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Juan Uribe (2B, SS, 3B) 79% Yahoo! ownership
Chances are if you're in a league that has 12 teams or more Uribe is owned. But if he's available in your league, snatch him up. Uribe has always been a power hitter throughout his career so the 12 homers Uribe has should be no surprise. Plus Uribe's multiple positions makes him a rich man's Ty Wiggington.
Erick Aybar (SS) 43% Yahoo! ownership
If you're looking for cheap steals, Aybar is your man. And within the past month he's hitting .380 and is a career .270 hitter who hit .312 last year. Essentially everybody and their mother are stealing bases nowadays but it's nice to have a guy who won't kill your BA (like mother freaking Juan Pierre is doing)
Clint Barmes (2B, SS) 17% Yahoo! ownership
With Tulo being out Barmes is now getting more playing time and with the second best FB% among shortstops and second basemen (AND while playing in homer-friendly Coors), I expect a lot more home runs (and subsequent RBI's in that Rockies line up) to come from Barmes. Although don't expect too much BA help with his current .265 BABIP (.283 career and .256 BA career)
Alexei Rameriz (SS) 62% Yahoo! ownership
I think Alexei is about a .280 BA guy so his .264 BA I think will come up- and his .292 BA within the past month is a sign of this- with some power and speed is always a great combination. A-Ram plays for the White Sox which makes him an awesome fantasy guy because with the weather heating up in The Cell and Ozzie giving his entire team (sans Konerko) the green light to run, I expect more HR and SB to come out of the bag o' bones that is Alexei Rameriz. Think of him as a very poor man's Alex Rios.
SIDENOTE: I for some reason still like Gordon Beckham. No idea why though.
Answer: The Corner, because you're in time out for not liking beer. 94 strong years of failure, disappointment and drunkeness and counting.
On another note, Dallas McPherson and Brandon Wood called. They want their career back.
1B- Paul Konerko (CWS)
2B- Ryan Theriot (CHC)
SS- Alexei Rameriz (CWS)
3B- Omar Vizquel (CWS)
Jesus Christ this was hard. Both Mark Teahen and Aramis Rameriz are just awful.
LF- Alfonso Soriano (CHC)
CF- Alex Rios (CWS)
RF- Marlon Byrd (CHC)
DH- Carlos Quentin (CWS)
BN- Juan Pierre (CWS)
BN- Tyler Colvin (CHC)
BN- Starlin Castro (CHC)
BN- Chad Tracy (CHC)
BN- A.J. Pierzynski (CWS)
Hey, every team needs a back up catcher!
SP1- Carlos Silva (CHC)
SP2- John Danks (CWS)
SP3- Ted Lilly (CHC)
SP4- Ryan Dempster (CHC)
SP5- Gavin Floyd (CWS)
RP- Sean Marshall (CHC)
RP- Tom Gorzelanny (CHC)
RP- J.J. Putz (CWS)
RP- Sergio Santos (CWS)
RP- Matt Thorton (CWS)
CL- Carlos Marmol (CHC)
I just finished reading Superfreakonomics (BTW, an awful sequel, and book in general, to one of this generations greatest books) and they have some interesting things to say about baseball…
The first interesting note is that men who are voted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame outlive those who are narrowly omitted. This theory behind this is that prestige brings about health benefits. This holds true for Nobel Lauretes and MLB Hall of Famers, winning/ getting in means you'll generally live longer than those who came oh-so-close. Which means a guy like Blyleven is actually on his death bed by now.
The second interesting note is that a U.S. born boy born in August is 50% more likely to make the majors than one born in July. This is because MLB is conspiring with hospitals to give all boys born in August steroids when they're born. And because of cut off dates in little league baseball. The general cut off date for little leagues is in July. This means if you have an August birthday, you have missed the cut off date and can't play with all your friends born in June and July. But what this also means is that you're essentially the oldest kid compared to everyone in the league you are in. So if you were born in August 1987 you'll be playing with kids born in July of 1988. As kids with August birthdays generally go through little league, they are also generally stronger, faster, and better at baseball- because they are the oldest on the field. And it's these kids who are more encouraged to continue playing the sport, because they're so good at it. So rest assured DME (a kid who's birthday falls at the very end of July), you were never any good at baseball not because of your natural skill, but because your parents had to be dumb and spit you out a week too early! (I don't know if you can read the tone I'd like to project, but please take these comments in jest DME. And everybody else too.).
But the biggest factor though in why an American boy makes it to the MLB- having a dad who played in the MLB. Or in the case of Tyler Williams, because your dad is a dumb GM and can draft you.
EDITOR'S NOTE: After re-reading this article, I can see how this article might appear racist. Please take this entire article with the jest I intended it to have. I'm not making (or at least trying to make) any generalization of any Black people or trying to pass any judgment on any particular person or type of person. My anecdotes, although true, are not meant to be nor should they be any sort of representation of any larger whole. That being said, be rational and think about what I'm saying and tell me I'm not right.
This is not the most gangsta baseball players and a team full of Milton Bradley's and Ron Artest's. This is a rank of the most gangsta fans; which hats and teams do gangsta most root for? Anecdote: I was in a public speaking class with a prominent football wide receiver (unfortunately not the current Tampa Bay wide out Regis Benn) and he often wore a Tampa Bay Rays hat. One day we asked him to name just ONE Tampa Bay Rays player (this was less than one year after TB went to the World Series). He named us David Ortiz. Now on to the show!
5) Los Angeles Dodgers
When I first think Dodgers, I think of Yuppies in Hollywood paying WAY too much money to see a game they're not really watching. But I'm overlooking Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" and one of the greatest centers for hip-hop in the past 40 years- L.A. Plus, I wanna root for a team where I make a hand gesture that represents my team's logo and my city.
4) New York Yankees
I first said a big fat "NO" to putting the Yankees on this list. Not because I'm a homer Red Sox fan, but because EVERYONE is a fair whether fan and has a Yankee hat. But I thought about it more and the current King of Hip Hop, Jay-Z, loves his Yankees and there are a lot of others that follow in his footsteps. And since the beginning of rap's creation (which started in New York), rappers have rocked the "NY" cap. You don't see any rappers with a Mets hat do you?
3) Atlanta Braves
Atlanta has become the king of hip hop since Outkast first come out with "Rosa Parks" and "Bombs Over Baghdad" and the A-T-L have been rolling strong since with guys like J.D., T.I., and LUDA! The Braves are HUGE in the Dirrrrty South and everyone down therrrr's gotta rock the "A" hat and apparently not pronounce or spell their words correctly.
2) Chicago White Sox
The Cubbies are on the North Side and the ChiSox are on the South Side. And you know what's on the South Side: gangstas. Walk around my "beloved" Northern Illinois University see how many brothas wear White Sox hats. ANECDOTE: I was on a bus during my time at University of Illinois and my freshman year was the year the White Sox won the World Series. Behind me were some brothas and a sista. The sista was wearing a brand new White Sox hat and the brothas asked her to name one White Sox player. Her response: "[words I can't say because I'm white] who cares? I like the hat!" Hmmm, seems to be a theme here.
1) Washington Nationals
I was having this argument with my brother about the most gangsta teams and that sparked this blog post. He put our White Sox first, but I think the Washington Nationals take the cake. You don't seem TOO many Nats hats and fans, but when you do, you know they're a gangsta. I mean, you had to be if you were going to support the Nationals before this year. I also take the White Sox out of the #1 spot because hell, my brother and I are huge White Sox fans and sport the ChiSox gear. I know too many "non-gangstas" like myself to put Chicago #1. Although the Nats may not have quantity, they have quality.
- Oakland A's. My brother put the A's at #3 on his list just because it's Oakland. Ice Cube recently did a 30 For 30 documentary about the merger of L.A. gangsta rap and sports. But the "sport" was mainly the Raiders, not the A's. Plus, too many nerds who live in their parents basement who read Moneyball loves the A's so I can't in good conscience put them in the top 5
- Baltimore Orioles. I'm currently watching the entire series of The Wire. Half the show follows around bad-ass cops chasing drug dealers and the other half follows around the drug organization. And all are Orioles fans. But Baltimore doesn't really scream "gangsta" does it?
The 5 Least Gangsta Teams
5) Chicago Cubs
4) Seattle Mariners
3) Houston Astros
2) Minnesota Twins
1) Milwaukee Brewers
Honorable Mentions: New York Mets, San Fransisco Giants
Props to DME for finding this picture, courtesy of his friend.
I have created a 14 team, 1/4 PPR, auction league. If you would like to join, contact us at email@example.com or comment on the blog and I will send you the information to join.
I won two years ago and my brother won the league last year. Can you defeat the family dominance?
-Floyd has the second highest ERA/FIP split (1.53) in the majors. He was first for a while.
-In the past month, in 38.0 IP, Floyd has a 3.08 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 35 strike outs. He only has one win but within the past month was the Sunday Night game against Ted Lilly where he pitched eight innings, gave up only one run, and had a no hitter through six, and still got the loss.
-Floyd has the best GB% (49.4), K/9 (7.70), FIP (3.67), HR/9 (.76), and average fastball velocity (92.2) of his career so far this year.
-Floyd has an abnormally unlucky BABIP (.340) this year. BABIP for pitchers generally lie around .300 and Floyd has a career .297 BABIP.
-His xFIP is still under 4.00 (3.93)
-It seems like every time I see Floyd pitch, after he allows a guy to get on first he induces the next batter into what should be a double play (I've seen Bacon mess up a handful of DP's this year). Obviously I don't have any data to prove my point but it's another good sign I see from him.
-DME also took a look at Gavin Floyd in his weekly AL Waiver Wire Column on The Hardball Times the other week and agrees that Floyd's been one of baseball's most unlucky pitchers.
Sure, Floyd is still walking guys (3.14 BB/9) so his WHIP is certainly not going to help you, but I'm not fooled by Floyd's current numbers because I think he's going to (and has already started) pitch a lot better to bring his numbers down to where his peripherals tell me they should be.
Alas, from the ashes of one Francisco Rodriguez, like a phoenix, arises another. New Francisco Rodriguez, who I have dubbed K-Rod v.2.0, has quietly been one of the Angels best relievers this season since coming aboard in late May. In 10.1 IP this season, K-Rod 2.0 has allowed only 1 ER, induced groundballs at a 72.2% GB%, struck out 15 and only walked 1 batter...all while consistently reaching the mid-90's (94.3) with his fastball. The samples are minute, but have the Angels found themselves a new K-Rod to fill in for closer of the future (with Kevin Jepsen as the future Scot Shields)?
Per Minor League Splits K-Rod 2.0 has a neutralized 4.89 FIP over 430.2 IP (this figure accounts for minor league park factors). This is an equivalent MLB FIP of 5.90, far from roster worthy. However, there are a few signs that K-Rod 2.0 might be a useful reliever in the future, albeit not nearly as useful as he's been thus far.
1) Groundball rates
From his numbers, K-Rod 2.0 is undoubtedly a groundball pitcher. His minor league GB% is 47.6% and in the limited major league play he's seen this year, K-Rod 2.0 is inducing groundballs at almost a 75% clip. Before his promotion this season, K-Rod 2.0 had a minor league groundball rate above 53%.
2) Increasing strikeouts
Usually, as a pitcher goes up levels in the minors, his strikeout rates tend to fall. Even K-gods such as Lincecum saw their K/9 rates fall from 2 bazillion to only 1 bazillion when they got bumped up to triple-A. Not so much K-Rod 2.0. In fact, since his A+ level debut in 2006 with a 5.45 K/9 rate, K-Rod has induced more swings and misses and strikeouts per nine as he's gained experience as jumped levels. He had a 7.0 K/9 in AAA this season and is currently spotting a superior 19.7% swinging strike rate. Keep in mind, we are only working with 10 innings of sample size here, so obviously a lot of numbers are inflated by outcomes in just a few situations, but there is reason to believe that K-Rod 2.0 might be able to induce his fair share of swings and misses in the majors. His equivalent MLB K/9, based on minor league strikeout rates at each level, is 5.10 overall, but 7.66 in his last 28 days in the minors.
Of course, of concern is the walk rate. K-Rod 2.0, like K-Rod 1.0, tends to walk too many batters, though this is oft the case with hard throwing pitchers. K-Rod has issued 4.18 walks per nine in the minors, which is the MLB-equivalent of 5.81.
Free passes will have to be lessened if K-Rod 2.0 is to stick in the majors, but I eagerly anticipate the interleague game where the two K-Rods face off.
Ughhhh, even Les Grobstein, one of the most knowledgeable sports personalities on the radio, does not understand sabermetrics. Actually he hates sabermetrics and would rather stick to the batting average and RBIs as a way to evaluate the value of a player. The reason Les works in radio and people like me don't, besides me having better stuff going on, is that 95% of the population still thinks like Les. Stupid, outdated ideas about sports. Even though I may be right, only 5% of the population would agree with me, hence I would not accommodate all the listeners and people would not listen. That is how you get a job in this world. Don't do the right thing, do whatever pleases the most people. Unfortunately I was unable to record most of the conversation, but you can get the point. You can listen to the audio on podbean. Here
It appears that EA sports has chose Conn Smythe winner and Blackhawks captain as the new cover boy for NHL 2011 on the XBox and PS3. This is newsworthy because I was strolling through the electronics section recently and noticed that Stanley Cup hero Patrick Kane was the cover boy for the 2010 version of the game. Now I stopped playing video games about the time the Super NES went out of vogue, so I am no expert on video game etiquette, but it seems odd that two players from the same franchise would be the face of the NHL in consecutive years. Things just keep getting better for Blackhawks fans...in the words of Sammy Sosa "I just want to keep it continue"
The relevant formula:
I'll update this post when I find a publicly available data source from which to obtain the necessary stats to input into the formula.
We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with the new podcasting site, so you will have to go to the old podbean host to hear the new podcast. Here
Comcast Sportsnet compiled some of the "great" one liners from the mouth of one Hawk Harrelson. Yes, the legend himself who once upon a time invented batting gloves subsequent to inventing the game of baseball. Now you can play the Hawk Harrelson drinking game at any time, cause who actually wants to sit through a White Sox game even if your drunk
"No Trade" Draft League: Tester
Notice any disparities? Like a 2nd place to last place disparity?
Auction League: Fantasyland
5) Carlos Gonzalez (CarGo)
When I think of Carlos Gonzalez, I imagine the incredible extension and torque that he is able to generate with his body. As a result the ball generates incredible back spin allowing it to carry further and further over the fence. For a player that isn't incredibly tall or strong, he can hit it with the big boys as his 413 foot homer average this year shows.
4) Bryce Harper
Yeah, I know he's not even in the major leagues right now and may not be for another 3 years. But we have a thing called youtube and Bryce Harper may have the fastest hip rotation of anyone in baseball today. He was the unanimous number pick in last Mondays MLB draft. He is praised for having one of the fastest bat swings in recorded history. From Sports Illustrated, "Still only 16, Harper stands 6'3", weighs 205 pounds, has faster bat speed than Mark McGwire in his prime and runs so fast that he scored on wild pitches six times this season from second base."
3) Adrian Gonzalez
Adrian Gonzalez was a first overall selection of the Marlins out of high school in 2000 and was described as having a perfect swing. I remember the first home run I saw him hit for the Texas Rangers. His effortless swing reminded me of Rafael Palmeiro, except it was smoother and more variable. The Rangers, who already had an All-Star first baseman in Mark Teixeira decided to give Gonzalez to the Padres for Adam Eaton. Since getting the starting position in San Diego, Gonzalez has become one of the most desirable young players in the game. DME showed us the true greatness of Agon if had played in Fenway instead of Petco Park last year.
2) Chase Utley
Utley's swing can be described as the opposite of Carlos Gonzalez. Instead of using a large wind up and extending every limb of his body to generate torque, Utley instead uses a very short, abbreviated swing to generate his force. With almost no follow through, Utley must have incredibly strong hands to produce the force to hit 8 home runs in a single playoffs.
1) Robinson Cano
I made a bold prediction that Cano was going to win the MVP award this season based solely on the beauty of his swing. When I watch Cano hit, I feel like i'm in the 1950's watching the great players of yesteryear. He is able to generate even more back spin on the ball than CarGo, except there is much less movement and uncertainty in his swing. He is able to turn on the inside pitch, while smacking line drives to the opposite field.
Such that we don't discriminate against right handed swings, my list would include: Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Zimmerman
Lets not forget the sweetest swing of all
- BA: .122
- HR: 1 (41 AB/HR)
- SB: 0
- R: 3 (14.7 AB/R)
- RBI: 2 (20.5 AB/R)
- BABIP: .125
- BA: .295
- HR: 8 (22.9 HR/AB),
- SB: 6 (30.5 AB/SB),
- R: 30 (7.3 AB/R),
- RBI: 25 (6.1 AB/RBI)
- BABIP: .325
- BA: .285
- AB/HR: 24.5
- AB/SB: 33.2
- AB/R: 7.6
- AB/RBI: 7.4
- BABIP: .317
Update: Pence just another home run today.
After hitting .188/.264/.292 to start the season, Chris Davis was sent down to AAA to make room for Justin Smoak, who currently is hitting .215/.333/.382 on the season. Though Smoak has been a highly touted prospect the past few seasons, there's been very little fire through his first 171 PA (sample size!) in the majors. Is Smoak really a better option for the Rangers than Davis? Let's dig into the numbers.
Anyone who reads this blog, knows me, or listens to this podcast knows how much I (irrationally) love Chris Davis. Davis is an all-or-nothing hitter who makes great contact (career 22.6% line drive hitter) when he actually makes contact (below average career 65.5% contact rate). As I noted in the offseason, Chris Davis' 2010 prospects solely hinged upon his strikeout rate. If Davis could keep his strikeout rate in the mid-20% range as he did in the second half of 2009, he would be an invaluable asset. If not, well, he'd hit like he did in the first half of 2009.
Before his demotion this season, Chris Davis was striking out at an unacceptable, 2010 David Wright-like 35.4% clip. Though this K% is lower than last season's 38.4% rate, it seemed like Davis was taking steps back from the strides he made in the second half of last year and in the minors last season. However, a closer look at his numbers reveals otherwise.
Davis' problem at the plate has always been contact issues with pitches outside of the zone. His career O-Contact% of 47.9% is well below the 61+% MLB average (66.4% this season). Though this season has been no exception for Davis with respect to pitches outside the zone (36.7% O-Contact% this season), he was taking fewer hacks at those pitches this season (a career low 33% swing rate at O-Zone pitches versus a career 35.2% mark). The results have been a career high 9.4% walk rate and a career low Swinging Strike rate (SwStr%) of 15% (~20% lower than last year's 19.1% mark).
Given his second half strides with strikeouts last year and his improving approach at the plate this season, Davis's 35.4% seems unluckily and unnaturally high (Bad Umping, close call 3rd strikes -- with Davis only getting 53 PA in the majors this season, a single K% has a ~2% point impact on his K%). Something more in the 27-28% range seems more feasible.
Perhaps more concerning for Davis this season was the lack of home runs, though again, 53 PA is a terrible sample from which to draw conclusions about a player's power. His .104 ISO is half of what it was last season. These worries, however, might be put to rest by a look at Chris Davis' current minor league numbers. Minor League Splits does not have 2010 data for Davis to translate into major league production, but he is currently hitting .333/.392/.519 in AAA. Davis' 2010 AAA-ISO of .186 is well below his .268 minor league career mark, but its still light years ahead what we might dub "Darren Erstad power."
For his minor league career, Davis is a .309/.370/.577 hitter. Minor League Splits says this his minor league track record is worth a .246/.290/.437 major league line with ~28 HR per 650 AB. At the major league level, Davis owns a .253/.302/.475 line with ~33.5 HR per 650 AB.
Justin Smoak, meanwhile, has a career minor league line of .293/.404/.454, which Minor League Splits says is worth a .222/.309/.328 line with 14 HR per 650 AB. His career MLB performance to date (SAMPLE SIZE!!) is .215/.333/.382 with ~27 HR per 650 AB.
Though minor league numbers are hardly the end-all, be-all predictor of major league success, given both player's struggles in the majors, I'll take the guy with the better minor league track any day of the week. This post is not a knock on Smoak, who I think will mature into a Derrek Lee a la 2008-like hitter, so much as it is a reaffirmation of my belief in Chris Davis. Another player with great minor league numbers who bounced around a lot before given a bona fide chance is Nelson Cruz, and we all know how that story turned out. Davis does not even have 800 PA to his name and he's already shown that he has legitimate HR power. Given his contact issues with out-of-zone pitches and a below average walk rate, Davis may never succeed at the MLB level (or at least not hit consistently, think Jonny Gomes). However, Davis is a guy who deserves a chance. He flashed what he can do in 2008 and late 2009 and that kind of upside is worth a gamble.
Perhaps he needs a change of scenery. The Cubs would be more than glad to accommodate him, I'm sure.
This theorem is calculated by the following formula:
In 2008, the Chicago Cubs led the major leagues with a 184 runs differential. They scored 855 and only allowed 671. Their PET calculated Win% was .619. Though the Cubs won 97 regular season games in 2008, their PET-predicted wins total was 100.25, meaning the Cubs "underperformed" by 3 wins.
Using the Cubs 2008 PET-based Win%, just how unlikely would it have been for the Cubs to win all 162 games? 1.725 x 10-32% or 1 to 5.798 x 1033.
Tonight's Pirates lineup (and their respective OP's) will probably look as follows:
C - Ryan Doumit (.434)
1B - Jeff Clement (.770)
2B - Ned Walker (.620)
SS - Ronny Cedeno (.714)
3B - Andy LaRoche (.692)
RF - Garrett Jones (.661)
CF - Andrew McCutchen (.619)
LF - Lastings Milledge (.678)
P (AVG OP) - Jeff Karstens (0.693)
The product of each player's OP cubed yields a theoretical and neutral context perfect game probability (or improbability) of 0.00000762%, or a little more than 50% the odds that the Indians would get perfect gamed the other night.
But who is to say a perfecto is reasonable? Too much luck involved. We all know the 20 K game is much more likely for "the next Mark Prior"...right?
The two new podcasts are "Almost Perfect Game and Football Rookies" and "NBA Free Agents and "NFL Backfields"
We're rocking on all cylinders now son!
On Base Percentage (OBP) is the likelihood of getting on-base. Outs Percentage (OP), calculated as 1-OBP, is the chance that an out is made. I wanted to take this and look at the possibility of the Cubs throwing a perfect game today, but the variability of pitchers hitting (and the double switch) makes lineup prediction for a whole game more volatile in the NL than AL. So, instead, I will look at the White Sox's opponent, the Cleveland Indians, and assume that there are no late-inning defensive replacements which will occur and that the OPs to date represent their true OBP ability (no sample size/random noise issues).
The Sizemore-less Indians lineup (.324 team OBP), in terms of OP, is as follows:
C - Lou Marson = .727
1B - Russell Branyan = .683
2B - Luis Valbuena = .706
SS - Jason Donald = .714
3B - Jhonny Peralta = .671
RF - Shin-Soo Choo = .620
CF - Austin Kearns = .629
LF - Shelly Duncan = .579
DH - Travis Hafner = .639
The product of each Indian's OP cubed yields a neutral context perfect game probability (or improbability) of 0.00001423%.
By contrast, the Yankees have a team OBP of .366 and their starting lineup's OP, as currently situated, looks like this:
C - Frank Cervelli = .625
1B - Mark Teixeira = .664
2B - Robinson Cano = .593
SS - Derek Jeter = .648
3B - Alex Rodriguez = .626
RF - Nick Swisher = .599
CF - Curtis Granderson = .658
LF - Brett Gardner = .622
DH - Jorge Posada = .607
The product of each Yankee's OP cubed yields a neutral context perfect game probability (or extreme improbability) of 0.00000328%. That means that, as currently situated, the Yankees are 4.34 times less likely to have a perfect game thrown against them than the Indians.
And thus explains the Armando Galarraga "perfect" game. Anyone want to calculate the odds of a no-hitter?
The 2010 SF Giants are currently the best defensive team in baseball. They have accumulated a team Fielding Runs Above Replacement (FRAR) of +18.0, meaning their defense alone has won them an additional ~1.8 games compared to the mythical "league average team." At this rate, Giants gloves are preventing +0.38 runs per inning. If all stays constant, what does this say about the 2010 Giants pitching staff going forward??
Right now, the Giants are fourth in baseball with a team ERA of 3.25 and are sporting the highest team K/9 mark (8.00, slightly ahead of the Cubs' 7.98 mark) in the league. The starting five -- Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Barry Zito and Todd Wellemeyer -- have respective ERAs of 3.14, 2.36, 2.90, 2.78, 5.03. At the behest of a friend, who claimed that Zito was awesome, I took a look at what would happen if we adjusted each starter's peripherals based on park/defensive metrics. The results are interesting.
According to Baseball-Reference's 3-year park factor data, AT&T Park has inflated total run scoring by ~4%. Using this index, the Giants' FRAR/Inning rate and xFIP data, we can project each starter's prospects for the rest of the season, boldly assuming all (such as K/9, BB/9, GB%, FRAR/Inning) stats remain constant. Adjust mentally based on where you think each player will improve/regress as the season progresses.
All of the above produced the following chart:
Cain has obviously outpitched his peripherals so far this season with a career low K/9 rate. If Cain can regain his strikeout talents going forward, I'd take the under on his ERA projection.
Other than Cain, the rest of those numbers seem about right to me. What do you think?
Baseball is a game inherent with errors by the players. Poping out, hanging a slider, having a ball bounce off your head for a home run. There is enough error to go around. The rules of the game should not be one of them. If there are errors on the field AND errors in the rule book that just leads to exponentially increased errors in any single game, which leads to drastically distorted game outcomes. It's like playing blackjack and 25% of the time you hit blackjack, the dealer misreads your cards and takes your money. That would really suck
I would rid of umpires altogether, maybe keep them just for aesthetic purposes
It's June, so you know what that means! Football posts!
I live in Chicago. I'm a huge football fan and I love the Chicago Bears. But I also have been criticized for being a huge Chicago homer. This is extremely valid and true. But I'd also like to think I know a lot about the league as a whole. A fellow co-worker of mine is from Maryland so we were having a rousing discussion about the Baltimore Ravens. We were talking about my boy Ray Rice and that crushing Baltimore D. And I like Baltimore. I LOVE that running game and trying to figure out Joe Flacco. And ever since my groundbreaking Santonio Holmes post, I wanted to see how Anquan Boldin would fit into this young, up and coming offense. So, to try and dispel my Windy City bias, get everybody to know the name Ray Rice, and to see how good Joe Flacco really is, here's how I project the Baltimore offense to perform next year.
The best and basic analysis to project any established wide out is this simple equation: (Targets * Catch Rate(CR) = Receptions) * Yards Per Reception (YPR) = Yards. As mentioned in the landmark book The Hidden Game of Football, touchdowns can not be predicted. You can predict how a team moves down the field to get a TD. But the actual play and player that gets the TD can not be predicted. They are like R and RBI's in baseball, you just have to see how good the player is, look at the team around him, and look at what the player has done in the past.
In fantasy football, you can look to see how good a player is, but that skill set can only translate into fantasy success if that player actually gets attempts, whether that's carries for a running back, attempts for a quarterback, or targets for a wide receiver. The best example of this was Pierre Thomas. Last year, the dude did really good things when he had the rock. But that didn't translate into fantasy success because Sean Peyton was dumb and "needed to distribute" carries (as well as prescription drugs) between Thomas, Reggie Bush, and Mike Bell. So I can tell you how good a player actually is, but that won't mean diddly unless they get the attempts to go along with their skill. However, for wide receivers, targets can be better projected based upon how the quarterback has thrown the ball in the past and how many targets the receiver has gotten in the past.
Here's a break down of Joe Flacco's targets the past two years ('08, then '09):
#1 Receiver: 121, 132
#2 Receiver: 82, 74
#3 Receiver: 23, 49
Todd Heap: 64, 75
Ray Rice: 43, 103
Other RBs: 52, 49
Other Receivers: 42, 17
Over the past two years, Flacco's #1 target has been the underrated Derrick Mason and his #2 has been Mark Clayton. But with the addition of Boldin, this makes Boldin #1, Mason #2, and Clayton #3. And Flacco's targets to his #1 wide out have been decently consistent with Boldin's targets the past two years (126 and 127 respectively). Therefore, I predict Boldin to get 130 targets next year. It's just a tick more than he's gotten in his career, but he's now a team's #1 (not #2) wide out and this is consistent with how Flacco throws the ball. Unfortunately, Mason probably will not get as many targets as he did in the past because he'll now be the #2 and not 1 receiver. Based upon how Flacco has thrown the ball, I predict mason will get 85 targets. You can argue that the reason so little targets is thrown to the #2 receiver because Clayton sucks and doesn't deserve as many looks, but with Mason in the two hole, he should be able to get open more (with teams having to cover both him and Boldin). My counter is that 1) I did account for Mason getting open more by giving him 85 targets 2) The fact is Boldin is better and will get more passes thrown his way which automatically takes away from Mason's targets 3) As we will see later, giving Mason more targets does not really fall in line with Joe Flacco's progression and 4) Why are you arguing with my during my own post! Let me speak woman! And yes, it is impressive that a woman knows football. Oh, sexism. But I digress. So here's my full projection for the rest of the team
For the past two years, Boldin has had a catch rate of exactly 71%. I predict him to get 130 targets and if he catches 71% of those targets, he'll catch 92 passes. Over the past three seasons Boldin has had a pretty consistent YPR of 12.0. So if Boldin has 92 receptions and averages 12 yards per reception, he'll get 1,100 yards.
Now his touchdowns become tricky to predict. He had 12 two years ago and 4 last year. Just because he's Flacco's #1 target does not mean he'll be Flacco's #1 target for touchdowns. As I did my rough analysis per player and was very conservative of my analysis, I gave Boldin 8 TDs. But as I added up the amount of TDs I gave per player, it only added up to 19 TDs. Last year Flacco threw 21 and I think he gets better. So I was nice and added a TD to everybody, including Boldin of course.
I base his fumbles and runs upon what Boldin have done in recent years. In fact, I'll do this for every player from now on.
Final Projection on Anquan Boldin: 92 receptions, 1100 yards, 9 TDs, 3 fumbles; 4 carries, 40 yards, 0 TDs.
I think Derrick Mason is the biggest loser in the Boldin trade. I think his targets go down and with that, so goes his fantasy value. If Mason only gets 85 targets, I predict he only gets 52 catches because of catch rate. Now, over the past three seasons Mason's CR is pretty sporadic from 54% last year to 67% the year before. But if you average out his three year CR (now I'm doing an average so I can see Mason catching a few more passes or he could catch a few less than I predict), it comes to 61.3%. Mason also has a sporadic YPR for the past three years. Yet despite his age, his YPR is a three year increase (10.6, 12.9, and 14.1 from 2007 to 2009 respectively). So I'll give Mason the benefit of the doubt and say he has a 14.0 YPR. Multiply that by his 52 catches and you get 730 yards.
Unfortunately, a decrease in targets probably means a decrease in touchdowns. Surprisingly not necessarily (Mason had 5 TDs in 103 receptions in 2007 and 7 TDs in 73 receptions last year), but if you think about it logically the more passes come your way, the more times you catch the ball which leads to a greater propensity to score a TD (although remember that one pass Mason had at the end of last year where he dropped an easy TD pass in his lap?). However, Mason seems to always seems to get five a year and when you factor Flacco getting better throwing more TDs (I'm sorry for the build up but Flacco analysis will come at the end) and how random TDs are, I'll give Mason five.
Final Projection on Derrick Mason: 52 receptions, 730 yards, 5 TDs, 1 fumble; 1 carry, 2 yards, 0 TDs
I love Ray Rice. The dude can run VERY well and is a great pass catcher. What's not to love? He's also a big reason for Flacco's success. The dude caught more passes than Derrick Mason last year! Anyways, a lot of targets combined with Rice's high catch rate (I mean how hard is it to dump it off to your running back) and speed means a lot of good things for Flacco.
Rice got 103 targets last year and there's no reason to think that won't continue. I'll say Rice gets an even 100. Combine that with his 77% CR (he's caught 77% the past two seasons, again, it's a dump off to the H-back) and that's a cool 77 receptions for Rice. Combine that with his average 8.6 YPR (8.8 and 8.3 YPR for the past two years respectively; and I think 8.6 is a tad too low) and you get 658 receiving yards. He got one receiving TD and since I'm inflating everybody's TD total because I think Flacco will be better, I'm giving Rice two.
And since we're on the subject of Rice, now's as good of time as any to discuss how amazing of a runner he is. Last year the dude was 6th in yards, 7th in YPC, the 4th best fantasy RB, and he's young and improving. In fact, Willis McGahee, through the first 6 games, HURT Rice's fantasy value. McGahee got 5 rushing TDs and took carries away from Rice (who by the way, was averaging a tick over 12 and had two 100+ yard games). Before the Ravens bye (at Week 7), Rice was averaging 12.167 Carry Per Game (CPG). After the bye (and presumably after Ravens head coach John Harbaugh realized what a gift from G-d he had on his hands), Rice averaged 18.1 CPG. If you take the 18.1 CPG and expand that to all 16 games, that's about 290 carries. Add Rice's 5.2 YPC (He's only had one full season and last year he had 5.3 YPC so I'm giving him 5.2. Oh, BTW, he had a 6.5 YPC in his two post season appearances) and you get 1505 yards for Rice. He had 7 TDs last year and presumably McGahee doesn't take too many away (although realistically he'll take about 2 or 3 away) plus Rice's growth and I'll say Rice gets 8 TDs.
Because I feel it's worth mentioning, Rice had no fumbles through his first 11 games but 3 in his last five
Final Projection on Ray Rice: 290 carries, 1505 Yards, 8 TDs, 2 fumbles; 77 receptions, 658 yards, 2 TDs
With Flacco seemingly looking for Heap a bit more, I predict 80 targets for Heap, five more than he got last year (Again, with the improvement of Flacco + Flacco looking a lot at his TE and RBs more, I think this is a fair prediction). Over the past three years, Heap's CR has been more over the place than Lindsay Lohan (is she still relevant?). He had 71% last year but a meager 55% the year before. Predicting Heap's CR is like predicting John Travolta's movie choices, sometimes it's awesome and sometimes is just awful (although not the best analogy because Travolta's had way more Old Dogs than Pulp Fictions recently. Whatever, moving on). Because of this randomness, I just took Heap's three year average and got: 64.6%. So if he catches 64.6% of Flacco's 80 targets, that's 52 catches for Mr. Travolta, er, Heap. Lindsay Lohan. Alrighty then.
52 catches combined with his rather consistent (hmmm, how about a Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan reference here? Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige, and Inception looks awesome) YPC (which he's averaged 11.3 YPC over the past three years) and you get 588 yards for Heap. Lindsay Lohan.
Based upon his recent (non)fumbling problems, TD catches, and runs and I predict for Todd Heap…
Final Projection on Todd Heap: 52 receptions, 588 yards, 4 TDs, 0 fumbles; 2 carries, 18 yards
Mark Clayton should be not owned in any fantasy football leagues next year. Hell, as the Ravens #2 receiver last year he probably shouldn't have been owned. But because of past "success" and just because, here's what I think Clayton will do next year (I promise you it's based after the same analysis as the other players)
Final Projection on Mark Clayton: 25 receptions, 352 yards, 2 TDs
Lindsay Lohan. What? The joke was really bad and old the first time around? OK, got it!
Other Running Backs and Receivers
No one else (besides Flacco) is worth owning on the Ravens. Sure, Willis McGahee provided some fantasy value last year, but since the emergence of Ray Rice and Baltimore seemingly only going with a one back approach (which I love) since the bye, I don't see McGahee, or anyone else for that matter, getting consistent playing time that they should be on your team (assuming health of course). But for the sake of Flacco's numbers and just because everyone else was so statistically insignificant that for the sake of argument, I think Flacco will throw the same to these randoms this year as he did last year.
Final Projections on Everyone Else: 70 receptions, 379 yards, 3 TDs
Now, LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE! After all the hype. After reading really bad Lindsay Lohan jokes. It's now time for the main event!
Two years ago, in his rookie year. Joe Flacco threw 428 attempts for 257 completions (60.0 comp %), 2971 yards, 14 TD, 12 INT, and 6 fumbles. While the INTs and fumbles stayed exactly the same a year later, everything else improved. Last year, Flacco threw 499 attempts for 315 completions (63.1 comp %), 3613 yards, and 21 TDs. His YPA and passer rating also increased. These numbers plus the addition of Anquan Boldin suggests Joe Flacco's in for a very good year and for an improvement.
If you add in all the receivers' targets and completions that means Flacco will throw 515 times for 345 completions. That's good for a 67.2% completion percentage. And when you add up everyone's yards, that means Flacco will throw for 4,031 yards-a career high for him. This is also part of the reason I do not think Mason will get more than 80 targets but if he gets 100+ targets like he normally does, then Flacco will be the best QB next year and while I think he will improve, I don't think to Peyton Manning's level. These current predictions (based upon how the receivers will do) seems to fall in line what an increase in Flacco's improvement from last year. Maybe a bit better than what I would have thought from my gut, but NUMBERS DON'T LIE!
Over the past two years (obviously based upon the numbers I gave you) Flacco has increased his TD% and lowered his INT%. Flacco jumped .09% (which is actually a lot) in his TD%. Now it's extremely hard to try and predict what Flacco's TD% will be next year based after only his first two years, but I think Flacco gets 25 TDs next year. That's good for a 4.85 TD% which is still a big increase from his totals last year and is consistent with the career TD% of Drew Brees (and better than Eli Manning's). With this as the basis for my analysis, Flacco has to throw the ball somewhere and that's where I got my TD totals above.
I'll say Flacco gets 11 INTs because that would mean an INT% decrease consistent with his improvement. And why not. If he gets better everywhere else, why not at throwing it to the other team as well.
Final Projection for Joe Flacco: 515 attempts, 345 completions, 4031 yards, 25 TDs, 11 INTs, 6 fumbles; 55 rushing attempts, 200 yards, 3 TDs
For those of you who don't know at this point, after Tigers SP Armando Galarraga had just retired 26 batters, Indians Jason Donald burned a worm towards first. Miguel Cabrera goes and gets it and throws it to Galarraga covering first. Galarraga clearly caught the ball before Donald reached first, but umpire Jim Joyce called the grounder a single and thus Galarraga lost his perfect game (which would have been the THIRD this season).
Joyce was adamant that he got the call correct. Until he looked at the replay and realized what a douche he is. Now he did apologize which is the LEAST he could have done. But the fact remains that Galarraga will never ever ever in his career be able to throw a perfect game.
Everybody knows Galarraga threw a perfect game and that Joyce got the call wrong. EVERYBODY. So you know what needs to be done? MLB needs to change the scorecard so that Galarraga is in the record books.
This is just the back end of a long list of examples of why baseball needs to get with the 21st century and start using technology to dictate the rules of the game. They've already taken a big step by making home runs reviewable.
How many times do you hear this "They need to get the call right" and I'm a big proponent of this. If a pitcher throws a ball within what the rulebook calls the strike zone, that should be a strike. Every single time. It shouldn't be considered a "ball" because the umpire is a dick and won't give the pitcher the outside corner.
No other sport even comes close to being this stone age when it comes to their umpiring. Last night in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup, I saw the refs go back and review two "goals". On one play, it looked like Hjalmarsson made an amazing goal saving play, but upon review, the puck clearly went into over the goal line and the refs got it right and ruled it a goal. Even in football we give the coaches a minimum number of times to tell the refs to go back and review the play.
I watch baseball on ESPN's Gamecast a handful of times (especially during Torts class. I'm sorry professor but your class was BORING). Anyways, on my screen I see a red box for what the designated strike zone is, where the ball fell within the strike zone, and what the umpire actually called said ball. When I watch games on TV, I see a replay of what just happened. So why can't MLB use this new fangled technology?
There are two arguments that I just don't want to hear in contrast to this. I'm going to pull a Boerhs and Bernstein and tell you that you are just flat out wrong.
Argument One: But baseball is a game of tradition. The tradition is that there's a human element of umpires and they will inherently get things wrong. That's just part of the game. (Made by my co-worker today)
1) Baseball was started in the 1800's. They didn't even have freaking cars back then! If I hop in my DeLorean and went back to when the founders created baseball and showed them WiFi and Fangraphs, they would have seen how dumb umpires were and not put them in the game. 2) In every facet of society we have changed since the late 1800's. Our technology is different, our culture is different, our politics are different (well, maybe not here in Chicago), everything else is different and we want things to change. Except baseball. What kind of horse crap is that!? 3) We have rules in every aspect of life and when those rules are not followed, there are negative consequences. Yet umpires don't "follow the rules" often by flat out getting calls wrong. For example, when a player has a ball in play in his glove and touches the base before the runner who hit the ball reaches the base, that runner/hitter is out. So where are their negative consequences?
Argument Two: If MLB changes the rules to allow Galarraga's perfect game, then there's a slipper slope for MLB to change everything. (Made by someone on the Mully and Hanley show on WSCR today).
1) This is obviously a slippery slope argument and it's a logical fallacy. If in academia you shouldn't be allowed to make this argument, then you can't make this argument anywhere else. It doesn't go to the argument in question. This type of argument is the same ones Conservatives use today to justify banning gay rights (We allowed sodomy which in turns will allow gays to get marries which in turn will lead us to eventually legalize polygamy and beasteality). No doing X will not necessarily lead to Y. 2) What is so wrong if this does set a precedence of MLB changing the official scorecard? If any particular call by an umpire never should have been made to begin with, what's wrong with setting things right? If Jim Joyce had gotten the call correctly or MLB makes things correct, then the same outcome occurs.
All I want is to get things right. In football, if a pass is caught within bounds, then I want that pass to count. In basketball, if a player shoots the ball a millisecond before the shot clock winds down and the ball goes through the hoop, I want that basket to count. And if a defender touches first before the runner in baseball, I want the defender to be out.
I don't want something official because of a mistake; an untruth.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Right after I wrote this post, I read on ESPN that Bud Selig will not reverse the call. I know we're supposed to be P.C., but like Joe West, you're a piece of shit Bud Selig. Obviously not JUST for this, but way to be waste of life and space.