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Thursday, February 20, 2014

James: Big Game Pitchers (Registration Required)

Didn’t get to this right away, but hey, most of these guys pitched a while ago ;-)

Bill James recently did a 10-part series (behind his paywall) on “big game pitchers”.  He came up (in Part II) with a system “to assign ‘Big Game Points’ to every major league regular-season game played since 1952”.  Part III explains that 7.7% of regular season games end up getting designated as “Big Games”, in addition to all postseason games.

James then discusses: ...Read More...


Juan Lagares may be the odd man out in the Mets’ outfield | HardballTalk

A little old, but I’m posting it because, much like the Blue Blazer, it made my blue blood boil.

The Mets made a splash this off-season, signing Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million contract. They also picked up Chris Young on the cheap, and manager Terry Collins views him as a starter. That leaves one spot in the outfield between Juan Lagares and Eric Young, Jr.

According to Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger, it sounds like Young is in the lead and Lagares may be relegated to a bench ...

Read More...
The District Attorney Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:38 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: eric young jr., juan lagares, mets

SBNation/TalkingChop: BREAKING: Andrelton Simmons gets seven-year, $58 million extension

No yearly breakout, but it buys out two of his free agent years in 2019-20.


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-20-2014

Milwaukee Journal, February 20, 1914:

Frank Chance, manager of the New York American league baseball team, saved the lives of his brother-in-law, Carl Pancake, formerly a Chicago newspaper man, and two other men in the floods caused by the storm Wednesday.

Pancake and two companions, Charles Gordon and Samuel Riser, were riding in a motor car when a retaining wall gave way and loosed upon them a wall of water five feet deep. The car was overturned and the men swept through an orchard near ...

Read More...

SI Kids: Max Mannis: Talking Stats at Yankees Camp

I think the wrong person is wearing the Yankee cap.

Several days ago, I opened up my first pack of 2014 Topps baseball cards. I flipped over the cards to look over the stats written on the back, and next to traditional stats, such as home runs, RBIs, wins, and saves, I saw that WAR, a sabermetric, was listed for each player. I was so excited to discover that Topps has decided to include SABR on their cards.

For those of you who don’t know, WAR is a statistic that stands for Wins Above ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 20, 2014 at 10:26 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, yankees

Baseball Analytics: Smart Pitchers Throw Away From B.J. Upton

Upton’s offensive regressions have stemmed mainly from his inability to put bat on ball. In 2011, his overall contact rate stood at 76.7%, fell to 70.6% the following season and plummeted to 66.9% last season with Atlanta, which was the third lowest among batters with at least 400 plate appearances, trumped only by Pedro Alvarez (66.1%) and Chris Carter (65.4%), according to FanGraphs.

Three seasons ago, he was able to place contact on just about any pitch in the strike zone—boasting a 84% ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:11 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

St. Petersburg’s Kriseman, Rays’ Sternberg meet for ‘great conversation’

Hmmm…wonder if John Rocker and Mayor de Blasio will ever meet for ‘great conversation’.

Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and new St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman met Tuesday afternoon to talk baseball, their first official session since Kriseman took office.

“It was nice,’’ Sternberg said Wednesday morning at the Rays spring training site. “We had a great conversation and I’m very confident in his ability and his vision in leading the city.’‘

Sternberg said it was a ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 20, 2014 at 07:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: business, rays

Report: Phillies turn in Oregon State’s Ben Wetzler to NCAA for using an agent

The Philadelphia Phillies turned in Oregon State left-hander Ben Wetzler to the NCAA for using an agent during negotiations with the team and refusing to sign as their fifth-round pick in last year’s MLB draft, reports Baseball America‘s Aaron Fitt.

The NCAA prohibits any athlete from using agents to negotiate with pro teams and as a result, Wetzler was suspended indefinitely last week by the NCAA after returning to school for his senior season.

He was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection ...

Read More...
DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:13 AM | 104 comment(s)
  Beats: ncaa, phillies

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jeff Francoeur signs with Cleveland Indians in search of lost confidence

You call that love in Cleveland, but it’s just Frenchy!

Last year the Giants released Jeff Francoeur with five weeks left in the season. He was done with baseball.

“Mentally, I had checked out,” he said.

Teams called Francoeur’s agent to see if he wanted to join them for the September stretch run. He said no. His agent warned him that answer would cost him a big-league job in 2014. Francoeur said he didn’t care, because he needed to get away.

“To put it mildly, I think I was ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 19, 2014 at 11:18 PM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: cleveland

2014 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects

The definitive list of baseball’s up and coming talent celebrates its 25th edition this year.

1. Byron Buxton
2. Xander Bogaerts
3. Oscar Taveras
4. Masahiro Tanaka
5. Javier Baez

JJ1986 Posted: February 19, 2014 at 11:09 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: byron buxton, cubs, minors, prospects, twins

Home Run Derby: Mathews v Aaron

Not much to it, and not really news, but I just realized that a bunch of the old “Home Run Derby” programs, which were first aired in the 50s and 60s, and then re-aired in ESPN back in the 80s, are available in their entirety on YouTube.

This one sees the Braves’ sluggers go up against one another. It’s interesting to see Eddie’s smooth, left-handed uppercut, and its contrast to Hank’s lunging, shoulder-heavy right-handed slash.

Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 19, 2014 at 09:31 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, classic baseball, home run derby, old school, video

Joe Poz: No. 52: Wade Boggs

When you see the perfect third baseman in your mind, who do you see? Schmidt with his compact swing, as perfect as a short right hook? Brett turning on a Goose Gossage fastball? Brooksie diving to his right and throwing off-balance? Mathews hitting another titanic home run?

And now ask: Where does Wade Boggs fit in that picture?

gehrig97 Posted: February 19, 2014 at 07:22 PM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: wade boggs

SFGate: Egelko: Baseball Sued Over Low-Minor League Wages

While major-league baseball players earn millions of dollars and club owners share billions in revenues, minor-leaguers are paid $3,000 to $7,500 per season and train for weeks without pay, in violation of minimum wage and labor laws, their attorneys charge in a lawsuit. The suit filed against Major League Baseball and three teams, including the San Francisco Giants, said baseball executives and club owners “have preyed upon minor leaguers, who are powerless to combat the collusive power of the ...

Read More...

Harper: Hold the tears, Derek Jeter still must steer Yankees ship

Hey…“Tommy helms while Jeter steers” was a line from my Tribute to Patrick ####### Sky song!

A season of pomp and press conferences officially begins here on Wednesday for Derek Jeter, but as curious as I am to hear more about what motivated him to announce his impending retirement, I’m more curious to find out if he can still play shortstop.

At a high level, that is.

...Still, the everyday lineup could be among the best in baseball, thanks to the big-ticket free agents the Yankees added ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 19, 2014 at 04:29 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Cincinnati Reds, Homer Bailey agree to six-year, $105 million contract | MLB.com: News

Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has agreed to a six-year, $105 million contract, a source said Wednesday. The team has not announced the deal.

The agreement, which includes a mutual option for a seventh year worth $25 million with a $5 million buyout, enables both Bailey and the Reds to avoid an arbitration hearing.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:46 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: homer bailey, reds

Joe Morgan Conversations: Bill James

Not that interesting an interview; posting mostly just for posterity.  Joe reels off a list of criticisms of sabermetrics, and Bill figures out ways not to disagree.  Bill does not call Joe a “self-important prig” or a “little weenie.”  He does touch on the shower customs of his youth, so I guess there’s that.

The District Attorney Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:29 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, joe morgan, sabermetrics

David Ortiz on his contract

Year-to-year should be OK with the Red Sox and Ortiz. I can understand why he wants another year. That doesn’t mean they should give in. Let him play out this contract and go from there.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:19 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: david ortiz, red sox

The Other Owner: How Mike Gordon Has Become a Key Red Sox Figure

Over the last 18 months or so, limited partner Michael Gordon has emerged as an increasingly important figure in the affairs of both Fenway Sports Group and the Red Sox. According to multiple industry sources, when The New York Times sold its 17.5 percent ownership stake in FSG (and the Red Sox) in three separate transactions (each to multiple investors) totaling $210 million from July 2011 through May 2012, Gordon—one of the team’s limited partners since Henry became principal owner in ...

Read More...
Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:04 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

ESPN: Those Ortiz shifts? They do hurt

The 10th edition of the Hardball Times Annual is out, with an eclectic mix of baseball coverage unlike anywhere else. Admittedly, I’m way over my skis on some of the deeper statistical analysis that is included, although it is indicative of the extraordinary impact advanced metrics has made on the industry.

But one story that immediately grabbed my attention was Jeff Zimmerman’s piece on defensive shifts, entitled “Shifty Business, or the War Against Hitters.’’ Employing date he ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 19, 2014 at 11:39 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, sabermetrics

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-19-2014

Milwaukee Journal, February 19, 1914:

The Boston National League Baseball Co. will take no chances on not getting the full value of Johnny Evers’ services and will take out an insurance policy, life and accident combined, on him in favor of the club for the princely sum of $100,000.
...
The club plans to insure Evers’ life with ordinary life insurance, with itself as beneficiary, so that if Johnny should die by illness if will not suffer.

The premium was probably higher than it otherwise would ...

Read More...

Sandy Alderson plans on 2 or 3 more years as Mets GM

Sandy Alderson is entering the final year of his contract as Mets general manager, but barring a colossal team collapse is expected to have his 2015 option picked up.

The larger question might be how much longer the 66-year-old Alderson wants to continue in the job.

According to a person close to Alderson, the GM would like to stay in his present role another two or three years, but “definitely not five.”

Alderson also has been mentioned as a potential candidate for commissioner, with ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 19, 2014 at 07:54 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Popular Mechanics: App improves eyesight of Cal-Riverside Baseball Team

When a major league baseball pitcher throws a 95-mph fastball, only about 400 milliseconds—the duration of a blink—pass before the ball rockets over the plate. And a batter gets less than half that time to decide whether to swing, and where. Baseball players, then, could reap huge benefits from being able to probe a baseball farther from their eyes. And that inspired Aaron Seitz, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Riverside, who has created a new, publicly available app that ...

Read More...
Cabbage Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:21 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: science

John Thorn: Who Were the Fastest Pitchers?

A FB/FB conversation turned into a blogpost.

I sort of fell into this subject on Facebook earlier today in response to a woodcut I posted of Amos Rusie’s drop ball. With his legendary fastball, I suggested, why would he ever need to throw a drop? Walter Johnson pitched almost his entire career throwing one pitch.

...Let’s try a math exercise: Rusie’s 95 mph–my approximation; his pitches were never clocked, but Connie Mack said he was as fast as Johnson or Bob Feller–speedball of ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 18, 2014 at 08:40 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: history

McClendon rips Yanks’ Long for Cano critique

McClendon said Long overstepped his bounds with his critique of Cano’s effort with New York and defended the Mariners’ prized offseason free-agent acquisition.

“Last time I checked, I didn’t know that Kevin Long was the spokesman for the New York Yankees,” McClendon told ESPN.com. “That was a little surprising. I was a little pissed off, and I’m sure Joe [Girardi] feels the same way. He’s concerned with his team and what they’re doing, not what the Seattle Mariners players are doing.

“I’m a ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 18, 2014 at 05:36 PM | 138 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, yankees

Fans may strike out in battle over Dodgers’ new TV home

SportsNet LA, which is owned by the Dodgers and run by Time Warner Cable, has yet to sign deals to make it available in the majority of L.A. pay-TV homes.

pthomas Posted: February 18, 2014 at 03:35 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, television contracts

Braves Seek Immunity for Foul Ball Injury

“The game has changed,” said E. Michael Moran, who is expected to argue for the plaintiffs today. “The safety rules should change along with that.”
In the case before the court, a child identified in court papers only as M.F. was seated with her family a few rows behind the visitors’ dugout at Turner Field. A line drive foul ball hit by then-Brave Melky Cabrera flew into the stands and smashed into M.F.‘s forehead. M.F.‘s family claims that the blow fractured M.F.‘s skull in 30 places and ...

Read More...
Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 18, 2014 at 02:36 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, lawsuits, melky cabrera, safety

Texas HS pitcher K’s 22 in 7-inning no-hitter

Ferris pitcher Evan Pontley had a simple philosophy at Mabank on Tuesday night: stick mainly with his fastball, and “throw it as hard as I could.”  It resulted in the game of his life.  Pontley pitched a complete game no-hitter in a 13-3 win, striking out 22 batters – one more than the number of outs in a seven-inning game.  “Everything I threw was working,” Pontley said.

After the first inning, Ferris actually trailed 2-0, despite Pontley striking out the first six batters. The two ...

Read More...
Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 18, 2014 at 01:11 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: evan pontley, ferris, strikeouts

Venezuelan Ranger players concerned over political unrest at home

Almost every starting pitcher or starting pitching candidate in the Rangers’ camp has some kind of injury to contend with or to come back from this spring.  Not Martin Perez, though. He’s got bigger problems: the safety of his family and friends in his homeland of Venezuela.

“It is hard for us,” Perez said. “We call every day, and people don’t have food for eating, things like that. We have a great country, and you look at the situation and things are just terrible. It’s bad. I ...

Read More...
Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:51 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: politics, rangers, the glory of socialism, venezuela

John D’Acquisto: Mahogany

12 hours to beat the reporting deadline. 750 miles, four pitchers, two Porsches, and the last song a young right-hander rehabbing an arm injury in 1976 needs to hear.

djordan Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:38 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: john d'acquisto, mlb

Megdal: Sirius/XM, with late bid, throws Mets broadcast into flux

Stopped listening to Howeird long before he went to Siri…oh, fafa flunky.

A late, improved bid from Sirius/XM managed to keep announcer Casey Stern in the fold, foiling efforts by the Mets and WOR-AM to hire Stern as the team’s pre- and post-game host for Mets baseball broadcasts, multiple sources have confirmed to Capital.

The protracted negotiations, and the station’s failure to put together a backup plan, has thrown the broadcast into chaos with just 11 days remaining until the first WOR ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: media, mets

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