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Matt Swartz 

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11-20

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The BP Wayback Machine: How to Make Up a Good Trade Rumor
by
Matt Swartz

06-07

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The BP Wayback Machine: The Source of the AL's Superiority
by
Matt Swartz

04-27

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18

Ahead in the Count: Expanded Playoffs, Expanded Salaries
by
Matt Swartz

03-31

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6

Between The Numbers: Projected Standings and Actual Performance
by
Matt Swartz

03-14

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36

Ahead in the Count: Battle for the Beltway
by
Matt Swartz

01-27

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21

Ahead in the Count: Testing SIERA
by
Matt Swartz

01-17

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Ahead in the Count: Situational Pitching
by
Matt Swartz

12-31

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6

Ahead in the Count: What Home Teams Do Better
by
Matt Swartz

12-20

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14

Ahead in the Count: A Pitch for Joe Blanton
by
Matt Swartz

12-16

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15

Ahead in the Count: Home Runs, Fly Balls, and Popups
by
Matt Swartz

12-15

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27

Ahead in the Count: Ground-ballers: Better than You Think
by
Matt Swartz

12-03

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22

Ahead in the Count: Home Sweet Home Advantage
by
Matt Swartz

12-01

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15

Ahead in the Count: So How Good are MVPs Really?
by
Matt Swartz

11-11

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15

Ahead in the Count: Are the Adjusted Standings Underselling Your Team?
by
Matt Swartz

11-01

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World Series Prospectus: Game Five Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-31

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World Series Prospectus: Game Four Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-30

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World Series Prospectus: Game Three Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-28

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World Series Prospectus: Game Two Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-27

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World Series Prospectus: Game One Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-23

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Playoff Prospectus: NLCS Game Six Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-22

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Playoff Prospectus: ALCS Game Six Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-21

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Playoff Prospectus: Thursday NLCS Game Five Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-20

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8

Playoff Prospectus: Wednesday LCS Pitching Matchups
by
Matt Swartz

10-19

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Playoff Prospectus: Tuesday LCS Pitching Matchups
by
Matt Swartz

10-18

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Playoff Prospectus: Monday ALCS Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-17

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Playoff Prospectus: Sunday NLCS Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-16

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Playoff Prospectus: Saturday LCS Matchups
by
Matt Swartz

10-15

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Playoff Prospectus: Friday ALCS Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-12

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Playoff Prospectus: Tuesday LDS Pitching Matchups
by
Matt Swartz

10-11

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Playoff Prospectus: Monday LDS Pitching Matchup
by
Matt Swartz

10-10

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Playoff Prospectus: Sunday LDS Pitching Matchups
by
Matt Swartz

10-09

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Playoff Prospectus: Saturday LDS Pitching Matchups
by
Matt Swartz

10-08

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Playoff Prospectus: Friday LDS Pitching Matchups
by
Matt Swartz

10-07

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Playoff Prospectus: Thursday LDS Pitching Matchups
by
Matt Swartz

10-06

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Playoff Prospectus: Wednesday LDS Pitching Matchups
by
Matt Swartz

10-01

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4

Ahead in the Count: Pitch Data and Walks
by
Matt Swartz

09-24

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12

Ahead in the Count: Predicting Strikeouts with Whiff and Swing Rates
by
Matt Swartz

09-17

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13

Ahead in the Count: High BABIPs and True Skill Level
by
Matt Swartz

09-10

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19

Ahead in the Count: The Biggest ERA-SIERA Divides of 2010
by
Matt Swartz

09-03

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43

Ahead in the Count: Sabermetric Teams and Sabermetric Scouting
by
Matt Swartz

08-27

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43

Ahead in the Count: The Clutch and The Shifted
by
Matt Swartz

08-26

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35

Prospectus Perspective: Acting Like Thieves or Rational Agents?
by
Matt Swartz

08-17

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Ahead in the Count: Only Two Games Worse
by
Matt Swartz and Eric Seidman

08-06

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30

Ahead in the Count: The 2010 Trade Deadline
by
Matt Swartz

07-30

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12

Ahead in the Count: The Poor Return on Dan Haren
by
Matt Swartz

07-23

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28

Ahead in the Count: Buyers and Sellers
by
Matt Swartz

07-16

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Ahead in the Count: Why You Can Go for the Gold Ball and the Silver Trophy
by
Matt Swartz

07-14

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Ahead in the Count: Three Eras of All-Star Voting
by
Matt Swartz

07-08

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21

Ahead in the Count: Trading The Prince
by
Matt Swartz

07-02

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23

Ahead in the Count: Why Baseball Needs a Draft Lottery
by
Matt Swartz

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Seven simple rules to make your Hot Stove trade rumors more realistic.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

Matt Swartz offered a handy rumormongering primer in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as an "Ahead in the Count" column on November 17, 2009.

Read the full article...

Will the new CBA's draft system kill the AL's edge?

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

Matt identified a draft-related edge for the AL that the current CBA could endanger in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as an "Ahead in the Count" column on April 29, 2010.

Read the full article...

Team owners should think twice before approving an expanded playoff structure, since it might be only the players who'll profit.

Bud Selig recently admitted that owners and players are likely to reach an agreement to add two teams to the post-season schedule for 2012, allowing an extra wild-card match-up of one or three games to precede the divisional round. This measure may seem like it would result in extra cash for owners—in fact, that has been widely cited as the reason for its inception—but perhaps counterintuitively, it will likely fatten players’ wallets far more.

Read the full article...

A quick reminder of how teams have fared in the past as compared with their projected records.

I decided to take off work for my day job tomorrow for a religious holiday. Yes, I belong to the Church of Baseball—how can I be asked to work on a day like tomorrow? Tomorrow is a time to focus on the important things in life, and for me, this is a mixture of baseball and its statistics. It’s a time to finally watch nine men stroll out onto green grass and officially move the baseline of the expectations that my colleagues at Baseball Prospectus and I have been zeroing in on since the Giants ran on to the field to celebrate their 2010 World Championship. With the release of our final version of the PECOTA-Projected Standings on the Depth Charts page for 2011, I am reminded of an article that I wrote last September called Sabermetric Teams and Sabermetric Scouting. In that piece, I discussed how teams have done as compared with their projected standings over the past five years.

My most interesting finding was that teams that were perceived by Baseball Prospectus Staff to incorporate more from sabermetrics into their front office’s decision-making tended to under-perform their PECOTA-projected records. This was interesting, because it suggested the importance of contextualizing what statistics suggest, and even Major League Baseball clubs miss the same information that our analysts miss as well. However, these sabermetrically inclined teams also fared better overall relative to clubs with similar payrolls that were less sabermetrically inclined, which also highlights the importance of listening to what analysts like us have to say!

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March 14, 2011 9:00 am

Ahead in the Count: Battle for the Beltway

36

Matt Swartz

In the Nationals' and Orioles' battle for the local fan base, the team that blinks first may stand to gain the most.

This past month, I moved back up I-95 from Washington to Philadelphia, where I’d spent all but the previous eighteen months of my life. There has been only one major-league franchise in the City of Brotherly Love since the Athletics forsook Philly in 1955, but as I discovered during my sojourn in the District, many baseball fans in the DC area have been torn between the Baltimore Orioles, for whom many of them grew up cheering, and the Washington Nationals, who emigrated from Montreal in 2005. Neither team has been good during their years of geographic coexistence, and the metropolitan area has not seen a playoff game since 1997, but both teams have slowly begun to develop the young talent necessary to compete. Although animosity stemming from Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ opposition to a Washington franchise has cost the O’s some fans, many in the DC area have yet to determine their allegiance.

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Did SIERA beat xFIP in 2010?

When Eric Seidman and I introduced SIERA last winter, we ran a number of tests to determine if our theoretical foundation of run prevention led to a superior estimation of pitchers’ skill levels. While SIERA had a solid advantage at predicting future ERA over some ERA estimators and a last decimal-point small lead over xFIP, we ran the tests again after 2010 to ensure that it held a lead going forward. Although the regression formula did not incorporate future ERAs and should not have been biased, it's still important to test the following year to see how well SIERA held up.

Read the full article...

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January 17, 2011 10:00 am

Ahead in the Count: Situational Pitching

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Matt Swartz

Are pitchers able to apply certain skills when a game calls for it?

One of the pitchers I enjoyed watching the most while I was growing up was Tom Glavine. Even though I was a Phillies fan and frequently saw him victimize my favorite team, I was impressed by the expertise he demonstrated on the mound, and how he perfected his craft. Glavine remains the premier example of a pitcher who out-pitched his peripheral statistics; he was greater than the sum of his parts. For the amount of strikeouts, walks, and ground balls that Glavine got in his career, he should never have been able to keep runs off the scoreboard as well as he did.

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December 31, 2010 9:00 am

Ahead in the Count: What Home Teams Do Better

6

Matt Swartz

Home teams are winning their games at an increased rate over the last few years, but is it a trend that's likely to continue?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how home teams had improved their performance in the last three years. After winning about 54 percent of games consistently for the last 60 years, home teams have won 55.5 percent of games in the last three seasons. Although it is just a 1.5 percent increase, there has not been a three-year period with home team winning percentage this high in 60 years, so there may be a noticeable reason for the shift.

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December 20, 2010 9:00 am

Ahead in the Count: A Pitch for Joe Blanton

14

Matt Swartz

Is the Phillies' right-hander an undervalued commodity?

From the ashes of the Tweet-pocalypse of rumors that culminated in Cliff Lee’s surprise five-year deal with the Phillies, there arose another batch of rumors about how the Phillies would make room for Lee’s salary. The Phillies are now committed to spend about $163 million in 2011 based on their current roster, which is $21 million more than they spent in 2010. The Phillies have made it known that they are trying to move salary to make this work, and it is no secret that they are trying to move Joe Blanton.

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Using DIPS Theory to understand a pitcher's skills.

I have always loved pitchers’ duels. One of my favorite childhood baseball memories is watching Curt Schilling throw a complete game shutout for the Phillies in a 2-0 win against the Blue Jays in Game Five of the 1993 World Series, with the Phillies facing elimination. I was only 12 years old at the time, and I did not know anything about sabermetrics, but Schilling appeared majestic as he pitched yet another brilliant start in what would become a magnificent playoff career. He only surrendered five singles that night and extended the series one more day.

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December 15, 2010 9:00 am

Ahead in the Count: Ground-ballers: Better than You Think

27

Matt Swartz

Ground-ball pitchers have several skills that traditional statistics do not account for.

There are two more important reasons why Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average's (SIERA) is so successful at predicting the following year's ERA. First, most other Defense-Independent Pitching Statistics, like FIP and xFIP, assume that pitchers have no control over their Batting Average on Ball in Play (BABIP), but we know that they do have some control. I have shown before that pitchers with high strikeout totals and low ground-ball rates tend to allow fewer hits per ball in play, and thus lower BABIPs. Of course, BABIP is subject to so much luck that it is nearly impossible to discern a pitcher's true ability to prevent hits on balls in play from his historical BABIP. That is why last year's FIP is much better at predicting this year's ERA than last year's ERA is. It strips ERA of BABIP (and sequencing) altogether and assumes league-average BABIP for all pitchers and random sequencing.

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December 3, 2010 9:00 am

Ahead in the Count: Home Sweet Home Advantage

22

Matt Swartz

Why are home teams winning more now than in previous eras?

When I wrote my five-part series on home-field advantage in 2009, I noticed that it had been steady at about 54 percent for over half a century. It was 53.9 percent in the 1950s, 54.0 percent in the ‘60s, 53.8 percent in the ‘70s, 54.1 percent in the ’80s, 53.5 percent in the ‘90s, and 54.2 percent in the 2000s. However, in the last three years, we have seen home teams win 55.5 percent of the 7,288 games played, a very statistically significant difference. Does this suggest that a large change has actually taken place, or is it just a coincidence? If a change has taken place, what is causing it?

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