October 2013

"Evolutions" that lead nowhere, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/31/13
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. IcebreakerX, who is an NPB super-analyst and who has his own take on the matter, axs innocently ... Doc, what's the best way to view the fact that that Tanaka's numbers have fallen across the board this season. BB/9 up, K/9 & K/BB down 2 years in a row. Also, as a league, the NPB has had a distinct offensive downturn the last three years, especially after the introduction of a less-bouncy ball (since reduced in less-bounciness). This makes me less excited about his numbers in general. However, he has done great at the WBC with the MLB ball, so there is that. At the same time, I'm a fan... Read More
Some guys impose their OWN trend lines
Posted by jemanji on 10/31/13
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. Pitching Trendlines 101 When a guy's numbers are off the chart, then a little bit of bouncing up-and-down is not a factor. Payton Manning's offense doesn't even PLOT on the team visualizations -- it's quite literally off the graph.  Supposing it moves a skosh toward being visible on the graph, but still isn't on there?   No trend. Masuhiro Tanaka's CTL (strikeout-to-walk) ratio this year was "down" to 5.7.  This while he went unbeaten. No trend. . Pitching Trendlines 102 Now, all that said ... K/BB ratios are only one piece of information.  Here you've got a super-analyst, living in Japan,... Read More
"We want to prove that our way is the right way," dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/31/13
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. Dr's R/X Every pitcher is a health risk.  Some of them look golden ... Felix Hernandez, maybe Yu Darvish, there are guys who feel like they're safe going forward. Tanaka-san looks like an "average" health risk to me, going forward.  I'd feel about as comfortable going with him, as I would going with Max Scherzer.  About the same as I would with David Price... well, Price is a little bit better bet. How much does that matter, what Tanaka's prospectus FEELS like?  There was a great Hey Bill last week... ... In the "Hot Hand" article there was spirited discussion about the impact of changes... Read More
If he hurts his arm, he could go into yoga
Posted by jemanji on 10/30/13
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. Muchos problemos, if you're trying to capture Tanaka using video alone.  In this post, we ticked off a few of the problems on our fingers for yer.  Tough to measure your Tuesdays, using the Potrzebie unit.  And tough to grok a "pitchability" ace, watching a few tosses on video. Still and all ... 1) Tanaka is obviously in the Iwakuma / Kuroda template, and 2) His raw stuff looks superior to both. Thusly: . Overhand Curve Dr. D will go to his grave wondering why they call these pitches sliders.  But that's okay.  If you want a feel for the Tanaka Yakka, go to this video rat cheer and start... Read More
Americana, expressed in numbers
Posted by jemanji on 10/30/13
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  There is a narrative element to classic stats, a colorful element, a fun aspect to them.  At BJOL today: . Hey Bill, do you ever interest yourself in the statistical side of crime history? The academic book "Murder in New York City," for example, does a good job of estimating homicide rates from coroner reports, police records, newspapers, etc., with statistical sophistication (I think) decade by decade back to the eighteenth century; it's not a bad read either. I enjoyed "Popular Crime" immensely but expected a different, more number-y book. Asked by: PB Answered: 10/30/2013 Baseball... Read More
Pardon me... would you have any grey poupon? ... but of course
Posted by jemanji on 10/30/13
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. Now that we've had our PSA (public service announcement) on Netiquette and the SSI way of doing bidness ... let's return to the (reasonable) question at hand.  Why refer to W-L record, if stats #5, #12, and #18 capture the same things?  Do W-L records have any unique information? It's an interesting question, taken in a vacuum.  Possibly some SSI readers would like to noodle around in the specifics of the answer... Sandy and Bat571 weighed in. ....... For one thing, San-Man said, It provides the one piece of information that implies "perfection". The ERA, xFIP, WAR, WPA, etc., would not (by... Read More
Measuring Tuesdays with potrzebies
Posted by jemanji on 10/29/13
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. Beard-second:  unit of length, opposed to the light-year, used to measure very short distances (such as used in integrated circuits, or as used to measure Kendrys Morales' leads off of first base). Furlong per Firkin per Fortnight (FFF):  a good-natured jab at America's rejection of the metric system.  One FFF is almost exactly 1 centimeter per minute, a remarkable coinkydink.  C = 1.8 terafurlongs per fortnight. Potrzebie:  the thickness of Mad Magazine 26.  A famous computer scientist "improved" our system of weights and measures using this as a basic unit. For other humorous (?) units of... Read More
If Iwakuma made up for Fister, maybe Tanaka could make up for...
Posted by jemanji on 10/29/13
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. Classical Mechanics and Aiki Mechanics At I R Fast they did a really good job, breaking down the classic mechanical checkpoints.  They got quotes from several 'tools scouts' also.  Here is the link.  Dr. D doesn't have as many quibbles as he would usually have.  ;- )  We'll just let their checklist lay fallow, for our purposes.  As you know, we live to serve. ... Let's switch gears now to an aiki perspective, which focuses on the center of gravity, its acceleration, the organization of the limbs around that, and the "intentionality" (ki) as it pertains to the baseball... Tanaka's motion --... Read More
Turkey shoot, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/29/13
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. Somewhere on the 'net, we read that Masuhiro Tanaka went 26-and-0 last year "if you're into that kind of thing.  It doesn't mean much except that he went deep into games, I guess." We know what they were trying to say.  I like that author.  But "26-0 if you're into that kind of thing"?  HEH!!  It is just too good to pass up, mate.  Hopefully we can still be friends :- ) .... Dr. D is into that kind of thing, yes, the kind of thing where a baseball pitcher completes a season undefeated.  He's into perfect games, 116-win seasons, and 190-RBI seasons, and the Heat's 27-game winning streak, and... Read More
You can drag your knee, but ... don't drag your feet, boys
Posted by jemanji on 10/29/13
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. .... so Tanaka-san went 24-0, 1.27.  And guess what:  it's not like this season was flukey.  Check out his card at b-ref.com, wouldja?  The last three years he has averaged 18-3, 1.45. We read somewhere that Tanaka actually went 26-0.  What, did he win two more in the postseason or something? . Quid Pro Quo, Dept. Dr. D is himself a sabermetrician, in case you're wondering.  His grades were peachy keen in calculus class.  His attempts to swing the pendulum back to center are not rooted in sour grapes. Wins and losses, for a baseball pitcher, do contain a lot of "noise."  Joe Saunders had a... Read More
Never gonna let you down ... in the late innings ...
Posted by Spectator on 10/28/13
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  Bullpen guys can be hard to figure.  Sometimes they can come out of nowhere and carry a team.  Sometimes they can have great stuff but never quite manage to convert it to outs when needed. One thing is pretty obvious, though, it's better to have too many than not enough. And it seems that the Zduriencik-McNamara pipeline is pretty well set in that regard.  Carter Capps not getting it done?  Meet Carson Smith!  He's not "Jeff Nelson 2.0" after all?  Greetings Stephen Kohlscheen!  or Tyler Burgoon ... or Emilio Pagan ... You get the idea. Note: Oliver Perez is already a free agent, so he does... Read More
the baseball moments that 'make us want to live forever'
Posted by jemanji on 10/26/13
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. There is a subtle, but enormous, difference between being pretty and being beautiful.  Beautiful does NOT mean "extremely pretty."   Beauty is a difference in character, not in degree. If you had to capture the definition of "pretty," how would you do it?  A "pretty" dress is one that is attractive, appealing to the senses, one that charms.  A beautiful dress?  That may not be possible. What is pretty --- > changes from one generation to the next.  Ever seen a 1930's swimsuit competition?  What was considered "pretty," just a few generations ago, might actually be considered ugly today... Read More
Beauty, and the human response to it
Posted by jemanji on 10/26/13
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. Some of you kids might have seen the grainy highlight reels of the racehorse Secretariat at Belmont in 1973. Secretariat was on a big winning streak that year, and going for the Triple Crown, of course, so the drama was obvious.  But other horses have made their attempts to win the Triple Crown.  This one was different. The Belmont is known as the race that breaks hearts, the finish of the Triple Crown season, and the longest of the races at 1.5 miles.  Many sprinters come into this race only to run out of gas at the 3/4 or 1 mile points, and Secretariat's rival Sham was considered a long-... Read More
Game of inches
Posted by jemanji on 10/26/13
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. Dailing down, for a moment, the focus on Zen and on objective purity ... here are a few things that I personally found beautiful about game 3 of this year's Fall Classic: . The Boston Red Sox.  In the year 1901, the Boston Red Sox (ahem, "Americans" until 1908 - in the NFL my family refers to the local team as the "Boston Americans", because of the helmet logo) were led in victories by Cy Young.  He won 33 games, lost 10, and had a 1.62 ERA.  His Wins Above Replacement clocked in at 12.6, and he was in his prime.  Three years later, Young threw baseball's first perfect game, Perfect Game #1... Read More
The first installment of the one-stop-shop depth chart requested by rick82
Posted by Spectator on 10/25/13
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  Quite awhile back, rick82 suggested a depth chart similar to one he had found for the Seahawks.  I tucked it away as a good off-season project, and decided we would dub it the "rickroll." The origin of the "rickroll," now a quaint, old-fashioned Internet artifact from the horse-and-buggy days (2007), can be found here. We start with starting pitchers, because that seemed logical, plus it allows us to start with the only long-term contract on the books. The yellow boxes are actual MLB clocks that have started running.  The green boxes are projected best-guess timeframes. Oh, and I'm going to... Read More
AKA two years of my life invested in telling stories
Posted by Gordon Gross on 10/24/13
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I love the Mariners.  I love talking about them, anticipating their season, reveling in the minor leagues and all their bright-eyed, bushy-tailed glory... But let's face it, the seasons haven't held up to the promise of Spring, so I wind up doing many things with my time besides simply watching 500 hours of baseball. One of those things, as most of you know, is writing novels. As of today, both Mason's Order and its sequel, Mason's Pledge, are available at Amazon in paperback and via Kindle download. Paranormal crime, Urban Fantasy detective... whatever you call it, that's what they are: PG-... Read More
Now with links to premium (but free!) stat-packs ...
Posted by Spectator on 10/23/13
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  A while back, we designated three new names as hitters with "radar alert" status.   First was Aaron Barbosa, the speedy lad from Massachusetts who refuses to strike out.  (Well, not very often.) His article is here: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/article/spectometer-radar-scope-alert-aaron-barbosa-0 But now on the proto-premium dry-run site, we have a "premium stat-pack" for Barbosa: http://spectometer-turbo.blogspot.com/2013/10/premium-stat-pack-for-aaron-barbosa.html   Then we had Yordi Calderon, who will be trying to make up for the parade of disappointing international hitters.  He... Read More
Full Circle, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/22/13
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. Interesting 'put, in the threads, as to the idea of concept of bringing Jason Vargas back.  Terry McDermott volleys back, though ... , --- > "Vargas likes LA and LA likes him.  Don't bank on that one being much of an option."   ::daps:: Terry. ............ You know what, from a Three True Outcomes standpoint, Jason Vargas just had his best season.  He fanned a career-high 6.5 batters, and Shandler's rule of thumb is that finesse pitchers can star at 5.6 and above.  Vargas kept his BB and HR rates at career norms. In 2013, his changeup was superb, as usual, scoring a +2.00 runs per 100... Read More
We're trying something out here ...
Posted by Spectator on 10/21/13
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  There are three versions of this article. Regular, "premium" and "turbo-premium." Obviously, this is an experiment. The intent would be that the "regular" spectometer site would be free, and probably also copied here, so long as there is an SSI and it's OK, but the "preumium" and "turbo-premium" would require a subscription. Anyway, here's a first draft of what it would be like.   Free version: http://spectometer.blogspot.com/2013/10/spectometer-plateau-leap-alert-jabari.html Premium: http://specto-premium.blogspot.com/2013/10/spectometer-plateau-leap-alert-jabari.html Turbo-premium: http... Read More
What were you thinkin', Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/19/13
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. Q.  What, $300M isn't enough?  Is there any limit to greed any more? A.  If that had been Kershaw's angle, then yeah, you'd have been reading a jeremiad.  But from what the accounts say, it was just too huge a corporate merger for Kershaw to decide on while in the film room prep'ping for his next start. Everybody says they'll get something done. . Q.  What happens when you give a pitcher $30M a year, and then he gets hurt? A.  Well ... Felix' contract contains a fascinating provision.  "If you miss a year to surgery, then the ballclub gets an extra year for $1 million."  The idea seems to... Read More
Or, they actually are crazy
Posted by jemanji on 10/19/13
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. Interesting thoughts recently at Ask Bill, who charges a lot less than Dr. D would in his shoes (hint, hint)... This one goes to the issue of, "What do you think a famous sabermetrician would learn, once he became a de facto assistant GM?  How would his view of the world CHANGE?" This is in that territory.  It's therefore super fascinating.  To me, anyway. ........... I'm curious as to your views on what factors we should or shouldn't adjust for when calculating a time line adjustment to rate old-time players against modern players. I'd think we should adjust for factors that affect who's... Read More
Puff Pieces, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/18/13
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. Q.  Wouldn't SSI prefer an offseason that improved the hitting? A.  SSI would prefer an offseason in which the Mariners were sold to somebody who cared.  Preferably the guy who owns the Angels, or the other guy who owns the Rangers.  Then we could go get Stanton, Ellsbury AND Choo and ... baseball would be the new football. Failing such an offseason, it would be a lot of fun to see a David Price press conference in Seattle, even if his career SLG is a Brendan Ryan-like .083. . Q.  Is Seattle linked to Price? A.  More than they were linked to that Cuban guy who signed with the White Sox.  I... Read More
Come up to the lab, see what's on the slab
Posted by jemanji on 10/16/13
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. I haven't seen the Mariners linked with Jose Abreu, have you?  That's point A.  Would you rather talk about Mesut Ozil, my next soccer.com jersey?  That's point B. Ahem: ............ Mt Grizzly, our resident F-500 type risk analyst, sez You know who would hit like that in AA or A+? Carlos Peguero. And that is the downside risk - not that he hits .250-.300-.420 with 20 HR in Seattle. It's that he's a AAAA player that can never make the transition to MLB pitching. I do some risk analysis in real life and if you don't peg the downside risk properly, you will make all kinds of bad investments... Read More
Tit-for-tat with Billy Beane?
Posted by jemanji on 10/15/13
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. Cool Papa Bell stays true to his namesake, and glorifies the mysterious slugger who comes out of the mysterious Cuban League.   Cubans were out of fashion for a while.  After Billy Beane bid $200M, in Oakland A's dollars, for Yoenis Cespedes, and after Yasiel Puig hit .400-and-plenty for the Dodgers, we're guessing that Abreu will be a hot commodity this season.   Estimates are that he'll cost around $60M, setting the record for an international signing -- but still costing much less than an MLB All-Star who is on the open market. It's possible that 10% or 20% of our readers hadn't noticed... Read More
Joe Shlabotnik, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/15/13
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. The "Spec-Tom-Eter" is in the sidebar where it rightfully belongs.  Today's delightful installment -- CLICK THIS LINK RAT CHEER -- calls to our attention two pitching prospects who leaped plateaus. As Spec notes, there are two basic ways that a drafting sports organization can spend its low-cost draft picks and contracts: On "respectable" players "with org value" who make the drafters look like they know a ballplayer from a kumquat On lottery tickets The current regime likes the lottery tickets, as do Spec and I.  Why on earth would an org draft a player it knows for a fact will never rise... Read More
CCCP, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/15/13
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. Don't mind my incoherency.  I'm still boggling about Spec getting 1,000 views in a day... His first day up (Google page rank = -1) With no links other than one, here, not in a sidebar, buried in a post (will correct shortly) While writing in the frozen tundra of Seattle October While writing about the Seattle Mariners While writing about guys who probably will never be Seattle Mariners I'm still geekin' out about it.  You guys rock.  I gotta figure out how to get an account that allows me to comment, though... ... what were we talking about?  Ellsbury!  Now there's an issue that splits the... Read More
Fathead superstar ... or soft-WAR mirage? You be da judge
Posted by jemanji on 10/14/13
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. POINT:  Ellsbury's fine, as far as he goes.  What's not fine, is taking an offense like the Mariners', and giving it a leadoff hitter.  You don't take a sputtering offense and call an Ichiro type "your big add."  Gimme a Stanton, or a Choo, at least. COUNTERPOINT:  There are leadoff hitters, like Coco Crisp and Denard Span.  And then there are #1 hitters who are primary offensive weapons. Denard Span and Coco Crisp, they're nice little players, but they get you 4-5 runs per 27 outs, and maybe 3 WAR.  A guy like Johnny Damon, though, he gets you 6+ runs per 27 outs, and 5+ WAR. Jacoby... Read More
Will Ellsbury pull down the Carl Crawford dinero?
Posted by jemanji on 10/14/13
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. POINT:  6/$120M for Jacoby Ellsbury?  You're talking a Boras client here, you know.  There will be a reason the Red Sox are letting him go. COUNTERPOINT:  Michael Bourn, last winter, was coming off a 6.2 WAR season at Ellsbury's age now.  He had to settle for 4/$48. GM's are totally hip to the idea of "soft WAR."  They don't give leadoff hitters the same jack, for 6 WAR, that they give to a 6-WAR guy who gets all his runs from the batter's box.  And they shouldn't. Jack Zduriencik seems to have emphasized that he's not going more than 4 years for anybody not named Fielder (or Stanton).  ... Read More
Maybe Dr. D's cravings for FA sugar have him light-headed
Posted by jemanji on 10/14/13
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. POINT:  Ellsbury has benefitted from playing at Fenway.  Safeco would eat him up. COUNTERPOINT:  Actually, Fenway doesn't help lefties that much, and Ellsbury's HR splits are like 32-33 home and road.   DR's R/X:  His home splits look like pure noise to me.  Making a long story short:  I wouldn't worry about this one.  If you want to worry, see the next section. . POINT:   The guy is injury-prone.  He's Franklin Gutierrez waiting to happen.  (This is the view of my man Geoff Baker.) COUNTERPOINT:  His defenders will tell you that "his entire injury history consists of having Adrian Beltre... Read More
Wending our way through the minors corn maze
Posted by jemanji on 10/14/13
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. Q.  Which of Spec's pets is being ISOlated on today? A.  He's got a piece up on Kevin Hunter.  Check it out instanter. . Q.  He just ain't gonna leave well enough alone on this Pitcher-ISO thang.  Where does Dr. D stand on that? A.  Well ... the last 12-18 months, it has been a hotly-debated topic around the 'net.  It has its detractors, and their basic protest is that low ISO is --- > driven by low HR/F, is --- > driven by luck. This article, for example, pegs the correlation between ISO and HR/F as 0.69.  Meaning that seventy percent of a good pitcher ISO is being caused by fly... Read More
See you down the road, I hope
Posted by Spectator on 10/14/13
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  The owners of this site have decided to no longer support the coverage that I provide here. So Mariners Prospect Talk is no more. We'll see what the next step is (and perhaps necessity is the mother of invention), but, in the meantime, I'll be posting at spectometer.blogspot.com. I have two up there so far. The next "plateau leap" feature on Kyle Hunter. And an Arizona Fall League and winter update. I will try to let folks know via the ShoutBox when new posts go up.   ***   But mostly, thank you to all of the readers who have been very supportive throughout this whole endeavor.  It has been... Read More
... and oh, how sweet 'twould be
Posted by jemanji on 10/13/13
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. I/O:  Jeff Sullivan, again, serves as the voice of temperance on the Lou Piniella rumors. CRUNCH:  What Sully said was this: We don't have the facts on what really happened Probably, the Mariners gave Piniella an innocuous call, and Lou gave an innocuous No Thank You People accuse the M's of being trapped in the past, and of being desperate - whoa ho there mateys I notice that everybody is very skeptical of the M's.  This syndrome may be a bit overboard. Like we sez.  The voice of reason. . CRUNCH:  the SSI talking points here are... 1.  Short-term managers do have their plusses.  Billy... Read More
Linkage, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/13/13
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. I/O:  Pitchers who have great 12-6 curves, and great high fastballs, are great pitchers.  Michael Wacha was a joy to watch, doing this, and doing it great. CRUNCH:  Sabermetricians went through a cycle.  Groundballs were everything.  Because of that, high fastballs were dumb.  The pendulum swung a long, long way in that direction. While the pendulum swung, Bill "Founding Father" James demurred.  "I don't like groundball pitchers, and I don't trust groundball pitchers, and I don't want them on my roster.  The ace pitchers who last, are the ones who throw high fastballs." Dr. D couldn't agree... Read More
Dominant teams Dominate
Posted by jemanji on 10/12/13
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. IN BILL JAMES' LATEST article, he chuckles about the fact that most people think that he can answer 90% of baseball questions.  Or 98%.  Or 99.97%.  People think that almost all questions -- such as "Is it an advantage to be the team waiting for the other team in the postseason?" -- have definite answers. One of the reasons people think that, is because (almost) everybody on TV treats (almost) every question that way.  As if it has a definite answer.  When do you ever ask Tim McCarver that, something like, "are home runs more important in October?," and McCarver just says "I'm sorry.  I... Read More
Manny being Manny
Posted by jemanji on 10/12/13
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. Howard Lincoln "Hey, But At Least We Hit Home Runs Now," Dept. James found, in 1983, that teams heavy on HR power won a lot of postseason series.  He doesn't know how it's gone since then ... maybe one of you gennlemen want to count it up.  Don't count the teams that were so similar in HR capability that they muddy the water. Have the "Home Run" teams won so far in 2013?   In the AL, there were not serious disparities in HR ability. Boston 178 homers -- over -- Tampa 165 homers Detroit 176 homers -- over -- Oakland 186 homers In the NL, there were two series in which an HR team faced a run-... Read More
Five crucial matchups on the horizon
Posted by Spectator on 10/11/13
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  October 19 -- Florida State at Clemson The Seminoles are back in the heat of the conversation after a 63-0 thrashing of Maryland, which was their fifth straight impressive win behind redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston. Winston has put himself on the fringes of the Heisman discussion, a location already firmly held by Clemson QB Tajh Boyd. Florida State has a bye week, so it's a lock to go into this game 5-0, while the Tigers must get past Boston College in order to carry a 6-0 mark into the contest. Only the survivor would seem to have any chance of making the BCS title game. Either team... Read More
Pitchers are permitted to plateau-leap at any time
Posted by Spectator on 10/11/13
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  I've found that hitters pretty much follow a pre-set path.  If they don't show all-around hitting ability in age-appropriate leagues early on, then it's pretty rare that they go on to MLB success.  Not impossible, just rare. And if they don't show hitting skill in age-appropriate leagues by age 23, then it is virtually unknown for a player to go on to be an impact hitter in the majors.  In fact, I've yet to find one.  Late bloomers like Jose Bautista or Michael Saunders, if you want to call him that, all had a baseline of minor-league success.  I've yet to find a hitter who was a long-term... Read More
Ship of Theseus, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/10/13
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3 Comments

Been a while since we did a Zen article. . Bill James points out an interesting paradox on his site.  $3 for a month's reading, the value of which this pay article easily exceeds. Bill notes that teams enter the season with a 1-in-15 chance to win their leagues, all things being equal.  But Texas and Tampa Bay entered their game with only a 1-in-16 chance to win the American League. Texas to beat Tampa Bay:  that's a coin flip, 50% chance Texas to then beat Cleveland in the Wild Card:  that's 50% of 50%, or a 25% chance Texas to then beat Boston in the ALDS:  that's half of the remaining 25... Read More
Do the Haarlem Shake ...
Posted by Spectator on 10/10/13
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  And, of course, there really is a "Haarlem Shake" video from the good citizens of the Dutch municipality:   No possible permutation of an internet fad goes un-uploaded.   ***   The connection, by the way, comes from the original Dutch settlers of Manhattan Island, becuase even old New York was once New Amsterdam.  Why they changed it I can't say.  People just liked it better that way.   ***   So enough music history (and history history -- the English forced the Dutch to give up Manhattan, and, afterward, changed New Amsterdam to New York, but kept the Dutch name for the... Read More
Dr. D talks "Underperformance" ... from the sidelines :- (
Posted by jemanji on 10/09/13
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7 Comments

. Imagine, for a moment, that you had an MLB expansion team.  Imagine that you were Bud Selig's daughter, and that the rules were: Draft anybody you like, from any team Then every team gets to protect 1 player Then draft anybody's #2 player that you want Then every team protects its 2nd player Then draft anybody's #3 player that you want etc How many games do you think you'd win -- 120, or 130? ............. Stretching the imagination just a bit more, imagine you went into the playoffs with this crew: SP1 - Felix Hernandez SP2 - Roy Halladay (Cy version) SP3 - Orel Hershisher (in his prime)... Read More
Adopt-a-Gnome, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/09/13
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. Q.  Hey, I like Jim's articles better than yours.  People check in because of the lead author's legendary name which is the stuff of legend, but atually stay because of the writings of everybody OTHER than him.  What's up with that? A.  Hey, it works for every other blog in Seattle.  Why reinvent the wheel? Kidding!   Aside from Spec being more interested in the minors than most, and aside from his being a very acute fellow, and aside from his all-around greatness ... he has a secret.   . Q.  That being? A.  He stays laser-focused on the strike zone.   Then, he comes up with 9,000 ways to... Read More
7 WAR the easy way ;- )
Posted by jemanji on 10/09/13
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  Q.  Is a Willie Wilson type an impact player, or just sort of a joke -- 80 SB's but no real value? A.  Did you know that Willie Wilson used to get 6-7 WAR per season?  I didn't. Bill James, a Royals fan, tells a tremendous story about how Wilson was ruined by a hitting coach, precisely in the 1983 season, suddenly and permanently ruined by a simple change in hitting approach.  Barbosa takes the approach used by the pre-1983 Wilson. Yes, a superfast player can be an MVP candidate with 2 homers.  Denard Span is not the ceiling here. . Q.  The template seems obvious enough.  Why wasn't Barbosa... Read More
More strikeout aces from little-known southern colleges
Posted by Spectator on 10/07/13
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  If you've been following at home, you probably know by now that two particular areas of fruitful scouting for the Tom McNamara crew have been: (1) hitters from the northeast part of the country (as McNamara himself was -- Dominican College, Orangeburg, NY) ... Dan Paolini (Siena), Dario Pizzano (Columbia), Patrick Kivlehan (Rutgers), Joe DeCarlo (Pennsylvania HS). (2) pitchers from low-profile colleges in the south ... Stephen Pryor (Tennessee Tech), Carter Capps (Mount Olive College [NC]), Carson Smith (Texas State). Well ... let's add two to the second category.   ***   Kevin McCoy is a... Read More
A pair to keep an eye on
Posted by Spectator on 10/06/13
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  You learn quickly in this business not to put too much stock in stats from foreign leagues. The range of talent and experience varies widely.  There is not a lot of depth.  And the fields and umpiring aren't very consistent. And, many of the very best Latin American players come directly to the U.S. anyway. In addition to all that, Mariners fans, in particular, have grown skeptical of the entire Latin American structure, after watching a series of expensive and much-hyped prospects (Carlos Triunfel, Guillermo Pimentel, Phillips Castillo, Martin Peguero, and, to a lesser extent, Gabriel... Read More
Undrafted, unlikely but not uninteresting
Posted by Spectator on 10/04/13
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  We now return to your regularly scheduled non-jaded programming ...   ***   There are about 1.2 gazillion guys taken in each June baseball draft. OK, actually it's 1.2 metric gazillion, which works out to about 1,200 (30 teams x 40 rounds). Aaron Barbosa was not one of them. He was a Massachusetts kid from Northeastern, whose urban campus is wedged into Boston just south of Fenway Park. He was the school's all-time leader in stolen bases, and set the school record for hits in a season. But going to school and setting records within spittin' distance of the Green Monster didn't quite get him... Read More
How do you weight "coulda done" vs "did done"?
Posted by jemanji on 10/03/13
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. Q.  Hisashi Iwakmua had an actual ERA of 2.66, but a hypothetical ERA (that is, an xFIP) of 3.28.  What does the Detect-O-Scope mainframe say about this? A.  A thing that is very, very similar to what Father Frankenstein (Bill James) would say.  And similar to the what Geoff Baker would say, and similar in approach to the one that Jeff Sullivan took. . Q.  Does a hypothetical ERA show us what a pitcher "should have" done? A.  It does not.  Thanks for asking. For pitchers as a group, hypothetical ERA's tend to predict the future better than actual ERA.  Mat Olkin discovered this about 1993,... Read More
Spahn and Sain and two days of rain?
Posted by jemanji on 10/03/13
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  Q.  OK.  Enough comedy jokes.  If Dr. D were handing out the 2013 Cy Young ... how much of a travesty would we be in for? A.  For one thing, I don't like the kiddie Roto debates about whether to draft Justin Verlander first or Felix Hernandez first.  I avoid them. What purpose does it serve, to argue about whether LeBron James could have beaten Michael Jordan in 1-on-1?  Most of the time, that argument just serves to diminish one of the players.  "Jordan wasn't that great.  LeBron would embarrass him."   OK, so forget that Jordan was better than any other player in human history.  Focus on... Read More
Ask the nicest guy you know, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/02/13
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. Sadly, we're not going to be able to top Spectator's reply to Howard Lincoln's riveting interview.  Best we can do is zig against his zag, and present some apples to bowl alongside Spec's oranges. My son John is age 21, was a high school football player, baseball pitcher when he was younger, loves every sport except soccer which he loathes with the passion of a thousand burning suns.  He's a nice kid, church kid pretty much, which isn't to be confused with "doesn't know his way around the block." Who would play him in a movie ... hm.   He's blond-ish, a tight end's physique, 6'2", 220, long... Read More
You can't make this stuff up (well, you can make some of it up)
Posted by Spectator on 10/02/13
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  I don't usually participate in piling on the Front Office, but the Howard Lincoln interview was filled with so much comedy gold, how can you resist?   Top Ten Things Howard Lincoln Could Have Said to Seem Even More Out of Touch   10.  "Safeco Field has AWESOME ushers!  Love those ushers.  And the guys who roll out the tarp!  Bud Selig tells me every year how we just dominate at that." 9.  "Look, it's not about me.  It's not about how hard I work to make our city, no, in fact, the entire region, a better place to live and work.  It's not about how much success I've had, or how much money I'... Read More