One of the grey areas still not well elaborated in baseball's statistical breakdowns is the issue of the quality of a team's part-timers and their contribution to offense. Forman et fils has a breakdown in their stat set for hitters that separates "Starters" from "Subs" (which, come to think of it, sounds more like a trendy post-modern menu than anything else), but it is actually breaking out the players who start the game vs. those who come in as replacements.

    What we're looking for are the bench players who actually start some games and put up less than 50% of the plate appearances needed to qualify for the batting title.

    How does this group hit as a whole? As "lesser players," they might (if we are lucky) give us some sense of where that elusive concept of "replacement value" actually resides.

    To look at this in a quick and dirty way, we can query the Play Index to give us various lists of players with less than half of the current (2011) PA total necessary to qualify (not 502 right now, more like 350). Such a list is naturally imprecise and requires some scrubbing, because you have players like Ike Davis showing up on it because they were injured early enough in the season that they appear to be part-timers when they actually are not.

    What we get, however, is still an interesting enough set of data for all 30 major league teams. Of course, there is a range of performance, some of which is due to the distortion mentioned above, but is mostly due to the actual distribution of part-time talent.

    The percentage of plate appearances given to part-timers in 2011 is around 17%. This contrasts markedly from the percentage of plate appearances given to players who enter the game after it started, which is only about 5%.

    We see a marked difference between teams. The range is from the Yankees at the lowest (just over 300 PA thus far) to the Padres at the highest (over 1100 PA).

    One reason for measuring this right now is that the effects of mid-season "tactical trading" (just starting to hit as the deadline looms later today) will make accounting for all that much more problematic and time-consuming. (Hint to Forman: here's yet another type of stat breakout to put on the endless enhancement list.)

    There's no sense that a team with bad part-time hitting is doomed to a losing season. The teams with the very worst part-time offense (Brewers and Angels) are still in the pennant race, though one would expect that having such poor bench performance isn't going to enhance their chances.

    Ike Davis: not a part-timer, dammit!
    Despite the potential glitches in the data (full disclosure: we didn't remove Ike Davis), it's clear that part-time hitters just ain't anywhere near as good as the regulars. That aggregate .629 OPS compares unfavorably to that achieved by the regulars, who are posting a .746 OPS. (Yes, the pitcher hitting data has been removed from that value: pitcher OPS in 2011 is .353.)

    Using those two data points (.629 part time, .746 full time), we see that part-timers hit about 16% worse than full-timers. That's a value that ought to be able to enter into the ongoing discussion of the eternally murky concept of "replacement value." One question that needs to be examined before plugging this value into any discussion of that concept, however, is whether that value has differed in the past, when the offensive bench was larger and platooning strategies were more prevalent. It could be higher or lower  as a result of how true platoon players get defined into the data set--if they have enough PAs to get over the "50% of 502 PA", then they aren't technically "part-time" and the data set for the players we've examined here would be smaller (and presumably a good bit more offensively feeble).

    We'll revisit this idea later on when time permits. The data exists, however, to measure this breakout over  the long haul of baseball history, and there is some potential within it (if it is handled properly) to create a more comprehensive idea of what the basis for "replacement level" ought to be.

Color MOOD

    Só por hoje, poucas palavras, só cor

    inspiração, INSPIRAÇÃO, inspiração

    Just for today, few words, just color

    inspiration, INSPIRATION, inspiration

    source: Tommy Ton style setters - / / Vogue US August 2011

Sempre as Flores...Always the Flowers

    Olá, descupem  a ausência de posts, não tenho tido muito tempo, estou a terminar uma formação...mas não poderia deixar de partilhar alguma inspiração, na continuação das fotos anteriores, não resisti a fotografar as flores, frutos, legumes 
    ( reparem com atenção nas dimensões gigantescas dos "limões", se é que os posso chamar assim, em relação aos outros frutos e legumes ao fundo da imagem) 
    e massas, claro : )  do mercado matutino do Campo di Fiori em flores em especial são garantia de um espectáculo de cores e formas sempre irrepetível, já agora as flores na primeira imagem são dálias e na terceira Veludos ( uma informação adicional, lol)

    Hello, sorry for the lack of posts, but I have not had much time lately, in the continuation of the previous photos, I could not resist to photograph the flowers, fruits, vegetables ( please note how the "lemons" are huge) and of course the pasta of the morning market at Campo di Fiori in Rome...the flowers in particular for me are a guaranteed spectacle of colors and shapes always unrepeatable...

    credits: Filipa Sousa photos - Campo di Fiori, Rome


    There is a lingering mysteriousness about losing streaks that transcends the simple, prosaic string of "L's" that accumulate ominously downward in the schedule column. This mystery, this strange allure, operates much in the same way that we are fascinated by those car wrecks that occasionally materialize on the side of the road. Despite the fact that the end result is plainly obvious, there is some odd fascination with imagining just what happened.

    Baseball, with its longer season, has more opportunities for such strangely alluring pileups. And some seasons seem to have more of these odd clusters of futility than others (we looked at that a bit earlier this year, when the Florida Marlins took a precipitous tumble in June).

    Now it's the Seattle Mariners. The M's have been the focus of much neo-sabe confuffulation over the past several seasons, beginning in 2009, when their purported "defensive strategy" led them to an 85-win season that was nearly ten games above what the ratio of their runs scored to runs allowed suggested.

    In 2010, they fell apart and lost 101 games.

    This year, with five starting pitchers performing well (Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez, the solid-but-often-injured Eric Bedard, Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, and rookie Michael Pineda), the M's edged into the pennant race in June. As of July 6, they were at .500 (43-43) and were only 2 1/2 games out of first place in AL West.

    While no one had really gotten on the M's bandwagon (their offense continued to be the most anemic in the AL), there were still some rumblings about the possible efficacy of General Manager Jack Zduriencik's "pitchin'n'defense" (not to be confused with "chicken'n'waffles") approach to "team building."

    What happened on July 6? Well, the M's lost--and then proceeded to start a string where they played a series of good teams, including the four best teams in the AL East. Our chart, broken down by month and by record of opposition, provides a stark picture.

    This is what's sometimes referred to as "finding one's level." The M's starting pitching had been good enough to keep the team in close games with good teams over the first three months of the season. They were within range of first place because the other two top contenders in the AL West (Rangers and Angels) were struggling.

    Things sort out across a season, but they rarely do so with such a dramatic certainty as what's displayed above.

    And what's the "why" for all this? It's pretty simple. The M's starters hit the wall. Over the past sixteen games, they have a 6.12 ERA. Eric Bedard got injured (again...someone won a Seattle-based lottery by picking the exact date that he landed on the disabled list) but his replacement, Blake (Bleak) Beavan, actually pitched better than any of his fellow M's starters over this stretch. Thanks (again) to David Pinto's Day-By-Day Database, we can look at a snapshot of the M's pitcher stats for this time frame.

    Note that HR total. 23 HRs in 16 games. Doesn't seem like much, but if that pace were maintained for a season it would extrapolate to 233 for the year. That's a big part of the problem.

    What also gives pause is that the M's haven't really even been unlucky in the midst of this. Usually such losing streaks involve a cluster of one-run losses. The M's have only lost two one-run games in this stretch.

    Now, with all that said, the fact still remains that the M's are still doing better than they did last year, and these pitchers are better than what they've shown in the past three weeks. It's not certain that Jack Z. has any magic formula, but he does understand that his ballpark rewards a good pitching staff if he puts an athletic defense behind them. The problem is that such an approach often leads to sub-par offense, and in such a scenario it only takes a short flame-out from the pitchers to create...well, just what you're seeing by the side of road at this very moment.


    You will read that headline, and think that we have ingested some mind-altering (make that mind-destroying) substance.

    Ron Swoboda, post-baseball, pulling a "Cal Worthington" at one of
    Bud Selig's used car lots...
    Ron Swoboda. A star? Clearly some kind of in-poor-taste joke served up by someone named Shirley. Ron Swoboda? The guy nicknamed "Rocky" (and this was well before Sly Stallone gave that name some cachet--"Rocky" was a nickname for the state of Ron's career). He was up there, shining in the firmament?

    Clearly, booby-hatch time for Ye Olde Kinge of Vitriol.

    But consider this chart of the best hitters in baseball (compiled via David Pinto's Day by Day Database). It captures about five-eighths of a season, across the time frame that spans from July 15, 1967 to May 10, 1968. It lists all the hitters in both leagues in descending order of OPS. We've color-coded the OPS ranges because...well, because that's what we do here.

    There, on that list, sitting in the seventeenth position, is Ron Swoboda.

    Yes, it's one of those small sample-size wonders. Yes, Rocky is the only real "mystery guest" (in retrospect) to be found in the top twenty hitters here.

    But it was this period of time, and this performance, that caused a number of folks to think that the 23-year old Swoboda had a chance to be a solid major league slugger.

    It's an interesting list for a few other reasons. We are dipping into the Valley of Death for hitters in the time frame represented here, so the stars in the game are putting up OPS values (and counting-stat totals) that look shockingly modest. Only one guy (Carl Yastrzemski) over 1.000 during the time frame: only four guys over .900; just four guys with more than 20 HR.

    It was still possible to be a great hitter with an OPS driven by a high batting average (look at Curt Flood's performance: yes, it's a fluke for him, but the point is that someone could hit like that and be an elite hitter). That hasn't been possible in baseball for nearly twenty years.

    There are also some guys here who are hitting a lot of triples. Roberto Clemente, Lou Brock, Vada Pinson. Of course they're not going to be putting up Chief Wilson-type triples totals, but the totals here indicate that the three-bagger was plentiful and possible enough to produce a solid swatch of hitters whose totals were at least in the teens.

    So, now, you too can remember when Ron Swoboda was a star. 'Twas a Warholian moment, maybe an Andy-esque parsec, in fact. But there it was--a glimmer in the gloaming.

Ciau Roma!!

    Passei uns dias em Roma e ficou sem dúvida a vontade de voltar, em cada recanto descobre-se algo que nos tira o fôlego, desde a monumental Fontana di Trevi, cenário dos filmes da Dolce Vita, escondida por entre ruas labirínticas ou a Piazza di Spagna e a sua famosa escadaria que se tornou tão famosa no filme Roman Holiday. Entrar no Panteão, mesmo tendo a noção do que se vai encontrar é sempre uma experiência indescritível, a cúpula monumental, insuspeitável, quando se observa o edifício do exterior, revestida por caixotões, parece pender sobre nós, e no centro, o enorme óculo aberto para o exterior deixa entrar a luz do sol, sempre diferente a cada momento do dia e faz-nos suster a respiração, sensação que se repete ao entrar em cada igreja, em cada catedral, quando se pensa que é impossível superar a anterior, somos novamente supreendidos, umas das que mais me tocou foi a Igreja de Gesú, modesta do exterior, abre-se para um interior deslumbrante, e claro a impressionante obra de Michaelangelo que nos paralisa pela vivacidade das pinturas da Capela Sistina ou pelo realismo da Pietá e do impressionante Moisés...e claro pormenor importante, tinha que vos falar da gastronomia, para vos deixar água na boca, lol, a pizza de massa fina e estaladiça, os gelados fantásticos e o tiramisu único completam o quadro
    por tudo isto não poderia deixar de cumprir a tradição e lançar uma moeda na Fontana di Trevi para garantir a volta a Roma,lol...porque uma imagem vale mais do que mil palavras deixo-vos algumas...

    I spent a few days in Rome, in every corner I dicovered something that makes my breathe away, the monumental Fontana di Trevi, hidden in the labyrinthine streets or the Piazza di Spagna and their famous stairs. Entering in the Pantheon is always an indescribable experience, the monumental dome, insuspected from the outside of the building, seems to hang over us, and in the center an enourmous hole lets in the sunlight, always in a different way, each moment of the day and that makes you hold your breathe, feeling that repeats in each church or cathedral, when you think it is impossible to overcome the previous, we are surprised of the most surprising church was the Gesú Church, the modest exterior opens onto a magnifique interior, and of course the impressive work of Michaelangelo that paralyzes us because of the vivacity of the paintings of the Sistine Chapel or the realism of the Pietá and the monumental sculpture of Moises
    and of course I have to talk about the food,lol, the fin and crisy pizza, the delicious homemade icecream and the tiramisu, hummy!
    For all this I could not fail to comply with tradition and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to guarantee a return to Rome, lol ... because a picture is worth a thousand words I leave you some pictures

    Fontana di Trevi

    Fontana di Trevi

    Piazza di Spagna

    Foro de Trajano - Fórum de Trajano

    Colosseo - Coliseu

    Colosseo - Coliseu

    Pantheon - Panteão

    Pantheon - Panteão

    Chiesa di Gesú - Igreja de Gesú - Gesú chearch

    Museus do Vaticano: Stanze di Raffaello

    Museus do Vaticano - Raffaello: La Scuola di Atene

    Juízo Final - Capela Sistina / Sistine Chapel - Michaelangelo

    Pietá - Michaelangelo

    Fontana di Trevi

    Pantheon - Panteão

    Piazza della Rotonda

    Monumento à Pátria

    Laaconte - Museus do Vaticano/ Vatican

    Piazza della Rotonda

    Basílica de São Pedro - Vaticano - Vatican

    Moisés: Michaelangelo - Chiesa/ Igreja / Church San Pietro in Vincoli

    credits: Filipa Sousa photos


    Nuvens de cor que anunciam que algo desapareceu ou um reaparecimento eminente...a melhor maneira para introduzir uma breve ausência no blog, volto na próxima quarta-feira

    Colourful clouds that could announce either the disappearance or an imminent reappearance...the best way to introduce a brief absence from the blog, I'll be back next wednesday

    SOURCE: Anya Adores:


    No doubt about it--five mini All-Star games in one night would have beaten the barely engaging game played last evening between a pair of teams who couldn't quite be bothered to put all of their best players on the field. Another manifestation of the cataclysmic moral vacuum that's existed in the Age of Budzilla...the escalating "you scratch my back" ethos that comes from selling one too many used cars.

    But in the midst of it, we found ourselves gravitating over to the usual completist mania so often found at Forman et fils, where there is a page that lists the entire roster of All-Star batters and their stats. This list, as you'll see when you peruse for yourself, contains 1577 players (though that should increase a bit sometime soon, as the 2011 All-Stars have yet to be added).

    A nifty feature in that data is the number of All-Star games in which the player was selected to play (regardless of whether they started--there's a separate column for that, even niftier--or whether they even got into the game at all).

    That got me wondering. All All-Stars are not created equal: from an off-and-on examination of the WAR tables in the Forman et fils listings, it's clear that some guys on the squad don't even come close to measuring up to the method's back-of-the-envelope rule-of-thumb than an All-Star should bring at least five wins above replacement to the park in order to be on the squad.

    The only good jerk is a "knee jerk"...
    But rather than list all of that discrepancy--though it's a tempting side-project, there's literally no time for such an effort in the foreseeable future--we thought it might be just as entertaining to look for what the title colorfully calls the "knee-jerk" All-Stars. (Insert your own "onanistic" reference here.)

    These are the guys put on the All-Star team year after year, in a reflex action, kind of like a dog with fleas scratching himself.

    It's doubtful that there are many "knee-jerk" All-Stars to be found in present-day baseball. There are way too many teams that need to be represented for this to happen--but back when there were only 16-20 teams, it's possible that a certain class of player (probably over on the left side of the defensive spectrum) who'd established a name for himself would get named as the "extra player" at a particular position simply due to name recognition.

    How do we measure this? Simple. We take a player's number of All-Star games, and divide it into his career WAR figure. Given that few players are good enough to make the squad every year, the value that's created--career WAR per number of All-Star Game selections--is still generous enough to produce a robust number.
    Mel Ott: finally, a "knee jerk" that actually works!!

    Unless, of course, you are a "knee-jerk" All-Star.

    The type of player we're looking for is someone who has very few actual starts in the ASG, but gets named to a lot of ASG squads. We're talking position players here, of course, as pitchers just don't get the nod to start the ASG all that often.

    Looking at that data, though, it's kind of surprising to note that Mel Ott actually started only four ASG out of his total of twelve ASG appearances. In the case of Frank Robinson (just 6 starts out of 14 times on the squad) this is understandable--Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were dominating the starting lineup--but just who was keeping Ott on the bench? We'll have to look that up sometime.

    Anyway--that formula for knee-jerkiness again is: (Career WAR/# of ASG squads). As a fun benchmark, Yogi Berra (61.8/18) grades out at 3.44--but the Yoge's total is distorted a bit by the fact that baseball had two All-Star games in the same year for awhile there. (Proof that Budzilla does not have a stranglehold on all the questionable ideas....)

    Let's look at some of the players that we find below Yogi's KJA ("Knee-Jerk Average").

    GEORGE KELL 33.6/10 = 3.36

    One drawback at Forman et fils is that while they tell you how many games a player started in the ASG, there's no way to tell which games they are. Still, we'll report a few facts associated with this data as best we can.

    Kell started six games. His seasonal WAR for the years he was selected to the ASG squad: 4.2, 0.6, 5.0, 4.4, 3.1, 2.4, 3.5, 0.3, 1.3, 1.3.

    That's four out of ten years where his WAR was below 1.5, three in a row at the tail end of his career.

    Can a Hall of Famer be a "knee-jerk king"?

    Fear not, we are going much, much lower.

    NELLIE FOX 44.4/15 = 2.96

    To be fair, Nellie wouldn't be on this list if not for the ASG double-whammy in the late 50s/early 60s. But he racked up two ASG appearances in '61 with a -0.4 WAR for the season. So let's consider him an honorary member.

    BILL MAZEROSKI 26.9/10 = 2.69
    See what we meant about the left side of the defensive spectrum? Maz is another guy whose totals are inflated by those extra ASGs, but he did have an All-Star appearance in a year (1959) when his total WAR was -0.5.

    GEORGE McQUINN 18.6/7 = 2.66

    Our first first baseman. Good player, but got a couple of ASG nods as a token pick for the Browns (1940, 1942, and even 1944, the year the Browns won). His selection in 1948 (after his trade to the Yanks the year before) was odd: he was hot in May but began to fade sharply and by the ASG he was in free-fall: he was benched shortly after the ASG, never recovered his old form, and was released at the end of the year.

    HARVEY KUENN 24.3/10 = 2.43

    Two extra ASG here as well, but WAR really doesn't like Kuenn's defense. In his ROY season in '53, his defense at short is purportedly so poor it almost cancels out his hitting. In 1957 and 1958, however, Kuenn was in KJ territory, averaging 1.5 WAR over those two years and plunked on the squad anyway.

    DEL CRANDALL 26.7/11 = 2.43

    Again, Del's average is deflated for the reason already noted. In his case, though, it's clear that despite just middling offensive production in a number of his ASG years, he was simply the best hitter at his position anyway, as evidenced by the fact that he was the starter in eight of those games.

    FRANKIE HAYES 14.2/6 = 2.37

    Back on the ASG in 1944 and 1946, for no discernable reason...except for the Crandall scenario above. That would explain '44, but not '46.

    ELSTON HOWARD 28.2/12 = 2.35

    Ellie's first year on an ASG squad is inexplicable unless there was an injury--he's got a whopping -0.9 WAR to show for that year (1957). 1958 was a legit year, but then he was grandfathered in for the next two years despite mediocre totals. Things stay kosher from 1961-64, but in '65 he's on the squad despite hitting just .221 in the first half of the year and winding up at 0.7 WAR for the year.

    "No, no, Thurman, I don't want to come fly with you..."
    Interestingly, despite having a number of really good years, Howard only started once out of the twelve times he was named to the squad. Another research project to see who was keeping him on the bench in those years.

    Fear not, we're not close to the bottom of the barrel...

    SANDY ALOMAR 13.2/6 = 2.20

    There's a noticeable pattern in catchers--they have a good hitting year or two and they seem to get lumped into the ASG pool automatically no matter what they hit. Oddly, though, Sandy's first ASG selection came in a year when he didn't hit all that well--it wasn't until the next year that he actually got his act together with the bat (though that didn't last, fitting in with the pattern).

    Malzone: poser or poseur? Dust or lint? Wop or
    spaghetti-bender?? Epithet or slur???
    FRANK MALZONE 14.5/8 = 1.81

    Malzone made his first ASG in '57 because of a hot first half (he hit .327), and he had a bit of a run as the top third baseman because Brooks Robinson was not quite ready for his close-up. Odd fact: in 1963, Malzone was the starter at third base, and he batted cleanup in the ASG. Some of these starting lineups for the ASG (check out the 1963 box score) will definitely give you pause.

    Now to the really good stuff....

    DON KESSINGER 5.0/6 = 0.83

    "You mean I'm supposed to take the
    donut off before I hit??"
    Kessinger played in six All-Star games. Selected for the first time in 1968, he started for the NL despite winding up with a 67 OPS+. He actually had a good year in '69 and was the starter again. After that they just kept putting him on the team, despite several years with negative WAR totals. This is where a look at a player's WAR during the actual years he was on the ASG might be of some contextual value...but the key word there is "might," as Don's total WAR for those six years is only 8.2. Clearly he had some very bad years, including a few where he didn't make the All-Star team...

    At least it's not on velvet...
    And, finally, the "Knee-Jerk" king hisself....

    BOBBY RICHARDSON 5.6/8 = 0.70

    Bobby is actually lowered by that duelling ASG thang, but we won't let that get in our way. Bobby had two passable hitting seasons which accounted for all of his career WAR--the rest of his career grades out almost exactly at what those of us with a callous heart and a penchant for arcane jargon like to call "replacement level." How Bobby got on the 1957 All-Star team is probably something for a mystery novelist to tackle--or a French farceur. But it all seems to be strangely related to Elston Howard...

    Is a knee-jerk reaction
    positive...or negative?
    Meh, it was probably Dr. Norman Vincent Peale stuffing the ballot box...

    ...but the good news is that Bobby only started one ASG. It happened at the New York World's, actually, it happened in Shea Stadium on July 7, 1964. And, to show you how much positivity had worn off on Ralph Houk after so much exposure to the pious soon-to-be-Reverend Richardson, the Major actually batted Bobby seventh, ahead of Elston Howard in the AL batting order.

    Hey, Bobby got a hit...and Elston didn't.

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