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Getting Ready for Baseball

22 Feb

The weather hasn’t been that cooperative here in Charleston over the past couple of days. It’s been overcast as all get-out, so I’ve not been back out with the camera to try and retake that last shot I posted.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, I thought I’d post some of my favorite baseball links. If you’re a casual fan, I don’t know that these will be of much interest to you. But if you’re a hard core baseball fan like me, you might find these useful when you’re talking to your buddies about things like salary caps, potential trades your favorite team might consider and the like. I’ve also posted a few links to sites that might help when it comes to planning out your daily team over at FanDuel or some of the other gaming sites.

As an aside, I haven’t done rotisserie baseball in years … fifteen, to be exact. I was really into it at one time. Back in August, 2000, I even won ESPN’s Weekly Challenge – I beat out about 125,000 other baseball junkies that week to take first prize! It wasn’t easy – I spent about 50 hours planning out my team that week. Every night, from 5pm to midnight, I’d pore over the next day’s pitcher / batter matchups. I’d go through it position by position, seeing which batters had historically good performance against each pitcher. I’d rank ’em by position, and then put together the best team I could given the $50k in salary we were allotted to put together a “team”. And all that effort seemed worthwhile when I won. At least it did for a while …

You know what my prize was? A freaking ESPN baseball cap!!!! Oh, I was also put in a drawing for a $5,000 home entertainment package (big screen TV, stereo sound system, etc.), along with the other 12 weekly winners from the second half of the season. But my name wasn’t drawn, so all I had to show for my 50 hours of work was a freaking cap! At the time, I was doing consulting work at about $55/hour, and the realization that this particular baseball cap cost me over $2,700 just about did me in! I haven’t played rotisserie baseball since!

On to the links …

MLB Gameday BIP Location
http://katron.org/projects/baseball/hit-location/

This is a cool site. Their tool enables you to overlay a chart depicting the balls in play from one park onto another one. You can do this for all balls in play in a given park or a particular batter. You can even select a pitcher to see how they fared against opposing hitters in that park. For example, do you want to get a feel for how Hanley Ramirez might have fared in 2014 if he had played the majority of his games at Fenway instead of at Dodger Stadium? No problem! This’ll give you an idea as to how many long outs in left field would have been doubles off the Green Monster (hopefully it’s a harbinger of things to come in 2015!). The tool even allows you to filter out certain types of balls in play, i.e. you can eliminate ground outs, or popups. It’s become one of my favorite sides to look at when it comes to trade rumors.

Major League Baseball Free Agents by Year
http://www.spotrac.com/mlb/free-agents/2016/

Spotrac offers a sortable list of free agents, by year through 2018. You can filter it by position or by team and then sort it by player age. It also shows the amount of salary cap impact the player had in the previous year. By the way, there’s some other nice stuff on there as well, such as a list of current salaries by position and team. But I primarily use the free agent list from this site.

Cot’s Baseball Contracts
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/

Do you want to know when the Phillies are going to be rid of Ryan Howard’s contract? I’m sure Ruben Amaro has the date tattooed on his inner eyelids! Everyone else can visit this site. It not only shows the current salaries for each team (along with a rundown of each player’s contract), it allows you to see your team’s payroll obligations going out through the 2020 season! It only covers the 40-man roster and doesn’t list minor league commitments, fringe compensation, or AAV (annual average value), so it doesn’t help with luxury tax calculations. But it’s got just about everything else!

MLB Lineups from Baseball Press
http://www.baseballpress.com/lineups

Baseball Press publishes the daily lineups for each game as soon as they’ve been released by the team. You have to check back often during the day to get them all.

Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
http://www.rotowire.com/baseball/matchup.htm

Remember the 50 hours of research I put in so that I could be a walking advertisement for ESPN? Well, if this site was around back then, I would have probably been able to do my work in about half that amount of time! Rotowire provides a complete rundown of all the batter / pitcher matchups for a given day … all you have to do is compare that against the daily lineups posted on Baseball Press to verify who’s in the lineup.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not
http://baseball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/b1/whoshot?pos=C

Yahoo Sports publishes a list of the players that are streaking … good and bad. It’s sortable by position. Back when I was doing this by hand, the tiebreaker for deciding between two good matchups was based on which player was riding a current hot streak.  These days, Yahoo Sports has done all the work for you!

MLB.com’s Sortable Player Stats
http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/sortable.jsp

For all you stat junkies out there, here are the standard run-of-the-mill baseball stats, offered directly from the source.

A Guide to Sabermetric Research
http://sabr.org/sabermetrics

Here’s some basic information about sabermetrics, from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). If you want to know more about how to do your own research, and perhaps publish a paper on the subject, this tells you how. (I have to be honest, while I’m exceptional at math, my eyes cross when I read some of the formulae that’ve been published by these guys!)


That’s about it for now. Oh yeah, one last thing … here’s an April 2014 article that I just read and enjoyed so much, I thought I’d pass it along: Scout’s Honor. It tells the story about how “old school” scouting unearthed Xander Bogaerts for the Boston Red Sox. It’s a great read. Stories like these that are why I love baseball so much.
Enjoy!

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Posted by on February 22, 2015 in Play Ball!

 

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