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To me, as a fan, there is value in watching a great defensive play. It's pretty rare that a home run makes me go "wow"; most home runs look pretty much the same; occasionally you might marvel at the height or the distance or something. It's fielding feats (and occasionally baserunning) that make you say "wow, what a play" and really remember it when you get home. That's what makes an exciting game to me.
On a different subject: not that fielding percentage needs any more piling on, but the thing about the stat that always burned me is that it's not really a percentage, in that there are a set number of plays you either make, or don't. Lots of errors aren't "chances" unless they become errors. An outfielder fields a single on two hops and throws it in, and he gets no stat of any type. Unless the throw is wild, then it's an error. There are lots of examples of that, plays where you can only get a bad result, but no credit for the good result. It's pretty basic math to say that is NOT a percentage.
Re: Griffey. Cincinnati is just different. The town, not the team. Having lived there, and a bunch of other cities too, it's just different. Anybody who goes to high school in the city has a connection, whether they want to or not. I'm not saying its good or bad, but if you haven't lived there, and you think normal standards apply, you're missing the whole point.
There really aren't a lot of creative new ideas left in terms of strategy, so its rare you see something really novel. But managers are not a particularly creative or daring group.
I think it was Earl Weaver (or was it Billy Martin) who used to list one of his starting pitchers as the DH and then pinch hit for him the first time he came up. He was just trying to not commit to what player to use until he saw the situation. Until the league made a rule against doing that.
Another clever idea that I read about somewhere that should be used more often: When you're going to IBB a guy and then change pitchers, they usually let the departing pitcher throw the IBB. But if the next hitter you are going to actually face is a weaker hitter (as he usually would be), or even the pitcher, there may be a lefty-righty matchup issue and the potential of a pinch hitter. The other team might wait and see who you bring in and then announce the pinch hitter (or not) and you're stuck with the match up. So why not bring in the reliever to issue the IBB. Then he has faced his one hitter, so if you don't like the match-up, you can relieve him again. I've seen it done once or twice, but I've seen managers fail to do it and get a bad match up far more often.
The problem with Owings this year is that he was just borderline enough as a pitcher to make it into the rotation. He competed in spring with Bailey and Masset, and part of the reason he got the spot was because of what he added with the bat, both on the days he pitched and as a pinch hitter on the other days. And he did contribute in that role, doing as well as any of the Reds other pinch hitters, including a game winning home run in extra innings.
But then once his mound performance slipped to the point where he got moved to the bullpen, the pinch-hitting gig became totally unworkable. It sounds silly, but where does he sit during the game? He can't come running in from the bullpen to pinch hit. Well, I guess he could. But more critically, you don't feel free using him in one role, because you fear you might need him later in the game in the other role. And as a converted starter, he needed more time to get ready than a typical reliever. They tried a couple times having him pinch hit for the pitcher and then stay in to pitch, and that just didn't work, because he didn't get a chance to get ready as a pitcher.
23 other teams have lost for even more straight years.
3 thoughts on this business:
1. If the Yankees lose this series, it will mean 3 straigth losses on short rest. Don't know if it SHOULD, but it WILL have the effect that we will never again see teams using starters on short rest in the post-season, or at least not a whole rotation of them, maybe one horse.
2. If you're the Phillies right now, you have to win two games, which means you need two more good starting performances. Doesn't really matter what order they happen in. Add in that there is some discussion of whether Hamels should get the Game 7 start, vs. Happ. I know it will never happen, but why not pitch Happ in Game 6 and give Pedro an extra day off (which he's used to) and put the most experienced starter in the most visible, pressure-packed setting?
3. Lots of discussion all over the web about how Cashman should have made sure the Yankees had a better fourth starter option. That really brings it home to those of us whose team is in the bottom half in payroll. When the Yankess fourth starter is better than our second, by this point in the season after the inevitable injuries and shut downs. Choose your words, spoiled fans, sense of entitlement, just getting used to it. Kind of like it burns me up around July 30 when commentators are saying this or that big market team "needs another bat"...compared to what?
Statistically, the difference between Posada and Molina at the plate is at most one out in the course of a single game. I don't think Posada scoops the ball out of the dirt and makes the pick-off behind the runner at first. You've made up your one out right there.
"World Series coming home"??? Like anytime it is played elsewhere its not a legitimate series? Nauseating. Does he really think that way?? Enough to make me cancel my subscription.
This is the first year in the last 35 that I have not followed the MLB post-season, and that with a baseball-mad 10 year old living in my household. And a surprising amount of that is due to all the extra off days. The post season has lost its continuity and I just can't bring myself to get maintain my interest.
It wasn't just Bonds. There have only been six men in history who hit 600 or more home runs in their careers. Do you realize that this past year was the FIRST year in Baker's managerial career (spanning 16 years and 3 different teams) that he didn't have one of those 6 men on his team!
Kinda makes filling out a line-up card a little easier.
I agree with what I think is the thesis, but I'm not so sure about the numbers that got you there.
By and large, all these are going to be winning teams, and its pointed out that most of the teams did have winning records in September. But once you get to the post-season, its a competition between good teams, with good records, yet somebody has to lose, by definition. That fact all but ensures a near-zero correlation, mathematically.
On top of that, the measure that late season record is correlated against ("first round success"?) is not defined exactly, but if its just a binary (won/not won) variable, that doesn't give you much variance to work with, which will also hold down correlations. Or said differently, can make even a very small correlation meaningful (significant). What looks like "a whole lot of nothing" might actually be something.
Not sure the criticism of Baker for sticking Stubbs and Janish at the top of the order is really fair. This wasn't done until they were out of the race. Given the budget situation, they probably start next year. Better now to figure out if/where they fit than to wait until it "counts" in 2010.
Comment on WNBA is just plain rude. I'm a big fan.
To some extent, the likelihood of the 4th guy getting a start (in a 5 game series) is a function of the strength of the top of the rotation, which makes computing those expected values of games a bit recursive.
Also, to address a comment in the main article that said the 4th guy only gets one start per series...if you are forced to go the distance in consecutive series (or fight right up to the end of the regular season to make it) that's not necessarily true. An advantage of winning early and easily.
I find it a bit of a stretch to talk about one team being in another team's "head" based on something that happened in 2002 and 2005. Somebody should tally up how many of the same players are even on the teams from those years.
Actually its a stretch to say a team gets in another team's head at all; these are professionals. But especially when it's a whole other group of guys.
I don't know, maybe it is mission critical that you treat your fans right, in some sense of the word. Isn't that how all businesses work, you have to take care of your paying customers, above all else? Is there a higher mission for a business?
"Scott Rolen isn't doing anything that doesn't suggest that shutting him down for next season might not just be the right idea"
What a tortured sentence. Triple negative? Quadruple? I'm not sure, but I had to read it three times to figure out what it meant. Used to love the column, CK, but you're really slipping. The editor needs and editor.
You say the result was predictable in February, but there was no way to know at that time that Dunn would perform around his 90th percentile.
Well, yeah, except that St. Louis is not a meaningfully larger market than Pittsburgh.
My son (10 years old, multi-sport athlete) loaned his hockey gloves to a baseball teammate who had a broken finger. Seemed to work fine; don't know if they would be legal at professional level. (For those who don't know hockey equipment, the back of each finger is individually padded.)
Okay, but I missed something. One leg of the triple crown is RBI. I don't see a column for RBI in the spreadsheet. Obviously, that is dependent on teammates being on base, etc. Even if you take that as a constant, how do the different batting results get turned into "RBI" or "not". Heck, even an out can lead to an RBI.
90th percentile is good, but not necessarily historic or something to get too excited about. It could just be "chance", by which I mean, you would ordinarily expect 2 or 3 players on any team to reach their 90th percentile every year.
It's tough for a closer to get a win. Yes, they sometimes come into tie games. But (somebody could check), I would guess that a high percentage of wins by closers were the result of blowing a save and then having their team score in the next half inning. It's rarely even a sign of a good outing.
Yes, that's exactly right. You can't just add the probabilities of the different competitors catching him. Because there's a chance that 2 of them would catch him, which also means that there is a greater chance than (1-sum) that no one does. To illustrate, what if 4 different guys each had a 30% chance of catching him (adds to 120%)? Would that means Pujols has no chance of winning the title?
Did you notice that Sports Illustrated published the results of a poll of MLB players about what player gets the least out of the most talent? They listed the top 5 vote getters. They didn't point it out, but 4 of the 5 played for the Nationals, either last year or this year.
I'm not really suggesting that the player assume the majority of the risk, but rather some sort of splitting of the risk, between team and player; still a large signing bonus or guaranteed money, just not a huge one. And its more than risk, in the sense of risk of injury, there's also just some unproven, unknown element of the commodity, so it's leaving the question open until more facts are revealed.
Here's a suggestion.
I'm not talking about the whole draft, not even a couple rounds, but the guys signing major league contracts (rather than minor league; going right on the 40-man, if I understand correctly) with mega-bonuses, why not heavily incentive-laden contracts?
Instead of $15 million signing bonuses or whatever, take $3 million (still no poor house) and sign a contract that starts paying you like a post-free-agency performer, if/when you perform like one. That reduces some risk for the teams, allows "small market" teams to have a chance to sign top guys they draft without leveraging the major league roster, and it would have gotten Mark Prior paid like Pettitte and Colon for his first few (productive) years. When Boras lays out his argument and says, "my guy is going to do X and Y and Z", a team can respond "and when he does, he gets his 20 mill"
As Zimmerman points out, Strasburg is NOT going to fall to the Yankees next time around.
Couldn't agree more. Terms need to be defined. Totally unintelligible, unless you already know all this, and in that case, there's nothing to learn.
Any word (or speculation) on the PTBNL the Reds get for Stormy?
Only a Yankees fan would call those contract terms "not bad at all." 25 of the 30 teams could not afford that; maybe the others are set at 2B.
Wow, this discussion is so wonderfully geeky I can hardly contain myself. I wish more or my colleagues (who, professionally-speaking SHOULD be able to have these kinds of discussions) could follow all that. Anybody here interested in a job analyzing marketing and survey data?
SI actually did a nice little article this summer on the transition for Latin teenagers. If you think it's tough for an 18 year old middle class Californian going to Georgia, imagine a dirt-poor 16 year old Dominican who speaks no English doing it.
Living arrangements (at MLB level) during the season would be interesting. Those guys that seem to be at a different team every year (the literal "journeymen" a la Reggie Sanders). Do they literally live in hotels, get a cheap apartment, move the whole family (if they have one, does it matter if they have one?). What are the variables that determine who does what? How many players have actually bought a "primary" home in the city they play in (assuming it's not their original home) and live year round. At what point do guys do that; after how many years at the same place, or when they sign a long contract? What about guys who are called up during the season knowing its probably just for a few weeks (replacing a DL'ed guy). Do they have to find a place? Do teams maintain a few apartments for the "rotating" guys in the last couple roster spots that change all season? Or do they get extra per diem if they are literally living in a hotel?
The research and the premise behind this article were outstanding. Great to see you on the team, Matt. I'm a professional statistician so I actually understood most of this, but I felt that, by usual BP standards, there was more jargon and less explanation, and I fear more of the readers were lost. It's such good work, I hated to see that happening.
Chris Welsh, ex-player and "color" commentary guy on Reds TV has taken to using the phrase "small sample size" quite frequently and appropriately this year.
Who knows, when did the rule that every team has to have an All-Star rep come into being? Or maybe it's always been there, but in the days of 8-team leagues it had less import, as you were likely to pick somebody from every team even without a rule. In any case, I have to believe that rule would be responsible for a whole slew of these "most-obscure" All-Star selections.
Incidentally, I actually think the rule is a good thing, even though I know many analytical types disagree. The All-Star game is nothing if not a showcase for the game designed to attract the kids, the casual fans, etc. And I think everyone should be able to tune in and have some hometown star to watch, whoever he happens to be.
Nice article. I have a couple concerns, but they are not so much criticisms, as just suggestions to go beyond the intended scope of this piece.
First, I have concerns about how well DTs work when stretched into an era SO different from the one we are all concerned about. For example, HR/9 can be converted to what it would be, relative to the era, in a "neutral" year, but what we haven't converted for is the relative importance of the stat. I mean, you can figure out how to convert HR/9, but you need to take account somehow of the fact that it was a much less meaningful or important stat in 1917 than it is today, perhaps comparable to triples/9 innings for pitchers today, something that is not really tracked and probably pitcher-to-pitcher differences are virtually random (maybe why Babe was so close to average on his converted numbers).
Second, the entire discussion focuses on rate stats, rather than counting stats, and thus robs the Babe of credit for pitching so many innings (which was mentioned in passing). Surely a pitcher with the same rate stats is contributing a lot more to his team if he maintains that pace over 1/4 of his team's innings or more (per 1917) as compared to a typical-for-today more like 1/6 or 1/7 of his team's innings.
That game (when Whiten hit 4) was the second half of a twi-light double header that started about 5:00. The previous day's game had been rained out, so they were going to try to play two the next night. I had tickets to the originally-scheduled game on the second night, but it was a business related client-entertainment thing. When we realized there were two games, we decided to go ahead and have dinner as planned, get to the park around 7 (which was the original starting time of the original game) watch the last bit of the first game, and then most of the second game.
Well, we arrived in the 7th inning of the first game, and the last 3 innings took over 2 hours to play. There were, I think, 3 different 3-run comebacks in that time, and the Cards actually lost the game on a big error by Mark Whiten. It was another drizzly night, and it was going to be almost 10 before the "original" game started, since they give the teams about 1/2 hour between double-headers. Clients were tired and had an early flight, so we left.
So I was AT Mark Whiten's 4 homer game, but didn't see any of it.
This is fun, reading all these.
My only game at Wrigley ended 1-0. Run scored on a bases-loaded two out bunt by Chris Speier. I kid you not.
And all this happened in one day:
Cubs at Reds on a Sunday afternoon in 1998. Before the game, there was an old-timers game. Even among the old-timers, Joe Nuxhall was too old then to really play, but he put on a uniform. Poor guy had an artificial hip. They let him pinch hit though and he absolutely ripped a double down the line. Best hit ball of the whole old-timers game. He was pushing 70. Wow.
Then, being Sunday, they had a "kids run-on the field" before the game. One kid went out with each Reds player and stood by him during the national anthem, got a ball signed, and then ran off the field. We were there early for the old-timers game, and some club employee saw my 4 year old daughter in her Reds cap and t-shirt and more or less randomly picked her. She had the little pony tail sticking out through the open half-circle in the back of the adjustable cap. She was the youngest of the 9 kids picked, and thus the cutest, so they had her run on the field with the pitcher. All kids names were announced. She stood by Reds starter David Weathers. Took off her cap for the national anthem and then couldn't get the pony tail back through the gap (she was only 4), so David Weathers bent down on one knee and helped her get it back on right, immediately before straightening up and throwing the first pitch of the game.
He's left the Reds and returned twice since then, and my daughter is 15 now, but he's still our favorite player.
And by the way, his mound opponent that day was a rookie Kerry Wood who threw one of the most dominant games I had ever seen in person, 2 hits and around 10 K's, and he was only, I think, 20 years old.
I'm pretty sure that one of Ray Fosse's brothers ended up as one of the prison guards with responsibility over Rose.
Back during the time the Tigers were lobbying for the money and approval and land and such, to build the new (what became Comerica)park, one of the promises made was that the old stadium would be preserved and, among other things, they would play high school baseball state championship game there.
Would have been very cool, had it happened.
Excellent. If this BP thing doesn't work out, I have a job for you analyzing marketing data. I would have liked to see you roll it all up at the end and tell me the overall r-square of everything you looked at combined (and yes, it can be calculated, even though it wasn't one big linear regression).
A couple of times there is an implication that teams "got it right" when higher picks had more success. But success was admittedly defined by a pretty low bar. I think they causation may be reversed...the player may have gotten his cup of coffee (or WARP>10) because of his high draft place (and concomitant investment) as much as because of his talent and performance after being drafted.
Got nothing to do with MLB, but that's the week's theme, right?:
Every now and then you really do get a girl (I have a niece who was one) who makes it to 12 as a little leaguer and truly is the best player on the field, with the right kind of skills, not just early physical development, but real potential, at least to stand out in a local little league. When that 12 year old season ends, and the boys are ready to move on to bigger and better things, it truly is the end for her, and truly tragic. You can feel the pain of the girl who knows she never gets to play again. It's always painful (in any sport you love) when you finally reach the point where you're just not good enough to go on any longer. Most of us got there in high school or so, and I'm sure most of these girls would too, but to be told you don't even get to find out what that point is, is heartbreaking.
He never batted lead-off for the Reds.
I only lived in the Detroit area about 2 years, back in 1989-1991. And I fell in love with the stadium. It's like losing a member of my family, but in my mind it happened a few years back. There's not enough of the original structure left; this is like somebody's ashes being misplaced or something; a tragedy, but not the real tragedy, not the real death, which I've already mourned and moved on from.
An interesting observation. Around 1990, I distinctly recall a plaque on the front of the building, commemorating that it had been named to the "national register of historic places" or some such, which I believe offers a building some protection and prevents it from being destroyed, lest we lose an important historical landmark. That was around 1990. I moved away in 1991 but when the stadium was closing in 1999, I went back for a weekend in the last month to see one final game. I was concerned even then about the eventual demolition of the place, and I looked around for the plaque I remembered, to see just what exactly it said and what protection exactly it promised. But it was no where to be found. Hmmm.
Look like a couple of football scores, don't they? Bowl games, maybe.
Ohio State 13 Georgia 6
Florida State 37, Ohio State 6
Joey Votto was my first thought too.
But it's NOT worse, according to the chart. That's what has me confused.
I agree. That's kind of exactly the point I was making in my comment just below.
I still don't understand how the Reds' adjusted ERA went up, when they had one of the worst DEFs. Is it just a typo?
One about the Dusty Baker/Micah Owings/Aaron Harang issue. For what its worth, the Reds have 2 scheduled off-days in 5 days, so they planned to skip Micah Owings and announced even before the series that he would be available in the bullpen. Yet its ironic that this came almost exactly a year after the infamous Aaron Harang relief appearance, and against the same opponent.
Other comment about pitch counts for young pitchers, especially the comment about Little Leaguers. I coached Little League years ago (mid to late '80s), before there were any pitch count limits. Just a local league, not any premier players or anything. They only had innings limits back then (and a LL inning can get pretty long). We didn't even count pitches, but I always was more conservative than the official rules, on IP and days rest between pitching, sometimes much to the consternation of competitive parents. But the ironic thing was that these kids lived for baseball. They would go home after our game and play for three hours in somebody's back yard, and probably through 200 more pitches. And never had a problem. I'm all about erring on the side of caution (actions speak louder than words) and I'm not doctor, but my hypothesis is that pre-puberty, boys could probably pitch all day and all night with minimal ill-effects.
On a slightly related note, even if there is potential for danger, I'm not so sure the risk is a bad thing vis-a-vis the reward. Too many arguments for pitch count limits at young ages seem to assume every little leaguer is destined for professional baseball if only abusive adults don't destroy his career before he gets there. Come on, it's one-in-10,000 at best. I'm not talking about a h.s. stud who already has a commitment at AZ. But more like the NAIA pitcher with really nothing to lose, I say if a kid has a shot to be "the stud" once in his life, even if he's 11 because he happened to get an early growth spurt or something, well, most of us never have that shot, even once. Let's let him enjoy it without worrying too much about some imagined, fictional future.
I'm confused. The higher defensive efficiency scores at the top of the chart lead to the Adjusted ERAs being higher than the straight ERAs. But at the bottom of the chart, Cincinnati's ERA is also adjusted upward, even with a very poor defense. What am I missing?
This is a topic I've thought about for a long time. I LIKE pinch runners and third catchers and defensive substitutes and supersubs that play a bunch of positions, pitchers who can pinch hit and position players who can pitch; these are the "regular guys" who are fun to root for and it makes following the "chess match" of the game more interesting.
The thing I've thought about is reducing roster sizes (making owners happy!) in "stealth" mode. Rather than just outright say "you only get 24 guys", the same aim could essentially be achieved by putting further limits on roster flexibility. Make the DL minimums longer, so teams are more reluctant to use them. Make it harder to send guys up and down by changing the rules around "options", or making a longer minimum stay with fewer exceptions. I think casual fans (who support the game) get more interested and stay more interested if the cast of characters doesn't change so rapidly.
Salaries would be reduced by having less time with guys being paid major league salaries not on the 25-man roster. Going on the DL doesn't change your salary, so many teams are paying 28-30 guys at a time.
I'm not sure what the net effect of this would be. Maybe the players would howl just as much as if the roster limit were reduced outright. What I would LIKE to see would be that teams would have to carry more positional flexibility in their 25 guys. They would probably have to have 3 guys who can catch and 2 utility infielders, to maintain some in-game flexibility if one guy is out for a week but not DL'ed. I think this would force more 14-11 if not 15-10 roster construction. Maybe even a return to the 4-man rotation.
To play devil's advocate, what MIGHT happen is that teams would feel the need to carry even more pitching, so they would have their precious 2 LOOGYs even if one LOOGY has a minor injury. Or that teams would ride their pitchers through minor injuries or to too many innings in truly irresponsible fashion.
But I think somewhere in there is something that could make analysis-friendly types and crusty old-timers alike happy (as well as owners and anyone who has to buy a ticket to support the teams).
I think if you step back and think about this from the 30,000 foot level, it is inevitable that, the first time Hamilton really got hurt, this sort of rumor would start. Doesn't mean its true or false, but of all the millions of idle minds out there, and the way people will pick up a juicy notion and run with it, I would have been surprised to NOT hear it.
On a different topic, no discussion of Encarnacion?
I think that's a really slippery slope you're suggesting there. A few years back, when the commissioner was talking about radical realignment of the divisions and leagues, Ol' leatherpants here in Cincinnati suggested that the teams should be realigned into a "large market league" and a "small market league" so that the smaller market teams would just play each other and would have a chance to win.
But think about what happens next. If you're a top-flight free agent, where do you want to play? In the "large" league, where the money is, or the "small" league? Any self-respecting superstar doesn't want to play in the "lower" league, where the media lights are not as bright. Over time, that sort of dynamic only intensifies the differences in the caliber of play between the leagues, and pretty soon you've just established a de-facto minor league, somewhere above AAA, but with the players in the league still aspiring to move up to the "higher" league.
As to the first response above, no, I don't think it's over the top. Which part do you doubt, that 6 games against tougher competition could swing a division? Or that the reason the schedule has persisted that way is because the "rivalries" are so lucrative?
I think the length (and content) of this chain of comments stands as evidence against the claim that Joe is merely preaching to the choir.
Strength of schedule is the reason my blood boils so much over interleague play as well. Those 6 extra games the Yankees play against the Mets, while the Rays play the Marlins, can make all the difference, even within a division.
What I find ironic is how those big rivalries (Reds/Indians around here) always sell out; they even raise ticket prices for that "big" series. Fans who think they are "supporting" their team are actually shooting the team in the foot, by encouraging with their dollars the perpetuation of the behavior that can keep their own team out of the post-season.
Well, shoot. I just saw what Nate put up...guess I should read all the articles before I comment.
I would like to see a concrete example of how much some of these differences really matter in PECOTA. Sure, most of the examples are at the extremes, so there probably aren't good comparables to the correct values, but take somebody like Fielder and re-run PECOTA with two or three different weight values. Is that a difficult thing to do? Are we talking 2 or 3 runs, or a real, meaningful difference?
Here in Cincinnati, one of the (many, undeserved) knocks on Adam Dunn was that while he hit his 40 home runs every year, a disproportionate number were solo homers, with no one on base, when the team was down by a bunch of runs late in the game; that he wasn't "clutch", most of his home runs didn't matter. I admit I had the same thought, watching the team every day, it did SEEM that way, but the analyst in me said it was probably just perception, or small sample size.
Until I got to thinking, the conventional wisdom when you're pitching with the bases empty and a big lead is you don't nibble around and walk the guy, you "go after" him. If there really is a different pitching style in certain situations, then it would be no surprise if results were different, and Adam Dunn really did hit more home runs when pitchers were "challenging" him.
If a different situational pitching style in low-leverage situations can show up in a hitter's stats, it could and should certainly show up in pitchers' stats as well, whether they are closers or not.
I would be curious whether there are differences in non-save situations that are non-save because the team has too big of a lead to qualify, versus situations where it's non-save because the game is tied (closers often used in extra inning games), or because the team is slightly, or hopelessly, behind.
Interesting article. Interesting to me, anyway, because this is exactly the kind of analysis I do for a living. (Not exactly the escapism I usually get from BP, where's the baseball?)
But (to address the first post) the point is not what marketers "think." It's what marketers have empirically demonstrated. Just like the "old school" vs. sabermetric perspective on baseball, you can act on what you "think" or you can do the research and analysis without pre-conceived ideas about what is true or not.
Just like BP can make pretty solid probabilistic estimates of how a player will perform (PECOTA), I (and plenty of others like me) can make pretty solid projections of how consumers will behave. Maybe not individual consumers (you may very well be the exception) but prevalent enough to maximize profits.
If you buy at all into an analysis-based or "Moneyball" approach to baseball, don't think for a minute the same thing isn't going on in the world of marketing.
If you advance by going 2-1 (winning the "losers bracket") you still play a fourth game, against the 2-0 team, to determine whether you are a "1" or "2" seed in the next round. That could happen in both the first and second rounds. Theoretically, a team could play 4 in both those rounds, and then 2 in the championship round, for 10 total.
Actually, it's every 3. Right? And to correct a comment in the article, I believe under the current format, the theoretical maximum is 10 games, not 8.
Strictly from a fantasy standpoint, spring training numbers may be meaningful to the extent that they contribute to the player making the team or getting a larger (starting) role, in situations where there are true spring training \"battles\" going on. That is true only to the extent that those stats matter to the decision makers, which seems to vary from team to team.
I\'m glad to see that the \"DCs\" have been updated, except that I have no blessed idea what a \"DC\" is. Admittedly I have no interest in fantasy baseball (very few of my fantasies involve major league baseball) but I\'ve been a subscriber for over year. Come on people, let\'s not get too acronym happy.
I guess you can\'t list every last player on the roster, but I\'m interested in where Norris Hopper would rate. He showed amazing potential for one month in 2007 and hasn\'t been healthy since, but he\'s the type who has to be completely healthy to be worth much.
Regarding \"the best shape of my life\", when Adam Dunn was making that pronouncement (before he had a job) this winter, the reaction in the Cincinnati media (Marty Brenneman and Hal McCoy in the center of it as always) was: if that\'s true, then he\'s been stealing from the Reds over the past few years.
There\'s something to that, if you buy the premise. Players might want to consider the negative reaction to that claim.
One thing beyond the scope of this article is career progression. I think the interesting thing is that almost nobody comes up as a \"finesse\" pitcher and then has a long successful career (anyone have an example to suggest). Some of the great finesse pitchers started out as power pitchers and then lost their power, due to injury, or just plain age. They were forced to \"learn to pitch\" to stay in the game. Frank Tanana is the prototypical example in my mind. I guess Moyer would be another, even Tommy John himself. But it seems to me a mystery and a shame that players have to \"lose\" something before they really learn to play the game at its highest level mentally. Does that say something about the arrogance of youth, the 22-year-old throwing 95 who doesn\'t think he needs to know anything else (Homer Bailey, I\'m talking to you)? Or does it say something about the coaching in the minor leagues? Can you just imagine if a power pitcher used finesse too, from a young age, what you would have (maybe that\'s Clemens, or Maddux, or Seaver, one of the true all-time greats)?
Ahhh, but if he sells enough marginal tickets (and without him it will be dismal) to make a meaningful revenue difference, that in turn could make a meaningful difference to next year\'s payroll to allow for the signing of an additional free agent or two, or locking up a youngster that might otherwise be lost, well, that\'s one path to \"rebuilding\" if rebuilding is defined as making yourself better 2 or 3 years down the road.
Okay, wow. I have a lot to say about this.
First, I listened to the first 8.5 innings of this game on the radio. Heard the Reds fall hopelessly behind with Belisle\'s early struggles, fight their way back, Weathers blew it in the 8th, took another lead in the 9th, Cordero comes on (I think no blown saves to that point in the season), probably 3 minutes left in the game and I had to get out of my car and take my kid inside to the hockey game. (Hey, it was the playoffs and Cincinnati won the minor league hockey championship; our only title in memory in any sport.) Imagine coming out of the hockey game 2 hours later, turning on the car, radio comes on, and Aaron Harang is pitching????
I actually thought the move made some sense at the time (I missed all the business about how they got to that point, using up Fogg and Bray and so on, and of course, no benefit of hindsight) but I think you have to give any manager some leeway and credit for knowing his players\' personalities, emotions, etc., in a way we never can from the outside. Cueto was a very young, very inexperienced, and very unknown commodity at that point in the season; he started the season strong and then a streak of very shaky outings. It makes sense to me that you might not want to break his routine. Even Volquez had considerably more major league experience. Let\'s face it, they are people, not Strat cards, and a manager (of people, in any business) needs to know his people.
One other comment, if teams really saved their long relievers the way this essay suggests, they would not get into a single game all year, unless you had one of those \"every two or three years\" 18-inning games.
Last thing, in response to the first reader comment: you might think you would demand a trade if Dusty was your manager, but the players all seem to love him and love playing for him. So, no, if you were a player, you probably wouldn\'t. Guess not too many of them are BP readers.
Leaving aside technicalities, there has to be a place for Ruth on the list. (Not checking) there must have been a year he hit 50+ and also got to pitch at least a couple innings. Maybe some other hitter who pitched a couple innings and gave up a home run (making it his career high in HR allowed), somebody like Canseco.
There\'s an ironic historic parallel to this discussion, having to do specifically with baseball. There was a time (early 20th c.) when baseball owners resisted radio, and to a lesser extent newspaper, coverage of their teams, under the notion, if you brought the games to the people for free, why would anyone ever buy a ticket?
But it turned out that radio was the best thing that ever happened to baseball and vice-versa. And I\'m not talking about the revenue baseball derives from radio; that is a relatively recent development. Pre-war, every radio station in town carried the games (listeners could choose their favorite announcers), and no rights fees went to clubs.
Rather, a compelling historical argument could be made that baseball never would have survived without radio and radio never would have survived without baseball. For baseball, radio provided the familiarity and continuity that built interest, so folks would buy tickets to a handful of games a year, and you can see historically that growth in gate revenue closely parallels advent and spread of radio play-by-play.
For radio, baseball provided the early (free, advertising-supported) content of sufficient interest to lead to growth in radio ownership penetration, as well as develop loyalty to one station or another. Even today, in most MLB markets, the flagship radio station of the team leads local radio ratings in all dayparts (not just during games) during the baseball season, and often not during the other six months of the year.
Perhaps a bit over-simplified, but a perfect example of a symbiotic relationship between industries, and radio has remained (mostly) a free and yet successful business model to this day.
Last summer, a big deal was made when Jay Bruce went something like 3 for 3 with 2 walks in his mlb debut and people were talking about it as one of the best debuts ever. Heck, there are guys who did nearly that well and never got to come back for a second game!
Shouldn\'t Eddie Gaedel be on his own namesake all-star team?
Oops, meant 2008 (typo)
The arguments about the effect of the home park on Bailey don\'t hold water once you look at his road splits or his numbers from his minor league portion of 2007.