White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

October 20, 2010

3 year UZR: Carlos Quentin shouldn’t be playing in the field

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 20, 2010 12:10 pm
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Gross @ THT:

Using these thresholds, here are three-year data (to help smooth out small sample fielding volatility) of all fielders who have played a minimum of 1,500 innings at a given position, put to the “should you be a DH” test via their three-year UZR/150 ratings. (Because Fangraphs’ WAR system doesn’t use UZR data to determine the value of catchers, they are omitted here.) The results are presented below. Click to enlarge. You can download my DH data sheet by clicking here. …


October 19, 2010

THE single most important thing to know about baseball

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 19, 2010 6:46 pm


Run Expectancy by the 24 base out states (RE24) is THE single most important thing to know about baseball.  This chart should be in your wallet at all times, opposite the pictures of your wife and kids.  (Bonus: you can use it to cover up the picture of your mistress.) You should look at it all the time, study it, learn it.  In there, you can unlock all the baseball secrets.  It’s that important.


Sabremetrics 101: Run Expectancy Matrix, 1999-2002

Actual Runs Scored, following each base/out state to end of inning

By Tangotiger

The following table presents the average number of runs that scored, from that base/out state, to the end of that inning. All data is from 1999-2002.Note: All partial innings are excluded. All home innings in the 9th or later are excluded.

(In the next release, I will present the number of times that exactly 0,1,2,3, 4, 5+ runs scored, from each base/out state.)

RE 99-02 0 1 2
Empty 0.555 0.297 0.117
1st 0.953 0.573 0.251
2nd 1.189 0.725 0.344
3rd 1.482 0.983 0.387
1st_2nd 1.573 0.971 0.466
1st_3rd 1.904 1.243 0.538
2nd_3rd 2.052 1.467 0.634
Loaded 2.417 1.65 0.815

As always, a big thank you to Ray Kerby for providing his software to parse through the play-by-play data.

July 6, 2010

mgl: don’t use UZR/150 before 150

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 6, 2010 11:59 am
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the book:

I see it all the time in articles by analysts, such as on Fangraphs.  UZR/150 means nothing if you don’t regress the actual UZR.  If you must quote UZR per 150, at least wait until the player has at least 150 games or so. Otherwise just tell us his UZR and how many defensive games he played.

colin pointed this out in his excellent UZR primer.

June 5, 2010

At what point do statistics become reliable? [sample size]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ June 5, 2010 8:35 pm

Sabermetrics Library:

Offense Statistics:

  • 50 PA: Swing%
  • 100 PA: Contact Rate
  • 150 PA: Strikeout Rate, Line Drive Rate, Pitches/PA
  • 200 PA: Walk Rate, Ground Ball Rate, GB/FB
  • 250 PA: Fly Ball Rate
  • 300 PA: Home Run Rate, HR/FB
  • 500 PA: OBP, SLG, OPS, 1B Rate, Popup Rate
  • 550 PA: ISO

Pitching Statistics:

  • 150 BF – K/PA, grounder rate, line drive rate
  • 200 BF – flyball rate, GB/FB
  • 500 BF – K/BB, pop up rate
  • 550 BF – BB/PA

In case it’s not obvious, you can tell a lot more about a hitter from one year of data than you can about a pitcher.  All this data is from research that Pizza Cutter conducted, which can be found in the links below.  If a statistic is not included, the means it did not stabilize over the intervals that Pizza Cutter tested (which was up to 750 PA / BF).

PA = Plate Appearance, BF = Batters Faced

May 31, 2010

A wOBA+ primer at THT

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 31, 2010 2:54 pm
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JT Jordan:

There have been a number of wOBA primers circulating around the Internet recently to help answer this question. I love primers, and I love reading people’s explanations of the more advanced statistics. These primers on wOBA are accessible to the most casual of fans. They answer the “what,” and occasionally the “why,” but not the “how.” This is important. We can’t trust a statistic unless we really know what goes in to it, and how it compares to other statistics that attempt to accomplish the same goal. …

May 30, 2010

White Sox and sabermetrics

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 30, 2010 12:46 pm
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from Tuesday’s Bruce Levine’s chat:

Q: Do you the White Sox have many scouts or front office people who lean more towards the stats based, Sabermetric kind of player evaluation?

A: They do a nice combination of both. Assistant GM Rick Hahn is a statistical genius. He has a photgraphic memory. However he combines old school techniques and is a firm believer in scouting. Dan Fabian is also involved in technical data for the team.

May 17, 2010

B-R can haz WAR

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 17, 2010 2:58 pm
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Sabermetricians have always been on the search for the best way to measure wins contributed by players. Baseball Prospectus has WARP, Bill James has win shares and now we are presenting Sean Smith’s Wins Above Replacement or WAR data on the site. …

April 20, 2010

Wave them home Coxie!

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 20, 2010 8:58 pm
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2 outs means ‘It’s Windmill time!’ (h/t Tango)

Does pitching out of the stretch decrease fastball velocity?

Filed under: MLB — The Wizard @ April 20, 2010 12:55 pm

Mike Fast @ THT:

It is very easy to check, and it turns out that it’s not accurate at all. A pitcher’s fastball speed turns out to be almost identical with runners on base as compared to his average fastball speed with the bases empty. If anything, the average starting pitcher throws about 0.1 mph harder with runners on base.

April 19, 2010

White Sox baseball: Hackin’ it

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 19, 2010 11:39 am
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Erik takes a look at the 2010 White Sox swing numbers and the numbers are … well, see for yourself!

BTW, here are the 2010 White Sox Plate discipline stats [Fangraphs]

And a quick explanation of the these numbers from the Fangraphs Quick glossary:

O-Swing% – Percentage of pitches a batter swings at outside the strike zone
Z-Swing% – Percentage of pitches a batter swings at inside the strike zone.
Swing% – Total percentage of pitches a batter swings at
O-Contact% – Percentage of times a batter makes contact with the ball when swinging at pitches thrown outside the strike zone
Z-Contact% – Percentage of times a batter makes contact with the ball when swinging at pitches thrown inside the strike zone
Contact% – Total percentage of contact made when swinging at all pitches
Zone% – Percentage of pitches seen inside the strike zone
F-Strike% – First pitch strike percentage

Patience my young padawan

Filed under: MLB — The Wizard @ April 19, 2010 11:18 am


One of my main goals, in researching baseball, is to identify situations in which batters are not performing to the best of their abilities. I’ve previously shown that batters are least selective on 3-2 counts. This means that they are swinging at more pitches, whether they are in the strike zone or not. It seems that in this situation batters try to maximize swings at strikes in order to protect the plate. Perhaps this seems like the right approach on the surface but I’m not so sure that it is. I think that the same attitudes which led to the undervaluation of walks and on-base percentage (pre-Moneyball) are still around and are causing batters to be less selective than they should be on full counts. Alternatively batters could be trying too hard to avoid strike outs (especially strike outs looking.) Whatever the cause, I believe that most batters are adopting a less productive approach on 3-2 than they are capable of. …

April 15, 2010

White Sox franchise breakdown by WAR and its components

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 15, 2010 2:13 pm
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Cool stuff. All time team:

  • Catcher: Carlton Fisk (29.6 WAR, 3.8 WAR/700)
  • First Base: Frank Thomas (70.6 WAR, 5.8 WAR/700)
  • Second Base: Eddie Collins (66.0 WAR, 6.5 WAR/700)
  • Third Base: Robin Ventura (38.8 WAR, 5.2 WAR/700)
  • Shortstop: Luke Appling (69.3 WAR, 4.8 WAR/700)
  • Outfield: Joe Jackson (28.4 WAR, 7.3 WAR/700)
  • Outfield: Minnie Minoso (42.7 WAR, 5.1 WAR/700)
  • Outfield: Fielder Jones (35.1 WAR, 5.0 WAR/700)
  • Starting Pitcher: Ed Walsh (55.0 WAR, 3.7 WAR/200)
  • Starting Pitcher: Ted Lyons (58.8 WAR, 2.8 WAR/200)
  • Starting Pitcher: Red Faber (55.2 WAR, 2.7 WAR/200)
  • Starting Pitcher: Mark Buehrle (39.4 WAR, 3.8 WAR/200)
  • Relief Pitcher: Keith Foulke (13.9 WAR, 6.2 WAR/200)
  • Relief Pitcher: Roberto Hernandez (11.7 WAR, 5.8 WAR/200)

April 7, 2010

Does the strike zone change on different counts?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 7, 2010 1:00 pm

You bet:

h/t Tango

April 2, 2010

colin’s excellent UZR primer

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 2, 2010 12:24 pm
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I know I was asked to do a WAR primer next, but I want to take on the major components before I look at position player WAR.  I think going slow will make it easier to make sense of everything when we throw it all in together.  Not to mention some guy named Dave Cameron took basically the same approach at fangraphs.  Whatever that is.

Where to start with fielding?  While errors or fielding percentage get some play, I think defense is assessed by the typical fan with the ever popular Eyeball Test.  This makes sense.  But let’s first figure out…

March 29, 2010


Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ March 29, 2010 11:23 am

Bill James via Meyers via Tango:

Last year, when there was NOT a man on on second, runners on first scored 42.6% of the time on a double. When there was a guy on second, runners from first scored 45.3%. You read that right, there is no such thing as clogging the bases.

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