FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. As integers go, you can’t get any closer to zero than 1.

    Comment by Robert J. Baumann — February 13, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

  2. That last GIF is notanle as it shows a Canadian getting about as emotional as he can get when not in any way involved in Hockey.

    Comment by Yo — February 13, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

  3. I think zero is an integer. (This would make the original statement true.)

    Comment by Anon — February 13, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

  4. Votto had to have a second knee surgery after the first, which delayed his recovery and likely made the knee weaker. I think that should have been in the article. He could not generate power after that for obvious reasons. While his OBP skill is extraordinary, he won’t be a great player if he cannot regain his power. Which makes him the No. 1 player to watch in ST, and you’ll have to look very closely for signs because no one takes a more studiously gradual approach. Also, he was a sneaky-good base stealer (16 SB-5 CS as recently as ’10.) That part of his game is gonna be gone. For a great player so essential to his team and making huge, long-term bucks, you red-light him on steals as injury avoidance.

    Comment by mikec — February 13, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

  5. Is Votto not hitting pop ups common knowledge? If I offer the bet that he won’t hit more than 3 this year, will an average baeball enthusiast be on to me?

    Comment by Dan — February 13, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

  6. Zero is an integer. Negative one is also equally close to zero as one among integers, but when it comes to pop-ups we’re really more interested in natural numbers than integers.


    Comment by LK — February 13, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

  7. Depends on how stat-oriented they are. If you pick a random baseball fan, you can probably get them to take the bait.

    Comment by LK — February 13, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

  8. Another amazing Votto fact/feat:

    Comment by Scott — February 13, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

  9. I think this is far more interesting. I wonder how many players have ever come even close to that feat.

    Comment by Art — February 13, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

  10. Geekasm

    Comment by Cody — February 13, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

  11. I recall Baker saying something last March when Votto was “struggling” about Votto having a different approach in Spring Training where the goal of his ABs in ST games isn’t to necessarily get a hit or reach base but to rather see as many pitches per AB as possible. Based on that, I doubt we will know anymore as to whether Votto’s power has returned or not based on any ABs prior to Opening Day.

    As far as the pop-up stats, fascinating.

    Comment by Kevin — February 13, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

  12. Except nobody ever gets hurt stealing bases. This is only a mild exaggeration.

    Joey will do whatever he feels capable of doing, and I would not count him out of anything.

    Comment by GlennBraggsSwingAndMissBrokenBat — February 13, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

  13. The first gif:

    Joe Blanton: I hope Joey Votto doesn’t swing at this.
    Joey Votto: *swing*
    Joe Blanton: Oh crap he swung that ball is probably coming right at my face
    Joe Blanton: *flinch*
    Ball: *soft pop up in foul territory*
    Joe Blanton (off camera): That was embarrassing. At least this moment won’t be immortalized as a gif and posted on the internet.

    Comment by Bip — February 13, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

  14. So Votto has to hit ~30 HRs to be a great baseball player?

    Comment by Bab — February 13, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

  15. Votto only hit four pop ups in four years?? Wow!! Is anyone else even close?
    I’ve seen guys pop up 3-4 times in one game so this seems incredible.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — February 13, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

  16. That just means that Joe Blanton is the best pitcher in the Major Leagues–in making Joey Votto pop out.

    Comment by Angels Enthusiast — February 13, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

  17. This is a sneaky-great post. …in Joey Votto’s ability (?) to avoid pop-ups: a microcosm of what can and can not be forecast, what can and can not be known.

    Comment by John Morgan — February 13, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

  18. Add it to the list of prop bets alongside whether or not Betancourt will hit a batter this year.

    Comment by Aaron Murray — February 13, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

  19. So I’m aware of Votto’s amazing lack of popups, but what is his POP-? Someone calculate this.

    As always Jeff, brilliant.

    Comment by Neil — February 13, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

  20. I wonder how that # would change if he played half his games in Oakland.

    Comment by Adam — February 13, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

  21. You absolutely cannot get any closer to zero than 1 in terms of integers. Since the word closer was used, zero is removed from consideration since zero IS zero. Therefore, the next closest integers are negative 1 and 1, both of which are equidistant from zero.

    Pendantism rules.

    Comment by Dan — February 13, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

  22. Concur that this is one great little article, but I already knew about the pop-ups, and also about the pull-foul (note singular), which I think is the most incredible record of the two. There must be a chasm between him and the second best, and who would the second best be? And have we ever seen a hitter with this eye? Probably no numbers for Ted Williams, but Bonds? Boggs? Gwynn?

    Comment by glib — February 13, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

  23. I see what you did there. Well played. I recall Jeff’s article from earlier this year noting how Betancourt works outside….exclusively.

    Comment by Scott — February 13, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

  24. It is pretty incredible — Votto has registered pop ups in 0.17% of his batted balls over the past 3 years. Next best is Ben Revere at 0.35%, Mauer at 0.42%, Jeter at 0.44%, and Howard Kendrick and Michael Bourn both at 0.52%.

    On the other end, there’s Rod Barajas at 8.6%, Clint Barmes at 8.11%, and Vernon Wells at 7.98%.

    Comment by Steve Staude. — February 13, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

  25. I think he will June 25th or 26th

    Comment by Peter — February 13, 2013 @ 9:49 pm

  26. Why would a comparison eliminate equal values from consideration? Two items of equal value are closer than items of different values.

    Comment by Anon — February 13, 2013 @ 10:43 pm

  27. Votto has a perfect swing plane and approach at the plate. If I were a young lefthanded hitter, you couldn’t do much better than emulate Votto. His batspeed, even at his current peak, is still a shade below immortals like Pujols and Bonds at their peaks. He would be putting up Ruthian slugging numbers if he had Bonds’ raw athletic ability.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — February 13, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

  28. Should name a web browser after him.

    Comment by jimbo — February 13, 2013 @ 11:19 pm

  29. “…Bond’s raw athletic ability.”

    JV should juice. I agree. Me likey home-run go boomboom.

    Comment by jimbo — February 13, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

  30. Now that you mention the flinch, I wonder how often pitchers throw less than max effort en route to a good defensive posture.

    Did he pull up a little there on his follow through?

    Comment by jimbo — February 13, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

  31. Of Joey Votto hits a flyball to the outfield in the one game playoff does that count? But seriously, what was his streak? None in 2010. It be interesting to see when the last one in 2009 was and the only one in 2011 was. Gotta be a record right?

    Comment by Antonio bananas — February 14, 2013 @ 12:32 am

  32. Since zero is an absolute. It cannot be compared with itself. A value either is or is not zero, it cannot be considered relative to itself in closeness.

    Comment by Dan — February 14, 2013 @ 1:59 am

  33. You hope it wouldn’t. He is, you know, worth almost one-fifth of Oakland’s salary space

    Comment by Bab — February 14, 2013 @ 3:02 am

  34. Of course an item can not be compared to itself. By definition, a comparison requires more than one item.

    The comparison in this situation is between two sets (Votto’s predicted result and all possible results).

    The closest value to any item in the first set would be the equal value from the second set (including zero).

    Your arguement holds true for a comparison within a single integer set, but I do not see the limitation to a single set in this situaton.

    Comment by Anon — February 14, 2013 @ 9:53 am

  35. Yeah, it’s like having a jar full of jelly beans and a contest for who can guess closest to the number of beans and disqualifying the person who nails it perfect. That would be crazy stupid.

    Comment by TKDC — February 14, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  36. No, they wouldn’t. They would be on to you. Why would you offer the bet? What you need to do is trick or incept them into offering you the bet. Then go ahead and invest your future winnings in penny stocks. Then buy Fangraphs and treat it as your little play thing.

    Comment by TKDC — February 14, 2013 @ 10:04 am

  37. No, but he has to hit more than the zero he hit after June 24th.

    Comment by Jay29 — February 14, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

  38. Bonds and Ted Williams walked over 20% of the time. Votto’s at 14% career. Plus Bonds struck out at 12% and Williams at 7%, while Votto’s at 18%. Different eras and such, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near their “eye.”

    Comment by Jay29 — February 14, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

  39. It’s interesting that Fangraphs credits Votto with 4 pop-outs in the last 4 years, but Baseball-Reference gives him 35. A difference in terminology? Maybe Fangraphs only counts balls that stay totally within the infield dirt?

    Comment by Big Daddy V — February 14, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

  40. I think you’re going for natural numbers.

    Comment by Brian — February 14, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

  41. Well, this conversation pretty much confirms what I already suspected: I am the coolest guy who reads fangraphs. Of course, that’s kind of like being the skinniest kid at fat camp, but I’ll take it.

    Comment by kevinthecomic — February 14, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

  42. I’m pretty sure if you just say out of the blue that you bet Votto won’t hit more than 3 in field fly balls, he’ll think you know something that he doesn’t. That’s a really random, but specific stat to throw out in a bet.

    Comment by Colin — February 14, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

  43. The over-under Votto popup thing is fun, but, well, I don’t care if he hits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4. I knew very well he’s an extreme no-popup hitter. He figures to retain that. But, folks, again, he’s the best hitter in the National League, a must-have superstar on a really good team. What is the outlook for him, especially his power, after two knee surgeries and having absolutely zilch HR ability from weakened lower base after returning? Maybe it’s me, with f’ed up priorities!!!

    Comment by mikec — February 14, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

  44. You’re kinda wrong there. In ST ’12, Votto’s big adjustment had to do with his front foot. He struggled with that adjustment through April of regular season, and then he was good with it in May, and went on a rampage.

    Comment by mikec — February 14, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

  45. Seeing Vernon Wells on this list is the least surprising stat I’ve ever seen here.

    In fact, I’d like to propose a new stat for FanGraphs:

    Pop-out rate × swinging strike rate on high fastballs = VWSS (Vernon Wells Similarity Score)

    Though I suppose you’d need to work $/WAR in there, too.

    Comment by Aaron — February 14, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

  46. It was like “aw shucks” instead of the usual “AH F%^$!” you’d be expecting.

    Comment by Billy — February 14, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

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