Archive for May, 2008

Unproductively Productive Hitters

Why not? Here’s a list of players with batting averages over .280 and OPS+ under 100.

Player		Team	AVG	OBP	SLG	OPS	OPS+
#Erick	Aybar	LAA	0.298	0.311	0.397	0.708	94
Yadier	Molina	STL	0.296	0.354	0.400	0.754	99
Jason	Kendall	MIL	0.293	0.376	0.379	0.755	99
#Randy	Winn	SFG	0.287	0.326	0.364	0.690	82
*Adam	Kennedy	STL	0.287	0.342	0.337	0.679	81
Billy	Butler	KCR	0.286	0.351	0.368	0.719	97
Julio	Lugo	BOS	0.285	0.348	0.341	0.689	87
*Juan	Pierre	LAD	0.281	0.360	0.326	0.686	80
*Left-handed
#Switch-hitter
Minimum 100 plate appearances

Productively Unproductive Hitters

Here is a list of players batting under .250 but have an OPS+ of 100 or more.

Player			Team	AVG	OBP	SLG	OPS	OPS+
*Nick	Johnson		WSN	0.226	0.420	0.443	0.863	128
*Jack	Hannahan	OAK	0.244	0.402	0.372	0.774	123
#Carlos	Beltran		NYM	0.246	0.377	0.444	0.821	118
*Jason	Giambi		NYY	0.177	0.333	0.458	0.791	117
*Jim	Thome		CHW	0.214	0.353	0.429	0.782	112
*David	Ortiz		BOS	0.240	0.341	0.427	0.768	106
Evan	Longoria	TBR	0.223	0.324	0.415	0.739	105
Chris	Young		ARI	0.238	0.335	0.470	0.805	105
Mark	Ellis		OAK	0.242	0.328	0.379	0.707	101
Brandon	Inge		DET	0.227	0.340	0.386	0.726	100
*Left-handed
#Switch-hitter
Minimum 100 plate appearances

It’s interesting that a majority of the players can bat from the left side.

Slow Times

I’ve been thinking about blogging—the activity—lately, with the Costas-Bissinger incident and the demise of Capital Punishment.

About the former, Buzz Bissinger is a jackass: this isn’t news. To take his commentary seriously is to think that Michael Moore and Bill O’Reilly have something interesting to say. (If I have insulted one of your intellectual heroes, I’m not sorry.) The real issue was Costas allowing Bissinger to behave that way on his show and not moderate the discussion. I don’t watch his show—I don’t have HBO for fear of stumbling across pornography—but if this is how he normally hosts discussions the show must be awful. Anyway, my point is that this was a set-up by Costas, and he deserves most of the blame for allowing Bissinger to behave like that. All Will Leitch could do was stare in awe at the spectacle like the rest of us. The proper response would have been to turn to Costas and say, “are you going to allow this?” If he then acknowledged that Bissinger’s commentary was worthwhile, he would have been justified in walking off the set.

As for Capital Punishment leaving the blogoshpere, I know how Chris feels.

I’ve done plenty of writing these last few years. Lord knows how many books I’ve essentially written. And finding new things to say is tough. (I’d say ‘interesting’ things, too, but that’d imply that half my posts were!)

It’s time to move on.

First, congrats to Chris on a great run. One of the things I like about blogs is that it is easy to get highly-specific commentary. I often get asked what blogs I read. Aside from a few big ones, I’m normally bouncing around to get local commentary. When the Nats make a trade, Capital Punishment would be one of my first stops.

Second, I get this same feeling every so often. Normally, it comes when I’ve got a lot of other distractions in my life. I have considered shutting down at times, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Right now, I’m having one of those slow times. But, I can’t walk away. I fear that the day I commit to stopping, something will happen that I will want to comment on. This is why I love blogging: you’re not required to say anything, but you always have an outlet say something that you want to be said. Some people run their blogs like regular publications, with commitments to post every day. I can’t do this, or if I did, then I would have to stop. It’s the lack of requirement or deadline that keeps it enjoyable. I know this might be frustrating to readers, but I just cannot worry about that. It’s like my father-in-law who refinishes furniture as a hobby. He won’t accept payment for valuable work, because the activity loses the fun.

Now, if someone paid me to do this regularly, I might not be so turned off by a schedule—I might actually feel the need to do a better job at proof-reading. But, right now, I’ll just ride out the slow times like I normally do. When inspiration strikes, I blog; otherwise, I’ve got plenty of other stuff I need to be doing. And thanks to those of you who stick around. Just because I don’t write all the time, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you.

Valuing Oliver Perez

Via MetsBlog, according to speculation reported by John Delcos, Scott Boras is seeking a big payday for Oliver Perez after the 2008 season.

Speculation has the starting parameters at five years and $60 million, but whatever it turns out to be, Boras said it is not weighing on Perez.

So, I decided to estimate Perez’s future worth. Assuming that 2007 represents his accurate level of talent for his age-25 season, from 2009–2013 Perez can be expected to generate $54.7 million in revenue.

Five years and $60 million? I don’t think so. Even with the ridiculous assumption that 2007 represents Perez’s true ability, he is still not worth that much. In 2005 and 2006, he was worth about $1.5 million and $2.5 million, respectively. Five years and $30 million is more like it.

Addendum: Thanks to Baseball Musings for the initial pointer.

Sports Stadiums and Economic Development: A Summary of the Economics Literature

Dennis Coates (Professor of Economics at University of Maryland, Baltimore County and President-Elect of the North American Association of Sports Economists) provides a nice survey of the academic literature on the economic impact of sports stadiums in The American.

The most basic question about stadiums, arenas, and sports franchises is the extent to which they contribute to the vitality of the local economy. Supporters of publicly financed stadiums argue that the benefits are substantial, while opponents say they are small and highly concentrated among the wealthiest citizens. To buttress their case, supporters mostly use economic impact studies that predict how the local economy will be affected by the stadium, while opponents compare the economy before and after the facility is constructed. Supporters tend to imply that redistribution of economic activity from the suburbs or outlying areas of a city to the downtown is desirable, while opponents generally oppose this sort of redistribution and focus instead on job and income creation.

The typical economic impact study gathers data on all aspects of spending related to a stadium, including the money spent to build it and the money spent by fans in connection with the stadium (including on tickets, at restaurants, and at hotels). The impact of this spending ripples outward into other areas of the economy through a multiplier. By linking spending to employment, the study then calculates how many jobs a stadium has created. It does not perform a cost-benefit analysis, which would address the opportunity costs of raising taxes to pay for a stadium and consider alternative uses of those funds.

Academic researchers have examined the prospective economic impact studies and found a variety of methodological errors in them, all of which raise doubts about the magnitude of the predicted spending and job increases. Other scholars use data from multiple years before and after stadium construction to measure the impact of the stadium. These ex post studies reject stadium subsidies as an effective tool for generating local economic development.

My own research, conducted with economist Brad Humphreys (who is now at the University of Alberta), has used perhaps the most extensive data, incorporating yearly observations on per capita personal income, employment, and wages in each of the metropolitan areas that was home to a professional football, basketball, or baseball team between 1969 and the late 1990s. Our analysis tried to determine the consequences of stadium construction and franchise relocations while controlling for other circumstances in the local economy. Scholars Robert Baade, Allen Sanderson, Victor Matheson, and others have taken slightly different approaches, but the results are fairly constant from one analysis to another. There is little evidence of large increases in income or employment associated with the introduction of professional sports or the construction of new stadiums. (Emphasis added)

Checking in on Frenchy

With the end of April, we are half-way to the first part of the Jeff Francoeur walks contest. In March and April, Francoeur amassed a total of five walks in 27 games, putting him on pace for 30 walks this season and 10 by the end of May. Unless something changes, it looks like he’s going to fall well short of his goal of 60 walks for the season.

But, there is also some very good news regarding Francoeur’s performance at the plate. His strikeouts are way down. Last year, he struck out in 18.5% of his plate appearances. In March and April of this season he struck out in only 7.5% of his plate appearances.

If You Build It, They Will Come…Especially If They Were Already on Their Way

Looks like some new development near the new Gwinnett Braves stadium will be happening soon.

A six-story hotel on Financial Center Way, part of a large complex that will include a conference center, offices and restaurants, has received permission to begin construction.

Panorama Hospitality will be building the Hilton Garden Inn on the street near the Mall of Georgia, across Interstate 85 from where the new Gwinnett Braves AAA stadium will be constructed in time for opening day next spring.

But, before you get too excited that this is the product of development policy…

Previously, developers said they had not known about the stadium when they decided to put two six-story hotels on Financial Center Way’s 3100 block, but that they were excited by the additional source of guests.

Remember this when the numbers from the project are included in estimates of the Gwinnett Braves’ economic impact.

Leaving Blogburst

This is just a note to those of you who read Sabernomics posts via Blogburst. I will be leaving the syndication network next week, so my feeds will disappear at sites that run Blogburst feeds, but I will continue to post at Sabernomics.com.