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Thanks for answering my question, and good luck at the new gig.
As a wise man once said, "We could all use a little change."
That's a good idea. Coach Dan did say Jared "hit well below his ability" during the final comparison tests, but beyond that I'm not sure. I'll ask him if he noticed anything.
There's a list of Axe Bat's pros in the bottom of Jeff's earlier article (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=27999#_edn2). There are a lot of Red Sox, which to me sounds like Pedroia stumped pretty hard for it.
Thank you Sam.
Also, there's supposed to be a link in the third footnote to this article: http://www.bodowinter.com/tutorial/bw_LME_tutorial2.pdf
Those are all good points, and the short answer is I agree with you.
The long answer is:
1. I also suspect they mean the latter (more efficient transfer from batter to bat). Because the ball will always hit the same part of the bat, I know they do some funky things with the inner walls of the metal bats (which, incidentally, is why we used wood bats in our study). But if those tweaks increased the collision efficiency, which I don't have to tell you is carefully controlled.
2. I think you might be onto something with the "long-term effect" explanation. Remember, these results were done *after* a two-month adjustment period with the Axe Bats. So it's not unreasonable to think that what we're seeing is essentially related to the improved ergonomics.
3. You raise a good point about distance being directly dependent on exit velocity. On the other hand, distance is dependent on exit velocity in the real world, too, and at least with the HitTrax system you don't have to worry about atmospheric conditions and the like. Maybe the solution is just not to use distance at all in future studies like this, because they're too closely related?
So, are you guys going to come back in October and tell us which of those million simulations were closest?
Also from CES: Shaq using Easton/Blast sensor, falling over.
There are an awful lot of Red Sox on that list at the bottom. I assume that's because the players bought in after seeing Pedroia's success.
Then again, it could have also been helped by encouragement from the front office, in which case I wonder if they would send a couple shipments down to their farm teams.
Well, if you were a front office, you could draft pitchers differently.
Pedro's long fingers are a great example because they show up all over the place. <a href="http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,47693,00.html">Here's</a> a representative sample, a TIME Magazine article from 2000.
"But some grizzled baseball types who don't believe in miracles say the answer can be found in Martinez's extraordinary fingers--long and slender like those of a pianist. They allow him to grip the ball longer and spin it fiercely, making it sing and dance."
When that baby hits 88 mph, you're going to see some serious shit.
Did Ichiro do that tap-the-ball-in-the-glove thing during every pitch he threw? That seems ... unusual.
Don't worry about them. Haters gonna hate.
Jeff brought this point up in the article. One possible solution is an independent contractor that runs the Hartford dorm and gets paid by the team for their services. That would also keep teams away from landlord/housing-related red tape, which I imagine is extensive.
Of course, you realize that if teams start buying real estate, it's just going to be one more thing taxpayers will have to subsidize. The <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=BOS" target="blank">Boston Red Sox</a></span> are currently shaking down the state of Rhode Island for $150 million for a new AAA stadium. When you're asking for that much, why not throw in another $10-20 million for an apartment complex?
Or how about this: since the difference between an optimized and a typical lineup is so small, why not let player comfort dictate where players bat? If a player is more comfortable batting sixth than batting second for whatever reason, screw it, let him. You're costing yourself at most like two runs per season, and that seems like a fair price to pay to keep your employee happy. Maybe, because he's happy, he'll play better and get you those runs back somewhere else.
Reminds me of Trout's famed (at least on this webpage) interest in meteorology. I wonder how many professional baseball players are amateur meteorologists.
Any way you can bribe someone to get the Trackman spin rates for that pitch?
I feel like the direction of the spin is more of an outlier than the amount of the spin, but I'd love to know for sure.
I hate to be That Guy, but Chi Chi Rodriguez is the pro golfer. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68563">Chi Chi Gonzalez</a></span> is the Rangers' starter.
Anyway, I really love this column. It's a great resource. Keep up the excellent work!
I wonder how long it'll be before fans start counting down with the between inning clock to try and rattle the opposing pitcher.
The other way to read this, of course, is that Loria...
- helped MLB get the Expos to the more-lucrative D.C. market,
- blocked Frank McCourt and ensured that good buddy <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=John+Henry">John Henry</a></span> got one of the most lucrative franchises in the game,
- and got the sweetest of all possible sweetheart stadium deals from Miami, setting the market for other franchises the way A-Rod's $250mm contract set the market for other star players.
I grant that Loria is running his own personal playpen that has been continuously financed on the back of others, and that his only genius is in getting others to cough up the dough.
But to other MLB owners, that's not a problem, <i>that's the dream</i>.
You could always pronounce it "Dray," like the doctor.
Plus then you get to make "forgot about <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DRA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DRA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DRA</span></a>" puns when pitchers regress.
This was a very good article, Colin.
You wrote that pitchers typically don't work on pickoffs much after spring training, but I remember hearing Lester threw over to first one time in spring training games (it bounced). Does it tell us anything that his new team was so unconcerned that they apparently didn't force him to work on it?
What about his tossing his glove to first on a bunt attempt when he couldn't get the ball out? Does that make the situation seem worse?
I want to know what markets they'll end up expanding to. Like, BP Los Angeles seems logical, but BP Tampa doesn't. Where's that cutoff? My guess is Toronto.
Yeah, I'm confused at what Price thinks the beat writer's job is.
It seems like overkill, but I'm reminded of the quote, "News is something somebody wants suppressed; all the rest is advertising."
Why am I picturing <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67070">Mike Olt</a></span> and someone in the Cubs' front office arguing about how injured Olt is?
"Oh no, it's a hairline fracture!"
"Wait, isn't that just a hair on the X-r--"
"Too late! We've already put you on the DL and called up Bryant. OK bye!"
I feel like I heard TrackMan doesn't measure knuckleballs, but I could be making that up. Does anyone remember?
That's a different scenario, though: a pitcher doesn't reach free agency when he's thrown 1,000 innings. In that case, Boras's interests and the club's happen to align, because both are trying to protect their investment.
I can't think of an exact parallel, but if <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68520">Kris Bryant</a></span> were a pitcher, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=80275">Scott Boras</a></span> wouldn't have any problem with the Cubs limiting his innings*; Boras would, however, have a problem with his assignment to Iowa even though he's better than their fourth starter.
* - And I agree that innings caps seem pretty useless but that's neither here nor there.
It's not play-index-able (I don't think) but I wonder if there's a big enough size of position players pitching against pitchers batting to judge that .310 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=TAv" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('TAv'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">TAv</span></a>.
Only for the moment, though, I can't hold out much longer.
I nominate Dontrelle Willis for the next funk session.
I know what I'm doing when the snow hits tomorrow.
You wouldn't be interested in breaking down any historical pitchers, like the recent HoF inductees, would you?
I prefer W-L records (even if there's not much league overlap) because that's how HFA is awarded in every other circumstance across all other sporting events.
But that's what Tom Tango would refer to as "inertial thinking". Here are some other possible methods of awarding HFA, in no particular order:
1. League record in interleague play
2. Computer poll/RPI
3. Market size
4. Fan polling
5. Coin flips
6. No wait rock-paper-scissors. Don't tell me you're not tuning in to watch James Shields and Tim Lincecum throw down.
7. Head-to-head record
8. Some sort of skills competition, like a home run derby. Or an All-Star Ga--ah crap.
Actually, the "home team" is 35-36-2 in All-Star Games, so I don't know how much we need to worry about that.
That's not to say that awarding World Series home field advantage to the league that wins the All-Star Game isn't super dumb. It is.
Are there futures market ticket exchanges? Because if not that sounds like a really great idea.
Could be a lot of survivor bias there: hitters who don't learn how to pick up a fastball don't stick around long enough to see a whole bunch of them.
"...there’s much more to a pitch (and to pitching) than velocity. There’s movement. There’s location. There’s sequencing. Sometimes, there’s just luck."
And spin! Don't forget spin.
I wonder if a professional pitcher would be able to predict which balls would go further. I'm thinking of David Laurilla's interview with Pedro Martinez (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/pedro-martinez-on-the-art-and-science-of-pitching/). Could someone like Pedro "feel" that difference?
(Incidentally, he also mentions baseballs with "bad rub" in that article, so I'm guessing the rubbing isn't very uniform.)
Was there any attempt to measure the physical differences between the balls in each MLB lot? If not, what do you think is responsible for the variation in distances?
This post does a really good job of illustrating the difference between good and bad mechanics. Thank you!
That WAS fun.
If free agency existed in the 1950s, would Williams have spent his whole career in Boston? On the one hand, Williams and the Boston press had a notoriously difficult relationship; on the other hand, Yawkey loved to spend money in dumb ways. Comically oversized free agent contract and a salary-dump trade?
Also, good gravy: Williams didn't join the team in 1953 until August, played in 37 games, and was still worth two wins.
It's a fair suggestion, but (at least on those three relievers) it doesn't change the findings at all.
8. Carlos Ruiz
6a. Yasmani Grandal
6b. A.J. Pierzynski
5. Wilin Rosario
4. Travis d'Arnaud
3. Brian McCann
2. Yasmani Grandal
1. Salvador Perez
And for those (like me) who were wondering about Harper's huge HR off Hunter Strickland in the NLDS, the official distance was "only" 445 ft, good for right around 90th place.
Gotta love any article with a Manos: The Hands of Fate reference.
A perpetually-stacked Cardinals team. A Pirates team that made the playoffs two years straight. A Reds team that's made a few playoff runs of their own recently. A Brewers team that came out of nowhere and was in first place Aug. 31st. And now a Cubs team loaded with young talent and maybe with money to burn.
The NL Central: Toughest division in baseball?
Your comment about postgame press conference comments made me wonder: Are the best managers those we notice least, like umpires?
And they sure do love the stolen base down three.
As someone with no natural rooting interest, I was disappointed to see KC dispatch Baltimore so easily. There's an alternate universe where the Orioles stormed back and won the series four games to three, and Guthrie's shirt becomes infamous, something to torment Royals fans with like that clip of Babe Ruth winking FOX producers loved to use in the '03-'04 playoffs.
I like where your head's at, but no, the intent of the DH is to be pitcher-only. Rule 6.10(b) states, "A hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher and allsubsequent pitchers in any game without otherwise affecting the status of the pitcher(s) in the game." There are enough references to pitchers to make it clear they want the DH rule to apply just to pitchers, but it never explicitly says, "A hitter may not be designated to bat for any player other than the pitcher."
You would never win that battle, but it seems like something Billy Martin must've tried in the 70s.
I'm not a doctor, but wouldn't an oblique injury hinder his ability to control the running game, making his defense even worse? You saw what the Royals did against the A's; imagine what they'd do against a catcher with no arm left.
Today I learned that Zack Greinke's first name is "Donald," and Lance Lynn's first name is "Michael." Thank you?
How excited were you to make that Matrix joke? Is it the only reason you wrote this article? Don't lie.
What did they see instead? More breaking balls? Were pitchers trying to induce grounders from a team that (if I remember right) has a lot of fly ball hitters?
The Silly Position!
The Royals' 7 SB, by the way, ties a postseason record. http://t.co/0DO45Z2xE8
See, this is why I love baseball. Every time you go to the ballpark, there's a chance to see something completely unfamiliar...that actually already happened in 1981. Where else do you get something completely novel, yet still familiar?
How many balls a player turned into outs is a good start. But then you have to consider how many balls a player didn't turn into outs, either because he got to the ball and made an error, or because he never got to the ball. And THEN you should consider the fielder's starting position: a slower defender shifted properly might get to more balls than a faster defender.
Measuring pitchers on how many runs they SHOULD have allowed already happens (i.e., FIP), as does measuring batters on how many runs they SHOULD have created (i.e, context-neutral stats like wRC). These stats answer a different question: to me, they're less about evaluating what a player DID and more about what a player SHOULD do going forward. There's value in that, surely.
(Oh, and batters will absolutely be evaluated on what they should have done [DIBS?] once things like batted ball speed and angle off the bat are publicly available.)
My friends convinced me to join a DFS site for football season. While I like the ability to create a new roster every week, I'm disappointed by how anti-social the site is. I can't find my friends' entries, or compare theirs to mine. Why not?
"Congratulations to Jacob Degrom." -Jim deShaies
That was a lot of fun, Sam, thanks.
I would read a series that just followed a minor league front-office guy around for a week. Or a European GM! What's life like in the Austrian Baseball League?
(And kudos to Evansville for letting Jon Bois design their webpage.)
"Darin Erstad, Nebraska punter" makes it way to BP. Somewhere at Fremulon Insurance corporate headquarters a pension fund manager is crying.
I'd settle for a collection of his strange articles. "Willie Mays' House of Pancakes" is probably my favorite.
A new angle on pace of game! Hallelujah.
The in-stadium experience is something you rarely hear mentioned. Most of the longer sports (especially football and NASCAR) are all-day, weekend-only affairs. You drive in early, you tailgate, and at the end of the day there's a game. This doesn't really translate to a weeknight sport like baseball, though.
The Glen Perkins section made me wonder what the leaderboard for that stat was. From the PITCHf/x leaderboard:
MOST PITCHES THROWN WITHOUT A HR (LHH & RHH)
1. Craig Kimbrel, 1328 curves
2. Cesar Ramos, 1130 sinkers
3. Kyle McClellan, 996 curves
4. Nick Masset, 977 curves
5. Jake Petricka, 888 sinkers
For whatever reason, those guys are all relievers. Just the starters:
MOST PITCHES THROWN WITHOUT A HR (LHH & RHH, AS A SP)
1. Miguel Gonzalez, 646 curves
2. Sean Marshall, 551 curves
3. Zach Britton, 533 sliders
4. Jason Berken, 513 sinkers
5. Jake Westbrook, 498 splitters
The AFL website makes it look like there will be a couple games on the MLB Network, at least, though it doesn't say which ones yet.
I just wonder how the recording of a recording compressed for transmission over the Internet affects the frequency content. But it's a fantastic article regardless.
Someone at Saberseminar asked Ben Cherington to give some love to a Red Sox prospect not on any of the top ten lists. He eventually came up with Margot.
If I remember right, that nice loud pop of ball in mitt is less a function of speed and more of lack of movement: if the catcher has to move his glove more, he's less likely to catch it in the right spot.
I'm going to guess that borderline pitches with more audible pop are called strikes more often than similar pitches without it. I'd attribute this to the catcher's framing skill, but maybe umps are using the sound to help make their calls.
To Robert: Did you try to filter out the crowd noise in the background at all?
Both of these statements are important points. I'm willing to forgive the All-Star Game goofiness if it means celebrating the best labor relations in North American professional sports.
Here's one place:
Brooks Baseball says that McCarthy threw 15 splitters in his last five starts with Arizona, and then the same number in his very first start with the Yankees. He's now up around 25/start, still far below the 40-something per game he was averaging in Oakland.
That walk blew my mind. Let's see what Joe Posnanski's Intentional Walk Rage Scale has to say about it:
1. What inning was the walk in? 19th inning: 1 point.
2. Did the walk bring up the opposing pitcher or a particularly weak hitter? Haha, nope: 3 points, but if you wanted to double it because it brought up the best hitter on the Jays I wouldn't disagree.
3. Did the walk give your team the platoon advantage? Yes: 0 points, but again, Jose Bautista.
4. Does the extra baserunner matter? No: -1 point.
5. Are you setting up the double play to get out of the inning? You are setting up the double play, but there were no outs, so I'm saying No: 3 points.
6. Are you intentionally walking someone solely to avoid a great hitter? No, you let the great hitter beat you instead: 0 Points.
GRAND TOTAL: 6 points (below average). And I get that it's an acting manager and that there's no glory in second-guessing field managers, but good gravy.
Thank you for reminding me that, for a little while in 1999, the Red Sox used a knuckleballer as their closer.
That mess took YEARS off my life. Look at that ninth inning! Four strikeouts, two-run homer, blown save.
Interesting point about the shift.
Here's Norris' spray charts from FanGraphs:
There's a bunch of ground balls where Escobar was playing, but we're still only talking about, what, 30 balls over three seasons?
I wonder how many balls it takes to establish a definite tendency? We know how long it takes, say, OBP to stabilize, but how many balls hit towards the shortstop are required before you can say with any certainty, "He hits the ball between short and third more than most hitters."
How about this: it's a lot of work to learn the defensive side of catching, which takes emphasis away from learning how to recognize pitches.
(That's the best I can come up with.)
How about this one: "Yu gets what Yu gives: Darvish plunking sparks bench-clearing brawl."
In 2,000 years Babe Ruth will be a mythical figure like Hercules. Scholars will debate whether he actually existed and his actual feats will grow into, like, drinking an entire distillery and then striking out Paul Bunyan. Ernie Shore will be lost from that near-perfect game story. It'll turn into "Babe Ruth walked a guy, started arguing, got ejected, punched the umpire, went back to the mound and retired the next 26 batters."
Is Babe Ruth the athlete who would generate the most #hotsportstakes if he'd played in the Twitter Age? (Well, no, Jackie Robinson would, but that's not fun to think about.)
That's a good point to keep in mind. Considering these trades, and considering the Kendrys Morales/Stephen Drew affair from last offseason, I think it's fair to ask whether the pendulum's swung too much the other way, and GMs are starting to overvalue propsects and draft picks.
I wonder: Would the prospect staff rather have Hader or Appel? Which of the two do they think will have a better career with the Astros? Might not be fair, but they're on the same page, and we've heard so much bad news about Appel's trajectory lately.
More likely, I think, is that players attach zero value to the All-Star Game, even when baseball tries (poorly) to add value to it.
It is perfect.
I want everyone to remember this paragraph when Jeter gets a job at ESPN to call the occasional game and is soooo boring. That's not to say he won't have smart things to say, or funny stories, or sharp insights, but I guarantee he'll never share them on-air.
1. Catch up on great games you missed from the first half. Missed Lincecum's no-hitter? Tanaka's debut? The games in Australia? Now's your chance.
2. Candid Camera-style show, narrated by Vin Scully (obviously). Live.
3. What if the WBC only featured national teams from the Western Hemisphere, and then the winners played the Old World champions in November? Alternate idea: Hawaii! Meet them halfway.
4. I'd suggest NPB action but guess what: their All-Star break starts Thursday. bis.npb.or.jp/eng/2014/calendar/index_07.html
I'm surprised that McCann grounder was rated as an easier play than the Jeter grounder. I know Donaldson had to kind of wait for the ball rather than charging it, but still.
(Sidebar: I think the A's yellow alts look really sharp.)
So dumb. I'll give you two versions of the All-Star Game, you tell me which one you'd rather watch.
1. Whichever league wins the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series.
2. Yasiel Puig is guaranteed to pitch one inning (max. 30 pitches).
(Answer key: 2)
I forget: are minor leaguers in the MLBPA? I'd watch it, though, but I imagine they'll want to keep that appearance fee money for their more senior members.
I continue to not understand why we care so deeply if the All-Star Game is a tie. Failing that, start every extra inning with a runner on second. Or let players come back in the game to pitch. If you're concerned about injury, just let position players come in to pitch ("And now Cespedes is warming for the American League...").
It's a meaningless exhibition -- or it SHOULD be -- do weird stuff! Make it fun!
Well, if the IBB is going to hurt you anyway, why WOULDN'T you ever pitch to Trout?
I wonder if Pujols is earning some tiny part of his salary by "protecting" Trout then. And before I get killed for suggesting that lineup protection exists, understand that I mean that Sam suggests here that managers are pitching to Trout more than they would if the Angels' #3 hitter were someone without Pujols' name recognition, like Matt Carpenter.
("Why Matt Carpenter?"
OPS+ Since 2012:
Trout - 176
Carpenter - 130
Pujols - 129)
So far we have seven high(ish)-leverage PAs where Trout got to bat rather than received a free pass. Maybe it's only a couple of runs over the course of a season, but it would still help.
He did go to two World Series as a Yankee though.
Having attended a "big baseball school," I always thought college baseball recruiting was more regional. You really think there's a ton of MA/CT kids in the Carolinas?
RIP, Rocco Baldelli.
I think college baseball might be the answer: the Midwest gets well-represented because scouts watch the Big Ten closely, but there are only two big programs in New England (UConn and BC).
I also think there's a population effect you've missed, especially since the other region that significantly underperformed (Mountain West) has a population even lower than New England's.
Also, ending with a Blink 182 quote. What, couldn't find any Smash Mouth lyrics that fit?
Why is their mascot a horse in a Mountie uniform?
Really good article. Bonus points for the "pickpocketing-a-policeman" analogy.
Dirk Hayhurst agrees:
"For the amateur player hoping to get noticed, it can be a bitter pill to swallow when you find yourself in a game with a super prospect being treated like royalty by all manner of pro-labeled, radar gun-toting henchmen. But you swallow that pill because you want to play in a game with that kid -- he's your ticket to a free audition."
"I think it was just too much throwing."
-Alec Asher, on throwing more innings per week in middle school than he currently throws as a professional pitcher
You can just hear ASMI wincing when he says that.
So wait, why DIDN'T Price get ejected after he hit Carp? My understanding was, after the umpire issues a warning, the next time anybody hits a batter, he's gone, period. That's why Workman got ejected, isn't it?
You can have all the people skills you want, but if you aren't paying attention to the numbers coming down from upper management, you're not going to be a very good manager. That's not a baseball thing, that's a business thing.
(Note: Anyone taking business advice from me is doomed.)
If that second potential manager doesn't think, "Hey, these numbers are important to the people paying my salary, so maybe I should learn about them," isn't that a bad sign long-term?
Someone pointed out how ballsy it is for Towers to say, "[Kendrick] went out and spent a lot of money on this club and it's not performing."
Well, who told him where to spend his money? Wasn't that you?
I want to know what the Mets are gunning for. So what is the longest hitless stretch by any collection of pitchers to start a season?
Another piece of evidence towards the makeup-based explanation: the #30 team on the list is the Rockies (1 suspension since 2012). I feel like we've heard a lot about the Rockies' interest in makeup the last couple of years.
When did baseball jerseys stop featuring collars?
I didn't know Ventura was studying urban economics. Good for him!
Good stuff, although now I'm trying (and failing) to picture what "the halls of BP" look like.
"But some day, I promise you, Fernandez is going to take the glasses off that thing, he’s going to put it in a cute party dress, he’s going to let its hair out of that tight bun, and he’s going to realize that the sexiest pitch in school was right in front of him the whole time."
So you're telling me Jose Fernandez's changeup is all that?
We're missing the obvious one: Babe Ruth (1918) vs. Babe Ruth (1927).
For those of you wondering (like me) why he used Log5 instead of (Russell Carleton's favorite) Odds Ratio, it's because both methods give you the same expected number. http://www.chancesis.com/2010/10/03/the-origins-of-log5/ has details, but you can show it yourself with some algebra.
Just joking. But that is good to hear, though.
Hmm. How about a trade for prospects -- say, a 2014 MiLB.tv subscription discount and a 2015 MLB.tv discount?
Any thoughts for those of us in OBP leagues?
Important to note that, at least for now, "HINZO" only has the resolution to measure center-of-mass movements and not limbs, which might make the fidgeting measurement difficult.
Also, in re: fielders tipping pitches -- I think it's clear this is happening (or how else did Heyward and Reed Johnson start moving within the first five-hundreths of a second after the ball was hit?). But is it useful to know that (say) the center fielder cheats a little bit before the pitch? I know MLB batters have crazy good eyesight, but I feel like picking up subtle movements in fielders ~300 feet away, then trying to pick the ball up out of the pitcher's hand, then confirming the pitch type, then making a swing/don't-swing decision ... that seems like some Matrix-bullet-time-level slowing the game down, doesn't it?
To me, Foltynewicz just *sounds* like a setup guy. I really have to remiind myself that he's a starter.
What, no one mentioned Sidd Finch? No love for 168 mph in cowboy boots?
Yes there is the possibility that we won't get access to the raw data -- or enough of the raw data to be useful for analysis -- but for once in my life I will be optimistic.
Date of first in-game demonstration: July 16 (i.e, after the ASG)
Date of first article saying system should be used to improve boundary calls (e.g., fair/foul, HR/no HR): May 31
I don't know that I would recommend pitching as a way to use his athleticism without the injury risk that plagued McGrady's NBA career.
When the Red Sox were collapsing down the stretch in 2011, there was talk of trading for almost-free agent Bruce Chen for the wild card play-in game.
Not entirely analogous, but still the first incident that popped into mind.
I can't decide who this system would hurt more: players who came in and slumped a little in a small sample, or gullible GMs who fell in love with a pitcher with a deceptive delivery after two starts.
Man, SOMEone can't wait for spring training to start.
My favorite part has to be the "15-game losing streak that continues to this day".
(P.S. to DaveKavanagh: Room 101 was the number of the meeting room in BBC headquarters. http://web.archive.org/web/20070105132434/http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/room-101.shtml I've always liked that piece of trivia, and there's a strange irony in a BBC show referencing it as a type of hell.)
And let me be the first to say: you forgot the Angels. ;)
Here's an article on these pitchers: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/1/17/5314222/mariano-rivera-yankees-postseason
He frolfs, he scores!
I did this research. There will be an article about it on Beyond the Box Score in the next day or so.
Left out of your "Summer of A-Rod" analysis: does A-Rod's contract prohibit Frisbee golf?
Zito WAR over 3 years prior to signing big contract = 11
Zito ERA+ over 3 years prior to signing big contract = 110
Kershaw WAR over 3 years prior to signing big contract = 21
Kershaw ERA+ over 3 years prior to signing big contract = 166
That's a pretty great feature. But I do wish the scales were consistent from one position to the next.
Cespedes Family Barbecue occasionally goes on runs where they just post scores of ridiculous Barry Bonds stats. You can do the same thing with Rivera.
But I disagree about McCarver's finest moment. Game 2, 2005 World Series, Scott Podsednik batting against Brad Lidge.
Joe Buck: "You know, Tim, a lot of people thought [Astros manager Phil] Garner should have put Lidge into game six of the NLCS, just to get the taste of that Pujols home run out of his mouth. What do you think?"
Tim McCarver: "Well, Joe, I don't think that taste is there."
And Podsednik instantly -- and I mean INSTANTLY -- homers off Lidge to end the game.
"Follow this one weird trick to stop tipping your pitches!"
Thanks for the insight, R.J. Now everyone take a step back and imagine trying to identify the breaking ball/fastball dichotomy in real-time, when you don't have example stills from each in front of you. Guess wrong and you look like an idiot in front of hundreds of thousands of people. Oh, and choose quickly, because the pitch is maybe 0.5 seconds away.
These guys are GOOD, man.
"Raspberry Adjectives" successfully added to list of band names.
God, I missed this stuff.
Too late to the comment party, but...maybe he was thought the swing would disrupt the catcher's throw down to second? It's kind of while the catcher is popping.
- Ball traveling faster than speed of light
- Davidson forgot there was a runner going, just taking a practice swing before the next pitch
- Confused by all those Darvish multi-pitch GIFs, thought maybe there was another pitch or two still left to swing at.
There are few examples of Gregorius' art readily available on the web (read: on the first page of a Google search). Here's a drawing he did of Batman and Bane. https://twitter.com/DidiG18/status/389549381583519744/photo/1
For those who (like me) wanted to read a write-up of new Ranger Russell Wilson, he was taken in the AAA portion of the Rule 5 draft, not the major-league portion covered here.
@Staff: How do these other portions work? Is it analogous to the MLB one where, if Wilson were actually a baseball player, he has to spend the entire year in Round Rock or be sent back to the Colorado system? Is there also a AA, A+, etc. Rule 5 draft? Is there just one list of protected players for all drafts, or are some protected from the MLB one and not AAA?
I hope when Dr. Kraus does that study for Sam, he doesn't look at Adrian Beltre's team. I feel like "going berserk when someone touches your head" is a confounding variable.
Further reading: David Kagan just wrote a post on The Hardball Times on the physics of what makes a sinker feel "heavy" (spoiler alert: it involves spin).
No, I'm being serious. People have suggested that the contract year effect is real in other sports; here's an award-winning paper from the Sloan conference that talks about the effect in basketball. http://www.sloansportsconference.com/?p=655
If you believe that it's possible to improve on-the-field performance, why not off-the-field performance? And if you don't believe that it's possible to improve on-the-field performance (which I personally don't), shouldn't it at least be possible to change this type of thing, which is mostly attitude?
It might be cynical, but I really think a smart player coming up to the end of his contract could consciously try to take on a more vocal leadership role, *especially* if he expects that "it would (profitably for him) be noted by the marketplace". You guys are working with an agent these days -- would he ever advise a client to try that?
Wait, I just listened to the podcast. Are you suggesting McCann put up "walk-year leadership"?! That maybe his agent said, "If you look more like a fiery veteran leader, teams will pay you for that"?
Counterpoint: Core players (by any definition) are rarely made available and, as such, are super expensive. Teams may find it more cost effective to sign a bunch of contributing players to modest, short-term deals, shoring up the bottom of their rosters, rather than use their limited resources on a "stars-and-scrubs" type approach that leaves them vulnerable to injury or underperformance.
From a recent FanGraphs article on the Athletics' return to the top of the AL West: "These A’s teams are bottom heavy, as they’ve gotten production from nearly every spot on the roster, rather than having a small core of stars do the bulk of the heavy lifting."
What you say in Step 2 makes it sound like defenses are designed to minimize batting average, but I would argue they're really designed to minimize slugging (i.e., minimize hits while also ensuring doubles don't roll around for awhile and become triples).
Here's a super-hypothetical derived from Step 5. Assume in the Kershaw situation that your two outfielders are in approximately left-center and right-center, with the CF playing the opposite field since that's where the batter is most likely to hit the ball in the air. If a ball is pulled down the line, how long does it take the OF to catch up to it and throw it back in? Why couldn't the hitter end up with a triple, or (for a fast guy) an inside-the-park home run?
Lastly, we're 1,000% sure no one in like the 1870s with a sweet mustache tried some of these things?
Don't forget, by the way, that there are some parks -- especially Fenway -- where the difference between playing LF and RF is more than just "reading the ball differently". At Fenway (which is admittedly a worst case for this), you have all the weird angles off the scoreboard, and a big difference between the amount of ground required to cover in both cases. Also, there's a ladder in the field of play.
It's also specifically legislated against. From the official rules...(http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/game_preliminaries_3.jsp)
"Rule 3.03 Comment: A pitcher may change to another position only once during the same inning; e.g. the pitcher will not be allowed to assume a position other than a pitcher more than once in the same inning. Any player other than a pitcher substituted for an injured player shall be allowed five warm-up throws. (See Rule 8.03 for pitchers.)"
For those of you wondering how MLB would restrict positional swapping, I imagine it'd look something like this, maybe with specific delineations of the fielder positions.
The play-by-play makes me believe it was the off fields. Worth pointing out, though, that the winning runs were scored on a double to DeLeon in left.
Even more fun: Andrew Koo pointed out this gem, where Cecil Fielder shuttled between 2B and 3B nineteen times. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SEA/SEA198805020.shtml
And I'm sure he'll retain 3B eligibility for this year at a number of sites regardless.
My gut reaction to all this involves minor league nutrition. I mean, sure, you could light that $20 million on fire, OR you could improve your minor leaguers' diets and maybe performance. You've heard this argument before, but now there's a dollars-and-cents based rationale to justify the expense.
Don't forget, though, that the Vegas lines tend to favor "public" teams. If Vegas gets (or anticipates) more Red Sox fans casually betting on their team, that will contribute to the series price.
Actually, BP got Games 2, 4 and 6 right. Links below. And given that the individual game odds were ~50% each time, it's unusual, but not crazy unlikely, to get all six wrong anyway. Close to calling 6 straight coin tosses wrong.
GAME DET BOS WIN
---- --- --- ---
1 43.4 56.6 DET
2 48.8 51.2 BOS
3 69.4 30.6 BOS
4 51.9 48.1 DET
5 51.8 48.2 BOS
6 51.7 48.3 BOS
Game 6 preview: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22080
Game 4 preview: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22050
Game 2 preview: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22032
Fair. But now they're willing to splash that Domino's Pizza money, at least.
And besides, Detroit is the 14th largest American MSA, right ahead of Seattle and right behind Phoenix. So maybe "large-market" was the wrong term; should've been "big-spending".
"Who's Your Daddy" became a thing in 2004, not 2003. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/writers/tom_verducci/09/28/pedro.yankees/)
I distinctly remember my Yankee fan friends taunting me with an Arnold impersonation during that year's ALCS: "Who is your daddy, and what does he do?"
I also remember said friends disappearing between the end of the ALCS and Thanksgiving.
I never understood the phrase "Mickey Mouse stuff", because Mickey seems like he'd be a good clubhouse guy and an excellent teammate. But then I remembered his first appearance was in a cartoon called "Showboat Willie", so maybe he just had a phase.
On a more serious note, has there been research done on velocity spikes in postseason appearances? I feel like I've read a bunch of stories about Jon Lester and Sonny Gray getting pumped up and adding a few MPH at the beginning of their playoff appearances. Is this a real thing and, if so, could this explain Ryu's uptick?
At the turn of the 20th century, talking heads were concerned about the large amounts of horse manure produced by large cities like New York. How would we dispose of it while mitigating the public health risk?
And then Henry Ford showed up. (more: http://freakonomics.com/2012/12/20/the-house-of-dreams-full-transcript/)
My point is that things evolve in new and unpredictable ways. For every large-market Tigers and Red Sox, there will be a small-market A's and Twins looking for an inefficiency. So there's no need for the doom-and-gloom in the lede! Baseball in 2033 is gonna be great, you guys!
Understand that I'm speaking through Red Sox-colored glasses, but that seems unfair somehow. It absolves ownership of all blame and incentivizes positive tests for underperforming stars. $30 million is a lot of money to free up because of a failed drug test. If I'm Albert Pujols or Josh Hamilton, I'm having someone from the commissioner's office test everything I eat or drink just in case Arte Moreno gets any bright ideas.
If you want to crack down on PEDs, punish the owners who benefit financially from the increased performance.
And does that mean that, e.g., Cruz and Peralta's 50 games didn't count against the Rangers and Tigers respective totals?
The extra .0002%.
I can't find it now, but I remember reading that these types of firings happen all the time, and arbitrators take it as a badge of honor that they were fired.
I have two questions:
1. Why bother having the other two members on the panel? They could be out doing something more productive like, I dunno, taking their grandchildren to the zoo.
2. Assume A-Rod is suspended for all of 2014. What happens to A-Rod's 2014 salary? Does that ~$30 million count towards the Yankees' luxury tax threshold, even if the Yankees aren't actually paying it?
2003: James Click writes that, you know what, in certain situations, like when you're playing for one run, bunting makes sense.
2006: James Click gets hired by the Tampa Bay (then Devil) Rays.
Oct. 7, 2013: The Boston Red Sox successfully execute a sacrifice bunt with two on and no outs in a one-run playoff game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. Their win expectancy increases.
Oct. 7, 2013, like 15 minutes later: The Red Sox lose said game.
That is what is known as a "long con".
"I didn't see this coverage for Ken Griffey Jr. or other stars in smaller markets."
Counterpoint: Chipper Jones.
I mean, Atlanta's not a very small market (9th by Nielsen), but then again neither is Seattle (12th by Nielsen).
Here is a list of every Red Sox pitcher who compiled 20 or more saves from 1997 through 2013.
- Jonathan Papelbon (219)
- Derek Lowe (85)
- Tom Gordon (68)
- Ugueth Urbina (49)
- Heathcliff Slocumb (48)
- Keith Foulke (47)
- Mike Timlin (27)
- Alfredo Aceves (27)
- Tim Wakefield (22)
- Koji Uehara (21)
Note that this list excludes several would-be closers who failed to get to 20 saves:
- Joel Hanrahan (4)
- Andrew Bailey (14)
- Mark Melancon (1)
- Daniel Bard (5)
- Curt Schilling (9)
- Rod Beck (6)
- Butch Henry (6)
- John "Way Back" Wasdin (3)
- Rich "El Guapo" Garces (5)
Here is the same list for the Yankees:
- Mariano Rivera (652)
- Rafael Soriano (44, but only because Rivera tore his ACL last year).
Happy trails, you magnificent bastard.
"During another encounter later in the game, Darvish yelled 'fastball' at Donaldson before throwing a curveball."
Is this a regular occurrence at this level? It seems on par with A-Rod shouting at opponents trying to catch pop flies.
Yes yes responsible forecasting blah blah blah not getting ahead of ourselves yadda yadda yadda.
Does he have a nickname yet? I vote "Billy the Kid".
Also, predict how many bases he would steal on Craig Robinson's pentagonal field (http://blogs.thescore.com/mlb/2013/05/23/flip-flop-fly-ball-five-bases-weird-yankee-stadium/).
It seems like there was a sudden divergence in the late 60s. Wonder what was behind that.
I also wonder how much of the drop in 2B height in 2012 was caused by Jose Altuve.
An earlier article hypothesized how the decreased run environment contributed to the rise in extra inning marathons. And yes you could combined this with the reduction in IP/appearance to explain the position players pitching in extra innings thing. But I don't want to talk about that.
Can we instead talk some more about that Braves-Cardinals game? Jose Oquendo pitched four innings, which is great, sure. But at the same time Oquendo took the mound, the Cardinals put the previous day's starter (Jose DeLeon) in left field ... and then kept shuttling him between right and left fields depending on the batter in a way I didn't think was legal outside beer-league softball. Seriously, DeLeon is listed in the boxscore as "LF-RF-LF-RF-LF-RF-LF-RF-LF-RF-LF-RF".
And then he was lifted for John Tudor, *another pitcher*, who pinch-hit for him in the 19th. On the one hand, Tudor pitched 2 days before, but on the other hand, he'd only lasted 3.2 innings ... that is, a third of an inning less than Jose Oquendo.
I love Baseball Reference.
Oh man, wouldn't that be great: Carroll converts to the bullpen midseason for an ostensible contender. The "position players pitching" crowd would lose their minds.
Yes, BrooksBaseball suggests consistent velocity: http://www.brooksbaseball.net/cache/dd4086f515123f426653b13e116933e0.gif
I know Mavs owner Mark Cuban says his team does this with NBA refs. If I had to guess, there are several MLB teams that do exactly what you suggest, and maybe adjust their strategy accordingly.
And Jon, I know the sample size is probably too small, but I would still love to see the strike zone for knuckleballs.
Michael Cera plays Rafael De Paula, a prospect struggling to overcome identity issues to pitch in the major leagues, in what critics are calling "another one of those damn coming-of-age movies". Ouch, critics, don't be rude.
And since ncsaint brought it up, how do pitchers' 3-2 strike zones compare to everyone else's? How many of the 217 would-be walks would actually be "unjustly" called third strikes? Do we have enough data for that sort of thing?
I imagine their effective strike zones would be larger, and you'd have a sort of inverse Ted Williams Effect: whereas an umpire might give the benefit of the doubt to a player with a reputation for knowing the strike zone, that same umpire might rule the same pitch a strike against a weak hitter (like a pitcher) because he doesn't trust their batting eye.
OK, thought experiment: suppose Verlander was 11-0 this season, and Scherzer was 8-5, and all their other stats are the same -- Scherzer still has more strikeouts, fewer hits, fewer walks, fewer runs allowed, etc. By the logic that "wins are what COUNT", then, Verlander has had the better season so far because Miguel Cabrera et al hit better in his starts than in Scherzer's.
That's crazy, and that's why pitcher wins don't tell the whole story: you're judging Scherzer's performance on things he has no control over. Again, Scherzer has been great thus far, and Verlander hasn't lived up to expectations, but there are many better ways to demonstrate that than pitcher wins.
P.S.: While no pitcher has started a season 11-0 since Clemens, I count 15 streaks of more than 11 wins since 2000, just none that happened to start in early April (http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/streak_finder.cgi?type=p#gotresults&as=result_pitcher&offset=0&suffix=&min_year_game=2000&max_year_game=2013&series=any&series_game=any&team_lg=&opp_id=&opp_lg=&throws=any&HV=any&game_site=&Role=GS&DEC=WorL&c3criteria=A.W&c3gtlt=eq&c3val=1&c4criteria=&c4gtlt=eq&c4val=0&c1criteria=&c1gtlt=eq&c1val=0&c2criteria=&c2gtlt=eq&c2val=0&location=pob&locationMatch=is&pob=&pod=&pcanada=&pusa=&ajax=1&submitter=1&z=1).
rrrrrrr...why wins, MLB official?! Don't get me wrong: pick almost any metric, basic or advanced, and Scherzer bests Verlander this year (More strikeouts, lower ERA, higher WAR...did you know opponents' OPS against Scherzer is .566?). But Scherzer is getting more than one extra run per game in offensive support, and Verlander has two starts where the Tigers didn't score (record: 0-2).
And let's look at game scores. Scherzer has only two starts where his GSc was less than 50, which is really good, but he is 2-0 in those games. Verlander has five such starts; he's 1-3.
Has he had a great start? Absolutely. Does he deserve to start the ASG? Sure, why not. Is "he's 11-0" a good way to describe his success? Nope.
(P.S.: A chart relating game score to pitcher record: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/05/08/quality-starts-a-misleading-stat/2144821/)
I agree that there is a huge leap from "O-Swing % is up in September" to "the amphetamine ban is having a huge impact on performance". But I had a couple of additional observations:
- The only month where the O-Swing % doesn't increase is August -- i.e., right after 90% of baseball gets a 3-4 day vacation. I wonder what the July numbers look like pre- and post-ASG. It's possible that O-Swing % in the first half of July is greater than June, and then less than August in the second half of July.
- You mention that Z-Swing % also goes up month-to-month. Swinging at all pitches is still considered bad plate discipline, and doesn't seem inconsistent with hitters becoming less selective or discerning.
- You wrote, "Maybe there’s something about the weather that makes hitters more or less likely to swing, aside from its effect on pitch speed." I haven't played baseball in awhile, but I remember it *hurts* when you hit a ball poorly in the cold. I imagine this effect is amplified with faster pitches and wooden bats. Maybe players are more picky because they're less likely to square up pitches outside the zone. This is a complete wild guess.
- You also mentioned the fact that team composition changes from April to September thanks to rookie callups. Could this also be a function of injuries? As the season wears on and players get placed on the DL, they are replaced by less skilled hitters, who may be less selective. And, since a lot of players use the All-Star break to get healthy, it makes sense that the O-Swing % decreases shortly thereafter until rosters expand.
Lastly, I can't believe baseball players don't take naps. How early do players get to the field for a 7:00 game? 3:00? The road team typically has BP last, starting around 4:30 or 5:00, right? Doesn't there seem like there's a lot of downtime? And I've heard NBA players frequently nap, especially on the road, but I forget if that includes game days.
I'm going to have to incorporate "Act like a tennis shoe and just do it" into my daily life now.
And I can't believe you passed on "That'll do, Puig. That'll do." Yasiel Puig puns = never not funny.
On the other hand, a 14+ inning game is basically a one-year event for each team (1 in 151 games).
Also, since I got bored, I estimated the probability that a game lasts more than the current MLB (26 innings, Brooklyn Robins @ Boston Braves, http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=192005010BSN) and professional (33 innings, Rochester Red Wings @ Pawtucket Red Sox, http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Longest_game_in_Organized_Baseball_history).
Let's assume that, once you reach the Nth inning, the probability of reaching the (N+1)th inning is 53%, and that the fluctuation mentioned above is a sample size issue. That makes a 27+ inning affair a 1-in-567,488 event: a ~3,500-year event for a given franchise, and a 117-year event for MLB as a whole. Similarly, the odds of a 34+ inning game are 1-in-48,308,754, close to a 10,000-year event (okay, 9940) for all of MLB.
Saying it's up to the top of the Dodgers' rotation is tough. Looking at the stats from Kershaw's first 15 starts so far, his "average game" looks like this:
- 7.1 IP, allowing 1.7 runs
- 3 runs scored by LAD hitters
- 1.9 IP by the bullpen, with a RA9 of 5.20
That is a really excellent example. Offhand, all I can think of is the effect on turning the double play: maybe they think that moving Lowrie midgame messes with his footwork. That seems like such a small percentage of plays as to be negligible; however, it is something Russell left out of his analysis.
Another possible overlooked aspect is throws from the outfield: even if moving between LF and RF doesn't affect which balls you get to, it might affect opposing baserunners. If, say, you moved Manny Ramirez from LF to RF midgame you'd expect to see a lot more runners going from first to third on a single.
I dunno, it seems to me like you'd also have to know a lot to think that there's a 99% chance that a very proud, hyperscrutinized, hypercompetitive pitcher fueled by testosterone and adrenaline, charged with enforcing any number of unwritten rules, doesn't have some real or perceived beef with a hitter.
I mean, obviously, that prior probability for an arbitrary batter/pitcher matchup should be below 1 percent because the actual HBP rate is only 0.85 percent. On the other hand, you have anecdotal evidence (e.g., Pedro Martinez's comments on hit batters from spring training) suggesting that pitchers throw at hitters more than you think. And if P(Hit|Intent) = 90%, 90% of 1% is not too far off from 0.85%.
Something about that seems high, doesn't it? Even if you think there's only a 1% prior, you get .90*.01/(.90*.01 + .008*.99) = 53.2% chance he was throwing at him given that the batter was hit.
So, basically, for ANY hit batter, you can argue that there was intent?
"...the confidentiality rules of the JDA are *supposed* to require that the entire set of proceedings remain hush-hush and nobody ever find out that a player was even charged if the suspension is not upheld."
Good point. Suppose for a moment that, at the end of this investigation, Braun is cleared of involvement in Biogenesis somehow. At this point, he will have been publicly implicated in two separate PED incidents without ever having violated the JDA. The public perception of Braun will nevertheless be that he is a cheat. This won't cost him much in terms of contracts (he's signed through 2020), but might have a big impact on his endorsements. Because this confidentiality was violated, could Braun sue over those lost opportunities?
Not only that, but having the face of your franchise constantly embroiled in PED scandals could conceivably hurt your franchise's value, in terms of merchandise sales, tickets, TV viewership, etc. Obviously teams like the Brewers aren't going to sue MLB, but it might cause owners to put pressure on the commissioner's office to stop trying to publicly shame accused users, no?
For the record, there have been a total of 5,219 HBP since 2010 in 627,927 PAs, which works out to a little less than 0.84%. So you're right on that front.
But there must be SOME coincidences: there are obviously some pitches that get away from guys. Even when batters aren't hit, sometimes someone bounces a curveball five feet in front of home plate or throws it to the screen or something. What percentage of hit batsmen would you estimate are accidental? In other words, if there were no throwing at hitters as punishment, what would that percentage go down to?
Incidentally, there are way more HBP in the NL than in the AL this year (338 vs 284). This is abnormal (at least going back to 2010). Will this normalize? If not, is it nontrivial?
Tell me about it. Jason Parks' prose alone is well worth the subscription price. There are few things better on BP than reading him write about someone he is genuinely excited about.
Just out of curiosity, how many checked swings on 3-0 counts were there? I imagine it'd be waaaay less than the other counts since you have batters being told not to swing.
I hope that fan who gave Navarro his bat back got something awesome for it. Dude hit another home run with it! That's worth a "thank you", I'd think.
If he doesn't stick as a pitcher, he has a bright future as a Bond villain. Plus-plus name.
The counterpoint would be something like the Madden and SI cover jinxes: the players selected to play in the WBC most likely were coming off really good 2012s (even relative to their established performance levels) and thus were due to regress some anyway. So you'd have to also establish that the WBC players performed poorly relative to non-WBC players with statistically similar 2012s.
The abysmal starts of the teams that won the last few offseasons fascinates me, by the way. The Blue Jays, the Angels, the Dodgers, last year's Marlins, the 2011 Red Sox ... just baffling.
Re: Rodney and the WBC claim
Has anyone looked at the accuracy of preseason projections for WBC participants? If the WBC actually takes something out of these guys, you'd expect systems like PECOTA to consistently overrate their seasons. Maybe they'd be less likely to hit their 50th-percentile predictions, or something.
What I've always heard is that, in the old days, baseball fields were aligned such that home plate faced west (presumably for sun-related reasons) so, if you stood on the rubber with your arms extended, your left arm would be pointing roughly south.
But maybe we should back off this train of conversation. Wouldn't want to start a War of Northpaw Aggression.
Come on Sam, significant figures! No need to stretch those averages out to the hundred-millionths of a second.
I'm sure there's some correlation, but causation seems unlikely. Both PECOTA and the BP writers picked those teams due in no small part to the sexy offseason acquisitions they made. Now that we're a month into the season and many of those stars are underperforming/injured, PECOTA is slowly backing away from its initial optimism. What's wrong with that?
To save you a trip to Baseball Reference, the 2003 Royals finished 83-79 (+1 game), the 2003 Yankees finished 101-61 (-2), the 2003 Giants finished 100-61 (+2), and the 2003 Tigers finished 43-119 (-10).
By this method, the Royals are projected to go 81-81 in 2013, and the Red Sox are predicted to go 89-73.
[For the record, there's a typo in the equation in "Step 2": it's supposed to be Y = P + (I ..., not Y = P * (I ...]
Interesting idea. Three things come to mind:
1. Security concerns, especially in Caracas. This is a very small concern given that it can be solved with the judicious throwing of money.
2. Home leagues would complain about infringing of territory and loss of market share, especially in the DR and Venezuela. This is the reason FIFA gives for, e.g., not allowing the EPL to play the occasional regular season game stateside (States-side?). Granted, no one's confusing FIFA with a model governing body, but I think the point has some merit.
3. Arguably the biggest is the simple tyranny of distance. Caracas is 1,366 miles away from Miami; Milwaukee is closer. San Juan is 1,034 miles away; Philadelphia is closer. Santo Domingo is 829 miles away; that's almost the distance to D.C. It's a brutal travel schedule for any visiting team. Makes me wonder how teams did in the next series after playing the Expos in San Juan.