If this was reported at the time of the signing I missed it, but Matt Gelb of the Philly Inquirer writes something fairly shocking today. The basis on which Ruben Amaro decided to sign Delmon Young:
To evaluate [Young], the Phillies relied on seven-year-old scouting reports from the outfielder’s days as a Tampa Bay farmhand. Two of Amaro’s assistants, Scott Proefrock and Bart Braun, were members of the Rays organization when Young was selected first overall in the 2003 draft. They vouched for Young’s ability.
I know it was a small contract, but wow. That can’t have been all of it, right? This had to be a situation in which they looked at his production in Detroit and then just completed a loop with some first-hand info on Young from the old Rays people, didn’t it? Delmon Young seven years ago is probably about as different from Delmon Young today than Delmon Young seven years ago is as different from a can of lima beans.
All that said, that’s just an anecdote the leaps into a larger story about how the Phillies use advanced metrics. The upshot: more scouting than sabermetrics. Interesting stuff, and a nice companion piece to yesterday’s stuff about the Washington Nationals.
We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.