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10-20

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32

Pebble Hunting: The Best Teams Should Make The World Series; A Defense of Bud Selig
by
Sam Miller

10-15

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13

Pebble Hunting: The Rich Get Smarter
by
Sam Miller

10-01

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2

Pebble Hunting: The '80' Pitches In This Year's Postseason
by
Sam Miller

09-29

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8

Pebble Hunting: The Padres' Sad Team Leaders
by
Sam Miller

09-24

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8

Pebble Hunting: Spoiler: Spoiling Spoiled
by
Sam Miller

09-19

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1

Pebble Hunting: Cueto's Quirks
by
Sam Miller

09-12

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7

Pebble Hunting: The Best Defensive Game of August
by
Sam Miller

09-11

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0

Pebble Hunting: Pitchers Live For the Applause-plause
by
Sam Miller

09-05

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12

Pebble Hunting: The Nearby Faraway
by
Sam Miller

08-29

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3

Pebble Hunting: This Article Mentions Fehlandt Lentini
by
Sam Miller

08-21

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5

Pebble Hunting: You Lie!
by
Sam Miller

08-15

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5

Pebble Hunting: Arizona's Pitching Problems
by
Sam Miller

08-12

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7

Pebble Hunting: The Unlikeliest Part of the Rangers' Collapse
by
Sam Miller

08-06

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8

Pebble Hunting: The Non-Scout's Guide To Javier Baez
by
Sam Miller

07-16

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18

Pebble Hunting: This Time, We Count
by
Sam Miller

07-14

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16

Pebble Hunting: How to Gamble on the Home Run Derby
by
Sam Miller

07-11

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1

Pebble Hunting: The Best Defensive Game of June
by
Sam Miller

07-07

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9

Pebble Hunting: Why Do Teams Pitch to Trout?
by
Sam Miller

06-30

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3

Pebble Hunting: Sean Doolittle Gets Scarier
by
Sam Miller

06-26

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14

Pebble Hunting: The [Your Team Name Here] Way Power Rankings
by
Sam Miller

06-20

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14

Pebble Hunting: Clayton Kershaw and the Fan In Black
by
Sam Miller

06-16

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12

Pebble Hunting: The 16 Hottest Teams in Baseball
by
Sam Miller

06-13

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11

Pebble Hunting: Alex Anthopoulos' Amazing Offseason
by
Sam Miller

06-11

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10

Pebble Hunting: Throwing Bats, Throwing Balls, and the Appropriate Punishment for Each
by
Sam Miller

06-06

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7

Pebble Hunting: Bartolo Colon Approaches First Base
by
Sam Miller

06-04

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15

Pebble Hunting: The Baseball Bloodlines Project
by
Sam Miller

06-02

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11

Pebble Hunting: The Best Defensive Game of May
by
Sam Miller

05-29

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11

Pebble Hunting: Pitchers at the Plate: Even Worse Than We Thought?
by
Sam Miller

05-28

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9

Pebble Hunting: How to Celebrate a Game-Ending Error
by
Sam Miller

05-23

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8

Pebble Hunting: A Billy Hamilton/David Ortiz Race
by
Sam Miller

05-21

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3

Pebble Hunting: The Marlins and the AT&T Shift
by
Sam Miller

05-19

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6

Pebble Hunting: How to Still Get Ejected
by
Sam Miller

05-16

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4

Pebble Hunting: The Meaning of 3-0 Green Lights
by
Sam Miller

05-15

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13

Pebble Hunting: Recent History's Most Cringe-Worthy Pitch Counts
by
Sam Miller

05-12

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0

Pebble Hunting: The Best Game of the 2014 Season So Far
by
Sam Miller

05-09

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9

Pebble Hunting: Starling Marte and the Upside of Headfirst Slides
by
Sam Miller

05-08

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33

Pebble Hunting: The Baseball Sandbox Experiment
by
Sam Miller

05-05

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10

Pebble Hunting: Who's Winning the Dodgers/Red Sox Trade This Second?
by
Sam Miller

05-02

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11

Pebble Hunting: The Best Defensive Game of April
by
Sam Miller

04-30

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13

Pebble Hunting: The Mets' Pitchers Can't Get a Hit
by
Sam Miller

04-28

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2

Pebble Hunting: Martin Perez Turns Two, 12 Times
by
Sam Miller

04-24

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2

Pebble Hunting: Platoonies Never Say Die
by
Sam Miller

04-17

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9

Pebble Hunting: Every Manager's Face: The New Guys
by
Sam Miller

04-11

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5

Pebble Hunting: Your Five Favorite Players of 2014
by
Sam Miller

04-09

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16

Pebble Hunting: Max Scherzer and the Sabermetric Approach to Pitching to the Count
by
Sam Miller

04-07

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7

Pebble Hunting: It's Been One Week
by
Sam Miller

04-04

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13

Pebble Hunting: The Best Pitches Thrown This Week
by
Sam Miller

04-02

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11

Pebble Hunting: Bonds vs. Pedro, and More Fun with Batter-Pitcher Matchups
by
Sam Miller

03-31

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3

Pebble Hunting: Mike Trout vs. Felix Hernandez
by
Sam Miller

03-28

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30

Pebble Hunting: BOOM! HERE COMES THE BOOM! READY OR NOT! HERE COMES THE BOYS FROM THE TIGERS!
by
Sam Miller

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The commissioner's lasting legacy isn't randomness and meaningless. It's a more fair world.

For all the excitement of this postseason’s individual games, there is a fairly common sentiment out there that something sucks about a system so random that sub-par teams get to fluke their way to the World Series, thus stripping the season of its power to make sure the best teams are rewarded. Why play a long season and then reduce the championship to coin flips? Why continually expand postseason until every champ resembles Chris Moneymaker? Zachary Levine foretold this postseason in his epitaph for Bud Selig, written in August:

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October 15, 2014 4:02 pm

Pebble Hunting: The Rich Get Smarter

13

Sam Miller

Andrew Friedman might be the most revered executive in the game--Billy Beane included--and the richest team in baseball just hired him.

On the one hand, Andrew Friedman is one of the only executives with a book written about him—or, at least, a book read by more than the author’s closest friends and relatives. On that hand, he runs a team that, when it succeeds, is largely credited to his genius (and the genius of his front office). On that hand, his Rays have been experimental and at the vanguard of various “trends”—at various times shifting, locking up pre-arb players ever earlier, building around defense, resisting multi-year contracts to relievers, or giving what figuratively seem like literally millions of at-bats to Jose Molina—that have become routine, even over-fished, around the league years later. We tend to see his Rays as the first clinical trial for the strategies that will soon be ubiquitous, so we pay a ton of attention to him. Because of all this, we know a lot about Andrew Friedman, who the Dodgers just poached to be president of baseball operations.

On the other, he has run perhaps the most opaque organization in the game. I once heard about a former Rays intern who was applying for another job. Standard industry practice in this situation is to pump the applicant for information about what his old team was doing, the research, the secrets. Heck, some of the time this fact-finding might be the only reason the interview is even taking place. But this intern wouldn’t budge. Again and again, he told the team that he was interviewing with, the team he was trying to impress, that, well, shoot, he’d love to, but he just couldn’t, not with his non-disclosure agreement, not when we’re talking about the Rays. The Rays were a black box. Their local media, for the most part, never got the Rays, and the Rays never gave them much to get. We know, in some ways, very little about Andrew Friedman.

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October 1, 2014 12:24 am

Pebble Hunting: The '80' Pitches In This Year's Postseason

2

Sam Miller

What to watch for in this postseason? Things three standard deviations away from the mean, obviously.

There’s a toy over at Brooks Baseball—well, he probably wouldn’t call it a toy, but I use it as a toy—that I just love. For each pitch thrown by each pitcher, it assigns a “scouting scale” number for certain characteristics and results: velocity, movement, release point, whiff rate, groundball rate, etc. As you know, on the 20-80 scouting scale, 50 is average and each standard deviation represents 10 points up or down the scale. For instance, Aroldis Chapman’s average fastball velocity is a bit more than three standard deviations from the average left-hander's, so, per Brooks, his fastball velocity is assigned an 84 (lol) on the scouting scale. Dallas Keuchel’s groundball rate on his sinker is nearly three standard deviations higher than the typical lefty sinkerl in that specific aspect, it gets a 79. It’s a toy, of course, because that’s not to say Keuchel’s sinker is an 80 pitch, or that a scout would put an 80 on it, or that you should put an 80 on it; it’s just that, statistically, in this one aspect of it, compared to other pitchers, in the period of time surveyed, his was that far from normal.

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September 29, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Padres' Sad Team Leaders

8

Sam Miller

What the back of the Padres' team leader card will tell us about the Padres, baseball, and team leader cards.

I remember the 1987 Cardinals team-leader card, where on the back it said the most home runs hit by any Cardinal the previous season was 13, by Andy Van Slyke. That was absurd, and it was so absurd that I had to explore further, and upon further exploration I learned my first lesson in team building: The Cardinals, with that artificial turf, were built for speed. They stole 262 bases. They didn't need to hit home runs, except inasmuch as they finished with the fewest runs scored in the National League and a .600 OPS. That was a fun team-leader card. It was an educational team-leader card.

Next year's Padres team-leader card is not going to be as fun. It'll be dispiriting, it'll be disorienting, and if it teaches you anything it'll be how to spell "Gyorko." But there is fun to be had with it, and this is the Fun Fact portion of this post:

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September 24, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: Spoiler: Spoiling Spoiled

8

Sam Miller

Do out-of-it-teams play better or worse than you'd expect based on their talent level? Spoiler: You'll have to read the article to find out.

It’s been a pretty exciting pennant race for a handful of lucky baseball teams. The Red Sox got to play spoiler. The Astros got to play spoiler. The Marlins got to play spoiler. The Reds got to play spoiler. The Rays got to play spoiler. The Diamondbacks got to play spoiler. The Phillies got to play spoiler. The Rangers got to play spoiler. The Rockies got to play spoiler. The Cubs got to play spoiler. The Braves got to play spoiler. The White Sox got to play spoiler. The Padres got to play spoiler. The Twins got to play spoiler. The Mets got to play spoiler. Last night, the Blue Jays got to play spoiler.

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September 19, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: Cueto's Quirks

1

Sam Miller

Johnny Cueto is a good pitcher. Johnny Cueto is a quirky pitcher. Is there a causal relationship?

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September 12, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Best Defensive Game of August

7

Sam Miller

Organized knowledge and organized life, or: The science and the wisdom of Jackie Bradley Jr.'s defense.

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September 11, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: Pitchers Live For the Applause-plause

0

Sam Miller

How to do good cheers when pitchers lose their no-hitters

On Wednesday, Wei-Yin Chen started building a possible perfect game, and from 3,000 miles away I could tell Bill Barnwell—who was at the game—was getting nervous. Once, Bill had said this:

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Right in your neighborhood, there is a team operating on the periphery of professional baseball.

In early August, an independent league team called the San Rafael Pacifics played a team from nearby Pittsburg, California, called the Mettle. The last-place Mettle are owned and coached by former big leaguer Wayne Franklin, who (at age 40) is also the team’s ace starter, sort of—he leads the league in innings pitched, by far, yet has the second worst ERA. (He rarely takes himself out. In his last start, he allowed 11 runs in a complete game.) In left field for the Pacifics was Eric Byrnes, the Eric Byrnes, out of retirement for two games to raise money for charity. Byrnes’ bat was slow and he had become a two-true-outcomes hitter, walks and strikeouts, but he sprinted all over the outfield, wandering far into F-8 territory because every ball he caught sent $500 to a veterans group. It all sounds like a lark, but anchoring the whole thing to reality was an honest pennant race.

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August 29, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: This Article Mentions Fehlandt Lentini

3

Sam Miller

Teams need fast guys in September. Here's who the contenders should use.

Last year, the best/my favorite transaction of the season came in late August: “Tampa Bay Rays signed free agent CF Freddy Guzman to a minor league contract.” Guzman was 32, had most recently appeared in the majors in 2009, had a career OPS+ of 42, and was at the time playing in Mexico, where his teammates included Esteban Loaiza (41 years old), Ruben Rivera (39) and Ruben Mateo (35). I liked this move so much that Ben Lindbergh and I devoted an entire podcast episode to it.

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August 21, 2014 12:20 am

Pebble Hunting: You Lie!

5

Sam Miller

Has replay killed lying in baseball?

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August 15, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: Arizona's Pitching Problems

5

Sam Miller

Are the Diamondbacks screwing up pitchers? And is our usual approach to those questions the right one?

I remember on Opening Day, when Brandon McCarthy was facing the Giants, and it seemed like he might just be the Cy Young front-runner. He struck out all three batters in the first. He got the Giants in order on seven pitches in the second. His curveball was lethal, and his fastball

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