In a recent New Yorker article, Malcom Gladwell reported on eye sight in baseball:
The ophthalmologist Louis Rosenbaum tested close to four hundred major- and minor-league baseball players over four years and found an average visual acuity of about 20/13; that is, the typical professional baseball player can see at twenty feet what the rest of us can see at thirteen feet. When Rosenbaum looked at the Los Angeles Dodgers, he found that half had 20/10 vision and a small number fell below 20/9, “flirting with the theoretical limit of the human eye,” as Epstein points out. The ability to consistently hit a baseball thrown at speeds approaching a hundred miles an hour, with a baffling array of spins and curves, requires the kind of eyesight commonly found in only a tiny fraction of the general population.
Eyesight can be improved—in some cases dramatically—through laser surgery or implantable lenses. Should a promising young baseball player cursed with normal vision be allowed to get that kind of corrective surgery?
I found a good precise article looking at stress and sports titled Stress Appraisal: Challenge vs Threat By Phin Naughton. It is only 650 words in length, but goes over some great academic findings with stress. While these concepts can’t be easily quantified, they just can’t be ignored. Here are some of points I found the most interesting.
I am doing some research on a high release point volatility and 1st inning struggles. I noticed the possible correlation looking at James Shields and Yu Darvish. The theory is it takes a while for these pitchers to setting in and by then the damage could be done.
While running the numbers, Adam Wainwright’s name showed up having an inconsistent release point similar to Darvish and Shields. Here are the results of the three pitchers and the league values. The first inning is usually harder for a pitcher because they face the top of the lineup, but these three struggle more than normal.
||1st IP ERA
||2nd to 3rd IP ERA
With the post-season nearing its end, quite a bit of talk exists about which player or team is clutch or not clutch. The Cardinals were clutch in the regular season. Shane Victorino was clutch Saturday night. Carlos Beltran was clutch in Game 1 against the Dodgers. MLB.com even has clutch performance videos. Heck there has even been a mid post-season clutch team. With all the talk of clutch, some writers have examined how the concept and numbers behind clutch don’t exist or idea of clutch raises to many misconceptions and half truths. The problem with all clutch based arguments, the idea of clutch is a positive trait. I believe the complete opposite. — being clutch means the player is distracted and lazy and only cares if the game is on a big stage.
To start out here are two main assumptions about a player:
- When a player is at top physical form and locked in mentally they are at 100%.
- A player can only give 100%, nothing more.
So if a player is able to turn it up to 100% when a game is on the line or in the post-season, they bring their game up from a lower level. So at what level were they playing at the rest of the time. 90%? 75%? 50%?
Lewie Pollis recently wrote an article at Beyondtheboxscore.com where he looked at the cost for wins in the free agent market. While there is some discussion on his findings, I found the following graph interesting (GDP source).
What caught my attention was the lack of smoothness at the end of the graph. It sort of mirror the nation’s economy … all over the place. So I went ahead and plotted the free agent cost and the GDP. Additionally, I plotted their correlation.
Yep, it looks like free agent values have pretty much fallen right in line with the GDP. Not really a surprise, just verification.
Jarrod Parker experienced arm fatigue in his Game 3 start, but he may be available tonight in relief. Here is a quick look at what went wrong in his last start. Also how to check to see if has the same issues tonight or later in the playoffs if the A’s win.
Both of the issues can be seen is this graph from brooksbaseball.net.
In the 5th inning, a couple of items happened. He abandoned his change and slider and went with his fastball only. Also, he lost about 3 mph on his fastball in the 5th inning. He went from throwing 91-92 mph to 88 to 89 mph. Basically, he could only throw was a slower version of his fastball.
If he pitches again in the playoff, I would be monitoring his average fastball velocity (needs to stay in the 91 to 92 mph range. Also, he needs to mix in some breaking balls.
After several requests, I added 2013 and 2011 to 2013 umpire K%, BB% and Zone% values for left and right-handed hitters.
Link to page.
Last night I heard a little grumbling about the Indians-Astros game getting called early. The Indians, the home team, won 2-1 in a 7 inning game. I decided to got back and see if the umpires were more likely to call a game with the home team winning vice losing.
I found there to be 269 games called early over the past 30 years. The home team won 143 times for a winning percentage of 53.2%. Historically, the home team wins 54% of the time, so no bias exists in calling the game.
Since I had the data available, I went ahead and plotted the number of games called early along with a three year average.
The number of games dipped in the mid-80′s and has been slowly rising since then.
While browsing the great and wonderful internet, I found the aging curves for testosterone (don’t ask) . It and the hitter’s aging curve are eerily similar to each other.
Testosterone Aging Curve
Hitter Aging Curves (link and link)
I don’t have the knowledge to make too in-depth of conclusions, but some similarities exist. The average peak age and that some players peak later than others are the two likenesses which stick out.