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A nice comparison review would be McCarver's "Baseball for Brain Surgeions," which tried (sometimes successfully) to educate the average baseball fan into an expert baseball fan.
Jay, this is a much better, well-written article of what I was trying to do in BP Idol a few years back.
One of the things that I would be interested in on some of the positions is if their changes in offense have reflected how they have performed defensively with some of those stats. Was the 1974 low-point for offensive shortstops (Belanger, Patek to think of a few) correspond to a high-point in defensive quality?
Imagine lining those two up and see in terms of WAR has there been a de-emphasis overall of a given position.
Would be nice to see the WORST baseball songs. I'd like to nominate "Baseball Dreams" by the Naturals where Mel Allen raps.
Christina, looks like Gordon had a nice day at the plate, but how was his swing?
Also, sounded like he flubbed up a throw in the first going to the wrong base.
As someone who has had the Chez Henri $14 "Ham Sandwich," I should say that could hit a .320+ TAv in any league. I would project a career 35 WARP, assuming that the $5 foot-long Subway Black Forest Ham on the 9-Grain wheat is your replacement level.
So Kevin, do you think this means that in a few years (say 2013-2014) we'll be seeing lots of fights between the Royals & Indians for the AL Central crown?
Would be nice to flip this division upside down...
Can I team win based solely on its drafted (and/or trade-acquired) talent? What I worry about with DM is his ability to pick that key one or two free agents to put this team over the top in 2012/2013. I'm thinking of the way the Rays got Carlos Pena which was one of their keys in 2008.
Kevin, thanks for making me feel good about the Royals again.
I had one question on this. Do you find it interesting / surprising / noteworthy for a farm system to be this good and have ALL of the top tier talent from the US Amateur Draft? Afterall, you have to go down to #11 and #12 to get to the first Latin America signings.
It seems that this bodes well for the Royals' ability to maintain this quality (and possibly improve) as DM has just started to bolster the Royals international presence.
Just to throw out something. This piggybacks on something Matt you looked at about 15 months ago.
Evidence suggests that the variability of runs scored (and runs allowed) can have a significant impact on a team outperforming their Pythag expected Win Pct.
A team who has a higher than normal variability on Runs Allowed perform better, (and the corrollary that a team who has a lower than normal variability on Runs Scored) seem to consistently outperform their Pythag.
With that said, are the Angels more consistent in Runs Scored and "less consistent" in Runs Allowed than most teams?
About two years ago I was dead set against trading Greinke. Maybe due to 2010, I've soured a little bit on him. I always think the Rays would be the best fit for him. Would love to work out a trade between KC and Tampa Bay
Not really. As a pitcher (especially in 2009), he's more of a strategist in terms of pitch sequencing, but not so much as a "numbers" guy. That's Banny.
I was torn on this. I lumped all bunts where the hitter was given a single as more of a "bunt attempt for a hit" instead of a "sacrifice bunt"
Just stopped by downtown Boston Borders. Systems say they expect not to get it until early March, though they hope that will change.
I believe PECOTA predicted him to do the same last year (actually I think it was more like a 20.0+ VORP type player). If healthy I could totally see a .780 OPS.
As for overall team, 789 RA as compared to 961 (or whatever the number was 1st time around) seems much more reasonable.
413 PAs for The Epitome of Hit, with 105 in CF? Is he the new Mark Teahen?
For kicks, I sometimes listen to the Gorgar (first talking pinball machine) promotional audio track on my iPod ("Gorgar speaks....of improved profit potential"). Pure comedy gold rivaled only by Mel Allen rapping on "Baseball Dreams"
Thanks for the resource on that, but it looks like that is just the salary number. I guess I wasn't clear, but what I was hoping for is not only having salary but where they were in their salary process. Specifically thinking about Matt S. article. If we could label that in 2003 on the Pirates, player A got $X and was in their 3rd year of arbitration, versus Player B who get $Y and was signed as a free agent, that may offer the basis for some really great analysis on roster construction.
Au contraire, Colin. REAL men play games with dice and square cardboard counters. Just ask Mr. Schilling!
The single game that I probably blew the most time on was Lode Runner on my family's Apple IIe, well that and the Wizardry series.
My game of choice was Burger Time. Just loved throwing pepper on mutant hot dogs and fried eggs
Also on another point, the HoFS scores (Median, Mean, Min) are a little low because they include relief pitchers in which the HoFS doesn't really make sense. As B-Ref suggests, he just don't have enough relief pitchers in yet to get a feel for what the right stats are for them. If you take out Sutter, Gossage, Fingers scores from the mean, these will likely bump up some of those HoFS numbers.
Good point. The quality (HoFS) of Raines' stats suggest that he will likely go later than a sixth year.
But the point is that if he gets in at all, he will have one of the lowest HoFM of ANYONE who was elected by the Writers.
I guess my philosophy differs from you on this. I would prefer to be conservative and error on the side of exclusion, since one always has the Veteran's Committee as a fallback.
The thing I worry about is setting the bar too low. When you do that the standards slowly creep down and down and down, until it gets the feel of the Hall of Occasional All-Stars or worse the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Another of interest would be to see if in the last few years there's been some divergence from the hardware to the stats. Ideally this could be shown if 20-30 years ago, HoFM was a better measure of induction and first ballot percentages but in the last few years if HoFS/JAWS is becoming a better predictor.
Then maybe the best thing is just force a person on only one ballot. You get one shot and that's it (or you have to wait a few more years). Until that is done, the grandstanding will continue and some writers will exploit the decision of the others
Yes, while technically the plaques are binary: there is one and there isn't, I do think there is a strong distinction between 1st ballot and not 1st ballot. Many times I hear a player referred to as 1st ballot Hall of Famer X, etc.
But with that said, I do think there is a bit of another tiering. While it may never be said and mentioned, there is no question that a guy who got in on the 2nd or 3rd ballot are typically better players than those that got in on the 9th or 10th or 14th.
My hope would be that with a little more work (understanding likely "improvements" in voter percentage from ballot 2 to ballot 3, etc.), I'd like to develop a vote percentage "predictor" that would estimate vote totals for that year's class.
Technically true, but there are enough voters who are of the "never change my vote" mentality that the good enough players will always hang around.
Baseball-Reference has Thomas on the 2014 ballot which will also include first-timers Maddux,Glavine, Kent and Mussina, plus any holdovers from the stacked 2013 ballot
Jeff, great to have you on board. I probably go to Cot's 10 times/month and love it. The one thing I'm wondering about is if there will be a recreation process where if I wanted to see what the Pirates salary-wise looked like in 2003, I'd be able to do it, without going to the roster of all the current players. That would be amazing.
Where else but our friend baseball-reference.com.
Here's the link for the 1936 voting. From there you can go to any year.
Or is that from the fact that more of the winners are from big markets and they have a tendency to be more active in the Free Agent market.
Obviously Twins/Rays are still "winners" but have very little AM WARP3
Another point that I might add to Colin and Eric. Sometimes these stats are the building blocks to greater understanding whether it be articles by CK, John, etc. or further "research" articles.
While I sort of fall into the "not another slight improvement article" camp, I get excited when those are used for other areas of research that really do help us understand the game better. It's sometimes required to use these stats to better understand bullpen management (sorry for the tooting my own horn), or using improved fielding stats to understand teammate effects in defense: are a great 2nd baseman and shortstop combined greater than the sum of their parts or not.
Many times we need a stronger foundation to build and I applaud those doing that type of work whether it be here or at other sites. Personally, I'm excited that BP has made a commitment to improving its statistical foundation!
The example on this that I use is why the Royals went and got Jose Guillen for 3/$36M (and most of us said it at the time). When they lost out on Torii Hunter, they should have sat on the money and played more in the FA market the following year.
It really seemed to be money looking for a FA to spend it on, like the concept of saving it was not a possibility to them
The one thing that I've always wondered (more from the point of view of the GM of a team like the Orioles, Pirates, or Royals to name a few) is what should be the goal of the GM, at least in terms of winning (I'm going to avoid the "putting butts in the seats for now, except for how it helps him them win"), i.e., teams that haven't made the playoffs in 10+ years.
Shoud it be:
a) Get to the playoffs as soon as possible, even if it's a one-time deal
b) Get to the playoffs (or at leat be in serious contention) for an X-year stretch within Y years.
An annoyance (or maybe the missing piece) is what should be the goal of say Dayton Moore be?
Great article on this. Something I've wondered.
The typical comment would be interesting to see how this has looked for the last five or so years (at least for the playoff teams and near-playoff teams).
One interesting question (possibly) would be in the last few years, what's the most WARP3 that any team has gotten from NM.
Did you update to IE8 recently? I had the same problem when I went from IE7 to IE8, but when I run IE8 in compatability view (the button that looks like a broken page) it all works for me.
Or something that would be cool, would be a "sister" league like BP Kings (maybe BP Jesters) of some of the newer BP writers, readers, and some of the similar outlets that have BP Kings....
Just saying (and yes I'm plugging this because I'd be willing to learn how to play Scoresheet)...
I think you may be missing the point a little bit. Essentially, whatever you do in low leverage situations is almost meaningless, so any plate appearances that you have your best pitchers pitch in those situations is wasted since they won't be pitching in high-leverage situations.
Also, why would anyone game the system for this stat?
My overall givens are the following:
1) The goal of a manager is to win ballgames,
2) To win the most ballgames, a manager tries (or at least should try) to have as frequently as possible their best pitchers to pitch in the most crucial situations (which are defined by the Leverage Index)
The article points out that we can start to calculate how good a manager can do this by BMAR.
On your second point is that if the his two or three est relievers are righty/lefty killers (AND he uses them in crucial situations) his BMAR will look good. Now to temper that, I have used UBBM to normalize it a little because this manager has his advantages, so typically BMAR/UBBM is the better normalized measure, but typically this makes little difference in the standings
To further suggest, my main use of wOBA (or whatever you use her) is to get some relative measure of each pitcher's effectiveness as compared to each other. My guess would be that using wOBA versus EqA or OPS would likely not make a big difference in the results.
And as for Colin's assumption, you are correct on the weights I used for wOBA
It will almost never be CC Sabathia, because I'm only focusing on the relief corps not the overall.
What I'm saying is that to compare what a manager is doing versus "monkey manager." If monkey manager managed a season 1,000,000 times on average in all situations (regardless of its leverage), the pitcher in that situation would be the equivalent of an average pitcher.
Ideally the better manager in higher leverage situations will have a pitcher with a lower wOBA against than the team average and in lower leverage situations he would have a pitcher who has a higher wOBA against than the team average.
"Make it so, number 2."
Anyways, check out a follow-up article in the next week or two that addresses many of the comments here and talks about some other little issues, plus I'll include the complete league standings for 2009.
The point is that Win Expectancy/Run Expectancy is just as much a measurement of pitcher performance than of bullpen management. What we're trying to do is to tease out the bullpen management aspect of it, separate from the pitcher's underlying performance.
And to your other question, yes I'm looking at all relief plate appearances which brings up some questions that I'll bring up in a follow-up article.
Brian, yes I'm using EOY stats, however, I had thought of doing some true-talent level as you suggested (something like a rolling 12-month performance). This may also adjust for some of the Lidge Effect given that at least for the 1st half of the season, it isn't completelly idiotic to be using Lidge as your cloer.
Technically, I could search on those "tough save" situations but I wouldn't want to eliminate them because issues like that are crucial to bullpen management.
With BMARxSS, what I would want to do is to eliminate the situation where 98% of the time EVERY manager brings in his closer, and that the only differences are solely on the quality of the closer and not the manager's decision, i.e., try and remove the automatic pilot decisions, but leave the tougher decisions in there.
Don't be hard on Cito, Greg. It wasn't last place, it was fourth to last place.
With that said, B.J. Ryan isn't likely the problem as he only had 20 IP and really didn't have that high of a leverage. Fact is Casey Janssen had almost as bad of stats, had roughly the same leverage (actually even worse in that Ryan had a few high leverage situations, but a ton of low leverage, while Janssen didn't have that many low leverage situations), and pitched twice as many innings.
When the families go back and I get a little time to do some work, I'm going to look at a metric BMARxSS,(Bullpen Management Above Random excluding Save Situations).
I'm thinking kind of the final puzzle on Wheel Of Fortune. Remember when they used to ask for four consonants and a vowel? Well, pretty soon everyone said R,T,N,L and E. It ended up being kind of boring so pretty soon they gave everybody that.
For the time being, it may be interesting to "assume" that the standard play (at this time) is to put in your best closer in the standard ninth inning save situation. I'd be interested in looking at how the BMAR statistic changes if we look outside of that, so that a manager isn't overly rewarded for just having a consistent closer. Would be interested if something changes.
Over the 5 years, Charlie Manuel has had his ups and downs, but overall has been off for the 5-year span. Reason I say this is that in 2008 (and Lidge's amazing year), Manuel was near the top.
One can make a claim that a lot of Gardenhire being at the top has been the consistency of Nathan. The manager that impressed me most year in and year out has been Jim Tracy. 3 different ballclubs and always above average.
The difference is mostly caused by how bad Lidge was. If you take him out of the mix, the numbers are much closer. In 2008, teh difference was the same, but in 2007, the advantage was to the NL
I think that you have a point there. It may not just be a quality of closer, but just the consistency of the closer from year to year, i.e., Nathan IS probably one of the most consistent closers year-in and year-out. Though Girardi wasn't particularly high on the list in 2008, despite Rivera's good year.
I think there is a point though that given the current bullpen management that is fairly similar that at this time there isn't a ton of separation beyond just simply having a good consistent closer, year-in and year-out.
One thing that may be interesting is to see how the list changes if we say develop a BMAR, excluding the times where there is an obvious save situation.
Not to dicker especially on the "just outside of the Top 11" list, but I'm surprise that Robinson is that high compared to Giavotella. With never hitting above 653 OPS, I'm just assuming that he's a third-world poor man's Joey Gathright. Beyond the speed, do scouts really think his bat can develop to have a greater than .320 OBP?
Also, it seems likely that Omaha will have a very nice athletic outfield in Smith/Lough/Parraz. Do you think that spells the end of any Lubanski rebound?
I was in Indy about 10 years ago and there was a wonderful, old-chic German place downtown that had a plateful of sausage that was wonderful. Does that still exist?
Actually, I may address a selection bias another way. Determine what percent of players in each group (High,Mid,Low) did not achieve the PA cutoff in their peak years.
This may be really stupid as well, (and I'm a bit late to the discussion) but is there a slight change based on the angle at which the ball is coming in at. If the pitcher is releasing at a point roughly 8 or 9 feet above the point at home plate and the difference between a strike at the knees (18 inches above home plate) versus a high fastball (48 inches above home plate). In the first instance a greater portion of the overall speed is in the vertical direction than in the later case.
So the other question is what is a radar gun measuring (this is more a question out there), there overall speed or the speed that the ball is coming towards the radar gun?
Matt, interesting. As a Royals fan some of this is hard to stomach. My guess is what you are saying in regards to them which is as a team, they were consistently consider a bottom 5 defensive team (especially with the likes of Callaspo at 2nd, Butler at 1st, and "stuck-in-molasses" Guillen in the outfield). After watching probably 85% of the games in the 1st half of the season (before my ulcers kicked in), I couldn't imagine a team that was worse, so I'm a little nervous that the new method puts them roughly at average. Granted after Guillen went down such that their outfield was typically DeJesus-Maier-Anderson/Bloomquist maybe it really was an average defense.
My opinion was that while pitchers/managers don't necessarily know exactly what OPS is, my feeling would be that if you had pitchers divide players into good/averge/poor hitter buckets, that likely they would fall pretty closely along the lines of OPS.
Good point on that. It would be interesting to line this up with a pitchfx data set so that we could see that the pitch type/speed/location is the driver.
In some ways it doesn't really matter since form 2004 - 2007 there was only one instance of a recorded stolen base attempt on a 3-2 count, and none in 2008, therefore, yes, I probably should not have included it, but it doesn't change the results significantly.
Sorry. "Put it on the booooaaaarrrd.....YEESSS!" is much worse than "He gone"
If I just focus on 3 game series, there's a small trend (not sure if this would hold when expanded out), but there seems to be some correlation between total runs scored and HFA ==> lower runs scored, lower the HFA.
I could see some pattern which is the following:
a) 1st game: Slightly better pitching in 1st game as teams can sometimes readjust the rotation (skipping 5th) such that #1 starter is pitching a little more frequently ==> Lower Run Environment ==> Lower HFA
b) 2nd game: all things normal
c) 3rd game: Getaway day, backup catchers, more likely other backup players in such that offense isn't quite as potent ==> Lower run environment ==> lower HFA
Just a thought...
That sounds good. I'm also in the process of trying to do this a different way to see if I get similar results and expanding this out to 10-15 years instead of just 3.
Feel free to send me something at aortim_at_yahoo_dot_com
Personally, I have nothing personal about McCarver, and if I'm just watching a game, I actually like him as a color man (not so much as an analyst). I always like the story of when he was amazed one time when he was catching and Mays came up and he realized that the Say Hey kid got manicures.
Anyways, at least from a "pure" baseball standpoint, I actually learned a lot from reading his book "Baseball for Brain Surgeons" just as much as any of Bill James.. it was just a different aspect of the game.
So I made some adjustments based on only looking at batting positions 1-5 (assuming these are the better hitters). I've also included the change in all the slash statistics: AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS
C --- +.019/+.023/+.019/+.042
It's interesting that 3B flipped by focusing on the top of the order, however, this data does suggest that no position seems to be a distinct advantage or disadvantage based on in-game fatigue.
In terms of 1st 300 PAs to 301+ PAs for players who had at least 400 PAs in the season, the position breakdown for the slash stats are:
C --- -.006/+.000/-.004/-.004
In this case the C is at a bit of the bottom when averaged over three seasons, but it's not like we can see a huge difference, given that a lot of this drop is given by a significant drop in 2008 end-season production, but 2007 was just as much a rise with Catchers showing the best improvement of any position.
But on that one, I did limit it to players who got at least 400 PAs in the season at a single position. It's likely that only starters (and probably good starters at least for their team) are going to get 400 PAs for their position.
What I'll do in the next day or two is the following:
1) Just do some of the analysis for those catchers who were 1 - 5 in the lineup and see if the general thing still holds
2) To give those that also wanted to focus on overall production (and not just BA in reference to McCarver's comment), I'll show what happens with OBP, SLG, and OPS as well.
On a completely different topic, any chance you want to drive cross-state to PNC Park and attend the BP event on Sept. 5th? I'm actually flying down from Boston and Brian C is going to be there as well. We can have a BP Idol Runner's Up side forum!
Got my reservations all set with some award travel on USAir. Looking forward to meeting you all there.
One more thing I was thinking about on the john just now. One thing that you may want to consider (or at least something that I would be interested in) is if the HFA is stronger at the beginning of the series. Possibly if familiarity is one of the arguments, maybe the first game of the series at the ballpark for the visiting team is tougher than the 3rd/4th game of the series.
Taking this one step further, what about considering the game number of the season. If we looked at the same division, same league, is there a time effect in terms of familiarity? Maybe when the Rays-Orioles play their 15th game of the season the HFA is much smaller than in the first few games.
Or another thing is just a complete seasonal affect. Is HFA just bigger in April/May as teams are starting to get in the groove from ST versus August/September.
Yes, my family supports JetBlue to break the USAirways monopoly in the PIT-BOS market. Problem is JetBlue's one non-stop flight doesn't land until 6pm, and I unfortunately can't go on Friday.
In your chart, it seems that in the years that the SSTC did win, his team had to finish second.
Guess that means the Twins will need to overtake the ChiSox.
I'm seeing what kind of cheap flights I can get down there from Boston (unfortunately, USAirways has really bad service to PIT on Saturday). Maybe we can convince MattS to drive over from PHL and have a "BP Idol Runner's Up Forum"
Sorry about that. I only kid because I love!
I now come to Pittsburgh between 2 - 3 times per year and except for the ridiculous amount of sprawl in the suburbs, I actually like Pittsburgh a lot. Boating on the rivers, the view of the skyline coming out of the Fort Pitt tunnel, two championships this year, great symphony, pierogies and the Burnt Almond Torte from Prandtl's. It's a great town.
Ah. Given that my wife is from the western suburbs (Moon Township, out by the airport), I guess her regional difference is more of a short i
If you need to do a check on code for distance, here's a couple of Great Circle calculators that you can use as a reference
gc.kls2.com/ (though this just does airport codes)
My wife (who's from Pittsburgh) always spells it "Yinz" Can we have a ruling on this?
The utter futility of the Royals organization for the last 15 years is a great (in some circles) debate. For a long-time, the general consensus has been that they drafted poorly and reached. If you look at the drafts from about 1990 - 2003 and especially the top 5 rounders, its really awful. Save for four (Beltran, Damon, DeJesus and Greinke) in this 14-year span, you have no other players who have made a major impact not only on the Royals, but other teams that they have eventually landed with (okay, maybe you can say Affeldt who they drafted in '97). Heck, look at 2001 where none of their top 5 picks made it out of AA?
However, with Gordon, Hochever, Butler, Moustakas, and Hosmer, most of the time they have drafted the person that most other teams would have drafted in that spot. If most of these guys don't pan out, I think the focus needs to shift more to player development than scouting.
Sometimes, I do wonder about some of the other players drafted in the 1990s by the Royals (Jeff Granger, Juan LeBron, Dee Brown), and if they may have been good players had they been drafted by another organization.
The "exact" equation, in terms of Great Circle distance, i.e., two points on a perfect sphre
EARTH_RADIUS * ArcCos[cos(lat1)*cos(lat2)*cos(lon1)*cos(lon2) + cos(lat1)*cos(lat2)*sin(lon1)*sin(lon2) + sin(lat1)*sin(lat2)]
lat1 = origin point's latitude in radians (take degrees X PI/180.0)
lat2 = destination point's latitude in radians
lon1 = origin point's longitude
lon2 = destination point's longitude
and EARTH_RADIUS is 3986 miles (approximately).
This is typically what most airlines would do to get the crow-fly distance.
Interesting article. The one thing that I wonder about (it doesn't seem to be exactly addressed) on HFA where I think one does need to look at the individual teams (something that was close, but not quite on Part 1). When comparing the same time, does the HFA come from the given Home Team scoring more runs or allowing fewer runs, or is it a perfect, RA/G is a little lower at home, and RS/G is a little higher. I just think it would be interesting to see what happened with each individual team.
My in-laws live in Pittsburgh, and the flights are pretty cheap from Boston. It's been a few years since I went to PNC. Still one of my favorites.
Congratulations, Ken. Oustanding throughout the competition. Yours was one of the few others that I couldn't wait to read every week. I'm looking forward to reading you through October.
Also, I just wanted to say thank you to Will, Christina, and Kevin and the rest of the folks at BP. I had always wanted to do some baseball analytical writing, but just never could get myself to do it. With this contest and all the work they put into it, it definitely got my *** off the couch for this.
And finally thanks to all the readers and especially those who took the time to comment. I definitely think that I got a lot out of the comments and many always made me think even more deeply about the problems I was addressing.
Thanks again, and once again congrats to Ken.
I guess it depends on if you want to be part of your own clique of people who are in the know, or if you want to actually see better baseball decisions (and hopefully better baseball) being played. I guess I'm of the latter.
Yes, gaucho777. If you look mid-way up the comments, I broke out the percentages after I removed pitches called a ball. Therefore, we are looking at when the batter swings (on any pitch) versus those where the batter didn't swing but called a strike.
As I mention, it would be great to merge this dataset with the Pitch F/X data so it could be an apples to apples of at least pitch location.
Yes, it may be the same to the fan, but on the flip side the team sees little money from those transactions. Also, for a number of fans, having that outlet to buy tickets face-to-face (and as another reader said without ticket charges) is a very nice plus and improves the experience for the fan.
Well, as Kevin said, it was a risk. There is going to likely be a non-significant number of readers who don't care about the business side (in terms of merchandising, etc.) at all, and a good chance that they would be completely turned off by this.
On the flip side, I hope that a number of people (who feel they are more generalist) would applaud and love something like this and find any interesting problem even slightly related to baseball interesting.
When I got selected to be a finalist, the one thing that I decided to do was within the confines of the theme topics I was going to write about what I'm interested in and hope that my writing style, passion and enthusiasm was going to carry the day more so than a specific topic choice.
On Toronto, are you sure? I'm not sure that those are actually controlled and run by the team versus an independent who sells licensed apparel. In those cases the licensing fees that are made goes directly through mlb
On Richard's point, there are team stores at spring training, but that I believe is a temporary reception as they are only open during Spring Training. The Indians bring all the contents of the store back up to Ohio at the end of ST.
It seems that I missed on the Yankees and that they do that. My bad.
Columbus officially became the AAA of the Indians starting this year (was the Nats 2007 - 2008, and the Yankees for almost 30 years before that).
As for Cleveland, I've only been downtown a few teams (mostly to go to games at PF), but yes the Gund Arena and Progressive are right next door to one another just off of I-90. Then about a 1/2 mile north toward the lake is the Browns staidum and the RnR HOF.
Now I'm not 100% sure about the actual agreement, but I believe there is the 75-mile buffer that says team A cannot market within 75 miles of team B's staidum unless that point is also within 75 miles of team A's stadium. For example, there was a case where the Clearwater, FL affilliate of the Phillies had to cancel a series of bobblehead nights of the 2008 WS championship team because Clearwater is within 75 miles of Tampa Bay, and the Rays said that it violated the agreement and won (see bizofbaseball.com from about 5-6 weeks ago). Think of it, the Cardinals are not going to look to kindly to a Cubs store in their backyard. While they are rivals on the field, there is some agreement (or Matt's "collusion") of trying to market the overall product of baseball before being cutthroat about it.
Also, it doesn't really make sense to put an Indians store in let's say Chattanooga, TN. Essentially to make a store financially viable one needs X Indians fans (or at least people willing to buy a significant amount of Indians stuff) within Y miles of a team shop, and I'd be a little pessimistic in assuming that some random spot is not going to have enough of a critical mass of fans without the associated media support.
Sorry this didn't appeal to you. Maybe it's just my business background or my work in the front office of a Minor League team, but front office/business issues I find just as interesting as player personnel/performance issues.
If I had carte blanche on writing articles, I think my likely article breakdown (over the course of a year) by high-level topic would be:
a) Player Performance Evaluation 20%
b) In-game strategy/analysis & managerial strategy (extending out to bullpen management) 30%
c) Front office Baseball Operations Decisions (roster management, draft strategy, trades ) 30%
d) Front Office - Business Operation Decisions (revenue generation, marketing, attendance) 20%
The only thing that I would say is that they are pretty close in terms of having the shop at Progressive Field, which is only about a half-mile away. I would assume that if I'm a tourist and came to Cleveland and went to the RnR HOF and was also a baseball fan, I would stop by the ballpark as well. The fact is with the ballpark so close (which does garner a good portion of memorabilia sales even off-game) a shop near the RnR HOF, you are relying solely on the tourist traffic.
I don't have a snow globe (but I'm not particularly intereted in them), but I forgot to put on the list my KC Royals Christmas ornament.
It wasn't neglected so much as that's going to be impossible to tease out (I mention that above). Unless we get to gameFX and we understand the lead that the runner had, no way to really break this out. Not to mention there may be a bit of a continuum on a hit and run as some runners are getting the same lead and jump as a straight steal, while others are being more delayed.
Check out Eric's writeup of the summit. There's a link to the SportsVision site in which one of the presenters talked about the average Joe getting the data.
Problem is the presentation is in xml (and not ppt) so I think I need to load up Office 2007 on my computer.
And a shoutout to my friend Brian K, who simply asked about the differences in success rate between Balls and Strikes when the batter doesn't swing. Here they are (for just the Pool 1 base stealers) -- Note I have also removed pitch-outs in this:
2004 85.5% 84.5%
2005 85.1% 83.0%
2006 87.5% 80.7%
2007 86.5% 85.2%
2008 84.7% 83.8%
Avg 86.0% 83.4%
So throwing a strike seems to be a 2% to 3% improvement in catching the baserunner. Now the likelihood is that some of this is not necessarily pitch location but pitch speed as well, if I make the assumption that the situations where a strike was thrown a greater % of the pitches were fastballs versus when a ball was thrown.
I'm starting to see possibilities of lining this up with the Pitch F/X data.
On the side note, anyone who can help me to develop a Pitch F/X database would be great. I'm going to get through the Brooks presentation at the Pitch F/X summit to see if that helps.
I don't have the data (or ability to get the data yet) to align this up with Pitch F/X location, but if I remove all instances of where the unswung pitch was a ball, so all we are comparing are batter doesn't swing (called strike) vs. batter does swing, the 2nd table (just focus on the good base stealers) above becomes:
Year Doesn’t Batter
2004 80.1% 82.4%
2005 80.7% 82.0%
2006 77.5% 81.0%
2007 83.5% 71.4%
2008 80.4% 79.1%
Average 80.5% 79.0%
So in 2004 - 2006 we have about a 2% benefit of swinging and 2007 a weird 12% detriment and in 2008 a 1% detriment which averages out to 1.5% detriment. Maybe we are seeing some slight benefit (i.e. with 2007 being really strange), but it seems likely that if there is it's at most 1% - 2%.
This begs going back in history further to see if 2007 to 2008 are the anomalies.
At this time, we're really only building up the "revenue" side of the equation focusing on where to put the best store, etc. There's obviously a "qualitative" aspect of the process. I put a store in a place that is around a lot of people, but if I put something in a brand-new mall that attracts a lot of people versus a strip mall that doesn't that will play.
But keep in mind on the revenue side, typically real estate around the tourist attractions are also going to have a much higher lease price, so one would need to do the numbers to determine if the added revenue of your impluse foot traffic is worth the increased overhead.
Maybe just to respond both to Will and Christina comments on this. Sort of my stump speech -- If you elect me this is what I will do...
Except within a given article, I don't have a specific focus. In my "real-life" job and in here, I just like problem-solving/data-mining. Typically, I (or my clients) have a question of why something happens, and I just like to figure out the best/most efficient way to cut the data that is available and try to squeeze out some insight that helps our understanding. The study of Operations Research (what I did in grad school) is not so much about focusing on how to use one tool really well, but to give you enough knowledge about as many tools as possible, so you always choose the right one for the job. This type of problem-tackling ability is ingrained in me. In some ways, I think my "lack of voice" that Will alluded to may be a result of this type of doppelganger training.
As Bill James once said, sabermetrics is like "attacking a mountain range of ignorance with a spoon and a used toothbrush." The thing that I can promise is that I'll be somewhere on that mountain range, but some of the time (as I hope you witnessed from my array of topics during this contest) I'm likely to be on any one of the vast array of peaks at any time. There's good and bad with that approach. For those interested, I'd love to have you along for the journey.
This was on the borderline of being my main article, especially if after reading my initial article the Indians decided they didn't want anything released. It felt "too light" for a main article but a little heavy (especially including the Handedness of Batter") for an Unfiltered post. The problem was addressing length versus a little more of "completeness" of the topic. Most likely I should have erred on the length side by leaving out the "Handedness of the Batter" section. Though I hope that if not on length and structure you all enjoy the content.
As a Royals fan, I'm just completely baffled. It almost seems that Dayton Moore is trying to have as mediocre of a starting lineup of position players as the Royals have had for the last 5 years, but just make sure he's paying an extra $30M/year for the privelege.
On the positive side, I think it would have been disappointing if it wasn't a hard decision for the readers with 3 weeks to go.
Without seeing the numbers, I think we're hitting the stretch where I wouldn't be surprised if any of the contestants were voted off whether it be for a bad week. It seems that each contestant has developed a "following" though it's hard to determine what the size of the following is as we only know what the very vocal minority is thinking.
The thing that I find intriguing is that IMHO each of the final four have a unique voice compared to others. Now it is really down to which slant the readers prefer and how well each contestant executes that voice week in and week out. My gut is that a significant percentage of readers are voting solely on the contestant's approach, while others are happy with any of the voices, but are more focusing on execution. What the ratio of those two "blocs" are I have no clue.
Will, isn't "vast minority" a bit of an oxymoron? Or do you truly mean that he's part of a "very great in number" set of people that don't listen to BP audio/video but this group is still the minority?
Thanks for the statistic. This is good to know as I have always been told that I talk to fast in presentations, but I've been able to conquer that bugaboo at least relative to the other contestants.
I'd also like to thank Richard for his hard-work on this one. Sorry, I also don't see any problem with BP "out-sourcing" the transcription. When my company has conferences or even internal meetings, we do that as it's best not to focus an internal resource on something like that.
As I have now listened to the interviews and read the transcripts, I don't see any significant "bias" in this one way or the other. Personally, I had a lot of "you knows" and ramblings, but I thought Richard's transcripts were pretty accurate on most. I agree with Richard in that trying to fix too many of those would actually create more bias than simply putting in everything, and let the user sort it out.
I do agree with Will on the point that it's probably better to listen to the segments. There's just certain things that are better to listen than to read, and these may be one of them. I would only use the transcripts if:
a) I couldn't listen online, whether because of technology or time;
b) Just wanted to re-examine a point or two, but didn't feel like trying to find it in the actual point.
I haven't listened to all, but I will agree that Mike did an oustanding job of the contestants at ease overall, but then did a good job with the challenging question.
Yes, for all. The best pronunciation is "Ka-NICK-er" ... Rhymes with Snicker and you pronounce the "K" like any good low German would do.
Who would have thought that the pronunciation of my name would get just as many comments as Ka'aihue?
On a side note, there was a post-it on my computer screen during the interview with four points (the four things I always have issues with in presentations but trying to improve):
1. Talk Slowly
2. Take a moment to think before answering
3. No "Ya knows"
4. No "Ums"
Once the interview started I got so focused (nervous?) that I never looked at that sheet....and it shows.
Imagine Ken's take on say Matt's prisoner dilemma of the draft, or Brian C's take on Ken's piece on the Madison Mallards?
I'd pay to read that....Oh yeah, I already do.
I think this could be fun (though I likely shouldn't offer a suggestion), but...
How about "re-writing" one of the other still-alive contestant's articles, but in your own style. When we get down to three, Contestant A has to rewrite a Contestant B article, Contestant B has to rewrite a Contestant C artcile, and Contestant C has to rewrite a Contestant A article.
Richard, no Idol hit list?
I guess deadpan sometimes doesn't go over well in written form ;-) I meant the "exhaustion" to be a bit of a joke. I guess that didn't come across.
On the flip side that would be an interesting analysis. Examine pitchers' performance in the innings immediately after they have been on the basepaths versus those when they haven't to see if a pattern exists that running tires them out.
I have to admit that I completely flubbed on that. I don't think there were others, but I did check all the players except for Santos which I told myself I needed to get back to that (and never did). There's no excuse for La Russa, but I just had never paid that much attention. Ideally, that's something that an editor would say, "Tim, obvious fix. Do a "Replace All" kind of thing.
We also just found out what next week's is going to be! I'll let the suspense build, but it's sure to be a doozy!
Will, it's not so much a fairness, as I realize the what the time constraints are. I guess I'm just pondering if when I'm selecting my topics I'm being too ambitious and trying to cover too much given the constraints. I was just throwing that out ther as a question.
I think the issue is that while it's down for the winner of a given game, can FanGraphs also do a Championship percentage and not just a Win percentage for the given game.
Richard, yes but at the end of the day, what I'm comparing essentially is all shortstops compared to all teams, so these work themselves out.
As an example, for a given team it's not uncommon to have a shortstop gain 25% - 30% of the fielding win shares over the course of a decade. The thing I found interesting is that in any given year is that this number really hovers around 17.6% - 18.7% leauge-wide for a shortstop, and then BAM! 16% down to one year a low of 15.6%
One thing I'm wondering about (and it'll be interesting to hear from the readers) is not only on mine, but the others, is your general impressions of the article's "bite size."
There's no question that a lot of comments on many of mine and other contestants articles are about what was left out or should have been put in. I think the hardest thing about the competition for me is given a theme, than in just 3 days (and it will actually be 24 hours this week as a "test") we have to research, write, etc. and it's hard to pick your topic and figure out what is feasible and not feasible in just 72 hours.
So my question to all of you is if you think too often me and the other contestants are biting off more than we can chew in that time-frame?
"Maybe the bigger change over the past 20 years is that teams have started to take 1B and corner OF defense more seriously, so the % of fielding runs from SS has dropped while the absolute level has held steady. Or not - can't tell."
Maybe this is one of the problems that one has with Win Shares. The problem is that given there is a number of games played in a given decade (or year), etc, there will be an exact number of Win-Shares. The question is how those wins are divided, and unless we see that there is a huge change in DER, from decade to decade there is a pretty consistent % of Win-Shares that are given for fielding.
I guess it's my trust in the data, that essentially if in past it's been surprisingly consistent that the shortstop has been capturing 18% of the Win Shares and then immediately drops down to 16%, while there's an incremental rise in all other positions across the board, that this seems to me evidence that the shortstop fielding has gone down, as opposed to every other position has seen a slight rise in fielding.
So, let me round up some of the comments/critiques into one.
1) Too many words on Win Shares debate: This is where I may (or may not) be taking some of Will's comments to heart, or still just have a bit of a stuck gear in "The Basics" topic from a few weeks ago. Personally, before I started this, I had no idea of whether Win Shares are good/bad, feelings, so I put some words on things that I learn in the week as I do these articles. It seems that I haven't found that magic window of when to explain something to the less-stat savvy BP readers and when to just leave them behind. Sometimes there's a bit of a damned if you do, damned if you don't on this. I guess I wasn't trying to spark a debate, so much as bring an uneducated reader quickly up to the table of the debate -- seems people don't like this AT ALL.
2) Actual selection of Win Shares: Win Shares aren't perfect, but then no statistic is. My goal with Win Shares is that they met two criteria:
a) They go back a relatively long way
b) They put pitching, fielding, & hitting on the same scale.
Could someone direct me to a single number that does?
I view my use of Win Shares like Newtonian mechanics. Sure it's horrible if you're trying to do things in the Quantum world, but it works pretty well if you're figuring out the forces on an airplane.
3) Win-Share percentage: To address Christina's point of 3-5 win shares are meaningless, except that given we are talking about a decade at a time and a whole slew of players, the shortstops in the 1970s had 1631 shares of batting and 1681 of fielding, so I think the overall trends aren't meaningless and there is enough to drive high-level trends
4) Trying to be too cute on Sub-prime, etc.: I guess it's one of those things that either you got it (Ken) or you don't. It seems that every time I try to make something more interesting it doesn't work out, so maybe I should go back to being a little dry with my ocassional natural quip here and there and let the chips fall where they may.
This is probably me just being knowledgeable about enough of the research (or the lack of a good central storehouse), but could you tell me the great fielding data that you have before 1954? As reading Colin, it seems that that is a new area of research to do our best with what we have.
I guess this was a miss with win shares, and while I know some people don't like them, I didn't realize the vehemence that others like yourself have.
It kind of has me wondering if they are so bad, then why does BaseballGraphs and Hardball Times bother calculating them year in and year out?
Thanks for the love, NL2003!
Also a message to my peeps out there(I'm really getting into this Idol thing)! My wife and I are going away for our anniversary from Sunday to Tuesday this upcoming weekend, and I don't know how much I'm going to be able to comment on this upcoming article. It's not that I forgot about it or am stewing from the likely negative comments. :-)
I think I disagree with that from an economic standpoint. If a right-handed 1B/DH is so easy to fill, than by definition he should have little value, correct? A team like the Royals should be focusing on keeping the Billy Butlers (23 year-old, some upside, only costs $421K this year, will control through 2013) versus the Mike Jacobs (28 year-old, not much upside, costs $3.25M, will control for 2 more years).
I think the thing that is frustrating Royals fans is the amount of money that is being spent on slightly above replacement value (Guillen, Jacobs, Farnsworth) where we do have some pieces in the minors who can give slightly less VORP but a lot less money (Maier, Ka'aihue, Rosa), and then pool that money and make the push for where it is really needed like Orlando Hudson or Rafael Furcal. There is some hope, because it does finally feel like there is some talent in the minors (though not much position player wise beyond Moustakas, Hosmer, & Ka'aihue) and the team isn't the patchwork that it once was with Baird at the helm. In general, I've liked what Dayton Moore has done mostly, but I think he's shown an inability to determine true value on the Free Agent market. His one exception has been Meche which was a very good signing.
Well, here's been the head-scratcher for the Royals.
Before the season we had Butler, Gload, Jacobs, Ka'aihue, and Shealy. Thank goodness we got rid of the $1.5M of wasted contract for Gload that we didn't need.
Once again, the issue has been for Shealy to stay healthy. He missed time in both 2006 and 2007. He stayed pretty heatlhy in 2008, but yet again he's got an injury in which he has missed over a month. Unfortunately, I think Shealy's time has come and gone. Then again, I'm not sure how much of that potential was just from playing AAA in inflated parks like Colorado Springs and Omaha. In the end I think he was going to be a .775 OPS player
I can understand the wanting to give Ka'aihue one more year to prove himself as my article shows this easily could have been a one year fluke.
If Ka'aihue continues with a .900+ OPS at Omaha this year, this off-season becomes interesting because the Royals really do have 3 players who can only play 1B/DH. In terms of fielding, Butler's the best at likely league average (he was awful last year, but the last fielding numbers in +/- have him +5) with Ka'aihue likely 2nd, and Jacobs a brutal 3rd. Butler's the youngest as he is still only 23 and he's the only right-handed bat of the three. I think Moore is really going to have to make a decision between Jacobs and Ka'aihue.
Col. Klink wasn't cool?1? What planet are you from? The babes loved the Klink! Granted he's no Burkhalter, but hey Helda and Hilga loved their boss
This is why my nickname for Ken is "The Monocle"
He is a unique, wicked-cool lens through which to view baseball, which one doesn't see very often.
I think your .900 OPS is very high, but it may be what you define as "much of a career." If you define "much of a career" as needing to be a Top 10 1B/DH for at least 5-7 years (Hafner, Ortiz, Texiera), than I would agree, probably not.
However, if you define "much of a career" as being able to play in the big leagues for 7+ years and putting up league average numbers for some of those (think Mike Sweeney), than I have to disagree with you. Maybe it's the problem of low expectations of being a Royals fan, but if you told me the Royals could have a 1B for the next 6 years who's going to give me .800 - .820 OPS, I think I would take it.
I just looked at the last 10 years, and espeically if you take out 2000-2002 for steroid era effects and just focus on 2003-2008, then essentially the average OPS of AL first baseman AND AL designated hitters hovers between .790 - .810.
So I respectfully disagree and say that a 1B/DH who can put up an .800 OPS two years before his peak year is probably going to be a productive, league-average 1B/DH in the AL for likely a 5 - 8 year span. No, he's not likely to get
$120M/8 year player for the Yankees/Red Sox? No way.
Personally, I also like to be entertained and informed and I do feel that humor is one of the better ways to be entertained. I've never felt that Ken's humor has been too forced or gets in the way of his articles.
Also, I loved the subject matter, as I've been flabbergasted (as a Royals fan) as to what Inge has been doing this year. He's actually been one of the main, "Is this for real" players I've been wondering about this year.
Good job, Ken.
I actually meant to have the scouting report section be a little scattershot. Ka'aihue is one of those players where the scouts seem to be all over the place. I wanted to give the reader the feel that there isn't a smooth, "consensus" opinion of him.
Only with a few of the statistics do we see his one constant: plate discipline and the associated BB/K ratio. That really has almost always been there. He's going to walk a lot, but not strike out like other power hitters. He's going to put the ball in play.
The other thing is that anyone hoping for a repeat of 2008 is dreaming. His HR/2B ratio is unsustainable. However, a very good sign is that he's still hitting XBH/AB (or XBH/PA for CK) is still very good. He's not a 1.078 OPS guy, but in Omaha he definitely is around a .925 - .975 OPS kind of guy which translates to a .800 OPS guy in KC. Not stellar, but a solid ML first baseman.
Dang you, Richard! I've got a job I should be doing, yet you continue to throw out interesting questions that I wonder about.
Anyways here's the HR/2B ratio for the AL and NL over the last 9 1/2 years:
2000: AL - 0.63, NL - 0.65
2001: AL - 0.60, NL - 0.64
2002: AL - 0.58, NL - 0.58
2003: AL - 0.60, NL - 0.58
2004: AL - 0.62, NL - 0.61
2005: AL - 0.59, NL - 0.54
2006: AL - 0.59, NL - 0.59
2007: AL - 0.52, NL - 0.55
2008: AL - 0.52, NL - 0.55
2009: AL - 0.60, NL - 0.51
I think that gets down a slippery slope. It would be interesting to see if McGwire went from point A early in his career versus point B in ratio.
What would be interesting is by age to check this ratio for a lot of top hitters (even those not HR hitters per se), but look at the power curve and look at HR/2B as opposed to HR/AB or something like that.
I'm not sure you're going to find anything, but it would be interesting to find if someone had either a bigger peak than most or seemed to have a longer life of HR/2B in his mid to late thirties.
I can't find a reference to this online. It's in his book this year called the "The Bill James Gold Mine 2009" I'm not a member of billjamesonline.com so I don't know if it's in there.
The basic concept is that he defines all hitters with over 2000 career PAs(or some significant number like that) and based on the ratio of 2B/3B/HR rounded to the nearest digit such that they all sum up to 10. So a player who is 406 is a player (like a Jim Thome) who hits no triples and 50% more home runs than doubles. A player like George Brett is 613 given that he has enough speed such that 10% of his XBH are triples and he then hits about twice as many doubles as homers, and 3x as many homers as triples.
There's two further stratifications in these high-level classifications based on OPS and then he breaks down groups further based on K-rate if he felt that group was "Too Big"
Anyways, I remember a comment thread on Kila talking about his lack of doubles in 2008 and that he was a complete fluke based on that, and that sparked my memory about the Bill James article (which pointed me to the realization that very few players knock homers significanlty more than doubles), and then it did a little search.
In fact the ONLY top 100 home run hitter who has more than twice as many home runs as doubles? Yup, you guessed it. Mark McGwuire, who had something like a HR/2B of 2.33. Here's the top 5:
McGwire 252 2B, 583 HR 2.33
Killibrew 290 2B, 573 HR, 1.98
Kingman 240 2B, 442 HR, 1.84
Kiner 216 2B, 369 HR, 1.71
Sosa 379 2B, 609 HR, 1.61
Will, that's the point. As I look back on it now, one of the things that I should ask people like yourself, CK, and KG is how to begin developing my industry network now.
Good chance is that it may not pay any dividends now (or even for the duration of the BP Idol contest), but if I am lucky/good enough to win this contest, it may start to help down the road.
Good point. I think I tied myself a little too much to the example that they had which is very much:
I probably should have helped lead the reader to that point structuring it:
Royals fans have been tempted by 1B mashing at Omaha
Here's the new flavor.
And the the hope is that the reason why he is different is that his plate discipline is off the charts compared to others, and that some (like Sickels) think that is a really good indicator of future success (or at least a likelihood of meeting the average projections)
Exactly. There are some points made occassionally by the judges about having an industry point of view, which is great if you can get it. I guess that would be one question I have for the judges in terms of managing my own expectations. If I don't get an industry pont of view, should I not get discouraged because that can be something that can take time to develop.
My assumption is that that is something you have either coming in or not. Now after a little time where you build a network that'll be great, but for a 3-day turnaround, it's going to be hard to get that, unless I likely get lucky.
With that said, someone who does have some contact, that IS something they bring to the party (just as Brian brings great stats analysis), and if that is one of their strengths, they should try and use it.
Also, one has to consider this week. I did have a call in to the Royals scouting department to see if I could get a tidbit about Kila, but I assumed with draft week this was likely not a great time to get some call-time with the scout department.
Then again, this is probably one of those things that I should have asked KG or CK for some advice to get a callback from a front office on something like this. Given that I have no contact in these places (or really the right number to call), I did a cold-call to see if it worked. It didn't.
I know it's weird, but it does seem that the ratio of Sabermetricians who are Royals fans : Total number of sabermetricians seems higher than for the general population of baseball fans
It's been funny that both Kila and Kala have been up and down as prospects.
KG had Kala as his 4th best 1B prospect in a Future Shock column from July 2007. Last year he had a very good (but not mind-blowing) season at AA (.274/.417/.457), yet he seems to have fallen from the list of prospects. He doesn't even make KG's Top 11 for the Braves (or the other 3 honorable mentions) and he was excluded from the 2009 Annual (and there is no PECOTA card this year).
Maybe BP not giving him any love has lead to his really poor start this year? He's only got a line of .172/.318/.297 in 52 games this year.
To all those Arrested Develpoment fans out there (the TV show and soon to be movie, not the hip hop group), a GOB quote for ya...
"I think I made a huge mistake...."
It just dawned on me (yeah, I can be a little slow on these things) that choosing a prospect who one has only heard about if:
a) you are a Royals fan,
b) you are a really intense Fantasy Baseball player, or
c) you are a really intense baseball fan
could be a blunder on my part. Not knowing the totals, I just worried that we may still be at a stage in the contest where simply getting eyeballs on the article is just as big.
Hopefully, I'll still see you all on the other side..
In that instance it should be "peek" and not "peak"
To reiterate Christina's point, I thought that by far this was the best week in terms of consistent quality amongst all the contestants. Maybe a few a little better than others, but I thought all were high quality and I learned from each one.
Another great read, Matt. Has me thinking about other things I should look at when doing something like this.
Actually, I have been to Dodd Stadium, though I don't remember it very well. I went on probably one of their biggest draws ever! It was the Eastern League debut of Hideki Irabu (1997). Remember him? At the time he was touted as the next big thing and went on to become the first Japanese pitcher for the Yanks.
Anyways, we had to call a few days in advance and the best tickets we could get were about 10 rows up in the left field corner.
I only vaguely remember what you were talking about the industrial park and long drive. I was pretty keen on getting to the game, so I don't remember the whole atmosphere. I did think it was kind of out of the way, but it seemed to be a nice stadium. It reminded me a lot of the stadium in Frederick, MD.
Personally, I'm not bothered by the lack of editorial input. After the initial entry and some of the poor typos/grammatical errors in those, it should have been clear to ALL contestants that some of the voters would be taking this into account. It became the responsibility of the contestant to get some outside editorail help and to fit that within their production timeline. I agree with KBarth that at minimum, most of the contestants have a friend or two who are good writers who can talk a look at their work and at least point out any significant flaws.
I would assume that some of the contestants ask friends for help on their ideas, why not on the editorial side?
I'm not going to put down the whole thing, but for those interesed, the Week 4 Topic is to write a Player Profile of roughly 2000 words. The required elements of the profile are:
This highlights another great point that in a two-week study one would want to get into and that may be more demographics.
Something that isn't going to be available if one uses straight Census data, but can exploit using the Tactician system would be to determine "# of famillies who make more than $X" within certain distances.
Possibly there is other data that addresses more your point which is some measure of immediate neighborhood and some quality of the area. I'm just trying to think of the right data to get.
On the flip side the Trenton stadium wasn't in a great place (though wasn't necessarily bad), but it did help revitalize the area a bit.
My recommendation would be for all (not just BP Idol entrants) who deal are going to deal with the dissemination of quantitative information to read Tufte (The Visual Display of Quantitative Information).
To reiterate the point, using charts to display small amounts of information is distracting -- this is better served by tables.
Actually that was one of my questions for you. Were you trying to give a hit list based on your perceptions from comments blended slightly with your own thoughts, or was it strictly your own personal rankings.
Thanks for the feedback. Editing was tough on this one as I had some other commitments this week that had me working on this up to the last minute more than the rest. Also, some of those issues would be handled in the standard editing process. Due to volume, however, BP is posting the articles as is.
Unfortunately, no I didn't do the a non-linear fit on the population. I only thought of that over the last few days as I've been writing comments. One of those things that after the fact is when the REALLY good ideas start to come out.
Hard to say, because many times the new stadium is in a completely new city.
One difference is that the Arkansas Travelers built a new stadium for the 2007 season. Granted it's in a different section of town, but there avg attendance went from 3293 in 2006 (very average for a AA team) up to 5643 in 2007 and a slight deep to 5558 in 2008.
So here is a team that is not a great drawing team (right on par with their population model which would suggest 3271), then they build a new stadium a few miles away and boom an instand 2300 bump in attendance.
My problem with many regression analyses is that people throw a whole bunch of data at it (some of it that makes sense and some that doesn't) and say "Well, the regression model says this."
Personally, I like to build models logically step by step as opposed to throwing lots of variables and see which ones come up.
As I said before in another comment, sometimes the issue on these pieces is the three-day turnaround (and for most of us full-time jobs outside of this), a study like you outlined may be a bit more possible if I had a week or two.
I essentially have been assuming a "rough" word limit of 1500.
Even with that said, I have a feeling that if someone wrote a 4500 word article that there would be some eyes glazing anyway.
Andrew, I think I see where you are driving at, but I would focus on the Minors aspect of it.
As for your first point, are you driving at that minor league attendance drives population? I think my main points are:
* Sacramento is the "model" organization, but in general, they are likely in one of the 5 best markets for minor league ball, population-wise, i.e., big population with very little MLB competition
* On a similar note, it seems like bad demographics to assume that West Tenn will ever be a 4,000+ drawing team given that the population doesn't make sense.
As for ballpark building, typically it is not the minor league team themselves but cities that drive the building of new stadiums. More often this is a city that DOESN'T have a minor league team that builds the stadium to attract a new team, i.e., Allentown in 2007. The bigger point here is that as we follow the age of the stadium, the experience of going to a minor league game is no longer "new" and soon fans may flock to other forms of entertainment.
Yes, a good exercise is what would be the location in the country that would have the highest next draw for a minor league team.
Also, one follow on is how do we use this framework for single A and rookie ball, since (I should check this out before making this statement) it seems that there are more new franchises at these levels. Problem with this is that many of these leagues are more localized since because of typically lower draws there isn't the resources for travel so they in general have to be clumped together (Midwest League, FSL, California League, SAL, etc.)
Rereading Kevin's comments, had me thinking of something. Individual attendance draws may be high when you have a team like Peoria playing at Kane County due to the proximity of the Cubs. I focused on average attendance, but if the data is available for individual games, one could get even more precise on things like promotions (i.e., what promotions work across all parks, what promotions don't work).
But what would be cool would be the "OPTIMAL" affiliations, i.e., what if one had the omnipotent Minor League Commissioner who could redraw all agreements and what would be the best affiliation alignments that would create the overall highest minor league attendance. It would be interesting to see how close we are to that point.
Good point, I forgot about the sudden increase in Cubs and Braves in the late 70's and early 80's due to WGN and WTBS.
Thanks for your comment. In defense of some of the other contestants, I will say it is easier to give thoughtful responses when 90+% of the comments are positive and are just a minor quibble point. I know for me it would be a lot harder to respond if I was getting beat down a lot more.
But thanks. As pointed out by other commenters, I do think the active dialogue between author and commenters can be just as valuable as the piece itself.
Actually, this brings up a point I've always wondered about. As an example, let's take the Pirates and Royals (at least the Royals before 2003).
There seems to be very few players that they've drafted that reached the majors compared to others (i.e., it's not like I scope other teams rosters and say -- oh, that's a player the Royals drafted, the way I would with the Rangers).
Is it simply that the Royals and Pirates are picking the wrong players, or is it that the pick the right players but their early development of minor leagues are so bad that they "ruin" players with potential. Now THAT would be a great article.
There was a reason why I removed places like Trenton, Lehigh Valley, etc. as they are kind of weird things compared to the others. One may be able to make the claim about Connecticut that even though they are more than 50 miles from an ML ballpark, they are within the "Tractor Beam" of both Boston/NYC.
And yes, ideally, I would use a driving distance, likely tempered with traffic patterns, to get an "expected driving time", but that's a whole other level of analysis. While not perfect, crow-fly distance is a great 80/20 rule on this.
Yes, that should be a refinement. I do have capacity data, but I noticed that for all but a few places, capacity is not an issue. I had only a few teams who were drawing such that attendance was over 95% capacity, but on some of the numbers, I should use a MAX of predicted attendance and some level like 95% of capacity
Mike, I would agree with you on this. I grew up in Central Iowa which is essentially equidistant from KC, Minnesotra, St. Louis and Chicago. Mainly due to the success of KC in the 70's, it seemed to be mostly a KC type town, but when the Des Moines team changed its affiliation to the Cubs and with the success of the '84 team, it feels that central Iowa has been solidly a Cubs area since then, but before that, I never had met too many Cubs fans.
With Connecticut, based on the model (including proximity), the Defenders should be around 6,000 and are drawing half of that.
As I'm thinking back on this one assumption that I made was a linear relationship with population, however, I can see a tailing affect in that as population increases the percentage goes down a bit. The logic being that as population goes up entertainment diversity increases. Let me explain:
As population increases, my assumption was that the entertainment options go up linearly, i.e., number of movie theater screens, pubs, restaurants, bowling alleys, etc.
However, as population increases, then, there's an economy of scale such that ADDITIONAL entertainment options increase. For example, let's take Sacramento. It becomes big enough such that for a few months, the River Cats may actually have to compete with the Kings. Also, as population increases, things like concerts occuring, symphony, casinos, theme parks become more likley. A place like Jackson, TN may only have a symphony concert/traveling broadway show happen a few times a year, but in a place like Sacramento, some type of cultural event like this may happen many times a week. I bet if I looked at this again and looked a little more closely that the affect of population isn't quite linear but starts decreasing slightly -- a little more log-like.
So to go back to the Connecticut Defenders, Norwich is relatively close to Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun (Indian casinos for those not from the area). I'm wondering that as those places have increased their footprint in the last 10 years, if that has had a more significant impact on the Defenders' attendance, i.e., they are seeing stronger competition for the fan's entertainment dollar.
The way I would do something like this is that we have two samples of lots of Bernoulli trials, and we are trying to determine if these two samples have the same probability of success (a high-school player).
Sample 1: mean = .513, std.dev of estimate error = .01258; SQRT(.513*(1-.513)/1578)
Sample 2: mean = .415, std. dev of estimate error = .02266; SQRT (.415*(1-.415)/473)
So to compare two sample means, our NULL hypothesis is that the difference is zero. To do this our mean is .513 - .415 = .098, and our std dev of our estimate error is (.01258^2 + .02266^2) = .025915. Therefore the t-statistic is 3.78 which would fail for any reasonalbe confidence, so yes, there is strong evidence (in agreement with his conclusions) that these are not from the same rate and suggests strong statistical evidence that clubs are valuing college players more highly than high school players.
The real interesting question though is if the pendulum has gone too far, i.e., is there roughly a "right" percentage which suggests that the pendulum has found the optimal equilibrium, i.e., is the reason the A's are now drafting more high school players is because there is now evidence that everyone is overvaluing college players?
Thanks for the caution. That's one of those writing style quirks that I have that sometimes works and sometimes falls flat. I like to have an interesting opening that kind of sets up why we do this, something personal that makes a connection with the reader. Problem with this is that it's too easy to have a choppy transition. I didn't think this one was too bad when I handed it in, but as you point it out, I can see this being a little rough. Also, I'm not happy with my 2nd paragraph as it doesn't flow and is a little choppy.
Interesting thing is that I had actually written two articles this week and basically didn't decide which to hand in until late Thursday night. The other was essentially a more fun/entertaining piece about my summer with the Thunder. It was really focused on the "So you've always wanted to work in baseball crowd." I actually think it's a good piece, but it didn't feel quite BP-like, and was definitely quite different than what I normally write. In some ways it was kind of similar to what Brian C. wrote this week. Who knows, based on what the remaining themes are, you may still see it ;-)
Good point on this. It was on the radar, but alas was one of those I cut.
Another point maybe duration in an area. Albuquerque had a team for awhile (the Dukes) than lost them, only to come back when they built a new stadium. I wonder if "tradition" of minor leagues in a town has something. Similarly, Trenton was supposedly a great minor league town way back when, didn't have a team for 10-15 years, and then when they started in 1994 it went GANGBUSTERS with a sell-out almost every night.
Two things on this that I'm wondering about:
1) The 51.3% form 1978 - 2002 doesn't seem to jive with your chart. From the chart it seems that only one of the bars is above 51% (the most recent), but the first two are well below 49%. The only way that 1978-2002 could be 51.3% is if there were lots more trials in 1997 - 2002. Is this because of the expansion of supplemental picks recently?
2) Matt is right in his use of t-test to assume the two are from a similar group, though I have typically found these t-tests to usually fail when there are lots of trials. For example even hairline differences when there are 10,000 trials always seem to suggest they are different. The one concern that I have is that by using the t-test you have assumed that each draft pick is independent of every other draft pick. That may be a pretty big assumption in drafting. It may work in random phone calls for polling, but I would bet that whoever picked 4th in a draft, who they pick may be highly dependent on who was picked 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Likewise there may be some dependence of what a team picks in the 2nd round (and or supplemental rounds) based on the player they picked in the 1st round.
Thanks for the comment. As for your 1st point, yes, that's a possibility, but one would still have that at the ML level as well. It's one of those things to keep in mind, but there is probably very little that can be done.
On your second point, I like the idea of number of "repeaters" on the roster or something like that. My one issue is the "fixed point" of opening day, as the roster is so fluid, especially at a minor league level. Also, my gut feeling is that kind of stability wouldn't be as big of a driver as a potential hot prospect.
As an example, it be interesting to see if Norfolk had a boost in their 2009 attendance over 2008, simply because of Wieters being there. It may not be big, but it could be a couple hundred each night.
Also, to address Will's points, there were a couple of other factors that interested me, that I would focus on in phase 2:
1) Won-Loss pct of the minor league club
2) Won-Loss pct of the parent club
3) Organizational rank of the parent club (i.e., fans wanting to see the next stars)
4) Some ranking of the quality players that played at least X games on that team's roster that season (10 pts for a Top 10 Baseball American prospect, 9 pts for 11-20, etc.)
5) Rehab games of major ML stars
6) Some measure (would be difficult) of promotions, or at least take a few teams and if one can get the daily attendance, compare them to "HOT" promotions like T-shirt/hat/jersey giveaways, etc.
In response to Christina's comments, I should have been more clear about the affiliations in my table (probably with an asterik).
So, as Christina said, the Ottawa Lynx ceased operation in 2007, as the rights of the IL were sold to a group who wanted to place a team in Allentown, PA, who are now the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. As a side note, there has been some hostilities/lawsuit between the owner of the Lynx and the city of Ottawa regarding the loss of the team. Also, while the Phillies were the last affilliate (2007), however the Lynx's parent club in 2005 and 2006 were the Balitmore Orioles.
As for the Las Vegas 51s, for all four years of the study, 2005 - 2008, they were the affilliate for the Dodgers (which is why I had them labeled as a Dodgers affilliate) however, that relationship ended as the Dodgers moved their affilliation back to Albuquerque. Las Vegas has only been the affilliate of the Blue Jays starting in 2009. It has been reported that the Dodgers were the main complaintant in the relationship with Las Vegas, mainly complaining about the facility in Vegas (not having a weight room, etc.)
I think this brings an interesting idea which is the affilliate shuffle, and at times who has the "power" in the relationship and how this can shift. Essentially if a city has a great facility and guarantees fans (with a great track record of attendance), the minor league team has some power to try and get a better parent club (one loaded with prospects, closer to home, etc.) I think this would be a great piece, and maybe some interesting "game-theory" dynamics here.... Matt S., are you listening?
The only potential problem with that is that if someone is a top person, they may be more inclined to punt one week. I think keeping the other eight in the dark help drives top quality.
I think your comments are fair on some points, but I'll address your points.
The .275 and .350 are somewhat arbitrary, but to find the right levels I believe is also a complicated enough process that for someone who is just beginning to create their own analysis system, this is something that would be addressed later on.
I disagree with your other comment because when you insert a player into your roster and remove the "average player" it will take into account the fact that .900 OPS over 600 PA will ahve the greater impact than 1.000 OPS over 200 PAs as one does calculate what the new OBP and SLG will be.
YES, we do! I want to live vicariously through Ken. Madison is a fun town
Well if you go more with Britain's Got Talent, then even though that show is geared more to pop culture, a good opera singer (Paul Potts) won the first year.... so, Will, there may be HOPE for me!
Or maybe let me be a little more clear.
In a similar analogy to golf, people do progress, and some don't like to just stay at the same level. To have something like this article and ONLY at this level wouldn't necessarily be a smart strategy BP, but if they had content at multiple levels of fantasy owner sophistication (some that do appeal to the general masses, but others that appeal to more skilled owners), it seems like this would make it more likely to keep people on the subscription roles as their skill level and sophistication progresses.
Thanks for the most recent comments on this.
An analogy I can come up with is Golf. Tons of people play golf. There are those who are perfectly content (and I've been one of them for many years) to just head out to the golf course and swing the wrenches. Then there is the next level of player who likely subscribes to a golf magazine or two, and goes out to the driving range a few times a year. Beyond that, there are those who actively take lessons at the course or at a place like GolfTec (this is the year I decided to be a bit more into Golf and went down this step).
Definitely, my goal of this article was to try and appeal to what I think may be significant (though admittedly, not all-inclusive) group of fantasy leaguers who are in the middle ground of wanting something a little more than the hundreds of magazine and standard websites offer. Heck, the #1(maybe even sole) reason that I started my BP subscription was for the "one-stop shopping" aspect of of collecting some usuable data to build the better mousetrap of customized fantasy analysis, because I truly was annoyed with most of what was out there.
As opposed to looking at the negative of "this may alienate some readers who don't have the skill set," I think articles like this could be a positive gateway of saying "For those who want better analysis tools for your fantasy teams -- We have the data you need, we have the instruction manual you need [hence an article series like Fantasy DIY], and we are helping you make what we provide even better (Matt Swartz's article)"
Just my two cents
Well in Retrosheet for 2008 alone, there were about 140,000 plays, so if one wanted to do an analysis on the 2000s, you're already talking about 1,200,000 rows needed.
Hey, personally, I'm not wild about either Excel or Access, but I figured Excel is a bit easier if one is not familiar with either, or at least Excel has the greater exposure.
Given that for a fantasy draft we only need to evaluate under 2000 players, I'll take the quick mark-up of Excel. However, if we're doing some Retrosheet work, than Excel is going to be useless due to its size limitations, and I'll pop over to Access.
Thanks for the compliments!
In my office, a friend of mine (who is from Chicago) continue to play '84 Bears vs. a late '70s Steelers team.
There's almost a guarantee that total points scored will be below 17.
Sorry, I never addressed your "bigger quibble"
The Team+Wright or Team+Banyan comparison is to the baseline team (The Team Totals) line. I really could have made that a bit clearer.
So the next questio is how is .009/.350 = 14%? It's not, but as I said, I'm comparing to a "zero point" of .275 (another thing I could have made a little clearer) so it's really more like (.350 - .341) / (.341 - .275) = 13.6% ~ 14%.
Based on this comment and those of ryneestabrook, I definetly could see some benefit to maybe rezeroing the whole thing compared to a baseline of some type of replacement. I'm always a little reluctant to change as this has served me very well over the last few years.
Okay, I'm seeing your point a little more clearly. However, I do have one quibble point, which is if we are worrying about your last 2 or 3 players and they are at replacment, and as you said yourself "They have no value" then is this decision really going to be the make or break your draft? At this level, aren't the selections a bit more hit or miss, which you can fix on the waiver wire in a few weeks as the season shakes out?
My personal experiences (maybe yours are different) have been the mid rounds are the key, with an occasional issue to the top few rounds (when someone chases numbers and not MPV). In the first 3-4 rounds, you're almost always drafting solid players, so it's not a big issue. The only bad decisions I've seen in the first 3-4 rounds is when someone panics when the top SPs are off the board and they reach for a mid-level SP that isn't worth it, however, the mid rounds are HUGE because that's when some good ranking system tied to your league's specific scoring is worth its wait in gold. This is when the lesser owners draft names or numbers, but aren't thinking as much about position.
The one issue I have with replacement in fantasy league which is a little different than for VORP is a matter of sequence.
There is a little bit of a chicken and egg here, NO? How do I know who is the 10th best catcher in the league necessarily, until I do SOME type of valuation.
Also let's take an example of a 2B to determine the replacement level, but which is the replacement level, the poor hitter with 18 SB but has a .310 / .375 OBP SLG (a la Willie Bloomquist) or the one who has 2 SB but is more like .325 /.400 or a little pop. I could see how you designate "replacement" level having just as many problems.
I guess one could fix it with taking the 10th best R of 2B, the 10th best RBI, the 10th best SB, etc.
But those 200 ABs are important. Even in my league where you have 7 bench players, I like to fill these up with extra starters so for a week where I'm slipping on wins or Ks I can rotate in a lot more straters.
If I've got two position players and one is going to get 200 less ABs which show a decrease in rates, that's possibly one more position player forced to be a 3B (or 1B) on the bench. I guess I'm someone who really likes his bench to load up on pitchers.
I see your point, but I do have to respectfully disagree.
#1) If you draft a catcher, then I suggest, that you should immediately change the MPV you look at not compared to catcher, but to average players.
#2) In your specific example of catcher, one of the things that happens is that a lot of the players that come to the top are going to be your better catchers, so that you don't get into the position of having to choose the full-time, poor-hitting catcher. For example, in my 20-team league, I had the 7th and the resulting 34th pick. At the 34th pick, I noticed catchers were not being taken, so I was choosing McCann because his MPV was so high. Once I took McCann though the remaining catchers dropped significantly because I started using their MPV compared to the average utility player.
#3) So I guess if you think that the qualifying versus replacement level, your recommended fix (which is pretty simple) is to change the qualifying PA so that the number of players who make-up the qualifying list is roughly equal to the number of players who would be drafted? Am I correct in thinking that?
So Ken, the one question I have is this. Given that I typically have limited time to both come up to speed and to play, but would like to get in to Strat-O-Matic, what's the best next step.
Also, the other issue is other people in my area who would want to play, so if there's an online version, that would likely be best.
Thanks for the feedback Richard. I was concerned this week when it was already 3pm EST, the articles had been up for 3 hours, and I hadn't seen your comments ;-) I love your thorough comments.
On the "word count", not sure if you are referring to my closing in the article or in one of my comments. Obviously as my closing, I was trying to mimic a TV show when they always (annoyingly) say "Well, by the clock on the wall, it seems we are out of time"). As for one of my comments, I was simply referring to the fact that also including an Excel tutorial is going to be a 5000 word thing (also with lots of screen shots to help). I was just saying more of "That's a completely different kettle of fish" than a 1500 word article.
Once again, thanks for your comments, and I can't wait to see your updated Idol Hit List on Tuesday...
Due to family visiting this week, it's going to be tough enough to get this next weeks' article (assuming I move on) and my regular job done, however, I'd be happy to get soemthing cranked out by mid Juneo n this.
I'm completely game for writing a tutorial on this, plus attaching a Basic Excel spreadsheet with the Pivot Tables and VLOOKUPs etc that is at least set up initially.
Actually, let me rescind my first sentence. Paydirt (and it's college game equivalent Bowl Bound) were OUTSTANDING football board games. I highly recommend picking up an old copy of either of these on eBay.
ASL was just over my head. At some level, it just gets into too much detail. If I needed that type of game, I actually found Up Front suprisingly enjoyable.
Christina & Ken, maybe would should take the AH fun off-line. Have to admit, it's always fun to find fellow gamers like this in the most interesting places.
Thanks for the comments. I admit that on some levels this was a bit of a "shot in the dark" in that I don't always have a great feel for what is the technical proficiency of the BP readership.
Similar to a "This Old House" or the dozens of home improvement shows, there are sometimes things they show me that I just don't have the proficiency to do given my current set of skill, however, it does give me ideas of what skills will be helpful for me to develop in the near future. My use of the terms of Pivot Table and VLOOKUP functions (which would typically be around Lesson 9 in a 12-part Beginning How to Use Excel course) were not just simply a throw-away for me to look smart or whatever, but a way for me to ground the article for the readers to gauge their abilities to see if what I was proposing was in their skill set or not.
An article (or a few articles) on Excel for the Fantasy Owner would be great, but for the purposes of this contest (in terms of a 1500 word-limit) I tried to shoot for where I thought the middle would be in terms of technical proficiency. I may have missed my mark.
With that said, with a few days of work, I could easily write a quick step-by-step tutorial of how to do what I did in this article. Maybe offline somehow (or through this comment section), people can put down an e-mail address and I'll put something together and send something off for people who are interested.
Agree, I never really liked AH's sports games. The only really baseball "board-game" that I played was All-Star Baseball (I think has had a number of publishers), which had the round disks that you put in the spinner.
The AH games that I loved were the classics (D-Day, Stalingrad, VitP) plus some of their great mid-80, early-90s multiplayer games like Britannia, Age of Renaissance, Civilization, Diplomacy)
No question some of the criticisms are valid, there is one thing I have to say about this article.
I've been a life-long boardgamer (always have been an avid Avalon Hiller) and a baseball fan, but for some reason, none of my friends were ever into the Strat games (or any of the other boardgames). Ken's article did make me want to look into this more.
Once again, one of my favorite articles of the week.
Matt is becoming the first article I click on each week.
Other than mine, one of my two favorite articles this week.
Every week, Brian has some great things to say, and even better, it seems he's getting better and better at making his great work more readable. If this trend improvement continues, I can't wait to see what Brian's articles are going to be like in a few weeks
When I submitted and knew there would be "themes" I was expecting more like "No-Hitters" and one had to write a piece in their voice that was related to No Hitters.
It'll definitely be a challenge if what we are requested to do is each right the type of piece that appears in BP. I could see this week's topic "Fantasy" being difficult if someone has really not played Fantasy Baseball at all (or only played it very little."
But hey, them's the rules.
Yep, good point. I thought about that but didn't put it in, because I didn't want to add yet another layer of complexity that would ding me more by some for not being basic enough.
Cool! A discussion of optimization theory vs. simulation. Now we're cooking with gas.
My point on this was not so much simulation or dynamic programming, but as one wants to get more sophisticated, one could not simply do an averageing of play-by-play data because one would run into data sparseness issues, i.e., the whole sample size issue. Therefore, if one desired a tool/mehodology that took into account: the current lineup, the opposing battery-mates, the situation, etc. one needs to go down the path of DP or simulation.
Personally, simulation is fine and dandy, but it does determine what kind of time constraints. It's easy enough to run a simulation of 1,000,000 runs if you have several minutes to wait (depending on the granularity of the simulation), however, one could use a DP approach if by plugging in a new pitcher or pinch-hitter, one needs to have a recommendation in just a few seconds.
I have found the "it's not really the basics" comments interesting, given that Run Expectancy Matrix was used as a building block for one of the old Basics articles, (the Joe Sheehan article that I site)
I'm guessing this is a bit of my academic/research side (and something that probably was the biggest decision for me on whether or not it should be included) but I didn't want to do just a "basic" piece that didn't add a little something to the literature at the end.
Maybe this wasn't exactly in the spirit of The Basics theme that they were hoping for, but I didn't think it was so far of a departure. I felt that most of the article truly lined up with the goal.
Drat. Comments section removes any additional white space, so it's tough to recreate what it should be (and what it was in the original Word document).
Basically the table shows what the simple db table would be.
First column: Play Number (corresponding to the numbered list above)
Second column: Runners at beginning of the play (000 = bases empty, 120 = Runners on 1st and 2nd)
Third Column: Outs - Number of outs at beginning of play
Fourth Column: Additional Runs scored. Number of additional runs scored in the inning starting with the current play to the final play inclusive.
Yes, when I first read the article when it was posted, I'm not sure if this is one of my tables (I sent it in the same format as the other tables), that missed the formatting guru.
It should be (Hope it comes out in the comment section):
Play Runners Outs Runs Scored
1 000 0 1
2 100 0 1
3 120 0 1
4 120 1 1
5 023 1 0
6 123 1 0
Thanks for the comments. Agreed with you on many aspects. I could see doing single, larger articles on each group (a 2500 - 3000 word piece on just position players, another on starter, and another on relievers).
One good point that you make is that the categorization drives a lot of this, whether it be the categorization of the players or the teams. Something that would require more depth would be breaking out relievers based on the inning/leverage situation they pitch. Closers in one, 7th & 8th inning setup in another, long men, then mop-up guys. So many different ways to go with this.
In the whopping sample size of 2 this year for the Royals (in terms of main injuries/ineffectiveness), we've had the following:
-- Gordon goes down, Super-sub Teahen moves from starting 2B back to original position of 3B, 2B sub Callaspo assumes starting job.
-- Aviles is ineffective (laster confirmed injured forearm), sub Bloomquist takes over starting job, AAA player Luis Hernandez joins the roster (actual he came up to replace sub Pena), but is really relegated to a game or two/week.
My gut feeling (and this could be another analysis) is that the bench player (assuming he has the skill set for the position) becomes the starter, while the call-up becomes the new bench player. Now if the bench player is ineffective, but in the limited time the call-up performs well (see Mike Aviles last year), its possible that they will become the new starter, and the bench player continues on the bench
The interesting analysis may be to see what the going free agent rate is on pitching (as measured by $/VORP point) versus hitting and see if they are on par with each other.
I found this to be a great article, though I'm not sure if this is the type of research that some want to see on BP.
I find it similar to what I see going on in my academic field of Operations Research. One of the key building block problems is the Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP). Simply stated if I have n cities, a distance matrix from each city to each other city, what is the shortest distance tour that visits each city only once. It's a simple problem that has numerous applications (semi-conductor fabrication, vehicle routing, etc.), but also becomes incredibly hard to solve optimally once the number of cities starts getting up into the hundreds or thousands.
It seems that a significant portion of the research (and countless academic articles) is spent on slightly improving the solution time/quality to this one single problem and some of its minor variations. It's very important research, but it can get mind-numbing reading yet another approach to improve something by a percentage point or two
I think it comes down readers voicing their opinion of seeing research that finds slightly better ways of doing what's been done before or applying techniques, research and analysis to questions that have yet to be addressed.
As I've gone through many of the articles, comments, and Will's comments, I find it interesting that there are many different viewpoints about which article people like and which they don't.
Similarly, there have been numerous times on American Idol, when after a vote has occurred, and Simon Cowell says, "America, you got this one wrong."
Will definitely has his own taste on what he likes, but while aligned with BP readership, it may not completely reflect what the BP subscribers want.
This is going to be a fun competition!
In response to 2), that was the main question I was asking. When I looked at playing time, most teams do have the 30 - 32 man roster, where each team cycles in the 5 - 7 on the outside.
The interesting thing is why did the playoff teams give 240 PAs to the group that started the season on the roster versus the first tier of replacements, while the second-division teams gave the 240 PAs to the players who were on the outside looking in? It likely comes down to one of two issues: Playoff teams were luckier and had fewer injuries and didn't need to go into the first-tier as much, OR the bench simply performed better and didn't need to go into the first-tier due to poor performance. By matching up disabled list days, we may be able to uncover some of this.
Thanks for the advice. As I have re-read my entry a half-dozen times since posting, there are some sentences that also make me cringe. For the next rounds, I will have another pair or tow of eyes help me avoid those sentences, plus I'll personally do a few more critical read-throughs.
As for content, I believe that this article asks more questions than it answers. If there was an article 2 (and maybe 3), some of the additional questions I'd like to explore are:
a) Bench quality -- it was usually one solid bench player as opposed to 4 solid bench players. Why?
b) Similar to bench quality, the quality of first-tier replacements seem "one-player" heavy. For example, the Royals had one of the top first-tier groups, but really it was solely Mike Aviles surprising year and four replacement level players.
c) Given time, I would have loved to match up lost days to the disabled list with the benches to see if this perceived better bench was truly a result of better/luckier decisions at the start of the season or was it just a matter of health
d) Expand the analysis to an entire decade to see if the results for 2008 held for a time frame from 1999 - 2008.
Lastly, I can understand your point of "spinning wheels" for the first 100 words. I guess that is more a question of writing style. If I was writing a more "academic" style research piece, I would not have bothered. My perception of BP is that it is more fan-oriented than a strictly SABR research type site. I was hoping that the first paragraph would be more engaging. I feel that I'm a fan first, and a baseball analyst second. For some readers, this style will be wasted words, for others I hope it helps them connect.
Shoot. This is really a bad sign. I was hoping that I would remind Will of Rany Jazayerli. Time to re-tool!
I agree with Will on one key point. I think it is really interesting to use the PFX data for hitters, and not necessarily just for pitchers.
Those score boards can be fun. True story. The new field in Trenton (1994) was having some drainage problems all summer long, so the morning before a 4th of July doubleheader, they get some company to essentially drill holes throughout the playing field.
Of course what happened is that these num-nuts completely shredded the fiber-optic cable that went from the pressbox to the outfield scoreboard.
To make a long-story short, for both games of the doubleheader, they were only able to gerry-rig a direct connection a few feet long to the actual line score (no graphics), so for both games of a double-header, I'm sitting on top of a ladder underneath the scoreboard keeping the balls/strikes/outs and line score. Since from my vantage point, I couldn't even see the scoreboard, so I was listening to the game on the radio, and Tom McCarthy (the announcer) and I had a few code words to let me know if I had made a mistake on the ball/strike count so I could correct it. Best summer of my life.
Thanks for your kind words. Actually, I'm just not that thoughtful about things, so I don't go into as great detail as some other sabermetric writers.
This is one of the main reasons I'm working in industry now as opposed to academia. Personally, I've always liked getting a good general idea and insight, but not getting caught up in the weeds. A good 80/20 man as they say!
1. Hopefully, however, they were running around today in Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys (a desire of their uncle), so I'm not hopeful.
2. There was a download in heatermagazine.com. Did a google search on 2008 opening day roster. It was about the tenth link down. I didn't do a complete verification that it was 100% accurate, but the few teams I knew it was correct.
3. Yep (see #5)
4. Ideally, I would do all of the 2000's to see how well this held. However, it was probably 20 hours of doing the manual categorizing of opening day player, first-tier, etc. If this was at the level of article in BP annual, I would have spent the time to make this data more secure. I think of this more as an exploratory piece to see what popped out of one year
5. The main thing I would improve is to highlight at the end what I thought were the key insights throughout the piece (and a little better conclusions). Oh yeah, and have someone proofread it. Writing has always been something that I've had to put in more effort than most. Research and analysis has always been the "piece of cake" thing for me.
Based on Will's comments above, I'm anxious as to some of the themes (if I even get that far!)
Because of time commitments, and not re-checking KG's 2nd post, I handed this in on April 14th, which had me a bit rushed.
My goals on this article would be to clean it up (and catch some of those grammatical issues), plus I think I could have made the conclusions a little tighter.
Basically, playoff teams versus contenders look the same in their top 10 or 11 players (starting 9 and their top 2 starting pitchers). Their becomes some separation in the bench, starters 3-5, and almost all the relievers (this was a little surprising that the relieving core is consistently better).
One other interesting point that I couldn't put in because of word limit was on bench quality. It's typically not up and down the bench quality. It usually is that one "bench" player who had a 20.0 VORP and 3 below replacement level players versus all below replacement level players for the other teams.
So my guess is that if we haven't heard by now, we are likely not one of the finalists (assuming that they sent out e-mails once they finished their death-match last night).
I think that I can speak for everyone posting to these threads, that a great way to build excitement would be to have hourly updates from WC, KG & CK on how many submissions they have left to read.
No skimping either -- posts every hour! No skipping an update for such things like eating, sleeping, family-time, or other BP article-writing.
Good point. If statistical analysis is your thing, then one should probably go for the hard-core anlaysis, where if it isn't, then trying to do a mediocre job is going to take valuable words away from great writing.
Not sure about the graphy but for me I just did the Word Count tool in Microsoft Word do the counting and assumed that what Microsoft Word said would be "good enough"
A pasted graph didn't count as a word, but I believe it counted every individual column/row header and value in a table as a "word," so likely my piece was truly 1400 words and about 100 table values or so
While difficult, I think some interesting "hard-core" reserach can be done in 1500 words as long as their is focus as to what you are trying to do. The goal of a research/analysis piece is to hopefully come up with one or two key insights out of the data that allows you to look at baseball differently.
It may be six times the workload, but 60x the FUN!
This is rather disappointing. I was expecting that all submissions would have been read by 1 minute after midnight and by this morning I would be reading the ten best "amateur" baseaball analyst essays. Where are all the BP gnomes that do the work behind the scenes? Are they on strike?
I must now meditate and reflect on whether I should cancel my BP subscription.