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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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So much ink spilled on this site over the two players involved in that play right there: Ryan Theriot ground-out to Wilson Valdez.


And to think, we could have had BOTH!

derek: "Dom Brown made two errors tonight. According to Eric Karabell and Keith Law, Brown is just as clueless as ever in the outfield."

This is becoming one of the great mysteries of all time. He was never a great fielder, but he was at least average until last season. He's been a total disaster ever since the move to LF at the MLB level. I wonder if he's got the yips.

It is too bad for the Reds that Mdson went down for the season. Madson and Marshall at the back-end of that Reds bullpen would have been something special. A lefty and righty, both with phenomenal offspeed stuff. It would have near death to be losing to the Reds after the 7th inning.

Clout, I fee like he was pretty much a disaster in RF last year as well.

Phils close out a west coast trip 5-5. Phans lament. What a welcome shift in expecations this is.

clout - My take on Brown's defense is this: he was always bad defensively, but because of his speed and athleticism, it was assumed he'd improve, and no one worried about his D. Once Brown reached the majors and the spotlight shone on him, it became impossible to ignore his lack of instincts to play the outfield adequately.

I still have hope Brown's defense will improve, but right now I think he is measurably worse defensively than Ibanez.

Hugh -- Any mental health issues aside -- yours or mine; why the bleep did you bring up that ad hominem snark anyway? -- might you recommend a "mean" the young and hungry Nationals' staff might regress to?

cut-fb - No offense intended. Pull your panties out of your snatch, love and kisses, etc. You swing to both poles farther and faster than any other reactionary fan posting here. I hope you have a good flesh and blood sounding board.

As for the Nats, I reserve comment on what I wish for them.

http://crashburnalley.com/2012/04/25/more-on-halladays-curve-evolution/

Very good article on Halladay increasing usage of his curveball, and how it remains very effective despite how much more he is using it.

I know Doc's velocity has been a bit of an eyebrow raiser, but I believe he's simply adopting his pitching style as he gets older sot hat he can remain effective.

Also, if you're worried about Doc's strikeout rate of 5.7 so far this year, consider that Lee, during his amazing June last year where he only wielded 1 ER over 5 starts, had a 4 game stretch within that same month where he pitched 35 IP and only struck out 19, for a 4.89 SO/9 ratio.

I wouldn't be worried about Halladay after four starts. Doc has earned the benefit of the doubt. Until he visibly and notably starts to decline, he's still the man, and our undisputed ace.

In general terms, a high strike out rate is inefficient for a starting pitcher. If you can get outs with fewer pitches, you can get more outs. High strikeout totals generally entail a lot of deep counts. I have no problem with Halladay's current approach.

Huh? Underwear? Trans-sexual/bi-polar references? Wow.

And now, for something completely different. Back to baseball! Someone. Anyone? Please? Great win for the Phils today!! How 'bout those Rangers!!???

cut, the Nationals have good starters, of this there is no doubt. But we still need to see how Strasburg holds up over the long haul following TJ surgery.

Gonzales is a good pitcher, but a high walk rate has always been something that's kept him as a 3/4 starter as opposed to a front line guy. This year, the walk rate is down, the strikeouts are up, and the groundball rate is up. If those rates stay where they are all season, he'll be a bonafide ace, as his current 2.38 xFIP attests. That's the key, though. Can he kepp this up all season? Maybe the move to the nL, and as he progresses further toward his prime years, that just might be the case. But, like always in April, we have to wait and see.

Zimmerman is a good pitcher, but nothing special. He'll pitch well for the Nationals, but he's not a dominant pitcher.

Jackson is a good #4, but he can be very mercurial. He'll have an absolutely dominant game, followed up by a stinker.

I figure this Nationals staff will finish in the top 5 in ERA in the NL, but if Lee is healthy all year, and Worley keeps up what he's done now for over a year, we have a much better rotation,top to bottom.

[Dom Brown] was never a great fielder, but he was at least average until last season. He's been a total disaster ever since the move to LF at the MLB level. I wonder if he's got the yips.

His offensive numbers at Lehigh so far this season aren't anything to brag about, either. I think it will take a massive injury cluster in the Phils OF before we see him back in MLB.


You swing to both poles farther and faster than any other reactionary fan posting here.

I'm hurt.

As a follow up cut:

Worley career xFIP: 3.50
Zimmerman career xFIP: 3.64
Gonzalez career xFIP: 3.91

As long as our guys are healthy a majority of the year, we hold a decisive pitching advantage.

This is absolutely hindsight in that I won the game, so it didn't matter, but I loved Chooch's attempt to go first to home. Hilarious. He almost made it, too, if Brooks Robinson-Ransom wasn't the one chasing him.

Face it, Dave, you consistently find the lead in any silver lining. No offense, even if you do wear womens underwear. I'm not judging you.

*they won the game. As much as I'd like to take the credit.

Also, MG is right that if they take 3 of 4 vs the Cubs, the month without Utley and Howard (and two starts from Lee) will remarkably not be a disaster. Doesn't matter what Washington is doing. We all would've taken 12-11 in April at the beginning of the month.

Hugh, I disagree. A high strikeout rate is great for any pitcher, whether starter or reliever.

The top 14 xFIP leaders in 2011 all had a K/9 over 8, and 5 had a K/9 over 9.

Lee, Halladay and Hamels were all over 8, and this is why they were so dominating last year.

In my opinion, and in this day and age, if a pitcher has a sub 7 K/9, the best way for him to remain elite is to have a groundball percentage north of 57%. When Doc was a low strikeout pitcher from 2002-2007, he had much higher groundball rates, which helped him to be an elite pitcher

Year: K/9, GB%
2002: 6.32, 59.5
2003: 6.90, 58.4
2004: 6.43, 58.9
2005: 6.86, 60.9
2006: 5.40, 57.3
2007: 5.55, 53.1

2007 was, to no surprise, his worst full season. Ever since '08, his strikeout rate has been consistently above 7.5, and since coming to the Phillies, it's been at its highest, and he's had the two best years of his career, which I attribute to his sacrificing some of his groundball ability (which is good) for strikeout ability (which is better).

I couldn't catch a broadcast of the game but, from what I read, Chooch made a very alert play with the caveat that he didn't realize that Ransom could beat him in a foot race.

Fatti - I don't know that we're contradicting each other, and certainly not from the figures you posted. Strike outs are good; outs are best.

Weird --
Nats: 14-4; 32.3% change of winning division; 56% chance of making playoffs
Bravos: 11-7; 25.6%; 48.8%
Mutts: 10-8; 5.2%; 15.7%
Phillies: 9-10; 33.3%; 57.4%
Miami: 7-10; 3.5%; 10.9%

Coolstandings.com -- This largely indicates that Phillies have played against a lot better teams than the teams ahead of them in the NL East.

A 5-5 road trip is generally a pretty good thing for any team, but, for this team the way they've been hitting, it's huge.

Someone tweeted this video of the TX-NY game. They prefaced it "These Texas fans are the worst fans ever." Check it out.

http://www.twitvid.com/P3HWY

Fata – good points, all. Here’s what concerns me:

Doc: Age 34: ERA: 1.50, ERA+: 119
Cliff: Age: 33 ERA: 1.96, ERA+: 190 (Bleep!! He’s on the DL!)
Cole: Age: 28 ERA: 2.95 ERA+: 127 He’s the Man! Worth keeping at practically any cost.

The Nationals:
Stephen Strasburg: Age 22: ERA: 1.08, ERA+: 338 (This is not a typo. This kid has a chance to make Bob Feller look like Andy Ashby…)
Gio Gonzalaz: Age: 26 ERA: 1.52, ERA+: 240
Jordan Zimmermann: Age: 26 ERA: 1.29, ERA+: 285

Experience notwithstanding, the National’s staff is insane right now. Bleep small sample size. I can't recall a better start by any team's pitching. Ever. The National's starting 3 is also far, far younger that the Phils.

We do also have Vance (and yes, KK!!) as insurance against the event of injury of any of our aces;. To all the KK haters -- he's still won 10 more than he's lost as a starter.

Regardless, think of it. If the National's pitchers shown above pitch to 60% of their current ERA+ for the remainder of the season, I do not like the Phils chances to keep up. This is especially true if Stratsburg stays on the mound past August 31.

Came across fun tool that measures website readability --
http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php

If you put in beerleaguer.com, it says that the readers needs about 5 years of schooling and an 8th grade reading level to understand - about as easy to read as a popular novel. For a random comment page, it takes 4 years of schooling and a 7th grade reading level to understand - as readable as TV Guide or the Bible.

Whoever said BL is a place lawyers go to act like kids...

First of all cut, Doc has a 247 ERA+, not 119.

Secondly, their pitchers are certainly younger, and therefore more likely to stay healthy (even though, their biggest asset has ALREADY undergone Tommy John surgery), something none of the Phillies aces have ever succumbed to.

With youth comes inexperience, and the Phillies starters have not shown any sign of slowing down for this season.

You also need to have a better grasp of what a small sample size is. If you REALLY think that the Nationals staff will keep up this pace, then you obviously have them pegged as the greatest pitch staff to ever take the field.

Other than the 1907 Cubs, there has NEVER been a ML team to even have 2 starting pitchers finish the season with an ERA+ over 200. In fact, there have been 4 teams in baseball history that had 3 starters throw 150 IP and all post over a 150 ERA+. Those seasons were in 1906, 1907, 1913 and 2002.

Basically, you don't have to worry about those pitchers keeping up this pace, or even anything remotely resembling it...because they won't.

Fata -- Agreed. You are correct -- Doc is currently at an ERA+ of 247.

Yes I know ERA+ s a ridiculous metric to judge 1 month's pitching performance. However, in the unlikely event the 3 National's studs pitch to 60% of their current ERA+, wow. They're pretty good.

Fata - Given the formula for xFIP, you should expect pitchers with high K-rates to score well under this metric.

Yet, xFIP and FIP only consider about 25-30% of pitching outcomes. To get a true measure of pitcher effectiveness, we also need to measure the quality of contact on the other 70-75% of pitching outcomes, i.e., the velocity and the angle of the ball off the bat.

A sabermetrics guy who has looked at hard contact is Mike Fast, formerly of BP and recently hired by the Astros. I think his angle has been to test BABIP against hard contact results.

I, on the other hand, prefer to ignore BABIP. After all, FIP and xFIP are defense-independent pitching stats; so, how can you discuss BABIP, the most defense-dependent stat of them all, and DIPS in the same conversation?

My position is to combine FIP with hard contact results to develop a new number that measures pitcher effectiveness by considering 100% of pitching outcomes, not just 25-30%.

Tying this back to Hugh's earlier statement, pitching to contact is fine as long as its weak contact. You can save pitches and go deeper into games by pitching to weak contact rather than trying to strike every batter out. The ideal pitcher, of course, is a guy who strikes out a lot of batters, does not walk many guys, and induces weak contact.

Fatalotti: I think using xFIP to demonstrate the value of K/9 is begging the question. I think K/9 is very important, I just don't think xFIP demonstrates that because it's so strongly a function of K/9.

The Nats are doing what we hoped the Phils would have done, taking advantage of an easy schedule (on paper).

The only team the Nats have played this year who has a winning record is the Mets. They've played both NL Central teams that are worse than the Pirates.

I agree on the question begging with xFIP, DH, and thanks for the response derek.

Of the 15 leaders in ERA last year, 11 of the 15 had K/9 over 8. I think strikeouts are the most important part of a pitchers skillset. as you move farther down the list, you notice an overall decrease in strokeout rate.

Obviously you can succeed if you're not a high strikeout pitcher, but you have to be able to limit walks and force a high amount of groundballs (I suppose you could induce a high amount of infield pop-ups, but I'm not sure if this is a repeatable skill). This could just be another way of saying that pitchers need to induce weak contact, as derek says.

And I absolutely agree with this: "The ideal pitcher, of course, is a guy who strikes out a lot of batters, does not walk many guys, and induces weak contact."

I'm on the road so I haven't had the chance to comment.

There wasa lot of discussion about Galvis and his bat in the last thread.

I have this question about his glove:

Ass-u-ming Utley is out for the season, if Galvis got the majority of the starts the rest of the way - 140 for the season - does he win the GG in the NL?

Lastly, this is cut and pasted from an aarticle at philly.com. I cannot imagine the reactions here at BL if the Phils did this:

Stat of the week

The following comes courtesy of Yahoo.com's David Brown, and features Touch 'Em All fave Ozzie Guillen.

Seems the Miami Marlins manager just can't help himself: He makes news even when he doesn't open his mouth to say the wrong thing.

He proved this notion Tuesday night against the New York Mets, when the Marlins set one of those arcane records that make baseball eternal: They walked four straight batters using four pitchers.

It went like this:

Josh Johnson was tossing a shutout when he walked Lucas Duda with two outs in the seventh.

Guillen brought in Randy Choate, who walked pinch-hitter Justin Turner on a full count.

Guillen brought in Steve Cishek, who walked Scott Hairston on four pitches.

Guillen brought in Mike Dunn. He walked Josh Thole on a full count to score a run that turned out to be crucial as the Mets won, 2-1.

Finally, Guillen stayed put, and Dunn struck out pinch-hitter Zach Lutz to, mercifully, end the inning.

"I wish I would have known we were going to walk four guys," Guillen said afterward. "We had a plan. We felt good about the plan. It doesn't [always] work."

No kidding.


http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20120426_Touch__Em_All__Yankees_lose_Pineda_for_rest_of_the_season.html

awh: he ought to. But that's what happens when you put an exceptional shortstop at 2nd base. Too bad gold gloves often go to the incumbent. And it helps if you can hit too.

***Zimmerman is a good pitcher, but nothing special. He'll pitch well for the Nationals, but he's not a dominant pitcher. ***

Disagree. Having seen him pitch several times now over the last two years, he's a pretty dominant young pitcher. He has #1 potential and has pitched like one so far since coming back from TJ surgery last year.

***Ass-u-ming Utley is out for the season, if Galvis got the majority of the starts the rest of the way - 140 for the season - does he win the GG in the NL?***

Is someone hitting Brandon Phillips with a car in this scenario? If so, yes Galvis would have a good shot. If not, the incumbent will keep his trophy unless he has a terrible year. Also, GGs tend to go to the best defender of the good offensive players of a position, not the overall best defender.

Galvis basically crushingly leads the league in every major defensive category for 2B. Which, again, makes sense if you put an elite defensive SS at a far easier position.

There is a divide that exists between baseball traditionalists and the sabermetrics crowd. I think we can bridge this divide if more attention were paid by sabermetricians to hard contact.

Hard contact can be quantified by measuring both the velocity and the angle of the ball off the bat. The technology to measure hard contact exists today.

Ever since baseball has been played baseball people and fans alike have talked about pitcher effectiveness in terms of how hard a pitcher was being hit in addition to his K's and walks. I think baseball traditionalists would accept a well-thought-out pitching stat that measures hard contact.

FIP and its derivatives do not do the job for the reasons I stated previously.

Zimmerman is certainly more of a candidate to be dominate than Edwin Jackson.

Look, the Nats have three really good pitchers at the top of the rotation. No arguing that. But their offense has problems also- and I'd take our big three over theirs every day of the week.

I'd also take Papelbon over Lidge.

NEPP, re: Zimmerman, I just don't see it in his numbers. He's not been a high strikeout guy (7.47 K/9 for his career, which is good, but not elite). He limits walks pretty effectively (2.13 career, which is very good), but he's not particularly adept at inducing ground balls (42.4% career, which i'd imagine is about league average, if not below).

He has an IFFB% of 10.7% for his career, but the variance in that figure over his four years tells me that it doesn't seem like a repeatable skill (16.7%, 5.6%, 8.8% and currently 18.8%; this last figure is certainly unsustainable).

i think he's a good pitcher, but I just don't see ace quality in those numbers.

I could very well be wrong, though.

derek, I'd certainly be amenable to the results of such a study. I do think FIP, xFIP and SIERA take into accoutn things beyond strikeouts and walks, as they factor in batted ball profiles, HR/FB ratio and other such things. And currently, they are better predictors of future results than ERA and more traditional stats.

But if a study were to incorporate force of contact made, and angel of the ball off teh bat, like you say, that would be awesome, and would probably destroy both the reliance upon, and efficacy of ERA and xFIP alike.

nats gm was on xm the other day. said flat out that they will shut strasburg down at a number they have in mind no matter the playoffs or not. jim bowden had to ask him again to make sure he heard it correctly and rizzo reiterated it. they also said he will not be skipping starts to extend him longer in the season.

***i think he's a good pitcher, but I just don't see ace quality in those numbers.***

Every time I've ever seen him pitch, my first thought has been "Wow, he's way better than I thought". To me, it seems like he pitches to a lot of weak contact rather than focusing on SOs and his control is really good.

Fata - I do not think it is sufficient to describe a pitcher's tendency to give up grounders. Ground balls come in different forms. We have all seen ground balls that were absolutely crushed and others that could be fielded with a bare hand.

A ground ball hit at 90 MPH and having its first bounce at the edge of the infield grass is much more likely to be a hit than a 40-MPH ball, the first bounce of which is ten feet in front of home plate.

Measuring the velocity and angle of the ball off the bat captures these differences.

derek: "My take on Brown's defense is this: he was always bad defensively, but because of his speed and athleticism, it was assumed he'd improve"

While this passes the "logic" test, it is simply untrue. There are countless scouts and prospect experts in the world today, a quick google search will unearth many of their reports and evaluations of Domonic Brown at every single level of professional baseball, some even before that.

At no point prior to 2011 - yes, including his MLB debut in 2010 - did any report suggest that his defense was any worse than mediocre. In fact, many lauded his defense as a possible strength because of his then-current adequate level combined with his extraordinary throwing arm from RF.

Measuring the velocity and angle of the ball off the bat captures these differences.

Posted by: derekcarstairs | Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 09:17 AM

I don't disagree with you here. But until we have reliable and plentiful data on all pitchers, that has been normalized for competition and turf differences within parks, batted ball profile is a good enough proxy. Maybe this data exists and is available to the public, and I'm just unaware of its existence. If it is, I'd love to check it out.

I also didn't say groundball rate was sufficient. It is a piece of the puzzle. Even hard hit groundballs get fielded often enough, and since groundballs can't turn into homeruns, they ha inherent value, regardless of how hard the ball is struck. And since the only way to turn a groundball into an error-less XBH is to hit it down the lines, and since most ground balls are not hit down the lines, groundballs have a distinct inherent quality to them. Sure more research needs to be done to further approach the ultimate truth of how good a pitcher really is, but I don't think we should denigrate the current strides we've made just because we're not done yet.

to which i'll follow up by saying, i agree with clout that his poor play in 2011 has went mental and unfortuntely has yet to be solved.

And even worse...his offense appears to be suffering as well. Someone who dominated all levels of the minors at a younger age is now struggling at the plate as well.

Fata - If you haven't done so already, read some of Mike Fast's stuff. He's done some analysis of batted ball velocity and angle and written some good articles on the subject.

The fact that Fast was hired away from BP by the Astros' new GM Jeff Luhnow tell you something about how he is regarded by baseball people. Luhnow was the director of player procurement with the Cards.

derek, I certainly will. To be clear, I can't wait until a full analysis like this is done, and I hope it provides the results we're all hoping for.

Fata - I wholeheartedly agree that the stats guys have done some excellent work. I also agree that much of their work, particularly on defense and pitching, is really work in process.

Brown for D'Arnaud?
Would the Jays go for it?
Bottalico had a great line about Dom Browns "infomercial" after Brown referred to himself in the third person while tooting his own horn in a televised interview this week.

derek, that's the beauty of empiricism. The more strides you make, the more you realize how short you've come. I'm sure once we have the batted ball data that you're espousing, we'll realize there's another nuance that we're leaving unaccounted, and we'll continue tof refine our understanding of pitching.

See what happens when they hit? Now they're now gonna score 7 pg., But it'sd certainly easier on the staff if they score 4 or 5.

If the bats continue to awaken, we'll be making a run at the top soon. With this pitching staff deserving of that, look out.

I meant "not" gonna score 7 runs pg. Sorry.

Remember too that Strasburg is going to turn back into a pumpkin at 160 IP. He's already at 25 IP & on pace to hit that limit by Labor Day.

Rizzo has already been mealy-mouthed about Strasburg's utilization this year due to the Nats' hot start.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/stephen-strasburg-his-innings-limit-and-the-playoffs/2012/04/25/gIQA0Y6PhT_blog.html

Fata - One refinement to what I've been talking about is to also measure the rotation of the ball off the bat, which might be difficult to do. On the other hand, what I am talking about would be independent of ballpark, weather conditions, etc., which places all pitchers in the same environment.

lorecore - Were the scouting reports to which you refer talking about his defensive tools or his actual defensive performance?

A few weeks back, I did a crude analysis of Brown's defensive performance in the minor leagues since 2006. Since minor league defensive data is sketchy, I recognize that my analysis could be off, but I did the best I could with what I had, which was b-ref data.

My benchmark was Raul Ibanez' defensive performance as a major leaguer, which I compared with Brown's minor league data.

I found that Brown commited errors at the rate of almost three times as much as Ibanez based on chances. Despite Brown's greater speed and athleticism, I found that his chances per game was only .08 greater than Ibanez, or about one ball every two weeks. Finally, I found that Brown's defensive run score per 150 games was -12, while Ibanez' was -7. In WAR terms, Brown has been .5 WAR worse than Ibanez per 150 games.

derek, if we're strictly talking about the velocity of the ball immediately off the bat, and the angle as well, it would probably be mostly independent of ballparks and weather conditions. But I could see those things coming into play. For example, is it possible certain ballparks have a better "batters eye", so that hitters can simply see the ball better there? Also, in murky conditions, does the pitcher or the batter have the advantage? I'd imagine if it's overcast, foggy while being extremely humid, I'd imagine it'd be harder for a hitter to have good bat speed, to see the ball well, and to make great contact. If there are parks that are in areas that are more conducive to such conditions, this would need to be analyzed. Also, certain parks have weird shadow patterns, that occur during twilight, which would affect batter performance. Do you this these conditions could have more than a negligible affect on hitting performance?

Posted this last night, but this is a different link. I know, it isn't serious baseball talk, but it is people behaving badly at a game. Selfish adults impervious to a kid's tears.
http://deadspin.com/5905250/worst-people-ever-catch-foul-ball-refuse-to-give-it-to-a-crying-child-are-vilified-by-michael-kay


Posted this last night, but this is a different link. I know, it isn't serious baseball talk, but it is people behaving badly at a game. Selfish adults impervious to a kid's tears.
http://deadspin.com/5905250/worst-people-ever-catch-foul-ball-refuse-to-give-it-to-a-crying-child-are-vilified-by-michael-kay

Posted by: GBrettfan | Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Really? Who gives a crap? I might not have given the kid the ball, either. In a world in which people are starving to death, tyrants are mass-murdering entire factions of people, and women and children are regularly sold into sex slavery, it's hard to get worked up over a toddler sitting on his dad's lap not getting a baseball, which he probably would have forgotten about by the next morning, and it's bit ridiculous to call these fans the "worst peole ever". Sorry, but stories like this bug me.

Fata - I think the things you mention can have a significant effect on hitting. You can include some of these factors, if, for example, a team wants to tailor its pitching staff to its ballpark. By excluding these factors, you determine who the best pitchers are in uniform, but idealized, conditions.

I caught a foul ball at the Vet once...and I gave it to the kid next to me. I dont feel like I had to do so though...

NEPP, I probably would have taken the picture like the couple did, than gave the kid the ball. I didn't mean to come off as an 8sshole above, but the way those people were vilified just seemed way over-the-top.

the dent in the top of chollie's hat has gotten deeper. and now there is a second in the back. lol somebody joked that it is "gangsta" i don't see any other dented hats on the team.

Really? I find it hard to believe that a baseball means more to an adult than to a kid. The ball landed between the two parties. I'd have given it to the kid and not thought twice about it. Exception would be if I were saving it for my own kid at home, in which case I would explain to the parents.

Yes, maybe "worst fans ever" is a bit overdramatic, but it doesn't make the adults with the ball look good.

*** I didn't mean to come off as an 8sshole above, but the way those people were vilified just seemed way over-the-top.***

I agree. The kid doesnt have the right to the ball. If I catch a ball at a game and dont give it to the kid next to me, it doesnt make me an a$$hole. Maybe I'm taking it home to give it my kid that couldn't come to the game or maybe my nephew/niece is a huge fan and I want to give it to them. Mayber I've been going to games all my life and I've never caught one before so its a huge deal to me. Either way, I shouldn't be vilified for it. Now, if it had bounced off the kids face/glove, whatever and landed in my lap, yeah I should hand it over but I shouldn't be destroyed in the national media like this couple.

GBrett, I find it hard to believe that a baseball means much of anything to a toddler. They are a notorious bunch for crying for something, finally getting it, and forgetting it even exised 2 hours later.

the panel on "morning joe" went on and on about the crying kid. they collectively banished the young couple to the worst ring of hell.

I could see it meaning a ton to a kid around 7-14 years of age...but not a toddler, who has Fat has noted will not even remember the event.

When I caught a foul ball and gave it away, the kid was probably 8-9 years old and there with his father. During the game we had all gotten along well so when I caught it (as a 19 year old), I handed it over as I knew it would make his day that much more special whereas for me it would be just another baseball in my room. Now had it been something like a #500 HR ball, yeah, I'm keeping that but a foul ball? Give it away.

But I dont see how a toddler would care either way. He'd probably cry just as hard if I bought a cotton candy and ate it in front of him and took photos of myself doing that.

Since he just hit No. 400, I decided to check Paulie Konerko's stats.

He's 36, has over 2,000 hits, and doesn't seem to be slowing down. He has a solid shot at 500 HRs and 2,700 hits.

Is he candidate for the Hall of the Very Good?

***Is he candidate for the Hall of the Very Good?***

Very Good? Yes
HoF? No

the panel on "morning joe" went on and on about the crying kid. they collectively banished the young couple to the worst ring of hell.

Posted by: bullit | Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Yep, betraying a benefactor and causing his death = not giving a kid a foul ball :)

Michael Kay, over the top? nahhh

It's a stupid thing to make a big deal about. The behavior of people, generally, when a foul ball goes in teh stands is pretty atrocious, though.

In over 50 years of attending ball games, I have not had a ball come my way. If I caught one, I would not give it away.

The closest I came was in KC, my 7 or 8 yo son needed to move around so we took a walk. The foul hit his seat -- the guy who recovered it did give it to him. My son probably doesn't remember the ball. He's blowing through town today so I'll ask him.

If Konerko had been able to stay at Catcher or 3rd, both of which he was in the minors, he'd have a much better shot. If Fred McGriff can't get in (even if he ought to), and Carlos Delgado won't get in, and Todd Helton shouldn't get in, then Konerko can't either. Konerko's also at an age where predicting future years is tough. Delgado, for instance, hit 38 homeruns at age 36. His career lasted 26 more games.

lol@adults caring about a foul ball. MY LIFE WILL NOT BE COMPLETE UNLESS I CATCH A FOUL BALL AT ONE OF THE 162 GAMES A YEAR PLAYED BY 32 TEAMS. lololololol

At least it didn't happen at CBP, because you know it would be used to support the popular conception that Philadelphia fans are the worst on the planet. It might have morphed into the fan snatching the ball out of the child's hands.

If for some reason no kid was around me to give a foul ball too, I would take it home and use it like I would any other baseball I would buy at the store. I would play baseball with it.

Hugh: "In general terms, a high strike out rate is inefficient for a starting pitcher. If you can get outs with fewer pitches, you can get more outs. High strikeout totals generally entail a lot of deep counts. I have no problem with Halladay's current approach."

Heretic! Don't you know that velocity and strikeouts are the only way to measure or project a pitcher's success? Ask Jack or most every other poster here.

As the father of 2 young boys, I can say 1. I wouldn't waste money taking a toddler to a major league game. Maybe a milb game, but not an mlb one. For my older boy, I'd appreciate an adult in the seat next to me giving the boy a ball, but I wouldn't feel upset if they didn't unless he or she had blatantly taken a ball away due to height advantage, muscling in on my kid, or snatching a ball away from right at his feet before he could get to it. But, even then it would serve as a good object lesson to teach my kid that some people are 8ssh8les and he needs to learn to deal with it. But then again, I'm 6'5'' 260 lbs and work part time as a bouncer, so it's unlikely someone would muscle us out of the way to get a ball.

***At least it didn't happen at CBP, because you know it would be used to support the popular conception that Philadelphia fans are the worst on the planet. It might have morphed into the fan snatching the ball out of the child's hands.***

At least Hamilton didnt throw it to the fan...

clout: yup, no middle ground between Brandon Morrow and Kyle Kendrick

DH Phils: Using FIP as an argument-ender to prove K/9 is the most important metric for pitchers is identical to using WAR to proving Ryan Ludwick is better than Ryan Howard.

They are loaded stats that give outsized emphasis (WAR to fielding; FIP to strikeouts) to one component of a player's value. This makes them very useful to confirm and "prove" your biases, something that Fatalotti is most skilled at.

How do we know the adults even knew that the kid was crying and what he was crying about?

Ah, I see it's that time of day for clout to come in and lay waste to the thread.

yawn

lorecore: "At no point prior to 2011 - yes, including his MLB debut in 2010 - did any report suggest that his defense was any worse than mediocre. In fact, many lauded his defense as a possible strength because of his then-current adequate level combined with his extraordinary throwing arm from RF."

This is 100% correct.

To be fair, K/9 is one of the better predicters of future success in a young pitcher...though, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE, it is an imperfect tool at best. Still, generally if you take two starting pitchers and one has a 4.0 K/9 and the other has a 9.0 K/9, the higher SO/9 guy will probably have the better career.

If you watch the video, the woman holds up the ball, not to rub it in the kid's face (as Michael Kay says), but to allow her boyfriend/husband to take a picture of her with the ball. It's not at all clear that they even know the kid next to them is crying about the lost ball. I vote not guilty on the charges of being the worst people ever, and also on the lesser charges of being insensitive a-holes.

I get the strong impression from watching that clip that the greying gentleman (peg him at 45-50) is trying to impress his younger date/girlfriend who appears to be a good 10-15 years younger than him by giving here the ball. Good will trumped by lust.

It isn't the worst thing in the world though. Give me a break. Not like the guy ripped the ball out of the kids' hands or knocked him over possibly hurting him to get to the ball. He was a jerk but nothing more.

No worse than the family that sits next to me that let there 3-year old run run amok with almost no boundaries or discipline or this year brings their less than 1-year old infant to games who cries loudly at the game while the mother refuses to take the child out to the concourse to calm down.

Never will understand why people bring infants (especially under 1) to a place that is loud, crowded, and guaranteed to upset them several times. Same applies to movies.

Bill James has started ranking starting pitchers every week on his pay site, kind of like tennis Or golf. It uses game scores and considers both current performance and history. FWIW, right now he's got halladay at 2, lee at 3, and Hamels at 5. (Verlander's #1 but it's close; Kershaw's 4)

Further down the list, worley's 86 but is up more than 20 places since the season started. Blanton is 121.

If it was at CBP, the crying baby would've thrown up on the guy.

If I was at a game with my fiancee, I would give her the ball over the crying 3 year old next to us...especially, if like most 3 year olds, the child has been a little monster the entire game because the parents dont know how to be parents.

I'm weird like that.

"There is a divide that exists between baseball traditionalists and the sabermetrics crowd. I think we can bridge this divide if more attention were paid by sabermetricians to hard contact."

Which is why no matter what sabermetricians might say, when a pitcher gets hammered (gives up a lot of hard hit balls), saying that the resultant BABIP is merely a matter of luck will never be sufficient explanation. Thus, working backwards, determining "luck" by virtue of an unqualified extrapolation from BABIP (as we saw with Hamels a couple of years back), seems ill-advised.

The batters single most operative goal is to hit the ball hard. Not necessarily for a homer, but to make solid contact. Of course, it doesn't stand out as the only goal - placement is also a goal, as would sometimes simply making contact, or fouling a pitch off, etc. Any analysis of a pitcher w/o measuring the ratio of how many times that pitcher gives up a hard hit ball - independent of the actual outcome (base hit, caught liner, etc.) is lacking.

I look foward to reading more of your posts, derek. Unlike some of the posters here, you seem to understand that without rejecting a statistical approach to evaluating baseball performances, it is still necessary to understand the limitations of such an approach.

bap: and the kid stopped crying as fast as he started.

NEPP - The women appears to have a ring on her finger too. Regardless it wasn't that big of a deal.

It's really hard to get any 3-year old to sit and be interested in what is actually going on in the field. Need to bring some thing to distract them or keep them occupied. My dad always brought binoculars which were actually a good thing to have in the upper level at the Vet.

Maybe I am kind of a curmudgeon but I wouldn't bring any kid under 5 to a MLB game frequently. They just wouldn't appreciate it, it takes nearly 3 hours, and is very passive for the most part.

Better off taking them to an R-Phils game where there is entertainment between every half-inning of some sort, there are several activities for kids not tied to the game, and the food is relatively cheap or at least compared to a place like CBP. There probably enjoy it more & it will be a lot cheaper.

If I was at a game with my fiancee, I would give her the ball over the crying 3 year old next to us...especially, if like most 3 year olds, the child has been a little monster the entire game because the parents dont know how to be parents.

I'm weird like that.

Amen. This trend of little kids automatically getting a ball because they pout is tiresome. It started with that kid in SF. Some other kid got the ball, he pouted, then the Giants personnel gave him a bunch of stuff. It was nice of the Giants, don't get me wrong -- and great PR -- but why should they do that? Tough break kid, you didn't catch the ball. Then, over the next week or so, there were teams giving free stuff to whiny kids almost every game.

Personally, if I wasn't with my son and I caught a ball, I would give it to the closest (and well behaved) kid -- what am I going to do with a baseball hit by Pete Orr? But, it shouldn't be expected. Do with it what you want. Maybe that couple had a child at home, or a niece/nephew, or a neighbor who would flip out over getting a game ball, and didn't want to give it to the kid next to them. Or they wanted to keep it for themselves -- either way, it's their decision.

I absolutely prefer a guy who can strike people out with some regularity to someone who is purely pitch-to-contact. I also think that guys with strike out stuff are generally guys who can induce weak contact, although, as can guys like Jamie Moyer, etc. But, I also think that Roy Halladay, if he tried, could strike out 12 batters every game, albeit over the course of 6 innings. I don't think that would make him a better pitcher (or the team more successful behind him).

I caught a foul ball at the vet on Aug 6 1994 (a week before the strike) when I was 12 years old. Fernando Valenzuela was pitching for the phils and Moises Alou was batting for the Expos. I was in the first row of the 600 level right behind home plate and I caught it in the walkway between the 600 and 500 level. I fought off a guy in his 20s for it, but I'm 6'4'' now and when I was 12 I was probably at least 5'4''. I actually won the tickets by calling in during a game telecast on channel 17. I remember my dad was so excited that I got it.

I didnt see the clip Michael Kay is talking about. I just wanted to say that catching a foul ball is pretty awesome. I doubt I would remember it like that if someone else caught it and handed it to me.

I tried to wait for JW's new thread to post this, but i'll throw it out now:

Polanco recorded his first career 3 hit/2 walk game Wednesday. It was his 5th career game with at least multiple hits and walks.

This is all a moot point. Of course they're not the worst people in the world. GTown_Dave holds that distinction, right?

I ran a query looking at all pitchers from 2001-2011 who pitched at least 1,000 innings, and ranked them by ERA+.

For starters, it is clear that results correlate very strongly with SO/9. Of the top 28 pitchers on the list, from Roy Halladay at #1 to Ben Sheets, only ONE pitcher has a SO/9 under 7.06, and that's Tim Hudson, at 5.81.

If we look at the bottom 30 on the list, there are only two pitcher with a SO/9 over 6.73 (Jeremy Bonderman at 7.11 and Oliver Perez at 9.12).

Among the top 30 pitchers, the average SO/9 is 7.59. Among the bottom 30 pitchers, the SO/9 is 5.82.

Strikeouts are very important when judging a pitcher.

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