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Articles Tagged Batting Title 

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Does it really matter who wins the batting title?

It would be an exaggeration, but not TOO great of one, to say that everything I’ve learned in life I’ve learned from the Christian Bible, The Book, Babylon 5 and the British sitcom Yes, Minister. In the last of those, cabinet minister Jim Hacker has to deal with the difficulty of balancing the demands of politics with the machinations of the civil servants supposedly serving him (and occasionally, with the notion of actually doing the right thing).

In one episode, the new leader of the fictional country of Buranda is visiting the UK in hopes of purchasing some oil rigs that the government is very keen to sell to them. Hacker has set up a visit between Buranda’s president and the queen as a way to deliver a state visit to some “marginal constituencies” (the equivalent of swing districts) immediately before an election. His brilliant plan seems to backfire, though, after the leader of Buranda gives them an advance copy of the speech he plans to make, where he urges the Scots and Irish to fight British oppression. A panicked Hacker sounds out his chief source of advice, Sir Humphrey Appleby:

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September 8, 2010 8:00 am

Checking the Numbers: Triple Crown Update

11

Eric Seidman

Someone has replaced Prince Albert as the most likely to make history.

As September kicks into gear and the playoff races begin to heat up, another race is piquing the attention of a large population of baseball fans. The difference is that the race to which I am alluding is not assured of producing a winner. In fact, it has not produced a winner since 1967, when Carl Yasztremski led the American League on the mighty triumvirate of batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Leading the league in each of these categories in the same season is referred to as the Triple Crown, and for the first time in quite a while, there exists a strong possibility that the feat will be achieved. Say what you will about the relative merits of the batting average and RBI stats, but cliché saber-oriented rants aside, leading the league in all three is incredibly impressive.

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September 7, 2009 4:23 pm

Checking the Numbers: Pujols and the Simulation Gauntlet

9

Eric Seidman

So, how unlikely is unlikely as far as that bid for the Triple Crown goes, anyway?

While scoping out the season of the one and only Albert Pujols a couple of weeks ago, I attempted to quantify his chances of attaining the Triple Crown. At the time, Pujols led his league in dingers, stood deadlocked in the RBI race with Prince Fielder, and trailed Hanley Ramirez in batting average by a rather large margin. The methodology implemented in that piece was back-of-the-envelope at best, as the dependency of the inherent variables should have precluded the multiplication of separate probabilities. Since home runs automatically correlate to runs batted in as well as batting average, and because a higher batting average would, in theory, lead to more steaks, the three legs of the race are not independent of one another and therefore cannot be multiplied together to determine the Triple Crown likelihood. Though a more accurate process is unlikely to yield drastically different results than the 0.74 percent I found initially, the perfectionist in me felt it necessary to re-run the numbers through a more complex and accurate simulation in order to determine Pujols' chances.

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August 30, 2009 1:50 pm

Catcher Fatigue

34

Tim Kniker

Is Joe Mauer's quest for another batting title really at risk because of his wearing down from catching?

During this year's All-Star Game, in the first inning as Joe Mauer came up to bat, and Tim McCarver wanted to emphasize to the viewers just how amazing Mauer's batting titles in 2006 and 2008 were, as well as his current production in 2009. McCarver said that one of the reasons that catchers don't win batting titles is because their batting average goes down late in the game with all of the bumps and bruises they get from donning the tools of ignorance. This seemed an interesting little theory from an ex-catcher that begged for some numbers to back it up. This comment also got me thinking about a potentially even larger issue: Does the wear and tear of playing at certain defensive positions on the field lead to reduced offensive production? Does this happens during the course of the game, and/or throughout the season?

In-Game Fatigue

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August 20, 2009 12:42 pm

Checking the Numbers: Two Out of Three Ainít Bad

13

Eric Seidman

How good are the chances that Albert Pujols wins the Triple Crown?

Forgive me a lapse of obviousness, but Albert Pujols is one of the greatest players of all time, the type of all-around talent I will take pride in declaring incomparable when describing his career to my future children. He makes an ample amount of contact, knocks the ball out of the yard at least 30 times a year, drives plenty of his teammates in, plays Gold Glove-caliber defense, and makes up for a lack of raw baserunning speed with smarts on the basepaths. This confluence of characteristics makes Pujols the perfect specimen, sort of like the baseball equivalent of the comic book character Deadpool. It also makes Pujols a virtually unanimous choice to be a plausible Triple Crown heir apparent to Carl Yastrzemski, the man who last accomplished the near-impossible feat back in 1967. Sticking solely to the senior circuit, nobody has topped the leaderboards in batting average, home runs, and RBI in the same season since Joe Medwick did it for the Cardinals in the 1937 campaign.

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August 27, 2008 12:39 pm

On the Beat: Staying the Course

0

John Perrotto

The Cubs will avoid hibernation, Grady goes 30-30, and instant replay begins tomorrow.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella and general manager Jim Hendry are in the middle of a pennant race, and they realize that there is really nothing either can do to make a difference. That's not at all frustrating for the veteran duo; they are savvy enough to realize that the best thing they can do for the National League Central-leading club with the best record in the major leagues is to stay out of their way. "My strategy is simple right now, just let my guys play," Piniella said. "We're playing good baseball. Our offense has been good all year and our pitching is as good now as it has been all season. There is nothing to change, nothing to tinker with, just go out and keep playing good baseball."

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Things are getting interesting, so let's talk about the odds.

Chipper Jones is not a .400 hitter. However, that doesn’t mean that he won’t hit .400. What we have on our hands is a classic case of the irresistible force against the immovable object. On the one hand, it’s exceptionally unlikely that a player who has hit .310 over a 15-year major league career suddenly woke up one morning at 35 years old and became a .400 hitter. Jones is seeing the ball exceptionally well, and apart from frequent problems with injury, he has aged relatively gracefully. He’s also undoubtedly squeezed a few lucky hits in between the shortstop and the second baseman, and had a few Texas Leaguers drop in.

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October 16, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Six

0

Joe Sheehan

Our servers, like the Cardinals bullpen and the A's, crashed. Only two of those get to come back.

\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.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_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.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_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.

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September 5, 2005 12:00 am

Swinging for the Fences

0

Will Carroll and Mike Carminati

Will Carroll and Mike Carminati wonder if swinging and missing is that big of a deal, and their findings may surprise you.

Just as an out-of-the-blue bolt of plate discipline presaged Sosa's assent, his decline might have been predicted by his tendency to swing and miss that haunted him even in his stellar 1999 season. Sosa swung at and missed 475 pitches in his record-setting 1999 campaign. This is the highest total for any major-league batter over the last five seasons and isn't the "swing and a miss!" call of the announcer the cruelest fate in baseball? But what does it mean in the greater scheme?

Does having a tendency to swing and miss more than most impair a batter's productivity as we have been told since Little League? Do batters with better batting eyes tend to be more productive than the average batter? Is it better to be patient at the plate or go for the first pitch you can hit? Does this data tell us anything new and could that be used to help build a better team or find successful players?

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It takes a lot these days to awaken me from my slumber and coerce me into penning a column for BP. Between taking care of a baby daughter at home and starting my own medical practice, the truly important things in life--like baseball analysis--have gotten short shrift of late. But finally, I have found a topic that arouses my passion. A question so intriguing as to get my heart racing, my blood pumping, my brain thinking. Finally, a puzzle worth being solved, a code worth being cracked. That question, of course, is: "Does Alex Sanchez have the emptiest batting average in major-league history?" Consider the evidence. Bolstered by an obscene number of bunt hits, Sanchez was hitting .359 going into Wednesday night's game, which ranked him third in the American League. (By the way, who had the exacta on a Melvin Mora-Ken Harvey-Alex Sanchez top three at this point in the season?) But Sanchez's impressive ability to hit singles is neutered by his inability to do anything else: hit for power (eight extra-base hits), reach base by other means (four walks, no HBPs), or make effective use of his speed (11 steals, 10 caught stealings). For the season, Sanchez is hitting .359/.371/.431. His batting average may rank third in the league, but his 802 OPS ranks just 43rd--in a tie with Jose Cruz, who's hitting .237. Put succinctly, Sanchez's batting average is about as empty as Le Stade Olympique. But is it the emptiest ever?

But finally, I have found a topic that arouses my passion. A question so intriguing as to get my heart racing, my blood pumping, my brain thinking. Finally, a puzzle worth being solved, a code worth being cracked.

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