Sunday, March 1, 2009

We've Moved - To Amazin' Avenue

I've joined the staff at Amazin' Avenue, and will be writing over there from now on. It's a saber-friendly blog, and my posts there will be the same as what I've been writing at Mets Tailgate. AA is unique because readers can post their own articles, and the comments section after each post is user-friendly. I will still be writing a weekly column at Mets Geek, and the archives of past posts will be here. Thanks for reading, and hopefully you'll continue to read my stuff at Amazin' Avenue. You can tell which posts are mine by my username "JamesK." Here are some of my favorite posts at Mets Tailgate:

Saturday, February 28, 2009

MLB Network at least has good taste in music

My last post criticized the MLB Network's on-air analysis, but the theme song for the network's "30 Teams in 30 Days" is excellent. It's "C'mon C'mon" by the Von Bondies, which is also the theme song of one of my favorite shows "Rescue Me." The actual program is decent, as it previews a major league team with interviews and analysis. The Mets version aired this past Tuesday, but you can re-watch it here pretty soon.

In other news, Johan Santana is experiencing some elbow stiffness. It's too early to panic about this, but it's definitely troublesome. Hopefully the Mets handle this better than they did Ryan Church's concussion problems last season.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

High Comedy from the MLB Network

The first two minutes are an informative look at Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projection system. The rest descends into standard former-player-turned-analyst idiocy. If this was an SNL skit, it would be genius. (via BtB)

The money quotes:
Harold Reynolds - “Stats are ridiculous!”
Barry Larkin – “You might be hitting .215, but there’s a quality .215 that does not get translated into the stats” – what?

Talented NL East Shortstops

Over at Amazin' Avenue, I posted about the five excellent starting shortstops in the NL East. They are Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Yunel Escobar, and Cristian Guzman. Ramirez, Reyes, and Rollins were the three best in baseball in 2008, and it should stay that way in 2009.

In the post, I suggest that maybe Reyes's running game has hurt his stamina and is partly to blame for his fading down the stretch each of the last two seasons. Combine his running with never taking days off and playing a grueling position, and it might be smart to limit his stolen bases a bit this season. Sounds like blasphemy, but with a little more energy maybe he could avoid the annual September swoon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mets Geek column: A Guide to Mets Blogs

Check out my latest Mets Geek column, where I gave a quick rundown of the best Mets blogs out there. It's not an exhaustive list, and feel free to comment at Mets Geek or here about any that have been omitted. In the meantime, enjoy this bizarre picture of John Maine and Duaner Sanchez taken during photo day. (via The 'Ropolitans)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Georgetown vs. St. John's to open Citi Field

A college baseball game between Georgetown and St. John's will be the first game played at Citi Field, on Sunday, March 29th, according to Tickets are just $5 and go on sale Monday, March 2nd. I plan to be in attendance, as it is a cheap way to get an early look at Citi Field, and also because Georgetown is my alma mater. The Hoya basketball team will almost certainly not be alive in the NCAA Tournament (NIT?) that late in March, so I won't be missing any potential games.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Players who will regress or bounce back in 2009

Using statistical indicators like FIP, LD%, BABIP, and xBABIP I compiled a list of players who I think will regress in 2009 compared to 2008, and who will improve or bounce back in 2009. I included players from all teams, not just the Mets.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Links: Interview, Grading the Offseason, Evans to 2B, and Dusty Baker hilarity

Some links to check out while wondering if the 17 lbs. Marlon Anderson lost this offseason will improve his 2008 OPS+ of 40:

1) I did an interview with Brian Joura at Mets Online about the 2009 Mets outlook. I answered questions about the Mets injury worries, whether the bullpen is as good as it seems, lineup formation and my prediction for the Mets W-L record. Brian also writes for Fangraphs and his work at both sites is highly recommended.

2) Sam at Amazin' Avenue grades the Mets offseason by looking at the projected WAR ("wins above replacement") of the players acquired and lost. It's a better approach for evaluating the offseason then the dozens of other subjective "report cards" by analysts like Jon Heyman. Heyman rated the Phillies offseason at #1, mainly because they locked up Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard to multi-year deals. That's all well and good, but their only major addition was Raul Ibanez, who they grossly overpaid.

3) Mets Fever noticed that Nick Evans is listed as 3rd on the Mets depth chart at 2nd base, per It's an interesting possibility, because it seems Evans doesn't have a position. He isn't a good enough hitter to be valuable at 1B, and his OF defense is suspect.

4) Beyond the Boxscore announced the winner of their graph contest, and it's hilarious. It's a flowchart which takes you into the mind Dusty Baker. Fans of the late FireJoeMorgan know how terrible Baker's baseball analysis is and will especially appreciate it. But anyone who's heard Dusty announce a game and mention "clogging the basepaths" can have a laugh as well.

Evaluating Mets Baserunning

I wrote an evaluation of the 2008 Mets non-stolen base/caught stealing baserunning at Amazin' Avenue. Using Baseball Prospectus's baserunning stats, we can see how many runs above or below average a player contributes by advancing on groundouts, flyouts, hits, passed balls and wild pitches. Surprise surprise, in 2008 Jose Reyes was the best baserunner on the Mets, and also the best in the National League. David Wright was the worst baserunner on the Mets in 2008.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mets Geek column: Fun with lineups

Check out my latest Mets Geek column, where I try to create the optimal Mets lineup based on a couple statistically based methods of lineup construction. No matter what the lineup is, I can say with certainty that it makes no sense for Luis Castillo to bat 2nd. Here's my lineup:

Jose Reyes
David Wright
Carlos Delgado
Carlos Beltran
Daniel Murphy/Fernando Tatis
Ryan Church
Luis Castillo
Brian Schneider