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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 | 16 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 | 108 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

Friday, February 13, 2015

Searching for a Comp for the Ultimate Signature Pitch | FanGraphs Baseball

Cutter-ing it up.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 13, 2015 at 06:33 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Frame Jobs « Grantland

Brad Ausmus was good after all.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2015 at 06:28 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch framing, sabermetrics

How Jonathan Lucroy makes batters swing at bad pitches | FOX Sports

Quantifying a catcher’s ability to steal strikes is one of the great sabermetric advances over the last ten years.

But what I have established here is that the effect of a good receiver extends beyond the pitches that batters let go by. A good framer, by changing the probability of a strike at the edge, causes the opposing hitter to modify his own behavior, causing him to swing at pitches a little bit further from the center of the zone. In addition to harming the batter’€™s chances directly, by flipping balls to strikes, a good framer changes the dynamics of the at-bat indirectly as well. This effect suggests that the numbers we’€™ve generated to date for the value of framing are probably underestimates, which is good news for all the steady receivers of the world.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2015 at 12:19 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch framing, sabermetrics

Charles Barkley is spot-on in attacking sports analytics | The Star Telegram

Is it really that difficult to come up with ideas of things to write about?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2015 at 10:54 AM | 141 comment(s)
  Beats: ignorant writers, sabermetrics

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The 2015 Mets: 40-WAR scenario - Mets Blog - ESPN New York

What do the Mets need to do to win next year?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 11, 2015 at 02:43 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, sabermetrics

ESPN: Barkley rips Rockets GM, use of stats

Barkley, of course, has long experience in not winning championships.

The Naismith Hall of Famer and TNT analyst then disavowed the widespread use of [advanced stats] in sports, saying its proponents were “a bunch of guys who have never played the game, and they never got the girls in high school.” [...] “They say that same crap in baseball, and they put these little lightweight teams together and they never win,” Barkley said. “They’re always competitive to a certain degree and they don’t win. It’s the same thing in the NBA.”

Lemon Curry? Posted: February 11, 2015 at 08:33 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Jay Bruce and his struggle with the strike zone - Beyond the Box Score

Jay Bruce under the sabermetric microscope.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 08, 2015 at 10:07 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: jay bruce, sabermetrics

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Dearth of homegrown pitchers has hurt Red Sox’ rotation building - Sports - The Boston Globe

How much do we apportion the blame to their draft scouting and to their player development system?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 07, 2015 at 10:58 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, sabermetrics

Quantifying uncertainty in FIP - Beyond the Box Score

Since the largest uncertainties are principally independent of one another, they can be combined in quadrature to establish the 90% confidence interval on FIP’: 0.538 runs per 9 innings. The largest contributor to the uncertainty in FIP is the HR/FB rate. xFIP mitigates this uncertainty contributor considerably by adjusting each pitchers’ HR/FB rate (xFIP therefore has less total uncertainty). Pitch-based techniques can be used to reduce the uncertainty in each of the other major contributors.

The dynamic range of FIP is something like 2-5—Almost no pitchers post a FIP

<2 or >

5.  A FIP uncertainty of ± 0.5 is about 35% of FIP’s dynamic range.  If FIP now seems like a crude tool, well, it is, at least on a single season basis.  Limitations notwithstanding, FIP can discriminate good pitchers from bad pitchers and great pitchers from average pitchers.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 07, 2015 at 10:06 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: fip, sabermetrics

Why Doesn’t Anybody Want James Shields? — The Cauldron — Medium

James Shields under the sabermetric microscope.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 07, 2015 at 09:27 AM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, james shields, sabermetrics

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Bill James Mailbag - 2/3/15 - 2/5/15

Trout Catcher Mask Replica!

Hey Bill, there’s an interesting article today about Ron Hunt on the 538 blog. It says that his feat of 50 HBP in one season is 13 standard deviations better than average, which is apparently off the charts. When people talk about unbreakable records you don’t hear much about that one. Thanks.

... since the minimum in the category is zero and there are 1,519 players [since 1900] who have had 8 or more, it is thus apparent that the distribution of this group is in no way similar to a bell curve, consequently the normal assumptions about the likelihood of something don’t apply. My judgment. . .if you’re a young person, you should probably live to see this record broken.

Jesse Barfield (best arm from my youth) in his first 6 years averaged 23 assists per 162 9-inning games. In his last 6 years, he averaged 19 (drop of 3.5 assists). Converting assists and holds to runs, Baseball Reference is showing him averaging +6 runs in his first 6 years, and +11 runs in his last 6 years (increase of 4.3 runs). Reasonable to conclude that runners held more often, but only affected his assists slightly…

Thanks. Yes, Barfield’s arm may have been as impressive as any I ever saw, certainly on long throws. Clemente threw QUICK, and Clemente threw rifle shots. Barfield threw cannon balls. His throws seemed to hang in the air for impossibly long distances. Greatest arms I ever saw. . .Clemente, Whiten, Barfield, Bo Jackson, Vladimir, Jackie Bradley, Ollie Brown. . .who am I missing here? Jackie last year took a ball at home plate (Fenway) and threw it over the center field wall—400 and some feet away and 25-30 feet high. I doubt if any of the other guys on the list could have done that. Maybe Barfield.

... Imagine if a team of nine Mike Trouts played a best-of-seven series versus a team of nine Clayton Kershaws… Who do you think wins the series?

... Pitchers specialize in one area and hitters in the other, but pitchers still have to hit; they still take batting practice, they still take at bats. Clayton Kershaw has 425 major league plate appearances (and it actually a better-than-average hitting pitcher, for whatever that is worth.) Anyway, pitchers specialize but they still hit; batters do NOT practice pitching, and do not pitch 20 or 30 innings every year just because they have to. It would thus seem to me that the extent to which the outfielder would be out of his comfort zone trying to pitch would easily exceed the extent to which Kerfield was out of his comfort zone trying to hit, and thus extremely likely that the Kerfields would not only win, but would dominate.

What was the best second place team in history? A choice for me would be the 1961 Tigers, who won 101 games and would probably have won 8 pennants out of 10, but had the 1961 Yankees to deal with. Thanks.

A good candidate. My usual answer to this question has been the 1942 Dodgers. The ‘42 Dodgers went 104-50, but finished 2 games behind the Cardinals. You know, mathematically, one team in 8,000 should be strong at all 13 positions (8 regulars, 4 starters, relief pitchers). Since there are only about one-third that many teams in baseball history, then probably there should be no team that is above-average at every position—and, in fact, there isn’t, although I think one can argue for one of the Yankee teams of the 1990s. Anyway, there isn’t, but the 1942 Dodgers are very close to being strong at every position, with Hall of Famers at second (Billy Herman), third (Arky Vaughan), short (Pee Wee Reese) and in left field (Medwick). Their first baseman was Camilli—1941 MVP. In center field was Pete Reiser, an outstanding player for a couple of years; in right field was Dixie Walker, who had something close to Hall of Fame ability, athough his career was broken up at the start by a serious injury and fouled at the end by his infamous role in the Jackie Robinson story. Anyway, 7 really good starters; the 8th was catcher Mickey Owen, who was a good player. Starting pitchers Kirby Higbe, Whitlow Wyatt, Curt Davis and Johnny Allen—all of whom had good careers and were effective in 1942, relief ace Hugh Casey. It’s as close to a perfect team as there has ever been. Larry French was the starter/reliever swing man; he went 15-4 with a 1.83 ERA. . ..he also had an outstanding major league career.

HeyBill, I’d take that bet. Mike Trout earned his first All-State honor in New Jersey in 2008 for his exploits on the mound as a sophomore. He was 8-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 2008, striking out 124 and walking just 40 in 70 innings. He was clocked at 92 mph at age 15… I don’t see anywhere that Kershaw played the field at a younger level, and he has slashed .157 .199 .180 .378 as a pro. With a return to even just his pitching form at 15, I think Trout would dominate Team All Clay.

I don’t. Pitching against 15 year olds is not in any way comparable to pitching against major leaguers. Do you think the kids Trout pitched against could hit .157 in the majors? I’ll guarantee you they couldn’t.. I still think the Kershaws would win easily.


Baseball Prospectus | Moving Beyond WOWY

I haven’t been able to scrutinize this is detail yet, but this looks very interesting after a quick read.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 05, 2015 at 08:35 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch framing, sabermetrics

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Improving Billy Hamilton | FanGraphs Baseball

Jeff Sullivan puts Billy Hamilton under the microscope.

How do you make Billy Hamilton better at the plate? It’s easy to notice the strikeouts being a little high. It’s easy to notice the bunts that didn’t go for hits. But Price touches on something pretty basic. Hamilton is a burner, and he’s not known for his strength. Never will be. Your classic leadoff-hitting burner slaps the ball onto the ground. Hamilton hit too many into the air, and no mathematical gymnastics are required to see that it worked out rather poorly for him.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 04, 2015 at 06:42 AM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: billy hamilton, sabermetrics

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


Whither James Shields? | FanGraphs Baseball

Tony Blengino gets into James Shields’ numbers.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 03, 2015 at 09:59 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

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