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Another interesting article, Eric.
A follow-up topic might be to contrast MLB's approach to disability insurance with the approaches taken by other leagues, such as the NBA. The situation may well have changes by now, but as of several years ago, the NBA had what was essentially a mandatory disability insurance program with a single primary insurer (who then laid off portions of its risk to reinsurers) -- the program required that each team insure its several highest-paid players. Theoretically, a program of that nature might enable more favorable policy language and underwriting terms, alleviating some of the reasons noted in your article as to why disability insurance isn't an automatic purchase for MLB teams.
I suspect that most of the negative commenters (a) dislike on moral grounds the existence of slash fanfic on the internet, and (b) dislike anything that reminds them that slash fanfic may exist on the internet.
I find it hard to believe that anyone on the internet would be ignorant of the existence of slash fanfic on the internet; and as such I tend to find most of the complaints about this article overblown.
Having said that: It had not really occured to me that there would be a substantial market for baseball slash fanfic, and I think Ben H. has made the best comment here -- namely, that the article missed an opportunity to explore the psychological issue of why baseball slash fanfic might exist.
I'm a diehard baseball fan; but I know almost nothing about baseball players. I would not recognize 98% of baseball players if I were standing next to them at a bus stop. I don't generally know how tall they are, what they look like, where they're from, what they like to do, or even (sometimes) their race. I view players as a manifestation of their skills & accomplishments; I generally forget to view them as people, too.
Looking at baseball through that lens, it hadn't occurred to me that one could develop fantasies of this nature about baseball players -- as opposed to fantasies about entertainers, or fictional characters, where the personalities and physical characteristics of the individuals are much better known.
For that reason, I thought the article was illuminating, but that it could have explored this issue further.
As a Gallardo owner/fan, I don't know whether to be elated or frightened with his appearance next to the names of Strasburg and Prior....
When I worked for a large professional services firm, if I was working on-site at an out-of-state client for (say) a full week, our firm's payroll function would allocate a corresponding portion of my salary to the other state. Consequently, I would ultimately need to file multiple state tax returns.
However: To the extent that these other states in which I worked temporarily had higher state tax rates than my home state, my firm "made me whole" -- they would pay me an additional amount in order to cover their estimate of the marginal state taxes caused from my working out-of-state (plus the associated tax gross-up). And, after I filed my tax returns for the year, if it turned out that their estimate didn't actually make me whole, I could show payroll my tax returns and get a true-up of the original tax equity payment.
The reason I bring this up is: Perhaps professional sports teams do the same thing as my former employer did. In which case, maybe we tend to exaggerate the extent to which these jock taxes drive behavior among athletes -- because perhaps teams already commit to making their employees whole with respect to these taxes.
Eric, any thoughts?
Wonderful article, Eric.
CK - If you think the O's "could probably finish 4th with Bell at third base", who do you imagine would be finishing 5th? Surely not my beloved Jays?
That's hardly clear.
I'm amused by the non-standard 2-character (with some exceptions) team abbreviations above, e.g., CC for Chicago Cubs. I presume that's what was used in the MLBPA press release? If so, any context as to whether those abbreviations are commonly used within MLBPA and/or MLB?
I believe you're right -- as I recall, one of the anecdotes in that Feynman chapter involved new data that was different by 7% and they were trying to work out whether that 7% improved or worsened the experimental fit to a theory he was developing -- but, of course, Feynman's choice of title to that chapter was an allusion to Holmes.
I read your book on Wicked Shares, CK, but I've been waiting several years to see something in print on your methodology for Lame Shares.
Is it really fair to Trenton's opponents, and more generally to the integrity of the Eastern League playoffs, that Andy Pettitte can be used as a AA playoff starter?
Somehow when I see "The Informed Outsider: 15 Years of Joe Sheehan on Baseball", my mind immediately jumps to the conclusion that it's a compilation book with little or no new content (in the vein of Bill James' "This Time Let's Not All The Bones"); whereas when I see "Joe Sheehan on Baseball: 15 Years as an Informed Outsider", my mind doesn't jump to that conclusion.
But maybe that's just me.
You don't think ARod could play SS in Jeter's absence?
His next gig? Maybe Jeter could be player/manager for the Yankees' AAA team starting in 2011, with a clause obligating the Yankees to call him up to the majors after the AAA season ends?
Tongue slightly in cheek there -- but that would be a much better use for what remains of his talents than paying him $15 million per year to clog up the Yankees' lineup.
Then again, speaking as a Blue Jays fan -- go ahead, New York, pay him as much money as he wants.
Interesting how different passionate baseball fans can end up with different gaps in their knowledge base. I too had never heard of RBIs being called steaks (but Eric's explanation makes perfect sense); on the flip side, Eric apparently hadn't heard of the "phantom AB" rule for determining batting champions, which I would have mentally filed in the "everybody knows that" file.
Really nice stuff, Matt.
WATG: Michael Blanke (C, White Sox 2010 draftee, Canadian-born, doing well in Pioneer League)
9 former major league players and a former minor league player. In practice, are there career paths to being a manager that don't involve being a former player? If not, should there be?
With 9 picks in the first 3 rounds, it would be hard for the Jays to not be on the list of top 5 drafts, just based on materiel acquired. KG's question, I think, is whether they did as good a job as they could have, given the sheer quantity of high picks available to them.
Lemme hear the (second) base(man) go boom! Exploding!
More seriously -- if Ackley turns out to have relatively little power, then what's a good comp for his ceiling?
Intuitively, it's stunning to me that people think Werth would attract $15-20 million per year in the open market. I just don't see him as a player who can command even an 8-figure salary (and it's not like I'm ignorant about his virtues, I do own him in a Strat league).
Keep in mind that we are talking about a 31-year old OF who has only qualified for the batting title once in his career and doesn't have a lot of marquis accomplishments. He has never hit .300, has never hit 100 RBI, has never won a Gold Glove, has only hit more than 25 HR once, has never stolen more than 20 bases, etc. He also has a significant platoon split.
In the real world, as opposed to the world of sabernomics, if Werth can get as much as $50 million for 5 years then he should thank his lucky stars and take it.
I guess he did it, ahhh, sorta properly.
I think it's stunning (in a positive sense) that, in 2010, we have a major league manager who describes Mind Game as his favorite book. Does anybody think there were any major league managers in 1990 who would have cited The Hidden Game Of Baseball as their favorite book? We've come a long way.
I don't honestly know who Hayden Penn is, but isn't it a little odd for a team to DFA a player this early in the season? Is that an admission that they made a major mistake thinking he belonged on the roster, or am I reading too much into it?
This article should be an early favorite for one of next year's Sabermetric Writing Awards. Bravo.
I'm not really a "cell phone guy", so maybe my opinion needs to be taken here with a grain of salt...but it seems to me that demand for the NFL's cell phone product should be massively higher than demand for MLB's cell phone product, and hence the disparity in revenues is perfectly sensible.
The NFL's core product is delivered in a very small number of time intervals -- primarily, 17 difference 6-hour blocks. Moreover, those blocks of time are on Sunday afternoons, a time when people (even ardent NFL fans) may find themselves needing to be somewhere other than in front of a TV. As such, for NFL fans, having real-time access to NFL content on cell phones during those critical time intervals is really, really important.
By contrast, MLB's core product is delivered much more sparsely -- over hundreds of different blocks of time. As a result, it is comparatively far less critical for an MLB fan to 'need' real-time information about any one game. Also, the games are generally taking place in the evenings, when people are less likely to be unable to get in front of a TV if they really need to know what's going on in one particular game. Consequently, having real-time access to MLB content on cell phones seems like it would be much less important than for the NFL.
Is Kuo a hopeless cause at this point?
Great restaurant, Erwin. They have a dessert that drives me insane -- a peanut butter mousse cake with chocolate ganache.
I disagree 100%. The fact that there isn't a discovered reason for the loss of power is precisely why one should be worried. If something of historic preportions happens and we don't understand why, then why should we be comfortable sweeping it under the rug and writing it off as an aberration?
My takeaway from your research, Eric, differs a little from yours. You've demonstrated to my satisfaction that Wright's 2009 power drop has no comparable precedent. It's a black swan. As such, I think we need to be very careful when assessing any forecast of Wright's future at this point.
Anyone who wants to believe his 2010 PECOTA is certainly free to do so, but should at the same time recognize that there must be a tremendous amount of risk associated with that forecast, since we're treading on fresh powder here.
Why not? This isn't really any different from what the Wall Street Journal is already doing, showing somebody's estimates of the probability of who wins which games that night, or estimates of the average scores. It's not gambling, it's information.
My apologies. The color legend on the Glavine/Blyleven graph is very confusing, and I misread which graph belonged to which player. I'm too young to remember the beginning of Blyleven's career, and old enough to have forgotten the beginning of Glavine's.
Shoot. Another promising theory shot all to hell by the facts.
A very interesting aspect of your article is that in each pairing, you've chosen one player that emerged as a star at a very young age, and one player whose emergence took place later in his career.
Moreover, in both pairings, the player who was a "young star" is viewed as a shoe-in HoFer, while the later-blooming player is a marginal HoF candidate.
I think that's assuredly not a coincidence.
Peoples' perceptions of player value are not driven purely by a post-career review of the relevant data, but instead build up gradually over time. First impressions are enduring.
My mental picture of Frank Thomas still centers around "on the short list for greatest hitter of all time", because when he was 28 it looked like that's where he was heading. My mental picture of Edgar Martinez still centers around "who is this guy?", because he didn't establish himself as a star at a young age.
It would take considerable effort for HoF voters to de-program themselves and evaluate candidates on the careers they actually had, rather than the careers they were perceived to be having. Most of what our community consider as "failures" of the HoF process can probably be viewed through this lens, namely a failure among the electorate to adjust their assumptions & beliefs to conform with reality.
You laugh --- but a few years ago, there were some guys in Canada that produced a couple of volumes of an annual book called The Black Book Of Curling, which took a quantitative approach to curling analysis.
Around that time Will Carroll asked the BP subscriber base for idea about sports that PEV should expand into. I suggested to him that he should seek these guys out and trying to re-brand their work as Curling Prospectus, but Will suggested politely that, umm, the size of the market wasn't large enough.
In the meantime, I think those guys have stopped publishing their book, which I really miss.
In polite society we prefer "rose-coloured" to "ridiculous". But, yeah.
Interesting question as to whether HBP is persistent among pitchers. The Strat-O-Matic world view is that HBP is entirely a hitter's skill. Of course, a lot has been learned about baseball since the SOM engine was developed many years ago. Dave Stieb was my boyhood idol, and he certainly had consistently high HBP rates.
I think the nominations merely reflect something that I'll admit I only became aware of during the last year, namely that BP was no longer the vanguard of sabermetric thought. I always assumed that "modern sabermetrics" and "BP" were synonyms; but, as they say, past performance is not necessarily predictive of future results....
Of course, with the recent changes to the writing staff tilting BP much further back in a research-oriented direction (and less in the more "general interest" direction represented by Joe), perhaps this will change next year.
You know, the love for Joe is getting really old, people. He's one guy out of a collective of writers. Is he a good writer? Sure. Am I glad to hear about this book project? Sure. Will I buy it? Maybe -- I've bought everything else out of BP, so why wouldn't I.
But please, enough with the veiled and not-so-veiled criticism of the decision that his BP column would cease. It's not like he's Bill James breaking the wand. He's just this guy, you know?
Isn't one of Matt/Eric's points that the second-order interaction terms are actually implicit in Nate's QERA formula, it's just that we don't think about them, because of the way in which he left the form of the formula?
See, I don't think it's true that the first numbers released are what people will remember. I think the numbers people will remember are the ones that get written up 'officially' in BP articles together with explanatory thoughts. Since that hasn't happened yet, I don't think an immense amount of brand damage has been caused here (although labelling things as Beta would likely have been helpful).
Well, clearly there's a fundamental disagreement of opinion here about the objectives of forecasting.
To do what you're suggesting, one would need to pick before the season which players will outperform their means and which will underperform their means. Any single deterministic pick is merely a guess. To derive any value from it you'd need to do it stochastically, and express the results in terms of probabilities; this may be difficult for many people to wrap their minds around.
From my perspective, an interesting supplement would be for BP to do something like this. Using PECOTA (but the entire spread of projections, not just the weighted means), publish probability estimates of how likely individual players are to win the HR title, BA title, etc.,; of how likely it is that somebody will hit 50 HR, hit .350, etc. Or, at the team level, how likely it is that some team will win 100 games, how likely it is that winning 95 games won't be enough to win the AL East, etc.
No, BP is not projecting a historic, competitive season. BP's forecasts acknowledge the reality that the spread of expected performance will generally be less than the spread of actual performance.
This is really interesting stuff.
Can you comment more about why this system is so kind to Sabean, who many Giants fans appear to believe is the worst GM on the planet?
Maybe some of the more quantitatively-oriented writers could consider having a Technical Appendix for their articles, in an effort to allow everyone to have their cake and eat it too. The people who want to be able see the gory details (with mathematical notation) would get what they want; the people who want to read a smooth-flowing article without getting bogged down in technical details would get what they want.
I'd like to ask the people who believe McGwire et al shouldn't be in the HoF think about the fact that Gaylord Perry is in the HoF. I have trouble seeing any difference between the two situations.
An interesting tidbit is buried in the data. Many BP readers (myself included) are of the opinion that Raines is properly viewed as a no-brainer HoF member. In that light, it's interesting to note that, had he been elected on the 1st ballot, he'd have had the lowest HoFM score ("bling") of any 1st-ballot electee. As such, armed with this data we should have been able to predict that -- despite what "we" may think of Raines -- there was little chance that "they" would elect him rapidly, and instead his candidacy would at best be a slow-build one, like Blyleven.
I love "Investment Banking Banditry Ballpark". Let's hope the name sticks. Reminiscent of "Hostile Takeover Bank" being Chick Hicks' sponsor in Pixar's Cars.
bflaff's comment above (which I couldn't directly reply to, for some reason) is exactly on point.
I've been a diehard BPer since my Strat-O-Matic league commissioner (C. Kahrl) convinced me to buy a copy of the very first BP annual. BP has always been, and will always be, a collective. There's a reason they don't put authors' bylines on the team comments, people; it's to emphasize the fact that BP is a collective.
I'll miss Joe; just as I missed Nate, and Gary, and Rany, and Keith Law, and Derek Zumsteg; and just as someday I'll miss Eric, and Colin. BP is dead; long live BP.
I agree with your point #4. I think John adds a lot to this site, and I've told him so in the past. I am, however, surprised that a "reporter" who is "progressive" enough to voluntarily associate himself with BP would nonetheless also be so "traditional" that he values the likes of Mattingly and Dawson over Raines.
Can somebody explain to me what mainstream journalists have against Tim Raines? This morning's Chicago Tribune had the HoF ballot of several writers who felt that Dawson belonged in the HoF but his teammate Raines didn't. Now I'm flabbergasted to see that Perrotto feels the same way. I'm at a real loss here to understand this.
Very interesting stuff, Matt.
If you play the Gonzalez signing through, it is possible that the Orioles' endgame in most scenarios is to flip him at the deadline to a team that is willing to pay a price (in terms of prospects) that exceeds the value of the 2nd-round pick that the Orioles forfeited?
In re-reading this article 2 years later, in the wake of the Silva-Bradley trade, it's a little shocking how positive Christina's view of the Silva signing was at the time. Maybe $12 million per year didn't seem like as much money two years ago, when the economy was still humming along nicely.
Clearly hindsight is 20-20; but even so, it's sobering to realize that a free agent signing slated to make the short list for "worst of all time" could be credibly described contemperaneously as "a sober and perhaps sobering choice".
On the other hand: If a similar list had been made 5 years ago for the 'decade' 2005-2014, would you have put Delmon Young on the top 20 list? Probably. Wouldn't have turned out to be a good prediction, but might have been a reasonable position to take at the time.
It would be more accurate to say: Imagine nobody was on your team right now, and you were trying to draft for maximal value over a 10-year time horizon.
In reality, if you were doing a startup draft right now, it's not entirely clear that a time horizon as long as 10 years is what should drive your decision-making, as it would cause you to leave some talent on the table (e.g., Utley, ARod) that should win a lot of games for you in the next 3-5 years (if not in years 6-10).
You're entitled to your point of view, of course. However, if you don't like Funck's style, mustn't you really hate Kahrl's or Goldstein's styles? Which begs the question, what are you getting out of subscribing to this site?
But isn't that an organizational fault with the BBWAA, rather than a BP problem? At least, that's how I would read between the lines of Will's description.
To my mind, the best argument for Wainwright over Lincecum is that Wainwright is a much better hitter. I'm surprised you didn't mention that. Or do you think pitcher's hitting is not a relevant consideration in the Cy Young balloting?
So Will, you were really swayed in your thought process by an opinion from a player who hasn't faced Lincecum but nevertheless thinks he's "more hittable"? Really? That's pretty weak. Basically, it's like you asked the player "can you hit Tim Lincecum?", and he said "well, I haven't seen him pitch.....but, yeah." You should leave that sort of reasoning to The Simpsons where it belongs.
And Keith's share via kickback is?
Nice observation regarding the correlation between the decline of knuckleballers and the ascent of homer-friendly parks, Joe.
Are there enough college baseball programs with scholarships to absorb all of the non-elite HS players that are currently signing & going to short-season leagues?
Also: If you envision going down a path where the short-season leagues wither and only a small number of elite HS players get drafted, why not go further and ban the drafting of HS players, consistent with the NBA?
Christina, does BP have any plans to try and get greater publicity for the Internet Baseball Awards? Perhaps some press releases, get a P.R. firm involved, get some sympathetic members of the mainstream media to mention the IBA results in their articles, etc?
If the Cardinals don't have enough "quality pinch-hitters" on their roster to justify carrying as the 14th (or even 15th) position player on a playoff roster, then they made a major tactical error by not trading one of their relievers for a position player prior to the relevant deadline.
Or, use wOBA. (As heretical a suggestion as that may be.)
Where's the "thumbs up" button?
93: Thomas over Olerud. Olerud played the same position with far better defense and equally good offense; both played for division winners; but Olerud got penalized by the voters for having teammates that were also having MVP downballot seasons (Alomar and Molitor).
Eric -- You've implicitly assumed (by multiplying the probabilities together) that winning the HR title and winning the RBI title are independent events. Since Pujols' HR total & RBI total are clearly positively correlated, that assumption isn't correct. Similarly, there would be some positive correlation (albeit very mild) between Pujols' HR/RBI totals and his final BA.
I think your ultimate conclusion remains valid, but it would be interesting to see (e.g., via a Monte Carlo simulation) a better estimate of the probabilities.
Yes, but....had I been writing an article on this subject, I would have started by: acknowledging the structural aspect of HFA; attempting to quantify it; using the HWP data to argue that in addition to the structural aspect, there must also be a non-structural aspect to HFA (which honestly was news to me, I'd always assumed it was entirely structural); and -- then and only then -- going down the path that you're actually going down, namely trying to explain what the non-structural aspects of HFA are and why they arise.
As such, by this point my criticism is more pedagogical in nature than substantive. I'm looking forward to the remainder of the articles.
Thanks for engaging in the dialogue.
No, I don't think this HWP (Home Win Probability) data is inconsistent with the structural HFA hypothesis at all.
My interpretation of your data is that the structural HFA represents roughly half of the total HFA (52% versus 54%).
If the HFA were entirely structural, then I think we would expect to see a flat pattern of HWP by inning. This is because the HFA wouldn't really become relevant until the 9th inning, or thereabouts.
A declining pattern of HWP by inning is evidence that there is a non-structural component to HFA. The more innings that remain in the game, the more opportunities the home team has to exploit the non-structural aspects of its home-field advantage. Thus, the more innings that elapse with the game still tied, the fewer opportunities the home team has to get rescued by the non-structural HFA.
Agreed. Still, I'd like to measure the cart before putting it before the horse. (Or something like that.)
Matt, I think you're under-estimating the value of morillos' 3rd point. There is a fundamental structural advantage to being the home team. If both teams were of absolutely equal quality, the home team would still be expected to win >50% of games.
Tactically, the road team essentially always needs to play to maximize its number of runs scored, since it can't know how many runs it needs to win. Whereas in close late-inning situations, the home team knows how many runs it needs to win and can vary its tactics accordingly in order to maximize its probability of winning, even if doing so varies from the run-maximizing tactic.
Quantifying this theoretical issue is the first & fundamental question that needs to be answered when addressing HFA. Only after understanding the theoretical baseline HFA does it make sense to explore the ground you're exploring, in order to explain why the observed HFA differs from the theoretical baseline.
More generally, speaking as a non-colorblind reader, I found it disorienting to have two similar maps with such different color-coding.
Agree with the sentiments above -- the only real purpose of the midday newsletter from my standpoint was to let me know that today's content had been largely populated, so receiving it in the early morning has no value to me whatsoever. Is there a way I can opt out of getting it?
Jay, can you can briefly explain why it is that the Braves are 9th on your hit list, when they're 2nd in baseball in Pct3 on Clay's PECOTA-adjusted Playoff Odds report?
Presumably it happens exactly as it does in "The Rookie".
What happens when a 1st-round draft pick is asked to learn a different position in the minors?
Don't most large states have a distinction of this type? Each of the 3 states I've lived (CO, CA, IL) has, at least broadly speaking, a "University of XYZ" system, which is more academically prestigious than the "XYZ State University" system.
The 0.1% figure assumes that Peavy improves the team's chances of winning any particular playoff series from 50% to 52%. That's an arbitrary assumption, chosen to make a point. Peavy's actual impact from a World Series perspective could well be greater.
Long Beach is part of the Cal State system (like Fullerton), not part of the Univ of Cal system (like Berkeley) -- hence, you would never use UCLB for Long Beach, you would instead use CSULB.
As somebody who is still bitter over the Sirotka trade a few years back, I think it would be appropriate if injuries were to make Peavy a bust for the ChiSox. That doesn't mean it's all that likely to happen, however.
There's something called the NFL, which I don't really know much about due to its obscurity, and I think their teams might start practicing right about now.
A more refined approach to this type of analysis could focus on the change in the likelihood of advancing to the World Series, taking into account the heightened utility of a Halladay-type pitcher in short-series playoff baseball.
Thanks for sharing. Geren's comments on strikeouts should resonate with simulation gamers.
I'm glad you said that, because the White play was the first thing that came to mind when I was thinking about plays I might rank above the Wise play. (I'm a Jays fan, naturally.)
Where will history place Wise's catch in the list of the greatest defensive plays of all-time?
During the broadcast yesterday, Harrelson said that -- placed in the context of the game -- Wise's catch was the greatest defensive play he's seen in 50 years of watching baseball.
Unfortunately, they spend top-5 picks to find these types.
(Romero reference, obviously.)
Very good, Eric.
It's nice to see a BP author be receptive to Tango's criticism of Silver's methodology from last year's Chipper article. Frankly, I think that type of openness only improves BP.
Wonderful article. For the first time in BP Idol, I'm actually going to cast a vote.
Agree. Another dimension to the question would be: Is it harder to achieve a +10.5 UZR at SS than it is at 1B? The answer to that question may be "yes", in the sense that most major league regulars at more demanding positions could probably, given time to acclimatize to a new postion, become a GG-calibre defender at 1B (although it wouldn't be the 'highest and best use' of their skill set), but not vice versa.
Those are some sick numbers -- but, isn't 20 a little old to be in the DSL?
Would we really need umpires for check swings? Seems like that could be computerized without much difficulty.
I seem to recall reading in a Canadian paper this week that Halladay has a phobia about the Rangers' park and has no interest in being traded there. So, while the Rangers may be a good fit in theory, in practice they may not be in the running.
Most surprising thing: In 1986, my Dad & I drove from Orange County to San Diego in order to see a game where both announced starters were former Cy Young Award winners -- Nolan Ryan and LaMarr Hoyt. If my memory can be trusted, Hoyt never threw a strike! The way I remember it, he hit the first batter of the game on the first pitch, then walked the next three batters on four pitches each, and then was pulled from the game. (B-Ref confirms the general contours of the story but doesn't contain pitch count data.)
According to B-Ref, the most similar player to Stairs is Hank Sauer, whose career didn't really get started until his 30s due to WW II. Seems like Sauer falls into the same general category of productive players who are now largely forgotten, although Sauer did manage to make 2 all-star teams and win an MVP award (albeit with relatively unimpressive numbers).
Well, unfortunately his Strat card reflects his late-inning exploits, so this gambit doesn't really have the same impact in Strat that it could have in real life....
If I were Bobby Cox, I would do the following:
(a) When Vazquez' turn in the rotation comes up, announce a LH reliever as the starter;
(b) Pull that LH reliever for a PH when the reliever's 1st turn to bat comes up;
(c) Bring Vazquez in to pitch, intending to get 5 innings of quality work out of him.
The primary aim of this approach is to maximize Vazquez' value by reducing the possibility that management will be tempted to try and get more than 5 innings of work out of him, given that he has a proven ability to turn into a pumpkin after his 5th inning of work. However, this approach also has secondary benefits of a tactical nature.
Regarding Aumont: He was probably the best pitcher on Canada's WBC roster (given the non-participation of Dempster and Harden), and there was a lot of criticism at the time about the fact that Seattle management had apparently instructed Canadian management not to use Aumont for more than 1 inning at a time. That restriction seemed capricious at the time, as it may have materially hurt Canada's chances of advancing. However, if Seattle was intending to convert Aumont to a reliever, then I guess that restriction makes a whole lot more sense in retrospect.
Regarding Weglarz: I was amused when I attended the US-Canada WBC game in Toronto to note that Weglarz was playing LF, given that the other 2 outfielders were not exactly defensive superstars (Bay and Stairs). If playing Stairs in RF was indeed the preferable option, then Weglarz must be a horrid defender. Is that your take on his defensive prowess, Kevin?
Right -- and isn't that hypothesis consistent with the results of drug tests to date? There have been a number of players who have received 50-game suspensions, but unless I'm forgetting somebody, Manny is the first player to receive such a suspension that the average man on the street would have heard of. The other suspended players seem to fit more in the "journeyman" camp than the "superstar" camp.
The batter selects a batter's box, upon which the ambidextrous pitcher decides which arm to use. If the batter then wants to change from one batter's box to the other, he needs to call timeout, doesn't he? So, in the scenario you describe, ultimately I think the home plate umpire would refuse to grant a timeout to the batter and force the batter to remain in one batter's box, breaking the stalemate.
I don't disagree. However, isn't it generally true that any fully healthy player should be expected to beat his PECOTA projection, since the PECOTA will implicitly factor in some likelihood that performance will be impaired due to injury?
You made a comment in the Brewers article that Gallardo will likely be capped at about 150 innings. What's your source for that?
I noted that in another article today, two BP authors picked Gallardo for a top 3 NL Cy Young finish, so those authors must implicitly be assuming that he pitches enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, else he wouldn't be a compelling candidate.
I would also argue that the Premium subscribers are primarily paying for day-by-day access to articles & data throughout the season, and hence a typical Premium subscriber is less likely to be affected by the PECOTA delays than a typical Fantasy subscriber.
For example, Nate's letter was the first time I heard about the PECOTA card delays. It certainly didn't affect me at all, hence I'm not bothered in the least that a class of affected individuals were given a bonus.
"No, I subscribe to BP.com for the articles" -- a 21st-century update of a 1960s-era excuse, perhaps?....
It is interesting to note that Wieters' AA OPS of 1085 converted to an EqA of .351 while Ramirez' AA OPS of 1096 converted to an EqA of .313. Presumably this must reflect a significant difference in park effects and/or relative perceived calibre of the two different AA leagues.
Another potential angle is that Ramirez has had more opportunities to demonstrate his "true" skill level, increasing the likelihood that his AA performance is perceived by the model an outlier; whereas Wieters has had fewer such opportunities, which perhaps reduces the likelihood that his AA performance is perceived by the model as an outlier.
I flew to Toronto to attend the US-Canada game, and as I was talking about the WBC to various people, I explained that the point of the 4-team Toronto pool was to select 4 teams to advance to L.A. for the semifinals.
So I, as someone who believes the concept of the WBC is more important than MLB itself and cared enough about the WBC to fly to another country to watch part of it, was completely clueless about the existence of the S.D./Miami rounds of the WBC. (Take that, jmoy45.)
The main reason I was clueless about the S.D./Miami rounds is the reason that DavidK44 points out above: It makes very little sense to use double elimination to reduce from 4 teams to 2, whereas it makes an awful lot of sense (and, for example, is routinely done in the sport of curling) to use double elimination to reduce from 4 teams to 1.
My wife & I often use "Boy, I don't know" when talking to one another, as an in-joke reference to that scene from TWW. Stands to reason that there would be other people out there with the same in-joke from the same reference point.
Agree. Keep in mind that the system used in the 2006 WBC was fatally flawed. There were two separate occasions in that tournament when two teams could have colluded in order to knock out the U.S. and both advance to the next round.
For instance: In 2006, if Mexico had defeated Canada by a score of 1-0, 2-0, or 2-1, then both Mexico and Canada would have advanced to the second round, eliminating the U.S. If Mexico had defeated Canada by any other score, then Canada will not advance (assuming that the U.S. defeated South Africa in a game that hadn't yet been played). If Canada had defeated Mexico, then Mexico will not advance (again assuming a U.S. victory).
Clearly, it would have been in the best interests of both Mexico and Canada, with respect to their success in the event as a whole, to collude in that game and produce a 1-0 Mexican victory. For whatever reason, however, they decided to play an 'honest' game; I think Mexico scored 3 runs in the top of the 1st. At the time, I was concerned that if Mexico & Canada had colluded, then it might have killed the whole concept of the WBC.
What would you propose doing if there were a 3-way tie for 1st, which could easily happen?
The main problem, I think, why the WBC couldn't use the World Cup format is this: An important part of the World Cup format is the fact that within each 4-team pool, the final 2 round robin games take place simultaneously. (This protects against the possibility that two teams could collude in the last game in order to both advance, based on the result of the penultimate game.) In order to do this, you need to have 2 stadiums available for each 4-team pool, which isn't practical for the WBC to do.
The McLouth vs. Gomez article in The Fielding Bible II discusses this issue at length. Short version of Dewan's conclusion is that McLouth and Gomez are about the same on shallow & medium balls, but Gomez is excellent on deep balls while McLouth is god-awful.
Thought I read that Zambrano is still officially on the WBC roster, in the hopes that if Venezuela advances he might be made to change his mind.
Don\'t forget that South Africa came strikingly close to defeating Canada in 2006. It would certainly be good for the global cause of baseball if South Africa were to win a game in the 2009 WBC.
If they weren\'t worried about being sued by British Petroleum, I doubt they\'re worried about being sued by Hewlett Packard.
The regular scouts think he\'s a great prospect. However, I don\'t think the scouting community would be willing to go out an limb and say he may the best catcher in baseball as a rookie.
Nice article, Kevin. It\'s provocative to suggest that a player without any MLB experience is likely to be the best player at his position in 2009. Not that I\'m disagreeing...
I\'m reminded of the controversy 15 years or so ago, when the Stats Major League Handbook projections inadvertently implied that an unproven rookie named Jeff Bagwell would win the NL batting title. Bagwell was an astounding success as a rookie, and that seriously helped the stathead cause.
Wieters in 2009 is a similar story. If he is indeed a star from day one, then that\'s a huge boon to sabermetrics. On the other hand, were he to struggle, it would be ammunition for those traditionally-minded pundits who poo-poo the likes of PECOTA. As such, I think everyone in the BP community has a vested interest in rooting for Matt Wieters this year, regardless of their normal affiliation. (I\'m a Jays fan, for crying out loud, so the last thing I need is for the O\'s to suddenly show signs of life!)
I\'m really intrigued by Jay\'s offhand comment: \"Bearing in mind that great players are more likely to beat the odds of a system like PECOTA....\"
Is this really true? Has anyone studied this?
What is probably true is that, in any given season, the players who had the best statistics that season outperformed their median PECOTA projections, as a group.
However, it\'s not clear to me that we should expect prior to a season that a group of \"great players\" are likely to outperform their median PECOTA projections, as a group. Were this true, Nate could build that tendency into PECOTA and correct the projections accordingly.
Westmoreland -- I\'m unsure how the reader is supposed to parse the first clause of the comment. Does Kevin mean: Seen as \"unsignable by any team but the Red Sox\", i.e., everyone thought the Red Sox was the only team he\'d sign with? Or does he mean: \"Seen as unsignable by any team\" but the Red Sox, i.e., the Red Sox was the only team that thought he was signable?
John, one inference from your post is that the set of BBWAA member who vote on awards may be different from award to award (i.e., you voted on NL Cy Young but not on NL ROTY). I always thought that the same 2 beat writers from each city voted on all the awards. Can you clarify how the voting pool for each award is determined?
Is it possible that we could have a true dumping scenario in baseball this year, with the Padres? With Strasberg\'s local connections, and with a fairly clear gap between him and the rest of the draft pool, it has to be incredible tempting for Padres management to dump the rest of the season in order to secure the #1 pick.