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The Baseball roundup (6/1/15)

June 1, 2015

Tony:

Can’t believe we didn’t get the roundup out on time. I’m sure our 5 readers are crushed.

I’ll try and get you started today. We will see if you redeem yourself.

Rob Neyer still loves the Indians rotation:

I cut a video in which I suggested there are now four tremendous, Cy Young-quality pitchers in the National League. In the American League, though? Seems like there are only three: Dallas Keuchel, Felix Hernández, and of course Corey Kluber, who actually won the award last season. Oh, but here’s one four you: Kluber’s teammate Danny Salazar might well be the fourth, at least according to Matthew Trueblood’s application of the little-known cFIP metric (sorry, subscriber-only content). Oh, and Carlos Carrasco does well there, too. Watch out for the Tribe this summer, that’s all I’m going to say.

Three Cleveland pitchers are in the top 4 (with Max Scherzer) in cFIP leaders.

All that controversy about implementing changes to speed up baseball? They are working. Not only is total duration of games down 10 minutes, but the “pace of play” has increased, with the time between balls in play falling as well.

Speaking of changes, Ken Rosenthal suggested the MLB season should be split in 2. Thoughts on this? Proposed perks are: 2 pennant races, improved chances for small market teams who struggle over the duration of a 162 game season, and improved injury recovery. I guess I’m not against it, but I don’t love it either. I think better to start by cutting the season back down to 152 game, like the old days, and seeing what that does.

I think a lot of people who bring up “changing” the game don’t actually like baseball. I do, so for the record, I don’t think these needs are that pressing. I also suggest shortening the season less because I’m worried about shrinking attention spans, and more because: a) it would be a small step in the direction of lightening the load on pitchers, b) it would cut down on overlap with other professional sports, which muddles the TV viewing, and c) it would address early season weather issues in places like Cleveland. That it would add a pinch of excitement to the pennant race is a perk.

Ron Shandler on why he doesn’t do daily leagues. Why don’t we do daily leagues? I think I more or less agree – I can’t/don’t want to make the time commitment.

Matt Goldman point out that while the Royals get all the credit for the resurgent appreciation for bullpen dominance, it was the Giants who, for years, had the original super bullpen.

A little more on Cleveland and its defense. Joe Posnanski compares Cleveland to Kansas City and tries to figure out why the Tribe is so much worse when they have a better FIP, walk more, and have better top end hitters. Defense is a big part of it, no surprise. I also like this line: “Baseball is more than FIP, and it’s more than having a couple of top-end hitters. If Moneyball made so many of us fall in love with the idea of hitters who walked and pitchers who struck people out, Daytonball can help us fall in love with hitters who do not strike out and fielders who go out there and catch baseballs.”

The Indians beat the Mariners 6 – 3 in 12 innings. Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Yan Gomes were all 2/5 and Ryan Raburn homered. Salazar didn’t have his best stuff, finishing only 5.1 innings, while allowing 3 runs and 8 baserunners. He struck out 5.

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton hit a walk-off pinch-hit double inSunday’s 4–3 win over the Boston Red Sox. The Rangers improved to 26–25 and have now won nine of their last 11 games.

I’m going to the French open, so I can’t finish updates right now. But there is some awesome stuff to hit, starting with Bartolo Colon…

Kevin:

Great stuff here TZ.  Also, sincerest apologies to everyone that missed our Roundup yesterday.  We can personally write an apology letter to all 5 daily readers.

First, the Indians are pitching great.  Fun to watch, and fun seeing them surge.  The Posnanski article was great, largely because it touched on something we all desperately want to believe: there is something, still, that remains unquantifiable in sports in general, and in baseball specifically.  As analytics takes over, we get closer and closer to decision tree baseball, where every outcome is black or white, and we can assign a numerical value to everything.  Despite all that, teams still find ways to surprise us.  They find away to make the numbers lie, and, much like our Hall of Fame ‘sports moments’ concept from earlier, this is what makes me fall in love with sports.

This made me look at ‘luck stats’ again.  BABIP is one people site the most frequently.  I’ve previously brought up the question of whether some guys defy the odds for there whole career, and whether this is a skill.  Check out the top twenty BABIP for their careers:

1 Ty Cobb .383 13082 1905 1928 18-41 3034 11434 4189 1249 681 .366 .433
2 Shoeless Joe Jackson .366 5693 1908 1920 20-32 1332 4981 1772 519 234 .356 .423
3 Rogers Hornsby .365 9480 1915 1937 19-41 2259 8173 2930 1038 679 .358 .434
4 Joey Votto .362 3412 2007 2013 23-29 805 2887 916 485 628 .317 .418
5 Rod Carew .359 10550 1967 1985 21-39 2469 9315 3053 1018 1028 .328 .393
6 Derek Jeter .354 11895 1995 2012 21-38 2585 10551 3304 1039 1743 .313 .382
7 Mike Donlin .353 3698 1901 1914 23-36 905 3312 1106 281 244 .334 .389
8 Shin-Soo Choo .352 3316 2005 2013 22-30 773 2830 814 390 709 .288 .386
9 Matt Kemp .352 3817 2006 2013 21-28 944 3456 1010 304 903 .292 .349
10 Harry Heilmann .351 8966 1914 1932 19-37 2147 7787 2660 856 550 .342 .410
11 Tris Speaker .351 11992 1907 1928 19-40 2790 10195 3514 1381 394 .345 .428
12 Bill Terry .350 7108 1923 1936 24-37 1720 6428 2193 537 449 .341 .393
13 Miguel Cabrera .348 6818 2003 2013 20-30 1586 5955 1910 756 1159 .321 .398
14 Joe Mauer .348 4867 2004 2013 21-30 1133 4209 1361 594 535 .323 .406
15 Michael Bourn .347 3585 2006 2013 23-30 921 3218 883 311 730 .274 .340
16 Ron LeFlore .347 4872 1974 1982 26-34 1099 4458 1283 363 888 .288 .342
17 Ichiro Suzuki .346 8984 2001 2013 27-39 1980 8328 2671 532 841 .321 .363
18 Kiki Cuyler .346 8100 1921 1938 22-39 1879 7161 2299 676 752 .321 .386
19 Riggs Stephenson .346 5134 1921 1934 23-36 1309 4508 1515 494 247 .336 .407
20 Eddie Collins .346 12041 1906 1930 19-43 2825 9949 3315 1499 468 .333 .424
21 George Sisler .346 9013 1915 1930 22-37 2055 8267 2812 472 327 .340 .379

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

WHAT A LIST!!!

This list is full of mostly incredible  baseball players (but also Michael Bourn).  Many of these names are legends.  That’s one great thing about a Ty Cobb,  Derek Jeter, etc.  They continue to defy expectations. The ability to do something that is against the numbers, and shouldn’t be sustainable allows these men to become our heroes.  Jeter shouldn’t have been able to keep poking hits to the opposite field and getting on base, but he did, and that’s why we love him!!!

Your article touches on that.  There’s something to just hitting a baseball.  Even as we get told that FIP numbers are more important, the Royals keep defying expectations by doing something so traditional and beautiful, simply putting the bat on the baseball.  It’s refreshing, fun, and will cause me to root like hell for the Royals.

The ten minute shortening I’m kind of ambivalent about.  Kind of not noticeable in a single game, and the experience of baseball isn’t one that need sped up.  It can just be enjoyed.  Like you said, many complaining about the changes needed might just not like baseball.  We should remember that the one constant, through time has been baseball.  It reminds us of all that once was good, and could be again, (just watch the clip)

This actually goes along with the next idea, the split season.  I kind of got angry reading it.  Mainly because he sure doesn’t actually vet out the idea.  As an ideas guy myself, I totally can be on board with throwing shit against the wall and seeing what sticks, but he doesn’t figure out any of the details.  The idea is just to see who wins the first half?  Does the second half winner win anything?  Would you have different salary caps for each half of the season?  Why would you have two different trade deadlines?  Would you have second half  all stars? MVP’s?  etc?  I think it was kind of a terrible idea.  Not in favor. Cutting 10 games out, however, I’m fully on board with.

Your boy Todd Frazier hit another dinger. More importantly, the Reds won again, now 4 out of 5 to reverse the fortunes of their 9 game losing streak.  Other notables from that game: Joey Votto walking on three balls.  We are reminded that baseball is a rythmic game, and these things happen some times.  No manager nor player noticed at the time.

FAT BART!! He gets another win yesterday.  Now tied for the league lead with 8.  He’s also knocking in RBI’s to change the course of the game.  I don’t know what the best part of that game was: Colon getting himself into a tie for Wins lead, him hitting the hell out of the ball, or the fact he only took two.  I actually think I could’ve power walked to third base on that hit.  In fact, he was barely jogging on his way into second.  Mad respect for that.  He thinks, I got the run support I needed now, I’m gonna pace myself.  I’m also just digging the hard luck Mets resurgence this year.  Is it possible to actually like a team from New York?  There certainly testing the boundaries.

Orioles lose again to the Rays 9-5. Jimmy ‘Hits’ Paredes now 1/20 with 11 K’s in his last 5 games.  Ouch.  Is he falling back to earth with a resounding thud, or just a blip on the radar?

Brewers beat the D-Backs 7-6 in 17 innings yesterday. After having an in depth conversation with a doctor yesterday regarding life expectancy once you’ve reached a certain age (nerd alert), it got me to thinking, what is game expectancy once you’ve reached extra innings?  This is a really cool table by baseball reference. What can we take from it?  For one, regardless of inning, always bet the game won’t end that inning.  It seems, at almost every stage, there is a less than 50 percent chance that the game ends.  As the author points out, the pattern is also pretty much perfectly geometric, which is kind of cool, and a great refresher on precalculus formulas.

We’ve gotta start hitting on the Twins daily.  They won again!! They now have the best record in the Major Leagues.  This despite an unremarkable lineup, poor secondary numbers, great record in one run games, etc.  They seem to be getting  ‘lucky.’  I’m rooting for the luck to continue.  They are a great underdog story, and I love that Tori Hunter is back playing with them.  Numbers be damned, lets see them continue to shine.  Can’t wait for a full Slominski break down of this team.

The White Sox blanked the Astros yesterday.  Danks gave up 10 hits, and 5 extra base hits in his shutout.  He’s the first pitcher to pull that off going all the way back to 1914.  Talk about luck!  Given the rich statistical history of baseball, anytime you’re doing something for the first time in 100 years, it’s at least worth mentioning to our readership.  The Astros loss got tacked onto the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona.  Bummer, cause I’m really rooting for a Fausto comeback in Houston.

Finally, love that Josh Hamilton is now raking.  The fans are loving him, and maybe he just needs to be loved and be in Texas.  Many a man has realized that Los Angeles is simply not for them.  In Texas he’s got support, the fans love him, and they’re not paying him exorbitant sums of money (LAA still is).  Still trying to figure out the over/unders for this guy, because, as of now, he’s just a bafflement.

Last piece to think about: I was out camping this weekend, and many of the Christmas movie bracket crowd were present.  They all requested further movie bracketing.  Suggestions included: Summer Blockbusters, Halloween, Christmas Round 2,  or, appropriately for this post, a BASEBALL MOVIE BRACKET!!!! We should make this happen, the only question is how many movies to include. Thoughts?  Also, we should post up our Hollywood Quarter Pole Awards Extravaganza sometime this week.
Peace

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