The Yankees spent a lot of money and made a lot of changes this winter. What does it all mean for their chances this summer?
Introducing the Prospectus Hit List, our rundown of all the teams in the game, from one to 30.
How would Barry Bonds’ absence affect the Giants? Who will fill out the Dodgers’ rotation? And will Joe Mauer ever be an everyday catcher? This and more in today’s Prospectus Triple Play.
With Roberto Alomar retiring over the weekend, Jay Jaffe takes a look at his Hall of Fame chances, plus the credentials of a forgotten few.
The results of the second election by the latest version of the Veterans Committee will be released today. How do the candidates stack up?
Along with the three hitters he named last week, Jay Jaffe sees three qualified pitchers among the 11 on the Hall of Fame ballot.
There are 16 position players on the Hall of Fame ballot. Jay Jaffe thinks three of them belong in Cooperstown.
Not that he need to stand out further, but here’s one more way that Barry Bonds is unique among the greatest players in baseball history.
As the trading deadline approaches and the hype surrounding a potential Randy Johnson deal reaches a deafening crescendo, I decided to take a look at how well the Yankees have done in dealing young players. I’m not concerned with who they get in return except as a footnote, nor do I care whether they “won” a particular trade according to a value measure. Those scales can wait to be balanced for another day. The question is whether the Yanks have let another Buhner, another unproven product of the Yankee system, slip out the door. How well did the players they traded turn out?
It’s been a couple of weeks since the 30th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run and the accompanying tributes, but Barry Bonds’ exploits tend to keep the top of the all-time chart in the news. With homers in seven straight games and counting at this writing, Bonds has blown past Willie Mays at number three like the Say Hey Kid was standing still, which–
Carlos Gomez is a work in progress. At 26 years old, the Puerto Rico native has only 60 innings of professional ball under his belt in baseball backwaters such as Canton, Ohio and Allentown, Pa. With a high school career hampered by injury and a college career marred by ineffectiveness and then a bout of “Ankielitis,” envisioning any kind of professional career at all for Gomez seemed a stretch. But persistence and a willingness to experiment have allowed Gomez to cast off his pitching woes and remake himself as a sidearming reliever, and intellectual curiosity has spurred him to incorporate objective research into his pitching approach. His is the story of Moneyball writ small, one player searching for any advantage he can get in order to rise through the professional ranks.
The Baseball Writers of America’s standards on what constitute a Hall of Fame pitcher are in a curious spot now, both when it comes to starters and relievers. Spoiled by a group of contemporaries who won 300 games from the mid-’60s to the mid-’80s (Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton, Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro), the writers haven’t elected a non-300-winning starter since Fergie Jenkins in 1991. That Perry, Sutton and Niekro took a combined 13 ballots to reach the Hall while Ryan waltzed in on his first ballot with the all-time highest percentage of votes is even more puzzling. Apparently what impresses the BBWAA can be summarized as “Just Wins, Baby”–which is bad news for every active pitcher this side of Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux.
Of the 59 enshrined pitchers with major-league experience, only two of them–Hoyt Wilhelm and Rollie Fingers–are in Cooperstown for what they accomplished as relievers. While the standards for starters are somewhat easy to discern (if lately a bit unrealistic), the growing number of quality relievers on the ballot, the continuous evolution of the relief role, and the paucity of standards to measure them by present some interesting challenges to voters.
If there’s an area in which performance analysis has struggled mightily against mainstream baseball thought, it’s in hammering home the concept that the pitcher doesn’t have as much control over the outcome of ballgames–as reflected in his Won-Loss totals–or even individual at-bats–hits on balls in play–as he’s generally given credit for. Good run support and good defense can make big winners of mediocre pitchers on good teams, and .500 pitchers of good hurlers on mediocre teams. As such, it’s important to examine the things over which a pitcher has control and account for those he does not. Once again, the Davenport system rides to the rescue.
With the 2004 STATLG-L Hall of Fame balloting now in the books, and the results of the BBWAA voting slated to be released this afternoon, there are few topics more prominent in baseball fans’ minds than “Which players will make it to Cooperstown in 2004?”
And rightfully so. Enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame is the highest honor a former-player can receive, and most fans are protective of that: a fact that has spurned countless heated debates over the years–rational, objective, and otherwise.
With that being said, I thought it would interesting to see what some of Baseball Prospectus’ newly updated measures of player evaluation had to say on the topic. For the uninitiated, BP’s Davenport Translated Player Cards measure a player’s value above replacement level for offense, defense, and pitching while adjusting for context–park effects, level of offense, era, length of season, and in Clay’s own words, “the distortions caused by not having to face your own team’s defense.” The Davenport Cards offer the most sophisticated statistical summaries available; if you can adjust for it, it’s in there. The basic currencies of the Davenport system, whether it’s offense, defense, or pitching, are runs and wins, more specifically, runs above replacement level and wins above replacement level.