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In your example about running outfield routes you start off with interviewing the experts in this field.
Just that first step seems incredibly difficult. Players are notoriously bad judges of talent, I would think this would carry over to their judgment of playing the outfield. It can be very hard to accurately describe what comes naturally to an individual.
In this case wouldnt the poor interview results throw off all of the other steps?
Seems like you could break it down even further and interview interviewing experts to see how to get good information out of someone, and just keep getting more and more complex from there.
It's no wonder that player development is still such a mystery.
I suspect that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47181">Matt Bush</a></span>'s comeback narrative will go one of two ways.
1. He pitches well. Everyone falls over themselves to talk about how his pitching success comes from his personal makeover, "he's a changed man", "found god", etc.
2. He pitches poorly. He's a bad pitcher because he is a bad person. "Wasn't able to conquer his demons", "Couldn't get his life straight", etc.
It seems like players, even marginal ones, come into the majors performing better right away than in the past. If this is true then it makes it easier for teams to pick a guy and keep him on the roster all season too.
Watch some of the older games available on YouTube. Watching old World Series games its amazing how snappy the pace of play is.
Part of it is that the game hadnt changed as much for TV viewership until the 1980's or so.
The play sequence you described was fun and exciting.
The pace problems begin when you combine a slow throwing pitcher or a batter that steps out of the box after every pitch with little to no balls getting put into play.
I can accept the occasional slow <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=AB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('AB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">AB</span></a> if the ball is getting put into play and I get to watch the defense play. What starts to wear, on me at least, is watching a slow pitcher and hitter take forever only for the AB to end in a walk or strikeout.
Just my two cents.
What in the heck is going on with Kluber this year?
It'd be interesting to see how many bases teams are giving up to runners already on base due to the shift. I can think of a few times when a player on second was able to "steal" 3rd because there is no fielder at the base.
I'm sure its a small number but would factor into the shiftings overall effectiveness.
Reminds me of the old trade family tree articles on Grantland by Lindbergh back when he still wrote stuff:
The biggest thing I took from this article is just how incredible <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=86">Andruw Jones</a></span> was.
Hopefully that great middle infield combo makes up for what looks to be a dreadful outfield.
What a great and insightful article. I'm really interested now in researching more about the effect a catchers pre-positioned glove has on the call of balls and strikes.
I LOVED the new updated format of the annual. Much clearer and nicer to read. I really enjoyed the ballpark, staff, and team info in the beginning of the team articles as well.
Curios to know this myself. I've seen 80 grades for tools like Gallo and power and Hamilton getting an 80 speed.
Mike Marshalls <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31191">Cy Young</a></span> winning season and career continue to fascinate me. From his extraordinary usage to teaching himsef basically an entirely new way to throw and essentially being his own pitching coach. It's a shame his methods never got more of a chance to be taught to top prospects.
You mentioned that Zimmer still takes some questionable routes in center. Do you see that improving as time goes on? Or is he the type to fill out physically, slow down a bit, and move to right even if he does improve his route taking?
Loved this article.
I know I've read it elsewhere but it still just blows my mind that guys like Giambi or Thome ever played short stop. It's hard to picture what they looked like physically in their primes and imagine them playing ss.
I would like to know more about this chicken who went to class.
Interesting, adding to what OkayFine said as well is that you would tend to see more power high strikeout arms in the late innings as well. Facing a teams best reliever more often could skew the numbers.
How long will it take Baltimore to ruin Harvey? Just a year or at least a couple? Do they still follow Rick Petersons recommendations on mechanics even after all of these years?
Every time I see that delayed wind up I wonder how a balk doesnt get called.
I wonder who his closest Pecota comps are after last season.
I think that is a lot of it. People look at his size and wonder why he isnt hitting 30+ home runs a year. Similar to arguments about <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45396">Billy Butler</a></span> back in the day. People always assumed based on his youth and build that those doubles would soon start clearing the wall.
Looking forward to more in this series.
Im looking forward to the rest of this series. You should do one on the history of the mota stick and the evolution of the outfielders glove size. I've heard that in the early 90s players tried to get away with extra big gloves until the league curbed it back.
It'll be interesting to see if Shapiro's general pattern of acquiring talent via trades and struggling and getting talent out of the draft follows him to Toronto.
I think its really telling that you consider him to be one of the best mechanically and even then with his injury history he is considered a risky investment.
What do you think led to changes in his delivery this year? Just wearing down or aging or something else entirely?
I love this series. Always look forward to this section in The Bill James Handbook when they come out.
I particularly liked this part:
"The Royals' list would look better if we include <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31734">Zack Greinke</a></span>, who is back on the mound for Double-A Wichita and may make an appearance with the big club by the end of the month. Greinke, like Bonderman, reached the majors at age 20, and his rookie campaign compares with any of Bonderman's work. Of course, his sophomore season was a disaster. Their styles are radically different--Greinke's Maddux to Bonderman's Clemens--which makes comparing them difficult, but right now Bonderman has the edge."
Lets break this down piece by piece.
"If Harper had got on Papelbon for some faux pas (say, leaving the mound before the manager actually got there to take him out),"
Is there any proof of this whatsoever? A cursory google news search says no. So right off the bat we are dealing with a hypothetical situation. Lets continue.
"Paps had replied 'wanna fight?' and Harper had then grabbed him by the throat, you all would be blaming Papelbon for the 'wanna fight?' part."
So again in this absurd hypothetical Papelbon has already made, what is in your opinion, a faux pas for leaving the mound early. He then compounds this mistake by immediately challenging the teams best player to a fight. Lets break down the final sentence.
"Players are supposed to police each other in terms of hustling and whatnot. If Paps overdid it there (yeah, I think so too), it was only slightly so. Harper then escalated it bigtime."
So Papelbon in your estimation, slightly over does it by first breaking some unwritten baseball law and then challenging Harper to a fight. Harper is at fault for escalating it "bigtime". Yet your very next sentence says:
"You challenge a guy in a baseball clubhouse/dugout to fight, you give him no choice but to advance in some fashion."
So by your completely idiotic asinine rules Harper had no choice but to escalate it "bigtime". He's at fault both for not standing calmly while Papelbon slowly chokes the life out of him and for advancing the fight? Perhaps he should fight the long term battle and allow himself to be choked out hoping he passes out, falls and suffers a concussion, which leads to a longer suspension for Papelbon and ridding the team of a cancerous personality. That is truly the mark of a player with the will to win.
I was surprised to learn that this is the first article in BP's history to be tagged with Speed Skating. Surely you have missed other noteworthy speed skating/baseball crossovers before.
I will take my hard earned money over to the fine folks at Speedskatethebases.com now.
Nice article! I was waiting for the part about Bedard bringing back value through his trade. Some organizations always seem to have a weak spot in drafting and developing a certain position. With the O's they seem to be drafting guys that are consistently ranked high by the industry but never pan out. Do they do anything drastically different from other teams in their pitcher development? Are they one of the only teams to "juggle" pitchers like you mentioned?
I wonder will he be able to keep this velocity up next year? I dont remember reading about or hearing about any injury issues headed into this season that could've affected his velocity.
How will bullpen projections change? DO you assign more weight to more recent seasons or is there a bigger change that needs to be made?
Something I find interesting about the Indians is that you stumble across articles like these about them being forward thinking and innovative yet it has rarely translated into on field success for them. I recall reading some pieces about them being one of the first teams to come up with a scouting and analytics database back in the day and how it was the envy of all the other organizations (Diamondmind I think it was called). Yet for all of this work they still seem to struggle in identifying good talent through the draft. As a result they always seem to be rebuilding or retooling.
It'll be interesting to see if Dombrowski's struggles with assembling a bullpen follow him to Boston.
It's crazy to think that by the start of next year he'll be 26 and close to 1000 career hits already. Reminds me a lot of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=205">Edgar Renteria</a></span> who came up early and got a ton of hits. I remember one of the BP annuals saying that he could be a good test case for the HOF as he had a chance at being one of the most average players to get 3000.
I wonder, with his success, if we would begin to see other players coming through the minors try to replicate his delivery. I could see MLB clarifying the rule on pitcher deliveries and allowing him to be grandfathered in.
Another starter turned reliever: <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Mike+Marshall">Mike Marshall</a></span>. If we had the pitch f/x data from back in the day he would be an interesting guy to study. His <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31191">Cy Young</a></span> year he pitched in a 106 games and threw 200+ innings in relief.
I've always wondered is there a hierarchy to scouts as well? For example would a new scout get assigned to Fall League or low A ball for their first assignment? And how often are scouts themselves reviewed for advancement?
When are the Dodgers going to finally give up on Rollins? Is his defense that much better then Seagers at this point? I would think they could find a spot for him now to get a taste of the majors before a playoff run.
Would love to see an article similar to this on the Alaskan Summer League. I believe that a great deal of major league talent played summers there in the 80's and early 90's.
I hope Honeywell is the next Kenny Powers.
Overcoming your own loss aversion can be difficult, but it's even harder to get the other party to overcome it when trying to make a deal outside of the norm. I've found that you really have to go out of your way or give up to much to make these kind of deals happen.
I wonder how long they will be allowed to struggle at the plate? If Cleveland is completely out of it by the end of July is there any benefit to sending them back down to AAA to work on their bats?
Also it's interesting to see how much impact just two players can make to a teams defensive efficiency. Would be curious to see how much they would improve if they had a better defensive CF.
I believe in a recent podcast that Dirk Hayhurst had mentioned that one benefit to the pitchers of this change would be that the defense behind the pitcher would improve. His theory was that fielders are more attentive and loose when a pitcher pitches at a faster rhythm and in his experience play slightly better. This might help mitigate some of the negative effects of the pitch clock.
Love the tool breakdown chart!
What a great read. Have you ever tackled the mechanics of submarine pitchers before? It would be interesting to see what an "ideal" submarine pitcher would look like. Always interesting to see the different variations.
I think Russell is more a case of overall solid to good than the plus hitting that Correa, Bogaerts and Baez could bring. People talk about the advance approach of Bogaerts all the time and BP has, I'm pretty sure, put an elite grade on Baez's power potential.
It seems at one point that the Indians turned fleecing the Mariners into their main player development tactic.
Does anyone know is their an in house divide between amateur/college scouts and scouts that look at minor league talent to acquire? Is it the same scouts looking at both?
Loved this article, a great read. Would love to see an analysis of the 94 Indians that Silver mentioned since that is mentioned as one of the all time great farm systems.
I'm curious on how Lindor has non impact speed but projects to have 20-25+ steals a year. Is it just because of his base running skills and instincts?
You frequently read about middle infield guys that dont have loud tools but are solid across the board and have good instincts and they never rank anywhere near as high as Lindor does in prospects lists, why is that? Is his makeup so off the charts high that he gets a bump or is the glove that special?
Really loving the Bid/Production chart, hope you keep it for the whole series.
I love seeing position players pitch. The Bill James Handbook always has a section on that and it's one of the first things I turn to when I buy a copy.
Just came to post that! Had to Google to double check. That would make for an interesting article. All-time worst/strangest signings.
I believe Steve Young had some odd deal that payed him a million a year for 20 years from his USFL days.
Really excited to see what he can do next year as well. Do you think that as he develops he sticks at catcher, or will his bat be valuable enough on its own that they look to move him somewhere else?
See that old kook in trouble with the curve could still really scout blind all along!
Glad you came back to this! Was wondering how the teams would turn out.
I'd love to see the numbers on Lonnie Chissenhall. I wonder how long he can keep this up.
Really interesting work. Some odd names appearing on top of these leaderboards. I wonder how this mixes with scouts views of quick bats.
This made me cringe as an Indians fan. Wish the Expo's were still around to fleece talent from in trades.
Wow what a catch by Fowler. Would love to see the fieldfx data on that!
Great series! Would love to see Andrelton Simmons next.
Love this series!
I wonder how much of the pivot % is dependent on good feeds from their double play partners? I could see Ackley being at the top because Ryan was setting him up with some laser fast accurate throws.
This is awesome stuff looking forward to this series! I'd love to see some analysis of bad ball hitters and how they cover such a large area. Some insight into how batting coaches instruct all of these different movements you described would we be great too.
This would be cool to see while paired with release points. Like does a certain hitter hit fastballs relative to location.
I wonder how granular with the data you could get. Getting scores for pitch type, location, delivery method.