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I second Jay's call for more instant replay and propose an addendum: stiffer penalties for arguing with umpires. If a manager has the option to call for a definitive video review, he has no cause for verbal persuasion. The time saved by this measure should more than offset any additional time added by expanded replay.
Well said, Colin. Can you explain why you consider a situation in which the pitching team is up by two runs "close," but not a situation in which the pitching team is trailing by two runs?
At some point, hopefully in my lifetime, an intelligent owner is going to order his team's manager to ignore saves and handle the bullpen logically, paying no mind to the protestations of defunct newspaper columnists. That team will gain a significant edge on the competition, and others will gradually follow suit.
I'd be very interested to see some analysis on the other side of this - how the humidor affects a pitched ball. A quick Google search turned up some anecdotal evidence that the humidor ball is easier to grip, which should increase pitch effectiveness, particularly for breaking balls. On the other hand, the increased weight might take a little bit of speed off the fastball. Your thoughts, professor?
I'd like to know exactly what happens in the one simulated season out of 1,000 in which the Astros win the division.
You're probably right, even though switching to DH would actually increase Dunn's value since he would no longer be killing his team with his abysmal fielding. It's curious that Dunn, who was born to DH, has played his entire 10-year career in the NL.
Suppan's signing is further evidence for what I call the "Ponson Principle": if a pitcher has a healthy arm and major league experience, some team will sign him, even if his experience has only proved his ineptitude.
Interesting article. I've read that in Japan even the very best hitters routinely bunt runners over, which reflects the importance of collectivism and self-sacrifice in Japanese culture.
That criticism does apply to RC1, but less than it does to RBI, as RC1 "charges" a batter for his opportunities by subtracting the run expectation of the base/out state. In the example at the beginning of the article, Rajai Davis gets credit for the two runs that score, but he loses points because the base/out state after his PA has a lower run expectation than the state before his PA.
Because this is really just an extension of Skoog's work, I thought it best to refer to the metric on which it is based. Perhaps it would have been better to use an adjective other than "weighted," but that seemed like the only way to describe what is involved. I'm open to suggestions.
dalbano, you're correct that team performance factors into RC1, but the weighting behind WRC removes this factor; a hitter's WRC is based on a league-average distribution of base/out states.
Michael, I believe Skoog was the first. The article can be found here: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/btf/pages/essays/scoog_var.htm
Well done, Jon. I submit that "more accurate and therefore, more delicious" should be BP's new slogan.
According to my database, Kevin Correia led the majors in IFBCBMAMHB, with 11.
Interesting piece, Russell. I've always found it odd that HFA is more pronounced in other sports, even though these sports have standardized fields of play. Do you think context-dependent learning can be a factor when the context (i.e. court, field, ice) is nearly identical?
As much as the Dodgers were outscored and out-managed, they were one out away from tying the series at 2 and regaining home-field advantage. One mistake pitch by Broxton contributed more to the Dodgers' downfall than anything else. Baseball is a funny game.
You make a good point about the distinction between the projection of a player's "true ability" and that of his performance over the course of a season. It's the latter, however, in which we're interested; the possibility that a rookie will get lucky and deliver an OBP much higher than his "true ability" is the reason that sticking with him often leads to a greater expectation for the season.
This analysis could be done using EqA; OBP, however, is a better fit for the model and a good metric for offensive performance in its own right.
This piece was written on September 12th, at which point Maybin had been doing well since his call-up. His performance has dropped off since then.
Suppose Zaun could post a .400 OBP; Wieters' 90th percentile OBP is .432. The idea is that it's worth the small cost of a few PA to give him a chance to match or exceed that mark.
You're right that it's incorrect to model the veteran as a single probability. However, the problem is MUCH more difficult to solve without this assumption, which is not entirely unreasonable for a stable veteran. Besides, if one were to give the vet a probability distribution, it would necessarily be quite narrow, and so the updating (which I'll discuss in part 2) would have little effect.
The beta is tailored to match PECOTA's projections. In case you're wondering, Wieter's distribution is a beta(107, 166) and Maybin's is a beta(88, 166).
This part of the analysis is meant to determine who should start at the beginning of the season, so I haven't yet considered Wieters' MLB performance. I will be doing exactly that in part 2.
I don't know what Dewan's methodology was that led him to that conclusion. One possible difference is that I only considered "fast" runners, while he may have been looking at everyone.
I am aware that the analysis in the post is casual (or sloppy, if you prefer); I do not claim to have proved anything, and I am open to the possibility that I am wrong. This is an opinion piece intended to stimulate discussion, and I am glad to see that it has done so.
Kudos to Mountainhawk for trying to crunch the numbers, but this is not a situation that lends itself to precise calculation; there are too many probabilities that are practically impossible to know. Witness the following assumptions in his analysis:
1) Francoeur never swings at a ball (!)
2) the 90% SB success rate against Lidge applies, even though this may not have been a straight steal and the catcher has a choice of two bases to throw to
3) Half of non-HR FB hits are singles and the other half are doubles off the wall
4) Castillo doesn't score on a FB single if he's not running with the pitch
5) Murphy doesn't go first-to-third on a FB single if he's not running with the pitch
6) A runner is doubled off 10% of the time on a hit-and-run FB out
7) 2/3 of LD hits are singles and 1/3 are doubles
8) 5% of LD without a hit-and-run result in a DP
9) 15% of LD with a hit-and-run result in a DP
10) 2% of LD with a hit-and-run result in a TP
If some of these assumptions are wrong, the alleged 10% increase in win expectation could easily swing well into the red. Of course, it could also increase; my point is just that there's lots of room for error here.
I did not say there was a good chance of a triple play; I said there was a good chance that sending the runners would lower their winning chances dramatically. This would most likely happen by a K/CS or a line drive DP.
By the way, the fact that the triple play was unassisted is irrelevant. Triple plays are rare but not THAT rare; there have been four this year and 16 since 2005. And keep in mind that they almost always happen when two baserunners are running on the pitch, which itself is a somewhat rare event; given that this is the case, the chance of a triple play is small but not insignificant.
Rob, of course you're right about win expectation being the relevant number.
The reason I called a GB a win (rather than a huge win) is because while avoiding the DP or FC is quite valuable, on some GB these won't happen even without the runners in motion. Similarly, I called a single only a slight win because there's a good chance that Murphy goes first-to-third regardless.
The points about Lidge and the runner blocking the catcher's view of third base are valid, but nowhere near enough to offset the lopsided risk/reward ratio. By sending the runners, Manuel gave his team a good chance to somewhat improve their chances of winning (which were already greater than .5, as you note), but also a good chance to lower them dramatically (to 0, as it turned out).
At the very least, the runners were sent knowing that Francoeur would probably have to swing; I'd call that a hit and run. Whatever you want to call it, it was a bad decision. The triple play was fluky, but there were many other possible consequences that made sending the runners (for which Manuel was certainly responsible) a low-percentage move.
There are certainly limitations to this analysis, but I think the data are telling us *something*.
Regarding (1), the question of how to derive the set of SB threats was a difficult one. Do we select those with a minimum # of SB in every season? That would exclude good base stealers who missed time or effectiveness due to injury. Do we raise the threshold for any given season? That would exclude efficient base stealers who don't rack up gaudy SB totals but choose their spots prudently. I think the simple method I used has merit; it generated a list of 93 players that nearly all observers would agree are legitimate SB threats.
Regarding (2), no throws to first do not necessarily imply that it is not a SB situation. There are many possible reasons for this: a short PA, a pitcher (especially a LHP) with an effective pickoff move, a negligent pitcher, etc. Since it's impossible to rigorously define a "SB situation," it seems reasonable to consider all situations that could possibly be considered as such. I did ignore blowouts; as I said in the article, situations with a 5-run lead were excluded.
Finally, I don't see how your third paragraph is a criticism; in fact, it's exactly the point I make in my final paragraph
Perhaps "some" would have been more appropriate, but 11 HR in 489 PA is definitely above average.
To be really thorough, one could look at lots of different cutoffs for SB. I just wanted a minimum number of SB such that a player can be considered a legitimate SB threat, and 15 seems like a reasonable choice. There are no slowpokes in the group.
No, it doesn't. All throws to first are treated the same way in the data.
This is a very good point. Most takes on 3-0 are the result of the hitter "taking all the way," a fact that somewhat mitigates your concern. It remains a concern, however, and I hope to address it in a follow-up article.
This is a difficult question to answer. I suspect that players who _never_ swing on 3-0 do get more strikes, since these players are likely identified as "takers" by scouting reports. I doubt, however, that scouting is fine-grained enough to distinguish between player X who swings 15% of the time and player Y who swings 20% of the time. I may try to confirm this speculation in a later article.
The HR/PA gap is not quite as significant as it seems due to the PA with four consecutive balls, during which a hitter never has a chance to homer. Even so, the implication you draw is correct: players should not try to work a walk when more is called for.
Regarding the team chart, I was simply interested in whether there were organizational philosophies on this matter. Had the rates all been roughly the same, we could have concluded that there probably weren't. Since they are different, it seems likely that there are.
I think Joe *can* have it both ways. Looking backward, strikeouts and contact outs are about the same for a pitcher; it's looking forward where the two are different. A low strikeout rate usually bodes ill for a pitcher, as more balls in play tend to lead to bad results in the long run. There is no such relationship for hitters; in fact, hitter strikeouts are positively correlated with power, walks, etc.
The lesson here is obvious: Hunter and Dye should become drug addicts, causing great suffering to their families and costing their organizations millions. Then, once they sober up, they'll be raking in the votes regardless of their performance or playing time.
Past trades have not worked out; therefore, management should stop trading. Sounds like ironclad reasoning to me.
I love the concept of the "poor man's [star player]," and Stairs exemplifies it: he is the poor man's Mark McGwire. He's also the author of the best baseball quote of 2008: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqZDe4364BI
Markakis more productive than Jones?
"I've seen [Youkilis] in the shower, and believe me, he's not the Greek god of anything." -- Terry Francona
OBI% for leadoff hitters has gone up recently, but has it gone up relative to the rest of the lineup? I suspect leadoff men are hitting for more power these days because everyone is hitting for more power these days.
Best name in baseball.
The notion that teams can maximize revenue by charging as much for tickets as the market will bear is myopic. Teams make most of their money not from ticket sales, but from TV contracts, merchandising, etc. By pricing out all but the rich, the Yankees risk alienating a large segment of their fan base and losing money on these other fronts.
Ah, PECOTA, ever the pessimist. I\'ll gladly take the over on 730. Hell, I\'d take the over on 800.
Does anyone know the draft status of his younger brother Moe?
Come to think of it, that wasn\'t McCarver on TBS, but some other dumb old guy. He\'s not as bad as Timmy, but still.
Speaking of McCarver spreading misinformation, does anybody remember how, during game 4, McCarver went on and on about how the Red Sox went after Lowell because they needed his leadership, presence, etc? I guess he can\'t remember all the way back to 2006, when the Red Sox grudgingly accepted Lowell because that was the only way the Marlins would give up Beckett.
Gary Mathews? Really?