A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Money Quote

'Tis Friday. I like Friday.

From Pavan:

Dude, Acta is vastly superior to Willie... Random Manny Acta Quote:

"It's been proven to me that a guy at first base with no outs has a better chance to score than a guy at second base with one out. That has been proven to me with millions of at-bats. I don't like moving guys over from first to second unless the pitcher is up or it is real late in the game."

I read somewhere that he reads Baseball Prospectus too.

From Benny:

Reds manager Dusty Baker has already decided he doesn't like Joey Votto's approach at the plate.
"I talked to him about that. Strikeouts aren't the only criteria. I'd like to see him more aggressive." Baker doesn't want Votto, Adam Dunn or anyone else taking called third strikes. "I really, really hate the called third strike," Baker said. "I hate that. You're guess and you ain't ready to hit."

Well considering he has Corey Patterson competing for CF says a lot.

"One thing that makes us a little wary is he’s had this a couple of times," Baker said. "At 20 years old, we’ve got to find a way to stop this. It’s rare that you have them this young, which makes you a little apprehensive about him as the center fielder. That’s a lot of running."

Wow. Two very different approaches. I mean, I do not like to see called third strikes, but to send a kid up there with the idea that he should be hacking with two strikes is insane. Here is a thought. If he thinks it is over the plate, he should swing. If he thinks it is a ball, he shouldn't.

Sometimes you get frozen, but that happens and is rare. Votto may not be Kevin Youlklis when it comes to walks and he might not be Daric Barton when it comes to walks versus strikeouts, but he had 52 walks to 122 Ks in 124 games in '05, 78 walks to 109 Ks in '06, and 70 walks to 110 Ks in 133 games.

That is pretty good. I would not mess with him at all and let him continue to develop. However, Dusty is going down a dangers road in my eyes. There are a lot of old school managers in this league. While there are a lot of GMs getting more and more familiar with advanced statistics, it seems that it has not trickled down to managers en masse.

However, guys like Acta are seeking to change that and even players are getting into it. Brian Bannister's interview with MLBTradeRumors.com was an extremely interesting read and eye opening. He may be the exception, but I think a lot of guys will be following suit because a bit of research can help them improve.

I think a lot of fans underestimate how much time I spend working with statistics to improve my performance on the field. For those that don't know, the typical BABIP for starting pitchers in Major League Baseball is around .300 give or take a few points. The common (and valid) argument is that over the course of a pitcher's career, he can not control his BABIP from year-to-year (because it is random), but over a period of time it will settle into the median range of roughly .300 (the peak of the bell curve). Therefore, pitchers that have a BABIP of under .300 are due to regress in subsequent years and pitchers with a BABIP above .300 should see some improvement (assuming they are a Major League Average pitcher).

Imagine that! Someone trying to gain an advantage with stats rather than PEDs.

It is well-known that a pitch knee-high on the outside corner will not have the same batting average or OBP/SLG/OPS as one waist-high right down the middle. Here is a comparison of the batting averages and slugging percentage on my fastball vs. my curveball:

Fastball: .246/.404
Curveball: .184/.265

If you have not read that Bannister piece, do so. It is pretty cool to see managers and players breaking away from the norm or what has been conventional wisdom. If you can gain an edge from advanced stats and give yourself a better chance to win at no cost to your team or without adding/changing personnel, why not? There is plenty of time for managers and players to delve into these types of things and I pray Willie opens his mind in '08. It is time for him to stop assuming that because Pedro Feliciano is lefty, Guillermo Mota types are better suited to face righties.

I think you can add a win or two by not being a stodgy old manager. Trust the talent you have, trust MLEs a bit more when your other option is a MLB retread, and stop making moves because it is what always has been done. There have been a lot of advancements in baseball, but the way the games has been managed between the lines has changed very little and it is bizarre just how many managers employ the same recycled game plan.

* * *

  • What is going on with the Mets is bad. I'm not going to say 'it is too early to worry' or 'it's not a big deal'. However, the Mets still have a healthy Reyes and a healthy Wright to compliment a tremendous and healthy rotation. The Mets can hold the fort down while everyone else gets up to speed.

  • I am not seeing how Kenny Lofton fits all that well. When Alou comes back, there are just too many guys who solely play the outfield on this team. I'd rather let it ride with Pagan before they turn to a guy like Lofton. Overall, they really need a righty who can play outfield and first.

  • Aim low...win big.

  • Isn't this a bit different than what he had said previously?

  • Tim Marchman goes over the quandary facing the Yankees in 2008.

    The choice is clear. Even if it means deliberately giving away the pennant, the Yankees have to protect the futures of their young pitchers. It's the most important organizational priority, an essential commitment they made by not trading Hughes and Kennedy for Johan Santana. What we don't and can't know, no matter how many protestations are made to the contrary, is whether the team has, at every level from ownership down to the dugout, fully appreciated the main implication of this, which is that the storied Yankees may have to give something less than their best effort.

    If they fail to ride their young guys like rented mules, they will be giving starts to some pretty bad pitchers thereby seriously handicapping their chances to make the playoffs. If they ride their young guys too hard, the long term effects could be pretty bad. It should be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  • Jose, Jose, Jose...Jose, Jose. He is trying to be a kinder and more mature Reyes this season.

    "This is who Jose is, why should he change?" Martinez said. "He's not hurting anyone, he's just having fun. He's like me, trying to keep the team loose. I'll do anything if I think it helps the team; I'll do naked jumping jacks, whatever.

    "Tell Jose I support whatever decision he makes, but I think he's making a mistake."

    I think that is invaluable. Who cares of some pansies on the other side get miffed?

    "You can celebrate, but you have to do it with some couth. You have to keep your humility," Wagner said. "There's a right way to do things. You don't have to show off to everyone you're the best. I've seen a difference already in Jose, and it's a good thing."

    Tom Glavine? Is that you? The Mets 'celebrate' at the top of the steps. That is certainly in their area. Should they hide in the tunnels and do it? Why can't other teams worry about what they are doing and not concentrate on what is going on at the top of the steps in the Met dugout. It is not like the Mets are doing handstands on the field.

  • Omar gets it.

    "I myself have never seen so many injuries at one time," Minaya said. "The good thing is it's early in camp. (But) if they're not out there the last week (of spring training)," Minaya added, referring to the multitude of hurting Mets, "then we're talking about a different situation."

    As much as I want to panic, he is right. Give it time. If things are still bad in a few weeks, then we can panic.

    "I'm sure if the season was going on right now, a lot of these guys would be in there," he said. "A lot of it is making sure they take their time. When you play 162 games, there's a lot of wear and tear on your body. Obviously, the younger you are, the more beating your body can take. That's common sense. We've got the best strength coaches, the best trainers and physical therapists in the game. I truly believe that."

    Sugary spin.

  • Paps gets paid. $775,000 for a third year player is pretty good. He will make his mutli-millions next season and hopefully will be done complaining and trying pave the way for future closers.

    "I feel a certain obligation not only to myself and my family to make the money that I deserve but for the game of baseball," he said Tuesday. "Mariano Rivera has been doing it for the past 10 years and with me coming up behind him I feel a certain obligation to do the same."
  • Labels: , ,


    Blogger metsfanincincy said...

    I like Fridays, too. Even if it is snowing an inch and hour in a city that panics when it gets an inch a day!

    I hope Dusty doesn't ruin the Reds this year. At least he has an excuse for being an "old school" manager. What is Willie's excuse? Douchebag.

    Can Xavier Nady play 1B? He would be a great fit if so. What would he cost? Young relief pitching? Is that possible?

    10:23 AM

    Anonymous ossy said...

    i would like to see nady back in shea. i wonder what it takes to get him.

    he came up playing 3b so i guess playing 1b wouldnt be out of the question

    10:49 AM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    These are major league hitters, USUALLY when I see major league hitters getting a called third strike, the pitcher throws a nastyy pitch. Right? Or am I being selective in my memory. Called third strikes are usually the best tricks up a pitchers sleeve... RIGHT!?

    More form Manny Acta. Alright, I got these from Firejoemorgan.com which got them from a Squaking Baseball.com interview with Manny.

    SB: What’s your favorite blog?

    MA: Squawking Baseball, of course. I read Baseball Prospectus a lot too. Will Carroll writes some of my favorite stuff. I also loved Mind Game.

    Again, these quotes are old, from last year and I saw them originally on firejoemorgan.com here's more...

    Defense: "A big part of defense is positioning. We are not going to be letting these guys do most of these things on their own. We are going to be controlling some part of the game from the bench. We will have enough charts and stuff to be able to see if he is in the right spot and, if not, control it. We would rather take that out of their hands, and between me and Pat Corrales, we will take care of that."

    We will run selectively. I think one of the things that doomed this club last year is that they were first in caught stealing. I am not going to be running all over the place just because 25,000 people in the stands are saying I am aggressive while people are getting thrown out on the bases. Not everybody will have a green light here. The guys who are going to run are the guys who are going to prove to me that they will be successful most of the time trying to steal a base."

    Lineup: Acta said his preference for the second spot in the lineup ideally would be determined by on-base percentage -- even though his plan is to bat Guzman, a low-percentage on-base guy, second.

    "You can't steal first base," he said. "That is the main thing for me. You have to get on in order to score. I know Guzman is not a big high-percentage guy, but we don't have all the choices that we want to have here right now. With Lopez on base, Guzman may be the ideal guy to get him over with a hit-and-run or a drag bunt to get the guy in the scoring position for the [Ryan] Zimmermans and [Austin] Kearnses of the world.

    He said if everyone were healthy, Ryan Church would bat second.

    Regarding Brian Bannister, I'm sure he loved having Rick Petterson as his pitching coach. RIck uses everything and anything to his advantage and uses a shit load of stats and charts to help him with pitchers and how to call pitches and what to throw in counts.

    Regarding health, it seems like some are coming back. Schnieder and Delgado are gonna play this weekend for sure. Easley and Marlon Anderson are goingt o play today. And Beltran and Castillo want to play on the weekend and if they don't certainly will soon. Things are looking good, or am I being to optimistic?

    First round of cuts are today.

    Glavine has a point with his reasoning but whatever, all I want to know is when's the first time he pitches against the Mets? I'm going to do everything in my power to attend that game.

    Jonathan Papelbon's whiney ass got what he wanted. I didn't like that.

    11:19 AM

    Anonymous Pavan said...

    Yo mike, continued from yesterday: I do have a smartphone.. Guess I'll call AT&T and get their asses working on it.

    The mets being banged up already does worry me, although I did get a kick out of an article I read saying "meet the mets, treat the mets." As long as Beltran and Delgado are healthy come opening day, I think we'll be alright. The new El Duque windup may be the end of him.

    By the way, SWEET bannister article!

    11:36 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I hope Dusty doesn't ruin the Reds this year. At least he has an excuse for being an "old school" manager. What is Willie's excuse? Douchebag.

    Sweet. So true.

    I think Nady did play first, no? Substantial amount of 1st for San Diego actually. So yes, he would be a great fit, but I would also not want him to platoon with Church. I think Church can be excellent, but he needs to play everyday.


    Did you end up buying a Sunday package?


    You are for the most part right. But sometimes you are just frozen. Guessing totally wrong pitch on a pitch does happen, but that I don’t see that ALL the time.

    Acta is awesome. Or he sounds awesome at least. But the Mets could NEVER have a no name manager. Gotta have that name. Name = knowing how to win and manage.

    You are no being optimistic. The only dastardly injury is Alou. Let the guys with the bum knees rest up. What is the rush?

    11:39 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I got nothing for you Pavan. It should work. I have no problems getting onto, albeit on a different carrier.

    The Duque going might work out if it means he's out of the rotation!!! I read that about him yesterday as well that a scout said without his signature windup, he is less of a pitcher. I don't particularly buy that since he changes speed so well and arm angles. He has more than just a high leg kick.

    11:40 AM

    Anonymous ossy said...

    pavan, i would throw my phoen in the garbage and switch to verizon.

    i havent gotten the sunday plan yet. still debating on it.

    Matter of fact, it hasn't happened in more than 60 years. Want to guess the last pitcher, age 35 or older, who won 10 games or more after being out for two years? Good luck.

    The answer, according to the Elias Sports Bureau: Schoolboy Rowe, who went 11-4 for the 1946 Phillies after missing all of 1944 and 1945. Except he hadn't even been hurt. Joined the Navy during World War II.

    mike hampton will give the braves nothing.

    12:24 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...

    I got a wedding out in LI i gotta run too for today, see some of y'all online sunday for the draft. Ignore my draft time question on the league site, i got confuzzled.

    Be good till then (not that good though ;)

    12:27 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Eh, AT&T is fine. I have both! I like both!

    Do it man. Get the Sunday package. You can always sell some games.

    Mike Hampton will give the Braves hope, which is better than nothing since their hope will then be crushed, which should be fun to watch.

    Enjoy the wedding. Get ready to go down! Mike will reign supreme this year!

    12:49 PM

    Anonymous ossy said...

    no sooner than i predict his production for the season, mike hampton left his start with a groin injury

    4:20 PM

    Anonymous Pavan said...

    AT&T is fine... besides, verizon sucks out in Seattle.

    I have 4 people, including one manager running around at AT&T... damnit, nobdoy can figure out why. It's apparently anyone with an AT&T network connection can't go to it. None of them can on their phones and none of them can figure out why. They say it's become a mystery for them.

    5:23 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Ossy, can you predict Cole Hamels production? Tim Hudson perhaps?

    Pavan...this is by far my most favorite story of the year. At&t working on getting mobile web access to my site. Awesome.

    Tell them I am very pissed since I am losing out on add revenue because they are causing me to lose hits!

    5:53 PM

    Anonymous Pavan said...

    I had to stop talking to them because they couldn't figure it out after about an hour of dealing with them. I had to actually get some work done

    They said it works with the opera browser, but I demanded they fix it for internet explorer... bitches. I shouldn't have to download anything to have access to a site which works fine. I'll have to call them another day again to fix it.

    6:27 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    hey guys. i'm in hawaii. been surfing super good waves for three weeks. have to go back to work in virginia monday. it sucks.

    too tight to read the comments or do more than glance at the bannister article. but it's clear he has his shit together. and let's not forget that this guy spent his relatively paltry singing bonus on opening a photo studio in arizona where SI and company rent out space and that he himself is a bad ass photographer. dude deserves some props.

    as for the mets, i'm watching, but they have a long way to go before they can begin to redeem themselves.


    3:22 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    ok, i've caught up on the comments. re: the viewing-a-blog-on-the-phone situation. obviously the sufi girl causes the problem. jake

    3:30 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    jake. I like my blog, but what the fuck man? You are in Hawaii!!!! I'm honored, but c'mon now.

    4:04 AM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    The sufi girl must stay.

    Jonathan Papelbon's whiney ass got what he wanted. I didn't like that.

    He was probably not being that whiney, I think the union is trying to get non-arb players more money, a lot of guys in that position were chirping this year. Besides, the Boston media can be tough. Ted Williams called them the 'knights of the keyboard'.

    By the way, if any of you are interested in baseball books, I got a really sweet deal on David Maraniss' Clemente biography. Barnes and Noble had it for 6 bucks, and then took 40% off. I paid $3.50 for it. Maraniss wrote several biographies, most notably the Vince Lombardi 'When Pride Still Mattered'. Man, that was great, and I'm pumped up about getting this one. I think the sale will go on for a couple of weeks.

    I read the Bannister interview a while back, and was very impressed with him. He's a thinking man's pitcher.

    2:21 PM

    Blogger JohnF said...

    "Trust the talent you have, trust MLEs a bit more when your other option is a MLB retread"

    I read this real fast and thought it said:

    "Trust the talent you have, trust MLEs a bit more when your other option is a MLB retard"

    and I think to myself, Willie is a retard, but a MLB retard?

    4:24 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Twenty of so years ago Davey Johnson was one of the first managers to start using statistics and had a computer in his office. He used the results for matchups, player positioning, determining the oppositions strengths and weakness, including how to pitch the hitters or what the Mets hitters should look for and game decision making. I read an article on Johnson the other day and at 65 he still is into baseball statistics.

    Over the years I’ve come to believe that most called 3rd strikes occur because the hitter anticipated incorrectly and can’t adjust to the pitch being thrown. A lot of hitters if not downright guess hitters still anticipate or look for a given pitch or location in a given situation. There are a large number of variables that go into the hitter’s decision making ranging from knowing the pitchers tendencies to the patterns used in the past on the hitter, etc. Over time the brain assimilates enormous amounts of data and filters and correlates it. Much of our decision making, including instincts or gut feelings, are governed by this. Of course there are certain people this does not apply to and I suspect Willie is one of them.

    Brian Bannister reminds me of Jay Hook, a Mets pitcher that had a Mechanical Engineering degree and was a student of pitching. Unfortunately it didn’t help his straight fastball and pedestrian curve ball. Most of the results Bannister derives from the stats and discusses have been well known in baseball for over 80 years. For Bannister to continue to be successful he has to be a thinking man’s pitcher. OTOH a very young Doc Gooden basically said here is my 100 mph fastball or incredible power curve. See if you can hit it you mofo.

    In today’s game Sanchez’s performance was encouraging but he has some to go before (and if) he regains his velocity. We have to be cautious in our expectations this year. The rest of the performances were not a pretty sight. Pelfrey was putrid, Smith was sickening and Register was rediculous. :)

    5:44 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    That game turned out to be very whacky and didn't work out well.
    When Schoewenwiess pitched, it was against a bunch of righties.
    When Joe Smith pitched it was against a bunch of lefties.
    That radar gun had to busted, Pelfrey throwing in the mid 80's?
    Dirty pitching in the 70's and being sucessful?
    I will say this about Dirty, although his fastball doesn't seem up to speed, it looks like he's spent alot of time working on his breaking pitches cause they're pretty good.
    Steve Register is wierd. Although he got roughed up, his fastball has some movement on it. I like it, maybe by the end of the month he's throwing 95 mph gas?
    His off-speed stuff isn't too bad either.
    No one is going to like this, but he's reminding me a little of Guillermo Mota, although I will admit this... Mota's fastball in the fall of 2006 was explosive as shit.

    8:19 PM

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