FIRE JOE MORGAN: I Knew Ozzie Wouldn't Let Me Down


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Monday, March 19, 2007


I Knew Ozzie Wouldn't Let Me Down

Proving that he has learned nothing from anything he has ever seen or been told, Ozzie Guillen is installing a couple of real grinders at the top of his line-up.

In a move that paves the way for Tadahito Iguchi to drop down in the batting order, manager Ozzie Guillen said Sunday he plans to bat Darin Erstad second against right-handed starters.

Here are some numbers for you to look at. Each one represents Darin Erstad's OBP, in one of the last six years.


Those are bad numbers!

Here are two other numbers: Tad Iguchi's OBP's for the last two years.


Not wonderful. But better than Erstad's.

What's truly crazy about this, is that Iguchi hits righties well. Last year he was .298/.363/.438, so he got on base more effectively against righties than lefties. Slugged better against 'em, too. And yet, because Darin Erstad is left handed -- which, as we all know, means that regardless of what the factual numbers say, he hits righties better than someone who is right-handed, like Tad Iguchi -- he will hit second.

"[Scott Podsednik] is a better leadoff guy, and [Erstad] handles the bat better than Pods in hit-and-run situations," Guillen said. "We can play games even though Pods is our leadoff guy."

Let's break this down.

"Scott Podsednik is a better leadoff guy"

Than who? Iguchi? No. There are millions of pieces of evidence that prove differently. Than Darin Erstad? Maybe. But Erstad played hockey and punted footballs. So fuck you, stat nerds.

"[Erstad] handles the bat better than Pods in hit-and-run situations."

Oh my God. Ozzie Guillen is planning on winning games by playing hit-and-run with Darin Erstad and Scott Podsednik. Prediction: the White Sox score 150 runs this year.

"We can play games even though Pods is our leadoff guy."

True. One game you might try playing is baseball. One good way to play baseball effectively is to put men who get on base a lot in front of men who hit HR a lot. You have chosen to play a different game: RunIntoOutsBall, which is played by hitting Darin Erstad second in your line-up and hitting and running a lot. Another game you are playing is: OutsBall, (also called "SmartBall") which is played by hitting Scott Podsednik and Darin Erstad 1-2 in your line-up. The goal is to make as many outs as possible at the top of your line-up. The ChiSox are getting 1-8 odds to win the World Series of Outs this year. Even so, I have bet everything I own on them.

Over the previous three seasons with the Angels, Erstad has a higher batting average from the second spot (.277) than the leadoff spot (.259).

First of all, this difference in averages is barely anything. Second, they are both terrible. Third, Erstad is terrible. Fourth, hitting him second is a terrible idea. Fifth, Erstad = terrible. Sixth, terrible. Seventherrible. Eterrible. Terriblenth. And tenth, you are a terrible manager, Ozzie Guillen.

And finally, here's this nugget:

Podsednik has batted leadoff since becoming a full-time player with Milwaukee in 2003, and his quick recovery from a Jan. 23 sports hernia operation has fueled Guillen's faith in him from the leadoff spot after a poor 2006 season.

I'll translate this for you: Scott Podsednik has been not good for the last three years. Then he had a gruesome injury and is just now recovering from it. So... he'll be awesome!

Podsednik went 0-for-7 Sunday with a stolen base in a minor-league game against Colorado in Tucson.

See? He'll be awesome!

Labels: , , ,

posted by Unknown  # 12:55 PM
Originally a joke in this post just read: "The goal [of OutsBall] is to make as many outs as possible." I have changed it to " the top of your line-up." Why? Because of this e-mail from a wonderfully literal- (and like-) minded reader named Tony:

The winner of OutsBall would be the team that has the highest total (1) home games in which the team was not ahead after 8.5 innings + (2) total extra innings played. Based on these two factors, it would seem to me that the team that has the largest difference between average runs scored and average runs allowed (assuming constant variance for simplicity) would be the anticipated winner. The more you get outscored by, the more often you are behind after any number of innings, and the more you get outscored by, the less likely you are to be tied at the end of nine innings. Although there is a good amount of random chance involved in how many extra innings you play, it's intuitive that the more likely you are to be outscored, the less likely you can keep up after nine innings. However, since intuition causes so much trouble in baseball, I will do some research based on the past few seasons

I love you, readers.
Wait. He's not done.

This is getting complicated (notice I change my fundamental conclusion)

The winner of OutsBall would be the team that has the highest total: (1) 3 x Home Losses + (2) Outs used in last inning of Home Wins in Last At-bat + (3) 3 x Total Extra Innings Played - (4) 3 x Extra Inning Home Wins. Based on these factors, it would seem tough to predict the team that ends up with the most outs.

Teams with largely negative run differentials (scores 1 run per game, gives up 5) would lead category (1). However, teams with run differentials close to zero (scores 3 per game, gives up 3), would be most likely to play extra innings or have to bat in the ninth at home. Also, the extra innings categories are affected by a good amount of chance.

Some research will hopefully clear up what teams (large negative run-diff or near-zero run-diff end up at the top of the list.

Did I mention I loved our readers? Here's David on Tony's OutsBall formula. Things is gettin' nerdy, folks!

Tony made 2 mistakes that jump out at me:
1) He forgot to subtract outs not played in rain-shortened games. Since that's completely luck, though, it does make sense to leave it out from his plan for calculating what sort of team is most likely to win OutsBall.
2) His subtraction in part 4 is wrong, it should be deleted. Part 2 correctly addresses the final inning of all home walk-off wins, extra innings or not, so I'll ignore that. In extra innings home wins, he seems to think it makes sense to subtract out the 3 outs that would be expected if that last inning were totally completed. The problem is, he's forgetting about the addition of the bottom of the 9th in those games.

Part 1 accounts for the addition of the bottom of the 9th in extra innings home losses, when combined with part 3. He thought part 3 would overcount the last inning in extra innings home wins, but in fact it does not. In an extra innings loss, the number of innings is 9+extras. For a home win, we only expect 8 innings, so the extra innings count as above expected number of outs and the number of (full) innings in such games is 8+extras.

So the formula for innings should be:

81*9 [minimum away innings] + 81*8 [minimum home innings] + HL [home losses] + E [extra innings, even in home wins] - R [loss of innings due to rain].

Multiply that by 3, add in the last inning outs in walk-off wins (note that this includes all home extra innings wins) to get the total number of outs for the team in the year.

Ball's in your court, Tony.
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