December 13, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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Friday, July 30, 2004
The Mets made two big trades this evening, picking up Kris Benson from the Pirates and Victor Zambrano from Tampa Bay. The Mets essentially gave up Ty Wigginton, Matt Peterson and Justin Huber for Benson (Huber was traded to Kansas City for Jose Bautista, who was sent onto Pittsburgh). And they gave up lefty phenom Scott Kazmir and minor leaguer Joselo Diaz for Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.
The Mets paid heavily for these two pitchers. Kazmir, Peterson and Huber might have been their three top prospects, now that David Wright is in the majors. But this is obviously an acknowledgement that their rotation is long in the tooth. Benson and Zambrano are 29 and 28, respectively, and they're both flyball pitchers who will likely do well in Shea Stadium with Cameron in centerfield (though Zambrano still needs to work on his control). Fortunato is another good young arm for the bullpen (though his actual age is a bit of a question mark, I guess).
For the Pirates and Devil Rays, these are high risk/high return deals -- appropriate for both of them. I particularly like the players the Pirates picked up for Benson. The most interesting aspect of these deals is that they return Jose Bautista to the team that lost him in last winter's Rule V draft. He made "stops" in Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and New York along the way.
We have the first deadline time deal. The Dodgers have traded C Paul Lo Duca, RF Juan Encarnacion and P Guillermo Mota to the Marlins for P Brad Penny, 1B Hee Seop Choi and minor league P Bill Murphy.
Peter Gammons is reporting the Dodgers are trying to deal Penny and a group of prospects for Randy Johnson. And, this time, Johnson says he'll consider waiving his no trade clause.
As promised, the individual batting and pitching stats have been updated. One of the stats we track is the number of batters faced by each pitcher. Here are the top fifteen in BFP (batters faced by pitcher). Livan Hernandez is at the top of the list, to no one's surprise. But Brandon Webb has been seeing a lot of action for such a young starter.
Pitcher Team BFP Hernandez L. MON 650 Mulder M. OAK 633 Buehrle M. CHW 621 Oswalt R. HOU 617 Ponson S. BAL 611 Glavine T. NYM 610 Loaiza E. CHW 604 Batista M. TOR 602 Rogers K. TEX 602 Webb B. ARI 599 Schilling C. BOS 598 Lidle C. CIN 596 Pineiro J. SEA 596 Pavano C. FLO 594 Johnson R. ARI 593
I just updated the team stats and graphs, and they're worth checking out. The best team in the majors this year has been the St. Louis Cardinals. They're the only team solidly above the .600 line, leading the majors in run differential (runs scored minus runs allowed) by a wide margin. Here's a list of each team's run differential:
Team RS RA Diff STL 542 414 128 BOS 575 494 81 CHC 470 391 79 CHW 532 471 61 ATL 479 418 61 NYY 557 499 58 OAK 506 453 53 LAD 465 413 52 ANA 517 467 50 TEX 555 508 47 SDP 460 419 41 HOU 474 438 36 MIN 478 453 25 DET 543 525 18 NYM 450 442 8 CLE 567 560 7 PIT 450 444 6 SFG 517 511 6 FLO 446 442 4 PHI 501 499 2 BAL 511 546 -35 MIL 408 448 -40 TOR 443 485 -42 TBD 448 491 -43 COL 548 601 -53 CIN 477 557 -80 SEA 420 512 -92 MON 360 481 -121 KC 413 560 -147 ARI 420 590 -170I promise I'll get to the individual stats later today.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
I received a number of e-mails today in response to the ballpark factor article. A couple of e-mailers said that ballpark factors can only be useful if they are tied to more specific types of batters or pitchers, such as lefty/right.
I absolutely agree that ballpark factors should be applied to different types of players, but I think that there are tremendous sample size and data interpretation issues. For instance, one e-mailer stated that Bonds does well in Pac Bell because it favors left-handed batters. But over the last three years, Bonds has slugged .829 at home and .789 on the road -- hardly enough of a difference to support a separate "left-handed Pac Bell park factor."
On the other hand, ballpark expert Kevin Johnson sent the following citation regarding offseason changes at Bithorn Stadium, which should have been included in my article (if only I had known!):
Hiram Bithorn Stadium has a new look and Bobby Cox approves. Last year's hard artificial turf has been replaced by Field Turf, which better duplicates real grass, and the outfield fences have been moved back 10 feet to Montreal's Olympic Stadium dimensions. The result has been a drastic reduction in home runs.
"I think it was much easier to hit one out last year and the new carpet has made it slower," Cox said. "I think it's good. Last year it played a little small."
The increase to 404 feet to center and 375 feet to the power alleys isn't the primary reason balls are no longer flying out of the stadium. The trade winds are blowing in, knocking balls down and preventing the Expos from even reaching the warning track with most of their drives.
Source: The Macon Telegraph. Thanks, Kevin!