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Yes, glad to see this column picking up where it left off.
I wonder how much of this is synthesizing approaches, inside knowledge and relationships from around baseball. I count 8 other teams these execs have been a part of.
Nice article. Their comments seem very well reasoned and level headed.
Good stuff. The Royals comment made me laugh.
Matt, I agree that pitchers hitting is objectively bad, and I commend you for sticking to your guns. Although it doesn't happen often, it seems to me that a pitcher hitting poses a significant injury risk due to performing an extremely difficult physical activity requiring much training, timing, and a fast moving projectile. We should risk health, even slightly, for gifs?
I don't see why one would dismiss the Giants approach due to their luck. Luck is a factor for everybody. If anything, as the author demonstrates, they have capitalized on that luck in a specific way we should give them credit for.
Gif #4, shame on you
That really makes me wonder whether the front office saw this data play out in real time, whether they noticed and thought to do anything or make adjustments.
Thanks Matt. I enjoyed these greatly!
A lot depends on whether Nick Franklin becomes another Sean Rodriguez or something better, not that Rodriguez isn't valuable. He was pretty highly touted, so there is some upside here.
That is a lot of prospects that didn't amount to much.
I suggest they play a softball game. Lighten things up and have some fun.
Donaldson's tag looked pretty forceful, but if Machado is dancing his way around the tag, I think JD has to be aggressive. MM could have just taken the tag without trying to be cute.
I was thinking about the Lecroy frame. There is a left-handed batter, and umpires typically call the outside strike more liberally. You have graphs of the strike zone probabilities for that day, but I wonder if it makes sense to have separate graphs for RH vs. LH.
Oh man, that fan catch is hilarious
What stood out to me is that all those pitches look pretty good by Kazmir, but Norris seems to be set up too far inside. A lot of the best framing gifs I have seen are where the pitch is outside, but the catcher is set up right in that spot and doesn't budge. After hitting that spot so many times, I wonder why Norris doesn't adjust and slide over a bit.
Big Burrito, love it
Great post! I really enjoy these.
Thanks for this. One To-do item I had was to review video of Tanaka thus far.
I'm glad you guys did this. It's fun, and it helps put a perspective on teams.
First base framing baby!
I hope you follow up on this from 10 different angles. I love this.
Good for Cano. I take this strategy as a sign of intelligence. But maybe he should take up some acting classes.
How do some of them pitch like that with no follow through?
This is fascinating.
Entertaining preview! I'm looking forward to this series.
I would appreciate you present any number of different statistics if they essentially answer different questions.
Very much looking forward to this.
AFAIK, a real screwball has a different motion than the natural tailing of a typical throw. A real screwball is more like a slider spinning in the other direction. For a typical throw, if your arm slot was perfectly vertical, the ball would spin like it was rolling back towards you. Now adjust the axis of the ball for a 3/4 arm slot to see the spin.
For sliders and screwballs, a combination of arm motions and different pressures from your hand make the ball exit the hand differently, not naturally rolling off the fingers.
Baseball has a long history of random huge seasons that are wildly out of line with a player's career. So you can take those late Bonds seasons as proof of PED use. I won't.
The National League presents a tough context to evaluate the directions GMs take, because the caliber of teams is not so high that a .500 club couldn't get into the playoffs with some breaks. So yes, the aging Phillies had a chance, though not enough to double down, and you can kind of defend his (lack of) moves.
But Amaro is running out of time, his team is getting older and worse, not younger and better. He has already missed some opportunities to get back some future value. The industry seems to be shedding the clear dummies from the GM pool like Bavasi and Littlefield. If he sinks the Phillies into the ground, he is going to look like a dummy for missing his chance to rebuild.
Yes it grates when pitcher wins are used this way. But I don't see this changing, so might as well get used to it. There is so much to fix with the All-Star Game, and picking pitchers based on W-L records isn't on the top of my list.
It would be nice if we tracked the W-L record of the team on the day that pitcher pitched. That would be a better compromise, because the pitcher win stat is all kinds of messed up.
Love the Strasburg comment
I didn't get my work done today. I think I'll blame the sabermetric community as well.
A lot of fans don't have the appetite to digest concepts like estimation and confidence levels of components, etc. However, Heyman is a smart person with a prominent role in the industry. Despite the fact that he has received negative tweets that may present bad arguments for WAR, he has undoubtedly also heard the same good arguments you raise for and against WAR. I bet if you pushed him in private, he could articulate much of what you say here. It's hard to infer meaning in tweets, and I respect people's ability to play off that. Consider him a successful troll. But he's not raising new questions here. He's prodding, and maybe the sabermetric community needs prodding. I do think there is a point we can start dismissing tweets that go no further than shallow observations.
I thought the Marlins new stadium deal was DOA for awhile, and then it happened. Was that a change in public opinion? I don't know.
I can see how a new Dolphins stadium is unfeasible. But in another city, they have to be saying "Geez, even the Marlins got a new stadium. If we don't have one, what does that say about us?" I don't agree with the reasoning, but that is how I imagine they will spin it.
I can't imagine the effect is that big, spread among all the teams. And if they undersell, the Marlins can claim they can't afford to pay big salaries, which helps drive down the market for player salaries, making players cheaper for other owners. I suspect if this actually hurt the other owners' bottom line, we would hear about it.
Why would the league force out Loria? He takes revenue sharing money, but that only inconveniences the owners. They probably see that as a small tax, part of doing business. He successfully willed a publicly financed stadium to happen, which is probably helpful to other owners wanting same. Having Loria own the Marlins sucks for fans, and you could argue it undermines the integrity of the sport. But how does this hurt the league or the owners exactly?
I work in software development, so I'm familiar with mistakes being made, processes being scrutinized and improved, apologies made with difficult explanations, etc. Personally, I wince at these kinds of apologies. It is tempting for the business side to see a mistake in development and feel compelled to solve every problem with broad strokes, like improving the process.
I'm sure Harry will do a great job with that task. But I have seen efforts to improve development process lead to one or more of the following outcomes:
1. Being overly ambitious and not actually implemented
2. Having too great an impact on the delivery of the product
3. Too general a solution and not solving the original problem
I am less concerned that a mistake was made and more concerned that lessons are learned. Whatever you can share would be appreciated, especially if you have some confidence you can actually improve the process.
You said something like this is ultimately your fault Joe... Did Colin and team tell you the product was susceptible to errors if they didn't improve the development process? And you ignored said advice? What mistakes did you make? What would you have done differently? What are you going to do differently? Are you proposing changes that will affect the product delivery timeline? Or affecting subscriber fees?
As was mentioned, we all appreciate your hard work and effort. Most of us understand mistakes can be made. The apology in the last paragraph makes me uncomfortable though. I'm not sure the right way to put this, other than that if you are apologizing emphatically for a problem which may be a natural consequence of developing a complex system, why would I think even more of your blood, sweat and tears is going to help?
I'm also curious about this, as it seems the 1B defensive responsibilities are a bit different than the other positions.
That is a very touching story, thanks for sharing.
I miss Jim Baker
That is a very interesting observation. But I still don't see how that makes it the Jack Morris era, or how that fact is more than just trivia.
Great description of the Rookie of the Year concept.
I have a new personal rule. Do not read Sam Miller with food in my mouth, for various reasons.
This was a lot of fun. Thanks!
When you say things like "off-the-charts" makeup, it makes me wonder. From what I heard from Jason/Kevin, the important thing about makeup is work ethic. Is that really graded? I would guess scouts have more of a binary reaction. Either the player has a noticeably strong work ethic, a noticeably weak work ethic, or you just don't notice. Do you think that's right? Or would a scout really examine every player and say, yep that's an average work ethic.
Do other personality traits figure into makeup? If so, I can't see how that would be relevant to whether they would make a good player.
Ha! Wait until Sam eventually gives the A's fans the treatment. It might not be all that different. Maybe take out the suits, add some snuck-in booze and herb, and add in some people who were just passing by on the BART when they were offered five dollar tickets on the train.
I agree, 15% is too low.
The trick I use is to resize the browser window. That gets it unstuck for me.
I challenge your premise about separating skill from luck in the discussion of line drive rates. I can see the point of doing that in terms of trying to identity some true skill by which to base predictions. But I feel really uncomfortable when evaluating past contributions to start adding/subtracting hits and home runs either using line drive rates or HR/FB ratios, etc. Then you start justifying those statements that "the game is played on the field, not in a computer".
I don't understand all the objections here. The character clause is there. Colin is just bringing our attention to it, that's all. There is an obvious character flaw in Cabrera.
If you vote, you have to ask the questions:
Will I consider the character clause?
Should Cabrera's transgressions affect my consideration of the character clause?
Those are valid questions to raise.
Excellent, once again, Doug.
You only bring up clutch for guys you want to talk up, and it doesn't mean much. I mean you never hear anybody say, oh that guy blows it in big situations.
He's just making the point that opposing teams always know when he's running making Sam's question a non-sequitor (or something).
I second this request to inspect how the metrics measure Barney's year and why they diverge. Is it so important that the models are correct on Darwin Barney? No. But it should be very useful to know why they diverge so much, if at least from a curiosity standpoint. That can give us a better way to know what questions the models answer for us. I have wanted the same thing for that year FRAA diverged for Peter Bourjos.
Great question, and interesting finding.
My kids are the same age. I am amazed at how alert I become in the middle of the night if I hear a noise that remotely sounds like my kids.
I'm sorry, but I wouldn't describe Valentine as a humble, straight-shooter.
I'm confused. How do you see this being different than the annual, which you have to pay separately for?
I love this. I am going with the pitches that are highest, as far as I can tell.
Love the A's comment
I had that same thought.
I can see McCourt doing his best Dr. Evil impression when asking for that price.
I loved this.
Good stuff, made me laugh.
Love this. I feel like I get very little info on draftees that I can form a tangible impression on, and this helps greatly.
Uh.. he clearly did throw his helmet "at" Miller. It just bounced first, the trajectory was pretty obvious.
Hmm.. not exactly encouraging. Thanks for this.
Keep these articles coming.
Great breakdown, thanks.
There needs to be a post on its own about those defensive numbers for Bourjos. I am very curious.
If it only takes Dodger fans two hours to drive to San Diego in rush hour traffic, and they show up late to Dodger games and on time to Padre games, maybe they live in Anaheim and Anaheim is a suburb of Los Angeles.
Maybe by luck we could pull off a swing like that. But no chance any of us lasts 11 pitches.
Exactly! What's this guy reading? Just plain text. Oh, it must be important.
Jay and Geoff, your choices are entirely appropriate for the article. I don't think your fandom/geography detracts from your analysis, but I am shocked, shocked that Jay picked a Yankee and Geoff picked a Padre. Here's an idea, pick your players, and then swap analyses, if only to freshen things up.
I think bwilhoite's comment should be given space outside of the downvoted thread.
Colin makes a good point about the consequences of these types of contracts. However, labeling these consequences "Tragedy of the Commons" is so inappropriate, I don't know how much irony was intended. I'm not trying to be political here, but the tragedy is that there was so much central planning in how to shape the "market" for free agents that teams have so few choices to make.
Guys, the mute button is off.
Seriously, I like this kind of stuff.
This article is depressing.
I wonder if it would be a net improvement if the A's dispersed all their outfielders to these teams.
I think whatever flak he would have received, he should be able to handle. He only has to answer to the owner, and it should be an easy business case to make to him. The push to win this year is not the same as last year, so no need for desperation.
I think if you do what the Blue Jays were alleged to do, that is certainly big-c Cheating. I think if you make a deliberate attempt to decode the signs and relay them to your team, maybe its small beans, but it is such a willful act against the competitive spirit of the game.. yeah I think its pretty shameful.
"Using steroids is cheating."
I'm sorry, but capital-C Cheating is stealing signs, bribing players or umpires, resorting to kidnapping or violence, or trading with Bill Bavasi or Ned Colletti.
Lower case-c cheating is getting away with not touching third on a sac fly, not touching the bag when turning two, and pitchers convincing the home plate ump to call strikes in the zone they work in.
Using steroids is getting an unfair advantage. You can't say I used steroids to hit a home run in the seventh inning last night.
It sounds like there are enough RH hitters on the roster that you don't need to play him against lefties.
Sounds like a good idea to me.
My first thought was, surely the 3B coach is paying attention, a quick glance would make things pretty clear. I'm sure it is much harder to do in the moment, to forget about the ball entirely and rely on the coach. But if your helmet falls off, and you fall for the juke, at some point you gotta admit you're not in control of the situation.
I greatly enjoyed this.
Some commenters are taking issue with the author denying Morris credit for the win, but I don't think that is what he is doing, even when he says Morris shouldn't have won the game. He is putting a spotlight on one of the most bizarre and unfortunate baserunning gaffes you'll see. Smith should have scored.
It just makes you wonder how things would have been different, even had the Twins won 2-1 in 9 innings with Morris getting the win. That would still have been one of the best games and narratives in the game's history. But a ten inning shutout? That is what really makes Jack Morris into Paul Bunyan.
I think of Schilling's post season legend due to 2001 with Johnson and the Diamondbacks. The bloody sock adds some color, but not nearly the same thing as this game 7.
I hope you are joking.
What is ironic in all this is that Neyer's column is in response to Lynn Henning's comments on his own ballot, where he has trouble voting for Bagwell due to "timing and lack of evidence". How is lack of evidence a problem? Lack of evidence of being clean? That same lack of evidence applies to almost every player pre-testing.
More: "It's a matter of discussing, researching, thinking." Researching? How is Lynn Henning, or Rob Neyer, or anybody going to research the evidence regarding whether Bagwell used? Are you going to look at his medical records? Or just ask people what they think? What part of this process is going to give us fruitful knowledge, and what's the point?
Hah! Paging Mike Fast, we need a study of baseball aerodynamics.
Great news. Out of pure curiosity, and knowing you probably can't answer, I would like to know why this didn't happen sooner. Thanks.
Speaking of elite closers...
"Trevor Hoffman, who struggled with his location last year but has as good a fastball as anyone in the league..."
Maybe Robinson is somewhat of a marginal prospect if you project him to be a left fielder. But he could be a second-division starter, and that is a good asset as a player or trade chip. I don't think Jay is that sad about losing Robinson. I think the problem is Ned just dumped him and spewed some bs logic over why. That one move won't ruin the organization, but Ned is clearly doing more harm than good.
So you're saying we should give Matt Bush some more time?
I wonder how deep this list would be if you kept going. You are going back 11 years, and that's a lot of picks. It seems that the record of the industry consensus is not too bad.
I'm sorry, but the truly offensive thing here is the mustache. I hope he matures enough to shave it.
This is awesome.
I second that.
I am sure there are audible signals he can pick up.
As a fan, I hate the idea of a one game playoff or a best of three series deciding anything.
Tommy, you have written responses to the arguments against playoff expansion. Are you going to write responses to the arguments for playoff expansion?
As a fan I see much downside to expansion, and I don't see the upside. You could say that expansion will make teams play more competitively in September, but I think there are plenty of ways to debunk this.
Maybe the point is really to make the Yankees/Rays/Red Sox play more competitively in September. But the fact that they didn't in 2010 is a side effect of adding a Wild Card team. Add another Wild Card team, and you just get a different set of teams playing less competitively.
I am tired of the meta discussion of the +/- system. I didn't minus either of the original comments, but I minused the rants.
Keith Law ranks Padres
Prospects higher in hundred
And org rank lower?
To be what? Tate? Depth that good?
Read into too much?
I was confused when I read that last part, but I interpret it to mean that had they kept the same lineup from last year, they would probably lose more games than the squad they have now. I am pretty sure he didn't mean he thinks they will win 90.
You should post comments like this all over the site in random articles.
I hear Colin went in and single-handedly raised the level of replacement.
I think this article is particularly relevant to some of the current discussion about how personality narratives are created and attached to players, particularly in the case of Michael Young, the ultimate team player. We all like to use our imagination to some degree or another. Some of it gets labeled as fiction. Some of it gets labeled as reporting.
Don't forget Rule 35.
I think you make Christina's argument. All else is not equal if you dig around like Christina did. The fact that you and all the writers said it's a tie means that they are not trying very hard to look at what distinguishes them.
This is obviously biased against the Padres (Gonzalez, Headley, Gwynn, Eckstein...). No?
Great interview David!
I like how he sneaks in the Baustista/steroids implication. This guy can't get a break.
How does anybody know Rasmus talked to the media about this? The linked article says a "report surfaced". Rasmus himself seems to be avoiding commenting.
Great article Steven.
I love the experiment. It made me laugh.
Except that confirmed steroid users aren't kicked out of baseball for good. They get suspensions and resume playing. Why treat Bonds differently?
I think Joe wrote specifically about how he treats _reporters_.
Sheehan on Steroids
If only the Padres could funnel baseball talent through their organization the way they funnel management talent...
I appreciate the counter view. Your description makes it sound like he is struggling, but he is delivering at the plates so far. How would you explain the discrepancy?
Pads on top of the Hit List. Gotta be a first.
Regarding Ensberg's blog post, he does make a point to distinguish between length of game and pace of game.
No, I just mean it concisely makes the point with real examples in a way I hope would get through to many readers.
I hope this shows up on ESPN.
Only the specific situation: no outs, runner on third, fly ball happened 97 times. The runs left on the table are for all sac fly opportunities.
+1 Lode Runner
What, you don't sit around at work hitting refresh on the Baseball Prospectus home page?
What I like about Joe's writing is the focused critique on how baseball teams run their business. I like concepts like MORP. I like insight into how front offices run. I like to hear how decisions are made.
I am really looking forward to SIERA and revised fielding metrics, and all the other statistical analyses you have to offer. But I hope you balance the micro-analysis with more macro-analysis. Please don't shy away from the cultural/business aspects of the game.
Joe, make sure you get at least 4 years with an easy-vesting 5th year. And a no-trade clause, except back to BP.
A lot of people argue that using steroids sets a bad example for the youth. Following this line of thought, cocaine is a lot worse.
I disagree with the notion that we will have to wait to "write the obit of this exchange." If Vizcaino turns into a superstar, Wren doesn't become a genius, he becomes the beneficiary of good luck. That is unless he can divine the future which would constitute genius. It seems like we have been moving towards a convention of analyzing trades involving prospects based on the information available at the time of the trade, acknowledging the risks/rewards and the market valuations of the time, etc. For example, had Wren traded Vazquez for an army of blue-chippers, we would praise him up and down, even if none of them panned out.
I can't believe the only way they could shed the payroll money was to trade your best starting pitcher. What a fail.
And I agree with Joe regarding Halladay's extension. A durable perennial CY candidate/winner gets more than 3 years, even at his age.
But what's the big deal? Isn't this just an advisory committee to help him make decisions? Probably consisting of the same people he was likely to be advised by before? There doesn't seem to be anything in the spirit or execution that is different than before, except that he can spin his decisions as being approved by special committee.
I have no problems with the Yankees or their fans. Most teams do not need to overcome the Yankees to make the playoffs. The Yankees don't win the World Series every year, so you can't claim that they buy World Championships. Unless you are a fan of the Orioles, Blue Jays, or Rays, your team losing is not a function of the Yankees winning.
And besides, do you think the game would be so entertaining if there was complete parity? I think it would be rather bland. You need the villain to root against. When you beat the Yankees, you feel a sense of pride you don't feel when you beat other teams. When the Red Sox came back from 3-0 against the Yankees, it really was that special because they did it against the Yankees, and I'm no Sox fan.
I say just accept it as part of the baseball narrative and move on.
With all the hubbub about the Yankees payroll, what amazes me the most is how effective all their players are this late in their careers. I would be surprised if they ever get the same ROI in the upcoming years. I tip my hat to them for staying at the top of their game.
If we broke up all the teams and drafted players, do you think those three get picked in the top five? I didn't think so.
Dude, you forgot everybody over Piazza.
I think he is referring to the All-Star Game itself, not the game as a whole. Ratings for the ASG are lower than they were in the 70's.
Hamilton may deserve a second chance, but I don't think he deserves tact.
I buy into Joe's reasoning because I want to see the better hitter/pitcher period. Give me A-Rod over Zobrist. Bet-ter hit-ter.
What drives me mad are the times like in 2007, when Albert "Best Hitter Period" Pujols doesn't even play, because we over think about short term performance.
I want to see A-Rod v. Santana. When Ben Zobrist comes up against Ryan Franklin, I'll probably just change the channel.
Career worth and the awards you mention include the second halves of seasons.
Go to a minor league game, or a college game. There are plenty of options for families.
It could have been a lot worse. Jeter is up there for headlines I assume. And I think they credit Mauer's RBI's to Morneau.
I can't imagine this list was compiled preseason with Greinke ranked ahead of Sabathia.
I\'ll second that.
How did Anderson fall to 18th round in the draft?
the report on dykstra sounds good: plate discipline, intelligence, mucho power. what holds him back from being higher ranked? if it\'s fielding and running, that doesn\'t seem to hold back all the other first base prospects...
In light of these signings, it appears the Yankees and Phillies made good reads on their decisions not to offer arbitration to Abreu and Burrell, don\'tcha think Joe?
If Loria is pocketing money coming from the central fund, and Selig and the other owners are turning a blind eye and/or facilitating it, the blame should go further than Loria. Extorting tax payer money for a stadium isn\'t so bad as long as they don\'t get the money. It will be a shame if they do.
I don\'t see why the conservatism. Yes, you run the risk of the player accepting for more. But how is that a problem for the Yanks and Phillies when those players are better than the alternatives? You get stuck with better players? You can\'t afford to sign Ryan Madson? Burrell, Dunn, and probably even Abreu are looking for and going to receive multi-year deals. I can\'t imagine these teams\' budgets are that inflexible, or that they are so set in stone.
And I\'ll bet there will be some MVP votes for players who weren\'t on playoff teams even though they don\'t qualify.