Thursday, August 28, 2014

Excerpt: "On Not Claiming Colon"

"The phrase "new market inefficiency" has become a punch line, but this may be one. Buying older starting pitchers carries much less financial risk than signing prime-age ones does. There's a projected performance gap, but only when compared to the very top of the market. I'd rather sign Greinke or Sanchez or Cliff Lee, #1 or high-#2 starters for market-level money. Once you're on the next level down, however, it's better to aim for older starters who require a shorter commitment."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Excerpt: "The Nationals"

"The Nationals stand out dramatically, however; they have the fewest times caught stealing (tied) and fewest position-player sacrifices. Matt Williams, supposed leader of men, is actually a better tactical manager than he is a people manager."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Excerpt: "The Great Talent Dilution"

"What James didn't consider, and what I certainly didn't until today, is that expansion might dilute the level of grounds crew talent. That 1990s double expansion left us not just with 15% more MLB stadia, but 15% more baseball stadia throughout the professional ranks. It's taken a while for that effect to show up, but I think what we've seen in Chicago and New York this summer is the bleeding edge of a crisis that threatens baseball diamonds around the country."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Excerpt: "The Case For Automated Strike Zones"

"I look at the catcher-framing data and see an indictment of home-plate umpiring, one so clear as to demand immediate change. What the framing data tells me is that umpires are not calling balls and strikes based on where a pitch crosses the plate, but based on what happens when it hits the catcher's mitt. What I see in the catcher framing data is the most clear evidence yet that umpires are not enforcing critical clauses of Rule 2.00."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Excerpt: "Wanted: Chief Baseball Officer"

"I'm not naive enough to suggest that baseball shouldn't have a CEO. I think, though, that it should also have a commissioner, or if perhaps that word is too fraught, after Landis and Kuhn and Selig, perhaps a Chief Ambassador. I'm not talking about waking up Tommy Lasorda for two innings and having him tell a story, I'm talking about a face for the game that's young, that knows not only who Mike Trout is but who bats in front of him for the Angels. I'm talking about someone who'll spend 140 days a year in ballparks, not in a suite, but in a seat, or walking a park, talking ball with fans. I'm talking about hiring someone who not only knows how to use e-mail, but also the Play Index and who often has both of them open while sussing out trades for his fantasy team."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Excerpt: "The Orioles"

"The Orioles are next-to-last in pitcher strikeouts in the AL, ahead of only the Twins. Even with that, however, they have allowed the sixth-fewest hits in the league and the eighth-fewest singles, despite playing in a pretty good park for hitters. (Three of the four lowest singles-allowed totals come from the AL West trio of the A's, Angels and Mariners, which indicates a park/unbalanced schedule effect.) It's because of the defense. When you hit a ground ball against the Orioles, it becomes an out at a very high rate."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Excerpt: "Third Third Previews, Part II"

"The Brewers have repeatedly beat back charges by the Pirates and Cardinals, but it feels like they're running out of time. I'm thinking about the 2012 White Sox, who held first place for most of the season, but succumbed to a better Tigers team in the season's final two weeks. The Brewers, like those White Sox, are a righty-heavy team that leans heavily on the longball and surprisingly good starting pitching, have benefited from the division favorite struggling for most of the season, and have by and large kept their starting lineup healthy. That White Sox team was ten games over .500 two years ago right now and closed 27-29 while the Tigers went 31-24 to overtake them."