What does it take to be more than 50 percent likely to win the World Series?
I do love me some Wednesday e-mail show Effectively Wild. Today, someone asked a fantastic question about the playoffs. How good would a team have to be in the regular season to, before the first pitch of the playoffs is thrown, be considered the mathematical favorite to win the World Series versus the field. There will be ten teams that make the playoffs this year (OK, fine, lest we defile the sanctity of the Wild Card, there will be eight). One of them will have the best chances of the eight/ten, and would theoretically be the favorite, but its chances might be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 percent to be taking a champagne championship shower in late October. That means that the best team has an 80 percent chance of winning a participant trophy instead.
Why did teams pass on Adrian Gonzalez if he (and his contract) are so valuable?
As the waiver-trade period begins, I thought it might be useful to bring this back up, as a refresher on why good players somehow don't get claimed in August. Originally ran in 2012, the day the Dodgers claimed Adrian Gonzalez.
View from the turtle during batting practice at this year's MLB Futures Game during All Star Weekend.
The Baseball Prospectus prospect team is constantly on the road, getting eyes on the top talent throughout baseball -- from the amateur ranks up through the majors. Moving forward I'll be working to bring you inside my travels (hopefully with contributions from others on the prospect team), including pictures and video. There will be a lot of baseball and some broader travel stuff if I think you might find it interesting.
At Baseball Prospectus, we'll be bringing you analysis of every trade and transaction up through Thursday's 4 PM ET non-waiver trade deadline. Check back here for the latest links to our coverage, in chronological order.
What's more likely, a five-homer game or a five-strikeout inning? Gory math!
On Wednesday's episode of Effectively Wild, sponsored by the Baseball Reference Play Index and featuring BP's own Editor-in-Chief Sam Miller and some other guy who now works for Disney and is therefore dead to us, a listener asked one of those questions that means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but... can't... resist... answering.
The Netflix documentary will tempt you to watch it, but the story it tells is unconvincing and the story it missed would have been better.
There’s a movie called Slap Shot. You’ve heard of it, you’ve seen it, you love it. It’s about a small-town minor-league hockey team that, faced with its recession-related shuttering, reinvents itself as a bunch of thugs on ice. The team’s new rebelliousness draws fans, and it leads to victories. It works as two movies: the scrappy underdog story, and the men behaving badly story.
For the summer, the world's best magazine has removed its archives (since 2007) from behind the paywall. Here's the best New Yorker baseball writing.
This summer, The New Yorker has opened up a portion of its online archives to non-subscribers. This is great news for non-subscribers (though not subscribing is itself bad news for non-subscribers), as some of the best baseball feature writing of the past seven years is now available in a non-$6.99/issue format. How will you spend your summer with The New Yorker online archives? May I advise.
Over at Fox Sports' Just A Bit Outside, I wrote a piece today on Team MVPs—not just those semi-official things that BBWAA chapters hand out, but the wholly unofficial "So'n So is Our MVP" claims that managers, players and beat writers will sometimes make. It is, I argue in the piece, the most chaotic and desperate circle of baseball debate, but it also has a long history and a certain consistency to it. I broke down the six and a half categories of Team MVP rebellion.
Despite Anthony Rizzo’s ignominious strikeout in the All-Star game, a look at BP’s leaderboards reveals he’s having a monster year—good for the 11th highest BWARP in MLB. So while Rizzo’s performance this year has been nothing short of exceptional, his breakout came a year too late, as I write in this week’s BP on Fox article.