Stopping by Yards on a Snowy Morning
Posted by Charles Thu, 13 Feb 2014 13:42:39 -0500
Filed Under: art
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Whose yards these are I think I know.
His house is in the Apple, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To view his yards with bird in tow.
My Oriole must think it queer
To stop without the green grass here
Between the yards and Eutaw street
The summer evenings nowhere near.
He gives his home run swing a tweak
To wait while I through fences peek.
The lonely park now only site
Of drifts of snow, not fans in seats.
The yards are lovely, clean, and white,
But snow must melt ere balls take flight,
As home runs deep into the night,
As home runs deep into the night.
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Apologies to Robert Frost and his fans.
Big and Little Fish in Big and Little Ponds
Posted by Joseph Wed, 05 Feb 2014 16:01:57 -0500
Filed Under: contracts defense past performances players science
This is a subject I've discussed previously, and continue to be fascinated by: how the Southpaw ratings expose players who are either (a) good hitters but not good enough to justify their placement at a good-hit/no-field defensive position or (b) poor hitters but good enough that they are rated above-average amongst others who hold down a good-field/no-hit defensive position. The players included in these groups are not the best or worst hitters, but rather the hitters whose rating places them in the limbo where their ability or inability to handle the demands of a premier defensive position determines the value of their hitting contributions.
This is useful information, as it should inform roster and contract decisions.
In technical terms, I am defining a season which qualifies for one of the two groups as one in which the player either had a positive rating-versus-league hitters (RVL) along with a negative rating-versus-position (RVP) hitters, or vice-versa. I also insist on at least 400 hitting events. Historically, the players in the (a) category are almost all first basemen or left fielders, and in the (b) group all shortstops, because those positions represent the contrasting edges of the defensive spectrum. I have constructed two lists, ranking the players by the number of seasons in which they qualified for one of the other of the categories.
Here's the list of the good hitters whose hitting value was most often nullified by their defensive ineptitude:
Tino was a surprise to me. I checked over his raw stats and they are consistent throughout his career, even in the period from 1999 onwards in which Southpaw thinks he became a below-average hitting first baseman. My inclination is the ascribe this to his cleanliness during a period of heavy steroid use among his peers. His RVP values during that period range from -1 to -11, so he wasn't far below average. And he's being compared to the other first basemen of the 1999-2004 period, including Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, and Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, Jim Thome, Carlos Delgado and, toward the end, Albert Pujols. It only takes a few players with inflated numbers and ratings to push a borderline hitter into negative RVP territory.
Here's the list of the poor hitters whose hitting value was maximized by their defensive prowess:
'Poor hitters' is probably the wrong term. Several of those listed were fine hitters. The list shows that even in seasons in which they hit poorly, they were valuable. There were a number of other shortstops who managed 5 such seasons. I included Parrish only because he was the only non-shortstop in the top 30...
Here are the same lists, included only players who qualified for the categories in the recently-completed 2013 season.
Good hitters but below-average for their position in 2013:
Southpaw is not too impressed with Mr. Puig, although I find him about as fun to watch as any player I can think of. Loney is the current poster-boy for this group. Trumbo is disappointing, and makes far too many outs.
Poor hitters but above-average for their position in 2013:
I was impressed with Rollins' ability to accomplish this feat at age 34, but it turns out it's common. Aparicio, for instance, was above-average until age 39, when he retired. Seems like he could've kept at it.