Monday, January 30, 2006

Let's get some things straight

Ok everyone, this is pretty much the post to help all posts in the future. Here I will be explaining some of the key terms of baseball writing in today's day and age. Since forever, baseball historians and statisticians have been trying to come up with ways to judge a player's performance on the field. First came the basic stats: Batting average(BA), runs-batted-in(RBI), keeping track of homeruns(HR) for hitters... For pitchers: Earned run average(ERA), and win/loss record's were the original stats.

However, nowadays is a little different, and here is why: In the past, as technology has gone up, so has the need to for better knowledge, and in the sport of baseball, that is no different. Reading scouting reports and stat-sheets in today's age can be as difficult as a three-year-old child trying to read transcripts of the Nuremburg Trials... it just isn't easy. VORP, PECOTA and pythagorean win expectancy; they all are out there, as goofy as they sound. However, reading the next few portions of this blog should bring you up to date.

VORP- Value Over Replacement Player, or, VORP, is one of the most common uses to determine how valuable a player is to his team. When it refers to "Replacement Player" the theory is taking in to account how a minor league player without any experience in the majors would fare. Examples are always good, so here is one: Albert Pujols, one of the best players in the National League has a VORP of 98.8 which is to say Pujols would create about 99 more runs than a minor league replacement, in the same number of at-bats.

PECOTA- One of the greatest inventions of baseball statisticians is PECOTA. PECOTA is a system that combines every imaginable factor into one simple translation of talent. Each year around late-January, the PECOTA rankings are released. These rankings attempt to predict how a player will perform in the upcoming season. Along with the predictions, PECOTA also attempts to show the reader who the player compares to in baseball history in terms of talent, age, and other factors.

Pythagenport- Also known as Pythagorean Win Expectancy Percentage, Pythagenport is a way to show if a team is playing over or under their talent in regards to how many games they have won. With a complex mathematical equation (I will spare you the details, but lets just say, its complicated.) the statisticians that put out this number can decide what a team's record should be by looking at many factors, but most importantly, runs scored for their team, and runs scored against their team. The greater differential between the two (in a positive way) the better the PWE% will be.

So those are the major components that I will be using throughout the duration of this blog, if anymore terms come up that are essential for use, I will explain them as need be. Enjoy!

--Mr. Mariner

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Off-Season 2005-06 and what's to come

Well wow... Who even knows what to say about this offseason? I guess the ownership is really banking on the young guys (Yuniesky Betancourt, Jose Lopez, Kenji Johjima and Jeremy Reed) to have big comeback years (or rookie year's in the case of Johjima.)

The general consensus at the beginning of the offseason was that the front office had somewhere between 20-30 million to spend in the offseason, what did they do? Pay a number three starter with number one money (Jarrod Washburn 4 yrs, $37.5 million.) With that signing taking up nearly half of the team's alloted free agency budget, and still two gaping holes left to fill (a left handed bat with "sock" as Bavasi puts it, and a catcher.) The left handed-sock? Jeromy Burnitz? Nope... Carlos Delgado? Nuh uh... Carl Everett?! DING DING DING! Tell him what he's won! A crappy hitter who, at best, would make a good six-hole hitter and who is on the downside of his career... Joy.

All of this raging optimism makes this season sound very promising doesn't it? Well, there are a few bright spots coming up.

First, the signing of Japanese import, Kenji Johjima, is a move that I whole-heartedly adore. With the success that players from Japan have had in Seattle at an all-time high (see: Ichiro, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Shigetoshi Hasegawa.) For what equates to about the money for a bench player in today's market, the Mariners may have gotten themselves one helluva catcher, a hole which has been there since the retirement of Dan Wilson.

Of course, the one thing that all Seattle fan's will agree with and be excited about; a full year of the phenom, Felix Hernandez. The 19-year-old pitcher could be the long bright spot on this year's team, much as he was last year. Let's just hope he doesn't flame out like so many other pitchers have in major league history.

Along with the signing of Johjima, the young players' development should provide some interesting growing pains along with some great joys, stay tuned to this blog for updates from Spring Training in beautiful Peoria, Ariz. on the "Baby Mariners" and their progress on bringing the Seattle Mariners back to where they belong; At the top of the American League Western Divison.
--Mr. Mariner