Series earlier that day. No one exactly stole two bases in a row but Ozzie Smith came close: on a deep fly, he advanced from second to home, without hesitation, on a sacrifice fly.
Thanks so much, Alan. This is great stuff.
I'm probably going to offend people on both sides of the issue here, but I actually find the Star Spangled Banner far more offensive than God Bless America. At least the latter is not explicitly a celebration of war (even while MLB tries to make it so). And I liked last night's version of GBA, but I do understand how people can be offended by the song and certainly the presentation of the song (always somehow militarized). And just to be clear: anti-war does not in any way mean anti-soldier.
Thanks for this, Will. Could you link us to more details on the "BESR and other research." Does research convincingly show that metal bats are essentially no more dangerous than wood bats? That's what the quotation seems to imply but I'd like to read more about this. Thanks.
I think you're right that both are money-making schemes, but by "charade" I just mean that we're led to believe that the World Series is the ultimate determinant of the best team in baseball. And yeah, you're also right about how we've all (including me!) bought into at least the allure of the World Series.
I pretty much agree if you look at who the best teams are right now, but according to their records, the Dodgers were a better team than the Phillies.
It will never happen, but I actually wish baseball would make a bigger deal of the "Regular Season Champions." You could still have the postseason, but the winner of the World Series would be treated differently than the Regular Season Champion. This is more or less how English soccer treats their regular season and FA Cup. Simple math tells you that a 162-game series is a better determinant of the best team than a five or seven game series. It gets a little more complicated with unbalanced schedules but still, I feel like we're all duped into treating the World Series as the be-all end-all when actually it's, in part, a money-making charade. (And I include myself in that group of people who are duped--I'd love nothing more than to see the Orioles or the Mets win the World Series.)
And before I forget: Jay, this was a fantastic analysis. Awesome. Thanks.
Funny thing is, most people--players and fans--would consider having not won a World Series since 2000 an extremely short break. I wish my one of my teams had won a World Series that recently.
if moving around means moving their torso and/or waste up and down, hitters' strike zones do change.
Joe - another great, provocative column. You manage to say the things that so many of us are thinking and you say them with such passion! Well done.
I'm with you on some sort of robot/computer/instant replay in baseball but I've yet to see a three-dimensional computer strike-zone. The ones on tv, at least, are two-dimensional. But the strike zone is three-dimensional. A pitch can be out of the strike zone when it first crosses the front of the plate but then be in the strike zone when it crosses the back end. I'm not saying umpires would necessarily be better than computers at understanding the three-dimensionality of strike zones, but as far as I know, they're the only ones who do. Also, strike zones change, not just from batter to batter, but within and between pitches as hitters crouch down, stand up, or otherwise move about during their at-bats. Again, I'm not saying it's impossible to develop a computer model to capture this dynamism, but as of now, the umpires have the uniquely best views in the game.
On the bases and base-lines, it's a different story.
Call me cynical, but I refuse to feel sorry for a multi-billion dollar industry (one that rests, in part, on the backs of sweatshop labor) when it loses funds.
Correct me if I'm wrong BP writers, but this website does not at all directly benefit from MLB's prosperity (in other words, you don't get any royalty/licensing fees from MLB, right?). It does, however, benefit from its popularity. But I seriously doubt many "casual fans" are BP subscribers. For better or worse, most of us will watch the game regardless of how fast or slow it is.
Maybe, but for some reason politicians who use taxpayer money to build stadiums that are far less accessible than public television keep getting re-elected. The government spends money to support artists, the exhibition of art, music, musical performance, academic work, and all sorts of other things that enrich public life. The public ownership of sports venues (and sports franchises) is not unheard of in the United States, much less the world. The only thing standing in the way of public broadcasting of sports is the lack of popular political pressure. Granted, there might be more important things to use our political power toward, and given today's political climate, it might be next to impossible, but in theory, the World Series on PBS is not such a bad idea.
Let PBS cover the World Series, commercial free. Absurd? This is how many countries use their public tv stations when major sporting events take place.
Those are good points. I definitely think McCutchen should be considered (he was a very close second for me) and I could be convinced that he outright deserves the ROY (though J.A. Happ should be up there as well).
McCutchen: 286/385/471, 12 in 433 AB
Jones: 293/372/567, 21 HR in 314 AB
McCutchen might be more talented and on his way to a better career, but Jones had better numbers.
I voted for Jones for ROY. I suspect he'll lose a lot of votes because his age, but if you look at his numbers, he should definitely be seriously considered.
I'm actually a Mets' fan myself, but yeah, booing your own players on a regular basis doesn't help.
For what it's worth (not much), some friends of mine and I came up with a quasi-scientific "douche-bag quotient" to measure the obnoxiousness and offensiveness of individual and entire teams' fans. Phillies fans scored the highest, followed by Yankee fans, Mets fans, and Red Sox fans.
As Billy Beane said (and Nate Silver explained): this shit doesn't work in the playoffs.
In a five or seven game series in October (as in June), unfortunately, the best team doesn't always win.
that's a good point and you might be right. And as far as I know (again, according to Weber's book), umpires are actually not against instant replay technology, so long as they can still control the game on the field.
Great column, Joe. I enjoyed reading this a lot more than I enjoyed watching the Tigers lose. One point of contention, however: a missed call, particularly a missed close call (like Inge's HBP), is not a sign of "incompetence." It's a human error. A costly, season-changing, error, but an error and no more. Bruce Weber's excellent book on umpiring, As They See 'Em, notes that umpires expect and accept missed calls--after all, they're human and some calls are too close for the naked eye to make correctly 100% of the time. What they don't accept, and would probably concede as a sign of "incompetence," is being out of position to make a call. The questionable calls last night were not the result of being out of position. They were simply human errors on extremely close plays.
Just so you know, you can respond to each individual comment under each comment. (And this isn't twitter.)
...and a very supportive fan base. When Albert Belle came to Baltimore, he had a reputation similar to that of Bradley. Upon Belle's first at-bat in Baltimore, he got a standing ovation from the crowd, as if to say, "you're on our team now; you have a clean slate; and we're glad you're here." As an Orioles' fan, I'd take Bradley (but only at low cost at this point).
This is great, but why not rank minor leaguers based on EQA? Especially considering all the park and league qualifications to the numbers, as you explain above.
Thanks for this, Kevin. What's your take on Garret Jones' ability to continue putting up numbers like the ones he is this year?
Also, would you say that while Lastings Milledge might be the most talented acquisition, Andrew McCutchen is the most talented player on the Pirates? He's a superstar in the making, no?
Sorry, but how on earth could you argue that the AL All-Star wins (or WS wins for that matter) are any indication whatsoever of league superiority? Have we learned nothing from Baseball Prospectus/Sabermetrics over the past several years?
Check out our starting pitcher tonight. That might give you some hope.
Cool - check your inbox.
Thanks Will. DXL confused me at first, and I pretty much ignore it now, except for the players whose original injury date I know for sure.
So I'd want to see either an original injury date or a "days remaining" figure. Though DXL is better than nothing.
I love Diamond Mind and could play it for you all day and night, but I don't know if I'm an expert at its nuts and bolts. (And one annoying thing about diamond mind is that if you are playing an entire league solitaire, you're responsible for both manually putting any and all injured players on the DL and manually taking them off, even if they're well past their recovery date. Alternatively, you can use their "original lineups" feature, which automatically makes all the transactions and injuries as they happened in the season you are replaying. But that doesn't seem like it would serve your needs. If it hasn't already, version 10 is scheduled to be released soon.)
Thanks Eric. This is a great addition to PECOTA and BP more generally.
So the new numbers that we see are PECOTA's projections of what the players will do from this point on, NOT what their total, end of the season numbers will be? (For instance, Pujols is projected to hit 22 homers, according to PECOTA, meaning that he'll hit 22 MORE homers this year, not, of course, a total of 22).
Also, is there a way to calculate new UPSIDE scores mid-season?
Thanks Will. Any news on Broxton's toe?
Best wishes with your surgery and recovery, Will. We'll miss you and look forward to your return.
Beautifully written, Joe. This is great.
In an ideal world, I would have hoped that Fehr and the players would be less insular in their unionism. That is, I wish they'd support the non-playing unions involved in the baseball industry, such as the sweatshop workers who make most of their uniforms and equipment, the concession stand employees, the ushers, the stadiums' custodial staffs, etc.
Those are the workers who need not only strong union leaders, but also the solidarity of the players' union.
Joe's a Yankees fan, not a Mets fan.
I'm nowhere near a Cubs fan, but I still think Wrigley Field is the nicest sporting venue I've ever seen or been to in the entire world. Wrigley has lost a little since they've completely commodified the rooftops and added advertisements, but there's still no more beautiful place to watch baseball.
all that is solid melts into air...
Good luck with the baby! (Don't worry about BP! We've got your back this week.)
I'm looking forward to this. I'd love to see someone win this competition who can compliment Kevin Goldstein with stat-based analysis of prospects in the way that Nate Silver used to do.
as much as I'd like to see Tim's tutorial, I think I'm going to have to agree with eneff1 here. However, is anything (formatting? family obligations?) stopping him from posting it in the comment section?
Seriously. I love Will's regular column, his enthusiasm for baseball, and the fact that he nearly always responds to both comments and emails.
But it's a bit discouraging (and puzzling) to see him so hell-bent on criticizing every article that is even the least bit statistically sophisticated. I'm all for analytical diversity at BP, but I actually think there is currently a shortage of top-shelf statistical analysis among the regular contributors to the website and this contest could be a great opportunity to hire someone who can make up for that deficiency.
For this piece: I don't like the tone at all but the analysis is great. When I considered entering this competition, I thought that I'd write a similar piece on how I use various spreadsheets for my fantasy drafts. Tim, you've vindicated my decision to not write it! Not only do you articulate things much better than I ever could, you provide new tools that I'll definitely try to use in the future.
I commend Tyler for actively trying to provide the reader with something useful here, rather than just flexing his muscles to show that he *could* be useful. This isn't the best article of the week, but it is above average. Tyler gives us a sophisticated analysis with clear "take-home points."
Agreed. That's why I subscribe to BP. If I want literature, I read a good magazine or a novel.
This is excellent. One of the best articles so far. It's too bad Nate Silver doesn't write regularly for BP anymore, or else we could really witness a great conversation here. Nonetheless, I like what Matt has to say. Thumbs up.
Much of the article rests on this premise: "Each trade has the potential to be a fantasy boom or bust as the player moves on to a league or park with an environment that enhances or reduces his production."
I'm not sure if that's so true for fantasy owners (unless they're playing in an NL or AL only league). Aside from league-exclusive fantasy leagues, would you really add or drop anyone based on a trade?
Matthew is someone whose fantasy advice and baseball analysis I'd really appreciate if he were sitting next to me at a bar or a baseball game, but I don't think I would want to pay for it. Sorry.
I found myself waiting, and waiting, for the point of this article to emerge. Where is the fantasy content? While I agree with Christina that a gaming column would be great (I'm a Pursue the Pennant/Diamond Mind veteran myself), gaming is not fantasy baseball, it's simulated baseball. Fine. Even still, this reads more like an advertisement for Strat than a piece that Strat users (or those other simulated games) could utilize to improve their game-play.
I agree with Kevin that you're one of the best "pure writers" in the group, but personally, for the style/substance split, I'd much rather have someone who leans toward the latter than the former. That said, your column last week indicated that you can do both. So I'm voting to keep you around because I think you have more to offer.
Easy thumbs up. I want to see books written by Brian Cartwright, not just articles. Clearly, Brian has the ability to not just write columns every week, but more importantly, to *further develop* the field of statistical analysis. In other words, more than anyone else in this competition (with all due respect), Brian has the capacity to drive the entire field of statistical analysis, not just *use* what has already been developed.
On the negative side, there are a handful of typos and a few awkwardly phrased sentences, but that shouldn't matter too much, as under "normal" circumstances, he'd have editor to clean that up. The only substantial negative point here is that I still don't understand the tables so much. Could you please explain how you got these numbers from your table: "64% of the players in their 20's continued their improvement into the second season, to 43% of the players in their 30's"?
Also, I'd love to hear more about how you use both NCAA stats in your projection analysis and only a partial season's worth of stats (minors or otherwise).
As a reader, what I'd love to see more than anything else for the future is someone who can provide regular updates to PECOTA (or an equivalent projection system) throughout the season. It seems like Brian could do this (and so much more).
Nothing on Wieters??? WTF?
(I kid, I kid.)
I knew the time frame, but I agree that it was way too short. I read four of the articles very closely and carefully. That took a few hours, especially because I also commented on them. I read the other six but with not nearly enough time to give them the scrutiny (or comments) they deserved. That's part of the reason that I voted for 7 of the 10--I didn't think it would be fair to reject an article to which I wasn't able to pay proper attention.
"Byron Lescroart narrowly becomes the first elimination in the Finals of the contest, despite having a thumbs-up percentage better than two other entries"
So in other words, you're putting more weight on counting stats than on rate stats? Clearly, you didn't read Ken Funck's article...
Or did the judges assume the roles of the 2000 US Supreme Court???
Thanks Kevin. Do you expect both Beckhams to stay at shortstop for quite some time? Or are either or both headed to third base at some point in the not too distant future?
I voted for seven of the ten and I could have very easily been persuaded to vote for nine. I plan to become more discriminating with each successive week.
to clarify: "I agree completely" with you, metty5, not the "newbie talk."
I agree completely. I want to read someone who is smarter than I am, who challenges me to become smarter than I think I am, and who advances baseball analysis beyond what we already knew or thought we knew. And Brian *does* stick to the basics--an analysis of the way in which a single statistical measurement, park factors, is computed. His analysis is complicated and could be made more readable with a few slight stylistic changes, but he does stick to the assignment.
I'm not convinced by your analysis. Your data, which are rather limited, don't actually show a direct correlation between G/F and HR%. Maybe I'm missing something here, but for each of your examples, the data show an opposite relation between G/F and HR%, but still not a very strong relation, especially considering the very small sample size.
Your writing quality is top-notch and given that, plus your entry piece, I'd really like to see what else you can do here.
In light of Will's comments, some of the challenge here could be usefully eliminated by using simpler language and/or by clarifying the terms that you do use (e.g., what does "true value" mean? And you could very quickly define "standard deviation" for those of us who haven't taken a statistics course in more than a decade or at all. And you could note that "SD" refers to standard deviation).
But as far as the complexity of your analysis goes, don't change a thing. Personally, I like reading BP articles that challenge me; that's what attracted me to the site in the first place. This is Baseball Prospectus, not the FOX game of the week.
Your article seems to be less about park factors per se and more about how and when park factors can be used as a reliable statistic. Couldn't all that be simplified by referring to the "larger sample sizes are needed" mantra? Does it really matter (to the reader) exactly how large, and exactly what kind, of a sample size is needed to properly evaluate park factors? Moreover, is a new BP reader going to care about the reliability of one park factors figure versus another? That might be a petty critique, but you might want to think about not just what your topic is, but why you're writing about it (as opposed to other things).
Nonetheless, you have fantastically impressive statistical analysis skills and I'd LOVE to read several more articles by you.
This is outstanding. The writing is extraordinarily good; the analysis is tight and relevant; the take-home points are clear.
Definitely a thumbs up.
I found this beautifully written and tightly argued.
I think a stronger argument, however, could have been made had you somehow used individual plate appearances rather than the season-long statistics of individual pitchers. In other words, to really demonstrate the importance of first-pitch strikes, you'd have to show data for, on the one hand, all the plate appearances where a first-pitch strike was thrown, and on the other, all the plate appearances where a first-pitch strike was not thrown.
Your piece isn't really about the importance of first-pitch strikes. It's about first-pitch strike *pitchers* (if there is such a thing, which your data suggest there might not really be).
Nonetheless, I think you display strong analytical tools, of which I'd like to see some more.
(I feel deficient without a photo.) Anyway, with all due respect to the staff's opinions, I actually like the tone of your piece. I found it light, simple, and instructive but not condescending. I also liked your scatter plots. They were also simple and quite clear. There are little bits and pieces of your writing that could be cleaned up, but that's to be expected for anyone writing on deadline without an editor.
What I don't like is the way you went about trying to answer your initial question: "Why is OBP King?". You don't really answer that. In order to do so, you would have needed to demonstrate how and why OBP is more important than other statistical categories. Instead, all you really prove is that OBP is important because it correlates to run scoring. You don't demonstrate that it does so any more than any other statistic. I think your comparison should have been between OBP and, say, AVE, or SLG, not between a better and worse OBP. The latter doesn't really need an analysis, much less 1500 words. The former does (although some might argue that Michael Lewis has already done this quite convincingly).
Anyway, good luck with the rest of the competition!
vote early and vote often :)
Fair enough. I'm just tired of (a) the histrionic moralizing among so many fans and baseball media types about steroid use, as if that's the worst offense in the sport (how about the sweatshop labor that makes just about every player's shoes? Or guys like Brett Myers who beat their wives?) and (b) the automatic assumption that drug-use enhances performance. This is far from proven.
But hey, that's why the all-star game is (sort of) a democracy! If you don't like Manny, don't for him. I will.
I recommend you read chapter 9.1 of Baseball Between the Numbers before you so quickly suggest that Manny's drug(s) of choice (or those of anyone else) produce fraudulent numbers.
I hope that's the way it is. I don't like the idea of picking the worst article. As much as the fundamental result will be the same, that just seems too cruel.
For what it's worth Richard, I'm a big fan of your comments. Based on those, I was hoping you'd be a finalist.
My criteria as a voter and subscriber is simple: I want someone who can begin to replace Nate Silver. With all due respect to all the other outstanding BP writers, his departure from Baseball Propsectus (and let's face it, for all intents and purposes, he's gone) has left a huge hole. So I'm looking for not just a stats analyst, but for someone who can develop compelling new statistical tools. Perhaps no one will ever be able to fully replace Nate, but I'd like to see someone try.
this is brilliant, Brian. And useful. You'd get my vote if we were voting on these entries. Well done.
sorry, ignore this. I missed your mention of him above.
Any updates on Pedroia?
I enjoyed reading your recollections. I have similar memories of both Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards. These are two of the only places in the world where my father and I really connected. I still love going to see the Birds but now that he's passed away, there's a big hole in Baltimore for me. Still, a golden (or should I say, orange and black) town as far as I'm concerned.
Very nice article, Joe. Thanks.
For a fascinating history of the making of Camden Yards, and generally a great read, see Peter Richmond's "Ballpark: Camden Yards and the Building of an American Dream." One of the best baseball books I've read in a long time.
The Birds have a great deal this summer where you get a free upper reserved ticket to any game during your birthday month (aside from a handful of premium games). If you're born in the offseason, I believe you can apply the deal to April or September games.
I'm looking forward to seeing Wieters play three times this week (unless, of course, he gets called up).
As someone who knows how the game is played but is far from a professional scout, I am wondering what you would recommend I look for in the guy (or any minor league player for that matter)? In other words, aside from statistical outcomes, what do scouts examine when they go to see someone play?
Am I the only person here who actually believes that field level seats (in any ballpark) aren't the best seats in the house? I'd rather sit low in the upper deck (or, better in most places, the mezzanine) right behind home plate. From there, you have the best view of the whole field.
I've been a baseball fan for my entire life; I live an breathe it; I wrote a dissertation about baseball; I am, in many ways, married to baseball. But there are two things in this world that will keep me from watching a baseball game: Fox's Saturday broadcasts and an abundance of Yankee fans. Given the choice between either of those options or an MLS game, I'd take the latter.
I would so much rather go to an MLS game than Yankee Stadium.
At the risk of sounding greedy, I'm wondering whether BP could link to minor league box scores as well. Is there a neat and tidy way to do that each day? Perhaps the links could be hierarchical, with links for just AAA, AA, A+, A-, and then from those, links for each league, then each game.
I find myself just going to individual minor league teams' websites to find box scores of the players I'm interested in (who might not always be in Kevin's daily reports).
That's great news! Thanks so much.
When's Nate Silver going to be on Baseball Prospectus???
I think this is a fantastic idea. At the very least, an open forum would allow readers to expand the breadth and depth of baseball discussions beyond the articles and Unfiltered posts.
Outside of the Idol competition, do you generally consider unsolicited manuscripts for publication in BP?
I LOVED Shea Stadium. I also loved Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Why? Well, for one, they were simple pieces of steel and concrete where the central attraction was baseball, not the food selection or the exterior architecture. I loved how at Shea if the crowd was loud enough, you couldn't hear the P.A. system. But more importantly, those are the stadiums I grew up going to, where my love of the game (and of the Mets and Orioles) was formed.
I imagine the same is true for Riverfront Stadium and Reds fans, Three Rivers and Pirates fans, Busch and Cardinals fans, etc.
In the same way, Yankee Stadium is more meaningful than other stadiums only to Yankee fans. I respect their importance to baseball history, but Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, and all 26 WS championships do nothing for me emotionally (except maybe elicit a bit of jealous and bitterness).
Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Mike Piazza, and Jose Reyes, on the other hand...
You cheer for your home team. You feel at home in your home stadium, particular the one you grew up in.
"The way I look at it, we’ve lost three games in a row here, but all three games have been such that the Red Sox had to come in with a closer."
This pretty much sums up the Orioles' philosophy for 2009...
Here is a decent description of the phrase's origin and meanings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_White_Hope
David Zirin, in his book, Welcome to the Terror Dome, writes about how Bonds recognized that he similarly elicits the anxiety among racist baseball fans to find a "great white hope" (such as Van Slyke) to counter the success and perceived threat of an angry black man.
There's a difference between "rights" and "what is right." There is nothing at all right about allowing only rich folks, particularly rich kids, to watch major league baseball.
Thanks for this interesting interview, David. I followed the Cardinals pretty closely during the 1980s and this brought back some good (and bad--the 1985 WS) memories.
I disagree with Van Slyke's take on the relationship between baseball and society. On the one hand, his comments on Obama are just stupid on several levels. On the other, baseball is far from the "purest form of capitalism." Baseball clubs and Major League Baseball depend on monopoly economies, not competition. Baseball's playing labor force, moreover, is fully unionized and has tremendous power to determine their salaries--quite the opposite, unfortunately, of the vast majority of American workers. And I think Van Slyke still doesn't understand what Bond's "white hope" claim meant, however poorly delivered it may have been.
Nevertheless, I liked the interview. Thanks!
I liked this blog post as well, but I actually think Joe is also one of the best statistical analysts around.
Could someone please tell me what BAM is?
Thanks for this great (albeit testy!) article. I agree about the misplaced hysteria revolving around first week performances, but it is also placed at the end of the season as well (and perhaps more so). The Mets' "collapses" are excellent cases in point, as is Joe Torre, who in 2007, we were constantly reminded, "rallied" the Yankees to the postseason after a 21-29 start (as if Torre wasn't managing the team during that dry spell as well).
Very good point. The other, and most significant difference, is that the majority of those who go to elite colleges come from families with a ton of money. The non-elite colleges have students who are often just as bright, but who aren't nearly as privileged.
I totally agree. This was a horrifyingly tragic death that could have been prevented. I completely concur that this country (in law and in culture) doesn't take drinking, driving, or, especially, drinking and driving seriously enough.
I'm sorry, but people's reaction to racism in this country has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Nick Adenhart or drinking and driving. Save it for Rush. This is neither the time nor the place.
let me chime in: this is a great idea.
One of the many things I like about BP is that the comment section is overwhelmingly positive and productive, a perfect atmosphere for a competition that could otherwise make people feel pretty vulnerable (I'm not sure if I have the stomach to put my writing in front of so many people!).
I'm looking forward to reading the new columns.
Have you tried honey dijon Kettle Chips? Those taste as good as the Birds' victory over the Yankees yesterday.
Very nice! I find hope in the fact that BP is predicting them to have the second best offense in the AL. Pitching is so unpredictable in general (including by PECOTA) that you never know what a team can string together on the mound. If they can win every game 10-5 like yesterday, I'll be thrilled!
Ouch. I was really looking forward to reading a starry-eyed, optimistic take on the Orioles' one chance in a million, but you can't even get me that far?!
Hey, all I have to say is that only one of those teams that played at Camden Yards on Monday looked post-season worthy to me...
Is there anything better than the hope that early April baseball brings?
got it, thanks. And I just read the sad post about the end of the baseball on channel 5 era. A shame.
what is your website?
Strangely, I am a bit nostalgic of my year in the UK, when I'd stay up well past midnight at least once a week to watch Channel 5's live broadcast of an MLB game. I loved the two guys who would comment on the game from a low-budget London studio between innings. I'd listen to their take on baseball over yet another commercial break anytime (but it's also nice to be back within regular baseball time zones).
Can I have your job?
I know - it's a lot of hard work, but the thought of showing up for work every day in "the press boxes of Chicago and the other ballparks that I'm planning to get to this summer" sounds too good to be true.
Thanks for the scoresheet recommendation!
Right, taking an alleged rape victim at her word. Definitely "despicable".....
If only the financial "news" media could have admitted their errors as quickly as you did...
Thanks John. This gives me a glimmer of hope that Pedro might yet still be a Met (or an Oriole!).
I don't see scouts v. stats as a "faith v. science" debate, it's more like qualitative research v. quantitative research. Just as in any other social science, both are important and both have their limitations. But I do agree with you, left with a choice between one or the other, I'll take stats (though for real social sciences, I'd take qualitative research any day of the week).
That's great that the MLB network featured PECOTA.
Now if only Nate Silver would make an appearance on Baseball Prospectus...
According to the BP book (and I\'m paraphrasing from memory here, so please correct me if my memory is failing me), no one in the past 40 years has had as good of a minor league season as Wieters had last year. No one in the past 40 years.
The thing is, at some point, someone will emerge as good as, if not better than, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, or, for that matter, Mike Piazza. There\'s no reason to believe that PECOTA won\'t predict this emergence. Maybe Wieters is that man. I can only hope...
I really appreciate this analysis, mostly because I\'m both an Orioles fan and someone who just traded my kitchen sink for the right to draft Wieters in my 100%-keeper fantasy league. But I also appreciate that you spelled out how PECOTA works for a guy like Wieters. This is something that Nate Silver used to do comprehensively for all top prospects on an annual basis, but unfortunately, hasn\'t done much of lately.
As hopeful as I am about Wieters, though, I am a bit skeptical that PECOTA\'s projections can come true, especially this year. I\'d like to see how someone responds to irablum\'s question regarding Wieters\' possession of only one year of pro-statistics. Although they\'re harder to translate, Wieters\' college statistics might be interesting to see as well, to examine whether the guy ever had a dip in his performance.
But anyway, thanks for the analysis.
As GBSimons indicates, they can get $5 monthly subscriptions and post with those. His post further convinces me that these are trolls: they all have the same talking points (\"I\'ve been a subscriber for years, but I\'m considering ending my subscription...\") and they all just happened to bombard this site on the same day. Never before, since commenting began, have we seen something like this. I don\'t mean to overreact, and I\'m not saying that there aren\'t things to criticize about BP (they\'re human for crying out loud), but I\'d hate to see anyone fall for this deceptive crap.
I hate to dismiss honest dissent and discussion, but I\'m getting the strong impression that a lot of the negative comments on this post are by trolls who are posing as disgruntled BP customers but who are actually just trying to lure customers away from BP and toward other baseball analysis sites.
A few words on the book tour: I had the distinct pleasure of seeing one of these book tour stops in 2007. Unfortunately, because of where I\'ve lived before and since then, it\'s the only one I\'ve ever been able to attend, but I *still* think about a lot of the things that were said that evening. It lacked all the boilerplate promotional material that many book tours see as necessary (never, for instance, did someone just read from the book and any book-signing that occurred was at the informal request of readers after the talk was over). Each of the three or four authors who were there that day spoke about their contributions to the book for a short time and then they answered questions for at least an hour or two. It was a fascinating and enlightening discussion about baseball. And it was a privilege to be able to pose questions directly, face-to-face, with these truly outstanding baseball analysts.
If the commissioner had a shred of concern for the vast majority of baseball fans, he could institute rules whereby, say, every team must provide a significant number of decent seats (read: infield and/or lower level) under $10 for every game, or no seat can be sold for more than $20, or fans must be allowed to move from upper deck or outfield seats to any vacant seat of their choice after the sixth inning, or scalping (whether through stub-hub or on the street) is not only strictly punishable by law but technologically impossible (photo-ids with ticket sales or something that would brand the ticket buyer to his/her tickets), etc. Baseball is not a competitive industry. It\'s based on monopoly power and as someone else pointed out, an increasing portion of the revenue doesn\'t even come from ticket sales in the first place. So the industry as a whole has very little to lose by including more fans in the process.
I don\'t know if they still do this given the legalization of scalping, but Camden Yards always had a \"no scalping zone,\" in which anyone could buy or sell tickets for face value or less. I used to always be able to find great seats there, often at less than face value.
There\'s no golden rule that states a sports franchise must act like any other profit-maximizing business. There are plenty of other organizational models out there, which more efficiently balance the costs and benefits of running and following a sports team.
I\'m sorry to hear that, Jay. Your earnest devotion to the Bronx Bombers is abundantly evident and you deserve better. Nonetheless, there are 29 other teams you could support. This might be a good opportunity to make the switch.
When I moved to New York in the 1990s, I didn\'t have an allegiance to either team. But I wanted to follow some form of New York baseball. I chose the Mets simply because you could get a much better seat for a much cheaper price. Up through last year, you could still pay $5 for a behind-the-plate upper deck seat (for a handful of games). That\'s cheaper than the cheapest seat in Keyspan Park. Unfortunately, however, I fear that the Mets won\'t be offering any comparable $5 (or even $9) seats this year.
I apologize if this isn\'t the appropriate forum for this, but the link to Bonderman\'s PECOTA card seems to be dead. Given his recent history of non-traditional injuries and surgeries, I\'m interested to see what PECOTA thinks.
All I need now is...
one ticket, one hot dog, and one beer.
I see you\'ve updated Wieters. Thanks very much for that. His stars and scrubs chart makes me salivate, but almost seems too good to be true. Might Wieters\'s enormous projections be a result of a too-small sample size? Or should we believe the hype?
Also - has anyone ever justified why the previous year\'s BP book comments are included in the current year\'s PECOTA cards? I hate to complain because I love everything about BP, but as someone who has paid far more for the online subscription than for the book, I feel a bit (but only a bit) cheated by not having access to to the 2009 comments. And anyway, the previous year\'s comments are interesting for historical purposes, but are more or less useless now.
Thanks so much for this. I\'m excited to dig into these.
The first guy I looked at was Matt Wieters. While most figures seem to be right, his \"stars and scrubs\" graph couldn\'t possibly be true (a near 0% chance that he\'s going to be a superstar in 2009 and not much better as the years move on?). Also, you have his 2008 projected stats at the top, not his 2008 actual stats or 2009 projected stats.
As an Orioles fan, all I can say is, ouch...
Chipper Jones just won\'t go away, will he? I\'m surprised that PECOTA still has so much faith in him, but I suppose the numbers don\'t lie.
I\'m not sure about particular stats, but PECOTA had him at a 100.3 upside in 2006, the sixth best prospect at shortstop (behind Joel Guzman, Eric Aybar, Brandon Wood, Eduardo Nunez, and Adam Jones, respectively).
My experience is that PECOTA is not as reliable with pitchers as it is with hitters. And Nate Silver basically acknowledged so in this article in 2006, which states that the path of pitching prospects is far less predictable than that of hitters: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4796
I\'m not sure about the extent to which PECOTA may have since been able to better take into account the variables affecting pitchers, so any additional clarification from Nate or anyone else would be much appreciated.
Thanks for this, Kevin.
I still don\'t trust PECOTA so much on prospect pitchers. That\'s another reason that your work here is so helpful.
So let\'s hear more about Wieters! As an Orioles fan, I can\'t read enough about him!
and along that same line of thinking, you probably should never leave your house in the morning, stay in bed, and pull down the shades.
Baseball\'s a game. It\'s fun. Ichiro pitching exemplifies that in such a poignant way.
Thanks for the link, Will.
Thank you, Clay! I love this.
One possible problem, however: I just ran a test with the PFM, using UPSIDE as the only statistical category. The hitters seemed on target but the pitchers were not. The pitcher with the best upside, according to this measurement, is Kameron Mickolio, with a 0.8 upside. Every other pitcher has an even smaller upside.
You bring up some very good points. I don\'t completely agree with your characterization of the \"BP company line\" (or the idea that there is a strategically developed company line here), but I would be interested to see a serious, analytical response to this from one or some of the BP authors. Perhaps in a full BP article, not a comment thread?
Given this not altogether surprising revelation, I wonder if finally:
- everyone will lay off their singular and viciously hateful (and, frankly, racist) crucifixion of Barry Bonds, as if he was the only guy who ever used steroids
- someone (other than the astute posters here) will point out that Jose Canseco was right after all
- people will start placing blame where it should be placed first and foremost: with MLB for creating an environment wherein steroids were not only not against the rules, but were tacitly encouraged
How about a truth and reconciliation committee in baseball?