Friday, August 1, 2008

The meaning of the term "Meta"

So, I'm far from a raving fan of the Griffey-to-White Sox trade that, if not for a 2-hours-later deal involving a (OMG) Red Sox player, would probably be burning up the News Tickers and News Wires and Telegraph Machines.

That said, Ken Tremendous of our "site-name-that-we-ripped-off" namesake Fire Joe Morgan seems to have a hard-on for the White Sox to (at times) ridiculous ends. Chalk it up to whatever you want (the run of "feel good/gritty gamer" stories that surrounded the 2005 WS champion White Sox and their prototypical "gamer grinder gritty gutser" Scott Podsednik [he of the Playmate wife and the constantly injured groin] seems like the most likely reason) but it's clear: KT hates the fucking White Sox.

Accordingly, KT decides to turn his ire on Mike Downey, a Chicago columnist who is not quite a stranger to this website, but who nevertheless is not to be taken nearly as seriously as KT does here.

This is the definition of meta--sports-hate-blog website dissects a dissection of its namesake, prototype sports-hate-blog website. Wowee. Somewhere Chuck Klosterman is spuzzing all over a thrift store chair.

You're a ChiSox fan. Against all odds, your team is +76 in run differential and leading the AL Central. Your GM, who can be a dunderhead sometimes, made excellent moves last off-season, and got you Carlos Quentin and Nick Swisher, and even though Swish is underperforming a bit, somehow Jermaine Dye is having his best year, and Jim Thome is putting up an .890 OPS, and you're getting some great innings out of John Danks and Gavin Floyd, and Scott Linebrink is making bloggers everywhere look stupid since we all thought getting him was a terrible move.


Wait--I thought it was against all odds when your team is +76 in differential and DOESN'T lead the AL Central. Or when your team is -76 in differential and leading the AL Central. Isn't it actually IN LINE WITH ALL ODDS when a team who is outscoring their opponents leads their division?

Also--dunderhead is an epithet that will be frequently applied to Kenny Williams in this article. Whether calling KW a sporadi moron is ridiculous or not, it seems unlikely that Ken "I write for a show about a company named Dunder-Mifflin" Tremendous ramming this term down our throat is any sort of coincidence. Curse you MSNBC and your synergetic cross-promotioning!


In short, things are going really well.

Then, at the trade deadline, your GM goes out and gets: Ken Griffey, Jr.

Who's good. Who might make your team better. But who is 38. And gets hurt a lot.

And then Ken Williams says: We're going to play him in CF, and maybe move Swisher to first, and (presumably) bench Paul Konerko (?). Or something?

Huh.


Not so sure what's confusing about this, Mose. The White Sox gave up absolutely nothing for Griffey. The sent Cincy a 2B prospect who played his way off this team and a MRP who can't get anyone out. Richar and Masset could work out for the Reds or they couldn't. But they certainly weren't part of the White Sox's long range plans and they had very little (as you can probably tell from this trade) trade value.

Meanwhile, though Griffey is not the CFer he once was by any stretch of the imagination, he can't possibly be significantly worse than Swisher--who has said repeatedly he is uncomfortable in the field AND at the plate when he's playing CF and who, during a stretch at 1B while Konerko was on the DL OPSed 830.

Meanwhile, Ozzie Guillen has a preternatural fear of using Brian Anderson in CF and has been quoted in the press as saying the only reason Paul Konerko was still in the everyday lineup is because he has no one else he's willing to play in CF.

So Konerko is in the everyday lineup with a 600 OPS. Well, at least, he was. Until this trade.

But yeah, it's a really confusing trade there KT.

Needless to say, if you're you, you're a little confused by this. At least you're wary. Junior hasn't played CF since like 1965, and is Konerko going to DH against lefties or something? And how would Konerko take it if he's benched since he makes $12m a year through 2010, because, again, your GM can be a dunderhead sometimes? And what in the world is a defensive OF of Dye, Griffey, and Quentin going to look like?


Hilarious hyperbole there, Mike Celizic. Yeah, hasn't played CF since 1965. Either that or 2005. One of the two.

And Kenny's a dunderhead again, this time for signing a 28 year old to a 5 year contract, during which he put up two of the best years of his career.

I fucking hate Konerko like a werewolf hates whatever a werewolf hates, but even I would say that a 5/60 deal for a 29 year old was a fine deal, and certainly, Konerko's complete cliff-drop at age 31 wasn't anything that should have realistically been expected. That said I fucking hate Konerko like a fat kid does-not-hate cake.

In times like these, you, a ChiSox fan, have only one place to turn for analysis. There is only one place you go to get the real insider "here's what this means" and "here's what we can expect" breakdown.

You turn to the Trib. You turn...to Mike Downey.


Actually, no you don't. Downey's a comedian-esque writer for the Trib. If you want real analysis you turn to Mark Gonzales. If you want what the Tribune deems real analysis but is in fact borderline retarded, you turn to Steve Rosenbloom. But no one expects reasonable analysis from Downey.

But at least you know what you're talking about, Dwight Schrute's cousin.

(writer's note: from this point on, Downey quotes are in bold, Schrute-quotes in plain-text


Ken Griffey Jr. in a Sox Uniform? I'm Stoked

He's stoked, you guys. He and his boys are psyched. Dude. Bro. Seriously? I'm fucking stoked about this. Griffbones is going to crush it.


Maybe that title should have been a hint that Downey's not exactly serious. Or you could just ignore it and make tired jokes.

I zipped over to the Web sites as fast as my fingers could type Thursday to find out if it was fiction or fact.

I forgot I am a journalist and don't have to get information the way everyone else does, so instead of talking to my colleagues or calling someone in the Reds' FO or something, I "zipped" over to the "Web sites" as fast as "my fingers could type." Because I have never used a computer, and don't know how to, and had to ask my 5 year-old nephew what someone who used a computer would say if they wanted to tell people they had used a computer.


Is he seriously going to nitpick every turn of phrase the guy uses. Why would he expect an opinion-writer for the newspaper without any insider contacts to be able to phone up a Cincinnati GM?

But why let facts get in the way of nitpicking a guy's diction?

Cincinnati Enquirer, 9:47 a.m.: "Reds trade Griffey."

Not might trade. No "trade Griffey?" with a question mark. Did trade.
And to the White Sox yet!


And to the White Sox yet! Say boys, didja hear? Junior Griffey is to be a Chicagoan! Well slap my thigh and call me a dirigible! Roosevelt has a plan for the Krauts, by Joe! Extree, extree! Say, what news from the coast? Harvard defeats Cal in the Rose Bowl! The Maine is lost! Thousands gather to see new "Talking Pictures" -- the marvels of science never cease!


Seriously, is this the state of FireJoeMorgan? Making fun of writers' diction and syntax?

The Tribune, 9:36 a.m.: "Griffey headed to Sox."

Sorry. Just want to make sure I have the timeline correct.

8:?? or 9:?? AM: The Sports- and Editorial Departments of the Chicago Tribune, where Mike Downey works, learn of the impending trade of Ken Griffey, Jr. to the White Sox.

9:?? AM: Someone at Mike Downey's own paper begins to write up an article about how Ken Griffey Jr. has been traded to the White Sox. Downey, presumably, naps at his desk.

9:36 AM: Mike Downey's own paper, the Chicago Tribune, then posts the article, on its Web sites, about the Griffey trade. Downey: still napping.

9:47 AM: The Cincinnati Enquirer posts an article about the Griffey trade on its Web sites.

Somewhere around 10:?? AM: Downey awakens, wipes drool from face. Is informed somehow that Ken Griffey, Jr. has been traded to the White Sox, a team that plays in the town where he works as a journalist.

10:02 AM: At a complete loss as to how to pursue this information, so as to ascertain its validity, Downey turns on his computer for the first time ever. Has to go through a series of steps to create a Tribune user name and password. Sees confusing screen about software updates ready for download. Calls IT.

10:28 AM: Tribune IT guy Derek Greenhorn finishes installing Windows update on Downey's computer, tells Downey that he can now access the internet. Downey stares at him blankly.

11:56 AM: Greenhorn finishes an accelerated tutorial on "surfing the web." Downey is pretty sure he has a handle on it.

11:57: Downey tries to, in his own words, "smurf the World Wide Weird," ends up erasing his own hard drive and those of the 6 people closest to him. Tribune server crashes. Smoke pours out of Downey's computer. Downey realizes he is hungry and heads down to get himself a personal pan pizza and a tall glass of beer from a neighborhood restaurant while Greenhorn rushes to save the Tribune computer system.

2:18 PM: Downey smurfs the Weird under close supervision from Greenhorn and two Chicago-based FBI agents whose domestic terror-alert system has mis-identified Downey's computer's IP address as the possible epicenter of an internet-based terror attack.

2:19 PM: Downey does a Google-brand World Wide Weird seach protocol for "Cincinnati red baseball player Ken Griffey Jr was he traded? please help me internet I've never done this before am I doing this right? oh God, well, here goes nuttin'!", hits "shift," then "delete," then -- sure that he's figured out the right move here -- "help," then finally "return," and gazes blankly at his results. He then subsequently zips over to the Enquirer sports page, and sees that at 9:47, they published an article about the Griffey trade.

2:55 PM: After another brief nap, Downey wonders aloud whether his paper, the Chicago Tribune, has posted anything about the Griffey trade. So after a quick refresher course with Derek Greenhorn over in IT, who is now actively posting his resume on Monster.com because, in his own words, "I can't work with these boneheads for one more second or I'll kill myself," Downey figures out how to zip over to the Trib Web sites, and sees that at 9:36 AM -- several minutes earlier than the Enquirer posted their story, the Trib had posted a newsflash about Griffey being traded to the White Sox.

"Hot dog!" says Downey, to no one, as he munches on his now-cold personal pan pizza. "I'm going to write an article about this amazing day I'm having!"


Yeah. Or, you know, Downey's not the Sportswriter responsible for breaking fucking sports news. Because he's an opinion columnist. So to rag on him for writing an article about a trade after the fact is a little...well...retarded don't you think?

Excellent news. I was stoked.

Oh, that Ken Williams, always something up his sleeve. If not an ace, then a king.

Or a 38.7 year-old oft-injured corner OF with a 103 OPS+. So, like, maybe the 9 of clubs.


Yeah, actually, Schrute, I think that's what Downey was hinting at. That Junior's not quite an ace.

And yet he's a guy who's actually above the "average" line of OPS+ as opposed to Konerko, the guy he's replacing in the lineup, has an OPS+ of, I shit you not: 74.

That is to say, PK is 3/4's as good as a real baseball player. Griffey is marginally better than a real baseball player.

Oh but he might get injured

:(

Then we (we meaning, the White Sox, an organization I have absolutely no affiliation with but I still call "we" because I'm, like all sports fans, a huge douchebag) would be: "no worse off than we were before we made the trade."

Oh, AND Griffey is one of the all-time greats ever to play the game and it will be pretty exciting for White Sox fans who have never had the chance to truly root for, maybe, the 4th best CFer ever to play the game, to see in him home team colors.

But he's 38!!!!! And he has an OPS+ of 103!!!!! How dare Mike Downey be excited about this tradE!!!!!?!?!?!?!?!?

Ken Griffey Jr., in center field at the Cell?

Yeah. Scary, right?

A cause to rejoice—set off the fireworks.

Oh. You went that way with it.


Oh yeah. It's totally frightening. Because we gave up Casey Kotchman, a 27 year old 1B with a huge upside, to get him for half a season. That means if he gets injured, not only have we lost the totally adequate player he's replacing, we also lose out on a player locked up cheaply for the future!

Oh wait, that's not the Griffey Jr. trade. The Griffey Jr. trade sent away two young players with no future in the organization (and probably not future in Cincinnati either) in order to replace a totally INadequate player who will still remain on the team and can fill in if Griffey gets hurt.

So, you know, it's not exactly frightening.

If you can get a guy who has more home runs than Frank Robinson, Mark McGwire, Harmon Killebrew, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks and Lou Gehrig, hallelujah and amen.

Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds: also available. Omar Vizquel has more hits than Reggie Jackson, Joe Morgan, Mickey Mantle, and Enos Slaughter. Maybe they should pick him up, too.


Straw men are fun to play with.

I began to picture it.

Ball after ball dropping in front of Jr. Line drives that Swisher would've caught easily splitting the gap for run-scoring doubles. Griffey running back and to his right, then pulling up lame as Nick Punto rounds second and thinks about trying to score...


I'm not sure where he gets the idea that Nick Swisher is an adequate CF, but he probably should cancel his subscription to it.

And seriously--did he hire up Mike Celizic to purple up his prose? This is just sad, how the mighty have fallen.

Hey--it's kind of like Griffey!!!

Griffey in between Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye in the outfield?

OK, so maybe it wouldn't be the defensive equivalent of Reed Johnson in left, Jim Edmonds in center and Kosuke Fukudome in right, but it'll do. (Dye has been playing a mean right field, in fact.)

Griffey in CF won't be the equivalent of Tribune IT guy Derek Greenhorn in CF.


HEH! You can tell this guy's a professional comedy writer!

Ah, but Griffey right behind Quentin and Dye in the batting order? I like the sound of that.

Well, he'll definitely be better offensively than Brian Anderson. You've got that going for you. But to reiterate: 103 OPS+. Oft-injured. Center Field.


Keep repeating yourself. It won't make you right.

Let's try this:

103 OPS+. Hitting 7th in the lineup. Behind guys who are also OPS+ing over 100. Replacing a guy with a 74 OPS+ in the lineup.

Awesome! I can write like Bill Plaschke too!!!!!!!!!!!!! Only the things I write like Bill Plaschke. Aren't. Patently. Wrong.

Followed by Jim Thome sixth, Paul Konerko or Nick Swisher seventh and Joe Crede (as soon as he comes back) eighth? Pitchers will swallow their seeds and gum.

The line-up is better. But this is not Manny Ramirez. It's 38.7 year-old Junior Griffey. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.


No one's saying he is. Except for you when you put words in Downey's mouth.


This goes on for about twice as long as this. I'd write about it, but what's the point. This is just a sad, pathetic post on Schrute's part.

Look: I don't love the trade. It's a temporary fix for a problem the White Sox never should have had. People are getting "stoked" because it's a big name future HOFer many people grew up idolizing. That's cool. But most people also realize that Griffey's no longer "GRIFFEY". They've had about 7 seasons to come to terms with the fact that Griffey's not a perennial MVP candidate anymore.

And you know what? I don't like Downey either. I spent an epic (HUMBLE!) post ripping him to shit a while back (for a more viable reason than Mose's). But he's just writing an opinion column here expressing excitement about a trade that, in many ways, does kind of raise the excitement level for a slumping team.

Is that so goddamn ridiculous?


Oh one more thing--I know I come off as a total ChiSox homer here, and maybe I am (after all, I kind of think Kenny Williams is a genius). However, I think I'm being pretty fair about this trade to say it's

a.) not a world beater

b.) nowhere near as bad as Ken Mediocre is making it out to be.


For the record I hate Ozzie and Konerko with a passion and have my doubts about that Joe Crede guy. Also, I think the White Sox never should have fired Joey Cora as 3B coach and think Santo should be in the HOF and Harold Baines should not.

Just in case you were curious about my homerism.

40 comments:

Martin said...

I've read a couple things about the Griffey trade being bad, and how he isn't what the Sox need/won't help them. I'm with you. They gave up nothing. It's almost as if the Reds called them up and said "Hey, would ya like Griffey, he's willing to go play for ya." He's an upgrade, at least on paper. This is a complete roll of the dice with house money. If it works, good on Kenny W. If not, it was worth the shot.

Jack M said...

I dream of the day when someone starts a blog devoted to ripping on our criticisms of FireJoeMorgan.

pnoles said...

A rare miss from Kenny T. I love that man's work, but this article in no way was asking to be ripped like that. Lol @ calling him "Schrute" btw.

By "against all odds, your team is +76 in run differential and leading the AL Central", KT means that the White Sox have been extremely lucky with players having breakout seasons. Danks, Floyd, Quentin, and Ramirez are all shattering their projections by miles. That's luck. (e.g. trading for Quentin was a good move, but Kenny got lucky in that Quentin broke out in the way he did, rather than succumbing to injury and never amounting to anything) Contreras is pitching like someone under age 50, Crede spent a half season being a middle-of-the-road 3B, and Pierzynski and Dye are having seasons well beyond what people would expect. All of this shit way offsets the bad luck from the collapse of Konerko and the down seasons from Swisher and Vazquez. In that sense, the Sox were lucky in that they built a team that projected as sub-par, but got plenty of people to have outstanding seasons all at once, a-la-2005.

Also, Kenny Williams is not a genius. At best, he's the 3rd best GM in the AL Central. We haven't seen enough of Bill Smith yet to judge him, and I'm all but convinced I'd rather have Dayton Moore. Dombrowski and Shapiro are head and shoulders above him. Remember, this is the man who forfeited a draft pick by trading Ray Durham to the A's for Jon Adkins. The guy who signed Uribe for his $5M option before trading away a decent starting pitcher for Orlando Cabrera. He's made more than his fair share of mistakes. And before we get caught up in the "ZOMG WORLD SERIES '05!!!" debate, remember he was very lucky with the pitching that year too, and also that ::sigh:: Ozzie Guillen was very essential to postseason success due to his accidentally handling his starting pitchers in the most statistically optimal manner in history.

...where am I?

JimArmstrong said...

Please don't go after Williams for picking up Uribe's option like one of those crackpots who post on the Sun Times blog. He didn't trade for Cabrera until a month after that. He knew Uribe was a bad choice for shortstop but signed him because he didn't have any other option. When he did find another option, he jumped on it. He threw away $5 million, but at least he got the best player he could for the position. If he is paying Uribe, so what? He isn't playing him. Who cares if they pay somebody big money to sit on the bench? People like Mariotti bitch about the Sox not spending any money, and you are bitching because they did. They don't have a hard salary cap, so that $5 million isn't taking a contract away from another player.

Chris W said...

Pnoles:

a.) Maybe the Sox are lucky in that two young first round draft pick pitchers, both 26 years old, are pitching well, that Contreras is pitching like he always has and is now either, that Carlos Quentin "didn't get hurt" and that AJ and Dye are having years in keeping with their best years rather than their worst years.

However, I think it's pretty clear that there's only one team in the AL Central for whom "luck" is a major reason they're in the playoff hunt. And it ain't the fucking White Sox. The White Sox have a +76 run differential because they're a good hitting good pitching team. Period.

In terms of Kenny the GM, I think it's telling that you need to reference a mistake he made in his first year as a GM to make him look bad. He also made the Ritchie trade that year (as engineered by Ron "Pick My Daughter!!!!" Schueler.

But where he's at right now, there's no one I'd rather have building my team for this year. The Twins and Indians are much better at building from the bottom up and that's Kenny's huge weakness--being competent with the minor league system.

But I've watched him make move after good move. Even the ones people poke around with with hindsight (Cotts for Aardsma...or really the whole 2007 bullpen debacle) made sense at the time and only look bad because of...well....the way things turned out.

Jim Armstrong said everything I'd need to say about Uribe. I'm gonna stick with my opinion that KW is a GM. He's not THE best in baseball, but he's the best GM the White Sox could possibly have. Even Terry Ryan, at his best, wouldn't have been a good fit on the south side, since fans don't really "understand" building from the system up....same with Shapiro and Beane.

Ticket sales being a huge part of White Sox baseball (and the constant struggle to draw comparable crowds to the Cubs) a White Sox team can't do what logic dictates and sell off because a down year might kill them considering how fairweather Chicago fans are.

Remember the White Flag trade of 1997? That trade made perfect sense--the White Sox weren't a playoff team that year and they got huge building blocks for their 2000 playoff team in the deal. However, there are STILL White Sox fans who don't realize that wasn't the right move to make...some of whom continue to boycott US Cellular Field because of it.

White Sox fans are pretty intolerant of good GMing. BUt on the other hand, at least they LOVVVVVE Paul Konerko.

(I hate Paul Konerko)

Bengoodfella said...

This may sound stupid but I think Kenny T. is losing a little bit of time to devote to the FJMorgan web site because of the Office spin off and all. They only post Joe Chats, low hanging fruit like this and articles someone has emailed them.

Kenny T. is a huge Red Sox fan so I think that can pretty much explain this column. He is pissy his team is in second/third place, and are hopefully going to be beaten in the playoffs. That would be my guess. This post on FJMorgan was horrible. If he had spent the whole thing talking about the Teixiera trade I would have written the same response Chris.

Chris W said...

also, I just noticed the Jon Garland jab.

There is absolutely no room to complain about trading away Jon Garland. He was shipped to open a spot for Floyd. Period.

That worked out. That was a successful move.

Here are the options Kenny had:

OPTION A:

Go into the season with a rotation of:

Burly
Vazzy
Danks
Contreras
Garland

Uribe as starting SS
????????? as starting 2B

Get a Type B Compensation pick next year OR try to extend Jon "Mediocre pitcher @ 12 million+" Garland.

OPTION B:

Rotation of

Burly
Vazzy
Danks
Contreras
Floyd

Cabrera at SS
Uribe at 2B

Get a Type A set of comp picks.


It's ridiculous that people

a.) rip this trade, since it was obviously a successful trade for the White Sox.

b.) act like if this trade hadn't been made, Floyd and Garland would both be in the White Sox rotation.

No chance. Floyd would be the fucking Felix Diaz...or...you know...Clayton Richard of the WHite Sox right now. Some fucking dude in Charlotte who we'd be hoping could step in for an injured Contreras midseason, and who probably wouldn't.

pnoles said...

jimarmstrong - The trade for Cabrera was approximately 12 days after the signing of Uribe. I don't have a problem with Kenny Williams not spending money when he gets put on a Reinsdorf-related budget. Wastes of money like that are intolerable, however. Anyone want to tell me why the hell Pablo Ozuna was making 7 figures? Anyone?

chris w - There was absolutely no reason to expect either Floyd or Contreras to have a good season this year. Both were possible, but incredibly unlikely in March. And c'mon. Everyone thought Danks would improve, but did you honestly think you'd get THIS? You're way oversimplifying. The Twins are obviously lucky to be in the playoff mix, but run differential and BABIP and BA with RISP isn't the only "luck" in baseball. If you put together a team that is sub-par on paper, and then people have breakout seasons, that's lucky. Again, was the Quentin trade a good move? Of course. But it's because we were gambling on him. Arizona doesn't willingly trade away the Quentin you see today.

Being competent with the minor leagues is a HUGE part of being a GM! We're feeling that now after piss-poor drafts in the few years before 2007.

I'm not angry about the Jon Garland trade. I'm angry about the simultaneous Jon Garland trade / Uribe signing. As of November, the 2B wasn't Juan Uribe, it was Danny Richar (and at the time, Richar was by far the better option).

Opening up a rotation spot for Gavin Floyd was completely and totally crazy. Sometimes stuff like that works. But Floyd projected as a pretty awful pitcher. We'll leave it at that. Question how much hindsight you're using to praise Williams before you start playing the "hindsight" card against others.

Chris W said...
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Chris W said...
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Chris W said...

You can say "it's unlikely Floyd and Conteras would have a good year" and that's true.

However, Contreras ISN'T having a good year.

Floyd has been a shocking development, and has been incredibly lucky, but there was no reason to think he couldn't be a competent 4.00 pitcher. In fact, that's what Kenny planned on by trading away Garland. It's not ridiculous to think that a former 1st round draft pick, working with Cooper on a new "pitch to contact" strategy could have success..especially since we saw a hint of that success last September.

TCQ was a surprise to many, but all his injuries meant is that the DBacks filled their outfield with contingency plans and he was expendable in their search for pieces for the Haren trade.

It's not like Quentin didn't put up good numbers in the minors OR that his injuries were likely to be chronic.

Quentin is a pleasant surprise, but not a shocking surprise to anyone who followed top prospects in baseball.

The fact that you think that opening up a rotation spot for Floyd is crazy or that you think "projections" for a 26 year old who has had failed stints in another organization is a valid method of projecting lineups, shows the fundamental reason why "preseason expectations" never play out.

Every team in baseball is a "surprise" to a certain extent.

Who would have thought the Rays would lead the East, the Tigers would be in third, the Indians would be out of the race in August, the Angels would be the best team in baseball, the NL West would be a joke, etc etc etc.

Sure there's some luck involved in that, but to say a team who is full of first round draft picks entering prime age, performing well was lucky for that, or a team that has veteran players playing toward their career bests but not significantly outperforming their bests is "lucky" for that is ridiculous.

It is what it is. It's baseball. Not luck. Gavin Floyd's not lucky. He learned how to pitch better.

Contreras isn't lucky--he did what he often does--pitches well for a stretch and then pitches shitty. Now he's hurt. Lucky.

AJ Pierzynski's not lucky. He's always been capable of hitting .300 and he's still a shitty defensive catcher.

Thome's not lucky. He's just doing what he did last year, minus some production.

Dye's not lucky. He puts up MVP numbers every other year, give or take.

Linebrink's not lucky. He's actually a good pitcher in all years but last year.

Also the White Sox have suffered injuries to: A Starting Pitcher, Their Starting Third Baseman, Their FUCKING MOTHERFUCKING ALL-STAR CLOSER, and their setup man.

Oh and their starting 1B hit like a fucking retard all year because he's a worthless piece of shit.

Oh and the guy they went out and got (Swisher) for 3 prospects who seemed guaranteed to produce at 130 OPS+ level is producing at 100 OPS+ level.

But yeah...the White Sox are only in first place because they're shitting shamrocks

Huge eyeroll.

Chris W said...

Also--

I'm not using hindsight to evaluate KW's trades. Hindsight just bears out the majority of my analysis.

Gio and Rowand for Thome? Good at the time, good now.

Garcia for Gio and Floyd? Good at the time, good now.

Cotts, Gload and others for a bunch of flamethrowing MRP's in the 2006 offseason? Good at the time, looks awful now.

BMAC for Danks, Masset, Rasner? Good at the time, looks positively brilliant now.

Gio, Sweeney, DLS for Swisher? Good at the time, looks like a wash now since Sweeney had no place in the organization.

Carter for Quentin? Looked good at the time, looks good now.

The only debatable one would be Garland for Cabrera. Obviously that one looks best in hindsight, but I would argue that if we were GOING to succeed in 2008 it would have had to be on the strength of our young pitching.

At the time of that trade we still had Gio and between him and Floyd it seemed likely that one of them could make the team in Spring Training.

The organization was very high on Floyd. Now you might say that's luck. In fact I'm sure you will. But most of the starting pitchers this organization has been high on at the MLB level have at least come out and pitched well for a few months--Danny Wright, Jon Rauch and Felix Diaz being the only exceptions...and that's 5 years ago.

Inevitably, you can call that luck that so many pitchers the White Sox have targeted and inserted into their rotation have worked out. But that seems fucking ridiculous.

pnoles said...

chris w - First of all, Gavin Floyd is getting very lucky. He has the 2nd lowest BABIP among starters (to Justin Duchscherer). And let's just say that he's not exactly a ground ball pitcher (1.00 G/F). His K/BB is a mere 1.56.


Second of all, you're missing the boat on what I'm calling "luck". When players learn how to pitch better in your organization, that's lucky. It's like when your stock goes up. There's a reason for it, sure, but the fact that it happened is lucky. Take your Jermaine Dye argument. You say he puts up MVP numbers every other year. I'm saying that this year, the White Sox are lucky to be getting the MVP season. I'm not saying he's personally lucky to do it, as he's obviously capable.

Ditto with Pierzynski. He's obviously capable of this, but his average expected production would be worse. Thus, the Sox are lucky to get an "up" year from him.

Contreras is having a good season. The world expected him to be terrible, and he's been a tad below-average. That's a win.

I never said anything about Thome.

Linebrink is getting very lucky. He's a fly ball pitcher that was getting sheltered by PETCO. Now he's pitching at a hitters' park with a problematic flyball rate (0.86 G/F) that hasn't caught up to him yet. He's a great bet to shit the bed during this contract, and the fact that he's 32 on Monday with his best years behind him doesn't help.

Also, every team in the world has to put up with injuries. The Sox load of injuries hasn't even been particularly bad. The Crede injury barely hurts. Ditto with Contreras. Jenks is the major one, but it was only for 15 days. You're freaking out like it was the whole season. And Linebrink is....eh...you know. This is pretty humdrum for a team.

Also, the Freddy Garcia trade was not smart, unless Kenny knew in advance that he wasn't going to be healthy again. Kenny had a win-now team at the time of the trade, AND had a surplus of starting pitching to deal for like, an outfielder or something. Instead, he sold of a piece of his win-now team for the future when he didn't have the farm system to justify it. That move is the fucking definition of "looks good only in hindsight."

And for the record, you bitched and moaned about the Swisher trade when it happened, so don't give me that "good at the time" garbage, unless you're conceding that prior argument to me.

I read every word you wrote, I hope you do me the same courtesy.

(this is fun)

Anonymous said...

I didn't think there was anything wrong with the FJM post. In fact, I thought it was above average. The Downey article was completely ridiculous to the point that I'm surprised it wasn't criticized on this site. I don't think anyone has a problem with the Griffey trade, but that doesn't make the tone of the article any less absurd. Saying that nobody takes Downey seriously is disingenuous. Nobody takes Mariotti seriously either. But if he wrote an account of his minute by minute feelings, you would be all over him. Or if this type of article was about Boston and not Chicago.

As an outsider, and someone that enjoys both FJM and FireJay, you're coming off overly touchy. I don't know if its my imagination, but you guys seem to be giving them a harder time since they outed themselves. All the "can you believe this guy gets paid to be a comedy writer?!" stuff is beneath you. Yes, I can believe it, because the site is hilarious. As this site often is, when the posts aren't strangely bitter in tone. But anyway, I apologize for offering criticism when you certainly didn't ask for input, and I understand that you're just blogging for your own amusement. Keep up the good work in general.

Chris W said...

anonymous:

Downey is a humorist. Mariotti is a columnist.

Huge difference.

Downey gets ripped on this site when he tries to make arguments, but in this case he's just writing a humorous post about the Griffey trade.

Anyway--that wasn't the biggest problem with the FJM article. The biggest problem was KT's deliberate bent that "this trade doesn't make any sense!" and "why would anyone be excited about this trade."

PNOLES:

--I acknowledged that Floyd was getting lucky. However, just like Ducscherer, he's also got a very good ERA and rock bottom WHIP. Those matter too, despite low BABIP numbers.

When you consider that Cooper stresses low BABIP numbers (probably not in those terms) it makes sense. Burly has made a living pitching well with low BABIP numbers.

Jenks has, since 2005 become less of a high K guy and more of a low BABIP guy.

--I don't buy the "pitchers have no control over BIP" bullshit, because Cooper seems to base his entire career as a pitching coach around the fact that pitchers DO have control over BIP. And he has had incredible success.

--In terms of what you term lucky. Sure...I'll buy that teams are lucky to get expected improvement. Hell, watching the Sox farm system tells you just that--Jon Rauch, Kris Honel, Danny Wright--these are guys who we could have rationally expected to improve, but never did.

--Joe Borchard. Jeremy Reed. No reason to think they wouldn't at least be servicable players.

--That said, you can't base a "this team is lucky" argument around a team that has had expected results. Just because they haven't been UNlucky, doesn't mean they're especially lucky. And the White Sox HAVE been pretty unlucky this year--

Konerko's tail-off isn't EXPECTED.
Crede's injury SHOULD have been expected, but that doesn't mean it isn't UNLUCKY.
Jenks's injury is unexpected and unlucky.
Scott Linebrink too.

--The whole "the world expected Contreras to be terrible" thing is partially true. But on the other hand he's a year removed from a season where he put up better numbers than he has so far this year. And 2 years removed from a sub 4.00 ERA season.

Here's Contreras's ERA's prior to this year

3.30
5.50
3.61
4.27
5.57

If I were a betting man, I'd say he's just as likely to put up an ERA of 4.60 (as he has so far this year) as something worse than that, wouldn't you? He's pitching worse than his career averages, that's for sure.

--Someone said something about Thome. Probably Mose. (PS: Anonymous is so totally right--we are just jealous of them for being super famous comedy writers)

--Scott Linebrink's ERA+'s the last 4 seasons

2004: 181
2005: 210
2006: 113
2007: 113
2008: 191

Not insanely lucky. Not entirely expected. You'll see his WHIPS and K/9 aren't much off his career norms.

--Every team in the world deals with injuries, sure. But the White Sox have been no exception, and have lost the productivity of their cleanup hitter and have lost their closer for a month. That should be enough right there to keep one from saying "They're +76 due to luck" unless you mean "Despite some general, but not unexpected good luck, as well as some general, but not unexpected bad luck, they're nevertheless +76"

At which point luck isn't really in the equation as a huge variable, is it?

--It was obvious to everyone that Freddy wouldn't be healthy again. Did you really not see that coming?

--It's partially true that I bitched and moaned about the Swisher trade. I complained about the Swisher trade, but that was mostly in regards to my qualms with Kenny's farm-system philosophy.

The general motivation to acquire a young player with huge upside and solid production numbers, was generally a good move, I thought, and wouldn't have been a bad thing, had we had any semblance of Minor League depth.

That said, FUCK KENNY WILLIAMS.


Anyway, regardless of where you stand on KW as a GM overall, I hope you'll agree with me (and disagree with Anonymous's almost CHart-level sycophancy of FJM) that the KT "article" was ridiculously petty, wrong, and pathetic.

Bengoodfella said...

Anonymous, I think Chris is being overly touchy about this but I have to also admit I understand why. It does seem like FJMorgan has a hard on for the White Sox. They seem to talk about them a whole lot. I don't think anyone is giving them a harder time since they outed themselves. It is just they write for a living and to be honest their material has not been up to the standard they have set in the past.

I don't know if anyone is trying to knock them but if you knew I was a professional writer and if the stuff I wrote used to be consistent and now is starting to waver a little bit, I think you would hold me to a higher standard.

As far as the Downey and Mariotti comparison, I have no idea how someone is not supposed to take Mariotti seriously. I would really doubt his columns are supposed to be light hearted and fun. Downey's are supposed to be light hearted and fun. I personally thought this column by Downey was pretty pointless but I think with FJMorgan always talking about the White Sox in a negative manner, Chris had enough and wanted to give his two cents.

Maybe I am wrong.

Chris W said...

I think BGF has it, more or less.

Look...Downey's an idiot. And I'd have no problem with FJM taking plenty of shots at him if he were trying to make a legitimate point.

But all he did was write a fucking "Hey, you're excited about Ken Griffey? So am I!" column.

It's not Mariotti. The dude's not trying to tell you you're an idiot if you don't think Griffey's awesome. It's just some old man writing a non-confrontational article about why he's excited about Griffey.

Then Mose Schrute decides to excoriate the dude's balls off, nitpick every word he writes, make fun of the dude's word choices and sentence structure, all because....why?

What's so offensive about the article? Well...nothing really, unless you have a bone to pick with the Chicago media for supporting the White Sox.

Go to FJM and type White Sox into the search bar. Those dudes are BRUTAL. And most of the time it's about things that they have no business getting that riled up over. Seriously. It's ridiculous.

And then they take a perfectly reasonable (if generally unspectacular trade) and get on a fucking soapbox about it in unfunny fashion?

Fuck off, Ken Tremendous, and cram your fucking White Sox vendetta up your ass?

Touchy? Maybe. Bitter? Goddamned right.

Chris W said...

For the record here are a few things about KW that pissed me off:

Weak scouting

Unwillingness to pay top talent like Porcello, drafting lesser players because of their "signability"

Overwillingness to trade B- level minor leaguers for subs of questionable talent.

Giving fucking Ozzie Guillen a fucking 4 year extension

Trading Chris Young (even though I'm generally sort of a Vazquez fan, or was)

Not trading Konerko this offseason

Not trading Joe Crede this offseason

Signing Darin Erstad (not that this was a bad deal per se, but KW should have known Ozzie would try to start Erstad in CF...therefore he shoudl have kept well enough away)

Actually, that's a big weakness of KW--he DOES fall in love with certain players and try to hunt them down. Griffey being one (rightly so) and Erstad being another (unrightfully so). Remember the rumors that Kenny actually had a Garland for Erstad deal in place in 2003 but Disney vetoed it? Puke.

This suggests that he might have overpaid for Swisher, since he wanted to draft Swisher.

Also: even though Carl Everett falls into the category of "players KW loves unconditionally", this is not a bad thing since Carl Everett is the greatest ball player in dinosaur-denier history.

That is all.

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

I rarely read FireJoeMorgan anymore. After I discovered you guys I realized that what they do can be done with more humor and less pomposity.

pnoles said...

chris w - I'll try again. ::sigh::

As players on the wrong side of 30 (Contreras, Linebrink) get older, you can expect them to get worse. You can't take Contreras's career numbers and use that as a benchmark for his age-36 (36, if we're being trusting) season. Ditto with Linebrink. Linebrink has not been as good for the past two years, and thus, projects as something significantly less than a 191 ERA+ pitcher.

"That said, you can't base a 'this team is lucky' argument around a team that has had expected results. Just because they haven't been UNlucky, doesn't mean they're especially lucky. And the White Sox HAVE been pretty unlucky this year"

This team is NOT having expected results. Expected results had them at 3rd in the division with like 78-ish wins. When you say that, you are telling me that people like Floyd, Danks, and Quentin were supposed to be this awesome when the season started, when in reality, Floyd projected as a reject, while the other two were wildcards. Just to clarify my viewpoint, I'll list everything notably lucky in either direction, and give you a 1-10 score, 10 being most deviant from expected performance on the WHOLE SEASON.

UNLUCKY

Konerko falling flat on his face: 9 (He basically is nailing his 10th percentile PECOTA)

Swisher being an above-average bat instead of a very good bat: 7

Jenks, hurt (just 15 day DL, doesn't kill overall numbers): 2

Crede, hurt (this was expected, factored into projection, he's not that good anyway): 1

Linebrink, hurt (kind of an extended-ish period): 3

Vazquez, down season: 7

That's about it.

LUCKY

Gavin Floyd breaking out - 10, shattering 90th percentile.

John Danks breaking out - 10, ditto

Contreras's serviceability (to this point) - 6

Quentin breakout - 9.5

Buehrle pitching well again is fairly lucky too, but we'll throw it out, because I know you'll yell about it.

Dye nailing 90th percentile - 5

Pierzynski's upswing - 3

Linebrink beating 90th percentile - 7

Good luck on this team far outweighs the bad luck.

I'm sure you're gonna have a chuckle over this one. And I know you don't buy into PECOTA or whatever. I just don't think I'm going to be able to beat into you how lucky Williams got on Danks, Floyd, and Quentin this season. Danks was expected to be good eventually, but breaking out this season was nothing but a huge shock. Literally every question mark on the roster coming into the season performed well above expectations, with the only caveats being Konerko's expected decline was accelerated and awful, and you got Decent Nick Swisher instead of Awesome Nick Swisher in the trade. Every team has injuries. Deal with it. You were spoiled by the insane health of the 2005-2006 White Sox.

Iridescence said...

Most of the anti-Whirte Sox stuff I've read on FireJoe is trashing the whole "SmartBall" thing and the kind of articles that re saying they won the 2005 championship just because Ozzie did a lot of hitting of running and played a lot of "grinders" in the lineup. Of course I fully support mocking that type of idiocy.

But you're right this article was just getting excited about a pretty good trade that actually improves the team. It's not exactly hard-hitting journalism but there's nothing really wrong with it and it's dumb of Kenny T. to pick it apart so much. I enjoy reading both FJM sites but this is definitely one of Kenny T.'s worst and least funny efforts.

Personally, I think Ozzie is an idiot but Williams has made some good moves as GM and deserves some credit.

dan-bob said...

Someone on the radio the other day made the comment that Griffey's K/BB ratio is 1:1 this season.

They suggested, I think accurately, that pitchers still have a bit of fear of the Junior swing. He's 8th in the NL in Walks - with more than some hitters who are being much more productive this year.

I think Griffey's going to contribute significantly to the White Sox offense this fall.

Chris W said...

--You can expect them to get worse, but you shouldn't necessarily.

If player are generally good players (or in Contreras's case, generally so inconsistent as to average out to be good players) to EXPECT them to get measurably worse, especially coming off a down year is...well...the same as expecting them to return to their career averages.

That is to say, a fair expectation but not a concrete one.

--Expected results based on PECOTA projections are different from "expected results."

Projections of young players who were HUGE blue chips coming into their own is always going to be below EXPECTED results.

For instance, I EXPECTED somewhere around 4.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP from Danks. I don't think that was an unreasonable expectation.

Nothing about a PROJECTION of Danks would have targeted him at that. However, Danks has great stuff, is a smart pitcher, and if you examine 2007 apart from his aggregate stats you can see a lot of reason why one might have been optimistic about his 2008.

Same thing with Carlos Quentin. You can't project what a huge stud prospect who's finally healthy will put up because there's no reasonable numbers on which to base such a projection. However, to EXPECT Quentin to OPS 800 wouldn't have been unrealistic.

Floyd "projected" as a reject largely because of his aggregate numbers. I'm not gonna pretend I expected him to put up a 4.00 ERA let alone a 3.30 ERA. However, if you told me he'd be around 14 wins and a 4.00 ERA I wouldn't have told you your'e crazy, even though the "projections" were there.

How on earth can you claim that "projections" are useful for players without any significant consistent statistics? It's just asinine.

PECOTA is relevant for players like Konerko, Swisher, and AJ.

It's not particularly relevant for guys like Crede, Dye, Danks, Floyd, and Vazquez.

If you can't understand why that is, I guess I'll break it down for you:

Konerko, Swisher and AJ: very little variance between seasons.

Crede, Dye and Vazquez: huge variance between seasons (injury issues as well)

Floyd, Danks: No fucking data on which to base it.

Seriously if you want to take Floyd, a prospect who, by the time he got to the White Sox had already pitched himself out of his Philly job, and use those numbers to continue to evaluate him after an entire season of minor league reconditioning and remodeling of his pitching approach, I have to say...that's fucking retarded.

Seriously. That's crazy. Here's a 26 year old kid with tons of talent but no fucking clue how to pitch in Philly. He's scouted out by the best pitching coach/reclamation projecteer in baseball, shifts his whole approach, comes up in the late season and pitches his balls off, and pretty much has pitched absolutely accordingly with all Cooper's reclamation projects, and you want to act like his fucking numbers as a 22 and 23 year old in Philly is something that should be used to predict his 2008 performance? No fucking way.

I take HUGE issue with your luck scale. John Danks pitching well is a 10 on the likelihood scale? No fucking way. You're insane.

Jose Contreras putting up a 4.60 ERA and a fucking 1.40 WHIP is a 6? No fucking way.

Quentin "breaking out" is a 9.5? Maybe to this extent, but the fact that he would be an all star is almost entirely shocking? No fucking way.

Kenny targeted him specifically and made him a priority in offseason acquisition. And he performed. That's luck? Might be. Maybe it's lucky he didn't get injured. BUt aside from that, 9.5? Ridiculous.

Burly pitching well again is lucky...oh GOD.

Good luck on the team and bad luck on the team is just about the same as any other fucking team in baseball.

ANY team. You think that if we broke down the LAA, or even the fucking unlucky Red Sox we couldn't pull numbers like that out of our ass?

Good grief.


--Look...bottom line is I've been shocked that our pitching has performed well. It's certainly not to be expected.

However when you take players who were at one time (in Floyd's case) and never really stopped being (in Danks case) stud prospects, that performed last year for months at a time (Floyd and Danks) and put them with the best pitching coach in baseball , it's not going to shock my balls off when they perform.

Will they regress? Absolutely. Like I said, I think Danks is a 4.00 pitcher and Floyd is probably a low 4.00's pitcher. Big fucking deal. They're in the mid 3.00's right now. Oh wow! They're shitting emeralds and gold dublooms!

And Quentin? I mean...were the Reds lucky last year when Hamilton had a great year? For Christ's sake--they took a SLIGHT risk on an immense talent who they only could acquire since the DBacks were absolutely set at OF and had a need for a 1B slugger prospect to flip for Haren.

That's not that shocking that Quentin turned out to be good. This good? A little surprising, but it's not like it's inconceivable.

--Literally every question mark on this roster performed above expectations?

1. Crede--shitty shittyy embarrassingly shitty fielding from a supposed "gold glove caliber" 3B AND he got hurt after dipping into a 600 OPS stretch

2. Konerko

3. Swisher

4. Thome's unbearably bad start

5. Cabrera's awful start and current underperformance. Oh and he had an awful glove the first month of the season.

6. I didn't realize Uribe performed above expectation at 2B for the month and a half he played there.

Exaggerate much?

pnoles said...

John Danks isn't pitching well. He's pitching spectacular. He's 7th in the AL in ERA. That's a huge jump. It's like, the best he could have possibly done. That's why it's a 10. Ditto with Quentin. Would have been lucky enough for him to be an above-average LF bat this year, but instead we have the AL leader in home runs on our team! Carlos Quentin from - traded for Chris Carter to - leading AL in HR. YES! 9.5!

Your mean projection of Danks at a 4.00 ERA is crazy. It's not unrealistic for him to do, but for you to think before the season that on average, he'd put up that ERA, that's ridiculous.

You're also missing the point of PECOTA. I'm 95% sure that your understanding of PECOTA is that it simply takes data from players' past years and calculates what they will do in the future. I don't feel like paraphrasing, so I'll just quote BP 2008.

"PECOTA works by analyzing a number of quantifiable factors, including production metrics (BA, IsoP), usage metrics (PA, MLB career length, minor league level), phenotypic attributes (handedness, height, weight), and a player's defensive position. With this data, PECOTA identifies as many as a hundred of the hitters or pitchers who are most comparable to the player being projected. The career trends of those players are then used in producing the forecast."

There is plenty of data, you see, to make sound projections about people like Floyd and Danks. Plenty of similar players have come through the league over the years, and as such, there are reasonable expectations for them. Now, it's true that they are more high variance projections than people like Konerko or Pierzynski, but that doesn't mean you can't find a median projection and go from there.

Floyd's mean projection for the year was a 5.20 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. The 90th percentile for him was a 3.74 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Floyd has done better than that. This means that less than 10% of players in history that have had a similar physical properties and statistical records have done as well or better than Floyd. THAT's why the White Sox have been lucky. Because on average, guys like him tend not to do this well.

John Danks was an even bigger stretch primarily due to lesser stuff and experience, with mean projections of 5.53 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. His 90th percentile was 4.04 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, which he is currently destroying. Sometimes guys just figure it out, like Danks did. But when that happens to a guy on your team, that's lucky.

The story is similar with Quentin.

Crede playing acceptable offense. That was a shock. Konerko and Swisher weren't really question marks, and if you read that sentence of mine, you'll notice I actually qualified it.

Where did you get your projection for Danks and Floyd having a 4.00 ERA before the season? PECOTA has decades of data...you have....just a hunch? I'm sorry, but I'm going with the big nerdy computer on this one.

Martin said...

You guys quit talking about Gavin, he's my big lucky find on my fantasy team and you fuckers are going to jinx him. In fact my whole rotation is waiting to be jinxed.....

Floyd, Danks, Saunders, Duchscherer, that's Team Feeling Lucky right there.

The Sox are playing better then was expected at the beginning of the year. Some gambles have paid off. It's lucky, and it's calculated risk. I think the Uribe signing was horrible. They could have picked up lots of better fielding shortstops who can't hit for less. The Garland trade was a good one though. Garland and his agent overvalue his ability. He's a decent pitcher, who seems to have flashes of brilliance, and flashes of crapiness.

I think Kenny Williams is a decent GM. There are very few great GM's. In fact I'd be hard pressed to name any around right now. As long as their winning % for deals and singings is 60%, I'd have to give them a thumbs up.

Chris W said...

No, Pnoles. I understand PECOTA. It factors in relevant factors like age, position, similar players (comparing Hafner to Kent Hrbek, etc)

That's all well and good when there's a significant body of evidence, but inevitably, trying to project a young stud prospect's stats is ridiculous, especially with a change in system.

I'm too fucking fed up by the ugliest game i've seen all year to get into any of your other points.

Fine. Danks having a low ERA in a down year for AL pitching is inconceivable.

Carlos Quentin being a stud is unbelievable.

Sure.

Martin said...

Actually, Danks has been getting hit pretty hard his last 4 starts. He might actually end up around 15 wins, 4.00 era. It's a long season, give it a chance. At the end of April, Carlos Gomez looked like he'd swipe 60 bags.

Chris W said...

just one thing:

I base my data on watching them play and evaluating their stats during the times where I feel they're not pitching tired/pitching off their games/mentally beaten.

I take into consideration what I think their stuff projects to as well as other variables.

It is what it is--if you watched Danks last year, you'd know that he accrued his high ERA mostly towards the end of a lost cause season, throwing more innings than he had prior to that point in his career.

If you look at his first half numbers, they weren't that far off what he's looking at now, ERA, WHIP, K/9, and K/BB-wise.

It's completely reasonable to look at a pitcher like Danks and say "now that he's had a chance to get used to those innings, it's really not that unlikely that he'll match what he did the first half....with a slight improvement."

Hence my 4.00 benchmark. That's not what I'm SAYING his ERA will be, but that's a reasonable expectation for Danks, considering last year was his rookie year and he pitched well before fatigue hit.

Floyd had a small sample size last year, only pitching like 60 some innings, but what else can you gauge him on? His slider is perfect for Cooper's system, and he ended the season with a 3.19 ERA in September in 31.0 innings.

Between August and September, he had an ERA around 4.00

You can expect he'll do worse than that the next season, but it's not unreasonable to set as a benchmark a 4.50 ERA.

He's clearly outperforming that, but whatever. It's just plain stupid to say "anything but a high 5.00's ERA is totally unexpected".

I'll stick with my approach to expectations. You stick to PECOTA and it's totally accurate success in predictions....

That way I won't be particularly shocked by things that aren't shocking, and you can sing the same old song every season "I can't believe all these people are over/underperforming their percentiles"

.........or something like that.

pnoles said...

"I base my data on watching them play and evaluating their stats during the times where I feel they're not pitching tired/pitching off their games/mentally beaten."

Uh oh!

You can't do that!

Pretty much every pitcher in baseball goes through those times during the course of a 162-game season! That's giving way too much bias towards good stats.

It's reasonable to say, for example, that Danks might be a little more used to the workload this season. But it doesn't completely erase the fatigue factor.

A 5.00 ERA benchmark for both Floyd and Danks would have been very reasonable. Might they do a ton better than that? Sure, totally possible, and not ridiculous or anything, because sometimes players suprise you. All I'm saying is that said suprise is good luck for the team. I'm not saying it makes no sense. But it is certainly lucky when you give 2 wildcards and a reject starting jobs and have them throw together monster breakout seasons at the same time.

Chris W said...

Why can't I do that? Danks is a guy who'd never pitched a full season at the MLB level before. I'm not "cherry picking good months," I'm using the stats he produced when his arm was fresh.

Obviously this isn't a perfect way of predicting things, but I feel a lot more confident observing and selecting stats than going with computational, non-selective analysis no matter how many variables it considers.

I'm not the one forecasting, but then again, maybe PECOTA shouldn't be either, since for every player or team it accurately forecasts, it misses on another.

It is what it is.

5.00 to me was a ridiculous benchmark for Danks and a fair one for Floyd. But then again, what do I know? You have a computer on your side (your words, not mine)

J.S. said...

Wow, there seems to be a lot of tension between these two blogs...meow!

pnoles said...

You CAN'T just use the times a player is at his best! Few if any players are at their freshest and most readiestest for the entire season! You have to take those times and average against when they're down.

PECOTA doesn't try to "hit" the exact projection of players. The correct way of saying it is "for every time PECOTA overshoots a player's projection, they undershoot another." They hit the median There's a 50% chance that a player does better and a 50% chance that a player does worse. They are not trying to peg someone's exact statistics! I can't stress that enough.

You absolutely can't use stats for when Danks's arm was fresh, because no pitcher is as fresh in October as they are in April. Not even veteran arms. They might fight regression better than the rookies, but let's not forget who exactly we're talking about here. It's John Danks. He's 23. It's his 2nd season. Fatigue happens.

pnoles said...

Let me correct myself.

While PECOTA actually does calculate the median (50% percentile), the actual projection is the mean, not the median.

Chris W said...

i'm totally sick of this. let's move on.

someone post something else.

Anonymous said...

"This is the definition of meta--sports-hate-blog website dissects a dissection of its namesake, prototype sports-hate-blog website."

What?

Bengoodfella said...

I have to say that was one of the longest and useful stat quoting arguments I have read in a long while. I think I am going to have to have someone give me an update on everything about PECOTA though. I may have gotten confused.

Chris W said...

Anon2:

"meta" as in, shorthand for "meta-_____"...in this case "metacritical" or "metastructural."

i.e. this is a piece cognizant of its structural and critical construct, which by being a criticism of a criticism, or, failing that, an applied structure of an applied structure demonstrates a post-modern self-consciousness that is tail-chasing, ass-eatingly hyper-aware-slash-ironic.

In other words, "meta".

Not to be pretentious about it or anything...

Chris W said...

ps: further adding to the confusion, the second "of" in the section you quoted should be "by"

My bad :(

Sorry

larry b said...

Crimny- What is this, an argument about abortion/afirmative action/gun control?

Chris W said...

you're an argument about abortion/affirmative action/gun control