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Thor’sLinks: From Shooey to Shohei

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36 Days until Pitchers and Catchers report!

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP/Getty Images

Welcome to HaloLinks where, if I am around and you are not on DIY duty, you do still get the best damned daily dosage of what’s up in Baseball. You read me so that you don’t have to suffer under this kind of stuff. So make good use of it, people. You have a responsibility.

Instead of wasting my idle news fingertips on tidbits like this, I am going to advance the dialog about the LAA 2018 rotation forward with some first-hand research. I tracked through the BBR data for every pitching staff in 2017, and came up with the following summaries. I am trying to look into the math behind how many innings we need out of everybody, and where those innings will come from. This is an extension to what JeffJoiner kicked off earlier this week.

The teams are arranged from left to right in order of number of wins on the season. As you can quickly see, there is no straight line correlation, although it does appear that the more successful teams bunched on the left tended to benefit from their starters more consistently. And it’s important to note that these are the pitchers USED. You will not see any lost innings due to injury here. You probably can gain some insight into injuries and franchise roster theories, though. I broke out the AL from the NL because of the DH, and how that can impact in-game substitution decisions. Here is the NL chart.

Again, teams are ordered left to right based on number of wins in the 2017 season.

All this leads to these averages:

The totals are kind of bogus. Accurate within a few percentage points only. That is because baseball uses a Base3 numbering system to count innings and Excel uses Base10. But at these volumes, since the percentages line up close enough, I’m not quibbling with the precision. Especially when the NL per-team average comes so close to the AL per-team average. Teams in both Leagues play the same 162 games.

So where are we? This tells us that the Angels need about 1,435 innings to be pitched, and it’s most common for them to need about 53%, or 761 innings, out of their starting rotation. A true 6-man rotation would garner 27 starts each, about 128 innings (761 / 6) so we need to expect an average of 4 7/10’s per Starter, per start (761 / 6 / 27). Let’s call that 4 innings and 2 outs. 4.2 innings in baseball lingo.

By the way, in Japan Shohei’s team played pretty much 6 games a week like we do. The bigger difference being that their leagues tend to have the same calendar day off week after week until something comes along to shift that. In a 140-game season, Ohtani got between 21 and 24 starts (that 6-man rotation thing). So Ohtani was kind of used to pitching every Wednesday for a while, then every Thursday, etc.

Have some Numbers-To-Ponder-Offseason-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

We haven’t spent too much time here analyzing the 2018 LAA bullpen, perhaps thinking that Billy Eppler would perform a rash of wizardry in the closing weeks prior to ST so that Scioscia is loaded up with options out of which he could select the hot hands. But in truth Eppler has a semi-decent crew already to go. Anything else will be bonus options. But that is not why I link to that article. No. I link to that article because within it is a quote that just 2 years ago would not have been believed. It’s this one: “His arm is still really good. I think there’s some things from an analytical basis that we feel we can do to help him.” The person being quoted is none other than Mike Scioscia........

While Kyle Schwarber looks like a damned machine.....Luis Valbuena is working out with tires and sledgehammers...........

Sam Miller has some fun, using his personal time machine to rewind history and go back and have Mike Trout not sign a contract extension with the Angels. In that alternate reality, the world of Baseball from the All-Star Break last year through to today looks much, much different, And if the infinite universes theory is correct, Sam’s reality IS in play somewhere right now. I’m glad not to be a part of it..........

Buster Olney can drop his “yets”. Mike Trout is laps in front of all remaining center fielders. They won’t catch Trout on a year-by-year basis until Mike is in his late 30’s...........

By the way (not a link), last night Rene Rivera was interviewed on MLB Radio and he got rather animated twice. Once when he was asked about playing alongside Mike Trout. He was pretty happy to no longer having to figure out how to get Trout out. And the other time was discussing what opposing players might be the most interesting to face when they are on the base paths trying to steal. One player jumped out immediately. Rivera has an ongoing personal challenge with this player and they get on each other about it every time they compete. You should look for it. The player is Dee Gordon.


Everywhere In Baseball

Probably the biggest news of the day in our baseball world comes out of FanGraphs, where we learn that the esteemed Dave Cameron has been lifted away from our blogosphere by the San Diego Padres. This is a big loss to those of us in the public realm interested in information-driven points of view towards Baseball. Because once a guy like Cameron goes into a Front Office, his views and ideas go private. While the Padres may benefit, the rest of Baseball - globally - loses out. It’s big enough news that even Awful Announcing, my go-to source for information concerning video sports content, took notice. So while I am thrilled for Cameron to be off chasing new horizons, it’s bittersweet news all the same..........(P.S. - I am almost as shocked at learning that it is now 2018, and the Padres are only today starting to build an R&D team.).........

Just when you thought that sports agents could not get any worse of a rap, along comes Jason Wood. Not just “an agent”, mind you. Jason Wood was PRESIDENT of the CSE Baseball Agency. Wood is in serious trouble for allegedly filming clients while they showered at his home..........

You already knew the 2018 play dates. Now you have access to the times of day...........

I hope this works. You young people do not know that back in the 60’s the Olympics were Big Deal event television. We would watch events live, and throughout their entirety. It was pure sports, pure competition, pure drama. It was mesmerizing. Then ABC figured out that they could draw more women viewers by giving us more of the human stories behind the athletes, and “Up Close & Personal” was born. That air time had to come from somewhere, so it came from live coverage. Over the decades things morphed into little more than Youtube jingoistic event summaries, and lots of replays delayed for prime time. The drama of sports competition became extinct, and NBC was merely the History Channel. Only recently has NBC tried to re-introduce live coverage, but turning cable TV delivery into a streaming service is like calling MySpace “social media”. It’s over. So if Hulu can pull this off, and stick with long enough to recapture out attention, it should bode well for mainstreaming..er..’streaming’ of sports content. You guys are gonna love it. I promise...........


Hot Stove

Gerrit Cole absolutely owned yesterday around the hot stove. I’d have to stay up until 4AM to make sure that I gave you the absolute latest status. Instead, let’s just observe. First of all, the whole news frenzy is insane......Of course, anything that happens in Baseball (or doesn’t happen) must be presented from the context of what it means to the Yankees.....If Cole DOES end up in Houston, though, FanGraphs shows that it could be murderous, because the Astros know how to coach up a pitcher in the modern world.....Gerrit’s wife, however, knows how to deal..........

Another rumor leaked out later yesterday, that Yu Darvish had narrowed his list of target teams down to 5: the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros and Twins. But Darvish, the same guy who shot down an earlier rumor via Twitter, took to social media again to correct the rumor. So now it’s up to you, dear friends, to guess what team might be stealthy enough, and have a GM and crew active in Japan recently, to earn the label of ‘mystery team’?..........

Starlin Castro needs to be moved to the Diamondbacks. That guy is the most snake bit player I know. He came up in the Cubs organization and went through 6 years of hell as the Cubs were going through the tank-to-rebuild phase. The nadir was 61 wins in 2012. But then things turned around and by 2015 the rebuilt Cubs were in the NLCS. Castro was traded to the Yankees just in time to see the Cubs win the WS immediately thereafter. Castro and the Yankees were 4th in the AL East. But the following season, 2017, Castros makes it back again to the LCS, losing to the Astros at the very end. Boom! Traded to the Marlins. Back to ground zero, and with no hope for a post-season for years. Naturally, Castros has had enough. He wants out. Starlin is signed for 2 more seasons, with a 3rd season being a club option. He might not get out of Miami until we see the 2021 season.........

This is good. Not fresh, but good. I see 3 things at play this Winter. One, as I have been warning for 14 months now, this is a shitty FA class, especially compared to what came before and will come just after. Teams are smarter now, and smart enough to know this much better than me. Two, a lot of the big names are Scott Boras clients, and Boras likes to wait until January and let teams simmer in their own stew in order to drive up contract offers. So a lot of key players are merely listening to offers and not acting on them, by design. And, three, the teams are learning that if they are willing to out-wait the agents, there shall be better deals to be had. If you need a 4th, I suppose I could add that the traditional big player franchises are a lot more settled in their rosters (especially compared to the talent on the market) already. But that number one thing, about teams getting smarter? I do agree that we should pay a lot more attention to that rather than whine about slow news..........

What I do NOT agree with, however, is the idea that smart people using the same theories and the same data coming to the same conclusions is inherently illegal behavior. Back in the old days, before franchises has the smarts to figure shit out for themselves, colluding in the background to keep from doing dumb things made sense, even though it was patently illegal. Nowadays, I think we can trust the Billy Epplers and Brian Cashmans and Theo Epsteins to have the smarts to figure shit out for themselves..........

Yep. A team comprised only of the still-available Free Agents would be formidable. It would also cost you $160MM before you spent a penny on the remaining 31 roster slots, and cost you that every year for half a decade, which would be 2 - 3 years after anybody stopped fearing your lineup...........


The Duffle Bag

Sportslogos.net got their hands on a leak of the MLB 2018 post-season logo.........If somebody is going to make a life story about swimming with sharks, Mr. Anthony Rizzo, those sharks better look like this!..........This list of to-dos is more indicative of all the denial in our sport than anything else..........The Yankees are extending their netting. Although I think the use of the word “finally” is pretty lame. It’s not like they are the final hold out. And we are not talking about some level of criminal negligence that just popped up out of nowhere..........High Heat Stats has been pimping Gummy Arts baseball cards for a long time now. It’s good to see Gummy getting some MSM love..........

OT: Alligators scare the shit out of me...........Elephants, though, they are cool..........