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Derek Jacques 

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01-04

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1

The BP Wayback Machine: How to Write a Letter of Complaint
by
Derek Jacques

02-02

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15

Caribbean Series 2009
by
Derek Jacques

09-22

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4

The Last of the Last
by
Derek Jacques

08-19

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Prospectus Toolbox: WHIP-ping Through the Mailbag
by
Derek Jacques

08-05

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Prospectus Toolbox: Minor League Mailbag
by
Derek Jacques

08-02

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Prospectus Toolbox: Minor League Statistics and EqA
by
Derek Jacques

07-15

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Prospectus Toolbox: Pitching Scales, Relief Stats, and Better Living Through Mathematics
by
Derek Jacques

07-08

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Prospectus Toolbox: Once More With the Pitching Scales
by
Derek Jacques

07-01

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Stupid Lawyer Tricks
by
Derek Jacques

06-24

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Prospectus Toolbox: Translating Scales: Relief Stats
by
Derek Jacques

06-03

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Prospectus Toolbox: Translating Scales
by
Derek Jacques

05-20

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Prospectus Toolbox: Still Stranded
by
Derek Jacques

05-13

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Prospectus Toolbox: Stranded!
by
Derek Jacques

04-22

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Stupid Lawyer Tricks
by
Derek Jacques

04-02

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The First Last
by
Derek Jacques

03-25

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Prospectus Toolbox: Tout Wars, Redux
by
Derek Jacques

03-18

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Prospectus Toolbox: Rock the Vote Contest Winners
by
Derek Jacques

03-11

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Prospectus Toolbox: Moneybag Mailball
by
Derek Jacques

03-04

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Prospectus Toolbox: Is Moneyball Dead?
by
Derek Jacques

02-22

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Stupid Lawyer Tricks
by
Derek Jacques

02-12

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Stupid Lawyer Tricks
by
Derek Jacques

02-08

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Caribbean Series 2008
by
Derek Jacques

02-07

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Caribbean Series 2008
by
Derek Jacques

02-05

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Caribbean Series 2008
by
Derek Jacques

02-04

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Caribbean Series 2008
by
Derek Jacques

02-03

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Caribbean Series 2008
by
Derek Jacques

01-29

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Stupid Lawyer Tricks
by
Derek Jacques

01-22

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Prospectus Toolbox: How to Write a Letter of Complaint
by
Derek Jacques

01-16

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Stupid Lawyer Tricks
by
Derek Jacques

01-14

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Stupid Lawyer Tricks
by
Derek Jacques

01-08

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by
Derek Jacques

11-27

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Prospectus Toolbox: Questions and Answers
by
Derek Jacques

11-06

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Prospectus Toolbox: Free Agent Compensation Rankings
by
Derek Jacques

10-30

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Prospectus Toolbox: Mailbag at Altitude
by
Derek Jacques

10-23

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Prospectus Toolbox: A Tale of Two Ballparks
by
Derek Jacques

10-09

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Prospectus Toolbox: On Awards and Statistical Tools
by
Derek Jacques

10-02

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Prospectus Toolbox: The Umpires, Part I
by
Derek Jacques

09-25

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Prospectus Toolbox: Doubled Up
by
Derek Jacques

09-06

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Prospectus Toolbox: The Playoff Odds Report
by
Derek Jacques

08-28

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Prospectus Toolbox: Non-Contact Part V
by
Derek Jacques

08-21

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Prospectus Toolbox: Non-Contact Part IV: Take, Jive, and Flail
by
Derek Jacques

08-14

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Prospectus Toolbox: Non-Contact Part III
by
Derek Jacques

08-07

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Prospectus Toolbox: Non-Contact Part II: More on Strikeouts
by
Derek Jacques

07-24

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Prospectus Toolbox: Non-contact, Part One
by
Derek Jacques

07-17

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Prospectus Toolbox: Even Further Reading
by
Derek Jacques

07-10

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Prospectus Toolbox: Small Samples and All-Star Berths
by
Derek Jacques

07-03

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Prospectus Toolbox: Measuring Team Defense
by
Derek Jacques

06-26

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Prospectus Toolbox: A Secret Affair
by
Derek Jacques

06-19

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Prospectus Toolbox: Dying Quails and Pitchers BABIP
by
Derek Jacques

06-12

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Prospectus Toolbox: Neutral—Like Switzerland, Like Ecru
by
Derek Jacques

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October 2, 2007 12:00 am

Prospectus Toolbox: The Umpires, Part I

0

Derek Jacques

BP's data on umpire performance have growing importance as the quality of umpiring becomes more of an issue.

Last night's one-game playoff between the Padres and Rockies was an exciting end to the regular season, made a bit more exciting by shoddy play-calling from the umps. With technology giving us detailed pitch location data, and additional cameras and high-definition television giving us a better view and more angles than ever before (except on TBS, where last night's game was presented with the same level of intensity and production values as a mid-May tilt between the Braves and Pirates), today's umpires work the playoffs under scrutiny bordering on the microscopic. In the view of some commentators, the question isn't if but when the umpires are going to have more embarrassing moments this month, and how disastrous they'll be when they happen.

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September 25, 2007 12:00 am

Prospectus Toolbox: Doubled Up

0

Derek Jacques

Who are the rally killers, and how many different ways do they kill rallies?

Welcome back to Prospectus Toolbox-our weekly look at the statistical tools we use to analyze baseball. This week, we're taking a quick look at an event that can completely change the outcome of an inning, wrecking rallies or bailing out the pitcher, depending on your point of view. It's the double play, also known as the twin killing, or the pitcher's best friend.

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We're deep into the stretch drive, with some races still being run, and some seemingly done. How do we model our in-season prediction of how things will wind up?

September is the month where the great pennant races happen. In the current three divisions plus a Wild Card set-up, baseball's focus gets placed on the playoff games in October, but it's easy to forget that once upon a time, and for a very long time, the year-long drama of the regular season was often more compelling than what happened during a week or two of World Series action.

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Wrapping up the series on the fine art of pitching where the bat ain't, or putting the bat where the ball isn't.

So it's a long road we've traveled over the past month, looking at non-contact results on the diamond. Fortunately, like all good things, it must come to an end. We ended up last time looking at the leaders in swinging strikeout and looking strikeout rate since 1999 (which is as far back as we have comprehensive pitch-by-pitch data). A few things stood out while looking at those two lists:

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Reader response has created a number of answers and tangents that tell us something more about the wages of whiffery.

There was a lot of good email from last week's column, so let's just dig in. Reader D.D. had some comments about the note on which I finished up last week's talk of strikeout rates:

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The Strikeout Kings play songs of love for fans of the unhappy third of the three true outcomes.

Rob Deer, Jose Hernandez, and Pete Incaviglia walk into a bar… Stop me if you've heard this one before. On our tour of the non-contact batter/pitcher confrontations, we've looked solely at the pitcher's contributions, and at strikeouts. It's time to widen our focus a little bit, and look at the hurlers' dance partners-the hitters:

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The effects of pitcher pacing and ballparks on players getting punched out at home plate.

If you remember, last time out we looked at that sabermetric darling, the strikeout, noting the steady increase in strikeout rate that we've seen over the past four decades. In part two, we'll look at a couple of factors that affect pitcher's strikeout rates.

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Measuring the rate at which a pitcher strikes batters out is an important part of the toolbox.

Statheads and strikeouts…it's an age-old romance. For pitchers, we'll tell you that strikeouts are the biggest predictor of a hurler's future success. When batters go down, though, while we acknowledge that the whiff is an out--a negative result--it's an out we put on a pedestal as one of the Three True Outcomes (along with the walk and the homer). A noble out, I guess.

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Look, you've got even more homework, but it's the kind you're going to like.

One of my favorite parts of putting together the Toolbox every week has been assembling the 'Further Reading' sections at the end of the columns, which are a starting point for anyone who wants to look for more in-depth examinations of the week's topic. Over the past couple of months, a number of readers have written in to suggest additions to the further reading lists, and I've stumbled on to a few worthy additions of my own. What this means is that from time to time I'm going to update the old columns by adding some additional research options, under the heading of "Even Further Reading," with a bit of analysis and reader mail mixed in.

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If you want fame, acclamation, and All-Star recognition, maybe playing time--more playing time--is the best way to judge.

Welcome to the latest edition of Prospectus Toolbox. We're back to conceptual topics this week-we're not going to talk about a specific statistic or report, but rather the factor that effects how statistics and performance are perceived. That factor is time, specifically playing time.

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Applying statistical tools to defensive performance is often the quickest way to a fight between traditional baseball minds and performance analysts. At the team level, however, you can learn a lot.

This week, we're going to take a look at a controversial issue from its least controversial angle. The topic? Defense--a subject that, when we approach it statistically, tends to cause fistfights and sour feelings.

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Derek admits to a forbidden love for an old flame in the statistical drawer.

"Driving in runs has as much relevance as driving in traffic."
--Joe Sheehan, February 1993


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