Writing the Book (27 Oct 08)

I had two revelations this past week:

  1. Working full time and doing physical therapy (I’m re-learning how to walk, which apparently is a skill one is supposed to have mastered by age 40) is exhausting. It’s not realistic to assume that I’ll be able to make significant progress on the book during the week.
  2. That’s a lame excuse. What the heck do you think weekends are for, doofus?

In that spirit, I put in 9 hours on Saturday and 9 more on Sunday. It is what I have, so it is what I will use.

Anyway, I’ve pretty much finished the Player Dashboards chapter. I still have to check everything, of course, but the raw data is all in place. We’re looking at about 70 pages. Last year’s chapter ran 44 pages. I don’t know what to say; I got on a roll and couldn’t stop.

I also worked a little on the Farm Report chapter. I’d previously identified 113 potential names to discuss, but now I’ve whittled that down to 85, with nearly a 50-50 split between pitchers and position players. I may make additional cuts; we’ll see.

This week the two main focal points will be the Farm Report and also the chapter on the 1969 Padres. I’ve taken extensive notes on the latter over the past couple of years, so that should mostly write itself.

If I knock out those two chapters over the next three weeks or so, I’ll be in good shape. Then I can work on the 2008 in Review chapter when I’m in Hawai’i for Thanksgiving and start on the mini-studies and essays when I return.

I’m hoping to complete a first draft by the end of the calendar year, although if that slips by a week or two, I should be okay. Then I’ll do some serious scrubbing and get the book into production toward the end of February or so.

Man, this had better work…

Research Notes

  • Mike Adams destroyed batters leading off an inning; in 60 plate appearances, they hit .091/.167/.145 against him.
  • The Padres went 6-3 in Greg Maddux’s no-decions during his 14-game winless streak. And here you thought you had bad luck!
  • Trevor Hoffman’s changeup isn’t fooling as many people as it once did. In 2006, left-handed batters posted a 573 OPS against him; in 2007 that number was 799, and last year it was 873. On the bright side, he recorded his highest K/9 total since 2002 and held batters to a .181/.206/.362 line from June 2 till season’s end.
  • When Cla Meredith was on the mound in 2007 and 2008, if a runner reached third base, there’s a real good chance he scored. Batters had 100 plate appearances against Meredith with a runner on third, runners at first and third, runners at second and third, or bases loaded. They hit .444/.480/.531 against him in those situations, which is just staggering.
  • You may not have noticed because he was on the disabled list for much of the year, but Chris Young made huge improvements in controlling the running game:

    Chris Young and the Running Game, 2006 – 2008
    Year IP SB SBA SB% SB/9
    Statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
    2006 179.1 41 45 91.1 2.06
    2007 173 44 44 100.0 2.29
    2008 102.1 15 17 88.2 1.32

    Hey, at least it’s a start.

That’s all for now; more as it happens…

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5 Responses »

  1. You GO, GY!

    BP’s STAT OF THE DAY is fun today …

    Top 1B by VORP

    Player, VORP

    Albert Pujols SLN, 96.8
    Lance Berkman HOU, 72.2
    Mark Teixeira LAA, 67.7
    Kevin Youkilis BOS, 55.8
    Miguel Cabrera DET, 46.8
    Justin Morneau MIN, 45.5
    Adrian Gonzalez SDN, 43.6
    Prince Fielder MIL, 39.8
    Carlos Delgado NYN, 38.5
    Ryan Howard PHI, 35.3

    Many here don’t like Albert … but the dude can RAKE! And so can Adrian!

  2. Link about Peavy to the Cubs. That would be some rotation:


  3. Interesting numbers that raise some questions: People always talk about the difference in velocity between Trevor’s fastball and change up; did that change this year? The Meredith number is crazy. Is it a factor of those weird squib hits he gives up? Staggeringly poor pitch selection in those situations? Luck? What would his ERA look like if he was only average with a runner on third?

    I definitely noticed CY was working hard on cutting down the running game. It’s nice to see he had some real results there.

  4. #3@anthony: Yeah, Meredith is one of the more baffling pitchers I’ve seen in recent years. As you showed a while back, he has trouble when he leaves the ball up in the zone even a little bit. It would be interesting to look at his pitch selection with a runner on third as compared to other situations. Anecdotally it seems like he gets burned a lot on squib hits — curse of the sinkerballer — but it would be cool to see some data.

  5. #4@Geoff Young: With a runner on third base and the infield playing in to cut off that run, more of the grounders Meredith induces will squirt through the infield for base hits. That could be part of his runner on third struggles.

    My favorite Meredith memory actually came from one of these runner on third situations, from the unmentionable game against the Dodgers. He came in with the bases loaded, no outs, and the score tied and got a grounder to second for the force out at home and a 1-2-3 double play. And then Adrian Gonzalez sacrifice bunted the next inning. Wow. I do not miss Bruce Bochy.