The difference between a successful season and disappointment can often come down to depth.
With the marquee free agents all signed, the blockbuster trades blockbusted, and even most of the bargain bins raided, there's little left to do this winter but count the days until pitchers and catchers report. That is, unless you're into keeping score regarding the players who have crawled out from under rocks or been shaken out of brothels for the purposes of being given a minor-league deals with invitations to spring training, of course. Some of us are, and there's nothing wrong with that. In any event, as teams' major-league rosters come into focus, I figured now would be a good time to examine some laudable moves which teams have made to stock their benches, adding players with the ability to back up at multiple positions, or who can serve as insurance policies to cover for contingencies.
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A slew of lefties in the Pepperdine/San Diego series this weekend could mean trouble for a top player, and a few teams look to prove themselves before the regionals.
You can bet the Pepperdine/San Diego series was bookmarked by scouts a long time ago, as it could be the opportunity to see Brian Matusz go up against Brett Hunter just one month before the draft. Matchups like that can happen in February, where non-conference games can pit a few of the best in the nation against each other, but in May, they're few and far between. I know I was looking forward to it.
Double-checking TCU, and a player who's raised his stock after a resurgence in the Northwoods League.
For a while now, the Mountain West Conference has been a one-team show. Jim Schlossnagle and TCU began their reign seamlessly when San Diego State began a program-wide decline about five years ago. TCU has been dominant in the conference until this season, as Tony Gwynn has finally brought the Aztecs back. With the two teams battling for conference supremacy in San Diego this weekend, I'm still having trouble deciding who the better story is.
Even Alexis Gomez came from somewhere (Kansas City). Kevin tells us how the Tigers and A's acquired the rest of their postseason difference-makers.
\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.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_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.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_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).';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_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. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_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).';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_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. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_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.
Two different approaches at the plate, and two stacked rotations. Christina has the most in-depth preview of the Athletics-Tigers series you'll find anywhere.
Okay, so it's Cinderella with some serious mojo versus the Moneyball-Meets-John Jaha Memorial Edition A's, and everyone's fascinated because it's another delightfully Yankee- and Red Sox-free American League Championship Series involving real ballclubs and stories more interesting than who gets Connecticut.
As the trading deadline approaches and the hype surrounding a potential Randy Johnson deal reaches a deafening crescendo, I decided to take a look at how well the Yankees have done in dealing young players. I'm not concerned with who they get in return except as a footnote, nor do I care whether they "won" a particular trade according to a value measure. Those scales can wait to be balanced for another day. The question is whether the Yanks have let another Buhner, another unproven product of the Yankee system, slip out the door. How well did the players they traded turn out?
Last summer's trade of pitcher Brandon Claussen to the Cincinnati Reds for third baseman Aaron Boone was a rare exception, for Claussen had recently tantalized Yankee fans with a stellar nationally-televised debut. The confident young lefty looked like the ideal antidote to the struggling, enigmatic Jeff Weaver, but the Yankees sent Claussen to the Reds in favor of upgrading their offense. The outcry among Yankee fans was vociferous, if more symbolic than anything else. Since the deluge of homegrown talent which fueled their championship run--Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Ramiro Mendoza--the Yankee farm system has produced very little, so the idea that a product of the Columbus Clippers might be worthy of joining that esteemed bunch was an attractive one.
Was the Claussen trade a good one for the Yankees? Boone cemented his spot in pinstriped lore with one October swing, though he spent the rest of his time confounding the Yanks and their fans. But the real answer to that question will take several years to unearth, as Claussen does or does not develop into a major-league caliber pitcher. After much delay, he's finally off and running, winning his first start as a Red on July 20.
The Orioles fulfill their quest for Jason Grimsley. The Reds are awash in infielders. The Astros get their man in Beltran. The A's get theirs in Dotel. The Royals...not so much. These and other happenings in a special Saturday edition of Trasnaction Analysis.