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I am a huge Twins fan, and I'm surprised at how well Mauer fares. I've always thought he's great, but legendarily excellent across the history of this data?
Marvelous indeed. I can't wait to read up on the hitters.
I love reading multiple reports from different scouts on the same player.
Umpire dictation of strikes would lead to Vegas or organized crime or some form of gambler getting to the umps. When you remove accountability you give the umpire the chance to determine the game (see also: NBA).
The amount of money bet on games is staggering, and with this rule change the pressure on every single ump would be staggering as well. Eventually one (or more) would fold.
Tony Gwynn. Bbesity shortened his career, yet he was still such an amazing pure hitter, poking singles to all fields past diving infielders. I wish we could have seen what he'd have done in excellent health until the end of his career.
As a Twins fan, I wish I could have seen excellent career-long health for Kirby Puckett (and to a lesser extent Jason Kubel).
It always blows my mind to hear the local sports radio and its minions blaming Joe Mauer for the Twins' poor performance.
He's beyond special. He makes it look easy, which perhaps makes him a target, but what he's doing is mind-boggling. Thanks for pointing it out!
This isn't the style of article I normally dig, but I too thought this was pretty interesting. Thanks.
Or Johan Santana.
And Randy Johnson for slider.
"All-time Tool" is a fun category for the arguments it creates.
I've been here a long time. This is one of my favorite features, probably my favorite in the current incarnation of BP. I am so glad it's back.
Classic, classic, classic.
Fun article. I'm preparing to head to Brewvival later this month, and I needed a teaser :-)
I have very much enjoyed this series.
Shouldn't managers call for more or fewer pitchouts based on their catchers' abilities? I'm not sure why giving them the league average catcher is a good step... they should use their players for what they're good at.
For me, BP's great contribution over the years has been counter-intuitive truth, and this article fits well in that stream. Thank you.
@NJTomatoes: That is correct, unless BP has violated all known laws of crossword puzzles.
Best wishes to you and yours as well.
You almost had me thinking you were departing... don't do that! :-)
On the one hand, I enjoyed this article.
On the other hand, as a Twins fan this felt uncomfortably close to the justifications I've heard for "Nick Punto is the MVP of the Twins!!!" and similar statements about their various under-talented scrappy-doos.
Great job of making me happily unhappy... you've written baseball art again!
Very cool :-)
You are most welcome.
I got to see Johnson pitch in Arizona on a number of occasions, including a playoff game. He left me in awe, and this article brought me back, big time. Thank you!
I'd very much enjoy seeing some pitching evaluation on historical pitchers. Randy Johnson would be a fun read for me.
Wow. I'm surprised Mariano Rivera didn't get a dump for being so fragile.
You seem to have some major photo issues? Every picture I'm seeing is of a pitcher standing up looking at a batter, with two split-screen photos that don't make much sense.
Great questions; I'd love to see them all studied.
You've written my most-looked-forward-to content over the last years. Thank you. I wish you well, and will miss your work terribly. Thanks for what it has revealed about baseball, yourself, and the world behind the scenes of our pastime.
I am in nerdvana.
Lovely article, thank you. My favorite of your guestuses.
I always loved this feature.
I enjoyed this piece a lot, but I am more excited by the narrative pieces, even when they're uneven. A perfect scouting report (like this one) is a 60 for me; Your narrative pieces regularly bump 80.
I enjoyed this style of article a lot more than the usual format.
Hm... would the Twins have signed Mauer/Morneau if Santana had been on the payroll?
I read two baseball websites: Aaron's blog, and BP. I've been reading them forever, and I'm glad to see this intersection. Congratulations, Aaron, and thanks, BP.
As to the trade: It was such a depressing year to be a Twins fan. This article is like watching a good movie version of any massive failure... it's well written, but sad.
This restores some small portion of the faith I've lost in the Houston Astros, and it improves my opinion of the intelligence of the greater MLB community.
Your work has been ground-breaking, and if proprietary could have meant competitive advantage for a team. Hopefully you're getting a good deal :-)
Awesome article. The Twins' results were amazing, even though (or especially because) their manner of achieving them was bogglesome. How did a philosophy that could arguably be summed up as "mediocre pitchers who outhit our utility infielders and character guys" lead to so many wins?
It was fun while it lasted.
"Why is Morris' 7th game WS shutout better then these WS 7th game shutouts:"
Because it was a 1-0 game that went into extra innings as a 0-0 tie.
I anticipate being voted down into oblivion for this, but I'd like to make an argument for Morris. In my view, "record" includes all baseball accomplishments. I have occasionally wanted to see those who accomplish difficult or amazing feats enshrined (Roger Maris, for example) of note. This is subjective, of course, but that's the point of HoF voting.
Jack Morris pitched, in my opinion and perhaps others', the greatest game in baseball history.
I wouldn't vote for him, but I don't mind others doing so, and I'll be glad when he gets in.
Thanks for a great read. I even buy your argument, which I wouldn't have cared much about prior to this article.
I loved it as well. Thank you.
Procrastination occasionally leads to brilliance :-)
This has the sounds of goodness, or hopefully even greatness. I'm particularly excited about Mr. Parks and Mr. Sobsey, but there isn't anything in the State of the Union that sounds distressing. I look forward to BP's 2012.
I'm perhaps the happiest person I know, but I love a good "GET OFF MY LAWN!" There are some fun quotes in here.
Rushmore is the greatest movie ever filmed; Anderson's other works range from very good to great-ish, but only Rushmore clears the bar to Top 10 All Time.
Way fun article indeed. Thanks. I enjoy the mixed media and the kind of discovery I couldn't/wouldn't make on my own time. I'd enjoy another couple/few of these.
Congratulations indeed; I look forward to the coming year.
FRA would be good, and I always wonder when someone randomly chucks the top performer: Is there a similar outlier on the bottom end of the scale who should be discounted for the same reason?
In the interest of accountability, I'd love to see an article where you briefly summarize how well you prognosticated in 2010 with this series. If you were to share even an overview of the results and reflect on what they mean it would be good reading.
Astounding. If you're not hired away by a team in the near/immediate future, baseball is still more broken than we hope. This piece and your catcher piece are the most interesting new baseball research I've read in quite some time, with the most significant application for valuing players effectively.
This one screams "link me everywhere on the Internet." Rare is the rumor that doesn't hit several of these sources, and rare is the rumor that's not given complete credibility by too many fans of one team or the other.
I have enjoyed what seems to be a greater emphasis on humor here in the last years. I am starting to feel not only interest in coming here, but warmth and a sense of potential surprise. These articles have been fun, and Parks and Granillo and Span have mixed things up without hampering the core stuff. Thanks.
I didn't care about these teams. My antipathy for all things Texas was matched by my appreciation for a team employing two men with a history of drug addiction (I lead a 12 step program ); My antipathy for all things TLR was matched by my appreciation for Albert Pujols. The most I could muster for either side was: I hope they don't win, but I don't care if they lose either.
Then Game 6 unfolded and I was completely enthralled from beginning to end, and thought it might have been the best game I'd seen since at least 2001, and probably 1991.
Hm, I don't see you on WordBiz, or I'm searching for the wrong handle. Look me up as pjbenedict some time, I play pretty rarely but enjoy quick games (4-5 minute).
I love Scrabble (1600ish on Wordbiz), and I love baseball. Fun article; now that the idea of anagramming baseball words has been presented, I will never be able to stop. DARN YOU! :-)
I read select lines aloud to my church staff meeting. They love it. This writing begs to be performed, spoken-word style. I piqued their interest by asking: Does anyone want to hear what would have happened if Hunter S. Thompson were a baseball scout?
Thank you for writing, Jason. Your stuff feeds the part of my soul that loves discovering the cutting edge of any art form.
Fun to read :-)
The point is that even "anti-stats" types build their argument with stats. The real argument isn't stats vs. non-stats, it's which stats have meaning.
Agreed. This is an amazing story told exceptionally well.
A ad that blasts music and advertising into my space after I walk away from my computer?
Terrible, terrible decision, BP.
VI -- It is OK to pull for a team from a state in which you've lived for more than three years.
I moved from MN to AZ in the late '80s, and lived through the formation and growth of the Dbacks before moving back to MN. I have been fortunate to pull for two teams that seem to take turns being good; rarely have both been out of it.
I struggled with the ethics of both, but since they're in different leagues and I was a homer for each, I figure I'm an EBJ.
Four Twins in one day; A first this year. I'm giddy! Thanks for the work, it's great as usual.
I too would love to read about the prospects themselves, but that's probably because I look forward to your articles more than anything else I'm reading. I feel like I'm reading early Gleeman, perhaps more so.
I am going to be crushed when you leave BP for greener pastures. Your writing echoes of what I love in Hunter S. Thompson's.
I might be unusual, but I very much like metacontent. I like hearing how people work, how the team relates, why people are hired, and why they leave. I appreciate this article, and would enjoy seeing one like it (perhaps a blog post?) when people leave.
I've been a member here for quite awhile; I feel some sense of cameraderie with the team here. It's good to hear more when people depart.
Thank you for so many great columns, David. I have loved your work. This saddens me.
Last year it seemed like so many Twins prospectswere doing better than expected... it was exciting. With the big league club mired in their current swamp, I'd love to see hope wherever I could get it.
But thank you for the updates, they're enjoyable regardless.
Wow. I just re-upped my subscription for a year immediately before reading this article. I have a sense of melancholy (and I'd been critical of Christina's writing at one point in the past). I feel like I'm losing something treasured. No one's writing challenges like hers.
But I'm glad I re-upped. I do love what's been going on here.
Christina, fare thee well.
The Twins ranked third... in their own division?
I'm a Twins fan, and Slowey is my favorite Twins starter (has been for three years). Perhaps the rush to lament this decision is premature? I can think of all sorts of scenarios where this is a good idea. Blackburn's contract makes him untradeable, and giving him a chance to reestablish himself is a good idea if they believe he can do it. If he fails, they can eat cost and do the right thing, but eating that cost now would be dumb if there is any behind-the-scenes indication that it's not absolutely necessary.
On top of this, perhaps there are trading partners for Slowey that are willing to pay what he's worth, in which case trading a SP asset for a player where we have greater need is also defensible. I'm not confident in the Twins to identify their own areas of greatest need (cough, SS, cough), but they seem to do pretty well following their own priorities rather than mine.
Until this year, the Twins always had a Sunday game on local TV. My wife and I just cut our cable, and now poof... the Twins no longer have a single game on broadcast :-/
The CHIPPER info is not available under "Display" in PFM as far as I can see. I would really love to see it there though! The only options there in my view are playing time, expert rankings, minimum dollars, and biographical data.
I would LOVE to have this linked to each player's page, or better yet, have it in the PFM.
I agree, I'd enjoy this type of column regularly.
What a wonderful pair of reminiscences. Monbouquette seems larger than life, and his memories are well told.
So freakishly weird not to see this list littered with Twins, as has been the case in years past. Then again, we'll be back in contention with Casilla and Nishioka, I imagine.
I hope there are some questions about guys who no longer cover baseball but continue to vote as members.
I hope we can get a follow-up with as many BP writers' answers as possible, like last time. I love this format.
Fantastic interview, if that's the right term for it. I like the Q&A format generally, but this rambly recollection is a gem.
I enjoy "On the Beat" in part because there is more of your personality than in some of the other articles here I'd enjoy hearing more of your perspective and take, as another commenter suggested.
I have also enjoyed other baseball writers' ongoing "beat the Vegas line" efforts when they have included tracking. A PECOTA inspired version would be entertaining.
I would love, love, love to see Blanton as a Twin in the coming year, especially if they fail to get Pavano. With a 95% season ticket renewal rate, and season tix about to sell out, perhaps this isn't unthinkable.
One thing I'd like to see with these articles is a final lineup/rotation with the cost of the team. Regardless, I love this series.
As a Twins fan: Thank you. There were a few pieces I hadn't known in this, most notably the acknowledgement that the Twins were manipulating air flow. The overall read was enjoyable.
Fun article! The use of statistics to improve our understanding of the game is all well and good, but I love statistics as trivia. I'd enjoy seeing more of this.
Will's most important tool, like Goldstein's, was primarily his contacts. That's not irreplaceable, although I'd much rather see Will back here than gone.
I love On the Beat and Goldstein; I would read more about prospects.
David Laurila has completely converted me to appreciating baseball interviews. I used to find them universally vapid, but his work has been routinely excellent. I'd like to hear more, both from major and minor leaguers, if more of that level of quality is possible.
For me the biggest negative is that I often feel overwhelmed by numbers and underwhelmed by personality. I have graduate statistical training, but articles about small fractions of value are better when accompanied by application and opinionated analysis.
I love the chats, every single one by every single author. The mix of personality, research, and opinion is a lot closer to what I appreciated in the BP articles of yesteryear.
I can't read Christina any more unless she's writing about a specific team/transaction I care about. Too much convoluted construction, too much assumption of reader awareness. I'm smart, I follow baseball closely, and I read authors who disrespect their readers, but it's just too much. I'm sad when I skip her articles because they used to be among my favorite.
Regarding Colon: Isn't JJ Hardy pretty slow, yet a very good defender at SS? Is he unusual in that regard?
Sadness! Your reasoning seems sound, but I lament the loss of my Sunday Perotto articles. That said, thanks for the good work, and I'm loving this year's added content.
Argh; I loved these articles. Happy trails...
I may be weird, but I LOVE playing out each game. I like making the tactical decisions in-game. I am glad I don't have to play the batter or pitcher, and the text-based play by play (on fast speed) is enjoyable for me. I don't think it'd be everyone's cup of tea, but I basically play OOTP as a year-long sim for my favorite team (the Twins) in which I get to do the in-game management. It's fun.
Can't you figure out which data set is better by examining which is more useful in prediction?
I enjoyed the Brantley/Marte piece, and I say that as someone who cares about the Indians only insofar as they threaten the Twins. I look forward to more.
I'm always horrified by my Twins come opening day. Nick Punto?!?!? Guerrier?!
I too really appreciate this article and series. I look forward to more.
I love this article. Thank you. I'd love to see more along these lines, but the problems with data-gathering are apparent.
I'm not sure "yellowest team in MLB" is good for the Twins, but it's good to see only two starters in red. I look forward to the team write-up.
Great article; I'd enjoy seeing an article per team about their ecology, expenditures and efficiency within it, and the like.
I wasn't one of the April participants, but I'm glad the BP community's money went to this cause. Thanks.
I'll miss Joe, and I hope we hear something about where he's going.
That said, BP has found new voices over the years to keep me interested in the site; Will Carroll made me interested in sports medicine, Goldman made me (much!) more interested in the minors, and Perrotto made me more interested in the kind of writing I avoid elsewhere. All three came along when I was feeling a little bored with the site; I have faith that the site will continue to pique my interest in new ways.
I love your articles and writing. I wish the world had ten more similar writers, I'd read all of their work too. Thanks for what you're doing.
I love this article. It presents information that I haven't seen summarized this way before. Thanks.
I really enjoyed reading this interview. I appreciate the "who helped you, and how" questions, they shed some illumination on a part of the game that's poorly understood (coaching).
I love the style you chose here: The voice of the analyst with the voice of the fan, both reaching the same celebration. I loathe the Yankees, but your piece was still a great read, likely to be my favorite of the post-season. Thanks.
I double the agreement.
If each league had equal revenue, one league having more teams would be a disadvantage. But each team makes its own revenue independent (relatively) of the others. Adding the Yankees to the NL would improve, not harm, the NL.
I really enjoyed this article, and don't remember seeing anything like this before. Thank you.
Is there anywhere on the Internet to find out who signed and who didn't? I use yahoo & BP & some blogs for my baseball reading, and none of them have anything about the non-Strasburg types.
Frustrating! All this buildup for days, then... poof! Little to nothing.
I like this style of article, and would like to see how the contestants would handle one.
I enjoyed the article, although to be honest I scanned some of the more stat-heavy parts. I do that when I'm reading the 6th or 7th (I've lost count...) in a short sitting.
I liked the humor although it was a bit overmuch, and I liked the analysis.
Thanks for a profile on a player I've just started paying attention to. I don't care about the Royals much (just insofar as they threaten my beloved Twins!), if that eases your worries at all.
As a side note I found:
"After flying high in the desert, it was ironic that his climb up the organizational ranks stalled in Wichita, a city known for aircraft manufacturing."
...kind of cute. Flying, climb, and aircraft all wedged into a single baseball sentence.
This was the most enjoyable player profile I've read in quite awhile. I love statistics that go against the grain, so the various pieces doing so were good fun for me. Thanks.
Guilty pleasures: Every submarine pitcher, no matter how (in)effective. Every knuckleballer, although that one is sort of in vogue.
Odd sighting(s): A straight steal of home (Rod Carew). Or so I remember it, I was quite young.
Possibly my favorite article of the bunch, and I read it last (which is my least favorite article most of the time). It was easy to comprehend, helpful, and worked along lines I've used less formally in my own leagues. Thanks.
The messy writing really fouls this up for me. As an example:
"After posting Major League Equivalent wOBAs (Tom Tango's weighted on-base average) of .311, .329 and .295 the three seasons prior to the trade, (MLB average for shortstop is .318) the 22 year old Ramirez won the NL Rookie of the Year Award for the Marlins, putting up an 292/353/480 BA/OB/SA line, good for a .360 wOBA. If making draft list in 2007, I had to ask 'Who is the real Hanley Ramirez?'"
The first sentence is tortuous, the second is meaningless. I care about grammar, and any time I read published work with this many errors in the first couple paragraphs, I stop reading. I scanned the rest of the article, and didn't find enough to outweight my initial impression.
I'd have liked to see some data about the defenses behind those pitchers, as a high BABIP in front of a bad defense has a different impact on fantasy value than a high BABIP in front of a good one.
I liked the format and the commentary. Thanks for your work.
I enjoy wide-ranging, general articles. I agree this feels more like an ESPN article. I never go to ESPN, and I only read here at BP, so that's a plus for me, and I'm giving a thumbs up.
That said, "me either" instead of "me neither" KILLS me.
Thanks for the opportunity BP Idol gives us to read more work and learn more.
I'm a pretty smart guy, but my brain fades as I read numbers over time. My BP Annual is read in small chunks over the course of a month, rather than at one sitting. I hope (and doubt) you have a headline order randomizer, because my experience this week is likely to be my experience every week: The first few articles were very enjoyable, I had to work at the next few, and the last few were more work than I'm used to doing as I read.
Very creative article, and fun to read. Thanks.
Enjoyable article, easy to read and informative. Thanks.
A. This is great, more information is good.
B. This might not be great, if more information = less commentary, because you're a gifted writer and I enjoy your work.
Thanks for doing such a great job.
I think this is excellent. Thank you.
Get as many Twins into your infield as possible?
As a MN fan, I commend you on your choices there :-)
I\'d enjoy hearing from some big names: Peter Gammons, Rob Neyer, Bud Selig, Barry Bonds, Theo Epstein, et cetera.
Other names I\'d enjoy hearing from: Pat Neshek, any head coach or GM, anyone who heads up an analysis group for a team, Logan White, Kim Ng, Miguel Batista, Ichiro Suzuki, Bert Blyleven... but really, I enjoy anything you\'re doing.
Terribly irritating article, primarily due to the Blyleven stupidity. The double standard for the hall (hitting bar = low enough for Rice, pitching bar = too high for Blyleven) is extremely irritating. I wish someone would do an article correlating WARP or EQA values of hitting and pitching cusp players... I imagine the latter are better.
I love hearing about rumors with an analytical angle; duplicating Perotto would be a neat feat. Also, I\'d love to see Aaron Gleeman do a guest column.