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flyer85
03-05-2008, 09:11 AM
Got a copy last night. Incredible book ... it's just fun. He provides interesting stuff on each team that has you wanting more.

Did you know: Harang was the winningest starter in the majors last year ... the Reds won 24 of the 34 games he started.

Did you know: Norris Hopper did not hit a line drive to LF the entire season.

Did you know: The Reds have the 2006 and 2007 winners of the Kingman Award(guy who hits HRs and provides almost nothing else offensively). I let you guys wonder who the two might be.

BTW, in the Baltimore section it had a little analysis on Patterson, who has drastically reduced his swinging misses the last two seasons. That should make some around here very happy.

dougdirt
03-05-2008, 09:16 AM
David Ross and Adam Dunn?

flyer85
03-05-2008, 09:20 AM
David Ross and Adam Dunn?you got the 2007 winner in there. James has been giving the award 30 years and Kingman won it numerous times.

BTW, Dunn has never won the award.

BRM
03-05-2008, 09:24 AM
Junior in 2006?

TOBTTReds
03-05-2008, 09:27 AM
Arroyo in 06? Only if he qualified. McCracken too.

flyer85
03-05-2008, 09:27 AM
Junior in 2006?ding ding ding

Johnny Footstool
03-05-2008, 09:27 AM
Junior in 2006?

That seems right. Junior's OPB was UGLY in 2006.

RedsManRick
03-05-2008, 09:30 AM
BTW, in the Baltimore section it had a little analysis on Patterson, who has drastically reduced his swinging misses the last two seasons. That should make some around here very happy.

Interesting note on Patterson. However, his LD% also dropped substantially last year. Usually that's a "random" fluctuation, but you have to wonder if perhaps it's not partially due to putting more balls in play weakly rather than missing altogether. Not saying that's a bad thing per se', but another data point suggesting that cutting down on strikeouts doesn't necessarily lead to greater production.

Patterson's rate stats were down across the board in 2007, with the most notable decrease in slugging. If fewer strikeouts doesn't lead to more times on base and more bases per at bat, what's the point?

reds44
03-05-2008, 09:30 AM
Did you know: Harang was the winningest starter in the majors last year ... the Reds won 24 of the 34 games he started.

Meaning the Reds were 48-80 in game he did not start. :eek:

Good to hear about CPatt.

flyer85
03-05-2008, 09:32 AM
If fewer strikeouts doesn't lead to more times on base and more bases per at bat, what's the point?Heretic :D

PuffyPig
03-05-2008, 10:15 AM
Did you know: Harang was the winningest starter in the majors last year ... the Reds won 24 of the 34 games he started.



I think he's more underrated in Cincy (and especially on this board) that elsewhere.

He's a true #1.

princeton
03-05-2008, 10:27 AM
He's a true #1.

Beckett's a true #1

Aaron's a #2, but really gets the most out of everything that he has. He's a true pitcher.

PuffyPig
03-05-2008, 10:35 AM
Beckett's a true #1

Aaron's a #2, but really gets the most out of everything that he has. He's a true pitcher.


Beckett?

Has trouble staying healthy.Two years with (barely) 200 innings.

He's had one dominate season, last year.

It's his playoff performances that has gotten him notice.

If Harang is not a #1, there aren't many around. He's accomplished more than most pitchers in the majors, pitching in a bandbox of a ballpark.

RedsManRick
03-05-2008, 10:35 AM
Beckett's a true #1

Aaron's a #2, but really gets the most out of everything that he has. He's a true pitcher.

Not to rehash the conversation which we've had numerous times, but I find any definition of starter slots which somehow only accounts for about 50-60% of major league starters somewhat specious at best.

Not to mention that Beckett has had an ERA over 5.00 as recently as 2006. All Harang does is throw more innings, strike out more guys, and walk fewer guys. But Beckett, he wins.

Harang might not be an "ace", but he's certainly a #1. If the Reds made the playoffs and Harang pitched Game 1, would Harang then get to count as a true #1? Or maybe he just needs the offense to give him a few more runs so he can win 20 games.

princeton
03-05-2008, 10:42 AM
Not to rehash the conversation...

sure about that? ;)

Sea Ray
03-05-2008, 10:54 AM
Aaron Harang is a true #1 unless you are of the opinion that there are only about 5 true #1s in the major leagues. He blew away Zambrano in ace vs ace matchups last year. Is Zambrano not a #1 either?

princeton
03-05-2008, 11:15 AM
Aaron Harang is a true #1 unless you are of the opinion that there are only about 5 true #1s in the major leagues. He blew away Zambrano in ace vs ace matchups last year. Is Zambrano not a #1 either?

a good number two can win more games than a number 1. In fact, number twos often win Cy Young Awards. Number 4s have even won Cy Youngs.

the distinction is just one of pure stuff.

IslandRed
03-05-2008, 11:17 AM
Interesting note on Patterson. However, his LD% also dropped substantially last year. Usually that's a "random" fluctuation, but you have to wonder if perhaps it's not partially due to putting more balls in play weakly rather than missing altogether. Not saying that's a bad thing per se', but another data point suggesting that cutting down on strikeouts doesn't necessarily lead to greater production.

Good point. Patterson was one of the most whifftastic players in MLB 3-4 years ago, albeit with some power (although not the power you'd expect with that K rate). He's cut his strikeout rate in half since then. I think this goes back to what Baker was saying in one of those articles, about how he got it in his head he was supposed to be a power hitter and all, and now he's working on a contact-and-speed game. It's probably better suited for him. But, like you said, the transformation hasn't actually made him more productive yet, and he still has an aversion to ball four.

PuffyPig
03-05-2008, 11:51 AM
a good number two can win more games than a number 1. In fact, number twos often win Cy Young Awards. Number 4s have even won Cy Youngs.

the distinction is just one of pure stuff.

So, a number #1 is not based on how effective a pitcher is, but how good his pure stuff is?

That's a new one.

I'd rate a pitcher on how consistently he is able to retire opposing batters. Maddux didn't have the best stuff, but he was a true #1.

If a #2 is winning the Cy Young Award, he's a #1 (even if his stuff isn't pure).

acredsfan
03-05-2008, 11:52 AM
a good number two can win more games than a number 1. In fact, number twos often win Cy Young Awards. Number 4s have even won Cy Youngs.

the distinction is just one of pure stuff.
You can't ignore production. I suggest the distinction is more a blend of "pure stuff", production, and being a true pitcher. What Harang lacks in pure stuff, he makes up for in production and being as pure of a pitcher as possible. A #1 pitcher can dominate any team at any time. That is Harang. It doesn't matter who he plays, he's good.

nate
03-05-2008, 12:03 PM
I don't really believe in giving ordinal ratings to pitchers outside of their own team. However, if Aaron Harang isn't one of the 30 best pitchers in the entire major leagues, I'd be quite surprised.

dougdirt
03-05-2008, 12:04 PM
I don't really believe in giving ordinal ratings to pitchers outside of their own team. However, if Aaron Harang isn't one of the 30 best pitchers in the entire major leagues, I'd be quite surprised.

If someone tried to tell me that Harang wasn't one of the top 30 pitchers in baseball I would tell them that they were a liar.

PuffyPig
03-05-2008, 12:10 PM
If someone tried to tell me that Harang wasn't one of the top 30 pitchers in baseball I would tell them that they were a liar.

Well , in fairness, they might be just plain wrong.

dougdirt
03-05-2008, 12:14 PM
Well , in fairness, they might be just plain wrong.

Well obviously they would be wrong, but if they are going to tell me that, I am going to assume that they are willing to try and tell me 30 better pitchers. At which point they will get to a spot where they are flat out trying to lie/deceive me.

RedsManRick
03-05-2008, 12:33 PM
Princeton, my real point in this conversation is essentially that your use of the terminology is confusing. I appreciate the difference between Harang and Beckett. I would call Beckett a more naturally talented thrower of the baseball. I think that's a meaningful distinction. I just don't agree with the terminology you use to make it.

To me, the use of a number implies where they stack up on a typical staff. At that level, what matters is not just stuff, a measurement by which Daniel Cabrera could be a #1, but also control, command, intelligence, reliability, etc -- all of the things which in sum determine the effectiveness of that pitcher in preventing the opponent from scoring runs. I think it's undeniable that Harang is among the 30 best starting pitchers in doing the entirety of his job, and probably among the best 15. Given that, I don't see how you could possibly deny him a label of "#1 starter".

What's interesting to me is the parallel with terms like "#3 hitter", "leadoff guy", or "cleanup hitter". Some would use terms like "slugger", "grinder", or "RBI guy". The appeal is to some presumably common archetypes, yet those definitions differ from one person to the next. What Dusty Baker would call a solid leadoff guy, I'd often call a 5th OF, backup middle infielder, or bottom of the order guy. To me, it makes more sense to describe a player by either their specific skill set or by their past performance record, rather than on their utilization. Dusty might see Corey Patterson as a leadoff guy, I might see him as a #7 hitter. But we can presumably agree that he's a guy who doesn't walk much, strikes out a lot, has a decent amount of pop, and a whole lot of speed.

While utilization based terms are intended as a quick shortcut, they often simply cause more confusion.

Ok. That's out of my system. I guess I did rehash the conversation. I'll let it die now.

princeton
03-05-2008, 01:22 PM
Princeton, my real point in this conversation is essentially that your use of the terminology is confusing.


ironically, I think that you actually understand it now.

scoutspeak's not difficult to master.

M2
03-05-2008, 01:29 PM
ironically, I think that you actually understand it now.

scoutspeak's not difficult to master.

Exactly.

Plus, these concepts are, relatively, ancient.

RedsManRick
03-05-2008, 01:45 PM
ironically, I think that you actually understand it now.

scoutspeak's not difficult to master.

Well, you can certainly master the terms. Unfortunately, because the definitions of those terms vary by scout (or at least by organization), the language as a whole is pretty darn ineffective -- always has been. I see no reason to perpetuate the problem.

I think part of the reason the definitions are so vague is because the scouts like it that way and it behooves them to maintain it. It protects them against being called out on their opinions/projections. E.G. Well, when I said "future ace", I meant stuff-wise, not an actual ability to get hitters out reliably for 200 innings year... As soon as you say "I think he'll be a guy who strikes out a guy per inning, keeps his walks under 3 per 9, his homers under 1 per 9, and makes 34 starts a year for many years", suddenly you can be judged on that projection pretty easily. The excuses for being wrong are harder to make. Just ask a politician.

Don't get me wrong, I think scouts by and large do a very good job and don't think we can replace them with stats. But some people fear that in being specfic and showing your work, you simply leave yourself more vulnerable to criticism down the road. It takes a very sophisticated organization (in baseball and out) to demand evidenced based decision making and yet properly understand its fallibility. You end up praising/punishing people for the process and not just the outcome, and that can scare a lot of people, especially in sports, and especially in an discipline which is hardly an exact science.

fearofpopvol1
03-05-2008, 01:49 PM
I'm pretty certain that Harrang would be a #1 on the majority of MLB teams. I'd challenge you to find more than half the teams in baseball that he wouldn't be a #1 on.

RedsManRick
03-05-2008, 01:57 PM
I'm pretty certain that Harrang would be a #1 on the majority of MLB teams. I'd challenge you to find more than half the teams in baseball that he wouldn't be a #1 on.

It's a question of definition. Princeton hasn't disagreed that by our definition, Harang is a #1 -- and I don't think he would if asked explicitly.

But by his definition, what he calls the scouting definition, he claims Harang is not. We've largely been arguing past each other.

fearofpopvol1
03-05-2008, 02:02 PM
It's a question of definition. Princeton hasn't disagreed that by our definition, Harang is a #1 -- and I don't think he would if asked explicitly.

But by his definition, what he calls the scouting definition, he claims Harang is not. We've largely been arguing past each other.

Hasn't Doug posted the league-wide stats before that showed what the various averages were for each # in the rotation? I'd think, by definition, that would put this conversation to rest.

RedsManRick
03-05-2008, 02:08 PM
Hasn't Doug posted the league-wide stats before that showed what the various averages were for each # in the rotation? I'd think, by definition, that would put this conversation to rest.

But it wouldn't. I've posted that myself in prior conversations to no avail.

To princeton, the term "#1" isn't a measurement of performance in a given rotation spot, but rather scouting shorthand for a level of inherent talent. We are measuring two different things with the same term, hence the confusion.

We're arguing: Harang isn't red (a typical second starter in a rotation), he's blue (a typical first starter)
Princeton is arguing: Harang isn't a circle (one of the most elite talents), he's a square (just a very good talent)

M2
03-05-2008, 02:22 PM
I'm pretty certain that Harrang would be a #1 on the majority of MLB teams. I'd challenge you to find more than half the teams in baseball that he wouldn't be a #1 on.

If you want treat what constitutes what makes a #1, #2, #3, etc. starter as a counting exercise, that's your prerogative. Me, I'd want to beat teams that actually have #1 starters, which tend to be the better teams in the game. Aiming for the average #Whatever starter is a losing formula.

princeton
03-05-2008, 02:23 PM
scout defs a lot of value. You can understand the type of projection that a prospect might have ("he's a number 3 for me") without knowing what hundreds of his peers will be doing when he comes to the majors. You can also understand the type of pitcher that a guy that pitched a long time ago was. For instance, Randy Jones won a Cy Young, nearly won another, but he was just not a 1. 2 tops, but really probably a 3 if not a 4 (my memory of old SD pitchers not named Norman is a little blurry). But that guy could pitch.

I've always liked the guys that outpitch their talents. A 1 is fun to watch, but really you're just waiting for a chink in the armor. give me a 2 or 3 that outguts him.

fearofpopvol1
03-05-2008, 02:41 PM
If you want treat what constitutes what makes a #1, #2, #3, etc. starter as a counting exercise, that's your prerogative. Me, I'd want to beat teams that actually have #1 starters, which tend to be the better teams in the game. Aiming for the average #Whatever starter is a losing formula.

I understand that logic, but if there aren't that many teams that have better pitchers than Harang (which is something I would contend), is there really much of an argument there to begin with?

M2
03-05-2008, 02:52 PM
I understand that logic, but if there aren't that many teams that have better pitchers than Harang (which is something I would contend), is there really much of an argument there to begin with?

Yeah, big argument, because those are the teams you've got to beat to make and win in the playoffs.

If all you're trying to do is a field a team for 162 games, then this stuff is immaterial. If you're trying to do more, then it's vital.

Sea Ray
03-05-2008, 03:00 PM
scout defs a lot of value. You can understand the type of projection that a prospect might have ("he's a number 3 for me") without knowing what hundreds of his peers will be doing when he comes to the majors. You can also understand the type of pitcher that a guy that pitched a long time ago was. For instance, Randy Jones won a Cy Young, nearly won another, but he was just not a 1. 2 tops, but really probably a 3 if not a 4 (my memory of old SD pitchers not named Norman is a little blurry). But that guy could pitch.

I've always liked the guys that outpitch their talents. A 1 is fun to watch, but really you're just waiting for a chink in the armor. give me a 2 or 3 that outguts him.

This is where we part company. Regardless of stuff Randy Jones was a true ace because he won so many games for a horrible team. I know it's been 30 years ago but if memory serves the Padres were a team that lost about 100 games while Randy Jones was winning 20. That's a stopper. That's an ace.

RedsManRick
03-05-2008, 03:02 PM
Yeah, big argument, because those are the teams you've got to beat to make and win in the playoffs.

If all you're trying to do is a field a team for 162 games, then this stuff is immaterial. If you're trying to do more, then it's vital.

The idea of average is a starting point. You could use replacement level as well -- the 30th best starting pitcher as your #1 starter baseline -- but I prefer average.

That lets me say we have an average #1 (Harang), an average #2 (Arroyo) #2, a weak #3 (Belisle), an average/weak #4 (Fogg/Affeldt), and a strong #5 (youngster). For me, that help me understand our rotation relative to the rest of baseball. Sure, I'd love to have a strong guy at each rotation spot, but I need a fixed point of reference from which I can assess the Reds. This tells me that relative to the rest of the league, we're weak in the middle and something close to average overall. This jives pretty well with the data as well -- particularly once you account for park effect and defense -- things which will be in play regardless of the specific pitching talent we bring in.

If we want to have a playoff caliber rotation, we probably need to improve at the front end as well.

M2
03-05-2008, 03:07 PM
The idea of average is a starting point. You could use replacement level as well -- the 30th best starting pitcher as your #1 starter baseline -- but I prefer average.

That lets me say we have an average #1 (Harang), an average #2 (Arroyo) #2, a weak #3 (Belisle), a weak #4 (Fogg/Affeldt), and a solid #5 (youngster). For me, that help me understand our rotation relative to the rest of baseball. Sure, I'd love to have a strong guy at each rotation spot, but I need a fixed point of reference from which I can assess the Reds. This tells me that relative to the rest of the league, we're weak in the middle, and if we want to have a playoff caliber rotation, we probably need to improve at the front end as well.

That's an awful long time spent to nudge yourself toward what should be obvious: the Reds need more Arroyo or better starters.

princeton gets there instantly while you're still walking around in a cloud of analysis.

RedsManRick
03-05-2008, 03:18 PM
That's an awful long time spent to nudge yourself toward what should be obvious: the Reds need more Arroyo or better starters.

princeton gets there instantly while you're still walking around in a cloud of analysis.

I am? If your point is that we should use gross generalizations to arrive at completely obvious points and overlook the complexities of reality, I'll stay in my cloud, thanks. Saying that...

1. We need to win more games to make the playoffs
2. We need to a be better team to win more games
and
3. Getting more good players makes us a better team

...really doesn't accomplish anything or help anybody.

M2
03-05-2008, 03:29 PM
I am? If your point is that we should use gross generalizations to arrive at completely obvious points and overlook the complexities of reality, I'll stay in my cloud, thanks. Saying that...

1. We need to win more games to make the playoffs
2. We need to a be better team to win more games
and
3. Getting more good players makes us a better team

...really doesn't accomplish anything or help anybody.

No my point is that sometimes you get there faster when you allow yourself to know something.

Using your method, a team with bad pitching can delude itself into thinking it's doing just fine with its rotation (but so-and-so is an average #3 or #4 starter). In fact, we've see it played out on this board countless times -- many of them involving one Eric Milton.

So, yeah, I confess to having high standards and thinking ill of low standards. princeton's using age-old baseball terminology, built around a recognition of what a winning team needs. I suppose it often confused the St. Louis Browns once upon a time, but I'll bet you Theo Epstein and princeton would be speaking the same language.

jojo
03-05-2008, 03:37 PM
Harang would be a number #3 on the Ms and I'll be happy if they just still have a shot in September.....

RedsManRick
03-05-2008, 03:52 PM
No my point is that sometimes you get there faster when you allow yourself to know something.

Using your method, a team with bad pitching can delude itself into thinking it's doing just fine with its rotation (but so-and-so is an average #3 or #4 starter). In fact, we've see it played out on this board countless times -- many of them involving one Eric Milton.

I don't agree. This calculation with Eric Milton as your nominal #1 says that you have a horrible #1 starter and that's a big problem. An average #3 starter is a really crappy #1 starter. That's been our problem for years -- a staff without anybody deserving of the top spots and everybody else slotted in about 2 or 3 spots too high. This sort of analysis shows that distinction (we need top end guys, not more league average guys) much better than some generic "our team ERA sucks - get better pitchers" does.

And it's not like it takes a ton of work. I've posted the rotation spot average a few times after copying them from some other site that did the work. I'd rather spend 10 minutes for some insight than just get a generic, non-actionable opinion instantaneously.

cincyinco
03-05-2008, 04:20 PM
I'd rate a pitcher on how consistently he is able to retire opposing batters. Maddux didn't have the best stuff, but he was a true #1.



Maddux had plus plus command and good velocity of VERY good stuff. He had movement all OVER the place, some of the best I've seen in his hayday. I think people forget that.

M2
03-05-2008, 05:01 PM
I'd rather spend 10 minutes for some insight than just get a generic, non-actionable opinion instantaneously.

You spent the time. When do you get the insight?

When that comes, you'll be agreeing with princeton, who could have told you up front that you don't want anyone you'd consider a #4 or #5 starter and that you want to minimize what you're calling #3 starters.

All that analysis in search of a what that should be obvious (e.g. what is the quality of pitcher the Reds need to field a winning club and how many are needed?) when the real question should be who, and you won't necesarily find that on the list. You're armpit deep in the generica.

Anyway, my take is the people who can use shorthand to get themselves through the basic stuff are the ones with the best chance to light on an innovative solution.

Jpup
03-06-2008, 02:09 AM
Harang would be a number #3 on the Ms and I'll be happy if they just still have a shot in September.....

he'd be the best pitcher and the most durable though. That makes him a #1 in my book. Talent means nothing. Results do. One could argue that Aaron Harang was the best pitcher in the NL over the last 2 years.

fearofpopvol1
03-06-2008, 02:45 AM
Yeah, big argument, because those are the teams you've got to beat to make and win in the playoffs.

If all you're trying to do is a field a team for 162 games, then this stuff is immaterial. If you're trying to do more, then it's vital.

What about the Rockies last year? They made it to the World Series (in fact in a sweeping fashion the whole way). Granted, they didn't win a championship, but they still made it there. Correct me if I'm wrong, but by the logic you're providing, Jeff Francis is better than Brandon Webb? Or Jeff Francis is a better #1 than Brandon Webb?

princeton
03-06-2008, 07:54 AM
scout ratings also allow a comparison of current staffs with former ones.

for instance, the Reds' had a nice set of pitchers in 1990: Rijo (our last 1), Jackson (when that slider was working he was a lefty 2, which is practically a 1), Browning (a lefty 3, which is almost like being a 2), Armstrong (a 4 who seemed like he could be a 3). In 1995, it was Schourek (lefty 2 for that year alone), Smiley (lefty 2 or 3) and Wells (lefty 2 or 3).

This year, we've Harang (strong 2), Arroyo (3/4), Belisle (5, maybe a 4) and hoping that there's a couple of 2s or 3s in there among the kids. Cueto I've not seen, but I figure he's a 2 tops-- and Reds could blow it by pushing him too quickly. I know that Bailey was originally projected to be a 1, and while it seems like they're thinking more 3/4 now, I suspect that he can still go to a 2. Volquez is probably a lot like Bailey. Both Volquez and Bailey need to show the secondary pitch and the self-confidence.

PuffyPig
03-06-2008, 08:12 AM
Harang would be a number #3 on the Ms and I'll be happy if they just still have a shot in September.....

No ,Harang would be a #1 starter for the M's. Now, you can argue that Bedard and Hernandez are also #1 starters, but that's doesn't detract from Harang.

If Harang is a #3 on the M's just because of the relative ranking scale you use for that team (which I would disagree with), then he must, by default, be a #1 on the Reds.

jojo
03-06-2008, 08:41 AM
No ,Harang would be a #1 starter for the M's. Now, you can argue that Bedard and Hernandez are also #1 starters, but that's doesn't detract from Harang.

If Harang is a #3 on the M's just because of the relative ranking scale you use for that team (which I would disagree with), then he must, by default, be a #1 on the Reds.

I'd argue that Harang would be a number 3 on the Ms because both Bedard and Felix have better stuff (scouting) and their peripherals would also be better given the expected effect the league would have on Harang (sabermetrics).

That's not a knock on Harang BTW.