January 2010

Moneyball, the misunderstood.

The other day, an analyst, or expert, whatever one wants to refer to them as.  Well, anyway, this “expert” stated that ‘Moneyball’ wasn’t simply showing us how to find that a slow, un-athletic player that can draw walks has value.  It was showing simply how to find an “undervalued” player.

At the time of course, Scott Hatteberg proved to be undervalued.

Scott Hatteberg would not however, be undervalued in today’s game.

So it isn’t that ‘Moneyball’ doesn’t work anymore, it is simply that it has changed.  There will always be ways to find cheaper contributers in the game of baseball.

The writer then went on to explain that defense is a lost art or whatever.  And eventually, it will be something else that general managers overlook, except for a select few.

‘Moneyball’ is still very real.  The perception that statistics are the only way to find baseball players, well, that is very false.

I am starting to understand more and more that Michael Lewis was simply a writer, not an expert on the game of baseball.

But did he have an “agenda” as some speak?  Or was he simply ignorant to the fact that there were other ways to win baseball games, not just Billy Beane’s way.  I mean, someone that isn’t exactly of expertise value on a subject, sits down, they learn things one way, and they might adopt it as the ONLY way to do things.

After all, it was the only style of baseball that was hammered into Lewis’ head for a long period of time.  I doubt Lewis has ever come close to any other style of baseball as much as he did with Billy Beane’s style.

The fact is, is that the book was a great, great book, which opened many of our eyes.  Anyone that said, “Statistics are the only meaningful way to evaluate baseball players.”  Or, “Athletic players are useless.”  Even perhaps, “Walks are more important than hits.”

Any of those above quotes would be completely and totally wrong.  And the point of ‘Moneyball’ the style, rather than the book would have been lost.

I for one, value players that are cheap AND effective.  Who doesn’t?  There is a very valid point to comparing Josh Willingham to Jason Bay.  It is not to say that Jason Bay is the inferior player, it is just to state that maybe a team could have used their resources better by grabbing Willingham instead of Bay.  But then again, in this day and age, with the internet available, that comparison isn’t much of a secret to begin with.

But for example, 20 years ago, people would have most likely chosen a player like Mike Jacobs over a Hatteberg, because he has the ability to hit the ball out of the park more often.

Nowadays, however, we realize that Hatteberg was the more valuable guy.  Getting on base was simply not looked at as much back in the day.

…And Mike Jacobs sucks.

Please comment here.

Billy Benius strikes again!

Miguel Tejada back to his old terrain

The Orioles re-contractually obligated Miguel Tejada.  This is not a good move.

Of course, it is not a bad move either.  The Orioles needed a 3B and
Tejada fills that void.  Sure, he has been living off of Houston’s
friendly “pull-hitter” confines, but I guess it is conceivable that he
isn’t as bad as his road stats.

The one thing that could happen.  Tejada COULD have a nice first
half and be moved to a contender needing a versatile bat off the bench.

But the odds of Tejada hitting well, in the AL East, against the Red
Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays, pitching staffs, is, well, not good.

So the move seems to be more about a stop-gap at third, then
potential trade bait.  Because Tejada just isn’t a good baseball player
anymore.

But I’ve been surprised before…

Billy Benius strikes again:

Billy Beane is a magician.  He pulls things out of a hat…and simply wins ballgames.

Ok, that is a fallacy.

Beane got a lot of praise for winning with little money.

Now, he gets a lot of crap for losing with little money.

Read the rest of the entry…

Schilling > Mo

So maybe this has little relevance to anything that matters, but
Curt Schilling helped his teams win more ballgames than did Mariano
Rivera, the greatest closer of all time. 

Why do I bring this up? 

Because
I was trying to prove a point to Father the other day.  That point
being how much I, and several others, believe that the closer is
overrated. 

So we were in agreement, that, say, Pedro was
better than Rivera.  Or that Clemens was better.  And I am sure that
had the names come up, Bob Gibson, Randy Johnson and others, would have
been agreed upon as well. 

Read the rest of the entry…

Gary Matthews > Roster spot ?

Gary Matthews Jr has a purpose.

He can play all three positions on the field.

That is really it.

Matthews can serve as a bench player who specializes in questionable
defense at all three positions.  And the ability to switch hit.

Everyone knows that his contract was a terrible mistake.  One good season, and a hefty payday comes knocking on his door.

But every team makes mistakes, and the Angels obviously know what
they are doing, as they experience success each and every season.

The Red Sox signed Julio Lugo.

The Yankees overpay for declining years.

Read the rest of the entry…

Pineiro inks in a place other than anticipated.

Joel Pineiro goes where it’s warm

So the Angels saved money, but signed a pitcher that is worse, compared to John Lackey.

Two years, $16 million isn’t bad.  But remember, Pineiro isn’t exactly a great pitcher either.

In each of the three seasons previous to 09,’ he was worth under a
win.  But then all of a sudden, apparently because of a “new arm slot,”
he is all of a deemed “very good.”

Read the rest of the entry…

Josh Johnson agrees to terms with Marlins/Yankees.

Yankees agree to terms with Josh Johnson

So the Marlins are under contract for four years with their ‘Ace’
pitcher, Josh Johnson.  Two of which they will pay, and two of which
the Yankees will probably pick up for a couple prospects.

So, New York, you now know that you will have to pay roughly $14
million for his services, and surrender a couple decent or better chips
for his rights. :)

Adam Laroche intelligent?

There was much talk amidst the Adrian Beltre signing, that he was setting himself up for something bigger.

Big market, solid lineup, Giant beneficial wall to his pull-side.

So he takes a one-year deal from the Red Sox, in an attempt to post
better numbers in a park that suits his style a little better.

Now he has financial security for 2010 (option), or he could sign a long-term deal after playing well for a season.

Read the rest of the entry…

Raines vs. Gwynn.

Tim Raines reached base more than Tony Gwynn.

Alright, we freaking get it already.  Someone cherry-picked a statistic to favor Raines and help his Hall of Fame candidacy.

But “reaching base” is not always equivalent to, well, reaching base.

Gwynn batted .338!  Raines only .284.

Do we ignore this?

I get it, the argument is to say that Raines is worthy, not
necessarily that he was better than Gwynn.  But sometimes it comes off
as just that.

Read the rest of the entry…

McGwire mans up. Vlad impales $5 million.

McGwire cheated:

I guess I should touch up on McGwire’s admittance, since I do write a blog about baseball.

Good for him.  No matter how lame he sounded at Congress, he came
out and — I believe — gave us more of an admission than anyone else
has.  Nearly ten years worth of off and on use — which may simply be
when one cycle’s on and off — but nevertheless, it was much greater a
time period than any other.

Read the rest of the entry…

The Statistician Magician’s projected ‘WAR,’ Red Sox edition.

Before I went to sleep last night, I projected, in my head, all of the individual ‘WAR’ totals for the Red Sox.

It went a little somethin’ like this…

Jacoby Ellsbury:  2.5

Mike Cameron:  3.0

JD Drew: 3.5

Read the rest of this entry…

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