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### Monday, March 03, 2014

#### Mike Piazza back in Mets uniform

as Murray Chass is waiting for him to be out of uniform.

Mike Piazza is back home this week.

The 45-year-old Piazza, the all-time leader in homers by a catcher, is serving as a guest instructor this week at New York Mets camp. It marks his first time back in uniform with the organization since his playing days.

Piazza said chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon invited him to spring training last September, when he was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame at Citi Field. Piazza also serves as ...

Repoz Posted: March 03, 2014 at 02:29 PM | 40 comment(s)
Beats: mets

#### Baseball Prospectus | Framing and Blocking Pitches: A Regressed, Probablistic Model

Rather than identifying a single strike zone and giving binary credit for each pitch relative to that strike zone’s borders (i.e., strike or no strike), our model gives partial credit for each pitch based on that pitch’s likelihood of being called a ball or a strike. To determine that, we created a probability map of likely calls… To reflect what is best known about the way the size and position of the strike zone shifts from count to count and batter to batter, we ran individual models for ...

The District Attorney Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:00 AM | 30 comment(s)
Beats: baseball prospectus, defense, pitch framing, sabermetrics

#### Fangraphs/Sullivan: Reviewing Last Year’s Bunt Doubles

Posted because

(a) fun baseball!

(b) Worth pointing out Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs has been doing a great job picking out interesting things from 2013 and writing brief recaps with gifs and pictures. He’s been doing this for a while and deserves some credit for highlighting (a).

Last season, there were three bunt doubles, each of them different but each of them inarguably bunt doubles. FanGraphs has no record of a year with more bunt doubles. One was pulled almost like a line drive. One ...

villageidiom Posted: March 03, 2014 at 10:54 AM | 42 comment(s)
Beats: bunts, gerardo parra, gifs, nate mclouth, robinson cano

#### Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-3-2014

Washington Herald, March 3, 1914:

The baseball war soon will be over and the Federals will be in organized baseball, is the rumor being circulated…
...
The plan that will end the war, according to the rumor, is this:

The Federals will abandon their plans for an eight-club league this year, and will drop Chicago and St. Louis, making it a six-club organization for 1914. Charles Weeghman, owner of the Chicago Federal team, will be allowed to purchase the Chicago Cub franchise and Otto Stifel, the ...

#### Joe Poz: Top 50 Contest

Read the link. Even if you don’t officially submit, I’m sure we could have some fun guessing his rankings (set to begin Wednesday).

FYI, 51 was Junior Griffey.

Blastin Posted: March 03, 2014 at 09:40 AM | 38 comment(s)
Beats: rankings

#### HHS: Who’s On Deck for 3,000 Hits?

Barring major surprises this year, the 2015 season will begin with no active player owning 3,000 hits. That’s not unusual (see end of post), but it naturally makes us wonder who’ll be the next to that milestone. Who do you think has the best shot at 3,000 hits?

Cabrera, 68%

Miggy ranks 10th all-time in hits through age 30, and 14th in hits through 11 seasons. But he still needs 1,005 hits; and of the nine above Cabrera by age 30, only three got 3,000 (with A-Rod hanging fire). Falling ...

Repoz Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:55 AM | 50 comment(s)
Beats: history

#### Edwin Jackson eager to put 18-loss season behind him

Kill the Edwin–loss record.

It’s hard to imagine a Cubs player more irritated by Saturday’s two rained-out exhibition games than pitcher Edwin Jackson, whose spring debut got postponed to Sunday.

“When you have a [expletive] season, naturally, as an athlete and a competitor, you want to come back and play the way you know how to play,” Jackson said.

The sooner the better.

“Clearly, I don’t think I’m an 18-game-losing pitcher,” said Jackson, who was among the worst starting ...

Repoz Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:28 AM | 5 comment(s)
Beats: cubs

### Sunday, March 02, 2014

#### CBS: Ichiro, 40, wants to play ‘many’ more seasons after 2014

As Steven Taffy Wright once said…“I intend to play forever. So far, so good.”

Despite being pushed into a part-time role at age 40, Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is not planning to retire after the season or anytime soon for that matter. Here’s what he told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:

“Retirement from baseball is something I haven’t even thought about,” he said.

Asked how many more seasons he thought he could play, Ichiro laughed. “Not just a few,” he said. “Many. For ...

Repoz Posted: March 02, 2014 at 04:39 PM | 22 comment(s)
Beats: yankees

#### Fay: Billy Hamilton should be upgrade in center

But defensively, we’re not talking about potential. He should be a major upgrade over Shin-Soo Choo in center field. After the two-error game in St. Louis, Choo caught everything he got to. But he didn’t get to a lot of balls because of his lack of speed.

According to fangraphs.com, Choo was the worst center fielder in Major League Baseball in terms of Ultimate Zone Rating at -16.1. Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez was the best at 26.4. A rating of 0.0 is considered average. Hamilton should be ...

Repoz Posted: March 02, 2014 at 04:33 PM | 22 comment(s)
Beats: reds, sabermetrics

#### Gammons: As team chemistry grows, Rays positioned for great season

Mourning Joe…Dillon.

The texts lit up Matt Silverman’s phone before 7 am Wednesday, when Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist asked a guest for a ground hog World Series prediction and the first two words of the answer were “Tampa Bay.” The Rays president knows that February promises won’t get a ballpark built or even a profit turned, but that “it’s good for people to be reminded what this team has done in this division, in this market and with our payroll.”

“People need to be ...

Repoz Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:12 PM | 34 comment(s)
Beats: rays

#### OT: The Soccer Thread March, 2014

Lots of great games this month and a lot of good mid-week action. Make or break time for Arsenal, Barcelona and Napoli.

March 5th: Ukraine vs USA
March 8th: Seattle vs Sporting KC as MLS gets started, Chelsea vs Tottenham, Arsenal vs Everton in the Cup
March 9th: Man City vs Wigan in the Cup and in Italy Juventus begin have the first of their three battles in the span of two weeks and Napoli host Roma
March 10th: CONCACAF CL begins with Alajuense taking on Arabe Unido. Feel the excitement! ...Read More...

Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:12 AM | 901 comment(s)
Beats: soccer

#### Heyman: Cano offers ideas to aid Mariners in quest to round out roster

Robbie the Reboot.

The Seattle Mariners made some big improvements this winter but appear to have left themselves with some obvious holes as well. The biggest enhancement, of course, was signing superstar second baseman Robinson Cano, who brings the middle-of-the-order impact bat the team craved, and also maybe just a few more opinions and a little more assertiveness than is recalled from his many years in New York.

Cano, by all accounts, is thoroughly enjoying his first days inside a lively ...

Repoz Posted: March 02, 2014 at 08:58 AM | 30 comment(s)
Beats: mariners

#### Soderholm-Difatte: Derek Jeter in Shortstop Perspective

By the year 2000, even though he had been a full-time regular for only as long as Jeter (since 1996), there were already advocates for A-Rod staking a claim to being perhaps the best player ever once the final chapter of his career was written.  Little did anyone know then that so many chapters in A-Rod’s epic saga would be sordid and career-diminishing.  And Nomar was the model of consistency at better than an All-Star level of performance from 1997 to 2003, averaging between 6.1 and 7.4 ...

Repoz Posted: March 02, 2014 at 08:04 AM | 17 comment(s)
Beats: history, sabermetrics, yankees

#### Mark Trumbo may bat in lower half of lineup, manager Kirk Gibson says

As my old polidented coach Mickey McGripe used to say…“Son, you’re my second cleanup hitter. You’re hitting 8th.”

And while the presumption is that the team acquired slugger Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels in order to give Goldschmidt lineup protection, that may not necessarily be the case.

“I just think that we have a pretty solid lineup regardless of who we put behind (Goldschmidt),” Gibson said. “There’s going to be a lot of protection. As far as the lineup construction ...

Repoz Posted: March 02, 2014 at 07:32 AM | 18 comment(s)
Beats: dbacks

### Saturday, March 01, 2014

#### OT: NBA Monthly Thread - March 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: whether civilization peaked during the reign of Queen Victoria, or the reign of Jimmy Carter.

The District Attorney Posted: March 01, 2014 at 09:03 PM | 789 comment(s)

#### NY Post: Mets’ camp has that ‘Groundhog Day’ feeling

This week Bovada.lv revealed its over/under win total for the Mets at 73.5 and — lo and behold — not long after that it was leaked publicly that general manager Sandy Alderson had gathered the team’s movers and shakers and insisted the Mets possessed 90-win potential. The team’s patriarch, Fred Wilpon, weighed in with (a threat? an inspiration? a prod?) — “we better win 90.”

Now is a good time for a recent history lesson: In 2010, Bovada pegged the Mets at 81.5, the Mets said ...

bobm Posted: March 01, 2014 at 05:39 PM | 19 comment(s)
Beats: mets

#### Leitch: Reynolds and Verducci bring new voices to FOX MLB broadcasts

The Reynolds Effect…a dimensionless quantity? We shall see.

Reynolds and Verducci seem chosen specifically to erase all lingering McCarverism. First off, each of them are 20 years younger than McCarver; Reynolds is 53, Verducci 47. They at least carry the aura of youth—they’re youthish—which will come in handy in making people forget McCarver. They’re also both very likable guys who are new enough in the business that they’ve shown they’re willing to adjust and change depending on what’s asked ...

Repoz Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:57 PM | 18 comment(s)
Beats: media, sabermetrics

#### Newman: MLBAM introduces new way to analyze every play

boom! (Eye Test) ~ BOOM! (Actual Measurement)

Baseball is a game of inches, and those inches will be measured in a brand new way.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media on Saturday introduced a revolutionary plan for in-ballpark infrastructure designed to provide the first complete and reliable measurement of every play on the field and answer previously unanswerable analytics questions.

The announcement was made by MLBAM CEO Bob Bowman at the eighth annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics ...

Repoz Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:25 PM | 66 comment(s)
Beats: sabermetrics

#### Miguel Sano to have Tommy John surgery

Miguel Sano’s worst fears came true on Saturday morning.

The highly-touted third base prospects has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and will need Tommy John surgery. Sano will fly to Minnesota next week to have the surgery.

Sano was injured during Thursday’s intrasquad game when he rushed a throw to retire Kurt Suzuki.

The ordeal goes back to the minor league season, when the elbow bothered him while he played for Class AA New Britain. It continued to bother him while he played for ...

Repoz Posted: March 01, 2014 at 11:06 AM | 27 comment(s)
Beats: twins

#### George Will: Baseball’s opening day shouldn’t be a holiday

George Will: Slacker.

Political pundit George Will says baseball’s opening day shouldn’t be a federal holiday because it would take the fun out of the age-old tradition of cutting class or skipping work to go to the ballpark’s first game of the season.

“Part of the fun of Opening Day is skipping work,” Will said in an interview with The Hill. “If they make it a national holiday, there will be no work to skip.”

Will’s comments were echoed by a handful of baseball-loving lawmakers, who said ...

Repoz Posted: March 01, 2014 at 10:19 AM | 74 comment(s)
Beats: mlb

### Friday, February 28, 2014

#### Pitching in Korea an eye-opening experience for Tigers’ Duane Below

Below the 38th Parallel I imagine.

Several thousand miles and an extremely long day spent in airports and airplanes separates Gwangju, Korea, from Duane Below’s hometown of Britton, Mich.

Last August, a season after last pitching for the Tigers and a handful of months after two forgettable appearances with the Marlins, Below signed with the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization.

Now he has brought the perspective of his two months playing overseas back to the Tigers’ camp in ...

Repoz Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:03 PM | 0 comment(s)
Beats: tigers

#### Heyman:  Maxing out: Scherzer is Tigers’ greatest contractual challenge yet

Long before he was named in the article, I knew who Scherzer’s agent is.  As long as he continues to write articles like this, or this one about Stephen Drew, people will continue to think Heyman’s a shill for Scott Boras.

TDF, situational idiot Posted: February 28, 2014 at 06:28 PM | 9 comment(s)
Beats: boras, tigers

#### Brown: Jayson Werth would like a word regarding his baseball card

What the hell are you complaining about Werth?!

Jayson Werth said good morning and then asked me over to his locker.

“Take a look at this,” Werth said, taking a baseball card from a stack on a shelf.

It appeared to be Werth’s Topps card for 2014. Except…

“Whose card do you think that is?” he asked.

It’s a picture that includes Werth pointing to something in the stands at Nationals Park — he’s not sure what anymore. It’s kind of neat, actually. But ... it could be anybody’s card.

...
Repoz Posted: February 28, 2014 at 05:26 PM | 22 comment(s)
Beats: baseball cards, nats

#### THT: The State and Future of Pitch-Framing Research

I often discuss pitch framing with my colleagues. The most common source of doubt I hear: The numbers don’t pass the sniff test. The infamous Jose Molina has too many smart people crinkling their brows. This is a determination each of us has to make. Can there be a possible 5-win data inefficiency that existed for 100-plus years of baseball history? Can it be possible such a big deal was missed for so long?

We have to ask ourselves: How important is pitch framing and receiving? How important ...

villageidiom Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:48 PM | 50 comment(s)
Beats: catchers, pitch framing, pitch fx, war

#### Fox, FS1 bring out-of-market streaming, new timeslots to MLB in 2014

A table of scheduled games and chart of teams by appearance is included in the article.

While Fox will still provide 12 regional split broadcasts in 2014, Fox Sports 1 will air a majority of the baseball. FS1 will air at least a game (and, in 10 weeks, a doubleheader) every Saturday of the season, plus a couple of midweek features. Fox will join for eight weeks of primetime coverage from May until July and then jump back in for the September pennant chase.

FS1 will also necessitate the return ...

Greg Franklin Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:37 PM | 10 comment(s)
Beats: fox, fs1, media, mlb network, online, television

#### Baltimore Sun: Monica Pence Barlow, Orioles PR director, dies at 36

Orioles public relations director Monica Pence Barlow died early Friday morning after a long battle with cancer. She was 36.

Barlow worked full-time in the Orioles front office since 2001. She started out with the club as a front office intern in 1999 and returned as a public relations assistant in 2001 before being named to replace former PR director Bill Stetka in 2008.

She was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in September 2009 but continued to lead the department until taking a leave of ...

Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:06 PM | 13 comment(s)
Beats: obituary, orioles, public relations

#### McCoy: Joey Votto learns from criticism but isn’t changing approach

Votto as in Otto the Autopilot.

Votto is paid a bank vault full of money—a 10-year, \$225 million deal—and with that comes high expectations and when those expectations aren’t reached the howling and the sniping begin.

So Votto understands that some fans believe he should change his approach to hitting so that he doesn’t walk so much and so that he will drive in more runs.

What Votto doesn’t understand is that there are some people who should know better, who he thought knew the game, who ...

Repoz Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:43 PM | 68 comment(s)
Beats: reds, sabermetrics

#### Full Count » John Lackey on salary structure for 2015: ‘It’s going to be different’

From out house to champion to bargain.

The Sox starter is slated to make the major league minimum for 2015 (a team option it will surely pick up) due to a clause originally put in Lackey’s five-year, \$82.5 million deal.

The salary drop is precipitated due to Lackey’s Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. It was stated that in lieu of insurance, the team would get the option of the extra year at the discounted rate if there were any sort serious problem with the already damaged ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
Beats: john lester, red sox

#### Star-Telegram: Rangers pitcher Buckel ready to shine after forgettable year

Keith Comstock, the Rangers’ rehab pitching coordinator;

“To be honest, about 50 percent of pitchers have some form of the yips. Whether it’s throwing a pitch out, trying to intentionally walk a guy, throwing to first base, most guys have something. It’s just not as noticeable as a guy who can’t play catch or can’t throw a strike.”

Shake the hand of the guy sitting next to you.  You’ve just shaken the hand of a guy with the yips.  Or not, if he reached over and missed.

BDC Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:24 AM | 1 comment(s)
Beats: pitching mechanics, psychology, rangers

#### Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-28-2014

Milwaukee Journal, February 28, 1914:

There are many indications that baseball will gain a real foothold in France this year. The visit of the New York and Chicago teams which are concluding their tour of the world will be followed by organized effort on the part of many of the French admirers of the American game to popularize it [there].
...
The pronunciation by the French youths is amusing to Americans especially as to “foul,” which is termed “fool,” and “fly,” which they call “flea.”

You ...

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