Saturday, January 04, 2020
Administrivia: Sidebar Cleanup
Thursday, October 03, 2019
The One Stat That Tells You Everything You Need To Know About The 2019 Angels' Rotation
The Angels today fired their pitching coach, a day after firing their manager. How bad was the team's pitching in 2019? This bad: By Wins Above Average, the Angels' rotation (at -6.5) and overall staff (-9.4) were the worst in all of baseball. Yet there's a much crazier stat.— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) October 2, 2019
The team leader in innings pitched in 2019 was Trevor Cahill, with 102.1. Respectfully, I don't think you fully realize how bonkers that number is.— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) October 2, 2019
Remember the strike-aborted season of 1994, when teams played around 114 games? The lowest IP total from a team leader that year was 130, from Greg Harris, in the second-ever season of the Colorado Rockies.— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) October 2, 2019
This got me updating my Lahman database for the first time this year. (Note to Sean: why hasn't there been a MySQL/MariaDB-compatible schema available for two years now?) After a good bit of SQL detective work, it turns out there are only four team innings-pitched leaders with less than the measely 102.1 Mr. Cahill managed:How about strike-disfigured 1981, when teams averaged 107 games? The low total from a team leader then was 130.1, by Seattle’s Glenn Abbott.— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) October 2, 2019
I think it’s likely that Trevor Cahill’s 102.1 IP is the lowest team-leading total in modern baseball history.
|1872||Washington Olympics*||Asa Brainard||79.0|
|1873||Baltimore Marylands*||Ed Stratton||27.0|
|1884||St. Paul White Caps||Jim Brown||36.0|
All of them are 19th century teams, and two (those denoted with an asterisk [*]) were National Association teams. In other words, we are talking about some of the sketchiest professional teams ever assembled in the earliest days of the sport. For context, here's a graph of lowest team innings pitched leaders throughout history:
Marco Estrada (143.2 IP). In the last decade, his nearest competition is Jeff Francis on the 2012 Rockies, whose 113 IP was the lowest in the 21st century, and lower than any 20th century IP team leader.
This is obviously awful; as Matt goes on to observe, "The Angels gave a mind-numbing 492 innings to pitchers who had a season ERA+ of under 80." The Halos now have a losing record for four consecutive years for the first time since they lost seven straight years from 1971 to 1977. They have no depth, poor roster construction, and absolutely no idea how to get out of this pit.
Thursday, November 02, 2017
The End Of Dreams: Astros 5, Dodgers 1
Dylan Hernandez' LAT piece pulls no punches. I think he oversteps by claiming
The Rangers probably knew something. They probably knew he was as likely to perform how he did in this World Series as he was of ever realizing his breathtaking potential. Darvish made two postseason starts for the Rangers and lost both.The Dodgers knew that too, but I suspect they were hopeful the better pitching environment of Dodger Stadium would attenuate those bad outings. Nevertheless, Dave Roberts leaving him in for so long was a critical failure; he had to be on a very short leash. Darvish got only two swings-and-misses total in the ten batters he faced, a bad sign that Roberts ignored. Not that it mattered with the offense failing; the two runs the Astros collected in that first inning would be enough.
So, congratulations to the now American League Astros, who win their first title ever for America's fourth-largest city. The Dodgers have their work cut out for them in the offseason.
ESPN Box • MLB Recap
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Disney's $1.5B MLBAM Purchase Foretells Grim Tidings For ESPN
Along those lines, ESPN is now launching its own streaming service, which looks from the outside like a Pyrrhic victory. As Techcrunch explains,
"A streaming service, while it might attract sports fans who have cut the cord, won’t solve ESPN’s profit problems. Instead it will exacerbate them. Why? Because ESPN will continue to lose the millions upon millions of cable subscribers who pay for it but never watch it. Losing $7.21 from each non-watcher is going to be a revenue killer. There is no possible way the universe of sports fans who want ESPN can make up that revenue, even if they’re charged more for a streaming service."(The above was quoted in the story text, but it's unclear from context who was being quoted. Edit: it's an excerpt of this Bloomberg News story.) This is a problem of long-standing I first noticed with the Dodgers and their cable TV deal; there's simply no way the insane TV rights deals stand up without mandatory bundling. Things are going to get tighter for everyone in this space, and soon.
Update 2017-08-23: One aspect of this that has bothered me from the beginning is the same sense I got when the Guggenheim Group bought the Dodgers for $2.1 billion, and that is that this is predicated on revenue streams that simply cannot exist in the real world. (Even my rough contemporaneous pencil test showed the Dodgers couldn't milk that stream for the kind of dough they were getting out of bundled cable deals.) I'll spend some time digging and see if I can get MLBAM subscriber numbers somewhere. Also, it's important to know for return-on-investment figures that Disney earlier bought 33% of BAMTech for $1 billion, so their total investment appears to be $2.5 billion for (effectively) the whole magilla, or at least a majority stake.
It appears that MLBAM as of two years ago had 3.5 million subscribers, though this LA Times article doesn't mention how many are MLB.TV subscribers. But assume that 90% of them are paying for MLB.TV at $112.99/year. That means revenues are
3.5M subscribers * .9 * $112.99 subscriber-1*year-1 = $356M/yearIt's not implausible that they might be able to make money under this scenario, but it omits the costs of carriage for MLB, MiLB, PGA, and other content.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
A Diffident Anniversary: Six Years Ago, MLB Ousted The McCourts
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The Collapse Of Starting Pitcher Wins
So the game moves on without me, in many ways; the deep detailed looks at various sabermetric aspects (and more, the impressive roster of solid writers) I got at Baseball Prospectus, watering holes like Baseball Think Factory (now enervated thanks to a squabble between founder Jim Furtado and Darren Viola), Jon Weisman's on-again, off-again blogs (Dodger Thoughts, now largely defunct) — all have lost my attention, and that predated my 2015 move to Arkansas. So it's kind of a surprise to see a post that really grabs me, and this one comes from ESPN: "State of the Stat: MLB numbers taking yet another crazy turn" offers some interesting changes lately in baseball. Particularly, home runs:
In some ways, though, the most interesting thing in here is the steady decline in wins by starters:
The traditional standard of 20 wins remains a high bar, with just a few pitchers getting there each season. There were three 20-game winners in 2016, two in 2015, three in 2014 and one in 2013. The peak for 20-win seasons came in the late '60s and early '70s, when many starters threw a huge number of innings. There were 15 20-game winners in 1969, 14 in 1971, 13 in 1973 (and 1951) and 11 in 1970 and 1974. As the five-man rotation became standard by the 1980s, the 40-game starter became obsolete. Then the complete game neared extinction.What would be especially ironic is if Bert Blyleven, who famously was kept out of the Hall for so long because he did not have 300 wins, might instead be an early forebear of ending the win as a pitching stat with any actual value.
Maybe the 20-game winner is next on the endangered species list.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Bagwell, Raines, Pudge Enter Cooperstown
Jeff Bagwell's credentials should have made him an easy first ballot candidate, but steroids rumors delayed his entry by six years. Unlike Jay Jaffe, I'm unconvinced that Tim Raines should be in the Hall, but as with everything, will take his word for it. Finally, Pudge actually did get in on the first ballot, Jay's questions notwithstanding. I take this as a positive sign for other players of the era who may have been tarnished by allegations or actual proof of steroid use. Congratulations to all.
Labels: hall of fame