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11-06

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18

Painting the Black: The 2016 Free Agent 50
by
R.J. Anderson

10-05

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5

Painting the Black: The Year In Hangovers
by
R.J. Anderson

10-01

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1

Painting the Black: Reading the 20-Year-Old Tea Leaves
by
R.J. Anderson

09-28

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7

Painting the Black: Osuna or Later
by
R.J. Anderson

09-25

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5

Painting the Black: Joe Girardi's Large Adult Bullpen
by
R.J. Anderson

09-21

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3

Painting the Black: The Aroldis Profession
by
R.J. Anderson

09-16

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7

Painting the Black: Tankonia
by
R.J. Anderson

09-10

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4

Painting the Black: Transaction Trends
by
R.J. Anderson

09-03

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7

Painting the Black: The All-Fringe Prospect Team
by
R.J. Anderson

08-20

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4

Painting the Black: The Transactions We Missed
by
R.J. Anderson

08-13

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4

Painting the Black: Fister Act 2: Back Out of the Habit
by
R.J. Anderson

07-15

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0

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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0

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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0

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

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Who they are, what they do, where they fit and where Randy the RNG says they'll actually go.

As always, there are three things to remember: 1) These rankings are formed using an unscientific blend of expected AAV and on-the-field impact; 2) the predictions are for fun—you can insert about a half-dozen teams for any one player and have it make sense; 3) "Randy" is a random number generator—its picks have no logic.

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October 5, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: The Year In Hangovers

5

R.J. Anderson

What teams do when teams can do whatever they damned well feel like.

It's a well-known, time-honored tradition that baseball players celebrate their team's entrance to the playoffs by poisoning themselves (and their teammates) with large quantities of alcohol. The aftereffects of those champagne showers—besides stained, stinky clubhouse carpet—leave managers with no choice but to send out the B-team the following day. In recent years, this phenomenon has been christened the hangover lineup.

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October 1, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Reading the 20-Year-Old Tea Leaves

1

R.J. Anderson

How close did the publicly available scouting reports come to pegging Tim Hudson and Barry Zito's future careers?

On Saturday afternoon, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito faced off for the first and last time in the O.co Coliseum, thereby providing fans, players, writers, and everyone else the opportunity to reflect on the duo's glory days with the A's. By now, you've read enough retrospectives to know all about how Hudson, Zito, and Mark Mulder shaped the A's during their time together. So rather than repeat the same facts and stories, let's contemplate the past and commemorate their careers in a different way: by using the Diamond Mines database to go back in time, beyond the Moneyball era, and see what scouts said about the pair when they were still amateurs.

First the obligatory disclaimers: 1) scouting is hard and 2) looking at history backward is dangerous. Inaccuracy is a given whenever the task involves guessing how another human being will mature over the next N years, be it physically, emotionally, or both. People progress at different paces and respond to different stimuli; what looked to be the case then probably was, but, to state the obvious, each pitcher's outlook soon improved. The intent in highlighting these reports is not to mock or shame the scouts who authored them; rather, it is to illustrate the difficulty and unpredictability of their task, and to showcase how, even when they "missed," they still got plenty right.

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September 28, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Osuna or Later

7

R.J. Anderson

How Roberto Osuna has had success at such a young age, and where he might go from here

Over the weekend, the Blue Jays clinched their first trip to the postseason since 1993, and in the process positioned themselves to claim the division title in the coming days. Both feats appeared to be beyond the Jays' wingspan in mid-July, when their playoffs odds were closer to slim than certain. In some ways, though, Toronto was always the team most likely to go on a torrid run because this squad, more than any other, is a study in improbability.

Think about all the unlikely developments that had to occur over the years for Toronto to reach this point: Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion had to turn into middle-of-the-order threats at ages 28 and 29; Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, and David Price had to be made available through trades, each at prices that didn't prohibit the Jays from getting involved; Marcus Stroman had to heal from a spring knee injury at a superhuman pace; and so on, until R.A. Dickey, Russell Martin, Marco Estrada, Chris Colabello, and the half-dozen other key figures in this implausible season have their far-fetched background stories told and marveled at.

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September 25, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Joe Girardi's Large Adult Bullpen

5

R.J. Anderson

Brian Cashman has given his skipper a massive bullpen to work with this September; how has Girardi used it?

Around this time last season, the Angels made a group of unremarkable players interesting by bringing them to the majors for the stretch run. Then-GM Jerry Dipoto had spent the year collecting parts that, when assembled with sufficient care and glue, gifted Mike Scioscia a 38- or 39-man roster perfect for excelling at situational baseball. The expected payoff of Dipoto's creation was small, but that was okay: his greatest sacrifice in putting together the Fringe-Voltron was limiting personal space in the dugout.

Though Dipoto is no longer making the moves in Anaheim, the Angels have nonetheless paid homage to their old boss by inviting a glut of players to assist them en route to the finish line. However, a different club—one without Dipoto ties—has since elbowed past the Angels to earn distinction as the team most willing to push roster expansion to its limit. That team is the Yankees, which, in addition to leading the majors in active-roster players (39) and percentage of the 40-man roster that is on the active roster, also lead the majors in roster-related creativity (numbers through September 22nd and courtesy of Roster Resource):

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September 21, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: The Aroldis Profession

3

R.J. Anderson

Why doesn't Aroldis Chapman get groundball double plays?

Say you were tasked with creating a pitcher who must lead the majors in double plays over the course of a simulated season, or else aliens would destroy Earth. What attributes would you provide him if you were limited to three at most? You'd probably start by making him an extreme groundball pitcher, for reasons that are easily understood. Then you'd ensure he held baserunners well, so he'd keep all his double-play chances in order. What else? How about controlling his quality of contact? You definitely wouldn't want a bunch of hard-hit balls that leak through the infield, but you wouldn't want him dealing exclusively in tappers and high-choppers either, lest you get only one out instead of two.

The last part sounds counterintuitive—weak contact is good contact—but consider the case of Aroldis Chapman, who is, for all intents and purposes, the antithesis of the pitcher created above. Chapman is such a non-threat to lead the majors in double plays (even on a rate basis) that he hasn't coerced a standard groundball double play in more than a year. Here's his most-recent one, from August 1, 2014:

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September 16, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Tankonia

7

R.J. Anderson

Are the Braves trying to lose?

On Sunday, the Braves suffered their latest brow-raising defeat, turning a three-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning against the Mets into an extra-innings loss. Along the way, the Braves bullpen did something more impressive than blow a near-certain win: They left Keith Hernandez aghast.

While Hernandez was beside himself, saying that if he were a Braves fan he would "turn in his season tickets," actual Braves fans have to be numb by now to showings like Sunday's. Losing has become the norm in Atlanta during the second half, with the Braves following up a surprising (and overachieving) 42-47 first-half effort with a 14-41 stretch (a 41-win pace over a full season) that has placed them in contention for the no. 1 pick. Predictably, Atlanta's futility extends to its team ranks. Entering Monday, the Braves were 27th in True Average and defensive efficiency, and 30th in runs scored and staff-wide Deserved Run Average. In fact, their bullpen's DRA was the worst among any bullpen or rotation.

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September 10, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Transaction Trends

4

R.J. Anderson

Our transactions master looks at some trends to see what the league as a whole is doing with their 40- and 25-man rosters

The start of September is the beginning of the regular-season end of the Transaction Analysis column. Most trades are completed before August's conclusion to comply with the playoff-eligibility rules, while the roster-expansion period minimizes the roles options and waivers play in achieving the optimal 25-man set. Factor in that the remaining free agents are non-entities, and the next month-plus will be light on meaningful activity. This is, then, the perfect time to reflect on the year that was in transactions (or, at least, April 1st through September 8th) by highlighting and examining some trends.

The Dodgers enjoyed using Oklahoma City …
Much has been made of the inventiveness and resourcefulness of Farhan Zaidi and Andrew Friedman's frankenadministration in Los Angeles. Those attributes were most apparent in how and why they used their new Triple-A affiliate. The Dodgers led the majors by issuing 53 optional assignments (49 of which directed players toward Oklahoma City), seven more than the next-closest team (the Red Sox), 10 more than the next-closest contender (a tie between the Angels and Yankees), and nearly 24 more than the league median (29.5).


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September 3, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: The All-Fringe Prospect Team

7

R.J. Anderson

Reviving an old Lindbergher, R.J. examines a lineup of non-prospects with eye-popping numbers in the minors

Before Ben Lindbergh departed to Grantland, one of his September traditions was assembling and examining what he called the "All-Fringe Prospect Team." The team's purpose was to provide "a position-by-position tribute to the fringy prospects who wouldn't be able to back up the eye-catching stats on the back of their baseball cards, if they were good enough to have baseball cards."

Lindbergh plies his trade elsewhere these days but, with his blessing, we've decided to revive the feature. The timing is appropriate; not only is the minor-league season nearing its end—meaning more minor-leaguers are taking seats in bullpens and on benches across the majors—but Baseball Prospectus authors have begun culling players for inclusion in next spring's Annual, leading to questions (and debate) about whose statistics mean what.

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August 20, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: The Transactions We Missed

4

R.J. Anderson

Every year, some of the weird minor moves that are too small to cover wind up having a positive impact for teams. Here are a dozen of them.

Since January, we've published almost 200 editions of the Transaction Analysis column, yet the sport's unpredictability means that, no matter how hard we try, we'll never be able to cover every move that winds up mattering. So, as part of an annual tradition, here are a dozen transactions we wish we had covered, complete with what we would (and should) have written about each. (Players are listed in alphabetical order.)

Joey Butler, DH/OF, Rays
The move
: Signed a minor-league contract [1/3]
Seasonal numbers: .278/.333/.410 (.258 TAv) in 246 PA
 




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August 13, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Fister Act 2: Back Out of the Habit

4

R.J. Anderson

Of pitching well, we mean. The question is why, and the even more important question is whether he can improve.

Last November, when Doug Fister was a year away from free agency, he received four down-ballot votes for the Cy Young Award. It seemed then that all Fister needed to do in order to enter the marketplace on good terms was remain healthy and perform in 2015 as he had in previous seasons. If he could do both, he would secure his place in the second tier of available starters, favorable standing for a pitcher whose "underrated" label was born from a) his inclusion in two one-sided trades and b) statistics that had outrun his stuff at every turn, giving them the feel of unsustainability.

Some nine months later, Fister's statistics have indeed worsened. His production this season has been so poor—entering the week his adjusted DRA was the 11th-worst among pitchers with 50-plus innings, a smidge better than the likes of Sean O'Sullivan and Jeremy Guthrie—that he is now outside the second tier of perspective free-agent starters; in fact, he's outside of all the tiers because he's no longer a starter. Late last week the Nationals officially moved Fister to relief, bumping their old heisted gem in favor of their newest: rookie sensation Joe Ross.

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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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