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Three Run Homer

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  1. There needs to be a special video tribute to those who are no longer with us who have done so much to make today possible...Dan Straily and David Hess.
  2. So I had a grand theory all ready to explain modern baseball, based on the impact of the information revolution on defense. According to the theory, better data has allowed teams to better measure individual defense and the contribution of defense to run prevention, which has led to increased emphasis on defensive ability in personnel decisions. Better data has also led to shifts and other improvements in defensive positioning. All of these factors have led in theory to improved defensive efficiency--an increase in the percentage of balls in play that are converted into outs. In turn, this has led to a change in optimal offensive strategies. If it's harder to get hits on balls in play, then it is less likely that you will be able to score runs by stringing a bunch of singles together, or by using small ball tactics like base stealing, the hit and run and the sacrifice. Teams thus optimally put more emphasis on power in personnel decisions, because a home run is the one way to score runs that can't be stopped by good defense. Great theory, huh? Then I looked at the data. Here are the numbers for aggregate defensive efficiency for MLB since 2001: 2001: 0.691 2002: 0.695 2003: 0.694 2004: 0.691 2005: 0.693 2006: 0.687 2007: 0.686 2008: 0.689 2009: 0.690 2010: 0.691 2011: 0.694 2012: 0.691 2013: 0.692 2014: 0.690 2015: 0.689 2016: 0.688 2017: 0.688 2018: 0.691 So twenty years into the defensive revolution, we have...the same defensive efficiency that we had in 2001. Teams on the whole are doing no better today at converting balls in play into outs than they were in 2001, despite all of the shifts and all of the zone ratings and other defensive measures that are now available. So much for my theory. Some earlier posts suggest another theory--improved pitch design and velocity have made it harder to hit for contact, which increases strikeouts and reduces batting average. In turn this leads to a greater emphasis on power at the expense of contact, increasing home runs, further increasing strikeouts and further reducing batting average. That theory may be correct, but it's less obvious to me that the correct strategic response to improved pitch design and velocity is to sacrifice contact for power. It could go the other way--in response to better pitching, it is even more important to hit for contact, to put the ball in play, to sustain an offense. It would take a model simulation to determine whether the optimal response to power pitching is to emphasize power hitting. Or it could just be a juiced ball!
  3. Could Hobgood's velocity spike in his senior year have been caused by putting max effort into his pitches to impress the scouts, which in turn eventually led to arm injuries? There's not much doubt that Hobgood was damaged goods by the time he suited up for the O's, right?
  4. I'll see your Bobo Holloman and raise you Bumpus Jones. In 1892, Bumpus Jones pitched a no-hitter for Cincinnati in his major league debut--his only appearance in 1892. In 1893, he had an ERA of over 10 in 7 games. That was it for his career.
  5. In principle, Davis and the Orioles could negotiate a buyout--Davis agrees to retire and the O's agree to pay him some fraction of what he is owed. The only reason Davis would want to do this is that he could spend more time with his family and be spared the indignity of continuing to play poorly. Otherwise, the O's either have to cut him and pay him every penny, or keep him around and pay him every penny.
  6. Can Johnny Rizer (2019 draft pick out of TCU) play CF? He's already advanced to Delmarva and has shown some promise with the bat. Way long term, Elio Prado (17 year old in the DSL, acquired for Cashner) shows promise, but it's too soon to say if he'll stay in CF or move to a corner. I have more questions about Hays' bat than his glove. One could argue that if you can't hit in the International League in 2019, you probably won't be able to hit in the majors. I'd like to see him get a shot in any event. I suspect the answer to the original question is no: our next long-term solution in CF is not yet in the organization.
  7. I thought Straily was traded to Philadelphia. So we only have three pitchers at Norfolk with an ERA below 4!
  8. Six more HR allowed tonight...229 HR allowed for the season, only 29 more to go. I'll take Friday, August 23 against Tampa Bay. David Hess (come on, it HAS to be David Hess) will give up HR 259 to Avisail Garcia in the 6th inning.
  9. I think it would be great if the fans in the LF bleachers kept this up for the rest of the season.
  10. Another mediocre start from GrayRod tonight. 3 IP, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K.
  11. He only made one trade, but I think it was a coup for him to get Elio Prado and another prospect for Andrew Cashner, so on that basis I would give him a B. The only other player that would have brought back real prospects in a trade is Trey Mancini. It's hard to know whether Elias should have pulled the trigger without knowing what was offered, but consider this: the most similar player to Trey who was actually traded at the deadline is Nick Castellanos. Both are 27 year old corner outfielders with strong offense and limited defense. Trey is more valuable in principle because he comes with extra years of team control, but the Cubs were probably more interested in what they could get this season out of a corner outfield bat than what they could get in future seasons--they can always go sign a corner outfield bat in the offseason. So the package the Cubs gave up for Castellanos is a floor for what the O's could have gotten for Mancini, but it's not clear that the Cubs would have been willing to give up that much more for Mancini. As it is, I think the Cubs' package for Castellanos was pretty weak--two college pitchers who were drafted high, but who haven't pitched that well in pro ball. Neither were regarded as top 10 prospects in the Cubs organization, and the Cubs don't have a great farm system at the moment. So I'm inclined to think that Elias made the right call not trading Trey Mancini.
  12. MLB Trade Rumors states that the return has not yet been announced. Let's try to guess what the return will be. I'll start: the O's traded Dan Straily for a box of plastic straws.
  13. Well, that's a headline I never thought I'd see! 🤣
  14. I'm slightly disappointed that the O's appear to have not made a move, but in truth Michael Givens and Jonathan Villar aren't very good ballplayers. We could have traded them but likely wouldn't have gotten much back. Trey Mancini is a good ballplayer, but if nobody wanted to give up a real prospect for him, I'm fine with holding on to him. The O's do need to make room for DJ Stewart and Ryan Mountcastle, and trading Mancini would have helped in that regard, but the O's have other options, such as cutting Chris Davis and optioning Dwight Smith once he returns from the IL.
  15. It doesn't appear that Kemp has ever played 3B in the major leagues. He's played second base, left field and center field (but not right field--maybe he doesn't have the arm for RF or 3B?)
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