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05-30

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What You Need to Know: Yu is Back; Baseball Better
by
Ashley Varela

05-30

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Prospectus Feature: The Under-the-Radar Team Adjustments
by
Rob Mains

05-29

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1

Rubbing Mud: On Taillon and Glasnow As This Story's Heroes
by
Matthew Trueblood

05-29

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BP Bronx
by
Nick Ashbourne

05-29

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BP Kansas City
by
Hunter Samuels

05-29

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BP Mets
by
Erik Malinowski

05-28

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Raising Aces: Miracle Matz
by
Doug Thorburn

05-28

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BP Boston
by
Matthew Kory

05-28

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BP South Side
by
James Fegan

05-28

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BP Wrigleyville
by
Leigh Coridan

05-27

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15

Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, May 26th
by
Mark Anderson

05-27

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1

Raising Aces: Digging Under The Gun
by
Doug Thorburn

05-27

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2

The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, May 27
by
Matthew Kory

05-27

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Prospectus Feature: Why Is College Baseball A Statistical Wasteland?
by
Jake Garcia

05-27

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Fantasy Freestyle: Batted-Ball Trajectory and BABIP Overachievers
by
Wilson Karaman

05-27

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10

Rubbing Mud: All the Implications of Odubel Herrera
by
Matthew Trueblood

05-27

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2

Weekly Wrap: May 27, 2016
by
Will Haines

05-27

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2

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Nine
by
Greg Wellemeyer

05-27

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Free Agent Watch: Week Nine
by
George Bissell and J.J. Jansons

05-27

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3

Fantasy Draft Rankings: The Updated Top 300
by
Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

05-27

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6

What You Need to Know: Would You Believe It, A New Strikeout Record
by
Daniel Rathman

05-27

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5

The Call-Up: Julio Urias
by
Wilson Karaman and Ben Carsley

05-26

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BP Toronto
by
Joshua Howsam

05-26

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6

The Stash List: Eighth Edition, 2016
by
J.J. Jansons

05-26

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1

What You Need to Know: Jake Arrieta, Imperfect
by
Demetrius Bell

05-26

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1

Life at the Margins: The Giants Have Had a Good Week
by
Rian Watt

05-26

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Eyewitness Accounts: May 26, 2016
by
BP Prospect Staff

05-26

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2

Some Projection Left: Ask The Industry: Albert Almora
by
Christopher Crawford

05-26

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13

Tools of Ignorance: The Team-Mandated Player Opt-Out
by
Jeff Quinton

05-26

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10

Players Prefer Presentation: Let Ballparks Get Old
by
Meg Rowley

05-26

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Prospectus Feature: On David Ortiz and Perhaps the Best Final Season Ever
by
Aaron Gleeman

05-26

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1

Deep League Report: Week Eight
by
Scooter Hotz

05-26

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10

Minor League Update: Games of Wednesday, May 25th
by
Christopher Crawford

05-26

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The Fantasy Verdict: Gattis and Catcher Eligibility
by
J.P. Breen

05-25

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What You Need to Know: Chris Sale, Imperfect
by
Emma Baccellieri

05-25

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4

Minor League Update: Games of Tuesday, May 24th
by
Wilson Karaman

05-25

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The Toolshed
by
James Fisher

05-25

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2

Prospectus Feature: The RISP Mystery
by
Rob Mains

05-25

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6

Team Chemistry: Diagnosing the Swing Swings
by
John Choiniere

05-25

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2

Transaction Analysis: Return of The Freak
by
Matthew Trueblood, Kate Morrison, Bryan Grosnick, Adam McInturff, Steve Givarz and Christopher Crawford

05-25

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7

Updating the Tiers: Relief Pitchers
by
Bret Sayre

05-25

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21

Updating the Tiers: Starting Pitchers
by
Mike Gianella

05-25

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TDGX Transactions: Hello Newman
by
George Bissell

05-24

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BP Toronto
by
Tammy Rainey

05-24

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What You Need to Know: About That Kershaw Walk...
by
Nicolas Stellini

05-24

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6

Notes from the Field: May 24, 2016
by
BP Prospect Staff

05-24

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3

Five to Watch: Low-A Hitters
by
Greg Wellemeyer

05-24

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4

An Agent's Take: On Poaching, Intentionally and Not
by
Joshua Kusnick

05-24

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2

Prospectus Feature: Joe Nathan's Got One Thing To Prove
by
Aaron Gleeman

05-24

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Closer Report: Week Eight
by
Matt Collins

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May 25, 2016 6:00 am

The Toolshed

1

James Fisher

A look at what we're talking about when we talk about the fastball.

Going back to our formative baseball years, the fastball is where it all begins. Every pitcher has a fastball, even those quirky knuckleballers, and the velocity of the pitch has been on a steady incline for years now. Velocity is fun and easily identifiable to the most casual fan, but it is only one piece of the fastball equation. The velocity gives you a baseline grade for the fastball, but then you must take into account the movement of the pitch, how the pitcher controls or commands it, and how hitters react to it. I will delve into each aspect of the fastball below, as well as give you examples of grades 40, 50, and 60 so that you can start building your fastball library.

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When runners are in scoring position, home runs go down, while everything else--including doubles and triples--goes up. Why?

In this article, I looked for evidence that some hitters perform better with runners in scoring position (RISP) than in other situations. (I didn’t find much.) To help me define perform, I calculated run expectancies with RISP and discovered that of common batting metrics (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS), slugging percentage correlates best to driving in runs. So I looked for hitters who slugged higher with RISP than in other plate appearances.

A couple commenters suggested that this is a low bar. After all, they reasoned, hitters should have a higher slugging percentage with RISP than without, for a number of reasons:

· Pitchers have to pitch from the stretch (though the perception that pitchers give up velocity by pitching from the stretch doesn’t appear to be true)

· Infielders must position themselves to hold runners on, opening up lanes for basehits that wouldn’t exist with the bases empty

· Similarly, with fewer than two outs and a runner on third, infielders may move up to prevent a run, creating additional opportunities for singles

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Batters increase the "swing zone" as the season goes on. To try to understand why, we need to know how.

In my article here two weeks ago, I introduced the idea of a “swing zone,” complementary to the strike zone, for helping to identify batters’ plate discipline habits in the PITCHf/x era as the strike zone has changed. In doing so, I showed annual trends, the effect of batter handedness, and the effect of the count. I also showed that the swing zone increases by about 40 square inches over the course of the season, despite no corresponding change in strike zone size. I included it almost as an aside at the end of the piece, as a reason to discount the dramatic drop in zone size for 2016. It turns out, though, that I may have buried the lede a bit—that last bit, about the average swing zone increasing from about 725 square inches in April to about 760 in October (all playoff data included, November being lumped in with October) generated by far the most reader questions. Now, I don’t want to get pigeon-holed as just “the guy who writes about this swing zone thing he made up,” so next time out I’ll be branching out to something else, but for now I do think a follow-up is more than warranted.

To remind everyone, in the original research I found that hitters were indeed responding to the increasing size of the strike zone by being willing to swing at pitches in a broader area. The trend was visible when looking across all the data, but got overwhelmed by the effect of the number of strikes in the count. I further found that, much like the expansion of the strike zone, the effect was largely constrained to the area below 19” (i.e., the average bottom of the current rulebook strike zone).

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Tim Lincecum finds a home for his comeback, Blake Swihart rejoins the Red Sox as an outfielder, and the Braves buy a draft pick.

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May 25, 2016 6:00 am

Updating the Tiers: Relief Pitchers

7

Bret Sayre

Reranking the closers, factoring in their early-season performances.

Welcome, to Baseball Prospectus’ first (or at least first time in a long time) in-season rankings update to our preseason positional tiers article. As we did during the preseason, players at each position will be divided into five tiers, represented by a “star” rating. In addition, unlike with the preseason “star” ratings, these lists can also be viewed as a straight ranking.

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This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

May 25, 2016 6:00 am

Updating the Tiers: Starting Pitchers

21

Mike Gianella

It's been a rough start to the season for many of the top-50 starters, driving some changes in this midyear rerank.

Welcome, to Baseball Prospectus’ first (or at least first time in a long time) in-season rankings update to our preseason positional tiers article. As we did during the preseason, players at each position will be divided into five tiers, represented by a “star” rating. In addition, unlike with the preseason “star” ratings, these lists can also be viewed as a straight ranking.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

May 25, 2016 6:00 am

TDGX Transactions: Hello Newman

0

George Bissell

Recapping the moves made by the experts in the TGDX experts dynasty leagues this week.

Welcome to another installment of TDGX Transactions, BP’s weekly series providing fantasy owners with an inside look at The Dynasty Guru Experts League (TDGX), a 20-team (40-man roster) 5x5 rotisserie dynasty league. It is the literal embodiment of the phrase “deep dynasty.” It’s also populated by some of the most talented fantasy baseball analysts and competitors on the planet. In addition to taking an in-depth look at each week’s TDGX free agent acquisitions ($100 FAAB budget per team with zero dollar bids allowed) we will also break down every major trade, with perspectives from both sides of the deal.

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May 24, 2016 10:50 am

BP Toronto

0

Tammy Rainey

Michael Saunders is suddenly looking like a player the Blue Jays should be trying to sign long term.

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Clayton Kershaw is peaking, Pujols hits a sort of a milestone, and the Cubs are slumping, relatively speaking.

The Monday Takeaway
The Warriors are actually bad at basketball, as they take too many jump shots and don’t have a strong enough game in the post. Their once-in-a-lifetime shooter is overrated, and their records mean nothing in the face of grit and Russell Westbrook.


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May 24, 2016 6:00 am

Notes from the Field: May 24, 2016

6

BP Prospect Staff

Notes on Logan Allen, Albert Almora, Austin Allen and other people with A's in their names.

Antonio Senzatela, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford)
Senzatela was making his first start in five weeks after an outing in April where he had “trouble getting loose.” Rustiness could explain some of his struggles with fastball command early, but Senzatela has high-effort mechanics and doesn't get much out of his lower half, limiting the overall future command profile. The fastball does show some east-west life at times, and the deception in his delivery makes the 90-94 velocity appear “sneaky-fast,” but he struggled to get the pitch down in the zone and Bowie hitters seemed very comfortable taking cuts at his fastball. Even at his sharpest he will struggle to get plane on it out of his 6-foot-1 frame.

Senzatela featured a full four-pitch mix, but only his slider looked like it had a chance to get to average. The best ones sat in the low 80s, and had sharp, late tilt, but at the top end of his 79-85 velocity band the offering would flatten out. He still throws his slow curve on occasion to sneak a strike, but it is mostly a show-me or chase pitch. Senzatela started to work his changeup in more third time through the order, but the pitch is well-below-average at present. It's a major-league-quality arm, but while you can handwave some of Senzatela's struggles due to the long layoff, the mechanical quirks and lack of a clear third pitch likely point towards a future home in the bullpen. —Jeffrey Paternostro


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May 24, 2016 6:00 am

Five to Watch: Low-A Hitters

3

Greg Wellemeyer

These young bats might be years away from the majors, but they're worthy of your dynasty-league attention.

Around this time last year, I started taking a look at prospects whose early-season performance had their dynasty stocks on the rise. While it’s awfully early to be diving into minor league stat lines, it’s not an exercise completely devoid of merit. You may well miss more than you hit, but last year’s early-June leaderboard mining revealed prospects such as Jacob Nottingham, Trey Mancini, and Cody Reed as prospects whose value was changing dramatically.

I hope it goes without saying that you should always try to pair stat line scouting with actual reports if you can find the information. To that end, you should definitely be reading the amazing work done by our prospect team: daily minor league updates, Monday morning ten packs, eyewitness accounts, notes from the field, chats, mailbag Q&A’s. It’s quite staggering how prolific they are as a unit, and how much my dynasty game has improved by soaking it all in.

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Sometimes, doing the right thing means not taking another agent's client. Sometimes, though, doing the right thing means the opposite.

I just spent three days in Miami with Jeremy Jeffress and ran into several agents I knew. Many of them I quite like. A few I do not. One told me it’s "dumb" to tweet about clients because it makes it that much easier for other agents to "poach" my guys. I agree, but I feel like I am an outlier (or crazy, or both). I mean, I’m public enough that everyone knows my guys, and really I stopped caring in 2010. If guys are going to leave me, then they're going to leave. Twitter will not change that. I am going to promote the hell out of my clients and do right by all of them. I can’t live my life worrying about what other agents do.

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