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09-28

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1

What You Need to Know: The Dozens
by
Emma Baccellieri

09-28

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0

Team Chemistry: Fast Pitch Follow-Up
by
John Choiniere

09-28

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4

Banjo Hitter: The Derek Falvey Era
by
Aaron Gleeman

09-28

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1

Rubbing Mud: The Miami Ferns
by
Matthew Trueblood

09-28

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1

Two-Strike Approach: Loving and Learning From Jose Fernandez
by
Cat Garcia

09-28

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4

Some Projection Left: 7 Make-or-Break Seasons for 2017
by
Christopher Crawford

09-27

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What You Need to Know: Dee Gordon and the Marlins Honor Jose Fernandez
by
Daniel Rathman

09-27

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2

Baseball Therapy: Bullpen Contagion
by
Russell A. Carleton

09-27

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0

Pitching Backward: What We Know About Spin Rate
by
Jeff Long

09-27

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2

Closer Report: Week 26
by
Matt Collins

09-27

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Expert FAAB Review: Week 26
by
Mike Gianella

09-27

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1

Prospectus Feature: The Joy of Adrian Beltre
by
Kate Morrison

09-27

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1

Flu-Like Symptoms: Giant Collapse
by
Rob Mains

09-27

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6

Liner Notes: Self-Sabotage Stars
by
Bryan Grosnick

09-27

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2

Notes from the Field: Cal League Wrap: The Hitters
by
Wilson Karaman

09-26

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1

The Prospectus Hit List: September 26, 2016
by
Matt Sussman

09-26

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Deep League Report: Week 26
by
Scooter Hotz

09-26

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8

Cold Takes: Steve Clevenger and the Media In Your Hand
by
Patrick Dubuque

09-26

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7

Prospectus Feature: The Comp-less Mike Trout
by
Henry Druschel

09-26

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0

Raising Aces: Gray Matter
by
Doug Thorburn

09-26

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1

What You Need to Know: How the West (and the East) Was Won
by
Ashley Varela

09-26

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0

Monday Morning Ten Pack: Positive Impressions
by
BP Prospect Staff

09-26

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7

Prospectus Feature: The Song of Jose Fernandez
by
Mauricio Rubio

09-23

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2

The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, September 23
by
Matthew Kory

09-23

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0

What You Need to Know: All Mets'd Up
by
Nicolas Stellini

09-23

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0

The Best of Sam Miller
by
Sam Miller

09-23

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1

The Best of Sam Miller
by
Sam Miller

09-23

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1

The Best of Sam Miller
by
Sam Miller

09-23

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1

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 25
by
Greg Wellemeyer

09-23

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7

Retrospectus
by
Ben Lindbergh

09-23

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2

Songs From The Chorus
by
Craig Goldstein, Bret Sayre and Ben Carsley

09-23

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18

Pebble Hunting: That's The Way I Like It And I'll Never Get Bored
by
Sam Miller

09-23

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2

PITCHf/ox: Episode 1: Pilot
by
Meg Rowley and Jarrett Seidler

09-22

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0

BP Boston
by
Matt Collins

09-22

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0

What You Need to Know: The Wild Card Wilters
by
Demetrius Bell

09-22

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6

Flu-Like Symptoms: A Matter of Luck, Pt. 2
by
Rob Mains

09-22

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0

Two-Strike Approach: Jonathan Lucroy, Willing Cog
by
Cat Garcia

09-22

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7

Pebble Hunting: The Great Big 'Beat PECOTA' Wrap
by
Sam Miller

09-22

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2

Players Prefer Presentation: Short-Season Baseball With A Third Deck
by
Meg Rowley

09-22

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0

The Call-Up: A Triplet of Padres
by
Christopher Crawford, Mauricio Rubio and Greg Wellemeyer

09-22

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3

Eyewitness Accounts: September 22, 2016
by
BP Prospect Staff

09-22

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2

The Best of Sam Miller
by
Sam Miller

09-22

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0

The Best of Sam Miller
by
Sam Miller

09-22

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3

The Best of Sam Miller
by
Sam Miller

09-21

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18

An Agent's Take: On Tebow
by
Joshua Kusnick

09-21

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0

Prospect House: High Ceilings, Low Floors, Big Rooms
by
Mauricio Rubio

09-21

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2

Outta Left Field: Two Months In Hel
by
Dustin Palmateer

09-21

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3

The Best of Sam Miller
by
Sam Miller

09-21

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0

The Best of Sam Miller
by
Sam Miller

09-21

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2

The Best of Sam Miller
by
Sam Miller

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Wild Card spots are up for grabs in both leagues and the Red Sox's clincher has to wait a bit.

The Tuesday Takeaway

Three weeks ago, it seemed more or less a foregone conclusion that the Mariners were done playing meaningful baseball for the year—they had lost eight of their last ten and their playoff odds sat at less than 2 percent, the lowest they’d been all season. But next came a win streak that ignited hope for a Wild Card spot, an absurd flicker burst aflame as one victory followed another and Seattle’s playoff odds shot toward 30 percent.

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Can hitters learn to handle fast pitching the more they see 97 mph heat?

Today, I'll be doing a little follow-up to my last piece, which looked at hitter performance against fast pitching (spoiler alert if you haven't read it yet: it hasn't improved). I stand by my methodology, and will in fact use it again here today, but in discussions I've had both on- and off-line various people have suggested improvements. So here we are.

As a reminder, I'm using four different measures to assess hitter performance against 97 mph pitches since 2008. They were chosen to reflect the various parts of what goes into being able to hit an incredibly fast pitch. The first is swing rate, which I intended to measure comfort level with seeing fast pitching at all. The second is contact rate, intended to be a proxy for how well hitters see the ball. The third is fair-ball rate on contact, intended to stand in for hitter ability to time the pitch. The last is linear weights runs per plate appearance, to measure quality of contact.

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Minnesota hopes shaking up the front office with a new-school hire works as well as it did three decades ago.

Two months after firing longtime general manager Terry Ryan the Twins have decided on his replacement, hiring Indians assistant general manager Derek Falvey as their new front office boss. Going from the 62-year-old, old school, highly experienced Ryan to the 33-year-old, new school, inexperienced Falvey represents a massive shift for the Twins, but one that was clearly necessary following the worst season in team history and a fifth season with 90-plus losses in the past six years. It’s an organization begging for change.

Minnesota’s unsuccessful attempts to interview ex-general managers Alex Anthopoulos and Ben Cherington made headlines and Falvey was rarely portrayed as the front-runner throughout a process aided by the Korn Ferry search firm. In the end he beat out, among others, Rays vice president of baseball operations (and former Baseball Prospectus staffer) Chaim Bloom, Cubs vice president of player development and amateur scouting Jason McLeod, and Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo.

Read the full article...

Miami will never forget Jose Fernandez, but they could take steps to ensure his name is forever linked to the team.

Dee Gordon provided the best tribute to Jose Fernandez we’re going to see in 2016, and for that matter, the best moment of 2016 in MLB, with his performance on Monday night. It wasn’t so much that he hit his first home run of a trying season on his first swing since Fernandez’s death, but the way he then ran the bases, fighting back tears for a moment, then letting them flow. It was the way he wiped his eyes and pointed to the sky, the way he then hugged so many of his coaches and teammates, none of them jubilant, none giddy, all just overcome and leaning on each other because the alternative (as it has been since Sunday morning, for so many inside and outside the Marlins organization) seemed to be to physically fall down under the weight of it all.

That moment was terrible and beautiful, everything we ask sports to be. Often, even when we ask that much of sports, they don’t provide it. Sports aren’t designed to comfort the grieving or to unite the divided or to inspire the desperate. Every so often, though, when the right people end up in the middle of sports’ peculiar dramas, those people can make sports really substantial. Gordon and his teammates (and in a less obvious way, the gracious Mets) did some of that heavy lifting Monday.

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Becoming fans of Jose Fernandez linked a daughter and mother, in life and in death.

Jose Fernandez wasn’t just a great pitcher, he was a symbol that held so much meaning, not just to everyone in baseball, but to many people in the Miami community and around the world. We didn’t just lose a star athlete too soon, we lost an all-encompassing asset to all our lives. Fernandez helped us see parts of ourselves, he reflected parts of us--such as our love for the game--that for some, has gotten lost in the translation of adulthood, and he has opened our eyes to ways in which we can improve our quality of life through pride, joy, innocence, and selflessness.

My awareness of Fernandez as anything more than a Cuban rookie pitcher who was taking the National League by storm was minimal in 2013. The intriguing young star piqued my interest for the very first time after this incident, Fernandez’s first big -eague home run, and what followed.

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September 28, 2016 6:00 am

Some Projection Left: 7 Make-or-Break Seasons for 2017

4

Christopher Crawford

A look at seven prospects who need to step it up in 2017.

The 2016 “prospect” season was a fun one. It may not have been as star-studded as the bumper crop of 2015, but we saw plenty of high-end guys make an impact at the big-league level, and we saw quite a few players show the upside that suggests they could be the next Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant or Carlos Rodon.

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A fitting tribue was paid to Jose Fernandez in Miami, Jean Segura keeps socking homers, St. Louis struggles, and Jonathan Schoop wears down.

The Monday Takeaway

Playoff races, award chases, and all other September baseball storylines took a backseat over the weekend, as news broke early Sunday morning of Jose Fernandez’s tragic death in a boating accident. Our own Mauricio Rubio wrote about what Fernandez meant to the game, on and off the field, on Monday, before the Marlins returned to the field, all wearing no. 16 in honor of their late ace, to host the Mets.

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Does an ugly blown save hurt a bullpen long after that game is lost?

It’s been a tough September in San Francisco. That even-year magic that should have been carrying the Giants to their fourth World Series title in the last seven years seems to have left AT&T Park (our own Rob Mains has all the gory details).

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Adrian Beltre is a Hall of Fame player, but his impact goes beyond the numbers.

There has never been anyone like Adrián Beltré.

This is where one would normally jump into a dissection of his incredible talent and on-field accomplishments, and then end in a rigorous whacking-over-the-head with his Hall of Fame-worthy accreditations. Maybe we should, anyway, but what really stands out when Adrián Beltré plays baseball is joy.

Beltré is one of the best third basemen to ever play the game, with one of the more unusual careers. He’s an offensive dynamo, a defensive wizard, and his successes on the biggest stage could be an excuse for him to be any average dour and over-serious veteran player--or at least, the kind of personality void that happens from prolonged exposure to the media.

Instead, Beltré approaches games like there’s nothing else he’d rather do. He’s one of the rare people in the game who can treat it with the levity it deserves without inciting the ire of less-forgiving opponents. He approaches every plate appearance with purpose--with dedication to his craft and an honoring of his talent--but imbued in all that is joy.

It’s difficult to talk about this kind of thing without tipping straight over into raw sentiment, something that has its place in this game, but not overmuch. It might even be easy to diminish the accomplishments of the player in over-simplifying him to a set of reactions and meme-able GIFs, instead of taking it all in as a whole and marveling at both the humor and the pride.

Beltré dances, runs away from tags, pulls runners off the bag, walks up to the plate with his helmet on backwards, and messes with umpires. He’s also a deeply respected clubhouse presence, the first off the bench in the case of an altercation, and the captain who doesn’t need a “C” to determine his legacy. In an age when any kind of showboating can lead to full-out brawls, Beltré hits home runs from one knee.

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San Francisco's second-half free fall is one of the biggest in baseball history and it's hard to explain.

The San Francisco Giants, you may have heard, have not had a good second half. At the All-Star break, they were 57-33. That was the best record in baseball, three games ahead of the Cubs. Since then, they are 25-41. That’s not the worst record in baseball—the existence of the Minnesota Twins ensures that—but it’s the worst in the National League. They’ve fallen from first place in the NL West at the break--6.5 games ahead of the Dodgers--into a tie with the Mets for the Wild Card and just half a game ahead of the Cardinals, trailing the division-clinching Dodgers by 8.0 games.

In doing so, they remain in line to set a record for the biggest swing in winning percentage from the first half to the second half. Their drop of .255--from .633 to .378--is the greatest since the first-half/second-half dichotomy was established by the 1933 All-Star game, ahead of the 1943 Philadelphia Athletics, who followed a 34-44 first half with a cover-your-eyes 15-61 second half, a .238 decline. The Giants have to win at least four of their remaining six games to avoid breaking those wartime A’s record.

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J.D. Martinez and Michael Saunders lead a group of players who're their own worst enemies this season.

I learned when shopping for engagement rings that no diamond (that I could afford, at least) is without flaw. It’s just a matter of digging in and seeing how deep the damage goes. I don’t think it’s too tough to draw a metaphor between that experience and how we should look at other people, and ballplayers are just a subset of that larger group.

Like everyone else, baseball players aren’t perfect–except Mike Trout, I think–and each of them is capable of sabotaging their own value. Some of these flaws crop up in small ways: a hole in the swing, a predilection to hang a slider in hitters’ counts, a lack of simple fielding range. On occasion, we can also find a player whose on-field mistakes or inadequacies border on hamartia, the great flaws of Greek tragedy.

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September 27, 2016 6:00 am

Notes from the Field: Cal League Wrap: The Hitters

2

Wilson Karaman

The best bats from the Cal League, all in one place.

It was a notably weaker year for top-shelf prospects in the California League this season, with a whopping 30 combined games from Kyle Tucker, Yohander Mendez, and Luis Ortiz representing the sum total of contributions by prospects that cracked our Mid-Season Top 50. The season also ended under a cloud of bummerness, with the news that two franchises—including eventual champions High Desert—would contract at season’s end. Two of the stronger systems of recent vintage in the circuit, those belonging to the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, have been confirmed as future transplants to the Carolina League, and rumblings that the Colorado Rockies may join the exodus have been percolating as well. Boo.

The good news: what the league lacked in elite pedigree it made up with quality play from a reasonably large middle class of players with future big-league potential. I’ve written about dozens of them along the way this season, and you can access all of my Eyewitness Reports, as well as a link to my full scouting database, at the bottom of this article.

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