December 12, 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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Saturday, July 18, 2009
The Nats just lost to the Cubs, dropping their record to 26-64 (.289), putting them on pace for a 47-115 season. Sucks, don't it?
They should regress to the mean some, but here's one way to look at it: the Nats are the 14th team in history to have a 26-64 record at the 90-decision marker. Here are the previous contestants, their final winning percentage:
1890 BUF (PL) .273
1894 WAS (NL) .341
1909 BOS (NL) .294
1909 WAS (AL) .276
1911 STB (AL) .296
1920 PHA (AL) .312
1921 PHI (NL) .331
1929 BOS (AL) .377
1939 PHI (NL) .298
1939 STB (AL) .279
1946 PHA (AL) .318
1964 NYM (NL) .327
1997 PHI (NL) .420
Well, 10 got better. Then again, 10 also lost over two-thirds of their games. The 1997 Phillies really stick out.
If you're curious, 7 teams went 27-63 to start the year. The best of them, the 1937 A's, ended the year with a .358 winning percentage. Another 7 teams have started out 25-65 and the best record their most impressive end mark was .342. So, out of 25 teams total who began the year with 25-27 wins at this point, only two ended on the good side of .360.
Another way of looking at it, in the last 60 years, the Nationals are only the seventh team to start off with 26 or fewer wins through 90 decisions. The others:
1) 1952 Pirates 25-65. They ended the year 42-112
2) 1962 Mets 24-66. They ended the year 40-120.
3) 1964 Mets 26-44. They ended the year 53-109.
4) 1979 A's 25-65. They ended the year 54-108.
5) 1997 Phillies 26-64. They ended the year 68-94.
6) 2003 Tigers 24-66. They ended the year 43-119.
These guys played .278 up to this point in the season but were way up at .339 from Game 91-onward. Take out the Phillies, and the other five only played .309 afterwards.
The 1997 Phils actually went 42-30 down the stretch. What got into them?
No, it's nothing groundbreaking, but WOW - the Nationals sure look bad!
Hi everybody, my name is Dan Novick. I wrote my first post here today, which you can read below (or here). Over the next few weeks, you'll be seeing a new group of writers joining the Hardball Times to write for THT Live. Some of these names will be familiar, others will be new and unknown to most of you. We'll be having more frequent updates and postings as we hope to live up to the standards that The Hardball Times has created over the last several years. So sit back, relax, and keep clicking that refresh button. I'm confident you'll enjoy what you see.
Baseball America's top 100 prospects from 2007 looks, in part, like this:
1) Daisuke Matsuzaka
In their short careers, each of these players have disappointed to some extent. Matsuzaka has been decent and/or injured, but not the shutdown ace some people expected, and Hughes has come on strongly this season after battling some injuries and ineffectiveness the previous two. Homer Bailey is a different story. Nothing has been physically wrong with Bailey, but his stuff seems to have just stopped fooling hitters. Major league hitters, that is.
Over his career, he's thrown 518.2 minor league innings, putting up a 3.60 ERA and striking out just over a batter per inning. His time in the major leagues has been a bit more rocky, to say the least. 109.2 innings over three seasons with an ERA of 6.65 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio hovering at just about one isn't going to get it done. Over the past three years, only Steve Trachsel has a worse K/BB ratio in as many innings. I think that speaks for itself.
The troubling thing is that Bailey isn't getting better, either. He had been pitching well in the minor leagues, to the tune of a 2.71 ERA (though a 3.86 FIP says he's getting a little lucky), and over 8 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, including a 15 strikeout, 2 walk performance earlier in the season. But in 5 major league starts, he's walked as many as he has struck out (19), and has continued to get lit up, with a 6.43 ERA. He recently started throwing a splitter again, which has tormented minor league hitters, but has still left him with mixed results in the big leagues so far. Check out his batted ball chart, courtesy of FanGraphs:
It's a small sample, but that groundball rate (in green) is only going south.
There is an encouraging sign, though. His fastball velocity has increased each of the last two years, which should help to ease concerns about potential use-related injury. If his shoulder hasn't started to come apart yet, there's a chance it might not at all. Homer Bailey is still just 23 years old, so we shouldn't give up hope on him yet. But with a complete lack of success at the Major League level, and a lack of improvement over the last three years, it might be difficult for the Reds to remain patient for much longer.
Richard Justice today sent out a "thank you" to Houston Astros manager Drayton McLane:
They're doing what smart franchises are supposed to. They're getting their draft picks signed and in uniform in a hurry. Meanwhile, the general manager has made enough smart moves to somehow managed [sic] to keep the big league team competitive.
Houston has a payroll of roughly $103 million, seventh in the bigs and behind just the Mets, Cubs and Phillies in the National League.
They have the worst farm system in the majors, as ranked by Baseball America.
They're the oldest team in baseball with an average age of 30.3, ahead of Philadelphia (29.5).
Their only saving grace is they will lose roughly half of their payroll to free agency (before arbitration), freeing up enough money for Ed Wade to go sign more of those wonderful, aging veterans.
Just because a team is improbably winning this year doesn't mean they're set up for future success.