Table of Contents

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A slurry of links...

I wanted to take a moment and clear out some of the articles that I've been saving in bloglines for linkage. So, in quick fashion, along with a few comments:
1B: -0.7
2B: -2.1
SS: +4.1
3B: +11.1
LF: -3.4
CF: 0.0
RF: +3.8
      • It's not surprising that 1B and LF starters would be worse fielders than bench players, because those are almost pure offensive positions. I am a bit surprised to see second basemen coming out lower than their replacements--I guess that's how no-hit infielders can make a difference on a team. I was very surprised to see that third basemen are so much better defensively than their bench replacements. Tango suggests that this is due to the fantastic crowd of defensive (not to mention offensive) third basemen playing these days.
      • The take-home message is that replacement-level fielding is much more on-par to starter performance than replacement level hitting or pitching. Not surprising, perhaps, but it's nice to see the numbers.
    • Update: I forgot to mention JP's look at center fielders over at R&B. He makes the excellent point that out of zone plays might result in more runs saved than in-zone plays, especially for outfielders, as those will tend to be balls in the gap.
  • Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, is planning to veto the ban on metal bats passed by the city council, claiming that this sort of thing needs to be controlled by leagues themselves. I posted about this before when the bill was passed by the legislature, and it will continue to bear watching. This issue is bound to keep coming up in the future, in NYC and elsewhere.
  • Vince Gennaro posted an excerpt from his book on the economics of winning in baseball.
    • Interesting findings include the discovery that wins in Cincinnati result in fewer dollars earned by the club than wins in almost any other MLB city. It's also interesting to see how the relationship between wins and dollars earned can be non-linear in some cities, but almost flat in others.
    • One quibble I'll pass on is that my own work on attendance rates has shown that previous season wins are almost, or perhaps even more important than current season win totals in understanding team attendance. As far as I can tell, he only used current-season win totals in his regressions, and that might be missing an important element in predicting attendance rates.
      • Update: I received this point in an email from Vince Gennaro this morning in response to my critique--good to know he's already noted this!:
        You raise an important point about last year's wins and this year's wins both affecting the team's attendance. In fact, that's exactly how I defined wins--50% last year + 50% current year--for the purpose of my modeling and analysis. I experimented with different combinations of last yr/current yr wins and it became clear that attendance in the first couple of months of the season has less to do with current performance and much more to do with the advance sales (and season ticket renewals) based on how the team finished the previous year.
  • Dan Fox and Neal Williams did a two-part series on quantifying third base coaches. Mark Berry came out not-so-good in terms of his ability to judge when to send runners home, whereas Billy Hatcher was rated as the best third base coach in the entire span of 2000-2006...but then again, there was almost zero year-to-year correlation in coach performance, so those numbers probably don't mean anything. Quantifying the effects of coaches and managers is still a holy grail of statistical evaluation. You just know they have an effect, but it's hard to get past all the noise.
  • Former Reds' farmhand Dustin Moseley is the #5 starter for the Anaheim Angels. Good for him, I hope he makes it...even though it would make the Ramon Ortiz trade look even worse than it does now.
  • This is from last November but I never linked it: Sal Baxamusa at THT found that the best way to avoid being shut out is not to focus manufacturing runs via small ball--it's to have power in your lineup. Looks like a solid study, even if I can't replicate the methodology (Weibull distribution?!).
  • Finally, comments of some Reds news:
    • Hermanson was released by the Reds. I was surprised by this move, given that papers had nominated him the Reds' closer this year. I hope it's not because I never got around to doing a profile on him. Dustin, I swear, it was on my list! I'm just behind!!
    • Denorfia's Tommy John surgery... Poor kid. I picked him to be the Reds' starting center fielder this year, and even though that was unlikely to happen from the get-go, I thought this would be a big year for him. The good news is that position players often recover from this surgery more quickly than pitchers. Bad news is that he's still going to miss the whole season.
That's enough for today, even if I still have a good 100 or so other links saved away for a rainy day. :)

Still to come this week (hopefully): My 2006 Reds Fielding Review (very close to being done), a 2007 Reds Spring Training Review, and the launch of a series of book reviews I intend to do this year. I'll start with The Hardball Times 2007 Annual and The Graphical Player. Both are highly recommended.