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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Nick Cafardo: Can Alex Cora’s analytics plan take the Red Sox to the next level?

This.

“Not everybody has to take pitches. I get it, working the count. Is it worth it to work the count? Guys are throwing 98-99, you hunt for a pitch to do damage with, that’s going to help us out.”

A lot of good stuff in this one.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2017 at 06:11 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: alex cora, analytics, red sox

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   1. Captain Supporter Posted: November 08, 2017 at 01:24 PM (#5573007)
“Not everybody has to take pitches. I get it, working the count. Is it worth it to work the count? Guys are throwing 98-99, you hunt for a pitch to do damage with, that’s going to help us out.”


This kind of thing is not 'analytics'. Its opinion. Now there may or may not be data to support that opinion, but if there is its certainly not covered in the article.

Houston is a team that was able to win two game 7's and therefore won the World Series. Kudos to them, but they certainly were in no way a dominant team. I certainly don't see anything that indicates that they have revolutionized baseball or that they are using analytics in a way that is superior to the approach used by the Red Sox or the Yankees or the Dodgers or a host of other teams.

What I think will happen is that by simply regressing to their mean performance level, the Red Sox will hit more home runs next year and Joey Cora and 'analytics' will get the credit for doing that. And we'll be treated to more articles like this one.
   2. Chip Posted: November 08, 2017 at 01:35 PM (#5573020)
I, for one, will be surprised if Joey Cora gets credit.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: November 08, 2017 at 04:14 PM (#5573144)
The Astros were a dominant team ... on offense. They had a 127 OPS+, first in runs, first in hits, first in BA, OBP and SLG, 2nd in HR ... and struck out far less than any other team. 66 fewer Ks than the closest team, 233 fewer Ks than the average AL team. If the Astros have figured out something about hitting for power without K'ing, other teams will follow and scoring will go through the roof.

As to the quote in the excerpt ... meh, nobody has ever said otherwise. First pitch contact numbers have been high for a very long time -- 353/601 in 2017 AL, approx 346/580 overall. Take and rake has never had "work the count" as its primary goal, the primary goal has always been "swing only at pitches you can hit hard" because swinging at the other ones HURTS YOU. Walks and driving up pitch counts are secondary benefits (and Ks are the price), not the goal.

By the way, the 2nd lowest K team was Cleveland who were 3rd in scoring and 4th in OPS+. Boston was also better than average in Ks but as we know did not hit HRs ... 70 behind Houston, 44 behind Cleveland. 6th in scoring overall, if they had managed to turn singles into HRs to close those HR gaps while keeping everything else the same, they'd have closed about half of their run gap relative to the Astros or all of the gap to Cleveland. And added 37 points to the SLG and OPS and about 9 points to their team OPS+. (Seem far-fetched to trade singles for HRs? That's basically what happened between 2016 and 2017 across MLB.)
   4. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: November 08, 2017 at 07:37 PM (#5573264)
Take and rake has never had "work the count" as its primary goal, the primary goal has always been "swing only at pitches you can hit hard" because swinging at the other ones HURTS YOU.


50% of my coaching of little leaguers at bat involves explaining this concept.
   5. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 08, 2017 at 07:58 PM (#5573272)
50% of my coaching of little leaguers at bat involves explaining this concept.


I believe back in the day when I played LL in the early 70's, the explanation was "wait for a pitch you can drive"

hitting for power without K'ing


AKA the holy grail of batting.

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