Author Archive

Postseason Preview: the Mets are Better than You Think

We all know the outcome of a playoff series is a random enough event that it’s pointless to spend 15+ hours building a model to predict the winners.  So I spent 15+ hours last week building a model to predict the winners.  It’s based on fangraphs’ Runs Above Replacement for pitchers and Runs Above Average for hitters, fielders, and baserunners.  More after the jump.

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The Greatest Active…

Doug’s doing all the heavy lifting around here this spring, and acquitting himself admirably, but I thought I’d lend a hand.  I don’t have much of substance to offer, but here’s a frivolity I adapted from my own site.

Who are the greatest active players in Major League Baseball?  Are they the guys with the most career WAR?  The guys who have never turned in a bad season?  The guys who had the highest peaks?  I think we’d all agree the answer is a combination of those three things, perhaps weighted toward the former.  I developed a simple formula using fangraphs WAR to combine accumulated value, consistency, and peak:

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The Three Larry Walkers

Is any other great baseball player’s Hall of Fame case met with less objective thought than Larry Walker’s?

In 1997, Walker hit .366/.452/.720.  He hit 49 home runs and 46 doubles, stole 33 bases, played his typical stellar rightfield defense, and, for good measure, was hit by 14 pitches.  Five other times, Walker’s on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) topped 1.000, something no player in either league accomplished in 2014.

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Jeter, Ortiz, and the Value of Youth

Would the Yankees have made the playoffs this season without Derek Jeter?

Let’s start with a disclaimer.  The following words are by no means a judgment of the Yankees’ decision to keep Jeter on the roster in 2014.  That wasn’t really a decision, and even if it were, there’s a justification for letting a legend have one last lap around the league.  If you would rather not read about how bad Jeter has been this season, don’t click below to read more. Read the rest of this entry

Bunts and RE24

This week’s piece at USA Today Sports Weekly mercifully wrapped up my series on the effectiveness of bunting.  In the comments of past bunt-related screeds I’ve shared in this space, mosc has suggested that I look at this year’s bunting data through the lens of RE24, rather than WPA.  I did so for USA Today, and I’ll share an edited version below.

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Yesterday, an HHS reader asked Andy this question:

“Is it possible to determine the greatest triples hitter in history, factoring in era/park, etc.? Wild guess is Willie Wilson.”

Andy passed it on to me, and because the reader is Josh Wilker, author of Cardboard Gods, perhaps my favorite baseball book of the last decade, I thought I’d take a stab at answering the question.  With an assist from @Braves_Paul, I attempted to create Triples+, a metric comparing a player’s seasonal triples total to the league average and adjusting for park factors.

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A Wild Weekend of Bunts

A few weeks ago, I introduced seven questions I expected to explore over the course of this season with regard to the use and efficacy of bunts.  I’ve been tracking bunts by National League teams in an attempt to gain a better understanding of their effect on win probability and whether they’re being used wisely.  As is the case with anything one might study for three weeks in April, the results bounced around a little bit early on, before three crazy days of bunts this weekend.

More on the weekend, and the season, in bunts after the jump.

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Three Days of Bunts

We’ve seen three baseball games so far this year, and if that’s a meaningful sample, I think Hyun-Jin Ryu has all the major awards locked up.

We’ve also seen eight plate appearances this season that ended with bunts.  After the jump, a few facts about those bunts, which will accomplish nothing except establishing a baseline for a feature I hope to bring back to these pages with some regularity throughout the summer.

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On Underrated and Overrated Players

There’s been some recent discussion in comments on these pages, particularly those involving the Circle of Greats, about underrated and overrated players.  I don’t consider myself any more qualified to determine how individual players are “rated” than anyone else, but a few years ago on my personal blog, I tried to take an objective approach to this question.  I concluded that, from 2009 through early 2011, Michael Bourn was the game’s most underrated player and Carlos Lee was its most overrated.

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Playing for the Tie

Last night in St. Pete, the Red Sox trailed the Rays, 4-3 in the top of the ninth.  Fernando Rodney opened the frame with six balls in seven pitches, walking Will Middlebrooks (who gave way to pinch runner Xander Bogaerts), and falling behind Jacoby Ellsbury, who then blooped a single into shallow left.

Read on for more and to weigh in on John Farrell’s strategy.

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