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Doug Thorburn 

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08-22

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Raising Aces: Police and Thieves
by
Doug Thorburn

08-15

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14

Raising Aces: Have Pitch Counts Gone Too Far?
by
Doug Thorburn

08-08

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6

Raising Aces: The Road to Recovery
by
Doug Thorburn

08-01

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2

Raising Aces: The Rabbit Hole
by
Doug Thorburn

07-25

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6

Raising Aces: Shelby Miller's Fall From Grace
by
Doug Thorburn

07-18

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1

Raising Aces: Outta Nowhere
by
Doug Thorburn

07-11

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2

Raising Aces: Breakout Breakdown: Corey Kluber and Garrett Richards
by
Doug Thorburn

06-27

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4

Raising Aces: Houston, We Have Lift-Off
by
Doug Thorburn

06-20

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6

Raising Aces: A Tale of Two Aces
by
Doug Thorburn

06-13

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1

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part Three
by
Doug Thorburn

06-06

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Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part Two
by
Doug Thorburn

05-30

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4

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part One
by
Doug Thorburn

05-23

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6

Raising Aces: Going Vertical
by
Doug Thorburn

05-16

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13

Raising Aces: The Injury Puzzle
by
Doug Thorburn

05-09

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4

Raising Aces: Making Setup Man Magic
by
Doug Thorburn

05-02

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7

Raising Aces: Too Early to Worry?
by
Doug Thorburn

04-25

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6

Raising Aces: Too Soon to Swoon?
by
Doug Thorburn

04-18

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TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAP Episode 20: Sonny Gray v. Erasmo Ramirez
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

04-18

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5

Raising Aces: Masahiro Tanaka, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

04-11

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11

Raising Aces: Starting Pitcher Four-Pack
by
Doug Thorburn

04-04

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1

Raising Aces: The Aces of Opening Day
by
Doug Thorburn

03-31

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2

My Model Portfolio: Two Aces
by
Doug Thorburn

03-28

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10

Raising Aces: Out on a Limb: 2014 Pitcher Predictions
by
Doug Thorburn

03-21

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3

Raising Aces: Bush League: Eddie Butler, Tyler Glasnow, and Alex Meyer
by
Doug Thorburn

03-14

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7

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jonathan Gray
by
Doug Thorburn

03-13

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TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAP Episode 19: Prospects, Prospects, Prospects!!!
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

03-07

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9

Raising Aces: Over the Radar 2.0
by
Doug Thorburn

03-03

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17

Raising Aces: Under the Gun 2.0
by
Doug Thorburn

02-28

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TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAP Episode 18: Starting Pitching Guide
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

02-28

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1

Raising Aces: Bush League: Andrew Heaney
by
Doug Thorburn

02-21

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3

Raising Aces: Organizational Trends: Looking for Mechanical Hallmarks
by
Doug Thorburn

02-14

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12

Raising Aces: Bush League: Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez
by
Doug Thorburn

02-12

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4

BP Unfiltered: T-Mac's Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

02-07

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5

Raising Aces: Bush League: Archie Bradley
by
Doug Thorburn

01-31

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12

Raising Aces: The Evolution of Pitching Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

01-24

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19

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Fade to Black and White
by
Doug Thorburn

01-17

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9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees 1980-89
by
Doug Thorburn

01-16

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TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAP Episode 17: Offseason Chatter
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

01-10

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9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees of 1990-94
by
Doug Thorburn

01-03

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9

Raising Aces: The Good Old Days: Nolan Ryan
by
Doug Thorburn

12-27

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19

Raising Aces: Examining Masahiro Tanaka's Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

12-20

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2

Raising Aces: Bush League: Julio Urias
by
Doug Thorburn

12-13

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3

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jameson Taillon
by
Doug Thorburn

12-06

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2

Raising Aces: Diff'rent Strikes
by
Doug Thorburn

11-22

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6

Raising Aces: Bush League: Robert Stephenson
by
Doug Thorburn

11-15

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18

Raising Aces: Bush League: Noah Syndergaard
by
Doug Thorburn

11-08

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11

Raising Aces: Great Pitchers, Flawed Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

11-01

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2

Raising Aces: Bush League: Kyle Zimmer
by
Doug Thorburn

10-25

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Raising Aces: How Long Home Runs Happen
by
Doug Thorburn

10-18

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7

Raising Aces: Bush League: Previewing the Winter's Pitching Prospect Breakdowns
by
Doug Thorburn

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May 23, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Going Vertical

6

Doug Thorburn

Adventures in extreme pitcher release points.

Downhill plane carries substantial weight in the pitcher evaluation game. Poor marks in that area carry repercussions ranging from diminished prospect status to bullpen assignments conceived in order to limit the exposure of a perceived weakness. The driver of downhill plane is the height of the baseball at the pitcher’s release point, an element influenced by various mechanical techniques and tendencies. On the surface, it seems obvious that a player's height would be a major determinant of his vertical release, and while there’s something to that relationship, multiple variables are at play, and physical height is merely a piece of the equation.

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May 16, 2014 7:06 am

Raising Aces: The Injury Puzzle

13

Doug Thorburn

Why it's so hard to settle on a single cause of an injury like Jose Fernandez's.

In a season that has been beset by pitcher injuries, the loss of the game's most electrifying ace, Jose Fernandez, was the straw that broke the collective heart of the baseball universe. How did it come to this?

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May 9, 2014 10:15 am

Raising Aces: Making Setup Man Magic

4

Doug Thorburn

Breaking down the mechanics of high-octane setup men Chris Withrow and Dellin Betances.

One of the more visible signs of change in today's game is the reshaping of the bullpen, which has led to an increased emphasis on stockpiling ace relievers. Baseball has become saturated with strikeouts, and the solution becomes more concentrated as a game gets to the late innings and the leading team trots out a conga line of pitchers who specialize in whiffs. Today's ’pen is mightier than it’s ever been before.

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May 2, 2014 6:15 am

Raising Aces: Too Early to Worry?

7

Doug Thorburn

Examining Homer Bailey, Danny Salazar, and Justin Masterson.

Last week we studied a trio of pitchers who have enjoyed breakouts in performance over the first month of the season in order to distinguish legitimate improvement from potential mirage. This week, we examine the other side of the coin. There are a handful of pitchers who entered the season with high expectations yet have been knocked around the yard this April, and the most perplexing of these players are those whose peripheral stats are in line with last season but whose batted-ball profiles have taken a dive. It might be tempting to dismiss any vulnerability due to the vagaries of balls in play over small samples, but in some cases there are functional underpinnings to suggest that something has gone awry.

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April 25, 2014 6:30 am

Raising Aces: Too Soon to Swoon?

6

Doug Thorburn

Is Doug buying or selling three starters who've had success so far this season?

Evaluations of player performance during the first month of the season come with small-sample caveats, but we can try to separate the flukes from the real improvements by identifying meaningful changes in mechanics, approach, or repertoire. Some of the gains are legit, while others are merely a numerical mirage, so we must look beyond the stats in order to tell which players will continue to impress over the coming months of the season. Let's take a look at some of the more surprising April performances by pitchers and attempt to determine whether it's too soon to swoon over their skills.

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A new season is upon us! The first regular season episode of TINSTAAPP includes several emails, an expanded discussion on several guys that both Doug and Paul have noticed early on in the season, a look at their Model Portfolios from a BP project, and of course the Game of the Week.

The guys discuss some guys who have caught their eye early on, look at their model portfolio project at BP, and read user emails! (Send your questions to pitchingpod@gmail.com)

Paul's Portfolio

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April 18, 2014 6:36 am

Raising Aces: Masahiro Tanaka, the Debut Ante

5

Doug Thorburn

The Yankees' new starter appears to have the most important attribute of them all: the ability to make adjustment.

When I wrote about Masahiro Tanaka over the winter, my analysis was limited to the piecemeal footage that could be found across the interwebs, which led to a lot of caveats about what we could expect of his performance in the majors. There were many reasons for caution when projecting the state-side translation of his skill set, ranging from his workloads and pitch selection to his mechanics and statistical profile. With a trio of big-league starts now under his belt, we have a much clearer picture of his talent.

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April 11, 2014 7:50 am

Raising Aces: Starting Pitcher Four-Pack

11

Doug Thorburn

Doug looks for signs of mechanical progress by Yordano Ventura, Trevor Bauer, Chris Archer, and Erasmo Ramirez.

This is my third year writing Raising Aces for Baseball Prospectus, and one of the perks is the dynamic nature of the series (aided by the leniency of our editors). I’m always searching for better ways to communicate ideas about pitching or to broaden the discussion, and transparency has been an integral part of the process.

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April 4, 2014 6:45 am

Raising Aces: The Aces of Opening Day

1

Doug Thorburn

A close look at four aces in action in week one.

All of the great holidays are marked by high levels of anticipation. But Opening Day stands out among the more traditional observances because it is merely the beginning of the celebration to follow: seven months of 6-4-3 double plays, exploding sliders, and that sweet sound when lumber meets horsehide. It’s easy to fall pretty to the trap of overweighting observations made at the start of the regular season, and the rational observer will maintain perspective while enjoying the day's festivities. But that doesn't mean that there’s nothing to be learned from the first round of games. Early in the season, many pitchers are making real adjustments to elements of their mechanics, approach, and repertoire, and these alterations can be put under the microscope in order to get an idea of the player's developmental patterns.

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March 31, 2014 6:00 am

My Model Portfolio: Two Aces

2

Doug Thorburn

Doug's attachment to arms shines through as he nabs David Price and Felix Hernandez to anchor his dream Roto staff.

Process:
I tend to go with something resembling the stars-and-scrubs approach, mostly because I think that it's possible to identify “scrubs” who will be productive. It's no secret that I have an attachment to arms, and I always make a point to secure a pair of aces in my fantasy leagues, whether draft or auction.

The knock against pitchers is that they always get hurt, which tends to depress their value, and the injury-risk makes it all the more important to have two top-end guys at the top of my fantasy rotation—if one gets hurt then my season is not necessarily down the drain, because ace no. 2 can carry the weight. So my staff is top-heavy, after which it's time to go dumpster-diving, and I take great joy each fantasy season in identifying the cheap pitchers who will ascend to the next level. Oh, and sucks to closers—they are way too volatile to trust in a league where rosters are locked on Opening Day, so I'll just go ahead and aim for victories in the counting stats of Ks and Ws while sacrificing saves. My calculator says that two 15s and a 1 supersede the worth of a sixth-place finish in three categories, and the draft-and-lock setup changes the game in this case.


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March 28, 2014 11:22 am

Raising Aces: Out on a Limb: 2014 Pitcher Predictions

10

Doug Thorburn

What does Doug see ahead for selected pitchers in 2014?

Along with the rest of the BP staff, I’ve submitted my pre-season predictions for division standings and end-of-season award winners. I tend to stay in the neighborhood of likely outcomes for these picks, resulting in easy answers such as “Mike Trout for AL MVP” or “Tigers win the AL Central,” but I’m more intrigued by the long-shot stories that emerge once the season starts.

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A close look at the mechanics of a trio of top pitching prospects.

With one week to go until Opening Day, let's tackle one final Bush League installment of the offseason, taking a look at a trio of pitchers who rank among BP's Top 50 prospects: the Rockies’ Eddie Butler, the Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow, and the Twins’ Alex Meyer. These pitchers embody some of the more common traits of high-end prospects on the mound, from stuff to mechanics, and though each player saw his stock rise during the 2013 season, there’s still a heavy dose of development needed before they’ll be ready for the show.

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