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07-11

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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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13

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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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

03-26

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2

Pebble Hunting: What We Can Learn from the Expos
by
Sam Miller

03-21

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37

Pebble Hunting: The Simulated Seasons Where the Astros Make the Playoffs
by
Sam Miller

03-14

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24

Pebble Hunting: Sounding the Depths of Each Team's Rotation
by
Sam Miller

03-12

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13

Pebble Hunting: The Complicated Decline of Brandon Phillips
by
Sam Miller

03-07

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23

Pebble Hunting: Billy Hamilton, Usain Bolt, and Whether 90 Feet is Still Enough
by
Sam Miller

03-05

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30

Pebble Hunting: The Best GIFs of the 2014 Baseball Season
by
Sam Miller

03-03

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7

Pebble Hunting: Mike Trout and the Meaning of $140 Million
by
Sam Miller

02-28

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8

Pebble Hunting: The Pitchers Who Changed PECOTA's Mind
by
Sam Miller

02-26

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11

Pebble Hunting: Introducing the Attackability Score
by
Sam Miller

02-24

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18

Pebble Hunting: The Position Players Who Changed PECOTA's Mind
by
Sam Miller

02-14

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21

Pebble Hunting: The Search for Yuni's Successor
by
Sam Miller

02-12

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15

Pebble Hunting: The Importance of Top Prospect Trajectories
by
Sam Miller

02-10

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7

Pebble Hunting: Yasiel Puig and the Prototypical Young Hitter
by
Sam Miller

02-04

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20

Pebble Hunting: Watching the Worst Game of 2013
by
Sam Miller

01-31

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13

Pebble Hunting: The Opt-Out Hater's Case for Opt-Outs
by
Sam Miller

01-28

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8

Pebble Hunting: Who's Faster, Mike Trout or Peter Bourjos?
by
Sam Miller

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March 14, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: Sounding the Depths of Each Team's Rotation

24

Sam Miller

How bad will things get for your team when two starters go down?

The problem is, people get hurt. People get hurt, you’re going to expose your lack of depth. There just is no depth. There is no number six. If Joe Blanton pitches an inning this year it will be just a catastrophe for the Angels and I don’t knowShoemaker? Is that number six? Even in my ideal world I’m trying to figure out who is number six. Matt Welch, author of the Angels chapter in this year’s annual, on Effectively Wild.

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March 12, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Complicated Decline of Brandon Phillips

13

Sam Miller

Why it's problematic to point out that a player isn't as good as he once was.

Brandon Phillips is declining. Around 13 years ago, his lung capacity began decreasing, and in another couple decades it will be half what it was when he was 20. He's losing neurons in his brain—up to 10,000 per day. Around the age of 30, his major organs began to lose function, and his muscles began to lose mass. His maximum attainable heart rate is dropping by a beat per year, and his capacity to pump blood is shrinking, too. The first symptoms of mild-moderate cognitive impairment often start around this time, slowing his brain's processing speed and affecting memory and attention.

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Is it time to bring back the Herb Washington-style dedicated pinch-sprinter?

We all have radical ideas that we’d like to see implemented: the all-reliever pitching staff, the perfectly optimized lineup, the corner outfielders swapping based on batter handedness, etc. Until somebody puts them into play, they’re just ideas. What Charlie Finley did, then, was a favor to us all: He took one of those ideas and put it in play. And when it failed, we got to move on. We never had to talk about it again. For once, a crazy idea tried, tested, and settled.

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A sneak preview of the coming year's highlight for each team.

AL West

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What the terms of Mike Trout's rumored extension tell us about Mike Trout.

Back in the summer of 2012, when it became clear that Mike Trout was doing something we had never seen from a player his age, the word of the day was “adjustments.” Yes, Trout was accomplishing amazing things, and there was little doubt that he would be a phenomenal player, probably a Hall of Famer. But his legacy—would he be a Hall of Famer like Willie Mays, or a Hall of Famer like Andre Dawson?—would come down to adjustments.

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February 28, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Pitchers Who Changed PECOTA's Mind

8

Sam Miller

The biggest gaps between 2013 and 2014 pitcher projections.

It’s a feeling we’ve brought up a lot this winter: Pitchers seem like they are capable of changing our minds much more quickly than hitters can. A bump in velocity (like Ubaldo Jimenez) or a move to the bullpen (Will Smith) or a return after years away (Scott Kazmir) can radically reshape how we assess a pitcher's future.

Which suggests we should be open to radically different projections for a pitcher from year to year, and yet! There’s a case to be made that this unpredictability should actually make a projection system even more conservative when evaluating pitchers. As quickly as a pitcher can change our minds about him, he can unchange our minds, lose the velocity or move back to the rotation or undergo a surgery that fixes him. So, when in doubt, regress.

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February 26, 2014 7:41 am

Pebble Hunting: Introducing the Attackability Score

11

Sam Miller

A better way to assess which hitters are vulnerable to which pitch types.

Sometimes you just want to see a table.

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February 24, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Position Players Who Changed PECOTA's Mind

18

Sam Miller

The biggest gaps between 2013 and 2014 hitter projections.

At the back of the BP Annual, on page 562, among the PECOTA leaderboards, there’s one table for WARP Declines and another for WARP Improvements. The guys on these lists are a hodgepodge of stories, but mostly these players are on the list because PECOTA hasn’t changed its mind on them. Colby Rasmus had a good year last year? PECOTA acknowledges it, but it hasn’t changed its mind about Rasmus. Decline. Dan Uggla was terrible last year? PECOTA adjusts downward some but basically hasn’t changed its mind about Uggla. Improve. The WARP decline/improvements tables are essentially regression leaderboards. These are guys who did something unexpected but, in PECOTA’s estimation, didn’t really change.

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February 14, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Search for Yuni's Successor

21

Sam Miller

Which player is most likely to experience a run of sustained sub-replacement seasons?

The year was 2007, and America’s outlook had never been brighter. A young Arkansas governor named Bill J. Clinton had just been elected president with promises of universal hearth care for everybody’s hearths. An inventor named Steve Jobs was tinkering in his garage on a machine that would one day be called the Splash-Proof Thermapen Thermometer. And a shortstop in Seattle named Yuniesky Betancourt was doing amazing things that we would never see again: Topping replacement level.

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February 12, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Importance of Top Prospect Trajectories

15

Sam Miller

Does a big drop in a top prospect's ranking presage a disappointing career to come?

If you’re the sort of fan with only enough mental storage space to keep track of the top 101 or so prospects, you may officially quit paying attention to Mike Olt, Trevor Story, Rymer Liriano, Kaleb Cowart, Taylor Guerrieri, Bubba Starling, Danny Hultzen, Mason Williams, Luis Heredia, Arodys Vizcaino, J.R. Graham, Alen Hanson, Allen Webster, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, Hak-Ju Lee, Casey Kelly, Tyrell Jenkins, Clayton Blackburn, Dorssys Paulino, Sean Nolin, Michael Fulmer, Lewis Brinson, Delino DeShields. All were top 101 prospects last year, but things happen to prospects (they break your heart) and none is this year. You can just rewrite over those brain cells.

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On Puig's performance against fastballs, and young hitters' performance in general.

When you think of a young hitter, you probably imagine a kid who can catch up to a fastball but struggles to lay off breaking balls and off-speed stuff outside the zone. There’s no “used to be a thrower but now he’s a pitcher” equivalent for hitters, but if there was it would likely be used to describe a batter who learned how to lay off tough sliders. When Yasiel Puig came up last year and couldn’t lay off sliders, and teams responded by throwing him sliders, it surprised nobody.

There’s some confirmation bias at work here. Try as we might not to, there’s a tendency to create cultural profiles for players, and also to create age profiles for players, and probably also to create behavioral profiles for players. So Puig—young, by appearances a bit out of control, Latin—seems to the prejudiced mind to be a guy who would be a free-swinger, and perhaps a guy who would swing and miss at sliders out of the zone. And he is, and he does! Just don’t throw that guy a fastball and you’ll be fine.


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So that you don't have to.

Hello nobody! Hello nothingness! Hello void! Hello, chaos of the old cosmogonies! And welcome, to Astros baseball.

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