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07-15

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Painting the Black: What to Watch When You're Not Watching Your Watch
by
R.J. Anderson

07-09

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4

Painting the Black: Under My Urshela
by
R.J. Anderson

07-02

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3

Painting the Black: #HugWatch2015: The Huggees
by
R.J. Anderson

06-25

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3

Painting the Black: #HugWatch2015
by
R.J. Anderson

06-18

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4

Painting the Black: Mr. Burns Runs Afoul
by
R.J. Anderson

06-11

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2

Painting the Black: Throw, Throw, Throw
by
R.J. Anderson

06-04

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Painting the Black: A Pleasant Odorizzi
by
R.J. Anderson

05-28

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12

Painting the Black: Stealing Signs
by
R.J. Anderson

05-14

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3

Painting the Black: Why Taijuan Walker Has Thus Far Failed
by
R.J. Anderson

05-08

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1

Painting the Black: This Year's Eephus
by
R.J. Anderson

05-01

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2

Painting the Black: Truth-Testing TRAA
by
R.J. Anderson

04-24

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4

Painting the Black: No D In Desmond?
by
R.J. Anderson

04-17

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1

Painting the Black: Pedro Alvarez's Trip From Worst to First
by
R.J. Anderson

04-07

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8

Painting the Black: Who Are These Guys?
by
R.J. Anderson

03-25

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4

Painting the Black: Getting Personal
by
R.J. Anderson

03-18

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1

Painting the Black: The Anti-Kershaw
by
R.J. Anderson

02-26

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Painting the Black: The Other Side of PECOTA's Crush on the Rays
by
R.J. Anderson

02-19

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13

Painting the Black: The Last Shall Be First
by
R.J. Anderson

02-11

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7

Painting the Black: The Best 2015 Free Agents Left, And Where They Fit
by
R.J. Anderson

02-09

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1

Painting the Black: Pitch Sequencing, From Z to Y
by
R.J. Anderson

12-02

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6

Painting the Black: The Ones That Sabean Let Get Away
by
R.J. Anderson

11-04

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32

Painting the Black: The Free Agent 50
by
R.J. Anderson

10-30

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2

Painting the Black: That Time We All Hated the Mike Morse Signing
by
R.J. Anderson

09-25

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2

Painting the Black: How David Price Gets The Best of Jose Abreu
by
R.J. Anderson

09-18

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14

Painting the Black: The Plightin' Showalters
by
R.J. Anderson

09-10

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4

Painting the Black: Bless Da 40
by
R.J. Anderson

09-05

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3

Painting the Black: The Short Lifespan of a Pinch-Hit AB
by
R.J. Anderson

08-22

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6

Painting the Black: A Marlins Fastball, A Twins Approach
by
R.J. Anderson

08-15

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5

Painting the Black: Danny Duffy's Bestie
by
R.J. Anderson

08-08

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7

Painting the Black: Seven Days with Oscar
by
R.J. Anderson

07-24

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7

Painting the Black: The Selling-the-Closer Myth
by
R.J. Anderson

07-17

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1

Painting the Black: The Stealth Steals
by
R.J. Anderson

07-10

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2

Painting the Black: Book Review: The Art of Scouting
by
R.J. Anderson

06-30

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22

Painting the Black: The Trade Deadline Preview
by
R.J. Anderson

06-25

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4

Painting the Black: Red Sox Playing Badly, Playing Bradley
by
R.J. Anderson

06-16

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0

Painting the Black: Lessons of a Bad Basestealer
by
R.J. Anderson

06-04

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1

Painting the Black: How to Slow Down Dee Gordon
by
R.J. Anderson

05-27

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3

Painting the Black: Rebuilding a Right Way
by
R.J. Anderson

05-20

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Painting the Black: The Werth-Case Outcome
by
R.J. Anderson

05-16

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4

Painting the Black: Bullish on Dozier
by
R.J. Anderson

05-09

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3

Painting the Black: Go Fix Yourself, San Diego
by
R.J. Anderson

05-07

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13

Painting the Black: Rites of Springer
by
R.J. Anderson

05-02

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8

Painting the Black: A Trip Through the NL West
by
R.J. Anderson

04-29

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9

Painting the Black: Singles Falling Steady
by
R.J. Anderson

04-23

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1

Painting the Black: Some Things Brewing
by
R.J. Anderson

04-18

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5

Painting the Black: Super Twoing
by
R.J. Anderson

04-14

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6

Painting the Black: Portents for the Imports of Importance
by
R.J. Anderson

04-10

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9

Painting the Black: (B.J.) Upton No Good
by
R.J. Anderson

04-04

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6

Painting the Black: Nathan Eovaldi and the Jarrod Saltalamacchia Effect
by
R.J. Anderson

03-31

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Painting the Black: The Mystery Men of Opening Day
by
R.J. Anderson

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Eight teams are already out of the playoff race, but there are still reasons to watch.

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then by Friday even the fans of the eight teams without a realistic shot at the postseason (read: less than a 5 percent chance) should be overjoyed to see their clubs resume play. But with two and a half months until the playoffs, those fans will need more than a shot of elation to hold their attention; they'll need to focus on someone doing something in order to endure what remains of a lost season. So let's find a subplot worthy of tracking for each team that is no longer included in the season's main narrative. (Teams are listed in descending order of their playoff odds.)

San Diego Padres
Record
: 41–49
Projected wins: 77
Playoff odds: 2.0 percent
Storyline worth watching: A.J. Preller's next wave of deals will determine the main intrigue in San Diego, but here's a secondary concern for those out west: Kevin Quackenbush. Funny name, questionable beard, and polarizing profile aside, Quackenbush finished the first half with 27 innings and zero home runs allowed. (Milwaukee's Michael Blazek has the most innings of anybody who has yet to give up a homer with 45 2/3.) You might think Quackenbush is nearing signature significance with each inning, yet in San Diego that hasn't been the case. The other Padres since the last round of expansion to complete a season with more than 25 innings and zero baseballs lost, Sean O'Sullivan (2013) and Kevin Cameron (2007), didn't enjoy Made Man status or even a hint of big-league success following their seeming trademark efforts. Presuming Quackenbush isn't prone to superstition or confusing correlation with causation, he'll try to join that not-so-select company in the coming months.





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July 9, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Under My Urshela

4

R.J. Anderson

The Indians weren't supposed to have a good defense, but then they called up Giovanny Urshela and Francisco Lindor

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July 2, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: #HugWatch2015: The Huggees

3

R.J. Anderson

R.J. and Randy put their heads together to figure out where the top 10 trade targets will be going in the next month.

Last week we looked at the sellers and who they could place on the market. This week let's examine and rank the top 10 trade targets, as well as guess at where they could be headed.

A few notes: Players perceived as more likely to be traded during the offseason (e.g. Cole Hamels and Troy Tulowitzki) were not included in the process. Randy's predictions were formed using a random number generator and assigning numbers to each team with a greater than 15 percent shot at making the postseason. Its projections are (obviously) void of reason. Lastly, players are discussed in descending order of their expected value.

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June 25, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: #HugWatch2015

3

R.J. Anderson

Which teams are likely to be sellers, and who are they going to sell?

With the trade deadline just five weeks away, it's time to preview the forthcoming dealings. To do so, let's take a look at the plausible sellers—defined here as the nine teams that entered the week with a losing record and less than a 10 percent chance at cracking the postseason—their perceived strategy and which players they could and could not put on the market. (The teams are ordered alphabetically.)

Arizona Diamondbacks

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June 18, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Mr. Burns Runs Afoul

4

R.J. Anderson

Billy Burns has a very particular set of skills, which set includes fouling off pitches.

Billy Burns must be tired of the word grinder and its relatives, having heard them all throughout his career. Such diction is often reserved for short players, like the 5-foot-9 Burns, or those with otherwise unimpressive physiques—hence their now-pejorative nature. But sometimes a player is called a grinder based on merit. Such is the case with Burns, who deserves the label for legitimate baseball reasons, as opposed to having the heart of a hummingbird. Burns is a grinder in the sense that he annoys pitchers by fouling off put-away attempts, disrupting pitch counts and tempers. He has a statistical claim on the title, too, having entered the week with the highest percentage of fouls per two-strike swings:

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June 11, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Throw, Throw, Throw

2

R.J. Anderson

Down through the stats of old St. Nick (Martinez)

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June 4, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: A Pleasant Odorizzi

0

R.J. Anderson

Jake Odorizzi made a leap last year and turned the corner this year -- how?

If Jake Odorizzi's 2014 established that a pitcher's fortune can change with his grip, then Odorizzi's 2015 is confirming improvement doesn't always arrive at once.

Odorizzi has been one of the game's best-performing starters through the season's first two months, according to BP's new pitcher WARP, derived from DRA. Odorizzi exited his most recent start ranked sixth in the majors, better than teammate Chris Archer, ex-teammate David Price, and Trevor Bauer—whom rumor holds the Rays were close to acquiring in a three-team trade for James Shields before later settling on the package that netted Odorizzi and ... well, you know.

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May 28, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Stealing Signs

12

R.J. Anderson

Wil Myers had the Diamondbacks' signs; can you get them?

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Two-pitch pitchers can succeed, but not when they work like Taijuan Walker has.

So far the Mariners have been one of the season's biggest disappointments. At 15-17, they sit closer to last place than first—a position echoed by their -13 run differential, the second worst in the division. Naturally, Seattle's roster houses numerous underachievers. Felix Hernandez and Nelson Cruz have been excellent, but haven't outweighed the slow starts of Robinson Cano, Austin Jackson, and Fernando Rodney, nor the struggles of Mike Zunino, Brad Miller, Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley, James Paxton, and . . . well, just about every non-royal homegrown player on the roster.

Taijuan Walker's performance might be the least fulfilling of the drafted-and-developed bunch. After six turns through the rotation, Walker has the highest DRA among big-league starting pitchers. His Game Scores have been (in order): 7, 29, 60, 67, 12, and 49—or more bad than good, and more scattered than fixed. Old stats tell the same tale. Walker has not flourished like a cockatoo in a birdbath; instead he's languished to the point of allowing 27 runs and 39 hits in 27 2/3 innings.

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May 8, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: This Year's Eephus

1

R.J. Anderson

Alfredo Simon has an eephus. But does it suck?

If any belief has been affirmed over the past week, it's that athletic excellence is not reserved for upstanding citizens.

Alfredo Simon exemplifies this truth in baseball. Simon's legal history makes him perhaps the least endearing player on a big-league roster. In 2011, he was charged with (then acquitted of) involuntary manslaughter arising from a shooting death. More recently, he was sued by a woman who says he assaulted and raped her in April 2013.

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Lance Lynn has one of the lowest Takeoff Rates in baseball. Credit him, not just his catcher.

For as unpredictable as April was—the Mets and Astros are in first place! A.J. Pierzynski is out-hitting Mike Trout! Devon Travis is the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year!—it's refreshing and, in a sense, validating that some things we held as near-facts remained true. Take Lance Lynn.

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What the heck is up with next winter's top free agent shortstop?

Ian Desmond is a confident individual. He established that during the winter by rejecting an extension worth $107 million in order to pursue a greater prospect—the chance to hit the open market at age 30 as the best shortstop available. So five months later, why does Desmond look out of place on the field? And should his prospective suitors share in his uneasiness?

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