Things Are Looking Up!

I'm gazing out my office window in downtown Chicago right now, and it's snowing like a bastard. Today's game has been canceled...which is the most positive news to come out of Wrigley Field this week. Make-up date is 7/12.
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Two days with no Cubs baseball :(

Great News! Cubs can't possibly lose today.

10man:

Great News! Cubs can’t possibly lose today.

That's what you think. Wait until we get news that Z slipped on a slippery sidewalk and broke something. I don't sound cynical or anything do I? =)

We trade a cold-ass April game for a mid-summer game.

Not a bad deal for our offense.

The Cubs will make out like bandits with today's postponement.

Instead of having to play a "value" game (with discount ticket prices) with less than a full house on a cold Wednesday afternoon in April when the team is in an offensive slump, the Cubs now get a make-up "prime" game (with jacked-up ticket prices for anyone not making a direct ticket exhange for the make-up game) in mid-Summer (1st game back from the All-Star break) when they will almost certainly get a sell-out at premier ticket prices, extending a scheduled ten game mid-July homestand into an 11-game homestand.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

AZ Phil- Yup!

I blame the snow out on Michael Barrett.

How would Barrett do with a Passed BALL in the SNOW, I ask?

With the moving around of the lineup necessary to take into account the conditions, and trying to get a run early, what would be the lineup?

Obviously, no Uncle Cliffy, right?

And, considering that Soriano HAS to bat lead-off, what would YOU do?

This:

Soriano
DeRosa
DLee
A-Ram
Murton
Jones
Barrett
Izturis

AZ Phil,

Have you seen Prior do any throwing in EXST yet? Any players of note showing any big upside?

Sorry, but Theriot was great only in Spring Training.

The ideal Cub lineup constructed under the assumption that a) Alfonso Soriano insists on batting leadoff and b) Felix Pie is the real deal and close for a major league trial --

1. Soriano - LF
2. Izturis or DeRosa - SS/2nd
3. Lee - 1st
4. Ramirez - 3rd
5. Jones - RF (platooned)
6. Barrett - Cat (groan)
7. Pie - CF
8. DeRosa or Izturis - 2nd/SS

Bench...Blanco, Floyd, Murton, Theriot, Cedeno

Daryl Ward retires from baseball to become a professional eating contest participant.

Matt Murton is traded, soon or during the offense, for a more useful piece or prospect.

ST - you just said yesterday that Barrett should bat second!

Piniella has Izturis taking groundball practice right now, he looks very sure handed with snowballs...

Murton working on a snowman, I was wondering what the carrot and lumps of coal were for?

Dave, you don't really expect Towel to keep a constant position from one day to the next, do you?

A couple of positive signs:

Three losses in a row but also three late-inning comebacks (real or abortive) from three-or-more runs down in a row.

I think that's big. A real contending team has to come to play every day. The Cubs came close yesterday to one of those end-to-end supine performances--Oh, well, we don't have it today, we'll try again tomorrow!--that doom a team; but as far as I'm concerned they pulled it out in the ninth. Any time you have Murton up with the tying runs on in the ninth, you have a chance to win.

There's a right way to lose. Murton failed in the clutch. That's bad, but it's good, because the next time the percentages shift in his favor. Same with Cedeno, who on Sunday hit a popup in a situation where a single would have capped a six-run comeback.

In those abject losses that the Cubs suffered so many of last season, nobody fails because everybody fails. That's the safe way to be a losing team.

Another positive sign: as I mentioned in the previous thread, Pie, Coats and Hoffpauir hit home runs last night. Those three guys had strong springs and should be on Piniella's radar. I happen to think that Hoffpauir and Coats are major-league prospects, in addition to three other lefthanded hitters at Iowa, Pie, Patterson and Moore, who are usually rated higher. So any problems the Cubs have with outfield defense or outfield age or righthandedness can be solved easily, internally. (It's also a heck of a lineup at Iowa.)

Barrett's a first ball, fastball hitter, not what I would consider an ideal #2 hitter in most circumstances.

JJ, Murton, Theriot are all fine choices when they play. The offense will get rolling, just a shame we're wasting some decent pitching right now.

"There’s a right way to lose. Murton failed in the clutch. That’s bad, but it’s good, because the next time the percentages shift in his favor."

How does failing make you more likely to succeed in the future?

heck of a lineup at Iowa

Nobody's been hitting a lick for Iowa so far except for Hoffpauir and Pie. Half the batting averages start with a "1".

Soto's been okay too, but they had him batting cleanup. Something ain't right about that.

I don't know about you but when I see my number one prospect hitting .487 out on the frozen tundra when everyone else can't hit because it's too cold, and my problem with the Cubs is slow starts blamed on the cold, I BRING HIM UP AS FAST AS I CAN.....and maybe Hoffy too.

duh

"Barrett’s a first ball, fastball hitter"

Who are you, Crash Davis?

How does failing make you more likely to succeed in the future?

If so, the Cubs' future is mighty bright!

Buck Coats and Micah Hoffwhatever are not major league prospects. Rather they are triple A roster filler. Scott Moore is dangerously close to joining their ranks in that category.

How does failing make you more likely to succeed in the future?

It seems pretty straightforward to me. Hitters usually make outs. A certain percentage of the time, Murton is going to come through in the clutch. (Being Murton, the percentage will probably be pretty decent.) So if you need a hit and Murton's coming up, you'd rather it wasn't the first time.

I guess you can't prove this sort of thing, but Floyd came up in the ninth yesterday, he was 0 for 3. Apart from the score, he's fighting for a job and doesn't want to get the collar, so he's pretty intent on getting a hit. He's not going to be swinging for the fences, he just needs something, so he gets a single, 1 for 4, and the rally continues.

I guess what I'm saying is that hitting, and athletic performance in general, is a matter of intensity and will. I would guess that the odds of Pete Rose getting a hit any time he was 0 for 3 were very, very high.

Failure is good. On teams that lose games by wide margins, nobody fails because single pitches or single at-bats don't matter. On Sunday, the Cubs came back and made it 6 to 4 in the 7th. Eyre comes in and messes up and it's 9 to 4. But if the Cubs hadn't made it close, Eyre might not have even pitched. And because he let the game slip away, you know he's going to get mad at himself and do better next time--I mean, assuming that he's good enough that his anger can be channeled usefully.

The Cubs staged a comeback Monday and Howry messed up. Okay, you know that's not going to happen often, so we get it out of the way. That's good. If we don't come back, nothing happens, and Howry might screw up the next time.

Anyway, I think that's the way good teams operate. It really makes a difference whether you lose 6-2 or 6-5.

How does failing make you more likely to succeed in the future?

The law of averages say that if you are a .300 hitter, you will get a hit 3 out of ten times. in turn, if you fail seven times in a row, you are more likely to hit a hit the eighth time.

"Scott Moore is dangerously close to joining their ranks in that category."

Yeah, a 23 year old third baseman, spending his first year in AAA, is the very definition of roster filler.

Could you just look up the facts before you make a statement?

The law of averages is incorrect.

If you're a .300 hitter and you've made an out 50 times in a row, the odds are that you're going to get a hit 30% of the time, if you don't take into account other factors.

I haven't been displeased with the Cubs start so far. They've been in all but 2 games.

From Musket's snow-out story:

The last Cubs home game postponed by snow was April 7, 2003, which was Dusty Baker's managerial debut at Wrigley Field and that season's home opener against Montreal. That was the first Cubs game called because of snow since April 16, 2001, when the team was to play host to Philadelphia.

2003 and 2001 - Seems like it's a good omen!

Ah, the being due arguement.

Unfortunitly unless Murton learned something from his failure, the mere fact that he failed does not make him more likely to succeed in the future.

"unless Murton learned something from his failure"

Actually, he should try to learn something, because Houston seems to have a pretty good book on him. As soon as Murton stepped to the plate, Wheeler started throwing high fast balls. Murton hit three popups in a row.

(But the close score intensifies all this "learning.")

Here's the thing,

Neal stated it correctly. No matter what happened before a player who hits .300 has a 30% chance to get a hit every time his up to bat. This never changes. HOWEVER...

These are humans and professional baseball players so we know that even if the odds are 30%, after a string of failures, he will get some hits. We are talking about two different things. Because, if we work under the assumption that a player will generally perform around career averages, a .300 hitter will get some hits after a prolonged slump.

Kinda like Roulette. When you see red come up 10 times in a row, you know black is coming up soon. With every spin there is basically a 50/50 chance of black or red, but in order to even out those stats, it will eventually fall on black a few times. Nothing says it will, it COULD land on red forever, but it won't.

"The law of averages is a lay term used to express the view that eventually, everything "evens out." The formal mathematical result that supports the law of averages is called the law of large numbers."

[ ]

"There are common ways to misunderstand and misapply the law of large numbers"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_averages

"Buck Coats and Micah Hoffwhatever are not major league prospects. Rather they are triple A roster filler."

Okay, so assuming they stay at AAA, who's going to hit more home runs this year, Hoffpauir-Pie-Coats or Floyd-Jones-Ward?

The rookies are up 3-zip.

What are the odds of a coin flip coming up heads after it has come up tails 100 times in a row?

If you said anything other than 50/50, Vegas will probably comp your room and meals.

Sure Billy, you are 100% correct. But I would bet everything I own that if you keep flipping 900 more times, you'll get tails 400 - 500 times.

Baseball players are not coins being flipped.

ASSUMING a player actually is a .300 hitter over the course of a season, and because a season is finite in length, if this player starts the season 0/50 the likelihood of his getting a hit goes up. And that's because he has to hit better than .300 the rest of the way to finish at .300 for the complete season.

For a .300 hitter who normally gets 600 AB's per year, and who goes 0/50 to start, he would be expected to hit .327 the rest of the way.

"Baseball players are not coins being flipped."

Don't tell Billy Beane that.

CWTP,

Why make that assumption when we know it's not true.

If you are a .300 hitter and you start the season 0-50, you're going to wind up hitting .275 or something. Maybe next year you will start off 30 for your first 50 to make up for it though.

I remember Vinny Castilla had the same triple crown numbers two or three years in a row playing for the Rockies, that was sort of freaky.

#34 Chad-

“Baseball players are not coins being flipped.”

Don’t tell Billy Beane that.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THOSE 5 words say everything I have so poorly been trying to say for two years now.

Brilliant statement Chad!

Joey

And basic statistics just gets up and leaves the conversation...

If you are a .300 hitter and you start the season 0-50, you’re going to wind up hitting .275 or something.

That's not what I recall happening with Juan Pierre and Aramis last year. They started in the toilet and ended up where they usually end up.

There's a feedback mechanism here. Players are certainly not coins to be flipped (although they may be cards to be flung). A .330 hitter is a better hitter than a .300 hitter, but he's also a guy more determined to hit .330 and he probably has trouble sleeping when he dips to .312.

The same two years the A's won 181 regular season games while the Cubs couldn't crack .500 with $100 million payrolls?

Beane's not perfect, but he certainly knolws more baseball than everyone who reads this blog.

"That’s not what I recall happening with Juan Pierre and Aramis last year. They started in the toilet and ended up where they usually end up."

Uh...

Aramis hit .318 in '04, .302 in '05 and ,291 last year.

Pierre was a .304 career hitter going into last year and hit .292 while moving to a better hitter's park and division.

in case anyone cares...

http://www.baseballinfosolutions.com/images/P...

PDF file of park factors broken up in a variety of categories and handedness...

Dolphin Stadium and Wrigley actually play pretty similarly the last 3 yrs for left-handed hitters other than home runs which really wouldn't affect Pierre much. Batting average for LHB is pretty much the same...

The Real Neal, what are your assumptions? I thought we were talking about a .300 hitter? You describe a .275 hitter.

Again, baseball players are not coins and don't obey the same statistical rules. A .250 hitter isn't someone who always has a 25% chance of getting a hit no matter what he did before. No, he's a guy who is expected to get 150 hits in 600 AB's over the course of a season AND that means the expectation of a hit in any given AB goes UP for him when he fails to hit for his average and goes DOWN when he exceeds his average.

you guys know that batting average is one of the most volatile stats in baseball, right?

Is Barrett a .267 hitter? I don't think so....

Pierre's a career .302 hitter but here are his year-by-year averages

.310, .327, .287, .305, .326, .276, .292

so one, maybe two seasons he actually hit his career mark.

I'll get off my soapbox now....

Pierre was a .304 career hitter going into last year and hit .292 while moving to a better hitter’s park and division.

Going into last year he was a .276 hitter the previous year.

Last year in April-May-June Pierre hit .254. Then he "got going," as the phrase is, and hit .325 the rest of the way.

"A better hitter's park"--I thought that referred to the distance to the outfield fences, the breezes, etc. What difference does any of that make to Juan Pierre?

Look, some hitters hit better in the clutch than others. What would be the equivalent to that in a coin or a roulette ball?

"A .330 hitter is a better hitter than a .300 hitter, but he’s also a guy more determined to hit .330 and he probably has trouble sleeping when he dips to .312."

VaPhil I certainly agree with the first part, but I am not sure I buy the second as it assumes that i) if a player tries harder he will do better and ii) that players are trying there best most of the time.

I am not sure either is true.

that should are NOT trying their best at most times

“A better hitter’s park”–I thought that referred to the distance to the outfield fences, the breezes, etc. What difference does any of that make to Juan Pierre?

See comment #41

"The Real Neal — April 11, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

The same two years the A’s won 181 regular season games while the Cubs couldn’t crack .500 with $100 million payrolls?

Beane’s not perfect, but he certainly knolws more baseball than everyone who reads this blog."

He also has no idea how to build a team that can win a World Series. He builds a team for regular season wins. That allows him to keep his SHITTY job. (Yeah, SHITTY, in as much as a GM' job can be. Working for those clowns out there in Oakland must suck. That has to be one of the worst organizations to work for.)

I have said it before and I'll say it again. If you beat up on inferior teams and play .500 against good teams, you will win your division. However, when you get to the playoffs, you have a 50/50 chance at best, as you are only playing good teams. That's how Beane builds his teams and that's why they don't win. He does not build teams to beat good teams.

Robr,

"Trying their best"--some players, like Theriot, try harder than others. Often it's because they have to, they're lacking in some area.

I think Aramis tries his best to hit home runs, but not always (at least before this year) to beat a double-play relay.

A commercial pilot goes at cruising speed, not full throttle. When he falls behind schedule, he speeds up.

It's the young guys who usually bust their butts, which is why (to change the subject a little) it's nice to have some hungry young players around. All our starters are over thirty except Izturis and Ramirez, and Aramis is 29. It's a good group, but it's hard to imagine this group overachieving, catching fire, that sort of thing.

[Beane] does not build teams to beat good teams.

Chad - name a GM who does better with the same payroll. Minnesota does as well, but you can't really say they do better.

Every other team that wins World Series has significant payroll advantages.

For example, the Cards had about a 27 million dollar advantage over the A's last year. You don't think that would make a difference?

Bastards can snow?

"Every other team that wins World Series has significant payroll advantages."

This is my point. Beane can't build a team to win a World Series. So what does he do to keep his job? He:

A: Devises a way to field competitive teams that go to the playoffs
B: Sells his bosses that the playoffs are all luck, and the A's just haven't gotten lucky, yet

I don't blame Beane for doing this. I blame the owners. If you can't afford to spend money on a winning team, then move. Which is bullshit anyway. If you build a winning team, people will come to the stadium (I'm looking at you Carl Pohlasshole!). My problem is that people look at Billy Beane and think he's the model of a GM. He's not. At least Shurholtz and Jockety have made at least two Worlds Series and won at least one. And last checked, Atlanta and St. Louis are not New York/L.A./Chicago markets.

If you build a winning team, people will come to the stadium

Sorry... but this is simply not true. Oakland has been a winning team for years now, and they still are not drawing fans.

And last checked, Atlanta and St. Louis are not New York/L.A./Chicago markets.

Yet they still have significant payrolls. It is not necessarily abut the market - it is about how much money your ownership allows you spend. Bean has struggled to put together a world series team because he has to let people like Giambi and Tejada walk away. The Cards and A's can afford to keep most of their superstars - the A's cannot (at least with the budget that Beane is given). That is not Beane's fault.

It is pretty foolish to attack Beane because he hasn't won a world series. The A's and the Twins are the two best franchises, by far, in terms of getting the absolute most of of a minimal payroll.

http://deadspin.com/sports/baseball/baseball-...

where's the Terry Ryan hate? that guy sucks too...

no rob... only guys with books about them suck.

and jim hendry. because, well, he just sucks. because michael barrett sucks.

dave, your comments on #53 are way off base. I was very clearly blaming the ownership. If you build it they will come. Maybe not. Fine. Then move your freaking team. We need to suffer through this as baseball fans? No fans in Oakland? Contract the team. There is no reason for the A's to exist if they don't have fans. Also, it's not just winning. People come to see exciting players win baseball games. You need stars on your team to attract fans. So, open the freaking vault and don't let your stars walk away.

Then you say, "Bean has struggled to put together a world series team because he has to let people like Giambi and Tejada walk away."

So, your saying that you need to spend money to win a World Series? I agree, hence forth why I say Saberbeane Moneyball doesn't work.

I am fulling willing to admit that it's not Beane's fault that he can't build a winning team. I am saying that his Sabremetric method alone cannot win you a Series.

Rob, I'm not going to trash him cause I haven't read a book about him. In fact, I know more about Billy Beane then I do any other manager in baseball. I read "Moneyball". When they do a book called "Twinkee Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Twins" or "A Royal Flush, Tales from the Toilet of the AL Central" I'll let you know how I feel about those small market GMs as well.

Chad... I don't get it. This conversation started with you bashing Beane by saying he does not know how to build a WS winner. I think that this is BS, and if Beane had another 20-30 million a year to play with he would be be able to put together a team with the best of them.

And it has nothing to do with Sabermetrics. It has to do with the lack of money.

Sabermetrics is using statistics to evaluate players. Moneyball is using said statistics to get the best value for your dollar.

Beane does that pretty damn well.

no rob… only guys with books about them suck.

sadly, that's just about what chad was saying in comment #57.

Chad won't touch the Twins because they're built like a prototypical playoff team (dominant power pitcher, solid bullpen, small-ball oriented, "good fundamentals," etc.) and manage to crap out in the first round every chance they get.

"Chad… I don’t get it. This conversation started with you bashing Beane by saying he does not know how to build a WS winner."

No, I said that the Beane method, does not build a World Series winner. Big difference. The difference being that he developed his method because he needed to find a way to compete even though he didn't have the funds. This was to keep his job.

And no, Jackiet, they are not the prototypical playoff team. The prototypical playoff team was last year's Cardinals. Puljos, Rolen and Edmonds. Or Red Sox, Manny and Big Papi. Or the Yanks. Those are prototypical playoff teams.

No, I said that the Beane method, does not build a World Series winner.

Chad... this is what you wrote in comment 48: He also has no idea how to build a team that can win a World Series.

Looks to me that you said Bean didn't know how to build a WS winner.

And yes... I know that should say BeanE, not Bean.

Dave, the definition of insanity, is doing something over and over again, and expecting different results.

Sadly, You're wasting your time.

#62, you're right Dave. I should have phrased that better. I take that back. Billy Beane's Moneyball does not build winners.

"The prototypical playoff team was last year’s Cardinals. Puljos, Rolen and Edmonds. Or Red Sox, Manny and Big Papi. Or the Yanks. Those are prototypical playoff teams."

Lets see, the 83 win team, the team that didn't make the playoffs and the team that hasn't been significantly closer to winning a World Series than the Cubs over the last 5 years. Good examples.

If the '06 playoffs didn't convince you that the WS winner is essentially a crap-shoot, Chad, you're fundamentally incapalble of learning.

Crapshoot? Then why play this fucking game? If it's all luck then I want no part of it.

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