Archive for Expos

FanGraphs Book Club – Up, Up & Away

Jonah Keri’s history of his boyhood team was a national bestseller.

Hi everyone! Welcome to the second live chat of the FanGraphs Book Club! We’ll get started at 9 pm ET, and Jonah will join us at 9:30. That’ll give us all 30 minutes to talk about the book amongst ourselves, and line up some really great questions for him. So, I would say, don’t put questions in for Jonah now, let’s save those until he logs on to the chat.

I hope you all are as excited as I am to talk baseball books! As a reminder, if you want to join our Facebook Group you can do so here.

Chat transcript:

9:02
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:02
Andrea’s Fault: What’s the best beer to go with this chat–and I hope it’s not just Labatt’s or Molson.

9:03
Paul Swydan: How about a Molson 5X? You know Canadian beer is like moonshine.

9:04
Paul Swydan: So, I’m excited to chat about this book! I remember getting an early copy of this book to review it for The Hardball Times. It was pretty thrilling.

9:05
Paul Swydan: “The Extra 2%” was a good book, but I sort of knew the broad strokes, having been in the sabermetric world for most of the success part of the story. But the Expos? I didn’t know much about the Expos before they wanted to acquire Casey Fossum for Pedro Martinez.

9:07
Gabe: This book is so good it’s in the curriculum for a class I’m taking on baseball in Canadian culture.

Read the rest of this entry »


Baseball’s Toughest (and Easiest) Schedules So Far

When you look up and see that the Athletics are in the midst of a two-game mid-week series against the Marlins in late May, you might suspect that the major-league baseball schedule is simply an exercise in randomness. At this point in the campaign, that’s actually sort of the case. The combination of interleague play and the random vagaries of an early-season schedule conspire to mean that your favorite team hasn’t had the same schedule as your least favorite team. Let’s try to put a number on that disparity.

Read the rest of this entry »


Watch: The Five Craziest Opening Day Games

In honor of Opening Day 2017, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the five craziest Opening Day games (or home openers), as defined by swings in win expectancy. So we did, in this video we just posted at our Facebook page! Happy baseball!

Thanks to Sean Dolinar for his research assistance.


Is Jeffrey Loria’s Marlins Sale the Most Profitable Ever?

Five years ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres were sold to new owners, both partially spurred on by messy divorces. Since that time, there’s been just one change in Major League Baseball ownership, when John Staunton took control of the Seattle Mariners last season as Nintendo stepped aside. While we don’t know for sure when the next sale will be, there are rumors that Jeffrey Loria could sell the Miami Marlins for $1.6 billion, a massive increase over the 2002 sale price of $158.5 million and more than double Forbes’ current estimate of value. Loria doesn’t have a great reputation as a baseball owner, and he is absolutely going to cash in, but where would this sale rank in MLB history?

Including a potential Marlins sale, there have been by my count, 33 major transfers in ownership over the last 30 years. In taking a look at previous sales, we can compare them to Loria’s potential sale and determine how he did. In terms of a straight profit with sale price minus purchase price, Loria’s is big, but not bigger than Frank McCourt’s when he sold the Dodgers. The graph below shows the 33 sales.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Adjustments that Made the Hall of Famers

The truth about a Hall of Fame career is that there’s no single magic moment that makes it happen. There’s no way you can put together the sort of resume that ends in Cooperstown unless you make many changes along the way. Baseball is that demanding.

When it’s all over, though, there’s time for looking back and for giving thanks. Because in order to make all those adjustments, the players had to receive advice from truth-peddling coaches and players along the way. For every adjustment, there was a trusted source that helped at just the right time.

So, along with the help of Alyson Footer of MLB.com, Bill Ladson of MLB.com, and others, I asked our newest Hall of Fame trio about their path to the big leagues.

*****

Jeff Bagwell

On Power: “I think my hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo and I – you know, when I was in the minor leagues and all that kind of stuff, I used to hit a lot of balls with back, excuse me, topspin. And then I kind of learned how to change my hands a little bit and get a little bit of backspin and all that kind of stuff, and that carried the ball…

Read the rest of this entry »


Vladimir Guerrero and the Best Truly Bad Ball Hitters

Maybe the most painful part of writing about baseball for a living is that your biases — the same biases of which we’re all guilty — are constantly laid bare for everyone to see. Vladimir Guerrero reminded me of that problem most recently.

David Wright and Joey Votto embody my first bias. Plate discipline was a way to find great hitters! I’d read Moneyball and used it to draft Chipper Jones first in my first fantasy league, back in 2001, and I was money. I had baseball all figured out.

Good one, early 2000s dude. Good one.

Read the rest of this entry »


Vladimir Guerrero and Quantifying Pitcher Fear

Whenever conventional wisdom and the numbers — or whatever conclusion I have drawn from the numbers — differ, I’m left wondering why such a difference exists. Many times there’s a good reason; other times, the reasons make less sense. One situation where my conclusions appear to differ from conventional wisdom comes in the form of Vladimir Guerrero and his case for the Hall of Fame. When recently considering Guerrero’s statistical credentials for the Hall, he seemed to fall short of the voting standards for most recent candidates who gained induction. At the same time, his name currently appears on 75% of this year’s ballots according to Ryan Thibodaux’s tracker. So what gives?

The easy answer is that voters — due to Guerrero’s brilliance and flair at the plate — are willing either to minimize or forgive entirely Guerrero’s defense and baserunning, as well as the fact that his last above-average season occurred at age-33. They aren’t necessarily wrong, as he certainly has a case by virtue of his peak and career WAR numbers. He also recorded a very good .318 career batting average and an MVP award. Plus, from 1997 to 2006, his 114 assists topped all outfielders, with his great arm obscuring his lack of range and errors, in which category (errors) he also topped MLB during that time. That’s probably the most reasonable explanation for why I concluded he was just below the cusp for the Hall of Fame — certainly worthy of consideration, but not a certain Hall of Famer like the voters appear close to making him.

Read the rest of this entry »