The majority of Michael’s VP list turns over this week, but he’s got plenty of replacements lined up, including three who picked up their first home run of the year last week.
Statistically speaking, a single home run (like a single hit) is fairly meaningless. It’s the ultimate small sample, showing how one batter did against one pitcher (and one pitch) under one specific set of conditions. But psychologically speaking, when it’s the first home run of the season, it can mean so much more. The hitter feels confident in his swing or relieved at having gotten his first longball of the season out of the way, and it could mean a turnaround is coming. Look at Albert Pujols: in 27 plate appearances since his first jack of the season, he’s picked up 5 RBI—as many as he picked up in the 114 plate appearances before he finally went yard.
Despite rising ownership rates, Michael’s VP list stays afloat with some great early-season values.
The deep pool of early draft oversights and lesser-known players is drying up, as evidenced by rising ownership rates among nearly all of the VPs. As your fellow owners start giving up on some of their early gambles and as the injuries keep piling up, that pool will get even shallower. Grab your bargains while you can, before the mad rush for players begins.
With all of the big-name free-agent closers off the market, how are things shaking out at the end of each team's bullpen?
Now that the Blue Jays have signed Francisco Cordero, all of the legitimate closer candidates are now off the free-agent market. As such, now makes for a good time to check out how things look now that the closer carousel has stopped spinning.
While anticlimactic after Game Six, the final game of the World Series capped off one of the most exciting postseasons in recent memory
That Game Seven of the 2011 World Series couldn't match the drama of Game Six was almost a given even before the first pitch was thrown. We don't talk about the finales of the 1975 or 1986 World Series in the same reverential tones as we do their penultimate contests, great though they may have been on their own merits. So unsurprisingly, we were not treated to a Jack Morris-level performance or an extra-inning walk-off win to complete the neat historical parallel provided by the Buck family’s "We'll see you tomorrow night!" calls following game-winning homers. Nonetheless, the first Game Seven in nine years required one more come-from-behind effort—down 2-0 before their starter had retired a single hitter—as well as heroics from some familiar names for the Cardinals to complete one of the most unlikely comebacks in baseball history en route to winning their 11th world championship via a 6-2 win over the Rangers.
Jim Leyland wasn't alone in making questionable lineup moves on Wednesday; Ron Roenicke made his own in playing Mark Kotsay.
Sometimes a manager plays a hunch and winds up looking smart, even if the process by which he arrives at the decision appears flawed. In Game Five of the AL Division Series, Jim Leyland batted light-hitting utilityman Don Kelly second, and Kelly responded with a solo home run in the first inning en route to a 3-2 Tigers victory and a series win. On the other hand, sometimes a manager makes a head-scratching move, and it backfires so badly it raises the question of whether a best-of-seven series can end in three games. In Game Three of the NL Championship Series, Ron Roenicke chose to start Mark Kotsay in center field and bat him second against Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter. Before the first inning was out, Kotsay wound up on the wrong end of two game-changing plays en route to a 4-0 deficit, and while the Brewers made a game of it, they fell 4-3, putting themselves in a two-games-to-one hole with the possibility that the series may not make it back to Milwaukee.
A look ahead at the NLCS match-up between the Brewers and Cardinals
With a thrilling Game 5 victory on Friday night, the Cardinals advanced to their first National League Championship Series since 2006, when they wound up winning the World Series. The square-off between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay was so hyped up and oversaturated with storylines that it felt odd to realize the pair exceeded the high expectations put before them.
Going team by team to determine which collection of hurlers is most imposing this October.
Nate Silver spent the final week of September 2006 evaluating playoff rotations in a manner reflected in his other work across various fields. The analysis was intuitive, yet innovative and unrivaled. What Silver incorporated that basic playoff rotation analyses often exclude is uneven workloads. Playoff teams may designate four starters, but they shift parts around due to the sporadic schedule and threat of extinction; after all, if a loss makes elimination inevitable, logic dictates having the best man lead the final surge.
The usage numbers Silver presented then are now dated, but the ones provided below are not, thanks to intern Bradley Ankrom. These new percentages include every postseason series since 1995, classifying the starters’ roles by their order of appearance in the playoffs. That means the number ones are the pitchers who started the team’s first playoff game, the number twos are those who started the team’s second playoff game, and so on. Some may note that this methodology may be skewed by the new playoff schedule, although until proven otherwise it should still provide more context than other tactics.
The playoff races have been de-zombified, and Team Entropy was on the prowl, looking for meaningful baseball going into the final game.
Welcome to Team Entropy! Grab a seat on the couch, and here, have a beer. You've been invited to this party because after almost exactly six months and 160 games of regular-season baseball, you've suspended the need to root for a specific team and are working for the greater good, more interested in maximizing the amount of end-of-season chaos the remaining schedule can produce. The amount of season, even, if it comes to a 163rd game—or two.