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Clayton Kershaw Newsbeat

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Bill James Mailbag - 2/3/15 - 2/5/15

Trout Catcher Mask Replica!

Hey Bill, there’s an interesting article today about Ron Hunt on the 538 blog. It says that his feat of 50 HBP in one season is 13 standard deviations better than average, which is apparently off the charts. When people talk about unbreakable records you don’t hear much about that one. Thanks.

... since the minimum in the category is zero and there are 1,519 players [since 1900] who have had 8 or more, it is thus apparent that the distribution of this group is in no way similar to a bell curve, consequently the normal assumptions about the likelihood of something don’t apply. My judgment. . .if you’re a young person, you should probably live to see this record broken.

Jesse Barfield (best arm from my youth) in his first 6 years averaged 23 assists per 162 9-inning games. In his last 6 years, he averaged 19 (drop of 3.5 assists). Converting assists and holds to runs, Baseball Reference is showing him averaging +6 runs in his first 6 years, and +11 runs in his last 6 years (increase of 4.3 runs). Reasonable to conclude that runners held more often, but only affected his assists slightly…

Thanks. Yes, Barfield’s arm may have been as impressive as any I ever saw, certainly on long throws. Clemente threw QUICK, and Clemente threw rifle shots. Barfield threw cannon balls. His throws seemed to hang in the air for impossibly long distances. Greatest arms I ever saw. . .Clemente, Whiten, Barfield, Bo Jackson, Vladimir, Jackie Bradley, Ollie Brown. . .who am I missing here? Jackie last year took a ball at home plate (Fenway) and threw it over the center field wall—400 and some feet away and 25-30 feet high. I doubt if any of the other guys on the list could have done that. Maybe Barfield.

... Imagine if a team of nine Mike Trouts played a best-of-seven series versus a team of nine Clayton Kershaws… Who do you think wins the series?

... Pitchers specialize in one area and hitters in the other, but pitchers still have to hit; they still take batting practice, they still take at bats. Clayton Kershaw has 425 major league plate appearances (and it actually a better-than-average hitting pitcher, for whatever that is worth.) Anyway, pitchers specialize but they still hit; batters do NOT practice pitching, and do not pitch 20 or 30 innings every year just because they have to. It would thus seem to me that the extent to which the outfielder would be out of his comfort zone trying to pitch would easily exceed the extent to which Kerfield was out of his comfort zone trying to hit, and thus extremely likely that the Kerfields would not only win, but would dominate.

What was the best second place team in history? A choice for me would be the 1961 Tigers, who won 101 games and would probably have won 8 pennants out of 10, but had the 1961 Yankees to deal with. Thanks.

A good candidate. My usual answer to this question has been the 1942 Dodgers. The ‘42 Dodgers went 104-50, but finished 2 games behind the Cardinals. You know, mathematically, one team in 8,000 should be strong at all 13 positions (8 regulars, 4 starters, relief pitchers). Since there are only about one-third that many teams in baseball history, then probably there should be no team that is above-average at every position—and, in fact, there isn’t, although I think one can argue for one of the Yankee teams of the 1990s. Anyway, there isn’t, but the 1942 Dodgers are very close to being strong at every position, with Hall of Famers at second (Billy Herman), third (Arky Vaughan), short (Pee Wee Reese) and in left field (Medwick). Their first baseman was Camilli—1941 MVP. In center field was Pete Reiser, an outstanding player for a couple of years; in right field was Dixie Walker, who had something close to Hall of Fame ability, athough his career was broken up at the start by a serious injury and fouled at the end by his infamous role in the Jackie Robinson story. Anyway, 7 really good starters; the 8th was catcher Mickey Owen, who was a good player. Starting pitchers Kirby Higbe, Whitlow Wyatt, Curt Davis and Johnny Allen—all of whom had good careers and were effective in 1942, relief ace Hugh Casey. It’s as close to a perfect team as there has ever been. Larry French was the starter/reliever swing man; he went 15-4 with a 1.83 ERA. . ..he also had an outstanding major league career.

HeyBill, I’d take that bet. Mike Trout earned his first All-State honor in New Jersey in 2008 for his exploits on the mound as a sophomore. He was 8-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 2008, striking out 124 and walking just 40 in 70 innings. He was clocked at 92 mph at age 15… I don’t see anywhere that Kershaw played the field at a younger level, and he has slashed .157 .199 .180 .378 as a pro. With a return to even just his pitching form at 15, I think Trout would dominate Team All Clay.

I don’t. Pitching against 15 year olds is not in any way comparable to pitching against major leaguers. Do you think the kids Trout pitched against could hit .157 in the majors? I’ll guarantee you they couldn’t.. I still think the Kershaws would win easily.


Friday, January 02, 2015

MLB’s most interesting people in ‘15

Which executives, managers and players will drive the MLB narrative in the coming season? Here’s a look at the 15 most interesting people in baseball heading into 2015:

1. Rob Manfred
After an extended run as Bud Selig’s most trusted aide, Manfred takes center stage in late January as baseball’s 10th commissioner. He’ll try to maintain the momentum that has made baseball a $9 billion industry while setting an agenda on pace of play, changes in the draft and free-agent compensation system, and MLB’s efforts to reach out to a younger fan base. Manfred also needs to connect with Tony Clark and the players’ association while navigating the usual array of ownership labor hawks and doves in negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement in 2016.

2. Alex Rodriguez
Where do we start? A-Rod, who missed the entire 2014 season with a drug suspension, turns 40 in July. He’s six homers shy of tying Willie Mays’ total of 660 and collecting a $6 million bonus on top of the $61 million the Yankees already owe him. But the Yankees just signed third baseman Chase Headley to a four-year deal—yet another sign that they want Rodriguez to go away. Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter were universally revered at the end of their runs in the Bronx. The reception won’t be quite as fawning when the most polarizing figure in baseball reports to Steinbrenner Field for duty in February.

They don’t always drink beer. But when they do, its Dos Equis. Wait, is that a centaur joke?


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kershaw claims NL MVP; Trout unanimous in AL | MLB.com

No surprises this year.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 13, 2014 at 07:06 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, clayton kershaw, mike trout, mvp

Trout (unanimous), Kershaw win MVP

AL voting:

Player, Team
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
Points
Mike Trout, Angels30420
Victor Martinez,  Tigers1643321229
Michael Brantley,  Indians86531111185
Jose Abreu,  White Sox163165221145
Jose Bautista,  Blue Jays1394153128
Robinson Cano,  Mariners116524211124
Nelson Cruz,  Orioles6322211102
Josh Donaldson,  Athletics1223365296
Miguel Cabrera,  Tigers1222216582
Felix Hernandez,  Mariners2111111148
Corey Kluber,  Indians11232245
Alex Gordon, Royals112231244
Jose Altuve,  Astros1333941
Adam Jones,  Orioles13112234
Adrian Beltre,  Rangers151122
Greg Holland, Royals11113
Albert Pujols, Angels115
Howie Kendrick, Angels13
James Shields, Royals13
Kyle Seager,  Mariners11

NL voting:

Player, Team
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
Points
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers18912355
Giancarlo Stanton,  Marlins81012298
Andrew McCutchen,  Pirates410151271
Jonathan Lucroy,  Brewers113671167
Anthony Rendon,  Nationals158102111155
Buster Posey, Giants16963111152
Adrian Gonzalez,  Dodgers14233157
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals1443253
Josh Harrison,  Pirates12514452
Anthony Rizzo,  Cubs1423437
Hunter Pence, Giants1323134
Johnny Cueto,  Reds132222
Russell Martin,  Pirates231221
Matt Holliday, Cardinals11217
Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals123117
Carlos Gomez,  Brewers23113
Justin Upton,  Braves11410
Jayson Werth,  Nationals1139
Denard Span,  Nationals118
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers218
Devin Mesoraco,  Reds115
Lucas Duda, Mets13
Freddie Freeman,  Braves12
Justin Morneau,  Rockies12
Dee Gordon, Dodgers11
Troy Tulowitzki,  Rockies11

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kershaw (unanimous), Kluber win Cy Young Awards

AL voting:

Player, Team
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
Points
 
Corey Kluber,  Indians17112169
Felix Hernandez,  Mariners1317159
Chris Sale, White Sox2195378
Jon Lester, Red Sox/Athletics315746
Max Scherzer,  Tigers46832
David Price, Rays/Tigers23416
Phil Hughes,  Twins146
Wade Davis, Royals33
Greg Holland, Royals11

NL voting:

Player, Team
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
Points
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers30210
Johnny Cueto,  Reds2361112
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals72397
Madison Bumgarner, Giants13228
Jordan Zimmermann,  Nationals17825
Cole Hamels,  Phillies6517
Zack Greinke, Dodgers226
Doug Fister,  Nationals135
Jake Arrieta,  Cubs33
Craig Kimbrel,  Braves33
Stephen Strasburg,  Nationals33
Henderson Alvarez,  Marlins11
The District Attorney Posted: November 12, 2014 at 06:55 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, clayton kershaw, corey kluber, cy young award, dodgers, indians

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Clayton Kershaw Is A Goddamn Wizard

He certainly is.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 25, 2014 at 06:18 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Brisbee: Adam Wainwright and the Jan Bradys of years past

Everyone’s [Clayton] Kershaw this and Kershaw that, as they should be. But what of [Adam] Wainwright? He’s the second fiddle. Again.

Which brings us to a search for the best second fiddles since 1980…

C - Javy Lopez…
1B - Kent Hrbek…
2B - Lou Whitaker…
SS - Alan Trammell…

I’ve written about this extensively here, but there’s no greater second fiddle than Trammell…

LF - Tim Raines…
CF - Kenny Lofton…
RF - Larry Walker…
SP - Mike Mussina…
RP - Trevor Hoffman


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pedro pens a letter to Clayton Kershaw

It can’t be easy to train your whole life to compete against baseball’s best, only to show up at the ballpark, look at the opposing lineup, and see Alexi Amarista again. Yet you still find a way to stay focused.

Lars6788 Posted: September 16, 2014 at 06:26 PM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Posnanski: ERA, FIP and Kershaw

Bryce Harper’s RBI against him last night was the first this season by a lefty batter. His second-worst Game Score this year is this game (7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K). etc. etc. etc.

[Clayton] Kershaw is on pace to become just the fifth pitcher since Deadball to have a sub-2.00 ERA and FIP. The previous four are all-time seasons:

1946: Hal Newhouser, 1.94 ERA; 1.97 FIP
1963: Sandy Koufax, 1.88 ERA, 1.85 FIP
1968: Bob Gibson, 1.12 ERA, 1.77 FIP
1971: Tom Seaver, 1.76 ERA, 1.93 FIP.
2014: Clayton Kershaw, 1.70 ERA, 1.89 FIP.

Amazing stuff. Kershaw should become the first pitcher in more than 40 years to tilt ERA and FIP, only the fifth ever, a year up there in its own way with Gibson’s 1968 season. There is no shortage of ways to show just how awesome Clayton Kershaw is these days … but I like this one. Kershaw is dominant in old stats and in new ones. That could be what they mean by timeless.

The District Attorney Posted: September 03, 2014 at 01:08 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers, history, joe posnanski

 

 

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