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Saturday, December 03, 2016

D-Backs hire Mike Fitzgerald as new analytics head

Which direction will Arizona change to when this plan doesn’t produce a World Series championship within two years? Fortune tellers?

“(Analytics) certainly has been an area of focus for us since coming over here; I know it’s been an area of focus for (owner) Ken (Kendrick) and (CEO) Derrick (Hall) when I was hired,” Hazen said. “We want to look to strategically build this department.

“He has a phenomenal reputation, very smart, impressed throughout the interview process. He’s the right guy to help really build our infrastructure in these areas. The game is changing in so many different ways, there are so many new areas of information to explore, and he’s going to help us do that.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 03, 2016 at 08:17 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, sabermetrics

Thursday, December 01, 2016

MLB analytics guru who could be the next Nate Silver has a revolutionary new stat - CBSSports.com

“HE FREAKS US OUT.” ~ Harry Pavlidis

Jim Furtado Posted: December 01, 2016 at 04:43 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Most Improved Changeup of the Second Half | FanGraphs Baseball

Tyler Chatwood‘s changeup has never been good, but it really looks like he’s tinkering with it, no matter which classification system you’re using. By PITCHf/x, he added nearly two inches of fade and over an inch of drop. Meanwhile, he began throwing the fastball harder and change slower, improving the gap between the two pitches by 2.5 mph, the biggest difference in the sample of 92.

That’s according to the generic PITCHf/x classifications from MLB, at least. According to Brooks Baseball’s data, the improvement was a little more muted, suggesting that some of the difference comes not from any improvement on Chatwood’s part, but simply from mis-diagnosing changeups. He still added an inch of fade there, a half inch of drop, and a half mile per hour of velocity gap. The problem is that he pushed that changeup all the way to… below average with respect to movement. The velocity differential was merely average. Still not a good pitch, even if it was better.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 30, 2016 at 07:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: changeup, sabermetrics

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sabermetric Research: How should we evaluate Detroit’s defense behind Verlander?

Phil Birnbaum puts Joe Posnanski’s criticism of WAR into his intellectual hopper.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2016 at 07:08 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cy young, justin verlander, rick porcello, sabermetrics, war

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Bit More on WAR | Joe Posnanski

Joe Posnanski follows up on his earlier article about Porcello and Verlander.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2016 at 09:27 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, war

Porlander and Vercello | Articles | Bill James Online

Bill James weighs in on Verlander vs. Porcello.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2016 at 09:26 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, war

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Miller—Going to WAR—The mystery of Robbie Ray

Speaking as someone who spent a couple years of his life working on a WAR system before WAR was cool, too many people put too much credence in WAR. Too many don’t put enough. It’s something nice to look at and works well for a lot of different questions. Despite what some think, even with the advances in technology, it will always be just a reflection of reality. And that’s OK.

“One might assume.” One might assume that, if Martin Perez’s WARs are 1.8, 1.8 and 1.9 (as they were in 2016), that Martin Perez is a 1.8- or 1.9-win pitcher. But we’ve already seen, with Ray, that one model of WAR can be wildly misleading. We’ve seen, in fact, that two can be. It’s not much of a leap to think even three could be, all at once, and in all the same ways, especially for unique players such as Zach Britton or Yadier Molina or David Ross or for players on the extremes.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 23, 2016 at 08:00 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, robbie ray, sabermetrics, war

The Most Dominant Pitcher in the Minors* | FanGraphs Baseball

All hail, Jonathan Holder. Who?

Jim Furtado Posted: November 23, 2016 at 07:10 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Porcello v. Verlander | Joe Posnanski

When Statcast defensive numbers become available, I expect a real shift in the defensive metrics. Even when that happens, though, the numbers will be better, but they still won’t be perfect. Those who expect perfection, both then and now, have unrealistic exceptions.

What I’m saying here is that while the defensive adjustments seem shaky and unpersuasive, the stark final WAR number — 6.6 to 5.0 WAR — is there in your face. I don’t know how many people voted for Verlander because of Baseball WAR numbers, but I suspect at least a handful did.

And I wonder how many of them realized they were voting for a defensive adjustment. I love the concept of WAR, and I appreciate the efforts to make it better all the time. And I know the Baseball Reference people do not claim that it is the perfect statistic or that anyone should base their entire award ballot on it. But WAR does have real sway in the baseball commuinity. And in this case, I think it was pretty misleading.

Update: Sean posted this response to his Twitter account.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 22, 2016 at 08:17 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: cy young award, sabermetrics

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Tom Grieve on analytics in the 80s. | MLB.com

MLB.com: You had an analytics guy in your front office in the 1980s.
Grieve: Yes, Craig Wright. He really was the trailblazer. Actually, he was hired in 1981, when Eddie Robinson was the general manager, Joe Klein was the farm director, and I was the assistant farm director. It was before anyone knew what sabermetrics [were]. Craig was well accepted by our manager, Bobby Valentine, and the pitching coach, Tom House.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 12, 2016 at 12:33 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, sabermetrics

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tigers analytics department now hiring, will soon unveil ‘Caesar’ | MLive.com

Ok, why Caesar?

Sartori and Avila revealed last week that they’re nearing completion of a new internal software system called “Caesar” that should be operational in January.

“We will be hiring several more people in that area that will basically just be doing the calculations, mathematics, formulas that they create to help us make better decisions, which is not in place right now, and hasn’t been,” Avila said.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2016 at 10:41 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, tigers

Friday, October 14, 2016

Blue Jay Kevin Pillar elite Statcast fielder | MLB.com

More, more, more, more. And the faster the better.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2016 at 08:03 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, defense, kevin pillar, sabermetrics, statcast

Friday, October 07, 2016

What Happened to Derek Norris in 2016 | The Process Report

Or it could be a decline in skills?

Well that certainly feels like what Lester Freamon would call a headshot. seeing both rates fall off this much leads me to believe that Norris wasn’t just bitten by bad luck affecting his balls in play. I cannot help, but feel that some sort of injury, your guess is as good as mine as to what, led to a guy gutting through discomfort in an effort to help his team on the field. While that is nice to see, you can see the profound effect this proposed malady had on his production. Increased swinging strikes, and despite an ideal batted ball profile for a power hitter, less success within that framework screams of a guy playing through an injury.

Now there are plenty of smart folks working in San Diego’s front office, but with two years of arbitration control remaining I think Derek Norris might be an excellent guy to seek out if the cost of doing business is lower than it should be. I have no idea what the Padres would consider fair, but if it’s a fringe prospect that allows them to get their own on the field more often then this could be exactly the type of guy the Rays should be seeking to acquire. Lord willing the Rays will be able to give up little in order to fill a vacuum that even Dyson hasn’t been able to sell for close to twenty years.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2016 at 10:08 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: derek norris, padres, rays, sabermetrics

Monday, October 03, 2016


Sunday, October 02, 2016

Bret Saberhagen could soon get another Hall of Fame look

While injuries curtailed the career of the former Royals ace, limiting him to 167 lifetime wins, Saberhagen ranks by other measures as one of the best pitchers in baseball history not in the Hall of Fame. His 36.8 Wins Above Average are seventh-best among all pitchers retired since 2010 who aren’t enshrined. Saberhagen’s 59.1 WAR ranks 14th among unenshrined pitchers retired since 2010.


In November, Saberhagen will be eligible for Cooperstown for the first time with the newly-created Today’s Game Committee, which will review players who made their greatest contribution to the game between 1988 and 2001. There’s a chance Saberhagen could be the best pitcher on the ballot, though his eligibility and strong sabermetric case were news to him when reached this week by Sporting News.

“Was it created after my last name?” Saberhagen said of sabermetrics.

He isn’t expecting much from Cooperstown this year.

“I’ve never really dug deep into why I wasn’t on the ballot anymore after one year and only getting [one] percent, what it takes to get into the Hall of Fame,” Saberhagen said. “Would the Veteran Committee look at my numbers and possibly think about putting me in? Don’t have any idea.”


Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Other Weird Thing About the Home-Run Surge | FanGraphs Baseball

Everybody is doing it. The chicks must dig it.

I’m not saying anything here is conclusive. And it’s possible we have a population change and a baseball change. Some of the evidence for a different baseball is very convincing. But now there’s more power coming from baseball’s middle class. And there’s more power coming from baseball’s lower class. The upper class has more power, too, yet not really by a whole lot. Homers are being distributed fairly equally, perhaps more than ever before, and so it’s not just Jean Segura who’s opened a lot of eyes. There’s evidence to believe more hitters are just going for it. There’s evidence to believe that it’s working.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2016 at 05:30 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Cracked: Baseball Is Carefully Crafted To Skirt The Limits Of Human Ability

[scroll down to #1]

On any regulation baseball diamond, the distance from home plate to the pitcher’s mound is weirdly specific: 60’ 6”. That distance isn’t a two-thirds ode to the devil; it’s an important design feature. That’s the empirically determined balancing point which puts the pitcher and hitter on an equal playing field. Moving the pitcher’s mound back even five feet would change the game wildly, giving batters a huge (20 percent) increase in the time they had to prepare their swing, thus leading to more hits, more home runs, and more depressed pitchers.

 

John DiFool2 Posted: September 28, 2016 at 10:28 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: history, sabermetrics

Baseball Prospectus | Pitching Backward: What We Know About Spin Rate

Your head might be spinning by the end of this article.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 28, 2016 at 08:34 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pitchfx, sabermetrics

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Yet Another Update on Safeco Field, Home Run Haven | U.S.S. Mariner

Barreling up in Seattle.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 27, 2016 at 09:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fire Joe Morgan and the Moneyball revolution.

The scouts vs. statheads war is, and was, overblown.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 25, 2016 at 08:34 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Monday, September 19, 2016

Constructing Heat Maps for AVG | Exploring Baseball Data with R

Heat maps for all my friends.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 19, 2016 at 08:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, using r

Friday, September 16, 2016

20 wins does tell us something about a starter. | Sports on Earth

I’m sure you want Brian Kenny’s reaction.

So the win, and the 20-win season in particular, continues to hold sway in the Cy Young Award voting despite a brief glimmer of progress a half decade ago. Indeed, while Porcello is having a fine season, as his 20 wins do indicate, he has not been the AL’s best pitcher to this point in the season. Consider this comparison between Porcello and Corey Kluber, who is 16-9:

Pitcher W-L IP ERA+ WHIP K/BB FIP DRA bWAR
Kluber 16-9 197 2/3 157 1.04 4.08 3.14 2.77 6.3
Porcello 20-3 193 2/3 142 1.02 5.55 3.46 3.36 4.4

(DRA is deserved run average, a Baseball Prospectus statistic that attempts to correct a pitcher’s runs allowed per nine innings for all outside influences, from ballparks and opposing lineups to his catcher’s pitch framing, the umpires calling his games and even the weather.)

The key difference between those two when it comes to wins is that Porcello has received more run support than any other qualified starter in the Majors this year by nearly half a run per game. The league’s best offense has averaged 6.97 runs per game over his 29 starts this season. Cleveland, meanwhile, has scored 4.93 runs per game for Kluber, still a big number, but more than two full runs shy of what Porcello has gotten from the Red Sox’s lineup.

That’s a good reminder that wins tell us as much or more about run and bullpen support as they do about a starting pitcher’s actual performance and are thus useless in comparative analysis. Any voter using wins as a measure to fill out an All-Star, Cy Young Award or Hall of Fame ballot is committing malpractice. Still, it’s inaccurate to say that a 20-win season tells us nothing about a pitcher’s performance. Now more than ever, 20 wins are an indicator of an above-average starting pitcher. To be any more specific than that, however, one must look beyond the wins column.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 16, 2016 at 09:05 AM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: corey kluber, rick porcello, sabermetrics

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wrigleyville - Baseball Prospectus

Statcasting the Cubs.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 15, 2016 at 09:52 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, sabermetrics, statcast

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ye Gods of BABIP, Let My Fly Balls Go! – The Hardball Times

So, pitchers can impact BIP. Who knew?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 12, 2016 at 08:09 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Statcast Lab: How much impact does a great-fielding outfielder have?

This is absolutely fantastic stuff. I cannot wait to see Statcast defensive stats readily available.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 07, 2016 at 08:06 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

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