Dan starts to bring it all home in his look at baserunning, as he tallies up each of his metrics and shows us the best and worst runners from 2000-2005.
So we've finally reached a turning point in our series on quantifying baserunning. Since mid-July we've developed a methodology and framework for crediting baserunners for advancing on ground outs (Equivalent Ground Advancement Runs, or EqGAR), advancing on outs in the air (Equivalent Air Advancement Runs, or EqAAR), and attempted stolen bases as well as pick offs (Equivalent Stolen Base Runs, or EqSBR). This week we'll look at total picture and evaluate which players got the most and least from their legs over the past six years.
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A rematch of the World Champs and the NL pennant winners is what Derek's clicker dials up this time around.
It's been a busy week for both ballclubs. The Astros had the season debut of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens on Thursday, making the decision to have Clemens go against the Minnesota Twins at home, rather than pitch against the White Sox in Chicago. Clemens was hardly dominant in a game where young phenom Francisco Liriano emerged victorious.
Nodding to those with less to celebrate this week, Jim asks the hard questions.
For most, anyway. See, there is one group it excludes, and for them, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to step up the kvetching to a new level. This column then is dedicated to them, the people disenfranchised by this national holiday: the Thankless.
We have a few perennially valuable hacksters this year, as Darin Erstad, Tony Womack, Cristian Guzman, and Eric Milton form the first group of four players to make the All-Star team and be listed on 300 or more entries. There were four shockers this year, fewer than usual, as Jason Kendall, Mike Lowell, Eric Byrnes and Corey Patterson were listed on a total of 6 entries and accumulated the highest ESPN at catcher, third base, left field and center field. After you sort through the four proven hackers and the four surprises, we have World Series rookie and small ball aficionado Willy Taveras, followed by this year's MVP, Jose Lima. Props go out to the 89 entrants who pegged Lima's campaign at the beginning of the year.
Sunday was a wet, cold night filled with unlikely heroes.
The game was played in a steady downpour, though the field remained in good condition as the hard-working grounds crew quickly dried any sign of puddles. The weather didn't appear to be a factor in the game. Well, at least for the players. At times, home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson appeared to have a strike zone based on the dropping temperature. Both halves of the first inning ended with the batters as nothing more than observers.
Working backwards through a game that had more twists and turns than an "Alias" plot.
One of the reasons the Brewers were happy to deal Scott Podsednik to the White Sox was their perception of the player's infatuation with his power stroke in 2004. Not that they weren't getting the better end of the deal for Carlos Lee, but they saw his 70-point drop in batting average as tied to Podsednik's desire to hit home runs. In fact, Podsednik's strikeout rate, isolated power and groundball-to-flyball ratio were all roughly the same in '04 as they'd been in his .314/.379/.443 2003. The difference between the two seasons was all in his batting average, which can fluctuate, even for hitters.
Jonah catches a game in Chicago with some fellow BP writers, and wonders about the value of Scott Podsednik's season.
Sure, Podsednik was merely responding to a softball
question from Cleveland Plain-Dealer reporter
Dennis Manoloff when he threw down the gauntlet. No
doubt facing deadline on a slow news day, Manoloff
served up the speedy left fielder's player comment
2005, knowing it would elicit a reaction.
We'll save you the trouble of flipping to the page:
"If utilized properly, he could be a nice bench
player, but as the White Sox starting left fielder,
he's going to do quite well in helping Minnesota win
another AL Central crown." With the Sox sporting the
best record in the game, it's fair to say we whiffed,
Jonah Keri catches a pitchers' duel between the two Second City teams in this week's Game of the Week.
Sunday's game was different. Even right off the DL Prior is a constant
threat to completely dominate a game. His opponent, Jon
Garland, entered Sunday's game tied with Dontrelle
Willis for the best record in baseball at 12-2. You can
some of Garland's win barrage to luck, no question--his .253 BABIP, for
one, is well below league average, and when more balls in play start to
fall in for hits, that'll hurt him. His strikeout rate of less than one
every other inning also portends regression, as virtually no pitchers
sustain success over the long haul at that level. Still, there's a lot
be said for terrific control, which is just what Garland has shown this
year. At just over a walk and a half a game, Garland's been among the
stingiest in baseball with the free pass. Even with a good but not
HR rate (11 in 108 IP), that's enough to achieve success. Broadcaster
turned World Series-winning manager turned broadcaster Bob Brenly notes
that "Garland has been the best pitcher in baseball up to this point,"
point contradicted by several
Baseball Prospectus metrics--Roy Halladay and a
dozen others can make a better claim. But Garland's still ranked a
respectable 15th in the majors in Expected
Wins according to BP's brand spankin' new Sortable Stats, 8th if
count only pitchers with 15 starts or fewer.
Last time out, Jim looked at his National League Transient All-Stars. Today, it's the American League's turn.
In Tuesday's effort, I reviewed the National League Transient All-Star team that I had compiled in February--that is, the players with new teams via free agency or trade. Today, we'll take a bash at the American Leaguers.