Pedro Alvarez's big-league career hasn't begun quite as the Pirates hoped it would, but will his future be more like Brad Eldred's or Jose Bautista's?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Pat Lackey is the writer, editor, chief scientist, and head brewmaster of Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?, a blog that's been chronicling the peaks and valleys of Pittsburgh Pirate fandom since 2005. He has been a grad student for more than half of that time. You can find him on Twitter @whygavs, where he'll be more than happy to talk about pretty much anything, including, but not limited to: baseball, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh baseball, good science fiction, bad science fiction, just fiction in general, beer, making beer, and comic books. No, he has not set a defense date yet.
The Rays have been willing to experiment with unorthodox defensive alignments, but are they ready to move an infielder to the outfield?
In 2010, Baseball Info Solutions began recording instances of defensive shifts. In the Fielding Bible III, they presented some data from the last couple of years: the Rays emerged as the team using special alignments most frequently, with a huge margin separating them from the clubs ranked just behind them.
While watching some of the action in the Rays’ Opening Day game against the Yankees, I came to the conclusion that BIS video scouts would have an easier time if they inverted their approach and marked down the instances when Tampa Bay does not play shifted.
Now that the regular season has wrapped up, here's a look at who BP staffers think should win the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff choices for the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.
If voters took the MVP voting instructions literally, Jose Bautista would likely be bringing home some hardware this season.
TORONTO—The following—courtesy of a living, breathing, American League voter who hopes to be compensated with an alcoholic beverage to be named later—is a copy of the instructions given to those within the Baseball Writers' Association of America who have been tapped to elect this season's Most Valuable Player.
With All-Star selection around the corner, the BP staff fills out their ballots for who deserves to start in the Midsummer Classic.
It’s July, and that means another All-Star Game, one which—we might as well get this out of the way now—won’t be as exciting as those wonderful old All-Star Games when important things happened, like Ted Williams breaking his elbow and Dizzy Dean breaking a toe (Williams said he was never the same hitter; Dean destroyed his arm with altered mechanics) and Ray Fosse getting run over because damn it, Pete Rose just had to win an exhibition game.
(It is at times like these that I like to recall Mickey Mantle’s immortal words on the subject of Rose: “If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete, I’d wear a dress.”)
Bautista's year has been extraordinary, though there were hints that he could be a slugger prior to 2010.
Saying Jose Bautista's 2010 season came from out of nowhere is an assertion worthy of understatement of the year. Bautista has 43 homers and is slugging .620 for the Blue Jays with an Isolated Power almost as lofty as the batting average of league-leader Josh Hamilton. Prior to 2010, Bautista had a career line of .238/.329/.400 over 2,038 plate appearances, with 59 homers. That's a homer every 30 at-bats, whereas this year he's going deep once every 11 at-bats.
A look at the surprise home run hitters of 2010, relative to their pre-season PECOTA forecasts.
On Tuesday night in Kansas City, Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista launched his major league-leading 26th home run, continuing one of the most unexpected power surges in recent memory. Long known as a journeyman with decent patience and a modicum of power, few expected Bautista at this stage of his career to suddenly turn into a long-ball machine. It’s always fun to see players suddenly show a propensity for the long ball—perhaps we identify with players who manage the baseball equivalent of the young Marty McFly balling up his fist and decking Biff with an unexpected haymaker.