Author Archive

Team Preview: St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals have had a rough few weeks. First, they failed to extend Albert Pujols‘ contract before the spring training deadline. Then, they lost ace Adam Wainwright for the season. In the aftermath, Vegas sportsbooks moved St. Louis from the favorites in the division to third behind the Reds and Brewers. Can the Cardinals compete without their ace in an improved division? If so, how?

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Who Are The Real HR/FB Outliers?

Last week, I examined the factors which affect a pitcher’s HR/FB rate and constructed a model which can be used to predict the pitcher’s future rate of allowing home runs. Using that model, we can examine which pitchers truly have good and bad HR/FB rates, find the realistic range of HR/FB rates, and analyze the pitchers which over- or under-performed their projections.

With this new perspective, Matt Cain no longer looks like a pitcher with completely unexplainable HR/FB numbers. Instead, he looks like a pitcher who has the ideal skill set and ballpark to minimize HR/FB rate.

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What Factors Affect HR/FB Rate?

In the past few weeks, home run per fly ball rate has been a hot topic here at FanGraphs and around the baseball blogosphere. Dave Cameron sparked a lively discussion with this post about Matt Cain, and then showed that Giants’ pitching coach Dave Righetti has been able to get better than average HR/FB rates out of a number of his starters. Another interesting article suggests that HR/FB rate may have something to do with pitch movement.

At this point, it seems clear that HR/FB rate may not be completely luck. It may have a lot of luck involved, but there are some factors that can increase or decrease this statistic. Using the vast FanGraphs database and some regression modeling, we can hunt for these factors and find out just how much they matter.

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Will The Chief Help The Yanks?

Thirty-six-year old Freddy Garcia signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees and will try to make the starting rotation out of spring training. Garcia is clearly in the twilight of his career. His velocity is declining, his strikeouts are falling, and walks are rising. How much longer can The Chief keep his head above water?

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Predicting Salary Inflation For 2011

This is the first post in a series about salary inflation in baseball.

If the gas station around the corner offered you a 10-year contract, wherein you could only buy gas from them, but the price would always be $3.00 a gallon, would you take it?

It sounds like a steal today, but only because you assume that gas prices will continue to rise and therefore $3.00 per gallon will be less than market value for most of the contract. But if gas prices unexpectedly fell, to say $1.50 per gallon, you would be paying double market value, and you are locked into it for the next decade.

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Which Fielder and Braun Will Show Up in 2011?

In trading for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum this offseason, Milwaukee is primed to contend for the National League Central title. Those moves coupled with the decision not to trade impending free agent Prince Fielder show that the Brewers are all in for 2011. Whether that gamble will pay off in a World Series title depends largely on which versions of Fielder and Ryan Braun The Brewers next season.

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Microeconomics and Offense (Part 3)

This is Part 3 in a series on Microeconomics and Offense. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 can be found here.

The next step in using microeconomic theory for baseball offense is to draw isoquants. These reveal a lot of characteristics of the dataset, and they are just plain neat to see on a graph.

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Microeconomics And Offense (Part 2)

Last week’s post examined offense in the American League through the prism of capital and labor. This week, it’s the National League’s turn.

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Microeconomics And Offense (Part 1)

In Microeconomic theory, there are two factors in production: capital and labor. Labor is the manpower used to create output, and capital is the machinery and technology that makes that labor work more effectively.

At its core, there are two main factors in scoring runs: getting runners on base and knocking those runners in. By looking at these skills as capital and labor it reveals much about each team’s offense, and can give insight to where a team needs to invest.

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MVP and Cy Young Voting Revisited

The discussion from my last post about MVP and Cy Young voting, there were a few good suggestions to improve the analysis, so I decided to go back and revisit the data. I’m going to give the baseball writers the benefit of the doubt, try some different methodology, and see if I can find any evidence that they are doing a better job at filling out their awards ballots today than they were ten years ago.

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Are Writers Picking Better MVPs and Cy Youngs?

When Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto brought home MVP trophies this offseason, it marked the second consecutive year that the American and National League MVPs were also the league leaders in wins above replacement. For the Cy Young, three of the last four leaders in league WAR also took home the hardware.

It begs the question: Are the writers finally getting it? Has the statistics revolution finally gotten to the point where mainstream writers not only understand wOBA, xFIP, and UZR, but use them on their awards ballots?

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