February 3, 2016
Ben and Sam answer listener emails about Howie Kendrick’s contract, Scott Boras and the CBA, how teams hire analysts, young MVPs, and more.
Traffic, "Empty Pages"
The Thrills, "No More Empty Words"
Email Questions Edit
- Corey (Franklin, TN): "So does this mean that Howie Kendrick's agent is really bad?" (Ben: "By this he means Kendrick's contract, which is with the Dodgers for 2 years and $20 million guaranteed. . . . And he turned down a qualifying offer"). Omar Infante and Daniel Murphy are also mentioned in this contract class. Ben and Sam guess career earnings of Joel Hanrahan.
- Robert: "Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper is 9 months younger than reigning NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant. How often does this happen?"
- Andrew: "With the upcoming CBA negotiations, would it behoove the Players Association to hire Scott Boras to negotiate the new CBA for them? Why or why not?"
- Tom: "With MLB teams hiring guys away from websites for a while now, has there ever been an instance where a researcher found out a piece of information about a team or player and then leveraged that piece of information with a team before publishing? If not, could you envision a scenario where this could happen?" Responses mention Mike Fast and catcher framing.
- Final question (after Play Index segment) - Chris: "When describing Park Effects you note that they might not be constant over time, and it's possible that a park might become more or less extreme. While I can understand how this happens when park dimensions are modified, like moving the outfield walls at Citi Field, I'm struggling to see how this might happen in other instances. Is this just statistical noise, temporary factors that are unlikely to be predictive in the long term, or do parks truly become more-or-less hitter friendly over time?"
Play Index Edit
Sam: "So I was reading an old Annual from like 2004 the other day and it made mention of a player's 'empty batting average' and I always loved this idea of the empty batting average, which Baseball Prospectus authors used to cite quite regularly, and probably still do, a batting average that looks good or looks great but it has no walks or power or anything else to strengthen it. So, a player might hit .300 without contributing much in the way of offense. So I wondered who has the emptiest batting average."
Sam also used the Play Index to research the sacrifice bunt histories of Jay Bell and Alvaro Espinoza. Espinoza's Play Index search led to a game involving Roger Clemens, Ken Phelps, and Joe Morgan (but not that Joe Morgan).
Ben used the Play Index to answer a question from Quinn: "In 1976 Mark Fidrych compiled 9.6 bWAR while only striking out 97 batters. Is this the single greatest strikeout-to-WAR defect of the live-ball era? I'm assuming the 24 complete games had a role to play in the high WAR."
- Effectively Wild Episode 810: The Empty Average Edition