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Where does the talent come from

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:44 AM
So I did back of the napkin math only here but looked at three recent WS teams to see how they constructed their teams. I only added up t...

Jonathan Schoop or Ian Kinsler?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:44 AM
Did the Twins make a mistake jumping the gun on the Schoop signing?   Ian Kinsler just signed with San Diego for 2 years $8M total....

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Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:36 AM
According to the Star Tribune, Byron Buxton is displeased with the Twins after not being called up in September of 2018. According to Byr...

Article: Official Rule 5 Draft Day Thread

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 08:52 AM
The Winter Meetings in Las Vegas have been fairly quiet against in 2018. Certainly there are meetings, but there haven't been a lot of si...

Article: Rundown: Cruz, Cahill, Soria and Ramos

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:11 AM
FanCred's Jon Heyman reported Monday that the Twins were in the mix for Nelson Cruz. New Twins beat writer for MLB.com Do-Hyoung Park con...

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Oh man, those stats!

Posted by mikelink45 , 19 November 2018 · 594 views

twins major league baseball sabremetrics trends statistics
Oh man, those stats! So the computer guys told us this would be smart, we see the trend and we jump on it. Use relievers every day! Let's look at a couple simple stats that are within my grasp. 162 games - average reliever use per game now 3 - put in an opener and it might be 4, but lets not worry about those games where Giminez came in or other extended innings. Just 162 games times three - 486 relief appearances. So we carry 13 pitchers, 5 are starters. 8 relief pitchers divided into 486 means 60 relief appearances per pitcher - forget those who are so valuable that they are out more often.

Check out historical use on Baseball Reference - https://www.baseball...istorical_Usage and you can see the various trends in pitching from the every other game starters of the 1800s to the four man rotation and lots of complete games to five man rotation and a growing requirement for relief pitchers. The more pitchers the less they are used and the more relief we need. Tommy John surgery increases, pitchers are using pitch counts but no one knows whether it is the pitch count or the frequency of pitching that matters. How did Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal and all those great pitchers survive? Must be some stat there that can answer.

Trends have always made us smarter. Remember when Coca Cola came out with New Coke and soon the non-stat drinkers rejected it as well as Crystal Pepsi and its clear cola. Or maybe your family had an Edsel - talk about a car of the future! Or more recently we had Netflix divide into Netflix and Quikster - don't remember - understandable. The streaming only branch was flushed down the stream.

There was the Apple Newton that was an instant success followed by an instant failure, it just did not deliver, kind of like the sixth man in your bullpen rotation. Then there is that weight reducing fat - Olestra - that Lays used to produce Wow chips! In one year the FDA called a halt, of course the customers did too when they learned that the way that they lost weight was because it induced diarrhea. Kind of like changing pitchers 3 times in an inning induces a coma.

Two giants sat down with their marketing stat heads and combined to produce a soda bottle product called Mazagran - coffee tasting soda - within the year the stats called sales numbers forced this Starbuck/Pepsi product off the market. And it would have been an excellent opener to start your day. I will not even comment on the attempt by Colgate - the toothpaste company - to put out a line of frozen foods. Did they clean your teeth when you were done? We will never know.

But more recent and perhaps more important to this audience - Playboy decided to drop nudity - where are those geniuses. Did they really believe people bought it for the articles? Well they don't now - those geniuses are back in the minor leagues and nudity is on the rise again.

So now we have a trend that created a trend - fifth starters were not much better - if at all - than the bullpen guys so suddenly we evolved to bullpenning. The term does not mean anything, but it is a trend, just like launch angle and increased strikeouts. Does that mean anything to the game? Well strikeout require more pitches which means the pitch count is reached earlier so we must pull the starter and bring in the reliever. More pitches, more game delays, more time before the game ends, longer games and the commissioner wants to figure out how to change this. Good luck.

Check out various trends with this excellent set of graphs - https://michaelbein.com/baseball.html then look at the graph on this site for length of games and runs scored - https://www.beyondth...visual-analysis and then we ask the question - do people want longer games with less runs scored? Do people want to see more pitchers and less runners on base?

As an old guy I love Mike Trout - “The two biggest stats to me are runs scored and RBI,’’ says two-time MVP Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, the game’s greatest player in the midst of his finest season. “I mean, that’s how you win games right, scoring the most runs?’’

Bob Nightengale has an interesting article - https://www.usatoday...uts/718162002/ - that looks at trends and solutions.

So, if the trends are hurting baseball, baseball might want to buck the trends, limit relief pitcher use, reduce the innings, move back the fences, reduce the innings. I do not know the answer, but as a former tax accountant I can tell you that numbers can prove many things, but they cannot make the game more enjoyable, unless you are just into APBA, Rotisserie, Fantasy, X-box, etc; nor can they change the human body. Use stats, but don't go too far I really want to see a baseball game - not relays from the bullpen.

  • KGB, DocBauer and Platoon like this



Time to respond to my own blog - remember all the stat heads that came down on Suzuki as Minnesota catcher.Now he has signed with the Nationals - two year contract after being the starting catcher for Atlanta.So what is the stathead evaluation for this and why does everyone else want him?

First....GREAT POST!!

Second...in regard to Suzuki...and something I've mentioned previously, including when he was a Twin...the catching position in unique. It's not just defense vs offense, or hoping for the best of both worlds. Sometimes it just comes down to leadeeship and game calling. Making your pitchers feel comfortable.

I still feel that's why Castro was brought on board. One thing I will Molitor credit for...even though I think he used too padded kids gloves than he should have...he tried to break Garver in slowly with his use/over use of Wilson. I feel Garver really improved defensively as the season wore on, and the bat really came around, but I felt his game calling was pretty solid. Even in the early portion of the season...and I posted a piece on this...he lead the team in games where the team allowed 0-2 runs scored.

Lastly...the game has absolutely seen nuanced changes. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. But when I read so much about power, launch angles, high SO total being acceptable, I wonder sometimes about fads and new age approaches. And don't get me wrong, if the best way for the Twins to win is build a strong pen, and "break in" a rookie pitcher or two with a designated starter, I'm OK with a new approach.

And I am NOT advocating some old thinking, Molitor bunting way too often idea, BUT, wouldn't it be wild to think your new and young FO and new and young manager and staff could incorporate some "old" ideas in to new thinking? In this age of overshift and HR and high SO numbers, how about a few bunts to an empty side of the infield? How about contact, OB guys mixed through your lineup to play some hit and run, especially with a shift on? How about taking your best athletes...and the Twins have some...and refining their base running to steal some bases?

Is that old school ball? You bet it is. But when everyone goes so far one direction, one thing you can do is counter that with a different approach. Forward thinking can also mean reverse reflection. Even in the pass happy, no contact NFL, the old fashioned ground game and good defense still equates to wins.

As much as Odorizzi frustrated me at times...and I was surprised to see how well he ranked in so many categories when the season was done...what often surprised me was his SO numbers. Time and again I saw swinging strikes, and SO, simply because he threw high pitches. If the batter is looking for low stuff to drive for launch angle, then tease him with high stuff. (Another reason where I still think he's be an outstanding set up man or closer).

I'm am just really hoping the FO and field staff will build a versatile team, use all the analytics they can, but not be afraid to play baseball the way it was meant to be played.

Like Trout said, scoring more runs means you win, right?
    • mikelink45 likes this
I was talking to another baseball oriented fellow the other day. And we were discussing catchers "calling the game". Our question/observation was this. If catchers are truly calling the game, why do they spend time looking into the dugout before most pitches? Especially if no one is on base? And using a stat based managing philosophy that question becomes even more pertintnet. What catcher could ever memorize all the advantages certain pitches in certain counts offer? They are looking into the dugout for a reason. I highly doubt it's to see whether the Dominies Pizza guy showed up with his pepperoni, green olive special.
    • mikelink45 likes this

 

I was talking to another baseball oriented fellow the other day. And we were discussing catchers "calling the game". Our question/observation was this. If catchers are truly calling the game, why do they spend time looking into the dugout before most pitches? Especially if no one is on base? And using a stat based managing philosophy that question becomes even more pertintnet. What catcher could ever memorize all the advantages certain pitches in certain counts offer? They are looking into the dugout for a reason. I highly doubt it's to see whether the Dominies Pizza guy showed up with his pepperoni, green olive special.

Good questions and good observations.Maybe we can speed up the game with a headset on both catcher and pitcher and the pitching coach can call for the pitches and locations.Football figured out the microphone and speaker in their violent game.Imagine how fast the game would be if we did not have Kimbrel with his ostrich stance or any other pitcher standing there and staring at the catchers crotch. 

Here is one stat that everyone in baseball needs to understand - Rosenthal writes in the Athletic - "coming off its lowest season attendance since 2003, the league cannot dismiss the need to improve the competition between clubs."  

 

And I would add that perhaps we had better go back to what did work.Tanking is not adding to the enjoyment, strike outs and home runs are not elevating the excitement.  

 

Time to see what works and emphasize the best of baseball.