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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Sabermetrics Newsbeat

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The 3-man rotation? It’s coming ... sometime, says Bill James

Suppose that a team used a three-man starting rotation, but limited each pitcher to 80 pitches a start or five innings. (This actually would work with 90 pitches a start, but 80 is more conservative, so I’m going to use 80 as a working premise.) Anyway, a starting pitcher always and absolutely comes out of the game as soon as

1) He has pitched five innings, or

2) He has thrown 80 pitches.

No exceptions. Eighty pitches, it’s the fifth inning, you’re ahead 9-0 and you have two outs and two strikes on the hitter ... tough luck, Sally, you should have thrown more strikes earlier in the game.

Steve Carlton just threw up in his mouth.

eddieot Posted: November 25, 2015 at 11:18 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, sabermetrics

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 | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, sabermetrics

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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 | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Monday, November 23, 2015

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

Monday, November 16, 2015

The strain of WAR you use can dramatically affect your perception of a player - Beyond the Box Score

Calling them all the same name is confusing. When Bill James came up with Runs Created, every alternative runs formula creator didn’t call his creation the same name.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 16, 2015 at 11:12 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, war

Friday, November 13, 2015

3 Statcast lessons learned in 2015 |

We want more Statcast data!!!

Jim Furtado Posted: November 13, 2015 at 06:38 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sullivan: The Extra Value of Having an Elite Reliever

It couldn’t be cleaner. We were missing about 1.7 wins. Through Clutch, we located about 1.7 wins. This appears to explain the over-performance, but given the consistency, it shouldn’t be thought of as over-performance; it should be thought of as a team capability, that WAR misses.

This is evidence that having a shutdown high-leverage reliever can be worth more wins than WAR would suggest. And this is just in the regular season, so we’re not touching on any further benefits in the playoffs. When you have that reliever, you can make sure to use him at the most important times, saving close games and putting out assorted other fires. I think it’s entirely intuitive, so this probably isn’t a shocking result. This doesn’t get into deeper bullpens. And I might be overlooking a bias or two that explains what’s been found. Very well could be there are going to be comments below that make me out to be an idiot, but if they’re right, I’ll appreciate them, since I’d love to have more than one brain considering this.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: November 11, 2015 at 11:46 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: clutch, leverage, relief pitching, sabermetrics, war

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Baseball Prospectus | Winning By Design

OK, I’m going to read up a little more about “design thinking.” From what I’ve read so far “a method of meeting people’s needs and desires in a technologically feasible and strategically viable way” is really just a business speak definition of thinking differently. I’m going to keep an open mind on the topic but, at first blush, it just seems like a new fangled name for an old concept.

Design thinking, according to Harvard Business Review, is “a method of meeting people’s needs and desires in a technologically feasible and strategically viable way.” Baseball teams have several core needs and desires, but they mainly want their employees to perform as well as possible in order to win as much possible in order to make the most profits possible. Obviously, in order to do so, teams want their players to play as well as possible, but they too also want their scouts to evaluate and find talent as well as possible, their coaches to teach and manage as well as possible, and their front office to make decisions as well as possible.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 10, 2015 at 03:50 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, team building

Monday, November 09, 2015

Baseball Prospectus | Passed Balls and Wild Pitches: Getting It Right

BP refines one of its defensive metrics.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 09, 2015 at 01:57 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: catching, sabermetrics

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Baseball’s battle between scouting and analytics continues - The Boston Globe

Oh dear.

In the AL West, the Astros were always more analytical, but they’ve acknowledged scouting is still important. Billy Eppler, Cashman’s longtime assistant who is the new GM of the Angels, leans analytical, though he embraces scouting. Now the question is, can Eppler and manager Mike Scioscia co-exist? Scioscia may be the last of the old-fashioned managers who consider analytics taboo. Scioscia will eventually lose this battle.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2015 at 07:27 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: get off my lawn, sabermetrics, scouting

Friday, November 06, 2015

Were the Mets Ever Really in It?

A look at the World Series from a probability-added perspective raises some questions:

  1. Did the Mets *really* contend?
  2. Was Sally Perez the best choice for MVP?
  3. How big a deal was Murphy’s game four error?

Quick answers, in reverse order: big deal but not the biggest; i’m leaning “no” but remain open-minded; not as well as they seemed to at the time.

J-Doug Posted: November 06, 2015 at 03:53 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, royals, sabermetrics, world series

The Mets Were a Bad Defensive Club | FanGraphs Baseball

No, your eyes weren’t lying to you.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2015 at 06:59 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, sabermetrics

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jobs Houston Astros

This has to be in somebody’s wheelhouse.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 29, 2015 at 09:05 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: jobs, sabermetrics

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A World Series Sabermetrics Spectacular | FiveThirtyEight

Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Oct. 27, 2015), it’s a very stats-y World Series special. We discuss Daniel Murphy’s incredible postseason and which team is the “team of destiny,” and then feature a special intra-FiveThirtyEight showdown between our biggest Mets fan and biggest Royals fan. Plus, a Significant Digit on Abby Wambach’s goal-scoring milestone.

Note: This episode was recorded before we all lost our minds watching Game 1 of the World Series.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 28, 2015 at 10:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, podcast, royals, sabermetrics, world series

Yoenis Cespedes and the Mike Trout Treatment | FanGraphs Baseball

Why does Fangraphs hate the Mets?

Few players looked less like themselves against the high heat than Yoenis Cespedes this season. It’s always been something of a problem for Cespedes, but this year, that problem was exacerbated. Cespedes’ weakness appears almost identical to Mike Trout’s, and we know how the league responded to that. The league, maybe surprisingly, hasn’t responded quite the same way to Cespedes, but then again no two players are the same. Cespedes has another problem area, so pitchers have at least have another option. The elevated fastball feels like the bigger weakness, the one that’s more exploitable, but maybe it’s also riskier. The interesting part, now, is seeing which route the Royals choose to take.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 28, 2015 at 06:15 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, royals, sabermetrics, scouting, world series, yoenis cespedes

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sabermetrics: Baseball Analytics and the Science of Winning [Infographic] - Blog

Just in time for the World Series, MBA@Syracuse is taking a closer look at baseball’s predictive analytics.  The article features three compelling graphics, including a brief history, sabermetrician’s tool kit, and side-by-side comparison of the Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes and Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2015 at 03:16 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: education, sabermetrics

Episode 75: You Lyin’ So Much | CESPEDES FAMILY BARBECUE

Good stuff here.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2015 at 10:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting, podcasts, sabermetrics

Stolen Base Times | Bill James Online

Something new to spend time on.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2015 at 06:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, stolen bases

Monday, October 26, 2015

Kelvin Herrera’s New Twist | FanGraphs Baseball

More good stuff from Jeff Sullivan.

His fastball breaks a good deal arm-side. His changeup breaks a good deal arm-side. His slider breaks a good deal glove-side, with more than seven inches of run. Based on movement, it’s actually a fair comparison for Jose Fernandez‘s breaking ball. And Herrera has figured out his delivery and control. As a consequence, the majority of Herrera’s postseason sliders have been strikes, and the majority of the swings at the slider have missed. I don’t even think the Royals planned on this, but a neat way to not miss Greg Holland is to have one of your other relievers take his numbers to the moon. Herrera was already effective, but now he’s pitching like another closer. The guy blessed with the fastball suddenly has two other things.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 26, 2015 at 11:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: kelvin herrera, sabermetrics

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Science of an Insane Hitting Streak - The Daily Beast

“If you’re in the zone, your ideation is positive. You’re not thinking about the bad things. And thinking positively has been shown to have an effect on outcomes,” he wrote. “Honestly, I don’t know why it doesn’t turn up in the research. I think it’s the adjustments again. You get hot, you get more scrutiny, and they look closer at how to get you out.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2015 at 01:09 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: daniel murphy, mets, sabermetrics, streaks

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Royals’ anti-Moneyball approach has them on brink of another pennant

Verducci cleverly omits other two highest pitch per PA teams this year: Cubs and Mets. Plate discipline is so 2002.

The four teams in the league still playing Moneyball—the teams with the most pitches per plate appearance—combined for zero postseason wins (Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, Mariners).

bigcpa Posted: October 21, 2015 at 07:48 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs, blue jays, ignorant writers, royals, sabermetrics

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Siegrest, platoon splits, and Joe Maddon | MGL on Baseball

MGL on platoon splits. He followed up with this article.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2015 at 06:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lindbergh: The Good, the Bad, and the Bullpens: Joe Girardi, Mike Matheny, and the Manager’s Most Dangerous Game

There’s no well-known statistic we can use to quantify bad bullpenning. But as the Grinder would say, “What if there was?” After the 2009 season, former Baseball Prospectus author and quantitative consultant Tim Kniker developed a managerial reliever-use rating system, which he dubbed Bullpen Management Above Random. BMAR’s purpose is simple: It’s a way of assessing how closely each manager lined up his best relievers with his team’s highest-leverage relief opportunities. Essentially, it’s a stat that tells us how often a manager’s bullpen moves made fans lie awake and wonder, “Why him?”

Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: October 13, 2015 at 10:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpen usage, managers, sabermetrics

Friday, October 09, 2015

A Short(-ish) Introduction to Using R Packages for Baseball Research – The Hardball Times

If you are a budding sabermetrician, this is a must-read article. Great job, Bill Petti!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:51 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

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