Category Archives: Articles

Scouts, Statisticians, and Bad SABR

Finally, someone explains the whole stats vs. scouts issue. It all makes sense now!

Today in TUCK! sez

TUCK! sez: And somewhere, Robin Ventura shakes his head

This site is a poor imitation of one great blog already, so I’ll refrain from explaining today’s extremely stupid TUCK! sez comic on the Hardball Times, out of respect to Joe Mathlete. Nevertheless, I can’t comprehend why Tuck would suggest that Nolan Ryan or anyone involved with the Rangers auction at all wasn’t aware of the team’s debt obligations. Does Tuck really think he’s the first person to realize that the new owners will have to take care of that debt?

Tuck consistently produces the worst comics I’ve ever seen, but in terms of sheer stupidity of concept–not to mention execution–this one is in a class of its own.

I’ll indulge myself and touch on execution briefly. These are my issues: (1) Is it actually funnier to say “US Bankruptcy Court -n- Auction House” [sic] than “US Bankruptcy Court”? (2) Why is the American judge wearing a judge’s wig? (3) Does the empty speech bubble represent that Ryan is lost for words or did Tuck just forget to fill that one in? (4) How is the judge’s disembodied right arm coming from a mystery curl that isn’t attached the rest of the wig? (5) Is Judge Nelms’s left hand really just a giant thumb? (6) And why is he so evil?

I Like Eric Seidman

Commeter “rick flair” left a tip to a thread on BodyBuilding.com titled “Professional Actor’s Workout” from August, 2006. The first post begins:

Hey everyone, Eric J. Seidman here. I’m a writer, actor, and director who, if you have not heard of, will have in the next year or so.

Seidman has been a great addition for Baseball Prospectus, since his prediction skills are as accurate as PECOTA’s.

God, that was terrible.

I Really Hope Joe Pawlikowski Is Joking

He needed to share this with the world.

This chick is turning lots of heads.

A girl on the street

Click the image for a zoomed-in version.

I sure hope he knows this girl or I’m missing out on something. Because otherwise, this is too creepy for words.

Why Does Tangotiger Salivate over Kristi Dosh?

July 16, 2010:

Ideally, for [Dosh's] new blog, there’d be [a picture] of her in a red dress, kicking her feet up, drinking red wine at a typewriter.

Later in the same thread:

Ahhh… well, I guess those images are blocked at the office.  Usually it’s p-rn and blogspot.com that is blocked, and, I guess [Dosh's] picture fit into one of those categories.

He’s also posted the infamous “red dress” picture three times now and wanted to in the thread linked above, but his work internet filter prevented him from doing so.

The red dress picture is not this one:

Kristi Dosh

Someone explain this obsession to me, especially since other SABR kittens are out there.

Update: I think this roman à clef from Dosh’s fiction writing blog (WTF?) explains it all.

à

Lest We Forget

James Click, February 2, 2006:

Lest we forget, this is only PECOTA’s third season; wait until you see where BP is three years from now.

evo34, February 27, 2010:

So let’s take a look at how PECOTA projects the top five hitting prospects in baseball to “grow” over the next five years [TAv taken from 10-year forecast]:

Jason Heyward (age 20):
2010: .282
2011: .276
2012: .277
2013: .276
2014: .271

Mike Stanton (age 20):
2010: .265
2011: .264
2012: .265
2013: .259
2014: .257

Desmond Jennings (23 years old):
2010: .269
2011: .269
2012: .278
2013: .273
2014: .270

Buster Posey (22 years old):
2010: .266
2011: .269
2012: .270
2013: .269
2014: .268

Pedro Alvarez (23 years old):
2010: .266
2011: .260
2012: .269
2013: .258
2014: .259

So, basically none of the top five prospects in baseball are projected to improve over the next five years. Apparently, each has already peaked as a mediocre MLB regular. Anyone who has used PECOTA projections over the years will understand how massively different these projections look than those of years past. They (Pease et al.) have essentially diluted the informational content out of prospect projecions to the point where all major prospects are projected to follow an eerily similar career path.

In short, this is worse than New Coke. Someone has significantly changed the algorithm (intentional or not), and there is no documentation of what has changed or why. There is simply no way to trust any of the PECOTA projections for this season — esp. those of prospects. This is extremely unfortunate as long-term projections were the last remaining competitive advantage BP had over competing forecast services (for data forecasts, not editorial content). A full article on this debacle (not another “Unfiltered” side-note) is warranted.

I am not trying to bash BP as much as I am expressing my personal disappointment at not having source for accurate long-term prospect projections for the first season in a very long time. I honestly don’t know of anyone else who takes a numerical approach to evaluating minor leaguers. If anyone does, please post.

So PECOTA makes terrible projections for the top position player prospects and thus PECOTA’s own value falls in a very Heyward’s-career-according-to-PECOTA way. What irony.

Twitter WAR (Wordplay!)

First, Will F**king Carroll noticed something strange about WAR:

WAR says Aubrey Huff better than Albert Pujols. Someone explain this to me.

Then R.J. Anderson noticed something strange about WARP:

WARP says it too; maybe Huff is better marketed

Finally, Patrick Sullivan settles the issue:

Hey if Jenn Sturger thinks Pujols is having the better year, it's good enough for me.

Ahead in the Count: Tabling the Discussion

Nobody loves tables quite as much as Baseball Prospectus’s Matt Swartz, so I decided to make my own. Go look at it. Please.

Swartz had written for other sites before, but BP is the grandest stage of them all. I think now is a good time to look back and remember the very first table Swartz published on Baseball Prospectus. On May 19, 2009, in his submission article to that hilarious trainwreck, Prospectus Idol, we saw:

Player 1/Player 2    Deny   Confess
Deny                -3,-3    -15,-2
Confess             -2,-15   -10,-10

It’s beautiful.

I Don’t Think the Hardball Times Even Cares Anymore

Anna McDonald writes so well that the Hardball Times decided to post her most recent article twice on the same page. And who could blame them? It doesn’t matter that she has nothing to say. A girl SABR, no matter how Kahrlian or Seidmanesque her writing style, must be published. It could be years before the next one comes along.

In the unlikely event someone actually fixes the original post, I made a screenshot.

Stick to Being an Academic, Thomas

The suggestion box thread on BP Unfiltered is a gift from the SABR gods. The best exchange by far, begins with sabermetric legend Tangotiger defending the right of another commenter to say that Matt Swartz sucks, rehashing the old The Book Blog obsession of content over tone. Some other dude seconds the opinion and adds that comment rating stinks.

So here comes Captain Non Sequitur, former Baseball Prospectus writer, Joe Sheehan. He writes, “That, more or less, is why forums are basically a non-starter. All cost, no revenue.” Tango, obviously annoyed by this customer-unfriendly attitude, responds, “Fangraphs has forums, and they don’t charge their readers. Primer has forums, and they don’t charge their readers. You’ve got to have a better reason for not having a forum considering that you are already charging readers.”

Before we get to Sheehan’s reply, put yourself in his shoes. How would you address what Tango said? You could point out that BP doesn’t have the staff or overhead to moderate forums. Or that the available forum software isn’t up to snuff and the company doesn’t have the money or time to build something better. Or you could just be polite and say that you’re looking into it.

Sheehan, logically, chose none of these:

How about this?

I’ve done sports content as a business for 15 years. By any standard I’m one of a small number of people to do it successfully outside the mainstream, I’ve played most of the roles one can play and holy god I’m sick of listening to you act as if you’ve had 1% of the success the people you criticize have had. How about you grant that I might know what I’m talking about, given that sports content has been my career, without me having to make a business case to someone with no standing to ask for one?

Fangraphs, as far as I can tell, is financed by a rich grandpa. Primer/BTF/Newsstand/Brand of the Day isn’t a business in any real sense of the word, it’s r.s.b ported to the Web and stripped of its spark. That you would make these comparisons shows just how little you understand of Prospectus, how little you’ve ever understood.

Stick to being an academic, Thomas. Stick to your sycophant-laden fora and your above-it-all mien. Stop jumping in here and cheap-shotting a business that you’ve never comprehended on your best day.

But how do you really feel, Joe?

Today we learned that Joe Sheehan is a “sports content” expert and he hates Tom Tango. And I just learned that fora is the plural of forum. So now you know!