Losing Manny Ramirez for a quarter of the season isn't automatically a death knell. Pedro Martinez has just one good start against a good opponent this year, but that's the scheduler's fault. I'm hardly off the hook for advancing the claim that he won't make it to ten starts, and if losing Martinez was one of my major theories about what would lay hope low in Beantown, losing Ramirez for a month and a half might make you think I'd peg this as the beginning of the end.
Placed OF-R Manny Ramirez on the 15-day DL (fractured finger); purchased the contract of UT-B Bry Nelson from Pawtucket. [5/14]
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A look into the mind of the champion of Tout Wars NL, Steve Gardner
At the end of every season, something I have always found helpful is to talk to the people who won their leagues to see how it all came together for them. Over the next couple of weeks, I will interview each of the three winners from Tout Wars to see what their secrets for success were in hopes that you can apply some of that wisdom to your own pursuit of 2012 fantasy success. The first interview was with USA Today’s Steve Gardner, who won the NL-only league by 8.5 points.
Some tips on how to approach the off-season and prepare for 2012 drafts.
Most of you can relate to 20 of the 30 baseball teams that are just ready for the season to end so you can lick your wounds and figure out where it all went wrong. The fun part about the off-season is tossing around the blame for what derailed a team that looked great team on paper leaving the draft in March since most of us leave the draft table thinking we have a great team.
Recently, there has been a lot of digital ink spilled about ERA estimators—statistics that take a variety of inputs and come up with a pitcher’s expected ERA given those inputs. Swing a cat around a room, and you’ll find yourself with a dozen of the things, as well as a very agitated cat. Among those is SIERA, which has lately migrated from here to Fangraphs.com in a new form, one more complex but not necessarily more accurate. We have offered SIERA for roughly 18 months, but have had a difficult time convincing anyone, be they our readers, other practitioners of sabermetrics, or our own authors, that SIERA was a significant improvement on other ERA estimators.
The logical question was whether or not we were failing to do the job of explaining why SIERA was more useful than other stats, or if we were simply being stubborn in continuing to offer it instead of simpler, more widely adopted stats. The answer depends on knowing what the purpose of an ERA estimator is. When evaluating a pitcher’s performance, there are three questions we can ask that can be addressed by statistics: How well he has pitched, how he accomplished what he’s done, and how he will do in the future. The first can be answered by Fair RA (FRA), the third by rest-of-season PECOTA. The second can be addressed by an ERA estimator likeSIERA, but not necessarily SIERA itself, which boasts greater complexity than more established ERA estimators such as FIP but can only claim incremental gains in accuracy.
While you will burn your neck and suffer heat stroke watching prospects develop in the Arizona League, there is a small oasis of potential stars that makes the pilgrimage worth it.
It’s hard to sell complex league baseball to the masses: The talent is immature, the names are merely names, the jerseys are often vague and free of personal identification, the environment is isolated and empty, and the theater of the event is off-off-off-off Broadway. But I’m going to give it a try.
What will it take to get you to walk away with a piece of Arizona League baseball in your hand? Financing is available for those who qualify, and if you wilt under the weight of my smile, I might be able to throw in a refrigerator magnet, or a flavored lolly for the little ones. Let me know if I can be of any assistance. I think you would look great with some AZL action in your life. It makes you attractive to the sex of your choosing. Don’t be shy. Here at Baseball Prospectus, we offer the best package. Don’t be fooled. You can’t match our guarantees. Look around, and let me know if you have any questions. My door is as open as my saccharine smile. Let’s make a deal.
Derek examines the differences between mixed leagues and AL/NL-only leagues through the lens of expert leagues Tout Wars, LABR, and CardRunners.
Over the past week, Jason Collette has been taking turns examining each of the three Tout Wars leagues: AL-only, NL-only, and mixed. Yesterday, he examined the mixed league, which I participate in. Unfortunately, I’m not having the best year, currently in 12th out of 15. Interestingly, though, I am third in two other high-profile expert leagues—LABR (the League of Alternate Baseball Reality) and CardRunners—priming myself for a run at the championship.
What I find particularly interesting is that LABR is an NL-only league and CardRunners is an AL-only league. Despite doing well in leagues that draw from either league pool, in the league that combines them, I’m flailing. I also struggled in Tout Mixed last year, finishing middle-of-the-pack, but I won a LABR NL championship the year before. What gives?
In the final installment of the series, there's a look at rating the speed tool, a player's makeup, and the misuse of scouting jargon.
This article is a hodgepodge, a collection of sediments left at the bottom of the wine glass (or coffee cup, if you so desire). I’ll jump from the on-the-field identification and evaluation of the speed tool, discuss my definition of makeup and how it influences the developmental process, and I’ll put a bow on the baby with a brief criticism of those that misuse scouting terminology. It’s a pastiche of subordinate thoughts, but I would be remiss to let them float in the ether. Potpourri Prospectus!
The Need for Speed Speed is the preferred tool of the baseball pest: a player that uses a specific physical attribute to affect the chemistry of the on-field action. Speed can propel a player into professional baseball, and can disguise the overall effectiveness of that player while in the throes of the developmental process. Speed is not required for major-league success, but that isn’t to say speed is detrimental to a skill set; obviously, speed is a tool that is beneficial to possess. But speed is a secondary tool, a catalytic tool, and the evaluation of that tool, while tangible and painless to scout, often clouds the painting of the prospect in question. Speed is a tool with psychotropic properties.
Tom Tango returns to address your second and final batch of questions from last week.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
You asked, he answered. Below is the second and final batch of responses to the questions BP readers submitted for sabermetrician Tom Tango. All questions are presented in their original form.