Friday, February 29, 2008
Today's loss against a Giant's split-squad was pretty much in the dark. No video or audio. GameDay was weak, as it is Spring Training.
This much we know
- Marmol and Mateo had the only 1-2-3 innings (update: Zambrano's 2nd inning was perfect, too)
- Walrond got rocked
- Zambrano and Hill pitched OK, each faced 9 batters over 2 innings
- Fukudome is looking like the on-base machine we expected
- Pie didn't follow up yesterday's game very well - and he left 5 men on base
- Theriot also returned to Earth
- Fontenot had two walks and a double
- Big Z had a wild pitch and an error
- Eyre hit a guy and threw a wild pitch
- Sam Fuld committed an error in
It looks like today's game was pretty sloppy. We'll see what happens tomorrow - I don't expect A-Ram to play, though.
Updated 3 times - see below
The Trib reports on a Cubs' injury
Ramirez came up with a sore shoulder, and manager Lou Piniella said he wasn’t sure when he’d get in the lineup.
Not a great start to the Cactus League. After years of leg issues, now he has a sore shoulder today. He joins Darlye Ward on the trainer's table. Ronny Cedeno isn't 100% either, so I doubt he'll be asked to make throws from 3rd today with that sore forearm. Maybe we'll get McGehee or Fontenot.
Zambrano gets the start, and Marmol is slated to pitch, too.
In other news, Juan Gonzalez took Johan Santana deep in the 1st inning, with two men on. Update: it was a first pitch fastball.
Line-up is as follows (Cintron @ 3rd)
Ramirez may be able to DH tomorrow, but this isn't the first time this has happened to him, actually
"I'm all right hitting -- it's just throwing the ball," Ramirez said. "Last year, I had the same thing. I don't know what's up with that -- I don't do the same kind of throwing that I do in the Dominican in the offseason. I went through it last year. I'll be all right."
Thursday, February 28, 2008
There is no end to this story until this trade actually happens. Brian Roberts will likely be a Cub sometime in March.
The sequence, which was taken in by Cubs special assistant to the general manager Ken Kravec along with another Cubs scout, is an example of what makes Roberts so attractive to Chicago.
The O's are looking at us, too.
The Orioles are believed to be looking for a package that includes pitcher Sean Gallagher, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, pitching prospects Jose Ceda and/or Donald Veal and perhaps one other player.
The Orioles will dispatch a scout to Arizona to look at some of the players being discussed next week. While both sides still feel confident that a deal could get done, talks are expected to continue for a couple more weeks.
I'm not sure how much the Cubs should give up for a couple years of Roberts, but, it really does appear to be a case where the Cubs expect to win now, otherwise this thread would've run out weeks ago.
Keep Bobby Murcer and his family in your thoughts and prayers, his cancer may be getting worse. The ex-Cub is a truly beloved Yankee, and I'm sure he has many fans here in Chicago. Good luck, Bobby, we all hope it's a false alarm.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Carrie forges thru the Spring with shallow questions and bland prose, but at least we have prospect news today.
Josh Donaldson is training to be the next Michael Barret.
The young catcher prepped for this season by following a boxing regimen.
He'll be called up for the Cross-Town Series.
Jose Ceda is huge, and, no, Texas, you can not have him (idiots).
The other big pitcher in camp is Jose Ceda, who checks in at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds.
Petrick checks in at 6-6 240. Eegads.
And Lou is falling in love with Samardzija.
he's worked on getting the ball out of his glove much quicker, which gives him more consistency. He's starting to look like a professional pitcher.
Back to that comment above about Texas - if you didn't follow the link, here's what Colin found today.
For the Rangers to make this deal, they are probably going to want the Cubs' top pitching prospect, 21-year-old right-hander Jose Ceda or their No. 3 prospect, 23-year-old lefty Donald Veal. Veal pitched at Double-A last year. There are a lot of analysts out there who think the Cubs would be crazy to part with that much. But the Rangers aren't pursuing this trade; it's the Cubs. The Rangers are perfectly comfortable with Byrd in their outfield.
That is plain crazy. And this is in addition to Murton? Puhleeze. Sure, the Cubs are asking, but just say "go away" and have some respect.
Ahhh, at last.
here is the Cubs’ batting order for Thursday’s Cactus League opener at 2:05 Central Time
CubNut and Phil have lots of good stuff in their post today. Some key notes from BP include an impressive showing by Murton and Fukudome. And, IMO, the best hitter in Group 3 was a pitcher.
Here's that batting order, from Suntimes.com
Again, from the Sun Times, CubNut noted the following pitching line-up:
Dempster 2 innings
Last night, I tested out my scripts and successfully loaded the pitch-by-pitch data from yesterday's games. No, there isn't a drop of PITCHf/x, just making sure stuff still works.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I posted an entry on Dempster's pitches at Another Cubs Blog.
Take a look.
Updated: k-means clusters seems to have worked - here's the end of the info posted at ACB:
Both play middle infield, are small, but are alleged to play beyond their size would predict. They both played three good seasons of big-time college baseball. From there, their paths appear to be diverging. Or not.
Let's take a walk down statistics-aren't-memories-they-live-forever lane.
|Theriot||.254||.337||.315||.061||1.240||(709 AB - AGE 22-23)|
|Barney||.273||.323||.392||.119||1.436||(176 AB - AGE 21)|
Theriot went straight to Daytona for his 2001 debut, but started 2002 in Lansing as a Lug Nut.
He jumped from A- to AA in the middle of 2003.
He went back to Daytona for 2004, before returning to AA in 2005 and making the jump to The Show for a cup of coffee when rosters expanded.
By the late Summer of 2006, he was a regular.
We'll see if Barney makes the jump to AA this year. He seems to have more power to come, which may make him a more interesting prospect in a year or two.
Very interesting article at Cubs.com today about Jason Marquis. Notorious for his second half slumps, and pitching just one game in the post-season in the past seven years - despite being on five teams that made it there, Jason seems to know what the problem is.
"From a physical standpoint, I felt great," said Marquis, who has heard enough about his second-half syndrome. "Sometimes you start out good, and you get your hopes up and you're worried about the light at the end of the tunnel too quickly. You start focusing on, 'Oh man, I could have a great season -- I could do this, I could do that.'"
Lou sees it about the same.
"I don't know if it's a little self doubt. I think he needs to forget about what's happened the last two years in the second half of the year, toward the end of the year, and concentrate on game by game, inning by inning and pitch by pitch. I think that's the best way to overcome that."
No matter what the nuance, hey both agree with Larry Rothschild - the issues are related to his thought processes and their direct impact on his ability to focus and pitch. He can't get out of his own way, so he's getting some help.
"Back when I was 21, 22 [years old], I went to see somebody and I didn't take to them," he said. "We weren't on the same page, and I didn't feel like it would work for me. I tried it in the past, and I sort of gave up on it because it didn't work the first time around. I was able to find somebody I connected with, and it's been a good thing."
I hope he can turn it around - this is a hopeful story on a few levels. I constantly rag on the guy as a pitcher, despite the fact that I like him.
I like him for his background, where he grew up, and how he deals with the media. Mostly, I like the New York accent. Born in Manhasset, raised in Staten Island - what's not to like? Mentions his mother's brisquit in a vine line Q&A piece, even.
I'm a Jersey kid who moved to Long Island and, well, I love my Mom, but her brisquit, meh. I hope he can pitch well so Lou can kick Dempster out of the rotation and back where he belongs. Otherwise, he's trade bait.
The Trib has a piece today that indicates the #3 starter will be Ryan Dempster, and the battle is down to Lieber and Marquis. I would've figured Lieber had the inside track on that job, based on the contract they gave the guy, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Marshall appears to be further on the outs than I had imagined, so he may be a candidate for the 2nd lefty out of the pen.
Converted closer Ryan Dempster is the early front-runner to grab the No. 3 spot behind Carlos Zambrano and Ted Lilly, while Rich Hill has already sealed the No. 4 spot. The main battle is expected to be between Jon Lieber and Jason Marquis for the fifth spot, with Sean Marshall as the dark-horse candidate.
I'm not overly comfortable with this situation. I have more faith in Marshall and Lieber than I do Dempster, but I'm not exactly aligned with the Cubs on this one. Oh well, hopefully we have enough depth that we can not worry too much about this, and things will morph and eventually settle during the season.
Monday, February 25, 2008
An innocuous looking link on Cubs.com to "Cubs organizational preview" was a very pleasant surprise.
It includes profiles of 14 top prospects, and a 2007 draft recap that covers 7 more in brief. One guy I wish was covered more than just the draft blurb is Darwin Barney, the former Oregon State shortstop. He may be the cure for Dance Fever someday.
The Cubs have a wealth of catching prospects. News out of camp says Casey McGehee has made the switch (while Jake Fox has apparently hung up the tools) and there are three guys mentioned in the article - Josh Donaldson, Wellington Castillo and Steve Clevenger. And then there's our rookie starter, Geovany Soto.
We'll see if the Cubs start flipping some of this young talent in July.
PECOTA cards are now complete, with today's addition of the pitchers.
Let's take a look at some of the guys fighting it out for a job, or a spot. Again, these are extreme projections, 10th and 90th percentile.
eqERA - eqK9 - eqHR9
2.56 - 6.6 - 0.8
6.36 - 6.5 - 1.5
2.72 - 9.1 - 0.8
8.32 - 7.9 - 1.7
2.87 - 8.3 - 0.8
6.94 - 6.9 - 1.6
Marmol's got the best upside, and highest risk. Howry is the least dominating, but more predictable, from the looks of these numbers. Which supports conventional wisdom.
Two Lefty Relievers
2.95 - 6.9 - 0.7
8.57 - 5.9 - 1.6
2.54 - 7.4 - 0.7
8.99 - 7.8 - 1.4
2.84 - 6.7 - 0.6
6.69 - 6.5 - 1.1
I vote for Air and Piggy. Don't ask me why Eyre's K rate improves (B rate blows up, btw).
Two Righty Relievers
3.04 - 6.1 - 0.7
8.06 - 4.9 - 1.6
3.73 - 8.6 - 0.6
6.76 - 9.4 - 0.8
4.44 - 5.5 - 1.1
9.89 - 4.7 - 2.1
not projected by PECTOA
2.34 - 8.3 - 0.6
5.56 - 7.4 - 1.1
The 2nd spot for a righty in the pen exists only if you assume Dempster or Marquis don't get it if they don't make the rotation (see below). If I were to guess, Dempster ends up in the pen, along with Wuertz who I think is a no-brainer. Marquis hits the road, and Lahey goes back from whence he came. Ceda goes to AA, where he belongs, until May or June. Hart gets a ticket to Des Moines. Updated: Ascanio looks very interesting.
3rd and 5th Starters
3.37 - 6.2 - 0.6
8.45 - 5.5 - 1.5
3.86 - 6.5 - 0.9
9.25 - 5.5 - 1.9
3.39 - 4.7 - 0.8
7.42 - 4.4 - 1.7
3.98 - 4.8 - 0.9
8.22 - 4.0 - 1.7
3.84 - 5.4 - 0.9
7.41 - 4.5 - 1.4
If you're weren't already pessimistic about Marquis....and Dempster sure looks like a roll of the dice (duh).
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Something strange was afoot at the Circle K last night. Jose Ascanio ended up with a black-eye
"He went over to Circle-K last night and evidently somebody … he got punched a few times by a guy who was looking for some money," Piniella said. "...His (left) eye was closed and he had some swelling on the left side of his face."
Sounds pretty bad, but he'll be back throwing tomorrow.
I've looked at low ball swingers in the past.
Most Likely to Swing Low (>250 total pitches)
Geoff Jenkins .569
Alex Cintron .541
Tony Pena .529
Alfonso Soriano .521
Now I want to look really low. Ankles and Dirt. Without regard to release point, pitch type (spin/speed etc), only location down. First filter ("Ankles") was all pitches < 1/2 the average bottom zone for a hitter, based on PITCHf/x operator settings. To pass the filter, a hitter had to have at least 10 pitches seen that met the criteria.
The average bottom for hitters who passed this filter was 19.2 inches, so the average cut-off was 9.6 inches. The average of the hitters' average for actual pz (vertical location) ended up as 4.32 inches. There were 361 hitters and 11,292 pitches in this group.
The second filter ("Dirt") was for pitches with a pz of 0 or less. The average zone ended up the same for hitters/pitches in this set, with an average pz of of -5.16 inches. In other words, the ground got in the way. There were 38 hitters and 490 pitches in this group. There are pitch events in the data that specify "in the dirt", but I chose this approach (perhaps I could compare, or not).
Starting in the Dirt group, we find some of the usual suspects.
Swing Rate - Pitches in Dirt
Alfonso Soriano 40.0%
Ichiro Suzuki 20.8
Luke Scott 20.0
Mark Teahen 20.0
group average 7.1
There were just a total of 35 swings in this set. Alfonso and Ichiro combine for almost a third of them. Ichiro and Raul Ibanez were the only to put a ball into play (1 each) and four guys, including Soriano, managed to foul one off.
Moving on to the Ankles
Swing Rate - Pitch at Ankles
Alfonso Soriano 44.9%
Alex Cintron 44.0
Garret Anderson 40.2
Jay Gibbons 40.0
Kendry Morales 36.8
Ichiro Suzuki 36.5
Geoff Jenkins 36.4
Matt Diaz 35.7
Jason LaRue 35.7
Delmon Young 35.4
Felix Pie 35.3
group average 13.0
Hmm, three Cubs in the top 11.
Does anyone actually hit this stuff? Must have at least 10 swings
Contact Rate - Pitch at Ankles
Ichiro Suzuki 55.3
Alex Cintron 54.5
Ivan Rodriguez 45.5
Alfonso Soriano 41.9
Aaron Miles 40.0
group average 21.2
At least Soriano and Cintron make some contact here, but that's not too helpful. Out of 1469 swings in this group, the pesky Jeremy Hermida has the only homer.
Here are the Ankle numbers for the Cubs. Click and sort.
Sources say that Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts will be traded to the Cubs as soon as the Orioles decide which pitchers they want in return. . .(ht Andrew)
Real Neal adds this to Phil's comment
The ten players assigned to the “Outfield Group” for practice & instruction purposes are:
No Ronny, Phil wonders if Muskat's report on Ronny working out in CF is unverified.
You should check out the rest of the comment, as an interesting theory on an Eric Patterson for Cody Ross swap is discussed.
Here's a look at some projections for Cody
SYSTEM AVG/OBP/SLG HR-RBI-R-SB PA (or AB)
Bill James 261/333/488 15-48-45-2 287 AB
CHONE 264/339/472 12-38-38-2 283
Marcel 273/343/481 13-50-44-3 328
PECOTA 271/350/495 14-43-41 302
Cairo 263/338/473 8-30-xx-1 206
ZiPS 255/330/457 15-48-49-2 326 AB
CBS 261/332/499 17-65-55-3 349 AB
That's an average 334/481/815 mOBP/mSLG/mOPS
He's Murton (363/459/822), with more pop and a lower OBP, and can play centerfield.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
On Thursday, Peter Gammons had nice things to say, again, about the Cubs.
John McLaren has long believed that one of Lou Piniella's greatest strengths is fitting together pieces to make a championship team. This spring the Cubs seem far more settled than last spring when Piniella took over.
Peter even throws Sean Gallagher back into the mix
and perhaps even Sean Gallagher will compete for the other two spots
Lou appears to have realistic expectations for his centerfielders.
He's hoping to get speed and defense out of Felix Pie and Sam Fuld in center
No mention of Eric Patterson.
Over at Cub Reporter, Arizona Phil has the best coverage of Spring Training. Details on the work-outs that you won't get elsewhere.
Saturday, Peter Gammons showed up. He declared Fuld one of his favorites, and, amongst others, chatted with Matt Murton. He's familiar with Matt from his Cape Code League days, and I assume he got to know Fuld there, too.
Phil mentioned how good Marquis looks (of course, it isn't July yet), and the absence of Mike Smith.
Also, RHP Mike Smith is definitely not in camp, and never has been. Smith led the Venezuelan League starting pitchers in lowest WHIP for most of the VWL season and was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs last November with an invitation to ST with the big club, and so he should be in camp right now, but he is not.
Phil offers up a few explanations, too.
CubsAZ added some new photos to Flickr.
PECTOA cards are out. Before I fully explore the new wonders they've added for 2008, here's some hi/lo projections for guys battling for positions this Spring.
These are extremes, 10th and 90th percentile projections.
I agree with the sentiment about our closer candidates, but, what the heck is a three-sided coin?
"I can't go wrong with either three," said Piniella in his own wordspeak. "I could flip a coin right now and feel comfortable with any of them."
While you ponder that, also contemplate the state of the Cardinals, as the Post-Dispatch has a piece on Jason Marquis.
Only a baker's dozen of National League pitchers have won at least 10 games in each of the last four seasons. And at least one of them, Jason Marquis of the Chicago Cubs, isn't assured of a starting job this season, let alone even being with the Cubs at all.
Hey, if you guys want him back, that's cool.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Think Groundhog Day, but with an entire baseball season. And Bill Murray gets Andie MacDowell in every iteration. Or 89% of them.
Using Diamond Mind Baseball and build 1.1 of ZiPS 2008, I ran 100 simulations of the 2008 season. I had the "weather" system on, and injuries were set to "rating", and, in ZiPS, everyone is "normal" in that regard. I modified the manager profiles very little; executed the Bedard trade and fixed a couple line-ups and rotations.
Being an idiot, I didn't save the batting and pitching stats, only the standings. But I did export the full web site for the 100th run. You can get the .zip archive here (1634kb). Extract it, open index.html and you can browse the season results.
The standings below include division wins and wild card berths during the 100 runs. Ties get a .5, so take it more as a percentage than actual count.
The Cubs own the Central, and do OK against the rest of the playoff contenders - also see full standings below and some stat leaders. The leaders are for just the 100th run, not the aggregate.
NL triple crown leaders - you can see the top 25 for tons of stuff in the files
I didn't notice until after I almost finished this post, but, in this run, Kosuke led the league in hitting.
Fukudome CHN .352 Howard PHI 59 Utley PHI 135
Utley PHI .350 Fielder MIL 46 Berkman HOU 125
Berkman HOU .339 Jones LAD 44 Fielder MIL 123
And it was a good run for the pitchers
|Earned run average||Wins||Strikeouts|
As I mentioned last night, it looks like the Cubs are headed towards this line-up
Sam Fuld, of course, still has a shot at the 8th spot as centerfielder, but I think the odds heavily favor Pie.
Today's news out of camp goes back over the story, this time after talking to the 3-4-5 guys.
Fukudome, Lee and Ramirez were all agreeable to the projected order
The top 5 slots are comprised of the 4-corner hitters plus Theriot. Yes, Theriot is not a guy who should be at the top of the line-up, but we do have a very impressive looking bunch of guys getting a lot of AB's. Aramis should drive in a lot of runs, and ground into a lot of double-play's, too.
Take a look a the projected OPS+ for the Big 4 from this earlier post. Projects amongst the best groups all-time for the Cubs. Hopefully actual performance will match.
Alfonso Soriano 112
Kosuke Fukudome 109
Aramis Ramirez 122
Derrek Lee 126
I hope Lou sticks with this direction, with the exception of Theriot. I'd like to see if DeRosa, or even Pie, can make the move to the top of the order. I do like Kosuke as a 2nd spot guy, and Soriano a 5-er, but it is hard to argue with the 3-4-5 Lou has in mind. But Maddog ran some line-up projections, and isn't up for taking any chances.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Time for another run-down of the Cubs.com news
Much better day in camp news-wise, Muskat had some good stuff today. She made up for it with a piece on DeRosa, that included the following
DeRosa has watched all of Johns' performances, but he's not helping pick out the songs.
That's the essence of it.
There were some real nuggets in the Notes today.
Piniella is considering ... a 3-4-5 combination of Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez
Sounds like a good idea at first, but, no, I suspect Dance Fever's scrappy play is tempting Lou.
we can bunch up all our speed
Enough with the Theriot at the top insanity, please. Remember, you can't spell scrappy without crap.
I guess this is what Lou's looking at - not bad, all things considered
I wonder if they'll consider Soto in the 6th spot. Or Pie moving up if he figures out what a strike zone looks like.
Jose Ceda has a chance to stick, and Billy Williams had this to say about Carlos Marmol
"If you can hit him, you'll make the team"
One of my co-workers and I had a discussion a couple months back about Dempster's move to the rotation (we'll see about that). We figured it was a good thing, in one way. At the games the past few years, by the time he has come in, there were no more beer sales. Now, if he starts, you can drink off the after-effects for several innings.
Dempster ... [will] start the Cactus League opener Feb. 28 against San Francisco
Stock the cooler.
Fastballs. Not all of them. High, straight and, well, fast ones. Taking a sample of all PITCHf/x pitches with y0=50, and restricting the results to all pitches that are
- >93.5 mph (start speed)
- > 1000 rpm
- < 10 inches horizontal break (pfx_x)
- > 5 inches less drop than predicted by gravity alone (pfx_z)
- crossed the plate at least 3/4 of the way up a player's strike zone (pz)
To use the vernacular, high, rising cheese. But not really rising, and at various heights. Not a whole lot of movement, either.
As with the curves, I took all the pitches seen by hitters (no R/L split this time) and averaged them for each player. I also cut the data a few different ways (splits included) at different speeds and height, same spin rules. In the end, I went with this set, for all hitters with at least 10 of these pitches.
The average pitch in the set (or, an average of the averages, not to be taken to the bank, as it not really precise) out of a total of 7500 pitches
- 95.1 mph
- 1498.4 rpm
- pfx_x is a little below zero, but doesn't mean much as this mixes RHP and LHP
- pfx_z = 10.1 inches
- 3.6 ft. above the ground when crossing the plate (also not to meaningful, as the pz that mattered was based on an individual hitter's zone)
B CS SS F X HR
43.0% 7.5% 12.3% 24.4% 12.2% 0.5%
swing contact foul in-play hr
49.4% 75.1% 65.7% 32.9% 1.4%
Corey Patterson 92.9%
Skip Schumaker 92.3
Mike Sweeney 90.0
Freddy Sanchez 87.5
Howie Kendrick 85.7
Hideki Matsui 20.0
Jim Edmonds 20.0
Daryle Ward 18.2
Brandon Moss 18.2
Willy Taveras 9.4
Matt Murton 73.3 (17th out of 305)
Alex Cintron 54.5 (113)
Mike Fontenot 52.9 (129)
Aramis Ramirez 44.8 (192)
Alfonso Soriano 36.8 (246)
Derrek Lee 30.0 (285)
Mark DeRosa 23.5 (293)
Daryle Ward 18.2 (303)
Wow, Corey, seriously.
Several players have perfect contact rates (small sample), so here are the hitters with the best contact with over 40 pitches in the sample, followed by the worst amongst all with at least 10, and the Cubs
40+ pitches seen
Billy Butler 95.5
Jose Vidro 95.0
Reggie Willits 94.1
Gregg Zaun 91.7
Orlando Cabrera 91.3
10+ pitches seen
Trot Nixon 25.0
Cody Ransom 25.0
Ryan Howard 16.7
Russell Branyan 14.3
Daryle Ward 0.0
Aramis Ramirez 84.6 (98)
Mike Fontenot 77.8 (147)
Mark DeRosa 75.0 (174)
Matt Murton 72.7 (177)
Alfonso Soriano 71.4 (196)
Alex Cintron 66.7 (213)
Derrek Lee 33.3 (296)
Daryle Ward 0.0 (305)
Good thing Ward doesn't swing at them. There's only 11 pitches in here for him, so consume with a big chunk'o'salt.
The sample size here is pretty small, so I'm going to move on to do something with a larger data set. That's coming up in a later post.
First, here's another look at the overall numbers, for the high heat and the curveballs
B CS SS F X HR
Heater 43.0 7.5 12.3 24.4 12.2 0.5
Yakker 40.8 19.4 10.2 13.4 15.8 0.4
swing contact foul in-play hr
Heater 49.4 75.1 65.7 32.9 1.4
Yakker 39.8 74.3 55.4 43.3 1.3
The Cubs Blog Coast Guard is proud of itself right now. Maddog has posted an email interview he conducted with Baseball Prospectus reporter Will Carroll. It stemmed from a conversation thread, in of all places, here.
Thanks to Will for his comments here, and the many answers he provided for ACB. Especially to my questions. I feel like I just got some free consulting for my fantasy drafts. Check out the interview.
2/21/2008 07:56:00 PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Per request, here's another look at the overall rates plus the in-play rate which is x/contact (like homers)
I thought I'd throw this in, too. Bad luck/eye and good luck/eye hitters - ratios of called strikes to balls. The overall B:CS is 2.1:1
B:CS - vs. lefty
Andruw Jones 10.0
Wily Mo Pena 9.0
J.J. Hardy 9.0
Chris Young 7.0
Josh Fields 7.0
Julio Lugo 7.0
Mike Cameron 7.0
B:CS - vs. righty
Johnny Damon 16.0
K. Kouzmanoff 15.0
Scott Hatteberg 11.0
Shawn Green 10.0
Joey Votto 10.0
Manny Ramirez 9.0
Aramis Ramirez 9.0
Justin Upton 9.0
Aramis Ramirez shows up here. I wonder how good an eye this indicates - maybe it just shows a guy doesn't swing at the obviously bad breaking balls. Just having free-swinging A-Ram in there makes me think that.
B:CS - vs. lefty
Jose Guillen 0.3
Adam LaRoche 0.3
Rajai Davis 0.5
Nick Markakis 0.5
Craig Biggio 0.6
Marco Scutaro 0.6
Bengie Molina 0.7
Ichiro Suzuki 0.7
B:CS - vs. righty
Carlos Delgado 0.0
Chris Gomez 0.4
Jay Gibbons 0.4
Brandon Phillips 0.5
Tony Abreu 0.6
Jeff Mathis 0.6
Hank Blalock 0.6
Justin Ruggiano 0.6
Scott Thorman 0.6
She must've ready my blog last night.
Today's feature piece from Carrie Muskat was on the kids - starting with Tyler Colvin. Thanks Carrie, but it was still too fluffy for this grumpy stathead. A couple quotes about eating McDonalds and killing time on a plane. Meh.
He does want to play for the Cubs now
"I have to come in here and try to earn a job," Colvin said. "I'm not going to be content with, 'Oh, I'll just go back to the Minor Leagues and play there and wait for the phone call.' I want to contribute now to the Cubs."
Soto is dangerous, be careful - Micah Hoffpauir wishes he had
"[Geovany] Soto hit a double into the gap, and I was at second, and I was going to walk home. I came around third base and didn't take a bad step or anything but felt a pop in my knee. It was kind of a freak accident."
Please note, Geo's double to the gap is not a freak occurrence.
Pinella keeps mentioning Jeff Samardzija as a 2nd half call-up.
".... I wouldn't be surprised if sometime this summer, he'll be ready for the big leagues."
In other news, yes, Derrek grew a beard.
He hit with Fukudome today, liked what he saw.
He was a .300 hitter in Japan, so I don't see why that's going to change.
I'll be back with more on last night's curveball post and possibly a new one on fastballs.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Carrie Muskat files two reports a day from camp. The "Notes" and a feature [sic] piece. Today she gives us Aramis' cockfighting story, or lack thereof. The will-you-stay-healthy do-you-speak-Japanese you-sucked-in-October 100-year-curse crap was a nice topping.
On to the Notes
More pablum from Howry about closing. More Fukudome and English - is it still news that he's Japanese? And the media from Japan is here? No shit. How's his swing look? Seen him run fast yet? How does Colvin look?
How about something about the players and how they look - like Pie and Fuld. We know there's a battle, give us some juice on that, don't just tell us there's a battle.
The gem is from our new friend Alex
"I didn't come here to take anybody's position," Cintron said. "I'm clear on that. I'm just here to do my job. They ask me to pinch-hit, play infield, outfield, whatever. That's what I'm here for."
Yes, not just anybody's position, but Ronny's.
They did toss us this bone - a new photo of Fukudome
For the purposes of this analysis, I'm defining a curveball very simply - and it's not 12-to-6.
Taking only pitches thrown when PITCHf/x was set to y0=50, the pitch has to have at least 3 inches downward movement beyond gravity's effect and at least 3 inches of movement laterally. For lefties, it is negative (or catcher's left) and the opposite for the righties.
For outcomes, I'm only using basic events - takes (called strikes [CS] and balls [B]) and swings (misses [SS] fouls [F] homers [HR] other in play [X]).
For all hitters, I took all pitches that met this definition, and took the average pfx_x and pfx_z for each qualifying pitch they saw
OK, wonderful. Not all hitters saw the same thing, so this is pretty shady analysis, but fun anyway. Your mileage may vary, data void in Alaska and Hawaii, for no particular reason. You can argue that these aren't all curves, not taking account variance in the system, release points, plate crossing etc.
First, the over-all averages by event
Now the rates - swing is swings/total; contact is contact/swings; homers are homers/contact
Hitters don't swing at a lot of this type of pitch, and they don't make a lot of contact (just corrected that number, it is low, but not that low). Homers are a freak.
Forty-seven hitters got home runs. Here are the interesting ones
David Ortiz and Kenji Johjima
Only hitters in the sample with a home run off a lefty and a righty
Miguel Cabrera and Justin Morneau
Only other hitters with more than one homer
Other than Papi, only lefty to clobber a lefty's curve
Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez
Only Cubs on the list
Other fun facts for hitters with at least 10 curves for a given pitching side.
Throw curves to Delmon Young. From either side of the plate, he likes them.
Swing Rate - vs. Righty
Big Z! Swing at everything
Delmon Young 78.38%
Ryan Church 76.92%
Tony Pena 76.47%
Matt Diaz 75.00%
Jeff Francoeur 73.33%
Carlos Delgado 72.73%
Miguel Cairo 71.43%
Carlos Zambrano 71.43%
Johnny Estrada 70.59%
Jacoby Ellsbury 70.00%
Vlad Guerrero 69.23%
Marlon Byrd 68.18%
Swing Rate - vs. Lefty
Delmon Young 83.33%
Juan Uribe 80.00%
Rajai Davis 78.57%
Ichiro Suzuki 70.59%
Vlad Guerrero 70.00%
Nick Markakis 70.00%
Rich Aurilia 70.00%
Mike Piazza 66.67%
Randy Winn 66.67%
Prince Fielder 64.71%
Mark Loretta 64.29%
Aramis Ramirez 64.00%
Whiffers - bad contact rates
Contact Rate - vs. Righty
Rob Bowen 0.00%
Wilson Betemit 25.00%
Andy LaRoche 25.00%
A. De Aza 25.00%
Alex Rodriguez 25.00%
Dan Ortmeier 33.33%
Jack Hannahan 33.33%
Freddie Bynum 33.33%
Jonny Gomes 34.78%
Miguel Olivo 36.36%
Brad Wilkerson 37.50%
Mark Teixeira 37.50%
Carlos Zambrano 40.00%
Mark Teahen 42.86%
Craig Biggio 42.86%
Mike Piazza 42.86%
Chris Duncan 44.44%
Z again, plus A-Rod (!)
Contact Rate - vs. Lefty
C. Granderson 16.67%
Wily Mo Pena 20.00%
Alfonso Soriano 25.00%
Rick Ankiel 25.00%
Adam Dunn 33.33%
Josh Bard 33.33%
Jacque Jones 33.33%
Nick Swisher 33.33%
Pat Burrell 33.33%
Robb Quinlan 42.86%
Jim Thome 42.86%
Aramis Ramirez 43.75%
Aaron Rowand 44.44%
Craig Monroe 44.44%
Prince Fielder 45.45%
Ouch, Aramis again. Lay. Off. The.
Here's some more on the Cubs - including folks like Monroe and Jones (I left out a couple guys, added some <10 seen guys, too). Click to sort headers (only works on the blog, not in feeds or other sites).
Monday, February 18, 2008
Out of Texas, or Surprise, AZ, actually, is "news" that the Marlon Byrd deal looks dead.
The Cubs are willing to part with outfielder Matt Murton but the Rangers aren't interested in a 1-on-1 deal. They believe Byrd has the edge in defense, versatility and clubhouse leadership
I'll have to agree with the Rangers, his high-five skills indicate better intangibles. I say we send them Murton and a couple boxes of calendars with motivational sayings on them, hang them up in their lockers and everything.
The Sun-Times, and others, report on Soriano's gimpy leg
he's still not sure how well he'll be able to run more than six months after suffering a quadriceps tear
Tears in muscles do not regenerate and reconnect, so the quality of athletic healing is based on how strong and supportive the surrounding muscles can be made.
Feels Nomar-esque, to me.
Just how strong and supportive are those other muscles? Matt Murton, stay ready.
The Cubs have signed former White Sox infielder Alex Cintron to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, according to club officials, with an official announcement expected later today.
Cintron is 29 this year, and is a switch-hitting shortstop, who also plays 2nd and 3rd.
He can't hit worth a lick (or hasn't recently, been down-hill since '05)
Year Ag Tm Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG *OPS+ TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP
7 Seasons 598 1897 231 525 99 20 32 212 18 12 103 208 .277 .315 .401 81 760 23 14 8 8 43
He doesn't project well, either (obp/slg/ops)
Bill James 308/389/697
Taking a quick look at his PITCHf/x data, wow, he sucks. His contact rate on pitches in the strike zone is less than 65%. He seems to like the ball down, but doesn't do much with it.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Peter Gammons has a brief note in today's piece on ESPN Insider (sub. req.)
The Cubs may lust for Brian Roberts as the perfect part, but they won't put right-hander Jose Ceda or outfielder Felix Pie in the deal, so Roberts is going to stay in Baltimore. For now.
Who would you rather have, this guy
or these two guys
I like what we've got.
Welcome back to D-Backs f/x.
Check out Part 1 and Part 2
Micah Owings had some interesting "drift" in his x0 at Chase.
Here's how his team mates fared. The numbers are normalized from 0 to 1. The higher the number, the more to the pitcher's left, relative to his right-most release point. Release point is average release point by game.
As the number approaches 0, it is approaching the right-most value, or, apparently, "correct" value.
This graph shows normalized x0 with time along the x axis.
You can see the trend is the same for all four starters, supporting the interpretation of Micah's shift at home as nothing more than a system adjustment, correcting release points by a few inches to the pitcher's right.
It does seem the correction gets a bit un-done, but what happens in that last game for Owings, I dunno, we'll see what we get this year.
[Part One] [Part Three]
Looking at the rest of Micah Owings' release points, this time road games, y0=50. He has two games in Petco, and a bunch scattered around. First, the charts.
Two games at Petco, straddling the early set/late set of home games - no difference
The rest of the road games vary a lot, likely park/system effects
All together now, you can see how different the groups are
Let's look at that over time, averaged by start. On the left, all games combined. On the right, just home games.
Petco has its own view of the world, but consistent.
Here's the numbers - click to sort...
Over at CCO, Neil reports on Jim Hendry's appearance on Talkin' Baseball with Bruce Levine.
Hendry spoke about Fukudome's versatility, the fact he hits lefties well and will provide good defense in right field.
I was able to find Kosuke Fukudome's splits from 2007 (anyone got other years?) and, thanks to Google, read them.
Fuk, he does hit lefties well.
Micah Owings is working on a new delivery that he unveiled in his first bullpen session of the spring Saturday. Rather than stand on the far left side of the rubber to start his motion, as he did last season, Owings is experimenting by standing on the far right.
This is an example of "noise" that isn't noise in PITCHf/x. This will be something we can actually look for in the data in his release points.
I've looked at Micah before - back in August before a start against the Cubs. I didn't look at release points, so now I will.
Micah's 2007 release points, y=50, home games.
Is it just me, or does that move "right" (from his perspective) across starts?
Yep, it sure does look that way. There's about 4 inches of drift.
Here's what it looks like, simply by adding .333 ft. to the x0 values for the first set of games.
What do we have? System adjustments, or pitcher adjustments? I'll take a look at Micah on the road, and his team mates at home, in part 2 and part 3.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
First, Sean Gallagher is in camp (he was quoted by Muskat), AZPhil just didn't see him yesterday. In the same piece, it is again mentioned there are just four guys for the last two rotation spots. In Muskat's other article today, she mentions Rich Hill is the #4 starter
As of now, Lou Piniella's rotation includes Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, a still to be determined No. 3, Hill, and a yet to be named No. 5
I think this doesn't bode well for Sean Marshall - I'm betting Lou will go with two of the three righties (Lieber, Marquis or Dempster), with Marshall being trade bait.
In other news....Murton is the 4th outfielder, for now, according to Lou
We can use him in right to rest Fukudome, and we can use him in left to rest Soriano. That's it right now.
Last, but not least.....
Friday, February 15, 2008
Bay City Ball has posted part two of their PITCHf/x review of the Giants' staff - Matt Cain.
The fastball is Cain’s best pitch and one that he throws the most often. Let’s check his break plot to look at the fastball and his three other offerings.
Check it out.
The hot stove isn't off yet. Tacked on to this piece on Ian Kinsler is this update on Marlon Byrd
Byrd on the wire: Outfielder Marlon Byrd acknowledged feeling a bit in limbo as he reported for camp. Byrd remains of interest to the Chicago Cubs, who could have use for a versatile outfielder if they deal prospect Felix Pie to Baltimore in a deal for second baseman Brian Roberts.
"Down the road, maybe it could affect you," Byrd said. "Two weeks down the road, maybe it's something. You don't know whether to pack your bags or unpack them. For right now, though, I'm doing everything I can to just get ready to play."
The Rangers and Cubs had discussed a deal that would send outfielder Matt Murton to Texas for Byrd. The Rangers, however, aren't motivated to make a deal without at least one pitching prospect as part of a package.
Two things I just can't see happening
- Baltimore trading for Pie, now that they have Adam Jones
- Hendry trading Murton and pitching for Byrd alone. We'd need cash, at least, to go with him
How did Zambrano survive the workload that doomed Kerry Wood and Mark Prior? We don't know. Maybe it's his body type..."Sudden" Sam McDowell is on his comparables list, and he was out of baseball by age 32. So were Don Drysdale and Ralph Branca.
Will sure knows his stuff, but, as the PECOTA cards aren't up yet, I have this abbreviated list of comps from the PECOTA Weighted Means spreadsheet
Mark Gubicza, Joey Jay, Jim Clancy, Stan Williams
Adding the three pitchers Will lists, here's the group of 8 - IP @ 26 (Z's seasonal age last year), career IP, seasonal age in last season pitched in MLB and ERA+ at each time. Click the headers to sort.
The high walk rates Carlos keeps putting up concerns me, and that depresses his innings pitched. Still, he looks OK to me.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
The talk out of camp is about four guys for two spots, or 7-for-5. Not a Sean Gallagher or Kevin Hart in there. The back-end of the rotation will be filled with veterans, unless something unexpected happens. Of course, the young ones will get start as the season goes by, for one reason or another.
Tim Brown's got it
there are seven men for five rotation places and three men for one closer’s job, and Mark Prior is in someone else’s camp. That’s not a bad first day, right?
So does the
Ryan Dempster, Jason Marquis, Jon Lieber and Sean Marshall are competing for the remaining two openings.
Dempster, while sucking up to Lou at the mall, appears to be going for the Payton work-out.
"he said he was going to run up Camelback Mountain" Piniella said
Photo/Daily Herald File
Yea, I doubt it.