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Tying Up Loose Ends: Three Unrelated Topics

Negative WAR and the DL

A while back I ran articles on the amount of negative WAR generated by each team and team DL information.

Dan and BN in the comments of the negative WAR article wondered if trips to the DL and negative WAR were related at the team level. As a team has more trips to the DL, they are forced to use below replacement level talent. I went back and looked to see if there was any correlation between the two.

First, I looked at the r-squared value for:

Number of Days Lost to DL vs Total Negative WAR
Number of Days Lost to DL vs Number of Players with Negative WAR
Number of Trips to DL vs Total Negative WAR
Number of Trips to DL vs Number of Players with Negative WAR

In each case, the r-squared value was 0.0. No correlation with this method.

Then, I decided to run a bucket regression to make the process a little simpler. I divided the teams into two halves. Those with the most days lost to the DL and the least days lost to the DL. The teams that had the least days lost to the DL had more negative WAR than the other group. With both methods, I could not find any relationship that more trips a team has to the DL leads to more negative WAR.

Drop in Fastball Speed.

Recently, Dave Cameron ran an article looking at Javier Vazquez and the chances of a pitcher regaining lost speed on his fastball.

I decided to go through and see which pitcher’s fastball speed dropped by at least 1 MPH from 2009 to 2010 and here is the list:

CJ Wilson’s drop can be somewhat explained by the amount of fastball speed drop a pitcher experiences when they go from reliever to starter. The rest of the list has some 2010 disappointments (Bunett and Broxton) along with some pitchers that did quite well (Lincecum).

Bat Speed vs Ball Speed

I was recently asked, “What has more effect on the distance a baseball was hit, bat or pitch speed and what is the difference?” Bat speed was the obvious correct answer, but I had to break out my copy of Robert Adair’s book, The Physics of Baseball to get the numbers. After converting some graphed data in equations, I came up with the following values:

For a 85 MPH pitch a 1 MPH increase in bat speed = 5.6 ft gain in distance
For a 70 MPH bat speed a 1 MPH increase in pitch speed = 0.66 ft gain in distance

Bat speed is much more important than pitch speed when determining batted ball distance.

Well that is it for today and Monday I hope to start rolling out some DL projections.