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Rob Mains 

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05-25

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: You Gotta Love a Slugfest
by
Rob Mains

05-22

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: Detroit's Earthworm Preservation Society
by
Rob Mains

05-18

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20

Flu-Like Symptoms: A Taxing Problem
by
Rob Mains

05-15

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Worst Bullpen in Baseball
by
Rob Mains

05-11

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6

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Democratization of Dingers
by
Rob Mains

05-08

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Marlins' Rotation So Far
by
Rob Mains

05-03

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3

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Vogelsong Awards Return
by
Rob Mains

05-01

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: Judge-Ment
by
Rob Mains

04-27

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12

Flu-Like Symptoms: Blowin’ in the Wins (Part 2)
by
Rob Mains

04-24

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: Marte, McCutchen, and Foolish Consistencies
by
Rob Mains

04-20

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14

Flu-Like Symptoms: Wearing One
by
Rob Mains

04-17

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9

Flu-Like Symptoms: Blowin' In the Win
by
Rob Mains

04-13

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10

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Scary Consequence of the Strikeout Scourge
by
Rob Mains

04-10

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: Tracking Payroll Trends
by
Rob Mains

04-06

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8

Flu-Like Symptoms: Payrolls: It's All Relative
by
Rob Mains

04-03

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4

Flu-Like Symptoms: April's Biggest Lies
by
Rob Mains

03-30

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6

Flu-Like Symptoms: Extreme Makeover: American League Edition
by
Rob Mains

03-27

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3

Flu-Like Symptoms: Extreme Makeover: National League Edition
by
Rob Mains

03-23

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4

Flu-Like Symptoms: Has the Modern Bullpen Killed Late-Inning Comebacks? (Part Two)
by
Rob Mains

03-20

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0

BP Unfiltered: Enter the Vogelsong Awards Contest
by
Rob Mains

03-20

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: Has the Modern Bullpen Killed Late-Inning Comebacks? (Part One)
by
Rob Mains

03-17

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2

Looking Back on Tomorrow: Houston Astros
by
Rob Mains

03-16

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3

Flu-Like Symptoms: One Not-So-Fine Day: Reliever Edition
by
Rob Mains

03-14

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9

Looking Back on Tomorrow: Pittsburgh Pirates
by
Rob Mains

03-13

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35

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Strategic Argument Against the DH
by
Rob Mains

03-10

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4

Flu-Like Symptoms: Power and Speed
by
Rob Mains

03-06

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11

Flu-Like Symptoms: One Not-So-Fine Day
by
Rob Mains

03-01

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3

Flu-Like Symptoms: In (Restrained) Praise of Dave Stewart
by
Rob Mains

02-20

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9

Flu-Like Symptoms: Fit to be Tied
by
Rob Mains

02-16

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8

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Profitability Canard
by
Rob Mains

02-13

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9

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Year of the Balk
by
Rob Mains

02-09

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15

Flu-Like Symptoms: Slaying the Extra-Innings Dragon
by
Rob Mains

02-07

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16

Flu-Like Symptoms: PECOTA and Moving Markets
by
Rob Mains

02-06

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1

Flu-Like Symptoms: Counting Cardinals
by
Rob Mains

02-02

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: New Year's Resolutions: Team Hitting
by
Rob Mains

01-30

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: New Year's Resolutions: Team Pitching
by
Rob Mains

01-26

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: New Year's Resolutions: Command
by
Rob Mains

01-23

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: New Year's Resolutions: Control
by
Rob Mains

01-19

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: New Year's Resolutions: Pitchers' Plate Discipline
by
Rob Mains

01-16

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9

Flu-Like Symptoms: New Year's Resolutions: Hitters' Plate Discipline
by
Rob Mains

01-12

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3

Flu-Like Symptoms: New Year's Resolutions: Ground-ball Pitchers
by
Rob Mains

01-09

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3

Flu-Like Symptoms: New Year's Resolutions: Ground-ball Hitters
by
Rob Mains

01-05

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12

Flu-Like Symptoms: New Year's Resolutions: Going the Other Way
by
Rob Mains

12-28

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2

Best of BP 2016: One Entire Season Of Baseball From the 1970s
by
Rob Mains

12-24

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2

Transaction Analysis: Ivan to Stay in Pittsburgh
by
Rob Mains

12-20

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7

Flu-Like Symptoms: How Versatility Became Cool
by
Rob Mains

12-16

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17

Flu-Like Symptoms: Will the Owners Actually Spend Their Money?
by
Rob Mains

12-12

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10

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Compilers
by
Rob Mains

12-05

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: Pirates Postmortem
by
Rob Mains

11-29

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14

Flu-Like Symptoms: The World Series of Coin Flipping
by
Rob Mains

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How strikeouts put batters in harm's way.

In Monday’s Giants home opener, Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker hit Buster Posey in the head with a pitch in the first inning, forcing him from the game. Posey has been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list.

I’m not going to link to the pitch here. You can find it easily enough if you want to watch it. I don’t, because I find these plays terrifying. They speak to a concern of mine: That baseball is heading toward another Ray Chapman moment, or something close, and I don’t know what can be done to prevent it.

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April 10, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: Tracking Payroll Trends

2

Rob Mains

Looking for return on investment when teams pay up.

Last week, I wrote about team payrolls as a percentage of the league average. I found that the Royals have increased their payroll on a relative basis for six straight years, and the Orioles have done so for five straight. During the past three years, the teams that have grown their payroll the most are the surging Astros and Cubs. The teams that have cut theirs the most are the rebuilding Phillies, Brewers, and Reds. That was all interesting, if not completely unexpected (except maybe about the Royals and O’s).

The article was prompted by baseball analyst Sky Kalkman, who tweeted on April 4:

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April 6, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: Payrolls: It's All Relative

8

Rob Mains

Freespending Royals? Pennypinching Yankees? Maybe!

I enjoy writing about baseball, but sometimes it’s a struggle to come up with a topic. That’s why I’m thankful for Twitter.

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April 3, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: April's Biggest Lies

4

Rob Mains

The early-season narratives you need to ignore.

As long as I’m writing about baseball, there are eight articles you can assume I’ll post each year:

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March 30, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: Extreme Makeover: American League Edition

6

Rob Mains

You can't tell the players without a scorecard. Especially the Mariners.

On Monday, I introduced a new made-up statistic, the Change Index, to estimate how much each National League team’s hitters and pitchers are turning over. You can read all the details here, but to give you a précis, I compared actual 2016 plate appearances and innings pitched to the projections in the BP depth charts. I added the absolute values of every change (reductions in playing time and additions to playing time) and divided the result by two to get the mean. Then I calculated a Change Index equal to the change in plate appearances, plus 3.5 times the change in innings pitched, all divided by 50.

Again, you can click the link to see exactly how this calculation works and why I chose 3.5 for the pitching weight. But I do want to reiterate a caveat: Don’t take this too seriously. These numbers are highly speculative. Our playing time projections don’t anticipate unexpected injuries, or ineffectiveness, or improved play, or trades. We don’t even know all the 25-man rosters yet. (Projected depth charts used here are as of mid-day, March 29.) Nothing’s finalized, and even when it is, it’s only a guess.

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March 27, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: Extreme Makeover: National League Edition

3

Rob Mains

You can't tell the players without a scorecard.

Every season necessarily brings with it change. Players become old and ineffective and are replaced by promising rookies. The injured get healthy and the healthy get injured. Some players exit via trade, waiver, and release, and some arrive by the same routes. Turnover is inevitable.

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Tire-spinning, one inning at a time.

Note: This article, and the one that preceded it this week, is based on a presentation I made at the Society for American Baseball Research Analytics Conference in Phoenix this month. You can hear the audio here, and follow along with the slides here, should you desire. Fortunately, there is no video.

Part Two: The Legacy of the Modern Bullpen

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The best of the rest.

Last year, we established the Vogelsong Awards to honor the best players who didn not appear in the BP Annual. Every month, I identified one hitter and one pitcher whose performance earned them a Full Vogelsong Award. (There's also a Lineout Vogelsong Award for players whose Annual entry is only a short "lineout" at the end of each team summary.)

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Bullpens are better than ever, but comebacks aren't totally dead.

Note: This article (and the one that will follow it later this week) is based on a presentation I made at the Society for American Baseball Research Analytics Conference in Phoenix. You can hear the audio here, and follow along with the slides here, should you desire. Fortunately, there is no video.

Part One: The Modern Bullpen

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Houston is a small-market team no more.

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March 16, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: One Not-So-Fine Day: Reliever Edition

3

Rob Mains

Do really terrible appearances for relievers cloud their long-term outlooks?

Earlier this month, I wrote an article that was based on a post that Mitchel Lichtman (aka MGL), sabermetrician and co-author of The Book, wrote on his blog, MGL on Baseball. MGL explored the question—I’m quoting from his title here—“What does it mean when a pitcher has a few really bad starts that mess with his ERA?”

If you already read my initial post, or MGL’s, you can skip to the next paragraph. If not, MGL’s conclusion was, briefly, that if a starting pitcher has two or three really terrible starts—really terrible defined here as eight or more runs allowed in five or fewer innings—that contribute to a season-long runs against average (RA9) of 5.00 or higher, we’re likely to overshoot our projection of the pitcher’s ERA for the subsequent season by 0.2 or 0.3.

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Time to turn the page in Pittsburgh?

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