Julien's Faster than Light Blog

Jump to top
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.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
commentary is what i do best
hopefully one of these days i'll piss someone off.

greg miller is 18 years old. in 26.2 AA innings, he struck out 40 and walked 7, allowing 1 home run. he is left-handed. in the florida state league, he struck out 111 in 115.2 innings. he comes from the planet krypton.

edwin jackson is 20. pitching for los angeles, of the national league, he struck out 19 in 22 innings, walking 11. in jacksonville (AA), he struck out 157 in 148.1 innings. he also hails from the planet krypton.

andrew brown is not as good as edwin jackson.

chad billingsley is 19. he was the 24th pick of the 2003 draft. in 54 innings for ogden, of the pioneer league, he struck out 62 and walked 15. the next home run he allows will be his first, but then kids in the pioneer league don't really hit home runs.

click on that last link again. look at the strikeout list. in 101 innings, brandon mccarthy struck out 125 and walked 15! he was the 510th pick of the 2002 draft.

greg miller is . . . oh yeah, i already did him.

joel hanrahan is 22. he struck out 130 and walked 53 in 133.1 innings for jacksonville of the southern league. "hanrahan" is the name of colin's elven thief. colin is a boston red sox fan. colin's name may be spelled "collin". i can't remember.

xavier paul is 18. he struck out 58 times in 264 at-bats, with 34 walks and 28 extra-base hits. he played for ogden, of the pioneer league. he was the 121st pick of the 2003 draft.

reggie abercrombie is 23. he struck out 164 times in 448 at-bats, with 16 walks and 47 extra-base hits. he played for jacksonville, of the southern league. in 2002, he struck out 158 times in 526 at-bats in the florida state league. in 2001, he struck out 154 times in 486 at-bats in the carolina league. in 2000, he struck out 66 times in 220 at-bats in rookie ball. his career walks total at all levels is 84.

there's a rumor going around that george bush is human and not an attractive monkey.

in 2002, at the age of 20, dontrelle willis struck out 101 in 127.2 innings for kane county (A) of the midwest league. he walked 21. kane county is in the a's organization but apparently it used to belong to the marlins. coincidentally, willis is from oakland. in 30 innings for jupiter (A) of the florida state league, he struck out 27 and walked 3. he is left-handed.

cole hamels is apparently 19. in 74.2 innings for the lakewood blueclaws (A) of the south atlantic league he struck out 115 and walked 25. he has yet to allow a home run.

scott kazmir is 19. in 76.1 innings for capital city (A) of the south atlantic league he struck out 105 and walked 28. he allowed 6 home runs and threw 12 wild pitches. he was the 15th pick of the 2002 draft. he is left-handed. cole hamels was the 17th pick of the 2002 draft, and is also left-handed.

delwyn young is a 21-year-old switch-hitting second-baseman. he struck out 87 times with 36 walks and 60 extra-base hits for south georgia (A) of the south atlantic league.

michael megrew is 19. he struck out 99 and walked 24 for ogden (R) of the pioneer league. he allowed 6 home runs and missed the catcher 9 times. he is left-handed.

it'll be interesting to see what john sickels thinks about these teams.

he'll continue to strike out at higher levels. for an example of minor-league raking, see marcus giles. closely examine 1998.

james loney is a 19-year-old left-handed first baseman. in 468 at-bats he struck out 80 times and walked 43 times with 41 extra-base hits. he was the 19th pick of the 2002 draft.

shit. one at a time:

joel guzman is an 18-year-old shortstop. in 217 at-bats for south georgia (A) of the south atlantic league, he struck out 62 times and walked 9 times with 21 extra-base hits. in 240 at-bats for vero beach (A) of the florida state league, he struck out 60 times and walked 11 times with 19 extra-base hits. the florida state league is a higher level than the sally league. that's why some people call it an A+ league. those people do the same with the california league, and the carolina league. those people will do anything.

koyie hill is a 24-year-old switch-hitting catcher. in 312 at-bats for las vegas (AAA) of the pacific coast league, he struck out 39 times and walked 15 times with 21 extra-base hits. that's a weird reversal of 2002, when he struck out 88 times and walked 76 times in 468 at-bats (37 xbh) for jacksonville (AA) of the southern league. it looks like he'll make it. having already demonstrated patience and contact, all he needs is some consolidation, along with natural power growth.

chuck tiffany is 18. he struck out 4 and walked 2 with 0 home runs allowed in 2 innings for ogden (R) of the pioneer league. he was the 61st pick of the 2003 draft. he's left-handed.

jonathan broxton is 19. in 37.1 innings for south georgia (A) of the south atlantic league, he struck out 30, walked 22, and allowed 1 home run. was he hurt? he was the 60th pick of the 2002 draft.

willy aybar is a 20-year-old switch-hitting third baseman. in 445 at-bats for vero beach (A+) of the florida state league, he struck out 70 times and walked 41 times with 43 extra-base hits. he was not drafted.

stephen colyer is 24. in 19.2 innings for los angeles (AAAA) of the national league, he struck out 16 and walked 9 with 0 home runs allowed. in 47.2 innings for las vegas (AAA) of the pacific coast league, he struck out 50 and walked 22 with 1 home run allowed. he is left-handed.

abercrombie is the kind of guy baseball prospectus rates more accurately than baseball america. he will never be a major-league regular.

joe thurston is a 24-year-old lefty-hitting second-baseman. in 528 at-bats for las vegas (AAA) of the pacific coast league, he walked 31 times and struck out 48 times. this is an improvement over 2002 (same place): 587-25-60. however, his power numbers slipped, from 64 extra-base hits to 40. the reason he was such a hot prospect was he got ridiculously hit lucky in 2002. course lefties with speed and contact are the guys that get hit lucky. he'll be a regular by 2005, for the long term.

plus he's got the heart of a champion.

typical of a scouting-based publication to leave out the a's.

jonathan figueroa is 20. he struck out 74, walked 42, and allowed 4 home runs in 78.1 innings for south georgia (A) of the south atlantic league.

james mcdonald doesn't have much to breakout from. all he has is one year in the gulf coast league. he struck out 47 and walked 15 in 48.2 innings with 3 home runs allowed. the baseball cube doesn't know how old he is or what hand he throws with.

jordan pratt struck out 31 and walked 18 with 4 home runs allowed in 45 innings for ogden (R) of the pioneer league. he's 18. he had 15 wild pitches!

jerome milons is a 20-year-old outfielder. in 195 at-bats for ogden he walked 19 times and struck out 47 times with 13 extra-base hits. i don't think he'll break out. he was hit lucky.

russell martin is a 20-year-old third baseman. in 188 at-bats for ogden he walked 26 times and struck out 26 times with 19 extra-base hits. in 98 at-bats for south georgia he walked 9 times and struck out 11 times with 8 extra-base hits. much better numbers than milons.

zachary hammes is crap. he's not going to turn things around because he isn't going down. he isn't going down because he was never up. maybe he'll learn control. it happens sometimes. he's 19.

low-velocity strikeout guys tend to be underrated by scouts.

brian pilkington is 21. getting behind in the count is never a good strategy, but i think what josh is trying to say is pilk needs more strikeouts, and he can afford to give up a few more walks to get them. in 32.1 innings for jacksonville (AA) of the southern league, he struck out 24 and walked 2, with 3 home runs. in 125.1 innings for vero beach (A+) of the florida state league, he struck out 74 and walked 16, with 9 home runs. strikeout increases are rare, so he's got his work cut out for him.

edwin bellorin is a 21-year-old catcher. in 233 at-bats for vero beach (A) of the florida state league, he walked 10 times and struck out 32 times, with 12 extra-base hits. must improve patience and power. good thing he has defense.

franquelis osoria is 22. in 75 innings for vero beach (A) of the florida state league, he walked 19, struck out 54, and gave 4 dongs. he's not gonna make it. i take that back. his value lies in keeping the ball in the park. he has a shot.

yhency brazoban is 23. he sucks.

brandon weeden is 20. he is better than yhency brazoban.

corey van allen turns 19 december 24. he went to clement high school in sugar land, texas. he's left-handed.

andy laroche walked once and struck out 4 times with 1 extra-base hit in 19 at-bats for ogden (R) of the pioneer league. he was the 1,171st pick of the 2003 draft. he was the 625th pick of the 2002 draft. he's a shortstop. he's 20.

injured players do not have meaningful numbers.

jeff kent doesn't have pop, he has world class power.

juan rivera isn't an infielder, but he can hit major-league pitching. he's a starter if he ever learns to walk. he's 25.

travis denker is an 18-year-old second baseman. he has 144 professional at-bats. that's a gross!

russ mitchell is an 18-year-old shortstop with 77 career professional at-bats. early returns are good.

chin lung hu is a shortstop.

wilkin ruan's middle name is chal. that's cool.

in 36 innings for odgen (R) of the pioneer league, steve schmoll walked 15, struck out 53, and allowed 2 home runs. in 87.2 innings for the university of maryland he walked 25, struck out 124, and allowed 8 home runs.

aces: prior, martinez, wood, schmidt, beckett, vazquez, mussina, schilling, halladay, oswalt, clemens. rj? we'll see.

hanrahan failed a climb roll and fell into an underground river, where he was almost killed by a giant fish. he surfaced in the lair of a dragon. luckily, it was asleep. despite his shivering, he snuck past successfully.

aha! he was hurt.

kids with rocket arms should play third, short, or catcher.

the next few questions are about players we've already discussed.

franklin gutierrez is a 20-year-old outfielder. in 425 at-bats for vero beach (A+) of the florida state league, he walked 39 times and struck out 111 times, with 53 extra-base hits. he does not have as much money as raul mondesi.

jesse foppert is 23. in 111 innings for san fransisco, of the national league, he walked 69, struck out 101, and allowed 16 home runs.

otherwise, success isn't important.

chin feng chen is a 25-year-old outfielder. in 474 at-bats for las vegas (AAA) of the pacific coast league, he walked 59 times and struck out 106 times with 61 extra-base hits.

jay frasor is 26. in 36.2 innings for jacksonville (AA) of the southern league, he walked 14, struck out 50, and allowed 2 home runs. in 24.1 innings for vero beach, he walked 4 and struck out 36. no dongs.

i hear he uses chanel.

victor diaz is 22. in 491 at-bats for binghamton (AA) of the eastern league and jacksonville (AA) of the southern league he struck out 92 times and walked 35 times with 49 extra-base hits. he uses cover girl lipstick and eye pencils.

adam loewen was the 4th pick of the 2002 draft. he went to fraser valley christian school in surrey, british columbia.

scott olson is 19. in 128.1 innings for greensboro (A) of the south atlantic league, he walked 59 and struck out 129 with 4 home runs.

damn that took a long time.
Monday, December 22, 2003
rangers sign jason tyner
rotoworld thinks he's their fifth outfielder, but showalter likes speedy guys that make contact. plus, it's not like he's blocked. their best outfielder is kevin mench. mench is a decent player, but if he's your best outfielder, you got problems. plus tyner can play center. i suppose rotoworld thinks laynce nix is the starting centerfielder, but nix can't hit a medicine ball that's sitting on the plate. then there's rusty greer, who's 35 and hasn't played a full season since 1999. he missed all of 2003 with "various injuries". there's apparently someone named jason jones, but he also has the medicine ball problem.

tyner has his drawbacks. for example, he has never hit a home run at any level of professional baseball. but he makes contact like it's goin outa style, and he flies to first, uh, on his feet. at 26, he'll probably never develop power, but he'll be a useful player for a long time.

shouldn't "like it's goin outa style" mean he's less likely to make contact? who comes up with these sayings, anyway?
my family was asking (grilling) me why are you so mean? and i said fuck you. ha ha no i said i want to make a public record of my thought. but there's something else. i'm trying to write what i would want to read. because right now there's nothing. there is good insight, if you're willing to look for it, but most days, i sit at the keyboard, hoping my fingers will find something, and there's nothing. nothing to read.

i know that link is empty. i was gonna put something in it, but i couldn't find anything. kind of underscores my point.

ok if you're starved here are some links. people get philosophical in the offseason. also i enjoyed seeing the words mechanical precision used so familiarly.
the art of contact
the pitcher is the waiter (stay with me here.) the batter makes his selection. it's feast or famine, or something in between: a meal that builds up over time, over many trips to the plate. then we get to see how big a tipper he his. the tip is the strikeout. 15% is tight, but acceptable. anything over 20% is generous. adam dunn is downright philanthropic. then there are those miserly souls who seem to hate their server, who spare but a pittance, barely enough to feed one's family, and that grudgingly.

kenny lofton, btw, was traded in 1991 for ed taubensee.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
mail time!
avkash from http://theraindrops.weblogs.us writes in:

thanks, avkash. as you can see, there are many names left on the list. i'll be adding coments over the next few days, or weeks, or whenever.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
the internationale
a couple weeks ago, i started a project to identify prospects. i was gonna do a "top prospects" article. three weeks later, i am no where close to done, so i'm just gonna write whatever.

what we have here is position players from the international league. i loaded everyone into a spreadsheet and calculated their wal con pow, using (2b+3b+hr)/(ab-k) for pow. equal weighting of extra-base hits mitigates park effects, which i don't know.

step 2 was to rank the players by predicted on-base percentage (pob). for that calculation, i used (wal)+(1-wal)*(con)*(.272+(pow)/2). here we go:

ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Scutaro, Marcos 244 33 34 9 .136 .863 .140 .391 norfolk tides

hit .311/.401/.520. in 2002, he hit .319/.375/.475, also for norfolk. he hit .295/.382/.432 for indianapolis in 2001. before that he was in buffalo. he's been raking for years, spending his prime in the minors. maybe there are defense concerns. he played 2b and 3b this year. there is definite value here. and he's batting .387 in 7 g in venezuela. he's 28.

ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
LaForest, Pete 201 36 56 14 .158 .724 .204 .386 durham bulls

25-year-old lefty-hitting catcher in the devil rays' system. doesn't hit it often, but hits it far. this is the peak of his career. now is the time to use him.

ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Roberts, Brian 178 27 12 0 .130 .933 .083 .385 ottawa lynx

26-year-old switch hitting 2b. in case you weren't looking, he made the show. makes good contact. should develop power as he approaches his physical prime. speed and contact ensure a long career.

ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Crisp Coco 225 26 24 1 .120 .894 .128 .385 buffalo bisons

on top of these obvious skills, he's a switch-hitter. and he's fast. he's 24, and he plays center field.

ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Cust Jack 333 80 94 9 .193 .719 .116 .384 ottawa lynx

he just doesn't make enough contact to make it, despite his impressive walk totals. high walks + high strikeouts means rotoworld overvalues him.

ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Ryan Rob 181 21 24 6 .116 .869 .145 .380 syracuse sky chiefs

30-year-old lefty outfielder who's past his prime. he tore up tucson. minor league journeyman: oakland traded him to boston. boston cut him. toronto picked him hp. toronto cut him. the giants picked him up.

"X*Watson,",Matt,254,23,23,11,.107,.911,.127,.380,norfolk tides
"X#Estrada,",Johnny,354,30,30,10,.104,.917,.118,.376,richmond braves
"Sanchez,",Freddy,211,31,36,5,.135,.829,.126,.375,pawtucket red sox
"Mateo,",Ruben,217,26,34,9,.124,.845,.135,.375,louisville bats
"*Gross,",Gabe,182,31,56,5,.157,.692,.183,.369,syracuse sky chiefs
"*Zoccolillo,",Peter,443,51,70,12,.119,.845,.128,.369,indianapolis indians
"X#Martinez,",Victor,274,26,32,7,.108,.886,.105,.365,buffalo bisons
"*Clapp,",Stubby,286,46,66,3,.150,.771,.104,.362,richmond braves
"Hernandez,",Michel,282,37,35,4,.123,.877,.072,.360,columbus clippers
"*Abad,",Andy,504,55,67,13,.104,.869,.115,.360,pawtucket red sox
"Post,",Dave,248,30,35,4,.122,.861,.083,.359,columbus clippers
"Miller,",Corky,354,35,58,11,.105,.838,.130,.358,louisville bats
"Luuloa,",Keith,359,35,45,11,.090,.876,.126,.357,indianapolis indians
"*Glavine,",Mike,169,25,36,5,.128,.789,.119,.356,norfolk tides
"#Seguignol,",Fernando,402,34,81,28,.094,.800,.176,.355,columbus clippers
"X*Utley,",Chase,431,41,75,18,.106,.829,.127,.355,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"Zuniga,",Tony,261,27,47,12,.097,.821,.149,.353,syracuse sky chiefs
"Sequea,",Jorge,271,30,45,3,.117,.835,.097,.353,syracuse sky chiefs
"*Jennings,",Doug,169,17,48,5,.136,.721,.153,.353,indianapolis indians
"#Crespo,",Felipe,360,43,54,6,.117,.852,.084,.353,louisville bats
"Colangelo,",Mike,310,37,74,5,.133,.763,.118,.352,syracuse sky chiefs
"Johnson,",Russ,349,44,45,3,.117,.874,.061,.350,norfolk tides
"2*Budzinski,",Mark,259,37,56,1,.133,.785,.093,.350,louisville bats
"Truby,",Chris,430,44,77,16,.105,.822,.121,.350,durham bulls
"#Jensen,",Marcus,196,36,53,3,.159,.730,.077,.349,columbus clippers
"*Clark,",Howie,252,21,20,4,.085,.922,.080,.348,syracuse sky chiefs
"Dominique,",Andy,289,22,45,13,.090,.846,.126,.348,pawtucket red sox
"Sefcik,",Kevin,492,40,47,10,.078,.906,.102,.347,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"LaRocca,",Greg,500,40,53,10,.083,.895,.099,.347,buffalo bisons
"Chapman,",Travis,478,44,97,12,.109,.800,.124,.347,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"#Lamb,",David,405,49,60,2,.122,.854,.054,.346,rochester red wings
"Larson,",Brandon,282,28,70,20,.095,.754,.191,.346,louisville bats
"X*Rios,",Armando,155,14,30,6,.103,.809,.126,.346,charlotte knights
"#Rodriguez,",Luis,518,46,46,1,.086,.912,.080,.346,rochester red wings
"Ford,",Lew,211,10,28,3,.078,.868,.125,.346,rochester red wings
"*Morneau,",Justin,265,28,56,16,.107,.790,.133,.346,rochester red wings
"Bocachica,",Hiram,322,24,57,12,.095,.824,.127,.345,toledo mud hens
"*Minor,",Damon,328,27,60,16,.098,.819,.125,.345,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"Smith,",Bobby,458,40,74,8,.088,.841,.125,.345,columbus clippers
"*Valent,",Eric,450,60,102,12,.118,.776,.116,.344,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"Machado,",Robert,221,17,36,8,.083,.837,.135,.344,ottawa lynx
"Cuddyer,",Michael,186,25,49,3,.119,.745,.140,.344,rochester red wings
"Diaz,",Matt,253,16,45,8,.086,.824,.137,.342,durham bulls
"*Rushford,",Jim,373,30,33,9,.090,.912,.061,.341,indianapolis indians
"#Miles,",Aaron,546,40,52,11,.069,.905,.101,.341,charlotte knights
"*Gload,",Ross,508,29,60,18,.055,.883,.141,.341,charlotte knights
"*LaRoche,",Adam,264,27,58,8,.100,.785,.137,.341,richmond braves
"1#Santos,",Angel,214,32,50,5,.133,.767,.079,.340,pawtucket red sox
"T#Santos,",Angel,260,37,58,7,.127,.778,.084,.340,buffalo bisons
"*Burnham,",Gary,349,25,54,9,.083,.847,.117,.340,syracuse sky chiefs
"Hummel,",Tim,476,46,83,15,.096,.827,.108,.340,charlotte knights
"Rivera,",Juan,308,26,37,7,.077,.881,.102,.340,columbus clippers
"Ortiz,",Hector,221,20,23,0,.087,.896,.071,.338,durham bulls
"Chamblee,",Jim,263,29,59,5,.114,.777,.107,.338,louisville bats
"X*Morris,",Warren,206,16,26,2,.076,.874,.105,.338,toledo mud hens
"Ross,",Cody,470,32,86,20,.072,.820,.155,.338,toledo mud hens
"#Izturis,",Maicer,301,24,28,2,.076,.908,.080,.338,buffalo bisons
"Hammond,",Joey,348,44,60,0,.114,.829,.062,.336,ottawa lynx
"Brumbaugh,",Cliff,223,23,48,9,.093,.787,.136,.335,charlotte knights
"Vento,",Mike,184,14,36,5,.085,.804,.135,.335,columbus clippers
"Mouton,",Lyle,151,18,49,4,.131,.678,.146,.334,norfolk tides
"Mouton,",Lyle,352,37,93,14,.107,.740,.143,.334,buffalo bisons
"T*Budzinski,",Mark,418,53,95,2,.119,.774,.086,.334,louisville bats
"Moriarty,",Mike,176,21,30,3,.111,.831,.061,.334,syracuse sky chiefs
"*Pride,",Curtis,225,20,48,7,.096,.787,.124,.334,columbus clippers

Tuesday, December 16, 2003
winter excitement
rumors rumors rumors. the rumors abound this time of year. but we don't get into that here at julien's baseball blog; we wait for the facts. then sometimes we analyze. although i gotta say we (i) get less and less excited about these winter meeting moves etc because the teams are businesses now. right, they've always been businesses but there used to be a kind of innocence, a kind of it's-not-necessarily-about-the-money. now it's definitely about the money. players are signed to contracts not to win games, but to generate profit. don't get me wrong, winning generates profit, but there are only a few teams that are confident enough in their ability to win that it's their only strategy. and if it's not your only strategy, it ain't gonna happen. with any regularity.

so the tigers signed fernando vina. the cardinals signed reggie sanders. statheads are steaming. but these teams don't think they're gonna win. they're not trying to win. they're trying to appear to be trying to win. they're placating the fans. that's why i don't have anything to say about the mets, or the orioles, or the royals, or the whoever else. they're businesses. i don't read the wall street journal; i don't care about the profits of news corp.

what do i care about? the players. i like to watch them. i like to rate them. i like to evaluate their talents. they're artists, and i appreciate their art. so that's what we'll be doing here. we'll leave the rest to the stockholders.

god i can't wait till april.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
the new york matsuis
i've dogged rob neyer in the past, but he's put out a number of good columns in the past few weeks. one in particular that i agree with is his take on kaz matsui. the mets are in for a mild disappointment.
braves get jd drew
john schuerholz is smart. i've said that before. other smart gm's: billy beane, theo epstein (so far), jp ricciardi. . . . that's all i can think of. dave littlefield seems to be doing well in pittsburgh. that cleveland guy, maybe. shapiro. dave dombrowski. i think he's a president not a gm but he built the marlins and he should be able to build the tigers. it's the al central after all. trade analysis is easy when a smart gm is involved. you know the trade was good for his team. one day i'll be able to say "her team." or i could say it now, as an indefinite third-person pronoun.

the other myth i wanna bust is the idea that a trade is a contest between general managers. people have the idea that there is one side that "wins" the trade. like there's a set amount of value, ergo one side must get more than half. this is not the case. most trades help both teams. that's why they happen. sorry to make things less exciting.

adam wainwright is overrated. there's this thing that's happening now where baseball prospectus will anoint someone a "prospect" and then statheads everywhere think he's god. rotoworld is a prime example. everything they write is some watered-down bp opinion.
write me letters!
this one's about my free agent commentary:

every now and then i get a letter from someone who just discovered my blog and red something they liked. then they read more and realize i'm crazy.
yankees spend more money
steinbrenner just can't help himself. one of these days he's gonna explode. gonna?

so now brian cashman isn't allowed at the winter meetings, and they send yhency brazoban and brandon weeden (+ throw-ins) for the privelege of paying kevin brown's contract.

it's not that they're future stars; it's that they're all the yanks have. brazoban's actually kind of interesting. he's apparently a converted outfielder, so his arm probly still works, and he looks like he brings heat. don't be surprised if his k's surpass his innings in 2004.

they should run him out (the boss) now, instead of waiting for him to completely rid the team of all useful players like they did 15 years ago. you'd think they'd learn.

coming in 2005: "steinbrenner sucks, part 2".
sorry, tigers fans
overpaying fernando vina isn't going to accomplish anything. neither is overpaying rondell white.

mets, ditto (kaz matsui, mike cameron).
i may not have a cool bushy mustache, but i can infringe on trademarks with the best of em.

left-handed hitters. they're so mysterious. why are they so good? what is it that makes them so good? i mean, they have the platoon advantage over most pitchers, but that doesn't account for it, completely. so what is it? what is this magic mojo? tell me! the suspense is killing me!

it's that they're closer to first base. that's it. nothing mysterious.
i don't know why any of you read this
in college i was in the film club. we had expensive facilities and thought we were special, but that's a tangent. one day the film club took a trip to comiskey park (now we're on topic.) two of the people i rode with were a couple, both from baltimore, both orioles fans.

this was a few years ago, when the o's were still spending tons of money and eating their shirts.

me: "what's wrong with the orioles?"

them: "i don't know."

that's the story. sorry if you thought would be better. ok i'm not sorry. but the weird thing is that they both spoke at the same time. no, the weird thing is fans think that when the owner spends money, he's a good owner, and when he saves money, he's bad. that's the level we're dealing with. teams have finally wised up, and stopped trying to win (except for a few). they know that losing a popular player will have direct negative impact at the gates. and they're a business. they're interested in profit. in baseball, it's easy to make a profit. so they're doing it.

you're not fans, you're cattle.
Saturday, December 13, 2003
arbitration day (sung to the tune of celebration day)
who knew the offseason could be this exciting? my knee-jerk reactions:

1. the orioles are stupid. but we already knew that.

2. the red sox are still better than the yankees. although i do not think they should lose nomar. i'd rather have nomar and his contract than arod and his contract.

3. the dodgers have successfully dumped kevin brown's contract (and picked up $3 million of weaver's!). they'll probably waste the money anyway.

4. the astros paid too much for andy pettitte. they won't sniff the cubs. the cubs, btw, could easily win 100 games with all the crap they get to play against. i predict 95.

5. if clemens is a stro, things get a little more interesting. oswalt-clemens-pettitte is a quality top 3, with good 4 & 5 options (robertson, saarloos, redding, hernandez), a strong bullpen, and a solid lineup (despite the black hole at catcher). oh yeah wade miller is pretty good too.

6. the braves win the nl east. i don't know how, but just you wait and see. the biggest reason for the braves success in the last six years, by the way, is andruw jones. in addition to his solid offensive contributions, he is the best defensive center fielder of all time, by far.

7. the a's didn't tender jose guillen, the braves didn't tender gary sheffield, and the expos didn't tender vladimir guerrero. something stinks. that's all i'm gonna say. it makes you think i know something.

8. 8. i forgot what 8 was for.

9. blogger sucks. i've got to find a new site. or give up (probly the better option).
Friday, December 05, 2003
we aim to please
jason from chicago:

taking them one at a time . . .

when you're lookig for luck, you look at batting average. after the ball comes off the bat, it bounces around and does crazy things. the ball is the source of randomness for most sports. that's why fox always shows closeups of it flying through the air. i can throw a ball in the air. i wanna see people. golf is the prime example: "look at that ball! whoa, that ball is crazy!"

so here's the theory: batting average depends on 3 skills: making contact, hitting the ball hard, and running fast.
larry bigbie had 287 at-bats, 29 walks, 25 extra-base hits, and 60 strikeouts in 2003. that means he had a walk rate of 29/316=.092, a contact rate of 227/287=.791, and a power rate of 25/227=.110. major league average average for those numbers is .100 .816 .110, so he's slightly below.

but larry pulled in with a batting average of .303, well above the major league norm of .260. we would have expected him to hit (.791)*(.272+(.110)/2)=.259, based on his contact and power, so he gained 43 points from speed and luck.

maybe he's ichiro suzuki's long-lost twin brother. let's see . . . he is left-handed, but he only stole 7 bases and hit 1 triple. so it's safe to say he won't break any land-speed records. his speed is probably worth about 20 points.

that leaves 20 points to luck, and 3 to the gods. so he's a .280 hitter.

his expected obp is (.092)+(287/316)*(.280)=.346, not .365. he'll have a nice, productive peak over the next few years and then quietly fade away.
eating my words
apparently, the a's offered $6 mil a year to keith foulke. so maybe they'll keep him. also, they don't have mark johnson anymore.

wild claims . . . keepin readers on their toes!
Monday, December 01, 2003
the only team that knows what they're doing
from rotoworld:

rotoworld doesn't get it. the a's didn't re-sign giambi, they didn't re-sign damon, they're not re-signing tejada, and they're not re-signing keith foulke. they don't re-sign.

also, billy beane does not run his organization like a fantasy team, so he's not looking to "replace" his catcher. he has catchers. they are good baseball players. he may improve his stock at the position, but he may improve his stock at any position. mark johnson is a definite possibility for significant playing time. he was a river cat last year, came over in the rape of the white sox.

rant rant rant. that's all i ever do.

Powered by Blogger