About Me

My photo

Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NFL has the solution to MLB's playoff problem

Allan Huber "Bud" Selig is considering approving the idea of having more teams make the playoffs.  The ancient and mind numbed boy wonder is about to degrade MLB yet again.

There's a bullet proof idea to prevent the increased number of MLB  playoff teams from making the MLB system an even bigger mockery than it already is.

Here's the solution: do like the NFL, which went to its current system in 1990.  NFL twenty years ahead of MLB?  That's about right.

In each MLB conference, uh league, increase the number of playoff teams by 50%, i.e., from 4 to 6.  Then:

The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference receive a bye in the first round, which entitles these teams to automatic advancement to the second round.

A bye?  For MLB?  After playing only 162 regular season games?  Buddy boy's head will explode over this one.

Yes!

The other four teams can engage in one of two options:
1. play a three game series
2. play a one game play-in game.

I prefer option 2.  It keeps the wait for the start of the real playoffs to a minimum and increases the pressure and interest in that one big game.

Either way the bye would finally return some amount of validity to the longest regular season of all major North American professional leagues:

MLB 162
NBA 82
NFL 16.

Try not to dismiss it out of hand as you know who would: old Buddy boy.

The bye would give an unfair advantage to the top two seeds, you say.  Of course, that's the idea.  These teams have just played ONE-HUNDRED-SIXTY-TWO games and clearly proved their merit.  Only dumb greed forces them to submit to the idiocy of a playoff system.  The least they can have is an advantage over teams that should not be allowed to continue playing.  If the lower seeds can succeed with this burden then they have removed some of lack of credibility.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Duren's minor league strikeouts

A friend sent this:


The following totals were listed in the *1959 Baseball Register*, published by *The Sporting News*:
1949, with Wausau - 145 strikeouts, 114 walks (85 innings)
1950, with Pine Bluff - 233 strikeouts, 157 walks (190 innings)
1951, with Dayton - 238 strikeouts, 194 walks (198 innings)
1952, with San Antonio - 18 strikeouts, 19 walks (22 innings)
1952, with Anderson - 100 strikeouts, 73 walks (71 innings)
1952, with Scranton - 47 strikeouts, 46 walks (56 innings)
1953, with San Antonio - 212 strikeouts, 159 walks (202 innings)
1954, with San Antonio - 224 strikeouts, 144 walks (220 innings)

Courtesy SABR.



_____________________________



http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=duren-001rin


Duren's minor league strikeout stats only begin in 1953.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ryne Duren: takes a mystery to his grave.

Ryne Duren died at age 81.

See my previous posts about why Duren did not pitch in game 7 of the 1960 World Series:
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2010 Bob Costas sucks!
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2010 1960 World Series game 7: why didn't Stengel use Duren?
Also: 1960 World Series
_______________________________________________

The January 7, 2011 New York Times obit repeats another item that may also be a mystery:

Duren would sometimes deliver at least one warm-up pitch high against the screen, presumably to intimidate the batter soon to face him
________________________________

I attended my first Yankee game on September 3,1958. I was ten. Duren won in relief when Yogi Berra broke a 5-5 tie with a three run homer in the bottom of the 9th. Mickey Mantle had homered in the 8th.

I do not recall seeing Duren throw a warm up pitch to the screen nor wild in any way. Nor do I recall ever seeing that on TV. I recall it being mentioned but that may have been at old timers day introductions, long after Duren had retired.

Does anyone have any references to actual incidents, not undocumented repetitions? I have long suspected that this may have happened once or twice but that it was not a regular occurrence.

For his career Duren had 392 walks and 630 strike outs in 589 innings. He was wild but overpowering, especially for his day when few pitchers approached a strike out per inning much less surpassed it. In 1958 Duren had 87 strike outs in 75 innings. In 1958 all Yankee pitchers had 557 walks and 796 strike outs in 1,379 innings.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bert Blyleven: more research reduces his Hall of Fame credentials


I was snowed in yesterday so I did more research on Bert Blyleven who was elected to Hall of Fame this week. I posted three new items:

- Blyleven v Ford
- Blyleven's shutouts
- Blyleven's strike outs.

Each attempted to address core issues.

Blylevens' shutouts are unassailable. I was just trying to put his
two biggest common sense attributes (60 shutouts and fifth in career strike outs) into context. I didn't know where it would lead.

Blylevens' shutouts are a little less impressive when taken as a percentage of starts.

I was surprised at how unimpressive his strike out numbers are, both career and by season, are for a guy who is third in career strike outs.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blyleven's strike outs

#1 Nolan Ryan had 2,013 (54.3%) more career strike outs than #5 Blyleven: (5,714 - 3,701) / 3,701 = 54.3%.

Percentage greater than Blyleven:
1 Nolan Ryan 5,714 2,013 54.39%
2 Randy Johnson 4,875 1,174 31.72%
3 Roger Clemens 4,672 971 26.24%
4 Steve Carlton 4,136 435 11.75%
5 Bert Blyleven 3,701

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1903 to 2010, (requiring At least 2200 Innings Pitched), sorted by greatest Strikeouts per 9 IP:

Percentage greater than Blyleven:
1 Randy Johnson 10.61 3.91 58.36%
2 Pedro Martinez 10.04 3.34 49.85%
3 Nolan Ryan 9.55 2.85 42.54%
26 Bert Blyleven 6.70

For single pitching seasons, from 1903 to 2010, (requiring SO>=250), sorted by greatest Strikeouts (107 seasons found):

Nolan Ryan had the most strike outs in a season after 1886: 125 (48.4%) more than Blyleven's best (258 in 1973): (383 - 258) / 258 = 48.4%. Blyleven's best was #90. 33 pitcher seasons had at least 300 strike outs since 1903. Blyleven's 1973 SO/9 is 7.14, the same as that for #79 knuckeballer Phil Niekro: 262 in 1977; Blyleven and Niekro are tied in SO/9 at #97 out of 107 pitching seasons since 1903 with at least 250 strike outs.

For context here is the difference between #1 Barry Bonds and #5 Ken Griffey, Jr. in career home runs: (762 - 630) / 630 = 20.9%. Bonds had 20.9% more home runs than Griffey.

Season home run record: (73 - 49) / 49 = 49%. To be out homered by 49% by the home run record a batter needs 49 homers, which would rank #43. Bonds had 49% more home runs than batters with 49 home runs.

Blyleven's shutouts

http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1942 to 2010, (requiring SHO>=50), sorted by greatest Shutout

https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0Ai3KONa1HbjDdDZwUF9RQ0JCcndDZThvWGtla21xUEE&hl=en&output=html

Shutouts as a percent of starts:

Rk Player SHO/GS SHO GS
6 Bob Gibson 11.62% 56 482
10 Juan Marichal 11.38% 52 457
8 Jim Palmer 10.17% 53 521
1 Warren Spahn 9.47% 63 665
3 Tom Seaver 9.43% 61 647
4 Bert Blyleven 8.76% 60 685
2 Nolan Ryan 7.89% 61 773
7 Steve Carlton 7.76% 55 709
9 Gaylord Perry 7.68% 53 690
5 Don Sutton 7.67% 58 756

Gibson, Marichal and Palmer pitched shutouts in at least ten percent of their starts. Amazing.

Blyleven v. Ford

Using http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2010, Hall Of Fame Members, (requiring At least 2200 Innings Pitched), sorted by greatest Win-Loss %

Complete list, excluding Blyleven:

http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/qChRc

Whitey Ford (.690) has the highest winning percentage of any Hall of Fame pitchers since 1901, excluding those primarily relief pitchers, i.e., part time players. Includes Hoyt Wilhelm and Dennis Eckersley.

Bert Blyleven, elected two days ago, would have the sixth worst, #46 of 51: .534. Those lower:

47. Rube Marquard .532
48. Ted Lyons .531
49. Vic Willis .528
50. Nolan Ryan .526
51. Eppa Rixey .515

Of the bottom five only Ryan won 300 games: 324. Ryan also has several records including most no-hitters, most strike outs career (2,013 (54%) more than #5 Blyleven) and most strike outs in a season after 1886: 125 (48%) more than Blyleven's best. The others should probably be deducted from the Hall of Fame.

If there was a fixed number or percentage of players in the Hall of Fame and someone had to be deducted before a newer, better player could be added then maybe the writers would not elect players like Blyleven knowing that he would only be deducted in the near future.

The knee jerk reaction is: hey, Blyleven played for weak teams and Ford played for the Yankees, so sure Ford would have a higher winning percentage.

See details here:

https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0Ai3KONa1HbjDdDJ0Z0hzLWVGV0pIZzNjYjVaOTlYNlE&hl=en&output=html

win% Blyleven Ford
pitcher 0.534 0.690
teams 0.505 0.601
Dif 0.029 0.089
PctDif (Dif/teams) 5.74% 14.81%

Because Ford pitched very little in his final two seasons and the Yanks won 70 and 72 games in them I dropped the final season to get a more accurate Yankee winning percentage for seasons in which Ford pitched: .601 instead of .591. No, I did not weight the team seasons on innings pitched.

Ford's nearly 15% above his team's winning percentage is remarkable because the Yankee percentage was so high. A pitcher can only win so many games. It should be easier to have an individual winning percentage above one's team if the team winning percentage is relatively low. However, Blyleven cannot even take advantage of that to bolster his Hall of Fame credentials.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bert Blyleven elected to Hall of Fame: say it ain't so!

As expected the writers elected Bert Blyleven to the Hall of Fame as announced yesterday.

Blyleven had ten or more losses 15 times: 17,17,17,17,16,16,15,14,13,12,12,10,10,10,10.

Maybe we need the old way back machine used by Sherman and Mr. Peabody from the The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. I'm guessing that if you went to pretty much any game in which Blyleven pitched and suggested to attending fans that Blyleven would one day be elected to the Hall of Fame they'd respond along the lines of: "Are you nuts!?".

SABRites are orgasmic by their victory of the obscure over the obvious.

Less eloquent are talking head types like those on MLB network, former players who wouldn't know a SABR concept if it ... I don't know, did something. Their claims for Blyleven seem limited to:

From baseball-reference.com

1. #5 in career strike outs (some claim #3, don't know why)
2. #9 in career shutouts.

They omit:

1. #14 in innings
2. #8 in home runs
3. #15 in hits
4. #27 in wins; Cy Young leads with 511
5. #10 in losses; Cy Young leads with 316
6. #29 in walks
7. #11 in earned runs
8. #14 in batters faced

OK, enough with the totals, Blyleven pitched a long time.

Let's look at Blyleven's rank in some SABR stuff, which most of us do not understand, except for ERA+, i.e., ERA adjusted for time and place: years and ball parks

Minimum of 1000 IP, 3000 PA, 500 games (fielding), 200 stolen base attempts (catchers) and 100 decisions for career and active leaderboards for rate statistics.
1. #142 in ERA+
2. #12 in Base-Out Wins Saved (REW)
_________________________

This statistic is computed from play-by-play data which is only complete from 1974 to the present. From 1950-1973, the data is incomplete, though for most seasons only less than 20 games per season total are missing.

3. #12 in Base-Out Runs Saved (RE24)
4. #26 in Win Probability Added (WPA)
5. #15 in Sit. Wins Saved (WPA/LI)
_________________________

For all pitchers:

6. #23 in Adjusted Pitching Runs
7. #19 in Adjusted Pitching Wins

Here is a spreadsheet with the record of his teams:

1,762 1,729 .505 Not great but not terrible.

From Hall of Fame website:

http://baseballhall.org/news/personality/turn-two

Blyleven pitched in 22 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and California Angels and compiled a 287-250 record with a 3.31 ERA, 242 complete games, 60 shutouts and 3,701 strikeouts in 4,969 1/3 innings.

I guess that pretty will much be the inscription on Blyleven's plaque.

I think what happened is that younger writers wanted to show off their understanding of more than batting average for batters and wins/losses for pitchers as they correctly did by awarding the 2010 AL CY to Felix Hernandez (13-12). From my post:

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2010  Lazy media: check the facts!

Hernandez leads AL in innings, strike outs and ERA
_______________________

Those meat and potatoes stats were readily available in Blyleven's seasons but those writers did not reward Blyleven in CY voting as generously as they just did in Hall of Fame voting. I think the younger writers got a little too full of themselves.

Blyleven is not a terrible choice but he's not a great one either, certainly not the no-brainer that some would have us believe. The Hall of Fame would be better without Bert Blyleven.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hall of Fame Voting: should it be correlated to MVP/CY?

by
Kenneth Matinale
Last updated: Jan. 3, 2011

Bert Blyleven answering fan questions
March 4, 2011, ESPN the Weekend
By Jeff Kern via Wikimedia Commons
Bert Blyleven’s impending election to the Hall of Fame caused me to notice the disconnect between the annual voting for Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Cy Young (CY) awards and the fifteen year period in which the same organization votes on candidates for the Hall of Fame.  This is especially true for the Cy Young award, which is not confused by the MVP calculus in which a player must play for a good, but not too good, a team, with some good, but not too good, teammates; a sort of inverse correlation.  The best player is the most valuable, period.  The voters seem to have a never ending and losing battle with this obvious and basic concept.  The Cy Young award goes to the best pitcher in the league, period.
All that voting is done by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Why this group does not police itself is a mystery but why hasn’t anyone asked about this previously?
_________________________________________