Saturday, June 20, 2015
Two security officials led the way through the Yankee Stadium crowd on Friday, and a group of reporters followed, as Zack Hample clutched the ball that was Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit so tightly that his knuckles were white….
Hample was not exactly awe-struck. He had, to a degree, planned this all out. He had bought a season ticket in right field knowing that it would be a prime location for home runs. The Yankees described him as a professional home run catcher, and the whole scene felt something like a robber being escorted out of a bank after a heist….
“He still has the ball,” said Jason Zillo, the Yankees’ director of communications.
As he was rushed to those negotiations, Hample said he had caught more than 8,000 balls. He said he had caught Mike Trout’s first home run, Barry Bonds’s 724th home run and the last Mets home run at Shea Stadium. He had spent years perfecting his technique. He even wrote a book titled “How to Snag Major League Baseballs.”...
Yo, Randy Levine: Market this.
He’s been on the receiving end of several notable milestones over the years, including Mike Trout’s first major league home run on July 24, 2011 at Camden Yards. He also caught Barry Bonds’ 724th career home run at Petco Park in 2006, and over the years has caught several balls at the Home Run Derby in numerous locations.
Now he adds Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit, which should prove to be the most valuable of them all.
Of course, no one knows that better than Hample, and before all’s said and done we’re guessing A-Rod will wish he’d hit it any place other than directly into Hample’s glove. ...
And no, Hample’s not going to back off his stance now that he’s actually somehow managed to wrangle that “one-in-a-million souvenir.” If anything, it will be even more difficult to pry it from his hands.
“My intention all along, I’ve been imagining this scenario as a 1-in-a-million, was not to give it back,” Hample said. “You know, just because the guy who got Jeter’s 3,000th hit, a lot of people called him an idiot. A lot of people said that he was a wonderful person and extremely generous. And I really think that, whatever you want to do with it is your choice.”
He added, “I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who has made half a billion dollars in his career, doesn’t really need a favor from a normal civilian and a fan like me. I don’t know right now if I’m going to sell it. I mean, depending on what the Yankees could offer, I would consider giving it back. I’m not giving it back for — I don’t plan to give it back for a chance to meet him and full autographed bats because I don’t collect bats, I collect baseballs. Just having this ball is so meaningful to me. I can’t believe that I got it.”
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Because RBIs were not considered an official statistic until 1920, there is some discrepancy as to how many RBIs Ruth should be credited with. However, Elias Sports Bureau, the statistician of Major League Baseball, has Ruth at 1,992 for his career.
bb-ref has Ruth at 2214 RBI. If you ignore everything before 1920, it becomes 1990 RBI. So it would seem that they’re ignoring everything before 1920 and have two extra RBI unaccounted for. Maybe they came from the same game as Ty Cobb’s two extra hits.
Saturday, May 09, 2015
Mays beats A-Rod by nine lengths.
An easy way to measure Mays’ dominance over A-Rod is to look at the all-time wins above replacement (WAR) leaderboard1. By total WAR, Mays ranks as the fifth most-productive player in major-league history, trailing only Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and pitchers Cy Young and Walter Johnson. Mays also ranks as the third-best non-pitcher ever, according to JAWS, which attempts to balance a player’s aggregate WAR compilation against the brilliance of his peak. Among position players in the history of baseball, only Ruth had a better prime — as measured by WAR in a player’s best seven seasons — than Mays did when he was at the top of his game.
Rodriguez also ranks highly in WAR, but his numbers are nowhere near those of Mays. A-Rod ranks 17th all-time in total WAR, trailing Mays by about 40 wins. At his career rate of WAR per 162 games, Rodriguez would have to play five and a half more seasons of 162 games apiece — that is, until age 44 — to catch Mays. It also bears mentioning that Rodriguez hasn’t even played more than 150 games in a season since 2007; at a more realistic rate of 125 games per year, he’d have to play until age 46 (with no decline in performance) to reach Mays’ total.
Since Rodriguez has recently missed big chunks of playing time in which he could have been accumulating raw WAR, his peak ranking fares a bit better than his overall WAR rank. That’s why A-Rod sits at 12th all-time in JAWS. But the difference in JAWS between No. 3 Mays and No. 12 Rodriguez is the same as the difference between Rodriguez and No. 33 Charlie Gehringer.
And the gap isn’t likely to close much before Rodriguez retires. While A-Rod is having a resurgent start to the 2015 season, Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projection system still only predicts about 0.7 more wins above replacement left in his career before his contract runs out (and, coincidentally, he begins to provide negative value) following the 2017 season.
So, any way you cut it, Mays provided much more value in his career than A-Rod.
Posted: May 09, 2015 at 01:12 PM | 171 comment(s)
Thursday, April 30, 2015
1. Josh Hamilton (5 years, $125 million)
2. Mike Hampton (8 years, $121 million)
3. Melvin Upton Jr. (5 years, $72.25 million)
4. Manny Ramirez (2 years, $45 million)
5. Chan Ho Park (5 years, $65 million)
HM. Carl Pavano (4 years, $39.9 million with the Yankees)
HM. Jason Bay (4 years, $66 million with the Mets)
HM. Chone Figgins (4 years, $36 million with the Mariners)
HM. Gary Matthews Jr. (5 years, $65 million with the Angels)
HM. Andruw Jones (2 years, $36.2 million with the Dodgers)
Additionally: Jason Schmidt, Barry Zito, Denny Neagle, Kei Igawa, Shin-Soo Choo, A-Rod.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Hold off on the glue.
However, the sabermetric canon also includes a caveat to “Voros’s law” about the volatility of small sample sizes. Although the overwhelming majority of events that can transpire in baseball over a brief time period cannot be distinguished statistically from random variation, a handful of accomplishments are so rare that even a single game can contain impressive predictive power. Bill James, the father of modern baseball analysis, called this principle “signature significance”. In one well-known example, of the 14 pitchers who have struck out 18 or more batters in a nine-inning game during the past century, 12 were at least All-Stars, and six are in the Hall of Fame. Mr Rodríguez’s mammoth blast might well be a similar case. After all, of the 38,143 homers hit in MLB since 2007—the first year that HitTracker recorded the path of every ball to leave the yard—just 25 (0.06%, or one in 1,525) traveled 477 feet or more. ...
In order to determine how much predictive power a single deep home run can provide, I started with every batter who played between 2007 and 2014. I first discarded all their ground balls and pop-ups, since balls on those trajectories cannot become homers no matter how hard they are hit. I then measured the share of their other batted balls—the line drives and outfield flies—that turned into home runs, a standard measure of a batter’s power. If ultra-long home runs truly have signature significance, then players who hit even one ball as deep as Mr Rodríguez’s should fare well above average in this category over the course of an entire season.
As one might expect, the data were extremely noisy—using a single swing to project what will happen on as many as 300 others is a tall order. But buried within them was a powerful and highly statistically significant trend. For each foot beyond the distance of a league-average longball (usually just under 400 feet) that any individual home run travels, an additional 0.06% of that batter’s other line drives and outfield fly balls in that season become home runs (see chart).
In most cases, this amounts to a rounding error. But for the biggest of blows, those percentage points add up in a hurry. If a player about whom we had no other information—say, a recent arrival from Cuba—hit a home run of average distance in his first at-bat, we would expect him to hit about 6% more homers than an average player for the rest of the season. In contrast, if the player hit a 477-foot home run like Mr Rodríguez’s in his first at-bat, we would expect him to hit around 50% more homers than average. That is as strong an example of signature significance as one could hope to find.
Posted: April 22, 2015 at 09:43 AM | 1 comment(s)
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Do dead centaurs bounce?
In other all-time HR list news, Trout passes Drew.
for his generous support.
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