A look at the greatest comebacks in pennant race history. Has there been a recent addition to the list?
I've had kind of a lucky year. The PECOTA projection I made in the offseason that gained the most notoriety is that the White Sox would finish 72-90; that turned out to be their actual finish. After that, the next most controversial projection was that Dustin Pedroia was going to have a very good year; now he looks like a shoo-in for the Rookie of the Year Award. And in a July article for Sports Illustrated, we noted that the Secret Sauce predicted that the Red Sox would meet the Cubs in the World Series, an outcome that now looks entirely possible (though incrementally less so after the Cubs' loss last night).
Dan discusses booting a probability, historic comebacks brought back by readers, and discusses the dampening damp of baseball at altitude.
Every fan knows that Babe Ruth struck out over 1,300 times to go along with his 714 home runs. Pete Rose made almost 10,000 outs in his career. And last week SABR members enjoyed a lively discussion on the their listserve discussing the players who made the most outs in a season (a hint: "Omar the Outmaker" takes three of the top ten spots).
Where does Monday's NLCS Game Five rank among recent postseason comebacks?
Actually, that was my second reaction. My first reaction was something that would have made Andy Pettitte blush. And my third reaction, after a few moments of reflection about Donnie Moore, Grady Little, and Steve Bartman, was that we might have just witnessed the most unlikely comeback in postseason history.
The candidates for the Comeback Player of the Year--now selected by you!--reflect the haphazard nature of the award.
This year, MLB.com has cemented the Comeback Player's status as a second-class honor by turning it into an award whose winners will be chosen via fan vote. It's not that the fans will do it wrong; I actually expect that, as they do with the All-Star voting, they'll alight on the top candidates for the hardware. Nevertheless, the act of turning this award into a combination marketing event and pharmaceutical ad lessens it.
The Diamondbacks go with youth in their rotation. The Red Sox pointlessly resurrect Ricky Gutierrez. Grady Sizemore and David Wright make their debuts for the Indians and Mets. Tip o' the cap to the solid career of Pat Hentgen. These and other happenings in today's Transaction Analysis.
One of the glaring weaknesses in the injury analysis game is the lack of data. As the injury database is built and populated, we are left with spotty research and anecdotal knowledge, especially when it comes to the crossroads of sports medicine and pitcher workloads. Adding to the problem is the lack of data for both minor league and college pitching. Since pitching is pitching, opponents of workload limitations often bring this up.
In one of the first systematic studies of early pitching workload, Lee Sinins, creator of the Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia, studied 135 pitchers who threw 175 innings or more before the age of 22.
In one of the first systematic studies of early pitching workload, Lee Sinins, creator of the Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia, studied 135 pitchers who threw 175 innings or more before the age of 22. Age 22 is equivalent to the age-point found in Nate Silver's study on pitcher injury and age--the Injury Nexus--but was selected by Lee prior to the publication of Nate's study. Lee selected the pitchers from The Sporting News 1997 Baseball Register, giving us a distant enough perspective on many of the pitchers and allowing objective analysis on the possible effects of heavy workloads at such a young age. Unfortunately, innings thrown in winter leagues or in spring training could not be counted in this study as the data were not available. Innings were not adjusted for level and the totals are a sum for all levels in a season.
There were a few basic theories being tested in this study. First, the injury nexus would be tested. Despite the strong correlations between age and injury found by Nate Silver, real world numbers should match up closely. Second, while somewhat arbitrary, the 175-inning threshold seems to be a point where fatigue sets in for almost all pitchers. Young pitchers usually have not reached this threshold in their careers and the first test of this level often results in injury, massive failure, or a survivor effect.