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Old 06-08-2011, 04:29 PM
Location: Albuquerque, NM
13,295 posts, read 12,345,518 times
Reputation: 6622


The Next Market Inefficiencies: Little People in Baseball | FanGraphs Baseball
by Bradley Woodrum

On Tuesday, in the sixth round of the MLB Draft, the San Diego Padres selected outfielder Kyle Gaedele (who the Tampa Bay Rays had previously drafted in the 32nd round of the 2008 draft). Gaedele plays center field and shows good signs of hitting for power, but what most writers, sports fans, and guys named Bradley talk about is Gaedele’s great uncle.

Let’s take a visual glance at the matter: A 3’6″ batter would be exactly 60% as tall as a 6’0″ batter. The following GIF attempts to materialize that distinction using an image delightfully stolen from the MLB rule book:

The zone, as you — dear contacts-wearing reader — can tell, is much smaller and quite flat. It loses 60% of its height, but maintains its width, while creeping a good 50% closer to the plate. (Note: The image had been reduced by nearly exactly 60% to preserve scale as much as possible.)

Which brings us to the final two issues:

A) What value could small batters bring to an MLB team? I think it is safe to assume few teams have the roster flexibility for a one-plate-appearance guy for the whole season. Like Neyer notes, expanded September rosters would more than provide the opportunity for a little person to have a powerful and meaningful impact on games — especially if said athlete could sport a .500+ OBP, which, given plenty of training opportunities in the minors (specifically honing the ability to foul off 2-strike pitches) seems quite possible.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:48 PM
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
36,965 posts, read 17,437,867 times
Reputation: 16804
From the linked article:
Gaedel stood 3’7″ tall, almost half the height of his great nephew
Hmmm, that would mean that Kyle Gaedele has to be around 7', 2'' tall.

Gaedel, himself an entertainer, wore elf-like shoes, curling at the tips, and came bursting from a cake, seriously, before his first at bat.
That is misleading. The cake stunt was something done in between the double header games featuring Gaedel dressed as an elf. He changed into a baseball uniform for his appearance at the plate...as you can see in this photo:
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:36 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,556,197 times
Reputation: 35864
MLB umpires would call the top and bottom of the strike zone exactly the same place, irrespective of the dimensions, position or batting stance of the hitter.

It's already been proven many times that that they don't even call balls/strikes according to the plate, but only according to how close the ball comes to hitting the catcher's target.

Have you notice that the Fox Box and other similar digital pitch representations always portray the top and bottom of the strike zone in exactly the same predetermined spot, regardless of the height of the batter?
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:38 PM
Location: Guadalajara, MX
3,022 posts, read 5,543,039 times
Reputation: 2301
Really great article. Loved the comments and you introduced me to a great website I hadn't seen before. Thanks!
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:31 AM
Location: Brooklyn
40,057 posts, read 29,718,655 times
Reputation: 10450
I can't seem to put a finger on why I don't think that article is going to lead to an absolute flood of little people being drafted (assuming, of course, that there are enough of them out there with sufficient baseball skills to make the major leagues). But if I should be wrong, can other, differently "challenged" people be next?
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