Wednesday, May 5, 2010

MikeT vs. bad outfield instincts Usain Bolt

This analysis is not perfect, since all of the splits required are not contained. I erred on Bolt's side in every bit I could where a discrepancy arose.

Usain Bolt - 6'5" elite sprinter, but poor outfielder instincts, takes a wrong step.
MikeT - 270 lb Defensive lineman prospect, who assumedly has good outfielder instincts.

Who gets to the ball first?

Considering you have 6'5" Bolt assumedly taking an entire wrong step before changing direction, we can compare the reaction time/change of direction speed between a 20 yard split (on a 40 yard dash) and a 20 yard shuttle, which features 2 changes of direction.

For the sake of easy conversion, I've decided they will be running 55 feet instead of 50 (as the original problem suggests).

Assumed,
MikeT - 55 foot sprint.
Bolt - 2.5 feet wrong direction, 180 degree turn, 57.5 feet sprint.


The best (20 yd or 5/10/5) shuttle took 4.00 at this season's combine (http://www.nfl.com/combine/top-performers#tp-tab-set-1:tp-grid-container-twenty-yard-shuttle). If you aren't familiar with the 20 yard shuffle, it takes place on grass. The player must sprint 5 yards, touch a line, turn 180 degrees, sprint 10 more yards, touch the other line, change direction again, and go back to their original position (5 more yards). It's called the 5/10/5 shuttle, and it's used to measure agility and change of direction/acceleration for NFL prospects.

Chris Johnson has the fastest 10 yard split in combine history at 1.4 (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_fastest_10_yard_split_in_the_40_yard_dash).

Assuming the best 10 yard split 4.0 total time - (1.4 (CJ 10 yd Dash) x 2 (20 yards not 10)) = 1.2. 1.2 / 2 change of directions = 0.6 to change direction comparing top athletes at the NFL combine with the best speed.

Bolt's 20 meter (21.87 yd) splits - 2.89. (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ua8ycqfc4ok/Sok0X9U62uI/AAAAAAAABq8/HJwymrWaDn4/s1600-h/Table.gif) Assuming he is not still accelerating, and taking his 20 meter time, adjusting it to 50 feet, is (which is in Bolt's favor), that he takes 2.64 seconds to run 60 feet. Add in an elite change of direction, estimated at (0.6), and neglecting both the acceleration for those 5 feet twice, and basing his total time on a higher average speed than attainable (at 55 ft), we've got a 3.24 second extremely optimistic estimate to complete the above for Bolt.

The combine is hand-timed, while Olympic sprints are timed from the gun electronically. Since the athlete determines when to start (the 40) in the combine, an average error of a human is 0.25 seconds, so I'll be adding that into MikeT's combine times.

MikeT will be 274 lb unsigned DT prospect (MIKE bennetT) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bennett_(defensive_tackle) ) running a 5.00 40 yard sprint, with a 2.84 20 yard sprint. (Adjusting for combine hand timing, average error of 0.25) = 3.09 20 yard sprint. Adjusting this to 55 feet (similar conversion as Bolt's) would be 2.83.

Assuming Bolt is the "best" at these other drills (which is a stretch considering Bolt doesn't even reach his top speed during his first 40 meters, much less his first 20). Also, we are assuming that Bolt is elite in agility, which probably isn't the case, since reaction time/change of direction have nothing to do with sprinting, it's just acceleration/top speed... and taking every liberty in Bolt's favor.

Usain Bolt - 3.24
MikeT - 2.83

MikeT wins by a couple of steps. Even if Usain had "best ever" reaction times to the ball being hit, this doesn't make up for the bad step or the 0.41 second that the huge/slow player takes to get there. (average reaction time somewhere around a quarter of a second).

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Shift at Shortstop in Baltimore Provides a Spark

Roger Miller knew that the Baltimore front officer considered him their shortstop of the future. He just didn't realize how quickly the future could become today.

Miller, acquired from Colorado before season four for prospects, started the year out as an athletic center fielder with a lively, albeit streaky and impatient, bat. Though he doesn't walk much, he has a knack for driving in runs and has some pop in his bat, after sending 30 balls out of the park in his first season with Baltimore. He'd begun to develop a reputation as the type of outfielder that could gun an ambitious runner out. He'd amassed 10 outfield assists in 140 games in season four and already had 9 outfield assists in 98 games in season 5.

None of this comes as any surprise to those who have followed Miller. Many of his closest observers will quickly tell you he's a natural. Unlike most young players, Miller needed little pampering that comes with the often sheltered life of a prized prospect in the minor league systems. Miller made his major league debut as a 21 year old and has been an everyday player since that first step onto major league grass.

But none of that meant anyone, even his biggest proponents, thought he was ready to play shortstop this year. In fact, many had begun to think, if not outright advocate, that he remain in center field for as long as possible based on his sterling defensive play. Furthermore, Baltimore had an all-star at shortstop, the steady, dependable Gary Ohman, who'd been selected to the all-star squad for the first time in season five as a 31 year old.

However, Ohman suffered from one of the cardinal athletic sins: he's injury prone. That, combined with Baltimore's early season offensive woes, would lead to Miller's insertion at shortstop after Ohman went on the DL for the second time in as many weeks after the all-star break.

Many were concerned with Miller's being able to make the transition defensively from Center field to shortstop, the most important defensive position on the field. Yet Miller hasn't missed a beat, having committed only five errors to this point in 38 games for a .978 fielding percentage. More importantly, Miller's move from Center to short has allowed room in the order for Vladimir Estrella, the rejuvenated former star from San Fran, as well as boosting significantly the offensive production at shortstop.

"No, I didn't think it would happen this soon", Miller says, "but, you know, I'm happy it did. The team seems to be responding and we're winning more now than we did earlier in the season when we were struggling."

When asked about Ohman, who isn't even on the playoff roster now, Miller responds, "Yea, it's hard for him, he told me so himself. And I think he's having a tough time with it. He's a competitive guy. But we can't dwell on that. It's not about one guy, it's about winning. If the guys in the front officer and the coaching staff feel like we have a better chance to win with me at short and Vlad in the lineup then that's what we've got to go with. It's working so far."

Baltimore's hopes for a deep playoff run this season and in future seasons will hinge on it working well into the future.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

An Underachiever No More

“He just never produced for me.”
--rough quote of a GM trying to reacquire Adrian Linton

Adrian Linton has been traded twice in his career. He’d been labeled an underachiever until he came to Baltimore. No longer. His first full season with Baltimore rightly could be considered the breakout year. But his second full year with Baltimore, still in progress, is what everyone is going to remember.

No slouch before his filling the Sandinistas uniform, Linton accumulated 123 runs, 44 homeruns and 143 RBI in 187 games, he has launched himself into the stratosphere of superstardom since. In 98 games this year, Linton has 76 runs, 30 Hrs, 100 RBI and a .319 BA. Plus he made an appearance in LF in a little game called the midsummer classic.

Baltimore needed Linton to fulfill the potential he’d been widely regarded of having, but never tapping, this year after having the chutzpah to let Woody Gaillard walk after having a career year. Linton has ably filled whatever offensive void Gaillard left. Gaillard has produced this year, on his new team, when in the lineup and not hobbled by injuries. But nobody in Baltimore really cares, thanks, in large part, to Linton.

Linton credits his reaching the summit of his potential to the Baltimore organization. "Look, everyone knew I always had the talent, especially me," Linton explains, "But, you know, I was young. The motivation wasn't there to be great. I thought I could make money, have a good time and play ball. Coming to Baltimore really changed that. I was on a winner for the first time. This organization is serious man, you gotta play when you're here. It woke me up."

Linton’s last two teams regret having traded him more with every passing game.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Revolutionary Offseason

Santiago Arrojo is a strange man with strange ideas. A devout Marxist who allegedly funnels the bulk of his 9.8 million dollar a year earnings to the Cuban government and describes as his hobby in the Baltimore media guide, “copying passages from Das Capital to experience writing profound words”, Arrojo’s views on baseball are understandably overshadowed at times. They wouldn’t be if he weren’t such a weirdo. Arrojo sneers at the notion that a pitcher ought to aim for spots or even know where he’s going to throw the ball. Instead Arrojo subscribes to the original idea that a pitcher should operate on “feel”. “Baseball is not an intellectual game, that is a distortion”, claims Arrojo, “propagated by the capitalist media.” A relevant question at this point would be, how did this man get a big league contract? We don’t know either, but Baltimore is ruing the day they handed him the big bucks. They even went so far as to waive him this off-season, but, for some reason, there wasn’t any interest.

However, there was more to the Baltimore off-season than trying to shed the revolutionary wing of the team. Remember our earlier column describing the rush to the end of the track by the aging Baltimore roster, along with the prediction that the Einstein heirs in the front office would pull a rabbit or two from their collective fedora? Well, there weren’t any literal rabbits, but two young stars have suddenly appeared on the Baltimore roster, that, no matter how high and low we search, don’t appear to have been there before.

Roger Miller is a 23 year old jack of all trades. He can play virtually any position on the field (excepting flamethrower and backstop), and hit 29 home-runs to go along with 92 RBIs as a 22 year old last season on the worst team in the history of organized sport, the Colorado something or others. We’re trying to forget that they ever existed. He’ll start the season in center, but projects, long-term, as Baltimore’s shortstop of the future, the heir to the throne once it’s vacated by living legend and all-around demi-god John Witt. Davey Blanco, the other young stud picked from the pocket of a wannabe rival, projects as a Pedro Martinez like ace. Expected to start the season in AAA until, at the latest, September call-ups, Blanco is projected by the Baltimore scouting department (top 2 in the league) to have five (5!) viable pitches, be equally devastating against right and left handers, and to be feared and resented by the league quite akin to the manner in which the world once cowered before the Mongol hordes.

Life once again flows through the Baltimore roster, and it is expected to last well beyond this season.

Scottsdale Elitists Aiming For The Stars

After averaging 99 victories the last 3 seasons, Scottsdale Elitists bench coach Wesley Carver decided it was time for a change. Scottsdale's offense had been the top offense of each of the last three seasons, however, their pitching was painfully average, and they never moved past the second round of the playoffs.

"It was painfully obvious that we needed to acquire some top end pitching talent," stated Carver, "We would rather have 5-1 games than 8-6 games night after night." What Carver did next was suggested to owner Leppy Kahn that they acquire three talented starting pitchers, at any price. Kahn approved the signing of Jon Jacobs, Oswaldo Osuna, and Elvis Russell.

Corey Pote was traded, and then refused the trade saying "I want to be an Elitist until I die," Pote was promptly waived by the franchise. "It was either that or shoot him," Carver noted, "As far as I'm concerned, he's dead to the Elitists. Corey, have you ever seen Logan's Run?" Also gone is 52 HR/183 RBI 1B Glen Cedeno. The team even considered moving hitting phenom William Cho, who is widely considered to be a hall of fame caliber player, even though he's only 22. The Elitists replaced the veterans Pote and Cedeno with big bat Denny Lloyd and promoted another big bat to play 1st, Pascual Romero . The move of Pote allows the Elitists to finally move 22 year old phenom Fransisco Mercado from LF to 2B. Also switching positions is Earl Hardy. Hardy moves to SS, after playing 3B, RF, 3B in the previous 3 seasons. "I'll do whatever it takes to help the team win," says Hardy. His team first attitude will be helpful with the loss of other veteran leadership on the team... Veteran leadership whose departure leaves about $15M in cap space for the Elitists. "We'll be looking to make a deal," says owner Kahn, " It's pennant season in Scottsdale. We expect a lot from the Elitists. " Indeed.

The Elitists think rather highly of themselves. This reporter however, does not.
Projection - 70-91, 4th in the AL West.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

New York Carloses Offseason

The New York Carloses made the playoffs for the third year in a row, and management seems content to roll the dice on the same core of players for Season 4. The only notable departure from the team is Jose Gonzales who played admirably last season, in what looks to be his last. He is being replaced with veteran Art Long, who is being asked to take on a utility role for the first time in his career.

The Carloses still return with veterans allstars at catcher, first base and center - but the rest of the offense is young and there are only 3 true veterans on the pitching staff.

That said, the youth has been maturing well and the team should be entering its prime, with 15 players on their active roster who are under 27. The Carloses are gambling on their few veterans being able to act as a bridge until the future stars of Beamon, Singleton, Keller and Fernandez are prepared to take over - this transition season will be interesting to watch.

Las Vegas Mets

Spring training is here and the Mets have been busy. We made an offer for free agent Gerald Ono, but he decided to go elsewhere. Decided to give 2nd baseman Placido Guitirrez an extension for 4 years and $32.30 million. As a replacement for Ono, we signed Javier Garrido who's 4 years younger has a great glove and speed to patrol the outfield, get on base and steal a few. Since you can never have enough pitching, we signed free agent Earl Buckley for 3 years and 21 million. He can give us over 200 innings, and able to induce many groundballs. Only the season will tell if we've made the right decisions. Las Vegas is rooting and watching and they expect at least a playoff entry this year.