The Baseball Exchange

Mike Pagliarulo, pt II by 27yankees

This article was one I found after I posted before, and I thought that this was as ridiculous, if not more, than the other…


As the New York Yankees begin an all-important four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays today, let’s take a look at how individual Blue Jays pitchers have fared against the Yankees. Yes, it’s a small sample size, so individually it’s difficult to read too much into these stats. But, collectively, we see a trend. Let’s go behind the stats and understand them.

The Yankees are a great offensive team. They lead the majors in team runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Yet within this dominance, there are weaknesses.

The Yankees are an aggressive low ball hitting club, especially their power bats A-Rod, Giambi, Cano, and Abreu. And, they are an excellent off-speed hitting team, led by their captain Jeter, Damon, and Matsui. It’s not a surprise then, that when the Yankees play against “command” types who throw a lot of offspeed pitches, they can run up the score. On the other hand, the Yankees are susceptible to hard throwers. Looking at the Blue Jays pitching stats from 2007 (diagram above [look on the actual link]) versus the Yankees, you’ll see that generally the pitchers who have done well are those with above average fastballs. Those pitchers are highlighted.

Given that the Blue Jays will be throwing three pitchers (Burnett, Hallady and McGowan) with plus fastballs against the Yankees, and only one command guy this series (Marcum), look for the Yankees offense to be mitigated.

Again, in the last paragraph they call him Hallady instead of Halladay. Copy editing, please.

So… A.J. Burnett, Roy Halladay, Dustin McGowan, Jason Frasor, and Jeremy Accardo have all been good against the Yankees? And, this can somehow be explained because they have plus fastballs? Damn! It’s genius!

Maybe this is just me, but don’t most teams have trouble against pitchers with good fastballs?

But the general idiocy of this is that those are all good pitchers. Sure, the Yankees have trouble with them, but maybe that’s just because they’re good. Take a look at their stat lines:

A.J. Burnett: 153.3 IP, 9-7, 3.40 ERA, 136 ERA+
Jeremy Accardo: 65.3 IP, 28 SV, 2.20 ERA, 210 ERA+
Jason Frasor: 54.7 IP, 3 SV, 4.28 ERA, 108 ERA+
Roy Halladay: 218.3 IP, 15-7, 3.71 ERA, 125 ERA+
Dustin McGowan: 159.3 IP, 11-9, 3.84 ERA, 121 ERA+

The irony is that the post is title, ‘Using and Understanding Stats’. It’s kind of sad, really. If the people on this site stuck to just scouting, and only focused on the main elements, i.e., what pitches so-and-so throws, or where in the zone certain batters can hit well, it would be a great blog. But no, they have to go into the ‘stats’ that aren’t really stats and they have to try to actually provide analysis.


Mike Pagliarulo by 27yankees

Today, I’ll be taking a page out of the Fire Joe Morgan playbook and I’ll be talking a bit about the general idiocy going on over at Mike Pagliarulo’s ‘scouting’ blog the BaseLine Report. FJM has done some analysis already, so I’ll be leaving that stuff to the big guns…

This is from a scouting report on John Lackey:

Lackey is a tall, durable right hander that has become the most dependable starter on the Angels
staff – and one of the dependable starters in major league baseball. He’s an intense competitor that
pitches with a plan and executes his pitches. He works at a good quick tempo and establishes his
fastball while getting ahead in the count to most hitters.

They start off well by playing the ‘intense competitor’ card. I love it. Because John Lackey really wants to win. Unlike all sorts of other players who are really trying to lose when they play baseball. Alex Rodriguez, you know it. J.D. Drew, I’m looking at you.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll skip some of the less idiotic portions of this article… Moving right along…

• Above aveage command of fastball, slider, curve and change-up.

Now maybe this is just me, but it seems that the easiest way to appear unprofessional is to have spelling errors littered throughout your text. Please, please, please get a proofreader/copy editor.

I’ll skip over some of the more contextually correct content and get to some more interesting stuff.

  • John Lackey is capable of overpower hitters by using his fastball to each side of the plate as well
    as up in the zone to finish a hitter off. Because of the fact that JD Drew and David Ortiz have
    holes in the strike zone highlighting areas above their belt, Lackey matches up well vs. both hitters. Look for a high hard fastballs when he’s got two strikes on these players.
    Pesky contact type hitters such as Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury that are capable of using
    the entire field and do a good job of battling with two strikes, these hitters will give John Lackey the
    most problems. Pedroia and Ellsbury both do a good job of putting the ball in play and can handle the high strike very well. They will be difficult outs for the Angels #1 starter.

So you’re telling me that John Lackey will have more trouble with Pedroia and Ellsbury than with David Ortiz? Maybe this is just me, but I don’t believe that.


John Lackey must establish his fastball early and get ahead in the count. He needs to hammer
the strike zone but mind the danger areas of each potential HR threat, namely Ortiz, Ramirez, and
Lowell. When he is ahead in the count Lackey maintains more weapons to put hitters away with
than most. His concentration shouldn’t be distracted by the basestealing threats of Ellsbury and Crisp, as
Mathis is quite capable of handling the running game. An umpire with a forgiving strike zone will favor Lackey, as the Red Sox hitters are more patient than the Angels offense.

So you’re telling me that he needs to get ahead in the counts? And he needs to keep fat fastballs away from the power zones of power hitters? No way, you’re kidding me, right? I mean, most pitchers try to get behind in the count and then throw fastballs right down the spots where the batter hits well? Right?

I really like how they are targeting this blog for baseball fans, and yet they seem to be explaining things to your typical tennis fan who doesn’t know much about baseball.

Pitcher Plan
For John Lackey to be effective he must get ahead of hitters early in the count by getting strike one
with his first pitch. This will enable him to utilize his variety of outpitches. He must throw strikes
allowing his very consistent defense to work at a good pace behind him. Jeff Mathis is very capable
of handling Boston’s running game which is one less worry for Lackey.

So basically the exact same thing as the ‘Keys to Success’? Not only are they being idiots, but they are repeating their idiocy to us over and over again.

I hope to have many more features of this idiocy… It’s just too good.

Top 10 Reasons why the Colorado Rockies Will Be Serious Contenders in ’08 by 27yankees
September 20, 2007, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Awards, Baseball Scouting, Baseball Statistics, Top Lists

TwentySeven here! I liked my post the other day about Phil Hughes, the format specifically. So, I’m proud to present you with:

The Top Ten Reasons why the Colorado Rockies Will Be Serious Contenders in ’08

10. The NL West is a mediocre division. Sure, it’s not NL Central territory, but there are no real powerhouses in the division and the only really bad team in there are the Giants.
Continue reading

Top 5 Reasons Why Phil Hughes is Still An Excellent Prospect by 27yankees

I know, I know. He’s disaster zone Hughes. He’s been well, ****** so far in the majors. People have been whining about his delivery, how his stuff is all wrong, how his mechanics have been so messed up, how his fastball doesn’t have it’s usual zip.

Phil Hughes

So, here’s a breath of fresh air. Heres why Phil is still an excellent prospect.

5. 2.09 career minor league ERA
4. He’s the second youngest player in the American League… And, the third youngest in the majors overall.
3. 13 career home runs allowed… in 335 and two-thirds career innings.
2. 50/26 major league K/BB
1. Projected over a full season, he would be 12-9 with a 4.75 ERA (91 ERA+) in 187 1/3 innings; 154/80 K/BB; 21 homers allowed. Compare to the following age-21 rookie seasons:

Pitcher A: 9-4, 133 1/3 IP, 4.32 ERA (96 ERA+), 126/29 K/BB, 13 homers allowed.
Pitcher B: 2-7, 64 IP, 5.48 ERA (67 ERA+), 37/33 K/BB, 10 homers allowed.
Pitcher C: 6-14, 155 2/3 IP, 5.61 ERA (77 ERA+), 101/74 K/BB, 17 homers allowed.

Pitcher A? Roger Clemens. Pitcher B? John Smoltz. Pitcher C? Greg Maddux.

The point I’m trying to make isn’t that Phil will be as good as any of those guys (though we can hope as much). Hell, I’d be happy if Phil was as good as say, John Lackey, a pitcher with a similar repertoire to Phil. If we get lucky, we might get pitcher A, B, or C. But that’s not the point. The point is that they all struggled at a young age, and they all adapted.

In other news, the Yankees crushed the O’s and Gagne crushed the Red Sox. Cheers!


Thoughts… by 27yankees
August 23, 2007, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Baseball Scouting

A short one today about a couple of interesting Baseball America free articles; keep in mind that these are surveys of the coaches, not of people at BA.

Best hit-and-run artist? I guess that’s a skill, but it doesn’t seem very tangible to me and probably doesn’t account for that much in terms of a run value.

Rafael Furcal is definitely not the third fastest player in the NL.

Best manager? Load of BS really. Plus, Tony La Russa is a horrid manager.

How, exactly, does Placido Polanco have the third best strike-zone judgment in the AL? He has 27 walks this season, with a career high of 42. That’s below average.

…Derek Jeter is the best fielding shortstop in the AL? That actually made me laugh. I’m sorry. But the guy is below average.


A word (or many many more) on scouting and stats, plus my perspective on the economics of a new MLB draft rule by 27yankees
August 16, 2007, 8:09 pm
Filed under: Baseball Scouting, Baseball Statistics, New York Yankees, Player Draft

Hi all, TwentySeven in today with a few minutes of spare time! Yay! So anyways, I was thinking it might be interesting to talk a bit about some ways to analyze players and stats.

First the word on scouting. One thing you have to consider that isn’t always considered is whether the “name value” of a player is making him look better. Recently, I watched Jeff Samardzija pitch for the Cubs in the minors, and I’d been watching a couple of starts. He wasn’t all that bad, but he wasn’t great either. If I had been less talented, I might have said, “Oh, he’s Jeff Samardzija so I’m probably just looking for the wrong thing”. But the truth is, most of us can recognize a pretty decent pitcher. What you need to say is “If I didn’t know the name of this guy, would he be all that impressive? Would I ask myself, ‘Who is this?’?”… That sort of thing. It’s really good to put it in perspective.

Now, for stats. An important thing to recognize is what the stat is actually measuring, and what actual value the stat holds. For example, recently my friend made some bizarre statistic like “Average pitches in an at-bat per strikeout divided homers” or something weird like that and said, “And Sean Casey is the leader in the majors, so he’s really more valuable then anyone recognizes. I think he should bounce back over the next year.”

Really? What does that stat really mean? What are you measuring? That ridiculous stat that I made up just now because I don’t remember what my friend said really doesn’t measure anything at all. Just because you got it by multiplying baseball stats, doesn’t mean it measures anything valuable.

In addition, you need to consider the actual value of the stat. For example, consider the strikeout. You might say that some minor leaguer is really good because he never strikes out, and his strikeout/at-bat ratio is 0.001 or whatever. Because, the truth is that strikeouts really aren’t all that bad. For that matter, players who rarely strike out are often sacrificing other, more important, stats for their strikeout prevention. This season, the players who are striking out the least include Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo, Paul Lo Duca, Kenji Johjima, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kendall, and Casey Kotchman. Of those, Pedroia, Kotchman, and Polanco have been good hitters and Johjima has been decent for his position. Pierre, Castillo, Kendall, and Lo Duca, have all been pretty poor hitters. Just think about it.

By the way, this info on strikeouts really leads into what I plan to write about next – strikeouts and walks. I want to look at correlations between them, the actual negative value of a strikeout (which I suspect is really low compared to what people typically say), that sort of thing. Cheers!

Finally, I want to talk a bit about a new rule that MLB has instituted for the draft which I suspect really harms teams like the Yankees and Red Sox who are high salary, high wins, draft at the end of the round.

The new rule says that if a team doesn’t sign a pick, the next year they get the following pick in the draft as compensation. If Team A drafts 1st overall and doesn’t sign their first pick, the next year they get the second overall pick. This rule is intended to give the teams more leverage against guys like Scott Boras and also is supposed to make the bonuses given to players more in line with what the MLB recommends. Unfortunately, this creates a dilemma for teams at the end of the round for two reasons. For one thing, teams that are consistently among the top winners are also consistently at the end of the draft, which means that the overall talent of their drafts will get worse and worse as more and more compensation picks come up at the beginning of the round.

In addition, it actually lowers the team’s leverage for signability draft picks. The way the rule is intended to work is that if a player has huge demands, the team can just say, “Well we won’t sign you and next year we will just draft a player of equal talent”. Unfortunately, players who fall in the draft (like Rick Porcello did this year) due to signability issues, will get a huge advantage in leverage. Rick Porcello was expected to be a top-three pick until he picked Scott Boras as his agent, which made him fall to pick number 27 for the Tigers. You would think that the new rule means that he would have less leverage. Unfortunately, the Tigers aren’t likely to find a player as good as Porcello is next year with the 28th pick. So, the Tigers had less leverage and thus had to give Porcello a bigger contract. Hence the tie for the record contract for a high school pitcher.

Bud Selig has good intentions, but he fails miserably.