Weekend Open Thread

Happy Friday everyone. Buster Olney (subs. req’d) continued looking at the top ten players at each position today with shortstop. Andrelton Simmons, not Troy Tulowitzki, claimed the top spot. That’s weird. A hundred games of Tulo is still more valuable than 162 games of any other shortstop these days. Current Yankees starting shortstop Brendan Ryan did not make the list. Here are some other links for the weekend:

  • If you’re only going to click only one link this week, make it this one: Ben Lindbergh researched the transaction tree for every 40-man roster player in baseball and figured out which one dates back the longest for each team. So, as an example, the Yankees got Nick Swisher for Wilson Betemit, got Betemit for Scott Proctor, got Proctor for Robin Ventura, got Ventura for David Justice, got Justice for Jake Westbrook, got Westbrook for Hideki Irabu, and got Irabu for Ruben Rivera. Make sure you check it out.
  • Brian MacPherson spoke to several executives about the importance of makeup, particularly for young players who may initially struggle in MLB. “How they handle it, truly, is how they handle adversity. If you’re good, it’s hard. If, mentally, you can’t handle the failure, that speaks volumes about you needing more time. If you struggle mentally, it’s going to carry over to some part of your game and you’re not going to produce,” said Marlins GM Dan Jennings. “You hope you can see that failure down below, and see how they handle it at Double-A or Triple-A. But at the big-league level, it’s a production league, and you’re always gauging and trying to read that, your time to allow that to allow that to go is really predicated on, No. 1, are you willing to commit for ‘X’ number of at-bats or ‘X’ number of games, and No. 2, is it affecting you in the standings?”
  • In a related piece, Kiley McDaniel mused about the importance of failure in the minor leagues for top prospects. Learning how to cope with failure for the first time at the MLB level ain’t easy. It’s a positive thing in a player’s development for them to hit the skids at some point in the minors so they can learn how to adjust — physically and mentally — and get back on track.
  • Russell Carlton wrote about three people who explain where baseball is right now. One is Hank Conger, who represents the emphasis teams are placing on pitch-framing. Another is Michael Cuddyer, who represents the wonkiness of the qualifying offer system. And the last is Gabe Kapler, who represents what may be market inefficiencies in the front office.
  • And finally, Kevin Ruprecht attempted to use PitchFX data to measure the quality of a hitter’s contact. There’s some scary math in there, but it’s interesting stuff. There’s a significant increase in production when a fly ball is hit more than 310 feet — balls hit 310 feet went for a .151 AVG and a .398 SLG from 2012-14 while balls hit 311 feet went for a .197 AVG and a .505 SLG.

Friday: Here is your open thread for the night. The Islanders, Nets, and Devils are all playing — the Rangers were postponed because of the snow in Buffalo — plus there’s college basketball happening somewhere. Talk about those games or anything else right here.

Saturday: This is your open thread once again. All of the local hockey and basketball teams are playing except the Rangers, and there’s college basketball and football on as well. Anything goes here. Talk about whatever.

Sunday: Here’s your open thread one final time. The (hockey) Rangers are playing and the late NFL game is the Cowboys and Giants. You know what to do by now, so keep doing it here.

Weekend Open Thread

In honor of Giancarlo Stanton’s new record contract with the Marlins, I figure I’d liven up this weekend’s open thread with a video of every homer he hit from his rookie year through 2013, because why not? (Here are his 2014 homers.) The Yankees aren’t featured in the video — Stanton has homered against 21 of the 29 non-Marlins teams but not the Yankees! — though some of their current and former pitchers are. Anyway, enjoy. Here are some links for this weekend:

  • Jorge Arangure managed to sit down and interview free agent Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, who is expected to sign very soon. Tomas has been working out in the Dominican Republic and he’s already a legend there.
  • At the GM Meetings this week, David Laurila spoke to several GMs about baseball’s decline in offense. Specifically, he asked them it they believe this is the new norm or just part of a cycle, and how it impacts their roster-building strategy.
  • My pal Eno Sarris wrote about Giants swingman Yusmeiro Petit and what has made him so successful despite pedestrian stuff. The key is the deception in his delivery, which Eno breaks down with some GIFs and images. The piece is two weeks old now but it’s still interesting stuff.

Friday: Here is your open thread for the night. The Knicks, Devils, and Islanders are all playing tonight, plus the college basketball season is getting underway. Talk about those games or anything else on your mind right here.

Saturday: This is your open thread once again. All three local hockey teams plus the Nets are in action. There’s also a ton of college football and basketball on as well. You folks know how these things work by now, so have it.

Sunday: Once again, here is the nightly open thread. None of the local basketball or hockey teams are playing and the late NFL game is the Patriots and Colts. Talk about whatever here.

Weekend Open Thread

As promised, the weekly link dump returns this weekend. I had been putting it off the last few weeks because of the postseason and a bunch of other reasons. Anywho, here’s a bunch of random stuff I read these last few days. Hopefully you enjoy one or two of ‘em:

  • Here’s a really great post from Ken Arneson about ten baseball things he believes without any evidence. It’s very (very) science-y, so it’s not for everyone. I really enjoyed it though, because I am a giant nerd.
  • In wake of the death of Oscar Taveras, Jorge Arangure wrote about the dangers young players face in Latin American countries. Driving is a big part of it due to poor road conditions and the general stupidity of young, inexperienced drivers.
  • Ken Doctor examined the development and economics of MLB and MLB.com’s mobile experience. The MLB At-Bat app towers above similar apps for other sports. It’s $150 total for At-Bat and MLB.tv for the year, and if they doubled the price, I’d still buy it. It’s that good.
  • My pal Jack Moore says the Wall Street mentality of front offices has sucked the joy and innovation out of what amounts to “public sabermetics,” namely fans coming up with cool stuff. I don’t necessarily agree, but it’s an interesting read. Neil Weinberg wrote a response.
  • And finally, Alex Pavlovic spoke to basically the entire Giants pitching staff and asked them what Buster Posey’s best trait is as a catcher. All of them cite an intangible, not a physical skill like blocking pitches in the dirt or framing borderline strikes.

Friday: Here is your open thread for the night. The Devils are in action and the Knicks and Nets are playing (each other). Talk about anything and everything right here. Except politics and religion. This ain’t the place for that.

Saturday: Once again, this is your open thread. The (hockey) Rangers, Islanders, and Knicks are all playing, plus there’s a bunch of college football on as well. Talk about whatever here.

Sunday: Here is the open thread one more time. The late NFL game is the Bears and Packers, plus the Nets and Rangers are playing. You folks know the deal already, so have at it.

Weekend Open Thread

TGIF, am I right? This was a long and busy week for me. I’ll be glad to kick back for a few days this weekend. The Friday chats are coming back soon — probably not next week, but they’ll definitely be back soon. My schedule’s been pretty hectic of late. Here are some random links I have lying around for the weekend. Some of them are a few weeks old. I’m finally getting around to reading all this stuff I have bookmarked now that the season’s over.

  • Some stuff on Andrew Friedman leaving the Rays for the Dodgers: Chad Moriyama wrote about how Friedman moves the Rays forward and R.J. Anderson wondered where the Rays go from here.
  • Erik Malinowski profiled former commissioner Fay Vincent, who led MLB through the 1989 World Series earthquake. The piece is worth reading for the George Steinbrenner quotes alone. The Boss really was something else.
  • Jon Roegele re-examined the strike zone and found that yes, it continued to grow this past season. Down, specifically. There are more called strikes at (and below) the knees than ever before, and it’s dragging offense down.
  • Ben Lindbergh looked at the shift and situational hitting over the years. It turns out that hitters actually hit more balls in the direction of the shift when it’s on than when it’s not, which may result from some kind of psychological effect.
  • I really enjoyed David Laurila’s interview with C.J. Wilson. They discussed things like using the spin on the ball as deception, varying arm angles, and using PitchFX as a scouting tool. It’s pretty interesting.
  • And finally, check out Eno Sarris’ chat with John Jaso about dealing with concussions. Jaso took a foul tip to the face mask in August and been dealing with concussion symptoms since. He didn’t say anything to the team until he literally couldn’t see the ball from behind the plate.

Friday: Here is your open thread for Friday night and the rest of the weekend. There is no baseball until Tuesday, which is both terrible and liberating at the same time. There’s also no football and none of the local hockey or basketball teams are playing. Nothing. Good night to get the hell out of the house and forget about sports. Talk about whatever you like right here.

Saturday: Once again, this is your open thread for the night. Both the Devils and Islanders are playing, plus there’s a bunch of college football on as well. Talk about any of those games or anything else right here.

Sunday: This is your open thread for the night for one last time. The late NFL game is the 49ers and Broncos, plus the (hockey) Rangers and Nets (preseason) are playing. You folks know how this whole thing works by now, so have at it.

Weekend Open Thread

Since it’s the offseason, it’s time to start sharing my collection of stray links every Friday again. I try to stick to baseball but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I stumble across some really awesome non-baseball stuff that’s worth passing along. Anyway, here are this weekend’s links:

  • In a really fascinating piece, Brian Costa wrote about baseball’s covert experiment to re-wire hitters’ brains and help them recognizable the spin of the ball and judge the strike zone better, stuff like that. The Red Sox, Rays, and Cubs are a few of the teams doing it. Players are evaluated and given training assignments (video game-esque work) to help develop different parts of their brains. It’s pretty amazing.
  • Cuban players are taking over MLB these days, but for every Yasiel Puig or Jose Abreu, there are a bunch of players who defected but do not make it. Jorge Arangure wrote about a few of those players. They get stuck away from their families in a foreign country, and usually wind with low-paying jobs that don’t leave then enough free time to play baseball. We only see the success stories in the show, but those guys are only a small percentage of the players who come over.
  • Ken Davidoff as a story up looking at how the Royals missed out on signing Mariano Rivera as an amateur out of Panama all those years ago. Long story short: the scout who found Rivera left the Royals for the Yankees after Kansas City declined to give him a raise. Mo (and Ramiro Mendoza) were part of a group players the scout had “in the bushes,” and they essentially went with him to New York.
  • And finally, for all my fellow hockey fans out there, I highly recommend The Score’s 2014-15 season preview, specifically the Unique Team Traits series. It’s exactly what it sounds like, an analysis of each team’s unique style, which can be either good or bad. Here’s their piece on the Rangers and how they use their team speed. Really, really great stuff.

Friday: This is your open thread for Friday night and eventually the rest of the weekend as well. If you flip over to FOX Sports 1, you can catch the end of NLDS Game One between the Giants and Nationals. The Dodgers and Cardinals play their NLDS Game One in a little bit (6:30pm ET on FOX Sports 1, Kershaw vs. Wainwright), then the Royals and Angels play their ALDS Game Two later on (9:30pm ET on TBS, Ventura vs. Shoemaker). Talk about those games or anything else right here.

Saturday: Once again, this is your open thread for the night. The Giants and Nationals are playing Game Two of their NLDS (on FOX Sports1) and later tonight the Dodgers and Cardinals will play Game Two of their NLDS (9:30pm ET on MLB Network). It’s a travel day for both ALDSes. There’s also a bunch of college football on. Have at it.

Sunday: Here is your open thread for the rest of the week. Game Three of both ALDSes will be played — Orioles-Tigers at 3:30pm ET, Angels-Royals at 7:30pm ET, both on TBS — plus there’s football on all day. Talk about any of that stuff or whatever else is on your mind right here.