Outspoken critics are clueless about the Pirates’ situation

by Shaun

This from an AP story:
“To cut payroll, the Pirates have shed former All-Stars Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez, Nate McLouth and Jack Wilson in trades, along with nearly every other player who was arbitration eligible — or close to it — or free agency: Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, John Grabow, Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche, Damaso Marte, Nyjer Morgan, Ronny Paulino and Sean Burnett.”

Really?  Technically some of these players are indeed former All-Stars but if a different franchise had shed these players, the situation would be viewed differently.  All of these players are mediocre veterans.  It is even more important for a franchise like the Pirates to shed mediocre players like these than it would be for a different franchise.

There is a striking lack of context here, for those who want to read into the Pirates making profits while losing.  A new regime took over the Pirates in late in 2007, inheriting an awful situation.  The previous regime traded for Matt Morris, for God sake.  The Pirates were loaded with veteran players who weren’t very good, who were making too much for their contributions to the team and who weren’t going to be around the next time the Pirates are ready to contend.  So the new regime shed those contracts that weighed down the organization.  Now they are capable of building a solid core of young players and they can pay to keep the best ones.  Plus once they are ready to contend or near ready, they can go out and sign a free agent or two or three that will get them over the hump.

What does everyone expect from the Pirates?  Should they have jumped into free agent bidding, giving yet another mediocre vet a bad contract in the context of their situation?  Should they have overspent for a good free agent and given that free agent a contract that they would regret in a few years when that player starts to decline?

Many don’t understand that free agency and acquiring expensive veterans is not the appropriate way for most teams, especially small-market teams like the Pirates, to build a solid core of players that can push them into contention.  By the time most players hit free agency, they are at an age when they are starting to decline.  Unless a team has enough money to get the very best free agents or can pay a reasonable amount for a free agent that can fill in the gaps, teams should limit their involvement in the free agent market, especially when any free agent signing isn’t going to be around the next time the franchise is ready to contend.

I can understand the misreading of the Pirates’ situation by casual baseball fans or people that don’t know anything about baseball.  But those of us who understand context and understand the basics of baseball management, should realize that the Pirates’ profits mean very little to what they are trying to accomplish.  Now if they don’t contend for another 15 years, then we can look back and criticize the current regime.  Right now, their profits mean nothing.  In fact, it’s a sign that the GM is doing the right things, namely shedding contracts that bog down the rebuilding process.

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212 Responses to “Outspoken critics are clueless about the Pirates’ situation”

  1. Bob Says:

    Shaun, if I may: What was the date of the AP story? Secondly, the story comes across to me as a matter-of-fact type paragraph, not as anything controversial. I do think with Tabata, Alvarez and their recent draft and international
    signings things are looking better.
    And you say ” their profits mean nothing. Seriously? Profits mean a shitload. How else could they have signed these guys?

    Bob O

  2. Raul Says:

    Well Shaun,

    Nice to have you back.

    With regards to the Pirates’ situation: They had issues from the top all the way down. Bad scouting, bad contracts, bad trades.

    I don’t remember if anyone said the Pirates should have kept all those guys. But they sure didn’t get much when they traded some of them to other teams. They easily should have gotten more for Jason Bay. That’s for damn sure.

    As for them turning a profit, there’s no misreading about it. The team was crap, and they made money. Those are indisputable facts.

    It’s not like they made a few bucks one year because they didn’t spend on Free Agency. They made money for years. That shows that the previous ownership didn’t care at all about putting a productive product on the field.

  3. John Says:

    Welcome back Shaun!

    How exactly are the Pirates spending their profits? They’ve been making 20-30 million dollars in profit every year, right?

    Are they saving their profits to invest in free agency down the road? Are they developing their farm system? Signing high-priced draft picks?

  4. Chuck Says:

    Welcome back, Shaun.

  5. ShaunPayne Says:

    Bob, I’m not being critical of the AP story on the Pirates. I’m being critical of some who are assuming because the Pirates made a profit in 2007 and 2008 means they have some explaining to do. I apologize. I should have made that more clear.

    Raul, I don’t dispute anything you wrote. My article was more a shot at those who think the current Pirates’ ownership and front office have explaining to do and who should know that it is a new regime and should know this story has little to do with whether or not the current regime is trying to build a winner.

    I can’t speak for the previous ownership or front office. Maybe they didn’t care if the team won, maybe they didn’t. If they did care, they certainly weren’t capable of making the right moves and putting a good product on the field.

    John, I wrote, “Now if they don’t contend for another 15 years, then we can look back and criticize the current regime. Right now, their profits mean nothing.”

  6. Bob Says:

    I believe the Pirates were widely praised 3 weeks ago for how well they did in the 2010 draft.

  7. ShaunPayne Says:

    One slight problem with the AP story is they use the loaded term “former All-Stars.” While technically it is true, it is somewhat misleading and therefore could be construed as somewhat irresponsible. But again, my beef is more with those talking heads who should know better but think the Pirates owe them an explanation.

  8. ShaunPayne Says:

    Bob, their profits mean nothing in terms of determining how much the current regime is doing their best to build a winning team, is what I meant.

  9. Raul Says:

    Well Neal Huntington stated when he took over as General Manager that he intended to overhaul the entire organization.

    I don’t think the Pirates are in as good a shape as Kansas City is, but things should get better in Pittsburgh.

    McCutchen is a good player in CF. The jury is out on Alvarez at 3B but certainly the power is there. I thought they were going with a SS in this year’s draft, but they decided to go with a pitcher, Jameson Taillon, fine.

    There’s an article on BaseballAmerica.com that talking about the state of the Pirates’ minor league system, and lists their top 10 prospects:

    1. Jameson Taillon, rhp
    The next Josh Beckett signed for a franchise-record $6.5 million.
    2. Stetson Allie, rhp
    He and Taillon had the two best arms in the 2010 draft.
    3. Tony Sanchez, c
    Broken jaw in June has been lone setback for 2009 first-rounder.
    4. Luis Heredia, rhp
    Projectable 6-foot-6, 185-pounder already throws 92-93 mph.
    5. Starling Marte, of
    Speedster has hit .319/.388/.432 in full-season ball.
    6. Jeff Locke, lhp
    Part of the Nate McLouth trade, he has a solid four-pitch mix.
    7. Andrew Lambo, of
    Former Dodgers No. 1 prospect just arrived in the Octavio Dotel deal.
    8. Bryan Morris, rhp
    Flashes a low-90s fastball and downer curve; needs to stay healthy
    9. Chase d’Arnaud, ss/2b
    Not having his best year, but profiles as a steady middle infielder.
    10. Rudy Owens, lhp
    He keeps succeeding with very good command of fringy stuff.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2010/2610558.html

  10. Brautigan Says:

    We’ll see about the Pirate situation in the near future. (The proof is in the pudding)

    It appears as businessmen, the Pirates are successful. It appears as baseball men, the Pirates need some help. Like I said above, time will tell if the right people are in the right situation. I am kind of rooting for them, it’s like rooting for the Los Angeles Clippers.

  11. ShaunPayne Says:

    Brautigan, well, let’s just keep in mind the current regime came in in 2007 and inherited a very bad situation. So it’s too early at this point to determine whether they need some help, as baseball men. If they are still waiting to contend in another 15 years, then by all means they deserve as much criticism as we can muster.

  12. Bob Says:

    According to MLBTR, the White Sox are going to claim Manny.

  13. Raul Says:

    I didn’t look at any numbers but I was certain the White Sox’s problems were mostly in the bullpen.

    Although I’m sure they could put more runs on the board

  14. Bob Says:

    I was just mentioning what was reported by TradeRumors, not starting a good-natured debate. plus, I thought the White Sox were strongly pursuing Dunn 3 weeks ago. And who the fuck is out there that would upgrade anyone’s bullpen? Heck, the Red Sox would part with DelCarmen or Oki for a box of Junior Mints.

  15. Raul Says:

    No way, man.

    Junior Mints are very refreshing.

  16. Bob Says:

    Damn straight they are. I will buy a box of them myself in 2 hours.

  17. Cameron Says:

    I believe the big issue with this leak was that none of the money from revenue sharing went back into payroll. Most people think they’re pulling a Loria and pocketing the money. Not true.

    The Pirates have taken that money and…

    1) Opened a new (or renovated an old, can’t remember) Dominican Baseball Academy
    2) Overhauled the scouting
    3) Drafted and paid (overslot, to assure signing) high-caliber draft picks
    4) Kept the money stashed for when guys like Alvarez, Tabata, Taillon, and others hit arbitration and preparing for contract extensions.

    That 20-30 million bucks is going into the future payroll, not into this year’s payroll. The lack of immediate returns is what’s got people all up in a fuss. They’re not looking ahead. No one does anymore.

  18. Raul Says:

    Cameron,

    But when a team pockets money for 10 years, and haven’t spent a cent of it, that’s not saving for future expenses. That’s pretty much not giving a damn.

    Shaun has a point that this is a new management, so we’ll have to wait and see. But a lot of the criticism about the Pirates is legitimate.

  19. Cameron Says:

    True, I’ll give the old management a lot of crap and honestly don’t know where ANY of that money went, but the money made by the new management, the one getting crap for releasing “former All-Stars” by the bucketload, are getting a lot of flak they don’t deserve. These guys are the new Rays. …Hell, they’re probably better than the new Rays.

  20. Raul Says:

    Not that I want to get into numbers a whole lot with young players, but

    Pedro Alvarez 2010:

    Home – 33 games – .270/.328/.525
    Away – 27 games – .200/.314/.278

    That kind of difference is surprising.

  21. ShaunPayne Says:

    Raul, the criticism of the old regime is legitimate. They traded for Matt Morris, for God’s sake! But I think we need to give the new regime at least 2-4 more years. If they don’t start to show improvement within that time frame, we should question their plan.

  22. ShaunPayne Says:

    Cameron, I’m not ready to say they’re the new Rays just yet. I like what they’ve done and I’m rooting for the Pirates to get back to relevancy. But it takes not only the right moves but a lot of luck for a franchise to transform like the Rays have. But I’m a big fan of what the Pirates are doing.

  23. Chuck Says:

    Pedro Alvarez.

    Pffft.

    Although I guess having Alvarez is better than having Tim “The Wrong” Beckham.

    Jameson Taillon has stuff almost as good as Strasburg.

    At 18.

    And he’s 6′7″.

    Not fair.

  24. Cameron Says:

    You’re right Shaun. …KC’s the new Rays. Sorry, had to get the blatant homerism out of the way. I wasn’t saying the new Rays as they were going to dominate their division, especially with the Reds having a young core that’s just amazing, but the next guys to have a farm system turn around a crap team.

    To think down the line there’s a faint possibility of a Pirates-Royals World Series. The Battle of What The Hell Just Happened?

  25. Bob Says:

    Actually Chuck, at the VERY LEAST I think Pedro Alvarez will have a servicable career.

  26. ShaunPayne Says:

    Alvarez looks legit. Don’t know if he’ll be an MVP-type but he looks like he’ll be very good. He struck out a good bit in the minors but he also walked a fair amount and hit for a lot of power. He’s 23 and putting together a league-average offensive season in the major leagues, albeit in only 230 plate appearance, still it’s a good sign.

  27. Raul Says:

    Maybe it’s a bit early, but I haven’t heard anything about Dusty Baker this season. Not for Manager of the Year, or for “ruining” pitchers.

  28. Brautigan Says:

    Alvarez looks like a poor man’s Bob Horner. We’ll see if the power shows up.

    However, he is a rookie and as Shaun noted, he is league average with OPS. Time will tell…………………………

  29. Cameron Says:

    I’m not sure if I’d call Dusty MotY, but he’s in the running as far as I’m concerned. He’s done a lot with essentially the same team that last year had a losing season. I’ve heard wondering about a contract extension or not with him, and I’d probably say he gets extended with this year’s performance. Not sure who the NL MotY is, but I’ve got a very confident bet on Ron Washington for the AL.

  30. Cameron Says:

    Also, speaking of Cincinnati pitching, how wise is it to have someone named HOMER Bailey in a park notorious for giving up the long ball. Isn’t that kinda tempting fate? Not a knock against Homer, I like him, but I’m just saying it’s kinda got the superstitious side of me going.

  31. ShaunPayne Says:

    Nothing wrong with Horner. You would hope he last longer than Horner. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at Horner’s career all that much in-depth. He actually may be slightly underrated. His career OPS+ was 127. He was over 123 in all but three seasons and was over 100 every season. The problem is he averaged 102 games a season. If he can be a healthy Bob Horner, he may be an MVP-type. I don’t know if he has quite that much raw talent.

  32. Chuck Says:

    “Actually Chuck, at the VERY LEAST I think Pedro Alvarez will have a servicable career”

    For a six million signing bonus I’d expect alot more than “serviceable”.

  33. Hossrex Says:

    I didn’t have a particular problem with the article (and it was refreshing to see something about a team that doesn’t play in New York), but I disagree with the notion that a team in the middle of a streak of 18 consecutive losing seasons shouldn’t have to explain itself.

    The pirates ownership doesn’t have anything to explain to me… I’m not a pirates fan, and I don’t care.

    But they damn well should be explaining themselves to their fans, at least if they expect people to keep coming out by the dozens.

    I don’t care if all they say is “our ownership group just bought the team a few years ago, we inherited a terrible situation, and look how great we did in the 2010 draft!”… they SHOULD be giving the fans a reason to care.

  34. Bob Says:

    Remember Chuck, I said at the VERY LEAST. Furthermore he could easily surpass servicable. He has already had a superior career to Matt Bush.

  35. Brautigan Says:

    Next article:

    How the hell are the Padres an elite team with an awful minor league system?

    (And I do mean awful, they have 4 plus prospects STRUGGLING mightily in AA)

  36. Chuck Says:

    “He has already had a superior career to Matt Bush.”

    Who hasn’t?

  37. Chuck Says:

    In reality, the Pirates have been more successful than their record would indicate over the past five, six years.

    They’ve drafted pretty well, routinely in the middle third of baseball, a claim some bigger market teams can’t make.

    They may not have had the results some others have had, but when decision time comes they have, more often than not, made the right choices.

    Similar to what Dayton Moore has done in Kansas City, Neal Huntington has convinced a brain-dead ownership group the way to build a long term success story is through the draft.

    Winning once and then enduring ten years of moral suckitude, like the Dbacks and Giants isn’t the way to success.

    Within the first two years of Huntington’s GM-ship, he completely overhauled the organization, on the field and off. From opening day, 2008 to opening day, 2010, only five of the twenty-five man roster are still there, and just six of the top 30 prospects in the system remain.

    Slowly but surely, low teams are modeling themselves after some of the larger market teams. Sure, the Yankees and Red Sox, etc, can afford to buy the missing pieces they need, but they’ve also consistently had great drafts, which is saying something considering it’s much harder to draft at the bottom than it is at the top.

    Florida, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Cincinnati and especially Washington have begun recent changes and have gone back to the “old days” way of building a strong organization.

    Even Toronto fired a sabermetrically inclined GM after seven years of wheel spinning and have made more positive moves in the past seven months than in the previous seven years. Even the Cardinals dispatched their stat department and increased their scouting and development staffs.

    It’s not coincidence they are all on the upswing.

  38. Raul Says:

    Speaking of the Pirates, they got 4 runs off Adam Wainwright and beat the Cardinals 4-3 behind Paul Maholm and Neil Walker.

  39. Chuck Says:

    The Rangers released Joaquin Arias today.

    When they traded ARod to the Yankees, they were given a choice of one of two minor league infielders to choose from.

    The Rangers chose Arias.

    The other?

    Robinson Cano.

    LOL…

  40. Raul Says:

    Yeah, major fail.

  41. Chuck Says:

    “(And I do mean awful, they have 4 plus prospects STRUGGLING mightily in AA)”

    Let’s not forget Kyle Blanks having Tommy John surgery.

    As in LEFTFIELDER Kyle Blanks needing TJ.

  42. Raul Says:

    Didn’t we go over how strange it was for non-pitchers to get Tommy John surgery?

    And left-fielders????? I could somehow see right-fielders, but left-fielders??? Half the time you can find a left-fielder 10 minutes before the game in the stadium bathrooms.

  43. Hossrex Says:

    Schilling said just now that he doesn’t think Strasberg will throw another pitch before he gets TJ surgery.

    Crazy.

  44. Raul Says:

    Really?

    So I guess that whole thing about Strasburg being the best pitcher ever, like 3 months ago, thats…been revised, huh?

  45. Hossrex Says:

    He started off being the next Mark Prior… and… he’s… finishing like the next Mark Prior.

  46. Chuck Says:

    It’s really hard for me to take seriously anything Curt Schilling says.

    I had a great idea for a one-of a kind autograph show.

    Schilling signing sanitary socks with a red Sharpie.

    What do you guys think?

  47. Raul Says:

    I think he’d be afraid of getting red ink on his skirt.

  48. Chuck Says:

    Maybe he could sign tampons?

  49. Chuck Says:

    Bottom of the 14th in Philly.

    Ryan Howard gets tossed for arguing balls and strikes.

    Raul Ibanez is now playing first base.

    Roy Oswalt is the new leftfielder.

  50. Cameron Says:

    “How the hell are the Padres an elite team with an awful minor league system?”

    The most extreme case of getting really lucky in baseball history?

    “Raul Ibanez is now playing first base.

    Roy Oswalt is the new leftfielder.”

    …God help us all.

  51. Chuck Says:

    First pitch of the fifteenth inninng…fly ball to left.

    Can o’ corn.

  52. Chuck Says:

    Hey, Cameron, I see your boy Kia went deep today.

  53. Hartvig Says:

    Roy Oswalt is the new leftfielder.”

    The single best argument for why NOT to have multiple left-handers in your bullpen ever. The tiny platoon advantage you gain for maybe a couple of batters a week by carrying 12 and even 13 pitchers in some cases is just incredibly counter-productive in so many other ways.

    Damn you Tony LaRussa

  54. Cameron Says:

    “Hey, Cameron, I see your boy Kia went deep today.”

    Ah, Hawaiian Punch cranked his first of the year I see. Now he’s got regular playing time, I hope this becomes more common. I love watching him, you listen to him hit and he just has that crack that when you hear it, you know that ball will fly. Granted, the park will reduce some homers to warning track shots, but that bat’s just fun to listen to.

    The park actually makes home runs pretty exciting. The ones that do clear the fence make for memorable ones. Mike Jacobs hit one here when we had him, probably around 450 feet dead center, deflected off the CrownVision base and into the outfield concession area.

    “The single best argument for why NOT to have multiple left-handers in your bullpen ever. The tiny platoon advantage you gain for maybe a couple of batters a week by carrying 12 and even 13 pitchers in some cases is just incredibly counter-productive in so many other ways.

    Damn you Tony LaRussa.”

    And this is where I actually would have to disagree. While switching pitchers out a lot is going to hurt your chances, how often will you need the pitcher to field? I have a philosophy in team building. I’m weird in it and a bit formulaic, but I have an idea. Outside the starting 8 (or 9 if AL) and the 5 starters (where I always need at least one lefty), I have a system to fill the other 12 slots.

    I need 5 to 6 guys on the bench…

    -1 Backup Catcher (The catcher’s the guy who racks up the most time off as a position player, so I always need to back him up, 1st base experience is a bonus, mainly looking for a glove. Vets are good because of the ability to mentor younger pitchers.)

    -1 Backup Corner Infield (Prefer a lefty, he’s the big bench bat and guy who fills in for injured CI.)

    -1 Backup Middle Infield (Defense is a priority, obvious for middle infield. Fills in for when 2B/SS is hurt.)

    -1 or 2 backup OF (1 for AL, 2 NL. Both teams require a primary defensive OF, not necessarily a guy who can play center, but preferred. Again, defense is a priority for this player. NL teams get a guy who focuses on speed and pinch running. The AL loses second OF to the DH.)

    And 7 guys in the bullpen.

    -1 Lefty (NOT looking for a LOOGY, but a good lefty, one who’s good enough to stay in when a righty comes into the box.)

    -1 Long Relief/Swing Starter (This is in case one of my starters get hurt or just absolutely shelled and I need to pick back up early in a game.)

    -1 Prospect Pitcher (Where one of my good minor leaguers goes. Call it a AAAA stop. Middle relief, possible swing man, mostly takes time out of the 4 and 5 starter’s time.

    -2 Power Pitchers (I want guys in the back who can light up. A guy who can come out fresh against a tired lineup will get you in good.)

    -1 Control Pitcher (A guy who’s got absolutely no velocity, but great command and break. Works great in combination with the 2 power pitchers. Work him before or after, either way you screw a hitter’s timing with the shifting styles.)

    -1 Closer (Whoever the best guy in the bullpen is, pure and simple.)

    Just because I carry a big bullpen doesn’t mean I’ll yank the starter out at the drop of a hat though, I expect seven innings every start and really only hand the reigns off to the bullpen if it looks bad. I use inning counts, not pitch counts. If it’s the 5th inning and he’s got 100+ pitches, I might consider pulling him.

    Notice I didn’t really define too much middle relief and only one swing starter. I don’t use a “setup” guy. I go by pitchers and situations, not set roles and screw myself over. I carry a lefty, but he might be middle relief or setup, who knows? I might carry two lefties, but only because I need a dedicated lefty and the closer won’t double up as that.

    I’m weird, rigid in a team building philosophy, and quite frankly a little nuts when it comes to players I like or who I think can fill in a role, but hey, I’m the kid who did time in a mental hospital. Expect a little craziness.

  55. Lefty33 Says:

    You know what Shaun I agree with you that the Pirates new regime should be given time but how much time?

    I saw you initially said that if they don’t contend for another 15 years then we should look back and criticize the current ownership. But that is way too long of a timeframe and if they can’t put a winning team out on the field in half that time then anyone would deem Neal’s style one of failure.

    They current ownership group is now in its third season and so far the returns have been zero.

    Neal Huntington in the Pittsburgh area is affectionately know as “Bad Deal Neal” because what Pirate fans that are left have given up on the Pirates and they do not believe in the product on the field or that Neal and the ownership group is serious about doing anything except lining their pockets.

    I believe that Neal is making the right moves but I don’t think in the end it’s going to mean much because the Pirates don’t draw enough in attendance and do not have enough “big market” ancillary revenue sources for the team to ever seriously be long term competitive.

    All they are going to do is follow the D-Backs and Marlins formula at best of maybe winning once and then they will have to blow the whole thing up and take 10-15 years to do it again because they can’t pay all the players they have.

    (Kind of like what happened to the Pirates after the ’92 season.)

    Sure the Rays have been good now for three years but when their players become FA and arbitration eligible without a new stadium they will have to blow it up and go back to being the fifth place Rays again because they cannot afford the 100+ million dollar payroll that it takes to be a perennial contender.

    “Now they are capable of building a solid core of young players and they can pay to keep the best ones. Plus once they are ready to contend or near ready, they can go out and sign a free agent or two or three that will get them over the hump.”

    You’re making a huge assumption Shaun that the Pirates will spend whatever monies they have on those players and if the fans continue to not support the team the revenues that are needed to sign these FAs will not exist.

    Bob Nutting in the AP story also admitted to lying when he said initially that did not take money from the team when he actually did.

    The below is from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
    >The most damaging piece of news revealed yesterday was that Nutting and his fellow owners did take money from the team. And this after saying they had not. The fact they took the money for legitimate reasons does not alter the fact they had been saying all along they didn’t. Full disclosure is not something this group understands.<
    Nutting has also stated in news conferences before the ’08 and ’09 season that if things did not improve during those respective years then people, his front office presumably, would be held accountable.
    Well they sucked both years and this year is no better and Bob has done nothing.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10025/1030840-63.stm

    Nutting is a hypocrite, a liar, and I think Shaun that you and anyone else who drinks the Pirates kool-aid of “wait till next year” is kidding themselves.

    (Read that part about where he says that we WILL win more games in ’10 than in ’09. Pretty funny shit.)

  56. Jim Says:

    Schilling, jeeze. But I doubt no one challenged him on how he knows this. Strasberg’s injury will revive the talk that college coaches overwork their star pitchers to the determent of the players future.

  57. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, I knew you would get around to turning this into a sabermetric debate. The truth is Huntington is a “sabermetric” GM. The Pirates’ organization is proof that the best type of front office is one that utilizes any and all reliable player evaluation tools: scouting, sabermetrics, an all-of-the-above approach. Focusing on the draft and being sabermetric-friendly aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Here’s what he said after he was hired as GM:

    “We are going to utilize several objective measures of player performance to evaluate and develop players. We’ll rely on the more traditional objective evaluations: OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage), WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched), Runs Created, ERC (Component ERA), GB/FB (ground ball to fly ball ratio), K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings), K/BB (strikeouts to walks ratio), BB%, etc., but we’ll also look to rely on some of the more recent variations: VORP (value over replacement player), Relative Performance, EqAve (equivalent average), EqOBP (equivalent on base percentage), EqSLG (equivalent slugging percentage), BIP% (balls put into play percentage), wOBA (weighted on base average), Range Factor, PMR (probabilistic model of range) and Zone Rating.

    “That said, we will continue to stress the importance of our subjective evaluations. Succinctly stated, we believe that a combination of quality objective and subjective analysis will allow us to maximize our probability of success and to make the best possible decisions.”

  58. Chuck Says:

    Strasburg wasn’t overworked in college.

    Neither was Mark Prior.

    Jeff Moorad took money from the Dbacks to fund his NASCAR team.

    Andrew Friedman has already stated the Rays payroll next year will be below $70 million.

    Which is still $15 million more than the Dbacks stated payroll.

    There is no reason for any major league team to carry more than ten pitchers on their staff, eleven max.

    Why is it that smart people have so much trouble with basic things?

    You cut down on your strikeouts, you become more productive.

    Reynolds and Howard could, with not much difficulty, reduce their strikeout totals without sacrificing production.

    The reason they don’t is pretty simple.

    They don’t want to.

  59. Lefty33 Says:

    “The Pirates’ organization is proof that the best type of front office is one that utilizes any and all reliable player evaluation tools: scouting, sabermetrics, an all-of-the-above approach. Focusing on the draft and being sabermetric-friendly aren’t mutually exclusive.”

    Your putting the cart in front of this horse.

    The Pirates organization will not prove anything until they actually start to win. (i.e. just get over .500 for starters.)

    Until that time they have proven nothing.

  60. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, Huntington took over at the end of 2007. His first draft with the Pirates was in 2008. If the best players take around 3 years to arrive in the big leagues and most take 4-5 years, I think we should give them at least until 2012-2013. I’d say if the Pirates don’t show drastic improvement by then, Pittsburgh ought to be concerned. They should start preparing for a playoff run basically by the middle of this decade. If not, well then we should question things.

    Regarding Nutting taking money from the team, I’m not saying he’s handled things well by any means. But what matters more to most Pirates fans is whether the new regime is building a winner. Is it surprising that a person would handle himself in a way Nutting has when there is lots money involved? Again, I’m not saying he’s Mother Teresa. I’m just saying what matters most to fans is what direction the Pirates are going as a baseball team. It appears they are going in the right direction but we’ll know more around 2015.

    I think the Pirates are actually trying to follow the Twins model, staying competitive on the relative cheap.

  61. Raul Says:

    I understand that, Shaun.

    However, one should consider that sometimes Management says one thing and deviates.

    I am NOT saying the Pirates do not care for stats analysis. I’m just saying they may have relaxed their reliance on it. But I really don’t know.

    What we do know, is that Andrew McCutchen leads the team with an OBP of .348 (I didn’t include Jose Tabata who’s at .362). And there isn’t a single player slugging over .450. Regarding their pitchers, not a single starter with a WHIP lower than 1.385, and that’s Ross Ohlendorf.

    I’m fully aware that OBP, SLG and WHIP are not exactly advanced statistics, but there’s no indication with the Major League franchise that this team is improving statistically.

    Yet here we all are, almost in complete agreement that the future of the Pirates is bound to be brighter. And that lies primarily due to the improvements in the draft, where I think you have to acknowledge, statistics are probably unreliable.

  62. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, I agree. Teams carry too many pitchers. And I’ve seen no reason to avoid a four-man rotation.

    Howard’s most productive season on a per-plate appearance basis was 2007. That was also the season he struck out most often. This season his strikeout rate is the lowest of his career and it is his worst or second-worst season in the majors on a per-plate appearance basis.

    Reynolds is a little different. This season he has the highest strikeout rate of his career and it is his worst or second-worst season (essentially this season is tied with his 2008 season). Last season was his best and his strikeout rate was neither the lowest nor the highest of his career. Last season his strikeout rate was pretty much in line with his career strikeout rate.

    So basically so far there is no clear evidence that Howard and Reynolds would be more productive by lowering their strikeout rates.

    What does this have to do with the Pirates? I’m not sure.

  63. Shaun Says:

    Raul, right. I think the what the Pirates are trying to obviously do is acquire players that will potentially be productive, i.e. will some day post high on-base percentages, slugging percentages and low WHIP. We can’t really look at the stats of the major league players now and draw any conclusions about whether the Pirates are relying on certain stats. We need to look at the potential of the players they see as their long-term answers and that includes minor league players and players maybe they just drafted.

    I agree, amateur players’ stats are often not very telling to a large degree. What the Pirates or any team is trying to do is obviously draft the players who have the potential to perform well in the majors, which means one day in the majors posting high on-base and slugging percentages and pitchers who will one day have high strikeout rates and low walk and homerun rates, etc.

  64. Lefty33 Says:

    “But what matters more to most Pirates fans is whether the new regime is building a winner.”

    After yesterdays story most Pirate fans are now reassured in their thinking that this is the third straight ownership group since ‘92 that has made big promises and instead strip mined whatever profits the team has made for themselves while delivering an inferior quality team on the field.

    “I think the Pirates are actually trying to follow the Twins model, staying competitive on the relative cheap.”

    Two problems with that statement Shaun.

    1. John Russell is a doofus as a manager.

    The Twins have been fortunate with having Tom Kelly and now Ron Gardenhire.

    Russell couldn’t hold either of their jockstraps as a manager. The sooner he goes the sooner The Pirates show they seriously want to win.

    2. The Twins had something in reserve that the Pirates don’t have. Money.

    They always had a multi-Billionaire for an owner that if and when he saw fit could turn on the spigot of cash and spend it to win like they are doing now.
    (The Twins are a top ten payroll team)

    Nutting and his group are not funded even close to that and the difference between the Twins, or whatever well-funded team, and the Pirates is that the Pirates will never be able to sign their own free agents let alone anyone else’s and they do not have an ownership group that has the resources to go out and get those one or two guys that may push them over the top if they were ever to get competitive like the Rays.

    Take a look at this article about Tampa that came out today in regards to yesterdays leaked documents. I posted the best part below.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/leaked-financial-documents-may-aid-tampa-bay-rays-cause-in-stadium-debate/1117203

    However, since the payroll went up again in 2009 with virtually the same attendance and no postseason, you could use the same numbers to extrapolate losses in the $20 million range.

    In essence, what we have is a market that does not generate a lot of money, and an economic system that rewards teams for keeping their payrolls low. The Pirates and Marlins are in similar situations and, as the statements show, have made a nice living with cheap rosters.

    So, it’s true, the Rays can survive in Tampa Bay. They can even turn a profit at Tropicana Field. They can also be a World Series contender. The trick is trying to do it all simultaneously.

    Realistically, the Rays need to keep their payroll in the $45 million range to approach the break-even mark without a postseason appearance. And it’s not easy being a postseason contender in the American League East when you’re spending $45 million while the Yankees are at $200 million and the Red Sox check in around $160 million.

    When you factor in bonuses, buyouts, deferred payments and other benefits, this year’s payroll will be well over $70 million. Even if the Rays reach the World Series — and they are certainly good enough — the projected revenues will not cover the payroll. Not with attendance well below the league average.
    So you have to ask yourself why an owner would have a $70 million payroll if it does not significantly goose attendance or revenues, and if it almost certainly leads to financial losses. The answer, of course, is most owners wouldn’t.

    Which is why Sternberg has made it clear the payroll is going to be cut this winter.

    Even if the Rays wanted to keep the status quo — paring the payroll to $30 million in rebuilding seasons and boosting it to $60 million when the stars align — there is no guarantee MLB officials would be agreeable.
    Sternberg told me on opening day that other owners would not allow the Rays to continue with their current revenue streams. Why? Because the Rays are sucking more than $30 million a year out of the pockets of more wealthy teams through revenue sharing.

  65. Lefty33 Says:

    Now take out the word Rays and replace it with Pirates and remove Yanks and Red Sox and replace them with Cardinals and Astros and you have Bob Nutting’s true reasons to keep the status quo going and to blow more smoke up the Pittsburgh fan base’s, oxymoron I know, ass.

    He can either make money spending what he’s spending now or loose money by trying to spend like the perennial division winners that spend 3, or, 4 times what the Pirates are spending

    The Rays are the case in point example of just because you win, like you’re assuming the Pirates will, that people will come to see the team and that ownership will be able to spend money to contend.

    The Rays have won, attendance for them is still flat and way below the league average, and now the Sternberg has promised that after this year he will cut payroll. By doing what?

    Blowing it up and at least partially starting over because the Rays can’t compete.

    I’ll eat my crow Shaun if I’m wrong, but I’m very confident that in 2015 the Pirates won’t even have won their own division yet and will be lucky to have gotten to .500 and Bob Nutting will still be telling everyone how next year will be the year.

  66. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, I have no clue what kind of manager John Russell is so I can’t respond to that.

    Regarding the economic system, don’t all teams in essence get rewarded for keeping payrolls low? I mean to some degree all teams want their payrolls to be as low as possible.

    I do think the revenue-sharing system is flawed. Teams like the Yankees shouldn’t be taxed. I think there should be more of a split in sharing revenue from each game because the Yankees benefit from having the Rays and even teams like the Royals around; maybe not a 50/50 split because obviously more people come to watch the Yankees than the Royals when those teams play each other, for instance. But there should be some sort of split based on the revenue earned from each game. It’s not like other businesses where the Yankees benefit if the Rays go out of business. The Yankees can’t play 162 inter-squad games and expect to be interesting.

    All that forcing the Marlins and Pirates to spend money will do is drive up player salaries by essentially falsifying demand. “We know you can’t help us win, mediocre veteran, but we have to spend the money somewhere so we are going to give you this contract you don’t really deserve.”

  67. Lefty33 Says:

    “It’s not like other businesses where the Yankees benefit if the Rays go out of business.”

    Sure it is. When the Rays start the fire sale who do you think is going to be waiting to scoop up all the players the Rays can no longer afford?

    When Carl Crawford is in a Yankee uniform next year in the playoffs and the Rays finish fourth in the AL East you’ll see why actually the Yankees in particular always benefit when another team goes into rebuilding mode and does a fire sale.

    The Yankees don’t rebuild, they just reload because they have the money to do so.

    The Pirates do not now and nor will they ever have the money regardless of how well they play and apparently neither do the Rays.

  68. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, there are very few teams that can reload and remain competitive every single season. In fact, the Yankees may be the only one. But even the Yankees may one day have trouble with that because eventually their stars are going to get old and there are only going to be so many good free agents available.

    The Pirates and Rays just have to have enough smarts and money to draft good players and sign and acquire the right players. There are always going to be expendable and/or undervalued players available. The Red Sox once had Carlos Pena. Now I know the Rays got a bit lucky with him but there are always those guys out there that a team can take fliers on on the cheap and hope one of them sticks.

    The Pirates and Rays don’t have to rebuild. They just have to keep players coming through the pipeline and keep finding player who are potentially undervalued.

  69. Cameron Says:

    There’s a few things about the baseball economy that’s a bit screwed up. Each team is subject to local blackouts on games broadcast on TV. The home team gets more money than the away team. Normally, that’s not a bad thing.

    The problem is that networks like YES and NESN (Yankees and Red Sox networks, YES itself makes close to a billion I think) make more money than just about everybody. The percentages aren’t much different, but the amount of money paid out is different because those networks make so much more. I’m surprised that someone like the Royals or Athletics didn’t threaten to just boycott playing the Yankees until they get an even split on the TV money. No one has the balls though.

    That and the Yankees have the best attendance in baseball, and also the highest ticket prices on average. Yankees tickets are expensive and yet they average 44,000 tickets a game. Do you know how much money that makes?

    Now, I don’t want to penalize teams for selling out, I think they need to be rewarded for that, and the 100 win seasons are reward enough. But when you’ve got a billion dollar TV network and you hold out on the other team? You can’t play a baseball game with only one team, and one of these days, I hope they learn that. After 1994, I really don’t want to advocate another strike, but I think it might be the most effective way to get the money to come back around.

  70. Chuck Says:

    “I knew you would get around to turning this into a sabermetric debate.”

    You’ve been here long enough to know better.

    And I want to see the source of that quote, Shaun.

  71. Raul Says:

    So Cameron,

    What do you want baseball to do? Eliminate the Pirates because they can’t spend like the Yankees?

  72. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, I don’t know if it will let me put links in the comments but I’ll copy and paste the link with the quotes about the Pirates using those stats.

  73. Shaun Says:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071101&content_id=2290860&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

  74. Shaun Says:

    Great. It did let me post the link. I was afraid it might block it.

  75. Chuck Says:

    Alot has changed since November, ‘07, maybe he realized that approach wasn’t the right one, because it’s clear the Pirates have taken a different direction in the past year or so.

  76. Cameron Says:

    Not eliminate the Pirates, just make the revenue sharing actually share. The Yankees, Red Sox, big money teams get a lot more in TV money than the smaller teams. Get the networks to make the split and even 50/50 and the other teams get more money out of their road games, especially to the big names. Can’t do anything about the tickets really, the attendance issue is a team issue, not a league issue. They could go and lower the threshold for the luxury tax and increase yields for revenue sharing to the smaller teams, but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not.

    The revenue sharing is nice, but getting more money per game will eventually be able to get other teams more money. Guys like the Yankees are gonna take a bit of a checkbook hit by losing TV money, but how much are they honestly going to suffer?

    There’s also a bit of a related domino theory to this one, but it’s more speculation. The increased money from TV will lead to a higher quality game on the field. The higher quality will lead to higher attendance at the games, making more money from tickets. The improved game will also lead to more people watching the game on TV because they think they have a better chance to win, leading to more money earned from TV, leading to more money coming into the team, and under the new TV plan will lead to larger networks start to make up lost revenue by increased viewership from the smaller networks.

    Just a theory, but it seems like a plausible set of events.

  77. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, how is it clear? I see no evidence that Huntington all of the sudden started ignoring those stats he mentioned in 2007. Since it’s clear to you, maybe you can explain how it’s so clear.

    Here’s an interview with Huntington from 2008:

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/neal-huntington-interview/

  78. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, you think because the Pirates draft well and because their team OBP or SLG is low that Huntington now ignores certain statistics? I’m just trying to get an idea of why you think it’s clear that Huntington has completely changed his outlook on certain statistics. Because drafting well and a current major league roster of bad on-base guys or sluggers is hardly clear evidence.

  79. Brautigan Says:

    Lefty: I never did like Tom Kelly as a manager. The way he handled David Arias and the other youngsters on that team was horrible. I would imagine it would have taken Joe Mauer 3 more years to play regularly in the bigs under Kelly.

    3 points if you know who David Arias is, and 4 additional points if you know who Ian Oquendo really is.

  80. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, here is an SI article from this season: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/sky_andrecheck/04/08/pirates.order/index.html

    Here’s a quote from that article: “Their GM, Neal Huntington, has talked about the high importance of statistical analysis, and the Bucs employ at least two good sabermetricians, in Dan Fox and Joe P. Sheehan.”

  81. Raul Says:

    Brautigan,

    I admit, I never heard of Ian Oquendo or David Arias.

  82. Brautigan Says:

    Sure you have. One currently plays for the Red Sox, the other for the Tacoma Raniers.

    I have one David Arias baseball card (a 1995 fleer I think), but there are no Ian Oquendo baseball cards. Both players have mutiple cards under different names.

  83. Bob Says:

    Ian snell. Thank you

  84. Cameron Says:

    David Arias got listed under a different name because the guys didn’t understand Spanish naming customs. His full name was David Américo Ortiz Arias.

    …Or as we call him, Big Papi.

  85. Bob Says:

    I truthfully knew David Arias, but then again I live 20 minutes away from Boston.

  86. Brautigan Says:

    Bob shoots, HE SCORES! Cameron gets second place.

    I remember looking through Baseball America’s yearbook and saw this kid named Ian Oquendo and he was lights out in single A. Then he just disappears. I looked and looked, nothing. I am thinking he had an arm injury and was shut down. Then the next year, still nothing. The year after that, no Ian Oquendo. It wasn’t til he was traded to the Mariners on waivers that I read his name used to be Ian Oquendo. Did I feel silly…………………………

  87. Brautigan Says:

    And Tom Kelly did screw with Arias/Ortiz…..no matter how you look at it.

  88. Bob Says:

    Brautigan, who in your mind made the bigger error, Kelly or Terry Ryan? As always, thanks.

    Bob O

  89. Chuck Says:

    OK, Shaun.

    Like I said, this isn’t going any further. You made your point. I don’t care enough to debate with you.

  90. Brautigan Says:

    Hard to say. I blame Kelly for putting Ortiz on such a short leash, and then a yoyo. I always thought Kelly was not good with rookies or young players.

  91. Brautigan Says:

    Brandon Belt just got called up to Fresno. Let’s see how he handles AAA pitching. All Belt has done all year is hit, hit and then hit some more.

  92. Chuck Says:

    I don’t know, Ortiz’ minor league numbers were OK, but nothing that would have indicated he would be anything special at the major league level.

    In the middle of the steriod era, hitting below .300 with around 20 homers and 80 ribbies isn’t going to keep you employed very long.

    It was only after discovering the happy juice that he put up the numbers he did.

    Ortiz isn’t a very good player.

    He only became one because he cheated.

  93. Brautigan Says:

    I’m a former alcohol and drug counselor. I think I can be more of a benefit to the Pirates than Dan Fox and Joe Sheehan. Why? Because those guys apparently are looking at the wrong numbers.

    one fifth times six pack= Joe Shultz

  94. Chuck Says:

    “Brandon Belt just got called up to Fresno. Let’s see how he handles AAA pitching. All Belt has done all year is hit, hit and then hit some more.”

    Damn, why didn’t they just call the kid up?

  95. Chuck Says:

    Sabermetrics have nothing to do with the draft, and very little to do with the evaluation of minor league players, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.

    If the Pirates or any other team employ saber guys and they run a sheet or two to maybe help with the evaluation process of signing a free agent or making a trade, fine, the more info the better.

    But if anyone thinks drafting Pedro Alvarez or calling up Andrew McCutcheon was in any way related to VORP or some other obscure formula, again, you’re an idiot.

  96. Jim Says:

    Beckett melts down again after the Sox give him a 4 run lead in the 6th. Inning summary Branyan homered to right. Lopez single, Kotchman (Kotchman?) HR over the bullpen. Blustery day wind mostly blowing in.

    Daniel Bard in 3 pitches needed to get out of the inning.

  97. Shaun Says:

    Bill James defines sabermetrics as “the search for objective knowledge about baseball.” Wikipedia defines sabermetrics as “the analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity rather than industry activity such as attendance.” Dictionary.com has the following definitions: “the computerized measurement of baseball statistics” and “he statistical and mathematical analysis of baseball records.”

    I would say, depending on how one defines sabermetrics, that sabermetrics can be used and are used in drafting players and evaluating minor league players.

    I’m sure the Pirates looked at a lot of objective data (in addition to subjective scouting reports) to determine whether they should draft and how much they should pay Pedro Alvarez or whether and when they should call up Andrew McCutchen.

  98. Cameron Says:

    Ortiz isn’t as good a player as he was as when the steroids are big, and while I admit that he’s overpaid, not playing his contract’s worth, and is absolutely HORRIBLE in the field. …He’s not that bad. He’s kinda like Adam Dunn, he’s got a good bat (not as good as Dunn’s anymore) but that bat will keep him in the lineup, and on the field in the NL if you’re willing to let some runs across. I’m not expecting this guy to win a gold glove, I expect him to hit, and these days, he can still do it.

    …But betcha five bucks Papi’s gonna be a non-tender or some form of gone in Boston when his contract’s up.

  99. Jim Says:

    Cameron: The Sox will re-sign Papi for $6M ish for one year with a club option. Papi wants to stay in Boston and finish his career, but the Sox will not pick up the current option.

  100. Cameron Says:

    The Sox will offer it, but I’m not sure if Papi will take a pay cut like that, or a one year deal. I see the talks going nowhere.

  101. Shaun Says:

    Here is how the Pirates may have evaluated McCutchen before calling him up.

    Sabermetric/objective analysis: Age 22, centerfielder, .286/.362/.423, 220 walks, 346 strikeouts, 105 steals in 140 chances, 2,223 minor league plate appearances, .291/.367/.424 in Triple-A at ages 21 and 22. (All indications that he is ready to play centerfield in the majors.)

    The scouting analysis would describe the mechanics of his swing, his speed and baserunning instincts, his defensive jumps on the ball, etc.

    See how both could be useful. Obviously I have no way to know that this is exactly how they evaluate. But I think it’s not too far fetched to say this is how lots of teams probably do their evaluations.

  102. Shaun Says:

    It bothers some that there are organizations out there that use sabermetrics, apparently. On the other hand, it bothers few if any that organizations use scouting.

  103. Cameron Says:

    So Shaun, you’re saying just simple statistical analysis of minor leaguers is what an organization would call ’sabermetrics’ instead of the stuff like WAR, vORP and all the really insane formulas. I’ll bite, and it’s a pretty good indicator of what you could expect. I’d just call that statistical analysis though, not sabermetrics. That’s just a personal thing with me though.

    But sabermetrics in the draft? While it’s nice, and good for evaluating college players (you will never be able to convince me looking at a high schooler’s stats will give you shit), but I’d go old-fashioned scouting when it comes to the draft. Maybe take one of the stat guys and have him look at the colleges, but I’ll take the scouts.

  104. Shaun Says:

    Cameron, seems to me it depends on how one defines sabermetrics. Seems the focus is on objective analysis instead of subjective analysis (“this guy gets on base at a .390 clip” versus “this guy has a plus arm”). Objective as in not influenced by interpretations or feelings, subjective as in based on personal interpretations.

  105. Lefty33 Says:

    “But even the Yankees may one day have trouble with that because eventually their stars are going to get old and there are only going to be so many good free agents available.”

    Not true Shaun.

    As long as there are teams out there like the Pirates, Marlins, Royals, and Rays (there are more teams like that but I’ll stop there) with poorly funded ownership groups that think that they can compete with larger spending teams only to fail again and again there will always be the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Mets who will come in and overpay to put that FA on their team and make sure that the original team gets nothing.

    “The Pirates and Rays just have to have enough smarts and money to draft good players and sign and acquire the right players. There are always going to be expendable and/or undervalued players available.”

    But Shaun as usual you’re missing the point of all the articles I posted earlier. These teams (Pirates & Rays as examples) CANNOT sign anyone because they have no money to do that. The Rays are going to start dismantling their team next year because with a 70 Million dollar payroll they are losing at least 20 Million dollars a year like they did last year and this year.

    They can’t go out and get another bat like they need to push them ahead of the Yankees and maybe the rest of the AL because Sternberg is not going to spend more money just to lose more money.

    Like the article from the Tampa Bay newspaper showed that I posted, even with the extra revenue from a deep post season run the Rays would likely still lose money with the payroll they have let alone if they add someone and don’t make it.

    No owner with any brains will do that and risk losing more money unless they can absorb that loss and was confident that the risk would pay off. And that’s why the Rays have stood pat and done nothing.

    “The Pirates and Rays don’t have to rebuild. They just have to keep players coming through the pipeline and keep finding player who are potentially undervalued.”

    Right Shaun but that really doesn’t work in MLB right now.

    What was the stat I posted when we were talking a few weeks ago? Somewhere around 55-60 of the last 100 playoff teams have come from teams in the top 10 in payroll in that respective season.

    So sure the Indians or team X may make the playoffs once in the last ten years and then have never been heard from again. Or you can spend money like the Dodgers, Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Cardinals, and perennially be in the playoff discussion.

  106. Cameron Says:

    I call stats an objective measure, but simple stats like that aren’t really what I call sabermetrics. I guess they are by definition, but stuff like UZR/150, WAR, vORP the more complicated and obscure stats are what I call the SABR stats, the stuff the number crunchers take care of. By that definition, I’m a bit of a stats guy, but I’m also a guy who will take a look at a guy with plus power, even if he isn’t slugging well or hitting for much power and say he’s good or could be good. It’s the reason I like Kila Ka’ihue and some guys don’t. I see him play, I see the bat fly, I hear the crack of the bat, I know he’s a power guy, even if the numbers don’t say it.

  107. Shaun Says:

    Cameron, I think it’s stats that help with the objective search for baseball knowledge. Not all stats, while objective, are equal in this regard.

  108. Shaun Says:

    “As long as there are teams out there like the Pirates, Marlins, Royals, and Rays (there are more teams like that but I’ll stop there) with poorly funded ownership groups that think that they can compete with larger spending teams only to fail again and again there will always be the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Mets who will come in and overpay to put that FA on their team and make sure that the original team gets nothing.”

    Lefty33, how well is that working out for the Mets, Cubs, Giants and Dodgers? Do you really view them as perennial playoff contenders?

  109. Cameron Says:

    Stats do help, yeah. The main thing boils down to is semantics. I’m a stat guy in this sense, but the more formula driven stats that take time to calculate aren’t stuff I look at first or hold in higher regard. I call those sabermetric stats. The simpler stuff, I don’t, but still look to those for help.

    It’s just a personal thing, really. Depends on what you qualify someone being a ’stat guy’ for. I don’t know what to call myself. I look at stats, I look at what a guy does on the field with no numbers attached, some subjectively more than objectively. …To paraphrase an old saying, “I may not know sabermetrics, but I know what I like.”

  110. Brautigan Says:

    If a high school kid hits .650 and 14 homeruns in 100 at bats, you had better get a scout over there to SEE what the opposing pitching is and to make sure there isn’t a 251 left field fence. In that regard, saber stats mean squat Shaun. I would agree with you once you hit the professional field, there is some value to it, but before then, you better have “eyes on the field”. Absolutely.

  111. Raul Says:

    I really wish every article Shaun is involved in didn’t morph into a debate over stats and scouting.

    That said, I think the Pirates will improve in the next few years. They may not be a perennial contender, but maybe they can get off to a hot start, energize the city, and hopefully ride that mojo to a Wild Card-contending season.

    They will probably never out-spend the Mets or Phillies, but maybe they can grow to a team that spends 70% what those teams spend, and with good management, be a force.

  112. Chuck Says:

    Shaun, you’re quoting an article that’s three years old which quotes a GM that just got hired and is in his first Q&A with the fans and who clearly would say anything the fans wanted to hear.

    Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook from 2010 CLEARLY states the Pirates are moving away from a stat mentality and more towards a scouting and development approach. I can’t provide a link to the site because it requires a subscription, but feel free to to wander over to your local Barnes & Noble and take a look.

    Here’s my new rule with debating this stat/scout thing with you.

    Get a job with a professional baseball team, and work there for a year.

    Then we’ll talk.

    Until then, I will consider what you say to be a stat biased, unfounded, uneducated opinion on a subject you know nothing about.

    And, again, welcome back.

  113. Chuck Says:

    “If a high school kid hits .650 and 14 homeruns in 100 at bats, you had better get a scout over there to SEE what the opposing pitching is and to make sure there isn’t a 251 left field fence.”

    Bryce Harper.

  114. Hossrex Says:

    Wait… did Shaun really say saber stats have merit at the high school level?!?

    I’m almost certain he couldn’t possibly have said that, but either way it’s hilarious.

    I’m reminded of this:

    Kelly Leak: (while hitting on a much older ballet dancer) “I’m hitting a cool .841. Does that turn you on?”

  115. Bob Says:

    If I may revert back to the Ortiz contract status. I have gone back and forth, and right now I think the Sox will pick up his option. They have nobody internally who can replace him. Anthony Rizzo and Lars Anderson will not make the 25 man roster earlier than the All-Star break unless Youk does not heal quickly/properly enough.

  116. Cameron Says:

    And from one steroid using slugger to another, Manny’s up on the waiver wire. Let’s take a look at the order, shall we?

    NL
    -
    Pittsburgh
    Arizona
    Chicago Cubs
    Wahsington
    Houston
    Milwaukee
    Florida
    New York Mets
    Colorado
    St. Louis
    Philadelphia
    San Francisco
    Cincinnati
    Atlanta
    San Diego

    I doubt Manny’s going to hit the AL. I see the Mets trying to make a grab since they’re just above .500 and might think they could make a good September run with Manny. St. Louis might grab him, might move him to right, but still. If he gets to Philly or San Fran, he’s going to get nabbed in a heartbeat.

    I could post the AL order, but again, I don’t think he’ll make it that far.

  117. Lefty33 Says:

    Shaun to answer you from post #108, out of those team the Dodgers have made the playoffs in three of the last five years and probably would be there again if it were not for the ownership’s divorce drama.

    The Giants are playing for the WC and the Mets are at least over .500. And the Cubs are normally at least over .500 and competitive until they do their annual late season fold.

    So yes I would call what those teams are doing a success compared to the Pirates big time.

    I just find it hard to believe that you are so gullible to think that the Pirates ownership will “do the right thing” in future years with paying and developing players.

    Have you not read any of the media stories today or yesterday where multiple owners have lied about teams financial states just to either make more money for themselves or to trick localities into new stadium deals.

    Nutting has already been caught as liar about taking money from his own team for his own purposes and has already been caught as a liar by telling people this year and last year that he would hold his own team accountable to win more games than the season prior while actually doing nothing.

    Believe what you want Shaun but history has shown that most owners care about $$$$ and not so much about W’s. (Just ask Peter Angelos)

  118. Bob Says:

    I found this interesting. Hope at least some of you guys do, too.

    http://deadspin.com/…u-to-see-part-1

  119. Bob Says:

    Sorry, the link is not working for some reason. But if you click on the homepage link, you can read the story from there.

  120. Bob Says:

    Speaking of Manny, it has been 57 days since he last got a hit. If he sucks in September, is there going to be a retirement party for him???

  121. Jim Says:

    Manny won’t suck in September, but neither will he play for a $5-7M incentive laden contract next year. Manny will become Barry Bonds penuckle partner as they wait for some team to make an acceptable offer.

  122. Cameron Says:

    Joey Votto had a 2 homer, 4 RBI game today. He’s catching up to Pujols in the HR and RBI category, and padded the batting lead a little today. I gotta say, this Pujols/Votto triple crown chase is kind of insane, yet really awesome.

  123. Chuck Says:

    Can you try again with that link, bob? Thanks

  124. Chuck Says:

    “Wait… did Shaun really say saber stats have merit at the high school level?!?”

    Sigh..

  125. Raul Says:

    Big surprise.

    Say something critical of a sports figure and get penalized. Not that I liked Rick Reilly anyway, but total douchebag move by ESPN.

    That’s the problem with the media in every aspect; sports, politics, whatever. News agencies are so afraid of losing access they just suck everyone’s dick.

    At least, that Rick Reilly story is what I assume Bob’s post was referring to.

  126. Hartvig Says:

    Bob- Ortiz is a good guy in the club house and has recovered from his disastrous start last year but I have to think there will be better options available than a 35 year old/DH only who can’t get around on fastballs anymore & will cost $12.5 million. I wonder if they’ll try for Gonzalez again or maybe take a run at Crawford or both. Dunn will likely be on the market too. Any way you look at it there are probably a lot better ways to spend that kind of money at positions that are a lot harder to fill (catcher/3rd base/outfield) where they’re going to be in the market.

    Word on MLB Trade Rumors (Chuck’s favorite site) is Manny to CWS is pretty much a done deal if he gets thru the waiver wire…

  127. Chuck Says:

    Dunn will get the biggest free agent contract this off-season.

    That includes Cliff Lee.

  128. Raul Says:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-pittsburgh-pirates-may-be-losers-but-they-scored-2010-8

  129. John Says:

    Chuck: “the Pirates are moving away from a stat mentality”

    What exactly was their stat mentality? I can’t, offhand, think of any of their established pick-ups that were particularly “statty.”

    And speaking of Manny, he got thrown out at home tonight. It takes a special set of legs to give Ryan Braun an outfield assist.

  130. JoeDelGrippo Says:

    Hartvig – “I wonder if they’ll (Red Sox) try for Gonzalez again or maybe take a run at Crawford or both. Dunn will likely be on the market too.”

    I really don’t see Adrian Gonzalez going anywhere. Native son living the dream in his home town will take less money to stay in San Diego, especially when the Padres are winning.

    I can see some free agent pitchers now wanting to go to San Diego for the big park, the weather and the winning.

  131. Chuck Says:

    “Brandon Belt just got called up to Fresno. Let’s see how he handles AAA pitching. All Belt has done all year is hit, hit and then hit some more.”

    I watched the first few innings of the game.

    First time up, pitcher worked the strikezone, got him on a back door breaking ball for a swining strike three first time up.

    Second time, fastball inside for a ball, back door again with the curve..Belt belted it over the centerfield wall.

    Third time..unintentinal walk..down 5-1, one out, no one on.

    didn’t take long to get attention.

  132. Hossrex Says:

    Joe DelGrippo: “I really don’t see Adrian Gonzalez going anywhere. Native son living the dream in his home town will take less money to stay in San Diego, especially when the Padres are winning.”

    I’m not saying he WILL leave… but you always hear that stuff about “he’s from there”, or “that’s where his family lives”… then you always see the guy go for the big money somewhere else.

    Playing for comfort is what over-the-hill 35 year old guys do when the 15 million per year deals aren’t there anymore anyway.

  133. Hartvig Says:

    “Dunn will get the biggest free agent contract this off-season.”

    Chuck if you’re right someone is taking a risk if they give him too many years. Now that baseball is back to reality I think most players are going to start seeing pretty steep drops in productions around 34 or 35 years of age. I don’t think he’s going to fall off a cliff like Prince Fielder will in a few years but he’s sure not going to get any more mobile in the field. Branch Rickey & Bill DeWitt both didn’t like keeping players around after 30. With better off season conditioning & other factors their may be more now that can stay productive well into their 30’s than back then (and there were a few- Williams, at least at the plate, Musial, Mays, Appling, Cobb, even Ruth) but if I were a GM I’d want know what kind of off season conditioning players are doing as well as maybe do a little family history before I was signing someone for too many years past 30.

  134. Hossrex Says:

    Discounting the likelihood of Dunn’s numbers being entirely misleading… based purely on statistics… Adam Dunn was one of the absolute cheapest free agent signings (relative to his “value”) in recent memory.

  135. JoeDelGrippo Says:

    Hossrex: “Playing for comfort is what over-the-hill 35 year old guys do when the 15 million per year deals aren’t there anymore anyway.”

    No, that is what the over 35-year-olds do when they want to win a ring.

    Stars who are playing in their home town usually stay. I remember when Kent Hrbek (born and raised in Minneapolis) stayed in Minnesota and turned down more money from Detroit. To another extent, Joe Mauer “took less” then the open market would have given him to stay with Minnesota.

    Same with Pujols who went to high school and college in Missouri. Cal Ripken has lived (and worked) his entire life in Maryland and Barry Larkin took less inhis career to stay in hometown Cincinnati.

    It does appear that the “better guys” stay with their teams while others do leave for greener pastures.

    I expect “good guy” Adrian Gonzalez to stay in San Diego.

  136. Hossrex Says:

    CC Sabathia comes to mind.

    “Wants to play in California!” “Comes from southern California.” “Wants to be near his family.” “Should take less to come to the coast.”

    Then, boom… a billion dollars, and playing in New York.

  137. JoeDelGrippo Says:

    While Adrian Gonzalez was drafted by the Marlins, and played for the Rangers he did get traded to San Diego at a young age and played his first FIVE full seasons so far in his hometown.

    CC did not play early in his career (8 yrs) for his home town team.

    That is much different when a player plays the first half of his career for a team 2,000 miles away from where he grew up.

    And Sabathia is from Northern California.

    If CC was drafted by the A’s or Giants, he would not have left as a free agent for New York’s money. But he played in Cleveland and Milwaukee for eight years.

    I also expect Dallas Braden to stay long term with his hometown A’s and Neal Walker to stay as long as possible with his Pirates. Only way either will play for another team within the next seven years is if their teams make the decision for them via trade or non-tender/release.

  138. Hossrex Says:

    Joe DelGrippo: “If CC was drafted by the A’s or Giants, he would not have left as a free agent for New York’s money.”

    How could you possibly know that?

    Besides… the MAJOR talk was Angels or Dodgers… while I did hear the Giants come up in discussions, he’s from southern California, and that’s where he was supposed to sign.

    Of course in the interest of full disclosure, of course I’m biased and bitter over his signing with New York.

  139. Lefty33 Says:

    “If CC was drafted by the A’s or Giants, he would not have left as a free agent for New York’s money. But he played in Cleveland and Milwaukee for eight years.”

    You’ve got it backwards Joe.

    Let me give you the one piece of the puzzle that you’re missing in your example.

    Hrbek, Pujols, Ripken, and Larkin all made good money with their respective teams and all won at least 1 WS. They never had to leave because they got paid and won a ring.

    CC would not have won anything with the A’s or Giants the same as he didn’t win anything with Cleveland or Milwaukee. So if he wanted to win a ring or two his only real choice was to take the NYY dollars.

    Not that he has won a ring, and especially if the Yankees repeat this year or next year, then I would imagine that he would exercise his opt out after the ’11 season and see if the Angels, Dodgers, or Giants will offer him big money to “go home” and play.

  140. Jim Says:

    Interestingly, CC was quoted the other day saying that he’d not exercise his option to opt out of the remaining years of his contract and that he is quite content in NY. Shows that regardless of where you grow up, that if you settle in a different area, that becomes home.

  141. Shaun Says:

    “Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook from 2010 CLEARLY states the Pirates are moving away from a stat mentality and more towards a scouting and development approach.”

    The two mentalities CLEARLY aren’t mutually exclusive and I seriously doubt Neal Huntington now completely ignores statistics since, according to that SI article, at least two guys from the sabermetric community, were still employed by the Pirates as of Opening Day of this season. I’m assuming they haven’t let them go since Opening Day.

    How stubborn and close-minded does one apparently have to be to think only a scouting and development approach is useful. I want to make this clear to everyone: In our debates who is the one who thinks one mentality is the only way to go? I have absolutely no problem with a scouting and player development mentality. But you clearly have a problem with a stat mentality.

    It comes down to whether you think objective and data-based analysis is useful in baseball or any endeavor. If you don’t, that’s fine, but you are missing out on a lot.

  142. Shaun Says:

    If stats and scouts can’t get along, it’s because of people like Chuck. People like that are the ones creating a wedge in the two communities. There are Chucks out there on both sides who want to make it stats versus scouts instead of stats and scouts. It a person on either side is threatened by or afraid of the other or thinks their side is more useful, the game has already passed you by. Perhaps this is what creates people like Chuck. The game has passed him by and he’s trying to cling on.

    “Wait… did Shaun really say saber stats have merit at the high school level?!?”

    If I did, perhaps someone could show me where. And I’m not sure what one means by “saber stats.”

    Here’s what I think. Objective and data-based analysis probably has some use when evaluating high school players but it’s tricky because the objective info and data can fool you due to the variety of competition (one high school player may be playing against much easier competition than another) and the fact that players haven’t matured physically and mentally.

  143. Chuck Says:

    Hey, Shaun, since when do “programmers” become sabermatricians?

    That’s Huntington’s word, not mine.

    Do me a favor, will you?

    Next time you reach up your ass for some obscure article to try and discredit what I’m saying, try reading it first.

    And countering an article written in November, 2007 with one written in May, 2008 really doesn’t say much for you.

    Later…

  144. Bob Says:

    Chuck, do you really believeDunn will get a bigger contract than Crawford or Cliff Lee? And are you talking about the length of contract, or how much per year? And I will try again with the link.

    http://deadspin.com/…u-to-see-part-1

  145. Bob Says:

    Chuck, extremely sorry that the link is not working. ut if you click on the homepage link, you can then read the story. Perhaps someone more skiled with the use of computers can bail me out??? Again, truly sorry.

    Bob O

  146. Chuck Says:

    Was the Reilly article Raul referred to the correct one, Bob?

  147. Bob Says:

    Raul, it has nothig to do with Rick Reilly. The story is called “MLB Confidential: The Finacial Documents Baseball Doesn’t Want You To See.”

  148. Bob Says:

    Chuck, just getting around to the last 2 dozen posts. Sorry for the delay.

  149. Shawn Says:

    Hoss, you nailed it in 136. CC said he wanted to stay in the NL and be on the west coast closer to his family. Yankees offered him money… east coast AL. During Free Agency, I don’t really pay attention to what guys say. Whoever offers the most money 95% of the time will get the player.

  150. Bob Says:

    http://www.deadspin.com

  151. Bob Says:

    Hopefully that will help.

  152. Bob Says:

    According to MLTR, Manny wants a one-year extesion in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause. If I may, where would Manny rank among thefree-agents this year. Not including Yu Darvish and Jeter.

    1.Crawford
    2.Cliff Lee
    3.Adrain Beltre
    4.Victor Martinez

  153. Cameron Says:

    Probably 4th. V-Mart wasn’t that good this year, but Crawford’s… Well, Crawford, Lee’s been lights-out, and Adrian Beltre had a hell of a year. Martinez is about six months away from being kicked to first base if you ask me.

  154. Bob Says:

    Sorry, submitted that way too quickly, meant to go to Cot’s and look at the other free agents.

  155. Bob Says:

    Adam Dunn would be ahead of him.

  156. Bob Says:

    There is a thought. The Sox try Salty at catcher, Martinez at first, Beltre at 3rd Youk at DH and sign Crawford to go along with Kalish and Drew. Trade Jacoby for a bullpen piece. (Or a worthwhile prospect.) And the 4th outfield spot will be between Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald or Josh Reddick. Of course Youk could always spell Beltre or Martinez. Or let Martinez DH.

  157. Jim Says:

    Bob, I’d put Manny below those guys and perhaps others, Dunn particularly. If you could guarantee a motivated productive Manny it might be a different story, but he only plays when he wants to.

  158. Jim Says:

    Salty will get a strong look at catcher. If Beltre stays then Youk will be at first as has a Gold Glove there. Martinez would DH.

    I like Darnell McDonald as a spare OF’r. Defensively he is fair at all the positions, OK arm and usually makes good decisions. Offensively, good small ball skills, hits lefties, .817 OPS, and a good base runner.

    I’d like to see Reddick have a good, complete season at AAA before I had him in Boston full time.

  159. Bob Says:

    Chuck, were you able to find the story? Truly hope so.

  160. Chuck Says:

    Bob,

    Yu Darvish isn’t coming to the States.

    Sabathia told Joel Sherman of the Post recently he would not opt out, that he had recently completed the building of a new house and his kids are established in school. Do I believe him?

    Not for a second.

  161. John Says:

    Shaun: “Objective and data-based analysis probably has some use when evaluating high school players but it’s tricky because the objective info and data can fool you due to the variety of competition (one high school player may be playing against much easier competition than another) and the fact that players haven’t matured physically and mentally.”

    You better have a pretty convincing argument for that one. I mean, if a guy is hitting .750 in a reputable high school conference, then he probably merits a scouting evaluation…but when scouting guys, you wanna see what they bring to the table. Truthfully, I couldn’t care less about numbers until at least AA, and even then, I’m not sure what data-based studies are really going to be better than watching the dude and asking yourself “can he cut it at the next level?”

  162. Shaun Says:

    John, well, a high school guy with extra-base hits in almost every plate appearance, walks in others with no strikeouts in a area with lots of traditional high school powers; that’s using objective, data-base analysis. You absolutely need subjective analysis too (i.e., a scout’s interpretation of the guy’s swing, etc.) It’s pretty dumb to completely discount statistical data even at that level. Just because it’s not nearly as telling doesn’t mean it can be completely discounted. It goes back to those who want to use every method of evaluation possible and those who think only one way is necessary. The more information you have the better, in my book, and that includes subjective analysis from scouts and looking at the guy’s stats with context. I’m not sure how any reasonable person can deny that. The more backwards among us will say high school stats don’t matter and are pointless. The more enlightened among us would say that high school stats mean something but we need a heck of a lot more context and we need to combine it with subjective analysis a lot more than we do when we are looking at the stats of a player in the high levels of pro ball. Basically, if you completely discount objective information, you are saying your interpretations can never be wrong. Seems pretty arrogant to me, but that’s what some are all about, trying to prove they are smarter than everyone.

  163. Jim Says:

    Hoss: A Boston beat writer threw this out as a possible off season trade, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jonathan Papelbon to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp, Russell Martin and Jonathan Broxton.

    Your thoughts?

  164. Bob Says:

    Shaun, you make scouting out to be a shitload more complicated than it really is. I highly doubt Chuck says Kid Arizona is a 10 War when compared to Kid New Mexico. And I somewhat find these new stats fun or useful when discussing Major Leaguers. But not at the high school level.

    Bob O

  165. Chuck Says:

    Well, Jim, if you don’t mind my two cents…that trade is awful.

    For both teams.

  166. Bob Says:

    Jim, I am a Sox fan and the Dodgers would not do that. Papelbon is way too expensive for one, plus Ellsbury may not pass a physical. Although I have read/heard the Dodgers are disenchanted with Kemp. Ellsbury and something for Kemp might be more realistic.

  167. Bob Says:

    Chuck, I actually like that sceniaro for the Sox. Then the Sox might pursue Lee or install Felix Doubrant as the 5th starter.

  168. Chuck Says:

    Scouts don’t give a shit about some high school kid’s stats.

    At that age, physical tools are what matters. Hitting .750 against some 13 year old’s 75 mph garbage with an aluminum bat with a 280 foot fence tells me absolutely nothing.

    Just like making 32 errors in 20 games playing on fields that would make a mine field look like Yankee Stadium also tells me nothing.

  169. Bob Says:

    Chuck, were you able to read the Deadspin article?

  170. Chuck Says:

    Not yet, Bob, I’m still at the office, I will in a couple of hours when I get home.

    Did you guys see who the National Hockey League hired as its new Players Association Executive Director?

    Donald Fehr.

    I also heard he didn’t actually resign from MLB, but in fact the Players Union fired him over the releasing of the names in the Mitchell Report. Apparently, Fehr convinced the Union by releasing the names of a few, select “peons”, that the public and the media would be satisfied and would not care about the big fish on the list and would soon forget about the whole thing.

    Well, it backfired on him.

  171. Jim Says:

    “Ellsbury may not pass a physical”

    Am I the only one who thinks that Ellsbury’s broken ribs are a sign of a larger medical problem. The bump he took most recently happens a dozen times a night throughout baseball.

    I don’t see the Dodgers often as their games are just starting when I’m thinking about bed, so I little knowledge of their players, beyond the stats and…never mind. Just curious.

    I also like Dubront in the 5th spot. The kid throws strikes and has good stuff, though his curve will need to gain consistency to win at the ML level. He’s only 22 so he has time.

  172. Hossrex Says:

    Jim: “Hoss: A Boston beat writer threw this out as a possible off season trade, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jonathan Papelbon to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp, Russell Martin and Jonathan Broxton.”

    Russell is gone for sure, Broxton has had his 15 minutes as a closer (which is honestly about normal for closers), and Matty Kemp has some of the most amazing physical prowess I’ve ever seen, but the guy just doesn’t have a head for this game (probably would have been better in the NFL).

    Ellsbury is a pussy, Daisuke was good before people figured him out… three years ago… and Papelbon is in the exact same position as Broxton (but the numbers indicate he’s still better than “Soda Machine”… not sure how real those numbers are, don’t watch many Boston games).

    I’d call the trade a wash… both teams get the other teams junk, but it’s fairly even. The Sox shed more money than the Dodgers, but the Dodgers get a higher level of talent (and a starting pitcher who is slightly better than league average).

    I wouldn’t oppose the trade simply on the principle of “change of scenery”, but I wouldn’t run through the street naked to make it happen either.

    “Matty K” (my fathers nickname for Kempy) has been hot lately, which makes me happy since it’s all stat padding junk, and should at least give him a BIT of increased value at the end of the year.

    Russell will be gone because of circumstance.

    Matty will be gone because he’s too comfortable in LA.

    Broxton frankly I’d be happy to see stay in a less important role… if he can’t/isn’t willing to accept that role, he’ll also have to be moved.

    What I’ve always found fascinating about Daisuke is that in both 2007 and 2009, he didn’t allow a single unearned run.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/matsuda01.shtml

    Crazy, eh?

  173. John Says:

    Shaun, you’re putting me in the relatively uncomfortable position of siding with Chuck.

    With the major leagues, you have a consistent standard across the board. You know a .400 OBP is great, you know that sub-1 WHIP is spectacular etc. That’s because the 750 people playing major league baseball are, like, the highest possible level that there is. Even “replacement players” are VERY good.

    Are you telling me that you can do that with high school varsity baseball players? There are a bunch of future Major Leaguers playing high school baseball. But do you know who they’re all playing against? People like me, well, 15 year old me. Believe me when I say that I don’t want someone being drafted by my favorite MLB team based on the ability to blow ME away with heat.

  174. Jim Says:

    Yes crazy, especially when you consider the number of walks. I can’t remember the exact number, but he escaped nearly 20 bases loaded situations without giving up a run. Strange pitcher.

    BTW are hitters in other cities complaining the the umps have increased the strike zone during the year, particularly widening it. For the last month there’s been whining about it, especially from Ortiz and Drew. Fangraphics looked into it (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/are-umpires-expanding-the-strike-zone-as-the-season-goes-on/) and it seems that a spreading strike zone over the year is typical.

  175. Chuck Says:

    “Shaun, you’re putting me in the relatively uncomfortable position of siding with Chuck.”

    Aw, shucks, love you too, big guy.

  176. Raul Says:

    Ian Kennedy struck out 12 in 7 innings tonight.

  177. Chuck Says:

    Wait..

    You’re FIFTEEN??!!

    And here I am thinking you were 22.

    Fack..

  178. Raul Says:

    Chuck, I think he was referring to the type of baseball player he was at age 15.

  179. Chuck Says:

    I saw the game, Raul.

    Good thing the Yankees got rid of him instead of Joba, he sucks.

  180. Cameron Says:

    “BTW are hitters in other cities complaining the the umps have increased the strike zone during the year, particularly widening it. For the last month there’s been whining about it, especially from Ortiz and Drew. Fangraphics looked into it (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/are-umpires-expanding-the-strike-zone-as-the-season-goes-on/) and it seems that a spreading strike zone over the year is typical.”

    I bet it’s just the umpires getting tired and wanting the games to end earlier, especially the guys who know they aren’t working in October.

  181. Chuck Says:

    Bob,

    The article was interesting, although I can’t say I learned anything or saw something which surprised me.

    MLB is a cash cow.

    Granted, the Royals and Pirates would all lose money without revenue sharing, but if those teams lost money and were forced to move or were even contracted, the Yankees would lose more money in the long run.

    The model franchise for baseball over the next few years won’t be the Yankees or Royals or Pirates, but the Rays.

    And it won’t be because of what they’ve done over the past three years, but what they will do over the next three.

  182. Raul Says:

    Yankees got rid of Kennedy after 60 major league innings over 3 seasons. Which is…well I don’t want to say stupid, but yeah, I think it was stupid.

    Kennedy’s has virtually dominated at the college and minor league level. And I think he’ll grow to be a solid #3, or possibly even a good #2..something similar to a Cliff Lee type pitcher if he’s lucky.

    I certainly felt NY could have held on to him. Especially since all they did was acquire an expensive 4th outfielder.

  183. Hartvig Says:

    Raul, I’m still sticking with my pick of Granderson for AL MVP this season. He’s going to have a HUGE September.

    Or maybe not.

  184. Cameron Says:

    “The model franchise for baseball over the next few years won’t be the Yankees or Royals or Pirates, but the Rays.”

    As a TEAM, I’ll give you that, the Rays are a great blueprint on how to save a team.

    …But as an overall organization, I’m giving it to the Yankees. Sure, they can throw money at whoever they want, but why can they? It’s because they’re loaded, billion-dollar loaded. And it’s not just because the Steinbrenners are rich, but because the Yankees own their own TV network which makes oodles of cash and they sell over 40,000 seats a game because they’ve developed a loyal fanbase and those fans keep the team able to do stuff like the TV network and will vote for tax increases to fund the new stadium.

    The Rays may know how to make a winning team, but they don’t know how to make money like New York, they don’t breed that kind of fan. If a team coudl get New York’s media strategy and fan loyalty (smaller teams can do it too, the Indians sold out like, 6 seasons straight of home games, so it can be done by just about anyone), and produce players out of the pipeline like the Rays (with a scouting and minor league system fueled by the oodles of cash they make) then God help the rest of that division.

  185. Raul Says:

    I’d vote for Granderson for MVP if he hits 20 homers in September.

  186. Cameron Says:

    I can give four words that could make that happen Raul.

    Batting Coach Jose Canseco.

  187. Hossrex Says:

    Cameron: “the Rays are a great blueprint on how to save a team… *snip*… The Rays may know how to make a winning team, but they don’t know how to make money like New York, they don’t breed that kind of fan.

    Yup. I agree on both accounts.

    The Rays have had a good streak, and very efficiently put together a solid team, but they’re still drawing dick. Their last Friday night homegame, August 13th, saw less than 25 thousand fans.

    Longoria, Zobrist, Crawfod, and Price are all fantastic baseball players, but they just don’t put butts in seats.

    From day 1 of the two year 45 million dollar Manny deal, I’ve been saying “he’s not going to help us win many ballgames, but his contract is going to pay for itself in dreadlock wigs, #99 jerseys, and an extra couple thousand paying customers every game who come out just to see him.”

    Baseball runs on the casual fan… it sucks, but it’s true.

  188. John Says:

    Chuck,

    I’m 21, I was saying that when I was fifteen, I was playing high school ball, and that the ability to rack up big strikeout totals and low WHIP’s against guys like me doesn’t mean you’re necessarily better than some kid in some other conference with worse stats against tougher competition.

    Uncomfortable was the wrong word. Let’s say unfamiliar.

  189. Raul Says:

    Tampa Bay is having a great season.
    They’re currently 23rd in attendance.

    23rd. Behind Washington and Arizona.

    It’s sad that Cleveland is dead last in the league in attendance. In the mid-90s, it was nearly impossible to get your hands on Indians tickets. And when the hell did it become Progressive Field? My ass. It will always be The Jake to me.

  190. John Says:

    Side note: Albert Pujols just hit his 400th HR. It’s also his tenth of the month.

  191. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Hossrex:

    “Joe DelGrippo: “If CC was drafted by the A’s or Giants, he would not have left as a free agent for New York’s money.”

    How could you possibly know that?”"

    Nobody knows it for sure, but my point is that players playing for their home town team (CC is from Vallejo, California), especially CC’s caliber would stay with their home town team, similar to Mauer and Ripken.

    “Besides… the MAJOR talk was Angels or Dodgers… while I did hear the Giants come up in discussions, he’s from southern California, and that’s where he was supposed to sign.”

    CC is from Vallejo, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was #20 overall by the Indians. Picking #19 was the Giants, and they passed on their home town kid. If they drafted CC, he never leaves the Giants voluntarily.

    And that would be almost as near a guarantee as there is in baseball.

    But it was easy for Sabathia to take New York’s money when he played in the Midwest, far away from the San Francisco Bay area.

    It is interesting, but the Giants had FOUR first round picks that 1998 draft and they all never did squat, and only two made the majors (Combined WAR is -0.9).

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?query_type=year_round&year_ID=1998&draft_round=1&draft_type=junreg

  192. Chuck Says:

    I knew this would sound backwards.

    The Rays are going to suck the next few years…intentionally.

    Once the new stadium was voted down, the Sternberg/Friedman group essentially told the fans to screw off.

    Like the five year old who’ll threaten to hold his breath until he either dies or gets the extra scoop of ice cream at dinner, not realizing you can’t actually die from holding your breath.

    What the Rays are doing is telling the fans they’ll hold their breath and suck until they get the new stadium.

  193. Cameron Says:

    Sucking intentionally at least has the side benefit of high draft picks. Coupled with Tampa’s drafts, I think the new stadium will be broken in nicely. Like, Busch Stadium nicely.

  194. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    ““If CC was drafted by the A’s or Giants, he would not have left as a free agent for New York’s money. But he played in Cleveland and Milwaukee for eight years.”

    You’ve got it backwards Joe.

    Let me give you the one piece of the puzzle that you’re missing in your example.

    Hrbek, Pujols, Ripken, and Larkin all made good money with their respective teams and all won at least 1 WS. They never had to leave because they got paid and won a ring.

    CC would not have won anything with the A’s or Giants the same as he didn’t win anything with Cleveland or Milwaukee. So if he wanted to win a ring or two his only real choice was to take the NYY dollars.”"

    Similar to my response above in #191, if Sabathia ws drafted in 1998 by the A’s (at #2 overall instead of Mark Mulder) or at #19 by the Giants, he NEVER leaves either of those teams voluntarily if or when he became a free agent.

    Lets say that the A’s pulled a quick one and selected CC #2 overall in 1998 instead of Mulder. I say the A’s wouldn’t trade him before the 2005 season like they did with Mulder. Sabathia stays an Oakland A’s player.

    If the Giants took CC in that draft at #19, then the Giants just may have won the 2002 World Series if CC was on that team.

    Also, CC took the New York money because it would have been easier to win a World Series (it was). I agree, that if he wins another in the next two seasons, he could opt out.

    Then he could go sign with San Francisco, who would also be a good team again.

    But if I am CC Sabathia, I would never leave New York. Too much goodness there with regards to championships and increased chance to get into the Hall of Fame.

  195. Cameron Says:

    I’m with Joe. Of course, as a personal thing, I’d never want to leave the Yankees due to a combination of me wanting the money and being a huge Yankees fan. They might want to sign me. I’m young, cheap, and I have a secret weapon pitch.

    …I have no idea what the fuck it is, but I know no one can hit it. I fucked up trying to throw a slider and developed a… Thing. It travels almost like a high cutter until about five feet from the plate, then it just stops and buries itself in the dirt. Gets guys in front of it a lot.

  196. Cameron Says:

    Also, the Nats introduced Bryce Harper in a news conference today, looked like a fun event. He took 6 rounds of BP, hit his first one into the third deck in right field. BP or not, hitting it that far takes muscle. I like events like these, gets people excited for the future.

    Also, they’re thinking of letting him play in the Arizona Fall League. I’d be intrigued if they did, get a taste of what he can do.

  197. Shawn Says:

    Try throwing a gyro ball! Japanese scientists think it’s a miracle pitch!

  198. Cameron Says:

    And some people don’t believe it exists and it’s just a REALLY good slider. If I want to try throwing Japanese pitches, I’ll try a shuuto, since I throw two-seamers and sinkers over heaters, more my style. My arm’s shit, so I try and screw guys with my control. I can nail anywhere anytime, but I keep it low, like, dirt low. I know if I leave it up, I’m gonna get creamed because of my weak arm.

  199. Lefty33 Says:

    “The Rays are going to suck the next few years…intentionally.”

    Absolutely Chuck.

    It’s the same thing the Phillies and several other teams have done to try and beat new stadium deals out of local municipalities.

    David Montgomery in several interviews in the ‘80s and ‘90s said that the Phillies would not lose money on a team with limited revenue streams and that until their revenue streams could be increased, hint, hint, a new stadium, you would continue to have the countries fifth largest market team spending anywhere from around 17th to 25th in payroll every year.

    The Phillies got their stadium and beat the state of PA and the city of Philadelphia out of 200 million dollars and suddenly the Phillies are a top 10 payroll team every year.

    It’s amazing how that happened.

    On a sidebar, in ’99-’01 the Pirates and Rays spent 10-20 million dollars a year more on payroll than the Phillies per season.

  200. Shaun Says:

    John, Bob and Chuck, all I’m saying is I’m sure teams pay a little bit of attention to objective data and take a more scientific approach when evaluating high school players; and I’m sure they don’t just send a scout out to watch his hitting or pitching mechanics. That doesn’t mean they try to calculate WAR or VORP for high school players. And that doesn’t mean they only use objective data or take more scientific approach to evaluating players. Apparently there are some Luddites out there who are afraid of mixing scientific analysis with baseball player evaluation.

  201. Chuck Says:

    “all I’m saying is I’m sure teams pay a little bit of attention to objective data and take a more scientific approach when evaluating high school players;”

    “I will consider what you say to be a stat biased, unfounded, uneducated opinion on a subject you know nothing about.”

  202. Chuck Says:

    “It’s the same thing the Phillies and several other teams have done to try and beat new stadium deals out of local municipalities.”

    Look at the Arizona Cardinals. One postseason appearance in almost 30 years, and that was in a strike year.

    Playing home games in antiquated ASU Stadium in front of 30,000 fans, which is shit for the NFL.

    The convince the state to build them a stadium, and, presto, Super Bowl in two years.

  203. Cameron Says:

    I still don’t know WHY the Rays aren’t getting a new stadium. Whose bright idea was it to put an indoor stadium IN FLORIDA!?

  204. Cameron Says:

    Also, it looks like Bryce Harper’s first day is going to be accompanied by another top prospect (re)debuting.

    Remember how Strasburg kept going on the DL? He was pitching with a bad, now torn, elbow ligament. The Nats are saying he’s probably going to need Tommy John. The Nats’ future plans just hit a MAJOR setback.

  205. Lefty33 Says:

    “I still don’t know WHY the Rays aren’t getting a new stadium.”

    Because no one gives a shit about non-spring baseball in FL.

    And I’m sure after this week’s leak of team financials, it’s going to make convincing Pinellas County that much easier.

  206. Bob Says:

    Shaun, I have never once mocked you, and furthermore I somewhat adhere to sabermetrics ( Can someone back me up here with some of my past posts) but seriously, “Apparently there are some Luddites out there who are afraid of mixing scientific analysis with baseball player evaluation.
    And I was not going to say anytrhing, but how the fuck was the AP sory misfuckingleading. Jason Bay, Jack Wilson, Nate McLouth and Freddy Sanchez were former All-Stars. You can pass an advanced statistics class, but that sentence threw you for a loop?

    Bob O

  207. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, post 201, ditto.

    Bob, right. But why is it part of a news story that a team shed former all-stars to shed payroll? Is that really news? Name one of those players they would have been better off keeping. Any organization with any sense would have shed these players to cut payroll. The Red Sox shed Jason Bay to cut payroll because they knew he wasn’t likely to be worth the contract he would command; and they were right. So why is the fact that the Pirates cut a bunch of mediocre or bad veteran players who also were former all-stars relevant to the story? That’s my point.

    Regarding my Luddite comment, there are some who apparently don’t think computers, technology, detailed statistical analysis and baseball mix. Some apparently don’t think reality should be analyzed in an objective way. That’s the bottom line. They are Luddites and are afraid of change because they think it threatens their identity and they are afraid they won’t look as smart.

  208. Bob Says:

    Shaun, you must have found it newsworthy. And how do I know this????? Because you submitted a post to Dugout Central about it. See how smart I am!!! And they might have been better off keeping Jason Bay. How have Moss and Hanson done? And the Red Sox did not ” shed” Jason Bay. He left via free-agency. They “shed” Nomar. They “shed” Manny. Did they “shed” Billy Wagner too??? The Pirates TRADED TRADED TRADED Jason Bay. Jason Bay left Boston as a free-agent. How is this so hard?

  209. Bob Says:

    And the concussion Bay suffered notwithstanding, the Sox would have been better off with Bay than Cameron. Bay could be the DH post-Ortiz. And this would allow them to aggresively bid on Crawford.

  210. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck, post 201, ditto.”

    Wow, Shaun, insightful.

    But we’ve come to expect nothing less from you, so, touche’.

    And, I know we’ve been through this before like 99 times, but no one in baseball is threatened by statistical advancements because everyone knows their roles.

    Sabermetrics are like a cult. The only difference between the followers of Jim Jones and the followers of Bill James is a handful of cyanide capsules.

  211. Bob Says:

    Thank God nobody caught my error. The Sox did not shed the salary of Manny when they traded him. They ate his contract. They shed his malconted ass from the clubhouse. Sorry for the error.

    Bob O

  212. Hossrex Says:

    Bob: “Thank God nobody caught my error. The Sox did not shed the salary of Manny when they traded him. They ate his contract. They shed his malconted ass from the clubhouse. Sorry for the error.”

    I’d be completely happy to eat the remaining 4(something) million we owe him.

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