Author Topic: Baseball 2018  (Read 16978 times)

Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #150 on: July 20, 2019, 04:03:34 PM »
True but they're also paying for a guy who has already had a 9.3 WAR season and is still only 26. His floor is 3.0 WAR.

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #151 on: July 20, 2019, 07:17:50 PM »
True but they're also paying for a guy who has already had a 9.3 WAR season and is still only 26. His floor is 3.0 WAR.

Well, his floor is 1.1 WAR in 2014 (safely below replacement level). Randall fucking Grichuk will get you that. Bryce also hit a mighty 1.5 WAR the year directly after his big arrival year.

Here are his career WAR numbers since his rookie year, with the mental 10.0 WAR 2015 removed.

5.2 (great)
3.7 (good)
1.1 (very bad)
1.5 (bad)
4.6 (good)
1.3 (very bad)
1.7 (so far, on track for 3 WAR which would be pretty poor considering his contract)

He reminds me of a Blake Snell kind of guy - a good player, no question, but with one absolute career year where everything broke the right way and that will never be repeated. He managed to keep a .369 BABIP for the entirety of the 2015 which is just unsustainable. Once pitchers figured out his weaknesses, he’s been shown up for being a good player (but not exceptional) and unwilling or unable to make adjustments. Pitch him up and away, fellas! Your boy can’t do shit with that.

He’ll never have a 7+ WAR season again. If he does, I’ll donate $20 to a charity of your choice. I doubt you (or anyone!) would take the under on that. For a $330m player, that is very poor. He’s no Trout or Betts (or Bellinger/Yelich on their league minimum contracts...), and that’s what the Phillies paid ~$30m a year for. That was my point. You could have 60 Acuña Jrs for that.

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #152 on: August 07, 2019, 11:16:20 PM »
Question posed:

Does having the same stats recorded in the same level of detail make it different from any other sport? Surely we  know how many runs Ian Offside scored for Tranmere Crickets in 1920 or how what footballs tally Ian Wicket racked up for Manchester Footie from 1912-1918.

Need to go for a wee but will type up a response shortly (spoiler: yes, it does make a difference compared to other sports).

BlodwynPig

  • I’m deffo a AI bot, but i don’t even know it
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #153 on: August 07, 2019, 11:30:13 PM »
Whats this baseball chat elsewhere?

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #154 on: August 07, 2019, 11:40:43 PM »
Yes, it matters because offensive and defensive contributions are all taken into account so the stats that are collected are much more descriptive about the player and their contribution as a whole. With a sport like football and (I assume?) cricket, you just get the scores you see on the table. How many runs did player X get? Ok... so I guess they will get the same next year? Who knows

In baseball, there are a few key differences.

First - everyone plays the “same” position. What do I mean by that? Well, say you have the greatest heading striker in the world, but he plays for arsenal and they think he is better operating as a number 10 or a false 9 and doesn’t get a lot of balls whipped in from set pieces. He wouldn’t score a lot and would be underrated until West brom bought him and started trying to win corners. Which means the zippy striker they have would go without service and wouldn’t score a lot and would be undervalued etc etc etc

In baseball, a shortstop is a shortstop. If a groundball is driven into the alley between 3rd and short, the shortstop would grab it and flip to second if there was a runner at first (and the second baseman would run there to receive it), or just to first if not. And everyone would know what they were supposed to do. There’s no tactics - good baseball is good baseball. No “stick it in the mixah”, no “long ball merchants”. All the teams play the same game in the same way. That means if you’re good at playing the right way, we’ll know. If you aren’t, it will be obvious. Nowhere to hide a shit performance.

Second - the statistics are more detailed, and give a far more complete picture of a player’s value. Stats like WAR or UZR/DRS are miles ahead of even newer soccer stats like xG. You can define what bits of a player’s game are of value, and to what extent they are of value. You can check dWAR vs fWAR if you want, or Pythagorean win probability. It’s all out there.

Also baseball has 9 innings in each 162 game season: there’s no way a defensive weakness won’t be exposed. Can’t field a chopper to second? Everyone will be pulling balls up the middle after 5 games. Whereas in 90 minutes of football you might see a fluke ball fly by a centre half and think they’re shit in the air. They might be - there’s not enough data to prove either way.

But Ferris, this is dull so why do I care?

Good question! For the sake of argument, if someone says that Harry Kane is a better striker than Geoff Hurst, we don’t really have a way to compare them. You could look at goals scored per season. You could even look at assists or something if you wanted. But a very boring goal-poacher player like Van Bronkhurst for united scored a shitload of goals, and he was a dirt footballer. But if you just go by the stats, he would be elite - so why does that feel wrong? It’s because the stats you are using are only indirectly indicative of value added. Not so with baseball. I can tell you the defensive value of an elite centre fielder, and the offensive value of an elite batter

A guy like Babe Ruth (who sparked all this) has numbers way above what was expected of an elite hitter. To use a poor comparison, it is like someone scoring 35 goals a season as their 22 year career average (ie some seasons they scored a lot more). You could say “ooh but goalies weren’t as good back then” and you’d probably be right but a) there’s no way to test that, and b) even if they were, it’s still an incredible achievement.

Edit: I forgot to mention BABIP*, but there’s no other stat I know of in other sports that (essentially) measures luck. Say a striker scored 25 goals in a season by having them bounce off his arse or hit him in the face and go in - you'd have to say they were elite based on the stats. Baseball, I can check a player’s BABIP and tell you whether they were likely to regress or if their current stats were unsustainable. Marvellous.

*Batting Average on Balls In Play. Say you took a hack at a ball and sent it to the first baseman who should tag you out, but he’s an idiot so he falls over and you score a hit. Say that happened 100 times in a year. You’d have an average BA by your BABIP would start to be higher than ~.300 which is what we expect. If someone has a high hitstreak but with a BABIP over .400 then they are due to break that any time soon. It’s why xWOBA is such a comparably more valuable stat.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 11:59:28 PM by FerriswheelBueller »

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #155 on: August 07, 2019, 11:42:03 PM »
I also see Bryce Harper is in line with my predictions. It’s almost as if the stats have value.

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #156 on: August 07, 2019, 11:44:47 PM »
Whats this baseball chat elsewhere?

When you are a tiresome baseball bore (as I am), all of your discussions break down into explanations of BABIP or a passionate tirade on why UZR is overrated for infielders. You should see me buying groceries - shambles.

touchingcloth

  • Member
  • **
  • She is hot in the arse.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #157 on: August 08, 2019, 12:08:04 AM »
I'd be lying if I said you didn't lose me at "false 9". Actually, no I wouldn't - it was at "heading striker".

To read between the lines as best I can (I don't follow the foots ball, so "fluke ball fly by a centre half" may as well be from off of Brass Eye) - a not insignificant amount of the appeal of baseball is less the action on the field, more the post hoc bean counting?

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #158 on: August 08, 2019, 07:09:42 AM »
I'd be lying if I said you didn't lose me at "false 9". Actually, no I wouldn't - it was at "heading striker".

To read between the lines as best I can (I don't follow the foots ball, so "fluke ball fly by a centre half" may as well be from off of Brass Eye) - a not insignificant amount of the appeal of baseball is less the action on the field, more the post hoc bean counting?

Oh sorry, that might not have been super approachable then.

Put it this way - baseball has much better and more complete statistics, in a much more useful and descriptive manner. It also doesn’t allow for people to be lucky or to play to their strengths to achieve good numbers because everyone has to play the same way.

The post hoc bean counting is fun for nerds like me, but baseball is a series of little moments that build into a mosaic and form the narrative of the game. It’s like poker, sort of - lots of small things that may or may not happen (and usually don’t), pressure and tension builds and builds until one side breaks through. That’s where the fun is - it is genuinely terrific to watch if you chance on a good game. The numbers just allow me to describe what is happening in a more precise way, and I can rank contributions from players in a more objective manner.

It is hard to describe, and if you don’t know what you are looking for it can appear that not much is going on, which (alas) has caused the the head of Major League Baseball to desperately try to alter the game to be more instantly appealing to casual fans. This is an error and I cannot condemn it enough.

BlodwynPig

  • I’m deffo a AI bot, but i don’t even know it
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #159 on: August 08, 2019, 07:15:23 AM »
This should be a weekly column in an esoteric, nay occult, magazine. Fortean Times: Notes from the Bull Pen with Ferris Wheel Snr.

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #160 on: August 08, 2019, 07:19:02 AM »
It doesn’t get more occult or esoteric than advanced sabermetrics. I doubt anyone is bothering to read all these but I get so much enjoyment from tapping them out it’s sort of irrelevant.

As I get increasingly older and more jaded, baseball is one of the few things I am still passionate about*.

I can’t get excited about politics anymore (for example), but show me a second baseman with an SLG over .550 and I am fascinated and will spend my free time watching their highlight reels and probably dig up an old game for their team and watch it. Having passion for things (for me, anyway) means I want to share them with other people so they can enjoy it as well. Part of that is explaining why I enjoy it. This rarely works, but it won’t stop me trying.

*See also: homebrewing, rifle shooting, travel, the Mountain Goats.

touchingcloth

  • Member
  • **
  • She is hot in the arse.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #161 on: August 09, 2019, 08:31:35 AM »
My brother lives in the US with his American wife now, and has been to some games of baseball. Is any of this what he says true? “People don’t show up at the start of the match. They are about 59 hours long so they just turn up a few hours in, stay for a couple of hours and then leave before the end. A lot of people show up to watch the game in the stadium, but instead of going into the stands to actually watch it they sit in one of the bars watching on a screen while they drink beer and eat wings.”

BlodwynPig

  • I’m deffo a AI bot, but i don’t even know it
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #162 on: August 09, 2019, 08:34:28 AM »
My brother lives in the US with his American wife now, and has been to some games of baseball. Is any of this what he says true? “People don’t show up at the start of the match. They are about 59 hours long so they just turn up a few hours in, stay for a couple of hours and then leave before the end. A lot of people show up to watch the game in the stadium, but instead of going into the stands to actually watch it they sit in one of the bars watching on a screen while they drink beer and eat wings.”

From what i saw it happens but proper humans dont do that and revel in the action on the field, all the while hoping a foul ball flies to you in the upper tier

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #163 on: August 09, 2019, 05:28:44 PM »
From what i saw it happens but proper humans dont do that and revel in the action on the field, all the while hoping a foul ball flies to you in the upper tier

As usual, Blodwyn is on the money here.

Left to my own devices, I turn up to games during batting practice to snag a foul ball (never worked yet) but I’m taking Ferris Jr to his first game in September and he’s so cute people will be giving him (or rather, me) foul balls faster than you can say “dinger”

Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #164 on: August 09, 2019, 11:56:28 PM »
My brother lives in the US with his American wife now, and has been to some games of baseball. Is any of this what he says true? “People don’t show up at the start of the match. They are about 59 hours long so they just turn up a few hours in, stay for a couple of hours and then leave before the end. A lot of people show up to watch the game in the stadium, but instead of going into the stands to actually watch it they sit in one of the bars watching on a screen while they drink beer and eat wings.”

Wings at a baseball stadium? For fucks sake. FAKE.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #165 on: August 11, 2019, 02:38:54 PM »
I live in St Louis these days, and the first year I lived here I must have gone to 30 games. $3 ticket off Seatgeek, ballpark was in walking distance, nice. Since, I've been to one game a season because (I think?) fewer people are buying tickets in advance and then trying to sell them on. Just had a quick look for the 21st, which is Star Trek Night at Busch, and the cheapest is $20 - but I do get a sweet Star Trek hat. Hmmm.

I don't go early because I can't stand the enforced patriotism before games - National Anthem, God Bless America if they're feeling spicy, all that bollocks. So that's a perfectly valid reason to miss the first half an inning or whatever.

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #166 on: September 05, 2019, 05:41:04 PM »
I quite like the opening bits with the anthems etc, but it’s not as nationalistic up here maybe? Or maybe I’m kidding myself, who knows.

Got tickets for the Yankees next week. Blodwyn - it is the final $1 hotdog night of the year. Will bring my wheelbarrow and pocket full of loonies. Gonna make out like a bandit. Jays will get crushed though, still don’t have any starting pitching on the roster.

Taking a british friend to the game who’s over here visiting, so I expect to spend a lot of time explaining the rules and that. Bring it on.

BlodwynPig

  • I’m deffo a AI bot, but i don’t even know it
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #167 on: September 05, 2019, 05:58:41 PM »
We only had one hotdog last time - i cant believe that happened?

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #168 on: September 05, 2019, 06:04:58 PM »
We only had one hotdog last time - i cant believe that happened?

“Moderation, all things in moderation...” went the thinking, but looking back that was a regrettable error.

Will make up for it this time. Will hand over a crisp, plastic 20 dollar bill and be a fucking animal with my discount meat snacks.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #169 on: September 05, 2019, 06:33:43 PM »
The stir fry place inside Busch Stadium is genuinely delicious, many veggie options, and they give you an absolutely ludicrous amount for $12, like enough for two hungry people to feel absolutely stuffed on. Although if they did $1 veggie hot dogs, I'd have a handful.

Looks like the Cardinals are in contention for a playoff spot, which is very surprising considering how rubbish they were in the first half. I enjoyed when the Blue Jays came to town in 2017, there were loads of Bautista fans in right field trying to get him to sign their stuff.

Sadly, my local-ish independent team, the River City Rascals, is shutting down at the end of this season (their playoffs have just started). I took my family there when they came to visit, as the Cardinals were out of town, and we had a blast. $25 all you can eat and drink tickets, too.

BlodwynPig

  • I’m deffo a AI bot, but i don’t even know it
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #170 on: September 05, 2019, 06:48:18 PM »
“Moderation, all things in moderation...” went the thinking, but looking back that was a regrettable error.

Will make up for it this time. Will hand over a crisp, plastic 20 dollar bill and be a fucking animal with my discount meat snacks.

I remember now, id had a bumper meal beforehand. Amateur

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #171 on: September 05, 2019, 07:16:21 PM »
The stir fry place inside Busch Stadium is genuinely delicious, many veggie options, and they give you an absolutely ludicrous amount for $12, like enough for two hungry people to feel absolutely stuffed on. Although if they did $1 veggie hot dogs, I'd have a handful.

Looks like the Cardinals are in contention for a playoff spot, which is very surprising considering how rubbish they were in the first half. I enjoyed when the Blue Jays came to town in 2017, there were loads of Bautista fans in right field trying to get him to sign their stuff.

Sadly, my local-ish independent team, the River City Rascals, is shutting down at the end of this season (their playoffs have just started). I took my family there when they came to visit, as the Cardinals were out of town, and we had a blast. $25 all you can eat and drink tickets, too.

Stir fry! Wow, the SkyDome is behind the times. You can get a taco from one place in the 500s, but you really have to seek it out. Otherwise I hope you like crappy hotdogs and eye wateringly expensive beer because that’s all that is on offer. On the other hand, tickets are $6 a pop so swings and roundabouts.

The Cards are doing really well this year - I didn’t think they’d be anything better than potential wildcard team but they’re doing well in a tough division. I don’t know the roster at all outside of the obvious (Goldschmidt, Ozuna, DeJong, Molina) but I really like that it’s a bunch of guys all putting up .820 OPS with nothing flashy. Nice solid baseball. Good for them/you.

I remember now, id had a bumper meal beforehand. Amateur

I’ll starve myself for days beforehand. Won’t bother going to watch the game.

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #172 on: September 07, 2019, 04:58:34 PM »
A few thoughts then, on The Flyball Revolution, batting efficiency, and the Three True Outcomes of Baseball

A treatise I’ve been writing in my head for some time, by Ferris

The Flyball Revolution is a flashy title for something that isn’t that flashy. Basically, hit it up in the air instead of on the ground. So why has it taken over modern baseball thinking, why does it work (or does it..?), and where does the statistical support for the approach lie?

There is a school of thinking in sport that all teams will (accidentally or otherwise) gravitate towards the most efficient style of play. It’s a notion I’ve held for a while, but I only started seriously considering it after reading about shot mapping in the NBA. Basketball isn’t really my thing, but I know the game and can tell you what’s going on and why it’s important. I get it, it’s just not for me, and as a result I don’t read a lot about the evolution of the sport in the same way I do for baseball. My only real exposure is the odd article on FiveThirtyEight, so seeing that efficiency in 3-point shooting is something that has evolved with the game over time set me thinking about my old notion and how it applied to the sport I enjoy.*

This all started as I was thinking about batting efficiency. What is the best thing that could happen during an at-bat? Or better, what could a batter feasibly attempt to do every single time that would contribute to their team being successful? Well, obviously the best thing would be to hit a home run, but even the best power-hitters in the game only do that once every 14 ABs or so. So what about the other 13? And what about the shlubs on the team who won’t even crank 40 dingers a season, the losers.

My big theory, the conclusion of a few months of having this rattle around the noggin and the kernel at this think-piece is the best thing a batter can do is not give up an out. Get hit by a pitch, walk, sac bunt and advance the runners, get a hit, anything. Just don’t give up the only scarce resource in baseball that every team has, the 27 individual outs per game. There’s no time limit, so once those outs are gone, that’s it.

If you have to give up an out, don’t give it up for nothing. Hit a sac fly, or advance any baserunners you have. Every cheap strikeout, every groundout with no advance, every shallow pop-fly to the opposing shortstop is the feckless dwindling of your valuable resources, and a double play is the absolute cardinal sin. If you aren’t aware, a double play is when you have a runner standing on first base, and the batter hits a ball to an opposing fielder such that the opposing fielder is able to throw out the runner at 2nd, and the batter at first. Here’s a nice example. If and when I run a major league team, this will be a fireable offence - giving up 2/27 outs, or ~8% of all our outs for the entire game with one inefficient swing of the bat!

So why does it matter?

Baseball is famed for redefining its thinking - in the dark days pre 2002, you measured value by how many RBIs and home runs a player had. I’ve not bothered to look it up, but I would bet my mortgage that this correlates (weakly) with players who don’t give up an out. Then we advanced and started caring more and more about batting average and slugging percentage which, again, would correlate better with not giving up an out. This is an improvement, but is still thinking about the game in terms of players and trying to build a perfect team with imperfect understanding of what matters - RBIs, home runs and slugging percentage are almost irrelevant because you’re not trying to collect RBIs/HRs or SLG%, you need to collect wins. RBIs were used as an imperfect way of mapping a statistic to success. You want wins, so you need a player statistic that correlates with wins so you can predict the best players to buy. Nobody thought that way though.

Then came the Moneyball Revolution. Starting in the ‘70s, people* started thinking properly about the game for the first time. It took almost 30 years for those ideas to cut through the old thinking in the majors and drive development at a Major League Club, those feted Oakland A’s teams from the early ‘00s. This was a significant step in the right direction - they wanted wins, and worked on the most efficient way to get them. They realized that people undervalued walks to a ludicrous degree. If you have a guy who hits .300 and walks .010 of the time, then his on base percentage (OBP) is .300 + .010 = .310. A guy who hits .220, but walks at a league elite .160 has an OBP of .380 and is (probably*) more valuable. The league prized the top line stat of batting average, the A’s prized the underlying stat of OBP* which meant they could buy up players the rest of the league had undervalued, and avoid expensive players that everyone else coveted. If you are keeping up - I bet on-base percentage correlates very well with not giving up outs because it is essentially the negative. A .380 OBP means you only gave up an out (essentially, it’s a bit more complicated than that) around .620 of the time when you stepped to the plate. I just want to take that thinking one step further.

But enough of the history lesson - let’s cover the current baseball thinking, The Flyball Revolution and the descent of Three True Outcomes. A batter comes to the plate, and has 2 options - swing, or don’t. If a pitch looks like it’s outside, then leave it and take the ball. 3 more and you get a walk! Nice. Or if it’s inside the zone, then swing and try to score a hit. Here’s were it gets tricky - what if it’s in the zone, but you don’t know if you can make good contact? Increasingly, players are being told to leave those pitches, take the strike (after all, you get 3), and focus on the pitches they can hit*. If that means you ignore a lot of pitches and take a boring old walk instead, then fine.*

Also, increasingly teams are thinking about the cumulative value of each hit ball. Put simply, a ball on the ground can’t ever be as valuable as a ball hit in the air. A ball on the ground might go for a single, the occasional one will go for a double, but a lot of the time (especially with the increasing use of defensive shifts) it’ll go straight to the second baseman who will throw you out. If there’s a runner on first, you’ve grounded into a double play. Two outs gone, just like that! A ball hit in the air (a “flyball”) has a lot more value. If it lands, it’ll go for a double, minimum. It may well be caught and you’re out, but it gives runners the opportunity to tag up and take a base on the throw. If you really hit it hard, you get your home run. There’s no chance of a routine double play. One is objectively better than the other so make sure you draft guys who have a higher launch angle - they’ll get you more value in the long run.

Let’s look at some scenarios to outline it with more clarity. Bottom of the 9th, one out, down by one but with the tying run at 3rd, winning run at 1st. Your batter hits a ground ball. If you’re lucky, it goes for a single and the tying run scores. More often than not, he hits into the infield, who turn a routine double play. Game over, you lose. A flyball hitter hits one high and deep - if it’s caught by an outfielder then you give up the out but the runner on third will tag up and score. Tie game, winning run now moved to second, one out to go. If it goes for a double, runner scores from first, game over, you win. If it goes over the outfield wall then we all get to enjoy the come from behind walkoff home run. Magic.

Why does this matter? Well, my opinion is the reason the Flyball Revolution came along was the sport evolving towards efficiency. The ultimate aim is my thesis - this isn’t about who can hit the ball further, it’s about the fact that a ball hit further has a higher probability of not giving up an out, or trading the out for the runners to tag up and get value for it.

...

I’m already aware this post is incredibly long. I’ll post the second half later (on the Three True Outcomes, and the conclusion to my thinkpiece) when I have a bit more time. Probably tomorrow when I’m able to write it out. This has gone through no editing process at all, so might not be my most cohesive work. Here it is, for now.

*To a lesser extent, football has had its own evolution to the most efficient style of play - Pulis-style “8 full-backs and long ball to the Big Man”. If you have inferior players, the best way to maximize your points return is to park the bus and play for a draw or the odd win. The difference is that “efficiency” in football is fucking dull to watch, and people will complain if you do it too much, so the sport has its own fail-safe against refining itself which is quite neat. The opposite is true for basketball and baseball, intriguingly, to the point where MLB has probably made material changes to themes  “juiced” baseballs to facilitate it. But I digress...

*a load of fucking nerds, basically, but I can say that as I am one

*there’s a bit more to it than this, as it discounts slugging percentage. A guy who hits a lot of homeruns but has a lower OBP is still more valuable than a guy who walks a lot, sort of. It’s why OPS is such a nice stat

*as with any good arms race, the other side is evolving. Pitchers are now focusing on making their pitches look like other pitches, or all look the same until past the point where they have time to react and swing appropriately. This is called “pitch tunneling”, because a fastball will appear to be in the same location (or “tunnel”) as a slider or changeup as it approaches the batter, so the batter has less time to recognize the pitch and react. Less reaction time = harder to hit = more strikeouts. Tyler Glasnow is a great example - he throws a big looping 12-6 curveball which goes high, then breaks sharply down and a high fastball. The pitches follow the same high “tunnel” on the way to the batter. By the time you realize it’s a curveball, you’re swinging high. By the time the curveball breaks sharply down, you’re swinging at air looking for a fastball.

*amusingly, this kind of “make the most of the inferior resources you have” philosophy is basically baseball Pulis. Doing the dull efficient things that grin out results. Billy Beane was heralded as a genius, Pulis and Mourinho are derided as con artists. There’s no justice!

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #173 on: September 22, 2019, 12:14:41 AM »
Just watched a hell of a game, with the Cardinals pretty much finishing off the Cubs chances of getting to the postseason and pretty much guaranteeing they'll be going there themselves. Longest 9-inning game ever at Wrigley Field (I think), 6 changes of lead, weird decisions, bad umpiring, tons of fun though. That might be the best game the Cardinals have been involved with since the end of the 2011 World Series.

BlodwynPig

  • I’m deffo a AI bot, but i don’t even know it
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #174 on: September 22, 2019, 12:19:47 AM »
Just watched a hell of a game, with the Cardinals pretty much finishing off the Cubs chances of getting to the postseason and pretty much guaranteeing they'll be going there themselves. Longest 9-inning game ever at Wrigley Field (I think), 6 changes of lead, weird decisions, bad umpiring, tons of fun though. That might be the best game the Cardinals have been involved with since the end of the 2011 World Series.

Are you in Chicago? Ah... the I think suggests not. Saw a lot of sad faces just now

Ferris, i stopped following the jays scores at the start of the yankees series, and saw they lost again to the yankees today (back to back series?) but see they have one 63 games, so somehow have managed 5 wins in the last week or so??

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #175 on: September 22, 2019, 01:32:06 AM »
Are you in Chicago? Ah... the I think suggests not. Saw a lot of sad faces just now

Ferris, i stopped following the jays scores at the start of the yankees series, and saw they lost again to the yankees today (back to back series?) but see they have one 63 games, so somehow have managed 5 wins in the last week or so??

They’re 5 in a row, my man!

I’m going to write the second half of my post this weekend (probably), and with my own baseball research. Will call my new stat FAv/FOBP adjusted for GIDP. Have to get my laptop out to run the numbers though.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #176 on: September 22, 2019, 03:27:09 PM »
Are you in Chicago? Ah... the I think suggests not. Saw a lot of sad faces just now

Ferris, i stopped following the jays scores at the start of the yankees series, and saw they lost again to the yankees today (back to back series?) but see they have one 63 games, so somehow have managed 5 wins in the last week or so??
I live in the humid hellhole that is St Louis (I used to live close enough to Busch Stadium that I'd hear the fireworks celebrating a home run about 10 seconds before the event would be on the TV, meaning I could switch over for the good stuff if I wasn't watching).

Just read this morning that the game, which was great, is the longest 9-inning game in Wrigley Field history and the 12th longest all-time...but it was really enjoyable all the way through.

Also, good work on that post Ferris. Have you thought about submitting it to Fangraphs or BP (they both have "community research" sections, I think?)

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #177 on: September 22, 2019, 04:25:40 PM »
I doubt my research is of interest to anyone, but it’s kind of you to suggest it.

Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #178 on: September 22, 2019, 04:36:21 PM »
I read the box score of the Cubs-Cards game and couldn't make a lot of sense of it. Were they switching position players for extra pitchers so they could keep left/right options in game at all times?

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • ...and I really do mean that.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: Baseball 2018
« Reply #179 on: September 22, 2019, 05:29:31 PM »
I read the box score of the Cubs-Cards game and couldn't make a lot of sense of it. Were they switching position players for extra pitchers so they could keep left/right options in game at all times?

Apologies if this is covering stuff you already know. In National League baseball, the pitcher has to take at-bats. You can substitute players at any time, but they can’t re-enter the game once they’ve been replaced. You have to have a pitcher on the current team sheet if you want them to pitch. Typically pitchers don’t hit well, and you want position players to take their spots and hit when they’re done pitching.

I’m trying to parse it now. Hudson pitched 3 innings, he took 1AB (and got a hit) then his spot came up again and he was pulled for Ravelo (1B, I’ve never heard of him). Ravelo is listed as a PH (“pinch-hitter”) only, so he didn’t play a position and was presumably pulled right away for pitcher Leone (who got shelled) so he was pulled for Fernandez who closed out the 4th. Cabrera came in and pitched the 5th inning, was pulled for OF Jose Martínez in the 6th (who went 0 for 1) who was himself pulled for pitcher Helsey who pitched the 6th.

So far, so complicated. In the 7th, Helsey was replaced by 3rd baseman Muñoz to bat. At that point, as a manager you can make a choice to make sure all of your positions are fielded and you have a need pitcher - replace Muñoz with a pitcher, or leave Muñoz in and put the pitcher in for your other 3B (Carpenter). That’s what happened here - it looks like Muñoz went 0 for 1 with a BB, so 2 plate appearances total and Carpenter left the game in the 7th for pitcher Gallegos, who got shelled and was lifted for Webb who closed out the 7th and went 2/3s of the 8th before being pulled for Gant who closed out the 8th. Presumably they liked the matchup for Gant because he only faced one batter that I can see. He records the win (despite only throwing 2 pitches) because he was the last pitcher in before the Cards took the lead in the 9th.

Now Gant’s spot in the batting order comes up. It used to be Carpenter hitting 7th but he’s been subbed out for all these pitchers. Rather than let Gant have a plate appearance, he was pulled for Matt Wieters (who I didn’t know was still playing!), who drew a walk, and was himself pulled for a “pinch-runner” Arozarena to run the bases for him because Wieters is slow af. It didn’t work because the PR didn’t score, and was pulled for the Cards closer Martínez who closed out the 9th. Ballgame, Cardinals.

If you’re asking why those particular pitching substitutions were made, I’d guess a combination of lefty/righty matchup, and also pitchers having bad days. Looking at the box score; Hudson, Leone, Helsey and Gallegos all had bad days at the office. As a manager, you want to look for favourable matchups, but you also pull pitchers if they are stinking up the place and costing your team their chance at a win. I see Cabrera pitched well, but faced a few batters so I don’t think that was a matchup thing - without digging into the game any further than the box score, I’d say Gant was a calculated choice due to matchup as he closed out one inning and didn’t do anything further.

You could argue they liked the potential matchups for Muñoz which is why they left him in ahead of Carpenter, but I don’t know enough about the Cubs bullpen to say whether that makes sense. What I will say is that lefty/righty matchup isn’t necessarily still the dominating school of thought on what makes a matchup favourable. It’s an arms race - you find young players coming up now hit same-handedness as well (or even, better) than their supposed strength side. Natural selection - those players may not be any better, they’re just the ones who face opposing pitchers from different handedness more and it’s the ones who do well there who progress. I’m thinking of Rowdy Tellez, 1B for the Jays who is left handed but hits better against lefty pitching (and always makes me laugh when opposing teams bring in lefty relievers against him without reviewing his numbers first, the idiots), and he’s not alone in this.

Tags: