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Do You Like Bunts?


Its the WBC Final! Japan and South Korea play for the 5th time this tournament. Awesome! Everything Bud Selig touches is gold.

They should have named it willie O' Bloomquist Average


I finally published another highly anticipated article on quantifying the "Little Things" at Driveline... Features my usual Mechian efficiency in getting to the point, but if you want to understand this spreadsheet I've linked here, you should at least take a look at it... That's right, Jose Guillen really did do something. That's what he's getting 3/36 for -- not getting on base, or playing defense, or being able to hit right-handed pitching, but doing the "Little Things." Royal #2 is shocking, but maybe not so much when you think about what this stat means. I actually did the Royals calculations a while before I started writing for Driveline, and it turned into this... which ended up a lot longer and more inconclusive than I had hoped, but maybe it will go somewhere. I hope that if you find it interesting, you'll discuss the conceptual side of things over there, although I'm willing to learn here, too. If nothing else, it prominently features a classic example from the late 70s-early 80s Royals dynasty. And just for the record: +0.43 -0.03 +0.06 Figure it out.

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.

Royals, Marlins could be closing in on deal


Bob Dutton reports that "renewed discussions appear to center on current members of the Royals’ bullpen. If so, that likely points to either Leo Nuñez or Ramon Ramirez."

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