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15 Most Recent Questions

On the occasion of Jim Bouton's 80th birthday, do your recent studies of "deserved" pitching results show anything out of line with two crucial seasons of his, the 4-15 year he had with the Yankees in 1965, or the 2-3 year he had with Pilots and Astros in 1969 (as he was writing Ball Four). That last year seems impressive to me in several ways: his appearances and innings (73, 122) mainly as a reliever don't seem to fit someone who loses his job the next year. Curious what your newer stats would show.
Asked by: Steven Goldleaf

Answered: 3/16/2019
 Bouton was 18-13 in 1964, 4-15 in 1965.   His deserved records were 16-12 in 1964, 7-11 in 1965.   Of his 370-point decline in winning percentage, 211 points were deserved.   That system doesn't deal with relievers.   

 

Looking at the other fellow's headline I was wondering, how often would the last season of a decade have changed a decade's all-star team?
Asked by: bobfiore

Answered: 3/16/2019
 10%, maybe?  I dunno. 

 

Bill, Steeler receiver Antonio Brown has been critical of his team owner, coach and quarterback on twitter. I don't think the team can have him back after all his negativity. Do MLB teams "advise" their players on how to use social media?
Asked by: Steve9753

Answered: 3/16/2019
 Oh yes.  

 

Hey Bill. Just wondering what you thought of this.  
 
John Montgomery Ward did not think much of spring training in 1888:  
 
"The best preliminary practice for a ball player, outside of actual practice at the game, is to be had in a hand-ball court. The game itself is interesting, and one will work up a perspiration without noticing the exertion; it loosens the muscles, quickens the eye, hardens the hands, and teaches the body to act quickly with the mind; it affords every movement of the ball field except batting, there is little danger from accident, and the amount of exercise can be easily regulated. Two weeks in a hand-ball court will put a team in better condition to begin a season than any Southern trip, and in the end be less expensive to the club."  (From Baseballhistorydaily.com)  
 
If you were a newcomer trying to make the team, you had a problem.  When did teams begin to regard spring training as partly a showcase for new talent?
Asked by: wilbur

Answered: 3/16/2019
 I don't know.  The 25-man limit was actually adopted in reaction to John McGraw (about 1917.  .maybe 1916, not sure). . .anyway, McGraw would invite very large numbers of players to spring training and sort them out.   It created pressure on other teams to do the same, and the roster limit was adopted to try to put a limit on it.  
 
One year. . .was it 1906?.  . .McGraw had Tris Speaker in spring training, and did not sign him.   If you have Tris Speaker in spring training and he doesn't attract your attention, you probably have too many people in spring training.   

 

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Malaysia Air 370 disappearance. I've always had what may be considered a grim "fascination" with plane crashes. The loss of life is certainly not fascinating; rather I'm more interested in what caused the crash, NTSB investigations, etc. Wondering if you ever watch Smithsonian Channel's "Air Disasters" and have any thoughts on the aforementioned mystery, TWA 800, etc.
Asked by: jcgator

Answered: 3/16/2019
 I not only don't watch the show, I've never heard of it, and I didn't know that there was a Smithsonian Channel.   And I don't answer open-ended questions.  

 

In the BBREF WAR article for pitchers, I was a little confused in the section discussing how many home runs A’s pitchers would have been expected to give up if they were average.  
 
1. 86 was the park factor for runs  
2. 70 for homeruns  
3. So the A’s should be expected to give up 14% fewer home runs  
 
At first I though you’d conflated the 2 numbers, but then realized it’s to deal with only half their games being at home.  
 
So the 14% is determined by adjusting home numbers by 30%, but then also accounting for the other ballparks being a slight bump on the road? (Hence 14%, not quite 15%?)
Asked by: Christopher

Answered: 3/16/2019
 
I don't know what you mean by "bump in the road", but if a park effect is 70% in a 12-team league, then the other 11 parks don't average 100%, they would average 102.7.   So the effect of playing in that park is (70 + 102.7) / 2, or 86.35.
 

 

Have you noticed other periods in MLB where certain pitchers had an advantage because of their birth year? Obviously World War I wouldn't have had the same impact as World War II.  
 
The effect in NPB for both birth year (World War II) again, and birth month (the cutoff date for school admission and everything else is large. 
Asked by: guidedogjapan

Answered: 3/16/2019
 What is the NPB? 

 

Not a question, but I just came across this story, which I'd never seen before:  
 
In 1962 a blind 11-year-old met Bob Aspromonte at a Houston game and asked him to hit a home run -- which Aspromonte did. A year later, now able to see after a successful operation, the kid attended a game against the Cubs. He met Aspromonte again and made the same request -- and this time Aspromonte hit a 10th-inning grand slam to win the game.  
 
Then, on July 26, 1963, the kid met up with his hero again, asked for another home run -- and Aspromonte hit ANOTHER grand slam, this time in the first inning against the Mets.  
 
Aspromonte hit 8 homers altogether in 1963, so that seems a lot more remarkable than Babe Ruth hitting a few for a fan.
Asked by: BobGill

Answered: 3/16/2019
 . . . .

 

What do you think of Ted Simmons as a Hall of Fame candidate?  
I read he missed the last vote by 1.  
I am a huge fan and hope he gets in next.  
Thanks!
Asked by: aetutt

Answered: 3/16/2019
 He should be in. 

 

So - we have actual rules changes (not just proposals) for 2019 and 2020.  
 
The ultra-crazy concept of moving back the mound was avoided, as were bans on shifts, the pitch clock, and ideas doing direct violence to the integrity of the game's statistics. But nearly everything seems directed at pitchers -- nothing whatsoever about hitters wasting time at the plate, as you have so often mentioned.  
 
Any initial thoughts? Thanks
Asked by: garywmaloney

Answered: 3/16/2019
 Yeah, I don't answer open-ended questions. 

 

Thought you might enjoy this ...  
 
In the readers' posts it was pointed out that Dave McNally was 31 in his last season with the Orioles, and Mike Cuellar was 32 in his FIRST season with the team. So their combined records with Baltimore -- done in imitation of your Koufax-Vance combination -- would make Dave McCuellar the Orioles' greatest pitcher, edging out Jim Palmer:  
 
324-201  3.18  153 CG  63 SH  4681 IP  1391 BB  2487 SO  
 
Another interesting note is that McNally and Cuellar both had identical 3.18 ERAs with Baltimore.
Asked by: BobGill

Answered: 3/1/2019
 Very interesting.   I had never thought of that.  

 

The academic literature on the 'age advantages' from cutoffs between league cohorts that you mention refers to them as "Relative Age Effects" - knowing this label makes no practical difference except to make the topic much easier to search for via Google Scholar.  
One of the earlier papers in this literature that I can find was on baseball: Thompson, Barnsley and Stebelsky's 1991 "'Born to Play Ball': The Relative Age Effect and Major League Baseball," Sociology of Sport Journal 8(2), and it seems like there have been a few studies which find the same sort of effects in Japanese baseball.
Asked by: S. Stein

Answered: 3/1/2019
 Thanks. 

 

garywmaloney, thanks for that post about the video of a game - possibly the Yankees' home opener (given the pagentry), 1934: it really is amazing, except it leaves you wanting much, much more !  
 
We get to see and hear the voice of Connie Mack !  
 
Babe Ruth and...I think Jimmie Foxx looking uncomfortable in front of the cameras.  
 
Yankees won 1-0 on a home run by...Frankie Crosetti.  
 
Very cool.  
 
 
Asked by: MidnighttheCat

Answered: 3/1/2019
 Thank you. 

 

When looking at a pitching prospects, which is more important.  Strikeouts, or Strikeout to walk ratio?
Asked by: shthar

Answered: 3/1/2019
 Well. . .probably too general a question to answer.   But an exceptional strikeout to walk ratio at a low level (High A or below) often means less than you think it would.   Hitters at that level often can't deal with a changeup.   A young pitcher can get two strikeouts every time through the lineup by throwing a changeup a little bit outside.   You get to the majors, it doesn't work at all; it's just a ball.  You hope it's a Ball; you hope the batter doesn't step into it and paint the fence with it.  Not just a changeup, but a pitcher at a low level has one thing, maybe a big curve, maybe a funky delivery; he can dominate with just one pitch.   Doesn't mean it will fly in the big leagues.  

 

Have you ever heard anyone anywhere say anything nice about Dave Kingman? Kind of amazing that he lasted as long as he did.
Asked by: pablo

Answered: 3/1/2019
 Yes, I think so.   I mean, I can't quote specifics, but I don't think he was universally or even generally hated by his teammates.   He couldn't deal with the media, and my impression is that he was not a no threat to an IQ test, but I don't know that his teammates disliked him. 

 

 
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