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In my last post I talked about how sabermetrics affects everyday starters and I used New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes as an example. Lets now look how general managers use sabermetrics on starting pitchers.
One of the Philadelphia Phillies “fab four” pitchers, Roy Oswalt, will become a free agent after this season. Unlike everyday players, pitchers do not have a variety of stats that scouts look at. However, two of the more popular ones are WHIP and BABIP.
WHIP stand for walks and hits per inning. The lower the number is, the better the pitcher.
BABIP or batting average on balls in play, refers to the percentage of plate appearances in which at the end of the play the batter is credited with a hit. The average BABIP is around .300. Oswalt’s projection for the 2011 season is .297.
Sabermetrics projected that Oswalt will have a 1.18 WHIP with seven strikeout per nine innings. His strikeout total for the season is 176. Oswalt’s win-loss projection for 2011 is 15-9 in 221 innings pitched.
Oswalt turns 34 in Aug. and there will be the usual teams bidding on him this winter. Expect the New York Yankees and the Phillies to be amongst the teams interested in his services. My prediction is that Oswalt will wind up with the Yankees on a 4-year/$28 million contract with $5 million in achievable incentives.
To view all of Oswalt’s sabermetrics stats, click here.
Sabermetrics is a baseball statistic that measures in-game activity. Bill James is one of the first pioneers to coin this idea.
As recently as 1995, former Oakland Athletics general manager and current New York Mets GM, Sandy Alderson started to use sabermetrics in determining long-term contracts for baseball players. This phenomenon has become increasing popular in the classroom.
There are currently four universities who have a course in studying Sabermetrics.
What statistics do they use to judge a players’ performance you ask? Well there is WAR, Runs created, VORP and wBOA. WAR is the acronym for Wins Above Replacement. WAR is the sabermetric statistic that is used to show how many more wins a player would give a team as opposed to a replacement level or minor league/bench player at that position. Runs created is used to determine the estimate number of runs a hitter contributes to the team. VORP or Value over replacement player is used to demonstrate how a regular player or pitcher contributes to the team success over a bench or minor league player.
Weighted on-base average or wBOA is a statistic the measures a player’s offensive contribution per plate appearance. This is an important statistic mostly for the leadoff hitters.
Let’s use the WAR statistic to determine a potential trade candidate such as Mets shortstop, Jose Reyes.
Reyes who is due for a big pay-day this off-season is a trade candidate if the Mets fall out of the playoff race by the trading deadline in July.
According to fangraphs.com, the website who determines the sabermetric projected statistics for baseball players, estimated before the season that Reyes would have a WAR of 4 games. What this means is that if Reyes would to be traded, the team receiving him would potentially add four wins to that team.
Will a team take a chance on Reyes or will the Mets hold on to him and hope they can re-sign him in the off-season?
It has been a week into the 2011 baseball season and there have been more surprises this year than in years past. Let’s see which teams are pretenders and contenders.
- Pittsburg Pirates (NL Central, 2nd place) – The Pirates started off their 2011 campaign by taking two out of three games from the Chicago Cubs and the St.
Louis Cardinals. Outfield Jose Tabata is leading the team with a .344 batting average and has played in all eight games so far. Second baseman Neil Walker is the Pirates leader with eight RBI’s and is tied with outfielder, Andrew McCutchen with two homeruns. Don’t expect the Pirates to contend this year, but it is nice to see them succeeding. They look more like pretenders than contenders.
- Colorado Rockies (NL West, 1st place) – The Rockies, a notoriously slow team to start the season, has gotten off to the hot start through their first two series. After splitting the opening series to the Arizona D’backs the Rockies swept the two game series from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is leading the team with the three homeruns and six RBI’s. The Colorado Rockies are the team to beat in the NL West. They have the hitting, pitching and defense to succeed and Jim Tracy is the right manager for this team.
- Boston Red Sox (AL East, 4th place) – Labeled as the “best team ever” the Red Sox are anything but great. After getting swept in their first two series by the Texas Rangers and the lonely Cleveland Indians, many Red Sox fans are wondering; will we ever win a game? No team has ever gone 0-162 and I don’t expect that to happen here, but a bad showing this weekend against AL East rival, New York Yankees and Red Sox nation might hit the panic button. The Sox are too talented and too motivated to be losing this much. I expect them to play better this weekend as they see a familiar face in the Yankees. If they don’t show up well then hit the PANIC button.
- Texas Rangers (AL Central, 1st place) – The defending AL Championship team, Texas Rangers are the hottest team in baseball. They swept their two opening day series against the Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners and are currently 6-0. Outfielder Nelson Cruz homered in all four games to start the season; a mark that no other Ranger has done. Pitcher Matt Harrison had an impressive first start by
striking out eight Red Sox batters and letting up only one run over seven innings in the Rangers victory. The Rangers are the hottest team in baseball right now and I expect them to run away in the AL West. When playoff time comes, the only concern I have is that will the starting pitchers flame out or rise to the challenge?
Opening day is upon us and it was anything but disappointing.
- The New York Yankees and CC Sabathia started the quest for their 28th World Series title by defeating the Detroit Tigers by the score of 5-3. Joba Chamberlain picked up the victory as Curtis Granderson hit game-winning homerun in the 7th inning. Granderson who was questionable for opening day with an oblique injury looked fine out there as he also made a diving catch. The Yankees tacked on more run and the new setup man, Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect 8th inning. Mariano Rivera came on to pick up the save, in what the Yankees and their fans hope are many this season
- For the first time in 19 years the Atlanta Braves have a new manager after Bobby Cox retired last season. Fredi Gonzalez, in his Brave debut, recorded his first victory as the Braves defeated the Washington Nationals 2-0. Derek Lowe got the victory as he threw for 5 2/3 innings on 105 pitches and striking out six. Outfielder Jason Heyward homered for the second time on opening day. The only other player to homer in their first at-bat of the season was Kaz Matsui, formerly of the New York Mets and San Diego Padres. New closer, Craig Kimbrel earned the save as he looks to replace future hall-of-famer, Billy Wagner.
- The St. Louis Cardinals blew their first game as Cameron Maybin of the San Diego Padres hit the game-tying homerun off of closer, Ryan Franklin. Cardinal shortstop, Ryan Theriot bobbled the relay throw from John Jay allowing Chase Headley to score the game-winner. Padres closer Heath Bell threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the 11th inning to give manager Bud Black their first victory of 2011 campaign.
- Other Notes: Cincinnati Reds catcher, Ramon Hernandez gave the sellout crowd at the Great American Ballpark a reason to go home happy. Hernandez hit the first 2011 walk-off three-run homerun to give the Reds the 7-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-2. Centerfielder, Torii Hunter provided some of the offense with a homerun over the batter’s eye in centerfield.
- Day 2: Some notable games to watch tomorrow are NL favorites Philadelphia Phillies hosting the Houston Astros at 1 p.m. on ESPN. Following that game the new look Boston Red Sox take on the defending AL Champions, Texas Rangers at 4 p.m. also on ESPN. New York Mets try to put their off field issues aside as they take on Cy Young candidate Josh Johnson and the Florida Marlins at 7 p.m.
30 teams all with one aspiration, to win the World Series and it starts NOW!
1) How long has Metsblog been running and what was the reasoning for establishing Metsblog?
I started MetsBlog.com in 2003. To call it a blog is being glamorous, actually, because a) they weren’t called ‘blogs’ yet, they were still known as ‘weblogs,’ and b) it was just text on a Yahoo! GeoCities page. Seriously, no columns, no images, no color, just black text on a gray webpage and that’s that. It was a project for school that people kept reading, so I kept writing it, which was fun because I was living in Arlington, VA, away from the New York market, WFAN and my Mets fan friends and it was a great way to stay involved with the community. In 2004, John Keegan from PressHarbor.com approached me cold offering to take me under his wing, basically, and use me as a guinea pig for the blog hosting company he had started. He was a Mets fan, which I guess is the main reason I trusted him. He made the site a blog. He taught me most everything I know about the technical side of blogging, from RSS to widgets to basic coding. He’s become a trusted adviser and a close friend. From there, the site kept growing in traffic. I was working from home doing media relations work for a PR firm in CT, but, to be honest, I spent more time writing MetsBlog. I began using Blogads.com for ad revenue, then signed on with Pajamas Media, who, though now a conservative blog network, at the time was an ad network. They paid a flat rate to rent my ad space, so it was a small, but steady income. In 2006, I toyed with giving it all up to work as a communications director on a Gubernatorial campaign in CT. By then, things were looking strong and everyone I trust told me I should give MetsBlog one more year – commit to it – and see what i could make of it at 100 percent full steam. In 2007, I approached SNY about partnering. It took 10 months, but we hammered out a deal, and I’ve been connected to them ever since. In 2004, I did roughly 1,000 page views per month. Today, it’s 3.5 million.
2) Did you ever think it would create this kind of buzz quickly?
It was hardly quick. Like I said, I started this more than 7 years ago. It’s been a hustle, a LOT of work, a lot of networking, a lot of politicking and a lot pushing the envelope.
3) How do you think this new social media (Twitter, Facebook and blogs) has affected sports? Is it a good thing or bad?
Like anything, it’s good and bad. The good has been that it is connecting fans in a meaningful way, be it with other fans, reporters, and with teams and with players. This is powerful on all sides. On the other hand, it is creating an information overload that can be exhausting. Remember, for the majority of sports fans, connecting with sports is an emotional outlet. It’s a way to yell at the TV, vent, celebrate, rant and cheer, without anyone telling them to take out the trash or pick up milk at the store. Too much information, too often, can begin to make it all too real, and for every step closer to it being an intellectual experience it moves away from being emotional.
4) Say 10 years from now, will there be a need for newspapers in sports?
You mean the actual, physical product, the paper you hold in your hand? Probably not. But, there will ALWAYS be a need for established, credible news businesses that can use size and leverage to produce consistent content. Consistent, sustainable content is the key. Is that the New York Times? Sure. Could it be MetsBlog.com? Sure, why not. To step back a second, one of the side-effects of Twitter on sports news has been that beat reporters have turned to chronicling every little moment, and they’re no longer telling the season’s story. They are becoming less and less needed every day, as the team, players and fans, and TV networks, cover SO much of that day-to-day minutiae. However, there will always be a need for context. The op-ed writer, the Bob Klapischs, Tyler Kepners, those guys, they tell the story of the season, they round it out, they can put it all in context, traveling with the team, observing what happens when the game is off air, that is their skill, and it will always be valuable.
5) What advice would you give to an amateur blogger who is trying to start a blog, whether it is in baseball or another sport?
First, I’d tell them to write and connect with other bloggers, other fans, and do your best to help solve a problem, fill a void, write for what you’re wondering about, etc. Also, be unique and be patient. This takes work. Lastly, read MatthewCerrone.com, because I answer these exact questions every day.
Click here to read more about Matt and his interview with New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller on professional athletes on Twitter.