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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Mike Trout Is on His Way to the Best Season Ever

On Sunday, Mike Trout went 0-for-3, failing to reach base via hit or walk for only the eighth time in a game he’s started this season. Even so, he helped his team win. With the Angels up 2-0 on Texas in the fifth, Delino DeShields drove a ball to the wall in left-center, 103 feet from where Trout was standing when the pitch left Tyler Skaggs’s hand. Based on the distance and direction of the wall and the ball, an average outfielder would have had only a 19 percent chance of corralling the probable extra-base hit, according to Statcast. But Trout made the grab, running a nearly direct route (104 feet) and reaching a top speed of 29 feet per second. It was the unlikeliest catch that Trout has recorded in the 2015-18 Statcast era, and the latest highlight of the multitime MVP’s consistently extraordinary season.

...

By going 3-for-5 on Saturday with a single, a triple, a home run, and a tag-evading stolen base so slick that it required a replay review to sort out, Trout propelled himself to 5.3 wins above replacement, 1.2 WAR ahead of anyone else on the Baseball-Reference leaderboard. That put him on pace for a 14.6-WAR season, which would surpass Babe Ruth’s 14.1 in 1923 as the best ever by a position player.

Yeah, Trout, what is there to say ...

Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: June 05, 2018 at 10:13 AM | 126 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, babe ruth, big fish, the one that got away

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   101. Booey Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5687665)
flip
   102. Booey Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5687678)
And if that's the case, won't the NBA be in the same position we're in now when it comes to homers and whether the approach teams take is creating a game that's less watchable (if the NBA isn't already getting close to that point - I don't watch it, so I wouldn't know)? But a game where nothing but 3s are launched doesn't sound very appealing


It's already getting there. In the playoffs this season, there's been several games where half the shots were 3's. It looks okay when they go in, but it can be downright unwatchable when they don't. In the conference finals, the Rockets and Celtics both lost winnable game 7's at home mainly because they went 7/44 and 7/39 from deep. Houston in particular missed 27 in a row at one point.

It's indeed the basketball version of TTO. Statistically it's still the best strategy, but it definitely makes the game less interesting to watch, and it's flat out ugly on the nights when it's just not working.
   103. PreservedFish Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5687685)
They should just make them worth 2.5 points.
   104. bunyon Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5687701)
They should just make them worth 2.5 points.

1 point for dunks and add 0.08 point per extra foot away from the basket.
   105. PreservedFish Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5687836)
Oh that's a great rule, although it would probably lead to many injuries
   106. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 07, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5687874)
10-20 feet would make a difference in outcomes but I don't think it would make a difference in the players' mindsets. If you're Jonny Schoop or some other infielder that lives on the 20 homeruns you can hit, it's not going to be easy to just overhaul your swing and approach overnight. Remember, we already have the evidence of the extreme shift, where hitters are given an extreme and obvious incentive to change their approach, and few of them ever do.

If there were a change, it would probably very gradual and subtle. Very few would just say, "I'm gonna try and put the ball in play more now." It would just be the slow process of organic, incremental change as hitters do this or that and subconsciously respond to the results, over generations.


As someone else noted, existing MLB players might not change their approach but teams would change which players they used. And not only would you want guys who can put the ball in play more, but you'd also need more mobile guys in the outfield, which would likely translate to more speedy guys at the plate.

Echoing #102, watching the NBA postseason this year, when teams are cold from beyond the arc it does get borderline unwatchable.
   107. Sunday silence Posted: June 07, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5687924)
would widening the lane help the NBA issue mentioned above?
   108. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 07, 2018 at 04:02 PM (#5687928)
would widening the lane help the NBA issue mentioned above?

I don't know. I think the obvious fix would be to move the 3-point arc back, but that would probably meet with more objection.
   109. Hank Gillette Posted: June 07, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5687968)
I don't know. I think the obvious fix would be to move the 3-point arc back, but that would probably meet with more objection.


Why would they do that? There are still very few player who can consistently capitalize on shooting three-pointers. Almost every NBA player can dunk, but they have never raised the height of the basket.

it would be impossible anyway to move the line farther back at the baseline, unless they enlarged the court. There is barely room now for a player to get behind the three point line without stepping out of bounds.

Contrary to the other opinions, I think the three point line has improved the watchability of NBA games. I had quit watching entirely, back when it was mostly huge men crowded into the space around the basket. Players like Curry and Harden who can sink shots well behind the current three point line have opened up the game, making defenders come out farther from the basket, and because of that have probably increased the number of layups, because now there is room for a smaller player to cut toward the basket and get a pass for the short shot.

Yes, it’s ugly when teams miss a lot of three pointers. It’s also ugly when a team can’t hit shorter shots, or a player fails to execute a dunk or layup.
   110. Rally Posted: June 07, 2018 at 05:48 PM (#5687989)
There are still very few player who can consistently capitalize on shooting three-pointers.


I would not say few. Last year there were 220 player with at least 50 3P attempts and a success rate of 33% or better - equivalent to shooting 50% from 2. That's 7 per team. There would be more, except there aren't enough minutes and shots to go around.
   111. Sunday silence Posted: June 07, 2018 at 08:37 PM (#5688053)
another caller on the radio suggested widening the entire court. In order to alleviate the crowding issue mentioned in 109.
   112. John DiFool2 Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:08 PM (#5688126)
I would not say few. Last year there were 220 player with at least 50 3P attempts and a success rate of 33% or better - equivalent to shooting 50% from 2.


Not quite. You miss more when you shoot 3's, which means more defensive rebounds and possessions for the other team. The actual break-even point may be closer to 40%.
   113. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:53 PM (#5688165)
You miss more when you shoot 3's, which means more defensive rebounds and possessions for the other team.


Aren't the offensive rebound numbers better on 3s?
   114. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2018 at 01:03 AM (#5688170)

Not quite. You miss more when you shoot 3's, which means more defensive rebounds and possessions for the other team. The actual break-even point may be closer to 40%.
I think this is backward. A breakeven of 50% to 33.3% assumes that every miss results in a defensive rebound. If teams get offensive rebounds at the same rate off of 2- and 3-point misses (a big if), then they should get more extra possessions by shooting 3s (because the greater number of misses means a greater number of offensive rebounds). This is counteracted by the fact that a made basket leads to an inbounds play, which is much less likely to result in an easy basket at the other end. Since there are fewer makes on 3s the other team gets better quality possessions on average.

Anyway, the actual breakeven point depends on the rate of rebounds after misses, and the quality of possessions that teams get after makes and misses (including after offensive or defensive rebounds on 2s and 3s), and probably a bunch of other things. For example, if missed 3s lead to low-quality offensive rebounds and high-quality defensive rebounds (maybe more fast breaks or something) that would raise the breakeven point for 3s.

Another overall point though is what types of shots are being taken late in the clock, when they are forced. Taking even a low percentage shot is much better than getting a 24-second violation, so if certain types of shots (perhaps for example long 2s or very long 3s) are being taken more often than others late in the clock (or by certain players who more often than their share have to bail out their offense by taking a shot), these plays will drag down the "natural" scoring percentage of the type of shot in question, as they are being unfairly compared to shots when there is plenty of time on the clock.

edit: oh, I thought this was the basketball thread.
   115. Rally Posted: June 08, 2018 at 09:45 AM (#5688238)
Not quite. You miss more when you shoot 3's, which means more defensive rebounds and possessions for the other team. The actual break-even point may be closer to 40%.


Only if you're playing make it - take it. Keep in mind that in the NBA every successful shot attempt also results in a possession for the other team.
   116. Rally Posted: June 08, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5688247)
A quick spreadsheet estimation, if I did it right, and assuming no offensive rebounds says in make it take it a 40% chance from 3 is equivalent to a 50% chance from 2.
   117. bunyon Posted: June 08, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5688293)
another caller on the radio suggested widening the entire court. In order to alleviate the crowding issue mentioned in 109.

This is long overdue.
   118. BDC Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5688302)
Wouldn't widening a basketball court eliminate premium courtside seats? (Or make a bunch of seats slightly less premium.) At least with baseball, the outfield seats are less desirable – in fact some older parks (Shea Stadium, e.g.) had little to no seating in the outfield at all.
   119. SoSH U at work Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:23 AM (#5688326)
Wouldn't widening a basketball court eliminate premium courtside seats?


Not unless they widened it all the way to the walls.

Obviously, you'd lose some a row or two in the lowest decks, which would carve into revenue some, I suspect. But I've thought for awhile that the court needs to be widened to account for just how good/big/fast NBA players are.
   120. Hank Gillette Posted: June 08, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5688384)
I would not say few. Last year there were 220 player with at least 50 3P attempts and a success rate of 33% or better - equivalent to shooting 50% from 2. That's 7 per team. There would be more, except there aren't enough minutes and shots to go around.
 


50 attempts? That’s less than one a game. I didn’t specifically say it, but in the context I was talking about players who can consistently make enough three pointers to make the defense adjust. At a more restrictive five three point attempts per game, there are only 60 players with a shooting percentage of 33% or better (there are only 68 who took that many shots period, which makes sense. The coaches don’t allow players to take that many three pointers unless they can make it.).

If you up the criteria to five three point attempts per game with a shooting percentage of least 40%, there are only 15 in the entire league. Three of them play for Golden State.

There’s no place where it is listed that I know of, but what percentage of NBA players can dunk? 90%? 95%? They should raise the height of the basket before they move the three point line farther out.

I can’t see them enlarging the court because of the massive construction costs of doing so to existing structures. They only practical way they could do it would be to designate a second, larger official court while still allowing the present size. In 20-30 years, most NBA courts would be the larger size.
   121. Rally Posted: June 08, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5688430)
There’s no place where it is listed that I know of, but what percentage of NBA players can dunk? 90%? 95%?


I'd guess 99%

50 attempts? That’s less than one a game. I didn’t specifically say it, but in the context I was talking about players who can consistently make enough three pointers to make the defense adjust. At a more restrictive five three point attempts per game, there are only 60 players with a shooting percentage of 33% or better (there are only 68 who took that many shots period, which makes sense. The coaches don’t allow players to take that many three pointers unless they can make it.).


Put a bigger floor on attempts made, and you are just restricting your list to players who are good enough to play a lot of minutes and take shots. There are only so many shots to go around. There are plenty of role/bench players who don't take enough shots but who can shoot the 3 well enough that you have to respect them on defense. I'd say at any given moment in an NBA game, 3 or 4 of the guys on the court are dangerous from 3 if left open.
   122. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 08, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5688477)

Not quite. You miss more when you shoot 3's, which means more defensive rebounds and possessions for the other team. The actual break-even point may be closer to 40%.

As others have said, that's backwards. But I assume there are many more fouls on 2-pointers than 3-pointers, which I'm sure makes the breakeven higher for 3-pointers.

The chart in this article illustrates the worrying trend for me, where you have more and more 3s being taken, but the overall amount of scoring isn't changing and you have more missed shots. This is exciting basketball to watch when it's Curry and Klay, but when Blake Griffin is shooting 5+ 3PA per game I think you have a problem.

I have spent almost no time thinking about this so I don't know whether moving the 3-point line back is even possible for the reasons mentioned, or if so whether it would be effective, but if it takes a guy who was a 35% shooter and makes him a 25-30% shooter from behind the arc, he'll stop taking those shots as often.
   123. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: June 08, 2018 at 03:34 PM (#5688489)
They should raise the height of the basket before they move the three point line farther out.
I've said for years, semi in jest partly to needle hoops-loving friends, that the basket needs to be raised and, less radically, that the court ought to be bigger.

But raising the hoop any significant amount would be a pretty radical change; ever player has been shooting at a 10-foot hoop for their entire lives/careers -- has there ever been quite so fundamental a change made to a major sport?
   124. Rally Posted: June 08, 2018 at 08:45 PM (#5688642)
I’m 47 years old and can’t dunk anymore. But I can still grab the rim. The rim is my friend. Please don’t raise the rim.
   125. cardsfanboy Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:17 PM (#5688737)
has there ever been quite so fundamental a change made to a major sport?


Baseball did change the mound distance at one point in time.
   126. cardsfanboy Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:21 PM (#5688739)
wrong thread
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