Daily Box Score 6/22: Called Shots, the Death of 3D Bill James, & The Bastardo Effect

[Sky's note: Please welcome Tommy Bennett to the BtB scene.  He's going to scour the tubes each day in search of saber-slanted content you and your RSS reader might have missed.  Please treat him better than we treat R.J.  What should you do if you find something yourself that you think BtB readers would enjoy?  Why, FanShot it, of course!]

Via Baseball AnalystsHITf/x analysis of hitters' tendency to pull the ball.  Not surprisingly, pitches down and in, as well as ground balls, are the most commonly pulled.  Additionally, righties pull the ball more frequently than lefties. Perhaps most surprisingly, left-handed batters hit the ball 70+ mph at a wider range of spray angles than righties. Could this be a residue of selection for lefties?  Or perhaps a result of getting to face opposite-handed pitchers more frequently?


Who needs HITf/x, anyway?  Just ask Albert Pujols where he is going to hit the ball.  (via Projo Sox Blog)

[Pujols] predicted to assistant hitting coach Mike Aldrete that his next at-bat would ricochet off the yet-to-open Royals Hall of Fame behind the visitors bullpen in left field. 'He didn't say he might hit the Hall of Fame. He said he would hit the Hall of Fame,' Aldrete recalled. Pujols returned in the fourth inning against Royals starting pitcher Gil Meche with the bases loaded and one out in a 4-4 game. Pujols and Meche reached a full count. By then Meche had shown Pujols every pitch in his repertoire except a change-up. When Meche finally threw the pitch, Pujols swatted it some 423 feet off a Hall of Fame window.


The film adaptation of Moneyball (which was to feature Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, a 3D animated Bill James, and direction by Steven Soderberg) has been let go by Sony and Columbia Pictures.  According to the article, both Soderberg and Pitt are attempting to woo other studios to the project.  More proof the Moneyball-revolution is over, right? (via Variety)


At BDD, Bill Baer defends sabermetrics against its critics, and somehow ends up mentioning PETA, the Bible, science, and Matt Wieters.  He wonders about the nature of the sabermetrics "community."   If there were such a thing as a sabermetrics community (and those of us here at BtB would say that there is), wouldn't we be able to save the Moneyball movie?  Or do letter-writing campaigns doom a community to cult-status (I'm looking at you, fans of Freaks and Geeks).


Chicagoland newspaper the Daily Herald takes a trip to U.S. Cellular Field for "Sabermetrics Night."  Some highlights:

The crowd was overwhelmingly affluent white males (BP's primary demographic), but there were signs sabermetrics have taken hold with the young folk.

Get 'em while they're young, that's what I always say.  Prefacing a quick tour through VORP, EqA, FIP and DERA, the author writes:

To list every metric invented over the last 20 years might take up more room than pi (hint: it's infinite)

Is this the sort of thing where hints are useful?  Hmm, maybe there's a stat for that...


Rob Neyer notices that an historically high percentage of this year's starts have been by rookies.  Tipped off by Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen, who attributed the change to fewer veteran pitchers taking steroids (?), Neyer comes to the conclusion that the change is due to increased efficiency in the market for back-of-the-rotation starters.  As he puts it, 

[W]hat I suspect is that baseball executives, collectively speaking, have realized that if you're going to have a starter with a 5.32 ERA, it may as well be a cheap kid who's learning something instead of an expensive veteran who's got no upside.

Call it the Bastardo effect.


Chad Finn wants us all to give Daisuke Matsuzaka the benefit of the doubt.  Just another attempt at ex post justification of what is really just miserable luck?  His BABIP this season still sits an an unsightly .441 (albeit with a liner rater of nearly 27%).  Surprisingly enough, his K/9 is up this year, and BB/9 is down.  He's given up more than 2 HR/9, though, and his HR/FB is 15.1%.  Ah, well, just make up an injury and call up a Hall of Famer.


Finally, Hardball Times throws ERA, FIP, xFIP, and tRA into the Terrordome to see which has the most predictive value.  A regression analysis suggests xFIP just nudges out tRA.  Correlation increased with IP, as would be expected.  The problem with all these statistics (save ERA itself), Colin Wyers argues, is that they look only at components of a pitcher's success which are defensive-independent.  However, ignoring defense does make component measures faulty predictors of future ERA, which is defense-dependent.  A proper predictor, then, would have to include knowledge of team defense.  Wyers suggests his own Simple Zone Rating, and promises to explore more next week.

And that, my friends, is how you get a Mad Max 3 clip into a link roundup.

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