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    Tuesday, November 29, 2022

    New Hot Corner Harbor Mailing List (and more!)

    While the 2022 Baseball Season is over, the offseason is often just as busy here at Hot Corner Harbor. Previewing the winter’s upcoming Hall of Fame Elections is one of my specialties (and the process starts with the Veterans Committee election, which will be on December 4th this year*), my annual “Future Hall of Fame” breakdowns are a site fixture at this point (and I’m hoping to revisit the process for closers again this winter), I’ve also been hoping to revisit some other recurring topics like Rebuilding Processes and the 50 Best Players Not in the Hall List, plus you never know when I’ll have major free agent news to break down or come up with new one-off ideas like trivia quizzes.

    *I’ll hopefully have time to write a preview, but if nothing else, there will definitely be a summary after the announcement!

    However, I don’t have a set schedule for posting, as I just do all of this on the side and a lot of my articles end up growing in length as I research more and more about the topics. I haven’t maintained a ton of ways to do that in the past, but I did use Blogger’s default email service to notify people when I posted. Unfortunately, they have officially retired that service, and it broke a lot sooner than I anticipated. In fact, the people who were on the list might not have even noticed a lot of my playoff articles.*

    So, to fix this, I’ve migrated everyone on my existing mailing list over to a new service, ConvertKit, and I figured while I was doing so, I might as well promote it more. There will be a new box for signing up on a bar at the top of the site from here on, plus I might experiment more with putting sign up links after posts or something. I haven’t really decided yet, and will probably play it by ear. (Although, for anyone concerned, I will say I have no intention to make it paid or anything, though; this is just a replacement for the free Blogger email service.)

    And for anyone who wasn’t on the list already, I might as well publicize it to new subscribers as well. If you’d like an email notifying you whenever a post goes up at Hot Corner Harbor, please sign up below.

    New Email List, since Blogger broke the last one!

    The old subscription service doesn't seem to be working anymore, so if you'd like to receive emails when a new Hot Corner Harbor post goes up, sign up here!

      We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      I’m also adding a separate list for my pop culture site, Out of Left Field, as well. See that below:

      New Email List, since Blogger broke the last one!

      The old subscription service doesn't seem to be working anymore, so if you'd like to receive emails when a new Out of Left Field post goes up, sign up here!

        We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

        *For anyone who might have missed my many playoff articles because of said service breaking, here’s a list.

        -A Recap of the Orioles 2022 Season and What It Meant for their rebuild, from the final day of the regular season (which kind of ended up being the conclusion to a recurring series during the year looking at how teams go from the end of tanking to actually competing)

        -The Big Annual Playoff Trivia Rundown

        -Kick off for a new trivia series, The Best Postseasons of the Wild Card Era, According to Win Probability Added (Hitters)

        -The same, but for Pitchers this time

        -A look at the Most Career Postseason WPA in the Wild Card Era (Hitters)

        -The Pitchers version of the list, plus my World Series predictions (less wrong than in the past!)

        -Another quiz, looking at The Most Clutch World Series Performances from Losing Teams

        -My annual Best Active Players Without a World Series Quiz/Postseason Wrap-up Piece

        -And finally, a quiz recapping the 2022 Playoffs by looking at the Best Performances by WPA

        Wednesday, November 9, 2022

        One Last 2022 Postseason Trivia: Most Clutch Players of This Year's Playoffs

        After a long series of trivia articles and quizzes that spanned the MLB Playoffs (you can see a decent summary of them all in my last article, the Best Active Players Without a World Series write-up, or just by browsing the site’s Sporcle tag), I have my final big trivia piece, one tying together all of this year’s big games and my new collection of Win Probability Data: Can you name the Most Clutch Players of the 2022 MLB Playoffs?

        I wanted to do something unique as a sort of wrap up to the playoffs, something that took at the last month of games with a wide-angle lens, covering every series and team involved. I thought about just taking the top however-many players over the entire postseason at first, but was worried it might bias a little too heavily towards teams that played more games.

        In truth, the effect wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it might be, but it was still definitely present; both the top twenty hitters and pitchers list were about half Astros and Phillies, with another quarter or more coming from the Padres and either the Yankees (hitters) or Guardians (pitchers). So I decided to try a few other formats.

        What I ended up settling on instead was a method that looked at the top performing hitter and pitcher for each team across every single round they played in (as well as an overall leader, for teams that played in more than one). There actually wound up being some decent overlap with the other method anyway, with the biggest change generally being a wider breadth of teams represented at the cost of losing lower-performing answers from teams with a lot of representatives (for example, the Astros and Phillies losing their fourth and fifth options). That didn’t seem like too big of a deal, to me.

        And on top of that, I think there’s something to be said for the way this method separates each individual series out, giving you an almost chronological approach to the month and serving as a better reminder of everything that happened. Sure, there are a few weirder answers (for example, the Mariners’ ALDS hitter wound up leading the team with exactly 0.0 WPA; or I would bet the Cardinals’ position player answer trips up most people), but even in the shorter, earlier rounds where you might have forgotten the highlights, guessing a team’s stars is generally a strong fallback strategy. And hey, you might even know some of the answers here already, if you played the updated version (or read the update notes last time) of my Best Postseasons by Hitters or Best Postseason by Pitchers quizzes!

        I suppose this is a type of quiz that I could also make for past playoffs, at least throughout the Wild Card Era. I still have all the data, after all. And maybe I will, if this new quiz really takes off among Sporcle users. But for now, it’s probably just going to be a one-off, a sort of memento to remember the 2022 postseason. I’m not sure how well they’ll hold up years down the line (although maybe I’ll be surprised). But for now, this will probably be the end of my 2022 Postseason Trivia Quizzes. Thank you for sticking with me throughout it all!

        Sunday, November 6, 2022

        New Sporcle Quiz (Best Active Players Without a World Series 2022 Edition), Plus Bonus Trivia!

        The Houston Astros have won the 2022 World Series after an exciting and historic six-game set, which means that I can move forwards with my yearly tradition. Here’s the 2022 Edition of my Annual Best Active Players Without a World Series Sporcle Quiz Series! For those who enjoy hunting for bonus answers, this year’s version includes three players who are out of Major League Baseball but still playing in foreign leagues, plus an entry for players removed from this list via winning the 2022 World Series (one name this time).

        I’ll discuss a little more after this next section, although there will be mild spoilers for the quiz. Before that, though: for anyone looking for more trivia after that:

        Here’s a playlist including all nine entries in the series

        There’s also all of my Win Probability Added quizzes that I made during this postseason:
        Best Postseasons of the Wild Card Era (Hitters)
        Best Postseasons of the Wild Card Era (Hitters)
        Most Career WPA, Wild Card Era (Hitters)
        Most Career WPA, Wild Card Era (Pitchers)
        Most Win Probability Added in a World Series from Losing Players

        And for good measure, here’s my quiz from last offseason looking at Hall of Famers by Birthplace, plus two more from postseasons’ past about Expansion Teams in October

        I updated all of the Win Probability quizzes that needed it with 2022 data, now that the playoffs are over. No one on Philly managed to qualify for the WPA by Losing Players list, but the other four all saw some tweaks. Yordan Álvarez and Bryce Harper’s 2022 runs qualified for the single-season list for hitters (with Jeremy Peña falling just 0.04 short), and Ryan Pressly and Zack Wheeler made the pitcher list. I had the Career WPA current up through the Championship Series, so the only changes were updating the values; the only changes were both in the bonus answers (Kyle Schwarber move into bonus answer range, while Wheeler’s rough Game 2 actually knocked him off the list).

        Now for the newest quiz: the biggest beneficiary of the Astros’ title was clearly manager Dusty Baker, a future Hall of Famer who finally removed the single biggest gap on his resume after three decades and removed the single biggest obstacle left to his induction. As far as players, though, Michael Brantley didn’t get to appear in the postseason at all due to injury; however, he was still on the team, so we can finally take him off the list (and even if he wasn’t, I include anyone who appeared during the season at all for my quizzes).

        Outside of those two, much like with the Braves’ win last season, the biggest effect this win has on these quizzes will come down the line; Kyle Tucker and Yordan were maybe a season or two from qualifying, and newer players like Peña, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier would have probably been a few seasons after them if they kept up. Trey Mancini has been around a bit, and didn’t quite have the Wins Above Replacement total needed, but now it’s a non-issue.

        And to follow-up on some other tidbits from this year’s Playoff Trivia article, Will Smith and Christian Vázquez now join the somewhat-exclusive group of “Players with World Series on Two Different Teams”, with former-Brave Smith becoming just the tenth player to accomplish that in back-to-back seasons.

        Continuing down my yearly trivia bits, Astros-Phillies was the 71st distinct matchup in the October Classic. And the Astros won their second World Series, becoming the fifth expansion team to do so (after the Mets, Blue Jays, Marlins, and Royals), and their fifth Pennant ties them with their 1962 Expansion-mates, the Mets, for most in that group. I think there’s a very real argument that the Astros are now the most successful baseball franchise outside of the original sixteen.

        If you’re not convinced and need some tiebreaker for their even postseason records, consider that in regular season games, Houston is now 4,831-4,820 all-time, making them the only expansion franchise above .500 (the Blue Jays and Angels are next-closest, at .498). And their 106-win 2022 season (the second-best mark in team history, after only 2019’s 107-win campaign) marks the fifth time they’ve won over 100 games in a season, keeping them just ahead of the Mets, who notched their own fourth 100-win year in 2022.

        Even more surprising to me, only five of the other twelve expansion teams have had even one 100-win season, meaning the Astros (and almost the Mets) have completely lapped the field in this category. I knew those two were a little ahead of everyone else there, but I had no idea the gap was that large.

        Either way, I still have one more 2022 Postseason-themed quiz in mind, so check back here in a few days!

        Saturday, November 5, 2022

        World Series Trivia: The Best World Series Performance from Losing Players

        We’ve got another quiz today, in preparation for Game 6 (and potentially Game 7). I’ve been looking for more uses for my big Win Probability Added dataset (for anyone who missed those, see here, here, here, and here). And while watching the games in Philly, it occurred to me that this year’s loser is either going to be the team that threw the second-ever World Series no-hitter, or the team that tied the record for most home runs in a World Series game.

        Either way, that would be an impressive resume for a runner-up, which served as the inspiration for today’s question: Which players have added the most Win Probability to their team’s chances while ultimately falling short? My cutoff ended up being 0.3 WPA, which yielded a 44-person list. That total seemed low, but given that we are dealing with only one series rather than the entire playoffs, and with teams that only won somewhere between 0 and 3 games on top of that.

        (Also, although they’re combined here, I separated out pitchers’ batting WPA and pitching WPA for convenience’s sake, just like I did on the other quizzes.)

        [some mild spoilers ahead]

        I was expecting a bunch of legendary performances from all-time greats, and there are a few of those: a half-dozen eventual Hall of Famers, a couple more future ones, some well-known asterisks, and a few assorted borderline snubs and Hall of Very Good-types. However, most of the performances themselves are maybe less-than legendary? I could only think of three or four eventual answers going in, and most of the other ones were more of the “Oh yeah, that guy did have a pretty good October” variety. And there’s probably a higher ratio of players that I just wouldn’t think of, compared to the other quizzes that I’ve made so far.

        Really, I suppose that makes sense; we tend to remember the winners overall. For example, what would you say are the most memorable World Series moments from teams that didn’t win it? Carlton Fisk’s 1975 homer stands out. Brett Phillips’s walk-off from 2021 and the 18-inning game from 2018 are also notable, although I wonder how much of that is from recency bias? Josh Hamilton’s tenth inning almost-game-winner in 2011 Game 6 probably counts, even if it is also heavily overshadowed by many other moments from that game. Ditto Rajai Davis in Game 7 of 2016. I guess you could say something like Bill Buckner’s error, but including a moment of the losing team actually losing feels like it deserves a separate category. Again, though, a lot of these teams might have won one or no games, so that’s a bit of a confounding factor here.

        Since I’ve been previewing how the current playoffs would fit into the other quizzes, I’ll note that the only player above 0.3 WPA for the series so far is Ryan Pressly, at 0.68. There are a number of players above 0.2 WPA though (Alex Bregman, J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Cristian Javier , Framber Valdez, Bryan Abreu, David Robertson, Ranger Suarez), so there’s still time for that to change, especially with up to two games left.

        As a preview for the days ahead at Hot Corner Harbor, my annual Best Active Players without a World Series quiz is ready to go right after the series ends, and I have another quiz idea that could serve as a nice postseason wrap-up. So look for those in the coming days!