Getting flushed from Flushing might seem like no easy matter, not when price was an object, not when the rules require the employment of some sort of ninth player somewhere on the field, and not when convention demands that it involve some warm body standing between the shortstop and the first baseman. But none of that could spare Luis Castillo the axe. With the daintiness of Anne Boleyn on the block, the Mets' second baseman was prepped, placed, and whacked, with almost inevitable celebrations.
Continuing to look at plate discipline with a discussion of contact rate and swing frequency.
Last Friday, I discussed plate discipline at length, noting that the commonly cited facet of performance extends beyond its synonym of patience and into the realm of making fewer responsive mistakes in a given trip to the dish. I introduced signal detection theory as a means of more accurately measuring which hitters produce the correct responses most often, since having good plate discipline must also cover the optimization of in zone pitches and not merely how often a hitter chases.
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A preview of the Dominican Winter League, taking a look at the teams, stadiums, managers, and players to watch for.
The "National Religion" came back on October 16th, as the Dominican League launched its 56th edition. Reliably praised as having the highest level of talent among the winter leagues, one should expect to watch another mix of highly ranked prospects, mid-level major leaguers, a few recognizable American players, veterans looking for another shot, and some major league stars between now and the end of the Caribbean Series in February. The league format has six teams playing a 50-game regular-season schedule, with the four best records advancing to a long 18-game round-robin playoff, and the two remaining best clubs play a best-of-nine final series to decide the league's champion. Without further ado, here's what this season will bring us:
Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers)
Home: Santo Domingo
2008-09 record: 26-24, fourth place (tied) regular season; 12-6, first place round-robin; beat the Gigantes in the final series 5-0.
Ballpark: Estadio Quisqueya; strong pitcher's park, with a Park Factor of 92.
Revisiting baserunning metrics to see how much credit, if any, should go to runners when a pitcher makes a mistake.
"We don't have a 40 home run guy anymore... We have to reduce mistakes, take advantage of every opportunity we get... We need to improve on moving runners over from second to third and our base running. There can be an eight- to 10-game swing in a season just from base running."
--Syd Thrift, in 2001, when he served as the Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations
Day Three featured two lopsided victories. Live in Puerto Rico, Derek passes on what caught his attention.
It was a strange feeling being in Puerto Rico, watching baseball on Super Bowl Sunday. It felt like being a rebel leader in exile, biding my time, keeping the faith, and trying to secure foreign support while waiting for the current despots-the NFL-to slip up, so that the people can be liberated from football once and for all.
Until the glorious day the anti-football revolution comes, people in America will be unfamiliar with the workings of the Caribbean Series, and it will be incumbent upon us to educate them. Saturday's Day Two action left us with two undefeated teams, and two winless ones. The Dominicans pounded Mexico, 9-0, with Tony Batista again proving the offensive catalyst, adding two more homers to the one he hit in the opening game. In the nightcap, the home team beat the Venezuelans in a much closer match, 6-3. So on Sunday, the two winless teams played each other in the afternoon, leaving the two undefeateds to joust in the evening. In other words, after the day's action we would finally have a clear, unbeaten front-runner, as well as one 0-3 team that will be virtually out of contention for the crown.
Derek recaps a Santana-Bonderman duel with serious implications for the AL Central race.
The divisional race in the AL Central was thought to be over as recently as a month ago. On August 7, Detroit had a ten-game lead in the division. Since then, the Tigers have a 10-21 record. They've lost two out of their first three in a crucial four-game set against Minnesota. Meanwhile, in Chicago, the White Sox have taken two in a row from the extremely disappointing Cleveland Indians. Just like that, the AL Central race is now down to a three game lead, three and a half over the White Sox, the tightest race in the AL.
Let's hear it for rainouts, as Derek checks out the Schilling v. Santana showdown in Minneapolis.
Welcome to yet another edition of Game of the Week. As you might have noticed, the game we set out to cover last week was rained out. That game, the nightcap of a planned Saturday day/night doubleheader between the Red Sox and Rangers at Fenway Park, was to have featured Red Sox past and future--former Sock John Wasdin going for the Texans, young Texan ace-of-the-future Josh Beckett pitching for the Beantowners.