From a Hey Bill in 2013:
"Action Bias" ... based on game theory, and chess strategy, and other things, there is a definite human bias towards DOING SOMETHING to CONTROL the game or year or career or whatever.
It's one of the things that drives me crazy about those NFL coaches who want to play defense 1st, 2nd and 3rd; playing from the defensive side of the ball, it feels like you're in control of the game, choking the life out of the other team. Hold them to 0 points and you can't lose.
Back in my day this "defense first" bias was unbelievable with the high school coaches there. They just HAD to feel in control of the action. (Are the Kansas City Chiefs less in control of the game than some more-defensive team?)
Anyway, "Action Bias" is a chuckle-worthy topic in Seattle in 2018-19.
THE MARINERS' BULLPEN
The first post I started writing up, when returning this spring, was a Bullpen Candidates Power Ranking. I dropped it when I realized I didn't have a clue who was making the club ... or, if they did, in what roles they'd pitch. I still don't!
Hunter Strickland sounds okay until you realize that Dipoto won the bidding at [$1.3 to $2.7M] or whatever it was.
I don't get it. Why, Jerry, why? You slough off your 1-4 relievers (Diaz, Colome, Nicasio, Pazos) and then .... leave it at that?
Anyway, if you'd like to list your best understanding of the current roles below, I'd appreciate it.
Physically looks much better than expected. Hold on, though: why's he batting 3rd every game if Encarnacion is on 1B and Vogelbach is at DH?
Anyhow, BaseballHQ liked him before spring even began, based on the premise that in 2018, it was mostly just injuries that derailed him and says "Something left here. Like in 2016-17, a bucketful of HR could come cheap."
Sho' nuff, Bruce had huge splits from 1H to 2H. .212/.292/.321 vs. .243/.344/.467. Denard Span was at .272/.329/.435; Kyle Seager at .221/.273/.400. Also way below Bruce's 2H 2018 line -- much less his 2016 or 2017 -- Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia (of course), Dan Vogelbach in 102 PA's, Dee Gordon, Mike Zunino etc.
I'm not arguing for his enshrinement in the team HOF or in the T-Mobile lineup. But like Bill James sez, most of a player's value consists of his being average.
THE A'S AND ANGELS
In James' Twitter feed, he points out the performance that each team got out of its #8 slot in the order.
OAKLAND - .296 with 41 doubles and 20 HR 98 RBI. This gave them a .846 OPS.
LAA - .191 with a .586 OPS
And it hit me. Wham. This is how you understand Oakland's 97 wins; their #8 slot in the lineup. Does this strike anybody else as a mondo cool way to compare lineups? By the production out of the 8 slot? Not the #8 hitter. The #8 SLOT, as you have to fill it week after week, month after month.
SEA - .239/.300/.399 with 28 doubles, 19 HR 57 RBI. Resulting in a .744 OPS.
Bill only cherrypicked a little by selecting the 8 slot; here are Oakland's splits by number in the lineup.
Let's see, so what would we guess from Seattle's 8 slot? Let's see, that would be either SS Beckham (.274/.366/.379 career; wouldn't we love that) or C Narvaez (only 100 pro AB's but supposedly can hit), right, with Dee Gordon at 9.
Of course you run the backups through the 8 spot, too.