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We spend so much time trying to explain the concept of Defense Independent Pitching Statistics that sometimes we can forget its deficiencies. Colin Wyers tackles the problem of going beyond DIPS over at THT. He says:
Almost every DIPS-like measure of performance has resorted to the use of some sort of component ERA to figure out a pitcher's defense independent performance. For some reason, most of the controversy surrounding the use of DIPS has focused around Voros's conclusions on balls in play, when really it's the use of component ERAs that warrants further examination.
He finds, for example, that Pedro Martinez is more likely to induce a ground ball with the bases loaded than he is in other situations.
Does Felix Hernandez have new mechanics? Did you notice an exaggerated hip twist during the All-Star Game? Pro Ball NW answers yes on both counts, and argues it is a recent development. They think it's good news:
If this new delivery doesn’t negatively affect his health– and I don’t think it will– then we should be able to sit back and watch Felix continue to turn into an ace with his new windup in tow.
You can find animated .gifs at the link.
Speaking of mechanics that might cause injury (at least to others), Baseball-Intellect has a series of .gifs breaking down the swing of Hanley Ramirez. It's a short, violent burst of energy.
Ramirez lets the ball travel deep into his hitting zone and turns the hands and hips together on a very firm front leg. At contact, the arms extend and the ball explodes off his bat. Throughout this entire process, Ramirez’s head is stable, making it easier for him to track the ball out of the pitcher’s hand.
The Elias Sports free agent rankings were reverse engineered last year, and now they can be updated as the season goes forward. MLB Trade Rumors has an update with scores for every player at each of the position groupings. It's a fun way to see which free agents might potentially net their former teams a crop of draft picks in return.
In the warm up circle, is it better to swing a heavy bat or a lighter one? What about two or three bats? Scientific American has an interesting piece discussing some of the finer points of baseball science. The answers might surprise you.
Should teams front load their contracts, rather than backloading them? Many teams find they cannot move players with backloaded contracts because no one is willing to pay the premium salary. Joe DelGrippo proposes front-loaded contracts as a way to avoid the problem:
Why not pay Teixeira $35 million for the next four seasons (through age 33) and then $8.75 million in years 2013 through 2016? The last four salaries could also be gradually declined from a high of $15 million in 2013, to $10 million in 2014 and $5 million each in years 2015 and 2106. And he is still getting the most money of any team, and he is getting the money much more quickly.
I would suspect that there are plenty of non-obvious obstacles to this sort of compensation structure.
For some good humor, Lookout Landing has analogized each player on the 2009 team to things that happen to you while you are in your car. For example:
Carlos Silva: you're driving around a lonely stretch of highway when your car starts to smell funny, and it breaks down just as you're crossing the train tracks, and then the railroad barriers sound off and lower themselves, and then your doors jam and won't open, and OH MY GOD THERE'S A COBRA IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT
Jose Lopez: leaving work to drive home, you notice that the gas light is on, but you decide, what the hell, I'm gonna go for it.
I think Mariners fans have to develop a special sense of humor to survive in the rainy northwest.
Finally, do you play baseball simulations? One of the venerable franchises, Out of the Park, has just released its latest iteration, dubbed "X" (ten). At BDD, Craig Brown reviews the new game, and comes away impressed:
The depth of this game is incredible. When I first downloaded the game, I couldn’t really decide what was different (apart from the 2009 Opening Day rosters.) However, the more I played and the deeper I was sucked in, the more apparent it became: OOTP was already a great game. OOTP X is the best version yet.