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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Jeff Bridich on Building the Rockies (With an Eye on the NFL) | FanGraphs Baseball

It’s tough to think outside the box when you all occupy the same box.

“That’s where your internal process is important — how you evaluate, and not only the players you have, but also the type of development process you have. You’ve got to have people that don’t think alike all the time. Group-think isn’t always a good thing in an organization. You want people who are willing to play devil’s advocate and push your internal convention. If you’ve got that, you’re hopefully setting yourself up to make good decisions.

“It’s important to have principles, and it’s important to have a plan and a strategy, but you also need to have a common-sense approach. And there’s only so much you can do during the season. Unless you have completely unlimited funds, which maybe one or two teams in the league have, it’s very difficult to change your stripes in any one season.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 06:48 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, jeff bridich, rockies

The Dodgers’ Decision To Be Intentionally Inefficient | FanGraphs Baseball

One of the best things about baseball is we’ll eventually find out the answer.

De Leon could make this deal a disaster from LA’s perspective, but if Forsythe provides enough short-term value that they can get past the Cubs in either of the next two years, they’ll comfort themselves with the warmth of a World Series appearance, and maybe a big shiny trophy. Deals that require postseason success to work out are the worst kinds of trades to make, but the best kind of trades to have to make. The Dodgers have already built a winner; with this kind of trade, they’re trying to build a champion.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 06:39 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, rays

Edwards: Scott Rolen, Ron Santo, and the Third-Base Myth

Rolen, Rolen, Rolen, Rawhide!

In one way, Mike Schmidt is the prototypical third baseman: he was a great hitter and provided excellent defense. In another way, though, he isn’t: a prototype is a model on which subsequent reproductions are based. But no other third basemen has ever reproduced Schmidt’s accomplishments. He’s the best third baseman ever.

There’s a view that’s prevailed for some time to the effect that third basemen are just like first basemen except slightly more mobile. This was never really the case, though — and, on offense, third basemen now have a lot more in common with second basemen than there counterparts on the other corner of the diamond. This view likely cost Ron Santo the chances to enter the Hall of Fame by way of the writers’ ballot and, ultimately, prevented him from living to see his own induction.

A very similar player, Scott Rolen, will appear on the ballot for the first time in 2017. Based on the value he provided both on offense and on defense, Rolen deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: January 24, 2017 at 05:18 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, scott rolen, third basemen

Heyman: Best Of The Rest Free Agents

As we near February, some of these players must be getting nervous.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 03:06 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents

Pleskoff: Baseball in Cuba: Part I - The Atmosphere

A few people have floated the idea of a MLB team in Cuba. It’s not going to happen.

Games in Cuba are local celebrations. Tickets for Cubans cost the equivalent of 17 to 19 cents. For Americans, the price was three CUKs, a tourist currency, with each CUK translating to one American dollar. Tourists purchase CUKs at the hotel or a bank for a service fee. Locals pay for any goods and services not provided by the government in Cuban pesos which carry a different value than a CUK.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 03:00 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban baseball

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-24-2017

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, January 24, 1917:

Albert (Reb) Russell, a pitcher with the Chicago Americans, has signed a 1917 contract. Russell is the twenty-first member of the club to come to terms. “Talk of a strike is not worrying me,” Charles Comiskey said. “I am having no trouble in signing my players.”

Meanwhile, the Marshalltown (Iowa) Times-Republican reports that Shano Collins, the White Sox representative to the players’ fraternity, sent a letter to a teammate talking about ice skating and his baby, but mentioning nothing about a strike.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 24, 2017 at 12:49 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Phillies Catchers Have Much To Prove In 2017

In my now-ongoing series on the Phillies rebuild, I’ve examined their pitching, and focused on Maikel Franco. Now, we turn to their catchers.

As GM Matt Klentak has repeatedly done this winter, there will be a stopgap in place, while a fresh young prospect will be groomed to be the next great core player. What will be interesting is to see how Klentak and manager Pete Mackanin balance both.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 10:57 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

The Hidden Effects of Jet Lag on Baseball Players - WSJ

According to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, teams traveling eastward at least two time zones give up more home runs than they otherwise would, offering insights into how the internal body clock affects performance.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 10:55 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: performance

Report: Left-hander Brett Anderson, Cubs agree to deal

Free-agent left-hander Brett Anderson has agreed with the Chicago Cubs on a deal, pending a physical, according to Fox Sports.

Anderson spent the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is just 28 but is coming off his second back surgery in three years, having undergone an arthroscopic procedure during spring training last year. He was limited to just four appearances, and three starts, with the Dodgers this past season, registering an 11.91 ERA in 11 1/3 innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2017 at 10:09 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brett anderson, cubs

Braves say Cobb County owes $14 million more for stadium it is already paying for

In a sign that we are truly living in a world with alternate facts, a Major League Baseball team owned by Liberty Media Company—which is in turn owned by John C. Malone, who is worth an estimated $7.7 billion—claims that it is owed an additional $14 million by taxpayers for the construction of a stadium that the public is already financing to the tune of at least $350 million. The Braves paid $280 million upfront and will add an additional $92 million over the life of the 30-year deal. The kicker? The Braves have already paid for most of the $14 million it says the county is on the hook for. They just want to be reimbursed.

The Braves are requesting reimbursement for a list of five projects; the county responded with a memo that detailed $69.5 million in public financing for transportation projects. In the memo, county transportation director Jim Wilgus noted “we feel this satisfies Cobb County’s transportation improvement contribution.” The Braves, however, say the $14 million outstanding should not count toward the $69.5 already paid.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2017 at 10:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, stadiums

2017 Top 10 third base prospects | MLB.com

1. Rafael Devers, Red Sox
He has been overshadowed in the Boston system by the likes of Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada, but that should change in 2017 with Benintendi in the big leagues and Moncada traded to the White Sox. Devers blends a rare combination of hitting ability and power potential, and he’s ready for Double-A at age 20.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 07:07 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

Harris eager to show Cardinals result of elbow surgery | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com

Potentially one of the biggest stories of the upcoming season.

Like former Cardinals reliever Seth Maness, Harris went into surgery expecting Tommy John and left as one of three professional pitchers attempting to return after an alternative. Dr. George Paletta did a “primary repair” of Harris’ ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) at the bone and then constructed a protective sling out of tape to give the ligament support and protection as it healed. As a result, instead of missing 2017 and adding another 12 months to his absence, Harris intends to show the Cardinals he’s 100 percent, good to go, for spring. He will be throwing “high-intensity” bullpen sessions leading into spring training.

“I gave Paletta a big hug,” Harris said. “It’s happening fast, but we’re excited with where we’re at. I would say I’m probably at 75 percent, even pushing 80. We are close. It’s just a matter of now getting those high-intensity bullpens.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 07:06 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

$20M owed to Yordano Ventura likely hinges on his toxicology report

I know this is news but…

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 07:00 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: royals, yordano ventura

Looters left Ventura to die, according to unconfirmed reports - Royals Review

Initial reports aren’t always accurate but if Pedro’s comments are true, the story of Ventura’s horrible death just got even worse.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 06:58 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: royals, yordano ventura

Monday, January 23, 2017

Dodgers Trade Prospect Jose De Leon Straight-Up to Tampa for Logan Forsythe

After being rumored for months in heated pursuit of Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier, the Dodgers pivoted on Monday and acquired Tampa Bay’s Logan Forsythe for right-handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon.

Dock Ellis Posted: January 23, 2017 at 09:23 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: jose de leon, logan forsythe, los angeles dodgers, tampa bay rays, trades

The Surprising Way Jet Lag Impacts Major League Baseball Games

The most striking effect of jet lag was on poor defensive performance, exemplified best by home runs allowed by pitchers. An increased tendency to give up the long ball was seen among eastward travelers (but not westward travelers), and in both home and away groups. This single stat was enough to explain most of the jet lag effects observed in this study, and it was considered strong enough to negate home field advantage (call it “jet lag disadvantage”). In terms of actual numbers, jet lag-induced home runs resulted in increases between 0.1 and 0.2 runs per game. It may not sound like much, but in a 162 game schedule in which teams score anywhere between 700 to 800 total runs, that can made a big difference. The increases in home runs per game (0.107 for home teams and 0.073 for away teams) accounted for the majority (87 percent and 72 percent) of the extra runs allowed. That’s quite revealing.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 23, 2017 at 03:58 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: jet lag, science

Phillies’ Maikel Franco works to improve plate approach

I’m sold on his bat to ball skills. If he can learn to hunt for better pitches, he can be a star.

Franco offered a blunt diagnosis for his woes at the plate.

“In 2016, most of the time I just went to the plate without a plan,” he said. “I just swung at everything. Now, I think about it like, ‘This year is really important for you. You have to know what you’re doing and have to show everybody more discipline and be more selective at home plate.’ “

Franco wasn’t the only Phils hitter to struggle last season. He was one of six Phils to strike out at least 100 times. Only six big-league teams struck out more and only the Kansas City Royals earned fewer walks.

Franco didn’t rest after playing in 152 games last season, He worked on his new plate approach playing in the Dominican Republic winter league. In 12 games (50 at-bats), Franco hit .240 with one extra-base hit (a double), three RBIs and a .556 OPS.

“I have to show everybody I’ve improved and that I’m learning,” Franco said. “When I went to winter ball, I just tried to do my own thing, see a pitch to hit and how more discipline at the plate because I know this year is going to be really important for me.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 23, 2017 at 03:52 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: maikel franco, phillies

Ryan Zimmerman hits hard but needs to add lift | MLB.com

I would have liked to see a comparison to his 2014-2015 results. (If I have time later today, I check out their handy new tool to investigate myself.) Anyway, this suggests it wasn’t a physical issue but was mechanical. It will be interesting to see if the coaching staff helps him correct the problem.

Though he hit the ball hard, Zimmerman had a pretty low launch angle, which is to say he was hitting hard-hit grounders. When viewed in this context, his numbers above make a lot more sense. While the Major League average for all batted balls 95 mph and up was .538, the average for batted balls 95 mph with a launch angle of 10 degrees and under was .470—just about exactly the .476 Zimmerman had.

So Zimmerman is doing himself no favors by putting his hard-hit balls on the ground, but he’s not being unfairly penalized for them, either. The real problem here, as it turns out, isn’t just what happens when he hits the ball hard. It’s what happens when he doesn’t. As we said before, 51.6 percent of Zimmerman’s batted balls go more than 95 mph. That means just more than 48 percent do not. If hard-hit balls on the ground aren’t helping Zimmerman out as much as you’d think, you can imagine what softly-hit balls on the ground are doing.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 23, 2017 at 11:21 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: ryan zimmerman, statcast

Baseball Prospectus | Prospectus Feature: Command and Control

Interesting stuff. Read the whole article.

Command

Now that we’ve established that CS Prob is a proxy for control, we can build on it. After extensive review, we’ve concluded that CSAA substantially reflects a pitcher’s ability to command his pitches. It’s important to make the connection between what CSAA does and the popular definition of command.

Traditionally command is understood as the ability to “hit your spots”—having the ball end up where you intend it to. Over the years this has been studied in numerous ways—most notably by attempting to determine how much the catcher moves his glove to receive a pitch. This is flawed because the catcher’s glove isn’t always the target, and we can’t know where the pitcher is truly intending the pitch to go.

What we can do is come at command from a different angle. A pitcher with good command should be more predictable for the catcher—their pitches often end up in the locations, and with the movement that the catcher expects. This skill results in easier receiving for catchers, and additional called strikes for the pitcher. Once we aggregate the data cross thousands of pitches, CSAA is able to tell us whether a pitcher is reliably hitting his spots.

CS Prob is actually covariate in the model for CSAA, which is a fancy way of saying that CSAA measures the extent to which a participant tends to affect the likelihood of a strike being called, notwithstanding its final location. As such, CSAA controls for all of the same things as CS Prob and adds in the umpire and catcher for good measure.

So what does accumulating CSAA look like? It’s not as easy as it sounds. Sure, you could throw a ton of pitches in the middle of the zone and basically guarantee that you’ll wrack up called strikes on the pitches hitters don’t offer at. The downside to that approach is that pitches in the center of the plate get crushed.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 23, 2017 at 10:18 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-23-2017

Ogden Standard, January 23, 1917:

A charge that last year’s pennant race in the Pacific Coast baseball league was “fixed” so that the Vernon club could not win was made in a statement by Edward R. Maier, former owner of the club, printed [in San Francisco yesterday]. Maier was expelled from membership in the league last September. At that time the explanation of Maier’s departure generally accepted was that he did not get along with the directors.
...
[Maier:] “In the final game of the season, that upon which hinged the race itself a certain Los Angeles pitcher, whose turn it was to work, was told he could pitch the game only on condition that he would agree to lose. He indignantly refused to enter into any such agreement and he was not permitted to pitch.”

The PCL, of course, denied the allegations. I guess it would probably be easy enough to check the box scores of the final day of the season to see if Los Angeles used a spot starter.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 23, 2017 at 09:56 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fixed games, history

OTP 23 Jan. 2017: Theo Epstein on baseball, politics and what he may do next

Theo globally, act locally:

“The reality is these days so much of the most important work in society is done by these non-profits, most of which don’t get real government funding, so it’s really important to identify the most impactful non-profits in your community, especially in a city like Chicago right now that is battling so many critical challenges and support them,” Epstein said. “Baseball is just bread and circus. What we do, we just entertain the masses.”

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: January 23, 2017 at 07:37 AM | 614 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, politics, theo epstein

2017 Top 10 second base prospects | MLB.com

Except for the top guy, a bunch of new names on the top second base prospect list.

1. Yoan Moncada, White Sox
After the Red Sox broke the bank to sign Moncada—a total of $63 million—he made it to the big leagues in just two years, where he struggled, albeit in just 19 at-bats. He was at the top of the four prospects the White Sox got in that Sale deal and he should see time at second in Chicago at some point in 2017.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 23, 2017 at 06:36 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects reports

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Becoming Yordano

The odds of a young Yordano Ventura ever pitching in the major leagues were astronomically long.  But thanks to ability that Royals officials call a gift, not to mention more than a little good fortune, the fire-throwing young man who starred in game six of the 2014 World Series could be poised to follow in the footsteps of Dominican Republic countryman Pedro Martinez.

Zach Posted: January 22, 2017 at 11:22 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rip, royals, yordano ventura

MLB community mourns deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died Sunday in a car crash in the Dominican Republic. Former MLB infielder Andy Marte died on the same day in a separate car crash in the Dominican Republic.

RIP

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 22, 2017 at 02:41 PM | 77 comment(s)
  Beats: deaths in baseball, obituaries, royals

dWAR Doesn’t Care One Bit About Your Reputation

Do Mattingly was a great first baseman, wasn’t he?

Wasn’t he?


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