Author Topic: 2018 Running Baseball Thread  (Read 12549 times)

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Offline Bison

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #45 on: March 31, 2018, 07:38:25 PM »
Limiting the number of visits to the pitchers mound is a stupid rule.


Offline Bison

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #46 on: March 31, 2018, 07:42:35 PM »
The Royals bullpen is pretty much going to guarantee a 100 loss season.  Horrible.

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #47 on: March 31, 2018, 08:05:34 PM »
I'm cautiously optimistic about Houston again this year, but every time I start to hope about any of my teams, they seem to tank hard and tank early.
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Offline MetalDog

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #48 on: March 31, 2018, 08:31:46 PM »
Didn't they win the World Series last year?  Run out of things to complain about?
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Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #49 on: March 31, 2018, 08:47:27 PM »
Didn't they win the World Series last year?  Run out of things to complain about?

It was a great series to watch.  I hope they repeat and they certainly have the team to do it.  But every time I think my defending champs managed to get better, something goes wrong (see also LSU 2008, Columbus Crew 2009, Carolina Hurricanes 2007)
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Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #50 on: April 02, 2018, 07:13:35 AM »
A fun column from Jayson Stark

https://theathletic.com/295052/2018/04/02/stark-ten-numbers-that-define-baseball-in-2018/

Quote
Stark: Ten numbers that define baseball in 2018

Numbers. I love them, man.
If you’ve ever read a word I’ve written, you might have caught onto that. Numbers can make you think. Numbers can make you laugh. Numbers can make you shake your head and say, “Whaaaaaaat?”
But let me tell you what I think numbers are and what they aren’t.
I’m not one of those people who looks at numbers and thinks they are the game or they’re bigger than the game. I look at numbers as a means to shine a light on the game, to illuminate it, to put everything into perspective, to fully tell every story.
So as we begin the journey into another epic season, I think there are numbers that can already tell this story. In a related development, I’ve compiled those numbers. So here they come – 10 numbers that define baseball in 2018:


THE MAGIC NUMBER: 19,823
WHAT IT MEANS: Would you believe there were an astounding 19,823 more shifts last season, on balls in play, than there were just five years ago in 2013? Yep. I said 19,823.
Here is the raw shifting data, according to Sports Info Solutions:
Shifts last season: 26,705
Shifts in 2013: 6,882
And (just for fun) shifts in 2010: 2,463
Digest those three items one more time. The use of shifts has more than tripled just over the last five seasons – and multiplied 10 times over the last eight seasons. So it’s hard to comprehend sometimes that there are still fans out there waiting for this whole shift thing to blow over. Heck, there are still pitchers waiting for this whole shift thing to blow over.
Well, the assignment for everyone predicting the Death of the Shift is to type our latest magic number on their iPads 19,823 times, until they get the message. The shift isn’t going to evaporate into the ozone, gang. Not. Going. To. Happen.
In fact, if anything, there’s an excellent chance we could see even more shifts this year. Why? Because we have four managers – Alex Cora in Boston, Mickey Callaway in Mets-ville, Gabe Kapler in Philly and Ron Gardenhire in Detroit – who just left teams that shift a lot and took over teams that ranked near the bottom of the sport in shifts last year.
So all that really matters is: Do shifts actually work? And speaking of that question…


THE MAGIC NUMBER: .197
WHAT IT MEANS: If you’re a left-handed hitter who pulls a ground ball these days, that’s your chance of reaching base, either via a hit or some sort of fielding mishap. That number is about 40 points lower – yessir, 40 points – than it was as recently as 2011, according to Sports Info Solutions.
So maybe you’ve heard this expression lately at a ballpark near you, possibly to explain the modern infatuation with launch angle:
“In the 21st century, ground balls are outs.”
So is that true? Oh, yeah. It’s totally true.
I was chatting with the hitting coach for a data-driven team last season when he casually blurted out a number that set off sirens in my head.
“If you pull a ground ball right now, with all these shifts,” he said, “you’re a .193 hitter.”
That doesn’t sound too promising, does it? But in fact, if you do that, you wouldn't even have that high an average.
Sports Info Solutions charts a metric it calls the Reached Base Rate. It’s basically On Base Percentage, except it also includes reaching via an error. And what we’ve learned from that metric is that, over the last two seasons, a left-handed hitter’s chances of reaching base on any ground ball between the first-base line and halfway to second base are under 20 percent.
That’s not his batting average. That’s not his On Base Percentage. That’s his chance of reaching base, period, even if it’s because the second baseman clanks it. Yikes!
That’s also not just against the shift. That’s against any defensive alignment.
Here is how that rate has changed over the last seven seasons:
2017 – .197
2016 – .193
2015 – .207
2014 – .208
2013 – .222
2012 – .221
2011 – .235
So it’s a funny thing. I hear skeptics cite all kinds of numbers to “prove” that shifts aren’t working. Really? Ask any left-handed hitter. Consult the chart above. Got it? Next!


THE MAGIC NUMBER: 8,184
WHAT IT MEANS: Is it really possible that there were 8,184 fewer balls in play last season than there were a mere 10 years ago? Oh, it’s possible, all right. It’s a fact. That’s a lot of potential Web Gems that can’t ever happen.
The following sentence is just an astute observation from a long-time lover of all sports (i.e., yours truly):
The games are way more fun to watch when something actually happens!
So the gradual disappearance of this phenomenon we once knew as “action” in baseball is getting to be a major problem. We have plenty of swinging and missing. (Nearly 3,400 more strikeouts than a mere five years ago.) We have no shortage of baseballs flying over fences. (Almost 2,000 more homers last year than in 2014.) We have massive amounts of walks and deep counts. (We saw about 1,800 more walks last year than two years earlier.)
What we’re missing, though, is the best part. What we’re missing is balls that, once upon a time, were actually put in play.

Here is the total number of balls in play over the last decade, according to Baseball-Reference.com:
 Year     Total    Decrease since '08
 2008    133, 711    n/a
 2009     132,120    -1,591
 2010    130,859    -2,852
 2011    130,912    -2,799
 2012    128,523    -5,188
 2013    129,202    -4,509
 2014    128,020    -5,591
 2015    127,930    -5,781
 2016    126,562    -7,149
 2017    125,527    -8,184
This is what you call an unfortunate trend. And it can’t be solved by pitch clocks, limits on mound visits or pitch-free intentional walks. But how exactly can baseball go about producing more action? Excellent question. Send all your suggestions to Mr. Robert Manfred, in New York, NY.


THE MAGIC NUMBER: 61.8
WHAT IT MEANS: There were 144 hitters who got enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title last season. And 89 of them hit at least 20 home runs. That comes to a mind-boggling 61.8 percent! As recently as 2014, it was 32.0 percent. And the old record, of 56.1 percent, was set back in 1999, during the heart of the PED era. So here’s our advice: If you’re an every-day player in the big leagues in 2018, you should probably be spending as much time practicing your home run trot as you spend on cutoffs and relays.
It was an assistant GM of an American League team who called my attention to this stat. The more I think about it, the more incredible it gets.
Almost 62 percent of all qualifying hitters in the big leagues now hit 20 home runs?
“Everyone,” that exec said, “has power these days.”
I hope you didn’t laugh when you read that. It’s pretty close to true. The only spots in the batting order where teams didn't average at least 20 homers last season? The eighth (16.4) and ninth (12.1) slots. Where else?
And aside from pitcher, want to guess the only positions anywhere on the field where teams didn’t average at least 20 homers? Only second base (18.6) and shortstop (17.8). And that’s actually just second base in the NL, because the AL second base crews had it covered.
OK, now here comes one more number: $80.5 million.
What’s the meaning of that one? Well, there were nine free agents this winter who hit more than 25 home runs last season. Only J.D. Martinez got paid, to the tune of $110 million over five years.
So where does that $80.5 million fit in? That’s the total dollars guaranteed to the other eight combined. (Heck, Mark Reynolds — who hit 30 — never even got a job. And Mike Napoli — who hit 29 — signed a minor-league deal with Cleveland.)
In other words, GMs don’t dig the long ball anymore. And why should they? Hitting home runs is no longer an unusual skill in the big leagues.


THE MAGIC NUMBER: 130
WHAT IT MEANS: Once upon a time, Rickey Henderson made history by stealing 130 bases in a season – all by himself. That was 36 years ago. But by last year, there was only one TEAM in the major leagues that stole 130 bases (the Angels).
All right, don’t look this up. Who led the American League in stolen bases last year?
Hmmm, I can smell those brain cells overheating from here.
It was Whit Merrifield, of course. With 34! (You win a free copy of the Rickey Henderson Quote Book if you know Rickey just missed swiping that many in a month two different times.)
But what does that tell you about the impending demise of the stolen base? It had been more than half a century since anyone led any league with that low a steal total. (Luis Aparicio topped the AL with 31, back in 1962.). But I’m guessing it won’t be another half-century until the next time somebody does it. It’s where we’re heading.
Just 17 players stole 20 bases or more last season. There were twice that many (34) in 2012. There were 44 in 1999, at a time when home run hitting was just as prevalent.
As recently as 2011, nine teams were stealing 130-plus bases. In 1983, there were 17, in an era when the average team stole 128.
So what’s happening here? The usual. Information is happening. At a time when so many thumpers in the average lineup can hit one out at any moment, every team has data that tells it the risk of a caught-stealing isn’t worth the reward – unless there is overriding data that shows if you run against a certain pitcher in a certain spot, you’re probably going to be safe.
So attempts are down. Success rates are up. And it makes us wonder. Remember the fabled “green light” – which allowed a sprint champ like Rickey to run any old time he wanted? Does it even exist anymore? Billy Hamilton is asking for a friend.


THE MAGIC NUMBER: 1,323
WHAT IT MEANS: That’s how many more relief pitchers came marching into games last season than FIVE years ago – about a third of them in the middle of an inning. Bullpenning Fever. Catch it.
If you’ve watched a baseball game in October lately, you know that bullpenning makes for excellent baseball strategy. Whether it makes for excellent entertainment strategy is a whole different question.
But bullpenning – even in the regular season – isn’t just happening. It’s exploding. Take a look at this data, on the massive uptick in the usage of relief pitchers, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau:
Year   Total   Per Game
2017   15,657   6.44
2013   14,334   5.90
2008   14,151   5.83
2003    12,957    5.33
1993   11,960   4.92
The impact of this trend is humongous. On time of game. On pace of game. On roster construction. On the number of pitchers shuttling back and forth between the big leagues and places like Pawtucket, R.I. And, especially, on what’s being asked of starting pitchers these days.
Or, come to think of it, what isn't being asked of starting pitchers these days. By which we mean …


THE MAGIC NUMBER: 1,196
WHAT IT MEANS: That’s the number of times starting pitchers were allowed to go through a lineup at least three times last year. It might seem like a big number until you realize this: That computes to just 40 times a season on the average team!
No wonder the nightly bullpen parade now seems longer than the Tournament of Roses. It’s because starting pitchers have never been given less rope at any time in recorded history.
Just check out the rampaging trend in this department. It’s the number of times in a season that starters made it (or were permitted to make it) through the lineup three times or more in a game, according to baseball-reference.com’s indispensable Play Index:
2017    1,196
2016    1,405
2015    1,670
2014    1,906
What do we find if we keep going back in time? You don’t need to be related to Miss Cleo to guess. This happened approximately twice as often (2,197) as recently as 2003. The number was 2,609 back in 1998. And 50 years ago, it was triple this rate.
The upshot is, just 58 pitchers threw enough innings to qualify for the ERA title last season. That's right. We said 58. Not even two per team.
So remember the good old days (i.e., like four years ago), when managers still said stuff like: “We need more innings out of our starters?” Ha. Not anymore.


THE MAGIC NUMBER: 10
 WHAT IT MEANS: With Bryce Harper and Manny Machado heading into their walk years, I thought they’d want to know how many players in history have roared into free agency at age 26 or younger, as they will. And that answer, courtesy of MLB Network research wiz Matt Filippi, is … 10 (not counting players who got released or nontendered).
Here’s what you need to know about the impending free agency of Harper and Machado, which will hang over this season from start to finish: Except for the first couple of years of free agency, back in the 1970s, we’ve never seen anything like this – two players who are this good and this young reaching free agency at the same time? Wow. Gentlemen, start your checkbooks.
After the 1976 season, the very first free-agent class ever featured Don Gullett, Wayne Garland, Doyle Alexander and Gary Matthews all testing free agency at age 25 or 26. The next winter, in Year 2 of free agency, it was Goose Gossage and Terry Forster reaching the market at 26.
But in the 40 years since, just four other players have put in their six years of service time and made it into the free-agent showroom by age 26:
1980-81 Claudell Washington
2000-01 Alex Rodriguez
2004-05 Adrián Beltré
2015-16 Jason Heyward
So how did their free agencies go? Here’s a rundown:
—A-Rod signed a 10-year deal with Texas, opted out of it after seven years and still cajoled the Yankees into another 10-year extravaganza.
—Heyward is entering Year 3 of an eight-year, $184-million contract with the Cubs. We’ll let you know in 2023 how that one turned out.
—Beltré got five years from Seattle and was still so young on the other end, he actually has hit free agency three different times since (and is believed to be the only player ever to sign two free-agent contracts of five years or more, without an opt-out triggering the second).
—And then there’s Washington, whose five-year, $3.5-million deal with the Braves in 1981 was so universally panned, it inspired Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter to announce he was selling the team because “the Claudell Washington thing made no sense” and it was time to get out before free agency ruined the game. But this just in: The game survived. And Washington played 10 more seasons in the big leagues, reaching free agency two more times. So apparently, it didn’t cripple the industry after all.
So that’s the back story, as we lead up to the epic free-agent winter of 2018-19. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are about to play out the biggest season of their lives, as cash registers ca-ching in the distance. Have we mentioned we’ve never seen anything like it?


THE MAGIC NUMBER: 3
WHAT IT MEANS: That’s the number of Cy Youngs already owned by Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw, as they find themselves pitching in the same league at the same time, still in the prime of their greatness. And how often have we seen that, in any league? Just about never.
It’s Ali-Frazier. It’s Dempsey-Tunney. It’s Rocky versus Apollo. It’s the heavyweight Cy Young battle of this or any century. Scherzer versus Kershaw. Again.
Oh, there have been other times, in both leagues, where we looked up and found two — sometimes even three — pitchers who had won at least three Cy Youngs and were still going. There was Tom Seaver/Steve Carlton and Seaver/Jim Palmer in the ‘80s. And there were various times, earlier in this very century, when some combination of Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martínez found themselves in the same league at the same time.
But only once before have we ever seen anything like this — when both men were still so near their peak that they’d each won a Cy Young within the last three seasons. That was in 2002, in the American League. Clemens had just won his sixth Cy Young. Pedro had won the previous two AL Cys and an NL Cy Young before that. So of course, it was Barry Zito who beat them both to the trophy that year.
The difference, though, is that Clemens was about to turn 40 that year, while Kershaw and Scherzer are 30 and 33, respectively. And they’re both still in the prime of their dominance.
If Kershaw wins another Cy Young this year, he would join just Johnson (five) and Carlton (four) among left-handers with four or more. If Scherzer wins again, it would be his fourth Cy Young season in a row (one in the AL, three in the NL). And only Johnson and Maddux have ever ripped off four straight Cy Young seasons.
So remember that item about the disappearance of starting pitching? Uh, not when Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw pitch.


THE MAGIC NUMBER: 0
WHAT IT MEANS: That would be the number of losing seasons Derek Jeter ever experienced as a player. In 20 seasons in the Bronx. So why do we suspect that, as an owner in Miami, that’s about to change?
For two decades, he led a charmed life. Titles. Tickertape. Twenty years of triumph. That isn’t reality for almost anybody else. But it was reality for Derek Jeter in New York. In his years as a big-league baseball player, his teams were 563 games over .500. That’s ridiculous. But it’s all he knew.
Well, if he ever wondered what it was like to be, say, a Cleveland Brown, he just may be about to find out, now that he’s a big-league owner and executive.
Jeter’s teams in New York finished in first place 13 times. His new team, the Marlins, has never finished in first place in any season in the history of the franchise (although it did win two World Series while riding the Wild Card Express).
Jeter’s teams in New York spun off 20 winning seasons in a row. His new team is coming off eight losing seasons in a row.
And finally, there’s this: Let’s just say there are people who wouldn’t be shocked if the stripped-down Marlins lost 100 games this season. Meanwhile, back in New York, in 1997-98, Jeter’s Yankees teams once went through a stretch of 297 games —counting October—in which they didn’t lose 100 times (while going 198-99).
So can a man who has never experienced a losing season in his life (even in the minor leagues) keep his ever-present cool over the next six months? Inside Jeter’s head, there may be a voice telling him he can handle this because he knows it’s coming.
But those numbers tell us a different story… as numbers often do. Just one more reason I love them.
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline mirth

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2018, 05:48:45 PM »
I know far more about this friggin sport than I should or want to
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Offline Bison

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2018, 06:11:16 PM »
When did Pratt start writing about baseball?

Offline mirth

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2018, 06:13:07 PM »
When did Pratt start writing about baseball?

Talk about a nightmare scenario
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Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2018, 06:51:43 PM »
When did Pratt start writing about baseball?

That's Jayson Stark writing for The Athletic.  He's always written really fun long-form articles about interesting stats and numbers in the sport
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline bayonetbrant

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The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline mirth

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #56 on: April 12, 2018, 05:53:49 AM »
Watched a rousing game of MLB 18 on twitch last night.
"45 minutes of pooping Tribbles being juggled by a drunken Horta would be better than Season 1 of TNG." - SirAndrewD

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Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: 2018 Running Baseball Thread
« Reply #57 on: April 12, 2018, 07:13:34 AM »

Offline bayonetbrant

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The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline bayonetbrant

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The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers