Archive for the ‘Fogging The Measure’ Category

Milwaukee Brewers v Los Angeles Dodgers

Many years ago, probably when Carlos Beltran was having one of his great seasons with the Mets, I remember reading a piece about how the Mets had a couple of toolsy outfielders New York in their system who would eventually take over and be awesome: Fernando Martinez and Carlos Gomez. Fast-forward a few years – Martinez is battling for playing time against the likes of Brandon Barnes and J.D. Martinez after being selected off of waiver by Astros in January of 2012.

Meanwhile, Gomez went to the Twins as part of the Mets’ trade for Johan Santana prior to the 2008 season and, after a couple of hacktastic seasons, was traded again to the Brewers after the 2009 season. Gomez posted a couple okay-ish seasons in Milwaukee, though he ended up in a platoon with Nyjer Morgan, of all people. In 2012, Gomez started to put something together, at least in terms of power. That was apparently good enough for the Brewers to give him a three-year extension for $24 million, which bought out his remaining arbitration years this spring, as Drew discussed at the time.

Gomez is off to an even hotter start this season, smacking the ball around for both average and power (.386/.431/.675, .470 wOBA) in his first 123 plate appearances of the season despite retaining his hacktastic ways. There does seem to have been a change for Gomez that lead to his power spike, at least mentally, as Buster Olney reports in an ESPN Insider post. There is no reason to doubt Gomez’ subjective impressions of what led to the change.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers

Fichte started using the word Wissenschaftslehre as a substitute word for philosophy in a post-Kantian vein simply because, as he put it somewhere (I can’t find the exact quote or reference) that since the Germans invented this science, they should get to name it. “Sabermetrics” also because a word for a discipline via authorial fiat. It does not have anything like a long Latin etymological lineage. It was simply a neologism created by Bill James in order to put a name to the sort of research that people like himself and (more influentially, if far less famously) Pete Palmer were doing at the time. There is not much to the story. James simply decided to name this new discipline after the Society of American Baseball Research. Intentionally or not, that was a bit ironic, because, although things have changed in recent years, at least at the time SABR more focused on historical discussions rather than towards sophisticated statistical analysis in the way we think of it now.

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Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Dont’cha just love well thought out titles?

Writing about player performance this early in the season is at least somewhat silly, but is pretty much required anyway (see Infallible Prediction Number 12). So we solider on.

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Tabler Buck

As much fun as it is to laugh at the expense of those who call baseball games for television and radio broadcasts, most of us likely would agree that filling up air, even to a minimal extent, is difficult. I have no experience in any form of “real” journalism*, so it may be in bad taste for me to go after people whose nominal job, for better or worse, is to keep the viewer engaged in a sport that is not exactly fast-paced. Anecdotes and bits of data are needed (?) to fill up the airwaves.

* – my rare appearances on podcasts and whatnot, while somewhat fulfilling for my ego, are, well, probably pretty horrible for listeners. Not that I ever turn down an opportunity to enter the charmed circle of internet media mavens!

The Blue Jays’ usual broadcast team of Buck Martinez and Company probably aren’t any worse than most broadcast booths around the league. But who am I kidding? I am still a pretty big jerk. Even if Fire Joe Morgan is so 2005, several comments during last Friday’s game with the Blue Jays in Kansas City to face the Royals really stood out to me.

The game itself was “I watched this on purpose“-tastic (and my fantasy season awkwardly slid down the tubes with Jose Reyes‘ injury), and as I let the frustration of that combine with my incredulity of some of the comments made by the announce team, it crept into the absurd. Here are some of my favorites, with commentary.

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Texas Rangers v Houston AstrosHey, did you hear that the 2013 Astros are striking out a bunch? No, really it’s true.

Earlier this week, Jayson Stark compiled a list of comparables to get a sense of how often Houston was striking out. Among them: they were on pace to collectively strikeout out 1,900 times, they struck out almost as many times in their first seven games of 2013 as Tony Gwynn did in one five-year stretch of his career, through their first seven games they were collectively striking out at a higher rate than Mark Reynolds did last year (they have since come down a bit), and so on.

To summarize: a whole lot of strikeouts.

Obviously, you don’t come to this blog just to read a bunch of regurgitated facts that aren’t even true anymore. Lost in the midst of all the hoopla surrounding the Astros being bad this year is an interesting question: What about strikeouts? Wasn’t one of the many lessons of the first wave of sabermetrics that strikeouts were not significantly worse than other outs?

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Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox

It has been a long time coming. The winter was long and difficult. The anticipation was exhausting. The off-season debates were wearing thin. But finally, this week, relief: Fogging the Measure, North America’s most pretentious and 9,835th most-beloved semi-sabermetric blog feature is back!

[HOLDS FOR APPLAUSE]

The season has already started, so it seems a bit too late to give my INFALLIBLE PREDICTIONS for the 2013 baseball season, but here we are. No phony humility for me. Yeah, there will be more detailed stuff to follow, but I gotta get this stuff out there so at the end of the season I can point out how right I was about everything. Because when a saber-friendly blogger projects something to happen, he or she means it is definitely going to happen. Ergo, if that thing doesn’t happen, sabermetrics is disproven, right?

So here they are, a few INFALLIBLE PREDICTIONS about the 2013 baseball season, both on the field, off the field, and in cyberspace.

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It isn’t cool to care about awards anymore. We all know who the real most valuable player in the American League is, we don’t need the BBWWWWWAAAAAA (I think that’s right) to tell us.

Even further down the priority list of Concerns for Hip Bloggers are the Gold Gloves. Sure, they are chosen (at least nominally) by baseball managers who know the game. The clearly ridiculous choices of the past (Rafael Palmeiro? Derek Jeter? Michael Never Complains Young?) only confirm the impression some writers give: the managers basically are wracking their brains at the end of the year, just trying to think up the names of fielders on other teams since they can’t vote for their own.

It doesn’t help matters that voting occurs at a time of the year when other things are on their mind. It is unlikely to be high priority. It would not surprise me if some managers simply go to their team’s public relations flack to fill out their ballots.

I suppose I understand the apathy – or, as I suspect, the posture of apathy – among many bloggers and writers about the Gold Gloves. However, I am here to tell you that I care.

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