Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback



All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Editor - Baseball Primer


Not Thurman Newsbeat

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Win a Free Copy of THT 2016! | FanGraphs Baseball

OK, I just bought my copy. Here’s a chance to get your copy for free.

Have you heard? The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2016 is now available for sale. You can check out the table of contents and read some excerpts from the book. When you finish that you can purchase it from our independent publishing platform, Createspace, in print form, or from Amazon in print form, and also digitally on Amazon for the Kindle.

But wait, there’s more! Because we’re giving folk, and since it’s the beginning of the holiday season and all, we want to give you a chance to win yourself a free copy of the book. So today and tomorrow (and yesterday), we’ll be running a trivia contest based on one of the articles in the book. The first person to post the correct answer in the comments will win a free physical copy of the book (sorry, no free Kindle version). It’s just that simple!

Today’s question comes to you from Peter Bonney’s article, “Who Watches the Watchers? Introducing Umpire Consistency Score,” where he, you know, introduces an umpire consistency score. You’ll have to read the article for the nuts and bolts of the metric, but it sets out to do just what it says. Bonney utilizes both raw UCS as well as UCS150, which is UCS (re-normalized) per 150 pitches (i.e. UCS per typical game). Toward the end of the piece, he busts out his whole leaderboard of umpires who worked from 2008-2015 and called at least 10,000 pitches. So the question before you today, dear reader, is this:

Can you name two of the top 10 umpires, as ranked by UCS150?

Note: If you name more than two umpires, your entry will be automatically discarded.

Good luck!

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2015 at 11:07 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: books

Free-agent starters Red Sox may try to sign |

If his medicals look good, Cueto would be a really good fit for the Red Sox.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2015 at 08:40 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, red sox

One way to help improve the Red Sox pitching in 2016: Keep Jackie Bradley

It’s still weird to see analysis like this in a newspaper.

Across the game, the correlation between outfield defense and runs shaved off a pitching staff’s predicted ERA was significantly higher than the correlation between infield and catcher defense and ERA.

In other words, while it’s possible to make an impact with either an elite infield or an elite outfield, the teams with elite outfields tended to help their pitchers more than teams with elite infields.

That’s where Bradley — along with Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo — could play a significant role for the Red Sox going forward. Whoever Dombrowski acquires to front his rotation stands to benefit greatly with that group patrolling the outfield behind him.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2015 at 08:38 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, sabermetrics

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-25-2015

Not a ton of baseball in the newspapers of Thanksgiving Day 1915.

Topeka State Journal, November 25, 1915:

Arthur (Buck) Weaver, formerly catcher for the Denver and Wichita Western League baseball clubs, was probably fatally injured today in an explosion and fire that damaged the plant of the Mountain Motor Fuel company of which he was superintendent…An electric spark is believed to have caused the explosion.

This is not Black Sox Buck Weaver, but the Browns/Cardinals/Pirates/White Sox catcher who played in the majors from 1902-1908. I’m not sure whether he ever recovered from these injuries, but this Buck Weaver passed away in Denver in March 1917.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 25, 2015 at 08:05 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: art weaver, dugout, history

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Muñoz’s path to the Phillies doesn’t often happen

Durso had welcomed Muñoz on to the Homers for Hope baseball team, and into his home. He and his wife, Katie, had taught Muñoz some rudimentary English. He had done all of this under the tyranny of the calendar. Whatever hope Muñoz had of remaining in the United States, restarting his pitching career, and extricating his family from the pull of the Dominican Republic’s poverty would run out come Dec.31, when his visa expired, unless a major-league organization threw him a lifeline.

If one did, he had to be ready to catch it. So as the Philadelphia Fall Baseball League’s season wound down, Durso and two of his friends from Homers for Hope, David Olmo and Nick Massaro, volunteered themselves as Muñoz’s personal pitching coaches and catchers. During afternoons, Muñoz often called Olmo to ask if they could play catch for an hour or two, just so Muñoz could get some work in. When Muñoz needed to long-toss to keep his arm limber, Durso took him to the football field at Bonner-Prendergast High School. Muñoz stood in one end zone and heaved the ball to Durso in the opposite end zone, and the field’s artificial turf allowed Durso to skip his return throws, since he didn’t have the arm strength to reach Muñoz on the fly. That exercise was easy enough. There was another that proved more challenging, and dangerous….

November became December. Muñoz had less than a month before he would have to return to his home country, and return a failure. He would step off that plane and try to look his wife in the eye without shame, and his daughter… coming up on 6 months old… having spent not a second in her father’s arms… when she was old enough to understand, to ask her daddy about why he had gone to America and what he had done there, what would he tell her?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2015 at 04:35 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: jairo munoz, phillies

David Stearns on His Vision for Building the Brewers | FanGraphs Baseball


On the information beast: “I really don’t see a dichotomy between the analytics and scouting departments. I see them both as information sources where we need the absolute best of both. We’re going to build out both until we feel we have the best information we can possibly acquire. We’re always going to want more. That’s the nature of the beast. In this industry, the game is, ‘What is the next frontier in baseball and where can we get the next competitive advantage?’”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 03:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, david stearns, general managers

Help Wanted: Job Seeker Journal Writers « Ben’s Biz Blog

Looking for a job at the Winter Meetings is equal parts exhilarating and maddening, as hundreds of seekers vie to land a geographically and economically appropriate position. Some are content with securing an internship — anything to get that proverbial foot in the door — while others have already gone this route and are now intent on full-time employment. Some are just out of (or still in) college, while others are taking a leap of faith by trying to break into baseball after having started out within a different line of work.

Every story is unique and worth sharing. In 2015, as during the previous three Winter Meetings, I will run a series of Job Seeker Journal guest posts on this blog (these will also be compiled and featured daily on Therefore:

Are YOU attending the Winter Meetings as a Job Seeker?

Do you want to write about it?

If so, please get in touch — — with a photo of yourself and the following information:

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 02:39 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: winter meetings

Report: MLB in ‘advanced negotiations’ to play games in London

You’d think Brits might be tired of the Royals by now.

MLB is in “advanced negotiations” with the operators of Olympic Stadium to play games in London, according to a report from Ben Rumsby of The Telegraph. It’s possible games could be played in Europe as soon as 2017.

Olympic Stadium, which was built as the centerpiece of the 2012 London Olympics, is currently undergoing renovations and will re-open in 2016. It will have a seating capacity of 54,000 when renovations are complete.

“That stadium, the way it’s built, actually is big enough for a baseball game,” said Clive Russell, managing director of MLB International, back in 2012. “It’s not perfect, but it has some real potential.”

Russell cautioned the stadium is “tight and there would be some struggles with sightlines,” though that was before the renovations.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2015 at 12:59 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: international, london

USA Baseball’s senior national team brings home silver from Premier 12 tournament |

On the night Randolph spoke with, his team broke through to a crucial 3-2 win over Korea in 10 innings, pushing the Americans on to the Premier 12 quarterfinals. There they handled former five-time Major League All-Star Andruw Jones and his Kingdom of the Netherlands team in a 6-1 win to earn a trip to Japan.

After a 6-1 semifinal win over an upstart world No. 12 Mexico team, the US ran out of gas in an 8-0 loss at the hands of Korea in the gold medal match. Despite the loss, the US brought home a $600,000 prize and the second-largest points share for the WBSC’s 2016 world rankings. The silver medal was the US senior team’s second straight after earning second place in the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Beyond the hardware, Randolph came home with an extended baseball family.

“I’m going to be looking forward to watching their progress,” he said. “When I leave here, these kids have given me their time, and I’m never going to forget that. I feel like they’re my team, and I’ll have a relationship for as long as we’re around this place. I really feel like they’re my kids.

“Believe me, I’m going to be checking the box scores.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:56 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: tournament, usa baseball

Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada is more muscle than man | For The Win

He is not a little girlie man.


Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:52 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, yoan moncada

Mariners GM Dipoto: Cano happy in Seattle |

It’s a good thing he feels this way because he’s not going anywhere. Ever.

“He reached out to let me know that did not come from Robbie and that’s not at all reflective of how he felt,” said Dipoto, who replaced former GM Jack Zduriencik two months ago. “Shortly after the season ended, I sat down with Robinson in my office for two hours and we had a great talk and I think we left with a very clear understanding of who one another might be.

“Since the season ended, we’ve had a couple phone conversations and texted back and forth on a couple occasions. I don’t have any reason to believe he has a problem. He has not expressed that to me. As we’re moving forward, we believe he’s going to have a strong season as our second baseman.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:50 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, robinson cano

Starting pitchers should throw fewer innings |

Mike Petriello spits in starting pitchers’ general direction.

So, rather than looking at the first pitcher as “the starter, who has to get me through seven innings,” teams ought to simply think about 27 outs and how best to get them. If that means the best scenario is that the first pitcher gets just 10 outs, the next comes in for three, and then a third gets eight outs to get through the first seven innings, then so be it. If that reminds you of the way things work in the postseason, it should—if it’s good enough for the most important games of the year, then clearly there’s something to it.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:48 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Arizona Fall League Top 20 Prospects |

This year’s group of Arizona Fall League prospects couldn’t match those from 2013 and ‘14, though that’s a nearly impossible standard to live up to. The historic rookie crop that generated so much big league buzz this summer was fueled by several former AFL participants, including Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor, Roberto Osuna, Joc Pederson, Addison Russell and Corey Seager.

While there weren’t as many elite prospects in the Fall League this time around, there still was plenty of intriguing talent. As usual, the hitters stood out more than the pitchers—position players claimed 13 of the first 16 spots on our Top 20 Prospects list—because most clubs opt not to pile more innings on their best young arms.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

BA: 2015 Rule 5 Draft Preview: Names To Remember

Corey Black, rhp, Cubs (24): Black was the Cubs’ No. 16 prospect coming into the 2015 season. There was some expectation that the short (5-foot-11) righthander would end up moving to the bullpen, but the thought was that such a move would help his below-average control and allow his 92-96 mph fastball to play even better. Black did move to the bullpen, but he posted a 7.09 ERA as a reliever last season, his poor walk rate got even worse out of the bullpen, and he fared no better in the Arizona Fall League (19 baserunners allowed in 8.2 IP).

Rafael De Paula, rhp, Padres (24): De Paula has an excellent arm with a mid-90s fastball and a potentially above-average changeup but an inconsistent slider. He was in over his head as a starter but he was much better after a move to the bullpen with a 34-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 26 innings after the switch.

Onelki Garcia, rhp, White Sox (26): Garcia briefly made it to the majors with the Dodgers before they lost him to Chicago in a waiver claim. Garcia pairs a mid-90s fastball with an inconsistent slider. His lack of control has caused issues for him but he misses bats.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rule 5 draft

Rod Carew opens up about his private life and his near-death experience

“We were coming through security at [Los Angeles International Airport],” Devon says, “and the guy there asked Dad if he knew what a ‘Rod Carew’ was on Urban Dictionary.” (It’s a vulgarism that involves going from first base to third base without touching second.) Rod shakes his head in mock dismay upon hearing this, like a put-upon dad in a sitcom, which he often appears to be.

“When he’s getting ornery,” Rhonda says, “we know he’s getting back to normal.”

Wins Above Paul Westerberg Posted: November 24, 2015 at 10:22 AM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, hall of fame, twins

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-24-2015

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, November 24, 1915:

The motor driven scow in which Dwight F. Mallory, one of the large backers and directors of the Baltimore Federal League club and society man, started out alone in a gale from the Magothy River at noon Friday…was found [yesterday] at Wartons Point, in the Chesapeake Bay by a dozen searching parties…There was no trace of the owner.

Mallory was never found, and his body is presumed to have washed out to sea.

It was one of a number of catastrophic setbacks for the Federal League in the offseason of 1915-16. Brookfeds owner Robert Ward, who is said to have bankrolled the league to the tune of more than a million 1915 dollars, died unexpectedly in October. And a quarter of the league (Kansas City and Buffalo) forfeited their franchises as a result of running out of money.

As of November 24, 1915, the Feds were behaving as if their league was still a thing, but it’s tough to imagine them being able to pull out of this death spiral. (No pun intended.)

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 24, 2015 at 08:21 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, federal league, history

Mariners sign free-agent catcher Chris Iannetta to one-year deal | The News Tribune

In signing free-agent catcher Chris Iannetta to a one-year deal Monday, the Mariners didn’t make the move in order to acquire a caddy for one-time franchise cornerstone Mike Zunino.

“Chris is being brought in to be our primary catcher,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “We’ll see where the chips falls once we get into spring and beyond. He’s an experienced player who I feel makes us better.”

So where does that leave Zunino, a former first-round pick who spent two-plus years as the club’s starting catcher before getting a late August demotion to the minors?

“Mike comes in with an opportunity to win playing time,” Dipoto said. “A primary catcher is different from what I would consider an everyday player. There is no catcher who is going to go out and catch 162 games.

“Whether it be a time-share or a backup catcher, Mike is going to be in position to win some of that playing time. He’s still a young guy, and we need to get him back on track.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:46 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: chris iannetta, mariners

Tommy Hutton out as Miami Marlins TV analyst after 19 years | Miami Herald

The Marlins and Fox Sports Florida dropped TV analyst Tommy Hutton on Monday, a move that elicited a flood of Marlins-bashing on Twitter.

Hutton — whose lively personality, candor and willingness to criticize made him popular with viewers — was the team’s TV analyst for the past 19 seasons. He said the Marlins and Fox gave him no explanation for why they aren’t renewing his contract.

“All I got was, ‘We’ve made a decision to go in another direction,’ ” he said. “They insisted it wasn’t about budget. I was surprised and shocked the way it was handled given the fact it was two months into the offseason and a couple days before Thanksgiving.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:42 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting, marlins, tommy hutton

School of Roch: This, that and the other

A lot of good Orioles info in this article.

Showalter also preached the importance of kids playing more than one sport. He sees no value in sticking only to baseball.

“I had a pitcher who was a high draft pick,” Showalter recalled, “and I said, ‘What did you play when you weren’t pitching? Did you play first base, did you play the outfield? What did you play?’ And he goes, ‘I didn’t play.’ I said, ‘What? You didn’t hit? You didn’t play another position? You didn’t play another sport?’ And it brought a lot of things into focus about the issues he had.

“The consistency of bios in media guides will tell you that the really good guys played multiple sports and they had their time occupied between sports. They let the joints, the body, the shoulders, the elbows, the growth plates close completely and they had fun as a young kid. I tell that to parents all the time. They say, ‘What should I do with my son?’ I go, ‘Let him have fun, let him be a kid, let him grow up, let him find something that he has a passion about.’

“A lot of really good baseball players and golfers I know pick the game up late, real late. People have to make these decisions as a parents. Don’t put it in the hands of a coach.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Top 10 prospects: Cardinals still rich with pitching : Sports

Power “is one of the bigger problems in the system,” Manuel wrote in the chat. “We list (Paul) DeJong (as) ‘best power’ in the system currently.”

I advocated for DeJong to be in the Top 10 for that reason. He’s one of the few in the “best tools” section of the rankings not to crack the Top 10. But that “best tools” also illustrates the Cardinals’ situation with position players why and it’s the free-agent market for them this winter: Nick Plummer, just drafted, is considered the “best hitter for average” already in the organization. Magneuris Sierra, who struggled at Low-A before righting his season at rookie level, is the teams “fastest baserunner,” “best athlete,” “best defensive outfielder,” and “best outfield arm.” It’s worth noting here that in this Top 10 and these “best tools” surveys the Cardinals are compared only against themselves. Sierra might have the 11th-best outfield arm in the minors, but if none of the top 10 are in the Cardinals’ organization he’s the best here.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, prospects

Angels aren’t ruling out pursuit of Heyward | FOX Sports

They won’t rule him out. With interest like that, I’m just going to put him on their roster.

The Angels aren’t ruling out a pursuit of free agent Jason Heyward, sources tell Ken Rosenthal and me. And if the Angels sign Heyward, they’d likely move Kole Calhoun from right field to left.

It’s important to note the Angels are only in the preliminary stages of their search for an everyday outfielder. But Heyward is among the many possibilities for new general manager Billy Eppler.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:17 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, free agents, jason heyward

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ken Johnson, Only Loser of 9-Inning No-Hitter, Dies at 82

His son Kenneth Jr. said that his father had been bedridden with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and that he died after contracting a kidney infection.

For three seasons in the heart of his career, 1965-67, pitching for the Houston Astros and the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (the franchise moved after the 1965 season), Johnson was an effective starter, going 43-27 with 26 complete games. It was earlier, however, on April 23, 1964, that while pitching for Houston (then known as the Colt .45s) against the Cincinnati Reds, he claimed his spot in history.

Figuring Out What To Pay Ben Zobrist | FanGraphs Baseball

Dave is really stretching it.

And then there’s me. I’m the outlier in the group, putting down an estimate of 4 years, $76 million, almost doubling the total guarantee that the crowd expects. Of the publicly available free agent prognosticators, I was the high man on both the years and the annual average value, which is quite likely informed by the fact that I put more stock in the statistical analysis than most others do. The fact that I’m so far off the consensus likely says more about me than Zobrist, and in talking with people in the game, no one thinks I’m going to end up being right on this one.
Maybe there won’t be enough teams to see him as a +3.5 WAR guy to get up towards that 4/$76M guess that I put out there. But it’s really difficult to see as Zobrist as worth less than $50 million, and really, something closer to $60 million should probably be his floor. He isn’t going to be what he was before, but even as he gets older, there are still plenty of reasons to think that Zobrist will remain a productive player for the next couple of years.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 23, 2015 at 03:38 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: ben zobrist, free agents, sabermetrics

Sullivan: Quick Study: The Effect of Defense on a Low-Strikeout Staff

One area I have not seen quantified is the effect a good defense (such as that possessed by the Royals) might have when combined with a low-strikeout pitching staff. Would a good defensive team’s pitchers and defense record more outs and post lower ERAs than FIPs? Probably some, but also how much of difference would it actually make? I decided to perform a quick study to see if there was anything to my little theory.

JE (Jason) Posted: November 23, 2015 at 01:36 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, fip, royals

Robinson Cano reportedly unhappy in Seattle, would like to go back to New York

Last week Andy Van Slyke made the news for, among other things, ripping Robinson Cano in a radio interview, claiming that he was lazy, loafed and ended up getting coaches fired in Seattle. There has been a ton of criticism of Van Slyke for saying that, and today John Harper in the Daily News offers several quotes from the Mariners’ former third base coach, Rich Donnelly, defending Cano and his work ethic.

Buried deep in that story, however, is this bit:

So maybe Van Slyke is just so bitter about being fired that he needed someone to blame. But even if Cano has had the best intentions as a Mariner, one long-time friend who spoke to him recently says the second baseman is not happy in Seattle, especially with a new regime in charge there now, and that he’d love to somehow find his way back to New York.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 23, 2015 at 11:43 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, robinson cano, yankees

Page {e2c518d61874f2d4a14bbfb9087a7c2dcurrent_page} of {e2c518d61874f2d4a14bbfb9087a7c2dtotal_pages} pages {e2c518d61874f2d4a14bbfb9087a7c2dpagination_links} | Site Archive



BBTF Partner

Support BBTF


Thanks to
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

(763 - 5:23pm, Nov 25)
Last: Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-25-2015
(36 - 5:17pm, Nov 25)
Last: just plain joe

NewsblogReport: MLB in 'advanced negotiations' to play games in London
(34 - 5:16pm, Nov 25)
Last: Swedish Chef

NewsblogOffseason plotting for Cubs and White Sox picks up steam at GM meetings - Chicago Tribune
(11 - 5:15pm, Nov 25)
Last: SouthSideRyan

NewsblogRed Sox prospect Yoan Moncada is more muscle than man | For The Win
(21 - 4:50pm, Nov 25)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogFree-agent starters Red Sox may try to sign |
(25 - 4:41pm, Nov 25)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogMuñoz’s path to the Phillies doesn't often happen
(6 - 4:31pm, Nov 25)
Last: Zach

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - November 2015
(1187 - 3:52pm, Nov 25)
Last: being STEAGLES isn't the same as having a STEAGLES

NewsblogWin a Free Copy of THT 2016! | FanGraphs Baseball
(4 - 3:42pm, Nov 25)
Last: Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC)

NewsblogStarting pitchers should throw fewer innings |
(42 - 3:34pm, Nov 25)
Last: bbmck

NewsblogOT - November* 2015 College Football thread
(856 - 2:59pm, Nov 25)
Last: Ithaca2323

NewsblogOT Gaming: October 2015
(184 - 2:14pm, Nov 25)
Last: Poster Nutbag

NewsblogOne way to help improve the Red Sox pitching in 2016: Keep Jackie Bradley
(4 - 1:48pm, Nov 25)
Last: Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer

NewsblogRod Carew opens up about his private life and his near-death experience
(56 - 1:06pm, Nov 25)
Last: Jick

NewsblogOT: Soccer in November 2015
(127 - 12:06pm, Nov 25)
Last: J. Sosa

Page rendered in 8.3960 seconds
165 querie(s) executed