If you have any ideas for topics, please email me. Thanks,Stan!
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

A student in my Baseball and Statistics Course is also the student manager of Quinnipiac's  Division One Men's Basketball Team.

Everyone who watches a Division One basketball game understands what the coach does, what the players do, and what the trainers do. Did you every wonder what a student manager of the team does? I know I never understood the role of a student manager.

Being a manager for the men’s basketball team is a very rewarding job, but also one that requires an extreme time commitment. For starters, there are 30 regular season games spanning from November through the beginning of March. There’s also about 80 practices a season. We’re also typically asked to come in during their preseason workouts. For example, this year I started my job the second week of school. As the head manager, I’m expected to be at all events. It’s my responsibility to schedule my classes around being at practice for about 3 hours a day, as well as being available for games at night and traveling. A lot of this job is specific to what the coaches want, so a lot of specific tasks might be different at other schools, but a majority I would think are standard.

On practice days, I arrive at the gym an hour early. The first thing I’ll do is set up the court and bring out the equipment that we’ll need which includes the basketballs, the clock, practice jerseys, boards, etc. and fill up a jug of water as well as everyone’s individual bottles. If it’s the day before a game, I will also go around to all the players, coaches, trainers, and the other managers to fill out our food order, which gets delivered to us after games. During practice, I will either be running the clock and keeping score for drills, or I will be up giving the guys their waters and wiping the floor to clean up when people fall.

On game days, our days start with shoot around. This will typically be about 6 hours before game time. I’ll show up an hour early and set up the clock and bring out the basketballs and practice jerseys. During the actual shoot around, the clock runs down from 60 minutes so we typically just watch as the coaches walk the team through plays and personnel. For home games, I’ll come back to the arena an hour and a half early to bring our equipment bags out behind our bench and be there for if the players need anything. During the actual game, I’ll sit behind the bench and take notes on play calls. Our biggest job during the games is bringing out the chairs and water bottles during timeouts. We normally will have 2-3 people behind the bench and someone else is set up filming the game. Once the game is over, I quickly clean up and put away our equipment bags and check to make sure our food got delivered. After that is organized, we’re normally free to go.

For road games, we leave the night before and stay in a hotel. I put everything we need on the bus including those games bags and film equipment. If we’re eating on the bus, I’ll also put everyone’s food on their seat before they get on. Before we leave, I go in to the locker room and check with the players to make sure they have everything they need in their bags. In the morning, breakfast is normally at 10 AM and we’ll go right to shoot around after that. We’ll come back to the hotel and have our pre-game meal around 3 PM and leave for the game so we get to the gym about 2 hours before game time. The rest of my job at that point is the same as home games.

All in all, this is about a 5-month job where you work pretty much every day, Thanksgiving and winter breaks included. This group becomes your family, and even through the ups and down, I would definitely say it’s a special experience.
Eric Santos, March 24, 2017

 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

This year the Joint Math Convention was in Atlanta, GA.  As luck would have it, Turner Field was closed and SunTrust Park was not yet opened to the public.  Would this be my first math convention without any baseball?  Not only that, the city virtually shut down due to an ice storm.  On Saturday afternoon, once the weather cleared up a bit, my wife and I took a walk to the CNN building.  We had a wonderful tour guide named Corey James.  After the tour, we asked him a few questions about CNN and then we somehow got on the topic of baseball including how much it meant to us. After I said that I wrote a baseball blog, Corey was interested in submitting an entry.  Below he describes what baseball means to him.

My parents first signed me up for T-ball in the spring of 1995, as I look back in retrospect that time frame changed my life. As I grew up playing baseball I learned to love and have compassion for the game, from building relationships with teammates, colleagues, and coaches that I still keep in touch with till this day.

Some may look at baseball and think about some of the negatives such as steroid and supplement abuse. But baseball is way more than that, it’s a sport that can bring a whole family together and can be passed on throughout generations. My grandfather played and loved the game of baseball, and passed the love on to my mother who played softball, and passed that love of the game on to my siblings, and my parents and sibling included passed the love on to me.

I enjoy every minute of the game. The adrenalin rush of being on deck, the pulsating heart thumping feeling of stepping into the batters box, the excitement I receive from watching a home run, witnessing a stolen base, or even a bases loaded full count situation. All facets of the game are exciting. I plan to take my love for the game, and continue the tradition that my grandfather started and pass the love of the game along to my children, and my eventual grand children.

Baseball is more then a bat and ball. It’s a world where you can bring diverse populations together for good ole competitive fun, and excitement.
- Corey James, 03.08.2017

 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Two Major League Baseball batting records were in play on Saturday, August 27th. As a side note this was the date 49 years ago that I married my lovely wife, Tara. Since I do not know the record for the longest marriage, I will return to something I do know about: baseball records. The two players connected with these records are the Yankee rookie catcher Gary Sanchez and the Red Sox veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Wouldn’t you know it the 2 players come from the 2 teams that have always been bitter rivals. Pedroia entered Saturday’s games with 11 consecutive hits in 11 at-bats while Sanchez entered Saturday with 10 home runs in 22 games this season.

Pedroia started his hitting streak on Thursday when in his last three at-bats against the Rays he had 3 hits. He followed that performance on Friday against KC with a 4-for-4 game and a walk. Going into Saturday’s game against KC he had a steak of seven straight hits in seven at-bats and a streak of eight times reaching base successfully in eight plate appearances. In his first four plate appearances on Saturday he got four more hits which extended his hitting streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats and his on-base streak to 12 in 12 plate appearances. However, both streaks ended when he bounced into a double play in his last at-bat on Saturday. The last player to have 11 consecutive hits in 11 at-bats was the Yankee Bernie Williams who accomplished this streak in 2012. The Major League record for most consecutive at–bats with a hit is 12 and is shared by Johnny King (1902 Cubs), Pinky Higgins (1938 Red Sox) and Walt Dropo (1952 Tigers). The modern era Major League record for most consecutive times reaching base successfully is 16 held by a Red Sox player you might have heard of named Ted Williams in 1957. The breakdown of his 16 successes include 2 singles, 4 home runs, 9 walks and 1 HBP. The all-time record is 17 held by Frank Ward in 1893.

In Chapter 16 of my book “Sandlot Stats: Learning Baseball with Statistics,” I presented two mathematical formulas, one developed by Michael Freiman and the other developed by me, which use any player’s batting statistics to assign a probability of that player duplicating any batting streak. The mathematics used comes from the area of mathematics called probability. If interested, please read my Chapter 16 to see what these two formulas look like and the logic used to develop them.

Using my formula, the probability of Pedroia having 11 hits in 11 at-bats was .0012 (this equates to 12 times in 10,000 seasons); his probability of having 12 hits in 12 at-bats was .0004 (this equates to 4 times in 10,000 seasons. The probability of Pedroia reaching base 12 times in 12 plate appearances was .0033 (this equates to 33 times in 10,000 seasons); the probability of Pedroia reaching base 16 times in 16 plate appearances was .0001 (this equates to 1 time in 10,000 seasons).

How does this compare to the actual record-holders? Walt Dropo’s probability of setting his record of 12 consecutive hits in 12 at-bats was .0001 (this equates to 1 time in 10,000 seasons); while Pinky Higgins’s probability of 12 hits in 12 at-bats was .0002 (this equates to 2 in 10,000 seasons). Ted Williams’ probability of his record of reaching base 16 consecutive times was .0083 (this equates to 83 times in 10,000 seasons). The very small probabilities associated with all the record holders achieving their records shows that chance and luck is a very big factor in attaining these records. The year Walt Dropo set his record his batting average was a very mediocre .279.

As for Gary Sanchez, with his home run Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles, he became the fastest player to reach 11 career home runs, doing so in just 23 games. My next blog will discuss all the other batting records approached by Sanchez in his rookie year.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The last Yankee dynasty which began in 1996 was triggered by the young players’ rookie Derek Jeter, second-year pitcher Andy Pettitte and second-year pitcher Mariano Rivera. Soon afterwards Jorge Posada joined the other three and the four became known as the “Core Four.” Beginning in 1996 and ending in 2007 the Yankees made the playoffs every year and were 4-time World Series Champions.

What a weekend August 12-14 was in Yankee-Land. On August 12 the Yankees celebrated A-Rod’s last Yankee game, on August 13 the Yankees celebrated the 20th anniversary of their 1996 World Series Championship team and on August 14 the Yankees honored Mariano Rivera by adding his plaque to Monument Park.

With A-Rod unconditionally released on Friday, the Yankees on Saturday brought up from their Triple A farm team Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge. Both players in their first at bats on Saturday powered back-to-back home runs. The feat of two players hitting back to back home runs in their first at bats in the majors had never been done before in the history of baseball. Austin’s home run was to right field and just cleared the 314-foot sign, whereas; Judge’s home run traveled 457 feet and tied for the fourth longest home run ever hit at Yankee Stadium. In that same game home runs were also hit by Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks. Manager Girardi has stated Aaron Judge will be their permanent right fielder and it is clear that Gary Sanchez is their catcher of the future. All of the above mentioned players are under the age of 27 or as Yankee broadcaster John Sterling put it, the “Baby Bombers” have arrived.

It is fitting that after celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 1996 World Series Championship team, which also marked the first year of the last Yankee dynasty, we can talk about the next Yankee dynasty.  Clearly the strategy of GM Cashman is working better than I expected and probably even better than Cashman expected. The Yankees as of this writing are still in the hunt for the second wild card spot. But there are too many teams in front of them and their starting pitching as it stands now is suspect to say the least. Except for the Tanaka and Sabathia the rest of the starters including Pineda, Eovaldi and Severino have been woeful. However, the bright side for the next couple of years will be watching these young players develop into solid major leaguers triggering the next Yankee dynasty. 

Why do I call this the early stage for the next Yankee dynasty? Over the next two years the Yankees will be rid of many costly salaries. After the 2018 season, with Beltran’s $15 million, Teixeira’s $22.5 million, Sabathia’s $25 million, A-Rod’s $21 million and other bad contracts gone, the Yankees will have globs of money to throw at almost any great player they want. What about signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado or Jose Fernandez, a free agent in 2019? Cashman’s strategy of unloading Chapman, Miller and Beltran to receive back 12 very good prospects has rebuilt the Yankee farm system into one of the best in baseball. These good prospects can be used as trade bait to bring back to the Yankees top starting pitchers. I predict the new Yankee dynasty will start at the beginning of the 2018 season. The Yankees will be very competitive in 2017 and possibly can be a second wild card team. This will depend on the Yankees fortifying their pitching staff in the off season. Remember, the Yankees could resign Beltran and Chapman for the 2017 season. The addition of 29-year old Adam Warren this year has already helped the pitching staff.

It would be hard to predict now which of the young Yankees will be the “Baby Bombers” that trigger the new Yankee dynasty. But for the next few years Yankee fans can really enjoy watching the new Yankee dynasty taking shape


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

A-Rod’s statistics paint a picture of one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. The table below list some of his eye-popping career batting statistics.

A-Rod Stats
 

What about his honors? He was a 3-time MVP. He was one of only five Yankee greats--- Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra and Maris --- to win multiple MVP Awards. He was a 2-time Gold Glove SS, a 10-time Silver Slugger, a batting champion in 1996 and a 14-time All-Star. Clearly, I could go on with his yearly accomplishments but no more proof is needed to declare his greatness. He is second only to the Babe in most home runs hit in one decade (Babe 467 [1920-1929], A-Rod 435 [2000-2009]) and is the only player to hit at least 150 home runs for three different teams (NY, Sea, Tex).

My original draft of this blog written on Thursday painted an ugly picture of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a manager who I really respect. Here are some of the pieces I wrote in that first draft. “Thursday night in Boston, Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez played his final road game of his career. For his final rode game, A-Rod was slotted in the 4th position in the batting order serving as the DH. A-Rod made it clear he wanted to start all three games against the Red Sox and start at third base in his final game at Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, his manager refused both his requests. Why did Joe Girardi refuse his requests? For some absurd reason A-Rod sat out the first two games against the Red Sox. Did Girardi sit A-Rod for the first two games because he felt these were must win games and he had better player alternatives for winning these games? I don’t think so! Remember, the Yankees already waved the white flag several days ago by getting rid of two of the top closers in baseball and their best hitter. Considering A-Rod has been a model citizen this year--- never complaining about his lack of playi­­ng time, leading the cheers from the dugout and working with younger players such as Castro and Gregorius---, A-Rod earned the right to start the final four games of his Yankee career. Would the Yankees have turned down the same request if it was made by Jeter?  

Friday has come and has gone. A-Rod played his last game for the Yankees. The game was scheduled to start at 8 PM instead of the usual 7 PM. The reason for this was the Yankees planned a small celebration for A-Rod. The night started with a storm that one might have reasoned was delivered by the baseball gods to represent A-Rod’s career. Mariano walked his two daughters out of the dugout and they were embraced by their father. The sellout crowd continually cheered and chanted A-Rod’s name. He started the game but not at third base. In his first at bat he delivered a scorching line drive to right that split the outfielders and drove in the Yankees first run. You could see the joy in has face as he stood on second base. This was his only hit in four at bats. But there was a ninth inning surprise. With the Yankees leading 6 to 3 and Betances pitching, out trotted A-Rod with his glove on his left hand. Yes, he would play third base for one out and then leave the game as the fans cheered. Arriving at the dugout he was hugged by Girardi. Yes, Joe granted his wish to play third base in his final game even though it was just for one out.

So what about A-Rod’s future? Well, the Yankees are obligated to pay him the $27.5 million he is owed along with a nominal amount in his new position as advisor and instructor for the Yankees. From my readings the bilingual A-Rod loves to work with young players and will be valuable working with such Latin players as Gleyber Torres (just acquired in a trade) and Jorge Mateo (promising minor league SS).

More on A-Rod’s future in a follow-up blog.


 

 

 
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