Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Links

-More Loria bashing. [Hardball Times]

-Matthew Carruth studies things like this so we don't have to. [Fangraphs]

-Pat Andriola quantifies how much Chone Figgins has sucked this year. [Fangraphs]

-These are Paul Winterling/Wash College type numbers. [Rotoworld & Mike]

-Mike Fast of HBT puts together a nice pitching primer.

-Stewart Mandel predicts how the first-year coaches will do in college football. My initial thoughts: too bullish on Notre Dame and too bearish on Kansas. [SI.com]

-Decent article. Great headline. [Rumors and Rants]

-Courtesy of Deadspin:

video: Icelandic goal celebration

BC 8/31/2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Links

-Buster Olney blog: Saturday and Sunday. [ESPN Insider; password required]
-More Jeff Loria bashing. Yahoo's Jeff Passan trying to single-handedly bring down the Marlins front office. Tailgate tested, tailgate approved.
-Insightful piece about Rays' financials by Maury Brown. [BizofBaseball.com]
-105. [Big League Stew]
-More front office MLB problems: here's a guide to the impending McCourt Divorce. [Dodger Divorce]
-Weird. Threets tearing his UCL garnered .0000001% as much attention as that Strasburg guy doing the same. [Rotoworld]
-I give this argument a five on the Phillip Wellman-meter. [Big League Stew]
-A happy medium to NFL schedule increase? I could be sold. [NFP]
-Another writer voicing opposition to an 18 game season. [NFL Gridiron Gab]
-Peter King's MMQB. [SI.com]
-Daily Revis update. [NY Daily News]
BC 8/30/2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Links

-We mentioned the Rays as a good fit last week for Brad Hawpe. Now, it's a reality. [Twitter / Ken Rosenthal]

-Buster Olney blog. [ESPN Insider; password required]

-Jayson Stark's Rumblings & Grumblings. [ESPN]

-A crushing blow to the Nationals and their fans. Both of them. [Yahoo! Sports]

-A link to Aaron Gleeman's links. [AG.com]

-Awesome individual effort by Gronk to find the end zone. [NFL.com]

-Andrew Brandt (quickly becoming a sight favorite) breaks down the Nick Mangold deal. [NFP]

-More Jets stuff. David Harris, drafted a round later than Darrelle Revis has no problem producing and honoring his contract knowing the team will take care of him later. [Newsday]

-More basketball sabermetrics. If these sabermaticians (or is it sabermatricians?) want us to buy into their numbers, mathematically proving it's not a good idea to call a timeout - and prolong a game - seems like a great start. [HSAC]

-The always entertaining Deadspin mailbag.

-A sick alley-oop to get you ready for the weekend:


BC 8/27/2010

Baseball Study: Can a few terrible starts conceal a gem?

I'm no mathematician, but I would love it if someone out there shares my curiosity for baseball and can (dis)prove some of my theories.

Basically, I would be the idea (people) person; you will be the brains.

Thesis #1: If we remove a starting pitcher's worst two starts (as defined by lowest Game Score), we may uncover a few hidden gems - pitchers that perform very well most times out but have their stats - sabermetric or otherwise - crushed by these terrible performances. [Quality Start % does something similar, but I think this could yield results that give us more insight; if it helps, make up a fancy moniker like xQS%.]

ESPN* attempts to quantify each player's contribution to a particular game by assigning a Game Score. For pitchers, the formula for reads:

50 + 1*Outs + 2*IP after the 4th + 1*K - 2*H - 4*ER - 2*UnearnedRuns - 1*BB

The average Game Score this season for starting pitchers is approximately 50.8.

Doing some very rudimentary math, I filtered for any pitcher that made 10 or more starts through 8/19 (157 in total). I then removed his lowest two Game Scores and re-sorted by average Game Score.
w/o 2 = average Games Score rank after removing two worst starts
Pure = average Games Score rank including all starts

Games Startedw/o 2PureGmSc Diff
Felipe Paulino1476103-27
Scott Olsen1295122-27
Luke Hochevar1381106-25
Homer Bailey1078102-24
Brett Anderson101437-23
Jair Jurrjens144464-20
Joel Pineiro205878-20
Todd Wellemeyer11109129-20
Hisanori Takahashi1294113-19
Tim Wakefield16112131-19
Vicente Padilla152441-17
Madison Bumgarner104257-15
Carlos Zambrano12117132-15
Thomas Hanson253044-14
Tommy Hunter146679-13
Dana Eveland10141153-12
Jake Peavy175667-11
Tom Gorzelanny18938211
Randy Wells25978611
Mark Buehrle251018912
Jonathan Sanchez25473413
Livan Hernandez25604713
Kevin Correia231109614
Clayton Richard25877215
Jake Westbrook241069115
Kris Medlen14917318
Jon Garland25715120

Takeaways: If not for a couple brutal starts, Tommy Hanson would be getting talked about like an ace. Padres pitchers have been incredibly consistent.

w/o 2 = average ERA rank after removing two worst starts
Pure = average ERA rank including all starts
Games Startedw/o 2PureERA Diff
Scott Olsen1279128-49
Carlos Zambrano1282131-49
Dana Eveland10112151-39
Vicente Padilla153571-36
Tommy Hunter142356-33
Homer Bailey1088117-29
Felipe Paulino146289-27
Joel Pineiro205681-25
Jair Jurrjens144468-24
Luke Hochevar1395119-24
Hisanori Takahashi1298122-24
Todd Wellemeyer11123146-23
Thomas Hanson252040-20
Jhoulys Chacin135777-20
Vince Mazzaro143452-18
Brett Aarion Cecil205472-18
John Ely1487104-17
Ben Sheets208096-16
Justin Verlander25745816
Jeff Karstens171069016
Kevin Correia2311910316
Ian Kennedy241058817
Joe Saunders251169719
Dan Haren261078720
Colby Lewis24593623
Ryan Dempster25755124
Jake Westbrook241189424
Kris Medlen14906030

Takeaways: I think this tells me players with negative differences have made two starts that were MUCH worse than players with positive differences.

General takeaway: I've been sitting on this data for over a week and wanted to get something out before it got too stale, but as I thought more about it, I realize I should have removed each pitcher's worst two games and compared those numbers against the rest of the pitchers without two starts removed.

Other things I came across during the study which I found interesting:

-Since 2007, no team failed to make the playoffs when they won 90 games (.556 winning percentage).

-King Felix leads MLB by a wide margin with a QS% sit around 89%. Great pitchers sit around 80%.
-One more chart you might find interesting:
Pure ERAStdDevGS
Josh Beckett6.6719.68079
Kyle Lohse6.7918.91334
A.J. Burnett4.6618.58501
Bradley Bergesen5.8918.50852
Joe Saunders4.5418.32362
Dana Eveland6.3418.04706
Mike Pelfrey3.9717.75738
Scott Baker4.8517.5601
Brandon Morrow4.4517.08355
Hisanori Takahashi5.0117.03232
Jake Peavy4.6316.96551
Gavin Floyd3.9716.93827
Matt Garza3.7616.89335
Javier Vazquez4.9016.78431
Aaron Cook5.3416.67158
Justin Masterson5.2316.50587
Joel Pineiro4.1816.32833
Wandy Rodriguez4.0416.24488
Francisco Liriano3.4516.20305
Brett Anderson2.8910.50085
Kevin Correia4.6310.3978
Wade LeBlanc3.4610.38217
Brett Myers3.1110.26853
Justin Verlander3.7710.23054
Andy Pettitte2.8810.13575
David Price2.859.905987
Jeff Karstens4.419.852242
Jason Hammel4.369.531665
Madison Bumgarner3.279.47082
Derek Lowe4.329.463794
Mike Leake3.789.194392
Manny Parra5.869.031285
Stephen Strasburg2.978.902247
Carlos Zambrano5.168.167687
Kris Medlen3.868.125437
Vince Mazzaro3.637.191641
Jair Jurrjens3.927.141428

*ESPN may not have invented this stat, but this is the only place I have seen it.

For anyone interested, I would be happy to provide any of the source data. Just email me - thesportsbanter@gmail.com. Special thanks to David Pinto (BaseballMusings.com) for providing the Game Scores.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday Links

-Investment advice from Mark Cuban. [Cuban Blog]

-I would probably agree with this headline despite the fact is was written by someone presumably in New Orleans. [Nola.com]

-Lombardi. [NFL.com]

-Matt Williamson of ESPN (password required) identifies each NFL team's most indispensable player.

My three strongest points of contention:
1- No Peyton (puts this whole list into question)
2- MJD should rank higher (maybe top 3)
3- Ryan Mathews being on this list (he has never played a down in the NFL).

-Can one or more these guys be bargains in 2011? My guess would be Adam Laroche provides the most value. [The Baseball Analysts]

-Win probability graph of yesterday's Braves-Rox game. [Fangraphs]

-Should the Pirates spend money to win games? [Slate.com]

-Of the ideas listed, I like #5 best, but I'm not sure any improvements/changes to the current waiver claiming process are in short order for MLB. [Walk like a Sabr]

-NBA Sabermetrics: to foul or not to foul when up three. [HSAC]

BC 8/26/2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Links

-Buster Olney blog. [ESPN Insider; password required]
-ESPN steals an idea from Peter King and runs it before his annual article: ranking the 200 best NFL players. [ESPN Insider; password required]
-Great article by Jeff Passan...unless you live in Florida. [Yahoo]
-Chaminade guy signs with old college coach (yes, Mike asked me to link to this story). [NFP]
-Q&A with Football Outsiders' Bill Barnwell. [NY Times]
-We knocked him yesterday so it's only fair to congratulate Jevan Snead today. [Bucs.com]
-(Non-sports) Are these miners collecting overtime? [Fox]
BC 8/25/2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

NBA Draft Grades

The summer has given us an opportunity to further assess the 2010 Draft class. Here are my grades:
Round 1: Larry Sanders (15)
Round 2: Darington Hobson (37), Jerome Jordan (44), Keith Gallon (47)
Grade: A. Love the potential upside with Sanders, Hobson can contribute off the bench, and Gallon is a skilled big man.
TORONTO RAPTORS                                                                                                
Round 1: Ed Davis (13)
Round 2: Solomon Alabi (50)
Grade: A-. Love this draft. Replacing Bosh will be impossible, but Davis could have been a top-5 pick. Alabi could have been a first rounder too. Great values.
Round 1: Cole Aldrich (11)
Round 2: Tibor Pleiss (31), Latavious Williams (48), Ryan Reid (57)
Grade: A-. Aldrich is a bit of a stiff, but he'll protect the rim which is something the Thunder needed badly last season.
Round 1: Avery Bradley (19)
Round 2: Luke Harangody (52)
Grade: A-. Grabbing a defensive stopper like Bradley with the 19th pick was a coup. Pairing him Rondo late in games will be a great weapon. 
Round 1: None
Round 2: Devin Ebanks (43), Derrick Caracter (58)
Grade: A-. Grabbing two rotation players this late in the draft is a job well done.
Round 1: Craig Brackins (21), Quincy Pondexter (26)
Round 2: None
Grade: B+. I might be in the minority, but I like both of these guys. Brackins can score and Pondexter is a great athlete that can run the wing for CP3.
Round 1: Evan Turner (2)
Round 2: None
Grade: B+. With the second pick, the 76ers got the second best player. What else could you ask for?
CHICAGO BULLS               
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Grade: B+. They used the #17 overall pick to unload Kirk Hinrich's salary which allowed them to sign Carlos Boozer. Nice move.
Round 1: John Wall (1), Kevin Seraphin (17), Trevor Booker (23)
Round 2: Hamady N'diaye (56)
Grade: B. With the first pick, the team got the best player. After that though, more questions than answers. I do like Booker too.
NEW JERSEY NETS              
Round 1: Derrick Favors (3), Damion James (24)
Round 2: None
Grade: B. I would have preferred Cousins over Favors, but I think the James pick is an underrated addition.
Round 1: Al-Farouq Aminu (8), Eric Bledsoe (18)
Round 2: Willie Warren (54)
Grade: B. Aminu's a tweener, but I like the risks they took on Bledsoe and Warren especially when we hear Baron Davis has ballooned to 260 lbs.
Round 1: Luke Babbitt (16), Elliot Williams (22)
Round 2: Armon Johnson (34)
Grade: B. Blazers got more talent, but it seems like they have way too many players and not enough minutes.
Round 1: James Anderson (20)
Round 2: Ryan Richards (49)
Grade: B. Classic San Antonio. With the 20th pick, they get a contributor for the 2010-11 squad.
Round 1: Jordan Crawford (27)
Round 2: Pape Sy (53)
Grade: B-. Not sure how much they improved their team this year since Jordan Crawford seems to be a younger version of Jamal Crawford.
Round 1: Dominique Jones (25)
Round 2: None
Grade: B-. I like Jones as a player but don't the Mavs have plenty of these types?
Round 1: Patrick Patterson (14)
Round 2: None
Grade: B-. Solid player. Fits the system. Ho hum. 
UTAH JAZZ           
Round 1: Gordon Hayward (9)
Round 2: Jeremy Evans (55)
Grade: C+. White dude that strokes the 3. Good fit.
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Grade: C+. Traded this year's first rounder for Ty Lawson, a deal that has worked out very well for the Nuggs. 
DETROIT PISTONS                 
Round 1: Greg Monroe (7)
Round 2: Terrico White (36)
Grade: C+. The Pistons needed a bruiser inside. Monroe plays like another guard. Is he talented? Yes, but he doesn't fit their needs.
Round 1: DeMarcus Cousins (5)
Round 2: Hassan Whiteside (33)
Grade: C. On talent alone, the Kings get an A+. However, both of these guys have character issues. Add them to a team whose best player just got arrested for driving 140mph and it seems like a recipe for disaster.
INDIANA PACERS                      
Round 1: Paul George (10)
Round 2: Lance Stephenson (40), Magnum Rolle (51)
Grade: C-. George plays the same position as the Pacers' best player. Is another deal in the works? If not, how does he fit? Hate the rumors surrounding Stephenson too. Hate them.
Round 1: Ekpe Udoh (6)
Round 2: None
Grade: D+. Not only is Udoh injured, but if they planned to trade for David Lee, why would they take another PF? 
Round 1: None
Round 2: Andy Rautins (38), Landry Fields (39)
Grade: D. Blah.
PHOENIX SUNS                      
Round 1: None
Round 2: Gani Lawal (46), Dwayne Collins (60)
Grade: D. Blah.
Round 1: None
Round 2: Dexter Pittman (32), Jarvis Varnado (41), Da'Sean Butler (42)
Grade: D. Pittman might hit 400 lbs. before he sees significant minutes in the NBA, Varnado has already signed in Europe, and Butler is recovering from a gruesome knee injury. Could have done more.
Round 1: Wesley Johnson (4), Lazar Hayward (30)
Round 2: Nemanja Bjelica (35), Paulo Prestes (45)
Grade: D-. Last year it was the point guards, this year it was the small forwards. Again, why no diversification? Johnson can be an above average 3, but the other picks seem wasted.
ORLANDO MAGIC               
Round 1: Daniel Orton (29)
Round 2: Stanley Robinson (59)
Grade: D-. Put simply, I don't believe in Daniel Orton. He did nothing in college. What did he do to deserve a first round grade? I really think Thunder GM Sam Presti put out false information that his team was interested in Orton to brew interest from other teams. Great move by Presti, terrible move by Orlando.
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Grade: F. This team desperately needed something positive out of this draft and got nothing.
Round 1: Xavier Henry (12), Greivis Vasquez (28)
Round 2: None
Grade: Inc. The Grizzlies still haven't signed Henry despite the fact their is a "hard" slotting system for all rookie salaries. Makes no sense to quibble over a few thousand dollars. Pay the man now so he's motivated when he takes the floor.
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Grade: N/A.