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Rob Mains 

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07-21

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7

Prospectus Roundtable: Should the Royals Buy or Sell?
by
Rob Mains, Ben Diamond, Craig Goldstein, Wilson Karaman, Matthew Trueblood and Zach Crizer

07-17

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18

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Boring Index
by
Rob Mains

07-10

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: What to Expect After the Break
by
Rob Mains

07-07

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: Flirting With Disaster?
by
Rob Mains

07-03

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2

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

06-29

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2

Flu-Like Symptoms: Running Relievers Ragged
by
Rob Mains

06-26

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: Defying the Odds
by
Rob Mains

06-22

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6

Flu-Like Symptoms: Giving 'Em LIP
by
Rob Mains

06-19

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: Singles Aren't Scoring Like They Used To
by
Rob Mains

06-15

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: Meanwhile, Down on the Farm
by
Rob Mains

06-12

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6

Flu-Like Symptoms: Jon Lester, Elite Running Game Suppressor
by
Rob Mains

06-08

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0

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Speed Aristocracy
by
Rob Mains

06-05

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8

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Golden Age of TOOTBLAN
by
Rob Mains

06-02

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3

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

05-31

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10

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Wishful Thinking of Andrew McCutchen
by
Rob Mains

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

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Ryan Theriot would be so proud.

On Thursday, May 11, there were only 11 games scheduled, and one of them, Baltimore at Washington, was rained out. Two of the remaining 10 games had notable endings.

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Honoring the best of the overlooked.

This monthly award is named in honor of Ryan Vogelsong who, in 2011:

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May 31, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Wishful Thinking of Andrew McCutchen

10

Rob Mains

Andrew McCutchen bouncing back seemed reasonable, but maybe it shouldn't have been.

Last year was a sad one for Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates. The team finished 78-83, 25 games behind the Cubs in the National League Central, breaking a streak of three straight postseason appearances (yes, as a Wild Card, but still). And one of the reasons for the downturn was the former MVP, who had hit .298/.388/.496 over his seven-year career in Pittsburgh. In 2016, the man whose 2015 BP Annual comment simply said, “Practically the perfect franchise player,” slumped to .256/.336/.430, all career lows.

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Two teams, double-digit runs, by decade.

Recently on Effectively Wild, listener Andrew emailed: “How many runs need to be scored in a game in order for it to be considered a slugfest? Is it strictly a runs thing? Do a certain amount of home runs need to be hit? Do both teams need to be doing the slugging?”

Hosts Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan kicked around the definition of a slugfest. They didn’t come up with a firm definition, though Lindbergh thought that both teams had to score double-digit runs.

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May 22, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: Detroit's Earthworm Preservation Society

2

Rob Mains

Tigers pitchers keep it in the air.

Balls hit in the air are one of the big stories of the 2017 season. A record number of them are going over the fence, but the larger narrative has been about how players are seeking to hit more balls in the air—elevate is the term of choice—with improved results. Ryan Zimmerman—nearly stick-a-fork-in-him done last year, MVP contender this year—is the poster child, but greater launch angles have been a theme throughout the game.

Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight has pointed out that this hasn’t necessarily benefited hitters, but it is, if nothing else, a thing. How big a thing? Well, through games of Saturday (all 2017 statistics in this article are through Saturday), 45.7 percent of batted balls have been hit on the ground this year, compared to 46.1 percent in 2016, which in turn was lower than 2015’s 47.0 percent. So far this year, batters are hitting ground balls at the lowest rate since 2011.

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May 18, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: A Taxing Problem

20

Rob Mains

Do high taxes drive away athletes?

The Wall Street Journal op-ed section is not known for its fondness for taxes. So it wasn’t a surprise, at least in terms of the editorial board’s predilections, to see this headline earlier this month: “Tax Rates and Professional Losers: A new study says high taxes could cost your team a championship.”

I’ve included a link, but the article is behind the WSJ’s paywall, so I’ll summarize the argument for non-subscribers. The key paragraph:

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And it may not be the Tigers.

The Tigers' bullpen allowed a 5.71 ERA through Saturday. That’s bad. It blew eight saves. That’s bad too. It allowed 38 percent of inherited runners to score, which is bad, particularly since it inherited 56 of them (the MLB average is 49). It allowed an .819 OPS, 5.19 FIP, and 5.64 DRA. Let me go through those figures one at a time. They are bad, bad, and bad, respectively.

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A rising home run rate, a falling Gini coefficient.

Many baseball fans know that in 1927, Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs. Lou Gehrig hit 47. The Cubs’ Hack Wilson hit 30, as did the Phillies’ Cy Williams. The Giants’ Rogers Hornsby hit 26, and his teammate Bill Terry had 20. That’s it—nobody else hit 20 or more round-trippers.

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May 8, 2017 6:00 am

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Marlins' Rotation So Far

0

Rob Mains

Replacing the irreplaceable.

Eric Roseberry, who writes for our fantasy team, hosts a podcast called On Baseball Writing. Counterintuitively, the topic is writing about baseball. I’m not writing this to plug the podcast (though it’s really good!), but to point out that in January, Eric interviewed Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs. He asked Carson one of his standard questions about how to get started in baseball writing, to which Carson replied: “Start your own dumb blog.”

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Honoring the best of the overlooked.

Baseball has an affinity for awards with names, dating back to the Chalmers Award. The predecessor of the Most Valuable Player Award, the Chalmers Award was named after a car company, Chalmers Automobile, and was given annually from 1910 to 1914, with the inaugural award fomenting one of the biggest controversies in the game’s history.

There have been a number of other awards named after prominent players. The Cy Young Award dates back to 1956 and, true to its namesake, has often been awarded to the pitcher with the most wins and the 60th-best ERA. The Roberto Clemente Award, named after the Pirates outfielder and humanitarian, honors the player “that shows the most sportsmanship and kindness,” including Pete Rose (1976), Steve Garvey (1981), Sammy Sosa (1998), and Curt Schilling (2001).

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The Yankees rookie isn't just about dingers and dives.

The Yankees have been a pleasant surprise so far this year. Yes, I know, I’m the guy who has written, more than once, that April numbers shouldn’t be trusted. And they shouldn’t. But they’re also irreversible. The Bombers ended the month 15-8, tied with the Orioles for the best record in the American League. Going into play Sunday, our Playoff Odds Report gave the Yankees a 51 percent chance of making the postseason. Only Houston, Cleveland, and Boston currently sport higher odds in the American League. That’s not bad for a team PECOTA expected to finish below .500 and in fourth place.

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April 27, 2017 6:00 am

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

12

Rob Mains

What kind of team allows a lot of blown saves?

Last week, I looked at teams that are charged with two or more blown saves in a game. The conclusion was that the number of games with multiple blown saves is increasing, and that increase is largely due to more relievers per game (currently averaging over three per team), creating more opportunities for blown saves. (There, I just spared you reading 1,300 words).

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