Entries Tagged as 'Statistics'

is “free” access to stats a new trend?

I went to the Arvada Colts team page today to check on the progress of Illini pitcher Drasen Johnson.  The Colts are in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Baseball League.  As I clicked on the “Stats” link, I was presented with only three categories of stats (Games pitched, innings pitched and wins) plus this disclaimer:

“FREE Access to the Arvada Colts for all Fans

To view expanded season statistics you must be a Fan of the Arvada Colts”

Boo.

I have a hard time digesting this.  To put a price on baseball statistics, even when it is “free”, sets a really bad precedent. 

The Arvada Colts subscribe to the GameChanger service which displays their stats for them. 

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Baseball Reference is goin’ mobile

A few weeks ago, I was out and about and had the need to look up some baseball stats.  I have Baseball Reference punched in as a bookmark on my Android smartphone.  I wouldn’t say perusing the site was painful… I actually was able to find whatever stat I was looking for.  But quite honestly, it was laborious and I thought boy, Sean really needs a mobile version of this site or maybe even an app. 

Huzzah!! Baseball Reference now has gone mobile!

And it looks sharp, too.  I just gave it a quick test run and so far it passes my test. 

1) it’s easy to navigate especially considering how complicated this particular site is.

2) the text is clear as a bell as very easy to read

3)  and comprehensible.  Most everything you see on the regular website can be accessed via the mobile site. 

So bookmark http://m.bbref.com on your mobile device (you actually don’t have to.  Browsing to Baseball Reference’s normal web site with a mobile device will take you there). 

Thanks to Sean at Baseball Reference for going the extra step. 

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Short sluggers

Steve Lombardi of the Baseball Reference Blog lists the top career homerun hitters of those players 5’6” or shorter

First of all, I never knew Hack Wilson was so short.  He just makes the 5’6” requirement.  He tops the list.  He’s also pretty much the only legitimate slugger.  Wilson outpaces #2 Tommy Leach by a remarkable 244 to 57 margin. 

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Changes in how we keep score

Piggy-backing on my last post about Cy Young winner King Felix and his dearth of wins, I thought I’d pass on this link to an article by Joe Posnanski entitled Talkin’ Baseball (Stats).  Here Joe suggests some changes on how we score the game of baseball.  In his view, let’s simplify them.

Number One on his list:  Wins

Simplify. I’ve never hidden my disdain for pitcher wins as a statistic, especially in modern times, when hardly anybody pitches a complete game, but if you’re going to use this stat anyway (and let’s be honest, it ain’t going away), fine. Just keep track of how often a team wins the game when the pitcher starts. That’s all. Eliminate the no-decision, which, if you stop to think about it, is actually a bizarre concept. There are no “no-decisions” in baseball. Somebody wins. Somebody loses.

Crazy idea and I’m not sure if even I agree but I like anyone who thinks out of the box. 

Really you should read his article.  His section on RBIs is quite interesting.  Actually come to think of it, Bud Selig should read it.

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Breaking down pitchers’ homers

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times breaks down the gopher ball pitchers of all time.  He ranks those pitchers who have given up homers of every type. 

It’s a fun read.  Don’t go in expecting to find low caliber pitchers on his lists.  These are hurlers who have gotten on these lists because they were good enough to last a long time in the bigs.  Similar to Pete Rose, who has the most hits all time but also has the most outs.  You’re out there long enough, you’re going to manage enough negative stats.

The most interesting to me was Roy Face.  He leads all pitchers in both walk-off homers and extra-inning homers.

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2010 Worst List

No doubt, I enjoy “best of” lists but I have a morbid fascination with “worst” lists, too. 

As always, Andy from the Baseball Reference Blog comes through with his “2010 Least Valuable Player” post.  Be prepared to make your arguments because most likely, a favorite player will be on this list.

Somehow, I knew former Cub Ryan Theriot would be on this list. 

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Troy Tulowitzki and how we choose to look at stats

I listened the other day as the talking heads on ESPN discussed the idea of Troy Tulowitzki earning this year’s MVP based on his 14 homeruns in 15 game performance. 

Sigh. 

Ok, it makes for good TV and to their credit most of them came to the conclusion that if he did it again (assuming that were even possible this late in the season), he should get it.  Otherwise, they wisely said no, probably not.  Last year, Fangraphs had a good article on “When Samples Become Reliable”.  I think it’s relevant here. 

But it’s more than just sample size too.  It’s choosing the range of data, too.  Let’s take a hypothetical example…

Say a player, call him Player X, goes hitless on Sunday and Monday.  He then gets one hit on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday and Saturday he goes hitless again.  We could say:

  • Player X got hits three days in a row.
  • Player X got three hits in the week
  • Player X got three hits from Sunday through Thursday

Those are all correct statements but convey very different things.  It’s just human nature that most of us would like to probably choose to focus on the positive and most likely concentrate on the fact that Player X hit safely in three straight games. 

So yeah, Tulo did hit 14 homeruns in 15 games and that is indeed a notable achievement.  But let’s look at the whole picture, guys.  He has 26 homeruns up to this point.  The fact that Tulowitzki did this at this moment in the season probably didn’t hurt.  Had he done this in June, the boys on ESPN wouldn’t have been bringing up his name. 

Thoughts?

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Number crunching Jamie Moyer’s homers

RBI Magazine brings us Ten Things About Jamie Moyer’s 505 Home Runs

…and one more reason to not like George W. Bush:

221
For his career, Jamie Moyer has given up a home run during five different presidential administrations…the most being 221 during the 2001-2008 run of George W. Bush. The other presidents that occupied the White House while Moyer toed the rubber…Ronald Reagan (58 home runs), George Bush (21), Bill Clinton (164) and, of course, Barack Obama (41 and counting).

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Effective use of closers

Lee Panas of Tiger Tales makes a good case for better use of MLB’s premier relievers.  He uses his Tigers’ Jose Valverde as a case study but it goes for all closers of high talent. 

This is the basic crux of his argument:

Instead of having Valverde enter a dozen or more games in very low impact situation just to get work, wouldn’t it be better if Leyland picked his spots using him only when the game was on the line?  I’d rather see him enter a tie game in the eighth inning or with the bases loaded in the seventh than see him get a three out save with nobody on base and three run lead.

I’ve pleaded similar arguments to my baseball friends to no avail.  There’s something simple about the “save” rule and there’s no getting around managers desire to saving their best guy for the ninth inning regardless of the actual impact the closer will have. 

I know Lee isn’t the only one exploring this issue.  Is the Save a dying stat?  Perhaps not.  But once we stop relying on it as the sole value of a closer, maybe they will be used in a more effective manner.

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2009 last time we saw a pitcher with 100 career CG (ever?)

It’s nothing new even to the casual fan that complete games have taken a drastic dip in the last 15-20 years.  But it just occurred to me that statistically, 2009 was a landmark year.  With the retirement of Randy Johnson at the end of the year, we no longer will have an active pitcher who has at least 100 career complete games. 

Johnson retired at the end of 2009 with 100 complete games on the nose.  With his departure, Roy Halladay became the heir of the CG active leader throne.  Even at that, Halladay has a ways to go.  At this point in the season, Roy has 54 complete games in 13 seasons.  If you look to the second man on that list, it’s Livan Hernandez with 48. 

Certainly, by the end of 2010, we will end up with a active career leader in complete games under 100 games for the first time in major league history. 

If you want a good visual on the decline of complete games through baseball history, Baseball Reference’s Progressive Leaders page might be of help. 

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