Out of left field:

Out of left field is an occasional piece about matters that may not require 1,000 words of analyzation, but I think we should chat about anyway:

Here’s some fun with numbers:

Coin Flip:

If you played a 5 game series between one team who had a 97-65 record and another team that had a 65-97 record (in other words, one very good team and one very bad one, he wrote condescendingly…) the bad team would win a best of 5 series one-third of the time*.

Again:  Any team and any player can be very good or very bad over five games.  Any team and any player can be very lucky or unlucky for five games.  (Or over seven, 10 or 14 for that matter.)

Jose Altuve can bat .150 over five games.  Craig Kimbrel can blow two games over five.

But over the same time span, Scott Brosius can be Mike Schmidt.  Brian Doyle can be Joe Morgan.

Why am I telling you this?

As a reminder, that if you think you know who is going to win the four upcoming Divisional Series, you do not.

A great team will lose three of five to a crappy team one-third of the time.  So if you take two very good teams, a best three of five series isn’t quite a coin flip but it’ll do until the coin flip shows up.

Every 5th day:

Take a pitcher who throws over 200 innings.  Add up the number of batters he faces, and fielding opportunities over the course of the season.  Then take a full-time position player and add up his plate appearances and fielding chances over the course of a season.

The pitcher’s numbers will be higher in the majority of cases.  The pitcher, in the above examples, affects the outcome of at-bats, runs, and therefore games more than a position player does over the course of a season.  Therefore, dependent upon individual performances, of course, a starting pitcher can be more valuable than an everyday player far more often than you probably think.

50 feet of crap

I’m pretty confident that if I were in a Ferrari, and Kevin Harvick were in a Ford Pinto, I would win a race against him.

That doesn’t mean I contributed more to my team’s success than he contributed to his.  I am not more valuable than he is in that example – not even close.  I’m not sure how anyone can debate otherwise (…?)

Mike Trout didn’t contribute less value than anyone – his owner gave hundreds of millions to Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols.  Jacob deGrom didn’t contribute less value than anyone this season – he plays for owners that believe their team is too analytically driven.

If I live to be 150, I’ll never understand how one can judge a player’s performance as “best”, but not most valuable…

Nor will I ever understand catching a home run and throwing the ball back.  If you’re into tchotchke, keep it.  If not, give it to a kid.  This isn’t hard folks, keep up.

*Thanks to Russel Carelton for doing the math.  And technically it’s 31%, but for the purposes of our discussion, rounding to 1/3 will do.

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