Someday, somebody will suggest fixing baseball by putting a pit on the field, and we will be prepared.
With our dear Editor-in-Chief leaving Baseball Prospectus for his next chapter, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite chapters of his career here. There's an incredible number of timeless Sam Miller articles to choose from, but we whittled it down enough to not break the internet. This article originally ran on July 27, 2012.
It’s not a question of if Major League Baseball is going to add a pit to the field, but a question of where they should add a pit to the field. For maximum LOLs and so on. That’s what this is about. It’s about where the funniest place to put a pit would be, were you to decide to put a pit on the baseball field.
Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
Welcome to the starting pitcher planner, where every Friday I’ll be taking a look at the pitchers slated for two turns in the upcoming week. The hope is that the planner can help guide lineup and FAAB decisions that need to be made over the weekend. Of course, my information isn’t perfect and I don’t have a crystal ball. Rain, injuries, and teams reshuffling between when I write and Monday’s first pitch will definitely happen. If new information comes to light after we publish, I’ll try to tackle it in the comments. Feel free to beat me to it if you have any info, and I’ll be glad to offer my opinion there if you want it.
Let’s get some ground rules out the way before getting started. The pitchers will be split by league and then by category. Here are some general thoughts about the categories:
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Sam Miller is amazing because he’s produced classic pieces in so many styles. Longform features; funny GIFs and screencaps; sabermetric stat dives; soulful observations about human nature, life, and death, masquerading as articles about baseball; actual sketches based on bad puns. Very few writers are as good at one of those things. Sam is as good as anyone at all of them. Reading his work makes other writers feel like hitters who just struck out looking because Rich Hill decided to drop down sidearm. He’s talented enough not to need another look, but because he can, he’ll break it out anyway. (Sam, if you haven’t heard, really likes Rich Hill.)
Baseball Prospectus’ playoff odds have traditionally been based on 50,000 simulations of the season, but this year we wanted to say we did one million, so we did one million. Out of those one million simulations, we pretty much had the whole world of possibilities covered: We had a simulation where the A’s won 107 games, and one where the Cubs won 58. We had a simulation where the Phillies, Reds, Rockies, Padres, and Nationals are repping the NL in the playoffs. We had simulations where your favorite team won 100 games, where they lost 100 games, where they won the division by one, where they lost the division by one, where they’re playing a Game 163 to break a tie, where the manager got fired in mid-May, where the manager is the Manager of the Year, where they got the first pick in the draft and where they got to ride through your favorite team’s city’s downtown wearing t-shirts that refer to whatever obnoxious inside-meme carried them through a magical October run. We had seasons where that obnoxious meme was the nonsensical slogan Call The Cows Home, and where that obnoxious meme was a viral Vine of a breakdancing rabbit, and where that obnoxious meme was the team’s shared affection for The Great British Bake Off, and where that obnoxious meme was a fat suit that the catcher would wear during post-game interviews. We had seasons where they didn’t wear meme-displaying t-shirts in the parade, but meme-displaying coveralls. We had seasons where the parade was interrupted by a plague of locusts, and seasons where the parade was interrupted by a plague of cicadas. We had a lot of seasons.
Last night, Fox debuted its much-hyped new drama Pitch. The basic conceit of the show is well known: The San Diego Padres call up the first woman in Major League Baseball’s history. Screwballs are thrown, words are exchanged, lessons are learned. Since the show is about baseball, and will hopefully ask some interesting questions about the game, we figured we’d review it for as long as the baseball and the drama stay interesting.
The luckiest and unluckiest teams of the year and the era.
In my last article, I introduced a Luck Index, a Franken-stat that combines team record in one-run games, pitchers’ strand rate, batting with runners in scoring position, and strength of schedule to derive a measure of luck. It’s centered around a Luck Index of zero with a standard deviation of 25.
The Rangers added a star catcher at the trade deadline, but Lucroy just wants to help out however he can. He has!
At the trade deadline on August 1, after all the drama--the trade to the Indians, the undone trade to the Indians, the rumors as the deadline approached—Jonathan Lucroy sat in the parking lot at O’Hare International Airport and received final confirmation from his agent that he was joining something that he’d wished for for a long time: a winning team.
The results of our preseason experiment in expectations and perception.
Earlier this year, we released PECOTA projections for every major-league baseball player, and then I asked you to beat those projections. The instructions were simple: Find players you thought PECOTA was too optimistic on, and bet the under; find players you thought PECOTA was too pessimistic on, and bet the over. We called it a game and I promised to learn something from it. Here we are nearing the end of the season, so I’ll fulfill my obligation presently.
The Everett AquaSox played at Safeco Field, as two brands of baseball displayed an unusual Venn diagram.
It happened because sometimes in Everett it rains in September, and the night Game One of the Northwest League’s Northern Division title series was supposed to be played was one of those sometimes. The AquaSox couldn’t play the Spokane Indians as scheduled. Instead, they met on a home field, of sorts, a few days later, skipping southward and forward in time to play at Safeco on a cool Friday evening. And it was baseball, just not baseball as I was used to seeing it there.