julien's baseball blog

Some moves are slightly good. Some moves are slightly bad. I tell you about them.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
 
sorry, the blog is on hiatus. . . .
Monday, August 18, 2003
 
more press for bp
the wall street journal

i found the link on bronx banter.
 
serpigination, 8-17-2003
i started off writing about the braves game, but i inevitably change the channel when a commercial comes, and get involved in another game. so i figured i would let my prose infect whatever game was on.

arizona at atlanta

i still love to watch greg maddux pitch. he should do well against this team, because they're contact hitters. control pitchers do better against contact hitters and power pitchers do better against power hitters.

fick made schilling throw 11 pitches.

alex escobar hit his first double. is he any good? if so, the indians are gonna be mashing in a small number of years, like 1.

year team lea age ab wal con pow pra
2003 Buffalo AAA 24 439 .052 .697 .355 4.13
2001 Norfolk AAA 22 397 .081 .632 .346 3.33
2000 Binghamton AA 21 437 .115 .739 .347 4.99
1998 Capital City A 19 416 .115 .680 .376 5.57

i wonder if he met the capital city goofball. . . .

he showed promise in 2000 in AA, but had a difficult next year in AAA. that'll happen; it's nothing to base any conclusions on. unfortunately, he tore up his knee in spring 2002, so we still don't know anything. according to rotoworld, the indians don't expect him to be at full speed until 2004, so we'll have to wait until about this time next year to get an accurate read on where he is. by that point, he'll be 25. that's old for a prospect, but if he re-forms the body he had in 2000, he'll have a shot at a nice peak. he's a long way away, though.

so no mashing yet, but it's gonna be them and maybe the royals in 2005.

lots of good pitching matchups today:

ab bb k hr wal con pow pra
maddux,greg 517 28 100 21 .062 .807 .345 5.23
schilling,curt 381 26 146 10 .071 .617 .334 2.70


eaton,adam 410 51 114 14 .122 .722 .340 4.53
beckett,josh 280 37 99 6 .119 .646 .320 2.91


mussina,mike 510 31 160 17 .059 .686 .342 3.57
lopez,rodrigo 310 30 71 13 .112 .771 .351 5.62


zito,barry 536 68 108 18 .120 .799 .333 5.08
halladay,roy 605 26 147 21 .050 .757 .338 4.12

but the fuckin bastards won't show me zito-halladay!

ponson is pitching. that's kind of interesting. against ohka

ohka,tomo 442 41 85 20 .098 .808 .353 6.17
ponson,sidney 511 50 111 11 .096 .783 .312 3.58

joe kennedy is pitching for the rays. against jake westbrook.

kennedy,joe 323 36 61 15 .117 .811 .355 6.58
westbrook,jake 301 42 41 8 .147 .864 .317 5.18

that one's pretty brutal.

juan pierre just scored.

schilling has faced 9 batters through 2.2 innings and struck out 5.

furcal grounded to second. 5 out of 10.

steve finley is 38, but he can still hit.

year team lg age ab wal con pow pra
2003 Arizona NL 38 387 .100 .827 .340 5.67
2002 Arizona NL 37 505 .114 .855 .337 6.08
2001 Arizona NL 36 495 .087 .865 .325 5.06
2000 Arizona NL 35 539 .108 .839 .352 6.77
1999 Arizona NL 34 590 .096 .841 .353 6.68
1998 San Diego NL 33 619 .068 .834 .328 4.69
1997 San Diego NL 32 560 .071 .836 .339 5.42
1996 San Diego NL 31 655 .079 .866 .347 6.49
1995 San Diego NL 30 562 .095 .890 .312 4.65
1994 Houston NL 29 373 .070 .861 .323 4.71
1993 Houston NL 28 545 .049 .881 .308 3.90
1992 Houston NL 27 607 .087 .896 .312 4.62
1991 Houston NL 26 596 .066 .891 .313 4.44
1990 Baltimore AL 25 464 .065 .886 .298 3.53
1989 Baltimore AL 24 217 .065 .862 .296 3.19
1988 Rochester AAA 23 456 .058 .879 .308 3.98
1987 Newark A 22 222 .090 .892 .315 4.80

always a contact/speed guy, he had a late power peak in 1999--2000. he'll hit for a few more years. actually, that power has a lot to do with park. san diego is about as tough as it gets these days, and the astrodome was a deathzone to hitters.

wow. with luis gonzalez on second, alex cintron singled to center. andruw jones fielded and threw in a single windmill-like motion, nailing gonzalez at the plate. blanco made a good catch.

new york at baltimore

happy birthday jorge posada! he's 32.

year team lg age ab wal con pow pra
2003 New York AL 31 370 .172 .765 .349 6.12
2002 New York AL 30 511 .137 .720 .355 5.39
2001 New York AL 29 484 .114 .727 .348 4.87
2000 New York AL 28 505 .175 .701 .366 6.15
1999 New York AL 27 379 .123 .760 .330 4.50
1998 New York AL 26 358 .116 .743 .350 5.25
1997 New York AL 25 188 .138 .824 .330 5.46
1996 Columbus AAA 24 354 .182 .757 .343 5.80
1995 Columbus AAA 23 368 .128 .726 .351 5.16
1994 Columbus AAA 22 313 .093 .741 .332 4.09
1993 Prince Williams A 21 410 .140 .780 .345 5.78
1992 Greenville A 20 339 .146 .743 .347 5.41
1991 Oneonta A 19 217 .190 .774 .313 4.37

still at the height of his powers.

posada grounded to first.

the braves announcers were praising shea hillenbrand for going back on a fly, but alex cintron would have gotten it easily. he saw shea coming and stayed out of the way.

schilling threw 9 pitches in the fourth, all strikes. the 6th one was the fly ball to hillenbrand, by gary sheffield.

san diego at florida

pierre is on first again. he reached the bag before ryan klesko could recover from a muffed ground ball.

the yankees have 12 games left against baltimore this season. and the red sox play oakland seattle toronto. oh well.

josh beckett is mowing down padres. he struck out the side in the second.

cintron went yard on maddux.

andruw jones struck out to end the 7th. that's 12 for schilling.

these guys work fast: 7 innings in 1 hour 45 minutes.

rick reed is getting his ass handed to him by the royals. ibanez and randa homered back to back.

maddux finished the top of the 8th in five minutes.

schilling has developed some sort of pain. . . . the braves are a pain in the leg!

hideo nomo struck out sammy sosa. that'll happen a lot with those 2.

schilling got javy lopez (ph for blanco), but it went to the wall. he's hobbling around. matt franco hit a liner to right.

he shouldn't be pitching.

miguel cabrera blooped a double to the wall. i'm not kidding. it was low and outside, and he reached down and plunked it, to the wall in right center. that kid is strong.

kent mercker is pitching.

cintron hit a double, his 15th, on a low inside pitch.

barajas knocked him in. so much for that game.

danny bautista is pinch-hitting for schilling.

ch: because he's hurt and shouldn't throw any more god damn pitches!

beckett's still blanking the padres. they've gone 5.

kansas city at minnesota

shannon stewart took darrell may deep.

ok furcal v. matt mantei to start the 9th.

ab wal con pow pra pav/pob/psl
furcal,rafael 514 .087 .887 .323 5.16 .286/.348/.435
mantei,matt 118 .085 .568 .337 2.46 .191/.260/.314
furcal v mantei (proj) .077 .782 .332 4.32 .260/.317/.416

furcal struck out.

giles has a 3-0 count. walk.

sheffield is up. 'bout to extend his hitting streak. single to right. giles to third. giles totally busted his ass all over third base.

chipper. strikeout. slider.

andruw took a strike. then flailed at 2 sliders. that's a golden sombrero super for andruw.

this is the lineup that just got blanked:

ab wal con pow pra
furcal,rafael 514 .087 .887 .323 5.23
giles,marcus 430 .108 .860 .347 6.80
sheffield,gary 439 .149 .907 .351 8.46
jones,chipper 425 .145 .840 .338 6.24
jones,andruw 451 .098 .787 .353 5.85
fick,robert 318 .094 .890 .331 5.94
derosa,mark 176 .083 .790 .319 3.86
blanco,henry 119 .063 .874 .304 3.70

ponson is blanking the expos through 8 1/3, but he just walked orlando cabrera to load the bases. that's it for him.

miguel cabrera hits against joe roa. strikeout. josh beckett has only thrown 75 pitches through 6 innings. it's shutout day!

it's now mays v. may in the twins-royals game. sorry, that's the most interesting thing i can write about that game.

this kid sosa of the devil rays is throwing 98. repeatedly.

alfonso soriano overslid the bag on a steal and was tagged out by brian roberts.

beckett threw a curve ball that broke so hard it bounced out of play. wild pitch.

the announcers are listing off beckett's career numbers. all are good.

year team lg age ab wal con pow pra
2003 Florida NL 23 304 .114 .648 .316 2.74
2002 Florida NL 22 323 .120 .650 .361 4.52
2001 Florida NL 21 72 .133 .667 .362 4.93
2001 Portland AA 21 223 .079 .543 .367 3.01
2001 Brevard Co A 21 197 .071 .487 .273 0.72
2000 Kane Co A 20 178 .078 .657 .322 2.72

god bless america is playing on multiple channels.

danys baez dropped a surprise curve ball on marlon anderson for a called third strike.

javier valentin is jose's little brother!

wilkerson beat the giants with a grand slam in the ninth. so much for the shutout.

but mussina is shutting out the orioles through 6 2/3.

that's even more impressive because he ain't got no defense behind him.

mussina finished the 7th with his 8th strikeout.

juan pierre is up against mike matthews.

column over. burritos are here.

tying up loose ends . . . shannon stewart struck out with 2 on in the 7th.

posada walked with the bases loaded in the 8th.

beckett tired out in the 8th. rondell white ended the shutout with a double. he finished the 8th and showered. final line: 8 ip 8 k 2 w 0 hr. the marlins won 11-7 after a wild 9th.

mussina finished his shutout. he struck out 9 and walked 0.

the yankees dropped todd zeile today. it's about time.

nomo and gagne shutout the cubs.

gagne ended a streak of 34 consecutive outs on batters faced. here's a fun gagne stat: k/baserunners = 105/43 = 2.44.

chip caray should shut his mouth while gagne is pitching. there's no need to say anything.
Sunday, August 17, 2003
 
mailbag
aziz in atlanta:

he's actually 27. he had a birthday in june.

year team lea age ab wal con pow pra
2003 richmond AAA 27 338 .069 .917 .330 5.92
2002 Scranton-WB AAA 26 434 .057 .878 .321 4.71
2001 Philadelphia NL 25 298 .051 .893 .316 4.50
2001 Scranton-WB AAA 25 131 .037 .954 .317 5.15
2000 Reading AA 24 356 .027 .944 .318 5.01
1999 Clearwater A 23 346 .039 .925 .311 4.41
1998 Clearwater A 22 117 .041 .940 .304 4.15
1998 Piedmont A 22 303 .019 .937 .313 4.46
1997 Batavia A 21 223 .039 .933 .330 5.81

he's been lucky with average this year. his contact is high but he runs like a slug. i predict a .275/.320/.430 line as the braves' catcher next year. better if his power improves, which is a distinct possibility. he's an asset.

i agree with schuerholz on the non-trade. the money saved at catcher next year (and 3b, hopefully) will help bring improvements elsewhere. ponson, as a free-agent-to-be, does not provide enough value.
 
everybody's an expert
from rotoworld.com:

here's an idea: let's all shut up about what frank thomas should and shouldn't do. frank is just fine.
 
turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
i know you guys like it when i change pow, so i'm doing it again.

you know how current pow includes (tb-h)/(ab-so) as its central component? that puts hr, 3b, and 2b in a 3 to 2 to 1 ratio. what i got to thinkin was, if pow is supposed to measure how hard one hits the ball, it doesn't seem like home runs should be 3 times as meaningful as doubles. 3 to 2 seems better, because a home run is just a double plus a little extra.

i ran a bunch of correlations and regressions, and 3-2-2 is indeed better. 1-1-1 also works well.

it makes sense. there's no need to count extra for home runs, because a home run hitter already has more extra-base hits. and usually when someone's home runs are down, their doubles are up. they're not hitting it any less hard, it's just that some of those home runs hit the wall.

remember, we're not trying to measure value, we're trying to measure power. the new system works with smaller sample sizes too, because hr+2b is much less variable than hr or 2b alone. it also mitigates park effects.

we'll use 3-2-2 because it works for all kinds of hitters. but 1-1-1 is better for tiny sample sizes. and it has a nice look:

3-2-1 pow = .273 + .212*(3*hr+2*3b+2*2b)/(ab-k)

1-1-1 pow = .273 + (1/2)*(xbh)/(ab-so)

xbh is extra-base hits.

.330 is still the baseline. top power hitters will come down a little. weaklings will come up. con*pow is still a predictor for average. it's better, now, in the extremes.

in the last article we mentioned that shawn green has been unlucky with extra-base hits. look how much more consistent his pow's are:

pow old new
1993 .273 .273
1994 .284 .290
1995 .350 .351
1996 .331 .336
1997 .340 .337
1998 .358 .351
1999 .371 .365
2000 .345 .346
2001 .377 .363
2002 .369 .359
2003 .332 .341

javy lopez and jim thome:

javy jim
old new old new
1994 .336 .329 .372 .364
1995 .336 .328 .365 .360
1996 .336 .330 .392 .378
1997 .358 .354 .391 .376
1998 .361 .350 .395 .388
1999 .347 .346 .388 .376
2000 .341 .334 .381 .371
2001 .328 .324 .419 .398
2002 .321 .320 .423 .396
2003 .399 .379 .389 .377

haiku:

a baseball player's
career rises like a wave
to a gentle break
Saturday, August 16, 2003
 
los angeles at chicago, 8-15-2003
it's raining, why are they starting this game?

mark prior's pitching. this should be fun.

shit, no rickey. it's dave roberts. ground ball to short.

paul loduca fly ball to left.

shawn green home runs are down. single to center.

i'm taking off my shirt.

it's been hot and humid these days but it's cooler now with the rain. my friend ch is scoring the game on a dictaphone. with commentary.

jeromy burnitz strikeout.

ashby v. lofton. ooh.

year team lea ab wal con pow pra
2003 Pit/ChN NL 417 .073 .911 .319 5.15
2002 ChA/SF MLB 532 .119 .863 .321 5.17
2001 Cleveland AL 517 .083 .867 .314 4.38
2000 Cleveland AL 543 .127 .867 .315 4.93
1999 Cleveland AL 465 .145 .819 .320 4.80
1998 Cleveland AL 600 .127 .867 .315 4.88
1997 Atlanta NL 493 .115 .832 .305 3.82
1996 Cleveland AL 662 .084 .876 .314 4.51
1995 Cleveland AL 481 .077 .898 .315 4.73
1994 Cleveland AL 459 .102 .878 .332 5.91
1993 Cleveland AL 569 .125 .854 .303 4.00
1992 Cleveland AL 576 .106 .906 .295 3.84
1991 Houston NL 74 .063 .743 .278 1.72
1991 Tucson AAA 545 .087 .826 .307 3.64
1990 Osceola A 481 .113 .840 .294 3.31
1989 Auburn A 110 .113 .727 .291 2.39
1989 Asheville A 82 .128 .878 .291 3.54
1988 Auburn A 187 .092 .727 .297 2.46

the demonspawn was wrong. lofton can still play.

he hit a single.

ch is lecturing the guy next to him about trades.

i'm not gonna do the cubs batters. they suck.

hey that's not ashby. that's masao kida!

top of the second:

adrian beltre ground ball to third.

robin ventura ground ball to first.

beltre and ventura in the same lineup. that's a problem.

alex cora single to right. this is a horrible offense.

cesar izturis ground ball to second. prior's gonna pitch a complete game. 110 pitches. we'll look it up later.

it's sunny now, and hot.

the cubs offense has gotten progressively worse over the course of the season.

augie ojeda doesn't have a hit yet.

kida groundout.

roberts ground ball to short.

lo duca fly ball to center.

bottom of the second:

prior's at the plate. he's taking pitches. 1-1 count. single to center!

lofton again. bunt up in the air, high arc toward ventura at first. bounce pick up tag . . . foul ball.

the cubs 'bout to even up with houston. all because andy ashby had the flu the other day. alvarez and brown got moved up. brown would've pitched today.

top of the third, 2 out:

alou walked. the bases are loaded for hee seop. big long swing at a ball in the dirt. ball ball swing at a ball in the dirt. took a ball in the dirt. 3-2. strikeout.

it's 1-0 after 3.

shawn green kkbfb bloop double 2 feet from the left field line, right in front of us.

burnitz fly ball to short.

beltre high bloop to the same place as green's double. alex gonzalez ran it down. 2 outs.

ventura fly ball to third.

top of the fourth:

cora high fly to the catcher.

izturis fly ball to center.

kida strikeout.

bottom:

prior's last start was a complete game. fly ball to left.

lofton fly ball to right.

it's 3:40 that's 1 hour 15 minutes for almost 5 innings.

jets keep flying by cause of the air show.

agonz smashed one down the line. beltre ole'd it.

sosa smashed one too. beltre almost made a great diving catch high in the air but he merely knocked it down. single, run.

alou fly ball to center.

2-0 after 5.

roberts ground ball to short.

lo duca ground ball to second. prior is throwing strikes. he's got nothing to worry about because none of these chumps can hit it out.

shawn green is second in the majors in doubles. ch says that means he's had bad home run luck. he's right.

bottom of the fifth new pitcher paul shuey.

choi strikeout on a ball in the dirt.

aramis ramirez walk.

damian miller is up. ramirez got caught stealing.

ch: the fuckers fly over and the prick says "c'mon fellas bomb us!" what else could he say? everyone cheered like crazy watching the fucking planes.

we're a pair, him with the dictaphone and me with my notebook.

top of the seventh:

jeromy burnitz single off of choi's chest.

beltre. wow. his smash knocked augie ojeda down but the little guy threw from his ass to gonzalez who completed the double to choi.

ventura hit a deep drive to center that lofton should have caught. instead, he let sosa try. triple.

it's ok, though. cora's up. ground ball to second.

the planes flew over again during the seventh inning stretch. russell crowe is singing.

bottom:

augie's out. still no hits.

prior ground ball to third.

lofton ground ball to second.

2-0 after seven.

jolbert cabrera is up. ground ball to second.

mike kinkade. it's wholesale substitution time.

3-2 hit him.

dave roberts.

mike remlinger is up in the pen.

ch: remlinger doesn't get paid enough.

0-2 single up the middle.

it's 4:20.

lo duca single to left. alou muffs it. run scores.

conference on the mound.

shawn green. fly ball to short.

burnitz. 0-2. the crowd is on its feet. high fastball 95 mph strikeout.

paul quantrill is pitches an uneventful bottom of the eighth.

here comes mark to finish it up. i hope the dodgers come back so i can see eric gagne.

ch is now lecturing his neighbor on pitch counts.

beltre strikeout. prior is letting it all out.

ventura fly ball to left.

everyone stands. ron coomer is the dodgers' last hope. strike, 94 mph. 95 mph foul. 94 just missed. 79 mph changeup strikeout looking. what a game.

2 hours 25 minutes. prior threw 118 pitches.
 
. . . what the hell?
sorry, little demon possession problem. ususally i beat him back, but sometimes he wins and takes over.

now that i'm me, i'll post the intended article, which is about a trip to wrigley. . . .
 
this is a guest post by charles the demonspawn. ill post more interesting things in the future, but what interests me right now is ken from california and his commentary on billy the man who finally got some playing time after he had peaked and begun his decline mcmillon. mcmillon isnt blazing fast, and he isnt a great defender, but i think he is above average in both categories. the a's have byrnes, singleton, and long who are all ridiculously fast and very good defensively depending upon the position theyre playing [ tlong is a liability as a center fielder but insane as a left fielder ]. newly acquired guillen is also faster and a better defender [ better arm too ] than mcmillon. the owner of the blog is hassling me right now about my style but he can fuck off. im done. mcmillon is better than most people think. hes better than doug piece of shit glanville or oh my god i resurrected my career kenny lofton. i havent really compared these two but lofton is a bitch, so im probably right.

posted by dominus et deus
 
mailbag
ken from california:

i think you're right, ken.

everybody do like ken and send letters. i'm counting on you guys to keep me straight.
Friday, August 15, 2003
 
them tv guys sure is smart!
joe simpson: tight strike zone for ed rapuano tonight.

skip caray: he has been questec'd.

joe: i hope not. cause he's a good umpire.

what does that mean? good umpires should get their own strike zones? what exactly is joe saying here? if an umpire is good, shouldn't it be because he calls the correct strike zone?

i kid because i care.
 
that wacky chip caray!
a plane flew overhead.

chip: what kind of plane was that?

steve stone: not a stealth bomber.

chip: you can't hear those, usually.

does he really think it's "stealth" because you can't hear it?

i wish chip caray were a stealth announcer.
 
you sabers-metricians don't know anything!
rbi's are crucial. because they're runs batted in. and that's what's important. not walks. because a walk doesn't give you an rbi. unless the bases are loaded. then they're pretty good. but not as good as a home run! or even a double. more like a sac fly.
 
houston at chicago, 8-15-2003
a typical example of non-rigorous thinking is a generalization made from a single event.

with augie ojeda on first, paul bako hit a slow roller that bounced off of second base. ojeda made third.

then chip caray said: "this could be the cubs year, folks. everything seems to be breaking their way in these important mid-august games."

first a funny bounce became "everything breaking their way." then one game became many. then, the cubs became important.

all in chip caray's mind.
 
los angeles at florida, 8-14-2003
miguel cabrera went yard on kevin brown. that's hard to do:

kevin brown .057 .768 .297

this kid is gonna be a superstar:

year team lg age ab wal con pow pra
2003 Florida NL 21 169 .071 .716 .358 4.74
2003 Carolina AA 21 266 .104 .816 .358 6.75
2002 Jupiter A 20 489 .072 .826 .324 4.41
2001 Kane Co A 19 422 .081 .820 .313 3.82
2000 GCL Marlins R 18 219 .095 .790 .306 3.35

he's 21, and he's got the pow of gary sheffield.

rickey henderson is such a master. he walked for the 2,185th time. he took a strike down the middle on a 2-1 count. he don't wanna swing; he wants to get on base!

he stole a base last night (# 1,404) and kept it. every base is a new record.

adrian beltre is gonna be ok:

year team lea age ab wal con pow pra
2003 Los Angeles NL 24 397 .070 .814 .331 4.65
2002 Los Angeles NL 23 587 .059 .836 .330 4.77
2001 Los Angeles NL 22 475 .056 .827 .323 4.21
2000 Los Angeles NL 21 510 .099 .843 .335 5.60
1999 Los Angeles NL 20 538 .102 .805 .327 4.63
1998 Los Angeles NL 19 195 .067 .810 .327 4.35
1998 San Antonio AA 19 246 .137 .850 .360 7.95
1997 Vero Beach A 18 435 .133 .848 .355 7.47
1996 Savannah A 17 244 .125 .811 .371 7.83
1996 San Bernardino A 17 238 .074 .815 .339 5.16

he's been essentially the same player his entire career. that'll change, though. young players improve. stagnancy followed by breakout it the rule, not the exception. look for it.

robin ventura was a stupid pickup. the dodgers need someone who (a) is young, and (b) can hit. ventura fails on both counts.

beltre just hit a ball over that pokey-outy part of the center field fence in pro player stadium.

happy birthday juan pierre! he's 26.

year team lea age ab wal con pow spd pra
2003 Florida NL 25 497 .081 .946 .289 .033 4.55
2002 Colorado NL 24 592 .050 .912 .290 .033 4.07
2001 Colorado NL 23 617 .062 .953 .299 .033 5.21
2000 Colorado NL 22 200 .061 .925 .276 .033 3.38
2000 Carolina AA 22 439 .070 .941 .290 .033 4.46
1999 Asheville A 21 585 .061 .937 .294 .033 4.67
1998 Portland A 20 264 .067 .958 .288 .033 4.47

i used to think he sucks, cause baseball prospectus told me so. they said he was exactly the kind of player that should be helped most by altitude.

they got it backwards. they've since realized their mistake, but they still won't admit this kid can play.

he's mini-ichiro. that pra would be higher if we considered the value of his stolen bases and lack of gidp.

kevin brown got a hit. avg: .200. opb: .196.

rickey walked again. that's 2,186.

eric gagne has 100 strikeouts in 60 innings. 15 walks.

cabrera struck out. 101. gonzalez. 102. brian banks. 103.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
 
baltimore at tampa bay, 8-13-2003
the rays have some sexy young players:

young rays ab wal con pow pra
rocco baldelli 463 .039 .799 .324 3.79
aubrey huff 462 .072 .868 .347 6.43
carl crawford 437 .044 .810 .301 2.89
toby hall 336 .054 .932 .309 4.48
damian rolls 236 .048 .797 .326 3.96

these guys could be future champions . . . once they become free agents! ha! ha!

year team lg age ab wal con pow pra

rocco baldelli cf-r
2000 Princeton A 18 232 .049 .759 .309 2.84
2001 Charleston A 19 406 .054 .781 .326 3.84
2002 Bakersfield A 20 312 .057 .798 .345 5.07
2002 Durham AAA 20 96 .000 .760 .339 3.68
2002 Orlando AA 20 70 .103 .843 .326 5.06

0 walks 96 at-bats last year in durham! so that's a skill he has to work on. needs a little contact. power will develop. walks will determine whether its a long, great career or just a long career.

aubrey huff of-l
1998 Charleston A 21 265 .083 .849 .349 6.40
1999 Orlando AA 22 491 .115 .843 .350 6.79
2000 Durham AAA 23 408 .111 .824 .360 7.06
2000 Tampa Bay AL 23 122 .047 .852 .325 4.52
2001 Tampa Bay AL 24 411 .053 .825 .316 3.79
2002 Durham AAA 25 126 .094 .897 .318 5.13
2002 Tampa Bay AL 25 454 .077 .879 .340 6.19

certified motherfucker.

carl crawford of-l
1999 Princeton A 18 260 .049 .819 .302 3.06
2000 Charleston A 19 564 .054 .819 .311 3.49
2001 Orlando AA 20 537 .063 .832 .300 3.15
2002 Durham AAA 21 353 .059 .805 .329 4.31
2002 Tampa Bay AL 21 259 .044 .842 .311 3.62

sucks right now but he's got enough contact and more than enough speed to ensure a long career. walks and power will determine greatness.

toby hall c-r
1997 Hudson Valley A 21 200 .062 .835 .283 2.41
1998 Charleston A 22 377 .095 .915 .310 4.81
1999 St Petersburg A 23 212 .076 .958 .311 5.16
1999 Orlando AA 23 173 .023 .942 .332 5.93
2000 Durham AAA 24 184 .016 .897 .335 5.38
2000 Orlando AA 24 271 .059 .911 .320 5.08
2001 Durham AAA 25 373 .072 .941 .344 7.44
2001 Tampa Bay AL 25 188 .036 .915 .319 4.81
2002 Durham AAA 26 92 .071 .891 .308 4.18
2002 Tampa Bay AL 26 330 .052 .918 .310 4.39

contact will keep him in the majors but he may never develop the patience and power necessary to excel.

damian rolls 3b-r
1996 Yakima A 19 257 .027 .821 .307 3.08
1997 Savannah A 20 475 .074 .825 .304 3.36
1998 Vero Beach A 21 266 .080 .838 .285 2.61
1998 San Antonio AA 21 160 .038 .825 .292 2.57
1999 Vero Beach A 22 474 .071 .861 .313 4.16
2001 Tampa Bay AL 24 237 .040 .802 .301 2.81
2002 Durham AAA 25 244 .096 .824 .318 4.32
2002 Tampa Bay AL 25 89 .053 .820 .304 3.18

at 26, you'd like to see more, but he's got young player's skills. won't be great but could stick around. third base is a weird position for a speedster.

seventh inning:

the orioles pitched out on carl crawford but he stole it anyway. that's the third time i've seen that in the last three days. it happened to roy halladay last night with mike cameron.

bottom of the eighth, 1 out:

rocco baldelli layed down a perfect bunt. he was at first before anyone could get to it. it was his 139th hit, a new rays rookie record.

top of the ninth:

wow, that was a bad call. brian roberts on first luis matos hits a single. runs too far bang bang play at first. they nailed him. the glove hit the thigh with the foot twice its length from the base.

second base ump jerry layne called him safe.

he was behind the runner so he couldn't see what was going on. the first base ump had run down to cover a possible play at the plate, because the plate ump was covering a possible play at third, because the third base ump had gone up the left field line.

lou piniella lost it. his face turned red, then exploded. steam shot out of his ears. he yelled at the ump. he got tossed. he didn't leave. he staggered around the diamond spewing insults. ". . . this fucking shit" and ". . . go fuck yourself" were 2 choice fox close-ups.

he kicked his hat. he put it back on his head. he tried to get the third base ump to help him. third base ump just looked at him. he kicked his hat again. he jumped up and down and screamed. then he wandered off.

bottom of the ninth, 5-5, 2 outs:

damian rolls steals second. julio lugo walks.

jared sandberg pinch-hits for jason tyner. would piniella have made that decision? yeah, it's b.j. ryan, and he's terror on lefties: .132 .470 .301 but couldn't they have found someone better?

sandberg flew out to right.

now he's playing third.

10th:

jack cust struck out for the second time. lance carter is pitching.

deivi cruz struck out on a high fastball. 3-2 he almost walked. .017 .918 .319 that would have helped!

larry bigbie ground ball second base.

rays: huff flies out. ryan still pitching.

rocco's up. bloop single.

travis lee. ryan doesn't seem as dominant as his stats imply. line double to left rays win. rocco can run.

the rays had a plan to steal bases. they executed it:

crawford 3
rolls 1
baldelli 1
lugo 1

6 stolen bases is the new club record.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
 
not so fast?
there is a popular perception, fueled by moneyball, that the oakland a's are a bunch of slow, fat guys who walk a lot and hit home runs. that the pitchers are all deformed in some way, and get outs by weirdness. the reason for these things, we are told, is that the a's need cheap talent, and the only cheap talent is rejects.

that's a nice story, but it's just not true. the only hitter like that is erubiel durazo. and the pitchers are mostly tall and left-handed, about the scarcest resource you can find.

terrence long: fast. chris singleton: fast. eric byrnes: fast. jose guillen: fast. billy mcmillon: fast. those are all outfielders. but the infielders are fast, too.

they may not have a lot of stolen bases, but they have one of the best percentages in the majors:

Atlanta .77
Seattle .76
Tampa Bay .76
Oakland .74
Baltimore .73

bottom 5:

Cleveland .62
San Francisco .61
Arizona .60
Detroit .56
Toronto .54

another speed-related stat is gidp. the a's are fifth:

Detroit 70
Pittsburgh 76
Cincinnati 79
Texas 82
Oakland 84

the worst:

Cubs 108
San Diego 109
Milwaukee 110
Yankees 113
Montreal 114

also, the a's have great defense at every position. great defenders tend to have speed.

of course, people don't realize the a's defense is good. they can't imagine it, because they still have the image of matt stairs in their heads (who is an underrated outfielder, btw.)

tall left handers: lilly 6-1, zito 6-4, mulder 6-6, halama 6-5.

this is not the team that people think it is.
 
mailbag
aziz from atlanta writes in about stolen bases:

good stuff, aziz. but it should be "rickey henderson is 81% . . .". he's still active!

the reason for the old-timer steals weirdness is they didn't used to count caught steallings. there probably were a lot in those days. people ran all the time.

ha!
 
kevin cash
toronto's catcher of the future:

Year Team Lg Age AB wal con pow pra
2000 Hagerstown SAL 22 196 .101 .724 .357 5.18
2001 Dunedin FSL 23 371 .104 .784 .335 4.83
2002 Tennessee Sou 24 213 .148 .793 .342 5.87
2002 Syracuse IL 24 236 .103 .695 .356 4.73
2003 Syracuse IL 25 326 .087 .752 .338 4.42

intriguing power. decently selective. he might make it.
 
toronto at seattle, 8-12-2003
there is some serious misinformation out there. the mariners broadcasters for some reason were talking about oakland and how they don't steal bases. oh it was because it was the blue jays and ricciardi used to be an a's exec. then the analysis guy says "what if they had a guy who steals 40--50 bases a year with 90% success? do they tell him not to steal?"

never mind that such a player has never existed. there is a simple answer to that question: billy beane is not a moron.

consequences of beane's non-moron status:

1. if he had a guy like that, he would trade him, because speed is overvalued.

2. of course he would let him steal.
 
boston at oakland, 8-12-2003
chad bradford is fuckin people up. his shit is so nasty people think it's not a strike when it is! trot nixon was ejected . . . pitch was coming at his face before it settled into the upper inside corner. he must have said something special because he got tossed immediately. you could see him ask the dugout . . . "did he throw me out? did he throw me out?" then he turned and yelled at the ump then grady little came over and he got thrown out. . . . yada yada yada then there was some chaos then everyone settled down and played baseball.
 
more on the pete rose story
baseball tonight called it an "internet report".

dodger john has an interview of will carroll.

look! slime! selig must have been here!
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
 
prospect hunting
the one-minor-league-team-at-a-time thing is taking too long. so we're gonna evaluate other sources and see what we've got. the baseball america prospect report, by kevin goldstein, provides a daily round-up of "hot prospects." we'll start with today's AAA hitters.

joe borchard cf-blea age ab wal con pow pra
2003 Charlotte AAA 24 351 .054 .761 .335 4.04
2002 Charlotte AAA 23 438 .101 .683 .367 5.04
2001 Birmingham AA 22 515 .115 .693 .361 5.06

baseball prospectus's #22 prospect for 2003. he's improved his con this year, but at the expense of wal and pow. until he gets it all together, he is not a prospect.

whoa i just found a new site for stats . . . the baseball cube! it's even got college.

gabe gross of-l Lg Age AB wal con pow pra
1999 Auburn ncaa 19 245 .119 .890 .338 7.08
2000 Auburn ncaa 20 237 .205 .878 .365 10.55
2001 Auburn ncaa 21 208 .227 .880 .376 12.11
2001 Dunedin FSL 21 126 .171 .770 .346 6.82
2002 Tennessee Sou 22 403 .120 .824 .322 5.11
2003 New Haven Eas 23 310 .155 .829 .328 6.01
2003 Syracuse Int 23 117 .127 .675 .363 6.17

this guy has a better shot than borchard. his low con in AAA is likely an adjustment period. he'll be ready next year, but the jays already have bobby kielty and reed johnson in the outfield corners. it's one of those good problems.

todd linden of-b Lg Age AB wal con pow pra
2002 Fresno PCL 22 100 .174 .650 .330 4.50
2002 Shreveport Tex 22 392 .157 .742 .338 5.70
2003 Fresno PCL 23 449 .109 .780 .319 4.36

marginal prospect. needs power. could use more con.

terrmel sledge cf-l
1999 Everett Nw 22 233 .104 .850 .315 4.72
2000 Lancaster Cal 23 384 .158 .872 .332 6.80
2001 Harrisburg Eas 24 448 .102 .839 .319 4.89
2002 Harrisburg Eas 25 396 .145 .823 .320 5.24
2003 Edmonton PCL 26 431 .124 .819 .342 6.48

old for a prospect, but with young player skills. power should develop.

j.j. davis of-r
1997 Pirates GCL 18 165 .078 .733 .313 3.38
1998 Augusta SAL 19 106 .028 .774 .336 4.40
1998 Erie NYP 19 196 .093 .724 .353 5.70
1999 Hickory SAL 20 317 .122 .688 .384 7.64
2000 Lynchburg Car 21 485 .097 .647 .362 5.35
2001 Altoona Eas 22 228 .084 .654 .332 3.74
2002 Altoona Eas 23 348 .094 .710 .369 6.51
2003 Nashville Int 24 394 .086 .812 .367 7.75

call him up! he's ready! unfortunately, he's blocked by reggie sanders and matt stairs. huge strides past 2 years.

jason bay cf-r
2000 Gonzaga ncaa 21 206 .159 .840 .369 9.52
2000 Vermont NYP 21 135 .082 .815 .301 3.42
2001 Clinton Mdw 22 318 .131 .805 .348 6.84
2001 Jupiter FSL 22 123 .128 .789 .299 3.49
2002 Binghamton Eas 23 107 .144 .785 .341 6.26
2002 Mobile Sou 23 81 .147 .728 .374 7.98
2002 St Lucie FSL 23 261 .130 .793 .332 5.58
2003 Portland PCL 24 264 .159 .792 .364 8.36

in the middle of his breakout season. if it sticks, he'll be ready for petco in 2004.

nic jackson cf-l
2000 Eugene Nw 20 294 .070 .782 .328 4.50
2001 Daytona FSL 21 503 .072 .809 .342 5.75
2002 W Tenn Sou 22 131 .058 .824 .326 4.68
2003 Iowa PCL 23 436 .086 .784 .321 4.28

with neither contact nor power, he's a longshot. still young, though.

john gall 1b-r
1998 Stanford ncaa 20 239 .098 .929 .364 9.74
1999 Stanford ncaa 21 264 .143 .928 .342 8.23
2000 Stanford ncaa 22 266 .101 .925 .343 7.70
2000 New Jersey NYP 22 259 .091 .857 .294 3.36
2001 Potomac Car 23 319 .078 .875 .311 4.44
2001 Peoria Mid 23 205 .089 .912 .326 6.04
2002 New Britain Eas 24 526 .071 .857 .343 6.40
2003 Memphis PCL 25 382 .080 .880 .324 5.38

bp doesn't think he'll make it. they're wrong.

that's it for now! more later.
 
go bp!
you may think i hate baseball prospectus. not at all. i consider them a worthy opponent. that's a compliment.

so anyway, they've broken the story that pete rose signed a deal to be reinstated after the season.

big media companies like whoever owns espn don't appreciate this upstart doing their job. they are trying to squish it. but it looks like good reporting to me. you can't stop the internet!
 
jack cust
baseball people say things like "*&@# you fuckin numbers people you don't know anything about baseball!" then baseball prospectus says "ha ha those crazy baseball people!"

i'm starting to side with the baseball people. here's what baseball prospectus says about jack cust:

some of this i understand, some i don't. let's decode:

not a flight risk = he's slow.

.276/.394/.530 = their computer's projection for him this year.

he got no boost from playing at altitude = his high-altitude colorado springs numbers were the same as his non-high-altitude tucson numbers the year before.

static performance = his high-altitude colorado springs numbers were the same as his non-high-altitude tucson numbers the year before.

triple-A blues = his high-altitude colorado springs numbers were the same as his non-high-altitude tucson numbers the year before.

etc.

bp's thing that they've got is they know walks and home runs are undervalued. so they see jack cust and start drooling. the fact that he can't run, can't field and can't make contact with the ball makes them even more excited because they're hell-bent on finding "overlooked prospects."

year team lea age ab wal con pow pra
2003 Ottawa AAA 24 333 .194 .718 .329 5.07
2002 Col Spr AAA 23 359 .188 .663 .384 6.82
2001 Tucson AAA 22 442 .188 .638 .383 6.55
2000 El Paso AA 21 447 .207 .664 .373 6.83
1999 High Desert A 20 455 .174 .681 .405 8.95
1998 Lethbridge R 19 223 .278 .682 .380 8.94
1997 AZL D-backs R 18 121 .204 .678 .349 5.96

". . . if his raw numbers don't improve substantially you can write him off as a potential star."

that statement contradicts their whole system. but they knew somehow something was wrong. what happened was he got lucky with batting average in 2001, then had normal luck at altitude. bp pulled a pat gillick and assumed the lucky year was real and the real year was "no help at altitude". the fact is, jack cust is exactly the kind of player who gets the most help at altitude---a no-contact high-walk masher. the problem with that kind of player is the cliff(tm). at 24, cust is teetering.

incidentally, jeremy giambi didn't "make it."

year team lea age ab wal con pow pra
2003 Boston AL 28 127 .170 .669 .340 4.35
2002 Oak/Phi MLB 27 313 .202 .700 .373 6.84
2001 Oakland AL 26 371 .145 .776 .334 5.14
2000 Oakland AL 25 260 .110 .765 .336 4.72
1999 Kansas City AL 24 288 .122 .767 .304 3.28
1999 Omaha AAA 24 127 .196 .764 .399 9.93
1998 Omaha AAA 23 325 .149 .803 .366 7.63
1997 Wichita AA 22 268 .141 .825 .337 5.95
1997 Lansing A 22 116 .165 .862 .353 7.99
1996 Spokane A 21 231 .209 .861 .323 6.21

2002 was his peak. billy beane realized that and dumped his contract. he'll be out of baseball in a few years.

baseball prospectus, you were crucial to my development, but now i own you.
Monday, August 11, 2003
 
pitcher pow
ok it's time to bring back pitcher pow. it doesn't make much of a difference for most pitchers, but for some it does. since most pitchers are around average, when it does vary it's as likely to be random as it is to be meaningful. we'll look at past seasons to try to determine which is which.

the other problem is a lot of statlines don't include 2b, 3b for pitchers. we can approximate with the following method:

in 2002 there were 8700 2b 921 3b 5059 hr. thus 2b/hr = 1.72, 3b/hr = .18.

now 3*hr + 2*3b + 2b becomes 3*hr + 2*(.18*hr) + 1.72*hr.

combining, we get 5.08*hr, or about 5*hr. so the simplified pow becomes:

pitcher pow = .273 + .285*5*hr/(ab-k)

also, by listing lots of pow's we'll get used to how much it varies.
 
ok now greg maddux

year team lea age ab wal con pow pra pav/pob/psl ERA
2003 Atlanta NL 37 641 .039 .855 .325 4.47 .278/.306/.434 4.23
2002 Atlanta NL 36 792 .054 .851 .303 3.37 .258/.297/.346 2.62
2001 Atlanta NL 35 919 .029 .812 .311 3.22 .253/.274/.361 3.05
2000 Atlanta NL 34 973 .041 .805 .308 3.11 .248/.279/.345 3.00
1999 Atlanta NL 33 916 .039 .852 .302 3.23 .257/.286/.345 3.56
1998 Atlanta NL 32 954 .045 .786 .298 2.57 .234/.269/.302 2.22
1997 Atlanta NL 31 898 .022 .803 .291 2.25 .233/.250/.284 2.20
1996 Atlanta NL 30 960 .028 .821 .293 2.49 .240/.262/.298 2.72
1995 Atlanta NL 29 776 .029 .767 .292 2.13 .224/.246/.276 1.63
1994 Atlanta NL 28 756 .039 .794 .283 2.00 .224/.255/.251 1.56
1993 Atlanta NL 27 1029 .048 .809 .297 2.73 .240/.277/.308 2.36
1992 Chicago NL 26 1005 .065 .802 .285 2.32 .229/.279/.264 2.18
1991 Chicago NL 25 1021 .061 .806 .304 3.12 .245/.291/.333 3.35
1990 Chicago NL 24 953 .069 .849 .292 2.97 .248/.300/.306 3.46
1989 Chicago NL 23 937 .080 .856 .296 3.29 .253/.314/.323 2.95
1988 Chicago NL 22 977 .077 .857 .295 3.22 .253/.310/.319 3.18
1987 Chicago NL 21 648 .102 .844 .317 4.54 .268/.343/.399 5.61
1987 Iowa AAA 21 100 .107 .780 .291 2.70 .227/.310/.277 0.98
1986 Chicago NL 20 137 .074 .854 .310 3.94 .264/.319/.374 5.52
1986 Iowa AAA 20 512 .055 .873 .283 2.57 .247/.288/.276 3.02
1986 Pittsfield AA 20 240 .059 .854 .280 2.36 .239/.284/.260 2.69
1985 Peoria A 19 734 .066 .830 .294 2.88 .244/.294/.305 3.19
1984 Pikeville R 18 320 .114 .806 .284 2.60 .229/.317/.260 2.63

as described in the next post, we have brought back pow for pitchers. without it, greg maddux is just another good pitcher. with it, he's the smartest pitcher who ever lived. look at him in 1994--95. look at him!

pedro and maddux: different methods, both effective.
 
pedro martinez
let's have some fun and look at one of the all-time greats:

year team lea age ab wal con pra
2003 Boston AL 31 491 .065 .699 3.28
2002 Boston AL 30 742 .051 .678 2.96
2001 Boston AL 29 434 .054 .624 2.53
2000 Boston AL 28 779 .039 .635 2.49
1999 Boston AL 27 800 .044 .609 2.32
1998 Boston AL 26 889 .070 .718 3.52
1997 Montreal NL 25 882 .071 .654 2.91
1996 Montreal NL 24 839 .077 .735 3.76
1995 Montreal NL 23 742 .082 .765 4.14
1994 Montreal NL 22 549 .076 .741 3.82
1993 Los Angeles NL 21 397 .126 .700 3.84
1992 Albuquerque AAA 20 480 .106 .742 4.11
1991 Albuquerque AAA 19 146 .099 .760 4.25
1991 San Antonio AA 19 287 .097 .742 4.03
1991 Bakersfield A 19 225 .078 .631 2.77
1990 Great Falls R 18 305 .116 .731 4.09

gah.

that captain insano run from 1999--2001 was the best ever.
 
ryan dempster
lee sinins reports:

they "found" a torn ligament? how long has he been pitching with it?

you know that might explain some things. . . .

so what can we expect in 2005?

Year team lea ab wal con pra
2003 Cincinnati NL 347 .168 .758 4.89
2002 Fla/Cin NL 627 .129 .756 4.49
2001 Florida NL 634 .150 .730 4.40
2000 Florida NL 679 .125 .692 3.75
1999 Florida NL 441 .174 .714 4.44
1999 Calgary AAA 92 .098 .685 3.44
1998 Florida NL 164 .188 .787 5.46
1998 Charlotte AAA 99 .108 .758 4.31
1998 Portland AA 134 .101 .754 4.19
1997 Brevard Co A 496 .085 .736 3.84
1996 Kane Co A 79 .186 .797 5.57
1996 Charlotte A 433 .118 .674 3.51
1995 GCL Rangers R 120 .130 .642 3.30

he had that bomb 2000, then regressed. i'm not saying the workloads had anything to do with it, but the workloads had something to do with it. everyone who has worked in florida's front office or coaching staff since 1998 should be put in jail. and the owners should be shot. maybe we'll give henry a reprieve, but loria and huizenga no way.

oh yeah expectations. 2005 he'll be really wild. 2006 he'll be really good.
 
mark loretta
pads gave him a multi-year contract, about 2 per. what for?

year team lea ab wal con pow pra pav/pob/psl avg/obp/slg
2003 San Diego NL 424 .090 .908 .313 5.95 .284/.349/.412 .325/.387/.453
2002 Mil/Hou NL 283 .102 .869 .308 5.18 .268/.342/.374 .304/.381/.410
2001 Milwaukee NL 384 .068 .880 .293 3.99 .258/.309/.321 .289/.346/.352
2000 Milwaukee NL 352 .095 .892 .313 4.79 .279/.348/.404 .281/.350/.406
1999 Milwaukee NL 587 .081 .899 .305 4.62 .274/.333/.375 .290/.354/.390
1998 Milwaukee NL 434 .088 .892 .308 5.42 .274/.338/.383 .316/.382/.424
1997 Milwaukee AL 418 .101 .856 .306 4.53 .262/.337/.363 .287/.354/.388
1996 Milwaukee AL 154 .083 .903 .285 3.53 .258/.319/.296 .279/.339/.318
1995 New Orleans AAA 479 .066 .902 .308 4.54 .278/.326/.388 .286/.340/.397
1994 New Orleans AAA 138 .080 .906 .296 2.65 .268/.327/.340 .210/.282/.283
1994 El Paso AA 302 .082 .891 .299 4.85 .267/.327/.350 .315/.369/.397
1993 Stockton A 201 .099 .915 .301 6.49 .275/.347/.365 .363/.427/.453

that's what for. he makes good contact and beats it down the line. his patience gets him on base and his power is not horrible. he's been the same player his entire career and will continue to be that player for the life of his new contract. he's a placeholder. he fills a need.

defense is average at multiple positions.
 
furcal's triple play saves 1.5 runs
i found an expected runs chart. 0 outs, runners on 1st & 2nd expects 1.5 runs. 3 outs expects 0 runs. difference = 1.5.

pretty good for one play.

of course, since some tp's happen with the bases loaded, the average unassisted triple play is worth a little more.

average unassisted triple play! ha!
Sunday, August 10, 2003
 
pujols homered off of smoltz
that extends his hitting streak to 24 games. cardinals lead 3-2.
 
everyone watch the highlights tonight
rafael furcal made an unassisted triple play. he went high to his right to pull down a line drive, then looked at orlando palmeiro coming from first, said "i'm faster than you," and chased him down, touching second on the way.
 
excellent! party on!
from rotoworld.com:

    The Tigers believe they have center field taken care of for 2004 with Alex Sanchez. Sanchez is hitting .284 with 25 stolen bases since coming over from Milwaukee. Sounds good, but the stats are pretty empty. Sanchez has been caught 13 times as a Tiger, giving him just a 66 percent success rate. And when your on-base percentage is just .314, you can't afford to be wiped out a third of the time. As a result, Sanchez has only 37 Runs Produced in 243 at-bats with Detroit. ''This is a wild stallion, and we're trying to get a little more structure in his game,'' manager Alan Trammell said.

whoa . . . wyld stallyn!

year team lea age ab wal con pow pra pav/pob/psl avg/obp/slg
2003 Mil/Det MLB 26 411 .040 .864 .301 3.28 .260/.289/.346 .287/.318/.372
2002 Milwaukee NL 25 394 .073 .843 .296 3.14 .250/.304/.318 .289/.343/.358
2001 Indnpls AAA 24 335 .062 .869 .299 3.42 .260/.306/.341 .313/.359/.394
2000 Durham AAA 23 446 .063 .852 .296 3.10 .252/.299/.319 .291/.342/.359
1999 Orlando AA 22 500 .049 .824 .291 2.59 .240/.277/.292 .254/.290/.306
1998 St Petrbg A 21 545 .054 .872 .296 3.20 .258/.298/.328 .330/.360/.400
1997 Charlstn-SC A 20 537 .064 .866 .290 2.92 .251/.299/.301 .289/.336/.339
1996 GCL D-Rays R 19 227 .042 .846 .306 3.38 .259/.290/.356 .282/.328/.379

he's got young players skills. . . . if his muscles get bigger, he'll make it. this is exactly the kind of player baseball prospectus fails to identify. let's look him up . . .

bp always has new ways to trash people. they're right about the power. but he's young still. if he develops even a little power, .320 will be a realistic batting average, with all that contact and speed he has. and if that happens, he'll be a star.

they just don't get it.
 
mailbag
more on brandon claussen . . .


thanks, jay!
 
jeff cirillo
while we're on the subject, let's look at jeff cirillo. he is an illustration of the normal career path.

year team lea age ab wal con pow pra pav/pob/psl avg/obp/slg
2003 Seattle AL 33 248 .088 .879 .294 3.43 .258/.324/.323 .210/.290/.274
2002 Seattle AL 32 485 .060 .862 .299 3.32 .258/.302/.336 .249/.301/.328
2001 Colorado NL 31 528 .075 .881 .325 5.18 .286/.340/.447 .312/.364/.473
2000 Colorado NL 30 598 .101 .880 .322 5.22 .283/.355/.434 .326/.392/.477
1999 Milwaukee NL 29 607 .110 .863 .318 4.85 .274/.354/.409 .326/.401/.461
1998 Milwaukee NL 28 604 .116 .854 .314 4.61 .269/.353/.393 .321/.402/.445
1997 Milwaukee AL 27 580 .094 .872 .318 4.82 .277/.345/.415 .288/.367/.426
1996 Milwaukee AL 26 566 .093 .878 .331 5.73 .291/.357/.469 .325/.391/.504
1995 Milwaukee AL 25 328 .125 .872 .327 5.72 .285/.375/.450 .277/.371/.442
1994 Milwaukee AL 24 126 .080 .873 .320 4.79 .279/.337/.422 .238/.309/.381
1994 New Orleans AAA 24 236 .106 .835 .348 6.41 .291/.366/.511 .309/.386/.530
1993 New Orleans AAA 23 215 .119 .847 .314 4.51 .266/.353/.386 .293/.385/.414
1993 El Paso AA 23 249 .095 .851 .336 5.72 .286/.354/.475 .341/.410/.530
1992 Beloit A 22 444 .159 .809 .321 4.88 .259/.377/.394 .304/.417/.439
1991 Helena R 21 286 .098 .899 .328 5.90 .295/.364/.470 .350/.418/.524

his last 2 years in milwaukee were a nice peak, with those .400 obp's. needless to say, he was lucky. he got down the line pretty good in his youth, but not enough to justify 50 points of batting average. then he went to colorado, because their computer told them he would mash there. the computer didn't know he had been lucky. the computer also didn't know that high-con players improve less than low-con players, but we'll leave that tangent alone. suffice it to say that he didn't do as well as they hoped.

seattle probably figured that he got a little unlucky in colorado, using his milwaukee numbers as a baseline. they got it backwards. he was lucky in milwaukee, normal (+ crazy funhouse park) in colorado. then he was normal (- no fun pitcher's park) in seattle.

people thought he would "bounce back" in 2003, but he didn't. maybe now they've realized: he can't hit. he never had a lot of power, now he don't even have a little. he has fallen off the cliff.

up until about 1993, this was normal. but now, with magic growth juice (tm), players are extending their careers. the juice is jeff's last hope. if he doesn't want his balls shrunk, he should retire.
Saturday, August 09, 2003
 
brian fuentes
the rockies seem to have figured out that the key to pitching at altitude is strikeouts strikeouts strikeouts. and keep the walks down. walks are bad. there are gonna be home runs; you want them to be solo shots.

they've been doing something about it. check their staff:

# rockies ab wal con pra
39 Brian Fuentes 215 .104 .698 3.62
30 Justin Speier 218 .072 .775 4.15
45 Javier Lopez 166 .046 .813 4.32
n/a Rick White 199 .061 .814 4.49
35 Nelson Cruz 226 .046 .832 4.55
71 Chin-Hui Tsao 68 .068 .838 4.87
34 Shawn Chacon 500 .093 .822 4.92
39 Steve Reed 186 .084 .839 5.04
15 Denny Neagle 153 .073 .863 5.23
32 Jason Jennings 573 .107 .834 5.24
43 Adam Bernero 449 .089 .855 5.31
36 Darren Oliver 524 .086 .876 5.55
16 Jose Jimenez 251 .077 .888 5.63
40 Scott Elarton 168 .077 .917 6.03
41 Denny Stark 161 .085 .913 6.07
35 Aaron Cook 430 .093 .919 6.24

we're using .330 as pow for all pitchers, which mitigates park effects, but not completely. coors still has an adverse effect on wal and con! i know pow can be a significant number for pitchers, but for most it hovers around .330, so the random variance is bigger than the meaningful variance. we'll figure out what to do with it soon enough. until then, we'll use .330 for all pitchers, making note of the extremists.

so fuentes, that .698 is absurd. speier, lopez, cruz, tsao, chacon . . . all good. these numbers would be lower in other parks. the star reports that rick white was picked off waivers, but i couldn't find it anywhere else. so it's probably a mistake. but he would be a good pickup for them. he keeps his walks down, and his con is passable. although in coors, it would go up.

you can see why denny neagle didn't work out. his con is too high. that's probably also what happened to mike hampton. there's a lot of things to say about this staff. maybe i'll run career and minor league numbers at some point. for now, though, we'll just do brian fuentes.

year team lea ab wal con pra
2003 Colorado NL 215 .104 .698 3.62
2002 Colorado NL 105 .110 .638 3.10
2002 Col Spr AAA 192 .143 .677 3.75
2001 Seattle AL 41 .163 .756 4.83
2001 Tacoma AAA 191 .116 .634 3.10
2000 New Haven AA 546 .114 .722 3.96
1999 New Haven AA 233 .165 .717 4.38
1998 Lancaster AA 477 .145 .713 4.16
1997 Wisconsin A 440 .118 .652 3.30
1996 Everett A 103 .112 .748 4.23

they got him for jeff cirillo. what a steal.
 
eric byrnes
he's in that big slump, but smart baseball fans know that everyone goes through slumps. he'll pull out of it, right? still, there is that doubt. . . .

Year team Lea ab wal con pow pra
2003 Oakland AL 343 .088 .854 .339 5.88
2002 Oakland AL 94 .041 .819 .336 4.66
2002 Sacramento AAA 119 .056 .874 .325 4.88
2001 Sacramento AAA 415 .074 .841 .344 5.83
2000 Sacramento AAA 243 .113 .877 .343 6.78
2000 Midland AA 259 .142 .853 .330 5.85
1999 Midland AA 164 .094 .805 .310 3.65
1999 Modesto A 365 .137 .899 .315 5.35
1998 S Oregon A 169 .086 .905 .338 6.58
1998 Visilia A 108 .143 .861 .350 7.42

no. there is no doubt. this kid can play. he's got young player's skills----contact and speed---and he's gonna develop power. plus all of a sudden he plays center field. i can't wait to see his defensive numbers at the end of the season.

eric byrnes is gonna make it. good for him. he plays hard and he's a joy to watch.
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
 
presenting . . . the cincinnati reds' minor-league pitchers!
you know, we should run the major-league staff first, as a point of reference.

reds age ab wal con pra
S. Williamson 27 161 .134 .671 3.62
Jose Acevedo 25 85 .056 .741 3.62
Kent Mercker 35 132 .148 .689 3.93
Gabe White 31 139 .041 .834 4.53
S. Sullivan 32 171 .119 .772 4.58
Chris Reitsma 25 241 .055 .859 4.98
Felix Heredia 28 243 .083 .839 5.04
Paul Wilson 30 543 .061 .866 5.13
Ryan Dempster 26 481 .127 .825 5.33
Jeff Austin 26 113 .157 .805 5.38
Brian Reith 25 142 .150 .838 5.74
John Riedling 27 304 .119 .865 5.78
Danny Graves 29 608 .053 .924 5.86
Jimmy Haynes 30 401 .124 .878 6.02
J. Anderson 27 176 .074 .926 6.13


this is bad. the first guy on the list is gone. the second guy on the list has been lucky in a small sample size, and the third guy is kent mercker! where did he learn to strike people out like that? the next guy is hurt, and then we enter the no-strikeout miasma. the reds just don't understand pitching.

i started this post wednesday, but i'm just now getting back to it on friday. i watched john bale square off against jake peavy in san diego. what a fantastic game. bale ended up with 4.2 ip. he only struck out one and walked two, but he didn't allow any runs, so it's a step in the right direction. is it a sign of things to come? what do the reds have in those minors, anyway?

louiville age ab wal con pra
Almanzar, C 29 142 .027 .718 3.13
*Bale, John 29 213 .078 .728 3.69
Van Poppel, T 31 110 .043 .773 3.84
*Watson, Mark 29 194 .072 .773 4.13
Austin, Jeff 26 173 .104 .786 4.60
*Claussen, B 24 271 .069 .838 4.86
Etherton, Seth 26 460 .057 .861 5.04
Moseley, D 21 103 .064 .864 5.15
Randall, Scott 27 453 .090 .845 5.20
Hamilton, Joey 32 278 .061 .871 5.20
Manzanillo, J 35 100 .115 .840 5.39
*Davis, Lance 26 500 .065 .886 5.46

the louisville bats. what a pile of crap. there is help here, though. almanzar and bale belong on the major league staff. carlos almanzar's never done anything like this before, but he's earned a shot to continue. bale, on the other hand, has a history:

year team lea ab wal con pra
2002 Norfolk AAA 106 .062 .745 3.73
2001 Baltimore AL 98 .148 .786 5.04
2001 Rochester AAA 123 .039 .667 2.76
2000 Syracuse AAA 305 .118 .770 4.56
1999 Syracuse AAA 84 .106 .881 5.86
1999 Knoxville AA 251 .060 .637 2.68
1998 Dunedin A 266 .080 .707 3.49
1997 Hagerstown A 551 .103 .719 3.83
1996 Catherines A 139 .073 .748 3.87

looks like he's finally putting it all together. he's at the show, let's see what he does with it.

the only guys that could be considered "prospects" here are claussen (see below) and dustin moseley. moseley only because he's 21. we'll keep an eye on them.

so that was a bust. let's find out how screwed they really are and check the AA numbers:

chattanooga age ab wal con pra
Dunn, Scott 25 147 .098 .633 2.95
Gray, Brett 26 241 .059 .768 3.93
Mottl, Ryan 25 382 .120 .762 4.47
Gil, Dave 24 188 .087 .793 4.51
Hall, Josh 22 482 .094 .793 4.57
*Koronka, J 23 524 .090 .802 4.64
Moseley, D 21 439 .074 .834 4.87
Keller, Kris 25 101 .129 .792 4.93
*Dehart, Casey 25 225 .128 .818 5.24
Childress, D 26 99 .168 .808 5.53

as we might have guessed, the reds are screwed to hell. looks like firing jim bowden was the right move. he never got any pitching together. this is a problem that's going to haunt the reds for years.

so what do we got? scott dunn was traded to the white sox for d'angelo jiminez. the trade was worth it, but he was the only good pitcher on this team. some of these guys are young enough that they could turn into something. koronka just turned 23 july 3rd. don't hold your breath though.

the moseley entry is what he did before he was moved up to AAA.

one final bright spot: ryan wagner. they drafted him in june, so he hasn't played enough professionally to be evaluated. but his college numbers are pretty impressive:

Team Lea era ab h r hr bb so wal con
Houston NCAA 1.93 277 39 19 1 21 148 .070 .466

he's with the big club. he's gonna help them, too.

and don't forget about aaron harang.
 
jose guillen
continuing to contradict rob neyer . . .

there is no reason to worry about jose guillen.

year Team Lea AB wal con pow pra
2003 Cin/Oak MLB 332 .051 .798 .372 6.60
2002 Ari/Cin NL 240 .055 .821 .318 3.86
2001 Tampa Bay AL 135 .043 .807 .310 3.23
2001 Durham AAA 119 .025 .765 .367 5.36
2000 Tampa Bay AL 316 .054 .794 .337 4.52
2000 Durham AAA 78 .093 .859 .439 14.87
1999 Pit/TB MLB 288 .065 .802 .304 3.10
1999 nash/dur AAA 166 .083 .831 .345 5.87
1998 Pittsburgh NL 573 .035 .825 .324 4.02
1997 Pittsburgh NL 498 .033 .823 .323 3.94
1996 Lynchburg A+ 528 .036 .862 .331 4.89
1995 Erie A 258 .037 .829 .346 5.35
1995 Augusta A 34 .056 .735 .376 5.74

born 5/17/76, he was 21--22 in 1997--98, when he was over his head in pittsburgh but still on a normal career path. then he got jerked around but managed to improve over the next four years, finally returning to the show for good. the thing that makes these stats hard to read are the sample sizes. many of them are low, and to get a sense of a season's worth of production, you have to interpolate between numbers that are half mashing, half hacking. in guillen's case, the mashing happened in the minors, and the hacking happened in the majors, so he probably acquired some sort of "can't hit major league pitching" tag. but hitting is hitting, and he's finally getting a chance to prove it. plus, his 27-year-old body has grown some muscles, so he's hitting harder than ever. and he's always had enough con.

he's probably been a little lucky in the pow department. at 330 ab, that can happen. so it may come down a bit. but that's fine. what's he got so far? .328/.378/.605 avg/obp/slg. what are the predictions? .295/.333/.574. still good numbers. strong acquisition. he's gonna make it.
 
this guy is a riot!
"But let me get subjective for a minute," Beane continues. "Scott deserves this, because he's a major part of the fabric of this team, from a subjective standpoint."

(from rob neyer's interview of billy beane.)
 
mailbag
good stuff today. first, some well-considered criticism from jay jaffe of futility infielder:

jay, thanks for the letter. you nailed it. i was shooting from the hip and it turns out that i'm the idiot!

also, thanks for the link! i've been looking for minor league career data; who knew it was at the toronto star!

Year Team Lea ERA W L G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
2003 New York AL 1.42 1 0 1 1 6.1 8 2 1 1 1 5
2003 Columbus AAA 2.75 2 1 11 11 68.2 53 28 21 4 18 39
2003 Tampa A+ 1.64 2 0 4 4 22.0 16 5 4 0 3 26
2002 Columbus AAA 3.28 2 8 15 15 93.1 85 47 34 4 46 73
2001 Norwich AA 2.13 9 2 21 21 131.0 101 42 31 6 55 151
2001 Tampa A+ 2.73 5 2 8 8 56.0 47 21 17 2 13 69
2000 Greensboro A 4.05 8 5 17 17 97.2 91 49 44 9 44 98
2000 Tampa A+ 3.10 2 5 9 9 52.1 49 24 18 1 17 44
1999 Staten Island A- 3.38 6 4 12 12 72.0 70 30 27 4 12 89
1999 Greensboro A 10.50 0 1 1 1 6.0 8 7 7 1 2 5
1999 GCL Yankees R 3.18 0 1 2 2 11.1 7 4 4 2 2 16

ok that 2002 looks a lot like he was hurt. and his 2001 is impressive. but it was at low levels. he hasn't dominated AAA.

i still say he ain't all that. no way he's a #2.

here's the original article.

i read it wrong. he's either a #1 or a 2--4. i'm calling the guy an idiot not as a personal attack, but to lump him in with others who do the sort of analysis he did. he uses era and won/loss record, which are basically meaningless with these sample sizes, and he says wrong things.

to wit:

"It would be a shock if (Claussen) were to spend much more time in the minors this season. The Reds need pitching badly and Claussen is just about ready to take a spot in a major league rotation."

the reds do need pitching, but the kid is not ready. he has yet to dominate the upper minors. if i were in charge, he'd be in AA.

also, the article mentions his one major league start like it's important.

then there's this gem:

". . . a low-90s fastball, a good slider and very good control."

how many times have we heard that about someone? it doesn't mean anything.

lets check his skills, for all reasonable sample sizes:

Year Lea wal con
2003 AAA .065 .849
2002 AAA .112 .800
2001 AA .100 .694
2001 A+ .057 .679
2000 A+ .103 .745
2000 A+ .076 .786
1999 A- .040 .689

i agree, he's worth keeping. he's 24, and he could develop. but he's just an arm. the minor leagues are crawling with them.

now that we have stats, let's check aaron harang:

ab bb k wal con
2003 Oakland AL 132 9 16 .064 .879
2003 Sacramento AAA 271 17 60 .059 .779
2002 Oakland AL 313 45 64 .126 .796
2002 Sacramento AAA 157 9 39 .054 .752
2001 Midland AA 623 37 112 .056 .820
2000 Charlotte A 599 50 136 .077 .773
1999 Pulaski R 299 17 87 .054 .709

there's nothing like claussen's 2001 here, but harang has pitched over 100 innings in the majors, with similar results to claussen's AAA. yes, claussen's had surgery, but if he's supposed to be ready, these are the numbers we have to look at. also harang has the better AAA numbers, in a hitter's league. it's hard to say who is more valuable to the team. harang is 25, so he's ahead in development. not having your elbow snap in two will do that for you.

tell you what, tommorrow i'll run the whole reds farm system.

here's the other letter i got. i was gonna take out the profanity, but fuck it. it's from my friend stephen:

thanks, stephen. it's cool to see those wal con pow's next to the run averages. what formulae did you use? they look slightly different from numbers i ran. either way, it doesn't really matter. the point is to see how they vary.

the players did start swinging harder, as most sabermetricians agree. but it wasn't because they figured out hitting. it was because they had magic potions which gave them bigger muscles. pitching and hitting kind of ebbs and flows. they feed back into eachother. if you look at the 1950's, you'll notice a similar period of high wal and pow, with low con. then, in the 60's, con became more important.

it's about to happen again. power pitchers are becoming more important, because to have any success against these mashers you gotta strike em out. then when power pitchers dominate the scene, contact hitters become more valuable. it is the tao of baseball.

that's why the correlations work the way they do. in a hitter's era, pow is more valuable. in a pitcher's era, it's con. so the marlins are actually forward-thinking. unfortunately, they are also dumb.

but that's another story. the other thing you point out is the age thing. i attribute that more to the "old-player skills" argument than the medical one. but the reason these players are highly valued is not because they're better than contact speedsters; it's because they're better right now.

so yes, it helps to be rich so you can afford star mashers. but it's still all about dollars. every team has a budget, and the farm system is the best bang for your buck. these things were known by another great a's gm (also owner), charlie finley.

finally, with regard to billy beane's dick, i'd suck it.

peace.
Monday, August 04, 2003
 
brandon claussen
some idiot over at sporting news said brandon claussen is now the red's best pitching prospect. after they picked up aaron harang.

folks, brandon claussen is not a prospect. he has 39 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. a prospect would have 60. claussen is just a guy trying to make it. and he's not gonna.
Sunday, August 03, 2003
 
scott hatteberg
rob neyer recently wondered why the a's wanted to re-sign scott hatteberg. after all, his hitting numbers look positively pedestrian:

year tm ab wal con pow pav/pob/psl pra
1997 bos 350 .107 .800 .329 .263/.342/.420 4.96
1998 bos 359 .118 .838 .331 .277/.363/.447 5.77
1999 bos 80 .192 .825 .308 .254/.397/.354 5.42
2000 bos 230 .142 .830 .331 .275/.378/.445 5.99
2001 bos 278 .117 .906 .305 .276/.361/.376 4.99
2002 oak 492 .131 .886 .322 .285/.379/.438 6.39
2003 oak 381 .120 .900 .315 .283/.369/.414 5.74

he doesn't slug like a first baseman, and his on-base numbers are nothing special. what gives?

well, the first thing you can say is he's seeing 3.9 pitches per plate appearance, good for 33rd in the majors. the a's are really into this stat, as reported in moneyball.

why are they so into this stat? because it correlates well with future success. that's enough for it to be important, but those of us who want to understand things delve deeper. are there any of you out there? the only thing i can think of right now is look at that con. it keeps going up! that bodes well for adam dunn.

con or no, the kid still don't make enough runs. is billy beane crazy?

anytime someone smart does something that seems crazy, it's probably some good idea that you don't understand. despite the popular characterization, billy beane is not obsessed with walks and home runs. he's obsessed with underappreciated value.

in this case the underappreciated value is defense. hatteberg was not an asset at catcher. shoulder injuries reduced him to a zero at controlling baserunners. so the a's moved him to first base. to their delight, he became a star. his 21 runs saved over replacement in 2002 is one of the best around.

if we include scott's defensive prowess in his pra, the contrast is stark:

year pra pra+def
2002 6.39 7.97
2003 5.74 7.30

defense for 2003 is pro-rated from 2002. all of a sudden, we have the sixth-best 1b in the majors:

player pra 2003 salary
helton,todd 8.82 $10.6 mil
delgado,carlos 8.52 $17.5 mil
thomas,frank 8.51 $5 mil
giambi,jason 8.36 $11.4 mil
sweeney,mike 7.64 $11 mil
hatteberg,scott 7.30 $1.75 mil
palmeiro,rafael 7.22 $9 mil
thome,jim 7.15 $11.2 mil

nothing to see here. just another case of obscene marginal lineup value.

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