Tough week for aging infielders, no? First Adam
Kennedy Everett was DFA’d by the Tigers and now Mark Grudzielanek* gets the same treatment.
Grudzielanek was batting .273/.328/.273 with 11 RBI in 110 at-bats with the Indians this season. He hurt his hammy on Sunday, however, and since the Indians were given special permission by the league office to treat ballplayers like horses, Grudzielanek had no choice but to be put out of his (roster) misery.
Filling Grudzielanek’s spot will be Anderson Hernandez, who has been playing all over the infield in Columbus. He’s the guy that my fellow Columbusites tend to miss at Huntington Park because we use his at bats for beer runs. Can’t miss Carlos Santana, after all, can we?
*Pfun Pfact: no one has actually typed Mark Grudzielanek’s name in over eight years. It’s just been repeatedly copied and pasted from previous articles!
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.