After another day at the races and a night of teaching kids how to avoid Tommy John surgery, it’s nice to set my Nokia down and dig into the research for UTK. Really, it’s a 24-hour process, but when I can sit and type this out, my thoughts, boiling all day, tend to get a bit clearer. During the day, it’s turmoil in the best way, but with the iBook in my lap, everything comes together.
So, powered by Flexall 454 Quick Gel, let’s get on to the injuries…
Rather than look at the batter’s results in various sacrifice
situations, we’ll look at the resultant base/out situation. The reason
for this is because the sacrifice is a play that both gives the defense a
choice and places it under a great deal of stress. Trying to cut down the
lead runner on a sacrifice is a high-risk, high-reward strategy and
results in a variety of scoring decisions (errors, fielder’s choices, etc.)
that don’t map absolutely to the resultant base/out situation. Further,
the results of a sacrifice can be thought of as falling into three
categories: success, failure, and overachievement. Obviously, when
sacrificing, the batter is attempting to concede himself for the
advancement of the runner. In “success,” the batter is out, but the
runner advances. In “failure,” the runner is out and the batter is safe
at first. In “overachievement,” the runner advances and the batter is
safe. (There is also the possibility of “miserable failure”–a double
play–and a few other rare ending states after errors, etc.) Looking at
the data for 2003 in three baserunner situations, the data yield the
Situation Success Failure Overachievement
Runner on first 61.7 23.5 14.8
Runner on second 60.4 21.2 18.4
Runners on first and second 59.3 25.7 15.0
The Giants lost again yesterday, falling to 15-20 and eight games behind the
Dodgers in the NL West. That gap may be misleading–the blue boys are 10-0 in
one-run games, which has inflated their record–but it’s hard to see how the Giants
can make up even the true five- or six-game difference between the teams.
Over the past few years, I’ve come around the the idea that while Brian Sabean
may not assemble baseball teams in the same manner that, say, I would, his
track record of success warranted respect. The Giants have succeeded with
mid-level payrolls and seemingly mid-level rosters for a number of years, in
part because many of Sabean’s acquisitions outperformed expectations. If we’re
going to be about performance, then the record of the Giants from 1997-2003
The 2004 Giants reflect a complete failing of Sabean to do his job, however.
Knowing that he had a player of Bonds’ caliber on the roster, he neglected to
bring in a hitter with a reasonable chance of complementing him.
“Protection” has been studied, and it has largely been dismissed as
a myth. Hitters’ performances do not depend on having a comparable hitter
behind them in the lineup. However, there is a weak effect on walks and
intentional walks, an effect we’ve seen taken to the extreme as Bonds has had one
of the greatest peaks in baseball history while surrounded by mediocre
veterans playing replacement-level baseball.
CF – Steve Finley, Age: 39 (.265/.333/.561/.291 EqA)
A .330-ish OBP will pass muster at an up-the-middle position, but throw in excellent power and a good glove, and you’re in All-Star territory. Part of his power is certainly BOB-fueled illusion, but Finley is still a highly useful player, even at 39.
Runner-up: Marquis Grissom and Craig Biggio are both having remarkable seasons at the plate, but major regression is likely. And Biggio’s defense in center drops his stock quite a bit. If Grissom hits .357 for the whole season, I’ll deep fry my elbows.
Miguel Tejada’s about 2,000 games from breaking Cal Ripken’s record. The Rockies will need to use their bullpen judiciously to backstop their four-man rotation. The Mets are getting a revival season from Tom Glavine. These and other news and notes out of Baltimore, Colorado and New York in today’s Prospectus Triple Play.