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Monday, November 05, 2012

Justice: Can a rough October hinder payday for free agents?

Small Junior Samples.

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There’s just one negative. That is, Swisher batted .167 during the postseason. He had just two extra-base hits in 30 at-bats and was going so badly in the American League Championship Series against the Tigers that Yankees manager Joe Girardi benched him for Game 3.

So the question every general manager considering Swisher must ask themselves is this: Can a solid six months be wiped out by a poor finish?

...How to factor postseason performances—both good ones and bad ones—into a team evaluation of a player is one of the most difficult decisions general managers face. There doesn’t appear to be a consensus.

Some GMs say they simply factor it into the whole season. They point out that postseason numbers sometimes suffer because of the quality of pitching a team is facing.

Still, others saw consistently poor postseason numbers factor into evaluations. Strategies that got a player out in a postseason series will be the same ones he will face regularly in the future.

But with millions of dollars on the line, everything matters. Little things. Big things. Suddenly, every general manager will be going back through his scouting reports and his video to reevaluate a player coming off a poor October.

Repoz Posted: November 05, 2012 at 07:03 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics

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   1. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4293807)
he didn't stick the landing
   2. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 05, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4293810)
Simple solution. Sign him for 4/55, when he helps you make the playoffs just bench him. We all know him and Cano are massive chokers anyway.
   3. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 05, 2012 at 09:55 PM (#4293926)
Well, in 181 postseason plate appearances, Swisher's racked up a .169/.283/.305 line.
   4. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4293963)
Well, in 181 postseason plate appearances, Swisher's racked up a .169/.283/.305 line.
Which, arguably, works in Swisher's favor. Clearly, if there was something about people "figure out" about Swisher in the postseason, they would use it all the time. But since Swisher has had great seasons after playoff struggles, it can't be that.
   5. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4294008)
Maybe he gets too wound up in postseason games? That doesn't work in his favor, does it?
   6. Sunday silence Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:41 PM (#4294014)
Baseball statistics are such a tease: there's enuf data pts. out there to say that some effect could be happening but there's also small enuf sample to say it's just a random fluctuation and not to make anything of it.

But I think there are likely to be match up issues that could very well being have an effect. I cant prove it but it seems there are a lot of non transitive type relationships (read: rock/scissors paper) among different teams, players etc. in other sports. For instance in boxing we had: Foreman > Frazier > Ali,but then Ali beats Foreman. Of course some of this has to do with choice of tactics, some has to do with different environments, some has to do with the interaction of various abilities, etc. ..

Stuff like that. is it so hard to believe that baseball with all its issues of: match ups, park effects, it's team play etc. that there could be real trends in the post season that might have to do with facing better quality pitching, or better defense or better emphasis on righty/lefty match ups or how the run environment changes in Oct. or something.

As an example, when the Pirates had Bonilla and Bonds, I thought that Bonilla although he could never lead the league in hitting, might be a guy who might consistenly hit .300 against any type of pitcher. WHereas Bonds was a guy who could exploit poor pitching and probably hit .450 against it, but he might be e..g a .275 hitter against pitchers who were told to pitch him away and had good control. It might not be true, but just an example.

Willie Mays was on the radio here, one day saying that he wanted to hit .400 in the minors, so that scouts would take notice and you really had to go like 3 for 5 against the poorer pitchers in the league cause when you faced the better ones you might only go 1 for 5 or whatever. So even Mays was alluding to this sort of thing and you can sort of work out the math.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4294017)
since Swisher has had great seasons

Let's not get carried away. (Your overall point is fine)

Neither GM's point is out of whack I don't think. The first guy is basically saying "it's 20-40 more pieces of data against good pitching, might as well use it" and the other guy is saying "it shows how good pitchers get him out." Unless the second guy isn't also looking at how he does against good pitching during the regular season, they're not even necessarily in disagreement.

It is an odd thing. Reggie Sanders was a darn easy guy to get out in the postseason. Throw him a high fastball and he'd swing and miss, especially on two strikes. He struck out 79 times in 251 postseason PAs. His only defense against it really was the walk. And I recall Sanders swinging and missing high fastball after high fastball during the regular season too, with plenty of Ks. But why didn't they pitch him like that almost all the time? Yeah, I know, if you throw him 15 straight high fastballs he might start to catch on but if he can't hit the thing, he can't hit the thing and you should throw a ton of them.

And I saw Alfonso Soriano swing at bad breaking ball after bad breaking ball in the postseason ... just like he does in the regular season only more so and he didn't balance it with walks. I know you're always going to hang a few but why anybody has thrown him a fastball in the zone since 2002 is beyond me. Yet both those guys have been quite successful.

Are pitchers (as a group) so inaccurate that everybody was trying to throw Reggie the high, hard stuff but got it down in the zone? Or do they not tell rookie pitchers and bad pitchers how to pitch these guys? Or is everybody just being too clever in that whole "he knows I'm going to throw him a high, inside fastball here so I'm gonna throw him a low, outside fastball instead" kinda way?
   8. Bhaakon Posted: November 06, 2012 at 05:03 AM (#4294142)
And I saw Alfonso Soriano swing at bad breaking ball after bad breaking ball in the postseason ... just like he does in the regular season only more so and he didn't balance it with walks. I know you're always going to hang a few but why anybody has thrown him a fastball in the zone since 2002 is beyond me. Yet both those guys have been quite successful.


I wonder if pitchers throw more breaking balls in the postseason, since they're not as worried about saving their arm.
   9. Russ Posted: November 06, 2012 at 05:40 AM (#4294143)
But why didn't they pitch him like that almost all the time? Yeah, I know, if you throw him 15 straight high fastballs he might start to catch on but if he can't hit the thing, he can't hit the thing and you should throw a ton of them.


I've always held that the postseason pitching rosters are shorter. Your two best starting pitchers could be throwing something like 28-35 of 63 innings in a 7 game series (all of them at your team), whereas they are throwing about 400 of the innings in a 162-game seeason. And they are probably going all out (as Bhaakon mentioned). Same thing for your best relievers... they are throwing far more innings in a postseason series than in the regular season. A manager is just not going to send out the dregs of the rotation and the bullpen at the same rate in the postseason, so if you are a guy who beats up on weaker pitchers only, then you're going to struggle.

   10. BDC Posted: November 06, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4294240)
do they not tell rookie pitchers and bad pitchers how to pitch these guys? Or is everybody just being too clever in that whole "he knows I'm going to throw him a high, inside fastball here so I'm gonna throw him a low, outside fastball instead" kinda way?

I think decent pitchers can sometimes outsmart themselves, but I also think that rookies and bad pitchers and bad rookie pitchers sometimes just can't make the pitch they need to. You may have great stuff, but if you miss by a couple of inches to somebody like Sanders or Soriano, they'll drive it off a wall somewhere.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: November 06, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4295030)
if you are a guy who beats up on weaker pitchers only, then you're going to struggle.

Right, that's the logic. But this would argue that post-season performance might provide useful information -- granted, information GMs should already have based on regular season performance but still information that should be obvious to anybody watching the postseason without the need for scouts or anaysis or whatever. Small sample warnings apply!

But then again, it's not like Soriano only misses the great curve of Zito's heyday -- nobody could hit that thing. Soriano swings at ones that are a foot outside and in the dirt.

Anyway, I don't really think there's anything in this, I will just remain eternally bemused that anybody ever throws Soriano a hittable pitch.

Here's a bizarre stat -- in 24 career PA against Dan Haren, Soriano has only K'd once. My favorite line is probably Al Leiter: 500/667/1083 in 18 PAs vs Soriano, K'ing him only once and somehow managing to walk him 5 times. Versus Zito, as we might kinda expect, 140/232/160 with 17 K in 56 PA.

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