DMB News October 2004
Diamond Mind Email Newsletter
October 14, 2004
Written by Tom Tippett
Welcome to the sixth edition of the Diamond Mind email newsletter for the year 2004. Through these newsletters, we will try to keep you up to date on the latest product and technical information about the Diamond Mind Baseball game, related player disks, and our ongoing baseball research efforts. Back issues are available on our website.
Topic for this issue:
October and November mailings
2004 Season Disk
2005 Bill James Handbook
Moving the Diamond Mind offices
2004 Prediction rankings article
Diamond Mind forum up and running
All-time Greatest Players update deferred
Tech tip: Hosting NetPlay games through a router
Sending the runner on a 3-2 count
Although a majority of our customers now order their Diamond Mind products through our web store, a good number of you still prefer to order by mail.
So we want to let you know that we're about to send our annual October mailing to all registered owners of version 9. That mailing includes an updated order form that includes the 2004 Season Disk and the 2005 Bill James Handbook. And if you don't already own version 9, we'll be sending a different mailing in November, one that includes a version 9 brochure.
To order by mail without waiting for your letter, you can print an order form via the How to Order page of our web site.
Work is underway on the 2004 Season Disk, which will begin shipping on December 9th, and we are now taking advance orders.
As usual, you'll receive a ton of information with this season disk, including everything you need to start playing games immediately upon installation:
- full rosters with every player who appeared in the big leagues
- official batting, pitching and fielding statistics, including left/right splits for all batters and pitchers and modern statistics such as inherited runners, holds, blown saves, pickoffs, stolen bases versus pitchers and catchers, and in-play batting averages
- games started by position versus left- and right-handed pitchers
- updated park factors
- a full set of real-life transactions and game-by-game lineups for season replays
- two schedules, the original (as-scheduled) schedule and another (as-played) reflecting rainouts and other rescheduled games.
- real-life salaries for all players
- complete manager profiles for all teams
You can place a credit card order now through our web store or by calling us at 800-400-4803 during business hours (9-5 Pacific time, Mon-Fri).
Since 1990, the annual Bill James Handbooks have formed the backbone of our baseball library. For a complete, well-organized reference that includes every active player, you won't find a better book.
You can order the paperback edition from Diamond Mind for only $17.95, a 10% discount off the cover price. The spiral-bound edition, which lies flat on your desk, is $21.95, a 12% discount off the cover price. The paperback edition will begin shipping the week of November 8th and the spiral-bound edition will be available November 22nd.
Among the many great features of the Bill James Handbook are:
- career registers for every active player, including minor-league stats for players with little big-league experience
- complete fielding statistics for every player
- expanded pitcher stats include hitting, fielding, and holding runners
- park factors and rankings
- left/right splits for all batters and pitchers
- conventional and sabermetric leader boards
- team standings, augmented by many team performance splits
- team rankings for batting, pitching and fielding
NOTE: Because of the added weight, first-class and air mail shipping rates are not available for orders including this book. Priority Mail and Overnight shipping rates are available.
As you probably know by now, the Diamond Mind offices were moved from Lexington (Massachusetts) to Beaverton (Oregon) a month ago. The new office has been running quite smoothly since then, so you may not have noticed the change.
Our main phone number (800-400-4803) remains the same, but we do have a new fax number (503-531-4006) and two new email addresses. To place an order, track the status of an order, or ask questions about the product before ordering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For technical support, please write to email@example.com.
Our new mailing address is:
Diamond Mind, Inc.
16055 SW Walker Rd #433
Beaverton OR 97006-4942
The new office is open from 9-5 Pacific time, Monday through Friday.
Earlier today, we posted our annual review of the preseason predictions that were made by various baseball publications. We were happy to see that the Diamond Mind simulations continue to be among the most accurate forecasts in the business.
This article talks ranks the 2004 predictions, takes a look back at how these experts viewed the baseball world seven months ago, and looks at how various forecasters have fared since we began projecting the final standings in 1998.
We're happy to announce that we have launched an online forum that provides you with the opportunity to discuss your experiences with other DMB owners and with Diamond Mind employees.
Separate discussion boards have been set up for company announcements, technical support, matching leagues with managers, finding NetPlay opponents, sharing replay results and great games, and discussing baseball research. We'll add other categories as needed.
Regrettably, we were unable to deliver on our promise to release an updated version of the All-time Greatest Players Disk. The plan was to add players who met our playing time thresholds for the first time as a result of the 2003 season and to update the ratings for any players whose peak performance was improved by their play that season.
Unfortunately, the move of the company offices consumed the time that would have been spent on this update, and now that the 2004 season has been completed as well, we're going to hold off on this update until we have time to incorporate both of these new seasons. We'll let you know when we have a better handle on a projected release date.
If you wish to host a NetPlay game and your system accesses the Internet through a router, you will have to set your router so that it allows NetPlay messages to reach your system.
You tell your router to do this using a technique called port forwarding. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of different routers and each seems to have its own way to do this. Fortunately, we found a great web site that documents how to set port forwarding for just about every router made. If you don’t know how to set your router, go to:
Find your router and model number and click on the corresponding link. That will typically bring up a page of links on various topics for your router. Click on the link that starts "Port forwarding for the..." and that will give you detailed instructions on how to set up your router.
Remember, the port you’ll be forwarding for Diamond Mind’s NetPlay is 32158. And keep in mind that you need to do this only if you're the host of the NetPlay session. If the other manager is hosting, you can connect without doing anything special with your router.
A year ago, this newsletter contained an article discussing the pros and cons of sending the runner on a 3-2 count with less than two out. At that time, we focused our analysis on situations with a runner on first.
In the first game of this year's division series between New York and Minnesota , Joe Torre had runners on first and second with one out against Johan Santana. Torre chose to send the runners, whereupon Santana struck out Bernie Williams and Alex Rodriguez was out stealing third. Double play, inning over, Yankees eventually lose 2-0.
In a blog entry the next day, we offered the opinion that this was a poor decision with the league leader in strikeouts on the mound. We didn't get into the details then, but we will now.
In last year's essay, we pointed out that 11.4% of all plate appearances in double-play situations result in a ground ball double play. Not all of these plate appearances see the batter put the ball in play, though, and when we subtract the walks, hit batsmen, and strikeouts, it turns out that 15.4% of balls in play produce GDPs.
If you DON'T send the runner on a 3-2 pitch, the chance of getting a ball in play that produces a GDP is a little over 5%. That's because 15% of balls in play result in a GDP and batters put 3-2 pitches in play about a third of the time.
So what are the chances of a double play if you DO send the runner on a 3-2 pitch? Last year, we estimated that probability at about 5.5% based on the frequency of strikeouts, a typical caught stealing percentage, and the small chance that a ground ball up the middle will produce a GDP even with the runner going.
In other words, the overall averages showed a rough balance between sending and not sending the runner, leaving the decision to an evaluation of the skills of the specific players involved.
But that was for the case where the only runner was on first base. What about the first-and-second situation?
In our view, this tactic makes less sense with two runners because the runner on second is much less likely to steal third successfully when the batter strikes out. It turns out that in 2004, through the end of September, there were 21 strikeouts with runners on the move from first and second, and the runner was out stealing third every time.
In addition, on the 83 occasions when two runners were sent and the batter put the ball in play, there were 8 other DPs, two on grounders up the middle, three on line drives, and three on fly balls. Including the strikeouts, that's a total of 29 DPs.
If these runners had NOT been sent, we would expect to see about a dozen ground ball DPs given the normal GDP rate of 15.4%. It's also possible that the batter would have lined into a double play or two, so we can estimate the number of double plays avoided at about 14 or 15.
In other words, the double play rate was twice as high when the runners were sent than it would have been had they not been sent.
Furthermore, these 83 balls in play were not especially productive. Only 22 hits were recorded, all but four of them singles, good for a .265 batting average and a .289 slugging percentage. Both figures are well below the normal in-play averages.
All things considered, it doesn't look like sending both runners is a good move. And with a dominant pitcher like Santana on the mound, it seems even less viable.
(The source for all of these numbers is play-by-play data licensed from STATS, Inc.)