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09-17

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5

Skewed Left: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
by
Zachary Levine

09-11

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2

Skewed Left: It's Not a No-Hitter 'til _____
by
Zachary Levine

09-05

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4

Skewed Left: The Billy Beane Famous-Old-DH Gambit
by
Zachary Levine

08-28

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21

Skewed Left: A Three-Hour Tour
by
Zachary Levine

08-21

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4

Skewed Left: Saber Seminar One Year From Now
by
Zachary Levine

08-14

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16

Skewed Left: Where Have All The Suspensions Gone?
by
Zachary Levine

07-31

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1

Skewed Left: The Nomar Garciaparra Trade Turns Ten
by
Zachary Levine

07-25

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4

Skewed Left: The Mismatched Incentives of Draftees and Their Agents
by
Zachary Levine

07-15

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4

Skewed Left: What Is An All-Star Pitcher?
by
Zachary Levine

07-09

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7

Skewed Left: What the CBA Says About the All-Star Game
by
Zachary Levine

07-03

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16

Skewed Left: The Ingrained, Misguided, 162-Game Schedule
by
Zachary Levine

06-26

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3

Skewed Left: Which Position Players Make the Best Pitchers?
by
Zachary Levine

06-19

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2

Skewed Left: The Missing Mound Charge
by
Zachary Levine

06-12

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1

Skewed Left: The Wisdom of Pinch-Hitting with Pitchers
by
Zachary Levine

06-05

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17

Skewed Left: The Economics of the Singleton Extension
by
Zachary Levine

05-29

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7

Skewed Left: What We've Learned About Replay
by
Zachary Levine

05-22

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1

Skewed Left: Dallas Keuchel Defies his Destiny
by
Zachary Levine

05-13

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21

Skewed Left: How Much Losing Jose Fernandez Hurts
by
Zachary Levine

05-08

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2

Skewed Left: The Five Teams That Don't Have to Play by (All of) the Rules
by
Zachary Levine

05-01

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0

Skewed Left: Staying Alive in the Independent Leagues, 2014 Edition
by
Zachary Levine

04-24

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9

Skewed Left: The Squandered Promise of the Diamondbacks Rotation
by
Zachary Levine

04-18

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4

Skewed Left: How Service Time Dictates Top Prospect Promotions
by
Zachary Levine

04-10

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7

Skewed Left: The Surprising Sameness of Justin Upton
by
Zachary Levine

04-03

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11

Skewed Left: The Revolving Door Rankings
by
Zachary Levine

03-27

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11

Skewed Left: PECOTA vs. Vegas
by
Zachary Levine

03-20

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7

Skewed Left: Where Are All the Australian Position Players?
by
Zachary Levine

03-13

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25

Skewed Left: The Good and the Bad News About Instant Replay's Spring Trial
by
Zachary Levine

03-06

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42

Skewed Left: The Art of Explaining Baseball
by
Zachary Levine

02-27

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13

Skewed Left: What it Means to Move Off Catcher
by
Zachary Levine

02-13

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9

Skewed Left: Fun with 2014 PECOTA Comparables
by
Zachary Levine

02-06

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7

Skewed Left: The Truth About One-Day Contracts
by
Zachary Levine

01-30

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18

Skewed Left: Saying Goodbye to Lance Berkman
by
Zachary Levine

01-23

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3

Skewed Left: Bobby Abreu, the Phillies, and Other Reunions That Might Make Sense
by
Zachary Levine

01-16

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5

Skewed Left: The Historical Precedent for an A-Rod Comeback
by
Zachary Levine

01-07

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21

Skewed Left: What the 1936 Hall of Fame Ballot Tells Us About Today's
by
Zachary Levine

01-02

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25

Skewed Left: Better Versions of Bad Hall of Fame Arguments
by
Zachary Levine

12-26

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9

Skewed Left: The Quiet Offseason in Odds
by
Zachary Levine

12-19

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2

Skewed Left: The Company They Tweet, The Sequel
by
Zachary Levine

12-12

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11

Skewed Left: A Cooperstown Party Like it's 1999
by
Zachary Levine

11-21

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12

Skewed Left: My Column: The Jokes the Internet Killed in 2013
by
Zachary Levine

11-14

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42

Skewed Left: Why Deserving MVPs Don't Win
by
Zachary Levine

10-25

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6

Skewed Left: Shane Victorino and the Hunt for the Elusive 9-3 Putout
by
Zachary Levine

09-26

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5

Skewed Left: The Canadian World Series Drought
by
Zachary Levine

09-19

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0

Skewed Left: Danny Valencia and the Orioles' DH Merry-Go-Round
by
Zachary Levine

09-12

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2

Skewed Left: Three Narratives About the NL Central's Crowded Playoff Picture
by
Zachary Levine

09-05

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3

Skewed Left: The Literal Rise of the Shortstops
by
Zachary Levine

08-29

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5

Skewed Left: Overlooked Atlanta?
by
Zachary Levine

08-22

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11

Skewed Left: Miking Up Umpires
by
Zachary Levine

08-15

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10

Skewed Left: The Nationals' New Future
by
Zachary Levine

08-08

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5

Skewed Left: Fisking a Preseason Pirates Article
by
Zachary Levine

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June 19, 2014 6:00 am

Skewed Left: The Missing Mound Charge

2

Zachary Levine

When will we see another hitter attempt to take a pitcher down?

You know that scenario that you dreamt up in your backyard for when you someday play in the big leagues? The one that you had to dream up because baseball announcers in every high-leverage situation were telling you that you dreamt it up?

It’s not the one I dreamt up. I couldn’t hit the ball far enough even to picture that trot around the bases after hitting the bottom-of-the-ninth, down-by-three, bases-loaded, two-out, full-count home run. So when I played baseball in the street with my brother and whomever we could find in the neighborhood, there was only one situation that I lived for.

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June 12, 2014 6:00 am

Skewed Left: The Wisdom of Pinch-Hitting with Pitchers

1

Zachary Levine

An underused tactic that requires some courage.

You could say that the most Sergio Romo save of Sergio Romo’s 2014 season was his 17th, a wobbly six-batter adventure against the Cardinals in which he entered with a two-run lead and held on for a one-run victory in this sequence.

RHB Jhonny Peralta: Strikeout swinging (slider, slider, sinker, slider)
LHB Jon Jay: Infield single
RHB Peter Bourjos: Infield popup (slider, slider)
LHB Daniel Descalso: Walk
LHB Matt Carpenter: RBI single

RHB Shane Robinson Infield popup (slider, slider, slider, slider, slider)






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June 5, 2014 6:00 am

Skewed Left: The Economics of the Singleton Extension

17

Zachary Levine

Why all the incentives are aligned in favor of contracts like the Astros' new first baseman's, and how that could change.

Leave it to the Astros, a team that's spent the last few years sending fans running to the record books, to the legal dictionary, and occasionally to the therapist, to be the team that in 2014 is sending us back to economics class.

Their general manager, Jeff Luhnow, has both an undergraduate business degree and a Kellogg MBA. Their assistant GM, David Stearns, came from the salary arbitration and collective bargaining team at MLB headquarters. Down the depth chart, their baseball operations analyst, Brandon Taubman, came from the derivatives trading world. Hell, their analogue of a traveling secretary (on this team a more comprehensive “manager of team operations”), Dan O’Neill, per his bio:

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May 29, 2014 6:00 am

Skewed Left: What We've Learned About Replay

7

Zachary Levine

A look at challenge rates, success rates, and delays so far.

When a totally new system like Major League Baseball’s expanded instant replay—complete with brand-new job descriptions and job openings and technology—is assembled on the eve of the season, you’d imagine its implementation would look more like an evolution than the arrival of a fully formed process.

And by most accounts it has been. Whether it’s the change in the transfer rule that tangentially went along with it, or managers getting used to the silly choreography of how to argue with an umpire while simultaneously looking back at the dugout for a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down, everybody involved in the process seems to be getting better at it.

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May 22, 2014 6:00 am

Skewed Left: Dallas Keuchel Defies his Destiny

1

Zachary Levine

The Astros southpaw's transition from a walk machine with no strikeouts into a strike machine with no walks.

As much as it might look like we have, we’ve never seen anything like this in the short career of the Astros’ best pitcher to date, Dallas Keuchel.

His career began in June 2012 with terrific results—one run allowed in five innings in the Ballpark at Arlington, a complete game six days later with one run allowed. At the All-Star break he had a 2.45 ERA on his way into a start against Arizona. Something wasn’t right, though.

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May 13, 2014 6:00 am

Skewed Left: How Much Losing Jose Fernandez Hurts

21

Zachary Levine

Where does the likely loss of Jose Fernandez rank on the baseball internet's list of potential tragedies?

Yesterday was a sad day down at headquarters.

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Searching for exceptions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Baseball’s two publically accessible governing constitutions send us scrambling to their pages for very different reasons, and usually with very different results.

If you find yourself heading for the rule book, you’re probably doing so in a state of confusion and probably some anger. When you dive into the much weightier collective bargaining agreement, well, first of all, you’re probably also confused. Let’s face it; readers of this site probably don’t have to look up much of what happens in the flow of the game (in the case of the rule book) or the baseball calendar and off-field choreography (in the case of the CBA). But you might be intrigued by what’s in there anyway.

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Ten players you might not realize are still active in organized baseball.

The Atlantic League is back, and with it, the comers-back, the hangers-on, and the other bizarre stories that make the premier independent league so much fun have returned.

Last year, I went through the rosters and found my 15 favorite names and stories—mostly recognizable names to major-league fans. They were spread out across the Northeast and one Texas outpost, either trying to restart something or keep the passion for the game alive years after the Show got away from them.

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Remembering when Arizona's rotation looked like the next best thing.

The best rotation in baseball so far this season was an accident. Years of scouting and strong drafting left the Braves with an almost unparalleled trove of young talent as the decade turned to the 2010s, along with a plan to surge through their cost-controlled near-peak years. Aaron Harang (0.85 ERA) wasn't part of the plan four years ago. Ervin Santana (slacking a little bit with a 0.86 ERA) wasn't part of the plan two months ago.

But the best rotation in baseball was the story of a little luck and a fast response to a sudden crumble.

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And why the Astros would have been silly to promote George Springer sooner.

If you stretch, maybe you could come up with a good baseball reason for the Astros not to have called up outfield prospect George Springer until earlier this week. And yes, GM Jeff Luhnow probably did need to stick with baseball reasons in his public explanations of the delayed promotion: Springer needed some more at-bats to work on cutting down his strikeouts, or the team wanted to see whether Robbie Grossman could start this season as strong as he finished the last one, etc.

You understand why Luhnow can’t say the real reason, but at some point, you wish that we could let a smart guy be a smart guy and tell you that by waiting two weeks, he was able to exchange a minimal amount of Springer in a bad season for a full year of Springer in what could be a good season. That would be the 2020 season, which is now part of the Astros’ control period on Springer as he won’t have a full six served after 2019. (Read more of the details in this Evan Drellich piece at the Houston Chronicle.)

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April 10, 2014 6:00 am

Skewed Left: The Surprising Sameness of Justin Upton

7

Zachary Levine

Remember what we were thinking about Justin Upton a year ago?

“Ideally you’re judging a trade by what you know at the time, and if you want to be really strict about that, you stop judging the trade after it happens.” – Ben Lindbergh, Effectively Wild Episode 191

“I think probably it’s best that nobody who talks or writes about baseball for a living ever pats themselves on the back.” – Sam Miller, same episode

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April 3, 2014 6:00 am

Skewed Left: The Revolving Door Rankings

11

Zachary Levine

Which teams have gone the longest without a consistent starter at a particular position?

When Derek Jeter took the field for the season opener at Minute Maid Park, it was the first time since 1996 that he’d done so coming off a year in which he was not the Yankees’ primary shortstop. In 17 consecutive seasons before Eduardo Nunez took the title from him in 2013, Jeter had played the most games at the cornerstone position on the infield.

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