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Thursday, February 11, 2016

MLB New data results show high school baseball similar to MLB

Fewer pimples in the big leagues though.

I asked GameChanger to separate the high school baseball numbers to remove it from any noise from Little League baseball or softball. The data revealed that pitchers throw a first-pitch strike 56.9% of the time. If the first pitch is a strike, the batter’s on-base percentage is .320; if it’s a ball, the OBP shoots up to .432.

How do such numbers compare to first-pitch numbers in MLB?....

While ERA is lower in high school, it’s easier to get on base because of walks (and easier to score because of unearned runs), so the OBPs are higher in high school. But when you examine how the first pitch influences the outcome of the at-bat, the two brands of baseball that otherwise are a world apart look very similar. A first-pitch ball in high school yields an extra .112 in OBP, or a 35% increase. A first-pitch ball in the majors yields an extra .109 in OBP, or a 41% increase. And major league baseball pitchers aren’t that much better than high school pitchers at throwing first-pitch strikes—only one extra strike for every three times around the batting order, or one strike every 27 batters. The game appears to have a kind of innate equilibrium.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 11, 2016 at 12:24 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gamechanger, high school, stats

Hall of Fame voters exhibit a clear anti-recency bias.

I agree 100%. Players over the last 20-30 years have been getting screwed.

There are 59 major league players in the Hall of Fame born in the 1890s and 1900s (these are the players of the 1920s and ‘30s). Currently there are just 27 players born in the ‘50s and ‘60s (players of the ‘80s and ‘90s). Obviously the process is still dealing with this era, but considering expansion and the increase in the American and international baseball population, the ‘80s and ‘90s players are being left behind. In an recent Hardball Times column, Adam Darowski puts it into a personal perspective, writing:

“Past generations have been able to enjoy seeing their Jim Palmers, Bob Gibsons and Al Simmonses inducted into Cooperstown. Heck, they even got to see their Lefty Gomezes, Rabbit Maranvilles and Sam Rices get in. Seeing players like Walker, Bagwell, Schilling, Mussina and Trammell (not to mention Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez and many others) struggle simply isn’t fair to my generation. We want to see the superstars we cheered for adequately represented.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 11, 2016 at 10:58 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Lorenzo Cain and A.J. Pollock Sign Atypical Contracts | FanGraphs Baseball

I would think at least one of these judgments will be wrong.

For Donaldson, the Toronto Blue Jays are paying for an expected increase due to his MVP season this season, but in the case of the other three players, the teams are paying more in case of an even further breakout for these players. The teams did not receive the typical discount given for two-year contracts, and the only way the team ends up ahead is with an MVP-like season. Given the caliber of these players and the salaries they’re receiving, the team is unlikely to end up behind with these contracts, but they are a departure from the deals that have been made over the past few years.


Developing The baseballr Package For R – The Hardball Times

Here’s some help to get your geek on.

Late in 2015 I wrote a piece here at The Hardball Times that walked through some of my favorite R packages for gathering and analyzing baseball data. Like all things, no single package has everything I need, nor should it. Following that article, I started collecting various functions that I’ve written and routinely use and decided to compile them in a formal package that anyone can easily load and use.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 11, 2016 at 10:31 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Keith Law: 2016 ranking of all 30 farm systems (INSIDER)

1. Atlanta Braves
2015 rank: 6
Players in top 100 (2016): 7

This system was among the bottom five just two years ago after several bad drafts and questionable player development, but a series of trades—including several fleecings of the Diamondbacks—has stocked the system with pitching depth that is the envy of the industry. They tied for the most players in my top 100 and had a couple of other players who could make cases for inclusion, and their 11th- to 20th-ranked prospects still include a lot of prospective major league value. It has been a remarkable turnaround for general manager John Coppolella and his front office, and the future is even brighter with the team having the third overall pick in June’s draft. The team’s agreement to sign Venezuelan prospect Kevin Maitan on July 2 is the worst-kept secret in the industry….

30. Los Angeles Angels
2015 rank: 27
Players in top 100 (2016): 0

I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen. They traded their top two prospects in the Andrelton Simmons deal and had no one remotely close to top-100 status. They need a big draft this year to start to restock the system or we’re going to start talking about whether it’s time to trade Mike Trout.

His Top 100 prospect list is here (INSIDER)

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 11, 2016 at 09:55 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: keith law, minor leagues, prospects, rankings

Prospects Bell, Guerrero have MLB pedigrees | MLB.com

Another great article by Jesse Sanchez. Nobody touches him on the international free agent market.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 11, 2016 at 06:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: international free agents, international players

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-11-2016

Washington Times, February 11, 1916:

The [Baltimore] fans, or, at least, many of the more determined, have set their hearts on a major league team and insist they will not be happy with anything else. In an effort to get what they demand cards are being spread broadcast calling on all lovers of the game to boycott the International League team as representing “tank town baseball.”

Here’s the card:
STAND UP FOR BALTIMORE!
We want BIG LEAGUE BASEBALL or nothing.
...
We can’t compel the moguls to give our city major league Baseball, BUT they surely can’t make the fans support their tank town flag station league.
DON’T Patronize the Internationals.

I know they were angry, but that seems…counterproductive. I do like the phrase “tank town flag station league”, though.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 11, 2016 at 06:53 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: baltimore, dugout, history

Tim Flannery is fed up with Padres fans, writes lengthy statement

For a quick history lesson, Flannery spent the entirety of his 11-year playing career in San Diego, even playing on their first World Series team back in 1984. Flannery was also a part of Bruce Bochy’s coaching staff in San Diego from 1996-2002. After Bochy was allowed to leave San Diego for the managerial job in San Francisco, Flannery rejoined him on the coaching staff until his retirement in 2014.

Based on Flannery’s rant, it’s apparent there are some fans who feel he turned his back on San Diego to join the rival Giants. And it’s very clear he’s tired of hearing from those people.

Meatwad wont hit were you tell him Posted: February 11, 2016 at 02:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, giants, padres, tim flannery

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

MLB.com loses beloved reporter Tom Singer | MLB.com

Condolences to his friends and family.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 10, 2016 at 08:13 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries

Brian Kenny: HALL OF FAME’S ANTI-RECENCY BIAS

Another part of the dynamic is the recent Veterans Committees shutdowns. It began when the Veterans Committee vote went to the Hall of Famers themselves. Those already in the club took Hall of Fame exclusivity to another level, failing to vote in a single new player during three votes over five years. Following that, the Hall Board of Directors changed the process to one with smaller voting panels, dividing the committee into three different segments that each voted on a different era. That means the players of the ‘80s and ‘90s—a group packed with solid candidates—would have to wait for a vote every three years, getting the same chance as the well-picked, thorough talent pool of the pre-1947 players, and the already well-represented 50s and 60s. In the past 15 years, the various Veterans Committees have elected just two players from the 20th century: Joe Gordon, who played in the 1940s, and the tragically overlooked Ron Santo, voted in a year after he died. Veteran’s Committee shutouts have kind of become a sad Winter Meetings tradition, with the Hall brass telling the national media no one was voted in, but how the disappointment is actually striking a blow for “exclusivity.”

Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: February 10, 2016 at 04:06 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: brian kenny, hall of fame, veterans committee

World Baseball Classic Qualifier (Sydney) Day 1 OMNICHATTER

It’s in the middle of the night, but it’s baseball dang-nabbit. All games will stream on worldbaseballclassic.com, with some games on MLB Network (usually those involving Australia). In addition, they will be on ESPN networks in Oceania, from what I understand.


All times Eastern:

9:00 PM Wednesday
South Africa vs. New Zealand (WorldBaseballClassic.com and ESPN Pac-Rim)

3:30 AM Thursday
Philippines vs. Australia (MLB Network, WorldBaseballClassic.com, ESPN Pac-Rim)

Gamingboy Posted: February 10, 2016 at 11:21 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: international, omnichatter, wbc, world baseball classic

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-10-2016

New York Evening World, February 10, 1916:

Last night [William Howard] Taft was the chief speaker at the dinner at the Waldorf, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the organization of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs…Taft asserted that he was for the umpire, first and last. He advocated giving the arbiters even more power than they now have. “I would stop all the chattering on the coaching lines and in the players’ benches. It is unfair for a player to try to unnerve his opponent. This may be rather radical from a professional baseball standpoint, but it is advisable.”

Taft was a bit of a stick in the mud, but IMO would have been a fantastic choice as the first commissioner. He was sort of busy in the 1920s, though, with his job as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 10, 2016 at 10:31 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, william howard taft

Ex-MLB commissioner Bud Selig to teach at Arizona State’s law school

This never would have happened if baseball had a salary cap.

Former baseball commissioner Bud Selig will teach sports law and business at Arizona State’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The university said Tuesday that Selig, 81, had been appointed the O’Connor distinguished professor of sports in America. In addition to teaching, he will become founding president of the sports law and business advisory board.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 10, 2016 at 10:14 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: bud selig, law school

Mets catcher Plawecki opens up about sinus surgery, d’Arnaud - NY Daily News

They like each other. They really like each other.

“I’m sure it’s something that’s going to be entertained,” he added. “Me and Trav are open for anything. We both just want to win. That’s who we are.”

Though they play the same position and therefore compete for playing time, Plawecki and d’Arnaud are big pals. Last year, when d’Arnaud was hurt, they sat together on the bench, dissecting situations. D’Arnaud, the more experienced player, sometimes would proffer ideas — hey, maybe you should’ve gone out to talk to the pitcher last inning.

“He made my transition last year more comfortable,” Plawecki said. “He taught me a lot and I appreciate that.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 10, 2016 at 09:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: kevin plawecki, mets, travis d'arnaud

Wilmer Flores ignores another slight: ‘I want to be a Met forever’ | New York Post

It’s easy to like this kid.

Here is how he practices for his multi-position gig.

“Every day I will work one position and work the whole day there,” Flores said. “Today I worked at third base. One day at third. One day at second. One day at short. One day at first.’’

The uniform remains the same and that is the bottom line. He’s been a Met since he was 16.

“I want to accept this role. I have to accept this role,’’ Flores said. “When I play, I’m going to play like I am an everyday player. This is all I know. I love this organization. They’ve given me everything I needed.

“This team cares about each other, this is really one team and it starts with David Wright. He’s the leader, the captain and he makes you feel a part of this team. We’re going to work harder than ever to get back to the World Series.’’

This is his baseball life.

“I’m very proud to be a Met,’’ Flores said. “If it ever happens again, if I get traded, I will be sad. I will probably cry again.

“But hopefully not on the field.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: February 10, 2016 at 09:41 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, wilmer flores

Giancarlo Stanton most extreme home runs | MLB.com

Who doesn’t enjoy watching homers?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 10, 2016 at 09:06 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Gattis to miss 4-6 weeks after hernia surgery | MLB.com

I wonder whether this injury will impact the Astros plan to get him back behind the plate for some games this season.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis told MLB.com on Tuesday that he will miss four to six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a hernia.

Gattis said via text message that he is optimistic he will be ready for the start of the regular season or shortly thereafter, and he hopes to start getting some at-bats in mid- to late March. Astros position players are scheduled to work out for the first time on Feb. 23.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 10, 2016 at 08:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, evan gattis

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Kevin Maitan is Braves’ primary target, compared to Chipper | www.myajc.com

Sixteen is a long way from the majors but Braves fans can still dream.

“My comparison when I talked to our people was Chipper Jones,” said Blakeley, an international scout for 30 years who previously worked for the Yankees. “Chipper until he hurt his legs could play short, could play third, could have played center. Chipper could have done anything Chipper wanted to do. Maitan reminds me a lot of Chipper Jones.

“Big time power from both sides, and does it easy. Bat whip. Loves to play, loves to compete.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 09, 2016 at 03:49 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, fantasy, international players

The Crack in the Defensive Spectrum

Smart and logical as always from Carleton at BP.  Would love to see this topic expanded to cover outfielders and ‘full’ utility players.

“I think there’s a very flawed assumption behind that logic. It implicitly conceptualizes defensive ability as a single dimension. A spectrum, if you will. You’re either good at “defense” or you are not. It’s like saying that “intelligence” is a single thing, but then mumbling when asked to define what that thing is. Instead, I propose that we take a fresh look at the defensive spectrum through the lens of the actual data.”

Brett "The Hitman" Gardner Posted: February 09, 2016 at 03:25 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

The Uncertain Timetable for Cord-Cutting in Baseball’s Future

The most recent discussions about a sports-rights bubble surfaced three years ago when the Los Angeles Dodgers signed their $8 billion television deal with Time Warner. While those in the industry had been hearing about a bubble for two decades and dismissed its existence, recent developments have provided ammunition for both sides. The Dodgers deal has proved to be a disaster up to this point, but teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks, Philadelphia Phillies, and St. Louis Cardinals have all signed billion-dollar deals of their own to broadcast games on cable locally. While cord-cutting might be “costing” ESPN billions in potential revenue, the company is still as profitable as ever due to higher pricing that make up for fewer subscribers. The concerns around ESPN deal with stagnant growth when it comes to profits, not with the actual profits, which are still enormous.

In discussing the fantastic television ratings for baseball a year ago, I wrote about the current dynamic between MLB and cable, and for the most part, this dynamic remains.

While cord-cutting is occurring across the country, it has not been widespread enough to cause a change of course in the current cable model. The recently discussed merger of Time Warner and Comcast that eventually fell apart would have actually further strengthened the current system. That cable companies also provide internet service, a much more necessary service than cable, only helps them keep subscribers. Change is inevitable, however, and better technology (including services provided by baseball’s own MLBAM) and internet service will eventually cause the current model to fall apart, as those with content will eventually be able to provide that content to their entire audience without the assistance of a cable provider.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 09, 2016 at 02:40 PM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: cable, cord-cutting

Darren O’Day deserved top free-agent contract | MLB.com

Darren O’Day is unique.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 09, 2016 at 01:57 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: darren o'day, orioles, sabermetrics

MLB’s top five smartest offseason moves | MLB.com

2. Rays acquire OF Corey Dickerson and 3B Kevin Padlo from the Rockies for LHP Jake McGee and RHP German Marquez
The Rays’ offense has struggled to score runs—particularly against right-handed pitching—across the past two seasons, but Tampa Bay’s president of baseball operations, Matt Silverman, has done diligent work to reverse that trend.

This offseason, Silverman has added the likes of Brad Miller, Logan Morrison and, of course, Dickerson, three left-handed bats that fare best versus righty opponents. For his part, Dickerson has posted a .970 OPS against righties since the outset of 2014, this despite battling plantar fasciitis last year.

To get the talented Dickerson, the Rays parted with a powerful back-of-the-bullpen arm and his remaining two years of team control, but the return—four years of a middle-of-the-order option—was too good to deny. (And for those worried about the “Coors Field effect” being a problem for Dickerson, relax. Research shows that good hitters are fine when they leave Colorado.)

On a larger scale, Tampa Bay has designed an offense that will rely heavily on righty-lefty platoons, a system of taking two or more players and limiting their usage to scenarios in which they are best suited to succeed. Platoon usage does come at a cost—it is preferable when one player can thrive every day, as that frees an “extra” roster spot—but wise mixing and matching can often yield All-Star-level results at a fraction of the cost.

With Dickerson, Morrison and James Loney versus righties, and Desmond Jennings, Steven Souza Jr. and Steve Pearce around to face lefties, the Rays have a handful of players to strategically deploy at first base, DH and the corner-outfield spots.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 09, 2016 at 11:06 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: off-season

School of Roch: Brady Anderson on Hyun Soo Kim: “He hits line drive after line drive”

How much playing time will Kim get this season?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 09, 2016 at 09:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hyun-soo kim, orioles

Be A Baseball America Intern - BaseballAmerica.com

Looking for a cool place to intern?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 09, 2016 at 09:09 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: internships

Mets’ d’Arnaud cranks up hopes for ‘hell of a year’ after hell of a trip | New York Post

Health is his biggest question mark.

“That’s how you learn, from your failures,’’ said d’Arnaud, who hit .268 during the season with 12 home runs, drove in 41 runs and posted an .825 OPS but only played in 67 games because of injuries. He bounced back, crushing three home runs in the first two rounds of the postseason.

Most of all he wants to stay healthy for his pitchers, whom he raved about.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 09, 2016 at 09:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, travis d'arnaud

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