Russell reruns the numbers to determine when hitter stats stabilize.
Who said sabermetrics hasn't gone mainstream? We've now reached the point where even mainstream analysts are yelling "small sample size!" at one another. There's always been some understanding that a player who goes 4-for-5 in a game is not really an .800 hitter, but now, people are being more explicit in talking about sample size. I consider that a victory. Hooray for sabermetrics!
While mortality can remind of us of the most important things in life, baseball can help us pull through our struggles.
The music for the mood is Scott Walker's Climate of Hunter, a devastatingly odd record, one that can plunge the healthiest of psyches into schizophrenia and at the same time provide schizophrenics a nipple from which to extract relational comfort. Walker’s voice is the screaming soul of man trying to find avenues out of the body. Right now, Scott Walker’s robust baritone is a warm cup of tea and a friend.
On the subject of friends, I just said goodbye to one of my oldest and dearest compadres. He died in his sleep of a heart attack at age 39. He was an 80-grade friend. His sudden death brought about a wave of raw emotion, the kind we keep safely secured in the basements of our psychological homes. The kind that we fear will scare those around us if too much light shines on its structure. The kind that forces your hands to reach out for the keys, in search of the safety you assume can be found in words. That emotion is very present.
Our prospect guru finds himself in a food coma in Mexico, taking in a televised matchup between two AL contenders.
After a few weeks in Mexico, I happen upon my first televised major-league baseball game, a battle between the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox, shown on ESPN. I’m excited for obvious reasons: The baseball void has already nullified a quarter of my general existence, and the Rangers are the team of my youth—I’m always willing to give them my eyes and ears. The game is dubbed in Spanish, which is annoying and rousing at the same time; the former because the speed of said Spanish is at Billy Hamilton level, and my overall comprehension requires the gentle pace of an aging Molina. My head is pounding from exposure to altitude and alcohol, but the medicinal qualities of baseball’s familiar attraction will no doubt minimize my discomfort.
I’ve been living in a foreign country for 15 days, and I’ve been exposed to more luchadores than lanzadores, which presents an interesting reality, although not one that proves to be especially productive for someone who (supposedly) feeds off the bosom of the game. It’s 2 p.m., and the game is set to begin, with Colby Lewis matched up against Texas native John Lackey. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is packed to capacity. I’m hydrating and reclining in a relaxed state. Oh, baseball.
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Those who don the tools of ignorance don't just need physical prowess.
When it comes to evaluating low-level talent behind the plate backbone of the process is formed from observing the body and the natural movement(s) of the body—just like all other position evaluation. Baseball isn’t black and white, and players don’t always arrive wrapped in prototypical packages. This is especially true for catchers. When you think of a catcher’s build, what body type comes to mind? Let me guess: Shortish, with bulbous aspects of the frame (stocky); thick wrists; fullback body. Sound about right? You might think this represents the ideal, but ultimately it comes down to how the body works rather than how it measures out.
When evaluating a catcher, I care more about the athleticism, coordination, and strength involved than the inherent physical characteristics [read: height/weight]. Not every player carries weight well, or projects to carry weight well, while others inhabit bad bodies that somehow allow the requisite quickness and agility for the position to shine through. You can’t judge the body in isolation; you need to see the body walk the runway to see how it moves. Basic point: Just because the body doesn’t look the part doesn’t mean the body can’t perform the role. Basic Point #2 (which is really Basic Point #1 repackaged): Catchers can be fat.
What does the future hold for Derek Jeter, and how can we tell?
Before we can talk about Derek Jeter (and yes, I think there’s still something to say about Derek Jeter that you haven’t already heard this season), we should probably clarify which Derek Jeter we’re talking about. There really are two Derek Jeters—the one who exists in fact, and the one who exists in myth.
The actual Derek Jeter is interesting enough as a player that one wonders why the myth was necessary—always an exceptional hitter, Jeter has always been a player who could’ve had a job on any team in the league. He will go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, and nobody will bat an eye. Then there’s the Captain—the athlete whom ad agencies consider akin to Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. The player so exceptional that he can displace a generational talent like Alex Rodriguez from his natural position.
Character assassination, speculation, a commitment to process... ah, it has to be Hall of Fame season.
I doubt you've missed it, but the Hall of Fame announcement is coming next week. I should stress that I don't vote on the Hall of Fame because as of yet I cannot, and won't be eligible to for another eight years, if ever. As a result, I tend not to get as wrapped up in the annual frustrations with the process as some, having already long since despaired over the shabby treatment of the late Ron Santo for not getting voted in, not to mention the flabby gymnastics presented by way of explanation from that shrinking segment of voters determined to ignore Bert Blyleven. But I get asked about it often enough casually by people assuming that I must already be in the electorate; optimist that I am, I stick with the hope that, come the day, Tim Raines will never need my vote, and that justice will be done to the players who deserve election in the meantime, however fractiously, and with however many unhappy exceptions.
The Rangers win the first-ever Fall Classic game in the Metroplex to claw (and antler) their way back into the series.
ARLINGTON—Giants manager Bruce Bochy said earlier in the postseason that his team reminded him of the "The Dirty Dozen," a band of castoffs and misfits. The media has run with that and Bochy's line has been repeated over and over for two weeks.
Any forecasting system is only as good as the inputs that go into it—once you get rolling from there you can certainly end up far worse than your data, but the quality and amount of data you have is a fundamental constraint.
If Atlanta loses tonight and still makes the playoffs, it will make history.
The Braves' rallying point in 2010 is to send beloved manager Bobby Cox, who plans to retire at the end of the season, out in style. They hope to at least get back to the playoffs after a four-year absence and ultimately win their first World Series since 1995.
A scurvy crew can hurt worse in the worst kinds of losses.
April being April, the Pirates were in second place at the start of tonight's action, while the Brewers sat below .500. The AL Central might get all the pub for personifying parity, but with the Cardinals out front and the Astros in the cellar, the Pirates can take some satisfaction in ranking atop the muddled middle in the division two weeks into the action. This early on, it would be silly to credit this with too much significance. At 5-7, the Brewers came into town with their own issues, but here again, two weeks is barely a blink in baseball time.
The quick'n dirty offensive measure doesn't always correlate between individuals and teams.
So, how good is good enough, exactly? A recent blog post on ESPN looked at how OPS fares at explaining team runs. It’s a rather oft-repeated argument, to be sure—we can simply let it stand in for any number of articles in this vein:
The battles for fifth spots in rotations make for good spring stories, but are actually rather pointless.
This week, position players join pitchers and catchers at spring training. For those who travel to Florida or Arizona to cover the teams, reporting on the same story lines can grow tiresome. For others, enjoying watching the same story lines pop up again and again is half the fun.