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07-11

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56

Overthinking It: Forever Changes
by
Ben Lindbergh

07-02

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2

Overthinking It: June in Catcher Framing
by
Ben Lindbergh

07-01

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10

Overthinking It: The Nationals' Non-Problem
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-27

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37

Overthinking It: The BP Staff Tries to Trade, and Trade for, David Price
by
Ben Lindbergh and Baseball Prospectus

06-25

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5

Overthinking It: Does Bill James' Game Score Still Work?
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-23

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18

Overthinking It: Josh Byrnes Breaks Streak; Padres Face Uncertain Future
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-19

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12

Overthinking It: The Players PECOTA Has Missed
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-17

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4

Overthinking It: Why That Stanton Homer Broke Your Brain
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-13

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1

Overthinking It: The Season of Super-Parity
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-11

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10

Overthinking It: The OTHER Way We Could Move the Mound
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-04

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2

Overthinking It: May in Catcher Framing
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-30

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3

Overthinking It: This Week in Bunting to Beat the Shift, 5/30
by
Ben Lindbergh and Chris Mosch

05-28

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7

Overthinking It: Defining Positions in the Age of the Shift
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-23

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15

Overthinking It: The 12-Second Rule and the Boring-ization of Baseball
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-23

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9

Overthinking It: How to Prevent Future Prince Fielders
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-19

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6

Overthinking It: The Way in Which the A's Are Still Old-School
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-15

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3

Overthinking It: Have Tommy John Surgery, Sign Long-Term Contract?
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-08

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10

Overthinking It: The Masters of the Manufactured Run
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-07

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13

Overthinking It: Catcher Framing: The Season So Far
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-02

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14

Overthinking It: This Week in Bunting to Beat the Shift, 5/2
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-29

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4

Overthinking It: Three National Leaguers in the News
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-25

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8

Overthinking It: Matt Moore, Ivan Nova, and the Injury Zone
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-24

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3

Overthinking It: The Obligatory Article About Aaron Harang
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-23

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7

Overthinking It: Pujols Rewrites the Script
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-17

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16

Overthinking It: Lessons We Learned Yesterday
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-16

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25

Overthinking It: Does Baseball Have a Pace Problem?
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-10

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6

Overthinking It: Knuckleballers of the PITCHf/x Era: A Complete Taxonomy
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-09

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11

Overthinking It: The Minor League Leaders Who Haven't Made It
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-04

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14

Overthinking It: Is Dexter Fowler Tough Enough to Play for Your Team?
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-01

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13

Overthinking It: Takeaways from Opening Day
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-20

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2

Overthinking It: Farewell to Free Agency?
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-18

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16

Overthinking It: The Big Questions from the 2014 SABR Analytics Conference
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-06

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3

Overthinking It: The 10 Phases of Phil Hughes, Compulsive Pitch Tinkerer
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-03

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19

Overthinking It: Takeaways From Our First Look at the Future
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-27

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19

Overthinking It: Why Every Team Needs Kendrys Morales
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-20

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2

Overthinking It: Last Season in Selective Aggression
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-18

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28

Overthinking It: Quantifying Cano's Lack of Hustle
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-12

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15

Overthinking It: Where the Remaining Free Agents Would Matter the Most
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-04

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18

Overthinking It: Parsing the PECOTAs
by
Ben Lindbergh

02-03

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5

Overthinking It: Searching for Switch-Hitters Who Shouldn't Switch-Hit
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-29

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23

Overthinking It: Polling the Industry: Masahiro Tanaka in 2014
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-24

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28

Overthinking It: Internet Commenters Try to Trade for David Price
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-23

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20

Overthinking It: Several Stray Thoughts About the Masahiro Tanaka Signing
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-16

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3

Overthinking It: How the Braves Can Keep a Good Thing Going
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-14

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5

Overthinking It: Will the 2014 Yankees Have the Oldest Offense Ever?
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-10

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6

Overthinking It: The Trouble with Forecasting Chemistry
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-08

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9

Overthinking It: What Scouts Said About 2014's Top Cooperstown Candidates
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-06

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2

Overthinking It: Testing the Predictive Powers of 2013 Teams
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-20

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3

Overthinking It: Baseball's New Kind of Coach
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-12

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15

Overthinking It: Picking an Appropriate Cardinals Shortstop
by
Ben Lindbergh

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In the era of aggressive defensive positioning, does the old-fashioned box score still tell us where people played?

At its core, baseball’s defensive revolution has been about positioning fielders in places where the ball is most likely to be hit, an idea so simple and sensible that it seems incredible that teams didn’t adopt it earlier. As the Astros’ Sig Mejdal says, “Why weren't teams positioning their infielders different half a decade ago? I don't know. The data was all there.”

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Is the solution to baseball's pace problem a rule that's already on the books?

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May 23, 2014 9:31 am

Overthinking It: How to Prevent Future Prince Fielders

9

Ben Lindbergh

Prince Fielder's injury may have ended the Rangers' hopes of contending. Could it have been avoided?

As Daniel Rathman noted in today’s edition of What You Need to Know, Thursday was a rough one for the Rangers, despite their 9-2 victory over Detroit. Heading into the day, Texas had already established a sizeable lead on the next-closest team in terms of games missed due to injury, which had limited a club that the Baseball Prospectus staff (though not PECOTA) had picked to win the AL West to a fourth-place, sub-.500 start.

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At one position, the A's are still Moneyballing like it's 1999.

For the most part, pitch receiving operates on a level that’s easy to overlook. Over thousands of pitches, certain catchers establish an edge, and those edges add up in a way we can’t see without looking at a leaderboard. Every now and then, though, framing on a small scale comes to the fore, usually when it leads to a larger event. Brett Lawrie, let’s say, strikes out looking out a pitch that appears to be outside, hurls his batting helmet at the home plate umpire, and gets ejected from the game. Our first impulse, like Lawrie’s, is to blame the umpire who blew the call. After reviewing the video, though, we realize that the real culprit was Jose Molina, in the catcher’s box, with the catcher’s glove. The ump was a red herring, a patsy, or maybe an unwitting accomplice.

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Are recent Tommy John surgery victims about to become a new kind of contract extension candidate?

About a year ago, Sam Miller speculated about the future of contract extensions, which had by then been embraced by big-market teams after years of mostly being the province of small-market clubs. “When that happens,” Sam wrote, “the market inefficiency might as well be gone.” To regain an edge, teams would have to get more creative with the kind of extensions they offered.

One of Sam’s suggestions was that we might start to see much longer extensions—contracts that would pay a player for 15 years or more. That hasn’t happened yet. However, Sam made two more predictions that have come to pass. First, he suggested that a team might offer a player an extension before his big-league debut, which has since occurred in the cases of George Springer and the Astros and Gregory Polanco and the Pirates. And second, he proposed that teams that lock up more marginal players than had previously been considered extendable. “Of the 20 players who have signed extensions longer than four years since the start of last season, all are, if not stars, something close to it,” Sam wrote. Since then, non-stars Jedd Gyorko, Yan Gomes (debatable), and Jose Quintana have signed five-year deals, not to mention Michael Brantley and Sean Doolittle, who’ve inked four-year pacts.

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May 8, 2014 6:00 am

Overthinking It: The Masters of the Manufactured Run

10

Ben Lindbergh

On Billy Hamilton's ability to score without the Reds recording a hit, and how we're making it harder for him.

Like many posts and podcasts before it, this one began with a question from a member of the Effectively Wild Facebook Group:

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Framing leaders, best and worst receptions, and a bunch of glorious GIFs.

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The latest exciting developments in the back-and-forth battle between batters/bunters and defenders.

Last month I started a season-long series (continued here and here) devoted to tracking bunts for base hits with the infield shift in effect; this is the third installment. To bring you up to speed on the series’ premise and methodology will take but two brief excerpts. Excerpt one:

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April 29, 2014 11:40 am

Overthinking It: Three National Leaguers in the News

4

Ben Lindbergh

Talking about today's most topical 21-year-old, 22-year-old, and 23-year-old: Bryce Harper, Gregory Polanco, and Kolten Wong.

Thoughts on three young National Leaguers in the news today, plus a bonus item about the Blue Jays:

Pittsburgh’s Gregory Polanco Promotion Watch
As Daniel Rathman pointed out in today’s What You Need to Know, the Pirates—whose shutout loss to St. Louis on Sunday dropped them to 10-16 and (now) nine games back in the NL Central—aren’t hitting. A big part of Pittsburgh’s problems at the plate has been the team’s lack of production from right field, where Travis Snider, trade chip Jose Tabata, and Josh Harrison (for one plate appearance) have combined for a .221/.289/.279 triple-slash line. As Dan also observed, the Pirates’ top healthy prospect, Gregory Polanco, plays right field for Triple-A Indianapolis, where he’s hitting .400/.460/.644. It doesn’t take Branch Rickey to connect the dots and conclude that the team’s greatest minor-league strength could be the solution to one of its major-league weaknesses.


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Could PITCHf/x have held the key to preventing season-ending surgeries for two of this season's Tommy John victims?

We’ve gotten much better at designing buildings that refuse to fall down, but science still hasn’t made much headway in the field of earthquake prediction. Although we can estimate how many quakes of a certain magnitude we’ll experience over a span of time, we can’t pinpoint exactly when, where, or why they’ll occur. A big quake is often preceded by a smaller foreshock, but not always. And the only way to know whether any given disturbance is the main event or merely a precursor is to wait and see if something worse happens, which doesn’t lend itself to life-saving.

Athletic trainers can commiserate with seismologists. As the recent rash of season-ending injuries indicates, we’re a long way from figuring out when a pitcher is about to break. Not every injury is preceded by a warning sign, and not every red flag reveals a real problem. Many pitcher injuries are the result of cumulative wear and tear, but the process often culminates in one pitch, followed by a pop or a sharp pain and an arm clutched tightly on the trip back to the dugout. From there, it’s just a matter of time until the Twitpic from the operating table.

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Dissecting the new season's most surprising sensation.

One of the things I’d like to think the baseball community has gotten better about is recognizing a fluke when we see one. When Jeff Locke pitched to a 2.15 ERA in the first half of 2013, running an 8-2 record, almost no one was buying. Instead of being distracted by the ERA or the record, we focused on the low strikeout-to-walk ratio, the microscopic BABIP, the middling velocity, and the fact that he wasn’t one of the team’s top 11 prospects the last time he was eligible. “Jeff Locke is going to regress,” intoned every internet analyst. “It is known.” We even had stats—FIP, xFIP, and so on—to support our position, which made the argument easier. That’s not to say that before Bill James, every soft-tosser who strung together a few successful starts was christened the next Sandy Koufax. But information is easier than ever to access, and most of it suggested that Locke wouldn’t last.

Locke himself made the case that the advanced stats were making a major mistake by overlooking the enhanced deception in his delivery and his newfound confidence and skill at pitching to contact. The evidence that's accumulated since suggests he was wrong: in the second half, Locke’s ERA ballooned to 6.12, and now, less than a year after Bruce Bochy named him to the National League All-Star team, he’s back in Triple-A. Sometimes, though, career reinventions are real. Last May, I wrote about “the incredible new Neal Cotts” based on the 30-something reliever’s 20-plus Triple-A innings, and the lefty lived up to the billing. The more impressive the peripherals, the more convincing the performance, no matter how small the sample.

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April 23, 2014 8:23 am

Overthinking It: Pujols Rewrites the Script

7

Ben Lindbergh

Instead of limping into the 500-homer club, Albert Pujols went in leading the league.

Not long ago, it looked like Albert Pujols’ 500th home run, whenever it came, would at best be an opportunity for us to revisit the better days behind him. And that wouldn’t have been the worst thing, since Pujols’ past—thanks to his four-season streak of declines and his injury-shortened 2013—has already become chronically underappreciated.

Compare Pujols and the consensus top right-handed hitter du jour, Miguel Cabrera. The two were similarly productive at the plate in their best offensive seasons: Pujols posted a .373 True Average over 700 plate appearances in 2009, while Cabrera achieved a .372 mark in 652 PA last season. Scan the single-season TAv leaderboard, though, and you pass five more Pujols seasons before you get to Cabrera’s second strongest. Add in Pujols’ superior defense and better baserunning, and the gap between them grows: Pujols has had eight seasons that WARP says were worth more than Cabrera’s best.*

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