Did the starters and relievers who worked in the Futures Game and the All-Star Game enjoy velocity bumps? Harry digs into the PITCHf/x data for the answer.
Pitching ruled the All-Star break. The Futures Game featured a gaggle of power arms and a grand total of six runs. And that was twice the output of the main event, where the National League's best failed to score a run. Mariano Rivera made an emotional appearance. And, in the Home Run Derby, Ron Harper showed off a cutter of his own.
I have a confession to make: I think the Futures Game is the best part of the All-Star break.
American League pitching stifled National League bats in last night's Midsummer Classic.
The All-Star Game Takeaway
The ninth Midsummer Classic played in New York City began with a glimpse at the future of the host club, the Mets, and ended with a tribute to a legendary member of the cross-town Yankees.
Matt Harvey, who somehow retained a good deal of anonymity despite a first half that should have made him the toast of town, tossed two scoreless innings for the National League. But his efforts, and those of every other hurler who toed the rubber for senior circuit, were in vain. By the time Mariano Rivera got the ball in the top of the eighth, the American League was up, 3-0. And neither Rivera nor Joe Nathan—the top two closers on the active saves leaderboard with 638 and 328, respectively—gave Bruce Bochy’s squad an opening to climb back in the final two frames.
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We here at Baseball Prospectus take democracy very seriously. We're proud of our longstanding tradition of using witchcraft... erm, math to talk about all sorts of issues in baseball. And now it's election season again. In a few short weeks, the annual Midsummer Classic will take place in New York City, and your votes will determine the starters. And because this must be said before every election, "This is the most important election of our lifetimes." I can't wait for the first debate between Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano before the next Yankees-Red Sox series.
Jason looks at the worst players, by career WARP, to make multiple trips to the All-Star Game.
Last week, we looked at players who racked up large career WARP figures but for one reason or another (underappreciation, the league being incredibly stocked at their position, steady goodness rather than flashes of greatness) didn't make very many All-Star teams. This week, having sufficiently buried the lede, it's time to look at the players who inspired this investigation in the first place: the very worst players to make multiple All-Star Games. Caveats and notes:
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.
The All-Star Game will never be taken seriously because of a flaw in its design, but it's time to stop trying to fix it.
Every year around this time, we get deluged with people arguing that 1) The All-Star Game has all sorts of problems and needs to be fixed and, hoo boy, I happen to have the prescription to fix everything right here, or 2) The All-Star Game is awful/past its prime/straight up smelly and should be junked.
I’m not here to argue any of that. Instead I’m here to say this: It’s time to stop trying to fix the All-Star Game. Not because a better All-Star Game isn’t desirable, but because it isn’t achievable.