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Monday, December 22, 2014

The Downside of the Recent Padres Acquisitions | Articles | Bill James Online

What the bats giveth, the gloves taketh away.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 22, 2014 at 10:49 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: fielding, padres, sabermetrics

Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Disabled List Information and So Much More – The Hardball Times

Great stuff from Jeff Zimmerman.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 19, 2014 at 07:39 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: disabled list, sabermetrics


Monday, December 15, 2014

Retrosheet has released the 2014 data

Thanks to all the volunteers who make the data available.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

McEwing Scores for 2014 ... and 2010! - Beyond the Box Score

Has anyone attempted to quantify the value of versatility?

You already love Brock Holt, of this I’m pretty sure.* He came out of nowhere (read: Pawtucket) to play an integral role on Boston’s 2014 campaign. And while that campaign was pretty terrible, Holt was not—he showed up and filled a void wherever one became apparent. In the process, Brock managed to post pretty good numbers (.281/.331/.381, with more than four runs of added baserunning value) while spending not-insignificant time at six positions.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 15, 2014 at 09:15 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Friday, December 12, 2014

Extending Ryan Howard Is Not What Killed the Phillies – The Hardball Times

I don’t have time to read this right now but it looks very interesting after a quick skim.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 12, 2014 at 09:44 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, sabermetrics

Do The Red Sox Have a Ground Ball Fetish? | FanGraphs Baseball

Fans want what they want RIGHT NOW. A front office which feeds into that does stupid things. I’m glad the Red Sox front office hasn’t bought into that mindset. It leads to bad decisions. Getting Lester (and/or Scherzer or Cole Hamels) at all costs would make the Red Sox a better team in 2015. It also would most probably make it more difficult to sustain success in 2017+.

Certainly neither pitcher carries the cache that Hamels does, but their projections aren’t that much different — in fact, Steamer likes Porcello better than Hamels for 2015. It is possible that the Red Sox and Phillies can still come together on a deal, but the clear preference has been established — take lower ceiling players on in order to make the pieces fit rather than trade a bounty for the one pitcher they need, because that will just create more holes to fill. This makes perfect sense. As I outlined last week for the Boston Globe, the mission now for Ben Cherington and Co. is not to go out and find great players — they’ve already done that. The offense is littered with both proven and potential above-average players. The key now is filling in around them. This current five-man rotation — new recruits Masterson, Miley and Porcello, plus holdovers Kelly and Clay Buchholz — are a good bet to be just what they needed.

Time will tell if the Red Sox have a newfound fascination with ground ball pitchers. They haven’t in the past, but with Sandoval in the fold to go with Dustin Pedroia, the Sox now have two above-average infield defenders locked up for the foreseeable future, that plan may change. But the more likely explanation is that the team is simply trying to fill out the best roster they can, and this year, that means going heavier on position players than starting pitchers.

Edit: Fixed year. :p

Jim Furtado Posted: December 12, 2014 at 08:26 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, sabermetrics

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Looking For the Real Chase Headley | FanGraphs Baseball

Headley fits in New York.

So what do we have going forward? Headley’s defensive numbers in 2014 were stellar, and while regression should certainly be expected, his ability to handle that position over his next contract isn’t likely in question. His fly ball tendency will play extremely differently in Yankee Stadium than it will in AT&T Park, as suggested by his 118 NYY PRD and 89 SF PRD figures on fly balls listed above. AT&T is more liner and grounder-friendly, though as discussed above, the impact on grounders will be muted by his pull tendency. What we have is a league average hitter, assuming a very high liner rate. In all likelihood, he is starting from a slightly below league average hitter baseline at age 31, with normal aging to be expected moving forward.

Looking for a reason to expect better than that? Then you must believe that his improved fly ball authority — that 145 post-trade fly ball ADJ PRD — in his two months as a Yankee is real, a product of some sort of swing adjustment, and not small sample noise. To me, the four-year, $65M rumors being tossed around with regard to Headley are beyond the pale, as he isn’t that guy. If that late-season fly ball surge holds moving forward, Yankee Stadium, with it’s 129.3 overall fly ball park factor (177.4 to RCF, 165.4 to RF) is one place where it would more than fully translate into production, much more than it would by the Bay, with it’s overall mark of 67.3 (63.8 to RCF, 92.5 to RF). All things considered, if I were representing Chase Headley, I’d take a slight discount to stay in New York, as it makes one more somewhat lucrative future contract more likely.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 11, 2014 at 06:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chase headley, free agents, sabermetrics

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Murray Chass On Baseball » THE PIONEER AND THE GAME TODAY

Murray Chass and his stathead obsession.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2014 at 01:19 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

How Will Jon Lester Age? | FanGraphs Baseball

I love Lester. Teams have to pony up to get him. There has to be a limit to the number of years, though. I wouldn’t go longer than five years for him even if it meant patching the rotation for another year or two with mid-rotation guys.

In the current era, it has become increasingly rare for pitchers to qualify for ERA titles at advanced ages. Exactly five hurlers qualified for the ERA title at age 37 or higher this season; Bartolo Colon, Tim Hudson and A.J. Burnett in the NL, and Hiroki Kuroda and R.A. Dickey in the AL. Burnett became the 35th pitcher on the above list this season, and Jeremy Guthrie and Mark Buehrle have two more consecutive qualifying years to go to become the 36th and 37th.
...
Lester is one of the best pitchers in the game, and his arrow is pointed upward. His core skills are varied, and his decline phase should be productive. That said, he is a pitcher. Pitchers get hurt. Justin Verlander looked like a great deal a few years back, didn’t he? So did C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish. They all got hurt, to varying extents, calling their present and future into greater question.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2014 at 09:45 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jon lester, sabermetrics

A First Look at StatCast Baserunning Data – The Hardball Times

I hope MLB makes all this data available to researchers next year.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2014 at 08:50 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Flat Bat Award 2014 | Articles | Bill James Online

The best bunters in 2014.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 07, 2014 at 04:46 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Should Trade Chips Gattis, Rosario Stick at Catcher? - GammonsDaily.com

Some great analysis by David Golebiewski.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 06, 2014 at 07:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: evan gattis, sabermetrics, wilin rosario

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Twinsights: Terry Ryan on defensive metrics and why the Twins ignore them - Twins Now

Hunter has to be better than Arcia and Willingham.

Just like I do all the time: As soon as you get somebody to explain (advanced metrics) …” said Ryan, who has Jack Goin on his staff for just that purpose. “When you look at the rankings of the defensive side of the game, you shake your head many times. I’m not saying a lot of them aren’t accurate, because some of them are, but a lot of them aren’t accurate either.

“You can use the metrics or you can use the eye, and you should use both. In this instance, I think we’ve seen (Hunter) play probably 30-35 games as an evaluation process this year, and for the most part the lowest grade we had on him was average range. That’s pretty good.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 04, 2014 at 11:06 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, twins

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Searching for Under-Used Breaking Pitches with PITCHf/x – The Hardball Times

Great stuff.

McHugh threw 47.1 innings with the Mets and Rockies between 2012 and 2013, and his pitch selection looked something like this: 56 percent fastballs, 39 percent breaking balls (curve ball and slider), and five percent change-ups. McHugh relied primarily on his hard stuff, complemented it with some breaking balls, and threw in the occasional change-up, a pretty standard plan of action for a starting pitcher.

The Houston Astros, however, saw something more. Something about those breaking balls caught their eye: They had a ridiculous amount of spin on them. This discovery was brought to light in a recent piece in Business Week:

Jim Furtado Posted: December 02, 2014 at 08:11 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: pitching, sabermetrics

Monday, December 01, 2014

Graphing performance by age and position - Beyond the Box Score

Baseball Reference uses the following positional adjustments:

C: +10 runs
SS: +7.5 runs
2B: +3 runs
CF: +2.5 runs
3b: +2 runs
RF: -7.5 runs
LF: -7.5 runs
1B: -10 runs
DH: -15 runs

How would position changes impact the results? A CF moving to RF essentially loses a win in value. A shortstop moving to third loses half a win. A 3B moving to DH loses about 1.7 wins. I’ve also seen a lot of analysis of long term contracts that don’t take positional changes into account when estimating value. Has anyone seen any research that looks at this?

Jim Furtado Posted: December 01, 2014 at 09:55 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Do Hitters Wear Down Over a Season? – The Hardball Times

Now, getting back to the original question: How do hitters perform as the season progresses? Generally, hitters 25 and younger improve during the season, while older hitters get worse. The reasons could be injuries or just wearing down. The big surprise in aging happens between seasons, when players — who shouldn’t be experiencing any wear and tear on their bodies — get worse. Batters of all ages see their performance decline significantly from the end of one season and the start of the next. The reason is not obvious, but it could be a combination of weather, conditioning, regression or teams having more time to prepare. All players eventually wear down; it is surprising to see this aging happen during the offseason instead of during the season.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 01, 2014 at 09:51 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Number of Pitches in a Plate Appearance | Exploring Baseball Data with R

This is a few weeks old but I don’t remember seeing it posted. It’s an interesting study, more data confirmation for things we know.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2014 at 08:13 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Baseball Prospectus | Moonshot: A New View of Plate Discipline, Part 3

Interesting stuff. I hope the next step is specifically looking at areas within the strikezone.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2014 at 06:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hanley, Panda and the Monster | FanGraphs Baseball

An interesting look at park adjustments by Tony Blengino. I have always preferred park adjustments by BIP rather than AB or PA. I would have liked to have seen their 2014 numbers translated to Fenway rather than just adjusted rate stats.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2014 at 12:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hanley ramirez, pablo sandoval, red sox, sabermetrics

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

ESPN’s Dan Szymborski: Modeling Moneyball Data for Long-Term Value | Blue Hill Research (PODCAST)

Dan talks about ZiPS.

In this episode of the Enterprise Tech Cast, Blue Hill Chief Research Officer Hyoun Park and ESPN’s Dan Szymborski discuss how Dan got started in building statistical models and built the ZiPS player projection system. Anybody who wants to learn to develop an ongoing projection and forecasting system, and wants practical insights and how-to’s should listen to this podcast. Also, we stray off the enterprise path and discuss baseball free agency, including whether Pablo Sandoval is actually the right choice for the Red Sox.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2014 at 02:10 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: projection models, sabermetrics

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Effects of Pitch Sequencing – The Hardball Times

A nice in-depth study which confirms something we already know.

Through this study I’ve convinced myself that there is value for pitchers in being able to throw back-to-back pitches of different types that have almost identical trajectories during the initial stage of flight up to the point where the batter must make a decision of whether to commit to a swing. In both seasons studied, consecutive pitches that were close to overlapping at the swing commit point but that crossed the plate in relatively different spots generated consistently higher rates of swings and misses. In addition, the closer consecutive pitches in a plate appearance are to overlapping at the swing commit point of the trajectory, the closer they can be as they arrive to home plate and still generate these additional swings and misses.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2014 at 05:40 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Sabermetrics can be questioned, but do so correctly

WAR isn’t perfect. It never will be. As long as analysts acknowledge its flaws and limitations, it’s a very valuable tool.

Everything should be questioned. Without that, we remain stagnant in whatever it is we are dealing with. Dissent is how we get better, and expand our knowledge. But that dissent has to be intelligent and informed in nature, or it just becomes a pointless back-and-forth. The fact is, these numbers are a part of the game now. Every team utilizes them to some degree, and it seems those who do so to a great extent are able to find more consistent success (like John Mozoliak pictured above).

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2014 at 08:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

The High Risk of Free Agent Position Players - Beyond the Box Score

Overall, signing positional players to 5+ year deals has not worked out well, and teams have generally overpaid compared to market rates for Wins. Teams would be better off signing mid-tier players to fewer than five years, or spending the money on the pitching market instead. A long-term deal with a positional player free agent is unlikely to be the significant value teams hope it will be—buyer beware.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2014 at 06:30 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, sabermetrics

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


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