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January 25, 2012

Spinning Yarn

Last Pitch

by Mike Fast

I have greatly enjoyed the last 15 months here at Baseball Prospectus. It has been a better time than I could have imagined, in many ways. It has been a privilege to share my thoughts and the results of my research. The conversations that resulted, whether in the comments here or on Twitter or at other sites, are among the things I value most. Baseball is a great game, full of interesting nooks and crannies, and it has been a lot of fun to explore them with you.

Today marks my last official writing for Baseball Prospectus, as I am joining the front office of the Houston Astros. I am excited about the opportunity to work with Jeff Luhnow, Sig Mejdal, and the rest of the Astros organization. I am eager to bring winning baseball back to Houston, and hopefully a championship club, too. The vision that Jeff and Sig have laid out is very inspiring, and I am excited about contributing my part to implementing and expanding it.

I thank you, the readers, for putting up with me this long and for your many words of encouragement. I thank the whole editorial staff for their help, especially Ben Lindbergh, Steven Goldman, and John Perrotto. I thank Colin Wyers and the rest of the stats group for sharing their thoughts and feedback both on my articles and the hare-brained ideas that were not fit to print. Colin also deserves the blame for broaching with me the idea of joining BP back in the fall of 2010. Thanks to Dave Pease, Joe Hamrahi, and Kevin Goldstein for giving me the chance and encouraging me along the way.

Thank you also to Dave Studeman and the crew at The Hardball Times, and Russell Carleton and company at MVN’s StatSpeak blog. I have been struck over the past few months by how kind and generous everyone in baseball has been to me, whether insiders or outsiders, whether in positions powerful or humble. I regret that I cannot give adequate thanks to each of you, but it has meant a lot to me.

My dear wife Lori also deserves a great deal of credit for her forbearance, encouragement, and love. If not for her, I would not have written for the aforementioned publications or be taking the next step.

I am leaving Baseball Prospectus in very capable analytical hands. The current crop of excellent writers you are all familiar with is adding Max Marchi to the ranks. Max is one of my favorite writers and a very sharp researcher. He has analyzed PITCHf/x data about as long as I have, and it was my privilege to meet him at the first PITCHf/x summit in San Francisco back in 2008. I encourage you to keep an eye out for his first article here soon.

If you want to read a few final bits of writing from me, along with the rest of the BP gang, you can pick up Best of Baseball Prospectus, Vol. 1, for which I wrote the introduction to the pitching section and discussed some of my views on the future of baseball analysis. I also contributed a chapter called “What Has PITCHf/x Taught Us?” to the upcoming book Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbers, which should be available in April.

Mike Fast is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here

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

BP Comment Quick Links

NYYanks826

Hot damn, Mike! It's about time you got noticed by a front office. I know I share the same sentiment with a lot of the readers here when I say that the work you've brought here has been some of the finest work I've ever read. I wish you nothing but the best with Houston.

Make sure to save some room on your fingers for that 2025 World Series ring!

Jan 25, 2012 00:41 AM
rating: 5
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

2025? Man, have a little confidence in Mike.

Jan 25, 2012 00:46 AM
 
NYYanks826

Without Mike, I would have put the over/under at 2060.

Jan 25, 2012 01:07 AM
rating: 18
 
Doug Thorburn

This news is both sad and exciting, depending on one's point of view. I, for one, will miss having public access to your ideas, your research, and your unique perspective on the game.

Many thanks for enlightening the baseball community with your work, and from a selfish standpoint, I want to thank you for helping to propel my own research and understanding of the sport. For this I owe you a debt of gratitude.

Best wishes with the 'Stros (or whatever they'll be called), as you are joining an elite team of analytical minds. In addition to Mejdal and Luhnow, I anticipate a wealth of brilliance to emerge once you start exchanging ideas with the likes of Perry Husband, whose research with effective velocity is right up your alley.

Cheers!

Jan 25, 2012 00:44 AM
rating: 2
 
Clemente

Thank you, Mike. Lots of great reads. Good luck!!

Jan 25, 2012 01:06 AM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

Congratulations and good luck Mike. I think the Stros have a really nice front office coming together - have a great time with them!

Jan 25, 2012 01:08 AM
rating: 0
 
dREaDS Fan

Good luck Mike. In a short time you became my favorite BP author. As a Reds fan, your de

Jan 25, 2012 01:49 AM
rating: 0
 
dREaDS Fan

Meant to say ... as a Reds fan, your departure is softened by the fact the Astros will soon be in the AL.

Jan 25, 2012 02:33 AM
rating: 1
 
FrankL

Congratulations, Mike. You join the growing list of my favorite BP writer who have recently left for greener pastures. Is Scott Boras the "mystery agent" behind all of this?

Fortunately BP has a strong pipeline of five star prospects. But you know what is commonly written of prospects... though BP's development system continues to astound.

Good luck in Houston and presumably the AL West. Just in time for the new Angels and Rangers. Good luck to you and the 'Stros. Houston really need your brain and talent and I sense there's a nascent market inefficiency in roto drafts developing in the H'town.

Jan 25, 2012 02:56 AM
rating: 1
 
MichavdB

Congratulations Mike! A big loss for BP and its readers but a big gain for the Astros front office. Good luck in helping winning baseball return to Houston.

Jan 25, 2012 04:02 AM
rating: 0
 
Mooser

Congrats Mike. I really hope BP continues to build on your great work on Catcher defence, which really brought me back to sabermetrics earlier this year. Thanks.

Jan 25, 2012 05:28 AM
rating: 0
 
mrenick

I have never been happier to see a writer leave BP. Signed, an Astros fan.

Jan 25, 2012 05:49 AM
rating: 6
 
BillJohnson

I'll certainly add my congrats to the list (although, as a fan of a certain other NLC team, I hope you're not overwhelmingly successful until the Astros move to the AL...), and at the same time, I think Baseball Prospectus deserves some congratulations as well. Mike is just the latest in a long line of BP writers whose skills have been noticed in the game itself and who have moved into jobs that most of us would give ten years off our lives to have. One of the greatest compliments that can be paid to an organization is to have its people in hot demand to move on to bigger and better things.

Jan 25, 2012 05:59 AM
rating: 2
 
Marc Normandin

Congrats, Mike. I'll miss your excellent writing and mind here, as well as all the times I could pick your brain about weird ideas I had.

Jan 25, 2012 06:00 AM
rating: 0
 
Randy Brown
(189)

Congratulations Mike, I've enjoyed your research and I'll miss it. I hope you enjoy poring through all the non-public hit f/x and field f/x data. Don't be afraid to let some of your research "accidentally" slip into the public domain!

Jan 25, 2012 06:13 AM
rating: 2
 
Mr. Cthulhu

Well, I can't say I didn't see this coming. Every time I read one of your articles I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach it could be your last.

Congrats Mike and good luck (not that you will need it)!

Also, the silver lining will be having Max Marchi writing pieces here... although both of you would be better.

Jan 25, 2012 06:14 AM
rating: 0
 
dianagram

Well, a few weeks ago I had wondered aloud here why no team had scooped you up ... guess it was just a matter of time.

Congrats Mike ... you totally deserve this chance.

Your work here was top-notch, and the Astros are a better franchise for bringing you on.

Good luck, sir!

Jan 25, 2012 07:06 AM
rating: 3
 
jrmayne

I'm with everyone. I noted after one of your articles that it should have an "Awesome" tag so people don't miss it - later articles showed that "Mike Fast" was a good proxy for "Awesome."

Your work genuinely advanced the field, and if only we lived in a proper sort of society, you'd be obliged to continue here; from each according to his abilities and all.

Sadly, Kim Jong Il is dead and you're moving on. Well, at least one of those is sad. For us. But not for you. Well deserved, Mike Fast. The 'Stros have a very nice park in a highly populated area and a barren organization; I wish you the best in helping the Astros achieve competence.

Jan 25, 2012 07:10 AM
rating: 0
 
Cory Schwartz

Congrats Mike

Jan 25, 2012 07:29 AM
rating: 0
 
RedsManRick

As a Reds fan, I'm very sorry to see you're headed to Houston. But congrats on the opportunity!

Jan 25, 2012 07:44 AM
rating: 0
 
SaberTJ

No need to worry. They only have one more season in your division before they get to move the AL West

Jan 25, 2012 07:55 AM
rating: 0
 
SaberTJ

Well deserved. Maybe one of these days a former BP writer will even become a GM. #Onecandream.

Jan 25, 2012 07:52 AM
rating: 1
 
thegeneral13

Phht, get real...how can you GM a team from your mom's basement?

Jan 25, 2012 13:28 PM
rating: 7
 
BP staff member Mike Fast
BP staff

Thank you all!

Jan 25, 2012 08:08 AM
 
meanwhoogean

Live the dream!

Jan 25, 2012 08:26 AM
rating: 0
 
philly

Congratulations Mike.

People sometimes make the claim that sabermetrics is the scientific study of baseball. I think it rarely reaches that lofty goal, but imo the two public analysts who most often reached that standard were Mike Fast and Josh Kalk. Our loss is the Astros and Rays gain.

Good luck.

Jan 25, 2012 09:04 AM
rating: 1
 
Shaun P.
(676)

Congratulations Mike, and best of luck to you. Your fascinating ideas and excellent writing will be missed.

Jan 25, 2012 09:34 AM
rating: 0
 
bjfrankfort

I have mixed emotions here. I just love your work at BP but I am thrilled that you are joining my hometown team! We need all the help we can get....Go Astros!!

Jan 25, 2012 09:42 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Good for you Mike! Awesome. As an Astros fan, I'm still amazed that Houston is finally getting some statistical firepower.

Jan 25, 2012 10:23 AM
rating: 0
 
Pat Folz

Congratulations, Mike, it's more than deserved! Sad to see you go, but I might have to start rooting for the Astros now.

Jan 25, 2012 12:10 PM
rating: 0
 
Jamey
(208)

I'm a bit late to the party, but better late than never. Congratulations on the great job. I've enjoyed and been educated by your articles.

Jan 25, 2012 17:47 PM
rating: 0
 
Peter Benedict

This restores some small portion of the faith I've lost in the Houston Astros, and it improves my opinion of the intelligence of the greater MLB community.

Your work has been ground-breaking, and if proprietary could have meant competitive advantage for a team. Hopefully you're getting a good deal :-)

Jan 25, 2012 19:58 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Congrats Mike, I'd become a big fan of yours. You'll be missed.

Jan 25, 2012 21:42 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

I'll be keeping an extra eye on the Astros from now on. Well deserved and a validation for this band of outsiders that the community we are a part of is bigger than some realize and still growing.

Jan 26, 2012 05:01 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Congratulations Mike, the Astros chose well, and it's an awesome thing to see another BP alum land in a front office.

Jan 26, 2012 23:05 PM
 
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