May 18, 2013
And here's the full roster.
Now availableHardball Times Baseball Annual 2013, with 300 pages of great content. It's also available on Amazon and Kindle. Read more about it here.
Or you can search by:
THT E-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
our CafePress store. We've got baseball caps, t-shirts, coffee mugs and even wall clocks with the classy THT logo prominently displayed. Also, check out the THT Bookstore. Please support your favorite baseball site by purchasing something today.
All content on this site (including text, graphs, and any other original works), unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category Strategy .
05/17/2013: The daily grind: 5-17-13by Brad Johnson
05/17/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/17/2013: Gems without whiffsby James Gentile
05/17/2013: 40th anniversary: Bobby Valentine breaks his legby Chris Jaffe
05/17/2013: Strength of schedule: Adjusting hitter valuesby Moe Koltun
05/17/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7, Vol. IIIby Jack Weiland
05/17/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Mike Andrewsby Bruce Markusen
05/16/2013: The daily grind: 5-16-13by Brad Johnson
05/16/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/16/2013: How Scott Kazmir got his groove backby Kyle Boddy
05/16/2013: Three more for eternityby Don Malcolm
05/16/2013: Not exactly definitiveby Don Malcolm
05/16/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘40sby Richard Barbieri
05/16/2013: Of Uggs and Ugglaby Derek Ambrosino
05/15/2013: The daily grind: 5-15-13by Brad Johnson
05/15/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/15/2013: Running hot and coldby Shane Tourtellotte
05/15/2013: The Phillies should retool but not rebootby Brad Johnson
05/15/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7, Vol. IIby Karl de Vries
05/15/2013: Currently historic: 300 strikeouts?by Jason Linden
05/15/2013: Mike Moustakas’ holeby Noah Woodward
05/15/2013: BOB: How bad is the Marlins’ attendance?by Brian Borawski
05/14/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/14/2013: The daily grind: 5-14-13by Brad Johnson
05/14/2013: How much do hot/cold starts matter?by Greg Simons
05/14/2013: 25th anniversary: The Jose Oquendo Gameby Chris Jaffe
05/14/2013: Jonathan Schoop and the value of role playersby Jeff Moore
05/14/2013: THT Awardsby John Barten
05/13/2013: The daily grind: 5-13-13by Brad Johnson
05/13/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/13/2013: 30th anniversary: Reggie’s 2,000th Kby Chris Jaffe
05/13/2013: NL Central division update: May editionby Jason Linden
05/13/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7, Vol. Iby Jack Weiland
05/13/2013: Last remaining teammatesby Chris Jaffe
05/13/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
05/12/2013: The curious case of Vernon Wellsby Matt Filippi
05/12/2013: 60th anniversary: Whitey Ford’s near no-hitterby Chris Jaffe
05/10/2013: The daily grind: 5-10-13by Brad Johnson
05/10/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/10/2013: Cooperstown Confidential: What really happened with Fritz Ostermueller and Jackie Robinsonby Bruce Markusen
05/10/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 6, Vol. IIIby Karl de Vries
05/10/2013: Still life, after allby Azure Texan
05/09/2013: Oh Dustyby Pat Andriola
05/09/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/09/2013: 40th anniversary: back-to-back first homersby Chris Jaffe
05/09/2013: The Roto Grotto: rates versus opportunitiesby Scott Spratt
05/09/2013: Swing rates: the John Farrell effectby Moe Koltun
05/09/2013: Winning, TWTW, and the purpose of baseballby Matt Hunter
05/08/2013: Closer watchby Karl de Vries
05/08/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/08/2013: The daily grind: 5-8-13by Brad Johnson
05/08/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 6, Vol. IIby Jack Weiland
05/08/2013: What nobody is talking aboutby Greg Simons
05/08/2013: Currently historic: A truly rare achievementby Jason Linden
05/08/2013: Craig Anderson’s greatest dayby Frank Jackson
05/08/2013: BOB: Stadium updatesby Brian Borawski
05/07/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/07/2013: The daily grind: 5-7-13by Brad Johnson
05/07/2013: Fun with minor league leader boardsby Jeff Moore
05/07/2013: 90th anniversary: Casey Stengel goes bonkersby Chris Jaffe
05/07/2013: THT Awardsby John Barten
05/07/2013: A.J. Ellis: hardly swinging, hardly missingby Noah Woodward
05/07/2013: Baseball Press: a fantasy secret weaponby Jack Weiland
05/07/2013: The Verdict: keeping it on the DLby Michael Stein
05/06/2013: The National League Graph, 2013by Dave Studeman
05/06/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/06/2013: The daily grind: 5-6-13by Brad Johnson
05/06/2013: AL East division update: May editionby Nick Fleder
05/06/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
05/06/2013: Last living linksby Chris Jaffe
05/06/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 6, Vol. Iby Karl de Vries
05/05/2013: The American League Graph, 2013by Dave Studeman
05/04/2013: 50th anniversary: Braves balk-a-thonby Chris Jaffe
05/03/2013: The daily grind: 5-3-13by Brad Johnson
05/03/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/03/2013: Debut class WAR-fareby James Gentile
05/03/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Jose Cardenalby Bruce Markusen
05/03/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 5, Vol. IIIby Jack Weiland
05/03/2013: The Grand Tour, part fiveby Shane Tourtellotte
05/02/2013: Yankees acquire Chris Nelsonby Pat Andriola
05/02/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/02/2013: The daily grind: 5-2-13by Brad Johnson
05/02/2013: Tales from the scorebookby Richard Barbieri
05/02/2013: Daily fantasy gaming: Five adagesby Moe Koltun
05/02/2013: The Grand Tour, part fourby Shane Tourtellotte
05/01/2013: Ryan Howard’s odd decline continuesby Pat Andriola
05/01/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/01/2013: The daily grind: 5-1-13by Brad Johnson
05/01/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 5, Vol. IIby Karl de Vries
05/01/2013: The Grand Tour, part threeby Shane Tourtellotte
05/01/2013: Currently historic: That’s a lot of strikeoutsby Jason Linden
05/01/2013: 40th anniversary: incredible Giants comebackby Chris Jaffe
05/01/2013: BOB: The next big television deal?by Brian Borawski
<< Click here to return to the category list.
May 04, 2012
Calico Joe and home-field advantageI'm reading John Grisham's new book, Calico Joe. As the name, and certainly the book's cover, indicate, this is not his latest legal thriller. It's a quick (208-page) piece of baseball fiction for which his publisher has the gall to charge $25. (Thank goodness for libraries.) A full review may be forthcoming, but for now I'd like to focus on one singular scene in the book and the question it raised in my mind.
This might be spoiling things a bit, but the seminal moment of the book is a hit-by-pitch, as the home team's hurler plunks a visiting batter. There is some speculation that the batter simply didn't see the ball, that for some reason he couldn't pick up the ball as it rocketed toward his skull.
This got me thinking. In baseball, the home team usually wears white uniforms, while visiting squads wear some sort of colored uniform—gray, blue, red, yellow, orange, teal, purple, etc. (I think the Marlins' new unis contain all these colors, and more.) How much does the fact that a white baseball is being thrown by a pitcher in a white outfit contribute to home-field advantage?
Certainly, it's easier to pick up the ball against a dark background, which is why the batters' eye in ballparks usually is painted black or dark green, and why some teams have had to remove trees and other distractions from their center-field backdrops over the years.
An aside: Jeff Sullivan at SB Nation wrote an article recently about the advantage Jered Weaver gets throwing the ball with Angels Stadium's rockpile behind him, and it's possible this benefited Weaver in his recent no-hitter. Well, that and he was facing the Twins. There is also speculation that the Marlins' new home run feature could provide a similar benefit to certain pitchers.
A quick internet search did not come up with any studies examining the impact of jersey color on home-field advantage, so I'm wondering if anyone has looked into this effect. If not, it could be an area worth exploring. With so many teams donning non-white alternate home uniforms over the last several seasons, there could be a large enough sample size to work through the noise and see if there's any impact.
Posted by: Greg Simons
October 11, 2011
LCS thoughts & theories 10/11
Bullpen battle taken by Texas
After Texas starter Derek Holland was pulled with two outs in the third inning of Monday's ALCS game two, Rangers manager Ron Washington had to put his bullpen into action way earlier than he ever would have anticipated. Then the game went into extra innings, and the Rangers relief corps remained nearly perfect.
Texas' bullpen threw 8.1 scoreless innings, and they were rewarded by Nelson Cruz's 11th-inning grand slam that gave the Rangers a 7-3 win over Detroit and a 2-0 series lead going back to the Motor City. The Tigers' bullpen was perfect before Ryan Perry imploded in the 11th, but the battle of the bullpens has been a huge reason why Texas has taken the first two games at home in Arlington.
IP Record ERA WHIP K/9 Texas Bullpen 12.2 2-0 0.00 0.65 11.8 Detroit Bullpen 8.0 0-1 4.50 1.00 4.5
With the next games shifting over to Comerica Park, the Rangers relievers have a lot to live up to if they want to remain as close to flawless as possible. For the Tigers, the margin of error is close to none, which was proven with one swing of the bat Monday night.
Brewers starters unstable sans Gallardo
Milwaukee survived the NLDS against Arizona by winning all three of its home games, but the Cardinals offense has proven not as kind to the Brewers at Miller Park as the Diamondback hitters were.
Shaun Marcum allowed five runs in four innings in the Brewers' 12-3 loss to St. Louis in Game Two of the NLCS and continued the trend of Milwaukee starters not named Yovani Gallardo stumbling and faltering in the postseason. Zack Greinke struggled in the team's Game One win, and Randy Wolf was abysmal in the Division Series in Phoenix. Let's see how extreme the splits are between Gallardo and the rest of the Brewers rotation.
IP Record ERA WHIP K/9 Yovani Gallardo 14.0 1-0 1.29 0.92 9.00 MIL SP w/o Gallardo 18.2 1-2 9.53 2.07 7.54
Gallardo can only pitch two more games in this League Championship Series, so Ron Roenicke will need at least one of his other starters to perform up to team standards and fulfill this team's rightfully lofty expectations.
Posted by: Shlomo Sprung
October 07, 2011
The Division Series, last night and tonightMany Detroit players were key contributors in the team's ALDS upset of the Yankees, but two players acquired during the season by GM Dave Dombrowski, Doug Fister and Delmon Young, played key roles throughout the series, especially in the decisive game five.
Delmon Young PA Slash Line HR RBI R XBH With Twins 325 .266/.305/.357 4 32 26 20 With Tigers 178 .274/.298/.458 8 32 28 14 Tigers LDS 21 .316/.381/.789 3 3 4 3
Young's power numbers increased dramatically with Detroit, and his three solo homers against New York all came at crucial times. His home run in the first inning Thursday night gave the Tigers an early lead and set the tone for the rest of the contest for manager Jim Leyland.
On the other side of the ledger, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi surprisingly used the same lineup in all five games. Young top prospect Jesus Montero and veteran outfielder Andruw Jones were left on the bench. While right fielder Nick Swisher struggled, going 4-for-19 in the series, Jones notched an RBI in his lone plate appearance. Swisher surely had a solid regular season, but he has historically performed poorly in his career against Detroit. Jones has fared better.
Career PA Slash Line HR RBI R XBH Jones vs DET 75 .258/.387/.468 3 4 10 7 Swisher vs DET 236 .223/.369/.399 8 27 33 17
Granted, Swisher had a .273 average and a .414 OBP against the Tigers this year, but Girardi probably should have realized that Swisher was struggling in the series. While the Yankees manager was very quick to pull pitchers, he seemed strangely reluctant to change up his offense, which ultimately faltered in the disappointing defeat.
Milwaukee and Arizona both dominated their two games at home offensively, but the scene now shifts back to Miller Park for the deciding contest. Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo seems like a different pitcher at home; he had a 10-2 regular-season record at home with an even 3.00 ERA, more than a full point better than his road ERA. Though Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy is better at Chase Field than he is at home, his regular-season road numbers (10-2, 3.19) are quite comparable to Gallardo's.
In the NL's second Game Five, Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter has been a revelation since the All-Star break, going 7-2 with a 2.98 ERA and 3-0, 2.15 since the beginning of September. But only tonight's Game Five in Philadelphia matters now, with Carpenter playing second fiddle in the pregame billing to Phillies ace extraordinaire Roy Halladay. The splits clearly favor the home team:
Game Five SP IP Record ERA WHIP K/9 Halladay Home 112.2 8-3 2.48 0.99 8.6 Carpenter Road 119.1 7-6 3.85 1.27 7.4
Posted by: Shlomo Sprung
September 16, 2011
Revisiting the Napoli-Wells three-way tradeAfter Rangers catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli collected two more hits to raise his average to .312, it brought me back to what turned out to be a relatively lopsided three-way trade.
The original purpose of the deal was for Toronto to get rid of Vernon Wells' contract, sending him to the Angels for Napoli and Juan Rivera, who was later designated for assignment and shipped to the Dodgers. With J.P. Arencibia seen as their future at catcher, the Blue Jays sent Napoli to the Rangers for Frank Francisco, who turned out to be the Jays' closer for a decent stretch this season.
I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the players in this trade, which was really two separate deals, with a nifty comparison graphic.
PA Slash Line HR RBI R WAR Mike Napoli, Rangers 392 .312/.411/.613 26 67 67 5.0 Vernon Wells, Angels 478 .218/.251/.399 21 56 56 -0.3 Juan Rivera, TOR/LAD 473 .260/.321/.381 9 62 40 0.7
Innings Record/ERA/SV WHIP K/9 WAR Frank Francisco, Blue Jays 47.2 1-4, 3.78, 15 1.36 9.44 0.7
Despite Wells having $86 million left on his contract at the time of the trade and Anaheim being left to start a light-hitting, defensive-minded catcher in Jeff Mathis, the Angels decided it would be best to acquire Wells and deal the power-hitting Napoli, coming off a 26-home run season, to the Blue Jays. Having led baseball in team home runs the season before, it was understandable that Toronto would trade Napoli to Texas for some relief help.
But the clear, obvious winners in the trade were the Rangers. Napoli has given them yet another power-hitting addition to their scary-potent offense, while Wells has proven that he will be a past-his-prime toxic contract for the Angels for years to come. Who would have thought that trading Napoli to Toronto would have drastically changed the landscape of the AL West race?
Posted by: Shlomo Sprung
June 29, 2011
Pop quiz: What to do with the DH?After a three-game appetizer in mid-May, baseball is in the midst of feeding its fans a steady two-and-a-half-week diet of interleague games. Some fans enjoy the taste, while others would rather swallow ground glass.
To each his own, right? Well, no, where would the fun be in that?
Aside from abrogating the purity of the single-league schedules, interleague play also introduces the conundrum of the designated hitter.
How can American League teams be expected to compete with one of their vital bats on the bench? How can National League teams match up against their Junior Circuit brethren when they don't have a thumper to insert into the lineup opposite the AL's full-time hitter?
Usually, this wrinkle is played out according the host team's rules. Well, actually, it always is, but occasionally it doesn't seem that way.
Click for more...
Posted by: Greg Simons
Click here for more THT Notes.