DeGrom DeGrominates, the surprisingly good Tigers' bullpen is unsurprisingly bad, Bumgarner beats Kershaw again, and the best defensive play of the day.
The Thursday Takeaway
When Jacob deGrom served up three home runs to the Yankees on April 24th, then gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings to the Mets six days later, some wondered if regression or an injury was afoot. A rollercoaster first month isn’t what prognosticators expected from deGrom after his outstanding rookie campaign, but it’s what they got. And so, the cries of “The Yankees broke deGrom!” rang out and wouldn’t die, not even after he struck out nine Orioles in seven innings on May 6th.
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The reasons not to bring in the all-time home run leader [were] little more than tissue-thin fictions.
If Barry Bonds does pursue a collusion case against MLB teams, as was reported Tuesday, he might want to include the following Joe Sheehan column in evidence. This piece originally ran on Feb. 24, 2008.
The first week of the season is overrated, overanalyzed, overdiscussed--and, also, enough to move the odds significantly.
Prospectus co-founder Joe Sheehan often says that fans would be better served by baseball writers if they all put down their pens and pushed away from their keyboards from Opening Day until Memorial Day. Rany Jazayerli—another co-founder—ran a three-part study back in 2003 that provides some objective support to that subjective statement: it takes about 48 games for a team’s seasonal performance to become more predictive of their final record than a simple blend of their three previous seasons’ records, and a regression factor. After 10 games, that rough preseason projection is still more than six times as predictive of final record as actual performance is.
Joe isn’t wrong, and Rany’s math wasn’t, either. We have some tools that change the way we perceive the early segment of the season, though. For one, we have PECOTA, which was just making its maiden voyage through April when Rany wrote up his study. For another, we have the Playoff Odds Report, which uses PECOTA and a Monte Carlo simulation that repeats the season thousands of times to give us an estimate of the chances that each team will make it to the postseason.
How well do you know the relief pitchers on your favorite team? Given the volatility associated with being a reliever, it’s not uncommon for a team to have a bunch of fresh faces sitting out in the bullpen—minor-league free agents cattle-called into spring training, unexciting non-prospects whose stuff played up after moving out of rotations into the bullpen, fallen closers hanging on to careers, or trade throw-ins with enough funk to retire a lefty. Takes all kinds.
Earlier this offseason we tried our hand at critiquing managers for the use, or abuse, of their bullpens; it’s admittedly not exactly a fair exercise for a handful of reasons. The one thing that wasn’t addressed in that analysis was something that managers often have no control over: who the guys in their bullpen are.
Paying for stability has resulted in three World Series titles for Brian Sabean.
Welcome to the Baseball Prospectus 2015 season previews. For the next three weeks, BP authors will be writing about what each team does best in pursuit of wins. We will parse statistics, transactions, news, and quotes in an effort to identify the market inefficiency each team is taking advantage of. Wins are the end goal, but each of the 30 teams are obtaining them in different ways by prioritizing certain initiatives. Today, we begin the series with last year's World Series players, the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals.—Andrew Koo
Singleton might be squeezed out of Houston's outfield, and Ryan Vogelsong might be squeezed into the Giants rotation.
Jonathan Singleton could be odd man out in Houston
The Astros outfield has been in a fluid state during the past week, with the club acquiring Evan Gattis from Atlanta, bidding farewell to Dexter Fowler and, on Tuesday, formally introducing Colby Rasmus as the latest addition to the club. Assuming the Astros are done swapping outfielders, Rasmus and George Springer are virtual locks to be penciled into the lineup come Opening Day, with the final outfield spot to be sorted out come spring training. However, general manager Jeff Luhnow tipped his hand at Tuesday’s press conference, indicating that Jake Marisnick stands to be the front-runner to receive the bulk of playing time at that spot.
“I got to say, based on how Jake did at the end of last year, he’s going to be strong consideration for a starting spot,” Luhnow said. “But you know, I think part of the theme of how we’re constructing the roster is there’s options at every position. … Based on what Jake did second half of last year with us, yeah, he deserves every opportunity to be a starting outfielder, and he’ll probably get (that opportunity).”