suicide squeeze says:
January 17, 2011 at 11:11 am
Very reasoned take on the A’s….glad to have you on Fangraphs. As a A’s fan, I know I have to temper my expectations, but I can’t help but be excited for this season. If nothing else, there’s an insane amount of depth on this team that should come in handy when players inevitably get injured.
January 17, 2011 at 11:23 am
As another A’s fan; I think this is a well reasoned, interesting write-up.
Regarding cascading: Sometimes I really get the impression that Billy Beane is literally expirimenting. I will be watching closely to see how this pitching staff, specifically Anderson, Gonzalez. Cahill, and Braden, does this year.
Scout Finch says:
January 17, 2011 at 11:24 am
How about a Colosseum park effect accounting for those foul balls that don’t quite make it to the seats but rather find a glove for a foul out ?
Got to like what the A’s are doing in spite of relocation/financial woes. They should definitely compete. Who’s to say the Cliff Lee-less Rangers will pitch as well as they did without him last year? Furthermore, the Halos didn’t exactly have an inspiring offseason. Who’s the better team on paper between A’s & Angels ? Dunno. Seems like a wash.
January 17, 2011 at 11:46 am
You seem to be a little more down on Gonzalez than Cahill, but from a numbers stand point it seems that Gio has much more upside and should fair better. That is, of course, as long as he can limit the free passes. But still, even if he maintains a 4BB/9 rate, as long as he can capitalize on his defense and get the K’s, he’ll do well over the course of a season.
Cahill’s FIP and xFIP to ERA gaps scare me going forward.
January 17, 2011 at 11:47 am
The exact same can be said of Oakland’s staff. I highly doubt they keep their ERAs where they are. Will definitely end up normalizing. What I find interesting is that case of what if both the Rangers and the A’s staffs regress? That would be even more interesting to see who comes up with the better solution.
Talent Scout says:
January 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm
Glad to see you’ve brought your enlightened analysis to FG, the arrogant college kids posing as writers here had driven off many of those you’ve been reaching thru alternative methods.
On cascading, yes: most definitely works and was used most recently by the Padres who may even have remnants of one of there “secret sauce” KPI’s still exposed on BP.
Beyond just merely non-linear stat measures, though, the central idea your on to is a valid one: attrition warfare in baseball!
Not a new concept at all for baseball managers, but the Sabr crowd hasn’t ever captured the behavior as I suspect interaction effects are either ignored or not appreciated as it runs counter to a bias for fantasy league style scoring.
Keep up the great work and look forward to your upcoming book & future articles.
Robert Thacher says:
January 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm
The additions of Balfour and Fuentes should allow for an easier work load on the young pitchers,and lessen the pressure on the young relievers. Should balance out the regression factor. And, for every player that regresses, there is one who will improve.
January 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm
You don’t think the defense can keep up the massive differential between xFIP and ERA? Its not like any of these defenders are getting old. Those who dont want to hold their horses will say the A’s rotation is overrated, but going off 2 years of sample data doesn’t seem wise. I think these young A’s players are a year or two away from knowing what they exactly bring to the table.
January 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm
I think that the cascading effect theory is spot on. That cascading effect was explained in a presentation by someone from SABR as the secondary effect of good defense on pitching. Basically at the extremes of defense, the allocation of high leverage innings can go to the best pitchers or the worst pitchers because of the amount of pitches saved/lost by good/bad defense.
Jonah Keri says:
January 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm
It was Vince Gennaro, and yes, great presentation. I referenced it in the Brewers pice:
(Also thanks for the support gang, really is much appreciated)
January 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm
Great article. The first one I’ve read in a long time, since I did not like the style/attitude of many of the writers.
Very refreshing. Thank you.
January 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm
“And, for every player that regresses, there is one who will improve.”
Tell that to the 2010 Mariners.
January 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm
I’m expecting to see more regression from the Rangers this year and a bit more progression from the A’s. They were still “in the hunt” late in the season last year. I also agree with the presumption that the Colossus-eum needs to be studied for the foul ball outs as well as those long-ball stymieing bleacher seats.
January 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm
If I recall correctly, the Coliseum also has an abnormal amount of foul territory. Just a guess, but this would PROBABLY aid flyball pitchers more than groundball pitchers – a grounder foul is just a strike (and probably unaffected by park effects) while foul flyballs can turn into outs.
Nathaniel Dawson says:
January 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm
Regression can be improvement.
January 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm
The most popular reason the A’s home yard helps pitching is the foul ground. Next is usually something like “roomy Col.,” or “big dimensions.” No.
It’s quite possible the thick, heavy, damp, cool night ballgames air is the biggest culprit to hitters. This is so rarely noted except by A’s fans from the bay area it continues to shock me (and why whenever i see a post like this, i try to remind folks that despite being in CA, and baseball season being in the warm months of the northern hemisphere, the bay area at night for almost all of baseball season is quite underrated in how cold/damp it feels.)
This simply hurts both the comfort zone of the hitter himself and how far his batted ball travels at the Col (and SF. LA and SD to a lesser degree, but there too. I think the Angels are far enough inland.) Pacific Ocean creates much different coastal weather than Atlantic and this often alludes folks who shouldn’t have any reason to know.
So yeah, cold thick night air almost every night game and foul ground.
January 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm
Does AT&T really notice that much of a difference in climate? Can’t you see the Colosseum from AT&T when it’s not socked in? They’re right across the bay from each other. Otherwise, this is a very true statement and the spacious OF only magnifies the affect.
January 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm
Yeah, on days/nights with no fog, you can easily see the Col. from ATT. I’m also pretty sure, ATT is colder/damper than the Col. on most nights, I’m not sure he really wanted to mention SF with LA and SD.
January 18, 2011 at 7:26 pm
Who is to say the A’s young pitchers dont IMPROVE over last years numbers. I know the sampling size is small, but I see a trend toward improvement. A year more experience is always good for young players. As an A’s fan, I’d prefer to see the A’s young staff as a potential strength that is improving.
January 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm
Chris and Mike.
Firstly Mike. I didn’t mention SF with LA and SD. There’s a period between them.
Secondly, Chris, when you say “spacious outfield” you’re making the very mistake i’m talking about.
The Oakland Col does NOT have a spacious outfield. It has a VERY NORMAL set of dimensions. People, for some reason, continue to think it’s a big yard (maybe due to the large foul ground, which only effects foul pops.)
This is what i’m trying to get at.
Oakland Col has lot’s of foul ground, VERY NORMAL dimensions (NOT ROOMY, not spacious etc, once and for all,) and the cold, thick night air is THE biggest reason pitchers have an advantage over hitters.
Most folks just cannot grasp this as Oak is in CA and CA MUST be warm most of the time, or at least not as cold as some guy says. Even looking at temps, one still doesn’t grasp how it’s a damp, ocean air cold, and it really feels COLD.
This is also one of the reasons the A’s don’t draw as well as they could. I’m not saying they’d draw great otherwise, and they have drawn well despite the weather, but if the inner bay area had more than one, maybe two warm nights PER YEAR, the A’s might draw, no would, draw better. I know personally the weather does keep me from going sometimes. Hard to explain to folks from outside the area, but it is simply FREEZING at night most spring/summer nights in the inner bay area.
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