April 20, 2014

While We’re Waiting… Is Justin Masterson getting squeezed?

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Wow. Some very interesting data here on Masterson- “Every year, Masterson has had way more pitches in the zone called balls than the average. Every year, Masterson has had fewer pitches out of the zone called strikes than the average. This confirms what we were talking about above — Masterson hasn’t been pitching to the same strike zone as everyone else. It makes you wonder how much better Masterson could be if the zone treated him more fairly.

I mean, it’s intuitive. Take some of Masterson’s balls and turn them into strikes. Masterson ends up with more favorable counts, and that works to a pitcher’s advantage. Every ball/strike switch has a certain run value, and it isn’t negligible. Those can add up over the course of a season. For the sake of visual example, let’s look at Masterson throw a couple balls that might ordinarily go as strikes…” [Sullivan/FanGraphs]

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“Ultimately an effective defense controls most if not all of these factors we’ve looked at. They force tough shots, which also results in less accuracy. They control the number of attempts by forcing turnovers and rebounding their opponents’ misses. But the defensive metrics we typically rely on – FG% allowed, turnovers forced, rebounds corralled – are products, measure of output. To some degree they can be swayed by random occurrences and the impact of exceptional individual abilities. Just like looking at wins and losses can obscure the true level of team’s performance, looking only at these measures hides much about the way a team defends. By peeling back one layer and looking at shot selection allowed we can remove some of the random events and the outliers of talent to see some more detail about which teams understand and implement an efficient brand of defense.” [Levy/Hickory High]

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“The Cavs really have something with Livingston / Ellington / Speights / Walton / Miles. I cannot stress enough how putrid 4th quarters used to be. The Cavaliers bench is dominating opponents. As for the starters, they’ve gone through the grinder this season. And while there is much work to be done – the talent is undeniable. It’s nice to see games like this where the Cavs seem to put it all together. They had a gameplan, they didn’t get pushed around by a team playing tougher (been a huge problem so far this season) and they executed offense in the halfcourt. I hope the basketball acumen of guys like Walton and Livingston is being rapidly absorbed by the “rising stars”.” [Pestak/Cavs the Blog]

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Can the Lakers make the playoffs? The odds may not be in their favor- “The projections continue to view the Lakers’ chances of making the playoffs at well below 50 percent and there’s no overwhelming reason — from recent play to the remaining schedules to external factors – to doubt the numbers. Simply put, making the playoffs will require the Lakers to play better down the stretch than they have to this point and to benefit from better luck with injuries than they have enjoyed. It will also almost certainly require either the Jazz or the Rockets, most likely the Jazz, to falter to a degree that deviates sharply from their recent stretch.” [Golliver/Point Forward]

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Oh no, cover jinx? [WFNY Tumblr]

  • saggy

    I’m sure the “cover jinx” question is a joke, but there are 2 reasons, IMO, why they don’t apply anymore.

    1. There are so many covers because they are put out regionally. There might be 16 different versions of the cover for Sports Illustrated. Hard to respect that as a jinx.
    2. Nobody really cares about Sports Illustrated anymore

  • Vindictive_Pat

    The Jazz, Rockets, Warriors, Mavs, and Blazers all lost last night, which is great for the Lakers as those seem to be the five teams they are battling for one of the final three playoff spots in the West. Let’s have more nights like that!

  • Harv 21

    Pestak is right on the mark about basketball IQ – Luke Walton is loaded with it (which helps the second team a lot against the opponent’s second teamers), but without Andy the Cavs starters aren’t there yet, including Kyrie.

    Waiters looks completely at ease the last two games not having to share the court with Kyrie. As floor general Kyrie has at least some responsibility to put Waiters at ease even at the expense of a few points off his scoring average. I expect their court interaction to be way better next year because those two, Tristan and Zeller seem to be very smart guys who just need more situational experience and skill development.

  • Andrew

    Not to mention the volume of athletes on that cover. Law of averages won’t them all be jinxed.

  • porckchop

    I would really like to see the Cavs start running more pick and role between Irving and Waiters. Aside from putting a lot of presssure on opposing guards to make decisions to keep both of them away from the basket, it would be a great way to get the two of them comfortable moving without the ball, and hopefully help them understand each other’s game/tendencies alot better. For them to be successful they have got to be able to maximize each other’s abilities – Dumars/Thomas come to mind – so they don’t fall into a situation where they are both trying to either take turns or are competing to “be the man”.
    As for the bench I don’t think you can give Grant enough credit for #1 completely overhauling the bench in the middle of a season, going from worst in the league to adequate on the fly #2 making this overhaul while giving up nothing and still not being strapped with bad salaries.
    Between these moves and Waiters, and Thompson’s development, I’m becoming a big believer in his acumen.

  • Harv 21

    I’m no expert but I think the prob with another guard as your roller is size – pick isn’t great and you roll into way taller timber without the room to slash with speed. But yes, they have to run an offense which accomodates their strengths, like Miami had to figure out two guys who play similarly. Maybe Byron’s princetony-movement thing is perfect when executed properly, but there sure has been a lot of standing around on the wings while Kyrie tries to create.

    Agree about Grant – was shocked when he grabbed Waiters without working him out. But this kid is dripping with so much talent and arrogance that it appears what can stop Dion is only Dion. Saw him intensely attempt to play defense last night, although he’s still unsure where to go and has bad anticipation. Re the bench, there’s a big dollop of luck involved. Dudes were thrown together mid-season for future picks. No Gm is this smart. Living Stone was dumpster refuse, although I want them to try and keep him. Walton looks happy as an old firehorse who never wanted to retire, looks thrilled when they let him pull off his sweats. If this is his final gig, he’s squeezing out the last drops and leaving it on the floor with all his accumulated smarts and pent up passion. Guy’s playing with a gleam in his eye, and good for him.

  • mgbode

    more interesting than if Masterson is getting squeezed (as noted, he is) is the portion on how to fix it:

    catcher framing – pretty indicative that this is not the biggest concern. however, Santana/Marson definitely need to do a better job as both are fidgety when catching pitches. Take a look at how a guy like Posey catches and is statuesque a beat longer than it takes the ump to call the pitch (and I think his Lowe example is teeming with inconsistencies).

    command – pitches not going where the catcher expects. this is likely a piece as when Masterson is at his best, his pitch has a ton of movement and he’s not worrying about final placement as much as it moving. makes it tougher on umps to call it, but I would be surprised if things didn’t level out over time.

    delivery – not mentioned much, I think this is also a signficant piece. his over-arching style and leg sweep is much more distracting than most pitchers refined motions. it can potentially give umps a fraction of a second less to evaluate the pitch and as his pitches are moving away from the zone usually, perhaps this leads to more balls called?

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Heh. So 5 of the 10 guys on that unlucky K zone list have pitched for the Tribe? Ouch.

  • porckchop

    With guards its more pick and pop with less roll, and its not something you do all the time, just when matchups allow. Mostly I want Scott to at least seem bothered by the fact that he has two really good guards on the floor and for at least 10 minutes of their time playing each night, one of them is standing on a wing, 3 feet behind the arc watching the other one play. If each of them plays 30 minutes a night you can basically clock in 5 full minutes a piece of offensive shot clock time spent staring at the other one doing something.

  • mgbode

    and now that the Lakers won last night.

    2GB of Houston
    2.5GB of Utah
    4.5GB of GS

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I saw that too… go Lakers! But only until the playoffs start!

  • mgbode

    heck yeah, go Lakers, get the #1 seed and get DESTROYED by OKC. fun times all around.