Andre Dawson 2004 Leaf Limited Player Threads – Dual Jersey Relic Card I had been hunting down this specific baseball card for months. The seller that I bought it from was asking a lot, too much in my opinion, when … Continue reading →
Read The Full Article:
Perhaps the biggest signature of the Giants' 2012 season was the team chemistry they had on their roster for that World Series run. So much so that Brian Sabean made it a priority to keep the status quo, and it's showed in the way they've approached this offseason.
Aside from re-signing some of their own key components from 2012, the Giants have been as quiet as a mouse in terms of acquiring talent from outside sources. The only guy who projects to be on the 25 man roster who wasn't with the team in 2012 is Andres Torres, but other than that, they'll be relying on the same recipe for success to repeat itself in 2013. Now, on one hand, I'm extremely happy the team found a way to keep guys like Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan and Jeremy Affeldt in San Francisco for the next few years, but on the other, I keep thinking of ways they could improve themselves for 2013. I know they didn't need to make a big splash for a Josh Hamilton or Zack Grienke, but this team did have some flaws in 2012 that I felt could have been addressed this offseason. I've talked about the need for another right-handed bat in the outfield many times, but solidifying the bullpen and shoring up their backup infield spots should have been higher priorities as well, in my opinion. Torres helps fill some of the outfield void, but his bat has really disappeared the last year and a half and if he and Blanco don't hit, it'll leave this team searching for help again by mid-season. Not that they have gaping holes necessarily, but they have spots they could improve upon and apparently don't feel the urgency to do so.
Again though, it's the same team that did win it all just a few months back, so it's tough to argue with the decisions Brian Sabean and company have made. I just see them adding these minor league relievers like Scott Proctor and then see a guy like Jason Frasor sign for $1.5 million and wonder why the Giants weren't more actively pursuing Frasor rather than settling on someone who hasn't been successful in the bigs in half a decade. The bullpen is the one spot where I was expecting them to bring in some outside help this winter, especially after non-tendering Brian Wilson, but that hasn't been the case. It makes me wonder whether the Giants may still have intentions on bringing Wilson, who says he's getting close to signing with someone, back for 2013. I've stated a few times here since he became a free agent that this is still the best spot for him next season. He is expected to be ready to go by April, and although he may not be ready to return to his closer role right away, if he proves himself early on, you'd have to believe the Giants would have no problem putting him back in the 9th inning when he became ready. They have the closer-by-committee deal set-up again heading into this year, and although it did work out for them in 2012, they're a Sergio Romo elbow strain (or arrest), or a Jeremy Affeldt rotator cuff injury away from being suddenly shorthanded at the back end of their pen.
Coming Up: We haven't been posting quite as frequently here in recent weeks, due largely in part to the teams in-activity, but also because I was flat out swamped during the holidays this year. That said, we should get back to our typical schedule of 2-3 posts per week shortly though, and I appreciate all the readers who continue to visit and contribute to our site. We also have a few Matt Cain Perfect Game Commemorative DVD's left to give away to our readers, and if your interested, please e-mail us with your thought on the Giants offseason so far, and whether or not your content with this returning roster and/or who else you'd like to see Sabean pursue.
Read The Full Article:
Lot Of 3 Jim Palmer 2005 Donruss Studio Portraits – SWEET!!!! 2013 will be a good year for my Jim Palmer player collection. I have put some renewed energy into adding some bulk to the set of cards I am … Continue reading →
Read The Full Article:
It's no secret that this year's Hall of Fame ballot consists of players that are believed to use performance enhancing drugs. Some people believe that there is no place in the Hall of Fame for players that cheat, while other believe that they should be enshrined. Brad Harris, of The Hardball Times, looks at how the heck we should handle the PED issue, when it comes to voting for the Hall of Fame. The original article can be read here.
The Hall of Fame says that unless a player is banned for life, so long as he played 10 or more seasons, he’s eligible for election; not just consideration, but election to the Hall. Therefore, voters should apply to same standard to the eligible PED user (or PED suspect) that they apply to all other eligible players: Was he as good a baseball player as the de facto standard for Hall of Famers laid out by seven decades of elections? Was he one of the best all-time at his position? Was he one of the best of his era?
Performance enhancing drugs can be a touchy issue, but nowhere in the rules does it say that PED users (or suspected users) are not allowed to be elected in the Hall of Fame. In fact, the only way to be banned from Hall of Fame consideration is to be banned from the game of baseball. This means players like Shoeless Joe Jackson or Pete Rose.
There are many players in Cooperstown who have either admitted to cheating or been suspected of cheating. In his book entitled "I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story", Hank Aaron admits to using amphetamines in order to get out of a slump. That's just one example, but I'm sure there were many, many other Hall of Famers who have cheated.
The Hall of Fame doesn't say that PED users are banned from Cooperstown, so why should they be punished?
Question for the community:
1) Do you think PED users should be prohibited from entering the Hall of Fame?
Major League News:Big moves are happening in Boston this offseason. Adding to their coaching staff,[...]
Read The Full Article:
You may think GR!T and pWAZ are important stats. The Game Winning RBI is revolutionary. And if a pitcher doesn't win more than 10 games, he's a failure. Or you may think the differences between fWAR and bWAR expose the soft underbelly of the sabermetric community. You choose to use linear weights and regression models to form an opinion.
Either way, we have one thing in common: We are fans of the Kansas City Royals.
As such, I view our site as a big tent. And as a community we have much to offer. Hopefully, everyone who visits will feel welcome and comfortable enough to participate in our conversations.
With that in mind, here are a few simple suggestions to keep in mind when leaving a comment:
- Refrain from personal attacks. Name calling or personal shots are not conducive to healthy debate.
- Keep the threads on track. If something deserves a FanShot or FanPost, use these tools. Maybe we post a new FanShot about, say the Jays trading for RA Dickey, and then post the link in the current most active threads. That way we can stay on topic while directing those who wish to discuss something else to the appropriate threads.
- If you feel the need to discuss something completely unrelated to baseball, please create an OT FanShot or FanPost. It's frustrating when a comment thread gets derailed by a discussion that has nothing to do with the original post and ultimately hurts the quality of the site. Just posting an "OT" ahead of a comment about an episode of Dance Moms you just watched doesn't help. It can be bothersome to scroll through unrelated comments.
- Game day threads hold a special place in our lore. As such, they are freewheeling social experiments where off topic thoughts and overflow thread girls converge into a melting pot of the depths of the internet. Not recommended if you have a pre-existing heart condition, have back issues, have motion sickness, are pregnant, nursing or sensitive to the rantings of a fanbase that has gone over 25 years without a trip to the post season. You've been warned. Nobody said you had to click there.
- Profanity is understood. Racial slurs or derogatory comments about sexuality are unacceptable. I hate to be Zero Tolerance Guy, but there won't be warnings.
- If you are going to post a FanPost or a FanShot, please don't use profanity in the title. The front page is representative of our site. It's where new visitors will likely get a first impression of what we are about. Plus, some of us work for corporations with IT departments that monitor internet usage. Click on a FanPost with a profanity in the permalink, red flags go off and the next thing we know, the site is blocked. No one wants that to happen.
- Do not refer to your comment as a "take." Seriously. Don't.
- No shirt, no shoes, no service. This is a reputable website. Put some clothes on for chrissakes.
Offensive volatility is a topic that Bill Petti, of FanGraphs, has been focusing his research on. A few weeks ago hitter volatility was re-introduced after some more research was done. Basically this is the overall concept of hitter volatility: Petti wanted to see how players distribute their performances throughout the season. Is one hitter more consistent, whereas another hitter has one great performance with a mix of awful games? The original article can be read here.
With that information, Petti now wanted to apply offensive volatility and applied it to team offensives to see how it gave teams a better chance of scoring and winning games. The piece can be seen here.
In general, the literature has suggested if you’re comparing two similar offenses, the more consistent offense is preferable throughout the season. The reason has to do with the potential advantages a team can gain when they don’t “waste runs” in blow-out victories. The more evenly a team can distribute their runs, the better than chances of winning more games.
In 2012 the Baltimore Orioles and the Cincinnati Reds were two of the most consistent teams in baseball. According to VOL, they ranked fifth and third, respectively. In terms of wins, the Orioles won 93 games in 2012, but were expected to only win 82. The Reds won 97 games, yet were only expected to win 91. Both did a fairly good job at beating their expectations.
The Red Sox on the other hand, were on the opposite side of the spectrum. Their VOL score was 23, which puts them in the bottom half of baseball. Their 2012 win total was 69 wins, while they were expected to win 74.
Question for the community:
1) How can offensive volatility be improved?
Every year around this time, people debate the Hall of Fame ballot. It always ends up with three different categories of players - the obvious Hall of Famers on merit (Barry Bonds, Jeff Bagwell), and the obvious "No's" (Royce Clayton, Jeff Cirillo). The third category, outside of the PEDs issue, is what livens the debate. Because for players like Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro and Larry Walker, it ultimately shifts the question away from the player and onto: "Well, how big of a Hall do you want?"
There are Small Hall purists, who only want the true juggernauts enshrined, but we are already past that convention breaking down. Grant Brisbee wrote a piece analyzing the break down of the Small Hall in which he notes just how many eligible players he is surprised he would vote for this year: over 15.
He cites Graham Womack's 50 Best Not in the Hall of Fame project, which hit its third installment Wednesday. Players were voted on and ranked, and each player got a written argument, penned by some great writers: Dan Szymborski of ESPN, Bill Parker of The Platoon Advantage, Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated, former White Sox and Dodgers GM Dan Evans, Jason Wojciehowski of Baseball Prospectus, Brandon Warne of Fangraphs...oh, and me. I got the honor of writing up Larry Walker.
Walker finished 18th in the voting of eligible players, yet of the votes cast for Walker from the panel, 71.4% selected "yes." Clearly, the contributors are Large Hall guys, and feel many deserving players are getting shut out. Check the actual BBWAA voting this year so far and Walker has just 13.1% of the vote, with the top vote getters (Bagwell and Raines) still falling short at 68.8%.
Somehow, we have a large group who feel 15+ deserve to be enshrined, and another large group who feel zero should. How the grey area gets sorted out will be fascinating.
Writers have tended to come up with all sorts of unique arguments to keep players off the ballot, and Troy Renck's charge that Walker didn't "care enough" is a confounding and creative. Does the route taken to a HOF-level career much matters if the end point is the same? Did Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle care that much? They certainly enjoyed their post-game activities. When did "Was baseball your #1 sport" a requirement for Cooperstown?
Statistically, Larry Walker was a much better player than we remember. Courtesy of Fangraphs, here is a WAR graph of six players on this year's ballot. Renck voted for five of them, omitting Walker, who actually had the highest career WAR.
I went into it a bit in my limited passage for Womack's project, but voters don't know how to handle pre-humidor Coors Field or the "steroid era," and those two happening concurrently over a player's peak like Walker really confounds things. Yet his park- and era-adjusted OPS+ was 141 for his career, 6th best on this ballot. He had a 144 in 2004 at age 37, better than any season put up by Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez. Walker's 130 in his final season at age 38 is much better than the career numbers for the Rockies' current star duo.
Yet what really gets overlooked is that Walker's offense was only part of his game, and he makes up significant ground in defense and baserunning.
Jay Jaffe has been running a fantastic series on the Hall of Fame voting around his JAWS metric, an attempt at an objective measurement of a Hall of Famer. Walker is a clear Hall of Famer by his metrics based on the average value of a player currently in the Hall of Fame, buthe adjusted his thinking with a piece yesterday raising the bar for entry.
The result keeps Bonds, Clemens and Bagwell in the Hall but pushes Walker onto the fence along with Schilling, Trammel and Raines.
Ultimately, Walker's Hall of Fame case centers most around how large of a Hall the voter believes should exist.
Partnership with Sparta Performance Science puts Rockies at forefront of training technology | ColoradoRockies.com: News - The Rockies realize the #1 individual they need help from for 2013, but instead of praying to Asclepius, they are going the science route. Who knows if this will actually help prevent injuries or send trainers on a panicked witch hunt for ghost ailments, but I'm thrilled to see the Rockies thinking out of the box.
David Dahl to Return for GJ Rockies' Winter Caravan | KREX - News, Weather, Sports for Grand Junction - Even though the Rockies' top prospect won't be playing baseball in Colorado again for a few years, he is joining the Pioneer League club's winter caravan in three weeks. There is also a Western Slope baseball camp today through Sunday in Grand Junction that will be attended by various Rockies coaches and Jordan Pacheco. At the very least, click on the link to watch video of Dahl yanking a double to right field, beating out an infield hit and effortlessly lofting an opposite field home run.
BaseballAmerica.com: College: On Campus: The Top 10 College Head Coaches Under 40 - Rockies fans will recognize the top name on this list.
Giants Pitcher Sergio Romo -- BUSTED at Vegas Airport | TMZ.com - Because Brian Wilson is no longer the Giants closer, Sergio Romo had to grab headlines in the offseason and up his closer rep.
While anxiously awaiting the day pitchers and catchers report, I came up with what I think is a brilliant idea. During Spring Training, each major league team should form a prospect All-Star team, filled with their top prospects not at major league spring training. While I have no say with the commissioner, it is fun to dream about something like this happening. Anyways, I came up with the idea to compare the Marlins prospects with other teams in the N.L. East and their top prospects. I will be doing all five teams in the division, starting with the New York Mets.
DISCLAIMER: This is in no way to determine which team has the better farm system.
Catcher: The Marlins and the Mets are both looking pretty good at catcher after a couple of trades. The Mets had to give up R.A. Dickey to get Travis d'Arnaud, who is without a doubt their catcher of the future. Neither Rob Brantly nor J.T. Realmuto on the Marlins' side is as talented as d'Arnaud, but there is something to be said for having two extremely talented catchers in the minors.
Kevin Plawecki is another talented catcher in the Mets' system, but he is not at the same level as the rest of these guys. If Realmuto had not been such a disappointment in 2012, I would say the Marlins have the better assortment of catchers. However, because d'Arnaud has the chance to be an All-Star, unlike any of the Marlins' catchers, I am going to have to give New York the win here. Advantage: New York
First Base: First base prospects are few and far between. Neither the Mets nor the Marlins have any highly talented first base prospects that are playing first base in the minors as of right now. Miami does have Mark Canha (about whom I wrote for Fish Stripes here.) but ne is neither an impact bat nor above-average defender. If New York has to move Wilmer Flores to first, which in my opinion will happen sooner rather than later, he could be a pretty special first baseman. This is an underwhelming position in the minors for both teams at the moment, so because he is the best current first base prospect on either team, Mark Canha leads Miami to the win here. Advantage: Miami
Second Base: Second base is not a position where most top prospects start out at. For this reason above all, the Marlins and Mets do not have any second basemen that would be in either team's top ten prospects. Nonetheless, Miami does have two prospects that play second base and at least one of them will have a very bright future. Out of Noah Perio and Austin Barnes, Miami will likely find their second baseman of the future. For New York, the closest thing they have to a second base prospect is Wilmer Flores, who I am listing at third right now. The winner of this category is fairly clear compared to the others. Advantage: Miami
Shortstop: The shortstop position is a great matchup because the position is one of both team's strengths. For New York, 2012 first round pick Gavin Cecchini has the talent to become an above-average regular, but right now he is still learning to incorporate more of his lower body into his swing and is a couple of years away. Miami boasts Adeiny Hechavarria and Derek Dietrich. Hechavarria is never going to hit much, but he plays tremendous defense. Dietrich has awesome raw power, but he is going to have to move off shortstop at some point. Simply because Miami has two elite prospects currently at this position instead of one, they win this position. Advantage: Miami
Third Base: All the Marlins really have at third right now is Zack Cox, of whom Fish Stripes readers know I am not a big fan. Cox is no more than a second-division starter at third. If you dig deeper, Miami has Ron Miller (about whom I wrote about for Fish Stripes here.) but he's way too raw to project yet. Aderlin Rodriguez and Matt Reynolds are both talented young 3B prospects for New York, but neither will become a Major League starter at third base. Overall, New York has to win this category just because of Wilmer Flores. Advantage: New York
Outfield: Both teams have talented outfield prospects, but not many teams can match up with Miami's top three. Christian Yelich, Jake Marisnick, and Marcell Ozuna are three players who are so good, it is impossible to not like at least one of them. Are you interested in an outfielder that can hit for average, has average power with the potential for more, and is a fantastic athlete? Well, then there is Christian Yelich. Perhaps you prefer excellent defense and raw power that an outfielder can flaunt with his hitting ability, which has improved a ton since that player was drafted? For that desire, Jake Marisnick fits the mold. Do you love crazy raw power and one of the best outfield arms in the minors? Marcell Ozuna is the man for that. My point is, the Marlins' top three outfielders often get overshadowed by the team's pitching, but they are just as much a part of the future in Miami.
For New York, Brandon Nimmo is their only current outfield prospect that can be a first-division starter. Nimmo is still years away, but he looks like a player that could hit .300 with average power down the road. Overall, the Marlins dominate the outfield prospect competition. Advantage: Miami
Pitching: Instead of doing a separate category for starters and relievers, I decided to combine the two, with a huge emphasis on starters. Starting pitching prospects is one area in which both of these teams are far ahead from the rest of the pack.
The top five pitching prospects in Miami in no particular order are as follows; Jose Fernandez, Justin Nicolino, Andrew Heaney, Adam Conley, and Jose Urena. The top five pitching prospects in New York (not in order) are Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Fulmer, and Rafael Montero. Miami has the clear advantage among these five, but I actually think New York has more depth. Time will tell as to which system will produce the best pitchers, but right now, it looks like Miami has the best combination of high-ceiling talent and probability in their pitchers. Advantage: Miami
Final Tally: Miami 5, New York 2
There were many reasons why members of the Vigilante Sabermetric Brigade who also happen to cheer for the Kansas City Royals flipped out over the James Shields/Wil Myers trade. If you read this blog regularly, you almost certainly have read the arguments ad nauseum, but two of the main arguments against the trade were:
Dayton Moore and company could fix at least the latter problem, and potentially the former one with a move that the team could still make this offseason, but barring something completely out of character, will not. Free agent outfielder Michael Bourn would be a great fit for the current team in Kansas City, and would push the team closer to playoff contention.
Bourn is still available in free agency, and most teams who went into the offseason needing a centerfielder have already filled that need. Although the Texas Rangers are still rumored to have interest in the outfielder, the negotiations between the two parties don't appear particularly serious. Bourn does not appear to have a lot of leverage, and looks like a candidate for a potential bargain.
As Eno Sarris explained on Fangraphs, Bourn might come cheaply because of how the market has played out, not because he is over-the-hill as a baseball player. Over the past four seasons, Bourn has been worth 20 wins for the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros, while Shields complied 15 wins for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Most of Bourn's value is tied up in his speed, which helps him to post elite defensive and baserunning numbers. Tom Tango compiled some evidence that speed players age better than your average major league player, so Moore should not worry that Bourn's production is likely to fall off a cliff. He's easily less of a risk than the "proven starter," Kansas City just required, since he doesn't pitch for a living.
Signing Bourn would cost the Royals a draft pick, but since the team has a supplemental pick at the end of the first round, the loss is not too great. The loss of a draft pick is also acceptable in the case because Bourn helps push this team closer to wild card contention the next two seasons, and the team needs to reach the post-season to make the Shields trade somewhat close to justifiable.
You can even make arguments to sign Bourn that the current front office might appreciate. He's an ex-Brave, so that's a plus. He could slide nicely into the leadoff position, allowing them to move Alex Gordon and still get production at the top of the lineup (think about all of the fastballs Gordon would see hitting behind Bourn!).
Bourn fits this current roster construction. The Royals could shift Lorenzo Cain to right field, which would give them one of the best defensive outfields in baseball. Bourn gives the offense another league-average hitter, which would be an improvement over Francoeur and the 23 percent below league-average hitting season he managed last year. Bourn just turned 30 years old, so he should remain productive for at least the next few seasons, which is the window for competing the Royals unnecessarily placed upon themselves.
Of course, there is little chance that the team actually signs the speedy centerfielder. Spending more money would cause David Glass and his family to go on food stamps, so the team would need to unload salary to sign Bourn. Trading Billy Butler or Alex Gordon could not work, since the team is not in a position to trade players who will provide value for the team next season.
That leaves Ervin Santana, Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar and/or Francoeur as players that would need to be traded, and the other team would have to pick up their entire salary in the process. These players were roughly as effective in 2012 as the Maginot Line was in 1940, so it seems highly unlikely that any (other) team would want to acquire them.
The current situation the Royals find themselves should help explain why the nerds around here get so upset over spending money on replaceable. The team operates on a tight budget, and every sub-optimal decision with money adds up and then limits the team when they have an opportunity to sign players who actually improve the team.
So Michael Bourn wearing a Kansas City Royals uniform in 2013 will only exist as a fantasy, even though a different set of circumstances could have made it a reality. It's a damn shame too, because signing Bourn would greatly improve the team's current roster and push them closer to playoff contention.