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Thursday, September 15, 2011

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Giants: Better luck next year.


... Or not

I posted my Minute Maid Park report at the end of the last thread and up pops a new thread. It's nice to see these great teams disintegrate. Eff the Brewers. I'd like to see the Cards catch 'em and let them watch the playoffs on TV. I am enjoying the Giants already resigned to couch time with the clicker during the playoffs!

How many more games without any weight on the standings will the Phils have to play this month?

raul: 18, I think. Ugh.

Kennedy's numbers are very, very good. sub 3 ERA, 20 wins on the horizon, 200+ IP. But, this is really a pitcher's year and his only league leading number is wins. He's not going to win the CY based on leading the league in wins (if he does). He belongs on the slate but, he'll most likely finish out of the money based on the numbers so far.

Halladay/Lee going for CY Young, Howard's run at HR/RBI Crown, and DOM's assault on MLB pitching leadnig to his postseason roster spot will keep me watching til end of year.

Kennedy winning would be the equivalent of Zito winning it in 2002 over Pedro.

thats the first time I've heard "The northeast three" as a thing in that si article

very enjoyable post game thread yesterday. see, BL can be fun even if the sky isn't falling.

"Ryan Howard is currently 8th in the NL in Win Probability Added (4.0)."

i'm no expert on WPA, but something called Win Probability Added sounds like something thats good to be 8th in the NL in.

Mark it down. Repeat. (of 2009)

conshy: Yep, pretty much. It's one of the best context dependent stats out there.

CJ - if only the Howard defenders would think beyond RBI's they might find that some saber stats actually like Ryan Howard. granted, not many of them, but some!

Reading BAP's report of the definition of WAR for pitchers in the last thread was a useful exercise. There were at least 3 totally subjective elements in their formula.

It would be the equivalent of a Beerleaguer formula that included these elements: "5% weight is given to what Jack thinks of the player minus the analysis of clout and MG."

Then, of course, the final number is presented as a mathematical certainty, as if it is untainted by subjective opinion.

I am glad you got to see a win, Fred, thanks for the report. The burgers sound tasty, but a $6 Coke makes me grumpy.

Not that I needed any confirmation, but it shows how important it is to have a certain type of player on your team. I can't believe with 2 weeks left in a playoff run that Fielder and K-Rud are making controversial (and selfish) statements. They have the "right" to, but I don't see how it helps their team.

conshy, if the WPA metric were to be ever be perfected (and it may already be there, though not likely), I would be the first in line to argue that the leader in WPA at the end of every season, should be handed the MVP award, without question.

If you are the single most influential player in baseball in terms of increasing your team's chances to win games, you ARE the most valuable player in baseball.

The reason why Howard looks a lot better in terms of WPA is because of his ability to create 'unexpected' runs.

The teams probablity to win when they need a run and there are men in scoring position is already favorable, so not much probablity can be added. But when there is no one on, or just a man on 1st and a team needs a run, the probablity of that run scoring is lower - so when an ISO king like Howard can still create that run, he is able to add much more probablity since its technically created all by him and not much by the situation.

I think this is a aspect of sabermetrics that has not been fully quantified yet, which is basically:

How much more valuable is a run created when odds are against it, compared to a a run created when the situation already suggests it?

In my opinion, being able to create a run in 'unexpected' situations is more valuable - and becomes more and more valuable as run environments in the MLB lower.

lorecore - before i can figure that out i need to fully flush out my thoughts on string theory. once i'm done with that, i'm on to WPA!

cnshy, you should listen to the Brian Regan skit where he's talking about watching a show on String Theory while sitting on his couch eating handfuls of potato chips.

Best line: "They're talking about string theory...I'm working on my string cheese theory!"

"Faced with burnishing his case for the National League Cy Young Award or meting out some vigilante justice, Clayton Kershaw chose the latter on Wednesday night.
It remains to be seen how that will affect the former."

Is it possible that this one incident could affect his chances for the Cy Young? Of course I'd rather see Doc or Lee win it, but not that way.

"lorecore - before i can figure that out i need to fully flush out my thoughts on string theory. once i'm done with that, i'm on to WPA!"

Read "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene. Really handles the topic--and theotircal physics in general--with grace and understandability.

WAR for everyday players is a little less convoluted, but no less problematic. About a week or two ago, someone posted a link to an excellent article pointing out the many problems with WAR. Not the least of which is that it treats "positional scarcity" as being of more value than "skill scarcity." So if you can play 5 positions poorly, the way Michael Martinez can, that's of more value than being able to hit 35 homeruns. (Note to literalists: That specific example is an exaggeration, of course, but the general point is true).

# of seasons leading league in both HR and RBI:

Babe Ruth: 6
Mike Schmidt: 4
Hank Greenburg: 3
Hank Aaron: 3
Ted Williams: 3

Howard going for his 3rd year, trailing Pujols by 2 HR.

Fat Man - just watched it and laughed my @ss off.

The Theory - i've think i've seen that dude on Into The Wormhole w/ Morgan Freeman. i'll have to add that one to my reading list.

there's been quite a lot on Discovery recently on String Theory, Parallel Universes, and Quantum Mechanics. i dvr them, watch them, think i understand them, only to tell myself "there's no freaking way any of this could be true", then realize that it pretty much is true, but it's so far over my ability to comprehend that i should just forget i ever watched it in the first place. then i rewatch it. i just can't help myself.

lorecore - it's Greenberg (not burg). only commenting since it's my surname :)

OP: I don't think it's that the incident per se would affect his Cy Young chances. But it left him with only 5 IP to show for his outing & that's one of the stats that voters will look at in evaluating whom to vote for. It could also potentially cost him the ERA title because the race is very close & the ejection deprived him of as many as 4 innings of potential shutout ball.

Admittedly, we're dealing in minutiae here but, in a race this close, it may well come down to minutiae.

Nothing sends shivers up the opposing team's spine like a lineup featuring Orr, Schneider & Martinez, with Kyle Kendrick on the mound.

Are we allowed to use the word "minutiae" on this site?

Holy black hole at the bottom of the line-up, Batman.

Bap: If the game were on the road, you'd have to include Raul in that black hole, but since it's at home, I guess he qualifies as one of the good hitters in the lineup.

"Reading BAP's report of the definition of WAR for pitchers in the last thread was a useful exercise. There were at least 3 totally subjective elements in their formula."

To be fair, those elements are not "totally subjective", they just seem like that when presented without context in that definition. They are subject to debate, but they are nevertheless based on research and data which is not shown there.

Now BAP, the team does do well when Schneider starts.

Still don't understand how a team can have the MVP of the league and the cy young award winner on the same team and not make the playoffs. Baseball is funny game.

So, basically, if you're going to catch just one Phillies game today, plan around the night cap. Got it.

Lucky for me, I'm again, mailing it in Hamels-style, and I plan on watching both.

Oddly enough, knowing what I know about the Phillies, I expect that they win the first game and the offense takes the 2nd game off.

"The Theory - i've think i've seen that dude on Into The Wormhole w/ Morgan Freeman. i'll have to add that one to my reading list."

Yup. He also wrote a follow-up book called "Fabric of the Cosmos" which I haven't read--but both books have PBS specials which are well done--though I find the books to be better and more comprehensive. (You know how those PBS specials are... lots of repeated information.)

"Now BAP, the team does do well when Schneider starts"

Yeah, time for the reversion to begin. In fact, I think it already began the last time he started.

It's pretty cool how the double headers stack up, so that the pitchers will get their proper rest. I guess we'll see KK & Lee pitch the the day-night doubleheader against the gNats next Tuesday. I wonder if Blanton would get one of those starts next Tuesday instead of KK? I doubt it. I suspect that Blanton will only see mop up duty like he saw that other day.

Note how the letters k, r, o and d are not present in the word 'team".

Come to think of it, amidst all of the hand wringing about the rest of the team, and leaving Oswalt in, I don't feel we fully dissected the triumphant return of Joe Blanton on Monday.

The first game of the DH today sounds like an excellent time to get him some more work and see what we might have there.

Willard: good point, Blanton's Spetember might be one of the few storylines to folow that have meaning after they clinch.

Could Blanton show enough to bump Stutes out of the pen?

... yea, me neither.

Stutes made a comment on Twitter about saving his bat for the postseason. I don't think he's planning on being left off the roster. ;)

Utley the meanest player in baseball? Excellent analysis by Mr. Murphy on SI's story. Is this really news?

"Chase Utley as mean?

That's what many of his fellow major leaguers say in this week's Sports Illustrated players' poll.

Utley finished second with 13 percent of the vote when 215 players were asked who is the meanest player in baseball.

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was the runaway winner with 29 percent of the vote.

Milton Bradley (11 percent), Carlos Zambrano (five percent) and former Phillies pitcher Vicente Padilla (four percent) rounded out the top 5.

Hard to imagine this goes back to his declaration about the World F. Champions in 2008. Our guess is this might be the baseball definition of "dirtiest" or it might be a reflection of Utley's hard-nosed style.

What do you think? Surprised at what other players think of Utley?"

I'm glad I don't have to root for losers like Fielder and K-Rod.

I'm not sure how I feel about WPA. It seems almost too context-dependent. If the Phillies are down by a run with 2 outs in the 9th and nobody on base, and then get consecutive doubles from Victorino and Utley, I would argue the two doubles are equally important towards tying the game, but Utley gets credited with a much higher WPA.

What does "meanest" mean here? I think it is probably closer to "unfriendly" in this context. In that case, I can probably see Utley being in the top. When you see him play, he always looks so intense and I never see him joking with other players when he gets on base or they are on base. I could see some people take that "seriousness" to mean the person is unfriendly, when that is not necessarily the case. Just my thought on it. Then again, I'm not on the field, so maybe Utley is talking trash to other players about their mommas...

3r0ck -

FWIW - I have a friend that tends bar in a place where a lot of Phillies spend time. He says that in contrast to some other, notable Phillies (and other Philly sports stars), Utley is a pretty nice guy. It seems that being "mean" translates into a competitor that doesn't schmooze with opposing players.

How many votes did Dom Brown have for the "meanest" poll? I remember Utley barking at him several times over fielding gaffes and not hustling out a ground ball.

My take on the SI piece that mentioned Utley was that it was a combo of him (1) being known for hard nosed, take no quarter play all the time; and (2) like SLO said, you don't usually see him chatting or smiling with other team members when they are on second base, so perhaps he isn't known around baseball as being a particularly friendly guy.

Who knows for sure? Not sure how the above translates to being "mean". Sometimes these poll questions are irritating because of this type of disconnect.

When I think "mean", I think of guys like Milton Bradley (known for a bad temper), maybe K-Rod (beat up father-in-law), our own Urbina (firebug extraordinaire), Albert Belle (threw a baseball at someone without a glove who offended him), etc.

Randy Johnson is always the first person who comes to mind when I think of a 'mean' baseball player.

I don't know if this is a true story or not but, when A.J. Pierzynski played for the Giants, legend has it that there was an incident in which he took a shot to the nuts and, when the trainer came out to ask how he felt, he responded by kicking the trainer in the nuts and saying, "Why don't you tell me?"

I don't know if this really happened or not, but I do know that Pierzynski wore out his welcome very quickly in SF, and was released after the season.

Krod spelled backward is quite appropriate, don't you think?

I think WPA definitely has real value.

That said, I find it hilarious that when a stat shows Howard in a positive light, it must be a great stat (WPA). If it shows Howard in a negative light, it's obviously a garbage stat that is worthless (WAR). Gotta love it.

Jack: Thanks for debunking an argument no one was making. I thought that was my territory.

Had you been here at the beginning of the discussion, you'd know what we were talking about.

Someone suggested that Ryan Howard's stats are worthless because he does all his damage when it doesn't matter but collapses in clutch situation.

I presented his high/low leverage splits in OPS and his WPA to demonstrate how false that argument is.

No one is saying WPA is a great stat as opposed to the highly flawed WAR. One person suggested they liked it better than WAR in making an MVP argument. That's about it.

kinda like how you hate RBIs?

Jack does keep his streak alive in which every mention of Ryan Howard includes a criticism. He's an albatross!!

Yo, new thread.

The new thread is an albatross.

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