Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Baseball Tidbits Because Why Not

Apparently, even though the NFL has started, baseball is still being played. That provided's Ken Rosenthal with some dumb things to say. Here are two good (bad) clips:

Regarding Braves' GM Frank Wren's contract-awarding decisions:

The [B.J.] Upton deal was baffling — rival executives and even players were critical of it from the start, saying that Upton had accomplished little to warrant such an investment. Uggla, though, was on a Hall of Fame track when the Braves acquired him from the Marlins. Few anticipated that he would fall so hard, so quickly.

*&@%^* the heck? Did anyone actually think Dan Uggla was on a HOF track? I guess the larger point that KR is trying to make here - that Uggla's decline came more precipitously than many would have expected, is somewhat relevant. But if I were KR, I might note that Uggla's last season with the Marlins was unusually good compared to the four seasons before it - easily viewed as an outlier. That might be a fair claim to make if you're critiquing the Braves' decision to sign him. But Dan Uggla, Hall of Famer? You gotta be kidding me.

Regarding Drew Smyly's success with Tampa Bay after being traded from the Rays:

Smyly, 25, clearly is benefiting from the Rays’ advanced approached to analytics. Upon joining the team, club officials informed him that they had detected some of his lesser-known strengths by studying the numbers.

Good old Tampa Bay and their nifty computers! They're good at computing things.

The Rays told Smyly to elevate his fastball more — sort of a counter-intuitive move for a pitcher — and they also emphasized that while he was successful getting to two strikes against right-handed hitters, he needed to find better ways to finish those hitters off.

The first point is useful advice and kudos for the analytics, but the second point seems useless. Analytics guy: "Hey Drew, when you've got two strikes against righties, throw better pitches".
Drew: "What was wrong with the pitches I was throwing? Any idea what kinds of pitches were successful or unsuccesful here?"
Analytics guy: "You gotta find better ways!"
Quality reporting here, Ken.

Obviously, the biggest key for Smyly is executing pitches, but he said the Rays’ suggestions made a big difference in his approach. Makes you wonder why the Tigers didn’t pick up on the same things

Hard-hitting analysis from Ken Rosenthal, ladies and gentlemen. Maybe the Rays think the biggest key for Smyly is using his fastball differently or changing his two-strike approach, but Ken Rosenthal knows that the biggest key for Smyly is executing pitches. Tune in next week, where Ken Rosenthal explains that the biggest key for David Price is getting outs.

I'm surprised he didn't go all Joe Morgan and say that the biggest key for Smyly is concistency.



How could you think about baseball on a day like this? How could you not take the time to commemorate the terrible tragedy that occurred?

That's right, as you all know it's exactly 28 years and 84 days since the tragic death of Leonard Kevin Bias. NEVER FORGET.

Bengoodfella said...

The B.J. Upton contract wasn't the best contract, but until two years ago Upton was a good defensive player with speed and power. I find it interesting Rosenthal had no issue with a 30+ year old bad defensive 2B being given a five year $62 million contract that goes to the age of 35, but a 28 old OF being given a five year $75 million deal was a bad move.

Both deals suck, but because Uggla is on a Hall of Fame track it's fine to overpay him until he is 35?

Biggus Rickus said...

Let's start by saying that both of the Braves deals were obviously terrible to start with. The two players were different kinds of prospects. Uggla didn't hit the majors until he was 26, and his career BR WAR was 15.6 over his 26-30 seasons (3.1 per season). Upton reached 16 WAR during his 22-27 seasons (2.6 per season). Neither was good in the field according to dWAR (which can be sketchy, but is probably accurate if it says you suck consistently over an extended period). Now, if we're talking about how surprising their drops in production were, Upton is clearly the winner. Uggla had two fine years in Atlant, perfectly in line with his so-so Marlins years. He didn't fall off a cliff until age 33, when you would expect him to fall off a cliff. Which is why you don't sign unathletic sluggers who get by on power and plate discipline to 5 year contracts entering their age 31 seasons. BJ Upton immediately fell off a cliff at 28, as soon as he got to Atlanta. It is a far more baffling meltdown. The Braves overpaid him, but NOBODY expected him to put up -2.3 WAR during his age 28 and 29 seasons. He also may have been part of the reason Justin Upton signed with Atlanta, and Upton has been more or less worth his contract so far.

Chris W said...

drew smyly went to the U of A