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I've always been interested in your take on "fourth outfielders", even when you're wrong. You've got a number of articles talking about guys like Shane Victorino (probably wrong), Juan Pierre (definitely right) and Eric Byrnes (right, just a couple of years too early). I'd love to see a summary article that goes through the process of defining and utilizing a fourth outfielder from a team management POV.
Also, I'd love to see an "evolution" chapter that details your take on roster value throughout your career at BP. I remember around 2004 or so when you started taking a different stance on the value of defense. One of my favorite parts of your writing was that it seemed like you were learning with us, not just preaching to us. You'd pick something up, point it out, then return to it a few months later, and slowly build a case for or against.
Is Alvarez's MVP potential more like Alex Gordon's or Matt Wieter's MVP potential? I just want to know whether I should ever bother to pick him up in fantasy or not...
I think that the Thomas chart shows how much you can frame your entire decision on a player's hall-worthiness at age 30. I would bet that the majority of hall players had early peaks as opposed to late peaks, and that hall voters had decided on them when they were 30. Remember when Griffey was named to the all-century team and Bonds was left off?
I'm pretty sure you should check the rulebook. I don't have mine handy but I remember looking it up while watching this game. I believe there are a limited number of times you can shuttle the two pitchers back and forth. So while it might work for a short turn, I don't think you're able to run it for much more than one inning. I'll confirm when I get home.
$17.3 million, and I don't care if I'm late and it's already taken.
I've used Cot's for years now, and will love to have it in the same database with player stats. Although it was painstaking to sift through both BP and Cot's, it has always been well worth it.
What? A Goldman/Goldstein confusion that goes un-noticed?!? That's enough to make me cancel my subscription immediately!
It's funny, I probably find things to disagree with Joe more than anybody else, but man is it a good day when there's a Prospectus Today article on. I also feel like BP has gone further away from cutting edge number crunching, and yet Joe was the one guy you could count on to focus on tangible results. Kind of like wondering what an A's team looks like without Hudson and Mulder (that only worked for 1 year), I'm wondering what a BP subscription looks like without Nate and Joe.
I always appreciated your columns and your responses Joe.
I was thinking that this move by Hinch was exactly the opposite of what Beane would have done in his glory days. Beane used to be great at getting himself involved in a 3-way deal and getting something-for-nothing out of it. Hinch seemed to get himself involved in the deal to get nothing-for-something.
I'd even go back one step further...who has decided that "the chances of making the 2010 playoffs are minimal"? Let's go all the way back to 2009, where BP's staff correctly picked 3 of the 8 playoff teams, with the Rockies picked for 4th place in their own division. Or further back to 2008, where BP decides the Marlins have no chance to even pass the Nationals, and yet they fall just 5.5 games back of the wild card AFTER losing Miguel Cabrera (what was his WARP that year?) Even at mid-year, teams consistently surprise us with a late-year explosion (2007 Rockies) that prove demolishing a team in January based on some predictive model does nothing but de-moralize the fan base. Hell, assuming you have one year of Halladay, break the bank and give somebody a massively front-loaded contract to provide some offense with an opt-out clause after one year. The error margins on preseason predictions are so wide that making just one incorrect assumption can actually be the difference between success and failure. But throwing in the towel now is almost guaranteed failure.
Personally, I'd like to see the Brewers, DBacks, and Pirates follow the Detroit plan and use money available now to start buying the free agents that they want on their pennant team in 2011. I realize that the marginal wins/dollars method wants you to build a good team first, then make it great with FA, but I think you can speed it up by assuming you have the good young talent and filling in the holes faster.
In 2005, Beane claimed that he had finally created "his" team. In 2006, he looked pretty good. By 2007 he was dismantling "his" team left and right, and every big contract he had given was sitting on the DL.
I used to be a believer in Beane. Now I save my season ticket money for something useful.
My problem is in proving the long-term benefits of a "real solution". For all the talk about MLB making its problems "worse", they have pulled in record amounts of revenues and fans over the last decade, despite two recessions. Maybe Z's plan would have done even better, but then prove it. Find an economically savvy replacement for Pappas and show me the sensible solution that also looks better on paper.
What about a customizable front page? For instance, I just don't have the time to go through all of the TA files, yet occasionally that's the top pick on the list. Something similar to Yahoo or iGoogle so that the content I'm most interested in rises to the top.
Dos Carlos (Beltran and Febles) in Wichita in '97...
Newer memory...Buster Posey ending the game with a mammoth walk-off for San Jose this year. That one was only shared by about 500 of my closest friends who lasted that long, since the beer batter struck out 3 times!
Re: Cox overworking his top relievers - I'm pretty sure these guys were fragile with injury histories BEFORE they joined the Braves, so in reality Cox was even more amazing that he figured out a way to work both Gonzalez and Soriano in enough to help the team.
Based on your past perception of what constitutes a "fourth outfielder", it sounds like Desme has a very good chance to be a valuable player. I think you sometimes forget that a "fourth outfielder" should be 91-120 on the list, despite the fact that the guys you label as such (Victorino, McLouth, etc.) routinely finish in the top 50 of all OF.
Everybody remember the Edwin Encarnacion at-bat where Dusty had him try to bunt with runners on in a tie game, and he failed to lay it down on the first two pitches, and Jeff Brantley announces to the world that Encarnacion has no business being on the field if he can't lay down a bunt? Then Encarnacion promptly hit the walk-off home run. Shouldn't Jeter be subjected to the same treatment by the announcers? Not only was it a stupid choice, but he couldn't even lay down a bunt.
Technically, don't you have to get to back-to-back WS if you win 5 straight postseason series? I guess it doesn't make the sentence untrue, but the 'and' seems out of place.
And following the power explosion against the 2 of the top 3 pitchers, Padilla and Pedro allow a grand total of 1 run...
In the last paragraph...did you mean "swung at 28 of them"? Context would be nice too...I mean, I'm too lazy to look up how many postseason PA he had. I'm guessing 12-16, which would put him at roughly 3-4 pitches/PA. That seems pretty reasonable to me...
1) Umpires-My favorite was the semi-intentional walk where the 2-0 pitch was thrown 6 inches outside and called a strike. Even the announcers mentioned that it was "meant" to be a ball but didn't harass the ump for turning what was definitely a ball into a strike.
2) Colorado 9th inning-I don't think it made a difference in the game, but the double-switch with Street made little sense other than the idea that you double-switch in the NL if the pitcher is next up. Were you really going to have Street pitch multiple innings in freezing weather? Isn't every one of your pitchers (the ones not burned earlier) rested due to the snow day? By pulling the double-switch, Tracy burned a potential PH in a tie game instead of holding onto him until the right moment.
You seem to be a little hard on Polanco and Thomas. The difference between Polanco hitting a ball to 4 or 6 is a matter of milliseconds and microns. The difference between the ball being a double-play ball or not is a matter of maybe 3 feet, occuring 125 feet away from Thomas and viewed at a 2D angle, not the iso view you saw on TV. Blame Cabrera for swinging at the first pitch, or Thomas for not taking a secondary lead, but don't blame the players for results that are defined by micro percentage points.
You're trying to separate everybody into layers of idiocy...I prefer to just label them all idiots and keep it at that.
Hendry shouldn't sign a rude, breakable, volatile player if he doesn't want rude, breakable, volatile players who might potentially have down years.
Bradley should keep his mouth shut and worry about his own production. After all, he's the first one publicly blaming his failures on somebody else in this story.
Piniella would have probably won the game in 9 had he kept his original closer philosophy, just because Marmol would have been available for Pujols, Holliday, and Ludwick and Gregg could have pitched to the back-end in the 9th.
The Wieters example should show the failing in your methodology...the break-even OBP is only that high because you continually expect Wieters to have his PECOTA distribution despite the mounting evidence that shows that the forecast is wrong. As of today, Zaun's .319 would be marginally better than Wieters .310, yet your analysis would still expect Wieters to mash going forward and would not take into account the .310.
I think you'd have a better analysis if you used Wieters expected curve and adjusted it as time went forward. Once it was pretty clear that Wieters wasn't going to have a .400 OBP the difference between him and Zaun should have looked much smaller.
BTW, I did get a chance to see him hit a MAMMOTH shot in the bottom of the 13th to win a game for San Jose earlier this year. Only thing that surprised me was that he seems built more like a Mauer-type than a typical catcher, but maybe that's just cuz he was standing next to Villalona.
Logistical question related to Thome and Giambi...as I understand it the Rockies could leave Giambi off of the DS and CS rosters but still use him in the WS (assuming they make it). Giambi moreso than Thome, but both are the type of players who may never be needed in a short NL series, but could be really valuable in a short DH series.
Completely different players, and different timetables. Posey just made it to AAA from Hi-A, and while he's been solid I think this is more of a chance for the Giants to see if he'll be ready to start 2010 or if he'll still need some work at AAA to begin next year. It's closer to what the Rays did with Price last year.
I thought Wrigley was a nice place to watch a day game, and I agree about the nice neighborhood feel. But do we really need something like 5 first-pitches for a Friday afternoon game?
"They have the best third-order record in baseball—the best measure of overall performance—"
I would agree that third-order record may have the best correlation to past performance, but I have never seen the predictive analysis that would allow you to say that it shows that the Dodgers should do better going forward.
I once tested Pythag records vs. actual records at various points in the season, and there is very little difference in correlation between Pythag records and actual records when compared to W-L at the end of the year, and actual records correlation gets better the closer you are to the end of the year. I'd love to see a justification that third-order record will predict future performance better than actual record.
Personally, I remember a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the playoffs against the Braves where the Mets FAILED TO SCORE ANY F'ING RUNS AT ALL!
I personally thought that was amazing. I believe it may have been the same game that Kenny Rogers walked in the winning run, but sometimes the losses get all jumbled together in my head...
When I was a kid, the only players that wore cups were the catchers. Once my kid got to player-pitch little league I started telling all of the kids to pick one up. It makes sense to wear them, and if they get used to them at a young age it doesn't seem to matter. At the same time, the number of instances I've heard of catastrophic injuries to the nether-regions is pretty low...
Love all of your stuff on here, so keep it coming. One suggestion, could you add age and draft info to the player's heading on each piece. Often you are putting the info inside the blurb anyways, but when you miss it I'm left trying to find it myself. If it's a pain then don't worry about it, but I figure if you've got the info handy might as well let us in on it...
Rather than a newsletter, could you just make sure to post all of the articles before I'm ready to read them each day? That removes any inconvenience on my part...
You may need to expand a little bit about the "not paying for moving expenses":
I would imagine that most of these players (like Josh) have a "home" that is not necessarily Chattanooga, since preferably Chattanooga isn't their final destination. So in essence, the team isn't "paying for moving expenses" because the guy is supposed to be moving from one semi-temporary location to another. The team will pay to get you to the right location though. In reality, a player will only be in Chattanooga for 5 months or so, so the amount of "stuff" that needs to get moved should be relatively small (like the stuff Josh talked about). We aren't moving beds and china cabinets here...
"and on Opening Day 2011 they’ll run Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Alderson, John Lannan, and Ross Detwiler or Shairon Martis out to the mound"
Throwing all 5 starters on opening day would be an amazing change in bullpen management. I would be interested to see how well that would work. Definitely could be a very low-scoring game.
Judging by the statistics that actually matter...say Wins/Losses, Runs Scored/Runs Against, etc...I would have to say that having SF one step ahead of Colorado sounds about right.
My only comment regarding trading chits for SF is the idea that Bumgarner and Alderson should not be considered untouchable. TINSTAAPP, and if it can net you the type of player that can change your season, I think you do it. Although the Liriano trade was enormously bad, other than one season Liriano has not set the world on fire, and is already due to start making some serious money. I'd rather let Adrian Gonzalez solidify first place than test out the error bars on Madison Bumgarner.
I like this. How was your Game? A little gamy.
I do think you need to create a rule limiting pitcher usage. My personal favorite is that the manager has to choose one pitcher from his own team. That pitcher would not be able to pitch until all other pitchers have been used, and would have to finish the game. Then limit the max number of innings per pitcher to 3 for starters, 1 for relievers. If it had been Beckett instead of Kazmir pitching last for the AL last year, I think Francona may have left the other guys in a little longer.
At 18 months my son broke his leg. After 1 week in the cast, he learned to walk by putting the weight on the bottom of the cast. Cast came off after 4 weeks, and it took him 2 more weeks to learn how to walk again without the cast. All of this after just learning how to walk just 6 months before that.
It's complex, but it's amazing how well the human body works even when things are going wrong.
The Ramon Hernandez walk-off bunt was awesome, and the crowd going wild at like 12:30 AM was great. But my most surprising games (also amazingly Red Sox at Oakland):
1-I think Swisher was batting, drilled a ball down the RF line. Trot Nixon all of the sudden stops...the ball had rolled into a cup that was laying on the side of the field. After getting a double, Trot tried to get the ball out of the cup and couldn't, so he threw the entire cup/ball combo to a fan in the stands. (Side note: it was the largest walk-up crowd in Oakland history on a $1 Wednesday with $1 dogs).
2-Hudson v. Pedro with the A's winning on a 2-hitter that took only about 93 pitches IIRC. Hudson was absolutely amazing that night.
My favorite guilty pleasure player is Gary Gaetti, as he was nice enough to sign my A's hat at my first game(s - back when there were day/night double headers). I always rooted for the guy from then on...
I completely agree that it was divided and that draft taught me that I should stick to baseball.
However, the Leaf/Manning issue doesn't fall just to the amateur talent. Eric Chavez was a Proven Veteran who got himself a larger contract than what Strasburg got, was that a better guarantee of future performance?
I think this list has the same issue as Rany's old Prospects list, in that it really isn't clear what is meant by Top 50 MLB Players...The Top 50 from last year, Top 50 for this year, Top 50 for the future, Top 50 for the past, etc...
Which may explain why Steve Phillips influence isn't more visible...he may have been confused and accidentally picked the Top 50 MLB Players Whose Names I Can Spell.
I'm not sure that the last 8 weeks of play should really put Greinke ahead of Sabathia. Up until the start of this season it was a no-brainer regarding Sabathia. Rarely should 8 weeks change relative values that dramatically.
I am really interested in how you're going to modify PECOTA with current performance. PECOTA is already providing a range of possible outcomes...unless the performance is significantly outside of the 95%/5% ranges, shouldn't PECOTA still be essentially correct? Would being at your 75% range for one month actually establish you as having a different baseline? The only areas I could see this being useful for are prospects new to a level with very wide PECOTA error bars.
My trip to Camden was what led me to being okay with a new stadium for Oakland...while you may have to deal with expensive tickets and high demand for a while, eventually the ticket prices drop back to the reasonable range, the seats open up, and now you've got the same seat and price but with a much more pleasurable atmosphere. Even with all the copycats, I still think Camden is one of the better experiences out there.
Yeah, and Shane Victorino has been a fourth outfielder-to-be for the last 3 years running...
I think a relatively consistent lack of progress of their young talent at the major leagues can be considered evidence of the fact that something is missing. You're assuming that Carlos Quentin would have had a breakout season if he was with the D-Backs, while we still wait for Drew, Young, Jackson, et al to break out. Callaspo's another recent example of somebody who has prospered after a move out of Phoenix. Actually, can we even name one player who came up through Arizona's system who has out-performed his PECOTA once he reached the majors with the team since Melvin joined?
Yeah, how messed up can you life be when Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden are your childhood heroes...
This was the funniest comment I have ever seen at BP yet. Reminds me of some of the good Onion comments.
In 2006 didn't South Korea beat Japan twice and go undefeated until Japan happened to win the last game? So while this has its disadvantages, it seems to be more on the edges (best teams have no problem advancing, middling teams more based on luck) than with the top teams.
I prefer \"garbabe\". I\'m going to start using that word now...
gar-babe (n.): 1) A girl with a great body but foul mouth. \"You don\'t bring a garbabe home to mother\" 2) Girls featured in shop-tool calendars, short for Garage Babe.
I would be interested in knowing whether you are okay with due process and confidentiality being thrown out the window for yourself. Are you okay with your HR admin publishing your employee records online? Or seizing items from your house illegally and using them as evidence against you? Or do American human rights only apply when you feel like it?
I would really like to see a definition of \"performance enhancer\". A friend of mine in college did her masters thesis on legal performance enhancers and found that Coke provided a substantial short-term benefit to the user.
Thought question of the day: If you were to find a steroid or substitute that had true performance enhancing characteristics with long-term side effect less than...say aspirin, should that be legal?
I still think the problem is this issue with \"against the rules\". There was no rule against using these substances in baseball until 2003/2004! There wasn\'t a rule against spitballs for many years, so we don\'t point to 19th century pitchers and complain about their \"unfair competitive advantage\". Just like all the rules before, baseball added a rule against steroids when it determined that it needed to level the playing field.
The only law being broken is using prescription medication for non-medical reasons. So maybe Barry belongs in the group with Ritalin, Valium, or Vicodin users. How many ads do you see for Viagra?
You don\'t get to call it \"breaking the rules\" unless there is actually a rule for it, and then you only get to provide the appropriate punishment. Marion Jones broke the IOC rules and got punished. Barry Bonds didn\'t break MLB rules and shouldn\'t be punished for it.
You mean besides Ruth/Gehrig? Or a little closer to our time, how about Canseco/McGwire or Bonds/Kent? Or by lethal do you mean something other than valuable? Lethal as in most likely to crush a ball into the pitcher\'s forehead? Or are you counting history as since 2000?
I disagree about the length of time the internet can remain \"free\". TV has survived for many years on an advertising basis, and companies like Google are proving that you can actually make MORE money for less effort with internet advertising.
Just the fact that the internet companies (free content with ads) is overtaking the newspaper business (paid subscription plus ads) is evidence that the model is working.
Reading this list makes me wonder how many of you used the selection criteria \"My Birthday\" for choosing which dates to check...
Is Missouri State University what used to be Southwest Missouri State?
Some of the comments seem to be based on the desire for more articles and chats during the winter months. The response almost always has to do with book preparation. Maybe you need to increase the size of the team so that each person isn\'t so overwhelmed come December. I personally would like to see more Hot Stove Heater discussions in the offseason.
Oh, and I\'ve been complaining about the clumsiness of the sortable stats since you guys were a free site, but since I\'m only allowed one wish I\'ll just leave this as an off-hand comment...
Taking PEDs wasn\'t against the rules in the \"steroid\" era...actually until just a few years ago MLB had more rules regarding scuffing a ball than about taking PEDs. For the McGwire era candidates, the only question is whether they were legally prescribed a medication. Most of those players are no different than a rich housewife getting a vicodin prescription from her physician for no reason, and should be treated as such.
And now that there is testing and punishment, anybody playing in the current era should be treated exactly as if they scuffed a ball and never got caught. There should be no more \"cloud of suspicion\" just because we\'d like to believe that somebody was cheating.
Considering I live about a mile and a half from the proposed site, let me help out...I really don\'t understand the worry about the roads and traffic access...There is an exit north and another just south of the site that runs directly onto 880 or through a major thoroughfare onto 680. Right now the southern exit gets very little traffic as there are not many businesses nearby. By next summer that interchange, along with the HOV lanes, will be finished. They just recently finished a major big box retail/restaurant shopping center north of the site.
As far as transit access...I have sat after the game for 30 minutes trying to cross the bridge to the Oakland BART station. It doesn\'t really help to have mass transit when you have a single narrow walkway funneling the commuters. How many times have you had to wait to get onto the bridge, trudge like cattle across it, then get held back because there were too many people on the platform? I would be surprised if Wolff doesn\'t continue as planned. Guessing at housing demand in 2011-2012 is a fool\'s game (although I\'m sure Nate Silver would try).
I think it\'s important to note that by letting Howell bat he took away the only reason not to bring Price into the game. I have a hard time believing that any strategic value in Price vs. Howell is different on the basis of one run.
1) There is retaliation for a high-and-tight pitch...it\'s a ball. Pitcher only gets 4 of them, and he just wasted one because a) he was retaliating for a ball one of his players received, b) he was wasting a pitch to freeze the batter, c) he lost control. As long as nobody is getting their head knocked off, I\'d let them throw balls to me all day long.
2) I don\'t ever recall Jeff Kent rushing the mound, although I\'m sure he has. I\'m pretty sure it was Reggie Sanders who rushed the mound on Pedro during the no-hitter, because I remember the stories about the size disadvantage.
3) Personally, if you are going to retaliate to an inside pitch, I vote for the Ken Griffey Jr. method. That leaves the rest of the team out of it. On the next pitch, fling your bat in the direction of the pitcher...accidentally. Oops...slipped out of my hands. Why get Kuroda and Victorino into the debate between Myers and Martin?
Noticing that the \"Normal\" groups tend to have sub-par comparisons to the more extreme groups leads to a question of cause and effect:
If there is a selection bias, where amateur managers/scouts/general managers/etc... tend to look for pitchers with a specific body type, the players that make up that body type will not necessarily represent the best available talent, because they have a different selection criteria applied. But a pitcher who makes the major leagues with an extreme body type (Sabathia/Lincecum even Santana/Haren) will have to have a talent level that overcomes the selection bias. So rather than seeing a normal distribution of talent around a normal distribution of body types, you will see an inverse distribution of talent. Which is essentially what you see (albeit with the small sample size/rough analysis caveat).
My suggestion to test it with a real sample size is to use PECOTA. Take all of the pitchers in the pool and give them a height/weight in the middle of each of the subgroups and re-run PECOTA. Since PECOTA takes these factors into account, you will see an increase or decrease in projected value IF the data is more than just noise. I will bet that you will find that putting more normal body types into the projection will cause a very conservative projection, whereas each of the extremes will cause some increase in the projection.
Just running some quick numbers (some of the averages are not precise because I didn\'t scale for IP...but close enough for ballpark):
Looking at 3 year averages, only for pitchers with at least 20 starts:
Best VORP by subgroup is Short/Beefy (Santana seems to dominate the 3-year averages). Best VORP by group is Short, with Beefy and Thin groups also being close.
Most Average IP by subgroup is Tall/Thin, but it\'s one data point. Tall/Beefy is also high on the list. But what\'s surprising is that Most Average IP by group is Thin, with Beefy and Tall groups also being close.
Best ERA by subgroup is also Short/Beefy. Best ERA by group is Short.
In general, the biggest outlier is the Normal weight. Everything else looks like random noise punctuated by certain data points (Haren and Santana, once again on opposite ends of the spectrum).
If you break it down to just this year, where the data is more complete because the group of pitchers was sorted by this year:
Best VORP is still Short/Beefy, but best group is Thin or Short.
Best ERA is also Short/Beefy, but best group is Short or Thin.
The lack of data points make the data skew quite a bit due to Zambrano hurting the Tall/Beefy categories and Haren and Santana helping the Tall/Thin and Short/Beefy categories. But it still falls out that Normal seems to have the worst performance in general.