What they’re saying about the passing of Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver

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Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver passed away yesterday at the age of 82 following an apparent heart attack. Here’s some reaction from a baseball world in mourning:

Orioles owner Peter Angelos: “Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball. This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans. Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter: “Every time I look at an Oriole, it’s going to be missing a feather now without Earl.”

Cal Ripken, Jr: “Earl was such a big part of Orioles baseball and personally he was a very important part of my life and career and a great friend to our family. His passion for the game and the fire with which he managed will always be remembered by baseball fans everywhere and certainly by all of us who had the great opportunity to play for him. Earl will be missed but he can’t and won’t be forgotten.”

Jim Palmer: “It was the perfect relationship. We won, he was tough, we got our World Series checks. It worked. You don’t ever forget an Earl Weaver. And not just if you were an umpire. Fans, players, everyone. Earl didn’t have the smartest guy in the room syndrome back then, but he was definitely one of them.”

Adam Jones: “Os and MLB family lost a great leader yesterday. Earl Weaver wasn’t blessed wit height but if u measured his HEART he was a 7 footer.”

Hall of Famer catcher Johnny Bench: “So sad to hear about Earl Weaver leaving our HOF family. Really enjoyed my years with him. RIP”

Commissioner Bud Selig: “Earl was well known for being one of the game’s most colorful characters with a memorable wit, but he was also amongst its most loyal.  On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Marianne, their family and all Orioles fans.”

Credit to Roch Kubatko of MASN and Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun for some of the quotes provided above.

The Orioles held a moment of silence to honor Weaver before they began their annual FanFest event this morning. Courtesy of the Orioles’ Twitter account, the club has his jersey and a No. 4 banner of the main stage:

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A scout thinks the Astros strike out too much. The Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball.

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Great moments in scouting. MLB.com’s Richard Justice spoke to an unnamed scout about the Astros, currently holding the American League’s best record at 76-47. The scout said that the Astros strike out too much and it will catch up with them. Justice pointed out that the Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball. The scout responded, “I don’t believe that.”

Justice, of course, is correct. The average major league team has struck out 1,006 times entering Sunday’s action. The Astros have by far the lowest total at 827, followed by the Indians at 881 and the Pirates at 882.

This scout doesn’t represent all scouts, but this is one of the major problems that advocates of statistics were trying to highlight before Sabermetrics became popular a decade ago. It’s a pattern. Person believes thing. Person either cherry-picks evidence to defend belief or is shown evidence that belief is not factually true and ignores it. Person refuses to change belief, using one of many excuses.

The other problem this highlights is the fallacy of “the eye test,” which is shorthand for treating a scout’s observations as sacrosanct due to his or her experience and knowledge of the game. In this case, the scout ignored easily accessed information, went with his gut, and turned out to be completely wrong. Furthermore, if “the eye test” were legit, the scout would’ve known that, for example, Yulieski Gurriel and Jose Altuve hardly ever strike out (11.1 and 12.4 percent strikeout rates, respectively). In fact, no one on the Astros’ roster (min. 230 PA) has a strikeout rate above 21 percent; the league average is 21.5 percent.

This isn’t to impugn the practice of scouting as a whole. There are a lot of things scouts can tell you about a player that data cannot and that has value. But for easily-researched claims like “the Astros strike out too much,” there’s no reason to trust a scout over the stats.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.