Between the surprises of urban planning and the surprises of backfield performances, Jason still has plenty to share as his time in Arizona winds down.
Day 30, 8:00 AM
Patricia, before arriving at the Spring Training facility each morning, Roommate Jason and I cruise the main drag in Surprise, Arizona looking for hot coffee from below-average gas stations. You might wonder why going out for coffee is a necessity when we have a coffee maker at the house, and why gas station coffee is the preference when a Starbucks is only a half of a mile farther down the road from the complex, but I’d suggest just letting it go. We all make mistakes, and some of us make a habit of making mistakes. This is a prime example of the latter. The thoroughfare in question is called Bell Road, and it’s probably the most dangerous stretch of road in the modern world. Traversing Bell Road multiple times a day shows the devolution of society, with each near automotive accident and each ten-minute trip that inevitably turns into a twenty-minute trip; however, the road itself is merely a victim of the incompetence of design, as the city expanded from a one-horse-town to a growing sprawl of chain restaurants, ubiquitous examples of chain retail consumerism, and all things cookie-cutter America. The sprawl was allowed to sprawl directly off of this main road, which is ill-equipped to support it.
Bell Road was the spine of this dusty little town, which worked fine when the town was dusty and little. But when the Rangers and Royals decided to build a beautiful baseball facility and make the town attractive for at least one month a year, the city reacted to this economic boom with the efficiency of a dial-up connection. This ghost-town that is now all grown up has yet to adjust to the resulting sprawl by allowing drivers to actually reach that sprawl from the main road. U-turns and complicated maneuvering through parking lots are almost always required to reach your consumer sprawl destination of choice, and even when you are lucky enough to locate a consumer sprawl off a stoplight, the consumer sprawl in question is almost always designed so that you can’t enter the parking lot without first negotiating the parking lots of another sprawl, in which you might have to halt your vehicle at one of the numerous stop signs contained within the larger parent sprawl, which are de facto duck crossings for the elderly, and trust me, there are a lot of really slow, elderly people that like to walk across the parking lots of the consumer sprawls, and their pace is somewhere between ice melting on a cold day and Calvin Pickering’s metabolism.
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What's actually involved when you're a prospect and get traded in-season?
This year's trade deadline might have been the craziest ever, not in terms of actual trades, but in terms of the talk about potential deals. Between all of the various outlets generating the rumors, those that simply aggregate them, and social networking sites like Twitter, trying to figure out everything that was happening became a 24/7 operation, while also requiring a sizeable filter to find the nuggets of truth. After the trade is done, everyone in the media chimes in once again to talk about who 'won' a trade, or what the prospects might become, but what about the prospects themselves. What happens when you are suddenly dealt?
There are 16 position players on the Hall of Fame ballot. Jay Jaffe thinks three of them belong in Cooperstown.
These new metrics enable us to identify candidates who are as good or better than the average Hall of Famer at their position. By promoting those players for election, we can avoid further diluting the quality of the Hall's membership. Clay Davenport's Translations make an ideal tool for this endeavor because they normalize all performance records in major-league history to the same scoring environment, adjusting for park effects, quality of competition and length of schedule. All pitchers, hitters and fielders are thus rated above or below one consistent replacement level, making cross-era comparisons a breeze. Though non-statistical considerations--awards, championships, postseason performance--shouldn't be left by the wayside in weighing a player's Hall of Fame case, they're not the focus here.
Since election to the Hall of Fame requires a player to perform both at a very high level and for a long time, it's inappropriate to rely simply on career Wins Above Replacement (WARP, which for this exercise refers exclusively to the adjusted-for-all-time version. WARP3). For this process I also identified each player's peak value as determined by the player's WARP in his best five consecutive seasons (with allowances made for seasons lost to war or injury). That choice is an admittedly arbitrary one; I simply selected a peak vaue that was relatively easy to calculate and that, at five years, represented a minimum of half the career of a Hall of Famer.