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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-31-2019

Perth Amboy Evening News, December 31, 1919:

A number of big baseball trades are expected to follow on the heels of the first one of the year, between the Washington Senators and the Boston Red Sox.

They hadn’t seen anything yet.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 31, 2019 at 09:50 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 31, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5911921)
A strong pitching staff on today's Birthday Team. As for the position players...well, there's a strong pitching staff on today's Birthday Team.

C: King Kelly (46.0 WAR)
1B: Nate Freiman (-0.1 WAR)
2B: Jose Baez (1.5 WAR)
3B: Bobby Byrne (13.9 WAR)
SS: Jerry McCormick (0.1 WAR)
LF: Sil Campusano (0.0 WAR)
CF: Walt Goldsby (-0.4 WAR)
RF: Donell Nixon (1.4 WAR)

SP: Syl Johnson (27.8 WAR)
SP: Esteban Loaiza (22.7 WAR)
SP: Rick Aguilera (21.9 WAR)
SP: Tommy Byrne (11.0 WAR)
SP: Brian Moehler (10.8 WAR)
RP: Kelvin Herrera (9.7 WAR)

Manager: Jim Tracy
Umpire: Tom Connolly
Writer/Researcher: Clem Comly
   2. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 31, 2019 at 10:42 AM (#5911933)
Vlad and I would like to wish a very happy birthday to Jim Tracy.
   3. Itchy Row Posted: December 31, 2019 at 10:50 AM (#5911940)
Two of the three players in major league history with the last name "Byrne" are on today's team. The other one, Jerry Byrne, probably doesn't make his birthday team.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5911942)
Here are the BBTF threads from 10 years ago:

https://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/blogpen/archives/2009/12

Transaction Oracle: 2010 ZiPS Projections - Cleveland Indians Posted: December 31, 2009 at 08:20 PM
Newsblog: Baseball America: Best Books Of 2009 Posted: December 31, 2009 at 07:06 PM
Newsblog: Sickels: New York Yankees Top 20 Prospects for 2010 Posted: December 31, 2009 at 06:34 PM
Newsblog: Cubs land (Marlon) Byrd Posted: December 31, 2009 at 06:26 PM
Newsblog: Rosenthal: Cubs near deal with CF Byrd Posted: December 31, 2009 at 06:19 PM
Newsblog: ESPN: Neyer: Raines should easily walk right into Hall Posted: December 31, 2009 at 05:25 PM
Newsblog: The Village Voice: deMause: Brooklyn wall loses Dodger pedigree, gains Wrigley connection Posted: December 31, 2009 at 04:22 PM
Newsblog: Baseball Picture of the Day: Remember Roberto Posted: December 31, 2009 at 02:02 PM
Newsblog: Cards, Holliday closing in on deal Posted: December 31, 2009 at 12:58 PM
Newsblog: Former teammate Sean Casey says New York Mets made right move signing Jason Bay Posted: December 31, 2009 at 12:40 PM
Newsblog: Groupthink Approved Posted: December 31, 2009 at 09:00 AM
Newsblog: CBS: Knobler: Designated pioneer? Martinez’s bat not enough to crack Hall ballot Posted: December 31, 2009 at 06:25 AM
Newsblog: Mets Merized: What The UZR Disciples Wont Tell You About Jason Bay Posted: December 31, 2009 at 05:45 AM
Newsblog: BDD/Golebiewski: What Happened to Ian Snell? Posted: December 31, 2009 at 02:59 AM
Newsblog: ESPN Insider: Aroldis Chapman and the taxman Posted: December 31, 2009 at 02:47 AM
Newsblog: Davidoff: My Hall of Fame Ballot Posted: December 31, 2009 at 02:36 AM
Newsblog: Wash Times/Zuckerman: Farewell, and Thanks Posted: December 31, 2009 at 01:59 AM
   5. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:03 AM (#5911944)
I didn't know Otis Nixon had a brother.

438 career PA, 109 hits, 35 walks, and 47 stolen bases.

I'm trying to figure out how Otis and Donell Nixon were seen as prospects but I do not understand this at all, from Otis Nixon's BB-ref page;

Draft: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 21st round of the 1978 MLB June Amateur Draft from Louisburg College (Louisburg, NC), the California Angels in the 1st round (4th) of the 1979 MLB January Draft-Secondary Phase from Louisburg College (Louisburg, NC) and the New York Yankees in the 1st round (3rd) of the 1979 MLB June Draft-Secondary Phase from Louisburg College (Louisburg, NC).


I think the real January draft was for players who graduated school in the fall, but I'm trying to figure out these secondary drafts. There was a separate draft for players who had already been drafted but not signed? And there was one in January, and then another one in June? Was that a good thing or a bad thing for the players? How many rounds were in the secondary draft? Were you required to sign with that team, or could you just keep getting drafted in the secondary draft twice a year?

I see the June secondary draft was definitely a separate thing from the "real" 1979 draft, because in that one the #3 overall pick was not Otis Nixon, it was Jay Schroeder. Who by the way had an OK NFL career but must be one of the worst MLB draft choices ever.
   6. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5911948)
(sorry to anyone who was responding to my post #5 before I completely rewrote it)
   7. Itchy Row Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5911949)
Among new year's eve babies born since 1885, Joe Simpson (negative 2.0 career WAR) has the most hits with 338.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5911950)
I'm trying to figure out how Otis and Donell Nixon were seen as prospects
Is it anything more complicated than back then, if you could run real fast, you were a prospect?
   9. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5911952)
No I mean, was Donell seen as a good prospect, or was he just drafted because he was Otis Nixon's brother? Was Otis seen as a future star? I'm not sure how being taken in the secondary draft compares to being taken in the "real" draft.
   10. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:31 AM (#5911953)
I remember when Otis was in Cleveland, the general perception of him was of a guy whose useful skills were limited to pinch runner and defensive replacement. Basically he was thought of as Joey Gathright.

I was flabbergasted when he became a solid everyday player.
   11. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5911956)
Through age 30, Otis Nixon was a terrible player - .222/.295/.269 for a 59 OPS+ in more than 1000 plate appearances. Then, for the rest of his 30s, he hit .283/.356/.328. It looks like someone on the Braves coaching staff must have taught him something when he arrived there at age 32.
   12. Itchy Row Posted: December 31, 2019 at 12:21 PM (#5911966)
After a few years in the big leagues, he could afford better quality drugs.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2019 at 03:58 PM (#5912021)
Donell was drafted just a year (or two) after Otis (so long before Otis became any sort of "name") and by a different team and in the 10th round so I think we can safely assume Donell was drafted on his own talent. He looked like a pretty real prospect, hitting well over 300 at age 20 (with a little power) and 21 (with no power). After a not good age 22 he then missed almost all of ages 23 and 24. In AAA at 25, he again hit well over 300 and got his ML debut. Clearly nobody expected him to be anything more than a speedy bench OF but it looks like he earned everything he achieved (FWIW 1.4 WAR, 0 WAA).

Note Donell made the majors in 1987. To that point Otis had just 402 PA across 4 seasons, a 48 OPS+ and -0.6 WAR with good baserunning numbers. In the minors, Otis didn't miss time and was promoted much more aggressively but he also never hit better than 291 with almost literally zero power (he had a season of 610 PA with an ISO of 22!) There were no coattails for Donell to ride.

Is it anything more complicated than back then, if you could run real fast, you were a prospect?

If by "prospect" we mean "could make the majors and often be given a half-decent shot", that's always been true and seems still true today. To the extent it's changed, it's probably less to do with teams no longer being impressed by speed as it is the shortened benches due to expanded bullpens. At the extreme, Terrance Gore's minor-leauge line is 237/333/272 but he's still hanging around the minors and gets his annual Sept call-up (maybe no more). Maybe there's more emphasis on their defensive value than their SBs but Adam Engel doesn't have over 1000 PAs because of his bat. Same can be said for Mallex Smith, Keon Broxton, Jake Marisnick and of course Billy Hamilton.

If you've got speed, you'll advance through the minors. If you can handle CF (or maybe SS), you've got a good shot at making the majors. If you can manage something like at least a 75 OPS+, you'll probably get to 1000 or even 2000 PAs -- obviously needing a bit of luck of being on the right teams at the right time. And, in general, that player should get that shot. Marisnick has a career 79 OPS+ and 10.5 bWAR, 4.1 bWAA. Broxton has 0.1 career WAA in just over 1000 PA and Smith has 0.6 in 1600 PA (but hits kinda OK). Engel is replacement-level by bWAR but (a) DRS doesn't like his defense much while statcast does and (b) replacement-level puts him in the AAAA mix for frequent call-ups.

Speed's a good thing -- it helps with defense, it helps with baserunning, it helps avoid DPs and it helps with BABIP (e.g. Mallex Smith has a 333 BABIP) if you have enough sense to hit the ball on the ground a reasonable bit. Speed, especially lots of it, just doesn't correlate very well with power. It's probably a fair statement that the bat is frequently so weak that no modern team will plan to give such a player more than 400 PA but they'll get PT.

(Note, I suspect that WAR slightly over-rates these part-time speed players like Donell. Through PR and def rep appearances, it would seem that they get to add value without adding PAs which will artificially inflate their WAA a teeny bit. But if we're talking just a few hundred PAs, we're talking about decimal point adjustments so it's trivial. Also teams don't make the mistake of thinking that somebody like this should be a starter even if he has positive WAA.)

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