As we all revel in the wave of hotness that is a reborn Colby Rasmus, it is important we take stock. As one might expect, those who spoke poorly of the Blue Jays centerfielder are currently looking for new and exciting ways to cover their tracks. The soft-spoken Southerner makes an easy target and many people took aim during the winter and early-season swoon.

As the backhanded compliments eek out, it is important we consider the source and quickly do our best discredit them further. Their passive aggressive attempts at retaining credibility will not stand without rigorous oversight.

Despite ample evidence to the contrary, many people still buy into the myth of batter protection. The thinking goes like this, I think (paraphrased):

Hitter X is so good at hitting baseballs, we will make it more likely for him to bat with men on base by making it easier for the guy ahead of him to get hits. We endeavour to retire the obviously inferior batter stuck in front of Hitter X by offering more fastballs (which Major Leaguer hitters are better at hitting). It’s science, really.

Bunk, completely inaccurate science.

We could go through the archives of Baseball Prospectus or any one of a dozen different sites, pulling up hundreds of words written on the subject of lineup protection. The famous Manny Ramirez/David Ortiz examples stand out, not to mention the complete lack of protection offered Jose Bautista over most of the previous three years.

Enough digression, on to facts: Colby Rasmus is not seeing more fastballs or more hittable pitches. He adjusted his stance and position in the batters box. It allows him to reach pitches away that previously troubled him. He remains quick enough to spin on inside fastballs and drive them to right field, as evidenced by seven of the 10 home runs he hit since making these adjustments. Four of these blasts came on fastballs on the inside half.

Pitchers will adjust to Colby in time but, for now, he is one adjustment ahead of the league. He isn’t Babe Ruth and his 1.018 OPS since moving to the second spot for the first time isn’t going to last forever but he is certainly a better hitter.

If anything, pitchers are already changing their collective approach: they are throwing Colby Rasmus fewer fastballs. Even with the larger than life persona of Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus sees fewer fastballs in the #2 hole than he did over the first two months of the season. And they are throwing more of these pitches off the plate.

Courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info

If heat maps aren’t so much your thing, I’ll summarize and add in pitch type information from pitch f/x:

  • Colby Rasmus, prior to May 28th: 45.6% pitches in the zone, 50.4% fastballs.

  • Colby Rasmus, since May 28th: 42.7% of pitches in the zone, 49.0% fastballs.

Marginally more off-speed stuff for Colby, notably more pitches outside of the strike zone. This is surely due to his current hot streak, not because of phantom fears of Jose Bautista hitting a two-run homer after some poor fool walked Colby Rasmus. The idea of protection just doesn’t match the execution, friends. Let’s go ahead and give full credit where it is due.

Comments (158)

  1. Greg Brady is a fucking troll how does he have a radio gig hes horrible

  2. HEY I thought brady blocked you on twitter Drew, nice lie brah!

  3. It looks like pitchers have been going inside on Colby more since his adjustments (according to the heat maps) which makes sense because he’s so close to the plate it appears as though he wouldn’t be able to get to those balls. But as Drew pointed out, he’s CRUSHING the inside fastballs.

    Hopefully, as pitchers continue to adjust and pitch more junk away, Colby can lay off those out of the zone pitches and increase his walk rate.

  4. The idea that Colby Rasmus is only doing well because of Jose Bautista is LAUGHABLE. I can’t believe people suggesting this have a regular job talking to people about baseball.

    Also, hahahaha, “the wave of hotness”. New great nickname.

  5. I like Brady’s hockey commentary. He takes the time to understand the sport and offers reasoned assessments of different scenarios. This is very much unlike most of his colleagues in the Toronto hockey reporters collective. His baseball stuff on twitter is lacking, and his words demonstrate a lack of understanding of the game and the way in which baseball players are measured. That said, I’ve never found him to be stubborn to the point of being a dick or othewise incapable of pursuasion. Although he might not be as well versed in baseball as others, he’s certainly not the type to be completely unamenable to positions that are opposite to his own. And really, how much more can we ask out of sports commentators or people in general?

  6. Honest question, So there is no statistical evedince that a guy like Rasmus gets more pitches to hit with Bautista behind him then if say he has McCoy behind him? Given that you would rather have a 70% chance of getting a guy out on a batted ball rather than walking him

    • That’s not to take anything away from Rasmus. I think he is a fantastic talent.. It was just more of a general question regarding line-up protection. A player has to be a good hitter themselves to take to take advantage of the protection if there is any at all

      • I agree with this question. This is the first that I’ve heard about how batting protection is a myth of the old guard of baseball. Can someone please provide a link to one or more (good) posts where this is proven? I’m skeptical, given the fact that common sense validates this claim.

        It hurts less to have Colby Rasmus reach base when McCoy is on deck than when Bautista is on deck, accordingly, you pitch Rasmus far more carefully (ie. fewer pitches in the middle of the strikezone, and fewer of a pitcher’s secondary pitches thrown).

        Now perhaps this explains, rather than refutes, the data that Drew has gathered: pitchers are missing more off the plate than over the middle now that there is good protection behind him. So while the conventional wisdom would suggest that batter protection leads to fewer walks, what it really does is lead to fewer fat pitches to be hit hard.

        I’m just not sure. If you are, and have some (credible) evidence to this, please post. Thanks.

        • Here’s one: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=1042

          Here’s another: http://www.sabernomics.com/sabernomics/index.php/2004/09/the-protection-externality-it-doesnt-exist/

          Or look at Ryan Braun’s numbers from this year to last year. No change, even though he now has Aramis Ramirez (pretty good) hitting behind him instead of Prince Fielder (extremely good, now very wealthy)

          • Easier example than that Drew:

            Andrew McCutchen has hit 3rd all year long for the Pirates. He’s currently batting:

            .340/.398/.577/.975

            The space dreck that has hit behind him all year in the clean-up spot is hitting a pathetic, woeful:

            .221/.270/.341/.610

            That small sample size in and of itself isn’t enough to prove that protection doesn’t exist, but it certainly does fly in the face of those who vigorously defend the myth.

          • Thanks, Drew. I think it’s funny how many stat geeks on this page and elsewhere choose an example where protection clearly wasn’t what happened, including your Braun example, and Tom Jackson’s McCutcheon example. What’s needed is a comprehensive analysis of the pitch quality seen by hitters when the person following them is a top-tier hitter, and when the person behind them isn’t. And the sabrnomics article claims to have just that. Unfortunately, the primary source data link seems dead.

            It remains somewhat difficult for me to wrap my head around, unfortunately…

          • Also, entering this season, McCutchen was a career .276/.365/.458/.822 hitter, so he’s well above his career norms with absolute shit for “protection”.

          • To completely debunk this myth, shouldn’t we look at how the 8th hole is pitched before the pitcher in the national league?

            I mean, that is as close as we can get to almost no protection. It would be interesting to see the differences in how someone is pitched accordingly (if any).

            I would also expect differences in approaches depending upon the number of outs and number of people on base. For instance, if there is a runner on 2nd and 2 out, the number 8 hitter is going to be approached cautiously, as the risk of damage is much higher coming from him than coming from the 9 hole pitcher.

          • Winfield, it’s difficult for me to wrap my head around it too. It just makes too much sense that hitters should feast when placed in front of an amazing hitter, but that isn’t always the case. What makes it even more difficult is having the narrative shoved down your throat in basically every broadcast, without any thought for whether or not this is actually a proven phenomenon. It simply must be true, but what these studies seem to be saying is that statistically speaking, it doesn’t pass the smell test.

          • From my experience pitching, I can say this:

            1) I cannot think of an instance where my approach to a hitter changed knowing that a better hitter was coming up to the plate, but where the current hitter was still dangerous. Further, even if a terrible hitter was at the plate with a solid hitter to follow, it’s unlikely that my approach would change. One would take the best approach to getting him out in order to not face the hitter afterwards. The incentive is to get the hitter out, not to avoid walking him. The one caveat to this is that if I am struggling with my control, I may be more inclined to challenge the terrible hitter.

            This view is relatively useless at the major league level. Pitchers do not struggle with control the way that I do. Hitters are also not terrible.

            2) Despite the above, I still think it is plausible that protection matters. But most people get it backwards. Protection may very well matter where a strong hitter is followed by a much weaker hitter. This is particularly the case where the strong hitter hits home runs (this is why some power hitters get intentionally walked with no one on based – see Bonds). In these cases, I can say from experience that I would be more willing to throw junk and pitch around a guy, knowing that he could hurt me while the hitter that followed could not.

            Again, I think more analysis is needed, especially with respect to the protection offered by pitchers.

          • “Further, even if a terrible hitter was at the plate with a solid hitter to follow, it’s unlikely that my approach would change. One would take the best approach to getting him out in order to not face the hitter afterwards.”

            This is the best explanation I’ve seen as to why lineup protection doesn’t exist and it hits home coming from a guy that actually pitched. If you assume that protection does exist, then you’re saying that a pitcher will intentionally pitch a guy in a sub-optimal way because there is a better hitter behind him and this doesn’t make any logical sense. A pitcher should, and usually does, take the best approach to getting a guy out, period.

          • I’m not sure (and by not sure, I mean absolutely positive) that your experience playing house league hardball translates all that well to the big league level. Anyone else notice that those heat maps seem to indicate a more clear distinction in fastball location after May28th?
            Again, when is he seeing the fastballs? What kind of counts is he getting to now as opposed to before he made his adjustments.

          • That single sample (Braun) is a terrible explanation for why protection is a myth, and simply dilutes your explanation (links to proper analysis). If you use that in your argument, then what is to stop people from rebutting with Rasmus’ numbers in the 2 hole as an explanation of why there is protection. Small sample sizes go both ways, and showing extremes of either position is fairly useless in the debate.

          • @davesteib

            Discount accordingly as I definitely never played anywhere close to the major league level. That said, I played all through high school and two stints at university, as well as rep level in the summers, so it’s not like I have no insight whatsoever.

          • @nes no insight? No, everyone has insight. I have insight into performing open-heart surgery, I know you need a sterile environment and a scalpel.
            Likewise you played baseball, so you know something but; does that lead to having any insight into what an MLB level pitcher is thinking ‘what pitch do I throw” when he knows the league’s best power hitter is on deck in the 7th inning of a tied game?
            If your telling me that context doesn’t change your approach then I’m telling you that’s one more reason to add to the list of reasons for why you didn’t make the pros.

          • First, at a more general level, context would include one’s relevant experiences, and in this case analogizing my baseball experience to your surgery experience is asinine.

            Second, and to your specific example, you’ve given little explanation to go with your equally little context. Best hitter on deck in the 7th inning of a tie game… How many outs, who is on base, who is up? More importantly, why does the fact that the best hitter is on deck change the fact that I want to get this hitter out and will take the best approach that I can to accomplish this goal?

            Only if you don’t trust in your control will you more freely challenge the hitter (which is precisely what I suggested in my initial post).

            If you read back to my comment, you’ll see that I clearly stated that some of my experience is entirely inapplicable due to the quality of the hitters and my own inability to keep my bb/9 to a reasonable level.

  7. Hitters can be streaky, that is a fact, and it would be interesting what kind of statical magic could be done to track the trends, but if hitting in front of Jose Bautista was going to help, then why was there a bit of a revolving door in the 2 hole the last couple of years? Nope, I would like the believe that Colby is feeling like he belongs on the roster, swinging with conviction, and is seeing the ball well. He has changed his stance, and has been very good lately.. and hopefully he is very good for the rest of his career. And for the complainers, they should be ignored, don’t even waste your breath telling them to fuck off.

  8. I used to like Greg Brady. I also used to like that Paper Planes song by MIA. We all make mistakes.

  9. I think Zaun’s been a proponent of this theory as well – “Rasmus hitting well because he’s seeing more fastballs hitting ahead of Bautista”.

    I feel like some commentators thought this was also true when Corey Patterson was hitting second for that stretch from May-June of last year.

    • Zaun has never let facts get in the way of old-school baseball narrative.

      • Bingo.

        • difference between Zaun and you guys? Zaun was a catcher in the major leagues. I’ll go with Zaun on this one.

          • And that’s why you will continue saying moronic things, I suppose.

          • ouch. at least I’m not a hipster-wannabe douche-bag with a fat belly and unkempt beard. Cito rulez!

          • Look at that! See, you don’t even need Zaun’s guidance to say dumb things, you can shit em out all on your own. Bravo.

          • it’s not dumb it’s true. Get of the city-cycle and go for a jog you sloppy drunk cunt.

          • To be totally honest, while I would probably be considered more of a “stat geek” than whatever the opposite is, I think there is something to be said for the narrative that people who never played the game dont know certain things that those who have do.

            The example im going to use may not be a particularly good onebecause of his proclivity for using very specific sets of statistics to backup his own view; but, mike wilner. For those of us who regularly listen to Jays radio broadcasts may recall Wilner’s aggressive stance on Edwin Encarnacion being a superior 3B defender than Jason Nix, to the extent that I remember him cutting off callers who disagreed with that view. I also recall hearing Alan Ashby dismiss that idea as complete lunacy and anyone who thinks that needs to have an eye exam on Prime Time Sports around that same time.

            The point of this rant is taht numbers dont always tell everything, and while they probably confirm more truths than our eyes are capable of, there is still something to be said for having played the game at the pro level. IE. pitchers not having closer “makeup” some “stat geeks” will completely mock people who talk about pitchers like that, well the truth likely lies somewhere in between, and there are definitely stat geeks who make it kind of acceptable to mock the community from time to time

  10. In 2011…

    The number 2 spot was second in batting average (after the 3 spot) second in slugging (after the 3 spot) and second in OPS (after the 3 spot).

    Who was batting second in 2011? Corey Patterson and Eric Thames.

    Anyways… good job, good effort.

  11. Absolutely brilliant Drew. Well done.

  12. Always glad to see the spotlight shone on lazy journalism, even if it’s Twitter journalism. It’s really easy to say things like Brady said, and it’s clear that he didn’t do his homework first.

    Good job, Drew. And good job, Colby.

  13. Nice work Drew. Great post.

    Full marks to Colby for his inspired turn around. Protection is a narrative and its useless – though having 1 through 4 in the lineup all hitting at the same time has been an absolute beauty.

  14. What about how Jose Bautista batted this year with Lind behind him, compared to Edwin behind him?

    What about Yunel Escobar?

    What about Kelly Johnson?

    Gonna look those numbers up too? Didn’t think so.

    • It’s not about how they batted. It’s about the pitches they see, and what kind of pitches they are. The theory goes that a batter gets better pitches to hit if there’s a monster waiting on deck — more fastballs, more pitches in the zone — to avoid a walk. Drew has ably pointed out that with Rasmus, that isn’t the case. He’s getting FEWER pitches in the zone, and FEWER fastballs.

      • Yeah, I get the theory. It isn’t as simple as more strikes and more fastballs.

        Pitchers aren’t going to just toss meatballs up for Mr. Rasmus to homer. They will still try to get him out and paint the plate (if they dont suck). But when they inevitably do get behind 2-0 or 3-1 or whatever, THEN they will toss the fucken meatball.

        Also, I’m guessing righties will have more confidence going after Bautista and lefties are the pitchers that fear Joey the most. How many righties has Rasmus faced in the 2-spot compared to pre-May 28th? I’m really asking because I dont know, it doesn’t mention it above.

        It takes a lot of work to come up with numbers to prove that Jose Bautista’s protection does not exist.

        It is very easy to see that it does. Just look at the stats.

        • So if it’s not just about more strikes and more fastballs, then what exactly has changed in terms of the pitches thrown to Rasmus batting ahead of Bautista?

          What Drew’s data shows is that overall, regardless of the count, he’s seen fewer strikes to hit in the 2 hole. Yet he’s hitting much better. What has caused him to hit better overall, despite getting poorer pitches to hit overall? Drew posits that this is likely a result of a change in stance and position in the batter’s box, and has provided this data to help make his case.

          Maybe Rasmus IS just getting ahead in the count more as pitchers nibble the corners early in the count, as you suggest. That’s something a person could find out as well. I’d be willing to bet it isn’t the case.

          • I think Blue Jay has it right. All pitches aren’t equal, a 3rd strike is more valuable than a first strike and a fastball on the inside half in a 2-2 count is much easier to hit than a fastball on the outside corner at 1-0.
            In the age-old quest to make complex things simple, idiots will always confuse causality with correlation.

        • All attempts to show that protection exists, from a statistical point of view, has failed. Your superficial look at an extremely small sample size, and overlooking the statistics presented here, is not even worth rebutting as it is just that, superficial.

          • Please don’t cite “statistical point of view” as your sole counter argument to an argument and expect anything less than derision from anyone who knows anything about anything.

    • you want guys that are hitting well at the top of the line up. Those players were dropped in the order when they started to tail off production wise, so obviously their best stats would be in the top of the order. You are correlating circumstance and happenstance. The only thing you could really take away from your suggestions are that if you start to do poorly you will eventually be moved down in the order.

      • Jose’s spot in the lineup never changed.

        Yunel and Kelly alternated 1 and 2 for a while.

        Now go to baseball reference…

        • What the fuck are you talking about? Stop trying to be smug you fuck. You were stating, or seemed you were that Escobar and Johnson hit better when they batted in front of Bautista. Bautista is hitting better because of the contact he is making not because he’s getting better pitches to hit. He got plenty of good pitches to hit and didnt early in the season. Johnson and Escobar got moved from the top of the line up when they stopped producing. So obviously their stats are going to be better in the top of the order. Not because they are at the top of the order. So of course the top of the order will do better, you dont leave shit bags in the top of the order for very long before making a change. Now fuck off with snide remarks and discuss the topic.

    • How about 2010? Or 2009? Are YOU going to check those numbers? You’ll find they are all over. In 2010 the 2 hole was one of he least productive, and 2009 it was the most productive! See a pattern? That’s right there isn’t. It depends on who is hitting there and not behind them. Now go back to quoting RBI and pitcher wins as a basis for success.

      • Well, in 2010 Alex Gonzalez tore the fucken cover off the ball in the 2-spot and then we traded him for Yunel Escobar.

        Escobar and Hill split 2-spot duties. Escobar was decent. Hill sucked but he did hit 11 home runs.

        Jose Bautista didn’t bat in the 3-spot once in 2009 because he was still Jose Bautista and not Joey Bats.

        2010 isn’t a great year to look at because Jose Bautista was becoming Joey Bats that year.

        2011 is key (and 2012). COREY PATTERSON and ERIC THAMES.

        • There are other teams and other seasons to look at. Expand your sample size, embrace your wrongness.

          • “embrace your wrongness”

            This was well done

          • Why would you expand your sample to other teams and seasons? We’re talking about Rasmus and protection from JB. A fastball thrown in 1976 has nothing to do with the meatballs Rasmus is yarding the past month.

        • But the theory isn’t “HItter X hits better because Homer Machine Y is on deck.” It’s “Hitter X hits better BECAUSE THE PITCHER THROWS HIM MORE HITTABLE PITCHES, because Homer Machine Y is on deck.”

          You can’t just look at the results of the batter to prove the theory that pitchers pitched them differently. You have to look at what the pitchers actually threw.

          • and when. I agree but I think it’s “Hittable Pitch” not “Hittable Pitches”. 2-1 fastball on the inside half is all a good hitter needs.

  15. Brady and Lang were talking about how disappointing it is the Jays are in last year right now, even with the pitching injuries. They said there’s no excuses for the Jays now that the Orioles are doing well…

    They really don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to baseball.

    • “Now” that the Orioles are doing well? Awesome.

      • The Orioles have a better record than the Jays so far. They haven’t collapsed yet.

        I think the Jays would rather have that record than their current record.

        It would be funny if the Orioles were in a playoff race in September while the Jays boosters continue to say wait till 2014.

    • Well it IS kindof disappointing that we’re in last place and behind the Orioles isn’t it?

  16. I saw this twitter account that’s trying
    To get Colby to grow a rockin moustache: @Rasmoustaches. I think we should pick up the cause and make it happen!

    • No, that’s just stupid. And I hate posts like this.

      • Wow Andy with the tough love. Don’t worry dude I’m sure she’ll take you back soon. I think this sounds pretty hilarious actually. Why not? Rasmus with a stache to add some extra power to his swing

  17. I can’t argue with the stats you list there, but I’m pretty sure the argument in defense of lineup protection isn’t so much that the pitcher makes it ‘easier’ for the batter to get on base; isn’t the point that he doesn’t want to walk the batter, so he throws him more in the zone?

    Having said that you shit quite effectively on even that explanation. Advanced analysis 1 – conventional wisdom 0 in this case.

  18. Good post Drew.
    One thing to add is along with the change in mechanics, was his change in approach.It started to be noticed around mid May,both defensively and offensively.
    I’m not trying to troll and am opening myself to ridicule from the stats guys here,but it seemed obvious that his confidence,along with his mechanics,had changed.
    I know all that is unmeasurable and is laughable to some.
    To me it makes a difference because I’ve seen it make a difference elsewhere.
    A change in stance, by itself,is a simplistic answer to Rasmus’s revival.

    • The increase in confidence is not nothing, I agree. But the confidence isn’t going to last if the results don’t match up. They all work together but confidence alone won’t do the job.

      • Absolutely agree.You need both.
        I know it’s unscientific and just an observation.The Colby of 2011,was talking of quitting baseball and admitted to playing out the string at the end.You could see it in his fielding.
        Totally changed now,taking charge in CF,chasing down ball instead of letting them drop,not being afraid to make a mistake.Farrell mentioned that they told Rasmus to return to what made him successful before.
        Maybe it’s the positive in the locker room.Maybe it’s having a family.Maybe it’s having the backbone to tell his dad to back off.
        Whatever he seems to be more relaxed and at the same time driven to prove he’s a better player and TLR wrong.

        • Buck and Tabby say its because of Brett Lawrie’s aura washing over him.

          • While they are similiar in age,I’m amazed how they seem to get along.
            Polar opposites.
            If they met each other outside of baseball,they would probably ignore each other.

          • Yin and Yang I suppose.

            or in this case… Crawdads and Redbull.

          • One is laid back,quiet, the other outgoing and brash.
            One with a southern drawl,looks uncomfortable getting interviewed,the other fast talking and likes the attention.
            One is a family man, who lives back in the woods ,that nobody is allowed near, the other is actively recruiting a harem and would probably fuck a snake,if somebody held it for him.

            Would love to see the reaction of everyone,if Colby ever argued a called third strike.

          • This sounds like the makings of a fantastic buddy cop movie.

          • You’re already got the title..

            Crawdads and Redbull.

            2 guys from the opposite side of the tracks,thrown together to break up an evil turtle smuggling syndicate.

            Colby: I got a bunch of guns in the truck,I’ll shoot the lock off this door.
            Lawrie: No time for that.
            I’ll just gnaw it off.Gimme that Redbull.

        • It’s NOT unscientific what you are saying. Studies done in Buffalo have shown that after a Bills win, productivity goes up substantially that Monday, and down after a loss. Psychologists often attribute success to confidence levels in scientific journals. Positive thinking is linked to positive results scientifically. Mathematical stats are great, but are never the only factor.

    • The evidence you’re looking for is in the comments from Rasmus himself and his manager which essentially say that his confidence is indeed on the up.

      I don’t think even the most stat-head of stat-heads would agree that a player’s confidence level doesn’t affect his performance to some extent.

      There’s the other side of the coin where a guy can be confident and still not perform because his approach and/or mechanics are off (see: Inge, Brandon), but to really excell you gotta have it all going for you, and right now Rasmus does.

      So yeah… no ridicule for you cause you’re most likely right..

    • Do you think he became more confident and then better results occurred or that he started to hit better and then became more confident? I think the latter is more likely but perhaps it’s a bit of both of those things creating a positive feedback loop.

      • @ Garold
        IMO, the confidence came first.
        In interviews,Rasmus admitted to not like talking about TLR and his coaches.It gets into his head.So did his dad.
        It’s like he had to rid himself of those demons to go forward.
        I’ve seen it before ( admittedly at a lower level) several times.

  19. Even if this analysis was wrong, I would support the panning of greg brady

  20. Gotta give Parkes props on this one, he has been big on Colby all season.

  21. I like when you post real baseball insight, drew. Good stuff.

  22. Rasmusmatazz (TM) – I’m donating this trademark to Drunk Jays Fans to use in perpetuity. I expect it to catch on like wildfire on a donkey’s mane.

  23. So what if he is hitting better in large part to getting more fastballs hitting before Jose (not that I think thats the only reason)?

    All that means is he is capitalizing on the pitches he is supposed to hit which is what we always here from the ‘experts’ as to what good hitters do (many of those same experts who are down on Colby I don’t need to add).

  24. I think there is some possible truth to having certain players hit early in the lineup to get them in the game mentally. Rasmus and Lawrie are at different ends of the spectrum on a visible energy level, but I think there is something there in regards to getting them focused on the game right away.

    • Except they only hit earlier in the game once, and then they’re back to hitting after another 8 batters. I think if a guy is so mentally weak that he needs to hit near the top of the lineup to get into the game, he probably doesn’t make the majors.

  25. This post is a fucken joke. Ever since JoeyBats was born the 2-spot has been the best non-JoeyBats spot in the lineup.

    FFS just look at who has been hitting great in the 2-spot over the last year and a half.

    It takes so much fucken work to try and disprove this protection stuff doesn’t it? Is that why you had to totally bullshit all your numbers?

    This fucken guy is comparing pre-May 28 to since May 28.

    What about May 29th???
    What about June 1???
    What about June 2???
    What about June 3???

    Not every 3-spot in the league provides protection because not every 3-spot is held by the 2-time MLB leader in Home Runs!
    jesus fucken christ.

  26. Rasmus has found a spot north of Steeles off of highway 5 where he can go mud riding. And his family is sending hushpuppies via FedEx each week.

    Now that he feels more like home, he’s getting it done.

  27. What kind of sample is needed to figure out if pitchers are making a shift on Rasmus’ hot streak? 3% and 1% change (respectively) is obviously rather small– this is probably just a blip, right?

  28. I’ve never been able to get past the basic logic flaw for lineup protection.

    For it to be true, professional pitchers and catchers would basically be saying that they know the pitch selection and sequence to get Colby Rasmus out. However, since Jose Bautista is now hitting behind him, they will no longer use that pitch selection and sequence.

    If anything, Rasmus would be giving Bautista a very slight advantage/protection by getting on base in front of him (pitcher going to the stretch instead of windup for one)

    • No they’re not dude. The pitcher and catcher don’t just go “shit Jose’s coming up, we’d better rush through this at bat as shittily as possible to get emotionally prepared.” That’s just creating a straw man out of people who believe in lineup protection (on the fence myself for the record).

      The actual argument is that usually a pitcher will throw conservatively to a good batter. A good example is the approach to Jose Bautista; when a pitcher gets down 2-0 or 2-1, he’ll usually just walk Jose rather than give him a pitch. The idea is that against Colby, the pitcher would rather just throw a hittable ball and hope for either an out or a swing and a miss because the alternative is walking Rasmus and giving Jose a runner on base. Logically, it actually makes a ton of sense, but every statistical analysis I’ve seen doesn’t really support that.

      • I understand your reasoning there, but I don’t agree at all (and I suspect you don’t either really, since you’re on the fence).

        The heart of the issue is that Rasmus has better results hitting in front of Bautista….that the pitcher is doing something to allow for better results from Rasmus. But why would he do that? You are arguing that throwing a 2-0 hittable pitch is better strategy for the pitcher…but at the same time you are arguing the opposite because we’re saying Rasmus gets better production specifically because of that.

        The 2-0 hittable pitch is either good or bad pitching strategy. But it can’t be both.

        • You talk about logic but make no sense. That’s not very logical if you ask me. The basic premise of protection is obviously sound to anyone with common sense.
          Of course, there will be a myriad of fluctuations within the data set you glean from an analysis but the logic of protection is obviously true.
          I love these comment boards where stat geeks gather to validate each other and close ranks on dissenting opinions. I find it very amusing.

          • “The basic premise of protection is obviously sound to anyone with common sense.”

            What premise is that, exactly?

          • I quoted a data set? Common sense would tell you I did not

          • The basic premise is that a pro-level pitcher will want to get a lesser batter out rather than put him on base with a better hitter coming up behind him. It’s fairly obvious that would be true.
            When I used the word ‘you’, I wasn’t referring to any ‘you’ in specific; I was using the word in a general sense.
            The point I was making was that within a larger set, there will always be smaller sets that suggest something different that the larger set to which they belong.
            Penguins can’t fly and penguins are birds. Therefor, birds can’t fly.

          • You actually just made my point for me.

            The best case for the pitcher is to get Rasmus out before Bautista gets up. And that is the logic flaw for Rasmus’ improvement being a result of given more hittable pitches in front of Bautista.

            Rasmus should get the credit for his performance here. It has nothing to do with Bautista.

          • Rasmus just socked a dinger in the top of the 1st inning. 0-0 game at the time. Good thing he was hitting before JB otherwise he never would’ve seen an easy pitch to hit.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0

            The only way to put it….

    • Right on. All the data and research I’ve seen on lineup “protection” essentially points to, if it exists, it’s due more to the hitters in front of you, not behind.

      Like a lot of things in baseball, and life I guess, people often believe something because it feels like it should be true, even if it isn’t. Joe Posnanski had a nice piece on this kind of topic recently about the three toughest outs in a game. Which are actually the first three, despite the common feeling that it’s the last three.

      http://joeposnanski.blogspot.ca/2012/05/three-toughest-outs.html

      • I haven’t looked at it too closely, but I think it is one of the reasons Joe Carter was so successful in his Toronto years. Having guys like Alomar and Molitor on base helped Carter more than Carter protected them.

        • I wonder if Carter benefited from having a 1st baseman hitting .400 batting behind him in ’93. I wonder if the challenge of facing a stacked WAMCO lineup just fatigued the fuck out of any non-elite pitcher to the point of severe failure and I wonder if you can find other ridiculous examples to try and back up your ridiculous assertions. Look closer next time.

          • In ’93, Carter’s OPS actually went down to .802 from .808 in ’92. Olerud had no statistically significant influence on Carter’s batting. If anything, Olerud was detrimental for Carter as his average went down 10 points in 93.

            Give it up folks, protection is a myth. It may make intuitive sense, but it’s not a reality at the major league level.

  29. Face it – the only reason Rasmus is hitting well is because of the MAN IN WHITE

    • Yeah, too bad the man in white had to head to Boston a day early. The Jays could have used him yesterday.

      • It was just that I got my whites in with the colours – so everything came out teal and orange and fuscia and lo-and-behold I look like a fucking Marlins uni…

        I was waving my arms “offspeed! OFFSPEED!” and Colby just looked straight through me

        • That was Colby’s ‘come hither’ look. He wants to take you out mud ridin’ in Uxbridge after the grand slam.

  30. I also love people who say ‘full credit’ immediately after having said ‘no credit at all’.

    • This is along the lines of ending a horrible argument (usually a racist one) with “I’m just saying”.

      or… “no offense but…”
      “don’t take this the wrong way, but….”
      “I’m not homophobic, but….”

  31. Please make tweets from April a daily thing – awesome idea.

    Especially if they’re from Brady or that guy ‘who asked the question’.

  32. Greg Brady is amazingly behind the times on baseball stat analysis, but despite that, I think he’s a good sports radio host. I’ve tweeted him a couple times, disagreeing with his baseball thoughts, and he was pretty friendly and willing to discuss my argument.

    I’ll take him over Gord Stellick and Don Landry, anyway.

  33. I am no fan of Brady’s. Thus, I am a fan of this post.

  34. shitbirds is at it again. can’t give a fella credit where it due. i showed my boy how to hit and all that. put the transistor’s away and don’t listen to some brady bunch of bologna.

  35. Per discussion on Rasmus nicknames, I just like to swing between Cold B. when he is not hitting (as in Rasmus be cold) and Hot B. when he is (Rasmus be hot).

  36. Needless to say I hope and prefer that it is Hot B all the time

  37. I’m pretty sure Rasmus’ nick names begin and end at Cleatus

  38. So is the conclusion that the protection myth cannot be statisically validated? I’m glad Colby and Lawrie are 1& 2 cause they’ll be Jays for a long time. Kelly seems to have struggled since being hurt earlier in the year. I’m sure we could prove injuries vs. a decline in offensive production. Here’s an idea, lets find something easier to prove – then move on to the hard stuff.

  39. on batter protection: So the reverse is untrue as well — that #8 hitters tend to walk more because the pitcher is batting after them so they see nothing really hittable?

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