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Max Marchi 

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02-25

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15

BP Announcements: Another Analyst Gets the Call
by
Max Marchi

08-07

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21

The Stats Go Marching In: Is it Time to Lift the Ban on Left-Handed Catchers?
by
Max Marchi

06-13

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3

The Stats Go Marching In: Measuring Catcher Framing in the Minor Leagues
by
Max Marchi

05-16

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18

The Stats Go Marching In: Catcher Framing Before PITCHf/x
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Max Marchi

02-26

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4

The Stats Go Marching In: Who's Ahead of Whom?
by
Max Marchi

09-07

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7

The Stats Go Marching In: Four Questions for the Stretch Run
by
Max Marchi

08-24

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17

The Stats Go Marching In: Do Pitchers Forget How to Hit in the Minors?
by
Max Marchi

08-10

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7

Baseball at the Olympics
by
Max Marchi

07-27

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5

The Stats Go Marching In: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Barry Zito's Arm Slot
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Max Marchi

07-13

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14

The Stats Go Marching In: Catching Up with Catcher Rankings
by
Max Marchi

06-29

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3

The Stats Go Marching In: Should Pitchers Change Their Between-Innings Routine?
by
Max Marchi

06-15

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2

The Stats Go Marching In: Reaching Back for a Little Extra, Part Two
by
Max Marchi

05-25

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10

The Stats Go Marching In: Reaching Back for a Little Extra
by
Max Marchi

05-11

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1

The Stats Go Marching In: All About Velocity
by
Max Marchi

04-27

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5

The Stats Go Marching In: Scoring Runs, Revisited
by
Max Marchi

04-13

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13

The Stats Go Marching In: Bringing Back the Birdie Tebbetts Shift
by
Max Marchi

03-23

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5

The Stats Go Marching In: Exploring Starter Conversions
by
Max Marchi

03-09

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24

The Stats Go Marching In: The Hidden Helpers of the Pitching Staff
by
Max Marchi

02-27

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4

BP Unfiltered: The Artist is Moneymovie
by
Max Marchi

02-24

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9

The Stats Go Marching In: The Art of Handling the Pitching Staff
by
Max Marchi

02-10

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14

The Stats Go Marching In: What Are the Rays Expecting from Jose Molina?
by
Max Marchi

01-27

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20

BP Unfiltered: Marking My Debut
by
Max Marchi

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Do pitchers really throw harder in tight spots? And if so, how much velocity can they add?

In my last article, I explored the rich subject of pitch velocities. I tried to isolate the many factors influencing speed, from weather, to PITCHf/x calibration issues, to in-game situations.

One of the things I noted was that pitchers tend to throw (slightly) harder with runners on than they do with the bases empty. I had expected the contrary, since the full windup delivery should give the hurler some extra power. However, I reasoned that pitchers might reach back for something extra when they are in a tight spot, thus (more than) making up for the deficit due to the set position.

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Max examines all the factors that influence pitch velocity, lays out his simple and complex approaches to making PITCHf/x information more accurate, and determines how hard the Nationals are really throwing.

Cooling off the radar guns
No more calling Strasburg's 91 mph pitch a 'changeup'. It's disheartening to like 98% of the rest of us for whom 91 is a 'fastball'.—@BMcCarthy32

Everyone likes looking at radar guns.


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April 27, 2012 3:00 am

The Stats Go Marching In: Scoring Runs, Revisited

5

Max Marchi

If you want to estimate run-scoring accurately, what are all the factors you need to take into account?

The forces that influence run-scoring
As a reader of this site, you would be suspicious of any article that compared a starter’s ERA and a reliever’s ERA without making any adjustment for role: it has been shown several times (including by yours truly) that the luxury of pitching in short bursts and not having to face the same batters multiple times in a single outing significantly deflates relievers’ ERAs.

Similarly, we can’t model run-scoring on a team level without accounting for all the factors at play at any particular time. Many elements combine to shape the distribution of runs scored. Some of them are quite obvious, while others remain hidden until they’re exposed by the most brilliant analysts. In the following paragraphs, I’ll try to evaluate as many of those components as possible in an attempt to isolate their individual effects on offensive outcomes.


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The Rays have been willing to experiment with unorthodox defensive alignments, but are they ready to move an infielder to the outfield?

In 2010, Baseball Info Solutions began recording instances of defensive shifts. In the Fielding Bible III, they presented some data from the last couple of years: the Rays emerged as the team using special alignments most frequently, with a huge margin separating them from the clubs ranked just behind them.

While watching some of the action in the Rays’ Opening Day game against the Yankees, I came to the conclusion that BIS video scouts would have an easier time if they inverted their approach and marked down the instances when Tampa Bay does not play shifted.

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What can PITCHf/x tell us about how the switch to starting affects relievers, and what can we conclude about this spring's candidate for conversion?

About 10 days ago, Ben Lindbergh wrote about five pitchers who are expected to make the transition from the bullpen to the rotation, examining their chances of doing well in their new roles.

In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll have another look at data pertaining to this subject.

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Was Mike Piazza one of the best defensive catchers ever? How does catcher defense age? What effect do managers have on their pitching staffs, and do former catchers really make the best skippers? And how good was Leo Mazzone, really?

The best pitcher handlers since 1948
As I promised a couple of weeks ago, I’m going to take a look at the catchers who were best at handling their pitching staffs going back to 1948, the first year for which sufficient Retrosheet data is available.

I won’t describe my methods again here, since you can look at my previous article if you need a refresher. Suffice it to say that a With-Or-Without-You approach has been used here, and that the effect of the pitcher, batter, ballpark, and defense has been removed in order to evaluate that of the catcher.


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A short sabermetric take on last year's best picture, according to the Academy.

Thomas Langmann, producer of the movie The Artist, was heard speaking the following words before Academy Awards night.

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Quantifying the most elusive of catcher skills: game-calling.

While evaluating Jose Molina’s defensive skills a couple weeks ago, we were able to assign a run value to four aspects of catcher defense: blocking errant pitches, preventing the opposing team from stealing bases, fielding short batted balls, and inducing the home plate umpire to call a few extra borderline pitches.

However, we acknowledged that something had been left out. We often hear about how some catchers can improve their pitching staffs. Think about the praise Ivan Rodriguez received for handling a young crop of Marlins arms back in 2003, and how he was subsequently considered the perfect batterymate for Stephen Strasburg as the highly-regarded rookie first took to a major-league mound.

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A comprehensive look at catcher defense by BP's latest addition reveals that the Rays may be getting plenty of bang for their buck from their new backstop.

For more about Max, see his introductory post here.


At the end of the 2011 season, the Tampa Bay Rays declined catcher Kelly Shoppach’s $3.2 million option for 2012, setting him free to explore the market for his services. On November 28th, they signed Jose Molina as his replacement for one year and $1.8 million.


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Introducing our newest analyst and author, and our first regular contributor from across the pond.

Hi, I'm the new guy.

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