Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Curt Schilling and Out of the Park Baseball

Reason 9,235,685 why Out of the Park Baseball is the greatest game ever: You get to interact with Curt Schilling who is an addict like so many of us. Schilling uses the name "Gehrig38" and frequents the message boards. He writes about dynasties he is building and talks to fellow addicts. Schilling has two great dynasties going on right now that you can read about. The first is a fictional league where he is the owner of the Chicago Iron Pigs.

The second dynasty he is writing about is based in 1950 with real MLB players making random debuts. The cool part about this dynasty is Curt Schilling is pitching in the dynasty that Curt Schilling is running. Schill also gives some great stories about his playing days including a funny story about Bob Horner.

Check out the second dynasty here.

I have always raved about the community of Out of the Park Baseball and Schilling being involved is one of them but just as important are great comments like the one before to make you not only how stats work in OOTP but also in the real game of baseball.

Obviously a + zone rating (ZR) is good. In my 25-year fictional league there are about 15 instances when a player has a +20 ZR in a seasons. So that is roughly the maximum. I think that a +10 ZR is often enough to be the seasonal best player at a position. 

The advantage of ZR in OOTP is that it can easily be combined with offensive VORP:

VORP+ZR= player overall value


Divide that by ten and you have WAR (wins above replacement)


For example you want your team to win 100 games, you need 55 WARs, because the replacement level is 45 wins (the number of games that a random bunch of AAAers are supposed to win at the MLB level). You have 25 players on your roster in order to compile 55 WARs, each player would have to contribute a little over 2 WARs or 20 VORP. So a great fielder with a +10 ZR (=VORP) has already half done half his duty by his fielding alone. 


On the other hand a bad fielder with a -10 ZR, has to carry quite a good bat to be a worthwhile player.



For those of you who still have not bought Out of the Park Baseball 13, it is on sale now for just $19.99. Download and buy it here


Remembering Gramps and Ted Williams

Over the weekend my grandfather would have turned 93 years old. He has been gone for over a decade now but still think about him all the time. He is one of the reasons why I became a Red Sox fan. He is also the main reason why I have such a fascination with Ted Williams. Teddy took his last at bat 14 years before I was ever born. I never got to see him play but my grandfather and father got to see him play live in Yankee Stadium. Here is the story of that weekend in New York City. I wish I could have been there.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Josh Hamilton to the Boston Red Sox?

The buzz has begun, the Red Sox appear to be in the hunt for Josh Hamilton. A few weeks ago I said that the Red Sox would be crazy to go after Zack Greinke or Josh Hamilton. I still feel the same away about Greinke but Hamilton has started to grow on me.

 I am kind of ashamed of myself. Haven't we learned this lesson before? Despite the past lessons, if the Red Sox announced that they had signed Josh Hamilton I would be excited. I am no better than the moron Red Sox fans who got all over Theo for his "bridge year" comments and then trashed Theo for over spending. So what should the Red Sox do?

 I think they should offer him big money over a shorter contract. If the Red Sox give in and give him 8 years at $160 million I will be sick to my stomach. However, if the Red Sox can sign him for 3 years at $90 million then it would be huge. It all depends on the market. The Sox did a great job with Mike Napoli and not giving in on that fourth year. What is the cut off point? Lucchino mentioned the Sox were done giving out contracts of over 5 years. Reports say the Red Sox will not offer Hamilton anything beyond 3 years.  I would start at 3 years $90 million and stand firm. If it appears the Sox will only be able to get him by adding a 4th year then I would probably give in.

If it doesn't work out they can always ask the Dodgers for bail out help in 2014.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Napoli, The Yankee Killer


Mike Napoli has signed with the Red Sox and this is good news Sox fans. It is amazing how Red Sox fans can bitch and moan over everything. The deal is only three years and a very reasonable $39 million. Napoli also just doesn't kill the Red Sox, he also beats up on the Yankees and the Rays. He is better in the second half of the season than he is in the first half of the season and his best months are September and October. He also is a guy who gets on base. His OBP is almost 100 points higher than his batting average and he has a career slugging percentage of .507. This is a guy the Red Sox can use.Smile Red Sox fans, this is good news.

Career vs Yankees:
.323.458.5591.017
Career vs Red Sox
288.379.6961.075
Career vs Rays
.267.374.533.907
Career at Fenway Park
.306.397.7101.107
Career at Yankee Stadium
.375.531.6251.156
Career in September/October
.293.386.6141.001





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Michael Kay and Fatherhood, Yankees on YES til 2042


I have said this before and I will say it again, I am a Michael Kay fan. He might be the only thing associated with the Yankees that I do like. I download and listen to the podcast of his radio show almost daily. It is great for passing the time on the treadmill. He has great guests, a great interview style and great chemistry with his co-host Don LaGreca. The best parts of the show is when Kay becomes upset and goes on a rant and uses the word "gutless" over and over again. Great stuff. A sincere congratulations to him and his drop dead gorgeous wife Jodi who will be expecting a child. Great news for Michael, bad news for a world that does not need another Yankee fan.

Speaking of the Yankees and Michael Kay, the Yankees will remain on the YES Network until at least the year 2042. This will also be the final year of Alex Rodriguez's current contract, well close enough. I really think Derek Jeter and AROD will be showing their age by 2042. I am sure Mariano Rivera will still be throwing strikes.This news for the YES Network comes thanks to the huge deal with News Corp. Let's just hope Kay is not replaced in the booth by Bill O'Reilly.

I hate to continue to shower Kay with praise but the YES Network does a great job with Yankee games. Kay is great at what he does and it is a very well done broadcast. I hate to admit it, but YES does a much better job with Yankee games than NESN does with Red Sox games. The truth hurts sometimes. Now the Yankee radio broadcasts are a different story




  

Victor Martinez to the Red Sox?


So the Red Sox need someone to play first base and someone who is a good clubhouse guy. Why can't we get more players like Victor Martinez? Oh wait..... Anyway, there has been talk about the Sox bringing back Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis, why not Victor?

There is one problem of course, Martinez is not a free agent. Victor missed this past year due to injury and it looks like he will share time at first base, catcher and DH for the Tigers in 2013. Would the Tigers be willing to let him go? I am calling on my Tiger friends, what would it take to get Victor Martinez back in a Red Sox uniform?



Speaking of the Tigers and their fans, they are a great little group to follow on twitter. The most entertaining of them all is Ty Cobb of course. Ty and the other Tiger fans made me appreciate Red Sox fans more. It seems I argue with Red Sox fans more on twitter then I get along with them on twitter. It really bothered me. How can I disagree so much with people who share the same rooting interest as I do? Then I watched Ty get in his own spats on twitter with other Tiger fans. The spats were very entertaining especially since I was not involved. It made me realize that all fan bases have this issue. Follow along @The_Ty_Cobb



Friday, November 16, 2012

Miguel Cabrera vs Mike Trout

I weighed in on my vote for MVP a few weeks ago with my ballot. I chose Mike Trout. My father said Miguel Cabrera deserves the MVP, his reasoning was that Trout's team did not make the playoffs and Cabrera's team did. The Triple Crown was not mentioned, just the performance of the teams. My father also used his vote to bash the Red Sox by saying "you have to be one lousy team to not even make the playoffs in this day and age". A valid point.

Mitch Albom also takes the Cabrera side but does it by calling out all of us stat geeks in his piece today.  I have no issue if someone wants to vote for Cabrera. I am the same guy who gets livid every time I think about Ted Williams hitting .406 and winning the Triple Crown and NOT winning the MVP in 1941. However, Albom's take on the new stats in baseball is a joke. I would attack him more but Josh Herzenberg did a much better job of that. Here is Josh's take on Albom's column.




I'm a Division I college baseball player who spends 6 days a week on the field and in the weight room. I've been playing baseball since I was 5 and have made the joke that I have spent more hours on the diamond than I have in bed since that age.

I believe you, and every other sportswriter who thinks Miguel Cabrera was more valuable than Mike Trout, are an absolute moron. 

Economists find new, more accurate ways to measure fiscal trends in our country each day, and they are heralded for their work.

Political analysts that can accurately forecast a trend in popularity or voting using new statistical measures (there's a guy named Nate Silver who is pretty popular nowadays if you've never heard of him) are heralded for their work.

Doctors and scientists who find new ways to keep people healthy, whether it be cures or vaccines or

 whatever, are heralded for their work.

Did you see a recurring trend in my last three sentences? I did. The word "new" was emphasized.

Tell me, why can't baseball embrace "new" ways to properly analyze a player's output and value to his team and to the game? Why are these measures suddenly shunned and ridiculed like some sort of conspiracy theory or plague?

I hope for the sake of myself and my peers that you never leave the city of Detroit and begin writing for a publication where I live. Because I couldn't bear to read more of your snide, obnoxious, ignorantly blind commentary.

Mike Trout was the most valuable player in the American League in 2012, by a landslide. Its morons like you that can't see past your stone aged blinders to recognize it that taint the way the game is perceived.

I doubt you'll read this post. After all, like I said in my first paragraph, I'm just a computer geek who hides behind Microsoft Excel and never sets foot on a baseball field.

Idiot.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Don't Let The Sox Win Tonight!

October 17th is Day One of the epic 2004 Red Sox comeback. Should it be called Dave Roberts Day? Don't Let us Win Tonight Day? 8 years ago tonight it all happened. Kevin Millar warned us and had the biggest walk in Red Sox history. Here is my blog post from a year ago to celebrate the night.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Celebrating Tim Wakefield

Hope is all we have. There is not much to celebrate about the current affairs of the Red Sox but tonight marks an important anniversary in Red Sox history. Tim Wakefield made the ultimate sacrifice eight years ago tonight. His sacrifice led to the greatest comeback ever. Hope is all we have, just like eight years ago tonight. Here is a post from a year ago about that special night

Thursday, October 11, 2012

BBA Awards Ballot

Every year members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance cast their votes for end of the season awards. Here is my American League ballot for the 2012 baseball season:

Connie Mack Award-Manager of the Year
1) Buck Showalter
2) Bob Melvin
3) Joe Girardi


Willie Mays Award-Rookie of the Year
1) Mike Trout
2) Yu Darvish
3) Yoenis Cespedes

Goose Gossage Award-Top Reliever
1) Fernando Rodney
2) Jake McGee
3) David Robertson

Walter Johnson Award-Best Starting Pitcher
1) Justin Verlander
2) Felix Hernandez
3) David Price

Stan Musial Award-Player of the Year 
1) Mike Trout
2) Robinson Cano
3) Miguel Cabrera


Disagree? Comment below or find me on twitter @ThePeskyPole6

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Should the Red Sox Retire #21 for Roger Clemens?



Roger Clemens is currently not a Hall of Famer and he did not finish his career with the Red Sox. In the past, these two things would have kept him from being eligible to have his number retired by the Red Sox.

Times have changed though as the Red Sox have retired the numbers of both Johnny Pesky and Carlton Fisk, neither fit the strict requirements the Red Sox used to have for retired numbers. Pudge and Pesky were loved by Red Sox fans and never became Yankees. Roger's relationship with Red Sox fans is a little more complicated.

The fact remains that Clemens last pitched for the the Red Sox in 1996 and he is the last person to wear the #21 which is pretty strange. #26 was given out pretty quick after Wade Boggs left. #5 was seen again not to long after Nomar Garciaparra left. Then there was Jim Rice and #14, nobody wore that number after Rice retired and as soon as Big Jim was elected into the Hall of Fame the Red Sox retired it.

Nobody has worn #45 since Pedro Martinez left and it is safe to assume that as soon as Pedro enters the Hall of Fame it will be retired.

What about Roger? His Hall of Fame future is uncertain. Are the Red Sox waiting until he gets elected before they retire it? If that is the case, then why isn't Wade Boggs and the #26 retired?

Roger seems to making the rounds lately. He is on a Boston Red Sox goodwill tour showing up at the Pesky Tribute and then at the All Fenway Team Tribute. He was having dinner with John Henry the other night and talking shop with Pedro and Jason Varitek.

My feelings when it comes to Roger are complicated. He was my hero growing up. Jim Rice was my first favorite player and then came Roger Clemens. He could do no wrong. I hated Will McDonough and I hated Dan Duquette because of my worship of Roger. I came to my senses and blogged about it. My feelings for Roger turned 180 degrees into hate mode. I blogged about my hate of Roger and his lying ways.

He is now saying all the right things. He is embracing the Red Sox organization again. The 12 year old in me is quietly cheering. Is it time to forgive him? Is it time to retire #21? Vote in our poll to the left

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Buck Weaver Advocate



I have always had a fascination with the 1919 White Sox, I refuse to call them the "Black Sox". While I am a die hard Red Sox fan my fascination with this White Sox team can be easily explained:


  • As you may have guessed, I am fond of the world of sports gambling.
  • Joe Jackson is the greatest player to come out of my adopted home state of South Carolina, the second being my first ever favorite player as a small boy, Jim Rice.
  • Field of Dreams is the greatest movie of all time, well...that and The Natural.
  • Eight Men Out is one of my favorite books and a very underrated movie.
The eight men that were banned forever got screwed. Chick Gandil is tough to defend but the others are sympathetic. Shoeless Joe did take money but did nothing in any of the World Series games that show he was trying to lose. 






.
Then there is Buck Weaver who got screwed over more than any other person in the history of baseball. Weaver was against the idea from the start. He did not take a dime and was trying to convince the others to stop what they were doing. He had hoped that they would come around in time to win the series. That didn't happen and when the truth came out he was lumped in with the rest. His crime was knowing what was going on and not telling anyone about it. Banned for life for not being a snitch is pretty tough. He deserved to be punished for knowing what was going on and doing nothing about it but banned for life? No way!



That leads me to talk about Melissa Dickson. I discovered Melissa on twitter one night a month ago. She is a 25 year old female, easy on the eyes, die hard White Sox fan who is an advocate of Buck Weaver. I know, it sounds like I am making her up. She is a great follow on twitter but be warned her language is R rated, which is what makes her tweets so interesting. She also has a blog and is damn good writer. Her piece on Brett Myers and the lifestyles of professional baseball players is a must read. Thank me later. Of course, "Melissa Dickson" could be a 55 year old guy with a beer gut living in Fort Wayne, that is the problem with the internet, you just never know. Just read up on the Sarah Phillips con job several months back to get an idea how easy it is to pretend to be someone you are not online. I hope Melissa is legit is though. Her blog is a great read and she is an entertaining follow on "the twitta" as Chipper Jones would say.

Ever wonder what would have happened to these eight guys if they were not banned from baseball? That is just one more reason why I love Out of the Park Baseball. I am planning on bringing them all back as rookies in a 1939 dynasty league that I am running. I may even try to get Buck and Joe back together again, this time of course wearing the proper colored Sox.

        






Saturday, September 15, 2012

Washington Nationals Not Ready to Win




The Stephen Strasburg situation is proof that the Nationals are not ready to win. I realize they have a healthy lead in the National League East. I realize it will be almost impossible for them to miss the playoffs. They are still not ready to win and the Nationals themselves agree with me.

Their ace was on a innings limit from day one. They chose not to be careful with him early in the season. Why would a team not want to save their ace for the playoffs? Well, maybe because the Nationals had no intention or belief that they would be a playoff team. They played out the season as if they were in the International League. He started the season in the rotation to create buzz and to get fans to the ballpark. They threw strategy out the window. Somewhere Crash Davis is shaking his head.  The Nationals started their innings limited ace every fifth day from April through August. September came and shockingly that innings limit was reached. Now the Nationals will enter the playoffs without their ace. Who could have seen this coming? Not the Nationals.

Meanwhile there are the Braves and Kris Medlen. The Braves goal was to be in the playoffs and they played the season out like it was. Medlen also had Tommy John surgery. Medlen also was and is on a inning limit. The Braves chose to save him for the rotation for the end of the season and the playoffs. Medlen started the year in the bullpen and did not make his first start until July 31st. He has now become the Braves ace. He is the hottest pitcher in baseball and he may even get the ball for the Braves and their one game wildcard playoff game. The Braves were ready to win. The Nationals are not.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shutting Down Carl Crawford?



Gordon Edes is reporting that the Red Sox will decide tomorrow to shut down Carl Crawford so he can have Tommy John surgery. If this is true, the Red Sox have finally made a good decision. This gives Crawford a chance to really contribute next season and be the player I still think he can be.




This also opens up the possibility of seeing Jackie Bradley Jr. in September if not sooner. Time to raise the white flag and get a look at the future. It is the only way to end this horrible season on a positive note.

Saying Goodbye to Johnny Pesky




The Grandfather of the Red Sox passed away this week. He was 92 years old, lived a full and incredible life yet it was still shocking and sad when news broke of his passing.

The only good news is that it gave us all a chance to celebrate his life. This is a welcome shift from dealing with the Red Sox who have turned into an absolute joke of a franchise.


Larry Lucchino for all intensive purposes runs the Red Sox and he has for years. He is on the top of my list when it comes to blame for what the Red Sox have become. With that being said, I do need to give him credit where credit is due. When it came to Johnny Pesky, Larry always got it right. I respect him for that along with his hatred for the Yankees. His politics, demeanor and the way he does just about everything else makes my stomach turn.

Dan Duquette was the GM when Pesky was kicked out of uniform and out of the Red Sox dugout in 1997. Duquette, in an interview this week placed the blame on the Red Sox manager at the time saying he did not want Pesky in the dugout and Dan fell on the sword and took the blame. Jimy Williams, who I have always liked, was starting his first year as manager of the Red Sox that year. It makes sense in that respect but it is much easier to hate Duquette than it is to hate Jimy. However, I have wrong about Duquette a lot in my lifetime so I will assume he is telling the truth. Shame on you Jimy Williams.

I also hate to give the Yankees any credit but they made a classy gesture the other night by observing a moment of silence before the game with the Rangers. Derek Jeter also spoke about Johnny:

 “He was always so nice to me throughout the years. Every time I’d see him, he would come over and say, ‘I hope you get four hits today – and the guy behind you hits into four double plays.’ I’ve always enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to him," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said.

“I always like the fact that we have a lot of ex-players that come around all the time. I always liked going up [to Boston] and having an opportunity to see him. They loved him there; fans, players, media, everyone loved him. I send my best wishes to his family.”


Johnny Pesky was a lot better player than he is ever given credit for, part of that reason is Johnny's own humbleness. He always deferred to Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dom Dimaggio. His love for those guys comes across in every interview he has ever given. He always said he was lucky to play with such great players and he was not in their league. 

Pesky hit .331 in his rookie season. That would have been good enough for a batting title except there was this guy named Ted Williams. Pesky would then miss the next three season because of World War II. He would pick up where he left off upon return hitting .335 and .324 in 1946 and 1947. He would compile 620 hits over his first three season. He would end his career with a .307 career batting average and a .394 career OBP. Not bad, not bad at all. Remember that when you think of Pesky as just a nice old man who liked to hit ground balls in spring training. The man could play and he could hit.

The one negative in his career was the claim that he held the ball in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series. Pesky always said that in his heart he felt like he did not hold the ball. Footage of the play, while grainy, seems to exonerate Pesky. Nonetheless, Pesky for years accepted the blame even though his teammates and opponents defended him. Ted Williams was his biggest supporter pointing out that he only hit .200 in the World Series. Things came full circle in 2004 when Johnny Pesky was back in St. Louis and the Red Sox did the unthinkable. Tears streamed down Johnny's face as every player on that Red Sox team embraced him. They were truly proud to win it all for him. Pesky would later say that the 2004 team treated him like a king. Anyone else miss that 2004 team? 

Two of my favorite players are Jim Rice and Nomar Garciaparra, both had special relationships with Johnny Pesky. Maybe this is why I always had great affection for Johnny. Nomar used to say that you were not a true Red Sox player until you took grounders from Johnny Pesky.


The Red Sox have tentative plans to have every player wear #6 for their next home game. It is believed the jerseys will then be auctioned off to benefit The Jimmy Fund, a request from the Pesky family.

Heaven has their needle nosed shortstop. Rest in Peace Mr. Paveskovich.




Monday, April 9, 2012

Betting Major League Baseball: Riding the Losing Streak

Great article today by Beyond The Bets about betting on teams to continue their losing streak. Most bettors bet on the team to break their losing streak rationalizing that they are due. The statistics say that riding the losing streak is more profitable. So we are going to track this theory this year as much as we can. Tonight we have four games that go along with this theory and one of them involves my Red Sox and betting against them. Oh the humanity! Here we go:


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Predicting the 2012 Season

I was lucky enough to receive a very early copy of Out of the Park Baseball 13 and the first thing I did was simulate the 2012 season. I kept all settings on default and did not interfere with my Red Sox. This was very hard to do since I have some strong opinions on who should be in the rotation and who should be in the pen. To OOTP13's credit the Red Sox had the same five man rotation as the real Red Sox do currently with Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront in the rotation with Alfredo Aceves in the bullpen. Let's take a look at the final standings. For those of you wondering why the logos are not correct for all of the teams, keep in mind I simulated the season as the first thing I did when getting the game and did not do any customization of logos.





Great news for Red Sox fans as they managed to win the division. The Red Sox actually spent much of the first two months of the season languishing in third place. The Tampa Bay Rays started the season 28-9 and were looking like they were going to run away with the division.

The 2012 season also brings about some changes to the playoffs which I love. Two wildcards make it from each league and they play each other in a one game playoff. For a while it looked like it would be a Red Sox vs Yankees one game playoff which I think is a very real possibility for the actual 2012 season. Here is how the playoffs played out.






The Braves take the title but more importantly no wild cards made the World Series. The new rules will make it harder than ever for the wild card team to win it all and that is what I like about the new playoff format.

Now let's take a look at the batting leaders in 2012. Now we say why the Red gave Joey Votto all that money



Next up is the pitching leaders. How good is Matt Moore and Stephen Strasburg? Real good!




Jon Lester was also real solid for the division winning Red Sox. Speaking of the Red Sox let's take a look at their team stats and who was responsible for them being the division winners in 2012






A couple of things, John Lackey is supposed to miss the entire season but the OOTP engine had him coming back right around the same time as Daisuke Matsuzaka. For those of you thinking about buying the game this is something you can easily fix. Doug Fister was obtained in a trade just before the deadline. The Red Sox sent Cody Ross packing along with minor leaguer Bryce Brentz. Here is more detailed stats for the Red Sox in 2012.


Carl Crawford is the story here. He battled injuries all season long and only appeared in 61 games but in that small sample size he appeared to look like the player he was in Tampa..

Daniel Bard started in the rotation but also spent some time in the bullpen but did not have a great season. This is why I am hoping the actual Red Sox put him in the closer role, especially now with the injury to Andrew Bailey

Don't forget to follow me on twitter @ThePeskyPole6. I will have more historical simulations using OOTP13 and I am also going to play out the 2012 season again but this time I will play the role of Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherrington. Hint, you will not be seeing Bard in the rotation. OOTP13 is as good as it gets and the game will be released this week. It is worth every penny. Go here to order it now