The Money Quote
'Tis Friday. I like Friday.
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.
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:
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.
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.
"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.
"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."
"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."