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Friday, August 18, 2017

‘Skunk in the outfield’: How the most epic trick play in history broke baseball

There were 16 plays, with a page or two of explanation for utilizing and defending each. A lot of the plays were clearly cheating, such as the runner going from second to home, skipping (or “cutting”) third base when the umpires were looking the other way. Some were just plain baseball, stuff every team did, like a delayed steal. Some didn’t seem likely to work, and some didn’t seem realistic. Then there was a play called “skunk in the outfield.”

That’s how it came to be that a Portsmouth ...

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Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-18-2017

Pittsburgh Press, August 18, 1917:

The pennant winner of the Southern association is to play a post-season series of games with a team composed of the best players from clubs that finish second, third and fourth, according to an announcement by R.G. Baugh, president of the league.

That’s a cool idea. I like that a lot.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 18, 2017 at 09:03 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

MLB Commissioner says approval for sale of Miami Marlins is on track | Miami Herald

Is the removal of the sculpture a condition of the sale?

Jim Furtado Posted: August 18, 2017 at 08:03 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: franchise sale, marlins

Twins Byron Buxton evolving as a hitter | MLB.com

If Buxton never learns how to hit, the glove alone—depending on your metric, he’s one of the best outfielders in baseball along with Ender Inciarte and Mookie Betts—makes him useful. If he’s a league-average hitter, he’s a star. If Buxton is actually the dangerous hitter we saw last September and are seeing now, the sky is almost literally the limit.

We’re a long way from that, of course. Buxton is only 23. He’s been poor at the plate more this year than he’s been an asset. But when a player ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: August 18, 2017 at 08:02 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: byron buxton, twins

Summer Top-100 Prospects | FanGraphs Baseball

New top ten

1. Yoan Moncada, 2B, Chicago White Sox
2. Amed Rosario, SS, New York Mets
3. Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox
4. Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox
5. Ronald Acuna, CF, Atlanta Braves
6. Gleyber Torres, SS, New York Yankees
7. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
8. Victor Robles, CF, Washington Nationals
9. Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox
10. Francisco Mejia, C, Cleveland Indians

Jim Furtado Posted: August 18, 2017 at 07:58 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: prospect rankings, prospects

Nomar Mazara has five RBIs for Rangers | MLB.com

The Rangers are in it.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 18, 2017 at 07:46 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, wild card hunt

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Red Sox want to do away with ‘racist’ legacy of famed Yawkey Way

Henry said he would like to see it changed to David Ortiz Way or Big Papi Way, in honour of the Dominican Republic-born Red Sox great who retired following last season. A portion of the street was named David Ortiz Drive in his honour this past June.

winnipegwhip Posted: August 17, 2017 at 08:24 PM | 112 comment(s)
  Beats: limousine liberalism, phony outrage, red sox, steroid heroes

Pitching through pain

The story of Danny Hultzen (#2 overall in 2011). I have to ask where the coaches/managers were. On the bright side, he signed for $8.5 million and the story doesn’t suggest any financial troubles. Best of luck on the long-shot comeback.

Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2017 at 07:09 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur draft, danny hultzen, mariners

Arthur: Buster Posey Has Quietly Become A Lock For Cooperstown

The Giants’ record might make Posey easy to overlook, but his combination of hitting and defense makes him almost a lock to one day join the Hall. In fact, despite being only 30 years old, Posey might already have a Hall of Fame résumé if he retired today.

538’s baseball coverage hasn’t been great, has it?

Baldrick Posted: August 17, 2017 at 03:57 PM | 114 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, fivethirtyeight, hall of fame


Mets’ Gsellman irritates GM Sandy Alderson with ‘I don’t care’ comment

Robert Gsellman has done himself no favors with how he’s pitched this season, and he didn’t help himself Tuesday with a brash comment.

When asked if he had heard that Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said he needed to pitch better, Gsellman responded: “No. I don’t really care.”

Alderson made it clear Wednesday he was not pleased with the 24-year-old’s comment, and reiterated that Gsellman needs to pitch better down the stretch.

“I’m going to give him a pass on that for the moment,” ...

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Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: August 17, 2017 at 12:18 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, robert gsellman

Skunk in the Outfield

First-and-third situations are breeding grounds for gimmick plays in high school. Often, the runner on first will attempt to steal second, hoping to draw a throw that will allow the runner to score from third. But defenses will rarely make that throw, so offenses have designed ways to tempt the defense into going after the trail runner while letting the lead runner sneak home. Sometimes, when the pitch is delivered, the base stealer will stop halfway and try to get in a rundown. Sometimes he’ll ...

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Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: August 17, 2017 at 10:55 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: high school, ryan westmoreland, trick play

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-17-2017

Lake County [Indiana] Times, August 17, 1917:

One of the features of the trips taken by the White Sox this year has been their singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.” After marching around the field under the sirection of Sergeant W.S. Smiley they would line up before the stand and sing two verses of the anthem.
...
One of the Sox players told of their first rehearsal. “Rowland got us together in the clubhouse and asked if any of us knew the words of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’,” he said. “There ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 17, 2017 at 10:12 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

First pitch astray at Fenway | Red Sox

This first pitch is a bit nutty. Sorry, it had to be said.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 17, 2017 at 07:52 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Olney: Baseball must end its beanball legacy

Late in Palmer’s career, in 1982, he remembers how rookie Cal Ripken—whose father was a longtime player and coach in the Orioles’ organization—batted in the first inning against Britt Burns of the White Sox in a July game. A pitch in that at-bat prompted Ripken to say out loud, “When is somebody going to protect somebody around here?”

Palmer wasn’t thrilled about Ripken’s tone, which was unusual for a rookie, but he noticed that Carlton Fisk was due to lead off the next inning. ...

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Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 16, 2017 at 05:42 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: beanballs, cal ripken jr, orioles, unwritten rules

Pearlman: The Fallout From Sportswriting’s Filthiest Fuck-Up

At first glance, it is a curious addition to my collection of misfit items, the others of which have obvious personal resonance. The headline, INEXPERIENCE FACES GREEN WAVE SOCCER, suggests nothing beyond some sort of small-town newspaper sports preview story, and the byline (Nick DeLeonibus) is that of a name that rings unfamiliar to most. Upon closer inspection, you can ascertain that the piece appeared in the Gallatin (Tenn.) News Examiner in the winter of 1997.

“With March 11th quickly ...

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Renegade (((JE))) Posted: August 16, 2017 at 04:30 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: goofballery, newspapers, sportswriting

Jered Weaver Announces Retirement | MLB.com

He had a great career.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2017 at 02:35 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, jared weaver, padres

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-16-2017

Tucumcari News, August 16, 1917:

For the present it may be all right that baseball continue. At least it is not mandatory that it cease…but it may be just as well to suggest to the American people that professional baseball is likely to be an incongruity next year.

An American newspaper will sacrifice a great deal of self-respect if it has to print, or does print, box scores and casualty lists in the same issue, says Chicago Tribune.

Baseball already is getting on the nerves of a great many ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 16, 2017 at 10:01 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Buxton’s catch at the wall | MLB.com

This Buxton guy is pretty good.

Since he’s returned from the DL his bat is showing some life as well:

 

Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2017 at 08:54 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: byron buxton, twins, video

On the risks of categorizing a continuous variable (with an application to baseball data)

Don’t be so quick to discard the bunt into the dustbin of history.

From a statistical perspective, hopefully you can recognize both the dangers of categorizing continuous data, as well as the attractive features offered by a GAM (and if you want to try a GAM yourself – the code is up here).

From a baseball perspective, the hardest hit balls do increase error rates. Additionally, with my intuition being that errors are often discarded from the perspective of analyzing hitter talent, this type ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2017 at 08:50 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Indians hit five homers to power past Twins | MLB.com

Carlos Santana has been pretty, pretty good the last two months.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2017 at 08:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos santana, indians

Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig shows patience under pressure against White Sox – Orange County Register

The Dodgers’ magic number is so low, they can clinch a playoff berth before the calendar turns to September. They are 50 games over .500 for the first time since 1953. Still, the schedule insists that the regular season lasts another six weeks.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2017 at 08:40 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Joey Votto on base twice for 20th game in row | MLB.com

Being healthy is great. Maybe the Reds should be looking to sell now.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2017 at 08:07 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: joey votto, reds

Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton a franchise player | MLB.com

This is overly simplistic. Economics matter.

You do not trade a player like Giancarlo Stanton. You just don’t. You don’t even consider it. That’s an option the Miami Marlins should take off the table regardless of who owns the franchise.

Instead, you do exactly the opposite. You build around him. Around his talent. Around his personality and his presence. You build around the credibility he has accumulated during eight seasons in South Florida.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2017 at 08:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: giancarlo stanton, marlins

Terry Collins not helping rookies by removing them in big spots | New York Post

Somebody needs to tell Terry his priority at this point is developing his youngins, not winning an extra game or two.

“For me, I was trying to get someone on base and maybe create something,” Collins said. “He’ll have his chances down the road, believe me. He’s going to be a good hitter. But [Chapman] absolutely mows down left-handed hitting so I went with a right-handed hitter.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2017 at 07:59 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Applying Asset Pricing Theory to MLB – The Hardball Times

Interesting. She doesn’t quite get what replacement level is, however.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2017 at 07:54 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics


Dodgers trade Chris Hatcher to A’s

Addition by subtraction. Maybe Beane saw something in Hatcher he thinks his coaching staff can fix.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 16, 2017 at 03:09 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, dodgers

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Why MLB games are FIVE MINUTES longer this season

But as with two-homer games on Opening Day, this pace would not hold. Baseball added back four minutes per contest last year, and this year’s games will almost certainly set a new record. Despite a few small changes for the 2017 season—requiring managers to decide more promptly whether to challenge an umpire’s call and making intentional walks automatic—the average nine-inning contest is now 3 hours, 5 minutes—the longest average in baseball history and up five minutes from last year. That’s ...

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