December 15, 2006

PLAYING SUPERFLY TO STATHEADS:

Baseball Prospectus finds niche (Tim Lemke, 12/10/06, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Writers at Baseball Prospectus, which publishes books, articles and a subscription Web site, always have operated outside the mainstream, offering up non-traditional analysis of baseball and blowing holes in commonly held beliefs about the game. Seeking "objective" analysis about the game, they've helped to expand the use of statistics, moving beyond basic numbers like runs batted in, batting average and earned run average to introduce an alphabet soup of new terms like VORP, WARP3 and MLVR. (Explanations of these statistics are available at baseballprospectus.com.)

But in the last year or so, the group's contribution to the baseball conversation has grown in prominence. Writers like Will Carroll and Joe Sheehan now frequently appear on ESPN and MLB Radio, a Baseball Prospectus column is now a regular feature in Sports Illustrated, and mainstream sportswriters are turning to Prospectus writers for quotes and opinions.

"More people are starting to pay attention to what we have to say now," says Silver, an executive vice president with Baseball Prospectus, who said he was stunned to see his comments about Bonds picked up by ESPN.

Baseball Prospectus began more than a decade ago as an annual book, featuring columns and unique statistical analysis on every major league team and nearly every player. The Internet age allowed the organization to form a Web site, and then staff members expanded the book publishing business, introducing tomes like "Mind Game" about the 2004 Boston Red Sox and "Baseball Between the Numbers," a collection of essays that seek to answer some of baseball's most puzzling questions.

Here's Will Carroll on Dice K

MORE:
Iwamura agrees to $7.7 million, 3-year contract with Devil Rays (FRED GOODALL, December 15, 2006, AP)

Infielder Akinori Iwamura became the second Japanese star to land in the major leagues in as many days when he agreed Friday to a $7.7 million, three-year contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

With one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, the last-place Devil Rays lack the financial resources to compete for top-tier free agents. They feel they made a significant acquisition, however, in the 27-year-old Iwamura. [...]

The Devil Rays submitted a winning bid of $4.55 million for rights to negotiate with the six-time Gold Glove third baseman and had until midnight EST Friday to reach a contract agreement or Iwamura's rights would have reverted to his Japanese League team, the Yakult Swallows.


That OTHER Japanese Guy (Nate Silver, 12/12/06, Baseball Prospectus)
With all the buzz surrounding Daisuke Matsuzaka, and just the little bit that’s left over reserved for Kei Igawa, prospective Devil Ray Akinori Iwamura has been flying under the radar. Iwamura, like Matsuzaka, must be signed by the end of this week; like Matsuzaka, his negotiations have have hit a stumbling block.

The Devil Rays are looking at a pretty good player in Iwamura, but one who is slightly different than the “slugger” as he’s invariably described in media accounts. Iwamura’s raw Japanese translations are quite good, but PECOTA takes a little bit off of his batting average on account of his high strikeout rate, and a little bit more off his power on account of his small stature (we have Iwamura at 5′9″, 175). What we’re left with is this:

PA R 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS BA OBP SLG VORP WARP
566 78 27 5 16 62 60 122 7 3 .275 .354 .445 21.9 4.6

The projection immediately brings to mind Tadahito Iguchi, but PECOTA has a few other points of comparison too. Lou Whitaker is Iwamura’s #1 comparable; Marcus Giles is pretty high on his list, and there are a number of super-utility players along the lines of Gil McDougald and Tony Phillips.


Posted by Orrin Judd at December 15, 2006 2:06 PM
Comments

It far past the time to turn sabermetrics on the political world...

Posted by: Palmcroft at December 15, 2006 4:53 PM
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