Friday, April 30, 2010

WAR All-Stars - First Month

So in the pre-season, I did a little post creating an objective All-Star team for each league using just WAR from CHONE. To keep myself busy, I figured at the end of each month, I could do an update using FanGraphs' WAR so far through the season. This team will be assembled using the roster rules for the actual All-Star game (including the recent update to 34). For NL DH, I'll just plug in the best wRAA who isn't starting.

Of course, at this point, this should be mostly hilarious thanks to a pretty small sample size. That, of course, makes it even more fun. One small difference from FanGraphs' WAR: I believe in looking at as many reasonable data points of defense as possible, so for the defensive component, I'll be taking the difference between DRS and UZR. This will probably be a little wonky because UZR, I believe, doesn't update as frequently as DRS, and one week of data makes a lot of difference at this point. Oh well, I don't particularly care. I'm also going to add DRS to pitchers.

American League
SP - Francisco Liriano, MIN (1.1)
C - Joe Mauer, MIN (1.0)
1B - Justin Morneau, MIN (1.5)
2B - Robinson Cano, NYY (1.7)
3B - Evan Longoria, TB (1.3)
SS - Alex Gonzalez, TOR (1.1)
OF - Nelson Cruz, TEX (1.6)
OF - Carl Crawford, TB (1.4)
OF - Vernon Wells, TOR (1.4)
DH - Jose Guillen, KC (0.6)

C - Matt Wieters, BAL (0.5)
1B - Paul Konerko, CHW (1.0)
1B - Daric Barton, OAK (1.o)
1B - Kendry Morales, LAA (0.9)
1B - Miguel Cabrera, DET (0.9)
2B - Ben Zobrist, TB (0.9)
3B - Alberto Callaspo, KC (0.8)
SS - Elvis Andrus, TEX (0.8)

OF - Franklin Gutierrez, SEA (1.4)
OF - Austin Jackson, DET (1.1)
OF - Magglio Ordonez, DET (1.1)
OF - Shin-Soo Choo, CLE (1.1)
DH - Vladimir Guerrero, TEX (0.5)

SP - John Danks, CHW (1.1)
SP - Ricky Romero, TOR (1.0)
SP - CC Sabathia, NYY (1.0)
SP - Carl Pavano, MIN (0.9)
SP - Clay Bucholz, BOS (0.8)
SP - Matt Garza, TB (0.9)
SP - Feliz Hernandez, SEA (0.8)
SP - Andy Pettitte, NYY (0.8)
RP - Kevin Gregg, TOR (0.8)
RP - Joel Zumaya, DET (0.7)
RP - Matt Thornton, CHW (0.6)

Nation League
SP - Roy Halladay, PHI (1.7)
C - Brian McCann, ATL (0.7)
1B - Albert Pujols, STL (1.2)
2B - Chase Utley, PHI (1.5)
3B - Pablo Sandoval, SF (1.0)
SS - Stephen Drew, ARI (1.0)
OF - Colby Rasmus, STL (1.6)
OF - Josh Willingham, WSN (1.2)
OF - Michael Bourn, HOU (1.1)
DH - Ryan Braun, MIL (1.0)

C - Bengie Molina, SF (0.5)
1b - Adrian Gonzalez, SD (1.0)
1B - Joey Votto, CIN (0.9)
2B - Kelly Johnson, ARI (1.3)
3B - David Wright, NYM (0.9)
3B - Andy LaRoche, PIT (0.9)
3B- Mark Reynolds, ARI (0.9)
3B - Chase Headley, SD (0.9)
SS - Rafael Furcal, LAD (1.0)
OF - Marlon Byrd, CHC (1.0)
OF - Ryan Ludwick, STL (0.9)
OF - Andrew McCutchen, PIT (0.8)


SP - Tim Lincecum, SF (1.5)
SP - Ubaldo Jimenez, COL (1.5)
SP - Adam Wainwright, STL (1.4)
SP - Johan Santana, NYM (1.1)
SP - Ryan Dempster, CHC (1.1)
SP - Brad Penny, STL (1.0)
SP - Josh Johnson, FLA (0.9)
SP - Randy Wells, CHC (0.9)
SP - Jonathan Sanchez, SF (0.9)
RP - Carlos Marmol, CHC (0.6)
RP - Tyler Clippard, WSN (0.6)
RP - Sean Marshall, CHC (0.6)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The MSM Isn't All Bad

It's no secret that some of what we write here is trying to fill the void in a post-FJM world. We're not as clever as they are, but it still makes the wound of their disappearance a little less painful (at least for us) if we apply our own distaste for the awful sports journalism out there to snarky rips of their pieces.

That said, it's not like the media is always awful, and sometimes I feel the desire to point out when it's not. This almost came true the other day when I thought of breaking down an article from quite possibly the worst writer of the bunch admitting to becoming an amateur sabermetrician. I'm not about to admit I like his stuff, but proof of an open mind is none-the-less appealing (as is a step towards getting the casual fan to understand the value of some of the simpler metrics out there).

In that same vein, I'd like to post this statement from Rangers TV play-by-play man Josh Lewin. I actually like Lewin as an announcer because he seems to know his stuff better than most, and he just plane makes exciting moments more exciting (I'm part of the Gus Johnson Apologists Club, by the way). Still, he has a habit -- which is probably dictated from above -- of going on tangents that often ignore the play on the field and are of little interest to serious baseball fans. He spends quite a bit of time talking about boring, fluffy stories, and repeating things like "Michael Young and Vernon Wells are best friends" every inning. That stuff isn't wrong, and, as Lewin points out below, probably called for and not directed at the audience I belong to, but it is still annoying at times. In a discussion thread at Lone Star Ball, Rangers fans decided to unleash some of their anger at being no-hit by Shaun Marcum for six innings on Lewin and his tangents and fluff trivia.

Lewin then signed on to Lone Star Ball today and posted this response, quoted below. I link to it without further commentary because I think it speaks volumes by itself. It explains, in a way, what we hard core baseball fans probably need to hear about broadcasts, and also shows how honest, human and stand-up some of these media men we criticize can be. It's also just plain cool to see a minor celebrity has the time and impetus to go out of his way to address fans.

Hey Gang...

Just thought I'd check in and express a couple thoughts to you.

As a big fan of this site, one of the simple pleasures after a Ranger game for me is to pop a beverage, turn on MLB TV and scroll through to see what true blue (or red) Ranger fans are thinking... it's something my kids do with me on occasion as well (sans the beverage), which is what prompted me to write this post...

PLEASE PLEASE understand that the broadcast has to serve a wide cross-section of viewers. For now there are way, way, way more casual baseball fans than die-hards, and we have to do our best to throw everyone a little morsel of what it is they want. Believe me, I'm aware that the die-hards don't need all the frivolity and BS to keep 'em eyeballed in for three hours... there are probably a good thousand of you who live and die with every pitch, and no doubt, y'all are the most important fans the Rangers have. But for the 7,999,000 other people in the DFW area, I have to be mindful that they aren't as keyed up or clued in as you guys... we are casting a wide net trying to get as many Texans as possible to start giving a darn and learning the game.

Anyway, that's my cross to bear and I understand those of you who hate that dynamic and want to rail against the injustice of it all... the only thing I ask-- gently and nicely -- is to keep in mind that indeed, there are kids reading your posts as well as adults. My kiddos and I both know that public figures (and kids of public figures) need to have thick skin, but still, words like "douchebag" kind of cut to the core. I'm not here to lecture or censor, but I just wanted to put that out there.

Meantime, I humbly promise I will do my level-best not to be douche-baggy to the best of my abilities... I take my assignment as Rangers TV Voice very seriously, and want to give an A-plus performance every night. But please know that there will be some times that I will, indeed, cater to the casual fans for a half an inning, and/or say something pretty freaking stupid that makes you want to throw something at your TV. I apologize in advance for those times, but I also promise that when the game's 4-4 in the 9th (as it gloriously was yesterday) you will get a spot-on call of all that's going on. Even casual fans don't need any whoop-de-doo when it's 4-4 in the 9th!

Ok, I'm out... back to enjoying the posts and the growing fever for Ranger baseball... but I just wanted y'all, the diehards, to know what's in my heart.

Best wishes and Go Rangers--


Monday, April 5, 2010

Unidentified Scout Should Be Unemployed

According to an anonymous scout:

"Andre Ethier plays right field better than Matt Kemp plays center."


2.5 UZR
-16.2 UZR

Among 63 eligible outfielders, Andre Ethier ranked 58th.

I love Why the hell is Padilla starting opening day?

Jon Heyman Thinks It's Surprising When Teams With Good Players Are Good

Here's the story. Basically Mr. Heyman lists seven teams which "could surprise this season." The top three teams to comprise this list are none other than the bottom-of-the-barrel Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, and Minnesota Twins. Or in other words, a team that includes Evan Longoria (don't take his hat!), Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist, Jeff Niemann, Matt Garza, and David Price... along with two teams that made the playoffs last year.

Heyman's bold, courageous, shot-in-the-dark predictions have inspired me to conduct a list of my own. Here's my "Things That Could Surprise This Season" list:

-Albert Pujols wins the MVP.
-The number one-rated prospect in all of baseball, Jason Heyward, wins the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
-A player that everyone suspected of using steroids gets suspended for using steroids.
-David Eckstein fails to make the 40/40 club.
-Joe Morgan sets the record for most questions answered via ESPNchat without ever actually answering a question.
-The Pirates finish under .500.
-Milton Bradley gets angry.
-Dusty Baker chokes on a toothpick.
-The American League wins the All Star game.
-Duke beats Butler.
-Torii Hunter wins a gold glove.
-Jon Heyman writes bad, pointless articles.

Keep an eye out for these. I have a feeling that at least one or two of them may catch the world off guard.

Opening Day!

Saturday, April 3, 2010