Monday, June 22, 2009

Is Harold Reynolds the new Joe Morgan? We should all be so lucky

I love Joe Morgan. Not the ball player and especially not the analyst. But I love the man for spawning the funniest web site ever. Do I need to say it?

But with that beautiful site gone, Joe has gone unscathed as of late. But fear not, cause HR's got your back.

It's been real interesting in the last couple years as I've watched how the importance of statistics has taken over how to analyze a baseball game. I used to play for an old time manager named Dick Williams who used to tell me, the situation will dictate what happens." He used to call me to his office and say, "I should never have to give you a sign. You should know this is a bunt situation, you should know this is a situation where you need to take a trike, you should know the situation calls for getting the man over. I should never have to give you a sign, the situation dictates what happens."

There's nothing awful here, just a stupid anecdote confirming HR was really good at stinking at baseball.

But this thing is getting the full copy/pasta treatment.

But what I've been witnessing while I've been a broadcaster is everyone using these stats to try and explain the game of baseball.

"These stats." Props to the editor for cutting out "new fangled" in between.

Not all statistics work. Some do, some don't.

Someone tell HR stats aren't kitchen appliances. They neither do or do not "work," they can tell us things, and those things may be more informative than other things, but they don't need to be taken to repair men or greased up every 2,000 miles or whatever one does with cars. I'm a nerd, I don't know.

And one of the stats that has become real popular is OPS. On-base plus slugging. All of a sudden, it's this stat that defines whether a guy is a good ball player or not.

And praise be to Allah OPS is featured on major networks. It is a really simple stat (X + Y), and yes, it is flawed, but it is light years better than BA.

And the fact of the matter is, if you're a power hitter then the situation will dictate what a pitcher does with you - either walk you or pitch you real careful. So more than likely you're going to end up on base and therefore your on-base percentage goes up.

Well he may not like it, but he understands getting on base = on-base going up.

This in my mind has become the stat the everyone thinks is the be all and end all.

Harold's thinks this is the stat everyone thinks is the be all, end all. He thinks.

It is not.

I thought you thought everyone thought it was.

If you have a ball club that's a great offensive team then that changes everything. But if you have a guy like Adrian Gonzalez, for example, his OPS is going to be high - he's got a lot of home runs and walks a lot...because you're not going to pitch to him.

Do you know why people don't pitch to him? Because he is awesome and will hit home runs. And do you know why people pitch to sub .700 OPS players like you? Because you will most likely make an out or hit a single or bunt.

Power guys like Giambi and Dunn have always had high OPS because no one wants to pitch to them. But it takes two hits to score them from first.

And here is the crux of the argument: speed is >>>>>>>>> homers/walks.

This is how the game has changed. Dick Williams is pulling his hair out.

So you could say he's pulling his Dick hair out.

Yeah, I went there.

This is not something people have reinvented in the game. You can go all the way back to Dave Kingman. When Kingman was hot, you didn't pitch to him. If he wasn't hot, you pitched to him. Big power hitters swing and miss and strikeout. Or they hit home runs and walk.

Or they hit doubles. Or singles. Sounds like a good trade-off to me.

And at the end of the year their OBP is always going to be higher than most of the other guys on the team because they clog the bases.

Emphasis motherfucking mine. [Sidenote: is Blogging the Bases an awesome blog name or what?]

OK, their OBP is going to be higher because they clog the bases. Let that soak in for a moment. Pretend you're washing your hair.


A player's OBP is not high because he clogs the bases. I think Harold meant players who clog the bases have high OBP (which is wrong, Pujols, Dunn and the like are pretty good baserunners. Maybe not fast, but they don't have two left feet.). At least, I hope he meant that. Because if not, motherfucker, that shit makes no sense.

A few years ago this stat grabbed my ear when someone said that Ichiro doesn't walk enough. So I said, "What do you mean?" And they said his OBP could be so much higher if he walked more.


The guy gets 200 hits a season! And he scores over 100 runs. I think that speaks for itself.

Also true. Still doesn't take away from the fact that more walks = higher on-base.

So as the old, wise Dick Williams used to tell me, "I should never have to give you a sign. The situation dictates what happens."

The situation being that you should never, ever be allowed to type again.


Larsen B said...

Great post dude. Not really sure what old Harold was thinking. His logic seems borderline insane.

JamesAbroad said...

When I constructed a showdown team I tried to stay away from speed C guys because of their tendency to clog, but we both know that speed was a luxery item after considering their On-Base (9 or higher only). God that game ruled.