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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Los Angeles Angels designate slugger Albert Pujols for assignment

Albert Pujols has been designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels, the team announced Thursday.

Pujols is slashing .198/.250/.372 in 92 plate appearances this year with five home runs and 12 RBIs. For his career, the 10-time All-Star has slashed .298/.376/.545 with 667 home runs and 2,112 RBIs.

“The Angels Organization proudly signed Albert Pujols in 2011, and are honored that he has worn an Angels jersey for nearly half of his Hall-of-Fame Career. Albert’s historical accomplishments, both on and off the field, serve as an inspiration to athletes everywhere, and his actions define what it means to be a true Superstar. Since his Rookie of the Year Season in 2001, Albert and his wife Deidre have generously given their time and resources to countless charities throughout the world. We are thankful to the entire Pujols Family,” Angels owner Arte Moreno said in a statement.

Pujols’ 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels expires after this season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 06, 2021 at 02:26 PM | 192 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: albert pujols

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   101. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: May 07, 2021 at 12:05 PM (#6017559)
Meh, a hammock & a drink might be fun for a week or two, but after that it sounds pretty effing boring.


Hot take: hammocks are terrible. They are hard to get in and out of, and once you're there, you get contorted into uncomfortable positions inside what is basically a hunting trap.
   102. Zach Posted: May 07, 2021 at 12:13 PM (#6017562)
I think general ability to avoid injury and recover quickly is a skill. I don't know that the ability to avoid getting Lou Gehrig's Disease is a skill.

Particularly when your name is Lou Gehrig!

It's not like Gehrig was a fragile player. He held some kind of obscure record for durability, can't quite remember what it was...
   103. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 12:34 PM (#6017565)
@theaceofspaeder
Albert Pujols has gotten a hit off 10.21 percent of all players to ever throw a pitch in an MLB game.


Well sure, but 80% of the guys to ever throw an MLB pitch have done it in the last 20 years.
   104. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: May 07, 2021 at 12:50 PM (#6017569)
This isn't really fair to Pujols, but to me he came to symbolize the end of baseball as a truly national pasttime. Growing up, any guy who was a potential best player in baseball was a household name. Mattingly, Canseco, Clemens, etc. in the mid and late '80s. In the mid and late '90s, Griffey and Bonds were those types of figures and Jeter soon would be.

Pujols was the first superstar who a lot of casual sports fans didn't recognize at all, even if they could tell you a couple of players on their local team. Trout seems to have inherited that title.
   105. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: May 07, 2021 at 12:52 PM (#6017571)
Translating to some 33,000 players who have thrown a pitch. Well, fewer than that, because obviously he had multiple hits off a lot of guys.

See also: LaRussa, Tony, bullpen pitchers used by in a given homestand.
   106. DL from MN Posted: May 07, 2021 at 12:55 PM (#6017572)
Well sure, but 80% of the guys to ever throw an MLB pitch have done it in the last 20 years.


Some nights it feels like I saw all of them pitch in the last 20 minutes.
   107. Jacob Patterson Posted: May 07, 2021 at 01:01 PM (#6017575)
Real estate is one of the biggest industries in the world. If you are working in the Real Estate industry and want to success in the industry, you need to have a marketing strategy. Email Marketing is easy and effective marketing method in 2021. To success in the Email Marketing, you need to have reliable, targeted Real Estate Database to reach and convince them to make them your valuable customer.

   108. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 07, 2021 at 01:13 PM (#6017577)
Tigers DHs are collectively hitting .117! .117!
Even in his final 8-game ALS-ravaged 1939 season, Gehrig managed to hit .143.
   109. Rally Posted: May 07, 2021 at 01:19 PM (#6017582)
Tigers DHs are collectively hitting .117! .117!


Still slightly better than MLB pitchers, at .108
   110. The Duke Posted: May 07, 2021 at 02:05 PM (#6017600)
A lineup with Cabrera and Pujols! A dream come true. If they do that, they should sign Barry bonds too. I’m guessing 90 year old willie Mays could hit .117 in part time duty.
   111. caspian88 Posted: May 07, 2021 at 02:34 PM (#6017604)
Pujols has played in almost 14% of the years major league baseball has been played (higher if you don't count the National Association for some reason), so I could easily see him getting a hit against such a large percentage of all the pitchers in the sport's history.

A hypothetical immortal player who started playing for the Boston Red Stockings in 1871 and then had an iron man streak through today would play roughly 21,750 games (maybe as many as 22,000 - I wasn't looking for ties, potential mid-season trades to teams with more games in hand, etc). Pujols has played in more than 13% of the maximum potential number of games that such a player could conceivably play in.

Pujols has been around for a long, long time. He's been a fixture in the sport since I first started really paying attention to the sport, rather than merely playing it as a kid.
   112. Howie Menckel Posted: May 07, 2021 at 03:04 PM (#6017611)
Hot take: hammocks are terrible. They are hard to get in and out of, and once you're there, you get contorted into uncomfortable positions inside what is basically a hunting trap.

it only takes a bare modicum of practice to figure it out. I mean, even I figured it out.

I thought you were going to say that hammocks are terrible because they can ruin the look of your lawn, they are a pain to lug in and out, and eventually they rust. those are all reasons why its sucks to OWN one. I visited my brother last week, and all of those reasons were mentioned for why it is now gone.

Best one I've seen is the one behind the Marriott in Key Largo, Fla. looks like the one from the Corona commercials.

meanwhile, couples on a third date might want to check their compatibility by attempting to relax together in a hammock. if it works, your souls are in sync.
   113. Baldrick Posted: May 07, 2021 at 03:39 PM (#6017619)
Hot take: hammocks are terrible. They are hard to get in and out of, and once you're there, you get contorted into uncomfortable positions inside what is basically a hunting trap.

This is indeed a hot take. Hammocks are great.
   114. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 07, 2021 at 03:53 PM (#6017621)
This is indeed a hot take. Hammocks are great.
I mean, not so much if you're being hunted, as Votto rightfully points out. But other than that, yeah.
   115. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 07, 2021 at 05:04 PM (#6017638)
and eventually they rust


I was confused about this for a minute, and then I realized that you mean the things with metal frames and all. Which are really hammocks only in an attenuated sense. The paradigmatic hammocks are the pieces of fabric with rope on either side that you tie up to a couple trees. They don't ruin the look of your lawn, they don't rust, and if you can somehow relax in one of those with someone on the third date, you are indeed meant for each other.
   116. John DiFool2 Posted: May 07, 2021 at 05:04 PM (#6017639)
This isn't really fair to Pujols, but to me he came to symbolize the end of baseball as a truly national pasttime. Growing up, any guy who was a potential best player in baseball was a household name. Mattingly, Canseco, Clemens, etc. in the mid and late '80s. In the mid and late '90s, Griffey and Bonds were those types of figures and Jeter soon would be.

Pujols was the first superstar who a lot of casual sports fans didn't recognize at all, even if they could tell you a couple of players on their local team. Trout seems to have inherited that title.


MLB's 2nd-best player has to be Mookie, and outside of Boston & now LA I also doubt that he has any sort of significant public profile. Sad.
   117. gehrig97 Posted: May 07, 2021 at 05:12 PM (#6017640)
Most famous* active ball players:

1. Trout
2. Judge
3. Um... huh.
4. Maybe Harper?
5. Ichi- no wait. He retired. What about the guy on the Mets? Whatshisname?

*It really should read "Famous."
   118. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 07, 2021 at 05:36 PM (#6017644)
It's not Musial's fault our silly obsession with assigning a player to a single position doesn't capture how he actually played the game.

This again? People like comparing baseball players to each other. Sometimes they don't want to use the set every player who ever played in every comparison they do, so they look for ways to subdivide that set into subsets of players who have something in common. "Position played" is a natural way to do that. And because not every player spent a majority of his career at a single position, sometimes they make arbitrary decisions about what position to assign Stan Musial, because Stan Musial was great at baseball and a cool guy and people want to talk about him in comparison to other players, rather than just saying he's the best (43% 1B, 28% LF, 19% RF, 10% CF) ever.

You can think this is silly if you want, but you really don't have to complain about it in every single thread in which positional ranking is brought up.
   119. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 05:36 PM (#6017645)
I see more ads for Johnny Bench than I do active MLB players.
   120. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 07, 2021 at 05:47 PM (#6017647)
I see more ads for Johnny Bench than I do active MLB players


To be fair, no active MLB player is the greatest ever at their position. (Trout case pending.)
   121. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 06:19 PM (#6017651)
I don't see how anyone can relax in a hammock. I constantly feel as if I'm about to be dumped unceremoniously to the ground. It's difficult to find the optimal place to be so that you're comfortable, but shifting around isn't easy. No thanks.
   122. Hot Wheeling American Posted: May 07, 2021 at 06:23 PM (#6017652)
I see more ads for Johnny Bench than I do active MLB players.

What kind of deals can you get for him?
   123. cardsfanboy Posted: May 07, 2021 at 06:27 PM (#6017653)
(Trout case pending.)



Love Trout, but he's playing in the wrong era to take the mantle of greatest centerfielder ever. If you live in an era where 20 steals a season puts you on the leaderboard, you won't ever touch Mays.

But he does show a good point, centerfield is probably the one position that for the most part, if you have an elite player there, he's probably the best in the game most of the time (Cobb, Mantle, Mays, Griffey(not as much but still) and Trout)
   124. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 07, 2021 at 07:35 PM (#6017663)
But he does show a good point, centerfield is probably the one position that for the most part, if you have an elite player there, he's probably the best in the game most of the time (Cobb, Mantle, Mays, Griffey(not as much but still) and Trout)
Don’t forget Fogerty.
   125. reech Posted: May 07, 2021 at 07:52 PM (#6017666)
Jeez- I didn't realize Miguel Cabrera was so awful.
.098 average?

And FWIW- Since 2017 a negative WAR -

   126. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 07, 2021 at 08:34 PM (#6017671)
Obviously he's got a long way to go, but through age 28:

G OPS+ SB CS
1252 175 201 37 - Trout
1065 158 179 53 - Mays

The missed season isn't hurting Mays here in batting, since OPS+ is a rate stat. Not clear that it hurt him in SB either, since Trout is stealing at a better rate. (And similar volume.) Mays produced .055 WAR per game. Trout is at .059. And this includes Trout's bad age 19 season (an age Mays was not in MLB), and does not include his 27 games at 241 OPS+ this year. So far, Trout is ahead of Mays.
   127. Mefisto Posted: May 07, 2021 at 08:44 PM (#6017675)
We've had this thread before, but here are the numbers again:

Through 2019 (not counting the last 2 "seasons" for obvious reasons), Trout had 72.3 WAR. For his equivalent seasons, Mays had 58.6. However, you need to give Mays about 13 WAR or so to account for his 1.75 seasons missed due to military service. It's incredible that Trout can perform at that level; very few players in history can stand such a test.

The kicker, though, is that for the following 7 years of Mays' career he averaged 10.1 WAR/season. The only other player who did that was Ruth (who did it twice). So Trout is on track but it's a helluva pace.
   128. cardsfanboy Posted: May 07, 2021 at 08:45 PM (#6017676)
I don't disagree that Trout is on the path, the issue is whether he continues, (I don't care about age comparisons when talking about all time greats, just look at pa up to that point)

Albert Pujols was at 6082 pa with 73.8 war, Trout is at 5627 pa with 76.0 war, Mays was at 5960 with 76.8 war... All three are pretty close to each other, what makes the greatest of all time is that Mays then put up 4 consecutive seasons with 10+ war after that. Trout might be able to do that, but the easy money is that he won't.
   129. donlock Posted: May 07, 2021 at 09:42 PM (#6017684)
There is another 1b who is still on a team, can’t play and makes a ton of $ - Chris Davis.
   130. Shredder Posted: May 07, 2021 at 11:06 PM (#6017712)
He seemed like a player who always went up there wanting to hit the crap out of the ball, but occasionally had to concede to the fact that pitchers were so afraid for their own livelihoods that they threw him nothing near the strike zone.
For some reason this immediately made me think of the 2003 home run derby, which I was at in Chicago. Pujols put on a massive display of power* that day, and it was seriously impressive. But he lost to Garret Anderson, who just deposited pitch after pitch into the first two or three of the seats in right center field. Albert definitely won if you measured it by length, but GA hit more out.

*IIRC, the biggest and most impressive homers we saw that day during BP came Javier Lopez. He was banging them over the batters eye in center, which is a long way at Commiskey.
   131. Itchy Row Posted: May 08, 2021 at 01:50 AM (#6017724)
There’s no good place for a story about video game baseball, but this is as relevant as it will ever be. I played a full season (over the course of about five real years) of the MVP Baseball game with Pujols on the cover on easy mode just to see what the stats would look like. My catcher, who ended up with about 600 home runs that year, was Robby Hammock.
   132. stratosaur Posted: May 08, 2021 at 02:29 AM (#6017728)
I had hoped that the Angels would have talked him into retiring with honors after 2017 or any season afterward. Pay him off, give him a gold watch, have an Albert Pujols Day and such. Now he has been mediocre for so long that the memory of his greatness has been dimmed somewhat. Ernie Banks may be a good example. Mr Cub played the last 9 years of his career more as an institution and ambassador than as a player. Mr Cub kept getting RBI's and not mush else after 1962 and added only added 9.9 career BBR WAR during that span.

Is Albert the Dave Hampton of MLB? Dave went over 1,000 yards rushing in 1972 and they stopped the game and honored him. He then got one more carry, lost 6 yards and finished the season with 995 yards rushing. After the 2019 season Albert had 100.0 career BBR WAR and a career batting average of .300. He now is at 99.4 and .298 respectively (I know, who really gives a fook).

One warning sign about signing him was his unintentional walks had dropped off to 46 in 2011 when he had been pretty consistently around 70 per the prior seasons. He is the all-time leader in GIDP with 403, leading the runner-up (Ripken) by 53. He was great at making contact.
   133. spycake Posted: May 08, 2021 at 08:18 AM (#6017734)
If the Angels had cut him or bought him out prior to 2020, they wouldn’t have gotten the ~$19 mil pandemic discount.
   134. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 08, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6017778)
Tigers DHs are collectively hitting .117! .117!


Pirates DHs last year collectively had a lower OPS than the career OPS of one of their starting pitchers (Brault).
   135. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: May 08, 2021 at 01:42 PM (#6017782)
(I don't care about age comparisons when talking about all time greats, just look at pa up to that point)


Like ma had nothing to do with the player's existence?
   136. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 08, 2021 at 02:43 PM (#6017792)
There’s no good place for a story about video game baseball, but this is as relevant as it will ever be. I played a full season (over the course of about five real years) of the MVP Baseball game with Pujols on the cover on easy mode just to see what the stats would look like. My catcher, who ended up with about 600 home runs that year, was Robby Hammock.


If you're going to tell the story, you have at least got to include the key part! What were Pujols' stats?
   137. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 08, 2021 at 06:14 PM (#6017847)
Jeez- I didn't realize Miguel Cabrera was so awful.
.098 average?


It seemed unthinkable a few years ago that Cabrera wouldn’t reach 3,000 hits and 500 HR. Now I’m not sure he’ll get to either milestone.

That contract extension (two or three years before he would have been a free agent) has to go down as one of the worst of all time.
   138. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 08, 2021 at 06:36 PM (#6017850)
It seemed unthinkable a few years ago that Cabrera wouldn’t reach 3,000 hits and 500 HR. Now I’m not sure he’ll get to either milestone.
Cabrera just needs 126 hits & 11 HRs to reach those milestones. Since he’s under contract for 2 more seasons after this one, no problem as long as he isn’t released. Oh, wait …
   139. Rally Posted: May 08, 2021 at 07:45 PM (#6017857)
Pujols finished the 2016 season with 101 WAR, now he’s under 100. On a game by game level, he has probably crossed the 100 WAR mark more times than anyone in history.
   140. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 08, 2021 at 09:11 PM (#6017869)
Cabrera also has a pair of $30m options that vest if he finishes in the top 10 in MVP voting in 2023 or 2024, which, I think it's safe to say that Detroit isn't in any danger there. I assume that they don't introduce any complication if he's released. If they vested if he played X-many games, and he was released, that would get grieved, but since there's no chance they vest, it doesn't matter, right?

Also - those are weird options. Usually you expect something like that to benefit the player, but these seem to be team-friendly. If he finishes in the top 10 in MVP voting in 2023, of course the team is going to want him on a 1/30 contract for 2024.
   141. Walt Davis Posted: May 08, 2021 at 10:55 PM (#6017879)
you really don't have to complain about it in every single thread in which positional ranking is brought up.

1. Musial was proposed as the greatest 1B ever. That deserved a response.

2. I strongly encourage people to talk about Musial. I strongly encourage people to compare Musial to other great players. And when you do that without explaining that one of the important aspects of Musial was that he could cover 4 positions, including CF, competently in his prime then you are UNDERRATING Musial.

3. When you assign somebody to a single position, there should still be some "standard" you are trying to meet. Musial played much more OF, mostly corner OF, than 1B. If you are going to assign him a position, his position was "outfielder." His actual managers putting together actual lineups (with the players that had available) decided more often that not, that 1B was not the best place to play him. Assigning him to 1B lazy and misleading. Why would anybody defend lazy and misleading?

So, compare players all you want, I think it's a fine use of time. Just remember that positional flexibility is a positive and rather than downgrading a great like Musial, maybe you should make the trival effort to incorporate that flexibility into your comparison. If Musial was a greater player than Gehrig, it's because of that flexibility.
   142. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 09, 2021 at 01:24 AM (#6017897)
No surprise - Tony LaRussa says there’s no room for Pujols:
"We have Jose (Abreu) and Yermin (Mercedes) and even if Yermin gets less hot, it's a good way to DH other guys, get them off their feet," La Russa said Friday. "There is no fit here, unfortunately."
Politely declining will be the universal response, one would think, although at this point I don’t believe there is any indication Pujols is actually looking for another gig.
   143. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 09, 2021 at 08:39 AM (#6017903)
2. I strongly encourage people to talk about Musial. I strongly encourage people to compare Musial to other great players. And when you do that without explaining that one of the important aspects of Musial was that he could cover 4 positions, including CF, competently in his prime then you are UNDERRATING Musial.

3. When you assign somebody to a single position, there should still be some "standard" you are trying to meet. Musial played much more OF, mostly corner OF, than 1B. If you are going to assign him a position, his position was "outfielder." His actual managers putting together actual lineups (with the players that had available) decided more often that not, that 1B was not the best place to play him. Assigning him to 1B lazy and misleading. Why would anybody defend lazy and misleading?


This is reasonable. I would just say that it is possible to account for Musial's positional flexibility when ranking him, while still assigning him to a single position for the purposes of establishing a comparison set. (What position you choose, whether first base, left field, right field, corner outfield, or general outfield, is up for debate; first base would not be my choice either. I have a general idea of how I would make position assignments for Musial-type multiposition players, but there's not much point in going into it unless I'm actually presenting a ranking, which I might do someday but not any time soon. It almost certainly would not put Musial at first base.)
   144. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 09, 2021 at 08:57 AM (#6017906)
Also - those are weird options. Usually you expect something like that to benefit the player, but these seem to be team-friendly. If he finishes in the top 10 in MVP voting in 2023, of course the team is going to want him on a 1/30 contract for 2024.

I agree those are weird options, but strange things can happen in MVP voting especially down around spots 8-10. Khris Davis finished top 10 one year and I don’t think anyone would have wanted him for $30 million even on a 1-year deal. Also, a guy can get injured late in the season and still finish top 10 in the voting, even if his ability to perform the following year is called into question.
   145. John DiFool2 Posted: May 09, 2021 at 12:35 PM (#6017917)
As time goes on it becomes harder & harder for a new superstar to equal, much less surpass, the top guy at his position. In 2300 say, the top people will be so far above any mere mortal that the chances of anyone reaching them will be pretty much nil.

The recent trend tho has been for older guys to not carry on at an average or above pace into their early 40's, but to crater long before then, as Pujols & Cabrera have done. If that is going to be a long-term trend from here on out, and not a short-term one from whatever transient factors might apply, it's going to be hard for future players to reach the milestones which would put them in the conversation.

So let's run down the list:

C: On the surface catching Bench doesn't seem too impossible, and 2 guys after him (Carter & Piazza) almost pulled it off (along with Fisk a contemporary). But the position takes its toll, and teams seem more likely to move a gifted hitter off the position anymore.

1B: The big caveat for the old-timers (Gehrig) is just how will posterity (advanced stats) end up timelining them. I'd say tho that this is probably going to be one of the easier positions to make a run at the top. Granted, it will likely require a beast of a man with incredible hand-eye coordination, but that's a given.

2B: An "in-between" position, one since Hornsby few big sluggers have played at. If you are a fielding wizard, you likely end up at short; if you are a big hitter, they likely shift you to first. So ideally a run could be had here, but practically probably not.

3B: More big sluggers have played here; again, a lot depends on whether they keep the guy here long-term or shift him to the OF or first.

SS: Hard to say. We've had one guy (ARod) make a run since Wagner, and that's pretty much been it, despite the willingness of teams to play bigger guys here post-Ripken.

Outfield: I'd say all 3 are going to be the toughest of all of the non-pitching positions (see the post on Trout above and the huge hill he still has to climb).

Pitcher: Here the competition is much more numerous of course. If we relax things down to "Make the top 5 all time", that still seems tough, requiring someone to equal the likes of Maddux or Unit, and again longevity isn't what it once was, for whatever reasons. Our top 3 actives are all -20 behind those two on JAWS, and not going to come close.


   146. cardsfanboy Posted: May 09, 2021 at 02:50 PM (#6017927)
2B: An "in-between" position, one since Hornsby few big sluggers have played at. If you are a fielding wizard, you likely end up at short; if you are a big hitter, they likely shift you to first. So ideally a run could be had here, but practically probably not.


The is always an argument to be made that Joe Morgan was better than Hornsby, there is also an argument to be made that Hornsby should more likely be compared to third baseman, he was in the transitional part of baseball where the third baseman was regarded as more important defensively than the second base, most teams had already changed their minds and had a better defender at second but not all teams. In theory Hornsby rpos should probably be adjusted a little bit (not sure how rpos works that far back though)

3B: More big sluggers have played here; again, a lot depends on whether they keep the guy here long-term or shift him to the OF or first.


Schmidt is a tough person to pass, it might feel he lacks a bit in longevity (being one of the few 'greatest' of all time candidates who didn't play in his 40's (non-Gehrig division or catcher) but he still had 10,000+ pa) but for the most part I don't really see anyone without substances catching many of the greatest of all times any more. Not a knock against them, but more about the money involved in the game and that teams are going to be less willing to offer a long term contract into the age 40, and there is more likely to be less loyalty to a player as they might have changed teams once or twice in their career.
   147. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6018007)
Supposedly, the divorce was messy.

He woke up Wednesday morning, having already been told he’d be in the starting lineup that night for the Los Angeles Angels against the Tampa Bay Rays.

By the time the day was over, Pujols was yelling at manager Joe Maddon, telling president John Carpino and GM Perry Minasian that he wasn’t going to retire, insisting he did not want to spend the rest of the season on the bench and blasting Maddon’s managerial skills, according to two people with direct knowledge of the day’s events who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature the details.
   148. Rally Posted: May 10, 2021 at 10:39 AM (#6018009)
I’m not convinced that the days of great players playing to their early 40s are over, I think we’re just in a down period. Albert and Miggy have collapsed, but Nelson Cruz is 40, will turn 41 at mid-season, and still swinging the boomstick. Yadier at 38 has hit as well as ever. Gurriel and Turner, 37 and 36, are off to great starts.
   149. bunyon Posted: May 10, 2021 at 10:47 AM (#6018010)
Retro, I read that and was really confused. It's sad but I'd love to know more of the story before deciding anything (not that my opinion matters to anyone here or there).
   150. Mefisto Posted: May 10, 2021 at 10:54 AM (#6018012)
The is always an argument to be made that Joe Morgan was better than Hornsby, there is also an argument to be made that Hornsby should more likely be compared to third baseman, he was in the transitional part of baseball where the third baseman was regarded as more important defensively than the second base, most teams had already changed their minds and had a better defender at second but not all teams.


People say this all the time; I can't remember if it was James or Palmer who said it first. But when I look at the players -- not systematically, but just at the assist totals for individual players -- I don't see any evidence that there was such a transition. Maybe I'm missing something and if anyone knows of a good study on this I'd like to read it.
   151. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:25 AM (#6018015)
If memory serves, Pujols moved to 1B only because STL had Rolen at third, and Rolen was a sorcerer with the glove. If STL doesn't acquire Rolen, and Pujols stays at third until he had actually has to move to an easier position, is this thread about whether Pujols has passed Michael Jack as the greatest 3B of all time? I think it might be. (NB Schmidt leads by 7 WAR.) Pujols took a hit on Rpos, but he was a legitimately great fielder at first. (Just noticed this: in 2007 he had 31 Rfield, a figure that Ozzie topped only once, and then only barely. I know about changes in how fielding is measured, but still, that's impressive. Keith Hernandez never came close.)

A further bit of Pujols-appreciation: Miguel Cabrera is widely considered an obvious hall of famer. He's got only 70% of Pujols' WAR total.
   152. reech Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:27 AM (#6018016)
Supposedly, the divorce was messy.


Messy for who?
Pujols sucks. I get that he is raging against the dying light, but he can't be that clueless... could he?
   153. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:38 AM (#6018017)
People say this all the time; I can't remember if it was James or Palmer who said it first. But when I look at the players -- not systematically, but just at the assist totals for individual players -- I don't see any evidence that there was such a transition. Maybe I'm missing something and if anyone knows of a good study on this I'd like to read it.

It's not so much raw assist totals as the specific types of play required at each position. When the live ball era started up, bunts became less common, putting less of a burden on third basemen, and double plays became more common (since steal attempts were way down), putting more of a burden on second basemen. Comparing 1915 to 1925, the 1915 NL had 880 double plays and 1383 sac bunts (obviously not including attempts to bunt for a hit, but functional as a proxy for bunting overall); the 1925 NL had 1200 DP and 1079 SH.

Not sure whether you consider this a good study, but you can see the adjustment in RPos for B-R's WAR; in 1915, RPos was +5 for third basemen and 0 for second basemen. In 1925, they were both +5; by 1935, 2B was +5, 3B was +3.
   154. bunyon Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6018020)
Messy for who?
Pujols sucks. I get that he is raging against the dying light, but he can't be that clueless... could he?


Of course he can. He is. Few greats acknowledge where they are.

And, for a team that has him signed to a long post-career contract, treating him bad isn't good business. You have to get him onboard before dropping it on him. Tell him you're releasing him if he doesn't come around and retire on his own (with some sort of financial payoff). Give him time to rage against that decision and make peace with it. Then announce. Maybe they did that and there was no winning him over. Maybe they no longer view the long term services as a desirable thing and this is a way to make him go away.
   155. Mefisto Posted: May 10, 2021 at 12:18 PM (#6018027)
It's not so much raw assist totals as the specific types of play required at each position. When the live ball era started up, bunts became less common, putting less of a burden on third basemen, and double plays became more common (since steal attempts were way down), putting more of a burden on second basemen.


I'm not sure about the first point. Are bunts really harder to deal with than shots down the line or in the hole? Maybe.

As for the second point, that should show up in the assist data (unless you mean the PO at 2B). And that's what I don't see (admittedly not systematic).

Comparing 1915 to 1925, the 1915 NL had 880 double plays and 1383 sac bunts (obviously not including attempts to bunt for a hit, but functional as a proxy for bunting overall); the 1925 NL had 1200 DP and 1079 SH.


Ok, that's more interesting, but I'm still not sure I see the consequences in the assist totals. For example, in 1906-7 Johnny Evers made 941 A playing full time at 2B. At the same ages (1920-1) Hornsby made 1001. Hornsby was getting more chances, definitely, but we'd expect that anyway based on the difference between the dead ball era and the lively ball so it isn't necessarily a change in the defensive spectrum (though it could be).

Maybe someone can give me some more detail on the rPos changes.
   156. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 12:30 PM (#6018028)
If memory serves, Pujols moved to 1B only because STL had Rolen at third, and Rolen was a sorcerer with the glove. If STL doesn't acquire Rolen, and Pujols stays at third until he had actually has to move to an easier position, is this thread about whether Pujols has passed Michael Jack as the greatest 3B of all time?

Looking at the game logs, it doesn't appear that it was Rolen who moved him off. Pujols was already playing more left by the time the Cards acquired Rolen. And he was shifted from there to first two years later.

Rolen may have hastened his permanent exile from the position, but I don't think he would have lasted long there (just as he didn't last long in left. He surely wasn't shifted from the outfield to make room for 37-year-old Ray Lankford Primer fave John Mabry).

   157. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 10, 2021 at 12:37 PM (#6018030)
Looking at the game logs, it doesn't appear that it was Rolen who moved him off. Pujols was already playing more left by the time the Cards acquired Rolen. And he was shifted from there to first two years later.

Pujols was never really a full-time third baseman even as a rookie; his start totals by position were 52 3B, 38 LF, 33 RF, 31 1B. Then, as noted, he was primarily a LF in '02 (with a decent amount of 3B and some 1B), primarily a LF in '03 (good amount of 1B), and moved to 1B full-time in '04 (because of foot issues if memory serves, though the Cardinal fans around here might recall better).
   158. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 10, 2021 at 12:41 PM (#6018032)
I seem to recall an arm injury ending his time in the outfield, although obviously that would also be an issue at third.
   159. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 01:12 PM (#6018037)

Retro, I read that and was really confused. It's sad but I'd love to know more of the story before deciding anything


I totally agree with you here. I've seen a couple of stories already on my facebook feed about how mad Pujols is and some incident he caused. I have trouble understanding that. Like what does it mean he says he's not going to sit on the bench? Was he told he can stay on the roster but wouldnt play? That seems quite odd.

Also stop reading Facebook, yeah I get that.


I'm not sure about the first point. Are bunts really harder to deal with than shots down the line or in the hole? Maybe.


I dont get your reasoning here Mephisto. There's no one to one correspondence between bunts and "shots down the line." Right? So if the NL lost 304 sacrifice hits over a ten year period. Its not like all of those bunts are turning into shots down the line. Your statement makes it sound like that's what happened.

If 3b had 304 less bunts to field, that's like 40 less bunts per season/player. Or one less bunt every four games. BUt those 304 less bunts might turn into what 4 line drives to 3b over the course of a season? So like the average 3b might see one more line drive all year?


   160. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 01:16 PM (#6018039)
At the same ages (1920-1) Hornsby made 1001. Hornsby was getting more chances, definitely, but we'd expect that anyway based on the difference between the dead ball era and the lively ball so it isn't necessarily a change in the defensive spectrum (though it could be).


well someone would need to look up assist totals for 3bmen during this time period. I've done something like that before at least for 1940s and 50s so I think the data is on baseball ref. if anyone wants to check.
   161. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 10, 2021 at 01:21 PM (#6018040)
I seem to recall an arm injury ending his time in the outfield, although obviously that would also be an issue at third.


My recollection is this was one of the big things LaRussa was dealing with in the games covered in Bissinger's "Three Nights in August." That he had Pujols in left field and basically flat out told him "don't throw the baseball." He played left field the rest of that season primarily but never played the outfield after that season and only 13 games at third (and one at second?).
   162. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 10, 2021 at 01:25 PM (#6018041)
Here's the game he played second base. Not surprisingly it's an extra inning affair with machinations to boot. The Cardinal infield the last three innings was;

Jason LaRue 1B
Albert 2B
Aaron Miles SS
Troy Glaus 3B


That ain't exactly the 1999 Mets.
   163. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: May 10, 2021 at 01:56 PM (#6018047)
If 3b had 304 less bunts to field, that's like 40 less bunts per season/player. Or one less bunt every four games. BUt those 304 less bunts might turn into what 4 line drives to 3b over the course of a season? So like the average 3b might see one more line drive all year?


But wouldn't all of the batted balls trend towards being hit harder if guy are slugging rather than "hitting them where they ain't"?
   164. Mefisto Posted: May 10, 2021 at 02:18 PM (#6018049)
I dont get your reasoning here Mephisto. There's no one to one correspondence between bunts and "shots down the line." Right? So if the NL lost 304 sacrifice hits over a ten year period. Its not like all of those bunts are turning into shots down the line. Your statement makes it sound like that's what happened.


I didn't mean it that way. Erik's argument was that "When the live ball era started up, bunts became less common, putting less of a burden on third basemen". That's what I was responding to. Bunts seem generally much easier to play than the much harder hit balls of the liveball era. Evaluating the "burden on third basemen" seems kind of subjective.

well someone would need to look up assist totals for 3bmen during this time period. I've done something like that before at least for 1940s and 50s so I think the data is on baseball ref. if anyone wants to check.


I'm sure that can be done. I was just hoping someone not me had already done it. :) And, strictly speaking, somebody should have done that before we all say that the defensive responsibilities of 2B changed in the 1920s.
   165. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 02:56 PM (#6018057)
Pujols suffered elbow ligament damage in April of 2003, necessitating a move to 1B full time in 2004.
   166. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:16 PM (#6018065)
That's what I was responding to. Bunts seem generally much easier to play than the much harder hit balls of the liveball era. Evaluating the "burden on third basemen" seems kind of subjective.


they do seem easier to play in general. Also if youve been selected to play 3b because you're quick presumably that helps too.

Maybe its more like once bunting decreased, 3b did not need to be so quick anymore. So you'd see more power hitters there like Cecil Travis or Mel Ott or someone like that. its very interesting issue actually.
   167. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:17 PM (#6018102)
Near as I can tell, the single biggest reason that second base became more important was the increase in double plays. The deadball era was station-to-station baseball, and whenever there was a man on first, it was generally followed by a steal or a bunt or a hit and run. When the live ball came in, and players started swinging away all the time, suddenly there were a lot more double plays.

Double plays turned per team:

1910: 108
1915: 109
1920: 123
1925: 152
1930: 155
   168. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 10, 2021 at 06:34 PM (#6018137)
Re: 167, was it just the lively ball, or also the introduction of the webbed glove in 1920?
   169. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 06:56 PM (#6018138)
It sounds like neither side covered themselves in glory on this transaction. The Angels should have done much better by Pujols in preparing him for this. Talk to him about a playing time plan, and if he's not on board, let him know that they just can't keep him on the roster any longer, but that they'd like to give him until the weekend and at least send him off with a nice goodbye and an ovation from Angel fans. It sounds like they dictated the plan to him, he didn't like it, and they couldn't work anything out. I don't know what role Maddon played in the acrimony, but it sounds like he was told not to play Pujols on that Wednesday, but Maddon got thrown under the bus for exacerbating whatever rift there was.

On the other side, I understand Pujols has pride and he's been a great player, but he does not seem to be settling into the role of lovable leader on the bench. He should be a pinch hitter at best right now, but the guy still thinks he can play everyday. If Pujols really is that obtuse about his playing ability, the Angels didn't have many options. For all we know, they might have offered a more graceful release and Pujols refused.

I know a lot of Angel fans are happy Pujols is gone, and part of me is, too. He was a drag on the lineup. But I'm more sad than anything at how this happened, regardless of whose fault it is. If either side could have been a little more gracious to the other, maybe this ends with Pujols sailing gracefully off into the sunset, satisfied with his relationship with the Angel organization, and continuing his involvement with the team after retirement. This was ugly for Pujols, for the Angels organization, and for baseball fans. Everyone lost here.
   170. Mefisto Posted: May 10, 2021 at 08:19 PM (#6018155)
FWIW, I went through BBREF and tabulated A and DP by 2B and 3B for the NL from 1905 through 1930. Those dates were somewhat arbitrary, but this issue came up in the context of Hornsby (hence the NL) and I wanted a reasonable number of years for the comparison after things settled down from the formation of the AL.

The basic outline is this: In every year during this period, except 1909, 2B made at least 1000 more A than 3B. They also turned a minimum of 199 more DP every year. I feel pretty confident in saying, therefore, that at no time in this period was 3B a more important defensive position than 2B. Even if you think that 3B had to make harder plays -- which we can't possibly judge -- I can't see how that could make up for that many extra opportunities.

What did happen, though, was that the gap between the 2 positions grew steadily. Where A by 3B stayed within a fairly narrow range over this span (2241 to 2640), A by 2B began increasing in about 1919 such that the range was from 3423 (1909) to 4452 (1924). Similarly, DP by 3B ranged from 138 to 227, while DP by 2B ranged from 348 to 877.

So while it's not accurate to say that 3B was ever a more important defensive position than 2B, it is true that the importance of a good fielding 2B grew relative to 3B by a considerable margin starting around the time Hornsby became a regular at 2B. I therefore see no need to discount Hornsby's defense based on any supposed "lesser importance" of 2B defensively.
   171. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: May 10, 2021 at 08:35 PM (#6018159)
[...Pujols] does not seem to be settling into the role of lovable leader on the bench. He should be a pinch hitter at best right now, but the guy still thinks he can play everyday.


I think this gets at why it was such a difficult situation for everyone (and you, JAHV, did get into this). And I don't mean that to blame Pujols. It's just that once the player feels that way I don't know that there's any approach that works well for making everyone look good, unless maybe a trade is available before even DFA'ing the player. According to Rosenthal, this happened at the press conference:

It is all so awkward. Saying goodbye to a legend is never easy. An all-time great such as Pujols does not deserve to be embarrassed. But the entire day was uncomfortable, right down to a question during the news conference about whether the Angels planned to honor Pujols in some fashion
.
Carpino hesitated, trying to find the right answer.

“Albert is passionate about continuing to play,” he said, “so it’s hard to do that.”


Assuming no options appear for Albert to play, I hope he can quickly come to terms with his career ending just so the Angels (Cards, too, if they're inclined) can honor him sooner rather than later.
   172. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 12:44 AM (#6018205)
I think this gets at why it was such a difficult situation for everyone (and you, JAHV, did get into this). And I don't mean that to blame Pujols. It's just that once the player feels that way I don't know that there's any approach that works well for making everyone look good, unless maybe a trade is available before even DFA'ing the player.


I want to believe the organization handled this the best way they could and Pujols was simply too obstinate and prideful to accept it. In that situation, there aren't any good options. I haven't formed any judgment about Minasian yet, but neither Moreno nor Carpino have endeared themselves to Angel fans recently with some of their decisions, so it's hard for me to give them the benefit of the doubt.
   173. Nasty Nate Posted: May 15, 2021 at 08:24 PM (#6018974)
Pujols signs with the Dodgers
   174. cardsfanboy Posted: May 15, 2021 at 08:57 PM (#6018977)
I didn't mean it that way. Erik's argument was that "When the live ball era started up, bunts became less common, putting less of a burden on third basemen". That's what I was responding to. Bunts seem generally much easier to play than the much harder hit balls of the liveball era. Evaluating the "burden on third basemen" seems kind of subjective.


Why is that 80% of bunted balls are going to be fielded by the third baseman or first baseman, and the majority will still be third baseman simply because it's the better odds play. And we aren't talking sacrifice only, we are talking bunts for hits which was much more common in the day. A good defensive third baseman, discourages that tactic so that teams have to swing away, eventually with the livelier ball, it became obvious to teams that swinging away was better than playing the odds with a bunt hit attempt.

There was a transitional period where teams were realizing that bunting was no longer a good way to get men on base and started swinging away, but it wasn't like that happened overnight, it took a decade or so for everyone to get o board. And once teams started swinging away, the defensive spectrum shifted, from c, ss, cf, 3b, 2b, rf, lf, 1b... to c, ss, cf, 2b, 3b, rf, lf, 1b. It's not a huge difference but it is a difference. My argument is that pre-1925 or so second baseman should be put in the same "defense" argument as post 1925 third baseman and of course the reverse is true with pre-1925 third baseman and post 1925 second baseman.


And of course the point made in 167.
   175. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 15, 2021 at 09:14 PM (#6018981)
Dodgers news is curious. Max Muncy has an OPS+ of 162. If you sum Pujols' OPS+s from the past two years you don't get to 162.
   176. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2021 at 09:31 PM (#6018989)
Maybe they feel like they can do for Pujols what they did for Muncy.
   177. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 15, 2021 at 11:25 PM (#6019005)
The Dodgers seem to constantly have dudes come up from AAA and produce. I don't know why they'd bother with Pujols.
   178. Ron J Posted: May 16, 2021 at 12:05 AM (#6019009)
#175 They were looking for a veteran leader who used to be really good and Willie Mays wasn't interested in playing for the Dodgers.
   179. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2021 at 09:17 AM (#6019017)
Why is that 80% of bunted balls are going to be fielded by the third baseman or first baseman, and the majority will still be third baseman simply because it's the better odds play.


I don't see how this makes up for the extra 125 assists per team per season made by the 2B.

And of course the point made in 167.


I included double plays as a separate category. In any case, they'd be included in the assists total. While it's true that double plays became more common over time, it was always the case that 2B were making many more DPs than 3B. The increase contributed to the increasing relative importance of 2B, but didn't change the fact that 2B was always more important (that extra 125 A per team per season).
   180. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 16, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6019033)
But that's not really definitive as you already admit, Mephisto.

What if its harder to make the throw from 3b? It would be interesting to see what the range (worst to best) of DRS or some other measure is for both 3b and 2b. If say 3b are rated -20 runs to +20 runs but 2b are only rated +15 to -15 it might tell us that its harder to find good 3b men.

TZ that is used by Baseballreference for that period has very significant problem in this regard because it attentuates the rating for extemely good and extremely bad fielders. So trying to measure this is going to be problematical, but maybe we can make some guesses.
   181. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2021 at 02:33 PM (#6019036)
I'd absolutely agree that it's harder to make the throw from 3B than from 2B. I don't know the +- ranges for DRS, but I do know that rPos is generally higher for 2B than 3B in modern baseball.

But I still don't see how a 2B in 1908 could be making an extra 125 A per season and yet 3B would somehow require a better fielder. That's an awful lot of extra plays. And to deal with one example, it can't be the bunts, because every fielded bunt would, by definition, result in an assist.

I've never seen any actual data to support the idea. I'm skeptical but not ruling it out. I just want to see more than an assertion.
   182. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2021 at 03:14 PM (#6019043)
I just checked Fangraphs' positional adjustments and they have 2B and 3B both at +2.5.
   183. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 16, 2021 at 03:39 PM (#6019046)
I just checked Fangraphs' positional adjustments and they have 2B and 3B both at +2.5.

For modern players they do. Not so much for players back in the day. Nap Lajoie in 1908 (1 game at first base, exclusively second apart from that) has a positional adjustment on Fangraphs of 0.0. Jimmy Collins 1904 (exclusively 3B) has a positional adjustment of +4.8. By comparison, Billy Herman 1932 (exclusively 2B) is +4.8 from position, and Harlond Clift 1937 (exclusively 3B) is +2.9. (It is worth pointing out here that Fangraphs' positional adjustments for older players are a black box; they tend to focus more on evaluation of the current day players, so they may not have put as much effort into the older ratings. B-R provides a table showing their position adjustments for every position and every season; Fangraphs does not.)

I believe the adjustments at B-R, at least, are mostly based on how the ratings change for players who play multiple positions. That is, if you look at hybrid 2B/3B from 1900-1915 or so, they fared better compared to league average at 2B than at 3B; from 1925-50, the opposite was true. (The weight you assign that will depend on how accurate you think the fielding ratings from 1900-1950 are in the first place.)
   184. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2021 at 03:45 PM (#6019048)
It is worth pointing out here that Fangraphs' positional adjustments for older players are a black box


Yeah, and that's the basic problem.

I believe the adjustments at B-R, at least, are mostly based on how the ratings change for players who play multiple positions. That is, if you look at hybrid 2B/3B from 1900-1915 or so, they fared better compared to league average at 2B than at 3B; from 1925-50, the opposite was true. (The weight you assign that will depend on how accurate you think the fielding ratings from 1900-1950 are in the first place.)


This is my understanding too. Your last sentence seems key.

   185. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 16, 2021 at 08:05 PM (#6019059)
This is my understanding too. Your last sentence seems key.

I'm not sure what data can be provided beyond the fielding metrics we have access to, honestly. You either believe them or you don't, I don't expect anything else to be gleaned from the numbers that will convince you. (You can see the reverse effect in hitting, to some extent - second basemen used to outhit third basemen, and then they stopped. But I assume you're aware of that already, and it's not a 100% reliable proxy for fielding importance; center fielders outhit right fielders for basically the entire decade of the '50s, and nobody thinks RF became more important than CF at the time.)
   186. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2021 at 09:15 PM (#6019061)
You may be right. When Tango first came up with the positional adjustments based on players who played multiple positions, I was really happy to see it. I'd never liked the idea of judging the defensive importance of a position by how well players hit. And I think modern data are good enough to trust the conclusion. But the rest of it is just a black box and I'm not sure how accurate this might be for the dead ball era. Lots of baseball tactics and decisions back then were, shall we say, less than optimal. Part of baseball's improvement over the years consists of players and managers realizing that they had a better way to do something. Even if managers did believe 3B to be more important defensively in 1908, I don't see any reason to treat that as true. So yeah, I'm looking for evidence that may not exist, but that I'd still like to see before I accept a claim like that at face value.
   187. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 01:40 AM (#6019078)
B-R provides a table showing their position adjustments for every position and every season; Fangraphs does not.)


Im confused: when citing numbers for Collins, Lajoie, Clift etc. Are you referring to fangraphs or baseballref? the way you worded it, it sounds like FG. If so why? I mean if you're going to pt. out that b-r has more documentation or whatever why not cite b-r as well for those players?

   188. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 17, 2021 at 07:06 AM (#6019082)
Im confused: when citing numbers for Collins, Lajoie, Clift etc. Are you referring to fangraphs or baseballref? the way you worded it, it sounds like FG. If so why? I mean if you're going to pt. out that b-r has more documentation or whatever why not cite b-r as well for those players?

The numbers in 183 are from Fangraphs; I looked at them to see if Fangraphs' positional adjustment (however they're derived) tracked with B-R's over the same period. They appear to do so.
   189. Mefisto Posted: May 17, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6019092)
One more comment to clarify what I mean by "black box": Tango's positional adjustment system doesn't tell us why players do better at some positions than others. Do they get to more balls? Do they have stronger arms? Is their positioning better? Was their manager an idiot?

Maybe we don't need to know that and should just accept the results. I'm comfortable doing that for the modern era, when we can see what's happening, because it's only very recently that we have data to do better. For, say, pre-WWII I'd like to see the causal mechanism. Especially since I tabulated the assist numbers and can see that it doesn't seem likely that bunts were the issue in the Dead Ball era.
   190. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 17, 2021 at 07:59 PM (#6019276)
Especially since I tabulated the assist numbers and can see that it doesn't seem likely that bunts were the issue in the Dead Ball era.

OK, looking at the assist numbers myself. Here is the ratio of (assists by second basemen) to (assist by third basemen) in a fairly random assortment of seasons during the alleged transition between 2B and 3B on the defensive spectrum:

1905 1.50
1908 1.48
1911 1.50
1913 1.53
1917 1.41
1920 1.50
1923 1.55
1926 1.63
1928 1.62
1930 1.81
1932 1.73
1935 1.77

You can check the remaining seasons if you want, but that seems like a pretty clear trend in the relative number of plays made by second basemen and third basemen. Yes, second basemen generally had more plays throughout, but the average play for a second baseman is probably somewhat easier - note, for instance, that third basemen basically always have lower fielding percentages than second basemen. (1935, .966 2B to .944 3B; 1905, .947 2B to .922 3B.) Altering the ratio of plays at the two positions that significantly seems like it could easily account for a shift in the defensive spectrum.
   191. Mefisto Posted: May 17, 2021 at 10:51 PM (#6019330)
You can check the remaining seasons if you want, but that seems like a pretty clear trend in the relative number of plays made by second basemen and third basemen.


Agreed. I saw that pattern when I tabulated the gross totals.

the average play for a second baseman is probably somewhat easier - note, for instance, that third basemen basically always have lower fielding percentages than second basemen. (1935, .966 2B to .944 3B; 1905, .947 2B to .922 3B.


That's a very good point. I'm not sure it makes up for the much larger number of plays the 2B were making, and I wouldn't say it makes 3B a "more important" position in the dead ball era. But it does mean the 2 positions are possibly closer than I've been suggesting.
   192. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 17, 2021 at 11:03 PM (#6019334)
Back on topic: Pujols is starting at 1B for the Dodgers tonight. And it's weird.
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