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Articles Tagged Tom Tippett 

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When a batter and pitch face off, which has a greater effect on how hard the ball is hit, and what can that tell us about pitcher BABIP?

The last decade has seen much discussion and evolution in sabermetric thought around the relative abilities of batters, pitchers, fielders, and Lady Luck to control the outcome of batted balls. Data collected by Sportvision and MLBAM sheds new light on this question, but before we tackle that data, let’s review some of the history of how we came to our current state of knowledge.

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An Intro to Evaluating and Predicting Pitching Performance

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Look, you've got even more homework, but it's the kind you're going to like.

One of my favorite parts of putting together the Toolbox every week has been assembling the 'Further Reading' sections at the end of the columns, which are a starting point for anyone who wants to look for more in-depth examinations of the week's topic. Over the past couple of months, a number of readers have written in to suggest additions to the further reading lists, and I've stumbled on to a few worthy additions of my own. What this means is that from time to time I'm going to update the old columns by adding some additional research options, under the heading of "Even Further Reading," with a bit of analysis and reader mail mixed in.

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January 12, 2006 12:00 am

Battle of Champions

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Dave Haller

We recap the recent Battle of Champions Series, name the series MVP, and see what we've learned.

* * *

Virtual Travel Day

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January 4, 2006 12:00 am

Battle of Champions

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Dave Haller

With an assist from our friends at Diamond Mind Baseball, Bobby Valentine's dream of a Japan vs. United States World Series comes true. Dave Haller previews the upcoming battle.

As second-year manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines, Valentine guided his team to the Japan Series championship, toppling the favored Hanshin Tigers in a four-game sweep. (The Marines outscored Hanshin 33-4.) Meanwhile, some six thousand miles away, the Chicago White Sox were making quick work of the Houston Astros in the World Series. Valentine--the only manager to ever reach both the World Series and the Nippon Series, Japanese baseball's equivalent--was unimpressed. Boldly he called out whichever team should emerge as the Fall Classic champs.

"I can tell you the level of play is equal," Valentine told the Associated Press. "It's time to do battle."

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April 20, 2005 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: BABIP, Again

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Nate Silver

Upon further review, Nate wants to revise last week's conclusion.

In other words, same study, using lists of best fastballs, curveballs, et al. Joe's a sharp guy, as are all the readers who submitted similar questions, but this is something I've got little excuse for not catching myself. About the first rule of any hypothesis test is that you need to include a control group, and especially so if you're going to spout off a pretentious line or two about the scientific method. I didn't include a control group.

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April 18, 2005 12:00 am

Minor League Batting Averages on Balls in Play

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Clay Davenport

Clay Davenport looks into minor league batting averages on balls in play, and finds some surprising results.

At feeds, signings, and any other meeting I happen to attend, it is clear that Voros McCracken's observations on pitching and defense still generate intense disbelief from many, if not most, baseball fans.

First of all, let us be clear on what Voros actually said. He initially claimed that pitchers have no control over whether balls in play turn into hits or outs; after more work, he refined his claim to say that the differences between major league pitchers is small, much smaller than commonly believed, and small enough to be insignificant information. It is convenient shorthand--an exaggeration, if you will--to continue with the original idea of there being no differences, and that the differences we do see can be attributed to luck. Here at BP, we'll describe a pitcher as being "hit-lucky," for instance; admittedly, from the data, you would have a hard time showing that it isn't luck.

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October 22, 2003 12:00 am

Getting PADE, Redux

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James Click

Last time, we cooked up a way to remove park effects when looking at Bill James' Defensive Efficiency, a stat that measures the percentage of balls in play fielded by a team's defense. The new metric, tentatively called PADE, ranked teams on a zero-centered scale, showing how well a team performed against the league average with their given schedule. The intent was to more fairly judge defenses against each other rather than punish teams like Colorado and Boston for having to play in more difficult venues. As stated before, defense can be broken down into many facets, but the three most prevalent parts are park factors, pitching, and actual defensive performance. Since we've already figured out how to remove the first one--park factors--the next logical step is attempting to correct for pitching, leaving us closer to a metric that measures only defensive performance. To do this, we'll take a similar approach to the first version of PADE, but instead of defensive park factors, we'll use defensive pitcher factors. The first step is to determine an expected defensive efficiency for every pitcher, based on their career history.

As stated before, defense can be broken down into many facets, but the three most prevalent parts are park factors, pitching, and actual defensive performance. Since we've already figured out how to remove the first one--park factors--the next logical step is attempting to correct for pitching, leaving us closer to a metric that measures only defensive performance.

To do this, we'll take a similar approach to the first version of PADE, but instead of defensive park factors, we'll use defensive pitcher factors. The first step is to determine an expected defensive efficiency for every pitcher, based on their career history.

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September 17, 2003 12:00 am

Can Of Corn: Game Scores, v2.0

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Dayn Perry

In the 1988 Baseball Abstract, Bill James introduces what he admits to being a "garbage stat"--the game score. For the uninitiated, the game score is a number, generally ranging from zero to 100, that's used to evaluate a starting pitcher's performance in any given outing. It's scaled so that 50 is roughly an average start, 90 or higher is gem status and anything below, say, 15 is in Jaime Navarro territory. Like the man said, it's a junk metric, but it's an entertaining one. That doesn't mean, however, that it can't be improved upon. Game scores, as mentioned, were conceived 15 years ago, and in the intervening period we've learned a great deal about how much control pitchers exert over certain events. In light of this, perhaps it's time to roll out Game Scores 2.0, with an eye toward what we now know about the art of pitching. As many of you know, semi-recent research has found that pitchers don't have as much control over what becomes of balls in play as previously believed. Voros McCracken's initial findings suggested that pitchers had almost no control over the fate of a ball once it left the bat (provided it stayed in the park). Subsequent research by Keith Woolner and Tom Tippett found that while pitchers didn't have a great deal of influence over whether balls in play were converted into outs or fell as base hits, they did have a modicum of control over these events. Whoever's right (I side with the latter position), pitchers appear to have much less influence with regard to hit prevention than we once thought. This principle--separating what pitchers control absolutely from what they control only partially--is where the rubber hits the road for GS 2.0.

Here's how game scores are calculated:

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ANAHEIM ANGELS Placed RHP Al Levine on the 15-day DL (shoulder tendinitis), retroactive to 6/27; recalled RHP John Lackey from Salt Lake. [6/28] I don't disagree with the idea of bringing up John Lackey to move into the rotation. Lackey is the organization's best upper-level prospect, and he's obviously ready to go.

Recalled RHP Matt Wise from Salt Lake; optioned RHP John Lackey to Salt Lake. [6/25]

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July 2, 2002 8:09 pm

The Daily Prospectus: July 2, 2002: SABR 32

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Joe Sheehan

Over the weekend, I attended my first Society for American Baseball Research convention. It was the 32nd get-together for the organization, of which I've been a member for about three hours.

Over the weekend, I attended my first Society for American Baseball Research convention. It was the 32nd get-together for the organization, of which I've been a member for about three hours. Prodded by BP's Jeff Bower, I joined and made the trek to Boston for this year's gathering, which kicked off this summer's "Sheehan Across America" tour. (And to clear up the rumor, no, Papa Roach isn't opening for me.)

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SABR has been defined to outsiders largely as the home of statistical research, because the term "sabermetrics" (choose your spelling) was applied to the early work by Bill James, Pete Palmer, et al. This type of work, what I prefer to call performance analysis, is really a small fraction of the research done by SABR members. At the convention, there was some history, some sociology, some statistical work and some fun stuff. What was common to all of it was a deep and abiding love for the game, and being around that for four days was what made the trip so very worth it.

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