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RE best pitcher & hitter on the same team, based on Baseball Reference yearly leaders in WAR for position players/WAR for pitchers:  
1965, Willie Mays, Juan Marichal  
1965 Giants were 95-67, 2nd place, 2 games behind the Dodgers  
1932 Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove  
1932 Athletics were 94-60, 2nd place, 13 games behind the Yankees
Asked by: pkkennedy

Answered: 6/18/2018
 Thanks.   I've seen other relevant lists posted here and there. . .


In the question concerning strike zone evaluation of umpires, you said "Sandy Alderman". I think you meant Sandy Alderson. I suspect most people know who you were talking about, but in case anyone was confused, I thought I should send in a correction.
Asked by: Michael Skarpelos

Answered: 6/18/2018
 Your correction is appreciated, Mr. Skrapellman.   


Interesting the ultra-closed batting stand of Giancarlo Stanton this year, a la Dan Ford? Do you thing this will start a new retro trend?
Asked by: laferrierelouis

Answered: 6/18/2018
 I think Ford was way MORE closed even than Giancarlo, but maybe that's just my memory.   My memory is that Ford had his feet far apart with his left foot pointing down the first base foul line.  


While researching your true crime stories,  have you ever looked into the Connecticut Valley killings of the 80's?  They also were called the Nurse Killings,  here in NH and Vermont there were at least 7 victims and maybe more.  Most are unsolved still.  Do you have any insights into any of this?  Just curious.
Asked by: Manushfan

Answered: 6/18/2018
 No, I don't remember the case.  


Watching Indians-Tigers game of Friday, June 8 -- Michael Fulmer has Indians baffled all game long, leaves after the 7th with the score 1-1, game score of 70. In the 9th, Indians score 3 off the 2nd reliever, Shane Greene. Fans (and broadcasters) commonly identify the effect of a team pouncing on a reliever whose stuff isn't as dominant as that of the starter (or just is different). Has there been research on this topic -- do you have thoughts? Is this an area teams have to pay more attention to, not letting pitcher transitions work against them?
Asked by: wovenstrap

Answered: 6/18/2018
 You know, I was just thinking about doing a study related to that.  Gene Mauch told me 30 years ago that he could never relieve Jim Bunning, because Bunning's stuff was so good that whoever you put on the mound after him, the other team would think, "Oh, good; we can hit THIS guy."  I've always meant to study that, reliever by reliever. . .did Jack Baldschun have a higher ERA when relieving Bunning than when relieving other pitchers?    I don't know of any studies of the issue, but then I don't really scour the research in this field.   I mostly just do my own stuff.  


Every time I hear the words "Dylan Bundy," why do i think "serial killer" instead of "Orioles pitcher?" Please help me.
Asked by: rtallia

Answered: 6/18/2018
 The name "Bundy" shows up in an amazing array of crime stories, not just Ted.   OJ's murder, of course, was on Bundy drive.  There is another serial murderer also named Bundy, not related, and there was a woman named Carol Bundy (that's from memory) who had two different boyfriends who were both serial murderers.   In one of the best crime books ever written, Final Verdict, by Adele Rogers St. John (sometimes written Adela. ..) she recalls the first case she worked, before 1900, "The Bundy Boy".   It just pops up constantly in crime stories.  


Hi Bill - do you recall any MLB player with a throwing motion as awkward as that of Hunter Pence?
Asked by: redsfan

Answered: 6/18/2018
 He's high-end unusual in everything he does, isn't he?  


Is it my imagination or are pitchers pitching inside more this year? Could that be one reason why offensive production is down? I know it's true of the Mets' pitchers.
Asked by: manhattanhi

Answered: 6/18/2018
 Haven't seen a study of it.   The Mets new manager is a former pitcher, so they could be doing something.  


A NL GM was quoted as calling Bryce Harper "overrated, selfish, and a losing player."  Of course, the comment was made anonymously.   I'm thinking that the exec has some sort of ulterior motive for making such a comment.  Do you have an opinion on the propriety of making a comment like this, in general, but more specifically, under cover of anonymity?
Asked by: Marc Schneider

Answered: 6/18/2018
 Well, I don't have any problem with the guy STATING his opinion, if that's his stupid opinion,  I don't think any "news" source should have printed it.   As I would see it, printing opinions is fine; printing information from anonymous sources is fine.   But publishing OPINIONS from an anonymous source. . .what is the point in that?   How does that meet the standard of "newsworthy?"


Have you been following the arrest of Joseph DeAngelo for being the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer/Visalia Ransacker/Killer with Too Many Nicknames? I know you didn't cover the case for Popular Crime, but what are your thoughts on the case? I was always amazed how much work the guy spent into each attack, murder or rape, and how it paid off, since he got away with it until technology (DNA testing and the Internet) nabbed him, and even then it took a few years.
Asked by: CharlesSaeger

Answered: 6/18/2018
 Yes, it is a fascinating case, and I have been interested in it for a long time.  He was an exceptional murderer--exceptionally cruel, exceptionally vicious, exceptionally well-prepared.  He has a good deal in common with BTK, the Wichita serial murderer, including the fact that both seemed to run out of energy for their attacks at about the same age.   This guy's quite a bit worse than BTK, though.  


It’s my understanding that in the deadball era, which ended around 1921, one run strategies such as bunts, hit and run, stolen bases, and taking an extra base were the prevalent offensive tactics in Major League Baseball.  In the 1920s and 1930s, scoring increased dramatically.  In a low scoring environment, one run strategies make more sense than they do in a high scoring environment.  Which teams in the 1920s and 1930s were the first to recognize the need to abandon the old tactics and adopt strategies that would maximize opportunities for big innings?
Asked by: evanecurb

Answered: 6/18/2018
 Would be an interesting study, to check the rate at which SH declined, per team.   I haven't done the study but will try to make time to do that. 


My fantasy team currently has the best hitter so far this season per the player raters (Mookie Betts) and the best pitcher (Justin Verlander).  The team correspondingly is doing well.  What are examples of MLB teams simultaneously with the best hitter and the best pitcher?  Have any of these MLB teams not been upper tier?
Asked by: bertrecords

Answered: 6/1/2018


In watching games this season, it's been my anecdotal observation that when there's a difference between the ball/strike call of the umpire and that of the TV electronic strike zone, most of the time (80% maybe) it was the batter who was "robbed," usually when a low or outside pitch was called a strike. I don't know how accurate strike zone trackers are, and I don't know if the 80/20 split was just due to small sample size. But it would seem worth looking into, because if this is actually going on, it might create a way to decrease strikeouts and increase offense: require umpires to watch video of their "mistakes" and re-learn the zone, so to speak. Or do umps already have to do that now? And do teams send umpires tapes of their mistakes?
Asked by: pbspelly

Answered: 6/1/2018
 A few years ago, when Sandy Alderman was working in the commissioner's office, he instituted a program in which the umpires had to sit and watch a review of their mistakes after the game.   Here's a pitch you called a strike; as you can see it is well outside.  As you can imagine the umpires did not like this program and complained about it, but I have never heard whether the program was discontinued after Mr. Alderman went to the Mets or was not.   I do not know.  


Hi Bill!  
First time question asker here.  I have been monitoring the total runs leaderboard under the stats section and the runs attributed for position, batting and fielding make sense.  However for base running, Mike Trout and Mookie Betts for example are considered un-impactful base runners so far this year (0 and -1 runs respectively) despite a general commentary in the media describing them as above average base runners especially when looking at Stolen Base numbers, caught stealing percentages, and attaining extra bases on balls in play. I understand that stolen bases are usually overrated in terms of impact on team performance but I would have expected their contributions to be meaningful. Why is your opinion of their skills and why that may or may not be reflected in the leaderboard?  Thank you!
Asked by: sac010

Answered: 6/1/2018
 Well, the standard deviation of that category (Baserunning) is probaby between 2 and 3 for regular players over the course of a full season, so you're not going to get stable measurements for anybody over a third of a season's work.   Mookie had great baserunning numbers in 2016 and 2017, and Trout had very good baserunning numbers in 2015 and 2016, not great in 2017 or this year.   
In the case of Mookie, I would guess that the issue this year is baserunning outs.   If you steal a base that might be +2/10ths of a run; if you run into an out at home plate with less than 2 out in the inning, that might be a negative .8 or something.   The Red Sox this year have run into a LOT of outs at third and at home plate; I don't remember about Mookie in particular, but the team has.  A lot.   I would guess that his skill in this area has just not asserted itself this season.  


Not a question... Yes, Nettles did play a deep third base.  He explains his defense here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVu0tZXnPCA
Asked by: nettles9

Answered: 6/1/2018


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