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2018 Baseball Thread (MLB and whatever)

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1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

I doubt Manny Mota types ever make even AAA today.  Or ok, maybe makes AAA, but not a snowball's chance of more.  No pop.  Just under 3800 ABs in his career...31 home runs.  Not that many doubles either...only 125.  Granted it was the pitching-heavy era, but singles hitters who aren't consistent Gold Glove candidates don't make it.  Defensively, most of his starts were in left;  that's almost a dump spot nowadays for another 30 HR, 150 SO bat that hopefully won't make TOO many errors.

 

Christopher:

 

 

But it's not, 95% of the time.  5th inning or later...yes, you pull him if you're down, barring fairly narrow situations.  Who you gonna let pitch a third time through the lineup in the first place?  

 

Yeah, Mota got semi-regular time early in his career with the Pirates (sort of platooning with one of the Alou brothers, Matty Alou, another speedy, high-BA, low-BB, speedster who wouldn't make it today-that Alou was probably most comparable in recent times to Ben Revere, who is nowhere to be found anymore).  But, by the time Mota got to LA, he got turned into a PH-specialist who would only play LF a handful of times a year.  (he did usually drive in a lot of runs as a PH, so without looking things up, he probably was a "PH-specialists" the Dodgers generally used more when men were on base, to flick a single the other way, and keep things moving.

 

Although they were many different types of PH-specialist,  most were linedrive singles hitters like Mota, or perhaps linedrive hitters with occasional power like Smoky Burgess.  But, you would have the occasional Jerry Lynch, who hit for a decent amount of power.  (of course, in the real old days when decent hitting pitchers were a bit more common, you had the occasional regularly PH pitcher.  If I remember one Red Lucas was that, and was the all-time PH leader, until Mota and Burgess came along.  And HOF Yankee Red Ruffing was pretty successful at it. Another pitcher Wes Ferrell was too,  who ironically hit twice as many career HRs, as his HOF catcher brother Rick.  Wes Ferrell was briefly tried as an outfielder at the end of one year, when his arm was hurt) 

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17 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Until the last few years?  Your ace.  Especially now that the batters refuse to adjust to the count or the game situation and just are fixated on launch angle and exit velocity.

 

Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter with over 200 pitches.

 

Didn't think his no-hitter did that, but he did have an 11-inning CG that was supposedly 212 pitches.  ANd I remember counting, one of Fernando Valenzuela's games as a kid on TV that was 150-160 pitches  (mainly because at the start of the Game of the Week, they mentioned something about him throwing 161 pitches a couple weeks previous or something).

 

But, the home run obsession is driving me crazy.  I know HRs can make for some failings but, no way is .205/30 HRs is better that some hypothetical poor man's Tony Gwynn who might hit .310/5 HRs, especially considering the former is also striking out at least 100 times more.  In today's game Mark Reynolds (when he was playing 3B with Arizona) would win the job over HOFers George Kell or Pie Traynor, even though the 2 latter ones would be a significant upgrade over Reynolds in every single facet of the game other than HRs.  

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1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

I doubt Manny Mota types ever make even AAA today.  Or ok, maybe makes AAA, but not a snowball's chance of more.  No pop.  Just under 3800 ABs in his career...31 home runs.  Not that many doubles either...only 125.  Granted it was the pitching-heavy era, but singles hitters who aren't consistent Gold Glove candidates don't make it.  Defensively, most of his starts were in left;  that's almost a dump spot nowadays for another 30 HR, 150 SO bat that hopefully won't make TOO many errors.

 

Christopher:

 

 

But it's not, 95% of the time.  5th inning or later...yes, you pull him if you're down, barring fairly narrow situations.  Who you gonna let pitch a third time through the lineup in the first place?  

 

One reason the opener idea has gotten a bit of a hold, 90% of the starters are essentially going through the order 2 and a half times.  If your guys is only going to face half the hitters a 3rd time, it might as well be the lower pressure of the latter part of the order.  (they would the cleanup hitter if the opener had a 1-2-3, but otherwise it'll start where the lineup gets progressively weaker)

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2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Until the last few years?  Your ace.  Especially now that the batters refuse to adjust to the count or the game situation and just are fixated on launch angle and exit velocity.

 

Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter with over 200 pitches.

 

We're not talking 2005, we're talking 2018.  I'm saying in baseball, as it's playing the last 6-8 years in particular (but a trend for 15-20)...only a handful of pitchers don't get pulled today.  And that's how we have to frame the context.  Sandy Koufax started 43 and 41 games in 65-66, completing 27 each season and going well over 300 innings.  In 2018, Scherzer led MLB with...220.  No pitcher in baseball has exceeded 235 in the last 4 years.  Since 2005, 250's been reached just *twice*.

 

Heck, you can actually see a radical dropoff in the last 2 years.  2016, NL and AL leaders were about the same, at ~230.  2017, drops to 207 NL, 214 AL.  2018 it only recovers to 220 and 215.  

Here's a chart I made up.  Data is the innings pitched leader in the AL and NL from '95 forward.

image.png.a4e53586195ef9c8a620cd04afd37ef1.png

 

And these are your aces...or at least the ones who stay mostly healthy.  

(https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/IP_leagues.shtml ... gotta love em)

 

Hey, I don't like where baseball's going either, but decent starting pitching gets SERIOUSLY expensive fast.  28 starters made $13M or more this season.  And the lost time from injuries!  Found this:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_baseball_players_who_underwent_Tommy_John_surgery

 

It's FRIGHTENING to see the increase in numbers.  This isn't just pitchers, it's everyone, but 10 in 2013, then 21,  28,  only 14 in 2016, 21, and 25 this year.  Note, those were the years where the surgery was performed.  There were also some players who had to have it *twice* and I may have missed the second one.  And we know how long the recovery takes, so...there's a lot of lost time there.

 

But probably first and foremost, it's the metrics.  Most pitchers' batting average against *jumps* on the 3rd time through the order, so the wisdom has become, crank of the parade of HEAT! from the bullpen.  What good team doesn't have its bullpen set up for 7th, 8th, 9th?  Maybe the Red Sox, but they just bludgeoned you so it wasn't as big a deal.

 

But that's baseball today.  5 inning starts from probably half the starters out there...that's OK.  Hitters who never adjust.  3 true outcomes as the holy mantra.  Games too boring to watch, just catch the highlights.  Fiddly-ass, terrible replay rules (oh, his hand lifted up off the base for 1/4 of a second...OUT!)  The play's only gonna probably get worse, tho.

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The argument that "this is how the game is played now so it should always be played that way" is absurd.  Its played that way now because that's what people choose to be, not because baseball inevitably and must be that way.  The truth is there are some idiotic, awful trends right now in baseball but the teams that largely defy those tend to do well and eventually this will pass like any other stupid trend in the game's past.  And its certainly no argument for the DH.

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Who made that argument?  Not me.  I said the game being played now is not the game of even 15 years ago, and completely different from 30.  You brought up Ryan;  when's the last time any pitcher was left in to throw a 200 pitch game?  Nor did I ever even suggest it's how the game should be played;  I'm stating how it *is* played today.

 

Who's bucking all the trends, and which trends?  Sox?  Not in pitching.  No Sox starter threw 200 innings;  only Porcello broke 180.  4 different relievers had 60+ appearances and innings pitched...so we're not talking specialists.  All four are high strikeout pitchers...only Joe Kelly had a strikeouts per 9 innings rate of less than 11.  Sox hitters aren't so much breaking the trend, as knowing when the trend is moronic.  Pure metrics-based decision making has flaws.  Some because the metrics are flawed or incomplete;  others because they're misused or even misunderstood.  Approach A may be correct 90% of the time, and thus define the trend...but there's 10% of the time when it's not.  That's not defying the data, it's delving deeper into it.

 

 

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My brother laments often that their are probably dozens of guys in the minors who are built like David Eckstein or Jose Altuve, but because they hit 300 instead of 40 HRs in the minors, never get a sniff.

Other problem going on now, maybe for awhile, is that the difference in the pitching level in the AAA to the pro level is so huge now, that you hardly get a feeling for how someone will do unless they are a superstar. How many 320+ hitters in minors come up and can't hit 250 in the pros, especially in this age of specialized pitchers.

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The gap between AAA and MLB pitching has been there for a long time.  Back in the day when I was in Colorado, we had the Denver Bears.  First baseman was Randy Bass.  He won the American Association MVP award in 1980...37 HRs, hit .330.  Only played a total of 130 games and only hit .212 in the majors.  That sort of thing was common enough to even spawn the term "a AAAA hitter"....great in AAA but torn apart by MLB pitching.  Back then it was the curve ball, most often.  Now, I suspect it's holes in the swing versus the fastball.  OR, just not able to catch up to 95+ enough.

 

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