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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Do some stats suggest Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson is below average? - LA Times

Andrew Friedman farts in Fangraph’s Defensive Stats’ general direction.

The Dodgers have benched rookie center fielder Joc Pederson, who batted .169 in July and is batting .114 in August. The team had stuck with him for weeks, even as his offensive performance dropped, citing his outstanding defense.

However, according to a variety of statistics available on the Fangraphs website, Pederson’s defense ranks below average among major league center fielders.

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, declined to discuss the team’s internal evaluation processes but said they rank Pederson’s defense much more highly.

“There are real limitations to the defensive metrics in the public sphere,” Friedman said. “Through watching him on a daily basis and through our information, we’re very confident Joc is an above-average defender.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 29, 2015 at 11:38 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: fielding, sabermetrics

Friday, August 28, 2015

Los Angeles Dodgers can hit and get on base—so why can’t they score? | FOX Sports

The way I figure, it comes to four things. Very slightly, the Dodgers have underachieved with men on base. They’ve been a bad baserunning team. They’ve very infrequently reached on errors. And then some of this is probably just simple bad luck. Combine those and I imagine you can account for the missing half-run a game. You at least get close. That’s why the Dodgers haven’t scored as many runs as you’d think.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 28, 2015 at 10:25 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, sabermetrics

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hey, data data: MLB teams face challenge delivering info to players

Some great points in this article.

Some still choose to do their trend-spotting homework themselves. In addition to video and heat maps, Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki said he delves into the raw data while scouting opposing hitters.

“You look at exit speed velocity,” he said. “You look at tendencies in certain counts and certain pitches and quadrants of the zone. Velocity comes into play.

“You try to match it up with your pitcher that you have that day.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, scouting

The Pyramid Rating System: JAWS on a Career Scale – The Hardball Times

Interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing some rankings.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 27, 2015 at 08:37 AM | 102 comment(s)
  Beats: rankings, sabermetrics

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Year BaseRuns Failed | FanGraphs Baseball

Why don’t we just wait until the end of the year.

If we extrapolate the current deviations from BaseRuns out to 162 games for all teams, then the final season standard deviation for the league would be 7.4 wins, nearly double what it has been in previous years. Of course, the teams that have defied BaseRuns so far probably won’t continue to do so at the same rate over the final six weeks of the season, but even if every team plays exactly as BaseRuns would expect over the rest of the year, we’re still likely to end the year with three teams at at least 10 games off of their BaseRuns record, and the Cardinals could easily make it four. Heck, the Reds, Marlins, and Rangers are all close enough where it wouldn’t be entirely crazy if any of them ended up +10 or -10 by the end of the year, so theoretically, we could have seven teams end the year with double-digit differences between their expected records and their actual records.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 26, 2015 at 08:59 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

THE ROAD THEY’VE TRAVELED: GEORGE PLIMPTON, DRA RUN VALUES, AND THE CUBS ROTATION

How is Baseball Prospectus’ Deserved Run Average (DRA) calculated? Read the article for some insight.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2015 at 03:13 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dra, sabermetrics

Monday, August 24, 2015

10 Degrees: The hard truth about RBIs - Yahoo Sports

Jeff Passan makes a case against the importance of the RBI in the MVP discussion. He also writes about a few other things.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 24, 2015 at 05:04 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: matt harvey, mike trout, mvp, notes, rbi, sabermetrics

Mike Fiers’ no-hitter shows Astros not driven solely by stats Ken Rosenthal notebook | FOX Sports

The analytics vs. scouts dichotomy is fiction.

Here’s to staying open-minded.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 24, 2015 at 10:46 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mike fiers, sabermetrics

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Friday, August 21, 2015

MGL: Why WAR is a terrible metric for an MVP discussion

Now, obviously WAR will correlate very highly with non-context-neutral performance. That goes without saying. It would be unlikely that a player who is a legitimate MVP candidate does not have a high WAR. It would be equally unlikely that a player with a high WAR did not specifically contribute to lots of runs and wins and to his team’s success in general. But that doesn’t mean that WAR is a good metric to use for MVP considerations. Batting average correlates well with overall offensive performance and pitcher wins correlate well with good pitching performance, but we would hardly use those two stats to determine who was the better overall batter or pitcher. And to say, for example, that Trout is the proper MVP and not Cabrera because Trout was 1 or 2 WAR better than Miggy, without looking at context, is an absurd and disingenuous argument.

So, is there a good or at least a better metric than WAR for MVP discussions? I don’t know. WPA perhaps. WPA in winning games only? WPA with more weight for winning games? RE27? RE27, again, adjusted for whether the team won or lost or scored a run or not? It is not really important what you use for these discussions by why you use them. It is not so much that WAR is a poor metric for determining an MVP. It is using WAR without understanding what it means and why it is a poor choice for an MVP discussion in and of itself, that is the mistake. As long as you understand what each metric means (including traditional mundane ones like RBI, runs, etc.), how it relates to the player in question and the team’s success, feel free to use whatever you like (hopefully a combination of metrics and statistics) – just make sure you can justify your position in a rational, logical, and accurate fashion.

Be sure to read through the comments. They’re absolutely excellent and worth checking out.

Dave Studeman had some awesome work on Pennant Probability Added back around 2008. Much as there’s been a shift towards RA9, I think there ought to be greater consideration on leverage-adjusted contextual stats for the purpose of determining the MVP award.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: August 21, 2015 at 11:31 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: leverage, sabermetrics, war, wpa

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Baseball teams use in-depth data to win

Sig Mejdal, a former NASA engineer who now serves as director of decision sciences for the Houston Astros front office, said last summer: “Sabermetrics used to give teams a competitive advantage. Now it’s just table stakes.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 20, 2015 at 07:31 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Monday, August 17, 2015

How To Run Sports Data Regressions in Microsoft Excel – TechGraphs

Help for fledgling sabermetricians who want to get their geek on.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 17, 2015 at 07:40 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Friday, August 14, 2015

More on Game Theory and Defensive Shifts

OK, whose job will be to man the whiteboard when the front office flunky explains the math to David Ortiz?

Despite Ortiz hypothetically succeeding 55% of the time he bunts during a shift, our mixed strategy nash equilibrium calculation shows us that he should actually swing away around 88% of time he sees the shift and only bunt in 12% of those plate appearances. That 12% would become even smaller meaning Ortiz would bunt even less if he increased his rate of bunting success.

Alright, I am finally done rambling on about game theory. I set out to find a way for players to beat the shift and after boiling it all down I came up with a couple of conclusions. At best players could see some brief success by bunting when a shift is on. They might be able to grab a few easy bags, but eventually defenses will catch on and alter their strategy. In reality, both the batter and the defense will make their moves based on their probabilities of success and failure. With that being said, I would tell batters to keep an eye out for teams who do not respect the equilibrium theory suggested. Batters may have a chance to exploit these teams who do not alter their strategy based on previous or current information. .

Jim Furtado Posted: August 14, 2015 at 08:19 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: game theory, sabermetrics

Forecasting Pitcher Platoon Splits – The Hardball Times

Not any shocking findings but interesting nonetheless.

Managers, it appears, stack their lineups with more lefties when facing right-handed pitching but pay little attention to the projected platoon split of the pitcher. The right-handed pitchers projected to have reverse splits faced roughly as many left-handed batters as the right-handed pitchers with the most extreme projected splits and dramatically more left-handed batters than the left-handed pitchers with the weakest projected splits. Daily fantasy managers may well act similarly and, in either world, some advantage could be accrued by looking at more than just a pitcher’s throwing hand.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 14, 2015 at 07:57 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pitchfx, pitching, sabermetrics

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cwik: Brian Kenny is ready to televise the sabermetric revolution ... again

Rob Neyer *and* Kevin Millar working together? That was awkwarrrdddddd.

The broadcast should be similar to MLB Tonight’s live look-ins, where the hosts will frequently jump in between games as the action unfolds. Sometimes, they’ll go directly to the local feed or the game, but other times the analysts may talk while the action is still going on.

Kenny said that the latter approach can often lead to some interesting discussions, and that’s what the panel is hoping to capture here. Having four different opinions from four men who have viewed the game through different lenses should help immensely.

“I think with the four of us, it’s just going to be a little more analyst-heavy, but I think it’s the right group. And I think there’s a possibly that this will be something that’s evolutionary in sports broadcasting.”

“In today’s day and age, you want a little more instant analysis and commentary, and we do that all the time on MLB Tonight. I think this is a good way of incorporating it within MLB Now, where we have more in-depth analysts.”

The game, however, will still be a main focus. “I don’t like to let two pitches go by without saying what the count is, or who’s up, or what the options are, or who’s on deck,” Kenny explained. “I think a fan still likes the play-by-play. You still need to have things underlined.”

At the same time, things have changed. While no one is arguing to get rid of traditional broadcasts, the advanced stat revolution has made it so that Kenny and his crew can perform this experiment.

There will still be some who are opposed to advanced metrics, but it’s nearly impossible to ignore how much they are being embraced within the game right now.

“This has been a revolutionary year in baseball,” Kenny said. “The tide has turned. Things that I thought wouldn’t be possible a few years ago are now happening. Troy Tulowitzki is leading off and no one is saying a thing about it. Most every team has an excellent hitter in the two-spot. That wasn’t happening years ago.”

“Managers got smart overnight. And it’s now become a lot more accepted, and hip even, to be able to utilize this information. Jeff Banister and Kevin Cash and A.J. Hinch speak about it all the time openly with pride.”

“That was not the case with managers a few years ago. It was the case in the front offices a few years ago, but now it’s all throughout organizations all the way down to the dugout. I see this as just a natural extension.”

JE (Jason) Posted: August 11, 2015 at 09:51 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brian kenny, mlb network, rob neyer, sabermetrics

Monday, August 10, 2015

Catcher Framing: Does Size Matter, And Is Age Just a Number? – The Hardball Times

So age does have its effects. It cuts off the youthful rise in framing experience around age 25, then imposes a long and very gentle recession of skills, broken only when longtime veterans get pared down to those with enduring defensive ability.

If one hoped for a dominating effect from age or height, though, one is disappointed. Age mainly serves to cap the learning curve of novice catchers, and height is meaningless. Anyone looking for a magic formula to find catchers inclined to become framing wizards will have to dig much deeper into other numbers.

As analysts for 30 teams or so no doubt are digging right now.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 10, 2015 at 02:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch framing, sabermetrics

Rays Tales: A struggle to develop position-player stars | Tampa Bay Times

Richie Shaffer last week joined an exclusive club — more exclusive than you’d think — when he became just the 26th position player in 20 years to be drafted, signed and developed by the Rays and debut in the majors with them.

The Rays expect great things, of course, from Shaffer, who was their top pick in the 2012 draft. And if he pans out as projected, he will be part of an even smaller group, as of that 26 the Rays have produced only two homegrown All-Star position players, OF Carl Crawford and 3B Evan Longoria.

Among the other two dozen that made it to the majors, only a few could loosely be considered impact players — Aubrey Huff (as much for what he did after leaving the Rays), B.J. Upton, Rocco Baldelli (in a career shortened by illness).

Jim Furtado Posted: August 10, 2015 at 06:13 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, sabermetrics, war

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Can Sabermetrics Replace the Officer FitRep?

Sabermetrics brings objectivity to baseball management through a more robust statistical analysis. Managers can now make personnel decisions not only using the quality of a player, but by assessing how well one fits within the existing talent structure of a team. A team which plays in a hitter-friendly ballpark will target players differently than a team at home in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. A manager is now also more likely to consider the talent surrounding a player—their context within the team—than base a decision solely on the individual player’s skills independently.

Like Major League Baseball, the success of the US military depends upon best using the talent of our outstanding men and women in uniform. No baseball team would stand a chance on the field today if it didn’t incorporate advanced analytics into the clubhouse; the US military must recognize its shortfall in these tools and put data analytics into its game.

Bourbon Samurai Posted: August 09, 2015 at 11:32 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: navy veteran, sabermetrics

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The Limitations Of The 2015 StatCast Data | FanGraphs Baseball

Don’t get me wrong…..StatCast is a great thing, and we are only scratching the surface of what it can eventually become. The sample generated for this article yielded some benchmarks which will serve as the foundation for some analysis you will see here in the coming weeks. Still, when one is faced with a data set, one must put it into some sort of context, while acknowledging its limitations.

In many of my previous articles here, I have warned readers to never take pure average velocity data at face value; launch angles, BIP type frequencies, pull percentages, etc., significantly affect hitter and pitcher performance, and can be easily be overlooked. For this year, at least, we should additionally be aware of the StatCast data set’s unique shortcomings, which adjust the context within which analysis takes place.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 06, 2015 at 11:17 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Mike Trout having his best season of career | MLB.com

NEWSFLASH: Mike Trout is a great player!!

Jim Furtado Posted: August 06, 2015 at 08:33 AM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: mike trout, sabermetrics

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Process Report » To Pull Or Not To Pull

A look at the results.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 05, 2015 at 06:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, sabermetrics

Tuesday, August 04, 2015


The Change: Severino, Gray, Owens, Norris & Rookie Pitchers or Rookie Hitters?

There isn’t a lot of daylight between Jon Gray and Henry Owens, and neither is coming into a great situation for a pitcher. They’re also very different, in that the lefty Owens has two non-fastballs that should help his average velocity work, while Gray is a big velocity righty with a tight slider and a changeup with great fade but not much drop. Gray’s command might be better, but if you’re temped to move him ahead of Owens, you always have to remember that home park. At least Gray doesn’t throw a curve ball.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 04, 2015 at 09:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, sabermetrics

Monday, August 03, 2015

The 2015 Strike Zone, Through July | FanGraphs Baseball

The ever expanding strike zone.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 03, 2015 at 11:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, strike zone

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Buster Posey’s Pitch Framing Makes Him A Potential MVP | FiveThirtyEight

Sounds like WAR needs to be tweaked.

No current version of WAR accounts for framing, a catcher’s art of carefully receiving the pitch in such a way as to cause the umpire to call it a strike. That happens to be Posey’s most important defensive talent. Good framers turn pitches outside of the zone into strikes and keep pitches within the zone from being called incorrectly as balls. This ability, in turn, scares opposing batters into swinging at less-optimal pitches, making the impact of good framing significant. Our best estimates put a good framer as worth up to three or four wins per year.

So far this season, Posey has racked up 11.8 runs in value from his framing, more than an entire win’s worth to add to his total and putting him within a win of Trout. Catchers who consistently earn strikes where umps usually call balls are clearly good at manipulating the umpires, but there’s some mystery as to how good framers like Posey get those calls. I wanted to understand not just what Posey does when a pitch comes in, but also what he does that other catchers don’t do.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 30, 2015 at 01:03 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, catchers, defense, giants, pitch framing, sabermetrics, war

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