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Eric Seidman 

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02-22

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5

Checking the Numbers: Paying the Premium
by
Eric Seidman

01-26

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20

Checking the Numbers: Withholding Aplenty
by
Eric Seidman

01-13

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21

Checking the Numbers: The Questionable Pursuit of Garza
by
Eric Seidman

01-06

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56

Checking the Numbers: The Jock Tax
by
Eric Seidman

12-30

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6

Seidnotes: WARP Speed
by
Eric Seidman

12-23

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6

Seidnotes: The Rodrigo Lopez All-Stars
by
Eric Seidman

12-22

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14

Checking the Numbers: Relievers and the Value of Perfect Information
by
Eric Seidman

12-15

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35

Checking the Numbers: Ranking R2C2
by
Eric Seidman

12-08

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7

Checking the Numbers: A Snake, a Padre, and a Dodger Walk into a Bar...
by
Eric Seidman

12-01

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17

Checking the Numbers: Upton and Away
by
Eric Seidman

11-24

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Checking the Numbers: On Investment Value and Outfielders
by
Eric Seidman

11-18

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2

Checking the Numbers: Sneaky Good in the Junior Circuit
by
Eric Seidman

11-10

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9

Checking the Numbers: Sneaky Good in the Senior Circuit
by
Eric Seidman

11-04

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13

Checking the Numbers: Minor-league Contract Candidates: Pitchers
by
Eric Seidman

11-03

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10

Checking the Numbers: Minor-league Contract Candidates: Batters
by
Eric Seidman

10-25

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9

Checking the Numbers: Cratering
by
Eric Seidman

10-22

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5

Playoff Prospectus: ALCS Game Six Projection
by
Eric Seidman

10-21

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6

Playoff Prospectus: NLCS Game Five Projection
by
Eric Seidman

10-20

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12

Playoff Prospectus: Wednesday LCS Game Projections
by
Eric Seidman

10-19

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10

Checking the Numbers: I'm Relieved to Start
by
Eric Seidman

10-16

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1

Playoff Prospectus: Saturday LCS Projections
by
Eric Seidman

10-15

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11

Playoff Prospectus: Friday ALCS Game Projection
by
Eric Seidman

10-13

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21

Checking the Numbers: The Meaningless Awards
by
Eric Seidman

10-12

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11

Playoff Prospectus: Tuesday LDS Game Projection
by
Eric Seidman

10-11

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10

Playoff Prospectus: Monday LDS Projection
by
Eric Seidman

10-11

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3

Checking the Numbers: Gauging True Talent
by
Eric Seidman

10-10

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3

Playoff Prospectus: Sunday LDS Game Projections
by
Eric Seidman

10-09

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3

Playoff Prospectus: Saturday LDS Projections
by
Eric Seidman

10-08

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9

Playoff Prospectus: Friday LDS Game Projections
by
Eric Seidman

10-07

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9

Playoff Prospectus: Thursday LDS Game Projections
by
Eric Seidman

10-07

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13

Checking the Numbers: The Turnaround Kids
by
Eric Seidman

10-06

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9

Playoff Prospectus: Wednesday LDS Game Projections
by
Eric Seidman

09-30

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26

Seidnotes: A Triple Short of Driving Me Insane
by
Eric Seidman

09-28

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31

Prospectus Perspective: Racing for the Cy
by
Eric Seidman

09-24

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23

Checking the Numbers: Examining the Braves' Decision
by
Eric Seidman

09-23

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43

Checking the Numbers: Setting the Records Straight
by
Eric Seidman

09-22

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11

Checking the Numbers: The Cards Come Crumbling Down
by
Eric Seidman

09-17

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15

Checking the Numbers: CarGo on the Road
by
Eric Seidman

09-16

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14

Checking the Numbers: Chipper, Eddie, and Pete
by
Eric Seidman

09-15

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6

Checking the Numbers: Say Goodbye to the Triple Crown
by
Eric Seidman

09-10

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5

Seidnotes: Loney Loves Ribeyes
by
Eric Seidman

09-08

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11

Checking the Numbers: Triple Crown Update
by
Eric Seidman

09-07

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7

Checking the Numbers: Freaky Concerns
by
Eric Seidman

09-03

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5

Checking the Numbers: Who is the Best Switch-Hitter?
by
Eric Seidman

09-02

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15

Seidnotes: A Streak of Myers
by
Eric Seidman

09-01

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25

Checking the Numbers: Simulating the Triple Crown
by
Eric Seidman

08-27

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12

Prospectus Perspective: He Who Shall be Crowned
by
Eric Seidman

08-25

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7

Checking the Numbers: The Second Tier
by
Eric Seidman

08-20

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16

Seidnotes: What Did Brown Do for You?
by
Eric Seidman

08-18

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4

Seidnotes: Those Who Don't Need Support
by
Eric Seidman

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September 22, 2010 8:00 am

Checking the Numbers: The Cards Come Crumbling Down

11

Eric Seidman

Were the Cardinals playing contender pretender before their collapse?

On August 13, the Cardinals defeated the Cubs, 6-3, improving their record to 65-49. Recently acquired Jake Westbrook scattered two runs over six innings in his third start with the team, Matt Holliday knocked in a run on two doubles, Albert Pujols hit his league-leading 29th home run, and Colby Rasmus showed one of the many facets of his value by walking in all four of his plate appearances. The win kept the Cardinals a game up in the NL Central over the Reds, who had beaten the Marlins. Entering play the next day, our playoff odds report gave the Cardinals a 66 percent chance of winning the division, as well as a 13 percent chance of winning the wild card. Put together, the Cardinals made the playoffs in four out of every five simulations, a very safe position.

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Carlos Gonzalez has huge home-road splits, but he doesn't have the most dramatic splits of all time.

It isn’t exactly breaking news that Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies is having a fantastic season. Entering Thursday’s action, his .341 batting average topped the National League, as did his .612 slugging percentage, 182 hits, 106 RBI, 100 runs, and 326 total bases. Add in 23 stolen bases, a solid defensive reputation, and the fact that he is still the most likely candidate to achieve the Triple Crown, and it is very safe to say that he has soared far beyond reasonable expectations entering the year. PECOTA’s 90th- percentile foresaw a .312/.386/.550 slash line, which he has surpassed, even if his long-term rate of reaching base is likely to be called into question.

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September 16, 2010 8:00 am

Checking the Numbers: Chipper, Eddie, and Pete

14

Eric Seidman

Is Chipper Jones a greater switch-hitter than Eddie Murray and Pete Rose?

A little over a week ago I wrote an article on switch-hitters, focusing on a simple question: Do we evaluate switch-hitters based on their self-platoon split, or based on overall numbers regardless of the split? A case can be made for each side, as those in the self-platoon camp would argue that a good switch-hitter should be able to produce from both sides of the plate. These advocates certainly wouldn’t consider someone like Gary Matthews Jr. a solid switch-hitter, as his numbers are terrible even if his split is small. On the other side of the spectrum, it also makes sense that the best switch-hitter would be the best hitter who happens to bat from both sides of the plate. Mark Teixeira might favor one side more than the other, but his numbers from each side are far and away superior to the league average. The differentiation would be whether switch-hitting is considered a niche in which a separate definition applies. Can a good switch-hitter be a relatively underwhelming overall hitter?

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September 15, 2010 8:00 pm

Checking the Numbers: Say Goodbye to the Triple Crown

6

Eric Seidman

The chances of someone leading the league in batting avearge, homers, and RBI have grown long in just a week.

Over the last two weeks I have utilized a neat simulation I built in order to assess the likelihood that a Triple Crown occurs this year. Simulations are the best way to make such a determination, as the three stats involved—batting average, home runs, and RBI—are intertwined. They might not always be connected, but it is more accurate to operate under this assumption than it is to multiply together the probabilities that a player leads the league in each category. When I ran through the rest of the season 10,000 times back on September 1, the feat was only achieved 777 times even though Albert Pujols and Joey Votto ranked either first or second in all three categories. Pujols won the Triple Crown in a whopping 663 of those 777 seasons, suggesting that the feat was unlikely to be achieved, but that Prince Albert was the heavy favorite.

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September 10, 2010 8:00 am

Seidnotes: Loney Loves Ribeyes

5

Eric Seidman

The Dodgers' first baseman doesn't hit a lot of home runs but he drives in a quite a few runs.

James Loney is somewhat of an odd player. Despite hitting .321/.372/.543 in 486 plate appearances across the 2006 and 2007 seasons for the Dodgers, his power output has resembled that of Placido Polanco lately. While a short supply of power isn’t always a death blow to success at first base, it usually means that the top notchiest of defensive ability is required to make up the difference. Loney realistically doesn’t fit that bill either. He might be smooth with the glove, and he might not have a glaring weakness such as Ryan Howard’s inability to throw a baseball, but it isn’t as if we’re talking about the first-base equivalent of Franklin Gutierrez or Jack Wilson here. Despite the shortcomings in his game, there is one area in which Loney has excelled, even if it is a stat kept only in my strange head: the ratio of RBI to home runs.

In 2008, Loney hit just 13 home runs but knocked in 90 runners. Last season, he did the exact same thing by launching 13 dingers and plating 90 runners. This season, he appears to be on pace for very similar numbers, as he hasnine home runs and 80 RBI. Recording that many RBI with so few home runs is one of those jarring parts on a batting line. It doesn’t really tell us anything revolutionary about a player, but it looks off, just like when an on-base percentage exceeds its slugging counterpart. A disproportionate number of RBI relative to home runs might suggest that we are dealing with more of a slap hitter who happens to come up with runners on very frequently, and if he were to be moved down in the order the ratio might decline. After all, Loney continues to bat in the middle of the order even if Martin Prado can out-homer him.

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September 8, 2010 8:00 am

Checking the Numbers: Triple Crown Update

11

Eric Seidman

Someone has replaced Prince Albert as the most likely to make history.

As September kicks into gear and the playoff races begin to heat up, another race is piquing the attention of a large population of baseball fans. The difference is that the race to which I am alluding is not assured of producing a winner. In fact, it has not produced a winner since 1967, when Carl Yasztremski led the American League on the mighty triumvirate of batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Leading the league in each of these categories in the same season is referred to as the Triple Crown, and for the first time in quite a while, there exists a strong possibility that the feat will be achieved. Say what you will about the relative merits of the batting average and RBI stats, but cliché saber-oriented rants aside, leading the league in all three is incredibly impressive.

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PITCHf/x shows that Tim Lincecum is in the midst of making a transition.

On the first day of September, Tim Lincecum dominated the Rockies, allowing just one run over eight innings. He walked one batter and tallied nine strikeouts. This was the prototypical Lincecum game in the previous two seasons and one that would produce more, “yeah, that looks about right” reactions than anything else. After all, Lincecum was a strikeout machine with impeccable control and a devastating fastball-curveball-changeup repertoire that kept hitters off-kilter. He won, and deserved, two straight National League Cy Young awards and was presumably not even at what would normally be considered a pitcher's peak. The 2010 season has been of a different variety for “The Freak,” however, and his great performance against the Rockies elicited a different reaction—a collective sigh of relief from the Giants’ faithful. See, at a very crucial juncture with the wild card within reach and the NL West seemingly up for grabs, Giants fans were more worried than confident that their ace would deliver the goods.

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September 3, 2010 11:15 am

Checking the Numbers: Who is the Best Switch-Hitter?

5

Eric Seidman

Players who shine from both sides of the plate are becoming rarer.

When Chipper Jones hit the disabled list following a spectacular play in the field, the biggest question was not when he would return, but if he would continue his career. If he decides to hang up his cleats when the Braves' season comes to a close, baseball would bid adieu to one of the best switch-hitters of all time.

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September 2, 2010 8:00 am

Seidnotes: A Streak of Myers

15

Eric Seidman

Brett Myers has put together an interesting string of starts in his first season with the Astros.

When the Astros signed Brett Myers to a low-risk contract as a free agent in the off-season, the type of reward that could potentially be had was unknown. Though the actual signing itself was about as predictable as the Nationals selecting Stephen Strasburg with the first overall pick in the amateur draft a few months earlier—Astros GM Ed Wade seems to religiously sign ex-Phillies or Phillies farmhands—Myers was coming off of a few fairly enigmatic seasons. From 2003-06, he seemed like the future of the Phillies' rotation, a big-framed and durable righty who threw hard and also featured nasty breaking stuff. He could miss bats and remain accurate with each of his offerings but was yet to overwhelm the opposition. He would not get a chance to take a step forward the following season, either.

Because of his bulldog attitude and nasty repertoire, as well as an injury to Tom Gordon, he spent the better portion of the 2007 season as the Phillies' closer, helping them reach the playoffs for the first time since 1993. The next season Myers returned to the rotation and produced league-average numbers across the board, before falling prey to the injury bug in 2009 and splitting time in the starting rotation and the bullpen. Suffice to say, inquiring minds were not sure what the future held for Myers, who had proven himself successful in both roles. All told, he entered the 2010 season as a 29-year old pitcher who had come nowhere near reaching his vast potential. Heck, Myers himself probably didn’t even know what interested suitors had in mind. In our 2010 Baseball Prospectus annual, we even derived a term to describe pitchers similar to Myers:

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September 1, 2010 8:00 am

Checking the Numbers: Simulating the Triple Crown

25

Eric Seidman

Albert Pujols and Joey Votto both have a chance at the first Triple Crown since 1967, if Omar Infante doesn't get in the way.

At the end of last week I wrote about the idea that a Triple Crown is not a far-fetched feat this season. Miguel Cabrera is very unlikely to supplant Josh Hamilton atop the American League batting leaderboard, but in the National League, sluggers Joey Votto and Albert Pujols find themselves ranked first or second in all three categories. To make matters more interesting, each is within striking distance of one another in the categories as well, meaning that over the next month we might bear witness to a race almost as noteworthy as that which centers on qualifying for post-season play. The main reason I argued that a Triple Crown could be achieved this year is that the number of specialists had declined; that is, there didn’t seem to be anyone running away with the batting title who didn’t hit home runs or knock runners in, and Ryan Howard was not going to mash 45-plus homers this season.

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August 27, 2010 8:00 am

Prospectus Perspective: He Who Shall be Crowned

12

Eric Seidman

No one has won the league batting, home run, and RBI titles in the same season since 1967, but that could change this year.

Baseball is a game of inches, but those inches help shape the numbers produced for each and every player. A line drive an inch more to the right of third base will elude the long arms of Ryan Zimmerman and result in a hit, and a big fly an inch to the left of the foul pole could be the difference between a loud strike and a walk-off win. In most cases, any type of luck based on inches is expected to wash out over the course of a season, but there are currently three players vying for the coveted Triple Crown in their respective leagues for whom the aforementioned liners and dingers could make all the difference in the world. These players are Miguel Cabrera in the American League and Central Division rivals Albert Pujols and Joey Votto in the National League.

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August 25, 2010 8:00 am

Checking the Numbers: The Second Tier

7

Eric Seidman

A rundown of the starting pitchers from both leagues who have been just a tick below the level of greatness this season.

In addition to being a baseball nut, I consider myself to be a movie buff. I used to work somewhat in the field and just love taking breaks from reality to watch Schwarzennegger make silly puns after beatings, Lee J. Cobb make his patented scowl, or even the wide array of characters that Richard Jenkins and Stephen Tobolowsky can play with ease. While thinking of all the wonderful pitching performances that have been on display this year, these two passions collided, and I was taken back to the 1994 Academy Awards. In that year’s ceremony—technically, it was held in 1995 to honor the movies of 1994—the best picture went to Forrest Gump.

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