The Baseball Graphs Blog

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My new shirt

A few updates and Internet things of note

There’s a new Yankee weblog focusing on WPA results.  It looks like he’ll have some interesting analyses and presentations of WPA stats, so be sure to check it out.

I don’t know if you read the First Inning site, but I think it is the most interesting minor league statistics site, by far.  It features detailed stats for all minor league players, including splits and projections, as well as organizational rankings and much more.  To top it off, they’ve added batted ball charts for every minor league batter, showing where each batter’s batted balls have fallen and how they’ve fared.  Here’s one for Cincinnati prospect Jay Bruce:


Last tip: there’s a site that will “calculate” your name if you were to play on the Brazilian soccer team.  Mine is Studemisco.  What’s yours?

Posted by Studes on 07/15 at 12:50 PM
Monday, July 10, 2006

Tracking Home Runs

If you watch tonight’s Home Run Derby, you might want to follow along at Hit Tracker.  At Hit Tracker, they plan to use their patented technology to measure the distance of every home run.  True, ESPN will reportedly use “laser technology” to do the same thing, but Hit Tracker also calculates the speed of the home run off the bat, and measures home runs based on where it would have landed if it hadn’t hit the stands.

Actually, it may be most interesting to see where ESPN and Hit Tracker disagree, and why.  The science of home run distancing really isn’t much of a science at all.  At least, not yet.

Meanwhile, back in Win Probability Added land, Alan Schwarz wrote a weekend article for the New York Times (subscription required) using WPA to review some of the All-Star selections.  It’s a nice effort, though I think Alan has it wrong when he says that “Good players on excellent teams tend to have higher W.P.A.‘s because they usually participate in more victories.”  I’m pretty sure that good players on excellent teams are handicapped because they have less chance to impact a game if their team is ahead most of the time.

Players who might do particularly well in WPA are those who do well in high-leverage situations.  In other words, good players who play in a lot of close games will tend to have higher WPA’s, just as top relievers in high-leverage situations will have higher WPA’s than top relievers in low-leverage situations.

Posted by Studes on 07/10 at 11:38 AM
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I’m a Spiderman

Results from the Superhero quiz

Yup, I took the Superhero quiz, and here are my results:
You are Spider-Man
Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Posted by Studes on 06/28 at 03:12 PM
Monday, June 26, 2006

Top Twin Plays

Will Young makes great use of Win Probability Added in this post, in which he lists the top ten Minnesota Twins plays of the year so far.  For instance, here’s his description of the top play of the year:

Justin Morneau’s game-winning single off Mariano Rivera on April 15. The Twins found themselves with a great scoring opportunity as Joe Mauer singled to give the Twins runners on second and third base with nobody out while trailing by a run. Unfortunately, RonDL White and Torii Hunter failed to even plate the tying run before Justin Morneau’s flair landed just past the outstretched arm of Robinson Cano. I was down in New Orleans at the time unable to watch the game, but it was so exciting that I received phone calls from both my mother and my friend Dan out of the blue. The mere fact that these two people, fairly passive Twins fans for the most part, were so affected by this hit demonstrates the aura that still surrounds the Yankees. WPA change: .837

Posted by Studes on 06/26 at 08:28 AM
Monday, June 19, 2006

Nothing Up His Sleeve

Never saw this one before

The Mets’ David Wright hit a line drive to Baltimore’s Ed Rogers yesterday.  Rogers short-hopped the ball, and it actually went up his sleeve—you can see it bulging out of the back of his uniform here…


Rogers pawed at it for a second or two, trying to get the ball out…


It finally flipped out, Rogers threw it back to the infield and Wright wound up with the most bizarre single I’ve seen in a while.  Poor Jose Reyes (who scored from third on the play) didn’t know what to do.


You can view the video from this page (click on video link marked “Rogers loses ball).

Posted by Studes on 06/19 at 09:25 AM
Sunday, June 18, 2006

Major League Jerk

Some guys can’t help themselves.

This news is a little old, but it must be said.  The Dodgers’ Odalis Perez is a jerk, as chronicled in this article:

He stopped his O’s 45’s program, in which he bought 45 tickets for inner-city school children to attend his starts, after losing his starting job. He said he would not reinstate the program now that he is starting again because he felt he never got enough credit from the club or the public for his charitable contributions.

Yeah, charity work is all about getting credit.

Posted by Studes on 06/18 at 07:30 AM
Saturday, June 17, 2006

Minor League Organization Reports

You have to see this.

Wow.  The newest great minor league site on the Internet is First Inning, just got better.  Already, First Inning includes career and current stats for all minor leaguers, as well as splits, game logs, news, team prospect lists and major league projections.  Now, they’ve added major league organization reports to the site, in which you can see the daily results of each minor league organization’s prospects in one handy page.

I love it.  Congratulations, First Inning, and thanks.

Posted by Studes on 06/17 at 10:49 AM
Friday, June 16, 2006

Congrats to Will

An award-winner is in our midst

Long-time friend of Baseball Graphs, Will Carroll, has won an award from SABR for research excellence.  The award is for his book The Juice, which is an examination of steroids, HGH and lots of other nasty things that baseball players take.

Will championed Baseball Graphs back in the day when I was still producing graphs in Excel.  He even asked me to contribute to his first book Saving the Pitcher.  And the feeling is mutual—I read Will’s column when he was sending it out in email format, before he started posting at Baseball Prospectus.  In fact, his column was one of the top two or three reasons I decided to subscribe to BPro.

Will used the Internet to craft a new angle in baseball reporting: injuries, the players who get them and the professionals who treat them.  He likes to say wild and crazy things, but he also manages to provide a lot of super information on a timely basis.  This award for outstanding research is a new notch in his arrow, or feather in his cap, or arrow in his quiver.  Something like that.

Whatever it is, it is well-deserved.  Congratulations, Will.

Posted by Studes on 06/16 at 01:20 PM
Friday, June 09, 2006

Steroids and Grimsley

I posted a graphical “analysis” (I use the word lightly) of Jason Grimsley’s career at fangraphs.  After posting the analysis, I also found a bit more information that I subsequently posted at Hardball Times…

I just looked up Jason Grimsley in Bill James/Rob Neyer’s Guide to Pitchers and found two different Scouting Notebook pitch selection notes:

1995: 1. Fastball (86-88)  2. Slider 3. Split-Fingered Fastball
2001/2003: 1. Fastball (mid-90’s)  2. Sinker 3. Split-Fingered Fastball (occasional)

Rob Neyer also noted that Grimsley’s primary pitch in 2002/2003 was a sinker in the low 90’s.  It would appear the speed gun is a much better indicator of which pitchers have taken steroids/HGH (and when) than strikeout rates.

But for the real story of ‘roids in baseball, you should read Named for Hank’s scandalous investigation at Batter’s Box.  Remember, people, these allegations were inevitable.  Baseball should do what it can to address the issues of players using illegal drugs, but the issues will never, ever go away.

Posted by Studes on 06/09 at 08:11 AM
Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Another WPA Example

Sox Watch is putting on a “how to” WPA clinic every week.  Here’s another example of how he handled a baserunning play:

Finally, I’d like to do a WPA analysis of the bizarre play that brought Melky Cabrera around to score in the bottom of the first. I break baserunning plays up into smaller segments to properly record WPA debit/credit to the players involved. See, for example, the play on May 28 where Manny threw Joey Gathright out at the plate. Last night, we had Cabrera on first in the bottom of the first with one out in a scoreless game. The Sox WP at that point was 0.450. As Cabrera advanced around the bases, the WP diminished at each point:

With a man on first,  WP = 0.450
With a man on second, WP = 0.434 (a loss of 0.016)
With a man on third,  WP = 0.407 (a loss of 0.027)
With the run in,    WP = 0.374 (a loss of 0.033)
Total net loss       = -0.076

So we have a total of -0.076 of WPA to divide up among the players involved. I broke it down like this:

  * Advancing from first to second - This was due to the wild pitch. I blame Beckett for 75% of this and Varitek for 25%, splitting the -0.016 accordingly, so Beckett gets -0.012 and Varitek gets -0.004.
  * Advancing from second to third - This was due entirely to Varitek’s throw to second. I assigned all of the -0.027 WPA for this portion to Varitek. I could have chosen to assign some of this to Lowell for missing the throw to second, but I felt that this was an uncatchable throw.
  * Advancing from third to home to score - This was tougher to account for. As Remy said during the game, nobody practices for this type of situation, so it’s not clear what the assigned roles are. But the fact is that everyone was out of position and nobody was guarding the plate. I figure that either Beckett or Varitek should have been there, so I divide the -0.033 for this play evenly between them, which is about -0.0165 for each.

So at the end of the play, we have Beckett with -0.028 and Varitek to -0.048. This gives Beckett about 37% of the debit for the play, and Varitek about 63%. This fits pretty well with my intuition about the play. Beckett kicked things off with a bad (but not horrible pitch), and finished up with a bad throw back to the plate, while Varitek takes a larger share for missing the WP, the crazy throw to second, and getting out of position at the end of the play.

Posted by Studes on 06/06 at 04:14 PM
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