• Study On A-Rod’s Alleged Pitch Tipping

    Posted by on May 3rd, 2009 · Comments (14)

    Adam Dorhauer, aka Kincaid at 3-D Baseball takes an interesting statistical look at the theory A-Rod was tipping pitches while playing in Texas. Click here to see what he found out. Here’s a snip:

    They basically morphed from Joel Youngblood into Dave Parker at the plate. Or from Adam Kennedy into Miguel Tejada. What’s more, they should have been dropping to Mark Lewis levels instead. Notice especially the huge jumps in SLG: these hitters were flat out clobbering the ball like they knew what was coming. It’s not like those pitchers in Texas needed any extra help without “Crash” Rodriguez screwing with their ERAs either. I hate to say it, but it’s pretty clear from these numbers that something was up. This is beyond grey area even. And it’s not something he was just following the rest of baseball into. This is purely someone being an ass all on his own.

    Very interesting, indeed.

    Comments on Study On A-Rod’s Alleged Pitch Tipping

    1. yagottagotomo1
      May 3rd, 2009 | 9:56 am

      Steve, I really cannot believe you even posted this article- it could not be more flawed. He doesnt control for Texas!! Go look at the Texas ‘ pitching staff OPS against for that season- its .856. Basically, he proved the opposite point- players actually did worse against the Rangers late in blowout games than they did normally. He also ignored the selection bias- the pitchers throwing at that point are likely to be the dregs of MLB. Mop up work for the worst pitching team in baseball? Pretty sure you need to correct for that. You know better than this, Steve.

    2. May 3rd, 2009 | 10:23 am

      yagottagotomo1, nice work. I just love this story. A-Rod, a guy who’s supposed to have no friends, is apparently this mastermind of mayhem throughout the majors. But not only are Selena Roberts’ sources guaranteed anonymity, but so are his alleged co-conspirators. And nobody can point to specific games where this “quid pro quo,” as Roberts called it, actually happened.

    3. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 3rd, 2009 | 12:32 pm

      Um try again. The author compared the results with A-Rod at short to the performance of middle infielders in blow-out games without A-Rod at short:

      *********************************
      I used the same method to look at how middle infielders hit with anyone besides A-Rod at short in lopsided games compared to how they usually hit. This time, since I’m already dealing with a much larger sample (20-30 thousand PAs), I limited my data to the years 2000 on. Middle infielders hit about the same (-.002 OPS points) in 7+ run games and a fair bit worse (-.023 OPS points) in 5+ run games in at least the 7th inning.
      ******************************

      By definition this is bringing in all mop-up pitchers who it could be expected would allow a pretty robust OPS. Do you really want to assert that Texas had such a bad group of relievers that they single-handedly account for this discrepancy? You might get away with that if the difference wasn’t so big, but the reality is that the difference is quite large and significant.

      So let’s consider the reality:
      With mop-up pitchers on the mound, middle-infielders hit substantially better when A-Rod was at shortstop than when anyone else was at shortstop.

    4. yagottagotomo1
      May 3rd, 2009 | 12:42 pm

      No, I’m pretty sure if you normalized that data for the percentage of games that were played in texas, as well as considered the awful pitching that Texas had, the difference would become insignificant. What you said is not a reality because it ignores the Texas factor, which was huge, both in terms of pitching talent and ballpark effects. These numbers are entirely meaningless, and quoting their findings are irresponsible, because people will just read the quoted portion and assume the numbers work, which actually dont.

    5. yagottagotomo1
      May 3rd, 2009 | 12:44 pm

      Also, it seems that A-Rod’s numbers did not get better in those situations. Interesting quid pro quo. Furthermore, the data is skewed by the fact that even according to Roberts, this was limited to a few players. looking at all middle infielders is certain to include a ton of players who were not involved.

    6. Evan3457
      May 3rd, 2009 | 1:17 pm

      I just did a quick study of my own at Baseball Referenc,e not on A-Rod’s opponents, but on A-Rod himself.

      First, I assume that no pitch-tipping went on when he was with Seattle (which by the way, the guy who did the originaly study linked in this threads assume he DID do, because he includes Chuck Knoblauch-1998, in his study). I assume this because it’s not mentioned in the articles about the Roberts’ book, and because you’d think that Saint Lou Piniella, the manager every Yankees fan believes would turn this team around in a heartbeat, A-Rod’s manager through that whole period and who swears by him to this day, was neither stupid enough not to notice A-Rod tipping opposing players, nor corrupt enough to let it continue if he knew about it.

      2nd, I looked at A-Rod’s splits when the score of the game was separated by more than 4 runs (“>4″), and when A-Rod was batting in a Low Leverage situation (“LL”), in the years he was with Texas and then with the Yanks

      2001-3, >4: 81-280, 7 2B, 0 3B, 17 HR, 39 BB, 56 K, 7 HBP, 6 SF, BAVG: .289, OBA .385, SLG .496, ISO .207, OPS .883

      2001-3, LL: 281-906, 41 2B, 4 3B, 69 HR, 112 BB, 173 K, 18 HBP, 9 SF, BAVG .311, OBA .367, SLG .593, ISO .282, OPS .960

      2001-3, complete seasons: 569-1863, 91 2B, 9 3B, 156 HR, 249 BB, 379 K, 41 HBP, 19 SF, BAVG .305, OBA .395, SLG .615, ISO .310, OPS 1.011

      Well, there you have it!! Ironclad proof that A-Rod was getting tipped. His BAVG is .006 higher in LL situations…

      and when the game is >4, it drops by .016. His OBA drops by .028 and .010, respectively. Well, maybe he stopped taking pitches because “he knew what was coming”, and swung from the heels, eh, kids?

      OK, riddle me this: if he knows what’s coming, why does his SLG drop .119 in >4, and .022 in LL? Why does his Isolated Power drop (that’s SLG minus BAVG, to account for a deep drop in singles having a disproportionate effect on his SLG) His overall OPS drops by .051 in LL, and .118 in >4 as well.

      If he know’s what’s coming, why is his K/BB ratio nearly identical for all 3. 1.53 total, 1.44 in >4, and 1.54 in LL?

      ===================================
      Now we’ll look at the same numbers with the Yankees. I’ll spare you the excruiating details, and just give the rates:

      >4: .313/.410/.607/1.017 ISO: .294 K/BB 1.23
      LL: .324/.419/.634/1.053 ISO: .310 K/BB 1.58
      ALL: .305/.395/.615/1.011 ISO: .310 K/BB 1.53

      AHA!!! J’ACCUSE!!!!

      Just look at that HUGE improvement in Low Leverage situationsand that K/BB ratio in >4 situations!! A-Rod is CLEARLY getting (and obviously GIVING) tipped pitches in his Yankee years…

      …from his position at third base.

      Jeez.

      So let’s see if I get this straight. A-Rod’s batting gets worse in Low Leverage situations in Texas, when he’s supposedly getting and giving tipped pitches, but it gets better with the Yankees, when there’s no possible way he could be tipping pitches from 3rd, as he cannot see the signs from the catcher to the pitcher.
      ===================================
      Ok, there’s one or two flaws in my study. The most important is that neither LL nor > 4 exactly targets the AB we’re looking for. >4 would include big deficits early in the game. LL would include those as well as situations like “3 run lead, 9th inning, no one on.”

      But if A-Rod was tipping pitches, and was benefitting from it, wouldn’t you expect his performance in these situations to go up some, instead of down? Why would it go up with the Yanks, after having gone down with the Rangers? Were his “friends” giving him tips out of loyalty?

      And what about his “clutch ability”? Isn’t his lousy performance in key spots (and his great hitting when “the pressure is off”) due to his choking, rather than getting tipped to pitches? That’s what those who despise A-Rod have always said, anyway.

      Whew; what a relief!! A-Rod’s not a choker; he’s a game-fixer.

      Hint: the password is overdetermination.

      ================================
      Again; I’m not believing ANY of this from statistical studies because there are too many variables involved to get a “clean” study. I’m going to want a player to come forward, put his name on the accusation, explain in detail what A-Rod did, and back it up with videotape evidence from at least one game. Or, in the alternative, several players, present or past, come forward together and say, “Yes, we had a deal with A-Rod, and here’s how we did it.”

      If either of those things happens, then they can hang A-Rod out to dry. Until then, the accusers can go climb a tree.

    7. butchie22
      May 3rd, 2009 | 1:19 pm

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      Steve, I really cannot believe you even posted this article- it could not be more flawed. He doesnt control for Texas!! Go look at the Texas ‘ pitching staff OPS against for that season- its .856. Basically, he proved the opposite point- players actually did worse against the Rangers late in blowout games than they did normally. He also ignored the selection bias- the pitchers throwing at that point are likely to be the dregs of MLB. Mop up work for the worst pitching team in baseball? Pretty sure you need to correct for that. You know better than this, Steve.

      Michael Kay claimed that Arod had some sort of pull on the pitching in Texas as crazy as that sounds.At this point,it would be interesting if a deluge of former Rangers come out and defend Afraud/Aroid on this particular. Even still, I wouldn’t put anything against Afrod at this point. In terms of his wantonly reckless off field and on field behavior(use of steriods, the ha play in Toronto, the Arroyo slap) he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt from me. AND he couldn’t keep his story straight when he got called on during Roids either. But to be fair as well, Roberts evidently has an agenda for this. It’s money and possibly her psychological obssesion with Arod. By the same taoken, Arod has given her some of the rope to hang himself with, so what is the surprise.

    8. yagottagotomo1
      May 3rd, 2009 | 1:23 pm

      Butchie:
      “I think this is all crap,” Young said. “It’s been one thing after another aimed at Alex. I’m tired of it. Unnamed people continually saying this and that. If you’ve got something to say, have the guts to use your name.

      “Tipping pitches among his friends? I never even heard of that. But I’ll go out on a limb and say if Alex was doing it he would have asked me to be a part of that, even after he left here. I’m one of his best friends.”

      Young played second base, next to Alex at shortstop, when they were teammates. Then Young moved to shortstop when Alex left for the Yankees.

      “I played beside him for three years here, and never saw anything close to him signaling opposing hitters on what was coming. It’s crap. All crap,” said Michael.

      Based on what I was told Friday by three other members of the Rangers when Alex played here, Young is right.

      These people asked to remain “unnamed,” for a variety of reasons, one of them being my favorite:

      “I never saw anything like that, and believe me, I would have eventually picked it up if it was happening,” he said. “But Alex is the kind of person, I wouldn’t put anything past him. So I don’t want to say publicly he didn’t, and then the proof come in that he did, and I’d look naïve and stupid.”
      http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/story/1354374.html

    9. Evan3457
      May 3rd, 2009 | 1:25 pm

      Once I Was:

      How did you go your study? I don’t know how to get to that level of specificity on Baseball-Reference.

    10. butchie22
      May 3rd, 2009 | 1:28 pm

      Thanks, yagotta, it seems that the deluge has begun!Ultimately, I would love to see Selena’s Deep Throats outted in some sense. The unnamed player gave the best copy in terms of the statement being sexy and controversial. Unfortunately, I feel very much the same way about Arod. His past behavior is littered with so much garbage ,that I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the bloody truth.

    11. May 3rd, 2009 | 2:18 pm

      Evan, great work on the stats. What gets me is how poorly argued this book seems to be. Here we all are, looking at stats, trying to make a case whether pro or con, and Roberts hasn’t even done that. It’s all just anonymous sources and conjecture. Heck, she won’t even suggest a possible co-conspirator!

    12. Evan3457
      May 3rd, 2009 | 2:37 pm

      Here’s the thing. Boiling down what I wrote, to believe all the various charges against A-Rod, you have to believe all of the following at the same time:

      1) He’s despised by all the players on his own teams as a hypocritcal fraud.
      2) But he was well-liked enough by other players to help him in his pitch-tipping scheme, and that none of them would give it away when they joined him on the same team. (Like Texiera, for instance.)
      3) He’s so stupid he doesn’t understand his lies about his PED use can be seen through by a 5-year-old.
      4) But he’s smart enough to be an evil conspiratorial genius on the order of Blofeld from the James Bond movies, to not only conceive the pitch-tipping scheme, but to persuade other players to go along, and also to conceal from the media and MLB at the very least, and his own teammates, coaches, and managers at the most.
      5) His performance in Texas, when he might have been tipping, went down instead of up in Low Leverage spots.
      6) His performance in New York, when he couldn’t possibly have been tipping, went up instead of down, as it should have.
      7) He’s a choker, and the difference in his performance in key spots due to his choking in key spots and his pitch-tipping in non-key spots somehow adds up to #5 and #6 above.

      Your mileage may vary, but to me, that sounds like massive cognitive dissonance.

      Can’t we all just go back to “A-Rod is a choker.” It was a much neater oversimplification. Few unfittable pieces to fit together. ;)

    13. Raf
      May 3rd, 2009 | 4:07 pm

      Amazing the lenghts the Rodriguez haters will go to discredit/disclaim him.

      He signed a $252M contract. No one forced the Rangers to give him the money. Get over it.

    14. butchie22
      May 3rd, 2009 | 4:33 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Here’s the thing. Boiling down what I wrote, to believe all the various charges against A-Rod, you have to believe all of the following at the same time:
      1) He’s despised by all the players on his own teams as a hypocritcal fraud.
      2) But he was well-liked enough by other players to help him in his pitch-tipping scheme, and that none of them would give it away when they joined him on the same team. (Like Texiera, for instance.)
      3) He’s so stupid he doesn’t understand his lies about his PED use can be seen through by a 5-year-old.
      4) But he’s smart enough to be an evil conspiratorial genius on the order of Blofeld from the James Bond movies, to not only conceive the pitch-tipping scheme, but to persuade other players to go along, and also to conceal from the media and MLB at the very least, and his own teammates, coaches, and managers at the most.
      5) His performance in Texas, when he might have been tipping, went down instead of up in Low Leverage spots.
      6) His performance in New York, when he couldn’t possibly have been tipping, went up instead of down, as it should have.
      7) He’s a choker, and the difference in his performance in key spots due to his choking in key spots and his pitch-tipping in non-key spots somehow adds up to #5 and #6 above.
      Your mileage may vary, but to me, that sounds like massive cognitive dissonance.
      Can’t we all just go back to “A-Rod is a choker.” It was a much neater oversimplification. Few unfittable pieces to fit together.

      I think that Goldfinger is much nicer than Arod BTW! Arod is cahoots with Ca$h Man in order to destroy the franchise,pure and simple.:)AS for Raf’s comment about the Arod haters, why hasn’t St Derek gotten involved in an Arodian style scandal? For what it’s worth , Jeter dates women and has his fun BUT why not the accompanying mess regarding his behavior? Could it be that Arod is simply a headcase? He sees 3 psychologists for heaven’s sakes!

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