Ratings for the MLB All-Star Game were up this year, but does that really tell the whole story?
Television ratings are a funny thing. The spin that can come out of the numbers can drive reports in wildly divergent directions. In sports, ratings can be spun to say that the popularity of a given league or club is high or low, depending on those feeding the information. Of course, leagues and clubs love to tout growth, while detractors can spin numbers negatively. For Major League Baseball, ratings have been used to show that the game’s popularity is on the rise, while others have pounded keys to say that it’s a “dying sport.”
So, which one is it? As is often the case in data analysis, the truth can lie in the middle. Before we get started, let’s give a quick primer on what the ratings numbers mean.
Albert Pujols leads the roster of players newly anointed with "10-and-5" no-trade rights.
For Albert Pujols, the 2010 season was his 10th year in the majors, meeting the requirement for election to the Hall of Fame. With the end of the season, he also earned full no-trade protection as a "10-and-5 man": a 10-year veteran who has spent the last five seasons with the same team.
A look into how teams are assembled with talent from different sources at different prices.
In my last two columns, we discussed when rebuilding teams should sign free agents. Two weeks ago, I explained that teams with outside shots at competing could be doing themselves a favor to sign free agents who would be tradable for prospects at the trade deadline. Several insightful readers pointed out that signing free agents may be a way to work towards improving in the future. I investigated this claim in last week's column, in which I looked at how well free agents who signed multi-year deals performed in subsequent years of their deals. The overwhelming likelihood was that the biggest value from a free agent comes from the first year of their deal; in many cases, they declined considerably after the first year. Thus, the logical next question in my view is how winning teams are comprised. In this article, I grouped each type of player based on their service time-implied contract status, and checked how each team did at getting wins via each type of player.
The Yankees continued their run through the ... hey, not so fast! In San Diego, the Cardinals continued to make a statement about the importance of home-field advantage, while in New York the Mets were the one team to keep order in the first two games.
\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.';
xxxpxxxxx1160157644_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.
As the owners and players jockeyed toward another mid-season labor showdown, the owner of one of MLB's least efficient teams sought to set the record straight. Bud Selig announced: "The fact is, there are staggering cash operating losses in major league baseball today. ...The enormous cost increase in player salaries is, by far, the biggest reason baseball has dire economic problems. Any charge other than that is clearly and totally unsubstantiated by the economic facts as they exist today." MLB figures released after the season put the total of those "staggering cash operating losses" at less than 1% of revenue. In fact, player salaries had doubled since 1981. So had MLB's revenue, as cable TV became an increasingly important source of income. Owners who reinvested their rights fees in payroll helped create a $300,000 gap between the major league minimum and the average salary. As the Braves and Pirates demonstrated, badly-run franchises could now waste more money than ever before.