Thursday Theriots for 2/7/13 – All about prospecting

Thursday Theriots for this week focus on the young guys.

An incredible article from Ben Badler at Baseball America about the difficulty of scouting international prospects. As it says in the article, it’s like scouting JV-level players with bigger bodies. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to figure out who stands out and what price is associated with each player. Scouts have a unique talent, one that’s so often overlooked at the major-league level.

Keith Law’s Top 100 Prospects – This is the article I wait for every single year. It’s impressive how much information he puts into each write up. It’s crazy reading the comments about guys thinking he did a terrible job because someone was rated lower than they thought. Just silly.

Also very happy that the O’s have players at #3, 26, 50 and 100. And Machado would likely have been a top 5 guy if he didn’t lose eligibility.

ESPN’s Fantasy Baseball Top 300 – Another list I wait for all offseason. Surprised Braun is ranked above Trout, but I can’t complain. What I really wait for is the auction value list, which is key for my auction draft.

In case you missed it (and I’m sure you all did), I had a little back and forth with Buster Olney via Twitter on Tuesday. I absolutely hate how he uses misleading stats for the sake of the “common reader” and called him out on it. He didn’t like it too much. But I think Keith Law said it best yesterday: “Pitcher wins are a useless stat.” End of story.

Alright, keeping it short for today, as I’m fighting off sickness the best I can…

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Thursday Theriots for 1/31/13 – Why it’s fun to root for mediocre teams

Fewer links and more commentary today.

I definitely suggest checking out all the chats at Fangraphs. But the one from Jeff Sullivan is always the highlight of the week. He’s extremely witty and makes funny responses out of standard questions. For example:

Question: “is it just me or is gio gonzalez’s dad the worst at excuses”

Answer: “he’s probably not the *worst*, but that’s just from the probabilistic perspective”

Classic, just classic.

But there’s a couple lines from the end of the chat that really stand out, as a fan of a team that has been bad for about fifteen years:

fans of bad teams still care because it’s the bad that makes the good. if I were just getting into baseball, and if I had to pick a team to like, I’d pick a bad team over a good team. I want to feel like I earned the success, if and when it ever comes…also, it isn’t just about winning. it’s about the whole experience and the distractions and the coming and going discussion topics that carry us through month after month. baseball is just a thing that goes on and bad teams don’t provide any less material than good teams

I couldn’t have said it better myself. It doesn’t matter if your team is bad or good, you still follow them. It can be frustrating year after year after year, but you don’t give up the hope that next year could be the year it all comes together (like last year for the Orioles). I still get excited when my guys do well and sulk when they hid a bad skid. It’s like we’re in this secret club and those who aren’t in it just don’t get what’s going on.

Back to the links…

I always enjoy skimming the minor league transactions at Baseball America. This time of year, there’s a lot of names you’ll recognize on there. Looks like Charlie Haeger’s getting another shot with the Red Sox.

Why is there still Spring Training in Florida? Because of contracts and politics. Arizona makes so much more sense given the location of all the camps. This article talks about trying to possibly lure another team east, but I don’t see the payoff.

I admit it, I have a thing for rookies in fantasy (football and baseball). I think most of these guys are already gone in one of my leagues where you’re allowed to keep guys their whole careers.

One final thought…I love Craig Calcaterra’s smack down of stupidity in most things he writes. His article on ARod and the idea that he might walk away from his big contract is no different.

Thursday Theriots for 1/24/13

As I do every Thursday, here’s a rundown of interesting links and stories I’ve found all throughout the internet.

Justin Upton has finally been traded. We’ve only been expecting this for the last year or so. Badly handled by the Diamondbacks front office. I was expecting that they would have received more upside in terms of prospects from the Braves. Martin Prado is a solid player, but he’s getting expensive and only has one year left on his contract. Keith Law loves the deal for the Braves, which has generally been what I’ve read on Twitter.

Baseball America has released its preseason Top 25. I really love thinking that baseball is right around the corner. The biggest news though? They have the Wolfpack ranked #8 in the nation. It’s been forty years since they’ve been to the CWS, despite being in super regionals numerous times. Can’t wait to see Trea Turner and Carlos Rodon light it up.

I like Shaun Marcum as rotation filler for the Mets. But I don’t know why they’d be willing to give up the 11th overall pick for Michael Bourn, as has been reported.

Buster Olney has an interesting idea in his Top 10’s. But I’m disappointed that he didn’t take a more rigorous approach. So what if the 1931 Yankees scored more runs than anyone? They played in a high-scoring era. Why not start with a stat like fWAR (yes, I’m a bit enamored with it) that is context-independent?

Yes, baseball is played in Europe. Not at a very high level, but there’s some talent there. I love Carson Cistulli’s regressed stats, such as these for the Dutch league. I would love to see more investment by MLB in Europe, as there’s so much potential.

If you’ve read my bio, you know that my day job is in the language industry. That’s why I love this interview by Nataly Kelly (who just co-wrote a seminal work on translation) with Kenji Nimura, who has served as an interpreter in MLB for a number of years. Talk about combining my interests…

And with that, I leave you until next time.