SABR

This Week in SABR: August 23, 2013

Welcome to "This Week in SABR!" Here's what we've been up to as of August 23, 2013:

New sabermetric component, SABR Defensive Index, revealed for Rawlings Gold Glove Award

Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation and SABR unveiled Monday the committee of seven sabermetric experts and the SABR Defensive Index™ (SDI™), the new statistical breakdown for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award™ selection processes the committee created.

The 2013 season marks the first season Rawlings formally incorporates sabermetrics as a component of the two Award platforms.



“As we looked to marry ‘The Art of Fielding with the Science of Baseball™,’ the composition of the SABR Defensive Index is exactly what we were hoping to achieve,” said Mike Thompson, senior vice president of marketing for St. Louis-based Rawlings. “Since its inception in 1957, the Rawlings Gold Glove Award has relied on the major-league managers and coaches’ invaluable insights and keen understanding of the art of fielding to reward the best defensive players in the game. The new sabermetric component in the selection process is just another example of how the iconic Award has evolved throughout history as the industry standard honoring defensive excellence at the highest level of baseball.”

Rawlings revealed the revised selection process overview in March as part of its new collaboration with SABR. Since that announcement, SABR enlisted an independent committee of experts in baseball analytics and defensive measurement to devise the SDI. The SABR Defensive Committee includes:

  • Committee chair Vince Gennaro, SABR President and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball
  • Sean Forman, founder of Baseball-Reference.com
  • John Dewan, owner of Baseball Info Solutions
  • Bo Moon, executive vice president and co-founder of Bloomberg Sports
  • Chris Dial, author and recognized expert on defensive metrics
  • Michael Humphreys, author of Wizardry: Baseball’s All-Time Greatest Fielders Revealed
  • F.X. Flinn, SABR board of directors

“The committee evaluated a wide range of existing metrics based on their track record, methodology, consistency and their overall acceptance within the baseball statistical community,” said Gennaro. “While fielding is perhaps the ultimate art form in baseball, SABR is proud to partner with Rawlings and the iconic Rawlings Gold Glove Award to introduce ‘science’ into the Rawlings Gold Glove Award criteria.”

The SABR Defensive Index draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball, location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts. The three metrics representing batted ball data include Defensive Runs Saved from Baseball Info Solutions, Ultimate Zone Rating developed by noted sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman, and Runs Effectively Defended built by SABR Defensive Committee member Chris Dial. The two metrics included in the SDI originating from play-by-play data are Defensive Regression Analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and Total Zone Rating.

Rawlings and SABR tasked the new committee to define a single measure of a player’s defensive performance that could be incorporated into the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process to complement the judgment of the managers and coaches, who continue to comprise a majority of the election system. The SABR Defensive Index accounts for 30 total “votes” — or approximately 25 percent of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process — that will be added to the votes from the managers and coaches. The exact number will be based on the total number of managers and coaches’ ballots received each year.

Rawlings will include the SDI as part of the revamped statistical resource guide that will accompany the Rawlings Gold Glove Award ballots sent to managers and coaches in September. The 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners will be unveiled during a one-hour, ESPN2 “Baseball Tonight” primetime special, Tuesday, October 29, 2013, beginning at 7pm ET/6pm CT.

The SDI will be instrumental in comparing players across positions to help determine the updated Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, now presented by SABR. Fans will continue to have a voice during this process, and will be able to vote online once the newest class of Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners is announced during the telecast. The official breakdown of the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award selection process will be announced at a later date.

For more details on the new SABR Defensive Index, click here.

Listen to select SABR 43 research presentations from Philadelphia

Couldn't make it to Philadelphia for SABR 43? Listen to select research presentations from our 43rd annual convention online at SABR.org/convention!

SABR 43 was held July 31-August 4 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, just blocks from City Hall, Independence Hall, the Reading Terminal Market and many other Philadelphia landmarks.

Audio has been posted online for select SABR 43 research presentations. To listen, click on a link below:

http://sabr.org/convention/sabr43-presentations

For complete coverage of SABR 43 — including audio from the featured panels, photos and stories — visit SABR.org/convention.

Download your free copy of The National Pastime: From Swampoodle to South Philly

The National Pastime, SABR's annual convention journal, is now larger than ever — and we're also making it available as a free e-book for your computer or e-reading device.

The 2013 TNP, From Swampoodle to South Philly, edited by Morris Levin, tells a comprehensive story of baseball in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley — the site of SABR 43. SABR’s Connie Mack Chapter received well over 50 submissions in response to the call for papers, in addition to suggestions for reprints. The full electronic edition, which you can download here in PDF, EPUB (iPad/Nook) or Kindle formats, is over 160,000 words reflecting the strength and scope of the articles received.

You can read articles from the The National Pastime online by clicking on the link below:

http://sabr.org/research/2013-national-pastime

Starting this year, the print edition of the TNP — which does not include the extra articles in the expanded e-edition — is being offered as a souvenir to SABR members attending the annual convention as part of our expanded Publications program led by editor Cecilia Tan. By publishing larger versions of the TNP online and in e-book format, more SABR members will have a chance to have their work published and SABR members will have the opportunity to read more top-level articles every summer.

Since 2009, The National Pastime has served as SABR's convention-focused publication. Published annually, this research journal provides in-depth articles focused on the respective geographic region where the national convention is taking place in a given year.

For more coverage of SABR 43, visit SABR.org/convention.

SABR Asian Baseball Research Committee salutes Ichiro Suzuki on 4,000th career hit

SABR's Asian Baseball Research Committee proudly salutes New York Yankee outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on achieving milestone hit 4,000 in his international professional baseball career.

“Since his MLB debut in 2001 Ichiro’s disciplined, zen approach to hitting has thrilled fans, earned the respect of his peers, and established his place in baseball history as one of the game’s greatest hitters,” said Bill Staples Jr., chairman of the SABR Asian Baseball Committee (http://research.sabr.org/asianbb).

Despite the fact that sports historians and writers have debated the significance of Ichiro’s combined career hits on both sides of the Pacific, his 4,000 hits is an incredible record worth appreciating.



Pete Rose (4,256) and Ty Cobb (4,189) are the only players in MLB history to reach 4,000 hits. However, some say that if Ichiro's statistics in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) are considered, then minor-league statistics should be included as well. MLB.com writer Bryan Hoch points out that only six players would reach the 4,000-hit milestone with the inclusion of “minor-league” stats.

In his first 10 MLB seasons, the left-handed hitter from Japan achieved more hits than any other player in MLB history. Ichiro had 2,244; Rose had 1,922; and Cobb had 1,727. If he extends his playing career to age 45 like Rose did, he has the potential to achieve MLB career hit 3,406, which would surpass Rose’s combined career hit total of 4,683 and earn Ichiro the “Global Hit King” title.

Even if Suzuki does not beat Rose’s combined career hit total, he has already proven himself as one of the game's all-time greats and worthy of a plaque in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

— Bill Staples Jr.

Simkus: On Ichiro Suzuki, Minnie Minoso and 4,000 career 'professional' hits

On Wednesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, Ichiro Suzuki displayed his classic form at the plate. Head down, his bat flashed into the hitting zone, and with a quick flick of the wrists, he deflected a 78-mph knuckleball from R.A. Dickey into left field for a base hit. The 4,000th such occurrence of his illustrious professional career, Suzuki had baseball beat writers and bloggers scrambling to compile a new list.

If we included the minor leagues and service time in foreign circuits — and putting aside for a moment the argument that those leagues should not be included in the total — how many players have accumulated more than 4,000 base hits during their professional careers?

Pete Rose and Ty Cobb are the two gimmes; they both accomplished the feat in the Major Leagues alone. We can also add Hank Aaron, who finished his Major League career with 3,771 base knocks, to go along with 324 in the minors, giving him 4,095. There's also Stan Musial, who pounded out 4,001 hits, 371 of which were in the minor leagues.

And then there was the oddball, 1920s-30s journeyman outfielder Arnold “Jigger” Statz, who spent most of his career with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. In 18 minor league seasons, Statz racked up 3,356 hits at the highest level of the minors. Combined with 737 hits logged during parts of eight seasons in the Majors, Statz finished his career with 4,093 career hits.

But one player seemed to elude everybody on Wednesday. His name is Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) “Minnie” Minoso. That's right, the nine-time All-Star outfielder who split most of his big-league time with the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians passed the magical 4,000-hit barrier back in the 1970s, but almost nobody noticed.

A career .298 hitter in the majors, Minnie Minoso played baseball virtually year-round from 1945 to 1960, spending his summers in the United States, and his winters back home in his native Cuba. When Fidel Castro took over, Minoso never looked back, but continued playing summer baseball full-time until 1973, finishing his professional career with an extended run in the Triple-A Mexican League. Later on, there were some famous publicity stunts, when Minoso donned the Chicago White Sox uniform in 1976 and 1980, appearing in a couple additional big league games.

All told, when you add together Minnie Minoso's Major League (1,963), minor league (429), Cuban League (838), Mexican League (715) and Negro League hits (at least 128 documented), he winds up with a career total of 4,073 professional hits.

Read the full story here: http://sabr.org/latest/simkus-ichiro-suzuki-minnie-minoso-and-4000-career-professional-hits

— Scott Simkus

Related links:

SABR member Dick Cramer receives prestigious honor from American Chemical Society

SABR member Dr. Richard D. (Dick) Cramer will be the recipient of the 2013 Herman Skolnik Award, presented by the American Chemical Society's Division of Chemical Information.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions to and achievements in the theory and practice of chemical information science and related disciplines. The prize consists of a $3,000 honorarium and a plaque. Dr. Cramer will also be invited to present an award symposium at the Fall 2013 ACS National Meeting to be held in Indianapolis. SABR member David W. Smith, founder and president of Retrosheet.org, will also speak at the conference.

Cramer is a sabermetrics pioneer and co-founder of SABR's Statistical Analysis Committee. Back in the 1970s, the only baseball analytics activity was letters between Dick and Pete Palmer, highlighted by Dick's challenge to the existence of “clutch performance.” In 1981, Dick co-founded STATS, LLC and then built its technology, working closely with future GMs Doug Melvin and Dan Evans, as detailed in the books Moneyball and The Numbers Game.

Today, Dick actively contributes to Retrosheet and was a panelist at the inaugural SABR Analytics Conference in 2012. In 1974, Dick also co-organized SABR's first Philadelphia regional chapter meeting, including its first (and too-challenging) trivia contest, on Phillies second basemen.

In the scientific world, Cramer is best known as the inventor of the technique of Comparative Molecular Field Analysis (CoMFA) and its introduction to the molecular and drug design fields (JACS 1998, 110, 5959-5967). The technique and its implementation was one of the one of the first widely available and usable 3D QSAR software methods and was developed in collaboration with David Patterson and Jeffrey Bunce. The CoMFA process was one of the first patents in the cheminformatics and computational chemistry fields and has been used in the pharmaceutical industry as the standard method for small molecule bioactivity prediction for the last twenty-five years.

Read the full article here: http://sabr.org/latest/sabr-member-dick-cramer-honored-american-chemical-society

3 new biographies published by the SABR BioProject

Three new biographies were posted as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, which brings us to a total of 2,535 published biographies. Here are the new bios:

All new biographies can be found here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/recent

You can find the SABR BioProject at SABR.org/BioProject.

Bios on more than just ballplayers: The ambitious goal of the SABR Baseball Biography Project is to publish a full-life biography of every major league player in history. But SABR members write about a lot more than just ballplayers. In addition, we have pages for Ballparks, Broadcasters, Executives, Managers, Scouts, Spouses, Umpires and a lot more on the BioProject website. You can browse all of these categories at http://sabr.org/bioproj/browse. So if you've ever thought, "Hey, that person (or ballpark) should get the full BioProject treatment" — write the story and we'll publish it!

Check out the Baseball Ballparks Project: The SABR Baseball Biography Project has been accepting/publishing "biographies" of Ballparks for a few years, and we have 39 of them on our website at http://sabr.org/bioproj/parks. However, this thing just got real. Ballparks are now its very own PROJECT — the Baseball Ballparks Project, our first official spin-off. The project leader is Scott Ferkovich, who is now in charge of recruiting ballparks articles and publicizing them. Learn more by clicking here.

Get involved! If you'd like to help contribute to the SABR BioProject, visit our BioProject Resources page or read the FAQs section to get started. We're also looking to expand the BioProject to include all "encyclopedic" articles on baseball-related subjects from past SABR publications or committee newsletters. If you come across an article you think should be included in the SABR "baseball repository" at the BioProject, send a copy or link to markarmour04@gmail.com or jpomrenke@sabr.org.

ICYMI: Highlights from last week's This Week in SABR

We've heard your feedback: Some of you have said you look forward to "This Week in SABR" every Friday, but sometimes there are just too many compelling articles and announcements to read every week. We're not complaining — hey, keep up the great work! — but we know the feeling. So in an effort to make the length of this newsletter more manageable to read, we'll summarize some of the repeating/recurring announcements in a special "In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)" section of "This Week in SABR".

Here are some major headlines from recent weeks that we don't want you to miss:

All previous editions of This Week in SABR can be found here: http://sabr.org/content/this-week-in-sabr-archives.

Welcome, new members!

We'd like to welcome all of our new SABR members who have joined this week. You can find all Members-Only resources at members.sabr.org and the New Member Handbook can be downloaded here. 

Please give these new members a warm welcome and help them make the most of their membership by giving them the opportunity to get involved in their local chapter or a research committee.

Name Hometown     Name Hometown
Ehsan Bokhari Champaign, IL     Bill Piper Chester, VA
Mike Brandyberry Grafton, OH     Keith Robbins Wake Forest, NC
Dan Butkovich Powell, OH     David Schmidt Seattle, WA
Tiana Chavez Phoenix, AZ     Erik Sherman New Rochelle, NY
Justin Connelly Newark, DE     Ryan Trumble Toronto, ON
Tom Henderson Ellensburg, WA     Marty Tschetter Goldsboro, NC
Matt Lauro Burlington, VT     Lewis Warren Medford, MA
Tom Norton Lansing, NY        

 

Research committee newsletters

Here are the new SABR research committee newsletters published this week:

Find all SABR research committee newsletters at SABR.org/research.

Chapter meeting news

Here are the new chapter meeting recaps published this week:

Visit SABR.org/chapters for more information on SABR regional chapters.

SABR Events Calendar

Here is a list of upcoming SABR events:

All SABR meetings and events are open to the public. Feel free to bring a baseball-loving friend ... and make many new ones! Check out the SABR Events Calendar at SABR.org/events.

Around the Web

Here are some recent articles published by and about SABR members:

Read these articles and more at SABR.org/latest.


This Week in SABR is compiled by Jacob Pomrenke, and sent out to all SABR members on Fridays. All previous editions of This Week in SABR can be found here: http://sabr.org/content/this-week-in-sabr-archives. If you would like us to include an upcoming event, article or any other information in "This Week in SABR", e-mail jpomrenke@sabr.org.

Find exclusive Members' Only resources and information here: http://members.sabr.org

Did you know you can renew your membership at any time? 1- and 3-year SABR memberships are available by clicking "Renew" at http://members.sabr.org. Please also consider a donation to SABR to support baseball research at SABR.org/donate.

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This page was last updated August 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm MST.

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