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This is some beautiful writing, Meg. Point taken and noted. And to traipse a moment where you dared not go, the suspension is almost exactly the equivalent of three-game NFL games, which would precipitate howls of anger. Evidently the real crime is getting caught on video.
I'm having trouble understanding what the "Ian Desmond Problem" <i>is</i>? I mean, other than for the Desmond family. Why is it a problem for MLB if some free agent's value is depressed by the loss of a draft pick? Wasn't dampening the demand for free agents the whole point of the QO system?
With all due respect to Tulo, the best player in Rockies history by a wide margin is <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Larry+Walker">Larry Walker</a></span>.
Ahem...back to our regularly-scheduled discussion:
I'm shocked that so few people voted. Is that the norm?
I've always been under the impression that BP subscribers are highly-motivated to exercise their franchise since they are shut out of the real awards process and believe they are more knowledgeable than the average sportswriter. (And might be.) I have never failed to vote in the IBA and always assumed that was pretty standard.
Sounds like this era's market inefficiency.
Wonderful Terrific Monds III congratulates you.
And though it might not seem so sometimes when we talk about professional sports, it is possible to be happy with *only* $15.8 million.
What? Get rid of pitchers batting in both leagues? Right there with you!
Try Googling "best ways to waste 15 minutes."
It's not the PED "stuff" with Lyin' Ryan. It's the smug spin-doctoring once he got caught red-handed that rankles. To this day, he has never faced the public and acknowledged the depth of his mendacity and cynical self-righteousness.
Uh-huh, yeah. Um, so? Neat-o graphs but what, in the end, have you discovered -- that some players are like others? If your research is more profound than that, you might want to explain how.
Paredes is not a benefactor; he's a beneficiary. Benefactors are people who provide the benefits, not those who receive them.
Re: Molina. Sure they loved his glove. His bat offered a .160 <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> and more strikeouts than total bases.
Making decisions based on <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PECOTA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PECOTA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PECOTA</span></a> projections is a prescription for silliness. Projection systems have proved to be only slightly less flawed than our intuition.
The Reds don't believe their playoff chances are merely 13%, so they are making a move they believe will make them better. Other than teams in total rebuild, I don't know what else their fans could ask of them.
I agree with Travis. We're conflating winning the post-season tournament with fielding a top team. The post-season tournament is, in many ways, a lottery. During the last three years, when they won two titles, the Giants could be characterized as excellent-bad-good.
And at the risk of putting too fine a point on it, "regressing back" is redundant. And repetitive!
Right, because what's noteworthy about PECOTA's White Sox projections isn't that they underestimate actual performance, it's that they aren't much better than flipping a coin. PECOTA has been wildly wrong four of the past 11 years, significantly wrong twice more and pretty dead on three times. Anyone one of us could have guessed roughly that badly.
The Pitchf/x information doesn't contradict the possibility of a breakout; it simply explains why Peralta hasn't dominated with 96mph heat in the past.
The whole point of breakouts is that they do something different than they were doing before -- learn a new pitch, reduce their walk rate, figure something out, etc. If Peralta improves his differentiation good things might happen.
Of course, we should be skeptical, not because of Pitchf/x but for the very reason you elucidate to end your piece: breakouts are not the way to bet.
Changes nothing. He was a fantasy writer -- period.
Thank you for a lot of great content. A quibble with your use of English:
If Nick Shlain was a former fantasy writer at Rotowire then he must be a fantasy writer now. If you mean to say that he is no longer a fantasy writer there then either he was a fantasy writer at Rotowire or he is a former fantasy writer at Rotowire.
And before you all pound the minus button, allow me to argue that we should expect professional communicators to be precise with their language. I suspect Bret would agree.
Maybe he was looking at your daughter.
You don't have to hope. A contracts is not something teams can choose to honor. Renteria's children will not want for food.
Okay Robert, we can disagree on base running and FIP, but if you put mustard on hamburgers, that's where I draw the line.
I don't believe the problem is the length of the game so much as its pace, to which FlyingDutchman was alluding. There's so much unnecessary stoppage of play that could be removed without serious consequence to the competition.
Take the endless in-frame pitching changes, for example. My wife loses interest in MLB games right about the time the excitement should be heating up. That's because rather than build the drama steadily in the late innings, the game allows managers to interrupt it for minutes at a time. This is not how a wise entertainment business acts.
Or he's arrived, but can't parallel park.
Loosen the tie, homey. Facts are not the coin of the realm when tongue is so firmly planted in cheek.
To take your solid point a step further, Piazza's not one of the the best hitting catchers; he's the best hitting catcher of all time. The argument against him is not sponge-worthy.
...and the World Series ends October 15 before the snow falls.
I'm constantly amused by the persistent narrative of Jeter "diving into the stands to make the catch," which appears to be immune to the actual facts.
Watch the video: Jeter caught the ball several yards from the stands and -- by his own admission -- threw his body into the crowd in hopes of landing in someone's lap, rather than flipping over the wall and onto the concrete floor in front of the first row.
Who needs truth when we we want so badly to believe a fantasy? It was a nice catch, of course, but it was hardly the stuff of hero worship. Except, evidently, it was.
Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug.
With all due respect, I think this is the exact opposite of the truth. There is rarely a "right" or "wrong" answer because there are so many variables unknown to us, including whether the pitcher is losing his command, whether the meat of the order is due up or whether the batter is a dead fastball hitter. This is why you pay a manager and not a computer to skipper the team.
Basically, the club is selling insurance to the player. In the long run, the club is likely to profit, but if anything goes wrong, the player at least earns a few million bucks. This is particularly mutually beneficial because the marginal utility of the player's first few millions is much greater than of the millions that might follow. That makes the player more risk averse than the team.
It takes a lot of gumption for a player to reject a reasonable deal. It makes sense that these contracts are proliferating.
I appreciate your point, but that's only true because a self-selected sample of hitters has bunted. Keep in mind that guys who stink at bunting have not attempted it.
You'd feel better if you thought smarter, not harder.
"Add in that he struck out more batters than he walked, and Tanaka looks like an elite pitcher..."
...in Canada, president's a relatively useless job, like a LOOGY.
Indeed, pre-season predictions in all sports are so much gumbo, as the Falcons, Steelers, Texans, Giants, Panthers, Bengals and Cardinals have made clear in the NFL. (I predict the Heat will be good this year...)
Kolten Wong isn't a benefactor of any trade unless he's suddenly taken a GM job and donated David Freese to the Angels. He is the *beneficiary* of the trade. Professional writers should know the difference.
But once the winning run scores, isn't the game over? Didn't the runner score with none out, meaning the pitcher gets no credit for the out? After all, if the pitcher had simply walked off the mound, the game would have ended with a 4-3 score, even if the other runners had continued running and crossed the plate.
...but you repeat yourself.
This endeavor demonstrates such maturity. Congratulations to everyone involved in advance for your collaborative approach.
Don't know if you've noticed, fellow SC dude, but Choo pretty much has.
It's not an insult to say I don't throw hard enough. I think I topped out at 70 in 1994.
Thanks for the knowledge. I honestly didn't know that.
You say the natural tailing action on thrown baseballs that, for left-handed catchers, would make the assist veer away from the oncoming baserunner.
Is that right? Since we all throw across our bodies to some degree, I'd have thought a lefty's ball would tail to the right, and into the oncoming runner. I'm a northpaw and my throws run out of steam to the left.
Are you saying we all throw natural screwballs? If that's so why can't most pitchers throw real screwballs?
This may be a figure of speech known as synecdoche (pronounced sort of like Schenectady), in which a part is used to describe a whole. The quintessential example is "head of cattle."
If you see "your Bryce Harpers" as a general description of young, talented players, this fits the bill.
Or the speakers of the phrase could just be knuckleheads...
Sell Tim Lincecum? Who's buying?
The irony of this whole discussion is that it very much matters who bats in front of a hitter. It seems like such an obvious point that who's on base when you bat is more important than who's on deck.
Jeff Francoeur? Do the Yankees need outfield help in Columbus?
It's not possible to use a dwarf like Eddie Gaedel because Eddie Gaedel was a midget, not a dwarf. Midgets are proportionally small. Dwarfs are small people with disproportionally normal sized heads and hands. Randy Newman is not popular with either group.
The FOT defending Lohse's deal has been drinking too much of the Brewers' product. Lohse is a 2 1/2 only in the sense that he was a 1 last year and will be a 4 this year.
Thank you for using "comprise" correctly. It's a noble fight we are doomed to lose.
The problem with all these intriguing experiments -- the Red Sox' closer by committee a few years back, the Rockies last year, LaRussa in '93 -- is that no groundwork was laid.
A franchise that wants to experiment with an unconventional approach needs to start in the low minors and develop it through the system. They wouldn't have to worry about entrenched beliefs if the people affected had grown up in professional baseball with their approach.
Your research actually demonstrates that Barry Zito is a magician. He manages to win 3% of games in which his team does not score for him.
6. What is the plural of RBI?
7. Can a $20 million player in Cincinnati be a Red?
8. If four balls is a walk and three strikes is an out, isn't a pitcher ahead in the count at 0-0, 1-1 and 2-2?
9. What exactly is a Met?
10. Are they of L.A. or Anaheim?
Actually, that glorious orb transits not, at least not as far as we can tell. That our little marble rolls around it is the cause of earlier starts on the Atlantic.
Nothing like eight innings of Spring Training to redeem a pitcher who's been run out of the league. Or 37 PA against pitchers who'll be staffing the West Tennessee Diamond Jacks come Opening Day to guarantee greatness from a second-year player. Or "basic fundamentals" to make a writer look silly.
This article needs to get a grip.
To describe Ramirez as a "greater player" is to genuflect at the shrine of WARP without recognizing that it has never come to grips with reliever value.
Even if Mariano Rivera contributed less to his teams than Manny Ramirez, the fault is in his usage, not in his dominance. He is the greatest relief pitcher of all time; Ramirez is hardly the greatest outfielder of all time, the greatest rightfielder of all time, or even the greatest knucklehead rightfielder of all time.
If the Dodgers jell this season is Don Mattingly a jenius? Should we jenuflect to him? I want to be a gournalist!
I'm surprised at the silence over Mike Piazza's poor showing.
I'd like to ask the 40% of the voters who passed him by: if the greatest hitting catcher of all-time isn't a Hall of Famer, who is?
It is worth reminding everyone that the new parks are no smaller, they just have fewer seats. That's about creating scarcity, not home runs.
Mr. Roher, you have the rare gift of insight and command of language at 22, and a bright future indeed. A crackerjack perspective; thanks for sharing.
You're only young once but you can be immature your whole life!
I'm confused by the notion that the Indians should trade Asdrubal Cabrera. How does the math work on plugging a hole elsewhere by creating a hole at short? Cabrera is 26 and signed through 2014, so it's not like he's a departing veteran of no future value to the club.
It seems to me what the Indians really have to do is develop more Asdrubal Cabreras.
Isn't hitting your head with a mallet how you ended up in your parents' basement in the first place?
Also, you forgot to mention the veteran presence on this team. They would know how to win.
Evidently chicks dig "hells." Or at least one does. You're actually married, right?
When you consider the Giants' top earners it's pretty astounding they're near the pinnacle. Zito's been a bust, Lincecum evaporated this year, Huff rides the pine and Wilson spent the season on the DL. Only Cain has earned his coin. Other than him, they've spent $55 mil for negative WARP.
The decision to allow the Cardinals to outscore them by eight runs after the third inning is the reason Washington lost. If you can't hold a 6-0 lead for six innings it's really irrelevant what your manager does.
But who does PECOTA think wins the electoral votes?
The full sub-title goes like this:
It's a trap.
It's a suicide rap.
We gotta get out while we're young.
I don't know why anyone would bother applying PECOTA to analyze the Orioles this post-season. They have completely baffled the system all year. You might as well use a Ouija board.
And PECOTA correctly predicted the Braves and Range . . . d'Oh!
"If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."— Will Rogers
It would also be nice if the authors knew how to use the word comprised, which is not a synonym for composed. But since fewer (not less) Americans everyday know that particular one, I'm not holding my breath.
What a silly place for the proof. Someone who thinks they're eating pudding is going to choke on it.
On the other hand, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
I suspect the Dodgers are counting on a rebound from Crawford and a few more Gonzalez-quality years. On the other hand, if Beckett is a #3 starter at this point L.A. brass will do back flips.
Another factoid: Movies are fiction. Ask Mark Zuckerberg.
Adam, Eddie Gaedel was a midget, not a dwarf. Midgets are small people built proportionally, while dwarfs have normal-sized hands and heads but tiny bodies.
Also, the Atlanta radio crew bellyaches unusually often about the umpires. I leave the analysis to others; I don't know how that serves as an analog for Braves fans or the Atlanta metro.
What's the term for a "Nincompoop" who's safe, as the video documents? Gutsy baserunner?
Your friend's dad didn't make a bad decision; he made a good decision that didn't work out well. The notion that people would go to a store by the thousands to buy mediocre coffee is laughable still, even after it's come to fruition. Only in hindsight, whose advantages he lacked, can we fault him.
Likewise, the Angels. Had they known that Vernon Wells, in whom they had made a gargantuan investment, would fail to bounce back, and that Mike Trout was in no further need of seasoning, they would have started Trout Day One.
But if we're all so smart, why didn't we buy Apple stock at seven dollars a share?
The odds are against any of this year’s deals being decisive during the regular season.
Au contraire, Pierre. The odds are quite high that one of this year's deals will be decisive; we just don't know which one. A Cody Ross-style fluke could turn an unremarkable acquisition into a playoff catapult.
By definition, the Marlins' fan base can't be disinterested. That would make them neutral, and therefore, not fans. They may instead be uninterested if they're not showing up to the ballpark.
Opining like homo erectus.
He was no ex-jock
spewing pablum and crock,
but instead some well-researched invectus.
Get what you paid for:
Horsehide erudition, yea!
BP and its fans.
Right, I'm sure Robby Cano is all over the Royals' farm system. It wouldn't surprise me if preceding this week, he couldn't pick Billy Butler or Mike Moustakas out of a lineup of pygmies.
Hey, it's a paradiddle!
That makes him a "heck of a" writer, just not the best on BP.
Because there was no DH when Medwick played.
You might also want to change your name to, like, Bob.
Isn't closing all about small samples?
The feckless Bowie Kuhn is in the Hall of Fame and his personal tormentor Marvin Miller is not. As long as that's true, the Hall will remain irrelevant.
...as opposed to a win-win for just one party.
In truth, the blame for Wieters' bustiness rests squarely with BP, which predicted he'd win four MVPs by his third year and make Baltimorons forget homegrown Babe Whatsisname.
Had Wieters simply entered the majors like an ordinary, uncaped crusader, we'd be comparing him favorably to Jonathan Lucroy.
Actually, that would be pretty funny, since the Royals play in Missouri.
Can't wait 'til my mom has a working knowledge of Matthew Kory's story.
Ditto Bob Hamelin.
My sister's face broke out last week. PECOTA didn't see it coming.
Fair to expect the Brewers would have improved dramatically at 3B by replacing Casey McGehee with Casey McGehee and the Marlins would likewise at SS by replacing Hanley Ramirez with Hanley Ramirez.
I'm guessing those kids have birthdays in mid-December,having been conceived in mid-March.
Interestingly, Neon Hos Smelling A Leafage anagrams to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But Diane knew that.
I think Shaun was being glib, but it's hard to see that in print.
Only 33 percent of major-league teams will qualify for the playoffs once the postseason field officially expands. By comparison, 38 percent of NFL teams make the playoffs, and that figure goes up to 53 percent for both the NBA and NHL.
This is such a bogus and disingenuous argument. The NBA and NHL regular seasons are laughingstocks for this very reason. Baseball is unique because a five- or seven-game series (not to mention a single game) is such a toss-up that the longer the post-season the more of a lottery it becomes. It's deeply unsatisfying to play six months of baseball only to have the seventh-best team go on a 15-game run to win the championship.
Is that less exciting than an intra-league match-up that nobody cares about?
You must be on to something because, seriously, what's the upside on rejecting $20 million/year for five years? $30 million for five? How is that different? But the downside is it all falls apart and he gets bupkus.
Unless Lincecum hates San Francisco, or doesn't trust management, turning down that deal is insanity from a financial standpoint. So it must be something else with him, and if it's what you suggest, good for him.
That is one ghastly infield if Cabrera's tub of goo staffs the hot corner. With Fielder at first and Peralta at second it's all wood and no leather.
Plus, moving Cabrera to third has to be worth 1.5 DL stints. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Add in Justin Verlander's almost inevitable return to earth and a dearth of starting pitching behind him and this feels like an awfully unbalanced lot.
Ingenious. How much to sponsor Joseph DelGrippo's page? His OPS+ can't be less than Brandon Woods'.
I know everyone hates a grammarian, but since you're a professional writer, it's worth mentioning that "comprised" does not mean "composed" and should never be used with "of." And "i.e." means "that is," not "for example." For that, you want "e.g."
You can all pile on the dings now.
I believe there may be a fella named Pujols involved in that first base mix, nez pas?
If I'd known that exhibiting even an iota of athletic ability would have aided me in achieving my goal of being a millionaire, I would have done it.
Right, so instead of "fixing" the perfect DH compromise, how about this:
Use executive privilege to put Marvin Miller in the Hall of Fame and apologize to him for taking so long.
You need to dig deeper to find any "sediment."
Modern surgical techniques, glasses and contacts do not shrink testicles, reduce impulse control or shorten life spans.
The reason steroids and related PEDs are outlawed is that they are harmful to people who use them. We look askance at players who ignore the danger because they create an uneven playing field that forces other players to decide between success in their career and long-term health.
I understand why many are dubious about the crimes against the game committed by Clemens, Bonds, McGwire; we're all at least conflicted by the issue. The view you've just expressed though seems willfully ignorant and pollyana.
Dude, you have got to lighten up.
Look Gareth, you're never going to understand baseball writers if you insist on rational thought. That stuff's for cricket and . . . and . . . tea with crumpets.
Maybe not. It might could be.
"His 409 total bases were the most since Rice's 406 in 1978."
Inasmuch as 409 > 406, Walker's 409 total bases were the most since Stan Musial's 426 in 1948.
Not new; just don't keep tabs.
Ramadan's actually all over the Roman calendar from year to year.
Not implying offense; just having a smile.
Merry Christmas to all.
I believe I suffered testicular torsion while laughing. Fortunately, my wife is a nurse.
I think you just wished Merry Christmas to a guy named Goldstein. Happy Ramadan too.
Think how ecstatic you'd be if you were a Pirates fan. At least your wife is homely.
Stay muscular, my friend.
Two consecutive batters . . . in a row? Would that be four straight?
...which is why they signed him to an incentive-laden, one-year contract with a base cost of a below-average veteran. If he face plants, they have limited liability. His bonuses don't kick in until 450 plate appearances.
This deal shines because Sizemore has so much skin in the game. There's a boatload of monetary incentive for him to succeed, a result that is mutually beneficial.
Does Ryne Sandberg have to manage before anyone can correctly spell his name?
I did an Internet search of "Joe Mauer" and "racist." It turned up nothing connecting the two. You might want to check your sources before reporting such incendiary conjecture.
I'm no stranger to fossicking through the leftovers for dinner. Sometimes the fossicking is better than others.
The greatest World Series involved teams you don't care about -- 1991's titanic Braves-Twins tilt. Two worst-to-first teams played five one-run and three extra-inning games. A walk-off ended Game Six and Game 7 went extras. Best ever.
Really? He needs to return his name.
What's the world coming to when Ruben Amaro and Jose Bautista are Jewish and David Eckstein and Max Scherzer aren't?
Scherzer versus Feldman -- when was the last time two hurlers from the Twelve Tribes faced off in a playoff? Anyone know?
Scherzer pitching to Kinsler -- first since when?
Not to really be that guy, but Swisher and Martin would have affected those games, not effected them.
That's some mighty 20/20 hindsight there. The Sox entered the season with Lester, Beckett and Buccholz, plus the hope that Lackey would return to form, plus Wakefield and Daisuke, not to mention a strong bullpen led by Bard and Papelbon.
There were complaints during Spring Training that the Sox had too many starters and needed to jettison one. I think they added another data point, to their regret, to the notion that there's no such thing as too much pitching.
Steven, I'm surprised that such a dexterous writer as you doesn't know how to use the word "comprised." Never with "of." It is not a synonym for "composed."
Maybe he should hold the opposition's...
I believe that was a free agent pickup, not a straight trade.
Colin, thank you for an insightful, balanced and educational article. One quibble about this comment:
... and Cubs fans who saw a Tribune company with many millions and no World Series wins were certainly disinterested.
Cubs fans are the very opposite of "disinterested," which means "neutral." I think you mean to say they are "uninterested."
And yet, mon frere Jivas, you would in 18 words reveal yourself the intellectual superior of most mainstream sports media representatives.
Good catch. This is known in SAFM (Society of American Face Making) circles as "Explosive Self-Reproach."
So Rizzuto should be in the HOF despite a transparently sub-HOF career because a)he was well-known (Kevin), b)he was an awful announcer (ScottyB) and c)he's a piece of Yankee lore (srguts).
Ha, I love irony!
Earlier this week, Davey Johnson inserted rookie Ryan Mattheus in the bottom of the ninth inning of an 8-8 affair, icing closer Drew Storen for later to convert a possible save. It never came, of course, because Atlanta scratched out the winning run.
Game on the line, best pitcher on the bench. What sense does that make? Who knew Davey Johnson's a conventional thinker?
All ex-post facto explanations. Hard to believe any of them.
But isn't it possible that Riggleman truly felt the principle was worth more than the extra cash? In a radio interview I heard, he expressed no animosity for team brass, sought no sympathy and seemed content to kick back and watch baseball as a fan.
Maybe Jim Riggleman just doesn't need managing that badly.
How does eleventy billion dollars compare to Albert's MORP?
That an unrelated variable correlates with lower pitcher ERA doesn't invalidate the correlation between Mathis and lower ERAs.
Southpaws have shorter life expectancies than righties. That doesn't invalidate the the causal relationship between tobacco use and life expectancy.
I think the causal relationship between Mathis and consistently lower ERAs would have to be classified as unproven but intriguing and possibly significant.
Besides, we're not talking about "players," we're talking about one particular player, who may or may not perform as the average. Don't forget that PECOTA is just a projection; it's predictive only in the aggregate.
...or perhaps Hudson's newfound baserunning philosophy is his way of informing Twins brass that they might consider inserting their leadoff spot in their colonic orifice.
Thanks, professor; an intriguing piece. There's a missing element to this calculation, though.
Boras seems to represent a self-selected sample of players who want to maximize income and nothing else. My sense is that guys who weigh other factors -- like geography, club loyalty and pennant prospects -- don't join the Boras stable. Consequently, there's a certain apples and oranges comparison, don't you think?
Evidently Joey has column inches to fill, just like the off-line columnists.
This was really fun, though I imagine you could do the same thing with any other number.
2008 - Rays and Phils end their futility, Yanks fail to make playoffs; 1998 - Sosa, McGwire and Flintstones vitamins; '88 - Kirk Gibson's one-legged Series buster, Canseco first to 40/40; '78 - Yanks erase 14-game deficit to Sox, Bucky Dent destroys lives. '68 - historic year of the pitcher, Gibby 1.12, McLain 31 wins, Tigers in dramatic Game 7; etc.
With all due respect to Stephen, who's a wonderful writer and a fine baseball mind, I found this piece to be the exact opposite of brilliant. I found it to be long-winded drivel that does an awful job of making a simple point, a point that no one reading this site needs made.
Stephen, I love your work, but this was so far beneath your usual standards that I wonder whether Murray Chass, Bruce Jenkins or Dan Shaughnessy hijacked your computer and signed your name to this dreck.
19 Double-A at bats? Please. Wake us up in 50 innings.
All these finely crafted appelations stand in the shadow of minor leaguer Wonderful Terrific Monds III, son of NFLer Wonderful Jr.
I believe you've just elucidated Tommy's point. Don't know whether to honor you or ding you for that.
I'm sure Indian fans throughout Ohio are ecstatic over Cleveland's payroll efficiency. Isn't that what every fan roots for?
Red Sox supporters are, undoubtedly, forlorn over the millions wasted while winning two titles in the last six years.
What's this about Metfans not wanting to watch the games? Who can blame them?
If you're a Padre fan, they all scare you.
I think he meant "honkies." You'd be worried with a team of all honkies.
BP + Fangraphs + Tangotiger + all other analytically-bent baseball sites = boon for readers.
FIP FIP Fooray!
PT Barnum saw it coming...
In fact, at the risk of nitpicking a splendid piece, the win expectancy table is a disaster.
It says that with two runs in, runners on the corners and no out, the visiting team is a mortal lock to win -- in the first inning! In fact, it claims there are seven first inning scenarios that make victory certain.
It says that the visiting team has a 44% chance of winning to start the game, but open with a triple and the win expectancy rockets to 64%.
It says that if the visiting team juices the bases with one out and three runs in, it is doomed to defeat. With just a two run lead, it would win 56% of the time and with just a one run lead, it's a 2-1 favorite.
This is all patent nonsense, in stark contrast to the rock-solid logic of the accompanying article.
Am I just projecting my own bias or does Prince Albert come across as a guy who might sacrifice a marginal million for less tangible but still important considerations?
I have in mind lifestyle issues like comfort with the organization, manager and fans; livability of the city; prospects for the franchise (sorry, Mets); etc. Isn't happiness the ultimate goal?
I have trouble imagining there's anything even remotely relevant (to a normal human being, anyway) unavailable to a man with $200 million but within the means of one with $225 million.
Miller did far more than increase salaries; he unmade the 100-year bed in which players wallowed in indentured servitude to overlord owners. Before Miller, baseball's labor economics involved a set of monopolist owners and independent contractors with no rights to their place or conditions of employment.
Marvin Miller brought the free market to baseball. Every baseball player alive should name his first child Miller.
Failing to elect Marvin Miller into the Hall while honoring Bowie Kuhn is like electing the Washington Generals into the basketball Hall of Fame but not the Harlem Globetrotters.
Love him or hate him, Miller had more impact on the game than anyone. Kuhn, on the other hand, was so utterly feckless that he couldn't have gotten elected into the Bowie Kuhn Hall of Fame.
A baseball Hall of Fame that includes Bowie Kuhn and not Marvin Miller is like a basketball Hall of Fame that includes the Washington Generals but not the Harlem Globetrotters.
Bowie Kuhn was so feckless he shouldn't even be in the Bowie Kuhn Hall of Fame.
Really intriguing set of articles, Jay. With respect, I'd just note that Steinbrenner *flouted*, not *flaunted* the rules. Flaunting is more the work of, say, Lady Gaga.
A baseball Hall of Fame without Marvin Miller is like a Civil War Hall of Fame without Robert E. Lee.
Miller's exclusion says much more about the sagacity of the voters than about the accomplishments of the man after whom every player should name his first child.
"Pavano got swings on 35.9 percent of his offerings which were out of the strike zone ... which is something that nobody can reasonably expect to happen again in 2011."
I understand the effort to incorporate into our analysis the substantial amount of luck involved in baseball, but that doesn't mean that anything we can't explain must be serendipity.
It is possible that Pavano does something to entice hitters to swing at pitches out of the zone. Wasn't that a particular genius of Greg Maddux? Without contradicting your underlying point, it may very well be reasonable to expect Pavano to get swings on 35.9% of his offerings outside the strike zone in 2011.
Christina, eschewing the obtuse references and undulating parenthetical statements for ESPN makes your writing so much crisper and reader-friendly, IMHO. I'd love to see more of that snappy writing and less showing off in the future.
Fun piece, and as long as we're admitting semantic pet peeves, Eric, people are "who," not "that."
Here's another thing Ken Burns should know better about: Derek Jeter did not dive into the stands to make the now-famous catch to which he refers. Jeter caught the ball on the run and took two steps before -- by his own admission on 60 Minutes -- flinging himself into the stands in the hope of landing in the lap of a seated patron.
I challenge anyone to watch the video and reach another conclusion.
It's amazing that that myth has become fact just by being repeated endlessly. It's Thomas Crapper inventing the toilet all over again.
I think a big helping of humility is essential in reference to any system of projecting human affairs. It's simply not possible to achieve slightly more accuracy than educated guessing. As long as we all -- BP staff particularly -- treat PECOTA as a suggestion rather than as destiny, we'll all be a lot saner.
This goes double for Jay's playoff odds.
In addition, we all tend towards the illusory notion that a team is a single entity over 162 games. Not only do the players come and go, as do lineups, so do their skill sets. Some improve, some tire, some recover from injuries some get figured out. Strategies and approaches change. Weather heats up, then cools off.
Like a river, no team is ever exactly the same as it was the day before. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Void where prohibited by law. Member, FDIC.
Perhaps Reinsdorf had something in his eye when he traded for Ramirez, and didn't notice the dreads. If he didn't want a player with long hair, he should have traded for Tim Hudson.
Why is the percentage of fly balls that leave the park considered random? Isn't a fly that goes 400 feet hit harder than one hit 300 feet? I don't see how that's a factor outside the pitcher's control.
How was Fig "reasonably expected to score 100 runs" if there's no one hitting behind him? Runs is a team event.
Very interesting article, thank you Eric. An unsolicited language lesson: least amount = fewer.
Indeed, the very concept that it's healthy to examine accepted truths is what distinguishes the community of new baseball analysts from the calcified old baseball guard.
Bravo to Matt and BP, and the entire sabermetric sector, for always questioning its conclusions and often acknowledging its errors.
And let's all keep in mind, particularly when someone posts a respectful dissent, that BP orthodoxy is just as likely as any other to be misguided. A little humility goes a long way.
You don't believe he quit on the Red Sox? Jay, I'd like to introduce you do reality. Reality, my friend Jay.
I see a goodly portion of cognitive dissonance here that prevents you from acknowledging anything that doesn't fit neatly into your worldview.
I'm with BP's distrust of mainstream media and of its resistance to assigning personal characteristics based on on-field play. But Ramirez's arm-length baseball rap sheet provides ample evidence that he's a knucklehead.
While acknowledging these two comments, it is worth remembering that for most of Ramirez's career, not leveling with the media was tantamount to not leveling with fans.
Ramirez has never honestly addressed his PED suspension, his tanking on the Red Sox, his dust-up with their traveling secretary, his commencement appearance with L.A. or any of his other shenanigans.
That leaves it to us to draw our own conclusions. The only reasonable conclusion that I can draw is that these actions speak for themselves and that Ramirez is a recidivist jerk.
Jay, I'm not interested in getting into Manny's head; I'm just observing his actions. He's quit on two teams. He's literally gone onto the field of play and refused to try. That would get you, me and everyone reading this fired on the spot.
Look, I love the BP approach as much as the next guy, but let's not forget that Dodger brass have to work with Ramirez on a daily basis. The guy is a juvenile, narcissistic twit, whose brain, heart, integrity and pride could fit in a sesame seed with enough room left over for two gnats to polka.
The Dodgers may not win more games without Ramirez, but they'll sleep better at night, and that's worth something -- at least to them.
At the risk of defending the Evil Empire, perhaps their rookies pale because it's especially tough to crack a $200 mil lineup.
Corey, Casey; Rodriguez, Ramirez; prodigal, schmodigal.
If I had wanted to get my facts straight I wouldn't have become a journalist.
So, according to this article, the secrets to Padre success are:
1. A mix of youth and veterans
2. A coaching staff that teaches
3. "Veteran presence."
4. "Good chemistry."
Good god. Didn't this site used to be Baseball Prospectus?
We're all friends here in BPland, StatFreak.
I'm confused: are we unable to write the word douche or dirt? Or was Bonds an a-bag who got demoted three rungs?
Sandoval's name, his home country, the pitching match-up...good to see we're not letting facts get in the way of the column.
People here in the South who know about New York and Boston primarily from baseball are shocked to discover that they are actually five hours apart. No one in Atlanta thinks Charleston, SC -- five hours away -- is a neighbor.
Gentlemen, this is a red herring argument. There are plenty of intra-league non-rivalries too. Who's clamoring for the Brewers-Padres tilt, or the Philly-Phoenix face-off?
You don't like Marlins-Twins or Pirates-Mariners, but the equally desultory Marlins-Pirates and Twins-Mariners match-ups are scheduled annually.
That's a boatload of words dedicated to almost entirely dismissing JA Happ, except when you patronize him as a fourth starter. Really? In 217 early career innings he's 14-5 3.11 with 5.5 WARP while pitching in a launching pad.
What I know about scouting pitchers could fit in a thimble without spilling, but it seems to me that Wade has finally achieved blind squirrel syndrome, picking up Happ and his years of pre-arb goodness, two potential studs and a significantly fatter bank account for a great talent who would have been wasted in the dying embers of the franchise.
At least now there's hope in Houston for 2013.
To add a liberal arts addendum to this insight, Wells and Silva, and to a lesser degree Radke, demonstrated only one skill -- avoiding walks. What Schilling, Maddux, et. al. accomplished is much more impressive because they combined an ability to fan batters with keen command. That's why, as gmolyneaux notes, 150/11 outshines 58/4.
Ditto on the first point. The Braves need another low-power outfielder like I need more ear hair.
Why would Seattle balk at trading within their division?
If they're pawning off Lee, they've jettisoned this season, so they don't care if Texas improves vis-a-vis Anaheim or Oakland. Lee is a free agent at season's end, so unless he re-signs with the trading partner, that team is diminished next year and in the future while Seattle has three or four of their prospects.
It seems to me, the M's should be courting an AL West suitor.
I don't know how anyone can compile a list of best baseball announcers without Boog Sciambi and Gary Cohen. It's like omitting U2, the Beatles and the Who from your best rock 'n' roll band list.
Moreover, there is an argument opportunity savings that probably eradicates the entire time cost of the review. Lou Pinella can't kick dirt and throw a base in under three minutes.
Everything okay at home, amazin? You're a bit tart lately.
The 1906 Pirates probably deserve a footnote. Their 93-60 campaign was a pale shadow of Chicago's astounding 116-36 mark. Going back one place in the standings, the Phils were eliminated in early August and came up 45.5 games short.
Break up the Cubs!
"...the BBWAA electorate may have been something of a wise crowd all along."
...Or, the blind squirrel syndrome is at work and the place is littered with acorns.
Good point. The bigger question is, after they pay Gonzalez, can they pay anyone else? If not, why would he want to sign long-term for a team that won't compete?
I've always thought that a thumbnail approach to determining the quality of a team is find an average player on the roster and figure out where he fits. If he's batting fifth, enjoy your high draft pick. If he's on the bench, welcome to the Bronx.
Todd Hundley and the nine dwarfs. Should we still like Ike?
"...the Yankees have essentially been run as a loss leader for the ATM machine that is the YES Network."
An "ATM machine" would be an automated teller machine machine. Much in the vein of "OPEC countries," "PIN numbers" and "please RSVP," it is redundant and repetitive.
There's another great American trait: ingenuity!
I'd like to hear about the scenario that gets the Mets 92 wins. Albert Pujols defects to Queens and takes the Braves rotation with him?
Moreoever, since PECOTA is a projection system based on historical context, and you've just demonstrated that there's no historical context for what Wright has done, PECOTA is probably the wrong tool for this job. I'll go with guessing, in keeping with the Mets' general human resources strategy.
The humility underlying this piece was refreshing. Great job, Matt.
IIRC, the Giants are banking on the argument that Lincecum is not an exceptional case, and thus his salary should not be subject to free market forces. This is more a philosophical difference than a difference in linear value, which gives the team at least a hook to hang it hat on in arbitration.
I don't see that bucket holding any water with a reasonable arbitrator, but maybe SF brass does.
The problem with this system is that it measures "most cost-effective" GM not necessarily "best" GM. Brian Cashman isn't paid to be cost-effective; he's paid to win the most games. If the Yankees need to double everyone else's payroll to win the East by one game, that's success to them.
Good point. Moreover, there seems to be little prejudice against bad by first basemen and slugging outfielders; why do we hold *no* defense against a DH? Isn't a DH who gives up no runs in the field less of an albatross than a Dr. Strangeglove at another position?
Just want to add my sadness at Joe's departure and echo the sentiment that I hope it's for better opportunities and not because of a squabble.
Joe, write when you get work...
...and while you're at it, tell us how a .323 OBP (Dawson) and a .339 OBP (Parker) feels like a Hall of Famer.
Just for perspective, here are some notables who accumulated OBP higher than .323 this year: Clete Thomas, Chris Getz, Gerardo Parra, Alex Gordon, Felix Pie, Freddy Sanchez and, well, you get the picture.
Also, calling Cabrera the Yankees' "anchor" is a little jarring. We know what you mean -- that he dragged the rest of the team down -- but we usually use "anchor" to mean the linchpin around which everything else works. He was more like the team's dead weight.
Well I'll be darned. Looked it up and the etymology of the word is as a noun meaning "ten thousand." I stand corrected ... for the myriadth time.
Christina, I know that as a wordsmith you'll want to know that "myriad" means "countless." Gonzalez had "myriad hurts," not "a myriad of hurts."
And the rest of you can save you minus button the workout. I know you don't care about proper usage, but Christina does.
The Mets share very few of the Yankees' advantages. Though they play in NY, they don't have generational fans in New Jersey, Connecticut and the northern suburbs. They lack the Yankees' history; there are no '27 Mets. They lack the Yankees' cache. In short, the Mets are a big market team. The Yankees are a singular franchise with advantages at every level.
Quit beating around the bush, Joe. Tell us how you really feel.
I believe Billy Beane allowed Michael Lewis to give away the recipe to his success, and now he's just a smart GM empty pockets.
Where Aybar was physically located was irrelevant. He could have fallen on his face at second base and never gotten up; he was still awarded third the moment Hunter earned the walk. The umps -- and Fox -- blew it. I'm surprised that no one else is picking up on it since it was determinative.
Thanks Joe. My interpretation of that rule is that the runners get one base, which would bring Aybar home and set up second and third. At the moment that the ball went into the stands, Aybar had already earned third, Figgins second and Hunter first. I think the umps blew it and cost the Angels a run -- and the game.
Why did the ball caroming off Molina and into the stands save the Yankees? Can someone explain that rule, if in fact it exists? It seems to me that, like an errant throw that goes into the stands, the wild pitch allows each runner to advance one base. Since the runners achieved first, second and third by dint of the walk, why didn't the run score on the wild pitch?
Joe, in case you're feeling friendless and alone, despair not. I enjoyed your insights and have no interest in serving as your assignment editor.
On the other hand, doesn't *everyone* make the WNBA playoffs?
Who's debating the MVP race? No reputable baseball analyst I've heard has suggested anyone but Mauer.
No question. The pioneers are the guys with the arrows in their backs.
An ironic little typo on "good," eh?
...an anemic offense largely comprised of over-the-hill veterans...
Goode writers know that "comprised" is not a synonym for "composed." Individuals comprise a group; a group is composed of individuals.
I enjoy your articles. Here's your chance to improve as a writer.
Maybe he's a card in the clubhouse. Someone to be dealt with. Hehe.
Nelson, Kim and Marmol are in a different class than those around them in the contact-free zone. Benitez, Gagne, et. al. avoided contact by evading bats. Nelson, Kim and Marmol make the list because they evaded the strike zone and and found body parts. It's the difference between being highly effective and, whoa, Nellie!!
Actually, Jeter didn't dive into the stands. If you view that video carefully, you'll see that Jeter caught the ball on the field and took two steps before vaulting (by his own admission) into the seats in the hope that seated fans would catch him.
But that inconvenient truth undermines the more compelling narrative that has become conventional ignorance and hero worship. Seems to me that a surefire Hall of Famer doesn't need his reputation burnished beyond reality.
You're proposing a free market approach to an industry that doesn't operate in a free market. The anti-trust exemption, the national labor market/local revenue conundrum and the nearly absolute barrier to entry into the industry -- to name just three issues -- make baseball unique and require solutions that transcend simple free market tactics.
Both these responses miss the point: PECOTA tells us pretty close to nothing that we don't already know. A five percent improvement on my best guess about a player is hardly worth the time. I don't need PECOTA's help getting 75% of performance projections wrong.
Moreover, BP authors often rely on PECOTA to evaluate signings, trades, etc., as if PECOTA is destiny. It's still a pretty weak predictor.
None of this should be construed as a repudiation of the work done at BP. One can be a fan without being blind to the flaws. A little humility when it comes to predicting performance is indicated here.
What these articles really demonstrate, it seems to me, is the futility of PECOTA. I appreciate your willingness to expose the system's warts, but when it can't predict 75% of hitters within 10 points either way of EQA and 75% of pitchers within .33 of EqERA, the system is somewhere in the vicinity of pointless.
That PECOTA is the best of the projection systems tells us that, even with all the great research being done, computers still can't predict player performance any better than can a reasonably sentient fan. With all due respect, BP authors ought to keep that in mind when the urge arises to treat PECOTA projections as inevitable.
This is outstanding research. In time it will have far-reaching consequences refining Pythagorean accounting. Encore!
Don't forget Minaya's handling of Willie Randolph's firing. If I recall correctly, it was executed in the middle of the night while on a West Coast road trip after Willie had been publicly hung out to dry for weeks.
"First baseman Russell Branyan has a .325 EqA after be signed as a free agent..."
"Griffey keeps him loose but constantly tickling him..."
"They sparked fan outrage last month when by trading center fielder Nate McLouth..."
Editor take the day off?
That would put you in a very small minority, both among Met fans and lovers of baseball generally. He's generally considered one of the top play-by-play guys by fans and media alike. An internet search of his name demonstrates that.
You have the right to your opinion, but it's not broadly shared.
After Wieters, MIT is the Georgia Tech of the north.
As long as you're evaluating writing, it's germane to note violations of grammar, usage and syntax. I know that many of you baseball fans won't care, but writers should. To wit:
1. People are "who;" things are "that." You can't say "the pitcher that has an ERA..."
2. I.e. means "in other words." If you mean "for example," use e.g.
This applies to most BP authors as well as Byron and Brittany.
Veeck and Dan, thanks for setting me straight. Still seems like, from a public policy perspective, a terrible waste to abandon a 20-year-old building.
I'm going to change my name to Mario Mendoza and...oh...nevermind.
Am I the only one who wonders why an expansion franchise needs a new stadium? I understand the Trop is a tissue box, but it was built specifically for the Rays, no?
Are adjoining municipalities really stupid enough to bite on a hook that was similarly baited just 11 years ago?
He'll come nowhere near plugging the whole created by Manny's suspension. He may plug the hole though.
He may or may not be hung. Your fictional Gammons would want him hanged.
Yankee Stadium is an ATM machine? That made me LOL out loud. I'm going AWOL without leave after reading that. I'd like to invite you along, if you would please RSVP. We'll go to an OPEC country and read BP Prospectus from there. :)
Could be a Phyrric string of victories if the M's contend through the summer by smoke and mirrors only to fade in the fall along with any chance to cash in the free agents for prospects.
The underlying truth hasn't changed: this is a woebegone team.
Nice writing, Ben.
I'll tell you one thing that has been lost with the demise of newspapers -- facility with the language in print. Good editors don't let trite cliches like "thinking outside the box" see the light of day, particularly trite cliches that mean "the kind of thinking that would never produce trite cliches."
Newspaper editors also don't allow mention of "mediums" when discussing "media." "Mediums" are people who see dead relatives, or shirts that are neither smalls nor larges.
I dearly love BP, but wish you all were more careful with your writing. By accepting the degradation of English, you are contributing to it.
Can a White Sox pitching staff that sports John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle and Bobby Jenks really be expected to surrender 828 runs in the flaccid AL Central?
I have trouble seeing them among the worst teams in baseball. Am I alone?
While we're on the subject, how about everyone at BP using the word "comprised" correctly? It is not a replacement for "composed." Members comprise a group; a group is composed of its members. Never use "comprised" with "of."
...which is a good sign if you're a Saux partisan. In fact, their depth is part of the reason they're forecast for supremacy.
That the Giants are slotting an untested, 5-11, 246-pound, 22-year-old third in the lineup is all you need to know about their pennant hopes. This team could take batting practice in the lobby of the Waldorf without shattering glass.*
*Not an original description
Asking who is going to close for the Mariners is like asking how an elephant\'s going to ring the bell on his bicycle without any thumbs.
It\'s moot: there won\'t be any leads to protect.
The key question is, how in God\'s name are they going to score runs?
It seems that external factors beyond the reach of Joe\'s sabermetric analysis are the cause of their continuing free agency. From what I understand Dunn won\'t sign as a DH and Manny wants a contract that may outlast his motivation.
Moreover, signing an inert DH limits a team\'s flexibility and can cause a cascade of roster problems that leave an offensive wet noodle playing in the field.
You say that as if it\'s a bad thing.
John, I eagerly await your pieces and appreciate your work. As a writer, you should know how to use the word \"comprised.\" Please look it up and use it correctly. Misuse undermines your credibility, which is otherwise considerable.
You know your team is in trouble when its braintrust is busy rearranging the deck chairs so that Jose Lopez can play first and Jeff Clement can DH. Put Mario Mendoza on speed dial.
David, the word \"comprised\" is not a synonym for \"composed.\" A group is composed of individuals. Individuals comprise the group.
Never use \"comprised\" with \"of.\"
Tell your BP mates.
This whole discussion assumes that defensive metrics are worth the electrons they consume. I have always been, and remain, highly dubious.
This is a straw man argument in that Jack Morris is -- I would venture an educated guess -- a consensus non-Famer, at least among BP readers and writers.
Joe, you could do much more of a service by comparing Mussina to a second-tier HOFer so that we could really determine his bona fides.
The Volquez-Hamilton trade was a win-win only in the sense that a bald man trading Rogaine for a silver-handled comb is a winner.
The Rangers need another bat like I need another wife. Their offense could take them to the playoffs if they could manage to identify and keep a couple of decent starters. In Volquez, they had at least one piece of the Holy Grail, but they auctioned it off for yet more power hitting.
Josh Hamilton is a nice story, but a pennant would make baseball fans in Dallas a lot happier.