2005-11-26T18:23:04.713-08:00Dodger Math has a new home at www.dodgermath.com.
2005-11-17T20:52:34.836-08:00Despite having what I thought were the best teams in the NL the last two years, the Chicago Cubs have decided to go back to being lovable losers. While they had several issues last year: a lineup where the first two hitters combined almost got out OPSed by the number three hitter, an outfield that was staggeringly bad, at least until Murton arrived, and a fantastically injury prone starting rotation that lacked depth, the Cubs have decided to spend their budget at the craps table and invest in middle relief while not addressing any of their weaknesses.Here's the signings the Cubs have made this off season:Neifi Perez: two years, five million to the worst hitter of the last decade. One of the two reasons why Derrek Lee didn't have four thousand RBI this year.Glendon Rusch: Two years, six million. This actually isn't a bad signing. Over the last two years, he's put up a very similar ERA to Jeff Weaver, and has had a decent strikeout rate (6.8 K/9) and walk rate. (2.33 K/BB) (Compared to 6.28 K/9 and 2.81 K/BB for Weaver). Weaver will likely get ten million dollars a year this off season. Compared to this, Rusch, who doesn't have the massive home run rates that Weaver does, could be the pitching steal of the off season.Ryan Dempster: Three years, fifteen million. The very reason why sabermetrics avoids guys who suddenly get a lot of saves like the plague. Coming into this season, Dempster's career best ERA was 3.66. He had a reputation as a guy who could throw hard, but sometimes struggled with his control. Dempster came into his own in the closer role, however, becoming a guy who could throw hard, but sometimes struggled with his control.I didn't watch a lot of Cubs games this year, but from what I saw, I got a definite Jeff Shaw vibe off of him. Yeah, he got the save, but he usually gave up a double and a walk to do so. His 1.43 WHIP certainly didn't inspire confidence. Like Shaw, it seems like the Cubs could run anyone else out there, and he'd do just about as well. It certainly wouldn't surprise me if Dempster lumped a few more of those hits and walks together, compiled a five and a half ERA, and lost his job by the All Star Break.Scott Eyre: Three years, eleven million. The Cubs made a terrible mistake here. Don't get me wrong, Eyre was good this year, very good. He had the third best ARP in baseball, behind only Huston Street and Cliff Politte. Sounds good, right? The problem is that like all middle relievers, this is largely governed by small sample size. Eyre has a career ERA+ of 98, and will be 34 years old next year. He managed to avoid the home run this year, and had a good strikeout rate (8.3 K/9), but his walk rate is rather high (3.5 BB/9) and he had a low .268 BABIP. Eyre is a slightly above average reliever bolstered by small sample size.You simply can not pay for middle relief, and the Cubs had an opportunity to have a solid bullpen for a low cost this year, but could destroy it, if they really are trading two good, young pitchers, most notably Rich Hill, for Juan Pierre. I don't really see what this accomplishes. Pierre would replace Corey Patterson, a player with good speed and power, but only has a career isolated patience of .041. Pierre has slightly more speed, but has no power, similar defense, and a career isolated patience of .050. The Cubs also already have a player very similar to Pierre in Jerry Hairston. This move, if it were true, doesn't help the Cubs in any way. Not really seeing why this is worth paying a combined 26 million dollars to fill a hole that likely could have been filled for 650 thousand.The Cubs had their opportunity in the last two years, and they blew it. They have two options, either make one more go at it, by blowing a bunch of money on players like Burnett and Giles, crippling the team for the future but making a run while Prior, Zambrano, and, if you're optimistic, Wood are still together. They could also consolidate their young talents like Matt Murton and Rich Hill, and sacrifice the next couple of seasons to make a run in a few years. The w[...]
2005-11-16T13:14:28.123-08:00The Dodgers tireless search for a general manager, highlighted by snubbs from Pat Gillick, Gerry Hunsicker, and Theo Epstein, has finally come to an end. Paul DePodesta's successor is Ned Coletti.Oh, God.Let's put aside Coletti's actual qualifications for a second and wonder what the heck Frank McCourt is thinking. Since DePo's firing, we've been told that we're going to emphasize the "Dodger way". I was rightfully scared by what this meant, but for the average Cora loving Dodger fan, this was a good thing. Since they are the clear majority, master of P.R. McCourt was on the right track. Then he ends up hiring a hated Giant, who has never been a general manager, as the G.M. Well, failed on that account. Consequently, any points that McCourt might have gotten for firing DePo have just gone out the window. Well done.Maybe McCourt actually decided to take yet another hit and sign the best G.M. for the job. We don't know enough about Coletti to know if this is true or not. All we really have is an interview he did with Baseball Prospecuts, and a couple of quotes. “This guy might be the most impressive first-impression guy I've ever met in my life. We talked for an hour in my office one day, and he never even talked about grabbing a bat. It was all about pitching."Perhaps he should have been more concerned about Matheny's offense, considering his career high on base is .320. Matheny has a career OPS of .634, and a career OPS+ of 65. Coincidentally, this is the same OPS+ of Neifi Perez, the worst hitter of the last decade (who Colletti gave five million dollars to). A quote like this concerns me that Coletti might be a guy who values defense over anything else, no matter how fatal the players offensive shortcoming.But when we're signing a player, especially an older one, many times it's not the dollar figure that holds you back, it's the number of years. We can't send $5 million to a mailbox because the player we have under contract isn't playing anymore.This is a plus, but I don't know if Colletti practices what he preaches. The Giants entered this season as the oldest team in baseball, and the Giants will be handing a lot of paychecks to people over 35 in the next couple of years.When we acquired J.T. Snow, Jose Vizcaino, Jeff Kent--all those guys were character players who had something to prove... People would tell us he's a selfish player, a loner, not a glowing report at all...He came to us as a good player, and he left as a great player, a potential Hall of Famer.While it's good that he recognized that swallowing Kent's "bad chemistry" was a good thing, it's not like J.T. Snow and Jose Viscaino are anything to be proud of. Since 1998, Snow has been the Giants first baseman, producing largely average results (a career OPS+ of 106, mostly buoyed by his 1997 and his fluke .958 OPS 2004.). It's interesting the he mentions Vizcaino, since he was only with the Giants one year, and put up pretty bad numbers (.673 OPS, somewhat helped by a 107 rate2.) What's odd is that he promotes their character while dismissing chemistry. If this means he goes after hard workers only, I'm not too encouraged, as that starts firmly slipping into "scrappy" territory.Having played Anaheim in the World Series, seeing them go first to third and other things like that, we wanted to bring some of that to our own team, run more, steal bases.Gulp. Another example of learning the wrong lesson. (The Angels offense, while helped by their aggressiveness, were certainly helped by ranking sixth in baseball in OBP.)Talking to Felipe (Alou) about him, he said Neifi could play second, short and third, that he'd be an above-average fielder, a guy who'd occasionally get a big hit and who knew how to play the game. We felt that was a player we could use.Double gulp. Taking someone who can "ocassionally get a big hit" is not a good thing.It's our view you can never have enough pitching. If you're short in another area, you can always trade pitching, because it's the toughest commodity to find.Is anyone else[...]
After gifting Cy Youngs to Chris Carpenter and (far more tragically) Bartolo Colon, the BBWA got one right and gave the AL MVP to A-Rod.
However, the people who cast votes for the following players should be immediately banished to Corsica.
Scott Podsednik (especially the guy who gave him a fifth place vote)
Eric Chavez (as much as I hate to say it, he only had a .795 OPS)
What's odd is that Derek Jeter had his second best season ever (based on WARP), yet he didn't get the usual amount of man love he receives around this time of year, getting only 23 votes. (Advancing from the worst shortstop in history to the league average certainly helped). I'll just assume those are makeup votes.
2005-11-14T20:53:04.786-08:00In March, Google purchased Urchin, a company that specializes in web analysis. Being the generous souls that they are, they found a way to reduce Urchin's 199 dollar a month service fee down to zero. Consequently, I can abondon my ad filled tracker which has all of the interesting features disabled, and switch over to this one. Isn't life grand?
2005-11-11T16:49:37.536-08:00Once upon a time there was a man named Ken Gurnick. One morning, Ken wrote an article and submitted it to MLB.com. After a brave blogger named Rob linked it, Andrew read it, and found several previously unknown facts dropped matter-of-factly.
(Disclaimer: I know nothing about football, I'm simply using the same analytical techniques that apply to baseball and using them elsewhere. I could be completely off the mark here, but I doubt I am.)
Yesterday, in a move that only Bill Stoneman could truly appreciate, the Eagles cut Terrell Owens. This is another case of chemistry being valued over results, and getting mass approval. Who does this move hurt? Does it hurt Owens? Not really, he'll sign a contract with a team that understands having a talented wide receiver helps the team. Does it hurt the Eagles? Certainly, Owens is one of the best players in the league. Brilliant move there.
Listening to Mason and Ireland on Friday, there was a guest on that argued that the Eagles were actually a better team without Owens, citing the fact that they passed the ball 73 percent of the time, and this would make them run more. This is not a well thought out statement. If the Eagles were actually talented at running the ball, wouldn't they do it more? Most certainly. Running the ball doesn't score points, it is simply a means to an end, just because you run more doesn't mean you score more. Whenever talent takes a back seat to chemistry, the only thing that is hurt is the team.
What does this have to do with the Dodgers? They are about to do the same thing with Milton Bradley. The current rumor is that Bradley is being sent off to the Yankees. I have to ask, what could the Yankees possibly give us that is worth Bradley. Assuming money is no object, the following players would actually be worth a 28 year old outfielder who has good patience, power, and good speed.
The following are not worth it
Chein-Ming Wang - Doesn't strike anyone out (3.69 K/9) doesn't have a good K/BB ratio (1.43) the only thing he does well is avoid the home run. If he didn't pitch for the Yankees, no one would be talking about him.
Carl Pavano - A 30 year old with a total of two above average seasons.
Eric Duncan - Do the Dodgers really need another third base prospect?
Now to introduce reality into the trade
Sheffield - He's not coming to the Dodgers.
Matsui - Going to be a free agent in a week.
Rivera - The Yankees wouldn't trade him.
Johnson - Will make 16 million dollars when he is 43.
This leaves Jeter, Rodriguez, and Giambi. These three players made a combined 59 million dollars this year. In other words, they aren't coming to the Dodgers either.
Unless the Dodgers get a very big wad of money, trading a player as good is Bradley is simply disastrous. Here's hoping that the Dodgers are able to look past something as unimportant as chemistry.
2005-11-07T15:34:37.773-08:00Covering a few stories that I missed over the last few days.Dodgers sign Jose Cruz Jr. for 2.91 million dollars: On the surface, this is a very good thing. I advocated giving Cruz an additional one million dollars, so the fact that we were able to sign him on the cheap is a very good thing. The bad part about this is that he likely won't play in the role that I had envisioned him in: a fourth outfielder who can back up our injury prone players and provide insurance in case Werth stinks. What's my reasoning here? The dreaded "McCourt doesn't want him" at the bottom of the article. While I generally place little faith into anonymous sources, they've been right a good deal of the time lately, at least when it comes to the Dodgers front office. I suppose a Cruz/Drew/(Werth or free agent) outfield isn't so bad. It's just less than what could have been.Padres trade Brian Lawrence for Vinny Castilla: Earlier this year, I thought that Kevin Towers had gone completely insane by trading Phil Nevin for Chan Ho Park. After Ducksnorts called me on it, I did the analysis and discovered that the back end of the Padres rotation was so bad that Park could be considered an improvement.This is not another diamond in the rough for San Diego. Brian Lawrence is not a spectacular pitcher, putting up an ERA+ of 96 in his career (100 is average) . This was mainly hampered by the fact that he had a horrid year this year, putting up an ERA+ of 80. Vinny Castilla, since his 30th birthday, has had the following OPS+ numbers: 82, 42, 94, 61, 101, 104, and 94. While Castilla has been having a bit of a late career resurgence, it's only taken him from the dregs of the league to the league average. Picking up Castilla effectively is giving up on Sean Burroughs, who despite being the butt of several jokes (the last home run he hit was off some 12 year old kid from Taiwan, etc.) put up OPS pluses of 105 and 92 before plummeting to 71 this year. Granted, 71 is horrible, but Burroughs is only 24, while Castilla is 37 and hasn't put up above average numbers for seven years.Never mind the fact that this concedes a 29 year old average starting pitcher who makes slightly more than Castilla does. Considering that Chan Ho Park was an honest improvement to the rotation, the loss of Lawrence does not help the team in any way.Their loss, our gain.Ryan Howard and Huston Street named Rookies of the Year: While the voters managed to get this correct. (Zach Duke was more dominant than Howard, but he only had 10 starts) the runners up are further proof that the writers care very little about actual results. Robinson Cano was not even the best rookie second baseman in the AL this year, yet he wins runner up? Willy Taveraz, the very definition of a one tool player (he hit .172/.206/.226 without his infield hits. I suppose having one tool is okay as long as that tool is speed) is the runner up in the NL? Joe Blanton, the best rookie starting pitcher in every category but wins gets six votes? Just miserable. At least they got the winners right, which is far preferable to when they hand the Cy Young to Bartolo or Rivera in the near future.The Dodgers want Billy Wagner: This falls firmly into unsubstantiated rumor, but this would be incredibly suicidal if it were true. In a fantasy world where money is no object, this would be great. Who wouldn't want to see Billy Wagner as the setup man for the Dodgers? In the real world, however, this is just suicidal. Unless Gagne's elbow is currently in the former Soviet Union, the Dodgers have 10 million dollars committed to someone who has three of the 25 best seasons by a reliever ever. While Wagner is nice, he's 34, and fills a role that is not exactly a pressing need. Let's hope this isn't true. Categories: General Baseball[...]
2005-11-03T13:59:23.913-08:00ESPN has already ranked the teams for 2006. Sadly, in this fantasy world where Bobby Valentine can improve the Dodgers, but J.D. Drew can't, the Dodgers are ranked 27th. That's right, they'll somehow get worse next year. This is a lovely exericse in futility, ranking teams based on moves they hypothetically could make. I particulary love the fact that they rank the Mets sixth, almost based solely on the fact that they could get Rafael Furcal. There has to be something that's more productive for ESPN than this.
2005-11-02T14:29:20.193-08:00Despite the fact that "Jamie McCourt is the President" is leading the renaming poll, I found myself rooting for "Dodger Math" to win. Thus, I hear by extend my thanks to Vishal and rename DFP to Dodger Math.
2005-11-02T14:28:46.516-08:00With nothing non-depressing to write about, I figured that I would annihilate what little credibility I had by reviewing what I wrote in the preseason for my fantasy baseball forum. Hey, it's better than sending death threats to the McCourts.Other than some particularly scary uses of grammar that I cleaned up (not many people were meant to see these) these are my unedited preseason predictions, along with some commentary.AL West(Sadly, I lost my write up, I just have the order here)1) A's2) Angels3) Mariners4) TexasThe gist of this was that if everything went right for the A's, namely their rotation, they were the best team in the division. While their young rotation did more than anyone could have possibly hoped, they didn't have the power I thought they would. I expected a huge season from Chavez, along with 15-20 home runs from every other member of the lineup. (Hey, Keith Ginter looked really good coming into the season, what can I say?)I had the Angels pegged as a hugely overrated team, one that spent 50 million dollars but didn't improve, but had one massive advantage, their bench. The Angels would be relentless simply because they could lose anyone but Vlad and would either be fine or possibly better off. In the end, I over estimated the offense and underestimated the pitching. Oh, and I foresaw big things in Jeff DaVanon's future.I saw the Mariners and Texas as teams that had a decent offense but no pitching, giving a slight edge to the Mariners because they at least had one credible starting pitcher in Joel Pinero. Beltre was pegged as a huge mistake (I predicted a .260/.300/.430 season for him with 25 home runs), and Sexson was a good signing. Texas was an improving team, with the best infield in baseball, but simply lacked any pitching to speak of.AL Central1 - Indians - To be honest, you could pick any of the four teams in this league and have an equal chance of being right, but here's my reasoning. They have the only known solid offense in the league. They bring back a great young core, added Aaron Boone to it and are better for it. They also shored up their biggest weakness, pitching, with Millwood giving the Indians a fourth credible starting pitcher. The bullpen has improved with the additions of Wickman and Rhodes, making what was a hideous weakness mediocre, with Betancourt and Riske contributing.The Indians have something that no other team in the division has: no glaring weaknesses. In this division, that's enough to win.Pretty much right on here. Nothing really to add.2 - Twins - The Twins have by far the best rotation in this division, and ranks among the top five in baseball. They also have a lights out bullpen with Romero, Rincon, and Nathan. So, why second? Because this offense is potentially worse than the Royals. Okay, maybe that's taking it a bit far, but, look at it. Their most solid infielder has less than 300 big league at bats. They're counting on power from a guy who never showed any until he reached the majors. Rounding this out are three solid outfielders. If either Morenau or Mauer doesn't pan out, there is no way this offense can run. I see this team as the 2003 Dodgers. Not going to allow many runs, but they'll score less.Again pretty much right on, other than with calling Jacque Jones a solid outfielder. Morneau didn't show up this year, and the Twins finished last in the AL in runs. A Cy Young performance from Johan Santana went to waste simply because this team couldn't score runs. Fans of pitching and defense should take note of this team.3 - White Sox - This is a purely irrational pick. On paper, this team could easily win the division, however, like a bizzaro version of the Braves, they'll screw it up somehow. It doesn't help that when they noticed they were losing their best player, they decided to trade the[...]
2005-10-31T15:36:59.803-08:00I hope to God it never comes down to this.
2005-10-31T09:23:18.236-08:00Compiling the name suggestions that I liked, I leave things up to you, the DFP readers, to decide the name of this blog. The poll will remain open for some arbitrary amount of time. Thanks to anyone who suggested a name.
2005-10-31T15:32:09.186-08:00Some reactions to DePodesta's firing from around the web.Metal Supply"Today is a banner day for the Padres, as the Dodgers have fired Paul Depodesta."Ivy Chat: Sees this as an opportunity to pawn Dusty Baker off on us."Now that he has, and Dodger owner Frank McCourt seems set on hiring an ex-Dodger (hence the interviews with Orel Hershieser), Dusty fits in Chevez Ravine."Lone Star Ball"If the decision is based mostly on the Dodgers doing much worse this year or hiring the "wrong" manager, it's got to rank as an all-time dumb move."Nats Triple Play: Sees an opportunity to be rid of Jim Bowden"First, it proves that there are front offices more dysfunctional than ours."Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke"The only thing worse than a tightwad owner is a meddling, rich owner who thinks he knows baseball."Elephants in Oakland"Screw 'em all, Paul. Come home to Oakland."U.S.S. Mariner"If you’re nasty enough and loud enough for long enough, and your ownership’s weak-willed, you can bring down a GM in two years."Drunken Audible"They are back at Square One with no manager, no general manager, a ton of players that were brought in with the explicit vision of their old GM in mind"As for the pro firing contigent:Socal Bloggin"Frank McCourt made the first step toward getting the Dodgers back to the franchise that it once was. "Fu2rman On Sports: If you're curious as to what Plaschke would do with the team."At first base, look at Kevin Millar from the Red Sox, or Daryle Ward from the Pirates."And that's all a blog search for "DePodesta fired" comes up with for pro-firing replies. Neither is really able to make an effective case. Other than those two entries, reaction seems uniformely negative, either with "DePodesta is a great G.M. and McCourt is an idiot", or "DePodesta is nothing great, but McCourt is still an idiot". At least Plaschke is on McCourt's side, and that means something, right?Categories: Link Dump[...]
2005-10-30T09:35:33.500-08:00We may never know the real reason why Paul DePodesta was fired. Frank McCourt's press conference yesterday certainly told us nothing, other than the fact that McCourt is a horrendous public speaker. Sample excerpt, dialog slightly altered "we...uh...thought that if we...uh...moved on with...uh...Paul then we could win more...uh...baseball." Consequently, with nothing else of note to write about until the Dodgers name new personnel, it's speculation time.Unless Frank McCourt is an utterly bungling, incompetent fool (not completely out of the question) there is no way this decision was made until a week ago. There is no way that he would have let DePodesta start a managerial search knowing he would be terminated weeks later. What could have possibly changed in the last three weeks?-DePo was conducting his managerial search-The White Sox won the world seriesIn turn some combination of the following events occurred.Frank McCourt was one of the people who learned the wrong lesson from the White Sox winning the World Series. Since his style has clearly shown him as reactionary (Moneyball was the big thing around DePodesta's hiring) he says "I've got to get me some of that"DePodesta wanted a manager that didn't fly with either the McCourts or Lasorda. Likely he wanted to bring in Terry Collins, while Orel Hershiser or Bobby Valentine was the apple of the McCourts eye.Unless DePo did something like take a crap on McCourt's desk, I can't see any other thing that could have changed in the last three weeks. As I said before, someone (I really hope it wasn't the PR firm, heaven help us if they make the baseball decisions) suddenly decided that we need to go back to the Dodger way (despite what that actually means) and DePo, unlike the McCourts, didn't bleed Dodger blue.Despite the fact that Bill Plaschke's article today is the expected garbage (Rob at 6-4-2 goes into more detail) I'm actually sort of proud of him. I just expected todays column to blast the McCourts, the fact that he actually has something positive to say is a step up for him. While there are some people out there who disagree with the firing, the overwhelming majority think this was a good thing. I suppose McCourt got his wish.This is really as an anti-Moneyball firing down to its core, not only with the release of stat-guy DePodesta, but with McCourt clearly wanting to overpay a G.M. for a trait that doesn't matter (good P.R.) while ignoring what is really important (building a winning team). At least the man who couldn't communicate kept up the same level of class that he's shown the entire time he was with the organization."I truly believe that this franchise is poised to begin the next great era of Dodger baseball," DePodesta said. "I have a tremendous amount of affection for the players, staff and front office and I wish everyone the best of luck. Most importantly, I want to thank the fans for their unparalleled support of the team."Best of luck DePo. Here's hoping you end up with a team that actually deserves your talents.On a final order of buisness, I need a new name. As you can tell by scrolling to the top of this page, I suck at naming things. Consequently I'll make this democratic. Make some suggesstions in the comments, and I'll either choose the best one, or leave it up to a vote. I'd prefer something Dodger related, if possible (keeping the current name is also entirely possible.)Categories: Random Ranting[...]
2005-10-29T16:45:18.780-07:00I was not happy when Frank McCourt bought the Los Angeles Dodgers. I figured that he would have no money, tear down Dodger Stadium, and do other hideously evil things.Then the first major thing he did was hire Paul DePodesta, and I was very happy. After that, the Dodgers won the division and won playoff game for the first time that I could actually appreciate such a thing. Maybe I was too harsh on McCourt, with the success, and the renewed lease on Dodger Stadium, I could hold off on parking lot attendant and "LOL Frank McCourt is poor!!!" jokes, and learn to embrace these new owners.After this decision, I really only have one thing to say.Fuck you, Frank McCourt.This decision reinforces the fact the ideas that have been floating around the media for the last two years. Frank McCourt has no business running a baseball team. This decision, in the context of the Tracy firing three weeks ago, makes absolutely no sense. You get rid of Tracy, presumably because he couldn't interact with the GM, and then you get rid of the GM who lost around 18 games (and I'm being conservative here) due to injuries and managerial incompetence. At the time of DePodesta's hiring McCourt said "[the hiring] also fits with a desire to recreate the feeling of stability and continuity that the Dodgers have had over the years. We are bringing in a young man and making a five-year commitment. We are looking for stability because it goes hand-in-hand with success." Yeah, this move does a whole lot to promote stability.Just one year after DePodesta had to destroy a flawed core and make a new team, McCourt's new hire will likely have to do the same thing. If this report by Peter Gammons is correct, this will mean going back to the style of "Dodger baseball". (Since the report is behind closed doors, this is the relevant bit: "After meeting with Orel Hershiser and Tom Lasorda, McCourt, ever sensitive to the Los Angeles media, changed direction. Friday, DePodesta was ordered to meet with ownership at 10 p.m. PT, and was subsequently dismissed. Now, what could be better PR to sell the Dodger tradition than hiring Hershiser as GM and bringing Dodger blueblood -- and Lasorda favorite -- Bobby Valentine back as manager from his historic triumph in Japan. "Don't bet against it," said one person acquainted with the scene. "Tommy really wants Bobby back with the Dodgers.")Fuck Dodger baseball.Let me recap the greatest memories of the Dodgers that I have. I am in no way using anything for comedic effect here:1) Jose Lima throwing a shutout in last years NLDS.2) This game, back in 1994, where despite the fact that Mike Piazza was available to pinch hit, Darren Dreifort comes running out of the clubhouse and drives in the winning run.3) Chan Ho Park attempting to karate kick Tim Belcher.4) The Dodgers blowing out the Giants in the last game of the season of 1993, forcing the Giants to miss the playoffs with 103 wins.That's it. Do you know what other storied team could have given me similar memories? The god damn Brewers. Dodger baseball has got us nowhere in recent memory. It's all about pitching and defense right? Who else remembers 2003, where the Dodgers had a historically good pitching and defense, and still lost? Maybe, after 17 years of futility, it was time for a change, and, for a brief period, it looked like it would occur. It was a good thing we had going there, wasn't it?In comparison, here's what the Dodgers have done for me, keeping in mind that the first season that I can recall getting truly involved in was 1992:1) Perpetually sucked.2) Traded my favorite player (who happened to be the best player in baseball) for Gary Sheffield3) Gave a 34 year old[...]
2005-10-29T11:19:31.326-07:00By now, we've all seen the report that DePodesta is going to be canned. Until the Dodgers actually make some kind of announcement, I'll hold off on comment. There have been lots of things printed in the Times that have turned out to not be true. If they actually do fire him, let's just say I'm going to break my no swearing policy.
2005-10-29T16:46:41.186-07:00I was going to write about how the 2005 Chicago White Sox offense, but, as Steve said in the comments of my last entry, what’s the point? Despite the fact that smart ball gets all the press, the 2005 White Sox were far less efficient offensively than the “one dimensional” 2004 White Sox. A very simple way to determine this is by total runs scored: 2004 White Sox: 865 runs2005 White Sox: 741 runs Apparently, when you lose your three best hitters (two, if you consider that Magglio Ordonez missed most of last year), despite what the media will tell you, it will actually drop your run production, in this case by about 15 percent. So, if it wasn’t offense, how did they do it? Well, Alan presents a big reason in the comments from my last entry, courtesy of Baseball Prospectus. Mark BuehrleIP W L ERA VORPActual 236.7 16 8 3.12 54.2PECOTA 205 13 11 4.47 36.3Jon GarlandIP W L ERA VORPActual 221 18 10 3.50 50.1PECOTA 180 10 11 5.05 20.9Freddy GarciaIP W L ERA VORPActual 228 14 8 3.87 45.6PECOTA 195 12 11 4.55 33.3Jose ContrerasIP W L ERA VORPActual 204.7 15 7 3.61 41.5PECOTA 135 8 9 4.91 19.2 All it takes to make a winning team is to have four of your starting pitchers pitch into the 90th percentile of their PECOTA projections. Not that hard, right? What else would help? How about if the bullpen massively exceeds their expectations as well? 2005 DERA* 2004 DERA* 2003 DERA* Cliff Politte 2.24 4.11 5.18 Neil Cotts 2.44 5.51 7.41 Dustin Hermanson 2.86 4.67 3.55 Luis Viscaino 3.92 4.07 6.08 Damaso Marte 4.13 3.14 1.83 *DERA= Defense adjusted ERA, adjusted for all time. Yet another lesson on why you shouldn’t spend money on a bullpen. These five pitchers combined made 5.88 million dollars this year. Three of them blew their career numbers out of the water, one slightly exceeded them, and one got worse. Once again, no lessons can really be learned here. It’s not like Dustin Hermanson had some untapped potential that was suddenly unleashed in his mid-30s. Get a bunch of cheap mid range relievers, and pray for the best is really all you can do. What else could suddenly rise to fruition for the White Sox? How about defense? While the upturn was not as dramatic as in pitching, four White Sox suddenly got much better defensively, three stayed about the same, and there was only one disappointment, Tadahito Iguchi. 2005 Rate2 2004 Rate2 2003 Rate2 Paul Konerko 107* 96 103 Tadahito Iguchi 88 NA NA Joe Crede* 108* 93 100 Juan Uribe 107 109 114 Scott Podsednik 108* 93** 98** Aaron Rowand 106 102 96 Jermaine Dye 101 101 106 A.J. Pierzynski 104 100 108 *Career high**Numbers from centerfield With this, there are really no real lessons to be learned from the 2005 White Sox. Get a bunch of players together, and hope they all make drastic improvements simultaneously. Sadly, that’s hard to plan for. The best thing that could come from this season is that other teams learn the wrong lessons from the White Sox, and start trading their good hitters for s[...]
2005-10-26T21:08:24.993-07:00The White Sox win the World Series.
2005-10-26T20:29:12.613-07:00This would have been more timely had Blogger not been giving me guff all day.Have you ever seen anyone look as horrible in the span of one game as Willy Taveraz did last night? To review:1st - Popped a bunt. Runner on second with no outs.3rd -Struck out. Runner on first, one out.5th - Popped out to shallow right center. No on, one out.8th - Flied out to left. No on, no out.9th - Struck out. First and third, one out.11th - Hit on the dome.13th - Struck out. Runner on first, one out.A-Rod would have been called far worse than C minus-Rod if he put up a night like this. In my desire to see the White Sox not win last night, I called Tavarez a very naughty word after that strikeout in the ninth. This is why players whose entire offensive value is based on infield hits (he would have hit .172/.206/.226 without them) do not deserve to be the consensus rookie of the year. But, I digress.For my next small sample size observation, Phil Garner is the worst manager ever. He simply left Roy Oswalt out to die last night. Oswalt set his career high for pitches in an inning in the fifth last night, and, in what is arguably the worst inning of his career, Garner refuses to come out to talk to him, nor did he make any attempt to replace him. Combine this with his love for the bunt (see below), and his bizarre attempts to confuse Ozzie Guillen (yes, Brad Lidge is going to bat in the bottom of the ninth), Phil Garner is the worst manager in recorded history.In what is not a small sample size observation, if there were any justice in the world, this post season would be proof that small ball doesn't work. You would think that the myth that a team needs to play small ball to win would have died when Boston won the World Series, but then Dave Roberts had to steal that base. Because of that, it "proved" that a team needs small ball to win. This post season should have done far more than Boston ever could to debunk that myth. The best example of this is the horrible bunting performed by the Angels, Cardinals, White Sox, and Astros.In this table, a bunt attempt is any at bat where the batter showed bunt and took a strike. A successful bunt is when the lead runners are able to advance a base. Successful Bunts Bunt Attempts Percent ALCS Game One 1 5 .200 ALCS Game Two 2 4 .500 ALCS Game Three 1 1 1.000 ALCS Game Four 0 3 .000 ALCS Game Five 2 3 .667 NLCS Game One 3 3 1.000 NLCS Game Two 2 3 .667 NLCS Game Three 1 3 .333 NLCS Game Four 1 3 .000 NLCS Game Five 2 2 1.000 NLCS Game Six 0 1 .000 WS Game One 2 3 .667 WS Game Two 0 3 .000 WS Game Three 2 6 .333 Total 19 43 .442 Successful Bunts Bunt Attempts Percent Adam Everett 1 3 .333 Craig Biggio 1 2 .500 Chris Burke 1 2 .500 Carl Everett 1 1 1.000 Orlando Cabrera 0 1 .000 Chris Carpenter 2 2 1.000 Jermaine Dye 0 1 .000 Darin Erstad 0 1 .000 Chone Figgins 2 3 .000 Jon Garland 0 1 .000 Tadahito Iguchi 2 4 .500 Jose Molina 0 1 .000 Adam Kennedy 1 3 .333 Jason Marquis 0 1 .000 Matt Morris 1 1 1.000 [...]
2005-10-25T11:17:11.100-07:00Since the other major awards all seem rather obvious to me, I'll just list them off here:
2005-10-25T10:48:17.793-07:00Since the end of June, I've constantly had the debate with others about who was the Rookie of the Year in the American League this year. The AL's rookie class is one of the strongest we've seen in a long time. Players who would be favorites to win the award in other years: Gustavo Chacin, Dan Johnson, Chris Shelton, Robinson Cano, and others, have no chance to win it this year due to superior options elsewhere. As I see it, there are four players who have reasonable arguments for the award:Joe Blanton44.3 VORP, 201.3 IP, 3.53 ERA, 116 K, 67 BB, 23 HR, .253 BABIP Blanton was my preseason choice for rookie of the year, and he didn't disappoint, putting up the highest VORP amongst rookie. Two things keep him from deserving the rookie of the year without reservation, however.-His three true outcome stats were rather bad, putting up a shocking 1.67 K/BB despite his excellent control in the minors, along with a below average 23 home runs.-The only thing that saved him from complete ruin this year was his .253 BABIP, the third lowest in baseball. While, like Barry Zito, his amazing curve ball serves to keep his BABIP down, some luck was most definately invovled.As a case for Blanton, if you take out his horrendous May (13.25 ERA) he would have had a 2.55 ERA, which would have lead the AL.Despite the fact that Blanton had a stronger overall performance than any other rookie, if Baseball Tonight is any indication, he won't even receive consideration, most likely because he only has 12 wins.Jonny Gomes36.9 VORP, 407 PA .282/.371/.534/.905 ,21 HR, 9 SB, 1 FRAA2*eGomes was able to lead all rookie position players in VORP, despite the fact that he only played two thirds of a season. His .905 OPS was second amongst rookies (behind Ryan Howard), and he lead all rookies with 21 home runs. The only knock against Gomes might be the fact that he is a bad fielder, but, other than that, Gomes was clearly the dominant rookie position player.Tadahito Iguchi30.9 VORP, 582 PA, .278/.342/.438/.780 15 HR, 15 SB, 8 FRAA2*Iguchi gets some consideration because he is a middle infielder, and things like 15/15 seasons tend to get rookie of the year voters all hot and bothered. The one thing that keeps Iguchi in contention for me is the fact that his on base percentage got hurt by the smart ball strategy. If you give him back the 11 times he reached base that were negated by bunting, Iguchi rises to a .360 on base. This doesn't include the times that the bunt failed, which could raise his OBP even higher.As it stands, Iguchi shouldn't be a serious candidate, he was far inferior to Gomes, but I can see him stealing the rookie of the year award for doing things like bunting and stealing bases.Huston Street33.3 VORP, 78.3 IP, 1.72 ERA, 72 K, 26 BB, 3HR, .253 BABIPStreet had an amazing season this year, shoring up the A's closer situation after the loss of Octavio Dotel. Street lead all relievers in ARP** by five, a truly amazing feat. Street was simply lights out all season, and there is nothing that should limit him from serious consideration.Dropping Iguchi from serious consideration, the rookie of the year award comes down to a starting pitcher, a relief pitcher, and a position player? How to best compare those? Blanton, while he was not as dominant as Gomes or Street, played a full season, and some credit has to be given for sustaining good numbers the entire season. The best way to do this is to compare these players to the entire league, rather than just rookies. If this is the case[...]
2005-10-24T15:39:37.340-07:00Another day, another playoff game greatly effected by bad umpiring. Has there ever been a post season so marred by game altering bad calls? To review:ALDS Game Three: For the first time in recorded history, Cowboy Joe West says that Robinson Cano did not touch second base to force out Juan Rivera, despite the fact that historically, a player only has to be in the same zip code of the base to get the force.(the same call would be made on Tadahito Iguchi in the ALCS.) Instead of first and third and two outs in the top of the 7th of an 8-6 game, the bases are loaded with one out. Molina is then sacrificed home.ALDS Game Five: Cowboy Joe West calls Robinson Cano called out for running outside of the baseline, despite the fact that the only reason he moved was to not block the throw from the catcher to first. The game shifted from having the bases loaded with two outs in a 5-2 game to the inning being over.ALCS Game Two: Doug Eddings clearly signals that A.J. Piersynski struck out, yet calls him safe when he runs to first. Instead of the bottom of the ninth ending in a 1-1 game, there is a runner on first with two outs. A stolen base and a Joe Crede double later, the White Sox win.ALCS Game Four: In the top of the fifth, replays show that Scott Podsenik was clearly picked off of first base, but is called safe by Ed Rapuano. Instead of no on and two out in the top of the fifth of a 5-2 game, there is one on and one out. Podsednik would later score. This turned out to be meaningless, but was blatantly wrong.NLCS Game Four: In a game that had an otherworldly strike zone the whole way through, Phil Cuzzi ejects Jim Edmonds for arguing balls and strikes. While it is in the letter of the law for him to do so, you do not eject a star player from a playoff game unless they, at a minimum, commit arson. While the effect this had was debatable (John Rodriguez inherited a full count and hit a 430 foot fly out), Cuzzi picked the wrong time to figure out who was bigger.NLCS Game Six: Yadier Molina is called out at second base by Greg Gibson a on phantom tag by Adam Everett. Instead of the bases loaded and no out, it is first and third and one out in a 3-0 game. While this call is far more excusable than the ones listed above since he was screened out of the play, this call cost the Cardinals 1.2 runs on average, and would prove to be the only time the Cardinals could have gotten to Oswalt.Now joining these calls, we have the phantom hit by pitch on Jermaine Dye. While the end result was still in question, Wheeler would have still had a 3-2 count on Dye, this call potentially cost the Astros the game. Instead of the inning ending, the bases were loaded for Paul Konerko. While the call was hard to see visually, it could have been made simply by watching Dye's actions. When a player gets hit by a pitch, usually two things happen:-If the player was hit in an unarmored area, they at the very least flinch.-The player runs to first base.Have you ever seen someone standing around looking confused after they were hit by a pitch? That should have been enough for Jeff Nelson to realize that Dye was not hit on the arm. All of this would be academic, of course, had Chad Qualls not thought that grooving a fastball to Paul Konerko was a good idea.Maybe there is something to this "team of destiny" thing. That, or someone just really wants to see an entire offseason of praise for Ozzie Guillen.Categories: 2005 Playoffs, The Joy of Umpires[...]
2005-10-24T15:44:30.103-07:00Using the hack described here, DFP now has the added organization of categories for the various posts. Since it uses Google to perform this task, things will not appear in the category for a couple days.
2005-10-22T14:55:33.886-07:00I once turned on ESPN to see a man screaming at me. "That's rather unpleasent" I thought, and with that Stephen A. Smith immedately made the hate list, despite the fact I was only exposed to him for six seconds. I hoped it was the last I would ever see of him.