In-Season Promotion/Relegation Standings at

May 12, 2012 by TheUmpire The sabermetric savants over at have started an in-season promotion/relegation table for American baseball this year.

What is Promotion-Relegation? (from here on out we’ll just call it P-R) The P-R system is one in which teams are in tiered leagues (i.e. in baseball: the Majors, Triple-A, AA, and so forth) and at the end of each season, the top few teams in each league trade places with the bottom few in the league above them. In some countries, there is a playoff, rather than automatically trading places.  A P-R league is open (the best teams rise, the lesser teams fall), the worst teams have to fight for their lives at the end of the season. This creates a passion that’s hard to find outside of some college sports.

For even more up-to-date Baseball Premier League news, follow ProRel on Twitter.

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Nearly Half 2012 HoF Firsties Not Starter Quality

December 18, 2011 by TheUmpire

Tony Womack Once again the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) erodes any remaining credibility with its 2012 National Baseball Hall of Fame nominations. 

Six out of 13 of first-year candidates have a career average WAR (avgWAR) of below 2.00, which categorizes as “reserve.”

Tony Womack comes in with an avgWAR of 0.15.  I guess he did lead the league in triples, once.  And he did make $6M one year with the Diamondbacks.  Okay, sorry, this isn’t Tony Womack’s fault.  He shouldn’t have been put in the position to be subjected to this kind of WTFing.

I have ranted about the BBWAA before, so it really isn’t news since it happens over and over and over again.  But I can’t help but ask. . .where is the outrage in the baseball community?

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Average WAR for 2012 Hall of Fame Candidates

December 18, 2011 by TheUmpire

Jeff Bagwell Jeff Bagwell tops the list again for Baseball Hall of Fame candidates.  None of the first-year 2012 candidates makes the cut.

Brian Jordan leads the pack of non-worthy rookies, largely due to an impressive defensive WAR.

Tony Womack looks to be this year’s Lenny Harris.

We have converted a baseball player’s career Wins Above Replacement (WAR) into a rate statistic which indicates the average number of wins above replacement a player would give his team per single season (AvgWAR). uses the following scale for WAR values:

  • 8+ MVP Quality
  • 5+ All-Star Quality
  • 2+ Starter
  • 0-2 Reserve
  • <0 Replacement Level

It is our proposal that players having an AvgWAR of 5.0 or higher are worthy of induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Player Avg WAR
Jeff Bagwell 6.02
Larry Walker 5.48
Mark McGwire 5.45
Edgar Martinez 5.30
Barry Larkin 5.12
Alan Trammell 4.73
Tim Raines 4.18
Rafael Palmeiro 3.78
Brian Jordan 3.73
Bernie Williams 3.69
Brad Radke 3.68
Tim Salmon 3.64
Don Mattingly 3.61
Fred McGriff 3.33
Dale Murphy 3.28
Juan Gonzalez 3.21
Bill Mueller 3.01
Javy Lopez 3.01
Jack Morris 2.48
Phil Nevin 2.12
Lee Smith 1.96
Jeromy Burnitz 1.68
Eric Young 1.59
Vinny Castilla 1.43
Ruben Sierra 1.01
Terry Mulholland 0.49
Tony Womack 0.15

Stats from Lahman’s Baseball Database and

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Letter to the Editor – Promotion and Relegation in Baseball

November 17, 2011 by Jeremy C

To whomever wrote that excellent article on promotion/relegation:

I just wanted to say that I am impressed with the site and particularly with the article on promotion/relegation. I also wish MLB had the good sense to make it more exciting by adopting such a system. I hope that you continue to publish the hypothetical situation charts next season, including the run difference information. On that note, in your "BPL" for 2011, isn’t it true that the St. Louis Cardinals would never have even made the playoffs? They were tied with Boston, but had the inferior run difference (+70 vs. +138). Therefore, I don’t think they deserve the green highlight! Though, of course I congratulate them on their eventual championship.

I’d like to ask you something, which is, how do you think a P/R relegation would come about? I mean, what sequence of events would lead to the change? I have a feeling that it would be met with a lot of resistance on the grounds of maintaining tradition, a point which you alluded to in the article. On the other hand, you and I were converted. I have a guess as to how it might happen, and I would love to know what you think.

Two considerations:

1. The people who support a P/R system in general are anyone who follows the soccer/football in any country but this one.

2. A large chunk of the people who follow MLS also follow the sport abroad and would love to see a P/R system here. In fact, the biggest reason MLS hasn’t adopted the system yet nor plans to "anytime soon" is because the league isn’t financially well-grounded.

How it could happen (in roughly 8 steps):

1. MLS continues to grow, especially as more players transfer between the US and Europe, and coverage of the EPL (and other major events such as the Euro and World Cups) continues to improve.

2. Eventually MLS becomes large enough that it can afford to expand and allow for P/R.

3. At the same time, the soccer/football continues to grow in popularity, and more and more clubs are formed across the country and Canada.

4. MLS makes the switch to P/R because so many (foreign league following) fans demand it.

5. MLS sees huge gains in viewership toward the end of the first season of the new system as fans and journalists can’t get over the excitement of speculating who will fall, and which new teams will find their way to the top.

6. The sport sweeps the country. A new league pops us in each state. MLS becomes more like the Champions League. The US is destroying the rest of the world in every major competition.

7. The other sports in the US take a big hit. Compared to soccer/football, they all seem painfully boring and insignificant as being the champion or the worst team mean next to nothing.

8. Baseball fan demographics continue to trend toward older people. MLB viewership starts dwindling
faster, so they do a study and realize that the fans would be thrilled to have a P/R system. They try it, and it obviously works well. Eventually, the other sports do the same.

I realize my rhetoric is a little over the top, but ultimately I think that it will be MLS that introduces the system to the US first, with baseball catching on perhaps a decade after that. Anyway, keep up the good work!

All the best,
Jeremy Chapman

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What’s in a Name?

November 5, 2011 by CharlesF

Dominican birth certificate [reprinted from DRSEA Newsletter – Volume IV, Issue 8]

I used to chuckle when my mother would sometime look at me quizzically and ask, “When were you born?” My reply was generally, “You were there, weren’t you?”

But as I continue to ponder the ongoing dilemma that Major League Baseball faces in the Dominican Republic concerning age and identity fraud among young prospects, my mother’s occasional memory lapse has become increasingly understandable, particularly in a country where record keeping is often lax.

Major League Baseball recently revealed that of the 500 prospects a year it investigates, more than a third are rejected because of inconsistencies about who they are or when they were born. I am convinced more and more than a substantial amount of the identity questions are not because of deliberate attempts to mislead, but part of a cultural anomaly. But it is virtually impossible to separate the intentional from the unintentional, further exacerbating the dilemma. Baseball has taken to labeling such cases as “inconclusive,” but still locks questionable prospects out of the game.

In a recent case, Juan Carlos Paniagua, who had signed a $1.1 million contract with the New York Yankees, had his contract voided by MLB – and the right-handed pitcher with a 95-mph fastball was suspended for a year – after his identification paperwork was deemed faulty. This came after he was suspended for a year in 2010 for providing false identification to the Arizona Diamondbacks under the name of Juan Collado.


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