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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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0

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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0

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

03-24

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7

Painting the Black: Men at Work
by
R.J. Anderson

03-21

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Painting the Black: The Predictive Power of the Hit By Pitch
by
R.J. Anderson

03-19

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3

Painting the Black: Up and Adams
by
R.J. Anderson

03-07

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9

Painting the Black: Spring Flings
by
R.J. Anderson

03-03

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2

Painting the Black: The Prospect Proximity Rankings
by
R.J. Anderson

02-27

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2

Painting the Black: Lessons from the Top 50 Free Agents List
by
R.J. Anderson

02-19

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8

Painting the Black: Cash/Rizz Everything Around Me
by
R.J. Anderson

02-07

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4

Painting the Black: Slow Jams
by
R.J. Anderson

01-29

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4

Painting the Black: Blistery Science Theater
by
R.J. Anderson

01-14

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7

Painting the Black: Smyly Anticipated
by
R.J. Anderson

11-15

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10

Painting the Black: Suicide is Painless
by
R.J. Anderson

11-05

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38

Painting the Black: The 50 Best Free Agents of 2013-2014
by
R.J. Anderson

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April 17, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: Pedro Alvarez's Trip From Worst to First

1

R.J. Anderson

A deep dive into the Pirate first baseman's defense.

Call it poetic justice or karmic repayment, but there's something fitting about Pedro Alvarez having to corral wild throws at first base not even a year after leading third basemen in throwing errors.

Whatever the preferred term, Alvarez's transition across the diamond remains nascent. He suffered a season-ending stress reaction in his foot just five games after the initial move. Yet the Pirates proceeded as if Alvarez had taken ownership of the position, cementing his perch on top of the depth chart during the offseason by trading Ike Davis and non-tendering Gaby Sanchez. Though Pittsburgh later acquired Sean Rodriguez and signed Corey Hart—each of whom has and will see time at the cold corner—the implication came through loud and clear: Alvarez was Plan A.

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April 7, 2015 1:02 am

Painting the Black: Who Are These Guys?

8

R.J. Anderson

The 2015 version.

Over the next few days, you might find yourself asking: who are these guys? Here's an introduction to some of the least-known players on Opening Day roster.

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March 25, 2015 6:02 am

Painting the Black: Getting Personal

4

R.J. Anderson

Catchers, and the pitchers who love them.

It was a good week for personal catcher lobbyists. First, Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw experienced a rough virginal voyage with Yasmani Grandal, encouraging A.J. Ellis champions and arousing the kind of spring training beat writer-fan turmoil that's often reserved for lineup tweets. Then, a few days later, Blue Jay skipper John Gibbons insinuated he would leverage Russell Martin's defensive talents by pairing him with traditional pitchers, possibly leaving Josh Thole the chore of capturing R.A. Dickey's knuckleball. Again.

The concept of a personal catcher is nothing new, of course. Doug Mirabelli proved so important to Tim Wakefield's success that the Red Sox reacquired him in May 2006, not even five months after trading him to the Padres. Throughout the 1990s, Damon Berryhill, Eddie Perez, and Paul Bako became more famous than their talents merited thanks to Greg Maddux's insistence on having his own guy. Light-hitting Alex Trevino caught all Cy Young runner-up Mario Soto's 1983 starts, and would later serve as personal-catcher-cum-interpreter in the minors. J.C. Martin became Hoyt Wilhelm's right-hand man during the '60s, a relationship profiled in Mark Armour's Paths to Glory: "[On] the ninety-one occasions Wilhelm entered a game and Martin was not already catching, Martin entered with Wilhelm fifty-nine times. ... [On] the seventeen such occasions when Wilhelm came in with runners on base without Martin catching, Martin was brought in fourteen times." And so on.

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March 18, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: The Anti-Kershaw

1

R.J. Anderson

Why everybody runs on Scott Kazmir.

Last week, for Clayton Kershaw Day, I examined his dominance over baserunners. I concluded that Kershaw's left-handedness, quickness to the plate, feel for shortening leads, and deceptive mechanics make him as tough to steal a bag on as he is to reach base against.

Today is not Scott Kazmir Day, but Kazmir is a worthy foil to the otherworldly Kershaw for reasons that extend beyond their shared "Kid K" moniker. In 2014, Kazmir allowed the third most stolen bases among left-handed starters (18), behind Francisco Liriano and Cole Hamels, and the highest stolen-base success rate against among all left-handers (90 percent). Unlike Liriano and Hamels, whose troubles are rooted in their slowness to the plate, Kazmir's failings with basestealers requires a nuanced explanation. In short, Kazmir allows stolen bases because he doesn't make baserunners think.

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February 26, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: The Other Side of PECOTA's Crush on the Rays

0

R.J. Anderson

Yes, the projections like Tampa Bay, but they see much volatility, too.

"Who are these guys?" is a question St. Petersburg residents and general baseball devotees will ask a lot about the Rays this spring.

Other teams might have switched players as frequently last offseason—the Padres, Athletics, and Braves deserve mention—but the Rays' turnover differed in that it included changes at the GM and manager positions. Directing heads Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon departed for bigger markets (and salaries) and were followed out the Trop's door by various well-known players, such as purported cornerstone Wil Myers and actual cornerstone Ben Zobrist. The Rays retooled to the extent that Nick Franklin, himself acquired last July via trade, could enter the season as the club's fifth-longest tenured starter.

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February 19, 2015 6:00 am

Painting the Black: The Last Shall Be First

13

R.J. Anderson

How Houston benefitted from the top waiver spot.

Jeff Luhnow knows the value in picking first. Since usurping Ed Wade in December 2011 as the Astros general manager, Luhnow has batted leadoff in each of the three drafts he's supervised—a streak assured to end in June, when Houston selects second (compensation for failing to sign Brady Aiken) and fifth. By then, Luhnow ought to be accustomed to choosing later than normal. That's because, for the first time in his tenure, the Astros will enter the season without the top waiver priority.

While official statistics aren't kept on such things, a dig through past game logs reveals the Astros entered with a share of the majors' worst record (and first dibs on waived players) in 24 of Luhnow's first 29 months on the job. Luhnow has since flipped 10 pages in his calendar since his team was baseball's worst, but the point remains: He understands the benefits in serving as the gatekeeper of the waiver wire better than any active GM does.

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The cupboard is not empty. It's just close.

Welcome to the boring part of the offseason. Pitchers and catchers are a week away from reporting, and the hot stove is off now that James Shields has been signed and fitted for his habit. So how can we pass the time? You could read a book, watch a movie, connect with a loved one, argue with strangers on Twitter ... or you could embrace the spirit of Valentine's Day and seek relationships for nine interesting players who remain free agents. Let's do that.

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Can you figure out how Jordan Zimmermann undid Christian Yelich's extreme approach?

The last time Jordan Zimmermann faced Christian Yelich, Steven Souza became famous. The 17 other times they met in 2014 proved less prosperous for backup outfielders (and search-engine optimizers), but were kind to Zimmermann in another way. While Zimmermann didn't shut Yelich down (though he held him to an OPS 40 points below his seasonal norm), he accomplished a feat nearly as noteworthy: He caused Yelich to pull the ball seven times. That's more than anyone else managed last season.

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Brian Sabean's reputation for keeping his championship teams has merit, so how did Pablo Sandoval escape his grasp?

It was about this time last week that Pablo Sandoval signed with the Red Sox and shocked baseball. The surprise stemmed partially from the fit—Hanley Ramirez had reportedly agreed to terms with the Red Sox hours earlier, meaning Sandoval's addition complicated an already complex infield situation. But this piece isn't about the Red Sox or how they intend to cram so many talented players into one lineup. Rather, this piece is about the most jarring aspect of the deal: Sandoval leaving San Francisco.

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Evaluations of the top 50 free agents available in the 2014-2015 offseason, with near-worthless predictions about where they'll land.

Another year, another top-50 list. Here are three things to remember while reading through the rankings: 1) international free agents were excluded on the principle that if I haven't seen them in some manner or another, then I don't feel comfortable ranking them; 2) "Randy" is a random number generator whose predictions were made by pairing integers with teams (e.g. the number 1 and the Angels); and 3) the list is ordered based on expected AAV with some other considerations (learned from past lists) factored in:

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We don't know anything about baseball, part 1 million.

This postseason took joy in reminding us how little we know about the game. Whether it was the Royals, the team that felt least likely to advance to the World Series, reaching the Fall Classic with a perfect postseason record; or the Giants, another Wild Card team turned pennant winner, taking the whole thing despite having five starts last four innings or fewer, and three end in under three innings; this October created self doubt for everyone at some point or another.

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September 25, 2014 6:00 am

Painting the Black: How David Price Gets The Best of Jose Abreu

2

R.J. Anderson

In a repeat matchup, David Price shows the many things he can do, and teaches us something about Abreu in the process.

Even before he received a proper introduction, David Price seemed to respect Jose Abreu. Consider how Price approached Abreu during their first encounter. Price pitched to him three times, and all but doffed his cap with his pitch selection. The intent was clear: Price wanted to keep Abreu's barrel off the fastball, hence why he threw him a changeup in a different situation each time. First it was in a 1-0 count, then as the 1-1 offering, and lastly to begin the day's final conflict, which led to this resolution:

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