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Great news, congrats! Very happy for you as well as for BPro since they a) get to keep you around here and b) get some additional exposure for their great lineup of writers.
Congrats and good luck Steve, and very classy farewell by you too, Joe.
I dont see the gains in voting for Raines, Morris, et al, as necessarily reflecting any gains in momentum. The average HoF ballot cast this year had only 5.09 names on it, the lowest in history. With such an underwhelming class of newcomers, the voters simply redistributed their votes to the next few players on the incumbents list; it seems to me these votes were motivated more by the will to vote for "someone", as if to validate the time and effort, rather than to express increased support for any particular candidate. My fear is that all of overwhelmingly qualified new candidates of the next 3-4 years will "take back" many of those 5.09 votes, resulting in stagnating totals. It would be a terrible shame if this stasis cost Raines and Bagwell their deserved spots.
Sorry, have to add this to this thread, after which I promise I will stop being uncool and just shut up:
Great news, congrats all around!
Was that Shaun Marcum behind the plate?
Arthur Richman was a fine gentleman with a great story worth telling, too: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/07/sports/sports-of-the-times-richman-s-love-in-with-the-game.html?src=pm
Um, isn't that exactly what happened? E-Jax career by team, in order:
ERA SO/9 SO/BB
LA 5.50 5.70 1.23
TB 5.08 6.20 1.38
DET 3.62 6.80 2.30
ARI 5.16 7.00 1.73
CWS 3.66 8.00 3.05
Jason please stop talking up E5, I've been counting all along on getting him in the ~20th round of my drafts and you're not helping. :-)
No doubt, past experience is also critical. My two best teams in NFBC were in '06 and '09, when I had dominant bullpens to support loaded offenses and bargain-basement SP rotations. There are only 30 closers to choose from at any given point, but ~150 starters, so I'd rather sift that pile instead.
Ultimately though it's a question of risk tolerance and reading the depth of the player pool. Looking at all of the uncertainty in so many bullpens this year certainly creates buying opportunities, but for those who bet the wrong horse, it could be a long season of chasing saves...
Jason, great stuff and very well-researched as always, and thanks for the name-check!
However, the main disagreement I have with the "don't pay for saves" strategy is the logical fallacy that the failure rate among closers is linear; that is, all 30 closers have an equal risk of failure. Intuitively we would expect this to be untrue and factually it can be demonstrated to be untrue. I demonstrated this back in '09 (http://bit.ly/apW4xj) and while your mileage may vary from year to year, I think the conclusion is plain, that the more expensive closers are so in part because they are more reliable and generate a better ROI (in the aggregate) than bargain closers.
For every Joe Nathan or Jonathan Broxton from last year, you will find several bottom-third closers who failed, not to mention the fact that the upper tier guys generate more K's and better ratios than those at the bottom.
Bottom line is, in the aggregate, you actually do get what you pay for with closers. If you want to bargain-hunt, you may indeed find a bargain, but you have a greater chance of doing more damage than good than if you had simply invested in a more proven commodity.
If you read between the lines it sounds not only possible but perhaps probable: http://bit.ly/hhnI4m
Come back Brooks Kieschnick, all is forgiven!
Long-time BPro reader and fan. I didn't like this piece, not because I'm offended by it (I'm not) or I'm homophobic (I'm not) or because I have anything against Emma (I don't).
My problem with this is that I'm not sure how it really relates to baseball AT ALL... it doesn't have to be PECOTA or number-crunching or Kevin's scouting reports or Steve's historical lessons, but in my recollection everything published on this site has in some way had a baseball-centric theme to it. On that standard I think this falls short. Change the names of players to those of your favorite movie stars, and it's the same article but without any baseball-relevant discussion.
That said, I think there was an attempt at that in this article, but it was buried in the middle, well past the point where it got lost due to the NSFW shock factor:
"MLB's homophobia is pronounced, and the last thing I want is to reinforce it in any way. No, it's because real people have been repurposed and fitted into other people's fantasies—extremely personal fantasies—in a spectacularly odd way."
So, if this article was meant as an examination of homophobia in baseball, or in pro sports in general, or how homophobia affects locker room culture or coverage of the game, then that's a thought-provoking topic worthy of this site. My dislike of this piece is not in the choice content, but in the failed execution of the attempt at a thoughtful examination and discussion of the topic.
This won't make me stop reading BPro, and it won't make me not read Emma again. We don't like things, we can always change the channel, so to speak... there's more than enough good programming here to keep me around. I just hope that the next attempt at a topic like this doesn't so badly miss the mark.
He's a 10-5 guy and can veto any trade
Awesome. Rumors of BPro's demise were of course grossly exaggerated.
I've been reading BP faithfully for 11 years and this might be my favorite article ever. Great stuff Ken!
Great essay on the value of and evaluation of projections: http://www.baseballhq.com/books/myths.shtml
Congrats Will and thanks for the great writing over the years. Looking forward to what comes next!
Great stuff Jay. I wonder how the results might look if you incorporated some type of "prior results" weighting, based on the theory that voters are less likely to be impressed by Pujols' season this year when compared to some of his previous seasons. Sort of a "ho hum" penalty, so to speak...
Great title. Wear it like a badge!
I'm sure Joe himself would say that his game-by-game recaps of the 2000 Subway Series were nothing all that special, but collectively they were the first time I had read intelligent critique of the decisions made on and off the field, instead of focusing on outcomes. (Thus, "don't confuse the outcome with the decision.") Game 1:
This series on the Series is what made me the loyal BP reader that I have been since then.
The 2010 MLB.com Fantasy Season Preview is on the MLB Network at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 21!
38 days 'til pitchers and catchers report
Oh, so THAT is what the veteran's committee is for?? :-)
Hi folks, to answer a few questions...
* Pay is $100 per game;
* We staff enough folks in each market to cover 100% of home games, including mid-week day games... the local stringers in each market work out their schedules to ensure 100% coverage;
* For those interested in markets not listed here, we of course have staff in every market but very minimal turnover each year, which is why we're only hiring in a few select markets right now;
* We run a similar data-capture operation for the minor leagues as well, but those in the Triple-A and Double-A ballparks are hired by the clubs directly.
Remember also, Adair's work suggests that neither release speed NOR home-plate speed really matter, since the batter is reacting to the pitch somwhere in between those two points:
Well, according to Fangraphs.com, Ellsbury ranked 25th in UZR among the 26 players with 800 or more innings in CF this season. That's only one measure but it's an objective measure to support the statement.
Could one of the BP writers please expand on this?
"(L)ate in the season and in October, opposing teams began taking a different approach in pitching to Matt Holliday..."
Different, how so?
For what it's worth, Joe was touting Dunn as a fit for the Braves even before the season started:
So I read this article as a bit of in-a-bubble "I told you so," rather than any kind of second-guessing
That's true but to be fair the lineup that day did feature three pretty good young hitters in Vladimir Guerrero (.978 OPS that season), Rondell White (.863 OPS) and Jose Vidro (.822); even Brad Fullmer and Orlando Cabrera became useful players in their day even though they were not particularly so that season.
Anyway, for weak opponents in a perfect game, I'll raise you with this one:
The HR Derby was done in a USA vs. World format in 2006 in concert with the WBC. The most memorable part of that event was Jason Bay winning the ground ball hitting contest.
One correction to the Longoria note: per Peter Gammons, the 6th tool is intelligence. Or have we all forgotten George Lombard already?
Howie became Howard on Monday, at his request (as communicated by the club).
Damn, I was just gonna type that, too... that's a fireable offense in my book.
Ben, outstanding work. Can you somehow derive from this, "Lindbergh's Law of Catcher Fatigue and Rest Patterns," which states that if the everyday catcher's YTD OPS is "x", and the backup catcher's OPS is "y", then the everyday catcher should be given a day off every "z" number of days?
It would seem that there should be a measurable (and perhaps predictable) tipping point where the everyday catcher's performance declines enough due to fatigue that it's the right move to give him a day off, because the effects of the fatigue offset the offensive decline the team suffers by playing the backup instead.
Fair point. But don't forget the ~30 games he missed in each 2006 and 2007.
Maybe the sports book is unimpressed by the Dodgers pitching? Lots of youth and upside, but also lots of uncertainty and injury risk. And if "Manny being Manny" means we get the version we saw from 4/1/06 through 7/31/08 -- injured and/or disinterested -- that's going to mean a much harder time scoring runs. Just sayin'.
Really? How 'bout:
* Chris Davis strikes out once a game and is more Richie Branyan than Jim Thome;
* Hamilton's second half is his true level;
* Kinsler misses another 30+ games with injuries;
* Cruz is exposed as a 29-year-old fifth-year AAA repeater;
* Michael Young continues his four-year decline;
* Teagarden and Saltalamacchia combine for a .250 average and 150 K's;
* Elvis Andrus plays;
Of course all of these things aren't going to happen together but is it so hard to believe that at least a couple of them could and this turns into a very average offensive team?
Joe Carter begs to differ. :-)
Sharky, thanks for the comments. To my knowledge this was only planned to be a one-off show, so we decided on the middle-of-the-road editorial tone we took to hopefully reach a wider audience. Ideally it will be well received and that will create the opportunity for something more frequent, which will allow the opportunity to delve into more "expert" level strategy and player discussions.
Re. Harold, for a non-fantasy guy I thought he contributed very well. I thought his points about Youkilis changing his approach to fit the lineup spot, and pitchers taking advantage of Kendrick's over-aggressiveness, were particularly useful. Don't forget also that HR is also very entertaining and that's an important part of this show too, for the reason noted above... we wanted to attract a wide audience and not have them glaze over when we started talking about WHIP and stacking closers. :-)
This is a strategy we've promoted for many years and I believe with good reason. If the BPro guys will forgive me for an off-site post, your post encouraged me to do a quick'n'dirty survey of last year's closer pool and here are the findings:
I don't offer this as conclusive proof of anything, only as one data point in support of our approach.
I have to respectfully disagree with this. In my NFBC prep this year (15-team mixed), my rankings had catcher as the position with the lowest replacement value, followed by second base; the positions with the highest replacement value were 1B and SP. So my strategy is to load up at the weaker positions and slow-play the deeper positions. Ultimately though strategy is a matter of choice and style... the very first point I made on the show was that you have to devise and implement a strategy that fits your league and your style.
Siano and I both do auction leagues too; my very first leagues were unmixed auction keepers and that's all I played for my first ~10 years of fantasy before the Internet became a big vehicle for leagues. That said, and not to beat a dead horse, 12-team mixed is the basic league format that most people use (which is why we call it "vanilla" on the 411) and we did want to stick to a more common format to start out.
Thanks for the feedback.
* Re. two closers early, everyone has their own strategy but this is one we advocate and have had success with.
* Re. Lopez, based on what I've seen, he is being drafted for fair value. Although I recall Harold saying "Lopez" with regards to Felipe, and I said "don't forget Jose, too" or something to that effect.
* Re. Utley and Kinsler, taking them both together is a great position scarcity play, and Mike got both of them for a fair-value pick. As mentioned above with closers, this is the type of strategy we advocate... it's not the only strategy in the world and many other folks have success doing other things. But we do prefer to leverage position scarcity in drafts.
In any case thanks for watching the show and for the feedback.
It's my all-purpose suit... good for weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, TV shows, you name it!
I believe Tom Tango has done some work showing that there is some value to specific lineup construction, and Ron Shandler's work has shown that the most fantasy value comes from the 1,3,4 spots in the batting order. That is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy of course, as teams are generally going to put their most productive hitters in the traditionally "featured" spots. So while traditional Sabermetric orthodoxy is that batting order doesn't matter, I think there is enough evidence that it is a reasonable consideration in fantasy. Besides, would you want your sleeper guy batting 2nd or 8th?
"High strikeout hitter" was probably a poor choice of words... "free swinger" might have been more appropriate, evidenced by his 61-to-18 strikeout-to-walk rate last year. I think that approach is going to make his AVG very volatile and his runs and RBI totals will rise or fall with that. I think the projection we have on the site for him is a reasonable balance of risk and reward, but what I've seen in some drafts is that people are a little more bullish on him than they should be.
Mags44, that's a fair criticism, but even in 90 minutes there's only so much you can get. Focus heavily on the top-level and mid-tier guys, as we tried to, and you hit a more mainstream audience but don't add much for the hardcore players. Get too deep in prospecting and analysis, and you turn off the novice fantasy fan or mainstream baseball fans.
Ultimately, if there's a hope for something like this to become a recurring feature on the Network -- which would provide greater opportunities to dig deeper for more obscure names -- we have to establish that people will watch, and that means sticking to more established names. Personally I like to think we struck a nice balance, spending time on guys like Mike Fontenot and Ryan Spilborghs as much as the big-name guys. In any case, we have to walk before we can run and I hope we established tonight that this a show like this is something worth doing on a regular basis.
In any case thanks for watching and for the feedback.
Did Sterger do her job?
Very sorry to hear about this Joe. I had read some of John's work and he was clearly an informed and passionate fan, but more importantly he seemed to have the love and respect of everyone he knew. With the passing of long-time baseball PR maven Arthur Richman this morning, it's a tough day in baseball even if they are not the best-known of names. Condolences to those who knew and loved John.
This team has a chance to be great in 1999...
As always I think Joe has nailed the topic here, but let's be fair to MLBN, which has been on the air for only two-1/2 months and the season hasn't even started yet. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt that they will eventually find room for other types of programming and/or voices, but right now I would expect they are focusing on their ability to produce game broadcasts and the 8-hour "MLB Tonight" show that is probably going to result in many, many divorces.
So while I think everything that's been said here is valid, let's walk before we run. Remember, three months ago there was no MLB Network at all... we've come a long way baby!
Joe, not to be snarky, but do you still stand by this column now that the Netherlands has upset the D.R. not once but twice, joining Canada among the surprise eliminations? We've already seen more upsets in the "15 vs. 2" vein in this year's WBC than we did in all of 2006; doesn't that justify the larger field?
Thanks for throwing me under the bus! For the record I picked Reyes 2nd (after A-Rod went first) in a 12-team mixed league last year, so I\'m not totally against the concept. And I do agree that SS is not as deep at 3B, although it does have several other good options besides the Big Three (Drew, Peralta, Hardy, etc.).
That said, my expectations are for bigger numbers than that for A-Rod, something like .290-110-35-110-15 if not a little better. I think that would skew the overall numbers a little more evenly or perhaps favorably.
In any case, thanks for giving the chance to provide a little rebuttal, although me getting into any debate with Joe Sheehan is like bringing a slingshot to a shootout...
I\'m disappointed that no one has pointed out so far that Denver has excellent schools.
Chris Getz, huh? He hit all 11 of his homers at home in Charlotte, with a .959 OPS there compared to .674 on the road. The Sox better be careful to only use him at home, or maybe in Texas.