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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Sabermetrics Newsbeat

Friday, October 09, 2015

A Short(-ish) Introduction to Using R Packages for Baseball Research – The Hardball Times

If you are a budding sabermetrician, this is a must-read article. Great job, Bill Petti!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:51 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Cubs will challenge John Lackey in NLDS |

We can use Statcast™ exit velocity to show how important getting ahead of the hitter is for Lackey. For example, the overall MLB average when hitting a 1-0 pitch was 89.9 mph. For Lackey, that was 93.1 mph, a sizable difference. When he was down 2-1, his 91.7 mph was higher than the MLB average of 90.3. He is so much better off not getting down in the count, hence the increasing number of first-pitch strikes.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2015 at 02:49 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, john lackey, sabermetrics, statcast

Monday, October 05, 2015

Bernanke: More execs should have gone to jail for causing Great Recession

Bernanke loves baseball for the same reason he chose economics as his profession: the power and clarity of numbers.

“The numbers are so concrete,” he says in a conversation in the Nats press box before a game against the Miami Marlins on a sunny afternoon last month. “In baseball, you’ve got all the data going back to the 1880s for all the players, and if you understand how to use numbers, it makes it come alive.”

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The Managerial Meddling Index, 2015 Edition «

The overall index doesn’t mean much but the components are very interesting.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 03, 2015 at 09:42 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: managers, sabermetrics

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Continue to think like a GM. Some used to play. - Beyond the Box Score

There is a difference between saying “we can’t quantify it yet” and “it doesn’t exist”. Most sabermetricians I knew over the years believed the former not the later.

In the same way, the “grizzled scout” would have bet presumably large sums of money that pitch framing did exist and was worth something. Sabermetrics, still young and finding its place in the baseball world, bet against the grizzled scout. That was until Mike Fast—a ‘sabermetrician’ for the purposes of Corbett’s essay and this response—decided to find out if pitch framing was worth anything. However, when Fast actually found there was a value to pitch framing, he didn’t claim it as a victory for sabermetrics (as Corbett’s essay implies); Fast claimed it for Fast, rightfully so since he demonstrated the value numerically. What’s more, Fast’s research hinged heavily on PITCHf/x data which, again, was made possible by a person—who may or may not self-identify as a sabermetrician but still contributed (and still contributes) to actual statistical analysis of baseball—who asked the question ‘can I know this?’

Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2015 at 10:34 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

A new Python-based PITCHf/x parser

Now that Dan Brooks is working with the Brewers Who will write the next big thing?

Edit:  Apparently this wasn’t a serious Tweet. That will teach me to believe certain people on Twitter. I should know better.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2015 at 10:21 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: pitchfx, sabermetrics

Monday, September 28, 2015

The myth of second-half momentum | FOX Sports

Do you mean the playoffs are a crapshoot?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 28, 2015 at 06:43 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, sabermetrics

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Baseball Should Stop Pretending Players Make Good Managers - The Atlantic

A solution in need of a problem.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 26, 2015 at 10:32 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cyril Morong on Twitter:

I love this.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 25, 2015 at 08:19 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Journal of Sports Analytics - Volume 1, issue 1 - Journals - IOS Press

Ready to get your math geek on?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 25, 2015 at 08:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Ranking the 30 Minor League Systems Statistically | FanGraphs Baseball

I’ve always used Blengino’s stuff to add a different perspective to my prospect rankings. I’ve found he sometimes identifies players that haven’t been mentioned elsewhere. Be aware, though, his methods also have a higher miss rate.

It should be said up front that these purely statistical player rankings shouldn’t be taken as gospel. These lists basically constitute a master follow list, with traditional methods then used to tweak the order. There are no adjustments for park effects or positional scarcity on the raw list. As a result, some superior up-the-middle glove-first prospects’ rankings might suffer a bit, while bat-only guys might get a boost. Having 20-plus years of such rankings is quite a boon, however; for each top prospect, comparable players from the past can be identified and used as measuring sticks.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 25, 2015 at 08:00 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Does It Matter Who You Beat On the Way to the Playoffs? | FanGraphs Baseball

I can’t stress enough how rough this study is. The .500 line is somewhat arbitrary, and this says nothing about the timing of playing those .500+ teams and sub-.500 teams. And, record isn’t always the best indicator of performance. On, and on. I know where most of the flaws are in here. I also know this quick study in no way encourages me to dig deeper, because I’m not convinced there’s anything there. It’s true that the Mets have played a soft schedule. It’s true that the Jays have played a harder one. It’s true, presumably, that the Jays are better than the Mets are. But what you ought to care about is overall team ability. Don’t worry about how the performances break down by opponent.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 23, 2015 at 12:11 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, sabermetrics

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Joey Votto on Aging | FanGraphs Baseball

Great stuff from Eno Harris.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 22, 2015 at 12:56 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: joey votto, reds, sabermetrics

Stats Can’t Tell Us Whether Mike Trout Or Josh Donaldson Should Be MVP | FiveThirtyEight

Are you ready for a WAR on confidence levels?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 22, 2015 at 10:41 AM | 121 comment(s)
  Beats: mvp, sabermetrics, war

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Stop Thinking Like a GM; Start Thinking Like a Player | Community – FanGraphs Baseball

OK, this is too long for me to read right now but a bunch of people on Twitter are saying nice things about it. A quick skim suggests they might be onto something.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 15, 2015 at 09:57 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Monday, September 14, 2015

Analyzing the Strike Zone as a Three-Dimensional Volume – The Hardball Times

Really interesting stuff. Of course, if all the true strikes were called correctly, all hitters might go all Joey Votto.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 14, 2015 at 09:49 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, umpiring

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Defense Mechanisms: Inside the Indians’ Historic Fielding Turnaround «

I knew that Francisco Lindor at shortstop and Giovanny Urshela were big upgrades. I did not realize that Chisenhall was playing so well in the outfield.

When he volunteered to try the outfield in Triple-A, Lonnie Chisenhall hadn’t played there since college, aside from shagging during BP. But it took him only four games in Columbus to convince Cleveland that he could be an everyday option. The day after the Indians traded Moss to St. Louis, Chisenhall made his first major league start in right field. He immediately excelled there, earning recognition as ESPN SweetSpot’s Defensive Player of the Month for August. “I’m not sure anyone could’ve sat here and said that we expect him to be able to transition from third base to the outfield and become an above-average right fielder right away,” Antonetti says. “But to Lonnie’s credit, he has.” The Indians have also used displaced infielder Jose Ramirez in the outfield for the first time in his MLB career, and they’ve gotten good work out of Abraham Almonte, a deadline pickup from the Padres who replaced a slowing Michael Bourn in center after the Indians dealt Bourn to the Braves. “We had good reports on [Almonte], and again I’m not sure we would’ve necessarily expected it to translate exactly the way it has,” Antonetti says.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 12, 2015 at 08:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, lonnie chisenhall, sabermetrics

Friday, September 11, 2015

Using Batted Ball Data in Scouting – The Hardball Times

I have always thought putting sabermetric ratings on the scouting scale makes a lot of sense.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 11, 2015 at 01:28 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, scouting

Arizona Diamondbacks are not anti-analytics | FOX Sports

Like any aspect of team building, it’s important not to just have a system in place. You need to strive to have the *BEST* system.

“It was clear that we had to do more,” said La Russa, the D-backs’ chief baseball officer. “There is a lot of helpful information, important information you can use, whether you’re talking about drafting players, professional players, decision-making, how you put together a roster.

“We’re getting very close. We’re not perfect yet. It will take some time. Typically, it’s a struggle, one side pitted against another. But it seems like the whole organization is on the same page.

“Some teams do it better. Some have done it longer. But it’s nice to see us involved now in the sharing of that knowledge and more importantly in the acceptance of that knowledge.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 11, 2015 at 06:37 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, sabermetrics

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Buster Posey becomes selectively aggressive - Beyond the Box Score

Here’s a great look at Buster Posey’s season.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 09, 2015 at 12:55 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, giants, sabermetrics

Deserved Run Average: A better way to determine the Cy Young winners | FOX Sports

I’ve been looking over the DRA figures at Baseball since they announced the stat. I like it but, from what I have learned in old research, there should be a factor differentiating between pitcher performance with nobody on and with runners on. Although the difference isn’t much from most pitchers, there are some who have a different profile. Of course, I may have missed the adjustment in their explanations.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 09, 2015 at 12:46 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, cy young award, dra, pitching, sabermetrics

NPR Fresh Air: What Intangibles Go Into Winning Team Sports

And [Joe] Morgan - one of my favorite anecdotes of the book was in 1975, when the Reds were struggling early in the year. They had a losing record. And they were known for needling in the clubhouse. And the manager, Sparky Anderson, thought it might be excessive. And so he told him to cut back on it. No more needling, just take it easy with the young players on the team. And it wasn’t working, and they were losing. They weren’t having much fun. Morgan got hurt one day, went in, got treatment, went to the doctor, reported to the ballpark. The next day, he just simply had enough. And he walked into the clubhouse and looked around and said, screw you, Rose, screw you, Bench, screw you, Perez. And then Sparky Anderson is standing there. And he turns around and says, while I’m at it, screw you, too, Sparky.

DAVIES: (Laughter).

WHEELER: And from that point on, the Reds posted - I think it was, like, a .750 winning percentage. You know, anecdotal - who knows, you know, how much of an effect that really had? But it was a dramatic turnaround point for the Reds that season and for the Big Red Machine, which, of course, in those two years, won back-to-back World Series. And what Morgan did was say let’s cut it loose, guys; let’s be us. And it worked.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Team UZR (To Shift or Not to Shift) | MGL on Baseball

Interesting stuff.The BIS defensive stuff cannot compare to defensive analysis generated by the FIELDf/x (or whatever they are calling it) stuff. I wish this data was more readily available to public analysts.

I think the most important thing to take away from this discussion is that there can be a fairly large difference between team infield UZR which uses every GB, and the total of the individual UZR’s which uses only those plays in which no shift was relevant to the outcome of the play. As well, the more shifts employed by a team, the less we should trust that the total of the individual performances are representative of the entire team’s defense on the infield. I am also going to see if Fangraphs can start publishing team UZR for infielders and for outfielders, although in the outfield, the numbers should be similar if not the same.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 07, 2015 at 08:11 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, sabermetrics

Digiovanna: Angels Manager Mike Scioscia disagrees that Mike Trout is average defender

Matt Harvey, Scott Boras, and Dr. James Andrews were unavailable for comment.

But some advanced defensive metrics rate Trout as average, in part because he doesn’t always get the best jumps or run the most efficient routes, an assertion that baffles and bothers Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.

“We have overhead [cameras] that read jumps, and he’s off incredibly quick,” Scioscia said. “From a scouting perspective, there’s no question this guy is one of the best center fielders in our game. The ground he covers is unbelievable.”

  I will take eight more “average fielder’s” like Trout in a starting line up any day of the week. Screw the metrics, we get too carried away with numbers. What numbers can’t calculate is the hustle and heart of a player. Trout will run through or go over a wall to make a…

According to Fangraphs, Trout entered Sunday with 3.0 defensive runs saved, 10th among 22 qualifying major league center fielders. His ultimate zone rating of -1.2 and overall defensive rating of 0.7 ranked 13th.

UZR quantifies how many runs a player saved or gave up through his fielding prowess. The overall rating measures a player’s defensive value relative to league average.

“The whole notion of using technology to quantify what we see is really good … but I want to know what the technology is, and if it’s accurate, what’s going on?” said Scioscia, who is skeptical of newer defensive statistics.

“I can show you our overhead of that catch [Saturday] night. The ball is just coming out of his swing, and you see Mike cross over [for his first step]. You can’t tell me he gets bad jumps.”

JE (Jason) Posted: September 07, 2015 at 06:29 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: advanced metrics, defense, mike scioscia, mike trout, sabermetrics

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