Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Truth Without the Bullstink

(Pretty Woman
walkin' down the street
Pretty Woman
the kind I'd like to meet
Pretty Woman
I don't believe you
you're not the truth,
no one could look as good as you...mercy. Words by Roy Orbison.)

It seems to me the majority of the people need their daily dosage of bullstink. Whether it's how they think they have to behave with their co-workers or just a way of life, in general, bullstink prevails in our lives a whole lot more than the truth. Maybe it is like the Jack Nicholson character said, in A Few Good Men, 'You (most people) cannot handle the truth.'

So here's some BS...
Did you hear or read that 60-year old Billy Crystal signed a one-day contract with the New York Yankees and will don the pinstripes in Thursday's exhibition game (3/13/08)? What kind of B.S. is that?

Now the truth, in detailed figuring and factoring...
Nowadays fans take on the fantasy leagues as a way of enjoying the upcoming season. This may be because their favorite major league team hasn't won anything since these fans participated in Little League or something they became interested in that helps with their fanatical cravings of America's pastime. Whatever, fantasy leagues are as much a part of our pastime as hot dogs, peanuts and beer.

I ran across a site on the internet, Baseball HQ. And in it was Baseball Acronyms of Ron Shandler that piqued my curiosity. (When you're as fanatical as I am about baseball you check most things out. I almost always click on things that are free that could be sent to my email mailbox.)

What it is is an analyses at Baseball HQ. A series of statistical leading indicators that tell us more about a player's performance than traditional statistics. Earned run average (ERA) is used as a measure of pitching skill, but in reality, it's a stat clouded by external noise- variables like bullpen and defense. (Sure, if your pitcher plays on a bad team his true stats won't be realized but that's what makes it fantasy. Steve Carlton's improbable 1972 season is unique. Most times when you have a pitcher who is on a below .500 team his numbers will not be that good. Especially since "wins" are how pitchers really score the points.) So Baseball HQ relies more on gauges that measure fundamental raw skills. These support gauges, what they call base performance indicators (bpi) are more accurate evaluators and predictors of future performance.

For example, the fundamental pitching BPI's are: Control (CTL), Dominance (DOM) and Command (CMD).

CTL (walks per 9-IP) 3.0 or fewer BB/9
DOM (strikeouts per 9-IP) 6.0 or more K/9
CMD (K/BB) Over 2.0 K/BB.

For Hitters, they talk about the Batting Eye, the ratio of walks to strikeouts.
Referring to Bill James' comment that the single most important offensive skill is the ability to get on base, they came up with an on base average which measures the percentage of plate appearances that result in a batter reaching base. Saying that rates of .350 or better are acceptable levels. That batters with OBA's of .300 or under are hurting their team. Ouch!

It's very extensive and not a stone is left unturned. Something that really gets you, the fan, to appreciate a player's skills between the lines of play. And in the end you just may love the game of baseball that much more.

Kevin Marquez