NikeTalk › NikeTalk Forums › The Lounge › Sports & Training › 2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions. - Page 167

post #4981 of 77292
Thread Starter 
^ Seems like they're just working out some minor details but it looks like 5/70-75.

Five notable injury situations.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

With the beginning of Spring Training comes actual reports of actual baseball players. Today’s edition of Daily Notes looks at five injury situations from the earliest days of spring camps.

Tampa Bay’s Moore Has Slight Abdominal Situation
Rays left-hander Matt Moore missed his scheduled batting practice session on Monday due to a mild lower abdominal strain, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Apparently — again, per Topkin — the strain become evident on Friday, while Moore was throwing a bullpen. Moore, as FanGraphs readers likely already know, has been among the top three players on basically every top-whatever prospect list and also signed a decidedly team-friendly contract this offseason. Moore struck out 15 of the 40 (37.5%) major-league batters he faced following a late-season promotion last year.

Howard Does Not, Not, Not Suffer Setback
Matt Gelb and Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer, updating a situation that was described a day earlier by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel as a “setback

post #4982 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares

^ Seems like they're just working out some minor details but it looks like 5/70-75. 

I am happy for Molina and I hope he does get paid what he deserves.

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply
post #4983 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares

^ Seems like they're just working out some minor details but it looks like 5/70-75. 

I am happy for Molina and I hope he does get paid what he deserves.

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply
post #4984 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRST B0RN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares

^ Seems like they're just working out some minor details but it looks like 5/70-75. 

I am happy for Molina and I hope he does get paid what he deserves.


Molina got paid too much imo. 2011 was his best offensive year and he'll put up lower numbers. Just like Mauer when he got paid.

Sucks because McCann is going to want 18 per year he puts up better offensive stats and ok defense. Braves are cheap so he might go elsewhere. 
post #4985 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRST B0RN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares

^ Seems like they're just working out some minor details but it looks like 5/70-75. 

I am happy for Molina and I hope he does get paid what he deserves.


Molina got paid too much imo. 2011 was his best offensive year and he'll put up lower numbers. Just like Mauer when he got paid.

Sucks because McCann is going to want 18 per year he puts up better offensive stats and ok defense. Braves are cheap so he might go elsewhere. 
post #4986 of 77292
Thread Starter 
IDK if this is the right way to say it but I guess catcher defense and being able to handle the staff is worth just as much as the added offense a McCann or even a Posada puts up. And from an advanced stat POV, there's really no formula/stat to figure out how much catching defense is truly worth. So not easy to put a true price on it. But I definitely see where you're coming from.

BTW, I think Mauer was way more advanced as a hitter at the point that he got his contract. Plus, he was still only just entering his prime so no reason for the Twins to think he couldn't keep it up or get better. And they knew the Yanks were looking at him too laugh.gif
post #4987 of 77292
Thread Starter 
IDK if this is the right way to say it but I guess catcher defense and being able to handle the staff is worth just as much as the added offense a McCann or even a Posada puts up. And from an advanced stat POV, there's really no formula/stat to figure out how much catching defense is truly worth. So not easy to put a true price on it. But I definitely see where you're coming from.

BTW, I think Mauer was way more advanced as a hitter at the point that he got his contract. Plus, he was still only just entering his prime so no reason for the Twins to think he couldn't keep it up or get better. And they knew the Yanks were looking at him too laugh.gif
post #4988 of 77292
Excellent story about how Brandon McCarthy embraced advanced statistics and saved his career.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

It's late September in the Bay Area. A classic Indian summer day has given way to a classic Indian summer night. High above Oakland, the cobalt clear sky is filled with stars. Down below, so too is the Fox Theater.

A few hours earlier, Moneyball made its world premiere just around the corner at the Paramount Theatre. Now it's the after-party. Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman is here. Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin is here. Superagent Scott Boras and rocker Billie Joe Armstrong are here. Even Brad Pitt is here.

Brad Freaking Pitt.

For one night, Oaktown has gone all Hollywood -- and Brandon McCarthy has gone all stalker.

The 28-year-old's early onset salt-and-pepper hair is impeccably coiffed above his angular face. Dressed in a gray Elevee suit with a skinny black tie and white sliver pocket square, the 6'7" McCarthy looks 100 percent Euro. If you saw him on the street, you might guess correctly that he was a professional athlete, but you'd probably mistake him for an imported small forward named Sasha or Bruno. He earns seven figures and is married to a model, yet tonight he's nothing more than a pimple-faced seventh-grader at a middle school dance, peering across the crowded floor and running line after line through his head.

Hi, I'm Brandon McCarthy. Too self-centered. Brandon McCarthy, Oakland A's. Too businessy. Hi, I'm a big fan of your work. Too sycophantic.

Close to midnight, McCarthy decides it's time. He's downed a sufficient quantity of Captain and Coke, and the crowd of a thousand has thinned to maybe a hundred. If he doesn't pull the trigger now, he never will. He will have forever squandered his opportunity to meet ... Bill James.

Bill Freaking James.

Heart pounding beneath the pocket square, McCarthy floats across the room to Queen's "Under Pressure." Like any self-respecting seventh-grader, he's added a wingman -- teammate and fellow pitcher Craig Breslow, a Yale grad with a degree in molecular biophysics and a passion for sabermetrics. In other words, the ideal wingman for Mission: Bill James.

With Breslow by his side, McCarthy spends the next 30 minutes completely ignoring Pitt, Hoffman and Sorkin, not to mention his beautiful wife, Amanda, in favor of talking sabermetrics with the 62-year-old rumpled stathead, which is roughly equivalent to talking lightbulbs with Thomas Edison.

They talk about ground ball rates, strikeout-to-walk ratios and how McCarthy led the AL in something called FIP. If the music hadn't stopped and the lights hadn't come up, they'd still be talking. James and McCarthy. Stalkee and stalker. The savior and the saved.

"I didn't want to suck at baseball anymore." Brandon McCarthy is recounting how he was saved. How he and sabermetrics collided.

During the first century of America's pastime, the game's language was written in stone: batting average, home runs and RBIs. Wins, losses and ERA. Then, in 1971, some fans who loved numbers founded the Society for American Baseball Research. Six years later, a Kansas security guard and SABR member named Bill James self-published a book -- it was actually 68 photocopied pages he stapled and mailed to a few dozen folks -- titled 1977 Baseball Abstract: Featuring 18 Categories of Statistical Information That You Just Can't Find Anywhere Else. It was the first of 12 annual (and ultimately best-selling) abstracts that James would write, and it was the beginning of a sea change.

Sabermetrics, as James' musings became known, was at first a cryptic tongue spoken exclusively by stat-happy fans who analyzed the game but never played it. Then, in 2003, Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball, a behind-the-scenes look at how trailblazing GM Billy Beane and the small-market Oakland A's used sabermetrics to assemble one of baseball's best teams. In the decade since, the game's decision makers, many of whom sprouted from the Beane management stalk, have taken a shine to the New Testament. Today, the majority of MLB front offices -- from the A's to the Yankees -- rely on sabermetric analysis to evaluate talent.

What Billy Beane was to GMs, Brandon McCarthy is now to players. Despite Beane's success and the proliferation of baseball executives who swear by James' metrics, the list of players who do so is shorter than the rightfield fence at Fenway Park. Former pitcher Brian Bannister was a known disciple, as are current hurlers Zack Greinke, Brandon Morrow, Max Scherzer and, of course, Breslow, the Moneyball wingman. As for the other 745 big leaguers and 6,000-odd minor leaguers? Not so much. They are where McCarthy was in 2005: barely conscious of advanced statistics.

Back then, McCarthy was being heralded as the White Sox's next ace. But five lackluster years and four injuries later, the pitcher had nearly hung up his cleats. Instead, he placed both hands on the Bill James bible and swore his allegiance. Baseball, it is often said, is a game best played with the mind blank. But McCarthy had tried that and failed. He was on the verge of becoming a clubhouse punch line -- an even bigger disappointment than he already was.

Instead, he became one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Brandon McCarthy spent the first decade of his life in Southern California. As such, he was an Orel Hershiser fan. If Pat McCarthy took his son to Chavez Ravine to watch the Dodgers star, the boy would proceed to recite a litany of Hershiser stats. But if he saw an anonymous arm like Jim Neidlinger, who started 12 games for the Dodgers in 1990, a disappointed Brandon would look at his father and ask, "Who?"

In 1994, after thieves broke into his family's Pasadena home for the third time, Pat decided he'd rather relocate his family to Colorado Springs, Colo., than bleed Dodger blue. He heard it was a good, safe place to raise kids, and he moved his family there even though there wasn't a single friend or relative nearby. California was the past, Colorado the future.

One Sunday morning after the move, 11-year-old Brandon sat next to his father on a wooden church pew in Fort Carson. They'd spent weeks crisscrossing El Paso County and couldn't find a house of worship that felt like home. So now here they were, getting sermonized on an Army base by a preacher going on and on, when suddenly the boy turned to his father and whispered, What the hell is he talking about? "Brandon never stood on convention," says his father. "He's always had the ability to look at something critically -- and if it came up short, he would move on."

FIP FLOPPER

After embracing analytics last year, the A's pitcher has improved in nearly every measurable way. Here are four of them. All data from FanGraphs.

K/BB RATIO
2005 2.82
2006 2.09
2007 1.23
2008 1.25
2009 1.81
2011 4.92 (A's franchise record)
GROUND BALL PERCENTAGE
2005 35.4%
2006 38.5%
2007 35.8%
2008 24.3%
2009 39.0%
2011 46.7%
PITCHES PER INNING
2005 16.3
2006 17.1
2007 18.4
2008 17.0
2009 16.3
2011 14.6 (third in AL)
FIP (FIELDING INDEPENDENT PITCHING)
2005 4.96
2006 5.30
2007 4.73
2008 5.22
2009 4.70
2011 2.86 (Led AL)

When he wasn't challenging the establishment, he was busy challenging hitters. Ever since he first picked up a baseball, McCarthy had thrown a flat four-seam fastball that stayed up in the strike zone and moved about as much as the Rockies. What he lacked in deception, he more than made up for with control. "Brandon was never the hardest thrower," says Pat. "But he knew how to throw strikes."

As a rail-thin 6'5", 150-pound high school senior who couldn't top 83 on the radar gun, he threw strikes. During his one year at Colorado's Lamar Community College, where his team took third in the juco World Series, he threw strikes. "Brandon had a smooth, rhythmic, repeatable delivery," says former Lamar pitching coach Bryan Conger, who watched McCarthy add 25 pounds to his frame and 7 mph to his heater. He was no Nolan Ryan, but his remarkable command -- combined with a nasty 12-to-6 curve and a decent changeup -- was enough to interest the White Sox, who picked him in the 17th round of the 2002 draft. Over the next three seasons, McCarthy tore through the minors: Great Falls, Kannapolis, Winston-Salem, Birmingham. Strikes, strikes, strikes, strikes.

On May 22, 2005, in the finale of an electric interleague series against the Cubs, McCarthy made his major league debut against fireballer Mark Prior at Wrigley Field. He excelled, pitching 51/3 innings, striking out six, walking just one and leaving with his team ahead 2-1. "He'll be a big asset for that organization," Prior said after the game.

His second career start, against the Rangers, didn't go nearly as well. The rook gave up four homers in only five frames, including two to Alfonso Soriano. "He took one pitch that I swear was going to hit the dirt," says McCarthy, "and hit it out -- to right-center."

The shelling continued against the cellar-dwelling Royals and Rays, who hit him harder than a pinata at a kindergartner's birthday party. Instead of going strike 1, strike 2, as he had in the minors, he would go ball 1, ball 2. "I was pitching with fear instead of confidence," says McCarthy. Pitches that used to miss the bat were getting driven; drives that used to stay in the park were going out.

The following season, the Sox slid McCarthy to the bullpen, where he felt utterly lost: "I'd be eating a Rice Krispie treat in the fourth inning, trying to stay warm, and an inning later I'd be facing the middle of the lineup with the bases loaded. I just didn't get it." Torii Hunter, then a Twin, homered off him that summer. "I was like, 'Who's the tall skinny guy with the straight fastball?'" Hunter remembers. "He wasn't hitting corners. He just threw it down the middle." When McCarthy's fortunes failed to improve, Chicago used him as trade bait to land Rangers blue-chip prospect John Danks in December 2006. "Brandon's age, makeup and ability is a rare combination we could not pass on," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said at the time.

In Texas, McCarthy and his four-seamer kept giving up homers and walks as if his contract contained an incentive for giving up homers and walks. After games, Amanda -- who had known McCarthy since high school -- knew not to ask questions, instead letting Linkin Park drown out the tension on their seemingly endless rides home. "My heart hurt for him," she says. Pitching coach Mike Maddux even convinced McCarthy that instead of breaking his hands at the beginning of his windup, he should keep them together and move them in a full circle, not unlike a softball pitcher's windmill motion. It didn't work. "I had so many mental problems that trying to fix something mechanical was like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," he says.

To make matters worse, McCarthy's arm made him a regular on the DL. In 2007, he developed a rare stress fracture in his scapula (shoulder blade) that caused him to miss a month. The following season, elbow tendinitis gave him a spot on the bench for four months. In 2009, the stress fracture reappeared, shelving him for another three-month stint.

Standing on the mound in Arlington one day that season, McCarthy looked up at his name on the Jumbotron and realized the ugly truth: He was Jim Neidlinger. "I had become that guy, that mediocre guy," he says. "It was this weird, surreal moment. I knew I was way better than that; I just didn't know how to get it back."

In retrospect, McCarthy might have been the perfect candidate for a sabermetric transformation. An avid reader who effortlessly drops words like peccadillo, audacity and misnomer into casual conversation, McCarthy fancies grapes over hops and lives for Liverpool soccer even though he calls Dallas home and lives a block from American Airlines Center, the Mavericks' arena. Clearly he's attracted to unconventional thinking. He's also Pat McCarthy's kid, which means he knows the difference between the past and the future.

During his injury-plagued seasons, McCarthy stumbled upon a humor blog run by some Harvard kids who used sabermetrics to lampoon traditional baseball thinking. The site was called FireJoeMorgan.com, a reference to the Hall of Fame second baseman and then-ESPN analyst who famously denounced advanced metrics. The website's message immediately struck a chord. "To this day," says McCarthy, "I still think it's the greatest thing that's ever been put on the Internet."

McCarthy also bookmarked sites like Lone Star Ball, a Rangers fan site heavy on sabermetrics, and FanGraphs, an instant favorite. He learned about FIP, or fielding independent pitching, a statistical aggregate that combines what a pitcher can control (homers, walks, strikeouts), ignores what he can't (luck, defense) and is a truer barometer than ERA. He also learned about BABIP, or batting average on balls in play, a stat that indicates whether a pitcher has been especially lucky (under .300) or unlucky (over .300). He learned about WAR, or wins above replacement, the all-inclusive, apples-to-apples metric that tells how valuable a player is to his team. He learned about ground ball rates, strikeout-to-walk ratios and more.

Watching his numbers for about a year, McCarthy began to appreciate that they couldn't be explained away. "I had a limited understanding of it early on. There's a lot of ego involved," he says. "I still thought I could be successful doing things the way I had always been doing them."

But clearly that wasn't true. According to FanGraphs, an average major league player has a WAR of 2.0, which means that if he gets injured and a reserve player or minor leaguer replaces him, his team would be two wins worse without him. In McCarthy's first five seasons, he never had a WAR higher than 1.4. In other words, he was below average. By a lot. Hell, even Neidlinger had a higher WAR.

"Everything I was doing as a pitcher did not line up with the typical model of success," says McCarthy. Too many walks, fly balls and home runs. Not enough ground balls and strikeouts. It wasn't anything he didn't already know intuitively: During his three years in Texas, he'd spent half the time hurt and the other half hurting his team. But seeing the numbers right there on the screen and comparing them with the game's aces was the wake-up call he needed. "I wanted to do what Roy Halladay was doing," says McCarthy, referring to the dominant righty, who was, at 32, a Cy Young Award winner and six-time All-Star. During the summer of '09, McCarthy had plenty of time to read and reflect while sidelined for three months by his second shoulder injury. "The more I read, the more it just made sense," he says. "I wanted ground balls and worse contact. I wanted to attack the zone and get deep into games." By the time McCarthy came off the DL in September 2009, he'd made a decision: He was going to become Roy Halladay.

Like McCarthy, Halladay had been a highly touted prospect from Colorado who at first flamed out; unlike McCarthy, he was a ground ball-inducing machine, owing largely to his mastery of the two-seam fastball. Actually, two kinds of two-seamers: a cutter, which ran away from righties and in on lefties, and a sinker, which did the opposite. "I could never be Justin Verlander because I can't throw 101," says McCarthy. "But there's nothing freakish about Halladay, nothing that wasn't within the realm of possibility for me." Except that he couldn't throw a two-seamer to save his life.

In college, McCarthy had tinkered with one, but he could never make it move -- and what was the point of throwing a two-seamer if it didn't dance? Now here he was nearly a decade later, an endangered species, and sabermetrics was sending him a message: The four-seamer was your past, the two-seamer your future.

The fact that McCarthy was essentially home-schooling himself in sabermetrics reflects how little it has yet to saturate locker rooms, dugouts and coaches' minds. Says Keith Woolner, a prominent sabermetrician who has served as the Indians' manager of baseball analytics since 2007: "We can observe outcomes and place value on them, but it's up to the coaches to translate that into an actionable plan that can be used on the field. Not all coaches are comfortable with that."

And, according to McCarthy's wingman Breslow, the only outcome players care about involves dollar signs. "WAR doesn't give you value in the salary arbitration process," the Yale grad explains. "Until the mainstream media and the common fan recognize the importance of sabermetrics, the average player will continue to focus on home runs, RBIs, wins and ERA. That's what's sexy. That's what gets you paid."

Facing Toronto in Arlington on Sept. 1, 2009, in his first start off the DL, McCarthy decided to channel his inner sabermetrician and take the two-seamer for a ride. He had briefly discussed grip and finger pressure with Rangers teammate Scott Feldman and had thrown a few cutters and sinkers during an August rehab stint. But for the most part McCarthy was about to treat big league hitters like guinea pigs. Typically, when a hurler fiddles with his repertoire, it's a minor adjustment: a slider tweaked, a changeup retooled. Yet McCarthy was considering retiring the heater he'd thrown three out of every five windups for his entire baseball life. "For a pitcher to reinvent himself midcareer is almost unheard of," says McCarthy's agent, Ryan Ware. On McCarthy's sixth pitch, leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro grounded out to short. Joe Inglett, up next, singled to right. Adam Lind, up third, grounded into a double play. Inning over.

Despite not fully committing to his new two-seamers -- he mixed the cutter and sinker in with his regular four-seamer -- McCarthy worked into the seventh, giving up just one run and recording more grounders than flies, an anomaly for him. Most important, in the Rangers' launching pad of a stadium, he kept the ball in the park.

Sabermetric research shows that, historically, fly balls generate 0.13 runs per out, while ground balls produce only 0.05 runs per out. In other words, the average fly ball is nearly three times as dangerous as the average ground ball. Prior to debuting the two-seamer, McCarthy's career ratio of ground balls to fly balls, or GB/FB, lived on the wrong side of one. In 2007, among pitchers with at least 100 innings, his 0.76 GB/FB ratio was fourth worst in the American League. Early in 2009, before he introduced his cutter and sinker, the ratio dipped even lower, to 0.73. But at the end of the season, when McCarthy logged on to FanGraphs, he was shocked. During that final month, his GB/FB ratio had nearly doubled, all the way to 1.44. That same season only six AL starters had a higher GB/FB ratio -- Halladay among them. "I remember standing on the mound feeling like, Wow, that's a whole lot more ground balls than I used to get," he says. More ground balls meant fewer fly balls. Fewer fly balls meant fewer homers. In his final six starts of 2009, McCarthy allowed just two jacks. "Right then, I was sold," he says.

Unfortunately, the Rangers weren't. Grounders or not, McCarthy was still walking too many batters. He was like Son of Jor-El after arriving on planet Earth -- he suddenly had superpowers but couldn't harness them. "I'd never pitched with that stuff," he says. "I didn't know when to throw what." The following March, McCarthy was assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Just like that, he was on the outside looking in.

During the next couple of months, McCarthy learned how to tame his two-seamer. But in June, when his scapula inexplicably flared up for the third time, McCarthy finally hit bottom. "I didn't think I'd be able to stay healthy enough to sustain an actual career," he says. So he booted up his laptop and started researching online universities. "It was the first time in my life that I truly entertained thoughts that I was done with baseball," he says. That is, until Terry Clark stepped in. The Oklahoma City pitching coach convinced McCarthy that what he needed wasn't a career change but a mechanical one.

Watching video of McCarthy's extreme overhand motion, Clark realized that the pitcher's arm was pronating at the moment of delivery, and the pressure was twisting his scapula. "It was really ugly," says Clark. "He's lucky his scapula was the only thing that broke." Clark had McCarthy drop down to a more natural three-quarter arm angle, like Halladay's. McCarthy's whole motion became a study in minimalism. Less right arm, more back leg. No more falling off the mound toward first base.

In December 2010, after pitching lights-out in winter ball, McCarthy inked a one-year, $1 million deal with the A's, who'd long had their eyes on him. "We thought so highly of Brandon," says Oakland exec Farhan Zaidi, "that when the deal went down in 2006, our thinking was, Damn, we can't believe Texas just got McCarthy." In theory, the Oakland signing was a marriage made in heaven: the Moneyballing franchise that popularized sabermetrics and the failed, undervalued hurler who used it to resurrect his career.

Seven pitches. That's how long it took for the verdict to come in. On April 5, in the first inning of his first start in an A's uniform, Brandon McCarthy went groundout, groundout, groundout. It was a one-inning sabermetric masterpiece. For the game, he lasted eight innings -- the second-longest start of his career -- and threw just 89 pitches.

Back with the Rangers, when he was throwing nearly 18 pitches per inning, stepping onto the mound felt more like stepping into the ring. "After starts," says McCarthy, "my entire body would be numb." Now taking the mound felt more like taking a vacation. "It was ffffun," says McCarthy, drawing out the F for emphasis. "I was getting outs at the big league level in ways I'd never gotten them before."

His first couple of years in the majors, McCarthy's BABIP was among the lowest in the league (.249 in '05, .255 in '06). Put simply, he was one of the luckiest bastards in baseball. With Oakland last year, his BABIP was .296, just four points off the historical luck-neutral benchmark of .300. It's a stat that's not lost on McCarthy. "He's got a pretty acute knowledge of what his numbers are," says Breslow, whose astronomical .342 BABIP last year became a running clubhouse joke between the two amateur sabermetricians.

McCarthy's filthy stuff, on the other hand, was no laughing matter. "He's not trying to strike you out," says Hunter, who had long dominated the lanky pitcher -- until last season. "He's trying to get a ground ball. He's keeping guys off balance, and he's hitting his spots. He's learned how to pitch." ("The first time I got him out last year," says McCarthy, "I was like, 'Oh my god, I really did something!' That just wasn't possible before.") A's manager Bob Melvin says McCarthy's new pitching approach reminds him of Greg Maddux, the 300-game winner and surefire Hall of Famer. Says Melvin: "He takes great pride in being able to throw the ball where he wants." And when he wants.

Michael Young, who led the AL in hits last year, recalls one recent at-bat when McCarthy, who'd been pounding the outside corner, threw a sinker in that crossed up Young and shattered his bat. "You piece of s--," Young texted McCarthy after the game. "I really liked that bat."

Not that McCarthy did everything perfectly. By season's end, he had missed six weeks due to injuries and won just nine games pitching for an Oakland team that had the AL's third-worst offense in terms of runs scored. Still, his home run rate (.58 per nine innings) was third best in the AL, his 4.92 K/BB ratio set an A's record and his 4.7 WAR placed him ahead of Yovani Gallardo, Tim Lincecum and Josh Beckett, all of whom received Cy Young votes.

But even in defeat McCarthy could look brilliant. On Sept. 26, exactly one week after stalking Bill James at the Moneyball premiere, MacNasty -- the name given to him by Feldman, his former Rangers teammate -- made his final start of the year in Seattle. In the top of the eighth, Melvin moseyed over to the outfield side of the visitors' dugout, where the lanky righthander sat. "Great game," the A's manager told his horse. "Great season." McCarthy had just retired the Mariners in the bottom of the seventh. He'd put in a full day's work, throwing 108 pitches. The A's were trailing 4-1 and Seattle's 3-4-5 hitters were due up. There was no point sending the righty back out there. "I wanna finish," McCarthy told his skipper. Melvin stared out at Safeco Field for a moment. "All right," he said. "But you get no baserunners."

Six pitches. That's how long it took to finish. In the final inning of his final start of the season, Brandon McCarthy went groundout, groundout, lineout. Another sabermetric masterpiece.

On a Wednesday afternoon in January, the 2011 American League FIP leader stands in the private locker room of Grailey's, a swanky Dallas wine shop, surveying the gold nameplates above each bottle-filled cubby: Brad Richards ... Brett Hull ... Brandon McCarthy. On the top row, three letters mark Dirk Nowitzki's collection: MVP. "How cool would it be if, a couple years from now, yours reads, 'Cy Young?'" an onlooker says.

"It was one year," says McCarthy, humoring the query. The A's seem to like his odds: Six days later, they'll sign the righthander to a one-year deal worth $4.275 million, good for a 328 percent pay raise. For now, though, McCarthy focuses instead on life's little victories.

"I don't suck anymore," he says.
post #4989 of 77292
Excellent story about how Brandon McCarthy embraced advanced statistics and saved his career.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

It's late September in the Bay Area. A classic Indian summer day has given way to a classic Indian summer night. High above Oakland, the cobalt clear sky is filled with stars. Down below, so too is the Fox Theater.

A few hours earlier, Moneyball made its world premiere just around the corner at the Paramount Theatre. Now it's the after-party. Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman is here. Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin is here. Superagent Scott Boras and rocker Billie Joe Armstrong are here. Even Brad Pitt is here.

Brad Freaking Pitt.

For one night, Oaktown has gone all Hollywood -- and Brandon McCarthy has gone all stalker.

The 28-year-old's early onset salt-and-pepper hair is impeccably coiffed above his angular face. Dressed in a gray Elevee suit with a skinny black tie and white sliver pocket square, the 6'7" McCarthy looks 100 percent Euro. If you saw him on the street, you might guess correctly that he was a professional athlete, but you'd probably mistake him for an imported small forward named Sasha or Bruno. He earns seven figures and is married to a model, yet tonight he's nothing more than a pimple-faced seventh-grader at a middle school dance, peering across the crowded floor and running line after line through his head.

Hi, I'm Brandon McCarthy. Too self-centered. Brandon McCarthy, Oakland A's. Too businessy. Hi, I'm a big fan of your work. Too sycophantic.

Close to midnight, McCarthy decides it's time. He's downed a sufficient quantity of Captain and Coke, and the crowd of a thousand has thinned to maybe a hundred. If he doesn't pull the trigger now, he never will. He will have forever squandered his opportunity to meet ... Bill James.

Bill Freaking James.

Heart pounding beneath the pocket square, McCarthy floats across the room to Queen's "Under Pressure." Like any self-respecting seventh-grader, he's added a wingman -- teammate and fellow pitcher Craig Breslow, a Yale grad with a degree in molecular biophysics and a passion for sabermetrics. In other words, the ideal wingman for Mission: Bill James.

With Breslow by his side, McCarthy spends the next 30 minutes completely ignoring Pitt, Hoffman and Sorkin, not to mention his beautiful wife, Amanda, in favor of talking sabermetrics with the 62-year-old rumpled stathead, which is roughly equivalent to talking lightbulbs with Thomas Edison.

They talk about ground ball rates, strikeout-to-walk ratios and how McCarthy led the AL in something called FIP. If the music hadn't stopped and the lights hadn't come up, they'd still be talking. James and McCarthy. Stalkee and stalker. The savior and the saved.

"I didn't want to suck at baseball anymore." Brandon McCarthy is recounting how he was saved. How he and sabermetrics collided.

During the first century of America's pastime, the game's language was written in stone: batting average, home runs and RBIs. Wins, losses and ERA. Then, in 1971, some fans who loved numbers founded the Society for American Baseball Research. Six years later, a Kansas security guard and SABR member named Bill James self-published a book -- it was actually 68 photocopied pages he stapled and mailed to a few dozen folks -- titled 1977 Baseball Abstract: Featuring 18 Categories of Statistical Information That You Just Can't Find Anywhere Else. It was the first of 12 annual (and ultimately best-selling) abstracts that James would write, and it was the beginning of a sea change.

Sabermetrics, as James' musings became known, was at first a cryptic tongue spoken exclusively by stat-happy fans who analyzed the game but never played it. Then, in 2003, Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball, a behind-the-scenes look at how trailblazing GM Billy Beane and the small-market Oakland A's used sabermetrics to assemble one of baseball's best teams. In the decade since, the game's decision makers, many of whom sprouted from the Beane management stalk, have taken a shine to the New Testament. Today, the majority of MLB front offices -- from the A's to the Yankees -- rely on sabermetric analysis to evaluate talent.

What Billy Beane was to GMs, Brandon McCarthy is now to players. Despite Beane's success and the proliferation of baseball executives who swear by James' metrics, the list of players who do so is shorter than the rightfield fence at Fenway Park. Former pitcher Brian Bannister was a known disciple, as are current hurlers Zack Greinke, Brandon Morrow, Max Scherzer and, of course, Breslow, the Moneyball wingman. As for the other 745 big leaguers and 6,000-odd minor leaguers? Not so much. They are where McCarthy was in 2005: barely conscious of advanced statistics.

Back then, McCarthy was being heralded as the White Sox's next ace. But five lackluster years and four injuries later, the pitcher had nearly hung up his cleats. Instead, he placed both hands on the Bill James bible and swore his allegiance. Baseball, it is often said, is a game best played with the mind blank. But McCarthy had tried that and failed. He was on the verge of becoming a clubhouse punch line -- an even bigger disappointment than he already was.

Instead, he became one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Brandon McCarthy spent the first decade of his life in Southern California. As such, he was an Orel Hershiser fan. If Pat McCarthy took his son to Chavez Ravine to watch the Dodgers star, the boy would proceed to recite a litany of Hershiser stats. But if he saw an anonymous arm like Jim Neidlinger, who started 12 games for the Dodgers in 1990, a disappointed Brandon would look at his father and ask, "Who?"

In 1994, after thieves broke into his family's Pasadena home for the third time, Pat decided he'd rather relocate his family to Colorado Springs, Colo., than bleed Dodger blue. He heard it was a good, safe place to raise kids, and he moved his family there even though there wasn't a single friend or relative nearby. California was the past, Colorado the future.

One Sunday morning after the move, 11-year-old Brandon sat next to his father on a wooden church pew in Fort Carson. They'd spent weeks crisscrossing El Paso County and couldn't find a house of worship that felt like home. So now here they were, getting sermonized on an Army base by a preacher going on and on, when suddenly the boy turned to his father and whispered, What the hell is he talking about? "Brandon never stood on convention," says his father. "He's always had the ability to look at something critically -- and if it came up short, he would move on."

FIP FLOPPER

After embracing analytics last year, the A's pitcher has improved in nearly every measurable way. Here are four of them. All data from FanGraphs.

K/BB RATIO
2005 2.82
2006 2.09
2007 1.23
2008 1.25
2009 1.81
2011 4.92 (A's franchise record)
GROUND BALL PERCENTAGE
2005 35.4%
2006 38.5%
2007 35.8%
2008 24.3%
2009 39.0%
2011 46.7%
PITCHES PER INNING
2005 16.3
2006 17.1
2007 18.4
2008 17.0
2009 16.3
2011 14.6 (third in AL)
FIP (FIELDING INDEPENDENT PITCHING)
2005 4.96
2006 5.30
2007 4.73
2008 5.22
2009 4.70
2011 2.86 (Led AL)

When he wasn't challenging the establishment, he was busy challenging hitters. Ever since he first picked up a baseball, McCarthy had thrown a flat four-seam fastball that stayed up in the strike zone and moved about as much as the Rockies. What he lacked in deception, he more than made up for with control. "Brandon was never the hardest thrower," says Pat. "But he knew how to throw strikes."

As a rail-thin 6'5", 150-pound high school senior who couldn't top 83 on the radar gun, he threw strikes. During his one year at Colorado's Lamar Community College, where his team took third in the juco World Series, he threw strikes. "Brandon had a smooth, rhythmic, repeatable delivery," says former Lamar pitching coach Bryan Conger, who watched McCarthy add 25 pounds to his frame and 7 mph to his heater. He was no Nolan Ryan, but his remarkable command -- combined with a nasty 12-to-6 curve and a decent changeup -- was enough to interest the White Sox, who picked him in the 17th round of the 2002 draft. Over the next three seasons, McCarthy tore through the minors: Great Falls, Kannapolis, Winston-Salem, Birmingham. Strikes, strikes, strikes, strikes.

On May 22, 2005, in the finale of an electric interleague series against the Cubs, McCarthy made his major league debut against fireballer Mark Prior at Wrigley Field. He excelled, pitching 51/3 innings, striking out six, walking just one and leaving with his team ahead 2-1. "He'll be a big asset for that organization," Prior said after the game.

His second career start, against the Rangers, didn't go nearly as well. The rook gave up four homers in only five frames, including two to Alfonso Soriano. "He took one pitch that I swear was going to hit the dirt," says McCarthy, "and hit it out -- to right-center."

The shelling continued against the cellar-dwelling Royals and Rays, who hit him harder than a pinata at a kindergartner's birthday party. Instead of going strike 1, strike 2, as he had in the minors, he would go ball 1, ball 2. "I was pitching with fear instead of confidence," says McCarthy. Pitches that used to miss the bat were getting driven; drives that used to stay in the park were going out.

The following season, the Sox slid McCarthy to the bullpen, where he felt utterly lost: "I'd be eating a Rice Krispie treat in the fourth inning, trying to stay warm, and an inning later I'd be facing the middle of the lineup with the bases loaded. I just didn't get it." Torii Hunter, then a Twin, homered off him that summer. "I was like, 'Who's the tall skinny guy with the straight fastball?'" Hunter remembers. "He wasn't hitting corners. He just threw it down the middle." When McCarthy's fortunes failed to improve, Chicago used him as trade bait to land Rangers blue-chip prospect John Danks in December 2006. "Brandon's age, makeup and ability is a rare combination we could not pass on," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said at the time.

In Texas, McCarthy and his four-seamer kept giving up homers and walks as if his contract contained an incentive for giving up homers and walks. After games, Amanda -- who had known McCarthy since high school -- knew not to ask questions, instead letting Linkin Park drown out the tension on their seemingly endless rides home. "My heart hurt for him," she says. Pitching coach Mike Maddux even convinced McCarthy that instead of breaking his hands at the beginning of his windup, he should keep them together and move them in a full circle, not unlike a softball pitcher's windmill motion. It didn't work. "I had so many mental problems that trying to fix something mechanical was like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," he says.

To make matters worse, McCarthy's arm made him a regular on the DL. In 2007, he developed a rare stress fracture in his scapula (shoulder blade) that caused him to miss a month. The following season, elbow tendinitis gave him a spot on the bench for four months. In 2009, the stress fracture reappeared, shelving him for another three-month stint.

Standing on the mound in Arlington one day that season, McCarthy looked up at his name on the Jumbotron and realized the ugly truth: He was Jim Neidlinger. "I had become that guy, that mediocre guy," he says. "It was this weird, surreal moment. I knew I was way better than that; I just didn't know how to get it back."

In retrospect, McCarthy might have been the perfect candidate for a sabermetric transformation. An avid reader who effortlessly drops words like peccadillo, audacity and misnomer into casual conversation, McCarthy fancies grapes over hops and lives for Liverpool soccer even though he calls Dallas home and lives a block from American Airlines Center, the Mavericks' arena. Clearly he's attracted to unconventional thinking. He's also Pat McCarthy's kid, which means he knows the difference between the past and the future.

During his injury-plagued seasons, McCarthy stumbled upon a humor blog run by some Harvard kids who used sabermetrics to lampoon traditional baseball thinking. The site was called FireJoeMorgan.com, a reference to the Hall of Fame second baseman and then-ESPN analyst who famously denounced advanced metrics. The website's message immediately struck a chord. "To this day," says McCarthy, "I still think it's the greatest thing that's ever been put on the Internet."

McCarthy also bookmarked sites like Lone Star Ball, a Rangers fan site heavy on sabermetrics, and FanGraphs, an instant favorite. He learned about FIP, or fielding independent pitching, a statistical aggregate that combines what a pitcher can control (homers, walks, strikeouts), ignores what he can't (luck, defense) and is a truer barometer than ERA. He also learned about BABIP, or batting average on balls in play, a stat that indicates whether a pitcher has been especially lucky (under .300) or unlucky (over .300). He learned about WAR, or wins above replacement, the all-inclusive, apples-to-apples metric that tells how valuable a player is to his team. He learned about ground ball rates, strikeout-to-walk ratios and more.

Watching his numbers for about a year, McCarthy began to appreciate that they couldn't be explained away. "I had a limited understanding of it early on. There's a lot of ego involved," he says. "I still thought I could be successful doing things the way I had always been doing them."

But clearly that wasn't true. According to FanGraphs, an average major league player has a WAR of 2.0, which means that if he gets injured and a reserve player or minor leaguer replaces him, his team would be two wins worse without him. In McCarthy's first five seasons, he never had a WAR higher than 1.4. In other words, he was below average. By a lot. Hell, even Neidlinger had a higher WAR.

"Everything I was doing as a pitcher did not line up with the typical model of success," says McCarthy. Too many walks, fly balls and home runs. Not enough ground balls and strikeouts. It wasn't anything he didn't already know intuitively: During his three years in Texas, he'd spent half the time hurt and the other half hurting his team. But seeing the numbers right there on the screen and comparing them with the game's aces was the wake-up call he needed. "I wanted to do what Roy Halladay was doing," says McCarthy, referring to the dominant righty, who was, at 32, a Cy Young Award winner and six-time All-Star. During the summer of '09, McCarthy had plenty of time to read and reflect while sidelined for three months by his second shoulder injury. "The more I read, the more it just made sense," he says. "I wanted ground balls and worse contact. I wanted to attack the zone and get deep into games." By the time McCarthy came off the DL in September 2009, he'd made a decision: He was going to become Roy Halladay.

Like McCarthy, Halladay had been a highly touted prospect from Colorado who at first flamed out; unlike McCarthy, he was a ground ball-inducing machine, owing largely to his mastery of the two-seam fastball. Actually, two kinds of two-seamers: a cutter, which ran away from righties and in on lefties, and a sinker, which did the opposite. "I could never be Justin Verlander because I can't throw 101," says McCarthy. "But there's nothing freakish about Halladay, nothing that wasn't within the realm of possibility for me." Except that he couldn't throw a two-seamer to save his life.

In college, McCarthy had tinkered with one, but he could never make it move -- and what was the point of throwing a two-seamer if it didn't dance? Now here he was nearly a decade later, an endangered species, and sabermetrics was sending him a message: The four-seamer was your past, the two-seamer your future.

The fact that McCarthy was essentially home-schooling himself in sabermetrics reflects how little it has yet to saturate locker rooms, dugouts and coaches' minds. Says Keith Woolner, a prominent sabermetrician who has served as the Indians' manager of baseball analytics since 2007: "We can observe outcomes and place value on them, but it's up to the coaches to translate that into an actionable plan that can be used on the field. Not all coaches are comfortable with that."

And, according to McCarthy's wingman Breslow, the only outcome players care about involves dollar signs. "WAR doesn't give you value in the salary arbitration process," the Yale grad explains. "Until the mainstream media and the common fan recognize the importance of sabermetrics, the average player will continue to focus on home runs, RBIs, wins and ERA. That's what's sexy. That's what gets you paid."

Facing Toronto in Arlington on Sept. 1, 2009, in his first start off the DL, McCarthy decided to channel his inner sabermetrician and take the two-seamer for a ride. He had briefly discussed grip and finger pressure with Rangers teammate Scott Feldman and had thrown a few cutters and sinkers during an August rehab stint. But for the most part McCarthy was about to treat big league hitters like guinea pigs. Typically, when a hurler fiddles with his repertoire, it's a minor adjustment: a slider tweaked, a changeup retooled. Yet McCarthy was considering retiring the heater he'd thrown three out of every five windups for his entire baseball life. "For a pitcher to reinvent himself midcareer is almost unheard of," says McCarthy's agent, Ryan Ware. On McCarthy's sixth pitch, leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro grounded out to short. Joe Inglett, up next, singled to right. Adam Lind, up third, grounded into a double play. Inning over.

Despite not fully committing to his new two-seamers -- he mixed the cutter and sinker in with his regular four-seamer -- McCarthy worked into the seventh, giving up just one run and recording more grounders than flies, an anomaly for him. Most important, in the Rangers' launching pad of a stadium, he kept the ball in the park.

Sabermetric research shows that, historically, fly balls generate 0.13 runs per out, while ground balls produce only 0.05 runs per out. In other words, the average fly ball is nearly three times as dangerous as the average ground ball. Prior to debuting the two-seamer, McCarthy's career ratio of ground balls to fly balls, or GB/FB, lived on the wrong side of one. In 2007, among pitchers with at least 100 innings, his 0.76 GB/FB ratio was fourth worst in the American League. Early in 2009, before he introduced his cutter and sinker, the ratio dipped even lower, to 0.73. But at the end of the season, when McCarthy logged on to FanGraphs, he was shocked. During that final month, his GB/FB ratio had nearly doubled, all the way to 1.44. That same season only six AL starters had a higher GB/FB ratio -- Halladay among them. "I remember standing on the mound feeling like, Wow, that's a whole lot more ground balls than I used to get," he says. More ground balls meant fewer fly balls. Fewer fly balls meant fewer homers. In his final six starts of 2009, McCarthy allowed just two jacks. "Right then, I was sold," he says.

Unfortunately, the Rangers weren't. Grounders or not, McCarthy was still walking too many batters. He was like Son of Jor-El after arriving on planet Earth -- he suddenly had superpowers but couldn't harness them. "I'd never pitched with that stuff," he says. "I didn't know when to throw what." The following March, McCarthy was assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Just like that, he was on the outside looking in.

During the next couple of months, McCarthy learned how to tame his two-seamer. But in June, when his scapula inexplicably flared up for the third time, McCarthy finally hit bottom. "I didn't think I'd be able to stay healthy enough to sustain an actual career," he says. So he booted up his laptop and started researching online universities. "It was the first time in my life that I truly entertained thoughts that I was done with baseball," he says. That is, until Terry Clark stepped in. The Oklahoma City pitching coach convinced McCarthy that what he needed wasn't a career change but a mechanical one.

Watching video of McCarthy's extreme overhand motion, Clark realized that the pitcher's arm was pronating at the moment of delivery, and the pressure was twisting his scapula. "It was really ugly," says Clark. "He's lucky his scapula was the only thing that broke." Clark had McCarthy drop down to a more natural three-quarter arm angle, like Halladay's. McCarthy's whole motion became a study in minimalism. Less right arm, more back leg. No more falling off the mound toward first base.

In December 2010, after pitching lights-out in winter ball, McCarthy inked a one-year, $1 million deal with the A's, who'd long had their eyes on him. "We thought so highly of Brandon," says Oakland exec Farhan Zaidi, "that when the deal went down in 2006, our thinking was, Damn, we can't believe Texas just got McCarthy." In theory, the Oakland signing was a marriage made in heaven: the Moneyballing franchise that popularized sabermetrics and the failed, undervalued hurler who used it to resurrect his career.

Seven pitches. That's how long it took for the verdict to come in. On April 5, in the first inning of his first start in an A's uniform, Brandon McCarthy went groundout, groundout, groundout. It was a one-inning sabermetric masterpiece. For the game, he lasted eight innings -- the second-longest start of his career -- and threw just 89 pitches.

Back with the Rangers, when he was throwing nearly 18 pitches per inning, stepping onto the mound felt more like stepping into the ring. "After starts," says McCarthy, "my entire body would be numb." Now taking the mound felt more like taking a vacation. "It was ffffun," says McCarthy, drawing out the F for emphasis. "I was getting outs at the big league level in ways I'd never gotten them before."

His first couple of years in the majors, McCarthy's BABIP was among the lowest in the league (.249 in '05, .255 in '06). Put simply, he was one of the luckiest bastards in baseball. With Oakland last year, his BABIP was .296, just four points off the historical luck-neutral benchmark of .300. It's a stat that's not lost on McCarthy. "He's got a pretty acute knowledge of what his numbers are," says Breslow, whose astronomical .342 BABIP last year became a running clubhouse joke between the two amateur sabermetricians.

McCarthy's filthy stuff, on the other hand, was no laughing matter. "He's not trying to strike you out," says Hunter, who had long dominated the lanky pitcher -- until last season. "He's trying to get a ground ball. He's keeping guys off balance, and he's hitting his spots. He's learned how to pitch." ("The first time I got him out last year," says McCarthy, "I was like, 'Oh my god, I really did something!' That just wasn't possible before.") A's manager Bob Melvin says McCarthy's new pitching approach reminds him of Greg Maddux, the 300-game winner and surefire Hall of Famer. Says Melvin: "He takes great pride in being able to throw the ball where he wants." And when he wants.

Michael Young, who led the AL in hits last year, recalls one recent at-bat when McCarthy, who'd been pounding the outside corner, threw a sinker in that crossed up Young and shattered his bat. "You piece of s--," Young texted McCarthy after the game. "I really liked that bat."

Not that McCarthy did everything perfectly. By season's end, he had missed six weeks due to injuries and won just nine games pitching for an Oakland team that had the AL's third-worst offense in terms of runs scored. Still, his home run rate (.58 per nine innings) was third best in the AL, his 4.92 K/BB ratio set an A's record and his 4.7 WAR placed him ahead of Yovani Gallardo, Tim Lincecum and Josh Beckett, all of whom received Cy Young votes.

But even in defeat McCarthy could look brilliant. On Sept. 26, exactly one week after stalking Bill James at the Moneyball premiere, MacNasty -- the name given to him by Feldman, his former Rangers teammate -- made his final start of the year in Seattle. In the top of the eighth, Melvin moseyed over to the outfield side of the visitors' dugout, where the lanky righthander sat. "Great game," the A's manager told his horse. "Great season." McCarthy had just retired the Mariners in the bottom of the seventh. He'd put in a full day's work, throwing 108 pitches. The A's were trailing 4-1 and Seattle's 3-4-5 hitters were due up. There was no point sending the righty back out there. "I wanna finish," McCarthy told his skipper. Melvin stared out at Safeco Field for a moment. "All right," he said. "But you get no baserunners."

Six pitches. That's how long it took to finish. In the final inning of his final start of the season, Brandon McCarthy went groundout, groundout, lineout. Another sabermetric masterpiece.

On a Wednesday afternoon in January, the 2011 American League FIP leader stands in the private locker room of Grailey's, a swanky Dallas wine shop, surveying the gold nameplates above each bottle-filled cubby: Brad Richards ... Brett Hull ... Brandon McCarthy. On the top row, three letters mark Dirk Nowitzki's collection: MVP. "How cool would it be if, a couple years from now, yours reads, 'Cy Young?'" an onlooker says.

"It was one year," says McCarthy, humoring the query. The A's seem to like his odds: Six days later, they'll sign the righthander to a one-year deal worth $4.275 million, good for a 328 percent pay raise. For now, though, McCarthy focuses instead on life's little victories.

"I don't suck anymore," he says.
post #4990 of 77292
They've done studies to quantify the value a catcher framing adds and its pretty significant.
post #4991 of 77292
They've done studies to quantify the value a catcher framing adds and its pretty significant.
post #4992 of 77292
whats good with some fantasy ball, anybody starting a league ?

i wanna get down this year
Yanks Knicks Jets
Reply
Yanks Knicks Jets
Reply
post #4993 of 77292
whats good with some fantasy ball, anybody starting a league ?

i wanna get down this year
Yanks Knicks Jets
Reply
Yanks Knicks Jets
Reply
post #4994 of 77292
Thread Starter 

You're right Stringer what I meant was that they haven't found a way to implement it into WAR.  But, it seems Fangraphs is trying to figure it out.

Catcher pitch blocking & WAR updates.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Back in October, Bojan Koprivica wrote an excellent research piece on determining the difficulty of blocking every major league pitch.

Our WAR implementation now includes Bojan’s pitch blocking algorithm dating back to the 2008 season. This impacts catchers only, with a maximum range of 7 runs per season. The vast majority of catchers will see a change of 2 runs or less per season.

We’ve also included two new stats in our fielding section: CPP and RPP.

CPP – The expected number of passed pitches.
RPP – The number of runs above / below average a pitcher is a blocking pitches.

You can check out these leaderboards to see which catchers have benefited the most since 2008 and here are the RPP leaderboards for individual seasons since 2008.

Much thanks goes out to Bojan for helping us get his metric up on the site! We will be updating CPP rand RPP weekly (possibly daily) throughout the 2012 season.



MLB Draft: HS pitchers to watch.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

After such a talent-laden draft class last year, it is quite easy to feel a bit underwhelmed with the upcoming crop of players for the 2012 MLB Draft. That does not mean the draft class is bereft of big league talent or necessarily poor. It simply reflects just how good the ’11 group of draftees was largely thought to be. Plenty of quality players exist in the ’12 draft class.

Much of the talent lies within the high school arms. The hype surrounding prep pitchers tends to increase as we inch closer to June, as reports stream in throughout the high school baseball season regarding increased velocity, growth spurts, and improved control of offspeed pitches. Thus, the rankings will ebb and flow with unknown names climbing the list after stellar high school seasons, impressive private workouts, and well-established pitchers falling after mediocre seasons. It happens every single year.

Despite the fluidity of the overall rankings, certain names routinely top the charts. They will be the ones to watch this spring. Here are ten names (featuring brief scouting reports based upon online video and various online scouting reports) in no particular order with which to familiarize yourself prior to spring baseball:

RHP Lucas Giolito — Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, CA)

Giolito is largely considered the best prep arm — if not the best arm, period — in the draft. He sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball, but can reportedly run it up to 97 MPH (or higher) on a good day. His curveball is a legitimate out-pitch with two-plane break that can be thrown for strikes or spiked into the dirt, while his changeup remains a work-in-progress. Scouts love his 6-foot-6 frame and believe he has some room to fill out.

On Tuesday 2/28: Giolito threw 6.1 IP of one-hit baseball with eight strikeouts and no walks. He reportedly hit 100 MPH on the radar gun multiple times in the first and second innings.

LHP Max Fried — Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, CA)

A UCLA commit, Fried has been lauded as the best high school left-hander in the draft. His size (6-foot-4) and low-90s fastball have him atop many draft boards, and his changeup reportedly profiles to be a plus offering at the big league level. He will also show a slider that flashes average at times. A couple of scouting reports suggested that he could eventually sit 93-94 MPH with the fastball once he gains muscle.

LHP Matt Smoral — Solon (Solon, OH)

At 6-foot-8, Smoral is a monster on the mound. He throws 90-93 MPH with his fastball already and should increase his velocity a bit as he grows into his huge frame. He also features a solid slider. Little has been written about his changeup. While many believe Fried owns the title of the best prep left-hander of the upcoming draft class, some have opined that Smoral ultimately offers more upside. He is one of the arms that could wedge his way into Top 5 discussion with an impressive spring season.

RHP Walker Weickel — Olympia (Orlando, FL)

Weickel is an interesting young man because the hype appears to be mostly about projection. He currently throws 89-92 MPH with the fastball with good command on a nice downhill plane, which helps him generate a healthy amount of ground balls, but scouts believe he has more in the tank. His changeup is currently below-average, but he reportedly has good arm speed on the pitch and it could become above-average down the road. He also throws a curveball, which has garnered mixed reviews. Throw in a clean, athletic build, and he could jump up draft boards with a good spring.

RHP Lucas Sims — Brookwood (Lawrenceville, GA)

A right-hander who is committed to Clemson, Sims possesses one of the better fastball/curveball combinations from a high school arm in the draft. His fastball sits in the low-90s, and his curveball reportedly has good two-plane shape with late break that flashes plus potential at times. His command with the curveball is reportedly inconsistent, at best, but the pitch as a whole possesses significant upside. A couple of scouting reports talk up his arm speed and delivery.

LHP Hunter Virant — Camarillo (Camarillo, CA)

Virant has been dubbed a “projectable left-hander

post #4995 of 77292
Thread Starter 

You're right Stringer what I meant was that they haven't found a way to implement it into WAR.  But, it seems Fangraphs is trying to figure it out.

Catcher pitch blocking & WAR updates.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Back in October, Bojan Koprivica wrote an excellent research piece on determining the difficulty of blocking every major league pitch.

Our WAR implementation now includes Bojan’s pitch blocking algorithm dating back to the 2008 season. This impacts catchers only, with a maximum range of 7 runs per season. The vast majority of catchers will see a change of 2 runs or less per season.

We’ve also included two new stats in our fielding section: CPP and RPP.

CPP – The expected number of passed pitches.
RPP – The number of runs above / below average a pitcher is a blocking pitches.

You can check out these leaderboards to see which catchers have benefited the most since 2008 and here are the RPP leaderboards for individual seasons since 2008.

Much thanks goes out to Bojan for helping us get his metric up on the site! We will be updating CPP rand RPP weekly (possibly daily) throughout the 2012 season.



MLB Draft: HS pitchers to watch.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

After such a talent-laden draft class last year, it is quite easy to feel a bit underwhelmed with the upcoming crop of players for the 2012 MLB Draft. That does not mean the draft class is bereft of big league talent or necessarily poor. It simply reflects just how good the ’11 group of draftees was largely thought to be. Plenty of quality players exist in the ’12 draft class.

Much of the talent lies within the high school arms. The hype surrounding prep pitchers tends to increase as we inch closer to June, as reports stream in throughout the high school baseball season regarding increased velocity, growth spurts, and improved control of offspeed pitches. Thus, the rankings will ebb and flow with unknown names climbing the list after stellar high school seasons, impressive private workouts, and well-established pitchers falling after mediocre seasons. It happens every single year.

Despite the fluidity of the overall rankings, certain names routinely top the charts. They will be the ones to watch this spring. Here are ten names (featuring brief scouting reports based upon online video and various online scouting reports) in no particular order with which to familiarize yourself prior to spring baseball:

RHP Lucas Giolito — Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, CA)

Giolito is largely considered the best prep arm — if not the best arm, period — in the draft. He sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball, but can reportedly run it up to 97 MPH (or higher) on a good day. His curveball is a legitimate out-pitch with two-plane break that can be thrown for strikes or spiked into the dirt, while his changeup remains a work-in-progress. Scouts love his 6-foot-6 frame and believe he has some room to fill out.

On Tuesday 2/28: Giolito threw 6.1 IP of one-hit baseball with eight strikeouts and no walks. He reportedly hit 100 MPH on the radar gun multiple times in the first and second innings.

LHP Max Fried — Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, CA)

A UCLA commit, Fried has been lauded as the best high school left-hander in the draft. His size (6-foot-4) and low-90s fastball have him atop many draft boards, and his changeup reportedly profiles to be a plus offering at the big league level. He will also show a slider that flashes average at times. A couple of scouting reports suggested that he could eventually sit 93-94 MPH with the fastball once he gains muscle.

LHP Matt Smoral — Solon (Solon, OH)

At 6-foot-8, Smoral is a monster on the mound. He throws 90-93 MPH with his fastball already and should increase his velocity a bit as he grows into his huge frame. He also features a solid slider. Little has been written about his changeup. While many believe Fried owns the title of the best prep left-hander of the upcoming draft class, some have opined that Smoral ultimately offers more upside. He is one of the arms that could wedge his way into Top 5 discussion with an impressive spring season.

RHP Walker Weickel — Olympia (Orlando, FL)

Weickel is an interesting young man because the hype appears to be mostly about projection. He currently throws 89-92 MPH with the fastball with good command on a nice downhill plane, which helps him generate a healthy amount of ground balls, but scouts believe he has more in the tank. His changeup is currently below-average, but he reportedly has good arm speed on the pitch and it could become above-average down the road. He also throws a curveball, which has garnered mixed reviews. Throw in a clean, athletic build, and he could jump up draft boards with a good spring.

RHP Lucas Sims — Brookwood (Lawrenceville, GA)

A right-hander who is committed to Clemson, Sims possesses one of the better fastball/curveball combinations from a high school arm in the draft. His fastball sits in the low-90s, and his curveball reportedly has good two-plane shape with late break that flashes plus potential at times. His command with the curveball is reportedly inconsistent, at best, but the pitch as a whole possesses significant upside. A couple of scouting reports talk up his arm speed and delivery.

LHP Hunter Virant — Camarillo (Camarillo, CA)

Virant has been dubbed a “projectable left-hander

post #4996 of 77292
MFr3shM wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRST B0RN

Proshares wrote:
^ Seems like they're just working out some minor details but it looks like 5/70-75. 

I am happy for Molina and I hope he does get paid what he deserves.

Molina got paid too much imo. 2011 was his best offensive year and he'll put up lower numbers. Just like Mauer when he got paid.

Sucks because McCann is going to want 18 per year he puts up better offensive stats and ok defense. Braves are cheap so he might go elsewhere. 

Sorry to break it to you, but all teams over pay nowadays.

  

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply
post #4997 of 77292
MFr3shM wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRST B0RN

Proshares wrote:
^ Seems like they're just working out some minor details but it looks like 5/70-75. 

I am happy for Molina and I hope he does get paid what he deserves.

Molina got paid too much imo. 2011 was his best offensive year and he'll put up lower numbers. Just like Mauer when he got paid.

Sucks because McCann is going to want 18 per year he puts up better offensive stats and ok defense. Braves are cheap so he might go elsewhere. 

Sorry to break it to you, but all teams over pay nowadays.

  

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

Reply
post #4998 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by onewearz

whats good with some fantasy ball, anybody starting a league ?

i wanna get down this year


I can start up a league on Yahoo - 10 teams if ppl are down
post #4999 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by onewearz

whats good with some fantasy ball, anybody starting a league ?

i wanna get down this year


I can start up a league on Yahoo - 10 teams if ppl are down
post #5000 of 77292
All I do at work is mock drafts now

smiley: laugh


So it seems this awful idea of adding two wildcard teams is a go for 2012

30t6p3b.gif
  
post #5001 of 77292
All I do at work is mock drafts now

smiley: laugh


So it seems this awful idea of adding two wildcard teams is a go for 2012

30t6p3b.gif
  
post #5002 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by venom lyrix

Quote:
Originally Posted by onewearz

whats good with some fantasy ball, anybody starting a league ?



i wanna get down this year


I can start up a league on Yahoo - 10 teams if ppl are down




image


pm me whenever you're ready , i'll get down
Yanks Knicks Jets
Reply
Yanks Knicks Jets
Reply
post #5003 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by venom lyrix

Quote:
Originally Posted by onewearz

whats good with some fantasy ball, anybody starting a league ?



i wanna get down this year


I can start up a league on Yahoo - 10 teams if ppl are down




image


pm me whenever you're ready , i'll get down
Yanks Knicks Jets
Reply
Yanks Knicks Jets
Reply
post #5004 of 77292
Fantasy League has been created, sending invites to a select few - if you are a serious player get in touch with me asap - 10 spots total
post #5005 of 77292
Fantasy League has been created, sending invites to a select few - if you are a serious player get in touch with me asap - 10 spots total
post #5006 of 77292
2 new wildcard teams will be added this year, announcement will be made later today
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
Reply
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
Reply
post #5007 of 77292
2 new wildcard teams will be added this year, announcement will be made later today
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
Reply
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
Reply
post #5008 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringer Bell 32




So it seems this awful idea of adding two wildcard teams is a go for 2012

30t6p3b.gif
  

You really don't like it?
post #5009 of 77292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringer Bell 32




So it seems this awful idea of adding two wildcard teams is a go for 2012

30t6p3b.gif
  

You really don't like it?
post #5010 of 77292
Thread Starter 
I think it's a pretty good idea *shrugs*
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sports & Training
NikeTalk › NikeTalk Forums › The Lounge › Sports & Training › 2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions.