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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Josh Hamilton is going for a career triple crown.

Hamilton already has led in batting average (BA) and RBI.  He is currently tied in home runs with Miguel Cabrera who is going for a season triple crown.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ted Williams: only career Triple Crown before season.

A career triple crown only has been done about as many times as the season triple crown.  Ted Williams is the only batter with a career before a season.

Miguel Cabrera already has a career triple crown.  He could achieve a season triple crown this season.

Brain scan batter and pitcher between pitches.

Maybe then we can determine what, if anything, they are thinking as they create dead time for no apparent reason.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Joey Votto: can he lead in OBP? And who cares?

Joey Votto has a problem.  For Joey to be credited with having the highest On Base Percentage (OBP) in the National Conference (NC) of the Major Baseball League (MBL) he will need to have Plate Appearances (PA) added to his actual number to determine if  he still has a higher OBP than Andrew McCutchen (.406) or Buster Posey (.405).  Currently Votto leads with .474 but not really.  See the leaders.

That's because Votto has played only 104 games with only 447 PA.  To qualify for leadership in an average category a player needs 3.1 PA per scheduled game: 502.  If he has fewer PA, PA are added to his actual total to determine if he would still have the highest OBP.  Sound familiar?  It should.  McCutchen (.334) or Posey (.331) will be credited with leading the NC in Batting Average (BA) because the legendary Melky Cabrera (.346) has withdrawn from consideration in that statistical category, supposedly because of his embarrassment over his suspension for using testosterone to improve his performance.   Cabrera was one PA short of qualifying so one At Bat (AB) would be added to determine if his BA was still the highest.

Votto's Cincinnati Reds have seven more games to play.  If Votto averages four PA per game he would finish with 475, 27 short.  For those 28 more PA to keep Votto's actual OBP about the same he would have 225/475=.47368421052.

OK, now let's add another 27 PA to get Votto to 502.  225/502=.44820717131.  That's still way higher than either McCutchen or Posey could reach, so Votto is safe.  Even if I simply extrapolate to 502 PA Votto still leads: 217/502=.432.

Why haven't we heard much, if anything, about this?  Because it's OBP and not BA!  BA still captures our imagination, I guess, because of its historical nature.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Triple Crown

With Miguel Cabrera so close, so late in the season I thought this research from August 2011 might be of interest.

Here is some of it:

Average age 26.5.  That’s just one reason that St. Louis Cardinal Albert Pujols is unlikely to do it.  In 2011 Pujols is already 31 and injured, so he cannot do it in 2011.  The oldest hitter to do it was Lou Gehrig: 31.  Frank Robinson was 30.  They are the only two 30 or older.  Ty Cobb was the first and also the youngest: 22 in 1909.

The main reason that it has not been done since 1967 is that there are 87.5% more teams and players than before modern expansion started in 1961 (AL) and 1962 (NL).  MLB has gone from 16 teams to 30.  The only two to do it after that were Frank Robinson (1966) and Carl Yastrzemski (1967) when there were still only 20 teams.  MLB expanded to 24 teams in 1969 and that pretty much ended the triple crown.  Plus, Robinson and Yastrzemski had the lowest BA of any triple crown winners.

The other reason that it’s unlikely to be achieved again is that it doesn’t make sense.  Why combine an average with two totals?  The two totals are highly correlated.  The triple crown is basically a HR/RBI leader who happens to also lead in BA.  So what?  Hits would make more sense than BA.  And what about runs scored?  Why not Hits, Runs and RBI?  Or BA, on base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG)?  So what if BA and OBP are highly correlated like HR and RBI?  The triple crown rarely goes to the BA leader who also happens to also lead in HR and RBI.

The triple crown is concentrated: four times in five years (1933-1937) plus Hornsby twice in the 1920s and Williams twice in the 1940s.  That’s pretty much it.  Thirteen years between Cobb and Hornsby.  Mantle is the most isolated: smack in the middle of a 20 season drought, 9 years after Williams and 10 years before Robinson.

Consider some sluggers who led in BA who did not do it: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez and (Albert) Pujols.  This suggests the random nature of the triple crown.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I had not thought the Triple Crown possible with one week to go.

Miguel Cabrera is proving me wrong.  I had done extensive research and concluded that a batter leading his league/conference in home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI) and batting average (BA) in the same season had become almost impossible in large part because of expansion since 1961.  In other words, there are just too many other players: twice as many in the National and about 80% more in the American than in 1960.

Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is tied in HR with Josh Hamilton of Texas at 42.  That is where Cabrera is most vulnerable.  Cabrera leads Mike Trout and Joe Mauer in BA .331 to .323 and Cabrera leads Hamilton by ten RBI.

I'll post my research again soon.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Does Division tie game count toward wild card?

My friend Eric asked this question the other day and I'll try to create a scenario to demonstrate.

In the Major Baseball League (MBL) American Conference, let's pretend that the Central division contenders get hot and Chicago wins the division with 93 wins and 69 losses.  I don't know who plays whom so let's pretend.  Detroit secures the top wild card with 92-70.

Baltimore and the Yankees tie in the East division at 91-71 and that Oakland (91-71) is second to top seed Texas in the West division.

Baltimore and the Yankees must play an extra regular season game to determine the division winner.  The loser would then be 91-72, half a game worse that Oakland and not even eligible to play a tie breaker against Oakland for the second wild card spot.

In other words Baltimore or the Yankees would be penalized for tieing for the division lead.  They would not only need to play the extra tie breaker game to determine the division winner but because of that, lose an opportunity to be a wild card team.  They would be much better off if the division winner were determined by their records, such as head to head, and not in an elimination game.

Did MBL consider this?

Will Melky still get black ink?

Sunday, August 19, 2012 Melky Cabrera: should his stats be purged and his team's wins vacated?

... Melky is eligible to lead his conference in average categories including the granddaddy that still overly impresses traditionalists: batting average...

During yesterday's Yankee - Red Sox game on Fox former catcher Tim McCarver mentioned Melky's eligibility but insisted on saying something silly, that he did not think that someone in Melky's situation should be allowed to receive an award.  Timmy, it's not an award, it's a statistic.  The only way to prevent Melky from leading in a statistic would be too purge his stats.  Uh-oh.

Read the whole post then read the latest below.

The old Baseball Encyclopedia printed its stats with league leadership numbers in bold, extra black ink.  The term "black ink" developed to be a description.  I don't know if that's where it originated but the practice persists today.

Melky Cabrera still has his black ink this morning on baseball-reference.com.  I just checked.  Will it last?  Will baseball-reference.com bow to the nonsense that was announced yesterday:

Melky Cabrera recuses self from title

Cabrera was disqualified from the NL batting honor at his own request when Major League Baseball and the players' association agreed Friday to a one-season-only change in the rule governing the individual batting, slugging and on-base percentage champions.
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mlb.com does not use black ink.

This might be comical if it wasn't so pathetic, although maybe not as pathetic as media types like Fat Mike on talk radio WFAN in New York applauding the purging of stats.

Melky is quoted in his statement: "To be plain, I personally have no wish to win an award that would widely be seen as tainted, and I believe that it would be far better for the remaining contenders to compete for that distinction."

Melky, you idiot, it's a statistic.  It's NOT an award.  Nobody votes to determine which player has the highest batting average.  It's not an opinion.  Geez!

Melky can be excused because he's not a bright guy and does not speak English.  His agent and/or attorney can be understood for actually writing the statement because that person will make more money on Melky's next contract if Melky can somehow ingratiate himself with media and the Major Baseball League (MBL) officials.

What cannot be excused is the lunacy of the league taking this position.  It's even more bizzare that the players association would join, even for the one year exception, which would not threaten the 1998 and 2001 season home records.

I didn't think it was possible for my opinion of commissioner Bud Selig to sink any lower but it has.  What a dishonest jerk.

And did anybody think to check with players most likely to benefit and finish with the highest batting average (BA) in the MBL National Conference?  How hollow will that distinction be if we all know that another player had a higher BA but decided to ask people to not accept that?  What the heck?

Has our ability to think rationally really diminished that much?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wild Card may be better than Division tie.

What a tangled web.  The Major Baseball League (MBL) policy seems to be that if teams tie for the division they settle that with one extra game, not with tie breakers like season series between the teams.  Maybe they should give the teams the choice.  Even a coin flip might be better.

The American Conference standings:

West:
Texas 88
Oakland 84

East:
Yankees 85
Baltimore 85

Central:
Chicago 81
Detroit 79

If the Yankees and Baltimore tie they must play that one extra game while Oakland waits and rests to play the loser.

Wouldn't the loser of that Yankees - Baltimore game be better off to simply flip a coin?  At least then if the team must face elimination in the Wild Card play-in game it would not need to waste pitching resources playing the extra game for the division lead.

Suppose they engage in an 18 inning game like Baltimore played just a few days ago?  Suppose the Yankees are down four runs after six innings?  Should manager Joe Girardi conserve resources for the do or die elimination game the next day that his Yankees are likely to face?

That coin flip looks pretty good.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Batting Average (BA) still rules. Just ask Melky.

I just checked mlb.com, the website for the Major Baseball League (MBL).  I clicked on regular season batting leaders and got a list sorted in descending order by ... BA ... and with players from both the American and National Conferences merged together.

Melky Cabrera, suspended through the rest of the regular season, continues to lead fellow National Conference batter Andrew McCutchen: .346 to .339.  It looks more and more like Melky will lead his conference in BA.  So what?  Melky qualified for ALL the average categories, not just BA.  If Melky had been leading in On Base Percentage (OBP) when he was suspended would anyone have even mentioned it, much less become apoplectic that a player not just suspended, but suspended for taking testosterone might lead in BA?

No.

The closest thing to BA is OBP.  Melky is currently number 11 in OBP at .390 .  Joe Mauer of the American Conference leads with .414.  Andrew McCutchen is number two leads the National Conference at .405.  Who even knows that much less cares?

BA continues to hold our attention long after is has been exposed as not nearly as important as OBP and even less important than OBP and slugging (SLG) considered together.  This is the main reason Ichiro Suzuki is so over rated.

Just another reason I am rooting for Melky to lead in BA.  Go Melky!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Missing the obvious about the new tournament rules.

A friend sent this link:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/taking-the-long-road/

I posted this reply:

You did a lot of work but missed the main point.  Baseball is different than football and basketball because it's most important player changes every game for the first four games of a tournament series.  That's the starting pitcher.  Pitching match-ups are what's critical, not winning percentages over 162 games.

If a team's number one starter does not pitch until game three in a five game series as I think is likely to occur, that team has little chance.
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I'm amazed at how people are standing on their heads in order to miss the obvious.  Look at the 1960 World Series.  It was all about pitching match-ups.  If you line up the scores of the Yankees and Pirates in descending order the Yankees could have swept.  Not four games but all SEVEN games!

Scores vary primarily because of the pitchers and the starter pitches by far the most innings.  It's not like the Celtics and Lakers playing seven games in the NBA finals in the 1980s with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson leading each team in each game.  In baseball even the greatest players can be marginalized.  See Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays in the 1962 World Series.

If a team's pitching is in good shape and it lines up properly, that team has a chance.  If not, it has little chance.  That, unfortunately, is the nature of what baseball has devolved to.  Pitchers dominate, not baseball players.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Increase the active roster but only dress 25.

See this post: Saturday, September 1, 2012 Dress 25.

Expanding on this, increasing the active roster (for the entire regular season and the tournament, not just September) but only dressing 25 would introduce real decision making choices for managers, not the same junk that's been around for decades.  I suggest that the active roster be at least 30 players.

The Major Baseball League (MBL) could even dump the DH.  The players would agree to just about anything, including giving away their first born child, for an increase in the number of players on the roster.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Most Entertaining.

How about determining the entertainment value of a player by how quickly he accomplishes something positive?

The games are excruciatingly boring because there's so much dead time.  The worst of that dead time is between pitches when players, primarily the batter and pitcher jerk around for no good reason.  The batter steps out to contemplate his situation, which is almost exactly the same as it was a second before.   Blah, blah, blah.

What makes a batter entertaining is his ability to get a hit in very little time.  It's not even the number of pitches, it's the number of seconds.  Given all the jerking around I'm guessing that very few at bats produce a hit in less than 60 seconds.  For that to happen the batter would need to get a hit on the first or second pitch.  Same applies to the pitcher who probably retires very few batters in less than a minute.

On the Yankees the batters who seem to waste the most time between pitches are Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter.  They seem to take at least 30 seconds between each pitch.  This season Jeter has had 87 3-2 counts in 603 plate appearances.  In those 87 PA Jeter has had 69 AB with 28 hits.  If those AB averaged six pitches then Jeter's AB took at least three minutes or 180 seconds.  We can multiply Jeter's 87 AB by 180 seconds and divide by 28 hits to find how long it took him get hits on a 3-2 count ... on average.  Hits per second.

Hits per second can be calculated for each player and then we can start to establish an entertainment value per player.  You see, it's not just what they accomplish.  It's how quickly they accomplish it.

Johan Santana: How Big A Deal Is A No-Hitter?

Radical Baseball: How Big A Deal Is A No-Hitter? Jun 17th, 2012

June 1 Johan Santana became the first Met pitcher to throw a no-hitter: 8-0 against St. Louis in New York.  Met manager Terry Collins let Santana throw 134 pitches even though Santana missed the entire 2011 season with a bad arm.  It is inconceivable that Collins would have let Santana throw 134 pitches in any other regular season circumstance.  Collins must have valued that no-hitter beyond its actual value to the team.  With the Mets leading 8-0 after seven innings, Santana did not need to pitch the last two innings.  Santana benefited from a missed call by an umpire on a ball that clearly hit the foul line and would have been a hit.

Santana's game log.

Since that no-hitter Santana's ERA increased from 2.38 to 4.85.  His final appearance of 2012 was August 17, his fifth consecutive loss.

One seed race is more important than wild card race.

See previous post on the importance of a team being the one seed in the Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament: Sunday, September 2, 2012 One seed is more valuable than most realize.

Click this link to see the "wild card" standings on that website:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/standings/wildcard.jsp?ymd=20120902

All teams not leading their divisions are listed as possible wild card teams.  Listed at the bottom:

w - clinched wild card

x - clinched playoff berth

y - clinched division

z - clinched division and best record in league

Z is of particular interest as I maintain that the one seed in each conference will have a big advantage.  There is no highlighting of the race for the best record in each conference, or as the establishment continues to refer to them, leagues.  There's only one league, the Major Baseball League.

As far as I know I am the only one emphasizing the race to be the one seed.  No team has indicated that it regards the one seed as being especially important.  There is no sure thing but I strongly believe  that the new MBL tournament format provides a huge advantage to the one seed and a huge, almost insurmountable, disadvantage to the wild card or four seed.  This is a good thing, which I am also sure was unintended when commissioner Bud Selig and his fellow rocket scientists came up with the new rules.  See Wednesday, March 7, 2012 MLB tournament: inadvertently less random with one more team?

By the way, what happens with ties?  I searched the mlb.com website and found nothing.  Then I did a general google search and found it ... at mlb.com.  Way to keep a secret, Bud.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?c_id=mlb&content_id=36405618&vkey=pr_mlb&ymd=20120809

Try that link.  Now for ties:

Tiebreaker games will be played to determine Division Championships, even if the two tied Clubs are assured of participating in the Postseason.

That's it.  No provision for three teams being tied for a division lead.  Check the current standings:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/standings/index.jsp?tcid=mm_mlb_standings

In the American Conference East three teams are within three wins of the lead.  Two teams are tied for first in the Central.  And what about a tie for the one seed?  How is that most important of all ties resolved?

Considering the lack of thought given to teams that finish first it's not surprising that there is no mention of ties for the wild card, which is the most likely scenario since so many teams are contending.  The regular season ends Wednesday, October 3 "with the inaugural pair of Wild Card Games on Friday, October 5th".  That leaves one day to resolve wild card ties.

The American Conference currently has six teams, including the two tied for first in the Central, within 3.5 games; basically four teams within two games.  The National Conference has four teams within 1.5 games.  If three teams tie for two spots is there a round robin play-in to the play-in?  And how is that done in one day?

Your best bet: be the one seed.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

One seed is more valuable than most realize.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 MLB tournament: inadvertently less random with one more team?

a less random tournament format, which will hopefully get the two top seeds through this nonsense and into the finals ...

The four seed in each conference should be at a big disadvantage because it will have to play its way into the tournament by using one of its top two pitchers, maybe both.  The one seed is unlikely to have to break a division tie (MLB should just use head to head as a tie breaker, then record in division), although it may have to play hard down the stretch to win the division.  Most likely is that the one seed will be rested and waiting for a tired and depleted four seed, thus ensuring that the types of upsets that occurred in 2011 will become rare.
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The Yankees have a problem entering the final month of the 2012 regular season.  It's not just that Baltimore and Tampa are challenging the Yankees for first place in the American Conference (AC) East division.  Losing first place would drop the Yankees into the dreaded wild card group, almost ensuring that the Yanks go yet another season without winning the Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament.  The Yanks are also in trouble because even if they finish first in their division the Texas Rangers currently would be the number one seed in the AC.

Here are my non-statistical guesses for how this will work.

1. The one seed will defeat the four seed (winner of the play-in game between the two wild card teams) 75% of the time in the five game series, often in a sweep.  The four seed may be starting it's three or four starter in game one v. the one seed's ace.  The four seed will have all hands on deck in that play-in game, probably after battling just to get into the game.

2. The two and three seeds, both division winners, will be evenly matched and will play a long and difficult series in the first round.

3. In round two a rested one seed will defeat a depleted 2/3 seed 60% of the time in the seven game series.

If my guesses are even close, teams should make a conscious decision to be the one seed.  Will they? Will Yankee manager Joe Girardi go after it?  Will Texas manager Ron Washington?  I'm guessing that neither the field mangers, nor the general managers of MBL teams have realized the obvious, that the one seed has a much easier path to the finals.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dress 25.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010 Increase active roster

Each MLB team has a 40 man roster with 25 players eligible to play a particular game subject to other rules.

Why not increase the active roster from 25 to 30 but only dress 25 per game?  ...

Oh, and eliminate that stupid September roster increase. Why should the roster rule be so different for one of the six months? Watching Texas manager Ron Washington make a travesty of that in September 2010 staring me thinking about this.
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Around that time Yankee manager Joe Girardi was going nuts watching Ron Washington do his record setting Texas slow walk bringing in one pitcher after another.  Girardi suggested that teams be allowed to dress only 25 players no matter how many were on the active roster at the moment.  During today's Yankee game against Baltimore Yankee announcers mentioned that Baltimore manager Buck Showalter had the same idea: limit teams to 25 players during games.

If both Girardi and Showalter are advocating something it can't be very radical.  So why hasn't the Major Baseball League (MBL) given this simple idea any serious consideration?  Neither the NFL nor the NBA do anything like increasing the rosters during their seasons.