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July 20, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Tom House

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Jason Grady

BP recently visited with Tom House at the National Pitching Association (NPA) lab in San Diego and observed him instructing some youngsters at his mini-camp.

Baseball Prospectus: You last spoke to BP a couple of years ago. Just to get started, what's new at NPA since then?

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May 25, 2006 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: Is it Still Good to Be the King?

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Nate Silver

Nate wonders about the struggles of the Mariners' young star.

The point I was trying to make is that is that when you have limited information about a player--and almost any young pitcher meets that criterion--even a small amount of additional information can make a large amount of difference in his valuation. The problem, of course, is that I picked a bad example to support my case. This is not so much because of Hamels' injury, but because the information we're getting about King Felix is not all bad.

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April 27, 2006 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: Of Crowds and Splits

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Dan Fox

Dan responds to readers' thoughts on the subject of platoon splits.

In the fall of 1906 Francis Galton (1822-1911), the British polymath and half-cousin of Charles Darwin, decided to attend a country fair near his home. Galton was a man of many and varied talents--he invented the weather map, a method for classifying fingerprints, and even the silent dog whistle--but among them was a statistical bent, and he had used his skills to try and understand human differences and heredity.

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December 9, 2004 12:00 am

Rule 5 Draft

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Dayn Perry

Who might follow in the Rule-5 footsteps of Johan Santana? Dayn Perry has the lowdown on the top eligible players.

Baseball's annual Rule 5 draft is upon us (if you don't know what the Rule 5 draft is, here's Alan Schwarz's nifty explanation of it). It'll go down during the upcoming annual winter meetings, which begin this weekend in Anaheim.

This year's crop of Rule-5 eligibles is probably the strongest since I've been following it closely. There's usually a handful of promising relievers and raw arms to be sorted out, but this year there seems to be a little of everything. That'll make for an engaging round of selections. As you may know, if a team makes a Rule-5 selection, that player must remain on the active major league roster for the entire season, barring injury or front office-prompted malingering.

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June 30, 2004 12:00 am

Can Of Corn: Triple-A All-Stars

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Dayn Perry

Today, I'm wrapping up my series on level-by-level minor league All-Stars. I've already put together my Low-A Team, High-A Team and Double-A Team. This time, in what's bound to come as a surprise, I'm going to look at my Triple-A All-Stars. Putting together a Triple-A team is a bit of a challenge given the criteria I've set. I'm looking for a blend of performance and genuine prospect status. Triple-A, as you probably know, is fertile ground for retreads and Quadruple-A types, which provides a fairly low level-wide signal-to-noise ratio in terms of prospects. So, for all their merits, you'll see no Lou Colliers, Joe Vitiellos or Mike Colangelos here. What you will see are the best prospects who have spent most of the season at Triple-A and haven't exhausted their prospect status in recent seasons. Before the money runs out...

Putting together a Triple-A team is a bit of a challenge given the criteria I've set. I'm looking for a blend of performance and genuine prospect status. Triple-A, as you probably know, is fertile ground for retreads and Quadruple-A types, which provides a fairly low level-wide signal-to-noise ratio in terms of prospects. So, for all their merits, you'll see no Lou Colliers, Joe Vitiellos or Mike Colangelos here. What you will see are the best prospects who have spent most of the season at Triple-A and haven't exhausted their prospect status in recent seasons. Before the money runs out...

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June 23, 2004 12:00 am

Can Of Corn: High-A All-Stars

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Dayn Perry

You've stumbled into the midst of a series on this year's minor league All-Stars. These aren't, part and parcel, the ones you'll find on the various and sundry All-Star teams that will soon be squaring off against one another around the minors. Rather, these are the prospects who should be regarded as the luminaries of the minor leagues, at least according to this particular pontificator. Last week, I cobbled together my Low-A All-Star Team, and if you'd like further ruminations on my methodology for making these selections you should go check out that article. I'll wait here. Otherwise, here's my High-A All-Star ballot. And by "High-A," I mean the best of the California, Carolina and Florida State Leagues...

Last week, I cobbled together my Low-A All-Star Team, and if you'd like further ruminations on my methodology for making these selections you should go check out that article. I'll wait here.

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You've probably read Joe Sheehan's nifty explanations of his AL and NL All-Star ballots. In summary, Joe's theory is that you don't fritter away an All-Star spot on a player who's had a hot two months preceded by season upon season of mediocrity. Instead, you give the spot to a proven, top-tier performer who, ideally, is also enjoying a strong first half. I couldn't agree more with that philosophy. Today, I'm going to begin extending Joe's balloting hermeneutics to the minor leagues. By that I mean I'm going to name my personal level-by-level minor league All-Stars. In the very low minors, where I'm beginning this series, it's difficult to distinguish fluke performance from genuine skills growth--the track record either isn't substantial or isn't there at all. It's when I get to the upper levels of the minors that I'll get to wield my variant of Joe's philosophy. By way of example, I'm not going to hand out any spots to the Hiram Bocachicas of the world. Irrespective of his merits, he's not a highly valuable prospect by any standard. What I'm going to do is give spots to those who are not only performing well in the early months of the 2004 season, but also are doing so in tandem with legitimate prospect status.

Today, I'm going to begin extending Joe's balloting hermeneutics to the minor leagues. By that I mean I'm going to name my personal level-by-level minor league All-Stars. In the very low minors, where I'm beginning this series, it's difficult to distinguish fluke performance from genuine skills growth--the track record either isn't substantial or isn't there at all. It's when I get to the upper levels of the minors that I'll get to wield my variant of Joe's philosophy. By way of example, I'm not going to hand out any spots to the Hiram Bocachicas of the world. Irrespective of his merits, he's not a highly valuable prospect by any standard. What I'm going to do is give spots to those who are not only performing well in the early months of the 2004 season, but also are doing so in tandem with legitimate prospect status.

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The Rangers are off to a torrid start this year, thanks in part to the contributions of Alfonso Soriano (.321/.357/.472 after Monday night's victory over Tampa Bay). Soriano has undergone a couple of changes since his last incarnation as the undisciplined Yankee second baseman whose terrible second-half and postseason campaigns were enough to trigger Bronx Jeers at his every at-bat. The switch from the neo-classical, interlocking N-Y to the tacky, scarlet T on his uniform breast is the most obvious, but Soriano has also changed batting order positions (Buck Showalter has him hitting third, instead of first, a role that he is considerably better suited for). He's also switched birthdays--or at least, birthyears. Turns out that A-Sore was born on the 7th of January, 1976, and not the same date in 1978, as he was previously listed. John Hart and the Rangers knew full well about the change in birthdate before agreeing to acquire Soriano for Alex Rodriguez. Indeed, baseball teams--and baseball fans--have grown pretty well used to these sorts of surprises; before Soriano, there were only a few hundred other players whose reported birthdates were revealed to be incorrect. With a few exceptions like Bartolo Colon, however, most of those guys were marginal prospects in the lower minors, and not an established star like Soriano, for whom any change in expected performance could potentially cost his club the equivalent of millions of dollars in value.

Soriano has undergone a couple of changes since his last incarnation as the undisciplined Yankee second baseman whose terrible second-half and postseason campaigns were enough to trigger Bronx Jeers at his every at-bat. The switch from the neo-classical, interlocking N-Y to the tacky, scarlet T on his uniform breast is the most obvious, but Soriano has also changed batting order positions (Buck Showalter has him hitting third, instead of first, a role that he is considerably better suited for). He's also switched birthdays--or at least, birthyears. Turns out that A-Sore was born on the 7th of January, 1976, and not the same date in 1978, as he was previously listed.

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February 21, 2004 12:00 am

Prospectus Roundtable: Top 50 Prospects, Part I

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Baseball Prospectus

In preparing the annual top prospect list for Baseball Prospectus 2004, BP authors participated in the annual extended roundtable discussion of baseball's top prospects. The ranking and review process balanced translated statistics, scouting reports, and injury reports with the strong personal opinions of BP's finest…all with the goal of putting together the "best damn prospect list the world has ever seen." In Part I today we'll listen in on the discussion of the top prospects among pitchers, catchers, first basemen and second basemen. Parts II through IV will run Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. We'll also unveil the final list Tuesday, with the Top 50 prospects (we've expanded from prior years' Top 40) revealed. Rany Jazayerli will be along to discuss the Top 50 list and the process that went into compiling it in Tuesday night's Chat.

Baseball Prospectus Top 40 Prospects Roundtables:
2003 Part II
2003 Part I
2001


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January 26, 2004 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Part II

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Jonah Keri

The American Sports Medicine Institute kicks off its 22nd annual "Injuries in Baseball" course Jan. 29 in Orlando. Today we continue from Part I of our discussion with ASMI's Smith and Nephew Chair of Research, Dr. Glenn Fleisig.

Baseball Prospectus: Do teams tend to send more major league pitchers or minor leaguers? What are some of the differences between the two groups?

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December 23, 2003 12:00 am

Can Of Corn: The Rule 5 Draft

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Dayn Perry

Baseball's Rule 5 draft, in many ways, is confined to the rural route of the annual winter meetings, so it doesn't get as much bandwidth/column inches as it should. But as many teams are learning or already know that the Rule 5 is a nifty way to add a high-ceiling prospect to the system. The catch, as you know, is that any team selecting a player in Rule 5 must keep the lucky draftee on the active major league roster for the entire season or until he can fake an injury substantial enough to eventually land him on the 60-day DL. Just last year, we saw teams choose a handful of vaguely useful to flat-out good relievers (e.g., Aquilino Lopez of the Blue Jays and Javier Lopez of the Rockies). And reaching back into the antediluvian mists of prehistory, luminary Roberto Clemente first made his way to the Pirates via Rule 5. This winter's crop is the least impressive since I've been closely following this draft, but there were still some engaging names on the board. So, in my stateliest Lance Ito fashion, I shall now pass judgment on the 2003 class of Rule 5 draftees. All rise...

Baseball's Rule 5 draft, in many ways, is confined to the rural route of the annual winter meetings, so it doesn't get as much bandwidth/column inches as it should. But as many teams are learning or already know that the Rule 5 is a nifty way to add a high-ceiling prospect to the system.

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