Archive for the ‘general baseball’ Category
Just put up a new post on StatSpeak about some remaining members of the current free agent class. This includes Nomar, Pudge, Frank Thomas, and Jim Edmonds. I swear I set the post to go live at midnight tonight, but obviously something went wrong with that. No big deal. Anyway, here’s a link to the post if you’re interested.
That’s pretty much the thought that goes through my mind every time I read another one of his blog posts. I’m sorry for the lack of updates recently, I’ve been incredibly busy with rush week and the fraternity stuff, and now classes just started back up again. I have StatSpeak stuff to work on that I haven’t had time to tend to either, so I’m not only neglecting the Yankee fans out there.
But I’d like to pass along this Joe Posnanski blog post, as I feel it is relevant to being a rational fan. No team, not matter the resources, can operate to perfection. There will always be mistakes, whether they are made at the time or turn out to be mistakes down the road. If a team had just one perfect year ever, they’d be set for a long, long time. In this post, Posnanski shows what just one perfect draft would look like. Suffice to say, the team would be pretty stacked.
One draft. Of course, no team gets all the draft picks right. No team gets half the draft picks right, or one-third, or one-quarter or even one out of every twenty right. But it’s possible. If the Royals had just been right three times in 1999 — if they had only drafted, say, Lackey, Peavy and Pujols — what would their history have been like? And this is why, at the end of the day, teams like the Royals and Pirates and Reds and Twins and Marlins and Rays and all the rest have every chance to succeed in this crazy game. If you are right on the draft, really right, you can beat every team out there no matter how many billion they might spend.
This week is, and will continue to be, incredibly busy for me. It’s the middle of rush week, which means I’m out all day and night shmoozing with frat brothers, judging my interest in their house and trying to make them interested in me. So it’s pretty much a bunch of guys man-flirting with each other. But I digress…
This edition of From the Archives is a post from David Pinto of Baseball Prospectus about changing the save rule in baseball. The rule has changed a few times throughout history, and as a result has more than a few quirks. There are people out there, myself included, that wonder why the guy coming in in the 7th inning with the bases loaded and up by one doesn’t get the save, while the guy coming in in the 9th with no one on and his team up by 3 runs does. I know the guy in the 9th got the save, but which one really “saved” the game? It’s an interesting read, even if his proposal would never happen in reality. See the link above.
A number that journalists have liked to toss around this off-season is $423.5 million. That’s the total amount of money the Yankees committed to CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira this winter, in an attempt to fill the holes in the club, partially caused by the departures of Mussina and Giambi. Keep in mind, the Yankees aren’t paying them all of that money in one season. In fact, the 2009 payroll will be lower than the 2008 figure. That little tid bit is often glossed over, for whatever reason. That hasn’t stopped people from complaining. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said this in an e-mail to Bloomberg News:
“At the rate the Yankees are going, I’m not sure anyone can compete with them. Frankly, the sport might need a salary cap.” (source)
In response to that, I give you this. Also against the Yankees free spending ways is Astros GM Drayton McLain, saying, “We would love to have a salary cap, but the (players’) union has been very resistant to that.” As a way to curb the Yankees’ free spending ways, a salary cap would seem to do the trick. But would it? Yes, the Yankees couldn’t spend whatever they wanted and afford to cover up whatever mistakes they make (a certain Carl Pavano comes to mind). But other than hurting the Yankees, how does it help the poorer teams? Why do the Brewers and Astros care what the Yankees do? By my count, those two teams play the Yankees a combined ZERO times next season. So how would curbing the Yankees spending somehow help the Brewers and Astros? I have no idea. Read the rest of this entry »
I was talking to my dad this past week about the state of the Yankees pitching staff. You see, my dad is one of those pessimistic Yankee fans, although not nearly as pessimistic as Steve Lombardi. Side note: That post right there got me banned from Was Watching. Talk about letting criticism roll off your back.
Anyways, as I was saying…according to my dad it’s a virtual lock that Burnett will get hurt this year, and I can’t really blame him for that. So with the Yankees already not having a reliable fifth starter, and Joba having an innings cap this year, there’s reason to worry about where the remaining innings will come from. What he doesn’t realize is that it’s extremely rare for any team to have good starting rotation health all season, and every team relies on starters at some point that Joe Fan hasn’t heard of. Let’s use the Red Sox, who had the third best starters ERA (4.02) in the American League this past season, as an example. The Red Sox top 4 starters—Beckett, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and Lester—pitched a combined 733.1 innings, compared to 966.2 total from everyone combined. That’s a difference of 233.1 innings. Keep those numbers in mind. Read the rest of this entry »
Today at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron wrote up a good explanation of the dollars per win system that MLB teams choose to operate under. Part of the analysis in effect shows why young players are so cost-effective, and in turn shows why teams like the Rays can compete with such a low payroll. Something that is often missed when looking at big free agent contracts is that just because a player is paid a billion dollars doesn’t mean that he’s overpaid, relative to the rest of baseball of course.
Now, I know there’s some sentiment that teams don’t pay for wins linearly, because a six win player is worth more than three two win players. While I agree with this in theory, major league teams just don’t operate this way. If you just look at the dollar per win costs for the multi-year contracts handed out to hitters last year, the cost per win was $4.3 million for guys with an average win value of 4.4 wins per player. Alex Rodriguez signed for about $3.8 million per win last year. Teams just don’t pay exponentially more for higher win value players than they do for average and below players. You could argue that they should (and I would probably agree), but they don’t. The dollar per win scale is linear.
So just because Sabathia and Santana are being paid boat loads of money doesn’t mean that they’re being paid more than their expected production because of their “marquee status.” In some cases, that may happen (Derek Jeter would be an example, maybe), but that’s more the exception than the rule.
So I just wrote this pretty long and well-researched post on the Mets bullpen situation, figuring out what I thought was probably going to happen. I almost always do the research as I’m writing a post (I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but it seems to add a degree of objectivity and/or authenticity). About half way through, I glanced at the 40-man roster and saw the name Rocky Cherry at the top. This name has two things significant about it: One, it’s an absolutely awesome name to have. Two, the Mets just drafted him in the Rule 5 (not Rule V) draft, so he fills the last spot in their ‘pen. So this was supposed to be a two part piece, but now you only get one. Such is life.
The Yankees have recently adopted the “throw shit at a wall and see what sticks” approach to building a bullpen. After Mariano Rivera, that is. The bullpen thrived in 2008 under the watchful eye of Joe Girardi, despite consisting almost exclusively of unproven pitchers. There was some debate over whether or not the same success would have happened under Joe Torre, but that’s outside the scope of this post. Much of the bullpen was a revolving door for a lot of the season, but it seemed to settle in during the second half. With that, we look ahead to next year. Here are the lead-pipe locks to make the team next spring: Read the rest of this entry »
Why do I care what Nate McLouth is worth? I have no idea. Usually my ideas come from an interesting post or comment somebody made somewhere, but this one is completely out of left field. It’s almost 2 a.m. and I have a growing headache (which begs the question of why I’m writing this anyway), so that’s all the introduction you get today.
McLouth’s .276/.356/.497 line comes out to a .372 wOBA, which is worth 23 runs above average over his 687 plate appearances. wOBA measures overall offensive output in rate form. To get the equivalent runs above average, you take the difference between the individual and league wOBA and divide by 1.15. What is Nate projected to do next season? Both Bill James and Marcel have similar projections, both pegging him around 9 runs above average. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m not 100% sure that I feel comfortable writing this post, for two reasons. One, I’ve never used odds ratios before, so there could be some rule I’m violating without knowing. And two, I slept approximately zero hours last night doing a ~45 page group paper for my business management class. With that in mind, let’s see where this takes us…
First, I should introduce what an odds ratio actually is. It is defined by Wikipedia as “the ratio of the odds of an event occurring in one group to the odds of it occurring in another group, or to a sample-based estimate of that ratio.” In baseball terms, it means that we take the odds of an event happening for a pitcher, and compare that to the odds of the same event happening to the batter, and the formula spits out the expected outcome. Numbers must be converted into “odds ratios” before plugged in…don’t ask me why, but it seems to make sense. Here’s the formula, using on-base percentage:
- Translate OBP (or your rate of choice) into odds ratio form: (OBP/1-OBP) to get the odds ratio (OR)
- (batter OR / lg OR) * (pitcher OR / lg OR) = (expected OR / lg OR)
- Then reverse step 1 to get the expected outcome of the matchup.
Thanks to Pizza Cutter for the explanation on that one. So here’s how this relates to Johan Santana (3 paragraphs in). Peter Bendix, of Beyond the Box Score and FanGraphs fame, penned a piece for the latter about a week ago on the subject of Johan Santana. In it, he shared some of the same concerns that I did about the Mets’ ace. Peter said this about Johan’s LOB%: “His LOB% in 2008 was the highest of his career [at 82.6%]. Over the last three years, his LOB% has been 76.3%, 77.7% and 78.3%, respectively.” Generally, a sabermetrician would say that his LOB% is bound to regress towards the mean next season, and I would agree. But I decided to check out the veracity of that claim, using odds ratios in certain situations to see where he over- or under-performed the expected outcome. Read the rest of this entry »
My favorite blog is having coverage of everyone’s favorite part of the off-season… from the event itself. Joe and Mike from RAB will be providing news and analysis from Las Vegas as the winter meetings happen. All of their coverage can be found here. I feel bad for Ben, who can’t go because of finals. I’m currently pulling an all-nighter doing a business project, so I feel a small part of his pain (writing this is my little 5-minute break for the night…err, morning).
Apparently, the Yanks and CC already met today, and Cashman made sure to wear one of his WS rings. It’s been a boring off-season so far…something is bound to happen over the next few days.