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Punk Hits 

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05-28

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3

Punk Hits: Marco Scutaro Plays All the Hits
by
Ian Miller

05-21

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7

Punk Hits: Eyes on the Prize
by
Ian Miller

05-14

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7

Punk Hits: Javier Lopez Learns BABIP
by
Ian Miller

05-07

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20

Punk Hits: The Record the Houston Astros Won't Break
by
Ian Miller

04-16

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7

Punk Hits: Road Games
by
Ian Miller

04-02

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25

Punk Hits: Accidentally Making a Case for Astros Fandom
by
Ian Miller

03-19

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6

Punk Hits: Not Just Another Night at the Yard
by
Ian Miller

03-05

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13

Punk Hits: Why I'm Rooting for the Dutch in the WBC
by
Ian Miller

02-27

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20

Punk Hits: A Love (Hate) Letter From Arizona
by
Ian Miller

02-20

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12

Punk Hits: Baseball Players Are Too Damned Good For Their Own Good
by
Ian Miller

02-05

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3

Punk Hits: Top Team Cookbooks, Part 2
by
Ian Miller

01-29

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13

Punk Hits: Top Team Cookbooks, Part 1
by
Ian Miller

01-22

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9

Punk Hits: She Got the Beat
by
Ian Miller

01-08

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8

Punk Hits: So You've Decided to Join the American League
by
Ian Miller

12-19

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48

Punk Hits: A Modest Proposal for the MLB Network
by
Ian Miller

12-11

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26

Punk Hits: Why Do We Fear The Beard?
by
Ian Miller

11-27

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16

Punk Hits: Why Stadium Giveaways Are So Unbelievably Awful
by
Ian Miller

11-21

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11

Punk Hits: Why Tyson Ross Went South
by
Ian Miller

11-13

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8

Punk Hits: Scouting the Arizona Fall League: Off-the-Field Edition
by
Ian Miller

11-06

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7

Punk Hits: The Year Punk Broke (Into the Majors)
by
Ian Miller

10-31

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16

Punk Hits: Brian Science
by
Ian Miller

10-22

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5

Punk Hits: Three Nights In October, part 3
by
Ian Miller

10-18

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5

Punk Hits: Three Nights in October, Part Two
by
Ian Miller

10-17

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5

Punk Hits: Three Nights In October
by
Ian Miller

10-10

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4

Punk Hits: A Cespedes for the Rest of Us
by
Ian Miller

10-03

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1

Punk Hits: The Bay Area Body-Swap
by
Ian Miller

09-26

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10

Punk Hits: A Not Altogether Helpful Primer to the World Baseball Classic
by
Ian Miller

09-19

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6

Punk Hits: What the Hell Has Gotten Into the Astros?
by
Ian Miller

09-12

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19

Punk Hits: What Billy Beane is Doing Again
by
Ian Miller

09-06

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4

Punk Hits: The Fall and Rise of Joaquin Arias
by
Ian Miller

08-29

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8

Punk Hits: Will the Yankees West Match The Yankees' Success?
by
Ian Miller

08-22

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6

Punk Hits: The Other Side of Scoreboard Watching
by
Ian Miller

08-15

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37

Punk Hits: The Fabulous Major-League Baseball Rock n’ Roll Revue
by
Ian Miller

08-08

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4

Punk Hits: The Worst of the Best
by
Ian Miller

08-01

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14

Punk Hits: Bauer Pop
by
Ian Miller

07-26

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24

Punk Hits: The Goblins & Gauntlets Monster Manual, MLB Expansion Pack: Position Players, Vol. 1
by
Ian Miller

07-18

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8

Punk Hits: Baseball in the Old Country
by
Ian Miller

06-27

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34

Punk Hits: The Goblins & Gauntlets Monster Manual, MLB Expansion Pack: Pitchers, Vol. 1
by
Ian Miller

06-20

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7

Punk Hits: League Average, the Long Way 'Round
by
Ian Miller

06-13

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6

Punk Hits: Pitching In the Age of Comebacks
by
Ian Miller

06-06

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22

Punk Hits: The Most Interesting Man in the Minors
by
Ian Miller

05-30

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9

Punk Hits: 2012 National League Upfronts
by
Ian Miller

05-23

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12

Punk Hits: 2012 Baseball Upfronts
by
Ian Miller

05-16

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8

Punk Hits: Running Hot and Cold
by
Ian Miller

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On Oakland's budget, a GM can't afford to spend $36 million and whiff. WIth Yoenis Cespedes, Billy Beane didn't.

Last night, in the first inning of Game 3 of the Oakland-Detroit American League Division Series, Yoenis Cespedes knocked in what would prove to be the winning run. In Game 2 of that series, Yoenis Cespedes led off the top of the eighth inning with a single. Then he stole second. And third, without drawing a throw. Then he scored the tying run on a wild pitch.1

Throughout that sequence, the A’s radio broadcasters (I believe Ray Fosse and Ken Korach) couldn’t stop invoking the name of St. Rickey. They talked about the Henderson-esque explosiveness of Cespedes’ steal of second and how Rickey would often swipe third without a throw.

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October 3, 2012 5:00 am

Punk Hits: The Bay Area Body-Swap

1

Ian Miller

Jemile Weeks and Brandon Crawford have essentially swapped career trajectories this year. Can each find success in the future?

Existence is random. For indisputable proof of this, one need look no further than the 2012 Athletics or Orioles. But one of the basic drives of human nature is to try and make sense of things, to create narrative, to impose order on chaos. Why else would my brain suggest to me that Jemile Weeks and Brandon Crawford have switched bodies?

Maybe it wasn’t a full-on Vice Versa body-swap scenario, but they’ve basically traded stat lines. Or are mirror images of each other. Or something.

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In which Ian tries to answer a question that seems like it should be simple but is not: What is the World Baseball Classic?

Apparently there is a thing called the World Baseball Classic. This is not the same thing as the World Series, which determines the champion of Major League Baseball. The fact that the word “World” appears in the title of each event is confusing, but these are two separate competitions. This essay will attempt to explain the World Baseball Classic so you can speak about it intelligently if asked.

WHAT THE WBC IS
The World Baseball Classic is not even sure what it is. There’s an About page on its website, but that page is blank! How can we attempt to define an event that cannot—or will not—even define itself?


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September 19, 2012 5:00 am

Punk Hits: What the Hell Has Gotten Into the Astros?

6

Ian Miller

No, the Astros aren't good. But if September was a salvage month, it has been a bit of a success. Here's why.

The Houston Astros topped at least one power-rankings list last week. The fact that it was my personal Power Rankings List that I keep in my journal is not germane; the once-lowly Disastros have gone 8-7 since the beginning of September. That’s better than .500 -- a winning record within these arbitrary endpoints! -- and the eight wins is as many games as Houston won in July and August combined (h/t @cantpredictball).

They also took three of four from the Phillies over this past weekend and all but ended that team’s Wild Card hopes. As this goes to press on Tuesday night, they open a three-game set against the Cardinals, and the Astros can play spoiler again against a St. Louis team that has lost seven of its last 10. If I were Mike Matheny, I’d be preparing for these games (and next week’s series in Houston) like each one was a one-game playoff. There’s nothing scarier than playing a team with nothing to lose, and the Astros are the nothing-to-losiest.

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September 12, 2012 5:00 am

Punk Hits: What Billy Beane is Doing Again

19

Ian Miller

OAK is A-OK!

Everyone loves an underdog, and we’ve had some great stories this year. The Pirates were great while they lasted, and the Orioles... well, we project Baltimore to go 9-13 the rest of the way and miss the Wild Card entirely. But it was fun, wasn’t it?

And then there’s the Athletics. The lowly A’s, the least-valuable of the 30 MLB franchises at “only” $321 million. They of the skinflint ownership, endless stadium struggles, and ridiculously low ticket revenues. None of this is news, of course. We all saw that movie based on the book that Brad Pitt wrote about the guy from Parks & Recreation. That crafty Billy Beane always finds a way to do more with less! It’s the feelgood story of the year.

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September 6, 2012 6:50 am

Punk Hits: The Fall and Rise of Joaquin Arias

4

Ian Miller

A look at the roller coaster ride that has been the career of Joaquin Arias.

Prior to this year, if you’d heard of Joaquin Arias at all, you probably knew of him as “the guy the Rangers selected instead of Robinson Cano.” The story is practically cliché by now: the Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. The list of PTBNLs consisted of five players, including Arias and Robinson Cano. Because he was two years younger and considered a better defender, the Rangers picked Arias over Cano.

Seven-and-a-half years later, Cano has won a Rookie of the Year award, a Gold Glove, three Silver Sluggers, and a Home Run Derby while posting a 30.9 WARP. Arias, meanwhile, sustained a shoulder injury in 2007 from which he’s never fully recovered and was eventually traded to the Mets for Jeff Franceour (cruel fate!). Released by the Mets, he was picked up by the Royals, and Arias spent the entire 2011 season in Triple-A Omaha, who designated him for assignment the following December. Thin up the middle, the San Francisco Giants signed him to a minor league deal for the 2012 season, and it wasn’t long before they needed him: Arias has been with the big club since late April, and while he hasn’t magically turned into Robinson Cano, he’s been far better than PECOTA predicted and pretty damn good for a guy who’s career should be over.

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August 29, 2012 5:00 am

Punk Hits: Will the Yankees West Match The Yankees' Success?

8

Ian Miller

The Dodgers' 2013 payroll is already around $200 million. Is the Dodgers' 2013 roster a good roster?

You know all about the money. The Dodgers’ new ownership group has taken on the ungodly sum of $260 million in contracts from the Red Sox, and $400 million in total salary obligations (including acquisitions and re-signings). These figures are wholly abstract; they’re so vast that our brains can’t even process them. Us normal folk have no frame of reference.

There’s no question that the moves Colletti and company have made improve the team in the short term. Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez are massive upgrades over Dee Gordon and James Loney. Shane Victorino is better than the three-headed left-field monster of Tony Gwynn, Jr., Juan Rivera, and Bobby Abreu. In a tight National League West race, these late additions might be enough to put the Dodgers over the top. And once a team reaches the playoffs, we all know that just about anything can happen.

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Ian spends a day in one of the coolest seats in the park (seat not included).

Despite what the general public would have you believe, the languid pace of a baseball game is one of its best features. Between pitches, you have time to take in your surroundings. You might check the defensive positioning, note how a particular fielder prepares as the pitcher delivers the ball, or glance at the out-of-town scoreboard to check the action.

I’m an inveterate scoreboard watcher. It’s been suggested that I have attention-span issues, but I’m constantly looking across the diamond to check the scores. How are my favorite teams doing? How are their division rivals faring? How’s that one pitcher performing after his last disastrous start? I can get all that data at a glance, thanks to the out-of-town scoreboard.

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Ian loves two things. These are those two things, as one thing.

Everyone who has seen Brian Wilson pitch has had two different, concurrent reactions. The first is to recoil in horror at the black alien life-form consuming his face; the second is to make a Beach Boys joke.

What most people don’t do, however, is take the next step: wonder if they could field a baseball team composed entirely of rock-star namesakes. But I am not most people; I am a weird baseball-slash-music obsessive. I took the names of rock and roll legends and scoured Baseball Reference to find players by the same (or nearly the same) name. This was both more stupid and more fun than you might have imagined.

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August 8, 2012 5:00 am

Punk Hits: The Worst of the Best

4

Ian Miller

Some very good baseball players are doing some very bad things this year.

Baseball Prospectus’ True Average report is endlessly fascinating. Matt Kemp’s .376 TAv is absurd, and Mike Trout, the just-turned-21-year-old rookie superstar, is right behind him with a gaudy .370. And how about David Ortiz in fifth place with a .342! Who saw that coming? The top of the list is an amazing mixture of quotidian greatness (Votto) and fantastic surprises (Jaso??).

But I’m equally fascinated by the bottom of the list. Change the pulldown to the right of TAv from DESC to ASC, set the min. PA to “200,” and hit View Data. (Alternately, you can just click here. At the top of that list are the very worst hitters in Major League Baseball. Just like with baseball’s best hitters, the bottom-dwellers run the gamut from “duh” (Yuniesky Betancourt at 25th-worst) to “huh?” (Ryan Raburn, worst in the majors).

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August 1, 2012 5:00 am

Punk Hits: Bauer Pop

14

Ian Miller

A Modest Proposal for Preventing Trevor Bauer’s Poor Taste in Music from Being a Burden on His Pitching Performance

Coming into the 2012 season, Trevor Bauer was one of the most talked-about pitching prospects in baseball. He decimated records and hitters throughout his college career at UCLA, and won just about every conceivable award, including the Golden Spikes in 2011. After being selected third overall by the Diamondbacks, he signed a major-league deal and was in Double-A before the year was out. In the 2012 BP annual, we called him “a viable 21-year-old candidate for Arizona’s Opening Day rotation.”

Bauer was called up to the big club in June of this year and, instead of continuing to dominate hitters the way he has his entire life (I’m assuming), he, well, kinda sucked. Over four starts, his line looks like this:

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Part two of Ian's epic adventure game.

Thank you for purchasing this Monster Manual MLB Expansion Pack. This edition features dozens of position players guaranteed to breathe new life into your G&G adventures.

(Your purchase also gives you access to the MLB Expansion Pack: Pitchers, Vol. 1 -- absolutely free!) 

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