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Excellant Article by the Poz

In a nutshell, teams like KC cant win traditionally, need to think outside the box, but are afraid to because of their pride of being a "professional" team. interspersed with Bill James quotes and PAUL BYRD

[Frank White] had a little smile that he would flash many times a game. I always took the smile to...

[Frank White] had a little smile that he would flash many times a game. I always took the smile to be not a sign of enjoyment, but a kind of coping mechanism; when he was dumped at second base, when he got his pitch and fouled it off, when he dived for a ball but was unable to make a play, he would get up and flash the smile. I always took it to be his way of saying to himself 'I can deal with this. That was nothing; let's focus on what we need to do.'

--Bill James, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, 504-505. James ranks Frank White as the 31st greatest second baseman of all-time. [What this is]

Virtually all sportswriters, I suppose, believe that Jim Rice is an outstanding player. If you ask...

Virtually all sportswriters, I suppose, believe that Jim Rice is an outstanding player. If you ask them how they know this, they'll tell you that they just know; I've seen him play. That's the difference in a nutshell between knowledge and bullshit; knowledge is something that can be objectively demonstrated to be true, and bullshit is something that you just 'know.' If someone can actually demonstrate that Jim Rice is a great ballplayer, I'd be most interested to see the evidence.

Bill James, 1985 Baseball Abstract
FanPost

Projecting the Royals' 2009 Pitching With Bill James (Seriously, It's Just a Title)

Have you seen one of these guys?   Q: How can I tell the difference betweeen 'Spreadsheet Baseball' and 'Fun with Google Spreadsheets'? A: The first is posted (usually as a "Story") by one of...

Royals 2008 Secondary Averages and Power/Speed Numbers

While trying to be a good baseball stat nerd and teach myself MySQL, I have dug back into the archives for a couple of older stats created by Bill James: power/speed number and secondary average (SecA). While both stats have been largely superseded by other stats, and both face the problem [easily fixed, I believe, although I have not done so here]) of not including times caught stealing, they are both interesting ways (especially SecA, at the time) of expressing important dimensions of player skill not always reflected in more traditional counting and rate stats. The link above is to yet another Google Spreadsheet in which I've given the 2008 results for both SecA and power/speed number for the 2008 Royals for players with more than 75 ABs. The results probably aren't surprising, but interesting nonetheless. Secondary Average is supposed to reflect in a rate stat everything a player does besides batting average. The formula is (TB-H+BB+SB)/AB. Albert Pujols had a .5076 SecA this season. The Royals' all-time best single-season secondary average is .5096, by Bob Hamelin in 1994. Power/Speed Number is a combination rate/counting stat that is supposed to get at that "something" expressed in calling a player a "20-20" or "40-40" player. The formula is (2*HR*SB)/(HR+SB). As you can see, then, if a player has no home runs or no stolen bases, that player will automatically have a 0 for a P/S number. Grady Sizemore led that majors in 2008, with a power/speed number of 35.32. Hanley Ramirez was close behind with 33.97. It's not all a young man's game, though. Carlos Beltran comes in #4 (right behind Matt Holliday) with 25.96. It will come as no surprise to most of you that Beltran has three of the top four Royals Power-Speed seasons, with 31.8 in 2003, 31.7 in 2002, and 27.1 in 2001. Bo Jackson has number 3 with 28.7 in 1989, and also has #6 with 25.96 in 1988. The under-appreciated Amos Otis is #5 with 26.1 in 1978.

Speed Score: What is it good for? The Speed of the Current Royals Roster

So a few weeks back I got to thinking about "Speed Score," something about which I'd heard, but never really looked into. It came up when talking about how one could know if a bad 3B like Ryan Braun could handle the outfield (from what I've read, he's been a bit above average out there). Someone suggested using a Speed Score might help.. So I looked it up, but at the time it just seemed to complicated. That and I couldn't find anyone who had a simple spreadsheet plug-in for it, or already had one published and freely available. Well, this morning I was looking at the 2006 Bill James Handbook (I think I got it when I asked for the New Historical Abstract and either I or the giver got mixed up), and lo-and-behold, I found the formula for "Speed Score!" So, you guessed it, I took a bunch of Royals players from last year, plugged the formula into a spreadsheet, and put it on Google Docs. Yeah, i did it again. Sue me. Or don't read it. I don't get into the methodology, since I was just plugging numbers in anyway. That's where the link above leads. Baseball Prospectus apparently has a newer (and presumably better) version of Speed Score, but you need a subscription to get it, and I like the "do-it-yourself" stuff, since I can pretend to be an analyst when I actually just plugging numbers into the computer. James' version uses certain formula to rate stolen base percentage, steal attempts, percentage of triples, runs scored per times on base, GIDP frequency, and defensive range (as measure by range factor... I know, but that's what the formula uses... just look at the stuff before you complain) on a scale from 0 to 10. Throw out the lowest number and take the average of the other five, and that's the speed score. Now, I assume this give us a sense of relative "baseball game speed" rather than just running speed, otherwise we could just time guys to first or whatever. Anyone have an insight into how this should be used, or if it's really useful at all? I wish I'd asked before I spent so much time on it... But what about the Royals? You can get more details (including the component results and formulas) by going to the spreadsheet, but for some reason (probably the craploads of formulas and conditions I put in there) I couldn't get it to sort from top to bottom without screwing the whole thing up. So here is the sorted list, from top to bottom: Joey Gathright 7.24 Coco Crisp 7.09 David DeJesus 6.36 Mark Teahen 6.05 Esteban German 5.68 Tony Pena, Jr. 5.48 Alex Gordon 5.18 Miguel Olivo 4.56 M.Grudzielanek 4.25 Jose Guillen 3.84 Alberto Callaspo 3.36 Mike Jacobs 2.85 Ross Gload 2.80 Ryan Shealy 2.07 John Buck 1.65 Billy Butler 1.27 Not too many surprises, I don't think, which actually says something good about the formula, if you ask me. But maybe there are some surprises... any thoughts? Reactions to the results? Apathy? I'm not sure what to think. Crisp and Gathright at the top are no surprise, of course. .Some of this might reflects, say, Teahen's skill at knowing when he can take the extra base, but how much is actually speed rather than smarts? I wonder why the anti-Buck crowd never brings up Miguel Olivo's surprising (for a catcher) stolen base numbers? I will say that I am stunned and angry with my computer for putting Billy Butler at the bottom. That number is an absolute lie.

FanPost

Projecting the Royals' 2009 Offense with Bill James (Not Really, Though)

Fangraphs recently added the 2009 Bill James Projections to their site. Cool stuff. I hope they also add the CHONE, Miner, Zips, and Marcels projections this year as they did last year. Royals...

FanPost

Randy Johnson

  I couldn't really fit this right into a fanshot.  I just wanted to throw it out there, would Randy Johnson be a good fit for the Royals, and more importantly, would the price be right? MLBTR...

In 1987, when Mark McGwire hit 49 home runs as a rookie, Kevin Seitzer was also a rookie, and also...

In 1987, when Mark McGwire hit 49 home runs as a rookie, Kevin Seitzer was also a rookie, and also had quite a season, collecting 207 hits (which led the league), scoring 105 runs, drawing 80 walks, and hitting 33 doubles, 8 triples, and 15 homers. I am a Kansas City Royals fan, and, at the time, we all had visions of Seitzer being better than that Brett fellow who used to play third. This didn't work out; Seitzer was a good player, but his rookie season was his best effort. Seitzer was a rather small man with narrow shoulders, a right-handed hitter, not a fast runner, not a great arm, and giving no obvious evidence of great strength. All of this was apparent even when he was a rookie, but he overcame it by being a disciplined player who hit the ball squarely. He was a born-again Christian who sometimes irritated his teammates and managers, perhaps for good reason or perhaps just because, when things go wrong, it's easy to blame the Christian. He never played badly; he never really had a bad year. He never hit lower than .265, but he never could meet the expectations of his rookie season.

--Bill James, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, 579. James ranks Kevin Seitzer as the 77th greatest third baseman of all-time. [What this is]

[Joe] Torre's older brother played with the Braves. One of the turning points in his life came in...

[Joe] Torre's older brother played with the Braves. One of the turning points in his life came in 1955, when [Joe] visited the Braves' clubhouse and met one of his idols, Warren Spahn. 'Boy, are you fat,' said Spahn tactfully. He was fat, but he had been kind of hoping people wouldn't notice. The scouts had been noticing. Torre began to work on his weight, and emerged as a prospect.

--Bill James, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, 375. James ranks Joe Torre as the 11th greatest catcher of all-time, and the best player in the majors in 1971. [What this is]
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