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03-03

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19

Overthinking It: Takeaways From Our First Look at the Future
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-24

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4

Painting the Black: Birds Song
by
R.J. Anderson

02-24

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9

The Stats Go Marching In: The Art of Handling the Pitching Staff
by
Max Marchi

05-05

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21

Baseball ProGUESTus: A Statistician Rereads Bill James
by
Andrew Gelman

03-30

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5

The BP Wayback Machine: Baseball's Hilbert Problems
by
Keith Woolner

02-25

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17

Baseball ProGUESTus: Home Runs and Humidors: Is There a Connection?
by
Alan M. Nathan

08-29

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2

Between The Numbers: The PITCHf/x Summit Quasi-Liveblog
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-23

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5

Ahead in the Count: Methodology of The New MORP
by
Matt Swartz

03-15

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23

Prospectus Today: Panorama
by
Joe Sheehan

01-04

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6

Prospectus Q&A: Tony Blengino
by
David Laurila

06-15

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0

Prospectus Q&A: Trey Hillman
by
David Laurila

02-24

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0

Prospectus Q&A: Doug Thorburn
by
David Laurila

09-13

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0

Lies, Damned Lies: New Life on Different Fields
by
Nate Silver

09-04

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1

Analyze This: For What You Are About to Receive
by
Gary Huckabay

11-16

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: The Numb3rs Game
by
Dan Fox

08-08

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0

Doctoring The Numbers: Building the Best in Motor City, Part Two
by
Rany Jazayerli

07-20

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: A Plethora of Blunders
by
Dan Fox

06-30

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0

Crooked Numbers: Left Wing Conspiracy
by
James Click

04-11

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0

The Week in Quotes: April 4-10
by
John Erhardt

02-18

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0

Baseball Prospectus Basics: Reshaping the Debate
by
Joe Sheehan

02-10

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0

Baseball's Hilbert Problems
by
Keith Woolner

04-14

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0

Under The Knife: Redbook Redux
by
Will Carroll

09-12

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0

Analyze This: What's Up With the Chief?
by
Derek Zumsteg

05-29

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0

Aim For The Head: Simulating Catcher's ERA
by
Keith Woolner

07-12

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0

Aim For The Head: Walk Rate Spikes
by
Keith Woolner

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September 13, 2007 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: New Life on Different Fields

0

Nate Silver

Analysis is dead? Not in every sector of the baseball industry.

This piece was originally intended as a response to Gary Huckabay's column of last week, the idea being to contradict his assertion that baseball analysis is dead by counting down 10 points of decision that at least a significant minority of baseball franchises get wrong. But after reading through my article-I generally write my introductions last-as well as re-reading Gary's piece, I am not so sure it is orthogonal to it at all. I agree with Gary that there is relatively little to be gained from what he describes as "the rigorous review of player performance data." Relatively little does not mean "nothing," however, and I have isolated some of the exceptions below. Most of the items on my list, however, have to do with questions that run outside the scope of the GM or the field manager. They have more to do with the guy sitting in the owner's box, and those places on a baseball team's org chart where the names stop becoming familiar.

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BP's founder makes his comeback bearing an unsettling message.

Itís been an unfortunate part of writing for BP that Iíve written a number of words about the passing of friends. Today, Iíve got another obituary to write, but this one is not in the least bit painful.

Baseball analysis is dead.

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November 16, 2006 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: The Numb3rs Game

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Dan Fox

Dan goes channel serf on us, and reaches an unsurprising conclusion.

"It is a characteristic of statisticians that they see the game by the thousands. It's a way of looking at the biggest possible picture of the game. Backing away from it a great distance and trying to see patterns that aren't apparent close up."

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Picking up where he left off yesterday, Rany continues his dissection of the 2006 Detroit Tigers.

A month after nabbing their franchise shortstop, the Tigers signed a franchise catcher, Ivan Rodriguez. On the surface, this made all kinds of sense; it's not often you get the opportunity to sign a surefire Hall of Famer who just turned 32. On the other hand, catchers age quickly, and Rodriguez caught more games (1564) before his 32nd birthday than anyone other than Johnny Bench, who was finished as a catcher by the time he turned 33 and was finished as a ballplayer when he was 35. While Rodriguez's 4-year, $40 million deal was eminently reasonable, it still represented a gamble in that it was likely the Tigers would never be competitive enough during the life of the contract to make the addition of Rodriguez meaningful.

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July 20, 2006 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: A Plethora of Blunders

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Dan Fox

Dan dissects Rob Neyer's latest book--about the greatest mistakes in baseball history--and nominates a few recent moves for inclusion.

"Except it wasn't."

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June 30, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Left Wing Conspiracy

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James Click

Why is it that so many of the greatest hitters of all time bat from the left side of the plate? Is there more than just their platoon advantage? James takes a swing at an answer.

Towards the end of last season, I was digging up some data involving platoon splits and noticed that back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the number of lefty-lefty matchups was a lot higher than it is now. That led to an article showing that left-handed pitchers are pitching a significantly smaller percentage of the available innings (or PAs) than they were just 10 to 15 years ago. In 1991 nearly 34 percent of PAs were against LHPs; in 2002, it was under 24 percent.

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John Rocker's (sort of) back, Mariano Rivera gets booed, Bill James talks shop, and Pedro Martinez doesn't want his ring.

"I took all of this in and I asked myself: Does he deserve another chance? I'm a Catholic. I went to Villanova. I was watching all those people lining up this week to see the Pope and I wondered, 'What would the Pope do?' He would give him another chance."
--Long Island Ducks owner Frank Boulton, on signing John Rocker this week (New York Newsday)

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"Stathead." "Stat-drunk computer nerd." "Rotisserie geek." You can earn a lot of derision when you look at things in a new way, and the people who have applied statistical tools to evaluate baseball players and teams have heard the above epithets and more. The work of people such as Bill James, Craig Wright and Clay Davenport has often been dismissed as the mind-numbing analysis of people who need to put their slide rules away and get out and watch a game once in a while. Their efforts, which have been dubbed "statistical analysis," have expanded and improved the body of objective baseball knowledge, and their work is even beginning to penetrate the insular world of baseball front offices. But the term "statistical analysis," as applied to baseball, isn't descriptive enough. Actuaries analyze statistics, and while the work pays well, it is pretty dry stuff. Life-expectancy tables and risk/benefit workups aren't going to get your average Red Sox fan excited, nor should they: baseball fans care about their teams, and the players on them, not a series of numbers. But baseball statistics are not numbers generated for their own sake. Statistics are a record of performance of players and teams. Period. Benjamin Disraeli's oft-quoted line--"There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics"--just doesn't apply.

"Stathead."
"Stat-drunk computer nerd."
"Rotisserie geek."

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February 10, 2004 12:00 am

Baseball's Hilbert Problems

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Keith Woolner

"Who of us would not be glad to lift the veil behind which the future lies hidden, to cast a glance at the next advances of our science and at the secrets of its development during future years? What particular goals will there be toward which the leading sabermetric spirits of coming generations will strive? What new methods and new facts in the wide and rich field of sabermetric thought will the new years disclose?" Here at Baseball Prospectus, we're not completely immune to the general fascination with the recent turn of the world's odometer. So, with this edition marking the final year of the second millennium, let's take a look forward at what the third holds for us seamheads. Our inspiration comes from a similar effort nearly 100 years ago. In 1900, a mathematician named David Hilbert addressed the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris and delivered what was to become history's most influential speech about mathematics. Hilbert outlined 23 major problems to be studied in the coming century. In doing so he expressed optimism about the field, sharing his feeling that unsolved problems were a sign of vitality, encouraging more people to do more research. The above quote is, in fact, a bastardization of the opening statements of Hilbert's speech. Hilbert referred to mathematics instead of sabermetrics and spoke in terms of "centuries" instead of "years." Given the relative youth of sabermetrics and baseball analysis compared to math, it's appropriate to use a period of smaller scope than Hilbert. The quotes that appear periodically throughout this essay are similarly taken from Hilbert's speech and altered to refer to baseball analysis.

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April 14, 2003 12:00 am

Under The Knife: Redbook Redux

0

Will Carroll

Last year, I was given the privilege of writing a story that hadn't been written. It's a story about a hidden treasure and one that opened my eyes to yet another hidden game in baseball. While "original" UTK subscribers will remember this story, I think it's important enough to bring to a BP audience. I'm also going to be speaking with American Specialty in the near future, bringing you more insight from the true masters of injury analysis. I hope you enjoy. --Will

Outside of baseball, the Redbook is unknown. Even inside baseball, many front office personnel I spoke to were unaware of its existence. Even I had no knowledge of the Redbook until a recent conversation with a former baseball athletic trainer. He mentioned the book in passing and I had to bring him back to it. 'There's a book with all the info?' I asked. After telling me about it, I went on a quest to find the book. A bit of searching later, I found that the publisher was in fact MLB's insurance consultant, a company called American Specialty Companies Inc.

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Tipping Freddy Garcia

The most rewarding thing about getting into sabermetrics is having more tools on the workbench. To me, it's what Prospectus is all about: furthering our understanding of baseball, the same as SABR, or Retrosheet, or in a weird way, the bartender who insists on telling me stories of how Bob Gibson would pitch to the score. I'm probably the least stat-heady member of the authors, prone to taking shortcuts to rough some stats out and see if there's something interesting there instead of making sure I've included sacrifice bunts in my runner advancement data. But I love the investigation.

There's been a rumor that Freddy Garcia, who last year appeared to be an ascending ace, has been tipping his pitches, and that's why opposing teams have been teeing off on him. I regard stories like this with a lot of skepticism: most pitching coaches watch a lot of video and wouldn't be oblivious to this sort of thing, so the possibility a pitcher's struggling and, say, Bryan Price didn't think of it is slim. What happens in a local media cycle is this:

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Since the chat session, I've received dozens of e-mails asking for additional details. The response from BP readers finally prodded me into finishing some related projects I'd had in progress for a while, which I'll present later in this article.

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