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Monday, August 25, 2014

FG: Joe Maddon’s Bunting Identity Crisis

I also thought the graph of “league wide WPA on sac bunts” was extremely interesting.

Since he began leading the Rays in 2006, Joe Maddon has been known as one of the more progressive MLB managers… He’s even spoke out publicly against sac bunting in the past… [yet] The Tampa Bay Rays have attempted 58 non-pitcher sacrifice bunts this season, by far the highest mark in the major leagues. No other team has even 50… Just 35 of those 58 attempts have turned into “successful” sacrifice bunts… 35-of-58 yields a 60% success rate. That’s bad. The league average success rate for a sacrifice bunt is 71%. Only five teams have lower success rates on bunts than the Rays this year…

the Rays, despite having attempted more sac bunts than anyone, have not executed more sac bunts than anyone. Instead, that title goes to Terry Francona’s Indians, with a league-leading 38 successful sacrifice bunts. The Indians, like the Rays, are known as one of the most progressive organizations in baseball and Francona has a reputation as a progressive manager from his time with the Theo Epstein-led Red Sox who didn’t bunt at all…  both the Indians (104 wRC+) and Rays (102 wRC+) have top-1o offenses in baseball this season… The Indians have at least bunted well, which is more than the Rays can say, with an 82% success rate that is topped only by the Rangers’ 86%...

To be honest, I really can’t think of a good explanation as to why Maddon and Francona have fallen in love with the sacrifice bunt this year. Both have proven to be anti-bunt in the past and have strong lineups, yet rely on the bunt more than any other manager in baseball seemingly to a fault.

Just for fun, since we’re talking about the Rays and the Indians, what do the bunting habits of the Moneyball A’s look like? Fewest in the league, with just 12. Part of that is due in part to their league-worst 44% success rate, but they’ve also attempted just 24, the sixth-fewest in the MLB.

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 25, 2014 at 06:31 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, indians, joe maddon, rays, strategy, terry francona

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Athletics Acquire Geovany Soto

TIL Geovany Soto has played okay at times in the past six years.

The Athletics have acquired catcher Geovany Soto from the Rangers, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets, confirming a tweet from Mark Madson. The Rangers will receive cash considerations for Soto, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets... Soto is making $3.05MM and will be a free agent this winter.

The Athletics already have two good catchers in Derek Norris and John Jaso on their active roster, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Jaso has recently experienced worsening concussion symptoms and will likely need a stay on the disabled list. And as ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets, Stephen Vogt, another catcher on the active roster, is currently dealing with a foot issue that makes catching difficult.

The District Attorney Posted: August 24, 2014 at 05:01 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, geovany soto, rangers, trades, transactions

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jerry Lumpe Dies

RIP, Jerry Lumpe, KC A’s stalwart.

Vrhovnik Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, history, kansas city, tigers, yankees

Saturday, August 16, 2014

There’s cause for concern with A’s, but let’s not go overboard

So is it time to worry? Probably. Panic? Nah.
...
Here are the slash lines, followed by runs per game by month:

March/April: .261/.351/.412; 5.26 RPG
May: .239/.326/.421; 5.07
June: .261/.326/.383; 5.08
July: .251/.307/.403; 4.52
August: .229/.301/.333; 3.73

In this age of screaming clickbate at every turn, I admire an article that has the courage to announce: ‘Y’know, it’s probably nothing’.

The Angels are within one.  Their game with the Rangers tonight was a good example of what’s wrong with baseball.  The eighth and ninth innings saw seven pitchers used to get 12 outs.  Blah.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 16, 2014 at 03:47 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, offense counts too

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Buschmann: The real reason why pitchers get injured (INSIDER)

The writer, Matt Buschmann, is currently a starting pitcher for the Athletics top minor league affiliate.

I’ve been in professional baseball since 2006 and every year there seems to be a rash of injuries that plague pitchers. This inevitably leads to an eclectic mix of baseball people comprising a panel trying to explain the injury epidemic on local and national baseball television shows. Each time I catch one—and there were several in 2014 due to a slew of spring training injuries—I’m left shaking my head in frustration….

This sudden realization that locating pitches is paramount leads to a lot of young pitchers making mechanical changes. Their once athletic motion built around throwing fastballs with some giddy-up morphs into whatever motion that allows them to throw the ball where they want. As a result, the built-in mechanisms of an athletic motion to protect the arm (for instance, take stress off the elbow and shoulder) slowly disappear. The shoulders begin to level out and the head has less movement and begins to take a more linear path down to the glove. Instead of the hips leading the head, it starts to become the other way around. While these little adjustments will lead to more consistent command down in the zone, they also hang the arm out to dry.

It is at this intersection of velocity and control where the highest risk for injury seems to occur. The pitchers whom have the best of both worlds seem to be the ones breaking down. It’s also no secret that these pitchers are the highest paid and most successful, therefore creating more high-profile injuries. When promising phenoms like Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez and Stephen Strasburg go down with injuries, people want explanations. They talk about factors like pitch count and overuse, but I don’t think that’s the root of the problem. It masks the underlying issues.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, mechanics, pitch counts, pitcher injuries, velocity

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sean Doolittle: Life as a player for the Oakland ‘Mathletics’

The 1940s Yankees had good wOPS…

Baseball is a game of numbers, and we at the Oakland Athletics keep track of everything… So exactly which metrics do the A’s value most when assessing potential players? I think I’ve finally figured it out…

wOPS (weighted overhead press): This gem calculates how strong a player is to determine whether he can carry a team. In Oakland, no one player carries our team. We all have very similar wOPS numbers.

BABIP: That’s batting average on balls in play, right? Wrong. It’s baseball averages compared to Bip Roberts. According to Baseball-Reference.com, over 12 seasons, Bip Roberts held a .294 batting average and a .358 on-base percentage and had a 162-game average of 36 stolen bases per year. Roberts played his final season for the A’s in 1998, but sabermetricians still use his stats when evaluating players…

Contact percentage: This metric is out of this world—literally. This number indicates how often a player is able to successfully decode messages received from outer space (just like Jodie Foster’s character in the 1997 film “Contact”). Although this is an interesting metric, it has nothing to do with baseball, so it’s not a great indicator of future performance. But it is a great movie…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to be shoved into my locker.

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 12, 2014 at 12:49 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sabermetrics, sean doolittle

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Coco Crisp’s New Haircut is Interesting

Oakland A’s centerfield Coco Crisp’s afro is famous. Why it even has its own blog.

We regret to inform you that Coco Crisp no longer has an afro. Instead, he has this:

The District Attorney Posted: August 09, 2014 at 10:01 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, coco crisp, fashion

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Mets Latch On to Cupping Therapy, and Have the Marks to Prove It

The millennia-old art of cupping traditionally involves using a flame to create a vacuum inside a glass bulb, which is then applied to the skin for as long as 15 minutes. Blood is pulled to the area, causing bruising and, ostensibly, relief of tight, sore muscles. Some believe that cupping can also help with arthritis, eczema and migraine headaches, among other ailments.

Today, teams like the Mets and others that practice cupping use a mechanical suction pump to create the vacuum. Nick Paparesta, the trainer for the Oakland Athletics, said in an interview that virtually the entire A’s roster has undergone cupping therapy at some point this season. Paparesta called it a “twofold solution” because it can provide both immediate and long-term relief of lower back or oblique tightness, and can be done post-surgery to help reduce scarring….

Medical studies, however, don’t back up these claims, according to a doctor who has researched alternative treatments.

“There’s absolutely zero evidence that cupping has any kind of positive role in medicine,” said Barrie Cassileth, the chief of integrative medicine service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She said the post-cupping bruises result simply from the suction on the skin, which may be more harmful to circulation than helpful.

“I cannot conceive of any benefit except a psychological benefit,” said Cassileth, who has written books on alternative treatments and noted that, unlike cupping, holistic therapies such as acupuncture have been proved effective in medical tests….

Though [players] insist that cupping does have a physical effect, they also recognize the mental aspect. [Vic] Black, one of the [Mets’] most ardent supporters of the treatment, said, “The placebo effect is a lot more powerful than people realize.”

That’s why multiple players said that even if a doctor told them definitively that cupping has no benefit, they would continue doing it anyway.

“There’s more belief in it, and that’s why I feel comfortable doing it,” Black said. “That’s why everything works.”

Whatever the upside, physical or mental, it’s all part of athletes’ unending quest to stay fit. They will try almost anything, especially if it comes recommended from one of their peers.

Said [Matt] Harvey, “If I went in and did it and just saw a bunch of circles on my back and it didn’t actually feel better after I did it, then I wouldn’t do it.”

The District Attorney Posted: August 06, 2014 at 10:21 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, injuries, mets

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Rays’ road win streak ends in a weird 3-2 loss to A’s

Its a shame about Rays.

“What am I going to say right now?” Balfour asked aloud. “All the things I’m not supposed to say, or the things you want to hear? … What do you want out of me? You want the truth? Or just want hear whatever you (expletive deleted) want to hear?”

Balfour had just blown another game, allowing the winning run on an 0-2 single by Derek Norris with two outs and the bases loaded, scoring former Ray Sam Fuld, who reached on an 0-2 single, with two walks in between.

But there also was a checked swing called on what would have been strike three on Josh Donaldson that wasn’t called the Rays’ way — leading to manager Joe Maddon’s ejection, and blasting of the umps — and a popup that dropped in foul territory between Rays first baseman Sean Rodriguez and rightfielder Kevin Kiermaier, both extending the at-bat that led to the bases-loading walk….

The Rays still had runners at first and third with one out, and Maddon sent up one of his best bunters, Brandon Guyer, to take one swing then try their signature safety squeeze play. Guyer reached for a Sean Doolittle pitch that was too high and bunted it right back to the mound, and Doolittle flipped to Norris to get Rodriguez.

Though Guyer’s effort was admirable, his decision was bad. “The point is to take it,” Maddon said. “You don’t have to bunt it. That’s part of the play.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2014 at 09:26 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, grant balfour, rays, safety squeeze

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Athletics, Twins Swap Tommy Milone, Sam Fuld

Is “guys who read Moneyball” the new market inefficiency?

The Twins have acquired lefty Tommy Milone from the A’s in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld, the teams have announced.

Milone… lost his rotation spot with the Athletics earlier this month when the team acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel… Milone had pitched to a solid 3.55 ERA with 5.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 38.4 percent fly-ball rate in 96 1/3 innings this season. He owns a 3.84 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and 36.8 percent ground-ball rate in 468 2/3 innings for the Nationals and Athletics. He is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason and can be controlled through the 2017 campaign…

The 32-year-old Fuld has been excellent for the Twins in 2014, slashing .274/.370/.354 with a homer, a dozen steals (in 15 attempts) and standout defense in both left and center field. In addition to platooning with [Jonny] Gomes, he can serve as a center field option for the A’s with Craig Gentry on the disabled list and Coco Crisp currently ailing. Fuld is a career .240/.323/.337 hitter and can be controlled via arbitration through the 2016 campaign.

The District Attorney Posted: July 31, 2014 at 11:45 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sam fuld, tommy milone, trades, transactions, twins

A’s Acquire Lester, Gomes For Cespedes

Cespedes for Mabry???

The Athletics have acquired Jon Lester from the Red Sox, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (Twitter links). In what will be a blockbuster deal, Jonny Gomes and Yoenis Cespedes will head to Boston. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported that Lester had been traded to an unknown club.

Passan tweets that Oakland is also sending a competitive balance draft pick to the Red Sox in the trade, and Boston is sending cash to Oakland. The A’s landed the second pick in Comp Round B in last week’s lottery.


WEEI: Lester, Gomes to A’s… for Cespedes

According to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox have sent Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Athletics in exchange for power hitting outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Eric Chavez Retires

Eric Chavez. Including 123 OPS+ from 2012-2014! (648 PA)

Third baseman Eric Chavez has retired, effective immediately, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link)...

He’s battled knee trouble this season and also has a long history of back issues as well.

The District Attorney Posted: July 30, 2014 at 03:44 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, diamondbacks, eric chavez, transactions, yankees

Friday, July 25, 2014

SoE: AN IDIOT IN EXILE

Johnny Damon was a major league baseball player for 18 years. He won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2004 and another one with the Yankees in 2009, which is why he once said, “Being a baseball player is so great.” He said the game “was fun,” and winning championships was even more “fun.” He learned how to have “fun” with the A’s and then taught his teammates with the Red Sox and Yankees how to have “fun.” His concept of “fun” was mostly that of a young boy. “I could buy different toys,” he said. “Jet Skis, boats, motorcycles, all the stuff that baseball affords you the privilege to buy.” His first wife, Angie Vannice, explained that her husband “plays better when he’s buying things. He likes to shop more than anybody.”

The Peter Pan of baseball, it would seem….


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Fivethirtyeight: Billion-Dollar Billy Beane

Billy Beane should have never written this article.

Now that we have a sense of Beane’s performance and how much it would cost to replicate it, let’s turn back to the Boston Red Sox and their failure to sign him (or even to offer him anywhere near his worth)....

But some of that money was spent and some of those wins came before the Red Sox attempted to hire Beane. To be conservative, let’s just look at the period since Henry made Beane his offer: In the last 12 years, the Red Sox spent $1.714 billion on payroll, while the A’s spent $736 million. We can then break down what it could have looked like if Beane had worked for the Red Sox like so:

  Let’s say it would have cost Boston the same $736 million that it cost Oakland to get the A’s performance with Beane.
  At the hypothetical $25 million-per-year salary I suggested earlier, Beane would have cost the Red Sox another $300 million. (It’s possible that Beane would have wanted more, but it’s even more possible that they could have gotten him for less.)
  The difference in performance between the A’s and the Red Sox over that period (where the Sox were as successful as at any point in the franchise’s history, and the A’s were supposedly stagnating after Beane’s early success) has been about 50 games for Boston. Since we don’t know exactly how good Beane would be at procuring additional wins above his Oakland performance, let’s assume that the Red Sox would have had to pay the typical amount teams have paid for wins in the period to make up the difference. According to the year-by-year price of wins from my calculations above, those 50 wins (taking when they happened into account) would have a market value of about $370 million (though this might have been lower with Beane in charge).

If we combine these — the price of the A’s performance ($736 million) plus Super-Expensive-Billy-Beane’s salary ($300 million) plus the additional 50 Red Sox wins at high market estimates ($370 million) – merely duplicating their previous level of success still would have saved the Red Sox more than $300 million relative to what they actually spent, and that’s with reasonably conservative assumptions. That’s money they could have pocketed, or spent making themselves even better.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 24, 2014 at 09:47 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy beane, moneyball, payroll, red sox

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2015 Competitive Balance Lottery Results

The Competitive Balance Lottery for the 2015 MLB Draft took place this afternoon. Twelve competitive balance picks are awarded, with the first six taking place after the first round’s conclusion and the next six taking place following conclusion of the second round. Here are the results, per MLB.com (Twitter links)...

Competitive Balance Round A

  Marlins
  Rockies
  Cardinals
  Brewers
  Padres
  Indians

Competitive Balance Round B

  Reds
  Athletics
  Mariners
  Twins
  Orioles
  Diamondbacks

As MLB.com’s Jim Callis explained earlier in the week, teams that have one of the 10 smallest markets or one of the 10 smallest revenue pools are eligible to receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds (Round A) or between the second and third rounds (Round B).

Its about time the Cardinals got some help to become more competitive.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Journal News: Recap of Derek Jeter Retirement Gifts

The big 2nd half issue at BBTF is likely to be the retirement gifts The Captain receives as he completes his Final Journey. To provide perspective, the LoHud Yankee Blog reviews the 1st half:

May 25 — White Sox
Once a powerful hitter for both the Yankees and White Sox, retired slugger Ron Kittle built Jeter’s U.S. Cellular Field retirement gift. Kittle created a bench made of baseball equipment with bases as the seat, bats as the back and arm rests, and baseballs used for decoration and spacing. Long time White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko also presented Jeter with clay removed from the shortstop position at U.S. Cellular, plus a $5,000 donation to Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.

Looks like it wouldn’t be difficult for Furtdao to top the Cubs effort on behalf of BBTF.


Friday, July 04, 2014

Odd challenge starts domino effect for A’s, Blue Jays

Here’s an interesting replay:

The incident happened in the top of the second inning with the bases loaded and one out. Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Gose hit a sharp grounder to first base. Nate Freiman fielded the ball cleanly and attempted to make a tag on baserunner Munenori Kawasaki before throwing home.

First-base umpire Vic Carapazza ruled that Kawasaki avoided the tag and immediately made the safe sign. That meant the force play at home was still in order and catcher Stephen Vogt recorded the out when he caught the ball while stepping on the plate.

Gibbons then came out of his dugout and took the unorthodox approach of suggesting that Kawasaki should have been ruled out. He challenged, and when the play went to a review, it was determined that Kawasaki had been tagged.

That prompted the umpires to overturn the ruling on the field. Kawasaki was called out and as a result, Edwin Encarnacion was ruled safe at home because the force play was no longer in effect.

You have to love a ten minute replay and a decision that screws a team because an umpire gets a call wrong.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2014 at 08:20 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, blue jays, replay sucks

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Selig permits A’s to leave Oakland, prompts last minute deal

If you don’t get them a new stadium, the A’s might move to Pocatello, Idaho.

The Athletics and Oakland appeared headed for a last-minute deal Thursday morning after the A’s owner informed city and county leaders that he had received permission from baseball commissioner Bud Selig to immediately move the team outside Oakland unless a deal was approved.

The stunning revelation was made by Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff in a 10 p.m. e-mail to officials, in which he wrote: “I was informed tonight that Commissioner Selig, due to the possibility of not having the hearing and vote that we were purported to receive from the JPA, that we will immediately be allowed to seek a temporary or permanent location outside the city of Oakland.”

The e-mail prompted city and county officials to immediately restart negotiations to keep the A’s in Oakland, and a new deal was being discussed Thursday morning by the 8-member board of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority.

Oakland city councilman Noel Gallo, who was initially opposed to the proposed 10-year lease proposal, said city, county and baseball leaders were on the phone hammering out a deal overnight.

“I think this agreement will be fair,” he said. “It might not be perfect, but I think it’ll be good for Oakland and the region in the long run.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 03, 2014 at 01:11 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, bud selig, giants, relocation, stadium, stadium deals

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A’s pitcher Drew Pomeranz breaks hand punching wooden chair after rough start

Pomeranz gave up seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in Oakland’s 14-8 loss, making his ERA jump up to 2.91. That’s not the worst part, though. Pomeranz fractured his hand in a fit of rage afterward.

It’s his non pitching hand.  Still, the A’s bought someone named Brad Mills from the Brewers to give them some depth.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Video: Cespedes’ outstanding throw home | MLB.com

That’s a crazy good throw!

Jim Furtado Posted: June 11, 2014 at 08:47 AM | 62 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, yoenis cespedes

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Slate: Baseball Has an Amazing Gay History. It’s Time to Recognize It.

Numbers can’t possibly begin to explain how a tremendously talented athlete would eventually be sidelined by vicious institutional homophobia. After coming out to his teammates and managers in 1978, Burke was reportedly offered $75,000 by Dodgers Vice President Al Campanis to enter into a sham marriage. When turning down the offer—more than $312,000 in today’s money—Burke wittily replied, “I guess you mean to a woman.” Unfortunately, Glenn Burke’s fearlessness would lead to his exile from Los Angeles: That same year, he was traded to Oakland.

According to former Athletics teammate Claudell Washington, manager Billy Martin was cruelly homophobic from Day 1, introducing Burke in the locker room by saying, “Oh, by the way, this is Glenn Burke, and he’s a faggot.” Much as Jackie Robinson endured unfathomable racism from fans and fellow players alike, Burke too faced the injustice of bigotry in sports. Yet as an out gay, black man in professional sports—in the 1970s—Burke was light years ahead of his time. “Being black and gay made me tougher. You had to be tough to make it. Yeah, I’m proud of what I did,” Burke recalled later in life. In a Philadelphia Inquirer interview just before his death from AIDS-related illness in 1995, Burke was defiant, declaring, “They can’t ever say now that a gay man can’t play in the majors, because I’m a gay man and I made it.”

MLB’s most significant tribute to Glenn Burke is a puff piece from 2013, which details the creation of the high five.



Thursday, May 29, 2014


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A’s trying to get George Michael for Coliseum appearance

There’s no official word yet on whether Michael will show, but there has been contact and the A’s are hopeful they can pull it off. Which would be amazing, and pretty darn cool. Michael, who is English, presumably has little background in baseball and probably hadn’t heard of Josh Reddick until recently, but the Oakland outfielder has brought Michael’s sax-heavy ballad “Careless Whisper” back into cultural relevance.

Reddick is using the song as his walkup music – a major shift from Reddick’s usual WWE themes and country music.  Everyone is getting into it, teammates, fans. It’s just delightful.
================================================

Only in Oakland (in the best sense of the phrase).

Traderdave Posted: May 21, 2014 at 02:20 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

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