Friday, March 26, 2010

Fantasy Baseball Analysis: How to Endear Yourself

Okay, this is just a little bit of narcissistic self applauding, but bear with me and maybe we'll catch some chuckles. In one of my fantasy leagues, we were encouraged to introduce ourselves on the message board. I -- being busy as I frequently am -- did not notice this request until the day before draft day (i.e. some two months after joining the league). Well, I enjoyed my biography so thoroughly, I thought I should post it here as an example for future managers to follow:
I have been told it's bad form to start anything with an apology, so instead I will accuse somebody else for my late-blooming introduction. I blame... Joe Morgan. Yeah, that sounds good.

Greetings, everyone! My name is Brad and my street name is B-Rad. I am currently pursuing my masters degree in Economics in the grand sausage city of Chicago. I was born in Indiana, raised in Florida, and thus root for two diametrically opposed teams: The Cubs of Chicago, and the Rays of Tampa Bay.

When I'm not pretending to study for my classes, I'm usually participating in one of my many and diverse hobbies: the crunching numbers, the loathing of rain, the spying of cats, the challenging of Joe Morgan via zeppelin-dropped leaflets to a battle of fist-to-cuffs, and the maintaining and shamelessly self-promotion of my blog, Cubs Stats:

http://cubsstats.blogspot.com/

I have participated in approximately 5 fantasy sports leagues, but have performed admirably, if not insidiously, in each of those few leagues. I'm an avid reader of Fangraphs, DRaysBay, and The Book Blog. I was also once visited in a dream by an Econocat, the cats that secretly operate the world economies, and he offered me a job. In a subsequent dream, I received an internship at the Federal Reserve, which is pretty prestigious, to say the least. I cannot confirm whether or not it was a cat that called me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fantasy Baseball Analysis: Cubs Within the Cracks

Well, it's fantasy baseball season and I am now in the middle of my self-created Draft Week. If you're anything like me, you can't help but draft Cubs. And -- you know what? -- 2010 is the year of great values on Cubs players. Watch these guys drop really low in your draft, and then snag them much later than their counterparts of equal value:

Derrek Lee
Despite his monster 2009 campaign, many fantasy managers refuse to bite on Lee. Granted, no one expects a repeat of 2009, but he'll still be highly valuable -- especially in a format where you can start two first basemen. Lee will be one of the last quality first basemen drafted, probably two rounds before (the equally undervalued) Carlos Pena.

Carlos Zambrano
I'm still pretty flabbergasted about this one. At Cubs Stats, we're pretty pro-Zambrano, often noting how his 2009 season was in fact better than his previous three seasons. People who think Big Z was a big disappointment in 2009 don't understand sports stats and are therefore sports fools. Grab Z as your #3 or #4 starter and profit immensely.

Aramis Ramirez
In some drafts, Ramirez is falling well below the average crop of third basemen. In other drafts -- like the one I was in today -- Ramirez goes a round or two early. If you have filled most of your infield, and Aramis is still available, he's probably the best pick possible. Even if he gets injured and only plays 350 ABs, he'll offer 350 high quality ABs.

Ted Lilly
Because of his well-known injured status, most people avoid him. But those of us who follow the Cubs closely, and who are more familiar with Lilly's past injuries, are keen to the fact he may miss only a handful of starts -- maybe just two. He could be a super great value in the later rounds.

Ryan Theriot
Theriot is one of our self-professed favorite Cubs, here at Cubs Stats, so I really try to avoid discussing him too much, because I like his averageness and contract value more than I probably should. That being said, if ever I approach the end of the draft, I turn to Theriot if I need: a starting shortstop, a backup shortstop, a healthy shortstop, or some steals and doubles. Look for Theriot late too.

Alfonso Soriano
I'm not sold on a Soriano rebound, but neither is anyone else. I went ahead and picked him up with like the 230th overall pick simply because one of these things is not like the other:


Courtesy Fangraphs.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fangraphs Ranks the Cubs #18


Well, we've received our much-awaited, much-appreciated Fangraphs ranking. The article links:

Overview

Current Talent

Future Talent

Dave Cameron's summary:
When I try to balance the strengths and weaknesses, this is where the Cubs end up – in the middle of the pack, getting less out of what they have than most clubs, but having enough to keep them from being too bad.
This might be the most compact, yet comprehensive analysis of the 2010 Cubs yet. It's worth reading every bit.

I'm glad to see the Cubs make it into the middle of the pack. I was worried, when Fangraphs started this series, that the Cubs would be neighbors with the Royals or Nationals -- pessimistic of me, or what? I really do think this team has the resources and the basic know-how to produce successful teams; however, we won't become consistently successful until we integrate statistical prowess with our already excellent scouting.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Training Notes

Today, Carlos Silva left the game with a quad injury that hopefully isn't very seriously. He's pitched well this spring, despite our expectations, and we've chronicled his increasing effectiveness here. He added a nice line today, too, though he left after the 2nd inning. Additionally, judging by Muskat's previously linked blog post, Silva may have only surrendered the homer as a direct result of the injury. His updated starts lines:

Game IP H ER BB SO HR GO FO
one  2  7  6  0  2  2  2  1
two  3  4  0  1  0  0  5  3

thr. 4  2  0  0  3  0  4  3
for. 2  1  1  1  2  1  2  2

After the HR in the 2nd (when Silva was apparently injured), he also walked and then struck out the following two batters.

It appears the bullpen is cementing up, as Justin Berg has officially made the team, according to Lou. This leaves pretty much one spot for -- hopefully -- Mike Parisi. Berselius examines this at length at Another Cubs Blog.

Also, we discovered last week that Mike Fontenot, in addition to winning the starting second base position, will be the Ryan Theriot's backup SS. This leads me to ask: Why aren't we platooning the second base position?! I'm perfectly happy with young star, Starlin Castro, cast as a full time player in AAA, but I don't see any harm in platooning the second base position, given Fontenot's and Jeff Baker's (relatively small) history of dramatic splits.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

W-L% versus Pythagorean W-L%

The other day, in my BCB ACB article The Lost Era, I made the claim:
...[Pythagorean W-L%] has a nearly 1-to-1 ratio with W-L%...
I wanted to clarify that statement and present the chart I had previously made, but didn't use in the "Lost Era" article:


Basically this shows us that, over the course of a franchise's lifetime, the Pythagorean W-L% is just about the same as the regular W-L%. However, it's important to note that I used this claim only because I was examining large swaths of seasons, not just single seasons.

In other words, my comment above is not an attempt to denigrate Pythagorean W-L% or any other runs-based wins-adjusting tool. It's merely a truth based in large samples only.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Lost Era

I just finished a post over at Another Cubs Blog about the dismal 1950s and 60s in Chicago Cubs history. It's called The Lost Era; check it out!

Here is my ultimate thrust:
If the Cubs hope to break the "curse," they must prudently navigate the team into stability, away from a dependancy on free agent or short-term acquisitions, and avoid a second Lost Era at all costs!
The article really represents just the iceberg of potential research into the curse. I previously looked at our playoff performances and came away seeing no curse.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Training Notes

Before getting into this unexpectedly long post, I would like to promote the Baseball Player Search extension for Google Chrome. I actually used it to write this post and find it incredibly useful. (Glove slap to Tom Tango)

***

Well, Carlos Silva continued his pleasant destruction of my expectations. His updated stats, by start:

Game IP H ER BB SO HR GO FO
one  2  7  6  0  2  2  2  1
two  3  4  0  1  0  0  5  3

thr. 4  2  0  0  3  0  4  3

Seriously, Silva? Now you're just messing with me. Oh, yeah, he's also turning into a feel-good story. I'm really starting to think there's a legitimate chance that Silva is going to: a) pitch well (maybe not great, but enough ground balls to be useful) and b) shake the bad-tempered image. If these two possibilities come to fruition, then I think Jim Hendry wins executive of the year by default.

Silva's production is a pretty sensitive subject for me because I genuinely believe Milton Bradley got the short end of the stick: he came in with a high BABIP and was therefore unlikely to repeat his previous success, he is/has always been targeted by the media since his antics as a younger man, he was a target (as many other former Cubs members) of racism during games, and was sufficiently outspoken to be quoted out of context and to say a few dumb things.

That being said, I don't think the Cubs should have ever signed Milton to that absurd, Soriano-esque contract. I compare it to Soriano because, like our intrepid left fielder, Bradley had just undergone an unrepeatable season and received an age-prohibitive contract. To put it in economic terms, slugging is a function of skill and age, with a negative correlation with respect to age, or:
             +     -
SLG = f(skill, age)
So when we sign these hitters, known for slugging and speed, to contracts through their 32+ years of age, we in turn must expect huge amounts of depreciation at the end. (There are, of course, always exceptions -- e.g. Barry Bonds)

That being said, now that I look at his contract in general, I don't think Hendry and Co. are to blame nearly as much as the media, the fans, and, in part, Bradley's bat. In fact, in the three seasons preceding his arrival in Chicago, Bradley's WAR value in dollars well earned his contract with us:

2006: $10.2M
2007: $10.1M
2008: $20.7M

So we signed him to this:

2009:   $5M
2010:   $9M
2011: $12M

And he was actually worth this:

2009: $5M
2010: $9M and Carlos Silva
2011: N/A

I wonder where Milton would be today if Lou Piniella had instead blown up at Carlos Zambrano when he destroyed the water cooler instead of Bradley. Perhaps if instead of following him into the tunnel and yelling profanities at Bradley, Lou had just played it cool; or if Bradley had started the season with a high BABIP and a cluster of home runs instead of the opposite; or if someone -- anyone -- in the media had taken Milton's side instead of throwing him under the bus; or if he had let his agent and a staff of lawyers do the talking instead of himself, or at least thought out his comments more; or if -- above all -- the fools that call themselves fanatics of the Cubs had treated their right fielder with the same patience and steadfastness as they showed to many other slow starters (Derrek Lee in 2004, Alfonso Soriano in '07 and '08, and countless others), then we might be talking about how Milton is looking to rebound this year, and how the Cubs are primed to compete with one of the more potent NL lineups, instead of how Silva might actually be useful for two weeks as a starter and maybe 40 innings as a reliever.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Cold Hard Truth for Baseball's Poor


Fernando Perez. Outfielder, Columbia graduate, English major, and humorist. This is seriously great stuff. If the thought of a $400,000 outfielder stealing fruit doesn't make you laugh, check your laughbox.

Hat tip to DRaysBay.

Online Lately: Cuts, Churches, and Recaps

Yesterday, Carrie Musket reported the first wave of cuts on the 2010 season:
#cubs trim nine on Sunday; Atkins, Patton optioned. Clevenger, Lalli, Kennard, Vitters, Camp, Jackson and Perkins assigned to Minors
Farewell, gentlemen. We will see you in September.

Meanwhile, Tom Tango has taken some time to counter The Church of Baseball's claims concerning sabermetrics. In Part 1, Tango briefly discusses the complexity of UZR, WAR, and WPA calculations, while gracing us with a rare swearword. Also, Rally makes a cameo in the comments and ominously refers to his runic methods of rWAR (Rally Wins Above Replacement) calculation.

In Part 2, Tango takes a lengthy look at The Church's questions. Even if you don't read the original post or even Tango's Part 1, this is well worth reading as a refresher on certain dangers in statistical analysis.

Also, MLBTR finally reached the Cubs in their Offseason Review series. This is a great refresher for those just getting up to date on the Cubs. However, MLBTR seems to imply that Hendry is on a ticking clock, but I'm not too sure, given Tom Ricketts' recent comments.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Training Notes

Carlos Silva, our replacement Milton Bradley (sans high expectations), has now pitched a total of 5 Spring Training innings over 2 starts. Some may recall my previous and mystical allusions to Silva in my previous post. I was specifically trying to avoid speculating on Silva based on his first appearance (one in which he was absolutely thrashed), and I think I was wise to do so. Instead of storming onto Cubs Stats, ranting and raving, firing my pistols into the air, I can now discuss Silva a little more intelligently and calmly.

Here are his first two starts:

Game IP H ER BB SO HR GO FO
one  2  7  6  0  2  2  2  1
two  3  4  0  1  0  0  5  3


The elements that stick out to me are the last two columns: GO (ground outs) and FO (fly outs). Like I've noted several times before, Spring Training data is often misleading and difficult to interpret because: a) pitchers and batters (specifically veterans) may be playing with new techniques or pitches, b)the level of competition is unlike anything the players will face during the regular season (until the play the Royals, zing!), and c) the sample sizes are too small and deficient reliable Pitch F/X or Hit F/X data.

Anyway, Silva's GO/FO numbers help us see a little bit of what we miss without Pitch F/X. Pitchers love ground balls because they tend to result in outs and also tend to indicate that hitters are not squaring up on them very well. So, when I see that Silva is getting some ground outs, I get happy and start thinking that Silva may prove me delightfully wrong. Additionally, it appears that the Cubs staff is hoping to retool Silva (maybe in the way they "fixed" Ryan Dempster -- who was tipping pitches -- and produced his best career numbers).

Typically, these changes in mechanics or approaches and the sort really don't do anything. Last year, Scott Kazmir changed his mechanics some 4 or 5 times, but never really returned to his previous plateaus. So, seeing a quote like this:
"...I haven't seen that sinker for a long time, the one I was throwing in the bullpen. I saw the action and location and I was very excited to pitch today."
...I hope for the best, but know to temper my expectations.

Moreover, Silva did surrender 2 doubles in the second game, and -- according to Al from Bleed Cubbie Blue, who presumably saw the game:
He managed to throw three scoreless innings, but got hit pretty hard doing so... [In addition,] about half of his outs were outfield fly balls or line drives...
Again, this is just me trying to fill the gaps that the absence of Pitch F/X has left. I agree with Al (let's remember this moment) when he says: "Let's see what happens in his next outing."

More news and notes after the jump.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cubs vs. Sand Diego

 Courtesy Boys of Spring.

Today the Cubs take on the Padres in yet another Spring Training game. Allow me to stress, once again, the meaningless of: Spring Training stats, Spring Training W-L records, and -- above all -- home runs hit in Arizona.

It's more valuable to look at the process (Pitch F/X type data, Hit F/X type data -- i.e. MPH of fastball, bite on a breaking pitch, ground outs vs. fly outs, line drives vs. fly balls, etc.). Unfortunately, this kind of data is completely unavailable to us during Spring Training, so we just have to wait for the sample to grow.

Anyway, today's game will be available on the MLB Audio function (a Padres' local station). Here is the gameday link:

Cubs vs. Padres, at Peoria Sports Complex

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nomar No More

Courtesy NBCSports.

Well, friends and fellow Cubs fans, the once great Nomar Garciaparrra has retired. He was an upstanding citizen, a monster with the Red Sox, a let down with the Cubs (naturally), and a feel-good story with the Dodgers. He was a shortstop that could hit a bunch of homers, but his most memorable accomplishments as a Cub included: getting hurt a lot and saving some people from drowning. RJ Anderson wrote an excellent piece on this almost era-ending retirement, and Wikipedia has already updated to reflect the change. According to said Wikipedia entry, Nomar's going to ESPN, where he can fester in a pool of RBIs, ERAs, and curse-words like "clutch," "clubhouse guy," and "Joe Morgan."

I still remember the day we got Nomar. I was working at an arcade (that may have actually been a front for money laundering), watching Greg Maddux pitch on MLB Gameday, when my manager -- who knew I was a Cubs fan -- came by, chanting "Nomar. Nomar."

"What's Know-Marr?" young me asked. In short, he was supposed to be the keystone to the undoing of our "curse." In turn, he was yet one more let-down in a time full of great potential.

Goodbye, sweet prince.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Training Notes

Because Spring Training is so short and the statistics are generally small and misleading samples, I will try to refrain from discussing recent performances (*cough* Carlos Silva *cough*) until we can gather larger samples.

That being said, the injury bus has already made its first stops: Angel Guzman may be out for the season, or possibly -- I believe -- his career. I don't think I can feel any worse for this man than I already do. Additionally, Andres Blanco (our presumed backup infielder if Starlin Castro stays in AAA) injured his knee and is out for an additional 10 days or so.

Normally, 10 days in Spring Training for a backup middle infielder is not that significant. However, I'm worried because this injury may lend to the possibility of further complications: not only is the knee crucial for both hitting and throwing (and standing and walking, no less), but the time injured is time not spent trying to catch up to the pitchers. Blanco is already a pretty bad hitter, and if he reaches Chicago (where we have only one batting cage at Wrigley, which compounds with the fact that he doesn't get regular at bats anyway) and is still two weeks behind the other hitters, we can expect him likely to be an offensive black hole.

I don't like the idea of our top prospect Castro sitting on the bench, stagnating when he could be getting starting reps in AAA. So Blanco, get healthy.

More after the jump.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day and Night

The Man with the "Goat"-Tee.

Day and Night. No, not the Kid Cudi song, though it rang through my head almost the entire time I was working on this. We're talking about batting splits. Almost a week ago, Paul Sullivan quoted Cubs statistician Chuck Wasserstrom as saying: "You don't look at that as much, but you definitely pay attention to day vs. night because of the amount of games we play during the day." This kind of shocked a lot of us, but still failed to dull my overall pleasure at the revelation.

Anyway, Sullivan went on to mention how Aaron Miles had hit for a high day-time batting average in 2008 (yuck; bad stat, weird split, and small sample), yet was not able to transfer that into better production. So, I decided to delve further into this. Is there really a difference between day and night splits? Can the Cubs benefit from adding a guy based on his day splits?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Deeper Look at 2009 Batting Splits: By Context

What do I mean by context? Well, I'm glad you've asked.

The baseball media tends to think of runs batted in (RBIs) as a good way to judge a batters' ability, but RBIs have consistently proven to be subject to happenstance, or context. In other words, big RBI guys are usually in front of good OBP guys. Otherwise, their homers are solo shots and their doubles may do nothing. In turn, we (sabermetricians) try to strip away that context so we can see the real player underneath; however, it is important (for scoring runs and in turn winning) to hit well in those contexts (when runners are on base).

In order to dive into this, we'll again be using our batting average of balls in play (BABIP), which gauges luck, and Tom Tango's weighted on-base average (wOBA), which gauges overall offensive production. So let's take one last look at 2009, this time examining the "Runners on Base" context.


RISP stands for "Runners in Scoring Position." This means they are on second or third base -- where typically any hit (even a single) can drive them home. As we can see, our BABIP appears very low in the RISP column, but how does that compare to the rest of the league?


So it would seem that we were unlucky in 2009 when it came to finishing the good innings -- rather than having those "seeing-eye ground balls," our balls in play ended up in gloves at an unlucky rate (our BABIP was almost .015 below NL average). Other than that, our wOBA is actually pretty close to league average. Given our bad luck, that's a good sign. Of course, I have to wonder how much an effect Soriano had on this stat.

Outside RISP, we seemed to have below average luck across the board, yet ended up with near NL average wOBA. Again, I'll take this as a good sign.

Let's take a look at the specific contexts and how we hit:


Whoa! Were we unlucky with a guy on second (-2-), or what? When I first saw this chart, I immediately assumed the BABIP with a guy on second must be low for the whole league -- perhaps the result of infield positioning or something. But, alas, it looks like lady luck just abandoned us:


Side note: the (-12) should be (12-).

There's pretty much no explanation for the (-2-) split beyond bad luck. Of course, luck doesn't explain our atrocious hitting with guys on second and third (-23)! Maybe this really does lend credence to the managers' mantra "we need better situational hitting." I don't know how hitters would actually change their approach in a (-23) situation compared to a (--3) or (1-3) situation because they seem pretty similar. So, I'm suspicious this may have just been a product of small sample sizes (even though we encountered this situation an above average amount of times; 1.88 plate appearances per game, compared to NL average 1.68; but overall, only 156 PAs).

But what are you doing here?! The Cubs game starts at 2pm! Here's the link to the Gameday:

Cubs vs. Oakland, at HoHoKam Park

Note: During Spring Training, they typically update the Gameday only after the inning has finished and don't record the individual pitches/swings; they just include the results.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sky Looks Down the Attendance Numbers

Courtesy of Baseball Analysts.

For those who haven't seen it, please read Sky Andrecheck's attendance article. It's an incredibly intriguing piece and it basically covers every tidbit of attendance information that Steve Slowinski did not yet reach on DRaysBay.

Here's the thrust of the article:
While its every team's goal to win a World Series, teams must turn a profit and keep their fans happy as well. Attendance certainly drives the bottom line and is also a key measure of fan happiness... If there's interest, hopefully I can publish a little calculator that can be used to predict attendance based on the key variables.
Ooh! A calculator is always so fun!

Also, the Cubs picked up this dude, Juan Yasser:

Courtesy of MLB.com.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The News I've Waited to Hear

My main man, Ricketts!

Per stat-head and Milton Bradley nemesis Paul Sullivan, the Cubs should be using more sabermetrics in the future. I can't contain my childish glee at discovering this. I wish I had been at the Cubs Convention when this was actually said. I would have straight-up Thriller danced in the aisles, flash mob style.

Here's some quotes of interest:

Hendry on sabermetrics:
"We've always done more than people thought," Hendry said. "...We've always factored that in. But I'm always going to be a scouting guy first. You can skew statistics to frame it the way you like it.

"Some statistics that a lot of people think are always vital to making decisions, they should be a part of the equation, but not the be-all, end-all... You factor a lot of stuff in, not just ‘Oh gee, that guy has a high or low on-base percentage.' "
Chuck Wasserstrom, the head of the actual Cubs Stats department:
"With a smaller park, you would think that has something to do with (power numbers), but our park doesn't play as small as it used to, and by and large, most players are better on the home side," Wasserstrom said. "You don't look at that as much, but you definitely pay attention to day vs. night because of the amount of games we play during the day."
Is there really that much of a difference? Uh oh, I feel a study coming...

Paul Sullivan sticks his pretty nose in:
According to the numbers, Hendry seemed to make the right moves when he signed free agents Milton Bradley and Aaron Miles last year. Bradley led the American League in OBPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) with the Rangers in 2008, while Miles hit .392 in day games with the Cardinals, which made him a perfect fit for a team that plays more day games than any other.
Um... Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and correct you in the comments section, Paul, but nice try. My rebuttal:
Great to hear!

But, um, on a side note, Milton Bradley also had an absurdly high BABIP, so a lot of us stat-heads were kind of expecting his return to earth. And we've never really considered batting average or day/night splits on their own to be significant or informative, so I don't think we can fault sabermetrics for bringing in Aaron Miles.
Oh yeah, this is basically the exact thing I was hoping for when I heard the Cubs were being bought by an investment banker. Stu Sternberg anyone? 'Nuff said.

A Deeper Look at 2009 Batting Splits: By Batting Order

e other day, we took a closer look at our offensive output per position (less pitchers). Today, let's continue that examination, applying it to the batting order this time. As before, I've included BABIP and wOBA data because the former helps us understand our luck and the latter sums offensive production.


Now, according to Tom Tango's The Book, our absolute best hitters should be in the 2nd and 4th spots, with the next best being in spots 3 and 5. If they aren't, we only lose a measly handful of runs per year, but the basic thrust of the idea is that we want spots 2 through 5 to make pitchers scared. Well, did we accomplish this in the NL?


As before, the National League average BABIP and wOBA had been added (slapped onto the right side of the graph). This way we can get a better, visual feel for our performance with respect to the league. Here are the noteworthies:

A) Very low BABIP at the top of the order. I think, again, that has to do with Soriano and his aching knees. I expect Theriot and Fukudome will split time at the top of the order in 2010, which should presumably bring both the BABIP and wOBA back to league norms. But, as we noted earlier, 2-5 is where the money is...

B) Let's break this 2 through 5 group down:
#2: League average, slightly low BABIP. Pitchers aren't really scared of league average.

#3: Okay, now we're talking. League average #3 wOBA = .371, our #3 wOBA (i.e. Derrek Lee) = .388. In a word, good.

#4: And good day to you too, sir! Ramirez and Lee combined to give us a #4 wOBA exactly .030 above average. Pitchers are quaking at this point.

#5: Well, it's about league average or worse from here. That's not good. Essentially this means we had two fear-inducing, run-creating machines in our lineup, and then pillows of "feh" surrounding them...
C) Except, surprisingly, the #6 spot, which was a pleasant .012 above NL wOBA. Oddly, the main characters of this scene include: Soriano [169 PA], Fontenot [132 PA], and Soto [117 PA]. These guys all had down years (the latter two suffering from BABIP issues), but they all were able to produce above average numbers from the #6 spot. I think we can chalk this up to random fluctuation.

D) Even with a bad BABIP, our pitchers out-wOBA'd most of the NL. That's saying something. Something very insignificant in terms of our run production, but something nonetheless.

Next: Batting Splits by Runners Context!

Side note: Read this article about Cuban defectors. It is, at the very least, fascinating.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What's Happening?! Online.

Is Big Z looking hotter, or what? Courtesy Boys of Spring.

My internet was down for a day or two, so naturally the World of Baseball and Sabermetrics exploided with interesting and new stuff. Let's review some of that stuff.

Our pal and fellow Cubs fan, Berselius, has played a major role lately in the saber blogosphere with his Markov lineup simulator and with his FIP wonderings. The simulator still needs a little tweaking, but it is definitely the next step in lineup simulators.

Also, Cistulli, Cameron, and Keri -- big names in sabermetrics -- have an interesting discussion on the 8th Chapter of Fangraphs Audio. In the beginning, they discuss the next steps for the sabermetric community. It's worth listening to twice.

The ever-fascinating Dave Allen looks into pitch sequencing and game theory. Basically, he finds that fastball-fastball and slider-slider prove to be a more effective pairing. Of course, if this becomes common practice, then the reverse would presumably true (fastball-slider and slider-fastball would be more effective). As Tango said on this topic: "I love game theory."

Also, over at THT, Mike Silver gives a glimpse into a baseball front office.

Lastly, this humorous exhortation against extrapolation (extending the prediction beyond the stats):