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Jim Furtado
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Analytics Newsbeat

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Starter’s Workload: Stop Blaming Analytics for 122 Year Trend - Sports Illustrated Arizona Diamondbacks News, Analysis and More

Link fixed. Jim

One idea that might help reverse this trend a little is to further limit the number of pitchers allowed on staffs. If teams were forced to carry fewer pitchers, they’d also be forced into training their starters to pace themselves rather than throwing max effort all the time. It would have to be transitioned over time but it is doable.

One often hears baseball fans and pundits alike lament the shortened workload that MLB starting pitchers are asked to bear in the modern game. Often in the course of such discussion the argument that “analytics are ruining the game”  is trotted out and held aloft as some great insight.

The next time you hear that, please note: That’s complete and utter nonsense. In fact ever since 1901 the percentage of innings pitched by starting pitchers has continually decreased from previous years and decades. There is some ebb and flow of course, but the 122 year trend is undeniable, and did not just start since the popularization of modern analytics over the last 20 years.

jimfurtado Posted: January 21, 2023 at 10:58 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, history, starting pitchers

Friday, December 23, 2022

Sarris: Finding the best pitches of the year, and exploring why they were so good - The Athletic $

More good stuff from Eno Sarris. He’s worth the subscription to The Athletic all by himself.

Looks kind of like a typical side-arm release. But now listen to both players talk about what they’re doing at release.

“I’m trying to keep my hand vertical through release,” Josh Hader once told me. “Trying to backspin it.”

“I’m trying to be as over-the-top as I can from down there,” Paul Sewald said this past season, showing me more of an extreme ‘v’ than he actually does on the mound. “Imagine I’m an over-the-top pitcher, but I’m leaning towards the ground.”

In effect, by putting release point in the model, Stuff+ is capturing some deception here. Both pitchers throw from sidearm slots, but have unique movement given that slot, and unique is good. It’s hard for a hitter to prepare for movement they see only a few times a year.

“It’s nice to be in the top 10 on lists like these,” said the affable Sewald, whose career really took off at age 31. “After so many years of struggling, I’m just happy people are saying nice things.”

Of course, there’s still room for a plus sinker that just sinks a ton at a high velocity without much trickery.

jimfurtado Posted: December 23, 2022 at 09:30 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, pitching

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Open Market Musings | FanGraphs Baseball

I don’t have an obvious conclusion to all of this rambling, aside from saying that I’m trying to focus more on the less-visible aspects of team construction these days. Sure, some teams just need a great hitter and have five places on the diamond where they can play them. But that’s not the case for most contenders, and it’s particularly not the case when you consider the players in their farm system, the age and contract status of their existing major league team, and plenty of other factors to boot. I’m not saying that I have all the answers, but I do think that treating free agency more like a qualitative puzzle and less like a quantitative equation is a worthy endeavor, and I’m going to try to do more of it.

jimfurtado Posted: December 07, 2022 at 09:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell criticizes Astros’ recent tilt toward analytics but says he doesn’t want GM job

The Houston Astros remain in need of a general manager after surprisingly cutting ties with incumbent James Click earlier this offseason. So enter Jeff Bagwell?

The franchise legend and Hall of Fame first baseman has been a close advisor to club owner Jim Crane for some time, and the idea that he might be in for a larger and more formal front-office role gained credence when Bagwell reportedly helped negotiate José Abreu’s recent free-agent contract with Houston. On Tuesday, Bagwell leveled what seems to be thinly veiled criticism at Click and his data-driven approach:

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2022 at 12:35 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, astros, jeff bagwell

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

What I Wish I Knew

Interesting first person account of landing a job in baseball and walking away.

Since I was in high school, I was single-mindedly focused on earning a position in a Major League Baseball club R&D department. It was all I thought about. Every decision was made with my goal in mind. I took my senior photo with a baseball and a calculator. Seriously.

I did all of this because I thought the job would provide me with excitement and deep fulfillment. If I could just get one of those few competitive spots, I’d be set for a long time. I was building the life I wanted.

And then I did exactly what I set out to do. I acquired the necessary technical skillset through coursework and practice. I honed my analytical communication in my free time. I started an analytics department at my college to practice working with coaches and managing a team of other analysts. I networked relentlessly (and I sincerely thank everyone that helped me along the way). I literally wrote a playbook for how to achieve the dream of working in a MLB R&D department.

Less than two years since my first day with a team and after much reflection on my experiences, I’d like to have an open discussion about my decision to leave and the things I wish I knew about this profession earlier.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2022 at 01:35 PM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Joe Maddon sounds off on analytics in baseball: It’s not the info, it’s the imposition [$]

Sub required.

Maddon: “I want analytical people on my staff. But I don’t want them in the dugout. I don’t want them in the clubhouse. I want them to do their job, give the work to the coaches, let the coaches then teach the players. I don’t need presenters in the dugout, I don’t need presenters in the clubhouse. … It’s getting to the point where their impact or authority is exceeding that of a coach. And that’s what I think is wrong.

“So I’m not arguing against analytics and information. I’m arguing against the methods and the imposition with coaches. Because at the point it is right now … every day we’d get ready for the game and Harry and Alex would come in and they would start talking about how I should use the bullpen that night. Like I haven’t done that for the last 40 years. When you do that, when these people do that, the game becomes cloudy. You’re in the dugout, you know what you’d like to do. But these people have come downstairs prior to the game, and they load you with stuff that’s not necessarily helpful.”

On how the manager’s authority has faded
Not so long ago, managers were among the best-known characters in the game, but they were also among the most powerful people in the game. The biggest decisions, day in and day out, were their decisions. The games were run the way they wanted them run. But those days are fading. And is the sport in a better place? We now know what Joe Maddon thinks!

Maddon: “You don’t have the same kind of authority or autonomy that you’ve had in the past. I mean, back in the day, these guys would never walk into Gene Mauch’s office, or into Billy Martin’s office, or into Earl Weaver’s office, and try to tell you how to utilize your players and then how to manage the game as it was in progress. That would never have occurred. So that’s what I’m talking about. There’s this interference and this method that’s being perpetrated.

“Because these groups — the baseball ops group — to me, their primary objective should be acquisition of players. It’s getting good players in your room. When you get good players in your room, any kind of analytics looks good.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 06, 2022 at 01:39 PM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, joe maddon

Friday, August 26, 2022

Rosenthal: Rod Carew has something to say on the state of baseball. And he said it to Rob Manfred. ]$]

Manfred said he was not going to put himself in the same category as Carew by going through the “jots and tittles” of what was said at the dinner. But he gave a point-by-point account of his position on analytics, saying his private and public versions are no different.

“No. 1: Analytics has had a deleterious effect on the way the game is being played on the field,” Manfred said.

“No. 2: Analytics are not going away because clubs correctly believe that analytics can be used to help them win more games, which is what they care about most.

“No. 3: No matter who you are, how effective you are, what power you have, you can’t eliminate analytics by fiat. It’s like telling people what they can and can’t think about.

“No. 4: Because all of that is true, the way forward to getting to what Theo often refers to as ‘the best form of baseball’ is to change the infrastructure, the rules within which clubs operate, in order to get the clubs to place value on the things that are missing from the game.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 26, 2022 at 11:40 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics



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