The Greatest Game

Friday, January 23, 2004

Sporting News tries to grade the ballparks 

Sporting News writer tries to Grade the Ballparks. Does he know about Park Factor? I commend his attempt to try and get the word out, but Park Factor is an established stat (at least among sabermetricians and fans like me) that gives a very accurate rating of how a ballpark fairs among hitters and pitchers. Here is a history of Yankees Stadium with the Park Factor included. And here is a list of all the teams so you can look up their ballparks.

One problem is that Park Factor is a pretty complicated calculation for the layperson. Here is a page that explains it in all the gory detail.

Back to Roberts' article. He gives an example of Preston Wilson's hitting bias towards Coors Field, but the stat he uses is RBI, which we all (we all statheads) know isn't a great stat to use. Why not use OPS? Or even BA or SLG? Then he uses Cameron as an example of a hitter stuck in a pitchers ballpark. This is what he says: "Seattle's Mike Cameron has batted .224 at unfavorable Safeco Field over the last three seasons; on the road, he has hit a more respectable .278. (Good news; he's now with the Mets.)" Even though in his chart Shea Stadium comes out neutral (his division between "neutral park" and pitchers or hitters park seems a bit arbitrary, too), Park Factor shows otherwise. He's moving from a premier pitchers park to a very-slightly-less pitchers park. He's still going to struggle to put up big numbers at Shea. Should they be better than his numbers at Safeco? Yeah, sure, but not by much. And switching leagues seems to be a coin-toss, too.

I wish that Roberts would have gone the extra step or two that would have made his article that much stronger.
# posted by shawn : 1/23/2004 10:02:00 AM -

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Mael Rodriguez's arm is "healthy" 

Mael started working out for 15 major league teams in El Salvador, including the Yanks, Mets and Red Sox, and his agent declared Mael's arm healthy. He also didn't reach 90 mph, but then again you can't expect a guy to reach peak speed so soon after starting to workout.
# posted by shawn : 1/22/2004 09:41:00 PM -

History of the Commish 

Rob Neyer has yet another very good article on the history of the commissioner. He gives a synopsis of all 9 commissioners. It's definately worth a read.
# posted by shawn : 1/22/2004 06:56:00 PM -

Sasaki and the Players Union 

The Players Union took a LOT of heat when they decided to contest the ARod trade (which was the right move on their part in my mind). Now Sasaki is trying to have his contract with the Mariners dissolved, and the Players Union promised not to contest it. Let's make sure that we give kudos to the Players Union when kudos are in order. All you people who stomped on them for the ARod situation, I'd love to hear you give them a pat on the back for their current stance.
# posted by shawn : 1/22/2004 11:21:00 AM -

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Twins trading Jones to the Reds? 

Fox Sports says that the Twins mights be trading Jacque Jones to the Reds for pitchers John Riedling and Chris Reitsma.

Riedling was a below average pitcher last year (ERA+ 87), but the two years before that he was above average (ERA+ 180 & 163 for 2001 & 2002 respectively). 2003 looked more realistic for him since he pitched more innings (bigger sample size) and his BB/SO ratio is pretty bad. 2003 it was 47/65 and in 2002 it was 26/30. Not too good.

Reitsma was league average last year: ERA+ of 100. In 2002 it was 121 - not bad. He lets up a few too many hits, but he doesn't walk many. In his 3-year career he has 404 IP with 445 hits and only 113 BB. Of course, he doesn't strike out many, either - 233 Ks in 404 IP. Reitsma mostly relieved last year as opposed to mostly starting the two years previous.

I think he'd make a decent #4 or #5 for the Twins this year, and they don't really need Jones considering they have so many OFs. Jones is a decent OF, but nothing spectacular. This OPS+ last year was 106 and the year before in 2002 - which was his "great" year - was 125. If he would learn to draw a walk he wouldn't be a bad player. 21 BB in 517 AB in 2003? 27 BB in 577 AB in 2002? Horrendous!

- Addendum -
Thanks to Cliff for pointing out that I only really examined the Twins side of the deal. I forgot to mention that the Reds just traded two pitchers, which they are in dire need of, for an outfielder, which they already have an over-abundance of. Are they looking for insurance against injury or are they planning on trading one of their outfielders?
# posted by shawn : 1/21/2004 12:23:00 PM -

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

ARod Talks "baseless" 

According to Theo Epstein the report that the Red Sox and the Rangers are talking about the ARod trade are "baseless."

We'll have to wait and see if he's telling the truth or just trying to blow smoke as not to re-offend Nomar who, according to reports, is over the whole thing is "not thinking about it, one way or the other."

If, indeed, the talks are back on, then I'm sure this will be the final straw for Nomar. He finally comes out and says that he holds no ill will towards the Sox only to be confronted a couple days later with this newest rumor.
# posted by shawn : 1/20/2004 06:47:00 PM -

Carew returns to Twins 

Apparently Rod Carew is back in Minnesota:
I remember Rod Carew, but mostly with the Angels. Some interesting facts about Rod Carew:
And somewhere around here, I have a really old Rod Carew baseball card from his younger days as a Twin. I should try and dig that up sometime.
# posted by shawn : 1/20/2004 06:38:00 PM -

Maddux to the Yanks? 

This article here (scroll to the bottom) speculates that the Yankees are behind a 3 year $30 million offer to Greg Maddux. Apparently someone leaked that a contract was offered to Maddux, but there was no mention of the team. So of course speculation turns to the Yankees. A move like this would further stoke the hatred and loathing of the Yankees. I recently speculated about Mael Rodriguez being the Yankees' 6th starter. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
# posted by shawn : 1/20/2004 06:20:00 PM -

Monday, January 19, 2004

Sasaki not coming back 

It looks like Sasaki is not coming back to the Mariners in 2004. He's giving up $9.5 million. The Guardado signing is looking better and better. But form what I remember from when he signed, Eddit will get more money if he becomes their closer. Looks like he's going to earn it.
# posted by shawn : 1/19/2004 10:58:00 PM -

Wrigley Field Park Factor 

I noticed that Derrek Lee signed a $6.9M contract for this year with the Cubs and it got me thinking. Everything that I heard about this deal was pretty much, "Lee his 31 HR in Florida, imagine how many he'll hit in Wrigley! He can hit 50 HR there!" Of course he CAN hit 50 HR now that he's playing in Wrigley, but will he? So I checked out the park factors for Pro Player vs. Wrigley. Pro Player had a 94 Hitter's Park Factor for 2003. Pretty low. The 3 year average for Pro Player is about a 96. Wrigley's Hitter's Park Factor was 99. Still below average. Not what I was expecting, but Wrigley is a strange place. And Wrigley's 3 year average was about a 98 or so. Even lower.

So will Lee hit 50 HR? I'm thinking not.

But that's not really why I started writing this post. While looking at Wrigley's Park Factors, I noticed this anamoly:
Park Factor (Bat/Pit)
1999 107/106
2000 90/92
That's insane! It went from a strong hitters park to a strange pitchers park over night. Well, over the offseason at least.

So my question to all of you, is: Does anyone know of any reason for this bit of strangeness?
# posted by shawn : 1/19/2004 03:30:00 PM -

Pat on the back 

Ha! I just noticed that if you search on "Mael Rodriguez" on Google, my site comes up first! Ha! I just thought that I'd share that with everyone. Ain't blogs great?
# posted by shawn : 1/19/2004 11:28:00 AM -

Zeile? Garcia? Huh? 

Cameron? Check. Attempt at Vlad? Check. Kaz Matsui? Worth a shot. Zeile and Garcia? Huh-whu?

What happened, Mets? You almost had me. I really liked the signing of Cameron. And I'm one of the few people who agreed with your approach at Vlad, especially with the uninsurability of his back and your previously getting burned with Mo. And I'm even onboard with signing Kaz - I'm sure it will pay itself back in his marketability and he should be a pretty good player. But signing Zeile and Garcia??? You've got to be kidding! And I even heard a rumor that they may sign Shane Spencer to platoon with Garcia!!! Why don't they save the money and play Cedeno and Timo? Karim Garcia has been in the majors since 1995 and has a total of 1205 AB. That's barely 2 seasons worth of ABs in 8 years. There's a reason for that. In 2002 he had an awesome surge at the end of the season that gave him a .901 OPS for the year. How many walks? 6. In 202 AB for the season. 6. Which translates into an OBP of .317. His career OPS is .713 in that time. Positional average (thanks to Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Encyclopedia) is .823 over the same time period. And this is the Mets' answer for RF? Roger Cedeno's career OPS, is .717 (and he started playing in 1995, too, but he's had 2917 ABs since then). Granted, Garcia is probably a better right-fielder than Cedeno, but couldn't they find ANYONE better than Garcia? I know Mondesi is out there (last years' OPS of .827 with a career OPS of .823) and he has a cannon of an arm. Sure he'd be more expensive, but don't they have at least a little money to throw around after not signing Vlad? Garcia had an OPS of .811 vs righties last year, so I can see why maybe the Mets are interested in him, but if you're going to platoon, shouldn't the guy have a higher OPS than .811? Especially when league average for RFs last year was .833.

Zeile on the other hand, if he's going to sit on the bench most of the time, I don't have a big problem with - he can play several positions, though none of them very well. But I have a feeling that he's going to be getting too many ABs at 3B and 1B. His OPS was .693 last year (between the Yanks and Expos), and considering he's 37 years old, isn't going to be getting any better this year.
# posted by shawn : 1/19/2004 10:03:00 AM -