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Monday, March 30, 2015

The 2015 Season Preview in Data Visualization – The Hardball Times

Some great stuff in this post. Really, go look at it.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 30, 2015 at 10:32 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: predictions, sabermetrics

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fastball-changeup interplay featuring Jacob deGrom - Beyond the Box Score

Putting Jacob DeGrom under the microscope.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2015 at 11:13 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jacob degrom, mets, sabermetrics

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bill James Mailbag - 3/24/15 - 3/26/15

I need to see Bill’s high school stat line.

Hey Bill, on the Tommy John surgery boom, a couple of questions: 1) I’m pretty sure you’ve answered this in detail before, but is the proliferation mostly the result of Little League and high school kids throwing curveballs long before they should? And/or: 2) Were there a larger number of early-career burnouts before Tommy John? When I was in Little League (early ‘60s), our best pitcher threw a nasty curve. We dominated the league when he pitched, which was pretty much all the time because we only played a couple times a week. But I remember him asking the coach to take him out of a close game toward the end of the season because his arm was so sore. This may not have anything to do with TJ surgery, but I bring it up just because the curve has been a holy grail for pitchers for a long time.

Well, I’m not any kind of athlete, but I was on a high school baseball team that played for the state championship; I didn’t really play, but anybody who wanted to be was on the team in theory, and the other guys were pretty good. When we played in the state championship, the coach allowed our best pitcher to pitch a 7-inning complete game on Saturday and another on Sunday. Some of the questions you are asking don’t really have answers. In my view the increase in the number of surgeries is driven mostly by the lack of fear of the surgery. People aren’t really afraid of that surgery any more; we figure that almost everybody comes back from it, so if there are indications that there is going to be a problem, we’d rather get it taken care of at the start of a young player’s career, rather than when he is ready to move to the major leagues. There are probably other factors driving the frequency of the surgery as well, but exactly what they are is poorly understood, I think.

... in thinking about Brooks [Robinson] at 3B—or, say, Mariano Rivera at “closer—do you find yourself thinking “was this historically great player played out of position?” Should Brooks, really, have been playing shortstop? And would that have further boosted Brooks’ potential value in an overall historical perspective?...

Regarding Mariano as a starter. . ..one year the Red Sox beat up Mariano pretty badly toward end of the year, and I suggested to Terry Francona that maybe the Yankees had over-exposed him to us, let us see him too many times. Part of what made Mariano magic was that he pitched so few innings every year that he only faced each opposing hitter two to three times per year, on average, if the opponent was a regular. One year he pitched about 10 times against us, and we started to hit him really hard. I suggested to Terry that maybe we just saw him too much, but Terry didn’t buy it at all; he said, “No, we just happened to catch him two or three times when he didn’t have his best stuff.” I was never sure whether that was a “true” reaction or a politically correct-this-is-what-us-professionals-say-about-that type of reaction. . . .Regarding Brooks as a shortstop, Brooks didn’t have quick enough feet to be a shortstop. What made him wondrous was that, like John McDonald, he had that wondrous ability to put his glove in front of the ball in exactly the right position at exactly the right moment; of course, he had other skills that McDonald didn’t have. But his feet weren’t quick enough to have been a shortstop, I don’t think. But your point is a good one; there probably are Hall of Fame players who were sort of miscast. I always though Fisk probably should have played third, and might have been Mike Schmidt if he had.

Topical question: as a fan, it sort of bothers me when a young super-talent is indisputably one of a team’s 25 best for Opening Day, but gets sent down for three weeks to retain an extra year of club control. Is this an ethical issue, in your judgment, or perhaps the rules should be re-written to avoid this annual controversy?...

If the player uses the rules negotiated between the union and MLB to maximize his income, is that unethical? Of course it is not. Why, then, would it be unethical for the team to use those rules so as to maximize their return? It would raise an ethical issue if the young player was being exploited in some way, not given value for his contribution. But a player who has a STARTING salary of $500,000 a year cannot reasonably be seen to be exploited.

Reading about Darrel Evans made me wonder, have any players ever thanked you for what you wrote about them in the old abstracts? I remember for some of them, it seemed like you were the only guy who realised how good someone like Brian Downing, Ken Phelps or Ron Roenicke was, or could be. IF they got a chance.

Yes. . . .actually, a good many times. I have heard from Darrell Evans, not thanking me exactly, but I think he’s aware of what I have written about him; seemed to be. But we definitely hear from athletes who appreciate things that are said about them. . .not only me, but those I work with. One of the players who received a Fielding Bible Award, a lesser-known player, wrote to Baseball Info Solutions in February to thank them for the award.


Not so fast, Matthew Lucroy!

Harry Pavlidis
‏@harrypav
About this http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/baseball-joe/blog/not-so-fast-matthew-lucroy-032515
it makes false claims about or work @robneyer

I don’t know much about Pavlidis. Is he incredibly thin-skinned or something?

Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 26, 2015 at 10:11 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: catching, neyer, sabermetrics

Monday, March 23, 2015

Votto, Phillips: Same team, different approaches

Brandon Phillips, the new Jeff Francoeur.

Nothing against Votto, Phillips says, but he’s up there swinging the bat, believing driving in runs is the best way to help your team win games.

Nothing against Phillips, Votto says, but he believes the best way to score runs is simply getting on base, no matter the situation.

And regardless what statistics may say, they’ll never change their ways, believing their method is best.

“I don’t do that MLB Network on-base percentage (stuff),’’ Phillips told USA TODAY Sports. “I think that’s messing up baseball. I think people now are just worried about getting paid, and worrying about on-base percentage, instead of just winning the game.

“That’s the new thing now. I feel like all of these stats and all of these geeks upstairs, they’re messing up baseball, they’re just changing the game. It’s all about on-base percentage. If you don’t get on base, then you suck. That’s basically what they’re saying. People don’t care about RBI or scoring runs, it’s all about getting on base.

“Why we changing the game after all of this time? If we all just took our walks, nobody would be scoring runs. Nobody would be driving anybody in or getting anybody over. How you doing to play the game like that. People don’t look at doing the things the right way, and doing things to help your team win.

“I remember back in the day you hit .230, you suck. Nowadays, you hit .230, with a .400 on-base percentage, you’re one of the best players in the game. That’s amazing. I’ve never seen (stuff) like that. Times have changed. It’s totally different now.

 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Neyer - On DIBS and the Future of Batting Statistics

We’€™ve all been cognizant of DIPS for ... gosh, it’s been nearly 15 years now. But for whatever reasons, we don’€™t usually pay nearly as much attention to DIBS. Maybe because there’s not a single baseline for DIBS, as there is for DIPS.

What Jedlovec has done, though, is drill about as deeply into hitters’ performances as possible, and come up with something that’s more useful, more predictive, than even the more sophisticated numbers we usually reference.

TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 17, 2015 at 02:10 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Monday, March 16, 2015


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Inside the new system that wants to revolutionize how we look at pitches - Yahoo Sports

Pitch sequencing – or how a pitcher approaches a hitter or multiple hitters by linking different types of pitchers in an intentional order – is believed to be very important, and the QOP system ignores it, considering its dependence on context inconsistent with the model.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2015 at 06:35 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Are pitchers getting hurt more often? - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

Some interesting stuff from David Schoenfield.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2015 at 12:40 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: pitcher injuries, sabermetrics

Parity Found: Welcome to MLB’s 2015 Projected Standings, Where Everyone (and No One) Is a Winner «

Some good stuff from Ben Lindbergh. This is just one tidbit. Read the whole thing.

The AL is a prognosticator’s nightmare. As Phil Birnbaum and Neil Paine have noted, there’s an absolute limit to the accuracy of baseball projections. Even if we were omniscient when it came to team talent levels, we wouldn’t be able to predict luck. And luck has large effects: As Birnbaum wrote, “On average, nine teams per season will be lucky by six wins or more.” So what do we do with a division like the AL East, where the worst team is projected to finish only six games behind the best? Even if those projections were perfect, it wouldn’t be at all unusual for the worst team to beat the best one through better luck alone. In the East, then, there’s no such thing as an upset. Meanwhile, the Central and the West are projected to have new division winners — the Indians and the Mariners, respectively — but in both cases, the projected margins of victory over last year’s winners (the Tigers and Angels) are a single game. At the moment, no AL team has even a 45 percent chance of winning its division this year. As Morgan once put it, depressingly, “Every team is mediocre and flawed.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2015 at 12:09 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: projections, sabermetrics

Saturday, March 07, 2015

MLB trades: Everything you wanted to know but were too nervous to ask - Beyond the Box Score

NEWSFLASH: Billy Beane and Alex Anthopoulos like to make deals.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2015 at 08:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, trades

Thursday, March 05, 2015


Locking Up Brian Dozier | FanGraphs Baseball

This doesn’t paint an optimistic view of Dozier’s future.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 05, 2015 at 09:41 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: brian dozier, sabermetrics

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

MLBAM Player-Tracking System Is Set for Coming-Out Party This Year : Sports Video Group

I’m really looking forward to this.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2015 at 10:55 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, tracking, video

Velocity is not Mike Trout’s problem - Beyond the Box Score

Talking about Trout’s “problem” hitting a fastball is like complaining about the ugly feet of a supermodel.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2015 at 09:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, mike trout, sabermetrics

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Adam Dunn, Juan Pierre, and Why We Need WAR «

No, this is not the OTP thread.

Pierre and Dunn are the John Adams and Thomas Jefferson of their generation. They rose to prominence around the same time, became the focal points of rival factions, and, in their declining years, saw their differences reconciled. And finally, they exited the stage almost simultaneously, having left us in a far different place philosophically than we were when they arrived.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 03, 2015 at 06:31 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: adam dunn, juan pierre, sabermetrics, war

Monday, March 02, 2015

Is Charlie Brown the Worst Manager Ever? – The Hardball Times

His team needs a new pitcher.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2015 at 09:27 AM | 205 comment(s)
  Beats: charlie brown, managers, sabermetrics

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Several aces may need to adjust to a low zone loss. | SportsonEarth.com

Sorry, it’s the right adjustment.

“A hitter can take as many swings as he wants,” Butcher said. “Pitchers are only allowed a certain amount of throws per day. So when you start tinkering with the strike zone, I think it’s a longer adjustment process for a pitcher to go through. I think it would be a tough adjustment and the wrong adjustment for the league.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 01, 2015 at 08:01 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: pitching, sabermetrics

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tiger Tales: A Detroit Tigers Blog: Updating Catcher Defense: Where Does Alex Avila Rank Now?

Lee Panas looks at catcher defense.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 25, 2015 at 09:17 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Monday, February 23, 2015

ESPN: The Great Analytics Rankings

ESPN rates every sports organization on its use of analytics.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 23, 2015 at 06:46 PM | 163 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nate Silver: Sports nerds have it too easy - ESPN

Yeah, nerds, stop whining while you run your regressions and correlations!!

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2015 at 11:55 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Q&A: Travis Sawchik on ‘Big Data Baseball’ and the rise of the Pirates through analytics

An interview with Travis Sawchik, author of the upcoming book “Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2015 at 10:50 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: books, pirates, sabermetrics

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Posnanski: Things I learned from Strat-o-Matic

Non-Strat-O-Matic fans who are curious about the subject can try to follow Poz’s attempt to explain the game mechanics. I have no idea if that is actually possible to do in this format. He tried, anyway.

Strat fans can presumably nod along, and appreciate this:


Veterans can be just as risky as prospects | FOX Sports

And veterans cost a hell of a lot more than prospects.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2015 at 09:30 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, sabermetrics, veterans

Monday, February 16, 2015

Vote now for 2015 SABR Analytics Conference Research Award winners | SABR

Tonight is the deadline. Last chance to vote!

Jim Furtado Posted: February 16, 2015 at 06:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

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