Table of Contents

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Friday Night Links: Goodyear, Dunn's clutchiness, and MLB customer service

Reds headed to Goodyear

With a successful vote by the Goodyear City Council, the Reds are destined for Goodyear in 2010. I still think that this probably is not in Goodyear's best interests. But then again, it apparently is still possible that the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority could still end up chipping in for a significant portion of the Reds facility, so it might turn out to be a smaller investment on Goodyear's part than we originally had heard. Furthermore, apparently there is at least one financial plan indicating that Goodyear can still accomplish much of what Joanne Osborne previously stated were the priorities for the city alongside the investment in the Reds' facilities. We'll have to wait and see: I'm sure some economist out there will study the impact of these investments at some point. Should make for a decent, low-risk dissertation in five years or so.

But I do think that this move is going to be very good for the Reds, and for the Reds fans who come out here for vacation. Vegas and San Diego's beaches are each just 5.5 hours away (in different directions), so a trip to the Southwest can make for a fine little vacation.

Of course, their arrival in AZ is going to come about two years too late for me. I'm heading to Altoona (or thereabouts) this summer. But maybe we'll come back to visit friends and catch a spring training game while we're here some day in the future.


Is Adam Dunn "unclutch?"

Baseball-Reference now offers splits by leverage, breaking up plate appearances into high leverage (LI above 1.5), medium leverage (LI between 0.7 & 1.5), and low leverage (LI below 0.7). Given that Dunn is the Reds' "unclutch" representative in the Great Clutch Project, we'd expect to see some historical performance dip in the highest of clutch situations, right?

Here are his career stats in those situations, listed as AVG / OBP / SLG / OPS / 1.8OPS

High Leverage - 0.237 / 0.395 / 0.500 / 0.895 / 1.211 in 862 PA's
Medium Leverage - 0.247 / 0.373 / 0.508 / 0.881 / 1.179 in 1573 PA's
Low Leverage - 0.254 / 0.381 / 0.534 / 0.915 / 1.220 in 1700 PA's

So...*maybe* he has a slightly lower AVG and SLG in high-leverage situations, though that's offset for the most part by the higher OBP (via walks). OPS shows a pretty miniscule difference. And if we use 1.8OPS (=1.8*OBP + SLG, which is a better weighting for OBP relative to SLG), any difference all but vanishes.

Also, keep in mind that Dunn is more likely to have faced left-handed relievers in high-leverage situations, because those high leverage PA's are more likely to occur later in ballgames after starters have exited the game. Dunn has an 0.085 OPS left/right split, so this probably works against him in the high-leverage situations.

So given all that, I'm not seeing much (if any) indication that Dunn has historically struggled in high leverage situations...certainly not enough to make for differences in prediction in any given plate appearance.


Great Clutch Project Update

While we're on the subject, here's an update on the Great Clutch Project:
  • "Clutch" players: 0.746 OPS, -0.85 WPA in clutch situations
  • "Unclutch" players: 0.781, +1.22 WPA in clutch situations
EDE's two clutch homers account for +0.95 WPA on the clutch team, the highest total of any player in the project. Where would the clutchers be without him? Insightful commentary, Jeff "I stand corrected" Brantley.


Does MLB treat their fans right?

There's been a series of snafus with respect to MLB's relations with its customers (i.e. the public) of late. Some of these things aren't new, per se, but they all fit a trend:
  • Chris is upset about the sudden removal of condensed games from MLB.tv. And, as StillFlash points out, they've also removed the links to the archives of previously released condensed games. It's almost like they're intentionally provoking people with this move.
  • Red Hot Mama got "red hot" (and not in the good way) about MLB's new (and ridiculous) internet policies when they were announced during spring training. Compare that to the attitude displayed by an NHL representative when talking about their online content: "We actually support people snagging content of ours," Mika said. "We love for our fans to share content and to send the links around. It's something we really encourage."
  • A CPA in Miami is challenging the Marlins' apparently bogus statements that they are losing money. I've only read about a third of it, but it looks pretty darn solid: while he's not the first to identify it, that team has been raking in the money. And yet, by claiming that they're operating at a loss (despite absurdly-low payrolls), they've managed to secure funding for a new publically-funded stadium...which will just bring them more money.
  • Last week, we talked about an unhappy Reds customer.
  • And then there was the whole battle over Extra Innings last summer.
Any large company is going to have problems like this here and there. But MLB, rich with its success, has to my eye become rather brazen with respect to their fanbase of late. At some point, that might come back to bite them.


The Best (Little League) Game Ever

Chad beat me to the punch on this one, but with a hat tip to one of my students, this was a pretty cool video. Can you imagine being (the parent of) a 10-year old playing in that game?



Red Shirt by Captain Kirk Interactions

I love it when someone decides to study something like this objectively. It's particularly funny when they take it to the absurd degree that this guy does. Brilliance.

Hat tip to studes.


Dusty Baker Lineup Project

Believe me, I'm working on it. Work has just been killing me this week. Models have all been run, I'm just trying to figure out some way of explaining the results...they're interesting. :)