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Matt (and Matt), thank you both for another fabulous Hit List season. It has been a pleasure reading you guys, again, and seeing who can make me laugh more. Matt S, if this was your last Hit List, you went out in style.
Oh, I was so hoping the Pit Article would make it here!
Greg, thanks for the great write up on Estrada, but his MLB organization is not in the parentheses following his current team. :)
Come to Boston, Ben! Just a short train ride from the city. :)
Russell has, of course, applied this general rule in other contexts - food, minor leaguers, etc. - but good job by you, applying it to the front office. I have long been appalled by teams with literally millions in revenue offering non-paying internships. Well done pointing out the value of paying valuable employees a good, fair wage.
I do think you missed a crucial point. When a creative employee leaves one team for another, their knowledge goes along. NDAs, non competes, and the like aside, you can't make someone forget what they learned. That kind of information flow might be "good for the game", but it decreases the edges one team has over all the other teams. If a team thought that particular analysts were really giving them an advantage, it would be wise to pay them well to keep them - and to prevent competitors from benefiting from those edges. Kind of like that doctor the Dodgers snapped up.
"We say we want players to be free to express themselves, but mostly we want them to be free to express themselves like we would."
This. Expression isn't always pleasant, but if you ask for it, you shouldn't be dismayed when it doesn't always confirm your outlook. Of course, there is a difference between unpleasant expression and crossing a line (I would argue that Lonn Trost crossed that line with his comments about fans who sit in the most expensive seats - and I'm a Yankees fan!), but that is a different article.
I really enjoyed this article, Meg. It is very thought-provoking and I look forward to re-reading it.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Ken+Griffey">Ken Griffey</a></span>'s grotesquely swollen jaw, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17723">Steve Sax</a></span> and his run in with the law...
I figured it had something to do with Robeson regularly expressing favorable feelings towards the Soviet Union ... Communists being called "Reds" in the 40s and 50s and Robeson seeming to be a prospect(ive) one ... What's the line about a pun nothing being a pun if you have to explain it?
Anyway, for those who are curious, this is wikipedia, so ¯_(ツ)_/¯, but it matches what I remembered reading about Robeson (and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17718">Jackie Robinson</a></span> in connection with this): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Robeson_Congressional_Hearings
I do think it is fascinating that no NFL team has embraced some of those strategies you mentioned - go for 2 more often, punt less, etc. - even though the evidence that those things would be beneficial goes back, IIRC, over a decade now. Even Bill Belichik doesn't go there often (only every great once in a while). "Playing the percentages" indeed.
Yet somehow fear was overcome regarding <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a> "base cloggers" in MLB, in a comparatively short time frame following the publication of <span class="bookdef"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0393324818/baseballpro07-20/ref=nosim/" target="blank">Moneyball</a></span>. Ditto not fearing strikeouts, improved defense, etc. Is it possible that MLB is more innovative than the NFL?
I really like the addition of the executives section! Nicely done.
BTW, in case it isn't clear, I am responding to edgargiulo, not to abywaters. abywaters' comment made sense to me.
I am very confused by your comment.
As I understood the article, the point was to examine how the hiring of folks with certain qualifications was leading to a less diverse, in terms of different ages/genders/skin colors/ethnic backgrounds/etc, collection of front offices and on field management within MLB teams. She argues, persuasively in my opinion, that MLB teams should hire in such a way as to increase such diversity.
You said, "So this is the "Diversity" you desire? In other words, you champion and allow diversity, as long as those you include agree with your viewpoint."
The diversity you refer to - diversity of opinion - is not exactly the diversity Ms. Rawley is arguing in favor of.
Further, I'm not sure how Ms. Rawley is allowing diversity, either the kind she addressed in her article - she does not make hiring decisions for an MLB team - or the kind you bring up - she does not control how people vote on comments.
Finally, who is Ms. Rawley including or excluding, and how is she doing that? You were able to type comments in response to her article, same as any other BP subscriber.
My long experience with BP's comments is that readers tend to upvote comments that are funny, or that state something they agree with, or that make solid, logical arguments. Readers tend to downvote comments that are rude, offensive, or include arguments that are illogical or just ad hominems or both.
I still don't understand your comment; it doesn't make sense, and seems to be an attack on Ms. Rawley, as opposed to pointing out why you disagree with her. I can't speak for others, but that's why I downvoted it. Has nothing to do with my feelings on the topic at all.
Correction - that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Ned+Yost">Ned Yost</a></span> kept doing this all postseason and the Royals won the World Series.
Kim Ng, who was employed by the Yankees and Dodgers, and now works for MLB; on the technicality that MLB itself is an MLB organization.
Perhaps the only other female that anyone could name who is associated with an MLB team is Suzyn Waldman.
I thought it was hilarious. But if you missed the headline, how did "Grommy" not give it away?
The saddest part of the playoffs is when the last Hit List is published. Thanks for another year of hilarity and wry commentary, Matt and Matt. I look forward to your on-going 'rivalry' in Hit List 2016: The Search for More Phillies Jokes.
But in all seriousness, you guys put out must-read material, and I really appreciate all the laughs during the season. Thank you.
Well, let's see. The bottom 7 teams are all NL teams; 8 of the bottom 10 are NL teams; the NL loses to the AL in interleague play every year, by a large margin.
The Mets played over 50 games against 3 of the worst teams in baseball this year (Phillies, Braves, Marlins), who happen to be their division mates.
The Cubs player over 30 games against 2 of the worst teams in baesball this year (Brewers, Reds), who happen to be their division mates.
And both of those teams play more games against non-division NL teams - more than half of whom are among the 10 worst teams in baseball - than they do against AL teams.
Why should BP consider changing that AHLF again?
Well, sort of, because of course Dombrowski (the President of Baseball Operations) did hire <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Frank+Wren">Frank Wren</a></span>, just not as "GM". Wren's official title is "Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations." Hazen's official title is "Senior Vice President/General Manager". Both report directly to Dombrowski, who is clearly calling the shots.
No clue what the difference between "Baseball Operations" and "General Manager" is, though.
Except that having a single concussion significantly increases the likelihood that you will have another concussion and increases the severity of that more likely second concussion. . . and we still don't know the full extent of injury to the brain that a single concussion causes.
I'm not even sure what a "full recovery" from a concussion means anymore. If full recovery is supposed to mean you return to the same state that you were in before the injury, such that the injury is no longer detectable, it is possible that, in terms of damage to the brain, there is no such thing as a full recovery from a concussion.
And, of course, you yourself allude to the fact that not all people make a "full recovery". For some people, one concussion is enough to do lasting, long-term damage.
Best of luck, Jeff - wasn't easy to take over this task, but you did a great job.
While the Yanks certainly had no rotation depth going into 2014, I thought at the time that they should have sold high on Nova, because of course with pitchers, youneverknow. In retrospect, that was a potential missed opportunity . . . but what do I know? I thought the Yanks should have held on to <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60907">Shane Greene</a></span> . . .
If the Yanks do trade Nova after this season, unless he is spectacular down the stretch, they are selling low, and that stinks, because Nova has more ability than he has shown. For that reason, I have a hard time believing the Yanks would non-tender Nova, even given the up coming 40-man roster crunch.
I was at a minor league game last night and was lucky enough to get good seats behind home plate, coincidentally near the scout seats. This is not a direct impact of advanced stats, but I noticed a couple of the scouts were using a Windows tablet to record data on players, instead of pencil and paper. (Though one guy had both.) I'm not 100% sure but I am pretty sure his radar gun was also feeding data directly to the tablet.
Advanced stats didn't necessarily lead to increased uses of technology by scouts, though I'm sure they helped. I would be fascinated to hear what scouts thought of some of the new technology tools available.
I love #GoryMath, but this is among your best pieces IMHO, Russell. Thank you for being so eloquent on how we as a society should react to people experiencing mental health issues - and for the perspective.
Mad props to <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/author/matt_sussman">Matt Sussman</a> - but who is #4?
"I forget where I saw the quote, but sometime in the past year or so someone asked a high-level front office type about the inside/outside knowledge gap and the insider said something to the effect that the outside saberworld was typically 2-3 years behind the franchises."
I want to say this was none other than <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/author/kevin_goldstein">Kevin Goldstein</a>, in one of his appearances on Effectively Wild (either episode 100 or 221) - but I am not 100% sure.
I agree with you on this point, for another reason. I think there is a fine distinction that Matthew misses. A trade secret has economic value if it conveys an economic advantage on the owner of the trade secret. Thus, I don't think the relevant question is, does an objective outsider person believe there is an economic advantage in an MLB's team proprietary data. Rather, it is has the MLB team itself realized an economic advantage from their proprietary data? We don't know that for sure, but the teams certainly do.
We can reasonably guess, however, that there are realized economic advantages based on the extremely restrictive confidentiality agreements that front office members sign. I am sure that the agreements extend the confidentiality obligations of the front office member well past the end of their employment. My experience is that such restrictive agreements are used only when warranted.
JP, if you are looking for suggestions for next week, I would be very interested in your take on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1358">Carlos Beltran</a></span>, who looked a lot better in May than in April.
Maybe most teams were not looking at <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a> over <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=AVG" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('AVG'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">AVG</span></a> in the early 2000s, but IIRC Gene "Stick" Michael talked about the importance of OBP way back in 1992 when he was running the Yankes during George's suspension (hence the acquisition of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17678">Mike Stanley</a></span>) . . .
It was excellent, but I am partial to the Houston comment. #RIPKG
Awesome - thanks for the look back in time, Matthew! I bet Sam loved that Bonds fun fact.
This post has the least amount of #GoryMath I have ever seen in a post that warned of #GoryMath.
If you will excuse me, I will now lament that "Miller" and "Carleton" are nowhere near being similar, such that I can't reasonably pull off a Goldman/Goldstein switcheroo joke, despite the situation otherwise being practically perfect for it. Sigh.
Oh gosh, I am not sure which made me laugh more, the holy war comment or the dig at Sussman!
My personal favorite for today's was, "“What happened to the season,” they would ask." Or maybe the Hamels comment in the Phillies comment.
And I think the Angels comment was perfect.
Sam, you didn't undo A-Rod's contract, and it's a good thing – that would undo a World Series!
Most everyone forgets it now, but without A-Rod, the Yankees don't advance past the Twins in the ALDS in 2009, and they probably don't get past the Angels in the ALCS, either. Which would undo their 2009 World Series victory. So, good job of following the rules!
Huzzah! Oh, happy day! The Hit List is back to make us laugh!
Woof - that game was a pretty bad game.
Great beer shots, though.
I totally disagree w/r/t blaming the MLBPA. For starters, any minor leaguer who is not on the 40-man roster is not a member of the MLBPA - Bryant, for example, isn't on the Cubs 40-man roster. So for the most part, the prospects you refer to are not members of the MLBPA at all.
Further, as Craig Calcaterra pointed out this morning at Hardball Talk, the MLBPA has negotiated plenty of benefits for all of its members, that apply to all future major leaguers, too. Young players may not have "any semblance of freedom" but they do have guaranteed contracts, an awfully high minimum salary, and the opportunity to earn more guaranteed money - be it through arbitration or a contract extension. Among other things.
Isn't <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67182">Domingo German</a></span> a Yankee prospect now? I thought he was involved in the Prado-Eovaldi trade.
I think the idea of a larger roster is worth discussing, but my concern is that unless you specify what kind of players take up those extra spots, we are just going to see 3 more relievers per team. Maybe one would be a real swingman, but still, the thought of increasing bullpen specialization further makes me sick.
Outstanding job tying together the biggest issues in this area. There are a lot of moving parts here, and I really hope that teams respect the medical privacy of minor leaguers.
Great, thought provoking read, and I hope we see more on these topics.
It's not a perfect analogy, but I keep thinking of Shields as a latter-day lesser version of Mike Mussina - very dependable, very durable . . . but Mussina spent a decade plus being a sports car, so when the fall came, he was "just" a Camry in his mid to late 30s. Except that a Camry is still pretty good!
Shields is not, and never has been, a sports car. When his fall comes, what does a Camry become? I think that is why Shields didn't get a huge contract. Teams saw the profile and figured the risk of him being half a Camry at 35, 36, 37 was too high. The risk to the Padres is a bit less due to Petco and playing in the non-DH league, I think, and still they probably got an awfully good deal.
Different run scoring environment is the best answer I have.
Excellent continuation to the series, Doug!
Except that the Dodgers are going to pay his salary if he pitches for the Marlins . . . so there's no cost to keeping him, and no money saved by forcing him to retire.
He's a free agent at year end, and so the assets the Rays got now are more and better than what they could get by trading him before the trade deadline* or just getting a pick when he left at year's end.
*Since he was traded in the offseason, the A's can offer Zobrist the qualifying offer and get a draft pick; couldn't have happened if Zobrist had been traded to them in-season.
To say it another way, 13 total years of Jaso, Robertson, and Powell + $$$ saved >>> 3 years of Zobrist and Escobar.
Josh, best wishes for a speedy recovery, and I look forward to your next column!
"The reality is that these new spending rules were probably put in place more with an eye toward limiting overall spending on foreign amateurs than promoting competitive balance."
Same as it ever was.
To me, the increased revenue from TV monies, along with the hard bonus caps + serious penalties attached to the Rule 4 draft, and the decrease in the number of quality free agents available in the offseason, mean that all that money had to be spent somewhere. The only place happened to coincidentally be the place where you could get the biggest ROI, and here we are.
I recall reading many times that the Yanks implemented this strategy in part because they are certain an international draft that really will limit teams' spending on foreign amateur is happening, soon.
Thanks for the great write up, Al!
Is Bryan Mitchell still considered a "prospect"? How close did he come to the "Factors on the Farm" list, or was his lack of prospect status the reason for him being left off? I think it is far more likely he contributes to the Yanks this year than Austin, but of course Austin is still a prospect.
Also curious as to any thoughts on Ramon Flores, who I would guess also helps in the OF this year ahead of Austin, but who, like Mitchell, probably isn't a "prospect" anymore (if he ever was).
Possible small sample concerns abound with this, but . . .
This got me thinking about hitters who tend to do better in the second half (the classic example being Adam LaRoche) or usually have a poor first month or two (Aramis Ramirez a more recent case, Bernie Williams notorious for "always having a bad April" (not 100% accurate) back in the day). There is baseball before Opening Day, after all. It is possible that, for some players, The Grind takes its toll in spring training, and then the player spends some portion of the beginning of the season getting adjusted (say, a recovery phase), and then only later does The Grind take another toll (which would be, for the more typical player, the beginning of the first toll around the mid-season point). That is, might there be an offset in The Grind's effect for some players? Could that help explain why some guys seem to "wake up" later in the year or get off to a slow start?
The opt out is the thing that makes this deal make so much sense for Stanton. If things go south in Miami with the rest of the team or he believes there is a better opportunity out there for him to get a bigger contract from age 30 on, he exercises the opt out. Otherwise, he doesn't.
I'm not so sure I understand the opt out from the Marlins' perspective, unless I presume up front that Loria is banking on Stanton exercising the opt out. And, strangely enough, I'm not sure I'm willing to make that presumption . . .
As if the prospect coverage wasn't already second to none - this is a wonderful addition! Even better than if you all returned KG's "Ephemera" section to the rankings, which I have missed the last couple of years (though I understood why Jason didn't do them).
Can't wait to see the rest of these!
I'm having a heck of a time finding the article, but I know that Joe Sheehan wrote about the use of unnamed or anonymous sources once, too. I thought Joe was right then, and I think you're right now, Matt. Great article.
Best guy I have ever seen get out of bases loaded jams. You can attach any qualifications that you like-recency bias, selective memory, I'm a Yankees fan who primarily watches the Yanks- but man, if the bases were loaded, he was the reliever Yankees fans wanted on the mound.
Outstanding guy, too #highsocksforhope.
And of course, in the irony department, Affeldt was drafted and developed by . . . the Kansas City Royals, for whom he was supposed to be a quality starter. He even started 18 games in the Royals' out of nowhere 2003 season.
Really enjoyed the description of how Affeldt tweaked his repertoire - thanks, Jeff!
IIRC, there were some articles in the Boston Globe about it, both earlier this year and in years past.
Here is a quote from one:
"A few scouts were surprised by Jon Lester’s inability to make a good throw to first base in his start Wednesday in Toronto.
“That could be a very serious situation if you’re in a playoff situation and he can’t make the throw,” one AL scout said. “I know he’s had this for a while, but it sure came out [Wednesday]. This isn’t the best timing for this. It’s out there now and teams will likely try to exploit it.”"
I love these reports and eagerly await more!
One question, Jeff. Wouldn't "lack of ability to hold runners on first" be a weakness for Lester? A small one, to be sure, but it surprised me when I found out he hadn't made a kickoff throw all year, particularly because he's a lefty.
Benoit - even if we deduct a bit for pitching in Petco, 4 singles and no XBHs is wow
Joe Torre bringing Jeff Weaver into the tied extra innings Game 4 of the 2003 World Series . . . when he had the greatest closer of all time just sitting there in the bullpen, waiting for the lead in a tie game on the road. A lead that would never materialize.
Weaver hadn't pitched in weeks - literally. His last appearance was September 24th, a month before his Game 4 disaster (the game started on Oct 23rd but the extra innings pushed past midnight). Weaver had only pitched twice between September 13th and then.
Yes, MO had thrown 3 innings to close out the ALCS, but that was a week before Game 4. Yes, MO had thrown 2 innings the night before, but this is why the Yanks had MO.
Weaver, of course, got through an inning with no issues, and then promptly gave up the game losing home run to Alex Gonzalez to start off the 12th. It was a horrible decision at the time, and it looks worse in hindsight.
Oh! The winter is ever so long without the Hit List! Thanks for the extra tidbit to tide us over.
Loved the Huey Lewis and the News reference, Russell!
PS - Eagerly looking forward to seeing where Betances falls on these lists for the relievers!
"Warning! Simple Mathematical Details Befitting A Non-Mathematician Like Myself Ahead!"
Can't. Stop. Laughing.
"There’s a reason there’s a stimulant problem in baseball. Even slicing imperceptible amounts of time off reaction times in the field can have a big impact."
Really off topic, but I will definitely remember this - and the 200ms difference for runners down the first base line, and the other data here - the next time someone mentions that amphetamines aren't performance enhancers.
You know what got me most about your comment? How much it reminded me of another recent candidate for "worst team to win a World Series", the 2000 Yankees, who of course finished "just" 87-74.
Man, between this piece and your article today at JABO, I am thoroughly enjoying your work, Robert! Thanks!
Being able to tell if a month or two's performance was likely to continue or stop is an awfully useful thing. But I have been wondering if you could use spikes in zone distance over shorter periods of time to reliably predict whether a hot streak or a cold streak is going to end soon or continue . . . the issue, of course, is the need for 250 pitches to have stable data. That's about 16 games for a patient hitter. I am guessing that most streaks last less than 16 games, so by the time you had stable data, the opportunity would have passed. Any thoughts on this one?
Neshek has survived a lot of tragedy in his personal life, too, and he's still out there on the field. I will always pull for him.
So since I am going to be without Starlin Castro for the rest of the season, is Betts a good replacement with his shortstop eligibility? I am looking for runs and SBs, and Danny Santana is also out there. Which one do you think I am better of with? And thanks!
"Giancarlo Stanton’s 35 homers have traveled a combined total of 2.76 miles or 2,912 Altuves."
It's facts like these that keep me a dedicated Hit List reader.
Congratulations, Jason, and best of luck - we will miss you. Your #want for the art and act of scouting has been apparent for a long time, and I have no doubt you will succeed - and that 10 years from now, you will still smile when someone asks you what are you drinking and how well does your beer holds a chill.
But as Mike said above, I am going to miss your writing most of all, because damn, you can write. I hope you are able to keep that skill at the plus plus level you have shown here, and I hope we get to read you again someday. Take care!
I am amused by this, because since MLB went to the 162 game schedule, there have been (so far) 2 teams to win 113 games - more, actually: the 114-win 1998 Yankees, who won the World Series, and the 116-win 2001 Mariners, who did not. 50/50 shot, indeed!
"Sidebar: BJ Surhoff was a catcher?"
Kids today. ;) Next you'll wonder if Teddy Higuera was a pitcher or just the name of the stuffed animal Tom Trebelhorn kept in the dugout next to him in 1987.
You had me at "Fourier Transform" - an outstanding article, Robert! I eagerly wait to see further samples and what more data has to say. I wonder if the composition of the bat (IIRC, bats can be made from 6 different types of wood) has much impact on the sound?
Next topic - does the MLB.tv compressed game audio ever pick up the sound of pitches hitting the catchers mitt?
And I, too, am kicking myself for not ever thinking of doing this.
Great article, Doug, with some outstanding points. Pitchers don't all fit into the same box, and individual tailoring seems far more commonsensical then insisting that one size fits all. Particularly for relievers.
I wonder though if part of the reason for the increased number of injured pitchers is because there are just more pitchers overall. There were 4 less teams in 1988, and I don't recall many 7 man bullpens - certainly not 8. Pretty sure there are more minor league teams now, too. I haven't looked at the nuembers, and I'm not entirely sure how to account for the minors, but it seems like a question worth raising.
Lots to think about in here!
Well, let's see: Cespesdes will play LF, Craig will play RF because Napoli plays 1B because Ortiz DHs, and Pedroia plays 2B. That leaves CF as a place Betts can play. Is it really worth it to the Red Sox to platoon Betts and Bradley Jr in CF, instead of giving both regular ABs (Betts in AAA, Bradley Jr in MLB)? I don't think so.
The other option would be to send Bradley Jr back to AAA and make Betts the full time CF, but I am not sure that makes sense, either. Seems to me that the Sox would want the better defender in CF, especially with many flyball pitchers on the staff.
"The point of prospects isn’t to win a prospects ranking, after all. It’s to put a good team on the field, however you can, with as much or as little risk as your organization can responsibly bear."
Yes - this! KG used to make a similar comment, about prospects being assets that the major league team can use to acquire major league talent, but he phrased it better than I have. An excellent point.
That's the part I don't get - wouldn't this deal, or something similar, have been around in the offseason, too? Why the urgency to do it now?
I think the 2 HR last night give O'Brien 33 for the year, not 31 - though the milb.com boxscore says it is 23!, which is definitely wrong.
He makes too many outs, and not enough contact, but he's in his first partial season in AA and isn't old (or young) for the level. Is it feasible than he might make adjustments and end up being a major league hitter? I don't recall him being such an all or nothing hitter last year, or earlier this year in High A. Is the problem that AA pitching is better?
This is one of my favorite articles at BP - outstanding job, Nick, and fascinating analysis from the negotiator's point of view.
Harrison should have gone in the middle as the free space, since we already know he's crossed off.
"Am I capable of destroying the site? Yeah, probably capable."
You once made pits appear all over ballparks, so I don't doubt it! But in all seriousness, as another long-time subscriber, you've got a great lineup, amazing coverage of so many topics, and the writing is as good as it has ever been, IMHO. BP remains the standard for in-depth baseball everything.
An internship it might be, and the experience and possibility of better things on the horizon are great - but I am of the opinion that ALL interns ought to be fairly compensated for the work that they do, too - and when they do it, and not because someone else decides to compensate them later. Experience is awesome but it doesn't pay the bills.
More than anything, it just seems to introduce an attrition factor that has nothing to do with on-field ability or performance, and why needlessly throw huge obstacles in the way of anyone that you want to succeed?
All the best with the new gig at Grantland - and thank you for keeping Effectively Wild alive! The morning commute would not be the same without it.
It always amazes me, to pick up on a point Russell Carleton has made many times, that teams don't invest the (for them) meager amount it would take to guarantee proper nutrition for low level minor leaguers.
Let's see . . . $1100/month, kids work let's say 10 hours a day, 6 days a week (I recall the GCL has Sundays off), that is about $4.58/hour - which is ridiculous. Is there a reason that the minimum wage laws don't apply? Is it because the players all sign contracts? Especially in the GCL, where I believe most of the teams are owned by the major league club, you'd think they would pay at least a living wage. Way to take care of your future employees, MLB!
Thanks for the very informative look at this, Joshua!
Now that Vazquez has been called up by the Red Sox, any idea who will take his place?
Call-ups are killing the Future's Game this year. :)
I think you have to be on a 40 man roster to be a member of the MLPBA. No clue if either Bryant or Gallo is on their team's 40 man roster.
All you younger guys and no one does Clemens for Wells, Graeme Lloyd, and Homer Bush? I fell out of the chair I was sitting in in the computer lab, cursing loudly, when I read it online (yes, we had the Internet in 1999).
I was NOT happy, but it worked out just fine for the Yanks.
The Yankees played quite a few close/stressful games last year...might the same be true for Ivan Nova?
And Peter O'Brien homered - twice! - and is hitting .228/.277/.543 in Trenton, not exactly a hitters' paradise.
I will miss this feature! Thanks, Sam, for reminding us that history is everywhere. You just have to keep your eyes open.
Dick Lange, twice in a month? Baseball is totally awesome.
Sometimes I feel like some of this data is practically begging for a Craig Robinson infographic. The Dick Lange surrounding Dickey is definitely one.
Command has definitely always been a problem for Mitchell, but then he drops a gem and we fans wonder if he could stick as a starter . . .
From what you saw, do you think the issues are dependently related? If his mechanics became more consistent, would that be a path to better command?
Or are they compounding - the way to fix his command is to alter his mechanics, but because his mechanics are so inconsistent, any fix is unlikely to stick?
I was sad that no one went for a giant pit somewhere on the baseball diamond, but Matthew Kory's wish had me in stitches.
So much for my guesses - but wow, what a panel!
Ah, the perfect cure for the Friday morning before vacation and it seems like everyone else is already on vacation blues. I especially enjoyed the Tigers comment, which is funny because its true.
Huzzah for the Hit List!
But why only three times a week now? Who will provide me with hilarious baseball-related entertainment in sentence form on Tuesdays and Thursdays?
This is a facinating series and I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far!
Not sure if someone else has already mentioned these, but doesn't the overall size of the available talent pool play a role in how long a career is? In other words, pre-1947, a large chunk of the population was not eligible to play baseball. I'm not sure if this, by itself, would result in overall shorter careers, because presumably some number of lesser qualified players had careers because their better replacements were not able to play. Or would worse players stay around longer, because of the lack of available better replacements?
I also wonder what impact the increase in the number of teams has had, in terms of both diluting and also expanding the talent pool. Really looking forward to the future articles!
Me too. MLB is going to derive benefits from releasing more of the raw data to the public, just like they did with PITCHf/x. I think it is released. What I wonder about is how much, if anything, MLBAM will charge for it.
Those ARE the 2 minor league teams that play closest to the Professor. :)
"To prevent inexperienced and easily-influenced young men from having legal counsel help negotiate an employment services contract on their behalf with a corporation is ludicrous, insane, immoral, and unjust."
Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. And I would add that it is unfair, too, for all the reasons Nick mentions and one more.
If I am a good college baseball player, it should not matter what the profession of my parents and close relatives are - I should be able to obtain quality advice without jeopardizing my eligibility. Yet the player who has a dad or mom or aunt or uncle that is a lawyer is potentially ahead of this game.
It is madness.
"imagine if the Yankees had signed Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain to comfy deals as they entered arbitration"
I do wonder if Hughes and Chamberlain had been signed to comfy deals upon entering arbitration, whether that would have resulted in the Yankees jerking both of them around much less. What we've seen over the years with the Yankees is that they play the guys getting paid, and/or the veterans, but younger players . . . not so much. Many folks forget that Chamberlain was the Yanks' 4th starter the last time they won the World Series, and that whenever Hughes had troubles, the stories about him going back to the bullpen would return, rarely categorically refuted by the team. Ah well, a few what ifs.
An AUXILIARY kitchen utensil?! Not in my house.
In all seriousness, though, this is fascinating. I can't wait to see what happens next.
This is very reasonable, and I think this is why the MLBPA went along with it. But what reason would A-Rod have for going along with it?
Additionally, as Craig Calcaterra pointed out at HardballTalk, the lawsuit seems to disagree with "all the parties agreed 7A did not apply". If the parties did not all agree, then it seems awfully strange that the arbitrator would get this key fact wrong in his decision. If the parties did all agree, then it seems awfully strange that A-Rod's high-priced attorneys would "conveniently" forget this fact in the complaint and not address it directly - because it opens an awfully big hole in their argument.
Something is not right here.
This is an excellent question! Is MLB doing anything to strengthen its testing program, since apparently there are some holes in it?
Great, great article, Zachary - thank you for the excellent history lesson! My favorite BP article of the year so far.
In the grand scheme of things, this is neither important nor relevant to a Hall of Fame vote. However, I cannot let it pass without comment. Ever since the brothers Ripken decided they wanted to own a minor league team, and bought my beloved hometown's Utica Blue Sox of the New York-Penn League, I have had no use for either of them.
Why not buy the existing short season A ball affiliate of the O's? The O's, of course, dropped that affiliate like it had the plague. What sense was there in having a team in Maryland be part of the NY-Penn league? Admittedly in 2014, when the NY-P league has teams all over the northeast/mid-atlantic, this doesn't carry much weight anymore. But why take away a franchise that had decades of history (besides the fact that the then-owners were thrilled to sell it)?
And if you do some searching, you'll find a lot of info regarding the various shenanigans surrounding the building of their stadium (a mini-replica of Camden Yards), and related unpleasantries. I'm sure the co-founder and co-owner of the team was above all reproach in all of these matters.
The quasi-bitter, not really logical lament of a once much younger Blue Sox fan who still misses the team of his childhood? Yes. But for me, Ripken not being unanimous was sweet, sweet justice.
Now Greg Maddux - him not being unanimous is just ridiculous.
Ben, are we sure that this move was Cashman's? We know that my Levine/Trost went over Cashman's head to sign Rafael Soriano. Isn't possible that they did the same thing here? Cashman seems to prefer acquiring guys without big injury track records - Soriano being the one exception - which makes me think this wasn't his move.
I guess we'll have to wait for the tell-all book to know for sure.
I still wonder how Hughes went from being such an extreme ground ball pitcher in the minors to an extreme fly ball pitcher in the majors. It seems lazy to simply say, "his home park", but then I think about those splits . . .
"no one is born a big-league manager"
Billy Martin's ghost called from the bar. He wants to have a word with you, Ben. It's a coin flip as to whether he will say that he was, or that Casey was.
Two down, 239 to go! This is a great offseason activity and I am looking forward to more!
Many congratulations, Colin! I hope that the Astros allow you to write, because for a guy from the non-liberal arts wing, man can you write. Not everyone who does numbers can explain them well, but you can, and I will miss reading your explanations.
Are there any plans to show, say, heat maps for the season and the period in question along with the spray charts? I think the combination of scouting data with pitchf/x data is a fascinating addition.
Thanks for the great idea and all the great work!
I was thinking about it from the opposite side of the coin. As collecting and storing that data become less expensive, the cost for obtaining it will go down, and that's when we'll see public FIELDf/x and HITf/x data.
What a great, thought-provoking piece.
Ben, thanks for this article. I remember watching Hughes mow down Texas in his debut and thinking, "This is going to be awesome!" Not exactly awesome over the last 6 years, but not horrible either. I hope you do this again in a few years and we'll see how different Hughes and Bailey are then.
As a Yankees fan, this hurts but is also true: the last inexperienced starting pitcher who the Yankees drafted (or signed as an international free agent), developed, and got more than 105 starts out of, before Phil Hughes, was Andy Pettitte. (El Duque does not count - hence "inexperienced"; Wang is the reason for the 105 starts, he had 104 with the Yanks).
The Yanks do not have a lot of experience when it comes to developing pitching prospects, having had so few real pitching prospects over the last 20 years. This is particularly true of pitching prospects with high ceilings. I often wonder if this is why Hughes has not quite developed as expected. Or if it was all the injuries plus the constant jerking around, plus the constant speculation that he could be moved back to the bullpen (just like Joba!).
It would not give a huge sample, but you could test this. Divide the sample up into two groups, 1962 to 1992, say, when payrolls were all pretty close, and 1993 to 2012, when they weren't.
Even this isn't perfect; looking at the data, the payroll disparity really didn't come into existence until the very late 90s, but 1998-2012 seemed too small a sample; maybe it is the right one?
The Royals had a top 5 payroll in 1993 and a top 7 payroll in 1994. In 1996, the highest payroll (Baltimore) was only 3.5 times the lowest (Les Expos) and less than 2.5 times every other team's payroll. A 2.5-3.5 times gap seems to be consistent with the limited salary data available from the 60s and early 70s. The first time the top payroll was more than 5 times the bottom payroll was 1997, and then only because the Pirates sold off everything. Ditto 1998, but add the Expos to the Pirates. By 1999 (with expansion fees in their owners' pockets?) it was back down to around 3 times.
The first over $100M payrolls were the Yanks, Red Sox, and Dodgers in 2001 ($112M, $110M, and $109M, respectively). Even then, the highest payrolls was less than 5 times the lowest.
Anyway, Because it is a more recent phenomena, and matches up with the latest rounds of expansion, which really diluted talent, I am skeptical that payroll disparity has much to do with this. I could be wrong!
"<— Logo should just be Yasiel Puig's head at this point."
Awesome. Not sure if I like this or the "Real World" homage intro better.
Love, love, love, love, love this series! One of the best things to come to BP ever.
Pitt the Elder!
Were I the Dodgers' intellectual property counsel, I would be embarrassed - and would tell them to change it back, haste post haste.
I never even heard the word copywritten until I moved to BP.
This is hinted at above but not expressly said, so I'll say it: if the "closer" was not of the one inning save-generating only guy, but what they used to call a "fireman", this would simplify some of the problems.
But then you run into the problem of not only depriving starters of wins but also depriving closers of saves, and the potential financial losses related to that.
The way to change over-reliance on saves and wins is to disassociate free agent salaries from saves and wins. ;)
Very curious to see Romine's framing ability (or lack thereof) as he catches more. I also wonder when the Yankees start teaching a young catcher framing. And to complete the trifecta, I am very curious to find out Brian Cashman's response to the question: "You said you guys are big on framing, how much did framing play into the decision to trade Jesus Montero?"
"Those of you who’ve been reading BP since before this year’s high school freshmen were born"
Why does the Internet continually find new ways to make me feel old? Cheers debuted 30 years ago, ST:TNG 25 years ago, and now this. Sigh.
It has been fascinating to see how good Cashman has become at using the "free talent pool" over the years. 'Twas not always so.
Was the Battle of Irpen mention just a thing that worked conveniently given the date you were trying to use, or a Christina Kahrl homage? Or both?
"but the Yankees will survive his offense as long as he keeps catching pitches like that."
After Russell Martin signed with the Pirates, I heard and read so many Yankees fans lament that the team couldn't really be planning on just Cervelli and Stewart, because neither could hit. My response was, if catching framing and its benefits are real, and these guys are as good at it as we think they are, and the Yankees know all of this, yes they can and it might work out just fine.
I am glad to have visual confirmation that I wasn't crazy to think this!
Yes, "The Pit" was the first column I thought of as I read this, too! I am a little sad that a slide showing a pit did not make it into the presentation, but that might have been too meta.
Outstanding work, Sam! What a great thing to read on a Friday afternoon!
"Do we have a uniform formula for WAR? Are defensive metrics consistent? If no, then are these numbers truly "ready" to be accepted en masse?"
You have constructed the exact same straw man that Mr. Harrelson did: these are not perfect, there is not 100% agreement, therefore the "masses" (which includes every member of every front office in MLB) should not use them. Since when does something have to be perfect to be provide value? Since when must we wait for perfection before something is used? That is a standard that literally nothing on this earth can ever meet. So why should it be applied to baseball?
The basic point is, his argument does not make sense from a logical point of view, because it is based on a straw man, an easily refutable one at that, and therefore it fails.
I think Mr. Harrelson a moron because of this is an ad hominem, and should be avoided, but I can't say it is unreasonable because I have done so myself many times.
There is a big difference between informed opinion supported by fact, which I think I find in your statements on the matter*, and straw men, which is almost all I find in Mr. Harrelson's statements.
*For the record, I have a lot of problem using WAR (WARP less so, because I think Colin's work on FRAA has acknowledged the inherent problems better) because of the inaccuracy of the defensive stats; at the least I think it should be reported with error bars that give some idea of how much give and take there is in the defensive portion of it. Nonetheless, I do not advocate not using it.
So was this article. Thanks, Matt.
"These East coast trips are quite unpleasant for A's fans, given that they are mostly vampire bats."
Which makes sense, seeing as a noted baseball expert told us prior to last season that most Oakland fans would be dead by the time the team competed again; vampires are technically undead, right, which is close enough.
"I thought you should know some idiot is writing me letters using your stationary and signing your name."
I will likely spend the rest of my legal career trying to figure out how to send a response that includes this line to an official letter I receive from another lawyer, without getting fired or sued under some professional responsibility regs, or both.
"Victor? Hi, yeah, it's Dave. You know how we applauded your efforts to rehab and stay in shape when you were out all last year? Forget that - new plan. You like to eat, right? How long do you think it will take you to eat enough to look somewhat like Prince? Hello? Victor?
Josh, in a league with K:BB replacing saves as a category, if you could pick just one, would you go with Cashner or Rosenthal?
I am partial to "First 100 fans to attend the next Diamondbacks home game get a free baseball courtesy of Heath Bell!" myself.
And there shouldn't be. This isn't Up and In version 2, it's Fringe Average version 1.
Though I will be a little sad if there isn't a "what are you drinking" homage at least . . .
If enough small market teams guess right on enough young players to give extensions to, the free agent market really might become a wasteland - and the big market teams that don't draft and develop enough talent to sustain themselves might be in big trouble, for a little while.
Thus, I think the "sign more extensions" route, if taken by enough teams, if they all get enough guys right, might enable those small market teams to compete for a while after the big market teams have already jumped on the "sign extensions" bandwagon.
Lots of big ifs, but interesting to consider.
I also think it would be fascinating to consider the flip side of this coin - what do the big market teams who need free agents (Phillies, Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, White Sox, etc.) do when the free agent pickings are slim?
Sweet! I've been waiting all offseason for the return of the informative joke-fest that is the HitList!
Wait a minute. There are so many Jasons writing for BP that it's hard to keep track of 'em all, but before now, there was only one Matt currently writing for the site (Matt Schwarz having left for graphy pastures a while ago). Will this be an attack of the Matts effort or is change in the air again?
Change is good, as long as it's funny.
Fantastic! Very interesting look into why the rankings are the way they are. I thoroughly enjoyed all the prospect features this offseason and can't wait to see what the season holds! Thanks!
I especially enjoyed the "Behind the Curtain" feature, and the inadvertent game it created: if a person named there is linked to a BP player card, is it really the guy on the player card (e.g., Dick Tidrow), or is it not (e.g., Dan Jennings; clearly you mean Miami's AGM, not the prospect, though the script that automatically associates a name with a BP Player Card is unaware that Marlins employ 2 Dan Jennings, and one never played pro baseball).
"Some Yankee fans might even get misty when thinking about how much Rivera has meant to them."
Some Yankees fans might just be in outright denial, thank you very much. If I don't see it (it being any video of Mariano saying he's retiring), it isn't happening.
I am starting to think that part of the reason I spend so much time with baseball is so that I can read Sam Miller's writing about baseball.
I would like to see Ben's idea taken in a different direction, with a hat tip to robustyoungsoul. Instead of changing the talent composition by inviting nations with no baseball experience, or eliminating all major leaguers from the tournament, limit each team to having no more than 10 current major leaguers on their roster.
This gives retired players and career minor leaguers a chance, just like Italy and the Netherlands and Brazil and Australia do. Those teams are the most interesting to me, because they offer the best stories, and I would otherwise never get to see a lot of their players play. But you still allow major leaguers who are incredibly passionate about playing for their home country the chance to play, while removing a lot of grief from the process. I cal it a win-win.
The more valuable intellectual property that baseball teams generate, the more they will wrap up their trade secrets and other proprietary information as tightly as possible. It is not only in their economic interests to do so, but the only way to protect a trade secret is to keep it secret.
I have long wondered if a baseball team would ever seek to patent any of its innovations. Presuming obtaining a patent on something analytic related was possible, I doubt a team would do it. There almost certainly is no benefit to be gained from putting the information out there for the team's 29 competitors to use freely - and the odds of one team successfully suing the other 29 for patent infringement and "winning" in the long run have got to be microscopic. Though it would be a hell of a lot of fun to watch!
The only advantage I could see in a team filing a patent application is throwing its competitors completely off its trail in terms of where the "next big thing" is going to come from. It could be an excellent mis-information campaign, at the cost of a AA or AAA player's salary.
I deal with the issue of what information can be shared and what cannot daily, though my clients have the advantage of being able to seek patent protection and get a benefit from it. Still, it was quite interesting to consider all of this in the context of baseball and sports analytics. Thanks, Zach!
Yes, I recall this as well. I too wonder what would have happened if he had hit 3rd all year. Of course, 1999 me could not imagine a better #3 hitter on the Yanks' roster than Paul O'Neill, so I did not have those thoughts for long at the time!
Checking my memory via Retrosheet, though, says that Jeter only played 11 games in '99 hitting 3rd. I would have bet it was at least 3 weeks, but there you are. It also says that O'Neill played in 153 games that year, which doesn't jive with our "O'Neill was injured" memory. His daily game log for 1999 doesn't show more than one or two days off in a row, either, and indicates that he played RF in 150 of those games and pinch hit in 3 of them.
Jeter hit .395/.462/.488 in those 11 games, and .349/.438/.563 out of his usual second spot. (He hit leadoff in one game and batted cleanup in one game - in which he was intentionally walked! - I would have thought I would have remembered that, but I do not.)
Maybe we are thinking of 2001? Jeter played in exactly 7 games while hitting 3rd that year, and destroyed the ball: .440/.548/.720. O'Neill played in only 137 games. However, I could not find a solid week in 2001 when Jeter hit 3rd. A couple days here, a couple days there.
Oh well. I like that memory better anyway. ;)
Long live Yeiper Castillo! May MLB.com never update his picture.
I knew there would be a dissent! I knew it! I just wished it was longer.
You had a great point, though, Maury, highlighting that "What the Tigers are offering is higher than what any other starting pitcher entering his second year of salary arbitration eligibility received in 2012." But that Scherzer requested a salary that was slightly less than the average of Larry's reasonable comparables, plus that Schezer had a really good year, made it really tough for your position.
My experience with arbitration as a lawyer is that the arbitrators are most often trying to do what seems reasonable in light of what they know. Scherzer's filing amount was eminently reasonable in light of the comparables and his performance, and so he won. Jason Hammel's (for example) was not, and so he lost.
I thought you did a great job.
I also wait, as patiently as I can, for the dissent that is inevitably going to occur in one of these cases. A well written dissent is the Hiroki Kuroda to the separate concurrence's CC Sabathia - not quite as awesome, but still pretty damn good, and on some days, better.
As a lawyer, there is nothing quite so satisfying as reading BP and finding something that speaks to my day job. Its almost enough for me to justify reading these things during the work day.
Thus, I concur with Jason.
The problem with using Ellsbury, I think, is that he plays a completely different position. I don't recall if that's against the rules, but if the job is find comparables, going away from the most easily compared item is probably not a good idea.
Now, if the argument is there are almost no comparables for whatever reason, I think using Ellsbury is fine. IIRC, Tim Lincecum, fresh off a Cy Young Award, relied on a raise Ryan Howard received in arbitration after Howard won the MVP. I imagine those are rarely used arguments, though.
With the caveat that I'm speaking from the perspective of a lawyer who's dealt with arbitration having nothing to do with baseball:
Usually an arbitrator has gone through an awful lot of training. Even outstanding judges and lawyers, with decades of experience, cannot simply walk in the door and become a good (or even decent) arbitrator. I'm guessing MLB only goes for experienced arbitrators, and that's a small pool. Finding a group of devoted baseball fans who truly understand advanced metrics AND are experienced arbitrators may be a lot harder than you think.
I can also imagine situations where "basic" stats tell a more favorable story, from one side or the other's perspective, than advanced stats. That kind of strategic consideration should not be ignored.
Finally, I could see a conflict of interest problem, but I'm not sure how big a deal that would be. Most professional arbitrators know when to excuse themselves and how to keep personal bias out of decisions, but one (or both) of the parties might not feel that way.
Oh what could have been!
It was AA, but I will never forget watching Nick "the Stick" compile that line in 1999. For a fan still missing Mattingly, Johnson represented so many dreams of home grown first base greatness in pinstripes . . . alas, it would never be. I have always wondered, if he had not hurt his wrist in 2000, would the Yankees have signed Giambi after 2001, and how different baseball would have been.
8. Matt Adams
Height/Weight: 6’3’’ 230 lbs (listed)
I haven't stopped laughing since I read this, Jason - awesome and sublime at the same time. Thank you!
Sorry I'm a little late, but Doug, is the still shot of Pedro on the Red Sox from his one-hitter domination of the Yankees in 1999? Just curious.
Outstanding all around. So how did your practice turn out? Are you a better hitter?
Just to make sure I have this right, in summary:
1. The methodology behind the Verducci Effect is poor, and we should be very skeptical, if not outright dismissive, of the results it returns. But . . .
2. There might be something to the overall concept (pitchers under 25 with a greater increase in workload than their peers might get hurt more and/or maybe show worse performance than their peers), and so we should keep an open mind about this being a problem. And so . . .
3. We need a more comprehensive, less error-filled methodology to get us closer to finding an answer - i.e., more research required.
I can live with this. Thanks, Russell, for helping bring a bit of closure to this.
Was anyone else struck that of the 10 guys ranked (not including Ryu), 8 have MLB ETAs of 2013 or 2014? For all the young talent they've traded away, the Dodgers might be set to potentially reap a whirlwind of it come 2014 - even if only half of them work out as hoped, and when hoped for.
I don't know if this has been true of any other system ranked to date, but this really jumped out at me here. Is there another possible talent wave behind this one, or are the lower levels more bare (Seager and Bird aside, of course)?
Thank you, Christina - your re-issued edition of Weaver on Strategy remains one of my most treasured books, and to hear the story behind the interview is like having an epilogue added on. Can't ask for more than that. Well, except you dropping in at BP more often.
Hooray that the website is back up!
I'm most interested in what configuration folks think the Braves will go with. Justin Upton has played only right field in the majors. When in the OF, BJ Upton has played nothing but center field, save 1 game in left in 2004. Heyward (2 games in 2012 aside) has also played only right field in the majors. So who goes to left field?
"You can't hold cable companies and satellite companies for maximum subscription numbers and maximum per subscriber rates unless the product is compelling."
I think this is now somewhat weighed down by the vast use of DVRs. Sports programming is the only programming I can think of that people can be counted on to watch live. Even if you wait 30 minutes after the broadcast starts and skip the commercials, as I often do, eventually you'll catch up to the live broadcast. This is especially true of baseball games, much less true of football games (thanks to timeouts, halftime, checking in on other games, etc).
Even with less compelling product, knowing people are going to be watching the commercials will keep rates for sports high.
I've never been to California, but when I go, I am going to make sure that I take a ride on the Surfliner. Thanks, Geoff, for the excellent trip up the coast!
BP ought to do a travel+baseball theme day each winter. Between your piece and Zachary's excellent piece on FDR's letters, this has been a great day to think about going somewhere that's not snowy and below freezing.
I've just added Hyde Park on a cold winter day to my list of places to travel. Wow, just wow. This is exactly the kind of history-minded baseball piece that BP has been missing since Steven Goldman and Christina Kahrl each left. More, please - and thanks!
Greatest BP article ever!
I found it interesting that the entire list of 200HR, 100SB by age 28 was a who's who of "guys who were regulars in the majors at 20 or 21 (or younger)", with one exception (Vlad). Braun's first year was his age-23 season, but that was a partial season; his first "full" season was his age-24 season. I wonder if his late start, relative to almost everyone else on this list, is why PECOTA's HR projection leans more towards Harsh than the other possibilities.
I also wonder how different his projection would look if you changed his age when doing the PECOTAs; for example, make his actual age-23 season his age-21 season, etc. Did anyone think Braun could play in the majors in 2005? 2006?
After the M's traded Pineda in last winter's quest to land a big bat, I'm not surprised at all. Upton is already a major leaguer and a pretty good one at that. Walker is still a dream:
"Walker is far from a finished product, so he will need more seasoning in the minors in order to refine his command and improve his secondary offerings. With a potent fastball and a nasty cutter, Walker can often look more like a reliever who is starting than a true starter . . ."
to quote Jason and the prospect team's top 10 list.
Besides, the M's still have Paxton and Hultzen, to say nothing of King Felix. Trading from depth is never a bad thing, and I think it says more about the M's needs - and perhaps Jack Z's need to have a competitive team on the field in 2013 - than it does about Walker.
Great points, Ben. I wonder if Heyman recognizes that he would be a far better writer and personality if he worked based on provable facts.
When Jon Heyman et al. start pushing for Ron Guidry - who was and is a better pitcher than Jack Morris - to make the Hall of Fame, then their support of Jack Morris won't bother me.
On the same note, for every person who talked about how "feared" Jim Rice was, I will stop being annoyed by that when they begin their "Vote Dewey" campaign to get Dwight Evans - who was and is a better outfielder and hitter than Rice - into the Hall of Fame.
Is a little fact-based consistency too much to ask for?
I worry that any type of voting that involves "the fans" will quickly turn into a popularity contest, a la All Star Game voting, even with restrictions like Dave's suggested fan elections put into place.
I'm not sure what the "right" system is. There are just so many factors to consider.
At the very least, I think the BBWAA should restrict the franchise on both ends. You must be a BBWAA member for 10 years to gain the franchise. Why not have a mechanism by which you lose the franchise? For example, if you no longer professionally write about baseball with some frequency.
I'm surprised that the BBWAA allows so many of its members who don't write about baseball anymore to continue to hold the franchise. My experience with professional legal associations is that almost anyone can be a member, but only folks who are lawyers or work in the legal industry get to vote. Why doesn't the BBWAA do this?
Kent has a triple whammy: his first name AND a mustache AND he's a known liar (fell while fixing his truck, ha!), so he's really screwed. Even if you say his appearance on Survivor falls under the "one negative canceling another" corollary, that still leaves two others. Or do the two remaining negatives cancel each other out? I'm confused now.
Didn't Maddux wear a mustache as a young player, or am I confusing him with his brother?
(I loved this piece, Jason! Great work.)
My in-laws bought me the Yankees forest face for Christmas two years ago. I am 99.9% sure they did not get it from SkyMall.
Yes, it is hanging on a tree in my yard. I think its kind of neat, though indeed a little creepy.
Clearly the greatest episode ever - and I haven't even listened to it yet!
Yes, the number of coaches who played for the worst Yankees teams of my lifetime, 1989-1992, is significantly higher than I would have ever thought. And most of them coach(ed) on teams that were awesome in 2012.
Not entirely germane, but I'm curious so . . . who is the better defender at SS, Iglesias or Hechavarria? Who is more likely to be able to hit enough to stick at SS for a couple of years at least? Does your answer change if you factor in the home park (Fenway = hitters' haven, Marlins Park = pitcher's park, I think)?
He's a small sample size by definition, but Tadahito Iguchi had a couple of good seasons in MLB at 2B. He tailed off after that, but I'd be curious to see why he seemed to succeed at least for a little while.
I was thinking of Bret Saberhagen, myself. Great in an odd-numbered year, not so great in an even-numbered year. I don't know if the trend is really a trend, or (more likely) due to injuries. It will be interesting to see if he has a great 2013 or a so-so year - and if the rumor mill starts up again, regardless. I'll bet it does.
Great article, Maury. I shouldn't be amazed, but I am that Selig and the owners don't more thoroughly vet potential owners. Of course, Loria did them a big favor by helping to kill MLB in Montreal and then taking the Marlins on in exchange. And now they're stuck with him.
The other portion of the triangle has plenty of its own dirty laundry (the Yawkey trust, controlled by John Harrington, taking the smaller Henry-Werner bid), but of course, given 2004 and 2007, almost no one in Massachusetts is interested in it.
They already did. Back in 2011, 88% of the folks who showed up to vote, voted to recall the then-mayor of Miami.
Really enjoyed this two-parter, Geoff. Thanks for giving us the inside scoop!
Jason, I really like the new format - the font changes, spacing, and the pictures combine to make it an enjoyable and easier read - and especially the presentation of information. Every lawyer appreciates a reading a well-thought out risk analysis; when its about prospects, its even better.
One thing I miss that I haven't seen anyone else mention is the "Ephemera" that KG used to include. I know these rankings are not his, and I understand and respect that something like that doesn't quite fit in with the new style - but I really liked them! Maybe I'm just a trivia buff, but I found it enhanced my enjoyment of the rankings. Are you thinking / did you think about doing something similar?
Ah, but we have heard them both on the same podcast!
Yes, the first thing I thought of.
The second is that Sam was setting us up with his lines "The only two possibilities. Don't leave your other possibilities in the comments, because there are none*." and then the asterisk goes to an aside about a rule about not voting for your teammates. A bold statement/prediction, indeed.
I have about 7 different thoughts after reading this article, but since you didn't ask the most obvious one directly, Russell, I'll ask it for you: so what is the (proper, right, best, accurate) way to model the postseason, if not as an extension of the regular season?
As a related question, should even "purists" be very happy for the vast expansion of the playoffs under Selig? That is, without all the extra data created due to the expanded playoffs, would an accurate (etc) model of the postseason even be possible in 2012?
The home plate umpire should be calling the strike zone according to the rule book, regardless of who it benefits.
And I'm pretty sure Swisher won't be a Yankee next season - but I think that's more because he allegedly wants a "Jayson Werth-like contract" and the Yanks have repeatedly said they will be under $189M in payroll for 2014, than because of his lack of postseason performance.
Is this the first time a BP article has featured not one but two Boyz II Men references? Inquiring minds want to know!
Oh, and ridiculous home run statue-thingy tolls for thee as well, Matt, and thy 2012 daily Hit List. Verily, it tolls for us all.
Any chance you'll do a spring training hit list?
I presume we'll see one more Hit List tomorrow? I'm going to miss it during the offseason. So many excellent one liners!
If I believed in the possibility of such things, Sam, I'd say your "Many Of Their Fans Will Be Dead" bit is why the A's are in the playoffs, on the verge of a division crown.
That title is in the discussion for the 10 best "Up and In" episode titles of all time, BTW.
I don't really recall the Hamilton vs. Cabrera MVP debate.
I do note that the argument "Hamilton should get it because the Rangers were going to the playoffs and the Tigers weren't" strikes me as one that most BP writers would avoid like the plague. I might be wrong, but that just seemed a strange point to make in regards to BP. If so, it seems to me that there's no hypocrisy or lack of consistency and intellectual honesty here, as that's the only time you specifically refer to BP in your post.
It makes a lot of sense in regards to many "pundits" (sportswriters, I'm guessing you mean?) who use "did his team make the playoffs" as a gateway to frame their arguments for MVP. I agree that there's possibly hypocrisy and a lack of consistency there, though of course, people are entitled to change their minds over time.
I'm not sure anyone is being hypocritical or intellectually dishonest or inconsistent solely because they want to deny Miguel Cabrera the MVP award, however.
And thus, a new nickname was born. I, too, would love to hear this backstory.
This comment has nothing to do with the subject matter of the article, which I found quite thought-provoking.
It has to do with two lines: "His JAWS score is RAAWWR!!!" and "As you are likely aware, I am not Jason Parks. Undoubtedly this is your loss.", which still have me laughing, many minutes after I was done reading the article and its comments.
BP really needs to start tracking all the awesome one-liners Matt and Sam Miller intersperse in their respective articles, and figure out who has more overall, more per article, etc. Oh, and come up with some catchy acronym for it, which I tried and failed to do just now. I love serious baseball analysis, and I love funny writing. That BP offers both - and always has - is one of the reasons I keep re-subscribing.
Cripes, that salmon recipe alone makes this worth every penny I didn't pay but would have paid to read it. My mouth is still watering after finding the recipe, and another one from Mr. Bayless called "Grilled Salmon and Potatoes with Mojo de Ajo", too.
If only it was the start of summer, not autumn. Autumn is a bad time to grill things in New England.
You and Sarge should try to get Mr. Bayless on the podca. . . never mind.
I'm awfully, awfully late to this, but why not look at what happened to the faster of all starting pitchers, not simply all pitchers, from the start of the season until now? I wonder if the relievers are skewing the data. Relievers generally throw harder, and as the season goes on, teams are much more likely to discard ineffective relievers in favor of more effective relievers, and to repeat the process as much as possible.
I'd be curious to see the trend line for just starters, and then for just starters that have thrown 150+ this season.
Jason, I'm not surprised at the run Scherzer has been on since your last piece on him. That's the article where I commented on how happy I was watching him pitch, because for the first time in 5 years, I didn't draft him in fantasy baseball, so of course he's been pitching lights out! ;)
Bird hasn't caught since he got bumped up to the Baby Bombers. I presume that's because of Tejada and O'Brien, and not necessarily a comment on Bird's ability to catch.
Speaking of those guys, which one caught when you saw them, Jason, Tejada or O'Brien? I'd be curious for your takes on both as well.
I don't think the analogy really works the entire way, and perhaps you didn't realize this, but Nicholas Thompson at the New Yorker made it a day before you did:
You are forgetting some things: the monies owed to Manny and Andruw Jones, and that many people on the current roster cost more next year: Kemp, Kershaw, Either, Billingsly, Capuano, Harang, Ellis, and Hairston all take home more money.
So you can't use $105.5M as a starting point.
However, Cot's 2013 commitments spreadsheets says right now, leaving arb-eligibles and free agents aside, the Dodgers' payroll for next year is $192.61M. That includes the Sox's castoffs, so I agree that there's an error somewhere.
Perez is a closer and his future salary (both for the rest of arbitration and then free agency) is rather dependent on the number of saves he gets, so I'm not surprised he knows how many it is, how many teams he has more saves than, etc. That is kind of important.
Less seriously, relievers do have an awful lot of time on their hands in the bullpen.
Not sure which comment I loved more: the Cubs or the Astros. Saved the best for last, clearly!
Precisely. All of this assumes rational actors who act 100% rationally 100% of the time. No such person exists.
You almost lost me when you said that, contrary to your lede, this was NOT a piece about geometry. This is Baseball Prospectus - I expect to find myself swimming in all sorts of math when I read the site. The prospect of you somehow adding geometry (perhaps Euclidean, or, dare I dream, non-Euclidean) to the usual math found here greatly excited me. Then, to be denied geometry - not cool.
Fortunately, your generous offer of a Billy Hamilton video kept me reading. But the next time you offer geometry, Sam, I expect you to deliver. If Matt can work modus ponens into a Daily Hit List, certainly you can find a place for geometry in one of your articles.
I think I have mostly come to terms with the inconsistent sub-name of the podcast. BP Daily Podcast, Daily BP Podcast, its all good.
BP also interviewed Jim Breen, or rather Kevin and Jason did, during Episode 30 of Up and In.
I really liked this article, Adam, and I definitely think there's something to it.
However, I did want to say two things about John Sterling.
I think the Yankees long ago realized that it didn't matter who was on the radio - Yankees fans with no access to a game via TV (now the Internet) are going to listen to Yankees games on the radio, plain and simple. I really don't like Sterling, but I still tune in when I'm driving in the car and the game is on.
Sterling once was an awesome broadcaster: an eloquent speaker, measured, intelligent, with the occasional cliche or bad pun for humor. But over time, he's turned into a cliche-spewing character who so earnestly believes that "You just can't predict baseball, Suzyn". The character is what people expect, and he's so used to playing the part, he just sticks to it. He's also smart enough to know that a decent number of Yankees fans like that character. If you listen to Yankees games on the radio regularly, however, every once in a while the old Sterling (the real Sterling?) comes out and says hi.
When Steinbrenner died in 2010, WCBS in NYC brought Sterling on to talk about the Boss. It was the greatest 5 minutes I'd heard Sterling speak since sometime in the early 90s. He was intelligent, measured, and incredibly eloquent - his voice was almost musical. As soon as I got to a computer, I downloaded the podcast of it and have kept it to this day, as a reminder of what I could be listening to on a nightly basis, instead of being stuck with, "Robbie Cano, don't'cha'know?"
Sterling is a complex person with many characteristics, who shows them all off if you listen closely enough, and sometimes hides who he really is from the rest of us. That sounds like a perfect description of New York to me.
Excellent article with a great lesson and an even better ending. You're an excellent writer, Colin - how do we get you to write more articles?
I pose this as a hypothetical, because I don't think Snider should be sent back to AAA.
Let's say, however, that he was to follow the N. Cruz path and not make the majors full-time for good until his late 20s. This presumes that he returns to AAA and makes that final adjustment where everything clicks. Do you think that getting him out of the hitter's haven that is Las Vegas (and the PCL), and into Indianapolis (I have no idea how it plays) (and the IL, which I know is more of a neutral/pitcher's environment, depending on the stadium) would help him in such a situation? It's harder to hit home runs in the IL than in the PCL . . . and in Pittsburgh, too, versus Toronto.
You can't judge Hamilton vs. those other guys on just their SB totals, though, right? Context is really important - total skill set, age, level, offensive environment, etc. I get your point, but I don't think this is enough data to question Hamilton's future.
I think I'm understanding you right, Jason, but please correct me if I'm wrong. If Mason Williams's swing indicated to you that he'd likely develop power, and that his strength would actualize enough to make hard contact against better pitching, then you'd love him, right?
I think it'd be fascinating to put you, KG, KLaw, and any of the BA guys in a room on camera, with a giant screen, and then put video of Williams up there, so you could point out what you aren't seeing his swing, and they could point out was they do see in his swing. Lather, rinse, repeat for other prospects where you all disagree. Am I hoping too much that my suggestion will lead to the Up and In prospect video podcast? Surely we have the technology!
I haven't read any of John's stuff in a few years, so I can't speak to his work at SB Nation. However, I know that when he wrote for ESPN, he frequently went to games and scouted guys in person, as well as talked to industry sources. That doesn't make him a scout or mean that he knows how to scout, or that he can (a la KG or Jason) pick up the phone and instantly get opinions from all over the industry on a player. But he definitely was not a "boxscore scout".
I like SBN's baseball coverage, and especially Rob Neyer, so I'd like to think they wouldn't have someone writing for them in a prominent role unless that person did really good work. (Sickels was, of course, a research assistant for Bill James in the late 90s/early 00s, and was good friends with Neyer; I assume that's still true.)
But again, I haven't read John since he left ESPN, so I just don't know.
Umm, since August began 8 days ago - which one could define as "of late" - Myers is hitting .258/.324/.290.
If you want a larger sample, since the AAA All-Star Game on July 11th - so almost a month - Myers is hitting .255/.339/.462. And those numbers are only good because of the week you cite above. Which, to be accurate, was only 4 days, July 28-31, not a week, as during those 4 days he had all 9 hits, all 5 runs, all 4 home runs, 12 of the 13 RBI, all 4 walks, and 6 of the 10 Ks - take that out (not fair, but c'est la vie), and he's hitting .174/.260/.337 since the AAA ASG.
In the half-season before the AAA All-Star Game, he was hitting .315/.395/.636.
So, unless you cherry pick the only 4 good days Myers has had since July 11, then yes, he's been struggling of late, just like KG said.
Neat article that raises a lot of questions. Thanks, Sam!
Was the comment by your 87-year-old German neighbor directed at Lincecum, or at you? ;)
The Mariners have already lost the casual fans. What do you think the rabid fan base will do with no one on the team worth watching or being excited about? Its a perfectly reasonable point. They don't have to abandon the M's for anyone - they can just stop watching baseball/going to game.
What do you think happened in Cleveland? Their attendance was great when they won, sustained for a little while after because of the big names still in town (Thome, CC, then Lee) - but when they lost/traded all their big stars, their attendance totally cratered:
2007 - 21st in MLB attendance
2008 - 22nd (traded CC in July)
2009 - 25th (traded Lee in July)
2010 - 30th
2011 - 24th
2012 - 30th (so far)
For all the love the super-knowledgable fan heaps on Choo, Santana, and Kipnis, it sure hasn't translated to the seats.
Losing plus no stars = horrible attendance. The M's have already gone from 2nd in MLB attendance (2003) to the somewhere between 15th and 20th (2005-2010) thanks to sustained losing. In 2011 they were 23rd, in 2012 26th (so far). Do you think putting more prospects on the field - after the current batch has done so badly - is likely to bump their attendance up? I don't think so, and I think slamcactus made a great point.
You feel old, Ian? Leaving aside the rappers, the first artist on Bauer's list or yours who's name I recognized was Manowar, and outside of the Pixies, I only knew a couple of others. Eventually we all lose our fastball. Nonetheless, well done and I hope Bauer follows your advice.
I like these "not exactly baseball but baseball-related" articles a lot, and I'm thrilled we haven't seen any "BP should stick to publishing just baseball articles" comments.
Not quite what you asked for, but I too would like the see the "just missed" list of the next 5 guys or so.
I agree that the A's did not expect the upside of those trades to appear in year 1.
But of course they knew Bailey would be hurt. Bailey was hurt in 2010, hurt in 2011, and no team knew his medical history better than the A's. To get anything of value for a "proven closer" who was frequently hurt was a good move on the A's part. Sweeney was just a red herring.
I just want to ask: who is Jit Fong Chin, and why isn't he/she helping out on all the podcasts?
"Our pit exists because we are cruel, awful people, and look at that dude fall!"
I just had to repeat it. Hilarious!
For #3, pop ups in the area of the pit would become quite entertaining.
PBP: "That's popped way up, looks like it will be near the pit. Well Bill, who will risk the pit this time?"
Analyst: "The last three catchers all fell into the pit, and only the first one had language in his contract requiring the team to extract him. The other two are, so far as we know, still down there. It is a deep pit, you can't see the bottom from the edge. I bet this catcher stays away. I wouldn't want to fall into a deep, dark pit filled with my starving predecessors. No telling if you make it out alive."
Well, as they say, why let facts get in the way of a good story? ;)
Great. BP. Headline. Ever!
/all Tolkien fans everywhere
OK staff, spill the beans - who is responsible for it?
I'm guessing - let me repeat, guessing - its a reference to so many people bemoaning the Yanks "buying championships" and "buying every All Star free agent" and spending more money than every other team put together.
In other words, while you might not like the Yanks spending $200M+/season on payroll, at least you never ever see them abandoning ship just to save cash. I think its quite a relevant and true point.
I hate to be the dude who brings in facts to ruin a perfectly fine line, but you've brought me so many laughs and strange looks from colleagues ("What is he laughing about now?"), I feel obligated to point this out.
Ten years ago, Matt Holliday was putting up a .276/.375/.391 line for Carolina in the AA Southern League. Admittedly, that was a horrible league to hit in - the league as a whole hit .256/.336/.374 - but I'm pretty sure the Cards are much happier with the present day version of Holliday (.321/.403/.534).
Agreed. Anything that gets Raul Ibanez off of the field is a big help for the Yanks.
With Swisher out for the series, it also saves the Yanks from playing both Ibanez (no glove) and Wise (no bat) - or Andruw Jones - in Safeco's cavernous outfield.
Otherwise though, Colin, I think you're spot on right.
I understand where you're coming from, but at this point, I think this argument is without support.
In the late 80s/90s, when only a few years prior MLB broadcast World Series games during the day, I understood this argument more. It was a change, and who knew what it would do? Though, of course, the argument ignored more recent history: until 1969, the only playoffs were the World Series and, until 1971, all of those games were held during the day, when kids were at school and adults were at work. Baseball doesn't seem to have lost any young fans from those times.
But I remember watching all of the playoffs and the World Series in 1992, and I'm pretty sure none of those started before 8PM EST. There also seems to be plenty of 20-something and 30-something baseball fans around right now. Clearly the late start times didn't affect them, so are we even sure this is an issue?
I've had a hard time finding the full TV schedule for last year's playoffs, but plenty of games started in the afternoon/early evening EST, thanks to MLB trying to avoid broadcasting two games at the same time.
I loved this article! Sam, I would bet money that you structured it by team names instead of cities so that Hawk and the scourge of Yankee Fans everywhere came in last.
I know this was TV broadcasts, but I am slightly disappointed that the worst home run caller of them all was not included on the list. Its pretty sad when a broadcaster is well known for not only his insanely cheesy, total homer calls - though occasionally, some are amusing, at least the first time - but especially his frequently wrong calls. If anyone doesn't know who I'm describing, let me just say this:
"It is high! It is far! It is . . ." (10 second pause) "caught in front of the wall."
On Monday, having three days of things to potentially talk about, are you guys going to go a little longer? Maybe cover two or even three topics?
I love the daily podcast, so I'm going to listen anyway, but I was curious. Thanks!
This was a great piece - there really is no manager like Ozzie. I'll take a stab at why none of those transcriptions have made it online somewhere - if I had a whole bunch of them, I'd put it together as a book. Kind of like a post-modern, curse-ridden "Oh Holy Cow". I ever have the perfect title:
"Oh Holy $#!t, Did He Actually Just Say That?! - The Selected Rants and Wisdom(?) of Ozzie Guillen"
The title is yours if you want it, Bradford - just give me an acknowledgment somewhere in the book, please.
Its the NYS that has seeped in through Jason's pores. I cannot think of a single grocery store or gas station in the Empire State that does not sell beer. Or perhaps they exist, but I would never patronize them. Transplants to NY get used to the wonderfulness, the simplicity, very quickly.
All with a little of NYS in their souls seethe a bit in other states where you have to go to strange places at strange, limited hours just to purchase delicious, ice cold beer.
Sweet! Downloading now , can't wait to listen!
For Giavotella, I know the PCL is a great hitters league, but is Omaha that good a hitter's park that maybe the Royals are discounting his numbers? I just can't figure out why they won't give the guy a legit chance in the bigs.
What's the scouting world's take on 2008 50th round pick lefty Nik Turley in the Yanks' system? He's 22, been in the low minors for ever, and the FSL is certainly a pitcher's league, but still: 73.1 IP, 80K, 27 BB, only 3 HR allowed looks impressive. Is the stuff real?
I would like to know just how late they recorded the show (East Coast time). I'm guessing 2AM.
This is phenomenal! Awesome piece, Larry. How do you find this stuff?
Wait - don't tell me. I don't want to know. Some things are better off being mysterious.
Awesome! I've got a long daily commute, and the more BP-related stuff I can listen to during it, the better.
Freak off by a lot!
Might be, in second half, a
good bet to improve?
Hmmm . . . that's a good question. I haven't come up with a problem yet.
While I try to come up with a problem, I have a further fix - make the ASG count in the standings AND have home field advantage in the World Series go to the team with the best record. You could then divide up the 2 leagues into 2 equal groups of 15 teams, maybe based on record or number of games out of a playoff spot? The goal would be to have an equal number of players in each group on teams that really need the extra win for HFA, and thus you avoid one group trying to lose (better draft pick with more losses = team improves faster) instead of win.
Each group forms a team in the ASG, and the starters are . . .
OK, I've got a problem. Unless you choose which AL and NL teams are on which All-Star teams beforehand, how do you do fan voting?
I agree that the Commish could up the competitiveness by fixing the managing, as you suggest, if he wanted to. But I'm not sure he does.
The way things are now, (almost) every player gets into the game, making fans of the teams with only 1 representative happy. Forcing the managers to play the starters longer, for example, might attract some viewers because the game is more competitive (presuming the fans really do elect the best at every position). However, it would probably lose some viewers, too, who's main reason for watching is to see their favorite team's player play, not because the game is competitive.
The other issue is pitching. No team is going to agree to let the ASG managers have their starting pitcher pitch for very long. Yet limiting starters to just an inning or two can lead to un-competitive results.
Something tells me, as Matt suggests, we're stuck with what we have right now, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
Just to follow up, since I gathered the data: of the 74 players on the 2012 MLB ASG rosters, only 17 were making less than $1M, because they haven't hit arbitration yet.
Take those 17 players out, and the average salary of the remaining 57 players was over $10M ($10,018,772.95 to be precise; blame Papelbon's ridiculous 2012 salary for the strange number). A sixth of that is ~$1.67M. If the bonus was $10K in 1970, as Matt reasonably posits (i.e., a third of the average MLB salary), then today the equivalent bonus would be ~$3.34M - greater than the average MLB salary!
You know the funny thing? Before Matt's article, I had never considered that the financial incentives have radically changed since the 60s and early 70s. I don't recall ever reading anything about how the ASG is different now that even made that point, yet, I think its a perfect explanation.
I'm not sure it has anything to do with psych, but rather the economic incentives that Matt did address. "Back when players were paid the same amount as a retail clerk, the checks they received as participants made a difference to their financial well-being, and the winning team making more than the losing team was the incentive that led to players actively trying to win."
Putting some numbers to the game:
Average MLB salary, 1970: $29,303 (would be about $175K in 2012 dollars)
Average MLB salary, 2012: $3,440,000
Average salary of 2012 All-Stars: $7,834,135 (thanks, Cot's!)
I couldn't find the bonus amounts for winning the 1970 ASG, but let's presume it was $5000, a nice round number. (For reference, the winner's share for winning the World Series in 1970 was about $18000, so $5K sounds reasonable.) That was a sixth of the average ballplayer's salary.
To get the equivalent amount in 2012, each player would have to receive a bonus of $573K (based on the average MLB salary) or $1.306M (based on the average All-Star's salary). I didn't do an exhaustive study, but A-Rod's current contract calls for a bonus of just $100K for making the All-Star team.
So yeah, I don't think it has anything to do with pysch, I think it has everything to do with ballplayers - particularly All Stars - being paid a hell of a lot more since free agency began, as they should be.
Prior to this season, I had owned Scherzer for each of the last four years. It was a frustrating experience owning him the last two years, due to his inconsistency. I expected great things following his fantastic 4 month close out to 2010. Instead, I got one heck of a roller coaster ride. Its always come out OK in the end, but not an enjoyable experience getting there.
I didn't draft Scherzer this year, though I was tempted. I've found watching his very unique season a lot more enjoyable with him not on my roster.
Sometimes I've wondered if the reason Liriano has been so inconsistent in his career is because the Twins simply have no coach who knows how to coach a Liriano-like pitcher. Santana was different, too, but he walked a lot fewer batters, so that was something coaches could relate to.
No snark here, BTW. This is a serious thought. The Twins organization is so full of pitch to contact, don't walk anyone, type pitchers, and has been for so long, I really do wonder is Liriano is too much of an outlier for their coachig staff.
Its amazing that, as bad as Russell Martin has been with the bat (.179/.300/.348, .244 TAv) he's still the 5th most valuable catcher in MLB. In fact, what you wrote about McCann could also be said for Martin, down to the insanely low BABIP perhaps explaining his offensive woes (.193 for Martin, compared to .288 for his career).
After years of watching Posada be very valuable, almost entirely because of his bat, its strange to now watch Martin be very valuable, almost entirely because of his glove.
Aren't doubles, and for that matter power overall, down across the league?
I haven't watched the Yanks closely enough to say that A-Rod has become more of a dead pull hitter. And his power numbers have declined much more than I expected. However, if everyone's doubles are down, that might not be a sign of A-Rod's declining power as much as a consequence of a lower scoring/tougher offensive environment across the board. In other words, it might say more about the league than about A-Rod.
Checking b-r.com's yearly league totals:
2009 AL: 4131 doubles, 87538 PA (0.0472 2B/PA)
2010 AL: 4016 doubles, 86744 PA (0.0463 2B/PA)
2011 AL: 4005 doubles, 86482 PA (0.0463 2B/PA)
2012 AL: 2043 doubles, 45588 PA (0.0448 2B/PA)
So, at the moment at least, it does seem that doubles are down league wide. It will be interesting to see what the end of year totals look like . . .
I always thought the Home Run Derby was a chance for all fans to celebrate baseball and be entertained. Silly me, all these years I never realized it was really about the ticket paying host fans having their every Derby whim fulfilled.
So, here's a simple enough solution. Next year, Derby participants should be selected by the people who buy tickets to the Derby. Give the paying masses what they want!
I also cannot help but notice that, beloved hometown hero though he may be, Billy Butler has only once hit more than 20 home runs in a single season (21 in 2009), has never slugged over .500, and has never had an ISO over .200 (his current .197 would be a career high if the season ended today). Perhaps that's why Cano didn't select him to be in the Derby?
A house is only as strong as its foundation, and a pizza is only as tasty as its dough lets it be. Seems to me that the same ought to be true for sabermetrics.
Welcome back Russell - can't wait to wade through the math and read your wonderfully clear writing!
Am I too late to call for the head (or at least right arm) of Dellin Betances?
All those walks have increased my bloodlust to blood#want. He didn't do this last year; which is the fluke, and which is reality?
BIS could improve its data on shifts if the people recording the data were actually in the stands at the ballgames, no? It might cost BIS more, but wouldn't the greater accuracy be worth it?
Sabermetrics taught me a long time ago to not always trust my eyes. Colin's work reminds me to not always trust data that is very dependent on someone else's eyes, as well.
Now that the Mets have a no-hitter, I expect Bill Parker's article about the Padres not having had a cycle to bring that one to an end, too.
Very well played, Sam Bam.
Bundy is something else. That line last night, for those who don't know, was against the Charleston Yankees' prospected-loaded lineup (one of Sanchez's 3 hits was the only hit off Bundy, a double.) Of course, not all of those guys are crushing the ball, but still - wow.
The unearned run was a fluky play, too. Bundy threw a wild pitch on a third strike to Williams, so Williams was on first. Then the catcher threw the ball past Bundy into center field, and Williams went to third. The centerfielder overthrew the 3rd baseman, and Williams scored.
Maury, I think your analysis is exactly right.
The other (obvious) candidate is the guy who seems to be inextricably linked with Harper, Mike Trout. He started playing really young, plays in a huge market for team willing to spend, and is a possible superduper star . . .
Unless, of course, the Pujols contract scares the Angels off of 10-year contracts for a while.
A more interesting question is, if not Harper or Trout, then who? Is that player even on the radar right now?
There are not many possibilities among current MLB players, because so many are locked up past their mid-20s. The ones I see left are Justin Upton, Starlin Castro (lack of superstar shortstops), and maybe Giancarlo Stanton. If its not one of these guys, I think we might wait a while longer.
I'm with Jivas and Nacho999 - if it was good enough for Don Larsen and the Yanks and Dodgers in '56, it's good enough for me. Tie to the guy making history.
Seriously, have you seen the footage of the last pitch in Larsen's perfect game? Questionable for sure, but the call was "strike three" and that's that. Ditto here.
I remember seeing this video back in 1992, and that just killed it for me. "That's not Wrigley! Why is Eck in his home uniform?" Etc.
Larry, if I had known you hadn't known about this video, I could have sent you a copy; pretty sure I have it on an old VHS tape somewhere . . .
You have seen the video for Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard", with Mickey Mantle hitting a stickball home run, yes?
"Our own PECOTA had the Red Sox at 89 wins. My projection system, IMADETHISUP, had the Red Sox winning 120 games."
I almost choked on the granola bar I was eating - fantastic delivery! You slip some awesome lines in there, Matt.
Matt, this was really funny, but oh so true - even for teams that have impact signings.
I also can't wait to see the Glossary entry for TAv updated to:
Excellent – Miguel Cabrera .342
Great – Alex Rodriguez .300
Average – Austin Jackson .260
Bleeeeeeeaaaah - Scott Podsednik - .251
Uuughhh - Juan Pierre .250
Poor – Ronny Cedeno .228
Horrendous – Brandon Wood .192
Truly, 'tis a fine line between bleeeeeeeaaaah and uuughhh, but those two straddle it.
Craig Calcaterra pointed out, rightly, that MLB never did anything to Peter Angelos when he made nice-nice with Castro himself, when the O's played the Cuban national team back in 1999. More double standard, Mr. Selig?
Just so long as you double digit folks don't exclude us triple digit folks.
IIRC, its almost impossible to embed video from MLB.com, or at least it was, so this doesn't really surprise me.
Every MLB.com article has a disclaimer at the end: "This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs." My guess is that its trying to show that the reports are not being editorialized by MLB or the teams. I'll bet the line in the social media policy is to back up that distinction.
I think Downs is behind Lilly. Lilly may have a little of the Moyer in him, himself. I think its unlikely Downs can pitch effectively for another 5-6 years. He's in the middle of a 5 year run (45+ IP, ERA<=4.00 each year) that only 17 other relievers have managed to meet (or exceed) since 2000. Of those 17, only 10 did for 6 consecutive years (or more), and only 3 did it for 8 consecutive years (or more).
If you look for non-consecutive years in the same time frame, only 8 relievers had 45+ IP, ERA<=4.00 for any 8 years from 2000-2011. Even if you raise the ERA bar to 4.50, you add only another 5 relievers
And, of course, only one reliever has had 45+ IP, ERA<=4.00 for more than 10 years in that time (bet you can guess who).
If Downs pitches another 5-6 years, he deserves the title of the last Expo.
5+ consecutive years 2000-2011, RP with 45+ IP, ERA<=4.00
Armando Benitez 5
Keith Foulke 5
Tim Worrell 5
Jamie Walker 5
Joe Beimel 5
Takashi Saito 5
Heath Bell 5
Eddie Guardado 6
Braden Looper 6
Damaso Marte 6
Darren Oliver 6
Jonathan Papelbon 6
Joe Nathan 7
Huston Street 7
Francisco Rodriguez 9
Francisco Cordero 10
Mariano Rivera 12
Any 8+ years 2000-2011, RP with 45+ IP, ERA<=4.00
Brian Fuentes 8
LaTroy Hawkins 9
Trevor Hoffman 9
David Weathers 9
Billy Wagner 9
Francisco Rodriguez 9
Francisco Cordero 10
Mariano Rivera 12
Any 8+ years 2000-2011, RP with 45+ IP, ERA<=4.50
Jason Isringhausen 8
Mike Timlin 8
Octavio Dotel 8
Brian Fuentes 8
Scott Linebrink 8
Dan Wheeler 8
LaTroy Hawkins 9
Billy Wagner 9
Francisco Rodriguez 9
Trevor Hoffman 10
David Weathers 10
Francisco Cordero 10
Mariano Rivera 12
Awesome! There is something about spring training - once you go, you want to go back.
KG, just FYI: because the Yanks' AAA team will be on the road all season due to renovations to the Scranton stadium, and will play most of their "home" games in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse etc, their name for the season is the Empire State Yankees.
Has any AAA team ever had to do this before, and do you think always being on the road might have a significant impact on the players' performance/development?
Rebecca, Nadymight have helped the Yankees by getting hurt in 2009. Girardi had allegedly planned on Nady being the regular RF, with Swisher as backup. Nady's injury scrapped that foolish plan.
This was a great read!
Updating the "Under 2 Hours" list last seen in Episode 71's comments:
Here's a list of all 19 under-two-hour Episodes*, according to the time on the BP Podcast post for each Episode, in order of increasing time:
Episode 86 (1:06:30) new shortest full episode ever!
Episode 2 (1:18:59)
Episode 64 (1:29:13)
Episode .9 (1:29:51)
Episode 67 (1:30:30)
Episode 51 (1:40:11)
Episode 43 (1:43:10)
Episode 41 (1:43:41)
Episode 8 (1:45:54)
Episode 68 (1:47:23)
Episode 71 (1:48:00)
Episode 76 (1:48:47)
Episode 11 (1:52:49)
Episode 83 (1:53:01)
Episode 81 (1:54:50)
Episode 77 (1:55:36)
Episode 6 (1:57:21)
Episode 34 (1:57:34)
Episode 3 (1:58:58)
Episodes 76 and 77 join episodes since 67 and 68 (if you ignore 67.5) and 2 and 3 as the only back-to-back under 2 hour episodes. In base-10 series, the 70s and 80s join the 60s and the single digits as having the most under 2 hour episodes (3 in each).
*Technically speaking, the list should include:
Episode 28.1 (18:46)
Episode 75.1 (21:56)
Episode 75.3 (24:35)
Episode 75.2 (26:56)
Episode 67.5 (40:28)
Episode 74 (57:24)
BUT none of these followed the "typical" format (Housekeeping - Emails - Special Guest - Musical Guest - What Are You Drinking - End), so I excluded these six from the list. YMMV.
Bradley, IIRC, Jose Rijo pitched for Oakland's PCL team in 1985, not the Yankees, as he was part of the Rickey Henderson trade in late 1984.
I also didn't recall the Yanks have a young pitching prospect in the mid-80s named John Mitchell, and it turns out he was a Met. What happened to him?
Hmmm . . . as a Yankees fan, I'm curious to see what the 10 year forecasts project for some career numbers for the left side of the infield, as they are both high on some all-time lists, and of course neither will actually play another 10 years, so the forecasts should have some value!
With the 30 HR forecast this year, plus the 10 year forecast, PECOTA currently projects A-Rod to hit 770 HR (1st all-time), with 2334 RBI (1st all-time), and 2276 runs scored (2nd all-time).
Jeter's forecast calls for him to finish with 3680 hits (4th all-time) and 2034 runs scored (8th all-time).
They'd be the only pair of teammates to ever retire with over 2000 runs scored each.
It will be interesting to see how close those end up to being right, and what the projections look like at this time next year!
And of course, Maddux was famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for having a personal catcher who was not Javy Lopez. His name being so high on the list shocked me more than Piazza.
I was surprised to see Warren and Mitchell, but not Phelps, in the 12-20 list. I thought Phelps was ahead of them in terms of big league readiness, but I'm obviously not a scout. Where would Phelps be if you went to 30, and why wasn't he higher?
Thanks, KG - can't wait to hear you and Patricia's love discuss the list on the podcast!
I'll take a shot. The serious answer is logistics.
Your hypothetical of the Tigers having designated fielders in 2013 for Prince, Cabrera, and Victor Martinez would require the Tigers having 3 guys to man the field for those 3 at a given time.
Current MLB rosters are limited to 25 players. Teams typically carry 12 pitchers and 13 non-pitchers. Of the 13 non-pitchers, the Tigers would need, for a game using your hypothetical:
1 Prince Fielder
1 designated fielder (DF) for first base
1 second baseman
1 Miguel Cabrera
1 DF for third base
1 right fielder
1 center fielder
1 Victor Martinez
1 DF for left field (could be right field instead; wouldn't be catcher as the Tigers would never take the bat out of Avila's hands)
1 designated hitter
That totals 12 guys, leaving a one man bench. Even if you allowed a non-fielder to take the field in place of an injured DF, or when a DF had to shift to another position to cover an injury, I can't see any team agreeing to the set up (except maybe the Rays with their many multi-positional wonders).
The solution would be to convince teams to go back to 10 man pitching staffs (will never happen) or to increase the 25-man roster to, say, a 28-man roster. I'm sure the MLBPA would love that, but I can't see the owners going for it, whatever improvements might result in the standings and on the field.
I, for one, would like to know the name and address of the institution that will provide college credit for eating ice cream, so I can audit a class there immediately, preferably one that involves eating ice cream.
Please be sure to let us know, Ben - what a service to the readers so early in your E-i-C tenure!
Larry, this was a fascinating article, and the first time I could legitimately claim to be reading BP while at work! I'm a patent attorney.
The reason all of the patents you found offer mostly pictures and not much text is because they are all design patents, which cover only the aesthetic aspects, nothing functional. I'm not really surprised by that, because to get a utility patent, which would cover the functional features, the inventor would need to know a lot about how baseballs are actually made, and something tells me that MLB doesn't let any of those folks try to get patents.
Now, golf balls, on the other hand, you could take days to read through all of the golf ball patents out there.
Congratulations, Ben and John!
A part of me is sad that we won't be able to read you two commenting on the teams at the halfway point, the end of the year, and after the season. What could have been!
Steven, thank you for all of the quality commentary here, and for all the thoughtful responses to questions. And congratulations on the new gig!
Yes, though pardon me if this comes off too flippantly.
MLB was interested in limiting the amount of money it has to pay to the players. This has been Selig and Reinsdorf's hobby horse for 40+ years, and they'll do it any way they can (legally or not). This was an easy one to win, because . . . the MLBPA doesn't represent any player until after they sign a contract, and so didn't care what kind of draft pool/penalties were put in place. If anything, the MLBPA could easily say to the players, "This leaves more money for minor league and major league salaries."
Its really short-sighted on both sides' parts, but there you are.
"The constant injuries bother me less than the fact that in trying to come back from them, he seems to have seen his skills erode. . . . nothing will ever take away the wonderfulness of 2005-2008, but I’m really starting to get worried that those years will be his equivalent of Bogie and Bergman’s “We’ll always have Paris.”"
Not an apples to apples comparison by any means, but after reading these lines, my first thought was, change the dates to 1985-1989 and Steven, you just described Don Mattingly.
If the Boss were still around and in charge, your Konerko and Thornton for Banuelos and Robertson offer would have already been accepted and both new Yanks would already have received a phone call telling them to shave immediately.
Fortunately for us Yankee fans, George is gone.
I think, because they followed their employer's procedure, you have to give Quinn and Fainaru-Wada a pass on this one.
The fault lies with ESPN, and any other entities that allow anonymous sources in situations where there's no compelling need to give anonymity in exchange for information that is of high value to the public.
Its one thing to have to rely on anonymous sources when you're talking with corporate whistle blowers exposing harmful practices, or matters of national security. The value of that information to the public is high enough that relying on anonymous sources is OK.
But the confidential results of a confidential MLB drug test? Are you kidding me? How does that possibly give anything of real value to the public? How does that rise to the level that would justify using an anonymous source?
Joe Sheehan had a great article that made this point far better than I can. Put the blame on ESPN, or their editors, not on the reporters.
I'm sad to hear about the lack of a Boston event. You all will be missed.
An in-season event would make it up to us, though!
I choose to see this through the lens of, "See Commissioner Selig? We're in such dire straits in the current ballpark, we have to risk signing Manny Ramirez to DH. How about letting us move to San Jose already, please?"
I understand your point, Steven, and I think its absolutely valid. Manny signing with the A's doesn't bother me, though. He's a dolt for sure, but dolts can change, and I don't know if Manny is as far down the path of no return as your relative the former teacher, or any of the people I know who are like that. I guess with Manny, we'll find out.
Would it be fair to say that, in your opinion, Mason Williams with no increase in power is a slightly smaller Brett Gardner? That sounds pretty good to me.
Any thoughts on either David Adams or Corban Joseph? I wonder if either is good enough to have the Yankees move Cano off second base and to somewhere else they could use help in a couple of years (say third, leaving aside the issue of Cano Having to learn a new position, and being able to play it.
Politics, says dictionary.com, means:
1. the science or conduct of government
2. political affairs, methods, or principles
Its not politics, but policy, and I'm pretty sure all the ballplayers who spoke out against what Arizona did and tried to do would have taken issue with trying to draw a line between sports, and policy that directly affects sports. To say nothing of directly affecting the participants in the sport. Kinda hard to not at least mention it, IMHO.
Fortunately for the Captain, I doubt Girardi will move Jeter out of the leadoff spot this year. He couldn't stick to doing it last year.
I did not hit #1 (as an album) in the US until 1988, but when I think of music and 1987, I think of Def Leppard's "Hysteria". I'll bet you don't, Steven.
I'd like to see a 7 game series between the first string and the second string. I bet the second string would hold their own, but I may be biased towards the second string having so many Yanks from my childhood.
Steven, so while you didn't work on editing the annual this offseason, you were still doing BP book editing work. My confidence in the universe restored, I no longer expect 2012 to follow the Mayans' predictions.
And I really look forward to Extra Innings!
"Even if Bennett's legislation doesn't pass, the state of Florida will have to address this in some way."
Not necessarily. Florida could just ignore the law. It has for the last almost 24 years. Unless someone sued the state seeking enforcement of the law - I think they'd have to allege that they were suffering a loss by the law not being enforced - the state can (and likely will) continue to ignore the provision, without ever repealing it.
Ignoring laws does happen - for example, there are some doozies of federal statues in place that haven't been enforced in decades, and are an affront to society IMHO, but they are still on the books.
I am beyond excited to see Bill and (soon, I expect) TCM writing for BP. Outstanding news!
Congratulations Mike, and best of luck to you. Your fascinating ideas and excellent writing will be missed.
I recall some of the Yankees blogs a few years ago referring to Chien Ming Wang as "Worm Killer", though I don't remember when it first happened or who first mentioned the term. It was definitely due to his high groundball tendencies, and I'm pretty sure it grew out of "worm burner".
That's a fascinating idea! I would if MLB would ever consider adopting that rule for the LCS. Of course, there could be times when the team without the best record did not make the LCS, so maybe it wouldn't work as well.
RJ, thanks for a very interesting article. It made me think of another international "import" who had some deception to his game but wasn't from Japan - El Duque Orlando Hernandez. His stuff was of course outstanding, but also relied on some deception - the high leg kick, hands in the glove, variety of arm angles and pitches he used, etc.
I'm curious what happens if you look at the data for El Duque's starts - would you see a trend similar to the graph above, or would it be all over the place like Matsuzaka's?
I'd say no.
In Morris's case, people are resorting to arguments based on something other than objective facts, because the objective facts do not support the case.
For Blyleven, everyone started with an argument based on objective facts, because they did support the case. No one resorted to "Well you should have seen him pitch!" arguments for Blyleven (at least without going through the numbers first).
Cashman (to himself): "I can't believe Pavano is giving me 5% of his salary! What a guy!"
Pavano (to himself): "Sucker."
This is a fascinating study, and one I am surprised no one look at in detail before.
The Yankees fan in me, however, is most blown away by the Yanks having added 85 runs from 2003-2011 by the hit and run, significantly more than any other team. Did most of those runs come under Torre (2003-2007) or Girardi (2008-2011)? The Yanks seemed to hit and run a lot more under Torre (2008 aside), but I wonder if Girardi is employing it more selectively (and thus more successfully)?
As a side note, why isn't Torre on the manager list? He managed all but one year from 2003-2011.
Wonderful news - congratulations, Ben!
Congratulations! A well-deserved honor.
If KG does not sing at least two lines from "The Lady is a Tramp" on tonight's episode of the podcast, I am going to be sorely disappointed. Alternatively, he should have you do it, Steven.
I can only imagine what the hustle and bustle is like. I think I'd prefer to be a wallflower if I was in that room, too.
Where do I enter my credit card information?
I also think a collection of various comments - the most accurate, the least accurate, the most amusing, the most prescient, etc - would be a great thing to add.
I'd buy it!
I think we'd need more people to commit first, though.
Larry, this is one of the single greatest posts you've ever done. Bravo, and thank you.
Yes. It had something to do with Paramount not willing to up her salary on DS9, but the producers of Becker agreeing to pay her what she wanted - and then Paramount cut that deal off (Becker was a Paramount show, too).
I'm pretty sure this is in an interview somewhere online, but I couldn't find it just now.
Updating the "Under 2 Hours" list from Episode 67's comments*:
Here's a list of all 14 under-two-hour Episodes, according to the time on the BP Podcast post for each Episode, in order of increasing time:
Episode 2 (1:18:59)
Episode 64 (1:29:13)
Episode .9 (1:29:51)
Episode 67 (1:30:30)
Episode 51 (1:40:11)
Episode 43 (1:43:10)
Episode 41 (1:43:41)
Episode 8 (1:45:54)
Episode 68 (1:47:23)
Episode 71 (1:48:00)
Episode 11 (1:52:49)
Episode 6 (1:57:21)
Episode 34 (1:57:34)
Episode 3 (1:58:58)
Episodes 67 and 68, if you consider them "back-to-back" (i.e., you ignore 67.5), are the first two back-to-back** episodes since 2 and 3 to be back-to-back under 2 hour episodes. The 60s also had the most under 2 hour episodes since the single digits. I hope this just means you both have been super busy, and that you're not getting bored!
(Technically speaking, Episode 28.1 is the shortest ever (18:46), followed by 67.5 (40:28), but since neither followed the "typical" format, I excluded them from this analysis. YMMV.)
*hesshaun, I replied to you under Episode 64, but figured I'd say something here, too. I had no idea there was one page listing all the episodes with their times, so I actually went page by page using the "Previous Column" feature and recorded them all manually. Took me about 25 minutes the first time. Of course, its now very easy to update. Wish I had known about the single page listing!
**John Sterling's voice adds, "and belly-to-belly!"
I wish I had known about that page, as I actually just went through each separate post using the handy "last _______" link at the bottom.
Only took me about 30 minutes.
And the Yanks don't need any of them, if they are smart.
Following the trade of his pal Melky Cabrera, there were quite a few articles written that said it made Cano more focused. The usual implication was that Cano wouldn't be out partying with Cabrera, so he could devote more time to baseball.
I don't know how true that was, but I remember hearing that story many times in 2010.
It seems to me that we have at least two examples of managers who stayed in one place for a while exhibiting the "their guys" phenomena: TLR and Torre during his last years with the Yanks. I wonder if that's a coincidence or a trend? Hard to test, of course, because only so many managers stay in the same place for a while.
Does Scioscia do it? I don't think Ozzie does, but I don't watch him enough to know. There's been talk in Boston that Tito Francona didn't stretch out Aceves to start because he was the manager's bullpen security blanket. Did Bobby Cox do it? Dusty Baker during his Giants days? Sweet Lou in Seattle? Bochy with the Padres? Anyone else I'm missing - and is this enough of a sample?
Updating the "Under 2 Hours" list from Episode 64's comments:
Here's a list of all 12 under-two-hour Episodes, according to the time on the BP Podcast post for each Episode, in order of increasing time:
Episode 2 (1:18:59)
Episode 64 (1:29:13)
Episode .9 (1:29:51)
Episode 67 (1:30:30)
Episode 51 (1:40:11)
Episode 43 (1:43:10)
Episode 41 (1:43:41)
Episode 8 (1:45:54)
Episode 11 (1:52:49)
Episode 6 (1:57:21)
Episode 34 (1:57:34)
Episode 3 (1:58:58)
As you can see, this is the first time since Episodes 41 and 43 that two such short episodes came out so close to each other.
(Technically speaking, Episode 28.1 is the shortest ever (18:46), but since it did not follow the typical format, I excluded it from this analysis. YMMV.)
I'm pretty sure that's a naked attempt to appeal to all of the football fans down in Florida. The white letters and the orange outline reminded me of the Hurricanes more than it did anything else.
I have no explanation for the "M" or the horrible blue-orange-yellow color scheme.
Sadly for us all, Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch has apparently confirmed that the logo is the real deal. http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=6999810
OK, I checked, its not the shortest ever, but the 2nd shortest (and the shortest since Episode 2).
Here's a list of all 11 under-two-hour Episodes, according to the time on the BP Podcast post for each Episode, in order of increasing time:
Episode 2 (1:18:59)
Episode 64 (1:29:13)
Episode .9 (1:29:51)
Episode 51 (1:40:11)
Episode 43 (1:43:10)
Episode 41 (1:43:41)
Episode 8 (1:45:54)
Episode 11 (1:52:49)
Episode 6 (1:57:21)
Episode 34 (1:57:34)
Episode 3 (1:58:58)
Of course, technically speaking, Episode 28.1 is the shortest ever (18:46), but since it did not follow the typical format, I excluded it from this analysis. YMMV.
Is this the shortest episode ever?
News out of NY is that Montero will be called up tomorrow, so you can change that "might" to a "will".
Mike, I think everyone at BP has been doing great work this year, but I have to say - your stuff by itself has been worth the price of admission. This was a phenomenal article. Thank you.
I think the idea of adding and subtracting is impossible to figure out from a practical perspective. I also think its ridiculous, but I can see how others might feel differently.
But let's say we had a way to do it, fairly. In that context, I think you're right, Richard, Thome should get a boost. But to be consistent, I think you have to give everyone a boost. Maybe some guys (Bonds, Sosa, etc.) also get something taken away, too. I don't see how you "add" to just the "clean guys".
I had heard about the Fielders via KG and the Professor's interview with Zaman on Up and In, but I had no idea that Costner was involved!
I loved this piece, Jason.
The Yankees fan in me has to ask: what did you think of Mason Williams, or were you only really watching the double play combo?
Yep. For someone like me who doesn't regularly read Fangraphs, I had no idea that Matt Schwarz had gone over there or anything else until I read this piece. The timing didn't seem important to me either way.
Maddon's worst offense, IMHO, was having Torres issue the intentional walk. Never give a guy who might have nerves a reason to not find the plate. I am virulently anti-IBB, though - even though, as a Yankees fan, I was grateful to watch Maddon make a Girardian gaffe.
Is there any way we can get you to Florida to do a similar piece on the GCL teams?
Its a fascinating parallel you've drawn, Steven. Well done.
In Sunday's game, the Yanks had a 4-run lead going into the bottom of the 8th. Girardi, of course, went to his new "8th inning guy", Robertson. The Yanks then scored one run in the top of the 9th, making it a 5 run lead, and so no Rivera for the 9th. (Somewhat confoundingly, Girardi brought in his "get lefties out guy" for the 9th. I think it was because of lack of other options.)
Did any of the beat writers ask Girardi if he would have gone to Rivera had the lead stayed at four runs? I wonder how often Girardi has gone to the "8th inning guy" with a lead of exactly 4 runs this year?
I had no idea about this, and the idea intrigues me. I look forward to the follow-up article in October when the season is done.
I am with you, djardine. Richie is right in general, but it doesn't work in this case.
Clemens is on trial because he might have lied to Congress under oath about using PEDs. The DOJ can investigate him because of the "lying to Congress under oath" part, not the "using PEDs" part. IIRC, the DOJ has already looked at the other two they might have gotten on a "lying to Congress under oath" charge, Tejada and Palmeiro, and those cases are closed.
Chris, I sympathize with your 7-year-old self wanting to know, but I don't think you'll ever get a definite answer. Great article - glad to be reading you!
Really enjoyed this look into all the Tout leagues, Jason - thanks!
The commenters above took all the great superlatives, so I'll go the simple route:
I think it would be great if Wily Mo could pass Nix to "win" the NL crown, but the question is, will he get the playing time to do it?
No way he passes Vlad and Morel, though. The Crutches are theirs.
I am glad someone is keeping the DiSar tradition alive!
Thanks for the wonderful peak into California's college summer leagues, Ken. Its a treat to you see here at BP. Long live the Toaster!
"Ed sometimes wears a Yankees hat. Did the Yankees agree to this? Did they get paid? If not, is it too late for the team to sue everyone involved?"
Emma, while I love the sentiment, do you really think its a good idea to give Hank and Randy Levine ideas?
I haven't stopped laughing over the last part yet. That's a fantastic way to describe a pitcher's lack of run support, Steve. Very well done.
KG, I usually download the podcast from right here, instead of going into iTunes. (Long story). After your comments on the weird iTunes ranking system last week, I got to thinking. Would it help the ranking on iTunes if I went there to download it instead? Obviously I can't affect the ranking all by myself, but I can't be the only one downloading directly from BP.com . . . can I?
I've really been enjoying your stuff, Marc. This was great.
I am looking forward to it already!!
You took the words right out of my keyboard, iddscoper. Not even Girardi's manic bunting habit with Gardner can trump his inane use of the intentional walk. You want to talk about actions speaking louder than words, and a lack of faith? Everytime he orders an IBB, that's the message he sends to the pitcher on the mound: I have no confidence in your ability to get this guy out. I don't get it.
OK, I think this is it:
Amazingly enough, Steven wrote this one too, and it did appear just last summer.
OK, this is the article I partially remembered. It looked just at the Sox-Yanks trades of the 1910s and 20s, in terms of WARP in and WARP out over 3 years, and Steven did write it, and it was from 2005 - but I don't think its what you were looking for, Neil.
If my memory hasn't failed me, Steven Goldman wrote it. It looked at big name trades in terms of WARP in and WARP out, going all the way back to the early Red Sox-Yankees deals of the late 1910s. I don't remember when the article appeared, though.
Marc, all the best to you. You did an amazing job with the fantasy coverage and my fantasy teams are forever grateful. I'll miss reading you here but am looking forward to seeing where you go!
Sheesh, I just realized - book events in Boston won't be the same without you. Come join the rest of us in the seats next year, would you? We'll save you a spot.
Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these, Tom. It was fascinating reading, particularly women and shoes and "alot".
As one of the lawyers in this crowd, this is an awesome find. Thanks, Larry!
So Jeter has never posted a positive nFRAA? I shouldn't be surprised, but I am a little bit.
I can only imagine what his WARP would have been in '99 if not for the poor fielding . . . !
The Yankees had a few oblique injuries during spring training, though I believe none were very serious.
I've noticed that sometimes my kids make the most random but insightful observations, on things that I completely missed. Have you ever had a baseball or a sabermetric insight based on something that your son told you that he noticed, that you did not notice?
Scott Boras! I thought so. When you said "secretary" in Episode 49, I just had a feeling that it had to be him.
I can't wait to listen!
If the Yankee brand could not survive the loss of Jeter or Posada or both, then the Yankee brand is worthless.
I think your other arguments carry a lot more weight and reasonableness. I'Il add one more-given how great Posada was in 2009 and 2010, the Yanks probably don't win the Serious/make the playoffs without him.
I would be shocked, seeing as he hasn't had one month that good since last April, much less two.
Not that OBP is everything, but Jeter didn't have a single month last year with an OBP that good, either.
I'd take a. 355 OBP, though.
Yep. RJ's suggestion of Kila going to a place where he has no prospects breathing down his back has TB written all over it.
Beautiful and poignant. Thanks for sharing, Steven.
And don't well all mourn Rogers Hornsby every time we remember him?
Didn't Hughes have an issue with one of his ribs before? I seem to recall that was what kept him out of action for a big chunk of 2008.
Personally, I prefer the Zebra Jimnie Gel Retractable 0.7mm (no joke), but the Orbitz is a suitable replacement in a pinch. I have to ask, though: blue ink or black ink?
Excellent piece, Professor. Keep up the great work.
It certainly doesn't mean anything, but the historical context is interesting.
As many of my Sox friends reminded me this morning, with much glee, "Once upon a time, no MLB team had ever won a 7-game playoff series when they were down 3-0 after 3 games." I think they're just pleased that they start the season 0-6 and then get to play the Yanks. Bad timing for the Yanks.
Its a small sample, of course, but the Twins have scored 16 runs so far this year in 5 games (3.2 R/G). That puts them 12th in the AL in runs scored. They're tied for 11th in OBP, 12th in SLG, 13th in OPS+, 12th in AVG, tied for last in HR. Its only 5 games, but the performance has so far been subpar.
Sabathia is a fantastic pitcher, and as a lefty, naturally nullifies five of the six best Twins' hitters: Mauer, Morneau, Thome, Kubel, and Span. Steven's line comparing the '11 Twins to the '11 Senators when facing an ace was reasonable, in my opinion.
I'm also not sure how Steve is "clueless about the quality of the Twins offense" just by your saying so.
What worries me most about Girardi is that he called Soriano his "8th inning guy" and Joba his "7th inning guy". That kind of rigid inflexibility is what got Torre into trouble so often. You have more than 3 good relievers, Girardi - use them wisely, not just based on what number you see under "INNING" on the scoreboard. Think, man, think!
Many heartfelt congratulations, Christina! This is great news, though I hope ESPN allows you to reference some obscure 16th century duchy on occasion.
I'm also fascinated to see what you do with the more long-form pieces. BP will be an even better place for it.
I loved "DC Follies" and was (one of its few) regular viewers! Haven't thought about it in years. Sadly, I don't recall seeing the episode with Bob Uecker/his voice. Its got to be out there somewhere, right?
Thanks Larry, this was a great article.
Yep. You have to pick and choose. You can't worry about missing something. I go with blogs whose writers I think are outstanding. The trick is like eating right - take in just enough to feel satisfied, not sick - and don't completely cut out the junk.
My experience is that you find out the really interesting stuff (eventually) without reading everything.
Great article, Emma.
Ordered it from Amazon yesterday, got it this morning. Its a beauty!
True - but the Yanks (and later, the Rangers) knew Soriano's actual age, even if the public did not.
Thanks!! Now if the Yanks will make use of some of this talent, instead of trading it all away or letting it rot . . .
KG, any thoughts on Jose Ramirez? And are David Adams and Corban Joseph 21 & 22 (tho not necessarily in that order)?
I'd feel better if the Yanks hadn't signed Colon or Garcia, but c'est la vie. If they both implode in the spring (oh, let us hope!), then little harm done.
I do wonder if this is something where Cashman was overruled. The last time the Yanks tried two kids in the rotation from Opening Day on, the results weren't too great (Hughes and Kennedy for the first two months of 2008). I don't think that should stop them, but I can hear Randy Levine's evil voice whispering in Hal's ear . . .
Wow. This is very exciting news! Congrats to all - can't wait to see all the new content.
Is FIELD F/X and its data the answer, then? Or is it going to have the same problems with, e.g., ball location that its sibling systems do?
This is really eye-opening stuff.
I'd say no. DVR is certainly one of my coping mechanisms, especially during the regular season. Fast forwarding at the lowest possible speed is also a great way to not have to listen to inane commentary from the announcers. My problem is that if I'm watching via DVR, I can't participate in game threads at my blog of choice.
I'm all for a faster game, particularly when MLB's TV partners almost insist on starting many postseason games at 8PM Eastern (or later).
Will, I remember the pre-BP newsletter fondly, and now here we are, post-BP. Thanks for everything here - you are missed already.
All the best!
My respect and admiration for Clay Davenport just doubled.
And I say that with all the respect of someone who came thisclose to taking a class on Fortran, before at the last minute, my college decided that it really was better to teach future engineers and computer scientists C/C++.
This was a really interesting article, Ben. Thanks!
I'm surprised the Orioles did not turn up on one of the lists, as they last few years, they've been famous for a second-half swoon, or at least a July and August swoon. I'd guess that two months probably has even less meaning than half-a-season, though.
One month probably means less still, but I remember with fondness how Bernie Williams annually used to go 0-for-April and then finally warm up once the calendar hit May 1.
I see your point, but its really an apples to oranges comparison you are making.
You don't know how a TV works, but all you need to know that it does work is to turn it on.
WAR or WARP are completely different. There is no "on/off" button that will tell you, one way or the other, whether they "work". They might be wrong, and we don't necessarily know that yet.
Not only that, you can't authoritatively measure their various characteristics, like you can with a TV. If a TV has 3 HDMI ports, there's no disputing that. There's no disputing the resolution. There's no disputing the refresh rate, the color clarity, the viewing angle. You measure certain characteristics on well-known, established scales. There are no such scales for the components of WAR/WARP. Is TZ or UZR or FRAA/FRAP better? How about the baserunning metrics? The offensive metrics? Which park factors are right? Etc. Its a far cry from being able to say, with certainty, "The resolution of this TV's screen is 1080p and it has 5 HDMI ports."
That's why, with WAR/WARP you HAVE TO know at least a little something about how they purport to work, or at least the underlying assumptions and context of their components.
The second quote is perhaps my favorite part, too. Its something (in not quite the same context) Steven Goldman has been hammering home for years, and I think its something that can't be said enough.
Bravo, Colin. Bravo.
I'm not touching the PED thing with a ten foot pole, though I'm tempted. Its not really relevant, and Communism was just a red herring, after all.
I don't see how bashing a bunch of "them" (sportswriters and bloggers) makes anyone's morale better for more than a couple of seconds. If you've got to put someone else down to feel better about yourself, the problem isn't the someone else, its the person staring back at you from the mirror.
This was stupid. Steven pointed out why, and unlike Lincoln ("If it seems to you like the local media is going out of its way to trash the Mariners, well, you're right, they are!"), used facts to back up his points. If that's "volunteering to keep the Sheehanites portion of the customer base happy", then I hope BP never stops keeping the Sheehanites portion of the customer base happy.
This is fascinating on a number of levels, but what I want to know is, when do we see the next part?
Stay crazy, Joe.
I am thoroughly loving this whole series, Colin. You are a fantastic writer, and convey this stuff incredibly clearly and simply.
I wonder - does current bullpen usage (call it the LaRussian bullpen model) affect the Reliever RA by Starter IP graph? That is, what happens if nearly every team is using their best reliever in a high leverage situation in earlier in the game, than waiting for a save opportunity in the 9th? Would a graph of Reliever RA by Starter IP for, say, 1972-1978 look significantly different?
Of course, even today, not every team uses its best reliever as the closer, so maybe that balances it out?
Great article, Steven.
For some reason, it got me thinking about Matt Swartz's articles on teams re-signing their own free agents. I wonder if the extra knowledge of its own prospects helps to give the team trading the prospects a leg up on the team receiving the prospects.
"So, why not trade everyone?"
One reason - you have to have someone around to bring people to the ballpark. Look at what the Marlins' "everyone must go" fire sale following 1997 did to their attendance. It has never recovered. I don't know that the same would happen in Houston, but I'd hesitate before getting rid of every recognizable player on the team.
An RSS feed of the chats. I've gone from "guy who checked the site 4 times a day" to "guy who relied on the newsletter in his e-mail" to "guy who relies on his RSS reader for everything". As a result, I constantly miss chats, unless I think to check the front page of the website.
Maybe this is a feature from your folks perspective - it should, theoretically, get me to check the front page more often - but I see it as a bug.
I'll also second the stat pages. It seems like making the statistical data more presentable, more flexible, would be among the easier, and most user-friendly, things that could be done. There are few things more frustrating that wanting to find out who has the most WXRL in their career since 1979, and not being able to figure out a way to make the stats page tell me that. Or wanting to look up the adjusted standings of July 1, 2008, and not being able to find them.
And if you need beta testers for new features, you have a lot of long-time, loyal subscribers who I bet would be happy to help out (maybe even for free).
Really interesting stuff, Ben. I agree that expecting the worst, and having a real contingency plan in place, is the best way to deal with injury-riddled players. Particularly seeing that I think its much harder to replace an injured player in-season usually, because the other teams know you have a need. If you act before the need exists, it must be easier.
That said, as much as I wish the Yanks had somehow acquired Adam Dunn to be ready to step in at DH when Johnson inevitably got hurt - what were they going to do with Dunn in the meantime? Perhaps a contingency is easier said than done.
In fairness to Lars Anderson, his line should have been better than that. I was at that game last night, and the umps' blindness robbed him of a home run, giving him a double instead. He clearly hit the ball above the yellow line in straight away CF (I was sitting in the right-center bleachers), but somehow the umps didn't see it, and awarded him only a double.
Torre spent his last decade with the Yanks relying on two or three relievers, and almost no one else, since the Stanton-Nelson-Rivera triumvirate saved him so many times from 1998-2000. Bullpen by formula, that's Joe Torre. That's arguably what killed Steve Karsay's arm, and slagged Paul Quantril (among others). That's why Tanyon Sturtze kept getting used in the 7th inning, no matter how poorly he pitched, until he lied to Torre about an injury (I was always grateful for that). That's why Kyle Farnsworth kept getting run out there as the "8th inning guy" (until Joba arrived). The Bronx Banter archives, at the very least, are littered with comments about Torre's poor bullpen usage and over-reliance on 3 guys. (I know, I was there, and plenty of those comments were mine.)
Even Michael Kay picked up on it, when he nicknamed the Quantril-Gordon-Rivera three-headed relief "monster" QuanGorMo (later changed to TanGorMo, when Sturtze became the 7th inning guy).
All that said, I've paid almost no attention to the Dodgers this year, so I have no idea about what Torre's doing now, or how its affecting the Dodgers - but I sure know what he did in NY.
It all stemmed from John Sterling's love affair with Miguel Cairo at first base, and sadly, some Yankee fans think John Sterling knows more about baseball (which you just can't predict) than anyone else alive.
Those folks are a minority, I think.
Hope your Dad is OK, Steven. All the best to you and yours.
I think this might be my favorite DPOTD entry so far - history with an unexpected twist.
What's the logo on the hat? At first glance, I thought it was a Mets' logo (forgive me for thinking that), but looking closer now, its clearly not.
I'm really enjoying this new bit, Steven. Two in a row and counting for ballplayers named after Presidents . . . I wonder how many ballplayers named Barack will be in the majors in the 2030s and 2040s?
For all their success, the Twins could have won even more - and more efficiently! - had they not thrown money away on the likes of Livan Hernandez ($5M for a 5.48 ERA in 139 IP in 2008), Craig Monroe ($3.82M for a .202/.274/.405 line in 179 PA, also in 2008), Mike Lamb ($3.5M for a .233/.276/.322 line in 261 PA, in 2008), Adam Everett ($2.8M for a .213/.278/.323 line in 150 PA, again in 2008), $5M for two years ('06-'07) of Rondell White (.229/.266/.354 in 474 PA), $1.5M for 150 PA of Jeff Cirillo in 2007 (.261/.327/.386 in 174 PA), $3.1M for Ramon Ortiz (5.14 ERA in 91 IP in 2007), $1M for Sidney Ponson (6.93 ERA in 37 IP in 2007) . . .
Too bad they had to trade Johan Santana, just before 2008, being unable to afford him and all. Sheesh. I'm not even a Twins fan, I can only imagine how they must feel.
And I know the sticky wheel gets the grease - maybe its on us "other" readers, to use sykojohnny's term, to speak up about what we want/like/don't like.
Is it possible that it wasn't the "biggest" complaint in terms of number of overall subscribers who raised it - but rather was the complaint most often provided by a "vocal minority"?
Just to give an example - I've wanted to see sortable WARP3 stats since I found out WARP3 existed, but I'm pretty sure I only "complained" about it once or twice over the last 8 years. That doesn't mean I wanted it any less, or I didn't feel it wasn't a big flaw, but it wasn't a dealbreaker for me. However, if I was a subscriber who subscribed primarily because I liked reading Keith W/Nate/James Click/Dan Fox's more advanced stats pieces, of course I'm going to complain, loud and often, when they are gone.
CS = Customer Service.
My favorite auto definition generator error is when someone, I think it was Will, put a superscript TM in the text to signify a trademark, and the generator gave it the definition for "Team".
I think that this is going to be the hard part of a rigorous study of the Effect - how do you define "underperform in the next year"? Hamels is a great example of how, if you used ERA to show underperformance, you'd probably be wrong. Do you look at peripherals? How the guy does versus what SIERA thinks he should have done?
Or do you just look at the likelihood of injury/lost IP in the next year, as Will suggested with the Rule of 30? I think that's what I'd like to see rigorously studied first. I think that's the more complicated study, though. You'd have to make sure the drop in IP was due to an actual pitching injury, and not a hitting injury or a freak Bobby-Ojeda-hedge-clippers-type injury. Those things shouldn't count, right? You'd also have to leave out IP lost due to being sent back down for ineffectiveness (unless an injury popped up later).
In any case, I hope Matt or someone else gets to do this.
Has no one yet studied the Verducci Effect in a rigorous way? For something that's been around for a few years, I'm kind of shocked that no one has gone through all the data. It seems like it wouldn't take very long to do.
I'm not a Mets fan, but I understand they have some glaring holes in the big leagues, including RF, 1B, C, and most of the rotation behind Santana. If the tops guys on this list pan out over the next or so, plus some of the other pitchers and Havens at 2B, they should be in much better shape than they look now.
Does this mean, in some strange way, Omar had/has a plan?
I tend to agree. One of the ways in which a GM gets ahead in these rankings, if I understand them properly, is by having a good-to-great team that is reasonably cheap. The best way to do that is to have a good number of young (that is, inexpensive) players on hand. But we know that it usually takes at least two-three years for draft picks/international signings to make it to the big leagues, and sometimes then another couple of years before those players do well. As was shown above for the Braves, it was Bobby Cox who drafted most of the guys that became the Braves' core in the 90s. It doesn't seem quite fair to give Schuerholz all the credit for that - or to ding Michaels for not being GM when all the young Yankees really told hold in the late 90s. All that said, I also agree that I'm not sure what the right solution is.
That's what I get for writing a post, going away from my desk for a few minutes, and not refreshing before I click "Submit comment". My apologies to victor19nyc, who used part of Will's name before me.
COHRS: Carroll's Organizational Health ReportS (pronounced the same as "cores")
Or if you prefer your first name, the WOHRS: Will's Organizational Health ReportS (which I would pronounce the same as "wars", but YMMV)
I'm kind of shocked that I'm the first person to use part of Will's name in the acronym. Flattery is supposed to get one everywhere, after all.
Shawn, if you re-ran Cashman's numbers just accounting for what's happened since he was given "total control" (i.e., 2006-2009), how does that change things?
I think you're right, that the entry of the strike zone is done by someone watching the game, and so there is a chance for error there. And that's another reason not to trust the accuracy of pitchFX.
However, I believe that kind of error could be eliminated through some creative use of technology - perhaps RFID tags in the uniform - so that there was no doubt about where a given player's strike zone was. The question is, will MLB ever do it? I think they'll eventually have to.
I agree 100% with Joe, and have felt the same way on this for a long time.
My only concern with computerized calling of balls and strikes - I am by no means convinced that pitchFx is accurate enough to get those calls right.
Pardon me if this has already been discussed - but Jayson Stark wrote today that Moyer has escalator clauses in his contract that, if he made 32 starts with 181 IP as a starter, his salary for next year would go from $6.5M to $10.5M.
All of a sudden, the Phillies sending Moyer to the bullpen, and Moyer not liking it, make a whole lot more sense.
Great work, Shawn! I read somewhere recently that FIP was flawed, but no explanation was given. Now I know why.
This is really interesting stuff, Matt. I wonder if this could, in part, account for the Yanks usually finishing ahead of their Pythag record, especially during the later Torre years. IIRC, the Yanks were usually among the league leaders in home runs those years . . .
Ken, perhaps without knowing it, your opening line is a paraphrase of one of Yankee radio voice, and notorious-bad-nickname-master, John Sterling's go-to lines. "You just can't predict baseball." He drives many of us nuts with it.
But I like your paraphrase of it, and I really like this article. I can't wait to see the pitchers' article, because if I remember correctly, PECOTA usually does a very good job with hitters. Pitchers, on the other hand . . .
Kevin, is there any reason to pay attention to Neil Medchill (.347/.380/.693), or should I say, "Meh, he's a 22-year-old college player in the NY-Penn League, he ought to be doing well."
Folks' mileage may vary in terms of the value of things like FRAR/FRAA and Rate/Rate2, but those things are and have been on the players' individual DT cards for ages. And this year, that data (well, FRAR/FRAA) is even in an a standard BP stat report, under WARP leaderboard. I don't play around with the custom reports much, but I bet you can get it from there too.
Just looking at their DT cards, Andino has a FRAR/FRAA of 11/3, Rate2 of 108; Izturis is 12/4 by FRAR/FRAA, Rate 2 of 110 - so there you go. Again, MMV as to whether FRAR, FRAA, or Rate2 have any value, but there is some information there.
I think the Rangers' money problems could be dealt with. They have ~$20M worth of '09 payroll coming off the books for '10 (Blalock and Padilla among others). Getting to the playoffs with Halladay could pay for Wells by itself, if I remember Nate Silver's articles on what the playoffs are worth to a team. If push came to shove, since he's not exactly an institution in Texas, they could always add Millwood to the deal. It would help JP save face too, he could claim he's getting an "ace" back.
Note that the Pro Bowl rosters are finalized before the entire NFL regular season is over (Week 15 I think?), and like in MLB, the voting starts early in the season, around Week 6.
Mike Piazza caught for an awfully long time, and it didn't seem to hurt his teams too much. Why not leave Montero at C until he shows he can't do it? Even if he could do it just part-time, that would have value.
As for moving him to 1B, pardon the snark, but perhaps you heard about a first baseman, Mark Teix-something, the Yanks signed this past offseason to an 8-year contract, for $180M or so?
Kevin, are the concerns about Venditte's stuff concerns about his fastball velocity, or something else?
And isn't the TJ rehab period for position players like 6 months? I know I've seen it reported as Nady being out "12-14" months by some of the Yanks' beat writers . . .
Actually, on a cheap one-year deal, Nady would be a fine guy to have around next year in pinstripes . . . but that's a question for the offseason. At least they'll be no more speculation over sitting Swisher so Nady could play regularly.
Lots of folks of Italian descent in Venezuela, and I believe Argentina as well, Will, which might explain the Punic names. The Yanks' Francisco Cervelli (or "Frankie Brains" as some of us affectionately call him) is the example I know of; his father is from Italy.
And I'm with you on the truck driver with the drinking problem losing his job, or at the least being suspended until he's sober.
If a union is too stupid to act rationally, like actively working to keep a driver with a drinking problem on the road, then they ought to die out.
Similarly, if a business is too stupid to act rationally, like having no policy in place to determine the fitness of its drivers on a regular basis, and deal with problems like drinking, then it too ought to die out.
In any case, the only voice for the fans is the fans themselves. You want to be heard, vote with your wallet. You think ticket prices are too high? Don't buy tickets, don't buy merchandise, don't patronize mlb.com and the team websites and the networks that broadcast MLB games and all their respective advertisers. In fact, make it clear to them that you are not giving them your money.
What the owners and the players care most about is the bottom line. If its healthy, they are happy, even if the fans aren't.
I'd go a step further, and say its the MLBPA's job to do what its members tell it to do, whether that's by a majority of the players actively saying "Do this" or by the players staying silent on the issue.
Back in the 60s, a large number of players wanted things the owners weren't giving them, which is why they hired Miller in the first place. They said, "Go get us these things," and he did.
If a majority of the players had wanted testing for PEDs, all they had to do was tell Fehr as much, by vote or whatever, and as their employee, he would have had to do so, or they would have fired him.
That this never happened speaks volumes, to me, on what the players did and did not want. Fehr could have, in speaking with the players, pushed for testing, but the call was the players, not his. If he had ever brought up testing in negotiations without the players' approval - even if it might have helped the players - he almost certainly would have been fired.
Do you really think ticket prices would be lower if the MLBPA, and not the owners/teams, set them?
The biggest problem MLB has is that media, and thus the public, for decades treated it as a game, when all along, it was a business. Ticket prices are set by supply and demand, pure and simple.
By the way, given that attendance at ballgames has soared since Fehr took over at the MLBPA, your statement that he "failed" "to make sure that the product . . . is . . . affordable" makes no sense.
I too have little or no use for Win Shares, and I enjoy THT and BG despite those feelings. When I first started reading, I thought, "Oh no, NOT Win Shares! This could be bad."
It wasn't. I'm not sure I trust the data, but it was an interesting topic and, concerns about Win Shares' accuracy aside, a fascinating approach given the metric. Tim's already shown that he's a great writer. For me, Steven's comment about wasting 400 words on Win Shares just shows how important a great editor is to the writing process, too.
I much prefer Clay Davenport's WARP3 for comparing across eras, even given that FRAA/FRAR, like all defensive metrics, have some issues. I'd like to see the results if Tim used BRAR and FRAR instead of Win Shares.
"Rivera is very much in, if not uncharted territory, murky waters."
Entirely appropriate for someone as unique as he is, no?
This was an outstanding article, maybe my favorite of all the BP/ESPN pieces. Combining modern performance analysis with historical performance analysis is a fantastic approach.
Marc, how is liner rate determined? Or more particularly, what does it include - anything that's a hit but not a GB or a FB? My untrustworthy eyes tell me that a lot of the balls hit off of Rivera this year have been hard-hit, which is unusual for him, but I also recall some bleepers and bloopers too, which are far more common thanks to the cutter. Is it possible that high liner rate is being inflated by "non-liners"?
No, but when you consider that $26M of the $46M Igawa costs the Yanks went to his posting fee - the ~$10M still owed to him is peanuts. He's untradeable because he stinks, not because the money is odious (or both).
If Joe Torre had left Denny Neagle in Game 4 to face Mike Piazza in 2000, instead of pulling him 1 out short of 5 innings so that Cone could pitch, then Neagle would be another answer.
Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but before I read these comments, I had never heard of SGP (and its relations) - and I've been playing some form of rotisserie or fantasy baseball for 18 years! (And yet I've never bought a book or a magazine that was solely on the topic of fantasy - which may explain why I didn't know about SGP.)
For me at least, what Brian did is "new", and I thought it was both well-done, and well-written.
Hmm . . . so what you're telling me is that, if someone in my fantasy league is trying to sell high on Cain, if I can get him for a reasonable price, I ought to consider it, instead of being scared away by a guy who's overdue for regression. Sweet.
I still haven't quite wrapped my head around the raw Pitch f/x data, and I wonder about the system's accuracy in some ways, but this is fascinating big-picture, inclusive analysis. Very well done article, Eric.
This is great stuff, thanks!
For me, I'd like to see an addition to the charts Christina put in the article; namely, a column that shows average number of starter innings pitched, and total number of bullpen innings pitched. The Yanks have had to go to the pen early and often so far this year, and not just in Wang's starts. This was also true last year, when it seemed like Kennedy never got through the 5th inning. I wonder if that might be skewing the data for this year.
John, it happens, and I appreciate you being upfront about it.
Keith Law (among many others) has debunked this one numerous times. I\'ll borrow his words from his last chat, and note that he wasn\'t feeling well and so his tone is rather aggressive (and maybe he means \"Rice\" when he types \"Dawson\", though it applies to both):
\"Frank (Frankfurt): What\'s your favorite Jim Rice argument? Mine is \"it\'s not fair to judge him by today\'s statistical analysis.\" Yeah, cause advances in knowledge should be ignored instead of celebrated and applied
SportsNation Keith Law: That\'s the Dawson argument that kills me. \"They didn\'t know OBP was important.\" Really? Players in the 1970s and 1980s didn\'t realize that IT WAS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN TO BE OUT??? How unbelievably stupid were ballplayers back then? Did they need help to tie their cleats? Did the manager have to point them to first base? Did the umpire have to inform each team after nine innings that the game was over, and identify the winner? OBP measures one thing: How often a hitter reached base safely - that is, how often he didn\'t make an out. This is not high concept. So stop making lame excuses for Dawson\'s low OBP. He had a low OBP because he was NOT CAPABLE of posting a higher one.\"
I think the Rockies could certainly go to the Series (or even the playoffs) again, if they just spent their money a bit more wisely. OK, I\'m being kind - a LOT more wisely. Ditto KC (check out Joe Posnanski\'s Dunn/Bloomquist post for more) and, until recently, Pittsburgh.
All the money in the world won\'t help a team win if the team is poorly run - just look at the 2008 Mariners, the first time with a $100M+ payroll to lose 100 games.
Because of a poorly-decided Supreme Court opinion by Justice Holmes way back in 1922 (Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National Baseball Clubs) that gave baseball an anti-trust exemption.
Not the Court\'s best moment.
(Amazingly, if you do a Google search for \"baseball antitrust exemption\", the first result that comes up is this BP article - http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1286 - from 2001, but stored at cornell.edu, for a class I guess: http://tinyurl.com/7kz5pl)
Congrats! This is great news all around.
Joe, I think you\'re missed something.
As Cliff Corcoran detailed over at Bronx Banter (http://tinyurl.com/58t4qf) this past November, the Yanks (after offering CC about $24M/year) have about $32M to play with, unless they want to raise payroll. (And still have 11 unsold luxury suites at their ATM with foul poles.)
Arbitration awards for Pettitte and Abreu - both highly likely to accept, IMO, and win - would have eaten up that $32M. I think that\'s the reason why the Yanks didn\'t offer arbitration. Without getting into the \"do the Yanks really have a payroll ceiling\" issue, I think they made a reasonable decision.
Yankees, 7/177, 12/14
Sadly, but not surprisingly, fielding percentage, and number of errors made. The Yanks made fewer errors than any other AL team, and were tied with Boston and Toronto in FPCT.
That they were tied for 12th in Defensive Efficiency seem to have escaped Meacham\'s attention.
I\'m thinking Girardi leaning on Meacham for advise was maybe not the best idea in the world.
I just can\'t see the Yanks trading the only MLB position player they have who\'s under 30 and has some upside (Cano) for something the organization has in spades (pitching), and to fill a hole (CF) that hopefully will only exist for 2009, with Jackson taking over in 2010. It makes no sense.
Now, signing Teixeira makes all the sense in the world.
If the Twins end up missing the playoffs by a game or two, I wonder if Bill Smith will regret not jettisoning Livan sooner? Perhaps he\'ll learn his lesson and not sign a crappy veteran starter for millions this offseason.
The Angels offer Joe Saunders to the Phillies for Ryan Howard, and if that doesn\'t work, they offer Jered Weaver instead.
In the offseason after 2004, just before Carlos Beltran signed with the Mets, he/Boras called the Yanks and said they\'d take a 7 year/$100M contract - less than what the Mets were offering - but the Yanks said no.
They\'d already signed Pavano, Wright, and traded for Johnson (and signed him to an extension). Most Yankee fans have felt, since then, that there must be some upper limit to the Yanks\' payroll, otherwise they would have signed Beltran too.
I\'m not sure I want to risk anything on relying on Carl Pavano staying healthy for any stretch of time. Given that, why not have Aceves fill that 5th/6th starter slot instead? Aceves is a cheaper option, and that opens up a bullpen slot for one of the many other candidates the Yanks have, such as David Robertson, Chris Britton, and (especially) Mark Melancon.
Most Yanks fans think that good bullpen management is Girardi\'s best (and only) redeeming quality.