Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How Long Can The White Sox Stay With Gordon Beckham?

His AVG is .180, his OBP is .255 and his SLG is .240. He was not the starting 2B man today but he is in now as a pinch runner who just got thrown out at home on a double. The table below shows his hitting since 2009

Now he did actually have positive WAR last year with 1.2. But this year he has negative fielding value from Baseball Projections and Baseball Information Systems. The next table shows his OPS+ for each month of his career

Now a graph of those numbers. He is definitely trending downward.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What If Ted Williams Came Back To Life?

There is a new book out called Extra Innings by Bruce E. Spitzer. Here is the Amazon description:
"In the year 2092, Ted Williams, the greatest baseball hitter of all time, is brought back to life through the science of cryonics. Once again playing for the Red Sox, Williams finds himself trapped in a world he hardly recognizes: the corruption of the game he loves with ├╝ber-juiced batters and robot pitchers; difficult love affairs clashing with his old desires; and a military conflict of the future in which he must harness the fighter pilot skills he used in his first life. Dr. Elizabeth Miles is the cryonicist who brings him back to life, initiating a dramatic sequence of medical achievements. She and her young son Johnnie are a constant reminder of what Williams lacked in his first trip around the bases, never devoting much time to love and family. But old habits die hard. With enemies and allies both on the field and off, Williams must make sense of it all and play on against a machine that he detests, pressure to take the “giddyup” he abhors, unrelenting media mania, and a dystopian world he can’t ignore. The narrative resonates with the consequences of the major issues we face in our world today—the steroids debate in sports, global warming, corporate greed, technology run rampant, and the moral ambiguity of war. Extra Innings is alternately poignant and humorous, heartbreaking and joyous. Thought-provoking throughout, it’s a rollicking ride that looks at second chances and redemption, the ability to triumph over adversity, and the search for meaning in this life and the next. Flawed in his first life, Williams must decide in the second what’s more important, the chance to win his first World Series, or the chance to be a better man? The Greatest Comeback of All Time is More Than Just a Game."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How Well Might Pujols Perform After Age 35?

I did something similar in December called How Well Might Pujols Hit After Age 35? It seemed like the odds were against him doing well after 35. Here what I did was to find the top 27 players in WAR under age 32 and then see how much WAR they got over age 35.

In the table below they are sorted from highest to lowest in over 35 WAR. I don't have numbers for AROD or Pujols over 35 yet. So for the other 25, they averaged 13.4 WAR over age 35. As you can see, though, there is quite a distribution and Bonds must affect the average quite a bit (it is 11.67 without him).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Should The Angels Be Worried About Pujols?

Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports has a column titled Angels, Pujols slump through April waiting game. Excerpt:
"Eleven games into life as an Angel, Pujols has not hit a home run and the Angels have not put together so much as back-to-back wins.

That's not necessarily a problem yet, but the certain plan was to hit the twice-defending AL champion Rangers in the mouth before the nights turned warm. Instead, the Angels are rooting around for something like consistency and, this morning, sucking their breakfasts through straws."

The main Yahoo baseball had the blurb "Big-budget-flop" over a picture of Pujols looking downcast, perhaps after making an out. It also says: "In a region that runs on buzz, the Angels have been alarmingly ordinary. This isn't what owner Arte Moreno paid for" and "Brown: It's not just Pujols."

The table below shows the OPS that Pujols has had after 11 games in all of his season along with his full-season OPS. This is his 2nd worst start after 11 games. But last year was worse and he recovered to finish above .900. So he could still turn things around.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Who Was The Least Likely Triple Crown Winner?

This is related to my most recent post from Friday

I came up with a point system for this. A player would get 10 points for each time he led his league in HRs, 9 for a 2nd place, etc. The same was done for AVG and RBIs. So the player had a career total number of points for each stat (data from the Lee Sinins Complete Baseball Encyclopedia). A tie for 1st was still worth 10 points. Then those three numbers were multiplied times each other (meaning if a player never finished in the top 10 in one of these stats, his total will be zero). So the idea was that players that finished among the league leaders often are the ones most likely to win the triple crown.

The table below shows the point total for all the winners, from lowest to highest. I used the list from The Baseball Almanac.

Baseball Reference includes Paul Hines (1878, 36,613 points) and Tip O'Neill (1887, 50,525 points) but not Duffy. They have Sam Thompson leading the NL with 147 RBIs in 1894 and Duffy with 145. Click here to see the leaders. Hines' point total includes one year of 6th in average in the National Association, the precursor of the NL. O'Neill played most of his career in the American Association and all of his points are from that league.

So, depending on who you want to count, it is Duffy, Hines or O'Neill. Yaz is definitely the one from the live ball era (If I use the data from Baseball Reference for Duffy, his point total would be 50,456, including data from the American Association-Click here to see his page)

I did not take age into account. The oldest was Gehrig, but 31 is not that old and he is 4th all-time in this point total (see Friday's post). Cobb was just 22, but he is 5th all-time. I also did not try to figure out how far from the leader these guys were when they finished in the top 10. That could matter but I would have to come up with a way to evaluate it.

Babe Ruth was by far the most likely to win who did not. In fact, his point total is way ahead of everyone else (Ted Williams might have surpassed him without military service). How could Ruth have not won it, even once? He led the league in HRs 12 times and RBIs 6. He did win one batting title. His 81 points from AVG is the 13th highest of all-time.

In his era, not surprisingly, he ranked very high in AVG. Here are the top 4 in AVG in the AL from 1918-1931 (covering all the years he led the league in HRs) for AL players with 2500+ PAs (data from the Lee Sinins Complete Baseball Encyclopedia):

1 Al Simmons .363
2 Ty Cobb .362
3 Harry Heilmann .356
4 Babe Ruth .352

Ruth's highest average was .393 in 1923. Heilmann beat him in AVG by 10 points. Ruth lost the batting title to Heinie Manush in 1926 by just 6 points (.378-.372), a year he led in both HRs and RBIs. Ruth won the HR crown that year 47-19 over Simmons and beat George Burns 146-114 in RBIs. According to Retrosheet, Ruth was at .371 after 9-21 while Manush was at .370. It is not clear that Ruth would have known this. The NY Times does not show Ruth in the lead in the 9-22 edition. I can't find any day he was listed as the leader in Sept using Proquest.

Manush went 9 for 14 in his last 3 games after 9-21. Ruth went 5 for 12 in his last 4 games after 9-21.

In 1924, Ruth won the batting title over Charlie Jamieson, .378-.359. He led in HRs 46-27 over Joe Hauser. Goose Goslin beat him in RBIs 129-121 (the Retrosheet splits page had Goslin at 130). At the end of August, Goslin led 108-107 (but it would have been a tie if we go with the 129 figure). Ruth had only 2 RBIs in his last 13 games after 9-13. Goslin had 16 RBIs after 9-13 in his last 14 games.

Ruth was walked 12 times in his last 13 games. But that was not unusual for him. He batted 3rd the whole season (except for 1 AB). The 1st two guys in the order had OBPs of .350 and .341. Goslin batted 4th 93% of the time. The 1st 3 guys had OBPs of .357, .364 and .386. Goslin did bat 3rd the rest of the time so some of that .386 is from him. But Sam Rice batted 3rd in 318 ABs with and OBP of .399 and Bucky Harris batted 3rd in 190 ABs and had a .352 OBP. So it looks like Goslin had more RBI opportunities. It would be great to know Ruth's and Goslin's stats with runners on and in scoring position.

In 1923 Ruth led in HRs 41-29 over Ken Williams. He beat Speaker 131-130 in RBIs. As late as 9-3, Ruth led Heilman .393-.390. On the 20th, Ruth only trailed .387-.386.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Baseball's Elite, Its Millionaires

So what is a baseball "millionaire?" (warning to the hard core-this is probably an example of what Bill James called a "junk stat," perhaps less valuable than a junk bond).

This came about while I was working on a post about who might have been the most surprising triple crown winner (I hope to post that in a day or two). I came up with a point system for this. A player would get 10 points for each time he led his league in HRs, 9 for a 2nd place, etc. The same was done for AVG and RBIs. So the player had a career total number of points for each stat (data from the Lee Sinins Complete Baseball Encyclopedia). A tie for 1st was still worth 10 points. Then those three numbers were multiplied times each other (meaning if a player never finished in the top 10 in one of these stats, his total will be zero).

There are only 4 millionaires. Ruth is the leader. He had 81 AVG points, 160 HR points (all-time leader) and 123 RBI points. Then 81*160*123 = 1,594,080. The top 25 are in the table below.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Finally! A Completely Scientific, Objective All-Time All-Star Team

This took years of work and I incorporated the best analysis from all the top sabermetricians. This team will end all the debates and gives everyone a chance to work on other topics. As usual, I could not have done this without the Lee Sinins Complete Baseball Encyclopedia.

1B-Cy Barger
2B-Cy Rheam
SS-Cy Wright
3B-Cy Block
LF-Cy Neighbors
CF-Cy Seymour
RF-Cy Williams
C-Cy Perkins

SP-Cy Young
RP-Cy Acosta