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11-21

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Raising Aces: Free Agent Pitchers: The Top Tier
by
Doug Thorburn

11-10

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4

Raising Aces: Partners in Crime: The Long Home Runs of 2014
by
Doug Thorburn

10-31

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11

Raising Aces: Bum Deal
by
Doug Thorburn

10-24

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2

Raising Aces: Ghosts of World Series Past
by
Doug Thorburn

10-17

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2

Raising Aces: Brandon Finnegan, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

10-14

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13

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot, Reliever Edition
by
Doug Thorburn

10-03

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Raising Aces: Daniel Norris, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

09-30

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16

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot
by
Doug Thorburn

09-19

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3

Raising Aces: Carlos in Charge
by
Doug Thorburn

09-12

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2

Raising Aces: Angelic Arms
by
Doug Thorburn

09-05

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3

Raising Aces: Cub Replacement Level
by
Doug Thorburn

08-29

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1

Raising Aces: Mis-Priced
by
Doug Thorburn

08-22

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7

Raising Aces: Police and Thieves
by
Doug Thorburn

08-15

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14

Raising Aces: Have Pitch Counts Gone Too Far?
by
Doug Thorburn

08-08

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6

Raising Aces: The Road to Recovery
by
Doug Thorburn

08-01

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3

Raising Aces: The Rabbit Hole
by
Doug Thorburn

07-25

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6

Raising Aces: Shelby Miller's Fall From Grace
by
Doug Thorburn

07-18

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1

Raising Aces: Outta Nowhere
by
Doug Thorburn

07-11

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2

Raising Aces: Breakout Breakdown: Corey Kluber and Garrett Richards
by
Doug Thorburn

06-27

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4

Raising Aces: Houston, We Have Lift-Off
by
Doug Thorburn

06-20

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6

Raising Aces: A Tale of Two Aces
by
Doug Thorburn

06-13

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1

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part Three
by
Doug Thorburn

06-06

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Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part Two
by
Doug Thorburn

05-30

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4

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part One
by
Doug Thorburn

05-23

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6

Raising Aces: Going Vertical
by
Doug Thorburn

05-16

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13

Raising Aces: The Injury Puzzle
by
Doug Thorburn

05-09

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4

Raising Aces: Making Setup Man Magic
by
Doug Thorburn

05-02

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7

Raising Aces: Too Early to Worry?
by
Doug Thorburn

04-25

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6

Raising Aces: Too Soon to Swoon?
by
Doug Thorburn

04-18

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5

Raising Aces: Masahiro Tanaka, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

04-11

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11

Raising Aces: Starting Pitcher Four-Pack
by
Doug Thorburn

04-04

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1

Raising Aces: The Aces of Opening Day
by
Doug Thorburn

03-28

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10

Raising Aces: Out on a Limb: 2014 Pitcher Predictions
by
Doug Thorburn

03-21

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3

Raising Aces: Bush League: Eddie Butler, Tyler Glasnow, and Alex Meyer
by
Doug Thorburn

03-14

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7

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jonathan Gray
by
Doug Thorburn

03-07

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9

Raising Aces: Over the Radar 2.0
by
Doug Thorburn

03-03

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17

Raising Aces: Under the Gun 2.0
by
Doug Thorburn

02-28

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1

Raising Aces: Bush League: Andrew Heaney
by
Doug Thorburn

02-21

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3

Raising Aces: Organizational Trends: Looking for Mechanical Hallmarks
by
Doug Thorburn

02-14

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12

Raising Aces: Bush League: Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez
by
Doug Thorburn

02-07

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5

Raising Aces: Bush League: Archie Bradley
by
Doug Thorburn

01-31

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12

Raising Aces: The Evolution of Pitching Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

01-24

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19

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Fade to Black and White
by
Doug Thorburn

01-17

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9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees 1980-89
by
Doug Thorburn

01-10

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9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees of 1990-94
by
Doug Thorburn

01-03

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9

Raising Aces: The Good Old Days: Nolan Ryan
by
Doug Thorburn

12-27

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19

Raising Aces: Examining Masahiro Tanaka's Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

12-20

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2

Raising Aces: Bush League: Julio Urias
by
Doug Thorburn

12-13

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3

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jameson Taillon
by
Doug Thorburn

12-06

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Raising Aces: Diff'rent Strikes
by
Doug Thorburn

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May 23, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Going Vertical

6

Doug Thorburn

Adventures in extreme pitcher release points.

Downhill plane carries substantial weight in the pitcher evaluation game. Poor marks in that area carry repercussions ranging from diminished prospect status to bullpen assignments conceived in order to limit the exposure of a perceived weakness. The driver of downhill plane is the height of the baseball at the pitcher’s release point, an element influenced by various mechanical techniques and tendencies. On the surface, it seems obvious that a player's height would be a major determinant of his vertical release, and while there’s something to that relationship, multiple variables are at play, and physical height is merely a piece of the equation.

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May 16, 2014 7:06 am

Raising Aces: The Injury Puzzle

13

Doug Thorburn

Why it's so hard to settle on a single cause of an injury like Jose Fernandez's.

In a season that has been beset by pitcher injuries, the loss of the game's most electrifying ace, Jose Fernandez, was the straw that broke the collective heart of the baseball universe. How did it come to this?

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May 9, 2014 10:15 am

Raising Aces: Making Setup Man Magic

4

Doug Thorburn

Breaking down the mechanics of high-octane setup men Chris Withrow and Dellin Betances.

One of the more visible signs of change in today's game is the reshaping of the bullpen, which has led to an increased emphasis on stockpiling ace relievers. Baseball has become saturated with strikeouts, and the solution becomes more concentrated as a game gets to the late innings and the leading team trots out a conga line of pitchers who specialize in whiffs. Today's ’pen is mightier than it’s ever been before.

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May 2, 2014 6:15 am

Raising Aces: Too Early to Worry?

7

Doug Thorburn

Examining Homer Bailey, Danny Salazar, and Justin Masterson.

Last week we studied a trio of pitchers who have enjoyed breakouts in performance over the first month of the season in order to distinguish legitimate improvement from potential mirage. This week, we examine the other side of the coin. There are a handful of pitchers who entered the season with high expectations yet have been knocked around the yard this April, and the most perplexing of these players are those whose peripheral stats are in line with last season but whose batted-ball profiles have taken a dive. It might be tempting to dismiss any vulnerability due to the vagaries of balls in play over small samples, but in some cases there are functional underpinnings to suggest that something has gone awry.

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April 25, 2014 6:30 am

Raising Aces: Too Soon to Swoon?

6

Doug Thorburn

Is Doug buying or selling three starters who've had success so far this season?

Evaluations of player performance during the first month of the season come with small-sample caveats, but we can try to separate the flukes from the real improvements by identifying meaningful changes in mechanics, approach, or repertoire. Some of the gains are legit, while others are merely a numerical mirage, so we must look beyond the stats in order to tell which players will continue to impress over the coming months of the season. Let's take a look at some of the more surprising April performances by pitchers and attempt to determine whether it's too soon to swoon over their skills.

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April 18, 2014 6:36 am

Raising Aces: Masahiro Tanaka, the Debut Ante

5

Doug Thorburn

The Yankees' new starter appears to have the most important attribute of them all: the ability to make adjustment.

When I wrote about Masahiro Tanaka over the winter, my analysis was limited to the piecemeal footage that could be found across the interwebs, which led to a lot of caveats about what we could expect of his performance in the majors. There were many reasons for caution when projecting the state-side translation of his skill set, ranging from his workloads and pitch selection to his mechanics and statistical profile. With a trio of big-league starts now under his belt, we have a much clearer picture of his talent.

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April 11, 2014 7:50 am

Raising Aces: Starting Pitcher Four-Pack

11

Doug Thorburn

Doug looks for signs of mechanical progress by Yordano Ventura, Trevor Bauer, Chris Archer, and Erasmo Ramirez.

This is my third year writing Raising Aces for Baseball Prospectus, and one of the perks is the dynamic nature of the series (aided by the leniency of our editors). I’m always searching for better ways to communicate ideas about pitching or to broaden the discussion, and transparency has been an integral part of the process.

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April 4, 2014 6:45 am

Raising Aces: The Aces of Opening Day

1

Doug Thorburn

A close look at four aces in action in week one.

All of the great holidays are marked by high levels of anticipation. But Opening Day stands out among the more traditional observances because it is merely the beginning of the celebration to follow: seven months of 6-4-3 double plays, exploding sliders, and that sweet sound when lumber meets horsehide. It’s easy to fall pretty to the trap of overweighting observations made at the start of the regular season, and the rational observer will maintain perspective while enjoying the day's festivities. But that doesn't mean that there’s nothing to be learned from the first round of games. Early in the season, many pitchers are making real adjustments to elements of their mechanics, approach, and repertoire, and these alterations can be put under the microscope in order to get an idea of the player's developmental patterns.

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March 28, 2014 11:22 am

Raising Aces: Out on a Limb: 2014 Pitcher Predictions

10

Doug Thorburn

What does Doug see ahead for selected pitchers in 2014?

Along with the rest of the BP staff, I’ve submitted my pre-season predictions for division standings and end-of-season award winners. I tend to stay in the neighborhood of likely outcomes for these picks, resulting in easy answers such as “Mike Trout for AL MVP” or “Tigers win the AL Central,” but I’m more intrigued by the long-shot stories that emerge once the season starts.

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A close look at the mechanics of a trio of top pitching prospects.

With one week to go until Opening Day, let's tackle one final Bush League installment of the offseason, taking a look at a trio of pitchers who rank among BP's Top 50 prospects: the Rockies’ Eddie Butler, the Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow, and the Twins’ Alex Meyer. These pitchers embody some of the more common traits of high-end prospects on the mound, from stuff to mechanics, and though each player saw his stock rise during the 2013 season, there’s still a heavy dose of development needed before they’ll be ready for the show.

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March 14, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jonathan Gray

7

Doug Thorburn

The Rockies' top prospect gets better before our eyes.

This week's trip through the bushes takes us to the Colorado system to evaluate the top prospect in the Rockies’ pipeline: Jonathan Gray. The 6'4”, 255-pound right-hander has an elite arsenal, with an intimidating fastball complemented by a plus slider and a changeup that is considered a major asset. That repertoire should play very well in the majors and would seem to be a strong fit for the thin air of Coors Field. Gray's profile is even more intriguing once we get past pitch selection, so let's dig into the specifics that make him such a unique specimen.

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March 7, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Over the Radar 2.0

9

Doug Thorburn

A mechanical look at the pitchers who've gained the most fastball velocity over the last couple seasons.

This week, we’re focusing on pitch velocity and identifying the arms who have seen a big change in their fastball speeds over the last couple of years. On Monday, we looked at the players who are on the velocity downslope, with offerings that fall under the radar-gun readings of their past. Today we study the other side of the coin, drawing attention to those pitchers who have added fuel to their heat over the past couple of seasons.

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