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Great article, though considering the A's seemed to totally overreach for a Boras client, I would have used the Pixies "Where is My Mind".
For what it seems like the past decade I have read in BP's Annual that Pecota projected that Paul Konerko and Mark Buerhle would be falling apart during the upcoming year. Outside of one year I'm guessing these guys have outkicked the coverage. (mixed metaphor and not even accurate) I've been pitching this article for awhile: Players who have overachieved versus their projected stat predictions (PECOTA if BP did it) over the past decade. It's not like you have to put it on the blurbs of your next book, but it would be really interesting and might be illuminating in some ways. I'm guessing Buerhle and Konerko would be in Top 10.
Putting Nate Silver in the same sentence as Bill James is a little much. Liked the rest of the piece, though.
As someone who has been his friend for nearly a decade, my favorite thing about UTK was that it's totally a reflection of Will Carroll. Intelligent, quirky, combative, funny, and original.
I have ranked each of your 1000 Under the Knife columns and this one is good one. I rank it at Number 89. Congrats.
Ah timing. I had just put this on my twitter, yesterday.
Time for my annual-Josh Hamilton reality check. Home split. 396/444/752. Road. 312/366/485. 2008-345/408/611. Road. 263/311/448. Not MVP.
Miguel Cabrera numbers. Home. 337/436/603. Road. 341/417/671. Park adjusted it's not even close. Even after giving Josh points defensively.
Ask Milton Bradley about his thoughts on Rangers home park. 2008 Home. 358/466/679. Away. 290/410/462. This park makes a hitter rich.
17 AL hitters have a better OBP & SLG % than Hamilton's road stats. 13 AL hitters have an OPS better than his road 851 Cabrera slam-dunk MVP.
I suspect his story and the Rangers playoff clinch will give him the award, but I don't see where the race should be close based on statistical merit.
Buerhle gets no respect among statheads every year, but produces at a level that isn't appreciated on levels that should be. His killing of other team's running games makes up some for his lack of strikeouts, as does his superior fielding. The big thing that the guy does is bring a quality start almost every time he hits the bump. He did this in the AL, which Oswalt and Hudson (partially in NL) can't point to. I believe Buerhle pitched in the biggest hitting park of any of these pitchers you mention. Sabathia, Halladay, and Santana were better, but I think Buerhle's overall work puts him right there with anyone else during the decade.
Typical of TangoTiger to tout someone like Vasquez who looks good on paper, with his great K rate, but has been a below average starter 3 of his seasons and has been badly in the AL except the one season in Chicago.
A few years back, I believe it was USA Today rated the radio teams. Number 1 rank was Rooney and Ed Farmer. They were were as good as it gets. I'm someone who likes the interplay between 2 people, sorry Scully fans, so when 2 guys connect like Rooney and Farmer did, it's like a musical duet or a comedy team at its peak.
I like Hamilton, as his passion is infectious, like Gus Johnson doing b-ball or Musberger doing college football.
Great article. I really enjoyed the mix of feature writing with sabermetric principles.
The most exciting hitter to watch if you were sabermetric fan during the 90's. He had to be as physically menacing of a hitter for a pitcher to face since Frank Howard.
I agree with about everything you offered except the Dave Matthews comparison. Why anyone loves him is beyond me.
The versatility thing/combined with being a good guy in the dugout makes you worth more than your numbers. Just not the way the DeRosa is being touted. This is why I like the White Sox deal of getting Teahen, as he has very similar skills, plus is much cheaper.
I remembered that most of the BP writers couldn't pull the trigger on the PECOTA-defying Angels. The thing I didn't recall was how many had Holliday rated as a strong AL MVP candidate. That one really stuns me, as Holliday greatly gained from his home splits at Coors, plus Oakland is such a pitcher's park. Didn't seem like good analysis on that one.
Hey, I can buy the conservative wins part, but for him to having a losing record every year...that is really hard to swallow, but of course when you are off a run or more in ERA, that will occur. Not to be a broken record (is that a cliche I can use anymore? Let's try a poorly ripped download), but no player more deserves a detailed breakdown of the failure of PECOTA than Buehrle.
danlbfaks- Check out PECOTA versus final tally on Buehrle's wins, ERA and WHIP over the past decade. It has been pretty far off every year, but one. I know that the peripheral stats are fairly close, but that was precisely my point. Buehrle wins games and gives up less runs than any predictive system can measure. Just this year, PECOTA was predicting Buehrle to go 10 wins, 11 losses. His next 7 seasons are projected to be 9-11 (2010), 8-11 (2011), 8-11 (2012), 7-11 (2013), 4-7 (2014), and 3-4 (2015). None of these seasons was he expected to pitch 200 innings, despite the fact that he has thrown over 200 innings every full-season of his career (since 2001). Are you buying PECOTA on him over the next few seasons?
The predictive systems are broken on him. You are right to mention that he pitches so much better with runners on. This is precisely why Buehrle is one of the few players that I think challenges SABR principles. I buy the religion (SABR), but it is important to have an open-mind to how some its scripture can be flawed.
This is the kind of piece that makes BP the best source of baseball writing, an in-depth look at the game. Best recap of the specifics of Buehrle's gem I've read.
No pitcher has caused me to reexamine some of my SABR theories more than Buehrle. Sure being a power-pitcher of the Clemens variety is optimal, but having a guy who consistently gives you a quality start, has a golden glove, and the best pick-off move in the game is another way of going about being a great pitcher. PECOTA and the other predictive systems have whiffed more on Buehrle than any other player the past decade. His current ERA is more than a run below expected and it is even below his 90% projection. For us who have watched him during his career, we are not that surprised. One of those few exceptions where you have to watch him pitch on a regular basis to see why he can excel. Despite lacking a wipeout pitch or a fastball that is over 90 mph, he gives the White Sox a chance to win almost every time he toes the rubber.
Perfect timing to do a whole piece on how PECOTA has almost always whiffed on Mark Buehrle. I have been pitching someone at BP to do an investigation on the reasons why PECOTA has been off on Buehrle more than any other pitcher during the past decade.
I'm still waiting for the story by BP of how Buehrle manages to outperform his projections almost every season. This year, the White Sox have won almost every game that he's started. He actually should have at least 10 wins. His ERA is 3.09, his WHIP is 1.12. The guy has been the most consistent pitcher in baseball during the decade, while pitching in an offensive park. Sure he doesn't strikeout enough batters to get PECOTA wet, but this doesn't mean his consistency shouldn't be recognized. He was an automatic selection, not one where Maddon should have kept him off, instead of Dye.
Excellent piece, Jay. The lower amount of decisions was really interesting. I wouldn't throw Buehrle out of the mix so quickly. He might claim he's going retire at 31, but I suspect he will be one of those guys who pitches until he's in his 40's. He's been the most durable pitcher of his time during his career, as he hits over 200 innings ever year, without having any major injury issues.
I know the metrics don't like him, but I believe he's exceeded them every season but one over this decade. Considering his durability, consistency, and how young he was when he began his career, I think he sits right behind Sabathia and Halladay for most likely to hit 300. I suspect he finish up with around 265, but I sure wouldn't drop him for saying he will retire at 31. I'm not sure there isn't a pitcher in baseball who has more fun playing the game than Buehrle.
Great stuff, Steven. I love the statistical analysis that BP brings on a daily basis, but it's always refreshing to get some personal info on writers. I don't know if it helps inform future articles on baseball, but it gives me a little more insight on who I'm reading, which makes me generally connect better with the piece.
It would seem that Mr. Goldman didn't have the Spirit of St. Louis rushing through his veins that day. Can't say that I'm much of a fan of flight, myself.
Here's the sentence that bothered me.
"See, somewhere in that crowd was a little boy, a little girl, who’ll have no memory of the old park, no awareness that the parking structure across the street is where the team played for 87 years."
Considering the tickets prices for the new stadium, it was some very rich little boy and girl. While it's expensive to take a family to a game in any major league park, at new Yankee stadium it's priced out of almost anyone's budget that isn't part of the 5% of taxpayers the Tea Party patriots were trying to protect.
My point lends itself as much to the concept that picking any AL Central team to sell-off players is really unlikely, as the division winner will most-likely win less than 90. We will see.
Wise played much of the last 2 months of the year in 2008 and I would guess Getz will have a better VORP than Juan Uribe. Then it comes down to A.J. versus A.J.
It just has been a general theme around BP to underrate the White Sox. Maybe with Christina and Will picking the Sox to win the Central, it will tilt the axis and they will underachieve their PECOTA. :)
I just think Toronto or Houston would have been better examples. The great part of being less than one week into the season is we will see.
I am biased to a certain extent, but it does seem like a general theme for most hypotheticals at BP that it would begin with the White Sox will be out of the race by July. How about the Tigers fitting that description better, considering the economic issues in Detroit, plus some heavy veteran salaries? Not the White Sox who with the exception of 2007 have won 89, 90, 99, 83, 86, 81, 83, 95 respectively this decade. I believe a .500 record would keep a team in contention in the AL Central during 2009. Now Toronto or Houston....
Best opening day game story I've read this year. Great stuff, Christina.
Has there ever been a year where there was more divergence in opinion on a division than what is going on with the AL Central? Sheehan picks the White Sox last, but Karhl and Carroll have them in first.
We will see.
I agree that this is more of an entertainment news type story. What was more unethical? Using steroids or having results that weren\'t supposed to be released. I wrote this at my nsfwsports.com site. SATIRE ALERT.
Here are the other names besides A-Rod who tested positive.
* Curt Schilling
* David Eckstein
* Hank Steinbrenner (Many are unaware that this test was for all people involved in MLB.)
* Wendy Selig (She has shamed the game.)
* Gene Orza (Wishes he would’ve been alerted.)
* Peter Gammons (Second-hand pot smoke from a Pearl Jam concert.)
* Mel Allen (How bout that!)
* Bobby Bonds (Second-hand clear.)
* Hank Aaron (Didn’t see that one coming.)
* Steve Howe (Might have been a clerical error.)
* Michael Phelps
* Lance Armstrong (I knew it.)
* Greg LeMond (Well that figures.)
* Brutus Beefcake
* George Will (Now that one is a shocker.)
* Cokie Roberts (How do you think she got the name?)
* Ted Haggard
* Jeff Conway (Hey, his back hurt and anyway it was his girlfriend’s fault.)
* Andy Dick (His name is automatically put on the top of the list for any drug test.)
* Kevin Costner (Well that ruins Field of Dreams for me.)
* George W. Bush (Left in his system from his time with the Texas Rangers.)
In a division where a team could win it with a barely above .500 record, one player can make a bigger difference than usual. The one player who has the biggest upside/downside in all of baseball is Liriano. When healthy, he\'s been lights out. There is a big question about his health, though. If he pitches 200 innings, I would think the Twins will win the Central, unless their are major injuries to multiple key players.
I don\'t see the Royals-love.
It\'s a big story, but not surprising. I respect Alex as much as I ever did because he was doing everything in his power to be the best player he could be. The league wasn\'t testing and steroid use was pretty rampant. The players that didn\'t use were cheating their teams. When players during this period didn\'t use, they should have been more outspoken about pushing the union and the owners into drug testing.
Look at the explosion in size during this time. Fans who are shocked now by the names that are coming out were deluding themselves.
There is a drug test now and the book should be thrown at the cheats. But when there was no test, I didn\'t see it that way. I expect any athlete to try to be the best they can be and when 10, 20, 30... percent of your fellow players are on the juice, you should consider it yourself.
Galesburg, IL has less than 35,000 people and is a little more than 3 hours away from both St. Louis and Chicago. How the hell does this guy have a Hall of Fame vote?