February 8, 2016

Chapman/Kimbrel and the History of Relief Aces

February 1, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In 2015, it is inarguable that the Red Sox had a poor season.  Yes, they did play better in the last two months (is it coincidental that this was when John Farrell was out being treated for cancer?) but they still ended up below .500 and out of contention in the AL East.  Although the […]

Bob Davids SABR Chapter’s Annual Meeting

January 31, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The SABR members of the Mid-Atlantic gathered together yesterday to test the proposition that one Washington area chapter, so conceived, could long endure without its Baltimore contingent. No shots were fired and more than 125 persons attended the very excellent and entertaining session, including many first timers. It was altogether fitting that new officers having […]

Hardball Retrospective – 1913 Season Replay

January 28, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Rabbit Maranville is listed on the Braves roster for the duration of his career while the Superbas claim Nap Rucker and the Cardinals declare Babe Adams. I calculated revised […]

A 1901 All-Star Team

January 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Toward the end of the 1901 Connie Mack and Clark Griffith picked a “champion team” of the American League, judged by the work done by players at each position. The two men agreed at seven positions: 1b: Frank Isbell, Chicago 2b: Nap Lajoie, Cleveland ss: Wid Conroy, Milwaukee 3b: Jimmy Collins, Boston rf: Fielder Jones, […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1938 Negro National League

January 25, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In 1938 the Homestead Grays solidified their dominance of the Negro National League. Winning both halves at a trot, Cumberland Posey’s powerhouse team had essentially killed off interest in the league by September. At the end of the season a playoff scheme involving the top four teams was introduced, but the Grays pulled their team […]

Three Times at Bat For the Nationals and Nothing to Show

January 23, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The Washington Nationals made offers to all three of the elite free agent outfielders on the market: Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Yeonis Cespedes. In at least two instances it is clear from the press reports that Washington offered more money than other clubs in on the bidding. But all three players went elsewhere. The […]

Baseball’s Early Days Trace Back to New York

January 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

No state can claim a bigger share of baseball history than New York, starting with the belief that the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York was the first organized baseball team. Fittingly, a player named Austin Knickerbocker (born in Bangall, N.Y.) made it to the majors, although he played just 21 games. Alexander Cartwright, […]

Examing the Hall of Fame Vote

January 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

1. Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected. Griffey received votes from 99.3% of the writers, a new record. 2. Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines received over 70% of the vote and are well positioned to be elected next year. It will be the 10th and final year for Raines on the ballot.   […]

Triple Milestones 2015

January 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Offensive production in the major leagues increased slightly in 2015. The number of runs and home runs per game increased in 2015 and batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average also increased in 2015 after steadily declining since 2000. Year Runs/Game HR/Game BAVG OBA Slugging OPS Triple Milestone Hitters 1990 8.51 1.58 .258 .324 .386 […]

California Leads the Way in Producing Stars, Nicknames and Trailblazers

January 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Frontier prospectors discovered “there’s gold in them thar hills,” but today’s prospectors are more interested in mining for five-tool baseball players. Baseball’s Gold Rush has been ongoing in the Golden State for several decades, as California has produced more major league players than any other state (2,150 through the 2015 season, about 748 more than […]

When Is Too Much Scott Boras, Too Much?

January 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When the Washington Nationals sign Stephen Drew officially as their utility infielder, it will mean they currently have seven Scott Boras clients on their likely 25-man roster. That is 28 percent of all players or slightly more than one-in-four. Is it too much? For purposes of comparison, of the two World Series teams in 2015, […]

Rating the 2016 Hall of Fame Candidates Based on Win Shares

January 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the first items of business in baseball each year is the announcement of players elected to the Hall of Fame.  This leads to lots of speculation and a little analysis prior to the announcement which is scheduled for January 6, 2016. Many systems exist for evaluating player performance.  One such system, the Win […]

The Sunday Notes: Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

January 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

So, 2015 is now a permanent part of our history as 2016 will take baseball shape this week when we find out who the writers voted into the Hall of Fame. If you will allow me this time around, instead of giving you a few links to read I thought I would share a few thoughts […]

5 Big Questions and Predictions for the 2016 Boston Red Sox

January 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As the last notes of Auld Lang Syne evaporate into the atmosphere, and 2016 stretches its wings for the first time, the realization that spring training is mere weeks away starts to settle in. Although the Boston Red Sox made a significant splash this offseason to upgrade their roster after consecutive disappointing seasons, they are […]

Dave Henderson (1958-2015)

December 27, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Dave Henderson passed away Sunday at fifty-seven. In my years of sportswriting that has to be one of the saddest sentences written. Why? Ken Dryden, the legendary goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, is attributed with the following quote. When asked what he thought was the golden age of sport, he answered, “whenever you are fourteen. […]

Max Watt: The Boston Red Sox’s Power Pitching Prospect

December 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Scouting is an integral part of professional baseball. Teams employ and send out hundreds of employees tasked with finding the next great players. Although they monitor first-round draft talent, their bread and butter is trying to decipher the future of players who may not have quite as much polish. As a result, some come to […]

Dear Santa

December 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Christmas tree in Washington is a little bare this year and it has nothing to do with the 70+ degree temperatures. This year it looks like the holidays are going to be all about deferred compensation–you know, that stuff they told you in college. Study hard, eschew the wild times and you will get […]

Hardball Retrospective – 1912 Season Replay

December 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Pete Alexander is listed on the Phillies roster for the duration of his career while the Cubs claim Heinie Zimmerman and the Pirates declare Max Carey. I calculated […]

The Unforgivable Sin

December 18, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Commissioner Manfred did not deliver Pete Rose the holiday gift he had hoped for. Rose is still officially banned from having any role in major league baseball, other than appearing at certain events. Although Manfred made clear there was a distinction between Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame, for all intents and purposes […]

The Wonderful Writings of Donald Honig

December 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Donald Honig is perhaps best known for picking up the mantle of Lawrence Ritter and carrying on the valuable work of preserving the history of the National Pastime through the oral reminiscences of ballplayers. But a closer look at his body of work reveals much more than interviews. In his towering history of baseball, Baseball […]

Seattle Mariners 2015 Winter Meetings Review

December 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Now that the 2015 Winter Meetings held at the Opryland Resort and Conference Center down in Nashville, Tennessee are over it’s time to look at each team’s status as buyers or sellers in this year’s market. This edition highlights the busiest team of this offseason thus far, the Seattle Mariners. The total revamp of the northwest […]

Major League Offense Increases in 2015, Ending a Long Decline

December 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

At mid-season, I wrote a report indicating that there were signs that the long decline in offense in the major leagues that began in 2000 was coming to an end.  An update at season’s end indicates that the increase in offense is greater than it was at mid-season. The numbers below illustrate key hitting and […]

The Many Different Nicknames of the Baseball Hall of Fame

December 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Hey baseball fans! One of my favorite things about baseball history is the players’ nicknames. Some are really funny, while some just make no sense. However, there are a few instances among the baseball Hall of Famers where nicknames are either repeated, similar, or contradict each other. Here’s a list of some examples of each: […]

An Interview with Former Relief Pitcher Jim Mecir

December 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Job security can be difficult to attain in professional baseball given the ever-changing landscape. However, relief pitchers that prove they can consistently produce out of the bullpen are all but guaranteed to steer clear of the unemployment line. A perfect example of that is right-handed pitcher Jim Mecir, who enjoyed an 11-year major league career […]

Boswell or Baker?

December 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In his Friday column Tom Boswell lamented that Dusty Baker had evoked racial stereotypes when Baker said at a news conference, “The number one thing that’s missing in the game is speed… you’ve got a better chance of getting speed with Latin and African Americans.” I will admit upfront that I do not have the hubris […]

Unusual Names from the Baseball World

December 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

As Abbott and Costello would say, they sure give baseball players peculiar names nowadays. As I researched my book, Baseball State by State over a five-year period, I kept coming across players with unusual names. So I included many of them in the book, which devotes a chapter to each state and includes all-time teams […]

Joe, You Shoulda Made Us Proud: The Disappointing Baseball Career of Joe Shlabotnik

December 7, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

In the annals of baseball history, one name stands tall and resolute when it comes to futility: Joe Shlabotnik. But surprisingly the Joe Shlabotnik story is not one of failure, but of hope, loyalty and endless optimism as seen through the rosy lens of childhood. Shlabotnik’s career was saved from the eternal scorn it so […]

Reviewing the Unusual 1936 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

December 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The National Baseball Hall of Fame formally opened in 1939 in Cooperstown, New York. However, the concept was established in 1936, and that year the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) was tasked with voting for the inaugural class to be formally inducted three years later. At the time, the BBWAA was only voting on […]

The Sunday Notes: Leftovers Edition

December 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

At some point over the last couple days, chances are you rummaged to find a snack in the refrigerator to find the leftover cranberry sauce sprouting some new life form. Yes, the leftovers time forgot is the theme for this edition of the Sunday notes. Whether writers grabbed some badly needed time away or I […]

Hardball Retrospective – General Manager Trading Scorecard

December 4, 2015 by · 4 Comments 

Inspired by the Philadelphia Phillies chapter in the “Bill James Baseball Abstract 1985” entitled “The Philadelphia Trading Record” (pages 202-206), the following study reveals the best and worst of the “wheelers and dealers” in Major League front offices for the past 65 years. I cross-referenced every trade in the Retrosheet Transaction Database with the Seamheads […]

The Boston Red Sox: The Frugal Shopper’s Guide to Rebuilding the Rest of Their Bullpen

November 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Boston Red Sox made an early splash this offseason, acquiring high-octane closer Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres to anchor their bullpen. With the team coming off a last-place finish in the American League East, and a relief corps whose 4.24 ERA ranked 13th out of 15 teams, it’s a good bet there […]

The Sunday Notes: 2015 Awards Edition

November 22, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

The 2015 award season has come and gone, ending the year. For the twelfth straight year, average attendance per game topped 30,000 and overall gate went up, barely, over last year. All told, 73,760,020 purchased tickets to Major League Baseball games in 2015. Would you believe the first year the average topped 20,000 was 1979 […]

Jim Campanis Jr.: Former Seattle Mariners Catcher Prospect Recounts Career

November 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Baseball fans are typically enthralled by highly regarded prospects. After all, they are the possible future of their respective team, as long as everything goes well with their development. Unfortunately, just being young and talented isn’t an automatic key to a lengthy big league career. Competition is fierce and there are never any guarantees. Jim […]

Hardball Retrospective – 1911 Season Replay

November 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Eddie Plank is listed on the Athletics roster for the duration of his career while the White Sox claim Ed Walsh and the Giants declare Larry Doyle. I […]

My 400th Post on Baseball with Matt and My 2015 MLB Awards Predictions!!

November 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Hey baseball fans! This is my 400th post on Baseball with Matt! I’m so happy that I’ve done so many fun things in my blogging career and it’s all thanks to you: the viewers. To celebrate number 400, I put up a vlog on YouTube in which I try to predict the eight main MLB […]

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