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02-02

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Crooked Numbers: You Stay Classy, San Diego
by
James Click

01-12

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Crooked Numbers: More Hilbert Questions
by
James Click

01-05

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Crooked Numbers: Double Play Thursday
by
James Click

12-29

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Crooked Numbers: The Numbers You Saw
by
James Click

12-22

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Crooked Numbers: Value Over Replacement Column
by
James Click

12-15

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Crooked Numbers: Deviation from Standards
by
James Click

12-01

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Crooked Numbers: Plop Plop Fizz Fizz
by
James Click

11-17

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Crooked Numbers: What Were They Thinking?
by
James Click

11-10

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Crooked Numbers: Today's Oxymoron Is Free Agents
by
James Click

11-03

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Crooked Numbers: Homeland Defense
by
James Click

10-27

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Crooked Numbers: Taking Advantage
by
James Click

10-19

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Crooked Numbers: An Appreciation
by
James Click

10-13

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Crooked Numbers: In Need of Relief
by
James Click

10-06

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Crooked Numbers: Crappy Odds
by
James Click

09-29

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Crooked Numbers: Still Not Clutch
by
James Click

09-22

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Crooked Numbers: Popping the Clutch
by
James Click

09-16

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Crooked Numbers: No Team without M-E
by
James Click

09-08

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Crooked Numbers: The Bull in the Pen
by
James Click

09-01

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Crooked Numbers: In Reverse
by
James Click

08-25

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Crooked Numbers: Going Streaking
by
James Click

08-18

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Crooked Numbers: Royal Flush
by
James Click

08-12

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Crooked Numbers: The A's Take Over
by
James Click

08-11

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Crooked Numbers: Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200
by
James Click

08-04

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Crooked Numbers: Objects at Rest
by
James Click

07-28

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Crooked Numbers: Stopped Short
by
James Click

07-21

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Crooked Numbers: There's no 'D' In Cincinnati
by
James Click

07-14

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Crooked Numbers: Subroutines
by
James Click

07-07

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Crooked Numbers: Un-Stars
by
James Click

06-30

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Crooked Numbers: Left Wing Conspiracy
by
James Click

06-23

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Crooked Numbers: Seeing Red
by
James Click

06-16

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Crooked Numbers: The Bronx Defense
by
James Click

06-10

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Crooked Numbers: Protons:Electrons::Swinging:Looking
by
James Click

06-02

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Crooked Numbers: Eight Is Enough
by
James Click

05-26

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Crooked Numbers: Saving for Another Day
by
James Click

05-19

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Crooked Numbers: Getting Bigger All the Time
by
James Click

05-12

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Crooked Numbers: Are 'Roids the Reason
by
James Click

05-05

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Crooked Numbers: Do Not Pass Go
by
James Click

04-28

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Crooked Numbers: The Ivy is Always Greener...
by
James Click

04-21

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Crooked Numbers: April Fools
by
James Click

04-14

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Crooked Numbers: Sizing Up Small Sample Size
by
James Click

04-07

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Crooked Numbers: On the Run
by
James Click

03-31

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Crooked Numbers: Neither Snow Nor Sleet...
by
James Click

03-24

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Crooked Numbers: Whiff or Whiff-Out You
by
James Click

03-17

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Crooked Numbers: Wild Wild West
by
James Click

03-10

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Crooked Numbers: The Only Constant Is Change
by
James Click

03-03

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Crooked Numbers: The Morning After
by
James Click

02-24

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Crooked Numbers: More on the Lineup
by
James Click

02-17

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Crooked Numbers: Playing With the Lineup
by
James Click

02-10

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Crooked Numbers: More Time in the Park
by
James Click

02-03

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Crooked Numbers: Park Effects on Pitcher Types
by
James Click

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July 28, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Stopped Short

0

James Click

James Click takes a closer at this year's regrettable crop of National League shortstops.

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July 21, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: There's no 'D' In Cincinnati

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James Click

How are the Reds progressing in their quest to be the worst defensive team since 1972? And what other surprises lurk inside our Defensive Efficiency numbers?

At Baseball Prospectus, we spend a lot of time reminding ourselves and others not to read too much into small sample sizes. Joe Sheehan said it best early last year: "It's too easy to lose sight of the fact that we just don't have enough information to go on, and to inflate the importance of a frighteningly small sample of games." But we all like talking about baseball, about Brian Roberts hitting .375/.455/.719 in April, about the Yankees' demise, and about the A's struggles, so we talk about them as best we can with constant small-sample-size caveats echoing in the background.

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July 14, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Subroutines

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James Click

James wonders if there's anything to the myth that players hit better when playing their natural positions.

Baseball players are creatures of habit and superstition. Any quick viewing of Bull Durham ("If you believe you're playing well because you're wearing women's underwear, then you are") or a handshake with Moises Alou will tell you that. But it's something that can also be easily disregarded when making personnel decisions.

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July 7, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Un-Stars

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James Click

In the long history of the All-Star Game, there have been some really marginal players who have made the cut. Here are the worst.

In an unusual coincidence, players and fans have publicly agreed on the All-Star teams--or the starters, at least--this year, marking one of the first years in which the media and players haven't struck up a magnificent din in response to perceived slights or favoritisms. Sure, some deserving players like Morgan Ensberg are missing, but whereas in the past players like Nomar Garciaparra or Barry Bonds may have been elected despite their injuries or complete absence, this year fans elected a largely deserving crew of exciting and talented players.

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June 30, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Left Wing Conspiracy

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James Click

Why is it that so many of the greatest hitters of all time bat from the left side of the plate? Is there more than just their platoon advantage? James takes a swing at an answer.

Towards the end of last season, I was digging up some data involving platoon splits and noticed that back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the number of lefty-lefty matchups was a lot higher than it is now. That led to an article showing that left-handed pitchers are pitching a significantly smaller percentage of the available innings (or PAs) than they were just 10 to 15 years ago. In 1991 nearly 34 percent of PAs were against LHPs; in 2002, it was under 24 percent.

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June 23, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Seeing Red

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James Click

The woes in Cincinnati don't start in the dugout. They start on the mound, and in the front office.

Continuing BP's theme of "What's in the water in Ohio?", today is all about picking apart and picking on the Cincinnati Reds, the same team identified as quite possibly the worst defensive team since the 1979 A's buttered their fingers. Yesterday morning, the Reds were sitting at the bottom of the NL Central at 28-43, the only sixth place team in baseball. They finally figured out what to do with that nasty fourth outfielder problem by demoting Austin Kearns, Danny Graves was released, and resident pitching ace Paul Wilson is out for the season. Things have gotten so bad that they had to fire their manager, a step usually reserved for teams about to be contracted or countries losing global thermonuclear wars.

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June 16, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: The Bronx Defense

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James Click

The Yankees' defense is bad, but it's not the worst in the game this year. James has the low down on who just can't catch the ball.

Most Yankee fans aren't as reasonable as Joe Sheehan. It's not their fault; the media coverage of the Bronx Bombers is relentless to the point of suffocation. It's difficult to tune out the crescendo of hyperbolic cries, yet easy to reinforce any opinion about the team with a small phalanx of scribes. But this year, regardless of your opinions about the team in general, any squad that suddenly moves Tony Womack to left field in order get Bernie Williams out of center is acknowledging that its defensive problems have reached the point of no return.

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June 10, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Protons:Electrons::Swinging:Looking

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James Click

James Click breaks out the Ginsu knives to slice and dice strikeouts in different ways.

With play-by-play data, however, the events we've taken for granted as simple and binary can suddenly become more complex and, if properly applied, a more accurate reflection of the action on the field. Not entirely unlike J.J. Thomson and others discovering an internal structure to the atom (but without the massive scientific and physical impacts on our understanding of the universe), breaking large, binary blocks of baseball stats into smaller, more descriptive pieces can yield more information. While this method has largely been applied to more advanced defensive metrics such as UZR, it can also be applied to events such as singles, doubles, triples, and, in particular, strikeouts.

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June 2, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Eight Is Enough

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James Click

Is the common National League strategy of pitching around the eighth-place hitter the right move? James breaks down the numbers.

Any Dean Chance fan will tell you: Pitchers stink at the plate. Perhaps it's a mental thing: they spend so much time trying to prevent that crack of the bat that they just can't make it themselves or they'll break out in hives. Regardless, in 2004, NL pitchers notched a line more reminiscent of my Little League career than of major-league players: .146/.179/.187. That's an MLVr of -0.653; pitchers cost their team well over half a run over the course of a full game of plate appearances. That they rarely see more than two or three PAs in a game means they're probably only costing the team 0.3 to 0.4 runs. This estimate is borne out by the league run scoring averages: the NL averaged 9.26 R/G in 2004 while the AL managed 10.04, so the two pitchers managed to sap 0.78 R/G compared to their DH counterparts last year.

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May 26, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Saving for Another Day

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James Click

With a game out of hand, is it worth it to pull a pitcher to save him for his next start? James has the answer.

Bullpen and rotation management is on an entirely different level from those simple swing/take decisions. Teams plan out rotations weeks in advance; relievers are frequently unavailable one game after a longer outing the previous night. While decisions in games can be evaluated by their impact on the success or failure of winning that particular game, decisions like these must be evaluated based on the likelihood of winning both the game at hand and future games.

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May 19, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Getting Bigger All the Time

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James Click

There seems to be more offense from traditionally defensive positions than ever before. But are some growing faster than others?

It's no secret that ballplayers are bigger now than they were back in the sixties, seventies and eighties. Aside from the goofy uniforms, it's one of the comedic highlights of catching any game on ESPN Classic or the like. Shortstops look like bat boys, designated hitters look like shortstops, Barry Bonds looks like Eriq LaSalle, but Cecil Fielder still looks like David Ortiz after swallowing Nelson de la Rosa. There are many possible reasons for the size increase, including the overall size increase in the population, improved nutrition, expanded talent bases, and, of course, steroids. That's not what I'm looking to discuss. Instead, there are obvious ramifications on the field as a result of the changes.

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May 12, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Are 'Roids the Reason

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James Click

You've seen the stories saying that home runs are down. But are steroids really to blame?

Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate.
- William of Ockham

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