Passionately undeveloped opinions on the state of baseball, the shifting landscape of stats and analysis, and the opiate power of El Pato tomato sauce
Got wind thanks to @lonestarball, this tweet sums up The Worldwide Leader’s attention to details:
After sweeping Boston this weekend, the Rangers have dropped below Boston in the ESPN Power Rankings: espn.go.com/mlb/powerranki…—
Adam J. Morris (@lonestarball) May 06, 2013
Yup, the Red Sox just jumped the Rangers in rankings of power (a bizarre concept when you really think about it) after getting swept by said Rangers.
And boy how things have changed. I suppose it’s not actually too much considering one week of data is so small, but still things are different looking. That primarily is due to the White Sox getting swept by the Nationals a week and a half ago, as well as the Twins getting knocked around by the Mets in between snow storms. The AL gained some ground back with wins by Texas, New York, and Baltimore, but really only enough to stem the tide for the time being.
As you can see, the run differential took a drastic turn south in favor of the NL when the Metropolitans beat the Twins by 11. It peaked as high as +16 in favor of the senior circuit and hasn’t got closer than +8. Note: The Twins now play the Marlins for the first interleague series this week. God knows what this graph will look like come Thursday.
Hand in hand with getting outscored is losing (learned that from Joe Morgan), and you can see a nice 5 game losing streak right after I started this project. The AL Central blows. It did provide us with our first drop in expected win percentage though (at game 10). A nice recovery towards expectations has the AL being only slightly unlucky according to Pythagoras.
Meanwhile, the NL has a nice steady climb going for it, which serves up some confirmation bias for me that the AL is top-heavy in good teams while the NL has more parity but higher average talent. Provable? Hopefully for someone else.
And lastly, a new graph that shows each league’s runs scored per game in interleague contests. The NL has actually scored exactly 5 runs per game to this point, whereas the AL is a tick below 4.5. We’ll see how much the summer months cause this graph to go skyward.
I know I mentioned that Ducky wasn’t as positive this data is actually meaningful a few weeks ago and I’m still not either, but I do think it provides an interesting storyline to how the first year of year-round interleague progresses. Who’s the better league is always a nice subplot to the season and while this in no way provides an answer to that question it does provide food for thought. And pretty graphs.
My older bro is busy doing fancy law stuff with lawyers out in New York. Not my cup of tea because, as you’ll see below, it greatly infringes on one’s ability to blog about baseball.
Generally, I enthusiastically respond to anybody asking me about the Great Pastime. But not when the query comes before 5am.
First, I share my deepest sympathies and astonishment over the events yesterday in Boston. I’m blessed that personal family and friends appear to not be directly injured, though I would still consider them victims in need of all available positive juju. An acquaintance is a trauma surgeon at Mass General. Makes my stomach tie up. I think we need a live chicken up here on the mound.
In this spirit of needing to enjoy enjoyable things as a means of avoiding my instinct for disgust and abhorrence at our human condition, our troubling capacity for infliction and disheartening incapacity for meditation, here is the comprehensive list of the top baseball movies of all time. Scientific and irrefutable, guaranteed or your money back:
1) The Sandlot
2) Bull Durham
4) The Bad News Bears
5) Major League
6) A League of Their Own
7) Eight Men Out
8) Field of Dreams
9) Little Big League
10) Rookie of the Year
2,048) Fever Pitch
2,049) For Love of The Game
2,050) A Bronx Tale (mostly a slobberjobbing of the old timey Yankees. Blech. And then some Mafia stuff, which was alright)
2,051) That video of The Indians doing the Harlem Shake
2,052) That episode of LOST where Linus explains to Jack that the Sox won the ‘04 Series
2,053) Major League II
2,054) Major League: Back to the Minors
Discuss, and be WRONG.
But please, be happy and spread your happiness. Patton Oswalt said that if humanity were inherently evil, we would have eaten ourselves a long time ago (Go read the rest of his message for a pick-me-up). Call your family and tell them how much you love them, let your neighbor borrow your trash can, and have some people over for a bratwurst this weekend. For all of our sake.
Update: I think Ducky is not as enthused about this as I am, and he brings up good points. I’ve always seen pythagorean expectation used for a single team over the course of a season and assumed it would apply for a league as well. That may not be the case. So while I do some digging take all this with a grain of salt. Which you should anyway since 6 games doesn’t not a meaningful sample size make. The run differential trend should be fun regardless though. -High Pockets
Update 2: Also, this expectation equation I’ve used has a factor of 2 involved. Apparently research since the original equation came about has found that a factor of 1.83 is more accurate. It will be used from now on (if pythagorean expectation is continued).
Since Interleague play is constant this year as a result of the Astros moving to the AL, we can follow how each league is doing all year long instead of waiting until June. I’ll be posting a few graphs after every week to get an idea of what’s going on. The first will be run differential, then a graph of AL Wins vs. Expected wins (computed based of simple pythagorean expectation), and finally a graph of NL Wins vs. Expected Wins (the inverse of the AL graph).
So there you have it. After one week the AL is clearly superior to the NL /incorrect assertion/. See you all next week!
Slim pickin’s for the worst game of the day today. There’s only 7 games to begin with, which is odd because you think these guys wouldn’t need a day off yet. And the Rays, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Indians are just now getting started. Weirdos. So with our limited slate of games to choose from I’ve gone ahead and selected the Rockies and Brewers as the Worst Game of the Day. Which is hilarious because their first game was tied in the 9th on a homerun by Dexter Fowler of all people, then Jonathan Lucroy hit a walkoff sac fly for the Brew Crew in the 10th. Go Figure. The matchup of Marco Estrada and De La Rosa…wait, that’s not Rubby is it? No, it’s Jorge. Ok, Marco Estrada and Jorge De La Rosa don’t create excitement, so yeah, I’m comfortably making Colorado v. Milwaukee (all matchups now titled like court cases) my selection.
First, the WGotD (worst game of the day, catch up with the new lingo) quickly turned one-sided thanks to a Colin Cowgill (who?) grand slam. He plays for the Mets. So the Mets won 11-2 over the hapless Padres. Edinson Volquez was once traded for Josh Hamilton and for awhile people thought the Reds won that trade. Not so much. Oh, and Ike Davis was 0-5 with 4 Ks. So begins the Deadballers curse.
Second, I was going to rant about this earlier, but Ron Washington is an idiot and his ability to create a unified clubhouse is quickly becoming a non-starter for me in conversations. Is it really that hard to not be seen as a blowhard stats guy of a manager by players? Why can’t common sense work in a clubhouse? Can’t we just tell baseball players, “Look, bringing in this player in this situation gives us the best chance to win, period. Sorry you’re the veteran and you’ve got to take a seat on this one.”? Would they not understand? Yesterday, in a 4-2 game in the 6th inning, Ron Washington brought in Derek Lowe to face Rick Ankiel with 2 men on. Lowe had most recently not been selected to be the teams 5th starter over Nick Tepesch (go look him up, I can wait)……….Exactly. Why do you bring in your worst possible option to face a decent power hitter?! WTF, Ron?!
Rant over. It could be a long season.
Happy baseball season, everyone! Yes, it all started last night technically, with an abysmal performance by the Texas Rangers against division foe Houston (so strange), but I’m actually in a good mood. Probably because Texas followed that game up by signing awesome shortstop and handsome gentleman Elvis Andrus to a long term extension at a very friendly price. Hello most amazing infield for the next 5 years (at least).
Back to today though. Games have already started and before they get going too much I wanted to introduce a new feature I’m going to try and pump out daily (probably not going to happen). Instead of the game you should really try to find on tv, it’s the game you ideally want to avoid. It’s The Worst Game of the Day! [cool graphic and guitar riff]
I’ll try to prevent this from becoming whoever is playing the Marlins all year long, but standings, talent, and general interest will take precedent in deciding who gets the short straw.
Our first worst game of the day is San Diego vs. the Mets. Both teams have decidedly low expectations and strong divisional rivals. Edinson Volquez takes the hill for San Diego, a team I was unaware he played for. Jon Niese, who’s actually not bad, toes the bump for the Metropolitans. Other than that we have David Wright and Yonder Alonso (forgot he was a Padre), maybe Ike Davis, as standout players of the game. If Davis could go ahead and smash about 6 homeruns today to get my fantasy team off to a hot start it would be much appreciated.
The game has already started and it’s the top of the 2nd, scoreless, and the Padres have the only hit and an error. Avoid at all costs, folks. And Chase Headley, come back soon.
“It’s the element… I’m telling ya, they let those kids run wild up there. Well, maybe it serves ‘em right.”*
So it turns out I jumped the gun a bit, because ESPN stretched out the last 100 player announcement over a 4 day event rather than a two day reveal. It’s cool, though, because any point I was going to make about this process being preposterous gets amplified with any hung jury fauxdrama. Somebody should have been waiving flags at the courtroom steps. And rather than bury the lead, I’ll just let you know that the EXPERTS agree that Miguel Cabrera is the greatest that ever was or ever will be.
I understand that ESPN is an absolute mockery of journalism, even in the mock-worthy realm of sports journalism. I understand that revenue is generated by page clicks, so it’s an excellent strategy to just create more pages within a story and break those pages up by days in order to generate more views. I can even begrudgingly accept that, in order to get any real kind of news or journalism out of ESPN baseball coverage, you have to be willing to get waxed to the tune of a 40$/year premium. That’s what hurts the most, because I could almost justify paying 40 bucks a year for Keith Law and Buster Olney work. I just can’t justify any of that money going to their bosses. Someone over there needs to be willing to take the crab out of crab soup.+
Was that the point of this post? I may just be pissed that I can’t honestly think of a reason to visit the ESPN website anymore, a website that has been a staple of my fan-hood, maybe a staple of my existence, for at least the last decade. Maybe the walls have been slowly coming down for me for longer than I would like to admit. Before I let this get too far down the rabbit hole and write that sports never were important in my life, that the distraction is just a cynical cash grab preying on our Sartrean fears of non-existence or existence in absurdity, that they might as well be serving baseball analysis with high fructose corn syrup and caffeine…
Where was I? Oh yeah… How can you put a reliever in the top 20??? Cabrera more valuable than Trout??? I see the bros as ESPN still love them some RBIs. Idiots. All of us. Idiots!
Opening day tomorrow. Try not to think about it too hard.
+From Season 5 of The Wire. Just watch the fucking Wire already. Jesus, how are we still friends?
*From 12 Angry Men, at least as best as I can remember the film. Watch that first, then go watch The Wire.
I’m jumping the gun on this because there are still 100 players left to reveal over 2 super exciting days, but ESPN has “compiled an expert panel of 34 to rate on a scale of 0-100 how each player will perform in 2013.” Hopefully they greatly altered the qualifications for “expert” after 2012′s Punxsutawney Phil display. Y’all can expect some deeper comments after the complete list is posted, because so far it’s really a hoot. Did you know Kevin Youkilis is 172 players worse than he was last year? It’s right there in the numbers. Numbers don’t lie. “Players” is an official statistical number. You can’t pull a number out of your ass!
It also includes links to player twitter handles when applicable, so you know that’s unbiased. It’s gold, I tells ya.
On the bright side, I guess I can stop reading the 2013 Prospectus. 34 experts! Holy Cow! That’s, like, a lot of experts! No way BP has that kind of staff. Also, they don’t have Kruk throwing in his two cents, so it’s basically 560 wasted pages of paper. Shame on your eco-terrorism, BP.
disclaimer: Buy baseball prospectus. You will learn a lot of cool math. Do not trust Jon Kruk for anything in your life. I think even joking about it makes me liable for future lawsuits. Jon Kruk is a braying manatee of a moron. Though that might be giving a bad name to braying, morons and manatees.