The 3 Stages of Rotisserie Grief

BBTF’s Primate Studies Discussion :: Eugene Freedman

It sounds like this is Eugene’s first fantasy baseball article. He does a good job of explaining Patton’s roto stages and teases his next story, but things really take off when the discussion starts. There are no answers here, but it’s good to hear the chatter.

One suggestion: Do what you like. I’ve never played in a league with holds. Changing BA to OBP is the best move any league can make.

Changes in home run rates during the Retrosheet years

The Hardball Times

Tom Tango methodically and revealingly demonstrates, using information gleaned from Retrosheet and MLB’s ball-testing lab, that there is real evidence that the home run boom that began in 1993 was a product of a juiced ball. Don’t believe me? Read the story.

Which isn’t to say that this is the final word. Tom’s data relates to balls put into play as they relate to home run rate, which is the best way to figure out the effect of hitting the ball farther, but not so good for determining changes that might stem from the umpires’ calling of the strike zone (in which case the ball might be hit less often).

Plus, I find it hard to believe that given the potency of Mile High in Denver, that the control group of players had a similar increase in home runs to those who didn’t play in Colorado. That’s something to think about while reading Tom’s story.

David Pinto, of baseballmusings.com, says that manufacturing standards tightened up for the ball manufacturers in 1993, and that balls were tested more often. His theory is that the manufacturers established a more tightly wound ball (but still within the official specs) as the de facto standard. Unlike times past, when the equipment would slide and the balls would loosen up and a range of tightnesses were created, the modern ball is uniform and tightly wound.

In no way does this argument rule out the possibility that other factors played a part in the recent power boom (Tom doesn’t publish the numbers after 1998 for one thing), but it does establish that only modest changes to the ball could readily explain much if not all of the changes. That’s worth remembering when it is tempting to overreact.

Barry Bonds – A guide to help you cut through the noise

The Hardball Times

I’m a little skeptical about these grand jury cases where the prosecution offers someone immunity from prosecution in return for testimony, then asks questions for which the honest answers would be personally damaging, then prosecutes for perjury.  As you can imagine, I’m thinking Barry Bonds, Scooter Libby, Martha Stewart, Bill Clinton.

It isn’t that perjury isn’t a crime, but that somehow the immunity grant seems to be a special sort of torture for public figures whose reputations will be damaged by truthful testimony. The right answer, obviously, is for them to testify truthfully, but I certainly understand their decisions to try and save their asses by lying.

Keith Scherer’s informative walk through the issues in the Barry Bonds case at Hardball Times doesn’t get into that, but instead walks us through the hard issues of what happens when federal prosecuters decide to indict someone. The answers can’t be comforting to the Bonds defense team, which no doubt knows all this.

If there is real evidence I don’t know why Bonds isn’t copping a plea, and I suppose there is still time for that. But it looks like if he defends himself this thing is going to be going on for a long time. (thanks baseballmusings.com)

Colorado v. San Diego Playoff

The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Boxscore

Peavy versus Fogg? What are the odds?

I didn’t see the first seven innings, so I’ll leave them to others. What was clear is that the pitchers who had nothing got shelled, but the rest did okay. So, Julio and Hoffman are the villians.

In the end, an excellent baseball game. And what’s the rule about catcher interference?

NOTE: The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.

I think Holliday wins, even as he eats dirt.

The Official Site of The Philadelphia Phillies: Official Info: Press Release

The Iguchi Trade

The transaction deadline in Tout Wars is 5pm on Friday. The idea is to give players looking at Monday deadlines an idea of what the pros have done. And to give Nando DiFino material for his engaging ESPN.com column, Playing with the Pros.

How to determine when transactions have been made is an eternal struggle for fantasy leagues. In this case, the Phillies’ press release (linked here) is timed at 4:51 pm on Friday, nine minutes before the transaction deadline. Not one of the pros bid on Iguchi except for Major League Baseball Advanced Media employee Cory Schwartz. So, given our Vickery bidding system, his $22 bid on Iguchi becomes an uncontested $1 bid. Kudos to Cory.

If the Phillies’ press release was actually posted at 4:51, I doubt that the actual transaction was reported on the mlb.com or espn.com transaction lists, which we have used as the standard in the American Dream League. As Swatman of that league I check what’s on those two sites at noon each claims Monday and only players listed are eligible to be claimed.

But now I wonder if timestamped press releases on team’s individual sites should count? As long as the timestamp and the actual claim beat the deadline, I don’t see why not.

Starting A Keeper League

Roto Authority Fantasy Baseball

Very nice intro to a subject that should be of interest to all serious roto players. I especially like the relationship tips, which are key to establishing a long-term league that works.

Ask Rotoman at mlb.com

The weekly column

This week we examine whether it might be time to throw off Alex Gordon in favor of Josh Fields, look at a wacky league that almost let the last place team take the fourth best player from the best team, and try to get excited about Dontrelle Willis.

Wainwright Is Screwed by MLB Rules

I’m mostly saying this because he’s on my Tout Wars team

He pitched seven excellent innings tonight. The sort of innings I expect from him here on out. But he was matched by the ace, Roy Oswalt. Of course you expect that.

What rankles is that after he comes out his crony, Ryan Franklin stumbles through an inning before the Cards seize on the Astros the way a child grabs for candy.

But my point isn’t about the Astros’ surrender. It’s about the fact that he rules say that Ryan Franklin, who got three outs, deserves the win, rather than Wainwright, who got 21.  If Wainwright wasn’t on my team I’d simply smile and say,  Grow up, but I don’t think it’s wacky to question why the Win rule so misrepresents who the best pitchers are.

Various A’s Minutaie

Athletics Nation

I didn’t know about the Player to be Named Later rule, which is good reason to credit this story. At least we don’t have to worry about Brad Halsey being the guy named. Whew.

But I’m not being cranky about that. It’s funny that it’s Halsey, but it’s good to learn new things.

I’m not so sure about the notion of riding the hot hand between the major and minor leagues. While there has to be an advantage to roster flexibility, if only to rotate in the healthiest players you have, I have a hard time believing that anyone can predict that a hot minor league hitter should be promoted because he’s hot.

Hot streaks occur, I think it’s safe to say, generally because in small sample sizes players can get an inordinate number of favorable matchups. Or because in a small sample a player gets lucky. I believe Bill James showed early on that a player’s recent past results had no bearing on his immediate future results. Unless the next at bat, like the last two, is coming against Jae Seo or Jeff Weaver.

I still spend a lot of time in bars arguing this one, so there is money to be won and superstition to be debunked. Sure, there are hot streaks, but by the time you recognize one it’s probably over.

Instant Replay set to consign line disputes into history

Yahoo! News

This is a story about tennis and television technology implemented to correct erroneous calls by the umpires and judges. In the first tournament it was used in about one-third of the challenged calls were upheld.

I think baseball’s biggest problem (bigger than roids, bigger than Paul Lo Duca gambling) is that umpires do not consistently call balls and strikes the same way, and often blow the incredibly close plays they’re forced to judge. This is not a knock on the umpires, but I think as the game gets comfortable with using technology to make better calls on the strike zone and to review judgement calls on the basepaths, everything we think we know about the game is going to change in significant ways.

This is important, but I’m not sure what the right way is to handle the neighborhood play.