Archive for January, 2007

Skimming the surface

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Despite what Cincinnati Reds manager Jerry Narron or most baseball experts say, Joe Nuxhall predicted Thursday night the Reds’ starting rotation could well include Homer Bailey at the start of the 2007 season. Nuxhall was master of ceremonies at the 28th annual Knights of Columbus Sports Stag, held at the Father Butler Council in Hamilton.

“I’m saying right now, I think he’s going to be in the starting rotation,” Nuxhall said of the 20-year-old Bailey, the Reds’ most promising prospect who was almost untouchable at Class AA Chattanooga last season.

I’m not going to waste time challenging that assertion, running stats or conversions for Bailey. But I will note that his 1.19 whip and 1.59 era in AA look good. I’ll also have to note that the praise comes from Joe Nuxhall a man who toed the mound of Crosley at the age of 15.

That lead me to ponder two things, one what kind of 16 year old gets to play major league ball, and two what does history tell us about 21 year old pitchers and the Reds?

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Platooning Minutia

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

I’ve been thinking a lot about platooning lately, I just finished up a book on Casey Stengel and I’m in the midst of the playoffs in my Strat league. If you know anything about Casey Stengel or if you’ve ever played Strat then you probably have pondered platoons before. Furthermore the recent Reds signing of Jeff Conine has seemed to strike fear in the hearts of some baseball fans. Some people (mostly Reds fans) are afraid that he’ll somehow find his way into the lineup in the outfield or even against right-handed batters. Conine has already been earmarked as the RH 1st base option of the moment, his .337/.400 line from last year makes him the perfect bookend to Hatteberg, another player in the long line of BA driven Reds first baseman. Don’t get me wrong, Conine has his perks, I should know he’s a starter 50% of the time on my Strat team. (I did mention the playoffs right?) Anyway, back to the platoons.

Platoons are a funny thing, especially if you grew up a fan of the Reds with the Big Red Machine; a team that knew no platoons. But that was standard for that era, because platoons are like the long ball and the bunt; it appears and then vanishes as simply as it had previously appeared. I can point you to a brief history of platooning in Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (page 117) he covers it better then I and if you are reading this site and have never read that particular work, do your self a favor and get it.

If you want to break down the platoon arrangement mathematically you can see how it was done by the Baseball Prospectus team in their book Baseball Between the Numbers, to cut to the chase they state: “Any general manager who signs a player based on his individual platoon splits is crediting him a skill no batter has definitively possessed.”

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