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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chris Correa: "Astros employee accessed proprietary data on a St. Louis Cardinals server... used extensively 2012 - 2014".

Commissioner finally punishes Cardinals and rewards Astros in information stealing scandal. Tuesday, January 31, 2017 9:31 AM

About five years ago Jeff Luhnow had Chris Correa and Sig Mejdal
working for him in the St. Louis Cardinals analytics group. They were using a proprietary database ...

Luhnow was hired by Houston, presumably for more money and power, along with Mejdal ...

Correa subsequently ... logged in (to the Houston database system) as them...

... the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston became involved. In January 2016 Chris Correa took a deal and was sentenced to four years in federal prison. FOUR YEARS...

So what the heck is going on here? The punishment is for the Cardinals organization but no individuals, other than Correa who was caught red handed, have been held accountable.

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Continuing from the title of this post to quote from Chris Correa's message today on twitter:

https://twitter.com/chriscorrea/status/826435422834266112

On December 21, 2011, a Houston Astros employee accessed proprietary data on a St. Louis Cardinals server. Later I would learn - through unlawful methods - that Cardinals data were used extensively from 2012 through 2014. Houston Astros employees used the data to replicate and evaluate key algorithms and decision tools related to amateur and professional player evaluation. Many individuals throughout the Houston organization, including the General Manager and Assistant General Manager, were included in e-mail discussions about these efforts.

I accept my responsibility for my wrongful actions and am paying my debt to society...

... punishment does not function as a deterrent when applied arbitrarily.

I will have no further comment on this matter while I am incarcerated.

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Wow! Wow! This is explosive.

Correa is directly, without explicitly naming them, accusing both Jeff Luhnow and Sig Mejdal of accessing "proprietary data on a St. Louis Cardinals server... Cardinals data ... used extensively from 2012 through 2014". At least some of Correa's information was obtained "through unlawful methods". However, that does not necessarily mean that federal prosecutors, either in Houston or St. Louis, could not have obtained that information is such a way that it could be used in federal court.

1. The federal prosecutors in Houston, home of the Astros, brought charges against St. Louis Cardinal Chris Correa.

2. If Correa's accusations against former St. Louis employees who currently work for Houston were supported by evidence that could be used in federal court, why didn't the Houston federal prosecutors bring charges against the home team employees in Houston?

3. Or, why didn't St. Louis federal prosecutors bring charges against the former St. Louis employees currently working for Houston?

4. If Correa's accusations are supported but by evidence that is not admissible in a court of law, why didn't the commissioner, who personally used such evidence in secret against Alex Rodriguez, use it to discipline Houston Astros executives Jeff Luhnow and Sig Mejdal?

5. Correa's final point may be to obtain his early release from federal prison in exchange for his cooperation and information about unlawful activities by Jeff Luhnow and Sig Mejdal, now working for the Houston Astros.

Commissioner Rob Manfred, the A-Rod Slayer, issued a statement that seems evasive and possibly self serving. Manfred consistently demonstrated as chief prosecutor for his predecessor, Commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig, recently elected to the Hall of Fame, a zeal to use information no matter how it was obtained, including some that was stolen. Manfred also made payments to obtain such information.

Where's there's a will, there's a way.

Commissioner finally punishes Cardinals and rewards Astros in information stealing scandal.

"Ground Control to Major Tom".

A man wearing a space suit emblazoned "Major Tom" floats in a black void with two women in flowing dresses.
David Bowie as Major Tom in the Space Oddityvideo, part of the 1969 promotional film Love You Till Tuesday

About five years ago Jeff Luhnow had Chris Correa and Sig Mejdal
working for him in the St. Louis Cardinals analytics group. They were using a proprietary database system nicknamed Red Bird Dog.

Other teams had such systems:
Cleveland Indians: DiamondView
Boston Red Sox: Carmine.

Luhnow interviewed with the Houston Astros and described in detail his plan for improving the Astros. At the time Houston was using "a popular system sold by Bloomberg Sports" (Houston Chronicle, 3/10/2014) . Luhnow was hired by Houston, presumably for more money and power, along with Mejdal and another guy. Luhnow, apparently, intended to create an Astros version of Red Bird Dog. The name selected: Ground Control. It's a play on words for the NASA space program, which also caused the franchise to change its name from the Colt 45s to the Astros.

Luhnow must have promised and hoped to die that he would not take any proprietary information from St. Louis to Houston. Luhnow did seem intent on replicating Red Bird Dog. He must have intended his Houston version, Ground Control, to be bigger and better. Just how much Red Bird Dog is in Ground Control is an issue that has not been addressed.

When they switched from St. Louis to Houston, Chris Correa had Luhnow, Mejdal, and the other guy surrender their Cardinal corporate laptop computers, along with the Cardinal ID and password each used. Correa subsequently used that information to guess the very similar ID and password they used in Houston and logged in as them. Correa asserts that he wanted to see if they had taken proprietary St. Louis information. This seems plausible. Also plausible is that Correa went way beyond that.

Eventually this came to light and the Major Baseball League tried to handle it but the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston became involved. In January 2016 Chris Correa took a deal and was sentenced to four years in federal prison. FOUR YEARS.

Some had made the analogy of a coach switching teams and using his old signs with his new team. Baseball protocol would blame the new team. But that same protocol holds the use of binoculars by the 1951 New York Giants to steal catcher's signs during the second half of the season, including the three extra games against the Brooklyn Dodgers, to be unsportsmanlike and unacceptable. A minority view is that the Dodgers should have been more careful. The Giants made up 13 games and won the pennant on the legendary bottom of the 9th inning home run by Bobby Thomson, who in later years claimed, unconvincingly, that he could not recall if he had the sign for the biggest event in his life.

People's views, recollections, perspectives can vary and change. Yesterday Commissioner Rob Manfred, the A-Rod Slayer, weighed in. Manfred put Chris Correa on the permanently ineligible list, along with Reds gambling manager Pete Rose and the very late Joe Jackson of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox gambling scandal.

Manfred ordered the Cardinals to pay the maximum allowed to the Astros as reparation: $2 million. Manfred also ordered the Cardinals to surrender to the Astros the Cardinals top two picks in the 2017 amateur player draft; neither is a number one, so they work out to be numbers 56 and 75 overall.

Not unlike the PED punishments, no supervisors were punished, just the individual caught. The commissioner at the time was Allen Huber "Bud" Selig, who was recently elected to the Hall of Fame. Once inducted this summer Selig will join former managers Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre. LaRussa managed the Cardinals 1996-2011, winning the World Series in 2006 and 2011. LaRussa had previously managed the Oakland As, winning the World Series in 1989. LaRussa succeeded Torre as Cardinal manager. Torre managed the Yankees 1996-2007, winning the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000.

LaRussa was the immediate supervisor of home run record setter Mark McGwire in both Oakland and St, Louis. McGwire admitted in January 2010 that he used PED. Since then his percent of Hall of Fame votes has decreased each year.

Torre managed Yankees Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield, all of whom have been implicated in PED use.

So what the heck is going on here? The punishment is for the Cardinals organization but no individuals, other than Correa who was caught red handed, have been held accountable. The two draft picks being surrendered to the Astros are valued at about $1.8 million. Adding the reparation of $2 million brings the monetary penalty to the Cardinals to $3.8 million. About what they'd pay to a veteran utility player.

"Ground Control to Major Tom".

Monday, January 30, 2017

Duke Snider Home Runs 1953-1957: >= 40, 23 in Ebbets Field, 96% off righties.

Claim to fame for Duke Snider: at least 40 Home Runs in five consecutive seasons, the final five that the Dodgers played in Brooklyn before moving to Los Angeles.

Home runs hit in Roosevelt Stadium 1956-1957. Monday, April 21, 2014

(Dodgers) tested the west by playing 15 games in Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ during their final two seasons in Brooklyn ...

It was used for fifteen "home" games ... seven in 1956 and eight in 1957 ... a negotiating tactic with the Borough of Brooklyn, in pursuit of a new stadium to replace Ebbets Field ... Roosevelt Stadium had 10,000 parking spaces compared to Ebbets Field's 700.

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Roosevelt Stadium is mentioned for completeness. It does not impact the overall numbers much. It does, however, produce this fact that is almost completely missed:

Duke Snider hit exactly 23 home runs in Ebbets Field in each of those five consecutive seasons. Since Roosevelt Stadium was technically Snider's home park, the two that he hit there in 1956 are lumped together with the 23 Snider hit in Ebbets Field to produce 25 at "home".

HRHRHRABABABAB/HRAB/HRAB/HR
EbbRoosRoadEbbRoosRoadEbbRoosRoad
195323019294029612.815.61953
195423017291029312.717.21954
195523019263027511.414.51955
1956232182472726810.713.514.91956
195723017222242629.715.41957
total1152901,317511,39411.525.515.5total

Snider's home run rate (AB/HR (lower is better)) in Ebbets Field is really good. However, what is really astonishing are the percent of homers and at bats (AB) that Snider had in those seasons against right handed pitching.

HRABAB/HRHRABAB/HRHRABAB/HRHRAB
tottottotvRvRvRvLvLvL% vR% vR
19534259014.03950112.838929.7195393%85%1953
19544058414.63851913.726532.5195495%89%1954
19554253812.83948512.435317.7195593%90%1955
19564354212.64248211.516060.0195698%89%1956
19574050812.74048112.00271957100%95%1957
total2072,76213.31982,46812.5929432.7total96%89%total

In 1956 and 1957 Snider hit only one home run against a lefty.

For 1953-1957 Duke Snider hit 96% of his home runs against righties and had 89% of his AB against righties. Generally, about 72% of pitches are thrown by righties.

Snider was a left handed batter, well protected by the many righty batters in the Dodger lineup in those years. That was documented in this blog in detail a few years ago.

Duke Snider died at 84. Monday, February 28, 2011

The entire (1957) Dodger team hit only 8 homers against lefty pitchers. Snider was very well protected in a heavily right handed hitting lineup, which faced few lefties.

In 1957 Hall of Fame southpaw Warren Spahn won the MLB Cy Young award. He faced the Dodgers only once: Sunday, August 4, 1957 1:32PM, County Stadium. Spahn relieved in the ninth and faced two batters: Don Zimmer and Jim Gilliam, retiring both; Spahn was credited with a save...

Both Snider individually and all Dodgers faced less than 11% lefty pitchers (1953-1957). Contrast that with MLB lefty pitchers percent of plate Appearances (PA):


1953 30.19%
1954 28.03%
1955 28.73%
1956 26.67%
1957 22.87%
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Duke Snider: Brooklyn v. LA Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Worse free agent signing: Jayson Heyward or Jacoby Ellsbury?

Jayson Heyward

201626Chicago Cubs$21,666,6666.000contracts
201727Chicago Cubs$28,166,6677.000
201828Chicago Cubs$28,166,667Has right to opt out of contract following 2018 season.
201929Chicago Cubs$20,000,000Has right to opt out of contract following 2019 season if he has 550 PA that year.
202030Chicago Cubs$21,000,000
202131Chicago Cubs$21,000,000
202232Chicago Cubs$22,000,000
202333Chicago Cubs$22,000,000
Earliest Free Agent: 2024

Jacoby Ellsbury

201430New York Yankees$21,142,8576.037contracts
201531New York Yankees$21,142,8577.037contracts
201632New York Yankees$21,142,8578.037contracts
201733New York Yankees$21,142,8579.037
201834New York Yankees$21,142,857
201935New York Yankees$21,142,857
202036New York Yankees$21,142,857
202137New York Yankees*$21,000,000$21M Team Option, $5M Buyout
Earliest Free Agent: 2021

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Brian Cashman: his incompetence documented here and recently elsewhere but only called out here. Why?

Brian Cashman is entering his 20th year as general manager of the New York Yankees.

I was minding my own business, reading fangraphs.com, when two articles addressed two related topics I have addressed here, one specific, one general. Here are mine:

Yankees interested in Jose Quintana, twice released by Brian Cashman. Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Adding to the Brian Cashman list of you can't make up stuff like this.

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Yankees spend too foolishly, not too little. Monday, November 11, 2013

This is the last in a series of posts on team salary or payroll for players for seasons 2003 through 2013.

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fangraphs.com:

A New Jose Quintana Idea
by Nicolas Stellini - January 27, 2017

We’ve been waiting for Jose Quintana to get traded for a while now... perhaps a move to the Bronx...

He’s been the seventh-best pitcher in baseball since the start of the 2013 season ...

Quintana has logged 200 innings for four years in a row now.

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The Massive Payroll Disparity of the 2016 World Series
by Craig Edwards - October 25, 2016

... both teams traded for relief aces from the New York Yankees ...

When the margin has been greater than $50 million, the team with the larger payroll is 5-1, with the Marlins’ victory over the Yankees in 2003 representing the lone defeat...

Only the Marlins-Yankees in 2003 and Red Sox-Rockies in 2007 had bigger payroll gaps between World Series opponents...

In today’s money, the gap between the 2003 Marlins and 2003 Yankees is as large as this past season’s Yankees payroll. Adjusting for inflation, the 2009 World Series between the Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies has a nine-figure gap — this despite Philadelphia’s $138 million payroll ranking sixth in all of Major League Baseball that season. The Yankees’ $220 million payroll back in 2009 was just so massive relative to the rest of the league, that such a gap still existed. The Yankees still sport a roughly $220 million payroll, and though surely nobody sheds a tear for those in the Bronx, that money doesn’t quite buy what it once did...

Without adjusting for inflation, the Cubs’ payroll of $184.5 million is the second highest (to the 2009 Yankees) among World Series clubs this century ... adjust for inflation ...

In what should come as no surprise, the top seven slots are occupied by the Yankees and Red Sox. The Cubs’ salary might be higher in terms of dollars than many of those teams’ payrolls, but compared to the old Red Sox and Yankees clubs, Chicago is a bit behind.

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So where's the outrage? Where's the calling out of Brain Cashman who should be cashiered? Maybe it's blocked by not considering:

Does Brian Cashman ever get a performance review by Hal Steinbrenner? Ever? Sunday, January 22, 2017

Brian Cashman has been general manager of the New York Yankees since 1998. 2017 will be his 20th season as GM...


During Cashman's tenure as Yankee GM the Yankees have won four championships: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009. The Yankees had also won in 1996 with a team that featured Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Those same four players were also keys to the last Yankee championship team in 2009, 13 years later.

In the last 16 years the Yankees have won just that one championship. It is surrounded by dry spells of 8 and 7 years.
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Could Brian Cashman have acquired Alex Bregman or equivalent? Sunday, January 22, 2017

So could Cashman have flipped Torres and Frazier for Gregman or Benintendi? What if Cashman threw in more of the minor league players just acquired for Chapman and Miller? Would that have been enough? If not, then what was the point in trading for them? To have managing partner Hal Steinbrenner, along with much of the media and far too many Yankee fans, think that Cashman was doing a good job? Of what, improving the minor league teams of the Yankees? The objective is for the Yankees to win championships, preferably with star players worth paying to see.

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