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March 24, 2009

State of the Prospectus

Spring 2009

by Nate Silver and Kevin Goldstein

Baseball Prospectus is a small business run by a handful of exceptionally dedicated but utterly overworked individuals. This is occasionally exasperating, but has more often been exhilarating; we're always facing new challenges and have grown accustomed to learning on the fly. It does mean, however, that we do not have a lot of redundancy in place. When someone leaves, or has to pull back on their contributions, whether because they've become a father or joined a major league front office or decided to pursue another business opportunity, it is not a trivial matter to replace them.

It was barely a year ago when I launched FiveThirtyEight.com, a political number-crunching website that I expected to receive a few hundred hits a day and occupy perhaps five hours of my time per week. Since then, thanks to a combination of being in the right place at the right time and making a few lucky predictions, the site is accumulating both many degrees of magnitude more traffic than that, and occupying a much larger fraction of my time than I could have ever anticipated. I feel very, very fortunate about all of this; indeed, there have been many moments, such as upon appearing on Stephen Colbert's show, when I felt as though I'd won the nerd lottery. However, as you've undoubtedly noticed, these other opportunities have meant that I've been able to devote less of my time to Baseball Prospectus.

Fortunately, we are a team of clutch performers, and Kevin Goldstein and Dave Pease have somehow found the hours to step up their contributions and keep the company running smoothly. Without the dedication of these two individuals, and others like Christina Kahrl, Joe Sheehan, and Will Carroll, I'm not sure that BP could have continued to exist in its present form. Kevin is now our Managing Partner, and he should be your primary point of contact for any and all business-related inquiries.

Other processes have not been as smooth, particularly the production of the PECOTA cards this year, which took far longer than is acceptable. The delays in the production of the PECOTA cards were 100 percent my fault, and came in spite of, not because of, the hard work of folks like Dave and Jeff Pease, Bil Burke, and Clay Davenport. For this you have my profound apologies. It may help to tell you a little about how the sausage is made. Production of the PECOTA forecasts is an exceptionally labor-intensive exercise. Some of the reasons for this are unavoidable. We have made an enormous number of improvements to the system over the years (this year, for instance, retrofitting the Davenport Translations database all the way back to 1980), but each of the improvements has added a layer of complication, requiring more and more data to be cleansed, merged, and managed, and making the process of producing the forecasts more cumbersome.

However, another reason why PECOTA has tended to be burdensome to produce is because it's a program designed by a non-programmer (me): a lot of the code is poorly written, and very little of it is automated. More problematically, because the code is not well documented, I was probably the only person on the planet who knew how to sift my way through it. Thus, its timely production relied on my pulling 100-hour weeks and getting really hopped up on Red Bull and reheated Thai food, something I was strangely happy to do in the past, but simply didn't have the ability to do this year.

I realize that most of you don't care about this; you just want to see the damned PECOTA cards already, and be quick about it! But the reason I bring this up is because we've now begun the process of standardizing, documenting, and automating PECOTA, and devoting more and better computing power to it, all things that we should have done many years ago. Once this process is complete, the upshot is that we will be able to produce the PECOTA cards not just on schedule, but ahead of the schedule that you were used to seeing in years past, while also better integrating it with our depth charts and the other products in our Fantasy portfolio.

In transitioning my management responsibilities to Kevin and Dave, and in working with our tech team to automate the production of the PECOTA cards, my objective has been to free up as much of my time as possible for writing, which has always been the part of the job that I've enjoyed the most. Although I probably will not be able to write about baseball with the frequency that I once did, I do hope and expect to continue writing about baseball regularly, both here and for our partners at ESPN.

In the meantime, we appreciate that in these economic circumstances, plopping down 40 bucks on a subscription to a baseball website may not seem like the best use of your resources. That said, we have never raised our prices, and we operate on a very conservative budget, so those subscription revenues go directly toward improving your experience at Baseball Prospectus by recruiting new writers, developing new features, and improving site usability. While we are always indebted to your dedication to Baseball Prospectus, we are especially so at times like these, as we know how much harder many of you are working to provide for yourselves and your families. Smaller and smarter companies are holding up better in the face of the recession than larger and bulkier ones, and thanks to all of you, we have been no exception. We look forward to continuing to share our love of baseball with you for many years to come.

-Nate Silver
Chicago, IL
March 22, 2009

As part of Nate's stepping back and my stepping forward into the Managing Partner role, I was asked to also provide a comment for the state of the Prospectus piece. It's a strange position for me, at least on a writing level. When it comes to my Future Shock column, I feel I'm at my best when I'm getting information from others and relaying it to our readers. I don't have that luxury this time. I have no phone calls to make, or sources to mine. Nobody is scouting us and our universal grade-20 across-the-board tools (hey, at least we're grinders with makeup that is off the charts), and my lack of a safety net has left me staring at a black screen on my laptop in this hotel room in Seattle for far more time than it's had me writing. Besides, I have a World Baseball Classic final to divert my attention.

When looked at it from another angle though, I have nothing but safety nets all around me. My position is Managing Partner, with an emphasis on the second word in that phrase. Prospectus Entertainment Ventures is a small(ish), owner-operated company with a lot of partners. I'm just the guy sitting in the driver's seat on this bus, and luckily I bring with me a pre-baseball life of executive-level work in the internet and entertainment sectors. At the same time, plenty of people are helping with the steering and the gearshift.

This offseason was not without it's fair share of bumps in the road, of course, especially with PECOTA, as Nate mentioned above. Nobody here at BP is happy with how that turned out, but more importantly, many of our customers were unhappy. To make up for it, all fantasy customers who signed up on or before February 26th (when the issues occured) have had their fantasy subscriptions bumped up to full subscriptions, giving them access to all of the premium features that come with it. We hope that you enjoy all of the outstanding content you now have access to, and accept this as our mea culpa-it's not going to happen again. In fact, the steps we're taking to ensure a smoother delivery in the future will actually improve the product on a groundbreaking level.

The main purpose of my note however, is to look forward. I really can't begin to describe to you how much I love this place. I think we are better than anyone at what we do, and I'm excited about the future of this company as we strive every day to retain the title. We have plenty of exciting features and additions in the works, as our editorial team looks for new ways to cover the game (and we have some new faces, with more on that soon), while our technical team is working harder than ever to bring our data and analysis to you in a new, more usable, and more enlightening way. The season hasn't even started yet, and we already have many things to be excited about. Once again, our big annual, Baseball Prospectus 2009, has hit various bestseller lists, and we've embarked on our deepest, most ambitious tour ever to support her, with outstanding crowds at every stop. In addition, we already have game-day events over the first part of the season in St. Louis and Chicago, with hopefully more to come. We're also thrilled about our new partnership with ESPN, one that exposes our unique view of the game to a whole new audience, while also allowing us to ensure that every piece we produce for ESPN's Insider offering is always available to our existing subscribers.

Nate put my e-mail address in his portion, but I'm repeating it here: kgoldstein@baseballprospectus.com. That's the address everyone has, as there's no super-secret "real" e-mail, and while I don't always have the time to respond to every message I receive, I can guarantee you that I read each and every one. Our subscribers are our greatest asset, and we value you and your thoughts immensely.

You'll be hearing from myself, from Dave Pease, and from others over the next few months as we introduce some new features to Baseball Prospectus, but in the meantime, if you ever have any feedback, you have a direct line to me.

-Kevin Goldstein
Seattle, Washington
March 23, 2009

P.S. That slider that Yu Darvish just threw was filthy, but the run that crossed the board makes me want to bear down on this game. I'll have more on Darvish in an upcoming scouting notebook, and let me assure you that I'm not dialing back my writing role in the least; I'm just adding more time around it, and the enthusiasm I have for the future of this company gives me the energy I need with plenty to spare.

Nate Silver is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nate's other articles. You can contact Nate by clicking here
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

59 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

dianagram

Nate .... "a few lucky predictions" ???

Man, you sell yourself waaaaay short. You should take full credit for the accuracy of your analysis. Regardless of which side of the political fence you live on, you have to admire the precision and thoroughness involved in fivethirtyeight's projections.

Congrats on your successes outside the BP realm!

And Kevin ... we the readers are behind you 100%.

Mar 24, 2009 09:30 AM
rating: 1
 
Calkid
(502)

Mmmm ... Red Bull and Thai food ...

Nate: Your writing is one of the reasons I have subscribed to this site from day one. Thank you for all your contributions over the years.

Kevin: Good luck in the new role, the MP position is in good hands.

Mar 24, 2009 09:36 AM
rating: 1
 
Mike Kastellec

Nate, you scared me, I thought that was going to be a resignation letter. I love fivethirtyeight, but your work here would be missed.

Glad to hear PECOTA's getting a 21st century rewiring. I'll keep my finger's crossed for in-season updates.

Mar 24, 2009 09:37 AM
rating: 7
 
Jon

Seconded. I printed this off to read at lunch and was afraid to look thinking it was Nate's good-bye. False alarm.

Mar 24, 2009 10:55 AM
rating: 1
 
BrettG

Success creates opportunity.

The success of PECOTA has helped make BP more recognized than say 5 years ago. Nate's success in other ventures has tied up his time, but also brought more exposure to BP. Congrats Nate and keep it up.

At the same time I was introduced to BP, I subscribed to Kevin's Prospect Report. That report grew in popularity and lead to Kevin getting a job in baseball. Eventually Kevin joined the BP team and is now the Managing Partner. Congrats and keep up the good work.

BP will grow more and there will eventually be a need to add more writers. Perhaps that will be a subscriber whose writing is noticed in the comments of articles. You never know who is reading the replies.

Mar 24, 2009 09:47 AM
rating: 1
 
Nick Smith

It's going to be weird having a non stats guy at the top, but I wish you the best of luck Kevin.

Mar 24, 2009 09:47 AM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

Thank you and congratulations to you both. Prudent moves in upper-management are always appreciated by the savvy fan.

That said, I recently had the opportunity to tell a locally-politically-active neighbor of mine, "I'm no Nate Silver, but I'd expect [local ballot initiative] to get 62 votes. So if you want to defeat it, that's your target number." And from the look on his face, I could tell he knew what I was talking about.

Mar 24, 2009 10:00 AM
rating: 2
 
Aaron/YYZ

Guys, the status update is much appreciated.

Nate, I look forward to more of your baseball writing this year as I sorely missed the weekly LDL column. Will you be bringing back the "PECOTA takes on Prospects" series? I always found it to be a wonderful counterpoint to Kevin's excellent Top 11's and Top 100.

Mar 24, 2009 10:12 AM
rating: 1
 
mattro12

Agreed! Love the PECOTA takes on Prospects series.

Mar 24, 2009 11:02 AM
rating: 1
 
Brian24

Third! I love Kevin's scouting analysis (or, perhaps more accurately, analysis of the scouting), but I really appreciate the counterpoint of the completely emotionless stats perspective.

(Note: I do realize Kevin incorporates the stats into his analysis as well.)

Mar 24, 2009 21:58 PM
rating: 1
 
JayhawkBill

"In the meantime, we appreciate that in these economic circumstances, plopping down 40 bucks on a subscription to a baseball website may not seem like the best use of your resources."

How much is entertainment worth per hour?

Taking my wife out to a nice dinner can cost over a hundred dollars per hour. Taking a family to an MLB game, with refreshments and other associated expenses included, costs over ten dollars per person per hour, significantly more than that in many ballparks. Taking the family to a movie approaches that same cost. Enjoying MLB Extra Innings at home, MLBAM blackout rules willing, costs a couple hundred dollars a year, a cost probably on the order of magnitude of a dollar an hour for the average viewer.

If every time I check PECOTA mid-season or consult Will Carroll's latest UTK or consider Kevin Goldstein's scouting reports or laugh at Joe Sheehan is counted, at forty dollars a year BP is one of my best entertainment bargains. There's no need to apologize, even if PECOTA was late this year. You guys (and gals) are great.

***

I'm delighted to see that PECOTA is being automated. Will this permit mid-season updates?

Mar 24, 2009 10:19 AM
rating: 9
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

"...or laugh at Joe Sheehan..."

Um, wait a minute...

Mar 24, 2009 12:48 PM
 
antonsirius

I'm sure he meant laugh *with* you, Joe...

Mar 24, 2009 14:44 PM
rating: 0
 
eighteen

Totally agreed. BP is the best $40 I ever spend.

Mar 24, 2009 12:54 PM
rating: 1
 
Brian24

My income was drastically cut back in the last year, so I had to reconsider all my regular outlays for, among other things, subscriptions. I kept only two: The New Yorker, and BP. In both cases, I wouldn't want to live without it.

Mar 24, 2009 22:00 PM
rating: 0
 
Bogomil

While I appreciate corporate governance as much as the next guy, I respectfully request transparency and discussion of how that Sausage Factory (PECOTA) saw:

1. Matt Wieters' AA line of 365/460/625 (38/29 k/bb) and spit out 308/391/537; and
2. Max Ramirez had AA line of 354/450/646 (56/37 k/bb) in similar ABs, for .236/325/405.

From very similar input you get a Piazza Peak Year and a Jose Molina Peak Year. Can their home ABs or 1 year difference in age be that important? Does PECOTA hate Latinos? What gives?

Mar 24, 2009 10:25 AM
rating: -3
 
Alex Augustine

Age very likely has something to do with it, but even more likely is their relative size. Maximiliano Ramirez is listed at 5'11" and #170, whereas Wieters is 6'5" and #230. Looking at the picture of Ramirez, I doubt he still weighs as little as that, so perhaps it should be updated. You're also leaving out the fact that when Wieters jumped a level his production actually increased. On the other hand, when Ramirez jumped up to AAA he had a .243/.293/.432 line in 37 ABs, and a .217/.345/.370 line in 45 ABs in the Majors. Small sample problems aside, I think there's more to this projection than PECOTA's distaste for spicy food.

Mar 24, 2009 10:46 AM
rating: 0
 
Ira

1) they are a year apart in age.

2) the biggest factor might be that the translations are a bit weird:

AA Bowie .365/.460/.625 translated to .349/.426/.627
whereas
AA Frisco .354/.450/.646 translated to .298/.383/.567

Either Bowie is such an extreme pitchers park that its nigh impossible to hit there (basically making it so that opposing pitchers there are as tough as major league pitchers) or there's something screwy.

I'm sure that age and body type and what Weiters' did in A+ ball and his defense accounted for the rest of the difference in his Pecota. Its interesting to note that Ramirez basically did his AA damage in the first half of the year, and then spent the second half sitting on the bench in Arlington, DH'ing a bit, playing a little at first base, and then being sent down to OKC to go back behind the plate.

Even this year, he's pretty much a lock to be sent to AAA to start the year (though alot of that is a lack of at bats in the WBC due to some falsification by the Venezuelan team management).

I also believe that Wieters will start the year in AAA, but only because he's only in his second professional year.

One other thing (last thing I promise). Ramirez still needs some work on his defense (I am told), and he's not the receiver that other catchers in the Rangers system are. But there's one thing he can do, and that is block the plate on incoming runners. I remember him getting bowled over on July 7th 2008 and then getting up and throwing out another baserunner. Torii Hunter then knocked him down in his next game on the 10th. This time the collision occured in the 9th inning.

Mar 24, 2009 11:35 AM
rating: 1
 
Brian24

Also, I recall that one of the changes to PECOTA last year was that it started taking draft position into account. Ramirez was not in the draft, whereas Wieters was a #5 pick. That may be affecting the projection as well.

Mar 24, 2009 22:07 PM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

I don't know what PECOTA sees, but these characteristics jump out at me, physically and statistically:

1) Yes, Wieters is a year younger. At 6'5" and 230 lbs, he's also 35% bigger that Ramirez.

2a) In Ramirez's Age 22 season, he put up a .261 EQA and a .264 EQA over 480 PAs in A+ ball. His Age 21` season showed EQAs of .238 and .249 in A ball.

In his Age 23 season, he put up a sweet line at AA (.313 EQA over 289 PAs), but then reverted back to a performance closer to his two-year track record in AAA and MLB (.244 and .256 EQAs).

His weighted mean projection for his Age 24 season is for a .258 EQA over 460 PAs, for a VORP of 6.1.

3) In Wieters Age 22 season, he put up a .310 EQA in 280 PAs of A+ ball, and then moved up to a .351 EQA in 250 PAs of AA ball. His Age 23 projection is for an EQA of .325 over 600 PAs, VORP of 50.6.

~Transparency~

EQA: Equivalent Average. A measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense. The EqA adjusted for all-time also has a correction for league difficulty. The scale is deliberately set to approximate that of batting average. League average EqA is always equal to .260. EqA is derived from Raw EqA, which is (H + TB + 1.5*(BB + HBP + SB) + SH + SF) divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH + SF + CS + SB). REqA is then normalized to account for league difficulty and scale to create EqA.

Mar 24, 2009 10:58 AM
rating: 0
 
Ira

Since I have some concerns about the DT's for young players at low A ball, let me state some things about 2a.

Ramirez's actual lines for his age 21 and 22 seasons were:
21: .288/.408/.449 @ Rome, South Atlantic League
.307/.437/.465 @ Lake County, South Atlantic League
22: .303/.418/.505 @ Kinston, Carolina League
.307/.420/.500 @ Bakersfield, California League

Its hard to say that he "reverted" when he hit only .243/.293/.432 in 10 games in AAA and .217/.345/.370 in 17 games with Texas.

Unfortunately, he's now blocked by Jarrod Saltlamacchia and Taylor Teagarden

Mar 24, 2009 13:00 PM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

Two of BPs benchmark statistics agree that Ramirez's otherwise impressive stats do not hold up to further scrutiny - both the EQA and the MLVr indicate that Ramirez's performance was actually very close to or just below league average. According to both EQA and MLVr, his performance last year in limited time at the AAA and MLB levels was consistent with his "pre-double-A" track record. His AA performance is an outlier compared to the rest.

Do you know what "league average" was for those leagues in those years? Do you have more information to support a distrust of the DTs?

Mar 24, 2009 13:24 PM
rating: 0
 
Bogomil

Thanks for the contributions and clarity. The speculation seems to boil down to physical size and how PECOTA translates their respective leagues and Ramirez's lengthier pro career.

Since the translations aren't disclosed, you kind of have to take it on faith that Wieters would be Piazza to Ramirez's Bob Boone.

Mar 24, 2009 14:18 PM
rating: 0
 
Rowen Bell

It is interesting to note that Wieters' AA OPS of 1085 converted to an EqA of .351 while Ramirez' AA OPS of 1096 converted to an EqA of .313. Presumably this must reflect a significant difference in park effects and/or relative perceived calibre of the two different AA leagues.

Another potential angle is that Ramirez has had more opportunities to demonstrate his "true" skill level, increasing the likelihood that his AA performance is perceived by the model an outlier; whereas Wieters has had fewer such opportunities, which perhaps reduces the likelihood that his AA performance is perceived by the model as an outlier.

Mar 24, 2009 16:13 PM
rating: 1
 
jasonandrew77

Thanks for the unnecessary but appreciated update. It's nice to be a fan and a customer of a business that treats us with appreciation and respect.

Mar 24, 2009 10:34 AM
rating: 1
 
cephyn

Fantasy subscribers get upgraded to full but full subscribers get...nothing special?

:(

So your premium subscribers, your most avid supporters paid extra for no reason?

:(

I love BP, thats why I paid the full subscription. I renewed my subscription after the Feb 26 date so I guess it wouldn't affect me either way - but just the principle seems a bit irksome.

I still love BP and thanks for all your hard work guys. :)

Mar 24, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: 3
 
Brecken

I think the point is that some people only buy Fantasy and need relevant stats before the season, so delivery issues around the product impacted particular people more. Those of us that have subscribed have not been impacted in the same way and will continue to get the same beer and fish tacos (or something like that).

Realistically they're not going to give money back, but can give product to those that weren't paying anyways. You could try and game it next year by buying Fantasy before upgrading, but I'm guessing this ship has already sailed.

Mar 24, 2009 11:20 AM
rating: 2
 
cephyn

So if you only buy fantasy, you're more important than someone who buys a full sub because a) they need fantasy just as much as the fantasy buyer AND b) because they love baseball and BP's analysis?

Full sub buyers need fantasy info less than just fantasy buyers? Full sub buyers and their fantasy teams were less impacted than fantasy buyers? I think that's a rather poor and unfounded assumption.

This doesn't even affect me, and I wasn't really bothered by the PECOTA problems - but this solution bothers me. I have no desire to buy only fantasy and try game the system. I just don't understand why fantasy subscribers were upgraded and no recompense given to full subscribers who paid in full. I would consider those subscribers as important, if not more, than the fantasy buyers - not the other way around.

Whatever. Just my 2c. I'm not cancelling my subscription, I'm not going to boycott, I'm not going to raise an angry mob. I just feel the need to point this out - the people who paid the most and supported BP the most got kinda hosed here, and were no less affected by the issues affecting the fantasy subscribers.

Mar 24, 2009 11:35 AM
rating: -1
 
bmarinko

You sound like a little child, whining because the other kid got something and you didn’t. The only mistake BP made is announcing the free upgrade to everyone. If they had just sent an email to the fantasy subscribers you would never had know.

From a business prospective what they are doing is smart. They are trying to make some disgruntled customers happy by giving them something for free. Plus they probably figure some of those fantasy subscribers will get hooked on the other content and pay for a full subscription next year.

Mar 24, 2009 13:10 PM
rating: -3
 
cephyn

lol - many problems with your thoughts here.

1) I know fantasy only subscribers, that's how I found out in the first place.
2) From a business perspective, they're catering to those who spent less than their premium subscribers.
3) Why do you assume that the fantasy-only subscribers are automatically MORE disgruntled than the premium subscribers?

There's nothing wrong with trying to make disgruntled customers happy, that is smart business. But why only one segment of subscribers, when the other segment was affected in exactly the same way?

I'd love to see more full subscribers for BP. I wish more success for BP. That benefits us all. What I don't understand is the preference shown to those who didn't pay full rate, when full-rate customers were affected in the same way.

Mar 24, 2009 13:41 PM
rating: 0
 
Rowen Bell

I would also argue that the Premium subscribers are primarily paying for day-by-day access to articles & data throughout the season, and hence a typical Premium subscriber is less likely to be affected by the PECOTA delays than a typical Fantasy subscriber.

For example, Nate's letter was the first time I heard about the PECOTA card delays. It certainly didn't affect me at all, hence I'm not bothered in the least that a class of affected individuals were given a bonus.

"No, I subscribe to BP.com for the articles" -- a 21st-century update of a 1960s-era excuse, perhaps?....

Mar 24, 2009 16:17 PM
rating: 0
 
kjgilber

I have to agree. I am a huge BP fan and long-time subscriber. I have never complained about the site before and thought the firestorm over the PECOTA cards was way overblown. This seems like a very odd resolution, however.

Mar 24, 2009 11:22 AM
rating: 2
 
eighteen

As a full subscriber, I am THRILLED BP's trying to keep and attract other readers. Just because some people get a little something extra doesn't mean I get anything less; and if that something extra gets BP more full subscriptions next year, it'll likely mean a better product for me.

Mar 24, 2009 13:06 PM
rating: 4
 
molokai

While I'm sorry for those who didn't get the Pecota cards in time for fantasy purposes, I can't thank Nate Silver enough for the excellent job he did at http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/ in covering this past election. He did a service for the nation at the cost of a hobby. He choose the right path.

I don't think I could do a Colbert interview without just laughing at him when he goes mock serious. Or maybe I'd have just thrown up from all the nervous energy emanating from my stomach.

Mar 24, 2009 10:46 AM
rating: 1
 
Ameer

Thanks for the update, guys.

Also, I can't be the only one that's been worried for a few months that we were going to lose Nate completely. I'm glad to hear that isn't happening. That said, congratulations on all your success out side of bp! That's great to see.

Kevin, congratulations on the new role! As jasonandrew77 mentioned, you guys aren't obligated to give us updates like this, and I appreciate that you respect us enough to do it.

Mar 24, 2009 10:49 AM
rating: 1
 
SaberTJ

Nate - Can't wait to read your articles this season!

Mar 24, 2009 10:52 AM
rating: 0
 
Hendo

Thanks and best of luck to Nate and all.

Mar 24, 2009 11:17 AM
rating: 0
 
leez34

So...the news is that we're getting more Nate, and the same amount of Kevin? This is joyous news!

I will say that I've stopped reading fivethirtyeight despite my liberal tendencies. I didn't like what looked like unprovoked fighting with David Sirota. I'd love to see more politics-free baseball writing, i.e. more Lies, Damned Lies. Happy to see my wish is coming true.

Mar 24, 2009 11:19 AM
rating: 0
 
Drew Miller

Nate, Kevin et al: You guys are great. Most other places wouldn't give such a detailed and accurate explanation as to the troubles of bringing out their flagship product.

As an erstwhile programmer myself, I also appreciate just how tough "fixing" messy code is. The code for PECOTA must be staggering. Heck, I'd probably enjoy helping to fix it (if you're interested).

Mar 24, 2009 11:24 AM
rating: 1
 
gaborde

Honestly, I didn't notice that the pecota cards were late, but I guess I'm pretty new here. You all are great -- it really is the best baseball site on the web and has pretty much replaced espn/mlbtraderumors/etc for me.

Mar 24, 2009 11:32 AM
rating: 0
 
Karl Barth

Nate - I'd always heard that PECOTA was done with a mondo Excel spreadsheet and some macros. Was that true for the 2009 numbers?

If so, I can imagine the tech folks are asking you to take it apart verrrrrrrry carefully so they can put it onto something a little more bulletproof.

Thanks for the update, guys!

Mar 24, 2009 11:32 AM
rating: 1
 
CurreyDorris

Does this mean that Nate has enough spare time to finish the Burrito Bracket? I'm still rooting for La Pasadita.

Mar 24, 2009 12:06 PM
rating: 1
 
JC

I was happy to extend my subscription yesterday. Keep up the great work BP!

Mar 24, 2009 12:06 PM
rating: 0
 
axis95

I don't know how I feel about this ESPN insider thing. I discovered BP about 6 years ago doing a stupid search on Amazon about prospects; it was like finding a mountain of gold at the end of a rainbow. Anyway, I am glad to see the growth and recognition, it was inevitable, but it just saddens me to think that people that read the "Insider", who couldn't tell you the difference between VORP and OPS are now being exposed to the wealth of knowledge that this site produces.

--Elitist

Mar 24, 2009 12:26 PM
rating: 0
 
jwillie

I will be loyal to the end with you guys. You are the ones I first found when my love for baseball, especially at the fantasy level arose nearly 3 years ago. Because of you, I am the friend that has all the extra baseball knowledge...not just the basic ESPN type knowledge. I would be lost without you guys. Things change in every business. Good luck to all

Mar 24, 2009 13:32 PM
rating: 0
 
roy_halladay_32

keep up the good work.

Mar 24, 2009 15:13 PM
rating: 0
 
RedsManRick

Free FiveThirtyEight during a historical election >>>>> timely PECOTAs.

Great to hear that it is finally being automated and agreed that it is $40 well spent.

If there's one bit of advice I could give, it would be to try and engage with the rest of the sabermetric blogosphere a bit more. I'm sure it happens constantly behind the scenes, but from an outside perspective, it seems like BP is sort of running on a parallel track with the other big players in the field such as Fangraphs, THT, and Tango's Blog, which have much more overlap and interaction.

As free sites, I'm sure they operate differently. Perhaps you don't intend to share that space with them. But it would be welcomed.

In any event, keep up the great work.

Mar 24, 2009 15:47 PM
rating: 2
 
West21

You saved a lot of Obama supporters from a lot of election day anxiety.

Mar 24, 2009 16:00 PM
rating: 1
 
ZacharyRD

I was just commenting to several of my friends that we clearly need TWO Nate Silvers - you are the best nerd-author-editor-Web site manager of not one but both of the things I read about online - politics and baseball.

Could we just clone you? Would that work? I think it would be a great idea...

On a much more serious note:
I would be very interested in traffic statistics or referral logs showing how much traffic BP has directly driven 538 versus how much 538 has driven BP, both overall and unique or first-time visitors.

Mar 24, 2009 18:11 PM
rating: 2
 
Jeff Evans

Been with you guys since the first day I heard about the site and checked it out. (I've only had a computer for 4 years now). I've bought all your books, read every single article on the web, and enjoy your site more than any other out there. Part of the reason for this is how you combine your offerings to appeal to all of us, not just statheads, fantasy nuts, and just plain baseball lovers. Football's actually been my favorite game since I could walk, but they don't have a site that can hold a candle to you guys. I build homes for a living and refuse to find time for fantasy baseball leagues. Too bad, but I enjoy the heck out of the games anyway, maybe more so, being I'm not worried about who's gaining points rather than the outcome of the game. I just want to say what I'e always said when I've e-mailed you guys in the past. Keep up the great work that you all do. It's always been enjoyable and is very much appreciated. I've always felt that you guys put out the effort to be top-notch. If sh** happens in your personal lives to slow down or reduce content, yeah, it sucks, but that's life. And it should be understandable. You guys are well worth my spare time.
One note about the WBC: There should be no doubt by anyone that the best two teams met in the final. They played as if they had an extra month to prepare. Watching the U.S. team Sunday night made me think that nearly any individual MLB team would've fared a lot better. They were pretty shabby defensively and probably either made some bad choices on who was playing where, or they just didn't have enough choices on their selections. And it showed that it really is(or should be) spring training.
Looking forward to more great stuff from all of you!

Mar 24, 2009 18:23 PM
rating: 0
 
aschatz
(82)

Apologies for being slightly self-serving, but Mr. Evans, have you considered checking out FootballOutsiders.com? We've been associated with BP for four years now, putting out four Pro Football Prospectus annuals, and we have the Will Carroll multi-sport crossover seal of approval! Plus, we have something BP still is missing: Gil Thorp parody cartoons to go with our advanced statistics and play diagrams.

And to put in my voice: Nate's been great to work with the last few years. Been fun to watch him get famous.

Mar 25, 2009 09:29 AM
rating: 1
 
Juris

Come to think of it, both BP and 538.com could use a cartoonist. Any volunteers out there?

Mar 25, 2009 11:42 AM
rating: 0
 
Hank Brockett

This may have been covered in another Unfiltered or at a meet-up, but I guess this is as good a place as any to ask - what happened with the 1980s book? Has it been rescheduled or put on the back burner?

Mar 24, 2009 20:30 PM
rating: 1
 
kprince

Thanks for the update and the great writing. Have been a loyal subscriber and big shill for the site. My only current complaint is: where is article/analysis of great WBC final game?

Mar 24, 2009 20:54 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

Speaking just for myself, I feel like I don't know enough about the players to do cogent analysis of the game. It was a very good game--many WBC contests were--but it's hard to do a breakdown when you just don't have the knowledge base.

I'm speaking just about the WBC final, but feel free to fill in your own punchline.

Mar 25, 2009 07:37 AM
 
kprince

Thanks for the reply Joe. I was guessing that may have been the reason for few WBC articles (unfamiliarity with participants). Even so, I still would enjoy and highly respect your (or other BP writers') reaction or subjective comparison of the asian baseball (small ball?) versus the american version. IMHO it was overall a fun spectacle and a treat for any baseball fan. Fortunately the final was a entertaining match. A nice appetizer before the entree.

Mar 25, 2009 13:02 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

I have a bit of an idea where Nate's coming from. I designed a spreadsheet tracking system for the college I work at which shows where students are at in the admissions and financial aid process. I was working tons of overtime for two years until they finally hired some backup to help with the process, then hired someone versed in SQL to make it more automated. While I'm flattered that 500 employees use something that I designed, there comes a point where "drowning in job security" is not a happy thing.

Mar 25, 2009 00:21 AM
rating: 1
 
omalleycat

As a subscriber for both the joy of reading well written and reasearched articles about baseball and the wealth of information available for my fantasy league, i believe you have fulfilled both your obligations to me as a subscriber very well. I really believe that BP is a model on how news will be delivered going forward. Keep up the good work!!

Mar 25, 2009 08:30 AM
rating: 1
 
Drese4Cy

Congrats to both of you. I'm a big fan of fivethirtyeight.com and the work you guys do here. This is the perfect solution.

Mar 29, 2009 17:58 PM
rating: 0
 
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