Archive for April, 2005

I Broke It

I did something stupid and lost access to the blog. I’m not even sure if this will post. So, if things go crazy…just know that I’m trying to fix the problem.

And FYI, it was my fault, not the program.

Welcome to the new Sabernomics

Well, I threatened to do it, and now it’s done. I’ve converted the blog over to Word Press. It was a bit of trouble, but really not all that bad. Right now things are in a bit of disarray as I try and get everything working. You may notice some dead links, missing material, etc.; but, hopefully everything will be up and running soon.

I would like to add that I don’t wish to use this as an opportunity to trash Blogger. In fact, leaving Blogger was kind of like selling my first car. I bought the best thing I could afford at the time, but as I got older I needed something a little bigger and more comfortable. It served me well while I used it and I sometimes miss it. I whole-heartedly recommend Blogger to anyone wanting to start a blog. If it were not for the ease of start-up, I never would have started. And the clunkiness was actually a good thing as it forced me to learn a lot about HTML, CSS, and many web tools.

I’m very impressed with the Word Press software so far. It’s easy to use and powerful.

SSPS for Pitchers

I have completed the 2005 SSPS projections for pitchers. Pitcher projections are based off regression estimates of pitcher performances in 150-inning seasons from 1998-2004. I generated two projections, one for ERA corrected by 3-year Lahman pitcher park factors, the other estimated based on the park/team of each pitcher. I projected 2005 estimates for players who pitched on the same team for an entire year, and pitched more than 30 innings.

Like the estimates for batters, I ran several regressions on historical data until I found the variables that maximized the fit. The estimates based on the park of the pitcher (“Straight-Prediction ERA,” as I call it) were much stronger than the “Park-Corrected” estimates, explaining 48% of the variance of ERA. The variables that were important are 100% in line with DIPS/FIP theory. The projections are based on the previous season’s strikeout-rate, walk-rate, home run-rate, team BABIP, age, handedness, and league. Consistent with DIPS, the previous season’s BABIP did not impact the next season’s ERA or BABIP for pitchers.

The variance of the predicted 2005 ERAs (SD = 0.65) is much smaller than the 2004 variance of ERAs (SD = 1.34) This is not surprising, since much of ERA is determined by BABIP, which is largely random. The fact that such a large determinant of ERA is random makes predicting ERAs for any one pitcher very tricky. I guess that was the whole point of the DIPS revolution, right?

Anyway, here you go. As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

Five Questions, Plus a Sixth

I’ve written the Five Questions preview of the Braves over at The Hardball Times. Check it out to see what I think about the upcoming season.

But, after yesterday’s trade of Nick Green, I have an additional question. Why did John Schuerholz acquire Jorge Sosa? I’m a big fan of what Leo can do for pitchers, but Sosa is on the Devil Rays for a reason: he’s not very good. It’s not that losing Nick Green is so bad, but to trade a solid bench player for a pitcher who makes twice the league minimum and puts up AAA numbers is not a good move. What? “Sosa has potential,” you say? Who doesn’t? The guy will be 28 this year, with over 300 Major League innings under his belt. Here are his numbers in the categories I use to evaluate pitchers.

2002 5.96 0.89 1.45 81
2003 4.89 1.20 0.98 98
2004 5.16 1.74 1.54 81

Car. 5.30 1.27 1.29 87

Not good. I can think of several pitchers in Richmond who have just as much potential at half the price. This is an especially bad move in terms of payroll, because it looks like the Braves are going to have to eat Tom Martin’s $900,000 contract. The funny thing is, this trade reminds me a lot of the ill-advised deal for Martin. Here’s a guy who’s expensive, seems like he should be good, but isn’t. All that payroll flexibility gained by signing Mondesi and Jordan, which I praise in my THT article, is not any help if this is how you use it.

I’m really a Schuerholz fan. I gave a thumbs up to the Cappy/Kolb and Meyer-Cruz-Thomas/Hudson deals, praised the Mondesi and Jordan signings, and I even think Millwood/Estrada was a fantastic deal even if Estrada ends up like Paul Bako. This deal stinks. On the bright side, it is just a small mistake — losing a utility infielder and some cash — but it’s the kind of deal that just ruins my day.

I will admit that I am kind of a Green fan. I understand that he is only a .700 OPS pinch-hitting infielder. But, he was cheap, reliable, and a very good defender (Pinto ranked him the second-best second baseman in the majors last year). I don’t care that he had some clutch hits, because I don’t believe in clutch hitting as a skill. I just liked Nick Green, and I don’t know why. Let’s not say good-bye Nick, just see you later. I wish you the best, and I hope you make it back to Atlanta one day. Thanks for saving the 2004 season when all looked lost.