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ManifunkDestiny
Aug 2, 2005

King


So after moseying through the MLB.tv signup thread, it appears that there are quite a few baseball fans who lurk SAS. Plus, with the upcoming NFL and possible NBA work stoppages, there may be new fans who want to give this whole baseball thing a try, at least until their beloved sports return.

This thread is for you.

This is a thread for questions, clarifications, quandaries, queries, conundrums, complaints and comments which you think might be mercilessly ridiculed by SAS's current MLB cognoscenti. Let me stress that THIS IS A SAFE SPACE. No question will be mocked, no poster will be derided for any question. So please, if you have any questions about baseball, its teams, stats, players or rules, ask away! Even though the MLB posters can come off as a bit insular sometimes, we really do enjoy adding to our ranks, and new posters and insights are always welcome.

So for example if:
- You want to know why wins-losses, RBIs, runs and batting average are mediocre-at-best, terrible-at-worst stats
- You want help finding a team which you can root for
- You're wondering what on earth acronyms like BABIP, VORP, WAR and OPS mean
- You have no idea what these .250/.370/.400 slash lines mean
- You don't know why batting lineups are made the way they do, and why it is (or is not) important
- You have even incredibly basic questions that you are too shy to ask

Please ask here! It's all about spreading the appreciation of the greatest sport in the US, baseball, to as many people as possible.

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chrysamere
Feb 22, 2011

by Ozma


Is it just me, or do the playoffs seem like a total crapshoot? I don't feel like a season that is 162 games long can be accurately decided by a best of 5 or 7 games series. Some of the winners like the '06 Cardinals, '10 Giants and losers, like the '07 Rockies seem woefully insufficient to me.

kensei
Dec 27, 2007

I do martial arts and eat pizza, I'm basically a ninja turtle.


Here is an awesome quote that I put in the MLB N/V OP:

Philly posted:

I'm the resident stats/SABR guy for Purple Row (SBNation blog). Below is a list of how most basic stats work (and by basic I mean like rate stats for pitchers and batters, etc).

http://www.purplerow.com/2009/8/19/...-and-what-we-do => for Batters
http://www.purplerow.com/2009/8/26/...ics-ii-pitching => for Pitchers

And here are some articles focusing on specific metrics

WPA: http://www.purplerow.com/2009/7/22/...s-great-why-hes
tRA: http://www.purplerow.com/2009/5/20/...ched-better-and
VORP: http://www.purplerow.com/2009/4/29/...ief-explanation
BABIP: http://www.purplerow.com/2009/4/22/...-quails-and-the
FIP: http://www.purplerow.com/2009/4/1/8...eserve-that-era
wOBA: http://www.purplerow.com/2009/3/11/...cks-there-are-s (another writer wrote this for me, and it's an incomplete study - it doesn't delve deep enough into linear weights, etc - but it's good for back-of-the-envelope wOBA calculation)

And finally, a scorekeeping tutorial, because keeping score rocks so many faces off it's hard to understand completely(seriously, I've run into more than 1 person I've never met before using a printout of this article AT Coors Field):

http://www.purplerow.com/2009/4/15/...ean-scorecard-a

Oh also, another PR writer did stuff on WAR and a shitpile of articles on like service time and drafts and 40-man rosters etc etc etc

http://www.purplerow.com/category/p...-academy?page=3 start here and just keep clicking older, it's loving gold

There is a lot of good information about the terms and stats you see mentioned in the MLB threads in those links! I know the MLB N/V thread OP is pretty big, but it's worth reading...

Abel Wingnut
Dec 23, 2002



chrysamere posted:

Is it just me, or do the playoffs seem like a total crapshoot? I don't feel like a season that is 162 games long can be accurately decided by a best of 5 or 7 games series. Some of the winners like the '06 Cardinals, '10 Giants and losers, like the '07 Rockies seem woefully insufficient to me.

You're probabilistically and statistically correct.

Medical Sword
May 23, 2005

Goghing, Goghing, gone


chrysamere posted:

Is it just me, or do the playoffs seem like a total crapshoot? I don't feel like a season that is 162 games long can be accurately decided by a best of 5 or 7 games series. Some of the winners like the '06 Cardinals, '10 Giants and losers, like the '07 Rockies seem woefully insufficient to me.

I have made this exact post like 40 times now in SAS but there is a great book about probability and statistics called The Drunkard's Walk that uses baseball playoff series specifically in one chapter to prove a point about people underestimating the randomness involved in short series of events.

JayMax
Jun 14, 2007

Hard-nosed gentleman


Is the use of performance enhancing drugs as common as ever or was there an effective crackdown in the last few years?

Badfinger
Dec 16, 2004

Timeouts?!

We'll take care of that.


chrysamere posted:

Is it just me, or do the playoffs seem like a total crapshoot? I don't feel like a season that is 162 games long can be accurately decided by a best of 5 or 7 games series. Some of the winners like the '06 Cardinals, '10 Giants and losers, like the '07 Rockies seem woefully insufficient to me.

They really are. Some of the better baseball statisticians have concluded that even very lopsided matchups are only about 55/45 in favor of the better team for a 7 game series and it seems pretty reasonable.

I CHALLENGE THEE
Aug 25, 2005

kirk gibson is a piece of shit


JayMax posted:

Is the use of performance enhancing drugs as common as ever or was there an effective crackdown in the last few years?

The use of steroids in particular was severely overblown by the media. The game is obviously cleaner but players will use any advantage possible, so it basically depends on your definition of performance enhancing drugs. Is steroid use down? Probably. Are players still taking drugs to enhance performance? Absolutely.

Pumpkin McPastry
Mar 8, 2004

What else do I have to do to impress you people?


ManifunkDestiny posted:

- You have no idea what these .250/.370/.400 slash lines mean

Whoa. Only explanation I can think of for this player is "Catcher in the 8 slot in the NL", and that still doesn't seem quite right.

I CHALLENGE THEE
Aug 25, 2005

kirk gibson is a piece of shit


Pumpkin McPastry posted:

Whoa. Only explanation I can think of for this player is "Catcher in the 8 slot in the NL", and that still doesn't seem quite right.

Dom Brown, after he recovers from his hamate injury

The hamate is a bone in the wrist which, when broken, can permanently sap the power from a hitter. Dom Brown, the Phillies number one prospect, broke it this weekend, hence the joke.

HOTLANTA MAN
Jul 4, 2010

Cody sunk into the top of the desk as Damien fell to his elbows over him. He grabbed a handful of hair and whispered in his year: "Oh my dear, you are going to make an excellent apprentice. I have so much more to teach you..."


Does the manager have as big of a role as people think he does in the MLB? I usually seem to think all they do is set up lineup cards.

Dumb question, I know.

Abel Wingnut
Dec 23, 2002



One Sick Puppy posted:

Does the manager have as big of a role as people think he does in the MLB? I usually seem to think all they do is set up lineup cards.

Dumb question, I know.

Rule of thumb: A manager can aid slightly, but hinder greatly. This is especially true when it comes to bullpen usage.

leokitty
Apr 5, 2005

Well I had to phone his friend to state my case, and say he's lost control again.

And he showed up all the errors and mistakes, and said I've lost control again.

The biggest thing managers impact are playing time and bullpen management.

Excessive platooning can stifle the development of young players who need to get as many ABs as possible, and is often done because of assumptions that they can't hit a LHP rather than any evidence. It doesn't even have to be young players really, in 2007 Joe Torre was sitting Bobby Abreu against LHP to play KEVIN THOMPSON which was just terrible.

Bad bullpen management is the worst thing in the world and results in dead pitchers and lost games.

Bullpen management that is extremely hands on TLR style also makes the games a lot longer and aggravating for marginal benefits.

Bunts are the worst and stupid but they don't come up too much even though it is aggravating as gently caress when someone bunts on a 3-0 count because the bench called for the play.

I CHALLENGE THEE
Aug 25, 2005

kirk gibson is a piece of shit


One Sick Puppy posted:

Does the manager have as big of a role as people think he does in the MLB? I usually seem to think all they do is set up lineup cards.

Dumb question, I know.

Managers can influence a game negatively through poor game management and strategy (such as Dusty Baker running pitchers into the ground or guys like Joe Torre completely botching bullpen management) but a good manager isn't going to magically make a team better.

Pumpkin McPastry
Mar 8, 2004

What else do I have to do to impress you people?


Sure we might get a walk - but with a bunt we could move the runner to second base! And you know how much we've wanted that.

leokitty
Apr 5, 2005

Well I had to phone his friend to state my case, and say he's lost control again.

And he showed up all the errors and mistakes, and said I've lost control again.

Pumpkin McPastry posted:

Sure we might get a walk - but with a bunt we could move the runner to second base! And you know how much we've wanted that.

The worst part of that play was Cervelli loving fistpumping after he got down the bunt I wanted to punch him in the face so badly.

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010



One Sick Puppy posted:

Does the manager have as big of a role as people think he does in the MLB? I usually seem to think all they do is set up lineup cards.

Dumb question, I know.

In addition to playing time and bullpen management, they also have the role of managing and massaging everyone's ego, which is one of the non-quantifiable but pretty important aspects of the job.

Groucho Marxist
Dec 9, 2005

Here stands baseball's perfect warrior.

Here stands baseball's perfect knight.


One Sick Puppy posted:

Does the manager have as big of a role as people think he does in the MLB? I usually seem to think all they do is set up lineup cards.

Dumb question, I know.

Another point that hasn't been brought up yet: as much as people love to complain about it, batting order really doesn't matter all that much. The difference between the best and worst possible lineups only results to like 10 runs over the entire season.

OdinsBeard
Jul 12, 2003

Type 'iddqd' into the console to enable Beast Mode.


Groucho Marxist posted:

Another point that hasn't been brought up yet: as much as people love to complain about it, batting order really doesn't matter all that much. The difference between the best and worst possible lineups only results to like 10 runs over the entire season.

I was under the impression it was more like 50 runs; but the worst possible line up would be something ridiculous no one would ever use. So the difference between the best line up and a dumb but not insane one would probably not be more than 10 runs or so.

Twin Cinema
Jun 1, 2006



Playoffs are no big deal,
don't have a crap attack.


Why does the MLB draft have so many rounds? Also, why are there so many minor league affiliated teams?

Groucho Marxist
Dec 9, 2005

Here stands baseball's perfect warrior.

Here stands baseball's perfect knight.


OdinsBeard posted:

I was under the impression it was more like 50 runs; but the worst possible line up would be something ridiculous no one would ever use. So the difference between the best line up and a dumb but not insane one would probably not be more than 10 runs or so.

Yeah that's what I was getting at. Like the only way to go as high of a difference as you're saying would be stuff like batting the pitcher leadoff.

leokitty
Apr 5, 2005

Well I had to phone his friend to state my case, and say he's lost control again.

And he showed up all the errors and mistakes, and said I've lost control again.

Twin Cinema posted:

Why does the MLB draft have so many rounds? Also, why are there so many minor league affiliated teams?

They have tons of rounds because each team probably only signs half the guys they draft, and there are that many rounds because of the MiLB teams. Your actual prospects need what are referred to as "org players" to fill out teams.

The MiLB structure is very large so that prospects can play in leagues with players that are about the same age. You don't want your 18 year old raw infield draftee from high school playing in the same league as a 23 year old polished college player.

Truly outstanding prospects from high school and college players will move faster but generally you move up one level a year.

I CHALLENGE THEE
Aug 25, 2005

kirk gibson is a piece of shit


Twin Cinema posted:

Why does the MLB draft have so many rounds? Also, why are there so many minor league affiliated teams?

Baseball development is substantially different than other sports. Even the best players will be unable to contribute in the majors for a couple of years, unlike in many other sports. Mainly, development takes so long because high schoolers and college players haven't ever really seen the things that will be thrown at them or haven't faced the same level of competition. For a hitter, that means developing a decent batting eye and learning how to recognize off speed stuff. For a pitcher, it means developing decent to good secondary stuff. In college/high school a player can get away with a lot more. This is another reason why there are so many minor league levels.

Imasalmon
Mar 19, 2003

Meet me in the Hall of Fame

Pumpkin McPastry posted:

Whoa. Only explanation I can think of for this player is "Catcher in the 8 slot in the NL", and that still doesn't seem quite right.

I will be pretty happy if the Astros number 3 hitter has something close to that line.

leokitty
Apr 5, 2005

Well I had to phone his friend to state my case, and say he's lost control again.

And he showed up all the errors and mistakes, and said I've lost control again.

Nobody asked this but since there's some MiLB chat I figured I'll be proactive.

When people talk about prospects you'll hear a lot of tools, raw, polished, etc. It is a whole lot of jargon to take in and can be confusing.

I'll start with hitters since they're more straight forward.

The 5 tools for position players are:

1. Speed - Carl Crawford
2. Arm strength - Bobby Abreu
3. Hitting for Average - Peak Derek Jeter/Ichiro
4. Hitting for Power - Adam Dunn
5. Fielding - Elvis Andrus

Scouts watch young players and try to grade what their tools are now and what they will be. A plus tool means it is above average and a plus plus tool means you're not going to find many people with better ability at that skill.

Players who are referred to as raw or toolsy are usually young kids with something about them that makes scouts think they'll get it at some point. A young guy with a slick power swing who will probably fill out and realize that power will get drooled on a lot. These guys are far away from being MLB ready, and raw/toolsy players have a really high bust rate.

Polished hitters are either very advanced young players (Jason Heyward, Jesus Montero) who are already realizing their tools at a very high level or more usually college hitters who are close to hitting their ceiling. They go through systems fast and their ceilings vary.

Now not everyone has all the tools, of course. A lot of prospects have average tools across the board and profile as utility players/4th outfielders/etc. Prospects who project to start have at least 2 above average tools (this is off the top of my head, correct me if I'm wrong) and depending on the position some of these tools are more important than others. If you're a 1B or a LF with a plus fielding tool and a plus arm tool you're not all that useful if your bat is below average, as an example.

The most coveted of all hitting prospects is a five tool hitter. They are really, really rare. Some examples of true 5 tool players in their prime are Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.

Groucho Marxist
Dec 9, 2005

Here stands baseball's perfect warrior.

Here stands baseball's perfect knight.


There's a pretty good detailed explanation of what leokitty just posted in Moneyball, which you really should read if you want to get into baseball more.

TUS
Feb 19, 2003

I'm going to stab you. Offline. With a real knife.


Who are some famous reverse busts? Like guys who were drafted late just because; then went on to play well for an extended period of time in the majors?

leokitty
Apr 5, 2005

Well I had to phone his friend to state my case, and say he's lost control again.

And he showed up all the errors and mistakes, and said I've lost control again.

TUS posted:

Who are some famous reverse busts? Like guys who were drafted late just because; then went on to play well for an extended period of time in the majors?

Ignoring Draft and Follows, Mike Piazza

JediGandalf
Sep 3, 2004

All your base, now belongs to me.


There's one thing I've noticed here that simultaneously impresses and makes me feel stupid is that many of you can think of a player and recall is slash line and what he had for breakfast on some random May game on the spot. You guys must really sleep/eat/dream baseball.

Abel Wingnut
Dec 23, 2002



TUS posted:

Who are some famous reverse busts? Like guys who were drafted late just because; then went on to play well for an extended period of time in the majors?

Pujols was drafted in the 13th round of the 1999 draft.

ManifunkDestiny
Aug 2, 2005

King


JediGandalf posted:

There's one thing I've noticed here that simultaneously impresses and makes me feel stupid is that many of you can think of a player and recall is slash line and what he had for breakfast on some random May game on the spot. You guys must really sleep/eat/dream baseball.

Usually I just check out baseball-reference.com or fangraphs.com for their line and then just appear smart

ThatsMyBoye
Nov 21, 2006

I wish that I believed in fate
I wish I didn't sleep so late
I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders


JediGandalf posted:

There's one thing I've noticed here that simultaneously impresses and makes me feel stupid is that many of you can think of a player and recall is slash line and what he had for breakfast on some random May game on the spot. You guys must really sleep/eat/dream baseball.

A good barometer of this is getting the Baseball Prospectus annual, getting a few friends, and taking turns reading player blurbs with names, positions and team names omitted and trying to guess the player.

Baseball is fun.

+ Not-so-humble brag in that I guessed Michael Brantley from his blurb last night. I think I've reached the point of no return.

Imasalmon
Mar 19, 2003

Meet me in the Hall of Fame

TUS posted:

Who are some famous reverse busts? Like guys who were drafted late just because; then went on to play well for an extended period of time in the majors?

Mike Piazza was drafted in the 62nd round.

Beaten soundly, so how about Roy Oswalt, who was taken in the 23rd round? Jim Thome in the 13th, Canseco went in the 15th, adn Don Mattingly went in the 19th.

Imasalmon fucked around with this message at Mar 7, 2011 around 20:48

stuart scott irl
Mar 9, 2007



leokitty posted:

Ignoring Draft and Follows, Mike Piazza

Hello I am a baseball newbie and I would love to have "draft and follow" explained because I always hear that term and I have no idea what it means

angrygodofjebus
Aug 25, 2005

Drink it up and hunker down


TUS posted:

Who are some famous reverse busts? Like guys who were drafted late just because; then went on to play well for an extended period of time in the majors?

Buehrle was drafted in the 38th round out of a community college.

I CHALLENGE THEE
Aug 25, 2005

kirk gibson is a piece of shit


Fun thing about Piazza was that the only reason why the Dodgers drafted him was as a favor to Tommy Lasorda (Piazza's brother Tony is Lasorda's godson)

leokitty
Apr 5, 2005

Well I had to phone his friend to state my case, and say he's lost control again.

And he showed up all the errors and mistakes, and said I've lost control again.

Before the last CBA you had a full year to sign players, so many teams used mid and late round picks on DFE--Draft, Follow and Evaluate. This allowed teams to own the rights to a player for a full year and use that time to scout them and figure out if they wanted to sign them. These were similar to the over slot bonuses given out now except you had time to watch them play for 8 months or so and get a better feel for them. Except that half the draft was spent on DFE whereas now even teams that go bonkers with overslot draft a whole bunch of org dudes they sign right away.

If you look up a player who has been very successful and was drafted in the 20th or further out round from 1988-2007 they were probably a DFE.

Gene Michael LOVED DFE and at one point drafted something like 100 of them in one year (this was before they limited things to 50 rounds).

Some stand-out DFEs are Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Darryl Kile.

Here's a BA column that explains things a lot more in depth that I keep bookmarked for when this question comes up: http://www.baseballamerica.com/toda...es/9911dfe.html

angrygodofjebus posted:

Buehrle was drafted in the 38th round out of a community college.

That's because he was a draft and follow

Bob Shabazz
Oct 21, 2008

At 12:17 a.m. MU police spotted Mauk, 19, run a stop sign while driving his scooter east on Kentucky Boulevard - with two female passengers on board.

The Rule V Draft is also a thing that is kinda interesting so I'll try to explain it here. When you draft a player, you retain his rights even if you keep him in the minors for an extended time (5 years for those 18 or younger when drafted, 4 years otherwise). If the player stays in the minor leagues for longer than that without being placed on the 40-man roster, he is eligible for being drafted. To draft another organization's player, you pay $50,000 dollars for him. After drafting a player, he must stay on the team's 25-man roster for the rest of the season, if he does not then he must be offered back to the original team. After the season is over, Rule V players can be optioned back to the minor leagues. Ex-Pittsburgh GM Dave Littlefield is pretty famous for forgetting to protect their 5 top prospects in 2003, losing them all to Rule V even though they had free spots on the 40-man.

Badfinger
Dec 16, 2004

Timeouts?!

We'll take care of that.


Johan Santana and Shane Victorino are current players who were left unprotected and subsequently selected in the Rule V draft. In fact, Victorino was Rule V drafted in 2002, returned to his original team, and then Rule V drafted in 2004 when he caught on with the Phillies. There are not tons of players from Rule V who ever make much of an impact.

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KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010



Just to follow up Bob Shabazz's post:

25-Man Roster
This is the major league roster. In order to play in an MLB game you must be on the 25 man roster. Typically, this roster is split in to the following:
Pitchers: 12 or 13 total, split in to:
5 starting pitchers
1 closer - typically only pitches in late and close situations where his team is winning or tied
1 swing man - a guy who can start occasionally or can come in and pitch long relief if a starter gets shelled early
5 ish other relievers of varying quality. Typically at least one lefthander.
Hitters: 12 or 13 total, split in to:
8 Positional starters , (one for each non-P fielding position)
1 backup catcher
1 utility infielder who can play all positions, good glove bad bat typically
1 'fourth outfielder' who can play all outfield positions to some degree
1-2 others.

40-Man Roster
Everyone on the 25-man roster is also on the 40 man roster. Then there are an additional 15 players who are playing in the minors but have major league contracts, so thus they're eligible to be called up to the 25 man roster if there is a free spot. When someone goes on the disabled list, typically a team calls up someone from the minors who is on the 40 man roster to fill that slot. A player on the 40-man roster may be sent back to the minors three times. This process is called optioning. Once a player runs out of options, they must be designated for assignment and waived in order to be sent to the minors. I will let someone else handle waivers.

The important thing for 40-Man, in addition to providing replacements for the 25-man roster, is that placing a player on the 40-man roster protects them from the Rule V draft. Teams sometimes carry fewer than 40 players on the 40 man roster.

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