Category Archives: sabermetrics

The Real Ace Of The Mets Staff

Generally, major league teams consider the “Ace”  of their starting pitching staff to be the one guy who you can rely on to go out there every fifth day pitching well enough (consistently) to give your team a chance to win the game.

Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey

This is usually measured by a stat termed “quality starts” ( 6 innings minimum giving up three runs or less).

Most of the N.Y. media long ago appointed Matt Harvey (shown here demonstrating his level of maturity with his middle finger) as the Ace of the Mets Staff.  To be sure, while he has demonstrated flashes of brilliance he has been anything 14815987731607.BU7vgGIi8fyAiHVZIK5i_height6402but  consistent.

Jacob deGrom is the real ace (and face) of the N.Y. Mets. And I’m thinking not only about his  stats which clearly outweigh Harvey’s – but the public persona he brings to a team clearly looking to replace their fallen hero – David Wright.

Can you even imagine deForm posing for a pic with his middle finger raised….ain’t gonna happen. Unlike Harvey, he lets his right arm do all the talking. And right now, though you’ll never hear anyone on the Mets say it,  it’s the young and talented Jacob deGrom they look to every fifth day.

Paul Goldschmidt – A Diamond In The Desert

Locked away in the depths of Arizona baseball is one of those players who remains beneath the radar of most fans and media. To wit, what would you give to have a player on your team who is responsible

Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt

for 1/3 of the runs your team has scored so far in 2015?  He has either scored or driven in 91 of the D-Backs 267 runs plus he leads the NL in OBP with a mind popping .466.

goldschmidttop10 Unheralded……..yes to say the least. Put him on the Yankees or the Dodgers and they’d have a street named after him already.

To reiterate from my post earlier this week, this  is the caliber of a player who is having a MVP year.  He is a run producing machine………

Helicopter Managers And Pitchers

 

How is it that a 5’11” 173 lb pitcher can have 11 seasons of 200 or more innings pitched and one season of 18 complete games……..and another who tipped the scales at 170 at 6′ and managed 16 seasons of 250 innings or more (with two seasons of 300 or more innings)………while another pitcher coming in at 6’4′” and 230 lbs has struggled to stay healthy while managing one season with  215 innings in a injury riddled career to date………

Who are the three mystery pitchers……..images-4 That  would be Whitey Ford (photo), Warren Spahn (photo), and Stephen Stratsburg.

This is not to pick on Stratsburg because he is typical of the Helicopter Mom images-5 mentality in baseball today. In the same way a Mom might view her child’s next step as his last,  managers (and front office personnel)  shudder with fear at the all important pitch count.

Old timers can only laugh. Even some young old timers like  Hall of Famer John Smoltz cynically suggest that the pitch count today is ludicrous (Smoltz Talks Sense).

A starting pitcher today gets credit for a “quality start” having pitched only 6 innings  allowing three or fewer runs. Really? Is that the new norm?

Look….pitching requires the use  and exercise  of muscles. Let ‘m  throw  and build those muscles up.  Ford and Spahn are in the Hall of Fame.  It’s no wonder if Stephen Stratburg  can only dream of unleashing himself from the bonds of  his helicopter coaches and GM’s so  he  can do the same.

I know……I know…….it’s all about protecting their “investment” and if you’re paying someone $18 million a year you might be a bit cautious. But that’s exactly my point. Why not get your money’s worth from these starters and get them accustomed to tossing seven or eight innings every time out instead of the four or five that we see so often now.

Most teams carry 12 or 13 pitchers nowadays to fortify their bullpen . This has become a necessity due to the inability of starters to carry the required innings. At the same time, teams can only afford to have two or three bench players reducing the manager’s flexibility and the team’s prospects of scoring runs.  Doesn’t make sense to me………

Sabermetrics – Enough Is (Way More Than) Enough

saber2

The only thing you really have to know about Baseball Sabermetrics is that they made a Hollywood movie about it starring Brad Pittpitt as the ubiquitous Billy Beane (General Manager of the Oakland A’s). Forgetting the fact that it was 25 years ago since the A’s appeared in a World Series, it would appear that many judge his “contribution” to baseball merely by the volume of new stats that have been generated over the past several years.

Lost in all the “hoopla”, we seem more and more to be forgetting that baseball is really a very simple game. It was designed to be that way. Moreover, that may be the prime reason it became (and still is) America’s Pass Time. To win, you have to get men on base and drive them in to score more runs that the other team. Is that complicated? Of course not. And yet, we continue to get deluged with stats like this……………saber1 .which except for the hopeless sorts who scour every stat they can get their eyes on in the hope of gaining a small edge on their next bet………they hardly do anything to enhance the game itself.

The only meaningful hitting stats are runs scored and runs batted in. Batting average can be a skewed statistic. .A player can hit .340 but only score 40 runs and drive in 50 more while a Mark Teixera can hit .220, score 90 runs and drive in another 110 runs. Who would you rather have on your side if the object of the game is to score more runs than the other team?

Same with pitching. There are only a few stats I find meaningful when it comes to pitching. The most important of these is the AWI stat (average hits and walks per nine innings). Why?……..it’s simple…..a pitcher’s job is to keep the other team from scoring runs……….the fewer men on base the less chance there is to score. Additionally (for starting pitchers only) I look at the team’s won-lost record in their starts. Some pitchers just have bad luck leaving the game late with the score tied in the seventh and their team comes back to win the game. They do not get credit for the win but Lord knows they’ve pitched well enough to earn their team a win.

The rest of it……..saber2I don’t need to know. When FOX puts a graphic on the screen, my eyes get dizzy. It diverts our attention from the game as well as the nuances of the game being played. Because while that all important graphic is there, we’re missing the catcher turning  around to the umpire mouthing the words……”You missed that one”. Or the third baseman shifting a little to his right to guard the line.

This is not a rant. I just wonder whether or not the game is bettered by Sabermetrics. Your thoughts……leave a comment and join the conversation.

 

The American League Least……Not So Fast!

Along with virtually all baseball pundits, I viewed the AL East as a mediocre division that was up for grabs for any team that could weather the storm of predictable injuries and avoid any serious losing streaks over the course of the season.east2

And while it’s still early, it’s time to revisit that prediction and recognize the fact that there are several “sleeping” teams that could come awake and (later) challenge the Tigers and the Royals for supremacy in the league.

First off, the Yankees are for real. Yes, they have a team of aging veterans and injuries to those players could impact their presence…….but this…..above all else is a TEAM firing on all cylinders. They remind me of last year’s Kansas City team with contributions coming from everywhere. And don’t forget that powerhouse bullpen (Hello Detroit).east5

While it is true that Baltimore is a disappointment so far, you cannot discount the genius of Buck Showalter. Together with the Blue Jays (another disappointment), you can expect that both teams will be active before the trade deadline. The team in Tampa has the pitching to make them a wild card threat and look for them to peddle Evan Longoria who needs a change of scenery for some heavy duty talent.

The AL West looks to me like one of those “I got it, you take it” infield fly balls that drops for a hit. Besides Houston, the feel good team of the year, can anyone in that division win more than two games in a row?

Joe Torre used to say…..”Count them in fives…..that’s how you win a division”. Meaning five over (.500), ten over and so on………..and if the Yankees weren’t always expected to win every year you’d have to agree that they are the surprise team of the year. east1Watch as the focus shifts during the summer to a Division that everyone had slotted as weak and boring………east4