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    Sunday, June 28, 2015

    Predicting the Future of the 3000 Hit Club

    As you may know, I enjoy trying to predict the future for ballplayers. So, when A-Rod got his 3000th hit, a thought crossed my mind: could I apply my framework for predicting future Hall of Famers to milestones like 3000 hits? This is the result.

    What I did was as follows: first, I went through the 29 players with 3000 hits and checked where they all stood hit-wise at each age. Then, I looked at the median mark for the group, and checked how many ballplayers in history had reached that number of hits by the same age. Then, I took a straight percentage of how many of the total number of players at that mark actually wound up over 3000 hits.

    For an example, say that the 15th most hits at age 20 among 3000-hit players was 100. I then looked at how many players in history had 100 hits through their age 20 season, and figured out the percentage of that number that went on to 3000 hits. After that, just to get another benchmark, I repeated the process with the lowest hit total in the 3000 hit club by age (and second lowest, since many of the lowest marks were by Cap Anson, who played in such a radically different time that I wasn’t sure how useful of a marker he’d be for other players).

    With the percentage of players at each milestone that went on to 3000 hits, I then looked towards the game today, checking the leaders of each age bracket today against the historical marks.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    Out of the Park Baseball 16 and the 1996 Cleveland Indians

    Once again, this year, I’ve been given the chance to play Out of the Park Baseball’s new edition and write about it. This year’s edition is another wonderful entry in the series-I feel like it’s definitely the smartest entry in the series yet, at least, with computer teams acting closer and closer to real people. It certainly made my yearly alternate-history run a lot more interesting, at least. So what alternate baseball history did it let me try out this time?

    As you may or may not be aware, the city of Cleveland just saw its most recent best hope for a title in five decades end. Maybe the Indians can turn it around and take the title this year, but realistically, it seems that the city’s chances at a title will have to wait until 2016. One thing that fascinates me about this drought, though, is the presence of the 1990s Indians. That group has to be the closest thing a baseball team can be to a dynasty without actually winning anything. From 1994 to 2001, they averaged a .578 winning percentage (about 93 and a half wins over a full season), peaking with a .644 mark in 1995. They made the playoffs six out of seven times (since 1994 was a strike year) and won two pennants. They had a core that included peak play from Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Roberto Alomar, and Albert Belle, all of whom have varying degrees of cases for the Hall of Fame. They couldn’t even find a spot for future inner-circle Hall of Pretty Great player Brian Giles because they were just too deep.

    But they couldn’t capture that elusive title. Which is why I’m giving them a chance to go back and claim it. I’m taking control of the Indians starting in 1995, and seeing if I can guide them to their first World Series win since 1948.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2015

    Examining the Arguments Against the DH

    More and more people lately seem to be weighing in on the designated hitter. It started a little over a month ago, with Adam Wainwright and Max Scherzer sustaining injuries while batting. I expected it to be a story for a while then go away, but I’ve continued to see rumblings about it since then, so I figured I should finally weigh in on the matter.

    I’ve never really had much of a preference on the matter. I like that the leagues have different rules and all that. But the more I think about it the last month, the more that I think if I had to pick one rule to govern both the AL and NL, I’d unquestionably come down in favor of the DH.

    I realize that most of the reasoning is aesthetics. Having 1/9th of a lineup be an automatic rally-killer is irritating. I realize that fans of the pitcher batting will argue that it isn’t, that I should look at things like Clayton Kershaw’s 3-hit game last night. Yes, it’s great that Kershaw made headlines for going 3-4 with a double. But that in and of itself kind of just shows how sad the situation is; Kershaw got headlines for his 3 hit games, despite the fact that he was arguably the worst of the eight hitters who managed the feat on June 1st alone (and that was on a travel day-the day before saw 20 such games). He wasn’t even the best 3-hit game on his own team on Monday.