Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I can’t wait for the 15-man pitching staffs.
“I don’t think you see too many true long men on pitching staffs and in bullpens anymore because you can make a change to your roster overnight to get a fresh arm in here,” Farrell said.
Posted: May 15, 2013 at 06:59 AM | 1 comment(s)
Monday, February 18, 2013
Seems perfect for the Red Sox.
Have you read My Baseball Diary by James T. Farrell? He wrote a ton of books, most notably the Studs Lonigan trilogy. His baseball memoir has a lot of great reminisces about baseball during the teens. Apparently one of his first literature essays was a high school paper called The Fall of Prince Hal, written in 1920 after finding out that Hal Chase, one of his favorite players ,had been involved in fixing ball games.
I generally dislike the genre. . ..personal reflections on my history of being a baseball fan. There are a hundred books like that, and my friends often recommend them to me, but they always seem to me self-centered and precious.
So, if you became a baseball manager, what current orthodoxy would you go against. Use your closer like a 60’s closer? 4 man rotation? Chocolate donuts in the dugout?
... Let’s say that the manager brings in a lefty reliever to face a lefty 200 times over the course of a season, which sounds like a lot; I doubt that any manager actually does that 200 times in a year… A lefty hitter would typically hit. . .what, 30 points higher against a right-handed pitcher? That’s six hits…
Six hits and some number of them extra base hits, yes, and maybe a walk or two, and let us assume that these tend to be high-leverage situations… Let us say, to be generous… By making that move 200 times, you save six runs.
But what do you give up? You’ve shrunk the bench to where you can’t platoon. I would argue that you can gain much, much more than 6 runs by platooning, in many cases…
Right or wrong, it is my opinion, until somebody can show me where I’m wrong, that carrying left-handers in the bullpen is a complete waste of time and resources. You not only don’t need THREE left-handers in the bullpen; you don’t need one…
I would even argue that platooning SAVES more runs than using lefty relievers, because when you have platoons one of the players will usually be better defensively than the other, so when you have a lead late in the game you can go with the better defender.
Another way to state my essential thesis is that you can control the platoon advantage much more effectively if you control it from the offensive side than if you try to control it from the pitching side. But. ...I can’t convince anybody.
Just an observation, Bill, but sports fans have funny hot buttons. (Perhaps, it’s not just sports fans, but all of us.) Tell them Al McGuire doesn’t quite meet your criteria of “great”, and you get a wave of upset readers, at least, one of whom accuses you of denigrating him. In a Scoresheet forum, I mentioned Jose Altuve and Robbie Alomar in the same sentence (they both happened to be N.L. all-star second-basemen shortly after turning 22, then became Americans Leaguers the next year.) . . . and I get thrashed for saying Altuve is going to the Hall of Fame. I guess my question is, how do you keep yourself from getting totally discouraged with your public?
It is a challenge, and I actually appreciate your asking that exact question. My audience includes many people who are brilliant, incisive and disciplined thinkers. But DISCUSSIONS, by their nature, are rambling, incoherent events that wander backward and forward. Discussions among groups of people, by their nature, tend to take sweaters and turn them into strings of yarn. The challenge of leading is a discussion is to construct the discussion in such a way that it advances our understanding of the issue; in other words, to try to take yarn and make a sweater, rather than the other way around. It’s very challenging, and I have to discipline myself, sometimes, to ignore very interesting things that people say, ignore them and not publish them, because, while the comment is interesting in itself, it unravels the discussion.
I think you are a proponent of baseball having non-standard dimensions for its parks. All the other major sports however have taken the opposite view of standardizing everything… would you support the idea that each team can set those dimensions as they want, within a league-imposed min/max range?
From the standpoint particularly of basketball, I wouldn’t think of it as one of baseball’s charms; I would simply argue that it is better. It is better from everyone’s standpoint. If you make the court wider, for example, you favor a smaller team with more quickness, and put a premium on ball-handling skills. If you make the court more narrow, it favors big, burly guys, puts a premium on passing, and minimizes the importance of dribbling.
Allowing different teams to experiment with different sized courts allows the game to breathe, allows the game to search out the most satisfying combinations. Mandating one size for all courts makes the game rigid, unable to adjust.
This dude is earnshawing his salary!
Forget Michael Bourn. Statistically speaking, the Mets have their leadoff man: David Wright.
Yes, the man who common baseball wisdom dictates is a middle-of-the-order bat, would have been one of the best leadoff men in baseball in 2012…
There were only eight players in 2012 who were MLB average or above in on-base percentage, pitches per plate appearance, pitches fouled off, strikeout rate and putting the ball in play: Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker (Pirates), Ian Kinsler (Rangers), Alejandro De Aza (White Sox), David DeJesus (Cubs), Matt Holliday (Cardinals), Matt Wieters (Orioles) and . . . David Wright .
The numbers prove putting the best on-base threat at the top of the order is key to constructing the best lineup. Bill James, the godfather of modern baseball analysis, wrote in 1981 that getting the first batter on is the most important element needed to score in an inning. The crew at Baseball Prospectus went a step further, using countless computer simulations to show the lineup that scores the most runs is ordered by OBP (greatest to least).
The first batter of the game for the Mets in 2012 got on base at a .290 clip. Not a recipe for success, compared to the MLB average of .317. The Mets ranked 23rd in getting their first hitter on base.
Further, Mets batters hitting in the No. 1 spot in the lineup got 748 plate appearances in 2012. The No. 3 hitter only received 710, most of which went to Wright, who batted third in 144 of his 155 starts. That means 38 plate appearances that could have gone to the Mets’ best hitter didn’t.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
do you think it would be realistic for a team to use a 4-man starting rotation…?
... Between 1975 and 1988, baseball went through two separate transitions, both intended to accomplish the same thing, which was the reduction of injuries/protection of arms. The first transition was from a four-man to a five-man rotation… The… idea… was that it would be OK for [a pitcher] to… face 35 or 40 batters per start, thus throwing 130 to 170 pitches per start (and sometimes more)... as [long as] he got an extra day between starts. That really didn’t work. There was no chance that it would work. If you damage a pitcher’s arm by asking him to do something marginally crazy, you can’t UN-damage it by giving him an extra day to recover.
But what COULD have been done, instead, was this. Many pitchers threw 280 to 300 innings in a season from 1965 to 1975, and many of them did so with no evidence of damage to their arms. At 17 pitches per inning, 16.5 pitches per inning, that’s 5,000 pitches in a season, more or less. Suppose that pitchers had been asked instead to pitch in a THREE-man rotation—but with strict limits of 90 pitches per start, and less than that for very young pitchers. That’s 54 starts a season, 90 pitches per start MAXIMUM. . ..you’re actually REDUCING the number of pitches thrown in a season from about 5,000 to about 4,600 (assuming that the pitcher NEVER throws 91 pitches in a season and occasionally exits after 70 or 80.)
More significant than that, you’re also reducing the stress per pitch, for an obvious reason. The most stressful pitches are those thrown when the pitcher is tired. I would postulate that the strain on a pitcher’s arm is probably proportional to the SQUARE of pitches thrown. . ..in other words, throwing 100 pitches in an outing is four times as stressful to a pitcher as throwing 50, and throwing 150 is nine times as stressful as throwing 50. .. .assuming simply that the stress increases as the pitcher becomes fatigued.
Using that assumption. . .that the stress is proportional to the SQUARE of pitches thrown….a pitcher who makes 37 starts in a season but throws 120, 130, 140, 150 or 160 pitches in each start has a total stress load of 724,000 “points” over the season. The pitcher who makes 54 starts but throws 85, 88, 89, 90 pitches every start has a total stress load of a 431,000 points. . . dramatically lower.
For this reason, I believe that if baseball had switched not from a four-man rotation to five, but from a four-man rotation to three, but with a strict 90-pitch limit, it would have worked better than what was actually done. That’s my opinion.
I also think that pitchers would have liked it. A pitcher making 54 starts for a good team would have had a fair chance to “win” 30 games, and a hell of a chance to win 20.
[The questioner is referring to electing Marvin Miller to the Hall of Fame over his stated objection - TDA]
Because the Hall of Fame is a museum and has a duty to history.
Words. That’s not an argument; that’s just a bumper sticker. A museum has a duty to history, a duty to its community, a duty to the economy, a duty to integrity, a duty to doody. . ..so what? That’s no more an argument in re Marvin Miller than it is in re Shoeless Joe, Spike Eckert or Lefty O’Doul.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Oh, Paulie DePodesta… won’t see him no more.
I love the All-Decade teams in the Historical Abstract. Do you have a New Millenium team?
1B—Albert Pujols. 2B—Not sure; maybe Utley? 3B—A-Rod (although there are many good candidates. . .Wood Chipper, Rolen, Wright.) SS—Dirty Rotten. LF—Bonds. CF—Carlos Beltran. RF—Bobby Abreu, or possibly Sheffield. DH—Papi. C—Open to Suggestions. SP—Sabathia, Pedro, Big Unit, Halladay. CL—Mariano.
if a good fielding / mediocre hitting team and an all-bat, no-glove team are both looking for a shortstop, should they value the available players differently?...
Well. . .I don’t know if this is the RIGHT answer, but then, neither does anybody else. I would consider the other things at the margin. If you have a slow left fielder and a slow right fielder, you probably need a fast center fielder. If you have a bad defensive third baseman, you probably need a good shortstop.
I think there’s a rational basis for that, which is this. While we tend to think of plays as “belonging” to one fielder or another… it is easily observable that there are many plays in the field which can be made by either of two fielders (and sometimes more than two.) It stands to reason, then, that when one player’s range contracts, his neighbor can cover that to some extent.. .whereas if two neighboring fielders both have poor range, there is probably an interactive effect.
There is a second reason to avoid stacking up liabilities in the field, which is the curvature of the lines. If you increase hits by 10%, you increase runs by 20%. If you increase runs by 20%, you increase losses by 44%. When you stack up parallel liabilities in the field, there may be a more-than-proportional cost because of the curvature of the lines.
If you want to know why some of us get angry at the writers about the Hall of Fame vote, here is an example which might hit home for you, taken from a piece by Howard Bryant on espn.com: “The emerging Generation M (M standing for Moneyball), influenced by its Godfather, Bill James, and his capo, Billy Beane, is also deeply culpable for allowing their calculations to blissfully ignore steroids and, through that omission, attempting to legitimize the whole dishonest era (and themselves) by attempting to make the game revolve around only numbers…”
... There is a large, general historical argument going on about how to evaluate baseball players and about how baseball games are won, and Bryant perceives us—correctly—as being the aggressors in this argument, seizing territory long held by traditional sportswriters. He resents the loss of this territory, as people have always resented the loss of territory they claim to own, and he focuses this resentment on us.
But we are transitioning also into a third argument, away from the argument about how to win games and thus how to evaluate players, into one about steroids. The truth will ultimately prevail in that argument, as it has prevailed and will prevail in the other arguments. We have to be careful, then, that we do not allow others to assign us territory to defend, and thus wind up defending the indefensible.
It has never been my position that nothing counts except the numbers. There is a great deal that matters in baseball that is difficult to document and difficult to assess the value of.
It is not my position that you can’t discount the accomplishments of steroid users. I think it is entirely fair to apply a discount, if you choose to do so, to the things done by Jason Giambi or Manny Ramirez or any other pill popper.
It is my view, however, that attempting to apply that discount traps you into an ultimately unsustainable balancing act. At least three players who were almost certainly steroid users have already been elected to the Hall of Fame. In five years that will be ten players, or 20. At that point you will be drawing a line between those who were credibly accused of using steroids—who you want to keep out of the Hall of Fame—and those who merely have all the characteristics of steroid users, but who have somehow escaped the accusations. As time passes it is going to become progressively more difficult to sustain that distinction.
The phils new SP, John Lannan , is 2-5with a 6- plus era in Citizens bank park. How much stock do u give such things generally and how much does it mean for pitching in cbp for lannan facing the nats braves mets etc?
It doesn’t mean anything, except it expands my respect for the Phillies a little. If a player plays well against YOU, you’d be surprised how much that drives demand for him within an organization. It’s unusual that a team would sign a player who has pitched poorly against them.
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