Thursday, April 18, 2019

Astros Recap Round-Up

Over at The Crawfish Boxes, I did the recaps for both games in Oakland this week. That includes Tuesday's big 9-1 win, as well as Wednesday's quick 2-1 loss. Go check them out.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Predicting Today's Future Hall of Fame Closers

I recently ran my annual look at which hitters and starting pitchers are on pace for the Hall of Fame, and in them, I mentioned the idea of switching things up and looking at relief pitchers as well. After all, there’s been something of an explosion in relief talent in Cooperstown over the last two years; after being stuck at five closers in the Hall for a decade, we’ve seen three new ones added in Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, and Trevor Hoffman. Plus, Billy Wagner continues to hang around the ballot, and may see his support continue to climb in the coming years.

Now obviously, eight closers still isn’t anywhere near the body of evidence we have to work with when trying to predict position players or starters, but it might be fun to play around with, and see if we can spot any sort of nascent trends in who the Hall is electing.

It’s not a lot to work with, but there are some fun things I noticed while looking into things:

Monday, April 1, 2019

Predicting Today's Future Hall of Fame Pitchers, 2019 Edition

We turn now to the second part of my annual series predicting future Hall of Famers, the starting pitchers.

As a quick refresher on the methodology: I looked at every Hall of Fame starter’s career WAR over every age of their career, then took the median WAR as a “Hall benchmark” of sorts. Then, I looked at how many players throughout history were at or above that mark at each age, and took the percent that were eventual Hall of Fame inductees as the rough “odds” that the current player would reach Cooperstown. For starters, I focused exclusively on pitchers who started 10% or more of their games at each stage, and looked only at pitchers who debuted in the liveball era (1920-on), due to how radically the nature of the role of starter has evolved over time. Also, I will be grouping players based on their age in the 2018 season, with the traditional June 30th serving as the cutoff.

The normal caveats apply: some players not in the Hall might get inducted, some players with Hall-worthy careers might be overlooked, and non-playing factors might ultimately be the deciding factor for a lot of candidates. One other thing worth noting, which I studied more in-depth last year: success as an old pitcher is especially key for modern starters to get inducted, in a way that it isn’t for position players (for reasons I went into more deeply in those pieces). That sort of widened my scope of which pitchers I was focusing on here; also, given how much starters can use their mid-to-late-30s to bolster their cases, and how unpredictable the question of “who stays good into old age” can be (hello, Jamie Moyer, Tim Wakefield, and Bartolo Colon), it’s probably worth casting a wider net for starters either way.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

More 2019 Season Preview Stuff

Over at The Crawfish Boxes, I have another piece up looking at an AL Rival. This time, it's the Boston Red Sox. If you missed any of the three earlier ones, there's also the A's, Angels, and Mariners.

Also, as part of a team-wide article, I made a prediction about a milestone the Astros might be able to match in 2019.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Predicting Today's Future Hall of Fame Hitters, 2019 Edition

Once again, it’s that time of the offseason where I dive into the best young players in the game and determine which ones are on a pace to make Cooperstown. As usual, I’ll be starting today with the position players.

To give you a refresher on the process: I begin by looking at every Hall of Famer, then finding the median career Wins Above Replacement (Baseball-Reference version) by age for the group. Then, I look at how many players in history have matched or bettered that WAR total through that same age. From there, I take a simple percentage of how many players made the Hall out of the total set of players who reached the median WAR (removing players still on the ballot or not yet eligible for Cooperstown). While it doesn’t account for things like eventual Veterans Committee selections, or give us a great idea of which below-median players will eventually be elected, it does give us surprisingly strong odds for the best of the best, and way earlier than most people expect.

So, with the preamble out of the way, let’s dive right in: