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09-23

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18

Pebble Hunting: That's The Way I Like It And I'll Never Get Bored
by
Sam Miller

09-22

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8

Pebble Hunting: The Great Big 'Beat PECOTA' Wrap
by
Sam Miller

08-26

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7

Pebble Hunting: A Sense Of Where You Are
by
Sam Miller

08-11

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15

Pebble Hunting: The Saddest Age-27 Seasons of 2016
by
Sam Miller

08-10

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7

Pebble Hunting: Somebody Is About To Strike Out 25 Batters In Nine Innings
by
Sam Miller

08-09

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3

Pebble Hunting: We're Boring About Ace Relief Performances
by
Sam Miller

08-01

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1

Pebble Hunting: A Prayer For Daniel Hudson
by
Sam Miller

07-08

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0

Pebble Hunting: Kershaw vs. Harper: The Mistakes
by
Sam Miller

07-06

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4

Pebble Hunting: The Baseball In Steamy Novels
by
Sam Miller

06-16

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0

Pebble Hunting: Change The Minimum-Innings Threshold, Dangit
by
Sam Miller

06-12

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6

Pebble Hunting: The State of the Closer
by
Sam Miller

06-07

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2

Pebble Hunting: Clayton Kershaw's 'Mistakes', Chapter Two
by
Sam Miller

05-16

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22

Pebble Hunting: The 14 Heroes Of Sunday's Odor/Bautista Brawl
by
Sam Miller

05-11

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7

Pebble Hunting: The Disappearing Footnote
by
Sam Miller

05-03

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3

Pebble Hunting: Clayton Kershaw's 28 'Mistakes' Last Month
by
Sam Miller

04-22

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8

Pebble Hunting: Which Bunts Are Missing?
by
Sam Miller

04-15

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17

Pebble Hunting: So I Guess This Is Vince Velasquez Now
by
Sam Miller

04-12

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7

Pebble Hunting: How You Tried To Beat PECOTA
by
Sam Miller

03-22

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10

Pebble Hunting: Sim City 1000000
by
Sam Miller

03-14

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33

Pebble Hunting: Should Have Taken Trout
by
Sam Miller

03-11

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7

Pebble Hunting: What It Means To Have The Best Farm System In Baseball, Part 4
by
Sam Miller

02-16

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39

Pebble Hunting: PECOTA Hates the Royals, Part II
by
Sam Miller

02-12

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9

Pebble Hunting: I Read the Entire Collective Bargaining Agreement and Here's What I Learned
by
Sam Miller

01-20

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7

Pebble Hunting: Flame of Thrown
by
Sam Miller

01-12

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4

Pebble Hunting: The Scioscia About Face
by
Sam Miller

11-30

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5

Pebble Hunting: Everything Is Now Super, 2015
by
Sam Miller

10-30

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5

Pebble Hunting: An Illustrated Guide to the People of Citi Field
by
Sam Miller

04-27

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12

Pebble Hunting: Scott Boras Has Baseball's Most Accurate Projection System
by
Sam Miller

04-09

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28

Pebble Hunting: Every Team Gets One Do-Over
by
Sam Miller

04-03

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9

Pebble Hunting: Watching The Worst Game of 2014
by
Sam Miller

03-31

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52

Pebble Hunting: The Case For Shaming the Cubs
by
Sam Miller

03-17

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8

Pebble Hunting: Would Pedro Martinez Have Gone Undefeated?
by
Sam Miller

02-25

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10

Pebble Hunting: What the Heck, Tigers?
by
Sam Miller

02-13

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5

Pebble Hunting: Testing PECOTA's Memory
by
Sam Miller

01-26

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15

Pebble Hunting: What It Means To Have The Best Farm System In Baseball, Part Three
by
Sam Miller

01-23

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15

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

01-19

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13

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

01-16

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21

Pebble Hunting: The Gospel According to Baseball
by
Sam Miller

11-21

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11

Pebble Hunting: Hank Aaron's Hypothetical Fortune
by
Sam Miller

11-05

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6

Pebble Hunting: Nelson Cruz is Same, Different
by
Sam Miller

10-24

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21

Pebble Hunting: An Illustrated Guide to the People of AT&T Park
by
Sam Miller

10-21

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5

Pebble Hunting: An Illustrated Guide to the People of Kauffman Stadium
by
Sam Miller

10-20

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46

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

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January 19, 2015 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Hitters Who Changed PECOTA's Mind

13

Sam Miller

Whose 2014 season, good or bad, had enough of an impact to drastically change how PECOTA views them?

Last year, around this time, I wrote an article here about the players who had most changed PECOTA’s mind in the previous year. The premise of said piece was that it takes extraordinary circumstances for PECOTA to acknowledge that the player had changed. Players don’t usually change much, at least in a year. People don’t usually change much. Last year, around this time, I wrote that article, and right now I’m writing that article, because I don’t usually change much.

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Which Bible verses do baseball players gravitate to the most and why?

A few months ago, you might recall, Kolten Wong signed a baseball with a Bible verse that doesn’t exist. At least, somebody claimed to have a baseball signed by Kolten Wong (the signature looks right) under which a non-existent Bible verse is written in what looks plausibly like the hand of Kolten Wong. Psalms 3:16 doesn’t exist because the third Psalm has only eight verses.*

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November 21, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: Hank Aaron's Hypothetical Fortune

11

Sam Miller

Hank Aaron would be worth a billion dollars if he were playing today. What would he actually get?

The other day, as in not today, but any other day from the storage of prior human existence, Jeff Sullivan did a simple thing that turned out interesting: He took a bunch of guys like Giancarlo Stanton to see how much they would have been worth in the 13 years following their age-24 season. This was interesting for reasons having to do with Giancarlo Stanton’s outlook, which is why Jeff wrote it that day, but it was also interesting for sweet, sweet Fun Fact reasons. At the very, very top of the list was this:

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November 5, 2014 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: Nelson Cruz is Same, Different

6

Sam Miller

Nelson Cruz wants what he wanted last year, and might get it, and might not.

Hello, old friend.

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Classifying the fans you'll see in the stands for the next three games of the World Series.

The following originally ran two years ago today. With two exceptionsthe seventh word of the piece, and the section on the woman in the Marlins jersey who turned out to be a dude in a Marlins jersey, and who we now know much, much more aboutit's just as true today, so we hope you'll enjoy it anew.

You will be spending the next two days with the AT&T crowd, so you might as well get to know who they are. While a stadium of 43,000 can hold countless types, the culture of the park can be pretty well summed up by just a few of them.

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Classifying the fans you'll see in the stands for the first two games of the World Series.

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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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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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