Friday, January 28, 2011

2010 AL MVP Picks








Felix Hernandez

Cliff Lee



For top of the AL there is a distinction between the bats (Hamilton, Bautista and Cabrera) vs. the gloves (Cano, Longoria and Beltre). Now the "gloves" all had good years hitting but they were about 30 points behind the "bats" in OPS+. I think Hamilton is clearly first, but second through sixth could be re-arranged in any order.

Since Hernandez and Lee are both pitchers and next to each other in the rankings that would suggest that I think they were almost equal. However, I think Hernandez was clearly superior to Lee, but there is quite a bit of drop-off after the top 7 hitters.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2010 NL MVP Picks

Since football season ended last Sunday, my thoughts have begun to shift to baseball. Since I got pretty busy last November, I did not get a chance to post my ballots for the internet baseball awards. So I will start with my NL MVP picks:







Carlos Gonzalez 



Adrian Gonzalez 


I could see putting Votto and Pujols either way. What is funny is that the last time that Pujols had a close race for top player in the league was 2005, when the other contender was a fellow NL Central First Baseman (Derrek Lee in 2005). The two players had very similar seasons that year, just as Pujols and Votto had very similar seasons this year.

Compared to some voters, I have Adrian Gonzalez lower relative to the other hitters. He had a good year, but he was not the equal at the plate of Votto and Pujols. The other hitters made up ground based on defensive value and position.

Interestingly I had more pitchers in the top 10 most of the year. However, Josh Johnson was hurt the last month and Ubaldo Jiminez had a poor middle of the season and both are just outside the top 10 for my final picks.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Can New York Support a Third NBA Team?

David Stern expresses his doubt (H/T). Of course he has an incentive to downplay the likelihood, in order to protect the market of the Knicks and Nets. However, I think that New York with 22 million people in its metropolitan area should be able to support three teams. Also with one team moving from one side of the city to the other, there is more opportunity to pick up fans right away than there would be for a sport such as baseball.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Federal Money for Hockey Arenas in Canada

Why would the Federal government in Canada be giving money to one city (Quebec) so that it can lure away a team from another city in Canada (Edmonton)? That does not sound like smart politics to me. I guess there is still a chance that the target team is the Phoenix Coyotes. However, the Coyotes have a relatively new arena, and the Oilers are trying to get the city to pay for one, so my guess is that the league would rather the Oilers move than the Coyotes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Tucson Beavers?

The Portland Beavers, AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres, announced that they would be playing next season in Tucson. I would like to consider this move from the point of optimal team location in minor league baseball (see this post from last year for details on my model). The move is complicated by the fact that the eventual plan is to have the team play in Escondido near the major league affiliate in San Diego, and is probably only using Tucson as a temporary home for a year or two. For now I will just talk about the Portland to Tucson move and then look at the Escondido angle in a future post.

On the face of it this move does not make a whole lot of sense. According to my model, Portland would be the second most likely city, amongst those without major league baseball, to have a AAA team. Tucson is 46th. I estimate that Portland has a 79% chance of having a AAA team, Tucson has a 15% chance. These rankings should not be too much of a surprise, as Portland has a metropolitan area population of approximately 2.2 million and Tucson's is just over a million.

However, there is the complicating factor of the stadium issue. The Beavers stadium in Portland is being renovated for use for the soccer team in the city. When I developed my model it was based on the idea that the city's willingness to build stadiums for team was endogenous to all of the other factors (population, income etc.). But there may also be other idiosyncratic factors related to willingness to construct a stadium that I could not account for. In this case the stadium situation pretty much precipitated a move. It also explains why a team might move for what might be a one-year stay.

Given that a move was required, Tucson makes a lot of sense. Even though it is ranked 46th, the two cities (Des Moines and Syracuse) right in front of it in the rankings also have AAA teams, so it is not completely out of line with other AAA cities. If the PCL wanted to keep the team out west, Tucson was the best choice, as the westernmost city ranked higher than Tucson is San Antonio. Lastly, since this might be a temporary move, Tucson does not have a AA or A team being disrupted by the move like San Antonio or Boise would have. Also, Tucson had a AAA team as recently as 2008, so it has a suitable stadium.