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Archive for February, 2008

Great names for pitchers

Posted by Andy on February 28, 2008

In today's spring training debut game for the Phillies, they pitched two guys with great names for pitchers:

1. Lincoln Holdzkom, whom I assume specializes in holds

2. Joshua Outman, whom I assume just gets people out.

Thanks to my friend Eric for pointing this out.

8 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Do Me a Favor … Nevermind

Posted by Raphy on February 28, 2008

A recent comment by fabio in my "Unexpected At-Bats" post got me thinking about pinch hitters who were pulled. Unless I'm missing something (please let me know) a pinch hitter can end a game with 0 plate appearances in one of 5 ways.

7 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Larry Walker Comps

Posted by Chris J. on February 28, 2008

Over at his blog, Joe Poz had a really nice post recently.  It's a testament to his ability as a writer that I liked it despite disagreeing with almost everything in it.  One PI-related point is when he makes the following point:

The guy has a career 140 OPS+, which is measured to take into account the Coors advantage. There are currently four players with 140 OPS+ or better who had 7,500 plate appearances (I figure that’s 15 years, 500 PAs) and are not in the Hall of Fame. They are:

1. Mark McGwire.
2. Jeff Bagwell
3. Edgar Martinez
4. Larry Walker

Hmmmm . . .well, Walker had a 140 OPS+ in 8000 PA.  McGwire had an OPS+ of 162 in 7500 PA, Bagwell  was at 149 OPS+ in about 9000 PA, and Martinez had a 147 in more playing time than Walker.  Looking at PA & OPS+, none of these guys are good comps.

PI let's you find better comps.  Walker's at 8000 PA & a 140 OPS+?  Well, let's do a search for guys between 7500 & 8500 PA and a career OPS+ from 135 to 145.  Here's the results.

Best comp is Bob Johnson, not in Cooperstown. Also really close are Norm Cash & Reggie Smith.  It's a litany of the best hitters not in Cooperstown -- but they're all at best bubble cases.  The Hall of Famers on the list are Duke Snider, Arky Vaughn, and Billy Hamilton.

Vaughn was a shortstop, and thus not really comparable.  (Besides, he didn't get in through the BBWAA, though he should've).

Hamilton's value largely came from his 912 stolen bases, which aren't accounted for in OPS+.  He also played center, a more demanding defensive position.

Duke Snider had a fantastic prime in which he played just about every day for 8 straight years.  I dunno if Walker ever played 8 straight games - it makes a difference.   And he also played center.  The only BBWAA pick of the bunch, he barely got in from them, waiting until his 11th year of eligibility.

Piazza will go in, but who compares a catcher's offensive stats to a right fielder?  Chipper Jones will likely go in, but his career ain't over -- and he beats Walker on both OPS+ and PA anyway.

The remainder are a bunch of Very Good but not necessarily great players.  It wouldn't be a crime or disaster to put any in Cooperstown, but they all appear a bit lacking.  Add in his durability problems, and I don't really see the case for Larry Walker.

6 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Unexpected At-Bats

Posted by Raphy on February 25, 2008

Very often there are players who make an appearance in a game for a particular moment. Their manager decides that their skills are needed for a brief moment in the game, but no longer. They are asked to pinch hit and take a seat or to pinch run and then come out of the game. The pinch hitters' evenings are supposed to last for one plate appearance, the pinch runners' not even as long. This is the norm. Occasionally however, the bizarre happens. A deluge of offense allows the team to bat around and the pinch hitter gets to have an encore performance; the pinch runner a chance to actually pick up a bat. Let's take a closer look.

14 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

2007 Walk-off plate appearances

Posted by Andy on February 25, 2008

Here is a summary of all the walk-off PAs in MLB in 2007. By the way, I've always thought the term "walk-off" was stupid. If your closer strikes out the side in the 9th, your team walks off the field as winners just the same as if you'd lost the game.

Anyway, some interesting tidbits:

  • Nick Markasis, of all people, had the most walk-offs in 2007 with 4.
  • Of the 210 total PAs, there were 179 hits (including 12 doubles, 3 triples, and 60 homers), 7 walks, 2 hits-by-pitch, 1 sacrifice, 13 sac flies, and 4 reaches-on-error.
  • Toronto gave up the most walk-offs (12), followed by Colorado and San Francisco (11 each.)
  • The 8th-place batter (!!) had the most walk-offs with 30, just ahead of 4th-place and 5th-place.
  • Third basemen had the most, with 32.
  • Of the 210, 115 of them came in extra innings. Of course, walk-offs always come at home since it has to happen in the bottom of the inning, and any extra-inning game won by the home team will always be of walk-off variety, since the game ends as soon as the go-ahead run scores. Only 95 of these PAs came in regulation, all of course in the 9th inning.
  • 188 came when tied, 19 when down by 1 run, and 3 when down by 2 runs. That accounts for all 210 times, meaning nobody hit a game-winning grand slam when down by 3 runs. Obviously, a walk-off hit cannot happen down 4 runs or more since a team cannot go ahead on a single hit when down by 4 or more runs.

Fun!

3 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Jobs @ Sports Reference

Posted by Andy on February 22, 2008

Jobs @ Sports Reference

Sports Reference is hiring--not full-time at the moment, but for summer internships. If you are interested, please apply, and if you know someone who might be interested, please pass our ad along to them and encourage them to apply. We've got some interesting projects for the interns to work on, so I'm hopeful that we can fill these positions. Let me know if you have any questions. Job Ad

1 Comment | Posted in Uncategorized

Is Jeter The Straw That Stirs The Drink?

Posted by Steve Lombardi on February 22, 2008

Here's some fun with Baseball-Reference.com's new Batting Order Position Outcomes tool.

Last season, Derek Jeter batted second for the Yankees, most of the time.

For 2007, the Yankees second batter (in their line-up order) had the following BA/OBP/SLG splits:

In Wins: .344/.402/.483
In Losses: .255/.312/.357

Last season, Alex Rodriguez batted fourth for the Yankees, most of the time.

For 2007, the Yankees fourth batter (in their line-up order) had the following BA/OBP/SLG splits:

In Wins: .333/.453/.737
In Losses: .294/.389/.510

This is interesting. When Alex Rodriguez batted well last season, the Yankees either won or lost. And, when Derek Jeter batted well last season, the Yankees won. But, when Derek Jeter didn't bat well in 2007, the Yankees lost.

For more of a test, I went back to 2005 - when Alex Rodriguez, like in 2007, won the MVP.

In 2005, Derek Jeter batted first for the Yankees, most of the time.

That season, the Yankees first batter (in their line-up order) had the following BA/OBP/SLG splits:

In Wins: .331/.406/.486
In Losses: .260/.339/.368

In 2005, Alex Rodriguez batted fourth for the Yankees, about half of the time - and also batted fifth and second at times. And, he did well out of all of those slots.

And, according to Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index Batting Event Finder, in 2005, A-Rod batted .343/.444/.657 when the Yankees were leading in a game and he batted .286/.375/.493 when the Yankees were trailing in a game.

It's safe to say that Alex, in 2005, batted well for the Yankees no matter where he was in the line-up or how the Yankees were doing in a game.

So, in the two years where Alex Rodriguez won the MVP (2005 and 2007), in terms of winning and losing, he hit for the Yankees - no matter what. But, during those two seasons, when Derek Jeter batted well, the Yankees won - and when Jeter did not bat well, the Yankees lost.

Granted, there are many other variables that come into play here - like the other seven batters in the line-up for New York and who was pitching for the Yankees and the other team, etc. Nonetheless, it's an interesting split for these two players, no?

6 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Most Wins, non-HoFr

Posted by Chris J. on February 20, 2008

One fun quirk to the sort is dividing searches based on HoF-itivity.  Here's the winningest non-HoFers ever.  Or, can you guess which HoF has the most K's per 9-innings.  Believe me, you won't guess correctly

7 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

2007: The Year of the Middle Reliever

Posted by Raphy on February 19, 2008

In 2007 Mariano Rivera posted an ERA+ of 142. It marked only the 5th time in 13 seasons that the all time leader in ERA+ (500+ innings) posted an ERA+ under 200. Nevertheless, the rest of baseball picked up the slack, as for only the second time in history there were 15 pitchers who posted an ERA+ of over 200 while pitching at least 50 innings. Interestingly enough , 10 out of those 16 (EDIT: For some reason this PI search eliminates JC Romero who pitched for 2 teams, while the search which includes all players counts Romero) were actually middle relievers, while the number of closers was at its lowest in 5 years.

8 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Most hits in a game as a sub

Posted by Andy on February 19, 2008

Some of the recent comment chatter gave me this idea: most hits in a game by a player who didn't start the game:

  Cnt Player            Date          Tm   Opp GmReslt PA AB  R  **H** 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF ROE GDP SB CS BOr Positions
+----+-----------------+-------------+---+----+-------+--+--+--+------+--+--+--+---+--+---+--+---+--+--+---+---+--+--+---+---------+
    1 Tom Paciorek      1984-05-08    CHW  MIL W  7-6  10  9  1    5    0  0  0   3  1   1  3   0  0  0   1   0  0  0 6th LF 1B     

    2 Quinton McCracken 2005-07-18    ARI  FLA W  8-7   5  5  1    4    0  1  0   3  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  1  0 9th CF
    3 Shawn Wooten      2002-08-05    ANA @DET W  6-3   4  4  1    4    1  0  0   1  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 7th PH 1B
    4 Chad Fonville     1995-06-17    LAD @CHC W 12-5   5  5  1    4    1  0  0   1  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 1st 2B
    5 Randy Milligan    1991-06-23(2) BAL @KCR W  9-8   4  4  1    4    0  0  0   2  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 4th DH
    6 Paul O'Neill      1990-04-18    CIN  SDP W 11-7   4  4  2    4    0  0  1   3  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 6th PH RF
    7 Kelly Gruber      1988-04-11    TOR  NYY W 17-9   6  6  3    4    1  0  2   5  0   0  1   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 6th 3B
    8 Julio Gonzalez    1982-10-03    STL @CHC W  5-4   5  5  3    4    1  0  1   1  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 1st 2B
    9 Rufino Linares    1982-04-13    ATL @CIN W  8-5   4  4  3    4    1  0  0   1  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 3rd PR LF
   10 Jim Wohlford      1980-05-24    SFG @PIT W 10-9   6  6  1    4    2  0  0   1  0   0  2   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 7th PH LF
   11 Claudell Washingt 1979-07-04    CHW @CLE W 16-4   4  4  2    4    1  0  1   3  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 2nd RF
   12 Jay Johnstone     1970-04-12    CAL @KCR W  7-5   4  4  2    4    1  0  0   0  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 5th CF
   13 Hawk Taylor       1964-06-20    NYM  PHI W  7-3   5  5  2    4    0  0  2   4  0   0  1   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 7th C
   14 Felix Mantilla    1962-05-25    NYM @LAD L  8-17  4  4  1    4    1  1  0   4  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 7th SS
   15 Matty Alou        1961-07-25    SFG @PIT W 16-7   5  4  1    4    1  0  0   4  0   0  0   0  0  1   0   0  0  0 3rd LF
   16 Harry Simpson     1958-05-30(1) NYY  WSH L  8-13  5  5  0    4    1  0  0   3  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 1st PH RF

Paciorek's performance is nice, although he did get 9 at-bats in which to get those 5 hits. #7 Kelly Gruber managed 3 homers as a sub, although if you look at the box score for that game, you'll see that he entered for Rance Mulliniks in the top of the first inning on defense, so he basically played the whole game.

Here is a second list for most homers in a game by a sub. As was already pointed out, Art Shamsky holds the record with 3. Ryan Howard had a memorable game for the Phillies in 2006, though,when he pinch hit with 2 outs in the eighth, tying the game on a solo homer, and then added a second homer in the 12th to win the game 2-1.

1 Comment | Posted in Game Finders

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