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Hi, I'm the new guy.

As you all know, Mike Fast is now in the Astros front office, and one of my duties here is to make his departure more palatable for our readers. That’s not an easy task. Then again, Mike's task to help turn around the franchise in Houston won't be easy, either.

My past work at The Hardball Times should give you an idea of what to expect from me. I'm a data analyst by trade, so I'll try to make the best use of my skills on the invaluable PITCHf/x and Retrosheet data. Some of my previous work you may have read includes analysis on defensive alignment, deception, catchers’ game calling, minor-league defense, and pitch framing.

However, the data analysis will wait for next time. I'm going to take this opportunity to tell you something about me.

I live in Italy, a 10-minute bicycle ride away from the place where Guglielmo Marconi grew up. It's not too hard to follow Major League Baseball from my side of the ocean, thanks to MLB.tv. However, as I recounted during last postseason, following the majors from abroad was much more complicated a couple of decades ago.

I played ball for more than 20 years, mainly as a second baseman (good range, weak arm, good eye, no power, competent baserunner). I studied Statistics at the University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe, which was founded in 1088.

Back in 2002, I discovered sabermetrics and realized that baseball and statistics could work together very well. Yes, I’ve been dealing with Win Expectancy, UZR, and the like for 10 years. But don't go looking for my early works, as they were written in Italian (and my site isn't even online anymore).

I switched to writing in English in 2009. Since then, I have produced close to 50 articles at The Hardball Times, have consulted for a major-league club, and have delivered presentations at both the 2010 and 2011 PITCHf/x Summits in San Francisco.

I love burying my head into spreadsheets (actually, I’m into R coding), but nothing beats watching a ballgame on TV or (even better) at the ballpark. The latter is a bit harder for me, but I have managed to attend about 50 major- or minor-league games over the past five summers, the highlight of which was Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter.

I believe I’ve just heard someone from the BP brass shouting, “Go back to your PITCHf/x analysis, Max,” so it’s time to end this introductory post. But not without thanking Dave Studenmund and the other folks at The Hardball Times, where I spent a couple of wonderful seasons, and the staff I have just joined here at Baseball Prospectus, where I plan to have a terrific time as well.