Did new Orioles general manager Dan Duquette leave a mess behind him in his last GM job?
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As Dan Duquette prepares to take on a clean-up operation in Baltimore, revisit Jonah's take on his job performance in his previous stints as a GM, which originally ran on April 25, 2002.
There is enough evidence to perform at least an exploratory empirical analysis of what types of skills are best accentuated by Coors Field.
Up until now, the Coors Field Wars have been fought from the top down. There have plenty of theories advanced about what sort of hitter should do well at Coors. Joe Sheehan presented one theory (players who put the ball in play make best use of Coors), Rany Jazayerli presented another (high altitude provides a comparative advantage to whiff-prone hitters by reducing strikeouts), and Dan O'Dowd has tested out both theories and then some in his manic building and rebuilding of the Rockies.
What hasn't been done, at least so far as I am aware, is a systematic study of what sort of hitters actually have benefited from high altitude. Baseball in Denver is no longer a novelty; the Rockies have accumulated tens of thousands of plate appearances in their decade of existence. There is enough evidence to perform at least an exploratory empirical analysis of what types of skills are best accentuated by the ballpark.
Including the Mile High years, there have been 29 hitters with significant major league experience in another organization who accumulated at least 130 plate appearances in a season in purple pinstripes. Although it would be stretch to call any of those hitters an established superstar prior to his initiation as a Rockie - Larry Walker can make the best case - they represent every possible permutation of strength and deficiency. It would be hard to identify two more opposite players than Dante Bichette and Alex Cole, who took the outfield together in the Rockies' first ever home game on April 9, 1993.
I turned back the clock and ran PECOTA projections for each of these 29 players. There are only a couple of differences between this set of forecasts and those that appear in this year's book. First, because we do not have Davenport Translations that far back into time, only major league stats were used; thus the emphasis on established major leaguers. Second, all players were projected into a neutral park and league. The PECOTA system makes certain assumptions about how to apply park effects - all players are not treated equally. In this case, however, we're using our forecasting system to test out certain theories about actual performance, and not the other way around; introducing PECOTA's notions about park effects would bias the analysis.
We can get away with comparing park-neutral forecasts to park-affected results by using a measure for value that places all players back on an equal footing - in this case, Equivalent Average. Our nouveau Rockies are listed in the table below, sorted by the difference between their expected and actual EQA.
Oh, it's not that bad, is it? Does your team really need a 22-year-old masher with power, patience and a good glove? Shouldn't
you be focusing on that last spot in the team's eight-man bullpen instead?
If this horror show sounds familiar, take heart: you're not alone. GMs give away the farm all the time. It's the reason for
their behavior that might scare you:
From 1946 though 1993, National League Most Valuable Player awards could be
safely predicted, with only a handful of exceptions, using just a few
indicators. Since that time, however, the system has already made three
major mistakes (the MVP was not selected as a candidate by the system) and
one minor mistake (the tie-breaker selected the wrong candidate). That's
four out of eight correct calls, a rate that on the face of it suggests that
the system may no longer work.
In this conclusion to the series, I'll look at reasons why National League
MVP voters may be changing how they go about their business, examine the
wrong predictions since 1994, and speculate about the future usefulness of
the MVP predictor.
Just read your "Doctoring the Numbers" piece on the sucking Rockies. It
would be good to see how non-Rockies teams fare on road trips. Perhaps
fatigue, stinky underwear, the cumulative effects of restaurant food or
some other aspect that builds over a road trip makes all teams hit
significantly worse later in a road trip. And perhaps the "adjusting to
hitting outside of Coors" effect does ameliorate this unspecified "long
road trip" effect.
In other (simpler) words, you left out the control group.
I enjoyed your idea about
a weekly schedule for pitchers,
although I'm not convinced. I just don't see it becoming a norm
because it would be hard to groom youngsters in this fashion and I think
limiting pitch counts would just be an effective way of keeping your starters
healthy, though the all-closer staff is very exciting!