Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Links Roundup

1. Baseball Primer has a very interesting discussion about pitch counts going. Don Malcolm's article - included in the link - is a bit over the top, but much reasoned discussion follows. The consensus there is that while pitch counts are useful, it is not helpful to apply "abuse points" to all pitchers based solely on age and pitch counts. The relationship of pitch counts to injuries is obviously a very complex one, and it's one that sabermetrics doesn't quite understand yet. Many of the posters at Primer are quite right that Baseball Prospectus' Pitcher Abuse Points statistic is nonsense. Different pitchers are affected differently by identical pitch counts, so high pitch counts do not necessarily constitute "abuse." While it is certainly possible to overwork a pitcher, "abuse" cannot be summed up in a single statistic that leaves out as many contextual variables (a pitcher's build, mechanics, or workout schedule; the weather; the number of pitches thrown in individual innings; and so on).

2. The Post-Gazette reports that Kansas City has traded for Jose Bautista, meaning the Pirates aren't getting him back any time soon. This will be Jose's fourth organization in eight months. Also included in that link is a revealing paragraph about J.J. Davis:

"It was nice that he got those at-bats [with Nashville]. It was nice that he started swinging the bat well. That could help him here. J.J. understands that he needs to work hard to get better. J.J.'s still developing at this level. We need to continue to make him better. Up here, playing time is hard to get." But if Davis doesn't play very often the rest of this season, will the Pirates have any idea if he's still a prospect? "I would hope so," McClendon said slowly. "I would hope so."

I'm not exactly filled with hope that McClendon has thought about this issue at all. Obviously, the Pirates aren't going to have any idea if he's an important part of their future if they don't let Davis play, and he and the Pirates will do some more Hellerian jockeying next spring. Or, worse, they'll give him fifty more at bats the rest of the year, he won't get into rhythm, he won't hit, and they'll release him. In the meantime, Randall Simon... well, forget it. "Up here, playing time is hard to get." Just thought you should read that again.

3. Brian O'Neill wonders what the Pirates were doing cutting Ruben Mateo. He also correctly points out the redundance of having both Chris Stynes and Abraham Nunez on the bench.

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