NL Central Smackdown Revisited

Back in April, I put up some polls for our readers to rank the position players and number one pitchers in the division. I originally intended to get them up before the season started so any hot starts wouldn't influence the results. I failed miserably at that and the poll results showed that (Derrek Lee second?). Nonetheless, let's revisit the fun.

I'm just pulling the WARP-3 scores for the players that we discussed originally and voted on. Obviously in some cases, whether due to injury or ineffectiveness, a different player may have ended up the main starter for one of the teams, such as the Cubs center field situation. It's also important to note that when I asked people to vote, I was asking who you wanted on your team going forward, not necessarily who will have the better 2008 season.

UPDATE: Bah, I should have been using WARP-1 scores, not WARP-3. The players are still going to rank in the same order, but the numbers are going to be slightly different.

1st Base  

 Players Rob's
Poll
Final WARP-3
A. Pujols
1
1
13.5 (1)
L. Berkman 2 4 11.4 (2)
P. Fielder 3 3 6.3 (5)
D. Lee 4 2 7.4 (3)
J. Votto 5 5 7 (4)
A. LaRoche 6 6 4.2 (6)

I would have pegged Lee as fifth overall on the season,  but he nudged out Votto and FIelder's defense set him back.

2nd Base

 Players Rob's
Poll
Final WARP-3
B. Phillips 1 1 6.5 (2)
R. Weeks 2 3 5.0 (3)
F. Sanchez 3 4 1.4 (6)
M. DeRosa 4
2
8.4 (1)
K. Matsui 5 5 3.3 (4)
A. Kennedy 6 6 2.6 (5)

Clearly I didn't give DeRosa enough credit.

Shortstop

 Players Rob's
Poll
Final WARP-3
M. Tejada 1 1 6.4 (2)
J.J. Hardy
2
2
7.9 (1)
J. Keppinger/Gonzalez 3 5 1.5 (6)
J. Wilson 4 4 2.8 (5)
R. Theriot 5 3 5.6 (3)
C. Izturis 6 6 3.6 (4)

You would think I hate the Cubs....nice showing by Theriot to finish third. 

Third Basemen

 Players Rob's
Poll
Final WARP-3
A. Ramirez 1 1 7.5 (2)
T. Glaus
2
3
8.1 (1)
E. Encarnacion 3 2 3.5 (4)
B. Hall 4 4 2.1 (6)
T. Wigginton 5 5 5.2 (3)
J. Bautista 6 6 3.0 (5)

Ramirez shot himself in the foot with a poor defensive season, although I don't think anyone would trade Glaus for him straight up.

Catchers

 Players Rob's
Poll
Final WARP-3
Y. Molina 1 2 6.6 (3)
G. Soto
2
1
8.5 (1)
J.R. Towles 3 3 0.5 (6)
J. Kendall 4 5 6.7 (2)
R. Doumit/Paulino 5 4 5.8 (4)
Valentin/Bako 6 6 2.4 (5)

Kendall ends up being the big suprise at this position along with J.R. Towles crashing and burning.

Left Field

 Players Rob's
Poll
Final WARP-3
A. Soriano 1 1 6.6 (2)
A. Dunn 2 4 5.2 (4)*
C. Lee 3 3 5.7 (3)
R. Braun
4
2
9.3 (1)
J. Bay 5 5 4.7 (5)**
C. Duncan 6 6 1.9 (6)

* 1.7 as a Diamondback which would give him a total of 6.9
** 2.5 as a Red Sox which would give him a total of 7.2

Eventually I'll come around to giving Ryan Braun some credit.

Center Field

 Players Rob's
Poll
Final WARP-3
R. Ankiel 1 2 4.2 (4)
N. McLouth
2
1
7.6 (1)
M. Cameron 3 2 6.0 (2)
J. Bruce/Corey 4 6 4.3 *(3)
F. Pie/Johnson 5 4 4.1 (5)
M. Bourn 6 5 2.5 (6)

* Bruce accumulated most of his value in RF

** Edmonds had a 4 WARP-3, which would put the Cubs CF near or at the top.

Here was one where I thought McLouth's hot start was giving him a boost in the voting, but he managed to keep it up.

Right Field

 Players Rob's
Poll
Final WARP-3
C. Hart 1 2 4.6 (4)
K. Fukudome 2 1 4.5 (5)
K. Griffey Jr. 3 3 2.3 (6)*
H. Pence 4 4 7.1 (2)
X. Nady 5 5 6.5 (3)**
Ludwick/Shumaker
6
6 10.9 (1)***

* Griffey Jr. added a 1.3 with the White Sox. 

** Nady added 2.2 with the Yankees

*** Ludwick only

Here is one where Fukudome's hot start did inflate his place in the voting. If I put up a poll now, I'd be surprised if he didn't finish last. The final WARP-3 scores should put an end to anyone even thinking about Ken Griffey Jr. for the Cubs in 2009.

Aces

 Players Rob's
Poll
Final WARP-3
A. Harang 1 3 4.1 (5)
R. Oswalt
2
2
6.6 (1)
C. Zambrano 3 1 6.2 (2)
B. Sheets 4 4 6.1 (3)
A. Wainwright 5 5 4.5 (4)
I. Snell 6 6 2.0 (6)

The actual aces for 2008 ended up being Ryan Dempster (7.9), Edinson Volquez (7.3), Sabathia (6.7), Oswalt (6.6), Paul Maholm (5.8) and Todd Wellemeyer (4.8).

I'll try it again next year, this time I'll be sure to start the voting in March.

 

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Comments

Maybe Braun will have his sophomore slump next year?

Hopefully Pujols will as well.

Man, NL Central CF is weak.

"The Cubs' plans to increase Mike Fontenot's role and the value of Sean Marshall in their pitching plans make those players too steep a price for Teahen."

I've been in Europe the last few weeks...Is this news? It is to me. Is he talking about Fontenot to 2b, DeRo to RF? Marshall to #5, Marquis to exit stage right?

fontegod is thought pretty highly of by hendry/lou, fwiw.

personally, i think he could be a 2nd base starter on a lot of teams and his weakness vs. lefties i see more in a loss of power than a loss of being able to lay contact on the ball.

I just stared at those 1st Base rankings for a long time trying to understand what they mean.

I'm a little vague on WARP3. I do know that Lee was 12th among NL first basemen in slugging; and batting third on a high-scoring team, with more at bats than any other first baseman, Lee was 8th in RBI.

But even in terms of WARP3, Adrian Gonzalez (8.6) and Delgado (8.3) were higher and they're not shown here. You imply that Lee was third when he was fifth.

NL Central

it implies that he was third in the NL Central and it accounts for defense...

Lee drove in 70 runners last year besides himself (OBI or Others Batted In) and came up with 452 runners on base. That's 15.5%, which is about average (which is around the 15-16% range).

Some comparisions...

Morneau: 106 OBI for a 18.9%, 

Arod: 68 OBI for a 15.14%

Delgado: 77 OBI for a 16.04%

A. Gonzalez: 83 OBI for  17.36%

20% is usually about the best each year, but it's not something a player usually maintains from season to season.

Sorry, I guess I didn't stare long enough.

Wow... did you even read the post?

I know you hate Derrek Lee and all, but why don't you actually read the post before picking it apart.

And a simple google search would have given you information on WARP-3.

Please quit using WARP3.

To compare players for a given year, it should be WARP1.

as I said, when I did the original posts and used the PECOTA forecasts, I thought they listed them as WARP3. If I screwed that up, my bad, but that's why I used them again in this post.

But I don't have a subscription anymore so I can't check.

Sorry, I read this before I read the later (down the page) post about you trying to be consistent between your original article and this one, in which case it would make sense to use WARP3, except that's not what pecota..blah blah blah.

I don't have mine either, but I don't recall it saying any number after WARP.

That's a pretty crappy explanation of WARP-3 on that link. Can anyone who understands it break it down? I realize BP does not reveal their formulas, but nothing on that page gives any indication what statistical measuares are used to compute WARP-3.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.p...
or Wins Above Replacement Player

WARP-1 is adjusted just for in-season, WARP-3 is adjusted for all-time, but that's a better explanation. Since I used WARP-3 originally, because I believe their PECOTA projections use WARP-3, although now I can't remember and don't have a subscription at the moment, I stuck with WARP-3.
We're comparing players from the same era and seasons, so it doesn't really matter much anyway. They'd rank the same 1-6 either way.
As for the stats that go into it, I can't tell you. BP keeps it formula secret. I do know it's one of the few that accounts for offense and defense, so that's why I use it. I know it's not perfect, and a 7.4 versus a 7.1 probably doesn't mean much difference in a player. My guess, and remember guess, is that it's something similar to Runs Created, at least on the offensive side.

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

Amusingly, BP now has SUPERVorp which also takes into account offense and defense because that writer wasn't thrilled with the way WARP was being calculated. I BELIEVE the big issue was the definition of a replacement player. But I can't find SUPERVorp listings and the numbers are "Value over Replacement Player" rather than Wins.

I actually had a discussion with Davenport about WARP the other day. For relievers he is weighing late innings more heavily (which I told him wasn't consistent). When you reverse engineer replacement level ERA's, closers can have ERA's of 13+, while starters are in the 7 range.

I'm relatively confident that they're using WARP1 in their PECOTA forecasts. I can't think of a reason they wouldn't be.

looked around a bit and I think I fucked that one up...

I'll fix it for next time.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/12974...

- left-handed middle of the order bat is priority #1, really likes Ibanez
- he'll move Soriano down in the order if they get someone to put there, he doesn't like anyone else on the current roster for the leadoff spot
- Fontenot will get more AB's, try him out at SS in spring training
- one bullpen veteran arm, possibly a lefty, but experience is more important
- Happy with their 6 starters (Z, Dempster, Lilly, Marquis, Harden and Marshall)...

- one bullpen veteran arm, possibly a lefty, but experience is more important

I've always liked Brian Shouse. Wonder if they are interested in him.

Will Ohman is available, you know.

Why the hell won't they bat Theriot leadoff?

Because you don't want to give one of your worst hitters that many at-bats.

Yeah, a guy that hit .307(6th in NL) with a .387 OBP(8th in NL) is one of the worst hitters? 73BB vs 58k? 178 hits? Decent speed and unlimited scrap?
We need a placesetter to leadoff and get on base for the sluggers, not some knucklehead that is going to swing at 3 straight sliders low and outside.

me's confused...

You're pimping my competition.

ah, so you own or work for lantern press?

I would like to know why Heinie Zimmerman is so pissed though..

http://www.lanternpress.com/index.php?sid=eazlzv54...

and it's not really competition, the Life photos are just a free service to gawk at photos and steal them for Photoshops.

Dude, he does look pissed. Maybe he hates Turkish cigarettes.

Yeah, I work for them. The Life images are small and watermarked...but they do sell them for a lot of money. We wholesale, so it's not really competition. A lot of it just looks like my shit so I got mad.

thanks though for the new place to steal photos from for the sidebar....

You're welcome. Then TCR will have a little touch of Joe for all time.

I was thinking this one:

http://www.lanternpress.com/index.php?select_categ...

Since he's such a music connoisseur.

perfect...

To be filed in the "That's what she said" folder:

Here was one where I thought McLouth's hot start was giving him a boost in the voting, but he managed to keep it up.
-Rob G., 11/25/2008

Nice.

MLBTR has a new post up about the Cubs. The source is purportedly "familiar with the Cubs' thinking."

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/11/cubs-rumors-...

Pirates sign both Indian pitchers from reallty show "Million Dollar Arm"

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb...

How did Cleveland miss this pr stunt?

Somebody help me with geometry here. Is the throw from right field to third base any longer than the throw from right or left to home?

Because Soriano makes that throw home pretty frequently and well.

What's the difference if Soriano misses catchable balls in right versus left? If he moves to right, the lefty-hitting middle-of-the-order guy doesn't have to have a right fielder's arm.

Put a rangy centerfielder in between them (I can think of one), it might be okay.

Somebody help me with geometry here. Is the throw from right field to
third base any longer than the throw from right or left to home?

depends on where in RF, but third base is longer than the throw from either LF or RF to home, especially in the gap or in the corner or near the foul line.

What's the difference if Soriano misses catchable balls in right versus
left?

a triple instead of a double....

that being said, I'm all for Soriano in RF and signing Adam Dunn. I don't give a shit about how bad his defense is, every time he tops 40 HR's I'll be laughing.

Yeah, I like Dunn. I was thinking Dunn and also Hoffpauir, of course.

One argument against Soriano in right field is that Wrigley is not symmetrical but bulges out deeper in right and right-center field than in left. The distance markers give the misleading impression that the dimensions are relatively even, but a close inspection reveals that the 400 ft. marker is to the right of straightaway center. Furthermore, the left-center 368 marker is closer to straightaway center than is the 368 marker in right. Straight left-center is more like 355 whereas right-center is 368. The area where left-center is 368 ft. deep is more like 385 in the corresponding area of right-center.

Some of this can be seen visually, although I have seen articles in books and online discussing the details of the lopsided dimensions. If you want, I can give you some citations later -- right now, I'm too tired to look it up.

Anyway, that makes the throws in Wrigley longer from right than in left, as well as requiring the right fielder to cover quite a bit more ground. Given Sori's weaknesses as a ball hawk, that increases the hit to the defense from putting him in right rather than left, not to mention the additional "sun field" complications it would cause. He has had some problems with the sun in left, if I recall a certain Pittsburgh game correctly.

Bottom line, if you want to put Soriano in a position where he has his best chance to succeed, I don't think that would include right field.

See what I mean?

Soriano catches a lot more balls than an average corner outfielder. He has trouble going back on balls hit over his head (he and about 40% of all MLB outfielders), but he catches so many other balls hit infront or to the side of him that it easily compensates.

There is no defensive measuring system that suggests Soriano is anything but an outstanding defensive outfielder.

There is no defensive measuring system that suggests Soriano is anything but an outstanding defensive outfielder.

oh sure there are...

RZR had him at 11th according to THT

Fielding Bible Awards voted him 11th in MLB and didn't end up in the top 10 in their +/- system.

BP has him at 10 runs above average for last year, after 25 in 2007.

good, but not outstanding, at least not in 2008. I do thinks fans are unnecessarily harsh on his defense though.He's better than most, especially with his arm.

(insert standard disclaimer about defensive stats, etc, etc)

 

Fielding Bible Awards I consider less reliable than the golden gloves awards - too much voter bias.

When you look at RAA - Soriano only played like 100 games in left last year, so you've got to add 50% to that if you're going to compare him to a full season player.

I should have say 'non-biased'. But let me look at this RZR. It doesn't pass your sniff test, unless you think Dunn is an excellent defender. Essentially it just counts balls inside a fielding zone. There's no GB/FB/LD or park ajustments made, nor are assists or errors counted. It doesn't count things that Soriano is good at, like cutting off balls hit into the gap.

** But I do stand corrected, here is one rudimentary system which describes itself as "not terribly good", which doesn't think Soriano's an outstanding corner outfielder.

I also wonder in general how these systems count hits to the outfield. If a LD is hit for a single to an outfielder, does he get a chance? In ZR or RZR that's not taken into account, but sometimes those balls get past an outfielder, which lowers his FP. Does it count as making a play if you pick up a hit and throw it in?

I find none of them are a slam-dunk, they all tell slightly different stories. The Fielding Bible +/- system (different than Fielding Bible awards) and UZR, neither of which is readlily available, are probably the two I trust the most.

BP works too....unfortunately they make it nearly impossible to actually compare players to each other. Their numbers tend to match up with defensive win shares pretty well actually, at least when you start ranking them.

(at least they did 2-3 years ago when I was trying to do something...memory is the first to go).

i still dont get why it matters at all.

all anyone needs to know about soriano and his fielding is...

1- if he's in front of the ball he's most likely going to get to it AND strike fear in most runners looking to advance depending on where he is when he catches it. he's usually in great throwing position (even with the useless time-wasting hop, DAMN U DUSTY...IF SOMEONE ELSE WAS MANAGING THEY WOULDN'T...oh wait.)

2- if he has to go back on the ball it may or may not be an adventure and with his hop he's in cruddy position to throw the ball. luckily, or skillfully, he's got a strong arm.

3- the hop is a wasted movement that adds time it takes for him to get rid of the ball

4- his arm is strong

all i care about with fielding is what will happen when you put a ball in various situations to a fielder and OF'rs are a lot more easy to handicap because there's less "common" situations they can find themselves in.

let's say soriano "gets over" his hop thing...that's an unmeasurable (except in retrospect after the fact) part of his D that can easily help him get more outs and/or hold more runners. some fielders don't have things like this and their D has leveled out. some fielders have room for improvement via tweaking their approach.

it matters because our eyes and memories lie to us...and we don't have a database of 30 scouting reports for every player at the position. And although you're uncanny scouting reports are helpful, some of us crave something a little more objective.

heard that...i just dont trust the fielding stats yet.

its not the stats, but the application of them i have an issue with...especially when you're handicapping what you actually have vs. what you're looking at.

it's very impractical to think about these things on whole because, yeah, you're not going to have 1000 scouting reports handy...which is where the stats have a lot more importance as a starting point.

when it comes to a broad sweep i can buy it...when it comes to specific players i see nothing but trouble.

That's what I don't like about these +/- systems. Essentially they're taking a bunch of crunches and adding them together, and there's no reason to expect them to be any less biased than the larger sample size that votes on Gold Gloves and uniformly gets them wrong.

the Fielding Bible system I know seems more scientific

http://www.fieldingbible.com/

Fielding Bible Excerpts->Overview of the +/- system

it's not perfect, nothing is, but I think it's a strong theory. That article even explains it's deficiencies with first basemen and why Lee gets slighted by them, although not reading everything I'm not sure why they just don't figure out how to account for handling bunts and throws as part of their regular system rather than a separate topic.

There's also Enhanced +/- which is total bases rather than total plays.

 

 

Quote:

A player gets credit (a "plus" number) if he makes a play that at least one other player at his position missed during the season, and he loses credit (a "minus" number) if he misses a play that at least one player made.

Unquote.

It's subjective and clearly open to bias - with the extra caveat that there's not even a minority report review that the Stats inc system has.

if I read their explanation correctly, the only subjective part is whether a player makes the play or not, which isn't subjective at all. A play is made or it isn't. Watch 100 defensive plays and we can all say whether a play was made or not.

The plus or minus awarded is given by their computer program, based on the type of batted ball, speed and vector. There's some subjectivity on the speed of a hit I suppose, but 990/1000 times we'll all agree on a ball being hit either soft, medium or hard and I imagine they have some guidelines for their data gatherers as well. I haven't seen their computer program they use to track the direction of the ball, but if they got pitch f/x working pretty well, I imagine they can get a system that works.

and what does it have to do with Stats inc?

"The plus or minus awarded is given by their computer program, based on the type of batted ball, speed and vector."

Is that what their website says? I don't see that. I see where it says that they watch videos of every play and record it. If they're watching videos of every play (and I don't begrudge them this, it's too expensive to contemplate anything different) - aren't they subjects to the camera angles and replays that the broadcasting crew gives them? Right there, that's a huge ballpark effect that can come into place. What constitutes making a play exactly the same as another play? Is it the ball is moving at the same MPH and it's passes the baseline from 7 to 8 feet from the bag at 3 to 4 feet in height, or is it soft, medium, hard 7 to 14 feet from the bag, groundball, linedrive or popup.

Until you have lazers determing all of those things, at the end of the day it's someone watching the play, making guestimations and recording that into a database. One ball that was medium speed for Lee may have been hard speed for Pujols, because Pujols had to dive and everyone knows he's a great defender - even though it was the exact same play Lee made by just reaching out.

That's where the bias comes in.

Stats inc does the same thing with their proprietary statitics, but they have 3 people do it. That's where Stats inc comes in.

54 FRAA for the Cubs in 2008 according to BP, which probably matches up well with the rate they turned batted balls into outs.

According to the fielding bible, only the Fontenaught and Dempster were in the top 10 of their positions, and their numbers were easily superseded by the horrnedous Jim Edmonds.

Every play is entered into the computer where we
record the exact direction, distance, speed and type of every batted
ball. Direction and distance is done on a computer screen by simply
clicking the exact location of the ball on a replica of the field shown
on the screen.

I obviously haven't seen their computer program, but camera angles are consistent in a park. They only let you set up in the same place at each game. There's a centerfield camera and a camera behind home plate that are in the same spot for every game and records 99% of the action. It should be easy to replicate it for each stadium and adjust for the angle of the camera.

Speed is simply soft, medium and hard while types of
batted balls are groundball, liner, fly and bunt. We will be
introducing a new category in 2006 called fliner. A fliner is a ball
that is hard to categorize because it’s somewhere between a fly and a
liner, so it becomes a fliner. But that’s next year.

That is subjective, but not really. Pretty easy to watch any play and say it was hit hard, soft or medium on 99/100 of them. As I said, I assume they have guidelines to help them when it's borderline.


The computer totals all softly hit groundballs on Vector 17, for
example, and determines that these types of batted balls are converted
into outs by the shortstop only 26% of the time. Therefore, if, on this
occasion, the shortstop converts a slowly hit ball on Vector 17 into an
out, that’s a heck of a play, and it scores at +.74. The credit for the
play made, 1.00, minus the expectation that it should be made, which is
0.26. If the play isn’t made—by anybody—it’s -.26 for the shortstop.

all done objectively by the computer

The key is if a player makes a play on a specific type of batted ball,
hit to a specific location on the field, and hit at a specific speed,
he gets credit if at least one other player in MLB that season missed
that exact ball sometime during the season. A player who misses a play
on a specific type of batted ball, hit to a specific location on the
field, and hit at a specific speed, he loses credit if a least one
other player made the same play some other time.

The only thing their data gatherer has to do is determine if the play is made or not, seems pretty cut and dry. Obviously there are plenty of situations where an out is not recorded that is still a made play (shorstop knocks down a ball to prevent running scoring from second for example)...but I think that's where there enhanced +/- system goes into play.

Not calling it the system that trumps all systems, but one of the more interesting to date.

I don't know how to make it any clearer.

"the computer totals all softly hit groundballs on vector 17'.

"but camera angles are consistent in a park." That's great. And when all players play all the games in the same park, then it would remove that problem. Unfortunately, all players play half their game in one park. Whether a ball is in vector 16 or 17 is going to be subjective and influenced by the cameras' positioning.

Whether a ball is softly hit or mediumly hit, is also subjective.

So the user has two chances to make a subjective opinion about every ball that is hit. They then put that into their computer program.

Explain to me the control they keep from judging groundballs hit to Pujols at 84 MPH 'hard', and grounballs hit to Lee at 84 MPH as 'medium'.

They're doing the same thing that Stats inc does, with these three differences.

1. They have one person watch the play, instead of three, and consequently they have no descrepancies to judge for accuracy.
2. They have different fielding zones - cleverly calling them 'vectors' making it sound more technical
3. They have three types of balls on flies hit to the outfield - further increasing the chance for subjectivity in their entries.

James has an article on "Relative Range Factor" on there as well which is interesting. Sounds a lot like his defensive win shares if I remember it correctly...minus the wins.

one citation from it that I've brought up a bunch (speaking of Brooks Robinson's spike in assists one season):

Perhaps we shouldn’t worry about this. After all, if we look at his
batting record, Brooksie had a great year in 1962 (.303 with 23 homers,
86 RBI) and an MVP year in 1964 (.317 with 28 and 118), but a very poor
season the year in between (.251 with 11 homers, 67 RBI, playing every
game.) There’s no real explanation for it; batting statistics just
bounce up and down, and sometimes they bounce big. Shouldn’t we expect
the same thing to happen in fielding statistics?

sort of like Aramis Ramirez's spike in 2007

Unless there are plenty of explanations for it, like injury and BABIP luck.

The difference between a home run and a fly out to center can be a milimeter or two. The difference between an error and an out, or an error and a hit is very seldom that small.

Very interesting, and it also explains a few of Edmonds' home runs.

Soriano not catching a lot of balls is a myth anyway. He doesn't look good doing it a lot of time, but he catches a lot more than people realize. The only exception when he came back a bit early in 2007. Pie isn't going to have to worry about covering for whatever field Soriano is in. He probably made Johnson and Edmonds look better than they are, rather than the reverse.

Anything you lose in guys going from home, first or second to third on him, is going to even up on him making fewer plays and getting more outs on throws to first. His quick release and accuracy will probably make him as effective on anything that requires a relay as any of our other internal or external options. Yes, Fukudome can throw the ball on a line farther, but his line is much more likely to be 8 feet up or down the baseline from his target, so it doesn't do that much good anyway.

Soriano's one of those guys that without statistics looks like shit as both a hitter and a fielder. If you never saw any of his bubble gum stats and watched Soriano play for a few days, you'd likely think he was a terrible baseball player.

Then again, you could catch him during the right 2 week stretch and think he's the clear-cut MVP.

The point is, you almost have to rely on stats with him because with the naked eye he's just a guy who swings and misses a ton and makes boneheaded plays in the outfield. Yet somehow by the end of the year he's managed to hit 30HRs and throw out a bunch of baserunners at home.

that's going a bit too far.

if you're only scouting a player for a few games and just in-game you're missing out.

most scouting worth a damn goes on outside the game...in BP, in drills...that NFL style crap.

when it comes to in-game scouting you're not going to get a grasp on a guy in just a handful of games. this is all that's possible for some players young in their careers, but it's definately not numbers they're looking at for these young players.

a highschool kid can go out and hit .450-.500+ in highschool, but it says very little about the player quality and handicapping it vs. local talent you better have an idea what the kid is capable of. not everyone gets to play in NY-NJ/FLA/CALI competitive programs.

anyone watching a young soriano put a bat through the zone as fast as he could (and still can) with his frame would get a lot of attention even if he went 0-4 with 4Ks over a teammate who squeeked out a 4-4 game unless he has the tools soriano has.

i've been around more than a few scouts raving about some kid who just threw a horrible game or had a hitless game.

"i've been around more than a few scouts raving about some kid who just threw a horrible game or had a hitless game."

I actually doubt that. If that's all they never heard of someone and sat down and watched him strike out four times on 14 pitches, then let two flyballs go over his head they're not going to be raving about him. They may say 'You can see he's a good athlete', but they're not going to be calling up their cross-checker director and telling him to come watch someone play.

If they're raving about them they've either heard good things about him before, or seen him do good things before. There's probably a reason those scouts are at the high school games, they don't just look in the newspaper and randomly show up for Carver vs King games.

"I actually doubt that"

i've actually witnessed it...multiple times.

Who were the players and scouts?

the scout was Baseless Accusation and the player was Prove Yourself.

1- i never name any scouts and never will
2- players...josh hamilton hitting AND pitching for a start (in highschool). also players in the pit/fla/tb minor league system that i'm not gonna blah blah blah about cuz none are as "sexy" as josh hamilton
3- if you still choose not to believe that's your issue

scouts just cannot sit somewhere for 3-4 weeks watching 1 or 2 guys...especially in non-competitive areas (in the south it's pretty much everywhere but the heart of GA and FLA) and stats say very little on the lower levels.

also, cross checkers don't exist (for some teams) at the mega-low scouting level unless there's some high-draft-pick process going on...even then the scout alone for some teams don't require a second/third set of eyes on the player.

Wow that's amazing, crunch! You were at the first game when some scout first discovered Josh Hamilton. People hand't been talking about him for years, he wasn't playing in the national showcases, and all all star teams. Just some scout happened to walk up to a high school baseball game you happened to be at and sat down next to you and said 'Wow, that #24 really looked good getting that golden sombrero today".

Most people give up making stories up to impress people in their late teens. It's time to move away from that part of your life.

no, i saw scouts watch josh pitch a shitty game and go 0-for at the plate.

...and no one thought badly of it overall.

...also, which is not worth much, yes...i saw josh before the scouts started showing up. and no, i didn't discover him and he had a "buzz" locally and probably nationally. scouts generally don't show up to watch highschool juniors too much anyway as far as i know.

"Most people give up making stories up to impress people in their late teens. It's time to move away from that part of your life."

you know nothing about me or what situations i get myself in. you choose not to agree with me based on nothing but your own hunch therefore i'm lieing.

okay, who pissed in your sandbox little man?

just because you're ignorant of how scouting works doesn't mean that your made up assumptions are correct...especially when it doesn't work like that on the ground.

scouts are not some untouchable gods...they're not making serious loot...most enjoy talking about what they're seeing while traveling...AND...they're not in some silver palace box away from the fans or directly behind home plate in the primo seats. they're pretty damn normal and approachable. get out to the ballpark and make some friends.

"Somebody help me with geometry here. Is the throw from right field to third base any longer than the throw from right or left to home?"

There's a lot of apples and oranges in the discussion about this. Technically the answer is NO! There is no difference. NONE. If you draw a line perpendicular to the foul line and 45 from first base it bisects the path between first and second base. Any ball fielded on this line will leave a throw of identical length to either home or third. The same is true for left field using a line bisecting the path between second and third and throws to home or first base...they will be of identical length.

In right field, balls hit to the left of the right fielder(i.e. nearer the right field foul line) result in longer throws to third base than those hit to his right.

Similarly in left field, balls hit to the left of the fielder result in longer throws to home
than those hit to his right.

You mean parallel to the foul line not perpendicular (perpendicular to the 1st-2nd line). And yes, you are correct in that everything hit exactly to straightaway RF (between First and Second Base) has exactly the same throw to home or third. And yes, anything towards the RF line will result in a longer throw to Third than Home. But that's exactly the point. A ball hit 250 feet down the RF line results in the same throw to home as a ball hit 250 feet down the LF line, but the throw from RF to 3B at that point is longer than the throw home for either home. So those balls hit to down the RF line result in longer throws to 3B than the longest throws (to home) for left fielders - thus they typically need stronger arms. Obviously if we include throws from LF to 1B this would equal out - but those are so infrequent that they are not factored in.

There's probably some cause and effect there, though. If you put a bunch of guys with right fielders arms in left field, then there would be more throws to fist. Still not as many as RF to third, though.

so I was trying to put together a list of all the Type A, B and C free agents the Cubs ever had or signed.
I didn't realize how far back draft pick compensation went, seems to be 1977 for the 1978 draft.

But looking around, I stumbled across this ridiculous system
http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Free_age...

from late 1981-spring training 1986, if you lost a Type A free agent, it would start a compensation draft where teams could protect 26 players in their organization or 24 if they signed a Type A free agent. A team could opt out of signing Type A free agents and not expose anyone. So then in January or February, a team losing a Type A free agent could draft any exposed player from any organization.

Notables that were moved include; Tom Seaver to the White Sox (for losing Dennis Lamp to the Blue Jays), Tim Belcher to the A's, Tom Henke to the Blue Jays and Danny Tartabull to the Mariners.

I'm sure many of you knew about it, but I had never heard of it before.

Vaguely remember it now that you bring it up. I am assuming Seaver was the only 'name' guy lost in that deal.

totally random, anyone know a good resource for explaining how to download data into a spreadsheet, like retrosheet info. Online article, book, personal knowledge, I'll take anything....

What do you mean by 'download data'?

take the database file from there

http://www.retrosheet.org/transactions/index.html

parse it appropriately for their player ID's and then be able to sort by all Cubs transactions

to start...

I have other ideas.

Oh sorry...no, I don't know how.

found one resource at "The Book", but would take me a while to figure out, plus it uses Mysql.

You can do it in Access if you're pretty good at it. I don't know of a site that says 'How do I turn this retrosheet data into a RDB', if that's what your looking for.

How much time are you willing to invest, 5 hours or 50?

don't have Access, free copy of Neooffice which is Open Office for Mac, probably the same thing.

Mysql might be the way to go, I have access to that through our server and hosting package.

As much time as it takes to get it right....or until I'm bored.

I vaguely remember a book awhile ago that was specifically for analyzing baseball data and how to download it and dice it up.

found it, "Baseball Hacks"...a bit old though, I'll check it out unless someone has any experience with that kind of stuff.

You'll want to put it into your NEOoffice rather than trying to write the SQL, unless mySQL is a lot more user friendly (GUI interface) than I recall. With Access you can click and drag things a lot.

Send me an email if you get stuck. I took a quick look at it and doesn't seem like getting the data will take that much effort. Analyzing it, depending on what you want to do is the part that may get confusing and frustrating.

Baseball writers claim they deserve their privileged access to teams, GMs and baseball executives because they are a better, more reliable source for information that bloggers can be.

They are trained journalists, the argument goes. They believe in things like fact-checking and multiple-sourcing on stories, etc., etc.

In the past two days, we have Furcal's agent saying a newspaper report about his offer from Oakland was wrong; Odalis Perez's agent denying an ESPN report that the player is getting a multi-year offer from the Nats; and Renteria's agent saying a radio report about a two-year deal with the Giants being wrong.

Government and business reporters would lose their jobs for this kind of sloppy reporting. Sports reporters are allowed to held unaccountable. Sadly, even with blogs getting better and more well-read, sports journalism has its head in the sand. It's time for the industry to reign in this "source familiar with the team's thinking" bullshit.

Shouldn't he be a Cardinal fan?

hahaha. rock.

Has all the stat shit finally been figured out?

has been taking writing lessons from Phil Rogers

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=253802

that's pretty inexcusable to "forget" a top cubs prospect was traded recently and include him in an article as trade bait.

wonder when he really wrote it as future laziness-fodder and why it was so long ago he forgot to edit out ceda's name. hope it didn't make it to the print version...that'd be some hack shit. and if it was a fresh article i hope forgetting ceda was just some major brainfart because even casual fans know kevin gregg is a cub now.

The article also implies we're going to trade Marquis and Marshall. It's a serious stretch to think that Hendry is going to go in the season with Harden, Peavy and Zambrano in the rotation with Mitch Atkins as his 6th starter.

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