Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trade Deadline Today

Yup trade deadline came and went and much like last year the Roxs did nothing. Don't think that was a bad thing per se. Would have been nice to get a pitcher but for what? To finish the year at .500? Think I calculated today that the Roxs had to go 36 - 16 to get to the 85 wins I predicted. Don't think that is going to happen. And I don't think less than 85 wins is going to win the division especially now that the Dodgers picked up a certain Left Fielder dumped by the Red Sox! Always one surprise at the deadline and this one was certainly it. If not for this than the deadline would have been ho hum with just I-Rod going to the Yanks and Griffey off to the White Sox's. Interesting to see what Manny might to for the Dodgers. Important series going on with the Dodgers and D-bags this week. Dodgers might finally crest the division! Of course Manny is going to have a heck of larger left field to cover!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Number of Pitches = Runs?

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to the Rockies radio broadcast team, Jeff and Jack, and Jack Corigan made the statement that basically said that as your (i.e. the pitcher) pitch count increases in the inning the more likely a run is going to be scored. From the sound of this it made me go hmmm. Two questions immediately popped up...1) is this true (logically you would think yes) and 2) what is on average the amount of pitches thrown in an inning that would allow a single run?

Well off to baseball reference where on their box score page they show the amount of pitches thrown in an inning along with the number of runs. By taking this data and plotting the number of pitches per inning, the runs scored for that number of pitches, and annotating in a running log how often this number of pitches occur in an inning, I was able to come up with the number of pitches thrown in 2008 by Rockies pitchers and what is the average number of pitches thrown to allow for one run in an inning (i.e., a 12 pitch inning occurred 81 times and a total of 12 runs were scored when 12 pitches were thrown in an inning or a rate of 0.12 runs). This is through Game 108 and I am missing about 7 runs (end of the season I will go back and tighten this up).

Graphically all this data looks like this:
This first plot shows the number of pitches versus the total runs. The size of the circle indicates how often this number of pitches were thrown. The next plot shows the distribution which indicates that 12 and 13 pitches were thrown in an inning approximately 161 times or accounting for about 17% of the total innings pitched..

The final plot shows the rate at which runs are scored. So for instance 26 pitches in an inning occurred 17 times and a total of 32 runs were scored. Thus giving a rate of 1.88 runs scored when 26 pitches are thrown. If you plot this rate you get this...

A relatively nice curve that has a Rsquare of about 0.79 (if you throw out two of the outliers you get upwards of 0.86). If you take the equation and solve for 1 you get approximately 20.6 pitches.

So there you have does appear has you throw more pitches in an inning the likely of runs being scored increases. Follow on questions would be 1) what would the major league curve look like accounting for every pitch? and 2) could you establish pitcher effectiveness based on this (i.e., Cook has thrown 2,134 pitches this year, divided by 20.6 would indicate he should have given up 104 runs but presently he is at 64 allowed also he has averaged 13.9 pitches an inning which would equate to a rate of 0.47 runs per inning, he's pitched 154 innings so that equates to about 72 runs...)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rox Talk

A 5-1 week with a sweep of the Reds and 2 of 3 from the Dodgers (which by the way is kind of a dumb name for a baseball team). The offense seems to be clicking on all cylinders. Of course playing the likes of the Pirates and Reds isn't exactly like facing the good teams. The Roxs currently stand at 48-58. Six games back from division leading D-backs in third place. Currently 31-22 at home and 17-36 on the road, the Roxs have been outscored by its opponents 495-539 (expected wins is 49 versus historical wins at 49). On pace for 73 wins with 757 runs scored and 824 runs against.
Weekly WPA leaders (overall as well):

Baker has been an animal the last two weeks and U-ball too. These two have thrown the Roxs on their backs and said let's make a run. With 56 games to go (6 back), do the Roxs have enough time to catch the D-bags? Starting pitching has been good. The last two weeks have seen the offense go into overdrive and the relief corps has been shutting teams down. Lots of games against the teams ahead of us. Will there be time? My guess is that the trade deadline will come and go and the Roxs will stand pat. Maybe Atkins will be dealt for a pitcher? It would allow Stewart to take over third and Baker a permanent spot at first until of if Helton comes back. Taveras would be a good throw in too as I believe Spilborghs and Fowler could take over center. An exciting time in baseball!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Holliday Dilemma

This post was in reponse to Woody Paige's Denver Post Article

I whole heartening disagree with Woody's comments. Now is the time to deal Holliday especially fresh off his All Star blast and his recent hot streak. Why trade our hottest property? One reason would be Todd Helton. Helton, who is currently 35, and signed through 2011 makes up almost 25% of the current Rockies payroll. Holliday who is 28 wants a six year deal. If you look at Helton's statistics, he peaked during the 2000 - 2001 years, when he was...27!

Baseball research has shown that players tend to peak in their late 20s. Signing Holliday now to a long term contact is not baseball smart. Sure he would still produce for the next 2 - 3 years but then steadily decline to what Helton has become. A longtime Rocky whose time has passed. The Roxs don't need more salary anchors.

From a fan (and heart's) standpoint watching a player become a star in your own backyard is great but what would Denver rather have? A star (like Helton) or a World Series title. Today's free agency has killed the one player, one team concept. Loyalty to a team is has tenous has a summer afternoon rain shower in Denver. World Series titles are won by complete teams.

Due to the Boras Factor, I don't think Holliday has ever become a true fan favorite. His comments over the years have never tended to indicate that his preference is to stay here. Why doesn't Holliday have a chant like Tulo? Holliday has never embraced the city. Fans like characters and a little personality. Holliday is a nice guy but I think most people in Colorado knew long ago that he wasn't a long term guy.

In the end, Colorado baseball fans should embrace the small market mentality and root for the team, not its players. To win in today's baseball market it is all about talent. Teams like the Rockies can't afford to make long term financial mistakes (i.e. Hampton and Helton) with their heart. Management needs to ride their young players (i.e. pre free agents) to a playoff or World Series title and then sell to rebuild. Restock your farm and build to another title run. Sure it isn't sexy, like the Yankees or Red Sox, but they can afford to pay their way to the playoffs each year and also can afford long term mistakes. Embrace the team not the players.

Finally think of what the Roxs could buy for $120 million over the next 6 years. Last year signaled the blue print to win at altitude. Build your starting pitching from within (no high end free agent pitcher will ever come here), rebuild a pitcher or two from the scrap heap, spend that Holliday money on a bullpen to die for because starter's are only going to last 5 - 6 innings, and finally keep bringing up the youngsters who are hungry for free agent money (make sure they can play defense!). Who needs Holliday? Keep Atkins at 3B, Tulo at SS, Barmes at 2B, Baker at 1B. Let Stewart play everyday at LF, Fowler at CF,and Hawpe in RF.

Baseball is a team sport; big money stars rarely bring championships to their towns especially small market teams. Would you rather have World Series or Holliday memories?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rox Talk

A 4-0 series sweep of the Pirates to lead off the second half of the season (more like last third). The Roxs currently stand at 43-57. Six games back from division leading D-backs in third place. Yikes how did the NL West get so bad? We had the best two teams in the NL championship series! What is up with that? Currently 29-21 at home and 14-36 on the road, the Roxs have been outscored by its opponents 447-516 (expected wins is 43 versus historical wins at 47). On pace for 70 wins with 724 runs scored and 836 runs against.

Weekly WPA leaders (overall as well):

Amazing what a week of wins! Nice sweep. Have to admit Holliday is putting together a nice season. Too bad everyone else is in the gutter!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Colorado All Stars

Good game last night. Too bad the good guys couldn't bring it home. The Roxs were represented by Cook and Holliday and they did a fantastic job. Had the NL won I am sure Cook's 3 innings would have garnered some MVP consideration. Cook had a WPA of 0.482 and Holliday 0.082. Not too shabby. Here is a look at the Roxs All Star Stats.

Can you believe EY, Hammonds, and Cirillo were All Stars? Holliday and Helton are the only ones with homers. Burks has the only triple and Bichette has the only double.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rox Talk

A 2-4 road trip against the Brewers and Mets (is it me or does it seem we have played the Mets alot this year?). The All-Star break is here. The Roxs currently stand at 39-57. Eight and half games back from division leading D-backs in fourth place. Currently 25-21 at home and 14-36 on the road (on pace for only 23 wins which would be the worst in franchise history), the Roxs have been outscored by its opponents 419-507 (expected wins is 40 versus historical wins at 45). On pace for 66 wins with 707 runs scored and 856 runs against.

Weekly WPA leaders (overall as well):

Sigh, the week before we have an offensive explosion and this week in NY we get shutout in back to back games and in one game we get only one hit. For a team which generated so much offense last year it is maddening that the hits just aren't coming. Alas last year was last year and teams that tend to progress forward in one year tend to come back to earth the next but in a year when the division is certainly winable it is tough to shallow that we missed a chance to repeat. Big question will be who is here and gone in August. My guess is that Fuentes and Podsednik are gone, perhaps Herges as well. I also think Holliday will be here this year and probably get dealt this winter. We shall see and is this the end of Helton?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The 'Stache

With Giambi's stache the Yanks have started to at least be competitive again. Guess they had stache day at the park. It seems that the stache is famous in Yankee history. Once again the Roxs seem to be missing something. I mean we had the Blake Street Bombers and the black shirts from last year's run but why can't we have a stache? How about Holliday get a pair and do something to get the team fired up...what about a stache!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wild Game of the Year

Okay so the 22 inning affair against the Padres was pretty memorable for the length and clutching the seat but the Fourth of July game against the Marlins was even more memorable due to the never say die Roxs. Check out the game track on Fan Graphs:

At the 5th inning the Marlins had like a 99% chance of winning, the the Roxs crept back then went down again then crept back and boom the 9th inning hit and we took the lead and won. They were down 9 runs! It was a 35 run affair that took under 4 hours. Marlins were the only 5th or 6th team since 1900 to score 17 runs and lose. Wow what a game.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rox Talk

A 5-2 home stand against the Padres and Marlins. What a Jekyll and Hyde team, a team of streaks. Only consistent thing about this team is how consistent it wins or loses! Crazy thing is that they are in 4th place only 7 games out of first place! After some wacky games against the Marlins it would appear the offense is finally ticking. Maybe some starting pitching consistency and could we make a run? Give the team a beacon of hope and just maybe... The Roxs currently stand at 37-52. Seven games back from division leading D-backs in fourth place. Currently 25-21 at home and 12-31 on the road, the Roxs have been outscored by its opponents 402-471 (expected wins is 38 versus historical wins at 42). On pace for 67 wins with 732 runs scored and 857 runs against.

Weekly WPA leaders (overall as well): Big week on the offensive front. Especially at the top of the line-up with Spilborghs, Atkins,and Holliday. Not much from the pitching staff this past week. Once again a big ughhh with Corpas and Tulo. Not so good!

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th If I Was Commissioner Edition

Okay first off to celebrate the 4th and America's B-Day as Commissioner I would make it free day at the ballpark. Yup no admission on the 4th. Tickets would be given out however the teams would decide but I would make a hefty amount of those tickets going to kids. Free day at the park to build some city and fan unity. Teams get 81 home games...they can do without a gate for the day and probably make up for it with concession sales because the park is full. Big question would be would every stadium in MLB be full, if tickets were given away for free?

Updated standings...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

That Was June!

That Was June

32 - 51 after three months of baseball. 19 games under .500 isn't exactly what I think the team wanted to start off. So about halfway there and it ain't pretty. With only 349 runs scored the team is looking at scoring only 700 runs which is about 130 runs short of what we'd expect (based on last year and on expectations). So let's look at the numbers:
Historical Winning Percentage vs Pythagorean Winning Percentage:
Well starting to play up to average (?). Long season but would be nice to start playing .500 ball.

Runs Scored vs Runs Allowed Historical:

Yikes where the heck is the offense. It is gone, fallen into a black hole. Only 112 runs scored in 27 games and allowed 123 runs. I guess if teams tend to return to average then eventually we are going to score runs (?). As you can see the offense is really fading while the pitching seems to be holding up their end of the bargain.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

He Was A Rockie?

He Was A Rockie - Jim Leyland
Oday I will continue the rant against managers this week and I will go with the manager who barely stopped long enough for a cup of coffee. Jimbo stayed with us for one year, 1999, and compiled a 72 - 90 record. A manager who was brought in to replace Don Baylor (our inaugural manager) and someone who had won a world series with Florida was supposed to take us to the promise land. A career 1294-1313 manager (including his record with Detroit) this was a no nonsense chain smoking real time baseball manager. He almost took the Pirates to the promise land (if it hadn't been for the Braves!), managed a winner out of Florida, and then took the Tigers there. Unfortunately he came in at the peak of nintendo ball at Coors. The Roxs that year scored 906 runs (!) but gave up an even more amazing 1028 (OMG!). Needless to say one year of that was enough for any manager with a brain. Citing burnout the Roxs and Leyland parted after the one year. Buddy Bell came in and then was followed by Hurdle. 4 managers over 16 years and only one who really understand baseball at altitude...Baylor!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Ok enough is enough. I don't like to rant, but as a consumer of baseball in the Rockies this is getting to be an embarrassment. Where is the freakin accountability? Why aren't the sportswriters calling for heads on a plate? Why are fans allowing this to happen? I mean the Roxs catch lightning in a bottle for a brief 21 days and suddenly they are given a free pass? We were fed the BS about growing a team and dealing with the growth process and what not. Suddenly the team matures and gets to the World Series, where it was very evident we were an outclassed organization. Frankly we didn't even deserve to be on the same stage as the Red Sox last year (can you say ticket debacle...heck you can't even sell tickets right). They dressed us down in every conceivable way. After that October, management while resting on its laurels, should have taken a page from the Sox's and said how can we do better? What happened? We suddenly signed our undeserving players to long term deals increasing payroll to $69 million, we gave the GM and manager long term deals, we coasted through the off season without signing one significant free agent. Why was that? The Roxs simply became a bargaining chip for players and frankly none of them wanted to come to Denver.
You would think a team ripe with young upstart players in a great sports town would be an inviting place for free agents but then again here is an organization that has stuck with a manager who has gone 474-560 in 7 years (.458 winning percentage). Of course "great sports town" is a misnomer anymore as complacency has set in for the Broncos (sign any murder's lately Shanahan), Avs (win with retreads!), and Nuggets (drinking and driving is a great warm up activity). Again I ask...where is the accountability? Outrage? Why can't we expect our teams to be great? Why have Denver coaches become so chummy? Managers are paid to win and frankly winning isn't happening around here! So why all this ranting ? Because last night's debacle in LoDo was too much for any baseball fan to cope with. Our Roxs come home from an 0-6 roadtrip, playing the cellar dwellers from the litter box in San Diego, up by 5 runs in the Fifth. Things are cruising and boom tie game and then a bigger boom as the Padres score 7 in the top of the 9th....excuse me? A 12 run swing in 4 innings...a team that is 32 - 52, a team that spends $69 million to reward 21 days of excellence? A team that at the start of the season awarded its manager and GM with extensions even though the manager has never shown any instances of brilliance? A GM who can't even land a decent second baseball. Frankly if I owned a business with a manager who couldn't even make half of the decisions right I wouldn't be keeping him a year let alone 7. The Rockies don't want to win, they just want to get by. They will shroud themselves in the mid market mantra claiming they can't compete and continue to lead us fans along. Complacency and losing is okay. Heck anymore in America as long as the owners eke out a profit what does it really matter with the little guy or the baseball fan?
Demand accountability and demand excellence. Owning a baseball team ain't cheap so why do it if you aren't in it to win. Establish a desire to be the best, expect it from the groundskeeper to the manager. Expect that winning is the expected outcome. There is no reason why the Rox's manager should still have a job. Owner's can't fire a team but they can put the team on notice that losing is not okay. By keeping the manager around the Monforts are saying to Denver and everyone else in baseball that losing is acceptable in Denver. We pay players to lose. Come to Denver and don't expect any expectations or accountability...I find it unbelievable that supposedly successful businessmen who get into the world of baseball can't step up to the plate and make decisions like firing the manager. It takes a little more to be a champion, make the hard decisions and make the team accountable. Every city deserves a champion.