Half Baked: Dusty vs. His Reputation

Ever since the careers of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood fell gently to earth, Dusty Baker has been acknowledged as a meat grinder. He hasn’t been able to shake it despite evidence that, at the very least, he has evolved. The drum beat is starting to rise again, as Nats’ pitch counts have swelled in his first season as skipper in DC. But let’s dive a little deeper. Continue reading

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Jocketty vs. Mozeliak: Dawn of Justice

Back in January, I went about trying to find a comp for the upcoming Cardinals. That seed grew into a larger article that I recently contributed to The Hardball Times. You can read the full article, which includes a more detailed methodology, here. The general idea was to create fingerprints for every team at the dawn of their respective season, going back to 1988, and find historical doppelgangers for 2016 MLB teams. There are six categories: a team’s previous season pythagorean record, their previous 3-year pythagorean record, their previous season’s WAR from age 25 and under players, their 3-year average Baseball America organizational rank, the net 3-year WAR (WAR3 gained minus WAR3 lost) in free agency, and their payroll relative to league average. Continue reading

Case Study and Comps: What Happens to Teams like the Cardinals?

The last 12 months for the Cardinals have been unique, to say the least. They rode an incredibly deep roster and historic value from players aged 25 and under to 100 wins, best in all of baseball. But the success and good vibes of the regular season quickly dissipated under the weight of an enormously disappointing post-season and off-season. First, their long-time rivals at Wrigley defeated them on the field in the NLDS with their own impressive batch of under-25 heroes. Then, that same rival poached the Cardinals’ top pitcher and hitter in 2015 (using WAR) in free agency. Suddenly, a franchise accustomed to residing at the top of their own division and league appears to be on shaky footing. This all begs the question- what has happened to teams like the Cardinals, with a run of recent success and a healthy dose of value lost via free agency, in the broader context of MLB history? Continue reading

How Much is a Sandwich Pick Worth?

The MLB trade deadline is quickly approaching. That means that General Managers all over the game will be weighing the present value of their free agents-to-be against the potential value they can obtain via trade. One consideration is the potential extra draft pick teams will receive if their free agent-to-be signs with another team at the end of the season. Teams in this scenario are awarded a sandwich pick- a draft choice between the conclusion of the first round and the beginning of the second round. These picks typically fall between overall picks #31 and #40. But how much value is typically available in that range? I’ve taken a closer look and created and infographic. Continue reading

Houston Astros OPS+, 2014 vs. 2015

One of the biggest stories of the 2015 MLB season has been the drastic improvement of the Houston Astros. After three years as a comically bad doormat from 2011 to 2013, they made some significant strides last season with a 19-win improvement. This year, they’ve doubled down on their leap and taken the top slot in the AL West as we head towards the All-Star break. It begs the question, “What’s different about this year’s Astros?” Continue reading

Mizzou Football Recruiting Since 2002

I know this is supposed to be a baseball data viz site, but I also love college football. And I love Mizzou. With the recruiting cycle having just wrapped up, I used the Rivals database to create this graph illustrating Mizzou’s recruiting classes since 2002. Unfortunately, there’s no data prior to 2002, but it dovetails nicely with the overwhelming majority of the Gary Pinkel era at Mizzou. Continue reading