Manny Acta: Baseball Mastermind?

2 06 2010

I’ve already made it clear in “Acta’n a Fool” that I’m a HUGE Manny Acta fan. His masterful coaching against the Yankees on May 31st is a perfect example of the kind of astonishing strategy that Tribe fans should expect from him and that he made a name for himself by in Washington.

"ARod, your stats look like they could use a pick-me-up. May I be of some service?"

In fact, the coaching he did is valuable testament to the kind of impact managing has on a baseball game and is why the position is so damn important.

In the 7th inning, down only 1 run to the New York Yankees, Acta made the astute choice to just end the game. Read the rest of this entry »


A Closer Look: Justin Masterson

21 05 2010

Time for another breakdown, the most enjoyable yet (which also means the longest). If you are looking for a quick read, put this on hold. But, when you are craving some baseball later today, load this guy up, sit down, concentrate, and enjoy yourself while you follow me through a jungle of ambiguity to a clearer view of Justin Masterson’s 2010 campaign.

Justin, how does your "xFIP" stack up?

This article begins with my boy Dave, the Super 7 Foundation’s 2010 ‘Best Young Chef’ award winner and fellow Lebrontourage columnist, asking me about Tribe starter Justin Masterson: “break him down Z. He K’s dudes but lets up too many hits. And, it’s like he doesn’t trust the fielders.” What’s Masterson’s deal, head case? Get ready for the most complicated statistics (mathematically and theoretically) we’ve used yet (I’ll ease them in) and let’s take a closer look.

Dave’s first observation is that Masterson “K’s dudes.” Indeed he does. At 9.63 K/9 he has the 9th highest rate of strike-outs for any starter in the bigs (min. 40 IP). Masterson is striking out over a batter an inning, which means strike-outs account for 1/3rd of the outs he gets. Thank God, because he isn’t getting many other guy’s out.

When guys aren’t striking out, most are getting on base. Masterson is allowing an average of 11.25 hits per 9 innings pitched (H/9). Which, confirms Dave’s 2nd observation- “dude let’s up too many hits.” Typically, you want your pitchers closer to 8 and hopefully more like 7 H/9. Read the rest of this entry »

A Closer Look: Austin Kearns

20 05 2010

One of the few points of optimism for the Cleveland Indians this year has been the play of Austin Kearns. Signed to a minor league contract, Kearns is making Shapiro look like a professional for the low risk/high reward signing. But, are we seeing Austin Kearns; or, is this just a flash in the pan? Let’s take a closer look.

If you combine Kearns’s 2003 and 2004 platoon abbreviated seasons as a young player in the bigs, his numbers from 2003-2007 give us four 450+ AB seasons of remarkably good data to compare his 2010 season to.

03-04: 146 GP, 24 HR, .247 AVG, .50 BB/K, 102 wRC+, .298 BABIP

05: 112 GP, 18 HR, .240 AVG, .45 BB/K, 107 wRC+, .281 BABIP

06: 150 GP, 24 HR, .264 AVG, .56 BB/K, 118 wRC+. .308 BABIP

07: 161 GP, 16 HR, .266 AVG, .67 BB/K, 107 wRC+, .299 BABIP

Making his average year something like: Read the rest of this entry »

Acta’n a Fool: What is the real plan?

19 05 2010

One of the reasons you will currently find happy, drunk Browns fans abound in an otherwise depressed city is that with the addition of Mike Holmgren, the Browns franchise has embraced a ‘larger picture.’ There’s a plan. No longer will fans have to deal with the topsy turvey and erratic decisions of the yearly carousel of all powerful coaches. No more Butch Davis, no no, Romeo, no no, Mangenious, wait no no, [insert hyped new candidate here]. Stability and vision.

Tribe fans are thinking: “Man, must be nice…”

They might look alike, but Russell from "Up" could still out-manage Manny Acta

Seriously, even in the years of disorder, the year’s with no plan, at least the Browns had some logical coach candidates.

Cooper and Butch were the Urban Meyers, the Steve Spurriers of the late 90s. College coaches just don’t always translate, but it’s worth a shot. Romeo was Savage’s guy and Romeo had pedigree- a Bellichek product; and on the defensive side of the ball no less! Mangenious, same idea: Bellichek tree, rising coach candidate, even some good work with the Jets. Worth a shot. Read the rest of this entry »

Tribenomics: Carlos Santana

17 05 2010

In a previous blog post, I identified, “where is Carlos Santana,” as one of the biggest question on any Tribe fans mind. Well fans, he’s coming.

Wait... This is the wrong Carlos Santana. Nvm.

No, I’m not an insider and have no tips from Shapiro or Carlos himself about an impending call-up, but I don’t need to be. This isn’t a baseball question, instead, like most things in life, it’s an economics question.

Let me explain.

Carlos is MASHING in Columbus. Through 35 games, he stat line is a mouth watering:

.317 AVG, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 3 SB, 23 Ks to 23 BBs, .438 OBP, .542 SLG

There is no reason to think this is just a hot start; last year at Akron, Santana put up an All-Star line:

.290 AVG, 23 HR, 97 RBI, 2 SB, 83 Ks to 90 BBs, .413 OBP, .530 SLG

So what’s holding Santana back? At 24, he isn’t too young. Is it the competition? Read the rest of this entry »

Are you there Grady, it’s me Tony: A Statistical Look at Grady Sizemore’s Plate Problems

16 05 2010
There are bound to be questions in the mind of any Indians fan this year: When is Carlos Santana coming up? When will Matt LaPorta start hitting? Michael Brantley? Even, is Mitch Talbot for real? But the biggest has to be, “what happened to Grady Sizemore?” Is he just amidst an unlucky April or is there something wrong; can we expect a turn-around sometime soon? If you look at the numbers, you might not like the answer.

2007? This ball is smoked. 2010? This ball is in the catcher's mitt.

Let’s start with the most glaring problem, Sizemore has 0 home runs this year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like they just aren’t leaving the park. We aren’t dealing with ‘doubles power.’ Grady’s ground ball percentage is up several points on his career average and his fly ball percentage down several, leaving him with an ominous .9 ground ball to fly ball ratio; meaning, Grady is just pounding the ball into the ground.
Now, grounders aren’t a terrible way to make a living in the Major Leagues, just ask Ichiro, but Grady’s grounders aren’t getting him on base: his atrocious .207 AVG and .270 OBP are statistical proof of that. Disparagingly, we can’t blame it on being unlucky. His batting average on balls in play is just that- completely average. His BABIP is .283, meaning that he isn’t getting robbed of hits by web gems, typically balls in play should go for hits 3% of the time, Grady’s are.
In Bull Durham Crash Davis explains the importance of some lucky hits: Read the rest of this entry »