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That would be the Astro's AAA-affiliate in Oklahoma, wouldn't it? The Rangers AAA is the Round Rock Express.
Another way to put this is that Maddux, Glavine and presumably Smoltz will all go to the Hall, and when they do, it's hard to believe that they'll wear any caps other than Braves. Sure, Maddux won a CY as a Cub, but he won three with the Braves. The others are even more obvious.
Unless these four Phillies pretty much sweep the pitching honors and win the World Series for the next couple of years, I think it is hard to predict what caps they might wear. Halladay seems pretty a pretty good bet for the Hall, but I don't think that Oswalt or Lee have their tickets punched yet, and of course Hamels is far too young to discuss.
The Braves indeed traded for Smoltz, but as a minor leaguer. Certainly he was a prominent and top-ranked prospect, but definitely not similar to the way that Maddux arrived. In fact, I seem remember considerable angst at the trade.
If the Yankees can afford to spend $25m/yr and write off the 2nd half of the contract, why don't they just go spend $50m/yr for three years and be done with it? Who could they get for that money?
Indeed it does take a good pitcher to hang around for so many drubbings in a career.
Given that Chipper almost retired this year after two half-seasons of mediocre results, it seems quite unlikely that he would not hang on for five years just to hit 500 HRs or 3000 H.
With no malice - or, particularly opinion - I wonder if the discussion and/or readings such as they are have provided an environment for "doing the impossible." Conditioning, nutrition and other factors aside, men tried at least since the mid-1860s to break the four minute mile, and did not succeed until Roger Bannister in 1954. But once he did, demonstrating that it was possible, it was accomplished again within weeks. (Indeed, the record was shattered, beaten by almost two full seconds, just five weeks later.) Without researching, I'd guess that 105mph has never before been recorded, but now that Chapman "has" accomplished it I rather expect that he and probably others will do it again in the near future.
As a slight twist on this topic, I wonder how many pitchers finished an entire season (or career) with a higher batting average than (ERA / 10). For example, at the moment, Tim Hudson has fallen out of this select group as his batting average has slumped to .217 while his ERA is 2.28.
I can't believe that anyone is leaving Babe Ruth out of this discussion. Even if we take only his 1914-1917 seasons - those for which appeared ONLY as a pitcher - an eyeball of his record suggests that he hit about .290 with 7 triples and 9 HR, figures that must be taken in the context of pre-Babe Ruth hitting.
As far as I know, he continued to pitch at least occasionally later after, well, he changed the power hitting game. Since he never hit below .288 again until the last 28 ABs in his long career, I think it's reasonably safe to assume that his true "batting as pitcher" record would be no lower than .290 and could be considerably better.
Of course, he finished his career with a .342 BA, so a less restrictive definition makes this a complete runaway.
This is the kind of article that makes me want to read BP.
The shift is so aggressive that it tempts hitters to punch the ball to the weak side of the shift. I'm certain that Brian McCann has done this this several times this year - one of them was a bunt up the 3B line. Looking out at the defense it can't possibly have failed to occur to many of these elite hitters that going the opposite way might be a useful tactic. Is there any way to determine if the shift is sometimes counterproductive for this reason? Surely if it's Andruw Jones at the plate we know he's going to pull every ball (I know he's RH, he's just the first guy I thought of that stubbornly pulls EVERYTHING) but many of these elite sluggers have repeatedly demonstrated an ability to go the other way, so...?
Correct. See http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?n1=carltst01&t=p&year=1972
I was very pleased to read this article. There's so much bad news and so much thinly disguised ill will in random commentary that this sticks out as a refreshing reminder that some of human nature is good.
I too am surprised that Rivera is not on the list, making the Nine into the Ten. Presumably his omission is due to his 52 WAR, compared to everyone else higher? WAR or not, I think that the list looks wrong without him. The Nine defined the pitching of the era, as did Rivera.
Is Dunn really worse than Jose Canseco? Ie he of the Coconut Home Run?
I like Jon Miller and Don Sutton.
Fascinating. I guess we don't knuckleballers throwing BP, then?
Thanks for an excellent and informative article on info that's hard to find elsewhere!
As Ricky would say, "Lucy, I think you got some 'splainin' to do!" The weird thing is that Chipper fell off a cliff. My guess is that if you take the 500 PA before June 2009, you get a really different picture. He won the batting title in 2008, continued that for a couple of months in 2009, and then a month later that guy was gone, seemingly never to be seen again.
While I agree in principle, it certainly seems that Oswalt has gone about this in a reasonable fashion. To hear one way of telling it, his agent simply told the club that if they had an interest in moving him, he'd be willing to consider waving his no-trade clause.
I do agree that Oswalt had the option of checking out the plans before he signed his deal, but it's not as if the club was forced to include this at gunpoint...
If he doesn't approve most of the trades, that is his option under the terms of the agreement that both parties signed. Moreover, it's not as if he's sticking the club with a situation any less tenable than they've already got: if they don't trade him, he does appear to be playing to the best of his ability, which is considerable. And the team benefits from the fans at least coming to see him, even if this isn't as worthwhile as the fans turning out in greater numbers for a competitive team, either now or in the future. I don't think Oswalt could be tagged as sinking the franchise with unreasonable demands.
Could this also be about sending a message to Zambrano? One would hope that a quality manager would be able to send the message in what might be described as a more subtle fashion, but sometimes receipt is not guaranteed in any other way...
And if that were the case, it would likely not be directly admitted by Pinella, at least not now.
Of course, I have no idea if this hypothesis has any validity, but it's at least a notion that is not in conflict with the analyses...
One of my favorite topics!
You didn't mention that Rivera's career adjusted ERA+ is not just the all-time leader but leads the universe by such a wide margin that one almost wonders if it's a computational error! (I'm sure it's not.) Mo is at 203, 2nd place is Pedro at 154, with the rest trailing behind.
While I hardly think that racism is a thing of the past, I'm having absolutely no luck trying to fit racism into this situation.
I have to agree on Willie Harris. For a guy who seemingly has never had a future in the game, he always seems to be on the field and doing pretty darn well. Even he's really a quad-A player, he's doing surprisingly well in MLB.
And battery life can be problematic, too. Even with audio only, but especially with video.
The proportion of spending on pitching in Atlanta goes a long way toward explaining their success in that department. Of course it's not all about spending, but this takes some of the mystery out of it. On the other hand, with teams usually carrying 12 pitchers on the 25-man roster these days, doesn't it stand to reason that pitching would consume slightly less than 50% of player salaries, even at "par?"
I presume that the payroll figures in the article are all-up-and-all-in, meaning all players who actually played with the MLB clubs all season. Perhaps pitchers are not represented as much on the 40-man or all-man-annual roster, but I wouldn't have guessed that.
Thank you for writing. I am genuinely interested in just what an agent really does - I don't mean that to sound condescending or offensive, either. Far too much of the typical fan's impression of agents comes from one part of what Scott Boras does, and it would be interesting to understand what the rest of his job might be, and especially what the whole job for the more representative group is.
> the OPS example Will cited demonstrates that the majority of their customers are not interested in advanced metrics.
Not quite. All it demonstrates is that their customers are not interested in the advanced metrics the way they were presented. As others noted, even putting OPS in context ("he's twice as good as the norm") might have made a BIG difference. Remember that a lot of us thought that math sucked in high school, and that the thing that BP exists on is properly called "Sadistics." There's no reason to recall those bad vibes, and if there is some value added without the bad memories, that's what would succeed.
Yes, that's the sort of thing that I was thinking of. I'd pay for that too, but again - those of us here are not really the target market. It would need to be much more focused on the game and less on the Sausage. I'm entirely convinced that it's possible, just has to be done appropriately.
I'd argue that ESPN succeed in spite of its name, not because of it. Although it was a new concept, it didn't take a BP-level analytics to calculate that there were a LOT of sports fans out there in TV land. BP does not have that advantage. Indeed, we have pretty good evidence that the number of people who are or would be interested in BP's core value proposition is far smaller than that of ESPN's reach. That doesn't mean that BP has to change its name. It just means that there has to be a different brand in place for the concepts to break out of their presently accessible market.
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, if spelled out, still means something to Joe the Plumber. Although baseball obviously has conventional meaning, "prospectus" probably is something that is about an investment opportunity if it means anything at all to most MLB fans.
> The number of World Series viewers who ... didn't even watch the LCS dwarfs the number of viewers who care about The Sausage
This is a good point. It's more important to focus on the season-long fans first, rather than the World Series or even the playoffs. Or maybe even minor league fans. I go to a lot of minor league games, and especially near cities with a MLB team, the MiLB fans tend to be a LOT more like the BP audience. Or perhaps I really mean that they're a lot less uninformed than the typical World Series-only viewer.
> Television is hopeless for hardcore fans of any sport that also has casual fans.
Sure, but there are more outlets than just TV. These days with convergence happening in front of our eyeballs, eardrums and mouse pads (OK should I put in tablet fingers?), the definition of "media" can be quite diverse. There's surely some scope to create a new thing here.
And MLBN surely has space to appeal to the niche, doesn't it? They're running MANY replays of their content, at least now in the offseason, so I would think that the risk of a more advanced show wouldn't be high.
First, I'm one of BP's original target audience. I'm analytical, don't care awfully much if other folks understand what I'm doing or why, and of course I love baseball. I actually do understand the description of the making of the sausage, or at least I think I do. But as Will clearly understands, folks like me are the error term for the mass marketers.
But to broaden the appeal of BP past this comfy little niche, there needs to be, to use Apple's expression, "analytics for the rest of us." I realize that is something of an oxymoron, but I don't think it's impossible to achieve. Will's example of Jon Miller quotes illustrate the difference well. There are more people than this tiny niche that will look under the hood after a while, but the presentation can't turn them off first: ordering is critical. If Jon Miller (or Harold or...) keeps talking about Baseball Prospectus people will eventually go look. But when they look, they need to see what interests them - something about the game, not something about the stats.
There is a lot of high technology in a very ordinary car. Close to nobody ever thinks about it. To break out of the niche, BP has to have the same kind of presentation.
Hmm... one of those things is probably even the name. Does the term "baseball prospectus" mean ANYTHING to the average fan? (Note: not used as a proper noun.)
I don't think the cost is entirely accounted for. In particular, there's an additional cost to signing players, which is opportunity cost. That guy is occupying a spot on the 40-man roster, or potentially on the 25-man roster.
> voters would only want to vote for one OBP/Speed leadoff hitting corner outfielder, which is kind of reasonable.
Given the long tail of the voting process, I don\'t really agree with that philosophy. Two guys from different eras could easily be on the ballot at the same time. And if they\'ll vote for him next year, why not this year?
There\'s a pretty fair chance that Glavine, Pedro and the Big Unit could all be on the ballot together, perhaps with Smoltz. (At least, I\'m not meaning to omit anyone.) Would it be appropriate to overlook any of them just because the others are on the ballot too? I realize that there are more SPs than RFs but we are talking about a whole rotation here.
To me all four of these guys are first-ballot HoFers, and I don\'t see why the voters should worry about the coincidences of their retirements - or anyone else\'s.
I agree about 97%. The difference is that I\'ve heard more than one player, particularly pitchers, say that they go out there really amped up and overthrow for a few innings. I\'ve always gotten the impression that these guys are thinking \"Wow, it\'s the playoffs/World Series.\" I know that at least a few guys have said as much. But all that wears off after a batter or two, or at the worst a couple of innings, and I honestly can\'t remember hearing anyone say that it kept juicing them up year after year. (Maybe they wouldn\'t be willing to share that even if it were true.)