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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


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Sunday, November 08, 2015

Sunday Notes: Dyson’s Theft, Yost, Collins, Cubs, Madson, more | FanGraphs Baseball

I wonder whether Nick Cafardo classifies video work as analytical or scouting?

You’ve probably read about the role scouting played in Jarrod Dyson‘s 12th inning stolen base in Game 5 of the World Series. The Royals knew that New York’s Addison Reed would slow his delivery in certain situations, and “a little shimmy with his hip” was going to be Dyson’s key to run. First base coach Rusty Kuntz shared that bit of info after the game, and I touched on it my recap.

Mark Topping, the team’s video coordinator, had a hand in the theft. As Kuntz explained, “Topper gives me 20 moves to the plate, and 20 pick-offs, for every pitcher.”

The video, Topping told me, allows Kuntz to “See if there’s any kind of tell; a guy moves his front front, or his toe, or whatever.”

The information is supplied via iPad, and it includes pitchers’ times to the plate. More than eyeball scouting is at play. Software is used to calculate the measurements, so they’re “extremely precise.”

At home, Topping is watching from a video-coaching room next to the clubhouse, where the Royals have “12 different angles.” On the road, he’s either watching from the visiting clubhouse or in an adjacent room.

In the 12th inning of Game 5, he was “looking at a high-first angle,” as Dyson took his lead off of first base. Given the situation, and knowing the information that had been communicated via Kuntz, Topping knew what to expect. He wasn’t disappointed.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2015 at 08:16 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, notes, scouting

Thursday, October 01, 2015

NYT: How Ned Yost Made the Kansas City Royals Unstoppable

That chemistry appears to have offset the construction of curious batting orders. Alcides Escobar, who has hit leadoff for much of the season, historically reaches base less often than the league average. The potent Alex Gordon was hitting sixth before he strained a groin muscle in early July. This in particular rankles the analysts. “Batting order is something a manager very clearly has control of,” says Dave Cameron, the managing editor of the widely read website Fangraphs, “It’s something Yost has done particularly poorly.”

Yost dismisses such criticisms, but others in the organization feel compelled to respond. “We have information that the fans and analysts don’t,” says Yost’s bench coach, Don Wakamatsu, who previously managed the Seattle Mariners. There, Wakamatus says, he occasionally put the slugger Russell Branyan at No. 4, the cleanup spot. “When I did, he’d break out in hives. But I’d put him at 2 or 5 or 6, and he was a world beater. Can the numbers account for that”?

What do you say, numbers?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 01, 2015 at 02:00 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, dave cameron, don wakamatsu, lineups, ned yost, royals

Friday, September 11, 2015

Red Sox create new analytics position for ex-MLB pitcher Brian Bannister

As a former pitcher with a knowledge of analytics, Bannister’s role is, in a way, a data-driven coach, but not just for players—Bannister is unlikely to direct the pitchers in the way that pitching coach Carl Willis does, but like anyone else in the front office, his job will be to provide the team with the best information he can, whether he gets it from scouting or PITCHf/x, and then distribute it to other key figures in the organization. Teams blend all of that information together the best they can in order to put a superior product on the field, and creating this new position helps show how much the Red Sox want to do what they can to improve their pro scouting.

Gordon Edes at ESPN has an informative quote from Dave Dombrowski on the new gig for Bannister that should give you an idea of what this is all about:

“We sat down and he explained to me what he was all about,’’ Dombrowski said Tuesday. “We’ve created, I think, a unique position. It’s a position that’s going to talk about developing players through an analytic approach—and also a pitching philosophy. He’ll work very closely with [farm director] Ben Crockett. He’ll work closely as we approach guys in the draft. He’s already talking to [pitching coach] Carl Willis. We’re going to try to see if we can be a little bit better. He’ll give us an edge’”

This should also help put to bed the idea that new President of Baseball Operations Dombrowski is anti-analytics.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2015 at 09:32 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, brian bannister, red sox



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