The Astros' rebuilding effort hinges heavily on the development of Jonathan Singleton and George Springer.
Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Andrew Pentis spent the past four years covering baseball in some manner for MLB.com: as an associate reporter with the Giants in 2009 (a year before they won the World Series) and the D-backs in 2010 (a year before they were any good again) then becoming an editorial producer on the prospects beat in 2011. He is now a free agent living in New York. Search for him on Twitter @AndrewPentis, or drop him a line at email@example.com.
The shift is here to stay, but to be embraced, it has to be rebranded.
In 50 years, and that may be a conservatively distant estimate, we will hear much less talk about defensive shifts.
First of all, there might not be baseball in 50 years. It’s why I’m always hesitant to answer questions that start with “will we ever see,” because “ever” is a really, really long time compared to the current lifespan of baseball (unless it isn’t).
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Considering the pros and cons of an innovative experiment.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article in which I suggested that teams might benefit from going to a model that gets rid of the traditional starting pitcher. Instead of having five men who are expected to go 6-7 innings over 100 pitches, I suggested a model in which three pairs of pitchers each throw 50 pitches, and on the third day, they would pitch again, in fulfillment… I should stop there. I argued that a team that committed to that model could leverage a group of (cheap!) pitchers who were good for a couple innings, but not for six. In this way, a team could get the same sort of results that they might expect from having a bunch of pretty good starters, but for a fraction of the (David) Price.
If everyone on the Astros played to their 90th-percentile projections, and everyone on the Angels played to their 10th-percentile projections, which would win more games?
Last year around this time I had plans to compare the Astros’ teamwide PECOTA projections to those of a variety of lower-level squads: the best Triple-A roster, the best Double-A roster, an All-Star High-A team, etc. I didn’t get to it, and then the season started, and I still didn’t get to it, because the Astros started off hot and it would have been weird to have run that piece about a team that was 22-23 in mid-May. I was sort of glad I didn’t run it, because the longer I lived with the idea the more it started to feel mean.
So this year, I have a similar idea, and I’m rushing it out before the guilt kicks in. Again I’m going to be exploring just how bad the worst team in baseball is. Or just how good the worst team in baseball is. That’s the point of it, after all. It’s not to prove that the Astros are as bad as, say, a team of High-A All-Stars. It’s to see if the Astros are as bad as a team of High-A All-Stars, and if they’re significantly better (as I suspect they would have been), then we’ve learned a little something about baseball.
The final installment of a five-part series on the pressing questions confronting each team in 2013.
In the week leading up to Opening Day, we're asking and answering three questions about each team in a five-part series ordered by descending Playoff Pct from the Playoff Odds Report. Today, we continue with a look at the group of six teams with the worst odds of winning at least a Wild Card. As a reminder, you can find links to our preview podcasts for each team here.
Not so long ago, I looked back at the nine years since the Milwaukee Brewers had the best farm system in baseball to see what the impact of having the best farm system in baseball might be, on a 10-year timeline. I wasn’t totally sure what I hoped to get at or if I did get at it, but people seemed to like it and asked me to do the worst farm system of the same year, so I’ll do that now. I still don’t know what I’m hoping to get at, so we’ll see where this goes.
The worst farm system in baseball at the time belonged to the Montreal Expos, according to Baseball America, but the Expos were in a weird place and it’s hard to consider them a representative franchise. So we’re going to look at the no. 29 team instead: the Houston Astros. Since 2004, the Astros have played in a World Series, so how bad could it really be? Really, really, really bad!
Jim Crane may have been telling the truth...but not the whole truth.
Depending on what you read, clubs in Major League Baseball are either making a massive profit, breaking even, or, if you listen to the owners, often running in the red. Since baseball is a private industry, trying to determine the truth is a matter of educated guessing, wild hyperbole, or a case of “no comment” coming from the league and clubs.
So when an owner talks about the financial status of the club he runs, it prompts a fair amount of discussion. As we’ve seen with the leaked financial documents from the likes of the Marlins and others, the truth typically is on the side of ownership not only making a profit, but a handsome one at that.