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September 14, 2011

Stathead is Closing Down

Stathead is Closing Down

With apologies to our dedicted users, we’ve decided to stop publishing the Stathead blog. The blog just never generated the needed readership to be profitable, so we’ve decided to end the project and put our efforts into other projects.

Thank you to the readers who supported us. Thank you for the publishers for putting so much great content out there. And especially, thank you for Neil Paine, our intrepid users affairs maestro, who waded through hundreds of articles each week distilling them down to their essence.

If anyone cares to pick up the torch and run with this idea (or if you just want to get the articles for yourself), I’ve attached an OPML file from the list of RSS feeds we were using for this blog. Feel free to grab it and add it to your favorite RSS reader.

Stathead RSS Subscriptions in OPML format

September 8, 2011

September 8th, 2011 Recap: Today, Tango spotlighted an interesting nugget of research in this “anti-WAR” piece, and wrote about the philosophy behind including position adjustments with FRAA when assessing defense… Bradley Woodrum looked at what ShHAP! says Adam Dunn should be hitting… Larry Koestler dissected Phil Hughes’ woes on 0-2 counts… David Schoenfield used the example of Joey Votto in 2010-11 to point out a gaping hole in mainstream MVP logic… David Golebiewski followed up on this THT piece about Mark Teixeira’s BABIP… Bill Petti extended his volatility research to pitchers… Satchel Price wrote about the impact of popups on the White Sox’s BABIP… Jack Moore updated the probability of Justin Verlander reaching 25 wins… And John Arguello lists seven reasons Billy Beane may be the Cubs’ next GM.

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September 7, 2011

September 7th, 2011 Recap: Today, Tangotiger reminded us what WAR is and is not, and answered reader mail about WPA… Carson Cistulli posted the latest Leaderboards of Pleasure… Sean Forman asked why people hold defensive metrics to a higher standard of consistency than hitting metrics… Jeff Zimmerman and Lucas Apostoleris looked at the PITCHf/x data from Stephen Strasburg’s return… Jason Collette examined pitchers’ tendencies to suppress BABIP via popups… Mike Fast looked at how an umpire’s positioning impacts his calls… R.J. Anderson analyzed whether 2nd-half improvements have predictive value the following season… Kevin Lai had a fun post about player intro music… Josh Weinstock wanted to know why Mark Teixeira’s BABIP is down for 2 straight seasons… Bill Petti looked at the volatility of hitters’ careers… Adam Darowski examined players whose career value was hurt by shorter schedules… And Steve Slowinski offered his take on the “V” in MVP.

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Reminder – Participate in Tangotiger’s 2011 Fan Scouting Report: Just another reminder to vote in the 2011 edition of Tom Tango’s Fans Scouting Report. Help him get a wisdom-of-crowds evaluation of each player’s defensive skills!

September 6, 2011

September 6th, 2011 Recap: Today, John Autin notes that Philly’s staff has 3 5-WAR pitchers (but what will that mean in October?)… Steve Treder gives the 1960s Indians a re-do… BP’s Michael Jong looks at Javier Vazquez’s strange career… David Pinto writes about the extreme one-sidedness of the Jays-Angels Vernon Wells trade… JD Sussman wonders whether opportunities are correctly accounted for in advancing fielding stats… Bradley Woodrum debates the relative merits of Roy Halladay & Cliff Lee’s Cy Young cases… Bill Petti shows a graphic of the biggest RBI opportunity creatorsMeet the (beautiful) new face of Sabermetrics… Finally, It’s About the Money critiques WAR (Rob Neyer has already fired back).

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September 3/4/5, 2011 Weekend Recap: Over the holiday weekend, Cy Morong looked at hitting/scoring in August…. Jacob Peterson noted Henry Rodriguez & A.J. Burnett’s near-record-high wild-pitch rates in 2011… Sportsnet.ca’s Mike Cormack Q-&-A-ed Rob Neyer about the Moneyball movie… Eric Seidman looked at the possibility that Bruce Chen could forge a Jamie Moyer-like career path… and Joe Posnanski re-framed pitcher wins as an interesting stat (nothing more or less).

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September 2nd, 2011 Recap: Last Friday, Fangraphs’ Eric Seidman compared Cliff Lee & Clayton Kershaw’s 2011 seasons… Steve Slowinski found hitters whose true power was overrated by ISO… Bill Petti visualized the rise of the 20/20 club over time… ESPN’s Mark Simon looked at the BIS +/- numbers on Curtis Granderson’s defense… Tommy Craggs wrote about the Moneyball movie’s misleading message… Matt Klaassen discussed the unique playing-time considerations that go into a RoY debate… and BtB’s Dave Gershman offered a primer on how to scout pitchers.

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September 1st, 2011 Recap: On 9/1, Steven Goldman wrote about the punchless Braves OF… Eric Seidman spotlighted The Awesomeness of Clayton Kershaw… Jesse Wolfersberger wondered why LHPs are so often described as “crafty”… BtB’s garik16 listed the Majors’ unluckiest pitches… BP posted a Jay Jaffe re-run about the predictive value of late-season performance… Bill Petti looked at year-to-year correlations for various hitting metrics… Colin Wyers evaluated playoff systems with varying numbers of wild-card teams… and Satchel Price looked at the current generation of 20/20 players.

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August 31st, 2011 Recap: On Wednesday, Fangraphs’ Jeff Zimmerman wrote about Ichiro’s Hall of Fame resume… Steve Slowinski wondered how best to measure power hitting… BtB’s Lewie Pollis measured which fanbases overrated their own players the most in All-Star voting… and Bradley Woodrum analyzed James Shields’ unexpectedly good 2011 season.

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August 30th, 2011 Recap: Last Tuesday, THT’s Chris Lund wrote about Jeff Mathis’ mediocrity… BP’s Steven Goldman discussed the perennial individual-performance-vs-team-success MVP debate… Jeff Sullivan, Dave Cameron, and Brad Johnson wrote more about various aspects of Adam Dunn’s horrific season… Eno Sarris recapped the PITCHf/x Summit… Adam Darowski compared Dustin Pedroia’s height to those of LLWS players… Bill Petti and Matthew Carruth talked about the concept of luck-vs-skill as it related to Casey Kotchman… and Patriot provided a basic framework for evaluating individual pitching games.

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August 29th, 2011 Recap: On August 29th, Tangotiger gave his take on Joe Posnanski’s post about WPA and storytelling… Flip Flop Fly Ball looked at the location of “score bugs” during each team’s local broadcast… and Fangraphs’ Matthew Carruth remarked on the lack of dramatic division/wild card races this year.

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August 29, 2011

How the Hell do the Angels Keep Winning?: At Grantland, Jonah Keri takes a look at Los Angaheim’s ability to consistently outpace statheads’ expectations.

A Tally of League Standings Leaders Heading Into September: SportsDelve’s Andrew McKillop counted how many times each team had the best record in the league on 9/1 — and how often they were able to convert that into a pennant.

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10 things I didn’t know about managerial match-ups: In honor of Tony LaRussa & Dusty Baker’s 200th matchup, THT’s Chris Jaffe takes a look at historic managerial rivalries.

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Where Chipper ranks among all-time 3B: ESPN’s David Schoenfield uses WAR to determine where Chipper Jones ranks in the pantheon of historical 3rd basemen.

Lewis’s Home Field Disadvantage: David Pinto of Baseball Analytics examines the factors that have caused Colby Lewis to allow twice as many HR at home as on the road in 2011.

August 26, 2011

Descriptive and Predictive Metrics: Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron sets Buster Olney straight, explaining the age-old distinction between value-based (retrodictive/descriptive) and ability-based (predictive) metrics.

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Hitter Volatility Part VI – Getting it Right is More Important than Being Right: Even more volatility research from BtB’s Bill Petti, including a tweak to the calculation of volatility.

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Does Hall overlook 19th century guys?: At SweetSpot, a discussion about whether 1800s ballplayers are under-represented in the Hall of Fame.

Context Rules All: Eric Seidman writes about the importance of context when analyzing statistics.

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Ichiro’s 200 – Figuring the Odds: Don Malcolm of Big Bad Baseball analyzes Ichiro’s chances of getting 54 hits in the next 33 games (and thus extending his streak of consecutive 200-hit seasons to 11).

More Chernoffs: THT’s Kevin Lai ran “Chernoff Faces” (face-style graphics that allow multivariable data to be displayed in a single diagram) on the top 50 fWAR hitters of 2011.

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A Grand Night in the Bronx: Baseball Analytics’ David Golebiewski has heat maps showing that all of the Yankees’ 3 grand slams last night came in known “hot zones” for each batter.

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Do Pitchers Really Trade Speed for Command?: At BP, Graham Goldbeck wonders whether pitchers really can improve command by “taking a little off” their fastball.

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Yeah, but how many runs does so-and-so save at first base by virtue of his scooping ability?: The Book’s Mitchel Lichtman writes about the “scooping” skills of 1st basemen. Turns out it comprises about 15% of a 1B’s value.

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Who Is Benefiting from an Expanded Strike Zone?: Baseball Analytics’ Jonathan Scippa looks at the pitchers who get the most called strikes on pitches outside the zone.

A look at team baserunning: At ESPN, Christina Kahrl takes a tour through the advanced team baserunning stats.

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The legend of Billy Beane: Bennett Cohen of San Francisco Magazine writes about the long and winding development path of the Moneyball movie.

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“Behind the Seams: The Stat Story”: MLB Network is going to air a documentary (hosted by Bob Costas) about the rise of sabermetrics on September 18.

Trying to score from 3B, down by 1, with 1 out left in the game: How certain should you be of success when trying to score in that situation? Tango does the math.

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Kelly Johnson’s Trade, Kevin Towers, and Strikeouts: Jack Moore of Fangraphs writes about Kevin Towers’ concerted effort to rid the D-Backs of whiff-heavy hitters.

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In A.L. M.V.P. Voting, Verlander Is Likely to Be Bypassed: At the NY Times, Neil Paine argues that Justin Verlander should — but probably won’t — be near the top of the A.L. MVP ballot.

Nyjer Morgan proves speed does slump ($): Writing for ESPN Insider, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron debunks the old cliché that “speed never slumps”… In reality, players who rely heavily on their legs are often the most inconsistent performers.

August 25, 2011

Value of a called pitch: Tangotiger explains a simple way to estimate the run value of an individual called ball or strike.

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Musing on Sergio Romo’s Slider and Platooning: In his last BtB post, Lucas Apostoleris breaks down Romo’s slurve (and why it might be best to use it strictly against RHBs).

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Mike Flanagan career highlights: THT’s Chris Jaffe pays tribute to Mike Flanagan, who died yesterday, by listing the notable moments that made up his 17-year career.

Blowing It: BP’s Wayback Machine takes us to this 2007 Nate Silver piece about the 13 worst stretch-run collapses in baseball history.

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What Would The Current Standings Look Like Under Realignment?: The answer comes courtesy of Baseball Nation’s Grant Brisbee, and projects the current standings onto 2 15-team, divisionless leagues.

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Fielding Independent Batting, A ShH Revolution: Fangraphs’ Bradley Woodrum makes it official — “should hit” (ShH) has become Fielding Independent Batting (FIB).

Who Is MLB’s Most Underrated Player?: Which player combines WAR with a lack of Google hits? Baseball Nation’s Jason Brannon has the answer.

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Q&A with SaberWizard Tom Tango: BtB’s Justin Bopp interviews the sabermetric legend, Tangotiger.

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How Much Will Reyes’ Injuries Cost Him?: At Fangraphs, Jeff Zimmerman compares the contract value Jose Reyes should expect to that which a more durable player (with the same rate stats) would get.

About time!: Clay Davenport writes about presenting postseason odds in graphical form.

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The Shutdown (and Meltdown) Relievers of 2011: Fangraphs’ Steve Slowinski rounds up the best (and worst) relief pitchers of the season, according to shutdowns and meltdowns.

Halladay And Verlander Might Be MVP Worthy, But That’s An Uphill Battle: At Baseball Nation, Marc Normandin examines the chances of an extremely unlikely MVP occurence — namely, a pitcher being given the award.

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August 24, 2011

Poll – Equivalent Players: Another thought experiment from Tangotiger, again regarding the balancing of rates and counting stats in player valuation.

Star Power – An Objective Framework for MLB All-Star Voting: BtB’s Lewie Pollis wants to analyze fans’ biases in All-Star voting, but before he can do that, he needed to create an objective, WAR-based metric (“Star Power”) to which fan voting patterns can be compared.

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Visualizing 2011 Draft Spending: Fangraphs’ Reed MacPhail graphs team-by-team spending in June’s MLB draft.

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The Lineup Card – 11 Disastrous Acquisitions: BP’s staff makes their picks — 11 player acquisitions that backfired spectacularly.

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Skip Schumaker can work really fast: Also at THT, Lucas Apostoleris writes about the pitch data from Skip Schumaker’s appearance on the mound Tuesday night, the latest case of a non-pitcher toeing the rubber. He averaged 13 seconds between pitches, almost 9 seconds fewer than the MLB average!

Wang in the capital: THT’s Kevin Lai breaks down the 2011 PITCHf/x data for Chien-Ming Wang with the Washington Nationals. How does it compare to Wang’s halcyon days as a New York Yankee?

Scouting Report 2011 – By the Fans, For the Fans: Participate in Tangotiger’s annual Fans’ Scouting Report project!

If the Season Ended Yesterday – Yankees Over Phillies: At Beyond the Box Score, J-Doug runs Baseball Prospectus’ and FanGraphs’ true talent estimates through a Log5-based postseason simulator.

Breaking Down A.J. Burnett’s Zones: Jonathan Scippa of Baseball Analytics examines Burnett’s 2011 performance in each vertical 1/3 of the strike zone.

Curtis Granderson’s Defense and His MVP Prospects: Granderson’s current UZR is -9.2. Fangraphs’ Joe Pawlikowski wonders if that is an accurate representation of his defensive value — and if not, what are the WAR implications?

Andre Ethier’s Power Outage: Why is Andre Ethier’s slugging down 91 points from his 2008-2010 average? Baseball Analytics’ David Golebiewski investigates.

First Baseman Scoops: ACTA Sports’ stat of the week involves a first baseman’s ability to save errant throws by scooping them out of the dirt.

August 23, 2011

MPP – Most Productive Player Award: At The Book Blog, Tango comments on Joe Posnanski’s post about replacing the MVP with the MPP (Most Productive Player). It’s an idea whose time has come.

The Rise and Fall of Third Basemen: At Fangraphs, Eno Sarris wonders why third basemen are hitting so (uncharacteristically) poorly this season.

The Art of Scouting – How to Compile a Professional Scouting Report: A nifty how-to guide from BtB’s Dave Gershman .

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How to convert an ordered list into a dollar-value list: For fantasy players, here’s how Tangotiger converts a ranked list into a set of implied dollar values based on the number of players available, and the values of the average and minimum-cost players.

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BP’s Compensation Pages: Baseball Prospectus has incorporated data from Cot’s Baseball Contracts into their player cards.

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Kraig Kimbrel: David Golebiewski of Baseball Analytics spotlights Kimbrel’s unbelievable strikeout rate this season. What is allowing him to fan 15 batters per 9 innings?

Leaderboards of Pleasure – 8/22/11: At Fangraphs, check out Carson Cistulli’s latest rankings of the teams/players that sabermetrically-inclined fans will enjoy.

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Curtis Granderson, the right man against lefties: Baseball Analytics’ Bill Chuck examines the huge difference in the quality of Granderson’s hitting vs. LHPs this season.

Evaluating Pitchers as a Concept: Average, Replacement Level, or Just Totals?: First, take this poll. Then read Tom Tango’s explanation of what it means in relation to pitcher value and the concept of the replacement-level player.

League-Wide Offense & Martin Prado: At Roto Hardball, Eno Sarris uses Prado to illustrate a point — with offense down across baseball, even players in “down years” can have value.

Why Bartolo Colon only throws fastballs: Mike Jaggers-Radolf of The Yankee Analysts uses pitch type run values to show why Colon goes with his fastball more than 80% of the time.

August 22, 2011

Williams Returns To The Majors: Fangraphs’ Lucas Apostoleris compares Jerome Williams’ 2011 velocity/pitch selection to that which he showed when he last pitched 4 years ago.

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Anatomy of a failed GM: THT’s Chris Jaffe gives an overview of Jim Hendry’s run as the Cubs’ General Manager.

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Jered Weaver and Park Effects: Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron writes about an under-reported aspect of the Jered Weaver extension — the fact that Angel Stadium is perfectly suited to his flyball tendencies.

Is Prospect Potential Realized? ($): BP’s Derek Carty studied whether top prospects (per Baseball America’s annual list) were more likely to exceed their Marcel projections than non-prospects.

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Comparing Active Pitchers to the .300 BABIP Standard: Jacob Peterson of BtB looks at the active pitchers who have saved the most hits compared to a .300 BABIP (these are the guys who appear at least somewhat capable of suppressing hits on balls in play).

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August 19, 2011

Brandon Morrow On The Way To A Historic Season: From Bluebird Banter, a look at Brandon Morrow’s remarkable double play-free 2011 season (in the course of 132.7 IP and 569 batters faced, he has induced exactly zero double plays).

2011 MLB: San Francisco Giants’ Title Defense Complicated by Offensive Woes: The WSJ’s Carl Bialik has more on San Francisco’s poor run production in 2011.

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Examining the Deliberate Pace of the Yanks and Red Sox: BtB’s J-Doug built a regression model predicting time of game for any given matchup. Why’s it underestimating times for the Yankees and Red Sox?

B-R Improves Site Speed: A note from B-R’s Sean Forman on how the site will be faster from now on.

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The Luckiest Pitches in the Majors this year: Based on expected run values for each pitch type, whose pitches have been the most fortunate this season?

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Twenty Guys Who Should Be Out of the Hall of Fame: You’ve seen lists of players who should be in the Hall of Fame before, but The Platoon Advantage lists 20 guys who should be out.

Mauer’s Off-Speed Judgment Off: Baseball Analytics’ David Pinto analyzes why Joe Mauer has slipped from .275/.327/.349 on sliders/curves from 2008-2010 to .178/.186/.191 this year.

Hitting Has Picked Up A Bit So Far In August: Offense is still down, but Cy Morong points out that it is improving this month, particularly in the NL.

Poll – Guess that Replacement Level!: Tango posted a poll that will make you think about where to set the replacement level. (Want to take the same poll twice? Fangraphs obliges.)

Matt Cain, unluckiest pitcher in history?: SweetSpot’s David Schoenfield points out that Cain’s W-L% is among the worst ever for a guy with his career ERA+. (Then again, looking at Cain’s 4.25 career xFIP vs. 3.37 career ERA, it’s tough to say he’s been the unluckiest anything…)

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Greinke’s Results, Processes Match Up: Baseball Analytics’ David Golebiewski writes about how Zack Greinke’s early-season peripherals foretold his improved second-half ERA.

August 18, 2011

BJO on 1960s Stoppers and Misappreciating Pedroia ($): At Bill James Online, Bill talks about 1960s “stoppers” (in those days, “stopper” meant the #1 starter, because he’d stop your losing streak), while Dave Fleming writes that Dustin Pedroia isn’t being properly appreciated as one of the best 2nd basemen ever.

Topps’ All-Star Rookies Vs. Donruss’ Rated Rookies — Who Won Out?: In the battle between 1980s/90s rookie card labels, which players ended up with better stats? Baseball Nation’s Jon Bois answers this burning question once and for all.

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How Jim Leyland is hurting the Tigers: Batting order doesn’t make a huge difference, but as ESPN’s David Schoenfield writes, Jim Leyland isn’t helping Detroit’s offense by penciling in some of his worst OBPs highest in the lineup.

Stanton Killing Them Softly: Mike Stanton is flat-out crushing “soft” pitches (breaking balls, changeups) this season, writes Baseball Analytics’ David Golebiewski.

The Seattle Mariners Should Hit Better: According to Bradley Woodrum’s defense-independent ShH (“Should Hit”) metric, Seattle is due for some offensive progression toward the mean.

Turning ‘em Loose ($): BP’s Derek Carty takes his research on managerial SBA effects and sees if it would help predict players’ SBA rates in 2011.

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Five-Tool Players by the (Nerdiest Possible) Numbers: At Fangraphs, Carson Cistulli attempts to quantify the five scouting “tools”.

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Regression to the Mean and Beta Distributions: From 3-D Baseball, a lesson in regression to the mean using Bayes’ Theorem with a Beta distribution as the prior.

Morrow returns with ‘nerd stats’: Larry LaRue of the Bellingham Herald writes about Brandon Morrow and his fondness for advanced statistics.

Selling High: David Pinto of Baseball Analytics writes about how, given each player’s unsustainable BABIP, the Astros sold on Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn at just the right time.

Predicting Adam Jones’ development as a hitter: At MASN’s Orioles Buzz blog, Daniel Moroz writes about what the future may hold for Jones at the plate.

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Best Little Leaguers to become big leaguers: Steven Glasser of ESPN Stats & Info lists the best major-leaguers who were also LLWS alums.

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2011 Giants = Lowest-Scoring Contender Ever?: By the standards of a playoff contender, Fangraphs’ Eric Seidman writes, the Giants’ offense has been historically bad.

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Boston’s Core Is Historically Good: BtB’s Satchel Price emphasizes just how outstanding Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz have been as a group this season.