Posts Tagged Major League Baseball

Breakthrough Study: Getting Caught Stealing Somewhat Disadvantageous

I spent my LAST DAY OF FREEDOM sleeping, getting a haircut, watching the Papal mass at Yankee Stadium, and, yes, running some numbers for one of my ridiculous brainstorms in which I make an effort to figure shit out as it relates to sports.

This one was pretty easy to do, as I simply wanted to gauge the value added by high-level base stealers (for this “experiment” I defined such a player as anyone who had 20+ swipes for the 2007 season and anyone who had multiple thefts for the 2008 set) with successful steals relative to the value they may cost their team by getting caught stealing. To do this, I modified their batting averages, on-base percentages and, most importantly in terms of this experiment (just my opinion), their slugging percentages.

As the old saying goes, you can’t steal first base, so really, any adjustment to a player’s on-base percentage or batting average as a stand-alone statistic would be negative. “That’s the point!” you may say. And to some extent you’d be correct. Still, I don’t feel it would be worth it to focus on either of these statistics individually — particularly batting average, which I threw out altogether — when they’re modified by stolen base data.

To me, it makes a lot more sense to focus on modifying a player’s slugging percentage to reflect his swipes and/or caught stealings because the stolen base aims to accomplish what a double, triple or less frequently a home run would have otherwise accomplished.

With all of this in mind, I quickly plugged some statistics from the 2007 season into an Excel spreadsheet and modified the traditional measurements for on-base percentage and slugging percentage to try to figure out which Major Leaguers benefited the most (and least) from stealing a year ago.

To accomplish this, I used the following formulas:

Adjusted On-Base Percentage
([Hits – Caught Stealing] + Walks + Hit By Pitches)/(At-Bats + Walks + Hit By Pitches + Sacrifice Flies)

Adjusted Slugging Percentage
([Hits – Caught Stealing] + Total Bases + Stolen Bases) / At-Bats

Full results here.

UPDATE: The dude who we found to consistently get the most value out of his base-stealing was apparently designated for assignment while we were compiling the numbers. Awesome.

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Prognostication Corner: Your Headquarters For Misapplied Formulas and 51 Percent Accurate Baseball Picks

Now that Tax Day has come and gone, the only thing left to dread about mid-April may be the ungodly formatting and scheduling of the NBA playoffs. They begin on Saturday, when the first games of four best-of-seven series are to be played.

The most important tournament in professional basketball is often marred in its early rounds by four-game sweeps or similarly short series which lead to first- and second-round games being played during the same time period. We can probably expect this tradition to continue this year, assuming the NBA hasn’t wised up yet — and why would they? — and decided to have a more organized playoff schedule. The probability of multiple rounds being contested at once is particularly high with a stacked Western Conference producing several high-profile first round matchups while a top-heavy Eastern Conference continues to lag behind.

Anyway, it’s pretty late now and I actually have to be up somewhat early to run a couple of errands that I’ve repeatedly put off throughout the week. So I’ll cut to the chase. I’m letting the wacky formula that served me so well in March once again try to carry the day in for the NBA Playoffs. This is a concern for a couple of reasons. First, the college and NBA games are different in many ways. The pro game is longer, involves more shooting and is played at a faster pace than the college game. The games are more likely to turn into track meets in the pros than in the NCAA. Also, the college tournament is a series of “best of ones” played at neutral sites, so it’s easier to just pick a flat-out winner of each game using a formula that doesn’t contain anything involving home-court advantage.

While these items are of some concern, a.) there’s nothing I can really do about it and b.) the formula has effectively projected at least one of the two teams to appear in the NBA Finals in each of the last four years. So, it doesn’t appear to be a complete lost cause.

Anyway, here are the quick and dirty NBA picks, along with my even dirtier (I guess?) guesses of how long each series will take. I sort of have a system when I pick these numbers, but let’s just say it’s in an experimental stage right now.

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Live Blogging A 22 Inning Baseball Game Between Two National League West Teams Has Always Been My Lifelong Dream (Also, Friday Picks)

2:57 AM ET: End 17: Colorado Rockies 1, San Diego Padres 1

Let’s go!

2:58 ET: Wilfredo Ledezma will begin his fourth inning of work against Troy Tulowitzki, who is 0-for-6 tonight.

3:00 AM ET: And Tulowitzki draws a leadoff walk on a questionable ball four. Because it just wouldn’t be an 18-inning game without some controversy.

Jake Peavy and Jeff Francis started this game for their respective teams some five hours ago. Peavy pitched eight innings of shutout ball and struck out 11. Francis went seven scoreless and K’d seven.

Hang on, there’s more of the game story.

3:02 AM ET: Todd Helton just singled, and there are runners at first and second with nobody out.

The game remained scoreless until the 14th…

3:04 AM ET: Matt Holliday grounds into a double play, and the Rockies will have two outs and a runner at third with pitcher Ryan Speier due up.

…when a wild Kevin Cameron walked Brad Hawpe to force in the first run of the game. But the Padres rebounded in the bottom half of the inning when catcher Josh Bard, who has caught all 18 innings thus far, drove in Kevin Kouzmanoff on an RBI single.

And that’s all the scoring there’s been in the entire game.

3:06 AM ET: Which is about to go to the bottom of the 18th inning, still tied at 1 after Ledezma struck out Speier.

The Padres announcers, who have essentially run out of things to say — witness their discussions of which satellite radio provider they prefer and how many people have texted them during the game — are now openly rooting for runs to be scored.

3:08 AM ET: The Padres are inexplicably abusing what appears to be some sort of stuffed goat in their dugout. Hey, whatever.

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Today Was A Nice Day To Take Up Smoking (Box Scores and Picks for 4/10)

Busy day today — not a lot of time to watch baseball (or sports of any kind). It was a nice day out today, and so I spent the day the way most people my age would — by hauling bags filled with sticks from one property to another in preparation for a garbage pickup that I later learned wouldn’t take place until Tuesday.

This session proved taxing on my afternoon and evening baseball viewing time. Admittedly, I chose to watch the return of The Office instead of the Phillies-Mets game that was available to me (what can I say? I’m a fan of Ken Tremendous’s writing), which also cut down on my viewing time. Ultimately, I was only able to catch a couple innings of the Royals-Yankees game, which was highlighted by the triumphant return to the Major Leagues of Hideo Nomo (well, that really depends on your definition of triumphant. At least nobody got hurt.)

Other than that, I kind of slacked today. I didn’t even apply myself to my goal of taking up smoking. All in all, a beautiful day was wasted by my being outside. May it never happen again.

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Time To Start Drawing Inspiration From Jim Leyland (4/9 in MLB)

The Detroit Tigers won their first game today, improving from winless to just very bad with a 7-2 win over the Boston Red Sox.

The Tigers, my pick to win the World Series (well, of course), have had a nightmarish start to their season, with injuries sidelining Curtis Granderson, Gary Sheffield, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney for some or all of the team’s first eight games.

It’s easy to pin the team’s struggles on its weakened bullpen, but that hasn’t been its only issue. The Tigers, predicted by some to score 1,000 runs this season, had produced only 15 in the seven games prior to tonight’s victory. After tonight’s seven run outburst, the Tigers will have to average roughly 6.35 runs per game the rest of the way to meet that unrealistic expectation.

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4/8 Roundup: Mets Get Rickroll’d, NHL Picks Used As Diversionary Tactic

The way I figure it, there are going to be a shit-ton of articles tomorrow from the members of the sports media who just happened to learn of this Internet fad called the Rickroll. Now, to be fair, these sportswriters aren’t going to have the ability to bust out video feeds and what have you to accentuate their point. Seeing how this is a blog, though, I do have that opportunity, and will take full advantage.

And since once of the videos contains the Mets’ P.A. announcer explaining the entire situation, we’ll just move right on to the media portion of this post.

We’ll start with the portion of the Rickroll that reached the largest number of people, courtesy of this afternoon’s SNY telecast:

Following the jump, we have four more videos from fans who attended today’s game — courtesy of YouTube, natch — and a fifth video which, well, you just have to watch it.

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The National League Central Is Kicking My Ass (April 6 In and Around Major League Baseball)

Well, the 2008 Major League Baseball season is, for all intents and purposes, one week old. I could give my thoughts on the games I watched today — I caught bits and pieces of about half of them — but seeing as how I posted a 6-9 record in my predictions for today’s games, I’m not quite sure my expertise is what people would be looking for at the moment.

So instead, I figured I’d take a look at the current league leaders and perhaps reveal a few fantasy baseball sleepers to the unsuspecting public. There’s no arguing with numbers, after all. They’re not known to lie.

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