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Yo Joe! Bowling, Jays, College Kicks

From Brilliant Reader Alex:

Yo Joe! If the Jays and Royals both miss the playoffs (Jays almost certainly will, and you never go wrong betting against the Royals), whose fans should be more disappointed?  The obvious answer is the Royals … but I think the answer might be Blue Jays fans, for a few reasons:
– The Royals have overachieved this year … the Jays have a better run differential than KC.
– The Jays have been hit hard by injuries, with Lind and, especially, Encarnacion spending time on the DL, to say nothing of Izturis (zero games), Lawrie, Rasmus, and so on.
– Even if things don’t go right for the Royals next year, they have a young nucleus and hope, and the Tigers should only get worse.  The Jays, on the other hand, have missed a rare opportunity when both the Yankees and Red Sox aren’t very good.


Good points. Both sets of fans should obviously feel hugely disappointed. But the Jays sort of fell out of it a while ago while the Royals still cling to that second wild card, even while manager Ned Yost is apparently taking a crash course called “How to be a manager.” The overall disappointment might go to Toronto but if the Royals miss the postseason this year it will be more of a punch in the gut.

From Brilliant Reader Jeremy:

Yo Joe! I understand it varies per team, coaching situation/stability, system, etc., but at what point does a team realize that a quarterback doesn’t have what it takes to be successful in the NFL? The Browns, for example, have gone through Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden for less than two seasons each.  Was that really enough time to make a complete assessment and decide that they wouldn’t be successful in the long run?  For comparison’s sake, Joey Harrington (who is now 35 by the way, whoa) had four seasons to show that he wasn’t very good – but at least by then there was little room for doubt. 


I actually find the whole concept of NFL quarterbacks succeeding/failing to be absolutely fascinating. Would Tom Brady have been a star if he the Browns had drafted him? Would Akili Smith have flamed out if he had been selected by a coach like Belichick? The Kansas City Chiefs were DYING to draft Brady Quinn — would his story have been different if that had happened? Would it have been worse? RGIII was so good his rookie year — viewed by many as THE quarterback of the future — and now he’s beat up and many Hogs fans think Kirk Cousins is the right guy.

The NFL quarterback position is unique, I think. It takes so many divergent skills — many that scouts and coaches themselves seem unable to pinpoint. The facts that Joe Montana was a third-round pick and John Unitas was released and Kurt Warner was bagging groceries tell me that everybody is sort of guessing. There are certain players who OBVIOUSLY have all the skills — Manning, Luck, Elway, etc. Sometimes even players like that fail, though.

Anyway, I’m fascinated by the whole thing. I don’t think NFL teams give quarterbacks enough time to develop but, then, the NFL is not a development league. It’s a win-now league. It’s rare for a quarterback to get the Aaron Rodgers treatment, where he gets to learn from a great starter for a while. Perform quick or you’re out. It ain’t fair but you know what Jerry Glanville said NFL stands for — Not For Long.

From Brilliant Reader Cory:

Yo Joe! Say the Angels (or any other AL team you choose) advance to the World Series and are given a choice: They can play the NLCS winner OR the Colorado Rockies, but the Rockies will be given four outs an inning. Normal DH rules will apply. What do they do?


I’d want to do a full investigation but my gut feeling is that you would rather face the 1927 Yankees than the 2014 Colorado Rockies with four outs. You’d rather face an All-Star team. Four outs is WAY too big an advantage — my sense is Rockies would win by 10 runs.

But I admit I’m guessing a little. I’m sure some other Brilliant Readers will have some thoughts.

From Brilliant Reader Lee:

At pretty much the exact same time as the Thanksgiving scandal, just 2 or 3 months later the R&A rules regarding groove depth came into
effect.  Tiger has not won a major since.  If there had  been no sex
scandal, don’t you think that this would be raised as more of an
He was always wild off the tee relative to other players. … He always made remarkable recovery shots from the rough … The groove rule was specifically designed to make the rough penalise
players more.
Tiger has not won a major since the rule change. … It just feels as if first the Sex Scandal, then years later the injuries have obscured what could well be the reason, and at the very least would be a major talking point about the reason.


I asked Tom Watson about this very thing. He suggested that the groove changes were not major enough to affect Tiger adversely. I’m not saying he’s right but he does know a little more about golf than I do, and he did not buy the theory at all.

From Brilliant Reader Rick:

So I get that you don’t want to spoil the suspense of your top picks before you finally get to Duane Kuiper at  #1. But since you have immersed yourself in evaluating players from every era, perhaps you could disclose this opinion: if you had to create a roster using the all-time best players from each team, which club would come out on top?

The obvious answer would be the Yankees, who can field Hall of Famers at every position. But other teams can match up well with them at the plate (the Tigers come to mind), and while the Yankees can throw Hall of Fame pitchers like Whitey Ford and Lefty Gomez, the Red Sox can start Cy Young and Lefty Grove (and the Sox Roger Clemens was better than the Yanks Roger Clemens).


A new project! I might play around with this one when I get some free time (2058). In the meantime, I’m pretty sure the Yankees would be the best, but I’d sure like that Dodgers pitching with Koufax and Kershaw. The Cardinals would be awfully good too.

From Brilliant Reader Rich:

Yo Joe! There were 302 events in 26 sports at the 2012 Summer Olympics and 98 events in seven sports at the 2014 Winter Olympics.  Why don’t some sports lobby to be shifted to the Winter Olympics, in order to increase their visibility?  I’m thinking specifically of an event like wrestling, which is played during the winter at high school and college levels.  Wouldn’t that be an enormous benefit to some sports?


I’ve been lobbying for years to make bowling a Winter Olympic sport. They say you can’t have a winter sport without snow or ice — but there’s plenty of ice in bowling … to cool the beer.

From Brilliant Reader Rick:

Your comment on doing away with specialized kickers brought back an idea I’ve had for years, because specialization applies to more than kickers.  You have third down pass rushers, third down backs, nickel defensive backs, punt returners, etc.  What if you could only substitute on first down?  If you’re on the field for first down you stay there until another first down is made or possession changes.
It would mean the development of players with a wider assortment of skills, and would help eliminate the extreme body types.  How many 350 pound linemen would there be if you didn’t have the luxury of subbing them out after a play or two?  How many prima donna wide receivers would there be if they had to be able to block on third and short?
If I can’t have that one, my second favorite idea is this: A golf tournament where everyone shows up at a muni on Thursday morning and is handed a bag of rental clubs and a dozen random balls.  THAT would be entertaining golf.


I have also wondered if the crazy specialization in football is part of what has made the game more dangerous … I’m actually strongly in favor of changing the substitution rules a bit in football. I’d also like to see less coaching from above and more players calling their own plays. But I’m guessing both ships have sailed.

The golf tournament would be great … they should have a wooden racket tennis tournament the same week.

From Brilliant Reader Byron:

Yo Joe! My friends and I have had this argument for a while (over 20 years), but never got a conclusive answer. You’re our only hope. Here’s the scenario: if animal fighting was allowed, which would win between a gorilla and a grizzly bear? Assume that both are equal amounts angry (I don’t know how you’d determine this) and both are on a neutral field (maybe in Wichita) so that environment doesn’t affect each combatant’s performance. I say the grizzly bear in a walk.


Finally an important question. The guy in this video says he picks the grizzly bear, and he sounds authoritative. But I can say without hesitation that Magilla Gorilla stomps Yogi Bear.

From Brilliant Reader Dan:

Yo Joe! Here’s one I’ve thought about from time to time. In college football, why isn’t the holder of a field goal or extra point down when he receives the ball with a knee down.I guess it’s “just the way it is”, but always kinda thought it was an oddity that’s rarely pointed out.


Great. You’ve ruined college field goals for me forever. You are exactly right.

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110 Responses to Yo Joe! Bowling, Jays, College Kicks

  1. 18thstreet says:

    I’m so happy about that ‘four outs’ question. I have an equally stupid/awesome question, and now I have a place to ask it!

  2. Steve says:

    Holders aren’t down immediately because the rules say so. There’s an explicit exception to rule 4-1-3-b that exempts holders from being down, provided there is a kicker lined up behind them.

    I’m quite sure that four outs is an enormous advantage that would trump the talent differential between any two major league teams.

    • Dan says:

      I actually saw a play once where the team ran a trick play with the kicker running around the back of the holder. The holder then threw the ball over his head to the kicker, who then picked up the first down. The ref stopped the play though, because as soon as the kicker came out from behind the holder, the holder was ruled down.

  3. Tim says:

    The four outs hypothetical ignores that the reason the Rockies are utterly abominable isn’t really their offense, although their offense is poor away from Coors Field, the Rockies do lead the National League in runs. Their pitching, on the other hand, is worst on the league both at home and on the road.

    The Padres are the team for the four outs hypothetical. And although an offense paced by Seth Smith and Rene Rivera should scare no one, it’s not like they have 9 Dan Ugglas in that lineup, so the four out series would be a sweep.

  4. I love the idea of handing out rental clubs to pro golfers. Here’s another idea: have them trade bags after each round. They do something similar in horse jumping, where the riders compete on their opponents’ horse. The most obvious sport to do it in is auto racing, but somehow I don’t think teams would be eager to hand over their $20 million car to a rival.

    • MCD says:

      I remember one of the game shows of the late 60’s – early 70’s (Truth or Consequences perhaps?) sent out two guys to compete in a round of golf with a bagfull of not actual golf clubs ( a rake, a baseball bat, etc.). Presumably this was inspired by the golfer/con-man John Montague I remember thinking “this will be good”, and all they did was come back the next week and said something like “Dave beat Bo 58 to 62” (for nine holes). I don’t even remember them showing any highlights/lowlights. I was so disappointed.

  5. Richie says:

    Rick, you may be interested in “The Big Book of Baseball Lineups” by Rob Neyer. It’s good!

  6. Jaack says:

    For the all-time rosters, I think the Giants are worth mentioning just for the outfield of Mays, Bonds, and Ott. The rest of the lineup is pretty meh for an old team (though there is a hell of a competition at 1st base), but no one can compete with that outfield.

    • Dave says:

      Ruth, Mantle, DiMaggio…

      Or, if you include players that were on a team for only one year but credit their entire careeers, Simmons, Cobb, and Speaker were in the same outfield for the A’s at the same time (not many games though).

    • Patrick Bohn says:

      I mean, from a career value perspective, DiMaggio’s short career tips the scales in favor of the Giants, but I don’t get the sense that’s what the question is talking about. It’s taking the players at their peaks while they were on the team, and there, for example, the DiMaggio/Ott comparison is much more even.

      • Richard says:

        I’d say the one rule you need is that a player must go with the team he was on the longest, and no other. Sorry, Red Sox, Carlton Fisk spent more years with the White Sox than he did with you….

        • DB says:

          I think you need some rules. One is Richard’s rule, they need to be with the team they spent the longest (if tied, he can be on multiple teams). Then I think you need to pick a time frame. I would say five year peak non-continuous seasons averaged so avoid war and injuries and get true talent level (and I think it can be his stats with other teams as that designated team is now his team and all stats should belong to his designated team).

          • John says:

            The 5 year spread is interesting. In one year, there’s an argument for Maris ’61 over Dimaggio ’39 (especially because you already have Mantle for CF); but in a 5 year spread, there’s no contest.

            I think by this logic, a player has to have played with 1 team for the entire 5 years.

        • John says:

          I think you can only have the player at an age when he was on the team. The Red Sox can have Fisk at 29 while the White Sox can have him at 35.

          • Patrick Bohn says:

            Jim’s rule makes more sense to me. Honestly, Dave Winfield is probably the 2nd best Padre ever, but he played more games/years with the Yankees (whose outfield he’d never appear in anyway). I’d have a hard time saying he couldn’t be on the Padres all-time team

          • Patrick Bohn says:

            John– If we’re going one year, then forget DiMaggio *and* Maris. Rickey Henderson played for the Yankees from 1985 through the first half of 1989. In 1985, he posted the highest single season WAR (9.9) from any Yankee ever who wasn’t Ruth, Gehrig, or Mantle.

            .314/.419/.516 with 24 HRs, 80 SB/10 CS, and he was +13 runs in the field.

          • John says:

            Patrick- Good point about Henderson, though I’m always suspicious of WAR defensive numbers for players before the play-by-play video was available.

            I would choose Dimaggio over Henderson for another reason: though he (and Mantle) didn’t record many stolen bases, everyone I’ve heard from says that they had the speed and the baserunning ability to have stolen 40-50 bases per year if they’d wanted to. I’d take Joe D’s .381/.448/.671 (’39) or .357/.440/.643 (’41) or .346 /.412/.673 (’37).

          • otistaylor89 says:

            Who needs Fisk when we have Pedro, Clemens, Lefty Grove and Cy Young – game over. The Yankees don’t even have anyone close to our 4th worst player. Cy would drill the Babe in the ass. We could have Gary Allenson catching with that crew…

    • Woodman says:

      Beyond the OF of Mays, Bonds, Ott, you’d have Matt Williams or Freddie Lindstrom at 3B, Travis Jackson at SS, Jeff Kent or Frankie Frisch at 2B, and Willie Mac, Orlando Cepeda, and Bill Terry to cover 1B and DH (if DHs are to be included). Then you could use Walker Cooper or Buster Posey at catcher. Your pitching staff is Mathewson, Hubbell, Perry, Marichal, and maybe Lincecum in his prime. You’d have Nen, Beck, and Brian Wilson as your closers/relievers. That’s not too shabby at all.

  7. Bill Caffrey says:

    I’m aware that the Winter Olympics are limited to snow and ice events but I have long thought it would make sense to move a few indoor Summer Olympics events to the winter. It could ease some of the glut in the Summer Olympics, in which so many sports get lost in the shuffle, it would get sports more exposure, and it would increase the profile of the Winter Olympics to have a bit more diversity. It would also have the benefit of creating interest in the Winter Olympics in some countries that otherwise don’t compete there.

    My biggest sport for this is volleyball. Ever since the introduction of Beach Volleyball, volleyball has been something of an afterthought at the Summer Olympics. Why not play it in the Winter? The Winter Olympics could really use another team sport. They have only hockey, whereas the Summer has basketball, soccer, volleyball, handball, field hockey, water polo. Move volleyball to the winter and suddenly Brazil (and other nations) have an interest in the Winter Olympics that they don’t presently have.

    I think that would have the biggest impact, but there’s no real reason why the same could not be done for wrestling as Rich suggested, or weightlifting, judo, boxing, etc. None of those need to be in the summer. I’m not aware that the IOC has ever even considered removing the snow/ice requirement from the Winter Olympics, but I wish they would.

    • Steve says:

      I think the trend will be toward smaller Olympics, not larger. The sanely run countries of the world are beginning to opt out of Olympic bids after the fifty billion dollar absurdity that was Sochi. Norway is one of the richest countries in the world and loves the Winter Olympics more than the USA loves the Super Bowl. Yet they may cancel their bid for the 2022 games in the face of strong public opposition. That would leave Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing as the candidate cities. The logical step for the IOC (and FIFA for that matter) will be to scale back their insane demands.

    • Mark Daniel says:

      If they already introduced beach volleyball, why not snow volleyball? It’s equally ridiculous.

      • Chris M says:

        Snow volleyball sounds awesome. I love this idea. We all remember playing football in the snow as kids and how much more fun it was, why not just add snow to random sports?

  8. thoughtclaw says:

    Yogi’s not a grizzly, though, is he? I think he’s just a regular American brown bear.

  9. Jake Bucsko says:

    The Rockies are an interesting test case for this because their offense is comfortably the best in the NL while their pitching is an abomination. Do the Rockies pitchers also have to make four outs? I’m assuming no. Here is some math I did to try to figure out how the Rockies would change if their hitters had four outs:

    The Rockies are 60-91, but their Pythagorean win expectancy is 67-84 as their run differential is -89. They have scored 684 runs and given up 773. If the Rockies score 684 runs per game, that is 4.53 per game, or .168 per out, if you divide by 27. .168 per out times 36 outs is 6.04 runs per game.

    If the Rockies had scored 6.04 runs a game this year, that comes out to 912 for the season which gives them a new run differential of +139, which would be about a 97 win tram over the course of a full season. The Rockies Pythagorean projection this year is about 72 wins, so a 25 win improvement sounds about right.

    I didn’t factor in losing an inning for winning at home, or extra innings, so hopefully that’s mostly a wash. Anyway, the point is that I think the Rockies with 4 outs an inning would just be really good, not some kind of unbeatable super team that would crush the Angels by 10 runs a game.

    • Steve says:

      That misses a crucial point: Runs will not go up by a factor of 4:3. They will go up by considerably more than that, because the end of an inning erases baserunners. Four outs gives you much more chance to score your existing baserunners. In the absurdum, imagine that you got one 27-out inning. Almost every baserunner would score, except those erased on double plays, and a few who got on very late in the inning. OBP would be everything. In the absurdum the other way, imagine 27 one-out innings. Scoring would be very, very difficult except by the home run. OBP would mean little, SLG would mean all.

      Here we’re talking about adding nine outs, but in a way that would increase scoring much more than giving the Rockies 12 nine innings instead of nine.

      • Steve says:

        And Tom’s pitching point is crucial also. The Angels would have to carry a metric ton of pitchers for this series. The Rockies would get a lot of at-bats against their worst pitchers.

        The team with four outs would be crazy to ever play small-ball, but in the event that they entered the bottom of the ninth tied, they would, and it would be pretty easy if they got a leadoff runner. One thing I’ve always liked about baseball is that you can’t get a runner home from first just by trading an out for a base. You’ve got to get one more base some other way.

        With four outs, you could sac bunt, sac bunt, sac fly a leadoff walk home.

    • Tom says:

      If you increase outs from three to four, scoring would not increase linearly, but exponentially. My off-the-cuff guess is that a team wouldn’t just go from four runs to six per game, but rather to eight or maybe even ten..

      First, one must consider not only the extra opportunities it presents to the offense to keep every rally going.

      Even more important would be the affect on the opponent’s pitchers. How many extra pitches would the opponent have to throw, considering all the extra at bats caused by extra hits AND extra walks AND extra outs?

      I suspect that very few starters would be able to last even five innings, which would allow the team to load up with at bats against the back end of a beleaguered bullpen.

      It wouldn’t be pretty.

      • Jake Bucsko says:

        Great points by both you and Steve. Like I said, I didn’t think this through a whole lot. I’m no Bill James, just goofing around.

        You’re both right, though. I’m still not sure that the Rockies would be unbeatable, just because their pitching is so awful. It’s really interesting to think about.

    • Craig From Az says:

      But would the new “runs scored” with 4 outs just be 4/3 times as many as with 3 outs? I wouldn’t think so – you wouldn’t be removing all those men on base at the end of the 3rd out.

  10. Patrick Bohn says:

    The all-time Yankees would certainly test the maxim of good pitching vs. good hitting, because they’d have a fantastic hitter at every position, and coming off the bench, but the pitching staff would really lack star power.

    • John says:

      Knowing we’ve got a conversation going above, but since no one has replied to this…

      I would put the 5 year best of Ford, Guidry, Ruffing, Pettitte, Mussina (if allowed) against any number of starters. It’s not a sure thing against the Dodgers, the Red Sox, the Cardinals and a few others. But it’s in the upper echelon. With Rivera, Lyle, Gossage and Robertson in the pen, I’d have to really sit down and crunch the numbers to figure out a better pitching staff.

      Another rule to question- are our fictional teams playing a 162 game season or a World Series?

      • invitro says:

        You definitely need Gomez, and Shawkey, Pennock, and Chesbro have slightly better 5-year WAR peaks than Ruffing, Mussina, Ford, and Pettitte. (Do you mean Russ Ford or Whitey Ford? Russ’s 5-year peak is equal to Whitey’s, even when including his 3-IP first season.)

        Of the 15 other pre-exp teams, 10 beat the best NYY staff. But their batters are even more dominant than you might guess (park effects?).

    • richie bklyn says:

      pick 5 starters, all would hold there own. Guidry, Ford, ruffing, gomez, stottlemeyer moose petttite… but where the yanks dominate is they’d have a bullpen of hof- goose + hoyt, hof to be and best clutch closer ever in mo, sparky lyle who won a cy young.

      People dont realize, the yanks have the 3rd best alltime team era, behind only the giants and dodgers, they might not have had the best of the best as career yankees, but they always had deep staffs

  11. Ian says:

    The Twins would be surprisingly competitive for a franchise that is under .500 for it’s existence. Their rotation would have Walter Johnson (arguably best pitcher ever), Bert Blyleven (90 WAR), Johan Santana (2 Cy youngs), Kaat (70 WAR) and Radke (45 WAR). It would be interesting on how you create the team. Do you take the players best year or avg of his years with the team or just his career avg?

    • invitro says:

      Their pitchers would be decent, thanks mainly to Walter (I’ll take Pascual instead of Kaat). But their batters would be awful, the second-worst of the 16 pre-exp teams after the White Sox. Here’s my lineup:

      1B Carew
      LF Goslin
      DH Killebrew
      C Mauer
      CF Puckett
      RF Oliva
      2B Knoblauch
      SS Cronin
      3B Travis
      bench: Allison, Myer, Rice, Milan, Spence.

  12. Tom says:

    I don’t understand why anyone wants to remove “prima donna” receivers from the game?

    I want to watch nothing less than the very best athletes in the world perform, not a bunch of second class citizens.

  13. Yancey says:

    The Royals (1985) and Blue Jays (1993) have the longest playoff droughts in baseball, so if the Royals do make it, it makes Toronto’s season even more disappointing since they’ll now be the ones at the bottom of the futility list. Jays fans are also pretty let down by ownership, as the rumors of payroll limits or even future payroll reductions have been the reason that the team has made basically zero major moves or additions, aside from Dioner Navarro.

  14. MikeN says:

    Can the Yankees field five hall of famer pitchers?

    I think the Red Sox lineup of pitchers is better.

    • Steve says:

      Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Whitey Ford, Red Ruffing, Jack Chesbro, Lefty Gomez, and partial careers of Catfish Hunter, Goose Gossage, and Roger Clemens (not HOF, but you know), and cups of coffee from Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, Dazzy Vance, and probably a couple others I’ve missed. The entirety of Babe Ruth’s meaningful pitching was with Boston, but he did pitch a few garbage innings for the Yankees.

      So a lot of HOFers, but they’re really almost all below average HOFers, at least for their Yankee careers. Not one of them other than Clemens is anywhere near the top of an all time pitching list.

    • dshorwich says:

      Thing is, a team that can put up a batting order such as this:

      Jeter SS
      Mantle RF
      Ruth DH
      Gehrig 1B
      DiMaggio CF
      Keller LF
      Rodriguez 3B
      Berra C
      Cano 2B

      will manage to get by with a staff of say Ford, Guidry, Gomez, Pettitte, Ruffing, backed up by Rivera, Gossage, and Lyle in the bullpen. I mean, that lineup is going to score a squajillion runs. They don’t need Walter Johnson out there.

      • Patrick Bohn says:

        And you’d be leaving off a catcher who posted a .326/.415/.565 line from 1936-1939.

        • John says:

          Going by what my grandfather told me, I’d be better off with Dickey than with Yogi. Yogi was a memorable and beloved member of the team, but Dickey’s offense was comparable to Yogi’s when you account for era, and Dickey brought the much better defense.

          Following your suggestion Patrick, if we’re allowed to DH Ruth, I would prefer Henderson in LF.

          • dshorwich says:

            I was sticking with players who played the majority of the career with the Yankees, which is why I chose Keller over Henderson.

            As for Berra vs Dickey: you’re not going to go wrong either way. Their offense is indeed very close (Dickey wRC+ 126, Berra 124)…as for their defense, well, who really knows? Both Fangraphs and BB-Ref give Berra an edge, but I’m pretty skeptical about our ability to accurately measure catcher defense today, much less 60-80 years ago. And no offense to your grandfather, but one person’s anecdotal observations are…well, one person’s anecdotal observations.

      • otistaylor89 says:

        They probably would have a hard time with the Red Sox Pedro, Lefty Grove, Clemens, Cy Young rotation.

      • That is a very good lineup. But so is:

        Speaker CF
        Garciappara SS
        Williams LF
        Foxx 1B
        Manny DH
        Yaz (or Evans) RF
        Boggs 3B
        Pedroia 2B
        Varitek C

        To go with a rotation of Pedro, Clemens, Cy Young, Lefty Grove, and Luis Tiant.

  15. MikeN says:

    I thought the conventional wisdom is that the 1927 Yankees would be worse than every team in MLB today? Why are you making them the comparison and not the 1998 Yankees?

  16. Brady Quinn was drafted one spot in front of the Chiefs. Carl Peterson was dying to draft him, but couldn’t be bothered to move up a spot or two? Sounds about right.

  17. buddaley says:

    I have fooled around with “greatest team for each franchise”. What ground rules do we set?

    Can a player serve on more than one team? If so, are there any inning or other requirements to be considered? And what establishes his contribution- his overall career, his performance with that particular team or his peak? Which Lefty Grove would Boston get, the one who played for Philadelphia or Boston’s version? Could Boston even get him since he played more years and pitched more innings for Philadelphia? Could the Yankees select Randy Johnson and get his career performance? Could TB include Boggs, Canseco, McGriff, Percival, Isringhausen and Vaughn?

    Is it a 25 man squad? If so, are there restrictions as to positions? For example, does it have 10 pitchers or any number? 4 starters, 5 starters or any number? And can players be moved out of their primary position? For example, if you want Ruth, Mantle and DiMaggio on the Yankees, can you move Mantle or DiMaggio to a corner outfield position or must you select just one of them?

    If a 25 man squad, can you select starting players for the bench. For example, suppose you want Ruth, Mantle and DiMaggio for the outfield, can you select Keller, Heinrich and Bernie Williams or Winfield for the bench or must you choose players who actually were bench players? If you have 2 catchers, must the second be a career backup-or at least been a backup for some time-or can the Yankees have Berra and Dickey and use Posada/Munson as DH? Can Boston make Williams a DH and put Yaz in LF? Same question for pitchers. Can starters be selected as middle relievers or must you select pitchers as starters or relievers according to their dominant role when active. Can a team select more than one closer?

    What is considered a franchise? For example, I assume the As would be all three versions-Philadelphia, KC and Oakland, as would the Braves and the Orioles/Browns, but what about Washington? Do we consider Minnesota their heirs? If so, then can Texas also choose Walter Johnson? Do we simply consider the current Nats as part of the Montreal franchise, divorced from the previous Washington team?

    • Patrick Bohn says:

      I feel that a fair compromise would be that if a player played for a team, he can be named to their all-time roster, but the team only gets credit for the player’s performance while he was on that team. I mean, Manny Ramirez was awesome for Cleveland and Boston. Why should only one team get that value? But then we avoid a situation like the Rays getting credit for *all* of Manny’s career because he had 17 PAs for them.

      I’m frankly for abandoning positions altogether with the caveat that your team defense can suffer by putting a guy somewhere he shouldn’t be playing. I mean, forget the Yount/Biggio types. if the Yankees can have Derek Jeter and A-Rod on the same team for more than a decade, and if the Tigers can let Miguel Cabrera butcher third base because they already have a first baseman, how can we say positions have to be rigid?

  18. deanharwood says:

    Here is a possibility for All-Time Team/Player Years. Each position gets one year of one player from that team. Even if a player only played one year for that franchise, he is eligible.

    I used Fangraphs WAR, with nine position players, four starters and one closer and this is what I came up with for the Indians/Naps (dates starting with 1901):

    Cleveland Indians
    C Victor Martinez 2007 5.4
    1B Jim Thome 2002 6.9
    2B Nap LaJoie 1910 9.3
    SS Lou Boudreau 1948 10.9
    3B Al Rosen 1953 9.1
    OF Joe Jackson 1911 9.3
    OF Grady Sizemore 2006 7.8
    OF Tris Speaker 1920 8.7
    SP Bob Feller 1946 10.7
    SP Gaylord Perry 1972 7.8
    SP Stan Covaleski 1920 8.1
    SP Sam McDowell 1969 9.1
    CL Doug Jones 1988 3.8
    Total 106.9

  19. Piso Mojado says:

    I’d rather face the ’27 Yankees since they are all dead.

  20. Brian says:

    Just for giggles, I looked at the games played last night with the four out idea in mind. I called a winner after six innings (leaving out SF/AZ since it was tied at that point), and then recreated the loser’s first eight innings so that they became six four-out innings instead of eight three-out innings. I had to do some guesswork as far as how runners would advance on third outs and such, but I tried to average it out in a way that would approximate an actual game. Yeah, I know, small sample size. Here’s what I got:

    7 out of 14 games (Min 2/Det 0, Tex 6/Oak 3, Was 2/Atl 0, ChC 6/Cin 0, NYM 7/Mia 1, SD 5/Phi 3, and StL 2/Mil 1) wound up with the same score.

    4 out of 14 games wound up closer but did not affect the final result (Sea/LAA went from 10-3 to 10-2, Cle/Hou went from 4-1 to 4-3, Col/LAD went from 7-2 to 7-5, and Pit/Bos went from 4-0 to 4-2).

    2 games wound up tied (Bal/Tor tied at 4 instead of the O’s winning 4-2, and TB/NYY wound up 2-2 instead of 2-1 for the Rays).

    1 game had the former loser winning (the White Sox turned a 5-4 loss into a 10-5 win).

    One thing is for sure: 4 out, 9 inning games would take forever.

    • otistaylor89 says:

      It couldn’t be longer than a Sox-Yankee game, could it? Could it?

      Seriously, 4 out innings would be smallball on steroids. Teams would have an additional out to sacrifice runners up and in. Bases loaded with no outs? Nightmare.

  21. Crout says:

    While it’s true the Yankees can field a HOF’er at every position, with the exception of Gehrig you’d have a pretty weak infield. I’d take Cinncy’s best infield over the HOF infield of the Yankees any day.

    • Patrick Bohn says:

      How is the Yankees infield weak? A-Rod won two MVPs at third, Robinson Cano had a WAR of 45 for the Yankees in 9 seasons, and as terrible as Jeter was defensively, few shortstops could match his offensive output. And let’s not forget catcher, where Bill Dickey hit .326/.415/.565 from 1936-1939. They’d be a lousy defensive infield for sure. But a Gehrig-Jeter-ARod-Dickey-Cano infield is hardly weak.

  22. MikeN says:

    I ran a simulation and I think you get a 50% increase by switching to 4 outs, so 6.7 runs/game.
    Then again my sim with 3 outs only scores half as many runs as the real numbers.

  23. Cory says:

    I asked the four outs question, and in my defense I realize it’s insane (and I included a brief “answer” of my own where I assumed the 4 out team would be at a huge advantage).

    I first thought of this question while watching my beloved Pirates in 2009 and 2010. (The 2010 team was worse record wise, but at least they had a full season of McCutchen and the hype of Alvarez that a fan could dream on.)One way to entertain myself during these games was to think about how the innings would play out with the fourth out. Of course, in my mind they usually just had one more opportunity to infuriate me. It often involved sacrifice bunting or a botched hit and run.

    I originally had the hypothetical as the Rockies would get one inning–of their choosing–to deploy the extra out.

  24. MikeN says:

    Well now I have it going from 3.2 to 5.05 runs per game.
    With Tulo in place of Rutledge it is 3.7 to 5.8 runs / game
    About a 58% increase.
    For the actual numbers that would be 7 runs per game.
    Interesting. 5 outs is about 125% increase, and for each additional out, you are adding as much as you score. So 6 outs triples your scoring, 7 outs quadruples it, and 10 outs multiplies by 7.

    • Patrick Bohn says:

      Does this take into account the changes in pitcher usage that would inevitably arise? The math can’t just be about changing run expectancy for every inning. It would take roughly 25% more pitches to get 36 outs compared to 27, and since pitchers rarely throw complete games as it is, all those extra pitches and outs are going to fall on bullpen arms.

      Over one game, you might not see a change, but over a season? I mean, you’d probably be doubling the pitching load of your bullpen. And as rare as complete games are now, they’d probably be as rare as no-hitters if you needed to get 36 outs, so you wouldn’t have off days for a bullpen either. That cumulative toll would account for something as well.

      • MikeN says:

        No it doesn’t account for weaker pitching, though the question was about the World Series. Also, there is a bigger jump when you have a DH instead of a pitcher. Seems to me it’s not worth taking. Figure a 50% chance of beating the NL champs. Now you have the Rockies without Tulowitzki, and they are going up against your better pitchers. Can you score 6-7 runs a game?

  25. Jamie says:

    I can’t believe someone mentioned that there is only 1 team sport in the Winter Olympics. That totally ignores the glorious sport of curling.

  26. I don’t want to go too deep with the Braves lineup as there are lots of holes, but A rotation with Maddux, Spahn, Niekro, Galvine and Smoltz with Kimbrel as closer, isn’t bad. Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Chipper Jones too. Unfortunately, it goes down hill after that.

  27. Triston says:

    The comment about just how many events the Olympics have now reminds me of some of the events they only had a few times.
    Like in 1908, the had dueling. With pistols.
    The A’s would have a heck of a team, if you do it by just what a player did with a franchise.

    C- Mickey Cochrane (inducted into the HOF as a Tiger despite playing 850+ fewer games for them)
    1B- Jimmie Foxx (inducted with the Red Sox, despite playing ~350 fewer games; maybe 6 of his 10 best seasons were in Philly)
    2B- Eddie Collins
    3B- Frank Baker/Sal Bando
    SS- Bert Campaneris
    OF- Rickey Henderson
    OF- Reggie Jackson
    OF- Al Simmons
    DH- Mark McGwire? Jose Canseco?

    SP- Eddie Plank
    SP- Lefty Grove
    SP- Rube Waddell
    SP- Chief Bender/Catfish Hunter/Tim Hudson/Vida Blue/Dave Stewart/1910 Jack Coombs…
    CL- Dennis Eckersley

    Manager- Connie Mack

  28. richie bklyn says:

    Does any1 know joe’s email
    i want to send him a yo joe
    but when i click on the link it doesnt work on my comp.
    figured i’d try to just send an email w/o using the link

  29. One rule I would impose is that when matching a player to a team, only the stats compiled during the seasons they spent with that club would count. The Twins would still be stuck with geezer Steve Carlton.

    With that as the only rule, the Detroit Tigers lineup matches up with anybody:

    1st base: Hank Greenberg
    2nd base:Charlie Gehringer
    3rd base: Miguel Cabrera
    SS: Alan Trammell
    C: Mickey Cochrane
    LF: Sam Crawford
    CF: Ty Cobb
    RF: Al Kaline

    The only questionable choice on this list is Cochrane, who played much more with the A’s than the Tigers, but in the two years he did play for Detroit full time, he won the MVP one year and the World Series the next, which is why he went into the HOF as a Tiger, not an Athletic (just as Reggie Jackson would go into the Hall as a Yankee, not an A, years later).

    Evan more than the Yankees, the Tigers lack any true pantheon pitchers in their history. However, if you go by single season performances, Tiger hurlers came up with some of the best:

    Hal Newhouser 1945, 25-9, 1.81, MVP
    Denny McLain 1968, 31-6, 1.96, Cy Young, MVP
    Justin Verlander 2011, 24-5, 2.40, Cy Young, MVP
    Dizzy Trout 1944, 27-14, 2.12, MVP runner-up
    Willie Hernandez 1984, 32 saves, 1.98, Cy Young, MVP

  30. buddaley says:

    Using the suggestion of taking a player’s best year to determine his place on a franchise’s all-star team, here are my Yankees-a preliminary list. I have used BB-Ref’s WAR as the criteria, not because it is decisive but simply as a starting point.

    I only allowed a player to appear once, and only at his primary position that year. I fudged with Giambi who was primarily a first baseman in 2002, but he did DH and has spent some time there during his career. I also selected a bench from starting players, not bench regulars. Finally, my relievers have all been closers in current terminology but, except for Rivera and Robertson, were called Firemen in their playing time and were not exclusively 9th inning pitchers. In the case of both Rivera and Robertson, the year I chose was the year each was the primary setup man, not the closer.

    C: Munson: 1973: 7.2 WAR
    C: Berra: 1956: 6.3
    1B: Gehrig: 1927: 11.8
    2B: Cano: 2012: 8.5
    3B: Rodriguez: 2005: 9.4
    SS: Stirnweiss: 1945: 8.6
    LF: Henderson: 1985: 9.9
    CF: Mantle: 1956: 11.3
    RF: Ruth: 1923: 14
    DH: Giambi: 2002: 7.1

    IF: Gordon: 1942: 8.2
    IF: Jeter: 1998: 7.5
    OF: DiMaggio: 1941: 8.3
    OF: Gardner: 2010: 7.4

    Chesbro: 1904: 10.2
    Guidry: 1978: 9.6
    Pettitte: 1997: 8.4
    Hunter: 1975: 8.1
    Pennock: 1924: 7.9

    Rivera: 1996: 5.0
    Page: 1949: 4.2
    Robertson: 2011: 4.0
    Lyle: 1977: 3.7
    Arroyo: 1961: 3.3

    Gossage: 1982: 4.5

    • Steve says:

      I’ve never quite liked the best season approach, which privileges the Brady Andersons and Norm Cashes too much. How about going with the player’s *third* best season with a club? A guy whose third best season is great is very probably a genuinely great player. Third best is also probably a pretty good measure of how good he really was at his sustained peak.

      • buddaley says:

        Actually, the Yankee team would be pretty much the same, although Stirnweiss would lose out to Jeter. (If it were the second best season, it would still be Stirnweiss.) I am not sure the pitchers would remain the same-probably not.

        My guess is the starters would change, but possibly not the relievers except for Arroyo. (Rivera might become the closer though.) In any case, aside from Stirnweiss and Arroyo, all the other players had reasonably long careers as good to fabulous players. None represent just a one year blip.

  31. Pat says:

    ” There are certain players who OBVIOUSLY have all the skills — Manning, Luck, Elway, etc.”

    The Colts sure can pick ’em. I look forward to Andrew Luck starting for the Broncos in three years….

  32. I’m actually working on an “all-time best rosters” project for every team that will be done sometime next month (hopefully). 25-man rosters optimized by WAR, ten-man pitching staffs (three actual relievers), and everyone getting a DH (because in an all-time best matchup, no one would want to see the pitchers hit. The Yankees probably do have the best offense, but by no means do they have the best pitching – so far I think that honor goes to the Dodgers or the Red Sox.

  33. invitro says:

    To answer the main question: I think the Red Sox are the champs, by about a five-game margin. The Yankees batters are the best by a good bit, but the Red Sox pitchers are dominant by even more. Here are the top nine Yankees and Red Sox batters, by average WAR in best five seasons with the team:

    Ruth Mantle Gehrig DiMaggio Rodriguez Cano Jeter Keller Munson
    NYY: 12.6 10.2 10.0 7.9 7.5 7.3 6.5 6.3 5.9 = 74.2
    Williams Yaz Speaker Boggs Garciaparra Pedroia Rice Foxx Fisk
    BOS: 10.3 8.9 8.6 8.4 6.9 6.4 6.1 5.9 5.7 = 67.2

    So that’s a 7.0 edge for NYY. But look at the pitching:

    Gomez Guidry Shawkey Pennock Chesbro
    NYY: 6.3 6.1 5.9 5.8 5.7 = 29.8
    Young Clemens Martinez Grove Tiant
    BOS: 9.9 9.1 8.6 8.5 6.3 = 42.4

    That is DOMINANCE. It’s not close. The Boston pitchers have a 12.6 lead, for an overall 5.6-win whipping of the Yankees (and everyone else).

    (I am too lazy to figure out how Ruth fits in on the Boston team. He’d be on the team somewhere, with a 4.0 batting and 4.2 pitching.)

    The Dodgers pitchers are better than the Yankees, but Boston still whips them:
    LAD: 8.4 8.3 7.5 6.7 6.4 = 37.3
    And of course the Dodgers batters are not close to the Boston batters.

  34. Oh yeah. Bring on the all-time Kansas City A’s.

    1B Norm Siebern or Vic Power
    2B Jerry Lumpe
    SS Bert Campenaris
    3B Ed Charles
    LF Bob Cerv
    CF Mike Hershberger (Rick Monday for a little while)
    RF Gino Cimoli (or Reggie Jackson for a little time)
    C Pick-em: Harry chiti, Frank House, Doc Edwards, Bill Bryan, Phil Roof

    Rotation: Bud Daley, Jim Nash, Orlando Pena, Catfish Hunter
    Pen: John Wyatt or Jack Aker.

    This lineup will keep people up at night. They would be so anxious to play this team they wouldn’t be able to sleep.

  35. Brent says:

    I have always thought that the All Time A’s were the team to beat. Yes, the Yankees lineup is otherworldly, but the A’s have a LOT better pitching staff.

    Plus the A’s shared a lot of players with other teams, but when they did they got the Peak player, whereas the other team got the tapering off period, for the most part. So Peak Eddie Collins, Peak Lefty Grove, Peak Jimmie Foxx, Peak Reggie Jackson, Peak Al Simmons, Peak Frank Baker, Peak Rollie Fingers, Peak Mickey Cochrane all play for the A’s. Red Sox Lefty Grove and Jimmie Foxx were still great, but not Top 5 at their position. Same thing with White Sox Eddie Collins and Al Simmons. Even Yankees Reggie Jackson wasn’t like Reggie from 1969 to 1974 and Angels Reggie was a shell of that player.

    • invitro says:

      The all-time Athletics are certainly superb, and my personal favorite, but their batters get blown out by the Yankees, and their pitchers can’t touch the Red Sox.

      NYY: Ruth Mantle Gehrig DiMaggio Rodriguez Cano Jeter Keller Munson
      NYY: 12.6 10.2 10.0 7.9 7.5 7.3 6.5 6.3 5.9 = 74.2
      OAK: Collins Foxx Henderson Baker Jackson Simmons Campaneris Cochrane Giambi
      OAK: 9.4 9.0 7.8 7.3 7.2 7.1 5.5 5.5 5.4 = 64.2
      BOS: Williams Yaz Speaker Boggs Garciaparra Pedroia Rice Foxx Fisk
      BOS: 10.3 8.9 8.6 8.4 6.9 6.4 6.1 5.9 5.7 = 67.2

      NYY: Gomez Guidry Shawkey Pennock Chesbro
      NYY: 6.3 6.1 5.9 5.8 5.7 = 29.8
      BOS: Young Clemens Martinez Grove Tiant
      BOS: 9.9 9.1 8.6 8.5 6.3 = 42.4
      OAK: Waddell Grove Plank Rommel Hudson
      OAK: 8.8 8.7 7.2 5.9 5.4 = 36.0

      NYY: 104.0
      BOS: 106.6
      OAK: 103.2

      Cleveland and the Giants are also in the mix. The top five teams are very close. I’m sure imaginesports has had several leagues battling this out… at least if you have the ability to get a Boston-only Ruth, an Oakland-only Jackson, et al.

  36. OK, here’s my full Braves team (only using players that were with the Braves for at least 3 seasons, otherwise I’d have Rogers Hornsby at 2nd!):

    1B – Fred McGriff or Orlando Cepeda
    2B – Johnny Evers or Red Schoendienst (yes, the Boston Braves count)
    SS- Andrelton Simmons. Not many good choices, so I’m going with the Ozzie of our generation
    3B – Eddie Mathews
    LF – Chipper Jones – He played there about 2 1/2 seasons before his move back to 3B
    CF – Dale Murphy
    RF- Hank Aaron
    C – Joe Torre
    SP- Greg Maddux, Warren Spahn, Tom Glavine, Phil Niekro, John Smoltz
    CL – Craig Kimbrel

    Not too bad. All are either HOFers, borderline HOFers or potential future HOFers.

    • invitro says:

      Freddie Freeman already beats McGriff and Cepeda, and that will probably become a landslide in a couple of years.

      And I might take Andruw over Murphy.

      • McGriff’s slash lines career wise still beat Freeman, including McGriff’s later declining seasons as he hung on trying to get to 500 HRs. Plus, the power numbers aren’t close. I’m a huge Freddie Freeman fan, but he’ll have to have a big prime career to beat McGriff. McGriff’s one of those guys who’s perpetually underrated. He had a HUGE career. A better case could be made for Andruw Jones over Murphy. I went with Murphy because he was the best player in the NL for at least two seasons and had MVPs to back it up. And, I have to admit that watching Jones get fat and lazy, and unable to take a slider a foot outside, soured me on him.

        • invitro says:

          For this exercise, you really can’t claim any of McGriff’s work other than his five seasons in Atlanta. McGriff and Freeman have an equal OPS+ of 128 for their Atlanta years. OPS+ is a bad statistic, though, as it assumes SLG is equally valuable as OBP, when the truth is that it’s half as valuable.

          Better is to use the Rbat column on b-r. (There may be something on fangraphs, or something else, that is a better measure of batting; I’d like to know of one if there is. Also, Rbat is above average rather than above replacement, which may be a negative.) McGriff is ahead of Freeman, 88 to 84, by this statistic.

          But Freeman beats McGriff in the other components of WAR: Rbaser (-4 to -7), Rdp (-4 to -6), and Rfield (4 to -4). These add up to a RAA for Freeman of 46 to 35, and eventually a WAR advantage of 12.5 to 11.0. This last comparison is what I’m using to say that Freeman beats McGriff.

          A big deal in the comparison is run environment: a run in Freeman’s time is worth more than a run in McGriff’s time.

          • I didn’t get into that level of detail. But if I’m limited, on McGriff to his five Braves years, the last 2-3 years slightly beyond prime years, it’s kind of a push. I was looking at the whole career and saying Freeman would be fortunate to put up the career McGriff put up. Anyone would be pleased with that kind of career. Certainly the hope is that Freeman does surpass McGriff, but so many things can derail a career. But, I don’t think you could go wrong either way.

  37. mwarneridx says:

    Gee, when I saw Bowling, Jays, I assumed that you were putting Steve Bowling into the top 100…

  38. Brent says:

    Fingers/Eckersley are probably the only Relief Ace/Closer combo that matches Gossage/Rivera, though, right? The Yankees and A’s inch closer the RedSox if not top them, if we look at that too.

  39. Jim Lonierkb says:

    The QB development issue is one I have thought a lot about as well. I agree that more often than not it’s a situational thing. I am convinced Joe Montana would have been just another average QB had say, the Detroit Lions drafted him. Bill Walsh was the absolute perfect coach for Montana and nobody else was going to develop him the way Walsh did. Conversely I do think guys like Marino and Elway would have been great regardless of where they wound up. The one guy I always “what if” the most about is Archie Manning. Given the ere and the absolutely lousy teams he was always on, his career numbers were more than respectable. I always wondered if a great team that only needed the right QB, like say the Rams of the 70’s had gotten Manning instead what would have happened. I suspect the Rams with that defense, that offensive line and Manning all together surely would have won at least one Super Bowl and Manning would have a bust in Canton.

    • That’s a great call. Archie Manning was a little bit before his time. He was a mobile QB, oddly since his boys are not, and would have been kind of an Andrew Luck type QB … But one who actually looked to run some. I struggle who to compare him to… Not quite Steve Young, but along those lines. In the old NFL, that was discouraged, but being on some really terrible Saints teams, he was running for his life. Yeah, Archie got screwed. HOF talent, but a terrible and typically poorly coached team. Still he put up 5 pretty good years in between seasons he was beaten to a pulp.

      • NevadaMark says:

        I’ll never forget Archie Manning’s first NFL game against the Rams. The Rams, of course, were big favorites. Manning scored a TD on a 1 yd run on the last play of the game to give the Saints a 24-20 victory (wonder why they did not go for the tie with a field goal?).

        It can be reasonably be pointed out that this game may have been the pinnacle of Manning’s NFL career.

  40. So I’ve finished my NL lineups, with the caveat that it’s the best player at each position by career WAR with that team. Best guy left without a position gets to be DH. The best lineup, by far, is the Giants (Bresnahan-Ott-Mays-Bonds-McCovey-Terry-Doyle-Devlin-Jackson) with an average OPS+ of just over 141. The Cardinals (Brock-Hornsby-Musial-Pujols-Slaughter-Simmons-Boyer-Flood-Ozzie) and Reds (Morgan-Rose-Roush-Robinson-Perez-Bench-Groh-Larkin-Pinson) are tied for second at just over 131, and the rest in order are the Pirates, Marlins, Mets, Cubs, Phillies, Braves, Expos/Nationals, Rockies, Dodgers, Padres, Brewers, and Diamondbacks, who are easily the worst with a 111 average OPS+.

  41. Dr. Baseball says:

    Just a different take on the thought of the Yankees pitching staff not being at the level of the Red Sox.

    With a bullpen of Lyle, Gossage, Rivera (and Robertson) would mean that the starters wouldn’t have to pitch much more than 5 or 6 innings. The middle relievers, if taken from other great Yankee relief pitchers (Dave Righetti, Luis Arroyo, Johnny Murphy, Joe Page, Wilcy Moore, Steve Farr…), would make for a tough team to score again.

    So, while the starters might be better from other teams, the Yankees lock-down middle relief and closers would be difficult to beat.

    • invitro says:

      So you’re claiming that Luis Arroyo and Steve Farr are as good as Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez. Interesting.

      • True. It’s kind of myopic to claim that a handful of relievers, not matter how good, somehow equal a dominant rotation. By any metric used today to measure value, starters are undeniably more important than closers, let alone middle relievers.

  42. buddaley says:

    To be fair, I don’t think that is the point being made. Rather it is that the Yankees might use a strategy of having their starters go only 5 innings or so and then turn it over to their bullpen. The question then is which situation is better, pushing Pedro to go 7+ innings on a regular basis and then using the Boston relievers for an inning or two or having Guidry go 5 innings and then using some combination of Gossage, Rivera, Robertson, Lyle et al to finish up.

    Of course, it is probably a moot point as Boston has had some remarkable relievers also. Over his peak 3 years, Radatz was as good, probably considerably better, than practically anyone. And you could always use Grove in relief too. There are of course plenty of others as well, so the Boston pitching staff is clearly superior to the Yankees’ staff no matter how you set it up.

    But the issue of usage is an interesting one to contemplate when thinking of setting up the teams. And I don’t think it legitimate to create a staff of more than 5, maximum 6, starting pitchers and claim to use #6 as a long reliever unless he has been used that way in real life. We don’t know that any starter would be as effective as a middle or long reliever. In fact, it does raise a question of whether you really want a staff of some pitchers used to 4 man rotations (or of 300-400 inning pitchers) mixed with those used to 5 man (200-230 inning) rotations.

  43. chlsmith says:

    For the QB thing, I think success is a blend of coaching, receivers, and the QB’s own skills. All NFL QBs have skills, but some players are just superior….I’m thinking Brees’ accuracy, Favre’s arm, Manning’s knowledge of the game, Brady’s poise and quick decisions, etc.

    Some guys get long, productive careers just by being surrounded by good receivers. Carson Palmer made his name with a first rate receiving corp and RB in Cincinnati. Kurt Warner had Bruce and Holt. Stafford has Megatron. The list continues.

    None of the NFL QBs are skill-less. In the right situation, via coaching or receivers, they can all be successful.

  44. MikeN, I used a simplified Markov chain (simplified meaning no taking an extra base, no CS, no GIDP…) to compute the mean runs per inning. relative to 3-outs, heres what I get,

    n_outs runs/runs(3outs)
    3 1.000
    4 1.585
    5 2.285
    6 3.079
    7 3.957
    8 4.908
    9 5.913
    10 6.967
    11 8.057
    12 9.176
    13 10.320
    14 11.480
    15 12.653

    so more or less in perfect agreement with what you found. incidentally, I also get runs per 9 innings ~ 3.3 with my default settings, which are
    prob of out = 0.69
    prob of single+bb = 0.23
    prob of double = 0.05
    prob of triple = 0.005
    prob of HR = 0.025

  45. Brett Alan says:

    My first response to the “four outs” question is that baseball is the one sport where the teams are close enough that you wouldn’t choose the worse team with an advantage (unless the advantage was very minimal). On any given weekend a lousy team might win a series from a really good team anyway.

    The only really equivalent case is football–play the Seahawks in last year’s Super Bowl, or the Texans, but the Texans get five downs? Unlike a really bad MLB team, the Texans had almost no chance of upsetting a top NFL team in a normal game. Hmmmmm…..

    Basketball has even fewer major upsets than football, but what would the equivalent advantage be?

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