Thread: Stage Four

It doesn’t exist. But we keep hoping.

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I wonder if Baseball America is sending writers, or even one writer, to the various instructional camps that are in progress now?

Joe Lemire on the gatherings this summer:

“I think it’s just a whole different environment now,” said Logan White, a Padres senior adviser and their director of player personnel. “At the alternate site, they’re competing against more polished guys who played Triple A and major leagues, so you’re seeing them in an even more competitive environment in some ways.”

That made scouting easier. No longer did a front office have to project a prospect’s performance against a higher level of play. The Rays’ McClanahan, who has only four starts at the Class AA level, cited the better competition at the club’s alternate site in Port Charlotte, Fla., as a major benefit.

Alex Patton Alex
Oct 16 '20
1) I love that the new league I'm in allows only 6 non-miinor league keepers and that salaries/contracts are very simple -- you just add $5 to everyone who gets kept (no contracts).
It makes the auction 100x more fun because so many big names are in.

2) Also me (in my other leagues) -- how will I possibly cut to only 15 keepers.

3) These aren't mutually exclusive. If I had to add $5 to my other league salaries, getting under 15 keepers would be simple.
Kent Ostby Seadogs
Sep 18 '20

Baseball itself, very plainly, is about to enter its own Stage Four. Manfred is already talking about extending the vastly expanded postseason that we are about to witness into next season.

Here's what Patrick Dubuque of Baseball Prospectus has to say about that.

It’s not hard to understand why the owners are in favor of making this permanent: More playoff games equals more television and gate revenue. It’s the creation of a set of dramatic, vital contests, except that it isn’t really creation so much as transference. Baseball is extracting the drama and importance of 162 regular season contests and concentrating them into a single week in October, where it can be packaged for a national audience. It’s a classic case of chasing short-term profits at the cost of eroding the foundation of the sport, but in this case, it’s necessary because it allows for … even greater short-term profits at the cost of eroding an even greater foundation of the sport...

The same chaos that makes baseball the best regular season sport is what awards its championships to wild card teams that get the calls, the bounces, and the sun doubles.

Expanding the playoffs will only flood the game with more of these lottery balls, and the effect will be disastrous. With no way for the favorites to actually be heavily favored (The Dodgers, a .700 team, don’t even have better-than-even odds of winning consecutive playoff series), the window in which a team is justified in spending on free agents becomes incredibly tight. The winters will be barren, and the transaction list in early November will look like an abattoir with all the non-tenders. Baseball’s regular season will become a glorified six-month waiting period, with the occasional spice of seeing some team lose their star for the season to injury. Everything eventually gets sacrificed upon the altar of October. 

Alex Patton Alex
Sep 17 '20

I imagine last licks has to be worth something. The rest is less quantifiable.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jul 22 '20

We haven't heard from Stage Four in a while, so I'm posting this one here.

Jayson Stark, trying to figure out what's going to happen in this season like no other:

Once upon a time, there used to be this thing called “home-field advantage.” We’ve long wondered what it meant and what fueled it. In baseball, home teams had a winning percentage of .529 last year, back in the days when real people used to sit in real seats. But now that those seats will be occupied by cardboard cutouts, is it possible home-field advantage will no longer be an actual thing? Let’s discuss.

Welcome to the great Home-Field Advantage Lab Experiment of 2020. Will home teams still win more games than they lose, even with no fans in the stands? Who the heck knows?

“We honestly don’t know how much impact (no fans) will have on home-field advantage,” said one AL exec. “But I will say this: The only scenario is that it will have a negative impact. There’s no scenario where it will have a positive impact. None.”

We don’t have a big database to study the actual impact of games with no fans. But the New York Times just took a deep dive through the prism of German soccer, AKA the Bundesliga. It found that home-field advantage all but disappeared, to the tune of a 10-percentage-point drop in home winning percentage, compared with games played with fans in attendance.

“Who knows if it will play out that way in our sport, but it makes sense,” said a GM who called my attention to that story. “Is there some psychological impact of playing in a stadium where thousands of people are on your side, versus playing when thousands of people are not on your side — and now playing in a stadium where no one is there at all? Piped-in noise is not going to have a favorite, right? It’s just there.”

Well, we’ll find that out, too. But one thing we do know is that baseball always has had the smallest home-field impact among the major sports. So if home-field advantage is about to disappear, at least there’s less of it to disappear:

Home-field win pct., last 5 full seasons

NBA: .583
NFL: .561
MLB: .534

Now maybe there will still be a home-field comfort zone that stems from other factors. Is there going to be an advantage, for example, for home teams that aren’t dealing with the stress of travel during a pandemic? For teams that bat last? For teams like the Yankees and Astros that have been at least somewhat built for their home park? For pitchers who prefer the feel of their home mound?

Possibly. But the most extensive recent research on this subject shows that home-field advantage has almost nothing to do with any of that. It’s nearly entirely about the psychological impact that fans have on umpires and officials. Imagine that.

That was the powerful conclusion of University of Chicago economist Tobias Moskowitz and his co-author, long time Sports Illustrated writer Jon Wertheim, in their 2011 book, “Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports are Played and Games are Won.”

And they found that was true in every sport, including baseball. Despite all your suspicions about Joe West and Angel Hernandez, it turns out that there is documentable evidence that umpires, in general, would rather avoid the aggravation of what the authors call “the wrath of fans” — so they make close calls that consistently tend to go the home team’s way. Who knew!

So unless those cardboard cutouts are about to get a lot more intimidating than they appear, those umpires will no longer have that wrath to fear — and those home teams are about to miss their favorite paying customers more than ever.

Alex Patton Alex
Jul 22 '20

Quite a battle. I was tied for first with three other teams in the last round, but Nicklaus pulled away with his last pick, the second to last in the draft.

What? You don't remember Ralph LaPoint, shortstop for the Phillies?

He actually had a decent year. I should have taken him as my middle infielder instead of Snuffy Sternweiss, but as a Jersey boy I couldn't resist Snuffy.

I had the first pick and picked Warren Spahn.

Number 42 made it to the third pick in the second round.

With the last pick in the second round, I took the AL MVP, Joe DiMaggio.

Ted Williams who lost out to the Yankee Clipper by one vote in 1947, was the seventh pick in the first round. By Nicklaus in this eight-team league. How he slipped that far is almost as bad as what happened in 1947.

Somehow, even with eight teams, even with the stats already in the books (or because), the draft lasted more than four hours.

Alex Patton Alex
Jun 18 '20

The XFL retro tonight (8 PM) is... 1947.

Will 42 be the first pick??

Alex Patton Alex
Jun 17 '20

A very interesting chart as we head into the real-life draft.

2020 MLB Draft Starts Today

Top 10 picks

1Detroit Tigers107247
2Baltimore Orioles71147
3Miami Marlins59243
4Kansas City Royals57644
5Toronto Blue Jays40534
6Seattle Mariners58140
7Pittsburgh Pirates40738
8San Diego Padres29136
9Colorado Rockies28335
10Los Angeles Angels49544

* - career WAR among MLB players selected in this slot
^ - number of MLB players selected in this slot

The tenth pick has been far better than the eighth and ninth picks.

Not surprisingly, the first pick is worth tanking for.

Alex Patton Alex
Jun 10 '20

But even more so your team needs to have slots to add them. 

Or, if you put together an offense early, you need to bear in mind that your place in the standings is an illusion. I was good in HR and great in RBI and Runs when I added Jarrod Dyson, gaining something like six points in SB, which kept me at the top of the standings, and Dexter Fowler kept me there in the 17th, but with no outfield holes to fill all the other teams moved past me. An obvious mistake in hindsight, but at the time I looked strong.

Gaming out projected points in each category and getting that right seems a necessity now to get the right balance during the draft.

Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Jun 5 '20
So the lesson being big contributors in individual categories need to be tracked towards the end?
Kent Ostby Seadogs
Jun 5 '20