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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dave Kreiger: New Baseball Hall of Fame voting rules

A mighty adventure when the HOF’s destiny rides in the saddle bags of the…PONY EXPRESS!

The process is brought into the electronic age with online registration and research materials but remains in the Pony Express days with actual submission of ballots by snail mail. The Heisman Trophy has had electronic voting for some time now, so I assume Ernst & Young will ultimately employ this innovation as well. But not yet.

From the standpoint of voters, the new procedure offers the innovation of confirming receipt, never before available because the BBWAA didn’t open ballots until it was time to count them, by which time it would be too late to replace a ballot lost in the mail anyway.

There is no change to the much-discussed limit of 10 votes per voter. Many voters expressed regret that they could not vote for more than 10 last year. I was one of them. I left Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina off my 2014 ballot because I was not willing to abandon candidates I had supported longer — including Raines, Trammell and Jack Morris.

The 10-year eligibility limit will turn over the names more quickly, reducing this ballot congestion problem to some extent, but off the top of my head I can name more than 10 players I’d like to vote for this year.

Repoz Posted: September 14, 2014 at 04:41 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Sports Bog: Fans Switch From Skins to Nats

Dan Steinberg’s Sports Bog takes an off-beat look at sports and whatever else strikes his fancy at any given moment.

#FTTR Fail To The Redskins

boteman is not here 'til October Posted: September 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: funny, media, nationals, radio

Kapler: Baseball’s next big competitive edge

Really terrific piece. No snark.

However, we are now more than a decade past the publication of Moneyball, and, to put it bluntly, the days of simply adding an analytical genius to the front office and expecting him to tip the scales are over. There’s simply too much information-sharing in today’s world for any club to gain a lasting structural informational edge over their competitors. Proprietary information is becoming harder and harder to come by. While there are certainly frontiers of data not yet fully explored, I believe the next real advantage will come not from which team can acquire the most information, but from which team can best put that information into practice. How efficiently and successfully information is shared with managers, coaches and players will equal wins now and going forward.

Herein lies one of the great challenges of implementing winning, but unconventional, techniques. Players are resistant to change; managers are disinclined to upset habits. Think about the eye-rolls whenever a team says, “We’re going closer by committee.”

A slightly more extreme example came up in conversation last night. Former first-round pick and MLB veteran C.J. Nitkowski alerted me to a piece written by our FanGraphs colleague, Eno Sarris. I had not yet read the article and asked C.J. for an overview.

“Essentially, Eno thinks we should be moving guys around in the outfield during the game based on defensive strength. Crazy! Can you imagine how the weaker outfielder would feel?”

C.J.’s half right. I can think of two dozen major-league outfielders who might have bruised egos, but I can also think of a dozen who’d be cool with it. The difference isn’t (just) player makeup, its institutional buy-in.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2014 at 11:28 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: gabe kapler, just a bit outside, sabermetrics

Fraley: Millions in lost revenue from ticket sales will impact Rangers payroll | Dallas Morning News

Not in Fenway.

The rule of thumb is that, conservatively, each ticket sold is equivalent to $35 in revenue. That means the Rangers will lose about $13 million in revenue over last season because of the decline in attendance. That will impact the payroll.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers

Do base stealers disrupt the pitcher/defense or the batter? | MGL on Baseball

Digging into the details.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Massive Tie Scenarios : baseballmusings.com

If MLB wanted more teams in the playoff hunt, the extra wild card spot seems to be doing the trick. All they need is another playoff team or two and just about every team will be in the hunt, just like hockey.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 14, 2014 at 10:10 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs


OMNICHATTER 9-14-2014

I’m back, and so is MM-DD-YYYY format!

There are 15 game days remaining (including today).

Gamingboy Posted: September 14, 2014 at 12:14 AM | 114 comment(s)
  Beats: omnichatter

Saturday, September 13, 2014

OMNICHATTER Saturday 2014.09.13

Give us this day our daily OMNICHATTER, hopefully while there are still games being played.

Now with ISO8601 date formatting in the title! YAY STANDARDS!!

boteman is not here 'til October Posted: September 13, 2014 at 02:16 PM | 136 comment(s)
  Beats: omnichatter, pennant race

Frank Torre dies at 82

Brother of Joe Torre. R.I.P.

boteman is not here 'til October Posted: September 13, 2014 at 02:10 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: death

Caple: Batting practice: Swings and misses

Swing Away Cologne, by Joe Maddon. Available at Macy*s.

Is all the additional time players spend on BP and working in the cage as beneficial as it is expected to be? Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, who led the way in utilizing defensive shifts, said no.

“What we’re doing differently is we’re not taking as much of [BP],” Maddon said of his Rays. “I’m not a big believer in it. I think it’s very overrated. Because No. 1, I think too many guys go out there just trying to hit homers. No. 2, they swing way too much in the day.

“I think there’s a point of diminishing returns that sets in, arm-weariness-wise, by hitting too much. I think it’s an overrated concept. I’m not saying it’s unnecessary, and it’s good like 70 percent of the time, maybe 75 percent of the time. But the other 25 percent is not necessary. It’s a ritual.”

Maddon also said the advances in video, metrics and defensive analysis mostly favor the pitcher and work against the hitter. He said batters need to keep their minds clear and their eyes open, which allows them to react more quickly to the ball. He said visualization techniques, such as spotting the numbers written on a tennis ball thrown at 90 to 100 mph, are more important than practice swings.

“You don’t even have to swing at it,” Maddon said. “Just look at it to train your eye to see it and pick it up sooner. To me, that’s not trained enough while the swing is trained way too much. Just seeing the ball can be as important as swinging at it.

“You can have all most wonderful theory, the most erudite, simplistic theory thrown at you, and it’s not going to help you a bit unless you feel it as a hitter.”

Maddon, in fact, suggested aroma therapy—say, wearing his father’s favorite cologne—can be just as helpful for a batter.

“That, to me, can be much more beneficial than 25 extra swings,” he said.

Molitor, now a coach with the Twins, agreed too much information can sometimes be overwhelming for a hitter.

“We can try to prepare guys and help them gain confidence through practice,” he said. “But when they get out there, it’s a whole different dynamic. The mental side is as important or more important than the mechanics.”

Davis recommends that hitters, particularly those who don’t play every day, stand in during pitchers’ bullpen sessions. They won’t swing the bat. They don’t need a bat. But they need to see the ball thrown in a game-like situation.

“The key is to see what’s coming at you and make that decision to swing or not swing,” he said. “Go down to a bullpen when you’ve got three or four guys throwing, and track the pitches. If you close your eyes, you’re not seeing it. If you’re not seeing it, you’re not going to hit it. Because there are too many pitches. Sinkers, cutters, changeups, curves, sliders, splitters—you’ve got to track the ball. You’ve got to read the ball as quickly as possible to react.”

McClendon began his pro playing career in 1980. He, too, thinks there is a little excess of BP these days.

“When I played, we didn’t have soft toss,” he said. “We looked at film, we took batting practice and we played the game. Today’s players, it can almost be a crutch, all the cage work. It can sometimes be overkill. It’s like anything else in life—you can overdo it. Sometimes, you just need to take a step back. I get all the technology stuff. But what I tell my players is Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron didn’t have all that stuff. They took good old-fashioned BP and went out and played the game.”

JE (Jason) Posted: September 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: batting practice, joe maddon

Nitkowski: The other side of a batter getting hit in the face

There is a second side to this story though, one that is often overlooked. After the game when Fiers spoke with the media he was visibly upset about the incident. To the point of near tears, Fiers expressed his sympathy and sorrow for the unintentional pitch that struck Stanton in the face. His concerns were with Stanton and his emotions could not have been any more sincere.

For Fiers there will be a recovery process as well, one not nearly as daunting as what Stanton will likely go through, but it is a process nonetheless.

In 1998 I experienced nearly the exact same situation. Pitching for the Houston Astros at the time, a two-seam fastball got away from me while facing Craig Counsell, then a member of the Florida Marlins. After fouling off a few pitches that were away, Brad Ausmus and I decided it was time to throw a pitch middle-in. Counsell was giving me a tough at-bat with the bases loaded and I knew if I executed this two-seam fastball in, I had a good chance to induce weak contact or maybe even a strikeout.

It was raining that night, but I have never used that as an excuse. The reality was I didn’t finish the pitch, I didn’t drive it to the glove, and when I released the ball it was headed straight for Craig Counsell’s face. When a ball like that comes out of your hand you’re just hoping he gets out of the way. He didn’t. The pitch struck Craig Counsell on the side of the face, breaking his jaw.

It’s an awful feeling as a pitcher. There is no intent, you are just trying to win an at-bat, a pitch gets away and suddenly you realize you have may have just put an opponent’s career in jeopardy.

You don’t sleep well in these situations. Laying in my hotel bed that night I replayed the pitch over and over again in my mind. Was the mistake mental? Physical? What would I have done differently? Was the pitch selection wrong? You just want to go back in time and make it go away.

The next day is not much better. I called Craig at the hospital. If memory serves, his wife or girlfriend at the time answered the phone. This doesn’t get any easier. You’re quickly reminded of the effect this has not only on him, but the ones around him who love and support him and have become so invested in his career.

I spoke with Craig and relayed my apology and my concern. I couldn’t think of much else to say. When you’re in that situation, I imagined he really didn’t want to hear me drivel on about how sorry I was. He was very gracious to me on that phone call. You feel a little better, at least for the moment.

Read the whole thing.

JE (Jason) Posted: September 13, 2014 at 12:20 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: beanballs, c.j. nitkowski, hit batsmen

Baseball Caught Looking as Fouls Injure 1,750 Fans a Year

“...It was just a little kid, man,” Johnson said. “It happens every game—somebody gets hit. Whether it’s a bad one or not, somebody gets hit in the stands every single game.”

Johnson isn’t far off. About 1,750 spectators get hurt each year by batted balls, mostly fouls, at major-league games, or at least twice every three games, a first-of-its-kind analysis by Bloomberg News has found. That’s more often than a batter is hit by a pitch, which happened 1,536 times last season, according to Elias Sports Bureau Inc. The 8-year-old boy was one of four fans injured at the May 20 game, according to a “foul-ball log” and other first-aid records at the Braves’ Turner Field…”

NattyBoh Posted: September 13, 2014 at 11:27 AM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, injuries, lawsuits

Friday, September 12, 2014

Chris Sale’s Season for the Ages

0.920. Sale’s WHIP. Only three lefties have finished a season with a lower mark, and Sale is not old enough to remember any of them: Dave McNally (0.842) in 1968, Dutch Leonard (0.886) in 1914 and Doc White (0.903) in 1906.

30.28. This is Sale’s strikeout percentage, the best in the AL. He’s striking out almost every third batter he faces. Only one other lefty did it better in a full season, and that was Randy Johnson—twice. The Big Unit had a 34.24 mark in 1997 and a 33.95 percentage in 1995.

With all apologies to David Price, plenty of us have been saying for a while that Sale is baseball’s best lefty not named Kershaw, and now we have the numbers to better illustrate this point. Kershaw has a 213 ERA+ to go with Sale’s 196. No season prior to 2014 has seen two lefties put up numbers this high.

madvillain Posted: September 12, 2014 at 11:19 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: chris sale, cy young award, white sox

Has Expanded Replay Worked Well In Baseball? Here’s Our Call

Nice article. It shows when mangers use challenges, how often they’re correct, etc. I’m really curious about their data on which umpires have the most overturned calls, rather than just stating that Guccione has only one and Cedarstrom has twelve.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 12, 2014 at 05:28 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: replay

Miami man charged with smuggling Cuban baseball star to U.S.

Gilberto Suarez, 40, allegedly paid $250,000 to smugglers tied to the Los Zetas drug cartel to bring Puig to America in exchange for a cut of his expected Major League Baseball contract.

Federal prosecutors are seeking to get back the money Suarez allegedly earned from the operation, according to the indictment, as well as almost $3 million in real estate and luxury cars.

Also mentioned in the article is a Cuban boxer named Yunior Despaigne, of whom it’s unclear if he’s related to the other Despaigne folk in that other thread.  Or perhaps every third dude in Cuba has that last name.  Who knows.  I’ll wait for the movie to clear this all up.  It’s sounds like there’s a good story if there are any screenwriters out there.

 

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 12, 2014 at 04:15 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alien smuggling, cuban free agents, yaisel puig

Chris Davis Suspended 25 Games For Amphetamine Use

Wow, really committing to this “Maris has the real record” bit.

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis‘ season is over as he has been suspended 25 games after testing positive for amphetamines, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun… The suspension will cover eight postseason games, should Baltimore advance that far, as the team has 17 regular season contests remaining.

The District Attorney Posted: September 12, 2014 at 11:17 AM | 114 comment(s)
  Beats: chris davis, orioles, ped, suspensions

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-12-2014

Milwaukee Sentinel (page four), September 12, 1914:

PITCHER BURNS ARRESTED AND LOUISVILLE LOSES

...In the fifth inning Umpire Johnstone called Metz safe at the plate on a close play. Louisville players protested and it is said, witnesses say [sic], Burns threw a handful of dirt in Johnstone’s face and then hit the umpire in the nose. Players held Burns and Johnstone until the police arrived. Burns was taken to jail charged with assault and battery.

More from the Milwaukee Journal:

This makes the fourth player that has been arrested and fined in Indianapolis in the last two weeks. Outfielder Reilly, Phil Lewis, and Cryil [sic] Slapnicka being the other three.

This was actually worse than a player punching an umpire in the nose. It was a player breaking an umpire’s jaw with a punch.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: September 12, 2014 at 08:16 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, sleepy bill burns

OMNICHATTER 9-12-2014

17 game days remain (including today). Let’s hope Stanton ends up okay, too.

Gamingboy Posted: September 12, 2014 at 12:32 AM | 117 comment(s)
  Beats: omnichatter

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang to be posted; should the Yankees pursue him?

However, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, there might be a new name to enter the ring: 27-year-old Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang (or Jeong-ho Kang). Don’t let his age deceive you—Kang appears to be someone who could start playing in the majors leagues as soon as he’s signed, without needing time in the minors. Cafardo says that Kang’s team, the Nexen Heroes, plan to post him this off-season:

   Kang is going to get posted for a major league job. The righthanded power hitter, who has 38 home runs and 107 RBIs in 107 games this season, is 27 years old and will stay at shortstop or convert to second or third base. He’s listed at 6 feet, 180 pounds, but he looks bigger. The Cardinals were interested early, but a few teams have been added to the mix. Kang has major power and with the absence of it in the majors, he should get some serious money.

Kang’s success in Korea goes beyond the traditional stats as well, though the home run numbers are gaudy enough to be intriguing regardless.

Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2014 at 10:55 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jung-ho kang, korean baseball, yankees

Giancarlo Stanton hit in face by pitch

Stanton immediately fell to the ground in the batter’s box at Milwaukee’s Miller Park and never stood back up as medical personnel tended to him and ultimately placed him into an ambulance while on a stretcher.

Scary stuff in Milwaukee. Also:

Umpires ruled that Stanton swung at the pitch as his body spun in an attempt to get out the way of the ball. Reed Johnson then took Stanton’s at-bat over, and Fiers then hit Johnson in the hand with a pitch high and inside.

Hopefully, this will be remembered in the end as the at-bat where a pitcher recorded a strikeout while hitting two batters in the plate appearance, and not as a turning point in Stanton’s career or life.


Johnny Cueto shuts down the Cardinals, lowers ERA to 2.15

Cincinnati is out of contention, but that didn’t stop Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman from combining on a three-hit shutout of St. Louis as the Reds took three of four games from the Cardinals.

Cueto did the heavy lifting with eight shutout innings and then Chapman did his usual thing in the ninth inning, striking out two batters for his 33rd save.

Cueto’s excellence has gotten somewhat overlooked just because Clayton Kershaw has been so ridiculously amazing for the Dodgers, but the Reds ace now has a 2.15 ERA in a league-leading 222 innings this season.

People talk like Kershaw has the Cy Young wrapped up but Cueto could have 40-50 mores innings, more wins, and more strikeouts than Kershaw. I think Kershaw is the slight favorite her but if Cueto finishes strong and Kershaw slips just a bit, I could see Cueto deserving the Cy Young.

Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: September 11, 2014 at 03:54 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: reds

Yo Joe! Unanimity, Stadium Names, Field Goals

From Brilliant Reader Melody:

Yo Joe! I’m assuming you’re not a fan of teams selling their stadium names to large corporations. It’s sad for many reasons, including a disconnect between the stadium name and the local area, as stadiums were often named for physical features of the area or important local individuals.
I know you’ve been to far more ballparks than I have– if you could re-name each one that’s sold its name, what would you choose?

Joe:

All right, Melody, I’ll bite. Here’s what I’d call each stadium — mostly I would go old school:

Baltimore: Camden Yards.
Toronto: Skydome.
New York: Yankee Stadium 2.0 (or 3.0, really)
Tampa Bay: Demolished.
Boston: Fenway Park.

 

Baldrick Posted: September 11, 2014 at 03:01 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: general, joe posnanski, stadiums

Ron Washington Departed Over Legal Issues

Did Roger Goodell cover this up too?

I have learned this evening through a source with knowledge of the situation that long-time Texas Rangers skipper Ron Washington’s sudden departure from the club was due to impending legal issues stemming from an alleged sexual assault of a reporter. I have cross-checked this information and feel confident in going forward with what I know, and am currently reaching out to obtain more details of the situation. Please follow our official Twitter account at @TweetTheScoop for details as I get them.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2014 at 02:52 PM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, ron washington

Sternberg: Rays’ payroll likely to go down

They can’t afford big stars like Grant Balfour anymore.

Stu Sternberg spoke to reporters prior to Wednesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium, and the Rays’ principal owner made it clear that he expects a payroll reduction for 2015.

“It’s clearly going to be lower,” Sternberg said. “This year was an enormous aberration. Look, having said that, if the greatest thing since sliced bread shows up, and it costs us money, anything is possible. We never say no to anything, but the default is clearly going to be lower.

“Our two highest payrolls have been the years we stepped it up, 2009 and 2014, and those are the only two years we haven’t played significant September baseball.”

The 2009 Opening Day payroll was $63.3 million, up from $43.7 in ‘08, and this year, the Rays opened the season at $76.8 million, up from $61.9 million.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2014 at 01:44 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: payrolls, rays, stuart sternberg

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