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Both. The catcher's skill is manipulating the umpire's incompetence.
A random, probably untestable and irrelevant thought: I wonder if the hitters are aware that the influence they are reacting to is the catcher's and not the umpire's. Do they think, when playing the Brewers, "Geez, the ump has got an extra wide zone today. Gotta swing, not gonna get those calls" or "Lucroy is behind the plate, I'm going to plan ahead for his excellent framing." If the former is true, I would theorize that the effect would be stronger later in games, and they wouldn't be planning ahead from the start.
If the league starts handing out LONG suspensions (10+ games) for this crap for both pitcher and manager, it'll stop real fast.
And you obviously haven't read much about his bat. I know it's Albuquerque, but before Olivo bit his ear off, Guerrero was absolutely destroying AAA pitching, and probably would've been called up that day, when Uribe was disabled. He's never going to be a Gold Glover, but the Dodgers will definitely find a place for him to play - with Dee Gordon's success at 2B, they'd started playing him at 3B and SS just before the biting.
What about Logan White and DeJon Watson from the Dodgers? I've heard good things about both of them - White in particular.
For a general manager (who does not fully control the purse strings, and has to abide by an owner's budget), keeping young stars at cheap salaries IS about winning.
Those seats (the 4 on the end of the first row) belong to Mary Hart from Entertainment Tonight. A good friend of mine was able to sit there once, when she gave a set to the police department he works for. I was pissed off (maybe jealous) the whole night, seeing him on every pitch.
Does that count as an Immaculate Inning?
Where can I find batted ball speed off the bat data? I'd love to peruse something like that.
You mean something like "Puig has consistently been a top-25 pick in drafts and a $30-plus player in the early NL-only auctions I have participated in so far," and "Puig is fine for me in the fourth round or in the mid-$20s?"
Yeah, WHY WASN'T INFORMATION LIKE THAT INCLUDED?? Oh, wait...
Baseball reference has a list of youngest players in each league, year by year. The last 18 year old in MLB was A-Rod in 1994. The last 18 year old pitcher in MLB was Tim Conroy in 1978 (after 4.2 innings, he didn't make it back to the bigs until 1982). The last 18 year old in the National League was Brian Greer in 1977. His major league career consisted of 4 plate appearances. The last 18 year old pitcher in the National League Jay Franklin in 1971. He pitched in 1 game at the Major League level.
Joc has great eyebrows, to be sure... But in an organization that once employed Wally Moon, I don't see how they could be rated above a 55.
Forgive my ignorance, but what is "J2 talent?" I'm guessing international amateurs, but don't want to assume.
Former Dodgers announcer Steve Lyons is very upset about #4. According to him, double plays aren't the true rally killers... Home runs are.
While I quite enjoyed this piece, it makes me chuckle to think that writing a story about a delusion constituted "finding some sanity."
Seriously though, this was fun.
Whenever I watch Uribe play 3B, I just imagine myself making a highlight reel to show a little league team someday, entitled "how not to play 3B." He's stiff, he's slow, his fundamentals are non-existent, but somehow he makes it all work REALLY REALLY well. The strong arm helps a lot (but still looks super awkward), but I imagine a huge chunk of his success is studying batters to improve his positioning.
Well, it doesn't seem very fair to judge this trade on the team's records, since we're talking about 4 guys on the Dodgers roster, 3 of whom have performed very very well. It's a lot of the other guys on the Dodgers who are dragging them down. (I'm looking at you, Luis Cruz, Carlos Quentin, and Hanley's hammy)
Aaron Harang is not the easiest to move... unless you have a forklift handy.
I think it's worth pointing out that Matt Moore is only a year younger than Kershaw, who has 4 years of MLB experience and a Cy Young award, and turns 24 next Monday. Moore is probably going to be an outstanding pitcher, but Kershaw already is, and - here's the crazy party - is still getting better.
Last year in the second half, Loney showed a significant change in approach at the plate. After a miserable first half, he stopped trying to go the other way all the time, and started pulling the ball with more frequency - from a career rate of 24% to a second half 2011 rate of 37%. Don Mattingly and the rest of the coaching staff pushed hard for him to make such a change. He's always been better when he pulls the ball, with a career OPS of 1.161 when pulling the ball. This change lead to a second half line of .320/.380/.534, which gives some Dodger fans reason for cautious optimism.
Chad Moriyama wrote a great piece on this change, as well as some mechanical changes to his swing here: http://www.chadmoriyama.com/2011/09/james-loneys-late-surge-regression-to-the-mean-or-legitimate-growth/
"Furthermore, I think it might be tougher to find players willing to settle for designated fielding roles, but that's just a guess."
Not to be a dick, but... really? You don't think there's a TON of slick fielding minor leaguers who can't hit a curve, who would be chomping at the bit to get a shot in the majors? That seems not fully thought out.
Wow... this article WAY more depressing that I thought it would be. That's not a bad thing, it really made me think.
I get that the regression part is BS, but what about the injury component? Didn't Will Carroll confirm it with his own studies?
Hamilton sounds a lot like Dee Gordon. How do they compare?
I hope you didn't take my comment as anything other than a silly aside on the way your typo happened to come out. We all make typos, sometimes they're funny. I didn't mean to insult you.
On another note, I agree about Francona. When a manager has "the best team on paper" as they were so often called, and they fall apart so completely, that manager HAS to bear some of the blame.
"Guzzle bber" kind of looks like John Lackey has been fellating Justin Bieber. Maybe THAT'S why he's getting divorced.
Like I said, I don't think Jansen should win (he played injured and struggled to start the year, and pitched like 20 innings less than Kimbrel), but I DO think he'll have possibly the best career of any of these guys. He was only converted to pitcher 2 years ago, and he has a cutter as nasty as Mo Rivera's - might even be nastier.
For the non Dodgers fans, check it out: http://www.baseballanalytics.org/baseball-analytics-blog/2011/9/15/kenley-jansens-cutter.html
Jansen set the major league record for k/9. He whiffed nearly 50% of the batters he faced. Nobody noticed because he did it in the 7th and 8th innings, not the 9th. Not saying he should win, but a 3rd place vote seems totally reasonable.
Except I feel like, unlike a number of other blogs and such, here it's an honest question. When I said above "I'd really like to hear John Perotto's rationale for his votes, giving Kinsler 2nd in AL and picking Braun over Kemp," I MEANT that I'd like to hear his rationale, and I will listen with an open mind. I haven't heard any MVP arguments for Kinsler at all, and the only one I've heard for Braun is "team record." So, I'd like to know what a smart guy like John is looking at.
Babe Ruth holds 6 of the 15 highest bWAR seasons in baseball history. The highest of those is 14.7. Baseball Reference defines a "replacement level team" as a team with a .320 record, or about 49 wins in Babe Ruth's time. If he was on a team with all replacement level players, they would be expected to go 55-99, but Babe Ruth would still be the greatest hitter of all time, more valuable than anyone before or since.
I would love to get access to a spreadsheet of the swing rates and such of all the hitters involved.
I'd really like to hear John Perotto's rationale for his votes, giving Kinsler 2nd in AL and picking Braun over Kemp. I wouldn't expect that from BP staff, so I'd like to hear WHY.
That clearly means Ellsbury should get the AL hardware, while the NL plaque should be sawed in half and a piece given to each Braun and Kemp.
Fascinating article. Great stuff, Matt!
The "rules" are numbered 1 through 5. Everything else is... guidelines, I guess.
I have a hard time with that... the second criteria is "games played," and Bautista will play 4 times as many games as Verlander.
Unanimous AL Cy Young, certainly. Probably top 5 on my MVP ballot. But just not on the field enough to overcome great seasons from everyday players like Bautista, Granderson, Ellsbury, etc.
I can't decide if this article more firmly entrenches me in the "let the robots call the balls and strikes" camp, or changes my mind because now I can see that, instead of close pitches being vagaries of luck, there's a skill set a team can employ to gain an advantage.
In the context of the article, does it really matter though? Whether it's in a close game or a blow out or when his legs must be exhausted from catching 12 innings, his actions seem to be robbing hi pitcher of called strikes. Yeah, it might make Varitek look worse than he really is, but it still demonstrates the habits that Mike is discussing.
I gotta think that talent/potential dictates how much attitude is acceptable. A guy who projects to be an average big league player would have a much shorter leash than a guy with the potential of Bryce Harper... or, say, Milton Bradley.
I know you're being facetious, but I'll throw this out anyways... His OBP is 80 points higher than his batting average. He walks plenty.
I'm pretty sure I've read that Gordon didn't play much baseball in high school, which I would think gives him a couple extra years... but we're reaching the end of those years. Time for him to get it together.
"If nothing else, a decade‚Äôs worth of DIPS theory has ingrained the understanding that much of what happens once the ball leaves the pitcher's hand is beyond his control, whether you want to call it luck, randomness, or the intervention of baseball gods to be named later."
Even the most Chassian of anti-sabermetricians understand this, but refuse to acknowledge it. They'd rather quote ERA than any advanced pitching stats. ERA, of course, is adjusted for defensive errors, since the pitcher can't control that. ERA is the very first DIPS stat, it's just clumsy, overly-complicated, and far too subjective to tell us as much as we'd like.
I know it's an outlier, but Ichiro would beg to differ...
I'd be very wary of Broxton, despite my Dodger fandom. We talk about him getting away from Torre, but Mattingly has spent his entire coaching career under Torre. We don't know that he'll handle is bullpen any differently than Joe did. Not saying he won't, just saying I don't think I'd assume things will change.
"220-pound 80 runners are unheard of"
I know Matt Kemp is very very fast - was he an 80 runner as a prospect?
Youtube, which has a serious spam problem, seems to have a good system - a thumbs up/thumbs down for the comment, and a "spam" flag that automatically hides comments once they reach a certain level. Doesn't require any employees to actually
It seems like BP's system might have been designed to avoid comments of the level of stupidity seen on ESPN boards, but I don't think that's an issue among BP subscribers.
Ugh. You guys are saying the same thing, but CRP13 is couching his comments in a weirdly negative fashion.
I think I've been among the more vocal in arguing against everything CRP13 is saying in this thread (though I think more than anything else, he's playing Devil's Advocate just to advance debate) but I would NEVER negative one of his comments just because I don't agree. In fact, I've clicked the plus sign on a few that were hidden, just because I don't think they should be.
He is 10th ALL TIME in OPS, 8th in SLG, 10th in HR, 1st in HR/AB, and 38th in BB. He also won a Gold Glove, so at one point his defense was respected. As for other WAR stats, Fangraphs has McGwire at 70.6 and Palmiero at 75.5, and Baseball Reference has McGwire at 63.1 and Palmiero at 66.0. Considering Palmiero played 4 more seasons and nearly 1000 more games than McGwire, this would seem to point to McGwire being the better player. McGwire's average season was worth 4.4 wins by Fangraphs and 3.9 wins by BR. Palmiero is at 3.8 by FG and 3.3 by BR. Keep in mind, I'm NOT arguing against Palmiero being in, his sustained excellence is Hall worthy. Just saying if you accept Palmiero and his steroid use, you HAVE to accept McGwire and his steroid use. The "one trick pony" argument doesn't hold up.
Also, see Jay Jaffe's JAWS article about first basemen on this year's ballot. McGwire had a higher career WARP and higher peak WARP. So, maybe Palmiero's NOT a better baseball player?
McGwire hit HRs at a higher rate than anyone in history - 1 every 10.6 ABs. #2 on the list is Babe Ruth. One dimensional, maybe (he's also 10th in career OPS and 12th in career OPS+, so he apparently was decent at getting on base, too) but if you're the very best ever at that one thing, that's Hall worthy. Nobody's saying Palmiero was not as good as McGwire. Only reason to compare him to Palmiero is that the ONLY conceivable reason not to vote for McGwire is steroids. If Palmiero's in despite positive test, so is McGwire.
I like Rick Monday, but Steiner drives me nuts. I'll often switch to the opposing team's broadcast after 3, if I can't get to a TV to keep listening to Vin. It's not radio, but I don't think there's a worse announcer in sports than the Dodger's TV east of the Rockies guy, Steve Lyons. Makes Joe Morgan look intelligent.
It drives me nuts when announcers ramble on about things unrelated to the game, and forget to tell me what's happening on the field. However, it's been my experience that Vin NEVER does that. He'll stop his stories to call the count, the pitch, and any action, then go back to his story in the downtime. Mostly happens when no one is on base, and the pitcher is taking his time, or the batter is backing out of the box after every pitch. I absolutely love Vin, he's the best there ever was or ever will be.
What about the Dodgers? There's no doubt that they need starting pitching help, but do they have the pieces? Or are we just assuming they won't be adding payroll?
I think the problem is that a lot of the reporters who DO have access to players are spending too much time bitching about "all them fancy statistics" to do what they do best, which is ask dumb questions that get great replies. I think there's plenty of room for both types of writing about baseball - statistics based and story based. Joe Posnanski is the best at interweaving them.
"Kershaw wasn't quite as good as advertised in 2009, but that doesn't mean he isn't still one of the best picks you can make." Uh... He outperformed his 90th percentile PECOTA projections in almost every category. That sounds like he was better than advertised...
I believe the documents Shawn is referencing here discuss the launch of a Dodgers RSN. I wonder if that accounts for a significant portion of the 80% revenue increase, and if so, are the Dodgers obligated to spend that money on player salaries?
Risk tolerance was my first thought while I was reading this article as well. I'm glad somebody else brought it up.
Mike, if you haven't seen it already, Clay Davenport wrote an unfiltered post about a mistake he made in that report. After the fix, Dodgers are favored to win.
In the last series, he picked them to win in 5. They won in 3. He seems to underestimate them.
Minor quibble - Loney ended up at 2nd on Holliday's drop, not first. Run expectancy is .32, not .22.
Evan, that's really interesting. Can you point me towards some data on that?
Fair enough. Sorry, I'm a little sensitive because so many others are picking the Cardinals, and making it seem like it won't be close.
Jay, it's interesting that you give the Cardinals lineup the benefit of the doubt for playing in a pitcher's park, while ignoring that Dodger Stadium is just as much, if not more, of a pitcher's park.
yep, that's the article I read. Thanks Padman!
I seem to remember reading somewhere that this is pretty standard for Ibanez - That when he's hot, he's REALLY hot, and when he's cold, he's frigid. It's just that he started the year with one of those hot streaks, instead of hitting it in the middle of the season. Unfortunately, I don't have time to do the research to back this up.
I'd like to see Broxton used more flexibly because he is (in my opinion) one of those top tier relievers. I want him used to get out the best hitters on the other team, not the 7th and 8th hitters and a pinch hitter - even if those heart of the order guys come up in the 7th or 8th inning.
Unless the pitcher is really struggling, having lots of runners on would require more than one swing.
He's got a bad back and literally cannot stand through an entire inning.
My guess is he'll find himself back in Chicago next year.
Why would they go with that lineup? Even if you were keeping Thome out, wouldn't it make more sense to start Juan Pierre (who actually hits lefties better than he does righties to the tune of (.349/.438/.422)in left and make Manny the DH? This team has WAY too many hitters to start Belliard of Loretta in a World Series game.
He told the Dodgers before they traded for him that he cannot, except in an emergency situation. With Loretta already on the bench for those emergency situations and the possible return of Doug Mientkiewicz, I don't see Thome ever picking up a glove.
Larry Bowa also complained about having to wear a helmet in the coaching box... then took a line drive to his helmeted dome earlier this year.
Well, Bernie Madoff tried to take him out...
I forgot to mention, it was still a hell of a play by Pujols.
The stolen base wouldn't have been enough to win the game. Freakin Russell Martin threw the ball into center field, allowing Pujols to take 3rd and score on a fly ball.
Also, when the ball is thrown towards a hitter, he's in good position, ready to move quickly - whether that move be to swing the bat or dive out of the way. When a line drive is hit back at the pitcher, he's just finished throwing a pitch, often is standing on one leg and his arm still moving rapidly down.
I think it's also an organizational focus on pitch selection, as Eric discuses in his article. Worked great for Matt Kemp, who has dramatically imporved his BB/K (and still has plenty of room for further improvement), but seems to be hurting Loney, who already had an excellent batting eye.
Tim, you also did a fantastic job throughout the competition. From week one, I was hoping for a Funck - Kniker final, and after reading both of your final entries, I was not disappointed. I hope to find more of your writing out there in the future.
There hasn't been a lefty throwing catcher in the majors in 20 years, and only one lefty throwing catcher to play at least 1000 games behind the plate.
Wins have nothing to do with Quality Starts.
Cohen can't be as bad as the Dodgers' east of the Rockies color man, Steve Lyons. The man was garbage as a player and he's garbage as an announcer. His comments about statistical analysis are flat out ridiculous. He recently said that OPS is not a valid stat because, he "doesn't know what it means." It's extra rough for us Dodger fans, since most of the time we get the incomparable Vin Scully, the best sports announcer there ever was.
That's some seriously faulty logic. The voting was still done by the BP readers, so the contest is still about reader interest.
I have a feeling that at this point many voters are including past work in their decisions. Putting radio week earlier makes it much tougher to do that. At this point we had 4 talented writers left, and the voters had a feel for each of them that colored their votes. I'm personally pulling for Ken Funck, but I think any of the Top 4 would be valuable additions to BP.
If your point is that Pierre is a 4th outfielder and shouldn't be compared to starters, then (despite your first statement about "Pierre bashing on BP) you are in fact agreeing with the article: "As a fourth outfielder, Pierre did his job, which was to give the Dodgers useful production in the absence of one of the starters."
I forgot to mention in my first post that in this case, I do agree with Joe about mainstream media hypocrisy.
Unless my memory is failing me, Joe has in the past frequently been an apologist for PED use.
I REALLY hope to see something on this topic at some point in the future. It's something I've thought about in the past, but I don't have the brain power and/or resources to figure it out on my own.
I liked this article a lot more than I expected to. I figured this would be a tough week for Mr. Cartwright, who's strength is pretty clearly in heavy statistical analysis, something that there was not time for this week.
However, I agree with Will about Brian's opinion vs. Tony LaRussa's. I think Brian might have missed a few things. For example, he says LaRussa pinch hit for Carpenter in the "exact same situation" in the 8th inning. Not quite. In the bottom of the 6th, Carpenter saw David Wright (.919 OPS), Ryan Church (.699), and Fernando Tatis (.684), and retired all 3. In the bottom of the 8th, the first 3 hitters were Daniel Murphy pinch hitting for the pitcher (.675 OPS), Alex Cora (.673) and Luis Castillo (.705). It seems that you'd want your ace on the mound much more in the 6th, than in the 8th.
I too thought of Joe Posnanski while reading this - it was probably the asterisked footnote that took my mind in that direction, but the overall style is similar. Posnanski is my absolute favorite non-BP sports writer, so that's high praise from me. Great job, Ken.
I think the DH gives an advantage to the AL for the exact reasons that calebw mentions. That doesn't mean I think it makes baseball better. I don't like that 2 starting players on AL teams don't have to play all parts of the game. It also removes a lot of the late-game strategy that I think adds to the drama and entertainment of the game.
Tim, when I read your bio, I was afraid I was about to feel really stupid, like I often do when reading the really advanced statistical analysis on this site (it's my first year as a subscriber, and I'm still learning). However, you wrote a really interesting article that made it easy to follow your thoughts and the math involved. Great job!
I'm a Dodgers fan, so this immediately made me think of Chad Billingsley (who gets reamed by a number of BP writers because they consider him to be overweight) and Jonathan Broxton. I was surprised neither made the list of heaviest players, so I checked baseball-reference.com. Billingsley is listed at 244, which seems suspiciously low. Broxton is listed at 240, which is nothing but laughable.
Sliceshs, unless I'm reading this wrong, the Braves are in the same boat as the Padres - they've got negative normalized numbers for both power and speed. Which means they're bad at both.
Fidel's blog can be read here. http://www.escambray.cu/Eng/Special/Comradefidel/2009/Cbaseballclassic090310139.htm
"The Japanese coach ordered a bunt from the second ‚Äď and without doubt first-rate ‚Äď batter of the team, and as a result, presented the opponents with their second out."
However, he thinks Japan will be going to the finals... Where he says they'll get smoked by Cuba. He also rips on Cuba giving away outs with sloppy base running in a game that they won by mercy rule.
Wasn't Venezuela's lack of pitching against the USA more a product of bad managerial decisions? I thought I saw that they had burned their best pitchers against Italy (including Felix Hernandez), leaving the scrubs to pitch to a vastly superior US lineup.