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Monday, February 10, 2014

The offseason approach of thinking-man Breslow

Hey Bulldogs!
Hey Bulldogs! (okay…out of my system)

Breslow pores over scouting reports during the regular season. He examines the recent trends of opposing hitters. He sees what these batters have done over their past 10 games with runners on base vs. no runners, and early in games vs. late, and against fastballs vs. offspeed pitches.

But what does he do during the offseason?

Well, he examines his own trends.

“I make sure there’s no need for a complete overhaul,” he said recently.

“I make sure my walk rates aren’t rising and my strikeout rates aren’t falling unless I’m replacing that. This year, I know my strikeouts were way down. But I also got way more ground balls than I ever had before.

“There was a time a couple of years ago when my numbers were pretty bad, at least my main core numbers such as my ERA. And I felt like my stuff was really the same. It (ended up being) just a case of a lot of bad luck. I was able to take a look at some of the advanced metrics and say, ‘The reason it feels like whenever I give up a batted ball and it becomes a hit is because my batting average on balls in play is close to .400, which is unsustainably high.’

“So it wasn’t that I needed to make complete adjustments. It was just that I needed to stay the course and at some points these things would normalize.”

Those advanced metrics at times also have shown Breslow he must alter mechanics or add a pitch to his repertoire.

“I started throwing a sinker two years ago,” he said.

“Since then you can quantify the change in my ability to generate ground balls. I’ve become a lot more successful facing lefties because I have the ability to run a ball in on their hands. So having data available to you is great but using it is even better.”

Repoz Posted: February 10, 2014 at 06:41 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, sabermetrics

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   1. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: February 10, 2014 at 08:29 AM (#4654079)
But is he in the best shape of his life?
   2. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: February 10, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4654083)
Based on some of the arguments here, if you look deeply enough at the "advanced stats", you can find one or two that say "surprisingly underrated", even if your results are terrible.
   3. villageidiom Posted: February 10, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4654309)
I am surprisingly underrated!
   4. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 10, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4654312)
I am unsurprisingly underrated.
   5. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 10, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4654315)
I am rated, surprisingly.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: February 10, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4654331)
"I am," ranted Surprise N. Lee.
   7. dave h Posted: February 10, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4654347)
For the last time, he did not double major! Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry is a single department.

I'm kind of a DIPS-hater, but I really wouldn't want to look at a single pitcher's BABIP, see that it was high, and conclude that nothing's wrong. It seems that he uses that in combination with other stats though, so I guess it's pretty reasonable.

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