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A Baseball Blog - Scientific and Speculative Thoughts from Third Base

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Comparison: Ken Griffey, Jr. vs. Chipper Jones

So, ESPN has an interesting thought experiment going. Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey, Jr. are both excellent players, former number 1 picks, and future Hall of Famers. Steve Berthiaume recently posed this question over at ESPN: if you could have just one, Jones or Griffey, for their ENTIRE career (yes, injuries and all), which one would you take? I thought it sounded like an interesting prompt, and decided to read on. What I found out, though, is that it really isn’t close; I would much rather take Chipper.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Late Scorecasting Mini-Review

Okay, I’m back from a trip, and can resume regular updates now. Over time, though, hopefully more of my old articles will find their way to Hot Corner Harbor. Anyway, on to today’s main article.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Famer Jim Edmonds Retires

As part of my week-long re-runs, here's another one of the last articles I wrote before starting Hot Corner Harbor. This one is about recent retiree Jim Edmonds, and his Hall of Fame case.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Re-Run: Is Fred Wilpon Right to Criticize His Players?

I'm a little too busy for a new article this week, so I'll be rerunning some of my last posts before I started Hot Corner Harbor. This is a piece about Fred Wilpon's recent comments about some of his players.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Studying the First and Second Rounds of the Draft: What Can You Expect?

I’ve still been thinking a lot about the draft, so I decided to take one more quick look at it in a different way. I looked at the first and second round drafts from 1990 through 2005 (I needed players with some history in the majors) and looked at each year’s best players and when they were picked. More specifically, I went through Baseball Reference’s draft database, sorted each first round and second round by Wins Above Replacement (WAR), and marked down the top three players for the first round and top player for the second round. All of this was to see what picks in the first round usually yield the best results.


Via request, I also noted how many first round picks made the majors, how many had positive career values, and how many have reached certain career WAR marks. For the WAR numbers, I mostly stuck to round numbers to approximate various levels of success (5 as a sort of journeyman/bit part player, 10 for a bit player with some success, and 20 for a player that had at least some all-star years). I’m not positive if these exact numbers are right, but they should at least provide an estimate. Also note that, as I move forward, the numbers will start to skew as more and more active players are included.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Ozzie Guillen Thinks Paul Konerko is a Hall of Famer: Is He Right?

So, Ozzie Guillen, in a recent interview, apparently started promoting Paul Konerko for the Hall of Fame. The interview, as a whole, came out as a mess that bugged me in so many ways. I could go on all day just about his quote that “there’s [sic] not that many good players out there anymore”. I would argue the opposite, of course-that there are more good players now than ever before. But I digress. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say he did it to praise Konerko. I want to focus on the Hall of Fame stuff instead.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Re-Run: The Future of the 300 Win Club

I don't know as of yet what my schedule should be for articles. However, I've been busy this week, and decided that, since I couldn't get a new article, I would instead begin moving older articles from my Bleacher Report archive over to Hot Corner Harbor.

This is the first Bleacher Report piece I did, covering the 300 Win Club. I would like to get around to writing an updated version at some point, as this is originally from June 9, 2009.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Makes a Successful Draft: Pitchers

So, in my last piece, I looked at what contributes to a successful draft, as far as drafting hitters goes. Today, I’m investigating the obvious follow-up: what type of success can you expect out of pitching draft picks?
I used the same process as with the hitters: I sorted through each of the last eleven season on Baseball-Reference.com to find the fifteen pitchers with the most Wins Above Replacement per season, then found what round and overall number they were drafted.
Again, there are a few things that I noticed:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What Makes a Draft Successful: Hitters

Major League Baseball’s draft is fast approaching-it starts this Monday. in preparation of that, I decided to ask a question that has been asked before, but research it in my own way just to demonstrate the value of drafting: what type of success can you expect out of draft picks?

Everyone knows that the first round picks are the most important, and it’s fairly obvious why. The players taken first should, in theory, be the best ones. But just how much better? If you’re team doesn’t have a pick until the later half of the first round, could it still strike gold? Well, yes, but it might be harder than you think.

My methodology was looking at the top 25 position players for each of the last eleven years (from 2000 to 2010) and compare them against their position in the draft. As a quick reference, I used Baseball-Reference.com and sorted top position players by Wins Above Replacement, or WAR. WAR calculates a players total contributions through batting, fielding, games played, and position, although here it was mostly used as a quick way to find a years best set of players. Then, I figured out what round and pick number each of those players was drafted (or, if they were an international free agent, marked them as such). Then, I did some rough tabulations on the data. I came across the following data:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Do the Cardinals Need to Make Any Moves?

As a Cardinals fan, I remember the negative buzz that surrounded this team in Spring Training. Between Adam Wainwright’s injury and Albert Pujols’ contract extension, nothing seemed to be going right. I even seem to recall some suggesting calling the season a lost cause and trading Pujols to start rebuilding.

As a fan, I thought it was all over dramatic. Yes, Adam Wainwright would mean a serious loss, but the Cardinals could expect to pick up a few of the wins in other places. For example, despite finishing five games behind the Reds, the Redbirds had an identical Expected Win-Loss record, meaning they were unlucky. Expected Win-Loss Record is just what it sounds: how a team is expected to do based on their runs scored and allowed. Dave Duncan has worked magic with pitchers before, and some of the offense had to improve or at least have a healthier season.

So far, the team has surpassed my every expectation, with amazing resurgences from Lance Berkman and Kyle Lohse, as well as All-Star starts from Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus, and Jaime Garcia, among others. The Cardinals currently sit in first place with baseball’s second-best record. However, that brings up new questions, mainly, what should the Cardinals do to hold onto their early lead?