Archive for March, 2007

Yankees-Tigers: Live Win Probability

Despite last night’s lack of live win probability, the Yankees-Tigers game is now up and running. No need to refresh the page, live stats will just keep coming.

Don’t forget we’ll have every single game live this season starting opening night. If you have any feedback, please let us know!

Dodgers-Angels: Live Win Probability

Update: It still hasn’t showed up, and I’m assuming it won’t. There may be two live spring training games tomorrow.

Update: So, we were supposed to be getting live data for this game, but obviously it’s not being delivered. I’m hoping it will start to show up, even if it’s late.

We should have the Dodgers-Angels game live tonight. There’s been a number of improvements since yesterday and you should no longer need to refresh the page since it should update by itself.

Overall we’re still getting our feet wet with the live data. I’m sure our live data displays will evolve significantly over time. If you do get a chance to check out the game tonight, we’d certainly like to hear your feedback, positive and negative.

Live Win Probability (Alpha)

If anyone wants to take a peek at some our Live Win Probability stuff in the extremely early stages. You can check out the remainder of the Mets-Braves spring training game.

I’m not sure if there will be any other live games today, but there should be various games running for the 4 or so days left of spring training.

Please remember this is really an “alpha” product right now, and will hopefully be “beta” worthy by the time the season starts. It’s also only the scoreboard as there will be the usual big graph, play-by-play and box scores for each game. We’ll probably have live pitch counts too.

You will have to refresh the page to get the graph to update for the time being. The F5 key is probably the easiest method of doing this.

Time for me to get back to work!

The Golem’s Mighty Swing

gms_cover.pngI was browsing a used bookstore this past weekend and stumbled upon a graphic novel by James Sturm titled: The Golem’s Mighty Swing. I’ve been on a graphic novel kick lately and I couldn’t believe my luck in finding one that was actually about baseball.

Set in the 1920’s, it tells the tale of an all Jewish barnstorming team called the Stars of David Baseball Club. Their fictional leader, Noah Strauss, was for a short time a member of the Boston Red Sox, playing behind Tris Speaker, Duffy Lewis, and Harry Hooper. Barnstorming in the 20’s was far from a lucrative profession, so when a sports agent approaches the team about dressing up one of their players as a golem, (a mythical Jewish protector/destroyer) they have little choice but to say yes. Unfortunately, the golem only heightens the already prevalent anti-semitism that existed in the small towns they played in.

The story is beautifully illustrated in black and white and when the Stars of David take the field, Sturm has a knack for bringing the game of baseball to life. Within each comic frame, players are perfectly suspended in mid-motion, making that slide into second, or a pitchers windup seem all the more real.


It’s a quick read, but if you’re a fan of baseball or graphic novels, it’s definitely worth your time.

Box Scores

Box Scores have been added to potentially make your life just a bit easier. They contain all the usual goodies including the position the player played and the order the player hit in the lineup.

If you see anything missing that you feel is essential, just let us know and we’ll try and cram it in, assuming we have readily accessible in our database.

Pretty Good Daisuke, Pretty Good

After causing a major panic from his March 11th “bombing”, Daisuke Matsuzaka threw quite the gem yesterday. He struck out 7, while allowing only 1 walk and 1 hit in 5 and 2/3’s innings of work against the Pirates. This no doubt gave Red Sox fans that warm fuzzy feeling that was sorely lacking the 10 days in between Daisuke’s starts.

While we learned last week that his March 11th start was fairly typical of high priced pitchers, the 7 strikeouts he recorded yesterday was a rare feat indeed. There were only nine times this spring that a pitcher has struck out seven or more batters:

Ian Snell – Way back on March 6th, Snell threw 3 innings while striking out 7. Snell showed a lot of promise last year and this spring he’s showing why he’ll be the ace of the Pirates pitching staff (even if no one knows who he is).

Rich Harden – On March 15th the oft-injured Harden threw just 3-plus innings and struck out 9. Then he struck out 7 on March 20th in 5 innings. Overall, Harden has struck out 25 batters in a mere 13 innings of work this spring. Please stay healthy this year! There’s nothing I enjoy more than watching the Ks pile up.

Oliver Perez – He matched Harden on March 15th with 9 strikeouts, but it took him 5 innings to do it. He’s having a fine spring and he was dazzling to watch just three years ago. Perhaps he’ll find some of his 2004 magic in the Mets rotation this season.

Aaron Harang – Three days after Harden and Perez fanned 9, so did Harang. His spring has not been so stellar. He’s given up 28 hits which sets his H/9 at a mere 17-something. On the bright side, he’s still striking out a batter-an-inning, and has given up zero walks.

Scott Kazmir – He struck out 7 in five plus innings of work on March 18th. Yet he’s walked 6 in 12-plus innings so far this spring. It will be interesting to see if he can recapture the much improved control he exhibited in 2006.

Brett Myers – He also struck out 7 on March 18th. He’s one of those guys who took the off-season “seriously” by shedding 25 pounds off his frame. He’s mentioned that he’s been a bit “uncomfortable” pitching at his new weight, but the discomfort isn’t showing in his stats.

Josh Beckett – The 2006 home run king struck out 8 on March 20th. He’s only given up a single home run in 16-plus innings this spring. He’s also given up just a single walk while he’s struck out 17 batters.

Manny’s Clutch Hitting

There’s an interesting thread going on over at Sons of Sam Horn that eventually delved into Manny Ramirez’s clutch hitting abilities.

There’s currently a stat displayed on FanGraphs called “Clutch”. This Tangotiger invention is the difference between a player’s Win Probability Added and his OPS Wins once it has been Leverage adjusted. Simply put, it’s how well a player did in his actual environment (which includes close and late and runner on base situations) and how he would do in a context neutral environment.

So if we look at Manny Ramirez, he had a -1.36 Clutch last season, and over the past 5 years he has a -4.80 Clutch. His -1.36 last season was among the worst when looking at qualified batters. Needless to say, Clutch suggests he’s anything but a clutch batter.

To further reinforce the point let’s look at his high/medium/low leverage splits. A 1.70 or greater Leverage Index I considered “High” and a Leverage Index lower than .75 I considered “Low”. Anything in between was “Medium”

LI Level     OBP   SLG    OPS
High        .439  .536   .975
Medium      .449  .623  1.072
Low         .426  .649  1.075

The more important the situation, the worse Manny Ramirez does. His on base percentage stays pretty similar, but his slugging percentage takes a rather large hit as the situation becomes more important.

All in all, the numbers in any situation are pretty damn good, but he certainly didn’t elevate his game when the game was on the line.

The Top 10 – Week of 3/12/2007

Sometimes I find it fun to look at which players are being looked at the most on FanGraphs. To me, it’s a bit of a “buzz” meter for certain players. Obviously people are looking at players they’re interested in, and some of it is probably how visible certain players are on FanGraphs. There’s nothing scientific about this, but I thought FanGraphs visitors might enjoy seeing who their fellow visitors are most interested in. Here are the “results” for this past week (3/12 – 3/18).

1. Albert Pujols – This isn’t a huge surprise to me. He’s at the top of pretty much every lits and is incredibly visible on FanGraphs as a whole. Apparently everyone wants to see just how great he is!

2. Johan Santana – Also not much of a surprise. He’s the best, hands down.

3. Corey Hart – The Brewers’ Outfielder is having a strong spring, but #3? Maybe we have a disproportionate number of Brewers fans visiting the site, or perhaps people are just checking out his projections for their fantasy baseball drafts.

4. Adam Dunn – His extremely high strikeout totals and equally high walk totals make Dunn a constant topic for debate. Not to mention, his power seemed to disappear last season. His stats are always worth some extra scrutiny.

5. Ian Kinsler – Not quite as much as a surprise as Hart since this player is on most fantasy baseball managers’ radar.

6. Manny Ramirez – He’s constantly in the news. I don’t have anything else to add.

7. David Ortiz – His Win Probability numbers are always worth a look. He’s had two, rather astounding, back to back seasons and no MVP to show for it.

8. Derek Jeter – As popular a player as any and another player where it’s especially fun to look at his Win Probability numbers considering his “clutch” reputation. He didn’t live it down… last year.

9. Barry Bonds – Something would be wrong if he wasn’t in the top 10.

10. Ryan Howard – And in the 10-spot, the reigning NL-MVP. Everyone must be wondering if he can repeat his 58 home run season.

If people are interested, this could become a weekly feature, with maybe the top 10 and “movers and shakers”.

Community Projections

Tangotiger is conducting his 2007 community projections:

“I’ve seen the results of six forecasting systems this year. (I’m sure some of you have seen more than that.) And all were based on some algorithm with little leeway for human interaction. Why is that? Because we can’t trust any single person’s opinion. But, what if we can get a consensus, a Wisdom of Crowds? Who knows more about whether Papelbon will be a starter or reliever this year: an algorithm or a Redsox fan? Who knows more about the number of games a 2006-injured Hideki Matsui will play in 2007: an algorithm or a Yankees fan? There are certain human observation elements that are critical for forecasting. That’s where you can come in, and why you are here.”

When you have a free moment, head over there and fill in the OPS and ERA projections for your favorite team!

Daisuke Matsuzaka – You’re Not Alone

All anyone can seem to talk about today is how the 103 million dollar pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka, was “bombed” yesterday in a spring training start. He gave up 2 home runs, to two “non-roster” players, and ended up surrendering 4 runs (3 earned) in 4 innings, which raised his ERA from 0 to 3.86. He also struck out 3 and walked none.

What about the highly paid pitchers not named Matsuzaka? Surely some of them had an equally atrocious day. Here were the highlights from Sunday’s action:

Brad Penny ($8.5 Million): He gave up 9 hits and 4 runs yesterday in only 3 innings. He also struck out none and has a 12.86 ERA this spring.

B.J. Ryan ($9.4 Million): 1 inning, 4 hits, 3 runs, 1 strikeout.

Freddy Garcia ($9 Million): 3 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, and 2 walks. He didn’t strike anyone out.

Mark Buehrle ($9.5 Million): 4 innings, 6 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. His ERA stands at 11 this spring. It’s only 1.5 higher than he makes in millions.

And that was only yesterday. On Saturday:

Barry Zito ($18 Million): 4 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Everyone panic!