April Numbers and You: Care and Feeding of Early Season Statistics

Okay you shouldn't feel bad, but you should reevaluate methods and reassess your conclusions probably.

Okay you shouldn’t feel bad, but you should reevaluate methods and reassess your conclusions probably.

If you’re an analytically inclined baseball fan, April truly is the cruelest month. Okay so yeah, I admit that T.S. Eliot wasn’t actually talking about the month (or more) long battle of wills between people quoting month (sometimes only weeks) long data samples as if they mean something and the people screaming “small sample size!” into the yawning void. That said, it can be difficult to know when the “roots that clutch” are solid enough to start to trust what the statistics are telling you, but we (and some much smarter people from other parts of the internets), are here to help.

There are a few key things to understand about advanced metrics, especially early in the year. Continue reading



Did y’all hear how utility infielder-turned-first baseman Joaquin Arias went 2-for-4 in last night’s game against the Dodgers?

TEAM ARIAS. Or. Well. No. (Flickr/Aunti Juli)

TEAM ARIAS. Or. Well. No. (Flickr/Aunti Juli)

In a total “NO WAI U GUISE” moment, Bruce Bochy had Arias play first. Brandon Belt was out with the flu, so I guess there was no other choice. Well, Bochy could’ve had Buster Posey play first with Hector Sanchez catching, so Arias playing first base was probably the smart decision.

Also somewhat shocking that Bochy didn’t take advantage of getting Sanchez into a game there, but I digress.

But if there is a talking head out there saying that Bochy should platoon Arias with Belt, so help me, I’m firing all of them. All the talking heads.

It’s two games into the season. Belt is sick with the flu and Arias is a utility guy who, well, was utilized as a backup.

But do you know what two games into the season means? Continue reading

2013 Giants ZiPS Projections – Hitters

January is projections season. There are a whole mess of projection systems out there, but the system that is generally considered to be the most accurate, as well as the most widely available, is Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS, which are being released on Fangraphs this year. While you, the dear reader, have likely taken a glance at these already – they’re a month old, after all – I’d like to share a couple thoughts on the projections for the Giants this year.

For each player, in addition to a short analysis, I’ll provide a prediction of whether they will hit OVER or UNDER their projected OPS+. Continue reading

Giants Non-Roster Invitees And An Interesting Development

Yesterday, the Giants announced the full list of non-roster invitees (NRIs) to major league training camp. NRIs are players who aren’t on the 40-man roster who nevertheless will start spring training with the major league squad.

Spring Training at Scottsdale Stadium

This may not sound like big news, and it isn’t, for the most part. However, every year one of these guys sneaks on to the roster and ends up contributing in a big way. Continue reading

Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, Others Avoid Arbitration

Last Friday was the deadline for teams and players eligible for arbitration to exchange salary figures for their arbitration hearings, and as with every year, there was a flurry of signings on that date in order to avoid the hearings. The Giants had seven arb-eligible players this year: Joaquin Arias, Gregor Blanco, Santiago Casilla, Jose Mijares, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, and Sergio Romo.

The team has, so far, come to agreements with four of them, and Sergio Romo and Joaquin Arias exchanged figures with the team. It’s worth pointing out that both Arias and Romo will almost certainly sign contracts before their hearings. The Giants almost never let arbitration cases go all the way to hearing – they’ve only gone to six hearings since the arbitration process started in the mid-’70s. Continue reading

Those Last Roster Spots

January is a slow baseball month. Last January, the Giants signed Brian Burres, Todd Linden, Wilmin Rodriguez, and Gregor Blanco. Obviously the Blanco signing turned out to be pretty important in regards to how the season went, but the point is that the major signings are over. Sorry folks, the Giants aren’t trading for Justin Upton or Giancarlo Stanton and they are going to sign Michael Bourn. The time for major roster moves has come and gone.

As I laid out in a series of posts last week, the Giants have up to three roster spots still available. There’s a spot in the bullpen, a spot for a sixth infielder, and a fifth outfielder available. Let’s run down the candidates for each spot. Continue reading

A Look At The Giants Roster: The Infield


It’s January, which means it’s a slow month for baseball news. Many of the biggest free agents have signed, the winter meetings are finished, and the major transactions are wrapped up. Except for a waiver claim here and a minor league free-agent signing there, the Giants are ready to go for Spring Training.

So how is the roster shaping up, anyway? The good news is that you’ll recognize most of these players. The bad news is that they’re all a year older, and that could be a big deal. Continue reading

Giants Recap: #SweepLA

LA status: Swept

There were many ways this could have gone wrong. The Giants’ seemingly preternatural ability to avoid successfully completing a sweep. Buster Posey’s late scratch with a cranky hamstring, necessitating Hector Sanchez catching Matt Cain for the first time this season. The Dodgers’ general annoying Dodgerness.

But nope. Successful sweep. Successful sweep in LA, no less. Let that be a lesson to ya, Bums. You never when Joaquin Arias is coming for you. Um. Yeah.

Giants finish the night 2.5 games up on the Dodgers and 5.5 up on the Diamondbacks.

Giants Recap: Joaquin Their Way To A Win

When you hear that the Giants are facing Eric Stults, he of the sub-3.00 ERA, you automatically think that there is no chance they will score a run. Pair that up with the fact that Barry Zito is starting, you could just write this off as a loss.

Except that it ended up being a win.

It wasn’t an unpredictable line for Zito, only lasting four innings. Also not surprising that he gave up four runs within those innings.

Typical Zito, though with only two walks and a strike out.

The narrative where the Giants don’t score enough runs to bail Zito out seemed to be broken today.

This Hunter Pence fellow hasn’t been too shabby lately, driving in two of the eight runs the Giants scored — and yes, that’s right, they scored eight runs for Barry Zito.

And then there’s Joaquin Arias, who is not as great as everyone thinks, but managed to have himself a game by going 3-for-5 with three RBI and a home run. It’s classic You Can’t Predict Baseball and inexplicably so, because who would’ve seen that coming? It’s like asking an aardvark to play catch and actually throws the ball back with 90% accuracy.

I don’t know where I was going with that analogy, but baseball can do that to someone after a while. I think.

The bullpen was quite solid, with a decent enough outing from Eric Hacker, who has been called up again.

Then Jeremy Affeldt happened and gave up two runs in the 9th. Man. At least Clay Hensley was able to close it out — also words that I didn’t think I would say at this point in the season.

Giants Recap: Tim Lincecum Is Exaggerrated Parody Of Self

2008 Tim Lincecum (Photo: matt knoth/flickr)

Well, for the 735th time this season, the Giants took the first two games of a 3-game series and then gleefully punted the third off the side of the team bus. It tempts one to call into KNBR with a grand unified theory, linking the dropped third games, struggles with RISP, and Lincecum’s inability to put batters away into some Masonic-psychological conspiracy of clutch failure. I’ve got my big blackboard and my wall papered with scribbled sticky notes. Let’s do this. Continue reading