December 5, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category Strategy .
11/14/2013: Let’s discuss the THT Annualby Dave Studeman
11/12/2013: It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014by Dave Studeman
12/04/2013: Cataloging the non-tendered playersby Brad Johnson
12/04/2013: Alone on the pedestalby Jason Linden
12/03/2013: Mascot fight!by Greg Simons
12/03/2013: Why is a sinker “heavy?”by David Kagan
12/03/2013: The role of fall leaguesby Jeff Moore
12/02/2013: Nationals make great deal for Fisterby Matt Filippi
12/02/2013: The Twins go holiday shopping, but to what end?by Brad Johnson
12/02/2013: The end of the benchby Chris Jaffe
11/29/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Danny Waltonby Bruce Markusen
11/29/2013: The best rookies of the ‘30sby Chad Dotson
11/27/2013: Towards an award prediction systemby Shane Tourtellotte
11/26/2013: MLB’s coffers are overflowingby Greg Simons
11/26/2013: The role of prospects in tradesby Jeff Moore
11/25/2013: Stepping up to the plateby Frank Jackson
11/25/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about player birthdaysby Chris Jaffe
11/22/2013: The end of the road for Chris Carpenterby Chad Dotson
11/21/2013: All the news that’s fit to inventby Azure Texan
11/20/2013: Marcus Stroman, the mythbusting machineby Kyle Boddy
11/20/2013: Welcome to the birthplace of… someone elseby Jason Linden
11/19/2013: 2013 THT awards reviewby Greg Simons
11/18/2013: THT Fantasy has moved to Rotographsby Dave Studeman
11/18/2013: Atlanta gets burned againby Frank Jackson
11/18/2013: The 2014 Hall of Fame VC ballotby Chris Jaffe
11/18/2013: Must See MLB.TV 2013by Dave Studeman
11/15/2013: The best rookies of the ‘40sby Chad Dotson
11/15/2013: Card Corner: Wayne Granger: 1973 Toppsby Bruce Markusen
11/14/2013: 10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski tradeby Chris Jaffe
11/14/2013: The Screwball: The face of championship baseballby Azure Texan
11/14/2013: Player-A-Day: Casey Fienby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Player-A-Day: Tim Lincecumby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Pitcher performance after batting successby Shane Tourtellotte
11/13/2013: 25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letterby Chris Jaffe
11/13/2013: Houston hoodoo ‘62by Frank Jackson
11/12/2013: Player-A-Day: Joe Mauerby Brad Johnson
11/11/2013: Fastball velocity by game stateby Jon Roegele
11/11/2013: The rise of the middle-aged managerby Chris Jaffe
11/08/2013: Player-A-Day: Josmil Pintoby Brad Johnson
11/08/2013: Hall monitor: The case for Andruw Jonesby Chad Dotson
11/07/2013: Big leaguers, bit partsby Azure Texan
11/07/2013: Player-A-Day: Nathan Eovaldiby Brad Johnson
11/06/2013: If he’d only gotten another shotby Jason Linden
11/06/2013: Player-A-Day: David DeJesusby Brad Johnson
11/05/2013: Player-A-Day: David Ortizby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Dariel Abreuby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: The Boston (Braves) Marathon of 1928by Frank Jackson
11/04/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about birthdays in 2013by Chris Jaffe
11/01/2013: Taking the close pitch with two strikesby James Gentile
11/01/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Don Baylorby Bruce Markusen
11/01/2013: The best rookies of the ‘50sby Chad Dotson
10/31/2013: The Screwball: Celebrate good times, come on!by Azure Texan
10/31/2013: Player-A-Day: Leonys Martinby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Player-A-Day: Jon Lesterby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Forecasting the major 2013 awardsby Shane Tourtellotte
10/30/2013: The effect of seeing pitchesby Jon Roegele
10/29/2013: Putting the knock on pitching changesby Joe Distelheim
10/29/2013: Player-A-Day: Ryan Howardby Brad Johnson
10/29/2013: Losing momentum in the sixth gameby Dave Studeman
10/29/2013: Previewing the fall Stars gameby Jeff Moore
10/28/2013: Player-A-Day: Travis Woodby Brad Johnson
10/28/2013: Marquis Grissom: Mr. October Jr.by Frank Jackson
10/25/2013: The blackballing of Dick Dietzby Bruce Markusen
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Xander Bogaertsby Brad Johnson
10/24/2013: The Screwball: Put it in neutral?by Azure Texan
10/24/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘00sby Richard Barbieri
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Michael Wachaby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: Earn money watching baseballby Dave Studeman
10/23/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Iglesiasby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: 20th anniversary: The Joe Carter gameby Chris Jaffe
10/23/2013: Giants take a risk with Lincecum’s two-year dealby Matt Filippi
10/23/2013: BOB: Nolan Ryan retires…for nowby Brian Borawski
10/22/2013: Where does David Price fit?by Jeff Moore
10/22/2013: Survey says?!?!?by Greg Simons
10/22/2013: ALCS post-mortem: The Fielder playby Shane Tourtellotte
10/21/2013: The best rivalries of 2013by Chris Jaffe
10/21/2013: World Series workhorsesby Frank Jackson
10/20/2013: WPS recap: ALCS, 10/19/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/19/2013: WPS Recap: NLCS, 10/18/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/18/2013: WPS recap: ALCS, 10/17/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/18/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Bob Baileyby Bruce Markusen
10/18/2013: The 2013 Atlanta Braves and core WARby James Gentile
10/18/2013: The best rookies of the ‘60sby Chad Dotson
10/17/2013: The Screwball: What about Bob Lemon?by Azure Texan
10/17/2013: WPS Recap: LCS, 10/16/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/16/2013: WPS recap: LCS, 10/15/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/16/2013: How much do we know about pitcher value?by Jason Linden
10/16/2013: 10th anniversary: the Aaron Boone Gameby Chris Jaffe
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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.
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Posted by: Greg Simons
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