Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Genius Maker!

Happy Birthday Mariano Rivera!  Number 42 turns 42 today!  Rivera is the last player to wear this number, which is fitting.  I also think it is fitting that when Jackie Robinson is honored and everyone wears #42, I (and hopefully you) will think of Rivera as well.

I never thought he would still be pitching, let alone be so effective at this age.  This is the last year of this contract, but if I am the Yankees I let him know that as long as he wants to pitch (Mo won’t stay if he is not effective) we will pay him.  I get the feeling that going out at the age of 42, his and JR’s number, might be the way he wants to go out?

As for how effective Mo was this year, he was still one of the best closers in the game.  His OPS against was 2nd best in baseball behind a NL pitcher Craig Kimbrel from Atlanta.  First, while Kimbrel had a great year (46 saves and a 14.84 K/9 ahead of Robertson) he did have 8 blown saves (but only 3 losses).  Mo had 5 blown saves but only 2 losses so both these guys did blow some games, but gave their teams chances of winning after the blown save.  While Valverde had a great 49 saves without a blown save, he did have 4 losses along with getting pummeled in the playoffs even if not losing to the Yanks.

Bottom line is Rivera is still at the top of the position and just like other years, there may be a person or 2 who has better/similar years, they come and go while Rivera is always at the top…pretty amazing.  Mo had his worst year from an OPS standpoint in 2007; his worst could have been many guys best.  30 saves with 4 blown and an OPS of .644.  For perspective CC’s OPS against for the 3 years with the Yankees is about .660.

To give you an idea of how dominant Mo has been I was trying to find some stats about OPS against for pitchers for their career; I would bet he is #1 (I should be able to get this but for some reason I am having trouble – if anyone has it please send it)

The best I could do was Adjusted ERA+ per the below…Almost comical how great he is and has been…and we are not even discussing the amazing post season numbers.

From Wikipedia (which is great BTW)  Adjusted ERA+, often simply abbreviated to ERA+ or ERA plus, is a pitching statistic in baseball. It adjusts a pitcher's earned run average (ERA) according to the pitcher's ballpark (in case the ballpark favors batters or pitchers) and the ERA of the pitcher's league. Average ERA+ is set to be 100; a score above 100 indicates that the pitcher performed better than average, below 100 indicates worse than average.
For instance, if the average ERA in the league is 4.00, and the pitcher is pitching in a ballpark that favors hitters, and his ERA is 4.00, then his ERA+ will be over 100. Likewise, if the average ERA in the league is 3.00, and the pitcher is pitching in a ballpark favoring pitchers, and the pitcher's ERA is 3.00, then the pitcher's ERA+ will be below 100.
As a result, ERA+ can be used to compare pitchers across different run environments. In the above example, the first pitcher may have performed better than the second pitcher, even though his ERA is higher. ERA+ can be used to account for this misleading impression.

Minimum of 1000 IP, 3000 PA, 500 games (fielding), 200 stolen base attempts (catchers) or 100 decisions for career and active leaderboards for rate statistics.
Player (yrs, age)
Adjusted ERA+
Mariano Rivera (17, 41)




 BTW, Bobby Valentine appears to be the Red Sox manager; I am good with that as I am not that impressed with him.  I don't think he studies the statistical side of the game enough.  The Red Sox will be a force for the same reasons the Yankees are (payroll) though.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Genius Maker - Playoff System and More

I am glad the Yanks worked out the deal with CC - it is in line and we are better with him than without.

People have asked me who I want the Yanks to go after and without copping out, I can't give an answer without knowing the range/cost of the players.  While many people say the Yanks have no budget, this is simply incorrect because if they didn't they would sign Pujols for 30 mil a year to be a DH and PT 1st baseman.  BTW, if I could trade Texiera or even have someone take his contract, I would and sign Pujols. 

As for one area I would put a lot of interest in; I would make a very hard run at Yu Darvish based on what I have read (not seen).  He is 25 years old and one of the best pitchers in Japan.  He is 6'5" and 220 with a 93 MPH fastball that he can increase in key spots up to 97.  He also has a cutter to go along with a very sharp breaking ball.  I also think he has a splitter...again from what I have read.  25 year old pitchers would be very much worthy of a large contract and he would fit in perfectly to our team.

The title of this post has to do with playoffs and I will get to that, but as I was going through my old posts, I came across my ARod contract posts.  In a nut shell I wanted the Yanks to sign ARod, but under no circumstance would I have gone beyond 8 years and I also would have stuck to 25 mil a year.  Here is what I wrote (the exact terms of the deal were not disclosed and in a later post I was more critical):

“I would have stuck with an 8 year deal at 25 mil a year and then gone up to 26 maybe 27 a year.   What if ARod breaks down at 38 or sooner? They should make him really show he wants to come back….I mean doesn't giving a guy a 10 year contract when he is 31 or 32 seem nuts to you?
I am glad he probably will be back, but I would have stuck it to him and risked losing him if I were running the show.  I would have stuck to 8 years and not moved above 27 mil a year.”

In retrospect, I might have been too generous; 38 still is a long way away.  I like to go back and see what I was wrong and right about.  I will find my Cano posts at some point as I was adamant they don’t trade him, but I was willing to trade Soriano.
Back to the Playoffs.  Some of you veterans remember my yearly post about the playoffs.  I stopped writing it a few years ago, but have been talking about this for 15 years.  I am bringing it back because I read that Selig said it looked like they would add one WC team and have a one game playoff…just as I had been asking for over the past 15 years.  The funny part is that I remember Mike and the Mad Dog criticizing this idea (yes, when they were together) as crazy.  Then again, I waited to get on a call with Mad Dog so he could tell me that the “Sabermetrics stuff is silly.” 
Anyway, this is what I wrote a little over two years ago (10/7/09) and I had written for 12 years before that:
 “I have written this many few times over the years but after the great game yesterday it lends itself to bring it up again as it has been awhile.  The idea started back around 1995 when the wild card was brought into baseball and I don't think (I really don't remember) I can take all of the credit for this idea, in fact it probably was mostly from my brother or maybe us just talking  it through?...Either way, we didn't like the idea of putting in another wild card team.  Our feeling was after 162 games, if you don't finish in 1st place then what does it matter if you are better than a team in another division?  You aren't the best so you shouldn't be in the playoffs to prove it.  This thought is even more true with the unbalanced schedule where you play the teams in your division 19 times; you can't say you didn't have enough opportunity to prove your superiority and any short series won’t prove anything. 

In coming up a playoff scenario that works there a lot of factors to take into consideration.  Some of these would be:
1) Having more teams keeps the interest of more fans/teams because of the greater chance for the post season
2) More playoff games means more revenue
3) More teams in the playoffs means a longer season and you don't want it going too long
4) Not turning the regular season into games that don't mean anything as "everyone" makes the playoffs (See hockey and basketball).
5) Reward a team that wins the division with more than just home field.

Cut to the chase already...what is your playoff idea! 

It is really simple...

Keep everything as is, but add another wild card team.  Yeah, I know that contradicts my opposition to the wild card to begin with but here is why.  You don't add the 2nd wild card to extend the series' in baseball, you add the extra wild card so that they could play the other wild card in a one game "series."  The winner of that one game moves on to the 3-5 series (I would also make each series 4 out of 7). 

So why is this a good idea?

1) Having the extra team makes the playoffs keeps more fans/teams interested
2) More playoff games means more revenue
3) You get a ton of excitement in a one game is great
4) Most important: You would never have a situation of indifference of whether you win the wild card or win the division; it makes a huge difference as you reward the 3 division winners by not having to play/travel/risk that one game playoff.  I think this is a critical component that is missing now.

Some other items for discussion:  
1) Shorten the season back to 154 games or some number that works based on the amount of teams.  I don't like playing playoff games in the cold as most of the year is not played that way.  
2) Keep very little rest between the end of the season and the wild card single game; keep things moving.  Division winners should start their post-season 2 or at most 3 days after the end of the season.
3) Stop with so much rest between post-season games.  It is absurd that in a 5 game series a team can throw their top 2 guys for 4 (80%) of the games and in a 7 game start 5 of them.  While I would have nothing but 7 game series' with one day of rest only, if the 5 game series stayed, there would be no rest.

So there you have it…they take a long time to come around, but at least they eventually do.  In recent years people had talked about 3 game series’ but I am MUCH more in favor of the one game playoff game…

Hope everyone is doing well.