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March 24, 2008 12:00 am

You Could Look It Up: A Dominican Retreat

0

Steven Goldman

At popular request, Satchel Paige's adventures on the island bear retelling.

In our last installment, I made reference to "Satchel Paige's midnight ride to the Dominican Republic, where he helped pitch the dictator Trujillo's team to a championship while being held at gunpoint." I've received many requests to tell the story, and will do so here. One caveat before I dive in, however: those involved in Paige's Dominican adventure, particularly Paige himself, liked to exaggerate the details of this story, making it more dramatic as the years passed. As they were not overly concerned with fidelity to objective truth, neither will I be. I'm going to tell it as best I can tell it, which is how Paige would have wanted it. As the song goes, some of this is true; some of this is better.

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December 20, 2007 12:00 am

The Class of 2008

0

Jay Jaffe

JAWS gapes for the Hall candidacy of Tim Raines, but finds the other eligible outfielders not quite so tasty.

Picking up where we left off last week, we turn JAWS loose on the outfielders of the 2008 ballot, a mercifully smaller crop than last year's 13 outfielders, but one about which we have much to discuss.

Left Fielders

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September 20, 2007 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: The Best Player in Baseball, Part One

2

Nate Silver

Evaluating who was the best player in the game, starting with Ross Barnes in 1871.

Who is the best player in baseball right now? You can make credible arguments for two players-Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. Who then will win the MVP awards in their respective leagues? A-Rod will probably win the American League's, but Pujols is unlikely to reciprocate in the NL. More probably, it will be someone like Prince Fielder, who is certainly very good, and who might have had the best season in his league, but is certainly not the best player in baseball.

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September 5, 2007 12:00 am

The Big Picture: Raiding or Raising the East?

0

David Pinto

Will MLB live down to its past when it comes to its relationship with Japan?

Professional Japanese baseball faces an uncertain future. With the success of Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, the World Baseball Classic win, and the hoopla surrounding Daisuke Matsuzaka, Major League Baseball sees Japan as a new pool of talent for North American teams. Through the posting system and soon through signing talent out of school, the one-way flow of stars from the Eastern to the Western Hemisphere could drain talent from the Far East. Unless talent--star talent--actually flows both ways across the Pacific, the Japanese major leagues may slide into outright dependence on Major League Baseball instead of becoming a major league equal.

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January 2, 2007 12:00 am

The Year in Quotes

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John Erhardt and Alex Carnevale

To fully understand the enigma that is Ozzie Guillen, you'll have to go through the archives. The year 2006 from the mouths of those who lived through it.

"The first day is always the hardest."
--Mets catcher Ramon Castro, on the first day of spring training (MLB.com)

"It really isn't, but we just say that. I don't know why."
--Castro, when asked why.


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October 11, 2006 12:00 am

Remembering Buck O'Neil

0

Alex Belth

A great ambassador for the game--and for humanity--passed away last week.

\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.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_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.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_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.

The Baseline forecast is also significant in that it attempts to remove luck from a forecast line. For example, a player who hit .310, but with a poor batting eye and unimpressive speed indicators, is probably not really a .310 hitter. Its more likely that hes a .290 hitter who had a few balls bounce his way, and the Baseline attempts to correct for this.

\nSimilarly, a pitcher with an unusually low EqHR9 rate, but a high flyball rate, is likely to have achieved the low EqHR9 partly as a result of luck. In addition, the Baseline corrects for large disparities between a pitchers ERA and his PERA, and an unusually high or low hit rate on balls in play, which are highly subject to luck. '; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_32 = 'Approximate number of batting outs made while playing this position.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_33 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats. In PECOTA, Batting Average is one of five primary production metrics used in identifying a hitters comparables. It is defined as H/AB. '; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_34 = 'Bases on Balls, or bases on balls allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_35 = 'Bases on balls allowed per 9 innings pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_36 = 'Batters faced pitching.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_37 = 'Balks. Not recorded 1876-1880.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_38 = 'Batting Runs Above Replacement. The number of runs better than a hitter with a .230 EQA and the same number of outs; EQR - 5 * OUT * .230^2.5.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_39 = 'Batting runs above a replacement at the same position. A replacement position player is one with an EQA equal to (230/260) times the average EqA for that position.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_40 = 'Breakout Rate is the percent chance that a hitters EqR/27 or a pitchers EqERA will improve by at least 20% relative to the weighted average of his EqR/27 in his three previous seasons of performance. High breakout rates are indicative of upside risk.

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April 5, 2005 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Juan Marichal

0

Carlos J. Lugo

Carlos Lugo sits down with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal to discuss the art of pitching, the origins of his high leg kick, and what a pitcher needs to learn to stay effective.

Beyond his high style, Marichal also one of the best pitchers in history. A six-time 20-game winner, the former San Francisco Giants great won a total of 243 games, and his 191 wins during the 60s were the highest total of the decade. Marichal never won a Cy Young award, because in the years he was great, somebody--namely Koufax, Gibson, Chance or Seaver--was historically great. Marichal pitched in eight All-Star games, winning two of them, and he was voted the 1965 game MVP. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983, his third year of eligibility.

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February 25, 2004 12:00 am

New Jersey and Baseball

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Andrew Baharlias

The Newark Star Ledger reported Feb. 10 that George Zoffinger, the CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, recently met with senior officials of MLB to discuss the possibility of bringing a franchise to the Xanadu/Meadowlands Sports Complex. Xanadu, which is a planned 4.76 million-square-foot family entertainment, office and hotel complex to be built at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, also calls for the redevelopment of Continental Airlines Arena (current home of the N.J. Nets and N.J. Devils) and is a joint venture between affiliates of Mills Corporation and Mack-Cali. The idea of Major League Baseball in New Jersey is not a new one. A long-time hotbed of International League and Negro National League action, the Brooklyn Dodgers relocated a total of 15 games to Jersey City's Roosevelt Stadium in 1956 and 1957 as part of an effort to motivate New York City to give ground in difficult negotiations for a new Brooklyn ball park. The state has flirted with the Yankees for the past 20 years. In 1987 New Jersey was finally poised to redevelop the Meadowlands for baseball when voters soundly rejected the notion, a typical action for a state that pulls in so many directions at once that it's a wonder that it doesn't tear along the Pennsylvania border and sail down the Delaware into the Atlantic Ocean.

The idea of Major League Baseball in New Jersey is not a new one. A long-time hotbed of International League and Negro National League action, the Brooklyn Dodgers relocated a total of 15 games to Jersey City's Roosevelt Stadium in 1956 and 1957 as part of an effort to motivate New York City to give ground in difficult negotiations for a new Brooklyn ball park. The state has flirted with the Yankees for the past 20 years. In 1987 New Jersey was finally poised to redevelop the Meadowlands for baseball when voters soundly rejected the notion, a typical action for a state that pulls in so many directions at once that it's a wonder that it doesn't tear along the Pennsylvania border and sail down the Delaware into the Atlantic Ocean.

MLB, with its Kremlin-like secrecy and infighting, is much the same. Though Doug Pappas correctly suggests on his Web site that last week's meeting was likely not "about anything of consequence," there is no doubt that New Jersey is a viable market for a major league franchise. The Garden State has the location, the affluence, the population base, and the television market necessary for baseball to prosper. By several measurements, New Jersey presents a more viable market for baseball than do several current major league host cities, not to mention most if not all of the relocation possibilities mentioned for the Montreal Expos.

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January 6, 2004 12:00 am

The Class of 2004

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Jay Jaffe

With the 2004 STATLG-L Hall of Fame balloting now in the books, and the results of the BBWAA voting slated to be released this afternoon, there are few topics more prominent in baseball fans' minds than "Which players will make it to Cooperstown in 2004?" And rightfully so. Enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame is the highest honor a former-player can receive, and most fans are protective of that: a fact that has spurned countless heated debates over the years--rational, objective, and otherwise. With that being said, I thought it would interesting to see what some of Baseball Prospectus' newly updated measures of player evaluation had to say on the topic. For the uninitiated, BP's Davenport Translated Player Cards measure a player's value above replacement level for offense, defense, and pitching while adjusting for context--park effects, level of offense, era, length of season, and in Clay's own words, "the distortions caused by not having to face your own team's defense." The Davenport Cards offer the most sophisticated statistical summaries available; if you can adjust for it, it's in there. The basic currencies of the Davenport system, whether it's offense, defense, or pitching, are runs and wins, more specifically, runs above replacement level and wins above replacement level.

With the 2004 STATLG-L Hall of Fame balloting now in the books, and the results of the BBWAA voting slated to be released this afternoon, few topics are more prominent in baseball fans' minds than "Which players will make it to Cooperstown in 2004?"

And rightfully so. Enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame is the highest honor a former-player can receive, and most fans are protective of that: a fact that has spurned countless heated debates over the years--rational, objective, and otherwise.

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