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Does the Astros scandal make you feel differently about Elias or the "Astroball" strategy?


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#21 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:58 PM

What Elias did in Houston eventually lead to the Astros 'success'.  Well, that is now tainted.

 

Of course, also signing Justin Verlander didn't hurt in the process.  That always seems to get overlooked.


Well, before they signed him... they traded for him.  And they were able to trade for him because 1) They had built up the depth and talent necessary for that type of acquisition, and 2) Verlander was willing to go there (believe he had no-trade, maybe I'm remembering wrong), and 3) Had built their payroll flexibility to the point where they could take on his contract.

 


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#22 Slidemaster

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 10:02 PM

“I don’t think we have any special insights or special knowledge, or that we’re smarter than anyone else. I think we’re operating with information or techniques that are more or less out there in the baseball community. More than half the teams use the information we have.”
– Mike Elias (Astroball)


Given these recent revelations, that is downright hilarious to read.
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#23 ivanbalt

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 07:40 AM

Unless that stacked lineup suddenly falls off the cliff in 2020, I don't feel any different.

 

It is kind of funny how in the book Carlos Beltran was a great clubhouse guy and big on "film study"...


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#24 weird-O

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 07:56 AM

Unless that stacked lineup suddenly falls off the cliff in 2020, I don't feel any different.

 

It is kind of funny how in the book Carlos Beltran was a great clubhouse guy and big on "film study"...

:D


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#25 CMU27

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 09:21 AM


Well, before they signed him... they traded for him.  And they were able to trade for him because 1) They had built up the depth and talent necessary for that type of acquisition, and 2) Verlander was willing to go there (believe he had no-trade, maybe I'm remembering wrong), and 3) Had built their payroll flexibility to the point where they could take on his contract.

 

Yes to all of that.  And they also found a (gullible) team that had been in the process of unloading its payroll before and after Illitch's passing, and was going to go the route of the Astros and now the O's and Royals and..... 

 

Not sure how 'talented' those three will turn out.  Rogers, the catcher, was a whopping 14-for-112 last year in Detroit.

 

His name was never mentioned in the investigation.  And, I am hoping Elias' ways will work here. There's just a very big asterisk attached to the later 'accomplishments' in Houston.  



#26 Mackus

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 09:39 AM

I don't think it tarnishes their regular season performance all that much.  I really don't think they were cheating all that often in the regular season.  My guess (and it's just a guess) is that they did it sporadically in the regular season so that they could develop the technique.  Then they'd use it more regularly in the postseason.  Had they done it all the time all year long, they'd have gotten figured out.  And their H/R splits would be massive for their hitters.  But if they did it infrequently, it doesn't get revealed, and then they can do it over a short series when the splits can be written off as small sample sizes.  Plus the crowd noise of a sold out playoff game may obscure the trash can banging from being noticed by other observers.

 

Their home/road splits over the years in question are unremarkable.  All teams hit better at home than away.  So doing better at home isn't in itself interesting.  And beyond that, the Astros actually hit better and struck out less on the road in some of these years.  

	OPS						K%			
	HouHome	HouAway	LeagueH	LeagueA			HouHome	HouAway	LeagueH	LeagueA
2019	878	819	767	749		2019	18.5	18.0	22.5	23.4
2018	730	777	737	718		2018	19.2	19.7	21.9	22.6
2017	812	834	769	733		2017	16.7	17.9	21.3	22.0
2016	717	752	752	726		2016	24.5	22.4	20.6	21.6
2015	783	723	740	704		2015	23.6	22.3	19.9	20.9



#27 bmore_ken

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 09:57 AM

Isn't it possible, though, that the players Elias recommended aren't actually as good as they appeared to be?  That it took cheating to make them stars?

To the tune of three straight 100+ win seasons, not likely



#28 Mackus

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 10:12 AM

Isn't it possible, though, that the players Elias recommended aren't actually as good as they appeared to be?  That it took cheating to make them stars?

 

 

You're really only talking about Correa and Bregman here.  No other hitters on the Astros recent teams were drafted by Elias.  And neither guy jumps out as only being a product of cheating.  They were 1-1 and 1-2 picks.  Correa has career 858/834 home/road splits.  Bregman has career 874/976 home/road splits.  Both guys are studs and I think are absolutely as good as they appear to be regardless of this scandal.

 

I can't easily find a list of all the guys he signed internationally, but any 16 y/o he signed in 2012 or later likely did not reach the team in time to be a part of this scandal.  He was promoted to Asst GM in 2016 and no longer in charge of drafts, but he was in charge of minor league development.

 

He drafted Correa at 1-1 in 2012.  He also drafted McCullers but he's a pitcher so irrelevant to this conversation.  No other players made an impact.

Nobody from the 2013 draft has made any impact (including 1-1 Mark Appel)

Nobody from the 2014 draft has made any impact (1-1 Brady Aiken didn't sign)

Bregman was drafted 1-2 in 2015 and he's obviously significant part of this story.  Nobody else made any impact.



#29 Mike B

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 10:28 AM

“I don’t think we have any special insights or special knowledge, or that we’re smarter than anyone else. I think we’re operating with information or techniques that are more or less out there in the baseball community. More than half the teams use the information we have.”

– Mike Elias (Astroball)

Yeah, I have read that comment, but there is an edge about him, at least IMO, that comes off as at the least cocky.  To be clear, it has nothing to do with whether he can do a good job here.  I think, he can and will.  I just hope it is enough to justify, all the bad baseball and empty seasons we are going to have to endure.  On that I am skeptical.  


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#30 weird-O

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 12:20 PM

I don't think it tarnishes their regular season performance all that much.  I really don't think they were cheating all that often in the regular season.  My guess (and it's just a guess) is that they did it sporadically in the regular season so that they could develop the technique.  Then they'd use it more regularly in the postseason.  Had they done it all the time all year long, they'd have gotten figured out.  And their H/R splits would be massive for their hitters.  But if they did it infrequently, it doesn't get revealed, and then they can do it over a short series when the splits can be written off as small sample sizes.  Plus the crowd noise of a sold out playoff game may obscure the trash can banging from being noticed by other observers.

 

Their home/road splits over the years in question are unremarkable.  All teams hit better at home than away.  So doing better at home isn't in itself interesting.  And beyond that, the Astros actually hit better and struck out less on the road in some of these years.  

	OPS						K%			
	HouHome	HouAway	LeagueH	LeagueA			HouHome	HouAway	LeagueH	LeagueA
2019	878	819	767	749		2019	18.5	18.0	22.5	23.4
2018	730	777	737	718		2018	19.2	19.7	21.9	22.6
2017	812	834	769	733		2017	16.7	17.9	21.3	22.0
2016	717	752	752	726		2016	24.5	22.4	20.6	21.6
2015	783	723	740	704		2015	23.6	22.3	19.9	20.9

I had a thought about how often they used their trashcan system, and it kind of follows your thoughts. After pondering this for a few hours, I thought it wasn't likely that they were always doing this. I came to the conclusion, that they probably only used it in situations where they were down a run or two, in the very late innings. But again, this is just supposition.  


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#31 russsnyder

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:48 PM

Interestingly, I just finished reading Astroball about two weeks ago.

 

There is a lot in there about what a great leader Beltran is.

 

I may be wrong, but I think the Astros cut down on their strikeouts and increased their OPS this year.

 

If that's true, the scandal may have played a role in that.

 

I don't feel that differently about Astroball or Elias.

 

The Astros got caught because of a whistleblower ( Fiers) and a trail of evidence. ( emails, texts, etc.)

 

I think that their overall approach is good, but their arrogance and lack of respect for the rules obviously got the best of them.

 

Elias has not been tied into this mess, so I don't see any reason to view him any differently.


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#32 Mackus

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:34 PM

I may be wrong, but I think the Astros cut down on their strikeouts and increased their OPS this year.

 

I posted the Astros home/road splits as well as the entire leagues home/road splits for the past 5 years for both OPS and K% a few posts above if you wanna check them out and see if you can find a pattern anywhere in there.


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#33 russsnyder

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:38 PM

I posted the Astros home/road splits as well as the entire leagues home/road splits for the past 5 years for both OPS and K% a few posts above if you wanna check them out and see if you can find a pattern anywhere in there.


Thanks.

Appreciate the work.

I'll check it out when I get some time.

#34 Mackus

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:46 PM

They had a big drop in strikeouts from 2016 to 2017.  But they also had a lot of roster turnover.  They got rid of Jason Castro (32.7% Ks), Colby Rasmus (29.0%), Preston Tucker (27.7%), and Luis Valbuena (23.6%) who had a combined nearly 1300 PAs and added Yuli Gurriel (11.0%), Brian McCann (14.5%), Nori Aoki (12.9%) and Carlos Beltran (20.0%) who got a combined nearly 1700 PAs. 

 

I don't think replacing high strikeout hitters with low strikeout hitters was part of the cheating plan, and that seems to drive a good bit of the statistical difference between seasons.  Would have to look at how guys who were on the team in each year went up or down.



#35 russsnyder

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 04:16 PM


Well, before they signed him... they traded for him.  And they were able to trade for him because 1) They had built up the depth and talent necessary for that type of acquisition, and 2) Verlander was willing to go there (believe he had no-trade, maybe I'm remembering wrong), and 3) Had built their payroll flexibility to the point where they could take on his contract.

 

 

   I just finished Astroball recently,

 

   Verlander waived his No Trade clause just minutes before the trade deadline.

 

   He was on a date with Kate Upton when he was contacted about the trade. ( I know, the dude has it rough,)

 

   The trade was approved by MLB a few minutes before the deadline.



#36 mdrunning

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 08:42 PM

Mets "wavering" on firing Carlos Beltran.

 

Sounds like Beltran's major-league managerial record could remain at 0-0 for a while.

 

Link



#37 Ravens2006

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 05:50 PM

I don't see how it doesn't at least add a little bit of concern / question to the idea of the Orioles employing that same franchise building strategy in the AL East.  I posted a couple months ago showing how much (SIGNIFICANTLY) lower the Astros W/L record has been throughout their "resurgence" vs AL East teams not named "Orioles", compared to vs. their own division.  My point being, what works wonderfully in one environment, might not work as well in another, unbalanced schedule and all.  You can't just assume that a strategy WILL WORK just because one or two guys who were part of it in one system jump to another and try to re-create it.  There are COUNTLESS examples throughout sports history of that not happening, sadly.

 

Throw in the now rampant stories, which all seem to have some evidence behind them, of coordinated (organizational) in-game, high-tech cheating... and I find it hard to ignore how many close games it could have tipped in their favor over recent years.



#38 weird-O

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:08 PM

I don't see how it doesn't at least add a little bit of concern / question to the idea of the Orioles employing that same franchise building strategy in the AL East.  I posted a couple months ago showing how much (SIGNIFICANTLY) lower the Astros W/L record has been throughout their "resurgence" vs AL East teams not named "Orioles", compared to vs. their own division.  My point being, what works wonderfully in one environment, might not work as well in another, unbalanced schedule and all.  You can't just assume that a strategy WILL WORK just because one or two guys who were part of it in one system jump to another and try to re-create it.  There are COUNTLESS examples throughout sports history of that not happening, sadly.

 

Throw in the now rampant stories, which all seem to have some evidence behind them, of coordinated (organizational) in-game, high-tech cheating... and I find it hard to ignore how many close games it could have tipped in their favor over recent years.

You mentioned a few important factors: the ALe is much tougher than the west, their W-L record vs the east. But ultimately your post seems to be based on the idea that Elias and Sig are going to robotically follow the Houston blueprint. I don't think that's how they'll proceed.   


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#39 bmore_ken

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 01:15 PM

You mentioned a few important factors: the ALe is much tougher than the west, their W-L record vs the east. But ultimately your post seems to be based on the idea that Elias and Sig are going to robotically follow the Houston blueprint. I don't think that's how they'll proceed.   

I agree. I think they use the basic blueprint and tweak it where needed. 



#40 Mike B

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 01:30 PM

Elias and Mejdal are smart.  I think he will distance himself from the group of cheaters in Houston.  I think the process they used there and the one they are using here in Baltimore are similar but I am also sure that they have put their own wrinkles in.  Expect to hear more about them, very shortly.


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