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Tuesday, December 30, 2003
i get by . . .
my friend ameer youssef has a column idea:

    aaron gleeman today writes about ben grieve's complete drop-off after being traded from oakland. he can't seem to figure out why it happened. maybe a wal con pow analysis would help?

maybe it would, ameer!

year aab w hr wal con pow
1997 93 14 3 .131 .731 .132
1998 584 94 18 .139 .789 .132
1999 487 71 28 .127 .778 .129
2000 599 76 27 .113 .783 .145
2001 544 95 11 .149 .708 .112
2002 484 77 19 .137 .750 .135
2003 167 38 4 .185 .754 .087

that's a surprise! ben's wal, con, and pow have been pretty steady. so his skills are the same. why are his traditional numbers down? it's our old friend luck. yeah yeah that's what we always say, but that's what wal con pow does; it separates the wheat (skills) from the chaff (luck). what is chaff, anyway?

according to m-w.com, it's the stuff that's left when you take out the wheat. that was illuminating.

so he hasn't declined. why hasn't he improved? isn't that what young players do? well, for one thing, he has old player's skills (high wal, pow; low con, speed). maybe that's why beane traded him.

and then there's this tidbit.

i don't know what to make of that. but for those of you looking for some science and still reading (i'm an optimist), check out his groundball-to-flyball ratios: 1.38 2.08 1.42 1.51 2.13 2.28 2.21. the low ones coincide exactly with the years in which he hit home runs. it makes sense, and it seems to fit the data for, eg, all other players in the history of baseball. i am not the first to point this out. matt olkin wrote an article about it in ron shandler's 2003 baseball forecaster. he discussed grieve, even: "so while grieve seemed to have it all when he first came up, it's fair to say that if we'd looked closer, we might have discovered that he was missing one critical ingredient: an uppercut."

let's see what aaron has to say. he points out the g/f thing. he says some other stuff.
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