January 2015

The Power of Doing Things You Hate
Posted by jemanji on 01/30/15
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. Want to identify who is a Grade A prospect, "Grade A" in the sense that Roberto Alomar and Frank Thomas and Chipper Jones were?   That is, with a 30% chance of becoming a big league star, and a 70% chance of becoming a quality big league player?   There's a Cereal Box 5-Cent Plastic Compass on it, thusly: Age 20, one of the best players in class A baseball Age 21, one of the best players in class AA baseball Age 22, one of the best players in class AAA baseball That's assuming he was a high school player to start with.  It implies that if he keeps moving up a plateau a year ... at age 24-25... Read More
Me, Myself, and I Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/29/15
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. Dr. D doesn't mean this post as harshly as it will sound.  :- )  He's in a cheerful mood, but wishes to simply describe a looming problem as it floats across his addled mind. .... The incoming commissioner?  I don't even know his name, but have seen him on TV and already have a queasy feeling about him.  Hey, Mojo, is "shyster" a pejorative term?  Or is it just a category within the profession, like the "Inane Shtick Peddler" category within blogging?  All I mean by it is, a seedy lawyer who will manifest, ah, moral flexibility.  That's probably wrong.   And for all I know, the guy could be... Read More
the 2015 M's viewed thru the BaseballHQ "REL" lens
Posted by jemanji on 01/25/15
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8 Comments

. A quick saber-byte to go with yer coffee.  As y'know, we live to serve :- )   Bill lives to serve also.  In the public area at Hey Bill this mo'nin': ...... Hey, Bill, speaking about defense... is common for players to have an off year offensively, because of a prolonged slump or because of playing through an injury. Is the same thing defensively? Is there such a thing like "an off year defensively"? In my mental approach a player is more consistent defensively than offensively... but maybe I haven't been able to figure out defense, but I'm ok with, since I'm not alone Asked by:... Read More
Embarrassment of Riches, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/22/15
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. Ryan Divish funnels some shot-caller shtick our way.  One suitcase comes spiralling out of the 3rd-story window, we catch it, only to realize that it's full of 1998 Baseball Prospectus books: Felix Hernandez is a given Hisashi Iwakuma is a given J.A. HAPP is a given Everybody else, let's see what you got.  JAMES PAXTON THIS MEANS YOU Does that seem weird at all to you?  ... the 2014 Mariners took a flier on Roenis Elias, straight out of AA. By "straight out of AA" we mean that he had not pitched AAA.   He had 10 starts in the low minors.   Then a normal season, 26 starts, in high A. Then a... Read More
"Systems of Communication" Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/20/15
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9 Comments

. Bill James has given SSI loose permission to turn his ideas around into Mariner articles.  One thing that Dr. D is not clear about, is whether James would prefer for us to: Exec Sum his ideas in our own words (no copyright issues even possible), vs. Excerpt three or four paragraphs as "teasers" I know which one the average author would rather, but James isn't the average author.  He isn't jealous about controlling the dissemination of his own thoughts.  So which of the above approaches to use?  We suspect that, when in doubt, he'd rather we be accurate.  I've got an idea about another thing... Read More
Sorry, no sale.
Posted by jemanji on 01/19/15
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4 Comments

. Q.  Kickham? A.  The John Madden Raiders had a 7-foot-6 linebacker, Ted Hendricks, that the media called Stork.  Madden said that the Raiders laughed about that; his real nickname was "Kick 'Em," short for "Kick 'Em In the Head."  A reference to a practice incident in which Hendricks tried to jump over an offensive player. For SSI, this pitcher will always be Kick 'Em. . Q.  Thumbs up, or thumbs down? A.  Thumbs down. Moderately down. . Q.  Is it kind of okay to have a second -- meatball -- lefty, at the expense of a crocodile like Carson Smith? A.  It's kind of okay, ONLY because of... Read More
Any resemblance to Matt Holliday is purely coincidental
Posted by jemanji on 01/15/15
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. Dave Fleming has a provocative article up, comparing the 1-2-3 best players in baseball: Rank Player WAR, 2009-14 $24 or 30M thru age: #1 M. Cabrera 38 42 (!) #2       #3 R. Cano 35 40 . Is 'cause o' the title, that you know who goes into slot #2.   Fleming, one of my fave authors, even goes on to discuss the question of whether Ben Zobrist belongs in the Hall of the Fame discussion, based on this idea:   Rank Player WAR, 2009-14 $24 or 30M thru age: #1 M. Cabrera 38 42 (!) #2 B. Zobrist 35.4 Age 34, making $7.5, will be QO'ed #3 R. Cano 34.6 40   . Wow.  So we got an NFL TV sitdown with... Read More
What, me worry?, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/14/15
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. Sez Mojo, mojician: 'Stros trade for Evan Gattis for players nobody has ever heard of. Gattis has 4 years of club control left. Gattis slugs .490 at catcher. Thought 1: Gattis's first two years are way better than what Napoli and V-Mart produced in their rookie and sophomore seasons. Thought 2: The Atlanta Braves must really disregard their fans' feelings. Thought 3: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid. ... Gattis was a dude everybody liked, including and especially the Mariners.  It seems they went with Seth Smith + pardner instead.  Smith was also a dude everybody liked, including and especially... Read More
Have brain, will travel Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/12/15
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5 Comments

. The Oakland A's winter has been confusing.  Mass confusing.  How about we put a stub here, and youse guys can help Dr. D clear his head. Point 1, stipulated:  SSI isn't especially interested in "grading" a major league GM.  Not with the intent of establishing that we're smarter than he is.  Once in a while, it can be interesting to ask if a GM has botched it, like my man Zduriencik definitely did with Doug Fister.  This (the A's winter) might be one of those times! Point 2, stipulated:  the A's aren't rebuilding.  They never rebuild.  They "re-tool."  Here is a Bay Area guy who defines re-... Read More
Dr. D out to lunch as usual
Posted by jemanji on 01/12/15
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19 Comments

. Very interesting discussion as to Danny Hultzen's 'new motion.'   Fave commenter TR, who has coached pitchers, offers several meaty ideas that drive the discussionup to highways speeds, just by their sheer quality.  Thanks amigo.  He points out several things in this comment rat cheer: "Throwing across the body" = planting the lead foot closer to 1B (for a LHP) Same-handed hitters have a rougher time picking up this pitch This changes the release point, where the ball comes out of the hand There are some (controversial) issues as to what this does to the shoulder Agree with points 1, 2, and... Read More
Back-of-the-envelope calculations, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/12/15
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. Fodder here for Biology Rick! In the last Konspiracy Korner, an amigo brought up "abiogenesis," the "natural process" of RNA/DNA coding itself to produce the first life form.  Dr. D did not start out intending for Konspiracy Korner to go in this direction, but it did, and so here is one of his favorite points of reflection.  It relates to the "unfathomably" vast Milky Way galaxy that must have given rise to scads of alien species.  :- ) ......... Let's back-envelope the actual math here.  Everybody says, "give a million monkeys long enough, and they'll type out Hamlet."  But!  Nobody ever... Read More
Robert de Niro "you talkin' to ME?", dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/15
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3 Comments

. Baseball is about the strike zone.  -- Bill James, ca. 1992 . ... Winning the Strike Zone and Winning the Rest of the Game, that's the title of an article that James put up last week.  It's a piece that forwards our understanding of baseball.  It also happens to be weirdly relevant to the 2014-15 Mariners, and to Lloyd McClendon. James, as you might have heard, had this interesting little idea that you could ratio a team's Runs and Runs Scored to predict their winning percentage.  You might not have heard that baseball people hated the idea, for a long time, before they finally all signed... Read More
Could have solved the whole Q with this Image Just In!
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/15
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54 Comments

For part I, click here. . MisterJonez has studied this shtick wayyyy more than I have.  His expertise on the subject dwarfs mine. Though he's on the other side of it, he's also got a wonderfully objective, and friendly, and nuanced tone.  So we'll cheerfully transfer ownership of this discussion to him.  If he's so inclined, naturally. ... Jonez remarked that the Great Silence doesn't bother him much because radio silence is to be expected.  Dr. D replied that radio waves wouldn't be the end of the discussion.  Mr. Jonez, setting the hook firmly in the corner of Dr. D's maw, sat up brightly,... Read More
Top 40 is awful. So what?
Posted by Spectator on 01/08/15
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  To those expressing dismay at the state of popular music: Top 40 is awful because Top 40 can afford to be awful. Why? Because now -- unlike 25 years ago -- there are sufficient means for alternative and indie artists to attain and maintain success without striving for Top 40 success ... and there are sufficient means for grown ups with grown up tastes to find things to listen to without resorting to Top 40 radio. Mutual self-selection. If a restaurant stops serving seafood, eventually the people who want seafood stop going to that restaurant. But so what? This is ultimately a good thing,... Read More
E=MC2 for Jack, that's for sure
Posted by jemanji on 01/07/15
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6 Comments

. At BJOL yesterday: .... Hey Bill, It’s 1959 and you’re transported back to the Kansas City A’s owner’s office. You have one day to talk with him and the GM to try to impart as much as you can to them with the goal of trying to create a Kansas City A’s dynasty in the 1960s and beyond. Without naming names or saying stuff like “go trade for that young 1st baseman on the Giants”, that is, teaching them how to fish instead of giving them a fish, what are the things you would tell them to look at or to do? What are your priorities to get across to them to turn their club around? Asked by: chuck... Read More
Mad Dog, indeed
Posted by jemanji on 01/07/15
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. TJM axs, ... On another note: What do we make of the fact that the Atlanta Braves had three Hall of Famers at their peaks in their starting rotation and won only one Series? How exactly do you mess that up? - See more at: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/comment/157112#comment-157112 ... The conventional wisdom is that luck controls the postseason.  Move on.  Nothing to see here.   And that's why -- say they -- you win 90 every year, and just wave off the postseason with a "Pshaw" and a shake of the head.  The most unspeakably Neanderthal / Gabe Paul thing you could do, is what Billy Beane... Read More
Childhood's End, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/07/15
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. LR asks, quite reasonably, ... There is absolutely nothing more fascinating than thinking about the universe. I know the point of the article wasn't about whether we are alone, but am genuinely curious why you're sure that we are alone in our galaxy. Please do elaborate. - See more at: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/comment/157084#comment-157084 ... This is kind of a "stub," as Wiki would put it. My conviction on UFO's has little to do with religion and nothing to do with prejudice.  Like everybody else, I used to assume that all them stars were not out there as a waste o' space (Jodie... Read More
You axed Dr. D a question, so ...
Posted by jemanji on 01/06/15
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17 Comments

. Two days ago, Dr. D wrote an article, Konspiracy Korner.  It contained 1,494 words glorifying baseball.  At the very end of it, he tossed in a (very) little quip: . Rigged games ruin the product.  MLB's product is almost completely intact.  Baseball isn't the best sport, not by a long shot, but it is likely to become the only sport left.  In a roundabout way, that makes it the best sport. Pitchers and catchers report shortly, Dr D . Exactly nobody laughed. HEH!  ... which, as you know too well by now, was greatly amusing for Dr. D.  Also, exactly nobody was pacified by the "coded" little... Read More
The more things change ...
Posted by jemanji on 01/06/15
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5 Comments

. Sez John Pierce, with the Counselor and The Spectator at his left and right elbows, . John Pierce: Even though the Big Unit amassed on of the highest % totals for induction, what morons decided not to vote for him? The old adage that, since Babe Ruth didn't get 100% of the vote nobody else should, needs to be put to rest. It'll be interesting to see what % Griffey will receive next year. mojician: Re: Johnson non-unanimous vote: Yeah, its that kind of stuff that tarnishes the hall of fame. The voters have become a bigger story than whoever actually gets in. Spectator: Unit 97.3% HOF no... Read More
Not including "a competitive team and a nice night at the ballpark"
Posted by jemanji on 01/06/15
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30 Comments

. 1.  Baseball is a game of standing around waiting for something to happen.  It usually doesn't.  You've got to make your son pitch or catch, if you don't want his time completely wasted -- scratch that.  You've got to make him pitch, if you don't want your time, as a parent at the game, completely wasted. Justin Ruggiano's and Nelson Cruz' and Mike Zunino's and Brad Miller's strikeout rates are not going to offer Dr. D any solace.  And don't even get him started on the 27 seconds that precede every pitch that Hisashi Iwakuma throws -- the result of which is always the catcher simply tossing... Read More
Can there anything good come out of Cubbyville?
Posted by jemanji on 01/04/15
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. You might have read the Robert Asprin Myth series.  His early books are jam-packed with witty sci-fi ideas, one of which is the construct that every mythological creature in our lore is a "dimension traveler" / "demon."  Aahz and Skeeve, our heroes, visit the dimension of "Trollia" to find that the males are "Trolls" and the females are "Trollops."  His second book writes itself from there... Aahz is from the dimension "Perv."  Skeeve asks, in all naivete, Does that make you a Pervert, Aahz?  "No, kid.  It makes me a Perv-ECT.  Now shaddap." We earthlings are from the dimension "Klah,"... Read More
Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/04/15

. Seen at BJOL, still $3 a month: ... One of the things about the PED debate that fascinates me is that PED hard-liners don't seem bothered by amphetamines. I know that's a sweeping generalization, and I'm sure there are exceptions. However, I've read plenty of "evidence"-based accusations along the lines of, "Some of his teammates were known juicers, and look how muscular he was. Obviously he took steroids, and he won't get my Hall of Fame vote." I've yet to read anything like, "Greenies were, by many players' accounts, commonly used in baseball for decades, so all of the players from at... Read More