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How about doing this exercise but limiting it to people who had "meaningful" experiences with the Expos?
You can define "meaningful" however you want, but I would define it as 100 GP as a hitter or 50 IP as a pitcher - in other words, not quite a full season. It's entirely arbitrary, but this exercise doesn't have to be perfectly scientific.
The only one of your final four who qualifies is Scott Downs. He definitely had "meaningful" experience - he had cups of coffee with Montreal in 2000 and 2003, before 63 innings of pedestrian relief work in 2004, good enough for a whopping .2 WARP. Nevertheless, it was a full season in Montreal so he's probably the best bet to be the Final Expo amongst those who actually had "meaningful" time with the Expos.
So why are they playing him at CF now? Give him marginal experience there so he can play CF in a pinch at the major league level? Is there another guy in Hagerstown they want to give some time at RF?
If Harper is going to be the RF of the future, every game "wasted" at CF when that's not the long term plan is one less game he could have played in RF.
I'm sure some old-timers think that collisions are 100% a part of baseball because it's part of that whole hard-nosed, battle between fiery warriors fighting for every inch.
Enough with that stuff. Save it for football - a sport that really is about battles and trenches and violent contact (see george carlin for the comparision).
Collisions at home plate should go the way of the spitball. It's quite simple - adapt from recreational slow-pitch softball. If catcher already has ball, runner cannot barrel him over - he can try to slide around, jump over, some other evasive move, but he cannot simply try to railroad the catcher.
If catcher does not have ball / is in the process of fielding the throw, he CANNOT block the plate by intruding on the runner's established baseline path to the plate. As long as the runner maintains a straight line towards home while running, if he slides and is blocked, he is automatically safe. If he barrels into a blocking catcher, he is ejected but ruled safe because catcher broke rules. If he barrels into a non-blocking catcher, he is ejected and AUTOMATICALLY ruled out.
Yes, collisions will always take place at some point - fielders fielding the ball right in the baseline, ask Fernando Vina v. Albert Belle - but home plate collisions simply don't need to be part of the game.
I actually find it more offensive that he simply said "you can't do X, period". There may be a situation where it makes sense to save your closer for extra innings and instead pitch someone else in a tie game in the 9th - favorable matchups - perhaps the 3 batters due-up are all lefties and you have a LOOGY who is really tough on them.
But there are also times when it makes sense to use your closer in a tie game in the 9th.
The bigger problem, to me, is that Gonzalez is saying "I will always, always, blindly follow a set guideline for how to manage my baseball team, without any regard for context or match-ups". That is the problem - that a manager think that an ironclad, "this is the way it should always be done" principle for managing is correct.
Gerardo, I know, I know.
Is Gerald Parra really the answer there? I mean, if the team isn't going anywhere, fine, I can see the argument that playing the young guy makes more sense than the washed up veteran on a comeback tour - but at some point, shouldn't the case be made you throw Pena out there and see if he can't go nuts and hit 12 home runs in a month? If he's doing .250/.310/.530 after a month or two, some team will send a prospect back for that bat.
Not to forget, Pena's 28. Is a season or two of .320/.500 really that hard to envision?
KG, you mention that Eduardo can't afford to lose a step. With that said I think it has to be concerning both the White Sox and a self-confessed Eduardo-love like yourself that he currently sits at 150. It seems as he fills out in his mid-20's he is going to have a really tough time not losing any speed.
Great as always KG. From a scouting perspective, what went wrong with Beau Mills?
Is Crow's poor control a result of mechanical breakdown (perhaps do to the missed year), or is there some other cause?
Obviously the performance has been underwhelming, but is there anything about his approach/mechanics that is driving the skepticism among scouts?
Absolutely. And if the Mariners feel that way they should just cut him now. Looking forward to this weeks version of the best podcast on the internet.
Kevin, my understanding was that Lueke was more or less ready to step into a 7th/8th inning role. That seems worthy of top 11 inclusion in a relatively shallow system. Is his ranking outside the top 11 largely do the makeup, or am I overrating his talent?
Gorky's seems to profile as an ideal 4th outfielder, do you believe he won't hit enough even for that role?
Curious what sort of body projection Heredia gets? Would the Pirates like him to add substantial weight to that lanky frame?
I meant to add that perception is a powerful thing. The people in charge think the wild card is a great invention that leads to more teams being invovled and more money for their pocketbooks. Whether or not that's the truth doesn't matter. At least that's the way I see it. The mindset shouldn't be "get rid of the wild card", but rather, how can it best be shaped to still put emphasis on pennant races, because unless there's a drastic overhaul in baseball's leadership, the wild card's not going away.
Thank you. This is my point. Although most of us would love to see a return to the 2 divisions, 1 winner per division format, it's just not happening. Even if the whole "wild card bump" is a myth, and that the September crowds don't get a benefit from the wild card, the owners think it does, and the owners think the wild card boosts revenue and leads to more $.
The wild card is here to stay. My point is that the two wild card format, to me, is better than the current format, and actually has a chance of happening.
Although I am a little confused - Joe, you said 4 divisions, top team in each league - do you mean top team in each division? The way you wrote it seems to imply that you'd have 4 divisions, say, AL East, AL West, NL East, NL West, but would only send 2 teams to the playoffs - the best team from the AL and NL. I assume you meant top team in each division, and that you'd "live with, unhappily", the top two teams in each division going to the playoffs.
I fail to see how 8 teams making the playoffs by way of 2 divisions, top 2 in each, is any sort of improvement over the current 3 divisions, top in each and one wild card. Both systems will lead to situations like Yankees/Rays where teams are merely fighting for playoff position, and the only pennant races would be races for the 2nd spot in the division. Unless I'm completely mis-understanding the proposal.
I think there are a lot of people on this site who wouldn't mind going to the English Soccer system - best team at the end of the regular season is the champion.
But it's not going to happen. There's too much $ to be made in the playoffs, and the wild card adds another round of $ and also keeps more teams "alive" in September and that also means more $.
My question is, can you put more emphasis on winning your division / being the better team in the regular season, without getting rid of the wild card (or at least keeping 4 teams in each league in the playoffs)? The 2 wild card idea does have the downside that Joe pointed out, but it at least gives an incentive to winning the division.
Thanks for the response. Do you have any suggestions for putting more importance on the division that work within the wild card framework?
As much as many of us would love to see a return to 2 divisions, no wild cards, I just don't see the wild card, and all the $ that it brings, going away. Do you see any way to keep the wild card but also put more emphasis on the regular season?
Joe - any thoughts on some people asking for a 2nd wild card to be added in each league, and having the two wild cards play in either a 1 or 3 game series? Stark wrote an article on ESPN about it and I've read others asking for it before.
Although it would seem to "dilute" the regular season even more, it actually would put more of an emphasis on winning your division, as "settling" for the wild card means you have to beat the other wild card just to get to the Division Series. I bet the Yankees and Rays would be battling a lot harder if the difference between 1st and 2nd is not having to play the Red Sox in a 1 game playoff in order to advance to the Division Series. And, presumably, the wild card teams would have to burn their best pitcher trying to win the "wild card round", and would then be traveling to the league's best division winner with a sub-optimal starting pitching configuration
The wild card is here to stay - there's too much $ for the owners to let it go - but this actually adds more playoff games, keeps more teams in contention (teams fighting for the 2nd wild card spot), and if it's a 3 game series, means 2 more teams get at least one home playoff game - so the owners get more $, plus, the division winners "get" something.
I don't think you've commented on such an idea - and I know you've been a fervent defender about the importance of the regular season and pennant races and how the wild card dilutes that.
Most of the records above are products of old-time pitching patterns, or essentially game-based limitations (to get 9 RBI in an inning you have to bat around twice and get 3 at-bats, it just doesn't happen in baseball). However, I submit two records that aren't going to be broken for a long time only because of the absolute perfect storm that came across to allow them to happen. Courtesy of Barry Bonds:
120 IBB in one season
688 IBB in a career
It's not about a change in usage here, it's just that such a ridiculous combination of events that create the situation where a guy got intetionally walked that many times - I just don't see that happening again. Also the .6094 OBP in a year, don't see that falling either.
I'll take my 2 grand slams before your 8 RBI. Not that either is being broken anytime soon.
4 saves in a World Series by John Wetteland. :-)
I know we're talking about the historical records that everyone knows like 511 wins by Cy Young, but two records that really will never be broken are Fernando Tatis' two grand slams in an inning (think about it - you'd need to bat around twice, bringing at least 4 batters to the plate 3 times in an inning; double bat-arounds are rare enough as is, I think it's about once a year where someone gets 3 at-bats in an inning, then you need to get a guy to hit three grandslams in said double bat-around, considering that hitting two home runs in an inning is rare enough).
The other is Cy Young's 313 losses. 511 wins could theoretically be broken by a Greg Maddux type on a high scoring offense for a team that's consistently good (essentially, Greg Maddux over 20 years on the Yankees). Quite improbable no doubt, but compare that to 313 losses - someone has to pitch long enough to compile that many losses, and considering how tough it is to get to 300 WINS...
No witty comment on Carl Crawford? I know you hate WATG, but I'm not asking what about him, just asking for a sarcastic or humourous comment about the "contusion".
Unless I missed it in a previous UTG.
Women's softball, and for that matter, amateur men's slow pitch softball pitchers have begun using masks like this - http://www.gameface.com/ or http://www.softballfans.com/shop/product.php?productid=2388&cat=9&page=1
It may not be the most comfortable, and it certainly looks funny, but I'm sure the same thing was said about the first hockey goalie mask.
A lot of players (and for that matter, a lot of fans and media writers) operate under the assumption that Team X is willing to spend $100 million on players, be they major league veterans or Dominican kids. Therefore, the $3 million that goes to the next 16 year old from Santo Dominigo is no different than the $3 million that goes to a player in that it's 3% of the "pie" that Team X is willing to spend.
When everyone's getting big contracts (1998), no one cares that there's also money going to amateurs. When there are numerous players who had to settle for one year contracts at salaries less than what many thought the players would be getting, and then those players are going to see tons of money going to amateurs, they're going to think of the "pie".
I am in no way saying that such an outlook is right or wrong, nor am I saying that is or is not how teams operate. I'm saying there are plenty of players (in every sport) who see it that way, regardless of whether it's right or wrong.
And I say this as someone who attended both the Futures Game and the HR Derby last year. Although yes, part of it was the time of day / scheduling, the amount of people who wanted to go to the HR Derby (and were willing to pay through the nose to do so) vastly outnumbered the number of people who wanted to go to the Futures Game. The Futures Game is a great event, but it's ultimately more for the truly immersed fan. The HR Derby is for casual fans and it does a great job at it.
And it's the exact kind of thing MLB should be doing - attracting casual fans in a way that does NOT ailenate the hardcore fans. The problem is when a sport (the NHL does this all the time) does something in an attempt to attract casual fans that negatively affects the hardcore fans (Joe would argue the Wild Card did exactly that). But the HR Derby has no affect on hardcore fans, so it's the perfect thing.
The HR Derby is absolutely no different than NBA's Slam Dunk contest. Great for casual fans, and at most a mild "that was impressive" interest for "hard-core" fans.
Casual fans outnumber hard-core fans.
If you put the Futures Game and the HR Derby on at the same time on Monday night at two different stadiums and broadcast one on ABC and one on CBS, the HR Derby would absolutely destroy the Futures Game in ratings.
I do agree the Futures game should be moved to Sunday Night, but the HR Derby is a huge event for baseball that draws ratings, interest, fans and $. Ending it would be absolutely silly. Don't like it? Don't watch.
I do think, however, they shouldn't restrict the field to All-Stars and should focus more on who can actually put on a show. If you're not going to pull in the "big names", then I see no reason not to pick the guys who can absolutely mash the ball over people who may actually be better ball players. The Slam Dunk contest featured Nate Robinson, who is not exactly one of the leagues best players, or even an all-star.
That, I think, is the key. Once the big names decline, then just get the absolute mashers, even if they're not all-stars. This event was designed for Adam Dunn, Russell Branyan and Jim Thome. Let them go out there and put on a show.
I also wish they would do a 60 yard dash tournament between the fastest guys. Although you'd need Joey Gathright to really make it a true test.
I remember when Jack McKeon was with the Reds and was running a Williamson/Graves closer platoon because Graves was the ground-ball machine and Williamson was the K guy, the articles here (and I of course agreed) talk about how, essentially, by being out of baseball during the time when the closer-centric model developed, McKeon missed that boat and was still managing "old-school". In other words, for once, being an old, crotchety veteran hesitant to change in how a baseball team should be managed/run/built actually helped a manger.
It came up again when McKeon had the guts to take one of his best starters (Willis) and turn him into a situational reliever in the World Series. Again, being a old-school anti-new development crusty old veteran made him better. It's rare, but it happens.
I don't see the owners going for that because one of the main side-perks of 3 division and unbalanced schedules is significantly less travel costs.
That the Blue Jays, Rays and Orioles get screwed probably doesn't trump all the teams not on the West Coast not wanting to travel out to the West Coast more than they already do.
Maybe it does though.
Do you have any solutions? Do you think this is a "problem", or just a quirky outcome that's interesting to note but ultimately nothing more? When the Western Conference was so dominant people were calling for a straight 16 team playoff, David Stern's response was "this is just cyclical", and to a degree, he's right.
It could be argued that this is not cyclical in MLB because of the Yankees and Red Sox. But that's not the point.
Regardless of whether it's cyclical or not, do you think there should be a change? And a "realistic" change at that (as in, not going back to the days of 2 divisions with only one team from each advancing; I know you've long advocated for that but there's just no chance the owners would EVER agree to that)?
Pointing to one trade and saying it's the "turning point" flies in the face of everything that's been written on this site about sample size, no?
If a player had a horrible half-season, then had one good game, you wouldn't sit here and say "this is the turning point"? Joe, you're the one who always (and correctly) points us to how stupid looking at just April stats are?
Maybe you're right, in that this trade will signal the dawning of an era where defensive is evaluated by metrics as opposed to gold gloves and highlight reels. But you need more than one trade to make such a claim.
They are who we thought they are!
Wait. Wrong Sport.
I also in no way meant to say that Longoria's scores are those I listed, I was creating an example. I also did not mean to say that PECOTA only uses isolated power, walk rates and speed rates to establish comparables. Just trying to prevent any confusion.
The point is that you are looking to how a player played against his contemporaries for forecasting future performance. That year round training is a part of baseball culture now is just one of many differences.
The point is, Longoria had certain isolated power, walk rates, speed rates, that, when compared to his era, adjusted for other factors, compare generally to certain other players. Then, how did those other players do?
Even though it was a different era, if history has shown us that 23 year old third baseman who produce an isolated power rate 10% better than average, walk rates 5% better than average, and speed scores 25% below average typically see a very strong decline in 2 years, even if that history is drawing from the 1960s and 1970s, it is useful for predictions.
Yes, there are differences now and then, and yes there may be individual reasons, that's why PECOTA tries to use as many comparable as possible - hey, for all we know, Horner may have worked out more than Longoria does.
And also, I believe, though am not positive, PECOTA favors more recent comparables. It's built into the system - essentially, an incredibly similar player just 2 years ago is the best comparable, but an incredible similar player 30 years ago and a relatively similar player 2 years ago are given approximately equal weight.
But you'd have to talk to the BP pros for the exact details.
Just got back from the San Jose Giants's opening day. Wow are they loaded. Alderson got the start but didn't look as good as Tyson Ross, Villalona hit a no-doubt shot. The team is just amazing: Alderson, Bumgarder, Posey, Villalona, Noonan, Gillaspie.
I'd like to echo the previous two comments. I know it was mostly a joke, but there are at least 3 legitimate possibilities for Strasburg not being the top propspect:
1) Blows his arm out and requires significant arm surgery.
2) Failure to sign. It's not THAT far-fetched.
3) The previously mentioned situation where he signs early to a Major League Contract and has pitched 50 innings before the season ends.
Each of these is highly unlikely, but none of them are unrealistic. The combination of any of those 3 have to make at least a 3% chance he's not the top prospect...
The problem, at least to me, is double elimination with TWO teams advancing. So the winner's bracket team (the team that goes 2-0) advances, and whoever comes out of the loser's bracket also advances...and then the two teams play ONE game for seeding, even though both have already advanced.
In a "true" double elimination, the team from the loser's bracket has to win 2 in a row versus the team in the winner's bracket - since only one team advances.
That's the problem. Double elimination tournaments work much better when the goal is to get ONE team out of the 4 to advance, NOT to get 2 teams out of 4 to advance.
If logistics (and advertisements / marketing / publicity) dictate that you need pods of 4 with 2 teams advancing, you really need to do it in bracket play with tiebreakers. Personally, I think 2 8-team double elimination tournaments, including the fact that whoever has the one loss has to beat the team with 0 losses TWICE, and then the two winners playing a 2 out of 3, would be much better.
Or Joe's idea of 2 6-team pods with bracket play.
My point is that if 4-team pods are required, then double elimination seems silly. If you want double elimination tournaments, you need to have only one team advance from each "mini-tournament".
My friends and I used to do a similar exercise every off-season, but we tried to make it a bit more realistic, and in doing so, could make a fairly decent team at much lower costs, by using a real team\'s current farm system (but none of the pre-arb players currently playing).
We would typically do two teams - one, using an average farm system, and one, using one of the worst.
It would be cheating to cherry pick the farm that is light on outfielders and has studs at Catcher and 3rd Base, just because that is where the free agent market is worst, but, just have Goldstein tell you who he rates as the 15th, and 28th best farm systems in baseball, and repeat the exercise, but using the minor league talent you have from that same farm system.
This makes it a little more realistic - no team is built entirely from scratch, every team has a farm system to draw cheap talent from. I think you could produce a team that could contend, and possibly win, in the AL West and NL West, using just the free agents and the talent from the 15th best farm system, and I don\'t think you\'d break $85 million.
What that tells us about the state of baseball, I don\'t quite know.
You don\'t have to make that decision now, in fact, making it now seems foolish. You will have a lot more information after Game 3.
First, where is the series at after 3 games? If it\'s 3-0 Rays, then you have to start Hamels on 3 days rest, wouldn\'t you? You need to win 4 games, and the best opportunity would be to gamble that Hamels on 3 days rest twice can give you 2 quality performances. On the other hand, if you\'re up 3-0, wouldn\'t you want the \"safe\" play of a \"guaranteed\" (and nothing in baseball is guaranteed) quality start from Hamels since he will be on full rest?
Also, wouldn\'t you want to use how he pitched in Game 1 as some sort of indicator? Small sample size caveats still applying, see how the Rays reacted to his pitches...Were they getting good swings in? Were they hopelessly lost? Also, how many pitches did he throw? If the Phillies are up 9-0 in the 5th, you may be able to take him out so he can pitch on short rest. On the other hand, if it\'s a 1-1 game in the 8th and Hamels is pitching brilliantly, you may just have to ride him for the entire game.
There are plenty of other \"nuggets\" of information that will be gained in the next few days, all before Game 4, I just picked a few obvious ones (where the series is at, how the Rays did against him in Game 1, and how many pitches he threw in Game 1).
I see no reason to even speculate what SHOULD be done until the day before Game 4, since what SHOULD be done could vary widely depending on what happens in the next few days.
Lastly, remember Arizona went 1-4-7 in 2001. They also made their Game 2/6 starter available for Game 7 - though they probably could have pulled RJ even earlier in Game 6 as that was an ugly blowout (I remember saying he should have been pulled in the 4th or 5th inning).
The point is, if you go the Hamels/Myers/Moyer/Hamels/Blanton/Myers/Hamels route, one advantage to using Moyer in Game 6 for enough innings is that if you can limit Myers enough in Game 6, you have him for an inning or two in Game 7. But then again, if it gets to a Game 7, it may just be Hamels to Lidge to conclusion.
Wouldn\'t the same logic as to why Lidge will give up a costly home run apply to any Dodgers hard-throwing fly ball reliever (or for that matter, any other Phillie hard-throwing fly ball reliever).
Broxton had a 4.0 FB/HR%, and a similar ground ball rate to Lidge (stats courtesy of HBT). Wouldn\'t there be just as good of a chance that he\'s going to give up a costly home run?
I know that pointing out Lidge has been HR lucky is worth noting, but at the same time, he\'s basically no more likely to give up a HR than any other hard-throwing, fly ball inducing reliever, whether that be a Dodger or a Phillie. So really, why should that be a point to consider when predicting the series? Unless you want to argue the concept of \"he\'s due\", in which case, a coin that lands on tails 10 times in a row is \"due\" to land on Heads, right?