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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day Links

Here's a few interesting things on a Father's Day.

  • Dialing Long Distance - In the Rockies/Devil Rays game here at Coors Field today Carlos Pena his a 452 foot homerun into the third deck in right field (only the right field section has a second or third deck of course). It was the 27th time a homerun had been hit into the 3rd deck and the first time since July 7, 2005 when Todd Helton performed the feat. Johnny Gomes hit two homeruns in the game, the first of which came in the second inning and was a 442 foot shot to left-center. His homerun in the sixth was 415 feet and was a line drive. For the Rockies Matt Holliday hit a 428 foot homerun to into the Rockies bullpen in right-center and Kaz Matsui lofted a 386 foot fly ball down the left field line as well but the longest hit of the afternoon belonged to Brad Hawpe. Hawpe, who hit a grand in last night's ballgame and now has 12 homeruns in his last 27 games putting him in the company of Prince Fielder, Alex Rodriguez, and Gary Sheffield, his a ball of the facing of the third deck in the 8th inning. The blast was 452 feet.

    That makes 14 homeruns hit by the two teams in a three-game series that saw the Rockies go unbeaten in their 8th straight series (7-0-1). Does this mean Coors is back to being the homer haven it once was? Here is a graph of the runs scored and homeruns per out at Coors Field historically and up through yesterday's game.

    Overall, run scoring is right at the 2005 level while homeruns are closer to 2004. Still, however, we're seeing levels of run scoring in the humidor era reduced from those prior to 2002.

  • Credentials - This is an interesting article from Tim Marchman in the New York Sun calling for internet writers to be granted credentials. This is certainly a trend that is likely not to be reversed. In the short term, however, it's ironic that overall anyway, blogs probably make it more difficult for baseball writers whose work is published on the internet to obtain the access because the sheer number of nodes make it difficult for teams to determine who is serious and who isn't. The fluid nature of the internet also means there is not a clear line of demarcation sometimes between serious and longer term sites and blogs. Right now teams use the fact that you can print a paper as a proxy for your seriousness and your promise not to abuse the access. Note that readership or quality of the content produced are not criteria, which in large part is what Marchman is arguing. I've always argued that the outsider's perspective is valuable and in one sense getting access would change that. But on balance there is no doubt that with access comes more information and more nuanced writing and that can never be a bad thing.

  • Defense - David Gassko at THT posts defensive metrics derived from Baseball Info Solution's Zone Rating data. Is it just me or do these numbers look really high (and low)? There's little doubt that the leaders and trailers he lists are the best and worst fielders but the magnitude of the numbers (+20 at first base for Albert Pujols and +24 at third base for David Wright particularly) seem a little excessive. Perhaps I'm not understanding what these are based on and someone can correct me :) Update: See David's comments to this post for an explanation.

    David Gassko said...


    A few of the numbers are indeed excessive, but that comes with the data. While the BIS zone rating data allows us to make a metric that's more accurate than anything this side of UZR, it does have some limitations. Besides not giving us a specific probability of each ball being caught based on things besides location, the out-of-zone plays can also present a problem, especially this early in the season.

    Because there is no denominator for plays made out of zone, I use balls in-zone to estimate it. Generally, that should be pretty accurate, but sometimes (especially this early in the season), it is not. You see some especially excessive ratings at first and third because they have the two highest rates of plays made out of zone, meaning that they are subject to the most random variation.

    Over the year, things will even out and the ratings will largely be very normal looking.

    Dan Agonistes said...

    Thanks David, I'll look forward to seeing how they change over time. So what do you use to translate balls fielded/not fielded into runs?

    Tangotiger said...

    Roughly speaking, multiply by 0.80. A little lower for SS/2B, a little higher for 1B/3B and OF (to compensate for the extra XBH). But, certainly not really worth doing.