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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mantle won triple crown by bunting.

Ted Williams: did he sulk in his tent in 1956 too?  MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2011

With his Red Sox not competitive after 1951 what else did Ted Williams have to play for except leading AL in BA, the gold standard in those days.  Losing to the Mercurial Mantle who resorted to bunting to break a slump only made matters worse.

Mickey Mantle led AL in 1956: 130 RBI, 52 HR, .353 BA.  Ted Williams was second in BA: .345.

Mantle had 188 hits in 533 AB.  Mantle attempted the most bunts in his career: 21 PA; 12 hits in 20 AB.  Without the bunts: 176 hits in 513 AB: .343.  Williams leads in BA and Mantle does not win the triple crown.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Correction: MLB network's biggest braying jackass: Sean Casey or Kevin Millar?


MLB network's biggest braying jackass: Sean Casey or Mitch Williams?

Obviously this was a big mistake.  As the post correctly quoted an earlier post:

Mitch Williams is a moron.

I should have asked:

MLB network's biggest braying jackass: Sean Casey or Kevin Millar?

I apologize for the error.

Millar is not selected exclusively because of his 100% obnoxious "got heeem" braying with his co-host enabler who should know better.  I just searched and cannot determine if this phrase is what I suspect: that it is a mock of the Spanish accent of Ozzie Guillen who may be too dumb to realize that he is being mocked.  Anybody know the derivation of this stupid phrase and don't send me the junk youtube video of MLB pitcher Brian Wilson's audition for a post playing career as an MLB network on air paid jerk?

I do not watch Millar's program.  I record the program that follows it, Clubhouse Confidential, and the replay starts a minute earlier which is when Millar and his co-host are loudly braying the phrase.  I cannot hit the fast forward button fast enough.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Greatest leadoff hitter: who was the greatest number two hitter?

Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson is touted by many as MLB's greatest leadoff hitter.  This is used as justification for also electing Tim Raines to the Hall of Fame in that Raines is very similar to Henderson just not quite as good.

Henderson played in 3,081 games from 1979 through 2003.   Raines played in 2,502 games from 1979 through 2002.  Say, that's not even close.  Henderson had 13,346 plate appearances (PA).   Raines 10,359.  Henderson OPS+ 136.   Raines 123 in 3,000 fewer PA.  Henderson set the records for stolen bases (SB):  1,406  career, 130 season.   Raines: 808 career (5th), season high 90, topped by Henderson four times.

Both played the easiest defensive position, left field.  Both had the speed to play center field.  They get added defensive brownie points for being compared to weak fielding players in left who could hit but not field well.  Actually, Henderson played 446 games in center, mostly for the Yankees.   Raines played 165 in center and 53 at second.

OK, so  Raines is not really that close to Henderson but that's not the point.

1. If Henderson is the greatest leadoff hitter of all time, who did he displace?

2. Is  Raines the second greatest leadoff hitter of all time because he is similar in type to Henderson?

3. Doesn't it bother anyone that the two the greatest leadoff hitters of all time are so similar and played almost exactly at the same time?  Doesn't that suggest a problem with the designation, especially if Henderson did not displace someone?

4. Who is the third greatest leadoff hitter of all time?

5. Who is the greatest number two hitter of all time?  And the second greatest?

Why would position in the batting order connote anything special about a player?  I won't descend into asking who is the greatest number 8 hitter of all time but you can see how this can easily seem foolish.

MLB network's biggest braying jackass: Sean Casey or Mitch Williams?

I just watched the MLB network one hour program on the top ten active first basemen.  They had a moderator, a guy who knew stuff and Sean Casey, a former MLB first baseman who flaunted his ignorance by continually contradicting the specific facts just stated by the smart guy with non-factual nonsense emphasized by his slurred speech and sophomoric laugh.  After being exposed to Casey's 100% uninformed comments I felt compelled to finally ask the question.

I wrote about Mitch Williams previously:

FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2011 Mitch Williams: MLB network embarrassment.

Mitch Williams is a moron.  MLB network should be embarrassed.

Sean Casey has moved into Mitch Williams territory.  What do you think?  Which is MLB network's biggest braying jackass?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mickey Mantle: shocking numbers

Click title to see a breakdown of Mantle's batting numbers v. righty and lefty pitchers, home and road. Much more detail to come.  Check back.

The "throws" column is for the pitcher since I found three games in which Mickey batted righty against a righty.  I decided to show the data by the pitcher's handedness.  AB/HR: lower is better.  On road both are about 15 AB per HR.  Home: 13 AB per HR against righties, 19.4 AB per HR against lefties.

That said I was shocked at the disparities.  Slugging for instance:

against lefty pitchers:
.550 home
.601 road

against righty pitchers:
.584 home
.517 road

Friday, February 10, 2012

New way to switch hit.

Here are three items I will combine to make a point.

1. As a teenager I taught myself to bat lefty in addition to my natural righty primarily because Mickey Mantle was my favorite player and Mickey is the greatest switch hitter of all time.  I wasn't very good but when my cousin Richie pitched to me I batted lefty.  After not playing for several years I decided to play softball, both fast pitch and slow pitch.  At the first practice I stepped in lefty and did not hit well.  Embarrassed, I switched over to my natural righty and hit fine.  Hey, there were no curve balls.  I'm almost 64 and it finally dawned on me that if I had any brains back then I would simply have practiced batting lefty for a couple of weeks and I would have regained my form.  Then I could have spent a couple of decades taking advantage of what may be the most stupid baseball rule on that long list: lefty batters get to stand two steps closer to the bases.  It's an advantage not just on infield ground balls but also on long drives when trying for a double or triple.

2. While playing for the Angels 1964-1970 hot shot bonus baby righty slugger Rick Reichardt made his manager Bill Rigney who managed the Angels from their inception in 1961 into 1969 a little nuts by suggesting that he learn to bat lefty in order to take advantage of certain ball parks.  You know, bat righty in Fenway Park, lefty in Yankee Stadium regardless of which arm the pitcher used.  Most people thought Reichardt was nuts.  However, Reichardt may have been ahead of his time.  Reichardt wanted to take advantage of another stupid baseball rule that allows for non-uniform playing areas.

3. This week on the MLB network program Clubhouse Confidential consultant Vince Gennaro spoke about batters who had the biggest differences against righty or lefty pitchers.  He then broke it down for lefty batters, not just against lefty pitchers, but against different types of lefty pitchers, particularly "killer lefties" like CC Sabathia v. soft throwing southpaws like Mark Buehrle who do no dominate lefty batters.  Against killer lefties Johnny Damon has a pretty low OPS, about .550, and Hideki Matsui is better against the killer lefties than against the softies at about .850.

About 66% of plate appearances are against righty pitchers, so the managers usually want lefty batters up in those situations unless they have Albert Pujols.  It could be that all batters should learn to switch hit, if only to take advantage of certain situations including:

1. Bunting.  When sacrificing, why don't righty batters, especially those quaint NL pitchers, switch and stand closer to first base and put more pressure on the defense.  Do you think a good righty bunter cannot bunt lefty?  I'd be shocked if they could not learn.

2. Other factors being roughly equal, why not try a Reichardt and switch by ball park.  Suppose your team needs a home run in Yankee Stadium.  Switch over from righty to lefty and try to jerk one out.

3. Get that two step head start running out of the batters box on a batted ball.  How many times have we Yankee fans seen righty Derek Jeter thrown out at first on a VERY close play?  How many of those might Jeter have beaten out had he been batting lefty?  Jeter is a perfect example of a guy who should have been switch hitting.  His home park is a disadvantage to righty batters and Jeter has speed.  Why not?

4. Lefty batters could switch to righty against those killer lefties.  Johnny Damon, are you listening?  What the heck?  You couldn't hit much worse.

MLB Clubhouse Confidential: wrong on AJ.

Click for supporting data.

High Heat: A.J. Burnett 02/09/1203:54
MLB Network's Clubhouse Confidential looks at A.J. Burnett's signing and a few other Yankees contracts that didn't pan out as expected

Unfortunately the video excludes guest Rob Neyer stating that AJ's problem was home runs, particularly in Yankee Stadium.  Neyer stated:

The problem for Burnett has been home runs.  I think he's just really ill equipped to pitch in Yankee Stadium as it is configured now with that short right field porch ... he just really can't pitch effectively there right now in my opinion.

AJ's AB/HR for his three seasons with the Yankees are almost dead even: 27.24 home, 27.81 road.  For a pitcher, higher is better.

AJ was better at home in 2010 by 6.2, better on the road in 2009 (3.5) and 2011 (2.3).  In other words 2011 was not as bad as 2009, his worst AB/HR in his three Yankee seasons.

Neyer would have been correct had he stated that AJ allowed HR at a higher rate than his Yankee teammates: AJ 27.5, other Yanks 33.1, difference 5.6.

This is not a huge mistake by the standards of other programs but I was surprised to see it on Clubhouse Confidential, which I have been recommending because of its usually good research.  OK, Brian Kenny has got to get off the Keith Hernandez for the Hall of Fame bandwagon but his program is much better than others on the MLB network.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Derek Jeter has been seen in person by more fans than any player ever.

Click to see data.

My guess is that Derek Jeter has been seen in person in MLB games by more baseball fans (some multiple times) than any player ever.  Maybe more than any athlete.

A pretty good guess is the number of fans who saw Jeter in home games: 52,272,638.  Jeter played in 93% of Yankee games from 1996 through 2011, ignoring 15 games that Jeter played in 1995.  The Yankees home attendance was 56,153,518.  93% of that is about 52 million.

I don't know how many watched the Yankees on the road but I figured that two million per season was a conservative estimate.  That's another 32 million.

Jeter played 151 playoff games.  Let's estimate an average attendance of 50,000 for another 7,550,000.

Jeter's total is about 92 million fans who watched him in person, not counting exhibitions.

If anyone has actual data for Yankee road attendance, please supply and I'll make that estimate more accurate.

Jeter could become the first 100 million fan player, a distinction that he would probably hold forever.