The Seattle Mariners hired Bill Bavasi as their new general manager Nov. 7, replacing Pat Gillick. Bavasi spent 19 years with the Angels, working his way up from his first job as a minor league administrator. As general manager from 1994 to 1999, the team finished below .500 in four of six seasons. But the farm system that Bavasi presided over during that time would generate much of the core for the Angels’ 2002 championship team, including Troy Glaus, Troy Percival, Darin Erstad and others. Bavasi spent the last two years overseeing the Dodgers’ farm system as director of player development. He takes over the Mariners coming off four straight years of 90+ wins, with Gillick staying on as a consultant. BP spoke to Bavasi about the team’s off-season signings, the risk of long-term contracts, the changing nature of major league talent and more.
As we’ve stated on a number of different occasions throughout the Baseball Prospectus Basics series, one of the goals of performance analysis is to separate perception from reality. Sometimes that means interpreting numbers, and sometimes that means interpreting events with our eyes. Either way, it’s about collecting information, and getting a little bit closer to the truth.
Evaluating the importance of strikeouts, especially for hitters, is something that has traditionally fallen into the second category. And it’s easy to understand why: baseball is a game that centers around the ongoing conflict between pitcher and batter, and there are few outcomes that capture the drama of that conflict better than a mighty whiff, followed by a long walk back to the bench. On the surface at least, a strikeout appears to be the ultimate failure for a hitter–infinitely worse than a Texas-leaguer or a fly-out to center.
Now that the ball is gone and Jamaal The Goat is next in line for explosive therapy, the Cubs may be in line for a World Series win that would finally end all the curse talk. Despite Joe Sheehan’s protestations, most Cubs fans think all that stands between them and October glory is the Astros and cruel, cruel fate.
Despite the best work of PECOTA, many still see the rotation as something akin to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, or choosing from amongst five recent Playmates. To opponents, it’s pick your poison; to fans, it’s a matter of personal taste with no bad choice. Only Clement, surprisingly, avoids the yellow light. Without giving too much away from Saving the Pitcher, Clement’s mechanics are extremely good. If you want one key, watch how his glove stays steady over his plant foot.
Wait… Prior and Maddux have among the purest mechanics that motion capture has, well, captured. Why the yellow on those two? The answer is age. For Prior, he’s crossing the injury nexus after the heaviest per-outing workload of his career last season. For Maddux, he’s in a rare age bracket, one where there’s not much of a sample size. Maddux had a few minor injuries last season, but he’s hardly overworked in any sense. The problem with any system of prediction is in capturing the outliers. The Cubs have two of the most extreme on one staff. Cautionary yellows hold, but these two aren’t your average yellow-light players.