Thursday, April 17, 2014
Matheny Math: Minimal polynomial (Busch field theory).
Matheny studies the individual splits closely. His interpretation of those numbers might be typical in some cases, but it might also be surprising in others.
What works for Matheny in either case is his essential belief in his players.
“You know, when I see a guy who’s had even just a couple of at-bats against a pitcher, but has had success, there’s usually knowledge on both sides,” the manager said. “I don’t use the opposite side very well. When a guy has had two at-bats against a pitcher and he’s struck out a couple of times, I’m thinking, ‘He’s going to get him.’
“But if he’s had two at-bats and he’s had two hits, I’m thinking, ‘He owns him.’ A lot of it is just how confident our offensive guy would be walking into the box.”
So if a St. Louis player is, for instance, 2-for-2 against a particular pitcher, this indicates that the hitter clearly has the pitcher’s number. On the other hand, if a St. Louis player is 0-for-2 against a pitcher, this primarily indicates that the hitter is due.
Matheny’s view of these small samples appears to be a no-lose proposition for the Cardinals. On the other hand, look what the Cardinals have done in his two years as their manager. They were one game away from the World Series in 2012. In 2013, they had a division title, the best record in the National League and went to the World Series. Expecting success might be the one logical response to any given Cardinal situation.
And there will be numerous occasions when the sample sizes just won’t be suitably large, anyway.
“I don’t think there is too much of a sample size, or else we’d be waiting around forever,” Matheny said. “Every once in a while you see some guys with some larger at-bats, but in general you just take the information that you have and hope that confidence is a big part of that, one way or the other.”
Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM | 8 comment(s)
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Strauss auto pilot…
“The church of advanced metrics” actually has good things to say about Lynn. Though, unfortunately, they don’t quite put him in the same echelon as Wainwright and Kershaw. According to xFIP, an ERA retrodictor that uses the league average home run rate, Lynn has finished at 3.60 and 3.66 in 2012 and ’13, respectively. Both marks fell below his ERA, 3.78 and 3.97, respectively.
FanGraphs puts Lynn at six WAR over the past two seasons, an average of three per season. Baseball Reference puts him at four WAR over the past two seasons, an average of two per season. An average pitcher comes in at exactly two WAR. So, depending on which version you use, Lynn is somewhere between average and above-average — hardly denigrating as Strauss would have you believe.
The biggest knocks against Lynn include his walk rate and his batting average on balls in play. Lynn has walked between eight and nine percent of batters over the last two seasons, slightly above the National League average of 7.4 percent. Lynn’s BABIP has finished at .321 and .314. As Strauss points out, Lynn strikes out a lot of batters — 23 to 24 percent — but should that ability ever waver, his propensity to allow hits on balls in play at a higher rate and his propensity to issue walks will become more of an issue. That, however, has not been the case in his two full seasons thus far. As a result, neither ZiPS nor PECOTA project Lynn to struggle in 2014. ZiPS pegs him at a 3.52 ERA while PECOTA puts him at 3.90.
This “Sabermetrics hate Lynn” angle Strauss is pushing isn’t backed up by the actual stats. He’s no Wainwright or Kershaw, but he is certainly a pitcher who can be expected to be a productive member of the Cardinals.
Posted: February 23, 2014 at 05:22 PM | 12 comment(s)
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The Cardinals have been met with some criticism from players, fans and media after inking shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $52 million contract this past season. The problem in the minds of the dissenters is that Peralta was seemingly “rewarded” for a season in which he served a 50-game suspension for his ties to PED via the Biogenesis clinic.
As for his side of the story, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak replied with the following in a press conference Monday morning: “I don’t think it’s the Cardinals responsibility necessarily to be the moral police on potentially future employment.”
More from Mozeliak:
“The shortstop market was one that was not deep in free agents. For us it was really focusing on someone who could hit from the right side, someone who was a steady defensive player, someone who had experience and could fit right in.”
Character and makeup are something we weigh into our decision-making. In his case, he admitted what he did, he took responsibility for it. I feel like he has paid for his mistakes, and obviously if he were to make another one, then it would be a huge disappointment.
He does, however, believe the game is cleaner nowadays than it was in the past.
Thanks to VB.
Posted: November 26, 2013 at 01:14 PM | 41 comment(s)
Sunday, November 17, 2013
If only Jeff Cross hadn’t been born…when he was born.
I was curious whether Pete Kozma in 2013 had the poorest hitting performance by a Cardinals shortstop in the last 50 years.
Kozma was weak.
Overall, Tyson performed worse.
In 1974, Tyson arrived at Cardinals spring training so overweight that his teammates called him “Hoggie.”
His season went downhill from there.
During the Cardinals’ first road trip of the year, Tyson was assaulted and robbed in his hotel room.
...Instead, the Cardinals stayed with Tyson as their everyday shortstop. He hit .180 (11-for-61) in July.
For the season, Tyson was especially inept against the Reds, hitting .065 (2-for-31) overall against them and going hitless (0-for-15) at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium. He also batted . 111 (4-for-36) versus the Braves.
(Tyson did hit .360 against the Astros and .344 versus the Padres.)
After the season, the Cardinals acquired veteran Ed Brinkman from the Tigers and named him their starting shortstop for 1975. But Brinkman flopped and Tyson ended up playing more games at shortstop for the 1975 Cardinals than any other infielder.
Posted: November 17, 2013 at 07:57 AM | 23 comment(s)
Sunday, October 27, 2013
And in doing so…went from get smart to got dumb.
At this point I feel like John Farrell started to appreciate the power of chaos. And maybe began to think that he could use it to his advantage. Because at this point he seemed to embrace chaos with both arms and to eschew the notion of matchups and the ideal deployment of resources altogether. How else can we explain Farrell allowing Brandon Workman to face Matt Holliday in the eighth with runners on base when his best reliever — Koji Uehara — was sitting in the bullpen? But wait! It worked. Holliday flied out and the threat was over. And maybe it emboldened Farrell even more. What else explains Farrell allowing Workman — an American League pitcher, mind you, — to bat in the top of the ninth inning of a tied World Series game while his best available hitter — Mike Napoli — sat on his bench?
Hell, Farrell wasn’t just eschewing the ideal. He was rejecting the whole idea of the ninth inning mattering at all. Why else would he punt his team’s half of it so decisively? Why else would he head into the bottom of the ninth, on the road, against a team which seems to have more crazy voodoo working in its favor than any team, without using all of his weapons? And continue to do so, not even calling on Uehara until there was a runner on base.
Whatever his reasons, baseball’s unpredictable chaos decided it had led him on enough. It went back to wreaking havoc as it will, this time in the form of the most improbable demolition derby of a game-ending World Series play in recent memory. In a fielder’s choice/nailed at home/interference/walkoff win.
Going with the best matchups doesn’t always work. Embracing chaos doesn’t always kill you. But there’s a reason why managers usually play the percentages. They respect the power of chaos and do what they can to keep it at bay. And I bet John Farrell does so more regularly as long as this World Series continues.
Posted: October 27, 2013 at 03:32 AM | 32 comment(s)
Saturday, October 26, 2013
And so it goes for the St. Louis Cardinals, who haven’t developed their own good shortstop since Garry Templeton. If you don’t recognize that name, don’t worry; when Templeton was a rookie, someone named Chevy Chase was actually running America. Those were strange times.
Seriously, that was a long time ago. Templeton manned shortstop through the ‘81 season. But he could be a bit much, and the Cardinals traded him to the Padres for Ozzie Smith. Which worked out exceptionally well for the Cardinals, as Smith built his Hall of Fame résumé while holding the position through 1994.
And in the 19 seasons since then, the Cardinals have employed and deployed some pretty good shortstops. It’s just that none of them came up through the system. Beginning with Ozzie, the Cardinals have been signing, or trading for, their shortstops for more than 30 years. With only one real exception.
Consider: Since 1994, 15 shortstops (or semi-shortstops) have batted at least 100 times for the Cardinals. Leading the way: Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein, and Royce Clayton ... none of them homegrown. Here’s the complete list of the Cardinals’ homegrown shortstops with at least 100 plate appearances since 1994:
Brendan Ryan (1332 PA)
Tyler Greene (556)
Pete Kozma (552)
Tripp Cromer (369)
Luis Ordaz (203)
Thanks to Los.
Posted: October 26, 2013 at 03:43 PM | 17 comment(s)
Pop those Theophylline’s and breath easy Cub fans…Sterling is on the case!
We’ll not quite all of it, because the Cardinals Way isn’t just about baseball; it’s about living and owning by a set of principles the Cubs are so far beneath they can’t see the Cardinals ass.
Sure, the Cardinals know to hit cutoff men, where they should be deployed, and how to run the bases, but what they also know is that treating the fans well is good for business if it reflects the overall goodness the team wishes to represent. The DeWitt Family not only provides the financial support needed to run the team, they also make sure that the business is run by credible and decent people. As with any for profit operation, there is a level of pragmatism that the Cardinals need to indulge, but as an overall philosophy, they seem to earnestly believe that by treating people well, the business will thrive.
Conversely, the Cubs seem to be of the opinion that lying and manipulating will achieve the results they crave. Owner Tom Ricketts threatens to move from Wrigley Field to strong-arm the city into approving his planned improvements, but not before guaranteeing a championship if the improvements are made. Ricketts would sooner overpay for a free agent than abandon the only asset of value that draws the misguided fans who plunk down the third highest ticket prices in baseball. Wait, Edwin Jackson was signed for four years and $52 million, so overpaying for mediocrity is a pool into which Ricketts has plunged. And guaranteeing a championship is as good an example of shameless pandering in the long history of a franchise that has had nothing going for it but the ability to pander for decades.
Buying tickets and watching this odd collection of underachievers who will be managed by the least bad manager willing to accept the job should wait for the day when the plan – this grand scheme – begins to show signs of working. I might be inclined to trust Epstein if not for the hollow rhetoric that spews from Ricketts’ mouth like perfumed bile.
The day a Cubs fan should feel good about trusting that the team and organization are headed in the right direction might be coming, but not until baseball and the business office are operated in a fashion that shows a genuine empathy and generosity of spirit for the fans who make it all go around.
That’s the real Cardinal Way, and until the shrewd moves to build the farm system are mirrored by reason and decency in the business office, it’s just another plan that circles the drain until the next bunch come along thinking they are the smartest men in the room.
Posted: October 26, 2013 at 08:54 AM | 6 comment(s)
for his generous support.
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