Saturday, January 17, 2009

Links: Mets free agent news, Carlos Delgado in 2009, Bert Blyleven vs. Jack Morris, and more Hall of Fame

Some links to check out while you ponder whether Bert Blyleven's Hall of Fame case is helped or hurt by the shirt he's wearing in this picture:

1) Peter Botte of the Daily News (via MLBTradeRumors) had some thoughts/rumors about the Mets free agent pursuits. Here they are, with my brief thoughts as well:

- The Mets are probably not interested in Andruw Jones: Good!
- They're "not even in" on Manny Ramirez: The only way I want Manny is if they fail to land Ben Sheets or Andy Pettitte. In that scenario they would have to drastically upgrade the lineup.
- They won't have an agreement with Oliver Perez anytime soon: Hopefully the only agreement they have with Ollie is for 3 years, $15 million or less.
- They've been in contact with Randy Wolf and Jon Garland: Neither of these guys thrill me, but they aren't that big a step down from Perez.
- They've talked with Freddy Garcia: Meh. I say sign him, but only if Sheets or Pettitte is signed as well.

2) Brian Joura at FanGraphs writes about what to expect from Carlos Delgado in 2009. He thinks Delgado's poor 2007 and first couple months of 2008 were a result of his wrist injury. After some great LD% and BABIP analysis, he concludes that we should expect a similar offensive output from Delgado in 2009 as 2008. This means about 30-35 HR, and a .265/.350/.510 line. Works for me.

3) Joe DelGrippo at NY Baseball Digest wrote a hilariously awful piece yesterday about why he would vote for Jack Morris but not Bert Blyleven for the Hall of Fame. Joey D. manages to insult many readers in the process. He wrote the piece in response to a comment I made on a previous post of his, and it is just terrible. Joey D's main argument is that Morris had a higher win % than Blyleven. This, as we all know, is an awful way to evaluate a pitcher. Check out the comments section - there's 24 comments and the only one's not completely ripping Joey D. a new one are the 2 he made himself. Here is a snippet from the post:

"Too many people are so wrapped up in statistics, especially the new stats that seem to spew out of every sabermetric bloggers mouth. Those bloggers are guys who mostly never played the game at any decent level above Little League, but they know the OPS+ of every guy not in the HOF but should be based on WARP 3."

Right. So basically he's saying stats are stupid, then goes on to tell us about Morris's win % and average W-L record each season. These are, ya know, stats. For the last time, Blyleven pitched 1000 more innings than Morris, with a higher K rate, lower BB rate, lower HR allowed rate, and MUCH lower ERA. Blyleven had a 2.47 postseason ERA and Morris a 3.80 ERA. It's no contest. If Mike Silva, proprietor of the recommended NY Baseball Digest, had any sense he'd either have a little chat with Joey D. or kick him off the site altogether.

4) I'm pretty obsessed with this Hall of Fame stuff. I have an utter contempt for the sportswriters who vote on the HOF and refuse to learn about or use modern statistics to evaluate players for their ballots. King Kaufman at Salon shares my sentiments:

"It's one thing to criticize the new stats. But it's another thing to simply dismiss them without bothering to figure out what they're all about. And then to try to pass this off as wisdom. It's what's going on in the world we're covering. In what other profession do practitioners brag about their ignorance regarding current events and developments? In what other area of journalism is lack of awareness a mark of distinction? Cut it out, fellow writers. Do your job. Engage with your material. Stay current. Learn about things you don't understand. Ignorance isn't a virtue. It's not something to brag about. It's something to fix."

I couldn't agree more. These men get paid to write about sports and have the privilege (not the right) to vote on the Hall of Fame. And many of them wear their lack of statistical knowledge as a badge of honor. Get with it guys. Modern medicine no longer practices phrenology or uses leeches as a cure; modern baseball writers should not be using W-L records, batting average and RBI to evaluate players.


Andrewdejo said...

Re Blyleven.

I'm reminded of a brilliant FJM post which went something like (Paraphrasing): "Blyleven had 287 career wins. If the teams he was on or even the bullpens were even 1% better he would have 300 wins and it wouldn't even be a question. He would be considered a lock. Instead he has 287 wins and people trip over themselves trying to explain why he shouldn't be in."

I look forward to the future when these older writers are retired and new writers with actual analysis to bring to the table are the main sources of information.

Mets Tailgate said...

Hearing people still use W-L record to judge pitchers is like nails on a blackboard for me. I can understand why some still hang their hats on RBI and runs scored, but W-L record? C'mon.

Using the "neutralize stats" function at Baseball-Reference (which levels the playing field by giving every pitcher the same bullpen and run support), here are the new W-L records for Morris and Blyleven:

Morris: 229-204
Blyleven: 325-227

Wow. Blyleven is one of the top 25 pitchers ever in all likelihood and he is on his like 10th or 11th year on the ballot. Gimme a break.