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Fire Up The Hot Stove November 2, 2010

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Although I’m usually fairly heavy on the statistical content, I can’t help but mention a few impressions from Game 5 of the World Series last night.

  • If I didn’t have Baseball-Reference.com to tell me different, I’d have assumed Aubrey Huff wasn’t an everyday first baseman from the way he played last night. He was competent and made some nice picks, but he didn’t seem to have the ankle-preservation instinct that most everyday 1Bs do. He seemed to have his heels back quite far on the bag most of the time.
  • The rumors about the Yankees pursuing Cliff Lee strike me as cartoonish supervillainy. “If I cannot defeat you, I will simply BUY you!”
  • Game 3 was the Lee vs. Tim Lincecum gem that we all assumed Game 1 would be.
  • Somewhere, Bengie Molina is secretly pouring champagne all over himself.
  • If the postseason came before voting, Buster Posey would be a lock for Rookie of the

Cheap Wins July 16, 2010

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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The opposite of the Tough Loss discussed below (which R.A. Dickey unfortunately experienced tonight in a duel with Tim Lincecum) is a Cheap Win. Logically, since a Tough Loss is a loss in a quality start, a Cheap Win (invented by Bill James) is a win in a non-quality start – that is, a start with a game score of below 50 (or, officially, a start with fewer than 6.0 innings pitched or more than 3 runs allowed).

The Chicago White Sox’ starter, John Danks, picked up a Cheap Win in Thursday’s game against the Twins. Although he pitched six innings, he gave up six runs (all earned) in the second inning, leading to an abysmal game score of 33. Danks had two of last year’s 304 Cheap Wins. Ricky Romero led the pack with six, and Joe Saunders and Tim Wakefield were both among the six pitchers with five Cheap Wins. Even Roy Halladay had two.

Through the beginning of the All-Star Break, there have been 136 Cheap Wins in 2010. That includes one by my current favorite player, Yovani Gallardo. John Lackey is already up to 5, and Brian Bannister is knocking on the door with 4.

It’s hard to read too much into the tea leaves of Cheap Wins, since they’re not all created equal. In general, they represent a pitcher sliding a little bit off his game, but his team upping their run production to rescue him. To that end, Cheap Wins might be a better measure of a team’s ability than Tough Losses, since, while Tough Losses show a pitcher maintaining himself under fire, Cheap Wins represent an ability to hit in the clutch (assuming that run production in Cheap Wins is significantly different from run production in other games). That’s hard to validate without doing a bit more work, but it’s a project to consider.

Cy Young gives me a headache. January 15, 2010

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Economics.
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As usual, I’ve started my yearly struggle against a Cy Young predictor. Bill James and Rob Neyer’s predictor (which I’ve preserved for posterity here) did a pretty poor job this year, having predicted the wrong winner in both leagues and even getting the order very wrong compared to the actual results. Inside, I’d like to share some of my pain, since I can’t seem to do much better.

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