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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Friday, January 05, 2007

Arizona - Acquired the Big Unit

Arizona Diamondbacks - Acquired P Randy Johnson from the New York Yankees for P Luis Vizcaino, SS Alberto Gonzalez, P Ross Ohlendorf, and P Steven Jackson.

Kind of a win-win for both teams, but I do think Arizona’s getting the better end of the deal.  A lot of people (including just about every Yankee fan) disagrees with me, but I think that if he’s healthy, Johnson will be just fine.  Nobody sustains as odd a windup/stretch split as the Unit had in 2006:

Bases Empty: 206/271/324
RISP: 348/399/608

Backs are always iffy, but Johnson’s back has been a problem going back more than a decade - the guy can still pitch and there’s nothing wrong with simply being as good as he was in 2005.  The “such-and-such season is almost never done at 43 or 44” is a bogus argument - Johnson’s an unusual, special, Hall-of-Fame pitcher, a better pitcher than Nolan Ryan.  There’s no magic Gambler’s Fallacy God that strikes down 42 or 43-year-olds that are still good pitchers.  Most guys going into their age-43 season don’t have peripherals as good as Johnson and most guys going into their age-43 season weren’t the best pitchers all-time at ages 38 and 40 and top 10 all-time when 41.

The Yankees, however, didn’t clearly want the drama and used to opportunity to pick up some organizational depth.  I can’t blame them because when you’re spending a fifth of a billion in payroll, you don’t want to deal with any rotation surprises.

There are no top prospects here and all 3 of the prospects, while they would rank higher on the list of practically every other organization in baseball, were just barely in Sickels’ top 20 Arizona prospect list.  The Diamondbacks can deal these players without even sweating the prospect depth.  A team in their position should be willing to gamble as they don’t have many huge salary commitments and we’re talking about a deserving, slam-dunk Hall of Famer who shouldn’t be quite done yet.  I’d rather have Unit than Gil Meche or Vicente Padilla and $5 million the next few years.  By the time Arizona has to pay big money to their impressive stable of youngsters, Johnson will be retired and his contract mostly off the books, depending on what goofy deferred scheme Arizona does with Johnson (I think Matt Williams and Mark Grace are owed money through the year 2600 or something).

2007 ZiPS Projections
——————————————————————————————-
Player     W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
——————————————————————————————-
Jackson   7 10 26 26 168 206 107 26 59 72 5.73
Johnson   17 10 33 33 216 195   87 28 57 206 3.63
Ohlendorf   6 13 28 27 183 221 113 30 47 86 5.56
Vizcaino   4   6 68   0   66   66   35   9 28 56 4.77  
——————————————————————————————-

 

2007 ZiPS Projections
———————————————————————————————————
Player     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
———————————————————————————————————
Gonzalez   463 60 115 20 2   4 45 35 45   2 .248 .308 .326
———————————————————————————————————

Dan Szymborski Posted: January 05, 2007 at 02:34 PM | 304 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. kwarren Posted: January 09, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2276599)
His number w/RISP may well have been a fluke. But my contention is that for a pitcher entering his age-43 season we would do well to be more sensitive to subtle cues of impending decline than for the general mass of pitchers, and not just dismiss an alarming split as a random aberration the same way we would with far younger, far healthier pitchers.

This is an intriguing concept.

Can you be more specific about the age that BABIP becomes a measure of skill, rather than luck? Would a high BABIP for Mike Mussina in 2007 be a "subtle cue of impending decline". How about Jason Schmidt? Or does it need to happen to an old geezer like Clemens before we no longer classify it a measure of luck.
   202. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 09, 2007 at 02:43 AM (#2276600)
Aaron Small, 2005 FIP: 3.90
Curt Schilling, 2005 FIP: 3.65

Pitchers can, it turns out, be lucky in stats other than BABIP, as well.
   203. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 09, 2007 at 02:45 AM (#2276601)
The speed of the bat when it makes contact with the ball determines how hard a ball is hit. Are you suggesting that hitters swing faster when Schilling, Rodriguez, Vaszquez, Johnson (with men on base only) etc pitch
This comment suggests to me that you've never played baseball before. The quality of contact is just as important as the speed of the pitch and the speed of the bat. Mariano Rivera, etc.
   204. philly Posted: January 09, 2007 at 03:06 AM (#2276609)
If Schilling had a normal BABIP (luckily, as you would say) and an ERA under 4, do you think many Red Sox fans would have thought he was a bad pitcher?

Ironically, I would have thought he was very lucky.
   205. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: January 09, 2007 at 03:31 AM (#2276624)
The speed of the bat when it makes contact with the ball determines how hard a ball is hit.

The quality of contact is just as important as the speed of the pitch and the speed of the bat.


Thanks MCoA. Furthermore, quality of contact is connected to how much deception a pitcher can put into a pitch.

"If bad pitchers can get lucky, why can't good pitchers be unlucky?"

I'm not saying luck can't be a component. I'm saying that how hard a batter hits the ball is partially the result of pitch quality and I suspect this is far more important than luck. I'm guessing Lopez wasn't fooling anyone last year. Consequently, batters were raking the ball against him and if a ball is scorched, it's more likely to end up in play. I also suspect that some pitchers who put a lot balls in play can partially get away with it because they're pitch quality is good enough so that even though a bunch of balls are put into play, hitters never make square contact thus leading to weak hits and more outs. As someone else pointed, Rivera is an example but granted he's probably an extreme example. But I think there's something to related to pitch quality (a controllable aspect) that affects how well hitters make square contact which in turn affects the likelihood a ball in play will turn into a hit. Obviously measuring pitch quality is difficult but like I said, if you could somehow measure how well the ball is hit (e.g. mph of the ball right after it's hit), this measure should be a good enough proxy of pitch quality and would explain why Lopez is not as unlucky as LIPS suggest and why Wang is not simply lucky. I just saw an article posted on "stuff" quality which I'm hoping will better articulate my point and offer some empirical validation.
   206. Steve Treder Posted: January 09, 2007 at 04:21 AM (#2276629)
Is there a cap on the money (per page and total)?

Yes, my original proposal was that each is a $5 page. So at most each of us is risking $15.
   207. Steve Treder Posted: January 09, 2007 at 04:27 AM (#2276631)
Can you be more specific about the age that BABIP becomes a measure of skill, rather than luck?

Ooo. That's sarcasm, right?

Care to get in on the big action here?
   208. bibigon Posted: January 09, 2007 at 05:27 AM (#2276647)
Steve, it's worth remembering that ZiPS isn't a playing time predictor. Two of your three components deal with playing time, so taking issue with the ZiPS projections there seems a bit empty.

That said, I'm in.

I'm much more certain about the ERA than anything else, but if he hits the ERA mark, I'm risking $5 on the remaining two lines.
   209. Steve Treder Posted: January 09, 2007 at 05:38 AM (#2276650)
Steve, it's worth remembering that ZiPS isn't a playing time predictor. Two of your three components deal with playing time, so taking issue with the ZiPS projections there seems a bit empty.

Please understand that I'm not faulting ZiPS in that regard. I'm faulting the notion that the projection for this particular player should be accepted without significant skepticism, including its playing time component, especially given that playing time is a crucial aspect of a starting pitcher's contribution.

Glad you're in!

Let's see ... I have DCA, John Mazzeo, Levski, and you. Have I missed anyone?
   210. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 09, 2007 at 06:13 AM (#2276658)
I don't suppose anyone, perhaps one of the Yankees fans so convinced of the exceptionalness of the situation, has done a CBW-style analysis on Randy Johnson in the stretch?
   211. DCA Posted: January 09, 2007 at 12:21 PM (#2276714)
Sorry to be missing all evening (internet connection issues). Steve, I'm still not comfortable with a gross number of K's ... like I said, that makes it all about innings pitched and. I'll do the ERA and IP bet, but I have problems with losing the K-bet if, say, he pitches 115 innings and strikes out 125. Clearly his K ability has returned if he does that. I'd be happy to make the K leg a combined thing ... say I buy a page if he misses both 149 and 7.30, but you buy a page if he makes both, and we call it a draw if there's a split (like the 115/125 I mention above).
   212. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 09, 2007 at 02:34 PM (#2276720)
Steve, it's worth remembering that ZiPS isn't a playing time predictor.

And yet, every single ZiPS projection includes a playing time prediction. Strange.

The speed of the bat when it makes contact with the ball determines how hard a ball is hit.

This comment suggests to me that you've never played baseball before.


Played? It suggests he's never watched baseball before. Nothing personal, because I'm pretty sure he didn't really mean what he typed, but this is exaclty the kind of comment that gives sabrmetrics a bad name. kwarren, you're not honestly claiming that you've never seen a big swing result in a weak popup or grounder, or a check swing line drive, are you? You have to hit the ball square to hit it hard.
   213. AROM Posted: January 09, 2007 at 03:36 PM (#2276749)
New article on Hardball Times about Johnson.

Link
   214. 1k5v3L Posted: January 09, 2007 at 03:46 PM (#2276753)

If I win all 3, you sponsor 3 pages.
If I win 2, you sponsor 2 pages, I sponsor 1.
If I win 1, you sponsor 1 page, I sponsor 2.
If I win 0, I sponsor 3 pages.

Doesn't that seem the best way to handle it?

...

Is there a cap on the money (per page and total)?

Yes, my original proposal was that each is a $5 page. So at most each of us is risking $15.


I'm in, Treder. You'll have three up-and-coming Dbacks superstars to sponsor.
   215. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 09, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2276754)
AROM -

Thanks for the link. I'm actually pretty bullish on Johnson. His durability is insane, and 200 IP at 90 ERA+ is very valuable. I thought he had good enough stuff last year to be at least league average, and I think the Yankees probably made a mistake in letting him go - contingent on whether they get Clemens, pretty much.

But I think you miss a couple major issues in that article. First and foremost is selective sampling - 20% of your sample didn't pitch in the majors the next year. There's probably a reason for that - either they were hurt, or they sucked and lost their jobs. Excluding them from the sample leaves you with only pitchers who earned jobs in the following year. Second, given a sample of only 19 pitchers, why use averages? The sample is small, and so it seems to me like a narrative discussion would be better - who were these pitchers, what caused their struggles, what caused their rebounds, who resembled and didn't resemble Randy Johnson? Basically, I'm skeptical that the statistical methods you use here provide the level of certainty you reach in your conclusion.
   216. Gaelan Posted: January 09, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2276756)
Well kwarren has joined bibigon to the list of DIPS fanatics. I can't believe there was just an argument over whether Curt Schilling's 2005 performance can be explained by "luck." Next someone will be telling me that Kevin Brown was also unlucky in 2005 and that if someone had just given him a contract last season he would have matched his 2005 FIP of 3.79. I'm absolutely shocked that another old and hurt pitcher somehow, magically, lost his ability to get major league hitters out.

Seriously DIPS is a house of cards. It's only true for pitchers who have an established ability to pitch in the major leagues. Which means that it's only applicable to around 25% of the pitchers who have ever pitched in the majors. Moreover since, by definition, every major league pitcher will, at some point in time, cease being a major league quality pitcher, it is an ability that can be lost. Which means when dealing with any real pitcher you can never know (based on the numbers) whether last season's bad performance was because they used to be good but now they suck or because they are still good but we're just unlucky.

It's one thing to say that BABIP is sensitive, even very sensitive, to luck. I agree with this completely. It's a whole other thing to attribute everything to luck in the face of overwhelming qualitative and quantitative evidence as well as every possible rational conception of the pitcher/hitter interaction.

Since I'm never going to convince bibigon and kwarren I'll present this challenge to those who are sitting on the fence. Take a look at your favourite team, the team you watch the most and know the most about. I bet you on every single team in the majors there is a guy who has pitched a significant amount in the past few years who you think sucks and has a bad BABIP. Bibigon and company want you to believe that his lack of success is bad luck. I'll let you decide.

My player like this is Josh Towers. Without boring you with the numbers I'll just say that his BABIP in 2006 was .352 and that you'd have to be crazy to say that this was due to luck. This despite posting the second highest strikeout rate of his career.

Red Sox fans will remember Kyle Snyder. Great curveball, gets a lot of strikeouts with it, 8.5 per nine innings. Bad fastball, gets hit a lot with it, BABIP .399.

How about stat head prospect favourite Yusmeiro Petit. The man with the deceptive delivery managed to strikeout 6.8 batters per nine. The man with the mediocre stuff also had a 9.57 ERA and a BABIP of .419. Is that his "true" talent level. Of course not. Does he lack the ability to pitch in the major leagues right now despite the ability to strike out major league hitters? Of course he does. Why? He lacks the DIPS skill.

How about Dana Eveland. 10.4 K/9, .417 BABIP. If Eveland learns to pitch at the major leagues, his BABIP will come down, and he will be a good pitcher. Bibigon will say that was luck balancing out and use it as evidence in favour of DIPS. If Eveland doesn't learn to be a major league pitcher Bibigon will forget about him and he will be ignored in those macro studies he likes to quote. A perfect example of selection bias. Eveland also gave up a huge number of hits last season. But I'm sure that has nothing to do with the fact that he is young and just learning about what he is doing because youth and experience is irrelevant.

How about Jason Johnson. Here's another Josh Towers situation. Strikeout rate goes up, BABIP goes way up, pitcher heads out of the league. Do you want your GM to sign him because he was unlucky last year?

Then there is Russ Ortiz. Strikeout rates right at career norms (and almost double last season) and yet his BABIP was a career worst and he's pitched himself out of the league through the horror of his performances. If you were to plot Ortiz career BABIP on a graph you would get a nice round curve that coincided perfectly with his very normal career path. But I'm sure that's also luck.

The list goes on and on, washed up players like Sidney Ponson and Bruce Chen, young players just learning how to pitch like Matt Garza and Scott Baker, there are countless examples of bad pitchers with BABIP that I say are indicative of their ability. All of these guys had bad years last season despite being able to strike out guys as good as they did when they were succesful (as in the case of the washed up guys) or better than the league average (as in the case of the young guys.) DIPS would have you believe that all of these guys were unlucky. The notion is ludicrous. Now some of these guys will improve and become, or become again, legitimate major league pitchers. But if they improve it will be a legitimate improvement and evidence of a real skill and not some bogus return to luck, magical thinking, I must think everyone is stupid, delusional, fantasy.
   217. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 09, 2007 at 03:54 PM (#2276759)
To rephrase my critique - and I hope it's clear that I want to be constructive, and I appreciate the useful work you've put in - it seems like the key point from the article is this:
Looking at the sample of the worst 19 underachievers, average innings were 200, and X = 0.10. Looking at the sample of 8,419 pitchers, average innings = 143, and X = 0.074, almost exactly the correlation coefficient from that sample.
1) That's not the 19 worst underachievers, but rather it's 19 of the 23 worst underachievers.

2) The similarity of 19 of the 23 worst underachievers to the general population is interesting, but it's not statistical evidence.
   218. Mike Green Posted: January 09, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2276771)
Dan, I have a question. How do you project playing time for players over 40?

It would seem that for a 32 year old, say, you'd probably look at 3 or 5 year histories and perhaps include a very small reduction for aging. But, one would guess that the reduction as players get older should be quite steep.

Projecting playing time is not easy. Most of the projections for over-40 players in the Bill James Handbook seem to me to be laughably optimistic.
   219. AROM Posted: January 09, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2276775)
Second, given a sample of only 19 pitchers, why use averages? The sample is small, and so it seems to me like a narrative discussion would be better - who were these pitchers, what caused their struggles, what caused their rebounds, who resembled and didn't resemble Randy Johnson?

Well, I did look at a much larger sample, over 8000 players, and the year to year correlation for the 19 almost exactly matched the larger sample. I was kind of shocked to see that.

There were two knuckleball pitchers among the 19, Hough and Candiotti, and they allowed those extra runs for knuckleball reasons. They actually allowed a lower slugging % with RISP than bases empty. Almost all of the others had higher SLG with RISP, but none of them with a split like Johnson's.

I couldn't find anyone who really looks comparable to Johnson. Once again, his nickname to stat geeks is The Ultimate Outlier.
   220. AROM Posted: January 09, 2007 at 04:39 PM (#2276779)
Gaelen, there is a difference between sample BABIP and true talent BABIP. I'm sure you know this.

I can buy that Schilling's true talent suffered in 2005 because of the injuries, I can't buy that it was anywhere near .390. There's a limit to how bad a pitcher with some major league ability (as evidenced by throwing 90+ MPH and having the ability to strike out hitters) can be.

I cannot believe that a major league pitcher's (or even most AAA pitchers) true talent BABIP is going to be worse than what hitters, as a group, display when they pitch in the late stages of blowout games.
   221. Gaelan Posted: January 09, 2007 at 04:53 PM (#2276791)
Gaelen, there is a difference between sample BABIP and true talent BABIP. I'm sure you know this.

I can buy that Schilling's true talent suffered in 2005 because of the injuries, I can't buy that it was anywhere near .390. There's a limit to how bad a pitcher with some major league ability (as evidenced by throwing 90+ MPH and having the ability to strike out hitters) can be.

I cannot believe that a major league pitcher's (or even most AAA pitchers) true talent BABIP is going to be worse than what hitters, as a group, display when they pitch in the late stages of blowout games.


I agree with all of this. But there is a massive difference between saying there are limits of what a pitchers BABIP can realistically be and saying that Schilling's "true" talent in 2005 was 3.90 or whatever. It is possible for Schilling to have been both bad and unlucky.

Now it's also true that none of this applies to Randy Johnson. His performance last season has everything to do with timing and nothing to do with DIPS. There is no connection between the Johnson and Schilling scenarios.
   222. Steve Treder Posted: January 09, 2007 at 06:03 PM (#2276829)
say I buy a page if he misses both 149 and 7.30, but you buy a page if he makes both, and we call it a draw if there's a split (like the 115/125 I mention above).

Oh come on, dude. In for a penny, in for a pound. I've already handed you a 26-strikeout break, and you still won't take it? Hell, I think the 149 strikeouts is my most vulnerable proposition.

All we're talking about here is $5, and to a good cause to boot. Why not stand up and take the opportunity to humiliate me to the max?
   223. Steve Treder Posted: January 09, 2007 at 06:05 PM (#2276831)
I'm actually pretty bullish on Johnson.

Are you bullish enough to put big bucks on it??
   224. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: January 09, 2007 at 07:21 PM (#2276874)
My player like this is Josh Towers. How about Jason Johnson. Then there is Russ Ortiz. washed up players like Sidney Ponson and Bruce Chen,

Gaalean, I greatly enjoyed that post but it had so many former Orioles it was like watching someone throw up in reverse.
   225. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 09, 2007 at 07:29 PM (#2276879)
Why not stand up and take the opportunity to humiliate me to the max?

Instead of people trying to humiliate each other over the outcome of a volatile event, it'd be really cool to see if Johnson was doing something physically different.
   226. Justin Upton's #1 Fan (SPB) Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:08 AM (#2277421)
The 3 elements are:

- No more than 184 IP
- No more than 149 K's
- No better than 4.17 ERA

Deal?


Deal. I'm in, Treder. But I want you sponsoring Dback youngsters if you lose and I'll take your direction for sponsoship if you win. Heck, I'll sponsor Ohlendorf, Jackson, and Gonzalez. . . except that I am pretty confident all three won't have B-Ref pages.
   227. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:14 AM (#2277424)
I think they'll all see the majors; AL East teams run through a lot of pitchers, especially when their staffs are always so old.
   228. Steve Treder Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:19 AM (#2277428)
All right. I count the following suckers (I mean sharpies!) that I have lassooed:

DCA, John Mazzeo, Levski, bibigon, SPB

Anyone else want to stand up in support of ZiPS? Come on now ... don't be shy!
   229. DCA Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:29 AM (#2277433)
Oh come on, dude. In for a penny, in for a pound. I've already handed you a 26-strikeout break, and you still won't take it? Hell, I think the 149 strikeouts is my most vulnerable proposition.

Because it's not different than the IP prediction. If RJ misses more than a handful of starts, he'll fall short. If he doesn't, he'll make it. That doesn't interest me, because we're already betting on IP: what interests me is whether he'll regain the ability to K a lot of batters, and total K doesn't do that. Quite simply, I don't want to bet on RJ's return and have 125 K in 115 IP count as a loss or 150 K in 225 IP count as a win. Not because I care about the $5, but because that result doesn't make sense to me.
   230. Steve Treder Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:36 AM (#2277437)
OK, dude, But this isn't rocket science (to say the least); either you're in or you're out, all the way. Unless I hear otherwise, I'll count you out.

Easy money, my friend ... might have been yours ...
   231. kwarren Posted: January 10, 2007 at 07:23 AM (#2277453)
This comment suggests to me that you've never played baseball before. The quality of contact is just as important as the speed of the pitch and the speed of the bat. Mariano Rivera, etc.

Not having played baseball before, it's not surprising that I am not sure what is meant by the "quality of contact". I suspect that you are referring to the direction that the ball travels after making contact with the bat. If a ball is driven directly into the ground (resulting in a weak ground ball) or straight up into the air (resulting in a pop up) you would probably refer to that as poor quality contact. In any event the speed of the ball when it leaves the bat is the same as it would be on a line drive. The difference is that the direction the ball travel sucks.
   232. kwarren Posted: January 10, 2007 at 07:50 AM (#2277460)
I'm saying that how hard a batter hits the ball is partially the result of pitch quality

This belief has been proven on many occasions to only be true to a very limited extent. It is a myth that has existed throughtout baseball history to avoid having to admit that luck is the major factor in determing whether a batter gets a hit or not once the ball is put into play.

One of the best studies that I have seen on this concluded that factors that determine the probablility of a ball in play becoming a hit are as follows":

70.5 % - random
10.0 % - quality of team defense
10.0 % - batter's propensity to his line drives
5.0 % - batter's power index
2.5 % - quality of pitch (movement, deception, velocity, whatever)
2.0 % - batter's speed rating.

To the extent that the outcome can be affected by either the batter or the pitcher, the skill/speed of the batter has about nine times more influence on the outcome as does the quality of the pitch.

This phenomenom is also illustrated by the much wider range that batters have in terms of performance than pitchers. Starting pitchers typically fall in a range of 3.00 to 6.00 in terms of runs allowed per nine innings. But hitters range from about 11.0 to 2.5 in terms of runs created per 27 outs. The range between the best and worst hitters is about three times the range between the best and worst pitchers.

The biggest impact that pitchers have on a game is by preventing balls from being put into play by maximizing strikeouts, minimizing base runners by not wakling batters, and keeping hit balls from being home runs.
   233. kwarren Posted: January 10, 2007 at 07:57 AM (#2277461)
Played? It suggests he's never watched baseball before. Nothing personal, because I'm pretty sure he didn't really mean what he typed, but this is exaclty the kind of comment that gives sabrmetrics a bad name. kwarren, you're not honestly claiming that you've never seen a big swing result in a weak popup or grounder, or a check swing line drive, are you? You have to hit the ball square to hit it hard.


I think you're missing the point. You are referring to the direction the ball travels, not the speed when it left the bat. A weak ground ball was going just as fast as a line drive until it hit the ground, and lost a huge chunk of it's velocity. A pop up starts off with the same velocity as a line drive until gravity act on it to slow it down.
   234. kwarren Posted: January 10, 2007 at 08:57 AM (#2277469)
Next someone will be telling me that Kevin Brown was also unlucky in 2005 and that if someone had just given him a contract last season he would have matched his 2005 FIP of 3.79.

If healthy enough to pitch in 2006, he likely would have had a fine season.


Seriously DIPS is a house of cards. It's only true for pitchers who have an established ability to pitch in the major leagues. Which means that it's only applicable to around 25% of the pitchers who have ever pitched in the majors.


So 75% of the pitchers in the major leagues don't have an established ability to pitch in the major leagues. ???

In any event DIPS works just fine for AAA and AA pitchers.




Moreover since, by definition, every major league pitcher will, at some point in time, cease being a major league quality pitcher, it is an ability that can be lost. Which means when dealing with any real pitcher you can never know (based on the numbers) whether last season's bad performance was because they used to be good but now they suck or because they are still good but we're just unlucky.


We do know that strand rates and BABIP measure luck not skill. If a pitcher has a surprisingly poor/good ERA it's quite easy to determing whether his skills have eroded or whether it was a luckly/unlucky season. Or if both, how much of the ERA change can be attributed to each component




It's one thing to say that BABIP is sensitive, even very sensitive, to luck. I agree with this completely. It's a whole other thing to attribute everything to luck in the face of overwhelming qualitative and quantitative evidence as well as every possible rational conception of the pitcher/hitter interaction.

Nobody is suggesting that we do that. Like I have said, it is quite easy to attribute changes in ERA to skill changes and to luck. We don't have to assue that is one or the other.



Since I'm never going to convince bibigon and kwarren I'll present this challenge to those who are sitting on the fence. Take a look at your favourite team, the team you watch the most and know the most about. I bet you on every single team in the majors there is a guy who has pitched a significant amount in the past few years who you think sucks and has a bad BABIP. Bibigon and company want you to believe that his lack of success is bad luck. I'll let you decide.

My player like this is Josh Towers. Without boring you with the numbers I'll just say that his BABIP in 2006 was .352 and that you'd have to be crazy to say that this was due to luck. This despite posting the second highest strikeout rate of his career.


Josh Towers: (2006 stats include AAA time) - 2005/2006

actual ERA - 3.72/6.96
xERA - 3.86/4.46
BABIP - .310/.380
strand rate - .74/.63
HR/F - .09/.14
BB-rate - 1.3/1.7
K-rate - 4.8/5.2

His actual ERA climbed by 3.24. Based on his actual skill level his ERA should have climbed by .060. So his change from 2005 to 2006 can be broken up as follows - .060 skill erosoion, 2.64 worse luck.





Red Sox fans will remember Kyle Snyder. Great curveball, gets a lot of strikeouts with it, 8.5 per nine innings. Bad fastball, gets hit a lot with it, BABIP .399.

Kyle Snyders's BABIP for his previous seasons was .280, .300, and .340. If his .399 BABIP in 2006 was due to a bad fastball, then why did we have to wait until 2006 to see this manifest itself in a high BABIP. As an aside, the major league average BABIP for pitchers with bad fastballs is .300. One of the first studies done to challenge McCracken's findings was to compare high velocity pitchers and low velocity pitchers separately. The result was the same BABIP for both groups.


How about stat head prospect favourite Yusmeiro Petit. The man with the deceptive delivery managed to strikeout 6.8 batters per nine. The man with the mediocre stuff also had a 9.57 ERA and a BABIP of .419. Is that his "true" talent level. Of course not. Does he lack the ability to pitch in the major leagues right now despite the ability to strike out major league hitters? Of course he does. Why? He lacks the DIPS skill.

What is the DIPS skill?

His MLE xERA for the past three seasons is 4.31, 3.24, and 4.17. This is his true talent level, plenty good enough to pitch in the majors, which he will be doing just fine in 2007.




How about Jason Johnson. Here's another Josh Towers situation. Strikeout rate goes up, BABIP goes way up, pitcher heads out of the league. Do you want your GM to sign him because he was unlucky last year?


Jason Johnson's xERA for the past five seasons - 3.89, 4.49, 3.86, 3.98, 3.86.

The reason his actual ERA went up from 4.54 to 5.96, while his xERA went down, was because his BABIP increased from .300 to .340, his strand rate decreased from .68 to .64, and his HR% on fly balls went from 10 to 14. This is three indicators of bad luck. If my GM can sign him at the going rate for a 5.96 ERA pitcher, I'll take a bushel.




Then there is Russ Ortiz. Strikeout rates right at career norms (and almost double last season) and yet his BABIP was a career worst and he's pitched himself out of the league through the horror of his performances. If you were to plot Ortiz career BABIP on a graph you would get a nice round curve that coincided perfectly with his very normal career path. But I'm sure that's also luck.


That's exactly what one would expect. High BABIP leads to high ERA, and that is a big chunk of Ortiz's story the last two seasons.



The list goes on and on, washed up players like Sidney Ponson and Bruce Chen, young players just learning how to pitch like Matt Garza and Scott Baker, there are countless examples of bad pitchers with BABIP that I say are indicative of their ability.

You are simply equating high ERA and high BABIP with poor ability. You are making no attempt to look at undrlying skills, preferring instead to treat BABIP as a skill.
   235. kwarren Posted: January 10, 2007 at 09:21 AM (#2277472)
There is a massive difference between saying there are limits of what a pitchers BABIP can realistically be and saying that Schilling's "true" talent in 2005 was 3.90 or whatever. It is possible for Schilling to have been both bad and unlucky.

Now it's also true that none of this applies to Randy Johnson. His performance last season has everything to do with timing and nothing to do with DIPS. There is no connection between the Johnson and Schilling scenarios.


It is certainly true that Schilling was worse in 2005 than 2004 (although not necessarily bad) and unlucky.

The most straight forward way to measure a skills decline is to compare xERA. In Schilling's case this is 3.05 vs 3.83. This is a very significant decline and is reflected by worse control (1.4 to 2.0), more fly balls allowed (38% to 43%), and decreased command (5.8 to 4.1).

In 2004 he was 0.21 worse than his xERA, and in 2005 he was 2.09 above his xERA. This means that his luck was worse in 2005 causing his actual ERA to be 1.88 higher than if his luck had remained the same. This is reflected in his BABIP climbing from .300 to .390 and his strand rate dropping from .73 to .63.

For Randy Johnson's 2006 season we see a skill erosion of .058 in ERA caused by a decline in all of control, dominance, and command.

In 2005 he was 0.75 above his xERA but in 2006 it was 1.37 so his bad luck caused his ERA to be 0.62 higher than in 2005. His ERA increase was almost equally divided between skill erosion and bad luck. Most of his bad luck was in the form of a lower strand rate (.62 versus .72). This is a reflection of the fact that his OPS against increased substantially with runners in scoring position as has been documented in an earlier post.
   236. AROM Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:53 PM (#2277708)
</i> Italics be gone.

One thing about Towers - his K rate as a percentage of batters faced did not improve, it declined when you look at batters faced instead of innings.

Looking at his career, seems like he's a higher than normal BABIP pitcher. If given a chance in 2007, he shouldn't be .380 but still quite hittable, doesn't strike out many, his walks were up and his homers were through the roof. A very marginal pitcher.
   237. AROM Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:53 PM (#2277710)
/i try this again.
   238. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 10, 2007 at 07:21 PM (#2277744)
</i>test?

A weak ground ball was going just as fast as a line drive until it hit the ground, and lost a huge chunk of it's velocity. A pop up starts off with the same velocity as a line drive until gravity act on it to slow it down.

You're kidding, right?
   239. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 10, 2007 at 07:22 PM (#2277746)
<i></i>

Well, it worked in the preview.
   240. Cheer and boo and raise a hullabaloo Posted: January 10, 2007 at 08:39 PM (#2277826)
</i>

I suspect that you are referring to the direction that the ball travels after making contact with the bat. If a ball is driven directly into the ground (resulting in a weak ground ball) or straight up into the air (resulting in a pop up) you would probably refer to that as poor quality contact. In any event the speed of the ball when it leaves the bat is the same as it would be on a line drive.


This is simply not true. If the ball contacts with only a very small portion of the bat (which is what people mean by bad contact), the ball doesn't travel as fast. Not as much of the bat's momentum is transferred to the ball, or something like that. If what you are saying were true, there would be no short pop-ups -- on a pop-up, the ball would always travel very high into the air (excepting a few times when the batter checks his swing).
   241. Cheer and boo and raise a hullabaloo Posted: January 10, 2007 at 08:40 PM (#2277829)
One more try.
   242. Danny Posted: January 10, 2007 at 08:50 PM (#2277835)
</em> Fixed?
   243. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: January 10, 2007 at 09:31 PM (#2277863)
Not having played baseball before, it's not surprising that I am not sure what is meant by the "quality of contact". I suspect that you are referring to the direction that the ball travels after making contact with the bat.

NO! Quality of contact has nothing to do with the direction of the ball after contact. Quality is contact whether the ball hits 1) the fat part of the bat (i.e. near the end of the bat and not the handle) and 2) the center of the bat rather than the top or the bottom (vertical wise if the bat was parallel to the ground).
   244. Gaelan Posted: January 11, 2007 at 12:08 AM (#2278018)
It's too bad kwarren's last post was all in italics because that was a keeper. We've gone around on this a bit but I'd like to say for posterity that I do not believe that the BABIP numbers I quoted are anything like those guys true ability. Those players were unlucky as well as bad. I agree that all of those guys will have numbers that regress towards the mean. What I am saying, however, is that DIPS is not true. The "mean" in this case is not the same for all players so their numbers will regress towards a still bad mean. They will not regress towards the major league average unless those pitchers make a real improvement which with all the young pitchers is possible and, if you take enough of them, inevitable.

I also think the comparison to ERA is false. ERA is a bad stat for evaluating pitchers because of the LOB issue. So we need to separate luck in LOB which is real in most, though not all, cases from the luck in BABIP which is also real yet seriously overstated by DIPS.

At the end of the day the reason that DIPS is better than ERA at predicting performances has to do with two factors that don't have anything to do with DIPS, regression to the mean and &#xLO;B.That's not proof that DIPS is good, it's proof that ERA is terrible.
   245. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 11, 2007 at 12:16 AM (#2278022)
Gaelan, two things:

First, I just wanted to thank you for moderating your tone in the more recent DIPS threads. You used to be needlessly beligerant at times, and it really detracted and distracted from your cogent arguments.

Second, why bother with someone who seems to honestly believe that it doesn't matter whether you hit the ball on the barrel, the handle, or the end of the bat, as long as the bat speed is the same?
   246. Gaelan Posted: January 11, 2007 at 04:03 AM (#2278150)

First, I just wanted to thank you for moderating your tone in the more recent DIPS threads. You used to be needlessly beligerant at times, and it really detracted and distracted from your cogent arguments.


Thank you. When I teach writing I always tell my students to moderate their language so that they don't overstep what they are trying to say. However, I recognize that I don't follow that advice around here. BTF brings out the inner rant in me.
   247. cseadog Posted: January 11, 2007 at 10:24 PM (#2278831)
Long-time members will recognize kwarren as the Bizarro Mark Garber
   248. AROM Posted: January 11, 2007 at 11:20 PM (#2278886)
The "mean" in this case is not the same for all players so their numbers will regress towards a still bad mean. They will not regress towards the major league average unless those pitchers make a real improvement which with all the young pitchers is possible and, if you take enough of them, inevitable.

They will regress 100% to their own mean, which we don't know. I'm sure there are groups of pitchers who have mean BABIP higher than ML avg. Some with lower than MLavg, but certainly not too many, because ML is the top of the line.

But how do we identify the pitchers who have true true talent higher than MLavg? You can't do it with their sample BABIP, especially for the young guys where the sample is small.

Minor league pitchers as a group have higher BABIP means than major leaguers, AA higher than AAA, etc.

Maybe the solution is to regress part to MLavg, and part to the minL avg, depending on how many batters he faced at various levels.
   249. Gaelan Posted: January 12, 2007 at 04:58 AM (#2279089)
They will regress 100% to their own mean, which we don't know. I'm sure there are groups of pitchers who have mean BABIP higher than ML avg. Some with lower than MLavg, but certainly not too many, because ML is the top of the line.

But how do we identify the pitchers who have true true talent higher than MLavg? You can't do it with their sample BABIP, especially for the young guys where the sample is small.

Minor league pitchers as a group have higher BABIP means than major leaguers, AA higher than AAA, etc.

Maybe the solution is to regress part to MLavg, and part to the minL avg, depending on how many batters he faced at various levels.


This points towards two problems that are the beginning of what I think of as my philosophy of DIPS:

1) The impossibility of knowing with statistical accuracy what a player's "true" BABIP ability is?
2) Even if you did know the player's "true" ability at any one time that still would be of limited value because that ability changes over time.

The second is the more important point because it precludes some of the usefulness of answering the first. The ability changes according to at least three time perspectives. The ability changes over the course of a career (this is a real change in the ability that comes through learning (at the beginning) and fades through diminishment of athleticism due to age. Second, the ability also changes over the course of a season due to injury and general fatigue. This doesn't represent a change in the "true" ability but I believe it is nonetheless real, non-random, occurance. Finally, the ability changes in the course of a game. This is the Earl Weaver portion of my theory where the hitters tell the manager when the pitcher is done. If it is true that pitchers get tired and "lose it" then BABIP must also vary within a game. Now this doesn't matter when doing projections because we can assume that all pitchers are used quite similarly so this will cancel out. However it is important to understand how the dynamic operates on a micro level if we are ever going to come up with useful macro estimations. Now some might say that if the ability changes over time that is the same as saying that it is,
as if
the change is random. Suffice it to say that I don't agree. All of these changes reflect patterns that can, and should be, identified.

So what are the consequences of this? First, it means that we must recognize that it is impossible to make a statistical estimate of the ability that is both precise and accurate? Understanding the limits of knowledge is the prerequisite of genuine knowledge. We'll call this the oracle of Delphi as applied to DIPS.

Second, as a direct result of the first consequence, this means that assesment must always be based upon first hand experience and judgement. This is why I picked pitchers I had at least seen pitch a little bit. I am quite confident that Kyle Snyder is not a major league starting pitcher because I have seen him pitch. For him to become a major league starting pitcher (which is possible) he will have to develop excellent command of his fastball within the strikezone. If he does this he will become quite effective but then it will be because he has acquired a new skill, it won't be because his luck is evening out or something equally mysterious.

Third, while particular judgement is best it is nonetheless possibly to develop typologies to organize pitching performances and help us make more general judgements and predictions. For instance here are three categories that pitchers can fit in. You could make any category you want, what matters is the reasoning in the creation of the category and your assessment of the pitchers you put in it. By following this method you can distinguish between pitchers with otherwise identical FIP or xFIP (using this number is especially crazy since it regresses both BABIP and HR/FB to league averages).

1) The Schilling/Brown category: Established major league pitchers who have a demonstrated record of success in the past who are now hurt and pitching badly. In this case the bad pitching (i.e. high BABIP) is likely caused by the injury which makes them inconsistent with their command. If their health improves they will likely improve, if it doesn't they won't.

2) The Young pitcher with stuff but not results category: In this case there is no way of knowing (from afar) why the pitcher is not having success. The reason they aren't succesful could be because they don't know what they are doing. They lose command, lose concentration and end up serving the wrong pitch at the wrong time. The best course of action for a team is to assume they don't have the ability but, because they are young, have the ability to learn it. If you're a contender this means they should be in a long relief role. If you're not you can give them a shot at starting. However under no circumstances should a team that wants to win, or expects to win, count on these guys returning to the major league mean.

3) The Russ Ortiz/Josh Towers category. These are guys who have had some success at the major league level but who have never been great pitchers. They know what they are doing and they rely on good to very good command. The margin of error for these kinds of pitchers is very small. If their BABIP starts going up look out because I'm betting it's real. These cases require the closest attention to detail. They are probably best analyzed on a game by game basis. Do they always suck or are they capable of putting together one or two good starts in a row? The greater the variance within a pitcher's season line the more likely it is that they were getting unlucky.
   250. 1k5v3L Posted: January 12, 2007 at 08:25 AM (#2279181)
Fwiw, John Sickels has posted his reports on the three minor leaguers acquired by the Yankees

http://www.minorleagueball.com/story/2007/1/8/134337/7822
   251. Backlasher Posted: January 12, 2007 at 09:13 AM (#2279189)
First, I just wanted to thank you for moderating your tone in the more recent DIPS threads. You used to be needlessly beligerant at times, and it really detracted and distracted from your cogent arguments.

Second, why bother with someone who seems to honestly believe that it doesn't matter whether you hit the ball on the barrel, the handle, or the end of the bat, as long as the bat speed is the same?


Doesn't detract from them at all. Inf fact, I recognize some of them. Second, why not deal with that situation. A scant four years ago, you would be shouted off the board if you dared throw any criticism toward the majesty of DIPS. A mere year ago, you had a guy that said if you or I pitched in the ML we would have the same BABIP and our lack of ML ability would reflect in HR, BB, and K totals only.

While I really don't have an opinion on the accuracy, efficacy or utlity of ZiPS, the interesting thing about the metric is that it corrects the major problem with DIPS at conception. ZiPS at least is trying to project what a single player will do in his environment. There is no ambiguity about the metric showing prior value. DIPS was actually being promoted and used as a value metric.

You would not believe the things that were promoted and spun off from DIPS. Those recent expressions regarding exit velocity are contrary to fundamental laws of physics. For it to be true, a bat would have to exist across an entire plane, the plane accelerating constant across all points, with no vibrational effects, and a ball at velocity of 0 at the point of impact. Moreover, what is also left out is the COR of the bat, which while out of the pitcher's control is probably not uniform either.

Based on how people latched onto DIPS, I wouldn't be certain that they also wouldn't by into this weird universe of baseball. If you can have a pitcher in this world of a "context nuetral environment" that has a "universal constant for BABIP" you can handle most any fictionalized environment.
   252. Backlasher Posted: January 12, 2007 at 09:28 AM (#2279193)
... The greater the variance within a pitcher's season line the more likely it is that they were getting unlucky.


The thing with DIPS or whatever people are calling the new age DIPS is that if you accept the limiation taht its' not going to help with the quantity of performance, you probably could use it to project an ERA within a tolerable level provided:

(1) Someone is selecting the sample to remove pitchers without BABIP talent across any reasonable time spectrum.

(2) Someone is selecting the sample to remove opportunity when for any increment that BABIP talent is not obtainable by the pitcher within a tolerable degree of error.

IOW, you might get some value for a roto-league, but it has no value as any ML tool.

And looking for a way to "adjust it" to DIPS 4.7 is a worthless task. The indicators for one and two don't appear as recordable output statistics on the numbers gathered by any organization.

Arm slot, velocity, release point, medical reports, and the deltas in these things are the numbers that require you to make the primary selections.

By the time you look for a pattern in other numbers like hits, its probably too late to undue damage, especially if the accuracy of the number is your goal; however, the effect in wins/losses or career sustainability are the more worthwhile things that are lost. Each of those numbers carry to little information and are available too infrequently to try to model it and have a model that produces utility.

In fact, I would opine that the interrelationship of the other factors to BABIP (as well as HR, K, BB) also carry so little information for a non-observable construct, are so interrelated with one another, and occur so frequently, you can't use the crude tools that are in the toolset of most professed and recognized sabermetricians.

The inter-relationships are not linear. (These guys live with linear models.) and if there were the algorithms can't converge quick enough to provide utility in an in-game exercise. (They may can converge for longer range decisions, but their computation would be expensive.) Instead, whatever decision or casual lattice that would exist would probably be pattern matched.
   253. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 12, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2279250)
For it to be true, a bat would have to exist across an entire plane, the plane accelerating constant across all points, with no vibrational effects, and a ball at velocity of 0 at the point of impact. Moreover, what is also left out is the COR of the bat, which while out of the pitcher's control is probably not uniform either.


But what about Homer Simpson's Wonderbat?
   254. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 12, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2279275)
You would not believe the things that were promoted and spun off from DIPS.

I certainly would. I read most of them.

You're right though, tone doesn't detract from content. I should have just said distract.
   255. kwarren Posted: January 13, 2007 at 01:48 AM (#2279804)
The Schilling/Brown category: Established major league pitchers who have a demonstrated record of success in the past who are now hurt and pitching badly. In this case the bad pitching (i.e. high BABIP) is likely caused by the injury which makes them inconsistent with their command. If their health improves they will likely improve, if it doesn't they won't.


Why is it their peripheral stats don't decline if they are pitching badly. The peripherals remain very good, but the BABIP increases. This is not pitching badly. It is bad luck. If the peripherals eroded along with the BABIP you would have a logical theory.

We know that pripheral stats are a measure of skill, and BABIP is primarily a measure of luck. When peripheral stats remain solid and BABIP climb that is bad luck causing the ERA increase.

An injury that is affecting a players performance will impact his peripheral stats. It would not simply affect his BABIP. If an potentially injured pitcher maintains his peripheral stats it is reasonable to conclude that that the injury is not affecting his skill level.
   256. kwarren Posted: January 13, 2007 at 02:12 AM (#2279818)


1) The impossibility of knowing with statistical accuracy what a player's "true" BABIP ability is?
2) Even if you did know the player's "true" ability at any one time that still would be of limited value because that ability changes over time.


BABIP is not a measure of skill or ability. This has been illustrated over and over again. Even the most generous study has claimed that pitching ability contributes at most 2.5% of whether or not a "ball in play will become a hit". It has been repeatedly demonstrated that increases/decreases in BABIP are not repeated or maintained.

It is like flipping a coin. If you got 6 heads in 10 flips, would you now clain that his this particular coin has the ability to land heads more often than tails. How about if you got 60 heads in 100 flips. Only the most illogical among us would even think that there is any remote possibility that the odds of the next flip any anything but 50-50. We don't attribute any special lack of a coins ability to flip a tail.

There has been enough study done on BABIP to indicate that it is a simply a measure of randomness from a norm, like coin flips. It is not a skill that distinguishes major league pitchers' abilities. Great pitchers routinely have high BABIP. This does not mean that they are pitching badly or are injured, and does not mean that we have to conjure up some obscure reasoning as to why it is happening. Similarly bad pitchers can often post impressive ERA(s) with low BABIP. They are still bad pitchers. They haven't suddenly learned a new skill. They will very likely return to their usual lousy ERA an soon as their luck returns to normal.
   257. 1k5v3L Posted: January 13, 2007 at 07:02 PM (#2280115)
A recent article in the East Valley Tribune:

While Johnson is ahead of schedule on his return from October surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back, sources said a likely target date for his return is mid-April to May 1.

“I’ll be slightly behind everybody else. Am I going to be ready for opening day? I’d like to think so, but I don’t know about the steppingstones from here to there,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who could still miss most of April and still get 30 starts, had almost the exact same surgery on Sept. 12, 1996, a procedure known as a micro-lumbar discectomy, to repair a disc adjacent to the one operated on last October.

He returned from that operation April 5, 1997, the fourth game of Seattle’s regular season, and had his first 20-victory year. He has 176 of his 280 career victories since that surgery.
   258. Steve Treder Posted: July 29, 2007 at 06:51 AM (#2460086)
All right, gents. I lost the 3-part wager on ERA, but won it big, big time on IP and Ks. Shall we discuss payment?
   259. Steve Treder Posted: July 29, 2007 at 03:12 PM (#2460180)
bump
   260. Steve Treder Posted: July 29, 2007 at 11:02 PM (#2460932)
bump
   261. Steve Treder Posted: July 30, 2007 at 02:55 PM (#2461360)
bump
   262. Steve Treder Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2462835)
This doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere ... hello-o-o-o-o!

<Cavernous echo sound effect>
   263. Steve Treder Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2462873)
bump
   264. Steve Treder Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:00 PM (#2462885)
bump
   265. Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:07 PM (#2462892)
"Willie hears ya. Willie don't care."
   266. Steve Treder Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:10 PM (#2462896)
Tell me about it.

When it's time for placing bets, the gang's all here. But when it's time for paying debts ... ;-)
   267. Amit Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:22 PM (#2462915)
Huzzah!
   268. Mike Green Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2462928)
And if there's one cause that all baseball fans can get behind, it's Baseball Reference.

Steve, there were two parts to your argument. The first was that Johnson was very susceptible to injury and that ZiPS was unrealistically optimistic. On this point, I agreed completely, although 57 innings was at the low end. :) On the other hand, you suggested that Johnson's ERA and his performance with runners on in 2006 was a significant indicator of a performance decline. What little data (especially his K rate) we have for 2007 does not support this at all. Still, a bet's a bet. I didn't take it because I felt that he was likely to fall short on K and IP....
   269. 1k5v3L Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2462936)
All right, gents. I lost the 3-part wager on ERA, but won it big, big time on IP and Ks. Shall we discuss payment?


Hi Treder, I already offered payment in the "RJ to get surgery" thread. Please let me know which players you'd like me to sponsor and/or how you'd like to structure the "payment". I'm agreeable.

You can post your terms here, or just send me an email. I pay my bets (i.e., I'm not Eric Enders... whatever happened to him anyhow?)
   270. Steve Treder Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2462937)
What little data (especially his K rate) we have for 2007 does not support this at all.

Quite true, though 57 IP is a pretty teeny sample size ... he wasn't even able to work enough innings to wear down before he broke down!

Pitching effectiveness and durability are separate issues, yes. But they're also obviously interrelated. And now with the 2007 RJ results in, taken in combination with his 2006 performance, there can be no reasonable conclusion to draw other than he's in steep decline, if indeed his career isn't over.

ZiPS had it way, way wrong. Relying on a macro projection system such as that to predict the performance of an injured 40-something-year-old pitcher is just not a good idea.
   271. Steve Treder Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:42 PM (#2462941)
Hi Treder, I already offered payment in the "RJ to get surgery" thread. Please let me know which players you'd like me to sponsor and/or how you'd like to structure the "payment". I'm agreeable.

Sorry, I didn't see that. I'll pick the players and let you know ... I owe you one $5 player too, so let me know which one you want.

Eric Enders... whatever happened to him anyhow?

Good question. He moved away from Cooperstown, I know that, and he's kind of disappeared.
   272. Steve Treder Posted: July 31, 2007 at 09:31 PM (#2463557)
OK, Levski.

My two $5 players are Joe Pettini and Guy Sularz. You have to sponsor each of them for 1 year. And extol their wondrous virtues in your page message!

Let me know which $5 player you want me to sponsor.
   273. Banta Posted: July 31, 2007 at 09:42 PM (#2463579)
Jeez, how many bets did you end up taking, Steve? I funny it sort of funny that even though you basically won the bet, you're gonna owe more than anyone else!

Cost of doing business, I guess.
   274. Steve Treder Posted: July 31, 2007 at 10:06 PM (#2463616)
Jeez, how many bets did you end up taking, Steve?

Five, I believe.

I funny it sort of funny that even though you basically won the bet, you're gonna owe more than anyone else!

I assure you this is a small portion of what I annually donate to bb-ref. And this is the most enjoyable way to do it!
   275. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2007 at 03:06 AM (#2464589)
My two $5 players are Joe Pettini and Guy Sularz. You have to sponsor each of them for 1 year. And extol their wondrous virtues in your page message!

Let me know which $5 player you want me to sponsor.


Hi Treder, I'll sponsor them tomorrow. And I'll have a look at the prodigious set of Hall of Famers who've played for AZ but are only $5 these days. Will let you know which one is worthy of your $5 tomorrow.

It was pleasure doing business with you. Damn vertebra.
   276. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: August 01, 2007 at 03:09 AM (#2464617)
Eric Enders... whatever happened to him anyhow?

I thought that he was back for a while last year, but I haven't seen him post in quite some time. Of course, I think there are a lot of people that only really post in the lounge. I haven't seen a Dan Werr post in forever.
   277. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 01, 2007 at 03:13 AM (#2464643)
I'll have a look at the prodigious set of Hall of Famers who've played for AZ but are only $5 these days. Will let you know which one is worthy of your $5 tomorrow.

Oh come on, the obvious choice is Hanley Frias.
   278. John Mazzeo Posted: August 03, 2007 at 12:30 PM (#2468937)
I'm here and willing to sponsor whatever needs sponsoring.
   279. Justin Upton's #1 Fan (SPB) Posted: August 04, 2007 at 12:55 AM (#2470104)
Steve - I have been trying to follow the various Unit threads to see where you would be settling the bets and somehow spaced out (until this afternoon) that I could find you here.

I have not spent any time thinking about who I would want you to sponsor, so I'll get back to you on that. But please advise whom you would like me to sponsor. Very sorry to have missed out on sponsoring Guy Sularz. He was a mainstay with the old Phoenix Firebirds in the late-70s, early-80s. A very popular guy in Phoenix.
   280. Justin Upton's #1 Fan (SPB) Posted: August 04, 2007 at 01:16 AM (#2470116)
Five, I believe.


Wow, I sure thought it was more than that.

Anyway - back with my selection: Edwin (Rosario) Diaz
Eddie was the young man Buck Showalter declared the franchise's secondbaseman of the future, starting him in the Dbacks first ever game as a symbolic gesture - "symbolic" because there was no way the guy was ready for the big leagues at the time. Showalter admitted as much in saying he would be ready soon and would have a long career playing the keystone for AZ. The ill-conceived idea was to give him the First Game start, then send him back to Tucson for further seasoning. Unfortunately, Diaz never WAS ready for the big leagues.

Just weird.
   281. Jeff K. Posted: August 04, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2470128)
Enders is still logging in, if you look at the Primate list (both accounts of his.)

I haven't seen a Dan Werr post in forever.

He's in the Lounge all day, every day. He's in IRC right now, along with the rest of us. As always, all Primates are welcome. If you don't know how to do Primer IRC, here are the instructions. Ignore the Tuesday thing. That's the regular time, but Fridays have picked up.
   282. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 04, 2007 at 10:48 AM (#2470587)
I'm here and willing to sponsor whatever needs sponsoring.

I understand George Mitterwald is available.
   283. 1k5v3L Posted: August 05, 2007 at 10:49 PM (#2472478)
My two $5 players are Joe Pettini and Guy Sularz. You have to sponsor each of them for 1 year. And extol their wondrous virtues in your page message!

Let me know which $5 player you want me to sponsor.


Hey Steve,

I sponsored these two pages (Pettini and Sularz) earlier today. The sponsorship should be reflected in a day or two. In terms of which $5 Dbacks player you can sponsor, should you agree: I was very intrigued by SPB's account of Edwin Diaz, he of the dozen major league at bats in 1998. Originally I had my heart set on Jorge Fabregas, he of the losing arbitration, winning 2 year deal fame, but a) Fabregas is $10 (I suspect foul play by Jerry Colangelo), and b) Edwin Diaz's story is more interesting. So, Diaz @ $5 should work.
   284. Justin Upton's #1 Fan (SPB) Posted: August 06, 2007 at 12:05 AM (#2472590)
So, Diaz @ $5 should work.


Levski - you can't do that. I already claimed Diaz. (I was also 1-2 vs. Treder in the Unit wager - apparently you didn't realize I was asking Steve to sponsor Diaz in settlement of MY bet?)

But as a consolation prize (of sort) I'll point you to LHP Ricky Pickett - possibly the most irrelevant player in the short history of this organization. Hell, even Joe Randa was more relavent - at least we got Matty (eventually) for Randa, who was LITERALLY a Dback for only a few minutes.

. . . but I do love the Fabregas story, too.

stephen
   285. Dan Szymborski Posted: August 06, 2007 at 12:30 AM (#2472632)
The Jorge Fabregas signing was definitely one of the funniest things ever.
   286. 1k5v3L Posted: August 06, 2007 at 01:39 AM (#2472903)
Levski - you can't do that. I already claimed Diaz.


SBP, I'm sorry. It's a silly misunderstanding on my part; I assumed that, in post 285, you were advising me to ask Treder to sponsor Diaz's page. Didn't realize you had another devious plan for the Junior Spivey who never was. My bad, and I gladly renounce any claims on Diaz.

OK, Treder, here's my pick: Rickey Pickett. Methinks that he's as obscure a player as Edwin Diaz. And I only know about him because once Repoz accused me of actually his jersey. Given his long and distinguished career in AZ, I certainly should look for his jersey on eBay soon.
   287. 1k5v3L Posted: August 06, 2007 at 01:44 AM (#2472926)
Dammit, I obviously should've read SBP's complete post. I was so devastated by paragraph 1, my eyes glazed over paragraph 2 and I completely missed Ricky's name in there. Methinks this is all HW's fault; after the beating he gave me in the Brewers thread, my eyes have been teary all night...
   288. Steve Treder Posted: August 06, 2007 at 10:58 PM (#2474260)
OK, Levski. I'll sponser Rickey Pickett for you.

I see that the Guy Sularz and Joe Pettini pages are both sponsored, but there is no accompanying sponsor's note. Remember, the terms of the bet are that the sponsor has to sing the praises of the sponsored player and his team!!
   289. Steve Treder Posted: August 06, 2007 at 10:59 PM (#2474261)
All right: SPB, I'll sponsor Edwin Diaz for you.

You have to sponsor Frank Johnson and Bob Schroder for me. Extol their virtues, now!
   290. Steve Treder Posted: August 06, 2007 at 11:00 PM (#2474262)
John Mazzeo:

You must sponsor Chris Arnold and Bruce Miller.

Please let me know which $5 player you want me to take.
   291. John Mazzeo Posted: August 29, 2007 at 10:32 PM (#2503846)
Sorry Steve, I keep missing that there are updates to this thread.

I'll sponsor those players by the end of the week (waiting to get paid...)

I need to find a bad and cheap Yankee.
   292. Steve Treder Posted: August 29, 2007 at 11:15 PM (#2503886)
Cool!
   293. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 29, 2007 at 11:40 PM (#2503930)
Good question. He moved away from Cooperstown, I know that, and he's kind of disappeared.


I see Enders over at Cardboard Gods which is part of the Baseball Toaster complex of blogs. I think alot of the Dodger fans migrated towards Dodger Thoughts and Bob T's blog there over time.
   294. John Mazzeo Posted: August 30, 2007 at 10:55 PM (#2505602)
OK, Steve, they are sponsored.

I pick Charlie Mullen, born on the same day as me and pretty damn terrible as a Yankee.
   295. Steve Treder Posted: August 30, 2007 at 10:58 PM (#2505610)
I'm all over Mr. Mullen!
   296. Steve Treder Posted: August 30, 2007 at 11:29 PM (#2505627)
So, SPB: I see the Frank Johnson sponsorship. Excellent! But where, I must ask, is Bob Schroder's?
   297. Justin Upton's #1 Fan (SPB) Posted: September 08, 2007 at 05:21 PM (#2516539)
Uggh - sorry Steve. I thought I took care of both of them. . . but apparently I got distracted when I was trying to come up with a "sponsorship" for Schroder and never completed it. Damn - I spent way too much time trying to compose something and now I gotta go start over.

I'll get something up there. My apologies.

BTW - thanks for the fab sponsorship of Edwin Diaz. He and Fabregas are my two favorite organizational anecdotes.
   298. Steve Treder Posted: September 08, 2007 at 05:35 PM (#2516553)
What ... it was hard to think of ways to sing the praises of Bob Schroder? Come now.
   299. Justin Upton's #1 Fan (SPB) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 10:14 PM (#2601903)
Yeah, so hard that I just got it done. . .
apologies for my late "payment"
but congrats again on beating me 2 out of 3

If I missed something better about which to sing the praises of Bob Schroder, please point it out.
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