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Matt learned how to spell in Canadian by writing about hockey, eh.
The Garver chat was fantastic! You guys should make this a regular feature. Oral histories with old timey ball players.
Best of luck, Jeff, wherever your path leads you. Your work was a pleasure to read.
Jeff, have you caught a glimpse of Jays recent draftee <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=106359">Justin Maese</a></span> by any chance?
While I personally blame Matthew Kory for this placement, I also know the math is to blame. What factors have Boston and Oakland as high (relatively) as they are? How does the formula see them ahead of (for example) San Francisco?
The embedded videos are out of order.
Beautiful story. Great work, Chris
Even the infield can be messed up without adequate maintenance. I once played on a field wherein the batter's boxes had massive divets in them. I had to climb a step to begin running to first base.
Congratulations and best of luck at fivethirtyeight!
Podcast not downloading to iTunes.
The reason why we'll never solve that particular Hilbert question is because there is no answer. The *best* sequence for a particular plate appearance will only be best for that PA. To continue using it would be to telegraph your intent as a pitcher and thereby lose the effectiveness of that plan.
Why is my directory access forbidden?
17 points! I'm above average!
Is this your way of comparing McGee to Mariano Rivera?
You guys forgot the obvious example of the long career, (almost) no peak player. Tommy John. 26 years, 62.3 rWAR, 12.7 WARP. He peaked at 31.7% of the ballot in his final year of eligibility. He will be on the ballot for the veteran's committee in 2 years, if I am not mistaken.
I still have difficulty in the concept of valuing on non-playing staff win the same as an on-the-field win, for the basic reason of supply-demand economics.
In general, I agree with your point about teams needing to be open about widening the envelope on administrative hires and spending, but I don't think a linearization of $/win figures is correct.
Also of potential note: Vizcaino may be replacing the bullpen slot recently vacated by new St. Louis Cardinal Jordan Walden.
This stuff could/should be part of the manager section of the next annual.
Doesn't the Lind-Estrada tarade remind you just a little of Napoli-Francisco?
Yes, Kratz is rusty, but Perez was a cracked shell of himself and it is always better to play to get to the extra inning than play a weakened hand now.
Besides, who's to say that Perez would have been able to play additional innings anyway. Looks like he could barely play the regulation nine.
I would have put in Josh Willingham, who is a decent hitter against lefties, for Perez, who was not right after getting plunked in the knee earlier on by Hudson.
Mike - Do you think Aaron Hicks finally "makes it" in MLB in 2015 or is he a complete lost cause?
Sam - you have the game 6 starting pitchers listed.
Also - Bochy going with Strickland in Game 2 was more egregious than not having Lopez ready in the 6th with Hudson coasting through five.
The managerial blunders of this postseason were made by managers long since eliminated. Both Matt Williams and Mike Matheny let depth pitchers throw super high leverage innings with their seasons on the line and both paid for it.
"I would say winning a head to head race over the final few months of the season is a better indicator of the abilities of the team that a 5 or 7 game series."
Again, the schedules over that time frame are not balanced. Also, in this day and age, whether we like it or not, teams are not necessarily competing for a division crown but for a spot at the postseason table.
Unless you plan on contracting at least 10 teams, the Wild Card has to remain. There is no way a league with over 20 teams can play a schedule that is anywhere near balanced anyway. Sam made that point quite nicely in the article.
Without balanced schedules what makes you so sure that any one team is better than another? And how do you account for injuries making the concept of "best" transitory at most?
Finally, the term "pennant race" is antiquated. The Royals and the Giants both clearly won the pennant races in their respective leagues. What you should be saying is divisional races.
Top home run - when Will Clark hit one clear out of Wrigley - a grand slam in the LCS in 1989.
What makes Bochy an excellent manager. He manages to hold on to a reputation as a player's manager even though he will adapt roles as needed - he doesn't wait until it's too late to make a switch.
The baseball of yore did not limit playoff entrants out of some idealized version of truth/greatness. They limited it because no one had thought of expanding it. Because the owners of days gone by were just as money hungry - if not moreso - than today's breed.
If you must insist on adding some morality play to past generations of owners, remember, too, that they were the ones who prevented men of color from joining in the fun until 1947. Fr that reason alone, I would take any champion from the current "watered-down" era - even the 83 win St. Louis Cardinals - over any of the golden oldies.
When you are finished romanticizing the past, I hope you will find a way to enjoy another thrilling World Series. It starts tomorrow.
You don't sound like a true baseball fan. Baseball has two versions. The marathon version of the 162 game slog from the beginning of April through the end of September and the marathon tournament version played during October. True baseball fans can appreciate both. Same as true fans from all of the other North American pro sports.
Nothing is broken.
Thanks - it was a lot of fun. We had a handful of guys who played NCAA ball.
I was not one of them.
Is crazy elephant bones a new form of currency?
We had a similar situation in the Israeli men's league a few years back.
Our catcher had separated his shoulder just before the league finals. As he was quick enough, we kept him in as the DH. He bunted every single time he came to the plate, and the opposing team could not defend him. Granted, the Israeli Men's league is not exactly professional baseball, but it was awesome.
And we won the best of three series.
FB - Chapman
Breaking ball - Miller
Change - Benoit
FYI - Norichika Aoki is listed on the NL ballot. He spent the entire season with the Kansas City Royals.
Also, Posey is not a typical lumbering catcher. He was a SS in college. Really no need to burn him for the go-ahead run. The calculus may shift if he was the tying run, but Panik took care of that.
FB - Chris Sale
Breaking ball - Corey Kluber
Cambio - Felix Hernandez
I believe the answer to #2 lies in game theory - if he always used the same mix, then that mix would become more detectable and therefore less effective.
I have greatly enjoyed your work in putting this all together and hope that with the added insight, I will stop sucking at scoresheet. The only possible recommendation I can make would be to fix Jared's sound issues. Enjoy the off-season and thanks again for your trade input!
Great work this year, Jeff. Thank you.
Speaking of Santiago - why doesn't he throw the screw more often? Why don't other pitchers throw one?
You could have easily trotted out these articles in the wake of the M's picking up Josh Lueke from the Rangers.
nit pick correction from today's games - tonight's game between the Cubs and the Jays is not the series opener. You commented on the opener earlier...
Interesting questions - especially the one about likelihood of success being potentially based on the trajectory of development.
Great stuff. And the GM has a truly awesome name!
Jeff - what do you of Ryan Borucki, 20 year old LHP pitching for Vancouver (Toronto, SS-A)? Yesterday's line: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Televised baseball watching is something I do between sentences as I read at home. Unless Mark Buerhle is pitching - the man does not leave time between pitches.
cmaczkow is right about the pitching change issue, though. The game moves along far better when the starters are still in the game.
It makes sense that GIDPs wold be a positive indicator on a seasonal level, but not at the game level. For the season, it means that your guys get on base - over time, more guys on base will cross home plate. In a given game, if you give up two outs at once often enough, you will not get as many chances to cross home plate.
Good-bye and thanks for all the fish. Good luck with everything Jason - marriage, music and the athletic pursuits.
I saw Frazier on Sunday. Didn't do too much with the stick, but he displayed good pitch recognition, spitting on breaking balls away that much of the other talent on hand was whiffing on.
Jeff - what do you about Indians' low-A pitcher Anderson Polanco? His numbers are good and he seemed solid. FB 88-91 from left side, a nice slider and change at 82-83. Curve didn't impress.
Scott Silverstein from Lansing has great stuff, getting up to 94 with his lefty fastball and a big breaking curve, but lacked control and is old. More impressive was lefty Brady Dragmire. FB sitting at 95 and a curve thrown at 81. Great control and loads of grounders but not enough Ks, although not for lack of stuff.
It's cool that you guys did the challenge and you linked to it nicely, but it is mildly disappointing that neither of you mentioned the cause behind the challenge. To raise awareness and money for the fight against ALS.
Why are his K%'s not higher?
Would the size of bat used by the hitter or the speed of the pitch by the pitcher not play a big role in producing the sound of the batted ball?
It does. I had the same thought reading this. Would have been better to use the steals/opportunity metric instead,a s that is truly impressive.
July 4, 1988. Oakland @ Toronto. Tony Fernandez saved the Jays' bacon twice. First with two down in the 9th (although it was really a Carney Lansford throwing error that allowed Fernandez the opportunity. Second was down by two in the 12th with a two run dinger.
The heart of the Jays' order let them down in the bottom of the 16th.
Also of note (although I don't remember this part), Gene Nelson, a pitcher, came on as a pinch runner in the 12th and stole second, which, according to retrosheet (so you know it can't be wrong) was the first SB by a pitcher since the advent of the DH.
Also, Jose Canseco hit three home runs for the Bash Brother A's and Mark McGwire hit one - the decisive blast in the 16th.
Through this game, the 9 year old me learned that baseball could be awesome even when my team loses.
Not as lazy as making disparaging comments that clearly reflect that you didn't read the title of this piece, nor have you noticed that every single one of the Lineup Card articles are non-analytical and deal with things of value to the writers.
Having purchased the MLB At Bat fr the past few years, I can honestly say that Jon Miller is the most enjoyable radio guy around. Growing up I was privileged to be able to listen to Tom Cheek on a daily basis. Unfortunately, not all legends fade away, some die.
He didn't - Montero was named Pitcher of the Night
The Blue Jays had a very similar play in which the runner was called out without review - in the 8th inning, I believe. I would be very curious to know what differentiates the play highlit above from the one in the Blue Jays-Astros game.
Are you Billy Beane in disguise? He just traded Tommy Milone to Minnesota for Fuld.
How does Moya compare offensively to a player like Juan Francisco?
Liam Hendricks was taken from the Blue Jays. He was a Twin last year. Was DFA'd and claimed by the Cubs. The Cubs DFA's him and he was claimed by the Orioles. The Orioles DFA'd him (still the same offseason) and he was claimed by Toronto.
The Blue Jays then finally moved him along without a DFA.
When I was 16, I was trade in house league hockey. My former coach came to my house to tell me that he tried to trade another player, but because I sucked so bad, the league forced him to trade me for a good player on the better team to better even out the teams. He left out the "suck so bad" part, but that was the league's mandate.
Anyway, come the playoffs, and my new team was playing against my old one. I scored a goal - the 3rd and final goal scored in my three year ice hockey "career" and both benches stood and cheered.
Because all teams in this house league played in the same arena, I would say my stress level was actually below zero.
All in all, a fun read.
I was on the toilet when I read the Red Sox comment. Oh, the irony...
BP should release its own "Way" manual. How to play baseball the BP way, espousing how all of the sabermetric lessons impact fundamentals as well as the mechanics lessons of Doug Thorburn and Ryan Parker.
I think there will eventually be change in the wages - or at least the living conditions - of minor leaguers, but $50K across the board will never happen in the current inflation era.
If the current - or a future similar - case gains traction, MLB will place a value of some kind on the training provided to players, thereby deducting that from the minimum stipulated by the courts, or agreed upon in any settlement. They will also likely find a cost benefit to providing better food to its players, again with some kind of deduction to the minimum. And more clubs will eventually take the step taken by Pittsburgh as described in a comment above, to provide living space for its players, at least through the low minors (likely up through High A ball).
Once those elements are accounted for, and deducted from salaries accordingly, players may see a small, but not insignificant, raise in their salaries during the months of the season.
Also, while this was not mentioned in the article, nor in any of the comments, how is it that players do not get paid during spring training?
Maximize the video player when watching - it generally makes the captions go away.
Carter/Alomar for McGrif/Fernandez without a doubt! It made me realize that even superstars could be traded. Also, Fernandez was this young Blue Jays' fans' favorite hometown player. He may still be.
The most impressive aspect of Aaron Sanchez' start last night - even more than pitching deeper into a ball game than any start f his professional career - was his efficiency. 7 IP on 83 pitches.
That might happen if you don't maximize the video player.
Would like to see the Jays trade for Headley. The cost shouldn't be too exuberant considering his production outside of his one big year - may be one B and one C grade prospect. And the Jays could then shift Lawrie to 2B full time once he returns from his hand injury.
"name me a productive fat player in his thirties"
- David Ortiz
Gonzales may be weary of Tulowitzki by the end of the game, but for now, he is unlikely to be more than wary.
Thanks. For my next trick, I will convince over 300 million people to begin using the metric system!
I assume your height measurements are in feet. Wouldn't it be simpler to measure in inches?
I am siding with Skorupa's theory, using Tyler Beede as my New England prototype.
Also, for the sake of draft completeness, what about draftees from Canada or Puerto Rico?
Ben - when I first heard that Byrnes got the boot, I thought of you.
Hockey has some of the same safety issues. The NHL finally grandfathered in the use of visors last seasons. Took a few guys nearly losing an eye and many, many concussions that could have been stopped or at least lessened. And still many older players refuse.
I once saw a guy wearing a 2003 Tanyon Sturtze Toronto Blue Jays uniform to a game in Toronto around 4-5 years ago. Brilliant!
Zooming is a lost art.
Speaking of Gose, he seems to see a very high number of pitches per PA, but I can't seem to find that data anywhere. Great skill to have - I think he is growing into a full time every day MLB CFer.
It wasn't stated implicitly here, but Kratz came in to run for Navarro in the bottom of the 9th after the latter walked. So - it was Kratz who moved up to second on the Reyes single instead of Navarro.
The last one is fairly ironic as ASU only had three prospects drafted this year, none in the top ten rounds.
Great work all around, Nick.
Great article! My daughter only recently turned two and, as my wife could tell you, I have been planning her first game since day 1. She won't let me take her until after her 3rd birthday though...
Also fitting that his name is Joey. Kevin Pankake doesn't have the same ring to it. Joey Pankake is a character out of a Dom DeLillo novel
It shouldn't be a big deal. In both hockey and soccer, players move from their normal relative positions with great frequency. When a winger like Ilya Kovalchuk played the point on power plays, no one ever thought to call him a hybrid LW/D. A position is more a starting point for face offs than a definition.
Essentially, baseball is - to the overwhelming majority - a form of pure entertainment. People (again - the overwhelming majority) want their entertainment to be easily graspable and lack complication.
Maybe just me, but podcast is not loading on itunes
One reason why LHSP have seen their winning percentage decline lately - teams are familiar with the historical numbers and get suckered into confirmation bias, thereby lowering the selection selection standards for using lefties under the assumption that, by simple virtue of using lefties, they will be better.
One way to test this theory is to eliminate the guys who have only short trials as starters in the show. Focus only on - say - lefties who started at least 10 games in a given season.
Because Jose Bautista plays for Toronto, it could be said that he has walked just over 900 meters.
For David Price's line, the hits slash should read as '9'.
Robert - Is it safe in looking at the final numbers that the model assumes no player movement between teams?
Like line drives and errors, the passed ball/wild pitch distinction can be quite subjective. I think the scout must have seen more of them as being d'Arnaud's fault than did the official scorer.
Great work. Would love your assessment of Drew Hutchison.
In that, you are correct.
Sam - you can have an inning with six walks and only one run.
1st batter: walks, is picked off.
2nd batter: walks, is caught trying to steal second.
3rd batter: walks
4th batter: walks
5th batter: walks
6th batter: walks, forces in runner.
7th batter: any kind of out.
I assume you can partially test for this by looking at the type of pitches seen by various hitters as they have aged in the Pitchf/X era, no?
Other than King Kelly, did you double check for other pictured players who bat or throw left handed to ensure that these old cards were usually correct?
I ask as, with only one exception in your list, these guys were all right handed.
Jeter is to Lindor as Garciaparra is to Russell as Rodriguez is to Baez as Tejada is to Correa.
Just a correction that Cobb's debut last week came at the Trop, not the Rogers Centre.
I have no skin in this particular game, but I was in the delivery room with my wife when our first child was born close to two years ago. It was they greatest day of my life.
I may only be an office guy, but the only valid response is to suggest that men who don't have their children taken away.
Yunel Escobar is another example of the extra 2% being found in the behavioral discards of others.
One thing that seems to be controlled in the study, but uncontrolled in the wild, was the shape of the baseball. Once struck by a fast-moving bat, does the ball not lose its shape, even marginally? And could that not have an effect on its travel distance? Or am I missing the point?
You want great defensive plays? Check out this play from lat night by Evan Longoria. http://m.mlb.com/video/v31751063/tortb-review-upholds-melky-out-call-at-first-in-9th
Around the turn-of-the-century, I did a stint in the Israeli Army.
The typical Israeli has European or Middle Eastern skin colouring, but in the mid-80s and early-90s, groups of Jewish refugees from Ethiopia emigrated to Israel. As you should be able to imagine, these Ethiopians looked neither European nor Middle Eastern.
Today, they make up a bit less than 2% of the country's population. A typical army unit has between 50-200 people. By law of averages, one would expect the average army unit to have between 1-4 Ethiopians. This was not so. While I never saw the official order, all of my anecdotal experience tells me the following is - or at least was - true.
Army units were not allowed to have single soldiers of Ethiopian descent. They either had multiple, or they had none. In my own unit, we were once assigned a fresh young Ethiopian soldier. Within three days, she was transferred back out to a more duochromatic unit.
I look at the question of when the first MLB player will announce his homosexuality in a similar way. There will not be one guy who comes out. There will be multiple emerging simultaneously.
Great series - thank you
It is not truly the player's choice in most cases. Very few players have the ability to decide when they want to hang them up. The owners/GMs make the decision for them by offering them a contract or not.
Robert - very interesting stuff. I think you are on to something with the advent of free agency increasing the Hazard Risk of career length. But maybe not in the cause of free agency doing so. I would posit that free agency made it more expensive for owners to retain veteran players at the expense of rookies, and so the bottom x% of rosters would be culled for younger, cheaper talent more frequently. This could likely be tested by examining the player quality - or average playing time of players who exit the league over time.
If anything, pitcher head movement can throw off command.
But I think you are correct - they need to begin growing up that way.
Would love to hear lineup setting tips - and whether there is any sense to utilize the "Prefer to face/not face"pitcher settings. Thanks.
Also - I think Ben is the one who is very hard to hear in the podcasts.
Just wanted to say that I'm enjoying the Scoresheet focus a lot and to thank Ian for correctly interpreting my question and answering it accordingly.
I drafted Bryant.
Having a stadium named after a company is one of the oldest traditions in baseball- Wrigley Field!
He is definitely the #FaceOfTheFanOfMLB
This was awesome.
Comment written before reading the article, but I once did this as part of a job interview in Israel. In Hebrew. I got the job. Then played LF for the top team in the Israeli Men's League. Good times.
Now I understand what Jason talks about when he talks abtou Baez' bat speed.
To my untrained eyes, the most notable thing about Moore's delivery is his closed stride. Is it possible his second year has seen him close the stride even more?
Great choice for opening song.
Congratulations! Does that mean you are moving stateside?
Prospects have broken my heart - great work, Jason and friends - on the entire series. Phenomenal stuff all around.
Did Ervin Santana miss the cut as he is still an FA?
Surprised that Brandon Morrow got no mention at all while Josh Johnson was a two star guy. Care to comment?
That is an awesome question - is it more difficult to project accurately on development in players or on decline?
My only problem with this analysis is the supposition that errors would be different across the board. A player will reach 1B on an error whether he was busting his ass or not.
What percentage of infield errors on plays at 1B come with noted speedsters running? How different is it, rate-wise, between speedsters, those with average speed and slow-pokes?
How many rings did Jeter cost his team by forcing Alex Rodriguez to play 3B, while he - a far poorer defender could keep the glory of SS?
He was off by one day, it seems.
Why? As great as the Pirates season was in 2013, there is so much there that screams, "REGRESSION!"
Rephrase the question. Are you asking for a given season? For their whole careers?
I would take Jeter's career without doubt. Durability over such a long time counts for a lot.
Doug - great stuff. Would the glacial pace of Sanchez' motion potentially lead to more strain on the shoulder as the rest of the kinetic chain seems to be carrying little to none of the stress of the pitching motion?
Jeter has close to 3000 more plate appearances.
How far away was Realmuto from this list? I know his offense has dropped, but I have heard positive things about his development behind the plate.
Would you have been so adamant if this discussion were about public acceptance of OBP vs BA?
It is amazing how defensive some people become when a subject like racism comes up. I would say that it is a sign of a great article - and it is very good - but I fear it is more a lack of reading comprehension on the parts of some coupled with almost paranoid reflexive defensiveness.
Great feature - I look forward to these throughout the spring!
Thanks for your hard work over the Fall/Winter, Jeff. It was appreciated.
It's possible I missed it, but it looks like you guys left out Masahiro Tanaka.
Great take, Wilson. I will argue, though, about Hardy being a better fantasy player than a real-life one. He has historically been a well above average glove at SS (last year's poor FRAA notwithstanding - UZR disagreed, anyway). That has serious real life value that is not accounted for in the vast majority of fantasy formats.
I assume you are comping (on a fantasy sense only) Lindor to Andrus, as you referred to the former as the latter twice in this article.
This is nit picking, but you would really take Cozart and Jeter over Brandon Crawford?
I think Ryan Goins is still technically a prospect. And he is in line to be the starting 2B for Toronto this year. The glove is good, but what do you foresee in his bat?
I absolutely want to see a "Summer Game" type event. Look at the huge success that has been the Winter Classic in hockey and the related Stadium Series this year. It can work. And it should happen.
Todd Helton was missing last year. It's like he retired one year early.
Also note that it is not directly available on Amazon.ca, but must be ordered through a 3rd part seller from the US, which adds a sizeable import tax to the purchase. Some of whom also are selling used copies. How much use could anyone have yet had with BP 2014?
I ended up ordering from amazon.com and will pay the import fee through them.
Paul - do you think Eddie Rosario stays at 2B? Thank you
Jason - I saw Vogelbach last summer and was surprised by his hustle and underlying athleticism. Not saying he was Eric Davis out there, but he was no slob, either. A lot of the report on him - and his body type - reminds me of Travis Snider when he was a low level minor leaguer. What separates Vogelbach today from Snider then?
The Stanky story reminded me of something similar that occurred a few years back in the NHL. Look up the Sean Avery interference rule. It was within the rules at the time he just stood in front of the goalie waving his arms, but was seen as so obnoxious (being Sean Avery, that isn't hard to do), that the league adopted a new rule mid season to put an end to it.
Mike - I seem to remember that you are from Ottawa - is that right? Do/did you play hockey?
The point is sided-ness has almost nothing to do with dominant hand and more to do with torque. The hand aspect comes into play only in terms of which hand is closest to the body, not which hand is on top of the other.
My father, for example, is extremely left handed. He bats from the left and shoots from the left. He writes left handed and throws from his left. I haven't asked, but I would but he also wipes with that hand. Do you know for a fact that Chara bats from his right side? I know that Crosby and Stamkos bat from the same side as they shoot.
So I take it you would make McCarthy one of your keepers in a very deep, 18 team, 30 keeper per team both league scoresheet league?
And another example - Nyjer Morgan - bats and shoots from his left side.
I am with the general. MikeMcD - I gave you too examples of guys who follow my own example. Can you give one example of the reverse?
Also - See the Crosby swinging video - he bats left and shoots left. On the other hand, here is Steven Stamkos ready to take BP. http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/16062011/5/photo/16062011221223.html He is batting right handed, he also swings right handed.
I notice that Phegley is the only catcher listed among your top 61 from the CWS. You think Flowers is on the bubble? Adrian Nieto have a chance to make the team/contribute in 2014?
Doug - do you think the high mound of the 60's effected the deliveries of some pitchers? IOW, do you think they may have pitched with different mechanics had the mound looked more like that of today?
Loving this series.
Yet I both shoot and bat from the right side. And I am lefthanded. I think there is more to it than handedness. The mechanics of both a shot and swing also involve torso motion, the legs, etc. While bassackwards lefties like myself are relatively rare (Rickey aside), bassackwards righties are fairly common.
Any thought given to AJ Jimenez for this list?
But his grip would not be the same because his tool of play (stick/bat) would be inverted, so his bottom hand would become his top hand and vice-versa. In hockey he hits the puck with the bottom of the stick, in baseball, with the top (sort of) of the bat. The hands are going to be inverted - even in the hockey grip - unless he wants to swing at pitches near his ankles.
I get that. I didn't follow the previous comment. The handedness is not to do with which hand is on top or bottom, but which hand is closer to the body and which side of the body the swing occurs on. In other words, as Chara is a left handed shot in hockey, it is a mirror of Sheffield, who batter right handed in baseball.
"a left-handed shot in hockey is a right-handed batter in baseball."
All of their last four first rounders (Brown, Panik, Stratton and Arroyo) failed to make the top ten list. Scouting failure, or win because others passed them by?
I would like to see Steven Stamkos, the top marksman in the NHL, who apparently plays in a local men's hardball league in the summer. I recall him going yard during BP in Tampa a few years back as well. Superb athlete.
Also, Michael Phelps. Looks at those arms. Want to see him pitch.
I assumed the numbers were all last year's numbers? Do you already know the PECOTAs for 2014? If not, will you address any changes to the rankings based on outlier projections?
I know he recently had TJS, but have you heard anything scoutwise on catcher Rodney Daal? Thank you.
Any argument that places definite end points on the PED era. Double negative bonus points if the argument concludes that the PED era is over.
While my reading of this piece was colored by having never watched Brian Kenny (living in Canada, we do not get such easy access to American MSM), I was reminded of a Japanese samurai series of short stories that I am currently editing. Sudden and unannounced shifts of perception (Kenny is here! You bastards have killed Kenny!). In each case, the author somewhat explains the changes through his alcoholic haze - Mr. Parks through his unnamed "drink number five", my Japanese samurai through copious amounts of sake.
I am left with one questions - is the narrator here anti or pro Kenny?
Am I wrong for seeing some Palmer in Lincecum?
I agree. He looked solid in a viewing I had of him in Low A. Actually, Hunter Renfroe was facing him. Looked like Renfroe had more power potential, but Ervin could more consistently create impact on the field. SSS, of course.
Jordan Gorosh voted for Edgar Martinez twice!
Will there be anything specific to scoresheet?
Me, too. Not fun.
Great article. Complex stuff and easy to read presentation. You pulled off the Daily Double!
Weird - the subscription to the podcast doesn't download, but I can download it by going directly to the itunes store.
Not loading from itunes on my end either
The Yankees have never particularly cared about that last aspect.
So the Yankees have a cruddy farm system. With a team with the resources of the Yankees, is the biggest downside of that the lack of MLB ready backups when injury strikes a regular?
Don't think AA is on the outs in Toronto. Some people think his job is in jeopardy after the on-field performance of last year, but attendance is way up, which suits the suits at Rogers just fine.
It's also possible that TB has data which suggests that 1B defense is more important than is commonly believed.
Those articles assess the impact of pickoff throws on the running. In my (albeit admittedly limited sample) study, I found an affect on the batters.
Namely, there were two types of pickoff throws. One is against guys deemed as running threats. When pickoffs were attempted at against running threats, the batters performed better.
When pickoffs were attempted against non-runners, the batters' went slightly down. Would love to know if this is a real effect.
Stats I want tracked - pickoff attempts. They are recorded in gameday, but I know of no group that compiles the numbers and their affect on play. I spent a season once painstakingly tracking every pickoff attempt made while "my team" (Toronto) was on the basepaths. There was some interesting data, but I do not have the time to track for other teams - or even to do it again. I think we can learn loads about game strategy by delving into this.
Stats I want to see on TV - 20/80 scouting numbers for both pitchers and hitters. As these would be MLB'ers, present grades would suffice.
Is Tim Lincecum really 5-11"?
It could also be a player eligible for the Rule five draft. Maybe eligible, but with reasons to believe that he will not be selected (not enough high level experience, for example).
Arencibia only caught Dickey a few times early, before they permanently separated the two.
I think the winners of the rise in three true outcomes are middle relievers. TTO increases pitch counts, leading to shorter outings from starters and the need for more and more relief pitchers. The inverse is that the losers of this movement are 5th outfielders/3rd catchers.
The Sox get a supplemental round pick, and the Yankees lose their top two picks (one for signing McCann, one for signing Ellsbury). The picks forfeited by NYY are not given to Boston/Atlanta - they just disappear.
Will you be providing a write-up of him in the "top 10" style or will he fall through the cracks?
Bingo - the potential benefit of this type of move is - according to Carleton the other day - pretty marginal. The risk is that the extreme shiftee makes an egregious error of the type that can be attributed to the unfamiliarity of the new position. Further, while the benefit plays out very slowly over the course of a season, the risk will be felt all at once. Like managers, this type of play can, at its best, win a few extra games, but at its worst, lose many games. For that reason alone, I would pass.
The job of a team is to be entertaining. If the sport of baseball becomes too boring for the non-hardcore fan, attendance will sag TV ratings will drop and baseball will become lawn bowling. Teams have to entertain, even when not winning.
And I quote, "Detroit’s defensive struggles offered more than enough incentive for Dave Dombrowsk(i) to do something different."
You don't say...
Second that - more Scoresheet content please.
I have a few friends that played for Ausmus with Team Israel. They universally praised his leadership style and baseball nous, although I take that with a grain of salt, as these are people who topped out at the NCAA level and their only points of comparison are those managers and previous team Israel managers. I also don't think we can look at the style of play employed by Team Israel in the WBC qualifiers as in any way representative of what we can expect from Detroit this year.
Much more likely would be looking at the managers he played under in his career.
As follows, these were Ausmus' MLB managers:
1993 SDP Jim Riggleman
1994 SDP Jim Riggleman
1995 SDP Bruce Bochy
1996 SDP Bruce Bochy
1996 DET Buddy Bell
1997 HOU Larry Dierker
1998 HOU Larry Dierker
1999 DET Larry Parrish
2000 DET Phil Garner
2001 HOU Larry Dierker
2002 HOU Jimy Williams
2003 HOU Jimy Williams
2004 HOU Jimy Williams/Phil Garner
2005 HOU Phil Garner
2006 HOU Phil Garner
2007 HOU Phil Garner/Cecil Cooper
2008 HOU Cecil Cooper
2009 LAD Joe Torre
2010 LAD Joe Torre
There are no re-substitutions in soccer.
He's a 3B. Decent pop, poor contact skills.
This reminded me of former Blue Jays supplemental 1st rounder and current Astros farmhand, Joe Musgrove. He signed quickly for a below slot $500,000 (IIRC), saying that he wasn't worried about maximizing his bonus because he wanted to get on the field as quickly as possible to work towards the real money that will come after he established himself in the Show. #diesel
Jason - great start to the series. Does anyone still mention either of Joe Musgrove or Kevin Comer anymore? Thank you.
Congratulations and good luck, Colin. You have left some big, steel-toed boots to fill here.
I forget where I read it, but a study (maybe it was by Russell A. Carlton) showed that guys who blow their first save chance tend not to get repeat opportunities. I think the same is true of non-star players in the playoffs. If you muff your first chance, and the team has other options (hello, bullpen), you might not get another. had Shelby Miller executed in his one inning of relief in the postseason, we would have seen more of him. Alas...
I, too, thought of Brandon League for much of your article. I remember when he lowered his arm angle, sacrificing a few mph, but gaining tremendous wiggle. I still wouldn't give him a three year, 8-figure deal though.
Is it possible that those "straight" upper 90's pitches are what is commonly referred to as "rising fastballs"? IOW, they sink so much less than expected, they seem to the batter to be rising?
The "chart below" Sanchez is missing.
I can agree with most of what you said except for "we loose (sic) to a less talented opponent". While the Red Sox do not have a hitter the caliber of Miguel Cabrera (newsflash - no one does), man for man, there is no reason to believe the Sox were any less talented than the Tigers and there are several reasons to believe that they are, in fact, more talented. Relief pitching, fielding and baserunning chief among them.
If you are taking requests, please consider one for Aaron Sanchez, whose mechanics were panned recently by Keith Law. In any event, I am looking forward to the series.
I really enjoyed the way Wacha pitches. He doesn't dither. Get ball from Molina and throw again. I think the Dodgers hold have tried to stall him and rob him of some momentum. We'll see if the Red Sox/Tigers can learn from the mistakes of the Dodgers.
Seems to me that Leyland made a bunch of reasonable moves that many other managers would have also made but they all backfired. Even bringing in Jose Iglesias as a defensive substitution failed when he threw away the Jonny Gomes grounder. YCPB
It's collectively bargained. The other players have decided, through the CBA process, that it is just.
Flagged this comment by mistake, but it is a jerk comment nonetheless.
I'm all for strategy, but not at the expense of seeing better baseball by more talented players.
Semmelweis was featured heavily in the book Superfreakonomics. According to Levitt and Dubner, his findings were rejected because the other physicians could not fathom that they carried germs (or whatever they were then thought of as being) on their hands. They considered themselves to be super people and above such uncleanliness.
Partial elbow tear. He seems to have avoided TJS, though, although it is yet unknown whether he can resume a career in MLB.
Speaking of "rode" bullpens, I think that Melancon has been toast for most of the last month. He has not looked like his stat line in a few weeks. Which makes some sense considering that he pitched 25 more innings this year than last.
I used to be agnostic as to the question of whether pitchers should hit or if there should be universalization of the DH. I am now firmly on the side of the DH. Watching Cole get lifted after five strong innings so that the Pirates could put a bat in the hands of a useful hitter instead of the pitcher robbed us all of a great pitcher's duel.
I think the second spray chart above is missing most of the data points.
Thank you for the though provoking article, Russell. Would the run expectancy matrix be more accurate, if we adjusted it up or down for each batter/pitcher combo based on a percentage above or below average for each? In other words, if a given base-out situation would be expected to net a team 1.35 runs, and the batter up is ten percent below average, is it correct to debit his team's run expectancy by 10%?
Sam - regarding data, there is no amount that will help a manager make a good one-time decision. To have meaning, the sample needs to be so large that a smart manager will not be able to realistically say that the talent level from end to end of the sample will be stable. To small, and the numbers are meaningless. Then again, we expect a manager to make decisions based on good analytics that include both statistics as well as performance scouting.
Not a problem. The extra clicking when reading from the cell takes up more bandwidth, drains the battery that much more and slows the reading experience. It's not a problem, but an inconvenience.
Very inconvenient to do while reading on a cell phone.
The spray charts look to me to feature way more opposite field balls in play than pull side. Is that correct?
Fair enough. Thank you.
Nick - while this wasn't explicit in the article, I think the implication is that Phillips is still playing hurt. Is that correct? Do you see any chance of this injury healing without extended rest?
For how many years are you going to subjectively bump Cabrera because he wanted to play 3B?
Also, are you sure that he went so reluctantly? Is it not possible that he saw 3B as a more glamorous position, in much the same way that Derek Jeter did not want to leave SS in favor of Alex Rodriguez, because SS is cooler than 3B?
In other words, a win for them will take $5 million out of our pockets.
Russell, if I am reading you correctly, the best way to get your team to start a "Food for Kids" type of program is to convince them that it is already working wonders for their division rivals.
Thinking about Andrew Cashner, I am reminded in some ways of the reports on Brendan Morrow. How do they compare performance wise?
Thank you for the funny. That was awesome. I would own more baseball swag from the Western Hemisphere if it was anywhere near as goofy as the Japanese goods.
If Helton is not good enough, what would his stats had to have been in order to clear the bar?
Was the Tigers' joke inspired by old school Sesame Street?
Bud Smith, of course. Armando Gallaraga (Yusmeiro Petit's precursor) and, on a personal level, Mauro Gozzo. I was at his debut - 8 innings of 3-hit, shutout ball. Over his first three starts, he allowed 3 earned runs in 20 innings. Over the remainder of his career, he allowed 70 in 104. His career K/9 was 4.0 with a K/BB of 1.08.
Not to pee on your joke, but MLB.com reports 21,826 as the attendance at last night's Angels-Twins matchup.
Larry Walker struck out in 32.4% of his at bats between the NYPL and the MWL as a 19 year old in 1986. He turned out alright.
Yusmeiro Petit was so hurt by the draft snub that he went out and did what he did to the D-Backs this weekend.
What are the splits for a given pitcher's first ever MLB start? In those, I sometimes expect a good performance, simply as the advance scouting is not to the same depth.
How fair is it to deem C and SS as offensive holes in Pittsburgh? Russell Martin has been solid and Jordy Mercer has been a big step up (at least with the stick) from Clint Barmes since taking over as the starter. Not offensive strengths, by any means, but I would think they grade above "holes", no?
Sorry - when the post first appeared the Hit List was blank.
Zach, thanks much for your work this year.
Or no hit list at all?
Re: Lawrie. I was not a believer until very recently. A few weeks ago, as he was struggling to slow the game down, I heard one of the Jays' mention that Mark DeRosa (clubhouse leader Hall of Fame, class of 2019) took Lawrie aside and told him that his boundless energy, while it will make him an excellent defender, will make him useless at the plate. Seemingly since then, Lawrie became useful at the plate again.
I do enjoy the new format. I hope you keep it.
Minor correction - Nunez didn't fall to the ground while running the bases. He and Jeter were both running for a ball that got past the latter (shocking), when he misstepped and crumpled. He stayed in the game until the next half-inning, reaching base, when he was finally lifted for a Pinch Runner in Overbay.
You are constantly preaching against the roiders. Why is this such a big deal to you? Over and above the weight placed on the offense by the mutually agreed to JDA?
I got to see Hunter Renfroe's Low A debut two weeks ago. Seems to have a good eye at the plate. Bats with a very open stance. Not inconsiderable pop.
That was wonderful. Thank you
Manager of the Year is four words. Or is that part of the joke?
A great meal. Filling,yet I want to come back for another round. Thanks for the insight, Gabe.
Doug - in a case like Johnson's, would you suggest scrapping the stretch to pitch from the windup every time?
Very fitting that, as a Canadian, Scott Mathieson was "eh".
Great job, but I have to think that the tells would be a lot clearer from the batter's point of view.
When Rios was a Blue Jay, he had a tendency to make boneheaded plays, particularly when running the bases, with some regularity. He had tools, but he also was a tool. I guess that hasn't changed.
#3 is awesome
I know Tim was placed on the temporary inactive list
Any idea why Beckham was placed on the Temporarily Inactive list?
Stories that would blow up twitter today:
1) Lip Pike signs the first professional contract
2) The mound is moved back to 60'-6", overhand pitching allowed
3) Ty Cobb killed a man (or did he?)
4) Don Larsen WS Perfecto
5) Bill Mazeroski/Joe Carter end WS with one swing.
6) Red Sox come back from 3-0 defecit to defeat the Yankees, win first WS in 86 years.
8) Tommy John coins a surgery
Zach - what do you know about Jeremy Gabryszwski?
Heard about the injury, or about him as a prospect? He was their supplemental first rounder two summers ago.
Zach - in yesterday's Lansing game, Dalton Pompey went 4-4 with 2 BBs and two 2 SBs. He has speed and baserunning acumen and I hear he is solid in CF. What do you hear, if anything, about him.
A follow-up Jays related question, if you will - do you know what has caused OF Jacob Anderson to miss the whole year?
To extend your staying up late analogy for the article, given that Lincecum got 9 days off between the no-no and his follow-up tonight, could it be said that he was allowed to sleep in after the long night?
Thanks for including Pillar. Great scouting find for the Jays.
About Hawkins, he is obviously way over his head right now. Assuming he repeats high A next season, what would prevent him from growing his game? In other words, what makes him a lost cause instead of just a kid struggling in his first pro season at a level not commensurate with his lack of polish?
I don't know what kind of prospect he is (splits say future LOOGY candidate), but I would have figured Minnesota's High A LHP Taylor Rogers would have come a close second to Gregorio among pitchers yesterday. 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K against Dunedin.
Rest of season - I asked a few days ago.
Are the Pecota numbers listed for ROS, or what was expected to this point in the season?
Honorable choices all, but, just like in the Annual this year, you guys forgot about Todd Helton.
I wish more minor leagues scheduled Saturday day games. Was hoping to fit some milb games into both legs of an upcoming road trip from Toronto to Chicago. One leg is a Saturday and that means that some many otherwise good options are no longer feasible.
Nope. Taylor Guerrieri is not in the majors. I think he must be referring to players who have backed out for one reason (the Show) or another.
That's a great question.
Sorry to turn this segment into "What About This Guy", but I am curious to learn about impressions - if there are any - about the two highest profile Blue Jays' signees - Yeltsin Gudino (other than 79 name) and Freddy Rodriguez. Thanks.
In Low A in 2010, Jimenez stole 17 bases. He stole another 11 in High A the following year. I guess I thought he was faster.
How soon before he is reasonably seen a a better option behind the dish in Toronto than J.P. Arencibia?
Chapman & Romo, please
And Kawasaki was recalled last night as Melky Cabrera hit the DL with knee tendinitis.
Great episode, but some Toronto chemistry clarifications. Kawasaki definitely added to his lore by both his quirky personality and by improving steadily as the season progressed. Not only did he crank a homer on Friday, but on Saturday, he missed a second one by a few feet foul.
Omar Vizquel was brought in last year as a chemistry guy, but by many accounts, he didn't live up to the standing. In fact, by the end of the year, he publicly threw John Farrell and his coaching staff under the bus(http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/09/28/omar-vizquel-has-no-regrets-about-latest-comments-but-apologizes-to-jays-anyway/). He also failed to advise Yunel Escobar that writing homophobic comments on his eye black would be a bad thing.
DeRosa, on the other hand, seems to be living up to his chemical rep.
Brilliant full length piece, Ben! Almost a shame to see it on the internet and not in print.
Do you have new info, or did you miss his return from that injury scare?
Nit-pick - Bautista is actually hitting in the 2 hole for Gibbons and has been for some time. Although the 11 game winning streak is not his doing (other than a few very timely hits in the first win and the 10th), the non-traditional use of a slugger in the two-hole correlating to team-wide success may prompt other managers to experiment as well.
Clint - any news/projections on Michael Morse's recent injury? Thank you.
Would love to find out about Mitch Nay, when appropriate.
1. Right - Pitch missed target - more likely for fielders to miss
2. Right - Better, more balanced swing
3. Right - Pitch seems to hang (maybe the gif froze?)
4. Right - Pitch seems to be in Iglesias' "wheelhouse"
5. Left - Good, balanced swing
6. Left - Good, balanced swing
7. Right - just because ( I am least confident about this one)
8. Right - Pitch missed target (see #1)
9. Right - Pitch seems to be in Iglesias' "wheelhouse" and it missed the catcher's target.
10. Left - Less sharp movement to the pitch.
Confidence ratio - 70%
I don't know if there would yet be enough data on him, but I would love to know about the framing skills of A.J. Jimenez, who otherwise gets positive reviews for his throwing arm and his speed. Great, fascinating work.
I think MLB should consider balls hitting the edges of loose, baggy and flappy uniforms the same way as they do balls that hit batters who do not try to get out of the way. No free base.
Should not have made a difference. KG has access to far more information today than he did last year. Also, the player may have actually improved.
If he wasn't a southpaw, I would call for trying O'Neill at the keystone. I'm half a mind to try it out anyway. If his arm is as raggedy as they say, maybe he can learn to throw with his right arm.
Am I correct in assuming that the writeups were done 3-4 weeks ago, but the rankings are fresh?
Just spitballing here, but what if the whole idea of suspensions is failing? What if, instead of suspending convicted chemical-enhancers, MLB restricted future salary earnings?
Reports came out today connecting Gray with Adderal. What have you heard and, if true, what effect do you foresee this having on his stock come Thursday?
Have greatly enjoyed the series, BTW.
I'm pretty sure they aren't pushing aside anyone. Secondly, I'm also quite positive that focusing multimedia marketing to social websites is not dubious in the least. Social media marketing will provide much deeper market penetration and likely a far greater ROI than more focused marketing initiatives.
Great article Russell, and something that I think about frequently when writing for Hockey Prospectus. We can identify results that bode well for winning, but we (meaning statistical analysts in sports) struggle identifying the processes that tend to lead to good results. OBP is very "big picture" but is limited because different hitters will have different paths available to them to raise their OBP and one size will never fit all.
In hockey, we say that good possession metrics will correlate very well with winning, but we don't have much in the way of studies that will give players/coaches ideas about how to improve possession, other than identifying players that already are good at it for acquisitive purposes.
I think it was you, Russell, who once wrote that the the next wave in Sabermetrics is to move away from large sample numbers in analysis. I think you're right.
I have to think that Colby Rasmus is the starting CF on the Bad Face team. Crasnick mentioned deer-in-headlights as being a negative face trait. That, right there, is Rasmus.
Fascinating analysis. Which of the strikeout artist types is Lewis Brinson?
Wonderful article. My daughter is only one, but I remember one of the first times she watched (part of) a game with me. July 24, last summer (thanks, Retrosheet!), the Jays were playing the Athletics. Derek Norris hit a two-run homer against the hometown nine, and she immediately began to cry and scream. A beautiful bonding moment.
My own observations jive exactly with those of nicholj. Is there any known correlation between fouls per swing and OBP?
Thanks for the write-up on Andrew Burns. One of the few (statistical) bright spots in the Blue Jays org in the early going. Any idea why so many of their young prospects are in extended spring? I would have thought someone like D.J. Davis would have been ready for Lansing...
Perhaps I can interest the Rangers in one gently used, but very gritty Ramon Ortiz?
Very nice homage to Ortiz, but it should be noted that Romero's start in Buffalo was far from successful. 5 innings, 4 hits, 6 walks and 2 k's. should not be coming back to Toronto any time soon. So, so broken.
Is it just me, or does Clint Frazier have a hitch in his swing?
ITunes worked for me this week. Great show!
I saw Marisnick when he was with Low A Lansing. Didn't impress me. I'm not a scout, but he had trouble recognizing spin.
My vote will always go to Ericdavis Marquez.
Great stuff. I vote Cashner on the heat, Kershaw on the breaker, and Strasburg on the change.
Interesting. So if the value of a ball/strike varies per the count at the time, should we not also be assigning value accrued to receivers based on when they gained or lost a call?
To those who would say that it evens out, I would reply that catchers have the ability to call that type of pitch when they want to, thereby putting their framing skills to the test.
Am I wrong?
That Phillies joke-comment was priceless.
This is extremely fascinating, but I have never been able to come to grips with how values are derived from these extra frames strikes. Can someone kindly lead me to a concise explanation of how we get from extra strikes to extra runs?
I gave up and streamed from my cellphone today.
My deepest condolences to Jason and his family.
Still having trouble. I download onto the ipod - couldn't load this one.
Am I the only one having problems downloading it from iTunes?
A small request - I think this is something that KG used to do. Please include players who have lost rookie eligibility, but have yet to establish themselves in the majors. For example, I am thinking of Anthony Gose's horrific performance yesterday. Heard anything from scouts? He is no longer rookie-eligible, but is still very much a prospect.
Any others who are left out due to Meadows' type reasons?
Doug - this study was absolutely fascinating and got me thinking about the side effects of added momentum in pitching. Could the old-school momentum from the wind-up also lead to less stress placed on the levers of the arm (shoulder, elbow)? If so, could a re-introduction potentially lead to fewer catastrophic arm injuries?
I do like the new look, but would love to have the highlit "new comment" feature brought to this GUI.
While your look at pitch movement has merit, could there be a difference in *when* the pitch moves, as opposed to by how much?
To my understanding, that is not clear through PITCHf/x.
Mental health is just as vital as physical health to the game.
I notice you haven't featured many Blue Jays' prospects in MLU lately. Granted, very few have been worthy of notice, but what about Andy Burns? His numbers have been stellar, but is he a guy?
Love the Athletics' comment. I think I would buy that.
Thanks for clarifying, Sam. If a scapegoat emerges, I would think Jose Bautista would be more likely. Between his frequent beefs with the umps, he is hitting the occasional dinger, and nothing else. His average is .192 and his OBP is .280. All the ISO in the world (he actually currently has all the ISO in the world) simply hasn't helped the Jays.
for Sam - the problem isn't Lawrie. After coming back from his spring training injury, he was 0 for his first 10, with 6 K's.
Since then, he has hit .270 with a .325 OBP. Not stellar, but more productive than almost every other Jays' regular position player.
Interesting assessment. I used to live in Israel and attended more than a few local soccer matches. Other than international matches, there were no anthems.
How about sorbet, then?
Some of the old flame comments remind me of the Ben Folds/Nick Hornsby tune, Belinda,
Belinda, I loved you
I'm sorry that i left you
I met somebody younger on a plane
She had big breasts
A nice smile
No kids either
She gave me complimentary champagne
But he's not there, he's somewhere else
He's with Belinda
In the days before he made it all go wrong
Could be because steal attempts are elective events. Singles, HRs, etc. are not.
This was awesome - thank you. Any word on the progress of AJ Jimenez?
Spring training is also for writers/analysts to work out the kinks. Like with Torey Lovolo, aka Torey Lovullo.
The irony was too rich not to be all pedantic-like.
My assumption is to prove that there were damages that could be measured monetarily.
WBC is paying salaries for players who lose time due to injuries incurred during the tournament, or the lead up to it.
I get that, but I seem to recall that Yelich, after being drafted, was not thought of as highly as he is now. IIRC, the word on Yelich 6 months after turning pro was similar to what you wrote of Winker now.
That said, even if I am right, that does not mean that Winker would develop in the same way.
For reference, here is what KG wrote of Yelich in 2010 (6 months into his career):
The Good: Yelich has one of those sweet left-handed swings that get scouts excited. It's ultra smooth with plenty of bat speed, and he's capable of driving balls out when he gets his long arms extended, with some projecting average-to-plus power down the road once his lanky frame fills out. He's a good athlete with a tick above-average speed and good outfield skills.
The Bad: Yelich needs to hit, as while he's athletic enough to be a fine outfielder, he lacks the arm for right and the true plus speed to play up the middle. While he makes hard contact, he'll need to fill out to meet his power projections.Perfect World Projection: He could be a middle-of-the-order hitter.
Fantasy Impact: He can bring a good batting average with a handful of stolen bases, but the power will ultimately determine his ceiling.
I suppose it is a bit more praise than Winker received, but still a similar shape of praise.
Thanks for the answer.
Jason, how does Jesse Winker compare to a 19 year old Christian Yelich?
Did you read this article from work?
Awesome! I have been long wondering why BP could not find some way to get this book back in print. Excellent decision. I will absolutely buy a copy as soon as it's available.
It is pretty clear that Zach Mortimer does not have OCD. I have no idea how he is ordering the chosen prospects.
Jason - well done. I was reminded of something in a similar vein you penned last year (IIRC) on Cheslor Cuthbert (IIRC). What separates Mondesi from Cuthbert in the eyes of the enthralled?
As much as Bill James reminded me that baseball can be a very deep, philosophic endeavor, Roger Angell reminded me that baseball can be beautiful and poetic.
But thanks for the update.
I heard (twitter) that a certain one-time BP contributor joined the Blue Jays front office. Did not see any other announcement.
So no Toronto, eh?
Considering that most mention was made about up-the-middle players (Beltre notwithstanding), who rated best among corner men? I am particularly interested in 1B. Great series.
Why can't we just accept that fielding events took place, and whatever else happened, these events may not accurately gauge a player's innate fielding ability. Just something that he did - like driving in a baserunner.
I, too, like cake. That is, unless it has peanut butter.
I also like watching guys drive base runners home. But I don't particularly care how many times he did it before.
The idea is to play every four years, but 2006 fell on an Olympic year. Not wanting to compete with that tournament, they shifted to '09 for the next and the four year cycle began from there.
Enjoyed the series guys, thank you all.
How far off did Rick Porcello place?
Am I the only one to support Zachary Levine's idea? Maybe I, too, am a homer. I had a friend on Team Israel. I streamed all of their games and was shocked to learn that they didn't get a second chance to lose. Severe bummer.
So the Astros are baseball's version of Google?
When visiting Belize a few years ago, one of the coolest things I saw was a baseball diamond in a remote town in the western end of the country - near San Ignacio IIRC.
To what do you attribute the drop in ADP for Derek Norris?
Gameday doesn't track all pitches for ST games. Only pitches that resulted in balls in play, or the three strikes needed for a K or the four balls needed for a BB. I suppose HBPs as well.
Lohse should offer to pitch in the WBC
It's a very special elevator.
Let me know when they are looking for English grads.
Jason - glad to see your hard work coming to fruition. Outside of Nolin and Sanchez, any Jays' prospects that you considered for the top 101?
Dave - you are undoubtedly on the right track about the outliers, but on TV, Ben needs to sell PECOTA, not tell the world about how it sucks.
Love the baseball vaudeville, Zachary. Bravo.
Is he healthy?
Great piece, but one question: "With two locks and two maybes established" I count the two locks - Gallardo, Estrada and one maybe - Fiers. Who's the other maybe?
I'm pegging Miami as a dark-horse. Perhaps under some pressure to spend money by MLB and with a first round pick protected. They could (would) always trade him next year anyway.
Paul - What kept Adam LaRoche off the list? Would the list change much/at all if you were ranking for Scoresheet? Thank you
How, if at all, would your list change if you were looking at a keeper league? What about scoresheet?
Is it possible the authors are paying too much attention to the traditional stats?
Remembering the past reputation of Bailey, I half expected to read of the team disparaging his personality/stubborness.
I personally think Bailey is worth his asking price, but a very good argument could be made that he is not.
Interesting that Scherzer and the Tigers eventually agreed to a contract at exactly the mid-point, as per Cot's.
I actually think it makes sense, in that the spirit of the rule is to protect picks for the teams that performed the worst. The Mets had a bottom ten record, and are out of the top ten picks by an unrelated circumstance.
The question is - are the top ten picks protected, or the top picks for the teams with the bottom ten records?
Usually, they are one and the same thing, but once in a while, there are minor differences.
1) The gif is the gateway out of the proverbial mother's basement. Mixing stats with actually watching the game. How novel!
2) While it seems reasonable to suggest that Owings will not be as successful as Rick Ankiel, and unlikely that he will equal the MLB longevity of for mer college teammate Brian Bogusevic (for one thing, the Nats are not BB's Astros), but what if we set our sights on a late season cameo, a-la Adam Loewen? Can those two be reasonably compared?
Excellent work, Adam! I definitely side myself among the opportunists in this question. Not only does that reasoning hew to my own experiences and observations, but it also provides me (and so many others) with the hope that, one day, that opportunity may fall in our laps as well, and we, too, will get our metaphorical 18 games to prove ourselves.
If hockey can be used as an example (the NHL also has a similar arbitration process in place) it can be rough. There are well-documented cases of players leaving the hearing in tears and trades occurring shortly thereafter. As Mr. Coppolella noted, in most cases after going to the panel, the player and team part ways within three years.
I assume this list is provisional? More to come?
Portrait of an old lawyer as a young baseball writer, or portrait of a young baseball writer as an old lawyer?
I can't tel which one.l
While I agree with Matthew on the reason why AA chose this winter to massively upgrade, I think a second reason was tied to the NHL lockout. Even in summer, the Jays have to compete with hockey for attention. With hockey on hiatus, this was great timing for the team to make some noise.
Mark - great article! Do you think that with the dearth of '8' power prospects, there might one day be a recalibration of what the various grades mean for the power tool? What about for any other tool? Thanks.
Me, too. Pleasantly surprised. The "story" is very boring.
Great article, Matty. Reminded me of how I learned to hit as a 25 year old who had never played hardball before.
In my first few games in the Israeli Men's League, I was lucky to dribble off a foul. I wasn't afraid of the ball, but I could not track it for the life of me.
After a few weeks, my team started renting the batting cage outside the park before games. I made a habit out of watching the ball for my first two pitches. Then I would bunt a few. Then swig away. It got to the point that I could make hard contact every single time.
Taking that to game situation, I began to study the pitcher when in the on-deck circle. How early could I pick the ball out of his hand? I would then differentiate between the strikes and the balls. I didn't always make hard contact in games, and I certainly had holes in my swing (sliders that broke away from me), but I became useful at the plate and that was a beautiful feeling.
BTW - I would vote for the Spiders, or the Foresters - Cleveland is known as Forest City.
There is really no good reason for the Cleveland franchise to keep the Indians nickname.
Even tradition falls short. This is a franchise that has only two World Series titles to its credit. Many disappointments, the mistake by the lake, Ray Chapman, etc.
On the other hand, changing to a new name could be a real marketing boon to the organization. They could open up the re-naming as a civic competition, much like the Toronto Raptors franchise did before settling on that name. IIRC, their attendance figures could use a boost anyway.
Ben/Sam - would you be able to post the link to the article the spurred the umpire/manager confrontation study?
Very true - I once had a gig doing it for the Discovery Channel. Absolute tedium.
Great article, Matty. It is well understood in hockey that, it was only after then head of the NHLPA Bob Goodenow convinced the players to make their salaries public, the average salary skyrocketed. I read the figures a while ago regarding the before and after and the effect was astronomical.
In that sense, while we shouldn't care what players earn, we should still be interested.
Is Adam Lind busted, or do you see any hope, a-la Aaron Hill?
Some supposed "veteran" influences, turn out to do the reverse - see the Omar Vizquel incidents in Toronto last season. The oldest man in baseball ended up throwing management under the bus for a lack of direction on the team, failed to point out Yunel Escobar's faux-pas when he should have known better, etc.
On the flip side, look at the recent stuff emerging about 21 year old hockey star, Tyler Seguin - http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/tyler-seguin-spends-lockout-living-abject-squalor-leaves-210150618--nhl.html
Paraphrasing a comment of mine from another thread:
PEDs did not harm the game of baseball. Not at all. Unfortunately, PEDs practically destroyed traditional baseball journalism. Thankfully, we have BP and other analytical baseball sites to maintain a high level of baseball discourse and thought.
Thankfully, PEDs did not (and could not) ruin baseball.
Unfortunately, PEDs absolutely destroyed baseball journalism. Thank God for internet baseball analysis - filling the void left by grandstanding baseball journalists since 1997.
Poor momentum (thanks, Doug Thorburn!) but I love the camera action behind and to the right of the catcher.
"This video is private."
I like the methods employed by the Hall of Merit group on baseball think factory. Although I may be biased, as a voter in the process for around 8 years now, the process ensures that a set number of players will always be honored and it also demands accountability from the electorate.
In short, the key rules are as follows:
- All voters submit a ballot of at least 15 names, ranked in order. Points are allocated to players based on the overall rankings they receive.
- All voters must also provide some commentary explaining their votes and relative positioning. Beyond voting for their top 15, voters must also comment upon players who were previously in the top 10 and remained eligible, as well as new comers deemed "relevant".
- Eligibility is perpetual. The only thing that can remove a player from consideration is to be elected.
- Boycotting a player for any reason is not allowed. The Hall of Merit permits a single year abstention for contentious players. (btw - not a single member of the electorate used this allowance for any of the "PED" players, although it has been used in the past by various voters on Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson)
- Before being eligible to vote, a prospective voter must submit a detailed preliminary ballot to the electorate at large, complete with commentary and a summary of the individual's consideration criteria/methodology. This makes sure that any participants are taking the process seriously. There are no wrong answers - only evidence that someone is systematically short-shrifting a group of players
- Negro League credit is enforced, while war credit is strongly encouraged and minor league credit (mostly for long-ago players) is also eligible.
In the most recent election, Barry Bonds was elected unanimously - placing 1st on every single ballot. Clemens came in second in every single ballot as well. It was an elect-four year, with Piazza and Biggio grabbing the other two spots.
I think most people here disagree with your assessment as to what constitutes a "BP article". The facts that you disagree with his opinion and/or rationale makes it no less worthy of the BP brand.
Sam - I have heard that there are more insects in one square mile of earth than there are humans on earth.
Happy New Year!
I think some consideration should be given to Bal @ Tor, on Sep. 4. It was one of the few games I was able to get out to see last season. The Orioles beat up on the Jays, in the Rogers Centre, and the Jays never showed they could hit Zach Britton, or the O's relievers.
In addition to the game being a dreadful one from the home fans' perspective, it was wet and the roof was unable to close fully for a few innings, marking the first time in the history of the dome that fans had to sit with umbrellas open for more than a few minutes.
I expected Victor Sanchez to have a bigger face at 6-0", 255. does he have a huge Jose Fernandez/Chad Billingsley sized ass?
" xFIP is deceptive, like Spanx for pitching stats."
This is perhaps the greatest sabermetric metaphor I have ever read. Well done, Ben!
This was phenomenal. I hope I remember this when the draft approaches next June.
Is it at all possible that the Astros, while not necessarily trying to contend, want to avoid setting the record for most losses in a season?
And if so, do you think that the current roster as that much more than a 40 win team?
The controversy with Girls was that there were no people of color in any of the scenes - even background scenes like the party. Lena Durham replied that she writes the show with people that she is familiar with in mind - those people tend to be Caucasian.
The video here is of Konnor Wade again - not Tellez.
So much pathos in the Hanley shot.
Great, great write-up.
Two lower level position player prospects of whom much was expected last season, Chris Hawkins and Jacob Anderson, both disappointed. Of the two, which do you (any of you prospect hounds) believe still has it in him to rise above and reclaim his previous prospect status.
Also, whither AJ Jimenez? Without the injury, would he have cracked the top-10?
The question that seems to have been left unasked - both for this deal and the Arizona/Cleveland/Cincinnati threeway - is whether there is a value-incentive to winning now, as opposed to winning later.
I don't have the statistical chops to study the matter, but there seems to be a qualitative thought that there is value now - just like a contract with equal terms across five years is actually more valuable now than later, due to inflation.
All three of Braun, Gonzalez and Kemp were very highly regarded as prospects. Braun was taken 5th overall by the Brewers. Gonzalez was the #1 pick in his year and Kemp was a high upside play as a multi-sport type, but Baseball America and their ilk sang his praises all down the line.
Why do people think he is trying too hard? People are actually like that. If you don't like it, tune him out like you should with every other boring, thank-you-jesus conformist out there.
Wilson understands satire and I can respect that. I wouldn't get annoyed with any player's personality unless it interfered with his on-field play or unless he began to show up at my house uninvited every morning, demanding breakfast.
BTW, Ian - I am pretty sure that this was the article of yours that I have most enjoyed. Keep it up.
What's your take on Rinku Singh?
I think the Tigers might also be a player on Brian Wilson.
Is it fair to say that those not listed here are not seen as having more than org potential? Does that include the Andy Oliver-Ramon Cabrera trade?
Is Francis a law abiding citizen of the US, or merely a law abiding resident?
Jason, you are truly missing the boat on liver. Grilled liver is divine.
Fernando Tatis is actually reasonable. D'Angelo Jimenez would be actually hilarious!
BTW - thank you Hudson for writing about this.
I think the biggest hurdle yet for Canadian kids is in the younger age groups. Hardball is not big enough a thing to get young kids here playing enough such that they will even get the chance to be elite when more age appropriate.
I can only speak to Toronto and the surrounding areas, but there are not even that many hardball diamonds. When I returned to Toronto from a few years living in Israel, I could only find two adult men's leagues - one which played in very, very pool fields and the other which was taken less seriously than the Israeli men's league.
Talent will certainly rise, but the second tier of player - the kid who, if a Californian or a Floridian, would have been playing well his whole life and been a good candidate to play for a lower level NCAA team - gets relatively fewer chances to take off.
One fact not mentioned, but worth bearing in mind, is that this is the Astros first trade (I think) since hiring KG as their director of pro scouting, wherein they picked up kids. This trade has a direct BP stamp of approval for the 'Stros.
Did Sam Miller not have BBWAA membership when he wrote for the OC Register?
He's not. He's from San Francisco. He spent a few years in his teens in Canada as a junior hockey player in BC and Saskatchewan.
Actually, he was hurt. He had surgery on his throwing elbow in October. He admitted to having unusual soreness through much of the season.
He definitely met the criteria for playing time, also for the Jays not having anyone better to replace him, as all of their replacements were both as bad or worse as well as already being used for the other, injured pitchers. He also pouted on a few occasions when being removed from the game early for failing to hit the strike zone.
1) Is there any reasonable hope left for Kyle Skipworth?
2) Would it be possible to add the totals for games pitched for pitchers and PAs for position players? It would help me see - through the numbers - the guy's usage pattern without clicking away. Would be much obliged.
They gave him (IIRC) first round money, He was available in the third as he had what was thought of as a pretty strong college commitment.
Miguel Cabrera was the most valuable player to member of the press. His story was more valuable for them to write.
You just struck a chord with me RMR. One of the common selling points of the anti-stat crowd is that value is relative to a team, to a situation of some kind.
But the journalists vote on the award, and not the fans. As such, in their view (maybe somewhat sub-consciously) is that the most value means the most value to them.
Which would give them the better story, the more papers sold or web-clicks attained. The better narrative is the one that rules the day. Sometimes that is the homer-vote, sometimes the player with the most interesting storyline - the most-attention catching. Mike Trout has been great, but his storyline was not nearly as compelling of the one-time bad boy, seemingly redeemed, challenging for a rare personal feat while assisting his team get to the playoffs. That's drama.
Matt - that's not a misspelling - that's the team name. The Portland/Brooklyn/Montreal Totally Know how to Win.
And it turned out that the answer was zero. This doesn't negate the research that went into the article, as the electorate changes yearly, but Braun was in the top four in each of the 32 ballots cast.
What were his velo readings?
This is also not fully accounting for the revamped bullpen which did not finish taking shape until around the trade deadline, after the Jays brought in Brad Lincoln and Schoolteacher Steve Delabar and called up Aaron Loup.
The Islanders announced three weeks ago that they will be moving to Brooklyn to share the Barclays Center with the Nets in time for the 2015-16 season, They agreed on a 25 year lease.
Baseball is a sport of manipulation. Part of the beauty of the game. Pitching is the ultimate act of manipulation. The pitcher has historically had to manipulate two people to get a called strike. That is a good thing.
Also, in some of the breaking balls GIF'ed here, it is possible that the pitch crossed the zone and then was caught at a position far from the center of the zone. If that is the case, the pitch would have accurately been called a strike, and Molina would not have saved anything.
That said, a number of those pitches were not benders and Jose's Molina-like hands certainly manipulated the ump.
Jason - what's your take on the rumors (not sure if they were ever confirmed) about the Rockies placing a great deal of stock on the "Christian character" of their potential draft picks?
Even if we can get past the theist element of the statement, can focusing on a particular type of character/makeup - and a seemingly non-playing field type of character/makeup at that, help in any feasible way?
Wasn't there also some inherent bias about not voting for a repeat MVP unless his name is Bonds? Or maybe even Pujols?
Was Grady Sizemore included in the Indians' numbers?
I never heard evidence of those leanings, though. Just insinuations that seemed to be purely based on his projections.
Well done, Woods!
Two interesting takeaways from this article:
1) Jim Tracy was once considered to be a "genuinely good" manager.
2) Nate Silver associated himself with the Democratic Party, "The Democrats in particular have been reluctant to throw their resources behind candidates with appealing skills but unproven track records...And we're going to lose again." By all means, the man is entitled to have a political stance. But it is somewhat lucky for his credibility among the math-hating masses, that this stance was not carted out by his legion of bashers during the run-up the the election as "proof" that Silver had an agenda. Maybe what this means is that there are no BP readers among the mainstream GOP pundits.
The talk on Vogelbach makes me think of a cross between Billy Butler and Prince Fielder in terms of offensive ceiling. His mug shot from the top ten prospect article has me more in mind of Moneyball-era Jonah Hill.
Thinking about the Jays' supposed leanings. Something came out recently about how second time managers have a higher rate of success. Has anyone studied that for accuracy?
R.J. - What do you think of the Jays' strategy of picking up waiver claims by the bushel-full and then trying to pass them through waivers? I think they have done it six times so far in the postseason, succeeded with Tyson Brummett and lost Cousins and Herndon.
Is there much of a point?
At first, I was irked by the lack of stars. Then I realized what JP was doing. I appreciate being given the tools to think for myself, instead of being dictated to. Not that KG was a dictator, but the stars did have a way of dumbing things down. So far, so good, JP.
What is your take on Musgrove, Comer and Carlos Perez?
I understand comer lost some velo this year - how much? Injury-related? What was Musgrove's injury and how reasonable are his chances for recovering his stock from 2011?
Wonderful article. Great work to all involved.
I am tremendously intrigued by the thought of Dominic Smith being developed as a catcher. Is there even a 5% chance that his development goes in that direction?
Also, Am I the only one who is seeing a little bit of another famous Jones in Chipper? Indiana, anyone? (also, coincidentally, or not, home of one Scott Rolen).
This piece was a lot of fun and very cleverly executed. Kudos.
Great article, but I need to correct the cause effect part of the "series-deciding" moment - Jeff Jones visited Verlander on the mound one pitch *before* Sandoval took him deep for a second time - not after.
Some get to outlive their mistakes. Others do not. Sabean has.
Nice job - the post-season as a celebratory flip-book.
Jason - any chance the Blue Jays deal one of their high-end arms?
So he was only a few cheeseburgers away from scoring the go-ahead run.
Jim Leyland is also a former Marlins manager.
Thanks for painting the picture on Labourt. It's good to get an idea of what goes into a stat line.
How far away do you think he is from full season ball?
1989 - 10 years old. Although I grew up in Toronto, Will Clark's rookie card made me a huge Giants fan - I'm not sure why, but facts is facts. I remember listening on the radio in my bedroom when he hit a grand slam clean out of Wrigley Field.
I already had a decent understanding of the game (for a ten year old in the 80's) and had read that Bob Welch, who was scheduled to start game 3 for the A's, had a great record against the Giants when he was a Dodger. The concept of God was still quite close to me then, having been given a religious education and raised in a relatively traditional Jewish household. I literally prayed that something would prevent Welch from starting Game 3.
I was watching at home as the game was about to begin. The cameras shook much more than seemed normal. You all know the rest. I never prayed in the same way again.
jason - are you hearing anything on Jays OF Kevin Pillar?
Why wouldn't the Giants play Sandoval as DH and let Arias play at 3B? I believe they ran that configuration a few times over the course of interleague games this year.
Also, why not break up the LHB stretch at the bottom of the order some and switch Belt and Pence in the order? That would help to somewhat neutralize the OOGY component of the Tigers' pen (Coke, Dotel), I would think.
Excellent question to an excellent article.
"And the Giants didn’t steal any bases" - I have read this on more than one series summary, but it isn't true. Brandon Belt swiped one in the 8th inning of game 5. In any case, you did a marvelous job of recapping the series for this long-time misplaced Giants fan.
Having watched him a fair bit in the majors, I don't disagree with that assessment.
Your aside in the Sierra comment - do you mean that it is a good thing as he shouldn't be rushed, or that he doesn't have what it takes, period? Thanks.
for commenter Rowand: I won't speak for all of us, but many of us Hockey Prospectus guys enjoy baseball very much. And in spite of the lockout, our 2012-13 Annual should be out shortly.
"Narratives are useful in simplifying complex things so that we can understand them better, but we have to be careful that we aren’t simplifying things to the point where they no longer do a good job of representing what it is we’re talking about."
Brilliant takeaway point that extends far beyond baseball and into nearly any realm you can imagine.
I rarely listen to TV announcer, much preferring music. This is especially true for national announcers, as they tend to bring less colour than the locals to the broadcast.
That said, I paid attention during the top of the 9th. As the camera lingered on A-Rod, one of the announcers asked if there was anything wrong with him. The other replied, "No, at least not from the neck down."
Tonight, I will go back to listening to music during the game. Much like the presidential debates, TV broadcasts need fact-checkers.
Very ironic comment considering the asterisked aside at the end of the article. Would you have posted the same if your username was your real name?
The St. Louis Wild Cardinals.
If you're going teammates, I would love (LOVE) to read your work on the Blue Jays' big three of Nicolino, Sanchez and Syndergaard. If you even have access to footage.
In any case, love the series and your work.
Shot myself in the foot (or ear), didn't I?
The mosquito noise is the absolute worst noise ever. Much worse than the crying baby.
I`m pretty sure he would not have been able to get the runner at second. As a right handed thrower, he would have had to spin more than 180 degrees to face the bag. The runner at second would only have been slightly under 180 degree spin. Maybe he could have looked to second, but the play was to first.
What I meant was that more total tickets were sold in 2012 than in 2011, but the average per game went down, and the percentage dropped.
How does that work?
It looks like something is amiss in the numbers for Atlanta. Either 2012 and 2011 numbers are inverted or the year-over-year percentage change is. Either way, thanks for presenting the figures.
Regarding your last question - look no further than the first inning of this year's All Star Game and Verlander's ensuing comments. In short, he loses command when he starts off with his highest heat. Prefers to slowly build up to it.
The final score was 5-2. (minor quibble)
What's the latest on the health of Dusty Baker?
What's known about the health of Dusty Baker? Has he been on the bench since his recent ill health? Has he been declared fit by doctors? Could this have any tangible effect on the Reds?
Daniel - all year you have been killing it with your pitcher-batter matchups to watch - well done again!
Great work this year, Matt. Very enjoyable, all around.
I don't think your 3rd point holds water. Voters don't vote on all of the awards. From my understanding, some writers get one award to vote on, others get none. I don't think that anyone will be partaking in the actual MVP and ROY awards in the same year.
It's a good thing my normal route was blocked off today and I had to backtrack. Added an extra 20 minutes to my commute. Still not enough, though...
I prefer to think that he is taunting the rule book, seeing as how he is getting away with borderline irregularities.
Maybe including the player's pedigree would be instructive - draft round, overslot signing if applicable, something about how he came to the org in question. Otherwise, great stuff.
Doug - when comparing timing between ptiches one year to the next, are you controlling for game-situation? Not just baserunners, but inning and number of pitches already thrown? I ask as it seems to me that pitching would slow slightly from the beginning of the game to its later stages.
Thanks for touching on Romero. Do you think he can be "fixed"?
Looks like Greenberg's getting his chance - the Marlins are going to play him against the Mets next Tuesday.
As far as point #3 goes, I will definitely not be voting for Delmon Young for MVP.
Come to think of it, he fails on the first point as well.
I'm a Jays fan, and for 19 years now, that has been a drama-free experience. So maybe that makes it easier to distance myself from the immediacy and visceral experience of fandom. I try to remember that baseball is essentially a team game played by individuals. I like to see individual triumphs over adversity, I hate to see players break down. I learn to appreciate the crafts of baseball as performed by individuals or pairs (DP combo, etc.). Win or lose, the game has the capacity to be rewarding every single day.
I would like to nominate Eric Thames for the Rollie Fingers award. I would also like to know the leaderboard for TOOTBLANs, team settings. The Jays must be way up there.
Best game I ever went to at the Rogers Centre (SkyDome) was Canada vs. USA in the last WBC. I never knew the place could have such an awesome atmosphere.
I think it's fair to say that almost every year there is an over-aged command/breaking ball pitcher in the low minors who dominates there, yet falls off dramatically once moved to AA.
How fitting that you ended the Yom Kippur show with talk of apologies.
I have tracked Kevin Nolan for a while, and while I don't think he'll ever be a starter, I think he could find his way to getting a utility role someday. He plays all of the positions - having played at least once everywhere but CF and C. He hits lefties well enough - bearing in mind your points. One thing I find interesting about him is that he's big, as utility guys go. 6-2", 200. I don't see why he can't turn into a Mike McCoy type with less glove, more bat. #IAmNotAScout
"I had a friend was a big baseball player
back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
but all he kept talking about was
I think you know the rest. As to the question about resetting his eligibility, unless I am very much mistaken, Jose Rijo re-started his clock after he was found wanting on his first pass through the ballot.
Richard understood my point. Rules is rules, absolutely. But making the whole thing into a joke with real homophobic undertones would absolutely create a hostile environment for homosexuals, be they in or out, player, staff or media. It should be recognized as such.
I see. I think we need to start dissecting brains. Ideally, we can create control groups. Dissect brains at different counts, different base-runner/game situations. *Food for thought.*
(maybe the worst pun I have ever written)
Russell - I love the series and what you are trying to do with it. I do have a question about how we can know when a "habit" has been established to the point that it has created neural pathways, as opposed to just being a thing that a player is consciously trying to do in a specific situation, or is just experimenting with. Taking more pitches, or adopting a more passive plate approach may be ingrained, or it may be an ongoing effort to achieve. How can that be recognized?
How is that different from Escobar's eyeblack?
So why is Wainwright getting guff from his team for pecking Beltran on the cheek (LOL, thank god he didn't plant one on his lips, that would be so gay) and no one really cares, but Escobar being openly ignorant is such a big deal?
You are right Hudson. There is a clear double-standard at play here. It seems like no one on the Cardinals actually said any of the bad words, so it's OK. It's really too bad Wainwright didn't kiss Beltran on the lips. We, as a society, are deathly afraid of seeing things, but get all uptight when someone mentions them. What we need to remember is that the message on the whiteboard for Wainwright is exactly as homophobic as the message on Escobar's eyeblack.
Interesting editorial choice to put the Wainwright chastisement for giving Beltran a peck on the cheek back-to-back with the Escobar homophobia story. Is the message left for Wainwright any less homophobic than Escobar's message? Or is it just a little bit more subverted? Well done, BP.
Outside of academia, perfect grammar and word-usage can often be an impediment to effective communication. In my day job, I manage a technical writing department. Prescriptive grammar is nice, sometimes. Unfortunately, as so few people can actually read proper grammar, it is often more effective to convey a message using functional grammar and function idioms.
This article was one of the funniest things I have ever multi-media'd. Sam is an absolute genius of the medium. Thank you.
Just watch the damn games already
I would love to hear your thoughts on the WBC qualifiers - especially because the qualifiers feature non-40-man types and nations that are not, by any stretch, baseball-centric nations.
I sometimes get the impression that we denigrate the RBI stat overmuch. Perhaps, as we focus so much on stats that foretell future stats, we ignore (at our peril) stats that narrativize the game as it is played?
Great as usual, Ben (?!?) but methinks you have your Yankees historical figures mixed up with your current old shortstops. Vizquel passed Ruth and Jeter tied Gehrig.
Hudson, do you figure either of these guys has the potential to be more than a "one-level-per-year" guy? What would you place as the odds that either see AA next year?
Shouldn't Happ be listed under Toronto because his injury occurred with the Jays?
Excellent. A writer writing on baseball for baseball.
I definitely agree on Rasmus. I think that Escobar and Romero have already reached their peaks. This year, of course, has been a disaster. Arencibia isn't that toolsy - the power is pretty much it. Alvarez and Lawrie are still too young and inexperienced to lump them in with the others.
When in the last five years (ten years) were the Jays really in contention? Their records were generally decent, but nowhere near contention past the All Star game.
Considering that it was me that asked KG the question, and I did eventually purchase it from Amazon (.com, as they don't stock it in .ca), I should also point out that, at one time or another, I have also purchased through Amazon the 4th item on page 1, the 1st, 2nd and 4th items on page 2 (and I really should get the 3rd), the first two items on page 3 and the 1st item on page 4.
I imagine it is to allow Detroit to use a September roster addition if they make the playoffs.
Love the Jays comment. So apt.
That, my friend, is what I was hoping for. In reading that book, I realized that what we think we are discovering now, is not new, but rather lessons taken for granted in the past that were known and utilized before.
And yes, I would have loved to have had a conversation with the man.
Sphincter-tightening ratio during losses? Great read, R.J.
YMMV, but I think pitcher decision are irrelevant to actual performance - especially in the minors and just clutters up the presentation.
That would be marvelous, thanks.
Oh, wow. I've got it queued up and can't wait to dig in to it tonight.
Ben, when I read Veeck as in Wreck last year, at least once every ten pages I found some gem that paralleled nicely with a current baseball (on the field or off) issue. I look forward to seeing more parallel studies put forward by you as you wade through one of the best baseball books of all time.
In fairness, the article was about players who debuted at age 26, not 26 year old rookies. Frazier had 121 PAs last season, at age 25.
I watched a bunch of this game. Even for a Jays' fan, this game was boring. As to your question about draft position, you are correct. I now want the jays to have a very high draft slot, but I still want them to finish ahead of the Red Sox. It is illogical, but really makes perfect sense.
Exactly. It was Warren Spahn who said something to the effect that the hitter's job is timing and the pitcher's job is to upset that timing.
The approach of varying pitch delivery timing, in other words, is more likely to be a weapon a focused pitcher would use to try to fool an unfocused batter and/or baserunner.
That being said, this was an excellent article and I look forward to your other contributions in this field.
Juan Oviedo is listed under the Dodgers, but, no matter what name you give him, I'm pretty sure he's still on the Marlins.
My sympathies for your loss. This was a very nice tribute.
Racism is a funny thing in that any given act may be seen as racism, even though it might be from an understanding of which latent racism encouraged.
1) A few summers back, I was at a wedding party in NYC at a fancy Central Park rooftop. Most of the crowd was white. One couple in particular was not. The male of this couple was dressed very formally, with a vest and bow tie. Most of the guests, this being summer, were dressed nicely, but informally. At least one other (older) guest assumed that the black man was a member of the staff. His wife assumed racism. Me, a Canadian (nationalism), tried to reassure her that the presumption was due to his attire. Thoughts?
2) My wife has a friend (in Toronto) of Mexican/Filipino heritage. Her husband is Caucasian. They have three young boys, all handsome kids and all epidermically resembling their Father. They live in a very upscale part of Toronto. She has often been stopped in the street by random bystanders commenting on the cuteness/handsomeness of the kids and asking her if they are hers (even after also pointing out that they look like her). Some believe that these well-to-do white folk assume that white-looking kids can't belong to this pretty ethnic-looking woman, even if there is a facial resemblance. Racism, or just stupidity?
TAv might be a decent alternative shorthand as well.
But BP already includes that stuff with their Fantasy tools - the player forecast manager.
FYI - Both J.P. Arencibia and David Cooper are rehabbing in Dunedin.
I, too, look forward to being a recipient of Jason's expanded role here. What BP has often meant for me, in addition to *baseball* content, has been quality writing about baseball. To that end, I have adored the work of guys including (but not inclusive to) Bradford Doolittle, Adam Sobsey, Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller and, apropos of everything, Jason Parks. Long may this continue.
Goodbye, Kevin. Goodbye, Jason (sort of). Goodbye, internet. The emotion is that of saying goodbye to a friend who is relocating across the ocean.
While initially upset that you are leaving not to join a team that I root for, I now understand one of your biggest lessons: It is not a team that we should be rooting for, but a process. Baseball theory is universal and what BP stands for is engendering that process. The process resides in Houston. I want to see it succeed.
5-10" Mark Ellis has only 5 homers, none of which were hit last night. 6-3" A.J. Ellis has 11 homers, the most recent of which was an 8th inning grand slam hit in Coors last night.
As for you, have you tried adding some uppercut loft to your swing?
I was totally off. I actually had Montero 9th and Castro 10th. I had Robinson 2nd. Revere 3rd.
You're both wrong! It is actually Zach Stewart!
Great timing on the article. Just bumped Ottavino up my draft list for the final in-season supplemental Scoresheet draft.
I think the issue here may be that teams tend to change most often (warning: this was not researched) in the makeup of their bullpens. It is much easier, and seemingly more prevalent, for teams to blow up their bullpens from year to year, than to significantly change their starting lineups or starting pitchers.
Very true. During the July deadline, the Cubs picked up Arodys Vizcaino from Atlanta who is in the midst of TJS recovery. Cubs were willing to take that risk, and so are, seemingly, the Dodgers with Crawford.
Why is that odd? Different scouts, different takes. Happens all the time. It's not like the articles gave different objective readings.
Thanks for this - watching his train wreck of a season for the past 4.5 months, I have been dying for some true analysis of his problems. While inconclusive, this is much better than some of the pseudo-psychology I have read/heard thus far.
Love your work, Adam - you are a real writer's writer. And you are absolutely spot on about the milb website. Way too many clicks needed to do anything, inconsistent linkages. Just weak.
The one thing I will miss about Thames in Toronto (aside from his glorious facial hair and Popeye arms) is the briskness of his trot. I may never have been able to appreciate it without your column, so thanks, Larry.
KG - hearing anything on Kellen Sweeney? He was very disappointing (moreso than even Kevin Ahrens) for most of his first two+ abbreviated seasons, but has been on the first hot stretch of his career since approximately the beginning of the month. Progress real?
I'm guessing that was a typo and he meant to write "tough position".
"As beat writer and moonlight Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerman noted" - the Facebook guy I think you're referring to is Mark ZuckerBERG.
"just bear with me, because for right now, I'm going to wave my hands by typing about how I'm waving my hands and by the time you get to the end of this sentence, you'll have forgotten whatever objection you were about to make."
Written like a lawyer...
The worst thing about this whole business (and I am a Giants' fan) is that Melky out-trended King Felix on Twitter last night.
Futility infielder Dave Campbell - Bek David Campbell - close enough, no?
Just my two cents, but another yo-yo power comp that Snider has often reminded me of is Carlos Pena. YMMV.
Corey - Is Chris Narveson done for the season? Thanks
With Sanchez sucking, the Tigers are on the receiving end of a baseball version of Montezuma's revenge. Last year's Fister food tasted great, but Anibal this year means diarrhea. (incidentally, the word may be harder to spell than it is to pass)
One advantage of having the emotional switch (usually) turned off, is that it hurts much less when your team's play isn't really conducive to emotional outbursts. Allows for the game to be enjoyed in another way.
There was a British footballer, known as a hard man, who was known to piss himself during games as a means of intimidating the opposition. In other words - that dude is nuts and I must stay away from him. Can't remember who it was, though.
Jay - will you be doing the pitchers as well?
I have to think this trade gives Houston an in-house alternative to Brett Wallace as DH next year in the form of Krauss.
I wouldn't call it a market inefficiency as much as it is a loophole. It seems pretty well established by now that this is the price for non-elite pending free agents - a couple of long shot prospects. It would only be an inefficiency if few teams used it to strengthen themselves for the remainder of the season.
#5whoever (Ervin Santana)pitched a no hitter last year, and Garrett Richards has had a quality-plus start this year, as well.
You pretty much mis-read the entire article.
The ones that aren't dated were updated today.
Great episode. I'm convinced - $35 pledged.
When you get to that point, you don't want to hang out in sports bars, anyway. You might run into one of your employees.
I used to love all sports. Watch, play, study, etc. Then, one summer day as the NFL was gearing up, an offensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings named Korey Stringer passed out while working out. He had heat stroke and would soon be pronounced dead. Having played rep league football earlier, I was reminded of pre-season training in which teenagers would have to run around the field wearing dark garbage bags over their uniforms until they lost enough weight to make weigh-in. And then I realized that the majority of professional football players were only in the position they were in because they were substantially larger than regular people. In fact, regular sized people were precluded from most positions.
And then I realized that basket ball was the same way. Four out of five positions on the court were taken by people who were expected to be much taller than regular, old 6-footers like myself.
And so I stopped caring about those games. Cold turkey. It took me almost a full decade to be able to stomach the Super Bowl again and I still have no interest in basketball. Nothing against the sport, but I just don't see it.
Now more of my brain is taken up with hockey and baseball. And sometimes soccer.
That said, I see just as many people who love to snark on baseball, whether than love hockey or football or soccer or basketball or no sports at all, as see seamheads snarking on other sports.
Ben - you sound nothing like what I expected. Looking forward to the evolution
Nitpick - Thornburg already started once, against the Jays. It did not go very well....
Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch yesterday and didn't have another plate appearance. Was he hurt on the HBP? Thanks
You mean like they are doing in the NHL? It's a gimmick that is kind of interesting once, and then just as boring as the rest of the exhibition.
I actually fell out with baseball during my hometown Blue Jays' back-to-back championship run in the pre-strike years. I vaguely remember watching the Carter homer in my parents' den and listening to the 14-13 game on the radio, kind of awed at the sheer offensiveness of it all.
And then the strike happened. At first, I thought it wouldn't matter to me so much. And then I realized that I was taking baseball for granted. The lack of daily box scores made my summer feel almost empty - a truly horrible realization in high school.
Baseball came back and I returned to it with a vengeance that has yet to peter out.
As the previous commenter said, it's just such a great game.
No you can't. He's too fast - you'll just lose track of him.
Took me a moment to get the Lawrie joke, but....yes. Just yes.
Jesus sure works in funny ways. Some guys (ie. Daniel Norris), he tells to sign. Other guys (Appel), he says to wait another year (or three). Maybe he has the extra 2%.
hip, hip, hooray!
In all seriousness, excellent moves for BP. Looking forward to seeing how both moves play out.
Some mechanical notes on Encarnacion. When he first joined the Jays, and up til sometime last season (if memory serves) he would set up with his hands quite high, and his front bicep practically on his throat. To this viewer's eye, this slowed down his swing and almost cut him off from his own power.
Lately, his arms are lower and he has been more able to actuate his power and kill more balls. It may have saved his career.
I'm having a hard time finding the box score, but I saw the rare and amazing double pickle last year in a Blue Jays game. I honestly can't even remember the opponent, but one runner was caught between home and third and tagged out by Brett Lawrie, who then fired to first and caught a second runner in a pickle between 1st and 2nd. Brilliance.
Nick Neugebauer. Scouts remember him for his complete lack of control. I remember him for his last name, which was my mother's maiden name, although highly unlikely that he is related. Unless Joey Wagman, of Cal Poly gets signed next year as a 4-year senior, Neugebauer is the closest I will get to having a pro namesake.
So you're saying that people who don't like watching home runs feel that way because they have seen or felt the presence of a ghost? Fascinating results.
Aren't the Sugar Land Skeeters the independent league team that is bringing back the bullpen cart?
"Hanley Ramirez received stitches in his right hand after punching a fan on Sunday. He’s expected to return on Friday".
When I read that line, my first thought was that you buried the lead - what kind of jackass player would punch a fan? I now just found out that what he punched was an *electric* fan.
Specificity of punched object is not always necessary, but when the object is a synonym for something that would altogether change the way I read the sentence, well, it makes sense.
Heard anything about Luis Perez? He began the 7th inning for Toronto yesterday and left after giving up two hits, due to some sort of elbow discomfort. The Jays put him on the 15-day DL later that day.
Very nice tool, by the way. Thank you for enabling it.
Question: is data segregated by PA ending pitches or is it all pitches, or only pitches on which the batter swung, etc. or does it depend on the variables?
dammit! I was ready to celebrate my outlier-dom.
1. Left - Pitch seemed to have less life (caveat of GIF not through contact), also batter's leg seemed more dynamic in swing
2. Left - Pitch on right seemed to tail in too much for good wood.
3. Right - WAG
4. Left - Pitched seemed to catch too much of the plate.
5. Left - Hitter seemed to be in the process of a more balanced swing
6. Right - Pitch tailed in over the plate
7. Left - Platoon advantage
8. Left - pitch seemed to catch more of the plate
9. Right - Pitch was hanging more
Was the headline from the Blue Jays-Royals matchup from a Kansas City source?
A few calls here for Erik Bedard as a trade target. With the Pirates doing as well as they have been, methinks that Bedard stays in Pittsburgh.
"Plus" on the new stats.
Bradford - I am sorry about the troubles in your life - they will turn around - but it is great to read your stuff, again.
Reading your bit about fans buying into the hype, I was reminded of one of the most influential books I have ever read - the book that moved me from being a student to being a useful member of society - The Educated Imagination, by Northrop Frye.
The mark against Alvarez has always been his breaking ball. When he came up, everyone said that he had a very hard sinker and a plus changeup, but his slider was fringy at best.
Looking at his pitch charts from the past two seasons, it seems that he has thrown his slider more often this year than last. And the results have not been favourable. (yes, I am a Canadian).
I think he would be best served by reducing his reliance on his slider to maybe 2-strike counts when he can throw it out of the zone for better effect, but that's just me.
My daughter is only ten weeks old and her mother and I are already arguing about which team she should be a fan of. The missus is from Chicago (northern 'burbs) and wants the little one to be a Cubs fan. As her father, I do not condone her heart breaking, so I want her to be a Blue Jays fan like me. That way we can enjoy the game, but remain cautiously apathetic towards the results.
Paul - for the rest of the season, how would you rank Kevin Millwood, Franklin Morales and Garrett Richards, bearing in mind also their likelihood to retain their roles.
I am considering all three to beef up my pitching in an AL-only scoresheet league.
The thing about theism is that many people believe that to believe in a "higher power" one must also constantly praise/worship that "higher power". The former is a leap of logic, the latter is a leap of a leap of logic.
Bradley - certainly an interesting slant to put on the pick, but what would be the 60th, 70th, 40th and 30th percentiles of value (and their comps) from the 1-1 slot?
Ben Francisco, Toronto, is rehabbing in AA. What is his timeline now?
Nothing wrong with being provincial as long as you recognize it as provinciality. For example, the prospect in this year's draft whose career I most want to follow is a guy not even drafted by my hometown team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Rather, I crave success for Maxx Tissenbaum. Not only is "The Tiss (which must be his nickname) from Toronto, but he is also Jewish. Double provinciality.
Very apropos article, given the introduction of Jason Parks' new series.
Excellent. The head understands that most prospects do not approach their supposed ceilings, but the heart struggles to reconcile.
I put forth Kyle Drabek, even before last week's pop.
Looking forward to the results.
" Hopefully you can now appreciate the contest between the pitcher and batter just a little bit better than you did before."
Yes I can. Thank you for making something so complex so simple.
Ben - regarding your table in the middle - do the percentages refer to players as homegrown only considering their MLB service time, or does it delve into which organization made the guy a professional?
In either event, good stuff here.
"Lefties were hitting just .151 against Dickey over the five starts prior to the back-to-back one-hitters, and Betemit was the only left-handed batter to get a hit over the last two games."
Also worth mentioning - BJ Upton is the only right handed batter to get a hit off of Dickey in the last two games. I am honored to share two initials with the man.
Interesting use of metaphor for Toronto. Did you know that last Saturday, while Radiohead's road crew was preparing for an outdoor concert in the city, the stage collapsed, killing their drum tech and injuring a few others. Needless to say, the show was cancelled.
And yes, Kyle Drabek will be having TJS, according to reports out this afternoon. A bleak summer north of the border.
Alan Farina, Blue Jays, has begun his rehab.
Very cool about Prior. Even if the Red Sox were playing the Blue Jays, I would cheer a three-up, three-down for the home team should Prior be on the mound.
I still have a vivid memory from when I was living in Tel Aviv. Walking to work one day, I ran across a mail man wearing a Mark Prior Cubs jersey.
It is an interesting question, but I am pretty sure players on the 40-man roster are exempt from testing for "drugs of abuse".
Sep. 28, 1975 - don't know the backstory, but the A's no-hit the California Angels behind Vida Blue (5 IP), Glenn Abbott (1 IP), Paul Lindblad (1 IP), and Rollie Fingers (2 IP).
Jul. 28, 1976 - The White Sox no hit the A's behind Blue Moon Odom (5 IP) and Francisco Barrios (4 IP)
Apr. 11, 1990 - The Angels no hit the Mariners behind Mark Langston (7 IP) and Mike Witt (2 IP).
Jul. 13, 1991 - The Orioles no hit the A's behind Bob Milaki (6 IP), Mike Flanagan (1 IP), Mark Williamson (1 IP) and Gregg Olson (1 IP).
Sep. 11, 1991 - The Braves no hit the Padres behind Kent Mercker (6 IP), Mark Wohlers (2 IP) and Alejandro Pena (1 IP).
Jul. 12, 1997 - The Pirates no hit the Astros through 10 innings behind Francisco Cordova (9 IP) and Ricardo Rincon (1 IP).
Finally, before Friday's combo no-no, as sportspopery mentioned, the Astros no hit the Yankees behind Roy Oswalt (1 IP), Pete Munro (2.2 IP), Kirk Saarloos (1.1 IP), Brad Lidge (2 IP), Octavio Dotel (1 IP) and Billy Wagner (1 IP).
I can see what you mean in terms of praising Zimmer's mechanics.
I do wonder if Heaney speeds things up when runners are on base, though - not just the leg-lift aspect, but the overall tempo.
Of the guys profiled here, who do you think can be most easily improved? Thanks.
Could "Because baseball" be shorthand for Ron Washington's "That's how baseball go"?
About that Adam Dunn strikeout - it looked tight last night. He was on two strikes against a smoldering Brandon Morrow, fouled off another pitch and then drew the walk on some relatively close pitches.
Also - I find it interesting that the system would give the Orioles more than double the playoff odds of Toronto, in spite of their relative projections heading into the season and the Orioles being only two games in front of them now and several spots back in the Hit List.
Before the Las Vegas training staff could properly spell check his name, Chris Schwinden is off again, this time landing in Columbus after the Indians claimed him on waivers from Toronto.
Your timing, sir, is impecable - see below.
Always hilarious to read Americans with an inferiority complex. Favourite, indeed! In addition to the chap who pointed to the Roth and Coover books, I should also mention The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by W.P. Kinsella. I read it first as a preteen and it sparked in me a feel for the romanticism of baseball that has yet to leave me.
That said, when I re-read the book in my 20's, I realized that type writing wasn't so great. Kinsella's short story collection about the Hobemma reserve are fantastic, but his baseball stuff, including Shoeless Joe (aka Field of Dreams) is full of kitsch. But the effect will not leave me.
It was this column that got me hooked on BP and convinced me that if the free stuff was good, the paid stuff must be better. Good to see it back.
I don`t know if this is the right place to mention it, but I have always found the brooksbaseball charts to be very hard to read in the sense that I cannot easily distinguish all of the colour gradiants within the plot (I am not colourblind).
In play, no outs, and in play, runs seems to be the same colour. Also, I would hazard that the plot points are so small as to make the colours almost bleed, from a visual perspective.
I had read positive reports on Fried's makeup. Curious what happens if he is available when the Rockies are up.
Fried is Jewish.
I have long heard that the Rockies are known to value "Christian values" in their prospects. I know this has been vilified in some circles, and I am inclined to agree with that vilification. If their religious bent is true, is there any reason to believe that they would actually downgrade Fried if he was available to them at 10?
Thanks for your hard work.
Prescriptive grammar is way overrated.
Thanks for the reply. I was watching most of his start today. You can definitely spot the spine tilt - pretty extreme at times - but the curve was still very effective, especially in back-dooring it RHBs.
Are the report cards based only on the fastballs or on viewings of the pitcher-in-question's entire arsenal?
Thanks - your work has thus far been fascinating.
WATG - Brandon Morrow. I heard that there is no break, only a contusion. Do you have any idea about what that might mean for him as far as missed time goes?
Flagged by accident - sorry
It appears that the Indians just optioned McAllister back to the minors.
How about Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks? His personal fortune has been estimated at ten zillion dollars....
Whether he is right or wrong, God help us if that is a prevailing view in more than the ultra-minority. Baseball would die out otherwise.
The biggest problem with using only numbers - at the expense of actually watching games - is that numbers are only probabilities. You could refine and refine to the 50th decimal, but how would that really help? The player being analyzed does not play within a vacuum and the opposing pitcher/hitter also would have detailed tendencies.
Furthermore, the percentages are on a broad level and will never let us know how a player will perform in a specific at bat. Baseball is played (scouted) with whole numbers and analyzed (statistics) in partial numbers. No matter how you look at it, you get an incomplete picture. The best method can only be to discuss both the whole and the partial.
Wonderful piece, Cee. I went away pitying Ed Whitson and empathizing with my wife, like you, a transplanted Chicagoan, currently loathing Toronto.
I do believe that by Jonny Gomes, you are really referring to Yan Gomes. Otherwise, I enjoy these writeups - they do convey some of the players' characters.
Excellent. I suppose the next step would be to identify a few candidates for similar changes or mechanical fixes. Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow seem to have traded places, no?
I spend a lot of time thinking about baseball. Rare is the day when a minor leaguer gets called up that I have never heard of. Rarer still is the day when two of them do. Congratulations, Cole DeVries and Donovan Solano.
Interesting that Cron and Cooper are back-to-back here. Kind of remind me of one another, in a way. Wonder who has the better MLB career...
How exactly did Jesse Litsch contract this infection?
Surprised that it took Davis so long to round the bases. Maybe he was in a bit of shock at actually giving the ball(s) that much muscle.
I would hazard to guess that the reason that league stats are kept separated is the same reason why MLB is still the only sport to hand out separate awards to each league. I don't much follow basketball or football, but to the best of my knowledge, their MVP/ROY/etc. are league-wide, not conference-wide. I know that's the way it is in the NHL. If we combine stats in MLB, we will also likely begin combining awards.
Any plans for an Android version?
So Ben, what's the sabermetric take on the appropriate vacation time (and destination) for Lawrie?
Interesting chain of events in Washington. Cole Hamels plunked Bryce Harper, leading directly to a strained oblique from glass man Mark DeRosa.
Lawrie deserves a short vacation. This situation becomes a little inevitable - every time an ump makes a late strike call when a quasi-borderline pitch is taken as ball 4 by the hitter (especially if the hitter is young), it is bound to boil the blood somewhat. To a hyperactive young player like Lawrie, blood boiling can escalate easily. When Miller repeated the trick again and then turned his back...well...I can question which man showed greater immaturity in that situation.
Nevertheless, Lawrie turned to semi-violence. I'm starting the Free Yan Gomes movement.
Jason - love your balls-out work. Is the Matzek story simiklar in any way to that of Stetson Allie? If not, what is the main difference - predilection for pen notwithstanding. Thanks.
Not only did Joey Votto's 3rd home run of the day happen to be of the walk-off persuasion, his, much like Giancarlo Stanton's, was done with the bases stacked.
Love the Cole Hamels line. I must stand up for poor, poor Phillip Humber, though. He actually pitched decently yesterday, allowing only 8 base runners and 1 run in 6.2 innings. It was after he had exited the game that the Royals went apeshit. Addison Reed allowed 6 earned in .1 innings.
As a Jays fan, I can say that consistently winning 80-85 games but having no hope at the post season can be just as spirit crushing as losing 90+ every season. I can say that with confidence as I am also a fan of the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs. So I try to enjoy the ride. Forget the destination. Today's game is the only one that matters. Play well today, I am happy. Play poorly, and huff.
So I take it that you, too, are not a fan of "Nasty Factor"?
Further to that, it looks like he is doing a good job of keeping his hands in - not extending to get his power. That should allow him to make better adjustments to various types of pitches and leave him less likely to be exploited.
Ben - did you have a particular focus as an English Major? It's a path I have traveled down myself. Did not lead me to being paid to write about baseball, but I, too, have managed to wax poetic on sports for a few extra sheckels.
Broken record + 20/30 years = scratched CD.
One important aspect of command in writing is knowing your reader. Much like a pitcher with top command must have read the scouting reports, learning the tendencies of the batters he is facing, a good writer, exhibiting sharp command will know the reader for whom s/he is writing.
This one did happen last year, but it certainly was odd seeing David Ortiz attempt to swipe 2B against Arencibia in last night's Jays' home opener.
Maybe the purpose here is not a great new finding but in measuring where (7 opps) a new closer can be said to still be under the gun. Those who pass that gauntlet are quite likely to keep it going.
Awesome that BP now has the Annotated Box Scores. I used to read these on The Score - best part of Mondays
The "Wallace" you keep referring to is Carroll, right?
You can always switch to printer-friendly, or copy the text onto a word document/text pad. Totally innocuous.
I like the ideas behind the new additions. The formatting always takes some getting used to, but I have two small requests that I think might help.
1) Add the actual rank numbers to the immediate left of the team name in the Daily Hit List. That way, I don't need to manually count the order of a mid-pack team.
2) Put a player's position to the immeidate right of his name in the Collateral Damage Daily. Just is more natural to associate position with player.
I guess Toronto fell by the wayside....
Two thumbs up!
Can Burt (close enough) Shotton be the manager?
Back in the days before I was willing to pay for content, I was lured into BP by TWiQ.
If the purpose is to find a team that can improve by 15+ games, it would be foolish to pick a team that was so close to .500 to begin with. Easier to pick a team that won 70 to improve to win 85+, than a team that won 80 to jump to 95 wins.
How much, if at all, does your list change in leagues that look at CFs differently from corner-men? Thanks.
It's actually a bug in the calculations by baseball-reference. Moore played at two levels that year, only one of which has earned runs tabulated. In the other, Moore allowed 123 combined runs across 270 innings. It is not known how many were earned runs, so that gets blanked out. Moore also allowed 5 earned runs in three innings at a higher level. So BB-ref simply informed us all that Moore allowed 5 earned runs in 273 innings.
Agreed about the poor angling of the seats. I have also found the stadium lights to be poorly angled, lighting up the stands as much as the field. Leads to too much unnecessary squinting.
That said, I prefer to go less often, but pony up to sit in the infield when I do go.
I'm pretty sure those aren't PECOTA projections, but some error in the translations to these articles. Check the depth charts. They give way different numbers to A's starters.
The checked the depth charts - your wins numbers are way off.
Win totals for Oakland pitchers seems way high. I have not cross checked with Pecota for accuracy.
Molina was not highly touted until this season. He was just another arm who began his career as a 3B. This season, something clicked. He was moved to the rotation and reached AA by the end of the year. Still only 22, he has ridiculous command. The Blue Jays blogosphere could not stop talking about the guy all season. John Sickels rated him as the #2 prospect on the Jays. He may not have been worth Santos, but he has some solid cache.
It needs to be said - great gob on all of the Top 11s this year, Kevin.
I can't speak for Toronto in the mid-80's, but there are plenty of places for black kids to get hair cuts in the city now. Eglinton, west of the Allen is rife with Jamaican barbershops. In fact, Global TV, a decent sized national network in Canada ran a show called "Da Kink in My Hair" about one such Toronto salon for two seasons.
I can't tell you guys enough how much better it is for me to get these podcasts downloaded on Wednesday night than on Friday night. More podcast for more commuting.
Epic article, R.J.
Any reports on the recovery of Brett Anderson? Thanks
Well done, Ben. If there is any writer I know of with the chops and intellectual curiosity worthy of the position, it is Ben Lindbergh.
As with most quality writing, there should be a takeaway. You should be able to red the piece and walk away with something. What differentiates BP (and we strive for this at HP) is to imbue all columns with a takeaway. With Steven, the takeaway was always that much larger, weaving historical significance into his thoughts, creating context for a forest where a lesser mind would only have provided trees.
Mr. Goldman, to your health, happiness and continued success. At BR, at home and anywhere you might roam. Thank you for years of enlightenment.
Of all of the BP departures over the years, this one truly has me floored.
Steve, your historical research and exemplary writing will be missed. Best of luck.
Any hope at all left for Eric Arnett?
Rob - this is awesome! Any thoughts on my suggestions of incorporating prospects?
While BP won't be coming to Toronto (again), at least the annual has. Mine arrived in the mail today!
Update on Canadian shipping - Amazon.ca just sent me a notice that my book expected arrival date has been updated to March 7-15, 2012.
I think a fitting testament to Cameron's career and skill set is that all young outfielders with high athleticsm/speed and power with a propensity for striking out are indubitably compared to Cameron.
Scoresheet Draft Aid? Looks intriguing - love the real-time availability list - how does one use it to best effect? What about weighting in prospects?
Highly, highly recommend Serious Man.
Small, tangential note - these moves are happening in February, not January.
Not Jay, but I would doubt that as he was already in RF when he started to mash.
Kind of surprised that no one has mentioned Jose Bautista. Jays got him for a song after he cycled through Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Baltimore and Tampa Bay in short order. He sat on the bench for a bit, and then was given some tips on hitting and a shot at starting. And then he hit 97 home runs over the last two years.
Take that one further - how many rookies have even played enough in the Majors so as to lose their prospect eligibility? Even Saunders, who crapped the bed, has been seen as an adjustment failure and not a scouting miss.
And BTW - Beckham has since broken out. He's no longer in the top 100, but last season he made the adjustments that were previously holding him back. He will not live up to his 1-1 history, but now looks like he could contribute to a winning team.
While tangential to this article, I would like to clarify a point here that I had first hand experience with - Duquette did not found the Israel Baseball League. He was brought in as an advisor, helping to ensure the infrastructure was up to some standard as well as conducting local tryouts to ensure that each team had a minimal pre-requisite of local players. At the time, I played in the local senior league and was a teammate to a bunch of eventual IBL players. I attended the main tryout.
Towards the end of the event, knowing that I was soon to return to Toronto, I asked Duquette who he would advise someone like me (neglecting to mention what "like me" meant) could break into professional baseball from an administrative capacity.
His response was that I should volunteer in an independent league.
Upon hearing the news that he accepted the position as the new GM of the Baltimore Orioles, I was struck by the thought that he followed his own advise.
In other words, baseball begets more baseball?
Mauro Gozzo. He came up with the Jays in August of 1989. I went to his debut where he shut out the Rangers through eight innings. Through his first three starts, he had pitched 20 innings and allowed a mere four runs. I did not yet understand enough to realize that he only struck out 8 over those 20 frames. His minor league K-rates were nothing special either. He pitched another 11.2 innings that season, fanning a mere two. That was as good as it would get for Gozzo. He only pitched 23.1 innings over the next four seasons. He had one last kick at the can in 1994, pitching some garbage time for the Mets. He was out of baseball after the 1995 season.
A brief, exciting flash. I still don't know what happened.
Has any thought been given to separating full-count TAv to other two-strike TAv?
My thinking is that with a full count, the hitter and pitcher have been truly battling and we might expect a different TAv than we would see in a different at bat wherein the pitcher had the decided upper hand and put the hitter on the ropes.
A small thought on the baseball side of Hamilton's "incident". If memory serves, both is recent public relapses were in the offseason. As a GM, should that be a point in Hamilton's favour - he stays clean during the season? As a GM, is that not the most important point?
(clapping my games vociferously)
Wonderful article, Ben. I have given the subject a fair bit of thought since the Jays hired John Farrell last year. There was lots of talk about increased analytics in the day to day managing of the team. And then the season started. And the Jays ran Luke crazy. Not just Rajai Davis, but lots of guys. And then they calmed down. As if a storm had ended. Yet their reputation as watching base runners was maintained. And teams were apprehensive when the Jays had runners on first with second open. And so I thought, maybe Farrell gave away a few outs in April and May for a few runs in August and September. Is that crazy? Can the best of analysis not account for mind games?
Can your point be summarized by saying that knucklers are not erratic, but rather unpredictable?
It seems to me that the argument Corey presents is that a type of injury which comes from repetition as opposed to trauma is inherently more preventable, something that I think can be agreed upon, if not the degree of likelihood to which it can be prevented.
You comment also reminded me - Corey/Rebecca - is there a plan to do a pre-season team-by-team injury-risk assessment series?
This series, while sometimes going over my head, was very informative.
The Blue Jays were the "victims" of some truly horrible baseball games against the Red Sox this year. I was at one - not the one mentioned in this piece, but the one in which Mike McCoy pitched an inning in relief. I believe it was the only 3-up, 3-down inning the Blue Jays got from their pitching staff.
I was also at the June 1 game against Cleveland. A truly horrible home game which had some late inning redeeming factors. Yes, the Indians led 12-0 by the middle of the 3rd.
Kyle Drabek could not find the strike zone with a GPS. The box score only lists two errors, but it does not mention how laughable the errors were, both misplays of routine popups.
Corey Patterson batting 2nd added to the humility.
The true saving grace of the game was an incredible sequence in the bottom of the 5th, when, with one out, Eric Thames, Rajai Davis and Jayson Nix amazingly hit back-to-back-to-back triples. I had never seen that before.
While this will not save Sam from live-blogging the decrepit Giants-Tigers game, I did blog this stink-fist - http://section203.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/you-can-learn-a-lot-by-watching-%E2%80%93-june-1-2011-%E2%80%93-cleveland-toronto-forfeit/
BTW - this was the first time that I was inspired to purchase the music featured on the podcast.
KG - very sexy organization!
Although he is already up, what had you heard about Joel Carreno? Do you think his performance in the MLB bullpen last year was real?
Also, although only a DSL guy, anything you can mention about Jairo Labourt?
I tracked Crouse a lot this past season on my Jays' system blog. (Section 203). When I went down to Lansing, he certainly looked the part. But a study into how he compiled his numbers intrigued me. From my report on him this past July 20:
For the 3rd game in a row, RF Michael Crouse (3-5, HR (12), 2 RBI, 3 R, 3 SB) went yard. Last time I wondered how many of his home runs were hit off of legitimate prospects, those seen by their organizations to be worth the investment needed for starting. As there do not seem to be splits pertaining to damage against SP/RP available for the minors, I did some digging. Without further ado, here are all of Michael Crouse’s home runs this season:
# Date/Opposition Opposing Pitcher S/R Pitcher pedigree
1 Apr. 10 @ West Michigan RHP Clemente Mendoza R Latin Signee, 5th year pro (20 yrs. Old), 1st time in full season ball – since demoted
2 Apr. 25 vs. Great Lakes RHP Logan Bawcom R 17th round, 2010 draft. 22 years old, 1st exposure to fulls eason ball. Since promoted.
3 Apr. 29 @ West Michigan RHP Richard Zumaya R 43rd round, 2007 draft. 22 years old, 2nd year in Low A. Since released by organization.
4 May 4 @ Fort Wayne RHP Deiber Sanchez R Latin signee, 4th year pro. First year in full season ball. 22 years old.
5 May 8 vs Lake County RHP Clayton Ehlert R undrafted free agent signee, 2010. 23 years old. 1st season at level.
6 Jun. 19 @ Dayton RHP Kyle Lotzkar S Supp. 1st round, 2007 draft. 22 years old. Missed most of career due to injury. HR here in only 2nd game of season.
7 Jul. 2 @ Great Lakes LHP Ryan Christenson S 7th round pick, 2010, 22 years old. 1st full season.
8 Jul. 6 vs West Michigan LHP Logan Hoch R 30th round pick, 2010, 24 years old. 1st full season.
9 Jul. 7 vs West Michigan RHP Patrick Cooper R 14th round pick, 2010, closing in on his 22nd birthday. 1 st full season.
10 Jul. 17 @ Clinton RHP Tyler Blandford R 6th round pick, 2009, second time at level. 23 years old.
11 Jul. 18 @ Clinton RHP Matthew Bischoff R 20th round pick, 2010, newly promoted to level. 24 years old.
12 Jul 20 vs Wisconsin RHP Stosh Wawrzasek R 16th round pick, 2008 draft. 20 years old. 4th year pro, 1st year at level.
S/R stands for starter or reliever. So, of the 12 home runs hit by Crouse so far this season, 10 have been hit off of relief pitchers. Crouse’s 31/37 stolen base success rate is definitely impressive. 12 home runs suggests that he has raw power. The fact that the overwhelming majority have been hit off of non-prospect organizational arms (the one true prospect, Lotzkar, has had his career seriously held back due to a series of serious injuries (say that 7 times fast). I really need to see Crouse doing it against better competition before I can believe. Because I want to believe, I really do. But I can’t yet. I do realize that my theory can be poked at. I am not comparing this to any other low level power hitters as the research time is not yet available to me. If this trend keeps up, I will make that comparison. Until then, I simply can’t believe that Low A starters are only surrendering 1/6 of Low A home runs.
I'll be keeping an extra eye on the Astros from now on. Well deserved and a validation for this band of outsiders that the community we are a part of is bigger than some realize and still growing.
It is not what you love but that you love. My condolences, Jason.
I loved Brewster's Millions. Never thought of it as a baseball movie, though - just a silly 80's movie with a baseball connection, some scenes.
SSS alert - Ernie Lombardi had a brutal defensive reputation.
SSS alert - Johnny Bench had a great defensive reputation.
The plot thickens.
"glasses and contacts do not shrink testicles, reduce impulse control or shorten life spans."
A million times yes. I see the same thing in hockey, with Bettman's forced expansions to the Sunbelt over the last decade-plus. In the areas that it has succeeded (relatively) there was some attention paid to giving the game a youthful face. If you want adults to pay for your brand of entertainment, help get their kids to love the brand, too.
Jason - you bring up/brought up some great points. One thing about writing for an audience however (and I know you know this) is that to be taken seriously, you need to write with some confidence. You can't write "I think", or you come across as wishy-washy. You need to be forceful and take a position and then defend that position. The fault lies in readers who expect infallibility.
Similarly, the fault may not lie in the nascent closer but in his teammates and other interested observers, who expect him to be right from the get-go. To close first and ask questions later. If they don't feel that he can get the job done, the team brands him as lacking, much like someone might not have what it takes to be a great leader even in he/she has grand visions at night. IF others cannot be persuaded to follow, that person will never be a leader. If others don't believe that a person can close, he won't consistently close.
Others brought up the fact that these players showed the ability to compete countless times in the past, but in those situations they also had the belief of their teammates. Now, for the first time, that belief may be faltering. That can have an effect. It certainly does with goalies in the NHL.
As much data analysis and science we try to bring to the game (and many other subjects in the humanities), there is an element of art that cannot be perfectly quantified. Maybe - hopefully - that is why we love the game and many other things so much. But we still have to defend a position to be taken seriously more than once. Maybe you will be wrong, but that's OK.
What made your ProGUESTUS piece work is that you took a position that we do not know very strongly and defended that position well. You can do that only once, however. To keep writing well (to keep the reader reading you well) you will need something else to take a position on. I believe in you - now go write, lead, close.
I'm pretty sure that they'll give that trade (as well as the Kuroda signing) the full rigmarole on Monday.
Kind of surprised that Biggio falls short of JAWS. I think some of the JAWS "choices" that feel most questionable have to do with sometimes odd-looking defensive numbers.
I wonder if it wouldn't make sense to also run JAWS but zero out poor defensive scores for players who fare better with other defensive metrics to account for the lower inherent confidence in defensive rankings, which Colin has also admitted to often in the past?
There is precedent for Jack Morris to make it into the Hall of Fame, and it surprises me that I haven't read the parallel yet: Bill Mazeroski. Mazeroski was a very good defensive 2B for many years. Couldn't hit worth a damn, though, but he had one very famous, very clutch home run. His team was badly outplayed throughout the series, but managed to win three close games while getting blown out three times. In a very topsy turvy game 7, the Pirates trailed 7-3 going into the bottom of the 8th. Featuring a 3-run home run by backup catcher Hal Smith, the Bucs put up a 5-spot. Mazeroski was not even a participant, having GIDP'ed to end the bottom of the 7th.
The Yankees, now trailing by two rallied to tie the game at 9-9 in the top of the 9th. Maz led off the bottom and made history.
Mazeroski was not voted in by the writers, as his career did not merit that level of support. Maz debuted with 6.1% of the vote in 1978.
1979 - 8.3%
1980 - 8.6% (BTW - this was the 20th highest vote total that year, representative the previous two years)
1981 - 9.5%
1982 - 6.7%
1983 (big leap) - 12.8%
1984 - 18.4% (5.7% behind Lew Burdette)
1985 - 22% (Burdette eating his dust)
1986 - 23.5%
1987 - 30.3%
1988 - 33.5% (7th best mark on the ballot, although only two guys above him - Bunning and Cepeda - would eventually be enshrined)
1989 - 30%
1990 - 29.5%
1991 - 32.1%
and finally, 1992 - 42.3%.
Maybe Morris was a bit better/more valuable than Mazeroski, but there is no way that Maz gets elected without Game 7, 1960, and there is no way that Morris is polling above 40% without Game 7, 1991.
Reading this, I kept picturing Brian Matusz, who I had in Scoresheet last year (AL-only). In spite of it all, I am somehow still considering holding on to him. Oy.
One key difference between jackson and the others in this study is that Jackson has never been released or removed from a 40-man roster as the others (barring Medich) have. IOW, he seems to have maintained some value to the teams that owned his contract and relative affordability made him at least moderately desirable.
Wonderful article and looking forward to reading more from Mr. Doolittle. The Baseball Hall of Merit, of which I am a voting member, has long ago voted Minoso into the ranks, meaning that our electorate feels that if we looked at the number of people in the HOF, and re-voted to see who the best of that number truly were, Minoso's was elected ages ago.
For a full list, this is the plaque room: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/hall_of_merit/discussion/the_hall_of_merit_plaque_room
That was absolutely brilliant! Welcome aboard.
A part of me hopes that some of the very good to great players scheduled to join the ballot next year and in 2014 will sign on somewhere for a brief cameo to push their eligibility back five years. Actually, much more than a part of me.
I'm glad to see that you've turned your Verducci obsessions into self-obsession - makes for better writing, more clarity on the subject. Really well played self-indulgence - early 80's Rothian.
Will the divisional series' be running this year? It was hit and miss last year, but some divisions were quite nicely covered by the end of the year.
Canadian - universal health care here...
I clicked the link - nothing happened. The page was blank and my groin did not feel in any way aided. Major disappointment.
This is a great upside play for the Rangers. Sal Fasano, manager of the Blue Jays AA team in New Hampshire recently mentioned Reynolds as the pitcher he has caught who has the best stuff to have not taken off. He thought that a change of scenery could help him actuate his natural stuff. Well played, Texas.
The first 36,011 seats are easy.
Each additional seat lowers the expected cost benefit.
Looking at the Jays, as I am wont to do, it seems odd to me that Brett Lawrie would only be projected to hit two more home runs per 450 PA than Art Charles - who has yet to appear in a full season league. Also very interesting that his TAV is projected to fall below that of Ben Francisco - and Randy Ruiz! - who failed to breach Mendoza in Japan last year.
Meanwhile, Eric Arce, another one who has yet to play above Rookie ball, is projected for 20 - albeit while scraping Mendoza, an equal number to J.P. Arencibia.
Also, I am curious to learn more about how fielding projections are made. Some odd numbers - particularly among first basemen, who seem universally low.
Is there a reason only six guys out of 135 are projected for over 450PA? - and no one below that mark.
I also find it curious that young pitchers like Drew Hutchison and Justin Nicolino have better projected FRAs than Ricky Romero.
All that said, it's awesome to get these things cracking. Thanks, and happy new years
Jay - if it isn't too much trouble, could you run a quick JAWS comp of Morris against some other high-profile 80's starters? Maybe Stieb, Hershiser, Gooden, Valenzuela and Scott?
Jay - in preparing my ballot for the Hall of Merit project, I did a double take on seeing McGriff's revised fielding numbers. They were so low as to seem off. How do you explain them?
One more very cool fact about Nevin. He was the last out in two no-hitters in the same season! Don't know how many guys can claim that. On May 12, 2001, the Padres brought him on as a pinch hitter with two outs in the ninth against AJ Burnett. He popped out to shortstop.
A few months later, on September 3, 2001, he grounded out to Bud Smith on the mound to finish up his claim to fame.
This is awesome. I think a nice way to have full trades be shown would be as a mouse-over box, such as what we see on BO when a term from the glossary is used. That would allow for keeping of the line by line formatting while providing that extra bit of information in a simplified manner.
Cheers, and happy holidays.
Of course, there is another possibility sometimes used in legal issues when more than two parties are concerned.
Basically, instead of there being a side deal in place between the MLB and NPB team for a monetary kick-back, the MLB team can simply recommend to the NPB team that they directly pay the player a portion of the posting fee to make him feel like he is receiving a more reasonable portion of his earned value.
Excellent, incisive read. A stark reminder for leadership in any competitive industry. My only regret is that this piece cannot be added to the "Best of" compendium. Thanks, Ben.
I saw Stetson Allie's second start this season for State College. I am not a scout (of course) but I did notice that his release point would move subtly up and down. Only a few degrees, but the movement was there. The higher it was, the better his pitches. As it dipped, his pitches would stay up and wide to the arm side.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has seen this, which tells me that it is easier to see than to fix.
If Upside score is not meant to represent only a pitcher's first year or three, but long-term prognosis, it would seem harsh to judge PECOTA in so short a turnaround time. If PECOTA can been seen as measuring talent, the difference between a good minor league arm and a good young major leaguer can then be said to be the pitcher's ability to adjust. Even with talent (as demonstrated by a statistical profile) that adjustment ability may take some time to arrive, if it arrives at all. In short, I wouldn't be so quick to judge.
Argh, still not on Amazon.ca
What about Ben Francisco to Toronto? Certainly qualifies as a flipped non-tender candidate.
I tried to post a comment under the new look and it led to an error page. I back-spaced and my comment was still in the text box but not posted. I tried again, same error page. However, when I went back to the home page, my comment had been double posted.
I use Google Chrome.
Sorry for double post
I was thinking the opposite - batting average is still an overrated concept most used in fantasy baseball. The quality of player and their utility in real baseball was much higher in the higher P/PA category.
BTW - it was probably inadvertent, but Bautista's BABIP was left off the last chart.
Small comment that I'm sure I am in the minority of those being affected by it. I often copy and paste articles into a notepad, so I can read them all at my leisure, or print without ads if need be. The fact that it is easier to dwell on an article at work if it doesn't look like a baseball article, but just bland text doesn't hurt.
Previously, the formatting of the articles ensured that spaces between paragraphs would be maintained. No longer. So cleaner breaks in between paragraphs would be nice.
Otherwise, the look is a very big step up.
The worst part of this whole ordeal is that it led to a huge bout of Jewish jokes throughout Twitter. I find that to be more disappointing than a top athlete allegedly taking illegal substances.
This trade was completed today as the Padres sent LHP Nick Schmidt to Colorado. The former first round pick very quickly proved himself to be a bust. He pitched in the Cal league this year, with decent results, but then again, he was 25 years old. For reason, he went unclaimed in the Rule V. Maybe the Rockies stick him in the bullpen and see if he can gain some helium.
I'm glad this is in the "Best of" - it was one of the best pieces of reportage I have ever read, BP or elsewhere.
It should also be pointed out that the word in the Blue Jays blogosphere had it that the Jays were seriously considering Molina as a future closer candidate. So they essentially traded a potential future closer for a now closer who, as a SS convert, has a young arm (then again, so was Molina) and who is locked up at very reasonable numbers for the next three years plus three option years.
Not worried about that - not the Christmas type myself. Although I would never say no to a Hannukah gift!
There is a new twitterer out there (@2003bpro) randomly tweeting snippets of comments from the 2003 annual. If the idea were to go off, I would advise against too much use of the stats (at least in their original presentation) and more focus on the comments.
Another idea would be to compare predictions to actual outcomes as well. Interesting idea, but the execution will be a challenge.
So Jason, in other words, while sabermetrics trumps the science of the objective, baseball nirvana requires soem measure of subjective to maintain balance.
Another interesting factoid about the Rockies' signing of Hernandez - he is the first obvious beneficiary of the new CBA. Unless I am very much mistaken, Hernandez was slated to be a Type A free agent, but the new CBS downgraded him to type B. So my understanding is that the Reds will still get a draft pick, but not at the Rockies' expense. Free picks! Hernandez would not have singed so soon had the Type A burden still sat upon his shoulders.
Put me firmly in the "best season", not "best player having a good season" camp. I save the latter for the Hall of Fame debates.
Vitters was 3 star last year as well. He was a 5-star guy in 2010.
As I had asked about Hobgood for Baltimore, what, if anything, does the immediate future hold for Hayden Simpson?
You are right - this is a very Conservative CBA. Discourage intelligent thinking, encourage big dollars.
"Only players who have been with their clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation."
I think this may be the change that has the greatest impact on the game as we know it. The draft cap is interesting, but may not have more than a marginal effect on how things play out, as the raised cap leaves room for mucking around.
The rule of compensation only going for players who have stayed with the same team throughout the entire season will push more teams into early contract extensions for soon-to-be free agents, eliminate pre-free-agency deals, other than for bench types. There will likely be fewer deals involving top prospects as GMs can focus their calculus on the expected gains the player can provide on the field, and not worry about prospective value from potential compensation.
Once a team with a prospective FA gives up trying to sign him, his market value will drop due to cratering leverage. This could be interesting.
How does this help Red Sox, Yankees, et al. get the international talent?
The cap is so low that all teams can afford it. I dislike it as well, but do not see it as giving any one team an undue advantage. It just screws the kids. Three cheers for the billionaires!
I would hazard to write that the reason many of your comments get 'minused' is that you have the tendency to turn almost any baseball-related topic into a hard-line political rant. More baseball, less pussification and you may find that more people will be interested in what you have to say.
Your screed here (last 4 comments) started off measured and reasonable. And then, comment after comment, you descended into a very political, very angry diatribe. I could almost picture you getting yourself worked up the more you wrote.
To be honest, I totally get the Kershaw thing. Sure, it can be argued that Halladay had a slew of mitigating factors to make his numbers even better. But when the advanced numbers were so close (as you pointed out with the table of their ERA estimators), why shouldn't the across-the-board basic-stat dominance sway the vote?
And why assume the wins carried the day? It could as easily have been the K's, or the dominance on an otherwise putrid team (Kemp, notwithstanding).
That's horribly sad.
When reading the headline of this article "Unusual Demises", I immediately thought of Koenecke.
What do you feel is in store for Matt Hobgood?
Would love to read some of your thoughts on the Matusz question. Thanks.
That section had a lot of relatively negative numbers on Cespedes. Thoughts that was funny.
Kelly Johnson vs. Aaron Hill going forward? Makes for a good "real baseball" discussion, as well. Thanks.
FYI - the Jays' club option for Edwin Encarnacion was $3.5 million, not $15 million.
What about Mark Buehrle as a free agent SP option?
Great coverage, Jay, for a great postseason.
I have not seen more baseball than anyone, but I have seen more than most. This game was sloppy, both on the field and off (I found the decision to leave Colby Lewis to bat with the bases loaded in the 5th to be the most inexplicable.
But for sheer drama, I cannot recall anything more powerful.
I love this game.
I'd love to read your thoughts on Edinson Volquez
John McDonald. A very poor hitter, yet he was more useful to a team at SS than David Eckstein. The Father's Day home run shortly after losing his own Father. The beautiful acrobatics at short. But the man really couldn't hit.
Interesting work. Why would you not also include all other non PA-ending strikes? If we want to see how effective a batter is against a certain pitch location, wouldn't it make sense to see which strikes he laid off of and which one he swung through/fouled off, even if those weren't for strike three? I think, without doing so, we risk getting all-or-nothing approaches lost. My two cents.
I'm pretty sure that it was reported that Kim Ng also interviewed for the role. Unless minority interviews require multiples, these may have been real "due diligence" interviews. Then again, interviewing doesn't mean much.
I think it may be time to fill that Texas slot with Jon Daniels. Two pennants and a system that consistently rivals the best in the game, with a seemingly revolutionary blend of amateur/professional and advance scouting working together to keep the team always ahead of the game.
Michael - thanks for the write-up on Morel. How would you compare him to Danny Valencia. I have an AL-only Scoresheet team and am debating between the two of them.
The Scrams remind me of Mudhoney. The best shitty rockband on the planet.
Does it mean that all comments will be emailed to me? If so, no thanks. If it can be focused on only responses to my comments, then yes please.
Lots of speculation in Toronto that Adam Lind may be on the block.
Maybe Michael Cera.
I can't say that I've ever properly played scrabble. but this was certainly a fun read. Well done, Diane!
Second Brent Morel
While I agree with everything said by the guys below, in hindsight, I might have taken Verlander out after the Napoli single - keep it to 130. Cruz is on fire.
As Rany said, anecdotes are not data, but two of the 5 oldest last year, Starling and Bell, got two of the largest bonuses. I think Swihart and Hedges were also paid handsomely. Of the youngins, only (to my knowledge) Lindor was significantly above slot.
So I ran the numbers. Looking at last year's top 11 picks, the 5 oldest were:
1) 26 Swihart, Blake V Sue Cleveland HS (NM) C 4/3/1992
2) 81 Jerez, Williams Grand Street Campus (NY)CF5/16/1992
3) 5 Starling, Bubba Gardner Edgerton HS (KS)OF8/3/1992
4) 61 Bell, Josh Jesuit College Prep (TX)RF8/14/1992
5) 82 Hedges, Austin Junipero Serra HS (CA) C8/18/1992
The five youngest were:
5) 84 Rosa, Gabriel Colegio Hector Urdaneta CF7/2/1993
4) 60 Harris, James Oakland Tech Sr. HS (CA)OF8/7/1993
3) 73 Santana, Alex Mariner HS (FL) 3B8/21/1993
2) 38 Martin, Brandon Santiago HS (CA)SS8/24/1993
1) 8 Lindor, FranciscoMontverde Academy (FL) SS11/14/1993
That brings me back to today's cover boy - Josh Bell. He is older, but in your study, you would be comparing him to his draft number, as opposed to his signing bonus, which should be more reflective of his true perceived talent level. Wouldn't that skew things in your study?
Mike - thanks for the look at Baker. Who do you prefer between him and Luke Hochevar? How would you rank those two along with Jeff Niemann?
The other Bautista is Jewish, not the current monster. I didn't realize about Amaro.
Scherzer's not Jewish.
Jay - even with the Yankees out, I hope you'll still be doing some of the writing on the remainder of the playoffs.
Would love to hear your takes on the Twins' speedy pair of Ben Revere and Denard Span. As a Scoresheet player, we look at keeping 13 players per team, 10 teams in the AL-only league, 12 in the NL only.
I would live to get your take on Scott Baker next week.
Could the fact that some stadium cameras are placed differently than others come into play? It has seemed to me (at least this season) that the cameras in Minnesota and Tampa are both more directly behind the mound (and higher up) than cameras in other parks. That could definitely skew the way one watches the video, no?
Kind of surprised that Brian Butterfield did not make this list. That said, JP was right last year about Farrell, Mattingly and Roenicke, so there's that.
I don't quite understand how anyone can vote for Mark Trumbo for AL ROY without also voting for J.P. Arencibia. Yes, that might make me a homer, but I fail to see the difference in offensive value, and defensive value is no contest.
About two summers ago, my brother and I took a Canadian long weekend to see some ball around the Great Lakes. We started off in Pittsburgh for a Saturday evening game, and hit Cleveland for a Sunday afternoon game. The Monday game was a nighter in Detroit. We arrived early and decided to go up to a n Outlet Mall north of the city to kill some time (Canadians will understand why). On our way back to the city, and the game, I was driving around 75 mph in the left lane of the highway (as I do) and I spotted a pickup truck pulled over ahead on the right side.
As I got closer, the pickup suddenly started up and turned right into traffic. He drove across four lanes of traffic and into my lane turning towards me! I could only honk madly and swerve my car onto the shoulder.
The guy in the pickup continued going the wrong way on the interstate (thankfully traffic was light on a Monday afternoon) and continued to exit through the last on-ramp. I followed his reverse-progress through my rear-view. Not so much scared me as bewildered me. What kind of drugs was this idiot doing to pull that kind of stunt?
Thanks, Mr. C. Actually didn't serve in Canada either. I am a dual citizen - Canada-Israel.
Excellent, excellent article.
As a former service member (not US) who has been under fire, and as a long-time fan of the game who has known (and foreshadowed) doom, this article rang true over and over again.
You need to write more often, man.
So when do they start production on the movie version of "The Extra 2%"?
Wonderful - Can someone link to the poster in question. I honestly don't know if we get the same posters in Canada as are seen in the US.
You forgot Brandon Belt. He is the true reason why the Giants will not/should not dabble in the 1B free agent market this season.
Especially with, as Kevin points out, such a barren system.
Scouting, at its core, is about statistics, too. 20-80 scale is a statistic. MPH is a statistic. Length of bombs is a measurement (ie. statistic).
I would love to see this as a semi-regular feature next season.
In a similar vein to ColenelTom's question above, what are the odds that something physical is wrong with Brian Matusz?
Thanks - I totally missed that. Got to take care of your teeth.
Read Mike Fast's article today. Alone, it is worth the price of admission.
"...one outfielder was dealing with issues of the lungs and teeth..."
I admit to following the Jays slightly less since I have stepped up my involvement with Hockey Prospectus, but who on the Jays was having lungs/teeth issues? Rajai Davis was shut down with a torn hamstring. Rasmus had the wrist issue. Travis Snider (who had played some CF this season) also hurt his wrist. What did I miss?
Fun stuff. Am reading "Veeck as in Wreck" right now and I can totally picture Bill Murray in the title role. Great book and great story. And I love that I can fact-check his player comments. So far, they have been backed up by baseball-reference.com.
Brilliant! This will change the way I watch the game. I can't give a more fawning compliment than that. Thank you.
I once interviewed for a job in Ryan North's other company, where he runs a system for selling ad space online. Really nice guy, but I was looking for a higher pay day. worked out well for me, and I think for him. Really interesting guy - very sharp.
Someone, responding to the Reds' "Kiss 'Em Goodbye" article, suggested a challenge trade of sorts between the Reds and the Jays with Snider going to Cincinnati and Homer Bailey (as well as possibly Travis Wood) coming to Toronto. I don't think the Reds would give up both guys for Snider, but maybe one. I have long considered Edinson Volquez to be an AA kind of guy. Good upside play and the Reds have definitely soured on him.
Could not agree more, with a single, simple caveat - politics should remain about issues and not delve into the murky backwash of political parties.
Not a fan of these divisions. Divisions are bad, small, geographically based ones are worse.
Besides, Toronto is far closer to Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh geographically speaking than any of New York, Boston or Philadelphia.
Let me rephrase that. The book has progressively improved each year sine I first awakened to it in 2007. For the countless hours of entertainment and enlightenment, I thank you, Steven.
With the thinking that two good heads are better than one, even if the one is not part of the two, I believe this will be a new step forward. And I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords.
Looking forward to this year's version.
That is Upton only. Dukes has never been accused of lacking enthusiasm. He has been accused, and convicted, of being a low-life thug. Upton, to my knowledge, has never threatened a former lover and their offspring, with murder. I think Upton's biggest crime has been intermittent failure to hustle. You might lump in not living up to the expectations inherent in being such a highly-touted draft pick.
But really there is no way to compare those two players.
Average hit speed/trajectory would probably be better than a rate stat, as any cut-off point would, by definition, be arbitrary. By first taking measurements, we could probably see how was consistently hard hitting.
Amazing! One suggestion would be to change the level names to something more intuitive.
Don't forget that Adam Loewen hit his first MLB home run - made more impressive when considering that he was an AL pitcher for a few years before converting to the OF 3 years ago.
Is it just me, or were there some teams with blank comments?
I had to look it up. Taylor got into 11 games with the then-D-Rays, starting 5 times. Sometimes Joe was/is on the ball. I do enjoy his work. This was just another case of his eloquent over-reactions.
What are your thoughts on Blue Jays' callup 1B David Cooper? His first game back was far more impressive than anyone of his games in his brief early season callup.
Tying anything to MLB salary output is dangerous as it ignores the very real costs of development (signing bonuses) - why force a team to overpay for a crappy veteran when it makes more sense to overpay a highly talented 19 year old in the draft?
Admittedly, I don't follow basketball or football, but what I have read from those who do, its problems mirror hockey's to a great extent.
The cap has done nothing but force poor teams to avoid minimum-waged earning rookies and spend on marginally more expensive veterans who are generally no better. So their kids don't develop and they end up with crappy veterans who can't get contracts on better teams. So where baseball had the Pittsburgh Pirates of the turn of the century (hello, Pat Meares and Todd Ritchie, etc.) where competitiveness was feigned, the NHL now has the New York Islanders. Mind you, they now have a good prospect crop. Instead of the Marlins, the NHL has the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets. Instead of the Oakland Athletics, there are the Phoenix Coyotes, locked into a horrible situation in a bad place for the sport. Those 3 NHL franchises would have been vastly better off if they would have been allowed to divert the money going into paying lousy vets to reach the cap floor, into player development. Forced to spend what they did not have, they could not get themselves into a good place to succeed. For every Moneyball A's, you get the odd (and likely short-lived) rise of the well-managed Phoenix Coyotes, or the competence of the Buffalo Sabres before new and rich ownership pledged funds to compete on a grander scale. Forcing a cap/floor system on MLB would kill incentive to develop from within. Baseball would become overrun by mediocre veterans.
I have long wondered about the tipping point for when a stadium can go from having swathes of empty seats to sell-out or near sell-out status.
I am thinking about Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Tipping Point". At a certain point, when a given attendance number is regularly reached, it becomes an event not to be missed by more than just the die-hards. Do different cities have different tipping points? Can we see this in attendance drop-offs as well? Once the stadium is less than X% full, does it start to drop more rapidly? I think this may be critical information for a given team to have in knowing how much to push itself forward.
Those sports are not doing any better than baseball is.
Well played, Parkes.
They could also speak to Eric Thames about his yoga regimen, started after a torn quadriceps.
World's first recorded photoshopped image?
Larry - I want to thank your column for giving me a different perspective of the enjoyment I get out of watching Eric Thames play baseball.
Orpheum Bell - awesome - like a cross between Gogol Bordello and Tom Waits.
What was the fastest grand slam trot of the season?
Great idea. You talk about the Jays plenty, so my question is more philosophical. Is there an organization out there (or a Farm Director) who has implemented a philosophy that you would fully support? Would answering this type of question burn bridges for you?
At least for tonight, Johnson is actually batting 7th in the Blue Jays lineup. I don;t really see that changing. Escobar and Thames have long been the top 2 batters in John Farrell's lineup.
In fact, I believe I recall Anthopoulos stating that the organization is not thinking at all of moving Lawrie back to 2B.
You have completely misread the Rays' approach. And I'm not a fan of their club. There is nothing artificial about financial efficiency. Just look at the Mets for proof. And the Cubs, for that matter. They wasted money on players they could not afford to sit, losing the opportunity to bring in better players and play better. Financial efficiency is good even with a bigger budget.
Great stuff. Will BP's Compensation section also include Managers/GMs like Cot's does?
You are correct, sir. I was totally thrown off by the cursor. Deceived by years of cursor behaviour.
Not happening. I use Chrome, if it;s any help. No sign that the page is loading. Cursor over the column headers makes them seem like plain text from here.
hotstatrat is a Canadian now! We say University.
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/index.php?team=TOR&cyear=2011. I want to sort by any of the columns, say WARP/$M. Does that make sense?
I would add to "V" - Ideally, your bandwagon team should be from the opposite league as your old team.
One last thing - would it be possible to make the individual columns in the team section sortable? Otherwise, I quite like it.
Like dianagram, I think the new format is a huge upgrade.
Regarding the information presented in the Compensation Pages, I would state clearly the difference between opening day payroll and year-end payroll. Was not clear. I am assuming, with only some confidence, that you have listed opening day payroll. I would clarify that.
Again, like dianagram, I think service time should be easy to find, as well as remaining options. In short - it's a handy tool, but what I would want (blue-sky phase) would be more granularity - bonuses available and accrued, accounting for salary of MLB-contract players currently in the minor leagues, if accounting is made for players changing teams, an explanation for how, or where to look at it.
Definitely on the right path, though.
Kevin - you never said who won the Altuve/DVD contest.
So who is Adam Tower?
Advanced diplomas have been awarded for work less rigourosly developed than many Mike Fast articles. This was awesome!
"The Denver Post's Troy Renck notes that Greg Reynolds wasn't a possibility due to his having been optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs less than 10 days earlier."
Except, in a case like this, where an MLB player has been put on the DL, the 10-day minimum can be waived. This should not have mattered.
What are the odds that Beede pulled a Whitson?
Don't forget that Ricciardi was given the flexibility to sign Wells, Rios, B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett. I think the biggest difference popular-perception wise is that Ricciardi was a serious public whiner and AA has proudly proclaimed many times that he can compete with the monsters under the bed.
Was hoping to read about Rajai Davis, who tore a hamstring yesterday trying to beat out a throw to 1B.
Yes. Would be a go-to read
I had only read the 1st post wherein the nastiness was limited to the comments. I skipped the 2nd post where he glorified them. That was pretty lame.
All in all, tabloid blogging leads to tabloid readers making comments that lower the bar even further.
Actually, no. The Blog portion of the site is unedited, as BP has noted on several occasions.
I personally prefer the extra content, even if unedited.
Great pinch-hitting job, Jay.
Not to be all defensive for a blog not my own, but Drunk Jays Fans the blog was not excoriating Amy Nelson in a sexist manner, but in a professional one (albeit unprofessionally, as is their credo). Some commenters on that blog, however, sunk to extremely low depths in grossly misogynistic thoughts about her credentials.
Care to chime in on that, Jason?
From Brett Cecil's comment: "As he plays in the potent AL East, you will want to sit him if he goes up against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, or Toronto Blue Jays." What leagues count stats from intra-squad games?
Congratulations on butchering political thought along with the English language. I'm not even an American, but I'm insulted on behalf of the half of the planet who truly are under authoritarian governments. The simple fact that you will have an election next year should tell you enough to know that Obama is not and COULD NOT BE an authoritarian.
I'm not Kevin, but it seems that the Jays generally leave their serious hitting prospects in one level for their first full season, and then let their talent dictate their progression afterwards.
Also, I know this guy is not a prospect by any means, and the following line is from the DSL, yet I think it is an awesome enough line to merit a shout-out: Cesar Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays (DSL Jays): 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 13 K. Sanchez entered the game in the 2nd and finished it up. He's about to turn 20 and is in his 3rd season at the level, but he will always have memories....
I haven't yet seen Giovatella, but Kipnis was mighty impressive when I saw him last week in Boston.
Stewart didn't pitch in AAA for the Jays - they kept him in AA - New Hampshire.
KG and Jason Parks' podcast
You're obviously not a 0.9'er, then. I don't agree with the viewpoint myself, but KG really sticks to the "Fame" element for Hall of Fame.
The new writer of the Al East columns is actually a Toronto-based writer, whose work I am familiar with and enjoy regularly. I shared your opinion of that series before, but I can't fault Steven for where his inspiration comes from. Inspiration just is. You can't force yourself to be inspired by the Colorado Rockies, or the Minnesota Twins just because they haven't moved you recently.
I try to read BP, because, after most articles, I can say that I have learned something new about baseball, or at least a new angle to watching the game. And it doesn't matter who the article is about.
You should know better than to comment on articles you haven't read. The half blurb that was rooted in politics was tangential to the point, which you missed anyway.
Thank you. You can only trade for next year for so long before you completely alienate your fans and there aren't enough people to watch next year. A think the Pirates will make some moves, if only because GM Huntington's contract expires after this season. A winning record should enable him to bank another 3-year deal and continue the process. I don't think they would move Jameson Taillon, Luis Heredia, Tony Sanchez, Stetson Allie or even Starling Marte, but maybe Colton Cain type, or a Zack Dodson could be sacrificed today, to help make sure people are still watching when those others are all up.
Wonderful debut, Dustin!