Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hot Stove

"Finishing second is only bad in a gunfight." - Clint Hurdle

Well good thing the Roxs weren't in a gunfight as we finished as bridesmaids in the manager of the year, rookie of the year, and MVP awards. Hardware is nice but my guess is that the three involved (Hurdle, Tulo, and Holliday) wouldn't trade their end of season wild ride for any of these awards as the winners (Melvin, Braun, and Rollins) all got sent home as we beat two of them in the NL playoffs! Bottom line is these individual awards really shouldn't mean all that much if the individuals care more for what the team does. Plus Tulo shouldn't be all that bummed, his first baseman lost out to a Japanese Pitcher who isn't even in the bigs anymore (should Japanese players really be considered rookies?).

Hot Stove Anyone?

Rockies re-signed catcher Yorvit Torrealba to 2-year deal and also appeared to resign Matt Herges to a 1-year deal. reports seem to indicate that Kaz Matsui will either sign with the Cubs or Astros. Roxs will need to decide to slot a home-grown talent into 2B (Carroll, Barmes, Stewart, or Quintinilla) or find someone serviceable. None of these four really deserve to be everyday starters (Stewart is a corner guy) and have each had the opportunity. My guess is that Spring Training something will come out in the wash. Looks like Hawkins is probably going away as well. No big loss...decent playoff run, but falls into that dime a dozen relief pitcher. I truly believe that all you really need is a decent closer and then just a couple of hot arms throughout the season. You can't really predict how a closer will do from season to season. Just too random. Finally the Roxs will need another starting arm or two. If last season was any indication it is few and far between that the 5 guys you leave Spring Training are still pitching in October!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rox Talk

Here, here, and here were my preseason picks or thoughts. Basically I used the stat predictions that were theorized by Chone, Marcel, and ZiPS and placed the numbers into the spreadsheet and came up with 89, 81, and 86 wins with an average of 85. I predicted 83. The Roxs surprised us all with a whopping 90 wins (heck Vegas only gave them 74.5!). Looking at the opening day roster we certainly had some dead weight that we shed early in the season to include Brian Lawrence, John Mabry, and Steve Finley. We tossed Martin later in the season and Ramirez was hurt. Also hurt through the season was 3/5s of the starting pitching rotation with Lopez, Cook, and Hirsh all going down mid-season. So ultimately a pretty stable offensive team with some shaky pitching (can you say Denny Bautista 2 inning outting in Philly in Game 145?). We filled in with the likes of Spilborghs, Sullivan, Herges, Speier, Jimenez, and Morales. At the mid-way point, I had updated the predictions based on play time of the new players and had the team at 83 but the Roxs mid-season numbers projected them at 76 wins! Yikes what a great finish. See the historical winning percentage and Pythagoras winning percentage versus 2007 numbers:

So that was what was did it all finish up? Offensively the average from the predictions indicated 5,684 at bats and 847 runs (from the 8 position players and six bench players). Overall the Roxs had 5,691 at bats and 860 runs (or run every 6.6 at bats, interesting stat?). Below is a table indicating in purple the average runs from the prediction with a one standard deviation error bar shown. The white blocks serve as the actual runs scored. The 8 starters accounted for 72% of the at bats and 78% of the runs scored. Adding in the six bench players you then account for 89% of the at bats and 94% of the runs.

So what does this say? Well offensively we had Torrealba, Matsui, Tulo, Holiday, and Hawpe have outstanding above predicted years and Helton, Atkins, and Taveras below predicted. Hopefully next year the offensive can keep pace.

Pitching is a bit more difficult to predict as injuries can effect numbers more. Thirteen pitchers had starts for the 2007 season. Francis led the team with 34, then Fogg at 29, Cook at 25, Hirsh at 19, and Jimenez at 15. These 5 accounted for 75% of the starts and 51% of the innings and 53% of the runs. So from a prediction standpoint it is much easier to get the offensive down. Although I think it is the pitching that really defines your won/loss record (can this be proven in some way? Have to think about it...a later post). Pitching was not a strong point this year for the Roxs and with any sort of stability next year with Morales and Jimenez both having a partial year under their belts and the further stability of Francis and Cook I think pitching is key for next year's team.

Next year will be tough one for the Roxs. How will they handle being the NL Champs? Can they build on this year or will they buckle? Hard to say but I'll refine the numbers again next year and see if we can get back to the playoffs.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rox's History

Baseball Reference is a fantastic site. It is a one stop shop for baseball statistics. I happened to be looking up some past Rockies information and reviewing the names was like going through a box of pictures found in your attic. For a team that isn’t too old a lot of people have worn the purple over the years. Reviewing the names reminded me of another website, Alex Reisner, who put together a fantastic history of the NY Yankees. I thought it would be fun to put together a Roxs history. Attached is what I came with. Obviously it doesn’t have every player but I tried to put together the ones that played a significant amount of time at each position. This is a draft but I am pleased with the way it came out. Hope it brings back some memories.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Baseball Findings

Just some random stuff I came across...from Dave Smith of (I believe) who was asked to determine winning percentage (of the Dodgers specifically to celebrate 50 years moving to LA) from 1958 - 2007:

NL records 1958-2007

Team W L T Pct
LAN 4252 3692 6 .535
CIN 4152 3783 9 .523
SLN 4146 3783 12 .523
ATL 4125 3802 11 .520
SFN 4117 3826 6 .518
ARI 818 802 0 .505
PIT 3984 3942 10 .503
HOU 3652 3672 5 .499
PHI 3884 4052 7 .489
WAS 2980 3204 4 .482
NYN 3496 3816 8 .478
CHN 3768 4159 17 .475
FLO 1112 1251 0 .471
COL 1114 1254 0 .470
SDN 2870 3322 2 .464
MIL 719 899 1 .444

AL Records

NYA 4427 3502 15 .558
BOS 4178 3761 3 .526
BAL 4163 3760 8 .525
CHA 4043 3888 15 .510
OAK 3979 3963 6 .501
MIN 3937 3998 10 .496
TOR 2428 2469 3 .496
DET 3933 4009 7 .495
ANA 3690 3794 3 .493
CLE 3889 4035 6 .491
KCA 3003 3176 2 .486
MIL 2200 2367 3 .482
SEA 2315 2582 2 .473
TEX 3491 3975 7 .468
TBA 645 972 0 .399

Today the Guardian and Observer take a giant step backwards as their newly digitized archive - which will contain every article from their first issues in 1821 and 1791 until 1975 - is opened for public search.
And in the lighter side of things...from Onion Sports
"BOSTON—Although Colorado players, managers, and coaches said they would not issue a formal complaint about the playing conditions in Boston, the Rockies have gone on record as saying the "thick, soupy sea-level air" in the city made it unusually difficult for them to play baseball. "Seriously, I can barely push my bat through this stuff," said Rockies slugger Matt Holliday, who collapsed and had to be administered less oxygen after Wednesday's practice. "I was hitting them as hard as I could out there and the ball was still returning to the earth. We might as well be playing in quicksand." Other Rockies players were equally vocal in their criticism of the hostile atmosphere in Boston, with Kaz Matsui claiming he found it hard to slide through the viscous air and Willie Taveras aggravating a recent thigh injury while attempting to stand up quickly."