Various people throughout baseball talk about the importance of the Tigers' long-running double play duo.
“Tram” and “Sweet Lou." The longest-running double-play combination in baseball history, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker played 1,918 games together from 1977-95, the most ever for American League teammates. During that time they combined for 11 All-Star berths, seven Gold Gloves, seven Silver Slugger awards, 4,734 hits, and 429 home runs. They were, quite simply, the heart and soul of the Detroit Tigers for nearly two full decades.
A look at 10 men who should be considered to run a baseball operations department.
Welcome to Top 10 Week. All week long, various BP authors will be revealing their Top 10s in various categories. Today we start off with Will Carroll ranking the 10 best general manager candidates.
A couple years back, I did a list of the "next GM" crop. It's one of those innocuous exercises that nonetheless tells us a lot about what's going on inside of the front offices. We hear about GMs, about trades, about drafts, but even in Moneyball and earlier in Dollar Sign on the Muscle, we seldom hear about the day-to-day operations carried out by a group of people that is overworked, underpaid, and most importantly, vastly overqualified. This is a group that years ago would be more likely to be putting together a hedge fund, working for the State Department, or something a bit more "important" than the game of baseball. With the money of the modern era, teams got smarter, fast.
Revisiting a conversation with the long-time official scorer in Boston.
Chaz Scoggins has been the primary official scorer at Fenway Park for over 30 years. A long-time sportswriter for The Lowell Sun and a former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Scoggins sat down for this interview in December 2004.
A look at the draft soap opera that opens next week, and the convoluted machinations of the case before us.
Recent chats and my e-mail inbox have shown that our readers find the current draft soap opera a compelling story. Opinions are wide ranging, but beyond the issues themselves, numerous readers have asked about how the process actually works. Beyond the decision and who it may favor, how will a resolution come about? Here's a quick primer on what the grievance contains, and the steps to be taken on the way to a final ruling.
Question: what's the difference between an agent and an advisor?
This time of year, I get a handful of emails with specific questions
about some draft nuts and bolts, and this year--maybe because of the O.J. Mayo
situation--that handful has turned into a full bushel. The email tends to go
something like this:
A few recent rule changes might alter the landscape of college baseball, and not for the better.
Last week, we saw that numerous factors--such as an increase of television time--has college baseball geared for an upcoming surge in visibility. The problem, as many coaches have pointed out, is that the NCAA's misguided focus on academics will handicap the ability for college coaches to reach an optimum quality level. In 2005, the NCAA implemented the measurement of an Academic Progress Rate into collegiate athletics in an attempt to gauge how different sports were succeeding in their attempt to create student-athletes. College baseball quickly became the focus of the NCAA after it received a bad score, later blamed both on a low rate of progression toward degrees and a high transfer rate.
Evaluating who was the best player in the game, starting with Ross Barnes in 1871.
Who is the best player in baseball right now? You can make credible arguments for two players-Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. Who then will win the MVP awards in their respective leagues? A-Rod will probably win the American League's, but Pujols is unlikely to reciprocate in the NL. More probably, it will be someone like Prince Fielder, who is certainly very good, and who might have had the best season in his league, but is certainly not the best player in baseball.
Will MLB live down to its past when it comes to its relationship with Japan?
Professional Japanese baseball faces an uncertain future. With the success of Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, the World Baseball Classic win, and the hoopla surrounding Daisuke Matsuzaka, Major League Baseball sees Japan as a new pool of talent for North American teams. Through the posting system and soon through signing talent out of school, the one-way flow of stars from the Eastern to the Western Hemisphere could drain talent from the Far East. Unless talent--star talent--actually flows both ways across the Pacific, the Japanese major leagues may slide into outright dependence on Major League Baseball instead of becoming a major league equal.
Everything you wanted to know about the BP Kings Charity Scoresheet Draft.
Peter Gammons' unfortunate incident focused the spotlight on cerebral aneurysms, but my connection is more personal. My mother had a cerebral aneurysm rupture way back in 1977 and was fortunate to survive.
Draft Strategy: Be strong at scarce positions offensively, avoided the dreaded Pitcher-AAA as always, and work on building a better bullpen to compensate for the lack of early starting pitchers. I sort of strayed from that strategy by taking John Lackey relatively early, and I might have a problem at second base if Jose Lopez doesn't pan out. I wanted to build a good core under the age of 30, and I did a fairly decent job of that. One of my harder decisions was my first one--Grady Sizemore vs. Joe Mauer. The consensus seems to be that I went the wrong with Sizemore--the consensus could be right, but I get the idea that three years from now Mauer won't be catching as often, to preserve his knees. Maybe that's too far forward to look, but at the same token, I see Sizemore as basically being risk-free.
I participated in the Mock Draft in the Scoresheet newsgroup, and because of that I expected the draft to be a little more prospect-heavy early-on. With the notable exception of Nate Silver, it wasn't, which suits me fine. I'm happy to have Brignac and Adam Miller among my top prospects.
Draft Strategy: Our only real strategy was to get big bats with the first few picks, then turn to pitching. Other than that, we basically reacted to the draft. We had the third pick, and in a league with an obvious top three, that made things easy. The one who's left is your guy, and that was Joe Mauer, whom we were happy to have. When Vernon Wells fell, we felt, to us at No. 22, we had our theme for the early part of the draft: Young, studly up-the-middle guys.
Jonah Keri introduces us to the participants in Baseball Prospectus' Celebrity Scoresheet League.
Even the most die-hard Rotisserie player would stop short of calling the game a perfect proxy for the real thing, though. Roto's focus on statistics such as RBI, stolen bases, saves and wins are enough to make any card-carrying stathead scurry for the soothing comfort of his VORP tables. Luckily there are games that do a better job of replicating real-life baseball. Strat-O-Matic incorporates such elements as defense and strategic decisions (taking the extra base, bunting, hit-and-run plays) into its game. Strat does fall short in one element though, as it relies on the previous season's stats to generate the action. "What, Derrek Lee hit another three-run homer? Shocking!"
Scoresheet Baseball, on the other hand, combines realistic game results with current-year statistics. If Eric Chavez goes 11-for-24 in a given week, you get the benefit of that offensive outburst and Chavez's Gold Glove defense during the corresponding week on the Scoresheet schedule. Scoresheet has a few flaws too. It doesn't account for park effects for one, making Rockies hitters and Nationals pitchers appear more valuable than they are in reality. Still, it's a challenging, fun-to-play game that's a departure from traditional rotoball.