Today, a business can choose from many promotional products to reach their target audiences. If you’re looking for an effective way to reach out to your existing and potential clients, it may be time to consider investing in custom baseball hats.
If you’re looking for a particular item that can spread the word about your brand and is likely to capture your audience’s attention, go for a functional one, such as a baseball hat. One of the reasons such items stand out among other products is that people can actually use them.
Here are several ways custom baseball hats can ensure your brand stands out from the rest:
Custom baseball hats are a sure-fire way to put your brand on display for everyone to see. With this in mind, choosing custom hats will make it so much easier for people to notice your brand. You can hand them out to loyal clients or employees as part of your marketing. You can even offer them as giveaways during trade fairs or corporate events, or if you have online social media events.
When customizing baseball hats, choosing your brand’s distinctive color scheme is crucial. Remember that a well-designed hat will easily catch your audience’s attention, resulting in a higher level of engagement with the products or services your company offers. Today, you can find reliable providers capable of customizing baseball hats, such as Printful.
Deciding to invest in custom baseball hats is worthwhile since they function as an indirect yet highly effective form of marketing. The reason is that as people wear your hats, they spread the word about your brand without being invasive. Generally, people see a baseball hat as functional or a wardrobe staple, so they’re not likely to see them as a form of marketing or advertising.
Additionally, since baseball hats are considered a wardrobe essential for many people, they can wear them throughout the year, ensuring your brand gets unlimited exposure.
A valuable point to remember when using custom baseball hats in your upcoming marketing campaign is ensuring that your brand logo or message is readily identifiable and clear.
Although almost all businesses maintain an online presence via websites or social media platforms, most often overlook the importance of conventional advertising methods, such as giving out thank you gifts.
If your budget allows, consider giving out custom baseball hats as a gesture of appreciation to your clients after availing of any of your products or services. Doing so makes it personal and ensures your brand is memorable for your clients. It’s an effective way to ensure your audience sees you as a special brand that truly stands out from the rest.
One of the reasons custom baseball hats are a worthwhile investment is that anyone can wear them. From men to women, children to seniors, they’re accessories anyone can wear. The best thing is that hats are unisex items that you can readily adjust for all head sizes.
When your employees wear the custom baseball hats during trade shows or sporting events, it symbolizes collaboration or camaraderie. Consider it as a way to entice your target audience to do the same.
Custom baseball hats as a marketing tool can also help boost your employees’ motivation. Giving the hats as a gift to your employees is one way to show them that you value their work. When your employees proudly showcase your brand, it can spread the word about your brand even more. It’d be best to include the hats in the ensemble of your employees during trade fairs or corporate events.
Investing in top-quality custom baseball hats imparts a professional touch to your brand. At the same time, it also boosts respect towards your company and employees. If you want to make this happen, it’d be ideal to invest in an embroidered design. Doing so shows that you pay close attention to detail in creating a professional-looking branding for your company.
Although you have a vast array of products that you can use to advertise your brand, custom baseball hats stand out since they’re both an affordable and effective choice, especially among startups and small businesses.
Purchasing baseball hats in bulk is particularly affordable. Additionally, customized hats are cost-effective due to their durable nature, lasting for years, unlike other common promotional items, such as notebooks or pens. The longer a promotional product lasts, the more effective it can establish brand awareness.
Effective marketing will require you to think of suitable promotional products that can spread the word about your brand in the best way possible. Custom baseball hats may be ideal since they’re functional and cost-effective.
Giving out hats to clients and employees can effectively spread the word about your brand. As more people wear your brand’s custom baseball hats throughout the year, it ensures your brand gains unlimited exposure.
The post <strong>5 Ways Custom Baseball Hats Can Make Your Business Stand Out</strong> appeared first on Off The Bench.
via Off The Bench https://www.offthebenchbaseball.com/2022/09/30/5-ways-custom-baseball-hats-can-make-your-business-stand-out/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-ways-custom-baseball-hats-can-make-your-business-stand-out
With the Mets’ Jeff McNeil on first base in the 8th inning of Tuesday’s game, Marlins pitcher Richard Bleier had three straight balks called against him by first base umpire John Tumpane. The balks gave McNeil a free trip around the bases and allowed the Mets to trim a run off the Marlins’ lead. As you can imagine, Bleier was not happy, nor was his manager, Don Mattingly, who was ejected after the third balk call. Bleier was ejected after the final out of the inning.
Prior to Tuesday, Bleier had pitched nearly 300 innings in the big leagues since 2016 and never been called for a balk. Then came three in one inning. As noted by Sarah Langs on Twitter (@SlangsOnSports, with a hat tip to Elias Sports), Bleier was only the seventh pitcher ever to be called for three balks in an inning. He was also the first since 1900 to have all three balks called with the same batter at the plate.The previous pitchers to balk three times in an inning:
Jim Gott, August 6, 1988
Don Heinkel, May 3, 1988
Bob Shaw, May 4, 1963
Jim Owens, April 24, 1963
Milt Shoffner, May 12, 1930
Charlie Sweeney, April 30, 1885
I’m not at all surprised that two of the previous six pitchers to balk three times in an inning did so in 1988. As a longtime baseball fan, any balk-related news immediately makes me think of 1988, which was without question “The Year of the Balk.” As the chart below reveals, the number of balks called that year are staggering when compared to every year before and since.
Other than a couple of odd years (1950 and 1963), the number of balks called per 200 innings pitched was below 1.0 from the advent of the balk rule in 1898 through the 1973 season. That was about 75 seasons of stability. Balks began to get called more frequently in the 1970s, likely due to the rise in base-stealing, and generally ranged between 1.0 and 2.0 balks per 200 innings pitched until 1988, when it jumped to nearly 5.0 balks per 200 innings. That was the bizarre “Year of the Balk.” Then, just as quickly as it had skyrocketed, balks came back down again in 1989.
According to this article, the “Year of the Balk” may be traced back to the 1987 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins, which was won in seven games by the Twins. After the series, Cardinals manager White Herzog complained that Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven committed a dozen balks that were not called.
Prior to the 1988 season, the MLB Official Rules on balks was altered:
1987: Baseball Official Rule 8.01(b): The pitcher, following his stretch, must (a) hold the ball in both hands in front of his body and (b) come to a complete stop.
1988: Baseball Official Rule 8.01(b): The pitcher, following his stretch, must (a) hold the ball in both hands in front of his body, and (b) come to a single complete and discernible stop, with both feet on the ground.
The change from “come to a complete stop” to “come to a single complete and discernible stop, with both feet on the ground” made a world of difference. The first sign of something strange going on occurred when a dozen balks were called during a spring training game between the Rangers and Blue Jays. Knuckleballer Charlie Hough was called for nine of them.
Then the regular season started and April was crazy with balks. Prior to 1988, Steve Carlton held the record for balks in a season with 11, which came in 1979 when he pitched 251 innings. In 1988, Oakland’s Dave Stewart began the year with a six-game balk streak. Twice during the streak, he was called for three balks in a game. His teammate on the A’s, Bob Welch, followed one of Stewart’s three-balk days with a three-balk day of his own. By the end of his streak, Stewart had tied Carlton’s season-long record by balking 11 batters in just 48 1/3 innings. He would finish with 16 balks, now the most ever in a season.
Stewart wasn’t the only pitcher in 1988 to match or beat Carlton’s record. Bob Welch, John Candelaria, Jose Guzman, Mike Birkbeck, Jack Morris, and Rod Scurry all balked 11 times or more. In Scurry’s case, he committed a mind-boggling 11 balks in just 31 1/3 innings.
Scurry was a left-handed reliever who rarely pitched more than two innings in an outing, yet still had two games in which he balked twice. Not to be outdone, A’s lefty reliever Rick Honeycutt had a four-balk outing, as did Rangers starting pitcher Bobby Witt.
Balks were out of control and pitchers were fuming, as were their managers. Scientifically-speaking, when a pitcher in the stretch brings his hands down to his waste, then back up again to continue his motion, there is a stop when the change in direction occurs. There has to be. But it wasn’t enough to be classified as a “discernible stop” so the same motion that pitchers had used for years was suddenly punishable.
The previous chart showed how much an outlier 1988 was when it comes to balks, but it really doesn’t do the season justice. Prior to 1988, the highest rate of balks called in a season was 1.9 balks per 200 innings pitched in 1987. In April of 1988, there were 10.1 balks called per 200 innings pitched. Imagine being a pitcher in 1988 and having balks called five times more often than the year before.
The chart below shows how frequently balks were called in each month of the 1988 season. You can see the major crackdown in April, with 10.1 balks per 200 innings pitched. Umpires became more lenient as the season went along, but even September’s 3.1 balks per 200 IP would have been record-setting over the course of a full season.
Prior to the 1989 season, the rule was changed back to “come to a complete stop” with the “discernible” part removed. Even with the rule change, it took a while for umpires to adjust back to the way they had called balks before. There were 2.7 balks per 200 innings pitched in the first half of the 1989 season, compared to 1.5 balks per 200 innings pitched called in the second half of the season. The balk madness was over and balks would continue on a downward trend in the 1990s and into the 2000s.
The legacy of the “Year of the Balk” lives on in the record books with “the most balks by a team in a single season” leaderboard. The top 18 spots are teams from 1988, highlighted by the Oakland A’s and their 76 balks that season. By comparison, the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are tied for first in balks this year with eight. The Seattle Mariners have yet to commit a balk. As for the Miami Marlins? Richard Bleier’s three balks in one inning on Tuesday were the first three balks they committed this season.
via Off The Bench https://www.offthebenchbaseball.com/2022/09/28/richard-bleier-balks-his-way-into-the-record-book/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=richard-bleier-balks-his-way-into-the-record-book
There are 17 National League pitchers listed with NL Cy Young Award Odds at Vegas Insider. Tony Gonsolin has a record of 16-1 and a 2.10 ERA. He’s ranked fifth on the list, at +4000. Gonsolin’s teammate on the Dodgers, Tyler Anderson, is 15-3 with a 2.62 ERA. He’s tied for 14th on the list. Tied for 12th is Atlanta’s Kyle Wright, who leads the NL in wins at 18-5 and has a 3.18 ERA. Meanwhile, Aaron Nola (9-11, 3.31 ERA), has better odds than Tyler Anderson and Kyle Wright and also Yu Darvish (14-7, 3.16) and Zack Wheeler (11-7, 3.07) despite Nola having fewer wins, a losing record, and a higher ERA than all four.
2022 NL CY YOUNG ODDS (as of September 15):
This is the world we live in now, where a pitcher’s win-loss record and ERA are not as important as their innings pitched, strikeouts, and—choose one or more—FIP/xFIP/SIERA. And there are good reasons for it. Nowadays, we are more aware of the shortcomings of a pitcher’s win-loss record and how team-dependent, lineup-dependent, and luck-dependent it can be. We also value innings and strikeouts and the alternatives to ERA—FIP/xFIP/SIERA—which were created to isolate what a pitcher has the most control over, namely, strikeouts, walks, and home runs allowed.
While I embrace the modern analysis of the game, as a longtime baseball fan I have some nostalgia for the impressive win-loss records of great pitchers in the past. I was too young to experience Ron Guidry going 25-3 in 1978, but I read about it later and loved how it looked in the Baseball Encyclopedia. I was at the right age to be in awe of Dwight Gooden going 24-4 and Orel Hershiser finishing 19-3 in 1985 and Roger Clemens matching Gooden’s 24-4 record in 1986.
I was in the crowd at the Kingdome in 1995 for some incredible starts when Randy Johnson went 18-2, with that 18th victory coming in a one-game playoff against the Angels to put the Mariners in the postseason for the first time in franchise history. Greg Maddux was 19-2 in 1995 and 19-4 two years later (when Johnson was 20-4). I remember Pedro Martinez going 23-4 in 1999, which looked like his peak season until he was arguably even better in 2000 despite a worse win-loss record (18-6).
This season, Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson have a combined record of 31-4 because they’ve pitched well and because they’ve pitched for the best team in baseball. The Dodgers’ .690 winning percentage through September 15 equates to about 112 wins in a 162-game season. It’s good to pitch for the Dodgers. So good, in fact, that we can be confident that Gonsolin and Anderson would NOT be a combined 31-4 if they pitched for the Nationals, for example.
Gonsolin’s 16-1 record, in particular, is historically good. He started the year 11-0, lost his first game on July 25, then won five straight. Unfortunately, he last pitched on August 23 because he was placed on the IL six days after running his record to 16-1. He recently threw a bullpen session as he attempts to make his way back to the Dodgers while they gear up for the postseason.
In a different era, Gonsolin’s 16-1 record would be much bigger news. In baseball history, the only other pitchers with at least 16 wins and a single loss are Roy Face, who was 18-1 for the 1959 Pittsburgh Pirates, and Connie Rector, who was 18-1 for the 1929 New York Lincoln Giants of the American Negro league, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Face went 18-1 while pitching exclusively in relief. According to this detailed breakdown at SABR, he earned nine of his 18 wins when he came into a tied game, six of which were in extra-innings. He also earned four other extra-inning wins. As you’d expect during an 18-1 season for a team that went 78-76-1, there was some luck involved with Roy Face that season. In fact, four of his wins were of the “blown save and win” variety.
There’s no such game-by-game breakdown for Connie Rector, who has statistics listed for 13 seasons at Baseball-Reference, including that 18-1 season in 1929, when he was 37 years old. Despite only 13 seasons listed at B-Ref, this article claims his baseball career spanned at least 34 years. It also claims Rector actually went 20-3 for the 1929 Lincoln Giants based on year-end statistics from the Pittsburgh Courier, so it’s possible he doesn’t belong on this list. It may be just Roy Face and Tony Gonsolin in the 16-or-more-wins and no-more-than-one-loss club.
Gonsolin, despite his 16-1 record and 2.10 ERA, will not win the NL Cy Young Award this year. That trophy is most likely going to Sandy Alcantara, who is 12-8 with a 2.43 ERA. The biggest difference between the two is Alcantara’s 203 2/3 innings pitched versus 128 1/3 for Gonsolin.
In fact, Alcantara has pitched 20 more innings than the next pitcher on the list, Aaron Nola. Alcantara simply shows up every day, pitches deeper into games than the other NL pitchers, and has done a good job of keeping runs off the scoreboard. That’s why he’s the odds-on favorite to win the NL Cy Young despite being tied for eighth in wins.
The following chart shows the 17 contenders with some traditional statistics and their current odds to win the NL Cy Young Award. Category leaders are highlighted in gold for pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title (which means starters only, apologies to Edwin Diaz).
Alcantara has a big lead in innings pitched and a great ERA (second among qualified NL pitchers behind Julio Urias). He’s the favorite, with Urias, Fried, and Gallen his closest competitors on the betting market. MLBAM Senior Data Architect Tom Tango has his own Cy Young predictor, which has Alcantara in the lead, with Urias, Fried, and Gallen, along with Rodon and Burnes “dancing for 2nd.” Burnes (+12500) and Rodon (+15000) are further down the list at Vegas Insider than on Tango’s Cy Young predictor rankings.
This next chart is all about earned runs allowed and runs that, theoretically, are more the responsibility of the pitcher than the pitcher plus the defense. It shows each pitcher’s innings pitched, ERA, xERA, FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and WHIP. The average column is just that—the average of the runs allowed metrics. Carlos Rodon and Aaron Nola shine here, with Rodon leading qualifying NL starters in xERA, FIP, and the average of all five, while Nola leads in xFIP and SIERA. Zac Gallen leads qualifying NL pitchers in WHIP.
One of the most revealing metrics for pitchers is K-BB% because strikeouts and walks are the two things pitchers have the most control over. Among the top 12 qualifying NL starting pitchers in K-BB%, only Charlie Morton has an ERA higher than 3.50 (and his SIERA is 3.44). The following chart shows once again how good Carlos Rodon has been (league leader in K-BB% among qualifying pitchers). It also shows what good control Aaron Nola has had this year. Also, it should be noted that Jacob deGrom is better than every starting pitcher at everything, but hasn’t pitched enough this year to be in serious contention for the NL Cy Young Award.
Finally, the chart below shows three different Wins Above Replacement metrics for these 17 pitchers. fWAR and RA9-WAR are from FanGraphs. fWAR uses Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) as its core component, while RA9-WAR uses runs allowed per nine innings. bWAR (Baseball-Reference WAR) is more like FanGraphs’ RA9-WAR in that it also uses runs allowed.
In the column second-from-the-right, I averaged the three different WARs. Using this combination, Sandy Alcantara is on top, followed by Max Fried, Carlos Rodon, and Aaron Nola. I’m not necessarily saying this is the best way to determine a pitcher’s value. It’s just one way. If you prefer fWAR, Carlos Rodon is your man, with Aaron Nola not too far behind him.
As for Tony Gonsolin, his comparatively few innings and less-than-stellar FIP, xFIP, and SIERA land him in the middle-of-the-pack among these pitchers, but that 16-1 record and 2.10 ERA look very cool on his FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference pages. If he comes back in time to get two more starts, he could equal Roy Face at 18-1 . . . and still not win the NL Cy Young Award.
The post <strong>Tony Gonsolin’s 16-1 Record Ain’t What It Used To Be</strong> appeared first on Off The Bench.
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There is a difference between people who are the boss and those who lead. Leaders set an example, get involved, inspire, and nurture their teams so that they learn and do their jobs to the best of their ability. Leadership takes more than handing out orders; leaders need to be ethical by showing respect for values, beliefs, and the dignity of others. This means they need to do the right thing in all circumstances.
Ethical Leadership Explained
An ethical leader leads by example and shows that they have values, both at work and outside the office. They do not ignore wrongdoing, even if it would be positive for the business. They show employees that they believe in doing the right thing, and this sets the tone for the company.
Why Ethical Leadership Matters
Ethical leadership matters because it creates a positive culture. It improves the morale of employees and can be inspiring as well. In addition, it helps to improve the brand image, and it prevents scandals and bad PR. A company’s reputation is critical to success today, and ethical leaders help companies maintain a positive image.
Ethical leaders also inspire loyalty from employees and customers. This quality also reduces workplace stress, which improves productivity. The company will have greater efficiency because the employees will be engaged and proud of where they work.
Becoming an Ethical Leader
Ethical leaders define their values and put them into practice. This makes it easier for them to treat others how they want to be treated, and they know to say thank you and show people that they appreciate their hard work. It is important to show how values benefit the entire organization to get everyone on board.
Another way to be an ethical leader is by making sure that you hire people with similar values. They don’t need to be identical, but they should be in the same ballpark. You should create a vision statement, and let people know what it is upfront. This allows mutual respect and working toward a common goal.
Finally, make sure that you promote open and honest communication. It is important to listen to feedback so that everyone feels that they are contributing to the process.
via Louis DeTitto | Business https://louisdetitto.com/acting-as-an-ethical-leader/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=acting-as-an-ethical-leader
Sports stadiums are huge and many people go to sports games expecting to have a good time. Of course, there are many potential safety concerns when you’re gathering so many people in one place. What security measures do sports stadiums take to keep everyone safe? Keep reading to learn about how these stadiums work hard to balance safety and fun.
Trained Security Personnel
The first line of defense in sports stadiums is the security workers. Each stadium is going to have trained security personnel who know how to respond to different problems. These workers can throw fans out for being unruly or causing fights. They’ll also be able to screen people coming into the stadium to ensure that no one is doing things that they shouldn’t be doing.
Security equipment is the next piece of the puzzle to examine. Modern sports stadiums make use of many pieces of equipment that are designed to keep people safe. Metal detectors can help to keep people from bringing firearms into stadiums, and some stadiums use full-body scanning devices. People are monitored in the stadium with cameras and there is truly a sophisticated operation working to keep people safe during events.
Zoned Operations and Evacuation Protocols
Stadiums have zoned operations where there are different sections of an arena. There is an outer portion, a middle portion, and an inner portion of the stadium. There are different rules and procedures for how people react when something happens in a stadium. If people need to be evacuated, there are plans in place to get people out safely.
The security personnel and other trained workers prepare for such situations. They have rules to follow that should help them to react calmly in the event of weather disasters or other events. Local law enforcement, fire department workers, and medical workers should also be aware of these plans. So everything will proceed in an orderly fashion to protect people.
Analyzing data is imperative because it gives people a chance to plan. Stadiums are always analyzing data so they can make things better. When new information comes to light, rules, and policies will be updated. Things change as the years go by, and stadiums must adapt to these changes using all of the tools available to them.
via Louis DeTitto's Sports Blog https://louisdetitto.net/security-measures-that-sports-stadiums-take/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=security-measures-that-sports-stadiums-take
Many of the prospects lists coming into this season had five names at the top, then a gap to the next tier of young players. The top five generally included Bobby Witt, Jr., Adley Rutschman, Julio Rodríguez, Spencer Torkelson, and Riley Greene. These were the “future of the franchise” type players that fans in Kansas City, Baltimore, Seattle, and Detroit could dream on. These are also the type of players that teams often keep down in the minor leagues at the beginning of the season to delay their free agency by a year.
One of the new additions to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between MLB and the MLB Players Association is an incentive for teams to promote their top young players to their Opening Day roster, rather than play roster shenanigans by keeping them down in the minors for a few weeks to gain that extra year of service time. If a club has a player finish in the top three in Rookie of the Year voting, the team receives an extra draft pick only if that player was on the Opening Day roster. Players who finish in the top two in Rookie of the Year voting receive a year of service time even if they don’t start the season on the Opening Day roster, so the new rule encourages teams with very good young players to start the season with those players in the major leagues.
With this rule in place, the Mariners, Royals, and Tigers started the year with their top rookies on the Opening Day roster—Julio Rodríguez, Bobby Witt, Jr., and Spencer Torkelson, respectively. The Orioles might have had Adley Rutschman on their Opening Day roster if not for a triceps strain he suffered in early March. The same is true of Detroit’s Riley Greene, who suffered a foot fracture before the season started.
Heading into Opening Day, Bobby Witt, Jr. was the favorite to win the AL ROY Award, with Spencer Torkelson second and Julio Rodriguez third. Then, Cleveland outfielder Steven Kwan exploded upon the scene with 10 hits and seven runs scored in his first five games and he was suddenly included in the top five by the oddsmakers. Houston shortstop Jeremy Peña jumped into the fray a couple weeks later after hitting an extra-innings walk-off homer on April 24.
Meanwhile, Julio Rodríguez was off to a brutally slow start. In his first 12 games, he hit .136/.208/.159 and struck out 22 times in 48 plate appearances, including three games with a hat trick (three strikeouts in a game) and one golden sombrero (four strikeouts in a game). Upon closer inspection by Justin Choi of FanGraphs, it was clear that Rodríguez had, at the very least, received some poor luck on called third strikes by umpires.
By the time Rutschman made his major league debut on May 21, Jeremy Peña was having the best season of the AL Rookie of the Year contenders. He was strong defensively and well above average on offense. He continued to hit well over the next six weeks. At the end of the day on July 5, he was hitting .276/.327/.482, which gave him a 131 wRC+ (meaning he was 31 percent better on offense than the league average player after league and ballpark effects were accounted). He wasn’t the favorite to win the AL ROY Award, but he was very much in the conversation along with Rodríguez and Witt, Jr.
Peña has come crashing back to earth since then, with a .214/.235/.321 batting line (54 wRC+) from July 6 through September 3. He’s walking a little less often, his strikeout rate has gone up a bit, his BABIP has dropped from .321 through July 5 to .269 since, and he has a lower Hard-Hit percentage and Barrel Rate than he had before. Where once Peña was among the favorites with the oddsmakers to snag the AL ROY trophy, he has since fallen out of contention.
Steven Kwan also slowed way down following his torrid initial foray in the bigs. After banging out 10 hits in his first five games, Kwan went 19-for-105 with very little power over his next 30 games, hitting .181/.263/.248 from April 13 through May 29 (49 wRC+). He’s regained his footing since then and has been a comfortably above-average hitter since the end of May (.314/.378/.406, 127 wRC+). It hasn’t been enough to move him up to the Rodríguez/Rutschman tier of AL rookies, but it’s still a fine debut season overall and we have a month of games left.
Bobby Witt, Jr. is having a very impressive rookie season . . . for fantasy baseball. With 20 homers and 26 steals, he has the power/speed combination that every fantasy baseball manager is looking for. In the real world, his .288 OBP and less-than-stellar defense have cut into his value. FanGraphs has him worth right around 2 WAR, which is fifth among AL rookies, while Baseball-Reference dings him harder for his defense and has him with 0.6 WAR. For what it’s worth, Statcast has Witt near the bottom of the list among shortstops, with -7 Outs Above Average.
Spencer Torkelson looked good for a couple weeks, hitting.231/.362/.478 through the first game of a double-header on April 23, but then went 4-for-50 with no extra-base hits, no RBI, and 21 strikeouts over his next 16 games. The Tigers stuck with him until the All-Star break, then finally sent him down to AAA. He was recalled on September 2 but is no longer in the AL Rookie of the Year discussion.
Out in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Julio Rodríguez improved after his rough first few weeks and his hot bat has stayed hot over the last four-plus months. Since April 22, he’s hit .279/.338/.504 (143 wRC+). He became the odds-on favorite for AL Rookie of the Year in the middle of June and had yet to relinquish that spot as the calendar flipped to September.
Like Rodríguez, Rutschman also took some time to acclimate to the big leagues, as he hit .176/.256/.257 in his first 20 games (that’s a well below average 49 wRC+). Something clicked around the middle of June. Over the last 11 weeks, he’s hit .271/.386/.495 (153 wRC+) and helped the Baltimore Orioles stay in the conversation for an AL wild card spot.
A longshot who has come on strong recently is Seattle Mariners pitcher George Kirby, who was recently named AL Rookie of the Month after going 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 29.3 innings in August. Kirby had a 3.46 ERA in May and a 4.67 ERA in June before coming into his own in July and August (combined 2.17 ERA in nine starts).
Kirby and Rodríguez have been key factors in the Mariners currently holding one of the three AL wild card spots as the franchise looks to end their long playoff drought. The Mariners haven’t made the postseason since 2001, which is the longest stretch of postseasonless play of any team in the four major American sports leagues.
Rutschman has been a key factor for the Orioles, who are still chasing the third AL wild card spot and striving to make the playoffs after losing 110 games last season. It would be a remarkable achievement if the group makes the postseason. Rodríguez is the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year, but Rutschman has been nearly as good by some measures and in 32 fewer games played so far. He has an argument. Either way, it should be a fun final month in the American League.
The post Rodríguez, Rutschman, and the AL Rookie of the Year Race appeared first on Off The Bench.
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Shohei Ohtani’s extraordinary ability and production have given baseball fans plenty to talk about over the past five years. He’s been a top 10 MLB hitter since stepping foot in a batter’s box in 2018, and his pitching (which was always good) has improved to the point that he’s also legitimately one of baseball’s best on the mound as well. Over the long weekend, he pitched 8 innings of 1-run ball against the best team in the American League. He took a day off, then hit two homers.
This of course has drawn many comparisons to Babe Ruth, who was unquestionably the best hitter of his generation and may also have been the best pitcher in the AL over a two-season stretch. The general consensus is that Ruth was a baseball unicorn until Ohtani’s arrival over a century after the Babe’s debut. Players who can both pitch and hit on an MLB level to any extent are extremely rare – the odds of a player doing both at the level of Ruth and Ohtani is infinitesimal.
Yet as we know, consensuses can often be based on lacking information. Often relevant data can be omitted willfully, but more often it’s unknowingly overlooked. With regards to discussions of Ohtani, Ruth, and who’s the best two way player of all time, I’m here to tell you that Charles Wilber “Bullet” Rogan has entered the chat. Furthermore, any baseball journalist or announcer who doesn’t bring Bullet’s name and game into the conversation is doing (another) disservice to a huge part of baseball history, because Showtime and the Babe don’t have anything on Bullet.
After multiple stints in the US Army, Rogan began his career in 1920 at the age of 26 with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League. Over the next ten seasons he’d post a 156 OPS+, which was good for fifth best in the NNL in the 1920s – and 16 points better than Ohtani’s career 140 mark, if you’re curious. (In fact, in the ‘20s, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, and Harry Heilmann were the only AL/NL players with a higher OPS+.) Whether measuring players by counting stats or rate stats, Rogan was one of the best hitters of his generation; he was top ten in NNL rankings in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, walks, stolen bases, total bases, batting average, OBP and SLG in the ‘20s.
Perhaps even more impressively, he did it by not only playing regularly (in the 20s Rogan played more games than all but three NNL players), but he did it by playing every position on the field except shortstop. With that level of offensive production and defensive versatility, he averaged 6.8 bWAR per 162 games* for 10 seasons for the Monarchs with his bat and glove. For some perspective, Ohtani posted 4.9 bWAR as a batter in 2021 when he won the AL MVP and is on pace for 3.7 this season.
(*For too many reasons to list here, the Negro Leagues did not play as many games as the AL and NL – the Monarchs averaged 83 games per season in the 20s, for example. We’ll convert Rogan’s totals to 162 games where necessary for today’s discussion.)
While establishing himself as one of the NNL’s best hitters and position players at the same time that Babe Ruth was changing the sport forever with his offensive firepower, Bullet was establishing himself as arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball – Negro Leagues, American League, National League, included. In fact, Casey Stengel referred to Bullet as “one of the best – if not the best – pitcher who ever lived.” Longtime teammate and catcher Frank Duncan claimed that if you had a choice between Rogan and Satchel Paige, you’d take Bullet because Bullet was as good on the mound as Paige but was also your cleanup hitter.
Rogan only pitched one game in 1929 when he became predominantly a center fielder, but to avoid accusations of cherry-picking and to open up the sample size, I’ll include the entire decade of the 20s for the following numbers and comparisons.
In the 1920s, Bullet Rogan not only led all Major League pitchers in ERA+, ERA, and FIP, he did it by wide margins. His ERA+ of 163 through the ‘20s far surpassed the second-best 130 that Hall of Famers Dazzy Vance and Pete Alexander posted in the decade, and Rogan’s 2.62 ERA trounced Alexander’s next best 3.04. Rogan’s MLB-best 2.36 FIP in the decade also easily outpaced Vance’s second-best 2.84, but Bullet slacked a bit in the WHIP category, leading all of MLB with 1.156, only slightly ahead of Alexander’s 1.191.
If you’re wondering about innings totals with regards to his rate stats, as the Negro Leagues didn’t play as many games as the AL and NL, allow me to alleviate your concerns. Rogan led NNL pitchers in IP in the ‘20s so I’m not going to penalize him for pitching more than anyone else. Exhibition and barnstorming games are not counted in NNL stats, so Rogan likely pitched comparable innings to his AL/NL counterparts. That said, his 1,492 innings would still have placed him in the top twenty in IP in both the AL and NL over the same stretch. Remarkably, even despite the reduced opportunities to compile numbers, Bullet still had the third highest strikeout total in MLB in the decade, fanning more batters than Hall of Famers Walter Johnson, Waite Hoyt, and Pete Alexander despite throwing far fewer innings.
From 1920 through 1928 (again, Rogan only pitched one game in ’29) Bullet averaged 7.0 bWAR per 162 games on the mound for the Monarchs. In 2022 Justin Verlander, Dylan Cease, and Ohtani are the pitching WAR leaders in the American League and none of them are on pace to reach 7.0 bWAR this season – a pace Bullet kept up for nine years.
If you haven’t already done the math in your head, the combined value of Rogan’s bat and pitching is jaw-dropping. From 1920 through 1929, Rogan averaged 6.1 combined bWAR per season, but let’s not forget, the Monarchs only averaged 83 games per season. When we prorate his WAR over full AL and NL schedules, his average bWAR per season would be 11.9 per 162 team games. Babe Ruth exceeded 11.9 bWAR in a season three times in 22 years – Bullet averaged 11.9 over a decade. Ohtani, for his part, posted 9.0 bWAR in 2021 and is on that exact same pace so far in 2022, which is inner-circle Hall of Fame level for sure, yet still a long way from Bullet.
If you want to take Bullet’s level of dominance one step further, let’s look at his best three individual seasons. In 1922, 1923 and 1925 Rogan posted bWAR totals of 9.0, 8.6, and 9.3 respectively. When adjusted to 162 team games in each of those seasons, the totals would be 18.2, 16.2, and 17.9. If you’re curious, since 1900, the highest single-season bWAR total is 15.1 from Walter Johnson in 1913, while Ruth’s 14.2 in 1923 is second best.
Numbers aside, I keep returning to two aspects of this conversation: First, unlike Ohtani, Rogan played in the field every day. Whereas Ohtani is a designated hitter on days that he doesn’t pitch, Rogan was in the field providing value to his team with his glove at seven positions, every day (in day games in Kansas City all summer no less, which gives me a heat stroke just thinking about it).
Secondly, unlike Ruth, Bullet Rogan was a dominant pitcher and hitter simultaneously, within the same seasons. In 1918, Ruth made 19 starts as a pitcher and 72 as a position player then in 1919 he made 15 starts on the mound and 116 in the field – the other 20 seasons of his career he was either a pitcher or a hitter. Despite being great in 1918 and 1919, Ruth decided either he couldn’t or wouldn’t do both long term, while Rogan did both simultaneously for almost a decade.
Of course, there are far too many aspects of this conversation to comprehensively explore today, but we can’t finish without acknowledging the levels of competition. I think we’d all agree that the pitchers and hitters that Ohtani faces are significantly harder to separate from statistically than those that Ruth and Rogan played against. If you believe Ohtani is the best player to ever walk onto a baseball diamond, I might not disagree with you.
Nothing in the previous three paragraphs is an attempt to minimize the talent and accomplishments of any of the players. Players can only play in the era they played, and against only the players in front of them. With that context, all three are among the best ever in my mind, for different reasons. Yet Ruth and Ohtani are commonly spoken of in that esteem, while Charles Wilber “Bullet” Rogan very rarely carries the same weight. This is a disservice to him and the Negro Leagues in general. When it comes to providing value to your team from both the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box, Bullet may have been the best of them all.
The post The Babe and Showtime Have Nothing on Bullet Rogan appeared first on Off The Bench.
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Women are no strangers to baseball. Various colleges throughout the US have had women’s baseball teams since as early as the 19th century, and the immense talent of female players has been proven through countless examples over time.
Men’s baseball has been a slightly different story. Much like women in football, opportunities for women wishing to work in men’s leagues have been few and far between from a historical point of view. However, a new age of equality of opportunity has given rise to welcome change, and the roles of women in baseball are expanding considerably.
As recently as January of 2022, Rachel Balkovec was appointed as the manager of the Low-A Tampa Tarpons, a single-A affiliate team of the New York Yankees. This made Balkovec the first woman in history to manage an affiliated baseball team.
Also occurring in 2022 was the signing of Kelsie Whitmore to the Staten Island Ferry Hawks, which led to Whitmore being the first woman to play a game for an Atlantic League of Professional Baseball team.
The examples above illustrate baseball’s continued evolution, but the foundations for these changes were built through decades of progress. To understand how we got to where we are today, let’s take a look at the most notable moments that led to this point.
The first women’s baseball team
Vassar College formed the first official women’s baseball team in 1866. The world was a little different back then, and our reliance on rigid gender stereotypes made the formation of Vassar’s team a controversial move in the eyes of the public.
The Vassar Resolutes, as they would come to be known, had to face multiple challenges from the very beginning, such as having to wear woolen dresses that covered their ankles, for example.
Conservative culture and other archaic expectations eventually led to the team’s disbandment in 1878, when the parents of Resolute team members grew concerned over the perception of young female players in baseball.
It would take another decade or so for society to get rid of most of these stigmas. Multiple women’s baseball teams were formed in the early 1890s. Recognition of female athletes quickly gained steam from that point on, and it wouldn’t be long before the skill and determination of female players became self-evident.
Breaking stereotypes and saving baseball
In 1898, 20 years after the Vassar Resolutes, we had the first professional baseball contract for a woman. The first female umpire came shortly after that, in 1905, followed by the first woman to own a major league team. These were important changes for the world of women’s baseball, but there were greater developments on the way.
The first event came shortly after the women’s suffrage movement when 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell signed with the Chattanooga Lookouts in 1931. Her pitching prowess is nothing short of legendary, due in large part to the fact that she struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig – two of the most prolific Hall of Famers in baseball history.
The second major catalyst for change was World War II. A shortage of male baseball players led to the formation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which began in 1943. It lasted until 1954, but its temporary existence was the chief cause for a permanent shift in the general public’s perception of women in baseball.
In the years to follow, unfair societal standards and cultural stereotypes gradually fell to the wayside, and baseball became a far more inclusive sport. 1988 saw the first woman to play in a men’s NCAA baseball team. Six years later, we witnessed the first woman to pitch for a men’s baseball team.
From then to now
After another decade of progress, the Women’s World Cup of Baseball was inaugurated in 2004. Expanding opportunities for women in baseball followed soon after, and accurate representation of female talent was finally a tangible reality.
For instance, in 2006, Effa Manley became the first woman to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2012, Michele Smith was a commentator for a Major League Baseball game, making her the first female sports analyst to do so for a nationally televised game.
Fast forward to today, and women’s baseball is no longer a separate entity from its male counterpart. Men and women can find equal opportunities in any aspect of the sport, from playing and coaching to broadcasting and umpiring.
Some would say that it took us far too long to attain the level of equality we have today, but the roles of women in baseball have never been as extensive as they are right now. We’ve come a long way from the trials and tribulations of the past, and the future of the sport has never looked brighter.
The post <strong>All You Need to Know About Women in Baseball</strong> appeared first on Off The Bench.
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The excitement and unpredictability of baseball make it one of the most entertaining sports to bet on. Baseball is a game of small margins, with a team’s success often coming down to whether they can get that edge in key moments.
Even in a game between evenly matched opponents, there are opportunities for informed betting.
The unpredictability of the sport, combined with the number of variables that can impact the result, means there are plenty of spots where you can find value when placing your money on baseball games. Here are some tips on betting on baseball games.
What to look for when betting on baseball
There are a number of factors in a baseball game that can impact the result. These factors can be broken down into two categories: contextual factors, and event-specific factors.
When betting on baseball, the best approach is to try and identify situations where the contextual factors are likely to favor one team, while the event-specific factors are likely to favor the other.
How to bet on baseball: Betting basics
First, let’s go over the basic rules of baseball betting. Baseball is played between two teams who take turns batting and fielding, each completing an inning at a time. An inning ends when three outs have been recorded.
There are nine innings in a standard game. A standard baseball bet covers the outcome of the game. You can bet on who will win the game outright, or choose the outcome of the game based on the run line.
There are also a number of other types of baseball bets available, such as betting on the number of runs scored or on which team will get the most hits.
Baseball betting tips: Utilize advanced stats
The baseball betting tips you find in articles like this will often focus on advanced stats, as these can be very helpful to have at your fingertips when trying to identify betting value.
Baseball is a sport with a rich statistical history, and this data is an excellent resource for bettors. Most sportsbooks offer odds for Major League Baseball games. You can use these odds to help you identify potential value bets.
Once you’ve done this, you need to take a look at the stats for both teams to see what insight they can provide. There are many sites out there that provide you with a quick snapshot of the stats for each team.
MLB betting tips: Which events are most predictable?
There are certain events that are particularly predictable in baseball. Understanding which of these are most common can help you gain an edge when placing your bets.
First, let’s look at the most common event that occurs during a baseball game: the walk. A walk occurs when the pitcher fails to record a strikeout, or the batter fails to make contact at all.
There are two ways this can happen: The batter can fail to put the ball into play, or the pitcher can fail to deliver a strike. The next most common event which can be predicted in baseball is the hit batsman.
This occurs when a player is hit with a pitch. There are two ways this can happen: the pitcher can fail to record a strike, or the batter can fail to get out of the way of the ball.
MLB betting tips: Don’t ignore pitchers
The pitcher has a significant impact on the game in most cases, meaning that their ability will impact what you can expect in terms of runs and/or money lines.
When betting on baseball, it’s important to keep in mind that pitchers who are at the end of a long season are likely to be fatigued, while those working in the offseason are fresh.
There are a few things you can look at to help you assess how a given pitcher will perform in a given game. One of the most important factors to keep an eye on is the pitcher’s win-loss record. A pitcher with a high win-loss record is likely to be capable of playing at a high level in most games.
MLB betting tips: Utilize game location and timing
Another thing you can look at to help you assess how a given pitcher will perform in a given game is the location and timing of that game. When you bet on baseball, you should always pay attention to the game location.
Certain ballparks are better suited to certain teams’ styles of play than others. For example, the New York Yankees play in Yankee Stadium, which is a short right field.
When you bet on baseball, you should also pay attention to the timing of the game. Different times of the year and different weather conditions can impact the game.
Baseball is a game that is heavily influenced by statistics, so it is important that you understand the statistics and how they can help you make accurate predictions on which team will win a game. When you are betting on baseball, you should take into account the statistics of both teams playing in the game in addition to the situation and location where the game is being played. By using these tips, you can help improve your chances of placing successful bets on baseball games.
via Off The Bench https://www.offthebenchbaseball.com/2022/08/20/baseball-betting-tips/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=baseball-betting-tips
What is happening in Baltimore? In the preseason, ESPN projected the Baltimore Orioles to finish 58-104, which was an improvement over last year’s 52-110 record, but still the worst projected record in baseball. ESPN’s most optimistic “if everything goes right” projection was for 70 wins. At FanGraphs, the Orioles were projected to go 63-99, which was also the lowest projected win total for any team. Vegas had the O’s over/under at 62.5, once again the lowest projected over/under of all 30 MLB teams.
Yet, through games on Friday, August 19 the Orioles had already exceeded the 58 wins that ESPN projected in the preseason. They were five games over .500, and just a 1.5 games out of a wild card spot. And it’s not like they’re doing it with smoke-and-mirrors. Last season, the Seattle Mariners finished 90-72 despite a -51 run-differential. Their expected win-loss record was 75-87. That was a smoke-and-mirrors season. This year’s Orioles have a +10 run-differential and an expected record of 56-55, which is just slightly worse than their actual record. They’re mostly legit.
How is this possible? And how excited should we be? Even though I’m not a longtime Baltimore Orioles fan, I’m rooting for them anyway because of how far they’ve come since last season and the difficult division they play in, where four of the five teams are above .500 (and the Red Sox are just two games under). If the season were to end today, the AL East would have three of the six playoff teams in the American League. Only the spunky Seattle Mariners (legitimately good now) are preventing them from having four of six.
When we break the team down into offense, starting pitching, relief pitching, and defense, the biggest improvement has been in the bullpen, from slightly worse than league average last year to among the best in baseball this year. The offense is better than last year, but still below league average. The starting pitchers have moved from near the bottom of baseball to near the middle (based on FanGraphs WAR). And the defense has either greatly improved or moderately improved, depending on the metric used to judge such things.
Moving the Fences
Of course, there’s another prominent reason the team’s fortunes have changed so much in just one season. The ballpark. One of the big offseason stories in Baltimore was the team altering the dimensions of Oriole Park at Camden yards. Specifically, the left-field wall was pushed back 26.5 feet and raised from 7-feet-4 inches to 13 feet. We don’t yet have even one season of data, but the early returns are very interesting. Let’s start with the hitters:
In 2021, Orioles hitters took advantage of their hitter-friendly ballpark to score runs at a higher rate, get on base much more often, and hit for more power when playing in Baltimore. Specific to the offseason move of the left-field fence, the Orioles rate of home runs per fly ball at home was 16.4 percent, which was 6th in baseball. On the road, just 9.5 percent of their fly balls left the yard, which ranked 25th. They scored 0.8 more runs per game at home than on the road and had a 103 wRC+ at home (12th in MLB) versus a 79 wRC+ on the road (26th).
The hitting stats are much more even this year, with a similar runs per game and wRC+ at home versus on the road. As you’d expect, their home run rate is down dramatically at home compared to last year, and is actually lower than their home run rate on the road. Despite the dramatic drop in home run rate at home, they’re scoring is down just 0.2 runs per game at Oriole Park from 2021 and is up by 0.5 runs per game away from Baltimore. They’re just a much more balanced team now, without the wild swings they had last year.
While Orioles hitters may not be happy about the ballpark change, the team’s pitchers must love it. The team’s overall 5.85 ERA in 2021 was the third-highest ERA for any MLB team in the Expansion Era (1947-present). Only the 1996 Detroit Tigers (6.38 ERA) and 1999 Colorado Rockies (6.03 ERA) were worse. This year, their ERA is down by almost two runs, to 3.89. It’s quite amazing, really.
The 2021 staff was particularly bad at keeping the ball in the ballpark. Overall, they allowed 1.7 home runs per nine innings, which is the second-highest rate of homers allowed in the Expansion Era. The only team worse is the 2019 Baltimore Orioles, at 1.9 HR/9 IP. Additionally, as the chart above shows, they were particularly bad at home, where 18 percent of their fly balls allowed went over the fence compared to 12.1 percent on the road. No team allowed a greater rate of home runs per fly ball than the 2021 Orioles.
The 2022 Orioles, on the other hand, have allowed just 8.9 percent of fly balls to go for home runs when playing at home, which is the 4th-best home mark in the big leagues. This improvement at home, from 30th in baseball in HR/FB to 4th is a major factor in their pitching success this year. With the home run rate coming down so significantly, the team’s ERA has dropped from 6.00 at home last year to 3.41 at home this year.
Another reason the team’s pitching has improved is a lower walk rate, both at home and on the road. This is particularly true for their road games, where they’ve actually allowed more home runs per fly ball (13.7% HR/FB this year versus 12.1% HR/FB last year), but have countered that with an increase in strikeout rate (19.1 percent to 20.5 percent) and a significant reduction in walk rate (9.3 percent to 6.8 percent).
In addition to their brutal pitching, the 2021 Orioles were bad on defense, ranking 26th in the FanGraphs defensive metric and 28th in Statcast Outs Above Average (-32 OAA). This year’s team ranks 10th at FanGraphs and 20th in Outs Above Average (-6 OAA). That change in Outs Above Average not seem like a significant move up the ranks, from 28th last year to 20th this year, but a closer look at how their season has played out shows that they were quite bad in April, ranking 26th in baseball with -8 OAA, and have been better since. One of the key differences from last year to this year is the improvement from the left-side infield combination of Jorge Mateo at shortstop and Ramón Urías at third. Also, catcher Adley Rutschman has been a big upgrade over Robinson Chirinos in FanGraphs’ framing metric.
Where Do They Go From Here?
The cold-hearted, analytical point-of-view can best be shown by this postseason playoff odds graph at FanGraphs (through games on August 11):
Despite how far they’ve come this year, a realistic view of the Orioles’ prospects for the rest of the season gives them about a six percent chance to make the playoffs, which is lower than every team in their division AND five other teams in the American League (Astros, Guardians, Mariners, Twins, White Sox). This is partly due to the Orioles having the most difficult remaining schedule in the AL. It kicks off this weekend with three games in Tampa Bay followed by three in Toronto, both teams just above them in the wild card standings. They also have a stretch of 12 games from August 19 through September 1 against the Red Sox, White Sox, Astros, and Guardians.
This is why the team traded away Trey Mancini and Jorge Lopez, two players who would improve their chances to make the playoffs this year, but who were dealt away for players who will help them in the future, when their odds to make the playoffs are likely to be better. At the trade deadline, the Orioles front office took a realistic look at the 2022 team and decided to focus more on 2023 and 2024.
FanGraphs now projects the Orioles to win 79 games, which is a major improvement for a team that won just 52 games last year, but it would still leave them short of a magical playoff appearance. Of course, projections aren’t prophesy. We don’t know what will happen. We do know there’s a little less than one-third of the season left and the Orioles are a half-game out of a playoff spot, with their next six games against two of the three wild card teams. I’d love to see what another week of Orioles magic would do to those playoff odds.
via Off The Bench https://www.offthebenchbaseball.com/2022/08/20/baltimore-orioles-euphoria/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=baltimore-orioles-euphoria
Louis DeTitto is a Philadelphia-based security management expert and sports fan.