Ten Things I’ve Learned from The Hardball Times 2007 Annual

I figured I'd borrow one of their concepts since I'm about to plug their book. For those unfamiliar with The Hardball Times, well where have you been? Great baseball writing, informative well-researched topics and it's free. This though was my first foray into picking up their annual and it was well worth the twenty-ish bucks I put down. Our pitching really sucked That's not earth-shattering in of itself, but usually when you give up a lot of runs like we did last year, some of that can be attributed to a shoddy defense. That just wasn't the case for the Cubs last year and THT aren't the first to pick up on it. John Dewan has an essay on Team Defense using the metrics he helped created in The Fielding Bible. A real basic summary is that his researchers watch every single inning of every single game and record detailed information and then compare each player to his peers at the position basically rating everyone on a plus/minus system. A "+43" for a player means they made 43 more plays than the average player at that position. Pretty cool stuff and I keep meaning to pick up the actual book. You can find the 2006 season numbers for individual players in the Bill James Handbook 2007. As for our overall defense, it's broken down quite wonderfully into middle infield, corner infield and outfield along with information on turning double plays, handling bunts and outfield throwing. I know, you're dying for the results. Well, our outfield was exceptional, +44 for the unit, good for fifth best among outfielders with the Braves leading the pack at +63. The overall rank for the defense was a +49, also good for fifth best in the league, the middle infielders received a +8 and the corner infielders (surely missing Derrek Lee although he didn't rate so great individually if I recall in previous years) received a -3. We sucked at turning groundball double plays (28th), middle of the road at fielding the bunt (16th) and very surprisingly turned up above average at outfield throwing (11th), which takes into account opportunities, how many extra bases are taken and kills (runners thrown out). I'll venture a solid guess that unless Soriano is a trainwreck in the outfield, we'll even be better as a unit next year. My only criticism/question is where do catchers and pitchers fall? If I read the explanation right, they don't seem to be accounted anywhere. I'm sure it's explained in The Fielding Bible but if anyone knows, let me know in the comments. Juan Pierre's arm sucks Also not really on the forefront of breaking news, but they expanded on some articles they did on their website. Basically using Retrosheet play-by-play data from 1957 to 2005 (with a few missing years), they broke down each play by situation(such as runner on 1st, single to the OF) and three outcomes (Kill, Hold and Advance). Then the author, John Walsh, broke down each outfield position by three separate eras which he deemed the Clemente, Barfield and Guerrero eras. The results are pretty much what you expected, Clemente was a god in right field saving about 5.4 runs a season. As for Cubs, there aren't too many because, well we've sucked historically. Andre Dawson shows up as the second best center field arm during "The Barfield Era" but that was all during his Expos days. Moving to "The Guerrero Era", Moises Alou shows up on the left field list. That has more to do with opportunties than skill though. His Runs/162 (basically runs per season) is a mere 0.7 (just above average) but since he logged so many innings, he saved 4.7 above average over the years, good for about eighth. Bobby Higginson leads the left field group of that era. As for Pierre, second worst all-time behind Bernie Williams at center field with a -5.4 Runs/162 and -29.3 Runs below average for his career (that's through 2005). Overall defensively he seems to more than make up for it with his speed, particularly last year thanks to the benefits of playing center field at Wrigley Field. One last Cub mention and that's Sammy Sosa. They do a rundown of Hall of Famers or guys that should be Hall of Famers and Sosa came out just above average in Kills (throwing out runners), just below average on Holds (allowing runners to advance) for a grand total of 0.5 Runs/162. Clutchiness (or lack thereof) In the best titled piece of the book, WPA in the USA, Dave Studenmund takes a look at the wonderful world of Win Probability Added. Simply put, if we know the inning, the outs and the situation we can estimate quite reasonably how often a team will win a game. A 4-0 lead in the top of the first and the team has about 80% chance of winning, a one run lead in the top of the ninth for the home team is about an 83% chance of winning and on and on. When an event occurs that changes the win probability that is Win Probability Added, add all WPA swings up and you’ve got a stat that measures how big an effect a certain play had and the leverage of the moment. Since I’m sure I did a poor job of explaining it, I urge everyone to read the more in-depth articles (Beware the second link as it deconstructs the eight inning of a certain Game 6). The Cubs don’t make too many appearances on the charts they published in the book. There was a relatively lively loss on August 30th versus Pittsburgh that ranked 7th among "Roller coaster games of 2006" or games with the most swings in WPA. A game the Cubs led 3-0 in the top of the first, fell behind 7-3 by the fifth, scratched back to tie by the eight, took the lead in the eleventh and then a blown save by Ryan Dempster and the Cubs lost 10-9. One of the best uses of WPA is to measure a team’s bullpen as we all know that bullpen ERA isn’t the most effective tool since it doesn’t take into account the leverage of the moment. For example, the Twins and Mets are first and second in both ERA and the WPA, but the Rangers were 6th in ERA but 19th in WPA because they pitched best when it mattered the least. Unfortunately a full list isn’t published, but they did put out the ten worst major league relievers. Any guesses? None other than our very own Ryan Dempster who had a leverage index of 1.77 (1 is average, most closers have an index around 2) and he managed a –3.13 WPA, meaning he turned the tide for the worst far more often than any other reliever in the biggest moments (Derrick Turnbow was 2nd by the way). Naturally no Cubs ended up on the best of lists, but we did land the top spot for “Least Clutch Hitter�?. That would naturally go to Ronny Cedeno, who in 15 plays where he came up with the leverage index at 3 or higher (meaning the moment was three times more impactful than a normal situation), he managed an average of -0.90 WPA, where zero is average. Butterball Rusch Not So Bad Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, but Greg Rybarczyk breaks out something called Hit Tracker, which seems like an extremely complex way of analyzing the flight of the ball. The details are too cumbersome for me to reiterate but basically it can be used to answer some questions about a team's and player's home ballpark, particularly useful if they change teams. As for Rusch, he gave up a whopping 21 home runs last year, damn awful. One of the (many) things Hit Tracker tallies is atmospheric conditions including wind and in Rusch’s 21 home runs, 20 were struck with a tail wind, which is pretty high since typically only half of all homers would get help from any wind. On top of that, each homer received 27 feet of extra distance thanks to the wind and all 21 homers occurred on fields with an altitude of 535 feet above sea level which provides another three-to-five feet of distance per homer. Rybarczyk then places him in an average game in Shea (72 degrees, 11 mph wind in from left, 10 feet above sea level) and essentially comes up with only two of those 21 homers leaving the park. Feeling that was a little extreme and an 11 mph wind in from left being a bit too kind for a lefty pitcher, he changed his analysis to remove all wind effects and came up with nine home runs and one double and nine flyouts. The actual impact on his ERA would require a breakdown of each homer which unfortunately Rybarczyk didn't do nor do I have the information to do. It's Not Whether You Hit It, But How You Hit It THT is becoming the champion of batted ball stats, breaking up hitters hits into line drives, flyballs, groundballs, etc using information purchased from Baseball Info Solutions. You can study some of the information yourself at THT Stats page but basically line drives are very good for runs, outfield fly balls a few steps below, and groundballs trailing with various other events in between. It doesn’t mean ground balls are bad, it just takes more of them to produce a run and are the least effective in producing runs compared to line drives and outfield fly balls (please note a difference between outfield and infield fly balls which are basically automatic outs). You can also extrapolate the numbers and basically determine how much each event is worth in runs, for example a line drive has .391 run impact while a ground ball a .045 run impact, etc, etc. Here’s a quick rundown of notable Cubs that appear in their lists: Fewest Line Drives: Ronny Cedeno (6th worse – 16%) Fewest Ground Balls: Alfonso Soriano (3rd – 29%) Most Ground Balls: Matt Murton (3rd – 58%), Jacque Jones (4th – 56%), Juan Pierre(7th – 55%) Most Runs Per Outfield Fly: Jacque Jones(8th – .36) Fewest Runs Per Outfield Fly: Juan Pierre(5th - .05) Fewest Line Drives: Jason Marquis (9th - 17%) Most Runs on Balls Not in Play: Carlos Zambrano and Sean Marshall (9th - 7), Jason Marquis (3rd - 9) What does that all mean? Well, when Jacque lifts the ball he does damage. Marquis, Marshall and Z killed themselves with their wildness (of course as we'll see, Z makes up for it in other areas) and Murton would do himself some good by putting the ball in the air a little more. They also break out a chart on Soriano and the man is all about the flyball. His flyballs produced 35 runs above average, while his NIP (Balls Not in Play in other words K's and BB's mostly) was -2, groundballs a 1 (his speed didn't help much there) and his line drives a minus 3. In other words, if the wind blows out, plus Great American Ballpark plus Minute Maid equals a good chance he'll do lots of damage next year. Zambrano also had an interesting profile: NIP: 7 GB: -5 LD: -16 Fly: -11 Total: -24 I'm not exactly sure if it's determined how much is luck versus skill on the batted balls, but Z has shown quite a pattern of being very difficult to hit. If he could just tone down the walk fest, he'll be worth every penny of whatever contract he gets next year (hopefully from us). Last profile is for Greg Maddux: Dodger: NIP (-3), GB (-4), LD (0), Fly(-2), Total: (-10) Cub: NIP (-9), GB(-5), LD (12), Fly (-1), Total: (-3) The dude moves to Dodger Stadium for two months and you'd think it would be an improvement in flyballs but it was line drives being caught that made him a better pitcher. So was it the defense or just plain luck that made him a better pitcher down the stretch? I suppose we'll never know. Hit More Flyballs Continuing on the Batted Balls tangent, there's a team chart. Out of all the Cubs batted balls, 47% were groundballs, 19% line drives and 34% flyballs. The averages are 44, 20 and 37 respectively. Their Total Runs vs AVG in those instances: NIP (-36), GB (23), LD (-7), FB (-25). It wasn't just the walks killing us (or lack thereof), we need to get the ball up in the air. Soriano over Pierre will certainly help in that case. If Floyd replaces Jones, that will help as well and just taking some at-bats from Murton won't hurt either. Derosa's numbers though are 49,23,29 (GB,LD,FB) which aren't going to help in this regard at all. We Spent A Lot of Money to Suck I know, we're breaking new ground here every day. Another article by Dave Studenmund called Net Win Shares Value 2006 looks at which teams and players got the most bang for the buck. Basically using Win Shares and a little mathematical hocus pocus, who were really the most valuable players in terms of dollars and production. No Cubs show up on the best or worst lists, but care to guess who's the top spot for each? No surprise that players not ready for arbitration would top the best of list and Miguel Cabrera and Joe Mauer are one and two. Joel Pineiro and Mark Mulder lead the worst of list. The Cubs naturally trail the pack as a team, no big shocker of course. Yanks actually are second worst cause they don't nearly get the production for what they pay. There's an individual list of each player and I think you can find it on their site as well but here are the 5 most cost-effective Cubs in 2006: Zambrano Theriot Murton Jones Howry The ones that cost us the most: Lee Cedeno Pierre Dempster Neifi Where are Wood and Prior? They don't show up since the cutoff is at least 4 Win Shares meaing significant injury time gives you a free pass. Barrett Needs to Work on His D Oh really, you say? Each team has a stats page and they include a WP+PB/G stat for catchers. Barrett trails only the Royals John Buck with .581 per game, Buck at .590. Jose Molina of the Angels had a .701 in about 250 less innings than Barrett so include him if you wish. Barrett was also second worst in the league in throwing out runners only behind Piazza. Piazza though only allowed .238 WP+PB per game. Now a lot of that is a function of your staff, no doubt, Padres had one of the best in the league, Cubs and Royals some of the worst. But still, a very poor showing on the defensive end for Barrett and I don't find it comforting in the least that he seems to be regressing at this part of his game. Breakout Candidates Dave Gassko takes a look at players who have a good chance at breaking out next year(using something called wOBA as the measuring stick) and taking into account a combination of player's handedness (lefties more likely to break out), power, power/speed combo, patience at the plate, weight, age and performance (the worst you did last year the better). Again, a bunch of mathematical mumbo jumbo that I won't bore you with but he comes up with a percentage of how likely a player will have a breakout year. No one related to the Cubs shows up on the top ten list, although Ryan Church has a 42% chance according to Gassko's criteria. A second list of "above average in 2006" is included (players who had good seasons in 2006 but can be even better in 2007), Derrek Lee (23%) and Cliff Floyd(17%) show up, mostly due to their down seasons last year. The under 25 crowd gets their own list and Cedeno shows up at 26%, because it would be very hard to repeat his awfulness from last season. The pitchers get their own list and component run average is used (sort of like FIP) and the elements factored in are pitcher's walk rate, home run rate, BABIP and performance. Angel Guzman is second on the list at 43% for 2007 Pitching Breakout Candidates as well as breakout candidates under 26. On the least likely to break out camp is Jason Marquis at 1%. The Hardball Times Annual Rules I'm wimping out on the last one, but let's say the wealth of information and stats found make this a must buy for any serious fan. Not only that but the writing is enjoyable, you really get a sense that these are baseball fans just having a great time writing about things they care and are curious about, no obvious hidden agenda or pompous attitudes. And it's more than just stats, there are historical pieces, a detailed look at Tommy John surgery, good old fashioned commentary by folks like Deadspin's Will Leitch and ESPN's Rob Neyer and well all kinds of fun stuff.


Let me know if there's a problem reading this post. I originally had an image of the annual, but it was huge and I got rid of it, but the change doesn't seem to be showing up on one of my browsers. I assume this is more caching B.S.... Thanks...

looks clean...and absolutely chock full of words. thanks arz. phil...i mean, rob hehe

bite me... I have to make up for the lack of posts lately. :)

Dang we sucked. I need a beer to feel better.

hehe...content = good.

sorry about all the typos, I think I fixed them although if this caching thing continues they may not show up right away.

That was very thorough, Rob. Typically I don't like all that fancypants stuff to figure out who blows and who doesn't. However, I found it quite interesting, despite the headache I got about halfway through.

looks like the Unit deal is done... Luis Vizcaino and one of Dustin Nippert, Ross Ohlendorf or Micah Owings according to MLB.com WFAN says Vizcaino, Ohlendorf and a pair of lesser prospects (Steven Jackson and Alberto Gonzalez) Foulke to Indians for $5 mil with a 2008 mutual option (every reliever signing makes Howry/Eyre/Dumpster all that much better from last year, okay maybe not Dumpster)

http://www.nbcsports.com/mlb/777933/detail.ht...| it wasn't McGwire that was juiced, it was the ball!!!!! part funny, part very believable

bottom of that NBC link there's a poll for which event is most likely to happen in 2007? cubs win series mcgwire makes hall Soriano joins 50/50 club Meche wins 20 Soriano is leading easily...

What is going on with Cliff Floyd? Are the Cubs gonna sign him?

What an amazing article. Thanks, Robbie boy.

"Luis Vizcaino and one of Dustin Nippert, Ross Ohlendorf or Micah Owings according to MLB.com" A steal for the Diamondbacks; they get all the rights for the 300-win hype and a no.3 starter making their rotation the best in the National League, giving up only an average reliever and a prospect (let it be Nippert, cuz Ohlendorf and Owings are pretty good); Byrnes really knows how to work Cashman.

Rob G -- Good job! That was an excellent article.

A steal? Odds are 60/40 that Johnson pitches over 20 games next year in my book. And yes I know he's made all his starts the last 3 years, just seems like his back or knee is ready to give out at any moment, so fine 70/30. I think the Dbacks did well, but I wouln't call it a steal. And best in the NL? Maybe, it's got potential to be I guess. Webb is darn good (like our own Z). Livan and Davis pitch innings. So do Lilly and Marquis (Livan and Davis probably do it a little better in all likelihood). They have the wildcard in the Big Unit, we have one in Prior. We also have Hill as a wildcard, I have no idea who there fifth starter is. Dodgers got the best staff imo, that is until they trade Penny. Phils are looking okay too, Hamels and Myers could be a lethal 1-2 with a solid 3-4-5 in Garcia/Moyer/Eaton. Padres and Giants aren't too shabby either and if Astros get Clemens back they'll be quite good.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?pa... Who knew Bill Simmons could be the voice of reason?
Some writers won't vote for McGwire because he probably used steroids -- keep in mind there's never been proof that he did, other than a visible bottle of andro and those 135 pounds of muscle he added from 1990 to 2002 -- which would be fine if they weren't so pious about it. Not content with simply dismissing McGwire's candidacy and moving on, they need to climb on their high horses and rip the guy to shreds. Of course, many of them would appear on any radio or TV show for 50 bucks and a free sandwich. We're supposed to believe they would refuse the chance to take a drug that would enable them to do their job twice as well and make 10 times as much money? Yeah, right.
These people have now become the self-proclaimed moral arbiters of baseball, and they need you to know that Big Mac cheated, disgraced the game, deceived the public, tainted the record books and pushed the sport into a spiritual free fall. They rush to tell you that they can't vote for McGwire because their conscience won't allow it. San Jose Mercury News columnist Ann Killion wrote that she can't vote for McGwire because she wouldn't be able to explain it to her kids.
She concluded her column with this: "All I can do is cast my own vote judiciously. And be able to look my kids in the eyes when I do it."
Ann, I'm glad you're such a thoughtful mom. Seriously, that's great. But a vote for McGwire isn't exactly an endorsement of drug use. And anyway, part of our country's problem is the shortsighted way we "protect" our kids from life's harsh realities. Janet Jackson's nipple slip was such a traumatic moment for Americans that some live sporting events now run on tape-delay, and Howard Stern fled to SIRIUS to escape the clutches of the increasingly fascistic FCC. Meanwhile, any kid can glimpse Britney's crotch if he or she is even remotely familiar with Google, and anyone can be slandered anonymously on a blog or message board.

the whole j.jones/c.floyd things drag on and on. wonder if floyd is waiting around for j.jones to be traded or if he's out of the picture or if he's sick of waiting and might be "lost" to another team...esp. with the newhan rumors picking up (even if they're just minor league contract rumors).

well thanks for the praise but I just regurgitated what the fine folks at THT came up with, hope they don't mind. Just some interesting Cubs stuff... Btw, read the first link of the piece to "10 Things I've Learned This Offseason", good stuff.

I thought Newhan said he was going to the Mets yesterday....

Good piece, Rob G. I'll have to go get that book. I read "The Book" over Thanksgiving, and while it was a bit repetitive, definitely interesting. Sounds like this one is similar. I will disagree with one thing you wrote though. I think it would be pretty easy for Ronny Cedeno to repeat his dismal performance of 2006.

I hear good things about "The Book" although I'm afraid it's so mathematical my head would spin and I'd fall asleep 2 pages in everytime.

as for our recent issues, got an email from the admin and he thinks he's got it under control. Let me know if you have problems with the comments not showing up either at the permalink or popup box or any other weirdness. Thanks...

people were clamoring for parachat so I'll bring it up.... Does anyone have suggestions on another chat program? Speak now or forever hold your peace...

Can you explain why its verbotten to copy entire articles? I know why you may not want it but it seems more of a legal issue. As long as you cite where it comes from how is that a problem? And no one has explained to me how to use the RSS. People explained that it was not a Rodent of Unusual Size. But how can I incorporate it into my enjoyment of this website?

you mean other than it drives everyone nuts? that's the longest citation I think I ever did and I hope to never repeat it. We all can follow links and I'm far more interested in reading the parts that you find interesting, not the whole thing. and yes copyright/legal issues are another cause people will get lazy and not cite their sources. But mostly because it's a bear to trudge through a whole article. If you feel something needs to be read, go through and pick the important parts. And don't come back with I feel it's all important, cause if it's all important we'll just follow the link.

RSS info There are others that know more about it, but using Safari on Mac OSX, if I bookmark the RSS link (usually in my RSS Feed folder), a little number pops up every once in awhile telling me how many new articles are there. I think it checks like every 10 minutes. I think there are RSS programs that may work better, but that's the gist of it. I think if you bookmark the RSS feed at the top of the comments box, it should tell you when new comments are up. At least that's the theory. Some sites are unreliable though. I have the rotoworld RSS feed linked and it's horrible and way behind the actual website. But my Cubs Google News Feed one and Sportspyder work pretty well.

Hey, sorry to get you all honked off about posting entire articles. I already saw the reasoning behind it as far as aesthetics but now I think I get why on the legal side. And, I don't copy and paste whole articles anyway. I do give a highlight sentence but that's about it. Here's a really cool link that involves me. If you didn't know it already, I have been declared 'rad': http://www.palmercash.com/images/products/cha...

I enjoyed the Colts writers "the chad is great" even more fwiw. By the way, I don't recall the bet but it seemed your post kind of wimped out. Weren't you supposed write about the greatneess of BIgBlueShoe, you seemed to write more about the smartness of the Colts for picking Addai.

I'm an idiot. I meant 'great'.

Is there a tshirt for "Worst Poster on TCR"? I remember hearing that about someone in parachat a long, long time ago.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/we-... speaking of THT, a good piece analyzing Wilkerson/Soriano and how wrong people's original anaylsis was. Some interesting stuff on park factors (although still not attributed properly) and the problems with using road stats exclusively.

I'm sold on the Unit for 2007. Why? Read this pretty convincing article. 1.- Webb 2.- Davis 3.- Randy 4.- Liván 5.- Edgar González/Enrique González/Micah Owings Pretty solid to me. IMO, only the Dodgers and Cubs have rotations as good as the D'Backs's five.

Please JD, too. You don't hate me. You hate yourself for loving me so much!

oh don't get me wrong, I have no idea what the Yanks are thinking unless they are for once trying to save some money or realize they can't get rid of Pavano no matter how hard they try. And I think his numbers will get better significantly, for many of the reasons stated in that article, although the difference in parks will hurt a little. I just don't think he'll be healthy, bad knees, bad back, old as time. I'll probably be wrong though and they'll have a lethal 1-2.

http://www.protrade.com/insight/InsightArticl... another article on outfielder arms and that Juan Pierre sucks

It's weird how almost all of the quality NL starting pitching has migrated to the NL West. Pitching in the East and Central sucks! Which is good for us, because our offense should be above average and our bullpen is strong. If Z, Lilly and Marquis could all find the strike zone more often and reduce those BB rates, we could be competitive with them, but otherwise I think every team in the West other than the Rox have (much) better starting pitching than we do. We stack up well against our Central counterparts though, particularly with Rajah and Pettite out of Houston. If Ben Sheets is 100%, might the Brewers actually have the best starting pitching in the division?

If you have the book, does the new Bill James Handbook include park factors split into L/R? Thanks. Or does anyone know where to get that online?

I don't hate ANYONE, Chad. JD is all about the love, brother. I just heard something in parachat back in the day. Was that YOU that "they" were talking about? Just funnin' with ya, Chad.

CARLOS: Nah, I don't agree w/you that Unit was a "steal". Its the end 'o the line for him and he'll be with his family. Its more a "steal" for him! ROB has nailed it in that as a power pitcher, he has some pretty uncomfortable health issues at the least which I would think would play into his effectiveness. Webb is terrific - but we have Z. CRUNCH: Cubs are not in any rush (Rusch) to sign a guy with a torn achilles. My guess is there is some serious medical evals and discussions going on. Also, you can bet that the Docs involved were playing golf or fishing since before Christmas until probably Monday coming up. If you're coming in for the Convention, you can ask Hendry about it. IF his meds show he is a decent risk, it is not impossible to assume that the Cubs could make a deal before the Cubs Convention. I hope Jones stays right here unless he's traded for someone that would be as good or better than he. And its not Ryan Church. "The Muskrat" in the "Mailbag" at Cubs.com gives JJones MLB CF history info as well as discussion of the Dumpster today if interested.

Expanding on my previous thought-- Milwaukee: Sheets, Capuano, Suppan, Bush, Vargas Cubs: Zambrano, Hill, Lilly, Marquis, Miller Cards: Carpenter, Reyes, Wainwright, Kip Wells, Josh Hancock (yikes) Astros: Oswalt, Woody Williams, Jason Jennings, Astacio, Wandy Rodriguez? (again, yikes) Reds: Arroyo, Harang, Lohse, Milton, Elizardo Ramirez Pirates: Duke, Chacon, Maholm, Burnett and Bullington? I don't see any tough challenges there, and if Prior ever comes back...

If Sheets can stay healthy it's a solid staff, but might as well say if Prior is healthy. I'm not sold that Clemens is done yet with the 'Stros which makes them very good again. Giants have Cain, Zito, Lowry, Morris, but little depth (Hennessy and some rookies). As I said I like the Dodgers and Phillies, Padres are solid as well (also could use a 5th). Cubs staff is okay right now imo, really need Prior to be healthy to reach the top 3 status though along with Hill being fantastic. The potential is there though.

article on jeff samannnnjiajinjianjinianamajnajinainja from minorleaguebaseball.com http://minorleaguebaseball.com/app/news/artic...

"My guess is there is some serious medical evals and discussions going on. Also, you can bet that the Docs involved were playing golf or fishing since before Christmas until probably Monday coming up." yeah, floyd could just be scarey medically...i should have thrown that in. its just weird having the whole floyd/jones thing go so slow and stagnant after so much fast moving...im in no hurry, though.

I'm still not sure why Floyd has anything to do with Jones.... Unless the Cubs are determined to bring in a CF, Floyd can't do anything but play left field and I don't think they're entertaining a Jones/Murton split in LF. Unless it's a cost issue of not wanting to be stuck with both deals (whatever Floyd gets). And anything good I said about the offense goes away if we end up moving Jones and going with the "vet journeyman in CF until Pie is ready" plan.

Is Darren Lewis available?

darren sure can block a plate...it'd end the barrett bitching.

doh...darren baker...misread...

I'm banning you just for bringing it up....

Snell should be the Bucs' #2 over Chacon, and Gorzelanny should be their fifth starter, and that immediatly makes their rotation the second best in the Central next to the Cubs, both in terms of quality and depth. Duke, Snell, Bullington, Maholm, Van Benschoten, Burnett, Chacon.

that was directed towards JD

I'm sorry, Rob. You're right. Is there a Darren Lewis equivalent on the market?

wasn't bullington hurt all last year? what's his status? same about vanbenschoten, hasn't he had all kinds of problems? none of their pitchers strike the fear of god in players, snell at least can strike out guys decently, but duke's peripherals besides not giving up the long ball aren't so hot.

BULLINGTON: As of November '06 -- "Bullington (shoulder) is looking to be completely healthy when the team holds its minicamp in January, according to the Pirates' Web site." VAN BENSCHOTEN (who I really like, I think he can be a very good #2): Started shoulder rehab on December. Should be ready for Spring Training.

Its all good.

I don't know if I'm the only person who thinks the Pirates are a 80+ wins team right now.

so shoulder problems, haven't pitched in games for awhile..... I wouldn't pencil them in quite yet and certainly not for anything positive.

you are... their offense stinks badly even if all their young pitching steps up(big if)

We'll have to wait and see. I like Bay and Nady, Sánchez is reliable, Doumit is a slugger in waiting, Eldred might become Adam Dunn-lite... blah.

I don't think they really wanna give Eldred a chance. Nady's better in short spurts. He'll start off hot, though. I do like Doumit.

It's official: Joel Piñeiro is the Red Sox's new closer. Meet Ryan Dempster, redux. Article here.

Kinda of a bare bones chat client, and it's still in beta, but it might serve the purpose. http://www.geesee.com

the brewers should have a very solid rotation. don't automatically equate sheets and prior. the last couple months of last season, sheets was healthy and pitched well. prior hasn't been himself when he's pitched lately and didn't end the year healthy -- unlike with sheets, there's neither an indication he's going to be healthy in the first place nor reason to believe he'll be himself again if even pitching. when healthy, sheets is pretty amazing except for a slight propensity to give up the long ball. bush, capuano, and suppan are all #2/#3 guys. bush has some upside if you look at peripherals, capuano is a very underrated #2 if he can duplicate his 2006 season, suppon is a bland #3 but should be healthy. vargas is crap but fine as a #5, and might improve getting out of arizona. and they've got a kid in the minors, villanueva, that pitched well last year and could fill in decently, and one of the top minor league pitching prospects, gallardo, who should be ready later in the season if needed. brewers' problem will be offense. they don't have any gaping offensive holes, but no stars either, and a few question marks due to injuries and youth. just a pretty bland lineup.

from the world o' roto... Padres GM Kevin Towers told The Associated Press he was told that Peavy was headed for a goodwill tour of the Dominican Republic with other major league players when he double-parked to drop off his bags and was told by airport police to move his car. "The airport police told him he couldn't park his car there and he said, 'Write me up a ticket and I'll pay for it,'" Towers said. "He was arrested." ...*cough* hahahahhahahhahahhaahhahahhahahha.

This website NEVER works anymore. What the f*** is up with that?

I believe Sanchez had an extremely high BABIP last year. With his mediocre plate discipline, he'd better have a similar BABIP to be anywhere near his 2006 production.

“The airport police told him he couldn’t park his car there and he said, ‘Write me up a ticket and I’ll pay for it,’�? Towers said. “He was arrested.�?
Good 'ole American boy Peavy has to answer to homeland security... that's amusing. :o
Rob G:
I assume this is more caching B.S….
I got one thing to say about all this... META HTTP-EQUIV="Pragma" CONTENT="no-cache"

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, but Greg Rybarczyk breaks out something called Hit Tracker, which seems like an extremely complex way of analyzing the flight of the ball. The details are too cumbersome for me to reiterate
And btw... not shooting the messenger :), but this business about sugarcoating Rusch's year is noble, but complete B.S. Even when he was locating his pitches (which wasn't often enough), his stuff was so milquetoast that batters were putting it in play anyways and sometimes even mashing the ball.

This website NEVER works anymore. What the f*** is up with that? Really, NEVER? Seems to be working fine since this afternoon. It's been like a 2-3 day hiccup and most of it was with the comments. As for the caching thing, see comment #22. I got a detailed explanation from the admin that was mostly over my head, but everything seems to be updating properly at the moment. But as always if something doesn't seem to be working, let me know. But can we do it with some civility? The bitchiness over the last few days about a free web site for which none of the writers make any money from is a bit much. Trust me, everyone is doing their best to get things working smoothly.

Ahhh little do people know is that when you get a ticket it is considered an arrest. If you want to be a dick they can actually do the formal jail thing to get their point across. I think Peavy gets it now, lol.

I am trying to find a copy of the “Ryne Sandberg game�? from June 23, 1984. It was broadcast on Comcast Sports Net Chicago last July 30 before he was inducted into the hall of fame. I had my TVRO timer set to record the game while I was at work, but we had a power outage and my timer only recorded the first inning. Would any of you know how I could get my hands on either a VHS, or DVD copy of this game? It is especially important to me since I organized a bus trip to the game that day from central Illinois, and we all were shocked that we got to see such an exciting game. If you can help me with this matter, please contact me. [email protected]

Getting a ticket is NOT like an arrest. More likely he was arrested for some charge akin to "Failing to Obey a Lawful Order" or "Resisting an Officer", or whatever the statute is labeled in that jurisdiction. Or, a violation of that particular airport parking law is arrestable, at the officer's discretion. BTW, anyone would refer to the FCC (about which I have no particular feelings, pro or con) as "fascistic", either does not know the meaning of the word, or has zero sense of proportion or perspective. Puhlease.

"I am trying to find a copy of the “Ryne Sandberg game�?" If you want the highlights, try Youtube.

Getting a ticket is a citation, not an arrest. I voted for Meche. If McGwire gets in, it's obviously not going to be on his first year. No one has ever gone 50-50 (for you Ryno fans, he was the first player in ML history to have a 40 HR season and a 50 SB season). The Cubs I figure are about 20:1 to win the series, but I think Meche could pull off a Steve Stone (or Danny Jackson, whoever your preferred fluke example), given his talent and with Gordon and Butler KC's offense may be pretty good (hard division, I know but John Freeking Garland wins like 18 there). Someone tell the LSU baseball coach that ND athletics are not the highest level of competition.

Catman- If you have ESPN Classic they show the edited version(2hours) alot.

I'll venture a guess that he was just trying to make a point on the FCC getting a little big for its britches. Simmons is hardly the most serious writer normally...

Fair enough. Just seemed like a rhetorical overkill to me. Thanks.

Hey, thanks for the tremendous review. It's great!

Thanks for the tremendous book, keep up the amazing work.

studes liked it so much he put a blurb on the right sidebar from the post on the front page of THT.... Cool!

You know... The more I think about it, I really dislike the The Fielding Bible defensive metrics, as Rob G has described them (here and previously, or maybe it was my brother). No offense to his researchers, but they probably don't know any more baseball than the average MLB player, and we know that the Gold Gloves are only correct about 40% of the time. When I see that Pujols is by far a better firstbasemen than the rest of the players in MLB, I have to suspect that there is a lot of bleedover from his hitting, just like they players do when they cast their votes. I've watched a lot of Pujols, and he is good, but he's not heads and shoulders above everyone else. If I were an eratic armed shortstop I would take Lee hands down over Pujols. Lee's size may give him 'easy play' rankings on ones a shorter man has to leap for and winds up getting + plays for.

that's a concern of mine too, as I read somewhere where they judged throws saved and they were giving credit for scoops and other things that I imagine would look like normal plays for Derrek Lee because of his height. A ball that Pujols might have to jump for to reach is an easy grab for Lee or a ball in the dirt that because Lee has a greater reach would never reach the dirt. That being said, until I actually read the book, I'm not going to dismiss it completely or back it completely.

'Heads and shoulders' ? Not only do I think Pujols is good, apparenlty I think he is some sort of Hindu god.

Interesting comments.. :D

Lavoro eccellente! ..ringraziamenti per le informazioni..realmente lo apprezzo: D

The information I found here was rather helpful. Thank you for this.

Very nice site! Good work.

Nice design, good graphical content. I think I'll come back later again;)

i'am really impressed!!

Recent comments

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  • jdrnym 59 min 50 sec ago (view)

    Brad Brach signs with the Mets for $850K but the Cubs are paying $500K, per Ken Rosenthal.


  • crunch 1 hour 27 min ago (view)

    Yeah, I've made myself familiar with a lot of the changes, but AZP's posts have both added more information and cleared up stuff I didn't fully grasp.  I appreciate the hell out of it.  Thanks Phil, thanks TCR.


  • bradsbeard 3 hours 9 min ago (view)

    Looks like Savant has his breaking pitch classified as a curve while Fangraphs calls it a slider. Suppose by ST he could have made everything over in the pitching lab, so who knows!


  • Arizona Phil 3 hours 26 min ago (view)

    Again, none of these rules (including the one that requires a pitcher to face a minimum of three batters or else record the final out of the inning) have been officially approved.  

    I think one possible caveat that might be added to the three-batter minimum rule would be that the pitcher can be replaced prior to facing three batters or recording the final out of the inning if the other team puts up a pinch-hitter. 


  • Arizona Phil 3 hours 29 min ago (view)

    Ptchers would also be treated differently under the new rules as far as the Injured list and Optional Assignment to the minors is concerned, with pitchers having to spend at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on the Injured List before being eligible to be reinstated and at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on Optional Assignment before being eligible to be recalled (inless the pitcher is being recalled to replace a pitcher on the 26-man roster who has been placed on an MLB inactive list).  


  • Arizona Phil 3 hours 30 min ago (view)

    SONICWIND: As the rule is proposed, prior to the start of each MLB regular season a club must designate all players on its Opening Day 26-man roster as either a "pitcher" or a "position player." A maximum of 13 can be designated as pitchers (14 pitchers max when rosters expand from 26 to 28 beginning on 9/1). 

    For players who come up during the season, the club must designate the player as either a pitcher or a position player when the player is placed on the MLB active list roster. 


  • Arizona Phil 3 hours 42 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Fangraphs shows the CT as his primary pitch in 2018 with the SL & FB (and an occasional CH) as his secondary pitches, with no CV at all. I guess I'll find out for sure in Spring Training. 


  • Sonicwind75 4 hours 59 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, thank you as always for the detailed information.  How is the "cannot be a pitcher" part of the rule to be enforced?  With a few two way players and the increasing amount of mop up innings being handled by position players it seems like there could be a gray area there.  What is preventing a team from stashing an athletic relief pitcher as a "5th outfielder" that could be a pinch runner and play a passable OF when needed but could also provide them with extra relief pitcher.  Anytime I hear of a new rule I always think of how Bill Billichek would circumvent it t


  • bradsbeard 4 hours 59 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, looking around Baseball Savant, it looks like Winkler now primarily throws a low 90s cutter, a 4-seamer that he throws a little harder (but is less effective), a curve and a sinker. The slider and change haven't been a major part of his repertoir the last two years. The cutter has been really effective the last two years but it looks like he lost command/effectiveness of his 4-seemer and curve last year For whatever reason  


  • bradsbeard 8 hours 19 min ago (view)

    They just signed this guy:



  • Hagsag 9 hours 36 min ago (view)

    There seems to be a lot of player movement so far. Too bad the Cubs aren't involved.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    Beginning in 2019, a club must wait a minimum of seven days before it can place a player who was claimed off Outtright Assignment Waivers during the off-season back onto waivers, so because he was claimed off waivers on Wednesday 11/27, yesterday (Wednesday 12/4) was the first day the Cubs could place LHRP C. D. Pelham back onto Outright Assignment Waivers, and so tomorrow (Friday 12/6) is the first day the Cubs can send Pelham outright to the minors (if he was placed back onto waivers yesterday).


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    A Competitive Balance draft slot can be traded only during a period of time starting on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft), so don't be surpised if these draft picks are traded during the off-season.

    Keep in mind that the slot cannot be traded for cash unless it is a financial adjustment made to offset the salary of one or more of the players involved in the trade.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    The active list roster limit changes scheduled to go in effect in 2020 have not yet been officially approved. Same goes for the three-batter minimum (or else record the third out in the inning) for relief pitchers. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    And then the active list roster limit will expand from 26 to 28 on September 1st (max 14 pitchers in September). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    The "26th man" who was added for doubleheaders will now be the "27th man" and he can be a pitcher.