A look at Jeremy Hellickson's mysterious ERA/FIP discrepancy.
Ryan Franklin was a starting pitcher for just three full seasons in the major leagues. In 2002, he worked in a swing role for the Seattle Mariners. In 2003, he surprised many by posting a 3.57 ERA during a season in which he struck out just 99 hitters and walked 61 more over 212 innings pitched while allowing 34 home runs. His FIP that season was a staggering 5.24, and that 1.67 run difference is the largest difference for any starting pitcher with at least 150 innings of work since the 2000 season.
We think about almost everything but baseball in base 10, but the national pastime stubbornly insists on a base 3 system. It doesn't have to be this way.
Believe it or not, 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.
Zachary Levine, who somehow tricked an accredited university into giving him a mathematics degree, is in his third season covering the Astros for the Houston Chronicle. This is his second endeavor for Baseball Prospectus, the first being a conversation with Kevin and the Professor about shooting guns in Texas on Episode 49 of the Up and In podcast.
Armed with a plan to play Prince Fielder at first base and Miguel Cabrera at third, the Tigers might field one of the worst defensive infields in recent memory.
It's no hyperbole to say Prince Fielder's nine-year, $214 million deal with the Tigers shocked the baseball world. The Tigers certainly weren’t on the list of likely suitors given their sizable commitment to the sizable player occupying his position: Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera was the AL's most valuable first baseman in 2010 and 2011 according to WARP, and is under contract for another $86 million through 2015. Even with the designated hitter slot open due to Victor Martinez's season-ending torn ACL—the catastrophe that triggered Fielder’s signing—the team plans to play the new guy at first base and shift the incumbent to third base. It’s a position Cabrera hasn't played regularly since 2007, but one that he nonetheless calls "his natural position." Paired with Ryan Raburn at second base and Jhonny Peralta at shortstop—two players moved to less demanding defensive positions years ago, only to shift back to harder ones—the Tigers are threatening to field one of the more terrifying infields in recent memory.
A writer who never saw Jack Morris pitch watches him in action for the first time and comes away even less convinced that the traditionalist case for his candidacy should earn him a call to Cooperstown.
Redefining the JAWS equation sets a new standard for Hall of Fame induction.
This time of year is a busy stretch if you're a Hall of Fame buff, or at least this particular Hall of Fame buff. The 2012 BBWAA ballot was released on Wednesday, adding 13 new candidates to the 14 holdovers from last year's ballot. I'll start digging into the details of those candidacies starting at some point late next week. Meanwhile, the vote on the Golden Era candidates will take place at the Winter Meetings in Dallas this coming Monday, December 5; alas, I think I’m actually going to be in the air when the results are announced, but I’ll weigh in upon arrival. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to discuss some of the Golden Era candidates on television as part of my debut appearance on MLB Network's new show, “Clubhouse Confidential.” It wasn't my first time on TV, but I believe it was my first time discussing JAWS in that medium. Explaining the system concisely AND discussing the merits of a handful of candidates in a four-minute span was certainly a challenge, but host Brian Kenny and his producers seemed quite pleased with the segment, and there’s reason to believe that it won't be the last time I appear on the show.