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Yes and no. The coaches can provide advice and instruction, but other things, a guy will only talk about with a peer -- blowing off steam about the organization, comparing notes about opposing pitchers/hitters, getting used to a new city or a new league, etc. (I'm drawing comparisons to my own workplace here.)
That reliance on trust is the ultimate problem. And it ties in with Russell Carleton's piece from Monday. If Rafael Palmeiro 1999 is a damning indictment of the current voting structure, shouldn't we consider Alfonso Soriano 2012 a serious shortcoming for FRAA and UZR?
The Erstad example illustrates the problem here.
Batting average is a very simple stat that measures exactly one thing. What it says about Erstad's merits as a player is up for debate, but it is a factual statement that for one season, 240 of his 676 of his at-bats ended with a hit.
Advanced fielding metrics incorporate a lot of things and reflect various weightings and interpretations. I can't compute UZR without a spreadsheet -- come to think of it, I can't compute it AT ALL because it includes proprietary data.
To paraphrase a different right fielder, Ichiro didn't come to America to be a star. He brought his star with him.
+1. Well said. (And welcome back!)
I'm in the numbers camp, but Joe Morgan has seen literally thousands of major league games in his life and had a reputation as a brilliant player. I think it's less likely that he doesn't know what he's talking about than it is that he just doesn't have lay terms for much of what he knows.
For instance, "consistency." I don't know what that means, if it means something besides not going into a slump. But it COULD mean the thousand little parts of your routine as a professional, from practice to in-game adjustments. I've got that in my job -- why wouldn't it be the same in baseball?
I don't know. Maybe Joe or someone like him could find a way to tell me what I'm missing not having played the game.
Even the Jackson deal isn't a complete fail to me. Only one team has ever kept Jackson around for more than one full season's worth of starts -- he always seems to have more value to his next employer than his current one.
It is fair to ask how much more Colletti could have gotten for Jackson, given his youth and promise at the time. But I'm glad to see someone who's studied this more than I have saying prospect guys should probably get off Colletti's back.
Really enjoyed this piece! I bet "The Matt Cain" was 6/2/0/0/1/4 going into the seventh.
I don't think it's any different than how things work at your job. You know who you can trust to stay calm in a stressful situation, who will let a bad mistake stay in his head, who has a comfort zone that he won't stray from. This affects people of all skill levels. Why would it be any different with ballplayers?
Kevin, would Altuve be regarded as a Top 100 prospect if he were a few inches taller? Most of the talk I hear boils down to "He can play, I guess, but where's the rest of him?"
Owen Wilson, 36 triples.
Great piece, and this is why so many people really want to see Dale Murphy in the HOF -- he was famous for being a great guy. A great ballplayer, too, but everybody felt safe putting their role-model hopes in Murphy.
Interesting list above: Villone pitched for nine more years until he was 39, Appier for four more years until he was 36, Johnson for seven more years until he was 45, and Livan is still active today, five years later, at 35. Jackson is the youngest of the five, so maybe that will make a difference -- OTOH, this neatly illustrates the problem of making blanket judgments about what pitchers can handle.
My opinion is that since the Diamondbacks are going nowhere this year, they can afford to baby Jackson through the All-Star break; not to be callous, but Jackson isn't a cornerstone kind of pitcher; and given those two things, the no-hitter may well turn out to be the best thing for everyone concerned.
I'm certainly not saying you should shove a pitcher into the grinder in this situation, but it's not clear that the Diamondbacks have.
"Never so high," I mean.
FWIW, he doesn't seem to be far off in BABIP. I compared his expected hits allowed (based on the Reds' team BABIP) to his actual hits allowed for his six full seasons in Cincinnati:
2004: 173 expected, 177 actual
2005: 218 expected, 217 actual
2006: 232 expected, 242 actual
2007: 225 expected, 213 actual
2008: 207 expected, 205 actual
2009: 162 expected, 186 actual
This is a very rough figure, but there it is. Nothing crazy until last year.
I blame his flyball tendencies given his home park. He always has a higher ERA than his indicators would suggest, but never so low that a correction is due.
I'm still worried about Masterson. He's a two-pitch pitcher, and one of them is a fastball that he throws more than 80% of the time (the most of any starter in baseball).
Eric, do you see any similarities between Wright's career path and George Brett's? Brett didn't establish the same kind of power base Wright did, obviously, but he'd been steadily building to a power peak at 27 -- then took a big step backwards at 28, and only approached his mid-20s level twice again in his career.
Not that I think Mets fans will mind if Wright has a George Brett kind of career ...
Do we know how many ballplayers are already into this kind of analysis? Not a lot, I'm sure. But we know Brian Bannister is, and I assume he talks to guys about it ...
I like the idea that "We're telling you, the viewer, about this info because that's what the front office is using." For the better-run teams, pulling back the curtain a little could be a way to enhance the brand and build the community.
Interesting that Morgan would have a rational discussion about fielding metrics on the air. I definitely missed that game, but I give him some credit.
This all seems like a good way to start. "Now, this doesn't show up in the stats -- oh, wait, it actually does."
Here are two lists of the top 10 pitchers in baseball last year.
One is ranked by VORP and the other is ranked by ERA (qualifiers only). Quick -- which is which?
Maybe the real question isn't whose stats are better, but how ours are more relevant ... what people are missing without them. Are these all just distinctions without differences? No?
Then that's where the storytelling comes in, the clarity of writing, the user-friendliness.
Not to mention the perspective.
I agree, and you touch on a longstanding pet peeve of mine -- the stathead community as a whole needs more humility and more perspective.
First and foremost, we can't expect people to carry this research out into the world when we're putting them down for not getting it. I don't mean you guys -- this has been a great thread. But we've all seen it.
Second, it doesn't make sense to puff out our chests about new stats and formulas that will be superseded in three years. And let's not overstate what we're doing. PECOTA may be as good as it gets for forecasting, but it's not "deadly accurate." Seventy percent accuracy is very good, but leaving 3 survivors out of 10 isn't that deadly.
Third, clarity is crucial. No critical thinker would start talking up a stat he didn't know anything about. As I said above: ERA is easy to understand (nevermind its limitations). If we want people to take our research to heart, it's got to be as easy to understand as what they're already used to.
"Illusion of knowledge" is an important thing. Very important.
The problem with theory is that it requires you to consider a premise. The advantage of ERA is that no premises are required. I know exactly what is being measured. There are no value judgments.
I grew up a huge Bill James fan. The thing I loved about his formulas was that I never lost sight of what he was measuring. Even when it got complicated, which was often, he never lost his clarity. And when his formulas included a constant, he explained the reasoning behind it.
SIERA just isn't very clear. It took a week's worth of articles to explain. That's not a stat that people can warm up to.
The smartest people I've met have almost all had the ability to explain complex ideas in a simple way. Not an elementary way, or a dumbed-down way, but in such a way that an outsider who didn't know the jargon could see what was at stake and what was under consideration. It's a rare skill in life, but an important one.
I don't mind waiting for final (or reasonably final) numbers. I would definitely check back for the updated numbers after the first round, but not everyone will, and there could be some preventable brand damage.
Thanks for asking, and for being proactive on this.
The last minor league game I saw featured Michael Bourn as a 21-year-old burner for the Lakewood Blue Claws. I'd never heard of him, but next to him everybody else looked like they were in slow motion. I still root for him.
New Jersey: Taylor pork roll. Eat it straight or with Velveeta and egg on an English muffin. More than once I went to school with a pork roll sandwich for lunch, and I never complained.
D.C.: Ben\'s Chili Bowl. If you\'re in town for the inauguration, have a chili half-smoke and eat like the president.
And I second In & Out Burger. It\'s almost worth going to California just for that.
IMO, the worst organizations are Washington and Pittsburgh: dumb, cheap and hopeless. Don\'t know where the Marlins would rank above that, but their teardowns strike me as a little more crass than absolutely necessary. How are those presented in Florida? I might feel a little better if the message is \"give us three years,\" rather than \"stadium stadium stadium poor poor poor.\"