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Manufactured Runs 

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11-01

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36

Manufactured Runs: Moments of Transition, Moments of Revelation
by
Colin Wyers

08-27

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12

Manufactured Runs: Are The Astros Really the Most Profitable Team in History?
by
Colin Wyers

08-13

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21

Manufactured Runs: SABR and the Importance of Preserving Sabermetric History
by
Colin Wyers

08-05

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21

Manufactured Runs: Biogenesis and Baseball's Post-Human Present
by
Colin Wyers

08-02

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3

Manufactured Runs: SABR Recap: On Motion Trackers, and Exciting Games
by
Colin Wyers

08-01

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3

Manufactured Runs: The Phillies President Speaks to SABR
by
Colin Wyers

07-10

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6

Manufactured Runs: The Mystery of the Missing .500 Teams, Part Two
by
Colin Wyers

07-05

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14

Manufactured Runs: Ruben Amaro and the Ryan Howard Reality
by
Colin Wyers

06-28

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14

Manufactured Runs: The Mystery of the Missing .500 Teams
by
Colin Wyers

05-14

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51

Manufactured Runs: Listen to What the Heyman Said
by
Colin Wyers

04-26

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46

Manufactured Runs: The Hawk Trap
by
Colin Wyers

04-22

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8

Manufactured Runs: The King in Cubbie Blue
by
Colin Wyers

01-10

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46

Manufactured Runs: What Hall of Fame Voters are Doing to the Hall of Fame
by
Colin Wyers

11-08

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3

Manufactured Runs: What the Recent Trend Toward Inexperienced Managers Means
by
Colin Wyers

10-17

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32

Manufactured Runs: Caution: Narratives Being Built
by
Colin Wyers

10-11

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18

Manufactured Runs: Is the 2-3 Format Fair?
by
Colin Wyers

10-03

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8

Manufactured Runs: Mariners to Move Safeco Fences In
by
Colin Wyers

09-21

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17

Manufactured Runs: The Very Long Night of Melky Cabrera
by
Colin Wyers

09-12

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5

Manufactured Runs: Searching for Fatigue in Stephen Strasburg
by
Colin Wyers

09-05

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6

Manufactured Runs: How Much Team Age Matters
by
Colin Wyers

08-22

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22

Manufactured Runs: Is the Answer to Imperfect Umpiring Really Robot Umps?
by
Colin Wyers

08-15

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17

Manufactured Runs: The Importance of Imperfect Models
by
Colin Wyers

07-18

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9

Manufactured Runs: Getting Shifty Again
by
Colin Wyers

06-20

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27

Manufactured Runs: Does the Rockies' Four-Man Rotation Make Sense?
by
Colin Wyers

06-13

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11

Manufactured Runs: The Madness of King Bill
by
Colin Wyers

06-06

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15

Manufactured Runs: What We Really Know About the Shift
by
Colin Wyers

05-30

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10

Manufactured Runs: Who Gives a Shift?
by
Colin Wyers

05-16

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15

Manufactured Runs: The Angels, Albert Pujols, and the Politician's Fallacy
by
Colin Wyers

04-04

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10

Manufactured Runs: Tragedy of the Commons
by
Colin Wyers

12-02

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7

Manufactured Runs: The Year of the Free Agent Relief Pitcher
by
Colin Wyers

10-27

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9

Manufactured Runs: Matchup Madness
by
Colin Wyers

10-20

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12

Manufactured Runs: Punting on Punto
by
Colin Wyers

10-12

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9

Manufactured Runs: Curse to Curse
by
Colin Wyers

10-06

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11

Manufactured Runs: When La Russa Should Pinch-Hit
by
Colin Wyers

10-04

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36

Manufactured Runs: The O-Swing of Things
by
Colin Wyers

09-29

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16

Manufactured Runs: The Problem of Pain
by
Colin Wyers

09-01

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2

Manufactured Runs: Raising the Stakes
by
Colin Wyers

08-19

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23

Manufactured Runs: Multifold Changes
by
Colin Wyers

08-04

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7

Manufactured Runs: Paging Pujols
by
Colin Wyers

07-29

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10

Manufactured Runs: How Often Do Deadline Deals Pay Off?
by
Colin Wyers

07-25

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193

Manufactured Runs: Lost in the SIERA Madre
by
Colin Wyers

06-28

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36

Manufactured Runs: Followed Him Up to the Gates of Grantland
by
Colin Wyers

05-10

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12

Manufactured Runs: The Deconstruction of Falling Stars
by
Colin Wyers

04-26

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4

Manufactured Runs: 3-2-1 Contact
by
Colin Wyers

04-07

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5

Manufactured Runs: The Closer Quandary
by
Colin Wyers

02-24

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32

Manufactured Runs: PS Odds, I Love You
by
Colin Wyers

02-18

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27

Manufactured Runs: Projecting Pujols
by
Colin Wyers

01-19

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41

Manufactured Runs: The Twilight of the Gods
by
Colin Wyers

11-24

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4

Manufactured Runs: Expanded Coverage
by
Colin Wyers

11-11

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36

Manufactured Runs: Derek Jeter And The Philosopher's Stone
by
Colin Wyers

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June 13, 2012 7:00 am

Manufactured Runs: The Madness of King Bill

11

Colin Wyers

A conscientious sabermetrician questions everything, even the work of Bill James.

The really great thing about learning from one’s predecessors is that you can learn just as much from when they are wrong as when they are right, if you take care and are vigilant—which is to say, that you recognize that an error was made to begin with.

At its core, sabermetrics got its start because people were able to read things and then ask questions about what they read, rather than taking everything at face value. Does this make sense? Is this really true? And I think that any sabermetrics worthy of that name is as willing to question itself in this fashion as it is everyone else.

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June 6, 2012 5:00 am

Manufactured Runs: What We Really Know About the Shift

15

Colin Wyers

The defensive shift revolution makes for a nice narrative, but how much has it truly changed the game?

Last week, we examined the effects of fielding shifts on fielding metrics. For those who missed out, I’d advise you to go read it, but the short version is that location-based fielding metrics can overstate the importance of fielding shifts to a team’s defense and thus overrate players who are shifted in such an arrangement.

But if the fielding shifts are throwing defensive metrics off, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t contributing to team defense, right? And we are in what some people might term a shifting renaissance. John Dewan of Baseball Info Solutions says:

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Is the shifty Brett Lawrie truly the amazing fielder that some defensive metrics claim he is?

Let’s play a game called “Which one of these is not like the others?”

Culled from Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference, and yours truly, defensive ratings for Brett Lawrie:

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Are the Angels just shuffling deck chairs on a sinking ship by firing hitting coach Mickey Hatcher?

It's just the middle of May, and the Los Angeles Angels have fired Mickey Hatcher, their hitting coach.

Why they are doing this is pretty clear—the Angels are already seven games behind the Rangers, and their offense is in such poor shape that they've been outscored by the Mariners. Among American League teams, only the Twins have scored fewer runs per game. Despite having the advantage of the designated hitter, the Angels are outscoring only two NL franchises, and the Padres have the excuse of playing in Petco.

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Long-term extensions for star players may be shortsighted moves by teams.

On Opening Day Eve (ignoring the two games held at the crack of dawn to accommodate the Tokyo Dome venue), the big story in baseball is a pair of big-money deals—Matt Cain and Joey Votto got paid, man. What’s interesting is that these were players years away from free agency, who certainly didn’t need to be signed now.

Can these deals go bad? Of course they can. An object lesson is Ryan Howard, whose contract extension has managed to look worse and worse over the past few seasons, even though it won't start covering real baseball games until tomorrow. Will they go bad? It’s hard to say, and the esteemable Ben Lindbergh does a better job covering the possibilities than I could. That frees us up to consider the larger implications—what does all this money mean?

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General managers who pay a relief pitcher for what he's done in the past will probably end up overpaying for what they do in the future.

This appears to be the year of the free-agent relief pitcher.

Even relievers who aren’t free agents this offseason have something to look forward to, as the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement makes it much more difficult for a relief pitcher to cost a team a draft pick in order to sign him. It’d be easy to say that this rule (or rather a variation of it which has already gone into effect following the announcement of the new CBA) is to blame, but the biggest relief pitcher signing of the offseason occurred before the new rule went into effect.

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October 27, 2011 5:00 am

Manufactured Runs: Matchup Madness

9

Colin Wyers

As the Cardinals and Rangers approach the end of their series, we offer a reminder to their skippers: batter-pitcher matchups aren't very predictive.

With the Cardinals facing elimination, Game Six will be an all-hands-on-deck endeavor. Both managers are scouring their rosters for any potential advantage, and as part of that effort, they’ll probably be referring to historic batter-pitcher matchups. Should La Russa lean heavily on a player like Octavio Dotel, who has historically done well against Rangers hitters like Adrian Beltre and Michael Young? Or should he opt for the players with the best overall performance, regardless of what the matchups say?

Let’s say we want to predict the outcome of a particular batter-pitcher matchup. I’m going to lean heavily on True Average, which is scaled to look like batting average but captures a player’s total batting value (so a player gets a little credit for a walk and a bit more for a single, all the way up to a home run).

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October 20, 2011 3:02 am

Manufactured Runs: Punting on Punto

12

Colin Wyers

Ron Washington makes one of the more benighted decisions in postseason history.

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October 12, 2011 11:22 am

Manufactured Runs: Curse to Curse

9

Colin Wyers

Theo Epstein may be on the move - what does it mean for the Cubs and Red Sox?

With reports out of Boston that Theo Epstein and the Cubs have agreed to a five-year deal, I thought now would be a good moment to consider what Epstein to Chicago would mean. This, of course, is not official until the Cubs and Red Sox work out an agreement to let Epstein leave with a year still remaining on his contract. And as will be pointed out repeatedly, Epstein has his current job because Billy Beane changed his mind after agreeing to be the Red Sox general manager. But it’s far enough along to make it worthwhile, I think, to clear the air on some things.

The easier question to answer is what this means for the Red Sox. Despite some people pining for a repeat of the Beane-to-Boston scenario, Ben Cherington is the guy that’s going to be the GM if Epstein leaves. Cherington is a well-regarded GM candidate throughout the industry who has been a key component of the Red Sox front office during Epstein’s tenure. Cherington will inherit one of the best baseball operations staffs in the game, as well as a roster that, despite a historic collapse, still won 90 games and doesn’t need a big overhaul to make the playoffs next year. His first priority will be getting a new field manager, and that might be fortuitous timing for him, as it may let him very quickly put his stamp on the team.

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October 6, 2011 5:23 pm

Manufactured Runs: When La Russa Should Pinch-Hit

11

Colin Wyers

If Game 3 is any guide, the Cardinals skipper needs a refresher course

The Cardinals and Phillies are playing the last game of their Division Series tomorrow, with each team’s ace (Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay) taking the mound. The game—and thus the series—may very well be settled by which team’s ace pitches better. But it might just come down to which team’s manager has the audacity to sit his ace down on the bench.

One game this series has already been strongly influenced by a decision to pinch-hit (or not) by each manager—Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia struck out with runners on first and second to end the sixth inning in Game Three, then stayed in to allow a three-run homer to Phillies pinch-hitter Ben Francisco in the seventh.

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Rolling out new PITCHf/x stats as a taste of things to come

I spend an awful lot of time talking about baseball data—what data we have, how we can tell if data is good or bad, what data we need to answer certain questions.

Here at BP we use a lot of baseball data, most of it either seasonal accounts (now from the Palmer database) or play-by-play data compiled by the fine, fine folks at Retrosheet. Up until now, we’ve had only scattered usage of one of the most exciting sources of data to come about in recent years—the PITCHf/x data collected by Sportvision for MLB Advanced Media’s Gameday product.

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With great joy comes great agony, and in that lies an attraction to sports.

I remember the first moment when I fully realized that I could die, and in fact could die very soon. I don’t think anyone ever forgets that sort of moment—at least, the ones who live to talk about it. Not at all coincidentally, this occurred only a few minutes after what I believe was the start of hostilities in the Iraq War.

It was March 20, 2003, and I was at a place called Camp Commando, which was an overly formal name for an otherwise-barren patch of desert in northern Kuwait. I was the most junior member of a small office for Marine Corps public affairs (in other words, media relations). There hadn’t been enough trailers shipped over from the US when we got to Kuwait at first, so we were working out of a trailer purchased locally and retrofit to our needs. It wasn’t a fancy job—the windows had been covered over with nothing more than sheets of cardboard to keep the sand and the heat at bay.

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