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We discuss the Report of the Committee Studying Home Run Rates in Major League Baseball released on May 24, 2018. We talk with committee chair Dr. Alan Nathan, and committee member Dr. Dan Brooks as well as radar and target tracking research engineer, Dr. Sean O’Rourke. We examine what the report is saying and what it means going forward.

Sam Miller joined us to talk about his recent article about evaluating Statcast’s new Pop Time metric. Surprising exactly no one, we also talk about Shohei Ohtani, again. And take a look at Robinson Cańo’s Hall of Fame candidacy.

Below is a table showing the comparative ratings of some of the pitchers with the best command scores.

Command+
CMD
Name

1
9
Kyle Hendricks

2
19
Jordan Zimmermann

3
21
Alex Wood

4
10
Jeremy Hellickson

5
64
Masahiro Tanaka

6
86
Josh Tomlin *

7
25
Aaron Nola

8
12
Tyler Mahle

9
6
Jacob deGrom

10
3
Zack Greinke

12
4
Corey Kluber

20
2
Marco Gonzales

23
1
Kyle Davies

53
8
Doug Fister

101
5
Marco Estrada

122
7
CC Sabathia

Data pulled a few days apart, 151 total pitchers in COMMAND+ rankings and 130 in CMD
* Tomlin ranked sixth in CMD in 2017

Shohei Ohtani is flexible

https://twitter.com/shinjibvby/status/996478920110190592

When we talk about park adjusted stats, and park factors, what does all of that mean? How do we arrive at those numbers and how do we account for changes over time? We also talk about “pitch design” and how that combines analytical data and player development.
Links:

We talk with Jonathan Judge (https://twitter.com/bachlaw) and Rob McQuown (https://twitter.com/Robmcquown), who oversee Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections (https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/) to get some more insight into how the projections are made, what’s new this year, and of course hip hop.
Sam Miller (https://twitter.com/SamMillerBB) asks how much we’d be willing to endure to play Major League Baseball (http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/22381495/put-coach-how-much-embarrassment-willing-endure-play-major-league-baseball)

We talk to Jeff Long (https://twitter.com/JeffLongBP), Sean O’Rourke (https://twitter.com/dj_mosfett), Wayne Boyle (https://twitter.com/PitchGrader), and Russell Carleton (https://twitter.com/pizzacutter4) about their recent Pitching Week (https://www.baseballprospectus.com/tag/pitching-week/) article about the Robot Strikezone and Robot Umpires (https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/37347/robo-strike-zone-not-simple-think/).
New Power, Command, Stamina pitching metrics (http://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/sortable/index.php?cid=2507171) from Baseball Prospectus
Updating Pitch Tunnels (https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/37436/prospectus-feature-updating-pitch-tunnels/) – by Jeff Long, Harry Pavlidis, and Martin Alonso (https://twitter.com/martnar)
Jeff Long, Jonathan Judge (https://twitter.com/bachlaw) and Harry are nominated for a SABR Analytics Conference Research Award (http://sabr.org/about/sabr-analytics-conference-research-awards)
The Hazards of Going on Auto-Pilot (https://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/hazards-automation) – by Maria Konnikova

Stolen Signs is back. Harry and Kendall talk about the slow offseason, collusion and ideas on how to change the economics of baseball. After a short break (14:05) they discuss new research by Duke University that looks into neurological and motor skills and how they translate to baseball production, a new smart baseball that can provide some pitch tracking and tease some new work by the stats team at Baseball Prospectus. To wrap up (32:00), a look into the state of pitching and try to talk about what an inning(s) eater is and also what an ace is.
Neuroscience Can Project Batting Lines Now (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/neuroscience-can-project-batting-lines-now/) by Eno Sarris (https://twitter.com/enosarris)
Anthony DiComo’s tweet of Sandy Alderson quote (https://twitter.com/AnthonyDiComo/status/953740175024193536)
Here’s why baseball’s economic system might be broken (https://sports.yahoo.com/heres-baseballs-economic-system-might-broken-224638354.html) by Jeff Passan (https://twitter.com/jeffpassan)

We touch on many issues of the day as we wrap up 2017 in style.
3:10 – Marlins firesale fallout – Dan LeBatard show (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDT-a7fh5fc)
17:05 – Bob Bowman forced out at MLBAM (https://www.wsj.com/articles/baseballs-rainmaker-forced-out-after-alleged-misconduct-1513882805)
23:38 – Shohei Ohtani ZIPS, Steamer and PECOTA projections
35:20 – The Case for Long-Form Movement (https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/36603/pitching-backward-case-long-form-movement/) by Jeff Long (https://twitter.com/JeffLongBP)
51:00 – Major League Baseball’s Statcast Can Break Sabermetrics (https://deadspin.com/major-league-baseballs-statcast-can-break-sabermetrics-1820987737) by Emma Baccellieri (https://twitter.com/emmabaccellieri)
1:19:20 – Hall of Fame discussion – HOF Tracker (https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=F2E5D8FC5199DFAF!8063&ithint=file,xlsx&app=Excel&authkey=!AAAsz3uDsmqy_Vw) c/o @NotMrTibbs (https://twitter.com/NotMrTibbs)
With that we bid you farewell for the year. Happy holidays to all, and we look forward to 2018.

We talk with Ben Lindbergh and Kaz Yamazaki about the NPB posting system, differences between the mounds, balls, culture of MLB and NPB and dig a little deeper into some of the myths about Japanese pitchers coming over to MLB. We also look into the current state of the sabermetric community in Japan.
Effectively Wild Episode 1145: The Reigning-MVP Podcast (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/effectively-wild-episode-1145-the-reigning-mvp-podcast/) Effectively Wild episode where Ben and Jeff Sullivan talk with Dennis Sarfate
Shohei Otani and MLB’s Japanese Fragility Myth (https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2017/12/5/16737454/shohei-ohtani-history-of-japanese-pitchers-in-mlb) from The Ringer
Shohei Otani’s life goals (http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2017/12/06/262926572/check-out-shohei-ohtanis-life-goals-that-he-wrote-out-in-high-school)
Delta Graphs (http://1point02.jp/op/index.aspx)

We welcome Sean Forman from Baseball Reference, David Cameron from FanGraphs, Greg Matthews from openWAR, Rob McQuown and Jonathan Judge from Baseball Prospectus to the show.

With all the recent discussion about Wins Above Replacement statistics, we wanted to get people who create and maintain the statistics together to talk about how their respective stats are created and calculated. We talk about what replacement level is, positional adjustments, how to accurately portray confidence in the precision of the statistic.

Harry and Kendall look back at the World Series, discuss the Cy Young awards and the BBWAA vote has lined up with BP’s pitching metrics over the past few years.
Next up is a preview of some new pitching statistics that the Baseball Prospectus stats team is working on and why that’s proven to be a challenge. Harry gives a look into how these statistics are imagined, designed, tested, and tweaked throughout the process.

This week Harry and Kendall talk to Jarrett Seidler from the Baseball Prospectus Prospects team about the cyclical nature of baseball in general, and analytics specifically.
Harry and Kendall also take a closer look at how pitchers end up in the bullpen and examine their route to get there. For this exercise they looked at pitchers with a debut season of > 20 IP as a reliever, and fewer starter innings than reliever innings in that year and then went on to log > 75 IP as a starter in a subsequent season, with fewer reliever than starting innings. Check out the spreadsheet (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1B-zIHBTXAOnDeKi_4f2m4e1QgUR8OSZIBVagdwOcFow/edit#gid=0).
*This Week I Learned: *
Harry – A look into research done with Kate Morrison for Ben Lindbergh’s Ringer piece about Dallas Keuchel and the Dodgers – https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2017/10/24/16533310/houston-astros-los-angeles-dodgers-dallas-keuchel-kryptonite
Kendall – Is it possible that Major League Baseball is coming to Portland? – http://www.baseballamerica.com/columnists/expansion-trigger-realignment-longer-postseason/#IpHtEd8vb3JeJHOB.97

We start by talking about projection systems in general, then dive into 2017 PECOTA team projections. We look to see how adding in actual playing time affects the team totals. Then we talk about individual players that out-performed and under-performed their PECOTA projections.
This Week I Learned:
* Harry learns that “bullpenning” is a thing, sort of, maybe, kind of. (h/t Matt Trueblood (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=32960))
* Kendall learns to make adjustments in parenting, just like hitters like Mike Trout have had to make adjustments to high fastballs. (h/t to Jeff Sullivan (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-history-of-the-adjustment-to-mike-trout/))

We sat down with Rob Arthur, Ben Diamond, Greg Matthews, and Travis Sawchik to talk about the MLB playoffs. We touched on playoff formats (past, present, and future?) and then moved on to talk about roster construction and optimization for the playoffs. After that, Harry and Kendall talk about the things they learned this week.

Links: