Archive | February, 2010

Sabermetric Tools

We talk about a handful of complicated metrics and pull data from a myriad of different places. One of the first things about diving into the world of Sabermetrics is knowing where to look for information for your own analysis. I included a list of my most favorite places for your perusal.

Fan Graphs
Slowly turning into the defacto SABR campsite, Fan Graphs gives you all the benefits of any normal statistical aggregator site, while also adding the more useful new metrics to every player page. Need to quickly find a player’s xFIP, WAR, and specific batted ball data? Fan Graphs is the quickest way to get it.

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All Aughts Team of the Decade Dishonorable Mention: Eric Gagne

MLB: Cubs v Rangers June 21, 2007

With 26 percent of the vote, Eric Gagne barely edged out Carl Everett (23 percent) to “win” dishonorable Boston fans welcomed Gagne to town at the trading deadline (the trade was for Kason Gabbard, since returned, David Murphy who has evolved into a great fourth outfielder/sometimes starter, and prospect Engel Beltre.)

Game Over had arrived… but it was the other kind of Game Over. The losing kind. mention on the All-Aughts Team of the Decade. Gagne won despite being placed on the poll hours after Everett and the other main candidates were on it (Julio Lugo joined Gagne).

Boston fans welcomed Gagne to town at the 2007 trading deadline (the trade was for Kason Gabbard, since returned, David Murphy who has evolved into a great fourth outfielder/sometimes starter, and prospect Engel Beltre.)

Game Over had arrived… but it was the other kind of Game Over. The losing kind.

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J.D. Drew contemplates retirement after 2011

During an interview yesterday J.D. Drew made interesting comments about his future with the Red Sox and in baseball. While the league has shifted and older players are being forced to take lower value contracts or forced into retirement Drew appears ready for this on his own. “I think every player has a mindset that […]

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What about lineup protection?

Boston Red Sox David Ortiz breaks his bat and reaches first base on a fielders choice against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York

It didn’t take long for David Ortiz to ask for a “power” bat to protect him in the lineup after Manny Ramirez was traded. This was oddly timed last year as the team was returning Jason Bay to the lineup and was expecting big things from him. Now with Bay gone Ortiz has stuck to his mantra asking who is supposed to “protect” him now.

This is a mental thing for David, but protection is a very misunderstood idea. The first thing I would hope is that Ortiz would take it upon himself to become the protection. To stop expecting it of others and say “I can hit 35 homers have a .400 OBP and carry this team”. Outside of that we need to understand what is known about protection.

Early studies looked at different numbers and found lineup protection to be largely a myth. Some were small size studies. Others said any effect they found was so small to be considered a myth. So we should just ignore Ortiz’s statement and move on? Not yet.

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Today, Mike Lowell talked to the press about his role and future with the Boston Red Sox. Lowell wanted to reach out to the fanbase after his trade to the Texas Rangers failed to materialize in the offseason because of injury.

Mike Lowell has comes to terms with the business of baseball, and that his past services to the ballclub shouldn’t be overlooked, but also shouldn’t prevent the club from continuing to improve position by position. He wanted to pass this along to the fans as well, to not look at his situation with any bitterness or contempt for the front office’s decisions.

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Baseball America top 100

Baseball America has released the top 100 prospect list today and after getting hammered for an hour or so with traffic I was finally able to view the list. This list along with John Sickels at MinorLeagueBall.com are my favorite and most trusted lists.

The Red Sox saw four players crack the list this year with none in the top 20.

  • 21 – Ryan Westmoreland
  • 24 – Casey Kelly
  • 75 – Josh Reddick
  • 87 – Lars Anderson
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Yankees buy on small sample size

Phillies' Chan Ho Park pitches during game 5 of the world series in Philadelphia

Yesterday the Yankees made an interesting move and added Chan Ho Park to the roster for $1.2 million and $300,000 in incentives. This gives them some options regarding Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes and could result in one going to Triple-A to start the year. The question is does Park really bring anything to the Yankees?

Park is one of those players who benefited early in his career from park factors in Dodger Stadium from 1996-2001, long before FIP or QERA was around to let the masses see what was really going on. His FIP in LA was 4.33, but he looked much better with an ERA of 3.77 and clearly a factor of his low number of home runs against.

In 2002 he moved to Texas and things have never been the same. His ERA since leaving has been 5.22, but in a very small sample size of 50 IP last year he looked to turn things around. Was this change for real giving the Yankees a new bullpen threat or was it nothing but sample size issues and a regression in Yankee Stadium sure to come?

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AL East Sleepers: New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York

For a team that won the 2009 league championship while standing atop the AL East leaderboards for much of the past decade, the team would seem, at first glance, bereft of sleepers.

Not so, however, even for these ’09 defending champions. A favorite even at this early juncture in Spring Training, the club could get even better by the time the season rolls around.

SP/RP Phil Hughes

Hughes is – and for quite some time has been – one of the best young pitchers in affiliated baseball. It was not so long ago – three years to be exact – that Phil Hughes was the best pitching prospect in the game, edging out Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey for that honor.

Though hamstring injuries and bouts of wildness slowed down his progress during the ’07 and ’08 campaigns, Hughes came back with a vengeance last season, reminding all bystanders why he was once such a highly touted prospect.

Still just 23 years old, the Yankees owe it to Hughes and to themselves to give the hurler another shot at a full-time rotation gig. Worth 2.2 wins last season, that number could easily swell to four or five if he pitches up to his potential…

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Fireside Chats #71: Where Tim holds a presser explaining his recent absence from the show

Everyone has been wondering where Tim’s been and why there’s been no Fireside Chats as pitchers and catchers reported to Fort Myers. We now have answers. He’s been chumming it up in rehab with his pal Tiger Woods. But unlike Tiger, Tim’s ready to get back to work!

Seriously though, with the Red Sox heading back to Fort Myers, its time to take a look at the team the Red Sox are about to put on the field and decide what we expect out of the local nine in 2010. Starting this week, Paul and Tim will look, first at the infield then outfield and so forth, at Fangraphs’ compilation of expert and community projections and give an assessment of their accuracy as well as will those numbers be good enough for this team to compete for a championship in 2010.

First up: Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Marco Scutaro, and Adrian Beltre.

All that and more on this episode of Fireside Chats.

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The All-80s Players

Fooled you!

Anyway, they only 80s I wanted to talk about were the 80 million dimes given to Johnny Damon by the Detroit Tigers, and how it relates to our favorite rivals 210 miles south.

Personally, I was hoping teams would continue to stonewall Damon. With his declining defense, girl-scout level throwing power, and offensive season fueled by a short right field in Yankee Stadium III, the possibility that he couldn’t even scrape by a $5M deal was fueling my schadenfreude. My guess was that he’d eventually cave to Kenny Williams’ $4M deal the White Sox offered. This deal by the Tigers seems panicked, at best.

After trading away Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson for prospects, I understand the need to restock the outfield to replace Granderson. However, I’m very curious about the timing.

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