* Gordon Beckham played primarily shortstop at Double-A, but moved to third base for his final game there and stayed at the hot corner last night in his Triple-A debut.
I’ve been assuming that the White Sox view Beckham as the long-term
answer at second base and they’ve gotten the AL’s third-worst
production from the position, but perhaps they’re more interested in
ditching third baseman Josh Fields, who’s hitting .229/.293/.314 with
* Chris Davis is striking out more often than any player in baseball
history and he’s hitting just .203/.259/.456 in the process, so the
Rangers are running out of patience.
Davis is batting .368 with 12 homers in 87 at-bats when he makes
contact, but he’s whiffed in an amazing 41.7 percent of his plate
* Cecil Cooper’s job might be safe for a while longer, but the Denver Post reports that Rockies manager Clint Hurdle is “on borrowed time.”
* In case you haven’t heard, the Matt Wieters Era begins tonight in Baltimore. Based on the hype, he should have the Orioles in first place by Monday.
* After being part of umpire Todd Tichenor’s ejection-fest yesterday afternoon, Red Sox manager Terry Francona “was examined by emergency medical technicans to check on his blood pressure.”
If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.
While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.
The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.
A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.
A great read and a great history lesson.