clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

HumpLinks: We are all Baseball

New, comments

Sports functions as an escape for society. Baseball is America's favorite such pastime. And here we celebrate it, as brothers and sisters.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

I always knew that November 9th was coming. And I was always expecting that it really didn't matter what the outcome of last night would have been. In the morning, such as now, there would be tension and words and worry and agitation either way. So here we are. Welcome. In here, we are The United States of Baseball.

The 2016 General Manager meetings in Scottsdale are going strong, and lots of information is flying about. Major decisions, too, but those are about players being granted Qualifying Offers, other players not, and which teams are interested in taking a whiff of what potential Free Agents. These are merely dance steps, but they are important ones. They map out the dance floor ahead of us.

Leave behind the hangovers of the yesterday, and seek a lovely place to lunch with a fresh beer today. Then have yourself some Links of Fine Distraction:


______________________________
A Little Bit of Angels News

No Gold Gloves for the Halos this year, even though Andrelton Simmons outplayed Francisco Lindor. But playing for a team that nobody cares to watch will do that for a voting bloc..........

Billy Eppler is going to sit back and let Jered Weaver take whatever is leftover in the Free Agency market...........

But Eppler isn't doing any such waiting to find out about Andrew Bailey...........

Just a friendly reminder that things in Anaheim are not nearly as dire as the 2016 record suggests. If you step back and think about the comments around here, we kind of know that. We are talking about tweaks, not blowing everything up. We do know our depth sucks and I hope we know that it takes real time to fix that (not to mention ownership commitment and scouting acumen). What gets me, even with an article such as this, is how it minimizes, if not ignores altogether, the injury implosion we had last season. That warped our outcome, big time. I doubt we would have won the AL West, but we would have competed for the WC. With that better outcome, more people would be on board with how we are trending. No depth sucks, and it turns an injury plague into a fatal calamity. But there is no law that mandates we have an injury plague and without one, and with some tweaking, next year we are contenders again. Because Mike Trout...........

Is Cameron Maybin really taking a flyer for getting lucky, as our Stat-centric blog up on the mother ship suggests? I don't think so. First, even if Maybin ends up sucking, or fails miserably as a talent, all that means is that we are treading water. No different than last year. No different than the year before. That was still a good bet to take for the cost of Victor Alcantara. As the author suggest, Maybin's dWAR should improve by the shift to left field. His oWAR last year was 3.1! And that has been rising for three straight seasons. Even with regression there, as long as it is not huge, we are plus over 2016 in LF. Not a big risk there. If anything, I would suggest that the real risk concerns the opportunity of time. This is our LF play. We didn't make a good one in 2015. We didn't make a good one in 2016. If Maybin doesn't work out then we didn't make a good one in 2017 and a lot of other things Eppler does is somewhat degraded. You don't get these years back. Kind of like last winter, when the outfield choices were legion. We don't get last year's opportunity over again. It's gone, forever, and we blew it. If Maybin is a risk, it's not the risk poor performance. We already got that. It's the risk of losing another whole year to make the necessary significant improvement. Maybe the year we don't suffer the injury calamity.........

Here is some fun for you people. When we author here, we have access to the huge vault of Getty Images for photos to use in our posts. But let's assume you don't want to author anything, but look at those great pictures. MLB is here to serve!..........

The downside to spending a butt load of money on a couple of players is that it blocks your ability to spend that money on more players who would be useful. The upside is that when the contracts for those players expire, it makes you suddenly one of the more powerful potential forces in an off season. See Angels, 2017 Winter sans Weaver and Wilson. But I will harp again on something I mentioned above (and last Winter). The world is not required to align itself with Arte's wallet. A lot of money comes off the books THIS year, but the talent to fill the roster holes was in the FA class of LAST year. So what if Arte can now gift Eppler with $40 million with which to play? Who is Eppler going to give it to? Ivan Nova? Wilson Ramos? Salivate away at a Neil Walker all you want, but last year Ben Zobrist, Daniel Murphy AND Ian Desmond were on the store shelves..........

Huston Street is losing his grip on the one thing he considers most dear: the 9th inning. Essentially, his report card includes a note from the principal that he will have to compete for hall monitor next semester.........


______________________________

Everywhere In Baseball

A decent summary of the tidbits I have shared recently, where ESPN Is Hemorrhaging Subscribers And Pretending It Doesn't Matter: "This is, of course, an industry-wide problem, not an ESPN-specific one. Eighty-two of the 119 networks measured by Nielsen lost subscribers last month, and almost all have lost millions over the last few years. Potential subscribers are dropping cable altogether, trading down to smaller packages, subscribing to services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, or streaming illegally. Except possibly around the margins, this isn’t a reflection of ESPN’s programming quality or anything else, but simply the catholic trend of cord-cutting. Yet this trend affects ESPN more than it does any other network."..........(By the way, while talking about sports viewing habits, in the event that you are not following let it be known that NFL ratings are tanking. They want to blame the presidential election, but since Sunday afternoon ratings are tanked, and Sunday night ratings are tanked, even on a night with no such Presidential debate distractions, it's fair to say that it's their own damned fault. As Drew Brees would attest. Contrasted with the blowout playoff ratings, nobody is out there using NFL/MLB television numbers to claim baseball is dying anymore.)..........

Buck Showalter is upset that CYA voters failed to value Zach Britton any more than Showalter chose to value Britton in his single most important game of the season..........

______________________________

Trade Winds

Mike Napoli, coming back to the AL West so that Jerry Dipoto can use him to haunt Mike Scioscia all over again? That's the stuff of misery worthy of a Russian novel..........

Howie Kendrick up for grabs, maybe?............

Evan Longoria and Chris Archer might also be available on the trading block..........

Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner picked up QO's from the Doyers...........


______________________________
The Duffle Bag

Enough time passed that the Tim Tebow broken clock was correct again. This time it happened with the bases loaded in the last frame of a tie game. Walk off. Credit Reggie Jackson for coaching up Tebow. Essentially telling him to hit he baseball..........Curious. I'm not the world's biggest fan of Tim Tebow's pursuit of a baseball career, but to have his stats missing from the MiLB stats tables is a real problem............I dunno. The Cubs had a massively good year in 2016. But it's not like they blew right through the playoffs. And the NL is getting stronger. So maybe talk of a Cubs dynasty is a tiny bit premature...........Dexter Fowler receives all points for his Steve Bartman joke.


______________________________

World Series PITCHf/x recap

One of my outstanding tasks was to provide you all with my PITCHf/x tracking charts for the recent World Series. As you now know, the import was extremely focused on the pitching efforts. A lot of things go into those results. You have the pitcher execution, of course. And you have how the batters react (when they swing and when they take and what that does to coerce the strike zone). And you have catcher framing. And, finally, you have the human eyeballs of the umpire.

In the following graphics you have the additional elements of the PITCHf/x bias. The upper and lower ends of the zone are normalized, and based on the human judgement of the PITCHf/x technical crew and not that of the umpires or players. And the PITCHf/x data does not track all the way through the strike zone so data is missing. But for sake of argument let us assume that the PITCHf/x bias is consistent and relative for all situations. (It's not, because this stuff gets manually reset before each game.)

Below is the aggregated results of all pitches "missed" by the umpires. These are ONLY pitches that were not swung at by the batters, and fell beyond the expected bounds of what they should have been called. I have the individual game charts if you are interested, just ask. Joe West, FWIW, wasn't so bad. Marvin Hudson was the best.

What is missing entirely from this would be context. Not every situation is the same. Sometimes a missed call means merely one more pitch for the pitcher. Sometimes not even that. But other times the miss comes at a very important juncture in the game and the outcome is magnified. A study of all these missed calls weighted against their leverage within the game and/or their downstream impact would be an excellent way to perform an historical review of this entire Series. Not at my pay scale. But for a brief look/see into what can be done, here is a mere taste.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the full picture..........


All-Games-Merged-Sorted


______________________________