We’ve done pop-ups here before, but let’s really do them this time, right? I mean, let’s get it right this time at least. Because last time I was writing about IFFB%, which I thought was infield fly ball percentage. Turns out that’s infield flies divided by fly balls. That’s a little strange.
Steve Staude on FanGraphs is a proponent of infield fly balls divided by balls in play. Freed from the shackles of fly balls, we can get a sense of the pop up as a sustainable skill — IFFB% only has a .37 year-to-year correlation, but pop up percentage (PU%) is better, around .63. That’s better than the year-to-year correlation on home runs (.41)! We have a stat — FIP — that treats home runs as a skill that’s wholely under the control of the pitcher, and yet infield pop-ups are better correlated season to season.
Staude’s excellent initial work on the subject is not incredibly fantasy-relevant, but it does go some distance towards explaining park effects better. Look at the parks that showed a PU% that was more than .5% higher than IFFB% — Anaheim, Wrigley, Citi, Tampa, Detroit — and you get a list of the ‘secret’ pitcher’s parks. Of course, Milwaukee, Detroit and Yankee Stadium are on that list, too.
Cashew Mirman, who you may remember from the 8-bit mock video game starring the Toronto Blue Jays, is back with another gem titled “Space Jays”. This outer space adventure stars R.A. Dickey, J.P. Arencibia, Dustin McGowan, and Ricky Romero. McGowan, though, must be thawed out in order to make his appearance.
It’s more of the same humour that we saw in the video game feature, including a mumbling Romero who appears to have lost his control. The highlight here is a cameo from former Blue Jay Travis Snider, carrying his lunchbox of course.
“Only Tony handled A-Rod,” is what an unnamed source told ESPN’s Outside the Lines. Tony would be Anthony Bosch, the man atop the Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables, who is the central to the latest chapter of the baseball players and PEDs story courtesy of the Miami New Times report. T.J Quinn and Mike Fish of ESPN have managed to shed some light on the reported allegations against Alex Rodriguez.
Unlike many of his free agent peers who continue to wait for a new contract, Shaun Marcum is not tied to draft pick compensation. The Brewers’ decision to forgo extending the right hander a qualifying offer, in theory, should have given a jolt to his free agent stock. It has not. Like Kyle Lohse, Shaun Marcum waits.
Much of Marcum’s lack of employment prospects this winter could probably be tied to the two months he missed in 2012 with elbow tightness. That and the fact that he didn’t pitch nearly as well in 2012 as he did the previous two seasons. While Marcum’s strike out rate was in line with what we’ve come to expect, his ground ball rate sunk to a career low (35.4%) and his HR/FB rate (10.6%) was the highest it’s been since 2008. His FIP took a substantial drive north to 4.10 from the 3.74 and 3.73 he finished the 2010 and 2011 seasons with, too.
Perhaps there’s a break in the bad news for Marcum, though. According to Jon Morosi, interest in Marcum may be picking up a little. The Fox Sports reporter tweets that Marcum is drawing interest from the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Texas Rangers. Let’s play matchmaker for Marcum and these three prospective employers.
As someone who can compartmentalize most aspects of his existence rather effortlessly, one area where I’ve found myself incapable of doing so is with professional athletes and their social views/affiliations. An excellent personal example of this can be tied to Curt Schilling. I vividly recall watching Schilling dominate his way through three starts in the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the subsequent man-crush I developed as a result. Same goes for Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS when Schilling took the mound after dousing his sock with red food colouring. I was enamoured.
My love affair with Schilling ended abruptly when I became aware of the former pitcher’s personal politics. His right-wing stances just didn’t jive with my borderline anarchist aesthetic. I’ve since matured a little bit, not much but a little, and I can view Schilling the baseball player somewhat separately from Schilling the conservative failed entrepreneur.
Schilling joined the Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI Boston to discuss Wednesday’s Hall of Fame nonsense. Predictably, Schilling had some opinions on things. In his first year on the ballot, Schilling garnered 38 percent of the votes required for admission. This is somewhat ironic considering Schilling wore the number 38 as a player (at least on the teams he would like us to remember). 38 Studios was the name of the video game publishing company he started, too. $38 is the amount of money that Schilling currently has to his name.
The Houston Astros have made some interesting moves since we last saw them in action. For starters, the club hired a swell internet prospect dude in Kevin Goldstein as their pro scouting director. The Astros’ television broadcasts will now feature former Blue Jays radio voice, Alan Ashby, delivering play-by-play, too. I’m pretty sure the Astros have gone as far as adding some baseball players as well, I just can’t recall who they are. According to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros are close to bringing another intriguing figure into the mix. The club is expected to give Roger Clemens an “active role” in the organization.