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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Moneyball … But With Money «

A lot of good stuff here, including this tidbit.

The similarly revenue-challenged Rays have ranked among the American League’s elite teams for most of the past six seasons, thanks in part to using even more nuanced platoons than simple lefty-righty splits. Manager Joe Maddon won’t hesitate to start certain players based on the ground ball–to–fly ball tendencies of an opposing pitcher. One of Tampa Bay’s most contrarian moves has been its occasional use of a nearly all-righty lineup against a right-handed pitcher, or a nearly all-lefty lineup against a left-handed pitcher. When the team’s number crunchers realized a few years ago that righty Mike Mussina was killing the Rays’ lefty batters, Maddon trotted out a lineup consisting almost entirely of right-handed hitters instead … and it worked. Maddon has implemented the same strategy against other pitchers, including starting an armada of righties against Tim Wakefield and his knuckleball, and mostly lefties against Ricky Romero and his once-tricky changeup.

This is one of those things that any smart sim player has known for years.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 15, 2014 at 09:17 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: March 15, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4672038)
Losing John Maddon has been the biggest loss to the Angel's coaching staff over the years. Speculation on my end, but he had Scioscia's ear. By now he could have convinced Scioscia to try some different approaches if their front office had the crunchers in the first place.

Instead, we have Hamilton and Pujols.

   2. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: March 15, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4672045)
Who the hell is John Maddon?
   3. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: March 15, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4672047)
It's pretty obvious that Jim's referring to Joe Maddon. Typing "John" instead of "Joe" would seem to be a pretty understandable slip-up.
   4. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4672048)
When the team’s number crunchers realized a few years ago that righty Mike Mussina was killing the Rays’ lefty batters, Maddon trotted out a lineup consisting almost entirely of right-handed hitters instead … and it worked.

Apparently, "it worked" is based on Mussina's last start against the Rays in 2008, and "almost entirely" means six out of nine.
   5. Rough Carrigan Posted: March 15, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4672072)
The Angels miss Bud Black even more. They used to bring in scrubs and nobodies and Black would get them to perform better than anyone thought they could and the Angels would have a very good bullpen on the cheap. That ability to craft a really good bullpen with little money suddenly seemed to desert the Angels just when Bud Black left.
   6. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 15, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4672073)
So Scioscia is the anti-Bill Belichick?
   7. Dale Sams Posted: March 15, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4672097)
Who the hell is John Maddon?

   8. villageidiom Posted: March 15, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4672160)
Losing John Maddon has been the biggest loss to the Angel's coaching staff over the years.
You misspelled Idina Menzel.
   9. Danny Posted: March 15, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4672176)
Apparently, "it worked" is based on Mussina's last start against the Rays in 2008, and "almost entirely" means six out of nine.

And in that game...

RHB vs. Mussina: 7 for 22 with 2 doubles and 0 walks
LHB vs. Mussina: 3 for 7 with a double and 2 walks

Keri can get a bit ridiculous about the Rays.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: March 15, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4672186)
Neither the Mussina thing nor the Wakefield thing are particularly new or innovative. For as long as I can remember, "baseball people" have stated or speculated that RHB are more successful vs knucklers or at least that, given the success of the pitch has little to do with angle or speed, RHB would be as successful vs RH knuckler as LHB. On the Mussina thing, I don't know if it's been applied to Mussina before, but this idea was tossed out there for RHPs with equal or reverse platoon splits -- Rivera most recently.

I'll admit, I can't think of ever hearing that maybe it would be a good idea to start LHB against a particular LHP. Romero did indeed get crushed by LHB (862 vs 683 OPS) ... but it seems most teams caught onto this ... at least his 2400/1000 R/L PA ratio looks pretty close to normal. For example, Randy Johnson faced a LHB less than 1 per 7 PA.

Glavine was a bit under 1 per 5, CC is about 1 per 4.5. Lee is 1 per 4+. So it looks like most teams may have put more LHB in against Romero than they woould against most LHP.

Now that I think of it, I think Glavine got that speculation (maybe behavior too) as folks realized RHB can't hit pitches that are never closer than 6 inches off the outside corner.

Finally, us saber types should never say "and it worked" in referencing the outcome of a single game or any other ridiculously small sample. Feel free to say "and it worked out." Next game the roll of the dice might go against you.
   11. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: March 15, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4672192)
####. Sorry. Joe Maddon.

And the joy of ignore pays off. F-you Joey.
   12. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: March 15, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4672194)
Re: Black.

I can see that too. But, when he left, the front office started making really stupid decisions re: relievers. Letting Gregg go for nothing. Losing O'Day in a waiver mix up. Getting rid of Turbow when he was still decent. Additionally, trading Walden for Hanson was dumb.

This team could have a great pen now if not for their inept FO under Reagans. Hard to know who to blame. I don't doubt that Black is missed and that he helped in the pen, but there are many reasons this team has stunk the last few years, and the FO is a big part of that. Also, Maddon was the only sabr-friendly guy around. Losing him kicked the team back a couple of decades. Or so it seems.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: March 16, 2014 at 01:20 AM (#4672269)
Oh yeah, split searches ... not complete through history but still ...

For a min of 500 IP, Romero has the 3rd worst L/L OPS against of all-time (Jim Parque and the great Jimmy Anderson) and he's got a much more extreme split than those two. The first guy with a high OPS and extreme split is Hubbell whose screwball must have been mighty effective against RHB and hammered otherwise. The only other one is Stubby Overmire about whom I know nothing (and has incomplete data as does Hubbell). You still get a fair number who were worse L/L than L/R (e.g. Moyer) but nothing extreme that I see.

The split P-I doesn't seem to have BF or PA but by "IP", Romero's L/total ratio seems to be the highest it turns up, at least among this group that got hit hard -- it's over 25%. Parque is not far behind and John Halama. By AB, it's 1 per 3.5 for Romero, 1 per 3.6 for Halama and about 1 per 4 for Parque. (Halama's career split was about even but he gave up an 800 OPS overall so no need to do anything special to combat him.)

So it would seem that, for a long time, baseball managers have been fairly quick to recognize the rare lefty pitcher that doesn't have a favorable platoon split and not overload with RHB against that guy. It didn't seem to take sabermetrics or analytics or even computers. What Maddon did when facing Romero seems to be what the average manager did when facing Romero. (Note, Maddon might have had more LHB at his disposal.)

We see this a bit with Wakefield too. 7600 RHB PA vs. 6300 LHB PA (764/724 OPS). Might seem overloaded towards LHB at first but Mussina was 7200/7400 and, to pick a pitcher a bit closer to Wake's performance level, Arroyo is 4900/4700. Possibly Wake's split is due to more relief IP and being brought in to face RHB. But he was used mainly in longer relief and even a guy like Mike Adams is basically a 50/50 split. Makes sense to me, a knuckler is a knuckler and if Wake doesn't know if it's going to break in, out, down or not at all, no reason for the opposing manager to pretend he knows.

So it's possibly just the one game against Mussina when he bucked the trend -- Mussina maintained that 50/50 split in his last season.

   14. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: March 16, 2014 at 03:23 AM (#4672277)
I know it strains belief that one would remember such a thing, but I actually remember specific talk / conventional wisdom about Halama being more effective vs. righties.
   15. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: March 16, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4672400)

Tough actin' Tinactin!

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