Spend your opening day lunch hour with me

| March 30, 2011

I’ll be hosting a little opening day chat at noon on Thursday. The A’s aren’t playing and the Giants don’t start until 5, so you won’t miss anything. You know you won’t be able to focus on your job with the excitement of opening day, so come by here and ask me anything about the Giants, A’s or MLB in general.

Click after the jump and you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address to get a reminder.

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Award predictions

| March 30, 2011

This is even more fun than picking the division winners. Here you get to really go a little crazy.

MVP

NL: Troy Tulowitzki. Since I picked the Rockies to edge out the Giants, I’m going to be consistent. I think Tulo is a major stud, all the good of A-Rod and Derek Jeter, combined. He’s gotta win an MVP some time. Why not now?

AL: Carl Crawford. Again, it’s usually best to stick to the best teams and pick the best player on the best team. Crawford has been under-the-radar in Tampa. Put him in this lineup, in this ballpark, and watch him go.

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Prediction time

| March 28, 2011

I had been planning to do some real research before coming up with my extensive predictions, but then I had this sudden epiphany: My predictions usually suck more when I put more thought into them. There is a point of diminishing returns on baseball knowledge as it applies to baseball predictions. A lot of stuff just can’t be foreseen, so you might as well wing it.

So, here goes, division by division…

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Some interesting odds

| March 25, 2011

Just got this from bodog.com. It’s interesting, not that I would ever bet on baseball…

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Opening day rosters: who cares?

| March 25, 2011

Every spring there is lots of debate about who will win jobs and roster spots on opening day. Really, though, we shouldn’t care so much.

It’s just one day out of 183 days of the season, and the roster can change 183 times. Does it matter who is on the roster in the first game? Nope.

Let’s look back a year at the Giants opening day 2010 roster. (I have to snicker at the fact that Dan Brown, who filled in for Baggs that day, actually used the phrase “final roster.” Yes, it was the “final” opening day roster, which means it was etched in stone for one entire game.) Anyway, if you look at that, you’ll see that John Bowker was there, as the starting right fielder no less.  You’ll see Waldis Joaquin and Brandon Medders were there in the bullpen. Eugenio Velez was there. Mark DeRosa was there. Freddy Sanchez (injured), Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and Pat Burrell weren’t there.

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Bonds, Giants injuries, Cahill

| March 24, 2011

Yeah, I’ve been gone for a bit, but I have a good excuse. Anyway, while I’ve been out I’ve spent a lot of time following what’s been happening with the A’s, Giants and our old friend Barry Bonds. So, here go a few thoughts:

SI’s Joe Posnanski, one of the best writers in the country, wrote a great piece on how he feels about this Bonds trial. His point, with which I agree 100 percent, is that this is a bad bad thing because we aren’t going to happy with either result. Either baseball’s all-time home run king is going to be convicted of perjury, and officially proven to have knowingly cheated the game, or the federal government is to going to lose and show that they’ve pretty much wasted a lot of time and money over the past seven years. Seven years!

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Is Hideki Matsui really clutch?

| March 14, 2011

Watched much of the A’s game on TV yesterday. It was good to see a real, full big league lineup for any team in spring training, and even more interesting for the A’s, since their lineup is supposed to be so much better. During the game, Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse referred to Hideki Matsui as a real “run producer,” and they mentioned his prowess hitting with runners in scoring position.

I’ve always been quite skeptical of this. It’s my understanding that the numbers just don’t support the idea that “clutch hitting” is a skill. This is not really news to the saber-minded among you, I realize. For the rest of you, the research indicates that hitters will hit at roughly the same rates over all their plate appearances regardless of whether there are runners in scoring position, if given a big enough sample. The small sample sizes of at-bats with runners in scoring position will have a natural variance, just the same way as a guy may hit better on Tuesdays for an entire year. It doesn’t make him a “good Tuesday hitter.”

But I wanted to see if maybe there is something to all this with Matsui. I’ve been hearing the clutch stuff about him for years. So I looked up his annual averages with RISP, compared with his overall averages. Why such a 20th century stat as batting average, instead of OBP, SLG or OPS? Well, when the reason it’s called “scoring position” is because runners can score on most any hit. So the batter just needs to get a hit to get the run in. In this case, a double is not necessarily better than a single and a walk is not as good as a single (unless the bases are loaded, of course). So, for our purposes here, old fashioned BA is good.

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