30 thoughts on “October 5, 2022: Lonely”

        1. Judge, assuming he sits for the entire game, is at 177 hits / 570 at bats = 0.310526316.
          Arraez is at 172 hits / 546 at bats = 0.315018315.

          172 / (546 + x) = 0.3105..., solving for x = 7.89*, so going 0-7 is the worst he could do to maintain the batting average lead (assuming Judge does not bat whatsoever today).

          * Checking the math: 172 / (546 + 7) = .311031 and that's still better than 177/570.

  1. Random thoughts from watching a lot of baseball the last two days:

    I think that the lack of foul territory in modern baseball parks is an underrated contributing factor to the clock time per at-bat in modern-day major league baseball. It seems so hard to foul out these days that it makes it easier to be a flyball hitter, and you are punished less for swinging for the fences deep in the count.

    That plus the shift making it harder to find a gap for a good hit and fielders being as rangy and sure-handed as ever really contribute to increasingly higher incentives to just grind out at-bats and swing for the fences. 20 years ago there were maybe a handful of sub-.230 hitters with some power, but this year there were 19 guys hitting sub-.230 and eyeballing their HR totals on the leaderboard, they averaged somewhere between 15-20 home runs.

    I'm sure I'm late to the party on this, but damn. I was sort of philosophically opposed to banning defensive shifts, because I like the creativity and strategy around it, but I'm coming around to the idea that between faster, stronger players on average -- especially in the 10th, 20th percentile in MLB -- and less foul territory to cover, that defenses actually do need to be hampered in some way in order to improve the incentives for hitters to put the ball in play. One impractical way to deal with this would be to make the entire field of play 10% larger. The strike zone would be wider, but in exchange, pitchers would have to throw a bit farther. A wider strike zone would make it harder for hitters to be so selective at the plate. They might only get marginal quality pitches to swing at, which would reward contact hitters relative to power hitters. That also pushes the incentives more towards pitchers throwing strikes, which helps keep the game moving, too. Pushing the fences back by 35-40 feet would also balance the odds more toward contact hitters relative to power hitters.

    I don't want to seem like a total old man, even though I'm not as young as I once was, because I do like the home run as an incredibly exciting ingredient in a successful baseball recipe, but hell, consider this:

    Roger Maris was listed at 6'0" and 197lbs.

    The top-3 fWAR shortstops right now are 6'2" 185lbs, 6'1" 190lbs, 5'11" 190lbs.

    Aaron Judge is listed at 6'7" and 282 lbs.

    Shortstops today are as big as power hitters from 50 years ago and power hitters today are bigger than anyone was 50 years ago.

    We can blame analytics for influencing the game all we want, but when players keep getting bigger and stronger, and you don't adjust anything about the field of play, it's going to have major implications about the way the game is played sooner or later.

    1. Shortstops today are as big as power hitters from 50 years ago

      Reggie Jackson is listed as 6'0" and 195 lbs. Same with Killebrew. Frank Robinson was 6'1" and 183 lbs.

      1. Good reference points. The weight differential is difficult to understate, IMO. The gap between olympic weightlifting classes is roughly 15 pounds. So Judge is roughly 5.5 weight classes above Maris, somewhat ignoring the fact that these days the superheavyweight category is 240+. (I think it used to be 275+).

        And Judge probably has a personal chef and walks around at a lower bodyfat% than anyone in the league back in β€˜61.

        All this is more to marvel at the progression in the game than anything. Maris was fantastic in his day. I saw a YT video the other day of some HS kid throwing 100+. And it wasn’t like some exhaustive search to find the hardest thrower, there must be at least a couple dozen more out there and they have access to all kinds of great information on productive strength training, sport-specific drills, nutrition, all while their hormones are raging and they are pretty much naturally doping from teenage hormones. The information age is nuts.

        1. I got curious and looked for guys who were considered β€œbigger” in their era, which mainly confined them to first base before the Eighties or so:

          Ralph Kiner (6’2”, 195 lbs) was the same height and about 5 lbs heavier than Byron Buxton
          Orlando Cepeda (6’2”, 210 lbs) was the same height, but 25 pounds lighter, than Mike Trout
          Johnny Mize (6’2”, 215 lbs) was the same size as Nolan Arenado
          Ted Kluszewski (6’2”, 225 lbs) was an inch taller and 8 lbs heavier than Fernando Tatis, Jr.
          Cecil Fielder (6’3”, 230 lbs) was the same height, but (at least) 12 pounds heavier than Manny Machado
          Willie McCovey (6’4”, 195 lbs) was the same height, but 25 pounds lighter than Corey Seager
          Boog Powell (6’4”, 230 lbs) was slightly shorter and notably lighter than Joey Gallo (6’5”, 250 lbs)
          Darryl Strawberry (6’6”, 195 lbs) was the same height, but 50 lbs lighter than Giancarlo Stanton

          About the biggest guys I could think of was a guy who could’ve just as easily played in the NBA or NFL: Dave Winfield. Winfield was listed as 6’6” and a svelte 220 lbs., and he topped out at 37 homers in 1982. Then I thought of Frank β€œthe Washington Monument β€œ Howard (6’7”, 255 lbs.), who maxed out at 48 homers) and was still two weight classes below Judge. Uffda.

          1. The hardest part these days is you need a link to the actual image. Many sites make it look like you're viewing the image but it's actually a page wrapped around the image to prevent deep linking.

            Once you have that, click the "IMG" button and paste in the image URL. That's it.

    2. I think one other thing that doesn't get mentioned often is the lack of turf. I'm too lazy to look it up but I'm sure the batting average on ground balls was much higher on turf.

      1. Yeah, IIRC the dome had some pretty high park factors in the 80s and I’m sure that contributed.

        Also the old turf was like painted concrete compared with modern artificial turf.

    1. It really sucks for Trout and Ohtani, who are really fun players, but considering our relationship with the mid '00s Scioscia-led Angels, this will never not be funny to me.

    2. The most important part of that game was Stephen Vogt hitting a HR in his final career plate appearance.

      I...I believe...I believe in...I believe in Stephen Vogt!

      1. I'm just curious: when/how did Stephen Vogt suddenly become such a beloved figure? I mean, I have nothing against him. I just had no idea he was particularly popular until the last day of the season.

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