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Alex Belth 

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March 27, 2007 12:00 am

Hope and Faith: How the New York Yankees Can Win the World Series

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Alex Belth

Alex Belth dares to dream the impossible dream.

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October 11, 2006 12:00 am

Remembering Buck O'Neil

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Alex Belth

A great ambassador for the game--and for humanity--passed away last week.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

The Baseline forecast is also significant in that it attempts to remove luck from a forecast line. For example, a player who hit .310, but with a poor batting eye and unimpressive speed indicators, is probably not really a .310 hitter. Its more likely that hes a .290 hitter who had a few balls bounce his way, and the Baseline attempts to correct for this.

\nSimilarly, a pitcher with an unusually low EqHR9 rate, but a high flyball rate, is likely to have achieved the low EqHR9 partly as a result of luck. In addition, the Baseline corrects for large disparities between a pitchers ERA and his PERA, and an unusually high or low hit rate on balls in play, which are highly subject to luck. '; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_32 = 'Approximate number of batting outs made while playing this position.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_33 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats. In PECOTA, Batting Average is one of five primary production metrics used in identifying a hitters comparables. It is defined as H/AB. '; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_34 = 'Bases on Balls, or bases on balls allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_35 = 'Bases on balls allowed per 9 innings pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_36 = 'Batters faced pitching.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_37 = 'Balks. Not recorded 1876-1880.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_38 = 'Batting Runs Above Replacement. The number of runs better than a hitter with a .230 EQA and the same number of outs; EQR - 5 * OUT * .230^2.5.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_39 = 'Batting runs above a replacement at the same position. A replacement position player is one with an EQA equal to (230/260) times the average EqA for that position.'; xxxpxxxxx1160583428_40 = 'Breakout Rate is the percent chance that a hitters EqR/27 or a pitchers EqERA will improve by at least 20% relative to the weighted average of his EqR/27 in his three previous seasons of performance. High breakout rates are indicative of upside risk.

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August 10, 2006 12:00 am

A Night at Shea

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Alex Belth

Guest writer Alex Belth caught last night's Padres-Mets game, and details Mike Piazza's second game at Shea with the Friars.

It was an uncommonly pleasant night in New York, absolutely ideal for a game in mid-May or June, never mind August. The air was clean, with little to no humidity. A steady breeze swept through the open ballpark for the duration of the evening. There were more Piazza jerseys in the crowd than any other current Met, and the Padres' catcher, rounder in the face since he left New York, received ovations whenever he stepped onto the field. A crowd just shy of 50,000 came to their feet when Piazza led off the second inning. Pedro Martinez dispatched him on four pitches, catching him looking at a beautiful curve ball for strike three--and Piazza was showered with cheers as he returned to the dugout.

But the fun was just starting. Piazza threw the fans for a loop in the bottom of the inning when Endy Chavez reached first base. Two middle-aged men with New York accents straight out of Damon Runyon sat in field box seats down the third base line. One said, "This guy is running here. They can steal all day off Piazza." Sure enough, Chavez took off for second, but to the surprise of nearly every paying customer in the joint, Piazza's throw nailed him by plenty.

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July 8, 2003 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Allen Barra

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Alex Belth

Allen Barra has written for numerous publications since the late-1970s, including The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, and currently The New York Times. In 2002, Barra authored Clearing the Bases: The Greatest Baseball Debates of the Last Century, which took a refreshing look at some of baseball's most argued topics. Recently, BP correspondent Alex Belth caught up with Barra to discuss his early days as a writer, the influence of Bill James on his work, and Major League Baseball's marketing department.

Baseball Prospectus: So what team did you root for as a kid?

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May 14, 2003 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Roger Angell, Part II

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Alex Belth

Alex Belth returns with the second installment of his Q&A with sportswriter Roger Angell, discussing the Yankees of recent vintage, Barry Bonds, Bill James, and more.

Baseball Prospectus: What are your impressions of the Yankees during the past 10 years?

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May 9, 2003 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Roger Angell, Part I

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Alex Belth

Roger Angell, The New Yorker's celebrated baseball writer, has a new compilation out titled Game Time, which contains many new pieces along with some previously published ones as well. BP correspondent Alex Belth caught up with Angell last weekend and talked about growing up a New York Giants baseball fan, the present-day Yankees, plus other topics New York baseball-focused and otherwise.

Baseball Prospectus: How did you get your start as a baseball fan, and as a writer?

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After the 1975 Andy Messersmith arbitration ruling in which the reserve clause was deemed to cover one, and only one, season, Major League Baseball and the Players Association eventually agreed on a structure for free agency, but the antitrust exemption remained. The Supreme Court has made it clear that it would not overturn the exemption, insisting that only Congress could do so.

Baseball is the only major sport that has an exemption from antitrust law. Whenever Major League Baseball is involved in a major controversy, Congress starts talking about revoking the exemption. This talk reached a fever pitch during the 1994-95 players' strike, but nothing happened. After that labor war, MLB and the Players Association agreed to lobby Congress for a limited repeal of the exemption where labor matters are concerned.

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