On average, how many games do you need to attend before you see a stolen base? It seems like Billy Hamilton steals a few every night, so for Reds fans, the stolen base is about as sure of a bet as Pete Rose. Yet if you look closely, the stolen base is slowly fading from the game: this year there will be the fewest stolen bases per game since 2005. In 2015, if you randomly attended a game, there is about a one in twenty five chance you will see a successful stolen base. What is driving this decline in thievery? Are players getting slower? A newfound morality regarding the sanctity of the base progression? Tighter pants?
Over the past three years, we have seen two very different Todd Fraziers. From April to June, Todd Frazier dons his cape and torments pitchers. Throw a fastball? Watch it become a souvenir. Throw a breaking ball? Todd will see you at second. When Frazier was on pace to hit 55 dingers this year, you […]
[Doug Gray is returning from a trip to scout the Reds minor league teams in Florida. He will publish his usual Tuesday column on Friday.] Billy Hamilton has had a rough sophomore season in the box. He is hitting .223/.265/.283 on the year partially due to a decline in both his power (ISO down 42% from […]
Plate discipline was the crux of Moneyball. While Billy Beane’s now famous front office targeted players who could control the strike zone, Beane lamented how difficult it was for major leaguers to develop plate discipline. The A’s thought that players developed their strike zone recognition early in life, perhaps as young as high school. Due to […]
Eugenio Suarez is confusing. While with the Tigers, Suarez flashed enough potential in the minor leagues to become Detroit’s everyday shortstop after Jose Iglesias sustained stress fractures in both legs. In 277 plate appearances, Suarez slashed .242/.316/.336 in 2014. The aggregate numbers mask the amount of variation in Suarez’s 2014 campaign: in June he slashed .279/.364/.485 but in September […]
We hear a lot about streaky players. Announcers talk about players who are on a hot streak. Players discuss “getting out of a funk” or if they are “swinging a cold bat”. We even call some hot streaks “patented”. The “streak” explanation has become almost completely ingrained in the way we think and talk about hitters.
There’s just one problem: hot streaks are an illusion.
This year, “the crack of the bat” holds new meaning for baseball fans. Instead of talking about the sound a hitter makes when they drive a long fly ball, fans are increasingly turning to “exit velocity” speed in order to determine how well a batter made contact. Yet what does this metric tell us? And if it […]
Two baseball ideas have been bugging me since last October. Both of them are relatively simple, but their combination is pretty interesting. Here’s what I have been thinking about:
[Pinch hitting for Mike Maffie who is back on thesis-defense vacation.] As of yesterday (not counting last night’s game) the Reds have played 70 of their 162 games. Let’s take a look at how the first-team hitters are doing. These tables are based on their stats compiled through Wednesday night’s game. Batting average (AVG) Walk-rate […]
Even though the Reds are struggling this year, it’s an exiting time to be a baseball fan: teams are using new defensive formations around the diamond, new hitting strategies are emerging, and some teams are learning that people see what you do while browsing the internets! The “big picture” trends in baseball are well known: […]
[Mike Maffie is on a “thesis-defense vacation” this week, so we’re re-running one of his most popular columns from last year. Note new research at conclusion.] I was reading an article about Rafa Nadal and the unbelievable topspin he generates on his forehand. Another player described the feeling of returning Rafa’s forehand as “like ripping your […]
Projections are a huge part of the offseason. For weeks (or months, depending how dedicated you are to your fantasy baseball team) fans will debate which players will have a breakout year and which will decline. To modify the old saying in statistics: all projections are flawed, but some are useful. Here are some of our 2015 Reds going […]