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harderj
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Baseball Prospectus http://bbp.cx/i/32137
harderj
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This was exactly the article I was looking for, as I play in a Yahoo league with holds. Thanks. These guys also tend to be solid in Strat-o-Matic, depending on their splits (the Romos, Stricklands, Herreras, Givens, and Tazawas of the league).

Mar 17, 2017 2:12 PM on Relief Pitchers
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Here's another: Kevin Mitchell played 24 games at short in his rookie season with the '86 Mets (as well as 6 in CF ;-), though he had never played SS in the minors.

 
harderj
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I saw something else on Davis, that last year his fly ball distance averaged 309 feet, ninth best in the majors (or at least A.L., sorry I don't remember which) and this year it's down to...308 feet, also ninth best. So the drop in HR/FB is kind of puzzling. I don't know where to find a spray chart on fly balls hit to compare this year to last, but that might be interesting.

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 2

Thanks for the list. Very enjoyable reflection on the first half. Here are some that occurred to me: 1. Lucas Duda will hit better than Chris Davis 2. Conor Gillaspie will have a higher OPS than Robinson Cano, David Ortiz, or Hanley Ramirez 3. Carlos Santana will struggle to stay above the Mendoza line 4. Brock Holt will have the second highest OPS among Red Sox regulars 5. Jake Arrieta will have a better ERA than Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, or Jon Lester 6. Alfredo Simon will have one fewer win than Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann combined 7. Madison Bumgarner will hit as many home runs as Billy Butler, J.J. Hardy, Jason Kipnis, and Prince Fielder will (and more than Bryce Harper, Derek Jeter, or Joe Mauer)

 
harderj
(32137)
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Or Danny Santana, for that matter? ;-)

Jun 12, 2014 8:36 AM on Week 11
 
harderj
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Jeter is a ss-4e26, but with only 63 at bats isn't a starter. Hanley Ramirez is a 3e29, Jhonny Peralta a 4e7, and Jed Lowrie a 4e23 among other shortstops getting no (g)love from Strat...

Mar 13, 2014 11:41 AM on American League Hitters
 
harderj
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harderj
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I just went and looked at Yahoo's help and while it is true that 5 starts or 10 games played garners a player new positional eligibility during a season, how preseason positional eligibility is determined wasn't specific re: number of games played or started the previous season. "At the beginning of the Fantasy Baseball season, Yahoo Sports placed all players into positions, based partially on information from official MLB rosters but focusing mainly on past performance."

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 5

Russell, really nice article...thanks! First-mover disadvantages, even if the teams don't think along those lines, are huge. On the nutrition point, Pablo Sandoval reportedly hired his older brother (a CIA graduate, if I recall correctly) to become his personal chef after the Panda's latest D.L. stint and it seems to be working out well. But I don't know if the Giants are subsidizing that or whether it's out of the Panda's rather substantial pockets. And even though it's only one case I'd argue it's decidedly a large sample size ;-).

 
harderj
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As the "proud" owner of Daric Barton, Reid Brignac, Wade Davis, Mark Rogers, and Mat Gamel (until I cut him post injury this year) in my Strat-O-Matic league I was surprised not to see their teammates Matt LaPorta and Ian Stewart on this list, but upon further review saw that they both turned 28 this year (as did the never-owned Brandon Wood).

 
harderj
(32137)
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Enjoyed this. Thanks. Could the new version of replay be used on something like Reggie Jackson's "hip check" of a throw to break up a double play after being forced at second in the 1978 World Series? Or to assess whether a base runner in a rundown had stayed in the baseline (understanding that the base line is uniquely established by the runner on the play)? I'm thinking Kensuke Tanaka in a Giants game on 7/12/13. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_07_12_sfnmlb_sdnmlb_1#gid=2013_07_12_sfnmlb_sdnmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=sf Or whether a runner (say Ruben Rivera) touched, re-touched, or re-re-touched a base as needed? http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20264

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 3

Dr. Wallace, thanks for this fascinating article! Perhaps "BA 10" can be the next stat added to Team Tracker. It did raise a few questions for me, non-neuroscientist that I am. Are there age effects in these brain processes? I think there's now some evidence that brain tissue (or neurons or whatever) can regenerate, as opposed to what used to be believed, but is this true for these regions and processes as well? Is there a peak (perhaps around age 27 for hitters)? Can experience and training increase the positive effects? How much does inadequate rest, travel across time zones, or a high level of stress affect all this? Do PED's have an effect, positive or deleterious? And do Tyler Clippard's glasses provide a boost? Thanks again for the article!

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 6

Russell, really nice article. While major league managers may not change their tune too quickly on this one, at least in part because of the desirability of defined bullpen roles and future contract implications, analyses of this ilk are invaluable for playing Strat-O-Matic and other sims. Thanks!

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

As a minor note, Kensuke Tanaka throws right-handed but bats left-handed (and has hit .364/.417/.364 in his first 12 plate appearances against righties), and would presumably be the short-term platoon partner in left with Francouer. Also perhaps of note is that Francouer has only had two career MLB games in left field (with a .500 fielding percentage ;-), but I assume that's not a huge concern. He's playing left exclusively in Fresno as he tunes up, and while he has an outfield assist already in three games, he's also only two for thirteen (both singles) with two RBI, two strikeouts, no walks, and one GIDP.

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Every no-hitter seems to have a critical defensive play, and this one came after Blanco's walk put Bailey in the stretch for the first time. After Blanco advanced to second on a ground out, Buster Posey hit a short, soft looping liner between first and second. Blanco initially held up, as it looked like Joey Votto might make the catch, but once the ball bounced he broke for third. Votto, well off the bag and realizing that he could not beat Posey to first *and* that Bailey had "become a spectator" on the play and wasn't covering the bag himself, threw to third and easily beat Blanco for a fielder's choice (after a lousy attempt to get into a rundown) to preserve the no-no. I don't think it was a baserunning mistake by Blanco, as it was technically a grounder to the right side and you run from second on those, but Bailey and the Reds did catch a break. Very heads-up play by Votto on a brain cramp by Bailey.

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 3

This is not meant to be criticism but more a question of when, how, and why does a player get labelled a platoon guy? With regard to Nate Schierholtz, while he has always faced more righties than lefties (about 80/20 before this year), over his first five years in the majors he was actually more effective against same-siders. From 2007-2011 his numbers vs. right-handed pitchers were .262/.310/.402/.712 in 897 career plate appearances, with a BABIP of .298. To the same point in his career vs. lefties they were .317/.351/.438/.789 with a BABIP of .376, albeit in only 223 plate appearances (19.9% of total PA). Even after drastic splits in 2012 his vs. righties line entering 2013 was .266/.319/.413/.732 (.301 BABIP) for his career compared to .284/.317/.391/.708 (.342 BABIP) vs. lefties. Even with his struggles last year and so far this season against them he has hit slightly more line drives in his career against lefties than righties (23.1% vs. 20.3%), although he has more difficulty elevating the ball (28.6% vs. 37.4% FB rate) and turning fly balls into home runs (4.4% vs. 8.6% HR/FB). Then again, he has almost twice as high a percentage of infield base hits that way (12.2% vs. 6.4%). I'm not surprised the Giants didn't figure that out, seeing him as a fourth outfielder/defensive replacement, but I would have thought the Cubs might see the merits of at least trying him against lefties instead of Scott Hairston (.162/.226/.419 vs. lhp this season).

 
harderj
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I play in an A.L. only league that uses holds so having a heads-up on good setup guys is nice, and in a Strat-O-Matic league that doesn't require closer ratings this is useful as well, so I'm all for it. Thanks!

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Because Joe Sclafani had just homered on the previous pitch (only his second of the season, although he's batting .393/.523/.536)? Because DeShields bluffed a steal in this blowout before the home run? Because Sclafani styled too much on his run around the bases or Aplin was too exuberant in his congratulations? Because it was announced just before his plate appearance that Aplin had been named the California League Offensive Player of the Week for the week of May 20-26 by hitting .462 with two home runs, five doubles, 10 RBI and eight runs scored, and he tipped his helmet or something? Perhaps most likely, because DeShields, consistent with other points made in the article, walked the last ~90 feet on Sclafani's dinger, and maybe even was in danger of being passed by him on the bases?

 
harderj
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My guess is that Aplin's walk-up music changed, perhaps to Norway's "The Drinking Song (Diogenes, Cantankerous, and Proud)." However, if so, this was probably the brainchild of the Lancaster audio operator, not Aplin, would require Rosario to know that his first name is part of the song's title, and would have to have him take offense to that. That seemed unlikely to me except for the part that he's repeating the level for the third year. Perhaps Lancaster has a) done it before, or b) is just the latest in a long line of High-A non-Visalia stadium operators pulling this "cute" trick.

 
harderj
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Yes, thanks for that article! Pitch #1, an outside called strike, wasn't that far from the final one, at least according to the graph.

 
harderj
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And after watching Joe Nathan notch his 300th career save last night there might be a candidate for furthest pitch outside called a strike (at least to hear the commentators on MLB Network go on about it).

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 4

Was there something in the water? This is the combined line today for David Price, Justin Verlander, R.A. Dickey, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Cain, James Shields, Cole Hamels, and Fernando Rodney: 32-1/3 innings pitched, 55 hits (7 home runs), 17 walks, 44 runs, 43 earned runs, 22 strikeouts, 615 pitches, 390 strikes. That’s an 11.97 ERA, a 2.23 whip, 1.95 hr/9, 4.73 bb/9, 6.12 k/9, 1.29 k/bb, and only 63% strikes. Now if Jered Weaver and/or Yu Darvish have bad outings we'll know there's something up...

Apr 07, 2013 3:18 PM on Misery Loves Company
 
harderj
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Just fyi, there may not be IronPigs, but there is (or used to be) Pig Iron. See Frederick Winslow Taylor's account of Schmidt, in his Scientific Management writings ("Schmidt, are you a high priced man?"). Schmidt's job was to pick up Pig Iron and move it from one place to another as directed by his supervisor, and Taylor's claims were that that could be done more effectively if scientifically studied.

 
harderj
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Would make sense, but Sergio Romo is one of a very few pitchers who throw what Giants announcers Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper, and Jon Miller have called a "no-dot" slider. Batters with adequate eyesight typically see a red dot on a slider coming in, allowing them pitch recognition. With Romo they can't use that key. I recall mention of one other reliever this year who throws one (can't remember who), but that's it. It's kind of like Mariano Rivera's cutter in the sense that over-reliance doesn't seem to matter (except maybe to Romo's elbow over time). Romo claims to have learned the pitch from his father (Vincente Romo) as a teenager. Seems to be working for him. He now has a lower career ERA and WHIP than Mariano (who of course has been doing it much longer).

 
harderj
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Game two also set a record low for a game two, though it was 3% higher than game one. This is looking like the least-watched World Series ever (in the national broadcast era). Would St. Louis-Detroit have been even lower? Or are people finally fed up with 11:30 finish times on the East Coast (or with Tim McCarver)?

 
harderj
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Is it a concern or a good thing that Bumgarner's velocity was only 90.7? His command certainly seemed good (love that chart with the big hole in the middle). In his first playoff start in 2010 against Atlanta his fastball was sitting 94-95 in the first two innings, then 92-93. Against Philadelphia it was 93-94 through three, then 91-92 with but one 90 mph fastball in his fifth and final inning. In his World Series start in Game 4 in 2010, he threw 44 fastballs out of 109 pitches. Of those, none were slower than 91 until the 6th inning. In the 6th, 7th, and 8th, he had one 90 mph fastball in each. So 41 of 44 fastballs in his start in 2010 were faster than his fastest pitch last night. Fangraphs shows his average fastball this year was 91.1, so if true last night's maximum was slower even than that. And since his 2010 average was only 91.3 during the regular season, perhaps he was a little amped up as a rookie in the playoffs back then.

 
harderj
(32137)
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This is pretty good redemption for the Panda from 2010. And in contrast to 2010 there's a left fielder out there for the Giants who can catch the ball.

 
harderj
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I love your optimism, but as a Giants fan I fear Tigers in five. However, if the Giants are to win this thing here are a few things I predict have to happen and thoughts about what I'd like to see. Obviously Zito has to pitch his second consecutive "game of his contract." And against Verlander he may not get much run support. But, in this year's All-Star game, Giants were a key part of Verlander's one inning, five earned run debacle. M*lky Cabr*ra singled on the only pitch he saw from Verlander (a 95 mph fastball), a couple batters later Buster Posey drew a 4 pitch walk (100, 100, 96, 94, all four-seamers), and Pablo Sandoval followed that with a take of a 96, a foul of a 96, and a three-rbi triple on an 81 mph curve (after Verlander had thrown 9 straight fastballs and 24 of 29). Verlander was pitching for the all-star game, he later said, and indeed threw 80% fastballs through the Panda's at bat, compared to 55.9% on the season, and was throwing them at higher than his 94 MPH seasonal average velocity. Still, maybe it says that Verlander didn't have much of a book on these guys (he says, hopefully ignoring small sample size bias). The choice of Anibal Sanchez for game three over Max Scherzer could weigh in the Giants favor, but that's kind of negated if Bochy goes with Vogelsong over Cain, as is rumored to be the case. One thing that may play large is extreme platoon splits in the two bullpens and how Leyland and Bochy are able to capitalize on matchups with reliever or pinch hitters. First off, I wish Bochy would flip-flop Belt and Pence in the lineup to break up the string of three lefties at the bottom. Plus, it seems to me Belt is stinging the ball more consistently right now (although Pence did hit one ball three times). Guess he's protecting the rookie from too much pressure. For the Tigers, only Joaquin Benoit, Al Alburquerque (righties) and Duane Below (lh) are okay against both hands. Righties Jose Valverde, Brayan Villarreal, and Octavio Dotel all pretty much give it up against lefties. New closer lefty Phil Coke gets lefties okay (.318 on base against), but goes flat against righties at a whopping .446. LOOGYs Darin Downs and Drew Smyly aren't quite as bad against righties (though Downs comes close at .396). Al Alburquerque was actually a reversed righty in his limited action, and still tolerable against righties, against whom he was used slightly more often. Rick Porcello was better against righties, but not very good. So I'd say if the Giants are to win, Aubrey Huff is going to have to have a big pinch-hit at bat (or three) against Valverde, Dotel, Villarreal, or Porcello and Joaquin Arias, Hector Sanchez (switch-hitter, better against lefties), Xavier Nady, or Ryan Theriot will have to against Coke, Smyly, or Downs. As for the Giants pen, facing Leyland's completely alternating lineup, Sergio Romo (rh) is better against righties but good both ways and Jeremy Affeldt (lh) is tolerable against both (obp around .315 each way). Reversed righty George Kontos had an under-the-radar successful debut, with OBP allowed of .246 (slugging of .222) against lefties and .267/.385 facing about twice as many righties. LOOGY Javier Lopez is both better than Darin Downs against lefties and worse than he (and Coke, for that matter) against righties (with an OBP against of .500). And ROOGY Santiago Casilla got righties fairly well (.267 OBP) and was at .339 vs. righties. New reliever Tim Lincecum was actually better this year against lefties, at .330 OBP, with righties getting on at a .352 clip. Avisail Garcia may be a key name against Affeldt or Lopez, although he doesn't hit for a lot of pop. Righty Gerald Laird was better against righties this year (with a .420 OBP), so he might match up well against Kontos. And in two pitchers' parks, it'll be who plays better defense. Okay, S.F. in seven after falling behind 3-1, as it seems like that kind of season...

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 4

Thanks for this article. Interesting contradiction in Leyland's comments. In addition to the second guessing diminishing with an established closer it could also be that there is a real or perceived value to predictability of roles and routines for the pitchers, the coaches, and the manager. Or there may be team-specific knowledge about entering at the start vs. in the middle of an inning and so on. But couldn't those roles just as easily be specified as high, medium, and low leverage instead of 7th, 8th, and 9th inning (but for the predictable routine factor, if positive)?

 
harderj
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Thanks for the speedy response on a Sunday!

 
harderj
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I read (on MLB.com) that Jayson Nix is to start at short though Nunez takes Jeter's roster spot. In 2012 Nix hit his 50th Pecota percentile in on base, but only 35th in slugging. His triple slash vs. lhp was .245/.308/.398, and vs. rhp it was .228/.291/.354. Nunez hit his 60th percentile in on base and 50th in slugging, with triple slashes of .360/.400/.460 and .205/.244/.308 Nix has the offensive edge vs. righties, but I would think Nunez is better defensively. If Nunez is Nixed, how would that shift the odds?

 
harderj
(32137)
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http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18640 This article says it was outside. Not sure what MLB.com uses but the embedded video pitch track shows outside. Giants caught a break.

 
harderj
(32137)
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I saw the last two innings of this, having been tied up beforehand, so thanks for the recap. Joe Morgan had some insightful analysis I thought (go figure) about the strike 'em out throw 'em out double play. The fact that the runners had gone on the previous pitch, which was fouled off, removed the element of surprise. He also pointed out the bad jump Bruce got, so that even though Posey double clutched they still nailed him. Second, someone on the broadcast of the game (Ron Darling?) kept saying that Romo is much better against righties. Maybe in the past, and maybe he's mostly been used that way, but his 2012 lines were .167/.250/.241 against lefties with righties at .192/.229/.308. Elite either way, I'd say.

 
harderj
(32137)
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thanks much!

 
harderj
(32137)
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I saw the embedded video of Sandoval's home run in a different article that said the cameraman lost it. I still haven't seen it. Did it splash down (in Cincy)? 442 feet was reported.

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 0

Regarding Jed Lowrie, he did reverse his traditional splits (drastically) this year and show he could hit righties (even if pretty woeful against lefties). Thru 2011: .326/.385/.534 vs. lhp, .214/.293/.342 vs. rhp In 2012: .190/.284/.345 vs. lhp, .270/.353/.475 vs. rhp

 
harderj
(32137)
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Here's one I found, though not exactly what you asked about: http://books.google.com/books?id=VsmnfVUKJskC&pg=PA237&lpg=PA237&dq=warp+by+draft+rounds+baseball&source=bl&ots=t61Q-esjSb&sig=x-Iqemiza94k5hu8MBi2Ij5IngQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RG9oUOCoD5C20AGP5oDwDg&ved=0CD0Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=warp%20by%20draft%20rounds%20baseball&f=false And another: http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2009/06/the_draft_and_w.php As I searched for these I was recalling that I had read something about value across all rounds over time, but maybe that was for football and not baseball...

 
harderj
(32137)
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Yes, in my A.L. only league that counts holds, guys like Herrera are very important. But that would be a whole different list of players, since most have little chance of accruing saves (Ryan Cook, who has pitched well since being deposed of his closer's role, might be an exception). I would certainly welcome your highlighting some more of those guys for their ratios, K/9 (especially in leagues with an innings limit), and vulture win potential, even without saves or being in a league that counts holds. Thanks for this.

Sep 12, 2012 4:33 PM on Relievers for 9/12/12
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Enjoyed this and the comments. Thanks. I made a list off the top of my head of some shortstops not mentioned in the article or comments who have been contributing to that low WAR...it's bleak out there: Brandon Crawford, Jason Bartlett, Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez, Elliot Johnson, Jed Lowrie (defense and injury, but good against righties this year), Zack Cozart and his sub .300 lead-off obp, Stephen Drew (before his Oakland semi-resurgence), Alex Gonzalez, Dee Gordon, Cliff Pennington, Andrelton Simmons, Tyler Pastornicky, Jamey Carroll...other underperformers?

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 3

Very interesting. Thanks. I especially liked seeing the pros and cons on the Hanley caught stealing, and will look forward to more from you on pitch sequence.

 
harderj
(32137)
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I was intrigued by this point, though I don't know the Jimy Williams Red Sox that well. Here's what I found on the 2012 Orioles lineups and positional usage. Seems amazingly stable, despite the number of roster moves. More importantly, it's worked (at least in OPS for different players in different slots). The core has pretty much been stable, with the exception of left field, second base, and leadoff hitter. Nick Markakis has just crossed over into being more of a leadoff hitter than a #3 hitter this season, with 51 starts to 50, and has a much higher OPS at #1. In addition to only batting 1st or 3rd, he’s only played right field except for 2 DH games. J.J. Hardy has played only shortstop and started mostly in the #2 hole (125 starts) with a few at #3 (7 starts). The third place in the batting order has revolved. Markakis leads the pack with 50 starts followed by Chris Davis (nickname on Baseball Reference – “Crush”) at 26, Adam Jones (middle name – “La Marque”) at 20, Nate McLouth at 19, Jim Thome (when he was there) at 12, Hardy at 7, Matt Wieters at 2, and Wilson Betemit at 1. Jones has batted only 3rd or 4th, predominantly cleanup where he has a higher OPS. He’s played only CF except for one game at DH. Wieters is next highest at cleanup, with 19, but has mostly hit fifth (92 games started). Thome had 10, and Mark Reynolds has had one. When Wieters hasn’t hit fifth, it’s been Wilson Betemit (11), Chris Davis (10), Mark Reynolds (9), Thome (9), Lew Ford (6), and Johnson and Ronny Paulino one each. Chris Davis has mostly hit sixth (40 of his games, with 26 3rd, 24 7th, and 13 8th. Others who have hit sixth have included Betemit (38), Reynolds (33), Johnson (8), Ford (4), Wieters (5), McLouth (2), and Manny Machado (1). Mark Reynolds has mostly hit seventh (40 of his games), and Betemit has the next most (34). Chris Davis has chipped in 24 starts. A host of others have between one and nine starts hitting seventh including McLouth, Wieters, Andino, Ryan Flaherty, Omar Quintanilla, Ronny Paulino, Nick Johnson, Lew Ford, Taylor Teagarden, Bill Hall, Steve Tolleson, and Machado. Most of Machado’s starts have come hitting 8th (12) or 9th (9). The most prevalent eighth place hitter over the season has been Reynolds, with 24. Quintanilla and Flaherty both have more than 20, and Tolleson, Davis, Betemit, Paulino, and Andino have at least five each. Robert Andino has started 60 games batting ninth and 17 leading off, with 12 other starts among 2nd, 7th, and 8th. Omar Quintanilla has started most of his games batting ninth (22), though that’s only one more than batting 8th. Ryan Flaherty, in his time with the club, also batted mostly 8th (20) vs. 9th (10). Taylor Teagarden has mostly batted ninth in limited starts, as did Luis Exposito (the only Exposito ever to play MLB). What was really surprising to me is how many of these players have been used "correctly." That is, comparing their OPS in different batting positions vs. the number of times they’ve started in those slots suggests Buck Showalter is doing a pretty good job of identifying comfort levels (or is really lucky). Aside from J.J. Hardy who essentially has only batted second so doesn’t allow a comparison, five (and a half) regulars are hitting best in their most predominant spot in the order, and another three have their second best mark in their most frequent spot and their highest mark in their second most frequent spot. Nick Markakis (batting 1st), Adam Jones (4th), Lew Ford (5th), Chris Davis (6th), Mark Reynolds (7th), Steve Tolleson (8th), Robert Andino (9th), Omar Quintanilla (9th), and Taylor Teagarden (9th) all hit best in their most frequent spot (albeit Teagarden is only at .575). Manny Machado, Wilson Betemit, Nate McLouth, Jim Thome, Ronny Paulino, and Ryan Flaherty have hit better in their second most frequent slots, though Machado, Betemit, and Thome have hit second highest in their most populated spot in the order. Only Matt Wieters and Nate McLouth have hit their worst in their predominant batting positions. Wieters has been much better at cleanup or batting third than at hitting fifth, and McLouth has excelled in the #7 spot but has struggled at #3.

Sep 06, 2012 10:36 AM on The Postmodern Orioles
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 8

Echo this, and count me as one who really likes the inclusion of those majors guys.

Sep 05, 2012 5:23 AM on Games of September 4
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 2

The Orioles' run differential versus actual record is pretty staggering. Their .563 record puts them well ahead of their Hit List Factor of .491 and Adjusted HLF of .511, and positively puts their Expected Winning Percentage of .445 to shame. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/standings/ http://www.baseballprospectus.com/odds/ The fungibility of the roster is one possible contributor and I appreciated your bringing that to our attention. One angle I was interested in was money, so I started playing around with the data. At this point in the season the correlation between total opening day player salary, average salary, and aggregate change in salary from 2011 with winning percentage and games behind ranges from .18 to .24 (but they're lower in magnitude with change in payroll, at .09 to .14, which I think means the teams that upped their payroll the most are not getting commensurate bang for their buck). Better correlated is pay with runs scored/runs allowed differential at .29 and .30. Still higher correlations exist among payroll and the various win expectancies. BP's Expected Winning Percentage is correlated a whopping .41 with average salary and .40 with total salary, and HLF and AHLF are .32 to .36. And right in the middle in terms of magnitude is the correlation between pay and something I wouldn't necessarily have expected...over performance on run differential. I averaged the D1, D2, and D3 figures (into "DAVE") to measure over performance, and this was correlated .23 with total salary and .27 with average salary. But it was a negative correlation. Lower paying teams are actually more likely to out-perform their run expectation. In fact, the correlations of pay with actual winning percentage minus a) expected win percent, b) hit list factor, and c) adjusted hit list factor range from -.23 to -.31. Do lower-paying teams have better "chemistry" (nebulous at best, and hard to do when you have as much roster churn as the Orioles)? Is building a really good bullpen on the cheap key to success? Does relative equality of pay lead to better team outcomes? Or is it just a fluke?

Sep 05, 2012 5:19 AM on The Postmodern Orioles
 
harderj
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Thanks for this. It could be added that for those of us who play Strat-O-Matic, Justin Ruggiano will be one of the best free agents available in (many) drafts for mashing lefties, with a triple slash line of .382/.461/.829 and copious (if not unlimited) at bats. He’s decent against righties, too. Jhonatan Solano (.444/.500/.889) is better, but has had only 37 plate appearances and is .269/.296/.462 vs. righties. Wil Nieves is as well (.429/.467/.857/1.324), also with low plate appearances (73) and woeful against righties. Here are the next 19 among the free agents in my league I found (ranked high to low in OPS), with special mention for two on-base only guys at the end. Lots of catchers. Wellington Castillo .500/.538/.750/1.288 Franklin Gutierrez .433/.452/.733/1.185 Dioner Navarro .308/.308/.846/1.154 Starling Marte .333/.370/.667/1.037 Yasmani Grandal .324/.333/.765/1.098 Laynce Nix .250/.333/.750/1.083 Jeff Keppinger .418/.444/.571/1.015 Michael McKenry .282/.370/.590/.980 Trevor Plouffe .265/.363/.612/.975 Tyler Flowers .310/.326/.643/.969 Scott Hairston .320/.353/.605/.958 Scott Podsednik .500/.458/.500/.958 Ronny Cedeno .343/.395/.529/.924 Manny Machado .294/.333/.588/.921 Roger Bernadina .417/.462/.458/.920 Jonny Gomes .276/.382/.537/.919 Brandon Snyder .318/.348/.568/.916 Todd Frazier .309/.347/.564/.911 Irving Falu .421/.421/.474/.893 Taylor Green .250/.625/.250/.875* George Kottaras .167/.423/.167/.590*

 
harderj
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I'm looking at the first overall pick in my Strat-O-Matic draft next year and am thinking Bryce Harper is without question the one, but is there anyone else even close as a potentially franchise-changing talent? Mike Trout is already rostered, as he had enough plate appearances for a card last year.

Aug 31, 2012 6:07 AM on Friday, August 31
 
harderj
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The one that came to mind for me was Bert Campaneris throwing his bat at a pitcher in a league championship series, but since I was only 12 and not following that closely I misremembered that he had missed the World Series. Turns out he was suspended for the rest of the LCS, allowed to play in the WS, then suspended the first seven games of the 1973 season. The Detroit pitcher, Lerrin LaGrow, was only suspended the rest of the LCS. Any other examples of such a split suspension come to mind?

 
harderj
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And of course there's the perhaps apocryphal story of Gaylord Perry's first career home run coming within minutes of the landing, "predicted" either by himself or manager Alvin Dark. http://www.snopes.com/sports/baseball/perry.asp

 
harderj
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In one other article I read the claim was that the first base umpire's hand in the air signaling "out" was for the infield fly rule (if fair), but I think it was conceivably for the interference call. http://www.businessinsider.com/video-marlins-dodgers-interference-infield-fly-2012-8?op=1 Assuming Carlos Lee would have made that catch with "normal effort" begs the question whether the umpire takes defense into account when making the call... Another one lauds Vin Scully's quick recognition of the final ruling. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1312260-marlins-dodgers-interference-play-why-umpires-vin-scullys-calls-were-correct However, if the infield fly rule had been called prior to the interference, and the ball had been touched or stayed fair, I think it would have been both Cruz and Ethier out, with Gonzalez returned to second base upon the dead ball from the interference call. Did one of the umps call and signal infield fly? One other instance of interference being called on a runner at his base was on July 29, 1989 (thanks to Baseball Hall of Shame). Vince Coleman swatted an errant pickoff throw into foul territory from his prone position, popped up, and took off for second. Andres Galarraga told Eric Gregg, "I'm not chasing that." Gregg called Coleman out admonishing him "Vince, you can't do that. Not even in the Pacific Coast League." Coleman was called out for interference at second later in the same game for blatantly swiping with his hands at the middle infielder trying to turn a double play, but that was just "routine" interference.

Aug 28, 2012 7:39 AM on Ethier's Interference
 
harderj
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Here's an interesting factoid about value for the A's and the Rays. A MoneyBall exemplar, Scott Hatteberg, was preferred by Billy Beane over Carlos Pena, who was in his rookie year after a cup of coffee the previous season with Texas. When Art Howe refused to play Hatteberg, Beane traded Pena. The A's played better after the trade, but paid far more per win for Hatteberg's four seasons than the Tigers did for Pena's next four ($1.805 million per WAR vs. $894,870). In his four years with Tampa Bay (before this one), Andrew Friedman paid Pena $1.548 million per win, more than Pena made in Detroit but less than Hatteberg cost Oakland.

 
harderj
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Sean Doolittle has the 10th best TAv against righties among pitchers with at least 10 IP at .174, tied with Cesar Ramos as the second-best "reversed" lefty behind Jake McGee. But he has struggled against same-siders, who have knocked him around to the tune of .343. Ramos, with a TAv against of .189 vs. lefties, is useful both ways, and McGee is better than Doolittle at .264 vs. lefties. He does dominate them in strikeouts, though. At least Oakland is using him more against righties (62%), whether by dint or design. I guess he's a DNALOOGY?

Aug 22, 2012 10:01 AM on Relievers for 8/22/12
 
harderj
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That Bob Milacki rookie card (autographed!) would now set you back about $2.00 if you want to relive the moment. http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=bob+milacki+1989+topps&_sacat=0

 
harderj
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One more. On April 13, 2010 Chicago White Sox relievers argued with Jose Bautista about a man in white in the stands supposedly relaying signs to Blue Jays batters at the Rogers Centre, shouting things like "It's not so easy to hit home runs when you don't know what's coming, is it?" Here are some problems with this: Bautista was a) batting lead-off, b) had hit one home run on the season, in Baltimore two nights' previous, c) had a triple slash line coming into the game of .179/.333/.357, d) was zero for two with a walk in the game where the confrontation occurred, e) in 2009 he had hit 5 home runs at home (none against the White Sox) and 8 on the road, and f) the White Sox were behind 4-0 at the time and being no hit by Ricky Romero. Though I've never been able to confirm this, I suspect it was Clayton Richard who was the Chicago reliever most into it. Bautista had homered off him in April 2009 (albeit in Chicago). Alternatively, it might have been Jesse Crain, who, though not victimized in 2009 by a Bautista longball himself, did see two Twins' teammates taken deep by Bautista, in Toronto, in September 2009 before moving to the White Sox for 2010.

 
harderj
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Here are a couple for consideration. I decided not to post the links here as they're too obscene for young ears, but it's easy to find them online. #1. October 15, 1977. Tommy Lasorda was accurate that there were four hits up on the scoreboard and that lefty Doug Rau "couldn't get a lefty out." The first lefty, Mickey Rivers, had led off the game with a single, though a double play erased him. Leading off the second, Reggie Jackson had doubled, righty Lou Piniella had singled him home, and lefty Chris Chambliss singled. Rau was accurate that the previous day's pitcher had been left in with 3 runs on the board (when the Yankees put up a three spot against Tommy John in the top of the first). Lasorda was correct that they were now down two games to one. #2. June 4, 1976. Tommy Lasorda was 100% accurate in his assessment of Dave Kingman's performance until he missed by one on how many runs (stated 7 vs. actual 8) he drove in against the Dodgers that game. #3. June 30, 1982. Tommy Lasorda was wrong about Joe Lefebvre's and Kurt Bevacqua's batting averages (.130 stated vs. .156 and .267 actual coming into the game where Lefebvre was hit by Tom Niedenfuer).

 
harderj
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Regarding Drew's line drive percentage of 23.8, about half has come at Chase Field, with its tied for 7th highest press box height of 62'. An extra foot can add .002 to line drive percent, so without Chase's extra 24 feet over O.Co (tied for lowest at 38') Drew's LD% might be closer to 19.0%, which would tie him with Carlos Santana, Mike Carp, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Cuddyer, Adam Jones, Chris Young, Mike Trout, and Alexi Amarista at #156. http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/when-is-a-fly-ball-a-line-drive/ Then again, Fangraphs has him essentially equal on LD% home and away (and higher at 29% than BP and Baseball Reference's 23.8%). According to Baseball Reference, on Drew’s 24 line drives he has a triple slash line of .667/.667/1.042, whereas on grounders and flies it’s .152/.152/.152 and .116/.114/.279. His BABIP is lower on the road, but that’s also where he has his only two home runs (and a substandard 7.0% HR/FB rate).

 
harderj
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Speaking of rosters, any sense of when Mike Zunino will show up in the Team Tracker? A search shows no results.

Aug 19, 2012 3:03 AM on Monday Morning Ten Pack
 
harderj
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Melky Cabrera's full-time major league career (from baseball ref): 2007 age 22 $432,400 .273/.327/.391/.718 1.2 WAR 2008 age 23 $461,200 .249/.301/.341/.641 0.2 WAR 2009 age 24 $1,400,000 .274/.336/.416/.752 0.9 WAR 2010 age 25 $3,100,000 .255/.317/.354/.671 -0.5 WAR 2011 age 26 $1,250,000 .305/.339/.470/.809 4.1 WAR 2012 age 27 $6,000,000 .346/.390/.516/.906 4.8 WAR 2013 age 28 as a free agent for the first time ??? And his AB/HR for those years in order: 68, 52, 37, 115, 36, 42 I agree especially in the case of players who aren't big power hitters it is indeed how do they stay in the Show...

Aug 18, 2012 1:42 PM on Crime and Punishment
 
harderj
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Jim Palmer or the other Jim on the Orioles' broadcast was referring to Buchholz having developed a cutter that he was falling in love with. Is a splitter similar enough to a cut fastball (or vice versa) that he would mistake it as such?

 
harderj
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Excellent points, thanks.

Aug 16, 2012 6:06 AM on A Clubhouse Scorned
 
harderj
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"Most of the players sat at their lockers silently, holding a beer in their hand." This was the sentence that got me, since I remembered that Bobby V. had issued a ban. But when I looked it up I saw that the ban was only for the home clubhouse and "on the last leg of a road trip." What a strange policy...

Aug 16, 2012 5:03 AM on A Clubhouse Scorned
 
harderj
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Worst 1-inning save: Armando Benitez, 8/8/2001. Faced 7 batters, gave up 3 hits, two of them home runs, one walk, one strikeout, 30.05 FIP. Candidate for worst 1< IP <3 save: Al Brazle, 5/30/1950. Brazle entered the game in the seventh inning with two outs and the bases loaded, his Cardinals leading the Pirates 10-7. He got Johnny Hopp to fly out to center to end the threat. A seven run top of the eighth made the score 17-7 Cardinals, so even though Brazle gave up a two-out home run in the eighth to Nanny Fernandez (followed by a Danny Murtaugh single, though he was stranded), it was still 17-8. After a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, Brazle came out for his third inning of work. Earl Turner led off with a single to left, and two outs later Hopp hit an infield single to put runners at first and second. Ralph Kiner singled Turner home to make it 17-9. Gus Bell singled Hopp home to make it 17-10. Nanny Fernandez's second home run was a three-run blast, and it was 17-13. Danny Murtaugh popped out to catcher to end it, and Brazle had his second save of the season. 2.1 innings pitched, 7 hits, 2 home runs, 6 runs, all of them earned, no walks, no strikeouts, 23.18 ERA. He did strand all three runners he inherited, however...

Aug 12, 2012 11:33 AM on Saved by the Rule
 
harderj
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So far in my rudimentary search I've honed in on Brad Lidge and Todd Jones as being among the worst one-inning saves. Will look at one-plus once I figure out how to get the Baseball Reference Event Finder to work right. The maximum ERA in a one inning save is 18.00 and here's what they did. On 7/28/2009 Lidge faced five batters, giving up a walk and a home run and getting three outs (no strikeouts). His FIP was 19.1 (highest I found) and xFIP 10.04. On 4/13/2009 he faced five batters, gave up two hits, one of them a home run, but walked none and struck out two. His FIP there was 12.1, but his xFIP was 0.41, so arguably not as bad. For Jones's part, on 5/1/2006 he faced seven batters, giving up four hits but no home runs or walks (nor strikeouts), for a FIP of 3.15 and xFIP of 4.55. And then on 5/19/2007 he faced eight batters, with three hits and two walks, but no home runs (nor strikeouts), for a FIP of 9.24 and xFIP of 11.75 (highest found so far). Jones *was* a victim of high BABIP, above .500 in both those cases. Two solo home runs, no strike outs, and leaving three runners stranded by hit, walk, or hit batter would probably be the worst theoretical one-inning save outing. As the starting point to my search for "more than one but fewer than three inning bad saves," I looked up Willie Hernandez and Aurelio Lopez of the 1984 Detroit Tigers, since I knew from pitching coach Roger Craig's book about the season that they both got a lot of saves and often went more than one inning...but both were really good all year in their saves, with no real clunkers.

Aug 12, 2012 8:10 AM on Saved by the Rule
 
harderj
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Bill Laskey, at the end of Giants Fantasy Camp every year, implores campers never to boo at the ballpark, "now that you understand how hard it is to play this game," and I believe columnist Tom Boswell has voiced the same opinion. Still, it was pretty funny at a San Jose Giants game this year when Giant leadoff batter Ryan Lollis was announced and my 2-year old grand niece began to boo. Her dad, a diehard Cubs fan who worked for the S.J. Giants last year, said "Honey, why are you booing?" She said, "It's Ryan...Braun, right?" So I guess Cubs fans are okay with it.

 
harderj
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First off, thanks for the column. A must-read for me in setting weekly pitching. On this comment, maybe it's that McAlister and Jarrod Parker (as Nova above) are listed but not elaborated upon? McAlister had an era of 6.00 last start and his K's are down a bit, but I suspect you think he's like Nova...don't freak out about one bad start? But I was surprised that Parker was listed. In his last three outings he has a 1.37 whip, 4.74 era, has allowed 21 hits and 5 walks while getting 15 K in 19 ip, but did earn 1 win. Over his last 30 days it's 29-2/3 innings, 1.45/6.07, with 36 hits, 7 walks, 25 K, and 2 wins. Anaheim in Oakland and the White Sox at the Cell don't seem creampuff matchups, but I'd love your thoughts.

Aug 05, 2012 6:45 AM on Week 19
 
harderj
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Dave Goltz, anyone? http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/2075

 
harderj
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And, if the 37-year old Durazo needs a platoon partner against lefties, Craig Wilson is out there somewhere and is still only 35. Craig Wilson vs lhp career .282/.384/.518/.902 Erubiel Durazo vs rhp career .282/.388/.490/.879

 
harderj
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Thanks for the interesting update. Here's one for "honorable mention." Since last appearing in the major leagues Kevin Frandsen has logged 740 plate appearances in AAA (along with 11 in A+ and 5 in AA), with 4 home runs in 322 plate appearances and a .303/.356/.412 line in 2011 and 1 home run in 418 plate appearances and a .302/.337/.396 performance in 2012. Owner of 35 home runs across eight minor league seasons (in 2,563 plate appearances) and 7 in 626 major league plate appearances, Frandsen "ambushed" (quoting F.P. Santangelo) the first pitch he ever saw from Stephen Strasburg 400' to straightaway center for career home run #8 to open the scoring in the Phillies' 8-0 win. As far as I can discern they had never faced each other previously in the majors, minors, or even in spring training.

 
harderj
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Player A vs. rhp in 2012: ISO .194 AVE .287 OBP .370 SLG .481 TAv .312, LD% 20.2 K/BB 1.56 Player B vs. rhp in 2012: ISO .171 AVE .280 OBP .342 SLG .451 TAv .285, LD% 12.9 K/BB 2.36 Player A is a year younger. However, Player B has scored 47 and driven in 50, and hit 11 doubles, 1 triple, and 13 home runs this year against righties, vs. 14, 12, 2, 4, and 5 for Player A (albeit in only 146 plate appearances vs. Player B's 336). Player A's counting stats adjusted for Player B's # of plate appearances are still below Player B's, but it's closer: 32 runs, 27 rbi, 4 doubles, 9 triples, 11 home runs. And Player A is good defensively (3.2 UZR/150), while Player B (-12.5 UZR/150) apparently is not as good in right as Gregor Blanco (18.5 UZR/150). Still, I'm excited to see what Hunter Pence will bring to the Giants and wish personal favorite Nate Schierholtz all the best in full-time play in Philadelphia. Maybe some of those triples will turn into home runs at Citizen's Bank.

 
harderj
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Thanks for this. I remember in grad school when Magic Johnson signed his "$30 Million Contract!!!" that we had to figure out the present value and it was more like $3.5 million in current value with appropriate discounting over the ten years. So, while the $240 million is obviously a big number, the present value (using a 5% discount rate, which may be high in this interest rate environment) is $186,563,061. Taking the predicted WAR times $5 million per adds up to $185,500,000, so that's pretty fair value for the Angels. But if future revenues of $5 million per win need to be discounted as well (which I think intuitively they do) it only adds up to $164,224,013. Is there any value superstars add that's not captured in the $5 M/win estimate? Sherwin Rosen talks about the economics of superstars on the payment side, but I don't know if he or anyone has addressed the demand side. Do trade acquisitions/free agents/superstars/All-Stars change the elasticity of revenue for the teams they are on? Barry Blecherman's doctoral dissertation on the winner's curse in free agency found that, somewhat paradoxically, small market teams should be the ones investing in free agents since they have greater attendance elasticity and will therefore benefit more from improved results on the field.

 
harderj
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Very interesting article. Thanks. The A's are certainly surprising to me and illustrate an interesting point. When you don't expect to compete you do what Billy Beane did, but you still have to play the games. Maybe Oakland's revenue elasticity is different, but fielding a more competitive team helps at the gate in most situations. So you take a lot of cheap flyers (Gomes, Manny, Smith) and hope a few work out. The interesting question is when you find yourself surprisingly competitive do you stick to the plan and just enjoy the increased attendance* or do you become a buyer? *well, maybe not in Oakland.

 
harderj
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What's really weird is lefty Kottaras's line against lefties: .111/.467/.111. It makes his .221/.400/.390 line against righties look surprisingly normal.

Jul 29, 2012 4:50 PM on Kottaras to Oakland
 
harderj
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I was trying to figure out what the worst pitching performance ever to be credited with a win was, but so far have struck out. I was thinking checking lowest Bill James' Game Scores for pitchers who had gotten the win would be the way to go, but couldn't find that. The best I could figure was to sort for all players who pitched in only one game and got the win, then looked at ERA (many had high FIP but 0.00 ERA, so Cook was definitely worse). One candidate - Earl Huckleberry on Friday September 13, 1935 for the Athletics. In 6.2 IP, he gave up 7 runs, all of them earned, 8 hits (1 a home run), and four walks, while striking out two for a whip of 1.80, an ERA of 9.45, and a Game Score of 28. He also committed an error, but redeemed himself somewhat at the plate by drawing a walk and scoring a run as the Athletics won 19-7. But of course there's big selection bias there against pitchers who have appeared in more than one game, so surely there have been worse...

 
harderj
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Thanks for this. I own Ryan Cook in a couple of leagues and was ecstatic when the A's took the lead and I thought perhaps Cook had scored the ugliest 1/3 of an inning win on record. Then I saw it had been credited to Blevins. I remembered there was a rule, but have been too lazy to look it up yet so this was very timely. What was extra weird is that Yahoo's live scoring of my league flashed up a hold for Cook that quickly went away. I don't think he qualified for one, since though he came in with a lead his team did not hold it, but I wonder if for a moment in time that was the official scorer's word after deciding the win should go to Blevins.

 
harderj
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I'm guessing July 2nd (as in international signings), and refers to that hypothetical "big" prospect signed this year, with Ynoa as the cautionary exemplar?

Jul 03, 2012 4:17 PM on Monday Morning Ten Pack
 
harderj
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Thanks for this. If I understand correctly, rather than the Type A/Type B free agent system, with draft consideration varying accordingly, *any* signing of a qualified free agent by a new team will result in the loss of an early draft pick (assuming they have received a qualifying offer from their current team)? Of course, ensuring a draft pick won't be cheap, as the top 125 players in 2012 (without counting bonuses earned, etc.) averaged $12,838,000.

 
harderj
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Both leagues I play in allow two D.L. slots. Both are A.L. only, one being points (with holds added) and one head-to-head. This seems about right, but with Carlos Santana suffering a concussion recently, I had to make a "tough decision" in dropping Nolan Reimold in both (keeping Evan Longoria in one and Al Albuquerque for holds and K/9 later in the season in the other). In re Santana, I already had picked up J.P. Arencibia in one league and had him at utility, but in the other had to choose from the likes of Brayan Pena, Bobby Wilson, Luke Carlin, and Josh Donaldson for this week (with only weekly lineup changes). I chose Donaldson, which turned into a bad decision when Brandon Inge came back to man third for the A's. Still, I'm holding first place there (eight teams) and second in the other (seven teams). Longoria was a more impactful loss, but I slid Brett Lawrie from 1b/3b to third and grabbed Will Middlebrooks for the corner. Kyle Seager provides depth on the bench.

 
harderj
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Thanks so much for this info! If you get a chance (maybe in the next update with Chris Perez and Matt Moore?) could you touch on these guys? (with apologies in advance for the "WATG")? Brett Anderson (progressing well for mid-2012 return?) Al Albuquerque (ditto) Zack Cozart (non-throwing elbow... ready to be opening day starter?) Juan Nicasio (broken neck) Ryan Kalish (ready to take over from Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney by All-Star break?) Clay Buchholz (fully recovered from stress fracture in back?) If you have time, this would be great. Thanks again.

 
harderj
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Only $115,000. http://mlbdirt.com/2011/08/09/moore-than-ready/

 
harderj
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For Giants' fans, I think the hope lies in Buster Posey returning from injury (and to 2010 form), Pablo Sandoval managing his weight and forgetting 2010, and Brandon Belt attaining results that match his prospect status. These seem do-able, although Belt will actually have to get playing time from Bruce Bochy. More hopeful (and less likely) is Melky Cabrera achieving at 2011's level (and being able to cover center field at AT&T), Angel Pagan providing solid value, Freddy Sanchez staying healthy, and Aubrey Huff showing his alternate year magic (though I'd kind of rather Belt get the bulk of starts at first). Shortstop will remain a black hole offensively, with Brandon Crawford joined by the Cajun connection of Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot (if only it were Crawdad or Crawfish), but since it's Mardi Gras, we can dream...

 
harderj
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Interesting take. I enjoyed it. For the Astros, one saving grace you didn't mention in their race to the bottom in addition to Jed Lowrie's defense is the fact that the hitting he does do is primarily against lefties and that's only when he can stay on the field.

 
harderj
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Call-up Dave Kingman had quite a first ten games for the Giants in 1971, with a triple slash line of .300/.364/1.050 in 22 plate appearances, with a double, a triple, four home runs, 5 runs, and 11 runs batted in.

Feb 14, 2012 8:54 AM on Monday, February 13
 
harderj
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And as a Giants fan, I remember hoping that Randy Kutcher was the next Dan Gladden!

Feb 14, 2012 8:42 AM on Monday, February 13
 
harderj
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A far cry from the "Bash Brothers," and "Mama always told me there'd be 'Daves' like these" (though of course Dave Parker and Dave Henderson weren't home grown).

Feb 14, 2012 8:37 AM on Tuesday, February 14
 
harderj
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Yes, Randall Delgado seems to be ranked all over the board. Looking at the consolidated prospect rankings spreadsheet and adding these, KG has him about in the middle at #41. Project Prospect has Delgado at #23, Dobber Baseball at #28, Deep Leagues at #39, Scout.com at #55, Top Prospect Alert at #56, and Keith Law at #98. He is KG’s (and Talking Chop’s) #2 Atlanta prospect, and is ranked #3 in the system by Baseball America, John Sickels, and Top Prospect Alert. Baseball America lists him as the #7 prospect in the Southern League. Deep Leagues lists him as the #20 pitching prospect. So what’s the truth? As a player with his first Strat-O-Matic card, albeit not a very good one for contending teams, Delgado could merit drafting by prospecting and rebuilding teams…but should he?

Feb 13, 2012 7:01 AM on Top 101 Prospects
 
harderj
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Thanks for this. It's quite a litany. Drafted Duchscherer in Strat-O-Matic after that awesome set-up season, but I think I'm *finally* going to cut him before this year's draft. At least he's never missed a start because he "slept on his face wrong."

 
harderj
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Taylor Teagarden is perhaps a prime candidate for "Nichols' Law," except that the perception of his offense hasn't risen along with the drop in the perception of his defense. Seriously, though, I'm curious what happened to this once decent defender. A Google search of "Taylor Teagarden defense" gets a number of hits (probably more than Teagarden has in his MLB career*) citing his above-average defense. https://www.google.com/search?q=taylor+teagarden+defense&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a When he came up for his first cup of coffee in 2008 with the Rangers, he mashed righties (even as a right-handed batter), to the tune of .389/.389/.944) and had a good defensive catcher rating and arm, albeit with a propensity for flinging the ball into center field (at least in Strat-O-Matic). In his career, he has now allowed 57 stolen bases but thrown out 30 for a caught stealing percent of nearly 35% (Ronny Paulino is at 29.4%). In his limited 2011 action he allowed 6 while nabbing 7. Fangraphs has Teagarden net positive 4.0 runs defensively in his career, positive in two seasons, zero in one, negative in one. Paulino is net positive 2.0, positive in four seasons, zero in one, negative in two. In terms of passed balls and wild pitches, both have had one of those events about once every 24 innings caught (with Teagarden marginally better at 23.86 innings vs. Paulino's 23.56). I thought maybe it had to do with pitch framing, but Teagarden is plus 9.9 runs in his career on that (while Paulino is plus 9.6). Since Teagarden's only played 118 games, that's about 9.9 per 120 games, while Paulino with 553 games played is much lower). In the 2007 BP guide was this: "He entered the year as a top prospect, highly regarded on both sides of the ball. With the TJ procedure, his ability to cut down the running game is thrown into question, but he`s a very good handler of pitchers, so he still has something to offer behind the plate." From 2008: "When Teagarden is behind the dish, he's one of the top defensive catchers around." From 2009: "Teagarden calls a game like a veteran, is agile behind the plate, and absolutely shuts down the running game." From 2010: "Don't get us wrong: Teagarden is an outstanding player to have if you've got him. He throws exceptionally well, he's a nimble receiver, and he can mash the pitches he catches up to." But then in 2011, "Early in his professional career...with enough offensive ability to keep pitchers honest and above-average defensive skills he appeared headed for a backup role at worst...for Teagarden, 2010 was the year that officially put the lie to that projection. Losing all function at the plate, which no doubt carried over to his work behind it..." So I'm curious what happened, and how far his defense has dropped off (and how). I'm not saying he's great shakes or will displace Matt Wieters or anything, but he hit .285/.376/.589 with .305 ISO at AAA in 2011, Camden Yards is decent for power hitters and he just turned 28 in December (while Paulino turns 31 just after opening day 2012), but if he's now Ryan Doumit (or Jesus Montero or Ryan Lavarnway) behind the plate, that's different. * okay, not true...he has 77 hits, 37 of them for extra bases.

Feb 02, 2012 3:53 AM on Middle Reliever Mania
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 3

A few that came to mind: I'm Jose Canseco and I forget to wear my batting helmet onto the field. I'm Steve Lyons and I forget I am on national T.V. I'm Dennis Eckersley and I'm going to sneak a backdoor slider past gimpy Kirk Gibson. I believe Pedro Martinez when he says he's not tired. I go with my heart and don't replace Bill Buckner with Dave Stapleton for defensive purposes. I'm John Rocker...

 
harderj
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I would vote for "It Happens Every Spring" as a pretty decent undeservedly obscure choice. And the Leslie Nielsen and Reggie Jackson scenes in Naked Gun 2-1/2 are pretty good...

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 2

Sidd Finch?

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: -3

Thanks for this. Always helpful to hear how other leagues pan out. Did Trout not go high? Moore doesn't have a Strat card, so he's not eligible in our draft. Plus, lefties get hammered, relatively speaking, in an 11-team league, so they tend to go lower.

 
harderj
(32137)
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Thanks, Jason. As someone who has Ortiz in Strat, it's always nice to see progress sustained, even post-30. Your article prompted me to go back and look up Bobby Bonds. Quick, any guess what he hit in 1970 when he set the long-lasting strikeout record of 189 (broken a number of times since, but not until Ryan Howard in 2007)?

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: -2

Shhh... ;-) The relatively anonymous Joe Smith has an amazing reversed-righty 2011 Strat-O-Matic card that will likely be available in most drafts. I have him as the third best right-handed reliever (in our rookie and free agent draft), after Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen, and on a par with Eduardo Sanchez (but with twice as many innings). But Smith would be ahead of guys like Jason Motte, Jordan Walden, Javy Guerra, Greg Holland, Steve Cishek, Edward Mujica, Mark Melancon, Vinnie Pestano (trouble against lefties), and Al Albuquerque (hurt) on strictly 2011 value. Good call.

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Good point, so surprising Kershaw's figures are so much lower (Lincecum's request was for $13 MM and the Giants offered $8 MM). Lincecum prior to his first arbitration case had gone 40-17, with an ERA of 2.90, FIP of 2.76, xFIP of 3.18, and 18.7 WAR. Kershaw through 2011 is 47-28, 2.88, 3.04, 3.47, and 17.1. Kershaw has appeared in 28 more games (27 more starts) than Lincecum had through 2009, and 118 more innings. Lincecum through 2009 has the edge in K/9 (10.16 to 9.36), BB/9 (3.11 to 3.49), K/BB (3.11 to 2.68), and HR/9 (.50 to .58), but all told, pretty close. Kershaw's request of $10 MM would lead to a 20x greater salary than 2011, the biggest such jump this year. The Dodgers' offer of $6.5 MM would be 13x, also by far the biggest increase. The gap between the two, at $3.5 MM is the largest in terms of multiple of 2011 salary, at 7x. Nobody else who submitted figures ended up with a gap more than 3x last year's salary. For Lincecum in 2010, the gap was 7.69x his 2009 salary. Interestingly, the increase Kershaw requested is exactly the same multiple of his previous season's salary (20x) as Lincecum's request was in 2010. Wonder if that was intentional.

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: -3

Thanks for your thoughts, Kevin! Since my Strat team has Adam Lind, Matt LaPorta, Mat Gamel, Chris Davis, Daric Barton, and Steve Pearce as possible first basemen, maybe Carlos Santana should be *my* team's long-term answer at first as well...

Jan 19, 2012 10:35 AM on Indians Top 11 Prospects
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: -2

Thanks much for your thoughts. Just to clarify, it's a Strat-O-Matic rookie draft, so all the other "good ones" are taken (and I in fact have Dustin Pedroia and Howie Kendrick). My projected first round (in which I don't even have a pick) looks like this: Mike Trout, Eric Hosmer, Brett Lawrie, Michael Pineda, Desmond Jennings, Dustin Ackley, Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Jesus Montero, maybe Brandon Beachy, and Jason Kipnis. But you'd put Kipnis above Ackley it sounds like. I'll be passing on Jemile Weeks, whom Lamanna has #11, but he has Kipnis #12. Re: Santana, I have him in Strat, where his low babip, unlucky as it might have been, does hurt his on base vs. rhp pretty seriously for 2011. But in my two A.L. only roto leagues where I also have him I think he's pretty clearly one of my five keepers.

Jan 19, 2012 10:30 AM on Indians Top 11 Prospects
 
harderj
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Alright, here are a couple baseball related questions to get things going. How good can Jason Kipnis be (Chase Utley lite)? I'm asking this from a Strat-O-Matic perspective, primarily, as I think he's borderline first round talent in our draft and I'm drafting late. Will he get better defensively? Will he hit lefties? Will he run? Will Lonnie Chisenhall hit enough to be valuable, since he doesn't really walk? Am I right in assuming that Mike Moustakas is a surer bet for a left-handed third baseman? Is Carlos Santana now the 3rd best catcher in the A.L. behind Mike Napoli and Alex Avila (with VMart's injury)?

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 9

Picking up on the theme, here are some musings about some fantasy teams I'd like to see... A team with Kite Thomas in the outfield behind starter Jimmy Key and relievers Ryan Franklin, Steve Rain, and Ken Cloude... Alay Soler and Windy McCall, future pitching prospects, throwing to Geo(thermal) Soto in the bullpen under the watchful eye of coach George Gore... Cole Hamels and Ted Power, but not Chris Short, bringing the heat... Urban Shocker, p, Mysterious Walker, p, Costen Shockley, 1b, Spook Jacobs, 2b, Holly Hollingshead (, Batman), of... Bryan Adams sings the two national anthems. Coached, of course, by Gene Stephenson, with special coach for the bullpen/ball girl, Phil Stephenson. And finally, the AAA team would be located in a hip and trendy area of Richmond, VA.

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 3

Maybe the new Moneyball is platoon corner outfielders who have just signed fairly decent contracts and can be moved for prospects at the trade deadline... Will Jonny Gomes' phone be ringing soon?

Jan 17, 2012 7:10 AM on Tuesday, January 17
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: -1

Yes, there's certainly the danger that Montero won't even play enough catcher (2 games a year?) to merit a Strat-O-Matic rating there. But he's the best of the lot offensively, yes? And how would you sort the remainder?

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: -2

What order would you draft these catchers in a future-only (Strat-O-Matic) draft? Jesus Montero, Devin Mesoraco, Salvador Perez, Wilin Rosario, Ryan Lavarnway, Tyler Flowers, and Hank Conger? Does this order look right?

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 11

So, Dan Johnson hits two MLB home runs on the season... His first, on April 8th, against fellow lefty Matt Thornton, helps change the White Sox bullpen configuration. His second, 180 days later, changes the tenor of the A.L. wildcard race during the "most exciting hour of the regular season." Quite an impactful -0.8 WAR season!

Jan 16, 2012 1:59 AM on Can Anyone Close?
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 6

Will have to look him up, but I do remember a joke about a woeful Giants squad one year: Q: How are the S.F. Giants and Michael Jackson alike? A: They both wear a glove on one hand for no apparent reason.

 
harderj
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Thanks. Since I have Pablo Sandoval (and Ian Stewart), and since Inge offers little Strat-O-Matic value other than his 3b-2 (which, amazingly, the Panda seems to have gotten as well) I'm still likely to cut him (or trade him to a team needing a 3b defensive replacement). But your point about Reid Brignac vis-a-vis Michael Saunders is a good one. Last two cuts - Brignac and Mike Pelfrey (or Taylor Teagarden or Saunders)? I mean, at this point, there are no great shakes...

Jan 07, 2012 3:16 AM on Crispy New Outfielders
 
harderj
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Sorry for the slow response. I subscribe to John Lamanna's Baseball Bulletin and as part of the full-service option he sends out his projections. I've wasted *way* too much time already this year (and I'm cognizant that it's a new calendar year :-) poring over them... Strat itself has posted their "range ratings preview," so at least defensive range is more than projected now.

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Or, for that matter, the one-year lefty wonder from a couple of years ago...Fu-Te Ni. I drafted him that year in part so I could use the Monty Python line when I did...cut him the next season.

 
harderj
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Oh, and the very forgettable Mike Pelfrey...

Jan 05, 2012 11:01 AM on Crispy New Outfielders
 
harderj
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Thanks again for the customized reply :-). I got Snider in a trade last year with a guy who was giving up on him, even before his dismal 2011 (he has Ryan Braun and Brett Gardner). Seemed prescient, but I see no reason to cut him. It was only a sixth round pick or something. Same kind of deal netted me Ian Stewart, from a similarly disenfranchised owner. More like a #4 for him, though, as he had some value in 2010 cards. Saunders and Martinez I drafted a few years back when they first had Strat cards, based on seeing them on prospect lists, and while I've been patient... So I will probably cut Saunders, along with Jeff Clement, Lastings Milledge, Dan Johnson, Jack Cust, Steve Pearce, Brandon Inge, Justin Duchscherer, Brian Tallet, David Purcey, Brian Duensing, Evan Meek, and one of Taylor Teagarden or Reid Brignac (while keeping such notables as Chris Davis, Adam Lind, Matt LaPorta, Mat Gamel, James McDonald, and Charlie Morton). Any thoughts on this thought process? Any glaring oversights?

Jan 05, 2012 11:00 AM on Crispy New Outfielders
 
harderj
(32137)
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Thanks so much for the reply. Really appreciate your take on PX. Also was thinking he was younger, so thanks again. Based on this, I'm thinking Lucas Duda, Eric Thames, Jerry Sands, Josh Reddick, Trayvon Robinson, and even Nate Schierholtz would be better bets for power upside in 2012 from a corner outfielder who will be available mid-rounds or later in my Strat draft (though maybe 2012 is too early on Robinson, Reddick has moved to a bad park, and Sands doesn't hit righties). And Gerardo Parra and Bryan Petersen, based on playing time, may be as good as de Aja, and similarly powerless. Does this sound right? And is there any hope for Michael Saunders, Fernando Martinez, or Travis Snider?

Jan 05, 2012 10:23 AM on Crispy New Outfielders
 
harderj
(32137)
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Thanks for this. What surprised me about Alejandro de Aza as I was looking at him for my draft is that Ron Shandler's numbers have him with a PX (power rating) of 115 for 2011 and a projection of 131 for 2012, despite hitting only about 30% fly balls and with an only slightly elevated 11% hr/fly ball. Is there any power upside on de Aza, or just speed?

Jan 05, 2012 3:12 AM on Crispy New Outfielders
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: -4

Love these. On my Strat team I have Chacin, and Rosario, White, Nicasio, Brothers, and Chatwood are available in the draft (but Chatwood is incorrectly listed as a LH, yes?). As Mesoraco, Salvador Perez, Ryan Lavarnway, Tyler Flowers, Hank Conger, and Jesus Montero are also available, I'm curious how folks would rank them for long term potential at catcher (maybe Montero shouldn't be on the list)... Rosario over Perez (though Perez will have a better Strat card for 2011)? Mesoraco over Rosario?

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 0

Bad to the de la Rosa...as Rubby succumbed to this as well.

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

It should be noted that after John Lamanna projected Beltran to be a rf-4 in Strat-O-Matic, Hal and the boys actually granted him a rf-2! Since Hal votes in the Fielding Bible, he can probably be considered a flesh and blood observer ;-). This was perhaps necessary by Strat, though possibly reluctantly granted. The Strat rationale was probably pure Bochean...since Nate Schierholtz wasn't often used as a defensive sub for Beltran, Carlos must be better than we thought and Nate worse (went from a projected rf-1 to an actual rf-2). Giving Beltran a rf-4 and Schierholtz a rf-1 would have led to "too many" defensive substitutions for what actually happened on the Giants, thus messing with the accuracy of the replay...

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Yes, in regards to the two comments above, that was my first thought too, unless a no-trade clause was included (which isn't mentioned). It's not like $13 million a year is cheap, but 170 innings a season (his 2011 total, perhaps more as he continues to mature) of reasonable reliability and cost control spanning a player's prime years has considerable value.

Dec 22, 2011 8:07 AM on Thursday, December 22
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 0

I love the description of Casey Blake as boring. I just looked at his Strat-O-Matic projections for the 2011 season, and sure enough it's a solid, if unspectacular, card. 44 on base against lefties, 35 against righties, couple of ballpark home run chances each way, "a" bunter, 3b-3e22 (was projected to be a 4 by Lamanna but got the 3 from Strat)... As for Kubel and Arizona, is he bringing a first baseman's mitt with him (though I don't know that he's ever played the position)? That would make some sense if Paul Goldschmidt isn't actually "all that" against righties or in the field. And maybe he's perceived as a better fit with the current version of the "Diamondback Rules" than Parra is (though he'll have to shave). http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=KUBEL19820525A

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Thanks for this. Will definitely share with my 12-year old. Somewhat off topic, but I read Summerland (a kid's sci-fi tale) recently and was pleased by the baseball theme throughout. I highly recommend it.

Dec 21, 2011 4:48 AM on The Greatest Comic Ever
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 0

Yes, nice article! Presumably the Astros have moved up from #29 in sabermetric front office rankings (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=11890). But as a Giants fan, sigh...

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Whither Matt Joyce? Doesn't he fill either the hole in right or at first? Do they have the funds for and interest in Carlos Beltran? Are they considering bringing back Casey Kotchman, though not the prototypical first baseman? It seems to me the bigger question mark is at catcher (with Robinson Chirinos, Jose Molina, and Jose Lobaton as the options?). Agree that "Who is Sean Rodriguez (aka Reid Brignac or Elliot Johnson)?" is probably not the question for the Jeopardy answer "He was the star shortstop for the 2012 pennant-winning Rays."

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 3

Fascinating study. Thanks. Most interesting to me is that the effect of calling for a hit and run in the "classic" 2-1 count is negative... I know in Strat-O-Matic I'm likely to use it mostly to stay out of double plays with a low on base, "b" hit and run, "gb(a)" machine at the plate, but in Strat you have all the percentages beforehand, of course, and the count never comes into play. When a guy's on base against a particular pitcher is 27% or worse and he's a 25% hit and run guy with a starred base stealer on first I tend to go for it. And it does suck when a walk turns into a ground out or they still turn a double play on an (x) play, but it sure is sweet when it's a single from the SADV chart, the runner takes third, and it "makes the manager look like a genius."

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 0

Yeah, that makes more sense :-), but the Rollins' deal is only 3+1, so I wonder who the shortstop will be on the 5th one...

Dec 19, 2011 8:29 AM on Rollins in the Deep
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Well, it *could* be five for wild-card teams that win the World Series now, right? ;-) 1) win one of four wild-card spots 2) win play-in game 3) win LDS 4) win LCS 5) win WS How *do* teams treat winning a wild-card? Do they have the typical "cover the locker room with plastic celebration," or is it only if you win the Division? And when did this tradition start, anyway?

Dec 19, 2011 2:42 AM on Rollins in the Deep
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 3

Can you elaborate? I take that to mean pitchers aren't allowed to long-toss longer than 120 feet, but is that it? Or they're only allowed to run out their rare hits 1/3 of the way to 2nd, even if they're for extra bases?

Dec 16, 2011 10:57 AM on Pirates Top 11 Prospects
 
harderj
(32137)
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jhardman, thanks! my pitching staff has some serious needs which I'll mostly try to fill via solid if not top-tier relievers (e.g., Guerra, Albuquerque, Motte, Sanchez, Cishek, Melancon) or middling starters (e.g., Moscoso, Humber)...and I also have to figure out how I can improve left field and first base...

 
harderj
(32137)
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While I agree that the trade makes sense in terms of properly valuing relief pitchers and dealing from strength, can Jed Lowrie really become the shortstop of the future for the Astros? His career splits suggest he's perhaps a switch-hitter who should give up hitting from the left side, he's had serious injury issues, he's pretty bad defensively by the metrics I've seen, at least at short and first (Strat has him at utility-4 for 2011 cards), and he's no spring chicken himself (he'll turn 28 in mid-April). I love Lowrie, and gladly took him in the fourth round of my Strat draft last year, as a valuable utility card (especially against lefties) with some promise for the future. I hope the Astros are right and he's more than that.

Dec 15, 2011 7:40 AM on Thursday, December 15
 
harderj
(32137)
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Oh, I don't think Gamel's necessarily that much better... really only on the potential for power. Ishi would be superior defensively (for sure), getting on base against righties (most likely), and on the bases. Since I own Gamel in Strat, I keep holding out hope, though...

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 0

Thanks for this. Doug Fister is a free agent in my 11-team, 50-man keeper Strat-O-Matic league, and really the only right-handed starred starter option. In my current thinking (based on Lamanna's card projections) I'd take Michael Pineda and Craig Kimbrel (and possibly Kenley Jansen) before him, but would take him before the likes of starters Brandon Beachy, Josh Collmenter, and Ryan Vogelsong because of card value and that he's starred, ahead of lefty relievers being converted to starters Chris Sale and Aroldis Chapman, and ahead of Jordan Walden (and the excellent Greg Holland card). His value on my staff, which features James Shields, Ervin Santana, Tommy Hanson (injured), Clay Buchholz (injured), and Jhoulys Chacin (sophomore slump), James McDonald, and Mike Pelfrey as right-handed starters is great and why I'd take him so high. The real question is whether he'll be more than a one-year card. Any thoughts on the matter or on my draft logic?

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 1

Thanks for this from a fellow Lowrie owner, though for me, at least, his 2010 card has been pretty under-achieving...used about 60% against lefties, he's hit .213/.273/.279 through 70% of the season. But can a team that hopes to compete (real or Strat) start a ss-4?

 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 2

Mat Gamel takes exception with the Travis Ishikawa signing...

 
harderj
(32137)
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Good points, Richard. Which makes the (as far as we know) unimplicated Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Jim Thome all that much more noteworthy.

Dec 12, 2011 7:57 AM on Braun, a Hometown View
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: 2

One possible explanation, if true (2003 citation): "Testosterone Rises with Treatment for ED NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Men who use Viagra or Cialis for erectile dysfunction (ED) have increases in levels of testosterone, Italian researchers report. "We are now demonstrating the sexual and hormonal effect of two popular oral treatments for ED," Dr. Emmanuele A. Jannini from University of L'Aquila told Reuters Health. "Both were efficacious and able to increase testosterone levels after 3 months of treatment." Jannini team studied 74 men with erectile dysfunction and found that free and total testosterone levels rose, overall, by about 50% after treatment. The testosterone increases were more marked in the group that took Cialis than in the Viagra group, although the drugs were equally effective in restoring sexual potency, the investigators report in the medical journal." full text at http://www.steroidology.com/forum/anabolic-steroid-forum/56359-viagra-cialis-increase-testosterone-levels.html

 
harderj
(32137)
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I'm amazed that Pittsburgh is a tougher place for a right-handed hitter to homer in than Dodger Stadium is, so thanks for that. Established perceptions die hard.

 
harderj
(32137)
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If Bloomquist is overpaid in Arizona, I'm only glad he reportedly turned down a *more* generous offer from the Giants (who probably would have penciled him in as the starter at short, batting second behind new "center fielder" Melky Cabrera).

 
harderj
(32137)
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I'm just impressed that Fernando Seguignols was one of the first two names in your head...

Nov 03, 2011 7:02 AM on Wednesday Ten-Pack
 
harderj
(32137)
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Thanks. Sorry I missed Kendrick. Probably saw it but denied the reality...

 
harderj
(32137)
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Michael, thanks. Love these. Here's a WATG if you have any thoughts - Reid Brignac. Obviously, he's a "NO" all the way down, but is there any hope for the future? I have him in my 50-man keeper Strat league (and also Troy Tulowitzki, so there's no immediate need). And Howie Kendrick? (again, I have Dustin Pedroia, so no crisis).

 
harderj
(32137)
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Thanks.

Nov 01, 2011 6:46 AM on The Derek Lowedown
 
harderj
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If they hadn't exercised Carmona's option, would he have become a free agent? And would someone have paid $7 million a year for that?

Nov 01, 2011 6:16 AM on The Derek Lowedown
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: -1

Okay, posted too quickly. Reading further in BBBTN, using a non-linear model, there is a sweet spot between 85 and 94 wins where each win is worth more than $2.0 million, ranging as high as $4.4 million for the 90th win (on page 193). So, adding a 9 WAR player to a team expected to win 85 games adds approximately $3.36 million per win (~$30.4 million/ 9 WAR). That's pretty close to $23 million for a year of Sabathia, assuming there's no decrement in performance.

Oct 31, 2011 5:51 AM on A Weighty Matter
 
harderj
(32137)
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Cool. My bad. I remember seeing $1.7 million at some point, so had bumped that up a bit. In Baseball Between the Numbers, the estimate is $1,196,000 per win (in the chapter "Is Alex Rodriguez Overpaid?" on page 188). While that was in 2006, I'd be surprised if the same methodology resulted in something much more than $2.0 million. Other estimates are indeed higher, ranging up close to $5.0 million. http://www.sabernomics.com/sabernomics/index.php/2010/11/on-per-win-estimates-of-baseball-players-worth/ Interesting that there would be such a disparity, and hugely consequential for free agent signings to get that number right, I would think...

Oct 31, 2011 5:39 AM on A Weighty Matter
 
harderj
(32137)
Comment rating: -1

Interesting article. Thanks. Out of curiosity I checked 2011 WAR numbers, and if a win is worth $2.0 million, there is no player who was worth $20 million in 2011 (no >= 10 WAR players). Maybe inflation has raised that number, but the chances of whomever signs Sabathia experiencing the "winner's curse" ("I won the auction, but now I don't want the prize"), even in the early years of his new contract, is extremely likely. www.hss.caltech.edu/SSPapers/sswp966.pdf Then again, it could be argued that Dan Johnson had the most impactful -0.9 WAR season ever, so it may be "WAR, what is it good for?"

Oct 31, 2011 5:09 AM on A Weighty Matter
 
harderj
(32137)
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Thanks, nice points. While recognizing the limits of batter and pitcher specific history, what about season-long split tendencies? In 2011, lefties hit Jackson hard, though as a Cardinal it was righties who took him long more. As for the Rangers, Kinsler, balanced, slightly better power against righties Andrus, equal Hamilton, better on base vs. rhp, better power vs. lhp Young, good against both, though better vs. lhp Cruz, much better against lhp Beltre, much better against lhp Murphy, platoon player against rhp Napoli, equally solid, more power against rhp Moreland, passable against rhp If the Cardinals' option is Jackson, Lohse, Westbrook, or Carpenter (on short rest), who makes the most sense? http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/cliff_corcoran/10/26/world.series.game.6.preview/ Lohse (the listed starter at the moment), being much more balanced and less homer-prone would seem a reasonable choice. And I guess if it's a game you really have to win you have to think about Carpenter, even with the debacle that was his last short-rest start...

Oct 27, 2011 7:52 AM on Matchup Madness
 
harderj
(32137)
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Yep, which included an instance where the bullpen phone wasn't completely hung up, so it was constantly busy...

 
harderj
(32137)
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Lucas Duda is smiling.

 
harderj
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Indeed, Marlins Ballpark (its current name until someone ponies up for naming rights) will be the sixth venue with a retractable roof. And it's intended to be a pitcher's park. The dimensions seem Citi Field like... Marlins Ballpark Field dimensions (from Wikipedia) Left Field Line – 340 feet (+10 compared to Sun Life) Left-Center Power Alley – 384 feet (+23) "Bermuda Triangle" In Left-Center – 420 feet (-14) Center Field – 416 feet (+12) Right-Center Power Alley – 392 feet (+31) Right Field Line – 335 feet (-10) Backstop: – 47 ft (-11) Sun Life Field had an even deeper Bermuda Triangle at 434' and also the 33' high scoreboard in left-center (which the team has not confirmed will be a feature in the new ballpark). http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/fla/ballpark/seating_pricing.jsp Sun Life dimensions Left field – 330 ft Left-center field – 361 ft (was 385 at some point?) Deep left center (Bermuda Triangle zone) - 434 ft. Center field – 404 ft Right-center field – 361 ft (was 385 at some point?) Right field – 345 ft Backstop – 58 ft Citi Field dimensions Left field - 335 ft Left center - 364 ft Deep left center - 384 ft Center field - 408 ft Deep right center - 415 ft Right center - 378 ft Right field - 330 ft Also, one of the entries mentioned that Sun Life was known for poor lighting, which could certainly boost K's.

 
harderj
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Alright, I've checked it out more. Sorry I was so ill-informed. Sun Life Stadium increases strikeouts, and is, in fact, one of eight ballparks where both strikeouts and walks are higher than normal. http://mlb.sbnation.com/2011/4/25/2132022/josh-johnson-florida-marlins http://marlinmaniac.com/2011/04/28/josh-johnson-and-home-road-splits/ This calls into some question Josh Johnson's exploits, as his home/road splits are significant, but also the performance of King Felix Hernandez, toiling in Safeco Field another one of the eight. Suspicion seems to center on the greater humidity in Miami making breaking pitches more effective, which, I guess, could lead to more walks as well (if they break out of the zone and batters take). http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/batted-balls-and-park-effects/ But I haven't been able to find any documented link between # pitches/plate appearance and ballparks, and the eight ballparks don't seem to cluster nicely into pitcher's parks, big foul territory, geography... Anyway, just further fodder for the conversation.

 
harderj
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Thanks for the article. I have both "Big Game" James and "Little Game" Gamel in Strat, so always appreciate the inside info. I'd love to hear more about the following: "Sun Life Stadium was most notable for its ability to inflate strikeout totals by roughly nine percent...Because much of that was likely due to the atmospheric conditions of Miami, there’s reason to believe the new Marlins Ballpark will have a similar effect, but it’s far from a sure thing." Pardon my ignorance (never read Adair's book, for example), but how do atmospheric conditions factor in to K's? Miami = hot, humid, late afternoon rain/thunder showers, but generally warm (and at sea level). Better "bite" on breaking pitches? (as opposed to, say, Coors Field) More sweat/raindrops in batters' eyes? Umpires in a hurry to get out of the heat and humidity? I would have thought the batter's eye/general ability to see the ball would be the primary factor affecting strikeout propensity in different ballparks. And this would be augmented by game start time (day games or 5:00 p.m. starts?), little foul territory (so at bats are prolonged and strike one and two more frequent), and maybe reachability of the fences (so batters try for the long ball more). I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, just hadn't seen that particular causality before. Oh, and if the "Miami Marlins" don't show up as a hyperlink on BP, do they even exist? ;~)

 
harderj
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Well, I was just playing around, trying to find reasons either for or against the change from Motte to Rhodes and adding a little Strat-O spice. Wasn't really trying to say anything about predictive power, but this is part of the debate. Are there meaningful metrics that should inform decision making, or should it be manager hunches? LaRussa made the move based on whatever he did, we can debate whether it was the right move or not, but don't have full access, and the Rangers ended up winning that game, whether TLR made the right moves or not.

 
harderj
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I never played it all that much, but dug out all my games (after re-reading Coover) to see if I could find an example of day-by-day variances (or even within game). Statis-Pro, Extra Innings, Gil Hodges' Pennant Fever, Strat, Calcu-Ball, and Cadaco All-Star Baseball (as well as MicroLeague and Tony LaRussa Baseball for the PC) are the ones I have, and only Statis-Pro (c. 1982) has this feature. Don't know about APBA, Big League Manager, Pursue the Pennant/Dynasty, Sports Illustrated Superstar Baseball, Replay, Out of the Park, Ball Park Baseball, Sherco, or Negamco, but nothing I've found online about these, which I haven't played, suggests any have this innovation. It's interesting, too, that in Waugh's game ratings for the next season were based on how a player did *in the simulation* during one season, not like in "our" games, where it's actual MLB performance that determines the "cards."

 
harderj
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Yep, love these, and apply them mostly to my 50-man Strat roster (11 teams), rather than my 5-man keeper rotisserie teams (but they're helpful there, too, obviously). My guys are James Shields, Tommy Hanson, Ervin Santana, Jhoulys Chacin, Clay Buchholz, Francisco Liriano, Brett Anderson, Brian Duensing, Charlie Morton (thank you for the focus on him in the article!), James McDonald, and Mike Pelfrey. Am cutting Justin Duchscherer for sure. Sigh. Would love to hear about the others, though I suspect I know the answer on Pelfrey (and Duensing and Liriano, too). But Chacin took a step back, seemingly, and McDonald has post-hype prospect status and at least a few good outings that I noticed this year, so any insights would be grand. And obviously any news on Buchholz's recovery would be welcomed. Re: Morton, I'm hoping he'll have some eventual Strat value, even without the strikeouts (lots of gbA's), just not in 2011, or for more than half a season in 2012, it sounds like. At least the two guys I traded away this year, Brian Matusz and Fausto Carmona, have left me with little regret...

 
harderj
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Ah, found one. Statis-Pro Baseball has the following for pitchers in the advanced rules section: "Good and Bad 'Stuff' for Pitchers...this rule is meant to simulate days when certain pitchers are unhittable (as Len Barker was when he pitched his perfect game in May, for example) and others when they can't get a man out." Based on a random turn of a Fast Action Card before a pitcher starts (or enters as a reliever), he has Great, Good, Normal, Bad, or Terrible stuff, which adds to or subtracts from the play number result derived from a combination of his PB ("control factor") and the batter's ratings. Relievers can only achieve Goodness, not Greatness. Pitchers don't vary in their propensity for one or another daily effect (could use Ron Shandler's DOM/DIS to introduce that concept), but good pitchers start with a higher PB that then gets adjusted, so maybe that's good enough. Also, both players would know a priori what the situation was, which doesn't necessarily replicate that one manager would likely have more insider knowledge. And for batters, every day is Groundhog Day.

 
harderj
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Yeah, Giambi ought to have a nice card for 2011, albeit with limited plate appearances and, of course, a 1b-5. My 12 total cuts are shaping up as T. Teagarden, D. Johnson, D. Barton, J. Clement, S. Pearce, B. Inge, J. Cust, L. Milledge, J. Duchscherer, B. Tallet, D. Purcey, and E. Meek (slightly edging out M. Pelfrey, J. Devine, J.P. Howell, M. Saunders, R. Davis, Gamel, LaPorta, Stewart, et al). Thanks for your thoughts!

 
harderj
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Under the rules of the Universal Baseball Association, players were categorized as Rookies, Regulars, Stars, and Ace pitchers, and could move among those categories year to year based on performance in the league, but on a re-skim of the book just now I didn’t find reference to day-by-day random effects. In fact, early in the book there’s this passage: “No, somehow, he [J. Henry Waugh] had to get him out of there! He sought for some excuse. Something Bancroft saw in the way the kid was exercising the bat as he moved toward home plate? A kind of slump or twitch in his pitching shoulder? Why not? Look close, Barney!” There’s a reference late in the book to Waugh finding “one pretense or another – personal problems, minor illnesses, obscenity on the field – shaken up the Knick lineup…” in hopes that they would lose their games, but that was the proprietor’s imagination, not a roll of the dice. And when he finally introduces his friend Lou to the game, he’s benched the Knicks’ only 4-star hitter (Bran Maverly), because he had “been in a slump” (though it’s clear that was another subjective move to encourage the Knicks to lose).

 
harderj
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I like your prioritization of what you want in this situation. One interesting point is that Motte's K/9 drops and BB/9 increases (as does FIP and xFIP) in high leverage situations...maybe something TLR knows...at the same time his batting average allowed drops to .119! Strange... nibbling? His K/9 vs. lhp on the season is slightly better than Rhodes', but I couldn't find that breakdown by degree of leverage. He's much more likely to induce an infield pop up against a lefty (10.7%) than Rhodes is (4.2%), though in high leverage situations that drops to 6.3% (Rhodes was at 0.0%). Furthermore, in high leverage situations, Rhodes allowed 70% fly balls in 2011, including a whopping 21.4% that left the park. Motte was under 40% with none of them leaving the yard. For his part, Hamilton thrives in high leverage situations, with more walks, fewer strikeouts, a higher OBP, and higher slugging percent, and a 50% fly ball rate, with his standard 19% or so turning into home runs. He did, however, hit his most infield pop ups in high leverage moments (a whopping 18.8%, as part of 4.6% on the season; a small numbers issue with only 7 in total). The final piece is that Motte had thrown 12 pitches, 8 of them for strikes, 10 with 7 strikes in the first game. This was nowhere near taxing for him, based on his usage during the regular season when he averaged 14 pitches per outing and appeared two days in a row 21 times (three days in a row twice). On the season, his ERA dropped in 19 of those consecutive appearances, including nine of ten when he threw 13-20 pitches, and went up in 4 with pitch counts of 15, 26, 27, and 29. If this *were* a Strato game (as someone else alluded to), these would be the match-ups (using John LaManna's 2011 projections, no ballpark dimensions taken into account): Hamilton vs. Motte: 27 hits, 32.5 on base, 50 total bases (counting walks), 2.5 ballpark HR chances, and 1.6 straight HR (out of 108 total chances). Hamilton vs. Rhodes: 15 hits, 24.5 on base, 52.5 total bases (worse), 8 ballpark HR chances (much worse), and 6.7 straight home runs (also much worse). Young vs. Motte (assuming he stayed in and got a "cold out" against Hamilton or semi- or intentionally walked him): 19 hits, 22.5 on base, 30 total bases, 0.0 ballpark HRs, 0.95 straight home runs. Beltre vs. Motte (assuming he got Hamilton and walked Young): 13 hits, 14.5 on base, 23.5 total bases, 4 ballpark HR chances, and 1.85 straight home runs. Young vs. Lynn (almost as good as Motte): 21.5 hits, 25.5 on base, 35 total bases, 0.5 bp HR, 1.0 straight HR.

 
harderj
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Joe Maddon would have done it...

 
harderj
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And, I just read something in the NYT that TLR tries to get all his players into a World Series box score somehow, so this was a good opportunity (unless Laird had already appeared in game one). It's kind of a nice touch, actually.

 
harderj
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Interesting scenario if Pujols had successfully cut it off. It looked to me like Jay's throw was a bit high and up the third base line, though. The situation would have been Andrus at first, Kinsler at third, Motte on the hill against Hamilton. Steal situation, certainly, but with Yadi behind the plate? And with Kinsler at third, do the Cards' even throw for him? Do the Rangers try to "antler" a steal of home (or is it the other one)? How's Motte at holding guys? John LaManna projects him as a +3 hold, Rhodes a -1 (on his inter-league card, -5 with Texas). So TLR may have made the move to Rhodes v. Hamilton even if Andrus were still at first, to try to foil a steal. Would have been fun to see.

 
harderj
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Thanks, Michael. Always love these. I have both Chris Davis and Adam Lind on my 50-man Strat team (11-team league), where they're both obviously still keepers (I think!), so to see these in-depth reports (even if they leave me with more diminished hopes for recovery) is really nice. The ones I realistically have to decide on are far more obscure (and less valuable) commodities: Clear cuts - Jeff Clement, Dan Johnson (despite his importance to the Rays on the final day of the season) Likely cuts - Steve Pearce, Daric Barton (1b-1 in 2011 has value), Brandon Inge (3b-2 might have some value) Probable keepers - Lind, C. Davis, Matt LaPorta, Mat Gamel, Ian Stewart, Jason Giambi (lim. at bats, but solid O). Utility keepers - Jed Lowrie and Drew Sutton Clear keepers - David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Santana Any clear areas where I'm way off? Thoughts welcomed, and thanks again!

 
harderj
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Right, I forgot my own player Barton, and of course it's Brett Anderson (not Brian...announcer on TBS? Former White Sox centerfielder?). Purcey was one of those "I need a lefty for 2010 cards" picks (and he wasn't even that good). I have more hope for Howell and Duensing, but neither had 2011's to speak of. Thanks again!

 
harderj
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Thanks so much! I really appreciate the "Full Monty" of your ranking all of them ;~). More than I expected. Yes, if Inge pulls a 3b-1 that obviously ups his value. John Lamanna projects him as a 2e18, though, and he's usually pretty close. He also projects Pablo Sandoval as a 3b-2, which means I wouldn't need a defensive replacement this year (only a platoon guy against lefties...Jed Lowrie). I've tried to shop Inge, but in an 11-team league he doesn't get much play... Rajai Davis, on the other hand, might be very useful to me with Carlos Beltran (rf-4) and Howie Kendrick (lf-4) currently in the starting lineup (was hoping for good things from Travis Snider in left, but alas...good LFs in the draft, though). Sitting at 52 players, I need to shed 12 by trade or cut to draft 10. Your list (10) - Cust, D. Johnson, Pearce, Teagarden, Clement, Milledge, Saunders, Inge, R. Davis, Gamel Clear pitcher cuts (2) - Justin Duchscherer and Brian Tallet I also have Mike Pelfrey, Evan Meek, Joey Devine, J.P. Howell, David Purcey, Brian Duensing, and Brian Anderson as possible pitcher cuts if any of them would be better than Davis, or Gamel or Saunders especially (who, since my park slightly favors left-handed hitters, I like, especially in Gamel's case if the Princely One leaves). Meek, certainly, seems a replaceable commodity, at 29 years old with one good year (and the 2nd worst name for a relief pitcher on the staff, behind Grant Balfour), and Pelfrey is continually frustrating with nothing more than a garbage man Strat card any year (but with lots of innings!). I'm inclined to keep Anderson for his post-TJ recovery phase as my 50th man, and Devine is divine when he's healthy... Thanks for any further thoughts!

 
harderj
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Thanks, Rob. Love the hot stove musings. In my Strat league (50 man rosters), I have the following outfielders, and any thoughts on the fringe ones (any hope?) would be appreciated...I'm looking for nine to ten position player cuts (Jeff Clement, Dan Johnson, Brandon Inge, Taylor Teagarden, Daric Barton, Steven Pearce, Mat Gamel, Ian Stewart, and Reid Brignac are other possibles). Clear keepers - Dexter Fowler, Carlos Beltran, Jayson Werth (use Howie Kendrick in left or draft someone) Keep for future potential - Travis Snider On the bubble - Fernando Martinez, Michael Saunders, Rajai Davis (hits lefties and plays defense) Clear cuts (I think) - Lastings Milledge, Jack Cust

 
harderj
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Here's one for you, at a somewhat deeper level. 11-team Strat league, 50-man rosters (I have 52 now, with 21 pitchers). I'll likely need to cut three pitchers. Clear keepers - James Shields, Tommy Hanson, Jhoulys Chacin, Ervin Santana, Clay Buchholz, Sergio Romo, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit Probably keep in hopes of a useable future card - Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, James McDonald On the bubble (cut at least one) - Mike Pelfrey, Evan Meek, Joey Devine, J.P. Howell, Dan Runzler, David Purcey, Brett Anderson, Brian Duensing Clear cuts - Justin Duchscherer, Brian Tallet Thoughts?

 
harderj
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Yes, this was news to me, so I'm curious as well. Also as to why the A's made this change. Cliff Pennington's the answer? There's someone else? He could move to second but Jemile Weeks is there? Thought Green was a potential decent-power middle infielder...

 
harderj
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Thanks! Will check it out.

 
harderj
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Interesting article. Thanks. I was curious to read that the fifth spot in the lineup is more important than the third. Where does that come from? What I've read about lineup construction is that top to bottom in on base percentage is "best," though that ends up with guys like Barry Bonds in his prime or Miguel Cabrera batting lead off, so nobody does that except in Strat-O-Matic. The rationale is that since the #1 hitter gets up the most, #2 second most, and so on, you want to stack the guys who don't make outs (Moneyball) in the positions where they will get more plate appearances. In that sense, #3 is pretty important, and the classic adage is that's where you place your best overall hitter. No disagreement that Kelly shouldn't have been batting there, just curious about that. As for multiple line-ups, again it makes more sense in Strat, where you don't have to take individual psyches into account, to just go with the probabilities. But in real baseball, there's probably value to predictability (has anyone studied that?), and the probabilities obviously aren't certain. There's a good book, now out of print, by a consultant named Bob Keidel (called "Game Plans"), in which he compares baseball, football, and basketball in terms of levels of interdependence (or teamwork) required. Baseball is the most individual of the team sports, and the most important thing baseball managers do (in his view) is put the names on the line-up card. In game strategy is more important in football and basketball, typically. Anyway, thanks again, and I'd love to hear more on the #3/#5 importance issue.

 
harderj
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Or, you could bask briefly in your three for three fantasy championships (well, one was a tie for first), thanks in no small part to Baseball Prospectus and Ron Shandler ;~), and get back to work, thinking about keepers and next year's Strat team. So, to get the Hot Stove talk going, what keeper decisions would you lean toward were you me? Both A.L. only leagues allow 5 keepers each (plus up to two rookies in addition in one). In the first (ave, 5x5, head to head, 3-year contracts), I'm leaning toward these three Adrian Gonzalez Alexei Ramirez (A.L. positional scarcity) Nelson Cruz Plus two of Carlos Santana (will he hit for average?) Dustin Ackley (will he hit for power?) Brett Lawrie (small sample, but nice hr/ab) Mike Moustakas (power?) B.J. Upton (ave?) As rookie keepers there's Matt Moore and Addison Reed or Manny Machado. The pitchers who would be remotely "keepable" would be Brandon Morrow, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Walden, and Neftali Feliz, but I'm inclined to throw them all back. Amazing I won that league... In the other (OBP, not average, 5x5 plus holds, points), Carlos Santana Miguel Cabrera Ian Kinsler Curtis Granderson Felix Hernandez or Nelson Cruz With a better foundation on this team, I think Moustakas, Ackley, and Moore all get released here. Thanks for any thoughts, and all your work!

 
harderj
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Just for accuracy's sake, Reggie had his breakout season in 1969 (his second full season in the major leagues), the year the mound was lowered and the majors expanded by four teams, so his career was almost entirely post that (and the context more comparable to Dunn in that regard). Now, with tongue firmly in cheek... Reggie Jackson is better than Adam Dunn because ...he was the straw that stirs the drink ...he was Mr. October ...he was a Genius (can't use the Mickey Rivers' retort without IQ stats) ...he entertainingly fought with Thurman Munson and Billy Martin, but also joined Jewish teammates Ken Holtzman and Mike Epstein in wearing black armbands after the Munich Masacre ...he was a four-sport star in high-school (including throwing several no-hitters as a pitcher), prompting three prominent Southern universities to be willing to integrate their football teams for him and the San Francisco Giants to offer him a contract ...he ended up playing football and baseball at Arizona State (turning down an offer from the Red Sox to sign with them after his freshman year) ...he played center field in college, replacing Rick Monday, the first player ever selected in the amateur draft ...he was the first college player to hit a home run out of Phoenix Memorial Stadium ...he was drafted among the very top prospects the year he was eligible ...he evoked memories of Babe Ruth and Roger Maris in 1969, when he chased their sacred records during the season and nearly hit one out of Tiger Stadium in the All-Star Game ...he told Charlie O and Dick Williams to F*c& Off about his spring training beard, and thus became the first major league player since Frenchy Bordegaray in 1938 to wear facial hair throughout an entire season ...he appeared on the cover of SI dressed in combat gear ...his uniform number was retired by two different teams ...he was a highly-sought after free agent ...he was a spokesperson for Panasonic ...home town fans cheered him, opponents jeered him ...he wrote not one, but two autobiographies ...his was the baseball card I always looked for in a newly-opened Topps pack ...and finally, Reggie Jackson is better than Adam Dunn because he was one of my favorite players growing up (along with Bobby Bonds), and in the 1971 Strat-O-Matic season I'm playing against my 12-year old son I have him on my team. Now, if I owned Dunn in my keeper Strat league it might be different.

Sep 29, 2011 8:16 AM on No Stats Allowed
 
harderj
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Sorry if this is a stupid question, but is there a way to find out what playoff odds were on a historical date (e.g., July 31st, 2011)?

Sep 20, 2011 9:22 AM on
 
harderj
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First reaction: Wow, what a Strat league! (I thought my 11-team, 50-man roster league was challenging...) And Team Tracker definitely is one of my "go-to" tools in thinking about my team, as I like to sort my guys against right-handed and left-handed pitching in anticipation of what their Strat cards will look like. This just makes it better. Thanks! Is there a way to just download a report as an excel spreadsheet? The best kluge I've found is to copy the meat of a report and "paste special/text" it into an Excel spreadsheet, then "format columns/autofit selection." But one click would be easier :-).

 
harderj
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My Team Tracker allows me to add minor leaguers (including, for instance, Sequoyah Stonecipher), fwiw.

 
harderj
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Indeed, it is he. Utley overtakes Beltran in that category, Beltran still leads among those with more than 200 steals.

Aug 26, 2011 11:37 AM on Second-Half Surges
 
harderj
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Very impressive (88.22%), and he is indeed the best with over 200 career steals. But over 100, there's someone who is slightly better, at 89.34%. He only made it to 100 this season, in which he is perfect in 13 attempts. I only arbitrarily picked 100 career steals, before looking into it at all, and it turns out an amazing number of players have done that through history (792, including many with no, or incomplete caught stealing data). So Beltran, with only 39 caught against 292 steals, is clearly elite. The highest for anyone with more than 300 but fewer than 900 is Tim Raines at 84.70%, and over 900, it's Rickey at 80.76% (with a caveat that we don't know how many times Billy Hamilton and other old-timers were caught).

Aug 26, 2011 10:50 AM on Second-Half Surges
 
harderj
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I was curious to see how successful Billy Hamilton had been in his attempts. Was also amused to find that the "original" Billy Hamilton had three seasons with more than 100 stolen bases toward a career total of 912 (and a career triple slash line of .344/.455/.432). The present-day one has 19 caught to go with his 92 steals, a 76% success rate. That's about break-even, right? He had 12 caught and 62 steals his first two years in the pros, an 84% success rate. Rickey Henderson had 26 caught against 100 steals (79%), 42/130 (76%), and 19/108 (85%) in his three one-hundred steal years, and was 335/1406 (80.758%) for his career. Vince Coleman had 25/110 (81%), 14/107 (88%), and 22/109 (83%) in his three, an overall better success rate than Rickey's three, but ended up virtually identical in career success rate (177/752, 80.947%). Then again, as you noted, Rickey had two seasons when he matched Coleman's career home run output. Other notables: Lou Brock, 33/118 (78%; career 307/938 = 75%), Maury Wills 13/104 (89%; career 208/586 = 74%), #117 Ty Cobb 38/96 (72%; career 178*/892, *caught stealing data incomplete). Otis Nixon's MLB career netted 186/620 (77%), but I couldn't find his minor league caught stealing numbers, nor Coleman's, nor any minor league data for the others. Anyone have that (or care :-)? Any guesses on who holds the record for career stolen base success rate with at least 100 (career) steals?

Aug 26, 2011 8:22 AM on Second-Half Surges
 
harderj
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And yet he wasn't speedy enough to outrun a tarp...

Aug 26, 2011 7:03 AM on Second-Half Surges
 
harderj
(32137)
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Hey folks, ding me if you will, but I was just speculating in an effort to help; I wasn't actually one of the ones who gave a negative rating to hotstatrat's comment. I appreciated (and continue to) the additions to the list as well as the original.

 
harderj
(32137)
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Should be "are the words" not "word," obviously. Sorry.

 
harderj
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Tone? Your preamble could come across as diminishing the value of the article rather than appreciating it. "I'm sure there were many you could have listed, but some obviously bad contracts that come to mind that most of us BP readers knew were bad the instant they were made" "I'm sure," "obviously bad," "most of us," and "the instant they were made" are the word that jump out for me. To me I appreciated the list of three additional bad deals you provided (though other than Inge's, I would have to go back and look at the details), and I, too, added my own thoughts from one Giants fan's perspective. Generating good discussion is part of a good BP article I think, which this one is doing. Just my $0.02.

 
harderj
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Or Aaron Rowand...or Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski...or $22.0 million for Aubrey Huff...or $6.5 million for Miguel Tejada to be the everyday shortstop on the defending World Champions...

 
harderj
(32137)
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Clay Davenport has Hill better in 2011 in Rate, RAR, RAA, Rate2, RAR2, RAA2, but Johnson better in BatOut, EQR1, and EQA1. Hill 102/20/2/103/19/3/316/34/.215 Johnson 92/8/-9/92/9/-8/343/54/.251 And UZR, UZR/150, and Fielding Value in 2011 favor Johnson: Hill -1.8/-3.3/-1.8 Johnson -1.2/-0.3/+3.9 For 2010, one site with some comparisons had Hill slightly better (average of four measures of 4 as opposed to 3). http://www.detroittigertales.com/2010/11/fans-agree-with-gold-glove-selections.html And then there's Strat-O-Matic, my go-to source (only because it's most relevant to my life :-). In the 2010 card set, Hill was a 2b-3e12 and Johnson a 2b-4e10. Anyone else's take on it?

Aug 24, 2011 8:12 AM on The Challenge Trade
 
harderj
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But the presence of Orlando Cabrera on the roster *guarantees* a playoff berth...

Aug 04, 2011 4:33 PM on Top 10 Traded Prospects
 
harderj
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Yes, but for now he qualifies at 2b in fantasy ;-). How is Snider in CF?

 
harderj
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According to FanGraphs, 89.9 in 2010 and 91.5 in 2009. http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=2646&position=P#pitchtype

 
harderj
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Here's a quick comparison on a few catcher defense metrics (career MLB numbers): Yorvit Napoli Games 716 434 Steals 370 274 Caught 159 88 Att 529 362 PB 29 20 WP 3 3 Att/gm 0.739 0.834 12.90% CS% 0.301 0.243 23.64% PB/gm 0.041 0.046 13.78% WP/gm 0.004 0.007 64.98% So, this says nothing about handling a pitching staff, or nimbleness in getting out from behind the plate on bunts, or fragility/durability to the perils of catching, but it seems clear that teams run more on Napoli, and do so more successfully, than against Torrealba, and also that Yorvit is better at receiving pitches (in terms of passed balls/wild pitch numbers). Whether that outweighs clear offensive superiority (how many wins would it cost the Rangers defensively?) is the key question, and I don't think we have a good way yet to answer that. If only Taylor Teagarden could hit...

Jul 22, 2011 8:00 AM on The Avila Advantage
 
harderj
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Thanks for the article. Avila's having a great season, but BP projections seem to think he's over his head (rest of season projections): PA AVG HR R RBI SB TAv WARP 225 .249 5 26 23 1 .258 0.7 His overall stats also mask a platoon risk, though he's been very, very good against righties (.902 OPS vs. rhp/ .673 vs. lhp). However, his BABIP of .377 against righties may correct from here on out, and his line of .269/.365/.487 is 80th percentile PECOTA for average, 90% for on base, and literally off the charts for slugging and True Average. Santana, on the other hand, performing so far in 2011 somewhere in his 20%-30% PECOTA range, is projected to pull close to Avila in WARP by season's end, 4.1 to 4.0, and provides on base vs. lefties and power vs. righties. 235 .257 9 31 29 1 .294 1.8 Asdrubal Cabrera will still probably lead the Indians in WAR, but I'll bet Miguel Cabrera will be there by the end for the Tigers. While I'm bummed I missed out on Avila in our Strat draft two years ago (he went late in the second round and I had targeted the fourth), I'm thrilled I grabbed Santana with the overall #4 pick this year (Heyward, Posey, Bautista went prior). Carlos Santana, despite the low average, has "Avila Ways."

Jul 22, 2011 7:40 AM on The Avila Advantage
 
harderj
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Players on my BP Team Tracker Watch List simply because of their names (though many of these have value more in the first name, kind of negating the back-of-the-uniform value): Socrates Brito, of, ARI Jhondervisth Caracas, p, FLA Jetsy Extrano, 2b, SEA Elvis Familia, dh, BAL Rowdy Hardy, p, ATL Dusty Harvard, of, CHA Boss Moanaroa, 1b, BOS Moko Moanaroa, lf, BOS Dusty Napoleon, c, OAK Gift Ngoepe, 2b, PIT Nelalexfred Ortega, 2b, WAS Riswish Ramirez, if, PHI Rebel Ridling, 1b, CHN Chris Seigfried, p, CHN (for opera or Get Smart fans) Sequoyah Stonecipher, of, FLA Damon Sublett, of, NYA Beamer Weems, ss, SDN Jake Wild, p, SEA And I certainly would have just added Rougned Odor, but he's not in the database (only Teodoro Martinez, of, TEX, and Jake Odorizzi, p, MIL)... As for Odor, I Googled and ended up at a Rangers' site. No answer there on pronunciation (other than saying his last name is pronounced "Oh-Door," and he goes by "Roo" or "Rougie"), but what was kind of funny is that the banner ad was for Gillette Odor Shield.

 
harderj
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You didn't include their ages...

 
harderj
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And then there are the division-leading Giants... Younger guys doing well: Pablo Sandoval (26 in August), Nate Schierholtz (27) Older guys doing okay: Cody Ross (.268/.354/.427), Pat Burrell (.807 OPS against rhp of all things) Younger guys injured: Buster Posey Older guys injured: Freddy Sanchez, Mark DeRosa Younger guys struggling: Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt (in his time with S.F., not Fresno), Emmanuel Burriss Older guys struggling: Aubrey Huff, Miguel Tejada, Aaron Rowand, Andres Torres (.235/.323/.365 on the season after .268/.343/.469 in 2010), Mike Fontenot (except against lefties, paradoxically), Chris Stewart and Eli Whiteside Thank goodness for the pitching...

Jul 19, 2011 7:46 AM on To Serve the Young
 
harderj
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Thanks for the travelogue, Larry. As a kid from near Fresno and a huge Giants fan, I enjoyed your descriptions and accounts of your visits there (even though you didn't catch a Grizzlies' game). Absolutely right on the trip down Highway 1. It's a good bucket list kind of thing, but it's hard driving. I did it solo in a rented Mustang convertible once, with the top up the whole way against the rain. There were still fans at Dodger Stadium when the game got exciting in the eighth and ninth? With attendance down, perhaps it's become a more baseball-first crowd than the streaming-for-the-exits stereotype. Anyway, thanks for a good read.

 
harderj
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And they call up non-prospect Hector Sanchez (okay, listed as #8 in the Giants' system on Fangraphs)...sigh... Sanchez at Fresno: .305/.370/.366 in 92 plate appearances; in 184 2011 High A PA before that he hit .301/.321/.511. In 2011 his 10% walk rate and 14% strikeout rate in AAA is good, but 3% and 22% in A+ isn't so much. Belt in 164 AAA plate appearances: .336/.463/.563. Even with Beltran, he hasn't played any center field this year so he doesn't solve that problem. I'd hope Schierholtz would still play, and Beltran would play left (for the first time since 2009).

 
harderj
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With regard to Walker, above, "the sky's the limit." I've never heard that about Hultzen, so I think it's a very reasonable argument that Walker is a better prospect than Hultzen. Hultzen is polished and likely will be quickish to the bigs, but projects as a #3 starter at best from what I've read. From what I saw with my eyes as a UVa season ticket holder, Hultzen sure was dominant, but even with a tough ACC schedule it's still college.

 
harderj
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Indeed, his PECOTA comparables seem to be all relievers, and there are some decent ones (FRod comp is presumably to the good one): Rank Score Name Year Run Average 1 90 Francisco Rodriguez 2010 2.20 2 90 Santiago Casilla 2009 6.70 3 89 Manny Delcarmen 2010 5.16 4 89 Juan Rincon 2007 5.58 5 89 Gregg Olson 1995 3.82 6 89 Mark Wohlers 1998 10.18 7 88 Jason Motte 2010 2.06 8 88 Mark Eichhorn 1989 4.74 9 88 Brian Wilson 2010 1.93 10 87 Chris Ray 2010 3.72

 
harderj
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And of course, I had forgotten that Ogando was part of the "human trafficking" incident that led to his being denied a visa for five years. That's probably the "abnormal way in which he got to the bigs" to which you were referring, more than the converted outfielder bit :-). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexi_Ogando

 
harderj
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Ogando was an outfielder converted to pitcher only a couple of years ago, if I recall correctly, and was used exclusively in relief last year. I was surprised it was he instead of Neftali Feliz who ended up starting out of spring training. Seems Ogando has closing stuff (highlighted by a 92-mph pitch he refers to as his "dangling modifier").

 
harderj
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"The best pitching prospect in the organization. Halladay is a young right-hander with a good fastball and knuckle-curve. He’s had success at each level so far, and with the organizational bent towards rushing pitchers, he’s got a good chance to be in the rotation by June. Good long-term prospect, age and pressure may make him an injury risk in the short term." From BP player notes, 1998. "A near-perfect game on the last day of the season is a good way to make everyone remember you. Named the International League's top pitching prospect. Halladay flashes one of the best sinking fastballs in the minors. He gets it up to 97, throws the cutter to get movement, has a great slider and mixes in a knuckle-curve. He's still figuring out how to change speeds." From 1999.

Jul 01, 2011 8:08 AM on Finding the Next Ace
 
harderj
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harderj
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Good points. Reid Brignac, Elliott Johnson, Sean Rodriguez, John Jaso, and Kelly Shoppach certainly aren't world-beaters. Of those, I'd put my money on Rodriguez at short (don't know if he's adequate there defensively) and platoon at catcher. Jaso has documented on base skill in the past and Shoppach has oftentimes mashed lefties (at least in Strat). How's about Tim Beckham? .289/.354/.414 at AA, showing a little more power and fewer strikeouts, but also fewer walks, than at high A in 2010. He's not one of those guys who will have to move to second, right? Any hope for Jose Lobaton? He's hitting .312/.409/.539 in AAA, striking out 28% of the time, but also walking 14%. Brignac, especially, has been frustrating (as I'm sure he has been to you, if you're a Rays fan). One projection I saw had him with an admittedly-optimistic 14 home runs on the season as the regular (Ron Shandler had him with 10, Pecota's weighted mean is 9). As one of his Strat owners, I had faith. And as a Giants fan, I'd gladly take a flyer on Brignac or Jaso instead of Miguel Tejada/Brandon Crawford and Chris Stewart/Eli Whiteside. Was surprised those gaps on the N.L. West-leading (and defending World Series champs :-) weren't mentioned in the article (also maybe not considered contenders, or, more likely, absolutely no internal options!).

Jun 30, 2011 7:38 AM on The Underachievers
 
harderj
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Thanks for replying! I just picked up Lonnie Chisenhall in both of my A.L. only leagues, so he may help at the hot corner too. Dayan Viciedo, with 3b eligibility from last year, is apparently tearing it up lately in AAA, and may play outfield for the White Sox...he'd be another potential power source if/when he's promoted, as long as one's league doesn't count walks. And for a longer shot, it seems like Chris Carter (the good one, not the Tampa Bay/N.Y. Met one) has potential, but like so many of these guys, has to get the PT. With Daric Barton demoted and 1b manned by Conor Jackson and Mark Ellis (!), and with a new manager, maybe there's hope. But if he keeps missing foul pop-ups, maybe not.

 
harderj
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Here's one for y'all...this guy has 6 home runs in 98 plate appearances, a manager who said in the latest Yahoo update that he's going to find him more playing time, and a .280/.388/.598 line so far in 2011. He was the 24th ranked prospect for his previous organization in 2009, but dropped out in 2010. He hit .304/.352/.494 in A+ in 2008, with 17 home runs, and added 3 in a promotion to AAA that year. In 2009, he hit .300/.340/.491 with 14 home runs at AAA (in 467 pa), then added one in his cup of coffee with the big club. In 2010, he homered at the same rate in AAA, with 7 in 228 plate appearances, but lost 46 points on his batting average and 37 on BABIP, and again underperformed in his 109 major league plate appearances, with two clubs after a waiver claim. He plays in a homer-friendly park and is owned in 0% of Yahoo leagues. Over the last month, he's hit .333/.500/.778 in 36 plate appearances, with three home runs. His 2b eligibility adds value. Any guesses who this is? ;-) I'd also be interested in your thoughts on Lucas Duda, Jesus Guzman, and Adam Rosales. Duda had 27 home runs across 3 levels last year, and has hit .297/.333/.405 over the last 30 days, Guzman hit .320/.375/.505 with 34 home runs in two AAA seasons and is at .308/.333/.577 in the last 30 days, and Rosales hit 7 home runs in 279 plate appearances in the majors last year, and is slugging .450 in the last month in limited duty. And in on base leagues, there's Jack Cust, who has to hit more than one home run this year, doesn't he?

 
harderj
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seems okay now.

 
harderj
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I'm getting only batters, but at least they have names...

 
harderj
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If I go on to win my A.L. only head-to-head league (I'm in 2nd now, 3 games back), I'll bet a lot of it will be the transaction I made today. Picked up Danny Valencia, dropping Casey Kotchman :-). Thanks in advance!

 
harderj
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"Second rule: This is my series, and I can do what I want." http://baseball.sportsprospectus.com/article.php?type=2&articleid=14161

 
harderj
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Indeed. Having a fine little career for himself so far.

Jun 01, 2011 9:02 AM on Relievers Anonymous
 
harderj
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And Jake McGee will be an additional arm down the stretch if he can figure out his problems (1.32 whip, 3.95 era, 9.9 hits/9 and 2.0 hr/9 in AAA, but 9+ k/9 and 4.67 k/bb). Obviously not as dominant at AAA this year as last, and whip of 2.00 early in the season with Tampa Bay. Any reports on plans for his return?

Jun 01, 2011 8:04 AM on Manage like Maddon
 
harderj
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Interesting that players are aware of needing to justify statistics to arbitrators (and wary of using advanced metrics for that reason). It seems to me that a) arbitrators should know the industry and what's happening at BP and elsewhere sabremetrically, and b) agents should present their player's best case and explaining statistics may be a key part of that. Surprising that it's not the norm. I did a quick scan for other 2012 arbitration eligible players in search of an easy-to-digest statistic for their agents to make their case: Jeff Mathis and Eli Whiteside (how to measure non-hitting value of catchers...the "Nichols Metric?"...or in Whiteside's case, the ability to step in in Posey's absence...the "Organizational Soldier Metric?") Elvis Andrus (how many runs does his defense save...the "anti-Jeter Metric?") To a lesser extent, Paul Janish, Daric Barton, Dexter Fowler, and Andres Torres (Strat defensive ratings/the Fielding Bible?) Relievers sharing the stage with Bard include set-up men Mike Adams, Joey Devine, Luke Gregerson, Jason Motte, and one of my favorites, a guy with a career whip in 140+ innings of under 1.00, more than a strikeout an inning and a K/BB ratio of 4.82 (2nd only to Strasburg among top 15 whip pitchers with at least 50 career IP), an ERA of 2.73, and an on base against of .252. A non-closer, his team could argue that he has blown more save opportunities than he has converted and that he has failed in some key situations (including the playoffs last year, and, for that matter, last night). Any guesses on who this is? ;-)

Jun 01, 2011 7:26 AM on Relievers Anonymous
 
harderj
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Just last week there was an article about closer usage in tie games on the road (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13967). The upshot was that there shouldn't be a hard and fast rule. In fact, in looking at Fangraphs, I found that Geren used Fuentes in high leverage roles, though non save situations, in the disputed games. That's good managing, right? Now the part about lack of communication, that could be an issue. Obviously, Geren should have explained his strategy, if it was such. Wonder if Balfour, the new closer, will find himself in non-save but high leverage situations, and "balk" as well...

May 27, 2011 7:23 AM on Bay Area Strife
 
harderj
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This season, the Rockies are 21-21 in games in which Dexter Fowler leads off and 3-4 when he does not (through 5/26).

 
harderj
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Found a recent quote from Terry Francona about the same thing, albeit with the word "normally," not "can't." http://www.bostonredsoxshop.com/francona-%E2%80%98glad-we%E2%80%99re-playing-at-home%E2%80%99/ "Over his team’s last three games, Red Sox manager Terry Francona has become no stranger to dramatic finishes in Fenway Park, and he believes a lot of it is tied to the pros of playing at home in baseball. Had Thursday’s game been played under similar circumstances on the road, perhaps Crawford’s RBI doesn’t prove to be a game-winner because the Tigers would still have another chance to bat in the bottom of the inning. What’s more, Jonathan Papelbon wouldn’t have preserved the tie in the half inning before the winning rally because Francona would need to save his closer for a potential save in either the bottom of the inning or extra frames. “I think I’m glad we’re playing at home,” Francona said. “You know how we feel on the road sometimes. You get into games like this [at home], and if there’s a mistake or something, you go home. That’s the luxury of playing home. And you can use your closer where you can’t normally on the road.”"

 
harderj
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Thanks for the response! I own 'em all in Strat, so this helps with next year's cuts :-) (except Bowker...just curious since he's an ex-Giant). Chris Davis in Tampa Bay instead of Dan Johnson/Casey Kotchman seems intriguing...

May 19, 2011 8:44 AM on The Quad-A Label
 
harderj
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Thanks. In leagues that count holds and in Strat-O-Matic the Mike Adams' and Luke Gregerson's of the world definitely have value, and always nice to know who's next in line for saves for my roto leagues :-). By the way, check out Sergio Romo's numbers so far (well, until yesterday). Unheralded key member of the Giants' staff. And if you like strikeouts and have an innings limit, Aaron Crow ain't bad as a starter/reliever in Yahoo...

 
harderj
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Enjoyed the article. Thanks. You may not have time to respond, but I'd be curious in your (or others') opinions of Quad A or legitimate for these guys... Travis Snider, Ian Stewart, Chris Davis, Steve Pearce, Jeff Clement, John Bowker, Fernando Martinez, Michael Saunders, Mat Gamel.

May 19, 2011 7:53 AM on The Quad-A Label
 
harderj
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And Brandon League isn't feeling too good about Thursday...

 
harderj
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Chris Carter and Chris V. Carter, Josh Fields and Josh Fields, Jarrod Parker and Jarrett Parker... There used to be two Alex Gonzalez's. And then there was Juan Gonzalez, who became Uribe Gonzalez, who became Juan Uribe, in the words of one announcer, "truly the player to be named later."

 
harderj
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Best guesses on a couple of others - Toronto: Frank Francisco/Jon Rauch? Oakland: Andrew Bailey/Brian Fuentes? (Michael Wuertz/Grant Balfour) Seattle: David Aardsma/Brandon League?

 
harderj
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Yes, and a big part of the Giants' 2010 success was that only Todd Wellemeyer (placeholder for Madison Bumgarner) missed a start, and only Jeremy Affeldt and Dan Runzler missed significant time in the pen. This year may be less lucky, with Brian Wilson already likely shelved for the season start.

Mar 25, 2011 9:57 AM on Scrutinizing Sabean
 
harderj
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Sad news, but now wholly unexpected, about Tejada to this Giants fan. His Strat rating was better at short than third last year, so I had hope. What options exist if he can't do the job? In-house, Mike Fontenot and a three-years removed from the position Mark DeRosa...not ideal. Radical idea - shift Posey to shortstop and Sandoval to catcher. Posey was a shortstop in college (echoes of Matt Williams when he came up, or Cal?), and Sandoval's self-expressed favorite position is catcher. Any teams with a redundancy of young-ish shortstops who don't recognize their value? Navarro is second in line to Iglesias in Boston for example, or the Angels may be weary of Brandon Wood. Or a Mike Aviles from the Royals, now that they have Alcides Escobar (with Aviles penciled-in to start at third until Mike Moustakas is ready to take over). Most of what I see says Brandon Crawford, at AAA Fresno, isn't quite ready. Any answers out there?

Mar 25, 2011 9:49 AM on Spring Surprises
 
harderj
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Is Jake McGee of Tampa not eligible? Or do you think he's not a prospect? He doesn't have a Strat card for 2010, so he didn't have too many innings, at least in 2010, to lose his rookie eligibility...

 
harderj
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Have the Rays settled on anyone yet, from among Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, J.P. Howell, and probably someone else I'm forgetting?

 
harderj
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Have been reading up on this. So even though your question was awhile ago, here's what I found. According to Scully (1989), prior offers cannot be considered by the arbitrator.

 
harderj
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Thank you for clearing that up :-). Obviously, you know waaay more about Mr. Jaso than I (which is one of the reasons I subscribe). The on base against righties will probably be better than Geovany Soto, my other option, but I'd obviously draft Posey or Santana first and, failing that, maybe try to grab Jaso late. I haven't done much scouting yet, though, just glanced at Lamanna's projections.

Nov 16, 2010 11:19 AM on The Rookies of the Year
 
harderj
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John Jaso will have an excellent Strat-O-Matic card :-).

Nov 16, 2010 10:58 AM on The Rookies of the Year
 
harderj
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Not to mention Alan Mitchell Edward George Patrick Henry ("Dirty Al") Gallagher :-).

Nov 03, 2010 7:58 AM on Game Five Analysis
 
harderj
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Nice article. Thanks. As a Giants fan, I'm thrilled with where they are, and last night's game was a beaut. Since Nelson Cruz was at the plate when Buster Posey threw out Josh Hamilton trying to steal second to end an inning, Madison Bumgarner actually threw first pitch strikes to 22 of the 28 he faced (according to Giants announcer Mike Krukow :-). The somewhat fortuitous defensive Giants alignment, advantageously using Aubrey Huff as the DH, moving Cody Ross from right to left, and getting defensive replacements Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz in there from the start paid dividends, too. Ross, in particular, made a couple of good plays that I suspect Pat Burrell would have struggled with. However, Schierholtz and Ishikawa both went 0 for 3, iirc, so they're likely back on the bench tonight. Would love to see Pablo Sandoval get another chance, but Bruce Bochy seems convinced his defense is better with Juan Uribe at third and Renteria at short (I think that's arguable, and that Panda could go off offensively at any moment, though more likely back at AT&T and against a rhp). For tonight, Burrell will be back in the lineup, most likely in left, and I'm guessing Aaron Rowand will start at DH, given Panda's woes against lefties this year and other options Mike Fontenot, Schierholtz, or Eli Whiteside. If only Burrell liked to DH...

Nov 01, 2010 5:30 AM on Game Four Report
 
harderj
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Bengie Molina's walk before Mitch Moreland's home run was huge, and Bengie actually drew two in the game. This was the third time this season that he walked twice in a game, but both of the previous ones were when he was still with S.F. Since joining the Rangers, Bengie had drawn ten walks, none since September 8th. Jeff Francoeur also walked...the result of a plate appearance during which Giants announcers Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper were talking about how he never takes. Since joining the Rangers, he had drawn one. And finally, Vladimir Guerrero worked a free pass this game, after getting 35 in 593 regular season at bats. This was the first game all season in which Molina and Guerrero both walked, much less Francoeur doing the same and Molina getting a second one.

Oct 31, 2010 5:09 AM on Game Three Report
 
harderj
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I went back to look at game logs to see if there was something Washington "knew" about Neftali Feliz and long (> 1.00 ip) stints. Feliz only had five appearances this season of more than 1.0 inning, despite accruing 69.1 innings total, so while Washington didn't vary much from LaRussian use of his closer, he did in fact use Feliz occasionally earlier than the 9th. His first long appearance was April 21, when he pitched 2 scoreless innings with 3 K's. However, in his next appearance, two days later, he gave up 3 hits, 2 earned runs, and blew the save, but got the win. In his next three appearances after the 2 inning stint and the subsequent blown save, he allowed four earned runs and seven hits (but no walks) in four innings (note, he had already had two save opportunities by then, so he, not Frank Francisco, was the "closer"). Then he had a run of 1.0 or fewer innings for three weeks. On May 13, he went 1.2 good innings, then had a very effective run in the nine outings following, with 2 hits and 4 walks in 8 innings, with no earned runs. Then he had a clunker outing of 1/3 inning, then 1 inning or less use until August 10, when he went 2.0, giving up 2 hits but no runs. The next day, for the second time this season, he had a rough outing following a longer stint. In 1/3 of an inning he gave up 2 hits, a walk, and 2 earned runs. Then on August 13th, he went an effective 2.0 innings again, and didn't experience a dropoff when he came back after a day off. His last long outing was September 25th, when he went 1.1, and stayed effective the rest of the way (0.25 whip in 4 ip the remainder of the season). So two times he pitched "long" and suffered his next outing, but three times he was fine. Especially with an off-day, it seems Feliz should have been considered (if not Alexi Ogando, who while pitching 2.0 innings the day before, had only thrown 23 pitches or something).

Oct 30, 2010 3:45 AM on Game Two Report
 
harderj
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Yes, but if voters not from S.F. noted the Giants' surprising regular season success, they may "bump up" Huff, the only Giant of note this year (save Buster Posey). Not saying he'll win it, by any stretch, but wouldn't be surprised to see him get some support in the balloting. There was some speculation that Buster might garner a few M.V.P. votes to go with his likely top 2 R.O.Y. finish. And given how saves are probably still overweighted in the minds of voters, Brian Wilson could even get a few...

Oct 30, 2010 3:09 AM on Reveling in the Moment
 
harderj
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Thanks for the article. Nice background on Bam Bam Meulens (lifetime .220/.288/.353 hitter). I do think it could be argued that Buster Posey had a good year, and will likely finish first or second in N.L. ROY, but I get your point about lack of stars. Andres Torres was pretty good, too. Wonder why Bam Bam's approach didn't work with Pablo Sandoval.

Oct 29, 2010 8:29 AM on Reveling in the Moment
 
harderj
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Neftali Feliz or converted outfielder Alexi Ogando (0.94 whip vs. rhb) would have been good choices, and not to have anyone up when Holland was imploding seemed strange...but Washington is pretty LaRussian in his use of his closer (also not having Frank Francisco is a hindrance).

Oct 29, 2010 8:08 AM on Game Two Report
 
harderj
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Thanks. Interesting article. I wonder how much Buster Posey can negate the running game of Elvis Andrus and other Rangers, and also whether Bochy will resort to pitchouts and other shenanigans (a la Roger Craig back in the "Humm-Baby" days). Also, Tim Lincecum has apparently sped up his delivery to home plate from 1.4 sec. early in the season to 1.14 in one playoff game I was listening to (iirc), at least according to Giants' announcer Mike Krukow, so that should help. And of course, the best thing is to not let them get on base in the first place ;-).

Oct 27, 2010 10:19 AM on Running Away With It
 
harderj
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No, not sacrilege. I used to love that my Panasonic VCR (Reggie Jackson, spokesperson) had 2x speed, which was perfect for following everything at a watchable speed (like the comment below). That VCR's long gone. I don't get FOX, so have been watching MLB postseason, muting it, and listening to the Giants announcers on KNBR. The audio comes through first, so I look up if something interesting happens. But arguably the most interesting was watching a "compressed" game on MLB.com the day after, without knowing the outcome other than ESPN's having said "Lincecum's hair was on fire" (it was the first playoff game he pitched). The cool thing was you pretty much get everything, including replays which I have not found on postseason tv, and there is noise, just not announcers. So you hear ump and player utterances, crowd noise, the ball hitting the bat, but no inane (or brilliant) commentary. Enjoyed it. It's so hard on the East Coast when playoffs roll around...

 
harderj
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Agree, especially with the point about trips to the mound. at a minimum, no more than one trip per batter, but that may not be enough. With a runner on second it can be kind of ridiculous (I think it was Posada...the announcers commented it was the "97th trip" to the mound, iirc).

 
harderj
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Thanks. Very interesting about Ogando. No wonder he wasn't on any prospect lists, though he throws gas and had a good whip all year. Wonder if Chris Davis is on the radar at all anymore.

Oct 23, 2010 9:04 AM on Scott Servais
 
harderj
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Glad the list posted some discussion. My intent was to rank how the moves worked out/what I thought of them. But even on Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Buster Posey, and other good moves, there was some luck involved (e.g., not getting Nick Johnson or Adam Laroche), and I agree that Buster was ready from day one. That's why, to me, the move of Bengie was good just to open the position for Buster, not in terms of who came back. Not signing Molina and starting Posey out of spring training would have rated #1 or #2...

Oct 20, 2010 5:22 PM on They Must be Giants
 
harderj
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Just to clarify, I was trying to rank all the significant moves I could recall...I probably missed some. The ones at the bottom, like D-Train, were probably net negative (especially Fred Lewis, not that he was doing that well with the Giants). I still don't forgive him for Liriano/Nathan/Bonser for Pierzynski...

Oct 20, 2010 5:18 PM on They Must be Giants
 
harderj
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Cody Ross now has three post-season home runs this year that have broken up no-hitters...that's *gotta* be a record! Especially with Cole Hamels, a lefty, on the hill in game three, and Andres Torres struggling, I wonder if Bruce Bochy would consider batting him leadoff... Giants vs. lhp: Cody Ross .318/.423/.545 Buster Posey .309/.367/.588 Freddy Sanchez .343/.388/.500 Aubrey Huff .296/.378/.506 Pat Burrell .257/.365/.457 Edgar Renteria .286/.351/.443 Juan Uribe .231/.331/.352 Aaron Rowand .211/.292/.389 Nate Schierholtz .294/.357/.314 Andres Torres .226/.313/.346 Pablo Sandoval .227/.284/.305 Eugenio Velez .167/.231/.250 Mike Fontenot .143/.250/.143 I like Ross, Sanchez, Huff, Posey, Burrell, Renteria, Rowand, Sandoval, though Torres's defense makes that almost a push with Rowand...just don't bat Rowand leadoff!

Oct 18, 2010 12:59 PM on NLCS Game One
 
harderj
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I know people have not been in Sabean's camp by and large, at least among the Giants sites I peruse (and here), but I will allow that he made some good moves this year. My ranking: 1. Aubrey Huff (after failing on Nick Johnson & Adam LaRoche) 2. Pat Burrell 3. Juan Uribe 4. Bengie Molina for Chris Ray, install Buster Posey 5. Not trading Jonathan Sanchez for Jorge Cantu 6. Promoting Madison Bumgarner, dropping Todd Wellemeyer 7. Javier Lopez (for John Bowker and Joe Martinez, some argue an overpay) 8. Cody Ross, a pre-emptive move works out surprisingly well 9. Ramon Ramirez 10. Mark DeRosa (2 years, so may play a role in 2011) 11. Mike Fontenot 12. Re-signing Freddy Sanchez 13. Keeping Barry Zito and Jose Guillen off the post-season roster 14. Edgar Renteria (was that last year?) 15. Jose Guillen 16. Dontrelle Willis 17. Re-upping Richmond Flying Squirrels for 2 more years 18. Drafting Jarrett Parker from UVa in the 2nd round (not really a great pick, probably, but go Cavs!) 19. Letting Fred Lewis go for virtually nothing

Oct 18, 2010 12:39 PM on They Must be Giants
 
harderj
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Pablo Sandoval will probably sit in game three as well, as lefty Cole Hamels takes the hill, and Panda was pretty woeful against lefties this year, at least early on (as opposed to 2009, when he was better from that side). Overall, he only managed a .589 OPS hitting right-handed. Then again, Pablo was a beast this year at AT&T, with a .901 OPS, and Fontenot's OPS vs. lefties was even worse, at .552.

Oct 18, 2010 12:25 PM on LCS Day Three Recap
 
harderj
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Thanks for the article. Apparently, blister problems are preventing Lincecum from throwing his slider this game, but he's up 2-1 at the moment. I didn't recall ever reading about a blister problem before...has he has one?

Oct 16, 2010 6:28 PM on Saturday LCS Matchups
 
harderj
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Well, since the arcane laws of the land don't allow me to easily get FOX (or other networks) via DISH network, I'm currently listening to Krukow and Kuiper on the Giants radio network via MLB.COM subscription while viewing the game on MLBPostseason.com ($9.95)...it's okay, though it's a little weird to be fixed on one camera angle and not have replays. Baseball is the main reason I have XM radio. It is a beautiful game on the radio...

Oct 16, 2010 6:25 PM on LCS Day One Roundup
 
harderj
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My comment was in response to Mountainhawk's, not Eric's, though it threaded there.

 
harderj
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Well, while what you say is undoubtedly true, I think they're a lot closer *this season* than one would have expected going into the year, and I'd still argue Huff had the "better" year (despite the home run and rbi advantage): Howard - .276/.353/.505 total, .264/.333/.492 vs. lhp, .297/.381/.503 vs. rhp, VORP comparable to Andres Torres or Buster Posey, TAv of .299. Huff - .290/.385/.506 total, .283/.364/.513 vs. lhp, .294/.392/.518 vs. rhp, VORP almost Werth-like, TAv of .315. Howard led in HR, 31 to 26 (though Huff had more total bases), and in RBI, 108 to 86, but that 12 RBI lead is negated somewhat by Huff's eight more runs scored. 91 strikeouts for Huff vs. 157 for Howard, and chip in 7 steals with no times caught stealing for Huff (Howard was 1 for 2 in steal attempts). Even in terms of grounding into double plays (the Giants' favorite offensive strategy this year), Huff had 17 in 668 plate appearances, a 2.54% rate. Howard had 14 in 620, a 2.26% rate. Not that huge a difference.

 
harderj
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Just re-read the Baseball Between the Numbers chapter on "Why Billy Beane's Sh*& Doesn't Work in the Playoffs." The results of the regression analysis of playoff success points against various metrics suggested that strikeout rate, defense (FRAA in the article), and closer quality (WXRL) matter the most (although still only explaining about 11 percent of the total variance). It looks like the Giants did better in all three during the regular season (albeit close in fielding). True, as pointed out in the article, maybe the bullpens won't get called into play that much with these starters, and there's still 89% of the variance unexplained, but I think this series could be a closer one than many are predicting.

 
harderj
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For Rubber Arm, Matt Belisle pitched 92 innings. Not sure how he did on no rest, though. WRT the Mark Belanger Award, do Brandon Wood, Josh Bell, Scott Sizemore, Taylor Teagarden, or Chris Davis provide any value with the glove? Brendan Ryan had a *much* better offensive year than any of them :-). Then there's always Adam Everett and Jack Wilson... But seriously, given the way they were used this year and their defense (and offense), I wonder if the Giants' Nate Schierholtz or Travis Ishikawa would be in the running. WRT "The Vince," I went to my spreadsheet of end of season 5x5 mixed league values and looked for the player whose stolen bases were the largest percentage of their overall value (which I think is what the award would be for). Greater than 100% means they were net negative on runs, home runs, rbi, and average. I only looked at players with a positive net value, and I recognize this is "only" rotisserie scoring, but kind of interesting. Some I expected, but wouldn't have guessed the "leader." And the bottom 20 are... Rajai Davis (67% of overall roto value from SB) Jamey Carroll (69%) Coco Crisp (71%) Elvis Andrus (72%) Juan Pierre (74%) Corey Patterson (77%) Ronny Cedeno (77%) Michael Bourn (80%) Cliff Pennington (81%) Erick Aybar (87%) Jimmy Rollins (94%) Chone Figgins (97%) These guys were negative without their SB: Omar Vizquel (116%) Nyjer Morgan (125%) David Eckstein (137%) Trevor Crowe (140%) Carlos Gomez (235%) Adam Kennedy (318%) Brian Roberts (1,050%) and...Jason Kendall (1,860%)

Oct 14, 2010 9:42 AM on The Meaningless Awards
 
harderj
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Isn't Madison Bumgarner's speed all the way back now? An ESPN article mentions he threw 90-94 at the start of last year (in single A), dropped to 87-90 in AA, and was 85-88 with the Giants in his cup of coffee at the end of the year. In April of this season he had a AAA start against Portland in the low 90's, topping out at 93. (http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/tag/_/name/madison-bumgarner) With regard to his game against the Braves (touched 95), here's the ESPN note: "- After a mysterious drop in velocity late last season, Bumgarner's speed on his fastball has been climbing with each month - and it peaked, in a rousing way, on Monday. His fastball touched 95 MPH, and he was able have career-best success with it across the board. His velocity, strike percentage, miss percentage and chase percentage were the highest of his career. -Bumgarner went to his fastball early, throwing 28 in the first three innings and allowing three hits. He threw just 15 fastballs the next three innings, going more often to his slider to keep hitters off balance. He didn't allow a hit on his fastball the rest of the way. - Bumgarner's rising fastball velocity helped make his off-speed more effective. He threw 31 sliders, second most in a start, and Braves hitters missed on 7 of their 15 swings (47 pct), his highest miss percentage in his career on his slider." (http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=301011115)

Oct 14, 2010 8:46 AM on Top 11 Review: NL West
 
harderj
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Well, the fact that he hasn't been hopelessly inept against lefties in his career is actually a plus, but I, too, am frustrated by his lack of production given the opportunities. The Giants need defense in right field, especially at AT&T, which at least Cody Ross provides better than Jose Guillen (damning with faint praise), if not on a par with Nate. With Ross in left, Torres in center, and Schierholtz in right late in games, I like the defense a lot (especially if Ishikawa is in at first).

Oct 14, 2010 8:25 AM on LDS Day Six Wrapup
 
harderj
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Yes to all of these, but I think Schierholtz is, in fact, a burner...according to Giants announcers, he's second to Andres Torres for speed (if you exclude Darren Ford). St. Louis Today said, in talking about the Giants' roster for the first round of the playoffs: "Schierholtz can play right field and adds speed as a possible pinch runner." It's hard to see on this amateur clip of the end of his inside the park home run against the A's last year, but it looks to me like he covers the distance from shortstop to his slide into home in under 6 seconds. 150 feet in 6 seconds would be 14.4 around the bases, though he'd have to go more than strictly 360 feet. But still... http://www.tvclip.biz/video/4d7tIg0rN1Q/nate-schierholtz-inside-the-park-home-run.html

Oct 14, 2010 8:22 AM on LDS Day Six Wrapup
 
harderj
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Well, in my defense, he isn't in the BP database (at least on Team Tracker)...but I agree we're up to 41.

Oct 08, 2010 12:13 PM on Top 11 Review: NL East
 
harderj
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Just grateful on a daily basis for the resource that is Baseball Prospectus (love the Team Tracker).

Oct 08, 2010 12:11 PM on Top 11 Review: NL East
 
harderj
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If Brooks Conrad had kept the tag on Buster Posey, instead of swept his glove upward, he might have gotten the call, as Buster elevated off the base on his awkward slide. I'm surprised he didn't hurt himself the way he banged over the base.

Oct 08, 2010 11:31 AM on LDS Day Two Roundup
 
harderj
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I don't know about the equal chances of getting outs, as Joaquin Benoit led the league in whip (0.68), and Grant Balfour was very solid at 1.08, while Qualls was at 1.43. Over September/October, Benoit was at 0.67, Benoit at 1.08, and Qualls at 1.55. BABIP - Benoit .201, Balfour .286, Qualls .332 LOB% - Benoit 95.1, Balfour 78.9, Qualls 56.7 HR/FB% - Balfour 4.1%, Qualls 9.1%, Benoit 9.4% FB% - Qualls 31.9%, Benoit 48.9%, Balfour 49.7% K/9 - Benoit 11.19, Balfour 9.11, Qualls 7.47 IFFB% - Benoit 17.2%, Balfour 9.6%, Qualls 1.8% Still, even if you get a pop up or strikeout, you still need another out and in GB%, Qualls dominates at 55.1, with Benoit's 38.9 and Balfour's 30.6 far back (all FanGraphs data), so the odds were not as high for a fly ball home run as they were for Benoit, at least.

Oct 08, 2010 11:27 AM on LDS Day Two Roundup
 
harderj
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Thanks. I knew SIERA didn't take into account run support, it was more like Cain thinking "I know I'm not going to get run support, so I have to bear down" and being better, though I doubt players can turn it on and off like that. But could "mental makeup" (ugh) be part of what lets a pitcher best his SIERA?

 
harderj
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David, thanks for this nice article. I'm very psyched that I drafted Tommy Hanson in my Strat league (#2 overall, after Matt Wieters), and hope the Giants light him up tonight (since it won't affect his 2010 card :-).

 
harderj
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Just did a Google search on "hard luck" "Matt Cain" and it returned 974 valid results. It is well-known that Cain received woeful run support in years past, but this year that seems to have normalized a bit. For this year, among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched, poor Tony Pena "leads" with only 1.25 runs of support, but Felix Hernandez shows why wins don't matter in 2nd place at 3.25. Barry Zito was the least-supported on the Giants, at 5.28, but Cain was close behind at 5.36. That makes him the 29th least supported pitcher with more than 100 innings, the 119th best. Still bad, but better. Not sure how (if at all) that factors into his pitching better than his SIERA four years' running, but it's interesting. http://triplesalley.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/the-wonderful-consistency-of-the-career-of-matt-cain/ has the following, agreeing that he pitches better than his peripherals, though it doesn't appear that the last start of 2010 is included. Year ERA FIP tRA IP WAR 2005 2.33 4.08 4.15 46.1 0.6 2006 4.15 3.96 3.69 190.2 4.1 2007 3.65 3.78 3.68 200.0 5.4 2008 3.76 3.91 4.50 217.2 3.5 2009 2.89 3.89 3.98 217.2 4.3 2010 2.95 3.51 3.38 219.1 5.6 It also makes the point that he was "ranked 7th, 5th, 13th and 15th to last in run support" the last few years (presumably 2006-2009). Is Lincecum + Cain + Sanchez (+ Bumgarner) the best rotation in the playoffs? Philly and Atlanta both have really good top threes, and Sabathia, Pettitte, Lee, and Wilson have all come up big. Halladay + Oswalt + Hamels (+ Blanton/Kendrick) Lowe + Hanson + Hudson Sabathia + Pettitte + Hughes Lee + Wilson + Lewis Liriano + Pavano + Duensing Looking forward to Hanson vs. Cain tonight! Go Giants!

 
harderj
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Wow, not to be confrontational, but this makes me wonder whether we were watching the same (re-)play? What I saw was (iirc) a 2-strike hit down the left field line by switch hitter Andres Torres, hitting from the left side. The ball was in the air over third base and initially hit the ground on the left edge of the mislabeled "foul" line. Super slo-mo replays showed a puff of chalk clearly rising as the ball hit the ground, which means it was a fair ball. Whether it kicked into the field at that point or not is kind of immaterial (I don't recall it doing so, but rather heading further toward the stands down the left field line...otherwise why the foul call?) And, I sure didn't see the ball get anywhere close to the bullpen mound on that play. There was another one that Torres pulled down the right field line, maybe even in the same at bat before eventually singling and getting stranded, but that was clearly foul. Is that what you're referring to, or did we see a different replay of the non-double?

Oct 05, 2010 5:45 AM on Closure
 
harderj
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Well, especially if you take defense into the mix. Ramirez: 142 g, 543 ab, 92 r, 163 h, 28 d, 2 t, 21 hr, .300/.378/.475/.853, 32 sb, 10 cs Tulowitzi: 122 g, 470 ab, 89 r, 148 h, 32 d, 3 t, 37 hr, .315/.381/.568/.949, 11 sb, 2 cs Other than stolen bases and the reduced playing time due to injuries, I don't see the argument, for this year (okay, I guess in Roto, but not Strat or real baseball). Both hit better at home (Tulo more so), though neither is anemic on the road. Hanley does handle righties better than Tulo does, but neither is a slouch against their lesser-handed opponents. Agree that Ramirez is great, but right now, I'd take Tulo.

Oct 04, 2010 10:48 AM on Colorado Rockies
 
harderj
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formersd, are you talking about the bottom of the first leadoff double by Andres Torres that clearly kicked up chalk? If so, I'm not sure how the bullpen mound comes into play... On a side note, did anyone notice the umpire in the first game of the series (maybe the same one who blew the third base call yesterday) who kept refusing to give a new ball to Buster Posey, insisting on throwing it to the pitcher himself? And last night's home plate ump refusing to check checked-swing calls with the first base ump when Posey requested (Giants announcers Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper said it happened a number of times)? Just showing the rookie who's boss?

Oct 04, 2010 10:32 AM on Closure
 
harderj
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Is your assumption that the Giants will go with Lincecum, Zito, and Cain in the first round (and therefore Sanchez is the fourth starter the Phils would face)? I'm with the other poster above who hopes it's not Zito...either Bumgarner or Sanchez seems a better choice (albeit Sanchez might not be adequately rested). How important is varying righty/lefty starters in the playoffs? That is, if you were the Giants, what order would you start them? I'd think Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner would be my four, but that's two righties, then two lefties.

Oct 04, 2010 10:26 AM on Closure
 
harderj
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Thanks for the further thoughts. You're right about Chapman probably not having a card (though KRod did his first year with only 6-2/3 or something innings, partly because he was so instrumental in the playoffs, so there's precedent). Other rookies I'm trying to sort include Logan Morrison, Ike Davis, Freddy Freeman, Justin Smoak, Chris Carter, Neil Walker, Starlin Castro, Pedro Alvarez, Chris Johnson, Austin Jackson, John Jay, Tyler Colvin, Brett Wallace, Alexi Ogando, Jordan Walden, Kyle Drabek, and Drew Storen. Any of these clear first rounders, you think? Joaquin Benoit is also a free agent in our league, since I cut him two years ago...

Oct 01, 2010 5:42 PM on Closing Time
 
harderj
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Yes, Hellickson, Stanton, Bumgarner, and to a lesser extent Garcia (of the two lefty pitchers, I like the Giant :-) are on my radar screen; what do you think about Aroldis Chapman and Mike Leake? Last year I drafted Tommy Hanson, Brett Anderson, and Brian Matusz, so I'm not completely averse to lefties on my staff, and I like MadBum a lot.

Oct 01, 2010 11:55 AM on Closing Time
 
harderj
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Duh. Thanks for pointing out my oversight. He'd have to split M.V.P. votes on the Giants with Aubrey Huff, most likely, but he's made a huge difference.

Oct 01, 2010 10:05 AM on Year-End Awards
 
harderj
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Thanks. Ours is an 11 team league with 50 protected players each. Players I'd rather have than Bautista, even if I'm trying to compete: 1. Jason Heyward 2. Buster Posey 3. Stephen Strasburg 4. Carlos Santana 5. Other suggestions?

Oct 01, 2010 10:01 AM on Closing Time
 
harderj
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I will join you in the asylum: Jason Heyward .278/.394/.457/.851 Buster Posey .313/.365/.511/.877 Yes, Heyward leads in every counting category, but Buster's better on pretty much every rate stat (save OBP and steals, but look at Jason's caught stealings). J.H. B.P. G 139 105 AB 508 393 R 81 57 H 141 123 TB 232 201 2b 29 23 3b 4 2 HR 18 17 (now 18?) RBI 71 66 BB 89 30 IBB 2 5 K 125 54 SB 10 0 CS 6 2 WAR 4.4 4.0 Maybe it's not relevant to the conversation for Rookie of the Year, but where were the Giants when they handed him the day to day job and where are they now?

Oct 01, 2010 9:34 AM on Year-End Awards
 
harderj
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I just looked back at the five fantasy magazines I bought this year. One didn't list Jose Bautista at all, two projected him at $0 in mixed leagues (while projecting 10 and 14 home runs for him), one had him at $2-3 with 14 dingers, and the highest was a $4 value with 15 home runs. One of the $0 write-ups established an A.L. only value of $5 while the other pointed out that he ended 2009 with 10 home runs in his last 26 games, but reminded readers to repeat the mantra "late stats are just random slices of time with no special meaning." BP 2010 calls him "woefully overextended as a starter," while noting his 15 home run power and the possibility for a roving utility role. I wonder if there's anyone out there who predicted this?

Oct 01, 2010 8:50 AM on Achieving WARP Speed
 
harderj
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He's a free agent in my league...wonder where he'll fall. Certainly no later than 2nd round, and I'm guessing 1st. Thoughts?

Oct 01, 2010 8:27 AM on Closing Time
 
harderj
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At least Pena won't join Reynolds as the first player ever to have "more" strikeouts (200+) than batting average (sub .200).

Sep 30, 2010 10:38 AM on Closing Time
 
harderj
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List of possibly disappointing (to their owners) Strato picks in our league besides Luis Valbuena (ranked low to less low in OBP:) Jake Fox Fernando Martinez (mine, 7th round) Kyle Blanks Alcides Escobar Mat Gamel (mine, 7th round) Nolan Reimold Matt LaPorta (mine, 5th round) Julio Borbon Garrett Jones Gordon Beckham Reid Brignac (mine, 6th round) Ian Desmond Alex Avila Seth Smith Drew Stubbs Matt Wieters (1st overall; I took Tommy Hanson #2) Miguel Montero Chris Coghlan Dexter Fowler (mine, early 2nd round) Elvis Andrus (probably still ss-1) The only hitters drafted early who are really worth their mettle are Colby Rasmus, Andrew McCutcheon, and Kendry Morales (before he got hurt). How high did you pick Luis Valbuena?

Sep 25, 2010 11:04 AM on Cleveland Indians
 
harderj
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Since I don't know (but need a 3b for Strat), why is Danny Valencia performing flukily? Just that his minor league #'s don't match up? BABIP? I can look it up, but any info would be useful.

 
harderj
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I read something on a Giants site that essentially humidified balls are rubbed up with the special mud, put in a bag, and put back into the humidifier until game time. Then the whole bag is brought out. The number of balls was said to be dozens, but it wasn't specified (I remember an answer to a trivia question as a kid...how many baseballs do they have on hand for an M.L.B. game, and at the time it was 60). From that point on, when the umpire needs balls, the ball boy retrieves some from the bag (no longer in the humidor), which is under control of Rockies' employee(s). First off, as the game goes on, I assume they become less "humidored," simply by being out of it, but I don't know how the laws of physics would apply there. If during the game there weren't enough balls prepared and in the bag, a non-humidored ball could get in, but probably not if it wasn't rubbed up. Or, someone could slip some into the bag at some point, again, assuming they had been rubbed up already (and sequestered from the humidor "early"?). Could a pitcher tell the difference, and ask for a new ball? The point I took from the article is that MLB doesn't monitor the situation on an ongoing basis (and the article mentioned that there were other teams that humidified balls, which was news to me). Sorry I can't remember the source...maybe Bleacher Report, Giants edition a few days ago?

Sep 23, 2010 5:45 AM on Something to Build On
 
harderj
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Thanks for this. As a Giants fan I'm enjoying the race and hope they can hold on, and it was interesting to learn more about the components of each team's season so far. From the team audit page it would seem that the Giants are underperforming their expected won-loss percent by the most, despite the biggest average run differential. Doesn't that bode well for them? Team, ave runs scored, ave runs allowed, run diff, pythag over/under, hitter vorp, pitcher vorp, def effic, hit list: Giants 4.32 3.69 0.63 -1.6 166.8 246.8 .708 6 Padres 4.23 3.64 0.59 -1.4 149.3 221.7 .703 3 Rox 4.91 4.34 0.57 -1.1 239.6 160.3 .682 2 My worries for the Giants - no lead-off hitter and less good defense while Andres Torres is out; general offensive production two and three games ago against Milwaukee; having to play Jose Guillen in the field and letting him run the bases; continued battles of Pablo Sandoval. Thanks again!

Sep 21, 2010 7:36 AM on The Great NL West race
 
harderj
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Jeff Clement, Lastings Milledge, John Bowker, Steven Pearce...any hope for any of them?

Sep 16, 2010 7:05 AM on Pittsburgh Pirates
 
harderj
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Thanks for this. As a Giants fan, I've been kind of mystified by the Padres' success, and this helped me understand it more. Glad the Giants have a higher expected playoff percent, at least for now :).

Sep 13, 2010 9:43 AM on Padres' Playoff Chances
 
harderj
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Thank you for pointing this out. With Nava being an ex-Santa Clara Bronco, it's been nice to follow his journey, and I had taken that comment at face value, looked at his on base and slugging so far this year, and thought, eh, that's it. But your including minor league #'s and pointing out the sample size and Pedroia comp helped me temper that.

 
harderj
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I enjoyed this article, as it gave me more insight into a division I don't follow all that much. One of my Strat buddies lives in Cinci, and we were just having a conversation about their success, and this article painted (I thought) a pretty complete picture. Yes injuries, but also strength of opposition Reds starters have faced, Reds team defense, several offensive over-achievers, and even the gradual Janish for Cabrera have all been a part of this surprising success. Not to mention the Cardinals's problems of various kinds. Did any Reds fans even hope for this, realistically, at the start of the season? In all of this, how would you evaluate the job that Jocketty and Dusty have done?

Sep 09, 2010 7:05 AM on Race to the Top
 
harderj
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Yeah, I agree about recent effectiveness, but I also wonder about Bochy's tendency to go with the "established" player. Heck, let's just hope they make the playoffs, then see what they do!

Sep 07, 2010 8:38 AM on Freaky Concerns
 
harderj
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Thanks for this. As a huge Giants fan, I have obviously been concerned, and this helped me understand better what went on in August. If he can regain form, I think the Giants take the division, and a good Lincecum, Zito, and Cain make a pretty good playoff rotation. Is it the best in the N.L.? Atlanta - Hudson, Hanson, Lowe/Jurrjens Philly - Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels Cinci - Arroyo, Cueto, Leake San Diego - Latos, Garland, Richard

Sep 07, 2010 7:29 AM on Freaky Concerns
 
harderj
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Thanks for the article. I do think that getting owners to agree to equally share internet revenues was a stroke of genius...at the time (and, as you point out, even now), a small percentage of overall revenues. Getting rich teams to agree to give up a share of something they didn't already have was easier than something like agreeing to a greater luxury tax or, heaven forbid, a salary cap. If internet revenues continue to grow, as I expect they will in this technological age, it will provide more of an equalizing force, which I think is good for baseball. Plus, the players union can't disagree with something that distributes revenue more equally, can they?

 
harderj
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Very interesting interview, though I would like to know what advanced metrics he pays attention to. Duck fart implies some knowledge of BABIP, I guess, and I assume he focuses on fundamentals like k/9, gb/fb/ld/hr%, k/bb, but what else? Does he set a goal for himself like a 3.5 WAR season or something?

Aug 24, 2010 10:12 AM on Max Scherzer
 
harderj
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Two comments. First on #9. I see some merits in having two wild card teams who play a one game play-in (idea I think I would attribute to Bill Chuck at billyball). Slightly handicaps the wild-card winner (can't necessarily save ace starter for first game of playoffs; opponent gets day off). Second on #15. Just read a short blurb with Tony LaRussa (Sunday NYT?) saying the one-inning closer was an idea of Dave Duncan's specifically with regard to Eckersley, and that it was contingent on a great closer plus excellent set-up relief. Without that, he said they would have used Eck earlier, presumably in highest leverage situations. Roger Craig's book (Inside Pitch) on his year as pitching coach for the 1984 Tigers (35-5 start) shows how different the game was, at least in the use of Cy Young winner Willie Hernandez and "co-closer" Aurelio Lopez (iirc). Several 2 or even 3 inning appearances for both, lots of wins, saves for each.

 
harderj
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Pretty amazing that Dennis Eckersley struck out 55 while walking only 3 in 1989. K/BB of 17.3. I wonder if that's the record for more than, say, 50 innings?

Jul 10, 2010 7:02 AM on The K/BB Ratio
 
harderj
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Yes, but does Madison Bumgarner at least look like a #5 (cf. Todd Wellemeyer)? ;-)

 
harderj
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Sorry for my ignorance, but does the national seed come into play in Omaha, or is there really no consequence to UVA's being seeded a rather low 5th?

 
harderj
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Well, since I own Mike Pelfrey, Francisco Liriano, and Fausto Carmona on my Strat-O-Matic team, I'm 2/3 pleased with this article... No, seriously, thanks for this. Always nice to have a better sense of what's likely to be sustainable.

May 25, 2010 7:06 AM on Bounceback Pitchers
 
harderj
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Thank you for this article. It's interesting that Coach O'Connor tracks quality at bats and innings and uses that...I wonder how many other coaches do so? UVa's pitching coach also has some very innovative ideas, based on a talk he gave to local Little League managers, and was reporting something like no arm problems in their five years at UVa (iirc). No throwing from a mound except on pitching days, for instance. Anyway, thanks again. Love the coverage of the Cavaliers!

 
harderj
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Eh, it doesn't look like Bengie Molina's hurt that badly anyway, but it is a hamstring and he's not exactly lithe and supple. Still I think the call up date will be July 15th, though I hope it's sooner.

 
harderj
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So whether Eli Whiteside takes over as regular catcher in Bengie Molina's absence or whether Buster Posey gets his first taste of the big time will be evidence (maybe) of how resolved the Giants are to keeping Posey down.

 
harderj
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Eligibility and service time clock starting is the most logical explanation, coupled with Bengie Molina (!) close to the team lead in on base percentage (better than Pablo Sandoval, last I checked). And maybe not wanting to mess with a very effective pitching staff (recent meltdowns by Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson and expected mediocrity of Todd Wellemeyer notwithstanding) and being happy enough with how things have gone in the early season without Buster Posey. With regard to pitching staffs, Barry Zito plus Jonathan Sanchez combined have a whip/era very close to Tim Lincecum plus Matt Cain, giving the Giants two of the best 1-2 punches in the league (both combos are around 1.00 whip).

 
harderj
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Love the Strat reference...Taylor Teagarden, for all his supposed defense, was a T:1-20 his first year (when he had an absolutely wild reversed righty pinch hitting card), and I think David Ross pulled that rating as well one year I had him as a lefty basher. Speaking of catchers, is Jesus Montero's arm the issue, or his game-calling skills, or receivership? And do Posey and Santana have flaws? Gotta think forward to next year's Strat draft...

 
harderj
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Thanks so much for this interview. I enjoyed hearing Mr. Davis's perspective on these classic quotes. Here's hoping he figures things out in AAA and goes on to be a banger for Texas (or someone else)!

May 01, 2010 6:03 AM on Chris Davis
 
harderj
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Thanks for this article, though now I'm bummed I drafted Dexter Fowler in my Strat league :-). Are baseball statistics roughly normally distributed within the range from replacement level to superstar (I would think so)? Salaries aren't, so something like the median is often more representative of central tendency. Would the coefficient of variation (std. dev./mean) be useful for further clarifying outsized over or under-performance?

 
harderj
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Sorry, my bad...I see from the video there was a high and tight pitch from Todd Wellemeyer to Matt Kemp earlier in the same game.

Apr 20, 2010 7:34 AM on Abusing The Closer
 
harderj
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I'm curious what the pitch from Vincente Padilla to Aaron Rowand was supposed to be an answer to. Had Rowand or the Giants done something previously that game or in a prior one?

Apr 20, 2010 7:30 AM on Abusing The Closer
 
harderj
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The question of lefty Nate Schierholtz or John Bowker in right versus lefty starters *should* be resolved by Schierholtz's superior defense and his career success against lefties (.387/.408/.602 in 93 ab vs. .132/.146/.132 in 38 ab for Bowker). Against, righties, especially with DeRosa and Rowand out, I'd argue for both of them starting (with, I guess, Velez in center...ugh), but Schierholtz is so reversed, maybe he should only start against southpaws. Either way, I say bring up Buster Posey!

Apr 19, 2010 7:20 AM on Weekend Roundup
 
harderj
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Especially since Matusz had been doing so well through the first seven...I guess this was wanting to let him (get into) and pitch out of a jam at the major league level? I, too, have him in a keeper Strat league, along with Brett Anderson and Tommy Hanson.

Apr 15, 2010 7:25 AM on Wednesday Update
 
harderj
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Thanks for this. I have both Lastings Milledge and Jeff Clement on my Strat team, so loved learning more about their possible futures.

Apr 12, 2010 8:22 AM on Don Long
 
harderj
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I liked this article a lot, and think that breaking down contributions, positive or negative, is a sophisticated way to look at on field performance. I'm just glad when I did my dissertation there was "only" Boswell's Total Average and James's Runs Created!

 
harderj
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Regarding Buster Posey, one word...Sabeanmetrics.

Apr 12, 2010 7:42 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
harderj
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As a Giants fan, I agree with you, but I hope they figure it out by early May, and relegate Bengie to backup catcher/ph vs. lhp and spot start Posey at first as well as install him as regular catcher. Saving service time, perhaps? I hope if they continue hot out of the blocks that they throw this concern away. Absolutely, positively ensuring he succeeds in the majors? I guess, but as with Lincecum a few years ago, it seems like he's ready for the show. If you had a choice of Posey or Santana as your catcher for 2011-2015, who would you take?

Apr 09, 2010 5:26 AM on Friday Morning 12 Pack
 
harderj
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Duh, it was Braden (not Cahill)...sorry, brain fog.

Apr 07, 2010 8:55 AM on AL Roster Cleanup
 
harderj
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Does Gio Gonzalez still have the fifth slot? Cahill pitched last night (and did well), iirc.

Apr 07, 2010 8:05 AM on AL Roster Cleanup
 
harderj
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Any hope for Rocco Baldelli?

Mar 13, 2010 7:39 AM on The Unsigned
 
harderj
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I think they might consider letting Francisco Liriano close as he continues his comeback from T.J. surgery. He has been incredibly effective as a reliever before (though stunk in both last year, and I don't know if he has ever closed). Supposedly he looked great in the Venezuelan (?) Winter League, but presumably as a starter there.

Mar 11, 2010 11:28 AM on Mid-Week Update
 
harderj
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Nathan has a significant tear in his elbow. How red does that light get?

Mar 09, 2010 9:03 AM on Minnesota Twins
 
harderj
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Meant WXRL/LEV...sorry

Mar 08, 2010 9:47 AM on Best Non-Closers
 
harderj
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A few other names to toss out there, based on a scan of Strat-O-Matic ratings, not SIERRA or WNXL/LEV (for which I don't have the whole list): Claudio Vargas Darren O'Day Brian Sanches Fu Te Ni Kiko Calero Joe Thatcher Alfredo Aceves Sean Burnett All would be solid non-closer Strat cards in the 2009 set.

Mar 08, 2010 9:46 AM on Best Non-Closers
 
harderj
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I like the breakdown, especially because it will be followed by the integrated list. In my Yahoo league - must have LF, CF, RF; in ESPN, just 5 OF, much less challenging; in Strat, of course, position (and defense) matter. With regard to Adam Jones, one of my five keepers in Yahoo, I think, I'm curious that you think the projected HR# is too high. Last year he homered once every 26.79 PA, and his projection would be once every 25.96. Is that a big jump for a 24 year old who might be playing healthier than he was last year?

Mar 06, 2010 7:08 AM on Center Fielders
 
harderj
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Goggles make you look bigger...

Mar 01, 2010 12:16 PM on Weekend Update
 
harderj
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Or, heck, for that matter, Fred Lewis ;-)

Mar 01, 2010 12:15 PM on NL West
 
harderj
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Let's hope those three are Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and Andres Torres, then!

Mar 01, 2010 12:14 PM on NL West
 
harderj
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David Ortiz (and Pablo Sandoval) both underwent regimens, Aaron Rowand took up bike riding, and you should have seen Carl Crawford's workout on Baseball Tonight...but Ronnie Belliard still needs to lose two pounds to guarantee his contract. For Ortiz, see http://bleacherreport.com/articles/350671-a-fit-david-ortiz-says-you-should-see-me-naked. For Rowand, http://www.marinij.com/giants/ci_14423077 For Sandoval, http://sfgiants.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/11/operation_panda.html, but see also http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/22/SPTM1C53DO.DTL&feed=rss.giants for evidence that it hasn't completely worked (there was one particular picture of him on Bleacher Report where he looked enormous). But I don't know, he looks pretty good here, and with new specs to boot: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/8326/gallery

Mar 01, 2010 11:24 AM on Weekend Update
 
harderj
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Great interview. Thanks!

Mar 01, 2010 10:52 AM on Drew Storen
 
harderj
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Where is Alex Avila if he ends up stealing significant time from Gerald Laird (or in a keeper league)? Also, if I were Texas, I'd take those two OBP's from my catchers (they're both listed as in the high .300's instead of .200's :-)...owning Teagarden in my Strat league, I know he's nowhere near that good.

Mar 01, 2010 10:26 AM on Catcher rankings
 
harderj
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The Aubrey Huff signing by the Giants is the one that puzzles me the most (though re-signing Freddy Sanchez and Bengie Molina were also questionable decisions). With Mark DeRosa, Juan Uribe, Freddy Sanchez, Pablo Sandoval, and Travis Ishikawa, much less Eugenio Velez for the occasional stone-hands start at 2b, there would be little need to play Edgar Renteria, if he is indeed done, and the outfield picture is some combination of Velez, Fred Lewis, Andres Torres, Aaron Rowand, Nate Schierholtz, and perhaps John Bowker. Do-able. Adding Huff at first puts Sandoval at 3rd, and DeRosa has to play (even if his peak is past), so as you point out, there's a logjam in the outfield. My hope would be that the Giants would go offense first and start DeRosa at short, but I'm not seeing that mentioned, and Bruce Bochy seems to love Renteria. Putting Panda behind the plate (his self-proclaimed favorite position) occasionally would be another creative option, but this isn't Strat-O-Matic, and I'd rather see him at one position, focused on hitting. The plan/idea to maybe play Buster Posey at first would also make a lot more sense if they hadn't signed Huff. Torres showed much more than Rowand last year, both offensively and defensively, though much more against lefties. But he's 32. Lewis is the best non-Panda on base guy on the team (until Posey's arrival?), but apparently his butchery of left, his hacktastically wild swings, and other Bochy-seen flaws overwhelm the plate patience and objectively good defensive stats (I know, many Giants fans swear he sucks in left, and I haven't seen him play much). I suspect he will be successful, though not an all-star, with his next organization, especially if it's in the A.L. so he could DH occasionally. Sigh...

Mar 01, 2010 7:58 AM on NL West
 
harderj
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Small point, but in the first chart there's no #2 and two #8's...does this mean the much-maligned Bochy's actually #2? Hope he uses Romo and Runzler (and Waldis Joaquin?) in high leverage situations this year...

Feb 27, 2010 7:07 PM on Fine Penmanship, Part 2
 
harderj
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Just re-read Roger Craig's "Inside Pitch," a diary of the 1984 Tigers season for which he was the pitching coach. It's amazing how differently Willie Hernandez was used compared to current day closers. I highly recommend it as a good read on the individual psychological approach Craig took with the stubborn Morris, the developing Petry, the overachieving Wilcox, and the enigmatic Juan Berenguer, among others. Can't wait to read what's been the problem with the Giants since 1954...

 
harderj
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My carefully derived figure is $16.8 MM, but that was the absolute first guess (repeated two other times so far), so I'll go with: $16,800,420

Jan 18, 2010 11:26 AM on May 20-26
 
harderj
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Depressed by the likely state of the 2010 Giants offense, I went looking. Current Giants' 2009/career obp (note that 3 of the top 4 are not likely to get starting jobs, or even stay in S.F.). 2009 obp/career obp: Sandoval .387/.381 Lewis .348/.355 Torres .343/.290 Ishikawa .329/.330 Uribe .329/.298 Sanchez .326/.334 Derosa .319/.343 Rowand .319/.339 Huff .310/.340 Velez .308/.305 Renteria .307/.345 Schierholtz .302/.316 Whiteside .269/.267 Bowker .247/.291 Frandsen .204/.304 Sigh...thank goodness for pitching.

 
harderj
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Thanks so much for the comparison/discussion about Reggie and Bobby, my two favorite players when I was growing up. Bobby was the A.S.G. MVP once, at least :-).

Jan 15, 2010 8:25 AM on 10 Men Out
 
harderj
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I went back and looked, and you're right, Sandoval did have a number of nagging injuries, though he never landed on the D.L. Besides the ball in the face in Spring Training, he sprained his left ankle trying to avoid a pitch, but was okay for Opening Day. In May, his right elbow stiffened, and two weeks later, he reported slight tenderness opposite that, with Bochy saying he'd only use him at 1b, so this is one that clearly had/has positional implications. He missed four games in August with a tweaked calf (from fouling a ball off the area) and flu-like symptoms. So two of his injuries were batting related, but could be "nursed" more easily at 1b to keep him in the lineup. Guess that won't work so well this year unless Huff needs a day off...

Jan 13, 2010 9:07 AM on Getting Short-y
 
harderj
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Kung Fu Panda played in 153 games last year, which seems pretty good for a second year player. I know he took a bad hop off his face in spring training (playing third), and vaguely recall a leg problem (but I think from running the bases...albeit perhaps exacerbated by playing 3b instead of 1b, as you allude to), but he never landed on the D.L., and performed pretty well on the season. Strat-O-Matic has him as a 1b-3e21, 3b-3e15, c-4(+1)e8, so in the regard *I* care about most, he's best at 3b (though I may capitalize on the fact that he can play catcher :-). That said, he told me that catcher is his favorite position when I met him briefly in January 2009. And if you haven't seen his off-season workout regimen, it's pretty impressive. Down 12 pounds so far. video: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=7132677&c_id=sf article: http://sfgiants.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/11/operation_panda.html

Jan 13, 2010 8:50 AM on Getting Short-y
 
harderj
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In reply to Bill J. Would be curious what you see as the Giants strong young core. As generously as I can be (as a Giants fan), I guess I see Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Pablo Sandoval as clearly fitting that description, with unproven Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner on the horizon, and the erratic Jonathan Sanchez maybe in the mix on his good days. Throw in Brian Wilson too, and possibly Sergio Romo (and maybe even Osiris Matos) in the pen. That may be enough to win the N.L. West this year, but I don't know that it's a strong young core. Still may be better than the Astros, as you point out, so it could be semantics :-). Were you including Fred Lewis, Travis Ishikawa, Nate Schierholz, or Eugenio Velez? Anyone else I missed? I don't think anyone else in the minors is near ready (though I read that Angel Villalona is out on bail at least). I'm not trying to bust on you, or be snarky, as I would *love* for the Giants to have a strong core, but I am thinking it will be another disappointing year for El Gigantes.

Jan 13, 2010 7:40 AM on Getting Short-y
 
harderj
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Loved the concept of "pre-prime" and "prime" players. Of course, it's obvious that good organizations would plan things out like that, but I hadn't heard the terms used before. Made me wonder what other occupations typically have such a steep drop-off in performance at some age (mid 30's in baseball) that needs to be managed in the same way?

Jan 12, 2010 8:41 AM on January 4-10
 
harderj
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On the question of "stars and scrubs" (sorry I couldn't reply directly), the theoretical rationale from organizational behavior (Lazear and Pfeffer at Stanford) is that since baseball is a series of relatively individual efforts rather than more "flow" oriented games (e.g., basketball and soccer), that in fact paying stars more and scrubs less would result in better individual motivation (though decreased "teamwork"). Conversely, in situations where more teamwork is required to succeed, compressing the salary distribution would be better for overall performance. Michael Jordan and the Bulls had salaries that were much more compressed than, say, the Lakers of those years. And rather than standard deviation, coefficient of variation (or Gini or Theil) is thought to be a better measure of distributions, making them easier to compare across organizations. CV is SD/mean, so it's easy to calculate. I started to do an organizational level study after my individual-level dissertation (on pay and performance in baseball and basketball), but Pfeffer and I could never get significant results. But we were using what we thought weere the most sophisticated tools of the day, Runs Created and Total Average. Might be different with updated stats...maybe the effect is really on positive team performance compared to Pythagorean or something.

Jan 10, 2010 6:32 AM on The Holliday Rush
 
harderj
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Can DeRosa play short? Neither he nor Uribe is likely to be a world-beater defensively, but whatever positive defensive differential Renteria would give there (if any), the added offense is probably worth it. I like the DeRosa, Uribe, Sandoval, Ishikawa mix for 3b, ss, 1b, with occasional days off and occasional starts in the crowded, but substandard, outfield. Say, didn't Posey play some shortstop in college? And Sandoval loves catching...nah, that's way too radical.

Jan 10, 2010 6:22 AM on The Holliday Rush
 
harderj
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Regarding Kearns, his #1 comparable here is Michael Cuddyer, who just hit a career high in home runs in his age 30 season (though he may have done more earlier than Kearns has).

Jan 10, 2010 6:12 AM on AL Re-Gifting
 
harderj
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Another is Raul Ibanez, though his early non-production may have been more about lack of regular playing time before age 29. Bob Brenly turned in his only four good seasons between 30 and 34.

Jan 09, 2010 7:24 PM on AL Re-Gifting
 
harderj
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Post reply doesn't seem to work. Jeff Kent turned it on in his age 29 season, from what I can see, though I doubt Kearns will turn into him.

Jan 09, 2010 6:51 PM on AL Re-Gifting
 
harderj
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Eduardo Rodriguez is, however, the answer to the trivia question "what player is tied for the career lead in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and on base plus slugging?" Though he pitched in 264 games in the majors, he had only one plate appearance, in which he tripled. So a career batting line of 1.000/1.000/3.000 (tied with three others).

Jan 09, 2010 4:49 PM on AL Re-Gifting
 
harderj
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Ah, David Green...traded with Dave Lapoint, Sixto Lezcaino, and Lary Sorensen for Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons, and Pete Vuckovich, then dealt with Lapoint (again) and Jose Uribe (whose name at the time was reported as alternatively Jose Gonzalez or Uribe Gonzalez) for Jack Clark, then finally dealt for a player to be named later, Hector Quinones (who managed a .581 OPS in 5 MiLB seasons). In the first trade, with Green et al going from Milwaukee to St. Louis, Milwaukee got a lot of value. Fingers had three good years as their closer, Simmons was the regular catcher for five years, and Vuckovich had one stellar season and one workhorse one before fading. Lapoint did give the Cardinals three seasons of better than .500 work, albeit with a WHIP of over 1.40 each year, Lezcano managed a .376 on base percentage, and Sorensen went 7-7 with a 3.27 ERA in their respective first and only seasons with the Cardinals. Green gave them four seasons, managing a high of .325 OBP and .422 slugging percent in his career best 1982 (when the Cards won the World Series). Following the second trade, Clark gave the Cardinals two All-Star, M.V.P. vote garnering seasons out of three with the team before they let him go as a free agent. Green did nothing for the Giants, Lapoint went 7-17 (albeit with an ERA of 3.57 to go with his substandard 1.40 WHIP), and Uribe became a fan favorite, though rarely an offensive threat of note. So while neither trade is quite Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun, and Dick Simpson, or Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski, or even George Foster for Frank Duffy (or Frank Duffy and Gaylord Perry for Sudden Sam McDowell), those were some pretty good players Green was traded for, and he pretty much amounted to not much. Maybe he was good when he played for the Kintetsu Buffaloes, but I can't find stats...

Jan 09, 2010 1:45 PM on Buckling Up a Beltre
 
harderj
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Regarding Sandoval and catching, for what it's worth, he says it's his favorite position. And I agree (and so does Strat-O-Matic) that he was no disaster at 3b (Strat gave him a 3b-3, 1b-3, c-4), and Ishikawa was actually one of the better Giants last year at getting on base against righties (which is damning with faint praise, I realize), and does have a slick J.T. Snow-esque glove. So, assuming the following pieces are in the lineup most days for the Giants, this still isn't a great offense (but given the pitching...): Sandoval, sh, 1b (occasional 3b, rare if ever C) DeRosa, rh, ss? (anyone but Renteria vs. rhp) Sanchez, rh, 2b Uribe, rh, 3b? (but hit rhp better in 2009) Outfielders will probably be Velez in lf, Rowand in cf, and Winn in rf (do they still have him?), but I would argue Torres, Lewis, and Schierholz should merit more consideration in Bochy's mind than they did last year... And I can't wait for the Posey era to start.

Jan 09, 2010 8:57 AM on Going West
 
harderj
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Never tried Scoresheet, but I like that Strat uses defense, as it is much more complete than Rotisserie. I loved seeing the draft results (and would actually love to see more rounds), as that's one more set of data points for my upcoming drafts this year.

Jan 02, 2010 9:38 AM on All-Stars
 
harderj
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Personally, I play in two A.L. only Yahoo leagues, both keeper, but one has only 6 teams and one 8. One uses OBP instead of AVE, and adds Holds (bogus, imho), and the other is head-to-head rather than rotisserie scoring. These are mere child's play next to my keeper Strat-O-Matic team...

 
harderj
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Really liked this article. Thanks. Especially the point about young pitchers and just expecting they're going to get hurt at some point...very helpful to me in Strat :-).

Dec 31, 2009 1:07 PM on Eric Kubota
 
harderj
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ScottyB, I'm a b-school professor as well, in leadership and organizational behavior. You?

Dec 21, 2009 1:18 PM on Don Wakamatsu
 
harderj
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Is not being able to disentangle Redmond from the Twins organization intractable? If he's only been with them, something like a dummy variable for team wouldn't work. Also, if I understand correctly, the premise of mentoring is that the catcher wouldn't necessarily have to be in that many games (360 innings), so pitch calling and its results on walk, strike out, or home run rate (as suggested by Richard) is only one contributory activity, with dugout and clubhouse "presence" and teaching being a major one. Maybe split the sample more and look at the true "mentors" (maybe between 40 and 81 games equivalent) vs. starting catchers? Also made me wonder if there's a better metric, maybe one that would need to be devised or derived, for measuring the mentoring effect.

Dec 21, 2009 10:21 AM on Will You Be My Mentor?
 
harderj
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How *do* you pronounce Zduriencik? Bay => Seattle makes sense more than Citi, for sure.

Dec 21, 2009 10:04 AM on Weekend Roundup
 
harderj
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I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks! I particularly enjoyed the parts about his relationship with the G.M. and how they're trying to build the parts of the team. Also the philosophy of pitching as applied to Snell (I'm taking pitching lessons myself :-). And the lessons from Oakland about sophisticated use of stats (beyond Texas's) but not letting that clutter field management. With Bradley (and Branyan or someone not named Cust on the cheap), they could be pretty, pretty good.

Dec 21, 2009 9:53 AM on Don Wakamatsu
 
harderj
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And Kazmir for the L.A. Angels and Buchholz as #4 for the Red Sox. Coincidentally, MLB.com just featured an article on the need for a big 3 rotation, listing the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox and Tigers in the A.L. (not the Mariners) and the Phillies, Braves, Diamondbacks, and Giants as the top Top-3 rotations. In part because the author initially forgot Peavy, the article has generated over 150 comments in the day it's been up, with some interesting discussion.

 
harderj
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...who just signed an extension with the Phillies.

 
harderj
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Or who play Strat :-). But I liked this article nonetheless, and am glad I have Tulowitzki.

 
harderj
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Gil Meche should be added ahead of Hochevar.

 
harderj
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This got me thinking about best rotations right now. For winning in the playoffs, who's is best? They may not all be up to date, and there may be transactions I've missed, but I thought it would be a start. Who did I miss? Giants - Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez/Bumgarner/Zito Dodgers - (Garland), Billingsley, Kershaw Padres - Correia, Latos Rockies - Jimenez, Marquis, De La Rosa, Hammel Diamondbacks - Haren, D. Davis, Webb-inj. in '09, E. Jackson Astros - W. Rodriguez, Oswalt Cubs - Dempster, Lilly, Zambrano, Wells Reds - Arroyo, Cueto, Harang Cardinals - Carpenter, Wainwright, Piniero Milwaukee - Gallardo, Wolf, Looper Pittsburgh - Duke, Maholm, Ohlendorf Phillies - Halladay, Blanton, Hamels, Happ Mets - J. Santana, Maine, Pelfrey Marlins - J. Johnson, Nolasco Braves - Jurrjens, Vazquez, Lowe, Hanson Nationals - Lannan, Strasburg, L. Hernandez Red Sox - Lester, Lackey, Beckett Rays - Shields, Garza, Niemann, Price, Davis Orioles - Guthrie, Millwood, Matusz, Tillman, Arrieta Yankees - Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte Jays - Romero, Drabek Tigers - Verlander, Porcello, Scherzer, Washburn White Sox - Danks, Floyd, Buerhle, Peavy Twins - Blackburn, Baker, Pavano Indians - Huff, Laffey, Sipp, Westbrook, Carmona Royals - Greinke, Hochevar Mariners - Hernandez, Lee, Morrow A's - Anderson, Cahill Rangers - Harden, Feldman Angels - Weaver, Saunders

 
harderj
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Very nice, as I had seen neither before.

 
harderj
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I liked Men at Work, and am bummed that I somehow lost my copy, and I also enjoyed much of his book Bunts. For baseball writers though, and insights into the non-statistical aspects of the game, I prefer Tom Boswell ("Why Life is Like the World Series") or even Roger Angell. However, BP's "Mind Game," "Baseball Between the Numbers," and many of the daily columns have added to my personal baseball knowledge and appreciation more than Will's work. I also recommend John Schuerholz's, Jon Miller's, and Whitey Herzog's books for good general baseball reading. Anyone read the new one by Gibson/Reggie yet?

 
harderj
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Jon Miller would add a lot. I really liked reading his book recently. Everything we know about change says it's easier to actually implement if the people who have to actually implement it have a voice in the process. Though broadcasters wouldn't necessarily have to change as much as react, umpires, players, and others would. So, if they really wanted ideas for positive change, in addition to some others that have been named I would suggest Tom Boswell (writer), Mike Veeck (minor league owner/promoter), Cal Ripken (venerable former player), and Steve Palermo (umpire).

 
harderj
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I enjoyed viewing this video as I love counter-intuitive social psych stuff, but like many wondered about its applicability to baseball. A little more explanation by Will would have helped me, but cool nonetheless, and I enjoyed the different directions the discussion took. Reminded me that, all joking about Ichiro clones and Houston 3rd basemen aside, Tom Gilovich did some stuff on failure to recognize regression to the mean in sports, Barry Blecherman did his dissertation on the winner's curse in free agency signings in baseball, and recent discussions have invoked both the principal-agent problem and the ultimatum game in questionable free agent signings and noteworthy trades. Sherwin Rosen's economics of superstars certainly applies, as do many of the judgmental biases and heuristics of Kahneman and Tversky, Arrow, and others. Where I'm going with all this is I wonder if the next Moneyball is becoming understanding and overcoming these inherent biases and attention lapses...that the smart front offices will be able to take advantage of those less adept.

Dec 17, 2009 11:48 AM on Central Shakedown
 
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Except with two outs in the ninth and two strikes on Don Larsen's last victim.

Dec 17, 2009 11:39 AM on Central Shakedown
 
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Appreciated this and all the comments. Very thought-provoking. When I saw the title of the article, I thought it was going to be about trading Halladay and Wells together to someone for nothing in return. Would getting out from under Wells's contract be worth more than a late first round pick and a sandwich pick? Just found the following link when trying to find the remaining value of Wells's contract ($107 million), and I think I had seen the idea somewhere else too (maybe another BP column?): http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/27/to-get-halladay-mets-should-offer-to-take-wells-too/

Dec 12, 2009 5:05 PM on A Halladay Ultimatum
 
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Nit-nitpicking. Panda also caught two games, iirc, so he'll be carded at catcher in Strat-O-Matic :-), and catcher eligible in any leagues with that low a minimum.

 
harderj
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Interesting chart on percent of prior year revenues spent on this year's salaries. And, indeed, if you run the numbers there is a positive correlation of percent revenues spent with winning percentage of .26. However, the correlation between actual salary dollars (as reported) and winning percent is considerably higher, at .47, and correlation between prior year's revenue (as reported) and this year's winning percent is .51. So I'm not sure what the percent of revenues measure really adds. And, that's using the numbers reported, taking into account that they could be highly inaccurate themselves (except winning percentage :-). And don't get me started on revenue sharing/salary cap...

 
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I appreciated the Strat reference vis-a-vis Fields.

Nov 06, 2009 5:40 PM on A Teahen Scandal?
 
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Yep, I agree. Thanks for this. May draft Fuld higher than I otherwise would have in Strat-O-Matic for his smarts (and on base :-).

Nov 06, 2009 5:08 PM on Sam Fuld
 
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And remember, "Ruth was 'nothing more than a fat old man, with little-girl legs.'" Maybe the Yankees will even break out the cotton unis for the series... http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page3/story?page=katcher/sports_seinfeld

Oct 27, 2009 7:41 AM on The Weather
 
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Option on Alex Gonzalez is about $6mm, and he seems to have solidified shortstop defense at least, albeit with his perennial low on base percentage. Found it strange that he wasn't even mentioned in the article. What would Tejada cost, and isn't he kind of past his prime (especially defensively)?

Oct 13, 2009 8:27 AM on Boston Red Sox
 
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Similarly the Giants with "Bye Bye Baby." At least Pablo Sandoval apparently has learned to draw walks more than he used to...

 
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Craig Biggio is the most famous catcher I could think of who moved somewhere else at least close on the defensive spectrum (not to 1b). Any others? One of my Strat-O-Matic league-mates still laments that Carlos Delgado didn't stay a catcher, and I feel the same way about Brandon Inge, Daric Barton, and, apparently, Pablo Sandoval (though he has played 3 games at catcher this year, so should qualify there, and I'll play even his likely c-4 with that offense over Carlos Ruiz). Why would Seattle (or more recently, the Pirates) not try Jeff Clement at catcher, for the offense, consistent with the Posada story? Is he that truly abysmal?

Sep 30, 2009 8:07 AM on Fifth-Corner Recycling
 
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Thanks for the Velez defensive facts. My long-distance, uninformed, diehard fan's hopes die hard...

Sep 23, 2009 6:59 PM on The Missing Man
 
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What may have been telling in the coaching staff's perceptions are his strikeouts (as hossypoo alluded to) and his inconsistency month to month (recognizing the problem with small sample sizes and that lack of playing time may have actually contributed to that...chicken/egg). Here's how it looks to me like he got buried. After a 7 game hitting streak to start the season (while the Giants went 2-5), and carrying an OBP of over .500, he went 0-4 with 4 strikeouts in the Giants' loss to the Dodgers. The next game, he got flip-flopped with Sandoval from 3rd to 5th in the order, and he went 1 for 1 with two walks, albeit another Giants' loss. His OBP then stood at .514, and Pablo's was at .278, fwiw. He went 4 for 6 with a walk in the first two games of the Arizona series, hitting fifth and getting his first steal (and caught stealing) of the year, then was moved to leadoff for the series conclusion, with his OBP of .550. Apparently, this is not what he is cut out for, and I suspect Bochy noticed that over the remainder of the month. First two times up, called third strike. Third time up, a walk. Last time up, a swinging strikeout. Next game, 1 for 3 with a walk, then 0 for 4 with a walk and strikeout, then 2 for 5 (1K), then another 0 for 4 with 3 K's (1 swinging, 2 looking), but also an outfield assist and a double play to his credit. And then the next game, perhaps because of the 3 strikeouts, he sat and Randy Winn with his sub-.300 OBP hit leadoff. Lewis did have a pinch hit double to raise his OBP to .463. Over the next three games at leadoff, 1 for 12, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk. He finished April at .299/.420/.403, with 27 k's in 67 at bats and a k/bb ratio of 2.45. That's not quite Jose Hernandez (or Alfonso Soriano) numbers, but it's pretty bad, especially for someone with a slugging percentage lower than his on base percent. To that point, his leadoff numbers were 4 hits in 31 at bats (3 singles and a double) with 4 walks and 15 strikeouts, 4 runs scored and 0 rbi. For May hitting some leadoff and then primarily 6th or 7th as the article points out, Lewis was .258/.340/.438, but still striking out more than twice as many times as walking, 21 k's, 10 walks. He did pretty much nothing with his limited playing time in June, a Bochian self-fulfilling prophecy, recording a .167/.186/.262 month. 11 more K's to go with only 1 walk. His OBP declined steadily, as there was only one day in June when his OBP was higher than the day before. So, could he have helped the Giants? It's hard to say if more playing time would have netted better results than he got in June, but other than April and August, he has had a pretty poor season. I want to be a Freddie Lewis believer, but looking more into the numbers it looks to me like he kind of fumbled the opportunity he was given with a sub-par May while playing regularly, though being bounced around in the lineup probably didn't help any.

Sep 23, 2009 10:42 AM on The Missing Man
 
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I recall last off-season reading that Choo has a military obligation he will have to fulfill, so unless that has changed (and I recall it was potentially 2 or even 3 years), that's problematic for the Tribe.

Sep 23, 2009 9:16 AM on Cleveland Indians
 
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I'm a Giants fan living in Virginia, but whenever I travel to the Bay Area I try to at least catch games on radio. I love Freddie's on base percentage (especially on the Jints) and also think the lineup would have been consistently better with him in there, especially over Winn. But to echo the fan sentiment thread, I remember driving from Yosemite in the snow on opening day this year listening to the KNBR signal as it faded in and out. Lincecum had struggled and was gone after 3, but the Giants were ahead 4-3 in the top of the 4th as rookie Joe Martinez took over. With one out, he hit Weeks with a pitch and Weeks stole second. Then Corey Hart singled to left and Lewis "airmailed" one home, allowing Weeks to score to tie the game and Hart to go to second, only to score when Fielder singled. Krukow and Kuiper were pretty incredulous, as I recall (something like "wow, a major league left fielder has to make a better throw than that"). A double play ended the inning and later a Rowand homer gave the Giants a lead they didn't relinquish, but since Randy Winn homered later in that game, and Fred made a crucial error, Lewis's fate was cast. Maybe part of Bochy's problem (consistent with decisions made on small samples) is that he has a "primacy" bias, and remembers opening day's comeback (and the need for it) too well :-). Can Velez play short (or third)? Uribe to third, Pablo to first, Sanchez at second, Lewis, Rowand, Schierholz, and "Oh Please, Oh Please, Oh POSEY." You know, Bengie Molina's bat is *much* too valuable off the bench to put him in the starting lineup...

Sep 23, 2009 9:03 AM on The Missing Man
 
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e.g., Garry Templeton for Ozzie Smith

Sep 22, 2009 8:47 AM on Bradleygate?
 
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Yeah, but it's an 11 team all star league, so having multiple good arms in the pen isn't that unusual ;-). I'm 5-5 so far in a 60 game season. I've been using Balfour predominantly as the reversed righty, Nathan the traditional righty, Howell LOOGY, and Devine if Nathan's tired. When Ervin Santana, James Shields, or Justin Duchscherer start I'm in good shape. So far, with all of this being based on few occurences, Howell's ERA and batting average against are 0.00/.000, with 8.1 K/9 and 8.1 BB/9, since he has walked three of 12 batters faced in 3.1 innings. Nathan's ERA is 0.00 with a batting average against of .125 on one hit and one walk in 2.1 innings, 11.6 K/9. Balfour, with 3.0 innings pitched has an ERA of 3.00, an average against of .182, and a whopping 15.0 K/9. He actually has been hit at a .333 clip by lefties (2 for 6), negating his raison d' etre so far. And Devine has an ERA of 4.91 and average against of .267 in his 3.2 innings, but an otherworldly 19.6 K/9 (no walks). None have allowed a homer and Nathan and Balfour have WHIPs under 1. Then again, I also have Mike Pelfrey (or Francisco Liriano) who have to start, Duchscherer's a 4-inning guy, and Seth McClung and Chad Gaudin are the long guys, so no great shakes...

Sep 18, 2009 12:03 PM on Closing Out Closing
 
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Partly, I'm influenced by having reading books by Whitey Herzog and John Schuerholz that included talk of negotiations around relievers (and others), where the agent actively expressed interests, opinions, and threats when a player was not used in a way to maximize the stats that would become negotiations fodder for his *next* contract (whether arbitration or free agency). So, my argument is definitely not about bonuses for saves (which you quite rightly point out are not allowed) and more subtly about the power dynamics, supply and demand, superstar agents (or monopsonistic, if you will), and other behind the scenes plays that I have only passing knowledge about. - Joe

Sep 18, 2009 7:54 AM on Closing Out Closing
 
harderj
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Very interesting, and I use the leverage chart from BP's book to guide my decision making in Strat-O-Matic, where I might have Nathan, Balfour, Howell, Devine, and Romo to select from. There are two things that I haven't seen mentioned yet that I think drove this. "Genius" LaRussa's (see George Will's Men at Work for a glorifying example) exclusive use of Dennis Eckersley in this role, and agents (especially in arbitration cases) having a stat to point to that doesn't exist for set-up men and other non-closers. Until negotiations start happening around WHIP, K/BB ratio, HR rate, GB/FB ratio, VORP or whatever else, I don't see this trend changing easily. Agents (and the Union) do have a lot of power in today's game.

Sep 18, 2009 7:36 AM on Closing Out Closing
 
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I was keeping an eye on Pelfrey this year, since I drafted him late in Strat and he was an "abused" pitcher last year, in terms of being age 25 or under and pitching more than 30 innings more than the year before. Needless to say, I'm disappointed in his awful year (-2.8 VORP). Others on the list have shown mixed results with Lincecum (67.7), Lester (53.3), Jurrjens (47.9), Kershaw (44.0), Danks (37.8), Floyd (34.5), Sanchez (16.6), Nolasco (-3.5), Perkins (-0.7), Parra (-22.5), and Greg Smith (undistinguished performance across 3 levels of the minors this year, then placed on 60-day DL with a strained back). So how do you know which abused pitchers are okay to take a risk on, in fantasy or real life, and should teams avoid abusing their pitchers?

Sep 17, 2009 10:26 AM on New York Mets
 
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Apologies to Kosuke Fukudome and Jonny Gomes for misspelling their names in my previous post.

Sep 15, 2009 8:38 AM on September 7-13
 
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I don't care one way or another about Francouer, since I don't have him on my Strat team and am not a huge Braves or Mets fan, but I thought I'd look at the claims that caused such an outburst by Guns and Butter. Francouer was traded on July 11, so looking at his post-ASG numbers is a good proxy. He *has* hit for average, at .303, albeit with a somewhat pedestrian on base percentage of .333, and a respectable slugging percent of .483. He's managed a 33 to 9 strikeout to walk total in that time. On the season as a whole he's also been much better against lefties, with an .834 OPS vs. .668 against righties. Defense (especially arm) aside, there may be a number of starting right fielders who are better. But a casual look at my two favorite teams, the A's and the Giants, suggests that while Ryan Sweeney of the A's probably keeps his job, the Giants could surely have used Francouer over the likes of Randy Winn, Andres Torres, or Nate "the Great" Schierholz. So I looked at the whole National League. Here's a quick list of post-ASG slash stats for N.L. right fielders, or who had at least played RF at some time in the past (did I miss anyone?). Francouer .303/.333/.483 Clearly better: Andre Ethier .330/.407/.601 Justin Upton .308/.374/.501 Garrett Jones .302/.366/.566 Jayson Werth .272/.366/.528 Will Venable .284/.342/.503 Better on base, but not slugging: Kosuke Fukodome .275/.384/.440 Elijah Dukes .282/.383/.419 Milton Bradley .280/.380/.429 Ryan Church .278/.371/.444 Brad Hawpe .242/.363/.404 Corey Hart .275/.359/.435 Lastings Milledge .299/.342/.396 Better slugging, but not on base: Johnny Gomes .248/.311/.540 Hunter Pence .270/.324/.500 Not as good as Francouer: Eugenio Velez .285/.335/.464 Brett Carroll .259/.323/.444 Cody Ross .265/.310/.441 Brandon Moss .216/.289/.371 Randy Winn .247/.315/.309 Andres Torres .237/.326/.395 Nate Schierholz .255/.286/.418 Ryan Ludwick .286/.333/.413 Colby Rasmus .228/.288/.336 Rick Ankiel .274/.306/.470 So depending on how you value on base vs. slugging (or vs. average, for that matter), and again, defense (and salary) aside, his performance with the Mets suggests better than some, worse than some, kind of "average," in the context of the National League post-All Star break in 2009, even if his career numbers can't make that claim. And, he's only 25...

Sep 15, 2009 8:35 AM on September 7-13
 
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Thanks for the prompt reply. And I wasn't really expecting that he would comfortably answer, I was just curious. Glad you asked at least :-)

Sep 14, 2009 9:12 AM on Ian Desmond
 
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Wonderful interview. Thanks. I wonder, though, what Desmond does to attain this relaxed state. Yoga? Meditation? Religion/spirituality? A coach's comments that got through? Sports psychologist? Not expecting him to necessarily talk about them, but if they work it seems like teams/organizations should look into them... Whatever, yes, it does seem to be working for him!

Sep 14, 2009 8:25 AM on Ian Desmond
 
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Desmond started at 2b before moving to ss in a double switch. Given his high error rate at shortstop (though he has the range, right?), is he destined for a move to 2b? Were many/most of his errors throwing errors? He shore did airmail (email?) that one he made in his first game, in which he got his first major league hit, rbi, then home run, then error...getting all of them out of the way on day one, as one announcer said.

Sep 14, 2009 8:17 AM on Weekend Update
 
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Follow up on Ziegler, et al. In his first 23.2 innings in '08, he had a WHIP of 0.80 to go with his ERA of 0.00, but had struck out only 10, so Feliz's start is better, except on dingers and ERA. Devine after 24.1 was at 1.03 WHIP/1.11 ERA with 28 K's and no home runs. Romo after 21 innings showed 0.86/3.43, with 22 K's and 3 HR's, so Feliz clearly better. But in Devine's *last* 23.2 innings he had a 0.55/0.00 with 21 K's, so that's a pretty solid run that rivals Feliz's start (guess that's where he threw out his arm), and Romo's last 21 innings of the year were 0.69/1.71, 20 K's and 0 HR...given how high I drafted them both in Strat, I'm bummed about this year...

 
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Brad Ziegler's overall numbers last year were pretty good (1.16 WHIP and 1.06 ERA), though without the quite so impressive strikeouts (still good at 47 in 59.2 ip), and he had that great scoreless streak when he first came up as a set-up man (about 28 innings?), but not sure if his whip for that streak was under .50, as Feliz's is: Teammate Joey Devine put together a nice season too, with a WHIP of 0.83 and an ERA of 0.59 to go with his 49 K's in 45.2 innings, with no home runs allowed. And check out Sergio Romo's 34 innings last year with the Giants: 2008 SF 29 0 0 0 34.0 16 13 8 3 8 33 3 1 0 5 -- 2.12 33 K's in 34 still isn't quite as good as Feliz, and he gave up 3 homeruns to Feliz's 2, albeit in more innings, but his WHIP was only 0.71, so that's getting close. Feliz's start does seem pretty special.

 
harderj
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Thanks for the clarification. I, too, missed that this was a start of the season analysis. Looking forward to part 2!

Sep 11, 2009 8:01 AM on Part One
 
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Nice start for Desmond. Crushed three balls, but only one made it through the wind, and also hit a gapper double.

Sep 11, 2009 7:49 AM on NL Roundup
 
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Or Schierholz.

 
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I was curious about that too. Is it injury risk? Need for him to be a starter? As a Strat-O-Matic owner of Liriano, I'm thrilled with the news ;-), though it's unlikely he can salvage his season into any kind of a usable card.

Sep 10, 2009 10:51 AM on Warning Indicators
 
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How about Chase Utley leading off? Or Jayson Werth (who I recall did at least once in 2008)? Especially with Utley's decrease in pop in the second half. Here's season (and post ASG) OBP (as well as post ASG slug) for the Phillies: Werth, rh .374 (.380/.561 slug) Utley, lh .411 (.377/.464 vs. .430/.573 before ASG) Howard, lh .353 (.373/.633!) Ruiz, rh .346 (.362/.504) Victorino, sh .362 (.338/.420) Ibanez, lh .349 (.321/.456) Rollins, sh .285 (.283/.493) Feliz, rh .315 (.277/.330) I know the article is more about myopic closer usage, but lineups matter too, right? Especially with JRoll at the top (even if we know he's better than this...he hasn't been, at least this year). And you can't actually bat Ruiz cleanup, I guess...

Sep 10, 2009 10:36 AM on Getting Serious
 
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Beltran was back in the lineup last night. Hit a bases loaded deep fly to the warning track in going 1 for 4. ESPN quoted him as saying: "I just got under that one," Beltran said. "Today I felt like a kid in the playground, like when I take my daughter to the playground. She's having fun and that's how I felt today. I felt good." http://espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=290908121

Sep 09, 2009 11:51 AM on Down and Out
 
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The speculation that the White Sox might sign Thome back as a free agent made me wonder about any examples of a player being traded mid-season and then signing back with the original team the next season. Any come to mind? I mean, I know Harry Chiti was ultimately traded for himself, but how about in the free agent world?

Sep 02, 2009 7:50 AM on Final Answers
 
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Pinch hit (and walked!) yesterday...

Aug 26, 2009 8:17 AM on Don't Panic
 
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A couple more for consideration: 1988 - Kirk Gibson over Strawberry (teammate McReynolds 3rd) 1991 - Terry Pendleton over Bonds (teammate Bonilla 3rd)

Aug 26, 2009 7:01 AM on AL Awards Quandary
 
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Thanks for the update. I drafted Hirsh in a Strat league a few years ago with a late pick, and probably would have made him one of my ten cuts next draft, but now that I know he has new life... Now if only Jeff Clement, Daric Barton, and Chris Davis would become something!

Aug 26, 2009 6:47 AM on August 24
 
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Yeah, a 31-year old second baseman who is adept with the glove (though used to a decent double play partner, not Renteria), but is hitting .296/.334/.442 doesn't seem like the answer, and is a disappointing return for Alderson (to this Giants fan at least) after hearing the speculative Johnson plus Dunn value being speculated about. But for what it's worth, Sanchez is on a pace to set his own single season walk record...

Jul 30, 2009 10:15 PM on Going For It
 
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Further thoughts on PacBell/AT&T park factor. Thanks again to marcello for the bbref ref, and for opening my eyes to my misbelief that it's a strong pitcher's park. It is clear that though over the life of the park it's favored pitchers (ESPN average from 2001-2008 of .961; BBRef average from 2000-2008 of 97.8 pitcher factor and 98.2 batter factor), the toughest four years for batters were 2000-2003. Since then, it's 1.011 using ESPN's method and 100.8 using BBRef's, with 2009 so far being slightly higher still. Funny, then, that Bochy and the Giants are convinced that pitching and defense are how to build the team...especially with Petco and Dodger Stadium balanced against Colorado and Arizona in their own division, so being kind of a wash. For what it's worth, the correlation between ESPN's and BBRef's numbers for SF from 2001-2008 are fairly strong at .83 or .85 (depending on whether it's BBRef's pitcher park factor or hitter park factor).

Jul 23, 2009 8:59 AM on Mid-Week Update
 
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I'm a Barry fan myself, but with the trial hanging over his head, plus his likely salary demands, plus the perception that he is a "prima donna" in the clubhouse and "difficult" with fans and the media, plus his diminished defensive and baserunning skills and reluctance to move to first base, plus his fan base (such as it is) being fairly Bay Area-centric (and maybe not even Oakland) all probably makes it more trouble than it's worth for a team to take him on. Still, I'd love to see what he could do down the stretch as the five-days-a-week DH for, say, the Yankees in their lefty homer h(e)aven... Heck, I'd even like to see Mike Veeck contact him about playing for one of his minor league teams.

Jul 23, 2009 8:12 AM on Mid-Week Update
 
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Thanks for the reference, and sorry to dispute what you said in your post...I knew I had seen some list in some fantasy magazine I read this year, but rather than digging that out I just googled, and ESPN's list showed up on top. I don't think PacBell/AT&T's dimensions have changed since it opened, but I could be wrong there as well...

Jul 22, 2009 2:30 PM on Mid-Week Update
 
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I read this and thought "no way," but indeed, so far in 2009 and for 2008, AT&T has played as a slight hitters' park: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor?season=2009 And while that was true in 2004 as well, it was actually a slight (but not extreme) pitchers' park in 2005, 2006, and 2007. FWIW, I had no idea park factors bounced around so much from year to year...makes me question the method a bit.

Jul 22, 2009 1:19 PM on Mid-Week Update
 
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I'm enjoying Zobrist (.288/.407/.602) in two leagues, and Maicer Izturis is playing over his head so far at .302/.352/.422 (and an out of this world .391/.462/.609 vs. left handed pitching...relevant for my Strat team).

Jul 10, 2009 12:23 PM on Feeling Short at Short?
 
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And for those of us in Strat leagues, the fact that he has played at least a couple of games at catcher (his favorite position, according to the man himself when I asked him) will make him catcher eligible there as well as at first and third (though as a Giants fan from afar I have no idea how he did in those games catching). He is actually a 1b-3 in the 2008 card set, and I am greatly looking forward to maximizing his limited but clutch positive card on my team.

Jun 19, 2009 4:22 PM on Grabbing Pablo Sandoval
 
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Is there any hope for Steve Pearce in the majors?

Jun 18, 2009 6:33 PM on NL Central Roundup
 
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Any chance of getting some scout's comments on Chris Davis?

Jun 17, 2009 12:38 PM on Dugout Turnover
 
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Ianetta also seems to be turning it around, which certainly helps. I just hope the Giants don't actually trade anything too valuable for Atkins...

Jun 15, 2009 2:38 PM on Rocky Mountain High?
 
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Nice to know that Omar wants to stay in the game. Giants announcers Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper were saying that he's such a good guy, and so knowledgeable, that he's the kind of person that once he retires but before he's managing a big league club, you just want to know where he is in the game...they suggested a "Where's Omar?" website.

Jun 14, 2009 1:03 PM on Omar Vizquel
 
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And while we all know there's no way Brandon Inge can keep it up, so far...any attribution for why he's doing better than career norms at age 30+?

 
harderj
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Yes, I had the same thought. Kung Fu Panda is hitting .304/.345/.468 overall, and hitting lefties better than he did last year. Blistering at home (.378/.414/.598), and AT&T ain't exactly a hitter's haven. Only .224/.272/.329 on the road, though. I drafted him high in my stratomatic league, so am psyched by what he's doing in the majors at 22.

May 29, 2009 12:39 PM on Offensive Rookies
 
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Oh, and Ishikawa, the subject of the sarcasm, may actually be able to hit. J.T. Snow was very high on him when I asked. Ishikawa is a wizard defensively, and had 24 home runs last year between AA/AAA, including 16 in only 171 at bats in AAA. Obviously, little pop so far for S.F., but .333 with his one dinger in the last ten games. You look at his minor league career and see one home run every 26.23 at bats, and say "what's the big deal?" but his 16 in 171 ab at AAA nets out to one every 10.69 at bats, with a line of .310/.370/.737, and that's suddenly a lot better. Plus, he's only 24, and walked fully 11% of his plate appearances in the minors (334 walks in 1911 pa), got hit by pitch 33 times for an overall minor league obp of .352, and 41% of his minor league hits went for extra bases.

May 26, 2009 1:52 PM on Bad Offense Recital
 
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Yep, but maybe still not as bad as George Foster for Frank Duffy... Who I like (offensively) currently on the Giants: Freddy Lewis Pablo Sandoval Emmanuel Burriss Jesus Guzman Nate Schierholz Who I wish they would get some value for (but is the Giants front office good at identifying value?): Aaron Rowand (stuck with him; at least he's good defensively) Barry Zito (duh, though actually halfway decent this year) Bengie Molina (put Sandoval there, his favorite position, or bring up Posey) Edgar Renteria (Burriss to short) Randy Winn, Rich Aurilia (love ya Rich, but it ain't 2001), Juan Uribe (may Jose rest in peace), and anyone else I haven't mentioned already who is on the roster. Pitching, obviously, is exciting, with more to come in 2010-2011.

May 26, 2009 1:30 PM on Bad Offense Recital
 
harderj
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Another piece to have introduced as a rationale for paying attention to run expectancy (though maybe more advanced than 101) would be how astute managers can use their "closers" earlier than normal in high leverage situations (i.e., in the 7th inning if a high leverage situation, rather than saving for a 9th that may not come).

 
harderj
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Oh, and in the Cain vs. Nolasco comparison, it would have been nice to have the actual walks/9 and HR rate in the table, or whatever elements Nolasco is superior on that makes him have a lower FIP...in fact, his WHIP is much worse, but I guess that's the point (fantasy scoring can deceive). He must walk almost nobody compared to Cain, but give up many more hits.

May 25, 2009 9:21 AM on Getting Hip with FIP
 
harderj
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I enjoyed reading this, but had a question about a fact quoted - that pitcher's year to year line drive percentages are positively correlated. Another piece I just read claimed it was either .001 or .000. Which is it?

May 25, 2009 9:17 AM on Getting Hip with FIP
 
harderj
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The low to zero correlation between year to year line drive allowed rates is the most interesting to me. First, that on a graph (similar to the BABIP graph) would have added. Second, the rock-paper-scissors part might have been more compelling if it started with the premise that the goal is to prevent line drives. Finally, further analysis could look at whether some group of pitchers *do* seem to have a year to year positive correlation in line drive rate to see what we could learn (Johan Santana or Roy Halladay, perhaps?).

 
harderj
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Alderson, Bumgarner? :-)

May 22, 2009 1:25 PM on May 22
 
harderj
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Replacement level (or slightly greater) lefty mashing 1b, limited at bats caveats apply, but they exist: Jeff Bailey .429/.529/.857 Tony Clark .250/.455/.625 Billy Butler .302/.434/.581 Ryan Garko .333/.419/.519 Utility guys: Jeff Keppinger .400/.483/.640 Willie Bloomquist .349/.453/.465 Even Russell Branyan (lh) is hitting lefties so far this year: .310/.362/.595. Could also put Coste .267/.313/.533 at catcher and use Ruiz .300/.462/.500 at first (or vice versa...Coste has played there in the past I believe), or Werth at first and another outfielder who hits lefties... Heck, put a 1b glove on Gary Sheffield's .407/.515/.593! Again, none of this may not be worth a roster spot or Howard's disgruntlement now...

May 22, 2009 1:22 PM on NL All-Stars
 
harderj
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And his sub .300 on base percentage (and I'm a Giants fan)?

May 22, 2009 12:51 PM on NL All-Stars
 
harderj
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What do you think Virginia's chances are of hosting a regional?

May 21, 2009 12:11 PM on Handicapping the Field
 
harderj
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Is there some reason (major league service time clock?) for keeping Buchholz down?

May 19, 2009 6:16 PM on Rotation Freak Shows
 
harderj
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Of course I meant "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me..."

May 15, 2009 1:36 PM on Dissecting the Enigma
 
harderj
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As a "fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you" owner of Javier Vazquez since drafting him originally in the 10th and final round of our Strat-O-Matic league draft (way back when), I finally traded him this offseason. This article validates that decision. Thanks!

May 15, 2009 1:36 PM on Dissecting the Enigma
 
harderj
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What happened to last year's winners, Fresno State?

May 15, 2009 5:22 AM on Trimming the Field
 
harderj
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One other high profile case with his own personal physician was Barry Bonds, and while I think it is "normal" for a team physician to be looped in on matters related to a player even if the player is seeing a specialist or his own primary care physician, I got from the Giants trainers that Barry was allowed to live under his own rules in this matter. Manny may have been given similar dispensation, but this does now reek of inappropriateness. For what it's worth, I read all of Barry's testimony, and what came through for me is his utter distrust of management (even my beloved Giants), and his reliance on his trusted advisers and staff (including Greg Anderson, his trainer and childhood friend). I honestly believe that Barry may not have known, nor really wanted to, what was in the cream that Anderson rubbed into his arm (one of many over time, probably, as Barry would get into his game prep mode and turn over the trust), or squirted under his tongue (again, he took what his trainer gave him). Now, if there's evidence that he was shot up (which he denies), then I think he will be convicted. But otherwise, I don't see the obvious lies to the grand jury that the government seems committed to prosecute. I predict he'll walk (he was the best at that!), but no team will take a chance on him even at DH.

May 11, 2009 6:50 AM on The Steroids Game
 
harderj
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There is again a problem of replacement level players and other middling types in amongst the high profile free agents to be. The media seems to have in their minds that players in a walk year will be "extra motivated," but as professional athletes at the top of their game, should that be necessary? And isn't "trying too hard" potentially a problem in baseball performance? Second, my dissertation research showed no statistically significant positive (or negative) effect on runs created or total average, controlling for career performance up to that season, of becoming a free agent the next year. Interestingly, there was also no effect, in the two years for which I had actual contract language data, of having any kind of bonus clause in one's contract on one's performance, again net of career performance up to that point. So, all of this suggests that while PEDs might be supposed to enhance performance (thus the acronym), we would need to look at each player's baseline before compared to subsequent performance (taking into account "normal" performance improvements that might be expected before age 27-28), and also know when the expected benefits of the PED's should have occurred (some time after doping began, presumably). Furthermore, we would probably need to control for other factors (besides age and physical maturity) that might positively effect peformance, such as training regimens, nutrition, LASIK, etc. Finally, it may be that some body-types (or some other similar individual variable) react differently to PED's, and that would be hard research to get done, even in a clinical setting, I would think.

May 11, 2009 6:43 AM on The Steroids Game
 
harderj
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Just fwiw, as I understand it Manny was found to have been prescribed the forbidden substance, and that was all it took to suspend him via the policy...there was no failed drug test of which I am aware.

May 11, 2009 6:35 AM on The Steroids Game
 
harderj
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did you mean to say "who would not?"

May 11, 2009 6:08 AM on The Steroids Game
 
harderj
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Brandon Wood with a chance to play? Sounds good to me. Nice article and Bonds follow-up chat.

May 05, 2009 1:16 PM on Taking Wing
 
harderj
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Thanks for sharing this. Interesting that in this case the batter picked first (unlike the rule), though whether he was compelled to, or just decided to end the stalemate wasn't clear. I was hoping for a switch mid at bat...

May 04, 2009 11:23 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
harderj
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Brilliant. Especially the pinch hitting contingency. Nice, obscure rule. One of the Greg Harris's was ambidextrous, no?

May 04, 2009 11:07 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
harderj
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Nice article, and gave me hope as a Giants fan!

May 03, 2009 1:28 PM on Ross Grimsley
 
harderj
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Okay, now I'm psyched. I have Clement, Tulowitzki, and Pelfrey on my Strat-O-Matic team (and McCutcheon, Romero, and Townsend don't have cards yet, but are now confirmed on my radar).

Apr 30, 2009 3:29 PM on Pair Up in Threes
 
harderj
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With Martinez in Cleveland (albeit destined to 1b), what do you think is Santana's time frame?

 
harderj
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who gets the saves in KC?

Apr 28, 2009 1:02 PM on Close Calls and Closers
 
harderj
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Sad to see the Giants attendance falling off, but at the game my son and I went to (third home game of the season, Matt Cain pitching, vs. Brewers, team at 1-1, coldish, threatening rain kind of day), the announced attendance of 30,000+ included a whole lot of people dressed as empty seats. $30.00 parking hurts (I was coming from the South Bay, so the option is about $20.00 on CalTrain, but then we're limited to their schedule), but are other teams experiencing as big a drop?

 
harderj
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Nice trip through the numbers. Do the Giants still have enormous annual debt service on Pac Bell (argh, I mean "AT&T)? It was something like $20 million per, if I recall correctly, plus they had Barry's contract...

Apr 24, 2009 12:18 PM on Forbes on Baseball
 
harderj
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Hear, hear!

 
harderj
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I haven't been following too closely, but what do you think of Virginia (15-0 against not too tough competition)? Miami's visit next weekend will be telling...

 
harderj
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Who goes second in an A.L. only league?

Feb 27, 2009 12:36 PM on The Fantasy Fork
 
harderj
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Does Ryan Shealy figure into the mix at 1b at all? Though RH, he slugged .650 against righties last year (and .545 against lefties), though he is a bit older at 29. But he\'s also not a butcher at first, unlike Butler/Jacobs.

 
harderj
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When does Bumgarner project to hit San Francisco? Joining Lincecum and Cain makes a nice 1-2-3 core, if only the offensive supporticg cast could be improved...

Feb 14, 2009 6:08 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
harderj
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I had a chance to meet Sandoval at Giants Fantasy Camp this year, and what most impressed me was a casual moment at lunch as he and Manny Burriss headed off to their field workout after lifting weights. I watched as they walked past and he quickly unwrapped the tape from his wrist, made it into a ball, and threw it at Burriss, who was a few steps ahead. Playful, having a good team, giving a teammate sh*t.. But the better part was when Burriss threw it back and Sandoval deftly soccer kicked it right back to him. What I saw there was agility, quickness, and good eye-foot coordination in someone who more resembles Floyd Rayford. I metnally bumped him up on my Stratomatic rookie draft list :-).

Feb 14, 2009 6:02 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
harderj
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Interesting that this year\'s Strat-O-Matic cards will have McLouth rated as a cf-1, lf/rf-2...I wonder what they were looking at in rating him so highly. Taveras gets a cf-3 (but a 2 in the basic game). Just wish the Strat ratings were less of a black box...

Jan 14, 2009 12:31 PM on Indefensible