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It came to me in a dream...


A dream?

Indeed. I was in this bizarre world of floating clocks, radios, microphones and baseballs sailing through the air in all directions. It was so vivid, so inspiring, it filled me with such a strong hunger that the moment I awoke I knew the very first thing I had to do: make myself a sandwich.

But afterwards! The idea for the 13th Inning Stretch podcast was born. And so for this debut episode I'm joined by the insightful and lovely Amanda Ryan, where we discuss general Blue Jays baseball stuff (the Aaron Sanchez question, Tulowitzki's rebirth) and various All-Star game shenanigans.

You can listen to it from the link below (I'll learn how to embed it eventually):

13th Inning Stretch Episode II


Enjoy the show...

The Grand Debut Episode Of The 13th Inning Stretch | 15 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 14 2016 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#326292) #
Nicely done, Eephus and Amanda.

I can go for a 10th inning stretch and one every 3 innings thereafter, so 13th inning works for me.

Tulowitzki has continued his excellent defensive play since the podcast was recorded.  I was worried about that early in the year and later last year- offensive decline and defensive decline together is not a good thing.  Whatever difficulties he had earlier with the glove now look like a blip.

China fan - Thursday, July 14 2016 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#326294) #
If it's the 13th-inning stretch, Chad Jenkins had better be warming up to come into the game.  That's all I can say about that.

On another topic:  I recently attended a game between the Orioles and Angels (at beautiful Camden Yards, which remains a stunning place to watch a ballgame).  I was watching Yunel Escobar, now of the Angels, and noticing that he is (again) producing some relatively good offensive numbers (for an infielder anyway).  How is it that he has been dumped by 4 teams and is now with his 5th major-league team, despite such apparently good performance, I wondered to myself?  Then the answer appeared before me in the 7th inning.  Escobar was tossed from the game, for perhaps the stupidest thing that I've yet seen.  This time it wasn't something printed on his forehead in eyeblack -- it was something that he drew in the infield dirt.  Here's the story:  http://sports.yahoo.com/news/yunel-escobar-ejected-after-insulting-ump-with-infield-drawing-012519500.html

China fan - Thursday, July 14 2016 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#326295) #
And by "forehead", of course I mean "under his eyes."   (Sheesh.  Not even Escobar would do that.)
China fan - Thursday, July 14 2016 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#326296) #
On another subject:  since we had some recent debate about Ezequiel Carrera's improved hitting numbers this season, here's an interesting analysis by Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/what-did-the-blue-jays-do-to-ezequiel-carrera/

Sullivan concludes that Carrera is hitting the ball harder this season, and has improved his approach at the plate.  He gives some persuasive stats on both.  His summary:

"Contact is better. Strikeouts are under control. Walks are up. All signs are good, and itís plain to see how Carrera has so significantly blown his season projections away. Heís just better across the board, and so heís been a reasonable fill-in during Bautistaís extended absence."

He goes on to hypothesize that the Jays might actually know a lot about hitting mechanics and might just be good at improving the hitting performance of their players.

Anyway, Carrera's hitting this season is obviously still a relatively small sample and not enough to draw any firm and final conclusions from.  But the Sullivan analysis does provide a bit of evidence to contradict those who say that Carrera is merely the beneficiary of good BABIP luck, and will inevitably revert to Goins-level hitting numbers.
Jonny German - Thursday, July 14 2016 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#326297) #
Cool. Do you plan to have this available thru iTunes?
Chuck - Thursday, July 14 2016 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#326317) #
But the Sullivan analysis does provide a bit of evidence to contradict those who say that Carrera is merely the beneficiary of good BABIP luck, and will inevitably revert to Goins-level hitting numbers.

I don't recall anyone likening Carrera to Goins. You'll have to cite that one.

As for the analysis, most of those points were made at this very site by Mike Green: increased line drive rate, increased walk rate, decreased strikeout rate.

And as for the BABIP, yes, Carrera was indeed kept afloat by an ungodly BABIP for a long time. He isn't any more. By month:

  • April: 846 OPS, 400 BABIP
  • May: 962 OPS, 550 BABIP
  • June: 718 OPS, 255 BABIP
  • July: 692 OPS, 286 BABIP
  • Total: 777 OPS, 336 BABIP

Is he hitting better than ever before? Yes. Could the coaches have taught him something? Yes. Has he proven thus far to be a strong 4th outfielder? Yes. Has he likely outperformed all of the team's other potential 4th outfielders? Yes.

So kudos to him.

But I'd really like to see him start hitting RHP (670 OPS this year, 661 lifetime).

China fan - Thursday, July 14 2016 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#326318) #
"....I don't recall anyone likening Carrera to Goins. You'll have to cite that one..."

It was Uglyone who made that comparison.  A few days ago, he made the point that Goins unexpectedly improved in a limited sample in the second half of last season, and then reverted to his career norms this year.  (He also mentioned Colabello.)

My problem with the Goins comparison is that some players do follow his trajectory (brief improvement, followed by reverting to career norms), but others are able to make a long-term improvement and become legitimately better players.  The performance of one player tells us nothing about the future performance of a different player.  After an unexpected improvement, some players fall back, while others do not.  Invoking the name of Ryan Goins doesn't tells us the future path of Ezequiel Carrera. 

If we're talking about probabilities, I'll concede that most players who unexpectedly improve in a relatively small sample will probably revert to something closer to their career norms -- but there are always exceptions, and we don't yet know if Carrera might be an exception.  The analysis by Sullivan suggests that it is POSSIBLE that Carrera could be an exception. That's all I was saying.
uglyone - Thursday, July 14 2016 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#326330) #
for the record i referenced 2 guys who surged last year in Goins and colabello.

carrera is a better hitter than goins,and always has been. has speed too. very questionable defense though.

i wouldn't be surprised in the least if carrera has turned himself into a decent mlb hitter.....but I wouldn't count on it, either.
Jonny German - Friday, July 15 2016 @ 02:04 AM EDT (#326333) #
Here's an interesting example of how arbitrary endpoints and small sample sizes can really change how a player's stats look. I was thinking about Carrera and his improved numbers this year and thought "I wonder if he started to show signs of improvement last year". And if you look at his first half/second half split, it appears that maybe he did:

2015 first half: .649 OPS, 136 PA
2015 second half: .798 OPS, 56 PA

But then if you break it down month by month you get this:

May 2015: .722 OPS, 73 PA
June 2015: .718 OPS, 43 PA
July 2015: .654 OPS, 48 PA
Aug 2015: .667 OPS, 6 PA
Sep 2015: .641 OPS, 22 PA

This looks really confusing at first. What's going on? How could he possibly have an OPS of .798 for the second half when he was over 100 points below that number in all of July-August-September? And vice-versa, how could his first half OPS be .649 when he was above that number for all of May-June-July?

The answer of course is that July stats are a mix of first half and second half. And Carrera's July 2015 looked like this:

July 2015 pre ASG: .255 OPS, 20 PA
July 2015 pre ASG: .947 OPS, 28 PA

So if you break his season into halves, it looks like he improved in the second half. If you break it into months, it looks like he got steadily worse. And if you break down into 48 PA in the middle of the season you realize it's all just noise.

(It's even being generous to say he had a hot streak after the All Star break - in was in fact just 6 games, July 25-31, where he hit .563/.588/.938 for a 1.526 OPS. How did he start August? In AAA! It was time for the Ben Revere era in Toronto.)
uglyone - Friday, July 15 2016 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#326358) #
don't know where to put it but Pomeranz is probably a very nice upgrade for the sox.
Eephus - Friday, July 15 2016 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#326372) #
Cool. Do you plan to have this available thru iTunes?

Hopefully soon! Seeing as I only very, very recently learned how to actually link stuff, it might be a bit of time. But my team of 1000 monkeys and their typewriters are working on it. And my many heartfelt thanks to all of you who have listened so far.

The Pomeranz deal: it's impossible to project what level of effectiveness he'll have for the Red Sox at this point. His recent numbers are perhaps skewed by pitching as a swingman, pitching on very bad teams, or pitching in fabulous pitcher's parks. His recent improvement may be for real (new cutter or something?) and so I feel there's a very good chance he'll be quite good for Boston. But there's a very good chance he'll be very not quite so good, what with the AL East devouring souls and such. My only concrete conclusion is that this is a great deal for the Padres, since they have so little to lose by it.
Mike Green - Friday, July 15 2016 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#326374) #
Speaking of technological breakthroughs, I heartily recommend Daren Willman's twitter feed.  He is doing visuals for exit velocity and launch angle that are cool.  Kids these days!
China fan - Friday, July 15 2016 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#326391) #
"....And if you break down into 48 PA in the middle of the season you realize it's all just noise...."

That's a fair point for Carrera's 2015 season.   But if you take a larger sample size -- lumping together his 2 seasons with the Jays -- you can see that there's been a considerable improvement from his earlier pre-Toronto career.  His OPS as a Blue Jay is .735 and that covers a large sample of 389 plate appearances.   His OPS before joining the Jays was .645 and the sample is 478 plate appearances.  When broken down this way, the sample size is much larger than the monthly samples, so I think it eliminates a lot of the noise.   Of course it can still be criticized as an arbitrary end point (or start point).   But it might show that the Jays coaches (and teammates) have helped Carrera to get better.
Alex Obal - Saturday, July 16 2016 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#326400) #
Nice job on the podcast. Finally got to let the whole thing run just now and now I will never be able to not notice Tabler's anatomical insights.

With Canadians on the team I keep worrying about how the patriotism angle will affect contract negotiations. Saunders is a free agent at the end of the year coming off a breakout season. Do you get a Canadian discount? and/or do you feel compelled to overbid?

anyway, that wasn't really what you guys were talking about. I have no clue how deeply fans' investment in individual players drives them to keep following the team or buying Jays shirseys. Like how many people in Minnesota are like, "I don't really care about baseball, I just love Mauer." What's that worth? No clue. Just know that any Canadian on the Blue Jays is an unbeatable opponent in the all-star final vote.
scottt - Saturday, July 16 2016 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#326401) #
I still see shirts with names like Reyes or Rasmus.
The Grand Debut Episode Of The 13th Inning Stretch | 15 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.