More proof that these tubs of lard need to go

May 31, 2012 | 43 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

MLB.COM:

Yankees catcher Russell Martin said he was “mystified” by the behavior of home-plate umpire Laz Diaz during Wednesday’s 6-5 victory over the Angels, saying that Diaz would not permit him to throw new baseballs to the mound during the game.

Martin said that he likes to throw the ball to keep his arm loose following foul balls but was told by Diaz — a full-time Major League umpire since 1999 — that it would not be allowed because it is, as Martin said, “a privilege that I have to earn.”

“At the end of the game, after I got hit in the neck [by a foul tip], I was like, ‘Can I throw the ball back now?’” Martin said. “He was like, still, ‘No.’ I was like, ‘You’re such a [jerk].’ Like, for real, unbelievable.”

We just penned a post about how home plate umpires are terrible at calling balls and strikes. This is just icing on the cake for our argument.

VOTE: Is hitting with RISP a unique skill?

May 30, 2012 | 64 comments | in Featured | by SJK

So much MSM ink has been dedicated to covering the Yankees’ struggles with runners in scoring position, and we typically go to bed before West Coast games end (we all sleep in the same bed)…so here’s your post.

Let’s stick with basic OPS and where the Yankees rank in the AL…

RISP: .715, 8th out of 14 (league average .741)
RISP with 2 outs: .661, 10th out of 14 (league average .711)
Bases loaded: .524, 11th out of 14 (league average .730)

It’s been a struggle, obviously. But did you also know that the Yankees have an MLB-low .228 BABIP with RISP? And they’re last by a significant margin. The next one up on the list is San Francisco at .245. So how much of this is the Yankees actually sucking versus just some bad luck?

This leads to a series of other questions…

Does it really take a special skill, separate from a player’s normal abilities, to hit with runners in scoring position? Do hitters swing differently or change their thought-process when there’s a runner on second or third waiting to be knocked in?

Or if a player is a good hitter, will his prowess with RISP eventually catch up to his natural ability? Will the approach that a player takes into his non-RISP at-bats carry over into his RISP at-bats?

We ask you, the NoMaas reader…




Axe the umps (Part Deux)

May 29, 2012 | 53 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Vizzini

Back in April, we’ve talked about how faulty umpiring is significantly affecting the outcome of games. It’s crazy that Major League Baseball allows umpires to be dramatically incorrect in calling pitches inside and outside the strike zone. In that first article, we highlighted Joe West and his calls on an April 6th game between NYY & TAM:

So that’s 27 pitches that West clearly got wrong out of the 182 points we counted on the chart. That’s 15% of total called pitches in the game. Fifteen percent of West’s calls were incorrect! That right there is enough to change the course of a game. It screws up the count, it causes hitters and pitchers to change their approach in response, and it alters the outcome of the plate appearance. How is this acceptable for a professional sports league?

The ’1986 Topps Baseball Card Crowd’ will just dismiss this as “It’s part of da game!!”, but for those who possess a sliver of independent thought, here is more proof how umpires are unfortunately influencing the standings.

Did you know that sportsbooks actually track umpires and the amount of runs scored when they are behind the plate? It’s true. You can find all types of data. It’s very eye-opening if you think about it. If umpires actually enforced the rules, would sportsbooks be keeping all this information?

Let’s take a look at 2011. Games called by Phil Cuzzi and Lance Barksdale had a total of 7.15 and 7.36 runs scored respectively last year. The great Jim Joyce oversaw contests where the run environment was a full run higher at 8.21. The aforementioned Joe West, the umpiring giant who thinks games are too long, supervised an average of 8.92 runs scored. It gets even loopier. Tim Welke’s strike zone allowed for 9.56 runs per game. Tim Tschida was at 10.19, and Dana Demuth was at a whopping 10.38.

Now, you might be asking — maybe some umps just happened to call more games with two low scoring teams, while other umps drew more potent offenses? Well, this data isn’t just an artifact of Phil Cuzzi umping a bunch of Padres-Pirates games and Tim Tschida drawing the Yankees vs Red Sox all the time. You can see their records against the over/under line varies in accordance with their tendencies. This shows that the umpires likely had a significant effect on the runs actually scored versus what the market expected. In other words, if umpire A got a bunch of high scoring teams and umpire B got a bunch of low scoring teams, the umpire A’s games would have a higher over/under line and umpire B’s games would have lower over/unders.

For example, Dana Demuth’s games only underperformed the market’s run expectation 8 times, and overperformed the line 26 times. Joe West hit the over 22 times in 2011, while hitting the under only 11 times (so much for keeping games short in time, Joe).

From these numbers alone, it’s obvious to see that an umpire’s tendencies have a significant influence on total runs scored in a game. It shouldn’t be this way, but umpires are not held accountable and create their own imaginary strike zones.

Let’s anticipate another likely counter-argument. Some people will say: “Well it’s the same for both teams in the game, so it’s fair.” Even conceding that umpires call games evenly between two teams (which they don’t), there are two problems with that argument.

1) Each year, a few teams will randomly draw a bunch of tight strike-zone umps and a few on the other end will draw a bunch of umps who are pro-pitcher. Depending on the construction of the team (wild pitchers, patient hitters, etc) it’s possible that some teams will benefit or lose out based on the umpires’ bias. It’s also likely that teams who draw a more consistent rotation of umps will benefit relative to those who are figuring out a different strike zone every day.

2) Moreover, it is decidedly not fair to change the parameters of the game from day to day just because both teams have to deal with it. Was it fair when a swarm of midges changed the course of the Yankees playoffs fate in 2007, just because relievers on both sides had to deal with them? Would it be fair if Bud Selig decided that both teams should play on a sheet of ice for one game? These are extreme examples, and we can accept marginal changes in game environments. But, the varying strike zones and incorrect calls by umpires are the equivalents of playing in the dead ball era one game and the steroid era the very next day.

What We Would Like to See

At the least, players ought to be able to challenge a certain number of ball and strike calls, like in tennis. The PitchFX system could give an immediate response, either holding up the call or overturning it. It’s ridiculous that everyone watching the game can see from FoxTrax that there was a missed call, but that the people playing the game get tossed for mentioning it.

It’s time to improve the game by phasing out this obese lot of cataract patients and replacing them with a more reliable technology.

Minor League Players of the Week, v6

May 28, 2012 | 8 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

– Covering May 21st – May 27th games —

Pitcher:
Bryan Mitchell, 21, RHP, A
11 IP, 13 K, 6 BB, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 HR
Notable: 31 K in last 4 starts (24 IP)

Mitchell would have won last week’s MLPW if it wasn’t for Mark Montgomery, and his performance this week wasn’t as good either (Last week – 7 IP, 10 K, 0 BB). However, the 2009 draft pick put together two more solid starts with an impressive strikeout total. He now has 52 K in 48.2 IP with an excellent groundout/airout ratio of 1.34. His 52 Ks is tied for 10th in the South Atlantic League. With a K/9 of 9.70, Mitchell is missing plenty of bats, but his 4.66 BB/9 is obviously something that needs to improve. The North Carolina can fire it up into the mid-nineties and is also known for his power curve. The change-up is something he continues to work on.

Hitter:
JR Murphy, 21, RHB C, A+
.385/.448/.576 in 29 PAs
Notable: Hit 2nd HR of the season

This season has not been kind to JR Murphy, at least offensively. A friend of NoMaas, the 2009 2nd rounder is off to a very slow start, hitting .235/.310/.319 over 43 games. We wonder if the rigors of catching are taking a toll on his offensive game, as he’s well on his way to a career-high in games caught (37 games behind the dish already, 55 is career-high).

This past week marked a resurgence at the plate for the 21-year old, including a 5-for-5 performance on May 25th. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a hot streak for one of the most followed prospects in the Yankee system.

Honorable Mentions:

Mark Montgomery, 21, RHP, A+
2.1 IP, 3 K, 0 BB, 0 H, 0 ER

Last week’s MLPW winner didn’t allow a hit in three appearances.

Mariel Checo, 22, RHP, A
2 IP, 4 K, 0 BB, 2 H, 0 ER

27 K in 21 IP for the NYC native

Kevin Whelan, 28, RHP, AAA
2.1 IP, 2 K, 1 BB, 1 H, 0 ER

Not exactly a kid anymore and nothing left to prove in Scranton, is he destined to be AAAA?

Pedro Guerra, 22, RHP, A
6 IP, 9 K, 2 BB, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 HR

30 K/7 BB in 24 IP for the Venezuelan

In the ‘Maybe He Should Be Demoted’ Category…

Dellin Betances, 24, RHP, AAA
2 IP, 2 K, 4 BB, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 HR

Betances is a serious problem. 42 BB/ 41 K in 46.2 IP

Bombers sweep revolutionary A’s

May 27, 2012 | 57 comments | in Featured | by SJK



Teixeira takes cough medicine, leads charge over Oakland

May 26, 2012 | 33 comments | in Featured | by SJK


2-5, 2-run HR, 2B (thrown out going to 3rd)

Special pre-game ceremony in Boston

May 26, 2012 | 31 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

SI.COM:

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon wasn’t hiding his feelings about what happened in the ninth inning. In his eyes, it was as clear as the Rays’ power display against Boston starter Jon Lester

The Rays pounding of Lester was only the subplot to a feisty ninth.

Boston reliever Franklin Morales threw behind DH Luke Scott with the first pitch of an at-bat and hit him in the hip area on a 3-1 count. Scott was restrained by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the benches and bullpens emptied. There was a lot of pushing and shoving along the first-base line that carried over behind home plate before order was restored..

A few fans and Rays players were yelling at each other near Tampa Bay’s dugout when the players left the field after the incident. B.J. Upton seemed to be the one most involved with the fans near the end of the Rays’ dugout.

“It crossed the line,” he said of a comment, saying he was unsure if it was racial. “I felt like it did. It takes a lot for me.”


Some things never change.

Bloody Socks’ company dead, RI taxpayers on the hook for $100 mil+

May 25, 2012 | 80 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Providence Journal:

Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios laid off all its employees on Thursday and Governor Chafee and other state officials said they are trying to minimize the taxpayers’ cost of the apparent implosion of the Providence video-game developer.

Chafee and members of his staff met with the media Thursday afternoon to answer questions about what’s gone wrong at the Providence company headed by ex-Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.

The governor asserted that his priority is protecting Rhode Island taxpayers, who are on the hook for paying off $75 million in bonds issued by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation to fund 38 Studios. With interest payments, the bill could go up to $102 million over eight years.


WPRI Providence:

Governor Chafee, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and the state legislature’s top two Democrats have promised Moody’s Investors Service that state taxpayers will bail out investors who purchased bonds to finance 38 Studios, the rating agency disclosed Thursday.

“Gov. Chafee, Treasurer Raimondo, Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed and House Speaker Gordon Fox have recently expressed to us directly their support for the moral obligation commitment based on the state’s credit,” Moody’s analyst Marcia Van Wagner said in a research note.

The EDC sold “moral obligation bonds” in 2010 to finance 38 Studios. “While they are endeavoring to resolve the situation with Studio 38 [sic] so as to avoid the need for further state support, if it is necessary to pay the bonds they will ensure that the state’s moral obligation pledge is fulfilled,” Van Wagner continued.

Unbelievable.

Mark Teixeira is truly lost

May 24, 2012 | 18 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

He now sounds like a babbling idiot…

From Lohud:

“I’m putting too many balls in play instead of taking that swing to hit a home run and drive the ball. I’ve never been someone who just wants to put the ball in play. In years past, a 1-0 or a 2-0 pitch, it’s maybe a little bit up or a little bit down, you swing and you foul it off or you swing and miss. Now I’m putting that ball in play, which (stinks).


The full quote is even more ridiculous. Follow this link and check it out.

Also makes you wonder what kind of advice he’s getting from his coaches.

Yankees take walks, score runs, Arod hits two…what the hell is going on?

May 23, 2012 | 46 comments | in Featured | by SJK

7 walks (3 by Teixeira!)
3 HRs (2 by Arod!)
8 runs scored!



It’s a miracle!

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