Posts Tagged ‘Sports’
“I use my single windup, my double windup, my triple windup, my hesitation windup, my no windup. I also use my step-n-pitch-it, my submariner, my sidearmer, and my bat dodger. Man’s got to do what he’s got to do.”
Dan mentioned in the comments last week that better pitchers might get less run support because in the NL they get more at bats (and are less likely to be pulled in critical RBI situations). So I ran the same WHIP vs. Run rupport graphs for the AL vs. the NL. And he’s spot on:
The slope of the AL (blue) graph is negligible, and the entire effect comes from the NL (red). Wow, half a run is pretty serious. Maybe they should put some batting cages out next to the bullpen. Get off your asses, boys! Time to help your own cause occasionally…
So for the 6th time this season, the Jays are trying for the unheard of heights of a 4-game winning streak, and with the Doc on the mound. Let’s just sit back and ride this one out shall we? It’s amazing that for a team that has been pretty good lately, we haven’t won 5 since last June, and you have to go all the way back to May 2004 to find 6 games in a row. What does it say about a team when they play winning but not exceptional baseball for long stretches and then suffer catastrophic meltdowns? I’m not sure I want to read too far into that…
Not that this is the first, second or third time the offence has looked like it may have “turned the corner”, but Vernon just looks different (and PISSED) at the plate now, and the Big Hurt is destroying the ball. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a ball go as high as last night’s shot. What a difference a hot stretch makes…10 days ago his season was being panned as an absolute failure of incredible proportions. Now, even at this rate (i.e. going back and slumping like it was the first 2 months of the season again), he is on pace to hit 28 HR and collect 80 RBI! I’m not sure that’s worth 9 million, but it’s not terrible- and his track record says he’s not going back to the agony of April.
Edit: Ok, I jinxed it. He’s swinging for the fences and missing by 3 feet again and the Jays just went back to making broadcasters and sportswriters use the word “anemic”.
Ok, we all know that a huge amount of cash is no guarantee of a World Series. Or even a passable team (Cubs, Rangers, etc). But it sure helps. Give any team the Yankees payroll and while they will still need to find some talent, they can shrug off any serious blunders (Pavano, Igawa) and smooth over any glaring deficiencies in their club halfway through the season (Roger), as well as being able to attract the best and the brightest from other teams come free agent time (Mussina, Giambi, Sheffield, Damon, Rodriguez, Abreu, etc…)
So, I propose a new stat- Wins/$. Let’s see who is the best right now in terms of how much cash they’ve sunk into this season.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST:
TAMPA BAY: 1.30
NEW YORK: 0.19
This is just a hilarious result. Of course New York and Boston were going to end up in the basement because they shell out such a ridiculous amount more than anyone, but even Baltimore who are in an absolute free fall, have fired their manager this week, etc, manage to scrape together the same W/$ as the best team in baseball? And of course the real winners are Tampa, who have patched together a similar season to the NY behemoth while paying their team minimum wage. Can you imagine the team they would have if their payroll was an extra 165 million this year? No, you can’t.
And of course, as mentioned before, for the cash the Jays have invested, even in this horrible debacle of a season, pound for pound we’re looking pretty good. It’s just not just fair to compare us to the monsters in this weight class, and we outclass Baltimore and would mash Tampa except they’d dry up and blow away.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL:
KANSAS CITY: 0.43
So Cleveland really does rock, and last year was just a dumb aberration due to some back luck and growing pains. But they really do have a great record and are doing it efficiently, too. The only real surprise here is that Detroit isn’t the young and super cheap team you thought they were after fielding a AAA team for a couple of years. They have followed that up by shelling out the big bucks and have signed some big bats to push for the postseason now as well as some longterm contracts.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST:
LOS ANGELES: 0.42
It’s no big surprise that Oakland is among the most efficient, but did you really think the Angels were still underachievers? Or that TEXAS, the worst team in the league, was getting more for their buck than Seattle??
Lordy, we pulled a Vermilyea again…Thanks for coming out kid- those sure were some awesome debut innings! Now back on the pile with the rest of the losers. Because our bullpen ROCKS!
And Thomson is officially done. Oh well, we strung him out as long as possible he cost us nothing. And after getting rocked 2 of his last 3 starts in AAA he was no better a 5th option than Towers and would have cost us a million dollars. Taubenheim isn’t much of a backup in case someone goes down, but Gus is throwing again…
I don’t think it’s quite time to start crying about our salary this season (especially considering that Vernon isn’t on the big bucks yet), but this page rocks my world.
So despite the injuries and the wailing and the gnashing of teeth, we are one of the few teams that are economically vs. performance right where we belong. And there really aren’t that many teams with lower payrolls doing any better. More to come on this…
Do better pitchers get more run support due to the confident aura they exude? Will Josh Towers ever get any? I ran 2006’s data for starters’ (120 innings minimum) run support against their WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched) to see if there was any correlation between the quality of a pitcher and how many runs his team scores for him. My first thought was there would be absolutely none, because that’s what modern mathematical analysis tends to do to vague psychological intangibles (clutch hitting, streaky hitters, protection, baserunner distractions, etc.) in baseball. The first results did not disappoint:
That’s about as randomly distributed a cloud as you can get; in fact the trendline has a slight slope that indicated worse pitchers getting more run support- though it’s not really enough to be statistically relevant. But there is an interesting gap: the pretty bad pitchers (WHIP > 1.45) in 2006 never got more than 4.5 runs. So I did another year:
Ok, the gap is gone- but there’s the same trend, and this year the slope is about twice what it was in 2006. Which might actually be relevant. So one more:
That’s three straight years in the same direction, and with even more of an noticeable effect in favour of worse pitchers. Stop the presses! Call SABR! Batters are slackers with the ace on the mound! Unfortunately, *slice* goes Occam’s razor – this can also be explained by other teams intentionally matching up their aces against yours (and the other way around), which is easily enough to explain a 1/2 run slope in your offence’s effectiveness without resorting to questionable psychological babble. This myth is busted.
A tragicomedy in two acts (hopefully).
Scene: The Rogers Centre. It could be dawn or midnight- the roof is closed. Two Blue Jays fans sit in the empty bleachers. A baseball bat lies nearby.
Mullagon: Charming stadium. Inspiring prospects. (He turns to Tablamir.) Let’s go.
Tablimir: We can’t.
M: Why not?
T: We’re waiting for Vernot.
M: (despairingly). Ah! (Pause.) You’re sure it was here?
M: That we were to wait.
T: He said by the bat. (They look at the bat.) Do you see any others?
M: What is it?
T: I don’t know. A Louisville.
M: Where are the Home Runs?
T: It must be dead.
M: No more weeping.
T: Or perhaps it’s not our season.
M: Looks to me more like a twig.
T: A noodle.
M: A twig.
T: A-. What are you insinuating? That we’re cheering for the wrong team?
M: He should be hitting.
T: He didn’t say for sure he’d hit.
M: And if he doesn’t hit?
T: We’ll come back to-morrow.
M: And then the day after to-morrow.
M: The point is-
T: Until he hits.
M: I can’t go on like this.
T: That’s what you think.
M: If we parted? That might be better for us.
T: We’ll hang ourselves to-morrow. (Pause.) Unless Vernot hits.
M: And if he hits?
T: We’ll be saved.
T: Shall we go?
M: Yes, let’s go.
They do not move.
Even though it looks like he’s just been arrested…
It sounds like A.J. is going to be OK. Which is pretty amazing the way this season has been going so far. Seeing that when we started this mess Burnett and Thomas are the only two guys you would have bet the farm on hitting the DL sometime this year, I didn’t even blink when A.J. buckled over in pain. Instead it turns out he’s just sore because we’ve been leaving him out there for 130 pitches lately. Thanks, Gibby. And leaving Fasano in to bat with the tying run on second? Equally impressive.
It wasn’t really going to go out, but Hill crushed that ball in the 9th and it just died in the Bay air. I can’t seem to find any digital evidence of Randy Winn’s catch at the wall, which leads me to believe they just reran the tape from this insanity the day before:
One last shot: Hill has now hit into 14 double plays this year, which ties him for the lead in the league and is 1 fewer than he hit into ALL last year. I guess rolling over balls is the downside of his newfound power?
How does he do it? Towers has had the uncanny ability all season to have what looks like a great (if unfortunate) game going, which then turns ugly in a few blinks. Today he was cruising along- even striking out guys like crazy with some backdoor sliders, and had allowed only one unearned run because of a Jason Phillips throw to second that took a terrible hop sideways. Then he puts one on a tee for Bonds, limps out of the inning, and all of a sudden that was an ugly start to the worst offensive team in baseball right now.
I want to say that he still pitched a pretty good game, and he just got (rather predictably) tagged by the greatest home run hitter of all-time. But he’s turning the “stealth implosion” into an art form.
Also, I’m sure Wilner has already answered this about a thousand times on the Fan, but why the @#$%@ didn’t Jason Phillips bunt after Lind’s leadoff double? He doesn’t exactly have the greatest bat control to try and ground one to the right side, but he’s laid down some terrific bunts this season. And if nothing else right now, Frank the Tank can hit fly balls. That’s a total no-brainer with Morris in a groove. Even Jamie freaking Campbell called for it!
Kind of hard to hate that draft. We didn’t go for any of the sexy flamethrowing highschool pitchers, but maybe that’s not such a hot idea anyway. We drafted a bunch of “lefties with a pulse”, continued the quest for a @#$%#$% SS with our first pick, and made one surprise selection of a Canadian who’s always been underrated, is huge, and could be a late blooming steal.
Personally my draft strategy would be “take every pitcher you can find who throws heat and find (or trade for) some bricks who can slug later” (hmmm…the exact opposite of my fantasy draft strategy), but we did get some arms and infielders, which is probably what we’ll need in 4-5 years when we actually have to think about any of these guys again…
Oh yeah, and a big longshot high ceiling guy in Eric Eiland who J.P. is going to spend a million dollars to sign just so nobody can say he’s a big wuss who only takes polished college middle relievers any more. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Hamid.
Today is a huge day for the Blue Jays. Thanks to the Rangers having the first draft pick that can be lost for signing a free agent (Catalanotto), and absolutely nobody resigning with us over the offseason, the Jays are in prime position- and this year is supposedly pretty rich in talent through the first 100.
But of course the draft is a giant crapshoot. There will be a few flameouts, a couple sputters, and hopefully one or two pleasant surprises. But it is basically guaranteed that 3-5 years from now we will be moaning “if only we’d gone for (insert next Kazmir here), our team would be amazing…”
So, once the deal is done I invite you all to submit, and thus set in stone, the first 7 picks (if you know enough to draft into the third round then you’re an even bigger loser that I am for agreeing to keep track of this) you would have made if you were Ricciardi. Forget about Boras or signing concerns, we’re going for pure talent that was available at the time. You can even agree with J.P. if you like, but that’s pretty lame.
Every once in a while until I get bored, I will rank the submissions using John Sickels’ prospect guide and my own amazing innate talent evaluating ability. Each pick gets a score from 1-100 based on projected impact in the majors, with a bit of a bonus for actually having accomplished anything at a high level. So for example last year Travis Snider gets good marks for being the Appalachian player of the year, but so would Marcum for actually being passable in the big show. I know, I know…College players develop faster but have lower ceilings. Whatever. I’ll fudge it. I think it’s more significant when you brilliantly pass on Russ Adams to pick….Denard Span?! Of course, points off for injuries and players that don’t sign, etc, etc.
And this is not just for your health! The leader every year gets a pair of tickets to any Jays game I’m not going to, and then 3 days of them in 5 years or when I don’t care any more, whichever comes first. They’re pretty good, a little down the third base line and 20-25 rows back. I’ll also automatically enter in the Jays’ actual picks, and everyone who does better than them gets bragging rights and the official title of “Smarter Than J.P.” Doesn’t that sound good?? If he ends up winning it should be a good decade for the Jays- but I’m keeping the damn tickets.
Somewhat overshadowed by the Jays’ best comeback in recent memory (and Josh Towers’ first win in a very long time- doesn’t he look happy??)
was the fact that the Doc was TERRIBLE out there for the third time in 4 starts. He swears it’s just mechanics, that he isn’t “getting on top of the ball”, that his location was a little off but his health has absolutely nothing to do with it. That he’s somehow gone from Cy Young in April to hanging every pitch due to a lack of “execution”.
Ummm….yeah. We love you Doc. You’re a warrior. You work out harder in one day than I have my entire life, and come to spring training gunning like it’s the world series. But seeing that the last time you unexpectedly came apart at the seams and started serving it up on a tee you claimed the same thing- and then one day later your appendix violently exploded out of your body, I’m going to take your analysis of your own physical health four weeks after major surgery with a entire saltshaker.
Most players would still be lying on a beach somewhere, watching the team on the telly and lifting nothing but pint glasses. And for that we applaud you. But it’s a 162 game season- next time he so much as scratches a toenail can someone scream at him to stay the @#$@#$ down??
On the way out? Ex-drunk, hard as nails Italian gentleman Sal Fasano, a guy who bleeds baseball and gives award-winning interviews. The coolest Jays catcher of all time and the only guy who makes the Mendoza line look good.
Coming up for his first cup of coffee with the team? Curtis Thigpen. He’s a big Justin Timberlake fan. He likes to eat Yogurt. His nickname is “Sunshine“. His pet peeves are…
Welcome to the big leagues, kid. Big shoes to fill. You’d better MASH.
I was there for you through the Homosexual slurs, Ozzie. It was just a cultural thing, I dig it. Kind of like my uncle who wears eyeshadow and blouses to the supermarket but constantly refers to “the gays”. The child molester thing was a little weird, but you’re just a fiery Latin who isn’t afraid to speak his mind and we could all use fewer bland media comments in sports (oh Earl, where are you when we really need you…) and less political correctness in general. We were still cool. Sorta.
But you really lost me today. Sure your team could use a spark because they can’t hit relief pitching to save their collective lives (an 0-63 streak finally ended in the 9th) and that world series is looking like a long time ago (say, isn’t this pretty much the same team?), but your rookie puts our 11th guy on the DL this year and you get yourself thrown out arguing that he didn’t try to get out of the way?? There is zero chance that was a swing, and almost less that Lyle decided to go for the free pass by taking one straight off his hand.
The dead, they can’t hear you- but have a little respect for the wounded. Reminds me of the softball game I played today where after our second baseman took one off the shin so hard that she had shot at catching it before it hit the ground, their runner decided to bowl her over on the way to the bag. Class-EE.