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Posted: May 12 2019 | IP Logged

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WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Diamondbacks Farm TeamsGameday ThreadsDiamondbacks NewsDiamondbacks Game ReportsFang FoodResults from the ¡°Challenge the Narrative¡± GameNew Chuck Klein Jersey ,49commentsWhat an amazing turnout!EDTShareTweetShareShareResults from the ¡°Challenge the Narrative¡± GameJake Roth-USA TODAY SportsI have to start this article with this; Wow, what an amazing turnout. The discussion in the comments was fantastic, spoilers were mostly avoidly, and there were upwards of 200 participants in the voting as you¡¯ll see below. Thank you! I will be sure to do more games like this in the future. Anywho, back to the discussion at hand. Last week, I described a few ¡°anonymous¡± players with some very sective stats and situations and asked you all a question about each player(s).The theme of the article was to present the audience with data that would possibly ¡°challenge¡± what each person might think of said player in general.There was no intent in actually changing anyone¡¯s minds on any of the players that were chosen; it was purely to get each person to do a little critical thinking and challenge how each opinion was created. Ottavino, who just signed a 3 year, $27 million deal with the New York Yankees this past offseason. Andrew Chafin is a good reliever and is often underrated by fans. He gets strikeouts at a very good clip and he is fantastic at surpressing home runs. In fact, he gave up zero homers last season in 49.1 IP. I¡¯ve written about Chafin before. The Diamondbacks seem to be using him as a one-batter lefty specialist when that really isn¡¯t his strength. And while some people might prefer Ottavino for a variety of reasons, here is something that really stands out: In the last 2 years, Andrew Chafin has inherited the 4th-most runners in baseball, with 87. Ottavino has inherited just 43. This means Ottavino is entering games with a clean slate far more often than Chafin. Chafin and Ottavino have nearly identical percentages of runners that were allowed to score (29% for Chafin, 28% for Ottavino). Considering that Chafin has performed at a similar level to Ottavino except with double the volume (at least with runners on base). In this situation, I would rate Chafin better than Ottavino. Therein lies the problem with Chafin: we¡¯re back to the problem where negative memories far outweigh the positive ones. When you¡¯re being thrown into so many situations where you have a lot of baserunners on, you¡¯re occasionally going to fail. And these are the memories that so many fans seem to keep in their mind regarding Chafin, all-the-while disregarding everything good Chafin has done. Chafin is a good reliever and needs to be used more (okay I lied, I am trying to change your mind with one example). This next one is my favorite. This is another Goldy example. With all of the sadness regarding the Goldy trade, which is 110% deserved and okay, by the way, I had to challenge the narrative here. Not to get people to change their thoughts on Goldy, but rather bring some optimism to the trade itself. Except in this case, Player M isn¡¯t Paul Goldschmidt. Player M is Albert Pujols in his age 31 through age 36 seasons (2011 through 2016). Why is this relevant? These mirror the same ages that the Cardinals currently have Goldy under control with the extension (age 31 on his current deal at $14.5 million and ages 32 - 36 at $26 million per year). The results from this yielded a nice bell curve. But what¡¯s intriguing here is that you gave Pujols a mean annual salary of around $17.5 million per year. That¡¯s far short of what Goldy is currently getting from the Cardinals in his extension. The point of this is not to make a one-player comp and declare the extension a bad one for the Cardinals. The point here is that players age and as they age, their performance declines over time. Even the best players. There is a long track record of players declining as they enter their 30s. MLB 1B tend to have this the worst, as they tend to be bigger (which leads to bigger physical declines) and they are the worst defenders on the field, giving them less buffer to stay in the league. We¡¯ve seen examples of hitters staying good well into their 30s, but this often comes at a cost of speed, defense, and overall value. Albert Pujols was the Paul Goldschmidt of the Cardinals before they ironically acquired Goldy. He was the face of the franchise. And no offense to Paul Goldschmidt, but Pujols was an even bigger deal than Goldy (at least to everyone outside of AZ). This does NOT mean Goldy should be treated less than he receives here in AZ (Goldy is insanely underrated), but that the feelings that Cardinals fans had when Pujols left has got to be extremely similar to what Dbacks fans are feeling today. Let¡¯s compare Pujols and Goldy before their age 31 seasons:Pujols: .332/.428/.626, 371 HR Jimmy Foxx Jersey , 1100 RBI, 170 wRC+, 77.2 fWARGoldy: .297/.398/.532, 209 HR, 710 RBI, 144 wRC, 35.2 fWARLook, Goldy is a fantastic player but Albert Pujols was an absolute legend before the age of 30. Yet, the decline hit him hard and fast. If a player of Pujols¡¯s caliber can turn into a player that deserves less than $20 million a year by his early 30s, what does they say for Goldy? As fans of Goldy, it is acceptable to maintain optimism that Goldy will beat the odds and continue to be a great player in his 30s. But the reality is that the extension that Goldy signed will overvalue Goldy for his age 32 to age 36 years. It¡¯s not the albatross that Pujols¡¯s 10 year, $240 million contract was, but big(ish) contracts to players in their 30s tend to not go well. Just look at us trying to deal with Greinke¡¯s salary right now... and that¡¯s with him performing really well the past two years. The lesson here: it really really sucks losing Goldy right now. You can¡¯t put a price on a fan favorite. But in a few years, we will recover. We got some pieces that all look really promising. We might have avoided a bad extension. Or maybe Goldy proves us wrong. Only time will tell. And now for the last comparison. At first glance, it may seem like these players are total opposites. One is on the all-star/superstar fringe and the other seems to be an average to below-average regular per the consensus votes. And that makes sense regarding the state lines that I presented. I also gave a fun hint during one of the Gameday threads (the day game that Robbie Ray pitched): both of these players were playing in that game. For a few minutes, there were some guesses and some digging to figure it out but no one did. Because it was a trick. Player N and Player O are the same player. They are both David Peralta. Specifically, they are both David Peralta from 2018.Wait, what? This was simple a manipulation in splits. The Player O version of David Peralta were his home splits from last season - a 161 wRC+. In 81 games, David Peralta was a borderline superstar. However, the Player N version of David Peralta were his away splits from last season - a 100 wRC+. Which, according to you, is on the line of being an average regular or below-average regular. Now, we now know how the season turned out for Peralta - he was one of our best players last year. And he¡¯s been really good for years. Peralta is also a decent fielder and extremely likeable and passionate, everything you¡¯d want from a fan favorite. Now, these splits don¡¯t really mean much for David Peralta. He¡¯s still a very good overall player and splits like these tend to even out over the course of several seasons, though a slight home advantage would still be expected. The lesson here is that very good players - especially one that we like - can still play like very average players for a lengthy portion of the season. In Peralta¡¯s case, it was literally a half season. Also last season, Goldy had an OPS below .700 through the end of May. These things happen. Luckily, David Peralta has done enough to earn our respect and love. But not every player will have done that prior to having such a polarizing season (though, in Peralta¡¯s case, it might have been harder to see). We should try harder to find the good through the bad. If we do that y , we¡¯ll find more players that we love. Also, if David Peralta gets an off day on the road... maybe it¡¯s for the best. I know we, as fans, tend to overreact to each lineup that¡¯s posted, but we have to get through 162 games. Players need days off. For Peralta, maybe it¡¯s best if he gets his days off on the road?This was a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing our players in a different light. But if you caught on, I was also manipulating you. Fangdango caught onto it last week. But all of these examples are purposefully cherry-picked and narrowed down to make a point. When you¡¯re doing a game like this, it¡¯s okay to do something like this. It¡¯s fun to have some counterpoints to make you re-evaulate some thoughts. But context is extremely important, especially when you¡¯re dealing with narrow splits of individual players. I stripped the context away from all of these players and I was able to get you to vote exactly like I wanted to in every single poll to prove the point I wanted to prove. None of the players above would ever be purely judged on the simple stat lines that I provided. As I mentioned, I wasn¡¯t trying to change your opinion on any of players - when you add the actual context to the examples above, the opinions that you have are pretty justified. This exercise was purely for fun and to give us some new ways to think about situations, nothing more. So, to sum it all up, there are two lessons here. If you can, try to find ways to be more open-minded about players and try not to dwell on just the bad moments. But also, be wary of context. Splits are fun but they don¡¯t mean a lot without context or without an extremely large sample size. There is often a lot of strife between the ¡°stats¡± people and the ¡°fans¡± people but there is no reason we can¡¯t co-exist. By working to collectively keep open minds and be more informed with what we analyze, we can all be better fans. NEW YORK (AP) ¡ª Other than opening with a reliever on the mound, nothing was any different about this October for the Oakland Athletics.They didn¡¯t last very long ¡­ again.Liam Hendriks gave up a two-run homer to Aaron Judge on his ninth pitch and the A¡¯s never recovered, making another early playoff exit with a 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees in the American League wild-card game Wednesday night.Oakland¡¯s dangerous bats were mostly silenced by Luis Severino and a nasty New York bullpen, sending the A¡¯s right back across the country and home for the winter ¡ª an abrupt ending to their surprisingly successful 97-win season.¡°Unless you play the last game, it¡¯s disappointing,¡± manager Bob Melvin said. ¡°So I think when you reflect back and look where we started the year, kind of where we came from, it ends up being a good year. But it doesn¡¯t feel good right now.¡±Meanwhile, the Yankees advanced to a best-of-five Division Series against rival Boston.It was the eighth consecutive defeat for the A¡¯s in a winner-take-all postseason game since Reggie Jackson¡¯s homer helped beat a New York Mets team that featured Tom Seaver and Willie Mays in Game 7 of the 1973 World Series.Despite making nine playoff appearances this century, Oakland has reached the AL Championship Series only once, in 2006. The club dropped to 1-14 during that stretch with a chance to move on, including a 9-8 loss in 12 innings to Kansas City in the 2014 AL wild-card game.¡°We¡¯ve had a tough time with it,¡± Melvin said. ¡°And it¡¯s frustrating.¡±Three of those setbacks have come courtesy of the Yankees, including five-game Division Series losses in 2000 and 2001. New York also swept the A¡¯s 3-0 in the 1981 ALCS.With his rotation heavily depleted by injuries, Melvin started Hendriks in a ¡°bullpen game Maikel Franco Jersey ,¡± a strategic trend that¡¯s quickly catching on around the majors after an innovative Tampa Bay organization employed it often this year with tangible success.Hendriks, a no-name reliever with starting experience, returned from the minors in September and was effective in eight games as an ¡°opener.¡± He tossed seven shutout innings over the last seven, pitching one inning each time before handing the ball to someone else as the Athletics relied on a strong and deep bullpen.That was the idea Wednesday night, too, but intentionally throwing ¡°Johnny Wholestaff,¡± as it used to be called, in a win-or-go-home playoff game was certainly an unprecedented experiment.¡°I think the first two batters obviously weren¡¯t the way I drew it up. Didn¡¯t quite get ahead, got into some bad counts and they made me pay,¡± Hendriks said. ¡°After that, I kind of settled down a little bit. Got into a rhythm and was able to retire the next three, but unfortunately the first two came back to bite us.¡±The previous three times a pitcher with no wins in the regular season ¡ª never mind one who was cut from the 40-man roster in June ¡ª had started a postseason game, they had missed most of the season either because of injury or to serve in a war.Judge¡¯s home run off Hendriks put the A¡¯s in a quick hole at raucous Yankee Stadium. They opened the fifth with their first hits of the night, consecutive singles that chased Severino. But then Dellin Betances retired Matt Chapman and Jed Lowrie before striking out slugger Khris Davis , the 2-3-4 hitters in the lineup, to thwart the scoring threat.¡°It was a tough environment,¡± Davis said. ¡°Their pitching just showed up tonight. They made good pitches when we had baserunners on and we¡¯ve got to tip our cap.¡±New York added four in the sixth against Fernando Rodney and Blake Treinen, perhaps the best closer in baseball this season.Treinen allowed Luke Voit¡¯s two-run triple and an eighth-inning homer to Giancarlo Stanton. The All-Star reliever was charged with three earned runs in two innings, the first time he yielded more than one in an outing all year.¡°I just didn¡¯t do a good job of executing pitches,¡± Treinen said. ¡°I had a hard time getting my slider down.¡±Davis, who led the majors with 48 homers, lined a two-run shot to right field in the eighth to trim the deficit to 6-2.But by then, it was way too late.¡°We couldn¡¯t get that big knock,¡± catcher Jonathan Lucroy said.After finishing last in the AL West the previous three years, low-budget Oakland went 97-65 for a 22-win improvement and its best record since a 103-59 mark in 2002.Yet in the end, October was unkind once again.¡°They got us on the run early and had two innings where they put up quick numbers,¡± Melvin said.¡°We just didn¡¯t do enough offensively tonight. You do have to give them credit. They pitched really well,¡± he added. ¡°The first run is big. When you¡¯re away and you get the crowd into it, that¡¯s more that you have to overcome.¡±