CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com
New! Search comments:
(NOTE: Relevance, Author, and Article are not applicable for comment searches)
The inflated offensive levels of the '20s and '30s probably have a lot to do with the overrepresentation. That period of time has the highest sustained rate of enshrined players per team, above 2.0 for the broad stretch from 1921-1942, and at or above 2.5 from 1923-1937. The year 1900, just before the introduction of the AL, is the only other year above 2.5, and only a small handful of other years scattered between 1892 and 1959 even reached 2.0.
Excellent stuff. The part about Glenn Wilson's Hit and Run gas station inspired me to dig a bit deeper in my playpen at SI.com: http://mlb.si.com/2013/03/05/glenn-wilson-hit-and-run-gas-station/
I've been hoping for something like this because for as long as I've known Christina (jeez, going on 10 years now), I don't think I'd ever heard her tell this story.
Very excited for this, and happy to note that I'm scheduled to be a guest for the shows the week of November 12-16, when the major awards will be announced.
Gossage beaned Cey in the 1981 World Series.
And for the record, I wouldn't say that I "just like" to swear. Here's the more complicated explanation, written upon the occasion of George Carlin's passing: http://bit.ly/T1dzrX
son of a [redacted], who cleaned that up?
The Tigers, having certainly read today's piece, have acquired the aforementioned Omar Infante as well as Anibal Sanchez in exchange for Jacob Turner and two other prospects, with the two team sswapping Competitive Balance Lottery picks, which is a thing from the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that exists for no good reason. That seems like a fairly steep price to pay in terms of future value, but it's the cost of not solving the problem earlier when the prices were lower.
The Pirates have Pedro Alvarez at third base, and he's currently producing a .280 TAv, with a positive FRAA. Acquiring Headley isn't an awful idea for them - he could play left field, or Alvarez could shift ot first, where the Bucs have had problems offensively - but it's not a need that rates as a high priority. Unlike the A's, there hasn't been any public expression of the Pirates' interest in Headley either.
Fair point on sample size, though Ryan (+58 FRAA career, +30 over past 3 seasons) has generally been better than Barmes (+28 career, +12 over past 3 seasons) with the glove, with a margin that's actually bigger in some of the other fielding metrics. His current .227 TAv actually represents a sizeable upgrade on Barmes' .193, and he's got a career mark 8 points higher than Barmes. Not saying they can't do better, but Ryan would help on both sides of the ball just the same.
The guy has 14 games played. This is a ranking based upon what players have done on the field this year, not what they might potentially be doing if they weren't hurt.
Barry Stace contacted me to note that he never misrepresented his age. Please see http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=17632 for the follow-up.
The build that I'm using has Manny at -76 FRAA, and yes, that's having a pretty large impact on his peak, with a ton of seasons ending up in the 4-6 WARP range instead of higher.
I have Belle at 44.8/41.0/42.9. When he came up for review and WARP had a lower replacement level, he was above the mark on peak but slightly below on career. Now he's much more substantially behind on career. Add in the fact that Vlad has about 850 hits and 70 homers on him, not to mention an MVP award, and it's not particularly close - and that's even before you get to the baggage.
Omar Vizquel has a Hall of Fame EKG.
I considered including Ichiro in this piece - man, does he look cooked - but as he is more secure with his contract than these three, he didn't quite fit into what I was going for, and the piece was long enough as is. I'll consider a follow-up with him, Andruw and Abreu.
And yes, I knew the Vizquel one would inflame some passions - when I compared him to Ozzie Smith via Twitter back in early May, when he was first musing about retirement, I got a harsh response from a crowd that included many Venezuelans. Don't think I'll be traveling there anytime soon.
I looked at the DH issue in great detail back in March (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16178) using the more context-sensitive True Average. AL DHs have consistently outhit NL DHs despite the latter having better hitters in that role; AL DHs have put up TAvs in the .269-.281 range since interleague began, while the NL average is .258, well off what those players hit when they're otherwise deployed. That's an issue both of roster construction - not having an extra above-average hitter on hand - and a lot of those players being at something less than 100 percent when taking on DH duties.
Thanks, it's good to be back.
I learned from my experience writing for ESPN Insider that comments would become a larger problem at a major website — a significant percentage of the readers click through to a featured piece without being all that familiar with the advanced metrics, and often, their reaction to having their previously held notions challenged — particularly about their favorite team — can be harsh.
But one doesn't last for very long in this business without developing confidence in one's own talent, awareness of one's limitations, and a fairly thick skin when it comes to criticism. Without giving too much of the game away, let's just say that I don't let harsh comments get me down, as they represent a very, very limited percentage of the total readership.
Nice to know we have a reader from Walla Walla here!
I greatly appreciate the kind words, Scotty. Thanks for reading!
Apparently I missed that Lindstrom has been on the DL with a torn ligament or tendon in his finger. This is what happens when you don't keep up with Collateral Damage, kids.
When I think of "long-suffering Orioles fan who reads BP," yours is the name that comes to mind, so I'm glad the O's are making it fun again. The fans certainly deserve better, and so does the tradition of the franchise.
A couple of good points from reader G.A, who emailed.:
Yes- the Orioles overall run differential is only +16, but should it be noted that their run differential vs. Texas is -21, and vs. the rest of the league is +37? They only have 3 more games this season vs. Texas (the clear class of the league), and 120 against the rest of the league.
One other word on context- the series vs. Texas came right on the heels of the 17 inning marathon against Boston, and the first game saw the Rangers score 9 runs against Jason Berken and Zach Phillips, two pitchers who were called up exclusively for that game and have since returned to AAA.
Both of those things do color the analysis somewhat, but over the course of any season, being on either end of blowouts is going to distort a team's W-L record in one direction or another. At the other end of the spectrum, it's also worth noting that the O's are 6-3 in one-run games and 9-1 in two-run games, generally signs of a good bullpen, which thus far the O's have had. Still, that's a performance that's likely to regress, particularly given the track records of the aforementioned relievers and their dependence upon low BABIP.
Very interesting stuff, Diane. I wrote the Orioles essay for BP 2009 and harped on their history of late-season collapses but i never did dig deep enough to find such a consistent point of inflection.
I've got something on the order of 25,000 words on the steroid era in Extra Innings.
Installments of the Hate List will definitely continue - the possibility that I might not complete it and therefore gain (and provide to our readers) a certain kind of closure was something that actually entered into my thought process along the way.
Thank you all for the congratulations and well-wishes, both here and elsewhere. I am overwhelmed by your kind words.
Sacs aren't included in either calculation, though it can be argued that they should be part of BABIP [(H-HR)/(AB-HR-SO+SF)].
The reason the bunting average is higher than the MLB BABIP is that a high percentage of bunts that weren't base hits were sacrifices, and therefore don't count against the average. The same cannot be said among the set of all balls hit into the field of play - if a batter swung away and made contact with a ball that turned into an out, it's not going to be score a sacrifice bunt, and sac flies are indeed part of BABIP. Does that make sense?
For confirmation that I'm not entirely out of my mind on this, take a look at the B-Ref split showing that the league batting average on bunts is .403 (that does include pitchers): http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/split.cgi?t=b&lg=ML&year=2011#traj
Via SiriusXM's Mike Ferrin, here's a clip of Manuel talking to Jim Duquette and Ferrin on MLB Network Radio's Power Alley about the bullpen, his limited use of Papelbon as it pertains to his history of shoulder injuries, and to his philosophy of closer usage in general:
* Bastardo has been dealing with tenderness in his elbow since the spring, limiting his velocity and command.
* Manuel's trying to use Papelbon the same way Francona did in Boston, trying to avoid 3 days in a row (which he did only 2x last year and only 6x from 2008-2011)
* He's willing to go 4-5 outs with his closer in September but not elsewhere because he doesn't like sitting his closer down between innings and because he's scared of burning him out by September
* He's utterly unable to conceptualize the use of his closer in a tie game on the road: "When you're on the road, usually you don't pitch him because you want somebody to close the game, and that's kind of why you hold him back."
The bottom line is that Manuel seems unwilling to think outside the box on the issue, a trait which he sadly shares with most other current managers. Thanks to Mike for passing that clip along.
Interesting point about Bastardo; it's actually 16 walks in 17.1 innings dating back to August 24, compared to 16 walks in his previous 48.2 innings dating back to the beginning of the 2011 season (see http://bit.ly/IL11G0). That does look like bad news on the horizon.
Furthermore, I hadn't realized Herndon was hurt.
I didn't write that, but it appears that one of our editors tends to favour the British spellings around this shoppe.
Yup, my bad on that one. He returned to action on 4/30. Still think his absence for most of April may have been one contributing factor to Davis pressing.
Weeks hasn't been good (.181/.317/.333, .236 TAv), but I was strict about only choosing players with lower TAvs than Pujols at the time of the article, and his was not.
Offhand, I'd say that it's already a likelihood that Pujols is going to wind up closer to last year's numbers - .299/.366/.541, 37 HR, strong for anyone else, but evidence of decline in the case of his own remarkable career - than his career averages (.328/.420/.617 coming into the year, with 40 HR).
For evidence of a deeper decline, I don't have anything scientific but I'd say it's somewhere around the 2-3 month mark. We've seen hitters have amazing halves and then be unable to sustain them, or look totally done through June only to salvage their seasons with approximations of their previous form over a given stretch.
A better way of looking at this is to think about when certain hitter stats stabilize, while acknowledging that the numbers for that are all over the map depending upon the category. Strikeout and walk rates stabilize relatively quickly - in this case already indicating decline for Pujols - and homer rates as well, but BABIP takes more than a full season to stabilize. Check out Derek Carty's article for more: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=14215.
Better question isn't whether the fans will face it but whether Kenny Williams will.
Sorry I didn't get to bore you with tales of Cliff Pennington, Danny Valencia, and Erick Aybar. I'll try to make it up to you next time.
Lillibridge is probably not a bad alternative for the Sox, particularly in the short term. He's not likely to match last year's .297 TAv showing but he's been starving for playing time and can probably help.
Our data comes from MLB Advanced Media, Fangraphs' comes from Baseball Info Solutions. The fact that they differ so much on a given player with regards to line drive rate underscores the point as to the shakiness of relying upon that particular metric.
Actually, untracked has been around the world of sportswriting for over a century:
"...Boxing may have launched the career of the phrase get untracked, but that wasn’t the earliest version of the sportswriters' untrack. Further digging unearthed examples of the verb as early as the 1890s, in regular use at — where else? — the racetrack. 'Before Carr had untracked his mind Dungarven had beaten him,” reported the Chicago Tribune. “The latter [horse] did not seem able to untrack himself in the heavy going,' said The New York Times."
I'm not Jim Tracy, and I'm not Not Jim Tracy, either.
Indeed, Hawk Harrelson probably belonged in there, as the most obvious example of a homer-announcer ever. I go so far out of my way to avoid him, though, that it's been years since I had to listen to a White Sox broadcast.
As for the Reds, their NL West rivalry with the Dodgers from back in the day - and of course, the antics of Schott - ensures that I'll have something to say about them. I didn't think it was so easily reduced to a hasty paragraph cobbled together after submitting the rest.
It's an interesting question but MRIs cost more than $500, probably closer to $2,000 a pop (http://www.comparemricost.com/). A team that owns its own equipment - an investment upwards of $1 million in terms of hardware - could eventually realize some savings there, but it's not a trivial expense.
I loved that one, and not only do I still twirl my bat when I step into the cage, I can't NOT do it, it's so ingrained.
Yes. I regressed them using 80 percent of the value of the average HOF hitter, which matches the ratio of the average HOF catcher career value to that of the average HOF hitter. I debated using 85 percent, which is the ratio of HOF catcher peak value to that of the average HOF hitter. That would have inched the standard up to 43.8.
I'll review that decision when I compile the next JAWS set.
I've written several times about Simmons recently, and talked about him on Clubhouse Confidential. Absolutely screwed for no good reason.
Frankly, yes, I am surprised, as Kendall had never particularly measured up that well in the previous )Clay Davenport) version of WARP. He's fallen a couple of points in more recent revisions, but is still within hailing distance of the standard. His early career work in Pittsburgh was very valuable, with a high of 6.9 in 1998, and an average of 4.4 WARP for his 9 seasons there, including the time missed with injury. His .366 OBP and plus defense (+34.2 including the Arm rating) go a long ways towards boosting his value, though he's got minimal traditional credentials (three All-Star appearances) and probably won't fare well in the voting.
Because of the volatility in his ranking as we've moved from one system to another, I'll hold off on waving the flag for him until the time comes, particularly since we're still auditing our pre-1950 WARP values (which have less play-by-play input) to make sure they're in line with our post-1950 ones. But if he still ranks where he does now when the time comes (2016 ballot), I will muster the best arguments I can on his behalf, and try to forget the jokes I made about his offense late in his career.
PECOTA already is, via their 78-win forecast.
I'm not arguing that they're world-beaters, but the evidence based on the history of 9-1 and 10-0 teams is that they're probably at least a .500 team.
Interestingly, in the new Extra Innings, Derek Carty uses a couple of different methods to show that 16-17 games into a season is about the level when a hot start becomes real, which is to say that the value of their current record is at least as predictive as their preseason expectation. That doesn't mean that a 12-4 team can be expected to go 120-42 or whatever, but that their expected season winning percentage is well above .500.
That's a question better directed at Colin Wyers - but I'll leave it to him as whether such a thing is feasible. Probably more realistic to see which teams overachieved their PECOTA preseason forecasts by the most.
Second one (1002 runs) should be the 1932 Yankees
I have written several times of Schilling's career in a positive light - he was an extremely talented pitcher once he figured out how to dedicate himself to the game, and he is an above-average Hall of Fame candidate thanks in large part to his postseason credentials. I will mount a full-throated argument in favor of his candidacy anytime the subject arises. I'm also aware that he's devoted himself to several charitable causes.
That said, Schilling made me miserable as a fan, because of 2001 and 2004 and in combination with his utter pomposity and his well-known political affiliations (he stumped for George W. Bush on Good Morning America less than 24 hours after the end of the 2004 World Series), I loathe his public persona as much as that of any player in recent memory.
LOL at that last line. As for the rest, a good point about their bullpens, particularly during a stretch where Joe Nathan was the best closer this side of Mariano Rivera, and the formulaic Gardenhire could push buttons. The Twins didn't have to push Santana terribly hard becuse he was an exceptionally efficient pitcher, and they got outstanding results - the two Cys came on their watch, not the Mets'.
One thing I meant to add to this but didn't... A couple times late in the spring, I said on the radio that Santana might still be a good frontline pitcher, but that he would no longer be a 120-pitch workhorse. As it turns out, he's gone 120 or more just five times in his career (http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/b8pR4), once with the Twins in 2006, and four times with the Mets from 2008-2010. That's an extraordinarily low number for an elite pitcher, particularly one healthy enough to average 216 innings a year from 2004-2010. Limiting the field to lefties, CC Sabathia has done so 17 times in that span, Barry Zito 13, Cliff Lee 12, Jon Lester 8, Cole Hamels 7, Oliver Perez 6... C.J. Wilson's already at 4, David Price at 3.
Good stuff from MLB.com's Matthew Leach on Strasburg, comparing his first 100 innings - a mark he reached in the first inning - to those of other pitchers who got off to hot starts. Some cautionary tales:
To a certain extent, the results jibe with common sense, sure. But the goal of sabermetrics isn't just to nod heads with common sense and received wisdom. It's to attempt to grasp the extent to which something we "know" is actually true, and/or to discover the limitations of what we know.
Whither Parra is a good question, because he did have a nice little breakout last year. It's not the one that keeps me lying awake at night, though, or checking Rotowire on a daily basis to find out if there's more news.
And no, Dunston's swing wasn't beautiful, but it was unproductive, and it seemed absurd enough to use as an example.
It looks as though Brandon Belt will be the Giants' Opening Day first baseman, with Aubrey Huff working on another chalk outline in left field: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_20320088/san-francisco-giants-notebook-bruce-bochy-says-final
Well, sure, but that's in part because the offensive spread between a good and a bad hitter at a given position is generally much larger than the defensive spread between good and bad.
Consider 2011 shortstops. The leader, Jose Reyes (58.5 VORP) was about 70 runs better than the trailer, Reid Brignac (-11.2 VORP). Fieldingwise, the leader, Brendan Ryan (13.3 FRAA) was about 33 runs better than Asdrubal Cabrera (-32.1). For 3B, the offensive spread was about 61 runs between Evan Longoria and Pedro Alvarez, the defensive spread about 32 runs between Jack Hannahan and Mark Reynolds.
Most MLB regulars produce more value with their bats than their gloves, but for valuation purposes a run saved on the defensive end is the same as a run scored on the offensive one.
Agent007 - that's basically what WARP is for, valuing a player's offensive and defensive contributions together. Reynolds has been worth 8.4 WARP over the last four years (2.2 per year), and 2.9 over the past two years (1.5 per year). That's not much to write home about for a full-time player, but it's not worthless, either. Basically, it's stopgap-caliber.
Reds announce that Aroldis Chapman will head back to the bullpen. Yeesh, Dusty gonna Dusty. http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/4/2/2920372/aroldis-chapman-reds-bullpen-rotation
As surely as God made little green apples, here's Buster Olney (http://twitter.com/Buster_ESPN/statuses/185747445504942081) using a fielding metric in a manner that represents ol' Pet Peeve #1:
[Bobby] Abreu played 28 games in the OF last year, and rated a -38.0 on the UZR/150 rating last year, or 3rd worst among OFers.
Everyone knows that the only player who can correctly be judged on a 28-game fielding sample is Rafael Palmeiro, circa 1999.
Yes, because I think both teams have convinced themselves they have better alternatives in left field. They're going to need to be liberated by a team dissatisfied with one of its corner outfield options, and I'm sure the respective GMs would attempt to extract a considerable price even with the player's value depressed at the moment - after all, if they were going cheap, they'd probably have been traded by now.
At the SABR Analytics Conference earlier this month, I met Richard Cramer, who created the Edge 1.000 system that the A's used. The broadcasters were into it, but Martin didn't feel the computer could tell him anything he didn't already know. The White Sox were the other early adopter, and La Russa, in his first job as manager, was open-minded enough to be interested in what the Edge system could tell him. A young Dan Evans ran it, and when the Yankees bought in, a young Doug Melvin ran their system.
There's plenty about the system and the industry reaction in Alan Schwarz's fascinating book, The Numbers Game.
Dewan has posted a fairly concise and coherent version of his shift article at http://www.actasports.com/stats_detail/?StatId=324.
Audio and additional excerpted quotes from the Clubhouse panel is finally up: http://sabr.org/latest/sabranalytics-clubhouse-confidential-panel
Gah. The one percent approximation is correct, the second number should be 370,000.
Jeff Passan profiled Voros at leangth last year, and touches on his time with the Red Sox: http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201101/sabermetrician-exile
Audio for the Retrospective panel (http://sabr.org/latest/sabranalytics-retrospective-look-baseball-analysis), the Fantasy panel (http://sabr.org/latest/sabranalytics-fantasy-baseball-panel) and the Ricketts interview (http://sabr.org/latest/sabranalytics-qa-tom-ricketts) has been posted at SABR's website.
As I pointed out a few weeks ago (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16082), this wouldn't be the first time Torii misremembered Twins history:
Oh, I'd take the over as well, but that's the nature of projections - the system is more sensitive to certain types of over- or under-performance when it comes to making its forecasts.
The answer to this and most of the WARP/ERA disjunctions is that WARP is driven by Fair Run Average, which accounts for the pitcher-independent outcomes (he's got a low K rate and a mediocre walk rate), adjusts for defensive and bullpen support, and credits sequencing (the ability to get a double play grounder or to avoid a bases-loaded walk, at the extremes). Lannan is above 5.00 over the past three years while barely being above replacement level according to that. I think that's underrating him a bit, but WARP and PECOTA aren't so easily impressed.
Nolasco is a pitcher whose strikeout, walk and homer rates - the more repeatable skills when it comes to pitching - suggest a lower ERA than he has been able to muster. His posted some very high BABIPs that most projection systems would assume to regress over time. That's the way most pitching projection systems work, PECOTA included.
Trying to decide between Grape Ape IPA and Strawberry Shortcake Lager
Good. First door on the left, one cross each.
Fair points on both sides of the question, Llary. I had forgotten about Redman in the litany of pitcher offense-related injuries.
Not to be a dick, but nearly anytime one starts a statement with that phrase, they're pretty much issuing an ironclad guarantee of being a dick (this reply included). I suggest a different rhetorical strategy, particularly when replying to a comment that was clearly labeled as an off-the-cuff answer.
And no, I don't think there's a ton of such players who would settle for that. Some, sure, to get their foot in the door, but when they realize the extreme limitations of their value to the team - basically the acknowledgement that they're so bad at offense that they don't merit a shot - and its impact on their futures, well, that's gonna leave a mark. Because even if it were so, I can't imagine teams willing to pay very many of those players the going rate for minimum salary of a two-way player. And if you're willing to work for far less than that, you devalue your own services.
My point wasn't that 400 PA constituted a full-time job. I did throw the "near-full-time" qualifier in there, and was attempting to set off a 400 PA as a DH - with others as PH or position player - that would further raise the player's total number of PA. Hideki Matsui (462 PA as DH, 119 in the field), and Bobby Abreu (462 as DH, 115 elsewhere) are a couple of generalized examples of what I meant, though they clear the cutoffs by a wider margin than most.
Another way of looking at this is by calculating the average number of PA by those clearing the 300-PA bar. I can't drop a graph into the comments but you can see the data here:
The average has risen over the past three years even as we've got an increasing number of players - double digits in each one, for the first time since 1998 - reaching the threshold. More of the playing time is in fewer hands (because it would be more dispersed among those not reaching the threshold) and performance is actually on the rise.
I can ask Corey Dawkins if he's got enough data on the topic to give us an answer, though I suspect that incomplete reporting makes it a more difficult issue on which we can gain a longer-term perspective.
It's a fair question. Effectively you're suggesting that instead of one DH, teams have multiple ones, the logical extension of which is separate offensive and defensive units, like in football.
My response to that would be that fielding doesn't pose a tremendously inflated - and in my mind, unnecessary - risk to most hitters the way offensive responsibilities do to pitchers. Furthermore, the spread between a bad fielder (Cabrera at 3B) and a good one (Brandon Inge, to keep it with the Tigers) is still less than the spread between Rick Porcello (e.g.) as a hitter and Cabrera as a DH.
Furthermore, I think it might be tougher to find players willing to settle for designated fielding roles, but that's just a guess.
While I can sort of appreciate the spirit of your modest proposal, it's pretty obvious how quickly those ideas fall apart - nobody is talking about building a new edifice on the field of play or allowing anybody who's not on a roster onto the field, nor should they. We're simply talking about extending a rule that's been in existence for four decades across 30 teams instead of 14 (or 15, as of 2013) teams.
The argument boils down to this: it's better to watch people do what they do best, than what they do worst, particularly when their ineptitude at the latter exposes them to injury - not just bunting but swinging and running the bases.
Comprehensiveness was not particularly our goal in this exercise - when we brainstormed questions, both Geoff and I generally focused on the question marks, and I don't think either of us had any real concern that Lincecum/Cain/Bumgarner would be anything but very good (since I can't whistle either in real life or in print, I let it pass). It's Vogelsong and Zito where the intrigue lies, and where we thought we could offer more insight.
I did do a press hit where I'm quoted as saying nice things about the Giants rotation for Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle:
That's a question better directed at Colin Wyers - I'm not sure to what extent team expected BABIP is part of those projections at this stage. I will say that Greinke's lower-than-average BABIP has far more to more to do with his ability to miss bats (higher K rates correlate with lower BABIP) than it does the quality of the Brewers' generally substandard defense.
I'm a big fan of DE, and find it somewhat more useful in this context than FRAA. I see that we now have a means of downloading the .csv data from the depth charts page so that you can approximate DE or BABIP yourself.
Alas, the 4:30 ET airing of CHC is now 4:30 AM Tuesday morning, and 12:30 PM. Hopefully, those of you into it can set your DVRs accordingly.
Interesting question - I'm not really sure of the answer offhand. At some point every spring, I usually sit down with the depth charts and reverse-engineer BABIP, but I haven't gotten that far yet.
Loney never showed any kind of real power in the minors, actually - a homer for every 69 PA and a .134 ISO despite favorable hitting environments nearly all the way up; his high for homers in a season was 11. A .166 ISO and 9 homers in 667 PA at Las Vegas is nothing. Apparently, my making light of that was lost in the translation. Ah well.
Goldschmidt has a high strikeout rate, but remember that up to a certain point, strikeout rate correlates positively with power in a young player, whether minors or majors. Furthermore, Goldschmidt walks and isn't the slowest guy in the world (13 SB last year between minors and majors). I'd much rather take him over Loney and live with the Ks because of the secondary skills.
Most readers can identify me as a lifelong Dodger fan, because I've written about that subject numerous times here. The above exchanges were meant to be playful jibes with a fellow non-Giants fan - if they didn't come off that way, duly noted.
Given the number of times I have railed against the Giants about not giving Belt enough playing time - both here at BP and on Clubhouse Confidential (see today's episode, airing at 4:30 ET, or the one on the Replacement Level Killers a few weeks ago) - and lauded the organization for its ability to development of pitchers, I can't believe you could seriously think that compromises this analysis. The Giants frustrate me as a team because they don't make good playing time decisions, just as the Dodgers do. Both are equally worthy of being ripped for their foolishness, regardless of my rooting interests.
While I thank Steven for the kind words and wish him nothing but the happiest of trails, I can say - contrary to what he writes above - that he deserves at least a bit of the credit for much of the good work that has come out of my pen (so to speak) over the years.
Steven edited my work on Mind Game, It Ain't Over, the forthcoming Extra Innings, and several annuals, always spurring me to work a little harder and to dig a little deeper in the service of whatever it was that I was trying to get across, and occasionally protecting me from my bad writing habits and excesses if not actually beating them out of me (he did some of that, too - I start one sentence every two months with the word "But" instead of one every 10 minutes, and I'm always aware of why I'm doing it). I have learned a tremendous amount from him as a colleague and even more as a friend, so I am elated that if I can't have it both ways, I at least get the latter.
It's not too difficult to retroactively tick off more effective possibilities for at least some of these trouble spots - I did so plenty of times in the semi-annual Replacement Level Killers and Vortices of Suck pieces. The White Sox could have turned to Viciedo last summer when their chances still had a pulse. The Phillies let Domonic Brown fester in the minors. The Angels could have gone even more all-in with Mike Trout. The Indians could have expanded the role of Duncan. The Giants, who got a .222/.310/.374 line from their left fielders, could have turned to Brandon Belt earlier instead of letting him rot in Triple-A or on the bench. The Yankees could have given more of Gardner's ABs against lefties to Andruw Jones (+1 FRAA in LF). Without digging out the FRAA for every player, it should be clear that the spread of defense just isn't enough to justify some of the decisions keeping some of these guys out of the field. Viciedo (-2 FRAA in RF), Duncan (-2.4 FRAA in LF in 2010-2011) and Belt (0.6 FRAA) are guys who were at least partially held back by the perceptions of their defense. Meanwhile, some of the underachieving guys were held in place by their big contracts. Both of those are inefficiencies of different varieties at work.
I'd say that hypothesis #1 falls apart pretty quickly when you consider the defensive spectrum in its entirety.
The superior athletes - the ones with more range, fast-twitch ability and arm strength - are the ones who gather at the right end of the spectrum. The pool of players who can defend at an MLB-caliber level at those position is much smaller than those who can defend well enough to occupy the left side of the spectrum, and so the average offensive talent level at the position is lower.
Right fielders should be more athletic than left fielders in that they have the arm strength going for them, but if they're too much more athletic (i.e., faster), they wind up in center field. As it turns out, since 1998, left fielders have stolen around 10% more bases than right field, but center field has stolen about 70% more bases than left field.
To my knowledge, not at this point. Colin does have his hands full with PECOTA at the moment, specifically the generation of the percentiles and such for the cards. I'm optimistic we'll see something added this season, but almost certainly not before Opening Day.
My apologies, I should have run the FRAA data by Colin as well before slapping it in there - I thought that the average may have been a historically based one and we could see y-t-y variations. We're working on a way to address this in a follow-up.
The positional adjustment varies from year to year and is derived from the relative performances at each position after the fact using a rolling average of recent performance. If I'm calculating it correctly, the gap between LF and CF, which was about 6.6 runs circa 2006, is down to about 2.5 runs circa 2011 — so at least on the offensive side, it's a lot smaller than 1.0 WARP (and it's WARP, not WAR). I suspect that similar rolling averages are incorporated into PECOTA, but you'd have to ask Colin.
Good stuff, thanks for sharing.
Just saw on Twitter that the Empire State Building will light up blue and orange in memory of Gary Carter tonight: http://bit.ly/AfucCV
When Bert Blyleven was elected I looked back at my first take on him from January 2002. http://www.futilityinfielder.com/wordpress/2011/01/rookie-blogger-stumps-for-blyleven-january-2002.shtml. Lotta talk about wins there, some talk about RBI in my Carter piece and other HOF analyses. And Win Shares. Blagh.
Those were different times, though, and for whatever the point I made about the "unshakeable feeling" of watching a Hall of Famer in his prime, I also had plenty of objective analysis to back up my arguments. Which is why I was invited me to write my 2004 Hall of Fame ballot analysis for BP in the first place.
With all due respect to the Expos, I'll wager that Randy Johnson is wearing either a Mariners or Diamondbacks hat, Pedro a Red Sox hat.
From 2009-2011, Bautista's hit .269/.387/.585 as a 3B,
.270/.401/.579 as a RF in about 3x as many PA - not a huge difference, but that's mostly because he was awful there in 99 PA in 2009; as Ryan says, it was when he moved that he started to mash.
However, he has actually played more 3B in each of the past two years than in 2009, and done well enough that it can be said his spending more time in right contributed to the drain of talent from 2010 to 2011, as he dropped from 188 PA at .281/.383/.675 as a 3B, to 102 PA of .309/.441/.728 - a loss of about 20 runs worth of production over a small number of PA.
Thanks, Tim. I specifically sidestepped the question of defensive statistics, at least for the moment - that's going to take a lot more help from the data department, where PECOTA is clearly the current priority.
Aside from Sano, Kevin suggested that the other seven 3B on his list were either likely to stick at the position in the majors (Gyorko, Castellanos, Cutbert) or more definitely (Arenado, Rendon, Olt, Middlebrooks).
Of course, it remains to be seen what happens to some of these players as they rise through the high minors (only two have played above High-A thus far), and whether teams wind up with obstacles in front of them. The Padres have Chase Headley at third with Gyorko already at Double-A, the Sox have Kevin Youkilis with Middlebrooks at Triple-A. The Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman could still be around as Rendon approaches.
The shortening of benches due to rampant pitching staff expansion is an interesting point to remember in general when looking at these historical trends. Nonetheless, I would think that having fewer ready alternatives at a position would increase the top-to-bottom spread across positions, and yet it hasn't, it's been particularly trending downward since the dawn of the Wild Card era.
As for the minors, I've asked the question of Kevin Goldstein: how many of the 8 3B on his top 101 list (which is as many as he had SS, and more than 1B and 2B put together) are likely to stick at other positions? Will report back on that one.
One thing I didn't really get to but which Sirius/XM's Mike Ferrin brought up on Twitter is that several teams are considering moving offense-minded players to third base this year, which could help the position rebound at least by this measure.
Miguel Cabrera is the obvious one, but Hanley Ramirez (career TAv: .300) and Mark Trumbo also fit this pattern; the latter, even with his .291 OBP, still managed a .278 TAv last year. Brett Wallace is also moving back across the diamond, but he hasn't proven himself as a hitter yet; his career .245 TAv is lower than that of Jimmy Paredes (.257) and regression posterboy Chris Johnson (.260).
I don't think so, because we'd expect the level of offense at a position to rise given a surplus of options.
Thank you for the kind words. Very much appreciated!
That's a good question that I'll take up in more detail when I do the DH article, but short answer: AL DHs are outperforming NL DHs but overall DH performance is still better in the interleague era.
they were the official Killers at 3B, dishonorable mentions at the other two, and yes, Rivera was just about all that stood between them winning something or other at both LF and 1B.
Speaking as a hater, I'm pretty sure Dodger fans hate McCourt with every bit as much passion.
As bad as the Twins' shortstops were, those of the Rays, Reds and Giants all paired lower OBP and SLG. Not sure where you're getting -36 runs on defense; I show Plouffe (-7.6) as the worst of the bunch and the only one more than a few FRAA in the red.
I'd say it's the latter. There's a much wider sustainable BABIPs among hitters than for pitchers. Note also that Janish's best showing came in the smallest PA sample (28) of his three seasons.
Well, they did have the Replacement Level Killers at first base and shortstop, plus a dishonorable mention in center field. Which either counts as close but no cigar, or much worse (considering what it did to their playoff hopes).
so, am I to take the negative rating on that comment to mean that I should take some prisoners?
They may be flat broke, but the one thing the Mets never run out of is bad ideas: http://mets.lohudblogs.com/2012/02/06/a-note-on-access-and-the-mets/
A NY Times article about the Mets' attempt to find minority investors says that the "has lost some $120 million in the last two years," which increases the losing streak of which Alderson spoke.
Usually, it's the 1B coach who deserves more of the credit for SB success. See Davey Lopes, who reads a pitcher as well as anyone in the game, under whom the Phillies had a great deal of baserunning success.
You're asking a lot by assuming Freddy Sanchez will be healthy and effective in 2012. Over the past five seasons, he's averaged 0.4 WARP per year, with 1.8 of his 2.0 WARP coming in 2010. In that time, he's had major injuries to both shoulders, and he's now going on 34 years old. It's sticking with players like these that have put the Giants in this position.
The Wrigleyville 23 blog introduced the term: http://www.wrigleyville23.com/2008-articles/copy-of-may/rtaobp_a_new_stat_for_08.html
Thanks! That segment was ridiculously fun, so much so that I've done a blog entry at http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15954 to place it in context and issue a mea culpa about an error I made.
Probably slim, since unless Kenny Williams lost his mind again would mean they'd just about pay all of those remaining salaries minus the MLB minimum, which would be picked up by their new teams.
I can easily see Abreu being traded if the team picks up a chunk of salary, the only question is how much. Wells won't happen until he's in the final year of his deal, I'd guess.
I love the cover, so "nyah"!
This happens to me once in awhile - intermittently and unpredictably, I'll see a piece that isn't recognizing new comments by highlighting. Will note it next time I come across it, Dave.
Hobson's 1978 terror afield (43 errors, .899 fielding percentage) wasn't nearly as bad as you'd expect in terms of FRAA (-1.8), because he apparently made most of the plays he should have made. His 1977 (-13.3) and 1979 (-6.8) were worse, and he was at -30.7 for his career.
Let me see if I can explain this more clearly.
Positional scarcity matters. At any easy-to-play defensive position (DH, 1B, LF being the easiest), the pool of players capable of doing the job defensively at a minimum level of competence is several times larger than at the more difficult positions (C, SS, CF, 2B, 3B). Thus, teams tend to wind up employing the ones who can hit the best, even if they're not good fielders. There's an opportunity cost to employing a relatively weak-hitting DH/1B/lF like Lyle Overbay or Juan Pierre because you can almost invariably find a much better hitter.
Rather than employ a strictly theoretical model to explain this phenomenon within our value metric, Colin Wyers is basing it upon the actual level of production at each position (he uses a multiyear average). Basically what it's saying is that the average 1B is 11 or 12 runs better than the average overall hitter over the course of a full season, while the average third baseman is pretty close to the average hitter. Our metrics account for that.
Now, the fact that the DH adjustment is slightly LOWER than 1B at the moment is something of a fluke, even with a multiyear average taken into account. That probably has to do with the fact that fewer teams are employing true mashers at the DH spot, the Ortizes and Hafners, and settling for crappy production there. Last year, 12 DHs had 300+ plate appearances, and four of them were downright crappy, with sub-700 OPS (see http://es.pn/yGyDom). Go back to, say, 2007, and you'll see that no DH had an OPS below 746 (http://es.pn/wKqB2K). Go back to 2003, and nobody was below 797 (http://es.pn/AbJz8K). It's an inefficiency, basically, as is the one where center fielders outhit left fielders in 2011 (http://bit.ly/y36BRn). Over time we'd expect it to be corrected, but we have to acknowledge that it currently exists if we want our accounting for value to be accurate.
I highly, highly doubt it. His traditional merits - 2,615 hits, 454 HR, "Golden Ratio" batting line (.304/.402/.533), MVP, 7 All-Stars, 11 postseasons, 3 pennants, 1 championship - are outstanding, and his JAWS score (69.7/42.1/55.9) passes muster even with the big defensive hits, of which the MSM is much less aware than, say, Derek Jeter.
Depending upon what the PED-related logjam looks like on the post-2018 ballots, he could go in on the first try, and if he doesn't, the sabermetric cavalry will start to gain HOF votes early in his candidacy.
Oops, my bad on that.
The main thing is that there's almost no overlap between Chipper's worst stretch in the field (1996-2003) and the availability of DRS or UZR (2004 onward). Total Zone and FRAA don't really agree on how bad he was, but he has years in the former where he's more than a full win (10 runs) below average and they line up pretty well with his worst years in FRAA.
Oddly, one of his worst defensive years comes when he played LF, in 2003, we have him at -24.8, and TZ has him at -1.1 WAR. That's massive for an outfielder.
Jeez, I pointed out that the numbers assert that isn't as bad as I thought he was - a good lesson in the value of faulty perception - and that his versatility increased the number of trade scenarios the Tigers could entertain. You want I should build him a bronze statue in front of Comerica too?
slick-fielding is probably an overstatement as to what the Tigers could use as an upgrade. Anybody who can field decently and outhit Inge - who's now the definition of a Replacement-Level Killer - would be be workable.
Glad you enjoyed the piece. Agree that it's time to take the training wheels of of Porcello and see if he can miss more bats.
Fister replaces Penny only in the sense that the team is likely to have the former in the rotation wire-to-wire instead of the latter. We don't really know who will be the fifth starter, and it's a safe assumption that it might take more than one pitcher to make it through (a la Coke/whomever/Fister last year).
Castellanos is 19 and just finished in A-ball. The Cabrera-at-3B show will probably be a distant memory by the time he's ready, and one or the other sluggers will be DHing even if he moves aggressively. VMart will be the odd man out by then if he isn't already.
The Sox may have more payroll flexibility next year, with Daisuke Matsuzaka ($10.3 million in 2012), Bobby Jenks (($6 million), and perhaps Kevin Youkilis ($12 million 2012, $13 million club option for 2013) and David Ortiz coming off the books. Salary increases for Dustin Pedrioa, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz will take up $8 million of that savings, and an increase for the third-year arb-eligible Jacoby Ellsbury could take up some of that as well.
That likely leaves them room to sign at least one major free agent, probably a pitcher.
Ozzie Smith almost invariably produced OBPs in the vicinity of NL average in a lower-offense era. Iglesias can't even do it at Triple-A. That's a massive difference. Can't just assume annual +10 defense, either.
Unless his hitting improves drastically, I'd be shocked if Iglesias gets a chance to start anywhere, let alone Boston.
For what it's worth, we have his initial PECOTA as -0.3 WARP, with a .214 TAv in 250 PA offset by +2 defense. So, no, the defense won't offset the inability to hit.
Joe Sheehan proposed something along those lines in his latest newsletter. I can't say I think it makes as much sense as he does, because while Burnett's HR/FB rates have been well above average in each of the past two seasons, (11.6 and 17.0), I don't think that putting him in a homer haven like the Cell and simply expecting that rate to magically regress is a good idea. His velocity is receding and he hasn't figured out what to do about it. Cooper is about as good a pitching coach as there is this side of Dave Duncan, so maybe he can straighten him out.
Even so, I just don't see the deal happening, because putting Dunn's contract on the books makes it significantly harder for the Yankees to get to $189 million in 2014.
Ah, that's actually an interesting point I hadn't considered. Morales is a going-on-29 year old switch hitter with a career .284/.336/.502 line who hasn't played since May 2010 due to a nasty fracture. He's set to make $2.975 million but stuck in a logjam with Mark Trumbo having emerged at first base and 38-year-old lefty DH Bobby Abreu making $9 million in the final year of his deal. Somebody's likely to wind up traded from among that trio.
Morales will certainly cost something in talent for any team that wants to make a trade, maybe something of value but hardly a blue-chipper. Abreu, whose merits I'm not convinced of at this point (his power collapsed last year, .253/.353/.365) will cost something on that level, but only if the Angels agree to eat a significant chunk of change.If Cashman has the appetite to swing a deal, the Angels are an option.
Carlos Pena has agreed to terms with the Rays. So that's off the table.
I tried to come up with a scenario where Dunn made sense for the Yankees, but I couldn't find anything strong enough to make me hallucinate anything more plausible than "giant spacebugs agree to reimburse White Sox at least 75% of Dunn's remaining $42 million salary while his value is at its nadir." Sorry, folks.
Allen's an interesting idea, for sure, but the problem for the Yankees is that he requires a pretty solid backup plan because of his unproven nature, so the Yankees would probably have to come up with an additional option and hope one or the other pans out.
It might as well be called Pitchers Who Had More Career Value as Relievers Than Starters, But Not A Hell of a Lot of Value in the Grand Scheme of Things.
Very interesting stuff, Ben, building on a point I made last week.
I do think it's unfair to assume that Posada was as bad at pitch framing during his prime as he was at the end of his career, and therefore hemorrhaging runs for 15 years. As game-changing as Mike Fast's data is, I also think it's unfair to assume that every other catcher in the Hall was at least average in this area where Posada was well in the red, and thus unworthy.
Generally it's at the position where a player accrued more value and you're right, it's very close for Smith. For what it's worth, he's above the overall outfield standard of 55.4.
In our system, the positional adjustment for playing center field is higher than for left field - I think it's about seven or eight runs a year - so average defensive play at the position has higher value, which is one reason why the center fielders as a group have higher value than the left fielders.
Evans isn't far off, 67.0/37.1/52.1. He ranks fourth among the eligibles in RF, with Sammy Sosa (59.2/45.5/52.4) third.
It's a 3,000+ word article because I went as long as I did and because Gooden was especially interesting. I made no promise of proportionality, and didn't want to add another 500 words.
Regarding Biggio, his defense has been panned by other systems. Career -70 in Total Zone, -43 DRS (since 2003), and -34 UZR (since 2002). It seems quite apparent that his defense ate into his value in a big way no matter which system you use. His offense really suffered from hanging on too long as well; he's pretty much right at the Hall averages among 2B for Runs Above Position and VORP, so combine that with sucktastic defense end you have a guy who falls a bit short of the standards. It won't stop him from getting in, though.
Whitaker was hosed by the BBWAA, falling off the ballot in his lone appearance in 2001 with just 2.9 percent. At one time, he was above the JAWS standard at 2B, but he hasn't been in several iterations (-28 FRAA isn't helping), and his current score comes in at 54.8/28.3/41.6, significantly below Grich. As with Trammell, Total Zone likes his defense more (+77) - which makes the Tigers defenses of their era something of a puzzle that I'd like to investigate further once Colin Wyers frees up from PECOTA responsibilities.
Frank Thomas is just fine (72.7/44.6/58.6) but as he's not eligible until the 2014 ballot, he's not included here.
I've had some fun looking at Luke Scott's splits over the past couple of days. Before all of those tweets get lost in the search-engineless suckhole that old tweets go...
During his four years as an Oriole, Scott hit .291/.377/.566 in 909 PA at Camden Yards, and .229/.305/.403 in 886 PA elsewhere. In the crude terms of OPS, his 235-point home park advantage is the second-largest in the majors over that span, behind only Carlos Gonzalez's 246-point split.
Less meaningfully in terms of sample size, Scott has hit .205/.290/.343 in 238 PA at Fenway, NuYankee and the Trop, career.
Put those two things together and it's difficult to conclude that he's not a product of his home park. So yeah, good luck with that, Rays.
The resident USFL maven at BP was Christina Kahrl. I'd suggest chasing her down if you want to wax nostalgic on the topic.
The problem I have with all of this - not particularly you, Bill, but a sentiment that's been voiced elsewhere on the topic - is that we're already crediting Morris' ability to pitch a lot of innings. That's what any value over replacement level metric is purporting to do - reward bulk playing time even if it's merely average.
If Morris is throwing 250 IP at a higher run-prevention-measure-of-choice rate, and another frontline pitcher only throwing 220 IP at a better rate, well, there's a tradeoff to be made there, and we can measure that value by comparing both pitchers to the run prevention of a replacement level starter. Which is what we've done, and the measurement doesn't particularly flatter Morris, since his run-prevention ability wasn't that special.
What's not captured is the way his additional innings might help with distributing the bullpen workload, saving the best relievers from a small handful of extra innings, but even then, replacement level is a proxy for that as well. So I don't think we're particularly underestimating Morris.
Only in a very mythical past clung to by a faction of people who are invested in preserving myths instead of presenting facts.
I was right, it was 2008 at THT: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/tomorrows-cooperstown-election-results-today/
Good stuff there on the ballot surges above 60% too.
I believe my namesake, Chris "No Relation" Jaffe studied this a few
years ago, I think at the Hardball Times. Will dig up the link when I'm back at my computer.
Alas I have jumped the gun on Jeff Kent's Hall of Fame eligibility. He's in the class of 2014 first-time eligibles, not 2013.
That's an interesting point, Cory. Given the PED-related heat connected to some of the overwhelmingly qualified newcomers in the next few years, and the likely resistance of the electorate to at the very least resist honoring those players with first-year election (which is such a BS distinction anyway), I don't think it will cost that much momentum among the incumbents, particularly those who have attained some type of critical mass.
Morris is so much further away from the JAWS standards it's not even funny. Posada's 2.4 JAWS points shy, with a peak that's essentially even. Williams is 11.3 points shy and down roughly one win a year at peak. Both were perennial playoff participants. Morris is 16.3 points shy and more than two full wins a year at peak. It's a HUGE difference.
I'd say it's very likely that Larkin's the only one this year. I'm looking to see substantial gains from Bagwell, Edgar and Raines - getting any of them over the 50 percent mark would be a significant step forward given the historical precedent. Everybody above 50 percent has gotten in via one route or another except for Gil Hodges, Larkin and Morris.
You are correct. Like VORP and RAP, FRAA is part of WARP, which is the stuff of which JAWS is made. I find it helpful to break out the components sometimes, though there are others where it becomes numerical overload.
I think the cocaine and the direct comparison to Henderson hurt him the most, along with a fundamental ignorance of the value of walks.
Yes. He looks a bit better, up from 50th among LFs.
JAWS uses WARP. VORP is a part of WARP - it's the batting value above a replacement player at the same position, which is different from RAP, which measures the batting value above an average player at the position, and RAA, which measures the batting value above an average hitter, period.
Mostly fielding (FRAA + Positional Adjustment = Total Defense), though if I understand it correctly, run environment plays some part in it as well. 10 runs above replacement buys you slightly more WARP in a low-offense environment (Citi Field, for example) than in a higher-offense one (Miller Park).
Thanks for the kind words!
sort of... theoretically it should be easier to find a 1B who's worth X WARP than it is a SS worth the same amount. Strictly speaking, Braun had the more valuable season (higher WARP - that's a negligible difference in VORP and besides, defense matters) but you can certainly make the case that due to positional scarcity Reyes was the more valuable. Since Reyes missed time while compiling that figure, you could also say that he was the more valuable on a per-game basis as well.
No, that's not quite what I'm implying. What you're missing is that there's a significant positional adjustment that's made in the process of tallying a player's WARP, one that is more or less analogous to what Fielding Runs Above Replacement was doing in Clay D's version of WARP.
In the old version, a player who spent a full year playing average defense at 3B was worth something like 22 runs above replacement. A guy who was 10 runs below average would still be worth 12 runs above replacement afield when all of his various contributions were added up. By comparison, a DH who saw no time in the field would be worth 0 runs above replacement. A guy playing average defense at first base might be worth only 10 runs above replacement, a guy at shortstop more like 30 runs above replacement.
As Colin has written, studies indicate that FRAP is a misnomer, since replacement-level hitters tend to be average fielders. Instead what we do is measure fielders relative to average and include a positional adjustment that's prorated to a full season of playing time at each position. These positional adjustments are included in each player's WARP value, which is why a first baseman who fields and hits like an average first baseman will come in as less valuable than a shortstop who does the same.
According to our career value sortables (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/sortable/index.php?cid=1074623) which may differ slightly from the figures in my spreadsheet (WARP is updated with more frequency than I can keep up, particularly during book season), Bernie's positional adjustment is worth +9.5 runs over the course of his career. Edgar's is worth -114.1 runs, Murphy is at -31.6. You can see the annual adjustments on each player's card in the Advanced section.
So to build upon the numbers we've used above, Edgar is being penalized -115 (-1 FRAA + -114 PosAdj) runs for his fielding and DHing. Bernie is losing 24 runs due to his work afield and his occasional DHing. Murph, who played mostly right field from 1987 onward, is losing 94 runs.
So the answer is no, I'm not at all implying that the portion of Edgar's career derived from nailing his butt to the bench was not more valuable than Bernie doing his increasingly tedious Magellan imitation in center field.
If we're using peak in the sense of JAWS score 7-best year peak, then I certainly agree with you. At the same time, it's worth pointing out that in the single-season WARP values since 1950 that I linked to above (the Blyleven comment), Gooden has the 3rd most valuable season since 1950 (1985, 9.0 WARP) and three of the top 31 (1984 and 1990 being the others) but no more in the top 100. Scott's 1986 is 28th. Jose Rijo comes in at 11th and 81st. Stieb doesn't have a top 100 season. Maddux's only top-100 season, 1994, comes in 79th. Clemens is at 18, 22, 56, 62, 80, 90. Pedro's at 4, 48, 65, 74, 76. Johnson's at 5,7,9, 24, 43, 49, 68. In the balance, the latter group is clearly the better one, but the former had a small handful of seasons that exceeded the latter group's best, at least via the WARP reckoning. So I stand by what I said about a lack of staying power.
Can't get to it right now but check back tomorrow and I'll put something together here.
Duly noted. Apologies if you felt I pounced upon you.
Also, I just want to underscore one point that I've made over and over again throughout the series but didn't here, and clearly should have:
JAWS is a tool to build a Hall of Fame argument. I have always fully recognized that there are things it does not encompass, which is why I bother to cite things like the Hall of Fame Monitor scores and awards won and postseason performance. Radke's ahead of Morris in JAWS by a small margin, but Morris' postseason highlights almost certainly make up for the gap between them.
So when I say "Morris isn't even the best pitcher on this year’s ballot according to JAWS," that's not a definitive statement that I think he's the worse candidate overall.
At the level of 2000 innings, most of the noise that makes seasonal ERAs so sketchy is gone - fluctuations in BABIP and HR/FB and bullpen support have evened out - but yes, there are better measures, and we employ them to drive our values. At that level, it's still miles better than W-L record.
I wouldn't call it weakness so much as a lack of staying power. Dave Steib was a better pitcher but hung it up early. Dwight Gooden had drug problems. Fernando Valenzuela fell into the Lasorda shoulder thresher. Mike Scott didn't figure it out until mid-decade. And so on.
It does not concern me in the least, because I have spent dozens of hours poring over Jack Morris' career and am thoroughly convinced that he was overrated, and I am far from the only one who feels that way.
I can accuse you of ignoring the context as well. Radke pitched in a much higher-scoring era - the highest-scoring since the 1930s - and put up better ERAs relative to his leagues. He fares well in part because his short career did not have a sharp decline phase the way that Morris' career did. When we use advance metrics to credit the things for which a pitcher has considerable control (particularly strikeout, walks, and homer rates) versus the things he doesn't (defensive support, bullpen support, offensive support), Radke maintains that edge.
To bring the ERA+ of a lefty specialist reliever (Slaten) into this discussion is a completely off-base use of that particular statistic that has no bearing on the comparison at hand. Fair Run Average and FRA+ account for baserunners inherited/bequeathed, which is one reason why we lean on them instead of ERA and ERA+ for the heavier lifting of our advanced metrics.
It's a worthy idea but a fair bit of trouble to plunk those down for every player in what's already a three or four thousand word piece. Dealing with the tables is already one of the banes of my existence, and I don't think our editors love them either, particularly when they arrive at 1 AM as part of a huge, gnarly monster article.
JAWS sortables, soon. The river outside Prospectus HQ will run red with blood if they're not up at some point during 2012.
What Colin said. With the career sortables, he and our current tech crew have accomplished something that I've been requesting for at least seven years, bringing JAWS sortables much closer to fruition.
It's a fair point, and something I've explored occasionally. It's much easier to do for contemporary players, because we have an extremely limited picture given that UZR and Plus/Minus only go back a few years.
The real issue is that I'd have to tackle each position in full among the HOFers so I could get a basis of comparison, and that's a lot of time. If I get the book idea off the ground, a comparative defensive approach will definitely something that will be part of it.
Back to McGriff, though, even average defense wouldn't get him above the JAWS standard at 1B, as one can see by comparing the component numbers in the 2nd table.
Franco's way below Smith on the JAWS scale, much closer to Sutter: 13.6/12.4/13.0. Hell, Jeff Nelson and Elmer Dessens are above Franco at 13.4.
.005 * 6.4 (reflecting Morris' 106.4 SUP+) = .032 gain in winning percentage
.500 + .032 = .532 winning percentage
.532 * 440 decisions = 234 wins, 206 losses
"Some day, if we can have accurate assessment of the affects of verboten drugs on Palmeiro and McGwire's careers..."
Alas, I'm pretty sure we'll have a cure for the common cold and direct human interplanetary transport before we have that capability.
True Average is a very good measure, but like all rate stats, it requires the context of sample size. McGwire's 7660 PA is 15 percent less than the average HOF 1B. Of the 131 non-pitcher/non-catcher HOFers for whom I can do a legitimate JAWS (I don't count Monte Irvin in this set), just 31 had fewer career PA. Two of them made the majors after years in the Negro Leagues (Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby), and none of them played after Doby's retirement in 1959. George Kell, who last played in 1957, is the next most recent. Furthermore, just five players with fewer PA were voted in by the BBWAA: Jackie, Bill Terry, Hank Greenberg, Lou Boudreau and Ralph Kiner, with Boudreau (1970) and Kiner (1975, his 13th year of eligibility) the only ones elected since Robinson in 1962.
In other words, apart from anything having to do with his PED-related allegations and his shortcomings on the bases and in the field (which, had they been average, would keep him above the standard), his career length is actually his biggest obstacle in gaining entry.
Oh good Lord, much as Greg was a friend and a million-dollar baseball mind cursed with a 10-cent body (to turn an old phrase on its head), he was an awful driver.
We went to Citi Field during its first year, he had gotten some great club seats for an early season game against (I think) the Pirates. Afterwards, once he could remember where he parked (definitely not his strong suit), he drove me home via the BQE. He was slow to react to my instructions to take the Tillary Street exit, and wound up hitting the giant yellow garbage can barriers where the exit split off. Not a glancing blow, either - we came to a full stop, though fortunately neither the vehicle nor us were the worse for wear (save for my heart palpitations) because nobody was behind us.
Sadly, the fear induced from that incident has erased my memory of what must have been a particularly engrossing baseball conversation. RIP, Greg.
Olerud was one and done on the ballot last year, so I'm not sure why anyone would expect him to be brought up here. He received 0.7 percent of the vote. At 52.0/37.0/44.5, he's below the HOF standard for 1B, better than Mattingly and McGriff but not as good as Palmeiro or McGwire, and with a lot less of the "fame" stuff that can put a borderline candidate over the top.
The same way anyone else does: by hitting 39 homers!
Yes, Richard, I believe you did. And I'll remind that there's nothing particularly sacrosanct about our previous FRAA numbers and methodology either. It had plenty of critics, and its replacement-level methodology caused a huge problem with our player valuations, particularly w/r/t the pitcher/fielder responsibility split. To find out that somewhere there's a nostalgia for it is like finding out that the USFL had die-hard fans.
I haven't looked particularly closely, to be honest, though there is one year where he's like -32 which looks very odd now that I scan his player card. I'll leave the explanations of the intricacies of Colin Wyers' system to Colin, but I'll ask him about that one.
He's more or less unchanged, lost ~1 JAWS point relative to the standard. Gained ground in fielding, lost it in hitting with a higher replacement level.
I referred to it that way because for the most part, the public had no idea McGwire or anyone else was taking any supplements, legal or not.
Thanks for the kind words about the lesser candidates. the writing and research adds a significant amount of time to the process, but I've always felt like those guys deserve something more than a passing mention - a note on why they're significant in baseball history - before moving on. I'm glad that work is appreciated.
No, you are correct - there are very real costs to having a full-time DH. In the past, our system accounted for this using the concept of Fielding Runs Above Replacement, where a guy could be below average but still have significant value for filling a more difficult spot such as third base.
Colin Wyers' research suggests that the notion of a replacement level for fielders doesn't really exist - replacement level hitters tend to be more or less average fielders. In our WARP framework, he did away with the concept of FRAR and includes a positive or negative positional adjustment instead. A first base or DH type will be penalized 100+ runs over the course of a long career; Martinez is at -114 runs in positional adjustment via our career sortables, which don't quite reflect the same data I've got in my spreadsheet at the moment (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/sortable/index.php?cid=1073161), but probably isn't too far off. So that cuts into his value, but not quite as much as playing an easy position badly.
I came across that factoid somewhere during my research but forgot to include both that and his career .314/.386/.529 line against the Yankees in 215 PA.
I'm sure bitterness had nothing to do with it.
The hope is that the criteria and definitions are at least arrived at via some amount of empirical data. Linear weights, for example, isn't an arbitrary set of values attached to each event. The decision to use linear weights, however, is one based on an interpretation of what the best tool for the job is (see http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10917).
I'd like to point out that the current versions of FRAA and WARP are far more transparent than the versions that came before them, as Colin has detailed the process by which he derived most of his conclusions. The decision to set a replacement level that has varied (and generally risen) over time based upon empirical data is one of them, and I think it's both a major point of departure from other systems and a source of the angst created by the shifting of some of the values of our treasured heroes.
I'm not sure how you're equating the observation biases that the new PBP system is trying to combat - i.e., the inclusion of subjective data in various PBP systems via the use of stringer data, such as to distinguish line drives from grounders and flyballs - with the shortcomings of previous iterations of WARP, etc. Whatever their flaws, observation bias was not one of them.
I've tried to provide short, concise summaries in the context of my articles because there isn't room to go on at great length, but Colin Wyers detailed most of those changes over the past year - it's not like this stuff has been hidden from view. His explanations are not particularly concise; there's a lot to digest in his articles, but the good news is that you can delve in to your heart's content. Here's a quick and dirty list:
* The EqA/TAv formula changed
* The defensive system changed to a play-by-play based one
* Our method of valuing pitching changed
* Our method of park-adjusting changed
* The replacement level rose, and in fact has risen over time.
Hope that helps!
I'm not a fan of putting too much weight on comparing candidates to active players. In this instance, by the time A-Rod is up for induction, he will have played far more games at third base than at shortstop, so to hold his early career performance against Larkin is unfair.
To some extent, I think that's what happened with Trammell, though - voters measured him against the A-Rod/Jeter/Nomar trinity when he first reached the ballot, and they've never compensated for that mistake by recognizing how hard it is to remain a productive starting SS for so long.
Again, I highly suggest you read what Colin had to say. In the PBP system he's built - which is constructed to avoid the biases that other PBP systems fall victim to - there's a margin for error in every estimate of whether a play should be made. It decreases the larger the sample size gets.
It's true that the unreliability of defensive values in a single season can have an multiplied impact on peak, but again, I'm using seven seasons, not one or two, so the larger sample should increase the accuracy of the estimate.
And remember, this isn't just something that's screwing one guy. Our defensive measurements for EVERY SINGLE PLAYER go through the same wringer.
I am surprised that Trammell takes such a hit, but I think there's a danger in clinging to our previously held assumptions too strongly, particularly when they're partially founded on a system that had no shortage of questions about it when it was in the spotlight. I'll argue on Trammell's behalf if the evidence supports it, but after 10 years of him getting absolutely nowhere on the Hall of Fame ballot, I can accept that he's less of a slam dunk candidate than we previously thought, so I'm going to save my breath for the moment.
Exactly. This can't be Lake Wobegon, where all of the Hall of Famers are above average.
It states that he's below the current average for shortstops. To say that he's not deserving of enshrinement, however, is to misunderstand the entire JAWS project.
JAWS is a tool best used to identify above-average Hall of Fame candidates. It is not a complete prescription to tear apart the Hall of Fame and rebuild it with a different membership.
I am not advocating the mass expulsion of below-average Hall of Famers - if we were to bump off the ~50% who fall below the current positional averages, those averages would skyrocket, and then, theoretically, we'd have to do it again to the point of absurdity. Our Hall would shrink to include only Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson. Nor am I advocating a start-from-scratch Hall-building process - I'll leave that to the Hall of Merit gang, whose work I generally enjoy.
One of the reasons I advocate using a standard based upon the average is that once you pick a bar lower than that, at every position you wind up with an increasing number of players with equivalent or better values. If, for example, we set the bar at Ozzie Smith's current ranking, then the players just above him who are not in include Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada, Derek Jeter, Trammell, Vern Stephens, and Bill Dahlen, with Jack Glasscock and Bert Campaneris very close as well. As discussed in the Resetting the Standards article, even using the median score has a similar effect.
Same guy who wrote the article - glad you enjoyed it!
Ours is an imperfect system but the idea is that this is supposed to be meritocratic, in that a comment that several people believe adds no value or negative value (such as the three "scum" posts. I mean, really?) can be temporarily hidden from view for those of delicate sensibility.
Even then, it's not that the comments can't be viewed, it's just that they take an extra step to view. It's not that hard to implement and it's not censorship - the comments haven't been erased. We've made no law abridging anyone's free speech.
I don't think the system should be used to pile on in the case of legitimate disagreements of substance. To me, that's an abuse of the system.
Just wanted to note that I'll be on Clubhouse Confidential discussing Braun on Tuesday at 5:30 ET, with reruns at 7:30 and several other times throughout the next day. Big thanks to those of you who have kept coming back with interesting insights and tips, which has been one of the big reasons I've stayed with this story.
Was going to add something on this to the next update but I'll add it here first.
It's not so much that I feel compelled to defend Braun, or particularly believe that he's innocent, as that I want to know more about this process. This leak has created an unprecedented event in the annals of MLB's testing program, a peek into the sausage factory of the testing and appeals process, which hasn't been completed, which is why this case differs from all other cases. The fact that it's a star, an MVP (though FWIW, I supported Kemp), or a Jewish ballplayer (given that I'm Jewish myself) actually doesn't interest me all that much - and I say that as somebody who's long had a soft spot for the Brewers and Braun. I'm mostly curious as to why this case is so curious.
And yes, I want to see due process upheld, though that phrase is actually a misnomer, since it applies to the actions of the state, which isn't in play here. My law degree from Wikipedia University tells me that the term is "fair procedure." Regardless, I am willing to withhold my opinion of Braun's innocence or guilt until the process is played out, while taking advantage of the chance to learn more about the process and its loopholes.
Agreed. At this point, that Braun failed a test that dozens (hundreds?) before him have failed isn't as interesting as the report that he's an outlier in terms of how he failed the test. Those who aren't so busy rushing to their soapboxes to ask whether someone will think of the children would like to know why that is, or how/why any of this information was leaked mid-process, or why the contradictions about what we're hearing about Braun's test start with the opening line of Fainaru-Wada and Quinn's story (the PED vs. prohibited substance distinction).
Maybe this can be chalked up to a tremendous amount of spin by the Braun camp, but anyone who thinks that they're the only ones with an interest to protect is giving MLB far too much credit. Casting doubt on the accuracy and efficacy of the testing procedure and the appeals process would be a huge PR blow for MLB.
As the history of the game's battle with steroid usage has shown, some insiders have had no hesitance to leak information regarding users to the media, mainly as a way of publicly shaming alleged PED users. IRS agent Jeff Novitzky, who investigated the BALCO case, is believed to have been responsible for the illegal leak of grand jury testimony, and federal agents are also believed to be responsible for the leaks of the names from the 2003 survey list. On the other hand, it's also worth noting that Troy Ellerman, who served 16 months for BALCO leaks, was actually a lawyer for the defense, albeit one who didn't exactly have his clients' best interests in mind (see http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/otl/news/story?id=6229509).
It is inaccurate to say that no positive test has been overturned. Please see update #5 for the details.
Don't hold your breath. It has been suggested that this could take until January or even February to resolve. It's not Barry Bonds' trial, but it won't be over tomorrow.
There are contradictions between what the ESPN report said, and what Rosenthal and Hadricourt have written. I pointed out some of the holes in ESPN's story when it first went up, and since then some but not all of them have been filled in. Best not to treat any source as gospel.
The identity of the drug has not been revealed - the methenolone cited above was in connection to Eliezer Alfonzo's positive test, not to Braun's.
But one way or another, all of the anabolic steriods are synthetic derivatives of testosterone that can mimic its function in the body. They interact with the androgen receptors found in muscle cells, stimulating those cells to increase protein synthesis (anabolism), which results in the building of muscles and bones as well as the maintenance of secondary sexual characteristics. The binding of the steroid to the receptor also inhibits the breakdown (catabolism) of old proteins. The various drugs — Dianabol, Deca-Durabolin, Winstrol, etc. — differ in terms of the level of androgenic effects (the "side effects").
MLB takes its testing seriously, but even so, they weren't able to prevent a leak like this, before the appeal process was completed. It's unclear where that leak came from - someone involved in the testing process, or someone inside the commissioner's office. Either way, such conduct violates the confidentiality of the Joint Drug Agreement and is no less dirty and disappointing than the use of PEDs.
Thanks for your insights.
The methenolone that's being mentioned in reports is actually in connection with Alfonzo - the substance for which Braun tested positive has not been publicly identified.
I don't recall Haudricourt's ballot, but it's important to note the distinction between one man's opinion/analysis regarding player value (the vote) and his reporting (the aforementioned quotes). Two very different skill sets can produce very different levels of credibility in the same way that a good hitter can be a lousy defender.
I have made clear that it's not clear, and attempted to get a clarification from Quinn via Twitter.
While that implication is there, the ESPN story doesn't make clear that it was a new sample:
"A source close to Braun said that when he was told about the positive test, he immediately requested to be tested again. That second test, the source said, was not positive. Those close to Braun believe that the difference between the two tests will show that the first test was invalid."
good point on stadium location - I must admit that I know the particulars about the Rays situation a bit better, but I hadn't even looked at a map w/r/t the Marlins one.
As of Wednesday morning, there's a growing sense here that the Cardinals are going to retain Pujols now that they have made what's been reported as a 10-year, $220 million offer.
Cespedes could still be a sensible and much more affordable move with some definite upside.
Oh, absolutely, and that's the point - were they to sign Pujols as well, I don't think they can survive anything but a fairly positive outcome very quickly.
Winter Meetings update: The Brewers have said that they're out, the Orioles have said that they're interested, though consider it a longshot, and according to Rosenthal, the Cubs are interested in a shorter, high-dollar deal - which makes a whole lot more sense regarding Fielder.
The one decision that slays me is the lack of support for Buzzie Bavasi. I can understand the perception that the Dodgers teams of the Fifties still bore the imprint of Branch Rickey, particularly thanks to his bold decision to integrate, but he was forced out in 1950, and the team's dominance was just beginning. The Dodgers had won pennants in 1947 and 1949 with him in charge, and they would go on to win again in 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956 under Bavasi, before leaving Brooklyn, and then again in 1959, 1963, 1965 and 1966 with the Boys of Summer in the twilights of their careers or gone - the team was completely rebuilt.
Detractors have always slighted Walter Alston's managerial acumen, a charge i don't agree with; as I wrote in It Ain't Over, his 1959 victory with a transitional team was almost LaRussian in terms of the way he juggled pitchers and used an early hook well. It has been suggested that the team should have won more, but much of that refers to the second half of his career (one pennant from 1967-1976). To me, there's still a good bit of credit unaccounted for beyond Alston and O'Malley and it rightfully belongs to Bavasi.
I was surprised, to be honest, that Kaat fared as well as he did. I do think his ability to stick around for 25 years and win 283 games, while impressive, is a bit overrated due to the absence of a high peak.
But that's why I built JAWS the way I did - it is abundantly clear from the de facto Hall of Fame standards that the notion of peak is a critical one in the minds of voters. It explains the Greenbergs and Kiners and Koufaxes and Pucketts, not to mention a lot of the 1920s and 1930s guys whose stats are inflated by the era and who didn't stick around long. Not all of those decisions look great in light of JAWS, but one can at least understand why they were made.
Great, the birthers have arrived at BP.
Until someone presents actual evidence that he lied about his age - instead of referencing a belief - I'm not going to worry too much about it. We already know enough about the late 30s aging patterns of most ball players to make signing Pujols to an 8-year deal very risky.
Using a given ranking at a position produces a set of standards that's no less uneven than what the raw JAWS standards produce. It's more artificial as well. JAWS is less an attempt to define an ideal Hall of Fame - which I would do if I were advocating starting from scratch, a la the Hall of Merit - than it is to recognize what's in line with the Hall of Fame as it exists.
I highly suggest you dig back into Colin's archive and read http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=11476 and
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=11589 where he hits some of the big stumbling blocks that one encounters when trying to measure defense. Long story short: a single year isn't enough to reliably measure defense, so take any yearly number with a grain of salt
But remember that over time, the larger sample size should build confidence in what's being measured, at least if the methodology is sound. When it comes to measuring the Hall of Fame candidates' defense, we generally have 10-20 years worth of data, and while multiple sources may disagree as to the value of those years, they're hopefully pointing in the same direction.
Talent is not distributed evenly across positions, and skills certainly are not. While WARP compresses the offensive and defensive contributions of a hitter into one handy number, the offensive and defensive components of what make that up are still important, and I often make reference to them in the course of my analysis. I also make extensive references to things that JAWS doesn't capture - awards and counting stats. If I'm examining the Hall of Fame cases of Barry Larkin or Alan Trammell, it doesn't help me so much to measure them against Eddie Murray as it does to compare them to Cal Ripken.
Going to dispute your inclusion of Billy Martin in that grouping. In September 1973, Martin took over a team en route to a 57-105 season and a 6th place finish in the AL West. The next year the Rangers went 84-76, exceeding their Pythagorean by five games and helping the team to a 2nd place finish, their highest ever to that point. It wasn't sustained, as didn't make it through the next season, fired with a 44-51 record, as the team finished 79-83.
Valentine guided the Rangers to 87 wins and 2nd place in his second season, but then went through two seasons well below .500 before winning 83 in his fifth, and he never got them above third place again.
You'd never get the legal clearance, though sure, I can understand the public's desire to know everything about the debaucherous early days where rec.sport.baseball was simply a front for an escort service, the infamous Strip PECOTA parties, and the dirty little secrets that put Richard Hidalgo and Josh Phelps on the covers.
Agreed. Sloppy phrasing preserved from a fairly informal conversation on the topic.
Gah, typo on Hamilton. It's almost like updating my table manually while editing the piece at midnight wasn't entirely foolproof.
Many of the comments in this discussion have been incorporated into my latest piece on JAWS. I invite you to offer further feedback:
Yup, I meant 23 - n. Fixed.
Thanks, everybody for the kind words. If you missed the segment, you can see it on my Facebook or Google+ pages
Before I dig into the meat of this argument, let me point out that walks counted as hits for, like, one year (1887). Meanwhile, other rules were changing on a nearly annual basis (number of balls for a walk, for example). Pretty much everything before 1893, you have to look up the year to get the rules. Nobody who does any serious investigation of the statistics of that era is unaware of that.
This is not that, I don't think.
I appreciate the passion you all bring to this argument, but I have to point out that some of you are carrying a misperception. The "old WARP" of yesteryear was hardly static. It underwent countless revisions without Clay calling a lot of attention to it - if I wanted to do a JAWS study in July, I'd have to get an updated data set because January's was out of date. Some of the revisions were minor, some were jarring. The biggest one came circa the 2009 annual, when Clay raised the replacement level and instituted a PBP defensive system both of which made what came before outdated - there might have been 20-point JAWS differences for a given player. Hell, I changed the JAWS definition of peak from a best 5-consecutive to best 7-at-large early on; actually, that might have been the year I christened it JAWS instead of something (even more) godawful like Weighted WARP.
This is not the first time a WARP change has worked against Santo's HOF case either - I've done sets where he was well above the line, and ones where he straddled it. Given how he's fared in the voting, I have to wonder if the ones where he's straddling it are more onto something - he's not a "surefire" Hall of Famer, he's a bit more on the fringe - still clearly worthwhile to anyone who actually studies the matter, but at a distance, to a casual fan or a half-assed voter, less obviously so. That's a reflection of reality.
Hell, there was one year that hit Blyleven's JAWS score pretty hard as well. And I have to tell you, this new data does Tim Raines no favors, particularly on the fielding front (we will get a closer look before running with the BBWAA ballot data). But you know, that also is more of a reflection of reality, in that it lines up a bit better with the common perception that he's a bit fringier as a candidate than some of us would like to believe.
Given that BP has long battled to spread the sabermetric gospel and advance the more mainstream conversation about baseball statistics, I think there's far more danger in us letting 20 different versions of WARP float around out there with fine print as to which version we're referring to ("this is the original Port Huron WARP, not the watered down second draft") - see how easily the knuckleheads and Chassholes of the world dismiss WAR because there are two competing versions and my god, we can't have that!
Sabermetrics is the pursuit of objective truth about baseball. If our understanding of the truth changes - "hey, we've been underestimating where the replacement level line should be set" or "pitchers deserve a bit less credit than we have been giving them for controlling balls in play" - we owe it to ourselves and our audience to review our previously held assumptions and revise our thinking a little bit. Bill James wasn't doing things in the 1987 Abstract the same way he was in the 1982 Abstract, after all, to say nothing of the two Historical Abstracts.
Here at BP, the philosophy has generally been to go forward with the best information we have without worrying too much about what we've superseded. That doesn't mean what came before is wrong - it means it's ripe for revisiting with a fresh eye.
I have Santo 64th all time overall, with 50 of those above him already in the Hall (out of 206 for which I can JAWS; i.e., those who meet the 10-year requirement). Most of the rest are either active, waiting to reach the ballot, on the ballot, or banned (Pete Rose). Jimmy Wynn (60.9) is the best player outside who doesn't fit those categories, and Santo is second.
Three guys above him: Brooks Robinson 58.8, Frank Thomas 58.6, Ed Delahanty 58.4.
Three below him: Darrell Evans 57.7, Al Simmons 57.6, Mike Piazza 57.5. Of the five above and five below, six are in the Hall, 3 are awaiting eligibility (Thomas, Piazza, Manny Ramirez), and then Evans who's outside.
There are 6 3B ahead of him overall: Schmidt, Brett, Mathews, Boggs, Molitor (who had positive defensive value) and Brooks Robinson. Alex Rodriguez will outrank him as well one day, though the system still classifies him as a shortstop. Santo is the best eligible 3B outside the Hall.
Of those active 3B, Alex Rodriguez already outranks him (he's still a SS in the system but will be classified as 3B by the time he retires)
Richard, while I share some of that concern and frustration - believe me, the hours of labor it takes to refine these metrics for Clay or Colin or whomever is massive. For me to reorient my system, and update my take when I've put in considerable amount of research (this guy used to be 5th in the league in WARP for 1983, now where is he?) the investment of time is considerable.
But I think you have to adjust for era, so to speak. What was state of the art five years ago with regards to our thinking has become outmoded, and looks a bit naive in retrospect. Or maybe a better analogy is a computer processor - what was top of the line five years ago is now a replacement-level machine you hand down to grandma or donated to a non-profit organization, and what we have in its place runs 50% or 200% faster or whatever. Can you believe we used to have to wait days to get in-season WARP updated?
I don't love everything about the new WARP relative to the old, and I don't love change, but Colin tackled some age-old problems that smart people had with the system, things like the replacement-level fielding problem and the counterintuitive calculations involved in EqA. Baserunning is now in there, where it was not before. Play-by-play defense, where it was not before. In a year or two, as the PitchFX and HitFX stuff that guys like Mike Fast are doing revises our thinking about the nature of DIPS, we'll incorporate that. Sooner or later], someone will come along and solve some defensive quandary - maybe it's the adjacent fielder ballhog effect - that will make our current system look like we found those numbers by banging rocks together.
At any given moment, these numbers represent our systematic best estimates, but they're still just estimates, not permanent figures carved in stone. We make a mistake when we think that we've solved the answer once and for all. Six years ago I had Ron Santo as a slam dunk Hall of Famer and told people to GTFO in no uncertain terms when they disagreed. Now I see him as closer to borderline, with a strong peak, short career, and extenuating circumstances that still make him a Hall of Famer, but also make more clear the differing perceptions - maybe we were overrating him considerably with the glove - that have kept him outside.
It's not the BBWAA's ignorance that's being addressed here - the BBWAA voters do a generally good job of recognizing the best candidates during their time of eligibility (with some occasional groaners). Very few Ron Santos make it to this stage. It's the ignorance of previous Veterans Committees, with a panel that looks remarkably like they used to. Not sure how that is going to correct for previous mistakes.
I can't speak for any of the other commenters, but my point in all of this isn't that one All-Star appearance means anything - flukes happen every year - it's that the cumulative weight of them certainly does.
First off, you have misinterpreted me if you think that I'm saying that anyone below the current standard who is already in the Hall is by definition unworthy. I use the adjusted average as a point of reference to guide future selections. Even so, I am more generous than the average BBWAA voter once you account for the large split between BBWAA-elected HOFers and VC-elected ones.
Years ago, I looked at what my system would look like if it used a lower standard; I did so using median position scores instead of adjusted means; see http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=229.
The basic problem is that it creates situations where there are far more than 10 players on an individual ballot who meet those lower standards. In the time I've been doing this nowhere has it been suggested, by voters or anyone who has studied the issue, that there are TOO MANY qualified candidates to list on a ballot, and since I strongly believe that JAWS should have some real-world grounding in terms of the number of candidates it says are worthy, I must reject the notion that I'm not setting the standards high enough. If anything, a more predicitive model (w/r/t voting performance) might require them to be even higher, but I am shooting for one that is more fair, not necessarily more predictive.
Santo has the highest peak and JAWS of those four Cubs, and is second in WARP despite his short career. The other three are above their respective position standards, but Santo suffers relative to them because the 3B standard is about 8 points higher than at SS. He's basically even with Brooks Robinson (72.7/44.9/58.8), who is below the standard on all three measures (career by just 0.2).
Gonna have to disagree with you, first about the characterization of the early Seventies Cubs as sad-sack. From 1967-1972 - a stretch which covers all of the Durocher years except his first - the Cubs finished above .500 every year, with three second-place finishes in the NL East, and three third place finishes, two in the 10-team NL prior to expansion and one in the NL East. For that time, they had the league's fourth-best record. They didn't reach the playoffs, but that was their longest sustained stretch of good baseball since the Thirties, one that they have yet to top, at least in terms of consecutive .500+ seasons.
When they won 92 games and missed the playoffs in 1969, they had the league's best run differential - better than the 100-win Mets or the NL West-winning 93-69 Braves. They were more or less even with their Pythagorean projections from 1967-1969, but finished 10 below in 1970, largely due to a horrible bullpen (4.63 ERA, 10th in the league). They were six games below Pythag in 1972, the year they fired Durocher midseason.
They did not, unfortunately, have all four HOF-caliber players peaking at the same time, which was one problem - Banks was a below-average to replacement-level first baseman for most of that stretch before retiring after the 1971 season, when he made just 92 plate appearances. Banks' prime (1955-1962) and Santo's (1963-70) didn't even overlap. For most of the time they overlapped, they had bad pitching; in the 8-team NL in 1960-61, they were seventh and eighth in RA/G, in the 10-team league from 1962-1968, they were 8th twice, 9th twice, and 10th once, for an average league ranking of 7.4.
As for Santo, the notion that it's the metric that's off because it's saying he's a HOFer, well, we're talking about a nine time All-Star a well-decorated player who was clearly considered among the elite of his era. Of the 17 players with exactly nine AS appearances, eight are already in the hall, plus two others will be (Torre and Pujols), with Vlad Guerrero and Gary Sheffield having decent shots as well.
Wow, in trying to recall the deals bigger than Lackey and Burnett, I totally blanked on the Mussina deal, which was for six years and $88.5 million - the Cots cutoff was at $90 mil.
I was a subscriber before I was a BP contributor, at which point I was granted a complimentary subscription via a separate account. Years later the original account was closed down. I'm not sure what that presumably triple-digit account number was, though; had I thought about its hipster cachet, I might have maintained it.
I will take one more opportunity to point out that over the years, Nick has not only been a supportive patron of BP, he has been a frequent sounding board for my ideas, and a source of many a joke that found their way onto these pages under my byline. Anyone who enjoys my work should raise their glass (or turkey leg) to him, as I do now. Thanks, Nick!
Most reports I've read say he'd be moving to third base, and he even said he'd be open to the idea (http://bit.ly/vxJe1W).
I thought about the Rangers but the thing is that they've stated their preference to move Josh Hamilton to left field to save him some wear and tear (http://es.pn/sn0YX2). Nelson Cruz isn't going to play center field, and Beltran doesn't want to be a full-time DH (a plan which, here, would involve Napoli as the full-time catcher and Young as the full-time first baseman). So I see them as a very dark darkhorse at best.
Nachos and burritos aren't in the same ballpark, gastronomically speaking. The cheese used in most ballpark nachos is 30-grade toxic waste.
I figure he's likely to get a three-year worth somewhere between $10-12 million a year, possibly with some attainable incentive clauses to push the dollar value up.
I have a hard time seeing the Phillies going there given their crazy spending elsewhere (assuming the Madson deal goes thru) and the need to find uses for John Mayberry Jr., Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown.
Yes, and before that he hit for a .177 TAv with the Sox while making 23 starts in right field. That looks a whole lot like someone who failure to pick up slack.
Good lord, that sounds like a pandemic waiting to happen.
That's an even worse idea, one that I meant to bring up but curiously omitted. Cabrera's defense in center field is godawful (-18 FRAA this past year, with estimates ranging from -7 to -19 over past two years from various systems) and unlikely to get better in the big Phone Network Park outfield if surrounded by Belt/Huff in one corner and Beltran in the other.
Hell yes on the pupusas. This past summer I've discovered their delicious glory via the food trucks at the Red Hook ball fields in Brooklyn, where one can also feast on outstanding authentic tacos and other delicacies. When I go there, I think about eating two lunches, there's so much good stuff to sample.
Now I am bummed that the trucks are all gone until springtime.
My pal Nick was able to dig up a photo that I must have taken of him eating the turkey leg under discussion (the one above is a generic stand-in): http:lockerz.com/s/154921349
Reportedly the Yankees have worked out an extension with Sabathia, and he will forgo opting out. The new deal is for five years and $122 million - his 2016 salary is $25 million. There's a $25 million vesting option for 2017 that's dependent upon the condition of his shoulder (not elbow), with a $5 million buyout, taking the total of the deal if he's healthy (enough) to six years and $142 million.
In other words, he'll get either $30 or $50 extra extra million for not exercising the opt-out. Seems like a reasonable move; Sabathia might have squeezed a bit more out by going on the open market, but he got something for not doing so, and the Yankees didn't have to wade a whole lot deeper into the uncharted waters.
Matt Swartz's article on MORP from last year confirms the ~$5 million/win ballpark figure http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10629
What he said. A Team Entropy classic.
Interesting stuff, Bill - thanks for following up. A quick calculation shows that 91.7 percent of runs in the regular seasons since 1992 have been earned, so by that measure, we'd expect 837 of those World Series runs to be earned - that's less than one extra unearned run per World Series - it certainly doesn't sound like much, but it's persistent.
Interesting point - at least in my own mind, some of the WS I've enjoyed most have been ones where my rooting interests weren't all that strong. 1991 fits that bill, 1997 too - I had a long-running soft spot for Cleveland, but really dug Livan Hernandez and a few of those Marlins - as well as this one.
Interesting stuff, Bill. I would suggest that cold weather and out-of-position players (DHes like Michael Young playing the field, for example) might be the main reasons.
What about unearned runs as a percentage or average per game? I don't have the time or energy to check this minute but I'd be curious.
The 2001 World Series absolutely belongs in the discussion among the greatest Fall Classics. Even as a Yankee fan who ended up on the wrong side of that one, I can certainly appreciate how remarkable that series was, and as a New Yorker, I know how much that team meant to the city after 9/11 — arguably more than any of the three champions that had preceded them, even in their defeat.
My comparisons of this series to 1975 and 1986 owe more to the impossibly high standard for the finales set by their respective Game Sixes — two games that make nearly every shortlist for the greatest World Series games ever played. Both of those series' Game Sevens produced more drama than the 2011 one did, and it's fair to say that Game Seven of 2001 did so as well. You'll recall, however, that Game Six of 2001 was a blowout of ridiculous proportions, as the Diamondbacks teed off on poor Andy Pettitte as he tipped his pitches, winning 15-2. Since that series didn't fit the pattern of this one, I did not bring it into the discussion.
Check out Mike Fast's look at Lowe's fateful pitch to Freese: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15375
Thanks, Joe. That certainly means a lot, coming from you.
And likewise, of course. Just when I think I've wrung as much as I can from a game, I find a couple hundred words in the newsletter on an angle I completely ignored.
It's a good question to which I don't know the answer, and I'm not sure the Fielding Bible people or Mark do either. It's also a small sample size based upon data that includes some amount of subjective judgement. I repeated it simply to suggest that it was anything but a routine play - the chances of it being caught were probably less than 50/50.
For what it's worth, Cruz is considered an above-average defender according to FRAA, UZR and Plus/Minus, with estimates of his value ranging from 4-13 runs above average per year over the last 3. Total Zone puts him much closer to average (+0/8 per year) but it would seem to be the outlier here.
Oh, get real. Oliver allowed four homers in 57.1 innings this year. Uehara allowed 14 in 66.1; the man has a serious gopher problem.
Darren Oliver has been pretty damn good for awhile now. Past five seasons: 0.6 HR/9, 2.4 BB/9, 7.6 K/9, and even better this year: 0.5, 1.9, 7.8. .212/.250/.305 vs LHB last two seasons. Feliz at .159/.234/.253 vs. LHB in that span, but having already fired most of his bullets while showing that he had far less than his best control. Not gonna kill Wash for that one.
Regarding Cruz's play, via ESPN's Mark Simon on Twitter:
The @fieldingbible folks say 17 balls hit in 2011 to apx spot of Freese triple, with 4 sec hang time. 3 were caught. So yes, tough play.
I would classify the technique as bad - putting the ball in the air is generally the last thing you want to do on a bunt - but the result was good.
Good example on foul/fair pole.
According to Twitter, the Cardinals have removed Matt Holliday from the roster due to a sprained wrist, replacing him with Adron Chambers. Allen Craig gets the start in left field.
I understand what both are saying, but I also believe Wikipedia is quote correct when it says, "Ground rule double is also the term used to refer to a fairly hit ball leaving the field in circumstances that do not merit a home run as described in Major League Baseball (MLB) rules 6.09(e) through 6.09(h). MLB rules use no term other than 'ground rule double' for such a two-base award."
And then there's Ruben Rivera, who had this amazingly boneheaded basepath adventure, which Jon Miller described as the worst baserunning in the history of the game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZ94rkwdTvQ
How about Roger Cedeno? I can't find the exact quote, but it was something like, "He chases the ball until it stops rolling, and runs until he is tagged out."
Fox has backed off the use of PitchTrax though they did show it at times - the questionable Pujols K, for one. To be sure, there were inconsistencies both horizontally and vertically - check the link to the essential Fastmaps, which use Mike Fast's observations about the differing de facto zones called against righty and lefty hitters. At a glance, I'd say that while others had more expanded zones - Game Four, in particular - this one seemed to have more crossover (called balls called that were more in the zone than some of the strikes).
To be honest, I had never heard that distinction in my 34 years of watching baseball and 10+ of covering it. The official rulebook contains the term "ground rule double" but not "automatic double or "rulebook double."
For what it's worth, the ball simply bounced over the wall, I believe on one hop.
For all nearly pitch classifications, I'm going by F/X from MLB Gameday, though yes, that raised an eyebrow. But according to the data at Fangraphs, Garcia's changeup averaged 82.6 MPH this year, the fastball 89.8 MPH, so he doesn't have a lot of room to work with in terms of contrasting velocities. Clearly it works for him in other ways though, at least most of the time.
Yup you are correct on Napoli. I knew where the ball went but my ability to communicate my sense of direction failed me.
Far more importantly, that is so awesome that you were there. I'm happy for you.
I think both decisions, to pull Feliz and Feldman, were worth addressing in at least a bit more detail than I gave above, but I lacked the stamina and focus to address either at the time.
Feliz: He blew the save, allowing three of the six batters he faced to reach, and threw just 12 strikes among his 22 pitches. With that performance on his shoulders, and having not gone two innings since June 21, I don't see a whole lot of justification for bringing him out for another inning. I can find several things to fault Washington for, but pulling him was not one of them - I agree with Impresario.
Feldman: This one was more debatable, with two outs and man on first; Colin's math says that the run expectancy gain was just 0.07 runs. Feldman had allowed two out of four runners to reach, and threw just eight out of 16 strikes, but with the capability of throwing multiple innings, and the gap between him and Lowe or the two lefties, keeping him in was probably the better play, particularly with righties coming up as the first two hitters.
Given that we've now had 10 Wild Card teams win pennants and four win World Series (with the Cardinals potentially a fifth), there's almost certainly no going back. My advice is to invest heavily in canes for shaking at teenagers doing donuts on the lawn, as you're going to need them so long as you remain a baseball fan.
The ninth-inning play was called a hit-and-run by most writers (and IIRC by Fox) in the immediate aftermath, but yes, it was a run-and-hit. I've seen only a few articles that referred to it as such.
Regarding the rest of your comment, if what you're saying is that the break-even point for Craig stealing is above 90 percent, then that is an incredibly asinine strategic move, and I'm not sure I understand how any of the math beyond that could work out in favor of the Cardinals, since he didn't represent the tying run.
I have been dying to use that phrase in a baseball context for weeks. Been listening to that album - criminally underrated relative to Here Come the Warm Jets, and just as sonically inventive - for 15 years and only recently parsed those lyrics, which I now think of often anytime a manager self-immolates with smallball tactics.
Losing Tiger Mountain (By One-Run Strategy)? Damn it, we might need Jim Leyland for that.
I would take all four of those '70s Eno vocal albums with me to a desert island. I wish there were about 2-3 times that many of them scattered throughout his huge catalog.
Oh, you know I'm gonna reuse that. Thanks!
I'm well aware of the 1927 Yankees. It was a goddamn typo.
The Cardinals had the NL's third-best run differential. They led the league in scoring and were middle-of-the-pack in pitching but used some timely work in the mound to beat the two teams with better run differentials in their two playoff series. For all of the stupidity of Game Five, there's nothing about their performance that suggests they have no right or reason to be here.
Yup, can't believe I muffed that as i was watching a replay of it as I wrote, but wee hours and short rest make for the occasional mistake. Fixed above.
In the harsh light of day, all three cited sources now agree that Holland threw 116 pitches, 76 for strikes. The rest of the data pertaining to his pitch count breakdown should be correct.
Drat. Could have sworn I checked this on his ESPN player card. Given the nine-run lead and my focus on writing my own lede at the time, I would have been willing to believe Todd Worrell threw the ninth, as I wasn't paying attention at all.
Looking at Brooks Baseball's two Fastmaps at http://bit.ly/mQpMZ0, I count at least four St. Louis strikes - I didn't match them to pitchers at 2 AM - that were outside the rulebook zone (compared to nine for Texas) though yes, you are correct, for the Cardinals it was more in terms of depth than width.
And no, I don't think it was an egregiously bad zone like we've seen elsewhere in the postseason. The strike zone is a malleable thing, and Holland's effectiveness at going inside consistently expanded that zone a bit. The Cardinals couldn't take advantage to the same extent.
I didn't title the piece, our editors did. The title I submitted at 2:20 AM was "[needs a title, my brain is fried]." Please direct all further complaints elsewhere.
Huh? Monday Night Football starts at 8:30 PM ET on most weeks (http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/39396/monday-night-football-schedule-2011), and Sunday Night Football starts at 8:20 (http://www.betvega.com/nfl-sunday-night-football-schedule/). Thursdays are at 8:20 ET, too.
I'm sorry if you found the term "b-s excuse" a bit harsh - it wasn't intended as a slap at you so much as it being a common fallback for a whole bunch of people who lean upon it to explain Greinke's ups and downs.
We know this: Greinke did not pitch well in the postseason. Roenicke did not push their starters for extra availability in the postseason, in part because they hadn't been pitching well, and in part because he's just not that imaginative. Gallardo wasn't moved up to pitch Game Six on three days' rest. Greinke, in whom the team has invested a whole lot, wasn't going to be called upon under that circumstance either.
Interestingly, our 2011 defensive stats like Freese (0.3 FRAA) more than Descalso (-9.2, but with about 1/4 of his defensive innings at 2B or SS), and both Total Zone and UZR liked him more as well. We're talking about less than half a season of data for Descalso at third base, but yes, that looks a bit questionable.
Punto slugged .421 this year, 94 points higher than his career average, so again, it's enough of a risk that can see the merit of pitching to the guy slugging .150.
Still thinking about the Jay bunt, one thing that occurred to me was the possibility that La Russa was using it to bait Washington into the IBB. Would such a move have merit? Let's break out the Run Expectancy table (I'm using this one of 1993-2010 data: http://bit.ly/pzA9Mk) and play with it.
Runner on 1B, no out after Furcal walk: 0.929
Jay led the Cardinals in GB% (56.6%), but due to his speed was tough to double (2.2%, -2.2 Net DP). If he makes an out without advancing the runner (16% strikeout rate, 33% chance of an air ball], the RE drops to 0.555, and Pujols is at the plate – an outstanding hitter, but also the majors' easiest to double up (4.9%, 9.6 Net DP), with just a 9% chance of striking out, and a 36% chance of a groundball, 45% chance of an air ball.
If Jay advances the runner via a bunt, the RE for runner on 2B, one out drops to 0.714. Washington isn't a guy who orders many intentional walks (Rangers were 2nd-to-last in AL with 21), and of the ones he did, only six were with one out, and only three of those in a high-leverage situation (Daric Barton, Alex Rodriguez and Adrian Gonzalez were the recipients), so it's not like this is a tendency La Russa was likely to anticipate based upon past history (he had five such instances in 2010).
If Washington does have Pujols walked, the run expectancy with men on first and second with one out rebounds to 0.948, though Holliday is nearly as prone to the DP (4.5%, fourth in the majors) as Pujols, and even more prone to the groundball (46.2 percent to 44.9 percent for 2011).
So yes, there's an ever-so-slight gain to be had in using a sac bunt to trigger an intentional walk, but only if you know that the intentional walk is coming, and based upon Washington's tendency it seems a stretch to suggest that was a guaranteed move.
This is the best one I've seen yet, maybe a split second before the ones you link to, and it still looks very close http://bit.ly/pmxzRH
having reviewed the play several times this morning, I can say that the increment by which he missed the ball was easily less than a foot. A few inches. Good photo here: http://reut.rs/q5baXV
Wow, I looked at the replay again and you're right - I had seen it a couple of times before and I was sure Cruz had, and I didn't go back to check when writing this up in the wee hours. Still, a very close play.
As for Descalso, I've been making that mistake all season, why stop now?
Neither do I. Since none of us really know the first thing about how it affects Greinke, it's a b-s excuse to haul it out anytime an underperformance needs to be explained away.
Turns out we're both wrong in that little Nicky Punto gets the start at second base tonight. .273/.389/.409 vs lefties in 57 PA this year, .257/.322/.327 career.
Collectively we decided that Wilson is ineligible until they film a sequel in which he is being tortured via force-fed chalupas.
Oh yes, I can't recommend this enough. Wrote about it here a couple years ago: http://bit.ly/or3xuy
I considered writing up Hrabosky, but this article was conceived during the rematch of the two 1982 World Series participants, and I felt a Brewer had to represent.
The Rangers have removed both Uehara and Tatayama from the roster, adding Lowe and catcher Matt Treanor, so consider these appended to their respective sections:
Out since September 20 due to a hamstring strain, Lowe is back on the roster, likely to fulfill the lower-leverage role occupied by the displaced Japanese hurlers; like both, he's vulnerable to the longball (1.2 HR/9 this year); he also tends to walk his fair share (3.0 UBB/9), and is a liability against lefties (.295/.378/.506 career).
Treanor (.214/.338/.291, .255 TAv, -1.2 FRAA, 0.6 WARP) isn't much of a hitter, though he can take a walk now and then. As the roster's third catcher, he gives Washington the flexibility to pinch-hit for Torrealba, though as noted before, Napoli is likely to see most of the time behind the plate, particularly in St. Louis.
Since Jason included Schumaker and not Ryan Theriot in his analysis, I'll add the note on the latter to the bench section:
Theriot spent most of the season as the Cardinals' shortstop before Furcal's arrival; while his overall numbers aren't impressive, his .310/.356/.413 line against lefties (.301/.373/.401) likely means he'll see time at the keystone in Schumaker's place given the latter's feeble .210/.281/.243 career line vs. southpaws.
I've used both during my time as a writer, but more recently have gone to the two-word version because both B-Ref and ESPN do it that way.
Interesting, though the Brewers aren't in a great trade position given the way they emptied their farm system this past winter for Greinke and Marcum.
Among the in-house options are Mat Gamel and Corey Hart (who played a fair bit of 1B in the minors). On the free agent market are Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, Michael Cuddyer, Casey Kotchman, and Russell Branyan. None of those are fantastic options, but there are some productive options in there, none of which should cost an arm and a leg.
more late night math correction: total number of innings by the STL bullpen was 28.2, with a 1.88 ERA.
Corrections: Pujols hit .478/.556/.913 and Berkman got on base at a .391 clip. The rest of my math wasn't bad for 2 AM.
Richard, you make some fair points , but to simply dismiss the matter of pennant-winning as "primarily based on luck" is a gross underestimation of what it takes. Obviously, first your team has have to win enough games over the 162-game season to make it to the playoffs, which is a considerable achievement. Yes, luck does play a part in the playoffs, but over time it tends to even out. For Leyland, the heartbreak of the early-90s Pirates - who were good enough to win a pennant - is somewhat offset by the Marlins' less-likely win, perhaps part of a cosmic Francisco Cabrera/Eric Gregg trade. That Leyland has had as much success as he had with three fairly different situations is an indicator that there's more than luck involved.
As for the Rockies, Leyland was by his own accounts burned out from managing, and the fact that he took the next six years away from the dugout suggests he was quite serious about that - it's a demanding job, and he wasn't simply trying to weasel out of one position so as to take another (a la Billy Martin with the Rangers, or even Piniella with the Devil Rays). You could accuse Leyland of doing that in Florida, but the Huizenga teardown of the 1997 team was more or less a generational fluke (the post-dynasty A's of the 1970s would have been the most recent comparisons) and changed the conditions under which he was working rather drastically; I think most established managers put in that position would have done the same. That he was able to find considerable success after returning at an age when a lot of managers have hung up their spikes is impressive; his could have been an Earl Weaver comeback.
As for the run differential and Pythagorean stuff, I couldn't put everything into the article that I would have liked (ESPN imposes space limitations on us), and it's not the easiest stuff to gather (B-Ref doesn't aggregate, so comparisons are time-consuming), or the most revealing, particularly in a career that as I pointed out featured a lot of teams that had relatively little shot at winning. Overall he's at -11 (-13 in his first year, +2 since) by my back-of-the-envelope calculation, but does that tell us much (Piniella was -5, for purposes of "comparison")? Take his two years in Florida: does a 54-win team falling four games shy of its projection mean as much as a 92-win team exceeding theirs by four wins? No, because those marginal wins at the top end are worth a whole lot more, and in this case they were the difference between winning the Wild Card and being in a three-way tie.
The teams Leyland did take to the playoffs almost uniformly overachieved relative to pythag; those three Pirates winners were a combined nine wins above expectations, the Marlins another four, the '06 Tigers were even, and this year's bunch was six above. The 2009 near-miss club, which lost a play-in, was five wins above expectations; they were outscored by two runs, one of them in the 12th inning of Game 163. What does one do with that particular season's worth of info, ding him for blowing a seven-game lead or credit him for an overachieving team? There's no clear answer.
As for the argument that he didn't stay in one place long enough, Leyland did last 11 years in Pittsburgh and has six seasons under his belt in Detroit. Piniella lasted 10 in Seattle but never more than 3 anywhere else except for his partial 2010 with the Cubs. Dick Williams' longest stint was just under six years with Montreal (he was relieved of duty in late 1981 when the Expos made the playoffs); he totaled 10 years with the three teams he took to the World Series. Casey Stengel's second-longest stint was five years, five very sub-.500 years with the Boston Braves. I could go on and on - not everybody is Weaver or Lasorda or Bobby Cox.
As to the "fifth-best" argument, well, you have to look at the whole stretch of his career if you're talking about Hall of Famers. A quick-and-dirty WAR ranking (I'm using the Play Index) tells us that Biggio, Alomar, Kent, Sandberg and Utley are the top five in WAR from 1986-2011; two enshrined, Biggio with 3000 hits, Kent with a good case, and Utley the superior player at his position of recent years if hardly a lock due to injuries. Also on the list are Lou Whitaker (7th, with the majority of his career already behind him) and Robinson Cano (11th, and just 28 years old) - we may yet get five HOFers among the upper reaches of that list. So yeah, I don't think it's an unreasonable argument that Leyland is Hallworthy on that front either.
Perhaps because I've gotten used enough to the idea that our TV perspective makes us viewers less accurate arbiters than we think we are (per the work of Colin Wyers and Mike Fast), I didn't think the strike zone was particularly remarkable.
There was some early kvetching about how wide it was, and a look at the Brooks Baseball Fastmaps (http://bit.ly/oQsES9) - which I didn't check while writing this - confirms both that and that there were a handful of pitches at the bottom of the zone, particularly against righties, that were called for strikes, and Wolf and friends may have gotten the benefit of a couple more calls than the Cardinals did; the Redbirds seem to have gotten more of the benefit of the doubt on calls at the edges of the zone, particularly on the first base side against lefties. I think it mostly comes out in the wash.
Kotsay's in the lineup for Hart for Game Four. I don't like that move either, feels like Roenicke is overthinking these decisions. Three days ago, Hart was riding a five-game postseason hitting streak. Now he's riding the bench - this for a guy who hit .313/.343/.597 with a team-high 5 homers against STL this year.
Man, I got confused when you were referring both to me and the STL center fielder by the same name.
The other point I'd add is that not being doubled off second forces Carpenter to throw another handful of pitches, too. Not that getting to the Cardinals' bullpen helped the Brewers any.
Goddamn it. When I alphabetized the names, I cut him off, and wrote around what was left. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Anderson was the first manager to win a World Series in both leagues. La Russa was the second - it was going to be either him or Leyland in 2006.
Not nearly enough. The play resulted in runs being scored that might have scored anyway, but it also forced Gallardo to throw extra pitches — and not good ones, in his shakiest inning — costing him at least an inning on the back end.
"missed a hanging curve": 325 Google results.
"missed a hanging slider": 348 Google results.
"missed a hanging breaking ball": 943 Google results.
Not a ridiculous amount, but not "no one" either.
Thanks, Ryan. I'm credentialed for Philadelphia and would like to get down there to cover a game or two if they advance, but if not, I'll take up the action from my couch the rest of the way... once I get some sleep.
Over at Pinstriped Bible, I've got a notebook regarding a few points about this series: http://bit.ly/qF4iBu
Starters and relievers, lefties and righties, Granderson's defense, and a bit more about Burnett vs. Cabrera and Martinez.
Jackson's BABIP dependence is hardly ideal, but he's actually been about average for an AL leadoff hitter when you take his two years together. Last year he hit .294/.345/.407 where the average AL leadof hit .267/.330/.364; this year the worm has turned, and he's at .249/.317/.374 compared to league average .265/.326/.395. Because no other regular on their team has any speed whatsoever (Jackson stole 22 of their league-low 49 bases and had 11 of their 34 triples), it would have taken more outside-the-box thinking than Leyland can probably muster to put somebody like Peralta or Avila in the leadoff spot. That's in part on him, and again, partially a roster construction problem.
I've said several times on the air this year that the second base situation is something that the Tigers have won in spite of, and that they erred by not giving Sizemore a full shot at the job. This team has overcome some fundamental roster construction flaws to get to this point however (the contracts of Guillen and Ordonez, the overreliance on ball-in-play pitchers with a less-than-stellar middle infield), and I do think Leyland deserves more credit for managing around those flaws than he does criticism.
Interesting, I had not heard that about Fisk. Google did find this preservation of a Peter Gammons tweet:
Carlton Fisk almost ended his career with a home plafe [sic] collision in '74, learned to sweep tag and went to Cooperstown.
Twice, I believe both times against Martin, Peralta displayed falldown range as the ball went right past him. His defensive numbers have improved since switching teams, and somewhere I remarked that those plays looked more like Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta than they did Detroit's.
As for Avila, I think that positioning is so he's not guaranteed a collision at the plate. But yeah, maybe even six inches or another foot back and he gets the tag.
That was bad, though not as bad asJeter's bunt, which actually cost more than the out at first, though he was let off the hook by Granderson's double. But yeah, giving up outs.
I've referenced this a couple of times on Twitter, but there's a great Brian Eno lyric I think of when I see excessive bunting: "Wasting fingers like I had them to spare." (From "Mother Whale Eyeless," on the absolutely killer Taking Tiger Mountain).
I think Granderson said after the game that he misjudged the ball initially, which upped the degree of difficulty.
Burnett got 15 called strikes to Porcello's 18. Looking at the Brooks Baseball Fastmap (a strike zone map of what was actually called vs. LH and RH batters, drawn to the specs of our own Mike Fast: http://bit.ly/pIte98), it appears that Porcello got a few more calls on the outer edge against lefties, and more of the borderline pitches against righties as well. Still, I don't think there were nearly so many complaints as Gerry Davis' zone the night before.
By my count, Sabathia went to 2 strikes on 13 hitters, needed 39 pitches to finish them. 4 BB, 3K, 2 1B, 4 in-play outs.
Wow, I don't think I've ever gotten a compliment quite like that. I'll take it, thanks!
I appreciate all the compliments here, actually. I'm credentialed for the NY games of this series, hence the singularity of my focus - it's the first time that I've ever had a playoff credential - and while it's pretty cool, the intensity of that investment means sacrificing most of the time I'd otherwise spend watching the other series. Thanks to the callback from the rainout, I haven't seen more than three innings of any game in the other three series yet.
I had expected we would have other writers covering other series, at least from their couches. I can't speak to what the plans were or are, if somebody blew an assignment or what - I don't know the situation - but I do agree that our readership deserves quality coverage of the other series as well.
Girardi has announced that Burnett will start Game 4. Asked before Game 2, he elaborated his thinking w/r/t Hughes:
Q. I think you had mentioned Hughes as a possibility for Game 4 as well. What led to the decision ultimately of A.J. over Hughes?
JOE GIRARDI: The only way I probably would have used Hughes in Game 4 is if we had to use A.J. last night. Phil hasn't been stretched out lately. A.J., his month of September was not bad. You look at the strikeouts per innings, it was a complete turnaround from August. It was just if we had to use A.J. yesterday, I might have had to start Hughesie.
Alas, I did not review the replay of Avila play before leaving the ballpark at 1:45 AM, and am in error. Avila slid, but Russell Martin was far enough up the line to put a high tag on him before he could get low enough into his slide.
K rate. Among AL ERA qualifiers, he was 34th out of 42 with his 5.3 per nine, and 36th with his 6.6 percent swinging strike rate. Tough to consider a guy a power pitcher if he misses that few bats, no matter what his velocity.
Well played, sir!
Apology accepted. I (over?)used "overuse" as a shorthand in the service of a shower of data with which I had cited in partial or full form a few times over the past week as I was putting together this piece over morning coffee. I don't mind showing my work, but I don't expect to have to drag out every shard of it or undertake a full PitchF/X probe in the service of writing about one of more than a dozen players in a piece that had plenty of data already.
I don't doubt that mental fatigue can present itself even at lesser workloads. It's also important to remember that very few of these players - relievers especially - are anywhere near 100 percent physically at this time of year. Perhaps that makes relying on the fatigue explanation a bit too convenient - we might say the same thing about Papelbon, Bard, et al.
Mental fatigue would seem to qualify as overuse, no? And while we don't have smoking gun hard evidence - I don't particularly care whether or not we use the word "overuse" - we can say this definitively:
Atlanta's two young relievers, who were 1-2 in the NL in appearances, both had lousy Septembers that played major roles in the team's collapse, including 3 blown saves, 3 homers, 8 walks and 8 runs allowed in their final 8.1 innings.
Direct proof? No, but how often do we, really?
I will say that of the six runs he allowed in that 7.1 inning span from 9/9 onward, five of them - all but last night's - and thus two of the blown saves came when he was pitching on consecutive days. The other featured his highest pitch count (29) since June.
Yes, I wasn't going any further into the laws of thermodynamics than the increase in the number of playoff options and extra games. The metaphor only takes us so far, because the entropy of this system does decrease once the season ends.
"Lisa, in this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"
I'm not sure I can pull this off two nights in a row, but I haven't entirely ruled it out. Not helping is the fact that I've come down with a cold. Blerg.
I don't believe that it contains individual breakouts the way UZR does, but that doesn't mean those factors aren't incorporated into the mix. A better question for Colin Wyers than for myself.
The WARP values are driven by the way we calculate Fair Run Average, which has to do with expected levels of defensive support and the impact of sequencing. Colin explained it at http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=11779 but it could still stand further clarification.
If you're the kind of person who wants to follow Kemp's progress on an at-bat by at-bat basis, True Blue LA has handy tables showing what potential combinations of at-bats and hits will put him ahead of Ryan Braun and Jose Reyes, the two men ahead of him in batting average: http://sbn.to/qmAPKZ
Updated WARP standings thru Sunday: Kemp 7.9, Braun 6.8; Bautista 10.3, Ellsbury 9.0.
Very good point about league size and the increasing difficulty of winning the award. I cite the expansion of the leagues often when I talk about Black Ink in the Hall of Fame context, but it's obviously a factor here as well.
So I guess I shoulda written up the Angels, too. Now even with the Rays, 2.5 behind Boston (2 in the loss column).
As a Brown University graduate, I can also report that one variant of the Ted Turner expulsion rumor was that he sent a bowling ball down the East Side Trolley Tunnel. Alas, he has since laid that rumor to rest.
Thank you, ScottyB! And here I was kicking myself because I probably should have more about our talented writers and so forth...
Outstanding stuff, Mike. Very interesting discussion & quantification of Posada's shortcomings, among other things. And wow on Martin.
Dear Jim Bowden: Never change.
Injuries (plantar fascia, Tommy John surgery on right elbow), the presence of Adrian Gonzalez, and questions about his lack of mobility/defensive ability in a park that requires it have been pretty obvious impediments. Most of those aren't a factor now (he's healthy, Gonzalez is gone, and small sample defensive metrics don't entirely hate his LF play), but he's hit just .198/.291/.374 in 299 PA since returning from surgery while striking out one-third of the time.
They were at 99.9% as recently as September 7: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/hitlist/index.php?thisdate=2011-09-07
I wish George Steinbrenner had been alive and coherent enough to comment on this hat flap. Had MLB tried to pull this stunt on the Yankees, he would have made Bud Selig sorry he was ever born.
Some perspective is in order with regards to the way the 2 NY teams handled post 9/11 security.
As I've documented before (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8108), the Yankees went totally over the wall when it came to the changes wrought by 9/11. They outlawed backpacks and briefcases, even umbrellas, incorporated "God Bless America" into every damn ballgame and even ordered their security to restrict movement during the song's playing, at least until someone went public with reports of harassment by NY police in 2008. They did frisk during the 2001 World Series - I know, I was there.
Meanwhile, the Mets were much more reasonable with their parks' security practices - one could bring in backpacks, briefcases, etc. There are times I've been frisked there, and times I haven't; I have no clear timeline as to when, but I've generally only gone 1-2 times a year since then. On the whole, their record on 9/11-related issues has been much less heavy-handed and condescending.
I'm sorry if you had a bad experience at Citi, but relative to what New Yorkers have put up with for the past 10 years, at their ballparks and elsewhere, I don't think it counts as remarkable.
While I'm no longer involved in the Hit List, I'm happy to see it relaunched, and thank those readers who spoke up and pined for its return. It's my baby, and letting go of it after 6+ years isn't the easiest thing, but — in this case, at least — change is good.
McLain was at 67 that year, which is just a bit outside of the 90th percentile.
Yes, I understand that. While I could have stood to point that out in the piece, I'm not particularly troubled by it; we've spent years evaluating various ERA estimators, some of which are more conscious of HR/FB related issues (which are much bigger than park-related K/BB issues) than others and found that the added complexity isn't worth the effort for what is, after all, an estimate.
If we park-adjust, that may knock one or two tenths of a run off a team's FIP estimate at the extreme, but to pretend that we're suddenly adding significantly more precision by introducing that complexity is wrong; after all, we can debate exactly which park factor to use (one year? three years? five years? broken down by lefty/righty?) until the cows come home. Better to reserve that for a full-on projection system, which is merited for some applications, but not this back-envelope one (note that the FIPpery is at the bottom of these pieces rather than as the lead).
While I've never trusted those signatures as authentic, a Google image search reveals that he was listed as Joel Horlen through the 1967 Topps edition, and Joe Horlen thereafter.
WARP has him worth just 10.3 wins over the course of his career, with a high of 2.9 WARP in 1964 and a meager 1.5 in 1967 despite his sterling W-L and ERA. He got insane defensive support, .218 and .216 BABIPs in those seasons, and the system is awarding much of that to the defenses instead. B-Ref's WAR is much more charitable, and probably more in line with the way he was viewed at the time, with 22.2 wins for his career and 4.6 for each of those seasons; he got down-ballot MVP consideration in both, and was the only other AL pitcher besides Jim Lonborg to get Cy Young votes (2, possibly both from Chicago voters, but still).
Oddly, while I've known him (historically, at least, as in when I wrote about the 1967 AL race for It Ain't Over) as Joel Horlen, B-Ref has him listed as Joe Horlen as well. So it's something that's incorrect at whatever master database level that spawned both sites' player registers.
The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham weighs in with an interesting take about how to use Buchholz if he doesn't get stretched out: http://bo.st/o42Jlp
I debated whether to do the Angels (and the Giants for the NL), but I was pushing 2500 words and chose to stop short. I may include both as an addendum to the second installment.
Crap. It is indeed 2-2-1; it was 2-3 through 1998. Only one division series has gone five games in the past five seasons (Tampa Bay-Texas, a series of which I did not see a whole lot), hence the rust.
E-6 nonetheless, and apologies for the confusion.
Yeah, I'm of the opinion that the team should have broken camp with Allen as the primary 1B instead of mucking around with Miranda. At this point, an Allen/Goldschmidt platoon would whiff a ton but they'd put some runs on the board, too.
Was that 42-pitch mess really all that surprising? Mattingly learned at the knee of Joe Torre, who let Jonathan Broxton flail for even longer.
Some fair points in there, however:
* Jackson has pitched pretty well in STL save for the start where TLR left him in to allow 10 runs. 4/6 quality starts if you're going by earned runs.
* Rios has been on first base only about 5 times this year. He's late to learn that you can't steal it.
* It's pretty laughable that suffering the craptacularity of Pierre on a daily basis isn't providing the offense with enough speed. Meanwhile, Dayan Viciedo has been rotting in Triple-A; he should have been up weeks or months ago.
Gah. I mentioned earlier that the game was in Detroit, but that's still E-6. Apologies.
At at the moment, it's on a hiatus, because it had been lagging behind our regular columns in traffic and hadn't rewarded the extra effort it required of myself and the rest of our staff. We are working on returning with a more streamlined and less labor-intensive version sometime in the near future - I have seen the prototype - but it's anyone's guess how near that future is.
You can still get Hit List rankings via the Adjusted Standings page. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/standings/
I was traveling and thus didn't get my entry off in time, but I was leaning towards choosing this one, which was made all the worse by the green light from head trainer Stan Conte, who had handled him in San Francisco.
I feel ill just writing about it.
This and the previous comment might be the dumbest I've read at this site in quite some time. Easily.
The life of a freelance writer isn't an easy one. We all scramble to make a buck or two here and there as we flit from venue to venue and project to project, and our names are our calling cards. Why in the hell shouldn't a writer put up a website with his name? Plenty of them do, and not just Sheehan. Stephen King has one. Rob Neyer has one. Jonah Keri has one. King Kaufman has one. And so on. I know that Jonah spends three hours a day in front of a mirror combing his hair just so, but I'm not sure the others could be accused of narcissism. In Joe's case, he's got links to his SI work, his radio hits, podcast, newsletter... and yeah, people pay for it because it's a quality product.
I'm sure many a writer has tried running his career from a tin cup on the corner before saving up to lease a vendor cart in midtown. But you know, only so many people walk by you on the streets every day needing a critique of Jim Tracy's bullpen management failures, and they're usually in a rush to get somewhere. So you gotta figure out a way to reach more people than that.
I think somebody claimed Elia but must not have made it in before the deadline. Perhaps it will be along before the day is done.
I gave strong consideration to two other alternatives, Tommy Lasorda's filthy Dave Kingman rant (about 1:15 into http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPx327SbBQ00), and this wonderful Earl Weaver tirade: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl-4FSRYagc
I don't think Thomas is going to have any problem getting in. Yes, much of his value comes from his walks, but he had tremendous power, won back-to-back MVP awards, had black ink all over the place, and emerged as one of the few players about whom there was little question of steroid use - he advocated for testing as early as 1995, and was the only active player to cooperate with George Mitchell's investigation. He cleared 500 homers easily with a solid penultimate season, and will probably go in to the Hall on the first ballot.
Murray gained entry in his first year of eligibility, getting 85 percent of the vote — and well he should have, as he was a plus defender as well as a very good hitter for a very long time. Thome's power and walks made him a more valuable hitter, but his lack of defensive value hurts him in a direct comparison.
I entertained the idea of writing up some hot-hitting non-contender guys who might be moved during the waiver period, but the article was long enough as it is.
The heat map stuff doesn't entirely jibe with the story he's telling - he's catching *less* of the strike zone with the cutter in in the 2nd half of 2011 than in the first, yet batters are hitting it for a higher AVG (.303) in that span than in the first (.214)? That trend doesn't match up with the combination of pictures and data he's presented for 2009 and 2010. Funny how it's the smallest sample that's the biggest outlier.
In general I think he's making a big issue out of small samples and underestimating how much of the decline relates to balls in play in comparison to how much is based upon Three True Outcomes stuff that's much more under the pitcher's control. Here are his numbers vs. LHB over the last 3 seasons:
2009: 130 PA, .182/.238/.273, .229 BABIP, 2.3% HR, 6.9% UIBB, 26.9% K
2010: 110 PA, .214/.264/.301, .230 BABIP, 1.8% HR, 3.6% UIBB, 12.7% K
2011: 80 PA, .269/.278/.372, .311 BABIP, 2.5% HR, 1.3% UIBB, 18.8% K
The smallest sample features by far the highest BABIP, a slightly higher HR rate, by far the lowest walk rate, and a middle-of-the-pack strikeout rate. If we prorate those 2009-2010 combined numbers to his 2011 sample size (80 PA), what we wind up with is that instead of retiring 60 hitters, he's retired 58, walking four fewer people (dropping from 5 to 1) and striking out one more, but allowing 6 more hits on balls in play, including a double. Sure, some of that probably has to do with location, but there's still a whole lot of randomness and luck that separates his 2011 from 2009-2010.
It was the presentation of those thoroughly misogynist and offensive quotes from commenters ("Matt English") and "Amy Nelson's Dad" (and maybe others) for the sheer purposes of entertainment that pissed me off. That was as far over the line as anything I've encountered in nearly 15 years of arguing about baseball on the Internet, a total disgrace even for a blog which has made calculated offensiveness part of its shtik.
While I'm not sold on the veracity of the allegations Nelson and Keating presented, I see absolutely no excuse for resorting to that kind of childish and irresponsible bullshit.
Our staff is only so big. We could have easily doubled up - Harrelson/Rose, Farnsworth/Affeldt, Yanks vs. Lee, Fisk vs. Munson, and so on. So many to choose from
Nothing against Philip Seymour Hoffman, but I'm deeply disappointed that they couldn't reanimate the late G. Wood of M*A*S*H fame (General Hamilton Hammond) to play Art Howe. It's like they were separated at birth:
Aside from Andruw Jones and the Dodgers, anyone recall any player in recent memory taking a buyout from a team to go away? This doesn't seem to happen at all, though it probably should in some cases.
Slapping my head because I forgot to include another explanation for why Ichiro made the Vortices list: he's an imposter.
I see somebody couldn't even make it to the end of the paragraph.
McDonald and DeWitt probably could have helped these Dodgers. As for the rest, as noted there's still an opportunity cost to squandering prospects, even if they don't pan out. The Dodgers might have been able to use Lambo etc to get something they needed in a year where they were actually going somewhere.
I keep hoping Sabean will retire so he can return to San Francisco.
The Lee signing broke a string of such skimping. In 2008-2009, they spent less on draft bonuses than any other MLB team, and lagged well behind in significant international bonuses.
I didn't write that line, didn't even see it until you pointed it out, and I agree it's misleading. Sorry if that caused you any high blood pressure.
As a Yankee fan, I certainly have a soft spot for O'Neill, but I too find it galling when those able to keep a calmer head about them are read as not caring as much. And I think you're right that the perception of the Mets' woes is exacerbated by the Yankees' concurrent success; both teams missed the playoffs in 2008, but one rebounded with a championship in 2009, and the other fell into a downward spiral of dysfunction. That
And that Beltran-Pujols battle was like a video game. Wow.
He's got 19 steals over the past 1 2/3 seasons, so he's no longer a big speed threat, and sure, the clubhouse intangibles thing could help his cause, but it remains to be seen how cheerful his disposition gets if/when he's reduced to a part-time role.
For some reason I keep thinking of how bitter Luis Gonzalez became in LA when he was bumped from 150 starts a year to 127. Those intangibles became a whole lot more intangible.
In 101 PA, Beltran has the highest slugging percentage (.817) and OPS (1302), and sixth-highest OBP (.485) of any player in postseason history.
Oh, man, that's a groaner. Late night conflation of two seasons, and you'd think I'd have caught the error when I looked at Beltran's line and added up the two (not three) series.
E-6, into the seat.
Thanks. It was Ubaldo, not Felix, that I mentioned, and it sounds like that's who you meant, in that he's under club control and relatively cheap.
and what about 2 months of a 4th starter (more accurate on Jackson)?
The Internet is hot with rumors this morning about a deal that would send Edwin Jackson to Toronto, with the assumption that the Blue Jays would flip him in a deal to the White Sox involving Rasmus. If so, well played by Anthopoulos.
Whoops, that's what happens when count on Antonio Alfonseca's fingers instead of your own.
When you're losing 15-20 runs a year with your glove — a couple of wins, in some years — that has a way of depressing your WARP totals.
That's certainly one reasonable way to rank them, Richie, particularly if I was opening the field to ALL double play combos instead of just enshrined ones. Nonetheless, it was more than I could manage without help from the data elves, and the tack I chose was specifically Hall-related. The problem is that none of the ones where both are enshrined lasted all that long, so the totals wouldn't wind up all that high.
I share your feelings on Concepcion, particularly given Morgan's (and to a lesser extent Bench's) involvement in the Hall.
Not very well, both because of Jeter's defensive numbers (whose extremity should be regarded with some skepticism) and because the other guys haven't played very long.
Using Clay Davenport's numbers:
Cano (33.9) + Jeter (50.9) = 84.8, which would rank 8th if both were in. Jeter's a lock even given the bad D, but Cano is going to need more seasons like last year to compile a good case, because he tends toward mediocre OBPs.
Utley (47.4) + Rollins (36.6) = 84.0, which would rank 9th if both were in. Both are in their age 31 seasons but neither has a peak which comes close to the position standards (Utley's at 46.3, the average Hall 2B is at 53.0; Rollins is at 32.8, compared to 47.9 for Hall SS), and given their injuries I suspect longevity will be a problem for both.
Well, it's important to note that many of the guys who come in with substandard JAWS scores are guys whose careers — whose primes, even — was interrupted by World War II. JAWS doesn't make any specific allowances for that, but a careful look certainly suggests a lot of those scores could be much higher. I'm not saying that all of those guys - Gordon, Doerr, Reese, Rizzutto, Herman and Pesky - should be in the Hall, but more of them would look like better choices if they had the missing two or three years to fill in the gaps.
The havoc that Frisch wrought on the Hall at multiple positions pains me far more.
And Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio for the White Sox, whose tenure included one pennant. Didn't realize the article I pulled up dated to 1996, the year before Fox's induction, and long before Gordon's.
Oops, forgot Joe Gordon and Phil Rizzuto, who won two pennants together for the Yankees prior to their World War II service.
The Hall of fame has 4 double play combos that played together multiple years: joe Tinker-Johnny Evers, Bobby Doerr-Joe Cronin, Jackie Robinson-Pee We Reese, and Alomar-Ripken. From a JAWS standpoint, the latter has the edge, though the Cubs duo (3 pennants, 2 championships) and Dodgers duo (two pennants and two near misses as a combo, six pennants and one championship overall) won more often.
Correction: I am in error on the point of the timing of the initial announcement of the Saturday awards presentation; it was first revealed back in December. http://baseballhall.org/news/press-releases/hall-fame-introduces-saturday-awards-presentation-induction-weekend-lineup
Nonetheless, the fact remains that the event has been significantly underpublicized, and nowhere on either the Hall of Fame's site nor the MLB site have I been able to find any indication that there will be any live TV, radio or Internet coverage of the event.
As for "overly complex," it's important to distinguish between a single metric (SIERA, FIP, xFIP, whatever) which is designed for a specific purpose and takes into account a limited amount of data, and a full-on projection system, which uses tons of data and historical comparisons to spit out a very complex array of numbers we call a projection.
The mistake people make (and I don't exclude myself from this, at least when resorting to the shorthand lingo of conversational sabermetrics) is to conflate those ERA estimators with a full-on projection system that takes into account multiple years of data, park and league adjustments, physical comps (in the case of PECOTA), and other situations. Saying a pitcher's ERA will go in a given direction because his FIP or SIERA says so is a shortcut, but you'd rather have the larger sample and the more complex beast of a projection system, at least for some purposes.
...and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I'd bet that Scully drives more premium package purchases than any other broadcaster.
I live in New York City, and buy Extra Innings and/or MLB.TV every year FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE of listening to Vin Scully, whether the Dodgers have a strong team or not.
Man, that's a braincramp, not sure what I was thinking there, particularly as he got into the Hall in 1996. 1964 was his first season beyond Detroit, pitching for the infamous, collapsing Phillies.
I blame the heat, but you can still score that E-6.
Apparently, managers aren't the only ones trying to avoid the real labor of thinking.
Any cutoff is just an arbitrary number, but divorced from the PECOTA projections which are in our PS odd — that is, using the old Odds report based solely on this year's results, the way we used to have them split up —the Twins at 41-48, 6.5 games out at the break had a 0.6 percent chance of making the postseason. You really think they should be considered contenders?
For what it's worth, they cut it to 5 games between Thursday and Sunday, so I included them in Part II, though I still think they're only the most faint of contenders.
Re: Dunn, the defensive value of a DH is zero, but he has found time to be 1.2 runs below average when he's played first base. Note that any notion that his WARP is overstated is countered by the fact that a full-time DH costs a team flexibility, as it means fewer half-days off for other big boppers like Konerko and Quentin. Or you wind up with Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield, as the Sox did in interleague play to avoid benching David Ortiz. Even the best of them cost their team.
As for Willingham, he's a crap fielder but an excellent hitter, with a career .290 TAv, and a track record for consistency that's disguised by his ballpark. His numbers since 2006: .290 .278, .289, .300, .301, .293. He hit .254/.364/.470 in 2008 (that .289 season), and it's less valuable than this yer's line despite the latter being 42 and 31 points lower in OBP and SLG. Put him in Fenway or the Cell and he'd be more popular.
Be careful what you wish for. Their production at second base is actually the majors' worst. For the purposes of this piece I didn't consider them contenders.
Third base has been a particularly weak position this season, with batters hitting a combined .247/.312/.376, virtually identical to what shortstops are hitting (.260/.315/.373) in terms of OBP and SLG. By comparison, last year third basemen hit .263/.324/.418 while shortstops hit .262/.319/.374, a spread of 51 points of OPS. In 2009, the spread was 36 points of OPS, in 2008, it was 54 points, in 2007 it was 46 points. Rolen hasn't had a good season, but through the All-Star break, Cincy's total contribution from third basemen was 15th in OPS (.253/.301/.388), nowhere near RLKiller territory.
My bad. He was essentially about to be fired, but he pulled the trigger himself.
No, the question is why the Dodgers would bother. Since returning from his 2007 broken leg, Rivera's hit .262/.313/.431 in over 1500 PA. By comparison, Marcus Thames, who was DFA'd to make room, has hit .252/.313/.477 in the same timeframe with the same basic tools (righty bat, lousy glove).
I believe I first encountered the phrase via Lakefront Brewery's Cream City Pale Ale, and learned that it had to do with architecture:
"Milwaukee has long been known as the 'Cream City,' and while many people assume that the name comes from the State's long pre-eminence in the dairy industry, it is in fact derived from the cream-colored bricks from which many of the City's buildings are constructed."
Google shows a handful of Milwaukee-area companies who use Cream City in their name.
Closer at third base (pretty much the runner-up, with Casey McGehee's -0.8 WARP worse than Inge but his .213 TAv significantly better) than at shortstop (SF slightly worse). Both merit a dishonorable mention - I'll probably tack some one-liners onto the end of Monday's piece.
Guerrero was on my short list to write up, and if I'd thought long enough, Downing would have been, too.
Careful. One of those teams is just a game out of first and enjoying a pretty good season despite Overbay's actions.
Lyle Overbay is pure evil. I hear sells poisoned milk to schoolchildren. Meanwhile, Bruce Chen feeds kittens to his boa constrictor on days he pitches. America would be further outraged if they knew what lousy tippers both were, if only they could be bothered to care.
Interesting point - though I wrote about it years ago in Mind Game, I had forgotten that Ortiz was Mariner property at the beginning of his career. Signed (out of the DR, and using his mother's maiden name) as David Arias in November 1992, traded to Minnesota in 1996 as the PTBNL in a deal for David Hollins, and upon arriving he changed his name back to Ortiz - a Player To Be Named Later himself.
You are Gordon Beckham. Grow the hell up.
I stand corrected, as the 10-years are in a staff-only vetting stage and not yet visible to our subscribers. Apology for the confusion.
Not sure how long they've been up or why their release wasn't trumpeted but 10-year PECOTAs are on the player cards.
On my El Paso radio hit this week, the conversation about Mark Cuban got rather unhinged in a fairly entertaining fashion: http://bit.ly/k4o91U
...and of course right when we start noticing them, manager Jim Riggleman resigns due to an unresolved 2012 option. http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/06/23/shocker-unhappy-with-contract-jim-riggleman-resigns-as-nationals-manager
At some point I'd like to sit down and write about the Dodgers, but most of what's been written about lately is the province of lawyers, and my law degree came out of a box of Cracker Jacks. For the moment, the linked articles by the LA Times' Bill Shaikin and DodgerDivorce.com's Josh Fisher (at ESPN) provide a pretty good summary of what's going on, as does a more recent piece by Fisher: http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/news/story?id=6685326.
They're already casting his bronze plaque. Suck it, Jack Morris.
I would imagine that in spite of the loss, Ryan was quite proud of his protege, because this was the kind of moment that transcends just another win or loss. The odds are so stacked against any amount of major league success, however brief, after such a transition, and I'm sure Ryan has to know that he did a whole lot to help one player's dream be realized.
Two other notes:
1. A reader brought to my attention that just today, the Brewers outrighted Nieves and recalled Kottaras.
2. I neglected to work in a link to Ben Lindbergh's April 14 piece on the Brewers bench: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13572. The article was written when Erick Almonte was on the roster, Corey Hart on the DL, and before Nyjer Morgan had revealed himself to be a going concern, so things have improved, but the lack of a bopper off the bench is rather glaring.
The Brewers do have a big gap between home and road; they're 25-9 in Milwaukee and 13-21 elsewhere. That difference is exaggerated relative to their Pythagorean records, however; they're 3 wins better than expected at home, and 1.4 wins worse than expected on the road based upon runs scored and allowed.
I wonder how much of that has to do with Roenicke not using Axford on the road in tie games - I see from his game log he has yet to enter a tie game on the road. The team has suffered five walkoff losses, only one of which came with him on the mound, so it's possible that his usage pattern is contributing to the problem in some way. I'd have to get more granular in a way I don't have time for this minute, but it's a situation worth keeping an eye upon, and a topic worth revisiting.
Of course after I submitted this, Roenicke had a night of questionable bullpen management which more than anything else exposed the lack of depth. I didn't see it (was at the Yankees game) but it appears this is what happened:
With Loe unavailable after pitching three straight games, Roenicke called upon the righty Estrada to start the eighth inning with a 4-1 lead over the Cubs despite the inning starting with two lefties, Tony Campana and Kosuke Fukudome (dunno much about the former, a rookie, but the latter has a significant platoon split, as does Estrada, though less so than in previous years).
Estrada gets the first but gives up a double to the second, then surrenders a double to Starling Castro and a homer to Aramis Ramirez, tying the game. THEN Roenicke brings in his sole lefty, Zack Braddock, who gets lefties Carlos Pena and Blake DeWitt.
I get that Roenicke was saving his limited number of bullets for the bigger lefty bats, but if Braddock comes in to start the eighth and does his job, the Brewers have a significant chance of Axford - who has a small reverse platoon split, even - facing Pena in the ninth. As it was, he used Hawkins and Dillard for the ninth and tenth because apparently his opposable thumbs got in the way of calling upon his closer in a tie game on the road. Dillard gave up two hits sandwiched around a sac bunt, and that was the ballgame.
Hmm. I guess I didn't feel that our readership would miss the point of the Red Sox ranking ahead of the Yankees and the citation of their 8-1 split as telling us that they were the better team at the moment.
Ut's an average of a team's actual winning percentage as well as the first-, second- and third-order Pythagorean winning percentages from our Adjusted Standings page (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/standings/"), with a small league adjustment factor thrown in as well. I've gone into much deeper detail from time to time, but you can get a relatively succinct summary of the current workings at http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13961.
Perhaps I wasn't clear enough, but the antics to which I referred, the ones which would have been murderized by the media if done by A-Rod or even Manny, were the bat flip and the trash talk to Girardi.
They can be done. I believe Clay Davenport had some in place in his abortive redesign of the translation cards. Just a matter of doing it.
Yes, if you follow the link (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13106) you'll see the following: "The 2010 season was the first time in his career he was healthy enough to play a full complement of games. It’s not as though he’s had chronic issues in one particular area… He’s missed games due to a variety of issues, including but not limited to, wrist, knee, foot and neck injuries..."
So I'd avoid using DL data to make any points about PED usage. Teams are using the disabled list far more than in earlier eras, primarily for two reasons. First, better medical imaging technology makes it more clear that a player has an injury which will keep him out long enough that it makes sense to remove him from the active roster. Second, there's no real penalty for increased use of the DL; effectively, teams can enlarge their rosters to get them through a season.
Outstanding digging, Tim, and nice work framing your finds.
I haven't seen anything to suggest they are, but that's a question for Corey Dawkins, who keeps the data.
It's worth reading Bill's lengthy and thoughtful reply at The Platoon Advantage.
Payroll is certainly a factor, but it's not as though the Twins have been shy about spending money over the past two seasons; their $112.7 million opening day payroll ranked ninth - not Yankee-level of course, but ahead of the Tigers, Cardinals, Dodgers and Rangers.
In the case of 5, essentially what I've suggested is that the Twins should have anticipated a potential injury stack. That's a tall order for any team, but given the length of time it took for Morneau to return and the fragility of the aging Thome (who probably would have hit the DL in each of the past two Septembers were it not for roster expansion), I'm arguing that it wasn't an altogether unreasonable scenario.
Furthermore, it's one thing to go cheap on backup catcher, and another to go incompetent. Vets like David Ross, Henry Blanco, Brian Schneider and Ronny Paulino - to name a few off the top of my head - are making between $1.1 and $1.6 million, but for less than a million bucks, the Twins have settled for a hitter worse than Jeff Mathis.
Indeed. Ramos is hitting a competent .254/.329/.415 and throwing out 45 percent of would-be base thieves as the Nationals' starting catcher. That trade deserved mention in the Mauer item.
Thanks, Bill. There's no question that the Twins' overall situation is a combination of bad luck and bad decision making, but perhaps I didn't make my case clearly enough with regards to 3 & 4. I'd say that signing Pavano was somewhat unnecessary given their depth, in that Pavano was rather likely to regress if not get hurt himself. Slowey has a 3.92 SIERA during his big league career, while Pavano's at 4.27 since coming back from his 2006 Tommy John surgery, or 4.19 if you only want to cover 2009-2011, and while the latter has admittedly been a workhorse during that span, his longer-term track record is perilous to say the least.
Again, though, I can accept the argument that the bullpen belongs on the list.
Thanks Bobby. You make a pretty good case that the bullpen should be on the list given the attrition of so many free agents, and yes, I agree that the Twins haven't handled the situation with Slowey any better than he has with them, or that they have with Liriano.
Yes, all things considered, a point of OBP is worth more than a point of SLG, which is why OPS and even OPS+ are less preferable than True Average. Unfortunately, doing splits on the fly using the latter isn't something we're set up to do.
You must be joking. The dude publishes at least 10,000 words a week, if not more. There isn't anyone of his caliber in the industry who can keep up with his productivity. Plus he's working on a book. So cut him some slack.
Straight from the Baseball Musings Day-By-Day database: http://bit.ly/jqR2EI.
Bruce is hitting .381/.435/.857 with 5 homers in 47 PA vs. LHP this year, via Baseball Reference. He closed last year by going 14-for-32 with nine homers vs. LHP from August 12 onward. A log of those homers is at http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/F62de. I'm not really sure how it hasn't received more play - it's pretty remarkable.
I'm trying to avoid being optimistic about the Dodgers only to get my hopes crushed. The returns of Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake should help the offense considerably. I'm less optimistic about the bullpen because there are just so many guys down, and the one who I have the least hope for is Jonathan Broxton, who showed he was too dumb to recognize he was hurting the team by pitching through pain.
Some late-night butchery on my part with that Diamondbacks leading after 7 table.
First, the link to the data should be:
The Diamondbacks' 2010 record was 7.9 wins below expectation (my faulty mental math had them 12 games below average on the tied portion, not 6 games below. Duh). Thus a more appropriate magnitude of the turnaround in the following graf should be 10 games.
Score that E-6.
The Reds are getting more offense from catcher than all but two teams in the NL, with the Hanigan/Hernandez tandem hitting .296/.367/.455. After Joey Votto, it's the second most productive position in the lineup relative to the league averages. I'm not sure why the Reds would want to give that up unless the Giants can fulfill a glaring need of theirs.
I'm going to put that one at absolutely zero chance impossible no way Jose.
Having lost one of their best hitters to injury in the line of catching duty, do you think for a moment the Giants would entertain the thought of potentially losing another, particularly one who a) has already missed significant time due to injury; and b) has caught just three MLB games over the past 2+ seasons and is probably rusty?
It's a fun thought to entertain, but I just don't see him donning the tools of ignorance again unless it's an emergency catcher situation.
Via SF-Chron's Hank Schulman (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/giants/detail?entry_id=89833), Posey sustained a fractured fibula and severely strained left ankle ligaments, but his knee sustained no damage. He will have surgery to repair the ligaments (the more serious of the two injuries), which could include the insertion of a screw into his ankle. That could come in about a week, and recovery usually takes around two months - all of which is to say that the timeline suggests a reasonable possibility he could return this season. That would obviously be a huge break for the Giants.
Agreed. This is the best summation of the ones I've read here.
I put together a multiframe JPEG of the overhead shot at http://twitpic.com/52wwav. It looks like Cousins veers on the wrong side of the baseline, pretty clearly going for contact with Posey, not the plate. I realize it's a split-second decision, but it looks pretty horseshit to me. If the Neanderthal Football League can make rules to protect its players, then it does seem to me at the very least MLB can enforce its own rules in an attempt to minimize the number of collisions at the plate. Stars or not, losing players to severe injuries just plain sucks.
Not being a particular fan of season-ending sports carnage, and with an unplanned deadline to fullfill, I had only seen the play from one angle when I wrote that, and by "blocking the plate," I didn't mean anything more precise than "being in the general vicinity of the plate, awaiting the arrival of the ball."
Looking at the overhead shot on MLB.com's replay, Posey IS in front of the plate, if by in front of the plate you mean between the plate and the mound (I'm not the only one who's being imprecise). The question I think we're both after is whether Posey was between the runner and home plate, and from that angle it's clear he was not. Cousins' hit actually looks fairly egregious, since as Pete points out below, he could have done a hook slide around the catcher.
In any event, the specifics of the play are less relevant to the tack I'm covering here than to, say, the points Joe Sheehan or Buster Olney were making about the propriety of the play.
They're two games under .500, 8.5 games back, with a 0.2 percent chance of making the playoffs, so why in the hell would they do that? Why compromise their organization's wealth of prospects for a player they won't be able to keep during a season in which they have almost no chance of winning big?
Players drafted can't be traded for a full year, and if I'm not mistaken, the longest a team has to fulfill a player to be named later deal is six months, so that route won't work.
It's doable, but I question the wisdom of it. Is it really worth emptying the farm system when you're seven games back in the division race before Memorial Day, with scant hope of the Wild Card?
He's a quality hitter but there's nothing in his track record to suggest he can sustain a .319/.362/.478 line outside of a similarly small sample last year. His 90th percent PECOTA projection was .287/.385/.465 So yeah, I'm betting on the taper.
I don't see the Mets trading Wright, but I suppose Reyes isn't out of the question for them along the scenario you outlined. We know the Tigers aren't shy about spending money, but unfortunately their farm system is weak (27th in Kevin Goldstein's rankings), so it's tougher to envision a match.
From Wilpon's shortstighted point of view, saving ~$5 million by trading Reyes mid-season has more value than the yield of the picks, who might not provide value until there's a new owner, which isn't going to be his problem. I'm not saying that's a good baseball move at all, but unless Alderson is allowed to operate unimpeded, it's the inevitable one on a team as mismanaged as the Mets.
If I had included one more team on here it would have been the A's. Cliff Pennington isn't hitting (.236/.291/.326) but then neither is most of their lineup. The A's system is mid-pack but they might have prospects that appeal to the Mets. I do think that the cumulative effect of so many rotation injuries is going to be the death of their contending bid, though - in a month the deal might not make sense.
Shhh, the guy could get injured if that comment takes a bad hop around the Internet.
It's extremely difficult to gauge exactly what kind of package the Mets could get. They're surely not all going to be blue-chippers because of the short time left on Reyes' contract, not to mention the volatility of his recent performance. There's also a tradeoff in terms of prospects who are nearly ready and those who are a long ways off.
My best guess is a four-player return, with two of those players low-level prospects who are little more than lottery tickets and depth fillers, and two who have a substantial chance of helping the Mets in the near term.
My bad. Re-reading the game log, I mistook his number of pitches for number of batters faced.
Also, I erred when I said the Rays took the series from the Marlins; Shields' win merely prevented them from getting swept.
We do rank all 30 teams, just not on the same day (with some exceptions) - so fair enough if you're complaining but c'mon, the Hit Lists have been split into AL and NL for over a year.
I have asked the editors to make sure to include which league is under discussion in the subhead.
You should have seen how blue the first draft of that one was. When your favorite team not only sucks but is DOIN IT RONG, sometimes you just gotta vent.
The third-order rankings adjust for quality of opposing hitters and pitchers faced, and the variable league factor - as opposed to the across-the-board one I used last year - is also effectively a SoS adjustment.
I generally like Rosenthal, but I didn't like the way he handled this story at all. Using yourself as the mouthpiece for a gratuitous threat of force - voicing the legalese bullshit - may have goosed the ratings but it had zero connection to the real implications of the situation.
The Yankee organization's depth at catcher and Posada's advanced age already made it obvious there would not be another big contract at the end of the rainbow, and coming into the year it was clear there probably isn't much he could do to earn an invitation back short of slugging .600.
Since when does beiing a fierce competitor - which Posada is as much as any Yankee of his vintage - preclude being classy? Yankee haters disliked Paul O'Neill and vice versa for Sox haters and Kevin Youkilis and nobody takes that as any lack of class.
Fighting with your mask on, on the other hand...
There's no real reason to consider the Mariners contenders, so I didn't include them here except to note the coincidence of Aardsma's injury.
Wow, what a ridiculous, uselessly over-the-top comment to interject into a fairly interesting debate.
Leaving aside your gratuitous lumping of the unmitigated evils of slavery/indentured servitude/racism with a system which is *collectively bargained* between the owners and the players - unlike the Reserve Clause era of Comiskey, Griffith, Breadon - how are we going to see fewer Hall of Fame careers? I'm pretty damn sure that the rate at which players are voted in by the BBWAA 20-25 years down the road won't be affected by the difference in a month's service time. Did Buster Posey's chances at Cooperstown take a hit last summer?
That aside, if the scouty types feel that Hosmer has little to prove at the Triple-A level, then it would seem to me that the Royals made the right call by bringing Hosmer up. If nothing else, it rewards the fan base and could very well boost attendance by keeping the team competitive longer into the season, which would seem to be a worthwhile goal whose benefits might easily outweigh the few million dollars it costs to move Hosmer's arbitration clock forward.
Thank you. Hours of gathering and evaluating data and all I've got to show for the discussion is a stupid semantic argument? I shoulda stood in bed.
My bad. For some reason I had it in my head that the Nats had taken the first 3 of the wraparound series, and then when the won last night too... Score that e-6.
Since you focus on the Blue Jays, and I saw that you wrote about Farrell's love of the running game, I'm curious if you've seen a lot of other instances where running in front of Bautista took the bat out of his hands and led to a walk.
Bah, stray fragment there. Ignore.
It seems to me that focusing only on strikeouts and home runs misses a whole lot. You're saying is that his rate of making great contact and zero contact fluctuated within a narrow range? That ignores all of the rest of the times he made contact, which are the stuff of a whole lot of production. I'm just not sure I see the value there, other than that you're saying, "He was swinging hard every year except one, where he was hurt." It's not that the strikeouts simply rematerialized as homers.
It would be more interesting to note his ratio of strikeouts to homers, of the bad stuff to the good, rather than to report his total of good + bad. 2006-2011: 6.9, 6.7, 6.1, 6.5, 2.1, 1.8.
Looking at it another way, his K rates
What he said, plus - as I wrote about in the linked February article - they have had an ongoing litany of communication problems with him related to his elbow woes. Some of that is on Liriano, and some of that may be language barrier-related, but at the end of the day, it's the team's job to get the most out of his talent, and they haven't been all that successful at doing that.
I did mention him in graf 2 - I planned to include him but wasn't going to write him up until after he pitched last night. When he took a no-hitter into the seventh, I figured he should be spared.
Did he really pay his debt to society? I wonder if he would have gotten off so cleanly had he not been a star athlete. And white.
That said, yes, it's old news, and if you really feel as though my attempt to inject some color into this piece was somehow devalued by referring to his past as a not-so-petty thief, well, I plead guilty to rehashing old news, but nothing more than that.
With all due respect, the kid stole $70,000 worth of computer equipment from an intermediate school, but I'm the classless one?
Excellent stuff, Corey. As I was gathering together various links for a Pinstriped Bible post on the topic (http://www.pinstripedbible.com/2011/04/29/hughes-clues/) I came across an interesting note from the Texas Leaguers blog (http://www.texasleaguers.com/home/2009/8/26/thoracic-outlet-syndrome-a-texas-rangers-epidemic.html) regarding why pitchers are at higher risk for TOS:
Pitchers are a high risk group for TOS compared to position players because of the quantity and intensity of their throws but also because of the way they turn their heads toward the plate... When the head and neck turn away from the compression site, the brachial plexus and subclavian blood vessels are pulled into the narrowing gap between the rib and clavicle.
Lewis flew under my radar in that my initial list was based upon ERA qualifiers, and because he missed a turn he had less than 1 IP/team game, so he he didn't show up in the stat reports. If there's a sequel, both he and Dempster would be in it. Maybe Jackson (who really is what he is, a talented guy undone by a tempestuous relationship with the strike zone) as well.
Who else would you folks like to see if I do another one of these?
Excellent piece. When I was 12, I invented a dice baseball game based on two six-sided dice. 11 and 66 were home runs, and with a less-than-full grasp of the other probabilities, I tried to map the frequency of other outcomes to various rolls based on stats in the Sporting News. I then made lineups using my Topps 1982 set, though there was no connection between those players' skills and the outcomes, and I kept box scores for the games I played, a lot of which happened in the back seat of the car on endless drives to California. It was a bit of a high-scoring league, but it was fun.
A couple of years later I graduated to Strategic Simulations Computer Baseball on the Apple II+, which I played thousands of times; it was to me what Stratomatic was to Joe Sheehan and Rany Jazayerli. There's a whole article in that adventure.
Due to some trouble this week with the MLBAM feed, a bit of data wasn't included in the number crunching process. Having cleaned that up, the substantial changes involve the Yankees (.654 aHLF) and Orioles (.402, and now 14th, with the Mariners rising to 13th).
I never watched much of MST3K, but that's probably how I became conscious of the title. Never seen the actual movie.
Perhaps the Royals deserved a passing mention in this piece, but given their history and their projection, it's going to be a bit longer before I start asking the question of whether they're for real. The playoff odds still have them at 1.0%, for one thing.
It's true. Bud's best skill is his ability to build consensus, and then to apply it to get what he needs. He knows he has enough support from the other owners to do the dirty business of pushing McCourt out.
Didn't forget, but it remains to be seen whether Sizemore is still a defensive asset - his numbers had been sliding (-8 FRAA over the past 3 seasons, two of them below average). I would be very surprised if Hanahan remains the starting third baseman, though it's possible he could be in a job share with Donald if there are concerns about the latter's defense.
WXRL and our 2011 pitching stats are on the way. WXRL has its limitations, but it is a useful stat for quantifying leverage-based performance.
I don't know of any stat that designed to take into account the individual speeds of the runners on base or the ability to hold runners - which would need to control for catchers as well. It's a big can of worms.
Fewer words, for one thing, but if you inferred that I was somehow suggesting his plight was worse than that of the women, well, that wasn't my intention.
I'm not sure who you expect to hear about Ogando's restitution from - it was actually reported via multiple sources, not via a team or agent press release. For what it's worth, Charisse Espinosa-Dash, his agent, is female - the only female agent who owns an agency, and from the sound of it, particularly sensitive to handling the issue:
That's a good topic for another day. This piece was actually done for ESPN Insider (which cut the tables considerably due to their artificial space constraints) as a companion to Jerry Crasnick's column (http://es.pn/gejPJe) surveying scouts and execs on top up-the-middle combos, hence the limited focus.
At this time of year, the Hit List has far more to do with what has happened on the field than the Odds report does, and while I've factored PECOTA into the mix (as I do for the first month, roughly speaking), it's a much smaller component than it is in the Odds.
Many a Rays fan from my Twitter feed pined for Branyan over the winter. It seemed like an obvious, low-cost move, but it didn't happen, and Branyan wound up signing in Arizona. Given that, he can't be traded without his consent until June 15, and even with the logjam he finds himself in there, who's to say he'd consent given how many times he's moved around the past few years?
And who's to say the Rays are writing off the season just because they haven't come up with an obvious solution for the loss of Manny immediately? After spending the past five months building their teams for opening day, few are looking to make moves at this time of year, and so there aren't many impact players available via deals. Furthermore, it's a ridiculous idea that the team would punt this quickly based upon a few early setbacks, not only because of the obvious financial hit they could take (say, dropping from 1.9 million in attendance back to their Devil days' 1.4 million, or lower) but because squandering a year of club control over the wealth of talent that they have is even worse business.
As for Guyer, I'm not terribly familiar with him, but he's a guy with no experience above Double-A coming into the year, and I can imagine the level-at-a-time Ray want to see how he handles Triple-A. His service time clock is probably less of an issue than Jennings, so I imagine if things go well we may see him this year, but it's not as though his ceiling is all that high.
Via Jason Parks comes this interesting and unsettling piece about Alexi Ogando and the path he took to the majors:
It is worth noting that Nishioka is in his first professional season as a second baseman after transitioning from shortstop, and that particularly on the double play, switching from one middle infield position to the other isn't an automatic by any means.
I'm not exactly sure how PECOTA and the Depth Chart elves apportion saves, to be honest. I'll check.
As noted in the piece, Venters' numbers weren't included in the calculations, and that includes his projected 14 saves. If you include him at the expense of the lowest-ranked reliever from the original Braves quintet (Scott Linebrink, -0.1 WARP), which I arguably should have done given my gerrymandering to include all other closers, then Atlanta moves to 1.0 WARP, 306 innings, 33 saves, 4.00 ERA, 9.0 K/9.
Not to say that you don't have a point or two amidst your hostility, but...
If the system as is is so bad for baseball as a whole, how do you account for the fact that prior to the post-2008 economic downturn, attendance grew from 2001-2008? That is, grew despite the concentration of playoff spots among a relatively small number of teams in the AL, and despite decreasing capacity in ballparks due to the move towards smaller facilities?
Furthermore, do you honestly think that owners like Jeffrey Loria, David Glass and Bob Nutting are any better for the game than the Steinbrenners?
Yes, those plucky Mets sure have plenty of small-market credibility with their miniscule payroll. The forward-thinking ways of the Minaya regime so impressive that Michael Lewis will write his next book about them. They're David to the Yankees' Goliath. Yeesh.
Anyway, it's worth remembering that most of us don't sit down and make a rational choice in choosing a team to root for, it just happens that you find yourself swept up in following a team at some point, generally through their success on some level. To borrow a phrase that I learned from Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch, "you don't pick your club, your club picks you."
You and many others might want to actually visit ESPN, where you'll see that the Sweet Spot isn't behind a paywall. Hasn't been, since 2007 according to Craig Calcaterra, who discussed that in the context of Rob Neyer's departure.
But they're the underdogs this year! Don't you get it?
You're obviously entitled to feel however you want about the team, but "Extreme money-grubbing players" is a bit, shall we say, extreme. Simply having the skill to command Yankee dollars does not make a player any more money-grubbing than one who chooses to sell their services to the highest bidder in any other market. And with regards to Thursday's stars, it's not as though Granderson or Martin came to the team via nine-figure free agent deals. Flawed but fascinating players both, they may wind up being relative bargains.
The "nailed" comment applied to BillJohnson's comment about the A's vs. Pythag.
Good point. Worth noting that the A's have had the fifth-most DL days among position players over the past nine seasons: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12248.
Yes, wow, you nailed us. Projecting the A's to be a .500ish team is a clear indication of PECOTA's bias towards sabermetrically-minded teams.
No wonder we predicted Murray Chass to finish in last place.
That could work, perhaps better than the Houston fans' counter-campaign, "Dude, these aren't MY Astros."
Upon further review, I clearly read that one too fast before firing it off. Point to Richie.
Disagree. Maddux was pretty much a lock by the time he won his unprecedented 4th straight Cy in 1995 at age 29, and he was just 32 when he topped 200 wins in 1998. And he still had five strong years to go in Atlanta before returning to the Cubs.
I think Doc's well on his way there, but let's remember that the BBWAA hasn't admitted any starting pitcher with less than 284 wins since Catfish Hunter in 1987. Doc has just 169 wins right now, and while the electorate will be more enlightened — and likely to have broken that string by honoring Pedro Martinez — by the time he's eligible, he's got work to do in the meantime to put himself in that position.
The Astros outplayed their Pythag by 10 games last year, and by six games the year before, so it has less to do with BP's projection and more to do with luck/randomness/variance/whatev.
The Cubs got one right by choosing Cashner as the fifth starter. Looper retired, while Silva set fire to every bridge around. http://atmlb.com/fIqFrC
Don't get me wrong, I like the big three of Marmol/Wood/Marshall — that's an upgrade if they have them over the full season — but I worry about Wood's durability, and am decidedly unimpressed by what's beyond that.
Russell Martin says hi.
True story, ironic given the timing of this article:
Last night after BP's NYC bookstore gig, I stopped by a friend's birthday drinks gathering, where I renewed acquaintances with an independent film director I'd briefly met last summer. Making small talk, he said he didn't know much about baseball but said that a friend of his had written a book a few years back about the game... a guy named Michael Lewis. Had I heard of it?
Suffice it to say that the director knew nothing about the book or the ensuing culture war (to say nothing of the Brad Pitt Hollywood vehicle) but used to work at MTV with Lewis' wife, Tabitha Soren. Broke me up...
Indeed. It's somewhat disconcerting to find out that there's rough sledding ahead, because I've been looking forward to this book for awhile.
Hmm. And here I've got a bridge to sell you...
I'm 40 pages into the Thorn book, and have enjoyed what I've read so far. Hoping to review it at a later date.
So until then you're keeping that secret to yourself?
OK, so I've been reminded by a colleague that it's actually John Milton who originally coined the phrase, "Luck is the residue of design." Rickey was nothing if not well-read.
I see that you had to use your mulligan there, Mulligan.
The same can be said for any defensive system - wide swings from year to year without any "explanation." That's why it's better to use multi-year samples (three is best) when doing any real evaluation of individual defense, and why it's helpful to look at multiple systems where available. Those wide year-to-year swings will average out.
That made me chuckle, particularly given Wallace's bad-body reputation.
Thanks for the kind words, everybody.
There's a very interesting debate going on about whether the Japanese leagues should postpone their March 25 opening day. The Pacific League, whose cities have sustained more damage, intends to wait until April 12. The Central League, whose cities are much less directly impacted, wants to go ahead, and feels that the diversion and the proceeds from the games would be beneficial to the country. The players' union is against starting on time.
Clearly, you couldn't actually read the article to find out.
144 AB (or more correctly, 159 PA) is admittedly a small sample size, but Wallace's strikeout and walk rates in that span are so extreme that they have to rate a serious cause for concern, particularly given the accompanying lack of power. Consider this quick and dirty study:
* Among rookies under 25 with at least 150 PA since 1995, only Josh Bell (2010) and Felix Escalona (2002) have posted worse K/UIBB rates.
* Only six players - Brad Eldred, Bell, Jordan Schafer, Kyle Blanks and Matt Kemp - posted higher K percentages, with Kimera Bartee, Mark Reynolds, Mike Standon, Pedro Alvarez and John Buck within one percentage point below him. Among that group Bell, Schafer, and Bartee were the only ones with lower slugging percentages than Wallace, and the rest were all at least 100 points higher.
* Among the 26 players with unintentional walk rates under 3.5 percent in those rookie seasons, the only ones with lower slugging percentages were Escalona, Jack Wilson, Bell
Rey Ordonez, Alejandro de Aza, Deivi Cruz, and Mark Grudzielanek. Some of those guys wound up having careers, but they also had gloves that worked in their favor, while Wallace deos not.
In short, you can find guys with low walk rates or high strikeout rates or a lack of power who recovered from a lousy debut to have substantial careers, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a player in the recent past who failed so spectacularly on all three fronts and went onto become a complete hitter.
I agree it's too early to dismiss Wallace based upon the high regard in which his hitting was once held, and the fact that Houston really has nothing better to do than to see if he pans out. But the numbers suggest there's a whole lot less to be optimistic about regarding his future than before.
As for Towles, he's hardly the first guy to fail to translate good Triple-A stats to the majors; colleague Steven Goldman has been doing a whole series on such flops.
As for Barmes, the PECOTAs for the pitching staff do take the team's defense into account, but Barmes is forecast to be only a couple runs above average, and he more than gives that back with the bat.
As for Lyles, he's forecast for a 4.99 ERA but not factored into the depth chart. Given that forecast, adding him to it wouldn't help.
As for Wade and OBP, I'll answer that one after I stop rolling around on the floor...
You make some good points.
It's pretty clear that managers manage with an eye on wins and saves, nursing a creaky starter with a lead through five innings where at all possible and robotically deploying a closer to protect a three-run lead. In the data I collected, I don't see any evidence that managers are managing to to the stat. With their ever-growing bullpens, they do seem to have identified sixth- and seventh-inning guys with more regularity, implicitly acknowledging they're only going to get so much out of their starters, but that's not the same.
As noted in the piece, the 4.50 Case starts are a small subset of all starts, and while the 2010 rate was higher than the historical average, it was its highest since 2003 and the first time below 10 percent since 2005. Having laid out the predictable connection between scoring and QS%, it should come as no surprise when I say that the QS rate has been above that 5.9% historical average in every year since 1993, when scoring began its rise.
As you say, there are more informative ways to measure pitcher contributions; our SNLVAR adjusts for the caliber of opposition in its win expectancy-based valuation, while SNWP provides a rate stat. My point is not that we should build a new stat from scratch, but merely that it's worth coming to a rapprochement with an oft-misunderstood mainstream stat, because it does have its uses.
Spahn's belief in the Easter Bunny was responsible for all of those eggs the children found.
Alas, it was late in the game when I thought that such a comparison might be worthwhile, and would have required hand-harvesting the data instead of querying our department.
Agreed. Few have continued to invite consistent servings of schadenfreude pie the way Chass has, and we go way back with him here at Baseball Prospectus (http://www.firejoemorgan.com/2007/02/this-is-why-this-site-exists.html and http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=233&).
While I don't normally make a point of picking bones with him - because for the most part that mandates providing links to his site, which I'd prefer not to do - the two columns cited did inspire me to learn something and in turn to pass that knowledge along to readers.
I'm hopeful that at some point we can add a BP-defined quality start incorporating unearned runs and eight-inning cases, but there are bigger fish to fry at the moment. And as I said above, I'm quite a fan of our Support Neutral Winning Percentage, which tracks pretty well with QS%. Among ERA qualifiers (162 IP), the correlation between QS% and SNWP was .79 in 2010.
Is it really that tough to understand? As with any politician who stays in power for a lengthy period of time despite a broadly negative perception of him, Selig survives because he does an effective job of serving the primary interests of his constituents, in this case the owners. Baseball revenue and franchise values have increased dramatically on his watch, and he's been successful at marshaling a consensus when it comes to things like revenue sharing and the luxury tax. If it's all been a mixed bag for fans and for the history of the game, in his eyes those issues are secondary.
Selig's not the most dynamic salesman of the game to the public, but then he doesn't see the public as his primary constituency, and so long as he doesn't embarrass the owners, they're happy to keep him around, because they're making money.
Indeed. Regarding the Cubs, I've become a pretty big believer in Dempster, and would gladly take the over on Zambrano as well.
Thanks. I hadn't thought of doing one, but it's not a bad idea to keep in my back pocket.
So, what do I win for being BP's biggest linkslut?
And on the latter front, the Twins have not been a particularly strong defensive team for one that's invested so heavily in pitch-to-contact types. Over the past five years, the Twins have been several points below average in DefEff twice, 1 point above once, and right at average once.
If you're not going to strike 'em out, you have to be able to pick it better than they do. And yet they always seem to under-invest in their infield and hope that a Nicky Punto will solve their problems.
Discredited is a bit strong a word - the correlations Nate found were there, but the larger the sample size grew, the less significant they've become. Not helping matters was the fact that FRAA (which was used to measure defense, despite the fact that it would seem raw Defensive Efficiency or PADE - which didn't exist yet - would have been better) has changed under the hood.
The Sauce had its moment in the sun, and like most condiments which sit for too long in the sun, it's gone a bit sour.
Right, and Yankee Stadium was a pitcher-friendly park with factors in the 93-95 range for most of Mantle's carer (headed towards neutral in his last few years), while the Polo Grounds was more or less neutral during Mays' years (99-101) and Candlestick was more often than not below 100.
B-Ref's AIR stat (in the Advanced Batting section of each hitter page), which is kind of like a park factor with historical league scoring rates thrown in as well puts Mantle at 95, Mays at 99, and Snider at 107. So scoring in Mantle's parks was cut by five percent, and in Snider's boosted by seven percent. That's a big difference.
Over at Pinstriped Bible, I've got a few more thoughts about Snider regarding his early peak relative to Mantle and Mays, his home road splits, and some insight from the great, underappreciated John Lardner:
Thanks for the kind words. I tackled Edmonds at length last spring (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9974) and hadn't planned another standalone update. I now have him at 74.8/51.6/63.2, which is above the JAWS standard, but I remain skeptical of his chances in part because he leaves with just 1,949 hits - no hitter whose career took place entirely in the post-1961 expansion era has been elected with less than 2,000.
I think it's certainly underappreciated is how much older Snider was than the other two. He was the first to arrive, the first to become a star, and peaked as they were still emerging, making him the standard against the other two were judged. But he declined early, and they surpassed him with several great seasons in the Sixties, not to mention considerable longevity.
If you allow for the difficulty in historical measures of defense, the gap between them during their 1954-1957 overlap was smaller than it was over the course of their careers.
There was a fair bit about this in Slouching Towards Fargo, an enjoyable book about the mid-Nineties St. Paul Saints when Darryl Strawberry and Jack Morris played for them. The author, Neal Karlen, was initially sent by Rolling Stone to do a hatchet job on Bill Murray, who was part of the Saints' ownership group and who had an option on the Veeck story. At one point it was listed on IMDB as in development, but like many a prospect, it failed to develop.
I don't begrudge the Twins the right to cultivate a certain culture - most well-run organizations do towards the effort of instilling coherent philosophies up and down the system (think of the Dodger Way or the Orioles Way back when those franchises were paragons of stability 30, 40 or 50 years ago).
But I do have to wonder if they're taking it to a counterproductive extreme, thus limiting themselves. Relying largely on a certain type of pitcher - strike-throwers in the Brad Radke mold, many of them homegrown but few of them as consistently effective as Radke - the Twins have produced six division winners in the past nine years, but they have made it to the ALCS just once. Going back to the revelations of the Secret Sauce, an effective high-strikeout pitcher or pitchers would seem to enhance their chances for advancement, but they've never been able to get more than one of those guys (Santana or Liriano) into their postseason rotation at a given time.
At least in the eyes of Kevin Goldstein, Gomez was more of a 4-star than a 5-star (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5763) due to questions about his lack of power and plate discipline, questions that had only grown after his 2007 debut with the Mets, when he hit .232/ .288/.304 after being pressed into duty by injuries. The Twins, who've never been a team that seemed particularly mindful of the need to put high OBPs atop the lineup (or elsewhere), do seem to have overlooked those shortcomings in choosing him as part of the deal and worse, by miscasting him atop the lineup.
Unquestionably, there's an information asymmetry when it comes to what a team knows about its own players versus what other teams know about him, which explains Swartz's finding (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10505) that free agents who re-sign with their old teams tend to maintain their value better than those who sign with new teams.
The problem with the Twins' approach to Liriano is that they've failed to exploit that asymmetry, instead choosing to publicly connect the dots between the pitcher's every shortcoming and tying it back to "communication issues." In a sense, they've waged a PR campaign against the kid since his rookie season, advertising his failings to fans and opponents alike while avoiding taking any responsibility for their own failure to get through to the player and protect him from his own competitive instincts (wanting to pitch through pain, etc.). That's a piss-poor strategy of extracting value from such a potentially valuable asset.
Thanks! My guess would be that he goes in as a Marlin because of the championship, the fact that he played more games there than any other place, and signed the largest contract while there. Seems pretty open-and-shut to me.
Allen was a great player who had his controversies over the course of a fascinating career, but he didn't last as long in the majors, and only once reached the postseason. On the B-Ref similarity scores by season, Sheffield shows up as his most similar player at 27 and from 31-33, but he was done at 35. I wonder what his career would have been like had he spent more of it in the post-Messersmith era, with more fluidity to move from team to team. Would have loved to watch him hit.
In light of the Jose Bautista extension, I'd dock the Jays at least a full letter grade if I were rewriting this today.
I'm not sure the free agent market alone carried the solutions the Tigers needed. I don't think signing Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre at their eventual price tags would have been particularly sensible, and the shortstop crop was pretty thin. It's the tying up of $50 million in a guy who's DH bound sooner or later, plus the redundancy of Ordonez, who's pretty much DH-worthy at this point, and the fact that Inge and Peralta both have similarly OBP-challenged offensive profiles.
In all, they met their short-term needs reasonably well, but with the possible exception of the low-stakes Brad Penny deal, there's not a single deal there which causes me to say, wow, I really like the potential for them to capture the upside here.
Reese Havens is an interesting prospect, but he's already been moved off of short.
Thanks for the kind words.
When we get the PECOTA cards with a multi-year forecast, the coming-and-going comparison of the Red Sox hitters will be something worth looking at.
As for the White Sox, they lost Bobby Jenks, J.J. Putz, Andruw Jones and Freddy Garcia, none of whom were tremendously valuable (neither was Manny Ramirez, who was hurt by the time he got to Chicago). The difference between fifth and third in this is one-third of a grade, which isn't much; while I love the Dunn move and can live with the Konerko one, I have enough reservations about the Pierzynski and Crain (three-years!) deals to knock them down a peg. Still, that's a pretty decent offseason.
For those looking for Tommy's debut, the NL edition will be up tomorrow.
You do realize that with a conversion rate of approximately 10 runs to one win that you're talking about a spread from 1 to 30 of 3.8 wins for VORP, and 3.3 wins for WARP, right?
Also, from deep within the discussion thread of Emma Span's controversial debut, we have the first word of a customer being notified that their copy of BP2011 has shipped from Amazon:
I'll let Colin elaborate when he gets a chance, but quoting from his stats intro in the book:
"Note that here we diverge from past volumes of the BP annual and have left out VORP, or Value Over Replacement Player, altogether. This doesn't mean that we have discarded the underpinnings of VORP; we simply determined that it wasn't necessary to have two ways of measuring the same player's contributions relative to replacement."
CRP13, without trying to estimate what percentage of our readership was or wasn't offended, I'd just like to point out an observation - pertaining not only to this thread but to controversial topics on this site in general - that it's not a contrary opinion which leads to comments being "minused" so much as it is a shrill tone and a lack of substance to those comments.
There are those here who have complained about the article while adding very little to the discussion other than name-calling, and there are those who have voiced their concerns while engaging in a reasonable dialogue. The consensus appears to be that your comments fall into the latter camp, which is why comments such as (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?type=2&articleid=12920#76534) have received substantially positive ratings. Disagreeing without being disagreeable is a useful skill.
Wow. Perhaps we should start a Kickstarter fund to bring BP authors to markets we would normally not be able to access.
The little BP logos in front of an article title on the home page or in the Recently At Baseball Prospectus, More From [Date] and More By [Author] sections denote Premium subscriber-only content. The blue-boxed F logo denotes Fantasy and Premium subscriber-only content. If there's no logo in front - as is the case on several of today's offerings, it's in front of the pay wall.
It's probably worth pointing out that whether you liked this piece or not, none of you paid money to read it - it was out in front of the paywall, free to anyone who stopped by.
In this instance, what your subscription has bought you is the right to comment in this thread. Some of you who've done so have registered your dissent, and it's been duly noted, as has the appreciation of those who enjoyed the piece.
I know exactly what you mean! It's time to watch the monty Python Fish Slapping Dance video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCwLirQS2-o
It's an acronym for our cutting edge stat, Non Sacrifice Fly-based Wins.
Hee-Seop Choi with a .286 batting average, a .409 OBP and 43 homers? Damn it, man, you almost pulled off a first for BP: triple-slash fiction!
This is a baseball site. Performance analysis may be our main area of content, but it is not, and has never been, our only one.
Point taken, but I'm quite certain you're going to find that the Steve Goldman administration isn't going to be afraid to try some daring stuff now and again that may reach different audiences than the core statheads. As I said before, not everyone's going to love everything. But all of us feel quite confident that our subscribers will get their money's worth by finding quite a lot to love.
Your mileage may vary, but since day 1, Baseball Prospectus' content has aimed beyond simply being about the digits to the right of the decimal. Not everyone has to love everything, and clearly you don't love this. But judging by the early returns, there are plenty of readers who did appreciate that one of our writers came out of left field to take on such a strange topic - one that's even older than BP and older than the internet.
For those of you who did enjoy this, you can hear Emma's spoken word version from last week's Varsity Letters 5th Anniversary event, where it received a raucous reception:
If y'all chip in, you can fly us to your city for an event!
Well, first off, it's important to remember that PECOTA uses a weighted three-year set of data to come up with the baseline performance used in each projection (see http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?mode=viewstat&stat=23), and that's where a good bit of regression seems to be applied, correcting for high BABIP or HR rates. Longoria's BABIP spiked to .336 last year from .309 and .313 in his first two years, so maybe there's something going on there? Upton, on the other hand, had a .354 BABIP after years of .332 and .360, so maybe that doesn't explain all that much.
Still, for Longoria being projected for a .292 TAv while owning a career .306 mark is a pretty steep fall given that he's going into the 25-29 prime window. And both he and Upton rank among the top 10 in Improve%.
So I really don't know. Calls to Colin Wyers in the bullpen were not returned, but it's a point I'll raise.
I don't know how happy they actually are, but Politics and Prose certainly make BP happy when we visit there. We draw well over 100 people year in and year out, have a great relationship with the staff there, and get a particularly strong sell-through rate.
If every bookstore event were like P&P, we'd be able to justify a lot more of them.
Speaking selfishly, as an NYCer I'd rather we do a second event here in the city, since we can reach a larger group of people from . We used to do multiple ones here, even getting out to Brooklyn.
Then again, after the success of the recent Foley's event, we're gung ho on the idea of doing more occasional get-togethers in the city even without a bookstore.
"Quick sale" isn't a term that exists in the MLB vocabulary, and because all of this is going to drag on for awhile, it's going to damage the Mets' brand, affecting both the Wilpons and the general perception of the team inside the game and out for the next year or so. I don't see the Mets selling off Wright, but I'd guess Reyes is gone by the end of the year (which may be warranted).
Furthermore, I have to laugh at the suggestion (not yours) that the team would be in a position to sign Pujols if/when he comes up for free agency, or that he'd choose to join this circus, since the chances of a new, controlling ownership being in place by, say, November would seem to be pretty slim. Which is what I mean about the damage to the brand - the ability to attract marquee free agents is part of that.
A couple of points:
1. I don't see the resolution to this as likely to come particularly quickly. I expect the Wilpons to fight tooth and nail in the courts, which could take years to resolve.
2. I'm not sure I see this a less harmful to the Mets' franchise than the McCourt divorce has been to the Dodgers. With the McCourts, you've got two rich, spoiled assholes taking money out of the team and fighting each other in public, but basically, the peripheral damage to others is relatively small, and there's no criminal wrongdoing at the center off the case.
The Madoff situation, on the other hand, has wrecked lives, and the suit against the Wilpons alleges that they consciously disregarded signs of fraud and that they profited from tainted money. That's a whole lot worse, and probably harder to overcome on the PR front.
Fellow BP alum Keith Law had a very effective shot which seemed to take aim at Sheehan's reasoning: "If the argument for Player X to get into the Hall of Fame is 'it's time to lower our standards,' count me out."
I tend to agree. Pettitte was a good pitcher whose reputation was enhanced by his teammates, which gave him a bunch of extra wins (thanks to both a high-powered offense and a bullpen with Mariano Rivera at the end of the line) and that gaudy winning percentage, not to mention more opportunities than your average bear in the expanded playoff system which emerged to exactly coincide with his career. He was not an elite pitcher when it came to run prevention - only three times did he crack a league's top 10 in terms of ERA or ERA+ - and run prevention is job 1 for a pitcher.
Sosa was outed by the New York Times' Michael S. Schmidt as having tested positive during the 2003 survey testing. To the best of my knowledge he has never admitted to using nor has he tested positive in any MLB-administered test which carried any penalty, but he's there along with Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz because somebody deemed the public's burning desire to know as more important than any confidentiality agreement or legal right to privacy.
As a group, the Hall of Fame voters almost certainly won't care how they collectively came about the knowledge that Sosa used, they'll just lump him with McGwire et al.
Re: Pettitte's pickoff move, I'm kicking myself because I meant to include a snippet about that when talking about his abnormally high BABIP; his ability to control the running game lessened the damage those hits caused both in terms of preventing those runners from advancing and in erasing some of them completely.
Oh, definitely. Third would be a stretch even if he made the Braves; he might even wind up below Hinske as well as Chipper and Prado on the depth chart when it's all said and done. I needed to put somebody there for this exercise to make my point though - which is that I think he can be a useful bench player.
Oeltjan re-signed via a minor league deal and will probably be in the mix for a share of the job. Restovich... that ship has sailed. He produced much less than either Gibbons or Thames at the major league level and his minor league translations don't suggest he could approach the value they could provide.
The minimal expenditure the Dodgers are making on Gibbons and Thames as spare outfielders is justifiable. It's the fact that the Dodgers think that gets them off the hook for finding a real starter which is not.
Mathis (-1.1 WARP) was indeed wretched, but the combination of his production and Napoli's production (3.3 WARP, nearly half of it while catching) kept them from being anywhere near the worst in the majors.
It's a relatively low-risk deal in terms of the commitment, but it certainly fits within the Orioles' way of doing business, and they haven't exactly had much success with it lately.
Melky spread the love around such that none of the Braves' three outfield positions was a lock for either the Killers (because they made the playoffs, after all) or the Suckers, though the team's combined defense in center (-10 FRAA) was pretty bad.
Sox DHs wound up hitting .247/.332/.396 and ranked 8th out of 14 in OPS and OPS+
Aside from the book (I think), I've actually never covered pitchers in the RLK annals, in part because it's too easy. But neither A.J. Burnett nor Javy Vazquez performed so badly that they prevented the Yankees from making the playoffs, which is the point.
Well, neither of them has played for the Rockies yet. They were both with teams far from the playoffs in 2010. Lopez is a candidate for next week's Vortices of Suck, though (worst production at a position regardless of contender status).
Nope. Salmon only has a 44.2/37.6/40.9 JAWS score, at a position where the bar is higher. Guy only played more than 100 games nine times, so his counting stats aren't going to get him anything close to a whiff.
You are taking my comment too literally. I already calculate many position aggregations along with the standards for secondary comparisons: corner infield, middle infield, infield, outfield, corner, up the middle, and hitter; they're listed in the Bagwell piece (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12628). They come in handy for multi-position players, and while I could weight by position instead, that would take the system to a higher level of complexity, since I'd then need to do it for ALL of the Hall of Famers and figure out how to resolve them into single-position standards, since a great number of them played multiple positions themselves. As such, I think the aggregates do a pretty reasonable job for a whole lot less hassle.
As for the DH issue, Thomas and Martinez and whoever else are already being measured against the replacement level as a DH for the years where they played there primarily. The JAWS bar at first base is actually the lowest one already (53.5), and I've chosen to measure a player such as Edgar against higher standards, such as corner infield (55.7) and all hitters (57.4) when evaluating his case.
Actually, the easier way to go about it secondarily would be to compare Biggio to the "up the middle" Hall of Famers' JAWS score, which aggregates the scores of catcher, second, short and center field: 69.6/46.2/57.9. He's significantly above that bar.
Hardly surprising given the finger pointing Pearlman did when it came to Bagwell over the past few weeks. I really don't care about smoke, I care about facts - remember, "the search for objective truth about baseball"? - and unless he or any other writer can establish some, they're not serving the process well, they're only adding to the level of noise and incoherence on the topic.
I don't have the numbers in front of me at the moment - there will be plenty of time for that - but Bernie comes up significantly short on JAWS. He's doomed by his mid-30s falloff and early end; following his career closely as a Yankee fan, he seemed very reluctant to learn the skills that would have kept him around through the remainder of his 30s - playing the corners adequately, playing first base, pinch-hitting. He didn't want much part of any of those things, and IIRC, he didn't exceed 1.0 WARP in any of his last four seasons.
Whoops, Orel Hershiser lasted two ballots, receiving about 11 percent in his first year before falling off in his second.
It was Joe Judge, a Senator from an earlier era, that I was thinking of. He hit .298/.378/.420 over the course of a 20-year career.
Cecil Travis was a shortstop. Brainfart.
Remember, not every team had a big bopper at first base, and Foxx and Mize and Willie Mc weren't always the standard. The game also had its share of contact hitters who were regarded as good glove men, guys like Mickey Vernon, Cecil Travis, Ferris Fain and even later, Vic Power and Hernandez.
The latter was 96 runs above average in the field, and he's a few points above the JAWS standard at first base (see http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12628), albeit far behind Bagwell. He got almost no love from the writers; despite lingering on the ballot for nine years, he topped out at less than 11 percent. As ever, guys whose value comes in large part due to OBP and defense get screwed by the writers.
Disregard that "Even so," as it's a fragment. No more thoughts on that forthcoming at the moment.
People tend to cling to these notions that the heroes of the '20s and '30s and '50s are infinitely superior to modern day ballplayers because their legends are so large, and because it took so long for new ones to come along and approach their totals, and that any metric which says otherwise is wrong.
The reality is that the level of play has risen TREMENDOUSLY since World War II with integration and internationalization and nutrition and training methods. We've got whole chapters about it in Baseball Between the Numbers, and Dan Fox did great work on the topic in the time that he was here. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5813
Having said that, JAWS is not intended to be a one-stop be-all/end-all ranking service for the whole of baseball history. It's convenient to say someone ranks as the fourth-greatest according to JAWS, but there's obviously a lot that JAWS doesn't capture, and I acknowledge that all over the place in the annual series.
Furthermore, a good bit of why Bagwell ranks as high as he does has to do with defense, particularly relative to the names you list. Defense is hard to measure accurately, open to wider uncertainty, and hard to account for in our mental shorthand comparisons over time given how much more certain we are about offense. It's very easy to sit here and say Bagwell has 50 or 100 less homers than some of these guys so no way could he be more valuable, even after you adjust for scoring levels. It's harder to appreciate that his defense might be superior, because it's not as though we have a whole lot of web gems from Foxx and McCovey. Bagwell rates at +62 in the iteration I have at the moment. Foxx (-17), Mize (+5), and McCovey (-68) all lose ground on both career and peak. There's certainly a margin for error there which could throw the relative rankings into flux, but that doesn't change the fact that Bagwell is well above the standards among Hall of Fame first basemen, and right now, that's really the only element of the argument that I'm concerned with.
It's an emerging standard and there are certainly no hard and fast rules, but turn the question around:
How much sense does it make to say Franco's better - more valuable - than only one of the five relievers in the Hall, therefore he should be in? And while he was left-handed, he wasn't a specialist who was limited by that distinction, so why should we really care if he's the second-best or the 15th best lefty if he wasn't comparable in value and other accomplishments to the guys who are in, regardless of hand?
Smith is in a grayer area, in that he's better than two of the five guys in, and he's got a sizable chunk of voters who feel he's worthy, a bit short of a majority but a chunk that's not going away (~45 percent). JAWS has gone both ways on him in its history. If all of that is not the definition of a borderline candidate, then I don't know what is, and I don't know that anyone should be getting worked up about somebody who's significantly below him (Franco) getting significantly less love from either me or the voters. Franco got 4.6 percent, *one-tenth* of what Smith is getting in support, which tells me that he's much further away from the gray area, and that going against the principles of my system to advocate him simply because we don't have enough relievers in the Hall isn't merited.
The timing of this series has been the bane of my existence for most of the time I've been doing it. The problem is that it happens in the midst of us putting together the annual, which is a much higher priority but which takes up a whole lot of our resources. Getting the freshest WARP data during this time period is always a challenge. And the damn things take a whole lot longer to put together than I always think they will. But you're absolutely right - earlier would be better, and I'll try to organize my schedule better next year.
I'm honestly still not sure exactly what you're asking about the comparisons beyond the fact that the bars are at different levels at different positions. I do think that comparing within position protects us from whatever biases (if any) which may be built into the system - if we're overrating second basemen slightly, then at least we're not depending upon a comparison of second basemen to first basemen to make their case. Beyond that, I don't get where you're going - feel free to email me if you want to try explaining again.
Comparing by position would seem to me to be a fundamental organizing principle when it comes to any Hall of Fame discussion, albeit an imperfect one, since many players change positions over the courses of their careers and sometimes don't fall into the neatest of categories. Ernie Banks, Rod Carew, Willie Stargell and Harmon Killebrew are a few obvious ones, and even Stan Musial and Babe Ruth spent a fair bit of time at both outfield corners. The bars at each position are the products of many factors, including small sample sizes among the Hall of Famers and varying baseline values of defense and offense at each position.
As such, I think it's more constructive to focus on comparisons within a position when a player spent the bulk of his career at that position, with multi-position comparisons (corner infield, outfield, all hitter) coming into play in special cases where it's harder to pin a player to one position (Edgar Martinez being an obvious example).
A guy like Palmeiro is a pretty obvious 1B comp, having played 90-something percent of his games there; he's in the gray area at best there, but with a significant enough dent in his peak that the issue becomes fairly clear even before getting to the PED aspect of his case. Pulling back to compare him to all hitters doesn't help him, so I didn't feel any need to explore that line of thinking any further.
More to the point I intended, "the first time anyone had topped 400 since 1978."
The list was custom-built for the occasion by Sean Forman, and I don't think I got a companion low-AIR list. AIR is not in the Play Index yet, either.
As great a hitter as Killebrew was - great (.306 TAv but not as great as Edgar), he's particularly hurt by his defensive value when it comes to JAWS. He comes in at 50.3/34.4/42.4 because while he was above average as a hitter (595 RAP, 315 RARP) he was 144 runs below-average as a fielder, with an 86 Rate2 at third base (14 runs below average per 100 games, with the equivalent of about 700 games played there) and a 98 Rate2 at first base in the equivalent of nearly 900 games there; overall, he was just 59 runs above replacement level in the field. For JAWS purposes he's a 1B comp, but it's more appropriate to think about him in the corner infield aggregation, and even there he doesn't come close to measuring up to Edgar.
No, he doesn't have to exceed those standards "by a goodly amount," he has to approximate the value of a two-way player. And he did, because he was legitimately one of the great hitters in baseball history, and I just spent something like 1,300 words attempting to show that. Even without playing defense for three-quarters of his career, he is a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate because of his hitting.
He'd absolutely be on there. As an ESPN Insider piece, this had to deviate a bit from the JAWS series structure (see the ESPN version at http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/hof11/insider/news/story?id=5966468).
It was an isolated act that occurred in the heat of the moment, was forgiven by its victim, and resulted in the two participants joining together to raise money for and awareness of the disease which claimed Hirschbeck's son.
If Hirschbeck can forgive, why are you carrying a grudge?
Which Maddox, Gary or Elliot?
Two additional points I'd like to make on Trammell that I didn't get a chance to work into this piece:
1. While I am by no means saying that a Hall of Fame vote for Jack Morris is merited, a good deal of his success during his Detroit years is owed to Trammell and Whitaker, who anchored the defense behind him.
2. Bill Lajoie, the general manager of the Tigers from 1984-1990 and before that a key member of the scouting department that drafted Parrish and Mark Fidrych (1974), Whitaker (1975), Trammell, Morris and Dan Petry (1976) and Kirk Gibson (1978) passed away yesterday. Lynn Henning has a great piece remembering his contributions to the Tigers: http://bit.ly/eiLqR6
I guess we should go back and pull Cobb, John McGraw and all of the other Deadball-era louts who limited their spitting at or on umpires to days that ended in a "y".
Yeesh. You're right, that's some sub-replacement-level math that went unchecked in the final read. Score that E-6.
Yes on acknowledging a margin for error - it is important to recognize that there is only so much precision with which we can measure performance, and that there are some decisions made along the way (which park factors to use, for example) which can move a guy above or below the line. Furthermore, if all I dealt in were statistical absolutes, I wouldn't bother to point out the more subjectively weighted components of a player's case - awards, postseason contributions, milestones, etc.
Sticking to JAWS, I think it's important to note the shape of the performance relative to the line. A player who is above the peak but a bit short on the career gets far more slack in my mind than vice versa, because peak excellence has a non-linear impact.
I think of this as the Terrence Long/Albert Belle rule - if you could tack on a couple years of a near-replacement level hitter onto a high peak guy (Belle) who was a bit short on career WARP just to get him over that second hump, how much is that really worth, and is it any worse than being forced to watch Terrence Long?
In Palmeiro's case, he's nearly one win per year short on peak, which aside from the baggage tells me something about him both on the traditional and sabermetric merits relative to Keith Hernandez, who is above the standard on peak. The latter was rightly regarded as more valuable, more of a star in his day.
And yes, I do think we have to be skeptical about the margin for error on defense when it relates to the JAWS standard, which is why I'm a bit bummed Colin Wyers' new WARP framework wasn't ready to rock with this ballot. It'll be interesting to see what that does to some of our current notions about value.
Well, a 15% gain on defense would still leave him behind Keith Hernandez and Will Clark, two guys I'm pretty convinced belong in the Hall before he does. Hernandez especially given his co-MVP and role on two World Champions.
Spent a good chunk of time the other day talking to former USA columnist and BBWAA voter Mel Antonen for this piece. I only get a brief mention but I'm proud to be part of it nonetheless, as it's clear work like this is changing more minds.
The electorate is evolving, as the Felix and Greinke Cy wins over the past two years illustrate, but remember, voters need to have 10 years of BBWAA membership before they get to vote for the Hall, and so the evolution among that electorate is slower.
Damn it, this was pointed out to me last year as well and I forgot to update the spreadsheet.
Blyleven led the league only that one time, mostly because of the presence of Nolan Ryan, but he ranked in the top five 13 times. He was in the top four in each of his first six season, including three straight second-place finishes, two to Ryan and one to Frank Tanana.
Griffith was an outstanding pitcher in his day, and put up some pretty good numbers; Bill James ranked him 70th in the NBJHA. The Veterans Committee is allowed to consider the totality of a candidate's case - player/manager/executive - and all of those are credited on his plaque, which does show him wearing a hat, FWIW. So he stays in the pool.
Even if one did remove him, the JAWS bar only moves up 0.1 points. One run, basically. Meh.
He's got this year and next to get over the top. I'm not even going to worry about hypotheticals beyond that.
And I do believe he's going to get in. I think the tipping point has been reached thanks to an evolving electorate. I'm pretty sure he's picking up one of those needed votes via Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, who just got his ballot for the first time, and I'll wager he won't be the only newcomer boarding the bandwagon.
Considering that the A's led the league in SNLVAR last year without McCarthy and with Anderson only making 19 starts, it's not the most farfetched possibility out there, not that I'm lining them up ahead of Philadelphia and San Francisco, rotation-wise.
Hey Burr, my most recent assessment of Pettitte's case was at Pinstriped Bible: http://www.pinstripedbible.com/2010/10/19/is-dandy-andy-cooperstown-material/
Short answer is that he's closer on the traditional merits (wins, mainly) than on JAWS, and even then you have to give a lot of credit for postseason performance and hope the voters overlook the HGH connection. If I squint I can see it happening, but I'm not sure it should.
I think that sentence was supposed to start with the word "Despite" but it got lost in the editorial process.
There's a broken link to the words "parted ways" in the fourth graf from the bottom. In case editorial can't get to it in a timely fashion, the proper link is:
Thank you for the kind words!
Indeed, this is the really galling thing about the ownership process. Not that Mark Cuban has any less interest in turning a profit, or doesn't probably have some strange spending habits of his own given his enormous wealth, but it's all about public perception.
Frank McCourt appears "ownerly," saying very little about anything when he addresses the public, and taking pains to avoid rocking the boat of MLB, in part because he's beholden to Bud for having gotten into the boys club. Cuban, on the other hand, scares the bejesus out of Bud because he's a loose cannon, and hasn't greeted the prospect of ownership with the amount of solemnity and discretion which MLB seems to require.
First, because they've seen the shitshow that the McCourts bring to the table, and second, yes, there's almost certainly some sexism involved in what after all has been referred to over and over as a boys club.
Yes, because of revenue sharing money.
Operating income is defined in the Forbes rankings as "Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization": http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/33/baseball-valuations-10_The-Business-Of-Baseball_Income.html
On the team pages, it notes that "Revenues and operating income are for 2009 season and include revenue sharing.": http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/33/baseball-valuations-10_Florida-Marlins_336786.html
No. I really don't think either McCourt could get approved as a majority owner again given all of the information that's out there about them - their finances and the questions surrounding them.
Alas, with the Hall focused on the Expansion Election news, the BBWAA site had the most accessible listing of the candidates, but their home page change changed overnight and there was no permalink.
The full list of holdovers: Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Harold Baines, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell.
The full list of newcomers: Jeff Bagwell, and Walker, Carlos Baerga, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Al Leiter, Tino Martinez, Raul Mondesi, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Kirk Reuter, Benito Santiago and B.J. Surhoff.
I think it's basically the idea that the overt celebration thing rubbed the wrong people the wrong way. Rob Neyer did a great job of putting it together more expansively than I've done (http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/6487/why-isnt-ron-santo-in-the-hall-of-fame). Here's what he wrote:
The Mets wound up winning 100 games. The Cubs won 92, their finest showing since World War II. Nevertheless, the story wasn't so much that the Mets won the pennant, but that the Cubs lost it. And nobody's ever taken more blame for the Cubs losing in 1969 than Santo.
By 1969, Santo had been installed as Cubs captain. Not Ernie Banks nor Billy Williams. Ron Santo. He thought the Cubs were the best team in the National League, and wasn't shy about his confidence. Before a July series against the Mets, Santo was asked by a New York writer to compare the Cubs and the Mets. "Man for man," he said, "there's no comparison. You've got the pitchers but don't try to compare the Mets to the Chicago Cubs." In the annals of "famous last words" spoken by front-runners in baseball, those probably rank among the top 10.
Just a few weeks earlier, Santo had celebrated teammate Jim Hickman's walkoff home run at Wrigley Field by running down the left-field line, jumping into the air and ... clicking his heels together. It became a huge story, and Santo began clicking his heels after every Cubs win at home.
After Santo said the Mets couldn't compare to the Cubs, the Mets took two straight games from the Cubs, and it got into the papers that Santo had blamed one of the losses on rookie center fielder Don Young ... who, as it turned out, had been mentored by Santo all season. This story blew up, too, and Santo was booed in Chicago and received death threats for some time afterward.
For better or worse, in the space of about three weeks Santo had become the face of the Chicago Cubs. If they had finished the season well, he would have been haled for both his performance and his leadership, all the negative stories forgotten (Young, who talked about quitting after the game in New York, played decently in August and September).
But they didn't finish well, and a fair number of Hall of Fame voters probably assigned an inordinate amount of the blame to their captain. Apparently forgetting that Santo's brushes with publicity in '69 came many weeks before the Cubs' September swoon.
I think you're placing far too much blame on Santo for the Cubs' offensive failings during his prime. Consider 1962-1970 as Santo's walk-boosted peak. The Cubs were below average offensively for the first half of that stretch, finishing between sixth and eighth in a 10 team league in scoring from 1962-1966. From 1967-1970, they were in the top there of their league every year, with expansion taking the league to 12 teams in 1969.
During that time period, Billy Williams hit .296/.361/.506 for a 136 OPS+, Santo hit .282/.370/.482 for a 133 OPS+, Ernie Banks hit .260/.308/.450 for a 107 OPS+. (OPS+ isn't my favorite because it undervalues walks relative to TAv, but the B-Ref Play Index is a time saver). That was at the point where Banks had moved to first base, and so should have been expected to reach a higher offensive bar; he still reached the leaderboards in homers a few times during that stretch, but he was done as an All-Star caliber player. Santo drew unintentional walks at nearly three times the clip of Banks, 11.3 percent to 4.4 percent during this time
Among that Hall of Fame trio's teammates during that stretch, just three others had OPS+ over 100 with at least 1000 PA, Jim Hickman (130, 1968-1970), Adolfo Phillips (122, 1966-1969) and George Altman (110, 1962-1967) - all with less than 1600 PA while the HOF trio had over 5000 PA. Note that Hickman and Phillips more or less coincided with the uptick in the Cubs' offensive fortunes.
Meanwhile during this time eight Cubs had OPS+ under 100 and at least 1000 PA, with three of them, Randy Hundley (86), Glen Beckert (82) and Don Kessinger (68) having well over 2500 PA. Lowering the threshold to 500 PA, the Cubs had seven guys in that period with OPS+ over 100 (Johnny Callison, 101, 1970 was the other one not mentioned above), and 16 who were under 100 not including Fergie Jenkins. That's a whole lot of mediocre hitters who persisted in the lineup. See http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/24fHP
I get what you're driving at in there somewhere in what you're saying - not all walks are created equal because sequencing is important. Colin Wyer's new WARP framework, which isn't reflected in the data above, will include some situational data (how much I'm not entirely sure). But you're confusing the issue here because it's Santo's teammates who were eating the team's precious outs and thus weren't very valuable, not Santo.
For more on Marvin Miller's case, please see:
* My original interview with him: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=7608
* My 2010 piece on his Hall of Fame candidacy:
* Former MLB player Bob Locker's collection of testimonials and links pertaining to Miller's candidacy: http://thanksmarvin.com
Hardy's not a free agent unless the Twins non-tender him, which would be a damn fool thing to do given this SS market.
Not half as insane as Jeter reportedly seeking 6 years/$150 mil. http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/features/rumors/_/date/20101126#7497
Perhaps that's the case, which is why I've assumed I can't actually get him.
I've only seen clips, not that it matters much, as I'm not a scout. And I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the same is true for most of us weighing in on the topic. We can all find an expert to selectively quote who puts Montero somewhere along the spectrum between unplayably bad and tolerably below average - which is to say there's hardly unanimity beyond the fact that he won't make anyone forget Johnny Bench.
Thanks. For what it's worth, it appears that it's the Yankees' Tampa brass (Mark Newman, senior veep of baseball ops) that's more sold on the notion that Montero is ready as a catcher than Cashman. They're the ones who risk the egg on face. Me, I'm just the messenger.
Also, I don't think there's anything particularly magical about stretching Chamberlain back out to start. It's all conditioning, and if C.J. Wilson can do it after half a decade in the bullpen, Chamberlain can do it two years removed from starting.
Note that I did not suggest the Yankees actually sign Bruce Chen, simply noted that the market behind Lee is so impoverished that he's among the desirable ones. Nor did I suggest the Moeller plan would be a permanent one that could even last the season. He's a filler until something better comes along, and I'm not sure it's necessary to go so far as to give up talent to trade for a player who Beane is sure to value highly given that he's still dirt cheap (1st year arb).
Beyond my own plan, the thought here is that Kristin Lee's concerns about New York won't survive the shock and awe tack the Yankees can take when it comes to going dollar for dollar against any Texas bid. I've heard from enough people inside the industry that Lee doesn't particularly care to remain with the Rangers to believe it - the geographic ties aren't that strong, and he has concerns about the heat, among other issues. Not that the Yankees won't wind up regretting the deal in the long run, because who really wants to commit to six years of a 32-year-old pitcher?
While there's nobody out there who gives Montero particularly shining marks behind the plate, there do exist prospect experts beyond KG (yes, really) who think Montero can survive there, at least in the short term. In their view, he won't be above-average defensively, but measured against the low, low baseline of Posada/Cervelli - who were nearly epic disaster-level late in the year and the postseason - he can get by so long as he hits as well.
I still think the Yankees have to get a better receiver than Cervelli to serve as a third catcher, and that if Montero hits, it's Posada who's going to be struggling for at-bats one way or another.
I appreciate the level of detail in your examples, but...
Blaming Billy Martin for David Clyde's career failure is ridiculous. The Rangers' ownership turned him into a circus act from the moment they drafted him and brought him straight to the majors at age 18. He belonged in the minor leagues during the entirety of Martin's tenure.
Hassler - the guy was basically a league-average lefty at the time and the Yankees had a lot of lefty bats. He kept the Royals in both starts before faltering in his final inning. I don't hear you blaming sainted Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog for starting him, and he's hardly even the most obscure guy to start a playoff game for his team. Giving fellow lefty Larry Gura, who had just eight starts in 1976-1977 regular season, three starts in the two ALCS (two in 1976, equaling his two reg. season starts) was an even stranger deal.
The problem with your comparisons is that you fail to account for the fact that Martin was able to repeat some level of success with different casts of characters at different stops. At every stop until his later Yankee years, basically. Rigney was a sub-.500 manager beyond the Twins (who admittedly were better in the years before 1968 than I had realized). Smith was a sub-.500 manager beyond Detroit. Tanner inherited strong teams in Oakland and Pittsburgh and was a sub-.500 manager overall. Frey completed only three full seasons of big league managing. Bamberger had exactly two good seasons as a manager.
Offhand I'm not exactly sure what did Boswell in, but the workload was hardly out of the question even for a 24-year-old in that era.
From 1966 through 1972 - going three years on either side of the season in question, and cutting off prior to the DH, there were 26 pitchers between the ages of 23 and 25 (Boswell was 24) who threw at least 250 innings in a season. Twelve of them did so more than once, including Hall of Famers Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, Catfish Hunter, Don Sutton, and Ferguson Jenkins. Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton did so once apiece as well, and in fact, what stands out looking at that list is that most of those guys had at least a few years of success: Larry Dierker, Mel Stottlemyre, Ken Holtzman, Joe Coleman (a guy who turned into a frontline pitcher on Martin's watch in Detroit and lasted at that level for a few years), Dave McNally, Andy Messersmith, Jim Lonborg, Jerry Koosman, Bill Singer... and more:
The success of that era owes much to Michael's work during Steinbrenner's second suspension, but George WAS back in power by 1995, and after firing Showalter and burning through Bob Watson (GM 1996-1997), he's the one who chose to retain Cashman and Torre, which wasn't tough when the Yankees won (1998-2000) but it took more restraint not to blow them and the roster up after those trips to the World Series became a less-than-annual occurrence.
In those dark years, the Yankees still made the playoffs perennially (except for 2008), they pushed their attendance well over 4 million, and one can argue that the way they retained continuity with that homegrown nucleus was at least as helpful from a branding perspective than ripping it up and starting again would have been. Would the next generations of homegrown talents such as Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes have had a chance to reach their potentials in pinstripes had that stability not been there? I don't know that it would have had Steinbrenner fallen back on his earlier ways.
Wow, now that's a laundry list of bitter compaints. Since when is sneaking into the playoffs a crime? I'm not sure you can explain away all of Martin's successes so easily. You blame him for winning with an underdog. You blame him for winning with a favorite. You blame him for beating out a 97-win Orioles team that had the benefit of Eddie Murray's rookie season and Mike Flanagan's breakthrough and you're obsessed with Tom Shopay?
Worse, you've taken some massive liberties here. The Andy Hassler-led Royals? Hassler was the fourth starter on a staff that had Dennis Leonard and Paul Splittorf at the front; Hassler made two of the team's 10 postseason starts vs. the Yankees in 1976 and 1977, and those teams had George Brett, Hal McRae, and some pretty fair supporting casts. They won 102 games in 1977, two more than the Yankees, and their run differential was just nine fewer. they would have ranked third in the majors in the year-end Hit List behind the Phillies and Yankees based upon their Pythagorean records and strength of schedule adjustments.
Likewise, the 1981 A's had the AL's best record and third-best run differential, and would have ranked fourth in the majors in the year-end Hit List behind the Dodgers, Yankees and Astros.
For what it's worth, via Phil Rogers, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported that in last year's VC panel voting, when he got 7 of 12 votes, Miller picked up two votes from among the seven former or current execs: John Harrington, Jerry Bell, Bill DeWitt, Bill Giles, David Glass, Andy MacPhail and John Schuerholz. So maybe it isn't entirely out of the question that he might pick up at least one vote from the four execs (MacPhail, as the youngest, is the best bet) and fare well enough to gain election via a panel much less slanted towards management than the last one.
Good grief. That was meant to be "the only OTHER one of this odd quartet..."
Somehow I missed that first time around. I don't think it's a given he gets that much money if he gets three years (he's 35) but I'd have plenty of room to bring him in on a multi-year deal without exceeding 2010's payroll.
I think that's far too much to give up given that he's only under the Padres' control for one season. I would part with Navarro, but probably only one of the four guys below him if the first two were in the package.
Some fair points in there, but if you've interpreted what I've written as suggesting that he's a lock to be an above-average third baseman, then I probably should have clarified somewhere.
Even if Youkilis is 5-10 runs below average at third, his bat can still support him enough to be an above-average package at third base, and note that I've presented a route via which he can also pick up bats at DH when Thome/Branyan/Cust sits against lefties. Presumably he'd be the backup first baseman as well for when Gonzalez sits or mans the DH for a half-day off too. So I don't think I'm signing up for 150 games of Youkilis at third base.
Furthermore, I haven't put this team in a position where he has to stay there beyond 2011 - the DH slot will be open in 2012.
Because the stats used in an arbitration case tend to be much less nuanced than the ones we kick around here. Such as the fact that Papelbon has more saves than anyone except K-Rod since assuming closer duties in Boston in 2006. K-Rod, Joe Nathan and Francisco Cordero are all getting $11-12 million per year, you can expect Papelbon's agent to argue for that kind of money too, particularly as he's closed out a World Series, unlike that trio.
Ortiz probably would be as well. And the beat goes on...
And of course, I'm an idiot for not figuring out that at worst, if I signed Werth and Downs, the draft picks issue would come out in the wash, since V-Mart and Betre are both Type A free agents.
The value of each individual stolen base isn't great, but in volume, at that success rate, they add up. They also do away with double play opportunities, the lack of which are a problem on a staff that hand the second-lowest GB% in the majors. The Sox tied for 10th in the AL in DPs.
Furthermore, I don't think it's at all a coincidence that guys like Papelbon and Beckett and others underperformed with men on base relative to their career standards as guys ran wild on them, and why they allowed so damn many runs overall.
I don't think it's nearly the given you do that Ortiz can maintain superior production to guys who could cost 1/3 what he does, particularly given the potential for distraction he can (and already has) create given his uncertain future in Boston, publicly agitating for an extension. Did Derek Jeter worry publicly about coming back to New York?
That said, I think in the end, you can make a case that if taking on Ortiz's salary doesn't mean increasing payroll from last year, then it's a path-of-least-resistance decision to pick up the option and placate the fan base. I think that's a dangerous road to go down - the line about it being better to trade a guy a year too early rather than a year too late certainly applies - and I think it's the GM's job not to be swayed by the emotions of the moment.
But it's very easy to me to pontificate about being dispassionate in a hypothetical situation, and almost certainly much harder for Theo (and, almost certainly, John Henry) to tell a guy who's one of the great heroes of Red Sox history to take a hike. So I get where you're coming from. All of which points back to exactly why this article was so fun to write.
At Pinstriped Bible, I take up Billy Martin's case: http://www.pinstripedbible.com/2010/11/11/will-cooperstown-call-for-yankee-quartet-part-ii/
In the specific case of the Angels, their track record appears to suggest that Mike Scioscia does have some knack for bullpen management beyond most other skippers. I can't recall what the correlations were if I removed the Scioscia Angels from the study, nor did I try to identify any other skippers with similarly persistent tendencies - it's an area of study I've always hoped somebody with more time and better numerical chops would pick up and expand upon, either to confirm or explain away what I'd found.
Furthermore, having studied the matter in the past relating to the Angels, I can report that some of the persistent difference owes to bullpen management. As I reported here (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9529), the correlation between a team's cumulative WXRL and its D3 (the difference between actual and third-order record) is .42, whereas it's just .20 for SNLVAR.
As the creator of the Prospectus Hit List, which averages the actual, first, second and third order standings to craft the Hit List Factor, I'm pleased to find further backing that its predictive value holds up just about as well as any Matt checked (.509), and incrementally better than using just the third-order standings.
I think it would be very hard to move any of the Beckett/Lackey/Matsuzaka trio without eating a large portion - perhaps as much as 50 percent - of the contract, similar to what the Yankees face with A.J. Burnett, and in this case that could amount to somewhere between $10-30 million.
Beckett and Dice both missed significant chunks of time with injury last year, and while Lackey took the ball every fifth day, his decline certainly suggests he's not the same pitcher as he was 2-3 years ago. Based on their track records and their peripherals, I don't think it's a bad gamble to see if they can restore their value, perhaps strengthening the market for them in the process.
As for Greinke, I'm wary of how his psychological issues would be affected in the fishbowl of Boston just as much as I would be in New York. De La Rosa is an interesting target, but he's got some of the same issues as Dice - high walk rate, bouts of inconsistency, and injury history.
I do think that both the Rays and Yankees regress in 2011, and that it's one of those two teams who miss the playoffs, not the Red Sox so long as their winter goes well and their wounded players heal. Right now, I'd guess Rays given their financial constraints, but ask me again when pitchers and catchers report and the answer might be different.
Downs is a Type A free agent, and the marginal cost would have been a second-round draft pick (the Blue Jays would get the first round pick, the Phillies the 2nd-rounder based upon reverse order of finish). I meant to include a line to that effect in the piece, particularly since the Sox have been acknowledged as suitors. The idea has some merit, but it's a now/later tradeoff.
Just wanted to reiterate my thanks to Marc for lending his insights to this piece and to the conversation in general.
And furthermore, thank you all for the kind words. I've literally been thinking about this piece for weeks. There was a misunderstanding between myself and our editors about the artistic license regarding my turning back the clock on the Ortiz decision, which resulted in a different version of this piece briefly appearing on-site yesterday; I apologize to all concerned for any resultant confusion. I wrote this the way I did because I think it's a far more interesting conversation about where to go if not with Ortiz than to simply take things as etched in stone 24 hours before the article aired.
It's an imperfect analogue to what you're seeking, but you'll note that in just about every extended JAWS article, I try to make mention of players' experience as part of winning teams - "five divisions, four pennants and two World Series," as for Concepcion above, as well as what they hit/pitched in postseason.
Beyond that, it's one thing the Bill James Hall of Fame Monitor is good for. Garvey has 130 points thanks in part to playing on so many winners. Winfield has 147, in a career with about 600 more games played and nearly 200 more homers, not to mention membership in the 3000 hit club.
Also, Guidry had shoulder surgery in December 1987 after pitching just 117.2 innings in 17 starts (22 games overall) that year. James Andrews repaired "a partial tear in a muscle that overlays the rotator cuff". After missing half the season, Guidry pitched 56 innings at about a league-average clip the next year. The Yankees nontendered him that following winter, but brought him back in the spring; however he discovered in mid-March that he had bone chips in his elbow, and had surgery to remove them. After spending the first two months of the season on the DL, he gave it a go at Triple-A Columbus but made just seven starts with a 4.18 ERA before going home to Louisiana when the Yankees were reluctant to promote him.
Surprisingly enough, Guidry only has three seasons above 5.0 WARP, that killer 1978 (8.9) and his 1979 and 1983 campaigns. He had years where his ERA wasn't a whole lot better than league average, and he was blessed with above-average offensive support which made his Won-Loss record look very good. I examined his case at further length at Pinstriped Bible:
Yup. I like Whitaker a lot, but his peak wasn't as high as that of Grich.
In the piece originally submitted, I alluded to them, but there was no room to take up their case given ESPN's demands on keeping things short and punchy. And of course no JAWS scores to run.
Rest assured their candidacies will be addressed at a later date.
Neither Hardy nor Peralta are free agents. The former didn't reach the service time requirement thanks to Milwaukee's demoting him last summer, the latter just re-upped with Detroit. Instead you've got this menu of appallingly gamey meat (via http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/09/2011-mlb-free-agents.html):
Geoff Blum (38)
Orlando Cabrera (36) - Type B
Juan Castro (39)
Craig Counsell (40)
Bobby Crosby (31)
Adam Everett (34)
Cristian Guzman (33)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (35)
Cesar Izturis (31)
Derek Jeter (37) - Type A
Julio Lugo (35)
Nick Punto (33)
Edgar Renteria (34)
Miguel Tejada (37) - Type A
Juan Uribe (31) - Type B
Aw, shucks. Thank you for the kind words!
I feel like I owe so much of my early love of reading to Sesame Street and Electric Company. Such awesome shows. They just don't make quality educational TV like that anymore.
David Laurila did a nice interview with the numbers-savvy Dave Jauss: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10088
The 1988 Dodgers (.566) were 18th on the list, with the 1916 Red Sox and the 1990 Reds (both .563) between them and the teams shown. The 1993 and 1992 Blue Jays (.567 and .569) round out the top 20, followed by the 1965 and 1963 Dodgers (.573 and .576), the 1969 Mets (.579) and then the 1991 Twins and 1926 Cardinals (.581).
As a fan of the Dodgers, I certainly appreciate that the 1988 club was one of the more unlikely champions of my lifetime, but people forget that they were without their TWO best hitters by the time the World Series rolled around, not just the injured Kirk Gibson (.326 TAv) but also Pedro Guerrero (.305), whom they traded for John Tudor in mid-August because Fernando Valenzuela had gotten hurt. Tudor was solid over the final six weeks, but he got rocked in the NLCS and then hurt his elbow in the World Series. Put those two bats in the middle of the lineup and it starts to look a bit more respectable.
It's always bummed me out a little that neither Valenzuela nor Guerrero, easily my two favorite Dodgers of all time, really got to enjoy that World Series win.
I'm pretty sure that ticket prices aren't actually the province of the GM, but I'd count that news as another sign that the entire organization is trying to turn over a new leaf, and is no longer as tone-deaf to the complaints of its patrons as it's been over the past few years.
"Pull your head out of a spreadsheet and look at a map!"
Geography never was my strongest subject.
Oops. The correct figures should be .534 for the Yankees and .550 for the Mets, for a .542 mark overall, still with the #4 ranking. It looks like that something got messed up somewhere along the editorial process (the data is duplicated from the cells below) - I'll see if I can find somebody to fix that.
Interesting stuff, Colin. How did the Rangers' numbers change once Molina moved over there?
D'oh. My bad on Romero's deal, though I'll blame Cots for not adding it to their payroll grid (http://bit.ly/9Wa8QP). Still, the point had more to do with cost certainty and bang for the buck, and Romero does have that going for him.
My point about the catchers had less to do with any individual and more to do with two teams dealing from areas of depth; Perez and d'Arnaud would be the likely focuses unless a near-term stopgap were the order of the day.
Given a couple more hours to write on the topic, I was prepared to muse about what the trade market for Marcum might look like - filling one of their above needs with a higher-end acquisition by swapping him out and knowing that while it's a bit of a hit, there's still a pretty good amount of pitching. You're the Blue Jays fan, what would you look for back in such a trade?
Also, thanks for the kind words. There are a handful of loyal readers whose rooting interests I have somewhat mapped out in my head when I tackle these types of articles, and I was specifically wondering what you'd think.
I think he must have watched too much footage of Joe Carter in the 1993 World Series.
Thanks for the kind words.
Thanks for the kind words, but you're mistaken when it comes to the use of Rivera. He pitched just one inning, the eighth, and did so when the Yankees' five-run deficit pushed the Rangers' win expectancy to around 99 percent.
Had Girardi used Rivera like a mid-1970s fireman instead of a 21st century closer, the time to bring him in would have been in the fifth inning to prevent the deficit from expanding beyond two runs. The Yankees still had a 43 percent win expectancy when Hughes intentionally walked Hamilton. Guerrero's two-run double dropped that to 22 percent, Cruz's two-run homer dropped it to 12 percent. Can open, worms everywhere...
The original announcement of BP's subscription rate came in January 2003, and that rate has remained unchanged since: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/20030117announce.shtml
The $39.95 list price for the premium subscription has remained unchanged since the day BP went to a subscription. Lower prices may be available via gift subscriptions and other promotions, but nothing about our standard rate has changed.
Because as Leo Durocher said, you don't save a pitcher for tomorrow, because tomorrow it might rain. And because in the postseason, there are very, very few tomorrows. Yes, the Yanks may need Rivera again in each of the next two games, but you've gotta manage one at a time at this stage.
Logan did a fine job this year - it was Eric Seidman's piece of which you speak - and Robertson had a strong second half; it wasn't that the Yankees' other options were slouches so much as that the difference between two and three runs was the difference between about a 10 percent chance of coming back and about a 2 percent one.
Perhaps I've overstated the case a touch by using the word "absolutely," though I did actually first-guess the move last night, not that I filed my preemptive paperwork to that effect.
You're right in that it's a point that bears mentioning in the context of his Hall of Fame case. But I don't think it's nearly that simple, given the relative lack of vilification Pettitte's faced in the press relative to McGwire, who's been unloaded upon as a symbol of the era, or Clemens, who in trying to clear his name dug himself a massive hole in the courts. The bottom line is that we'll know far more about how the PED admission will affect his case by the time Clemens, Bonds, Palmeiro, Sosa, Sheffield and a few others face the music, but I suspect most of those players won't have anywhere near the 3-to-1 opposition that McGwire faces.
Via Twitter, YES Network's Jack Curry reports: "Girardi said the Yankees are staying in rotation, meaning Burnett will start Gm 4."
And a few more via MLB's T.R. Sullivan (http://trsullivan.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/10/cantu_in_murphy_tomorrowlineup.html):
* Cantu will start at first base in Game One and bat ninth.
* Moreland and Molina will be back in the lineup for Game Two, and Murphy will be in left, as expected.
* It's undecided who will play first in Game three against the lefty Pettitte.
* Borbon may start against Burnett in Game Four.
Late roster and lineup notes for the Rangers:
* Lefties Michael Kirkman and Clay Rapada both made the roster, giving the Rangers a whopping four southpaw relievers. Missing the cut was Dustin Nippert and infielder Esteban German, the latter of whom I'd already assumed wouldn't make it.
* Matt Treanor will get the call behind the plate in Game One. He was Wilson's receiver in his lone ALDS start as well as his three final regular season starts. Don't expect much from him with the stick given his woeful split against lefties.
* Ron Washington may start Jorge Cantu over Mitch Moreland at first base in Game One, but no final decision has been made yet.
Yup, kicked that one. Score it E-6. My apologies.
Interesting point, Joey. Looking at the splits, the Rangers had as many sacs in the first two months (21) as in the next three - though they again spiked to tie their season high with 12 in September/October - maybe because they were practicing for the postseason, when such tactics actually are more relevant in a lower-scoring environment?
I *did* point that out as well in the article.
Because from a historical standpoint, it's far more likely for a series to end before seven games than it is to reach the seventh. Wild Card era ALCS have averaged 5.8 games in length, with six ending before six games, and only four going the distance. Throw in the NLCS along that timeline and the average is 5.73, with 12 ending before six games and only eight going the distance. Include the World Series to cover all seven-game series of the Wild Card era and the average drops to 5.6, with 20 of the 45 ending before six games and only 11 going the distance - roughly one in four.
Furthermore, the only way the Rangers can win a seven-game series is to win Lee's second start, where there are other scenarios where they could still win the series without that happening.
Well, you're arguing over a minor matter of emphasis, since it wasn't like I ignored the point. If you want an extra portion of regret about Morneau not being part of this Twins' playoff team for the "real take-home," I'll have the kitchen prepare a special side order.
Worth noting: 15 of the Twins' 19 games vs. the AL East's big three came when Morneau was active; they were 45-39 in that stretch. So their 49-19 run without Morneau - and thus their climb to 94 wins - happened against a weaker stretch of schedule. My point, and I'll stand by it, is that even with Morneau, being the class of the AL Central (and again, they were actually in third at the time he went down) doesn't mean you're on the same level as the beasts of the East.
I guess you didn't read the line immediately before the one you quoted where I spent 60 or so words acknowledging the loss of Morneau and the impact it had on Gardenhire's lineup flexibility, particularly against lefties. Had he been present, the series might have unfolded differently.
What strikes me as nuts is that people are treating something like the .003 difference between the Jays and Phillies as though it's engraved in stone tablets. There's a margin for error in any measurement, and if you wanted to argue that instead of +25 for the AL and -22 for the NL it should be +23 and -20 because I should be weighting the past three years 4-3-2 instead of 5-4-3 or 3-2-1 or something, and therefore the Phillies should wind up at .553 and the Jays at .552, I can understand that.
The underlying point is that there's a clear separation between the top five AL teams and the next eight AL + NL teams. The Phillies, no matter what league adjustment I make, ain't gonna wind up in that top five based upon the available evidence. They MIGHT pass the Jays and the White Sox had I done this a bit differently. As it is, they're the top-ranked NL team on the year-end Hit List. Live with it.
Colin's response was that the chances of that happening are roughly 1 in 100,000.
As noted above, I'm going to argue that for the most part comparing stats across leagues like that ISN'T the best way to go about it; you'll notice I generally hold to league ranks when making quantitative comparisons. Would you compare AL and NL strikeout rates given that the pitcher bats in only one of those leagues (interleague games excluded)? Fair Run Average isn't park or league adjusted, so let's start by remembering that the NL had a lower scoring environment (4.33 to 4.35). On the defensive front, the AL had a lower BABIP (.295 to .299). The spread of baserunning comes out to about 2-3 wins a year from top to bottom; relative rank tells us nothing when teams are so closely bunched.
On a team level, additive VORP doesn't work for anything at all, because of the way it mashes together the various bins of player performance (a two-position infielder or outfielder will be credited at one or the other but not both in proportion, and they may be far apart, like LF/CF) - please don't use it; we shouldn't even be supplying it. Likewise, I'm suspicious of "team" MLVr because the rate stat was designed to tell you what the addition of a single player would do to the team scoring rate given an otherwise league-average lineup.
The Phils did most of that against NL competition. The Jays did most of theirs against AL competition, which the evidence strongly suggests is the stronger of the two leagues. A cross-comparison for these purposes is inappropriate, which is why I generally take pains to compare players and teams within league rankings rather than MLB rankings.
Damn it, I had that right somewhere. But not here, apparently.
Meanwhile, the Gardenhire record should actually be 18-56 (.243). An overzealous bit of editing resulted in an error on that one, though the point stands: anytime you're below the Choo Choo Coleman line, you're in trouble. As for the odds on that, I've put Colin Wyers onto the case and will report back.
In the last graf, the .219/.292/.375 line is the Twins' hitters' overall performance. Minus the lines of Mauer and Thome, that's a .229/.315/.438 line, more Marv Throneberry than Rod Kanehl.
This one is, simply because I don't have any other applicable means of doing it the way, say, Clay builds league difficulty indices into WARP. You can argue that the adjustment is too large by a small handful of points depending upon how many years of data we base that adjustment on, and how they're weighted (not dissimilar from park factor debates) but you can't credibly argue that it's inappropriate to adjust.
Crap, was looking at the wrong spot in the game log as I rushed this to our editors.
It was a great play by Mo. From my notes: "Mauer smacks a comebacker right to Rivera, knocking him down and breaking his bat in the process."
I don't have this year's split handy, but from 2006 through 2009, the AL went 269-234 in NL parks (.534) and 308-196 in AL parks (.611).
The average home team won at a .548 clip during that four-year span, so NL teams underperformed by 82 points of winning percentage at home, and 63 points on the road.
You're the one who won't provide any evidence beyond your gut feelings, but I'm the arrogant prick because I've defended myself by hand-delivering as succinct a summary of my research findings as I can?
You're very welcome. It's a beast to wrangle with week after week, but I wouldn't keep it up after six seasons if I didn't feel as though it had the support of our readers.
Read the article about how consistently even the top NL teams have played sub-.500 ball against AL teams in recent years. Or if you're too lazy to do that, simply read this:
One revealing aspect about the AL's advantage over the NL is that even the lousier Junior Circuit teams are beating the Senior Circuit ones consistently. Sticking with the last five years of data (including this unfinished [for intra- but not interleague purposes] season) and splitting each league into upper and lower halves in terms of interleague records—the 35 best (or worst) team-seasons in each half in the AL, 40 in the NL—we find that AL's better half, which won at a .561 clip in those intraleague games, boosted their winning percentage to .610 in interleague games. The lower half, which produced a measly .438 winning percentage in intraleague, kicked NL tail at a .523 clip. The NL's better half posted a .551 winning percentage in intraleague play but just a .447 mark in interleague play, while the lower half dipped from .450 to .421.
This tendency persists if we break the teams into smaller groups... Every NL grouping, from the best 20 percent to the worst, won significantly less than 50 percent of its games